- Single Battle redirects here. For the battle mode found in the Pokémon Cable Club for Generations I, II and III, or the Pokémon Communication Club Colosseum for Generation IV, see Single Battle (Battle Mode).
- Battle redirects here. For the location in Orre, see Mt. Battle.
A Pokémon battle (Japanese: ポケモンバトル Pokémon battle), often known as a Pokémon fight (Japanese: ポケモンしょうぶ Pokémon fight) in the Generation I games, is a form of competition between Pokémon. In these battles, one or more of the Pokémon is typically owned and trained by a person, its Pokémon Trainer, in order to win.
Pokémon battles appear in most forms of Pokémon media, being the central gameplay aspect of the core series games, as well as being a constant focus of the anime. Originally, a Pokémon battle would be a one-on-one fight between two Pokémon; however, variations on this model have been seen later on in the series, with Pokémon battles featuring multiple Pokémon on each side later being implemented in the games as well.
In the games
In the games, the main battle screen will have four options: Fight, Bag, Pokémon, and Run. Depending on which of these is selected, a different menu will appear, or the battle may end. These same four options will appear no matter what kind of battle the player is in, be it with a wild Pokémon, an NPC, or another player via link battle. Battles are conducted in a turn-based manner. The Pokémon to take action first is determined by the priority of their action, then the Speed of the Pokémon.
Wild Pokémon encounters are usually followed by battles between the wild Pokémon and the trainer who encountered it. A battle between two trainers starts when they make eye contact, which players can do by interacting with the other trainer.
When a Pokémon faints in battle, it may cause its opponent to gain experience or effort values. After all of either side's Pokémon have been defeated, the battle has been won, and the loser must pay out some amount of money to the winner, determined based on the level of the Pokémon and type of Trainer defeated. In the core series games, if the player's Pokémon have all been defeated, he or she will black out (in Generation I and since Generation IV) or white out (in Generation II and Generation III), and be teleported back to the most recent Pokémon Center that was visited, or to his or her home, if a Pokémon Center has not yet been visited.
Some battles, most notably battles fought between two players or in certain battle areas, will not affect the participating Pokémon's experience, EVs, or friendship. The battle's outcome will not cause money to be awarded to or deducted from participating trainers. Pokémon seen during these battles will not be registered in the Pokédex. Usually, bag items are not allowed in these battles, and all Pokémon and held items are restored after each battle.
Selecting "Fight" will bring up another menu which allows the player to choose which of his or her Pokémon's current moves is to be used during the turn. Depending on its remaining PP, a move may or may not be able to be selected; at least 1 PP is required to select the move. If all moves have 0 PP or are not usable for another reason, the Pokémon will use Struggle.
Once both sides have selected the moves they will use, the Pokémon currently in battle will make each of their moves in turn, with the move with the highest priority going first, and the one with the lowest priority going last. If multiple Pokémon move within the same priority bracket, then they will move in order of decreasing Speed, unless Trick Room has been used, in which case the slowest Pokémon will go first. Depending on the moves used, items held by individual Pokémon, and status conditions, this progression may be altered. Moves like Quick Attack have an increased priority and items like Iron Ball slow down the Pokémon that holds it. A Pokémon may be unable to move if it's immobilized by a status condition such as flinch or paralysis, the move it selected was prevented by an effect such as Taunt, or it disobeys its trainer.
As each Pokémon makes its move, a Pokémon may faint if its HP reaches 0. If this occurs, another Pokémon must be switched in to replace it in battle for the battle to continue. This switch occurs before the turn ends in Generations I, II, and III, but after the end of the turn in Generation IV and on, resulting in a slightly different strategy for Double Battles between Generation III and Generation IV.
Until Generation IV, it has also been possible to switch the order of a Pokémon's moves during battle by using the select button twice. In Generation I, this is the only way to switch move orders.
- Main article: Bag
If "Bag" is selected, it will bring up the contents of the player's Bag on screen. In Generation I, this command is instead "Item", and in Generation II, it is "Pack". In Generations I, II, and III, the Bag menu that is brought up is the same as that in the overworld, with all of a player's items able to be selected (though many cannot be used). Since Generation IV, the games instead feature a separate menu for in-battle use that categorizes the items that the player has depending on their use. If an item is selected to be used, this will take place before any Pokémon makes its move, and the player's Pokémon will not be able to make a move. The Bag selection is sometimes disabled, most notably in link battles and during Battle Frontier competitions.
