Mechanics Sword & Shield Battle Mechanics Research


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Research Leader
*Credit to Nexus and OmegaDonut for the previous SM mechanics research thread.

Rules for this Thread

1. Please limit discussion to battle mechanics only.
2. Avoid vague questions like "does X still work the same?" or "How does new move Y work?" Needs to be a specific idea to test.

New Mechanics

  • It appears effects which deal damage or heal in fractions of max HP do so by calculating with the original max HP
  • Choice Band/Scarf/Specs move lock and stat boosts are ignored during the effect (Anubis)
  • Being unable to select a move causes Struggle as usual (Anubis)
  • Red Card cannot force switches, but gets used up anyway (Anubis)
  • Emergency Exit can still activate and end Dynamax (Anubis)
  • Transformed Pokemon can Dynamax (Anubis)
  • Shedinja still has 1 max HP during the effect even if its Dynamax Level is maxed out (DaWoblefet)
  • Weight-based moves cannot be used against Dynamax Pokemon (PokemonTrainerLui), but a PP is still used (BountyHunterStev)
  • Dynamaxing causes a Pokemon's substitute to fade (Ampha)
  • Legendaries other than Zacian, Zamazenta, and Eternatus can Dynamax (Anubis)
  • Gorilla Tactics has no effect during Dynamax (Anubis)
  • Destiny Bond cannot take down Dynamax Pokemon (Anubis)
  • Perish Song can take down Dynamax Pokemon, and the perish count can be started before or during Dynamax (Max Raids have different rules) (Anubis)
  • A Pokemon Transformed into Zacian, Zamazenta, or Eternatus cannot then Dynamax, and those Pokemon cannot be Transformed into if the user is currently Dynamaxed (Jibaku)
  • Disabled moves can be clicked as Max Moves. Disable works against Dynamax Pokemon if they have used a regular move previously (but fails on Max Moves). (Anubis)
  • Pre-existing confusion remains and can also be inflicted during Dynamax (Anubis)
  • Eject Button can switch out a Dynamax Pokemon (Anubis)
  • Brine deals double damage based on the Dynamax HP (Anubis)
  • Pain Split calculates based on the non-Dynamax HP (Anubis)
  • Instruct fails against Dynamaxed Pokemon (Worldie)
  • A Pokemon Transformed into a Gigantamax-capable Pokemon will not be able to Gigantamax itself (GMars)
  • Entrainment and Skill Swap fail against Dynamax Pokemon, Gastro Acid succeeds (fortunatechance)
  • Endeavor calculates damage using the target's non-Dynamax HP, rounded up (architdate and Anubis)

Max/G-Max Moves
  • Deal 1/4 damage through protection moves other than Max Guard (Anubis and DaWoblefet)
  • G-Max Wildfire's end of turn damage is 1/6 max HP (Anubis)
  • Contrary reverses stat stage changes from Max Moves (Anubis)
  • Weather Ball appears in the UI as Max Strike in rain but really turns into Max Geyser (Anubis); same kind of behaviour for Multi-Attack (Jibaku)
  • Sheer Force does not power up the moves or remove the effects (SadisticMystic)
  • Assault Vest prevents the use of Max Guard (Anubis)
  • Feint can hit through Max Guard, but does not break protection for that turn (CasualPokePlayer)
  • Max Moves that lower the target's stats do so even if they had a substitute before and after the attack (GMars and TPP)
  • G-Max Steelsurge's hazard can be removed by Defog and Rapid Spin (Anubis)
  • Electrify changes Max and G-Max Moves into Max Lightning (Anubis)
  • Encore fails against Max Moves (Anubis)
  • Copycat copies the base move when the last used move was a Max Move (trent_Rofl)
  • G-Max Finale heals 1/6 of active allies' max HP, and does take into account the Dynamax max HP unlike other fractional healing effects (SolaceAcheron)
  • Max Guard completely blocks Phantom Force, Psych Up, and Transform, and does not block Decorate, Perish Song, or Role Play (DaWoblefet)
  • G-Max Befuddle/Malodor/Stun Shock/Volt Crash inflict their statuses on both opponents, even if they have substitutes (Anubis)
  • G-Max Centiferno and G-Max Sandblast start the Fire Spin and Sand Tomb effects, respectively, on both opponents, even if they have substitutes (Anubis), but the trapping and damage continues even if the user leaves the field (Anubis)
  • G-Max Snooze only has a chance to start the Yawn effect against the target, not its ally (Anubis) (the chance is 50%) (DaWoblefet, Anubis, peach)
  • Forewarn will name the base move instead of the Max Move (Anubis)
  • G-Max Replenish has a 50% chance to restore allies' Berries (DaWoblefet, Pigeons, Josh Mecham, peach)
  • Max Strike changes to the appropriate Max Move with Aerilate/Pixilate/Refrigerate, but they do not change the power of the move (OZY)

