I've been playing Pokemon Ruby edition, when I stumbled across fisherman Dan or whatever and his three useless Magikarps.

I have a level thirteen Mudkip that had fainted, and I was trying to level up my level seven Zigazoon but I ran out of pp for the only attack that does damage. I also have a level seven Silicoon, but it's useless, so I'm stuck in this endless loop with a magikarp that is useless.

  • Do you have any other pokemon?
    – Ben
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 1:01
  • Does Zigazoon have any other abilities right now?
    – NBN-Alex
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 1:03
  • 8
    Struggle is a thing.
    – Frank
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 1:03
  • 3
    And the OP seems to be struggling to endure this...
    – Ben
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 1:06
  • 1
    Side note: it's possible to get into useless ability loops, but it looks like OP just had their first real Pokemon experience. Getting into a Struggle match is a turning point for many trainers to always carry ethers.
    – NBN-Alex
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 1:11

2 Answers 2


It's very nearly impossible to get caught in a never-ending loop, due to the move Struggle, which is the move your Pokemon uses when it can't use any other move.

You can still win this battle, but it will take some planning:

There are a few things that can happen here.

Firstly, if you have Ether or Elixir (or the Max Ether/Elixir), you can restore some of the PP of the attacking move mid-battle, allowing you to continue using your attack. If you don't have Ether or Elixir, you will continue to use up the PP of your non-damaging moves until one of two things happen:

  1. You completely run out of PP, resorting to Struggle, and losing 1/2 your damage dealt in recoil per turn
  2. The Magikarp runs out of PP, also resorting to Struggle, and also losing 1/2 damage dealt in recoil per turn.

Splash has a maximum 40 PP. Minus the moves you've both already used, if you can survive using your other non-damaging moves long enough, it will be the Magikarp that Struggle's itself into fainting, not you.

Of course, even if your other moves don't have enough PP, you have a trump card. That Silcoon you said was useless? Switch to it. Then switch back. And switch again and so on. Switching counts as a move, and that Magikarp will just keep Splashing away while you don't use any PP. Do this for long enough and the Magikarp will start Struggling, hurting itself more than you, and eventually fainting.

Is it cheesy? Yes. Will it take forever? Yes. But either way, someone's gonna have to Struggle themselves into fainting, and it may as well not be you.

  • Note that: In first generation games, enemy Pokemon do not use PP. You can still struggle, but it would be up to you to run out of PP. this was fixed in second gen (Gold/Silver/Crystal)
    – Robotnik
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 9:15
  • You only started losing 1/4 of your HP per turn in gen 4. OP's question is about gen 3.
    – Pyritie
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 10:53
  • @Pyrite whoops. Thanks for the heads up, updated :-)
    – Robotnik
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 11:01

From the Pokemon Wiki under Struggle:

Struggle (Japanese: わるあがき Vain Struggle) is a Physical Normal-type move that cannot be learned naturally by any Pokémon. It can only be used if a Pokémon cannot use any moves, most commonly due to a lack of PP.

Once you use up all your ability, any FIGHT action will automatically use Struggle. It's a weak attack, but it's more like a countdown before you're self-KO'd.

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