Substitute (doll)

The substitute doll (Japanese: みがわり人形(にんぎょう) Scapegoat Doll) is a decoy created by a Pokémon from some of its own HP by using the moves Substitute or Shed Tail. The substitute takes a certain amount of damage in place of the user before breaking. Substitute dolls have also made appearances in various media outside of the use of a move. In some media, instead of appearing as a doll, the decoy may take the form of the Pokémon who used the move or some other object.

Artwork of a substitute from Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

In the core series games

The substitute doll first appeared in the Generation I games, where it appears as an indicator that the user is being protected by the move Substitute. Starting with Generation IX, a substitute can also be produced by the move Shed Tail.

In Generations I and II, it takes the appearance of the Rhydon-like menu sprite used for various Pokémon. After these sprites were updated in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire to reflect the Pokémon's actual appearance, the substitute doll retained the same design.

In Generation V, a Substitute Doll was obtainable in the Plain Catalogue of the Pokémon Dream World in exchange for 200 Sitrus Berries. The Plush Toy enemy in the Mystery Doors of the Magical Land Series in Pokéstar Studios in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 is similar to a substitute doll. A Substitute Cushion also appears as an obtainable Décor item in Generation VI's Pokémon-Amie screen on the PSS.


By decreasing its HP by 25% (rounded down) of its maximum HP, the user creates a substitute with the same amount of HP as it lost. Substitute or Shed Tail fails if the user already has a substitute or if losing the required HP would cause the user to faint. Substitute or Shed Tail will fail if used by Shedinja (who only has 1 HP).

If a Pokémon has a substitute and is attacked by another Pokémon, the substitute takes any damage instead. (This includes the damaging turns of Future Sight and Doom Desire.) All damage factors use the owner's current stats (including maximum HP) and other traits. Any damage not directly from another Pokémon's attack (such as recoil damage or ongoing status conditions) will ignore the substitute.

The substitute will break when it loses all of its HP. It will also disappear if its owner leaves the field. A substitute can be passed by Baton Pass with the HP it has remaining.

Tidy Up will remove all substitutes from both sides of the field. Snatch will steal the effect of Substitute when it is used.


A substitute also protects its owner from certain effects caused by other Pokémon. (Most effects are not affected by their user's substitute.) A substitute protects from:

This protection covers moves as well as some Abilities like Intimidate and Poison Touch and items like King's Rock and Sticky Barb; but not Synchronize, Pickpocket, or the Wonder Launcher's Item Drop. Certain moves ignore substitutes; most notably, this includes all sound-based moves (such as Growl). A Pokémon with Infiltrator can also successfully use any move except Transform or Sky Drop on a Pokémon behind a substitute (since Generation VI).

These status moves will also fail if the target has a substitute:

Sky Drop will also fail if the target has a substitute. These damaging moves will not have any effect besides damage if the target has a substitute:

(Some moves have changed regarding whether they fail or bypass a substitute; for those moves, refer to the list of unaffected moves below.)

Creating a substitute will free its owner from binding, but it does not change any other conditions (e.g. a Pokémon that was drowsy can still fall asleep behind a substitute).

A substitute does not protect the owner from effects originating from itself. Berserk Gene and confusion-inducing Berries (such as Figy Berry) will confuse the owner of a substitute (except in Generation IV), and Effect Spore and other status condition-inducing Abilities will function normally.

Rage, Bide, Counter, Metal Burst, and Mirror Coat will not count damage done to a substitute (except in Generations I and II, see below). Enigma Berry and damage-reducing Berries (such as Occa Berry) will not trigger if a move hits a substitute.

In Generations I and II (except the localized Generation I handheld games), HP-draining moves always fail if the target is behind a substitute. Due to an oversight, in the localized Generation I handheld games only, HP-draining moves can hit a Pokémon's substitute, but do not drain any HP if they break the substitute. From Generation III onward, HP-draining moves except Dream Eater can successfully hit substitutes and drain HP from them; Dream Eater fails if the target has a substitute. Starting in Generation V, Dream Eater can also successfully hit a substitute.

If a substitute breaks in the middle of a multi-strike move, the move will continue hitting the Pokémon that was behind the substitute. If a substitute is broken by U-turn (or any damaging move that switches the user) and the attacker is replaced by a Pokémon with Intimidate, the substitute will block Intimidate's effect before disappearing. If a Pokémon with a substitute switches out while targeted with Pursuit, the substitute will take the damage before it disappears. If a Pokémon with a substitute uses Baton Pass while surrounded by Toxic Spikes, the Pokémon switched in will not be poisoned, but if it is a grounded Poison-type Pokémon, the Toxic Spikes will be removed.

