We all know that pesky move, Quick Attack, which can take out the very last of our Pokemon’s HP. But, there are some moves that will move faster, like Protect. What are these moves, and in exactly what order do they go in? The answer lies in Speed Priorities, yet another game mechanic that can make or break an excellent battle strategy. Move descriptions in the game may be a bit deceptive; moves like Quick Attack say they are sure to strike first, but, for some strange reason, Protect will always go first.
To those that just play the game, they already know it will happen (and never really understand). In Speed Priorities, each move is categorized into Stages, the first move being at Stage 5, and the last one being at Stage -7. The reason for the negative number is that some moves will go last (or at least after all the other Pokemon) in battle, like Counter. Most of the moves that are used fall into Stage 0, neutral territory.
These are unaffected, and the Pokemon using these moves will go in order by Speed, as usual. Many special status moves will be placed on the upper Stages, because they will not do damage, thus giving an unfair advantage. In fact, the maximum number for attacks to be is at 3. The only moves at Stage 2 are Extreme Speed, which moves faster than Quick Attack (but still can be outrun by some moves) and Feint, which can do damage to an opponent that has used Protect or the likes.
Stage 3’s only attack move is Fake Out. To describe this move a little more, Fake Out will only work if the target has been out on the field for one turn. It will also make the target flinch, so it’s incapable of any move (unless the move is Stage 4 or higher). I do not know why they made this move so high up; I think it should have gone with Stage 2, but this move does have a purpose in some battles.
Fast Guard, another Stage 3 move, is like Protect, but it prevents moves from hitting that have speed priorities (i.e. Mach Punch, Quick Attack, etc.). Wide Guard is slower than Protect for a reason: It protects all of the Pokemon on its side. The only way to get through and stop this is by having a lightning-fast Pokemon and using Fake Out.
The last moves deal with target changes. Follow Me and Power Rage will make all attacks directed toward the user until it faints. Why it is so high up, I will never understand. Stage 4 harbors only status type moves. Protect and Detect are moves that prevent all moves (with a few exceptions) from touching the user, but will fail if used successively.
Magic Coat was placed up here because it prevents all stat-changing or ability-changing moves from affecting the user (this includes moves like Attract) and will have it turn back on the user. Endure will keep the user’s HP at 1, so it cannot faint that turn.
Finally, Snatch will have the user take any move that will raise the opponent’s stats or recover their HP. Last of all, Helping Hand, on Stage 5, will raise an ally’s attack once, which, I guess, is a high priority, since it is like having a Gem as a hold item (which will raise the power of a specific type of move). Remember, there are many more types of moves that will go last as well; use them carefully, and most of all, strategically.