While doing max raid battles, I will occasionally get a message that says, or something similar to:

“[X] move has failed; [Boss] protected itself”

This message has appeared for both my Pokémon and the boss itself.

So far, these are the ones I know do not work

  • Explosion (used by boss, failed)
  • Grass Knot (probably due to damage calculation)
  • Destiny Bond (don’t judge me)

What are all the moves that can’t be used in raid battles?

3 Answers 3


The OHKO moves (such as Horn Drill) won't have any affect on a Dynamax Pokemon,
except when they have a shield.
The move removes 2 shield points (rather than the usual 1),
but it does no damage if they do not have a shield.

The Weight Moves (such as Heavy Slam and the Grass Knot you mentioned) will also not have any affect, your Pokemon will not use those moves against Dynamax Pokemon as Dynamax have a weight of ??? as shown in the Pokedex.

It seems that moves that affect the held item, such as Knock Off and Bug Bite don't work as well.

Also moves that affect the Pokemon's ability, such as Skill Swap will not work.

Lastly moves that send the pokemon away, such as Whirlwind do not work.

Paul's answer is certainly great with that list, however Serebii actually has a second list on a different page that includes the weight moves and others.

As mentioned in Pyrite's comment, Curse (when used by a Ghost type) does actually work.
Here is proof I recorded.

So in total it seems the list of moves are as follows:

  • Bug Bite
  • Circle Throw
  • Destiny Bond
  • Disable
  • Encore
  • Entrainment
  • Explosion
  • Fissure
  • Grass Knot
  • Guillotine
  • Heat Crash
  • Heavy Slam
  • Horn Drill
  • Incinerate
  • Instruct
  • Knock Off
  • Low Kick
  • Perish Song
  • Pluck
  • Roar
  • Self-Destruct
  • Sheer Cold
  • Skill Swap
  • Super Fang
  • Whirlwind
  • Perish Song works, if Gigantamax Gengar uses it on your team tho. So there are some move that will work if the Wild Pokemon uses them.
    – Roybin93
    Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 9:19
  • I don't see Curse listed on serebii's page. Are you sure it fails? I've heard otherwise, where it still works and does % damage every turn, but the damage is just a lot less than normal because the damage is calculated without using the raid's massive HP increase. Same goes for moves like Toxic and Leech Seed.
    – Pyritie
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 15:04
  • Moves that inflict status effects or stat drops do not work on the Dynamax Pokemon if it has its' barrier up. This is most apparent with Dynamax moves not inflicting their intended effects (stat drops).
    – Cloudzzz
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 15:57
  • @Pyritie Curse is listed, its the second move listed under the "Battling" header here: serebii.net/swordshield/maxraidbattles.shtml However I can go into a battle today after work and confirm. Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 17:05
  • @Pyritie you are correct however that it does actually work! Just tested it, editing answer now. Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 1:21

Based on the max raid battle page on Serebii.net, the forbidden moves are:

  • Bug Bite
  • Curse
  • Destiny Bond
  • Explosion
  • Incinerate
  • Knock Off
  • Perish Song
  • Pluck
  • Self-Destruct
  • Super Fang

Most likely, self-killing moves are disabled to keep a particularly dense player from losing the battle by sacrificing their pokemon repeatedly. High percentage based damage moves are also disabled, as well as anything involving berries for some reason.

  • 1
    You should also add that any explicit status effect moves like will-o-wisp and thunder wave will also give that message if the raid boss has a barrier up.
    – Cloudzzz
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 15:38
  • 1
    So berry related moves are out but Trick and other held item shenanigans are still in? Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 15:49
  • Going to have to try these when I get a chance, I can't play the game right now.
    – Paul O.
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 16:23
  • 1
    I've definitely seen Curse used in a raid. Maybe that one only applies to Ghosts? Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 18:19
  • That's certainly possible, since it doesn't do % damage when the pokemon is not ghost type. I'll have to try that too.
    – Paul O.
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 18:44

I came here to find out about final gambit.

Final gambit fails when used in raid.

I just tried it against shuckle*

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