Out of all the curious creations coming from the Land of the Rising Sun this year, one of greater ones is Nintendo’s recent trusting of other well known Japanese companies with their most precious IP. After the relative success of Koei Tecmo’s Hyrule Warriors, Nintendo seems to be trying their luck with long time friend Bandai Namco, who have the legendary Tekken team on the first ever Pokemon fighting game – Pokken Tournament. A clear portmanteau of Pokemon and Tekken, the arcade bound fighter sees our favorite Pokemon engaging in a Tekken style of combat that is so far removed from what we are used to.
Beginning with Machamp and Lucario, initial doubts about the game came from the fear that only fighting-type Pokemon would make it into the game, as they were the most easy to adapt into the formula. Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada hushed those concerns with a tweet saying that there will be plenty of type variety in the game.
Since then, three non fighting-type Pokemon were announced – Pikachu, Gardevoir, and Suicine. While the first two were strong contenders to begin with, Suicine is an odd choice. Although a very popular Pokemon, his form didn’t make a lot of sense in the context of Tekken.
The accompanying gameplay video cleared it up, and revealed that Bandai Namco isn’t afraid to change up the Tekken formula a bit to make sure that Pokken feels diverse and interesting, and to accommodate Pocket Monsters that don’t fit the humanoid form. Unlike Tekken, where fighters are glued together positioning wise, Pokken appears to have much more free form mobility, with ranged attacks playing a major role, as shown off by Gardevoir’s moon attacks and Suicine’s Aurora Beam. And small Pokemon like Pikachu have a wide variety of attacks to make sure it can stand up to a behemoth like Machamp.
That got us thinking “What other non fighting-type Pokemon could show up in the game”? While there are many obvious and awesome fighting type Pokemon we can expect to see, what is really interesting is how Tekken team will adapt Pokemon that don’t fit the mold. Here are a few:
When you ask someone unfamiliar with Tekken to name something about the game, if their brain doesn’t quickly go to cheap combos with Eddy Gordo, it’d be “Tekken is that one fighting game with a bear in it”. Long time cast member Kuma and Panda are both creatures of the Ursidae variety, using strong slow attacks and more comical moves to take down opponents.
While these characters are more or less jokes, they are a legendary part of Tekken‘s history, and most importantly they show off that the Tekken team know their bears. Therefore Ursaring is a perfect edition. His huge stature means that he can stand up to Machamp, and he can unleash powerful moves like his signature attack – Thrash. In the Pokemon games, Ursaring is also known for his ability to become stronger when inflicted with statuses. Assuming they are in the game, this could be an integral part of Ursaring’s strategy.
An obvious pick. If there is a Pokemon that is as famous as Pikachu in the Pokemon series, it’s the flaming starter from the first generation. If Smash is any indication, we know Charizard can be worked into a fighting game, and I think us seeing Charizard in Pokken Tournament is a solid bet. It makes sense too, as his upright stature allows for use of his claws and wings, not to mention ranged fire attacks.
Charizard’s having two mega evolutions could be an issue, but they could always just settle with one of them. In this case, maybe his Y form is better, since the X form was already used in Smash. On the other hand the X form is more physically focused, which makes more sense in the context of Tekken. At the end of the day, this just means Charizard has more options than really any Pokemon to be a unique fighter.
Another very famous Pokemon, Alakazam’s power is very well known in and out of the competitive Pokemon scene. The easiest reason to suggest Alakazam is obviously his humanoid form, but considering his weak physical abilities, that wouldn’t come much into play.
Using his magical abilities, all of Alakazam’s attacks could be slightly ranged, as maybe his body doesn’t actually move to represent the attacks and he simply thinks them into existence. Simply gestures could unleash a flurry of energy punches onto the enemy. He could also have more ranged tactics and spacing options. All the while they could have him floating or simply bending his spoons. It could be totally badass to watch an excellent Alakazam player annihilate an opponent while the character on screen moves only a minimal amount.
Out of all of the grass starters, the one that would feel most at home in the Tekken world Sceptile. Similar in stature to Charizard, but with grass focus, he could use devistating grass moves to debilitate the opponent.
His signature move, Frenzy Plant, could lock an opponent in place (an ability that could also be involved in leech seed or something as well) allowing for more combo potential. His giant spiny tail could be used for wide low sweeps and combo’d further with other grass attacks. Maybe he could sort of set traps to combo with.
Each fighting game needs to have its copycat character. Picking the character acts as sort of a random select , and the copycat character will mimic the entire moveset of another character while retaining their own appearance. There is no better opportunity better than using Ditto for this job. The small pink goop is notorious in the Pokemon anime for copying others almost perfect. The only difference being a goofy face.
Ditto could do something similar in the game. Selecting him will allow him to morph into another Pokemon, all but the ridiculous expression on his face. This could make ditto a fun joke pick.
Another solid pick for this copycat slot could be Zoroark or Sudowoodo, but I find Ditto the most appealing.
