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Deals damage and has a 10% chance to burn the target.
In singles, the increase in Base Power from Flamethrower to Heat Wave isn't worth the chance of an untimely miss. Only use Heat Wave if the Pokemon you're using also lacks alternative Fire-type moves, particularly Flamethrower and Fire Blast; good examples include the flock of Pokemon that obtain it as a DPP tutor move, such as Zapdos, Honchkrow, and Crobat.
However, in doubles, Heat Wave should be your Fire-type move of choice. Being able to damage both opponents is well worth the slight drop in Base Power. Whenever you can, give your Fire-types Heat Wave to roast both opponents at once.
Flamethrower is a slightly less powerful but more accurate alternative.
Fire Blast is a more powerful but less accurate alternative.