Pokémon Movepool Oddities & Explanations

Yeah I think there's four groups of Pokémon who learn Triple Axel, and where two of them overlap you can interpret it as a feminine bias but I don't think it's necessarily the case or intention:

Good at Spinning: Sandshrew-Alola; Mr. Mime-Galar; Hitmontop; Cryogonal (all learn Rapid Spin and aside from Hitmontop are Ice-Type. It fits, but could apply to more than these 4.)
Prominent Legs: Lopunny, Tsareena, Pheremosa (Can be conflated with femininity in these examples but I think it's just because all are prominent kickers. They all learn Jump Kick, for instance.)
Particularly Graceful: Ninetales-Alola, Articuno, Gardevoir, Milotic, Glaceon, Froslass, Primarina, Frosmoth (This is kinda ambiguous but essentially who would look good while using the move.)
Just Gameplay: Cinccino because Skill Link; Delibird and Weavile probably just to give them a new physical STAB as they're Ice-Type physical attackers.

Triple Axel has fairly nonsense distribution, anyway. If Cryogonal learns it, then something like Forretress should too, considering both are fairly circular Pokémon that are good at spinning, with something sharp to strike the opponent with during the spin. I guess Forretress has no way to create the Ice-Type effect, but then you get onto the Pokémon with prominent legs, where Tsareena in particular should have no ability to generate a chilling effect. The third category of "particularly graceful" is also somewhat of a bust but is the only explanation; it feels less like a this is why this Pokémon can execute this move and more like a what Pokémon would look the best doing this move. That explains fairly inexplicable choices like Milotic at least, because a Milotic spinning around would look great, similarly to Gardevoir.

But these also aren't the most feminine Pokémon out there. If they were just choosing based on femininity, then Vespiquen and Salazzle would be first in line to learn the move. There's some type of method to the madness and it kind of makes sense to me, despite not being rational lol.
 

Pikachu315111

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Avalugg and Avalanche even share the first half of their names.
クレベース (Crebase) & ゆきなだれ (Yukinadare) don't share the first half of their names.

yeah physical ice moves really need a nice meaty 90-95 BP move with no downside

Honestly every time i see Icicle Crash I keep thinking it's 95 with poor accuracy, not 85. Poor typing.
With GF insistance of Ice-types being mighty glaciers, its too bad they never made an Ice-type Hammer Arm, they would surely spread that around like they did with many other Signature Moves as there's no reason to keep that move to one Pokemon, especially let's say a Fighting/Ice Yeti Crab boxer that no one ever uses...

But aside from Ice Hammer aside (oops, I reveal the punchline to the joke, darn), there's definitely room for some other strong Physical Ice-type moves. Some ideas: Ice Axe (Leaf Blade copy), Curling (Dragon Rush copy), Frost Blitz (Flare Blitz copy. 10% chance to Freeze).

"All of those are just copy of other moves"

Yeah, imagine that.

:dp/Kirlia:
Despite being based on a ballerina dancer, Triple Axel is Kirlia's only move based on kicking, dancing and/or spinning. Keep in mind, Kirlia has been around since Gen 3 alongside Rapid Spin, Teeter Dance, and Rolling Kick. Lord save us all once Quiver Dance Gardevoir becomes a reality.
Since Celever didn't list Gallade either they probably clumped it and Kirlia with Gardevoir under "Graceful". They also didn't mention Mew but that would probably go under "Gameplay" because Mew can learn every Tutor Move.
 
Frost Blitz (Flare Blitz copy. 10% chance to Freeze).
Honestly I have a small suspect that one of the reason for lack of strong special attacker ice types (as well as lack of a high damage phisical ice move with wide distribution) is that "10% chance to Freeze" is extremely more punishing than burn, paralysis or generic stat drops from the other types.

