A combo is all the matches that result from the first one. Ideally, the player wants to rack up large combos from each move, since most stages are move-limited. However, large combos usually occur by chance from the skyfalling icons or Mega Powers, though some small combos can be planned. Stages in which there are only 3 Support Pokémon (3-Pokémon Stages or using Complexity -1) usually offers very high combos, while stages in which there is an Added Non-Support offers very low combos.
The first match in a combo (ie. the match that causes the combo) has a chance to trigger the Skill of the matched Pokémon. All the resulting matches will not trigger a skill, but grant bonus damage multipliers that increase depending on combo length.
In the Mobile version, the highest combo the player has made is tracked in the player stats.
About how combos work:
- Combos drop when no icons on the board are moving and no matches are being processed
- In move-limited stages, this happens most of the time when all the icons have settled. However, there are cases involving the Barrier Bash skill when icons that are freed from Barriers take a moment longer before they start falling to any empty tiles below, which can cause the combo to drop before the icon falls if there aren't any more matches. This in turn can allow the fallen icon to start a new combo with another chance to trigger a Skill.
- In time-limited stages, the above rules generally apply in the same ways, but there is another catch to note. Attempting to move the bottom icon of a falling column of icons will stop the column from falling, and if there are no more matches left to process and no other icons are moving, the combo will drop.
About how matches are processed:
- All the recognized matches are highlighted, and each one takes about 1/4 second to process (they are processed one at a time)
- At any time when there are more than one match to be processed, matches with Mega Evolved icons are always last; the other matches are processed in order from column left to right, row top to bottom
- Matches that have not been processed yet can still be altered, whether by adding an icon (from falling icons, etc.) or removing an icon (Mega Powers, etc.). As long as the altered result is still a match, it will be processed.
- If more than one match is made from a player move, the match made by the player (from the moved icon, not the swapped icon) is processed first
- If a player moves an icon to make two intersecting matches, the one with more icons gets processed first for higher skill activation chance (note that this is is still true for Power of 4 and similar skills)
- In the case above, if the ability was Barrier Bash, and the other match had a Barrier with empty tiles under them, the ability would take effect first and the icons would fall before the second match gets processed (keep this in mind, that triggered abilities take effect before any match after the first one gets processed)
- If two matches intersect each other and they are not Mega Evolved Pokémon, the first one that's processed leaves the intersected tile behind for matching again, though the other match could be interrupted by a Mega Power or something
- Mega Evolved Pokémon cannot have intersecting matches; only one of them will be processed without leaving the intersected icon behind, and horizontal matches seem to be prioritized over vertical matches
- Processed matches take about 1/2 second to disappear, and when they do, icons above can pass through. Therefore, when there are two vertically adjacent matches and the top one is processed first, the falling icons will pause at the top one first because the bottom match hasn't disappeared yet. Note that this mechanism isn't limited to just this case of two vertically adjacent matches.