Each Pokemon generation has its own unique battle mechanic, and Scarlet and Violet will have the Terastal Phenomenon and the Tera types that it bestows on Pokemon.
Much like the ability to Dynamax and Gigantamax in Pokemon Sword and Shield, the Paldea region is set to have its own gimmick that is implied to be a part of the game’s environment. That gimmick is the ability to use the Terastal Phenomenon, letting players Terastallize their Pokemon and transform them into a new Tera type. But what does any of that even mean?
The good news is that all the details regarding the new mechanic have already been laid bare. Here’s everything you need to know about the Terastal Phenomenon, Tera types, the Terastallize ability, and Tera Raids.
The Terastal Phenomenon is a special ability in the Paldea region that turns Pokemon into a crystalline form. While in this crystalline form, Pokemon are capable of changing types and amplifying damage from certain types.
From a statistical and battle perspective, this is what the Terastal Phenomenon does:
As a practical example, consider the dragon-flying Pokemon Dragonite.
If Dragonite has a water Tera type and Terastallizes, it becomes a pure water-type Pokemon. It loses its STAB for dragon and flying moves, but gains STAB for water moves. It also gains extra damage for its water moves.
If a Dragonite has a dragon Tera type and Terastallizes, it becomes a pure dragon type. This means it loses all the weaknesses and resistances of the flying type, as well as STAB for flying moves. Because Dragonite is naturally part dragon-type, Terastallizing with a dragon Tera type gives a bigger damage boost to dragon moves than it gets from having water as its Tera type.
Pokemon with different Tera types can be caught from the Tera Raids in Scarlet and Violet.
Tera Raids are the replacement for the Max Raid Battles of Pokemon Sword and Shield. Instead of fighting Dynamaxed or Gigantamaxed Pokemon, Tera Raids pit four players against a single Pokemon with a random Tera type. After defeating the Pokemon, players can catch it.
All Pokemon caught in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will have a Tera type and can Terastallize. It seems as though a Pokemon’s Tera type will default to one of the types it has by default.
Leakers have suggested that Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will allow players to change a Pokemon’s Tera type. But no official word has come out on this from The Pokemon Company.
There’s reason to both believe and dismiss this. Any Pokemon caught in Scarlet and Violet can transform into any type using the Terastal Phenomenon. Given the fact that there are 18 types instead the binary ability to Gigantamax, it would make sense to give players greater autonomy over Terrastalizing.
The argument against it happening would be that similar things were added to Pokemon Sword and Shield’s DLC. Players didn’t have the ability to activate or deactivate the ability to Gigantamax until the Isle of Armor DLC. Adding the ability to freely change a Pokemon’s Tera type in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet would make the DLC a mandatory purchase for anyone that battles online.