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ASB Rules

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groove out!
ASB is a post-based battling game where you challenge your fellow forum members to realistic Pokémon matches. This style of play blends game mechanics with role-playing-style fighting reminiscent of the Pokémon anime, with emphasis on creative use of Pokémon attacks and abilities. This thread describes the more specific parts of the system that makes of all that work.

TCoD League Rules

The Beginning of Battle

The battle begins with the referee's post, which restates the rules of the challenge and its arena settings, as well as both members' active squads — the active squads posted at that point apply for the rest of the battle's duration, even if the players deposit, withdraw or evolve Pokémon in their squads at later points. Additionally, the post will state the order in which the trainers send their Pokémon out and issue commands in the initial round. Beyond that point, the players will be alternating, with each round, who has to make the first move.

Health and Energy

In battle, a Pokémon's ability to continue fighting is measured by two values: its health and energy percentages. Both start at 100%, and when at least one reaches 0%, the Pokémon is knocked out. Health, similar to HP in the games, measures the Pokémon's physical condition, and is diminished as it takes damage from the enemy's attacks. Energy refers to the Pokémon's stamina, and some of it must be consumed in order to perform attacks and take action in general.

In order to preserve energy, a Pokémon can take a moment to stop fighting and rest. This is done by using a special ASB move, known as Chill. All Pokémon — even the likes of Caterpie and Magikarp — know the move Chill and can use it in a given action, which not only costs no energy, but even restores a small amount of it. Pokémon using this move are generally vulnerable to enemy attacks in the same action, however, being unable to evade or counter quickly.


Each round, the Pokémon in the arena are given three commands. Each one of those takes place within one "action" — in an ASB battle, time is measured by and divided across the unit of actions. After all participants have issued their commands, the referee will resolve the resulting events of the round, calculate the health and energy totals for each Pokémon at the end of the three actions, and writes a narrative describing all of it — commonly referred to as a "reffing". After the referee posts their reffing, a new round begins, with three more actions across which to issue new commands.

To illustrate this, let's consider a battle between a Charizard and a Blastoise. The player controlling the Charizard will most likely want to avoid those inevitably incoming Water-type attacks, so it'd be wise to open with Sunny Day. After that, in order to avoid other of the powerful moves Blastoise can still use, Double Team would prove handy. And finally, the Charizard can take advantage of the established weather and turn the tables of type effectiveness with a super-effective Solar Beam! That's three attacks, each one used at a time — and, thus, within an action. In order to issue these commands, the player only needs to post at least a string of commands akin to this one:

Sunny Day ~ Double Team ~ Solar Beam

If the trainer with the Blastoise hasn't issued their commands already, they may get to use their position in the order of commands to their advantage, allowing them to move with the opponent. First, while Charizard is setting up Sunny Day, there's an opportunity for Blastoise to use super-effective attacks of types other than Water, such as Rock Slide. After that, it can use a move like Aura Sphere in order to score a hit regardless of Double Team, even though it won't deal so much damage as Chariard resists it, being Flying-type. And finally, it can turn the tables back on its opponent by countering its powerful Solar Beam with a Mirror Coat — that's sure to leave a mark! The opposing string of commands would likewise run this way:

Rock Slide ~ Aura Sphere ~ Mirror Coat

Charizard and Blastoise here can fill up their three actions with any single move that Pokémon of their species might have access to in the games, whether it be a natural level-up move or a TM move or something from a move tutor or even any egg moves, as well as the previously described Chill move. All the moves Charizard can use are listed in its page in the Database, and likewise, Blastoise's moves can be found in its own other page. A full list of Pokémon pages can be found here. (Note: event-only moves were useable in the previous ASB league, but they aren't at the moment. They will be again in the future, but for now, just stick to what's in the database.)

Note also that not all actions have to be taken up by mechanically established moves. If the situation calls for it, you can order your Pokémon to take some other sorts of actions, such as moving around, dodging an attack, or even launching an unusual improvised attack. For example, the Charizard from the example above could fly or climb a tree (if the arena has any such) in order to possibly avoid an incoming Surf attack, and it could slam the tip of its tail into the Blastoise's face, using the flame deal damage and possibly even score a burn. It could even pick up some gravel and attempt to clog the Blastoise's cannons in order to prevent or slow down some of its Water attacks, and possibly cause it to hurt itself slightly if it still attempts to blast a Hydro Pump out. The sky's the only limit — or, perhaps, the referee's judgement is.

