While the news has been around for many months, it took until just a couple weeks before the launch of Pokemon Legends Arceus for me to talk about who would be my first starter in the game. When the starters of the game were first announced – Cyndaquil, Oshawott, and Rowlet – I knew exactly which would be my choice. I’m a big fan of both Oshawott and Rowlet, and I will likely use them in the course of a play-through or on future playthroughs, but right away I went with Cyndaquil. More importantly, I was drawn to the idea of playing around with the Fire/Ghost typing that was rumored for a Hisuian Typhlosion. Having a starter in a similar vein as the powerful Chandelure seemed quite appealing to me, and while it’s not one hundred percent confirmed as of this writing, it seems legitimate enough to be a reality.
First off, we must discuss Typhlosion as a Pokemon overall. It actually has exactly the same stat spread as Charizard, without the Flying type, which makes it a better Pokemon defensively. Typhlosion also has the powerful Fire-type move, Eruption, better known today as Torkoal’s premier attack.The issue with Eruption is that its power fades as your Typhlosion’s HP decreases. Torkoal has become a premier user of the move thanks to bringing its own Intense Sun, powering up its otherwise modest base 85 Special Attack. Typhlosion has 109 Special Attack, making its Eruption hit much harder. In Intense Sun, Fire-type moves have 50 percent more power, and on a Sun-powered team, Typhlosion can be a monster. In the Sword and Shield era, which has lacked Typhlosion, Charizard can set its own Sun with Max Flare when Dynamaxed or be paired with a Torkoal.
But, could Typhlosion prove to be better, especially if it then exists within Sword and Shield and can set its own Sun with its own Max Flare? Gaining a Ghost type means it gains both a Ghost-type and Dark-type weakness, but gains an immunity against Normal and Fighting moves. The new typing also cuts damage from Poison by half and Bug type moves by an addition half to one-quarter effectiveness. Essentially, becoming more like Chandelure, and getting a STAB (Same-Type Attack Bonus) Shadow Ball are huge pluses for Typhlosion. Notably, Typhlosion has been able to learn Shadow Claw by TM already, so this isn’t a huge stretch at all.
Will the new Ghost typing give Typhlosion a chance to be more competitive? It certainly seems possible, even though Pokemon continues to give fan favorite Charizard perhaps more support than any other pocket monster in the history of the game besides Pikachu. Typhlosion was NU (Never Used) tier in Smogon singles during the Sun and Moon era, typically being run with a Choice Specs held item. It often used Eruption, Flamethrower, Focus Blast, and Hidden Power Grass. With Hidden Power no longer available to Pokemon other than Unown, it’s very likely that move slot will be replaced with Shadow Ball for the Hisuian form. It was somewhat outclassed by Magmortar even in Sun and Moon at the time, but the additional Ghost-typing will afford far more defensive utility.
If there’s any Pokemon that Hisuian Typhlosion is good against in Sword and Shield era Pokemon, it’s Zacian. Neither Behemoth Blade, Sacred Sword, nor Close Combat does anything against our homeboy. Thundurus can’t use Brick Break or Superpower on it, either. Notably, there are Pokemon with powerful Dark-type moves in top tier play, such as Dark-type Urshifu’s Wicked Blow, plus the occasional Incineroar with Darkest Lariat or Grimmsnarl with Foul Play. Most notably, however, Typhlosion is completely immune to Fake Out.
On the downside, Typhlosion is still weak to Ground and Rock type moves, which Landorus-Therian covers perfectly with Rock Slide and Earthquake. So, Hisuian Typhlosion does have to watch out for Landorus-T and Single Strike Urshifu, making him a Pokemon perhaps better suited to switch in for blanking Fake Outs and Fighting-type moves. He can even tank a U-Turn better than most. Offensively, rather than expect Hisuian Typhlosion to still pack Focus Blast (which is really only good against Incineroar), it may instead gain Extrasensory as an Egg Move, as the type coverage of Psychic is much more relevant against mons like Venusaur and Rapid Strike (Fighting/Water) Urshifu.
Without a doubt, Hisuian Typhlosion simply gaining the Ghost-type has made him a substantially better Pokemon. As soon as he becomes available within Sword and Shield, you can bet there will be plenty of people breeding for a Timid nature and the move Extrasensory (you can breed with Vulpix/Ninetales, Spoink/Grumpig, Stantler, Oranguru, and Zorua/Zoroark.) Choice Specs Hisuian Typhlosion should make some noise, if not in the top tier of OU, at least in UU it would seem. But, it seems to match up well enough that a clever player can make the new Typhlosion a good defensive switch-in, revenge killer, and potential special sweeper.
But, is Hisuian Typhlosion the best of the three Hisuian starter final evolutions? It’s safe to say that he’s probably not, but he’s the one I’m going to champion for my first play-through of Pokemon Legends Arceus.
Updated 1/12/2022. This article will be updated further when official information is released.