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Monday, August 1, 2016

Pokémon Sun and Moon: Alola Forms, New Pokémon, Trials, Z-Moves, Riding!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Things are very different in Alola than the other Pokémon regions. That's a good thing.

This isn't just a little news release — no, today The Pokémon Company International released the news of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon in a five and a quarter minute trailer with multiple sections of their website updated. There's so much, that this article is going to need headings to deal with it.

First, though, we need to obligatorily embed today's trailer:

Let's go in the order our article's title goes.

Alola Forms

Today, we've seen five Alolan forms of previously discovered Pokémon: Sandshrew, Sandslash, Vulpix, Ninetales, and Exeggutor. The official website explains it this way:

Some Pokémon have adapted to the distinctive microclimates of the Alola region, taking on different forms than they have in other regions. These Pokémon are called regional variants. Taking root in the Alola region, they live like native Pokémon. Regional variant Pokémon can have different appearances and types, and their ways of living can also differ from that of the forms previously known.”

While one wonders what the effects of climate change will have on Alola, we now know that Alola has some very icy islands that some Pokémon, such as Sandshrew, are fleeing to because of volcanic activity. Others, like Vulpix, are fleeing from predators. They have their typing, abilities, and stats (Alolan Sandshrew is described as slower) change as a result.

...Height and weight also change:

TPCI's official comparison concept art of Alolan Exeggutor to Exeggutor. It's a bit off.

We've seen form and typing changes before from environmental causes (such as Wormadam), but not to this extent. These form changes are basically new Pokémon, though their effect on the Pokédex is unknown.

...As a reminder, the Pokédex is a Rotom. If anyone can adapt to form changes, it's a Pokémon that's famous for them.

Alolan Exeggutor versus Exeggutor to-scale height comparison to scale size
This is a to-scale version of Alolan Exeggutor and Exeggutor. (429 inches to 79 inches.)

By the way. Alolan Exeggutor is a Dragon type. You hear that, Charizard? This is what a REAL Dragon looks like!

New Pokémon

Speaking of Donald Trump's previous spirit-Pokémon, let's now look to the few brand-new Pokémon revealed today. We were screaming about Donald Trump back in E3 2016 when Yungoos was first revealed.

Yungoos has now evolved. And so has our hype.

Yungoos evolves into Gumshoos Pokémon Sun Moon Donald Trump
Meet: Gumshoos! More Donald Trump than Dick Gumshoe, he even has the bags under his eyes.

It appears that Gumshoos represents Donald Trump's (still-awaited) general election pivot from his primary-battling Yungoos form:
“Gumshoos’s method of targeting prey is the exact opposite of Yungoos’s strategy. [...] But when the sun goes down, it runs low on stamina, falling asleep right on the spot.”
That last bit means he's low-energy, unlike Yungoos. We've seen low-energy “presidential” Trump in venues such as E3 2016. We didn't like it. So maybe we'll keep Yungoos un-evolved. That way, we can still get 3 AM tweets from him.

Last news dump revealed Mudsdale, which we saw as an excellent Pocket Card Jockey influence. We now know his pre-evolution, Mudbray. According to the official website, Mudbray is the Donkey Pokémon (something that's been long-awaited), and...
“Mudbray could once be found all over the world, but it was overhunted and ended up on the verge of extinction. It’s said that the Alola region is the only place in the world where Mudbray can still be found in the wild.”
Well, that explains why we haven't seen Mudbray anywhere.

Perhaps, if we take our political analogy further, this is a future world where Donald Trump (Yungoos/Gumshoos) dominates the world in a landslide, sending the Democratic Party (represented by the Donkey Mudbray) to the last “blue state” left, Hawaii (Alola).

...And now, Yungoos, a Pokémon that was brought (or brought himself) to Alola to hunt down an over-population of Pokémon (all of the Mudbray that fled to Alola), is ready to make his move. Mudbray will either be eliminated... or evolve into the very respectable Mudsdale.

There's some sort of uninteresting other new Pokémon... and then there's Oricorio, which demonstrates that micro-climate changing isn't unique to Alola transplants.

Oricorio Pokémon Sun Moon unique styles Baile Pom-Pom Pa'u Sensu Alola
My Oricorio tier list: Pom-Pom Style > Pa'u Style > Sensu Style > Baile Style.

What's YOUR preference? All Oricorio have the Revelation Dance move, which uses the typing of its non-Flying type. They also all have the Dancer ability, which is like an automatic Mirror Move for any other Pokémon's Dance attacks. Dancer appears to even activate in, say, a Doubles match if Oricorio's partner uses Quiver Dance!

