The subject of this thread is exactly what it sounds like — a wishlist for changes to various aspects of Pokémon battles. By "modify", however, I don't mean introducing brand-new Pokémon or moves; I mean tweaking the properties of existing moves, Abilities, held items, and other such things for the sake of a more balanced metagame. I'll start off with some of my ideas.
Moves I would change:
Moves I would change:
- Sucker Punch: Increase PP from 5 to 10 (maybe 15): Ever since its inception in Gen IV, Sucker Punch has always felt like an inferior Extreme Speed to me. When Sucker Punch was first introduced, both it and Extreme Speed were Physical moves with +1 priority, 80 Base Power, and 5 PP. The only differences between the two were typing (Extreme Speed is Normal, Sucker Punch is Dark) and that Sucker Punch has the caveat of failing if the target is not using an attacking move (or if the target uses an increased-priority move and acts before the user of Sucker Punch). This makes Sucker Punch feel like a poor mon's Extreme Speed (despite their different placements on the type chart), and that impression only grew stronger with Extreme Speed getting a priority buff from +1 to +2 and Sucker Punch getting a power nerf from 80 to 70 in following generations, further increasing the utility disparity between the two moves and giving Pokémon that can learn both Sucker Punch and Extreme Speed (and have STAB on neither or both) very little reason to use the former instead of the latter. Extreme Speed is meant to be a slightly overpowered move, since its above-average balance of power and priority is balanced not only by its low PP, but by giving it to a very small number of Pokémon. This means that nerfing Extreme Speed is not a proper solution. Instead, I would give Sucker Punch exactly the kind of buff that a tricky-to-use move like it needs: more PP, allowing it to be used more frequently (but most definitely not to the extent of "standard-issue" priority attacks such as Quick Attack, Bullet Punch, or Shadow Sneak), giving it more chances to be used successfully.
- Recycle: Allow Recycle to recover an item removed by Knock Off: It makes no sense that an item removed via Knock Off cannot be recovered with Recycle; unlike similar moves, such as Incinerate, Bug Bite, and Pluck, Knock Off doesn't literally destroy the item it removes, but simply knocks it down to the ground, where it presumably remains because the disarmed Pokémon is too busy fighting to pick its item back up (and may not even think to do so without orders from its Trainer; this would be consistent with the franchise depicting Pokémon battles as partnership affairs where the Pokémon engage in the actual combat while their Trainers handle the tactics). So, using Recycle to recover an item removed by Knock Off would involve, well, the Pokémon picking its item back up. (Of course, picking the item back up means that the Pokémon can have its item knocked off all over again, and given that Knock Off hits 50% harder when removing an item, giving the foe another opportunity to do precisely that may not be a wise decision.) However, a Pokémon can only recover its own held item in this way; it cannot collect an item knocked off of a teammate.
- Rollout: Treated as a ball move (blocked by Bulletproof): Rollout and its variant Ice Ball are executed in literally the exact same way, with the user charging at its opponent while curled up in a ball; the only difference is that Ice Ball throws a layer of ice on top of the Pokémon rolling at its foe. It makes absolutely no sense that Bulletproof (an Ability that generally negates projectiles) can block Ice Ball and not Rollout; it should block neither or both of them. I've decided that Bulletproof should negate them both, as while both Chesnaught and Kommo-o can tank Rollout pretty easily regardless, Ice Ball might give them some trouble; it's not like anybody seriously uses those moves anyway, since they have several drawbacks that make them impractical for battles between Trainers who know what they’re doing and Pokémon that have viable alternatives (weak initial power, requirement to be used several times in a row to hit hard, below-100% accuracy, and, most damningly, locking the user into repeatedly performing them until they miss or execute 5 times in a row (allowing a bulky, heavily-resistant Pokémon to switch in and effortlessly tank, having free turns to set up or deal damage while its foe is forced to ineffectually attack)).
