Pokémon World Champion, Wolfe Glick, has expressed some concerns over the type-changing mechanic for the upcoming Scarlet and Violet.
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The 2016 champion — also known as Wolfey Glick and Wolfey VGC — has qualified to enter in World tournaments every year they ran since 2011. Using his knowledge of the competitive side of the games, Glick has discussed the metagame at length, even helping launch the VGC Guide website with other veteran competitive players, in hopes to share their knowledge.
He has discussed overall rankings, capabilities, and flaws of various Pokémon Types in prior YouTube videos- even Type combinations not currently in the games. Glick has also proposed fixes for some of the games’ most flawed Types- Bug and Ice– along with hypothetical alterations to the games’ battle mechanics such as Pokémon wielding five moves at a time rather than four.
In March 2022, Glick discussed “If Pokemon Could Have Three Types,” rather than the maximum two- based on some of the creatures’ designs and lore lending credence to other Types they could have.
Glick’s conclusion was that, ultimately, it would be imbalanced. Along with the potential risk of a Pokémon having an 8x weakness to a specific Type, it having STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus, dealing extra damage with moves that share its Type) for three different types would make it able to counter its weaknesses easier, and overrun its competition better.
While the idea could potentially increase the viability of some underutilized Pokémon, there is a risk the “rich would get richer.” Those that are already reliable and frequently seen in competitions would have more ways to deal damage that isn’t resisted by a foe, or opportunities to be switch in and endure a hit against a type it resists.
In June 2022 Glick revisited this question in a new way, “If Pokemon Could Change Type.” Glick posited there could be ways to make the mechanic restricted to just one generation- as Dynamaxing and Mega Evolution were- and some Abilities and moves could already tweak a a combatant’s Type in a battle, making it viable as a hypothetical mechanic in Scarlet and Violet.
Glick suggested — much like Dynamaxing and Mega Evolution — the player could select the option to change type before launching an attack mid-battle but limited to once per battle. Despite the tactical side of being able to choose when to change your Type, altering your resistances and STAB bonus, Glick had concerns.
Hard-hitting, fast, but frail Pokémon wouldn’t care about gaining a weakness or resistance (aside from outright immunity), as they tend to be knocked out very quickly anyway. As such a Type-change mechanic would grant them more STAB options. Meanwhile, those with great stats overall only let down or held back by their weaknesses would be able to become a more resistant Type and run amok.
Glick did suggest that players would be frustrated trying to guess if their opponent would suddenly change Type, and proposed balance via the Pokémon needing to hold an item, or only select Pokémon being able to become a select type (i.e. All Venusaur would become Fire and Poison Type).
While purely speculative, Glick would be proven right as The Pokémon Company revealed Scarlet & Violet’s “Terastal Phenomenon” mechanic. Once per battle, any Pokémon can change into its Tera Type (which could potentially be any Type, but set when obtained).
A Grass Type changing into a Tera Grass Type would deal even more damage with their Grass-Type moves, while others would gain the STAB, resistances, and weaknesses of the new Type. So, Glick must have been delighted a mechanic he was theorizing came true, right?
Watching the Pokémon Presents video live with fans on Twitch, Glick’s reaction to the news was a dread-filled “Oh no” over and over again (around the 23:17 minute mark). Realizing a Pokémon’s Tera Type could be any of the games’ 18 Types, Glick once again said “Oh no, it’s so doomed! Oh no […] they made Hidden Power good!”
Hidden Power was a move in the game that, while not especially powerful, could be any Type depending on hidden values a Pokémon had. The move was a great way for a Pokémon to handle opponents it was weak to or resisted its other moves, by having Hidden Power deal damage of a Type it would not have access to through other moves.
Speaking a little later about his overall thoughts on the game, Glick stated “the crystal thing has potential to be very bad. I don’t want to jinx it.”
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“What’s good about Dynamax is that it’s a mechanic with an offensive and defensive component. My guess is that these gems, if they’re like the gems of Gen 5… in those cases, those are purely offensive mechanics. They only add the Type offensively,” he asserted, referring to special items the creatures could hold and consume to boost the damage of moves of a certain Type when first used in battle.
“Letting a Pokémon have any type of attack that it wants is a really bad thing for competitive play,” Glicke explained, “because it just makes it so Pokémon can build in counters to their counters, or Pokémon that are already strong offensively can get even stronger offensively, especially if there is no downside.”
“Basically the more STAB Types you let a Pokémon have, the harder it is to switch into, right? So I have a lot of concern about this mechanic,” Glick confessed. “They did a good job with Dynamax, they did a bad job with Z-Moves, I’ll keep my fingers crossed, but it looks concerning.”
“That being said, I was also really worried about Dynamax before it was revealed, and that ended up OK. So I don’t wanna be like [a] mega-downer. I love the way it looks, I will always say I think crystal designs are super cool, and this kind of gem/crystal design is awesome,” the Pokémon World Champion relented.
“I mean competitively, DMax is the best mechanic we’ve had,” Glick stated in reply to a viewer thinking Terastalizing couldn’t be worse than DMax. Glick had previously mocked Dynamaxing for being imbalanced in his videos.
“With no defensive component to a mechanic, it makes the game more hard-read based, more prediction based, but I think it’s looking really good.” Later Glick states another issue would be “you wouldn’t know the Pokémon’s [Tera] Type before the battle starts, so you can just randomly get popped by something weird. But maybe they don’t learn new moves with it.”
While not outright confirmed, the phrasing in the video and on the official website would suggest the user changes into its Tera Type. “A Pokémon’s Tera Type is inactive until the Pokémon Terastallizes, at which time the Pokémon’s type will change to its Tera Type,” the official website states.
“Terastallizing a Pokémon allows you to enhance your battle strategies by increasing the power of any moves that have the same type as your Pokémon’s Tera Type or by changing your Pokémon’s weaknesses.”
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Upon realizing this — when reading the official website — Glick seemed to have less concerns, at first. Glick did express some comically exaggerated concerns over Shedinj — a Pokémon that can only be hurt by super effective damage, and hypothetically through a combination of Types and held items could be immune to all damage — but that species has not been confirmed to appear in Scarlet & Violet.
“Then that’s actually interesting,” Glick admitted, running through the pros and cons of one particular scenario. “That’s a lot more interesting […] It’s both an offensive and defensive thing, and often times you’re going to give up dual Types for single Types, and you’re gonna lose your STABs when you do this.”
“Then I’m not as worried about that,” he stated. “You still have this stupid guessing element of this which is dumb in my opinion.”
Speaking later on Twitter, Glick seemed to still have a healthy caution. “To me, the big news of this reveal is the new mechanic of this generation – Terastallizing. According to the website, this seems to let Pokemon overwrite their original type with one new type based on some intrinsic value. It’s basically a dramatic rework of Hidden Power.”
“This is… interesting. Terrastalizing seems to make moves of the type the Pokemon turns into even stronger – though there may be an additional requirement to this like being the new type and one of the original types. Theres a reason to be worried about this, but its probably ok,” he cautioned.
“What’s really interesting to me is that this provides cool opportunities for adapting on the fly – you can use this offensively to make your Pokemon stronger, or defensively to change their type to survive a big attack.”
“My main worry with this mechanic is that it turns the game into a guessing game,” Glick reiterated. “I hope that either 1) the game tells you your opponents Tera types so you at least know what you’re dealing with or 2) Most Pokemon only have 1 or 2 Tera types, making it less random.”
What do you think of the Terastallizes mechanic coming to Pokémon Scarlet and Violet? Let us know on social media and in the comments below.
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