From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
Contact (Japanese: 接触 contact) or direct attack (Japanese: 直接攻撃 direct attack) is a term used to describe the condition when one Pokémon in a battle physically touches the opponent in order to deal damage with a move.
Contact is distinct from whether a move is physical or special in nature, but most moves that make contact are physical moves, while most special moves do not make contact; status moves do not make contact in any case.
The use of contact-based moves can trigger various Abilities of the foe, such as Cute Charm and Effect Spore. It can also trigger certain items, and can be used to spread Pokérus.
Hitting a substitute does not make contact with the Pokémon behind it.
Note that Ancient Power and Overheat make contact in Generation III only.
List of physical moves that do not make contact
These are physical moves that do not make contact. (This does not include moves such as Hyper Beam, which belonged to physical-based types before Generation IV reclassified them as special.)
Also, while confusion damage is physical, it does not make contact.
List of special moves that make contact
These are special moves that do make contact. (This does not include moves such as Fire Punch, which belonged to special-based types before Generation IV reclassified them as physical.)
Effects involving contact
| King's Shield
|| Decreases an attacker's Attack two stages if it attempts a contact move.
| Spiky Shield
|| Damages an attacker for 1/8 of its max HP if it attempts a contact move.
|| Rocky Helmet
|| Damages an attacker for 1/6 of its max HP on contact.
|| Sticky Barb
|| Damages the holder each turn for 1/8 of their max HP. Transfers to an attacker on contact.
- In Pokémon Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness, battle animations for contact moves do not show the attacking Pokémon hitting the defending one at all. As in the Stadium series, physical blows usually utilize quick camera cuts between the attacking and defending Pokémon to imply direct contact.
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