What do we know about how NPC move choice is randomized?

I know we know a lot about overworld stuff like when random encounters happen...

If it's the same in FireRed and LeafGreen as it is in Red/Blue/Yellow, then it's all about how long we wait in the move selection menu?

As it says for FRLG:

At the start of the game, RNG goes forward at two per frame in battle, and one per frame outside a battle. This means it’s possible to switch the parity of the RNG by delaying one frame before starting a battle, but it’s not possible to control this parity later, meaning you would be forced to skip some RNG values that you may have want to use (a RNG that determines a critical hit earlier, for example).

Looking at other TAS commentaries, like for Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, or looking at the disassembly might help?

  • 2
    All I know about npc move choices in pokemon blue is the story about how AATTVVV defeated Dragonite during TwitchPlaysPokemon. According to his helixpedia page, "The Gen 1 AI was programmed to always use attacks that would be super effective, but the PP of moves was not tracked on enemy Pokemon and did not differentiate non-damaging attacks from damaging ones". Not putting that as an answer since I don't know if there is a more complete explanation.
    – Unown K
    Commented Apr 25, 2022 at 7:42

1 Answer 1


TAS Videos on Pokemon Gen 1 Luck Manipulation says:

the timing of a button press has a high influence on random factor. The duration of a button press (how long it is held down) has a mild influence on random factor.

Enemy Pokémon moves are determined when the attack is selected. Trainer moves are determined before the menu appears.

Smart trainers will always use stronger attacking moves over weaker ones.

Smart trainers will always try to use moves that knock out your Pokémon if it is possible.

Smart trainers may also do things like use potions or switch to a Pokémon that resists your last attack.

So, if I'm reading this right, a summary is: If you have a save state and you wait and/or hold down the attack confirmation key press for different amounts of time, you'll probably get the enemy to use different moves, unless their AI locks them into one "perfect" choice like the well-known Rest Forever Lorelai with Dewgong.

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