Substitute is a rather common attack that is used in many battling environments. This is due to the fact that once the Substitute move is utilised, the Pokémon essentially temporarily backs out of battle and thus the Substitute takes all the hits for the Pokémon. It is also one of the attacks that every Pokémon capable of learning a TM can learn, as its found through TM90 in Sinnoh.

As such, Substitutes take away 25% of your maximum hit points in order to work as a fully-functional substitute. If your Pokémon is below 25% of it's Maximum HP, or it is Shedinja, then the Substitute move will fail and one will not be created.

On first glance, a Substitute will look to some as nothing but a mere stall tactic. However, Substitues do have a variety of extra hidden effects. Firstly, any move that just lowers stats or causes a status condition will fail when used againt the substitute. Moves which have secondary effects that attempt to lower stats or cause status conditions will only do damage and the secondary effect will fail. However, if the Pokémon that made the substitute uses attacks that boost up its stats or cause status afflictions to itself, the effects will occur on the Pokémon. . The substitute also can prevent the Pokémon from flinching if the substitute is hit by a move that causes it.

As the Substitutes receive damage for the Pokémon based upon the HP and the stats of the Pokémon, it is highly possible that many hits will equate to more than 25% of the Pokémon's Max HP. In this case, the Substitute absorbs all the damage and then breaks. One Hit KO moves also will only break the substitute when they hit as opposed to taking out the Pokémon as well. However, if the Pokémon has any of these abilities; Flash Fire, Motor Drive, Volt Absorb or Water Absorb has a Substitute that is hit by a move of the type that activates their ability, the ability effect will still activate. Re-coil from moves used by the Pokémon that created the substitute will also go directly to the Pokémon. If Sandstorm or Hail are in effect and the Pokémon is not of the types that are protected by those weather effects, the damage will still go directly to the Pokémon. It will also prevent moves that trap the Pokémon and inflict damage from trapping and repeating damage infliction.

You have the ability to Baton Pass the Substitue to the next Pokémon as well. This will make the Substitue take the new Pokémon's typing and defenses while keep the HP that it has. It is unaffected by any Entry Hazards. This is also the only way you can have a Shedinja survive multiple successful hits.

There are however, several attacks that Substitute does not block;

