Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jumping the gun: Fairy-type edition

The Pokémon fandom is no stranger to wild predictions, and with a new generation getting started it's the season for just that. And the thing that surprises me every time is how radically different everyone's thoughts are, with many people saying they're "absolutely certain" things are going to go one way, and others are equally sure things will go the other. Enter the Fairy type. Making much fanfare pre-release as it turned out to trump two of the three best types in the game, and the other one being effective against it at the cost of pretty major nerfs elsewhere, the knowledge we gained about it over the course of the last camp separated players in two opposite camps.

One claims the Fairy type is dead on arrival due to the lack of strong representatives. And while I don't approve of that school of thought (I'll get to why in a moment), I can see why one would think that. Looking at the current roster, there isn't a single OU on there. That's right, the highest-ranked confirmed retcon is Togekiss (what a surprise) at #63. And as far as new Pokémon go... well, aside from obvious uber Xerneas, the one that's the most likely to do any damage is, hilariously, Klefki (depending on its egg moves, it goes without saying). Aromatisse and Slurpuff's stats are beyond crap and were given abilities that are exclusively for doubles and triples, and Florges also suffers from the latter, despite being this generation's Arcanine/Volcarona in terms of stats (the farcical movepool and mysterious lack of a Grass type don't help much either). Then there's the fact that many popular retcon picks, such as Chansey/Blissey, just plain didn't happen.

Still, that's jumping the gun a bit. The prime argument I'm going to use there is the fact that gen 5 OU was based entirely around weather. That won't hold true anymore, now that weather can only last 8 turns at most, and even that requires a big opportunity cost. As a result, a large chunk of the gen 5 OU tier - inducers, abusers and counters - will suddenly have a sharp decrease in usefulness. And who should be in a prime spot to take advantage of this but the Pokémon that found a home in UU and thrived in its weather-free environment, such as Togekiss and Azumarill.

We also can't neglect the fact that the Fairy type will radically change the way these Pokémon are played, defensively and offensively. I just mentioned Togekiss and Azumarill... they finally gained the secondary STAB they always dreamed of, and in the latter's case it can finally run Aqua Jet and Belly Drum together. They will also get extra opportunities defensively, with the immunity to Dragon and resistances to Fighting, Dark and Bug. Unfortunately, Togekiss does NOT get Moonblast, even via egg move. That shit would've been terrifying, to tell you the truth. 95 power, and 60% chance to lower special attack with Serene Grace? Sadly, it'll have to settle for Dazzling Gleam, but c'est la vie. We may also be able to count on Mega Mawile to invite itself to the party, depending on how much the one-per-team rule will screw it over, with terrors like Gengar, Blaziken and Lucario running around.

All in all, it's impossible to predict how big an improvement the addition of the Fairy type will be on these Pokémon, but just the fact that it will set them apart from their competition in the hunt for a team slot will be a huge boon. Heck, we may see the return of Pokémon like Whimsicott and Gardevoir (too bad about Pixilate being worthless on Mega Gardevoir, though).

But wait, there's more! We still have 120 or so Pokémon that aren't obtainable through any means in X and Y, and among them no less than 43 legendaries. And this is where things could get really interesting for the Fairy type. The pixie trio and Cresselia will almost certainly see it added to their typing, which could easily give them a second wind after suffering at the hands of Alakazam and Reuniclus in gen 5. Furthermore, many event Pokémon could also get the same treatment... for better or for worse. While Pokémon like Mew, Manaphy and Victini may enjoy that change, Celebi and Jirachi are praying so hard right now that their exceptionally synergetic typings remain intact. Even so, any of them would be a great addition to the Fairy roster, which would help cement the type's place in the metagame.