  • Magic Powder is a powder move and fails against pure Psychic types (Anubis)
  • Life Dew triggers ally Water immunity Abilities (Siggu)
  • Tar Shot's effect adds a weakness to the Fire type to the target's types (viol and bass)
  • No Retreat fails if the user trapped itself with it on the first use. Ghost types can still switch out of the effect, and phazing also works (Beware I Live!!!)
  • Aura Wheel cannot be used by non-Morpeko forms (like Hyperspace Fury and Dark Void mechanics) (Anubis)
  • Dragon Darts will not attack into a target protecting themselves in Doubles, hitting the other Pokemon twice instead (Ckarasu)
  • Dragon Darts will not attack into Fairy types in Doubles, hitting the other Pokemon twice instead (Nails)
  • Fishious Rend is a bite move (KuraiTenshi26)
  • Pyro Ball is a bullet move (Skeli)
  • Octolock's effect stacks with binding moves like Wrap and Snap Trap (Skeli)
  • Court Change swaps hazards, screens, Tailwind (Skeli)
  • Bolt Beak and Fishious Rend have their power doubled against Pokemon switched in the same turn (Nails)
  • Dragon Darts will not attack into a target in a semi-invulnerable turn (Nails)
  • Clangorous Soul can be used despite Soundproof, but fails if the HP loss would knock out the user (Anubis)
  • No Retreat can be used multiple times if the user had been fully trapped already (Zaggyo)
  • No Retreat cannot be used multiple times just because the user is a Ghost type (Merritt)
  • Court Change-swapped Sticky Web still counts as having been set up by the original user for the purposes of Competitive and Defiant (Yung Dramps)
  • Dragon Darts is not blocked by Wide Guard (RagiingAlways)
  • Octolock's stat drops activate opposing Competitive and Defiant, but not Mirror Armor (Kalalokki)
  • Body Press uses the user's Defense stat and stat stage in the damage formula to replace its Attack and Attack stat stage. This means any other effects that affect the user's Attack stat continue to apply, such as Choice Band and Hustle. (OZY) Effects that alter the user's Defense stat other than its stat stage do nothing to change Body Press damage.
  • Teatime forces Berry consumption regardless of Unnerve or substitutes, and misses against semi-invulnerable Pokemon (Anubis)

  • Cotton Down is not a powder-based effect (Anubis)
  • Mimicry changes type(s) to the Terrain type and reverts back to original type(s) when Terrain ends (Anubis) (follow-up)
  • Neutralizing Gas leaving the field does not reactivate "on switch-in" Abilities that activated previously (Anubis) and will activate "on switch-in" Abilities if they have not activated yet (Anubis), even against the Pokemon with Neutralizing Gas which is no longer on the field (Anubis)
  • Screen Cleaner removes screens from both sides and does not affect Safeguard (Anubis)
  • Neutralizing Gas activates before Unnerve (Lego)
  • Steam Engine grants +6 Speed (Revelation)
  • Ice Face breaks from a self-hit in confusion (like Disguise) (PokemonTrainerLui)
  • Gulp Missile triggers from the first turn of Dive even if the second turn doesn't happen (if Surf is fully blocked it doesn't trigger) (Vengeance417)
  • Gulp Missile's Arrokuda projectile deals 1/4 max HP damage and lowers the target's Defense 1 stage (Vengeance417)
  • Gulp Missile's Pikachu projectile deals 1/4 max HP damage and paralyzes the target (even Ground types) (GMars)
  • Gulp Missile fires the projectile even if Cramorant gets knocked out (GMars)
  • Gulp Missile doesn't deal damage to Magic Guard Pokemon (Siggu)
  • Ice Face regenerates whenever Hail begins (Anubis)
  • Ice Face also regenerates when switched in and Hail is active (ck49)
  • Gorilla Tactics is a 1.5x Attack boost, and stacks with Choice Band (GMars and TPP)
  • Mirror Armor bounces Strength Sap's Attack drop back (Anubis)
  • Sand Spit activates after the effects of Max Moves (Count Bleck)
  • Gulp Missile's obtained projectile is based on Cramorant's current HP. Arrokuda when >= 50% and Pikachu when < 50%. Dynamaxing or switching out removes the Gulping/Gorging form (Theorymon and Martin)
  • Ice Face is unaffected by Neutralizing Gas (Anubis)
  • Power Spot multiplies an ally's move power by 1.3 (but not the Pokemon with Power Spot) (Anubis)
  • Steely Spirit multiplies an ally's Steel-type move power by 1.5 (including the Pokemon with Steely Spirit) (Anubis)
  • Punk Rock sound moves have 1.3x power, and sound moves against Punk Rock deal 0.5x damage (Anubis)
  • Ripen doubles Jaboca and Rowap Berries' damage (Skeli)
  • Ice Face does not reactivate instantly when broken by a physical Max Hailstorm (ck49)
  • Ripen doubles Berry healing after determining the non-doubled heal amount (Anubis)

