This week there was a big ole leak that revealed a number of new Pokemon from Sun and Moon, just before an announcement the company had planned for Friday. While they went ahead and released the Japanese version of the trailer to get ahead of the leak, the English translation took its precious time, waiting until the scheduled premiere to reveal to us its wonderful secrets. Now Friday has come and gone, and thanks to the trailer and to the Pokedex data on the Pokemon website, we know quite a bit about the seven new Pokemon - plus some other cool stuff too! Today I wanted to take some time to discuss what we know about these critters, giving you both information and my opinion on everything we learned this weekend.
Image credits go to Pokemon sites such as the Pokemon Database and Bulbapedia - I did not create these pictures, I'm just borrowing the official artwork from other sites for the sake of demonstration. For the English version of the new Pokemon reveal trailer, check out this video:
GRUBBIN'S STAGE ONE FORM: CHARJABUG
Charjabug is the first evolution of Grubbin, a bug-type Pokemon we met back at E3. A lot of folks theorized that Grubbin's evolved forms would gain the electric typing because the Pokedex entry mentions Grubbin's love for power plants - and those folks were right. Charjabug is the pupa form of Grubbin's evolutionary line, and it stays perfectly still waiting to evolve. Its body stores electricity, enough to run a household for a full day - or to supercharge a Pokemon. Charjabug's ability, Battery, is new to 7th gen, and it raises the special attack power of all allies on the field. This is a pretty decent ability, but my guess is that Charjabug is not going to be particularly viable in VGC (the official competitive double-battle format) - as a pupa Pokemon, its stats aren't likely to be stellar. A lot of folks hate on Charjabug's design, but I don't mind it too much. My biggest issue is that when I look at it, I think of a bus before I think of a battery.
GRUBBIN'S STAGE TWO EVOLUTION: VIKAVOLT
Once Charjabug is ready to evolve, it becomes this airborne monstrosity, Vikavolt. These things are incredible at aerial manoeuvres, zipping through the trees of their forest homes with ease. The Pokedex describes them as a "flying fortress" capable of firing beams of electricity from their mouths. These suckers will scoop up Charjabug and use it to power their electrical attacks, giving them a huge supply of extra energy in battle. If they're caught in a particularly fierce dogfight, though, they'll drop Charjabug so their full range of aerial movement is available to them. Vikavolt's ability is Levitate, which makes sense because it can fly but isn't flying type. Here's the thing, though - that kinda stinks. Bug typing resists ground, so Vikavolt already isn't weak to ground type moves. Its combined types render them neutral. It would have been cool if Vikavolt retained Battery, or picked up something else different instead. That's just my opinion, though. Overall I like Vikavolt's design and I definitely love the unusual typing.
THE SLEEPY KOALA REVEALED: KOMALA
Way back before E3, the magazine CoroCoro revealed some stuff about two Pokemon from the Alola region. Of course, CoroCoro is in Japanese, so we were relying primarily on translations when it came to understanding the two critters we were seeing. One was this Pokemon - Komala. This sleepyhead is apparently always asleep, using that little log pillow that its parents gave to it. If it loses that log, it will sleep fitfully, although apparently it can cuddle a beloved trainer and get some rest. Sometimes it may seem like Komala is reacting to its surroundings, but these reactions are just the results of its dreams. Now when it comes to this critter's ability, Comatose, I'm not sure what to think. When the description was first translated, most folks had the impression that Komala couldn't be affected with any status problem except sleep. But with this updated Pokedex description - a description that clearly says that no one has ever seen Komala awake - I have to wonder if maybe the way Comatose works is that it puts Komala permanently into the sleep status. If that's the case, this Pokemon may not be the competitive giant people were predicting. Yes, defensively it can absorb Will-o-Wisps and Thunder Waves because it can never be hit with a status problem, but a sleeping Pokemon can't fight reliably. Snore isn't a particularly powerful move, and Sleep Talk chooses a random move from your set. I suppose you could always run Sleep Talk and then only one other move for some reliability, but that'll make Komala a one-trick pony and he'll probably be shut down by ghost types. Plus being a guaranteed target for moves like Nightmare and Dream Eater...I don't know. We'll have to see how Comatose actually works to come to a full conclusion about Komala, but even if it isn't particularly viable in battle I still love the design.
PUT A ROCK ON A DOG AND YOU GET: ROCKRUFF
This pure Rock-type Pokemon is also a puppy. Need to know anything else? Good.
But seriously. Rockruff is sociable and loves to greet its friends with a nice rocky neck rub - which the website points out trainers will not particularly appreciate. This little doggy has a great sniffer and can track things for days based on only the faintest of scents. Rockruff is a persistent Pokemon and can stand in battle despite terrible damage, often allowing it to outlast its opponents. Of course, for the most part this is just flavor text - its "durability" is only represented by one of its abilities, Vital Spirit, which actually just prevents sleep. The other ability is Keen Eye, which prevents the lowering of accuracy.
