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If you were looking for the card released in the Gym Heroes expansion, see Recall (Gym Heroes 116).
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Reason: Recall features like different recalling effects in Pokémon-Amie in Generation VI.

Dawn recalling her Piplup

Recalling (Japanese: ポケモンチェンジ Pokémon change) a Pokémon is taking it out of battle. It is also referred to as withdrawing, switching out (Japanese: える replace), returning, retreating, and shifting.

In the games

Magikarp being recalled from battle

There are several reasons for recalling Pokémon in the games. The most basic can be a simple strategic decision to battle using another Pokémon in lieu of using a move, recalling the active one to switch in another; the new Pokémon switches in at the start of the turn but cannot be commanded until the next turn. Any Pokémon that faints must also be recalled, and the Trainer can switch in another Pokémon to continue the battle if possible. In a wild Pokémon battle, after a Pokémon faints, its Trainer may attempt to flee instead of continuing the battle, but if it fails, they must switch in a new Pokémon instead. A handful of moves also include switching as part of their effect: Baton Pass, U-turn, Volt Switch, and Parting Shot return the user to the party and allow the Trainer to send in a different Pokémon. The held item Eject Button also makes the holder switch out when hit by an attack.

In some cases, Pokémon may be forced to withdraw from a battle. The moves Circle Throw, Dragon Tail, Roar, and Whirlwind force their target to be recalled and randomly replaced by another Pokémon. The held item Red Card causes a Pokémon that hits the item's holder to switch out and be replaced by a random Pokémon from its party.

There are also a variety of circumstances that may trap a Pokémon, preventing it from being recalled from battle. The moves Block, Mean Look, Shadow Hold, Spider Web, and Thousand Waves prevent opposing Pokémon from leaving battle, and Fairy Lock does the same for the next turn only. The Abilities Arena Trap, Magnet Pull, and Shadow Tag also prevent opposing Pokémon from leaving battle. A trapped Pokémon can bypass these restrictions with a Shed Shell, by using Baton Pass, U-turn, or Volt Switch, or if it is hit by Circle Throw, Dragon Tail, Roar, or Whirlwind. Starting in Generation VI, Ghost-type Pokémon are also immune to these trapping effects. A Pokémon that has used Ingrain is similarly prevented from leaving the battle under most circumstances and can only be recalled after an opponent is defeated or by using Baton Pass, U-turn, or Volt Switch.

Manually withdrawing a Pokémon happens before all moves, except Pursuit if it is targetting the Pokémon that is switching out.

Experience is fundamentally evenly divided among Pokémon that participated in a battle (and are not fainted) against an opponent that has not switched out, but many factors can affect this.

In Single Battles against NPC Trainers (excluding Battle Tower Trainers), if the Battle Style is set as "Shift" ("Switch" in Generation VI), then after defeating one of the opponent's Pokémon, the player is notified what the opponent's next Pokémon will be and given the option to recall their own Pokémon before the next turn.

In the anime

Ash recalling Oshawott

In the anime, if the Trainer does not send out a replacement Pokémon, he or she must forfeit the match.

It appears as though a Pokémon can actually refuse, or even dodge a Trainer's recall command. While this usually is a result of disobedience, it can sometimes be a sign that the Pokémon is concerned for its Trainer, such as in Snow Way Out!, or another person or Pokémon, as seen in Cottonee in Love!. In some cases, a third party such as another Trainer's Pokémon or a wild Pokémon can interfere with the recall command towards a Trainer's Pokémon. This was demonstrated in Challenge of the Samurai where a wild Beedrill that abducted Ash's Metapod managed to dodge Ash's recall command while holding Metapod; and in Showdown at Pewter City where Brock's Onix was constricting Ash's Pikachu and blocked out Ash's recall command. If a human is hit with the recall beam, it will temporarily stun the person, as demonstrated in All that Glitters is Not Golden.

Usually during Gym battles, there are rules preventing Gym Leaders from switching their Pokémon, but challengers are allowed to make substitutions if needed. It is not uncommon for Trainers to recall their Pokémon to cure confusion.

During Contest Battles, Coordinators are never allowed to recall their Pokémon. When a Pokémon is unable to continue battling, the judging panel will rule Battle Off, putting an end to the battle and declaring the Coordinator with the remaining Pokémon as the winner of the match.

In the TCG

Main article: Retreat cost

This is a list of cards in the TCG related to switching.

Name Type Rarity Set Set no.
Switch T Common Base Set 95/102
Common Base Set 2 123/130
Common Expedition Base Set 157/165
Common EX Ruby & Sapphire 92/109
Common EX FireRed & LeafGreen 102/112
Common EX Delta Species 102/113
Common EX Dragon Frontiers 83/101
Common Diamond & Pearl 119/130
Common Secret Wonders 128/132
Common Stormfront 93/100
Uncommon HeartGold & SoulSilver 102/123
Uncommon Black & White 104/114


  • In the Generation I and II games, if the player chooses to switch their Pokémon when the opponent is about to send out a new Pokémon, the opponent is shown sending out their Pokémon before the player switches their Pokémon (even though the player's withdrawn Pokémon does not gain experience). This was changed in all later Generations, instead showing the player's switch before the opponent sends out their next Pokémon.

In other languages


Language Title
France Flag.png French Changer
Germany Flag.png German Wechseln
Italy Flag.png Italian Cambiare
South Korea Flag.png Korean 교체하다 Gyochehada
Spain Flag.png Spanish Cambiar

Related articles

Project Games logo.png This game mechanic article is part of Project Games, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon games.