Tactics Theatrics!! (Japanese: バトルドーム！炎と水のフュージョン！！ Battle Dome! Fusion of Fire and Water!!) is the 153rd episode of Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire, and the 427th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on November 24, 2005 and in the United States on September 30, 2006.
Ash has finally reached the Battle Dome, and what a reception! An eager crowd of journalists wants to meet the new challenger who's going to take on Tucker, the famous Dome Ace. Ash is whisked off to his first press conference and he's having fun until he admits he doesn't know who Tucker the Dome Ace is, to the horror of all the reporters.
Team Rocket knows who Tucker is—when they're not selling snacks at the Battle Dome, they're busy pretending to be his hairdressers. Tucker knows how to please a crowd, and Ash makes his big Battle Dome entrance only to be outshone by Tucker and his tons of screaming fans! Tucker sends out Swampert and Arcanine, so Ash chooses his Corphish and Swellow. But type advantage won't be enough against Swampert and Arcanine's teamwork and combos!
The battle heats up immediately and there are plenty of surprises in store for Ash. For one thing, Tucker's speedy Arcanine knows Aerial Ace, and goes head to head with Swellow! Ash also needs to find a way around Swampert's strong defense. It turns out Tucker's all about strategy as well as showmanship, so Ash has a rough time until he figures out how to counter Tucker's tactics with a few of his own. Corphish and Swellow then deal a knock-out combination to win the round. Ash leaves the Battle Dome with a shiny new Tactics Symbol and memories of an amazing experience!
Successfully arriving at the Battle Dome, Ash is flooded by many reporters and personnel. Scott pops out, saying to go to the press conference. A press conference takes place with various reporters questioning Ash about his upcoming battle in the Battle Dome. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is grooming the Frontier Brain, Dome Ace Tucker, and making battle preparations. Arriving at an inner platform within the Battle Dome, Ash can easily see the battle platform from above. Team Rocket is doing their usual errands with serving the normal concessions and snacks.
The lights dim within the arena as a nearby screen illuminates, displaying various information about Ash from Pallet Town, including his achievements in the Orange, Indigo, Johto, and Hoenn Leagues. A giant plume of smoke and dust erupts in the arena as Ash makes his appearance. The arena then lightens with various colors of light as Tucker, the Frontier Brain, makes his appearance. Landing majestically atop the adjacent platform, the crowd goes hysterical. Seeing the Dome Ace of the Battle Dome for the first time gives Max and May thoughts of their father.
The battle about to take place, Tucker displays the coin for defeating him in this battle as he then sends out both Arcanine and Swampert in a veil of fire and water. This battle will be a two-on-two Pokémon battle. Ash analyzes Tucker's choice and then chooses to call upon Swellow and Corphish.
The battle quickly goes underway with Swellow launching into a devastating Quick Attack towards Swampert. Arcanine then rushes towards Swampert and is thrust into the air reaching a high velocity and collides with Swellow knocking it backwards. Swellow recovers from the attack as Corphish attacks with an array of Bubble Beam. Swampert then jumps in front of Arcanine to shield themselves from the attack with Protect. Brock notes that both Pokémon support each other with Arcanine's Speed and Swampert's Defense.
Swellow goes for another attack flying around to reach a high speed with Arcanine running to achieve an equal speed and jumps into the air to defend against Swellow's attack. The two attacks collide thrusting Swellow backwards and forcing Arcanine to the ground unable to stop himself from the fall. Corphish sees the opening and goes for the attack with Vise Grip while Swampert launching a Mud Shot attack right behind Arcanine. Just before Arcanine and Corphish make contact, Arcanine dodges Swampert's attack with Corphish taking direct damage and slamming into the nearby wall.
Scott explains that Tucker is known for his astonishing battle tactics while both May and Max are surprised. Tucker thanks Ash on his battle spirit and effort but Swampert quickly resumes the battle with a Water Gun. Both Swellow and Corphish dodge this attack with Corphish thrusting towards Swampert with a devastating Crabhammer. Swampert retaliates with a Dynamic Punch as both attacks collide in an explosion of light and color. Arcanine then dashes toward Swampert to perform another aerial attack. While Swellow comes forward for the Peck, Arcanine launches a strategic Flamethrower towards Swellow but the attack is avoided with Double Team. Arcanine then increases its fire power with Fire Blast, hitting Swellow. May comments that it was like watching a Contest Battle.
Meanwhile, Swampert is controlling the water from the air and shaping it with a Water Pulse attack. Swellow dodges Arcanine's first attack, ExtremeSpeed and launches towards Arcanine once more with the second attacks making contact creating a gigantic explosion. Corphish goes for an opening with Crabhammer as Swampert forces the nearby Water Pulse towards Swellow and Corphish which collides creating a structure formed of water and ice. Arcanine launches a devastating Fire Blast within the structure rotating around creating a fusion of fire and water, Tucker's greatest of tactics.
Both Swellow and Corphish are suspended within this structure as a gigantic explosion taking place between the two forces and both Pokémon are forced towards the ground. Team Rocket is spectating the battle as neither Corphish or Swellow have enough energy to continue the battle. Both Pokémon revive with a fighting spirit greater than ever. Both Arcanine and Swampert launch a Flamethrower and Water Gun towards Corphish. Both attacks are diverted by Corphish's Bubble Beam attack. Swellow then thrusts towards with quick attack as Swampert uses Dynamic Punch, and just as Arcanine goes for the opening, Swellow dodges forcing Arcanine into Swampert for a direct hit. A giant plume of smoke and dust engulfs the arena. Arcanine launches another Fire Blast attack but this is again diverted by another Bubble Beam attack. Visibility is lowered by a great amount of fog lingering within the arena.
Both Arcanine and Swampert are confused of Swellow's exact location and fly towards Corphish and Swellow. Just as both attacks are to make contact, Swellow floats to the left and flies from the bottom making a direct hit with Corphish's Crabhammer and Swellow's Aerial Ace. Both Arcanine and Swampert are now unable to continue after taking the hits, granting Ash the win.
Most of the female crowd are disappointed with Tucker's loss as Tucker congratulates Ash for his victory, with the crowd crying out wildly. He mentions that he's a top tactician. As Tucker congratulates Ash, everyone begins to scream. Tucker thanks Ash for the battle. As Tucker leaves, Ash mentions that he forgot to give him the Tactics Symbol. Tucker points to the top of his hat as Ash then pulls it from atop his head and happily displays his newly obtained Symbol.