XY Primer: Mad Speculation, Now in 3D
October 2013. It's coming. The first world-wide simultaneous release of a generation of Pokemon. Now we superior Anglophiles with our complex ban boutique OU metagames will be able to compete with the Japanese and their Dugtrio bans without waiting 6 months to localize Gablias into the Uber tier.
Now is the time to speculate on our greatest dreams and our worst nightmares. Take a trip with me to the glory of what might be and what is to come in Pokemon Generation VI, with Pokemon X and Pokemon Y set to take the world by storm.
Transforme-ers (New Forme Shenanigans)
Game Freak went forme-crazy in Generation IV to such an extent that several metagames were defined by Pokemon they released with new formes. Deoxys-S and Shaymin-S got banned into the S-tier back then. Giratina-O made us go Giratina-OMG. Arceus is almost a literal god among Pokemon. And Rotom Formes began to Wash into the metagame and occasionally Overheat it. The trend continued to a lesser extent in Generation V, with the Rotom Formes now actually changing type and Sawsbuck serving as a cosmetic forme-changer like Gastrodon before it. Then BW2 hit like a Hurricane, swept us up with the Therian formes of the genie bros, and added new formes of Kyurem that could only be accessed via the Fusion Dance, err, DNA Splicers.
Based on what little we know combined with Gamefreak's history, here are a few prime suspects for forme-changing Pokemon.
- Normal (non-Uber) forme changer
- In Generation IV we had Burmy as an example of a Bug-type that had multiple formes based on its cloak, and eventually had a split evolution. Shellos and Gastrodon brought Water-type forme-changers, though the difference was cosmetic. Gen V brought Deerling and Sawsbuck as cosmetic forme-changers. Bug- and Grass-types are very common early-game enemies, but I think to change it up a bit Gen VI will have some kind of Normal forme-changer because Normal is the second most abundant type in the game and its species provide the highest potential population of genetic experiment victims...
- Magnetic reaction forme
- This has already been touched on somewhat by Mt. Coronet in DPP and Chargestone Cave in BW. This Pokemon would start out as a Rock-type and then, like Burmy, evolve based on where you train it the most. A "Magnetic" style cave would give it a certain forme that would evolve it into a Rock / Electric, and more generic caves would evolve it to be Rock / Ground (or pure Rock), while a cave with more metallic elements would evolve it to be Rock / Steel. While the "Magnetic" cave would also evolve Nosepass and Magneton, the other two areas could have other evolutionary applications.
Vok's Energon Wave (New Evolutions)
Every generation except Gen I and Gen V brought us new evolutions. Gen VI may turn out to be something like an expanded GSC for BW. Lets begin with something simple.
- Eevee Evolution(s)
- There's already been confirmation to this effect, and Eevee has already gone a generation without an evolution, Game Freak's reasoning being that Black/White was a full reboot from the ground up. Gen VI seems more like it's going to reach back, at least in the previews are any indication considering they include a few older Gen Pokemon, not just Gen V mons. Granted Psyduck, Golurk, and Litwick all appeared in BW2, but I digress. If I had to guess, there will be this one plus an additional one. One Normal-type and one Dragon-type, with stats allocated as follows:
Normal Evo: 65 / 95 / 65 / 60 / 130 / 110 - Eevee's stats are allocated fairly evenly, but its general feel is of an offensive Pokemon (with high SpD), so its 55 stats of HP, Attack, and Speed were given 65, 95, and 110 respectively. No Eeveelution has ever had the exact same Attack and Speed of another when those stats were boosted, so since 110 Atk / 95 Spe are Leafeon's, Eevee's Normal Evolution would swap them. Its lowest stat is Special Attack and it's highest Special Defense, so those were given 60 and 130, while its remaining Defense stat (second lowest at Base 50) received the last 65. Every Eeveelution's stats use these numbers re-arranged, and Eevee's Normal-type evolution would be no different. Since most Eeveelutions have only one ability, Eevee would keep Adaptability and Run Away Eevee would turn into Adaptability Normal Eeveelutions. Either that or something more amusing like Hustle or Quick Feet, or perhaps even Intimidate. I'm heavily pegging Sylveon to be Normal type. Pink Bow is part of its design—I don't care if it hasn't existed as an item since GSC.
