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A move (Japanese: わざ move), also known as an attack (Japanese: こうげきわざ attack technique) or technique (Japanese: とくしゅわざ special technique), is the skill Pokémon primarily use in battle. In battle, a Pokémon uses one move each turn.
Prior to Generation VII, some moves (including those learned by HM) can be used outside of battle as well, usually to remove obstacles or explore new areas.
In the core series
Characteristics of moves
A Pokémon can only know between one and four moves at a time, out of a pool of almost 800 total moves as of Generation VIII. However, no single Pokémon can learn every move; each and every Pokémon has a predetermined set of moves (known as a movelist, movepool, or learnset) that they can learn that relates to the type and concept of the species. Movelist sizes vary greatly among different Pokémon; some Pokémon, such as Ditto and Unown, can only learn one move, while Mew can learn 250 moves in Generation VII, and Smeargle can possess almost any move due to Sketch. Evolved Pokémon generally have larger movelists than their pre-evolved forms but learn moves naturally at a slower rate or even stop learning moves via level-up entirely. This may provide incentive to delay a Pokémon's evolution. Most Legendary trios and duos have similar movelists.
Pokémon are limited in the way that they may use their moves in battle. The number of times they can use each move is restricted by the move's Power Points. Power Points vary from move to move, but typically stronger moves have fewer Power Points than weaker moves. The amount of Power Points for each move may be altered by items such as PP Up. The only move that is not affected by Power Points is Struggle.
Moves that do not directly inflict damage are known as status moves. The damaging moves are divided into physical and special moves depending on the individual move's characteristics; the category of the move determines whether the move's damage depends on the user's Attack or Special Attack stat and the target's Defense or Special Defense. Each move has a type that determines how effective it is against various types of targets and whether it receives same-type attack bonus. It is important to note that prior to Generation IV, the move's category was dependent on the move's type, rather than a distinct variable.
Accuracy affects whether the move misses. The damage dealt by a damaging move is determined by its power. Some damaging moves have additional effects. Most moves can target only one adjacent Pokémon, but some moves instead can target the user, more than one Pokémon, or non-adjacent Pokémon.
Learning and unlearning
Since Pokémon Red and Green, there have been three main methods of acquiring moves on a Pokémon: by leveling up, by use of Technical Machines and by use of Hidden Machines. Generation II added two further methods: Egg Moves learned through breeding, and moves taught by a Move Tutor. Starting in Generation VII, some Pokémon learn new moves when they evolve regardless of their level.
Pokémon obtained via specific methods, such as events or purification, may know "special moves" that they otherwise could not learn.
A Pokémon can only know four moves at a time. In order to learn new moves once four have been learned, it must forget one old move for every new move. Some moves cannot be forgotten naturally, such as moves learned by HM. To remove these, a Trainer must incorporate the help of a Move Deleter. Moves that the Pokémon does not currently know and was able to learn at an earlier level (Generations II to VI) or at any level (Generation VII and above) can be learned with the help of a Move Reminder.
In Generation I only, moves learned via level-up won't be learned if a Pokémon gains enough EXP Points to "skip" the level on which they are learned, while in Generation II they were learned after leveling up. Since Generation III, they are learned while the Pokémon levels up.
Some Pokémon have moves specific to themselves or their evolutionary line. These unique moves are known as signature moves. Some of these moves are powerful moves that only certain Legendary and Mythical Pokémon can learn, such as Dialga's Roar of Time or Volcanion's Steam Eruption. Other moves serve to highlight game mechanics or create unusual effects. One example is Smeargle's Sketch, which allows it to possess almost every conceivable move.
Several Pokémon evolve while knowing a certain move.
- Main article: Pokémon Sword and Shield → Unusable moves
In Pokémon Sword and Shield, many moves are no longer usable. Pokémon do not normally learn these moves in these games, and if a Pokémon does know one of these moves (e.g. due to being transferred from Pokémon HOME), it will not be able to use it. If the Pokémon's only move is an unusable move, it will instead use Struggle. If the move is forgotten, Jack will not be able to teach it again, even if it is a special move that the Pokémon normally would be able to relearn.