- Night Shade: Increase PP from 15 to 20: Can anyone explain to me why Night Shade gets less PP than Seismic Toss? The only real difference between the two is which type blocks them (Normal blocks Night Shade, Ghost blocks Seismic Toss) and whether they can be countered by Counter or Mirror Coat. However, Night Shade is available to far fewer Pokémon than Seismic Toss (Seismic Toss was a TM in Generation I and a tutor move in Generation III, while Night Shade has never been afforded either privilege), and Night Shade fails to affect more Pokémon than Seismic Toss (Normal-type Pokémon are far more common than Ghost-type Pokémon); I would wonder why their PP counts aren’t the other way around, but that would be just as unfair, and many Pokémon have more than 300 HP by level 100, so a Pokémon whose best damage output amounts to “use Seismic Toss or Night Shade over and over and over again” is required to be able to keep at it for a long time in order to have even a half-decent chance to succeed. (Ever watched two Blissey duke it out one-on-one? Me neither, but I doubt it would be very entertaining.) Thus, it makes more sense to bring Night Shade’s PP up to match Seismic Toss than it does to bring Seismic Toss’s PP down to match Night Shade.
- Teleport: Causes user to switch (as if using U-Turn or Parting Shot, albeit without attacking another Pokémon) if used during a Trainer battle, increase PP from 20 to 40, and ignore trapping moves and Abilities: Teleport shares the same niche as Whirlwind and Roar — instantly ending a battle with a wild Pokémon. While Whirlwind and Roar achieve this by sending the wild Pokémon elsewhere, Teleport ends the battle by removing the user from it. In Generation I, all three of these moves are completely useless in battles with Trainers, since fleeing from such battles is not allowed. This was addressed in Generation II by modifying Whirlwind and Roar in Trainer battles so that they would send a Trainer’s Pokémon back to its Poké Ball, forcing its Trainer to deploy another randomly-chosen Pokémon from their team in order to replace it; as a result, these moves have become invaluable tools for canceling bad matchups, dispelling status buffs, and abusing entry hazards, among other things. However, Teleport remains completely useless for PVP; since it makes no sense for Teleport to make the opponent go away like Roar and Whirlwind, my solution for this issue is to simply make it a “switch out” button. That’s literally all Teleport does when used on a Trainer (it still flees the battle entirely against a wild Pokémon, and now does so more reliably due to some secondary buffs I gave it). Teleport doesn’t attack the foe on the way out, like U-turn or Volt Switch (though since Teleport doesn’t attack the foe, it can’t be stopped by blocking or dodging the attack, nor can it be punished with things like Rough Skin or Flame Body). It doesn’t reduce the foe’s stats, like Parting Shot (though this also means it can’t run afoul of something like Contrary or Defiant). It doesn’t transmit stat changes and volatile status conditions, like Baton Pass (though its inability to transfer buffs and perks like Aqua Ring and Substitute is also an inability to transfer debuffs and ailments like Leech Seed and confusion). Teleport just sends its user back to its Poké Ball so that another Pokémon can be deployed in its place. Usually, if you’re going to use a move (and the moveslot you have to put it in) instead of the dedicated switch command to pull your Pokémon out of battle, you want your Pokémon to be accomplishing something on its way out; after all, switching occurs at priority bracket +7, outpacing literally everything else in the game (except for an opponent using Pursuit), and every Pokémon, no matter how versatile, is limited to having only four moves available to it during a given battle (or less, if the movepool of the Pokémon in question is completely and utterly terrible (hi, Unown), PP supplies run dry, a Choice item or Assault Vest is being held, or the opponent starts actively messing with your arsenal with moves like Taunt, Torment, and Disable). However, the key word in the last sentence is “usually”; as I previously mentioned, all of the other dedicated switch-out moves can backfire in some way. U-Turn and Volt Tackle can be blocked or dodged by things like Protect, evasion, or, in Volt Tackle’s case, immunity via typing or Ability, causing the U-Turn/Volt Switch to fail entirely and its user to stay on the battlefield, wrecking your momentum, and the fact that they make contact with the foe means that they’ll trigger nasty stuff like Rough Skin and Poison Point. Parting Shot can actually increase the stats of a foe with an Ability that reacts to or inverts debuffs (go ahead, Parting Shot a Bisharp or Serperior, see how well that works out for you). And Baton Pass could end up transferring some nasty impediments that switching normally or with a different move would get rid of. Buffed Teleport avoids all of these issues while still retaining the benefits of using a move to switch. Because Teleport’s priority is +0, rather than +7, a slow Teleport user could take a hit before leaving the field, allowing its tag-in teammate to arrive unmolested; switching normally leaves a Pokémon entering the field completely vulnerable to whatever’s being thrown at it that turn before it’s allowed to act. Teleport also circumvents things that would normally disable the switch command, like Wrap, Magma Storm, Mean Look, Spirit Shackle, Arena Trap, and Shadow Tag (it didn’t do that before I buffed it, but I felt like I had to do this to give Teleport a niche that justifies using it). While Teleport, like every other move, is limited by its Power Points, a restriction not shared by manual switching, Teleport at least has 40 Power Points to work with, compared to U-Turn and Volt Switch's 20 (okay, Teleport originally had 20 PP, but I thought that was pretty dumb). Teleport even allows a Pokémon under the effect of Ingrain to exit battle, something that can only otherwise be achieved by using Baton Pass (putting Ingrain on the next Pokémon) or by fainting (which means that the Pokémon can’t return to the field without a Revive) (and, no, Teleport circumventing Ingrain is not something I added in myself — I went to Bulbapedia to check). Buffed Teleport lacks the bells and whistles of other switch-out moves, but this is its strength as well as its shortcoming. In certain situations, it’s the ideal way to tag out. The main downside to the buffs I've given Teleport is that Abra is now a complete pain in the ass to catch. Better stock up on Quick Balls...
