Is Basculegion a Good Pokemon?

Basculegion is a new Pokemon evolution featured in Pokemon Legends Arceus for Basculin, which badly needed it. It’s not that Basculin was actually bad, but it was underwhelming at best. Fortunately, Game Freak has made it their mission starting with Sun and Moon to reevaluate Pokemon that never seemed to get a fair shake by either giving them regional forms or brand new evolutions. This may end up being one of the better new Pokemon introduced in the Hisui region, as we will discuss here in answering the question: is Basculegion a good Pokemon?

In doing research for this article, I found this very solid review of Basculin. See, Basculin wasn’t a bad Pokemon for being a last minute addition to the Unova Pokedex for the Black and White games. It’s got 98 base speed, which is decent if not excellent. Also, 92 base attack is pretty good for hitting a strong Waterfall and also with its priority move in Aqua Jet. For the most part, it’s pretty much just a decent in-game Pokemon, with different abilities based on the red-stripe or blue-stripe, that doesn’t really scream competitive thanks to poor defense stats.

One interesting point the review I found mentioned is that Basculin doesn’t seem to need the special attack Stat. But, you wonder if an evolution was considered for Basculin to come at some point, making this apparent oversight into an intentional design choice. Now, here it is and it’s Water and Ghost type, the same type combination as Frillish and Jellicent. Basculin had only two weaknesses, electric and grass. Adding the Ghost-type to Basculegion makes it immune to Normal and Fighting-type moves, but also leaves it weak to Ghost and Dark type attacks.

Fortunately, these defensive weaknesses are fairly easy to cover for, especially as Basculegion gains access to Ghost-type attacks such as Hex and Shadow Ball to counter Ghost-type Pokemon. As for Pokemon packing Ghost-type and Dark-type attacks, Basculegion will simply have to outspeed them or switch out into a better defensive option. Interestingly, since many Ghost-type attacks are special, the Special Attack stat that seemed wasted on Basculin now looks more important, although at the time, it was probably just so you could pack Surf on it and still do decent damage.

Basculegion also has a pretty neat backstory. Apparently, in order to evolve, it becomes possessed by the souls of the dead Basculin who didn’t make it on their journey upstream. It makes for one of the best evolution designs in Pokemon Legends Arceus, and it will also be a Pokemon you can ride on in the water.

Perhaps the best Pokemon to compare Basculegion to that’s been reasonably competitive in the past is Jellicent, the only other fully-evolved Water/Ghost type to this point. Jellicent was purely a special wall with high HP that had many utility options, being able to stall using Recover, and take down a big threat with Destiny Bond; but, it also could hit a fairly strong Shadow Ball or Water Spout if need be.

Unlike its Water/Ghost type cousin in Jellicent, Basculegion is more of a mixed attacker rather than just a special attacker. It also turns out that Basculegion’s evolution will differ both in design and in stats depending on its gender. The male Basculegion has 112 physical attack VS 80 Special Attack, while the female Basculegion has 92 physical attack and 100 Special Attack.

Also, while gaining bulk, with 65 Defense and 75 Special Defense, Basculegion is significantly slower than Basculin, with only 78 speed in both forms. However, Basculegion does have the Adaptability ability, which powers up same-type attack moves by 2x instead of the usual 1.5x. This means that either gender of Basculegion can be a hard hitting sweeper with both physical and special attacks; it could clean up against Pokemon that don’t hit it for super-effective damage or can be easily out-sped by the big angry fish.

As for moves, Basculegion retains Aqua Jet, the priority Water-type move that Basculin was best known for. It also learns the aforementioned Hex and Shadow Ball by level up. Importantly, the big fish also gains a new Physical Water move in Wave Crash, which while causing recoil damage does increase your speed. The evolution also packs Zen Headbutt and Crunch for type coverage moves. At the Training Grounds, it can additionally learn Ice Beam, Ice Fang, Ominous Wing, Giga Impact, and Psychic. You can even learn Calm Mind to focus on a Special attacking set, opting for Water Pulse as your Water-type move.

Competitively, it would seem that the male Basculegion will see more play, as it simply hits a significant bit harder and is easier to build a competitive set around. In the main adventure, though, a female Basculegion will have better mixed coverage. Also, in the actual Pokemon Legends Arceus game, abilities are not active, although they will exist when transferred to another game, such as Scarlet and Violet, so the stat differences are actually much less substantial when playing the Legends game. Once transferred, both the male and female variants have a chance to be given Adaptability as an ability. Of course, if it has the “wrong” ability, there’s the Ability Capsule item to fix that.

As an evolution for a Pokemon some players have considered a throw-away, Basculegion may actually be a nice surprise for those willing to invest a slot in their party. Will it be competitive in the highly power crept Scarlet and Violet ranked ladder scene? That’s hard to say; but, just because a Pokemon doesn’t become overused competitively doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a chance. I’m more than willing to see what our big ghostly fishy friend can do!

Updated 9/15/2022

Pokémon and All Respective Names are Trademark & © of Nintendo 1996-2022

Writing words, spreading love, Amelia Desertsong primarily writes creative nonfiction articles, as well as dabbling in baseball, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and whatever else tickles her fancy.
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