Competitive Retyping III - BW Edition

By SkullCandy and Deck Knight. Art by nov.
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Grass / Dragon Serperior

Original Typing:
Weaknesses: 2x Ice, Bug, Flying, Fire, Poison
Resistances: 2x Water, Grass, Electric, Ground
Immunities: None

Weaknesses: 4x Ice, 2x Dragon, Bug, Flying, Poison
Resistances: 4x Water, Grass, Electric, 2x Ground
Immunities: None

You'd have to be some special type of oblivious not to have expected the first Dragon-type starter after seeing Serperior's sprite. It was regal. It was splendid. It was dragontastic. Yet, for reasons unbeknownst to the gaming community at large, Game Freak decided that would be way too cool and gave us a mediocre defensive mono-Grass-type with a movepool as useful as a chocolate oven. Yes, it could use Contrary and Leaf Storm in Dream World, but due to an appalling lack of useful coverage, Serperior found itself walled hopelessly by either Steel-types (if it chose Hidden Power Ice) or Fire- and Dragon-types if it chose Hidden Power Fire. However, a secondary Dragon typing would solve pretty much all those issues instantly.

A moveset consisting of Leaf Storm, Dragon Pulse, Hidden Power Fire, and Giga Drain would slice through weakened teams like butter. Yes, it looks exactly the same as a standard Serperior sweeper set, but that STAB boost on Dragon Pulse makes all the difference. No longer would Serperior have to rely on Hidden Power Ice to hurt Dragon-types. On top of that, Dragon's excellent neutral coverage ensures that after a single Leaf Storm boost there is not a single Pokémon in the game that resists Dragon Pulse, making it an excellent alternative to Leaf Storm if you're not sure which Pokémon your opponent is about to send in. Finally, not that we're supposed to give the Pokémon new moves, but every single fully evolved Dragon-type can learn Draco Meteor, so it stands to reason that Serperior would too. I'm sure I don't have to point out how terrifying Serperior would be with a move that combines Leaf Storm's boosts with Dragon Pulse's neutral coverage.

A Dragon-typing would also benefit Serperior's defensive sets. 75 / 95 / 95 defenses are already pretty decent, and when combined with a Dragon typing, Serperior would boast 4x resistances to Grass, Water, and Electric, making it an excellent all-purpose special attacking counter. On top of this, Serperior loses its Fire weakness, one of its more crippling weaknesses. The 4x Ice weakness is a pain, but hey, nobody's perfect.

Fire / Fighting Darmanitan

Original Typing:
Weaknesses: 2x Ground, Rock, Water
Resistances: 2x Fire, Grass, Bug, Steel, Ice
Immunities: None

Weaknesses: 2x Ground, Water, Psychic, Flying
Resistances: 4x Bug, 2x Fire, Grass, Steel, Ice, Dark
Immunities: None

Fire / Fighting has almost become a cliche in the Pokémon world due to its ubiquity amongst the Fire starters. With its new typing, Darmanitan would eclipse most of those starters (bar Blaziken, of course) thanks to its absolutely brutal Attack stat. On top of that, Darmanitan wouldn't even need to change its standard moveset to sweep; a moveset of Flare Blitz, Superpower, U-turn, and Earthquake hits an outstanding 11 types for super effective damage with the remaining types all being hit for neutral damage. However, Darmanitan wouldn't even have to rely on super effective hits; a STAB Superpower or Flare Blitz would maim everything in sight that didn't resist it, and Darmanitan's SubPunch set would boast the strongest Focus Punch in the entire game.

Darmanitan would also make one hell of a wall breaker with this addition. Fire and Fighting have always been great types to help break down walls (Infernape says hi), but when backed with such a high Attack stat, Darmanitan wouldn't even pine the ability to go mixed. Blissey / Chansey, Ferrothorn, and Forretress already stand no chance against Darmanitan, but now not only can you add Heatran to the mix, but Darmanitan no longer has to suffer Flare Blitz's HP consuming side effect when reducing these defensive stalwarts to dust.

One of the greatest benefits of a Fighting-type, however, is the removal of Darmanitan's previously crippling Stealth Rock weakness. Darmanitan is no stranger to passive damage; Spikes, Toxic Spikes, Flare Blitz, Life Orb, and the aforementioned Stealth Rock all wear it down incredibly quickly. Add that to the fact that Darmanitan commonly runs U-turn and Darmanitan doesn't usually last more than a couple of turns. However, a secondary Fighting typing renders Darmanitan's high HP stat much more useful, as well as granting it a resistance to Dark. The Psychic and Flying weaknesses are inconsequential due to the lack of those types of moves in UU and OU.