- Bug Bite & Leech Life: Treated as biting moves (boosted by Strong Jaw): Both Bug Bite and Leech Life are consistently described as biting the enemy in order to deal damage and execute their secondary effect (stealing and using Berries for Bug Bite, draining HP for Leech Life), with Bug Bite being depicted as grabbing the foe’s Berry while biting it and Leech Life being depicted as sucking the foe’s blood (hence why it’s given to bloodsucking Pokémon such as the Zubat line (which are vampire bats, the most well-known bloodsucking vertebrates (not counting mythological beings such as, well, vampires)), the Spinarak line (spiders aren’t quite bloodsuckers, but they do suck up their prey’s innards after liquefying said innards with their venom, which is fairly similar to bloodsucking in terms of the required mouthparts), and Buzzwole (which, as an Ultra Beast, doesn’t quite match up with anything found on Earth, but is clearly based heavily on the mosquito, the most well-known bloodsucking invertebrate)). Since both involve biting the opponent, it’s mystifying that neither move gets a power boost from Strong Jaw. I would definitely tweak the move flags so that Bug Bite and Leech Life are considered as biting moves and receive a boost from Strong Jaw. (Oddly, there aren’t any Pokémon with Strong Jaw that can learn Bug Bite or Leech Life, but that hasn’t stopped other moves from being boosted by Abilities which none of the move’s potential users can have, such as Iron Fist boosting Meteor Mash or Mega Launcher boosting Origin Pulse.)
- Purify: Increase HP recovery from 50% to 75%: Purify is similar to Recover, except that it targets another Pokémon and checks for a non-volatile status condition; if they have one, it removes the status condition and restores the user's HP, but if they don't, it does nothing. It doesn't feel right to me that the move is conditional but restores the same amount of HP as Recover. Even in the best-case scenario where a non-volatile status condition is applied to a Pokémon and Purify is used on the next turn (and the targeted Pokémon isn't switched out and replaced with something without a non-volatile status condition), Purify is only half as efficient as Recover. My fix for this would be to improve Purify's HP recovery from 50% to 75%. This still isn't as efficient as using Recover every turn, but regaining more HP immediately makes it worth using over Recover, and a Pokémon using Recover every turn is really only delaying its defeat unless it has put a lot of repeated passive damage (e.g. poison/burn, Leech Seed, Ghost-Curse, binding, etc.) on its enemy. It also doesn't regain as much immediate HP as Rest or Swallow, but Swallow requires 3 turns of setup (specifically using the move Stockpile 3 times) to reach max potential (using it with no Stockpile stacks does nothing and using it with 1 or 2 Stockpile stacks recovers substantially less HP), and Rest can only be used once every 3 turns, or every 2 turns with Early Bird (it puts the user to sleep, preventing the use of all moves except for Snore and Sleep Talk, and even if Sleep Talk calls Rest, it fails if the user is already asleep).
- Sticky Web: Allow up to 3 stacks: Sticky Web feels artificially limited by being limited to one stack — a stat can generally rise or fall up to 3 stages in a single move, Ability trigger, et cetera (unless that move or Ability was Belly Drum or Anger Point, or the stat stage modifications are doubled by Simple). Thus, allowing Sticky Web to stack up to three times (just like Spikes) would fit with the typical limits of stat drops; one layer is a standard Speed drop, two layers is a harsh Speed drop, and three layers is a severe Speed drop. More layers than that would never be worth anyone's time; indeed, one layer is usually enough to outspeed the opponent, so the main reason for having more layers is to provide better speed insurance for especially slow Pokémon or to maximize the power of Electro Ball (moreso versus Water-type Pokémon unless you also have Gravity).