Imagine a Dragapult-like pokemon that rather than 10% chance to drop your spdef has a 10% chance to basically remove one of your switch ins from the game.
We did see games (even in VGC) that got basically won by a 10% freeze on a Ice Punch or Ice Beam coverage, now imagine if that was widespread or on a common pokemon...
 
Freeze is honestly my least favorite status condition. Sleep is up there but Sleep is harder to actually get onto a Pokemon. All of the ways you can put a Pokemon to sleep are moves with terrible/subpar accuracy or Spore which is a very rare move with only one viable user of it in Gen 8, and you can just counteract it with a Grass type which is completely immune to it

Freeze is obviously tied to moves where it has a low chance to happen which isn't guaranteed in the slightest, but a lot of those moves you're going to be using anyway because they're: Freeze is just an infuriating bonus to it, and moves like Ice Beam are everywhere anyway because of how good it is without the Freeze chance, and in general Freeze just doesn't have any good/reliable counterplay to it if it happens
 
and in general Freeze just doesn't have any good/reliable counterplay to it if it happens
Because it just doesn't have any. The only things that can break a freeze are:
- Effects that can heal any status (Shed Skin, Aromatherapy, Heal Bell, Natural Cure, Hydration in Rain, or a partner with Healer in doubles).
- Getting hit by Scald, Steam Eruption, Scorching Sands, or a Fire-type move.
- Using Flame Wheel, Sacred Fire, Flare Blitz, Fusion Flare, Scald, Steam Eruption, Burn Up, Pyro Ball, or Scorching Sands.

Outside of nine moves and three abilities, none of them are in the frozen Pokémon's control.

Meanwhile, to stop it from being inflicted, there's:
- Being an Ice-type Pokémon.
- The Magma Armor ability (which is exclusive to the Numel line).
- Effects that prevent inflicting status (Comatose, Safeguard, grounded Pokémon in Misty Terrain).
- Sunny weather (which strangely does not allow frozen Pokémon to immediately thaw).

Which means the unique freezing prevention measures are a typing, a signature ability, and weather (which is not permanent).

The big problem with freezing is the undetermined amount of turns. The Pokémon can thaw out in the very turn it's inflicted, or it might as well never be able to move again.

Oh, and, outside of Marvel Scale (which is kind of pointless as you cannot move), there are no ways for a Pokémon to take advantage of the fact it's Frozen. Zero, zilch, nada, none. Meanwhile, for other statuses:
- Paralysis has nothing in particular, but Quick Feet ignores the Speed drop.
- Poisoning has Toxic Boost, and Poison Heal.
- Sleep has Snore and Sleep Talk. And cannot take advantage of Facade.
- Burn has Flare Boost. Facade and Guts ignore the Attack drop.
- And all of these statuses, except for Freeze, can take advantage of Guts and Quick Feet. And, including Freeze, Marvel Scale.
 
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Because it just doesn't have any. The only things that can break a freeze are:
- Effects that can heal any status (Shed Skin, Aromatherapy, Heal Bell, Natural Cure, Hydration in Rain, or a partner with Healer in doubles).
- Getting hit by Scald, Steam Eruption, Scorching Sands, or a Fire-type move.
- Using Flame Wheel, Sacred Fire, Flare Blitz, Fusion Flare, Scald, Steam Eruption, Burn Up, Pyro Ball, or Scorching Sands.

Outside of nine moves and three abilities, none of them are in the frozen Pokémon's control.

Meanwhile, to stop it from being inflicted, there's:
- Being an Ice-type Pokémon.
- The Magma Armor ability (which is exclusive to the Numel line).
- Effects that prevent inflicting status (Comatose, Safeguard, grounded Pokémon in Misty Terrain).
- Sunny weather (which strangely does not allow frozen Pokémon to immediately thaw).

Which means the unique freezing prevention measures are a typing, a signature ability, and weather (which is not permanent).

The big problem with freezing is the undetermined amount of turns. The Pokémon can thaw out in the very turn it's inflicted, or it might as well never be able to move again.

