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Weird Science

All Attacks








Critical Hit
One-hit KOs
Stat Modifiers

Stat Mods
Attack Type Base PP Pow Acc Avg Effects TM HM
Confuse Ray GHO NDA 10 - 99.6 - confuse (100% chance) - -
Confusion PSY Spec 25 50 99.6 49.8 confuse (10% chance) - -
Psybeam PSY Spec 20 65 99.6 64.7 confuse (10% chance) - -
Supersonic NOR NDA 20 - 54.7 - confuse (100% chance) - -

Analysis & Advice

Confusion affects Pokémon for 1 to 4 turns; across that range the exact duration is randomly determined. Each turn that a Pokémon is confused, there is a 50% chance that it will attack itself and be unable to take any other action during that turn.

Self-inflicted attacks have a power rating of 40, and cause damage according to the following simplified version of the battle damage formula:

[(((2A/5 + 2)*B*40)/C)/50] + 2

A = the confusion victim's Level
B = the confusion victim's Attack
C = the confusion victim's Defense

Self-inflicted attacks differ from other attacks in several important ways.

  1. Self-inflicted attacks have no type. If anything, we might expect them to be Normal, but this is refuted by the fact that Ghosts can hurt themselves, and by the fact that Normal-type Pokémon do not get the 1.5x same-type attack bonus when attacking themselves.

  2. Self-inflicted damage is not variable. The damage predicted by the above formula is the exact amount caused every time a Pokémon hits itself.

  3. Self-inflicted attacks are never critical hits.

  4. Reflect provides no protection against this sort of damage (ie, it does not increase the value of C during self-inflicted attacks). However, changes to the confused Pokémon's Attack and Defense ratings do affect the damage done. Thus, don't expect confusion to do much damage when your opponent has set up a few Barriers. On the other hand, Confuse Ray is to Sword Dancers what Swift is to Double Teamers.

Note that, because self-inflicted damage is based in part on the Attack score the victim, if your Pokémon will not use any Physical attacks itself, you should select a specimen with the lowest possible Attack gene.

The effects of confusion are eliminated if the victim is switched away. For example, if a Psyduck confuses a Pinsir and the Pinsir's trainer calls it back and sends out another Pokémon, if the Pinsir is called back out to battle, it will no longer be confused and will have the same chance of being confused as before.

A confused Pokémon cannot be confused again until the effects of the existing confusion wear off. That is, you cannot extend the duration of confusion on a currently confused Pokémon. You must wait for the Pokémon to regain its senses before attempting to confuse it again.

Tactical Notes

The following statements are true of all confusion episodes allowed to run their course (ie, no interference from switching, Haze, fainting, full paralysis, etc.):

  1. The victim has a 76.6% chance of damaging itself at least once, a 35.9% chance of damaging itself at least twice, a 10.9% chance of damaging itself at least three times, and a 1.6% chance of damaging itself four times. There is a 23.4% chance that confusion will have no effect whatsoever.

  2. The victim has a 40.6% chance of damaging itself exactly once, a 25% chance of damaging itself exactly twice, a 9.4% chance of damaging itself exactly three times, and (obviously) a 1.6% chance of damaging itself exactly four times.

  3. On average, 1.25 attacks are prevented, and damage equal to an attack with a power rating of 50 is caused.

Item 1 reveals that although Confuse Ray is technically 99.6% accurate, it really only "hits" (ie, has any effect) 76.6% of the time. However, item 3 shows why it is a solid move in the long run: like most attacks, it costs a turn to use, but on average it costs the victim more than one turn.

Even better, while you're protected the victim is beating on itself with a mid-power attack that's not subject to type modifiers or any stat disadvantages your Pokémon may have. To avoid this unpleasantness, your opponent may choose to switch out his Pokémon as soon as it becomes confused, in which case you have basically traded turns. However, things aren't quite the way they were: your Pokémon now has one less PP, and the effects of any stat mods (both beneficial and detrimental) used on the enemy are negated. Also, if your Pokémon has the initiative when it uses Confuse Ray, there's a 50% chance of self-inflicted damage before any switching is possible.

These statistics also show why Supersonic's poor accuracy makes it a lousy move: only 41.9% (0.547 x 0.766) of all uses of Supersonic have any effect at all, and on average a single use of this stinker costs the enemy only 0.68 attacks and does damage equal to an attack with a power rating of 27. It's only worth keeping around for times when there are no other options (eg, having only Normal attacks and encountering a Gastly, or, for masochistic reasons, you have chosen to raise a Butterfree with no TMs).

It is possible for a Pokémon to be confused while its status is FRZ, SLP, BRN, PSN, or PAR. Should you use Confuse Ray when the victim's status has been changed?

Frozen: Of course not. A frozen Pokémon is harmless, and can never injure itself. A conceivable exception would be a situation in which your Ninetales or Magmar needs to finish off a frozen enemy, and has only Flamethrower to do the job. First confuse the victim, then defrost it.

Sleeping: Only if you're confident that the victim will soon awake (for example, a Rester on the last round of its nap, or just about any SLP victim in Stadium).

Burnt: Adding confusion to this status is better than, say, using Constrict, but consider that a BRN victim's Attack stat is halved. Self-inflicted attacks will still spare your Pokémon from getting hit, but they won't do much damage.

Poisoned: Sure. This status change is totally irrelevant to confusion.

Paralyzed: This is a bit of a trade off. On the one hand, each fully paralyzed round is one on which the victim can't self-injure. However, this is an excellent defensive combination. A confused, paralyzed Pokémon has only a 37.5% chance (0.75 x 0.50) of taking any useful action on a given round.

If you are planning to use Confuse Ray in conjunction with an Evade/Accuracy modifier, note that it is desirable to use Confuse Ray first: it has a 50% chance of preventing the enemy's next attack, while a single EvAcc mod has only a 34% chance. Furthermore, a self-inflicted attack prevents the Pokémon from using Swift, Bide, Transform, or any other attack that would ordinarily ignore EvAcc modifiers. Once both moves are in effect, the victim has only a 33% chance (0.66 x 0.50) of successful attack - a situation made even sweeter if deep, jaw-clenching irritation hinders your opponent's ability to concentrate.

Confuse Ray vs. Supersonic

Confuse Ray has only half as many PP as Supersonic, but, as noted above, it is clearly superior to Supersonic. On top of (and, in fact, because of) its tangible effectiveness, Confuse Ray is one of the most unsettling attacks in the game, and therefore a great psychological weapon.

On the other hand, due to its inaccuracy, Supersonic really sucks. In most cases, you're better off not using it at all. Replace Supersonic with Confuse Ray on your Zubat as soon as you can!

Confusion vs. Psybeam

Psybeam is more powerful than Confusion and has an equal chance of confusing the victim. Confusion has 5 more PP, but 20 PP is still a lot and you'll get more damage out of 20 Psybeams than 25 Confusions. Neither attack is extremely powerful and neither can be reliably expected to actually confuse a victim during the course of a typical battle, but if used by a high-Special Psychic Pokémon, both can be reasonably effective.

Psybeam is a good, solid attack with a great side effect, but not the most powerful Psychic attack available.

Confusion isn't a total bottom dweller like Tackle or Bubble, but it's not great. It does put the "Psy" in Psyduck, though, and for that reason alone has value.

In the final analysis, however, if Psychic is available to your Pokémon, that will most likely be a better choice than either of these attacks. See the Psychic Attacks page for a more detailed discussion of this issue.

Research & Data

Below are the best and worst final evolutions to confuse, based on the percentage of HP they will inflict upon themselves with each swat to their own noggin. Your Vulpix would do well to study these lists.

Best to Confuse % Worst to Confuse %
Hitmonlee 18.8 Chansey 5.0
Flareon 17.1 Onix 6.2
Dugtrio 16.5 Omastar 6.7
Beedrill 15.0 Tangela 6.9
Primeape 14.7 Slowbro 7.1
Dodrio/Raichu 14.2 Cloyster 7.6
Magmar 14.1 Lapras/Lickitung 7.8
Hitmonchan 13.9 Vaporeon 8.0
Raticate 13.4 Dewgong/Articuno 8.4
Rapidash 13.2 Golem 8.5
As you can see, the combination of Lee's massive Attack, weak Defense and low HP means that he can take himself out of the game in about 5 turns without any help from his opponent. Chansey, on the other hand, despite having the worst Defense in the game, can endure 20 self-inflicted attacks due to an equally low Attack and busloads of HP. Onix's strong showing is as much a reflection of its krappy Attack as its excellent Defense. Poor Onix.
Ongoing Research


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