Pokémon battle

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Single Battle redirects here. For the battle mode found in the Pokémon Cable Club for Generations I, II and III, or the Pokémon Communication Club Colosseum for Generation IV, see Single Battle (Battle Mode).

A Pokémon battle (Japanese: ポケモンバトル Pokémon battle, ポケモンしょうぶ Pokémon fight in older content) is a form of competition between Pokémon. In these battles, one or more of the Pokémon is typically owned and trained by a person, its Pokémon Trainer, in order to win.

When a Pokémon faints in battle, its Trainer may send out another to take its place. After all of a Trainer's party Pokémon have been defeated, the battle has been won, and the loser must pay out some amount of money to the winner, determined based on the level of the Pokémon and type of Trainer defeated. In the main series games, if the player's Pokémon have all been defeated, he or she will black out (Generation I, Generation IV and Generation V) or white out (Generation II and Generation III), and be teleported back to the most recent Pokémon Center that was visited, or to his or her home, if a Pokémon Center has not yet been visited.

Pokémon battles appear in most forms of Pokémon media, being the central gameplay aspect of the main series games, as well as being a constant focus of the anime. Originally, a Pokémon battle would be a one-on-one fight between two Pokémon; however, variations on this model have been seen later on in the series, with Pokémon battles featuring multiple Pokémon on each side later being implemented in the games as well.

In the games

In the games, the main battle screen will have four options: Fight, Bag, Pokémon, and Run. Depending on which of these is selected, a different menu will appear, or the battle may end. These same four options will appear no matter what kind of battle the player is in, be it with a wild Pokémon, an NPC, or another player via link battle. Battles are conducted in a turn-based manner. The Pokémon to take action first is determined by the priority of their action, then the Speed of the Pokémon.


The moves of a Pokémon displayed in the Fight menu

Selecting "Fight" will bring up another menu which allows the player to choose which of his or her Pokémon's current moves is to be used during the turn. Depending on its remaining PP, a move may or may not be able to be selected; at least 1 PP is required to select the move.

Once both sides have selected the moves they will use, the Pokémon currently in battle will make each of their moves in turn, with the Pokémon with the highest Speed stat going first, and the one with the lowest Speed stat going last, unless Trick Room has been used in Generations IV and V, in which case the slowest Pokémon will go first. Depending on the moves used, items held by individual Pokémon, and status ailments, this progression may be altered, with moves like Quick Attack having an increased priority and items like the Iron Ball slowing down the Pokémon that holds it.

As each Pokémon makes its move, a Pokémon may faint if its HP reaches 0. If this occurs, another Pokémon must be switched in to replace it in battle for the battle to continue. This switch occurs before the turn ends in Generations I, II, and III, but after the end of the turn in Generation IV, resulting in a slightly different strategy for Double Battles between Generation III and Generation IV.


Bag menu
Main article: Bag

If "Bag" is selected, it will bring up the contents of the player's Bag on screen. In Generation I, this command is instead "Item", and in Generation II, it is "Pack". In Generations I, II, and III, the Bag menu that is brought up is the same as that in the overworld, with all of a player's items able to be selected (though many cannot be used). Generations IV and V instead feature a separate menu for in-battle use that categorizes the items that the player has depending on their use. If an item is selected to be used, this will take place before any Pokémon makes its move, and the player's Pokémon will not be able to make a move. The Bag selection is sometimes disabled, most notably in link battles and during Battle Frontier competitions.


Pokémon menu
Main article: Party

Selecting "Pokémon" will bring up a menu of the player's current party Pokémon, allowing them to be checked by the player or switched into battle, sending the player's active Pokémon back into its Poké Ball. As with the Bag, the Pokémon menu screen is exactly the same as that in the overworld in Generations I, II, and III, with differences in usable commands, while different in Generation IV, featuring only battle-relevant data.


Main article: Escape

If "Run" is selected, the player will attempt to escape from the battle. Battles against NPC Trainers cannot be run from except in a Battle Frontier facility, while battles against other players can be run from at any time, resulting in a loss (if only one player runs) or a draw (if both players run). This option, like Fight, also depends on the Speed of the Pokémon in battle, with a calculation made based on the two resulting in either the player escaping a wild battle (if the player's Pokémon's Speed is high enough) or being stuck in battle and losing a turn. Trapping moves can prevent escape attempts from being made, as can the player's own Pokémon if it has previously used Ingrain.

In Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, this option is replaced by a "Call" option, which allows the player to return a Shadow Pokémon from Hyper Mode and Reverse Mode or wake it up from sleep. It can also be used to simply pass a turn, and in XD, will raise the accuracy of a non-Shadow Pokémon who is not asleep by one level.

In the anime

A battle between Ash's Tepig and a Snivy about to begin

In the anime, the progression of battle is slightly different. An expansion on the games' concept, the anime's battles are more free-flowing than those in the games, with opposing Trainers being able to block and evade moves in different and more creative ways than the games allow for, invent their own moves as combinations of other moves, and so on. Several concepts that later became standard in the games were developed in the anime, such as the Lightningrod Ability and Double Battles.

Unlike the games, there will often be a referee who determines whether or not a Pokémon is able to continue the match, as there is not the strictly-programmed HP limit. This referee will sometimes be a Pokémon League official, especially in matches conducted in the various leagues' tournaments, though informal battles can be conducted with either no referee at all or with a knowledgeable person serving as the referee. Brock and Cilan have served as the referee for many of the informal matches between Ash and the various people he has met along his journey.

Battles in the anime often feature a limit to the amount of Pokémon that can be used: Trainers rarely are allowed to use their full party of six, and must instead choose which members they will use. Most Gym Leaders and other elite Trainers will not switch their Pokémon when challenged, as well, but will allow the challenger to do so.

In the manga

In the Pokémon Adventures manga

Pokémon battles in the Pokémon Adventures manga are arguably the most violent incarnation of battles in any Pokémon media. Pokémon are sometimes directed to not only attack, but kill other Pokémon and Trainers. Trainers themselves are an active part of the battle, often openly attacked, while their Poké Balls are a frequent target so as to disable them. Battles, instead of lasting until all Pokémon have fainted, last until all have been defeated, while only one of the Pokémon fainting is enough to end the battle itself. Like in the anime, a referee is present and may declare the battle without a Pokémon fainting, while Trainers are fully allowed to catch each other's Pokémon in Poké Balls.

Battle variants

Trainer battle

There are several variants on a standard Pokémon battle, in which one Pokémon is sent out against an opponent's Pokémon. These differences are mostly in the number of Trainers and Pokémon involved in the battle at one time.

Double Battles

Main article: Double Battle

A Double Battle is initiated when two Pokémon, rather than one, are sent out per side. Introduced in the games in Generation III, possibly to take advantage of the Game Boy Advance's ability to interact with more than one other game via link cable, Double Battles can alter a player's strategy by a lot, now having to evade twice the moves and make twice the decisions per turn.

Several moves change when used in Double Battles. While most will target one of the two Pokémon, selectable after the move itself is chosen, some target both opponent Pokémon, both opponents and the partner, the user and its partner, or all Pokémon in the battle. Abilities may have an effect in Double Battles that is very nearly useless in Single Battles, such as Plus, which requires another Pokémon in play to activate.

Generation IV also changes around the order of events slightly. Moves that target multiple Pokémon now resolve in order of the Pokémon's respective Speed stats. Pokémon are also now switched in to replace KO'd Pokémon at the end of a round of combat rather than immediately after a Pokémon is knocked out. While this affects Single Battles, the effect is more noticeable in Double Battles where it is now possible for a Pokémon's move to fail due to a lack of target if both of the opposing Pokémon are knocked out before the attacking Pokémon's turn comes.

All battles in Pokémon Colosseum are conducted as Double Battles, as are most in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, with the exception of three Trainer battles and all wild battles.

Double Battles were introduced in the anime very early, first appearing in the third episode where Ash declared them to be breaking Pokémon League rules. Despite this, Team Rocket has battled Ash in nearly every episode since in a Double Battle, sending out two Pokémon at once. Later, Ash himself competed in a Double Battle for the Jade Star Badge in Pokémon Double Trouble. After the release of Ruby and Sapphire, Double Battles were seen in the anime more often. The first took place in All in a Day's Wurmple. Forrester Franklin introduced the concept to Ash and they had a battle that Ash won. As in the games, Ash's Gym Battle against Tate and Liza was a Double Battle. The Double Battle style has been used in Contests; more specifically, all four battle rounds of the Grand Festival.