For the record, let me state I called this type and stat spread before Sylveon confirmation (Eeveelution was a rumor at the time) and if I get the stat spread and type right, I'm going to demand royalties from jumpluff equal to triple my salary.
Dragon Evo: 65 / 130 / 60 / 110 / 65 / 95 - A Dragon evolution of Eevee would be its most offensively-oriented evolution yet, befitting of a type known for immense offensive ability. This would make it a counterpart to Umbreon, which has its highest stats in HP and defenses rather than Speed and offenses. With offensive stats nearly mirroring that of Salamence, Dragon Eeveelution would have serious mixed attacking power. It's defenses, however, would be quite weak, and since Dragon-types are known more for power than speed, its Speed tier would probably let it down. A guess at an ability would be as good as any, but I think Moxie, Intimidate, Marvel Scale, or MultiScale are all on the right track.
Evolutions of Previously Fully Evolved Pokemon: Generation V brought us Eviolite, which means that this particular list can bring us a whole new category of nightmares.
- Qwilfish Evolution
- Qwilfish has the odd quality of learning neither Hyper Beam nor Giga Impact, which are usually always known by final evolutions. This particular movepool quirk is very uncommon and shared with only a few other Pokemon. Qwilfish itself has an interesting parallel to Tentacruel in that it has an ability that lets it use rain offensively rather than defensively.
- Qwilfish also has at least a passable physical defense which it could use with Eviolite (as well as Dream World Intimidate), and in rain with Swift Swim (though not usable with Drizzle under the current ruleset), it would be the fastest possible Spikes and Toxic Spikes user. Heck, if people can use Murkrow's 60 / 42 / 42 defenses, 65 / 75 / 55 should be epic. As to what it could look like, a modified Weavile model looks good, giving Qwilfish 75 / 120 / 90 / 70 / 65 / 95 or boosts of +10 / +25 / +15 / +15 / +10 / +10. While this is unlikely to raise Qwilfish or its evolution into OU, it would make it a formidable attacker with at least some mixed usability in rain with boosted Hydro Pumps.
- Skarmory Evolution
- There are a multitude of formerly fully evolved Pokemon that have received evolutions over the years, and almost all of them have been between 430-495 BST. Skarmory's is 465. Skarmory is also one of the few existing fully evolved Pokemon to have neither Hyper Beam nor Giga Impact, standard Fully Evolved Pokemon moves. Maybe that's supposed to be Skarmory's gimmick as a defensive Pokemon, but either way, if there's a Pokemon with a strong chance of getting an evolution, Skarmory is it.
- Don't be too concerned about Eviolite Skarmory though—a Skarmory evolution could be nasty in its own right. Although Skarmory is traditionally known as a wall, it has many tools of a sweeper. With both Swords Dance and Agility as well as an excellent defensive type, a Skarmory evolution could be a very threatening booster. It's STAB Brave Bird and Iron Head serve it well against most opponents. It already has Rock Slide and X-Scissor for coverage, and the addition of even something like Drill Run would round its coverage out nicely in lieu of Earthquake.
- As for stats? I present two models: The Dusclops model and the Gligar model. Under the Dusclops model, Skarmory evolves to have the following stats: 70 / 110 / 145 / 45 / 75 / 90 or as boosts +5 / +30 / +5 / +5 / +5 / +20. This is quite competent for a physical sweeper while having excellent defenses in its own right. Under the Gligar model, Skarmory evolves to have these stats: 75 / 100 / 160 / 50 / 80 / 80 or as boosts +10 / +20 / +20 / +10 / +10 / +10. This is much more balanced comparatively, but it makes Skarmory's evolution into a defensive nightmare of its own kind, giving it enough Defense to handle attacks even Skarmory couldn't while still holding Leftovers.
