A Move is a technique that a Pokémon uses during Battles. Moves are mainly used to inflict damage on the opponent. Moves usually come from a natural ability that the specific Pokémon has. Some moves can be used both inside and outside of battle. When outside of battle, moves are usually used for transportation or for removing a certain obstacle that the player runs into in the game. There are three types of moves: Physical, Special, and Status. Each type holds a different kind of effect when used.
From Generation IV onward, every individual move is designated as either physical or special, independent of its type.
Moves used to be referred to as attacks in the 4Kids dubbing of the anime, while in the Pokémon USA dubbing of the series, they are referred to as moves now.
Furthermore, all Pokémon moves have an elemental type associated with them. Depending on the type of Pokémon one faces, this can make a move "super effective", "not very effective", or have no effect at all.
A physical move (
There are also a small number of special moves introduced in Generation V that are said to deal physical damage; although these moves are classified as special moves, they too deal damage based on the defending Pokémon's Defense stat (as opposed to its Special Defense).
Prior to Generation IV, all damaging moves from the following types were considered Physical:
Most moves in this category have to do with dealing damage through 'physical' contact with the target, like a punch or kick. These moves can also activate a Pokémon's contact ability such as Static or Poison Point.
Other physical moves are non-contact. Some involve some sort of 'physical' power being used, while other moves involve the launching of attacks that have solid forms or is related to ones that do.
A special move (
In Generation I, special moves cause damage depending on the Special stats of both the attacking Pokémon and the defending Pokémon. In later generations, special moves typically deal damage depending on the Special Attack stat of the attacking Pokémon and the Special Defense stat of the defending Pokémon. However, a small number of special moves introduced in Generation V actually deal physical move damage, with their damage calculation being dependent on the defending Pokémon's Defense instead of its Special Defense stat.
While most special moves do not make contact, some do. For example, Grass Knot makes contact despite being a special move.
Prior to Generation IV, damaging moves from the following types were considered Special:
A status move (
The majority of Normal- and Psychic-type moves, as well as the only ???-type move (prior to Generation V, when the type was discontinued), are in this category. Very few moves of the other 16 types are status moves; for example, there are only two status moves each that are Dragon type and Fire type.
A move's accuracy rating is a number between 0 and 100, inclusive, that indicates the probability that the move will hit. The exact probability also depends on the user's accuracy stat and the target's evasion stat. By default, these stats are equal to one and do not exist outside of battle.
The accuracy rating is the percentage chance that the move hits. For example, Fire Blast, which has an accuracy rating of 85, has an 85% chance to hit and a 15% chance to miss.
Note that an accuracy rating of 100, as seen in moves such as Thunderbolt, is not equivalent to the property of ignoring accuracy and evasion checks to never miss, as seen in Aerial Ace. While neither kind of move will ever miss under default accuracy and evasion settings, the first kind can still miss if the user's accuracy is less than one or if the target's evasion is greater than one.
The game uses a random number generator to generate a random integer between one and 100, inclusive, to decide if a move hits or misses. If the randomly generated integer is less than or equal to the effective accuracy of the move after accounting for accuracy/evasion modifiers, if any, the move hits.
Moves with high damage power (such as Focus Blast) or have powerful side effects (such as guaranteed paralysis in the case of Zap Cannon) often have relatively low accuracy to compensate for their powerful effects. Moves that knock out the target in one hit (namely Sheer Cold, Guillotine, Fissure, and Horn Drill) have an abysmal accuracy rating of only 30% specifically to make it much harder to ease through battles with them.