A Triple Battle (Japanese: トリプルバトルTriple Battle) is a type of Pokémon battle featuring up to six Pokémon, with three Pokémon from each side battling at a time. It appears in the Generation V and VI games. It was introduced in Pokémon Black and White and was predominantly showcased in White.
As the name suggests, Triple Battles are a type of battle where each Trainer sends out three Pokémon at once. Due to this, they can be considered the successor to Double Battles, with the only difference seemingly being the number of Pokémon. However, there are some restrictions that differentiate the Triple Battle from its predecessor other than the amount of Pokémon, such as placement.
In the games
When a Triple Battle begins, Pokémon will be sent out in order. The first Pokémon able to battle in the party becomes the leftmost Pokémon on the field, the second becomes the center Pokémon, and the third becomes the Pokémon on the far right.
In Generation V, on the player's side the HP bar and the numerical amount of HP are not displayed at the same time; which of the two is displayed can be toggled by pressing the Start button. In Generation VI, the element showing the Pokémon's status is shown side to side, and is shown normally with both the numeric HP and bar.
The placement of the Pokémon is a major attribute of Triple Battles, as a Pokémon's positioning affects how certain moves and Abilities work. Generally, Pokémon on the left-side of the field cannot attack any one on the right-side (including allies), and vice versa. This also means a Pokémon in the center is free to hit any Pokémon on the field, but at a cost of being vulnerable to every other Pokémon.
There are some moves, however, that allow non-adjacent Pokémon to attack each other.
Shift redirects here. For bringing Pokémon back into their Poké Ball to send out another Pokémon, see Recall.
The Pokémon on the left and right have the option to 'shift'. This option allows the user to switch with the Pokémon currently in the middle. Shifting has no priority and none of the effects of switching apply to shifting. A Pokémon can move even if it is the last Pokémon on its team, as long as it is not in the center.
If a Pokémon is readying to use a move on a certain target, but is then shifted before using its move, its attack will fail if the target is then outside of its range. If a Pokémon targeted an ally with a move, but as a result of shifting the Pokémon is now targeting itself when it would execute the move, the move will fail (even if the move is Acupressure).
If there are only two Pokémon left on the field and they are non-adjacent to each other, both Pokémon will automatically be shifted to the center of the field at the end of the turn.
Effect on moves
Most moves have the same effect in Triple Battles as with single and Double Battles, except that they can only affect adjacent Pokémon. Moves that hit both opponents or all Pokémon in Double Battles only affect adjacent Pokémon in Triple Battles. All single-target damage-dealing Flying-type moves, Flying Press, and all single-target aura and pulse moves can hit any Pokémon on the battlefield; this targeting is based on the original type of the move, so moves being changed to or from Flying-type (including moves that change their own type like Hidden Power) does not affect targeting. Moves that hit multiple Pokémon will have their damage reduced by 25%, unless there is only one target at the time the move is executed.
Aside from moves which only affect the user, all other attacks only target one adjacent Pokémon.
Effect on Abilities
Most Abilities' effect remain the same and are not affected by the Pokémon's placement. For example, a Mold Breaker Pokémon on the left side of the field which used Water Pulse can still damage a Pokémon with Wonder Guard on the right side of the field. A Magic Bounce Pokémon can still reflect entry hazards even if the user of the entry hazard and itself are at opposite corners of the field because entry hazards affect the entire team.
However, some Abilities are affected by a Pokémon's placement; for example, Intimidate will only lower the Attack of opposing, adjacent Pokémon on the field.