Additionally, there's something of a middle ground between those two possibilities. A traditional move can be repurposed and used in ways that differ from its usual functionalities and effects — for example, if the Charizard attempts to fly away in order to avoid the Blastoise's attacks, that one can still try out using Bite or Submission in order to cling on, or even Hydro Pump against the ground in order to go airborne as well. In that regard, it's useful to be on top of not only a move's mechanical effects in the ASB, but also the given description of how it occours. All of those things can be easily found in the Database as well, as each move has its own description page. A list of those can be found here. If the description doesn't make it any clearer whether you can use certain moves in certain ways, you can always ask your referee, and in fact, it should be noted that different referees may have different interpretations about certain moves and, thus, different calls on whether a given plan would work.

Any of these methods could be used to counter attacks from the opponent; that is, use prevent one of their attacks or even use the attack against them. Say the Charizard from earlier decides to use thunder punch against Blastoise. Before or during Charizard's attack, the Blastoise may choose to erect a rock tomb, trapping Charizard and preventing it from landing its hit. Likewise, after that, Charizard may attempt another counter: it could attempt to blow away the rock tomb back onto Blastoise with air slash (or possibly even using defog!).

(NOTE: The combo mechanics described in the next few paragraphs are pending revisions. For now, the old system described therein is being used, but take note that it will most likely be updated sometime soon.)

It is also possible to chain attacks together to create unique and powerful effects. For example, Horn Attack stabs the opponent for moderate damage, but what if you used Quick Attack to put more speed and force behind the attack? When two actions are performed simultaneously or in extremely rapid succession, the result is a combo. Combos can be tricky to pull off, as not all attacks can be used together, and they cost a little more energy than normal due to how difficult they are to perform, but when used properly, the effects can be spectacular. When ordering a combo, the tilde (~) that ordinarily separates actions is traditionally replaced with a plus sign to indicate which actions are being combined, like so:

Thunder Punch + Comet Punch ~ Light Screen

The Pokémon performing this set of commands will perform only two actions, with the first having elements of both comet punch and thunderpunch and the second being light screen, which may correspond to its opponent's second or third action, depending on how the combo goes off. Note that it is also possible to chain all three actions together to form one stupendous combo attack. However, combo attacks are logically more difficult and exhausting than a regular attack, and so each one requires a resting period equal to each additional attack used in one action: i.e., a two-attack combo requires a resting period of one action, and a three-attack combo requires a resting period of two actions, occurring either before or after the combo as desired. It is also important to remember that not all attacks can logically combined. For example, it is rarely possible to combine hyper beam and, for example, ice beam, because hyper beam would usually be charged and fired from the same place as an ice beam, such that a Pokémon wouldn't be able to power up and shoot both beams at once, and the properties of ice beam and hyper beam cannot be combined like thunder punch and comet punch can.

Finally, there are conditional commands, which allow your Pokémon to respond appropriately to different possibilities that may unfold as the round progresses. Suppose a trainer is using a Pokémon such as Haunter, and decided to open the round with a Hypnosis attack. If it lands successfully, it may follow with Dream Eater in order to deal solid damage and even restore its own health. But what would happen if the low accuracy of Hypnosis reared its ugly head, leaving Haunter with not only a failed move first but also an entirely wasted one thereafter? Fortunately, one can escape this bind by using conditional commands. In this case, Haunter can, after using Hypnosis first, check whether its opponent is duly asleep before taking its next move — and at that point, it can either use Dream Eater if that is so, or it can try Hypnosis again if that hasn't worked yet. And even furthermore, it can be ready to change its plans if the opponent falls asleep in the first action, but quickly awakens in time for the third one, or even if neither Hypnosis attempts take — at that point, Haunter might as well simply switch to more straightforward attacks. And so:

Hypnosis ~ Dream Eater / Hypnosis ~ Dream Eater / Shadow Ball

Note, however, that simply posting these conditional commands isn't enough — the player must specify the conditions to be met for each possible command. In this case, the second command would be "Use Dream Eater if the foe is asleep, and Hypnosis otherwise", and the third command would be "Use Dream Eater if the foe is asleep, and Shadow Ball otherwise". Beware of giving out conditional commands in such a way that your Pokémon may not have a clear move to use under certain circumstances — if we were to order Haunter to use, in the third action, Hypnosis if both previous attempts missed and Dream Eater if the foe is asleep, Haunter might not know what to do if it did land a Hypnosis but the foe woke up from it by that action. Depending on your referee, it might puzzle out that Hypnosis would be the closest course of action to what has been commanded, or it might just sit there in confused stupor while the opponent takes advantage, or it might even resort to using Struggle instead.

