Substitute (TM50 in Generation I and TM90 from Generation IV onward) is a unique, Normal-type move that can be learned by almost every Pokémon in the game.


Substitute's Mechanics

A Pokémon who uses Substitute loses 25% of their HP to create a Substitute with that amount of HP. The Substitute shares all other stats with whichever Pokémon is behind the Substitute. If the Pokémon using Substitute has less than 25% of its HP remaining, Substitute will fail. The Substitute will take any direct damage and will block non-damaging moves (cause them to fail) until it is broken or the user switches out.

Substitute blocks all direct status effects. Synchronize can still inflict status on a Substituted Pokémon. The Substitute also blocks flinching.

Substitute blocks all forms of stat-reduction mentioned (Acid, Aurora Beam, Bubble, Bubblebeam, Captivate, Charm, Constrict, Cotton Spore, Crunch, Crush Claw, Earth Power, Energy Ball, Fake Tears, Featherdance, Flash, Flash Cannon, Focus Blast, Icy Wind, Iron Tail, Kinesis, Leer, Luster Purge, Memento, Mirror Shot, Mist Ball, Mud Bomb, Mud Shot, Mud-Slap, Muddy Water, Octazooka, Psychic, Rock Smash, Rock Tomb, Sand-Attack, Scary Face, Seed Flare, Shadow Ball, Smokescreen, String Shot, Sweet Scent, Tail Whip and Tickle) on the Substituted Pokémon except for those that are self-inflicted (Close Combat, Draco Meteor, Hammer Arm, Leaf Storm, Overheat, Psycho Boost and Superpower). For the attacks Substitute blocks, those that would normally cause damage still damage the Substitute, however the Substituted Pokémon cannot have its stats lowered if the Substitute is attacked. Any self-inflicted stat-reduction also reduces the stats of the Substitute.

Substitute does not block any form of self-inflicted stat-increase (Acid Armor, Agility, Amnesia, Ancientpower, Barrier, Bulk Up, Calm Mind, Charge, Charge Beam, Cosmic Power, Curse, Defend Order, Defense Curl, Double Team, Dragon Dance, Growth, Harden, Howl, Iron Defense, Meditate, Metal Claw, Meteor Mash, Minimize, Nasty Plot, Ominous Wind, Rock Polish, Sharpen, Silver Wind, Skull Bash, Steel Wing, Stockpile, Swords Dance, Tail Glow and Withdraw). The only exception to this rule is Acupressure. Any self-inflicted stat-increase also increases the stats of the Substitute. Substitute also does not block Focus Energy.

Doom Desire and Future Sight will do damage to the Substitute, but all other end of turn damage (such as Hail) is done to the Pokémon, not the Substitute.

Substitute blocks Acupressure, Ghost’s Curse, Dream Eater, Embargo, Gastro Acid, Leech Seed, Lock-On, Mind Reader, Nightmare, Pain Split, Psycho Shift, Switcheroo, Trick, Worry Seed and Yawn. However, if Yawn is used on a Pokémon who then uses Substitute, the Pokémon will still go to sleep as per normal.

Substitute doesn't block After You, Attract, Boomburst, Bug Buzz, Chatter, Conversion2, Curse, Defog, Destiny Bond, Disable, Disarming Voice, Echoed Voice, Eerie Impluse, Encore, Foresight, Grasswhistle, Growl, Grudge, Guard Swap, Haze, Heal Bell, Heart Swap, Helping Hand, Hyper Voice, Imprison, Me First, Metal Sound, Mimic, Miracle Eye, Odor Sleuth, Perish Song, Power Swap, Psych Up, Reflect Type, Relic Song, Roar, Role Play, Round, Screech, Sing, Sketch, Skill Swap, Snarl, Snatch, Spite, Supersonic, Taunt, Torment, Transform, Uproar and Whirlwind.

Pokémon with Flash Fire, Motor Drive, Soundproof, Volt Absorb and Water Absorb will still activate when targeted by the corresponding type of attack (this includes Thunder Wave and Will-O-Wisp) if they are behind a Substitute.

