Overview to Doubles


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Ever since ADV, doubles has steadily gained headway into the competitive Pokemon scene. Every generation GameFreak has refined the Doubles metagame and by the sixth generation it has ripened considerably. It's a shame that the only widely supported version of this format (VGC) is one over which the players have no control! However, with the awesome Pokemon Showdown! now supporting Doubles format, we now have all the tools necessary to mold our own version of the format that made VGC so popular and help shape our own Standard Doubles metagame!


Note that, rather than following many of the conventions which Nintendo and VGC have laid out, we will be experimenting and setting new rules and bans, so many things are slightly different. Here are some noteworthy difference from the ruleset of current VGC 2014:

1) 6 vs 6 instead of 4 vs 4
2) Pokemon default level 100 instead of level 50
3) Item Clause OFF
4) OHKO Clause ON
5) Evasion Clause ON
6) Soul Dew Clause ON
7) Moody Clause ON
8) The following move is banned from play
  • Dark Void
9) The following Pokemon are banned from play
  • Mewtwo
  • Lugia
  • Ho-oh
  • Kyogre
  • Groudon
  • Rayquaza
  • Dialga
  • Palkia
  • Giratina, Giratina-O
  • Arceus
  • Reshiram
  • Zekrom
  • Kyurem-White
  • Xerneas
  • Yveltal
As you may have figured out by now, this will be a drastically different metagame from the more familiar VGC metagame. VGC knowledge will certainly be beneficial, but a handful of new additional battle pieces will certainly alter the face of Doubles.


The true gem of Doubles does not lie in such minute differences in rulesets - it's the various strategies that are born and made viable by the virtue of having an additional partner and an extra opponent on the battle field simultaneously. Such battle setting results in a fast and furious play unimaginable in Singles play. If you think you have time to dilly dally with setting up hazards and some brainless volt-turn spam, think again! Since so much happens in a span of a single turn, on-the-spot decision making and intuition are tested heavily in Doubles. A thrilling new challenge unfounded in Singles!

Another major appeal of Doubles is the increased viability and deeper nuances of Pokemon moves. Here are some quick overview of such moves:

Protect - +4 Priority. Undoubtedly the most important move in Doubles; it shields whatever moves targeted at the user and without the need to blindly switch out and let another one of your Pokemon to take a hit, too! A well-executed Protect means wasted turns for the opponent, whose attacks utterly fail to do anything while your other Pokemon can ideally take the attacker out. Protect also shield your Pokemon against Fake Out flinches, a devastating move in Double. Stalling out Tailwind or TR turns serve as another purpose for using Protect.

Feint - +2 Priority. With Protect being such a pivotal move in Doubles, it's no wonder that a counter-move in Feint would see some use! It comes in handy when you need to connect with the target Pokemon on that turn NO MATTER WHAT. Feint also breaks other protection moves, including Wide Guard, Quick Guard, and Spiky Shield.

Fake Out - +3 Priority. This is another prevalent move in Doubles, and it's a game-breaking one, too. A super-priority flinch move renders one of the opponent's Pokemon immobile and vulnerable to assaults. Just like in Singles, Fake Out can be seen from a mile away, but the Fake Out user can actually take advantage of this, forcing the opponent to use Protect. Fake Out's greater utility in Doubles in turn increases the value of Inner Focus.

Spread Moves - These moves target multiple Pokemon - some only affect both enemies while other spread moves also catches your ally, too. Such distinctions make otherwise obscure moves in Singles, such as Heat Wave and Rock Slide, to have a specific niche in Doubles!