So that's it for the doomsayers. On the other end, you have those who claim Fairy is simply too good. Their logic: they're strong against the two best offensive types, and weak to two nearly unused ones, meaning Fairies will be able to just rain destruction freely. That one's way easier to reply to: if Fairies start overpowering everything (which I don't think is that likely, honestly), more stuff will start packing Poison and Steel moves just to beat them... and there's no shortage of Pokémon that can learn Iron Head or Sludge Bomb, let me tell you that. That was the entire point of the Fairy type to start with: make Steel and Poison more worthwhile offensively by having them be the only foils to a type that (theoretically) counters the best ones. It's a lot like going from rock-paper-scissors to rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock. Sure, Spock may look impressive because he beats rock AND scissors, two of the three that were there before, but then he loses to paper and lizard, and he doesn't look so hot now.

Wow, that went on way longer than it had any right to. So, what future can we expect for the Fairy type (at least until gen 7 shakes everything up again)?

Edit: Copypasta from the comments (because if there's one thing I learned from my time as an LPer, it's that no one ever reads them):

Nope. There's 2 ways to check out typings as of now:
1. Battle Maison. I believe Cresselia shows up there, for example
2. Asking for things on the GTS. While types wont show up in-game, they DO show up (like an hour later, sometimes more) on your Global Link profile's GTS tracker.

Anyway the point is: None of these are fairy type. I've personally checked out Phione, Manaphy & Mew and I am pretty certain that the pixies are pure psychic as well.


So basically, Gamefreak are complete idiots. Not touching them just because they're legendary? If you're going to make a new type, at least go all the way with it. I mean, this makes Fairy the least populated type despite all the retcons that DID happen.

19 comments:

  1. Mismagius isn't even in the game, so as far as I'm aware there isn't anyway to see if it wasn't retyped until bank

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    1. Weird, I could've sworn it was listed in the Friend Safari at one point. Or someone ran into one at the Battle Maison or whatever.

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    2. After taking a look at it, seems like some people DID find Mismagius and Cresselia in the Battle Maison, and neither is Fairy.

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  2. The thing I feel what is little bit weird in 6th gen and fairy type is the thing that they didn't really do anything to give poison and steel more coverage against fairies. Steel and Poison type moves offensively are actually quite far and between (with likes of Sludge Bomb, Flash Cannon and Iron Head having RELATIVELY low amount of Pokémon that can learn them.) When going around announcing that Steel and Poison will finally be useful against type that will quite possibly be really popular I would've thought they'd at least give us little bit more choices with coverage moves against them.

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  3. "But wait, there's more! We still have 120 or so Pokémon that aren't obtainable through any means in X and Y, and among them no less than 43 legendaries. And this is where things could get really interesting for the Fairy type. The pixie trio and Cresselia will almost certainly see it added to their typing, which could easily give them a second wind after suffering at the hands of Alakazam and Reuniclus in gen 5. "

    Nope. There's 2 ways to check out typings as of now:
    1. Battle Maison. I believe Cresselia shows up there, for example
    2. Asking for things on the GTS. While types wont show up in-game, they DO show up (like an hour later, sometimes more) on your Global Link profile's GTS tracker.

    Anyway the point is: None of these are fairy type. I've personally checked out Phione, Manaphy & Mew and I am pretty certain that the pixies are pure psychic as well.

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    1. Wow. So whoever it was that said they wouldn't touch the legendaries just because they're legendaries was actually right. This sucks. Man, what IS with Gamefreak and all those missed opportunities?

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    2. Oh, I was thinking, if you ask for Diancie, Volcanion or Hoopa, then I assume their typings are displayed in the same fashion, correct?

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    3. No, those aren't listed at all on the GL'S GTS Tracker. They show up as "misspelled name" even if they'd otherwise show up in in-game GTS searches.
      Presumably the global link people weren't complete morons and haven't put those 3 anywhere near the global link yet.

      Which, yeah, means Serebii messed up bigger than some people thought. Of all things to put in the database ahead of time it's the things we wouldn't know about for minimum 1 year...

