Leo M.R. [Patreon Cultist] asks:

What do you think of getting rid of weather altogether, but in replacement give ALL of the types terrain effects instead? The same rules still apply (only affect grounded Pokémon, only one can be active at any given time, etc.), of course. I always did find it kind of unfair how certain types are so advantaged in specific weather over other types, but those other types have no equivalent for themselves (e.g. Poison, Dark, Bug). Now that we’ve got type-specific terrains, what do you think? I figure the effects of intense sunlight can be taken over by Fiery Terrain, rain by Watery Terrain, hail by Icy Terrain, and sandstorm by Sandy Terrain. I have some fun ideas about the other types but I wanna hear your thoughts about the idea first. Cheers!

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I’m not particularly sympathetic a priori to the idea that all the different types need to have parallel abilities in order for things to be “fair” (I’m kind of reminded of a question I got ages ago that wanted every type to have its own major status effect like burn or poison, which… no, god no). I mean, Ice is one of the types that does have an associated weather effect, but it doesn’t help much because the effects of Hail don’t really play to the Ice type’s strengths very well, while Misty Terrain doesn’t actually do anything at all that specifically benefits Fairy-types. Different types get to do different things, some of which are more useful than others, and I think in principle that’s okay. In practise we could argue all day about whether each type actually does have an appropriately interesting selection of its own signature tricks, and I suspect the answer is probably “no,” but I still have an instinctive aversion to a “one size fits all” approach to that problem.

Thematically, it does turn poor Castform into a bit of a nonsense if nothing is weather-related anymore, and Castform has arguably suffered enough… but also, y’know, fµ¢£ Castform. You’d have to do something with Rayquaza though, because Rayquaza’s Air Lock ability just doesn’t make any sense thematically if weather is folded into terrain – why would Rayquaza have power over terrain when its domain is the upper atmosphere, and why would it even matter, seeing as Rayquaza is already immune to all terrain effects anyway by virtue of being a Flying-type?

Besides that, what would “Bug Terrain” or “Fighting Terrain” even be, thematically? Or, hell, “Ground Terrain”; is that not just… the ground? There’s gotta be some very pedantic distinctions to be drawn between “Ground Terrain,” “Normal Terrain” and… well, normal terrain, if we don’t want one of those types to have an inherent advantage on a neutral battlefield (and if we’re doing this in the first place for fairness… well, Normal-types already get screwed over a lot; you can’t not give them a terrain effect if everyone else is getting one, but what would that even mean?). Although, in fairness, “Psychic Terrain” is a pretty weird idea too (is that not already what Trick Room/Wonder Room/Magic Room are?). I kinda suspect that Psychic Terrain (which is the only one added in generation VII) was put in less for game balance reasons and more so there’d be four terrain effects to go with the four guardians of Alola. Having field effects for all eighteen types is also just… a lot. It could be interesting, though, if they all had different effects and different interactions with abilities (as, indeed, the current field effects do). My instinct is that it would be tricky to come up with eighteen different sets of effects, but not impossible, and of course you’d also need to pick Pokémon to stick all those auto-terrain abilities on, but that’s also an opportunity to buff weaker Pokémon (like Pelipper and Ninetales, when they got Drizzle and Drought). So there’s definite advantages and potential for fun; my instincts are kind of against the basic concept, but I’d be interested to know what you were thinking about in more detail.

[Also, note to Patreon supporters: I am currently experiencing a… malfunction. Patreon authenticates logins by sending a text message to your phone; unfortunately I’m at home in New Zealand for Christmas and can’t actually receive messages or calls at my US phone number… so I can’t log in. I can still see messages that you send me through Patreon (e.g. if $4+ patrons want to exercise their queue-jumping rights, like we’re doing here) because I get e-mail notifications, but I can’t reply to them directly.]

11 thoughts on “Leo M.R. [Patreon Cultist] asks:

  1. Thanks for your thoughts! Some replies:

    I’m in absolute agreement with you that not all types need to get their own status conditions (in fact, I’m kind of miffed that paralysis seems to have been attached to Electric in Gen VI), but I would argue that all the types *should* have their own signature tricks, à la Ghost-types being immune to trapping or Dark-types being immune to Prankster. Hence, the idea for terrains for all types. (also, Grassy Terrain’s effect is mass healing, but healing isn’t exclusively associated with the Grass-type, not even mass healing; look at the Water-type Life Dew!)

