Native to the Hisui region of Pokemon Legends Arceus, Wyrdeer is a special regional evolution of Stantler. One of the oldest Pokemon in the game series, Stantler first appeared in Generation 2’s Gold and Silver. Originally a Normal-type, when it evolves, Wyrdeer is a Psychic/Normal type. This new Pokemon has the same typing as another Gold and Silver Pokemon in Girafarig, which has been a useful Pokemon over time. Stantler has decent base stats and a fairly good move-pool. Is Wyrdeer a good evolution to the already fairly solid Stantler?
As a Normal-type, Stantler has just a weakness to Fighting-type moves and is immune to Ghost-type attacks. Despite not being Psychic-type, Stantler has access to many Psychic-type moves over the years. By level up, Stantler can learn Hypnosis, Psybeam, Calm Mind, Zen Headbutt, and Psychic. It had decent enough Special Attack with an 85 base stat, but its physical Attack stat was higher at 95. An 85 speed stat made it not too slow, but out-sped by many competitive Pokemon.
When Stantler now evolves into Wyrdeer, it gains a same type attack bonus for moves like Zen Headbutt. Defensively, Wyrdeer loses its weakness to Fighting-type moves, while retaining its Ghost-type immunity. However, it also gains a 2x weakness to Bug and Dark type moves. While not crippling weaknesses, they are relevant attacks in competitive Pokemon. U-Turn, in particular, is a Bug-type move, and Dark-type moves such as Knock Off and Foul Play are quite common, as well. Still, these are weaknesses easily covered with good team-building and being familiar with opposing Pokemon move pools.
When it comes to base stats, Wyrdeer has 105 Attack and 105 Special Attack when it evolves; this makes it a useful, if not threatening mixed attacker. Unfortunately, even being the leader of a Stantler herd, it actually loses speed, going from 85 to 65. It doesn’t get much of a boost over Stantler’s base 65 Physical and Special Defense stats, either. Wyrdeer has just 72 Defense and 75 Special Defense. The good news is that Stantler’s mediocre 73 base HP is improved upon, with Wyrdeer having a base 103 HP stat.
Wyrdeer may also gain access to additional moves by level up, although Stantler already had a decent move pool. It could gain good type coverage with Electric and Grass-type special moves by TM, as well as Dazzling Gleam, Iron Tail, Earthquake, and Shadow Ball to provide its team with lots of different offensive options. Stantler could also learn Nasty Plot to greatly boost its Special Attack, Trick Room to help out slower teammates, Rain Dance to aid Rain teams, among other useful utility moves.
In these ways, Wyrdeer evolving only boosts Stantler’s strengths. It can still hit hard with either Zen Headbutt as a physical move or Psychic as a special type move. Building on Stantler’s already useful attacking prowess and type coverage makes Wyrdeer a potential competitive Pokemon. Padding Stantler’s somewhat below average defenses is a nice bonus.
Wyrdeer’s new typing means it does gain a new weakness to Bug and Dark-type Pokemon. But, it can mitigate this by packing the strong Fairy-type move Dazzling Gleam. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have super-effective moves against strong Bug-types. Still, Bug is an easily covered weakness for Wyrdeer, since plenty of Fire-type Pokemon are available in the Hisui region for you to switch into. It’s also not impossible that Wyrdeer will gain access to Ice-type moves, thanks to being from a relatively cold region. Such a move pool buff would immediately cover that Bug-type weakness.
Of all the early reveals for Hisuian Pokemon, Wyrdeer appears to be among the best. It takes a good Pokemon in Stantler and giving it a chance to evolve and succeed on a higher level. Heck, when it gained the Intimidate ability in Ruby and Sapphire, Stantler saw a fair amount of play as a special sweeper.
It may still make sense on a Wyrdeer to still run the same best moveset as Stantler: Hypnosis, Calm Mind, Thunderbolt, and Psychic. Now, Wyrdeer will be able to take some hits that a Stantler couldn’t. Intimidate is a strong enough ability, cutting opponents’ Physical attack. With better defenses than Stantler, Wyrdeer can stick around and hit harder even without a Calm Mind with Psychic or Zen Headbutt.
Stantler’s other ability, Frisk, could be useful on Wyrdeer, as it scouts out the opposing Pokemon’s held item. Still, Intimidate is probably better on a Pokemon that wants to hit back hard. Some teams may consider the hidden ability Sap Sipper, which negates Grass-type moves and powers up its own attack. With this ability, Wyrdeer provides defensive type coverage that can land strong physical Psychic-type moves. Wyrdeer is essentially a beefed-up, powered-up Stantler, and that’s nothing to scoff at.
Perhaps, the only real issue with Wyrdeer in competitive play is its now extremely mediocre Speed stat. Fortunately, there are ways to cover for this, too. Trick Room teams, which use the status move of the same name to reverse turn orders based on Speed, have succeeded using slow Pokemon for many generations. While it isn’t exceptionally slow, the best nature for Wyrdeer is likely Brave, which boosts Attack while losing out on Speed. A slower Wyrdeer likely could make a solid lead for Trick Room teams. As Stantler can learn Trick Room in the mainline games, its fully possible that Wyrdeer will be able to learn it retroactively after transitioning over to the mainline Generation 9 games.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Wyrdeer can’t be a lead Pokemon on teams without Trick Room. After all, Incineroar is one of the most competitive Pokemon ever, and he has just a 60 base Speed! Of course, the Fire Cat Pokemon has much better defenses, but Stantler has significantly better type coverage. This isn’t to say that Wyrdeer is better than Incineroar at all, but those who harp on Wyrdeer’s below average speed stat should keep this fact in mind.
In the Pokemon Legends Arceus story, Wyrdeer is one of the ways you get around the Hisui region. You summon it with the Celestic Flute, so you can jump on its back and cover great distances across the landscape. But, it’s quite likely you will be able to get one for your own in-game team. This is a Pokemon that will likely prove as invaluable to your as one of your Pokemon team as it is for the natives of the Hisui region. Whether you believe it to look more like a regional variant than an actual evolution, Wyrdeer is a welcome upgrade to a good Pokemon.
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