WIP Watch The Clock: A Primer on Battle Timer Mechanics

Theorymon

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Apologies for the highlights, but in the VGC Discord it was suggested I highlight you 3 in case you had more info on timer stuff before I start testing move animation stuff: DaWoblefet Anubis SadisticMystic . I'm sorry if I annoyed you three with this. If you don't have any extra info, me and DerpySuX are perfectly fine compiling the data for the similar move animation stuff!

Hey everyone, here's that timer article I brought up a while ago, got time to do this now! This article is mainly aimed at Battle Stadium Singles and VGC, but I'd also like it to be applicable for anyone who plays on their Switch or 3DS. When Scarlet and Violet come out, I'd like to add their specific intricacies to this article as an expansion. The current goals for this are:

- Explain battle timer mechanics

- Have a table for shiny animation times

- Include Move Animation comparisons for similar, at least somewhat viable moves.
Generally, if a move totally sucks and is not shared by mons (like Sharpen / Meditiate / Howl), then I won't include it. However, I'm being pretty liberal about this: for example, I bring up +1 Defense moves because Defense Curl Porygon2 sees some use in Battle Stadium Singles.

One more thing: At least for Battle Spot, I remember Pokemon Sun and Moon being entirely based on Your Time. If that's the case for all Sun and Moon stuff, there probably won't be much of a mention for gen 7! I don't have any data on gen 5 or Pokemon Battle Revolution either, and I'm not sure if they'll make the article because they're both officially online (I realize there are ways to at least gen 5 back online though), and they would likely be difficult to test on my part. Still, I don't mind either including the info if anyone already has it, or including it later.

TO DO LIST

Address these things DaWoblefet mentioned:

Similarly, this is WIP but there's lots more edge cases than just timing out into first moveslot (e.g. switching Pokemon in, Team Preview timeouts work differently between gens, etc.). Might also mention summary screen timeouts.
- Test out move animation stuff

-Talk about Dynamax and more indepth HP calculation stuff for Game Time


Watch The Clock: A Primer on Battle Timer Mechanics (WIP Title lol)

Compared to Pokemon Showdown, players on a Nintendo Switch or 3DS have another win condition to consider: the battle timer. Under normal circumstances, battles online will have multiple timers in play.

Game Time: The amount of time a battle is allowed to last. If the Game Time reaches 0 before the match is over, there are 3 methods of tie-breakers done in this order.

Need to bring up Dynamax, and how HP is calculated.

1. When the timer reaches 0 before move selections are confirmed, the game will determine a winner based off the health of both player's parties. The player with the most remaining Pokemon will win.

2. If both players have the same amount of Pokemon left, the team with the highest percentage of HP is declared the winner.

3. If both teams have the same percentage of team HP, then the team with the highest total HP will win.

4. If all of the above tie-breaker scenarios are still a tie, the game declares the battle a draw.

Move Time: The amount of time a player has to select their move. If this reaches 0, then the first move in a Pokemon's move list will be selected.

Your Time: The amount of time a player has to select their move for the entire match. This mechanic is only present in Pokemon Sword / Shield, Pokemon Sun / Moon, and Pokemon Ultra Sun / Ultra Moon.

1. The first player to have this timer reach 0 will lose the match once the turn ends.


Battle Animation

The Game Timer constantly ticks down, even during battle animations. Because of this, longer animations can be taken advantage of for a timer stall win condition, or conversely, can make you more vulnerable to losing to timer stall.

Shiny Animations

When switching in a shiny Pokemon, even the shiny animation will take up Game Time, making them useful for teams that may attempt to win via timer stall.

Note: I realize a certain contest ribbon (either for mastering a contest or getting them all, can't remember) causes a shiny-like effect in ORAS. I need to test if it takes up the same animation time or not, but it will be noted somehow!

Pokemon GameShiny Animation Time
Sword / Shield1.94 Seconds
Brilliant Diamond / Shining Pearl3.6 Seconds (will try more exact measurement)
Let's Go Pikachu / Let's Go Eevee1.9 Seconds (will try more exact measurement)
X / Y / Omega Ruby / Alpha SapphireNeeds Testing


Move Animations

The Game Timer does not stop for move animations. Because of this, moves that are otherwise incredibily similar, have a hidden difference: the amount of Game Time their animation takes up. Below are some comparisons to help you decide which identical moves fit your team's style.