In other games
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In the Mystery Dungeon series
- Main article: Mystery Dungeon game mechanics → Attacks
In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, Pokémon can learn and use up to four moves much like in the core series games. When Pokémon level up, they learn the same moves as they would in a contemporaneous core series game. However, all Pokémon also have a basic attack (called a regular attack) that they can use that does not require PP. The regular attack can be used any time, but the player can only use one of their character's learned moves at a time, depending on which move they've "set". Other Pokémon in the player's party will use their learned moves at their own discretion, but the player is able to set or unset any number of their moves to partially control what they do as well.
Two to four moves can also be linked so that they can be executed all at once, in a single turn. Defeating an enemy with a linked move will boost the resulting experience by 50%.
While moves have PP like in the core games, the default amount of PP for a move may be different than in the core games. Pokémon can also relearn moves at different places in the games much like the Move Reminder in the core games:
Unlike the Move Reminder, however, these facilities can teach Pokémon any move they or their pre-evolutions can learn by leveling up.
In the Pokémon Ranger series
- Main article: Field Move (Ranger)
- Main article: Poké Assist
In the Pokémon Ranger games, Field Moves and Poké Assists may be considered analogues to moves. Field Moves are used against environmental obstacles in the world, while Poké Assists are used to help Rangers capture Pokémon with the Capture Styler.
In Pokémon Shuffle
In Pokémon Shuffle, Pokémon do not have moves, but they still attack and damage each other so that the player can capture wild Pokémon. Effectively, every Pokémon's attack has the same basic strength.
In Pokémon Conquest
In Pokémon Conquest, a Pokémon only has one move. As a Pokémon's link with its Warrior increases, so does its move rank. If a Pokémon is able to achieve a Perfect Link with its Warrior and maximize its move rank, some moves will gain new effects, such as Leaf Storm and Outrage.
In contrast to the core series, the Speed stat does not affect when a Pokémon goes, but instead affects the accuracy of attacks, with faster Pokémon being harder to hit and better able to land attacks than slower Pokémon. Moves are also not split into physical and special categories; all moves use the attacking Pokémon's Attack and the defending Pokémon's Defense stats, and there is no Special Attack or Special Defense.
In Pokémon GO
- See also: List of moves in Pokémon GO
Move menu showing the same move sets for the two modes of battles
In Pokémon GO, moves are divided into two kinds: Fast Attacks (Japanese: ノーマルアタック Normal Attack) and Charged Attacks (Japanese: スペシャルアタック Special Attack). At the start, every Pokémon knows one of each kind of move, randomly chosen from their species' possible move pool. A Pokémon's Fast Attack or Charged Attack can be reselected using a TM. When a Pokémon evolves, its moves are randomly reselected.
There are two modes of battles in Pokémon GO: 1) Gyms & Raids and 2) Trainer Battles. Each move behaves differently across the two modes.
In both battle modes, a Fast Attack can be cast at any time by simply tapping on the screen and generally deal smaller amounts of damage. Charged Attacks are much stronger, but require a minimum amount of energy to be consumed. Energy can be gained by casting Fast Attacks and, in Gyms & Raids only, by taking damage (0.5 energy per HP lost). A Charged Attack's energy cost can be seen next to the move's name on the Pokémon's summary screen and at the bottom of the screen during battle, represented by a gauge divided evenly into one to three* bars. Likewise to how different Charged Attacks have varying energy costs, different Fast Attacks may charge up energy at different rates, but these values are not visible in game. In addition, the physical/special distinction from the core games does not exist in Pokémon GO; both Fast Attacks and Charged Attacks use the attacking Pokémon's Attack and the defending Pokémon's Defense stats.
In Gyms & Raids only, all moves have a duration that determines how much time must pass before casting a next move. Duration is important to consider because an attack with a higher power may not necessarily deal more damage per unit of time if it takes that much longer to cast. Within each attack's duration is a damage window, a period of time when damage is actually dealt. Successfully dodging within 0.7 seconds of the damage window's start time will mitigate damage by 75%. A move's duration and damage window are also not visible in game.
