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Top 10 Increased-Priority Attacks in Pokémon (That Always Hit First)

In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.

What Are Increased Priority Moves in Pokémon?

Getting to attack first is a big advantage in Pokémon; if you defeat an opponent before they act, they essentially lose their move that turn. Usually, whichever fighter has a higher speed stat strikes first, but you'll always preemptively attack with increased priority—unless your opponent's move has even higher initiative.

Alternatively, many first-strikes are actually guards that help deflect big attacks; which reign supreme? These are the 10 best increased-priority moves in Pokémon!

Heracross using Feint

Heracross using Feint

10. Feint

Type: Normal
Power/Accuracy: 30/100
Priority: +2 (standard moves are +0)

While Feint is admittedly weak, it provides a fast attack with dependable accuracy. More than that, it removes the effects of defensive techniques (many of which we'll see today) like Protect and Wide Guard, letting your team break through barriers.

Greninja using Water Shuriken

Greninja using Water Shuriken

9. Water Shuriken

Type: Water
Power/Accuracy: 15 (20 with Battle Bond active)/100
Priority: +1

Water Shuriken is a multi-hit move that strikes between 2-5 times, fluctuating in power. But if your Greninja is in Ash-Greninja form (activated by fainting an opponent while possessing the Battle Bond ability), you'll always strike three times with 20 power, a more-reliable blow.

This also helps bypass foes with the Focus Sash held item (which can keep a Pokémon at 1 HP); odds are strong it won't activate multiple times in a row.

Arcanine using Extreme Speed

Arcanine using Extreme Speed

8. Extreme Speed

Type: Normal
Power/Accuracy: 80/100
Priority: +2

Extreme Speed is simply stronger and faster than most priority attacks, landing a fierce 80 power and triggering before priority-1 moves like Water Shuriken and Mach Punch.

Golisopod using First Impression

Golisopod using First Impression

7. First Impression

Type: Bug
Power/Accuracy: 90/100
Priority: +2

Golisopod's signature attack strikes with fierce power, a good offensive type, and fast speed. But just like Fake Out, you can only use it on the turn he arrives, making it an excellent way to finish off weakened foes. Unfortunately, Golisopod can't learn U-turn (which would simultaneously attack and switch out, letting him reuse First Impression), but you can always manually swap out to reset it.

Blastoise using Protect

Blastoise using Protect

6. Protect/Detect

Type: Normal
Priority: +4

Protect and Detect both activate even before increased-priority attacks and shield the user from both damaging and status conditions. The chance of success drastically drops if used consecutively, but they provide great stall tactics when chipping away at enemy health with other effects (like a sandstorm or poison).

Go with Protect where possible, as it has slightly more PP and its widespread availability lets almost any Pokémon learn it through TM.

Smeargle using Wide Guard

Smeargle using Wide Guard

5. Wide Guard

Type: Rock
Priority: +3

Wide Guard offers an interesting variant on Protect that should be saved for multi-battles. You only defend against attacks (whether damaging or status) that affect multiple units (like Surf and Teeter Dance), but you'll now shield your entire team, protecting all three fighters in triple battles.

You even defend against collateral damage from allies, letting you safely use moves like Earthquake without injuring teammates. Additionally, you can activate Wide Guard multiple times in a row without risk of failure, making it difficult for opponents to predict your next attack.

Aegislash using King's Shield

Aegislash using King's Shield

4. King's Shield

Type: Steel
Priority: +4

Aegislash's signature move provides yet another intriguing alternative to Protect. The user defends itself (and only itself) from damaging attacks; status moves can still affect it.

However, if you block a strike that would make contact, you also lower that Pokémon's attack stat two stages, a severe penalty against physical sweepers. High-risk but high-reward, King's Shield keeps your opponents guessing.

Chesnaught using Spiky Shield

Chesnaught using Spiky Shield

3. Spiky Shield

Type: Grass
Priority: +4

Spiky Shield, the unique attack of Kalos starter Chesnaught, essentially serves as Protect with an added bonus. You defend against all damage and status moves for the turn, and any foe that attempts a contact move takes damage equal to 1/8th their maximum HP.

Note that damage-preventing techniques don't completely block Z-moves, but they reduce their power to 25%, a hefty decrease on what would likely be a finishing blow. Plus, your shield isn't lifted, so you're still protected from other attacks during the turn.

Toxapex using Baneful Bunker

Toxapex using Baneful Bunker

2. Baneful Bunker

Type: Poison
Priority: +4

Baneful Bunker is Toxapex's Spiky Shield, similarly guarding against any damaging or status move that turn. But this time, instead of dealing damage to contact attackers, you imbue them with poison.

Since the poison condition inflicts 1/8th damage at the end of each round, a successful Bunker scores the same damage as Spiky Shield—with the added benefit of additional damage on following turns.

Persian using Fake Out

Persian using Fake Out

1. Fake Out

Type: Dark
Power/Accuracy: 40/100
Priority: +3

A staple in competitive arenas, Fake Out only works the first turn its user arrives, and it's not especially strong. However, it has full accuracy and guarantees a flinch, preventing your target from acting that round.

This means you've basically landed a free attack; for a fierce combo, use Alolan Persian to score STAB with Fake Out, then retreat with U-turn, allowing another freebie when Persian returns.

What Happens If Moves Have the Same Priority?

In the case that two attacks have the same increased priority, the unit with the higher speed stat goes first, just like normal. And on the off chance both Pokémon have the same speed, one will randomly go first.

Remember that priority shields have higher initiative than even the fastest priority attacks, and some moves actually have decreased priority (like Vital Throw) and always attack last. But for now, as we await Nintendo's next batch of turn-affecting techniques, vote for your favorite move, and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!

© 2019 Jeremy Gill