- Main article: Party
Selecting "Pokémon" (PKMN prior to Generation III) will bring up a menu of the player's current party Pokémon, allowing them to be checked by the player or switched into battle, sending the player's active Pokémon back into its Poké Ball. As with the Bag, the Pokémon menu screen is exactly the same as that in the overworld in Generations I, II, and III, with differences in usable commands, while different in Generation IV and on, featuring only battle-relevant data.
- Main article: Escape
If "Run" is selected, the player will attempt to escape from the battle. Battles against NPC Trainers cannot be run from except in a Battle Frontier facility, while battles against other players can be run from at any time, resulting in a loss (if only one player runs) or a draw (if both players run). This option, like Fight, also depends on the Speed of the Pokémon in battle, with a calculation made based on the two resulting in either the player escaping a wild battle (if the player's Pokémon's Speed is high enough) or being stuck in battle and losing a turn. Trapping moves can prevent escape attempts from being made, as can the player's own Pokémon if it has previously used Ingrain.
In Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, the "Run" option is replaced by a "Call" option, which allows the player to return a Shadow Pokémon from Hyper Mode and Reverse Mode or wake it up from sleep. It can also be used to simply pass a turn, and in Pokémon XD, will raise the accuracy of a non-Shadow Pokémon who is not asleep by one stage.
In the anime
In the anime, the progression of a battle is slightly different. An expansion on the games' concept, the anime's battles are more free-flowing than those in the games, with opposing Trainers being able to block and evade moves in different and more creative ways than the games allow for, invent their own moves as combinations of other moves, and so on. Several concepts that later became standard in the games were developed in the anime, such as the Lightning Rod Ability and Double Battles.
Unlike the games, there will often be a referee who determines whether or not a Pokémon is able to continue the match, as there is not the strictly-programmed HP limit. This referee will sometimes be a Pokémon League official, especially in matches conducted in the various Pokémon League Conferences, though informal battles can be conducted with either no referee at all or with a knowledgeable person serving as the referee. Brock and Cilan have served as the referee for many of the informal matches between Ash and the various people he has met along his journey.
Battles in the anime often feature a limit to the amount of Pokémon that can be used: Trainers rarely are allowed to use their full party of six, and must instead choose which members they will use. Most Gym Leaders and Frontier Brains will not switch their Pokémon when challenged, as well, but will allow the challenger to do so.
Pokémon battles are a universal recreation and humans in the Pokémon world are encouraged to engage in battles as a way to meet new people and Pokémon. Many tournaments are held to allow Trainers to showcase the results of their training. Additionally, many schools teach aspiring Trainers about situations they may face during battles, such as status conditions and additional effects of moves. After a battle, Trainers are expected to show good sportsmanship, regardless of the outcome.
In the manga
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
Pokémon battles in the Pokémon Adventures manga are arguably the most violent incarnation of battles in any Pokémon media. Pokémon are sometimes directed to not only attack, but kill other Pokémon and Trainers. Trainers themselves are an active part of the battle, often openly attacked, while their Poké Balls are a frequent target so as to disable them. Battles, instead of lasting until all Pokémon have fainted, last until all have been defeated, while only one of the Pokémon fainting is enough to end the battle itself. Like in the anime, a referee is present and may declare the battle without a Pokémon fainting, while Trainers are fully allowed to catch each other's Pokémon in Poké Balls.
There are several variants on a standard Pokémon battle, in which one Pokémon is sent out against an opponent's Pokémon. These differences are mostly in the number of Trainers and Pokémon involved in the battle at one time, but battles can also differ due to a set of specific rules.
- Main article: Full Battle
A Full Battle, also known as a six-on-six battle, is a battle variant in which both Trainers use a full party of six Pokémon. The first Trainer to completely knock out all of the opposing Trainer's Pokémon wins.
These battles are very rare in the games. Generally only the player's rival and the regional Champion will have a full team during the main storyline, while Gym Leaders and Elite Four members may also have a full team in rematches. In the anime, Full Battles are conducted in the last few rounds of Pokémon League Conferences, but Trainers can challenge one another to a Full Battle any time, although this is rare.
- Main article: Double Battle
A Double Battle is initiated when two Pokémon, rather than one, are sent out per side. Introduced in the games in Generation III, Double Battles can alter a player's strategy by a lot, now having to evade twice the moves and make twice the decisions per turn.
Several moves change when used in Double Battles. While most will target one of the two Pokémon, selectable after the move itself is chosen, some target both opponent Pokémon, both opponents and the partner, the user and its partner, or all Pokémon in the battle. Abilities may have an effect in Double Battles that is very nearly useless in Single Battles, such as Plus, which requires another Pokémon in play to activate.
