Pokémon Legends: Arceus raises a lot of questions about the future of the official competitive Pokémon format, VGC. Will Frostbite replace the Frozen status condition? Will Drowsy supersede Sleep? How will overpowered new moves such as Stone Axe and Victory Dance translate into a ‘typical’ Pokémon game? Will there even be a typical Pokémon game again? Until Game Freak lets us know otherwise, we can only speculate.
However, there are questions we do have the answers to – or at least very educated guesses – such as whether or not the fully evolved seven new Pokémon and the ten new Hisui forms will be viable in VGC.
We’ve stalked through the tall grasses of websites such as Bulbapedia and Serebii, poring over suspected movepools, base stats, and data-mined abilities, to suss out whether or not you should train up a Hisuian Electrode ahead of Generation IX.
To keep things simple, we’ve organised the ‘mons into tiers. Because who doesn’t love a good tier list?
D-Tier: Hot Garbodor
Only one Pokémon resides in the pitiful D-tier and that’s Hisuian Avalugg. Original Avalugg, a pure Ice type, found some niche roles in Sword and Shield’s online Ranked Battles. However, its Hisuian form, now an Ice and Rock type, loses any redeeming qualities it had by doubling its weaknesses to Fighting and Steel – both of which are common offensive types. A single Close Combat or Flash Cannon will send Avalugg back to the ice age.
C-Tier: Simply Outclassed
These Pokémon aren’t irredeemable but much better options exist. Take Hisuian Arcanine: in formats without Incineroar, original Arcanine dominates as a supportive user of Intimidate, Snarl, and Will-O-Wisp. Much like Hisuian Avalugg, Hisuian Arcanine becomes 4x weak to Ground and Water moves with the addition of Rock typing, making it a liability rather than an asset unlike its predecessor.
Hisuian Braviary also falls short. Original Braviary saw some play with its ability Defiant and use of Tailwind. In Hisui, Braviary loses its speed, nerfing its ability to set up Tailwind before opponents can get an attack off, and swaps its attack stat for its special attack, negating any benefit it gained from Defiant.
In competition for the best Hisuian starter, Decidueye’s new form comes in last, though it still wins first place for hardest-to-pronounce. A middling speed stat hinders this Pokémon both in and outside of Trick Room, leaving it vulnerable to its many, many weaknesses with no way to make use of its decent movepool and attack stat.
Hisuian Electrode doesn’t fare well either. While it boasts a massive base speed, it’s atrocious offensive stats rule it out as a sweeper. Electrode has access to decent support moves, but many other Pokémon with broken abilities like Prankster and better typing fill the support role better.
B-Tier: If Stars Align
These Pokémon have the potential to become mainstays in certain formats and under the right conditions depending on whether or not there are common counters or overpowered alternatives. Most of the new Hisui ‘mons fall into this tier.
Basculegion, the evolution of Basculin, is hard to place. Jellicent proved the Water/Ghost typing works well defensively, and with male Basculegion’s great health stat and above-average attack, it could see play as a defensive pivot, hitting the opponent hard before switching out with Flip Turn or sniping KOs with Aqua Jet. Two of its abilities, Rattled and Adaptability, show a lot of potential as well.
There isn’t much to say about Scyther’s new evolution, Kleavor. With a massive attack stat and the ability Sheer Force, not a lot of Hisuian Pokémon hit harder than it. With proper support from Tailwind or redirection moves like Follow Me or Rage Powder, Kleavor could decimate opposing teams.
Overqwil slots into B-tier for two reasons: its Poison/Dark typing has only a single weakness, and it comes with one of the best abilities in the game – Intimidate. If it gets better attacking or support moves in the future, Overqwil might squeak into A-tier.
Hisuian Samurott landing in B-tier might be a bit of a reach – it’s middling speed and unimpressive offensive stats scream C-tier. However, its Water/Dark typing boasts six resistances and one immunity without any glaring weakness. With a held-item like Assault Vest and investment in its defensive stats, Samurott could stick around for a long time while chipping away at an opponent’s team.
Sneasler isn’t quite as cool as its counterpart Weavile, though it might prove more viable. Poison/Fighting isn’t the best or the worst combination, and a great speed stat – one of the highest in Hisui – means we can’t count Sneasler out. If its mediocre abilities and fragility don’t hold it back, Sneasler will find a home on some hyper-offensive teams.
