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More than 4 attacks?


In the anime, Pokemon are seen using a large amount of moves, especially Pokemon that belong to a main cast character. However, sometimes it gets to the point where the Pokemon forget old attacks, just like in the games. Is this the case for all the Pokemon?

Allow me to explain. I looked on Bulbapedia, and Ash's Torterra has used several different moves, including Razor Leaf and Bite. But, the only moves he's used recently have been Rock Climb, Leaf Storm, Synthesis, and Energy Ball. Does the anime limit the Pokemon to 4 moves just like the games?

This may seem like it'd be an Anime forum question, but I'm asking this for my writing. Do you limit your Pokemon to 4 moves? Or let them know as many moves as they want?

Blackjack Gabbiani

Clearly we're great!
If I'm writing animeverse, I go with their rules, which means unlimited attacks (which...kinda shoots the whole "Meowth can't learn Payday because he learned to talk instead" episode in the foot but hey). If I'm writing gameverse I use four.

...however when I RP, I tend to go more towards animeverse simply because it makes it a bit more realistic.


Just me
From my impressions, the anime generally seems to stick with having Pokémon rotating four moves at a time, but granted, I've only seen the first fifty-two episodes, so obviously my impressions are pretty limited.

In my fic I've actually interpreted the four-move rule as just that - a rule imposed by the official leagues to make battles more fair and interesting (by ensuring that richer trainers can't simply teach their Pokémon every TM move they can learn and Pokémon with a more limited availability of moves aren't at as great of a disadvantage). Thus, there's nothing physically preventing the Pokémon from using other moves, but in a formal match, they have to pick four and stick with them, with using a fifth move being grounds for disqualification in the knockout rounds of the league.


Charmander is best
The way I work the 4 moves rule is similar to how Dragonfree does it. In an official match, a Pokemon may only use 4 moves. A 5th move means a disqualification of the Pokemon.

In my Fic, my main character, Chris, ordered his Snorunt to use a 5th move in an official trainer battle. The ref called Snorunt out, because he had used a 5th move. I guess in a way, the way I work attacks is a bit of both. They can know all of the attacks at the same time, but they can only ever use 4 in a match/


Only allowing 4 moves in official battles is pretty clever, but there aren't going to be any official battles in my fic. So, I'm leaning towards sticking with the animeverse.

Mrs. Lovett

Rolling writer
I let my fic pokemon have as many moves as they need. I don't go by the games in this, because for me, it just seems unreasonable to limit the number of learnable moves to just four. I take a realistic approach to it. Just like in real life, where boxers or tennis players have a match and use whatever techniques they know to help them win, I write pokemon battles in which the battlers use whatever moves they can remember to use. As a pokemon in my story evolves or grows older, they will learn new moves by instinct.

(I've never given consideration as to how TMs or HMs would work, by the way... Would you just press a CD to a pokemon's head and drill the technique into their mind? :p)


Well-Known Member
I'm kind of lenient on the four moves rule, too. Of course I'm not going to give a pokemon a bajillion moves or an unrealistic move set, but I think there's a line between what sounds reasonable and what sounds unbelievable. That being said, I tend to stick around four moves anyway. I'm not sure why. Maybe a "just because" reason. Or because I think the characters' don't need more than that?

Really, I think I only limit it to four moves when it comes to more powerful, special attacks. I don't count things like "tackle" or "headbutt" or even "body slam" because they seem relatively basic ... at least to most pokemon.


I think Breezy has a point about "regular" moves and "special" moves.

One example I can think of is Street Fighter (Super Street Fighter 4 to be exact seeing as it's the only one I own), odd example, but hear me out.