- Iron Fist: Increase power boost from 20% to 40%: This buff stems from comparing Iron Fist to two closely-related abilities: Tough Claws and Strong Jaw. All three boost the power of moves that make contact, but Tough Claws increases the power of all contact moves (not just the ones that involve scratching, slashing, or tearing with sharp implements, as the name would imply), while Iron Fist exclusively boosts punching moves and Strong Jaw exclusively boosts biting moves. This is where the problem lies; Iron Fist only boosts a fraction of the moves boosted by Tough Claws, and yet Iron Fist provides a weaker boost. There is literally no reason why a Pokémon would prefer to have Iron Fist instead of Tough Claws, and unlike similar cases of one Ability or set of Abilities completely outclassing another (like Water Bubble in comparison to Water Veil and Torrent or Huge/Pure Power in comparison to Hustle and Guts), this is not justified by giving the stronger ability exclusively to weaker Pokémon (though Tough Claws is admittedly not given to a large number of Pokémon, but neither Iron Fist nor Strong Jaw is given to a substantially greater number); some Pokémon with Iron Fist actually have low-ish Attack stats, such as Hitmonchan (base 105, equal to Mega Mawile without Huge Power (more on that later)), Infernape (base 104, moderately above average), and Ledian (base 35, flat-out terrible), though the remainder (Conkeldurr, Golurk, Pangoro, and Crabominable) all have 124 or better base Attack to work with (Crabominable has 132 and Cokeldurr has 140). Unlike Technician (which gives a 50% boost, equal to Strong Jaw), the power of Tough Claws relative to Iron Fist is not even justified by giving a stronger boost to weaker moves, and unlike Sheer Force (30% boost to moves with secondary effects) or Hustle (50% boost, which technically applies to Attack rather than move power, but most contact moves are physical anyway), Tough Claws doesn't take anything away from the moves it boosts in exchange for the increased power. As a group, moves that make contact range in power from terrible (Tackle, Astonish, Aqua Jet (the latter being redeemed by its increased priority)) to terrifying (Flare Blitz, Giga Impact, Head Smash). Both punching moves and biting moves never reach this level of power (outside of Focus Punch), though punching moves are overall more powerful than biting moves (Crunch (with 80 Base Power) and Psychic Fangs (with 85 Base Power) are literally the only biting moves with Base Power worth using, while punching moves tend to have fairly good Base Power). Furthermore, there are fewer biting moves than punching moves. However, nerfing Tough Claws would be deeply unfair to Mega Charizard X and Mega Aerodactyl, both of whom are (in a similar vein to Mega Mawile and Mega Medicham) heavily reliant on their Ability to hit hard enough to compete with other Mega Pokémon for the one-Mega-Evolution-per-team limit. So, the solution is simple: make Iron Fist stronger than Tough Claws, but weaker than Strong Jaw. This gives the three Abilities a solid balance of versatility and power relative to each other.
- Reckless: Increase power boost from 20% to 40% (maybe 35%): This change has the same reasoning as the buff to Iron Fist. With one exception (Light of Ruin, which is not available to any Pokémon with Reckless), every move that inflicts recoil damage is also a move that makes contact, so a Pokémon with Tough Claws gets a boost to (almost) everything boosted with Reckless and a whole lot more. And nerfing Tough Claws would be too detrimental to the Pokémon who rely on it to hit as hard as they need to to justify their usage. At the same time, moves that inflict recoil damage have that as the drawback to their amazing Base Power (even Take Down, while completely outclassed by Return in competitive formats, is quite powerful when compared to other moves available at the point where most Pokémon learn it in-game (even in games where Return is available that early, a player isn't expected to have their Pokémon at maximum happiness by then), while Volt Tackle is kept exclusive to the Pikachu line for some silly reason, forcing Electric-type physical attackers not named Zekrom or Zeraora to rely on Wild Charge or Thunder Punch as their only viable STAB moves (but, seriously, if Electivire or Zebstrika got Volt Tackle, they might actually be viable in tiers above NU, and Volt Tackle sure doesn't make up for Pikachu's terrible NFE base stats or Raichu's lackluster stats)). Thus, while Reckless needs a boost to make it worth using instead of Tough Claws, and it has a similar number of compatible moves to Strong Jaw, the boost to Reckless can't be too big or else it becomes broken. I feel like 40% is a good number that is consistent with other power boosts, but that may still be too strong, so I may settle with 35%.
