While Pokemon is a series that is often talked about due to the massive amount of creatures that players can catch and battle with, there are nearly just as many moves that Pokemon can learn. While the Pokemon in one’s team are essential and iconic, they can’t do anything without their moves in battle.
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Moves come in a variety of forms, dealing damage, causing status effects, and providing a vast array of benefits. While players love to focus on the flashiest and highest damaging moves their Pokemon can use, there are several incredible moves that don’t deal any damage at all.
Updated January 2, 2023, by Ben Painter:Pokemon have many different moves to use in battle, and they come in three different categories: physical, special, and non-damaging. A great strategy to use in the game is using certain non-damaging moves to help gain an edge in battle. With Pokemon Scarlet & Violet now out for over a month, gamers have had time to learn the new moves added, including non-damaging ones, and put them to use inside the many ways to battle in the Generation 9 games. Included in these, is a superb new move by a new Pokemon for Generation 9, as well as the return of moves from older games. Discover these moves and more across Paldea in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet.
First appearing in Pokemon’s second generation, Protect is among the strongest defensive moves in the entire series. Among the most straightforward moves on this list, Protect prevents all damage its user would take from damaging moves (aside from a few moves that get around its defense).
Though it can hypothetically be used in succession, doing so raises the chance of the move failing. Protect is the ideal move for teams that are looking to stall an opponent as they suffer from statuses such as poison.
14 Recover, Roost, and Softboiled
Recover, Roost, and Softboiled are each incredible moves that share nearly identical effects, but can each be learned by different Pokemon. When any of these moves are used, their user replenishes 50% of their maximum HP. This means that when used in conjunction with a notably defensive Pokemon or one with a massive HP pool such as Blissey, these moves can make it an arduous task to take that Pokemon down.
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Like Protect, these moves are excellent inclusions for teams that are hoping to slowly stall rather than aggressively attack an opponent.
Will-o-Wisp is an excellent Fire-type status move that can Burn an opposing Pokemon. With an accuracy of 85, Will-o-Wisp can nerf an opposing Pokemon quite reliably.
As being burned reduces the amount of physical damage a Pokemon can deal, Will-o-Wisp can be used to target the most offensively oriented Pokemon on an opponent’s team. When used by a Pokemon with the Prankster ability, this can be done with priority.
12 Belly Drum
One of the key means of reliably sweeping an opponent’s team is to utilize moves that increase a Pokemon’s offensive stats. Belly Drum is a move that puts the pedal to the metal when it comes to increasing a Pokemon’s strength, maximizing its attack stat at the expense of half of its HP.
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While this move requires some support and setup to use safely and reliably, if a quick or resilient enough Pokemon makes it to their next turn after using Belly Drum, the results can be disastrous for an opponent.
11 Baton Pass
Baton Pass is an incredible move that was first introduced in Generation 2. Upon using Baton Pass, a player is able to switch to any of their other Pokemon. However, unlike a normal switch, this causes all increased (and decreased) stats to be transferred to the next Pokemon.
When used in conjunction with moves like Calm Mind, Swords Dance, Nasty Plot, or the previously mentioned Belly Drum, a potential sweep can be set up instantaneously.
10 Perish Song
Though Perish Song does not technically deal damage, it is among the most deadly moves in all of Pokemon. Upon being used, Perish Song starts a three-turn countdown that once finished, results in both active Pokemon being KO’d.
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While an opponent can theoretically switch out their Pokemon to avoid this effect, this move is often paired with a Pokemon that has the Shadow Tag ability, preventing a potential escape. This provides Perish Song with the ability to take out nearly every Pokemon in the series.
9 Trick Room
Few moves are able to spawn entire team archetypes quite like Trick Room. While the priority of turns in Pokemon is based around the speed stat, with the quickest Pokemon attacking first, Trick Room reverses the turn order in a battle.