    On the topic of weather-related Pokémon, next to nobody cares about Castform soooooo… Rayquaza (and Groudon and Kyogre to an extent, I suppose) is a bit harder, but I would argue that Fiery Terrain and Watery Terrain makes more sense for Groudon and Kyogre than Drought and Drizzle do; you could write some lore to the effect that their presence alone can affect the surrounding environment on a fundamental level which made it near-uninhabitable to humans and Pokémon who don’t benefit from Fiery/Watery Terrain. As for Rayquaza, hear me out: auto-Defog, which (among other things) immediately clears all terrain. I think this makes even more thematic sense than Air Lock and actually has other useful effects not related to weather/terrain. If you so choose, you could write a bit about how (due to Groudon/Kyogre) ancient Poké-Earth was a lot more of a hostile environment than it is today, but Rayquaza has the power to clear out anything hostile to it. For the terracentrists out there, you could even imply Rayquaza was created specifically as Poké-Earth’s protector (by who else?), typically from extraterrestrial threats. Once upon a time it came down to Poké-Earth ’cause Groudon/Kyogre got way too intense, and so it cleared out all the Fiery and Watery Terrain on Poké-Earth and made it more habitable towards humans and lead the Draconids to worship it. Mega Rayquaza can get a stronger version of auto-Defog. Too powerful? Well it’s bloody Mega Rayquaza, I think we can get away with it.

    Yes, I was going to bring up Psychic Terrain as not making much sense anyway, so I don’t think the inherent oddity of “Bug Terrain” or “Normal Terrain” is much of a thematic problem. I would rework Misty Terrain so that it benefits Fairy-types in some way… Maybe all Fairy-types get the effect of Prankster, because fae beings are very often mischievous? Another possibility is that all Fairy-types get the effect of Serene Grace, to tie in their mystical (and often annoying) qualities. And hear me out here: if we’re going to associate Fairy with the moon (via Moonblast), then THIS is where Moonlight should get its power-up and not the thematically-counterintuitive Sunny Day!

    And on that note:

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  2. The way I see it, each terrain has a Primary Effect and a Secondary Effect. So I’m gonna go down the list with this framework in mind, and the Pokémon that I think would benefit from having the auto-terrain Abilities.

    We already have Grassy, Misty, Electric, and Psychic terrains. As I stated, Fiery/Watery/Icy/Sandy terrain takes over Sunny Day/Rain Dance/Hail/Sandstorm respectively. Fiery and Watery Terrain’s Primary Effects are the same as sun/rain right now, except nerfed to 30% to match the other terrain effects. As you rightly pointed out, Ice-types don’t get much benefit from Hail as it is, so let’s have it that Icy Terrain’s Primary Effect gives a 30% increase to the Def and Sp. Def of all grounded Ice-types (let’s be honest, Ice needs the defensive buff). Sandy Terrain is a bit more complicated since sand can be associated with both Ground and Rock (see: the Pokémon that get Sand Stream). I’m going to say this is the terrain for Ground but keeps the effect of sandstorm right now, so it’s Primary Effect is a 30% increase to the Sp. Def of Ground AND Rock Pokémon. Icy and Sandy Terrain should also continually do damage as with Hail/Sandstorm right now. Their Secondary Effects can be reinterpreted as their effects on specific moves: Solar Beam/Blade and Synthesis/Morning Sun for Fiery, Thunder/Hurricane for Watery, Blizzard and Aurora Veil for Icy, Shore Up for Sandy. Also, they still activate all the sun-, rain-, snow-, and sand-Abilities, of course. Boom, that’s four more terrain types down!

    Auto-Fiery Terrain: Keep Ninetales and Torkoal, but give it to Magcargo as well, the poor lad.
    Auto-Watery Terrain: Keep Politoed and Pelipper, but (here’s a fun idea) give it to Masquerain, to encourage it using its Water moves and keep it somewhat alive against Fire attacks.
    Auto-Icy Terrain: Keep Abomasnow and Vanilluxe, but give it to, hmm… Glalie? Assuming we get rid of Mega Glalie completely, then yeah, Glalie. Actually, give it to Froslass too, the poor lass.
    Auto-Sandy Terrain: Don’t keep Tyranitar and Gigalith, but keep Hippowdown. Also, both for personal and thematic reasons, give it to Flygon.