Name Type Cat. PP Att. Acc. Effect
After You 15 -- -- The user helps the target and makes it use its move right after the user.
Aromatic Mist 20 -- 100 The user raises the Sp. Def stat of ally Pokémon with a mysterious aroma.
Attract 15 -- 100 If it is the opposite gender of the user, the target becomes infatuated and less likely to attack.
Bestow 15 -- -- The user passes its held item to the target when the target isn't holding an item.
Boomburst 10 140 100 The user attacks everything around it with the destructive power of a terrible, explosive sound.
Bug Buzz 10 90 100 The user vibrates its wings to generate a damaging sound wave. It may also lower the target's Sp. Def stat.
Chatter 20 65 100 The user attacks using a sound wave based on words it has learned. It may also confuse the target.
Confide 20 -- -- The user tells the target a secret, and the target loses its ability to concentrate. This lowers the target's Sp. Atk stat.
Conversion 2 30 -- -- The user changes its type to make itself resistant to the type of the attack the opponent used last.
Curse 10 -- -- A move that works differently for the Ghost type than for all other types.
Defog 15 -- -- A strong wind blows away the target's obstacles such as Reflect or Light Screen. It also lowers the target's evasiveness.
Destiny Bond 5 -- -- When this move is used, if the user faints, the Pokémon that landed the knockout hit also faints.
Disable 20 -- 100 For four turns, this move prevents the target from using the move it last used.
Disarming Voice 15 40 -- Letting out a charming cry, the user does emotional damage to opposing Pokémon. This attack never misses.
Echoed Voice 15 40 100 The user attacks the target with an echoing voice. If this move is used every turn, it does greater damage.
Encore 5 -- 100 The user compels the target to keep using only the move it last used for three turns.
Fairy Lock 10 -- -- By locking down the battlefield, the user keeps all Pokémon from fleeing during the next turn.
Foresight 40 -- -- Enables a Ghost-type target to be hit by Normal- and Fighting-type attacks. It also enables an evasive target to be hit.
Grass Whistle 15 -- 55 The user plays a pleasant melody that lulls the target into a deep sleep.
Growl 40 -- 100 The user growls in an endearing way, making the opposing team less wary. The foes' Attack stats are lowered.
Grudge 5 -- -- If the user faints, the user's grudge fully depletes the PP of the opponent's move that knocked it out.
Guard Swap 10 -- -- The user employs its psychic power to switch changes to its Defense and Sp. Def with the target.
Haze 30 -- -- The user creates a haze that eliminates every stat change among all the Pokémon engaged in battle.
Heal Bell 5 -- -- The user makes a soothing bell chime to heal the status problems of all the party Pokémon.
Heart Swap 10 -- -- The user employs its psychic power to switch stat changes with the target.
Helping Hand 20 -- -- The user assists an ally by boosting the power of its attack.
Hold Hands 40 -- -- Ally Pokémon hold hands. This makes them very happy.
Hyper Voice 10 90 100 The user lets loose a horribly echoing shout with the power to inflict damage.
Hyperspace Hole 5 80 -- Using a hyperspace hole, the user appears right next to the target and strikes. This also hits a target using Protect or Detect.
Imprison 10 -- -- If the opponents know any move also known by the user, the opponents are prevented from using it.
Magnetic Flux 20 -- -- The user manipulates magnetic fields which raises the Defense and Sp. Def stats of ally Pokémon with the Plus or Minus Ability.
Me First 20 -- -- The user tries to cut ahead of the target to steal and use the target's intended move with greater power.
Metal Sound 40 -- 85 A horrible sound like scraping metal harshly reduces the target's Sp. Def stat.
Mimic 10 -- -- The user copies the target's last move. The move can be used during battle until the Pokémon is switched out.
Miracle Eye 40 -- -- Enables a Dark-type target to be hit by Psychic-type attacks. It also enables an evasive target to be hit.
Noble Roar 30 -- 100 Letting out a noble roar, the user intimidates the target and lowers its Attack and Sp. Atk stats.
Odor Sleuth 40 -- -- Enables a Ghost-type target to be hit with Normal- and Fighting-type attacks. It also enables an evasive target to be hit.
Parting Shot 20 -- 100 With a parting threat, the user lowers the target's Attack and Sp. Atk stats. Then it switches with a party Pokémon.
Perish Song 5 -- -- Any Pokémon that hears this song faints in three turns, unless it switches out of battle.
Play Nice 20 -- -- The user and the target become friends, and the target loses its will to fight. This lowers the target's Attack stat.
Powder 20 -- 100 The user covers the target in a powder that explodes and damages the target if it uses a Fire-type move.
Power Swap 10 -- -- The user employs its psychic power to switch changes to its Attack and Sp. Atk with the target.
Psych Up 10 -- -- The user hypnotizes itself into copying any stat change made by the target.
Reflect Type 15 -- -- The user reflects the target's type, making it the same type as the target.
Relic Song 10 75 100 The user sings an ancient song and attacks by appealing to the hearts of those listening. It may also induce sleep.
Roar 20 -- -- The target is scared off and replaced by another Pokémon in its party. In the wild, the battle ends.
Role Play 10 -- -- The user mimics the target completely, copying the target's natural Ability.
Round 15 60 100 The user attacks the target with a song. Others can join in the Round and make the attack do greater damage.
Screech 40 -- 85 An earsplitting screech harshly reduces the target's Defense stat.
Sing 15 -- 55 A soothing lullaby is sung in a calming voice that puts the target into a deep slumber.
Sketch 1 -- -- It enables the user to permanently learn the move last used by the target. Once used, Sketch disappears.
Skill Swap 10 -- -- The user employs its psychic power to exchange Abilities with the target.
Snarl 15 55 95 The user yells as if it is ranting about something, making the target's Sp. Atk stat decrease.
Snatch 10 -- -- The user steals the effects of any healing or stat-changing move the opponent attempts to use.
Snore 15 50 100 An attack that can be used only if the user is asleep. The harsh noise may also make the target flinch.
Spite 10 -- 100 The user unleashes its grudge on the move last used by the target by cutting 4 PP from it.
Supersonic 20 -- 55 The user generates odd sound waves from its body. It may confuse the target.
Taunt 20 -- 100 The target is taunted into a rage that allows it to use only attack moves for three turns.
Torment 15 -- 100 The user torments and enrages the target, making it incapable of using the same move twice in a row.
Uproar 10 90 100 The user attacks in an uproar for three turns. Over that time, no one can fall asleep.
Whirlwind 20 -- -- The target is blown away, to be replaced by another Pokémon in its party. In the wild, the battle ends.
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