One great advantage of conditional commands is that they can also be used in order to limit the disadvantages of issuing commands first in the round. If you're not sure whether your opponent is going for the offensive right away or setting up with moves like Swords Dance first, you could command your Pokémon to wait on its foe's move and either try to dodge an incoming attack, or slide an attack of its own. Do note, however, that there are disadvantages to using this — your Pokémon will not be able to make their move until their opponent is at least halfway through using theirs: this will not only mean your Pokémon won't be moving first even if it ordinarily would, but also, that it'll be vulnerable while the foe is starting to attack, and that it will most likely be too late at that point to interrupt or even dodge the attack. Most of the time, if you've issued conditional commands that depend on the enemy's move, your Pokémon won't be able to carry them out until the enemy's move has resolved.

It should also be noted that there are only so many conditional commands that a Pokémon can keep track of at a given time; any more than that may cause it to become confused, leaving it to either take no action as it stands still while attempting to understand its orders, or to simply behave erratically, using one of the possible moves entirely at random or just settling for some good and straightforward Struggle. Trainers are advised to use no more than three possible conditional moves within each action. Lastly, it's possible for two Pokémon to find themselves locked in a circular command chain — for example, if both were ordered to react to the foe's move, leaving them both to wait on the other and neither to make the first move. This can only lead to neither Pokémon doing something in that action.


Most battles that take place in the league are specified as set, but there are some where Pokémon are allowed to switch freely. Switching takes a whole action at higher priority than any attack, and when a Pokémon switches, whether by the switch command or by the effect of a move such as U-Turn or Baton Pass, the round ends at the end of that action. The exception is when a Pokémon switches on its very first action: in this case, the switch happens before the start of the round, and the replacement can be commanded for all three actions of that round. If the person ordering second chooses to switch on their first action, the person who commanded first is given the chance to recommand; thus, if you're commanding second and wish to switch on the first action, it would be a good idea to speak up out of turn to announce that you'll be switching and to whom, to avoid unnecessary recommanding.

As in the games, switching sheds the confusion and attraction statuses and the effects of moves such as Leech Seed, and cannot be done when the Pokémon to be switched is under the effects of a trapping move such as Mean Look or Fire Spin. When the Pokémon is sent out again, it will have the same health and energy totals as before it switched, and retain major statuses such as poison and burn.

The Referee

The referee is the person who oversees a match, judging how effective the Pokémon's attacks are and whether the trainers' plans are successful or not. Referees have the most difficult and time-consuming job in ASB, and they are also the people who keep the game running, as no one could have a battle if a referee didn't step up to interpret it. Therefore, it is important to respect your referee and remember that they are handling your battle out of courtesy when it would be easier for them not to.

This is not to say, however, that referees are perfect and never make mistakes. If you feel that your referee has made a mistake in his or her last reffing or misinterpreted your commands, you may ask them why the round progressed as it did or why they had your Pokémon act as it did. In some cases, the referee may make changes to his or her previous reffing in response to complaints, but if he or she considers the original interpretation valid, he or she may not. The referee is, after all, the final word on what goes on in any given battle. If you feel that your referee is proceeding unfairly or incorrectly and he or she does not respond to your complaints, you may appeal to any of the ASB mods who are also refs.

If you would like to become a referee yourself, see the Referee Headquarters for further information about becoming approved. Referees earn money for each reffing they complete and, of course, have the pleasure of taking the reins and being in control of others' battles, as well as that of writing the narrative of many thrilling battles.


When all is said and done and a battle ends, all those involved get a prize. The winner of a match earns $8 per Pokémon that their opponent sent out against them, and the referee earns $5 times the number of Pokémon the loser used. The loser receives $4 times the number of Pokémon the winner had to use to defeat them.

Therefore, in a 3vs3 match where the loser sent out all three Pokémon but the winner only had to use two, the winner would get $24; the referee, $15; and the loser, $8. In a 2vs2 double battle, the winner would receive $16; the referee, $10; and the loser, $8.

If a match ends in DQ before a single reffing has been completed, no participant receives anything. If a player loses by disqualification, they receive no prize.

If all parties agree to end a match in a draw, the prizes are half what they ordinarily would be: each trainer gets $4 per Pokémon their opponent used.

Battles where trainers' commands are irrelevant (such as Metronome-only battles) do not yield any money, experience, or other prizes and should not be recorded in the Database. (The referee still gets paid, however.)

Experience and Evolution

Most Pokémon require experience in battle before they can evolve. A Pokémon gets one experience point simply for being sent into battle, whether it gets knocked out in one round or survives the entire match. After that, it receives one additional experience point for each Pokémon it knocks out in battle.