The Rite of the Island Passage (and Trials, and Kahunas)

In what apparently either replaces gyms (which would be very interesting) or exists with them (which would be too much), there are these “Rites of the Island Challenges”. These Rites involve Trials, and Trials are lead by Trial Captains that specialise in a Pokémon type. The fact we know that ahead of time probably means you battle them at some point. To fully master an island, you must defeat the island's Kahuna in the GRAND TRIAL. The Melemele Island's Kahuna is Hala, that dude who apparently has in his possession Tapu Koko, the island's guardian deity.

At the end of each Trial, there is a mighty Totem Pokémon. As an example of two, we have a giant, glowing Gumshoos, and Lurantis, the Totem Pokémon of Lush Jungle of an Akala Island trial. Trial Pokémon are basically wild boss fights that can summon minions (Gumshoos can summon the Twitter-posting Yungoos), and are stronger than when you'd see them otherwise.

Totem Gumshoos's aura flared to life! Its Defense rose! Donald Trump Wall just got ten feet higher Pokémon Sun Moon

Are Totem Pokémon going to be catchable? I actually hope not. Leave catchable boss fights to wild Legendaries. I want something relatively new here — a glorified Trainer battle that feels like something from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon.


What's a Z-Move? Well, Z-Moves are a once-per-battle attack that is unique for each of the eighteen types. All Pokémon can use them, from the mighty Arceus to the docile Wynaut. (Whether Psychic-type Z-Moves are of any offensive use remains to be seen.) These are activatable by holding certain Key Items. Whether these need to be Held by the Pokémon like a Mega Evolution stone or not is a mystery.

What IS known is that these moves look pretty strong, your protagonist does a whacky dance, and there will be a sound-and-light-emitting physical dongle (the Z-Ring) manufactured by Tomy International that will look nice with your Pokémon GO Plus, and will be synchronised to your usage of Z-Moves in-game.

Poké Riding

Lastly, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon appear to be piggybacking off of Pokémon Ranger by having, as the official site says,
“One aspect of the culture in the Alola region is something known as Poké Ride, in which certain Pokémon help people get to places they wouldn’t be able to reach by using human strength alone. These Pokémon don’t join your team, but you can call on them anytime to receive their help. This practice is typical of the way of life in Alola, where humans and Pokémon are so closely bound together.” [Emphasis added]
Ride Pokémon Sun Moon Alola Mudsdale Sharpedo Tauros
(Hi Tauros!) Will Alola's version of the Game Corner be a Parimutuel Racebook where you can bet on winners?

I was scared by the subjugation of Stoutland in an earlier already-linked-to article, but it appears they're all wild and possibly HM-replacing. Ride Pokémon will be on land, in the sky (no HM Fly), and in the water (no HM Surf). Basically, everywhere unless you want to start going underground. (...Not recommended on islands.) It also implies that HMs have to exist in other regions BECAUSE of a lack of bond between humans and Pokémon.

The bond between Trainer and Pokémon is becoming a prevalent theme in Pokémon Sun and Moon,  and it seems to be in a far more meaningful way (especially with gameplay ramifications) than last generation's Pokémon Amie mode. We continue to look forward to more news about this upcoming 3DS release, coming out November 18 of this year!

Ludwig has his confidence renewed in Game Freak for these new Pokémon games. What about you? Are you pleased about the new announcements and direction, or are you clinging bitterly to the past? Are you a closet Minior fan and mad that Ludwig didn't mention it? Let KoopaTV know in the comments.

News release ten days later! More Alolan Pokémon! The villainous team as well!
Exeggutor to-scale isn't the only to-scale Alolan Pokémon art Ludwig makes.
Mudbray isn't why Yungoos was brought to Alola.


  1. Finally, a proper Shrek Team and Winnie the Pooh team can be made with the donkey. Maybe I'll have an unevolved Mudbray named Al Gore because:

    (my husband and I reenact this scene when ever we are in an area in the zoo with a donkey.

    1. "Thanks to PirateBay for supplying the clip." lol

      Good scene.

      But yeah, the Donkey you've been worrying about for months is here. Now you must wonder why a Donkey evolves into a Horse.

    2. Same reason a mouse evolves into a rabbit (Marill to Azumarill. Rabbits aren't even rodents. Or Poochyena is a combination of a dog and a hyena (just tell any self respecting zoologist a hyena is a dog, it won't end pretty). Or an ape becomes a monkey (Chimchar to Monferno/Infernape) and zoologists absolutely hate when a particular primate is called wrongly a monkey or ape when they are the other.

    3. ...Hey, I'm not a zoologist and I don't care about what they think, either!

    4. Blah blah, we know you hate science. Science is what is going to help me not dread labor as much. And I truly have a high risk pregnancy and I finally am getting medications to control my too fast heart rate and hyperthyroid.

    5. Hmph. Attitude.

      A zoologist didn't make those medications.

    6. But how will we know about the amazing lives of giraffes if they were not studied?


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