In Trainer Battles, while Fast Attacks work in a similar fashion, the mechanics of Charged Attacks are changed. A Fast Attack's duration in this mode is measured in "turns", a 0.5-second interval of time. Charged Attacks in Trainer Battles do not have a duration. Instead, the battle is paused for seven seconds while the attacker charges its attack and the opponent decides on using a Protect Shield. Also, several Charged Attacks have a chance of increasing or decreasing the user's or target's stats, regardless of whether a Protect Shield is used.
The player can also spend Stardust and Candy to teach a Pokémon a second Charged Attack. Upon evolution, both Charged Attack will be randomly reselected. Caterpie, Metapod, Weedle, Kakuna, Magikarp, Ditto, Wynaut, Wobbuffet, Smeargle, Wurmple, Silcoon, Cascoon, Taillow, Feebas, Beldum and Kricketot cannot learn a second Charged Attack.
The cost varies depending on the Pokémon species and largely corresponds with the distance needed to walk for a Buddy Pokémon to find a Candy. In addition Shadow Pokémon, compared to their base forms, requires 1.2× Stardust and Candy to learn a second Charged Attack, while Purified Pokémon require 0.8× the base amounts.
In addition, these are the exceptions to the above:
In the anime
Moves in the anime often appear different to how they are depicted in the games. Ash's Pikachu often uses Agility as a physical attacking move, rather than a move that merely raises Speed. The almost limitless nature of the anime lends itself to many more differences between the games and anime in relation to Pokémon's moves. Pokémon are able to use many more moves outside of battle, such as Bulbasaur's Vine Whip.
In Pokémon battles, moves may be used in unorthodox manners, especially to overcome type disadvantage. Invented, anime-exclusive moves have existed since the third episode, and custom-made moves have been prevalent in Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl. Additionally, during Contest Battles, moves are often fused together to create brand-new attacks.
The process in which moves are learned is also markedly different. Even though it has been mentioned in The School of Hard Knocks and Will the Real Oak Please Stand Up? that moves can be learned at certain levels, Pokémon seem to learn them more at random, including moves that are not learned by levelling up in the games (such as Pikachu's Volt Tackle). Similar to Move Tutors in the game, Pokémon can also learn moves by special training from certain people. For instance, Chaz helped Ash's Pikachu learn Iron Tail, and Clayton helped Buizel learn Ice Punch.
In the manga
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
Water Gun was the first move used in the Pokémon Adventures manga. Since then, moves have debuted in a story arc corresponding to the generation in which the move was introduced. The exceptions are Generation I's Roar which was not properly used in battle until the Generation II Gold, Silver & Crystal chapter, and Sweet Scent, a Generation II move which debuted in the Yellow chapter, a Generation I arc.
In the TCG
- Main article: Attack (TCG)
In the Pokémon Trading Card Game, attacks are similar to moves. Pokémon cards generally have only one or two attacks, but different cards of the same species may have different attacks. The TCG also often introduces attacks that do not exist in the core series, and it does not limit the attacks a Pokémon can know to those it can learn in the core series games.
In the TFG
In the Pokémon Trading Figure Game, Pokémon figures have a ring around their base which is divided into colored sections, some of which are moves. Depending on the figure, Pokémon may have as few as one or as many as four moves. Battles are fought by spinning the Pokémon and its ring inside the base, and the section that stops under an arrow on the base determines its action in the battle (which may also be affected by the outcome of the opposing Pokémon's spin).
- After a move is issued, if that Pokémon levels up before its in-battle turn and replaces the move currently awaiting execution with a new move, the new move will be used instead of the old one.
- In Generation VI, the old move can still be used.
- Multiple turn moves such as Outrage will continue to be performed even if the move is deleted between turns. This can happen in both Single and Double Battles.
- In some instances in the anime, certain Pokémon have been shown to know more than just four moves at the same time, with as many as 10 being used in a single battle. The closest the anime has got to acknowledging the existence of move slots is the fact that the Meowth of Team Rocket can't learn Pay Day because of the effort exerted in learning to speak human language.
- Generation I introduced 165 moves; Generation II introduced 86 moves; Generation III introduced 103 moves; Generation IV introduced 113 moves; Generation V introduced 92 moves; Generation VI introduced 62 moves; Generation VII introduced 107 moves, including 35 Z-Moves; and Generation VIII introduced 80 moves, including 18 Max Moves and 26 G-Max Moves.
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