Likely the best Hisuian starter, Typhlosion earns its place in B-tier with a good special attack stat, decent speed, and wide range of useful moves – particularly Eruption, which, if meta-standard Pokémon like Torkoal are anything to go by, can quickly ruin an opponent’s day in the right situations. We wouldn’t be surprised if Hisuian Typhlosion popped up every once in a while wearing a Choice Scarf.
Stantler received a much needed evolution with Wyrdeer, a Pokémon that shows potential as a Trick Room setter, flipping the script on fast, hard-hitting teams. And much like Overqwil, we can’t count out a Pokémon with Intimidate. Combined with some decent bulk and only two weaknesses, we might see plenty of Wyrdeer in the future.
Zoroark comes equipped with one of the most interesting abilities of all Pokémon – Illusion. This ability allows Zoroark to appear as the Pokémon in the back of the player’s party, confusing opponents and baiting ineffective attacks. Hisuian Zoroark is no different, though now as Pokémon’s first Normal/Ghost type it has even more ways to trip opponents up. Any Normal, Fighting, or Ghost type move thrown at a Zoroark disguised as another Pokémon will do absolutely nothing. With Hisuian Zoroark’s impressive speed and special attack stats, the mind games Illusion creates could prove powerful – or gimmicky, like it did for the original Zoroark before it.
A-Tier: Get Used to ‘Em
There is little reason to believe the Pokémon in this tier won’t see ample play barring an overpowered counter. Take Hisuian Goodra, for example. Over original Goodra, it loses some speed and gains some defensive stats with one of the best typings in the game added to make it Dragon/Steel. It’s the definition of a wall – a Pokémon able to take multiple hits while dishing out non-negligible damage in return. It also rolls three good abilities that are hard to choose between. Expect to see Goodra on both Trick Room and non-Trick Room teams alike.
Yes – Hisuian Lilligant does suffer from being a Grass/Fighting type. One hit from an Air Slash will shred Lilligant into mulch. On a sun team, which are teams that utilise the weather effect to boost speed among other benefits, Lilligant would outpace almost every Pokémon with its ability Chlorophyll. With Fighting type coverage and status moves like Sleep Powder, Hisuian Lilligant threatens to be as oppressive as Pokémon such as Venusaur. Not to mention its signature move Victory Dance – which seems incredibly overpowered – and how it might translate into the next generation of games.
Last, Ursaluna may look like a bear, but it’s actually a truck. A slow, invulnerable, and hairy truck. With an insane HP stat that negates its weaknesses to common offensive types such as Ice and Fighting, Ursaluna’s staggering attack stat, paired with powerful STAB moves such as Earthquake, Double-Edge, or its signature move Headlong Rush, ensures that Ursaluna will find its way onto many teams, especially as a Trick Room sweeper. Fear the moon bear.
S Tier: Tremble Before Our New Queen
The Forces of Nature – or Genie Pokémon – have terrorized VGC for a decade. An argument could be made for Landorus, when legal, being the most oppressive Pokémon outside of Incineroar and more recently Zacian.
Now there’s one more: Enamorus, which comes with the amazing Fairy/Flying typing and two forms. Its Incarnate form boasts above-average speed and offence, and its Therian form comes with amazing bulk and low enough speed to abuse Trick Room. Combined with the insane ability Contrary, which causes stat changes to have the opposite effect, and there’s no reason not to think that any future VGC meta-game will shift to placate Enamorus’s pink reign of terror if/when she becomes legal.
That’s all! Outside of the Origin forms for Dialga and Palkia, which change little of how they operate in competitive play, that’s every fully evolved Hisuian Pokémon ranked. Keep in mind that depending on specific rules and which Pokémon are legal, even weaker Pokémon such as Pachirisu can anchor teams to World Championship wins. That’s the beauty of Pokémon – even if a ‘mon doesn’t seem viable, they may yet find a powerful niche.
Let us know in the comments which Hisui Pokémon you’re most certain will see play in future VGC formats, and don’t forget to berate us if you think we misplaced a Pokémon in the wrong tier.