For example, if a Pokémon only needs one experience point to evolve, it will be able to evolve after participating in just one battle, even if it scores no KOs. On the other hand, if it requires two experience points to evolve, it will need to score a KO, or else participate in two battles. You can easily check your Pokémon's experience, as well as how much it needs in order to evolve, through its profile in the ASB Database.

Some Pokémon require happiness to evolve, which is gained exactly like experience — the only difference is that certain held items affect experience, and others affect happiness. Other Pokémon may need to battle holding a certain item, and some have even more particular requirements. Check the Database page on your Pokémon's species to find out exactly how to go about evolving it.

Experience and other evolution progress are only awarded when a battle ends. For example, if your Marshtomp KOs your opponent's first Pokémon in a 3v3 battle, and that gains it its sixth experience point, it will still have to wait until your opponent's other two Pokémon go down in order to evolve (or all of yours do, or the battle ends early). Once your Pokémon can evolve, an "Evolve this Pokémon" link will appear at the top of its profile.

The Active Squad and the Computer

You can bring up to ten Pokémon with you to a battle, and these ten are known as your "active squad." If you have more than ten Pokémon, some of them must be stored in your PC box. Pokémon in storage cannot take part in battles or contests. Pokémon can be deposited and withdrawn through the Your Pokémon page in the ASB Database.

Held Items

A Pokémon is capable of bringing an item with it into battle. Most items can be bought through the Database or acquired in various other ways, and they may have a wide range of effects on the Pokémon holding them. Any items you obtain are initially stored in your PC Box and can be found under Your Items, where you can also give items for your Pokémon to hold or take back any currently held items. Your bag can hold infinite items, just as your PC can hold infinite Pokémon.

Using a held item does not require an action or any energy, unless its description states otherwise. Some items have passive effects that are always in play as long as the Pokémon is holding the item. Others, such as berries, are used automatically when the conditions for their use are met, and can only be used once per battle. However, you can also command your Pokémon to save its item rather than using it automatically, either until its condition comes up again or until told to use it. Items like these can also be used early, but doing so takes up an action.

Used-up items are restored after battle, and any stolen items (thanks to moves like Thief, for example) are returned to their rightful owners.

Pokémon Modifications, Signature Moves, and Signature Attributes

These were several ways to customize a Pokémon's battling style in the old league. Bringing these back is one of our top priorities, but for the initial relaunch, we've put them on hold. We still have the data for everyone's mods, so don't worry.

Flying and Hovering Pokémon

Numerous Pokémon have been shown time and again, in the games, the anime, and other Pokémon media, to be capable of flying or levitating, despite not being Flying-type or having Levitate. On the other hand, some Pokémon are Flying-type or do have Levitate, but aren't depicted as flying or hovering most of the time.

By default, Pokémon are immune to Ground-type attacks if and only if the game mechanics say so. For example, a Magnemite may be written as hovering in the air, but moves such as Mud-Slap should still be able to reach it, and moves like Earthquake should interrupt its levitation, causing it to fall and be struck by the attack. On the other hand, a Flygon will likely spend most of its time on the ground, but should instinctively lift off for a moment to avoid Ground attacks. (Keep in mind that non-damaging moves like Sand Attack are never affected by type matchups — neither in the games nor in ASB. The only exception is Thunder Wave.)

However, since ASB lets you be more creative, Pokémon like Magnemite can still be ordered to fly or float higher, which will let them avoid Ground-type attacks, among other possibilities. However, it will will cost them some energy, and they will expend additional energy for each action they stay up. For these purposes, airborne Pokémon in ASB are divided into four categories: inherently flying, consensually flying, inherently hovering, and consensually hovering.

Flying and hovering Pokémon control differently; for example, a flying Pokémon may be able to fly higher without requiring extra energy, while a levitating Pokémon may be more difficult for opponents to bring down, as they have no wings to target. These differences are mostly at the ref's discretion.

Inherently flying or levitating Pokémon are the ones that are depicted in the air by default. They may lift off on the same action as they use another move, and it requires little energy. Consensually flying or levitating Pokémon, on the other hand, require more energy and a full action, as well as more energy to stay airborne.

Flying-type Pokémon and Pokémon with Levitate are also sorted into these categories. They will always be able to evade Ground moves, as previously stated, but will still require energy to fly higher than their usual level.