- Rock Head: Original effect + Retaliation damage & effect chances reduced by 50%: Rock Head and Overcoat are both outclassed by Magic Guard in the sense that Magic Guard blocks everything that Rock Head and Overcoat do, combined, plus more stuff on top of that. Except that statement was only true of Overcoat back in its debut during Gen V, in which it did nothing but block weather damage. In fact, Overcoat was also largely outclassed by Air Lock and Cloud Nine in that respect (the latter two abilities shut weather down entirely, though doing this has the side-effect of preventing weather damage to the opponent as well). However, from Gen VI onward, Overcoat also blocks powder moves like Sleep Powder, Stun Spore, Poison Powder, and Spore, giving it a niche that Magic Guard can't touch (though Magic Guard users don't care about being poisoned, they're still debilitated by sleep and paralysis). The same cannot be said of Rock Head, which only blocks recoil damage, and a lot of Pokémon with it can't even make proper use of it, since their recoil moves are outclassed by other options available to them. (For one example, why the hell would Golem use Rock Head Double-Edge when its STAB Earthquake and Rock Slide/Stone Edge hit most Pokémon harder?!? And Aerodactyl would love to get Brave Bird and Head Smash, but as long as Double-Edge is the only competitively-viable recoil move in Aerodactyl's movepool, it has no use for Rock Head, since it could just be using Rock Slide or Stone Edge instead of Double-Edge and do more damage to most Pokémon (Aerodactyl doesn’t actually get any Flying-type moves with more than 90 Base Power, including two-turn moves).) However, I struggled to come up with a way to buff Rock Head that wouldn’t make another Ability obsolete. My first consideration was to prevent the user from taking critical hits, under the rationale that their hard head denied the opponent from assaulting it as a weak point; however, this would have made Shell Armor and Battle Armor obsolete, and having Rock Head negate only 50% of critical hits or some other fraction would make it hard to see the benefit of having it. Preventing flinching was another consideration, under the reasoning that the Pokémon would be too hard-headed to suffer concussions, but that had the same issues as critical hit prevention (100% flinch prevention makes Inner Focus obsolete, while less-than-100% flinch prevention would be hard to appreciate or explain (the game doesn't report when an Ability blocks a secondary effect)). Yet another thought I had was giving a small boost to the bearer’s Defense — roughly 20%. However, this felt like it was either too insubstantial or rather broken, and I couldn't figure out which. Finally, under the logic that since Rock Head already prevents the user from hurting itself in a collision, it would also prevent the user from getting hurt from the collision at all, I considered having Rock Head grant immunity to effects that punish contact moves, such as Rough Skin, Iron Barbs, Rocky Helmet, Spiky Shield, Static, Poison Point, Flame Body, King's Shield, and Aftermath. However, not only does this come dangerously close to rendering Long Range obsolete (the only thing Long Range does that this buffed Rock Head wouldn't is bypass Fluffy), but this buffed Rock Head is still largely inferior to Magic Guard (pretty much the only things it stops that Magic Guard doesn't which a Magic Guard user would actually care about is burns from Flame Body and Beak Blast (assuming the Magic Guard user cares about its physical Attack (hint: Alakazam, Clefable, and Sigilyph do not care about losing Attack)), paralysis from Static and Effect Spore (to be fair, any Pokémon would be annoyed by this), sleep from Effect Spore (not frequent, but very annoying when it happens), Attack drops from King's Shield (see note on burns), and Speed drops from Gooey or Tangling Hair (some Pokémon would hate this, others wouldn't care)). Eventually, I hit upon the idea of tweaking this concept into 50% resistance to all forms of retaliation, whether active or passive, in addition to the original immunity to recoil damage; the idea is that a Pokémon with Rough Head is so physically tough and well-reinforced that its sheer fortitude makes it difficult to turn its power against it. This, of course, requires me to define what is and is not considered "retaliation" for the purpose of the new and improved Rock Head, and many of these things are things that Magic Guard already protects against (and protects against better, given that its effect is full immunity to indirect damage rather than merely 50%), but some of them are not, and that grants Rock Head a significant niche which Magic Guard does not share.
