Published on December 18th, 2013 | by Oryx9
Fairy Invasion: An Introduction to Fairy-type Pokémon in VGC
For the first time since the release of Pokémon Gold and Silver in 1999, Pokémon introduced a new type in Pokémon X and Y, the Fairy type. Initially, response to the Fairy type was mixed. The alpha-male Pokémon players cited the new type was “too girly” and threatened their masculinity. I however, with fellow Fairy enthusiasts, welcomed the Fairy-type with open arms! The new addition was not an entire theoretical shake up due to the existence of the Fairy egg group. Moreover, you could imagine yourself fantasizing over the sheer ferocity of say, a Fire-Fairy, a Dark-Fairy or even a Dragon-Fairy type Pokémon! Albeit many of these weren’t realized in X and Y, there are many spectacular Fairy type Pokémon. The purpose of this article is to not only overview the viable Fairy-type Pokémon but indicate their strengths and weaknesses on a competitive level.
Before examining some Pokémon, we must consider the typing of the pure Fairy type.
- Offensively Fairy is super effective against Fighting, Dragon and Dark types, while being not very effective against Fire, Poison and Steel types.
- Defensively Fairy is resistant to Fighting, Bug and Dark types with a special immunity to the Dragon type. On the other hand, it is weak to Poison and Steel types.
The new addition to the type chart makes the Fairy-type an interesting outlier. Offensively, Fairy is an incredible type as it hits popular VGC ’13 types such as Fighting and Dragon types for supper effective damage while the less-popular Dark type as well. Its offensive drawback is that its not very effective against Steel types, a dominant defensive type and a competitive staple. The resistances of Fire and Poison are less-so considerable for Fairies given their unpopularity in VGC but a consideration nonetheless and they may give rise to niche Pokémon. As an offensive force, the Fairy type also means Pokémon such as Hydreigon and Scrafty join the 4x weaknesses club.
Defensively, fairy is also fantastic! With a useful resistance to Fighting stacked with those to Bug and Dark types and not to mention, an insane immunity to the Dragon types that dominated VGC ’12, Fairy is a defensive force to be reckoned with. The days of having to tank a Dragon Gem Draco Meteor are minimized by decreases in move and Gem power and to Fairies, an incoming meteor is frivolous. On the downside, the weakness to Steel types does make Fairies a considerable target for the already-prominent type, whereas the Poison weakness is somewhat manageable given its former unpopularity. All in all, Fairy is an amazing type, so let’s have a look at whether there are enough Pokémon to take advantage of it!
At the time of writing, Mega Mawile is perhaps the most dominant Fairy type if not Mega Evolution as well. From previously being a competitive footnote, Mawile has had a rags to riches story through Mega Evolution. By Mega Evolving, Mawile gains a huge boost to its base Attack and Defenses. Its new ability of Huge Power doubles its Attack stat, effectively giving it a Base 259 Attack stat, the highest in the game, ensuring the two-mouthed Steel-Fairy hits like several trucks. As a Steel-Fairy type, Mawile takes neutral damage from the Steel type (a common Fairy’s worst enemy), and is immune to Poison. Further, its only weaknesses are the Fire and Ground type. In terms of its pre-Mega Evolution state, Mawile possesses useful abilities in Intimidate and Hyper Cutter. While the former being popular due to the prowess of Physical attackers, this generation; Hyper Cutter could be used to block opposing intimidates. With Base 50/125/95 Defenses, Mega Mawile is not too bad defensively either. Overall, Mega Mawile definitely has all the star qualities to become a staple!
On the down side, if one decides to use Mega Mawile it must be their designated Mega Evolution as unlike some other Mega Evolutions e.g. Tyranitar, Garchomp and Gyarados, Mawile cannot stand on its own. Mega Mawile also requires speed control often in the form of Trick Room or a redirection move such as Rage Powder.Mega Mawile’s Special Defence may be its Achilles heel as it amplifies its weaknesses to Fire types. Further, because of its low pre-Mega-evolution defences, Mawile makes a very vulnerable switch-in. Moreover, Mega Mawile is a great target for attack-reducing aspects of the meta game such as Intimidate and Will-o-wisp and it is shut down by Skill swap.
- Play Rough (that 90% accuracy can have its downs)
- Iron Head
- Sucker Punch
Can we all take a moment to appreciate that Klefki is a pair of lost keys. Cute.
Competitively, Klefki’s role is essentially a Kalos-Thundurus. Yes, it possesses perhaps one of Pokémon’s most broken abilities, Prankster. Sharing its great Steel-Fairy typing with Mawile, Klefki also sports Base 57/91/87 defences which seem subpar at first glance but with maximum investment it has the makings of a tank. Not only does Klefki have Prankster and passable defenses, its move pool includes:
- Swagger (watch out Cybertron)
- Light Screen & Reflect
- Sunny Day, Rain Dance
- Crafty Shield
- Offensive slot: Play Rough or Dazzling Gleam
Thus, Klefki seems to be quite the interesting choice as it serves as a substitute for Thundurus in X and Y. Parafusion lives.
Gardevoir and Mega-Gardevoir
Like its fellow Fairy brethren, Gardevoir received a Mega-boost in X & Y through a new typing and Mega Evolution. As stated, Fairy typing is phenomenal both offensively and defensively. As a Psychic-Fairy, Gardevoir is a major wall to Fighting types and despite weaknesses to Poison and Ghost, it remains threatened by Steel types. In its original form, Gardevoir carries a notable base 125 Special Attack and Base 115 Special Defence but has little other redeeming qualities. On a team, it may be used as a Trick Room setter and possesses useful support moves such as Will-o-wisp, Thunderwave and Dual Screens while also being able to dish out considerable damage with Moonblast. Its problem is its weak physical defenses with 68/65 across the board. With maximum investment, this could be mediated but nonetheless, is a weak point which requires team building around.
