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The Computer Is A Cheating Bastard / Pokémon
aka: Pokemon Stadium

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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.
  • 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 Dragonite that are 5-8 levels lower than the minimum level Dragonair can evolve. The remakes introduce a Dragonite of his that's at a measly 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.
    • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, the Purugly and Skuntank used by Galactic Commanders Mars and Jupiter in your first battles with them are grossly underleveled. Skuntank is Level 23 despite not being obtainable until Level 34; Purugly is at Level 16, despite not being able to evolve from Glameow until Level 38, more than double the level it's at during the first battle against it.
    • 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.
  • Up until Pokémon Black and White, in the event that both trainers had their last Pokémon 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.
  • 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.

  • Bulbapedia has two pages dedicated to showing moves your opponent (or in rare cases, your Pokémon) 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.

Generation I

  • NPCs in the original Kanto games can never run out of PP. However, this can easily backfire against them, as their AI is coded to always use a move of a super-effective type against your Pokémon, even if their only such move is a Status move that does no damage, allowing even a severely underleveled Pokémon to slowly whittle them down as they'll never be forced to switch to a damaging move. On the other hand, you have Lorelei and her Dewgong, who will spam the Psychic-type Rest (which fully heals it but puts it to sleep for two turns, counting the turn it was used) against any Poison or Fighting-types you send out against it. If one of those happens to be your last Pokémon, you're out of Revives, and you can't KO Dewgong before it wakes up and uses Rest again, the result is being trapped in an Unintentionally Unwinnable purgatory until you run out of PP yourself and slowly Struggle yourself to death.
  • Lance's Dragonite knows Barrier. Dragonite's line has forever been incapable of learning Barrier under normal circumstances, no matter how much breeding you do. The sole exception is a 2016 event Dragonite with Barrier that was distributed as a deliberate reference to Lance's Dragonite.
  • The AI can use items on their Pokémon during the second turn of a two-turn attack (during which a player is normally prevented from taking any action while the move automatically completes), as seen here with Giovanni.

Generation II

  • Lance's Aerodactyl knows Rock Slide in these games, despite the move not being added to Aerodactyl's learnset until FireRed and LeafGreen.

Generation III

  • Winona's Altaria in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire is at level 33, despite Swablu not being able to evolve for another two levels. It also knows Dragon Dance, which it shouldn't know until level 40 and is impossible to get early as a Swablu.
  • One of the Victory Road trainers in Emerald has a Lanturn that knows Earthquake, a move that is completely impossible for it to learn.
  • 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.

Generation IV

  • This generation introduced Last Resort, a powerful move usable after every other move has been used by the Pokémon at least once. NPCs can use it early, though.
  • The slot machines in the Game Corners are based on Japanese pachisuro machines, 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 a notch: 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.

Generation V

  • 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.

Generation VII

  • Totem Lurantis is capable of 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.

Generation VIII

  • Max Raid Battles in Sword and Shield have the AI doing everything in its power, and more, to ensure you lose:
    • The Dynamaxed/Gigantamaxed Pokémon is allowed to move multiple times in one turn. If they have a spread-damage move like Rock Slide or Earthquake, they could potentially take your entire side out in one turn, even if one of you was holding a Focus Sash.
    • Whenever they so choose, they can negate your entire team's stat changes, and Abilities.
    • Any positive side effects of moves happen more often.Example 
    • So long as four Pokémon on your team have fainted, the battle ends, regardless of the Dynamaxed Pokémon's current HP. Even if it's at ZERO.
  • Several NPCs in Pokémon Legends: Arceus can use multiple Pokémon in battle at the same time (usually up to three), something the player has never been able to do themselves. While it might be justified due to how there are no official rules in Pokémon battles yet due to the setting taking place before modern times, there should be nothing stopping the player from sending out multiple Pokémon themselves, yet they are still restricted to using one at a time.

Generation IX

  • You thought Dynamax raid battles in Sword/Shield were hard? Tera raid battles in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are even more obnoxious:
    • Like their Dynamax predecessors, Tera Pokemon can use multiple moves per turn and negate your side's stat changes and Abilities.
    • Items from the bag can't be used on Pokemon while raiding. Much like the Battle Tower in previous generations, you have to rely on (sometimes, single-use) held items instead.
    • You can only Terastallize after using three non-status moves on the Tera Pokemon; most other battles let you do so any time you want.
    • Any moves that deal recoil damage will, more often than not, result in you being knocked out instantly due to the Tera Pokemon's sheer amount of HP. A Tera Pokemon's recoil damage, however, is absolutely insignificant.
    • At 5-Star raids and above, the Tera Pokemon will randomly steal your Tera Orb's charge, meaning you have to waste even more precious time getting attacks in to charge it up again.
    • Sometimes after the Tera Pokemon's HP is completely depleted, it'll get one more attack off before it faints. Meaning that, if your Pokemon's HP and the timer are low enough, you can still get blasted out of the arena even though you essentially won the battle.
  • Kilowattrel in 6-star Tera Raids can use Rain Dance, despite the move not being in its learnset. This is problematic because these Kilowattrel can also use the Powerful, but Inaccurate moves Thunder and Hurricane, which happen to have perfect accuracy if it's raining.

    Spin-off Games 
  • The Pokémon Stadium games are quite notorious for this. To wit:
    • Several trainers will have moves that are impossible for their Pokémon 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 Pokémon in battle know moves they shouldn't be able to know, their trainer's name will be highlighted pink.
    • 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 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 Pokémon 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 in-game trades with NPCs (where the Pokémon you get has the same level as the Pokémon you traded) and tradebacks from the Gen 2 games, it's possible for the player to get Pokémon at even lower levels than what's normally possible in the Gen 1 games and get most Pokémon that evolve beyond level 20 at legal levels for the Pika Cup.
    • There are also a large number 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 computer's 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.
  • Pokémon GO: The Shadow Pokémon owned by Team GO Rocket have stats 2 - 3 times stronger than anything a human being could get, and stuff like Hitmonchan or Golbat deal enough damage to take out Stone Wall Pokémon by using only Counter or Bite. It's Justified here because they are literally cheating by powering up Pokémon through unnatural means.
  • 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.
  • In the TCG Online game, watch how many times your computerized 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.

Alternative Title(s): Pokemon Stadium