Flying / Ground Archeops

Original Typing:
Weaknesses: 2x Electric, Ice, Rock, Water, Steel
Resistances: 2x Bug, Fire, Flying, Normal, Poison
Immunities: Ground

Weaknesses: 4x Ice, 2x Water
Resistances: 2x Fighting, Bug, Poison
Immunities: Ground, Electric

As you may have noticed, losing a Stealth Rock weakness nearly always substantially improves a Pokémon's competitiveness, and Archeops is no exception. In fact, Archeops, a Pokémon so reliant on remaining healthy, benefits more than any other Pokémon I can think of from such a retyping. First off, Archeops's outrageous attacking stats can now be taken advantage of more effectively thanks not only to the reduction in entry hazard damage, but also thanks to Archeops's new found immunities and resistances. An immunity to Electric and resistance to Bug would not only make Archeops a great Galvantula counter in its home, RU, but would also help it put a stop to VoltTurn shenanigans in OU. Rotom-W would still be able to annihilate Archeops with its primary STAB move, but should it predict incorrectly, Archeops could easily come in and fire off incredibly powerful Acrobatics' and Earthquakes or hit something hard on the way out, whilst maintaining momentum, with U-turn.

Speaking of which, Archeops's attacks also get a nice boost. Yes, the loss of STAB on Stone Edge is annoying, but what Archeops gains in return is a far more reliable STAB attack with better all-round coverage and more effective synergy with its Flying STAB. Defensive Steel- and Rock-types would no longer be able to switch into Archeops with relative impunity. Archeops could even hit them on their often lower Special Defense with a newly boosted Earth Power. And it's not like Archeops would have to stop using Rock-type attacks. Stone Edge would still be incredibly useful in dispatching the Genies and Zapdos. Archeops will now find it much harder to get past Skarmory, but that always was an issue and one that is unlikely to harm its viability too much. Finally, with its newfound resistance to Fighting, Archeops would be able to sweep with much greater ease in OU without having to worry about Conkeldurr Mach Punching it into oblivion.

Dark / Ghost Zoroark

Original Typing:
Weaknesses: 2x Fighting, Bug
Resistances: 2x Dark, Ghost
Immunities: Psychic

Weaknesses: None
Resistances: 2x Poison
Immunities: Psychic, Fighting, Normal

As demonstrated in a previous competitive retyping article a Dark / Ghost typing does a lot more than simply removing all weaknesses. Also, Zoroark's 60 / 60 / 60 defenses don't do it any favors, so it's not like it's going to be using the newfound lack of weaknesses for defensive purposes. Instead, what a secondary Ghost typing does for Zoroark is enable it to make more effective use of its Illusion ability. Zoroark relies on its ability to masquerade as other Pokémon to do any kind of significant damage, so a typing which decreases the number of Pokémon it can copy may seem counter-productive, but actually aids Zoroark greatly. Chandelure, Froslass, Mismagius, and to a lesser extent Gengar, can all be copied effectively thanks to their offensive nature and low defenses. Add that to the fact that Zoroark isn't Pursuit weak and runs very similar moves to them, and you have a Pokémon that can fulfill a huge number of roles usually left to Ghost-types, as well as a Pokémon who can form a nice one-two combination with those Ghosts. Need an anti-lead? ZoroLass. An Expert Belt Choice item bluffer? ZoroLure or ZoroGar. A Substitute attacker? ZoroGius. The combinations are endless.

Secondly, a Ghost typing also gives Zoroark many more chances to switch in, which, for a Pokémon with such appalling defenses, can be the difference between actually having an effect in the game or not. Fighting-types, previously the bane of Zoroark's existence, would now constitute fairly decent switch-in opportunities, and to a lesser extent so would Normal-types. On top of that, a Ghost typing would make Zoroark the number one Psychic killer in town. Blessed with an immunity to both their STAB attacks and Fighting—the type they commonly run for coverage—Zoroark would be able to switch into almost every common Psychic-type and effectively trap them. Reuniclus, Alakazam, and Espeon would all be completely trumped—as well as give Zoroark a free chance to set up—by any set with Pursuit, Sucker Punch, and two filler moves.