- Status: Will-o-wisp, Thunderwave
- Trick Room
As per Mega Evolution, Gardevoir gains an increased Special Attack, Special Defence and Speed stat to Base 165, 135 and 100 respectively elevating it to colossal heights. Its Special stats are raised to mammoth levels as it possesses one of the highest usable Special Attacks in the game (second only to Mega-Alakazam) and a fantastic Special Bulk. Its Speed change is somewhat confusing as at Base 100, it is no longer a viable Trick Room user and requires maximum investment along with a boosting nature to be significant like its Base 100 brethren. Gardevoir also gains Pixilate, an interesting new ability which turns Normal-type moves into Fairy-type moves. Despite sounding cool, there are few uses for Pixilate besides a Fairy 102 BP Return coming from a Pokémon with Base 85 Attack, the use of Echoed Voice or perhaps the not-so-so-gimmicky Round gimmick which could actually be pulled off with a fast partner such as Noivern.
If its former non-Fairy brethren weren’t loving their type transformation enough, Azumarill too has gained a lot in Pokémon X and Y. From being a cute competitive doormat, the Aqua bunny has become a pixie powerhouse. Azumarill’s unique Water and Fairy typing complement each other very well, giving Azumarill a niche. Defensively, Water resists Fairy’s weaknesses to the Steel type, resulting in neutral damage. Additionally, the array of resistances of the Fairy type and the Water type come together to give Azumarill a total of six resistances and one immunity. Offensivley, Water-Fairy also possesses flawless coverage, hitting every Pokémon type for neutral damage! The competitive Azumarill may be seen sporting a Choice Band in a Trick Room-heavy team while also having the unique possibility of Belly Drum and Aqua Jet! The sole of its kind, Azumarill beats its belly, maximizing its Attack (+6!) and the following turn may use Base 40 power, priority move Aqua Jet to blast into its opponents face with its polished guns. Despite requiring a one-turn set up, the combo is unique and packs a punch.
- Watefall/Aqua Tail
- Aqua Jet + Belly Drum
- Play Rough
Defensively, Azumarill’s stats are middling at Base 100/80/80 defenses. Its typing leaves it weak to Electric, Grass and Poison types. While the latter two are rare sights in VGC, Electric types will pose a threat to Azumarill. It will also require speed support as its Base 50 Speed will leave it trailing behind. Yet, it makes a great Trick Room Sweeper. Additionally, refer back to the Belly Drum & Aqua Jet combo (BellyJet), Azumarill covers the speed issue but that one-turn set-up can be crucial. Nonetheless, Azumarill is an interesting choice, miles ahead of where it was last year.
Aromatisse, the fragrance Pokémon. When Spritzee was first introduced, I was certain it would evolve into a flamingo Pokémon. CERTAIN. Instead, we got a hybrid of a risque French dancer and a Furby toy. Competitively, Aromatisse is the new Trick Room setter on the block. With the non-usability of Cresselia in VGC ’14, Aromatisse serves as a premier replacement. Defensively, it is endowed with Base 101/72/89 Defenses, nowhere near Cresselia’s presence as a tank but a solid stand-in. Aromatisse also sports a very useful Base 29 Speed for Trick Room and a respectable Base 99 Special Attack, giving it more offensive presence than the standard Cresselia. As a pure Fairy, Aromatisse indulges in the type’s defensive presence and is only threatened seriously by Steel-types.
Defensively, Aromatisse’s physical bulk of 101/72 slightly lets it down, making it extra vulnerable to Steel types like Mega-Mawile and (Mega-)Scizor. However, with just the right investment, VGC’s sweetheart can pull through the steely eyes of adversity.
- Trick Room
- Light Screen &/or Reflect
- Other attacking options: Thunderbolt, Psyshock/Psychic and Energy Ball
- Skill Swap
The Fairy type shortlist! Sadly, some of these nymphs did make the cut, yet they do have some obscure niches, so I thought they deserved an overview!
Sylveon - MY FAVOURITE. If you watch the Eevee & Friends minimovie, Sylveon moves with such grace and CUTENESS. Competitively, its Base 130 Special Defense and Base 110 Special Attack are useful but its gravely limited by its movepool. Base 95/65 physical bulk is quite pathetic and Base 60 Speed is doing it no favours. However, with the loss of move tutors, I could see it being a decent and cute supporter with Helping Hand.
Florges - Even its name is elegant. Basically a better Sylveon. With Base 78/154 Florges has serious potential as a Special wall. Unfortunately, Base 78/65 physical bulk is worse than Sylveon’s and its movepool is just as shallow. It has aesthetic appeal but even then, it may just be a decent supporter in doubles.
Slurpuff - An average Joe Fairy. There isn’t really anything special about Slurpuff. Base 85 Special Attack is pitiful and 82/86/85 defenses are mediocre. It does possess a niche in Sweet Veil, blocking sleep but its unclear how useful this will be. It carries a diverse movepool, with unique access to Flamethrower, but it’s missing a key Fairy ingredient, Moonblast.
To conclude, Fairies definitely present an interesting shakeup to the Standard metagame. Offensively and defensively, Fairies are superstars in typing. However, they’ve been plagued by poor distribution and their often average physical bulks leaves them vulnerable to Steel types. Even so, Fairies are sure to drive Dragon types and Mr. Crocker crazy.
Article image created by ishmam and used with permission. Check out his deviantART page