  • Blunder Policy activates when a move with multiple targets is avoided by at least one of the targets (BountyHunterStev)
  • Throat Spray activates when the user's sound move hits a target, not when it fails or all targets are protected (BountyHunterStev)
  • Utility Umbrella does not protect from weather damage, but the holder takes normal damage from what would otherwise be rain- and sun-boosted attacks. It does not appear to affect move accuracy in weather. (BountyHunterStev)
  • Throat Spray activates when using Clangorous Soul (BountyHunterStev)
  • Blunder Policy does not trigger on moves avoided through semi-invulnerability, avoided OHKO moves, or moves avoided by Telepathy allies (sb879)
  • Eject Pack triggers when stat stages are lowered even if the resulting stat stage is not negative (sb879)
  • Eject Pack will not activate when switches from U-turn or Parting Shot are happening (sb879)
  • Utility Umbrella holders take normal damage from what would be rain- and sun-weakened attacks (sb879)
  • Utility Umbrella holders ignore rain- and sun-based move and Ability effects that would affect them (sb879) (Anubis)
  • Utility Umbrella does not affect damage modifiers from the holder's Water and Fire attacks in rain/sun (sb879)
  • Heavy-Duty Boots still allows Poison-type holders to soak up Toxic Spikes (GMars and TPP)
  • Utility Umbrella holders can become frozen in sun (Anubis)
  • Utility Umbrella holders can avoid Hurricane and Thunder in rain (Anubis)

  • Team Preview shows regular Zacian and Zamazenta regardless of their held item(Death Phenomeno)
  • Symbiosis has a new bug (SadisticMystic)
  • Pokemon Transformed into Morpeko can use Aura Wheel; it always appears as Electric type, but is actually Dark type if the Transformed Pokemon copied Hangry Mode (Anubis)
  • Slush Rush still doesn't provide immunity to Hail damage (Skeli)
  • Silvally forms without RKS System or a Memory now behave as the form's type instead of Normal (Anubis)
  • Hacked Zen Mode Galarian Darmanitan and Crowned Sword Zacian are reverted to their base formes in battle (Anubis) (2)
  • Anticipation and Forewarn can detect Hidden Power's type (Anubis)
  • The guy in-game who says sun thaws frozen Pokemon is a liar (doipy hooves)

