Regigigas, one of the many Legendary Pokémon introduced in Generation IV, doesn’t need me to feel sorry for it. But the normal-type titan monster has been getting the short end of the stick thanks to its signature Ability Slow Start since it debuted in 2006, and I can’t help but pity the poor, giant rock man sleeping in the ancient ruins of Snowpoint Temple in the Sinnoh region.
Ever since Abilities were added to the mainline Pokémon games in Generation III, they’ve made individual monsters feel distinct beyond their stats and movesets. These passive traits can give you an edge in a battle—like Raichu’s Static, which paralyzes an enemy if they strike the electric mouse with a physical attack—or they can act as a built-in sabotage—like Slaking’s Truant, which prevents it from attacking every other turn. However, given Legendary Pokémon’s power within the universe, the biggest and baddest of these creatures usually have something that makes them a powerhouse to deal with. Well, except for Regigigas, who cannot catch a break.
Regigigas was introduced in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl as the leader of Generation III’s Legendary Titans (two more were introduced in Generation VIII). As a god-like creator of these five already powerful Pokémon, it’s no surprise Regigigas is a powerhouse with a strong 160 base attack stat its most powerful asset, but between its respectable speed and defensive stats, it’s not just a glass cannon throwing powerful physical attacks. It’s got a diverse moveset so there are options to utilize its physical strength with a distinct elemental flavor of several other typings in the series. By all accounts, Regigigas should be a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately for it, Game Freak built in an inherent flaw that keeps it from reaching its full potential until much later in a fight.
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Slow Start is Regigigas’ signature ability. It’s the only Pokémon cursed with it and it doesn’t have a hidden ability to replace it with. This affliction makes it so Regigigas’ attack and speed stats are halved for the first five turns it’s on the field. The game references the effect with text that reads “Regigigas can’t get it going!” during fights. If you’re fighting this big, sentient rock, that’s your cue to start wailing on it before it reaches full strength. In most Pokémon battles, it’s pretty easy to one-shot even the biggest, bulkiest foe if you strike with their elemental weakness. So if you’re well-prepared, you can take Regigias out before it can even hit back.
This scenario gets messier if you’re trying to catch it. Catching Legendary Pokémon is notoriously difficult because their catch rates are much higher than your average, run-of-the-mill wild Pokémon. So a lot of these encounters can become long, drawn-out fights, with you spamming Pokéballs until one finally works. If you’re trying to catch the big rock man, it could very well take more than five turns, so it will be back at its full power and can punch through your Pokémon, decimating them before you can snag it. It’s frustrating when out in the wild, but as far as its competitive viability, Regigigas gets such a slow start that it can often be hard or impossible to catch up by the time you can actually take advantage of its raw power.
The funniest thing is: Regigigas should have gotten a break from this delayed attack mechanic in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, as last year’s single-player-focused RPG did away with Abilities altogether. When you’re not balancing through a competitive lens, it makes sense that some mechanics would be scrapped in place of new systems, but Regigigas got no such reprieve, as Slow Start was repurposed into an exclusive status effect. Sure, it’s consistent in terms of lore, but also this poor titan has been going through it for so long, and now we know through Legends: Arceus’ historical setting that Regigigas has been suffering for centuries.
Honestly, more Legendary Pokémon need to be taken down a peg. Sure, they’re forces of nature or even gods, but each of them have a weakness, and more of them should be stupid and hilarious like Regigigas not being a morning person. Give me a Legendary Pokémon who misses every other attack because its eyes are still adjusting to the sunlight after slumbering for centuries.