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Confuses the target. Despite being a Ghost-type move, it will successfully confuse Normal-type targets. Pokemon protected by Magic Coat or the ability Magic Bounce are unaffected and instead redirect this move back to the user. Pokemon with the ability Own Tempo are immune.
This is the best non-damaging confusion move in the game (though admittedly that's not saying much). Confuse Ray is a 100% accuracy move that induces confusion to any Pokemon, unless they have the ability Own Tempo or are protected by Safeguard. Very few battlers will use it, as it's not appealing for trainers to bet on a 50% chance for the target not to attack. In this fast and offensive metagame, there is simply not enough time for it to provide a return on the turns taken to use it, especially as the target can always just switch out. Generally, it is preferably to use something like Machamp's DynamicPunch, which not only does damage but also keeps offensive momentum.
In most cases, the only trainers who will use Confuse Ray competitively are those who are trying to annoy you to death, such as on the infamous Thunder Wave / Attract / Confuse Ray Snow Cloak Froslass in the hail. More commonly, it is used on bulky Pokemon in conjunction with a paralysis move to create the annoying "parafusion" condition, in which case the target has only a 25% chance to successfully pull off a move on average. A notable user of that technique is Regigigas, who will often have to stall for several turns to be rid of its Slow Start ability.