Struggle (Japanese: わるあがきVain Struggle) is a damage-dealing move introduced in Generation I. It is a move that every Pokémon can use when none of its moves are usable, although no Pokémon can naturally learn it. Prior to Generation II, it dealt Normal-type damage.
Struggle inflicts damage, and the user receives recoil damage equal to ½ of the damage done to the target. Struggle will automatically be used by a Pokémon that has no usable moves but is ordered to attack. Struggle is capable of striking a critical hit.
Struggle has 10 base PP, though no PP would ever be deducted from it.
If the user of Struggle attacks first and knocks itself out due to recoil damage, the opponent will not attack or be subjected to recurrent damage during that round. If Struggle breaks a substitute, the user will take no recoil damage.
Self-inflicted recoil damage from Struggle from the previous turn can be countered if the opponent did not make a move on the following turn.
Struggle deals Normal-type damage in this Generation, meaning it is not very effective against Rock-type Pokémon and ineffective against Ghost-type Pokémon. If the only usable move is disabled by Disable, the affected Pokémon will use Struggle.
In Stadium, no recoil damage is taken if Struggle knocks out an opponent.
Generations II and III
Struggle now has a maximum of 1 PP instead of 10 (16 with PP Ups), and its recoil damage is equal to ¼ of the damage the attack did to the opponent. Although still classified as a Normal-type move, Struggle is now unaffected by types, inflicting neutral damage to Steel-, Rock-, and Ghost-type Pokémon and being unaffected by STAB. Struggle can hit through Wonder Guard. Its target is a randomly selected opponent in Double Battles.
The user will take recoil damage even if Struggle breaks a substitute, or if its Ability is Rock Head or Magic Guard.
If a Pokémon holding a Choice Band is affected by Disable, Taunt or Imprison such that it cannot use the move that the Choice Band forces it to, it will not be able to use a move other than Struggle as long as the item and effect both remain active. If a Pokémon is holding a Choice Band and is affected by Torment, the Pokémon will use Struggle every second turn.
Generation IV onward
The user now takes ¼ of its maximum HP as recoil damage, regardless of how much damage the attack did to the opponent. A user with only 1 HP will knock itself out with recoil damage.
If a Pokémon holding a Choice item is affected by Disable (including due to the effect of Cursed Body), Taunt, Imprison, or Encore such that it cannot use the move that the Choice item forces it to, it will not be able to use a move other than Struggle as long as the item and effect both remain active. If a Pokémon holding a Choice item is affected by Torment, it will not be able to use a move other than Struggle every second turn.
This attack is used in desperation only if the user has no PP. It also damages the user a little.
No Pokémon can learn or know Struggle directly, but all Pokémon can use Struggle when they cannot use any other moves, such as by them all having 0 PP, or if they are all incapacitated through any of Disable, Taunt, Torment, Imprison, Heal Block, Cursed Body, Assault Vest, or Choice items. Also, some moves, such as Belch, cannot be selected unless specific conditions are met, so can also cause the Pokémon to Struggle if they are the only moves with PP.
In the Mystery Dungeon series, the only way to use Struggle is to use a move when none of the Pokémon's moves are usable for one or another reason (like running out of PP). The move deals 1/4 of the total HP of that Pokémon.
Struggle will be used when the Pokémon runs out of PP for its moves and the Pokémon attempts to use one of its moves. It results in recoil damage of 25% of its max HP in all games, except in Gates to Infinity where it deals 20% recoil damage of its max HP.
When used by a Gigantic Pokémon in Gates to Infinity, the move can damage nearby enemies in a 1 tile range around the user if used by a mobile Gigantic Pokémon, or enemies in the same room if used by stationary Gigantic Pokémon (such as Lugia and Ho-Oh).
It damages an enemy, but it also damages you. (If there's no move available, your move will be Struggle.) It damages nearby Pokémon. The user also takes damage. (If the Pokémon tries to use a move when it has no move available, the move will be Struggle.)* It damages even faraway Pokémon. The user also takes damage. (If the Pokémon tries to use a move when it has no move available, the move will be Struggle.)*
Even though Struggle can only be accessed by the loss of all PP, it was given Contest, Super Contest, and Contest Spectacular stats. This is to prevent the game from crashing during Contests if the player's Pokémon has Struggle as one of its moves hacked into.
In Pokémon Stadium, the move description erroneously states that Struggle inflicts recoil to the user equal to ¼ of the damage inflicted; the correct number in Generation I is ½.
In Generation I, a glitch can occur making it impossible for a Pokémon to use Struggle if it has previously used Transform followed by either Metronome or Mirror Move. This renders the Pokémon completely unable to battle until its PP is restored.