Changes to Old Mechanics
  • Inner Focus now blocks Intimidate (DaWoblefet)
  • Own Tempo now blocks Intimidate
  • Aguav/Figy/Iapapa/Mago/Wiki Berries now heal 33% max HP instead of 50% (Pyritie)
  • Disguise now causes the user to lose 1/8 max HP when broken (Anubis)
  • Rattled now activates from being Intimidated (Whitephoenixace)
  • Moody can no longer raise or lower accuracy or evasiveness (DragonWhale)
  • Oblivious now blocks Intimidate (Cloudy Mistral)
  • Turn order now changes dynamically mid-turn whenever Speed changes (Pan.)
  • King's Shield now lowers Attack on contact by 1 stage instead of 2 (Team Rocket Elite)
  • Scrappy now blocks Intimidate
  • Defog now removes Terrains (Serebii)
  • Electric/Grassy/Psychic Terrain now provide a 1.3x boost instead of 1.5x (Jibaku) (Misty Terrain is unchanged)
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Eject Pack:
-Does it only get consumed in cases where the White Herb would also be consumed (i.e. the stat stage must end at a negative value after the drop), or would it fire on an Intimidate that reduces your Attack from +2 back to +1?
-Can it be consumed by using Spit Up or Swallow and having your stockpiles wear off?
-Does the rule of "no more than one Pokemon can ever switch as the result of a move" still apply to the interactions here, such as Leer into double Eject Pack causing only the fastest one to work, or Eject Pack + Weak Armor serving as a makeshift Eject Button that allows them to steal the switch from a U-turn user? If the rule does still apply, where in the hierarchy of switch mechanisms (Eject Button, Red Card, Emergency Exit/Wimp Out, innate pivot move effects) does the Pack slot in for determining whose switch method gets to happen?

-If Chansey or Blissey are in the game (or equivalently a new Pokemon with at least 232 base HP), does the game correctly format the four-digit HP values they would be capable of having after they go max, or display something like "?66" as current games would in the face of a raw stat that high, or is there a special code path to bail out and limit the HP increase to 999? ANSWERED: Yes, the game correctly handles the full 4-digit values.
-Is it possible to go max even if your Pokemon has been picked up by Sky Drop? (Mega Evolution and Ultra Burst are not possible in this situation, even though you have the freedom to select a move.) ANSWERED: Sky Drop isn't even in the game, so this situation can never come up.
-It's been revealed that Dynamax Pokemon have a blanket immunity to flinching. What other inhibitions to moving, if any, are they also able to shrug off?
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Demonstrably so
is a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Top Researcheris a Tiering Contributoris a Battle Simulator Moderator
One of the most fundamental things to test is that the damage formula works generally the same way. Specifics will have to be ironed out over months of research, but knowing whether or not the general formula still lines up is important.

Neutralizing Gas:
  • If multiple Abilities would activate from Neutralizing Gas leaving the field, do they activate in Speed order? Maybe some sort of host-dependent order, like Gravity dropping multiple ungrounded Pokemon? Is it based on which Pokemon were present on the field first, like a queue?
  • Can Skill Swap / Role Play, etc. be used, and if so, will any entrance abilities swapped around activate upon Neutralizing Gas leaving the field?
  • What happens with entrance Abilities if you Skill Swap Neutralizing Gas?
  • Does it apply for Abilities that activate on switching out, like Regenerator or Natural Cure?
  • How does the interaction between Neutralizing Gas and Receiver / Power of Alchemy work? Is it deactivated soon enough for Receiver to kick in and take Neutralizing Gas? Will other entrance Abilities have the chance to activate in the meantime?
  • When switching out a Pokemon with Neutralizing Gas, will entrance Abilities trigger immediately, or will the switch be completed first? If the latter, how will Neutralizing Gas -> switch to Neutralizing Gas work; will entrance Abilities be able to activate in the interim?
  • If a Pokemon has an odd HP stat and Dynamaxes, will the 50% boost round up or down?
  • If a Pokemon is Toxiced, will its 1/16 Toxic counter be dependent on its "base" HP, even while Dynamaxed, or will Toxic damage vary depending on the user's current HP?
  • Can a Dynamax Pokemon be phazed out, e.g. via Roar?
Eject Pack
  • Will it trigger if an ally lowers the holder's stats? (Competitive/Defiant will not trigger from an ally's effect)
One of the most fundamental things to test is that the damage formula works generally the same way. Specifics will have to be ironed out over months of research, but knowing whether or not the general formula still lines up is important.
I remember you saying that we've been using the same damage formula that someone datamined from the Gen 5 games, right? It baffles me that no one has bothered to datamine Gens 6 and 7. I might just be ignorant, but it seems like it would be a much easier method than empirical testing.