Oh, and there are no ways for a Pokémon to take advantage of the fact it's Frozen. Zero, zilch, nada, none. Meanwhile, for other statuses:
- Paralysis has nothing in particular, but Quick Feet ignores the Speed drop.
- Poisoning has Toxic Boost, and Poison Heal.
- Sleep has Snore and Sleep Talk.
- Burn has Flare Boost. Facade and Guts ignore the Attack drop.
- And all of these statuses, except for Freeze, can take advantage of Facade, Guts, Quick Feet, and Marvel Scale.
Fun fact: Facade isn't actually boosted by sleep, and wouldn't be boosted by freeze if you could act while frozen. It only works on paralysis/burn/poison. Sleep Talk facade was either not considered or deemed excessive for some reason.
 
Fun fact: Facade isn't actually boosted by sleep, and wouldn't be boosted by freeze if you could act while frozen. It only works on paralysis/burn/poison. Sleep Talk facade was either not considered or deemed excessive for some reason.
Good point. So I corrected it.
 

Codraroll

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So for this, I assume you mean "high Attack stat" and not "high attacking stats (ie special and phsyical)" since just about every single ice type gets Ice Beam & Blizzard (& many of them even get freeze dry, how nice)

So with that in mind I started looking at ice types with "good" physical Attack (my baseline is 100 base attack, which does leave those in the 90s in the lurch I'll admit) and see how that shakes out for the strongest generic ice moves which wow okay i guess are just Icicle Crash and Ice Punch alright cool cool:

Darmanitan-G: 140 attack, 95 speed (goes to 160/135 in Zen Mode) gets Icicle Crash and Ice Punch.
Beartic: 130/50 (does get Swift Swim at least?) gets Icicle Crash & Ice Punch
Avalugg: 117/28 gets neither, rip. Least this one makes sense not to get Ice Punch
Glastrier: 145/30 gets Icicle Crash
Sandslash-A: 100/65 (gets Slush Rushh) gets Icicle Crash & Ice Punch
Mamoswine: 130/80 gets Icicle Crash
Weavile: 120/125 gets Ice Punch & Icicle Crash
Crabominable: 132/43 gets Ice Punch. It doesn't get Icicle Crash, but it is the only pokemon that gets Ice Hammer, which is 100 BP
Arctozolt: 100/55 gets Icicle Crash (though this at least has a flavor reason, i suppose; the "back half" is associated with all the ice moves and not the "front half" which gets thunder punch)
Calyrex Ice Rider: 165/50. Gets Icicle Crash. Also gets the signature move Glacial Lance, the 130 BP spread ice move.

And finally, Kyurem
Base Form: 130/95 gets uhhh *checks notes* mmmm *doubles checks charts* alright it literally only gets one physical ice type move and that's Icicle Spear thanks to the gen 8 TM. I really thought this thing got Ice Shard....
Black Form: 170/95. Freeze Shock the devestating 140 BP ice move that can paralyze!!!!! Takes 2 turns to use. bad.


So I'm just gonna say that the only "physical ice type" who gets really ruined here is avalugg (how doesnt this thing have icicle crash...?) and Kyurem. And Kyurem feels the far more eregious one because it's not just a legendary it's a traditionally banned legendary. Those usually get some good stuff see also Kyurem! Whose special move pool gets about every ice move it'd ever want to go with its 130/170 special attack.
No, I meant "high attacking stats" because while most Ice-types get Ice Beam and Blizzard, their Special Attack stats tend to be pretty so-so. Sorting the best Ice-types by Special Attack, you get this list:

Kyurem-W: 170 SpA, 95 Speed
Glaceon: 130 SpA, 65 Speed
Kyurem: 130/95
Frosmoth: 125/65
Kyurem-B: 120/95
Jynx: 115/95
Vanilluxe: 110/79
Mr. Rime: 110/70
Rotom-Frost: 105/86
Regice: 100/50
And just because it barely didn't make the cutoff: Aurorus: 99/58