To use Ryu as an example, his special moves are the Hadouken (blue energy ball), Senpukyaku, (hurrican kick) and the Shoryuken (uppercut) (These could be comparable to more powerful pokémon moves like Rock Slide, Energy Ball, Flamethower, Thunderbolt etc.) I suppose in here you could mention his super and ultra techniques as well, which would be the Shinku and Metsu Hadouken variants and the Metsu Shoryuken. Those are the most powerful moves he has (and could be comparable to the most powerful pokémon moves like Hyper Beam, Giga Impact, the Elemental Hyper Beams), but obviously he has other moves like jabs, kicks, basic stuff. He has a move called the solar-plexus which is basically a heavy punch variant but it's different to the regular heavy punch because it hits twice and does a bit more damage (this I would assume would be similar to the Tackle, Headbutt, Body Slam type moves Breezy mentioned)

You obviously have combos (Ryu's are stupidly easy to pull off and do ridiculous damage ¬¬) but you don't see combos much in pokémon. So I can't do a comparison, unless you can count Defense Curl + Rollout, Rain Dance + Thunder, Hail + Blizzard etc. Those are hardly Jumping Heavy Punch, Crouching Light Kick, EX Senpukyaku into Super though.

I want to write a Street Fighter inspired pokémon fic, I have the concept down and a main character. Funnily enough, there are 15 fully evolved non-legendary Fighting types so that makes for a good balanced roster of fighters xD

Sorry for the in-depth comparison and info dump there but when I've thought about it, Street Fighter and Pokémon can be comparable in a way.

Missingno. Master

Poison-type Trainer
In Chapter 12, one of the antagonists of my fanfic uses a Qwilfish. It uses Tackle, Bounce, Water Gun, Aqua Tail, and Flail, all within the same battle. So no, I don't stick to no stinking 4-move limit rule.

EDIT: A better example. In Chapter 20, the protagonist's Riolu uses Blaze Kick, Iron Tail, Shadow Claw, Focus Blast, Iron Defense, Dig, and Hi Jump Kick all in the same battle. Of course, it wasn't so much an official battle as it was an attempt to fight off an angry and bald hot dog vendor and his eleven or twelve angry customers.
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Winning Smile
Staff member
Super Mod
I don't stick to the four-move limit with my fic - have never seen the need to in my fic as it's based on a game, with the games just using the four-move-limit as that's the game mechanics made up by the powers-that-be. However I have at times imposed a limit at times - Shadow Pokemon in Colosseum cannot use other moves until they are purified steadily thus allowing them to start regaining their old moves, which is something I've made use of. That and there hasn't been much in the way of 'official' battles either in my fic yet so I haven't had to consider what some other people above have done in theirs.


Backstreet's back
(I've never given consideration as to how TMs or HMs would work, by the way... Would you just press a CD to a pokemon's head and drill the technique into their mind? :p)
They eat it, obvs. XD

Anyhow, I do tend to stick to the four-moves-a-mon approach when it comes to battling. I know, most of you claim it sounds unrealistic, but I've never run into any problems with the Pokémon having only four moves. I know that it was a function put in back in the day to limit the amount of space eaten up by the Pokémon, but even so, it's just what I'm "used" to concerning the Pokémon battling scene. The way I think of it is, Pokémon can use simple commands (biting as opposed to Biting, roaring as opposed to Roaring, etc.) outside of battle, but they generally can't use it in-battle and they have none of the added effects of their move counterparts (biting an opponent would be weaker than Biting due to the lack of dark energy, roaring wouldn't send the opponent scampering like Roaring would, etc.)


Well-Known Member
I don't restrict my pokémon to 4 moves. It doesn't make much sense for them to just completely forget how to Bite another pokémon because they're too busy learning to throw Flames at them.


Führer of Fun
I don't stick to the four moves per pokemon rule, primarily because I draw on experience as an ASB ref where no such limit applies, so it's naturally how I write.

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
I mostly stik to the 4-move rule, although I have heard strong arguments against it. The Pokemon in my fic usually learn new techniques to replace older, weaker ones (save if the trainer doesn't wish it) in battles, and though it works fine for me, it may not do so for you. Just roll with what you think is best...


Ghost Type Trainer
While I haven't gotten very far on my fic, I'm planning on not limiting the moveset to only 4, but rather to maybe 6-8 that the individual Pokemon uses regularly, as well as more that they only use every once in a while. Generally speaking, Pokemon seem like they would have a good enough memory to not forget old moves. At most, they simply stop using a move (say, tackle) since they have learned a better one (eg, thunder fang).


