I am rather certain that I once had a Magikarp in my party and when it used its Splash attack on an enemy, it actually did do some damage. But it never happended again after that and all accounts that I have read so far always state that the Splash move is utterly useless.

Since I did not play very many different editions of Pokémon, it must have happened on one of the Red/Blue/Yellow, Gold/Silver/Crystal editions or the White edition (however, playing White isn't all that long ago so I don't think it was there).

Did I dream all this or can anyone confirm my experience?

  • 2
    Splash attack is the most powerful attack of them all
    – childe
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 20:52
  • 5
    There's a medal in Pokémon Black/White 2 for trying to use Splash. Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 13:02

6 Answers 6


Splash will never do anything.

You may either be misremembering your Magikarp using Tackle or Flail, both of which are moves that Magikarp can learn that do damage.

You may have also run out of PP for splash (unlikely I know, who's going to spend 40 moves splashing around to no effect?) then your Magikarp will "Struggle" which will cause damage to both your enemy and yourself.

  • 10
    Also, when a Pokemon runs out of PP for all its moves, it will use Struggle, which does deal damage. Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 12:27
  • @DisgruntledGoat Ah yes, I forgot about Struggle, I'll add it into the answer, thanks.
    – Mr Smooth
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 14:40
  • 5
    Thank you for your answer. It is indeed possible that my Magikarp used Struggle instead of Splash because I once actually had a Metapod use Harden 40 times just for the heck of it, so it's not too unlikely that I might have tried this with Magikarp, too (even if that doesn't make sense to anybody else). Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 6:11
  • 4
    Actually it's a lot more likely than you think. If Splash was Magikarp's only move, it could easily have been forced to Struggle long before running out of PP. For instance, it could have been hit with Disable (disabling Splash), Taunt (disabling all status moves, including Splash), or Torment (preventing moves from being used twice in a row).
    – Sparkette
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 6:58
  • 1
    @flarn2006 - And let's not forget being subjected to Spite and Pressure, which can chew through PP, especially in-game where you might have lots of battles without healing or restoring PP.
    – Robotnik
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 10:01

As other users already stated, Splash does not deal damage.

I'm not sure, but I think I somewhere read something about a bug where, when you re-arrange the attacks of a Pokemon, the game doesn't get it and re-orders only the attacks shown and the messages, but not the effects. So, you could for example get a Protect that is called Relic Song both on your screen and in its message, but which will still have the Protect animation and say "insert_Pokemon_name_here protects itself!" (Not sure whether there are Pokemon with both in the moveset, but never mind.) (Whether or not there are Pokemon with both in the moveset is irrelevant, because of what I explained further below.)

So that's what might have happened to you, you used a Tackle the game called Splash.

Another idea: Did you play an original game, or a patched one? Because if you're using patches, the hacker might of course have changed the code for Splash so it occasionally will deal damage.

If it does come from a hack, you should remove that hack, because a hack that actually wastes space for modifying Splash is way too low quality for being worth it. Only the truly brilliant hacks are hacks you should load, and even for them you should think at least twice, because of the risks. I'm both talking about load errors breaking your game for good, and that the game developers could go after you for modifying their game - a game is copyrighted material, after all.

Also, what "swapped" attacks might truly come from (by now I'm pretty sure that I dreamed the bug part), is an attack randomizer. There are actually attack randomizers that swap the attacks, but then swap back the attack name properties so the attacks appear like the original attacks. If your Splash is no longer Normal-typed, it's almost ceratainly a randomizer because no hack would hardcode Splash to a different type, except perhaps Water, because that just makes no sense.

Randomizers might go as far as swapping back the description, but that's unlikely too, just like hardcoded description changes. So, if your Splash has a different description, it's also randomizer confirmed.

Personally, while randomizers do add difficulty, I don't see much of a point in them BTW. It's a kind of silly difficulty increment IMHO, like enemy spamming in other games.


I remember one time I was training my aerodactyl and when I used wing attack (I think) its splash actually did damage this was on leaf green

  • 2
    Do you have a source for this?
    – Frank
    Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 16:12

Splash will never do anything. Except on Blue/Red versions, where it could damage a Tentacool (only).

Besides this specific case, it never does damage.

  • 1
    Do you have source for this, or it's only experience based?
    – Michel
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 11:35
  • 3
    There is nothing in the game code suggesting this happens. The code for Splash is very simple - it displays message, and continues the battle. The base power of splash is specified to 0, except it's never used, as the code doesn't use standard damaging move routine.
    – null
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 12:31
  • 1
    You can view the game's source code somewhere? Link please! :D
    – Mkalafut
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 20:57
  • @Mkalafut I don't think xfix is talking about the source code - rather the disassembled machine code.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 15:38

I heard once that, splash has 0.5% chance of instantly killing the opponent, but who the hell would do 200 attacks to kill one pokemon ?


As a matter of fact, when playing soul silver, a magikarp did indeed defeat one of my pokemon with splash. I was trying to level up a weak mareep by having it battle some low-level fishermen, and his magikarps continued to use splash one by one until, spontaneously, my mareep fainted. I was not paying attention because I did not think anything would need my attention. I know that the magikarp did not use tackle or flail because it was level nine. Also, it did not use struggle, because when I sent out my next pokemon, it continued to use splash. After talking with some friends, one of them introduced the idea that splash does indeed have a one in one-thousand chance to deal damage.

  • Maybe it's your Mareep that used Struggle? Those Magikarp battles can get really lengthy...
    – Egor Hans
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 15:00

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