Pokemon Go, FEAR Donphan, and Minimum Legal Levels in National Dex

Now that Go->Home transfer is officially supported (without having to use LGPE as a liaison, and the limitations that come with that), there are some implications for legality (and not even the erroneous reading of regional forms like A-Ninetales with Flamethrower, which the games perceive as illegal and so should we).

The level of a Pokemon transferred this way is commensurate with how much it's been "powered up", and evolution is a separate process which, unlike the mainline games, doesn't involve the consumption of these power-up stages. As a result, almost any non-legendary species that exists in Go can now be transferred over while remaining level 1. I had done some work in the Git repo to document underleveled encounters in every generation, but the logic to handle that data was never implemented, so even now Showdown won't validate, for example, a level 9 Salamence in whatever format you might want to use it. (The incomplete state of the changes did have one noteworthy effect, in that they currently skip minimum-level validation for anything that evolves by means other than level-up. For example, level 1 Bellossom validates legal, even though the real bottleneck there was supposed to be what level Gloom could obtained at--21 by normally leveling up to evolution or 14 from underleveled wild encounters--and until Go transfer existed, that assessment of 1 was incorrect.)

Normally, underleveled Pokemon are a low priority since you don't normally benefit your team by using them. But the specter of incoming Go transfers allows one intriguing possibility for the first time with significant potential behind it: FEAR Donphan.

There are three things that get the Sturdy ability combined with Endeavor, either by egg or by tutor: the Aron line, Togedemaru, and Donphan (not Phanpy, whose corresponding ability slot is filled by Pickup instead). Of those, Aron gets no damaging priority moves whatsoever, while Togedemaru either has to make do with the awkward Fake Out (requiring it to switch out and back in) or else get a careless opponent to use a contact move into Spiky Shield. Donphan, for some reason, gets a standard priority move in Ice Shard, but has never before been in a position to take advantage of its ability.

The benefits to Sturdy as opposed to a Focus Sash as the premise of a FEAR set are twofold: it runs out of the ability slot, leaving the item free to hold something else; and abilities are not consumed and can theoretically go off multiple times--in Sturdy's case, if the Pokemon can be restored to full health somehow. Wish-passing is of course one way to accomplish this, but at low levels the item slot offers a couple self-contained ways to do it. Berry Juice can restore from Sturdy to full health one time, so long as "full health" consists of no more than 21 HP; or else Shell Bell allows it to recover damage from Endeavor and possibly recover to full that way, replenishing Sturdy for a chance to do it all over again. But before now, Donphan's fatal flaw has been that it was incapable of taking full advantage of this freedom in item choice, owing to its level requirements (and the lack of Sturdy in Phanpy stage). Traditionally, getting a Donphan means leveling up to 25, though it was possible to lower this limit slightly to 24 in ORAS by taking advantage of a combination of DexNav encounters being able to appear in the wild with a single random egg move (such as Ice Shard), and that the White Flute can reduce encounter levels from the normal minimum of 28 in that area. This means Donphan still had a minimum possible HP value of 77, and the Shell Bell couldn't be used as a means of replenishing Sturdy unless Endeavor was hitting a target with at least 609 HP--needless to say, that wasn't happening against anything other than the pink blobs.

With Go allowing the transfer of level 1 Donphan, then, this allows it to have just 12 HP, low enough that it can reasonably expect to use Endeavor against targets that have more than eight times as much HP as it does, the magical threshold required for a full Shell Bell replenishment. This, in turn, enables Donphan to check off a combination of boxes that no FEAR-mon has ever been able to access before, particularly with regard to repeatability. Or...it would, if it could be cleared to obtain that set. Phanpy and Donphan are still snapped species from Galar, even after Crown Tundra, so at the moment if you send one of those to Home, it is stuck there with no way to perform any kind of manipulation on it from any game. Go->Home transfers receive default level-up movesets for their current level, which notably don't include egg moves, and level 1 Donphan would therefore probably transfer with something like Horn Attack/Bulldoze/Growl/Defense Curl and be immutable as long as it remained in Home. Here, it makes sense to ask what the specific premise of our National Dex formats are. Is it:
  • "What if Home contained its own Stadium-like battle engine, and you could participate in battles directly from that? (plus whatever alterations are necessary to account for hold items to exist at all, and for Kyurem/Necrozma/Calyrex to be in their fused states)"
  • "What if Sword and Shield contained, to the best of our reconstructive ability, legacy code for ensuring all old species, moves, and mechanics were still supported, thereby allowing all Pokemon to transfer to those games in this parallel universe, and imagining the battles taking place there?"
  • ...or some other premise entirely?
In the first case, these Home transfers of snapped species at level 1, which were never legally available before now at that level, would only be usable with those default movesets which have no competitive value, and editing the validator to account for those is a low priority indeed. But if the second case is the correct interpretation, then sending a Donphan to Sw/Sh would imply the gen-8 nursery mechanics also exist as a way of transferring egg moves from a level 24 or 25 specimen, onto the level 1 from Go, and realizing it at that level with the Endeavor/Ice Shard/Sandstorm/filler set. Basically, should that set be allowed in NDOU/NDAG at all, and is its competitive niche (compared to all other low-level sets that have ever existed) important enough to spur action in adjusting the validator to account for the legality of underleveled sets if it's decided that this should be legal?


Not a Yuyuko fan
is a Site Content Manageris a Battle Simulator Administratoris a Programmeris a Pokemon Researcheris an Administrator
Creator of PS
  • "What if Sword and Shield contained, to the best of our reconstructive ability, legacy code for ensuring all old species, moves, and mechanics were still supported, thereby allowing all Pokemon to transfer to those games in this parallel universe, and imagining the battles taking place there?"
For the record, this one is easiest on our validation engine (and the one currently implemented), because it lets us reuse the Gen 8 validation engine, instead of needing to write a new one for Home that would never be used for anything else. I suspect that if you did go with the Home rule, you'd have trouble finding a dev to implement it, and you'd have to manually list the differences as complex bans.
What we have been using as the premise of National Dex for some time is "Generation 7 with the Generation 8 additions and mechanic changes". This has removed ambiguity in a lot of situations and allows us to have things like new TMs and IOA tutors on Mega Pokemon. Since you cant transfer mega stones or any old items to HOME. This definition also justifies the ability to use snapped moves such as Pursuit and Hidden Power while still keeping things such as Dynamax, the changes to Defog and Rapid Spin, as well as the Terrain Nerfs, for example.

This is essentially a different wording to:
"What if Sword and Shield contained, to the best of our reconstructive ability, legacy code for ensuring all old species, moves, and mechanics were still supported, thereby allowing all Pokemon to transfer to those games in this parallel universe, and imagining the battles taking place there?"
It is just easier to explain it to people as gen7+ when we get asked why certain things are allowed. This ideology has lead to things such as Hidden Power Weezing-G, Mr.Mime-G, and Mr. Rime being allowed by virtue of evolving a regular Koffing or Mime.Jr/Mr.Mime that knows Hidden Power. I believe that this would imply that by our definition, FEAR Donphan should be allowed in National Dex with the new egg move mechanics.

Just as an aside if anyone finds something that this definition should allow (like a move illegality or something), but doesn't, letting me know is typically the best way to get it looked at. We have a mechanics channel with the National Dex leaders, as well as a few PS programmers and researchers dedicated to discussing and finding the correct implementation for such things.
Last edited:

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 1, Guests: 0)