Earlier today, The Pokémon Company officially unveiled the Hisui-region forms of Zorua and Zoroark, set to appear in Pokémon Legends: Arceus next year. Unlike their original Dark typing, however, these regional variants are a dual Normal and Ghost typing, a unique combination that’s never been seen in the Pokémon series before now.
“These Zorua migrated to the Hisui region after being driven from other lands by humans, who shunned the Pokémon for manifesting uncanny illusions,” a press release explains. “But the Zorua perished, unable to survive the harsh Hisuian environment and strife with other Pokémon. Their lingering souls were reborn in this Ghost-type form through the power of their malice toward humans and Pokémon.”
“The spiteful power emitted from Hisuian Zoroark’s long, writhing fur projects terrifying illusions—and can also inflict physical harm upon foes, damaging their bodies from both inside and out,” the press release continues. “And the illusions that Zoroark projects have expressions of such utter malice toward every last thing upon this world that those who see them are said to be driven mad by the terror.”
Tragic backstories and hatred for humans? Perfect additions to a children’s game!
According to Bulbapedia, today’s Hisuian Zorua and Zoroark debut leaves only 16 unused type combinations: Normal/Poison, Normal/Rock, Normal/Bug, Normal/Steel, Normal/Ice, Fighting/Ground, Fighting/Electric, Fighting/Fairy, Poison/Steel, Poison/Ice, Ground/Fairy, Rock/Ghost, Bug/Dragon, Bug/Dark, Fire/Grass, and Fire/Fairy. Some of those are pretty nonsensical—I’m looking at you, Fire/Grass—but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to see what the devs might come up with for Poison/Ice or Rock/Ghost.
This union of Normal- and Ghost-type is also distinctive for gameplay reasons. As noted by Pokémon champion Wolfe Glick in a video coincidentally released earlier this month, the two types form what may be one of the most powerful combos in the video games due to how they cover each other’s blind spots.
Traditionally, Normal-type Pokémon are weak to Fighting-type attacks, while Ghosts take double damage from other Ghosts. But seeing as Normal-type Pokémon are also immune to Ghost attacks and Ghosts can’t be hit by Fighting-type moves, those two vulnerabilities are completely wiped away. This results in Pokémon of the Normal/Ghost variety having three full immunities and only one weakness. Not bad!
Pokémon Legends: Arceus comes to Nintendo Switch on January 28, 2022.