As you can see, there are a fair few Ice 'mons with decent Special Attack to combine with Ice Beam, but only the Kyurem forms and Jynx have a passable Speed to go with it (and possibly Rotom-Frost, which learns only one Ice-type move). You see that tendency on the Physical side of the spectrum too, with Darmanitan and Weavile being the notable exceptions and Mamoswine being passable. As I said, those few who are lucky with both moves and attacking stats tend to have a crippling Speed issue, and the exceptions are very few and far between. Interestingly, Jynx is the closest we've got to a Special Weavile, being both fast and strong, but it's ... well, not doing too sharply the last time I checked.

Although Special Ice-type Pokémon are better off than their Physical counterparts because the Special Ice STAB moves actually have decent BP, there is something to compensate: They get diddly squat for coverage. In the list above, Glaceon and Vanilluxe are the worst offenders, with movepools mainly consisting of Normal-type moves, plus one or two coverage moves like Shadow Ball and Flash Cannon.

I guess that Freeze as a status is meant to compensate for the many, many weaknesses of the Ice-type, and it is indeed the most crippling of the statuses by a wide margin, but the lack of reliable ways to inflict it means you can't build a strategy around it. No moves have more than a 10% chance of inflicting it (Except Secret Power, which requires a terrain type you'll never see in multiplayer), meaning you'd have to fire it off ten times to expect to see it, and you realistically wouldn't ever expect to use ten Ice moves in one battle. That's the annoying thing about Freeze, you can't play around it whether you're using it or facing it.

Back to the original point though, I really agree that it's dumb that Kyurem doesn't get access to good Physical Ice moves when it gets all the good Special ones.
 
Going back on the topic of Kyurem, while I could understand why it cannot learn Ice Punch, not learning Icicle Crash simply has no excuse.

Are we supposed to think it can learn Rock Tomb and Rock Slide, which involve dropping rocks at the target, but not Icicle Crash, which involves dropping icicles on the target? It's the exact same thing but with its very own type!
 
Fun fact: Facade isn't actually boosted by sleep, and wouldn't be boosted by freeze if you could act while frozen. It only works on paralysis/burn/poison. Sleep Talk facade was either not considered or deemed excessive for some reason.
Probs because RestTalk/Facade shenanigans would be OP. We already have RestTalk as a viable strategy on its own (or at least it has been), imagine being able to use an essentially drawback-less 140 BP attack with that.
 

TailGlowVM

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Remove the "essentially" if it's Komala. But hey, Boomburst is also at 140 BP and is essentially drawback-less in singles.
Those have limited distribution though - and, like Komala, the Pokemon that get Boomburst generally have mediocre stats or lack the Special Attack to use it properly, like Kommo-o and Rillaboom. Imagine stuff like Stoutland, Braviary, Diggersby, or Bewear in lower tiers, which all hit harder than any Boomburst user.

252+ Atk Choice Band Stoutland Facade (140 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Mew: 334-394 (97.9 - 115.5%) -- 87.5% chance to OHKO (statused)
252+ SpA Choice Specs Punk Rock Toxtricity Boomburst vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Mew: 298-351 (87.3 - 102.9%) -- 18.8% chance to OHKO
252+ SpA Choice Specs Exploud Boomburst vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Mew: 295-348 (86.5 - 102%) -- 12.5% chance to OHKO

You can just Rest, switch out, then click Sleep Talk and have a good chance to get a ridiculous nuke like this.
 
my hope is with BDSP or some game in the future they give Sceptile Tail Glow or atleast some sort of Special attack boosting move. It makes no sense how it has Specially inclined offensive stats but doesn't get Calm Mind, Nasty Plot, or anything. They gave it Swords dance but none of Sceptile's forms really focus on physical offense so that doesn't help much.

