How Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Butchered Gen 8’s Rillaboom

Pokemon Sword and Shield fans who liked Rillaboom shouldn’t be looking forward to when it comes back in Scarlet and Violet.

Prior to their official release, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet got some of the biggest leaks of the year thanks to the entire copy of Scarlet being available as a ROM, which paved the way for dataminers to unveil details about the entirety of Gen 9. While the entire Paldean Pokedex in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet was leaked in a matter of hours, all the games’ data came a couple of days later. When Gen 9 games finally launched, the information started to be confirmed, from specific Pokemon’s base stats to moves and Abilities, all the critters that were meant to be added at a later date.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet were indeed slated to include Sword and Shield‘s starters and other notable pocket monsters further down the line, which was later confirmed for 2023 as a Pokemon Home link. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s Cinderace Tera Raid also show Game Freak’s intention of possibly making past starters available even before the Pokemon Home transfers become available, and a Rillaboom event could be coming soon. However, fans of the Grass-type Gen 8 starter shouldn’t be too happy about its iteration in Gen 9, as Pokemon Scarlet and Violet butchered Rillaboom to the point that it could be best left untouched.

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Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Removed Rillaboom’s Best Moves

Rillaboom was mainly used in Pokemon Sword and Shield as a physical sweeper and as a Grassy Terrain setter, both things that it did exceptionally well thanks to two of its tools – Grassy Glide and Grassy Surge, respectively. While not exclusive to Rillaboom, Grassy Glide was a physical move that allowed its user to always go first on Grassy Terrain, which combined perfectly with Rillaboom’s Ability. In fact, Grassy Surge allowed Rillaboom to immediately create Grassy Terrain on the battlefield whenever it came into play, making it both reliable and easy to use. However, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet shake things up.

According to the datamines, Rillaboom does retain Grassy Surge as its Hidden Ability in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, but it loses Grassy Glide entirely. Without a STAB priority move, Rillaboom is already going to be much weaker than it was, but that’s not all. Due to Some Gen 8 moves being cut from the game and Gen 9 being a new balance effort for the competitive meta, Rillaboom lacks an incredibly useful coverage move in the form of High Horsepower. This was particularly good because it allowed Rillaboom to hit five types for supereffective damage, and High Horsepower’s damage wasn’t negatively impacted by Grassy Terrain.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s Arboliva is also part of the reason why Rillaboom is now going to be less sought after, as it provides a consistent way of setting Grassy Terrain via its Seed Sower Ability. What this does is set Grassy Terrain whenever Arboliva is hit, which does require more setup compared to Rillaboom’s Grassy Surge, but it also provides players with a reliable, near-endless source of this.

Lastly, Rillaboom doesn’t get the best value out of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s Terastallization compared to other Pokemon due to its now more limited move pool and coverage. Losing also Superpower as a move makes Rillaboom a harder pick to justify over other hard-hitters like Meowscarada, and its usage might be limited to being a good Fake Out user. Unfortunately for fans of Gen 8 critters, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet also neuter Zacian among other monsters, but while the Legendary Pokemon’s treatment was largely justified by its status, Rillboom’s nerfs feel a bit too much and too sudden. Unless the datamines prove to be incomplete or incorrect, Rillaboom fans are likely going to be disappointed soon.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are available now for Nintendo Switch.

MORE: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Player Has a Blissey With HP That’s Off the Charts


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