- Oh btw, Skarm, have fun breaking LC. Pretty sure your Brave Bird OHKOes Scraggy.
- Torkoal Evolution
- Game Freak tends to do things in pairs, and while this seems counter-intuitive combined with Skarmory, I point to the Murkrow/Misdreavus evolution pairing in Gen IV. Torkoal and Skarmory are both Pokemon you'd find in mountains, and if Black 2 and White 2 are any indication with the Viribank Complex, Steel and Fire seem like an ideal match-up for something like this. A Torkoal evolution would of course give the original tortoise compatibility with Eviolite, allowing it to use its considerable defense to a much greater extent. As to what an evolution would look like, a modified Dusclops model would seem to fit well, giving Torkoal 75 / 90 / 145 / 115 / 75 / 40, or, as boosts +5 / +5 / +5 / +30 / +5 / +20. This would make Torkoal a much better Shell Smasher with greater Special Attack, though it would still have poor Speed.
- Though this evolution would be very welcome for what it enables its younger version to do, I don't predict either would fare very well in OU. It still would not possess the Speed necessary to be an effective Shell Smasher, and while it does have Flamethrower and Earth Power, Hidden Power does not quite offer it the additional coverage it would need; that said, it does have Stone Edge and its Attack is not insignificant, especially after a Shell Smash. You'll be using a nature like Naive anyway, since the whole point is smashing up, then smashing your opponent.
- Cherrim Evolution
- Game Freak did a significant amount of fiddling around with Formes in Generation IV, and a continuation of something like that in Generation VI should not be discounted. While Cherrim itself is fairly mediocre, Max+ SpD Eviolite Cherrim under the Sun would have 630 Special Defense, a very impressive statistic, and though its physical movepool is highly limited, it might use Nature Power and Seed Bomb to ward off foes along with Synthesis and perhaps Swords Dance.
- As to what an evolution could do, lets look at a modified Piloswine model, since both have the same BST. The stats might look something like 80 / 90 / 70 / 117 / 78 / 95 or as boosts, +10 / +30 / +0 / +30 / +0 / +10, raising Cherrim's lowest stat, it's highest stat, HP, and the third offensive stat. While it would likely still be too slow, Flower Gift's boost to Attack would be an enhancement rather than a patch, and Cherrim's evolution would have enough Special Attack to use Weather Ball and its Grass attacks competently.
- Stunfisk Evolution
- Rounding out this section with a Generation V selection, Stunfisk is the only thing I could think of in the right general stat range and a slight feeling of incompleteness. Like Qwilfish and Skarmory above, Stunfisk learns neither Hyper Beam nor Giga Impact, and Stunfisk's case is interesting for its already excellent defensive stats and a unique defensive typing. Though Electric/Ground is rife with bad weaknesses, it does at least resist Stealth Rock, and Stunfisk's esoteric array of attacks allow it to operate in almost any weather.
- For stats, a sort-of reversed modified Magmortar model might work, ending with 119 / 76 / 84 / 91 / 124 / 32 or as boosts, +10 / +10 / +0 / +10 / +25 / +0. This would give Stunfisk's evolution excellent specially defensive prowess and slightly more offensive capability. It probably still would not make OU, nor its now Eviolite-wielding lower evolution, but now you'd have even more fun hearing nasty sounding cries as you surf in towns.
Fuzors (Kyurem-B/Kyurem-W for normals)
Pokemon X and Y sounds like its going to revolve a lot around genetics and dimensional nuttiness, so what better way to exemplify this shift into madness than by allowing fusion forme Pokemon?