All spread moves's power is reduced to 75% of its original base power (so Earthquake is a 75 bp Ground type move, while Blizzard is a 82 bp Ice type move), but this reduction is more than compensated by hitting more than one target. If it's hitting both foes, it is effectively hitting with 150% of the moves original power (75%*2). When there is only one target power on the field, the spread move hits the opponent with 100% of its original power.
Notable Spread Moves that Targets Only Enemies
  • Blizzard (82 bp) & Icy Wind (41 bp)
  • Rock Slide (56)
  • Heat Wave (71) & Eruption (112)
  • Muddy Water (67) & Water Spout (112)
  • Dazzling Gleam (60)
  • Hyper Voice (67)
  • Pixilate Hyper Voice (87, Fairy-type)
  • Snarl (41)
  • Electro Web (41)
  • Dark Void (banned)
Notable Spread Moves that Target Enemies and Ally alike
  • Explosion (187) & Selfdestruct (150)
  • Earthquake (75)
  • Lava Plume (60)
  • Surf (67)
  • Discharge (60)
  • Boomburst (105)
Wide Guard / Quick Guard - +3 Priority. BW has added new protection moves to doubles. Unlike Protect, these Guard moves protect both the user AND the ally from spread moves and priority moves, respectively. This means that one Pokemon can guard for Earthquake or Fake Outs, thereby wasting the opponent's turn, while its partner can go on the offensive.

XY has further buffed these two moves; both Guard moves can be used consecutively without fail! Quick Guard now also blocks non-damaging moves from Prankster Pokemon!

Helping Hand - +5 Priority. A move designed specifically for Doubles, this move boosts the power of the user's ally by 50% for one turn, which can change a 2HKO into a OHKO. Such a difference is significant in Doubles, as knocking out the opponent effectively means cutting down on the opponent's offense by half for that turn. Thus, Helping Hand user pairs nicely with a fast Sweeper like Thundurus or Latios. Helping Hand has +5 priority, so the helper can be a slow bulky supporter like Cresselia, and it is used before Prankster Taunt.

Follow Me / Rage Powder - +2 Priority. Another move tailored for Doubles, but this time all non-spread moves are re-directed to the user of Follow Me or Rage Powder, thereby keeping its partner untouched. Spread moves like Blizzard and Earthquake still hits both users, though. This move comes in handy when you are trying to set up with your other Pokemon. This support move has +3 priority, so this user can even redirect fast priorities barring faster Fake Outs to itself! XY nerfed Follow Me / Rage Powder by lowering its priority bracket one below Fake Out - faster users can no longer re-direct Fake Out with these moves :( Grass-types and Pokemon holding Safety Goggles also ignores Rage Powder.

Tailwind / Icy Wind / Thunder Wave / Trick Room - Similarly to Singles, having the first move is almost always more advantageous than attacking second. Tailwind, Icy Wind, and Trick Room are prevalent moves to control Speed and attack first. Even though 4-5 turns go awfully quick in Singles to do anything productive, in Doubles it is usally half the game or more! Icy Wind (or Electro Web) is also an amazing utility move, a spread move that drops BOTH enemies' Speed by one stage.