Recovery Moves

MoveAnimation TimeNotes
Slack Off2.16 Seconds
Recover3.12 Seconds
Roost3.19 SecondsOnly identical on Pokemon without a Flying-type
Soft-Boiled3.28 Seconds
Shore Up4.08 SecondsRecovers 3/4ths health in a sandstorm.
Milk DrinkNeeds Testing

Weather-based Recovery Moves

MoveAnimation Time
Synthesis3.27 Seconds
Morning Sun4.01 Seconds
Moonlight4.11 Seconds

Status Healing Moves

MoveAnimation TimeNotes
Heal BellDoes not affect Soundproof Pokemon
AromatherapyAbsorbed by Sap Sipper teammates when on the field in doubles.

Item Switching Moves

MoveAnimation Time
Trick
Switcheroo

Phazing Moves

MoveAnimation TimeNotes
Whirlwind
Roar

+2 Defense Boosting Moves

MoveMax PPAnimation Time
Iron Defense24
Acid Armor32

+1 Defense Boosting Moves

MoveMax PPAnimation TimeNotes
Defense Curl64Boosts the damage of Rollout
Withdraw64
Harden48

+2 Speed Boosting Moves

MoveMax PPAnimation Time
Agility48
Rock Polish32

Trapping Moves

MoveAnimation Time
Mean Look
Block

Accuracy Moves

MoveAnimation Time
Mind Reader
Lock-On

Other Gens (not organized yet, each pair of games featured will have their own section)

Guillotine / Horn Drill

Heal Bell / Aromatherapy (Soundproof)

Recover / Roost / Softboiled / Milk Drink / Slack Off / Heal Order

Morning Sun / Synthesis / Moonlight

Trick / Switcheroo

Roar / Whrilwind

Meanlook / Block / Spider Web

Cosmic Power / Defend Order

Barrier / Acid Armor / Iron Defense

Mind Reader / Lock-On

Defense Curl / Withdraw / Harden

Agility / Rock Polish
 
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I frame counted every recovery move (I forgot about milk drink oof) so here’s that data

in case it’s relevant, these were timed in Adobe Premier on a 120FPS monitor, though pokemon swsh runs at 30FPS

Morning Sun - 4.01 Sec
Moonlight - 4.11 Sec
Recover - 3.12 Sec
Roost - 3.19 Sec
Slack Off - 2.16 Sec
Soft Boiled - 3.28 Sec
Synthesis - 3.27 Sec
Shore Up - 4.08 Sec

My timing window started at the first frame of the moves animation (whether this is a camera shift or the Pokémon itself actually moving differently from its standard idle animation) to the first frame of the default recovery animation (where the little particles appear around the Mon as the health bar increases), due to the nature of the game being 30 FPS, I didn’t trust myself to get accurate measurements past the hundredth of a second. Anyway, hope this helps, and let me know if you need anything else frame counted! :)
 
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DaWoblefet

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I didn't actually get tagged for this, but I happened upon it so here's some notes from a once-over:

One more thing: At least for Battle Spot, I remember Pokemon Sun and Moon being entirely based on Your Time. If that's the case for all Sun and Moon stuff, there probably won't be much of a mention for gen 7!
Japan used what you call game time at its International events during Gen 7, but all other events (minimally all Western events, including Worlds) used exclusively your time during Gen 7.

2. If both players have the same amount of Pokemon left, the team with the highest percentage of HP is declared the winner.

3. If both teams have the same percentage of team HP, then the team with the highest total HP will win.
I know this is WIP but you'll want to discuss things like how percentage of HP is actually calculated, how Dynamax is factored into game time running out, etc.

Move Time: The amount of time a player has to select their move. If this reaches 0, then the first move in a Pokemon's move list will be selected.
Similarly, this is WIP but there's lots more edge cases than just timing out into first moveslot (e.g. switching Pokemon in, Team Preview timeouts work differently between gens, etc.). Might also mention summary screen timeouts.

1. The first player to have this timer reach 0 will lose the match once all moves are selected.

2. Game Time takes priority over Your Time. So if the Game Time reaches 0 after Your Time reaches 0, the game will determine the winner based off of Game Time rather than Your Time once all moves are selected.
This is wrong; your time loses at the end of the turn, not after move selection. There's no "priority" because your time won't cause you to lose until the end of the current turn.

Battle Animation

The Game Timer constantly ticks down, even during battle animations. Because of this, longer animations can be taken advantage of for a timer stall win condition.
The opposite is true too; if your team can potentially lose on timer it can be worth doing the other way around (e.g. Chansey teams shouldn't use Shiny mons).


Here's a few videos that may help you in your writing:
 

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