Generation I

  This section is incomplete.
Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: Check behavior in the Japanese Pokémon Stadium

In Generations I and II, the substitute retains its user's color palette. (For instance, a blue Pokémon would create a blue substitute.)

Also in Generations I and II, Rage counts damage to a substitute toward its effect.

All effects below apply only to this generation.

The substitute's HP is 1 greater than the amount of HP lost by the user. If the user has exactly 25% of its maximum HP, it will create a substitute and immediately faint; this was fixed in Pokémon Stadium so that the user cannot create a substitute. If the substitute takes 255 damage, it will disappear.

A substitute does not protect against any sleep effect; against direct paralysis effects (Stun Spore, Thunder Wave, and Glare); or against indirect confusion effects (Psybeam and Confusion). It fully protects against poison, burn, and freeze (as well as indirect paralysis and direct confusion).

If the substitute is hit by a binding move (e.g. Bind), the Pokémon behind the substitute still becomes bound. In the Western versions, HP-draining moves can drain HP from a substitute.

Bide and Counter count damage to a substitute toward their effect.

If a Pokémon breaks a substitute with any of the following moves, their additional effects will be skipped for that turn:

Due to a glitch, if a Pokémon behind a substitute takes self-inflicted confusion damage, the damage is applied to the opponent's substitute instead. (If the opponent does not have a substitute, no Pokémon or substitute takes damage.)

Some mechanics above are different in Pokémon Stadium:

  • A substitute protects from any paralysis, sleep, or confusion effect (direct or indirect).
  • HP-draining moves always miss if used on a Pokémon behind a substitute.
  • If a Pokémon breaks a substitute with Explosion or Selfdestruct, it will faint as usual.

Generation II

In Generations I and II, the substitute retains its user's color palette. (For instance, a blue Pokémon would create a blue substitute.)

Also in Generations I and II, Rage counts damage to a substitute toward its effect.

All effects below apply only to this generation.

Protect, Detect, and Endure will fail if used by a Pokémon with a substitute.

The trapping moves Mean Look and Spider Web can affect a Pokémon with a substitute. The flinch effect of King's Rock can activate if an attack breaks a substitute (it will be blocked otherwise).

If a recoil move hits a substitute, the recoil damage will only be 1 HP. This is because the recoil damage is calculated from the damage the target took (not its substitute).

From Generation II onwards, multi-strike moves may now continue even after breaking a substitute.

Generation IV

In this generation only, Shell Bell does not restore HP when a move hits a substitute, and confusion-inducing Berries (such as Figy Berry) will not confuse their holder if it has a substitute when triggered.

Generation V

In this generation only, Infiltrator cannot bypass a target's substitute.

In Black 2 and White 2 only, due to a glitch, if a Pokémon behind a substitute faints due to Rough Skin or a held Rocky Helmet, the sprite of the Pokémon that was attacked will be replaced by a substitute.

Generation VI onwards

Dynamax Pokémon cannot have a substitute. If a Pokémon Dynamaxes while it has a substitute, the substitute will disappear.

Unaffected moves

  This move effect may be in need of research.
  • Confirm if Roar/Whirlwind are blocked in Gen I
  • Confirm Supersonic in Gen V
  • Confirm if Mimic is blocked from Gen III onwards
  • Which moves are unaffected in Generation VIII and IX?
    You can discuss this on the talk page.

Since Generation VI, a Pokémon with Infiltrator can ignore a substitute with any move except Transform or Sky Drop.

Different moves are able to ignore Substitute and Shed Tail in each generation. Moves marked with a in the following table can affect a Pokémon regardless of its substitute. (This applies to moves used by one Pokémon against another with a substitute; if a Pokémon with a substitute uses a move that affects itself, it receives the move's effect normally.)