The Pokémon in each category are as follows:

Inherently Flying: Butterfree, Beedrill, Zubat, Golbat, Crobat, Venomoth, Gyarados, Togekiss, Yanma, Yanmega, Mantyke, Mantine, Beautifly, Dustox, Wingull, Masquerain, Ninjask, Latias, Latios, Rayquaza, Mothim, Combee, Vespiquen, Sky Shaymin, Woobat, Swoobat, Sigilyph, Hydreigon, Volcarona, Vivillon, Noibat, Noivern, Vikavolt, Cutiefly, Ribombee, Lunala.

Consensually Flying: Charizard, Pidgey, Pidgeotto, Pidgeot, Spearow, Fearow, Farfetch'd, Doduo, Dodrio, Scyther, Scizor, Aerodactyl, Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Dragonite, Hoothoot, Noctowl, Ledyba, Ledian, Togetic, Natu, Xatu, Murkrow, Honchkrow, Heracross, Delibird, Skarmory, Lugia, Ho-Oh, Taillow, Swellow, Pelipper, Volbeat, Illumise, Vibrava, Flygon, Swablu, Altaria, Tropius, Salamence, Starly, Staravia, Staraptor, Kricketune, Chatot, Garchomp, Altered Giratina, Pidove, Tranquill, Unfezant, Archen, Archeops, Ducklett, Swanna, Emolga, Golett, Golurk, Stunfisk, Rufflet, Braviary, Vullaby, Mandibuzz, Reshiram, Zekrom, Kyurem, Genesect, Fletchling, Fletchinder, Talonflame, Hawlucha, Yveltal, Rowlet, Dartrix, Decidueye, Pikipek, Trumbeak, Toucannon, Oricorio.

Inherently Hovering: Alolan Raichu, Magnemite, Magneton, Magnezone, Gastly, Haunter, Koffing, Weezing, Porygon, Porygon2, Porygon-Z, Mew, Hoppip, Skiploom, Jumpluff, Misdreavus, Mismagius, Unown, Celebi, Shedinja, Solrock, Lunatone, Baltoy, Claydol, Castform, Shuppet, Banette, Duskull, Dusknoir, Chingling, Chimecho, Glalie, Froslass, Beldum, Metang, Jirachi, Speed Deoxys, Drifloon, Drifblim, Bronzor (with Levitate), Bronzong (with Levitate), Carnivine, Rotom, Uxie, Mespirit, Azelf, Origin Giratina, Cresselia, Darkrai, Munna, Musharna, Cottonee, Yamask, Vanillite, Vanillish, Vanilluxe, Escavalier, Klink, Klang, Klinklang, Tynamo, Eelektrik, Eelektross, Accelgor, Cryogonal, Tornadus, Thundurus, Landorus, Flabébé, Floette, Honedge, Doublade, Aegislash, Inkay, Carbink, Klefki, Phantump, Diancie, Comfey, Minior, Dhelmise, Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu, Tapu Fini, Cosmog, Cosmoem.

Consensually Hovering: Cleffa, Clefairy, Clefable, Igglybuff, Jigglypuff, Wigglytuff, Gengar, Staryu, Starmie, Dragonair, Mewtwo, Dunsparce, Gardevoir, Probopass, Meditite, Medicham, Dusclops, Metagross, Regirock, Regice, Registeel, Normal Deoxys, Attack Deoxys, Bronzor (with Heatproof), Bronzong (with Heatproof), Spiritomb, Dialga, Palkia, Victini, Whimsicott, Solosis, Duosion, Reuniclus, Elgyem, Beeheyem, Lampent, Chandelure, Meloetta, Florges, Malamar, Pumpkaboo, Gourgeist, Mimikyu, Drampa, Solgaleo, Magearna.

Rulings on Special Pokémon

Pokémon with multiple forms each have their own rulings listed on their page. For example, Rotom's form can be changed anytime through the Database, but when a battle begins and active squads are posted, its current form is the form it must use in that battle. Castform, on the other hand, does change forms in battle — it begins battle in its normal form, and changes depending on the weather, as expected.

Smeargle can learn up to twenty moves through use of the move Sketch. When initially obtained, a Smeargle's moveset consists of Tail Whip, Double Slap, Iron Tail, Protect, and Captivate in addition to Sketch. It may therefore learn up to fifteen additional moves, after which point newly-sketched moves start to overwrite old ones. Sketch cannot be overwritten. Newly-sketched moves, like experience, can be claimed at the end of a battle, although this has not been implemented in the Database yet.

Shedinja is a normal Pokémon with 100% health and the ability Wonder Guard. Shedinja can be obtained after evolving Nincada; this hasn't been implemented yet either, so if you need a Shedinja, poke Zhorken.

Unown is the only Pokémon that can choose its Hidden Power type as well as change it at will.

TCoD ASB Rules Version 6.0
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