How long does substitute last Pokémon? (how does Substitute work?)

Growing up, I’ve been engaged in playing the Pokémon game, a universe filled with diverse moves and strategies for trainers to seize an upper hand in battles.

Among these tactics lies an interesting Substitute move, a subject of curiosity for fans eager to know its mechanics.

This article aims to look into the complexity of the Substitute move, shedding light on its advantages and clarify its interactions within the broader context of Pokémon battles. 🎮


How does substitute work in Pokémon?

how Substitute work
How does substitute work in Pokémon? Image source: Pinterest

Substitute, a move originating from Generation I, falls under the category of non-damaging Normal-type techniques.

In the execution of Substitute, a Pokémon chooses to let go 25% of its total HP to establish a surrogate or trap😬.

This Substitute, formed through the sacrifice of HP, serves as a shield that absorbs the majority or all of incoming damage from opposing Pokémon until it eventually breaks.

Additionally, the Substitute’s HP is set at a value surpassing the amount lost by the initiating Pokémon by a margin of one.

Here’s a simple table to illustrate how Substitute works:

User Hp

Sacrificed Hp

Substitute Hp










Does substitute stay when you switch out?

substitute in Pokémon
Does substitute stay when you switch out? Image source: Pinterest

When a Pokémon using Substitute switches out, the Substitute takes damage before the Pokémon itself🥴.

However, it would help if you kept in mind that the protective nature of the Substitute only applies to the Pokémon using it and not to the subsequent Pokémon in your team unless you use Baton Pass.

This means that while the Substitute can effectively shield a Pokémon during switching, it doesn’t protect other members of your Pokémon team.

What breaks a substitute Pokémon?

When a Pokémon creates a substitute, it will break when its HP is completely gone. Also, if a one-hit KO move is used, it will break the Substitute instantly💔.

For multi-hit moves like Bone Rush, Arm Thrust, Barrage, and similar moves, if any of the hits break the Substitute, the following hits will damage the Pokémon behind it.

Does Substitute last longer if you have more HP or Defense?

how does Substitute work?
Does Substitute last longer if you have more HP or Defense? Image source: Pinterest

When a Pokémon creates a substitute, its duration is determined by the amount of HP and Defense (or Special Defense) it possesses.

If the damage inflicted on the Substitute exceeds the HP used to create it, it breaks and disappears🥴. A substitute breaks when the accumulated damage exceeds the HP sacrificed to create it.

Therefore, a higher HP value provides the Substitute with a larger amount of vitality, while a higher Defense or Special Defense results in a slower depletion of HP per turn.

What is the purpose of a Pokémon substitute?


A Substitute serves several purposes:

  • Defense Against Attacks: By sacrificing only 25% HP, your Pokémon gains protection against weaker attacks.
  • Immunity to Status Effects: Substitute grants immunity to status effects.
  • Pressuring Opponent: Having a substitute places significant pressure on the opponent to launch attacks.
  • Stalling with Toxic and Leech Seed: It proves advantageous for delaying strategies involving moves like Toxic and Leech Seed.
  • Prediction: The use of Substitute enables predictions, aiding in choosing the right counterattack.
  • Blocking Status Moves: Substitutes are barriers against Status moves such as Toxic and Will-O-Wisp.

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