Move Type Cat Generations
Acupressure  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}} [a]
After You  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Aromatherapy  Grass  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Aromatic Mist  Fairy  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Attract  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Bestow  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Boomburst  Normal  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Bug Buzz  Bug  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Chatter  Flying  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Clanging Scales  Dragon  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Clangorous Soulblaze  Dragon  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Confide  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Conversion 2  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Curse  Ghost  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Defog  Flying  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Disable  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Disarming Voice  Fairy  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Echoed Voice  Normal  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Eerie Spell  Psychic  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Encore  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Fairy Lock  Fairy  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Foresight  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Gear Up  Steel  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Grass Whistle  Grass  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Growl  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Guard Swap  Psychic  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Haze  Ice  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Heal Bell  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Heart Swap  Psychic  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Helping Hand  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Hold Hands  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Hyperspace Fury  Dark  Physical {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Hyperspace Hole  Psychic  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Hyper Voice  Normal  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Imprison  Psychic  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Instruct  Psychic  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Leech Seed  Grass  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Magnetic Flux  Electric  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Mean Look  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Me First  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Metal Sound  Steel  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Mimic  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Miracle Eye  Psychic  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Noble Roar  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Odor Sleuth  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Overdrive  Electric  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Pay Day  Normal  Physical {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Parting Shot  Dark  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Perish Song  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Play Nice  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Powder  Bug  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Power Swap  Psychic  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Psych Up  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Reflect Type  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Relic Song  Normal  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Roar  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Role Play  Psychic  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Round  Normal  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Screech  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Sing  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Sketch  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Skill Swap  Psychic  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Snarl  Dark  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Snore  Normal  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Sparkling Aria  Water  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Spectral Thief  Ghost  Physical {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Speed Swap  Psychic  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Spider Web  Bug  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Spite  Ghost  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Supersonic  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Swagger  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}} [b]
Taunt  Dark  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Tickle  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Torment  Dark  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Transform  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Uproar  Normal  Special {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
Whirlwind  Normal  Status {{{3}}} {{{4}}} {{{5}}} {{{6}}}
  1. Acupressure will fail even if used by the user.
  2. Swagger only raises the target's Attack; they are not confused.

In the side series games

The substitute doll appears in the Pokémon Stadium series, Colosseum, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, and Battle Revolution in the same capacity it does in the core series. In the Stadium series, it more closely resembles a Rhydon.

In Pokémon Stadium, glitch Pokémon will appear as the substitutes. The color will vary, however, due to the player's ID and the glitch Pokémon's name. This is because the game treats the glitch Pokémon's name as a nickname, which cause Pokémon to change colors in the Stadium series.

In the spin-off games

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series

The substitute doll is associated with the Decoy, Cross-Eyed, and Substitute status conditions.

Pokkén Tournament

Substitute is the move used by Whimsicott when called as a Support Pokémon. It conjures up a set of three dolls that rotate around the Battle Pokémon, blocking incoming projectile attacks.[1] It also restores a little of the Battle Pokémon's HP.

Pokémon GO

A Substitute Doll can be found in the internal data of Pokémon GO; however, its use is unknown, as Substitute is not a move available in the game.

Pokémon: Magikarp Jump

A Substitute Doll appears as a decoration in Pokémon: Magikarp Jump. While active, the player gains a +2 bonus to their max food number.

Pokémon UNITE

In Pokémon UNITE, Substitute is Greninja's second move as Froakie. The user dashes while leaving behind a targetable decoy.

Substitute Dolls appear on their own as part of the Practice Area mode. Three Substitute Dolls are located throughout the stage. One is located in front of each team's base, and the last is on the far side of the middle of the top path. They can be attacked and shoved as though they are Pokémon. They are treated as being members of the opposing team, even though they are not displayed as such in splash and results screens. This means that moves that require targets that are opposing team members can be used on Substitute Dolls. The Dolls report the damage they have taken overall, the damage they have taken from basic attacks, the damage that they have taken from moves, the damage they are receiving per second, and the amount of time they spend under the effects of a hindrance. Substitutes have a large pool of HP, which can reset to full at certain points. The Substitute Dolls can be toggled on or off via the Practice Options menu, and disappear if they are set to off.

Pokémon Café ReMix

Whimsicott has a substitute doll outfit named "Whimsicott's Substitute" in Pokémon Café ReMix.

Super Smash Bros. series

Substitute is Greninja's down special. The substitute doll it summons resembles those from the core series games, though it can also summon a log. The move functions as a counter, attacking opponents who hit Greninja while it is posing.

There is a trophy of the substitute doll in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

Trophy information

If it looks like a Pokémon and it gets attacked like a Pokémon, it's probably a- Oh, no, it could also be a Substitute Doll. This cute plush figure appears out of nowhere when a Pokémon uses the move Substitute. Is that a smile on its face or a grimace of determination? Only the doll knows, and it's not telling.

In animation

A substitute doll in Pokémon the Series

Pokémon the Series

A substitute doll turning into a Banette

The move Substitute creates a copy of the user instead of the typical substitute doll seen in the games. Although they have never been shown in any depiction of the move so far, substitute dolls have nonetheless been featured in several episodes of Pokémon the Series.

