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Critical Hit
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Stat Modifiers

Psychic Attacks
Attack Type Base PP Pow Acc Avg Effects TM HM
Confusion PSY Spec 25 50 99.6 49.8 confuse (10% chance) - -
Dream Eater PSY Spec 15 100 99.6 99.6* victim must be asleep/ attacker recovers 50% damage 42 -
Hypnosis PSY NDA 20 - 59.8 - sleep - -
Kinesis PSY NDA 15 - 79.7 - lower victim Accuracy - -
Psybeam PSY Spec 20 65 99.6 64.7 confuse (10% chance) - -
Psychic PSY Spec 10 90 99.6 89.6 lower victim Special (33% chance) 29 -
Psywave PSY Calc 15 - 79.7 .6L HP inflict between 1 HP and 1.5 times attacker Level 46 -

* - While Dream Eater is capable of causing the most damage of any Psychic attack under optimal conditions, it is fair to assume that of all the Dream Eaters ever used, at least 11% of them have failed to connect. This doesn't mean that it won't have a higher Average Damage for any given player, if it's used carefully, but in the grand scheme of things, Psychic has better chance of being effective and, therefore, causing more damage.

Analysis & Advice

Psychic attacks are most effective against Fighting and Poison Pokémon. They are weak only against Psychic Pokémon.

Psychic attacks are diverse and generally reliable, but not especially powerful. Nevertheless, this is the most feared type in the game: so much so that the two types weak to Psychic attacks are usually shunned in link battles. Conversely, Psychic and half-Psychic Pokémon are frequent choices, at least in part because they are resistant to attacks of their own type. The reason for this dominance is not the attacks themselves, but the agents that can deliver them most effectively. Chief among these is Mewtwo, the most powerful of all Pokémon, but the list goes on: Mew, Exeggutor, and Starmie are also widely used and respected.

Psychic types have such a stranglehold on game balance in Pokémon that it will sometimes be possible to safely sneak a Fighting or Poison Pokémon onto your team, precisely because your opponent would never expect it. Many Trainers do not even bother to arm their Psychic Pokémon with Psychic attacks! After all, no one would ever be so foolish as to use a Fighting or Poison Pokémon, while teams are usually overflowing with Psychic and half-Psychic types. It's a high-risk gamble, though: a single Psychic from Mewtwo will put a quick end to dreams of glory for your Beedrill or Primeape.

Confusion vs. Psybeam

The relative merits of these two attacks are discussed on the Confusion page. All Pokémon that learn Confusion should probably upgrade to Psybeam or Psychic at the earliest opportunity. Mr.Mime and Psyduck learn no other offensive Psychic attacks naturally, and may wish to either keep Confusion for that reason, or learn a more powerful Special attack via TM or HM.

Psybeam vs. Psychic

Psychic and Psybeam are equally accurate, but the former is nearly 40% more powerful and seems like the obvious choice. Indeed, it will usually be the correct one. No systematic data exist on the average length of Pokémon battles, but certainly most of them are over in just a few rounds, and Psychic's lower PP may not impede your Pokémon's performance until it has already defeated several enemies from the opposing team. However, at a high level of gameplay Evade/Accuracy modifiers and healing moves are ubiquitous, and it is not uncommon to see PP become a major deciding factor in the outcome of a battle. This consideration is especially relevant for Pokémon like Alakazam and Porygon, who will often have only one attack slot devoted to direct offense. In such cases you could address the problem in one or more of the following ways: (a) adding another offensive attack, (b) using as many PP UPs as possible on Psychic, or (c) retaining Psybeam over Psychic. Let's examine whether option (c) ever makes sense.

The respective side effects produced by these moves offer one window on the issue. Confusion is a great thing to inflict on the enemy, but you can only expect it to happen about twice in your full complement of Psybeam PP. Meanwhile, Psychic has a 33% chance to lower the enemy's Special. This is the relevant defensive stat for subsequent Psychics, so this move literally gets stronger the more it is used.

Consider the total amount of damage that can be inflicted by each move, assuming 100% accuracy, no switching by the enemy, and no use of PP UPs. Excluding side-effects, Psybeam's total Power is 20 x 65, or 1300. Psychic's is 10 x 90, or 900. However, on average Psybeam will cause confusion twice, for an average of 2.5 rounds each time. Each round of confusion has a 50% chance for self-inflicted damage, so average Power for each instance of confusion is 2.5 x 44, or 110. This boosts Psybeam's total Power to 1410. (Keep in mind that this is Power, not damage. Actual damage is dependent upon the relevant stats of both attacker and defender.)

In 10 uses of Psychic, you can expect about 3 reductions of Special. Of course it would be ideal to have these occur with the first 3 uses of the attack, but let's conservatively assume that the reductions occur on the 3rd, 6th, and 9th uses. With each reduction, Psychic's Power moves through this progression: 90 (start), 135, 180, 225. (Naturally it's not really the Power that's changing at all, but it's mathematically equivalent to look at it that way for our purposes.) By the 10th round, Psychic's cumulative Power will be 1440.

This analysis suggests that if the battle becomes protracted solely because your enemy is using a healing move, Psybeam may turn the trick (especially if the enemy is not able to heal because of self-inflicted damage), but Psychic is probably the safer bet. However, if the fight drags on because of Evade/Accuracy modifiers, the matter is less clear.

On the one hand Psybeam has a chance to confuse, which is well-suited to this situation: neither Double Team nor Smokescreen will help an enemy that is beating on itself. Psychic's cumulative power advantage will be much less, because if it only hits, say, 5 out of 10 times, on average only 2 of these will lower Special.

On the other hand, reducing the Special of a deeply entrenched Double Teamer can have several valuable consequences. It may decide to switch out, negating the Evade modifications. If it refuses to switch, it remains vulnerable to subsequent Special attacks, and it's own Special attacks will become relatively impotent, posing a threat to its PP (again, forcing it to switch).

Finally, if the enemy (who likely as not will be at least half-Psychic in the first place) is using an Evade/Accuracy modifier and a healing move, there is really no choice: you should go with Psychic and hope for some lucky Critical Hits and/or Special reductions.

The circumstances discussed above are not the only ones in which PP are relevant, however. Suppose your Poké Cup Alakazam has used Reflect and Double Team a few times. This represents an investment of several rounds, but he will be hard for the enemy to uproot. Given Alakazam's massive Special and the absence of Mewtwo, Psybeam may permit him to kick more asses before having to switch away than Psychic. The Special-lowering property of the latter move is much less relevant if the enemy keeps fainting and being replaced.

In the end, it is impossible to say with certainty which attack will be better for you without knowing exactly what situations you will face, and of course you will never have this information. However, the analysis here suggests that on balance, Psychic stands a better chance of getting the job done.

By the way, while Psychic is a solid TM, remember that what typically makes Psychic attacks so powerful is the Pokémon using them. Without the type-matching bonus, Psychic is less powerful than Surf and Thunderbolt. Something to think about if you're considering teaching your Lapras or Electabuzz how to Psychic.

Dream Eater vs. Psychic

The most powerful Psychic attack is unique in that it has no effect whatsoever unless the victim is asleep. It should therefore be complimented by Hypnosis on your Hypno or Gengar, or by some other Sleep attack on other Pokémon. You might try retaining Dream Eater without a Sleep attack if you know your opponent likes to use Rest, but that's a slim basis on which to devote an attack slot.

Despite its excellent Average Damage and ability to heal your Pokémon, Dream Eater is probably only worthwhile against wild Pokémon and game trainers. In link battles, and especially in Stadium, an intelligent trainer will usually switch away a Pokémon that has been put to sleep by Hypno or Gengar. You are probably better off using Seismic Toss after a successful Hypnosis.

The effectiveness of Dream Eater has been severely limited in Stadium. First of all, the maximum number of turns a Pokémon will sleep has been lowered from 8 to 4. Secondly, in tournament rules, only one Pokémon on the opponent's team can be sleeping at one time, which means that if a sleeping Pokémon is switched out, half your Hypno's move set is now useless.

Psychic is not hampered by these restrictions and is only slightly less powerful in the general case. If it successfully lowers the Special of a victim, it then becomes more powerful than Dream Eater, damage-wise, although it lacks the healing side effect.


Hypnosis inflicts no direct damage, but a successful hit will put the victim to sleep.

Advice on Hypnosis is available on the Sleep page.


Kinesis also inflicts no damage.

It is an Accuracy-lowering attack learned only by Kadabra and Alakazam in the Yellow version of the game. While it is more accurate than Flash, you would do better still to choose Double Team, which cannot miss and is not affected by Evade/Accuracy modifiers itself. For more information on Kinesis, see the Evade/Accuracy page.

Psywave vs. Other Psychic Attacks

Another unique attack, Psywave is a strange cousin of Night Shade and Seismic Toss. It causes a random amount of Calculated damage, with a minimum of 1 point and a maximum of 1.5 points per level of the attacker. If for some reason you think it's worth it to be able to cause 150 HP of damage (at L100) at the risk of enduring your opponent's laughter when you do only 3 points, consider that Psywave is only about 80% accurate. The result is that Psywave has an Average Damage of only about 60% of the attacker's Level, as opposed to Night Shade/Seismic Toss' almost 100%.

Since it is a Calculated attack, there is no particular point in teaching Psywave to Psychic Pokémon. But if you've been thinking about it, stick with Confusion or Psybeam.

Ongoing Research


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