Now I'm going to start delving into theory territory. It says that Rockruff will leave its trainer to evolve and then come back when it has transformed. Is this implying that Rockruff is a trade evolution? Or is you have to leave it at daycare? Or will Rockruff literally disappear for a day or two when it's ready to evolve? This could just be flavor text, but its potential to be related to a real game mechanic is certainly interesting.
The website also points out that Rockruff's behavior changes as it gets closer to evolving, the Pokemon becoming more feral and howling when the sun goes down. Combining this tidbit of info with something else in the Pokedex description - the fact that Bite is a good move for Rockruff - makes me think that this Pokemon will evolve into a Rock/Dark Pokemon. When it's close to evolving, it howls at night, and they're suggesting that you should give it a dark type move? Again, it could just be flavor text. But I'm pretty confident that we can expect Rockruff's evolution to have a secondary dark typing.
That being said, Rock/Dark would be a serious glass cannon. Four times weak to fighting and also boasting weaknesses against water, grass, ground, steel, bug, and fairy, you certainly wouldn't be taking any hits. However, the combination of Rock and Dark means that Rockruff can hit almost any pure-type Pokemon for neutral damage, the exception being fighting. You know, that type that this potential evolution would be four times weak to? Yeah, stay away from fighting types. I'm excited to learn about Rockruff's evolution and to see if any of my predictions come to fruition, but with such a poor defensive typing I don't know that I'd want to use it.
THE ELECTRIC HEDGEHOG POKEMON: TOGEDEMARU
Introducing - for the seventh time ever - Pikachu!
If you've not been in the Pokemon world for all that long, you may not know of this trend where Gamefreak likes to put a new Pikachu into each game. It's just this little thing they do.
Togedemaru is the newest member of the Pikachu family, an Electric/Steel Pokemon with sharp little barbs and the ability to absorb electricity. Showing forethought and in-depth design decisions when it comes to Togedemaru, the Pokedex entry on the website explains how it can absorb electricity, and produce needles. And then it explains how it can absorb electricity, and produce needles. I'm seeing a pattern here. Guess what Togedemaru's abilities are? Lightningrod and Iron Barbs. So it can...absorb electricity...or produce needles.
We're done here.
THE GRIZZLED OLE DRAGON: DRAMPA
Perhaps my favorite design from all the newbies, Drampa is a dragon that looks like the kind of guy you want to sit back and talk about the old days with. These Pokemon live at the tops of mountains but descend to the bottom to find the berries that they feed on. Drampa love to play with human children and they guard them fiercely, their normally gentle souls burning with rage whenever someone messes with a kid. The Pokedex says that in this state, a Dragonbreath attack from Drampa can level a building. Representing this rage are Drampa's abilities, Berserk or Sap Sipper. Berserk increases Drampa's special attack by one stage whenever its HP drops below half, while Sap Sipper increases physical attack whenever Drampa is attacked by a grass-type move. The fact that it can have these two abilities makes me wonder if it has the potential to be a mixed attacker. I guess we'll find out. The Berserk ability is new and is pretty decent, though I have to wonder if it is a bit limited in scope. If you switch in and Drampa already has half HP, will its special attack go up? Or does it have to have above half HP and then an attack put it below? The latter would be my guess.
THE MOST LITERALLY-NAMED POKEMON: CUTIEFLY
"D'awwwwwww!" Cutiefly is a Bug/Fairy Pokemon that is drawn to the colorful aura of flowers, where they gather nectar and pollen. Because the auras of people look like flowers when we're really happy or sad (obviously), Cutiefly tend to congregate in places where people are really emotional. When they aren't attending screenings of Finding Dory, Cutiefly live out in fields and meadows.
I think Cutiefly is adorable and I appreciate the cool new typing. Bug/Fairy is a nightmare for fighting types, and that typing could always use more Pokemon that shut it down. I'm hoping that Cutiefly has at least one evolution, because I'd love to see this typing and this Pokemon strong enough to hold its own instead of just being a useless ball of cuteness.
THE US 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AIN'T GOT NOTHIN' ON: BRUXISH
The new Pokemon that everyone loves to hate. Bruxish definitely has a...unique...design. It's colorful, but not in a good way. It looks like the Miss Hannigan of fish, like it would be really mean to some little orphan fish and then primp itself in the mirror. There's not much to love about this tacky design, but that doesn't mean Bruxish is a lost cause.
That weird little thing on its head? That opens up in the shape of a flower to reveal a small jewel-like formation. This pearl looking thing emits incredible waves of psychic power, causing nearby Pokemon to become dizzy and pass out. When Bruxish does this, it grinds its teeth as a warning, and local Pokemon have learned to stay the heck away from that grinding. As a result, lifeguards let Bruxish live in waters near human dwellings so that dangerous water Pokemon (read: ones you actually want to catch) are kept at bay.