While I'd definitely prefer them to completely flip Sceptile and Mega Sceptile's physical and special attacking stats, that isn't likely. (I mean they gave Farfetch'd 25 more attack in Gen 7 so anything is possible I suppose)

I'm not saying Tail Glow would instantly make Sceptile a top tier OU threat but when it comes to Pokemon I like, I atleast want them to be good in the tier they're in, low tier or not...Sceptile is PUBL with no strategies at all, give my boy something.

Even looking at which moves would thematically make sense, Calm Mind definitely makes sense considering how chill Sceptile looks
 
my hope is with BDSP or some game in the future they give Sceptile Tail Glow or atleast some sort of Special attack boosting move. It makes no sense how it has Specially inclined offensive stats but doesn't get Calm Mind, Nasty Plot, or anything. They gave it Swords dance but none of Sceptile's forms really focus on physical offense so that doesn't help much.

While I'd definitely prefer them to completely flip Sceptile and Mega Sceptile's physical and special attacking stats, that isn't likely. (I mean they gave Farfetch'd 25 more attack in Gen 7 so anything is possible I suppose)

I'm not saying Tail Glow would instantly make Sceptile a top tier OU threat but when it comes to Pokemon I like, I atleast want them to be good in the tier they're in, low tier or not...Sceptile is PUBL with no strategies at all, give my boy something.

Even looking at which moves would thematically make sense, Calm Mind definitely makes sense considering how chill Sceptile looks
Ironically, Tail Glow would suit the mega form far more, although I think Nasty Plot definitely suits Sceptile. It's a lizard and they're always devious little bastards in fiction.
 
Probably the dev team gave a greater association with women ice skaters
What’s funny is that it’s actually much more common for male figure skaters to land the *triple axel* & other quad jumps (the “triple” axel actually really has four rotations bc of the nature of axel jumps). Men tend to be able to jump higher and also tend to have more aerodynamically favorable bodies (and thus generally greater ability to perform more revolutions midair). That’s why it’s so exceptional when a female skater lands one in competition like Mirai Nagasu did at the most recent Winter Olympics. I believe she’s the third woman ever to land a triple axel at the Olympics.

That doesnt really explain Milotic and Primarina, and there are many other good 'kickers' like Hitmonlee and Zapdos-G. Or other stuff than learns multiple kick moves and Ice-moves.
Well… contrary to the in-game description of the move, “triple axel” really refers to a jump with “3” (really 4) rotations midair—not a kick. If you look up videos of skaters executing the jump they actually pull their limbs in while they spin. The midair revolutions are really the defining feature, so I think it makes sense why Hitmontop/Lopunny/Kirlia/etc get it and not Hitmonlee/Zapdos-G/other “kicking”-defined ‘mons. Not really sure about Milotic & Primarina though. Milotic at least can jump & spin out of the water…
1629162203346.gif
 
Today I learned that Gligar and Gliscor have been able to learn Sky Uppercut by level up since B2W2. I mean I guess it makes sense, what with their giant round claws and aerial-ness, but like... they don't learn any other punching moves. Just this one extremely rare Fighting move that is almost exclusively learned by Fighting-types associated with punching (and very rarely with being airborne, Hawlucha doesn't learn the move), besides them and Bunneary through breeding.
 
Today I learned that Gligar and Gliscor have been able to learn Sky Uppercut by level up since B2W2. I mean I guess it makes sense, what with their giant round claws and aerial-ness, but like... they don't learn any other punching moves. Just this one extremely rare Fighting move that is almost exclusively learned by Fighting-types associated with punching (and very rarely with being airborne, Hawlucha doesn't learn the move), besides them and Bunneary through breeding.
I think the logic here is that their wings make using Sky Uppercut easier, while their lack of real fists makes other punching moves harder.
 

TMan87

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Almost a month without activity? Whew. Let me correct that.

