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The Computer Is A Cheating Bastard / Pokémon

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Main Series

  • NPCs, even ones with no plot significance, often have Pokémon that know powerful moves about five levels early. In later games, Pokémon learning moves early is often justified — a skilled breeder can get level-up moves and moves the Pokémon otherwise couldn't know (Egg moves) bred onto Level 5 (and, from Generation IV onward, Level 1) Pokémon if the father knows it, so presumably the computer-controlled trainers bred their own. While the player can't do this at first, many Tournament Play fans use this in the Metagame.
  • NPCs in Generation I could never run out of PP. Have fun with the Elite Four-Champion gauntlet...
    • This one comes back in Pokémon Sun and Moon in some of the Island Trials; the Totem Lurantis can be seen using Synthesis nine times or more, with its item slot occupied by a Power Herb, despite the move being limited to eight uses without a PP-restoring Berry.
  • Speaking of the Elite Four, Lance's Dragonite in Generation I has Barrier. Dragonite's line has forever been incapable of learning Barrier under normal circumstances, no matter how much breeding you do. What's more, in Generation II, his Aerodactyl knows Rock Slide, which it couldn't learn until FireRed and LeafGreen.
    • In 2016, an event Dragonite with Barrier was distributed as a deliberate reference to Lance's Dragonite, so this has gone full circle.
  • In a similar vein, various characters have Pokémon that have evolved at levels lower than their designated evolution level, if you were to train up its pre-evolution. Also justified in that various areas contain wild evolved Pokémon at lower levels than ought to be possible, allowing the player to catch them — the NPCs may have caught their Pokémon in places the player simply hasn't been to.
    • In Pokémon Gold and Silver, Lance has three underleveled Dragonite; this time they at least have legal movesets. In the remakes, one is as low as level 40, but this may be justified by Team Rocket deliberately inducing early evolution.
    • In FireRed and LeafGreen, your rival's Pidgey evolves into Pidgeotto by level 17, despite Pidgey not normally evolving until level 18. It's possible that he simply caught a different Pidgeotto in the wild, but it is heavily implied otherwise.
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    • Hydreigon doesn't evolve from Zweilous until level 64, but Ghetsis' Hydreigon is level 54 in Pokémon Black and White and level 52 in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. The latter games also give Iris a level 57 Hydreigon.
    • Another infamous example is the grossly underleveled Purugly and Skuntank belonging to Galactic Commanders Mars and Jupiter, respectively, in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl due to the Early Game Hell and Forced Level-Grinding they can put players through. Especially Purugly. Skuntank is more underleveled that Ghetsis' Hydreigon, and Purugly is twice as underleveled as Skuntank note .
  • Up until Pokémon Black and White, in the event that both trainers had their last Pokemon KO'd as a result of Self-Destruct or Explosion, the AI would be declared the winner no matter what, despite the fact that the trainer who used one of said moves is supposed to lose by default.
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  • Emerald is also a blatant offender. It introduced the Battle Frontier, and set the standard for all subsequent games. It has multiple Gym Leaders with Pokémon they should not have at certain levels, such as Winona's Altaria. To top it all off, regular trainers in Victory Road have completely impossible movesets. One in particular is absurd: a Lanturn in a Double Battle knows NOTHING BUT EARTHQUAKE, a move it cannot learn in the first place.
  • In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, during your first battle with Brock, he has a Rhyhorn with Sturdy. No other Rhyhorn can have this Ability as of Gen VII.
  • The usual instance of the computer's Pokémon having illegal moves has been subverted a few times; Battle Maison Evelyn's Entei has Sacred Fire, which it got added to its moveset in Generation VI, though a Move Reminder is needed to relearn it. Pokémon Sun and Moon also had a Kommo-o in the Battle Tree that knew Shell Smash — a move the line can't learn. A patch ended up changing it to the more sensible Draco Meteor.
  • Last Resort, introduced in Generation IV, is a powerful move usable after every other move has been used by the Pokémon at least once. NPCs can use it early, though.
  • Try using the Mean Look/Perish Song combo on a Trainer with multiple Pokémon. When you switch your Pokémon out to avoid getting KOed by Perish Song, your opponent does the exact same thing, despite the trapping effect not allowing switching. note 
  • The slot machines in the Game Corners are based on Japanese pachisuro machines (see the Real Life section), and thus they will slip to prevent paying out a winning combination. However, the slots in the Japanese versions of HeartGold and SoulSilver take this Up to Eleven: They'll actually continue spinning well after you hit the button (even if it takes more than a half-revolution) to force two Poké Balls or two 7's to line up on the first two reels, then force the third reel to avoid lining up a third 7 or Poké Ball to achieve a near miss. This would actually be highly illegal to program into a real pachisuro machine. The international releases replaced the slot minigame with Voltorb Flip.
  • In one of the bonus downloadable tournaments in Black 2 and White 2 (only available in Japan), Fantina has an Origin Forme Giratina holding a Ghost Gem. Giratina can only be in Origin Forme if it is holding a Griseous Orb.
  • Max Raid Battles in Sword and Shield have the AI doing everything in its power, and more, to ensure you lose:
    • The Dynamaxed/Gigantamaxed Pokemon is allowed to move twice, and sometimes even three times, in one turn.
    • Whenever they so choose, they can negate your entire team's stat changes, and Abilities.
    • Any positive effects of moves are virtually guaranteed to happen.Example 
    • So long as four Pokemon on your team have fainted, the battle ends, regardless of the Dynamaxed Pokemon's current HP. Even if it's at ZERO.
  • In the TCG Online game, watch how many times your computerised opponent gets potions, roller skates, and other lovely and convenient advantages, versus how many times they occur for you, the player. Clearly, the AI really is a cheating bastard.
  • In Hoenn Contests (both gen 3 and gen 6), the AI will always, without fail, know when you're about to use a jamming move, and if they can, will immediately use a move preventing jamming.
  • Bulbapedia has two pages dedicated to showing moves your opponent (or in rare cases, your Pokemon) cannot legitimately know in the main games or the Trading Card Game.
  • In Generation I and the Orre duology, if the player's Pokémon acted first, Pokémon trainers with "Smart AI" (gym leaders, your rival, and the Elite Four) will make their move decision after the player's move takes effect. For example, if your opponent has Hypnosis, the AI would normally not try to put a Pokémon which is already asleep back to sleep. However, if the player uses an item to wake their Pokémon up before the AI moves, the AI will know the player's Pokémon is awake and immediately use the sleep move again.

