In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.
Fighting Attacks in Pokemon
Fighting Pokemon have been one of the most dynamic types, constantly shifting ranks as new elements were added. They were initially lackluster, but when Dark and Steel came in generation 2, Fighting could trump the newbies in addition to Rock, Ice, and Normal. Fairy Pokemon eventually dulled them a bit, but Fighting remains arguably the best aggressive type in the game, with many non-Fighting Pokemon learning at least one martial technique to improve their coverage.
Fighting attacks emphasize pure damage and high critical ratios, and most (but not all) are contact moves, utilizing your Attack score and your foe's Defense (rather than Special Attack and Special Defense). But with dozens of different techniques, which commands reign supreme? These are the ten best Fighting moves (not counting Z-attacks) in Pokemon!
10. Cross Chop
Cross Chop is a bit inaccurate, but it lands a hefty 100 damage and has a high critical hit ratio, often scoring extra damage. Compared to moves like Aeroblast and Spatial Rend (who are just as strong and more accurate), Cross Chop isn't as compelling, but it's available on more Pokemon and has the helpful Fighting element attached.
Sadly, critical hits have been reduced to 1.5 times damage rather than the double pain they used to deal, limiting Cross Chop's bonus, but it's still a worthwhile option. Like other Fighting moves, you can boost its power if its user has a Black Belt, Fist Plate, or Fighting Gem held item.
9. Focus Punch
Focus Punch is a high-risk, high-reward option that has your fighter move first and being "charging" their attack. If they're hit by a damaging move that turn, they'll lose focus and the attack will fail, but if they're not injured or are only targeted with status techniques, they'll unleash a huge 150/100 attack at the end of the turn!
Use Focus Punch when you've Encored your foe into status moves, in triple battles where an ally tanks attacks with Follow Me, or simply when you predict your foe will use a status effect. Like other punching techniques, its power is increased by 20% when a Pokemon with the Iron Fist ability (like Hitmonchan) uses it, granting a base damage of 180!
8. Drain Punch
Drain Punch used to just 60 power, but it's since been raised to a respectable 75, and with full accuracy, it's a dependable move. More than that, you recover health equal to half the damage you deal with it, and it's a great way to finish off weakened foes while rejuvenating yourself for the next combatant.
Like other punches, it benefits from the Iron Fist ability, and many Normal Pokemon (like Kangaskhan) can learn it, giving them useful tools against Rock and Steel types.
7. Dynamic Punch
Dynamic Punch has one of the worst accuracy stats in the game, with only a 50% chance to hit. However, when it connects, it not only deals a fierce 100 damage, but will always confuse its target. Confusion remains a brutal status that can both negate opposing moves and have foes hit themselves for recoil, and it stacks with other debuffs like poison and sleep.
Have an ally use Telekinesis to raise a foe into the air and make them automatically struck by every attack (except auto-knockouts like Guillotine), letting you easily land your jabs. Lock-On and Mind Reader also ensure your next hit.
6. Mat Block
Mat Block is like a watered-down Protect, as it doesn't make you automatically go first, can only be used when your just Pokemon entered battle (similar to Fake Out), and only guards against damaging moves. However, it doesn't just defend its user, but your entire field, making it an awesome protective force in multibattles, letting you block your opponents or nudge them into non-damaging attacks while your allies land first blood.
Additionally, while Mat Block doesn't have increased priority, it's primarily used by Kalos starter evolution Greninja, whose impressive Speed stat should give you the first move in most situations.
Counter grants decreased priority, meaning you'll be moving last that turn. However, it reflects the last physical strike used against you back for twice the damage dealt, letting you hit foes for huge amounts of pain. The damage is fixed, so Counter isn't better or worse against specific types; just don't use it on Ghosts (who are immune).
Of course, your opponents can circumvent Counter by activating indirect or status attacks, but some foes simply lack these, and even if they don't, you can often catch them by surprise with your first Counter of the match.
Superpower has a fantastic 120 power and full accuracy, making it a fierce move that should reliably land damage. However, its drawback decreases your Attack and Defense stats after usage, meaning your next activation will be weaker and you'll take more pain from physical blows. Use Superpower with Pokemon who can switch to special moves when needed, or simply swap out your troop to reset their stats.
Superpower also makes a great finishing move, as decreased stats won't matter if you just won the match.
3. Aura Sphere
Often associated with Lucario but also available on other Pokemon, Aura Sphere deals a solid 80 damage and is guaranteed to hit (assuming your foe isn't in a hidden state from moves like Fly or Dig). This damage is stronger than most auto-hit techniques (like Swift and Feint Attack), and in generations 4 and 5, Aura Sphere was even better, wielding a base power of 90!
Aura Sphere also receives a boost if its user has the Mega Launcher ability, and it's one of few indirect Fighting moves, making it great for Pokemon who favor Special Attack.
2. Close Combat
Close Combat functions similarly to Superpower with its impressive stats, but now it decreases Defense and Special Defense. Since your Attack remains steady, you can repeatedly use Close Combat without losing strength, though each activation will lower your defenses, so be ready to switch out if needed.
Close Combat makes a great addition to Normal/Flying Pokemon like Staraptor, as both its types are weak against Rock and Steel, which the move adeptly type-trumps.
1. Focus Blast
Focus Blast is rather inaccurate, but when it hits, you get the 120 points of Close Combat and Superpower without any stat decreases, and it even has a 10% chance to lower your opponent's Special Defense. Speaking of which, Focus Blast is another rare indirect Fighting move, and unlike Aura Sphere, it's available as a TM, granting special Fighting-type access to many combatants.
Risky, sure, but Blast is powerful, accessible, can lower stats, and offers a Fighting technique to special sweepers, making it the best Fighting move we've seen yet. Just be aware it won't affect adversaries with the Bulletproof ability.
Move Sets for Fighting Pokemon
Remember, utilizing an attack that shares a type with its user activates STAB (same-type attack bonus) for some extra damage, but you'll want other elements to use against foes who resist (or entirely negate in Ghost's case) Fighting. Rock attacks work well, as most Fighting types can learn them and they deal extra damage to Flying and Bug units (who resist Fighting blows). Dark moves are also useful against Ghost and Psychic enemies.
If you study the defense stats of trending combatants, you'll know whether to hit them with contact moves or indirect ones, giving you a big advantage in battle, and Fighting moves often adorn the franchise's best physical sweepers. But for now, as we eagerly await Nintendo's next batch of martial artists, vote for your favorite Fighting attack and I'll see you at our next Pokemon countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on November 28, 2018:
Fighting-types are great! I always got Hitmonlee in Pokemon Fire Red. Your suggested techniques are excellent, too; I never play Pokemon against other players, just the gym leaders and the Elite Four. I tried once and the guy had hundreds of eggs for perfect breeding and flattened me. It was too shameful to play after that.