Offensive Moves Benefiting Partners - Most of the times your Pokemon will be throwing moves at the two enemy Pokemon, but moves exist that benefit the partner instead, similarly to the previously mentioned Helping Hand
  • Swagger aimed at Partner holding Persim or Lum Berry / under Safeguard
  • Will-O-Wisp / Fire Blast to activate Flash Fire
  • Surf to activate Storm Drain / Water Absorb / Dry Skin
  • Discharge to activate Lightningrod / Volt Absorb
  • Weak moves to activate Weakness Policy
  • Beat Up to activate Justified
Move Order - Who moves first is often a frequently confused topic, since a Pokemon's Speed can change in the middle of a turn, making faster Pokemon slower. The move order is pre-determined at the beginning of the turn, so any changes in the Pokemon's Speed would only affect the move order in subsequent turns. Here are some scenarios:
  • Your Talonflame sets up Tailwind. Your Heracross will not move before the opponent's Charizard Y until the following turn
  • Your Thundurus paralyzes the opposing Latios with Thunder Wave. However, Latios will still move before Garchomp until the turn ends.
  • Your Charizard Mega Evolves into Charizard Y and summons sun. Venusaur's Chlorophyll wont kick in until the following turn.
  • The above scenario is different from a case where the weather is summoned before the beginning of the turn (ie if you used Ninetales to summon sun before the turn begins then Venusaur has its Speed doubled from turn 1).
Helpful Threads
  1. Effective Cores
  2. Sample Teams
  3. Teambuilding Competition
  4. Ask a Simple Question, Get a Simple Answer - Doubles Edition
  5. SPL Doubles Discussion / Replays
  6. Doubles Viability Ranking
  7. XY Doubles Replay
  8. Topic of the Week
  9. Topic of the Week - Mark III
  10. XY Doubles Benchmarks
  11. Doubles Newsroom
  12. Featured Doubles Player of the Week 3 - Level 51
  13. Featured Doubles Player of the Week 4 - Zach
  14. Featured Doubles Player of the Week 5 - Pwnemon
  15. Featured Doubles Player of the Week 6 - Darkmalice
Smog Articles
Issue 30 and older are based on BW2 Doubles, so read them with a grain of salt. However, I only chose articles that are still pertinent to Doubles.
  1. Issue 34: Don't Be a Fool - Protect Your Tool! by Electrolyte
  2. Issue 32: The Art of Switching in Doubles by youngjake93
  3. Issue 32: Doubles Spotlight: Mega Charizard Y by Pwnemon
  4. Issue 32: XY Doubles Standouts by Audiosurfer
  5. Issue 31: Why Choose Doubles by Audiosurfer
  6. Issue 30: A Beginner's Guide to Trick Room by lucariojr
  7. Issue 30: Differences Between Smogon Doubles and VGC by lucariojr and Audiosurfer
  8. Issue 24: Welcome to Smogon Doubles by Pocket, Arcticblast, and Pwnemon
  9. Issue 24: A Crash Course in Smogon Doubles by Pwnemon
Finished XY Analyses (Link)
  1. Abomasnow by Metal Sonic
  2. Aegislash by Lolk
  3. Amoonguss by Pwnemon
  4. Aromatisse by LightningLuxray
  5. Azumarill by Electrolyte
  6. Bisharp by Audiosurfer
  7. Charizard by Lolk
  8. Conkeldurr by AuraRayquaza
  9. Deoxys-A by BLOOD TOTEM
  10. Dusclops by LightningLuxray
  11. Escavalier by LightningLuxray
  12. Ferrothorn by BLOOD TOTEM
  13. Garchomp by Magcargo 2
  14. Gardevoir by BLOOD TOTEM
  15. Genesect by BLOOD TOTEM
  16. Gengar by LightningLuxray
  17. Heatran by Electrolyte
  18. Hitmontop by Robert Alfons
  19. Kangaskhan by Spirit
  20. Keldeo by AuraRayquaza
  21. Kyurem-B by BLOOD TOTEM
  22. Ludicolo by Audiosurfer
  23. Pinsir by BLOOD TOTEM
  24. Politoed by Metal Sonic
  25. Salamence by Alphose_Elric
  26. Scizor by Pwnemon
  27. Shaymin-S by LightningLuxray
  28. Suicune by Audiosurfer
  29. Talonflame by Lolk
  30. Terrakion by Lolk
  31. Togekiss by Spirit
  32. Weavile by BLOOD TOTEM
Pokemon Discussions
  1. Charizard
  2. Cresselia
  3. Kangaskhan
  4. Thundurus
  5. Thundurus-T
  6. Togekiss
  7. Tyranitar

Doubles, being an official tier, does have its own suspect testing system. We have a semipermanent council of top battlers who periodically decide on suspects, with user input, and then ladder and activity requirements for a vote. As of now the council is Laga, Arcticblast, Audiosurfer, BLOOD TOTEM, finally, Lolk, Darkmalice, and srk1214 and you can contact the tier's co-leaders Mizuhime and Pwnemon if you have any questions about the process. Stay tuned for the next suspect testing thread, too!

Start playing on Smogon Doubles ladder! Compete in the Doubles Tournament Circuit for a custom banner labeling you as the Doubles champion. Join the Doubles Ladder Tournament if you're an avid ladder player. Participate in projects that we will be creating in the very near future, and discuss / share / theorymon some cool doubles sets, combo, or strategy with the rest of us! Contribute in C&C writing and discussions! Rate teams of Doubles! There are many opportunities to earn badges and have your contributions and achievements in Doubles recognized!

Also we have a channel on irc for the very purpose of discussing doubles and organizing challenges - go join #doubles! You may also sign up in Smogon's Battling 101 program to be assigned with a Doubles tutor!

Come and play Doubles! We welcome your company :)
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