What Have Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Done For Rock Types?

If you're one of the three bots that occasionally crawls past this website, you'll know that Team TGAM are huge Pokémon fans and this half of Team TGAM is a self styled rock type connoisseur. Now the dust has settled, well barely, following Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield's (SW/SH) launch it's a good time to look at what this game has done for rock type pokémon.

Sir Not Appearing In This Game

Well, making no bones about it, the decision to not include all of the known pokémon species from previous games in SW/SH has been pretty rough for the rocky bastards. Of the 62 rock type pokémon available in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon, as measly 22 made it through the Thanos snap. That means, at the time of writing, there's no Geodude line, none of the 'true' fossils, Magcargo, Nosepass line, Aggron line, Relicanth, Regirock, Carbink, Diancie, Rockruff line, Minior or the two ultra beasts. Soooo not a great start. Teaser/trailer stuff for the expansion has shown that at least Aurorus, Regirock and some of the Rockruff lines will be returning which is interesting. Is it reasonable to assume that Aurorus' inclusion means that all the fossils will be back (including Omastar!!) or will they be roaming in the field (making shiny hunting that little bit easier). Only time will tell. Hopefully all the forms of Lycanroc will be back and undoubtedly one or two others will hopefully be reappeared in the expansions. For the time being though, two thirds of the old rock types are MIA.

Golden Oldies

Of the 20-odd that made the cut, it's not clear what the decision making process was. There's some love for genwun classics Onix and the Rhyhorn line, then the Generation 2 dross mon Shuckle, Corsola and Sudowoodo. Tyranitar's back to top tier in current competitive formats like it's 1999 again. Then there's geodude's exotic cousins the Roggenrola line, nobody's favourite Crustle and the abomination that is Barbaracle. Terrakion got added back too and who doesn't love a gruff emo rock dog? Weird choices throughout I think. Very much the rock type B sides. 

New Stone Faces

If the cut wasn't bad enough, there's only a stingy five new rock types, in line with Generation 7's contribution. In terms of type combinations, nothing new is added to the mix (rock/ghost and rock/normal are the two dual typings still not seen in games so far). Let's have a look at them in turn. 

Taking a leaf stone out of Magcargo's book, Drednaw only gains a rock typing in it's first stage evolution. Itttt's yet another water and rock type like Corsola, Relicanth, and the Carracosta line and reversy-percy rock and water types, Omastar, Kabutops and the Barbaracle lines. This typing combination brings a debilitating weakness to grass types. Seriously, opening a window on a high pollen count day runs the risk of OHKOing these rawter types. Flavour wise, it's yet another hero in a half shell pokémon, seemingly taking inspiration from snapping turtles. That's not all though, it comes with a Gigantamax form turning into a bigger spikier turtle and gains access to the unique move G-Max Stonesurge, a blast of water that lays stone traps. Absolutely useless for raiding and yet to see any use on the eSports stage. Stats-wise, there's some physical bulk there and decent HP but less than stellar special defense and speed LIKE ALMOST EVERY OTHER ROCK TYPE. I went through the game with one on my team and I liked the diverse movepool and the boost to bitey moves in the ability strong jaw. It also has access to so-so ability shell armour and weather-boosted swift swim. Thanks to the dynamax mechanic, it's extremely hard to control the weather with any consistency so even this ability can't be relied on to get Drednaw's skates on. 

Rolycoly, Carkol and Coalossal
I've got a lot of time for rock and fire type Coalossal, design wise. The first two stages are a lump of coal and a minecart full of coal and the last stage is a rocky burning furnace. Alongside Galar Weezing and Cursola it's part of stable of industrial revolution and climate change themed pokémon, paying homage to how the UK totally fucked it's environment back in the 19th Century and then spread those tools across the world. I also use a flame body Carkol to hatch eggs quicker and really like the idea of bombing around with a stack of eggs precariously bobbling around in this pram from hell. It also has some ace flavour moves in the move tar shot which makes target pokémon weak to fire moves and one use only burn up which makes Coalossal lose it's fire typing making it a little less frail to water moves. The idea of these moves is nice but it's a generous opponent who gives you time to set either of these up. It's a bulky pokémon for sure, but slow. Also comes with a full-on Mordor inspired gigantamax form and the G-Max move Volcalith which leaves burning hunks of rock on the field that deals damage in between turns. I LIKE IT and the movepool gives it options. It just remains to be seen whether it'll find a place in a very fast and offensive meta game that's dominating at the moment.

Obviously inspired by stone (and other) henge(s), Stonjourner is a pure rock type Shuckle from a couple of Universes over. Where Shuckle has ridiculous defenses and laughable everything else, Stonjourner is physically ridiculous but with base special attack and base special defense of 20. 20! Unfortunately with stats this infamously awful, your best bet with a competitive Stonjourner is to hope that your opponent didn't see it on your roster and if they did, assume you wouldn't pick it and hope for a late game victory once anyone who took even an introductory class in special attacking has been KO'd. I've not played around at all with Stonjourner's capabilities as it's a Sword exclusive. It has a cool new gym bros ability in power spot which boosts allies attack by 30%. It has an incredibly rocky movepool which I like (and hilariously ancient power as an egg move for that surprise SpAtk Stonjourner) but on initial glance it's good at punching very hard at a medium pace but that special defense Achilles' heel makes for an obvious and easy target.

SW/SH has given a few nice flavourful rock types and it may be that there's some slow burning strategy to these. I've not seen any of these get much play at the major tournaments of the SW/SH Series so far over old faithful rock types Tyranitar and Rhyperior and with a wide range of water, grass, fighting, ground and steel threats out there it's easy to see why. June's expansion to SW/SH brings a few old favourites back into the mix, and here's hoping for a few old and new surprises from the upcoming content. 


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