This allows a player to make a team of slow Pokemon that have otherwise stellar stats that would normally only be hindered by low speed. With an active Trick Room, these slow Pokemon can move with unparalleled speed, disrupting the strategy of a traditionally fast Pokemon.
Though only learned by a small handful of fungus-based Pokemon, Spore is the most consistent status move in all of Pokemon. With 100 accuracy, Spore automatically puts a target to sleep. It is used solely by mushroom-based Pokemon like Breloom, Amoongus and the new Toedscruel.
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An absolutely stellar effect with a guarantee of succeeding, the only thing that holds Spore back is the very limited amount of Pokemon that are able to utilize it.
Introduced in the very first generation of Pokemon games, Substitute is an excellent move that has been part of the Pokemon franchise since the very beginning. Dealing damage to its user, this move creates a substitute that takes the place of its user.
While that active Pokemon is still able to use its moves, the Substitute takes all attack damage. This substitute has 1HP and is perfect for stalling or setting up a variety of strategies that require numerous turns.
Sketch is a move that can be defined by one word: potential. The signature move of Smeargle, once Sketch is used, it is permanently replaced with the last move used by its target. This allows Smeargle to have the potential to learn any move in the entire game.
While Sketch has little to no value in a vacuum, it provides Smeargle with the ability to have the exact move set its trainer would want, opening the door to an unparalleled amount of possibilities.
5 Dragon Dance
Dragon Dance is a Dragon-type move which raises the user’s attack and speed stat by 1 tier when used in battle. It’s superb for getting those Dragon-type Pokemon up to an even higher level. Pretty much every Dragon-type in the games can learn this move.
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But the move isn’t solely reserved for its namesake type. Pokemon like Salazzle, Scrafty and Tyranitar can learn this move through TM. It’s a fantastic non-damaging move that is sure to give gamers an edge in many battles. Since Dragon-types usually have high defense, it is worth the risk.
Toxic has been a non-damaging move ever since Generation 1, it has been a staple of the franchise for many years now. It is a move that allows the Pokemon to poison the user, which will chip away at their HP at the end of every turn. Not only that, but it “badly poisons” the target, meaning the damage will double with each turn.
It is the most used move in the arsenal of many poison-type Pokemon, and it is always handy to have a ‘mon with Toxic in the roster as chipping away at a powerful Pokemon’s HP is a great strategy for battle. It may give gamers that little bit of an edge needed.
These are useful moves that do the same thing in battle. If an opposing Pokemon poses significant danger, simply use Roar or Whirlwind to bring a new Pokemon into the battle. Combined with a move like Stealth Rock or Toxic Spikes, these moves can be a good tactic to help gain some bonus damage.
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Roar is mainly used by Pokemon that resemble dogs or other beasts, while Whirlwind is used by flying Pokemon. If a battle is getting too heated, these moves are a perfect escape strategy, but it can be annoying when a wild Pokemon uses it to escape a battle.
Soak is a very useful move in the game. This non-damaging move turns any of the opposing Pokemon into a Water-type, which is great if the player happens to know Grass or Electric-type moves.
Chinchou and Tadbulb, both Electric-types, are capable of learning this move through breeding, which is a fantastic battle strategy. Using Soak to turn the Pokemon into a Water-type and then shocking them with a STAB electric-type Pokemon is a great offensice strategy. Tadbulb of course evolves into Bellibolt and it is a great new ‘mon to use in Scarlet & Violet, perfect to use with this Soak tactic.
1 Revival Blessing
New for Generation 9, this move has a massive ability unlike no other in the game. Revival Blessing revives another Pokemon in the party, much like the Eevive item. Only two Pokemon can learn this move: Rabsca and the new Pikachu clone, Pawmot.
Pawmot is a great battler in the game with an Electric/Fighting typing, and it can learn a fantastic move set complete with the new Revival Blessing move. This move is perfect for the heat of battle when gamers are low on or out of Revives.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet is available now for the Nintendo Switch.