    Now if Sandy Terrain is Ground, “what about Rock?” you might ask. Well, Rocky Terrain’s Primary Effect is it increases the accuracy of all Rock moves by 10%. Because seriously, what is up with Rock moves’ lower average accuracy? As for its Secondary Effect (and here’s the REAL FUN part): the effect of Stealth Rock! By proxy, get rid of the move completely from the game! The great thing here is that this only affects grounded Pokémon, so no more knocking 50% HP off of Fire/Flying Pokémon from the get-go! (sorry Volcarona/Centiskorch/Frosmoth…) And for added flavorful fun, Mudsdale and maybe Rhyhorn are immune to it, because of the Poké Ride thing.

    Similarly, Poisonous Terrain’s Primary Effect is a 30% buff to Poison moves and 30% nerf to Fairy moves, and its Secondary Effect is the effect of a two-layer Toxic Spikes (not sure if we need to remove Toxic Spikes for this…). Steely Terrain’s Primary Effect is a 30% buff to Steel moves, and its Secondary Effect is the effect of G-Max Steelsurge, obviously. Swarming Terrain’s Primary Effect is a 30% buff to Bug moves and MAYBE 30% nerf to Grass moves, and its Secondary Effect is the effect of Sticky Web (again, remove Sticky Web? Yes/no?). And for added flavorful fun, if there are multiple Bug Pokémon on the same side those Pokémon get a +1 to all their stats, because The Hive commands it (and because Bug could really use the buff…)

    Oh, and the effects of Rocky/Poisonous/Steely/Swarming Terrains cannot be undone by Rapid Spin (but CAN be undone by Defog). Or would that kill the utility of too many Pokémon?

    Auto-Rocky Terrain: This is what we can give Gigalith in exchange. I also want to give it to Onix but not Steelix, you feel me? Maybe this plus Eviolite would give Onix a different niche to Steelix… Probably not, but we can try!
    Auto-Poisonous Terrain: Muk and Garbodor, natch. And no, your legendary hatred for Garbodor will not deter me from this, Chris!
    Auto-Steely Terrain: I mean, gotta give it to Copperajah, right? Could we also get away with Steelix? Flavor-wise it fits Ferrothorn and maybe Galarian Stunfisk, but Ferrothorn is already really good without it…
    Auto-Swarming Terrain: I’m thinking Volbeat/Illumise, but if not, Ariados and maybe Leavanny.

    Finally, the last six. Windy Terrain (yes, let’s settle that wind = Flying for now)’s Primary Effect is a 30% buff to Flying moves. Its Secondary Effect is the old effect of Gale Wings because poor Talonflame… Alternately: the effect of Tailwind (remove Tailwind also?). Spooky Terrain (fun name for Ghost) buffs Ghost moves by 30% and nerfs Normal moves by 30%. Its Secondary Effect is the effect of Shadow Tag on all non-Ghost Pokémon, and for added flavorful fun, it turns all uses of the move Curse into the Ghost-type version. Plain Terrain (too weird for Normal?) buffs Normal moves by 30% and nerfs Ghost moves by 30%. Its Secondary Effect is the effect of Adaptability to all Normal Pokémon, even their non-Normal types for the dual-typed Pokémon (so e.g. Sawsbuck gets a 100% STAB to its Flying moves as well as its Grass moves), playing into the idea of Normal being the most basic but adaptable type. Too powerful?

    Auto-Windy Terrain: Gotta be Pidgeot, right? Simply get rid of Mega Pidgeot in return. In two minds about Talonflame because it doesn’t sound like something Talonflame should inherently have, but… poor Talonflame.
    Auto-Spooky Terrain: Banette (again, get rid of Mega Banette) and Mismagius. Possibly also Cofagrigus?
    Auto-Plain Terrain: Absolutely Eevee, maybe Girafarig, and because I remember your Top 10 Worst Pokémon entry on Delcatty, let’s go with Delcatty too. Better than Normalize, right?