Present will damage the Substitute if it chooses damage, but will heal the Pokémon behind the Substitute if it chooses heal.

Rage does not boost Attack when a Substitute is hit.

Substitute will take the damage of Pursuit if the Pokémon behind the Substitute switches out or uses U-turn.

Attacks that leech damage (Absorb, Drain Punch, Giga Drain, Leech Life and Mega Drain) will still leech damage when used on a Substitute.

Substitutes can be Baton Passed to another Pokémon. The Substitute will keep its original HP but will gain the types and stats of the new Pokémon. The Substitute does not block damage from Spikes or Stealth Rock; the Pokémon receiving the Substitute still takes damage from them. The Substitute does block poison from Toxic Spikes.

If a multi-hit move (Arm Thrust, Barrage, Bone Rush, Bonemerang, Bullet Seed, Comet Punch, Double Hit, Double Kick, Doubleslap, Fury Attack, Fury Swipes, Icicle Spear, Pin Missile, Rock Blast, Spike Cannon, Triple Kick and Twineedle) breaks the Substitute any successive hits will damage the Pokémon that was behind the Substitute.

Partial-trapping moves (Bind, Clamp, Fire Spin, Magma Storm, Sand Tomb, Whirlpool and Wrap) will do their normal damage to the Substitute, but the end of turn damage is blocked. The Substitute also blocks the trapping effect for 2-5 turns.

Substitute will block full-trapping moves (Block, Mean Look and Spider Web).

If a Pokémon with a Substitute hurts itself in confusion, the damage goes to the Pokemon, not to the Substitute. The same applies for recoil damage from any recoil move (Brave Bird, Double-Edge, Flare Blitz, Head Smash, Struggle, Submission, Take Down, Volt Tackle and Wood Hammer).

Substitute blocks both the confusion and the stat increase of Flatter and Swagger.

Damage done to a Substitute cannot be reflected back by Counter, Mirror Coat or Metal Burst, nor can it be stored by Bide.

Status moves can be reflected back from behind a Substitute with Magic Coat even though they would normally be blocked by the Substitute.

Avalanche and Revenge are not boosted if the Substitute takes damage but the Pokémon behind it does not.

Life Orb’s 10% HP recoil does not activate when attacking a Substitute, but the 30% damage increase does.

Enigma Berry, Jaboca Berry and Rowap Berry do not activate on a Substituted Pokémon.

Confusion-inducing berries (Aguav Berry, Figy Berry, Iapapa Berry, Mago Berry and Wiki Berry) will heal a Substituted Pokémon but will not inflict confusion.

All attacks dependent on the remaining HP of the Pokémon (Brine, Crush Grip, Endeavor ,Eruption, Flail, Reversal, Super Fang, Water Spout and Wring Out) have their damage based on the HP of the Pokémon, not of the Substitute.

False Swipe can break Substitutes.

Substitute blocks the item removing effects of Covet, Knock Off and Thief.

Substitute does not block the secondary effects of Rapid Spin.

Smelling Salt does not get double power, nor will it cure paralysis of a substituted Pokémon. The same applies for Wake-Up Slap and sleep.

Substitute blocks Intimidate but all other abilities ignore Substitute.


When Substitute is used in conjunction with Nomalium Z, Z-Substitute resets any stats that have been debuffed.

Pokémon that Learn this Move via Level-Up

Level Pokémon
29 Mr. Mime
42 Kecleon
29 Mime Jr.
36 Rotom
35 Froakie
40 Frogadier
42 Greninja

Pokémon that Learn this Move via TM90

Pokémon that Learn this Move via Sketch

Related Threads

Where is TM 90(Substitute) in Pokemon HG - last post by @ Apr 16, 2010
Question about Substitute - last post by @ Aug 19, 2007
Substitute? - last post by @ Jul 12, 2009
Substitute - last post by @ Jan 18, 2016
Is Substitute EVER Useful? - last post by @ Jul 3, 2015
Last edited by Lesley Pro_04 today at 20:47
This page has been accessed 8,686 times.