10 Pokemon Dual Types That Feel Unnecessary

3 months ago 46

From the earliest days of Red and Blue, Pokemon has massaged a unique wrinkle into its elemental table in the form of dual-typing. These creatures, carrying traits of multiple facets, can have more advantages and weaknesses than your garden variety ‘mon, making them especially interesting on the battlefield.

Sometimes, it makes perfect sense. Lanturn is an anglerfish, and therefore it is water and electric. Litwick, a haunted candle, is invariably ghost and fire. Bungee Gum possesses the properties of both rubber and gum. So far, so good.

In other instances, however, it leaves you scratching your noodle a smidgen. Here are just a few of the secondary typings that feel tacked awkwardly on for reasons beyond our comprehension. If you can justify them to us, then you might just be a Pokemon Professor yourself. We will assume you have some sort of tree-related surname.

1. Geodude Family (Ground)

Geodude Pokemon Legends Arceus

Image Source: Nintendo via Twinfinite

Let’s get something out of the way real quick — this list is going to feature a lot of gen 1 critters. As much as we love those Game Boy classics, they are mechanically janky and competitively unbalanced. Yes, I am going to link that article nobody likes again.

Geodude and its evolutions are some of the simpler Pokemon designs, consisting of a collection of stones with varying degrees of unpleasant faces. Their Rock typing is academic, and yet they also have the Ground typing chucked in there for some reason.

It’s not too egregious, until you discover that Red/Blue/Yellow had absolutely zero pure Rock-type Pokemon as a result. Its close relatives, Onix, Rhyhorn and Rhydon, were similarly Rock/Ground hybrids, though they at least have tunnelling aspects that validate this notion.

How can a thing that is a genuine rock be more than that? It must have something to do with that crusty disposition, I suppose. He’s gonna put some dirt in your eye.

2. Gengar (Poison)

Gengar

Image Source: The Pokemon Company

In keeping with the same theme, Ghosts are one of the rarest Pokemon typings in generation 1. It only has a scant three members to its name, all of them belonging to the Gastly family.

Again, this means that there would be no pure Ghost-types until Misdreavus reared its spooky head in Johto, and it didn’t seem all that necessary by my estimation. Gastly, by its very nature, is gaseous, so it being Poison makes sense. To a degree, Haunter also has some gassy characteristics that make it Poison-esque.

But Gengar? By now, it has transformed into more of a shadow-like figure, and among almost 50 Pokedex entries, its toxic traits have never once been addressed. It’s been stated how it attacks people in the night, steals heat from its surroundings, and once “stuck just one leg out of a wall” — making it sound more like my eccentric grandfather than a pocket monster — but nothing whatsoever about anything remotely poisonous.

To be fair, dual-typing is typically awarded as part of the evolution process to show how far a lifeform has come, whereas removing one would seem counter-intuitive. But when someone asks you to reel off the most iconic Poison Pokemon in franchise history, how long is it going to take before this specter gets a mention?

3. Helioptile/Heliolisk (Normal)

Heliolisk New Pokemon Snap

Image Source: Nintendo via Twinfinite

Saying smell ya later to gen 1 for a moment, we jump across the sea towards the tropical realm of Alola, where we just might encounter these cute little reptilian fellas.

Using their frills, they are able to generate an electrical current, and therefore register as shoo-ins for the Electric-type. But then, they’re also… Normal? As solar powered lizards often are?!

Tangentially, the Normal typing is something of a curiosity in this series. Should a Pokemon not have any sort of proclivity towards breathing fire or conjuring ice or being a literal bug, then sure, it seems normal enough. For instance, I would say that my cat, Lafayette, is normal (and adorable).

But once it has a typing beyond that? That sounds pretty darned abnormal to me, so how are the Helio’s not just pure Electric types? Like several of these entries, it surely comes down to gameplay factors, offering us a unique typing combination that is otherwise unheard of.

By that logic, every time Lafayette drinks water from the tap I’m going to proclaim that she’s a Normal/Water type. In response, she’ll probably say “meow” or “purr” or “eat the rich”, as per usual.

4. Alolan Exeggutor (Dragon)

Alolan Exeggutor Pokemon Let's Go

Image Source: Nintendo via Twinfinite

We’ll stay in Alola for another entry to save on airfare, and pay homage to one of the most painfully intentional jokes in Pokemon history; the enormous, garish Alolan Exeggutor.

Shedding the Psychic-typing of its mainland cousins, the Alolan form inexplicably pairs its natural Grass-type with the distinction of being a Dragon. What about it is dragon-like, I wonder, other than the fact that it makes for an amusing jape? Nothing other than Moon’s earnest attempt at justification in its Dex entry, declaring that “as it grew taller and taller, it outgrew its reliance on psychic powers, while within it awakened the power of the sleeping dragon.”

Evidently, increased height can yield draconic results. If your child has a sudden growth spurt, you can shriek at them “you’re a dragon, Morgan McNeil!” (I had to do some quick guesswork on their possible name.)

Look, it’s just a bit of silly fun, but it means that this tree is more of a Dragon than Charizard, Aerodactyl, and a certain slippery customer known as…

5. Gyarados (Flying)

Gyarados in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

Image Source: Nintendo

One of the infuriating things about Pokemon elements is that some of them are a bit too literal. If it’s got wings on it, it’s probably going to be a Flying type. The only exception is when they decide to pull a sneaky-pseudo third typing by giving it the Levitate ability instead — yeah, I see you hovering over there Hydreigon, don’t think I don’t know what kind of scam you’re pulling!

For this reason, a Pokemon that is based on Chinese dragons, is part of the dragon egg group, and has access to the attack Dragon Rage is not an actual Dragon at all. As a refresher, only the Dratini family had the honor of being true Dragons in the first generation, leaving other suitable candidates scrambling for the scraps of the arbitrary Flying-type.