Some specific Trainer classes, such as Sis and Bro and Sr. and Jr., will automatically engage the player in Double Battles. Additionally, from Pokémon Emerald to Generation V, two independent Trainers who see the player at the same time will also trigger a Double Battle. All battles in Pokémon Colosseum are conducted as Double Battles, as are most in Pokémon XD (with the exception of three Trainer battles and all wild battles).
Double Battles were introduced in the anime very early, first appearing in the third episode where Misty declared them to be breaking Pokémon League rules. Despite this, Team Rocket has battled Ash in nearly every episode since in a Double Battle, sending out two Pokémon at once. Later, Ash himself competed in a Double Battle for the Jade Star Badge in Pokémon Double Trouble. After the release of Ruby and Sapphire, Double Battles were seen in the anime more often. The first took place in All in a Day's Wurmple. Forrester Franklin introduced the concept to Ash and they had a battle that Ash won. As in the games, Ash's Gym Battle against Tate and Liza was a Double Battle. The Double Battle style has been used in Pokémon Contests; specifically in Grand Festival tournaments and competitions following the Double Performance format.
- Main article: Multi Battle
A Multi Battle, referred to as a Tag Battle in the anime, is a type of Double Battle in which each of the four Pokémon is controlled by a separate Pokémon Trainer. Aside from the fact that Pokémon on the same side are controlled by different Trainers, Multi Battles act the same as normal Double Battles.
Starting with Generation III, Multi Battles occur when the player has teamed up with another Trainer. If the player has teamed up with another Trainer as part of the storyline, their Pokémon total as well as that of their opponents may exceed the limit of six Pokémon per team imposed by party restrictions for other types of Pokémon battle.
In Generation III, up to four players can battle with each other in a Multi Battle via Game Link Cable by choosing the 'Multi Battle' mode in the Pokémon Cable Club Colosseum. Players decide which side to battle. This was the only way to have a Multi Battle in Ruby and Sapphire. In Generation IV, the Pokémon Cable Club Colosseum was renamed to the Pokémon Communication Club Colosseum, but Multi Battles can still be conducted by selecting 'Multi Battle'.
- Main article: Contest Battle
A Contest Battle is an anime-exclusive battle variant in which two Pokémon Coordinators face off while attempting to lower each other's scores. These battles have a five-minute time limit, during which each participant must show off his or her Pokémon in a visually impressive manner. Unlike a regular battle, Coordinators and their Pokémon are judged on the style of their moves and the way they are able to dodge their opponent's attacks.
Contest Battles are usually judged by Mr. Contesta, Mr. Sukizo, and Nurse Joy. They are the ones responsible for subtracting points from a Coordinator's score. Coordinators will generally lose points when their Pokémon are hit by an attack, when their Pokémon's attack fails, when the opponent's Pokémon performs a particularly appealing move or combo, or when the opponent's Pokémon uses their Pokémon's attack to its own advantage. Contest Battles may also end when the judges rule Battle Off for a Pokémon. In this case, the Coordinator with the remaining Pokémon is declared the winner.
- Main article: Triple Battle
Triple Battles debuted in Pokémon Battrio, but were only introduced to the core series in Pokémon Black and White. Unlike Double Battles, the positioning of the Pokémon in-battle will be important as the Pokémon on the left will be unable to target the Pokémon on the right and vice-versa, while the Pokémon in the middle is free to attack any other Pokémon in the field, making it the prime attacking position. Also, moves like Hurricane and Acrobatics can damage any of the three Pokémon, or all of them.
The Pokémon on the left and right have the option to shift position 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. When there are only two Pokémon left on the field and they are non-adjacent to each other, then both Pokémon will automatically be shifted to the center of the field.
- Main article: Rotation Battle
Rotation Battles were introduced as a core series element in Pokémon Black and White. A Rotation Battle consists of three Pokémon (similar to a Triple Battle); however, only one Pokémon can attack at a time. Rotating Pokémon is a free action, meaning both players may switch and attack in the same turn.
Rotating can be done during both the player's and the opponent's turns and has a priority of +6. Rotating is different to switching in that it doesn't use up a turn, reset status conditions like confusion and bad poison, or reset Ability counters like Slow Start. Only the active Pokémon plays any part in the battle. Moves and Abilities that affect more than one Pokémon will only affect the opponent's active Pokémon, and Abilities like Flower Gift will only activate if the user is active. Also status damage is not received while a Pokémon is inactive.
