Credit to Hack_Guy for original Linked metagame. Programmed by Kris, Slayer95, MacChaeger.
Approved by The Immortal
Led by Ivy and Kris
Selecting a Pokemon's first or second move will cause it to use both of those moves in a row on that same turn.
Fans of the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon spin-off series will likely appreciate this OM based on a special mechanic from those games. An Electivire NPC was able to conjoin up to four of your Pokemon's moves in a sequence, which caused them to all be used in succession but impossible to use individually. The other caveat was that the link became broken upon PP depletion, which was a common occurrence in those games. While four moves in a row would be pure insanity, this metagame does give you the option of linking moveslots one and two.
How do I create and use linked moves?
In the teambuilder, the first and second moveslots (the top one and the one under it) are automatically linked; in the battle screen, this displays as the leftmost move and its neighbor.
To use the linked pair, click one of these moves. Note that whether you click the first or second move does not matter—it will still execute both moves in the link in descending order. You cannot use either move individually. Make sure the order of your moves is correct in the teambuilder if that's important to your combo, because you can't change the order in battle.
That's not really a question but it poses an interesting one nonetheless. Some items are better, and others become nearly useless.
- Choice items: Due to an interaction in gen 7 and 8 mechanics, one cannot physically use another move while Choice locked into the first. For example, a Choice Band user locked into Metronome calls a two-turn move like Dig: trying to actually use Dig on the next turn results in a failure, because the game expects only another Metronome. So, for simplicity's sake, Choice items disable the linking mechanic.
- Rocky Helmet: Each contact-based attack against the holder inflicts the 1/6th HP recoil. Think Mega Kangaskhan counterplay.
- Assault Vest: Don't try to be cheeky and link a status move with an attacking move; it won't work! Only attacking moves can be used.
- Life Orb: Both moves give the usual 10% recoil. Somewhat less useful due to this.
- Focus Sash: Because every Pokemon has access to multi-hit moves, this becomes almost useless.
- Leftovers: Because of the offensive nature of this metagame, Leftovers is somewhat less prevalent in favor of things like the Rocky Helmet.
- Metronome: Only works on non-linked moves. Sorry!
Dynamax is banned in OU and therefore also this metagame. However, theoretically, only one Max Move would ever be selected at a time, temporarily bypassing links similar to how Z-moves worked in gen 7. This could be relevant in a mashup like Linked Ubers, if a tournament gets made with that ruleset, for example.
How does priority work?
Priority of a linked pair is equal to that of the lowest-priority move in the link. So if for example Roar and Crunch are in a link, you will use both Roar and Crunch at the -6 priority bracket. On the other hand, Fake Out and Mach Punch would possess a +1 priority. Note that move priority is calculated before the turn, so even if a move changes priority somehow, both moves are still used in succession.
Paralysis, confusion, sleep?
If you get paralyzed, each move is checked individually. Same goes for confusion and infatuation. Even freeze will do this, so it's quite nerfed, as the effective chance to unfreeze is raised to 36%. Sleep is an exception, and the counter will only increment once per true turn. (Also, Truant will use a turn-based counter.)
What if my U-turn or phaze move goes first?
A general rule of thumb to keep in mind is that all effects of move 1 will follow through before the next move activates. It ought to be pretty intuitive this way. If you U-turn first, you leave before finishing the link (not really useful). If your phaze move is first, the foe gets switched out and then your next move is used on the new Pokemon.
Moves that do things across multiple turns: Hyper Beam cooldown, Charge boost, etc.?
If Hyper Beam, etc. is at the end of a link, your cooldown extends to the next turn. If it's at the front, it will cancel only your next Linked move, allowing you to spam a Hyper Beam every turn at the expense of your linkage. Semi-invulnerable moves like Dig are banned.
Moves like Charge and Laser Focus that affect the immediate following move do just that: they will work on your second linked move, or if at the back of the link, simply transfer to the next turn as usual.