For the aforementioned Charizard and Aerodactyl? Sure, I get it. They’ve got wings that are hard to miss. But for Gyarados, that sucker is almost exclusively found in the ocean… at least up until last year’s Legends of Arceus when we finally got to witness it majestically soar through the skies.

It was pretty terrifying, not going to lie, and I sacrificed my Rowlet companion so that I could safely flee. Nature is cruel.

6. Birds (Normal)

Green Squawkabilly in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

Image Source: Nintendo

Hey, I’m not quite over this Normal stuff, so while Gyarados’ Flying aspect is only an occasional feature that it pulls out at ancient parties, avian Pokemon have a different issue going on entirely.

Throughout franchise history, nearly every regional bird has been a Normal/Flying type. If we were trying to ease kids into the nuances of typing, they were perhaps led awry by the false notion that they would have just been Flying and nothing else.

Oh, what’s that, birds are normal animals? Alright, so are bugs. Is Caterpie a Bug/Normal type? Horses are normal too, so shouldn’t Ponyta be Fire/Normal? It’s one of those weird things that has just kind of stuck, to the point where Flying has become the ultimate secondary type.

To this day, there are still only three pure Flying-type Pokemon: Tornadus, Rookidee and Corvisquire. If you’re particularly fond of the skies, you can’t field an entire team, or even have a single fully evolved non-legendary on the roster. Bird is, evidently, not the word.

7. Kartana (Grass)

Kartana in Pokemon Anime

Image Source: VIZ Media

Often, the validity of Pokemon typing can only be accepted in meme form, such as that guy who angrily shouts “I guess” while throwing his hands into the air.

Case in point is the Ultra Beast Kartana. Known as the Drawn Sword Pokemon, this curious creation resembles an origami superhero. True to its delineation, it’s a Steel-type, but its primary typing is in actual fact Grass.

If you want to consider things in a roundabout way, paper is made from trees, and trees go hand in hand with grass. In this sense, Kartana is technically a dead tree, having cruelly been chopped down, processed and packaged as a paper product. Once you apply that logic, you can almost feel yourself nodding with satisfaction.

…But wait, if it’s indeed a dead tree, then shouldn’t it be a Ghost as well? Aaaah, dammit! We were so close.

8. Drampa (Normal)

Drampa Pokemon Sword & Shield

Image Source: Nintendo via Twinfinite

I promise this is the last time I’m going to harp on about this specific shoehorned typing. After all, they’re just normal men. …They’re just innocent men!

Up to this point, when glancing at the Pokemon who have been distinguished as Normal, you can at least glean a modicum of reasonability. A little guy like Pidgey? Yeah, that’s Normal. A nice young lizard such as Helioptile? Okay, that’s Normal-ish. A Pokemon that could be best described as the bootleg Falkor action figure your kindly aunt bought from the $2 store? This is not Normal, people.

In every way, shape and form, Drampa seeks to undermine all that we believe to be true. Despite the fact that it has been seen flying in the anime, it is neither a Flying-type, nor has access to Levitate. Even its Pokedex entries don’t alleviate the issue, claiming that it “appears in towns and plays with the children”, or that “if it is angered, it completely destroys its surroundings with its intense breath.”

It seems to embody the word “strange” to a tee, and I propose that when gen 10 rolls around, Drampa be repurposed into the world’s first triple-typing: Dragon/Normal/But Really Not Normal.

9. Stufful (Fighting)

Stufful Pokemon Sword and Shield

Image Source: Nintendo via Twinfinite

Tired of me using the Normal type as a punching bag? Well then, let’s observe a Pokemon whose typing would make it well suited to go a few rounds with an actual punching bag.

Stufful, a bear cub that has allusions toward being a stuffed animal, is known as the Flailing Pokemon. What that entails, exactly, is that if you try to hug it or even touch it without its explicit written consent, it will go on a temper tantrum for the ages, sending nearby civilians reeling with its unrestrained blows.

For this reason, it is apparently worthy of being a fighter, placing it alongside such luminaries as Machamp, who has four arms and four thousand muscles, or Hariyama, a distinguished sumo wrestler who I swear is actually saying its name whenever I summon it to the battlefield.

I can only imagine that Kubfu, whose diligence and dedication have led to it being a Fighting-type prodigy, would be downright offended when they see Stufful flailing about and claiming that they’re cut from the same cloth. Get lost with that noise, Winnie the Pooh.

10. Nearly Every Gen 1 Grass-Type (Poison)

Oddish Pokemon Let's Go

Image Source: Nintendo via Twinfinite

Pop quiz, rookie! What is the one pure Grass-type Pokemon in the first generation of games?

Did you say Bulbasaur, the emblematic mascot of Grass-types? Or did you say Bellsprout, the plant-like monstrosity? Maybe you said Oddish, who is almost entirely a weed? Perhaps you said Charmander, because you hate pop quizzes and just want to see the world burn?

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong, and a jerk.

These Pokemon are all Poison types, as well. In Bulbasaur’s case, you can give it a pass, as its hybrid fauna resembles some kind of toad, and sure, Oddish’s eventual destination, Vileplume, is topped off with a toxic rafflesia. But for one of Pokemon’s most important types, one of the three options your adventure starts with, to only have a lone purebred representative?

It just seems like an odd choice, especially when it comes to us courtesy of the less than inspiring Tangela. Thanks for waving that grassy flag, I suppose. You look like spaghetti, and someday Imma eat you.

About the author

A miserable little pile of secrets. Unabashed Nintendo stan, Resident Evil fancier and obscure anime enthusiast who insists everything is funnier when the rule of three is applied. Oh, and once I saw a blimp!

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