In Pokémon, there are lots of different moves used by different Pokémon. Every week, we shall focus the discussion on a different move, and there will be some base questions that would help you start this off. This week, Safeguard is chosen.
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Originally Posted by In-game Description (BW)
Type: Normal (Status) Base Power: -- Accuracy: --% PP: 25
The user creates a protective field that prevents status problems for five turns.
Safeguard was introduced back in Generation 2, as a method to support any member of the team who are vulnerable to status, since there weren't any way to recover status in Generation 1, unless using Rest (which puts the user to Sleep anyway). This is a nice way to counteract status (even certain volatile ones like confusion) if you predict one coming, even from moves that has a secondary effect of casting one. Remember that any status that is self-inflicted or inflicted before this move went into effect will hit, including a well-timed Yawn. However, Toxic Spikes' effect is prevented. Just like Light Screen and Reflect, there are a wide assortment of users, although not every user gets all three moves at once (or this move and one of them). Even though Safeguard is one of the "screen" moves, it is not boosted in duration by Light Clay as of this Generation.
Here are the usual possible questions about this move:
How does certain Pokémon (who knows it) use this move?
What kind of purpose would this move have for them (in the Pokémon World)?
How could this move be used to aid a profession in the Pokémon World?
Could this move realistically be used by any Pokémon who doesn't learn it normally? If yes, please explain your choices.
How would this move be used in battling, realistically or video game-wise?
Other questions (You could ask other critical questions beyond the listed):
How does Safeguard protect against certain volatile statuses? Some of these status include Attract, Confusion, Leech Seed, Ghost Curse, Encore and Nightmare (Note that Taunt isn't one of them).
Unlike Light Screen and Reflect, Safeguard is a Normal-type move. How is Safeguard not a Psychic-type move?
Here are the current users of this move (put in Spoiler tag due to the large list):
I think it's interesting how this move in the anime seems to negate all damage, or in later examples blocks moves that potentially cause status effects. I guess a recurring theme in the Pokemon that learn this move, especially naturally, are that they are all either defensive based Pokemon or control mysterious powers of some kind. Many are Psychic types, and then there are Pokemon such as Dragonair who we know gives off a particular aura that can change the immediate climate. The Pokemon that learn it via TM seem a bit more scattered, so I'm not really sure how they decide who receives it this way. I would assume that Safeguard is a projection of "peaceful" energy that would nullify harmful effects and conditions.
I think that the reason it works differently in the Anime from the games is because
in the games, all moves are made to be "Standardized" for simplicity of Game mechanics.
But I believe that all moves are more like more like Skills and Techniques in employing the Pokemon's natural abilities
rather then immutable "Laws" that says "this Move does this and does this amount of damage/has this effect."
I can see Safeguard as the user projecting a "Protective Aura" that is an expression of that Pokemon's own innate Protective Will.
Some Pokemon have a stronger Protective desire then others and Some Pokemon are more adapt to Protecting against one Element over another.