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A two-on-two Contest Battle
A Contest Battle (Japanese: コンテストバトル Contest Battle) is an anime-exclusive Pokémon battle variation and the second round of a Pokémon Contest. These battles are different from regular battles in the sense that it is not only the strength of an attack that matters, but also the style of its execution.
A Contest Battle is a five-minute battle in which two Pokémon Coordinators face each other while continuing to show off their Pokémon's style and skill as in the Performance Stage. During Contest Battles, Coordinators are not allowed to substitute their Pokémon.
Contest Battles use a point system. Each Coordinator begins with a fixed number of points and the object of the battle is to decrease the opponent's points. Points are deducted by the panel of judges, usually formed by Mr. Contesta from the Pokémon Activities Committee, Mr. Sukizo from the Pokémon Fan Club, and the Nurse Joy from the local Pokémon Center. Coordinators may lose points when their Pokémon are hit by an attack, when their Pokémon's attack fails, when the opposing Pokémon performs a particularly appealing move or combination, and when the opposing Pokémon uses their Pokémon's attack to its own advantage.
A Contest Battle scoreboard
In addition, Coordinators will lose points when they receive a penalty card. This was shown in A Hurdle for Squirtle, when Lilian issued both Jessie and Harley a yellow card since neither side was launching an attack, subtracting half the points from both participants' scores in the process. Coordinators can also be disqualified when caught cheating, or upon receiving a second yellow card.
The winner of a Contest Battle is the one that has more points when time runs out or the one that reduced the opponent's points to zero within the time limit. A Contest Battle will also end when a Pokémon is unable to continue battling, called Battle Off by the judges. In this case, the Coordinator with the remaining Pokémon will be declared the winner. If there is a tie at the end of five minutes, the battle goes into sudden-death overtime, which is an extension of the battle with no time limit. As established in Going for Choke!, the overtime ends when one of the Coordinators reaches zero points, or one of the Pokémon is knocked out.
The Double Battle format is also used in Contest Battles. Battles following this format were first seen in the Hoenn Grand Festival and then again in the Kanto Grand Festival. Some Pokémon Contests are held under the Double Performance rule, which means that Coordinators must use two Pokémon in all rounds of the competition. During a Double Contest Battle, Coordinators have to be able to command two Pokémon at all times, presenting both Pokémon to look the best they can. Additionally, Contest combinations require the Pokémon using the moves to be in sync with one another.
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