- Counterattack moves (Counter, Mirror Coat, Metal Burst, Bide, Shell Trap, Beak Blast, Avalanche, and Revenge) are considered retaliation effects. The damage dealt by Counter, Mirror Coat, Metal Burst, and Bide is directly based on the amount of damage received by their user between when the move was selected and when it was executed (though Bide is the only one that tracks accumulated damage from being hit several times between selection and execution; the others only account for the most recent hit taken). Shell Trap, while not dependent on received damage to determine how much damage it deals, still fails if its user has not been hit with a physical attack while trying to execute it. Beak Blast is not a counterattack in and of itself, but punishes contact moves that strike its user while they are preparing the move by inflicting a burn. Finally, Avalanche and Revenge deal double damage if their user took damage during the turn on which they are used (i.e. between selection and execution). Thus, buffed Rock Head would halve damage taken from all of these moves, with the exception of Beak Blast; for Beak Blast, the user of Rock Head instead has a 50% chance of not being burned upon striking the user of Beak Blast with a contact move. (This is the primary niche buffed Rock Head has over Magic Guard; as all of these "counter" moves are considered to be attacks, Magic Guard does not prevent or reduce damage dealt by them. The only overlap here is burns from Beak Blast, which would still happen to a Pokémon with Magic Guard using a contact move on a Beak Blast user, but the Magic Guard user would not lose HP from the burn.)
- Payback is not considered a counterattack nor a retaliatory effect. While it is similar to Revenge and Avalanche in that it gains power by moving after the opponent, Payback's condition for boosting its power is precisely that: that the user move last (and unlike Revenge and Avalanche, Payback does not have negative priority to ensure that its user moves last). There is no requirement to take damage before using Payback in order to enhance it. Buffed Rock Head does not halve damage taken from Payback.
- Moves whose damage or effectiveness are influenced by the user's remaining HP (i.e. Flail, Reversal, Endeavor, Eruption, and Water Spout), as well as Abilities whose effects are based on the same condition (i.e. Overgrow, Blaze, Torrent, and Swarm), are not considered retaliatory effects, as they do not care how or when their user lost their HP, only how much HP they have compared to their maximum HP. Buffed Rock Head does not halve damage taken from Flail, Reversal, Endeavor, Eruption, or Water Spout, nor does it halve damage from an attack boosted by Overgrow, Blaze, Torrent, or Swarm.
- "Parry-and-punish" moves (Powder, King's Shield, Spiky Shield, and Baneful Bunker) stop attacks targeting their users (or performed by a targeted Pokémon in the case of Powder) and then impose a penalty on the Pokémon that attempted the attack; because they respond to attacks, they are considered retaliatory effects. Powder covers a Pokémon in powder for a turn, and if that Pokémon attempts to use a Fire-type move, the move fails and the Pokémon loses HP equal to 25% of its max HP. King's Shield, Spiky Shield, and Baneful Bunker all negate attacks in the same fashion as Protect (though King's Shield does not work against status moves), and if the blocked attack made contact, each imposes a different penalty; King's Shield reduces the attacker's Attack by 2 stages, Spiky Shield removes HP from the attacker equal to 1/8 of the attacker's maximum HP, and Baneful Bunker poisons the attacker. Buffed Rock Head halves the removed HP from Powder and Spiky Shield to 1/8 and 1/16, respectively; for King's Shield and Baneful Bunker, it instead grants a 50% chance that the Pokémon with Rock Head will not suffer an Attack drop from King's Shield or be poisoned by Baneful Bunker. Buffed Rock Head does not prevent moves from failing due to Powder or being blocked by King's Shield, Spiky Shield, or Baneful Bunker; it only reduces damage or potentially prevents effects other than outright HP reduction as a direct result of a move being blocked or negated. (Buffed Rock Head also does not reduce poison damage from poison caused by Baneful Bunker, as poison damage is never considered a retaliatory effect; by the time poison damage occurs, the game no longer cares how the poison was inflicted beyond whether or not it is considered bad poison.)
- Moves that simply block attacks without parrying or punishing them, such as Protect and Detect, are not considered retaliatory effects. A protection move that buffs, heals, or otherwise grants a boon to its user upon blocking an attack does not currently exist; it would be considered a retaliatory effect if it did, but buffed Rock Head would be unable to prevent any effect that has no direct impact on the user of Rock Head.
