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Retyping is an ancient idea when it comes to Pokémon; what happens when some arbitrary Pokémon get some new and equally arbitrary typing? In general, this is done as part of random banter and isn't given much serious, competitive thought. "How cool would it be if X Pokémon were to have Y typing?!" is an oft-heard saying among casual Pokémon players. This article attempts to take the idea of giving a Pokémon a new typing and analyze it from a competitive standpoint. We'll be looking at many Pokémon from the OU metagame who are let down by their current typing in some way and see what we can do to improve it.
Before we delve into that, however, let's look at what a retype can do for a Pokémon. The most simple effect that a retype has on a Pokémon is that it changes its resistances, immunities, and weaknesses. This has a direct impact on what it can switch in on, what it can threaten, and what can threaten it back. Speaking of what it can threaten, offensive Pokémon in particular are affected by their typing. The types an offensive Pokémon gets make a huge difference in how their sweep will be carried out, if it can be done at all. The typing of a Pokémon also directly affects how it plays; an offensive Pokémon with a premier defensive typing will naturally become a very bulky offensive threat, for instance.
Electric / Steel
The traditional example of a retype is the one Game Freak gave us in the transition from R/B to G/S when the new types, Steel and Dark, were added to the mix. Magnemite and Magneton, prior to G/S, were pure Electric-type Pokémon. With their retyping to Electric / Steel, however, came a whole slew of functional changes to the pair. Suddenly, Magneton had a tremendous list of resistances to come in on in order to fire off its attacks. Magneton really couldn't benefit from its new STAB back then, and the new weaknesses to Fire- and Fighting-type attacks alongside the compounded Ground-type weakness were tough to deal with. Despite this, Magneton improved with the added resistances, particularly by being resistant to the classic BoltBeam combo. Now, imagine what would happen if we did something similar and gave some OU Pokémon a competitively balanced retyping. Let's hop to it and find out!
Our first retype will be for a very defensive Pokémon, Bronzong. Many users who are excellent at theorymon instantly recognize that Bronzong's typing isn't perfect for what it's trying to do, which is wall things. It's nice that it isn't weak to the Fighting-type because of its Psychic-type, but it would be much more beneficial if it resisted it or, better yet, was immune to it. Furthermore, by abusing Levitate, it removes one of its most threatening weaknesses, the Ground-type. What typing could we give Bronzong so that it fares better against those Fighting-type attacks? Ghost/Steel comes to mind as the immediate answer.
Ghost/Steel is largely renowned throughout the theorymon community as a superior typing to Psychic/Steel, and for good reason. Ghost typing adds a lot of key resistances and immunities that Psychic-types wish they could have, such as a resistance to Bug-type attacks and immunities to Normal- and Fighting-type attacks. This retype would also make Bronzong the premier defensive Rapid Spin-blocker in OU with its massive defenses, neutrality to Dark-type attacks, and only one weakness to Fire-type attacks.
Ghost/Steel is a pretty universally superior typing to Psychic/Steel. There are literally no downsides to it, as it still renders Ghost- and Dark-type attacks neutral to Bronzong, but also brings key immunities and resistances to the table. This retype is mostly just to get you acquainted with the idea; all of the following retypes will explore different things and ways a typing can change a Pokémon, and some will bring many weaknesses to the table on top of their strengths.
Gengar, the most offensively oriented Ghost-type around, will be our next subject. Gengar's Poison typing really isn't doing him any favors by giving him a pretty meaningless Psychic-type weakness and a resistance to a type he's already immune to. Meanwhile, Gengar could really use some better resistances (particularly to the Dark-type) from his secondary typing and more importantly, a significantly better secondary STAB. It seems pretty clear to me where we need to go with Gengar, and I'm sure that you'll agree with me when I say that Ghost/Fighting would put him at the top of his game.
Ghost/Fighting is the premier STAB combination in Pokémon. Absolutely nothing that currently exists in the game resists the combo, giving Gengar perfect type coverage within only two moves. Furthermore, the secondary Fighting-type gives Gengar a healthy resistance to Rock-type attacks and Stealth Rock, and more valuable than that, a neutrality to Dark-type moves. To emphasize how significant STAB Fighting-type is for Gengar, consider that with it, Life Orb Timid Gengar can 2HKO 252/0 Blissey off the bat with Focus Blast—even without Stealth Rock in play. That 2HKO is an enormous claim for a special sweeper to be able to make. This typing also makes Gengar take less than 50% damage if Choice Scarf Tyranitar tries to Pursuit him to death and he stays in. This enables Gengar to beat such threats with some semblance of reliability, which is excellent.
A Ghost/Fighting typing's excellent STABs more than make up for any weaknesses it has. A weakness to Flying-type attacks is mostly inconsequential, as most users of Brave Bird would have OHKOed Gengar anyway. Meanwhile, he's still weak to Psychic-type attacks like being part Poison-type made him, so that isn't any more of a loss. As you can see, Gengar would gain a ton from this retype; he would be far more top-tier than he already is, which is pretty tough to imagine. Not all retypes are so universally great as Gengar and Bronzong's have been, however, as we will soon explore with our next few examples.
