I have heard this term being used to describe a particular Pokemon in a person's team. It comes out of the competitive scene, although I don't really get what it means.

For example, a blog post about Flygon on Smogon which describes it like so:

Flygon is a staple on many teams as a scout, revenge killer, and all-around reliable clutch Pokémon.

I don't think the term is necessarily restricted to Pokemon as I can recall hearing it in other games such as Counterstrike and Call of Duty.

What does it mean?


6 Answers 6


The term "clutch" was originally used in sports commentary, describing a player that can keep their head cool and perform well during a tense moment in a game, where the outcome of the competition was at stake.

Definitions of "clutch" (adjective):

  1. happening during a very important or critical time especially in a sports competition

  2. able to perform well in a very important or critical situation especially in a sports competition

This term has since migrated to competitive gaming, where is used in similar situations, usually in professional gaming events where there is a lot at stake.

A good example of the term is used in a recent IGN article on the International Dota 2 Championships:

Alliance and Na'Vi. Competitive Dota 2 fans dreams came true when the grand finals came down to an incredibly clutch play in the last match of the best of five series.

  • So is it a specific turning point in a match that classifies it as a 'clutch play'? or is it the exact moment/action that caused the win? So to take CoD as an example (I don't know MoBAs that well) if someone got the Match Winning Kill, is that a 'clutch kill'? or would it be say, 10 minutes earlier when someone from Team A took out Team B's sniper who was dominating the game up to that point, and Team B couldn't recover?
    – Robotnik
    Jul 24, 2014 at 8:25
  • 1
    @Robotnik "clutch" play is not limited to a turning point in the game, but it can be in some situations. A match winning kill is only really a clutch kill if it determined the winner of the match. A clutch kill occurs when the teams are tied, or very close in points, and a single kill or killstreak in the last seconds of the game win it for the team. As for the sniper example, that isn't really a clutch kill, because it didn't happen in a clutch situation, for example near the end of the match.
    – Caleb
    Jul 24, 2014 at 8:33
  • 2
    Ok, so there's an emphasis on the match being close at the end rather than just a particular turning point. That makes sense. So when they say Flygon is a good 'clutch Pokemon' it just means it's a good Pokemon to have around near the end of a close battle, as it is "able to perform well in a very important or critical situation", to use your quote :)
    – Robotnik
    Jul 24, 2014 at 8:42
  • You are exactly right!
    – Caleb
    Jul 24, 2014 at 8:54
  • 2
    It doesnt necessarily have to be close when the clutch starts. It can be 5v1, where the 1 annihilates the remaining 5. That is also considered clutch. Clutch can also refer to prevailing against the odds. Jul 24, 2014 at 19:00

In FPS games such as Counter-Strike or Call of Duty, I've always heard the term used with a slightly different meaning.

If everyone on your team dies and you are now alone against multiple enemies, and you win the round, we'd say it "was a clutch" or you "clutched".

In this context, it means you won the round against all odds. It doesn't necessarily mean the round was critical or game-changing.


It means how well you perform under pressure, for example in the crucial moment of the game when it is decided who wins and looses. So Flygon would be a good Pokémon to have in such situations.


Instead of describing what 'clutch' is in words, which others have already covered, ill provide an example of what 'clutch' is since, visual examples are always helpful when trying to understand something.

You don't really have to know too much about the game being played, to know that what Daigo (Ken) does in the video clip is 'clutch'. Just listen to the reaction from the crowd! Heres is a short clip of the clutch play:

Its at a Street Fighter tournament, and its largely considered to be one of the most 'clutch' professional gaming moments of all time: http://kotaku.com/5820907/the-10-best-moments-in-pro-gaming-history (It's ranked #1 on that list).

Ya its that clutch, you will get goosebumps.

  • For people that don't know about fighting games(or 3rd strike) there are 3 ways you can stop the damage from an attack, hold the opposite direction to the attacker(some attacks will still deal a small amount), dash back, time a press of towards the attack at a precise moment it would hit to parry it. In this situation ken(in white) will die to either of the first two due to the attack which the attacker has to do nothing for as it is a pre-made combo that costs a resource. Ken parries all 15 hits then sets up his own combo into his version of the attack he parried
    – Gilsham
    Jul 25, 2014 at 0:09

In Call of Duty a clutch is where you are last alive in say a game mode such as search and destroy vs multiple opponents lets say 4. So its a 4 v 1(You being the one), if you win the round that is known as a 4 v 1 clutch because you killed all enemy's.


Clutch means to come through in a difficult situation. For example, you have 1 hp left, and face two enemies for the win, and eliminate them both.

Contrast with "Choke," where you are in a situation that you probably should win, but fail. For example, you have full health/shield, and face an opponent with 1hp... and you get eliminated.

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