Is Hypno a Good Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet?

Hypno 97 Pokemon

Hypno is one of the 151 original Pokemon which debuted in Red and Green versions (Red and Blue outside of Japan.) In Gen 1, Hypno was a good Pokemon, as a Psychic type with a strong Special stat, which was 115. At the time, Special wasn’t yet split into two stats, Special Attack and Special Defense, which would happen with the release of Gen 2, Gold and Silver. But, Hypno was one of the unlucky Pokemon who would only retain the 115 Special Defense, rather than also gain 115 Special Attack. Despite this unfortunate development, Hypno would continue to be a mid-tier competitive Pokemon through Generation 3!

The problem with Hypno is that it’s pretty slow, with 67 base Speed. Its physical Defense is only 70 base, its Attack stat only 73, and after Gen 1, Hypno only has 73 Special Attack. In Gen 1, however, since all Psychic moves were considered Special (as they would until Generation 4), Hypno actually hit pretty hard. In fact, you can solo run the entirety of Red and Blue with a Hypno in good time, as Pokemon Challenge YouTuber and Twitch streamer Jrose11 discovered.

In Gen 1, Hypno was a defensive stalwart, since it could not only check Special attacking threats, but also hit back fairly hard. It ran Psychic as its main attack, Seismic Toss to deal a consistent 100 HP of damage (thanks to all competitive Pokemon being level 100 back then), a status inducing move in Thunder Wave, and Rest for recovery. Hypno could simply wall certain threats, then wake up and hit back hard. The only downside was that because of Hypno’s mediocre Speed stat, it was easy for opponents to pivot into a physical threat and take Hypno down while it was asleep.

You may expect that with Hypno losing its Special Attack prowess in Gold and Silver that it would be washed up, but fortunately, the Hypnosis Pokemon found new life as a support Pokemon. Ironically, Hypno rarely ran Hypnosis in Gen 1, but ran it often in Gen 2. The trouble with Hypnosis is that it’s 60 percent accurate. Some trainers still would play Thunder Wave over Hypnosis, as it’s technically 100 percent accurate.

Hypno would still run Rest and occasionally Psychic, although Seismic Toss and its guaranteed damage often won out unless the trainer’s team needed the Psychic-type coverage. However, some Hypno focused entirely on setting screens such as Reflect to lessen incoming physical damage and Light Screen to lessen incoming Special damage. Hypno could run one or the other, depending on if the team was more physically defensive, specially defensive, or vice versa.

Interestingly enough, though, Hypno would prove even more versatile with Sleep Talk. One set ran the prerequisite Sleep Talk and Rest along with two of Psychic, Seismic Toss, and Thunder Wave. Another variant used the new Gen 2 move Curse, which would boost Defense and Attack by one stage, along with Body Slam, rather than Psychic or Seismic Toss. These builds of Hypno could wall and wear down a lot of other competitive Pokemon. Plus, with the addition of items such as Leftovers, Hypno could enjoy passive recovery every turn. Still, Hypno could be stopped by strong Bug types like Scyther and Pinsir, be walled itself by Chansey, or other Rest Talk users. Granbull could bash Hypno into Submission, as well.

In Generation 3, Ruby and Sapphire, all Pokemon gained some sort of ability. Ironically for Hypno, the ability it gained actually nullified Rest Talk entirely, as its ability became Insomnia. While this is actually a good ability, as Insomnia prevents the Pokemon from falling asleep, Hypno needed to find a new role. Fortunately, Hypno gained a support move new to Gen 3 in Wish, which on the next turn would heal your active Pokemon by 50 percent. This could be better than Rest in some cases, as even if Hypno were knocked out, your next Pokemon would benefit from the Wish. Otherwise, Hypno ran two of Seismic Toss, Psychic, Thunder Wave, or Toxic in its first two move slots. In its last move slot, Hypno could run Reflect, Protect, or Counter.

In Ruby and Sapphire competitive singles, Hypno was well-known for setting up a Reflect and using Thunder Wave to paralyze an entire opponent’s team if they couldn’t immediately knock it out. Another option was to Toxic stall, by using Protect and Toxic in tandem to status an opponent’s biggest threats. Hypno also could pair Toxic and Thunder Wave with Reflect. Some Toxic stall Hypno would also run Counter to punish physical threats.

There’s also the ridiculous Baton Pass which existed in Gen 2, but really took off in Gen 3. Hypno could set up a Substitute and hide behind it for a turn or two to set up Calm Minds. Once the Substitute broke, Hypno would Baton Pass to a team mate, granting that team member big boosts to their Special Attack and Special Defense.

In Diamond and Pearl, Hypno started to become outclassed, although its Support set still existed in the lower competitive tiers, along with a couple variants of the Baton Pass Hypno. One was a Substitute Calm Mind Baton passer, but sometimes instead ran the new Gen 4 move Nasty Plot, which raised Special Attack by two stages. Clever players could also keep the Nasty Plot for Hypno itself, and shock an opponent with a surprise Psychic or Grass Knot. In particular, Grass Knot was a great counter to heavier threats.

