Pokemon Legends: Arceus Makes Big Change to Classic Pokemon Move

Yesterday's Pokemon Legends: Arceus trailer revealed that the game will feature a significant change to at least one classic Pokemon move. Earlier this week, The Pokemon Company dropped a 13-minute overview of Pokemon Legends: Arceus, its upcoming Pokemon game that makes major changes to the familiar Pokemon game formula. While much of the trailer was spent explaining how crafting and battles will work as well as showing off the wide open spaces of the Hisui region, fans spotted a major change to a classic Pokemon move. In the overview, the player character is shown battling a berserk Kleavor, a Rock/Bug-type evolved version of Scyther. During the battle, Kleavor uses Stealth Rock on the trainer's Psyduck. However, unlike in past games, Stealth Rock deals a significant amount of damage at the outset to Psyduck. It also appears to have a lingering effect, as a caption box notes that splintered rocks dig into Psyduck. You can see this new version of Stealth Rock occur at the 12:30 mark of the video below:

Stealth Rock was a move first introduced in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. In its original form, Stealth Rock didn't do immediate damage to an opponent when used. Instead, the move dealt damage whenever a Pokemon switched in, with the amount of damaging varying based on whether an opponent was weak against Rock-type moves. Stealth Rock served to put Pokemon at an immediate disadvantage in trainer battles and has become a mainstay in competitive play. 

Since Trainer Battles will be rare in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, as the game is set in an era before human/Pokemon partnerships are common, Game Freak likely made the change to Stealth Rock to make it more viable and useful in the context of the game. The flavor text for Stealth Rock suggests that it could do persistent damage to a Pokemon, similar to moves like Fire Spin, although we'll likely have to wait until the game's release later this month for full details on how it works.

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Pokemon Legends: Arceus will be released on January 28, 2022.