- Quiver at the might of Venomoth-B
- A fusion of Venomoth and Butterfree could be quite epic if it goes in the right direction. Based on the only fusion currently existing, it would seem fusions by their nature enhance shared strong stats of the fusion Pokemon and weaken shared weak stats, while the Pokemon with the highest Base HP is the base of the new forme, and the ability of the combining form. The result of such a Venomoth / Butterfree would probably look something like 70 / 55 / 50 / 110 / 95 / 110 with Compoundeyes. It would be an excellent Quiver Dancer with 97.5% Accurate powders and Baton Pass.
- The Purr-fect Purugly-P
- There will be a new top cat in the metagame with this feline fusion of feral fury. By emphasizing its forme's Attack and Speed along with Technician from Persian, Purugly's new forme will strike fear into many foes as a mighty revenge killer with a devastating Fake Out. Such a monster would look something like 71 / 107 / 54 / 59 / 59 / 140. Alone these two cats don't make an impression, together they could be quite fearsome.
- The UnBearable Beartic-U
- A fusion of Beartic and Ursaring has amazing potential as a physical attacker by increasing its bulk and offense at the expense of near useless Special Attack and Speed. The result would look something like 95 / 140 / 90 / 60 / 90 / 40 with Guts or Quick Feet. Combining strong offense with a more credible defense and rain-boosted Guts Aqua Jets, Beartic-U could wander its way onto many teams looking for that more specialized kind of offense.
By the Code (Game Mechanics Changes)
Every generation brings changes to old abilities and sometimes old attacks (Dig has changed Base Power not less than twice from RBY), and usually these changes serve to increase the functionality and usefulness of the attacks (Was that an Explosion? Never mind.) Here's a few potential changes that could be coming our way.
- Iron Fist
- Iron Fist is currently the only ability that only increases damage output on relevant moves by 1.2x. As such, I predict it will rise to 1.3x and join Analytic, Sheer Force, and Sand Force. Given Conkeldurr's other choices, I think Hitmonchan and Golurk would enjoy this the most.
- Leaf Guard
- So Leaf Guard is kinda terrible, especially compared to Hydration. It's essentially a sun-only Safeguard that prevents you from using Rest to heal status while not healing any status you might already have. Like Storm Drain and Lightningrod, they will obtain parity with what was Motor Drive in Gen IV. Given the properties of Hydration, Meganium may very well see renewed interest for its resistances, bulk, and ability to phaze or boost with Swords Dance.
- Run Away
- This ability's utter uncompetitiveness is legendary, but if it were improved to act at least as an auto-Shed Skin, if not that and hazard immunity, it would cause a lot of changes at least in LC. Rapidash and Dodrio would also enjoy the nullification of hazards, though I think Rapidash has more potential because it breaks base 100 Speed and has more offensive versatility.
Explosion: Explosion's loss of power creep is surely an anomaly, and it will return to its awesomeness next gen maybe.
Solarbeam: I make this request every time, but Solarbeam's mechanics are still borked. Someday Solarbeam will charge before switching occurs so that it cannot be trumped by Politoed and TTar. Someday. Someday.
Beast [Technical] Machines (New Moves)
- Awe Room (a room)
- Basically, this is going to be Wonder Room, except it's going to change each player's Attack and Special Attack stats, making it very, very disruptive to most hyper offense teams. Medicham, this is your cue to shine, though a few other Psychic-types like Cresselia might enjoy their ability to capitalize on the massive offensive changes this brings since it affects them very little, but affects their attackers greatly.
- Dark Drive (Dark Double-Edge)
- Dark is odd among types for not really having a single high-powered move, even as a signature move. Night Daze only has 85 BP and 95% Acc, while Dark Void is cool in doubles but is otherwise barely better than Sleep Powder. Given the general malevolence of Dark-types, you'd think they'd have a move like this by now, and Bisharp and Weavile would probably appreciate this most as they're not exactly capitalizing on their bulk, and Hydreigon likes anything that lets it Destroy Moar.
