Priority

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Any messages that have priority over moves - basically, anything that was overlooked; verify Quick Claw's and Custap Berry messages' priority in Generation IV

Priority (Japanese: 先制 preemption) is a characteristic of moves, such that any move with a higher priority than another will always be performed first. When two moves have the same priority, the users' Speed statistics will determine which one is performed first in a battle.

Mechanics

Each move has a hidden priority value in the game data, with values ranging from +5 to -7. The vast majority of moves have the standard priority value of 0. A move with a positive priority is a priority move (Japanese: 先制攻撃 preemptive attack). Moves with a positive priority may also be referred to as having an increased priority[1] and moves with a negative priority a decreased priority. In the fandom, moves that have the same priority are said to be in the same priority bracket.

Some Abilities increase the priority of certain moves. Some moves and Abilities can prevent priority moves from being used; Dark-type Pokémon are also immune to Prankster-promoted priority moves.

Move priority is not affected by Trick Room, which only reverses the Speed-resolved order of moves within a priority bracket; moves with higher priority are still performed before ones with lower priority. Some held items and Abilities also affect a move's resolution within its priority bracket (ignoring Trick Room), but not the priority itself.

Special priority

Certain events will always occur before any moves (besides Pursuit) can be performed. The messages for the activation of Quick Claw, Custap Berry, and O-Powers are always shown before anything else. Switching out, rotating, using items, escaping, and the charging messages for Focus Punch, Beak Blast, and Shell Trap are displayed or performed next. In Generation I only, NPC Trainers do not have priority when using items or switching, while in battles against other players, switching can be performed even if the other player hasn't made their move yet. In Generation II, a wild Pokémon fleeing does not have its own priority and will instead use the priority of the move the Pokémon would have used had it chosen not to flee. In Generations II and III, players always switch before NPCs do. In Generation III, if two players switch in the same turn, then 'player 1' will always switch before 'player 2' does. Mega Evolution and Dynamaxing generally occur at the beginning of a turn but after any switching has occurred; however, if a Pokémon is Mega Evolving or rotating in and then using Pursuit on a Pokémon that is switching out, the Mega Evolution or rotation always happens before the Pokémon uses Pursuit (and therefore before the other Pokémon's switch).

Pursuit is a special exception to the general rules of priority, due to its effect. Switching fundamentally happens before any moves can be performed, but when Pursuit is targeting a Pokémon that switches out, it will hit the Pokémon before it can switch, meaning that it will go before any other move, no matter its priority. If multiple Pursuits are targeting the same Pokémon and the Pokémon switches out, if the Pokémon faints before all of the Pursuits have executed, the remaining Pursuits will execute at their normal priority.

Additionally, a few moves and Abilities can cause a Pokémon to act outside of its normal priority.

Abilities that increase priority

These Abilities increase the priority of certain moves used by a Pokémon that has one of these Abilities.

Name Affected moves Increase Generation
Prankster Status moves +1 V
Gale Wings Flying-type moves (if HP is full) +1 VI
Triage Healing moves +3 VII

Effects that block priority moves

These effects prevent the use of priority moves.

Cause Notes Generation
Quick Guard In Generation V, does not affect moves that become priority moves due to Prankster V
Dark-type Pokémon Immune to foes' moves that gain priority due to Prankster VII
Psychic Terrain Only protects grounded Pokémon VII
Queenly Majesty Protects Pokémon and its allies VII
Dazzling Protects Pokémon and its allies VII
Armor Tail Protects Pokémon and its allies IX

Effects that can break priority

These effects can make a Pokémon act at a different priority than it normally would.

Name Description Generation
After You The user helps the target and makes it use its move right after the user. V
Quash The user suppresses the target and makes its move go last. V
Instruct The user instructs the target to use the target's last move again. VII
Dancer Whenever a dance move is used in battle, the Pokémon will copy the user to immediately perform that dance move itself. VII

Effects that dictate precedence within a priority bracket

These effects can force a move to go first or last within a priority bracket regardless of its user's Speed (unless multiple Pokémon are forced into the same "spot") or Trick Room.