Ice / Water Beartic

Original Typing: Weaknesses: 2x Fighting, Fire, Rock, Steel
Resistances: 2x Ice
Immunities: None

Weaknesses: 2x Electric, Fighting, Grass, Rock
Resistances: 4x Ice, 2x Water
Immunities: None

What would make Beartic less unbearable? A Water resistance, Steel neutrality, and STAB on Aqua Jet. Beartic is one of those Pokémon that has an implied typing it never quite reaches, and it suffers as a whole. While Cloyster certainly has a good run on its strategy, aided by the ban on Swift Swim + Drizzle, Cloyster has a lot of problems with opposing rain teams because its low Special Defense makes its resistance almost useless. Enter Beartic, which would perform much better as an anti-rain attacker and be a much more potent general threat.

Beartic has 4 moves of particular interest in its function: Swords Dance, Aqua Jet, Icicle Crash, and Superpower. With a Water typing to blunt opposing Water-type offense, Beartic could use its excellent 110 Base Attack along with STAB and rain to make its Aqua Jet a terrifying force. Unfortunately, Snow Cloak is banned in OU because Beartic's original form was too mighty, so you'll have to do with waiting for your opponent to set up rain or use a dedicated Rain Dance user. When it comes to rain's biggest nuisance, Ferrothorn, Icicle Crash has the advantage of being non-contact, and thus avoiding Iron Barbs, or you could just obliterate it with a +2 Superpower. Even at +1 Attack afterward, Beartic remains a huge threat.

Beartic's 95 / 80 / 80 bulk isn't stellar, but it is enough to let its Substitutes survive a rain-boosted Scald intact, opening up avenues for a Substitute set, where it could potentially utilize Focus Punch or phaze somewhat with Yawn. In any case, it would be more difficult to drive away, not having as much to fear from Bullet Punch. The only thing Beartic would like to get out of the Water typing that it doesn't already have is Waterfall, which would be much better than Dive and would also allow it to exploit an anti-rain set further.

Ice / Steel Cryogonal

Original Typing:
Weaknesses: 2x Fighting, Fire, Rock, Steel
Resistances: 2x Ice
Immunities: Ground (Levitate)

Weaknesses: 4x Fighting, 4x Fire
Resistances: 4x Ice, 2x Bug, Dark, Dragon, Flying, Ghost, Grass, Normal, Psychic
Immunities: Ground (Levitate), Poison

Cryogonal is an interesting Pokémon that has decent Special Attack and Speed combined with terrible Defense and awesome Special Defense. Unfortunately, it has the worst defensive typing in the game. Giving it a part Steel typing changes that instantly, making Cryogonal one of the best potential Dragon slayers in the game. The addition of 8 resistances and an immunity in exchange for getting more destroyed by two weaknesses it already had is an excellent trade-off. Furthermore, Cryogonal's offense is pretty one-dimensional, consisting basically of Ice Beam (or Blizzard in hail) and Hidden Power. This leaves it plenty of room for dual screens and/or Recover, a move that works wonders with all its new resistances.

The new STAB on Flash Cannon is a footnote compared to Steel's intangibles: a Toxic immunity, Stealth Rock neutrality, and immunity to sandstorm work together to make Cryogonal a much more viable threat switching in, and an infinitely better supporter. It does need to be wary though, as its low Defense means it needs investment to directly come into an Outrage, and its 4x weakness to Fire and Fighting makes those coverage moves on Dragon-types lethal. Nonetheless, it's still good to have the secondary STAB and it at least helps against Tyranitar, which can still threaten Cryogonal quite well with Stone Edge. It can also be used on Terrakion, the only other common Steel weak Pokémon in OU.

Cryogonal is ultimately built as a Dragon slaying supporter, and while it will still have trouble with Hidden Power Fire Latios or Latias because they are faster, for every other Dragon it can set up a Reflect as necessary to bail it out of Outrage or punish them with a STAB Ice Beam. The Toxic and sandstorm immunities will let it play support in every kind of weather, and access to Recover along with its new resistances will make it frustrating for special attackers to take it down. Finally, Cryogonal is also noteworthy for Haze, which it could use to great effect against the boosting Dragons.