Demonstrably so
is a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Top Researcheris a Tiering Contributoris a Battle Simulator Moderator
I remember you saying that we've been using the same damage formula that someone datamined from the Gen 5 games, right? It baffles me that no one has bothered to datamine Gens 6 and 7. I might just be ignorant, but it seems like it would be a much easier method than empirical testing.
With respect to using the same damage formula since Generation V, that's correct in the sense that the damage formula in Generations VI and VII use the BW damage formula as their base. They typically will add on to the pre-established formula, though they will be quite willing to move some things around and change the actual numbers from time to time. There exist detailed guides of how the damage formula works in Generation VII based on empirical testing, and you can see that it quite similar to what was documented in Generation V.

If you know how to read and interpret assembly, and you have access to the game's ROM and .cro files, it certainly is possible to datamine the damage formula, but it is by no means trivial to just datamine something. You have to have people willing to do the work, the knowledge of how to read and interpret assembly language, especially in the context of the Pokemon games, and the means by which to do it. It's not as if the damage formula just exists in a neat package on the cartridge and is easy to access like Pokemon base stats or movepools. It took substantial time and effort for the Project Pokemon folks to accomplish what they did in Generation V.
Does a Pokemon with Pastel Veil heal itself of poison immediately when Neutralising Gas leaves the field?

Does Neutralising Gas block abilities which activate on switching out, like Natural Cure or Renegerator?

How does Imposter work on a Dynamaxed Pokemon, if at all? Does it cause Imposter to fail?

How does Dynamax interact with Choice items? Are you forced to Struggle when the Dynamax wears off/is activated after you have chosen a move, or do you have to use the move that was turned into that Max Move? Are you locked into a specific Max move, and if not, do you still benefit from the item boost?
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One question that keeps bothering me to think

  • Can you switch out your Dynamax Pokemon, and still keep its Dynamax Form in the long run?
I couldn't seem to find the answer of this yet
How does Dynamax interact with Choice items? Are you forced to Struggle when the Dynamax wears off/is activated after you have chosen a move, or do you have to use the move that was turned into that Max Move? Are you locked into a specific Max move, and if not, do you still benefit from the item boost?
Existing precedent for choice items is that any time you get presented with a move selection screen while you're choice-locked into a move that doesn't appear in your current moveset, the lock immediately wears off and you're free to pick a different move (example: scarf Transform Mew). Thus, if you have a Charizard that's locked into (let's say) Flamethrower, and they haven't changed the code: then no later than the second max turn, you have a set of nothing but max moves, which Flamethrower isn't. What happens on the first max turn is still an interesting question, but it seems like maxing a choice mon will allow you to switch moves twice if you didn't go max immediately: once going into a max move on either the first or second turn of the effect, and once on the 4th turn, after it ends (if you're locked into a max move and your set doesn't include any of those, the lock clearly wears off once you go back to having regular moves).

ANSWERED: There was indeed a change in the game logic here, such that during Dynamax, the effects of all choice items are disabled (both the stat boosts and the move locking). Choice items are the only items so disabled; anything else still works fine. If you had previously been locked into a move before going max, you will revert to being locked into that same move after the 3 turns are over. The ability Gorilla Tactics, which functions identically to a Choice Band, is also disabled the same way.
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Is G-Max Befuddle a powder move? The website seems to describe it as such, but a Bug-type move that can't hit Grass types would be pretty dumb. Maybe Grass types are just immune to the secondary effect?
If I Dynamax Sylveon with Pixilate, will its Normal-type attack become Max Strike or Max Starfall? Or will it be Max Strike with Fairy-type?
Precedent for this in Z-moves suggests that Pixilate will just be ignored in this scenario, but I really hope they change it. Especially given that the Max Move effect of Normal moves is arguably more useful, and cutting the opponent's speed might make Sylveon a potent offensive threat.

Question: Does Regenerator still heal a third of max HP?
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- Do Max Moves deal the same 1/4 damage when bypassing regular protection moves, like Z-Moves?
I would add to this:
- Do Max moves still trigger their secondary effect (expecially terrain/weather or selfbuffs) if reduced by Protect or blocked by Max Guard?
- Same as above, but in doubles while hitting the unprotected target and having a enemy-team-wide effect (like stat reducing ones)
Do Zacian/Zazamenta's abilites activate when transferred to another pokemon (via skill swap/role play/entrainment)?
Does water bubble still have the hidden damage increased?

Always felt like this was a bug in gen7.
If that's a bug, they should've fixed it via a patch back in Gen 7 (ex. Wide Guard reducing the power of all Z-move). Just because they don't mention it in the description doesn't mean it's a bug.

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