Name Notes Generation
Quick Claw 20% chance to go first II
Custap Berry Moves first (when HP falls below 1/4) IV
Full Incense Always last IV
Lagging Tail Always last IV
Stall Always last IV
Quick Draw 30% chance to go first VIII

Effects that depend on move order

These are effects that have conditions based on going before or after others.

Name Notes Generation
Me First Fails if the target has already acted IV
Metal Burst Fails if the user acts first IV
Payback Attack power doubles if the user acts after the target IV
After You Fails if the target has already acted V
Analytic Only activates if it is the last Pokémon to act V
Electrify Fails if the target has already acted VI
Bolt Beak Attack power doubles if the user acts before the target VIII
Fishious Rend Attack power doubles if the user acts before the target VIII

Move priority

Generation VIII

Priority Moves
+5 Helping Hand
+4 Baneful Bunker, Detect, Endure, King's Shield, Magic Coat,
Max Guard, Obstruct, Protect, Spiky Shield
+3 Crafty Shield, Fake Out, Quick Guard, Wide Guard
+2 Ally Switch, Extreme Speed, Feint, First Impression, Follow Me, Rage Powder
+1 Accelerock, Aqua Jet, Baby-Doll Eyes, Bullet Punch, Grassy Glide*, Ice Shard, Mach Punch,
Quick Attack, Shadow Sneak, Sucker Punch, Vacuum Wave, Water Shuriken
0 All other moves
-1 Vital Throw
-2 None
-3 Focus Punch, Shell Trap
-4 Avalanche, Revenge
-5 Counter, Mirror Coat
-6 Circle Throw, Dragon Tail, Roar, Whirlwind, Teleport
-7 Trick Room

*: Grassy Glide has increased priority only if used in Grassy Terrain.

Generation VII

Priority Moves
+5 Helping Hand
+4 Baneful Bunker, Detect, Endure, King's Shield, Magic Coat, Protect, Spiky Shield, Snatch
+3 Crafty Shield, Fake Out, Quick Guard, Wide Guard, Spotlight
+2 Ally Switch, Extreme Speed, Feint, First Impression, Follow Me, Rage Powder, Zippy ZapPE
+1 Accelerock, Aqua Jet, Baby-Doll Eyes, Bide, Bullet Punch, Ice Shard, Ion Deluge, Mach Punch,
Powder, Quick Attack, Shadow Sneak, Sucker Punch, Vacuum Wave, Water Shuriken
0 All other moves
-1 Vital Throw
-2 None
-3 Beak Blast, Focus Punch, Shell Trap
-4 Avalanche, Revenge
-5 Counter, Mirror Coat
-6 Circle Throw, Dragon Tail, Roar, Whirlwind, Teleport PE
-7 Trick Room

Generation VI

Priority Moves
+5 Helping Hand
+4 Detect, Endure, King's Shield, Magic Coat, Protect, Spiky Shield, Snatch
+3 Crafty Shield, Fake Out, Quick Guard, Wide Guard
+2 Extreme Speed, Feint, Follow Me, Rage Powder
+1 Ally Switch, Aqua Jet, Baby-Doll Eyes, Bide, Bullet Punch, Ice Shard, Ion Deluge, Mach Punch,
Powder, Quick Attack, Shadow Sneak, Sucker Punch, Vacuum Wave, Water Shuriken
0 All other moves, shifting
-1 Vital Throw
-2 None
-3 Focus Punch
-4 Avalanche, Revenge
-5 Counter, Mirror Coat
-6 Circle Throw, Dragon Tail, Roar, Whirlwind
-7 Trick Room