Psychic / Ground Gothitelle

Original Typing:
Weaknesses: 2x Dark, Ghost, Bug
Resistances: 2x Fighting, Psychic
Immunities: None

Re-Typing: Weaknesses: 2x Dark, Ghost, Grass, Ice, Water, Bug
Resistances: 2x Fighting, Poison, Psychic, Rock
Immunities: Electric

Ground is a pretty risky typing to add to almost any Pokémon because of its vulnerability to Water, an ubiquitous attack typing thanks to the dominance of rain. The Ice and Grass weaknesses are also troublesome against many common Pokémon, but Gothitelle has one thing that helps to mitigate this risk: Shadow Tag. Shadow Tag prevents an opponent from switching out of a bad typing match-up, and it just so happens that Ground is immune to half of the VoltTurn combination. It is also immune to damage from sandstorm, the other ubiquitous weather, and grants a Stealth Rock resistance to give more switching opportunities.

As risky as it is with the Water-type weakness, catching a choice-locked Rotom-W on Volt Switch can spell doom for an entire team, as Gothitelle's stats are almost perfect for this role. With 70 / 95 / 110 defenses, Gothitelle can easily prey on a trapped opponent and begin to accumulate Calm Mind boosts. Gothitelle's Speed is also important. 65 is not a good Speed for a sweeper, but it is faster than two key Pokémon: Magnezone and Tyranitar. Magnezone is another Volt Switch user that has its niche in trapping, and being able to set up a Calm Mind faster than it can use Hidden Power allows Gothitelle to set up for a win. Gothitelle unfortunately lacks a means of healing other that Rest, but again, as a bulky trapper it has all the time in the world, barring multiple successive critical hits.

As to what Gothitelle does with its Calm Mind boosts, it currently doesn't have any special ground moves except for Hidden Power Ground, which would actually serve it quite well in removing Tyranitar after enough boosts. Psychic / Ground is unfortunately completely trumped by Hydreigon (as well as Honchkrow and Mandibuzz), but Gothitelle can use Signal Beam over Psychic as a way to pop Balloons and finish up. If we were to be more generous and hypothesize the Ground typing comes with Earth Power, that would remove this problem. The end result of the set is Calm Mind / Rest / Signal Beam / Hidden Power Ground, with an alternate set of Calm Mind / Rest / Psyshock / Hidden Power Ice, which is worse against Tyranitar but better against Hydreigon. (Or if we assume Earth Power, use Earth Power / Hidden Power Ice).

Fighting / Normal Mienshao

Original Typing:
Weaknesses: 2x Flying, Psychic
Resistances: 2x Bug, Dark, Rock
Immunities: None

Weaknesses: 2x Fighting, Flying, Psychic
Resistances: 2x Bug, Dark, Rock
Immunities: Ghost

Why would you ever want to add Normal typing to anything? The obvious answer is always STAB. Mienshao's huge base 125 Attack and base 105 Speed along with Regenerator make it one of the most effective hit and run Pokémon ever made, and one of the only things that could enhance it would be to get STAB on its Fake Out. Fun Fact: Mienshao is already the Pokémon with the highest base Attack that gets access to Fake Out. It also gets Feint, which is a now a poor man's ExtremeSpeed, and so thusly would not likely receive much use.

It's not all about Fake Out though. Regenerator is an ability that has a great deal of untapped potential, and in Mienshao's case, adding a Normal typing would give it STAB on another move: Facade. Combined with a Toxic Orb, Mienshao could operate a set with Hi Jump Kick / Facade / Stone Edge / (Fake Out / U-turn) and utilize the impressive neutral coverage of Fighting / Normal (blocked only by Ghost) to break holes in opposing teams. The addition of STAB Facade would give it an attack that exchanges super effective coverage and the risk of a fatal miss for more initial Base Power. STAB Mienshao Facade would almost be on the level of Conkeldurr's Guts Facade for raw power and would be vital in breaking Fighting-resistant opponents.

Even a Swords Dance set would benefit from Normal STAB, utilizing Return as an additional STAB with neutral coverage, something Mienshao's mono-typing doesn't really allow. Gengar doesn't want to get anywhere near a +2 Stone Edge, and it would now have to rely on Focus Blast instead of Shadow Ball to damage Mienshao. Of minimal note is the new Ghost immunity which at least would give Mienshao a free switch-in on a predicted Shadow Ball. It isn't much to praise, but something with Mienshao's defenses will take any free switch in it can get. The Fighting weakness is somewhat troubling, but Mienshao is not built to take hits anyway; Conkelldurr's Mach Punch already smashes it to bits.

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