- Flame Jet (Fire Vacuum Wave)
- I know I've predicted this before, but special fire priority will one day come and unseat Scizor from its throne, raising the viability of all kinds of Fire-types. This will also be particularly useful for getting rid of Chlorophyll sun threats to counterbalance it. Chandelure and Houndoom come to mind as two Pokemon that would enjoy priority, with Chandy's absurd natural Special Attack and Houndoom's access to Nasty Plot (and physical priority in Sucker Punch).
- Haboob (Rock Hurricane)
- Lets face it, rock has almost no special attacks, and the ones that exist are terrible. Flying was in this same rut, and then along came Hurricane. A sandstorm-based Rock special attack would go a long way to bringing relevance to threats like Omastar and Lunatone, who right now can't capitalize on their Rock STAB with their more synergistic special attacks except with the terrible Ancientpower. Oh yeah, and I'd start watching out for MixTar or SpecsTar in Gen VI.
- Heavy Press (Fighting Heavy Slam)
- Not that I imagine it will be very viable given Hariyama and Emboar are the only existing fighting types heavy enough for it, but it seems likely that they will expand on Heat Crash and Heavy Slam with a more Fighting-oriented version, which will be greatly appreciated by Regigagas so it won't have to use Superpower or Revenge as much.
Prime Merchandising (New Pokemon)
- Superfluous Electric Rodent
- Lets get this out of the way quick. We all know there's going to be another Pikachu knock-off, having been given a prevo in Gen II, Plusle and Minun in Gen III, Pachirisu in Gen IV, and Emolga in Gen V. I don't know what it's going to be, given we've already had a wide variety of rodents of different types, but I'm gonna bet on some kind of self-grounding Electric/Ground type cute mole kind of thing.
- Something Annoying
- Fast Pokemon that spawn endlessly on your mountain, field, and water routes with high Speed and confusion moves. You can't run, you can't hide. Something Annoying will find you. It will probably be another Flying-type with Confuse Ray; those mercifully Swoobat never learned that naturally, so there was a brief reprieve.
- Bird, Bug, and Rodent infestation
- There was at one point a time where first route Pokemon were somewhat competent competitively, but Stoutland and Staraptor were probably as far as that's ever going to go. Even the bugs that ended up with decent stats were largely discarded by mid-game. I'm expecting the same sort of trend.
- Legend Creep
- So lets put this in perspective. Gen V had a quartet of legends, one of which had a cosmetic forme change based on learning a unique tutor move. Gen V had a separate legendary trio that each had two competitively different formes. It had another legend that could change forme by using a move in battle, and then for kicks it just had a random genocidally powerful legend for kicks. And that's without getting into all the shenanigans of the title legends. I thought Gen IV was excessive on legends when I was predicting more. There must be something in Unova's water, because they seem to propagate legends every other day.
- In short, I have a funny feeling there's gonna be another avalanche of legends coming, and OU is increasingly going to look like a potential title art roster assuming Pokemon Crystal-style games ever come back. Call it a hunch. Unfortunately, Gamefreak tends not to use starter types in Legendary Trios, so if I had to guess, we're gonna get a Dragon Trio and a Steel Trio—clearly we don't have enough of those already.
Generation VI is coming in October. Are YOU prepared for it? From everything I've seen, it's got a massive hardware upgrade, the models are to scale, and it looks beautiful, like having an even better Stadium that you can take mobile. When it comes to the actual game though, there are a lot of unanswered questions, and it's my job to make sure you are prepared for everything that could come your way. I've barely even scratched the surface of things that could come in the way of items or other effects, but I thought it more proper to focus on what seems to be the trend. Game Freak put a lot of energy into making sure this generation supported a variety of formes and forme changes, and I can only predict with a title like XY, even more will be coming.
While I place varying amounts of certainty on my predictions, I think they will serve well as a guideline for what might or could happen. There's already confirmation of a Generation 1 Pokemon evolving, so all bets are off.
I hope you enjoyed the article. Don't have too many nightmares, but just remember:
"Game Freak hates you and everything you stand for." ~Seven Deadly Sins