A Counter Attack is a type of attack that absorbs Normal Attacks then immediately strikes back at the opponent, but can be easily caught by a Grab Attack. By default, they can be activated by pressing X + A. They can be also cancelled into a dash to perform a Counter Attack Dash Cancel.
Despite being available to all fighters, Counter Attacks vary between Pokémon to Pokémon. They can all vary in height, speed, hitbox size, and more.
Unlike Normal and Grab Attacks, Counter Attacks are a bit more complex. They are actually composed of two small mechanics that allow the player to execute such attacks. Once the player presses the X + A button, the following processes happen:
Counter armor (absorbing) Edit
This causes the fighter to glow blue and become temporarily invincible against Normal Attacks. Whenever they successfully absorb a Normal Attack, a blue grid-like aura will appear around them.
Counterattacking (hitting) Edit
After a set amount of time, counter armor disappears, and the fighter will immediately retaliate with a counterattack. If this counterattack manages to hit an opponent who is executing a Normal Attack, the fighter will score a Critical Hit, leaving the foe in a crumpled state.
The term "Counter Attack" most likely refers to the "hitting" part, while the "absorbing" is explicitly referred to as "counter armor".
Circumventing the Attack Triangle Edit
Normal Attacks Edit
While strong against Normal Attacks, Counter Attacks will not always guarantee a hit. Before counterattacking, there is a small window of time where the counter armor disappears. If the fighter was hit by an attack during this time, they go into hitstun, therefore failing to execute a counterattack. By this mechanism, a fighter can also be hit outside of their counter if they receive an attack whose active frames are longer than their counter armor's active frames.
Grab Attacks Edit
Counter Attacks usually lose to Grab Attacks if they get hit with a grab. Fortunately, a fighter cannot be grabbed if they stay out of a Grab Attack's range. A counterattack can still hit a fighter performing a grab, but it would not cause a Critical Hit.
Command Counters Edit
In addition to the standard Counter Attack, there are moves with similar properties of Counter Attacks, such as absorbing damage and interacting with other moves as per the Attack Triangle. These moves also share the same blue glow of Counter Attacks and have some unique properties.
Three Pokemon have their Burst Attacks classified as Counter Attacks: namely Suicune, Sceptile, and Weavile.
|Braixen||2A||Light Screen||Counters any non-piercing projectiles, including beams.|
|Chandelure||f.A or 6A||Smog||Releases a gray stationary smoke that explodes when cleared.|
|Charizard||f.A or 6A||Fire Punch||Can transition to Flying Stance.|
|Garchomp||b.A / 4A||Stone Edge||Activates when hit by the opponent, piercing counters and deals extended damage when it does a Critical Hit.|
|Gengar||Charge & release A||Sludge Bomb||Throws three toxic puddles that lowers the opponent's attack stat.|
|Lucario||8A||Extreme Speed||Move upward diagonally, potentially hitting airborne opponents.|
|Machamp||Charge & release A||Scary Face||Reduces the opponent's speed.|
|Mewtwo||b.A or 4A||Barrier||Can transition to other moves such as Telekinesis, Drain Punch, or Confusion.|
|n.A or 5A||Confusion||A counter follow-up to Barrier.|
|f.A or 6A||Fire Punch||Can transition to Ice Punch then followed up by Thunder Punch.|
|Pikachu||8A||Volt Tackle||Does multiple diagonal up-dashes, potentially hitting airborne opponents.|
|Pikachu Libre||2A||Wild Charge||Does more damage on grounded opponents.|
|Sceptile||f.A or 6A||Leaf Blade||Hitting the foe with the leading edge deals more damage.|
|Scizor||A||Swords Dance||Allows the use of more attacks and extended combos.|
|Shadow Mewtwo||A ~ X||Psywave: Vortex||Pierces counters.|
|Suicune||b.A or 4A||Mirror Coat||Quickly shoots out a stream of water after being activated by a non-piercing projectile, including beams.|
- Counter Attacks basically hits the opponent the same way as Normal Attacks do, only that counterattacks lack the ability to stop grabs.