In Under the Pledging Tree!, a substitute doll was one of the items offered to Ash by a market vendor in Coumarine City.

A substitute doll owned by Professor Kukui appeared in Rocking Clawmark Hill! and reappeared in No Stone Unturned!.

A substitute doll appeared in Ash's room in the movie I Choose You! and reappeared in the episode Legend? Go! Friends? Go!, when Pikachu was shown sleeping with it.

A substitute doll appeared in a flashback in Getting to the Heart of it All!. Being owned by a girl who'd one day grow up to be Nurse Joy, it was accidentally left behind when her family moved and was eventually reborn as a Banette.

Pokémon Origins

In the episode File 4: Charizard, a Growlithe can be seen playing with a substitute plushie in Mr. Fuji's Pokémon House.

In the manga

A substitute doll in Pokémon Battle Frontier

Phantom Thief Pokémon 7

In Into The Hands Of Evil?!, Lily's Leafeon used Substitute to create a copy of itself.

Pokémon Adventures

Unlike the games, substitutes are depicted as clones of the user, but more spectral and transparent, as shown by Red's Pikachu in Peace of Mime.

A substitute doll appeared in the Pokémon Adventures manga in Omega Alpha Adventure 21 as one the many items that Hoopa pulled out of its ring while searching for a Diancite for Ruby.

Pokémon Battle Frontier

In Pokémon Battle Frontier, the move Substitute causes the user to transform into a doll, similar to the one in the games.

In the TCG

Team Flare made a robotic version of the substitute doll, depicted on the card Robo Substitute.

The Robo Substitute is a Team Flare branded version of the substitute doll. Its card was included in the Phantom Forces expansion. The team's symbol is printed on the substitute's body. Aside from being done in a blue and black color scheme, it also has a visor over its eyes based on Lysandre's visor. The Robo Substitute is presumably also robotic in nature, judging from the name.

After being played, Robo Substitute is put onto the Bench as a Basic Pokémon. It only has 30 HP, does not have any attacks printed on it, lacks the ability to retreat. However, knocking it out does not grant the opponent any prize cards, and Robo Substitute can be freely discarded from play. The last property can be used in lieu of retreating by discarding the card while it is the Active Pokémon.

A substitute doll appears in the artwork of the illustration rare printings of Minccino and Cinccino from Temporal Forces.


The substitute doll has been featured on card sleeves for the TCG.

Product image:

Substitute Sleeves
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins
The Sneak-Peek Tins


Game assets

  This section is incomplete.
Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: Missing the substitute images from Generations VI, VII, VIII, IX
A substitute from
Generations I and II
A substitute from
Generation III
A substitute from
Generation IV
A substitute from
Generation V
A substitute from
Let's Go, Pikachu! and
Let's Go, Eevee!
A Substitute Doll from
Dream World
A Plush Toy from
Black 2 and White 2
A Substitute Cushion from
Generation VI
A Substitute Doll from
Omega Ruby and
Alpha Sapphire
Artwork from
Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
A substitute from
Stadium and Stadium 2
A substitute from
Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team
A substitute from
Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time, Darkness and Sky
A substitute from

In-game appearances

Core series games

Side series games

Spin-off series games


A substitute "levitating"
A substitute in place of Masahiro Sakurai


  1. Pokken Tournament DX/Projectile Priority | Shoryuken Wiki!, archived November 29, 2020 on Internet Archive

In other languages

Language Title
Chinese Cantonese 替身 Taisān
Mandarin 替身 Tìshēn
  Czech Vějička (manga)
Náhrada (DP142, BW063)
Dvojnický útok (DP095)
Náhražka (M11)
Nahrazení (The Official Pokémon Handbook)
  Danish Reserve
  Dutch Kloon
  French Clonage
  German Delegator
  Greek Υποκατάσταση
  Indonesian Menyamar
  Italian Sostituto
  Korean 대타출동 Daetachuldong
  Polish Zastępca
  Brazilian Portuguese Substituição (games, anime, manga)
Clonagem (The Official Pokémon Handbook)
  Romanian Substituirea
  Serbian Izmena
Spanish   Latin America Sustitución (DP095)
Sustituto (M11, BW063)
Señuelo* (DP142)
  Spain Sustituto
  Vietnamese Hoán Đổi

  This article is part of Project Moves and Abilities, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on two related aspects of the Pokémon games.