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A long time ago, on a handheld far, far away, the Pokemon series’ Psychic type was the runaway strongest around. Beginning as early as Gold & Silver, Game Freak took steps to address the imbalance, but much to the relief of Mewtwo fans everywhere, Psychic has never been downright weakened — it’s just that other types have a better chance against it.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet maintains this philosophy. There’s plenty to bludgeon Psychic-types with, but plenty more to shoot strange telekinetic beams at from a safe distance. Who shoots the strangest beams of all? Find out now.
A sizable chunk of Espathra‘s greatness rests not in its competitive viability, but its combination of etymology and design. It’s striking, colorful but not quite vivid; as its Pokedex photo illustrates, it suits some of Paldea’s weather to a tee.
But what we love about Espathra more is its name ‘ESP’ plus ‘Cleopatra’, its suitably Egyptian style, and — in the kind of lovely cross-cultural blend Pokemon can pull off — a Spanish mantilla draped over its back. We’re not yet sure whether Espathra will carve out a spot for itself in the online meta game, but we’re certain this sassy bird’s worth a spot in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s single-player squad.
Among Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s returning stars is Gallade, the Psychic/Fighting alternative evolution to Ralts and Kirlia that’s been around almost as long as the perennially popular Gardevoir at this point… and yet still feels oddly new. Gallade’s Psychic/Fighting mixture has always given it a niche as a ‘wallbreaker’ (read: Pokemon pal whose offenses can bust open a defensive enemy).
Gallade’s Attack and Special Defense stats are far and away its highest, which is noteworthy in its own right; it’s relatively rare for a Pokemon to blend a physical offensive talent with a special defense (and vice versa). It gives Gallade a peculiar edge against Pokemon with high Special Attack, but challenges players to remember that, at the end of the day, Gallade can’t take many blows from fellow fisticuff fanatics.
Older even than Gallade or Gardevoir, Slowking is another alternative evolution, this time branching off from Slowpoke if players trade theirs with a King’s Rock rather than letting it evolve naturally into a Slowbro. In Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, you’ll need to repeat the age-old trick, asking a friend to help out by accepting your rock-bearing Slowpoke and then sending back the newfound king. The King’s Rock can be purchased at Delibird Presents, at least, so that’s not too hard.
Slowking is one of the bulkier Psychic-types in Paldea, with a robust Special Defense and resistances to Fighting, Steel, Fire, Water, Psychic, and Ice. While those are all good to have, it’s Fighting and Steel in particular that help this pink monarch shine — Paldea possesses an almost overwhemingly physical-centric Pokedex, so anyone who can withstand commonly Attack-based blows is in good shape here.
Rabsca joins the Electric/Fighting-type Pawmot as one of only two Pokemon with access to what might be the ninth generation games’ most outstanding new move: Revival Blessing. Until 2022, the notion of a pure resurrection spell entering the series was naught but a dream; indeed, Rabsca and Pawmot can use this premium technique to revive a fallen party member to half their health.
For the epic utility this brings online, Rabsca cannot be ignored. Will this ultimately be enough to offset base stats that, save for Special Attack, don’t exactly light up the charts? We don’t know, but we suspect that, if nothing else, Rabsca will go down as the kind of beetle that’ll catch your enemies off-guard when it pulls that mighty Garchomp back from the brink of oblivion.
Johto aficionados were treated to a joyous surprise during the reveal of Farigiraf, an evolution of Pokemon’s finest palindrome pet, Girafarig. Farigiraf’s got an interesting ability in Cud Chew, which lets it tap into the benefits of a berry not just on the turn it’s triggered, but the following turn as well. Early competitive onlookers have already begun to devise scenarios in which this can crack open several long-time tactics.
Don’t sleep on Farigiraf’s impressive move pool diversity, either. While its Special Attack is higher than its Attack, the latter is hardly terrible, and you’ll surely come out swinging with a well-timed Earthquake here and there. (Just don’t forget to include at least one actually Psychic-type move.)
We mentioned earlier that Paldea’s got a real fixation on physical strength, so it’s no shocker to find the famous Psychic/Fairy Gardevoir here near the top of Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s inaugural analysis. Gardevoir’s always-reliable move pool, featuring everything it needs to charge up heavy-hitting Special-based strikes. Its Defense isn’t anything to write home about, so don’t be too careless as you cleave a sparkly hole through teams.
Gardevoir was beloved long before Pokemon X & Y introduced the Fairy type, but ever since then, it’s possessed a total immunity to Dragon-types that only improves its standing. You can’t go wrong here.
We also ranked the dual-type Armarouge on our list of best Fire-types in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, but we think its flame shines ever more brightly on the Psychic side of the equation. A highly capable Special Sweeper, which is to say, a Pokemon who can ‘sweep’ through enemy ranks with Special-based attacking, Armarouge can wreck rivals with moves like Armor Cannon, Energy Ball, and Shadow Ball.
Armarouge is also the reverse Gallade in the sense that its Special Attack is its highest stat, followed not by Special Defense, but Defense. This is all the better, as it can take a beating from plenty of Pokemon who prefer to let their fists do the talking while burning them with Will-O-Wisp and then going for the slay with Armor Cannon.
1/8 Scream Tail
Scream Tail, Paldea’s prehistoric spin on something most Pokemon fans recall for nothing more malevolent than writing on sleeping people’s faces with a marker (though to be fair, that’s pretty rude) transforms into a Psychic-type demon in Scarlet & Violet.
Like Gardevoir, Scream Tail’s a Psychic/Fairy. It’s a more defensive pivot by comparison, and frankly, not very strong. Yet, it’s our favorite Psychic-type Pokemon in the newest games. Go figure, right? It’s precisely Scream Tail’s bulk that works so well online right now; have it hold Booster Energy, and its highest stat (HP and Special Defense, tied) increases by 50 percent.
What’s more, for such a wall by design, Scream Tail’s speed is frightening. Anything weak to Dazzling Gleam and slower than a base stat of 111 is going to, at minimum, take some noteworthy damage despite Scream Tail’s lower offensive stats.
Next: Pokemon Scarlet & Violet: Every Type’s Terastallization, Ranked By Appearance
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