Which Pokemon Type Suffered the Most?
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January 4th, 2013 (11:36 AM).
The types are mostly fine. Sure they've got their weakness and the things they can't hit well, but it's no coincidence that those things are generally the same things. Sure - grasses have trouble hitting flyers effectively, but that's just because that's the way that type matchup works. Grasses are weak to flying attacks anyway, so they really have no business being in against a flyer in the first place. The fact that they can't hit them well is, or should be, moot, since it's a matchup to be avoided. In-game, where most of us spend most of our time (and where I spend all of mine), such things are of only passing significance and generally don't harm the balance of the game, since far and away the best strategy is simply to switch away from poor matchups, rather than to lament the fact that one type doesn't have an attack to super-effectively hit another type that it's defensively weak to anyway.
And I want to hammer on that point for a minute, since it's fundamental to the games. The entire identity of the games is wrapped up in the diverse types of Pokemon and their innate strengths and weaknesses. That's why all those things exist in the game in the first place, why you have room for a team of six and why switching during battle is possible. The entire point, obviously, is that pokemon are good against some things and bad against others, but if you combine a few of them and spread those strengths and weaknesses around, you can come up with a team that, between them, can handle any threat. Beyond the fact that it usually doesn't make any sense for a hunk of grass or a flower to be able to attack a flying opponent with rocks, there's no reason why it should need to be able to anyway, since a good trainer has another pokemon that CAN attack that flying opponent with rocks, and that other pokemon is just sitting there in its ball, ready to be switched in so it can do exactly that. In-game, that's the best strategy, and it's obviously the way the games were designed from day one. And it works just fine. It's only in the competitive metagame that switching is a problem, and I really don't want to see all the rest of the games undermined just to accommodate the current strategies of the competitive battling minority.
All that said, in-game, Poison types are certainly at a bit of a disadvantage overall. They just really don't have a useful niche. They only have one type they can hit super-effectively, and that's Grass, which a lot of types can hit SE, so they're certainly not special there. They have a pretty good range of neutral coverage, but they don't particularly stand out there too, since they don't have anything that other types don't have - their most powerful move is Gunk Shot - 120 base with 70% accuracy - and their most powerful 100% accuracy move is Sludge Wave, which is 95 base. That's exactly on par with, for instance, Flare Blitz and Flamethrower or Hydro Pump and Surf, and without the important SE hits those types get. With fewer SE types, they really need some more powerful attacks, since neutral STAB is pretty much the best they're going to do. And I think it'd be interesting at least, and reasonable, for Poison types to get some sort of bonus for Poison status, since, as noted, pretty much everything in the game can now use Toxic, so being able to poison opponents isn't special at all. It might work to bump up the added effects of all the poison type offensive moves so that they can poison at the ever-increasing Toxic rate, but ONLY if they're used by Poison types, and/or to eliminate that rate from Toxic and make it just simple 1/16 or maybe 1/8 damage per turn if it's used by a non-Poison type. That would essentially give Poison types a sort of "STAB" on the poison effect, which would at least give them some sort of niche.
Psychics struggled in Gen IV. They've never been as powerful as they were in Gen I, but they were broken in Gen I, so that's a good thing. They were pretty much fine in Gens II and III, but Gen IV brought a much broader distribution of Dark moves (damned near everything in the Sinnoh dex learns Bite and Crunch), which really hurt the viability of the already sort of fragile Psychics. GF appears to know that though, which I presume is the reason for the introduction of some notably bulky Psychics in the Unova dex. As near as I can tell, that's a balance issue that GF is actively addressing.
I don't think any of the other types are particularly disadvantaged, or at least not unworkably so. As I already said - they all have their weaknesses, and some have more than others, but that's as it should be - it's a fundamental aspect of the games, and in-game, isn't a problem. It's just the basis of team strategy, as it should be, and in my opinion, it doesn't need to be and more importantly shouldn't be changed.
I would think that if anything should be changed to deal with the skewing of things in the competitive metagame, it's Stealth Rock itself. Rather than altering the balance and movepools of some enormous number of pokemon with all the repercussions that would have on all the games and all the players just because of one overused move (and particularly a move that's essentially useless in-game), they should alter that move so that it no longer forces virtually all competitive battlers to plan their strategies around it. Done and done.
Joined Dec 2012
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