      By the way, even thought Fairys ARE the least populated, considering they're only 1 off from Ghost and 6 off from Dragon that's not bad for just being introduced. They're even equal, counting Diancie

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  4. A hilarious fact:

    Knowing that gamefreak retconned Marill and Azumarill into a water/fairy type, I checked to see if they were finally arsed to change Azurill's type. And they did! It's normal/fairy now *facepalm*

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    1. Proving that it was supposed to be Normal in the first place.

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  5. Considering how weather got nerfed, I'm actually not surprised that no OU pokemon were retconned into fairies. A good 9-10 OU pokemon got mega-evolutions, so Game Freak most likely didn't want to give the OU tier any more buffs than that, while at the same time targeting specific rampancies in the metagame for nerfs in order to encourage people to rely on different strategies than they were using back in gen V. Again, I point to the fact that substitute--one of the most common moves in the gen V metagame--can now be bypassed with Infiltrator or sound-based moves. Similarly, they decided to target lower-tier pokemon to be retconned into fairies so that they could perhaps be more useful in the higher tiers where dragons, fighting types, and [actually good] bug-types are much more abundant.

    On another note, regarding Jirachi, I think it would kill to be changed to fairy/steel. A) I've rarely if ever seen people use Jirachi's psychic moves. It's always been iron head, the elemental punches, u-turn, thunder, stealth rock, sub, thunder wave, body slam... The only time I've seen psychic is on calm mind sets, and zen headbutt is just all-around inferior to iron head. Jirachi has enough moves to work with that it won't exactly miss having psychic STAB. Besides, if it becomes part fairy, it will most likely have dazzling gleam if not moonblast or play rough to wreck fighting types anyway, and poison types... well, Jirachi still has nothing to fear from them even if it no longer gets STAB on psychic moves. B) since steel lost its ghost and dark resistances, Jirachi would have even more weaknesses if it stayed psychic/steel, whereas Klefki (which is already fairy/steel) only has the same 2 weaknesses to fire and ground while having even more resistances than Jirachi did--resisting bug 4 times and psychic and dark 2 times compared to Jirachi's neutral damage from bug and dark (which will become a weakness in gen VI if it stays psychic/steel) and 4 times resistance to psychic. Fairy/steel is pretty much the new psychic/steel. The only reason Jirachi wouldn't want a retcon would be if they took away its steel typing instead of its psychic one. Gardevoir and Mr. Mime are interesting as psychic/fairies, but that typing isn't nearly as useful as fairy/steel. Besides, if Jirachi lost its STAB on iron head, heads would roll. '^_^

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    1. Even so, it's up to Togekiss and Azumarill to carry the type all by themselves, barring some surprising turn of events. And while I can understand them not wanting to touch Celebi, Manaphy or Jirachi, the others that were brought up aren't OU, so they really could've used a buff of some kind. Show me someone who thinks Psychic/Fairy Azelf or Fire/Fairy Victini would be gamebreaking, and I'll show you a total nutcase.

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  6. Granted, I doubt the early days of smogom directly after a game's release are accurate, but I've been trying out the OU tier and you're right about both the lack of weather and lack of Fairy dominance. I'd say about 1 in 6 teams are running Rain Dance or Sandstorm, and that might be a high estimate.

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    1. What about Swift Swim, though? Is it allowed?

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  7. Looks like everything that *was* banned is still banned, though I'm not familiar enough with the state of things in gen 5's metagame to say for sure. The odd rain teams have run Drizzle Politoed, but nothing with Swift Swim.

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    1. Hmm. Well, this is a transition metagame, to be fair, things will kick off for real when Bank comes out.

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  8. About pixilate apparently it adds another 30% to the moves power before changing it's type, in addition to STAB. This also applies to aerialate and refrigerate. What's your new stance on mega gardevoir, who can now use a fairy type 117 power hyper voice which also now hits through subs BEFORE STAB?

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    1. Well you just answered your own question.

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