Is Hisuian Typhlosion a Good Pokemon?

When the starters of the Pokemon Legends Arceus game were first announced – Cyndaquil, Oshawott, and Rowlet – right away, I decided on Cyndaquil for my first playthrough. This decision was strongly drawn to the idea of playing around with the Fire/Ghost typing that was rumored for Hisuian Typhlosion. Having a starter in a similar vein as the powerful Chandelure seemed quite appealing to me. This actually turned out to be the case, and I wasn’t disappointed in Typhlosion’s regional form. Let’s dig into just how good this Hisuian form starter really could be beyond Legends Arceus itself, diving into just how good Typhlosion could be competitively.

Cyndaquil

Overall, Typhlosion is a good Pokemon, having 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 lacks Typhlosion, Charizard can set its own Sun with Max Flare when Dynamaxed or be paired with a Torkoal.

However, there are some notable differences in Pokemon Legends Arceus for Typhlosion in Hisui. Out of all three Hisui starters, Typhlosion is the only one that gets a slight change in its base stats. According to Ranked Boost, Hisuian Typhlosion gains 10 Special Attack vs normal Typhlosion, making it 119. This is a nice boost, but the 10 base points he loses elsewhere could prove important. He goes from 78 base HP to 73 base HP, which isn’t all that big a deal, but he loses 5 speed, knocking him down to 95 rather than 100. Will that be a huge deal in competitive play? There’s a possibility that it won’t matter all that much.

Could Hisuian Typhlosion prove to be better than its original mono-Fire type form? It would’ve been incredible for it to exist within Sword and Shield, being able set its own Intense Sun weather with its own Max Flare. Unfortunately, the Hisui forms won’t be in official Pokemon competition until Generation 9 and Scarlet and Violet. Still, we can look to the current Sword and Shield metagame to get a glimpse at Hisuian Typhlosion’s future competitive potential.

First off, let’s consider Hisuian Typhlosion’s defensive match-ups. 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, normal Typhlosion has been able to learn Shadow Claw by TM already, so this isn’t a huge stretch at all for the Hisui form to be able to learn this move by a similar method in the future.

Hisuian Typhlosion also gains a signature Ghost-type move in Infernal Parade. It’s basically a better version of Hex. This move only has a 60 base power, although it becomes a 90 power move with same-type attack bonus. It can leave the target with a burn, and also has the Hex-like benefit of dealing double damage to a target with a status condition. Hisuian Typhlosion learns this by level up only 3 levels before Shadow Ball, which might be the better move overall. Still, the possibility of leaving a burn is nice, plus if you can inflict any other status before hand, this is really powerful.

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 terms of Sword and Shield era Pokemon, it’s Zacian. Behemoth Blade, Sacred Sword, nor Close Combat does anything to our homeboy. Another super powerful Pokemon in 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, Typhlosion is also completely immune to the popular Normal-type move 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 the competitive scene with Scarlet and Violet, 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. Once we find out how many new Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is offering, we’ll see just how Hisuian Typhlosion could fit into the new metagame.

So, 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 chose for my first play-through of Pokemon Legends Arceus, and I don’t regret that choice one bit.

Updated 5/18/2022.

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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