Spinoff Games

  • The Pokémon Stadium games are quite notorious for this. To wit:
    • Several trainers will have moves that are impossible for their pokemon to learn. For example, a Juggler in Koga's Gym in the first Stadium has a Slowbro that knows Metronome, which it cannot learn legitimately under any circumstances. When pokemon in battle know moves they shouldn't be able to know, their trainer's name will be highlighted pink.
    • Chance is very strongly stacked in the AI's favor; for example, should their Pokémon use evasion-increasing moves like Minimize or Double Team, it becomes almost impossible to land a hit, and low-accuracy moves almost always connect when launched by them, but rarely when used by the player.
    • The Mewtwo who serves as the Final Boss of the first Stadium game (or second, if you're Japanese) has infinite PP when you fight it. Granted, you're fighting six against one, so it's kind of a trade-off, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a blatant cheat.
    • In the Pika Cup in the first game, some of the trainers have Pokémon that normally cannot be obtained at their level in that Generation. For example, Hiker (Round 1) and Swimmer (Round 2) have a Seadra at level 15 and 17, respectively. The minimum level a Seadra can be legitimately obtained in Gen 1 is at level 20 in the Yellow version. However the Rental pokemon available for the Pika Cup are all at level 15, which for most of the evolved ones isn't normally possible in the Gen 1 games, letting the player technically cheat too. Additionally by exploiting ingame trades with NPCs (where the pokemon you get has the same level as the pokemon you traded) and tradebacks from the Gen 2 games, it's possible for the player to get pokemon at even lower levels than what's normally possible in the Gen 1 games and get most pokemon that evolve beyond level 20 at legal levels for the Pika Cup.
    • There is also a large amount of trainers' Pokémon that have move combinations which are impossible to obtain. For example in Stadium 2 one Blastoise has Haze and Mirror Coat, which are two of its egg moves but together they are a combination that is impossible to breed onto a Squirtle.
    • Stadium 2 also caught most Western players by surprise by including opponents with the Crystal tutor moves (old gen I TM moves Ice Beam and Thunderbolt, as well as never before teachable Flamethrower). Seeing Stadium 2 was released a few months before Crystal in the west, the increased distribution of said moves was something only the computer had access to.
    • The computers' Pokémon have nicknames with numbers in them, otherwise impossible until Gen. III.
  • Particularly in the Masters Battle part of Pokémon Battle Revolution; the computer players have an uncanny ability to know precisely what Pokémon the player is going to switch to or use at any given moment.
  • Salamence from Pokémon Ranger ignores your starter's assist, despite the fact that an Electric-type attack should deal normal damage to a Dragon/Flying type.
  • In the Japan-only sequel to the TCG game for the Game Boy Color, Magician's deck has at least two Nightly Garbage Run cards.note  When Magician uses them, and only when Magician uses them, he can also retrieve Trainer cards. His strategy is to select another Nightly Garbage Run (and two other cards), so his deck never runs dry.

Alternative Title(s): Pokemon Stadium


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