Triple Battles

Main article: Triple Battle

Triple Battles were introduced as a main series element in Pokémon Black and White. Triple Battles as a mechanic debuted in Pokémon Battrio. Unlike Double Battles, the positioning of the Pokémon in-battle will be important as the Pokémon on the left will be unable to target the Pokémon on the right and vice-versa, while the Pokémon in the middle is free to attack any other Pokémon in play, making it the prime attacking position. Also, moves like Hurricane and Acrobatics can damage any of the three Pokémon, or all of them.

The Pokémon on the left and right have the option to 'move'. This option allows the user to switch with the Pokémon currently in the middle. Moving has no priority and none of the effects of switching apply to moving. A Pokémon can move even if it is the last Pokémon on its team. When there are only two Pokémon left on the field and they are non-adjacent to each other, then both Pokémon will automatically be moved to the center of the field.

This type of battle can be encountered with:

Rotation Battles

A Rotation Battle
Main article: Rotation Battle

Rotation Battles were introduced as a main series element in Pokémon Black and White. A Rotation Battle consists of three Pokémon (similar to a Triple Battle); however, only one Pokémon can attack at a time. Rotating Pokémon is a free action, meaning both players may switch and attack in the same turn.

Rotating can be done during both the player's and the opponent's turns and has a priority of +6. Rotating is different to switching in that it doesn't use up a turn, reset status ailments like confusion and bad poison, or reset Ability counters like Slow Start. Only the active Pokémon plays any part in the battle. Moves and Abilities that affect more than one Pokémon will only affect the opponent's active Pokémon, and Abilities like Flower Gift will only activate if the user is active. Also status damage is not received while a Pokémon is inactive.

This type of battle can be encountered with:

Tag Battles

A Tag Battle between Lucas, Marley, and two Ace Trainers
Main article: Tag Battle

A Tag Battle is a battle in which more than two Trainers partake. Tag battles can, so far, be set up as one-vs-two or two-vs-two, with four Pokémon on the field at once. Aside from the fact that Pokémon on the same side are controlled by different Trainers, Tag Battles act the same as normal Double Battles. There are currently no tag triple or Rotation Battles.

Unlike regular Double Battles, there are no specific Trainer classes encountered for tag battles. Instead, two different Trainers must both see the player at the same time. For battles in the games' storylines, the player's opponents will usually only have three Pokémon each. However, Tag Battles occurring by being spotted by a pair of unrelated Trainers will occasionally lead to battles against more than six Pokémon. The player and their partner are only subject to such limitations in Battle Towers, allowing both to potentially send out six Pokémon.

In Generation III, up to four players can battle with each other in a Tag Battle via link cable by choosing the 'Multi Battle' mode in the Pokémon Cable Club Colosseum. Players decide which side to battle. This was the only way to have a Tag Battle in Ruby and Sapphire. In Generation IV, the Pokémon Cable Club Colosseum was renamed to the Pokémon Communication Club Colosseum, but Tag Battles can still be conducted by selecting 'Multi Battle'.

Pokémon battle variations
Double BattleMulti BattleTriple BattleRotation BattleHorde EncounterBattle Royal
Full BattleContest BattleLauncher BattleSky BattleInverse BattleSOS Battle
Battle modes

Pokémon training

RosaChallenge.png The Pokémon League VSCaitlin.png
TrainerBattleGym Leaders
GymsBadgesHall of Fame
Championship matches
Elite FourOrange League
Pokémon World Tournament
Pokémon League Conferences
IndigoSilverEver Grande
Lily of the ValleyVertressLumiose
Pokémon League locations
Indigo PlateauPummelo Stadium*Ever Grande
Pokémon LeaguePokémon League
Pokémon LeaguePokémon League
Regional Pokémon Leagues
Areas of jurisdiction
Pokémon League Reception GateCerulean Cave

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.