Electivire is one of generation 4’s coolest Pokemon. The long deserved evolution of the first generation Pokemon Electabuzz, Electivire rises about the awkwardness of his predecessor and becomes truly badass. His diverse moveset and high stats make him well known in the competitive metagame, but he could also bring that awesomeness to Pokken.
Electivire’s yeti like appearance could make him menacing on the battleground. Even more menacing? He could constantly be exuding electricity and sparks. His regular moves could be electrically charged, but maybe some combos would allow him to whip out some of his diverse moves, like flamethrower or psychic for a quick hit. His long electric tails could also be used for some cool moves.
Another super obvious and boring pick, Greninja is the new wave of Pokemon fan’s Charizard. This Pokemon is gaining popularity fast, and rightfully so with it’s clever design. The ninja frog has already made its way into Super Smash Bros., but those ninja inspired moves are even more well suited for Tekken, a series that is well versed in ninja characters.
You can look no further than his Smash moveset to see the types of things Greninja can do when thrown into the fighting game ring. The nature of Pokken seems like it would be a good place for Greninja to stretch those legs and make use of his spacing based teleportation moves like Substitute. He would definitely be a character that commands space.
With Suicune in the game, it shows that a four legged Pokemon is not automatically off the list. Arcanine is the first that comes to mind when I think of good picks for four legged fighters. As one of Pokemon’s coolest monsters, this giant dog (seriously, it’s 6’03”) is known for its crushing physical strength.
Unlike Suicune’s more ranged focus, Arcanine can make used of his moves like Fire Fang and Close Combat to keep the opponent on their toes with a rush playstyle. His extra feet on the ground could give him more maneuverability to rush down opponents.
Getting into the more bizarre options, Rampardos could be a cool entry. Pokemon’s glass cannon, Rampardos is a monster that is very difficulty in the competitive Pokemon scene. There he is known for having one of the highest natural attack stats in the history of the series, but his paper thin defenses and low speed make using him a pain. Generally, another Pokemon will have to boost him before he comes into battle.
This could come into play here. His moves are slow but devastating. If he can get off his signature move, Head Smash, it could deal incredible damage to the foe. He could have complex slow moving combos, with a focus on reading opponents to get his moves to hit. The payoff would be huge.
It’s not like fighting games are unfamiliar with giant dinosaurs.
On the list of “Pokemon that should always have been fighting-type”, Pinsir is up there. He is known for his plethora of fighting moves. Submission, Close Combat, Brick Break, his fighting moves outnumber is bug ones. Most surprising of all, his Mega evolution took an entirely different route, with his gaining ridiculous power with a focus on flying-type moves.
Pinsir could be a solid grappler, an extremely close range character. His locks could be something the other player needs to look out for at all times when closing in on him. When he goes mega, his entire playstyle could change to a fast paced all out assault, throwing the other player off guard. However, that does mean that mastering Pinsir would mean having to master both of his forms.
There is still room for characters that focus on lighter attacks on the Pokken roster. Ambipom is a underrated Pokemon that could work just perfectly for that role. It is most well known for making use of weaker attacks like Swift in conjunction with his abilities that boost those weak moves into ones that rival some of the game’s most powerful. Ambipom is also known for its great speed and capitalizing on moves like U-Turn and Fake Out.
His small stature and two fist wielding tails means that his combos could be diverse, fast and light. Long combo chains that juggle the enemy into oblivion could be available to those who are willing to master Ambipom’s different approach to fighting. He could also have options for a get in and get out style of combat.
Another safe pick, Scizor is one of the second generation’s most famous Pokemon. His great versatility in competitive Pokemon has made him a staple since his introduction. Not to mention his metal claws are just cool. Additionally, much like Pinsir, Scizor’s mega evolution drastically switches up his playstyle from speed focused to just raw power.
Scizor’s metal body could reduce his flinching while he sends out lightning fast Bullet Punch attacks. While not particularly a fast runner, Scizor could be good at circling the opponent at close range to catch them off guard. Then, after mega transforming, a new raw power playstyle will have to be adopted by the player.
If one Pokemon would make an awesome final boss, it would be Mewtwo. Of course he could also be playable. Pokemon‘s most legendary legendary would be right home in Pokken, with his mix of powerful physical and special attacks, and two drastically different mega evolutions. Once again this an easy choice, especially with his upcoming inclusion in Smash.
Like Alakazam, Mewtwo could use his psychic powers for mid ranged psychic barrages, while using his tail and various other psychically enhanced attacks at close range. When taking up a mega form, his X transformation seems most appropriate. Closely resembling a character from Dragonball Z (even more than before), Mewtwo’s physical prowess drastically increases. At this point he could use much more actual physical moves versus psychic ones.
Other Pokemon that could make great final bosses if Mewtwo doesn’t get that role would be Regigigas or Deoxys.
Diggersby cares so little, he beats dudes up with his ears.
There are bound to be dozens of awesome Pokemon in Pokken Tournament. While I love fighting-types, it is fun speculating on the other types of Pokemon that may appear. With this list, I’ve barely even scratched the surface of the potential that this long running series has.
With over 700 Pokemon to choose from, which do you feel would be the best for Pokken Tournament?