Building teams around the move Trick Room has been incredibly popular in Pokemon Sword and Shield, and for good reason. Trick Room reverses turn order while it is active, allowing slower Pokemon to move first. This eliminates one of the biggest weaknesses of bulky, heavy hitting Pokemon, and turns them into absolute menaces. However, there’s no need to fret when you see you’re facing a Trick Room team. Though it is strong, there are options to counter Trick Room.
Here are a few tips to help you overcome these opponents and become the very best. Note, that this guide is focused on the doubles VGC format, but the principles can translate to other formats as well.
Trick Room requires a turn to set up and is the lowest priority move in the game. This means the Trick Room is almost always going to be the last move used during any given turn. This is where these teams are most vulnerable, and the best time to strike. There are several ways to stop the Trick Room going up right away, but be warned that many Trick Room teams will try and counter your attempts.
Get the Trick Room user off the field
Killing the Trick Room user is obviously a pretty good way to slow them down. However, the two most common Trick Room setters at the moment are Dusclops and Porygon 2, two of the bulkiest Pokemon in Sword and Shield. They have the potential to survive attacks from both your Pokemon while also having access to recovery through Pain Split and Recover.
Still, if the opponent isn’t prepared for an all-out offense the first turn, you could leave yourself in a good position, even if the Trick Room manages to go up. Two notable Pokemon to bring up here are Duraludon and Barraskewda. These two have abilities that can ignore Follow Me, which is a common strategy to protect Trick Room users.
A less common, but still effective way of stopping Trick Room is through the use of force switch moves like Roar, Whirlwind, and Dragon Tail. These moves have low priority, so they will usually go last. However, they still have higher priority than Trick Room. These moves will force out a Pokemon using Trick Room before they even get a turn. This could potentially bring one of your opponent’s slow Pokemon into a bad situation.
Be warned that these moves can be redirected with Follow Me. However, Duraludon can learn Dragon Tail and ignore Follow Me, making this steel dragon a solid choice for combating Trick Room.
Prevent Trick Room from being used
There are still several moves that can seriously hinder these teams without getting rid of the Trick Room user. Taunt is an excellent move choice, because it has a lot of utility even against non-Trick Room teams. However, Taunt is countered by Follow Me, so it isn’t always reliable. Additionally, if the enemy uses Hatterene to set up Trick Room, it will just reflect the Taunt with its ability Magic Bounce. If you can stop Follow Me with moves like Fake Out, then Taunt becomes a very attractive option for disabling these teams. Just keep in mind that Taunt doesn’t last forever, so take advantage of it while it’s active.
A combination of Imprison and Trick Room is one of the most reliable ways to counter Trick Room. As long as the Imprisoning Pokemon remains on the field, the opponent won’t be able to use any moves also known by the Imprisoner. This does method does take up two move slots on a Pokemon, and can struggle to get value outside of Trick Room match-ups. However, Trick Room is common enough that it is definitely worth considering.
Just like with Taunt though, you want to strike while the opponent can’t set up Trick Room. If the Imprison Pokemon dies or switches out, the opponent will be free to use all their moves again.
One final, yet risky play is to reverse Trick Room with your own Trick Room. If Trick Room is active when the move is used again, the turn order returns to normal. However, if the opponent predicts this move, they can simply not use Trick Room, and you will have set up the perfect conditions for their team at no cost to them.
Have a Trick Room mode on your team
If you can’t beat them, join them. A lot of successful teams have been set up so some of the Pokemon thrive under Trick Room. This is one reason why Torkoal has been so popular in Sword and Shield. Torkoal provides good utility on faster teams by instantly setting up the sun, while also threatening a lot of damage if left alone. Under Trick Room though, Torkoal suddenly becomes a major offensive threat with sun-boosted Eruptions.
Other good options include Celfairy and Ferrothorn. Clefairy provides invaluable Follow Me support. It’s also slow enough that under Trick Room it can often allow its partner to move right away with After You.
Ferrothorn is a massive wall that can be difficult to overcome even outside Trick Room. If allowed to set up with moves like Leech Seed, or a combination of Iron Defense and Body Press, Ferrothorn becomes nearly unstoppable.
Stall it out
Trick Room only lasts for five turns, including the turn it is set up. While it may seem like a last ditch strategy, if you can survive the storm, you will usually be in a good position. This will often require you to sacrifice some Pokemon and stall out with Protect. You may even be able to hold out on using your Dynamax until the field returns to normal. You will be at a disadvantage while you hold out, but if you survive – especially if you still have your Dynamax – your opponent will have lost one of their big win conditions.
It’s important to remember that there is no way to 100% counter Trick Room every time. There’s a reason it’s such a popular strategy. However, don’t feel down if you lose. Even the best Pokemon players struggle to keep their win rates above 50%. Take these opportunities to learn how to improve your play for the next game.
Do you want to run your own Trick Room team? Or just get some info on popular Trick Room users? Then be sure to check out our guide on some of the best Trick Room setters in Pokemon Sword and Shield.