Moves like Thrash, if linked, lock you into the pair. A link such as Outrage and Iron Head will only allow the use of these moves when trapped.
However, the Thrash trapping and Hyper Beam cooldowns are a bit inconsistent with how Choice items behave and original Mystery Dungeon design choices, so these are liable to change.
What if a move is disabled or runs out of PP?
A move being disabled through Disable or Taunt simply halts the link with the move for that duration; you may still use the non-disabled move on its own. And, as in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, losing PP in any of the linked moves will also sever the link. All this means in these scenarios is that you can now use the remaining move as normal; you will not prematurely Struggle in addition to it.
- Standard OU clauses (incl. Dynamax clause, Galarian Darmanitan ban)
- Moves not allowed in slot 1 or 2:
- Protect, Detect, Spiky Shield, Baneful Bunker, King's Shield, Obstruct
- Protecting while attacking or setting up is uncompetitive, even with priority being reduced.
- Super Fang, Nature's Madness, Seismic Toss, Night Shade
- A combination of these 2HKOes essentially the entire metagame and is spammable. Even if paired with normal BP-based moves, they are overpowered in a link.
- Semi-invulnerable two-turn moves such as Dig
- Allows you to use a move while semi-invulnerable every other turn and is in general impractical to code.
- Trick Room
- The extra turn of Trick Room when paired with a pivoting move allows the already powerful playstyle to snowball extremely powerfully.
- Tailwind is a contender as well, but it can be played around more traditionally.
- Protect, Detect, Spiky Shield, Baneful Bunker, King's Shield, Obstruct
- Unburden, Surge Surfer, Swift Swim, Chlorophyll, Sand Rush, Slush Rush (info)
- King's Rock
- Flinch abuse. Imagine Cloyster with a 10-hit skill link move.
- King's Rock
There are a lot of unique pairings that can be taken advantage of under these circumstances. For instance, you can set Tailwind and pivot out on that same turn. A setup move like Swords Dance and an attack can be used in conjunction, creating a massive Ice Ball-type situation. A Pokemon can buff defenses and Recover in one fell swoop. Creativity will be your ally here, but by all means check out some sample sets to get started:
Kommo-o @ Throat Spray
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
- Clangorous Soul
- Clanging Scales
- Flash Cannon
This is the standard OU set, except it can now both boost and Throat Spray Clanging Scales on the same turn. Yowza!
Excadrill @ Life Orb
Ability: Mold Breaker
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
- Swords Dance
- Iron Head
- Stealth Rock
A very offensive Excadrill set that serves to shatter opposing Unaware users, namely Clefable, before they have set up. For this role it is best to pair Swords Dance with Iron Head. A Life Orb maximizes its wallbreaking power. It can also be useful to set up Stealth Rock against the rare Magic Bounce user.
Grimmsnarl @ Light Clay
EVs: 92 HP / 252 Atk / 164 Spe
- Light Screen
- Spirit Break
Grimmsnarl rocks its regular OU set, now with two screens simultaneously, freeing up more turns for mischief to Taunt opposing setup sweepers with and such.
Dubwool @ Leftovers
EVs: 104 HP / 252 Def / 152 Spe
- Cotton Guard
- Body Press
- Thunder Wave
- Body Slam
Once again, this is Dubwool's standard set, except it now boosts and attacks on the same turn. It needs only fear special attackers, haze, and phazing. It also still gets walled by Ghost-types, so those need to be destroyed before trying to use this meme sheep. Orbeetle can run a similar set with Iron Defense and also provide utility with Sticky Web.
Clefable @ Rocky Helmet
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Bold / Calm Nature
- Cosmic Power
- Heal Bell / Toxic
Being able to both bulk up and heal in one turn is great, and with Unaware, Clefable is invaluable against the setup sweepers so prevalent in this metagame. However, Moonlight has extremely low PP, which makes it tricky to not squander. Moonblast prevents it from being complete Taunt bait. The Rocky Helmet inflicts massive damage on any one-two punches from physically oriented foes.