- Main article: Wonder Launcher
A Launcher Battle is a type of multiplayer battle in the core series Generation V games in which both players have the Wonder Launcher enabled, allowing them to purchase the use of certain items using points that are accumulated each turn.
Team Battles (Japanese: チームバトル Team Battle) are an anime-exclusive battle variant introduced in the XY series. A Team Battle consists of three, five, or seven Pokémon Trainers battling as a team using various types of formations.
Team Battles usually occur when a large number of Trainers get together, and are often accompanied with a strategy meeting which involve comparing personalities and skills of Pokémon while deciding on battle formations and battle-combo moves. In Battling Into the Hall of Fame!, Ash, Serena, and Clemont were victorious against Shauna, Tierno, and Trevor in a Team Battle with Pikachu, Fennekin, and Chespin facing Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander.
- Main article: Horde Encounter
A Horde Encounter is a kind of battle introduced in Generation VI in which a single player's Pokémon will battle against five Wild Pokémon that are usually of the same species, but there may be a single Pokémon of a similar or counterpart species, such as Plusle and Minun. In this battle, the Pokémon used by the player will act as if it was in the center of a Triple Battle, but with all other Pokémon being considered enemies rather than some being allies. Also, there is no limit of range, meaning that any Pokémon may hit another that is non-adjacent of it.
The Pokémon found in horde battles are normally at half of the level of this same Pokémon when find alone in the area, or are a lower evolutionary stage of the most common Pokémon. Horde Encounters can be forced by Honey and Sweet Scent if the weather is clear.
- Main article: Sky Battle
A Sky Battle is a kind of battle introduced in Generation VI in which consist of two Pokémon battling each other in the air instead of on land or sea. However, because of this, only certain Flying types and certain Pokémon with the Ability Levitate are eligible for Sky Battles.
At certain points in the game, the player can encounter Sky Trainers on top of cliffs or other distant areas who will challenge them to a Sky Battle. All Sky Battles are optional, since the player may not have any eligible Pokémon to use. If all eligible Pokémon in the battle faint, the player will black out, but will resume the game standing where they were before battle. In this event, due to a current glitch, the Sky Trainer is unable to be re-challenged or even spoken to, even if the player's eligible Pokémon are restored, until the player exits and reenters the area.
- Main article: Inverse Battle
An Inverse Battle is a kind of battle introduced in Generation VI. During an Inverse Battle, type matchups are reversed. This type of battle is only conducted with Inver, who can be battled once per day at Kalos Route 18 in Pokémon X and Y and Mauville City in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. A Super-Secret Base can also hold Inverse Battles.
- Main article: Battle Royal
A Battle Royal is a kind of battle introduced in Generation VII in which four Trainers face one another simultaneously. Each Trainer brings up to three Pokémon into the ring, using one Pokémon at a time. At the end of a turn, if a Trainer has no Pokémon left, the Battle Royal ends. All participants are scored based on the number of Pokémon they knocked out, and the number of Pokémon they have remaining.
- Main article: SOS Battle
An SOS Battle is a kind of battle introduced in Generation VII wherein wild Pokémon calls for help from allies, turning a one-on-one wild battle to a two-on-one battle. Totem Pokémon always calls for help and their calls are always answered. Non-Totem Pokémon can also call for help; however, its call is not always answered.
Most Pokémon can summon allies of the same species, but some can summon other Pokémon in their family, and some can summon other unrelated Pokémon. For some species, the Pokémon that a wild Pokémon can call varies with location.
In other languages
|Pokémon battle variations|
| Double Battle • Multi Battle • Triple Battle • Rotation Battle • Horde Encounter • Battle Royal|
Full Battle • Contest Battle • Launcher Battle • Sky Battle • Inverse Battle • SOS Battle
|Catching • Nicknaming • Battling • Evolving • Trading • Breeding • Releasing|
|The Pokémon League|
Trainer • Battle • Gym Leaders
Gyms • Badges • Referee
Elite Four • Orange League
Pokémon League Conferences
Indigo • Silver • Ever Grande
Lily of the Valley • Vertress • Lumiose
| Regional Pokémon Leagues|
Indigo • Orange* • Johto • Hoenn
Sinnoh • Unova • Kalos • Alola
Areas of jurisdiction
Pokémon League Reception Gate • Hall of Fame
Palace of Victory • Cerulean Cave
Pokémon Inspection Agency
|This game mechanic article is part of Project Games, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon games.|