IT’S NOT FIRE/FIGHTING, IT’S NOT FIRE/FIGHTING, IT’S NOT FIRE/FIGHTING!
A few days ago we got a new trailer with some pretty special Pokémon. Not only did it show off the protectors for the remaining three islands, but it also showed us the final evolutions of our starter Pokémon!
The bad news: The Chinese leak was basically 100% correct and we still don’t really like these designs much.
The good news: Litten’s final evolution is not Fire/Fighting!
Let’s quickly get the more boring news out of the way. We got a look at Alolan Persian which…Yeah, that could have been better. A bit bigger than a regular Persian and with a bizarrely round face, this thing’s design is a bit of a let-down.
It keeps its pure Dark typing and has the abilities Fur Coat and Technician. Fur Coat seems an odd choice, considering Persian is typically not very defensive. Maybe it’s meant to let it take a few hits and hinder opponents with moves like Taunt, Torment and Swagger.
Next up is Cosmog, which is apparently the Pokémon Lilie carries around in her bag. It’s a pure Psychic-type with the ability unaware and would be unremarkable if it didn’t seem to have a role in the story of the games.
Supposedly it once held some importance to the Alolan royal family and these days, the Aether Foundation studies it. Could it somehow be connected to the Ultra Beasts?
We also got a look at the protectors of the other three islands.
For Akala island, this is the Psychic/Fairy-type Tapu Lele. It’s ability, Pyschic Surge, immediately triggers Psychic Terrain. This new terrain increases the power of psychic Pokémon standing on the ground and prevents priority moves from working. It’s official description mentions it using status conditions a lot, so this will probably be a good Pokémon to stall with.
Ula’ula island’s guardian is the Grass/Fairy-type Tapu Bulu. It’s ability, Grassy Surge, triggers Grassy Terrain. This terrain boost the power of Grass-type moves from Pokémon on the ground by 50% and heals them at the end of each turn. It also reduces damage from Earthquake, Bulldoze and Magnitude.
Last is Poni island’s Water/Fairy-type, Tapu Fini. It’s ability, Misty Surge, triggers Misty Terrain. This terrain reduces the power of Dragon-type moves by 50% and prevents Pokémon on the ground from being afflicted with status conditions like poison or paralysis. Tapu Fini’s description mentions it confusing opponents, so expect a lot of moves that cause confusion.
The guardians all appear to be battled in ruins of some sort, but it is unclear if they will also appear elsewhere or have a role in the story.
The Tapu quartet also share a Z-move called Guardian of Alola. Despite the awesome animation, this move will seemingly only ever do 75% of its remaining HP. Take note, remaining is the operative word there. This move cannot knock out an opponent.
It seems like kind of a waste of the one Z-move you get per battle, because of that.
Now, on to more important matters, let’s look at our starters.
First off is Rowlet’s final evolution, Decidueye.
It keeps the Overgrow ability, of course, but surprisingly becomes a Grass/Ghost-type. It’s still clearly the starter with the most personality on display in how it adjusts its hood and brushes off its wings, which will appeal to a lot of people.
Of the starters, Decidueye is also the one who’s design we’re least bothered by.
It’s signature move, Spirit Shackle, deals damage and prevents an opponent from switching out. A pretty cool trick, since all similar moves have been non-damaging so far.
Next up is Litten’s final evolution, Incineroar.
…Look, it’s a Fire/Dark-type and we’re very happy about that, but obviously it didn’t start out that way. Look at the thing. That was obviously designed way in advance and later quickly had its typing changed from Fire/Fighting because of the backlash.
Incineroar naturally keeps the Blaze ability and its signature move, Darkest Lariat, ignores all of the opponent’s stat changes. Increased defence? Boosted evasion? Doesn’t matter!
It’s design…Ugh…Look, we still don’t like it. We wish the Litten line would’ve just remained on four feet. The wrestling thing is an okay gimmick, but it’s not something we’re excited about.
Finally, Popplio’s final evolution, Primarina.
It keeps the Torrent ability and, not entirely surprisingly, becomes a Water/Fairy type. It also gains a very strange signature move. Sparkling Aria heals the burns of whatever target it hits…for some reason. Unless it’s to counteract the power of the move, we can’t see a lot of use for it.
Popplio was obviously the weird one of our starters and it’s evolutions have not improved matters. This ugly duckling sort of forgot to actually become a swan in the end. Instead it looks like the love child of a Seel and The Little Mermaid.
So those are the final evolutions of our starters, but we still want to know one thing.
What the hell do the starters have in common with Rockruff?!
We were honestly expecting split evolutions depending on the time of day or something, since Rockruff has a midnight form and a midday form it can evolve into. If that is the case, though, it’s yet to be revealed.
We do honestly hope this is the case, as it would do a lot to set these starters apart from their forebears. Either way, we’ll have to wait and hope the secret is revealed later on and it wasn’t just something trivial that was accidentally overhyped.
The final piece of news we have to talk about is that, apparently Alola will actually have a Pokémon League.
You are clearly meant to become the champion to, as they introduced the Battle Tree, which is a battle challenge for champions of all previous games. Even Red and Blue make an appearance and you can team up with any champion you manage to beat later on.
This struck us as very odd, as Alola does not have gyms. The trailer shows us that the league is apparently still being built, or at least going to be built. The site is similarly vague, only mentioning that there are plans to create a league.
This could mean a few things.
The first obvious theory is that the island trials will take the place of gyms, but this seems unlikely. Beating gyms and the elite 4 was always about proving you were the best and developing your tactics. The island trials are more about personal growth and bonding with nature and often do not involve battling strong trainers. This would make them a poor way to prepare for the league.
The second theory seems more likely.
If they are building a league, perhaps they will also be building gyms. Maybe you’ll go through the story dealing with the island trials and team skull and whatever else the games have in store. Once that is done, maybe the entire aftergame will involve challenging the recently finished gyms and battling the elite 4 to become the champion.
There are a few suspiciously square and empty spots on the map that could easily hold gyms. About eight of them, in fact.
This seems like it would both appease people like us, who weren’t too thrilled about the island trials, and those who were hoping for a lot to do after they finished the story.
The Chinese leak, which turned out to be pretty accurate, also mentioned something about how you would be involved with the creation of the league. Will we be recruiting gym leaders? Will we FINALLY get to make our own gym?!
…Okay, that last one is a longshot, but you never know.
What did you guys think of the latest trailer? Any insights on the league or the Rockruff secret? Let us know in the comments below!