Water/Electric typing is something that Starmie has long-dreamed of having. Starmie's secondary Psychic-type affords it a tragic weakness to Pursuit, and only gives one useful resistance to Fighting-type attacks. An Electric typing would give Starmie a magnificent STAB Thunderbolt alongside its STAB Surf, which would make its BoltBeam combo that much deadlier. Furthermore, it makes Starmie a perfect switch-in to Choice Band Scizor's Bullet Punch and Choice Scarf Jirachi's Iron Head with its 4x resistance to Steel-type attacks. The weakness to Ground-type attacks is unfortunate, but is mostly ameliorated by STAB Surf and access to Ice Beam, which threatens all of those Ground-types away. Only Swampert and Flygon are hit neutrally by Starmie's STAB Surf, and Starmie has Grass Knot and Ice Beam to deal with them, respectively.
Starmie can Rapid Spin just as effectively as it always could, but now it is an even bigger threat to Tyranitar who used to take advantage of it with his Choice Scarf and Pursuit. Without the weakness to Pursuit, Starmie can switch out of Dark-type attacks with greater ease. The biggest advantage of the new typing, however, is STAB Thunderbolt. Life Orb Starmie's Thunderbolt goes from being unable to 2HKO Wish Support Vaporeon after Leftovers recovery to dealing more than three-fourths of her life in one swing. Starmie would also excel at pressuring CroCune, dealing well over 50% damage to a +1 Suicune and maiming those without a boost.
Metagross will be the first retype we've considered thus far with obvious drawbacks. Metagross's current typing is Psychic/Steel, the same as both Jirachi and Bronzong. This is a very reasonable defensive typing, affording Metagross a ton of resistances and only two weaknesses. Metagross really can't take full advantage of its offensive STABs outside of Meteor Mash, though, which has been a fairly unfortunate letdown for the 600 BST monster. This retype aims to shift Metagross a bit, giving it a potent new STAB and new setup opportunities, but all of this at a serious cost.
Steel/Ground Metagross brings many new and intriguing things to the table. With a Ground typing, Metagross would gain an immunity to Electric-type attacks, 4x resist Rock-type attacks, be neutral to Ice- and Grass-type attacks, and be weak to Water-type attacks. Furthermore, Metagross picks up a weakness to Fighting-type attacks. What's so great about this typing, then, you ask? Pokémon like Vaporeon can come in, survive an attack, and OHKO it with Surf! Despite the new weaknesses, the added Ground-type impacts how Metagross works and additionally how it sweeps, all as follows.
Metagross @ Life Orb
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 112 HP / 252 Atk / 12 Def / 132 Spe
- Meteor Mash
- Ice Punch / Explosion
The above set looks like the standard AgiliGross, but it now gets many new opportunities to setup and sweep. Metagross picks up a key 4x Rock-type resistance and a 2x Dark-type resistance. This allows Pokémon like Zapdos, Togekiss, Gyarados, and Dragonite to lure Choice-locked Rock- and Dark-type attacks from the likes of Tyranitar for Metagross to switch into and set up an Agility on. Its part Ground typing gives it the most powerful non-Uber Earthquake in the game, able to crush bones to dust with a single hit. One of the key cases to make here is that with that massive Earthquake, AgiliGross is able to OHKO Starmie without resorting to ThunderPunch, beat down Forretress and Scizor with relative ease, and OHKO 252/0 Jirachi without much thought. This means that you can carry Ice Punch in the last slot to deal with the likes of Gliscor, Zapdos, and Salamence. Skarmory, Gyarados, and Vaporeon will give you issues, though, but every typing comes at a cost. The last real advantage to this is that it gives Metagross an immunity to both poison status from any source and paralysis status from Thunder Wave. This combination allows Metagross to switch in on Pokémon like Blissey and setup on them with impunity.
Yanmega's suggested retype is not only the most obvious of all of the suggested retypes, what with it being a dragonfly, but also the most beneficial of all of those we'll be going over in this article. Pay close attention, boys and girls, as you'll soon understand the complete, unadulterated wrath of a Bug/Dragon backed by two of the best abilities in the game and an excellent stat distribution.