Generation V

Priority Moves
+5 Helping Hand
+4 Detect, Endure, Magic Coat, Protect, Snatch
+3 Fake Out, Follow Me, Quick Guard, Rage Powder, Wide Guard
+2 ExtremeSpeed, Feint
+1 Ally Switch, Aqua Jet, Bide, Bullet Punch, Ice Shard, Mach Punch,
Quick Attack, Shadow Sneak, Sucker Punch, Vacuum Wave
0 All other moves, shifting
-1 Vital Throw
-2 None
-3 Focus Punch
-4 Avalanche, Revenge
-5 Counter, Mirror Coat
-6 Circle Throw, Dragon Tail, Roar, Whirlwind
-7 Magic Room, Trick Room, Wonder Room, fleeing

Generation IV

Priority Moves
+5 Helping Hand
+4 Magic Coat, Snatch
+3 Detect, Endure, Follow Me, Protect
+2 Feint
+1 Aqua Jet, Bide, Bullet Punch, ExtremeSpeed, Fake Out, Ice Shard, Mach Punch,
Quick Attack, Shadow Sneak, Sucker Punch, Vacuum Wave
0 All other moves, fleeing
-1 Vital Throw
-2 None
-3 Focus Punch
-4 Avalanche, Revenge
-5 Counter, Mirror Coat
-6 Roar, Whirlwind
-7 Trick Room

Generation III

Priority Moves
+5 Helping Hand
+4 Magic Coat, Snatch
+3 Detect, Endure, Follow Me, Protect
+2 None
+1 ExtremeSpeed, Fake Out, Mach Punch, Quick Attack
0 All other moves, fleeing
-1 Vital Throw
-2 None
-3 Focus Punch
-4 Revenge
-5 Counter, Mirror Coat
-6 Roar, Whirlwind

Generation II

Priority Moves
+2 Detect, Endure, Protect
+1 ExtremeSpeed, Mach Punch, Quick Attack
0 All other moves
-1 Counter, Mirror Coat, Roar, Whirlwind, Vital Throw

Generation I

Priority Moves
+1 Quick Attack
0 All other moves
-1 Counter

In the anime

Glameow using Fake Out before Piplup is able to attack

In the anime, priority is rarely mentioned though priority moves such as Quick Attack are frequently used.

Brock touched on the subject in A Grand Fight for Winning! while watching the Contest Battle between Dawn and Zoey in the final round of the Sinnoh Grand Festival, during which Zoey's Glameow used Fake Out and caused Dawn's Piplup to flinch, making him unable to use Hydro Pump.

Trivia

  • Since Focus Punch has a higher priority than Avalanche, Revenge, Dragon Tail, Circle Throw, and Counter, they are unable to break the focus of a Pokémon using Focus Punch. They and Focus Punch are therefore the only six attacks that can strike a Pokémon in the same turn as it successfully uses Focus Punch, without the use of Quash or After You.
  • Hitmontop can learn more moves with non-zero priority than any other Pokémon, with 14 increased priority moves and 2 decreased priority moves.
  • Since charging Focus Punch had a higher priority than switching in Generation III, in a Double Battle, if the player selected Focus Punch then cancelled the selection, then switched that Pokémon out, it would still begin charging Focus Punch before switching. Its high priority also gave it the odd effect of occurring before the opponent used their items or Pokémon were switched out.
  • All moves that have ever had -7 priority have the word "room" in their names.
  • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, due to the inability to apply the concept of priority because the Speed stat did not exist prior to Super Mystery Dungeon and does not determine the attacking order, damaging moves with increased priority in the core series games become moves that have a range of 2 tiles.

In other languages

Priority move

Language Title
Chinese Cantonese 先制招式 Sīnjai Zhāoshì
Mandarin 先制招式 Xiānzhì Jīusīk
France Flag.png French Attaque prioritaire
Germany Flag.png German Erstschlag-Attacke
Italy Flag.png Italian Mosse che colpire per primi
South Korea Flag.png Korean 선제기술 Seonje Gisul
Spain Flag.png Spanish Movimiento con prioridad


References


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.