Where Are Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s Special Attackers?

Before I took on the Pokemon League in Scarlet & Violet, I wanted to finalise my team. I had five slots nailed down, and needed one more monster. It had to cover my weaknesses, add something new, and, most importantly, look cool. Not necessarily cool as in Tyranitar or Houndoom, it could be a cute lil’ guy, but I had to like the design. That couldn’t be that hard, right?

First, I had to decide what my team needed. As always, I’m playing through a new Pokemon game with only new monsters. I’ve got my starter, Steve, who you might know better as Skeledirge. His signature move Torch Song is only slightly less powerful than Flamethrower and raises his Special Attack one stage, effectively setting him up as he deals enormous damage. Tinkaton was once one of the cute lil’ guys, but evolved into a big lass with a bigger hammer – she’s one of my walls. The Fairy/Steel typing is pretty unique, too. Mr. Freeze and Big Boi – Baxcalibur and Iron Treads respectively – are my heavy hitters, both Physical Attackers, with Baxcalibur boasting over 150 Attack at Level 50. Don’t let him Dragon Dance. Finally, we have Toedscruel, technically a Special Attacker, but mostly a utility ‘mon. Spore, Confuse Ray, Giga Drain, you know the drill.

So what do I need? Another Special Attacker, clearly. I’ve only got Steve, so what if I come up against a Water-type that’s a Physical wall? A Toedscruel would mess him up, even if Torch Song is still super-effective.

Thus began my search. A new Pokemon that’s weighted towards Special Attacks, but looks cool. I already had an Espathra, but that fails the last point. I also had a Scovillain, which is weighted exactly equally in Attack and Special Attack, but its Grass/Fire typing doubles up on both accounts. My beloved Mabosstiff, who I caught after one of the most touching Pokemon stories I’ve played in ages, had made way because she’s Physical. I needed a Water-type really, a type that usually has loads of Special Attackers, so I took a cab to the northwest of Paldea and drove Miraidon into the lake.

Dondozo, Physical. Veluza, Physical. Paladin, Physical, doubly so in Hero Form. Wugtrio, Physical. I’ll admit that I assumed Tatsugiri evolved into Dondozo, which is not correct, but the one Gen 9 Water-type Special Attacker fails the cool test. Great. What about Electric-types? There are only two (I haven’t been into the crater yet): Pawmot is Physical and both Kilowattrel and Bellibolt are deeply uncool.

As my search went on and I got more and more desperate, I encountered so many Pokemon that I thought should be Special but were Physical. Flamigo. Houndstone. Cetitan. Dachsbun. So I decided to count them.

Only counting final evolutions on Serebii’s list, Gen 9 has added 43 Physical Attackers, six of which could be considered mixed attackers and potentially run with Special moves. There are half as many Special Attackers, the final total being 20, two of which could be run mixed. There are two Pokemon that are perfectly balanced between Physical and Special, as all things should be.

I know there are other Pokemon I could use, if I wasn’t restricting myself to Gen 9 only. I’d be interested in trying some ‘mons like Gholdengo if their types didn’t clash with the rest of my party. Glimmora could well have been the perfect Pokemon I was looking for, but I didn’t know it even existed until I Googled all the new ‘mons, thinking I’d encountered them all.

Will this impact the competitive scene? I doubt it, since other Pokemon are available. It might make Intimidate even more prolific than it already is in VGC, I guess. It’s just weird. I expected the new Pokemon to be balanced between Physical and Special. Why was this decision made? Why are there twice as many Physical Attackers than Special? Who knows.

All I know is that I ended up tackling the Pokemon League with five Physical ‘mons, picking up Veluza in my final slot, giving her a Scope Lens and creating a crit monster. As always with Pokemon, I breezed through it with little challenge, despite being underleveled. Maybe I was overthinking a kids’ game. Maybe it’s a strange quirk that this Generation is so Physical. I don’t know, and I’m not sure I care any more. But it’s definitely weird, right?

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