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I hear it thrown around but I'm not sure what it is.

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Hello!

Speed Control is the idea/strategy of using a move, ability, or item to decide who's going first in a turn of a Pokémon battle. This can be a useful strategy for many Pokémon, as sometimes they rely on going first or last. For example, going first may be important to an offensive sweeper with poor defenses (like Salazzle) or Trick Room can be used on a powerful, but slow Pokémon (such as Hatterene).

There are many ways to raise your speed in battle. Some moves that help you move first include:

  • Thunder Wave / Nuzzle / Glare (Paralysis cuts speed in 1/2)
  • Quash (Makes target go last, for double battles)
  • Icy Wind (Guaranteed speed decrease)
  • Sticky Web (Lowers speed upon entrance)
  • Electro Web (Lower's the opponent's speed)
  • Max Airstream (Increases user’s speed.)
  • Agility (Increases user’s speed).

Some abilities that make you move faster include:

  • Swift Swim (With Rain)
  • Sand Rush (With a Sandstorm)
  • Slush Rush (With Hail)
  • Chlorophyll (With intense Sunlight)

Some items that make you move faster include:

  • Quick Claw (~23% chance of going first)
  • Choice Scarf (Increases Speed for being locked into one move)

As mentioned, Trick Room can also make slower Pokémon move faster. This affects slow, but highly offensive Pokémon.

Some Moves, Abilities, and Items make the user slower, such as:

  • Hammer Arm
  • Ice Hammer
  • Curse
  • Stall (Makes the opponent

user move last)
- Slow Start (Decreases user’s speed for 5 turns)

  • Iron Ball

Finally, some Pokémon use a combination of tactics to move first or last. For example, a Magnezone with the Analytic Ability may hold an Iron Ball the decrease it's speed, and make it more likely to move last.

I Hope I Helped!

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Dang!  That dwarfs my answer.  +1
Oh, thanks!  Your answer is great too (+1 on it)!
max airstream increases your speed as well.
max airstream is banned in several competitive formats, but it does remain legal in others so it's still an addition.
2 votes

Speed control is exactly what it sounds like. Controlling yours and your opponents speed so you have the upper hand to set up hazards or to hit your opponent first. This is essentially so you can move first and maintain momentum over your opponents. One way is Swift Swim or other abilities of the sort. Another is Choice Items as well. Some ways of doing this are paralysis, Tailwind, Dragon Dance, etc. Also, this doesn't mean you have to raise or lower speed. You can manipulate it also by Trick Room, Prankster or Gale Wings as well as priority moves. This also includes Natures, EV's and IV's. Conclusions, Speed Control is manipulating yours or your opponent's speed in some way so you can maintain control by moving first and keeping momentum in your favor.
Here is a good list: https://aminoapps.com/c/pokemon/page/blog/vgc-speed-control/rghe_u04BnG6gkD6WNm4eVe1VLbjpE

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