Escape prevention

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There are multiple forms of escape prevention in a Pokémon battle.

Effect

If a Pokémon is prevented from escaping, it must remain in battle, as there is no option to switch out or flee.

The trapped Pokémon can still switch out if it is holding a Shed Shell; uses U-turn, Volt Switch, Flip Turn, or Baton Pass; or is hit by Whirlwind, Roar, Dragon Tail, or Circle Throw. Prior to Generation V, if a Pokémon that can't escape or the Pokémon that trapped it uses Baton Pass, the Pokémon (or its replacement) still can't escape; from Generation V onward, the effect can be passed only by the Pokémon that can't escape.

From Generation III onward, a Pokémon that can't escape can still flee or Teleport from a wild battle if it is holding a Smoke Ball or has the Ability Run Away.

Starting in Generation VI, Ghost-type Pokémon can switch out and flee regardless of the can't escape status.

Moves

A Pokémon can be trapped when struck by any of the following moves. A Substitute will block their effect from Generation III on.

Move Type Category Power Accuracy Gen. introduced Notes
Anchor Shot Steel Physical 80 100% VII
Block Normal Status —% III
Fairy Lock Fairy Status —% VI Prevents all Pokémon on the field from switching out or fleeing during their next turn
G-Max Terror Ghost Varies —% VIII
Jaw Lock Dark Physical 80 100% VIII Prevents the user and the target from switching out or fleeing
Mean Look Normal Status —% II
No Retreat Fighting Status —% VIII Prevents the user from switching out or fleeing; has other effects
Octolock Fighting Status 100% VIII Has other effects
Shadow Hold Shadow Status 80% III
Spider Web Bug Status —% II
Spirit Shackle Ghost Physical 80 100% VII
Thousand Waves Ground Physical 90 100% VI

Abilities

A Pokémon can become trapped by any of the following Abilities.

Name Foes unaffected Generation
Arena Trap Flying- and Ghost-type* Pokémon, levitating Pokémon, Pokémon affected by Magnet Rise, Telekinesis, or holding an Air Balloon III
Magnet Pull Non-Steel-type Pokémon, Ghost-type* Pokémon III
Shadow Tag Other Pokémon with Shadow Tag, Ghost-type* Pokémon III

*: Ghost-type Pokémon are only immune from Generation VI on
: Shadow Tag immunity only applies from Generation IV on

In the anime

Oshawott failing to return to his Poké Ball after being hit by Mean Look

The first instance of trapping appeared in Showdown in Pewter City, where Brock's Onix prevented Ash from recalling Pikachu through its use of Bind.

Although introduced prior to Whirlpool's debut, Mandi's Exeggutor used Psychic to create a whirlpool that trapped Ash's Krabby and prevented it from switching out in Round One - Begin!.

In From Ghost to Ghost, Morty's Haunter used Mean Look to prevent Ash's Cyndaquil from escaping the battle.

Nelson had his Misdreavus use Mean Look on an Entei to keep it from running away in Entei at Your Own Risk. Entei countered with Roar in order to flee.

In Gathering the Gang of Four!, Brandon had his Dusclops use Mean Look to prevent Ash from switching out his Charizard. He repeated this strategy in the next episode against Ash's Bulbasaur.

In Working on a Right Move!, Conway's Dusknoir used Mean Look to prevent Ash from switching out his Donphan.

Preventing the opponent from using the Pokémon they wanted was Lenora's main strategy in her battles against Ash in The Battle According to Lenora! and Rematch at the Nacrene Gym!. She would first have Herdier use Roar before switching in Watchog and trapping Ash's newly-brought out Pokémon with Mean Look.

In Battling as Hard as Stone!, Steven's Cradily used Ingrain, preventing itself from leaving the battle until it was knocked out.

In A Flood of Torrential Gains!, Ash's Gengar trapped Leon's Inteleon in battle by hitting it with G-Max Terror.

In the manga

Pokémon Adventures

Rono unable to move after being trapped with Magnet Pull

In Into the Unown, Al's Spinarak used Spider Web to trap opponents in the silk.

In The Ariados up There, the Masked Man's Ariados used Spider Web to create a web around the field to prevent opponents from escaping. Janine's Ariados was later shown capable of the same technique.

As first revealed in Slugging It Out with Slugma, Crystal would often have her Smoochum, Chumee, use Mean Look to keep wild Pokémon in place while she attempted to catch them.

In Blowing Past Nosepass I, Roxanne's Nosepass prevented Sapphire from recalling her Aron, Rono, with its Magnet Pull Ability. In The Beginning of the End with Kyogre & Groudon VIII, Nosepass used Block to hold Groudon in place.

In Going to Eleven with Loudred and Exploud II, Courtney's Ninetales used Fire Spin to keep Ruby from escaping.

Charon's Heatran could use Magma Storm to trap opponents inside of the flame. It was first seen in Cooling Off Heatran.

Black's Galvantula, Tula, could make a Spider Web that could hold opponents in place while also electrocuting them. It was first seen in Wheeling and Dealing.

In Changing Gengar, X's Mega Gengar, Garma, used his Shadow Tag Ability to trap Essentia's Trevenant and keep it from fleeing.

In Transcend!! Ultra Necrozma!, Zygarde used Thousand Waves to destroy the ground and trap everyone caught in it.

In Finale!! The Battle Against the Other Dimension!, Moon's Decidueye pinned Necrozma down by its shadow through the use of Spirit Shackle

In Glittering!! The Tapestry in the Vault, Allister's Gigantamaxed Gengar and used G-Max Terror to trap Henry's Oranguru, Fanguru.

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