Back in generation six, we were treated to the exciting addition of Mega Evolution, a new mechanic that put a fresh spin on not only some fan favourite Pokémon, but also some less popular ones that were in dire need of some help. Now, in generation seven, the trend of putting a new twist on older Pokémon has continued with the introduction of Alolan forms. Alola form Pokémon see previously existing Pokémon re-imagined with slightly different appearances, new types and Abilities and even slightly different stat distributions in some cases. These new forms provided a totally new way to experience Pokémon you might not have thought about using again otherwise.
Unfortunately though, not all of the PokéCommunity’s favourites were given the Alola treatment. So, we’re going ahead and doing it ourselves in the Alola Mix-Up. In each Alola Mix-Up, the battlers of the PokéCommunity collaborate through a series of polls to determine not only what Pokémon we’re creating a form for, but also the new version’s type, ability, stat distribution and movepool. Meanwhile, a competition is posted in Art & Design to determine the actual appearance of our new Pokémon. This time around, we’re sticking with the generation one Pokémon and creating an Alolan version of Butterfree.
Ability: Compound Eyes/Tinted Lens
Sp. Attack: 90
Sp. Defense: 80
Before we get into the specifics of our creation, let’s take a look at the original Butterfree so we can see how our Alolan form compares to the original Kanto version. First and foremost, just one look at Butterfree’s stats and you can probably tell that it’s not a hard-hitting Pokémon. It’s actually an extremely weak Pokémon relegated to Smogon’s PU tier in competitive battling, the lowest tier in which a fully evolved Pokémon can be used.
Offensively, Butterfree does have some strengths. A base 90 Special Attack is definitely not amazing, but it isn’t terrible either and at a base 70 Speed, Butterfree is fast enough to function in PU, even though it would be blitzed just about anywhere else. Perhaps some things that stand out a bit more, however, are what Butterfree brings to the table to support its offensive stats. Firstly, Butterfree carries an interesting ability called Tinted Lens. This doubles the damage dealt by Butterfree’s attacks on Pokémon that resist them, somewhat neutralising the resistance. Furthermore, Butterfree learns Quiver Dance, arguably the best boosting move in the game. This move boosts its Special Attack, Special Defense and Speed all by one stage. It can even bypass Substitute as its main STAB move is Bug Buzz or put the enemy to Sleep with Sleep Powder to get a free Quiver Dance. Unfortunately though, even after Quiver Dance, Butterfree really isn’t speedy enough to be a stand out sweeper in higher tiers and whilst it boasts a decent Special Attack, its physical Attack might as well be non-existent. Not to mention that whilst Butterfree does have access to some other decent coverage moves such as Psychic and Energy Ball, it has a limited offensive pool that is quite predictable. It also doesn’t have any moves that let it really take advantage of its secondary type, Flying.
On the defense, any strengths Butterfree has end. It has base 60 HP, 50 defense and 80 Special Defense. Its Special Defense is okay, being able to take resisted hits well-enough, but is compromised by extremely low HP. Butterfree’s physical defense may as well not exist. This is not a Pokémon designed with longevity in mind. It sees no help come from either its Abilities, which are offensive, or its typing either. Butterfree carries an immunity to the Ground type, but that’s really not that helpful for a Bug. Actually, Butterfree’s additional Flying type leaves with even more weaknesses to fear. It even has a 4x weakness to the Rock type, including to Stealth Rock, which routinely litters the field with hazards, harming Butterfree a great deal every time it comes in. Even though it can technically carry Roost, a great recovery move, with awful defensive stats and five weaknesses (all to common offensive types), Butterfree is not going to last long if you’re forced to bring it into battle before the end game.
#012 Alolan Butterfree
Ability: Soul Sap/Dry Skin
Tier Estimate: UnderUsed
Sp. Attack: 20
Sp. Defense: 70
Looking at our Alolan Butterfree, you can probably tell already that it’s a bit different from its original Kanto counterpart. For starters, the PokéCommunity’s Alolan variant is Bug/Dark typed, but it also has access to two different abilities (including one of the PokéCommunity’s own design) and a different stat distribution and movepool.
Our Butterfree is very much an offensively oriented Pokémon, although with only a base stat total of 395 to work with, our options were somewhat limited. Alolan Butterfree, unlike the original, is a physically oriented Pokémon. It possesses a workable base 95 Attack, which although not super-impressive, is enough to really hurt Pokémon that don’t resist it (especially if it holds a Life Orb or Choice Band). It’s also much faster than its original incarnation with a base 100 for its Speed. This isn’t extremely fast, but does put it in a Speed tier with the likes of Charizard, Zapdos and Mega-Glalie – allowing it to actually function outside of the PU tier. Furthermore, our Butterfree has a much better movepool than the original with access to powerful STAB moves for both of its types such as Leech Life, Lunge and Crunch as well as Swords Dance to give a massive boost to its attack. Common Grass, Psychic or Dark Pokémon such as Tangrowth, Mega-Alakazam or Greninja would be liable to have some serious trouble switching in to a team packing an Alolan Butterfree. Unfortunately though, Bug and Dark isn’t that great a STAB combination since its walled quite hard by any common Fairy type like Tapu Fini or Magearna.
Defensively, Alolan Butterfree is interesting. Stat-wise, it’s actually worse than the original having equal HP and physical Defense and a slightly lower Special Defense. Its typing isn’t spectacular defensively either as it still carries a Rock weakness (and thus a vulnerability to Stealth Rock) as well as weaknesses to common Fire, Flying and Fairy Pokémon. It does get a Psychic immunity, but nobody smart is going to try and take on a Bug with a Psychic Pokémon anyway, so this doesn’t add much. Things get a little more interesting though when we consider Alolan Butterfree’s Abilities and moves. Soul Sap, the unique ability we created for Alolan Butterfree, grants an effect to all physical moves that recovers 20% of the damage dealt as HP – even if that move is Leech Life and already recovers HP equal to 50% of the damage your opponent took. So, despite its mediocre defensive stats, Alolan Butterfree has excellent recovery (that can’t be blocked by Taunt) that might grant it some real longevity. It’s second Ability, Dry Skin, is similarly useful, providing Butterfree with a second immunity to Water and replenishing its HP enormously in the rain or if hit by a Water move. This allows Alolan Butterfree to easily switch into fearsome Water Pokémon like Greninja or Manaphy. Dry Skin does increase the damage taken by Fire attacks, but they’d just about all kill Alolan Butterfree anyway so this makes little difference. Combine these abilities with excellent support such as Taunt, Sleep Powder or Glare and Alolan Butterfree could potentially survive far longer than you’d expect looking at its stats.
The goal of an Alolan form is not necessarily to improve an existing Pokémon, but to provide a refreshing new way to play with an old Pokémon. That being said, there have been a few cases where an Alolan version of a Pokémon is quite an improvement on the original such as with Alolan Marowak or Alolan Muk. If it came into being, our Alolan Butterfree would come into that category as well. With far greater offensive presence and longevity, Alolan Butterfree simply outclasses the original at every turn and whilst it might not necessarily be an OverUsed tier Pokémon, it could function well even in that high tier given the right team.
Edited by bobandbill, Hiroshi Sotomura and Volpe Artica.