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 if there are speed ties the turn order will be completely random for both parties!
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.
- Dynamax clause, Baton Pass
- Calyrex-Ice, Calyrex-Shadow, Cinderace, Cloyster, Darmanitan-Galar, Dialga, Dracovish, Eternatus, Genesect, Giratina, Giratina-Origin, Groudon, Ho-Oh, Kartana, Kyogre, Kyurem, Kyurem-Black, Kyurem-White, Landorus-Base, Lugia, Lunala, Magearna, Marshadow, Mewtwo, Naganadel, Necrozma-Dawn-Wings, Necrozma-Dusk-Mane, Palkia, Pheromosa, Rayquaza, Reshiram, Solgaleo, Spectrier, Urshifu-Base, Xerneas, Yveltal, Zacian, Zamazenta, Zekrom, Zygarde
- 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
- Semi-invulnerable two-turn moves such as Dig
- Trick Room
- Tailwind is a contender as well, but it can be played around more traditionally.
- Protect, Detect, Spiky Shield, Baneful Bunker, King's Shield, Obstruct
- Bright Powder, King's Rock, Lax Incense, Baton Pass
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.
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.
- Setup move + attack. Scale Shot is a good finisher here.
- Lock On/Mind Reader + Dynamic Punch/Inferno/Zap Cannon
- Charge + Electric attack
- Laser Focus + strong attack
- Focus Energy + Snipe Shot (warning: currently Snipe Shot is glitched and targets the user!)
- Sunny Day + Solar Beam, Rain Dance + Thunder/Hurricane, Hail + Blizzard
- Terrain + Nature Power, Expanding Force, etc.
- Recoil move + recovery (like Brave Bird + Roost above)
- Life Orb attack + recovery
- Stat-raising attack (Rapid Spin, Power-Up Punch) + attack
- Stat-lowering attack (Close Combat, Scale Shot)+ Lash Out
- Attack + Assurance. Doubles the power of Assurance.
- Plasma Fists + Normal-type move
- Smack Down + Ground-type move
- Attack + Last Resort
Gen 8 Linked is currently OMOTM!
You can search for replays on replay.pokemonshowdown.com by typing in "gen8linked".