As Pokémon enters its ninth generation of mainline RPGs, Scarlet & Violet offers the opportunity for many changes and improvements for the series. From the full-on open-world adventure to the free-form nature of tackling gyms, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet are moving into uncharted territory.
Among the many changes and new features coming with Scarlet & Violet, few compare to the new Terastallize mechanic. This feature is at the heart of the Gen 9 Pokémon games, presenting a new way of turning the strategic battles on their head.
That said, Terastallize itself is a somewhat confusing element. From the mind-boggling nomenclature to the puzzling way it works, there is so much frustration surrounding Terastallizing. Thankfully, here is the simplest way to understand it.
Everything You Need to Know About Terastallize
Terastallize is the core feature of the Scarlet & Violet games. Sure, there are other changes to the turn-based battles coming in the Gen 9 Pokémon pair, but none are as crucial as Terastallize. This new mechanic’s general idea is to temporarily crystallize your Pokémon partner to change their typing.
Typings are what makes the Pokémon world go round. The 18 different elemental types, from Fire to Fairy, and everything in between, influence the battle system from top to bottom. For the first time, The Pokémon Company and Game Freak are twisting typings in a way never seen before.
Pokémon can use special items to unlock their Tera typing, a hidden element you can’t discover otherwise. This Tera typing can match the Pokémon’s actual typing or be entirely different.
If you’ve ever wanted to see a literal Flying-type Pikachu instead of the standard Electric one, Terastallizing makes that happen. The so-called Terastal phenomenon changes the typing of the Pokémon to its Tera typing while mixing up the creature’s appearance.
A Fire Tera-type Eevee, for instance, will retain its usual shape but crystallize and have a random fiery chandelier appear on its head. Meanwhile, Ghost Tera-type Pokémon will have the signature mysterious ghost from Gen 1’s spooky Pokémon Tower show up on their head.
Each of the 18 possible Tera types has its unique appearance that they add to each Pokémon. The craziest part about all this is that every single Pokémon that appears in Scarlet & Violet will be able to Terastallize, changing their typing at will.
Once per battle, players can use the Terastal phenomenon to change a Pokémon to their Tera type for the duration of that battle. From then on, their weakness, strengths, and so on will change to fit that particular typing.
In this case of the Fire Tera type Eevee, once again, its single weakness will no longer be the Fighting type. Since it is not a Normal type any longer, but rather Fire, its weaknesses will change to include Water, Ground, and Rock.
When the battle ends, Eevee will change back to its Normal typing until Terastallized again. Unfortunately, you can’t Terastallize nonstop fight after fight. Instead, players must recharge their crystals for the powerful feature by finding specific items in the world or heading to the local Pokémon Center between bouts.
How Super Effective Moves and STAB Work
The tricky part about the Terastal feature is how it affects the effectiveness of your Pokémon’s moves in battle. This new Scarlet & Violet feature completely disregards your Pokémon’s previous typing when in effect.
This means in practice that you can’t rely solely on new Gen 9 Pokémon Sprigatito’s Grass-type moves any longer if you switch it to, say, a Fairy type. Before, Sprigatito could use a move like Razor Leaf and gain the same type attack bonus (aka STAB) since both it and the move are Grass types.
This would typically give 50% more damage. Still, under Sprigatito’s new Fairy Tera type, STAB would only work for Fairy moves now. If you used a Fairy move like Draining Kiss, for example, it would now benefit from the same type of attack bonus damage.
But the depth of this mechanic doesn’t stop there. Let’s say you have a Sprigatito with the Tera type of Grass instead of Fairy. That would mean that its standard typing and Tera version match one another.
In this case, Sprigatito would have double the STAB power here when Terastallizing. If at any point one of your Pokémon has a Tera type that matches one of its base types, using moves with that element will deal 100% boosted damage while Terastallizing. In that case, you can kiss your opponent’s Quaxly goodbye with your Grass Tera type Sprigatito.
But what about cases where your Pokémon has a Tera type like Dragon but learns no Dragon moves? Thankfully, the new Tera Blast move takes care of that. Every Pokémon can learn this flexible move that naturally matches the Pokémon’s Tera typing. Better yet, Tera Blast uses whichever attack stat is higher, Attack or Special Attack, for dealing the most possible damage.
How Terastallize Will Affect Competitive and Ranked Play
The sheer overwhelming nature of the Terastallize feature means that it will be some time before we see the full extent of its effect on the competitive community. Even still, there are hints at what it could mean for ranked play and tournaments.
Terastallize will likely dominate the competitive scene, being the foremost feature everyone uses in battle. However, the randomness of this mechanic makes it the most dangerous mechanic in the history of the Pokémon series.
Unlike something like Mega Evolution, Terastallizing has a hidden quality to it. Until your opponent Terastallizes their Pokémon, there is no telling what type it will change into. You might have to deal with a Fire-type that changes into a Grass-type to mitigate Water-type attacks.
Or, it could Terastallize into its same typing of Fire for that extra STAB damage. And yet, it could still be any of the other 16 possible typings, leaving the door open for anything to happen. This RNG-style of the Scarlet & Violet feature is the most exciting and terrifying prospect of it all.
The outcome of entire matches in ranked play can be determined by adequately planning ahead to cover yourself in the event your opponent surprises you like that.
How Terastallize Compares to Mega Evolution, Dynamax, Z Moves
By and large, Terastallize is the core mechanic that defines the competitive nature of the turn-based battles moving forward in the Gen 9 games. It is essentially the continuation of the battle mechanics introduced in the last few games, including Mega Evolution in Gen 6, Z Moves in Gen 7, and Dynamax in Gen 8.
For many players, Mega Evolution was the peak of this fresh mechanic craze from The Pokémon Company, and its inclusion in the Let’s Go! games on Switch only helped its case. When all is said and done with the Pokémon Scarlet & Violet games, it is unlikely that Terastallizing will take the crown from Kalos’ seminal temporary fourth-stage evolution.
But it doesn’t necessarily have to be the best like no battle mechanic ever was. All Terastallize needs to do is provide a competent and fun feature that is deep enough to offer some strategy in combat without being too shallow or gimmicky.
In that way, it already has the leg up on something like Z Moves that were so simple and arguably boring. Terastallizing could even triumph over the goofy Dynamax and Gigantamax from Sword & Shield, a mechanic that some players can take a little more seriously due to its tremendous heft and flexibility.
For now, though, we will have to wait and see, but the future of Scarlet & Violet is a little bit more glistening and bright with the Terastal phenomenon on its side.
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