By Gen 4, Hypno now had a lot of common counters, especially Spiritomb and Magic Guard Clefable. Registeel was a common defensive wall that Hypno couldn’t dent, and special sweeping Mismagius could simply Taunt Hypno and set up. One common counter in Rhyperior could be punished by a surprise Grass Knot, however. While Hypno had to be build specifically for the best threats of the lower tiers, it still found several niches.

Hypno did gain a new ability in addition to Insomnia with Forewarn. Unfortunately, all Forewarn does is alert you to the opposing Pokemon’s highest power move. While this isn’t entirely useless, and does technically help you scout, you’d much rather have the sleep prevention.

Black and White introduced 156 new Pokemon to the franchise and dozens of mid-tier Pokemon fell out of competition entirely because of the impending power creep. Hypno would hang on in mid-tier competition and even appear in VGC 12 doubles before ending Gen 5 in the lowest of all competitive single tiers (PU). Hypno returned to a defensive support role, playing Wish, Protect, Thunder Wave or Toxic, and either Foul Play or Seismic Toss. Foul Play was a neat Gen 5 move addition that uses the opponent’s Attack stat to calculate damage.

With Gen 6, Hypno would hang on for dear life in PU as a Wish passer before dropping out of competition entirely. In Gen 7, Hypno would become a user of Z-Hypnosis, which boosts the user’s Speed along with putting the opponent to sleep. But, because Z-moves are once per battle per trainer, this was more of a gimmick than anything else, as it’s often a waste of a Z-move in competitive Pokemon. That didn’t stop people from turning Hypno into a Belly Drum threat with Zen Headbutt and Drain Punch as its attacking moves, though.

After taking Gen 8 off in Sword and Shield, Hypno returned to the Nintendo Switch era in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Unfortunately, it hasn’t seen much play at all, and BDSP isn’t an official competitive game, although the niche of BDSP 6 vs 6 singles has its fans. Fortunately for Hypno, there does appear to be at least one interesting moveset, as seen in this video about Fire Punch Hypno by Lord Emvee on YouTube. He built this Hypno with a Hasty nature (plus Speed, minus Defense) and equipped it with a Life Orb. It has the Insomnia ability, in order to switch into Breloom’s Spore without an issue and runs four attacks: Psychic, Ice Punch, Fire Punch, and Drain Punch. Fire Punch is so good in BDSP thanks to strong Steel-types like Scizor and Jirachi.

So, what about Scarlet and Violet? Hypno returns in Generation 9 to appear in the Paldea region, where it still hunts poor Komala as it did in Sun and Moon. While the BDSP Fire Punch Hypno is neat, it’s not going to work in Gen 9. Still, it will be neat if there’s innovation on the Hypno front. It probably won’t be a bad Pokemon in-game, especially if you can get one with the right Tera Type.

Hypno doesn’t really gain many new tools to succeed, though, in Scarlet and Violet. It does gain access to the new Grass-type move Trailblaze and Tera Blast. Of all the older Pokemon that can benefit from a Tera Type, this is probably the one that will actually utilize Tera Blast. Hypno can become an Electric Tera Type, for example, and take full advantage of Tera Blast, an 80 base power move that chooses whichever attack stat is higher at the time. Hypno doesn’t learn any Electric moves other than Thunder Wave, otherwise. With Electric Terrain likely to be common among teams thanks to Violet pushing Electric Terrain with its Paradox Pokemon, an Electric-type Hypno may be a niche option for a specially defensive Pokemon that can suddenly wipe out all of its weaknesses outside of Ground.

Is Hypno actually a good Pokemon at this point in Generation 9? Probably not. But, Hypno has been used before, albeit rarely, as a utility Pokemon running Wish, Protect, Psychic, and Toxic. Unfortunately, Hypno only ever learned Wish as a Generation 3 special event move; so, most likely if you see Hypno in-game with Wish, it’s hacked, because it’s highly unlikely one has persisted that long through multiple generations (although it’s technically possible). Of course, you can play with a Wish Hypno on Pokemon Showdown completely fairly, but for Scarlet and Violet, that’s definitely not possible. It’s also the case that because Toxic was taken away from a lot of Pokemon, Hypno is one who lost access, too.

Therefore, you’ll probably go with a move set with Protect, Taunt, Light Screen, and Reflect if you want to go all in on the defensive aspect. Of course, you could go the exact opposite if you so desire, running Nasty Plot, Psychic, Tera Blast with whatever Tera Type you need for type coverage, and the fourth move being one of Focus Blast, Dazzling Gleam, or Shadow Ball for further type coverage.

All in all, Hypno is a very middling Pokemon, and it’s probably not a smart idea to put one on a competitive team. But, in game, if you go all in on Special Attack and Special Defense with Nasty Plot and the right Tera Type, he’s going to be a useful team member at least when you’re out adventuring, taking on Victory Road, or punishing Team Star.

What do you think of Hypno? Will you be using one in Scarlet and Violet?

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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