So, Night Shade. A 'damaging' Ghost-type move dealing fixed damage, rarely seen outside of super early game.
Every Pokémon who learns it fits into at least one of the following categories:
  • Is a Ghost-type (Banette, Yamask, Gengar, etc.)
  • Is affiliated to the occult/supernatural (Reuniclus, Xatu, Alakazam, etc.)
  • Is literally an avatar of dark nights (Darkrai, Lunala too I guess?)
  • Is painted as devious or treacherous (Murkrow, Ariados)
  • Is Smeargle or Mew (Smeargle, Mew)
except for one Pokémon: Chatot. Why does Chatot learn Night Shade? It has 0 connection to anything described above!
 
Almost a month without activity? Whew. Let me correct that.

So, Night Shade. A 'damaging' Ghost-type move dealing fixed damage, rarely seen outside of super early game.
Every Pokémon who learns it fits into at least one of the following categories:
  • Is a Ghost-type (Banette, Yamask, Gengar, etc.)
  • Is affiliated to the occult/supernatural (Reuniclus, Xatu, Alakazam, etc.)
  • Is literally an avatar of dark nights (Darkrai, Lunala too I guess?)
  • Is painted as devious or treacherous (Murkrow, Ariados)
  • Is Smeargle or Mew (Smeargle, Mew)
except for one Pokémon: Chatot. Why does Chatot learn Night Shade? It has 0 connection to anything described above!
Perhaps a better question is what the heck is Night Shade? I mean, the phrase has no meaning (I don’t think we’re chucking a tomato at the opponent), and the Japanese name Night Head doesn’t seem to have much more meaning either. The move descriptions for the move just say “attacks with a mirage” if they give any flavour at all, and the link between that, the name, and even the typing seems unclear.

But then I googled Night Head, and it’s a Japanese novel / anime / long running media thing from 1992 that has been revamped multiple times. From a scan of its Wikipedia page it’s a lot of your classic regular people (usually kids or high schoolers) with wild powers. Except almost all of the powers seem to be telepathy-based, usually used to de facto possess others through controlling their thoughts to do what you want. I’d say that’s probably why it’s Ghost-Type instead of Psychic-Type — based on Wikipedia half the time that the telepathy abilities were used it resulted in the victim’s death, so there’s a pretty grizzly tone to the whole thing. But that’s also why most Pokémon that learn it are Psychic- or Ghost-Type, since they have easier access to telepathy-based abilities.

Anyway, what does Chatot do? Mimic other Pokémon’s cries to make them leave it alone. Is it telepathy, no, but I feel it almost gets there. Particularly as it’s only a breeding move from the Natu / Murkrow families on Chatot, and I suppose the implication of that is that the child Chatot can use its mimicking abilities in a more potent and supernatural way. Chatot can speak the language of any Pokémon with practice, so with some hereditary psychic power from its Xatu Dad I guess it uses both abilities at once to put thoughts into the opponent’s head. And as far as I can tell that’s about the best explanation for what this move is, at least without having watched Night Head to see if it has a more particular meaning in that franchise.
 
Almost a month without activity? Whew. Let me correct that.

So, Night Shade. A 'damaging' Ghost-type move dealing fixed damage, rarely seen outside of super early game.
Every Pokémon who learns it fits into at least one of the following categories:
  • Is a Ghost-type (Banette, Yamask, Gengar, etc.)
  • Is affiliated to the occult/supernatural (Reuniclus, Xatu, Alakazam, etc.)
  • Is literally an avatar of dark nights (Darkrai, Lunala too I guess?)
  • Is painted as devious or treacherous (Murkrow, Ariados)
  • Is Smeargle or Mew (Smeargle, Mew)
except for one Pokémon: Chatot. Why does Chatot learn Night Shade? It has 0 connection to anything described above!
Chatot can mimic human speech, which I could see letting it fall under the devious category. A lot of trickery potential there.
 
Almost a month without activity? Whew. Let me correct that.