Previously Iota
I don't use the four-rule limit at all.

I used to give my Pokémon a counter. After so many battles (which changed every ten levels), they would move to the next level. Then I followed the levels of their movesets, but didn't force them to forget.

Now, however, I prefer to give them any moves from their learnset. They get a twinkle in their eye and they have learned a new attack. These attacks can build up. I have often thought about imposing a rule on amount of moves used in official battles, though.



Magic School Dropout
I've often thought about this, myself. Why should a Pokemon forget an old move just because it learned a new one? Are they really unable to remember more than four things?

However, as a lot of people I know are used to the four move limitations, I decided to only make a minor change in the RPG I run (which is linked to in my signature, nudge nudge wink wink shameless plug)...

Five moves per Pokemon.

Surprisingly, just the addition of one extra move has opened quite a few possibilities. Still, that's about the smallest change one could possibly make to the moveset rules.


Awesomely awesome
"o'gosh, yes" was the first I thought. I find the thought of pokémon not being able to learn more than four moves at a time appalling in any other setting than the gameverse (only acceptable there for the sake of game mechanics and balance).

To me, pokémon can learn any move, that is set by the games as learn-able moves in one way or another. Level-up moves come with experience, TM moves come through tutoring via TMs, breeding moves can be learnt through breeding, and tutor moves, well, through tutoring by the right people. That's how I write, at least, and that's the only way I really like it.

Of course, weaker moves won't be used when stronger are learned... maybe. In my ficverse, moves are changed a bit, and for example Thunderbolt and Thundershock are pretty much the same moves, with a different degree of intensity (Bolt takes more energy from the pokémon (aka exhausts it more) than Shock for example). So it's like electric manipulation as one move, etc. etc. But Zap Cannon or Thunder Wave then would be different moves altogether because of their very different nature. Another example; Water Gun and Hydro Pump are on the basic level blasts of water with a VERY different degree of intensity. But they do the same thing when using them. So saying Hydro Pump instead of Water Gun is like telling them to do a really powerful blast of water (which of course not every Poké can do- at least not without sufficient experience).

Soo it's not like they learn a gazillion moves, in a way. I just structure them, uh, differently. More adapted for a non-game-mechanic-restricted universe.

Buut now I'm way off-topic 8) Signing out.


Well-Known Member
(I've never given consideration as to how TMs or HMs would work, by the way... Would you just press a CD to a pokemon's head and drill the technique into their mind? :p)

The idea of TMs in my fic is that they're a teaching machine and thus get taught to the Pokemon throguh trial and error. So they would have a tv image of the attack being repeated and the Pokemon would keep doing it until it mastered the attack. Or you could have it taught in person by a Pokemon that knows it.

If I'm writing animeverse, I go with their rules, which means unlimited attacks (which...kinda shoots the whole "Meowth can't learn Payday because he learned to talk instead" episode in the foot but hey). If I'm writing gameverse I use four.

Which episode was that? Just wondering.

Really, I think I only limit it to four moves when it comes to more powerful, special attacks. I don't count things like "tackle" or "headbutt" or even "body slam" because they seem relatively basic ... at least to most pokemon.

I have a 4 rule limit but I'm thinking of only making that for special moves and that moves like Scratch and Tackle are something that come natural to a Pokemon if possible. Such as we can hit and kick naturally. So if a Pokemon has claws, it can Scratch and I have it that all Pokemon can Tackle, etc.


The Pokemon Observer
I'm not going to follow the 4-move rule in my future writing, because my Pokemon in my FanFic are not mechanical data programmed by Game Programmers.

To tell the truth, there was not any explainable reason by Game Freak or Nintendo why Pokemon can only learn 4 moves other then the reason of computer programming restriction.

In my FanFic, the Pokemon behaves more like real life creature, so I'll not restrict them to only 4 moves, but as many moves as possible restricted only by the learning capacity of that Pokemon.

Also, in my writing, there are no TM's (I can't really picture out how the TM look physically, and how TM function technically). If a Trainer wants to teach a Pokemon new moves, then this is done only by the Trainer's effort to train the Pokemon.