In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.
What Are Alolan Pokémon?
In addition to Z-attacks, generation 7 introduced new Alolan versions of existing Pokémon, paying homage to classics while introducing fresh forms to prevent stagnation. Alolan Pokémon are technically the same species as their original designs, but they can have different types, abilities, and moves. Their base stat totals are generally the same, but are often distributed differently, helping specialize their roles in combat.
Any Pokémon who evolves in Alola automatically gains their Alolan evolution regardless of their origin, but with dozens of monsters available, which mutations reign supreme? These are the ten best Alolan alternative forms (compared to their base abilities) in Pokémon!
10. Alolan Exeggutor
Alolan Exeggutor stands as the tallest Pokémon of all time and switches his typing from Grass/Psychic to Grass/Dragon. In days past, this would be a welcome change, but ever since the Fairy type, Dragons have a new weakness to worry about, and I'd take regular Exeggutor's quad weakness to Bug over Alolan's to Ice (a common offensive type).
I appreciate how Alolan sacrifices some Speed (which was basically a lost cause anyway) to slightly boost its Attack, but it's just not enough to overlook its new weaknesses and forfeit of a helpful STAB (same-type attack bonus) on Psychic-type attacks.
9. Alolan Raichu
Raichu certainly isn't a bad Pokémon (his original form sometimes sees usage in competitive tournaments), but he ranks lower thanks to his Alolan downgrade. A new secondary Psychic-type exposes Raichu (who was previously only weak to Ground) to several new vulnerabilities, and I prefer default Raichu's Static ability over Alolan's Surge Surfer.
That said, you now have both Electric and Psychic to utilize STAB (same-type attack bonus) with, and the Alolan form helpfully forfeits some Attack and Defense for better Special Attack and Special Defense, but it's just not enough to outdo the original.
8. Alolan Raticate
Dark's resistance to Ghost moves is somewhat wasted on a Normal-type (who is already completely immune to Ghost), and this combo suffers a quad weakness to common Fighting attacks. That said, Dark is useful for punishing Ghosts (who are immune to Normal), and Alolan Raticate swaps offense and speed for better defenses and HP—a welcome trade on a Pokémon that uses fixed-damage moves like Super Fang.
Plus, potential trait Thick Fat is one of the best abilities in the game, offering resistances to Fire and Ice. While he's far from the best tank available, Alolan Raticate makes some impressive strides towards endurance—as long as you can keep him away from Fighting techniques.
7. Alolan Nintetails
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Despite its great offensive prowess, Ice is perhaps the game's worst element on defense, meaning Alolan Ninetails gains several new weaknesses when switching from Fire. Thankfully, Fairy helps balance it out, and the Ice/Fairy pairing offers phenomenal STAB coverage.
Alolan Ninetails also shifts a few points of Attack (one of its lower stats anyway) towards Speed, helping ensure it strikes first, and both its potential abilities work well in the hailstorm weather condition.
6. Alolan Golem
Golem's Alolan form shares the same stat distribution as its Kanto counterpart, but swaps its Ground element for Electric. Electric is a far better defensive type, and while Alolan Golem now takes quad damage from Ground (ironic, I know), he reduces his former quad weaknesses to Water and Grass.
More than that, signature ability Galvanize impresses, as it alters Normal attacks to Electric (useful for STAB and coverage) while boosting their damage by 20%. Few foes can survive this increase to moves like Explosion or Double-Edge.
5. Alolan Sandslash
Steel (arguably the best defensive type) helps balance Ice's fragility, letting you wield valuable Ice STAB without suffering loads of weaknesses, and Alolan Sandslash's pairing makes it immune to both the Hail and Sandstorm weather techniques.
Thus, Alolan Sandslash emerges with better stamina than its regular Ground mode, especially since it sacrifices some Special Attack (already a lost cause) for better Defense and Special Defense.
4. Alolan Dugtrio
Alolan Dugtrio forfeits a bit of Speed (though he's still pretty fast) for more Defense, but he's still something of a glass cannon, hitting hard and fast but not being able to withstand much punishment. However, his added Steel element offers more resistances than Ground (and no quad weaknesses), giving him a much better chance of surviving counterattacks.
3. Alolan Muk
Alolan Muk shares the same stat distribution as its regular form, emphasizing Attack and Special Defense, and it can learn the unique Power of Alchemy ability, which copies the defending Pokémon's trait.
But Alolan Muk's real draw is its added Dark-type. Not only do you now have two STABs to wield, but Alolan Muk only has one weakness (Ground) while resisting four elements and entirely negating Psychic—which, without Dark, would have otherwise struck Muk for double damage.
2. Alolan Persian
Persian has never been the strongest Pokémon stat-wise, but his Alolan form has seen a surprising amount of competitive usage thanks to the valued Fur Coat ability, which halves damage suffered from all physical attacks! This is simply a fantastic barrier that defends against most type-trumping Bug and Fighting moves, which tend to be contact attacks.
Despite low offensive power, Persian's Foul Play technique utilizes the Attack of its target rather than itself (another counter to physical sweepers) while Parting Shot switches out after reducing a foe's stats—a great combo alongside Fake Out.
1. Alolan Marowak
As grim as it is to make a Ghost form of Marowak (considering how Team Rocket killed the one in Lavender Town), I can't deny his awesome new typing, which carries more resistances and immunities than weaknesses. It also provides some impressive coverage; Shadow Bone offers a great STAB Ghost move while Flare Blitz does the same for Fire.
Plus, in multibattles, the Lighting Rod ability lets Marowak tank and absorb Electric attacks (useful with Electric-weak partners like Gyarados) and Will-O-Wisp can cause the burn status on all adjacent creatures (use Protect to defend your allies), making this the best Alolan form yet.
Future of Alolan Pokémon
Despite positive reception, Alolan Pokémon remain scarce, with few members outside of today's entries. Future generations will likely take place in different regions, so whether we'll encounter more Alolan entities in upcoming games is uncertain.
Still, whether or not they expand their ranks, Alolans remain popular for their unique twists on old favorites. But for now, as we eagerly await Nintendo's next batch of mutated species, vote for your favorite Alolan creature and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill