the Pokemon Ash Ketchum from the anime is known for his unorthodox, on-the-fly battle style. Instead of following the rules, he generally ignores the rules of the games and comes up with many creative strategies in the heat of battle. Ash’s friends tend to follow his lead with their own styles and have come up with their fair share of unique moves as well.
These makeshift strategies have cropped up throughout Ash’s countless adventures. Of course, some are more questionable in their logic than others, but the best ones bring a unique flavor to anime battles.
10/10 Rock Tomb Climb Secured Multiple Gym Wins
Ash went ahead in preparing for his Gym battle against Grant when he saw Grant’s skillful use of Rock Tomb in the Battle Château. To combat this, Ash developed a special counter for this move known as the Rock Tomb Climb. As his name implies, he trained his Kalos team to quickly scale falling rocks.
The technique proved to be very adaptable, and Pikachu even used it to avoid Draco Meteor in addition to Rock Tomb. Ash later brought this tactic back against Korrina, allowing Pikachu to counter Aura Sphere and defeat Mega Lucario.
9/10 Gliding Giga Impact avoids a major inconvenience
Giga Impact, while a very powerful move, usually leaves the user open to a counter. Ash’s Gliscor trained a special strategy to avoid this inconvenience that few Pokémon can achieve.
Gliscor spins up and rides the wind immediately after making the move, allowing him to escape into the air long enough to stop the cooldown. Even Ash’s most calculated rival, Paul, was caught off guard by this, and was instrumental in defeating his mighty Drapion.
8/10 The king’s shield lock required impeccable timing
The most prominent strategic point in the Kalos League by far is Pikachu’s battle against Sawyer’s Aegislash. At first, Ash is overwhelmed by the solid defenses of Aegislash’s King’s Shield, but he quickly gets around it by blocking his movement with a piece of wood.
The split-second timing required to accomplish this is no small feat. It’s a great display of Ash’s skill, but also of his unwavering trust in Pikachu, who carried out this strategy without hesitation despite the risk.
7/10 May’s fire and water fusion is her pageant specialty
In the Battle Frontier arc, May had truly become a Pokémon Coordinator. At the Kanto Grand Festival, she channels everything she has into her battle with Drew, best shown with her Combusken and Squirtle’s Fire Spin and Bubble combination.
The fusion attack looks beautiful and serves as a great tribute to May’s travels. It was inspired by Ash’s Battle Frontier match against Tucker, was instrumental in defeating May’s main rival, and even returned for another use in diamond and pearl next to Dawn’s Piplup.
6/10 Blast Torracat symbolizes an intense rivalry
Ash’s Torracat had a heated rivalry with Professor Kukui’s Incineroar, both figuratively and literally. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in their Alolan League exhibition battle, where Incineroar unleashes a fiery Blast Burn attack and Torracat responds by absorbing it into his bell.
Absorbing so much fire energy was a risky move, but Torracat’s sheer drive to beat Incineroar gave him the wherewithal not to relent. By the time the energy stabilized, it gave Torracat a massive boost of power and allowed him to demolish Kukui’s Venusaur.
5/10 Underground Flare Blitz was the turning point against Paul
Infernape was hands down Ash’s best weapon against Paul in the Sinnoh League, not only for defeating three of Paul’s Pokémon, but for providing crucial support to the team. Knowing that Toxic Spikes had paralyzed almost all of his Pokémon, Ash had Infernape combine Dig and Flare Blitz, removing the danger and heavily damaging Paul’s Ninjask.
The removal of Toxic Spikes was not only crucial for Ash’s group, but also to ensure that it wouldn’t collapse under pressure against its biggest rival. Paul’s Electivire proceeded to mimic the strategy moments later, which is just a testament to how effective it was.
4/10 Ice Aqua Jet bloomed with ash
Ice Aqua Jet, a tactic that involves freezing Buizel’s Aqua Jet with Ice Beam, was first developed by Dawn as a possible Contest combination. However, she was unable to master it in her brief time with Buizel, who preferred traditional battles to pageant performances.
After Buizel was switched to Ash, they were able to perfect Ice Aqua Jet, and the strategy quickly became one of Buizel’s trademarks throughout all of Sinnoh. Most notably, it was first used successfully by Ash in the Wallace Cup and last used to help defeat Paul’s Gastrodon in the Sinnoh League.
3/10 Swallowing attacks have several possible effects.
Ash’s battle against Tower Tycoon Palmer introduced him to a new tactic that had several different uses. His Grotle accidentally swallows its own Energy Ball during the battle, but to everyone’s surprise, eating such a move actually gave it a huge power boost.
This strategy was later adopted by Dawn and her Mamoswine, and since then Ash himself has used his Pokemon to swallow moves in various ways. Pokemon like Gible, Gengar, and Dracovish have shown the ability to swallow opponents’ attacks instead of their own, which is just as useful for turning the tide of battle.
2/10 Countering The Counter Won Ash The League
In the Alola League Finals, Ash battles his rival, Gladion, and his Lycanroc’s powerful Counterattack. At the last moment, Ash retrieves Gladion by using his own Lycanroc’s Counterattack to deflect another Counterattack, a move he had been saving up to this very moment.
This strategy holds a special place in the show’s history as the move that earned Ash his first championship. Ash has always beaten his biggest rivals through the element of surprise, and this unorthodox victory marks one of Ash’s greatest achievements.
1/10 Counter Shield has survived multiple series
Counter Shield was Ash’s signature makeshift move in Sinnoh for good reason. Inspired by one of Dawn’s contests, Ash developed Counter Shield to fight against Fantina’s use of hypnosis and spun his Pokémon while he attacked to knock back opponents and deflect his moves.
The strategy was so effective that it remained in use for the rest of Sinnoh and was used by various characters even afterward. diamond and pearl finished Fantina, Dawn, Paul, and Brock have taught their own Pokémon Counter Shield to great effect. Ash himself brings the strategy against Cynthia in the Masters Eight, and even Galar Champion Leon adopts it as well.
NEXT: 10 Underrated Pokemon That Deserved Regional Variants In Scarlet And Violet