- Technically, any Ability or held item that does something when its bearer is attacked (regardless of whether this is with any attack or only with a contact move) could be considered a retaliatory effect; however, buffed Rock Head is only able to do anything about effects that affect the Pokémon with Rock Head. This means that buffed Rock Head does not prevent its bearer from causing stat changes in Pokémon with Stamina, Rattled, Justified, Anger Point, Weak Armor, or a Pokémon holding an Absorb Bulb, Cell Battery, or Weakness Policy, nor does it let its bearer bypass Disguise, Color Change, or any of the various type-immunity Abilities (and likewise does not prevent the effects of a type-immunity Ability upon negating an attack, such as healing from Volt Absorb or Water Absorb). Buffed Rock Head does, however, halve HP loss from Rough Skin, Iron Barbs, and Rocky Helmet (to 1/16 max HP for Rough Skin and Iron Barbs and to 1/12 max HP for Rocky Helmet) and halve the success rate of Cursed Body, Cute Charm, Effect Spore, Flame Body, Gooey, Mummy, Pickpocket, Poison Point, Static, and Tangling Hair. Of those effects, only Gooey, Mummy, Pickpocket, and Tangling Hair have a default success rate of 100%, which buffed Rock Head cuts to 50%; Cursed Body, Cute Charm, Effect Spore, Flame Body, Poison Point, and Static have default success rates of 30%, which buffed Rock Head's 50% protection applies to multiplicatively, resulting in an effective success rate of 15%.
- Effects which directly punish a Pokémon for causing their user to faint (Destiny Bond, Grudge, Aftermath, and Innards Out) are considered to be retaliatory effects. Destiny Bond KOs the Pokémon whose attack KO'd its user, while Grudge instead eliminates all the PP of the move that KO'd its user. Aftermath removes 1/4 of the maximum HP of the Pokémon which knocks out its user with a contact move, while Innards Out removes HP from the Pokémon whose attack KO'd its user by an amount equal to the HP of the user of Innards Out immediately prior to taking the hit that knocked it out. Buffed Rock Head halves HP loss caused by Destiny Bond, Aftermath, and Innards Out (to 1/2 remaining HP, 1/8 max HP, and 1/2 Innards Out user's HP, respectively) and halves PP loss caused by Grudge (to 1/2 remaining PP).
- The move Retaliate is, despite its name, not a retaliatory effect because it has nothing to do with its user taking damage or being knocked out; its Base Power is instead doubled if one of its user's teammates fainted last turn, which may or may not be the fault of a Pokémon with Rock Head. Buffed Rock Head does not halve damage taken from Retaliate.
- The Ability Guts and the move Facade are not retaliatory effects because they only care whether or not their user is currently suffering from a non-volatile status condition (specifically poison, paralysis, or a burn in Facade's case); they do not care when or how that non-volatile status condition was inflicted. Buffed Rock Head does not halve damage taken from Facade, nor does it halve damage from an attack boosted by Guts. Buffed Rock Head also does not impede another Pokémon transmitting their non-volatile status condition to Rock Head's user with Psycho Shift, as Psycho Shift does not care when or how the non-volatile status effect it transfers was inflicted, but buffed Rock Head does halve the success rate of Synchronize, as Synchronize attempts to copy a non-volatile status condition onto the Pokémon that inflicted it at the moment the status condition was inflicted. (Marvel Scale and Quick Feet are also not retaliatory effects by the same logic as Guts, but Marvel Scale has absolutely nothing to do with dealing damage or harmful effects to other Pokémon and Quick Feet only influences damage from moves that care about Speed values (Gyro Ball and Electro Ball), so this distinction is not important.)
- Pressure is a retaliatory effect which doubles the PP consumption of moves targeting its bearer. Buffed Rock Head halves PP loss caused by Pressure, which ends up being the same thing as negating it unless it's simultaneously attacking 3 or more Pokémon with Pressure. Yes, the Pokémon is so hard-headed that it can barrel right through intense pressure with no ill effects.
- Confusion is not a retaliatory effect, but self-inflicted damage from confusion is, well, self-inflicted, and so it is halved by buffed Rock Head. Buffed Rock Head does not prevent a confused Pokémon from forfeiting its turn (without consuming PP) by attacking itself.
