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Pokémon Scarlet And Violet Battles Look Intense, New Mechanics Revealed

The latest trailer shows Cyclizar and dives deeper into Terastal transformations

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Cyclizar appears on the battlefield ready for his first Pokémon fight.
Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

Three months out from release, there’s still a ton about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet we don’t know, but a new trailer shown during the 2022 World Championship sheds a little more light how the Gen 9 games will shake up the competitive scene in some big ways. Plus, in addition to details on a bunch of new items and Terastal transformations, we also got our first look at everyone’s favorite new big boy lizard, Cyclizar, who may or may not evolve into the game’s colorful legendary mounts.

But first, the new battle mechanics. Here’s a quick breakdown of new tactics that will be available to Scarlet and Violet players this fall:

  • Terastallizing changes a Pokémon’s type to its hidden Tera-type
  • Tera Blast is a Normal-type attack learned from a TM that changes to the Tera-type during transformation
  • New held item Mirror Herb matches an opponent’s stat boost once per battle
  • New held item Covert Cloak protects Pokémon from additional move effects
  • New held item Loaded Dice makes multi-strike moves hit more times
  • New move Shed Tail creates a decoy while your Pokémon switches with one on the bench

The items especially are a big deal. Mirror Herb will make opponents think twice about burning a turn on moves like Sword Dance, while Loaded Dice will make moves like Bullet Seed much more powerful, adding to the arsenal of an extremely competitive sleep doctor like Breloom.

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The Terastal transformations are also a big deal. The trailer seems to confirm that you won’t need to waste space on a held item to use Terastallize during battle, and Tera Blast is a good example of what can make the mechanic a game changer. In the trailer, a Tyranitar starts out as a Rock/Dark type, switches to Ghost-type after Terastallizing, and then unleashes a Ghost-type attack with Tera Blast. In addition it changing its damage type, it also suddenly gains the upper hand against its natural foes like Bug and Fighting types.

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That has a bunch of players excited for the new strategic possibilities in Gen 9, but the trailer also unleashed a torrent of fan theories around Cyclizar. The Dragon and Normal-type is native to the Paldean region and has a Twisted Metal-style wheel appendage to carry trainers long distances. It also looks a hell of a lot like Koraidon and Miraidon, the Scarlet and Violet-exclusive legendary Pokémon who were previously revealed to double as player mounts.

This has led some fans to speculate that Cyclizar may have a split-evolution, and actually transform into either Koraidon or Miraidon at some point. Others have postulated that given hints around Scarlet and Violet involving time travel, Cyclizar may actually be the present-era form, while Koraidon is the ancient form and Miraidon is the version that exists in the future. Time-based variant forms of other Pokémon have already been reported to exist in the recent batch of massive leaks, so there are a lot of possibilities.

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Whatever Cyclizar’s backstory turns out to be, it’s providing more productive fodder for fans than the alternative: once again bashing Pokémon’s graphics. Some players are already poring over the latest trailer and complaining about some of the aesthetic trade-offs compared to Sword and Shield. There’s also some frustration that the new games don’t appear to be as free-flowing in camera and character movements during battle as Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Of course, people were worried Arceus would be a disaster too, only for it to win fans over once it was finally out.