From Generation III onward, Game Freak has altered Pokémon’s core battle mechanics in a roundabout way or one other. Double Battles and the Physical/Special transfer cut up essentially modified the way in which individuals play Pokémon each casually and competitively, nevertheless it’s the latter three — Mega Evolution, Z-Moves, and Dynamax — that garnered lots of debate as they had been launched and thrown away like a Pokémon with a detrimental Nature.
Before Pokémon Scarlet and Violet reveal one other controversial mechanic – Pokémon fusions anybody? No? – we thought it prudent to have a look again at how these final three Generations’ mechanics fared.
As every features in another way in informal (single-player journey, battles with mates) and aggressive settings (VGC), we’ve offered two rankings for every. We’ve additionally known as upon the 2016 VGC World Champion Wolfe Glick for some perception.
Generation VI – Mega Evolution
Kalos’s Mega Evolution signalled the start of Game Freak’s makes an attempt to maintain Pokémon battles as recent as a just lately minimize Slowpoke Tail. The reveal of Mega Evolution kinds for outdated favourites together with the brand new Pokémon launched in X and Y created one of the crucial thrilling instances to observe the core sequence of video games. They additionally promised extra nuanced gameplay for aggressive gamers as just one ‘mon may Mega Evolve per match and needed to sacrifice holding an merchandise to take action.
Needless to say, Mega Evolution stays a fan favorite, and the overall consensus is that Game Freak dropped the Voltorb when it nixed Mega Evolution fully in Pokémon Sword and Shield. In reality, we’d say Z-Moves and Dynamax suffered in recognition as a result of followers see them as poor substitutes. However, Wolfe Glick had this to say about its aggressive viability:
Mega Evolution stays a fan favorite, and the overall consensus is that Game Freak dropped the Voltorb when it nixed Mega Evolution fully
“When Mega Evolutions were first released, they were not balanced at all,” Glick advised us. “In generation VII they were tuned a little bit but still it was stratified. There were around eight Mega Evolutions that were viable. If you used anything other than those eight, you were at a big disadvantage from the get-go. Salamence, Kangaskhan, Gengar – these Megas were so much stronger than stuff like Altaria and Beedrill. They were great from a design perspective. But from an actual competitive lens, there were a lot of issues with them.”
We must agree with Glick right here. Of the 48 completely different Mega Evolutions, most designs, such Mega Absol and Mega Pidgeot, added layers to in any other case unremarkable Pokémon, however that also didn’t make them sturdy sufficient to see severe play.
To make issues worse, for some purpose Mega Evolution performed an especially minor position in X and Y’s journey. Much like we’ll perpetually marvel how Charizard isn’t a Dragon sort, we’ll additionally marvel why the Gym Leaders and the Elite Four of Kalos didn’t have Pokémon to Mega Evolve.
Casual Ranking: B
Competitive Ranking: C
Generation VII – Z-Moves
Despite wonderful names like Bloom Doom and Pulverising Pancake, each informal and aggressive gamers disliked Pokémon Sun and Moon’s Z-Moves. They had been nowhere close to as intriguing as Mega Evolution, and their prolonged dance-like animations outstayed their welcome after the primary watch. However, Game Freak did let Z-Moves shine extra all through the Alola area as many trainers made use of them, thus including a layer of issue and a shock think about sure battles.
This shock issue, nevertheless, Glick had points with.
“Z-Moves did double damage… They just deleted Pokémon. Strong Z-Moves would KO even Pokémon that resisted the attack,” he stated.
The reality that you just by no means knew if a Pokémon had a Z-Crystal or not exacerbated this, Glick defined. So, you at all times needed to play a guessing game; they had been solely as soon as per game and for one flip. It felt very very like a coin flip to him – in the event you guessed improper and wasted your Z-Move, it put you at a large drawback.
Glick might need a private bias, nevertheless:
“Move pools were wider back then, too. I lost to Z-Focus Blast Tapu Lele at the World Championships, which is not something I anticipated playing against,” he says with fun.
Casual Ranking: C
Competitive Ranking: D
Generation VIII – Dynamax
From the very second Game Freak introduced Dynamax, trainers bemoaned it for being manner much less cool than Mega Evolution. We get it – a Pokémon rising huge for just a few turns and laying down some stat-boosting strikes thrills us about as a lot as stumbling upon a Zubat in Mt. Moon. And Pokémon Showdown, a preferred on-line battle simulator that does away with lots of the annoyances of aggressive battling, banned Dynamax in most codecs from the get-go for its overpowering potential.
“I like that there was a defensive component to [Dynamax]… used defensively it’s a 200% health increase”
Despite all this, of those three mechanics, Glick believes Dynamax is by far the healthiest.
“I like that there was a defensive component to [Dynamax]. Yes your Pokémon becomes way stronger with a 50% damage increase, but used defensively it’s a 200% health increase. If you’re like, ‘oh [the opponent’s Pokémon] is going to Dynamax and do more damage,’ you can overall increase your survivability on your important Pokémon. I thought that was a really nice mechanic.”
Glick additional elaborated that as a result of Dynamax lasts three turns, it provides you extra time to make an affect whereas with Z-Moves you threat whiffing. Mega Evolution being restricted to a handful of viable candidates isn’t an issue for Dynamax as all Pokémon (save for 3 Legendaries) can reap the benefits of it. Overall, Dynamax ain’t that dangerous.
We’re even going to bump the informal rank up a letter-grade with how the music modifications when a Gym Leader Dynamaxes their ace. In reality, from the very first Gym Leader throwing an overgrown dandelion at you to the penultimate battle in opposition to Leon’s Gigantimaxed Charizard, utilising Dynamax wasn’t an issue Sword and Shield had – and Sword and Shield wasn’t with out a downside or two.
Casual Ranking: B
Competitive Ranking: A
Generation IX – ?
As particulars on Pokémon Scarlet and Violet stay scarce, now we have a while to attend till we see what Game Freak has in retailer for us.
Casually, we’d need the mechanic to play an energetic position within the story – whether or not being utilized by Gym Leaders and even trainers within the subject – together with some vital story moments.
If Dynamax has taught us something, Game Freak might need realized what does and doesn’t make for a very good battle mechanic for aggressive battles. It ought to not be restricted to a handful of Pokémon, and it shouldn’t have an absurd injury enhance. It must also come paired with a defensive element. Glick hopes it lasts longer than a single flip, both turning into a everlasting impact or lasting for a number of, as effectively.
Yet till we get nearer to Scarlet and Violet’s 18th November launch date, we’ll have to stay as affected person as a Sudowoodo to see what Game Freak has in retailer for the following era of Pokémon battles.
But these are simply our ideas together with these of a bona fide Pokémon Master. What do you consider the three mechanics – Mega Evolution, Z-Moves, and Dynamax? Make positive tell us within the ballot beneath which is your favorite, and head to the feedback to inform us what you’d prefer to see Scarlet and Violet.