In a whirlwind of Pokémon news coming out of the Pokémon Presents showcase this morning, there was actually a pretty notable balance change in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet which finally fixies one of the more overpowered strategies hanging over the game’s competitive scene. Dondozo the giant, catfish-like water Pokemon and Tatsugiri, its tiny friend that looks like a living sushi roll, have acted as a dynamic duo in two vs. two battles since the new games launched in November, and part of that is because their compatibility could circumvent the pitfalls of other competitive setups. But that’s all changed in the most recent patch.
These two Pokemon work together in double battles because of Tatsugiri’s Commander ability, which lets the little guy hop into Dondozo’s mouth. Once there, Tatsugiri is able to give the bigger fish a stat boost depending on which form you have. This is accomplished by using Dondozo’s signature move Order Up, which will give it a boost in attack, defense, or speed. Dondozo and Tatsugiri have been one of the more entertaining gimmicks of Scarlet and Violet’s new additions, and it’s all because of how the two come together.
While that’s all well and fun, up until this latest patch, Order Up would still result in a stat increase whether the attack actually landed or not. An example the patch notes give is if an opponent used Protect to prevent them from taking damage, which should, in theory, nullified both the damage done and the stat increase. However, this wasn’t the case before now, as Dondozo was still able to get all the perks of Order Up, even if didn’t actually manage to land a hit. Most attacks that have secondary effects miss out on those if they don’t actually make contact, which made Order Up a powerful outlier, and the Dondozo/Tatsugiri team comp pretty overpowered. But it sounds like things are finally in a reasonable spot, now.
The combo has proven popular because it kinda rules to have one giant fish get stronger by eating his tiny best friend. But the two have made a splash in the competitive scene over the past few months, and there’s even some questioning whether or not Tatsugiri could be the first example of a shiny Pokémon having a competitive edge over its standard form.