You’ll find TM90 Substitute on a specific Mirage Island located directly south of Pacifidlog Town. But you can only explore Mirage Islands after you unlock the ability to Soar with the Eon Flute.
And you’ll also need a Pokémon that knows HM06 Rock Smash to reach the exact location of the TM.
You’ll need to acquire the Eon Flute from Steven shortly after the capture/defeat of Kyogre or Groudon in the Cave of Origin. Then you’ll be able to call on Latias/Latios (depending on your game version) to Mega Evolve and soar through Hoenn’s skies.
This lets you quickly travel to previously visited locations and also grants you access to Mirage Spots.
Mirage Spots are rare locations that can randomly be found throughout the Hoenn region. They provide various benefits, such as a way to catch rare or legendary Pokémon, acquire valuable items, and collect unique TMs, including TM90 Substitute.
Each day, a random Mirage Spot appears on Hoenn’s outskirts, marked by a red sparkle.
There are five categories of Mirage Spots in ORAS:
- Mirage Island
- Mirage Forest
- Mirage Cave
- Mirage Mountain
- Crescent Isle
The Mirage Spots rotate daily, and using StreetPass allows players to encounter even more Mirage Spots. But for the TM90 Mirage Spot, you’ll just need one prerequisite:
- A Pokémon that knows Rock Smash
TM90 Substitute Location (Step-by-Step)
When you’re good to go, check and see if the exact Mirage Island marked in the image below is available.
If it is, use the Eon Flute to travel there. If it’s not, then you can adjust your 3DS or emulator’s time until it appears.
Step 1: Once you get to the Mirage Island, head up the slope and travel northeast into the tall grass.
Step 2: Keep moving through the tall grass and climb the staircase on the northwest side, leading to a small volcano.
Step 3: Upon reaching the small volcano’s crater, you should find the TM for Substitute on the ground. It’s located next to the breakable rock on the right side – this is where you’ll need to use Rock Smash to reach the TM.
TM90 Substitute Details + Uses
|Substitute Move Details
|10 (max. 16)
Substitute is a Normal-type Status move that allows the user to create a decoy of itself by sacrificing 25% of the user’s max HP. The substitute has the same amount of HP the user lost, and it helps protect the user from attacks and status conditions.
Note: The substitute will break and disappear if it runs out of HP or if its owner swaps it out of battle.
If a Pokémon already has a substitute, they will not be able to use the move Substitute again until the current substitute is removed or broken. Additionally, if using Substitute would cause the user to faint due to the loss of required HP, the move will fail.
It’s also worth noting that almost every Pokémon is capable of learning this move, so it’s broadly applicable to most teams.
Is Substitute Worth Using?
Substitute is a super handy move in Pokémon battles. Aside from taking damage for the user, it also helps protect the user from a wide variety of negative effects:
- Status Conditions: A substitute keeps the user safe from all status conditions such as burn, freeze, paralysis, poison, and sleep, as well as confusion.
- Negative Stat Changes: A substitute not only protects the user from having their stat stages lowered by the opponent’s moves, but also from abilities such as Intimidate or Effect Spore.
- Flinching: A substitute prevents the user from flinching due to opponent’s moves such as Fake Out or Air Slash.
- Trapping Effects: When a substitute is active, the user becomes immune to trapping effects of moves such as Mean Look or Block.
- Effects Involving the User’s Held Item: A substitute also blocks effects that with the user’s held item, like moves that steal or remove it (Thief, Knock Off, etc.).
Tip: The ability Infiltrator and sound-based moves can bypass Substitute’s protective benefits. Pokémon with the Infiltrator ability can hit through a Substitute with their moves, ignoring the decoy and dealing damage directly to the opponent. Similarly, sound-based moves, such as Hyper Voice and Boomburst, can also penetrate Substitute and target the user behind it.
Strategies with Substitute
In competitive battles, Substitute is a popular move due to the numerous tactical advantages and flexible strategies it can enable.
Here are some strategies that are commonly-used with Substitute:
- Substitute + Toxic: With Substitute up to protect your Pokémon, use Toxic to badly poison the opponent and let it whittle away their health. Substitute helps stall the opponent as the poison damage increases.
- Substitute + Stat-Boosting Moves: When facing Pokémon with low damage output, like tanks or stall Pokémon, Substitute enables you to set up safely. Additionally, if your stat-boosting move includes a defensive increase (such as Bulk Up or Calm Mind), gaining more boosts also makes it tougher for opponents to break the Substitute with their attacks.
- Substitute + Baton Pass: Though less common, Substitute can be Baton Passed to another Pokémon, potentially setting up a sweep. Speed Boost Pokémon like Ninjask work well here, as they can Baton Pass both Substitute and their stat boosts.
- Substitute + Focus Punch: Focus Punch is a powerful Fighting-type move that fails if the user is hit. This is solved by setting up a Substitute, which allows Focus Punch to connect even if the Substitute is broken. Simply forcing a switch and setting up a Substitute ensures that your Focus Punch will land successfully.
- Substitute + Leech Seed: Leech Seed and Substitute also work well together. With Leftovers and Leech Seed restoring your Pokémon’s health, you can create more Substitutes than usual and stall the opponent as they gradually succumb to Leech Seed damage.