Bruxish is a Water/Psychic Pokemon, a typing that has been proven effective by Pokemon such as Slowking and Starmie. The most remarkable feature about Bruxish is its ability, Dazzling. This ability shuts down priority moves, stuff like Quick Attack, Sucker Punch, Shadow Sneak, Extremespeed, etc. This means that if Bruxish actually has enough Speed to be competitively viable, this thing can shut down opponents who would try to defeat it by using priority in combat. It also means that when you know a priority move is coming, you can use that opportunity to switch in Bruxish safely. I'm kind of hoping that Bruxish is not the only Dazzling Pokemon, or that is has an evolution that is pretty powerful and also looks a lot less...*shivers*
NEW INFO IS NOW AVAILABLE ON: ZYGARDE
We've been in the dark about this legendary for some time now, but more and more has been revealed about Zygarde over the course of Sun and Moon's development. With the latest update, we can get a pretty good idea of what Zygarde is about and how it's going to be incorporated into Sun and Moon.
Zygarde's body is made up of a series of Cells gathered around Cores. Cells make up Zygarde's body while the Cores serve as brains, giving direction and intent to the body. There are only a few cores but there are many cells, all scattered around the Alola region. This makes it seem like collecting these little bits of Zygarde will be a side quest of sorts. They'll be hidden, tricky to find, but collecting them will give you access to a pretty solid legendary Pokemon.
With only one core and the corresponding amount of cells (no idea what that number is right now), you can make Zygarde's 10% Forme. It can apparently only maintain this forme for a short time, but has fearsome fangs and can run in excess of 60 MPH. Because this is called the 10% Forme and it only has one Core, I am going to guess right now that Zygarde will have ten total Cores.
Not much unique is stated about the 50% Forme except that this is Zygarde's main body. It's called the 50% Forme because half of its cells are still spread out in the world somewhere. Zygarde's typing is Ground/Dragon, a typing made popular by giants like Garchomp and Flygon. Watch out for those ice types, though. According to the Pokedex, Zygarde is the protector of the world's ecosystem. Pokemon has had environmental themes in the past, but some of the Pokemon introduced so far definitely seem to emphasize the interactions of species within their environments and the interactions of humans and Pokemon - is there a potential for a stronger environmental theme in this game compared to the others? Only time will tell.
In Complete Forme Zygarde has all of its fighting power. When one of the other forms has the ability Power Construct, they can enter Complete Forme once their HP drops below half. When not able to enter Complete Forme, their ability is Aura Break instead. This ability reverses the effects of Aura abilities, such as Xerneas's Fairy Aura and Ylveltal's Dark Aura.
According to the website, Zygarde has a number of moves tied uniquely to it. Core Enforcer (likely the move that draws a Z on the ground shown in the trailers) is a move that appears to be locked to the Complete Forme, and it erases the abilities of any Pokemon who have made a move on that turn. Zygarde also has Thousand Arrows and Thousand Waves. Thousand Arrows is a ground-type move that affects flying types and Pokemon with Levitate while also pulling them to the ground, allowing other ground-type moves to effect them as well. Thousand Waves prevents the opponent from fleeing or switching, locking them into the battle.
Zygarde's design is pretty cool. I don't care for legendaries and I doubt I'll put much effort into trying to get Zygarde, but here's my prediction regarding it. Assuming that Zygarde's final forme indeed consists of ten Cores, my guess is that five are in Sun and five are in Moon. The only way to gain Zygarde's Complete Forme will be to interact with someone who has the other game (or get both for yourself). In normal play, the best you'll be able to do is the 50% Forme. Only time will tell how my prediction plays out.
A BRAND NEW LEGENDARY POKEMON: TAPU KOKO
We heard about this Pokemon in the E3 Treehouse demonstration, but now for the first time we can take a look at it. Tapu Koko is the guardian Pokemon of Melemele Island, the island on which your adventures in Pokemon Sun and Moon begin. The Pokedex explains that also this thing is regarded as a guardian, it doesn't particularly care about the island's inhabitants and won't go out of its way to help or protect people. It occasionally gets curious when someone strikes its interest. My guess is, the player character will strike its interest.
Tapu Koko is Electric/Fairy, a typing that boasts only three weaknesses but with some decent offensive power. It's ability, Electric Surge, uses the Electric Terrain move automatically when Tapu Koko enters battle. This increases the power of electric type moves and prevents every Pokemon in contact with the ground (mechanically, not thematically) from falling asleep. Tapu Koko has a unique move called Nature's Madness that reduces the target's HP by half. If that's current HP, this move is a fancy Super Fang. If that's max HP...this move is gonna be REALLY broken.
Tapu Koko can close its arms over its body to form what looks like the head of a bird (a rooster, apparently, based on analyses done by people way smarter than me). This ability has piqued the interest of a lot of folks. Theoretically, each of Alola's four islands has a guardian, and if they all can form up into a totem-like structure to do something awesome, that could be a big part of the story. Without knowing much of anything about the other island's guardians (assuming they do all have one), it's hard to say anything definitive about what Tapu Koko's rooster form will actually do. Still, I really enjoy the design and I'm excited to learn more about the other island guardians and what they can potentially do when united.
That's a LOT of Pokemon news, and it's just going to keep on coming until Sun and Moon are finally released. I'm going to do my best to keep up with that news as it comes, so to see more articles like this one, be sure to check out my website Adventure Rules at https://ianshepard.wordpress.com/ for news on Pokemon and Nintendo at large.