New battle system for Pokemon Scarlet & Violet explained

Terry Oh
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

The new trailer for Pokemon Scarlet & Violet introduced a myriad of new mechanics which drastically change the battle system of the franchise. Here is an analysis overview of the information presented thus far.

Pokemon has been rather routine in regards to its turn-based combat. Although the base system isn’t receiving an overhaul, the entire competitive meta is drastically evolving. Gone are days where type weaknesses were the be-all-end-all. Switching out {okemon also doesn’t punish players nearly as much anymore.

Shown in the Pokemon Scarlet & Violet competitive trailer, these new changes promise massive steps forward. With new moves, new held items, and new forms to utilize, the brand new additions directly address many of the stale elements which previously plagued the combat.


Pokemon Scarlet & Violet ranked mode

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet appear to be reintroducing PvP Ranked battles. This isn’t necessarily confirmed, but more so speculated from the trainer profiles shown in the trailer.

Ranked isn’t an entirely new feature since Sword and Shield implemented the feature as well. But this competitively catered PvP element was completely missing in the more recent installments: Legends Arceus and BDSP.

The developers this time around are definitely catering more towards the competitive side of things — an aspect often neglected by The Pokemon Company. Judging from the trailer and their general goal with Scarlet and Violet, ranked mode will return more competitive than ever before.

But to create a fiercely competitive game, the developers had to take some steps back from the quality of life changes introduced in Arceus.

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Player profiles and 3v3 battles in the teaser indicate a ranked mode in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet new moves

One of the best new moves being added in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet is easily Shed Tail, which creates a decoy at no health cost, then swap places with a party Pokemon in waiting. The decoy effectively tanks the next hit.

The new move effectively allows the player to switch out Pokemon without being completely punished for doing so — a gameplay element which heavily influenced competitive play.

In the trailer, Cyclizar is the Pokemon using the move, but it’s hasn’t necessarily been confirmed that the move is exclusive to the Legendary. Shed Tail could very well become a brand new staple for various competitive pokemon.

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Shed Tail creates a decoy at no health cost, then swaps with a waiting pokemon

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet new held items

The new held items debuting in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet cater towards creating more varied play styles. Loaded Dice should allow players to use multistrike moves with more efficiency, albeit the exact success rate number hasn’t been officially revealed.

Whatever the case, even if multistrike won’t end up seeing competitive play in the top tiers, the implementation of Loaded Dice allow more casual players to use the multistrike moves without feeling completely at the whim of RNG. It really does suck when a move like Bullet Seed only hits twice.

Mirror Herb is being added as well, which will definitely see competitive play as to counter some of the more stat-increasing compositions by cloning an opponent’s increases. These will not be all the ones joining the full game, but serve as a great teaser for the game’s full release.

Terastallizing in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

This new mechanic looks incredibly flashy, creating sparkles and an entire crown on one Pokemon. As aesthetically pleasing as the sparkling lights may be, terastallizing isn’t just for looks — it changes the type attribute of the mentioned Pokemon.

Planning type advantages has been a huge staple gameplay mechanic left largely unchanged since Generation I. The introduction of terastallizing essentially allows players to choose one Pokemon to not be completely useless against a specific match up.

It’s still unclear how exactly this form functions. Will all Pokemon have access to terastallizating? Can players choose which attribute to transform into? Is this a one time per battle kind of deal?

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Hydro Pump is ineffective against Coalossal, who is originally Fire and Rock-type.

There are tons of questions, but one thing is clear: the Pokemon competitive landscape is evolving.