(Redirected from Switching out)
If you were looking for the card released in the Gym Heroes expansion, see Recall (Gym Heroes 116).
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Reason: Recall features like different recalling effects in Pokémon-Amie in Generation VI, also its role in Smash Bros

Recalling (Japanese: ポケモンチェンジ Pokémon change) a Pokémon is taking it out of battle. It is also referred to as withdrawing, switching out (Japanese: える replace), returning, retreating, and shifting.

Dawn recalling her Piplup

In the games

Magikarp being recalled from battle

There are several reasons for recalling Pokémon in the games. The most basic can be a simple strategic decision to battle using another Pokémon in lieu of using a move, recalling the active one to switch in another; the new Pokémon switches in at the start of the turn but cannot be commanded until the next turn. Any Pokémon that faints must also be recalled, and the Trainer can switch in another Pokémon to continue the battle if possible. In a wild Pokémon battle, after a Pokémon faints, its Trainer may attempt to flee instead of continuing the battle, but if it fails, they must switch in a new Pokémon instead. A handful of moves also return the user to the party and allow the Trainer to send in a different Pokémon. The held items Eject Button and Eject Pack also makes the holder switch out in certain situations.

In some cases, Pokémon may be forced to withdraw from a battle. The moves Circle Throw, Dragon Tail, Roar, and Whirlwind force their target to be recalled and randomly replaced by another Pokémon. Pokémon with the Abilities Wimp Out and Emergency Exit switch out in Trainer battles when their HP falls below half, forcing their Trainers to select another Pokémon to send out. The held item Red Card causes a Pokémon that hits the item's holder to switch out and be replaced by a random Pokémon from its party. However, Pokémon with the Ability Suction Cups are immune to these effects.

There are also a variety of circumstances that may trap a Pokémon, preventing it from being recalled from battle. The moves Anchor Shot, Block, Infestation, Mean Look, Shadow Hold, Spider Web, Spirit Shackle, and Thousand Waves prevent opposing Pokémon from leaving battle, and Fairy Lock does the same for the next turn only. The Abilities Arena Trap, Magnet Pull, and Shadow Tag also prevent opposing Pokémon from leaving battle. A trapped Pokémon can bypass these restrictions with a Shed Shell, by using a move that switches the user out, or if it is hit by Circle Throw, Dragon Tail, Roar, or Whirlwind. Starting in Generation VI, Ghost-type Pokémon are also immune to these trapping effects. A Pokémon that has used Ingrain is similarly prevented from leaving the battle under most circumstances and can only be recalled after an opponent is defeated or by using a move that switches the user out.

Manually withdrawing a Pokémon happens before all moves, except Pursuit if it is targeting the Pokémon that is switching out. In Generation III, players always switch before NPCs do, and "player 1" always switches before "player 2" does in link battles. In all other generations, if multiple Pokémon are manually withdrawn in the same turn, the order in which they switch is determined by speed.

Pursuit's power doubles if its target is withdrawn. When a Pokémon is withdrawn, all of its stat changes, type changes, Ability changes, moves learned via Mimic, transformations, and volatile status conditions are removed. Additionally, Pokémon with Natural Cure heal their non-volatile status conditions, and Pokémon with Regenerator heal their HP by up to 1/3 of its maximum. The replacement Pokémon can be affected by Spikes, Stealth Rock, Toxic Spikes, or Sticky Web and activate one of a handful of Abilities.

Experience is fundamentally evenly divided among Pokémon that participated in a battle (and are not fainted) against an opponent that has not switched out, but many factors can affect this.

In Single Battles against NPC Trainers (excluding Battle Tower Trainers), if the Battle Style is set as "Shift" ("Switch" in Generation VI), then after defeating one of the opponent's Pokémon, the player is notified what the opponent's next Pokémon will be and given the option to recall their own Pokémon before the next turn.

