Pokétheticals: Rebuilding the Type Chart -- Easy Mode
by, 22nd April 2013 at 03:31 AM (204 Views)
Ah... the type chart. The source of many frustrations for so many fans. Some say some types are too weak--Ice defensively, Poison offensively. Others say that some types are too strong--Steel defensively, Rock offensively. Others say that we need more types--Light, Fairy, Sound, Bidoof. It's so simple and easy to gripe about perceived shortcomings in the type chart, so what would it take to fix these perceived shortcomings?
The fun thing is that there are two answers to the above question: quite easy, and quite difficult. I'll leave the consideration of adding new types for future discussion.
Now the reason why there are two answers is fairly simple: there are two philosophies at play here. The "quite easy" philosophy is not so much about maintaining the status quo, but is entirely dedicated to balance. Obsessively balanced. The concept here is that every type has the same number of weaknesses, resistances, advantages, disadvantages, etc... So the Ice-type has the same number of weaknesses as the Steel-type, and the Poison-type has as many type advantages as the Rock-type does. This would result in an interesting-but-bland scenario.
Competitively, each type would function nearly identically--the only difference being in the details. However even from this soup of equality we would still see certain Pokemon being favored, albeit some for different reasons. With a bland type ecosystem in place, there would be a greater emphasis on stats and especially the base stat total (BST). Obviously the offensively preferred types would be the ones that take down the most of the OU or Uber-tier Pokemon. Abilities would also play a bit more heavily as well, with some previously weaker Pokemon that held good abilities having a better chance at power. However another quirk of Pokemon quickly comes into play: dual-typing. With dual typing it is possible to have a more defensively-oriented Pokemon by resisting whatever key types come into play, or maybe even having a Pokemon that has two key STABs.
Now, let's take a look at a hypothetical type chart that follows the easy-mode. This is essentially a simplification of the current type chart, but with some fudging to make the numbers work.
As seen, each type is now a ghost of its former self. Fighting, Ground, Rock, and Ice are no longer the offensive powerhouses that they used to be. Steel, Poison, Dragon, and Normal now lack the defensive power that they once held. They are all equals in terms of how they stand. Also of note is that quad weaknesses and quad resistances are now a thing of the past here (though if each type has two or more weaknesses and two resistances than such potential lineups could happen).
Now let's dare to compare how this would effect three real Pokemon.
A Grass/Steel-type Pokemon known for being a physical wall. Replacing it's weakness to Fighting and quad weakness to Fire are two simple weaknesses to Fire and Electric. However it now has two immunities to Poison and Water, and two resistances to Bug and Ground.
This change is overall a blessing. Fire- and Electric-types aren't the most numerous in the games, and the new metagame will likely consist of types that will counter the most common types. Unfortunately its weaknesses are special-types, and while Forretress has respectable special defense, it is still mainly a physical wall. Offensively it gains quite a bit, hitting Water- and Poison- types hard with its STAB. With water being the most plentiful type, and poison being plenty populous as well, this works to its favor. Amusingly the two types that it is super-effective against it is also immune to their attacks, so that's yet another advantage.
The speedy special attacker from Generation I is one of the few Pokemon to remain overused since it's inception. With the unique typing of Ghost/Poison, how will it fare?
Defensively, it's now immune to Normal and Ice, resists Water, and is weak to Ghost. It's dual typing negates a weakness it would have to Steel (but it also negates a resistance!). Thankfully it has the ability Levitate, so let's also add in a Ground immunity. This grants it quite an advantage. It has just one weakness (to itself), but one resistance to a common type, and an immunity to two common types and one uncommon type.
Offensively its STAB now sucks even worse: hitting only the uncommon Ice- and Ghost-types for supereffective damage. Compounding that is that the common Normal-types are immune to its Ghost STAB, while the common Ground-types resist its Poison STAB. Thank god that Gengar has access to a fairly diverse move pool, or it'd be pounding dust instead
Everyone's favorite land shark is on the prowl again. With Dragon/Ground being a good combination, how will it survive now?
Defensively it still sports the same notable weaknesses: Dragon and Ice (though Ice is no longer 4x). It's immune to Electric and Rock, and resists Poison and Normal. Defensively it is looking a lot better than before. It's completely immune to Stealth Rock damage, and it resists a populous type in Normal.
However its offenses suffer a bit. Its STAB only hits Rock- and Dragon-types for supereffective damage. However the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th most common types are either immune or resist its STAB (them being Normal, Flying, Grass, and Bug respectively). Fortunately for it it has a good speed stat and access to a decent variety of powerful physical attacks to help provide some better optimal coverage.
That concludes this Pokémon Hypothetical. While I could go on for hours and hours exploring the intricate minutae of the full changes that such a system would bring, it's best to save that energy for the next time. As the next time, we're going to take the hard route; completely tearing down the type chart to figure out how it ticks, and how it can be rebalanced without breaking the balance.
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