Anonymous asks:

Wow, really loving all your articles and posts! That’s awesome that you like the Grass type; they don’t get enough love. But I gotta know: what’s your opinion on the Ground type in general? For the longest time it’s been my favorite (but that might be nostalgia talking since I used to love Sandshrew when I was 8). Now that I’ve looked over some of your posts about Pokemon designs….I do notice Ground has a lot of rather generic looking desert animals with no particular extraordinary powers, lol

Ground… Ground is sort of odd because, aside from Normal, it’s the element with the fewest proper defining characteristics.  Many of them are either subterranean or desert creatures – and let us note that these are two extremely different things, and that there is really no reason to clump them together while separating Rock.  This seems to be the deal for most Ground-type attacks, but not all Ground Pokémon are anything like this.  What, for instance, makes Marowak a Ground-type?  What makes Garchomp a Ground-type, other than having the Sand Veil ability (which is shared by Cacturne)?  What makes Nidoking and Nidoqueen Ground-types?  You mention Sandshrew, and I think perhaps it is worth noting that, as of his introduction in Red and Blue, Sandshrew never actually learned any Ground attacks on his own – Sand Attack being considered a Normal-type attack at the time, which really makes you wonder why they labelled Sandshrew a Ground-type in the first place.  In Gold and Silver, of course, Sand Attack became Ground-type, but the newly introduced Sandstorm was a Rock-type attack, and has been ever since.  The first Sand Stream Pokémon, Tyranitar, was a Rock-type also.  Sort of makes you wonder why other sand Pokémon, and the sand-based attacks introduced in Ruby and Sapphire, didn’t follow suit.  The only thing I can think of that they all have in common is that they live on the ground, and even that goes out the window when you encounter bloody Gligar and his nonsensical Ground/Flying type.  It might be instructive, furthermore, to question why Kangaskhan, Dunsparce and Stoutland, to name a few, are not Ground-types.

I’m honestly not sure Ground really needs to be a type at all.  It has very little in the way of thematic unity or purpose, and if I had been doing this ten years ago I might have suggested eliminating it entirely and splitting all of its belongings between Rock and Normal (although this would happen at the price of making Normal even larger and more nebulous than it is already).  You asked for my opinion on the Ground type, and I suppose I’ve given it… I don’t really ‘get’ it.  This is not to say that individual Ground-type Pokémon are poorly designed; some of them are, of course, but others are amazing.  It’s just that the type as a whole is such a vague and, frankly, poorly thought-out idea that they don’t really have anything in common as a group.  Is it really necessary to have two ‘miscellaneous’ types?

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