Buffing Old Pokemon

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With new generations, Game Freak has increasingly taken to giving old Pokemon a few new tricks to keep them up to date with the metagame. That said, there are still a few old favorites which have yet to truly shine, and I think there are a couple of ways that they could be improved a bit to keep up with the power creep of recent gens.

With that said, here's a couple of concepts that I have:


Ever since its introduction in Gen III, Gardevoir has remained an extremely popular Pokemon (and a popular Pokemon waifu), and in every generation it's shown up in, it's been a solid pick for the main campaign due to its powerful Psychic-type movepool and its ability to naturally learn both Hypnosis and Dream Eater through level-up. It was Wally's ace in the original release of RSE and has remained available in every single generation since, even after the removal of the National Dex in Gen VIII.

Competitively, however, it's never really been able to shine due to being outclassed by the numerous other powerful Psychic-types, with good Special Attack and Special Defense but middling speed and poor physical bulk. It received a fairly significant buff in Gen VI with the addition of the Fairy type, as well as a Mega Evolution, but even then it's never quite been able to compete with the number of other powerful Mega Evolutions available.

With its gender-locked counterpart Gallade gaining an extremely powerful buff in the form of Sharpness as a second ability, I figure that the original Embrace Pokemon could stand to use a couple of important buffs:

1) Change Synchronize to a new ability

In theory, Synchronize is an cool ability that thematically reflects Gardevoir's abilities as an empath. In practice, however, there's little reason to actually use it, since Pokemon that inflict statuses are usually the ones not going to be bothered by having them inflicted back. Will-O-Wisp tends to be used by Fire types and special attacking ghosts who don't mind burns, while Toxic in Gen IX has become heavily restricted to Poison-types that can't be poisoned back. Any Pokemon that inflicts Paralysis, meanwhile, is probably going to still outspeed Gardevoir anyway.

So my proposed change is to replace Synchronize with an entire new ability:

Empathic Link

By reading the foe's emotional state, this Pokémon will raise its Sp. Atk whenever an opponent's stats are boosted.
This is effectively a variant of Espathra's Opportunist ability, with the difference being rather than copying an opponent's stat boost, Gardevoir will instead boost its own Sp. Atk by one stage each time a foe boosts their stats.

2) New Signature Move

Gardevoir's appearance appears to be primarily based on a ballet dancer, continuing the theme of its pre-evolution Kirlia. It seems fairly odd then, that throughout all of its appearances it's never once been able to learn a dance-based move. To compensate for this, I would give it an entirely new Signature Move that reflects its own appearance:

Mystical Waltz

Type: Fairy

Category: Status

PP: 15 (Max 24)

The user performs mysterious, beautiful dance that boosts its Sp. Atk and Speed stats.
This is, as you might guess, a Special Attack version of Dragon Dance. It's exactly as powerful as such a move would imply, with the only real difference being that it has lower base PP. (Though that shouldn't matter in most contexts.)

With both this and the new ability, Gardevoir would go from being a fragile and generally slow psychic-type Pokemon to a powerful setup sweeper in its own right that can check opposing sweepers, without losing its key weakness of being physically frail.


Flygon is easily my favorite Pokemon of all time, and I'll never forget the impression that Elite Four Drake left on me when he sent this thing out and I had no idea where it or Vibrava could have come from, since I hadn't bothered evolving a Trapinch on my original playthrough of Pokemon Ruby. That, paired with its striking and adorable design, its unique Ground/Dragon typing, and its reference to the extremely cool life cycle of real-life ant lions, as made it a Pokemon that I go out of my way to find in every game that it's available in.

This only makes it all the more frustrating that Flygon has been consistently overshadowed by most other dragon types, losing most of its limelight to Salamence within its own generation and its unique Ground/Dragon niche being immediately lost to Garchomp just one generation later. While Flygon did later end up getting a few new toys to set it apart (most notably Dragon Dance, which Garchomp would absolutely kill to have), it's still never been able to be all that viable, and very frustratingly never received a proper Mega Evolution in Gen VI.

Flygon has come very close to being good for the past couple of generations, but being outsped by Garchomp by a measly two base speed, and not having a higher attack stat or bulk to compensate, has ensured that it's remained constantly short of being all that great. That said, there are a couple of ways in which it could be quite dramatically improved, and both of those have to do with its ability:

1) Keep Sheer Force as a Hidden Ability

Flygon's main drawback is its lack of any real abilities to help it make up for its somewhat lacking stat total. While Levitate is a great ability in its own right, the fact that Flygon has no other options to help cover its weaknesses means it's never truly been able to set itself apart from other options. Frustratingly, Trapinch actually ends up getting the excellent Sheer Force as its Hidden Ability, but loses that ability for Levitate as soon as it evolves.

So, to help make up for that, I think that Trapinch should get to keep Sheer Force as a Hidden Ability when it evolves. Flygon will no longer be forced to run Levitate and can now fully take advantage of the raw power Sheer force provides. However, that alone I don't think would be enough, for that we would also need another change:

2) Replace Dragon Dance with a new move

Anyone who knows anything about dragonflies in real life knows that they are both fast and highly accurate predators, successfully catching over 95% of the prey they pursue. Flygon, being based on both a dragonfly and an adult antlion, should get something to reflect that.

Dragon Dance is a good move that does a lot to help Flygon establish its own niche, but for it to truly shine I think it should get its own new, slightly more powerful move. To that end, I think that Flygon should stop learning Dragon Dance through level up (though it can still learn it by TM) and instead get a new move:

Flicker Dance

Type: Bug

Category: Status

PP: 20 (Max 32)

The user darts through the air rapidly to boost its Attack and Speed stats as well as its accuracy.
In addition to Flygon, this move will also be learnable by several other bug Pokemon, notably Beedrill, Ninjask, and Yanmega.

Now, you may think that boosting Accuracy by one stage isn't a particularly huge buff, but this is actually critically important for Flygon for one reason only:

Flygon naturally learns Dragon Rush, a very strong 100 BP Dragon-type move, that is completely unused in competitive play due to its unreliable 75% accuracy. With Flicker Dance, however, Flygon will be able to give its own Dragon Rush an effectively 100% chance to hit. And because Dragon Rush also has a 20% chance to make the opponent flinch, it's also boosted by Sheer Force.

With both this new move and Sheer Force, Flygon will likely be able to serve as a powerful setup sweeper capable of punching massive holes in the enemy team with its boosted STAB Dragon Rush, as well as run a Sheer Force-boosted Iron Tail to help it deal with Fairies that would otherwise threaten it. Unlike Garchomp, however, it lacks the bulk to be able to take many hits in return, meaning it would fulfill an entirely different set of roles in the metagame.
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