If you have been anywhere near the internet in the last few months you may have heard that Pokémon X and Y introduced a new controversial mechanic, Mega Evolution. This allowed fully evolved Pokémon to further evolve and (potentially) get more powerful in the process. From the get-go, this mechanic was met by equal measures of love and hate; no one could decide whether they would be good or bad.
So, before we decide, let’s take a look at how things are now. A few months after the game’s release, Mega Pokémon are still in this rather odd middle ground with trainers, who cannot decide. This is with good reason though; the Megas are a tricky subject to talk about, but, to make it easier, let’s cover one area at a time.
No-one can deny that all of the new Mega Pokémon are striking in there design for a variety of reasons. Most take the original Pokémons concept and advance on it creating some truly impressive looking beasts, (such as Mega Abomasnow and Mega Absol) and as you would expect these Pokémon have been received rather well. The looks of these upgrades have never really been brought into question. Well, perhaps with the exception of Mega Heracross.
Gamefreak used Ugly Stick! It’s Super Effective!
Core Pokémon Changes
Almost all of the Megas had some change to their statistics and abilities and most of these powerful upgrades have been enjoyed by trainers. They have breathed life into previously underused Pokémon such as Mawlie and Absol. However, these good additions are outweighed by the bad ones. A few of the Megas not only gained ridiculous stat boosts, putting them above and beyond some legendary Pokémon, but also a ludicrous ability.
Starting with the most broken, Mega Kangaskhan, who gets an ability called Parental Bond which allows it to attack twice in one turn but the second attacks power is halved. Do I even need to explain why this is bad? Couple this with a hefty increase of its defence and special defence and you have a Pokémon that can decimate entire teams with relative ease thanks to a combination of boosted priority moves such as STAB Fake Out and Sucker Punch and absurdly powerful Returns.
Child services? Yes, we need an angry toddler taken away.
While attacking twice will net you some knockouts, trapping a Pokémon and forcing it to double kill with you is almost as bad, and that’s just what Mega Gengar does with its ability, Shadow Tag. Yes, it does mean you can hit this Mega with Earthquake but the upside for it very much outweighs a new weakness. Thanks to its large increase in speed and special attack this Pokémon can dish out some serious damage fast and the worst part is, Shadow Tag stops you from switching your Pokémon to safety meaning if you leave the wrong Pokémon in, it’s going down. The final insult is Destiny Bond, since your Pokémon cannot leave the battlefield it is force to attack Mega Gengar but thanks to its speed it will easily use Destiny Bond and let itself get knocked out just to take yours with it. Simply put, versing a Mega Gengar, something is getting taken out regardless.
For something so powerful it’s surprising that letting it get knocked out is an overpowered strategy.
Combining all this with the fact that some Pokémon that didn’ t really need it, like Garchomp and Tyranitar, got Mega forms with large stat boosts that put them above a chunk of legendary Pokémon. It just seems like a waste to give these already great Pokémon upgrades when so many others are crying out for some love.
Place in the Competitive Metagame
After playing online for a while you will start notice that every team you face (with the exception of some gimmicky teams) will be using at least one Mega Pokémon, or, the more common line up, multiple Pokémon that can Mega evolve. This setup has become the standard for team building and while some dislike it, I think it is a good thing.
When setting up a Pokémon team it is much easier to design a team around a Pokémon than just put a few good Pokémon together and hope for the best. For example, I want to use Mega Charizard Y, a Fire/Flying-type on my team. Although he is a good Pokémon, he suffers from a critical weakness to the popular entry hazard, Stealth Rocks. This means to best utilise Charizard Y, I need a Pokémon with Rapid Spin on my team so it can get rid of those pesky rocks, and who can do that better than Excadrill, a Ground/Steel-type. Already I have two Pokémon that can work well together out of a possible six, a great starting point to create the rest of my team.
Mega Evolution, bringing Charizard to the mainstream.
The addition of, for example, Garchomp on this team then starts the mind games with my opponents, making them think “ ‘What will he Mega evolve? Can I counter it’? ” all before the battle begins is never a bad thing.
As for actual Mega Pokémon use in battling, it says it all when popular battling sites like Smogon have had to ban the use of certain Mega Pokémon and/or their respective Mega Stone item due to their negative effect on the game; that is certainly not a good sign for their design.
Like I said before, some Pokémon didn’t need any buffs, let alone a mega evolution. Other Pokémon could have done with a helping hand in order to rise out of obscurity yet still fit within the metagame and not steal any other Pokémon’s niche.
Take Flygon for example; being a Ground/Dragon-type Pokémon puts it in direct competition with Garchomp and unfortunately, the ‘chomp wins every time. But if this Pokémon had been given a Mega form, it could have been able to be on par with its Dragon-type brethren. As for its ability, since Flygon’s Pokédex entry talks about it creating sandstorms, why not give it Sand Stream to do just that? This gives another Pokémon the chance to be included in sandstorm teams over Garchomp and give him some much needed use. Obviously then to compensate for having such a strong ability, the Mega Flygon would still have to be frail to stay off trainers from switching it in and out constantly.
Flygon, finally as powerful as he should have been.
Or how about Beedrill? There are very few Bug-type Pokémon being used, which is a shame when you consider that Pokémon was created based on a child’s delight of catching bugs in see-through capsules, so why not give them a more of a Mega buff? By giving Beedrill a Mega, you give trainers a Bug/Poison-type Pokémon who can really dish out some damage in more unique ways than before while being a match for the new Fairy-types. All that would need to be done is to give this Pokémon an increase its stats, as Beedrill’s movepool is poor enough to compensate for this change. As for its ability, based on its bad movepool again, Technician (an ability that increase the power of 60 base power moves or lower) would suit it perfectly and give it a good niche to fill but not stepping on Scizor’s toes.
Stab, stab and stab!
Overall though I feel Mega Pokémon have found a nice home in the Pokémon universe. While some of them are questionable, the well-designed do, as a whole, make up for any major issues. I look forward to seeing if Gamefreak do add anymore as the series progresses and if you have mixed feelings about Megas, give them a try in your game, they may surprise you.
(Huge credit to Deviantart user DRANONITH who has caught these fake Mega Evolutions design schemes perfectly)