So, Night Shade. A 'damaging' Ghost-type move dealing fixed damage, rarely seen outside of super early game.
Every Pokémon who learns it fits into at least one of the following categories:
  • Is a Ghost-type (Banette, Yamask, Gengar, etc.)
  • Is affiliated to the occult/supernatural (Reuniclus, Xatu, Alakazam, etc.)
  • Is literally an avatar of dark nights (Darkrai, Lunala too I guess?)
  • Is painted as devious or treacherous (Murkrow, Ariados)
  • Is Smeargle or Mew (Smeargle, Mew)
except for one Pokémon: Chatot. Why does Chatot learn Night Shade? It has 0 connection to anything described above!
Reminds me how in the Spaceworld 97 demo, Tangela(and it's beta pre-evolution and evolution) got Night Shade via level-up. It would've been interesting if it got it in the final version of game, since Tangrowth is mostly used for its bulk and access to Regen.
 
Perhaps a better question is what the heck is Night Shade? I mean, the phrase has no meaning (I don’t think we’re chucking a tomato at the opponent), and the Japanese name Night Head doesn’t seem to have much more meaning either. The move descriptions for the move just say “attacks with a mirage” if they give any flavour at all, and the link between that, the name, and even the typing seems unclear.

But then I googled Night Head, and it’s a Japanese novel / anime / long running media thing from 1992 that has been revamped multiple times. From a scan of its Wikipedia page it’s a lot of your classic regular people (usually kids or high schoolers) with wild powers. Except almost all of the powers seem to be telepathy-based, usually used to de facto possess others through controlling their thoughts to do what you want. I’d say that’s probably why it’s Ghost-Type instead of Psychic-Type — based on Wikipedia half the time that the telepathy abilities were used it resulted in the victim’s death, so there’s a pretty grizzly tone to the whole thing. But that’s also why most Pokémon that learn it are Psychic- or Ghost-Type, since they have easier access to telepathy-based abilities.

Anyway, what does Chatot do? Mimic other Pokémon’s cries to make them leave it alone. Is it telepathy, no, but I feel it almost gets there. Particularly as it’s only a breeding move from the Natu / Murkrow families on Chatot, and I suppose the implication of that is that the child Chatot can use its mimicking abilities in a more potent and supernatural way. Chatot can speak the language of any Pokémon with practice, so with some hereditary psychic power from its Xatu Dad I guess it uses both abilities at once to put thoughts into the opponent’s head. And as far as I can tell that’s about the best explanation for what this move is, at least without having watched Night Head to see if it has a more particular meaning in that franchise.
...Night Head...

you know the animation for Night Shade, for gens 3-5 changed from "weird wobbly screen" to "projects a larger version of your sprite"
Maybe this was the thought process and only gens 3-5 were able to like show it off? It's not any specific reference or phenomenon, it's just like...the idea ofs eeing a spooky head. at night. Represented by the trio of Pokemon who are basically just giant spooky heads.
If you take that idea it also kinda explains Xatu & Ariados: they have facial elements on their body. It's actually a surprisingly recurring bit once you're looking for it: Duskull & Shuppet are basicalyl floating heads (and also spooky); you could extend that to the Litwick line too since their bodies are also their heads. a scary head woudl show up in a nightmare and Darkrai can also just pahse in & out like a ghost anyway. Blacephalon's just a head joke. Cursola may as well be a head.
Obviously there's some that just get it because they want a weird move, and some who dont fit at all and...well...Chatot. Which.... I guess doesn't really help anything....



Course at this point Night Shade is now "weird ghost energy", animation wise. Kind of seems like there wasn't anything written down for this....
Carddass (Those set of cards drawn by Sugimori depicting Pokemon using attacks) for Gastly is just it.....s-sitting there? And the background's a little pixely? Not actually doing anything. But Haunter does the same thing for Hypnosis.
The anime just kind of shrugged and had Gengar shoot eyebeams and just stuck with that for 20 years
The various mangas have done things ranging from ghost beams, vauge spectral energy, getting REALLY bright, giving yo ua headache in pain and just Haunter scaring people (How I Became A Pokemon Card)
 

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