From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
Substitute (Japanese: みがわり Scapegoat) is a non-damaging Normal-type move introduced in Generation I. It was TM50 in Generation I before losing its TM status in Generation II. It regained its TM status, albeit as TM90, in Generation IV onwards.
Using 25% of its maximum HP, the user creates a substitute with 1 HP more than the amount of HP lost by the user. If the user's maximum HP is 3 or less, it will not lose any HP when the substitute is made. A substitute will have the same current type and current stats as the Pokémon that created it.
Once created, all stat modifying attacks and side effects of attacks used by the opponent against the user will fail, though all current stat modifiers will remain in effect and any stat modifiers used by the user will also be applied to the substitute. The substitute will break when the damage the substitute has taken is greater than the HP used to make it. Until it breaks, a substitute will absorb all damage done by the opponent (even if the damage done exceeds the remaining HP of the substitute), but will not reduce the actual amount of damage that the opponent's attacks do. A one-hit KO move, if it hits, will always break a substitute.
Substitute will not protect the user from self-inflicted status ailments, but it will protect it from any status ailment generated by an opponent's move and damage due to those status ailments.
Substitute will not alter the execution of Bide, Counter, Disable, Haze, Leech Seed, Super Fang, Transform, or partial trapping moves, and it will not absorb crash damage, recoil damage, or recurrent damage. However, a substitute will absorb self-inflicted confusion damage and prevent the user from flinching.
If a Pokémon breaks a substitute with Hyper Beam, it will not need to recharge. If a Pokémon breaks a substitute with Explosion or Selfdestruct, it will not faint, though its picture will no longer be visible until it switches out or uses Substitute. If a Pokémon breaks a substitute with a recoil move, it will not take any recoil damage. If a Pokémon breaks a substitute with a draining move, no HP will be restored to it. Note that in each of these cases, the substitute has to be broken, not merely damaged, by the referenced attack.
If the user's current HP is less than 25% (rounded down) of its maximum HP, it will be too weak to make a substitute. If the user's current HP is exactly equal to 25% (rounded down) of its maximum HP, it will faint upon creating the Substitute.
In Stadium, if the user's current HP is exactly equal to 25% (rounded down) of its maximum HP, it will be too weak to create a substitute. If a Pokémon breaks a substitute with Explosion or Selfdestruct, it will faint.
Generation II, III and IV
The effects of Substitute are the same as the previous generation; however, if the user has a status ailment, they will still take any damage from that status ailment after they have used Substitute.
If the substitute is broken by a target's Selfdestruct or Explosion, the user of that move will faint.
If the user of Substitute has 25% or less of its max HP (rounded down), or it only has a maximum of 1 HP, such as Shedinja, it will be unable to make a substitute.
A substitute can be Baton Passed, and can absorb damage due to partial-trapping moves. A substitute will not block the evasion decrease caused by Defog. Intimidate is blocked by the substitute, but is the only Ability affected by the substitute.
The following moves are not blocked by the substitute:
Substitute now blocks Transform and the stat lowering effect of Defog, and Sky Drop will fail if used against a Pokémon behind a substitute.
The following moves are not blocked by the substitute:
|| Uses 1/4 of the user's maximum HP to create a substitute that takes the opponent's attacks.
|| Makes a decoy with 1/4 user's max HP.
|| Creates a decoy using 1/4 of the user’s maximum HP.
|| The user creates a decoy using one-quarter of its full HP.
|| The user makes a copy of itself using some of its HP. The copy serves as the user’s decoy.
| All Pokémon that can learn TMs can learn Substitute.
|Bold indicates a Pokémon gains STAB from this move.|
Italics indicates a Pokémon whose evolution or alternate form receives STAB from this move.
In the anime
In the manga
In the Phantom Thief Pokémon 7 manga
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
| The user creates a substitute that resembles it. The substitute fades away soon after.
|| First Chapter Used In
|| Pikachu creates a see-through after image of itself by cutting a quarter of its health. Pikachu can form the substitute to any form it wants. Once the after image gets hit, however, it disappears.
| Red's Pika
|| Meanwhile... Vileplume!
In the Pokémon Battle Frontier manga
In other generations
A substitute "levitating"
- In most games, the decoy and the Pokémon will switch places when the Pokémon executes a move. The only exception is in Pokémon Battle Revolution, where the battle animations play out as if the substitute was the one performing the move. It generally remains stationary, except for when using moves like Fly or Bounce.
- In the Generation I and II games, the substitute resembles the Pokémon Rhydon.
- Shedinja is capable of learning Substitute despited being incapable of using it, as its HP is too low to create a substitute.
- However, a Pokémon that has Transformed into Shedinja would be able to use it.
- Substitutes are interpreted differently throughout all forms of Pokémon canon. In the games, a substitute is seen as an inanimate decoy which simply stands in for the Pokémon. In the anime, substitutes are seen to be clones of the user. In the manga, substitutes are like the anime representation, but more spectral and transparent, as shown by Red's Pikachu in Peace of Mime.
- In the Mystery Dungeon series, if the player eats an X-Eye Seed, all other Pokémon appear as substitutes.
- The Plush Toy enemy in Mystery Doors of the Magical Land Series is similar to a substitute.
- In Pokémon Stadium, glitch Pokémon will appear as the substitutes. The color will vary, however, due to the player's ID and the glitch Pokémon's name. This is because the game treats the glitch Pokémon's name as a nickname, which cause Pokémon to change colors in the Stadium series.
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