    Martial Terrain (for Fighting) nerfs Dark moves by 30% (let’s be honest, Fighting does not need a power buff). The tricky thing here is that, for its Secondary Effect, I want it to affect the accuracy of Focus Blast and ONLY Focus Blast, so that we don’t mess with the accuracy of, say, Dynamic Punch. I think we can get away with upping Focus Blast’s accuracy by 20%. Sinister Terrain (for Dark; too ambiguous with Ghost?) nerfs Fighting moves by 30%. Its Secondary Effect activates Rattled, deactivates Justified, and… well, if I had my way, I would give this the priority-blocking effects, instead of Psychic Terrain as it currently is. Psychic Terrain can instead be reworked to be auto-Wonder and Magic Room. And last but not least, Draconic Terrain is the hardest one because Dragon is already such a powerful type and I don’t want to do anything that would make the Dragon pseudo-legendaries even more… legendary. I want to say, the infusion of ancient dragon life energy makes every Pokémon on the field part-Dragon in addition to their original types (so kind of like Forest’s Curse or Trick-or-Treat). If this gives an unfair advantage to Fairy, then have that effect as the terrain’s Secondary Effect, while the Primary Effect halves the power of Fairy moves to match Misty Terrain.

    Auto-Martial Terrain: I feel like this has got to be Sawk and Throh, but it doesn’t match the effect I’ve given the terrain… so how about Mienshao instead?
    Auto-Sinister Terrain: If Honchkrow and Bisharp is too strong already without this, then… Mightyena and Skuntank.
    Auto-Draconic Terrain: Am I wrong in saying that this by default should go to Druddigon?

    Okay, I’m done. That was A LOT and I’m sorry for writing, like, a whole essay, haha. But this was super fun though! Thoughts and comments?

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    1. Im not kind to erase the weather… i would even want to have the hypothetical Watery Terrain working with Rain or Sandstorm or Harsh Sun to produce more effects, like sun evaporating water and then maybe neutralize both effects while still being present; some mud effects with water and sandstorm, with some accuracy or speed effects, rain with water powering up some water or even bug pokemon, water and hail creating something like ice floor that buffs ice types’s speed and slower others… some extra bonuses that require harder conditions to set up.
      Liked the effects of the Bug terrain, adding a pseudo sticky web that doesnt affect bug types and the “hive” effect, but that could also have more effects with rain powering and speeding up the swarming, “freezing” with hail, etc. There could be some Pokemon that reacts with added efects dueto their species, apart from abilitys.
      Also a Pokemon with an ability to set up trick room is something im for.

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      1. Im thinking in Araquanid getting some special buffs if Grassy+Rain, Watery+Rain, Swarming+Rain setting up, like some little speed buff or passive recovering effect.
        Some other thing like Quagsire and Stunfisk with Watery+Sandstorm with a little defense bonus, etc; many pokemon, ideally all, receivig little preconceived buffs if some terrain+weather+wwathever manages to set up.

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      2. Ooohh, combination effects? I never thought of that, that’s certainly a neat idea! If we’re keeping rain as a weather effect though, I’m very hesitant to ALSO add Watery Terrain… One needs only to look at all the wreckage Dracovish is currently doing in rain teams to see that Water absolutely does not need further power ups. I like your mud idea; I can envision Pokémon like Quagsire (like you mentioned) and Swampert moving faster in a muddy environment. The ice floor idea is also intriguing… Although this sounds like a loooooot of work for Game Freak to program pre-determined bonuses for very specific conditions for very specific Pokémon, but I certainly wouldn’t mind!

        Now that you bring it up, we can already have a Sun + Grassy Terrain right now; you’d think there’d already be Grass Pokémon that were designed specifically to take advantage of having the two effects simultaneously! Sunflora, Bellossom, and Cherrim could feasibly get some kind of species-specific bonus to having Sun + Grassy Terrain. Rain + Poisonous should totally give Muk and Alolan Muk a defense boost, or perhaps even constant healing, while Rain + Swarming should increase Masquerain’s speed and special attack.

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        1. Its a lot of work that they may never do, but they should. Maybe just specific buffs to these less powered pokemon like Cherrim, Sunflora, Parasect, etc. Some things like Dracovish just needs an eruptive terrain with falling ash “weather” to be killed or the muddy lake-like terrain to be buried and fossilised for eternity.

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