In the anime

Ash recalling Mr. Mime

In the anime, if the Trainer does not send out a replacement Pokémon, they must forfeit the match. If the Trainer makes a substitution when it is not allowed, the Trainer automatically loses the battle. This was seen in White—Victini and Zekrom and Black—Victini and Reshiram, when Iris's Emolga forced a switch by using Volt Switch during the tournament battle, where each Trainer was supposed to use only one Pokémon.

It appears as though a Pokémon can actually refuse or even dodge a Trainer's recall command. While this usually is a result of disobedience, it can sometimes be a sign that the Pokémon is concerned for its Trainer, such as in Snow Way Out!, or another person or Pokémon, as seen in Cottonee in Love!. In Cerulean Blues, an enraged Gyarados at the Cerulean Gym refused to be returned to its Poké Ball, forcing Misty to confine it in a cage until it calmed down. In Battling Besties!, when Mallow tried to recall her Tsareena, she refused to go into her Poké Ball, wishing to continue the battle against Lana and her Primarina. In some cases, a third party such as another Trainer's Pokémon or a wild Pokémon can interfere with the recall command towards a Trainer's Pokémon. This was demonstrated in Challenge of the Samurai where a wild Beedrill that abducted Ash's Metapod managed to dodge Ash's recall command while holding Metapod; and in Showdown at Pewter City where Brock's Onix was constricting Ash's Pikachu and blocked out Ash's recall command. If a human is hit with the recall beam, it will temporarily stun the person, as demonstrated in All that Glitters is Not Golden. In The Climb to Be the Very Best!, it was revealed that the recall beam can also be used to return a Dynamaxed Pokémon back to normal.

Likewise, Pokémon can return to their Poké Ball of their own accord, as demonstrated in Dig Those Diglett!, when the Pokémon belonging to Gary and various other Trainers refused to come out of their Poké Balls to deal with the Diglett, due to not wanting to contribute to the ecological disaster that the construction of the Gaiva Dam would cause.

Usually during Gym battles, there are rules preventing Gym Leaders from switching their Pokémon, but challengers are allowed to make substitutions if needed. It is not uncommon for Trainers to recall their Pokémon to cure confusion.

During Contest Battles, Coordinators are never allowed to recall their Pokémon. When a Pokémon is unable to continue battling, the panel of judges—usually consisting of Raoul Contesta, Mr. Sukizo, and Nurse Joy—will rule Battle Off, putting an end to the battle and declaring the Coordinator with the remaining Pokémon as the winner of the match.

Although Pikachu technically has a Poké Ball, he instead just returns to Ash if the latter uses the command due to his refusal to be confined in one, as demonstrated in Showdown at Pewter City when Ash refused to finish off Onix.

In the TCG

Main article: Retreat cost

This is a list of cards in the TCG related to switching.

Name Type Rarity Set Set no.
Switch T   Base Set 95/102
  Base Set 2 123/130
  Expedition Base Set 157/165
  EX Ruby & Sapphire 92/109
  EX FireRed & LeafGreen 102/112
  EX Delta Species 102/113
  EX Dragon Frontiers 83/101
  Diamond & Pearl 119/130
  Secret Wonders 128/132
  Stormfront 93/100
  HeartGold & SoulSilver 102/123
  Black & White 104/114


  • In the Generation I and II games, if the player chooses to switch their Pokémon when the opponent is about to send out a new Pokémon, the opponent is shown sending out their Pokémon before the player switches their Pokémon (even though the player's withdrawn Pokémon does not gain experience). This was changed in all later Generations, instead showing the player's switch before the opponent sends out their next Pokémon.

In other languages


Language Title
Chinese Cantonese 替換 Taiwuhn
Mandarin 替換 / 替换 Tìhuàn
  French Changer
  German Wechseln
  Italian Cambiare
  Korean 교체하다 Gyochehada
  Spanish Cambiar
  Vietnamese Thay thế

See also

  This game mechanic article is part of Project Games, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon games.