Thanks largely to urkerab from the gen 6 thread.
- Stat-lowering attack + U-turn/Volt Switch. Gets rid of your stat drops.
- Fake Out + switching move. Particularly annoying when using two of them, but they need to outspeed and not get worn down.
- Phazing + switching move. Force your opponent to switch and get a free switch in to your counter.
- Trick Room + switching move. Get your Trick Room user in without wasting time. Guaranteed slow pivot.
- Regenerator + switching move. Can be paired with a STAB move now.
- Rapid Spin + switching move. Get that safe switch-in. (May be preferable to use as a Speed boosting move now.)
- Recharge move + filler. Can be used to spam moves like Hyper Beam every turn.
- Prankster + two status/priority moves, e.g. SubSeed.
- Feint + Quick Attack (RIP Mega Pinsir).
- Feint/Fake Out + Extreme Speed. Still has +2 priority.
- Hitmontop gets Technician + Bullet Punch + Mach Punch.
- Substitute + recovery (or draining move).
- Boosting move + recovery, for stall types.
- Boosting move + boosting move, e.g. Swords Dance + Rock Polish. Double Dance in one slot.
- Defog + Stealth Rock. Have the last laugh when it comes to hazards!
- Hazards + Hazards, e.g. Spikes + Toxic Spikes. Get those hazards up more quickly.
- Hazards + phazing. Make immediate use of those hazards.
- Recovery + recovery. Like Rest but without the sleep.
- Encore (or Choice Scarf + Trick) + Disable. (Best Prankster version is Encore + Torment.) As a bonus, removing your own Scarf will instead cripple the enemy's link thereafter.
- Phazing + recovery
- Dual Screens (Grimmsnarl can do this with Prankster too).
- Belly Drum + recovery. Can be used if you're down to under 50%, as the Belly Drum will fail, but the recovery will still work.
- RestTalk. Could be annoying if you have a phazing move. Also works with Prankster and Guts.
- Boosting move + attack.
- Other setup + attack. Examples:
- Lock On/Mind Reader + Dynamic Punch/Inferno/Zap Cannon
- Charge + Electric attack
- Laser Focus + strong attack
- Sunny Day + Solar Beam, Rain Dance + Thunder/Hurricane, Hail + Blizzard
- Terrain + Nature Power
- Miracle Eye + Psychic
- Foresight + Rapid Spin/Feint/Drain Punch
- Recoil move + recovery (like Brave Bird + Roost above)
- Life Orb attack + recovery
- Stat-raising attack + attack, i.e. Rapid Spin or Power-Up Punch.
- Attack + Assurance. Doubles the power of Assurance. Great with Crunch for the Defense drop chance.
- Attack + Last Resort
- STAB + STAB. Something's bound to give, particularly if you have Adaptability or Tinted Lens.
- STAB + Coverage. Useful if the strong STAB move has immunities.
- Smack Down + Ground move
- Copycat. Execute the same move twice.
- Serene Grace + flinch-inducing moves and/or paralysis
- Trapping move + Perish Song
- Mew gets Fake Out / Substitute + Transform, making transformation much safer.
- Metal Burst + negative priority for a slow Counter + Mirror Coat.
- Jellicent gets Recover + Water Spout. Always has at least 75 power.
- Recycle + Fling, assuming you don't lose your item to Knock Off on your first turn.
- Endeavor + Final Gambit (You may want Protective Pads)
- Soak + Toxic
- Soak + Volt Switch (Lanturn). Volt Switch is now super-effective against many annoying Ground types.
- Recycle + Rest + Chesto Berry for full health on demand.
- Hydration + Rain Dance + Rest + rain-boosted moves (Doesn't work on the last turn of rain)
Not yet available for gen 8, but gen 7 is playable on ROM.
You can search for gen 7 Linked replays on replay.pokemonshowdown.com by typing in "gen7linked".