Yanmega @ Choice Specs
Ability: Tinted Lens
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Nature: Modest / Timid
- Draco Meteor
- Bug Buzz
- Hidden Power Ground / Dragon Pulse
The above set would be a standard, and Yanmega would infest the metagame with it. Yanmega has really only one issue with the OU metagame in his current state, and that's Stealth Rock. Being 4x weak to Rock-type attacks is brutal for a Pokémon in a land where Stealth Rock is a priority for every team. By replacing Yanmega's Flying-type with the Dragon-type, he becomes on par with threats like Gyarados and Salamence for his 2x weakness to the entry hazard. Suddenly, Yanmega gets a new lease on life; but wait, there's more! A secondary Dragon typing gives Yanmega an unresisted STAB attack with Tinted Lens. As a Dragon-type, Yanmega would pick up Draco Meteor, and with a base 116 Special Attack stat, would have the most powerful Draco Meteor in the metagame. Even Steel-type behemoths that could normally take a Draco Meteor from the likes of MixMence would risk obscene damage by switching into Yanmega. His vulnerability to priority, relatively low Speed, and poor defenses would be about the only things keeping him from single-handedly crushing the metagame. Even then, if for some reason you didn't like Draco Meteor having perfect neutral coverage with Tinted Lens, you could use Speed Boost to compensate for Yanmega's middling Speed stat. As an anti-lead, there would be little that could rival him, and as a threat in the OU metagame, there'd be little that could switch into him and live to tell the tale. This is one of those retypes that would completely redefine D/P competitive Pokémon as we know it were it to come to pass.
Staraptor is one of those Pokémon who mostly surprises people with not being firmly set in the OU metagame. In time, all players come to realize that a high Attack stat, base 100 Speed, and Intimidate are not the only things that make a Pokémon good. The typing must be good to match them. This is what Staraptor lacks next to his Flying-type brethren in the OU metagame. Gyarados is Water/Flying, Salamence is Dragon/Flying, Zapdos is Electric/Flying, and the list goes on from there. Staraptor, tragically, is Normal/Flying. This is our opportunity to fix it, and anyone familiar with Staraptor's movepool should immediately recognize just what makes the proposed Fighting/Flying typing so terrifying.
Staraptor @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Nature: Jolly / Adamant
- Brave Bird
- Close Combat
Staraptor's newfound STAB Close Combat gives him the power necessary to strike fear into the OU tier. Furthermore, the backing of a Fighting-type secondary typing removes Staraptor's weakness to Stealth Rock, giving it more switch-ins. As if this weren't enough, the Fighting-type allows Staraptor to switch into Dark-type attacks like a trooper, warding off the opponent and hitting the enemy ridiculously hard as they switch. STAB Close Combat makes Staraptor a true threat; as a testament to its power, with a Choice Band it is able to 2HKO defensive Skarmory after Stealth Rock damage. Fighting- and Flying-type STABs complement each other excellently anyway, with the Fighting-type hitting everything that resists the Flying-type. Only a few Pokémon, such as Zapdos and Rotom-A, can boast the ability to resist this combination. The added power behind Close Combat coupled with his ability, Intimidate, Pursuit for fleeing Ghost- and Psychic-types, and U-turn to scout the opponent's switch-in would put Staraptor at the top of his game. Top 20 in OU is a far stretch for Staraptor now, but with this retyping, it's practically guaranteed.
Lastly, one of the most interesting retypes I'm proposing is for Heracross. Heracross's base 125 Attack stat is excellent, and when backed by his high Base Power STAB options, can be very threatening. The biggest problem Heracross encounters in OU, however, is how easily his STABs are walled by so many Pokémon. Automatically, any Ghost- or Flying-type Pokémon resists both Fighting- and Bug-type attacks at once. This has caused Heracross, crippled further by his middling Speed, to drop seriously in usage. How can we fix this, you ask? Give him something to take the fight back to those who used to deal with him so well in the form of a Rock-type STAB.
Heracross @ Choice Band
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
- Stone Edge
- Close Combat
Just when you thought you were safe, the standard Choice Band Heracross returns from the depths of near-UU with a new toy in the form of a Rock-type STAB attack. Megahorn sticks around for its value against Celebi and Starmie, who might otherwise try to switch in and give Heracross trouble. Zapdos, Salamence, Gyarados, Rotom-A, Dusknoir, and even the great Gliscor can no longer switch into Heracross with impunity because of the threat of a boosted STAB Stone Edge. Heracross can even take special attackers on with relative ease if he is being used in a sandstorm, as that base 95 Special Defense stat is very respectable with the sandstorm boost. Just look at how Heracross's counters list suddenly shrunk from half of OU to all of a few Pokémon. That's how important a typing can be in Pokémon; it can mean the difference between obscurity and celebrity. STAB Rock-type attacks would turn Heracross around suddenly, giving him a real chance to shine without the threat of being easily walled within his STABs.
Game Freak doesn't give a lot of consideration to competitiveness when they make Pokémon. Many times they appear to just do what's cool or makes sense. When you take a moment and focus on the typing of a Pokémon, you obtain a true beast and monster that will go down in legend. Typing goes a long way to define the effectiveness and even the tiering of a Pokémon, as I hope you've come to realize with all of the examples and points made so far. Also, note how many more Pokémon in OU, UU, and so forth are let down by their typing! Imagine, if you can, how these Pokémon might rise to the top of their respective tiers if given a new typing. As you finish reading this article, know that henceforth you should never underestimate the power of typing in Pokémon. It is potentially the most fundamental and powerful game mechanic that will ever exist.
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