Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bringing New Variables in Battles with X and Y

With the introduction of Fairy-type Pokémon, the type-chart saw its first overhaul since Gold and Silver. But how will this affect Pokémon battles in the futures? Not much about this new type was known until the type-chart's official confirmation through Coro Coro Magazine.
New type-chart for X and Y. Props to Pokémon XY News for the chart.

Here's a summary of the changes. Fairy is super effective against Fighting, Dark and Dragon Pokémon. Fairy is not very effective against Fire, Poison and Steel Pokémon. Fairy is weak to Poison and Steel-type moves. Fairy is resistant against Fighting, Bug and Dark-type moves. And Fairy is IMMUNE to Dragon-type moves. Talk about a hard counter! Game Freak also sneaked in a slight nerf for Steel-types. Steel Pokémon no longer resist Dark and Ghost-type attacks.

It's obvious that Fairy-type Pokémon will play a key role in shaping the metagame. Sylveon's ribbons slaps Dragonite right in the face. And to think, I made that prediction about Xerneas being one of the best competitive Pokémon in jest. Fairy-type's lucky immunity to Dragon-type moves prevent Draco Meteor and Outrage spam.
I'd hate to see Iris encounter a Flabébé

Imagine Gardevoir switching in on Salamence's Outrage. Your Trace activates, throwing his Intimidate right back at him. Salamence will probably switch out, giving you ample time to set up a Calm Mind and possibly sweep.

Besides their ruthless thirst for dragon blood, Fairy-types also have it in for Dark and Fighting-types. Their resistance allows them to switch in on powerful moves and immediately threaten tough Pokémon out. Hydreigon and Scrafty now sport a nasty 4x weakness after a generation of favorable typing. STAB options for strong Pokémon like Scrafty and Heracross are severely limited.

It's hard out here for a pimp

Fairy's only weakness to Poison and Steel-type moves makes it a strong defensive type, especially since Poison and Steel moves are quite uncommon. While people might predict that Poison-type moves would be on the rise, I will have to disagree on this. Besides Fairy, Poison only hits Grass-types for super effective coverage. But why would you use a Poison move to knock out a Grass-type? You have Ice, Fire, Flying, get the point! There are better options. Furthermore, many types resist Poison, including Steel which is actually immune to it. Defensively, Poison gets a boost which is great for Pokémon like Weezing.
Now only if it could do something about that horrendous cough...

Steel's loss of resistance might not seem like much, but it does cause problems for some Pokémon. The haunted sword Honedge now has to contend with two weaknesses in Ghost and Dark-type moves. Being as smart as a supercomputer gives Metagross a hard time. Everyone's coming up to it asking for help with taxes, quantum physics and damage calculations. Now it has to worry about things that go bump in the night. Metagross's Steel/Psychic type now becomes a hinderence. Tyranitar, Absol and Pangoro now can rely on their STAB moves to take on the four-brained behemoth.

It's not all bad for Steel-types though. The resistance to Fairy-type attacks and their super effective coverage against them will be what shapes the metagame. In 4th gen, a concept called "4 Drag, 2 Mag" was introduced. Basically, the only thing that stood in a Dragon's way were Steel-types. So Magneton and Magnezone were used to trap and knock them out. This concept can easily make a comeback to counter Fairy-types as well, but with a few modifications. Heatran's Steel/Fire type gives him a 4x resistance to Fairy. Plus, he can finally find a use for Flash Cannon to immediately threaten any Fairy-types out. Heatran's Fire-type moves can burn up most Steels and either Hidden Power Ice or Dragon Pulse can take on opposing Dragons. I wouldn't be surprised if Heatran's usage skyrocketed. Scizor also finds itself in a similar situation. Bullet Punch from Scizor is already a strong move, but the additional super effective coverage is icing on the cake. If you feel the opponent will switch out, simply use U-turn to maintain momentum.

The updated type chart for X and Y creates an interesting shift in the game. This post barely scratches the surface of what to expect in future battles, and rightfully so. What happens if Fairy moves have wide distribution like Flamethrower and Thunderbolt? What new tools can Dragons use to help outmaneuver these pixies of doom? Will the recent setback for Dark and Fighting-types lead to a reemergence of Psychic and Normal-types? Will Dunsparce get an evolution (or God forbid mega evolution) so grand that not even Arceus can stand up to it? Only the future will tell...or you can have Xatu use Future Sight. Whatever.

These trainers are way ahead of their time