What Has Pokémon Legends: Arceus Done For Rock Types?

A while back now, I took a look at the rock type pokémon that were brought to the table in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield and it's about time to update this series by looking at what Pokémon Legends: Arceus (PLA) has contributed to the best pokémon type there ever was. Despite PLA only adding a handful of brand new pokémon to the 'dex and a few new regional forms, rock types have been surprisingly well served. PLA brings three new rock type forms and one brand new rock type pokémon to the world and what's more, three of these rock types take quite a prominent role in the story of PLA. What ever did we do to deserve such attention? Without further ado, let's take a look at how these new rock type pokémon shape up. 

Hisuian Growlithe and Arcanine

Okay, not that we want to appear ungrateful or anything but it's not entirely clear why the new Hisuian forms of growlithe and arcanine are rock type. The new design for these forms is clearly inspired by shisa statues but aside from those statues typically being made of stone and umm rock being stone the connection seems tenuous. Hisuian growlithe's pokedex entry does make reference to it standing perfectly motionless whilst guarding something for its trainer and suggests that it picks up some rockiness from the volcano habitat in which it is found. Compared to 'Kantonian' growlithe and arcanine, these forms have a slightly higher HP and attack stat and slightly lower special attack and speed. The abilities are identical across both forms for both stages. 

Due to the strange compatibility position the mainline pokémon games are currently in, it's not possible yet to see how these new forms shape up competitively (PLA move pools and move effects are somewhat tangential to the bread and butter way moves work in all the other games, currently). Hisuian arcanine is less of a physical or special specialist- most rock types tend to be one or the other, but doesn't have any obvious standout attributes with a decent average stat spread with a decent base attack of 115 and all other stats between 80 and 95. Overall there's nothing that leaps out from the stat spread that suggests either of these new forms will be format-breaking. In terms of typings, these two join magcargo as a fellow fire and rock type and carkol and coalossal as rock and fire types.  

Hisuian Avalugg

Another somewhat leftfield addition. OG avalugg is a pure ice type, whereas Hisuian avalugg is ice and rock. Whereas avalugg has a body made purely of ice, according to the pokedex entry, Hisuian avalugg seems to be made of pure rock aside from the icy snow plough around it's lower jaw. It seems that the inspiration for this new form is part snow plough and part mountain glacier? Again, I don't want to appear ungrateful for new rock types but the inspiration here seems a bit on the weak side compared to other regional forms we've gotten in the past. 

Statswise, Hisuian avalugg gets an impressive base 127 attack stat compared to avalugg's 117 and is slightly speediar (albeit base speed 38). The joke special attack is even lower for Hisuian avalugg and it has an even more comically lower base special defense stat of 36. In terms of abilities, both 'luggs have access to ice body and sturdy but Hisuian avalugg loses the option of own tempo for strong jaw. On paper, if we're just comparing lugg for lugg, Hisuian avalugg is clearly the better pokémon however before ol' icy lugg is put out to pasture, the combined ice and rock typing of Hisuian avalugg confers a slew of extra weaknesses including 2x weakness to ground, grass and water and whopping 4x weaknesses to fighting and steel type moves. 

Hisiuan avalugg is currently the only ice and rock type pokémon although amaura and aurorus join in the abysmal weakness club as rock and ice types. 


One of the surprises in the second generation game were pokémon which received new evolutions, including the already cool scyther which once wrapped with tinfoil and kicked over a link cable would evolve into the arguably cooler scizor. Well, time travel shenanigans of PLA adds this brand new pokémon and another scyther evolution, this time scyther goes stone age. If you thought scizor would struggle doing up its shoelaces with maws for hands then spare a thought for kleavor with two hefting great axes for limbs. 

Sadly there's nothing novel about the bug/rock typing which kleavor shares with shuckle, dwebble, and crustle and the mirror typing of rock/bug in anorith and armaldo. Compared to the other scyther lines, kleavor has the highest attack of them all, higher defense than scyther but less than scizor and the lowest special stats of the trio. Speedwise, it's halfway between the slower scizor and speediest scyther. 

In our opinion it is by far the best new entry in the rock type pokedex and the stone vs metal flavour makes perfect sense with the time travelling trappings and is really subtly reflected in the stat spread when compared to scyther and scizor. Again, tricky to say what, if any space, kleavor might have in competitive play in the future because of all the compatibility question marks over the new pokémon introduced in PLA on which note...

Compatibility Issues

We've complained about this before but it is getting really messy with the four current switch games, Pokémon Let's Go Eevee/Pikachu, Pokémon Sword/Shield, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl and Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Pokémon HOME app and mobile app and Pokémon GO. The addition of new pokémon to a generation is fairly straight forward and with the exception of HOME and GO they aren't ever backwards compatible, however, things get really complex with new forms and new evolution forms, i.e. Mime Jr. can evolve into two forms but Galarian meowth can only evolve into perrserker, you need a huge wallchart to keep on top of compatibility. 

For example, an Alolan meowth caught in Pokémon GO can be transferred to Let's Go, Sword and Shield but can't be transferred into BDSP despite meowth being in that game and can't be transferred into PLA at all which doesn't have meowth in the dex. Some new forms e.g. Hisuian qwilfish and growlithe can't be transferred into games with the base forms and some pokémon can be transferred between games but either can't evolve into one form, e.g. pikachu can't evolve into Alolan raichu in PLA, SW/SH or BDSP and Mime Jr can be transferred between all games but Let's Go but gets stuck with SW/SH only compatibility if evolved into a Galarian Mr.Mime. In Let's Go, all alternate forms of Kanto dex pokémon can be transferred into it from GO but in BD/SP no alternate forms can be transferred over at all, including weirdly gigantamax-capable pokémon. PLA is even weirder in that some forms like classic sneasel can be found in game and you get gifted one alolan vulpix and can transfer others in from HOME but then other forms like classic qwilfish and arcanine aren't compatible at all in this game. 

All of this means that until new games and all their potential expansions and DLC are announced there's no guarantee that we'll see any of these new rock types in upcoming games. At the time of writing from teasers and trailers Kantonian arcanine and scyther are confirmed to be in Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet but there's no assurance that Hisuian forms will be catchable in game or compatible given how exactly this problem has been treated in three different ways in four different games. Will Scarlet/Violet be more like SW/SH and Let's Go and allow all forms of national dex pokémon in or will it be like BD/SP and allow no transfers or follow the model of PLA and only allow alternate forms and evolutions if they are specifically acquirable in game? 

Hopefully, these new rock types won't be kept out in the cold for too long like some of the pokémon from Pokémon X and Pokémon Y which have yet to make a return to a mainline series game in almost a decade? It'll be a real shame not to see these new pokémon alongside the new pokémon in Scarlet/Violet and even more so because for the time being they're only available in the slightly weird pocket universe of PLA with it's unique spin on moves. Will their new PLA signature moves like mountain gale and stone axe end up in new games moving forward and how will those moves be adapted? Will any of these new Pokémon have a place on upcoming competitive metas? Who doesn't want to run a scyther/scizor/kleavor team? Until then, we're content to rock (geddit) with these brilliant new rock types in Hisui but here's hoping to see them in other regions soon. 


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