- Buffed Rock Head still does not reduce or eliminate the HP price that must be paid in order to use moves such as Substitute, Curse (as a Ghost-type), Belly Drum, and Mind Blown, nor does it prevent recoil damage from Struggle. There is a difference between hurting yourself as a side-effect of going all-out with a dangerous attack, exerting yourself beyond the limits of complete exhaustion, and literally using your own life force as fuel to perform sorcerous techniques; having a hard head can only protect you from the first of those things.
- Buffed Rock Head does not prevent the user from flinching if it takes damage while trying to perform Focus Punch. Even having a hard head doesn’t keep a Pokémon from being distracted from an activity requiring its absolute, utmost concentration.
- Oblivious: Original effect + blocks Torment: Taunt and Torment have always felt like extremely similar and closely-related moves to me. Both prevent the target from using their moves freely, though Taunt prevents all status moves and wears off on its own after a while, while Torment prevents whichever move the target most recently used and doesn’t wear off until forced to wear off (usually by switching out). Furthermore, both are flavored as working by driving the target into a judgment-impairing rage; the reason they can't use their moves freely is because they're simply too angry and/or disgusted to think clearly. It makes sense, then, that Oblivious blocks Taunt; the Oblivious Pokémon doesn't even notice the attempt to piss it off. What doesn't make sense to me is why Oblivious doesn't block Torment, as the exact same reasoning could apply. So this is yet another tweak I would make if I had any say in the matter. (However, Oblivious does not block Disable or Imprison, as they do not make any attempt to mentally/emotionally manipulate their target.)
- Long Range: Original Effect + Effect of Quick Claw (does not stack with actually holding Quick Claw): Historically speaking, the primary advantage ranged combat has held over melee combat is that ranged combat, well, works from a distance. If your opponent has to close the distance between himself (or herself) and you in order to attack you, and you do not have to close that distance in order to attack him (or her), then you can hit him (or her) before he (or she) hits you, which is a huge advantage. Even if a ranged-specialist warrior can't run or react as fast as his/her melee-specialized opponent, the long-range fighter will still virtually always get the first attack off if given enough distance. Most Pokémon battles are assumed to already take place within relatively close quarters, nullifying most of the benefit of fighting from a distance, but a Pokémon like Decidueye that already relies largely on long-ranged attacks should still be able to use that quality to occasionally strike first, even if its opponent is technically faster. Thus, Long Range now gets around the issue of Magic Guard (and buffed Rock Head) avoiding most of what Long Range avoids by having a chance to bypass Speed entirely (while still remaining within the priority bracket of its selected move, e.g. Leafage never hits before Quick Attack) in an identical fashion to the Quick Claw item. However, much like how Stench mimics the effect of the King's Rock item but does not stack with it, buffed Long Range mimics Quick Claw, but does not allow for an enhanced benefit by having both. This new benefit of Long Range works regardless of whether or not the Long Range user is using a move that would otherwise make contact with its target.
- Run Away: Allows user to switch out regardless of other circumstances (as if it was a Ghost-type or holding a Shed Shell): Run Away is a sorely underpowered Ability that is literally useless against in-game Trainers, let alone in competitive matches. However, if its “can always escape” effect was extended to switching — in other words, if it had the same effect as holding a Shed Shell — Run Away would suddenly become invaluable, giving its bearers far more breathing room against the likes of Wobbuffet, Dugtrio, Gothitelle, and Mega Gengar. It would still require good prediction to double switch on a Shadow Tag or Arena Tag user and avoid getting locked in, and Run Away's case isn’t really helped by being given mostly to mediocre Pokémon, but at least it would be a nice Ability to have rather than a complete waste of an Ability slot. Also, like Teleport above, this new effect is a completely natural and logical extension of what Run Away already does, so why Game Freak never made this change themselves is beyond me.
- Pickup: Original effect + Can collect an item removed by Knock Off: Much like Recycle above, this is simply a logical extension of existing game mechanics. An item removed by Knock Off is not destroyed, it is, well, knocked off, and there’s nothing preventing it from being picked back up. Thus, Pickup is able to create a copy of an item removed from a Pokémon via Knock Off and place said copy in the Pickup-user's held item slot, but only if the Pickup-user does not already have a held item. And, yes, Pickup creates a copy; as with consumed berries and other held items, Pickup cannot prevent the item's original holder from reclaiming it with Recycle or Harvest.