My list on the most over-used and under-used Pokemon type combinations was a data-backed, thoroughly-researched excuse to rant about how stupid it is that 'Flying' is a type. Ok, maybe there was more to it than that, but it definitely sprung from my frustration that Normal/Flying is so common, that so many legendaries are Flying type, and that so many dragons and bugs obviously can fly despite not being Flying types.

I have something else to rant about, though. The problem is that there isn't really data for this one, so I'm going to have trouble disguising my opinion as something more systematic and self-evident. Don't get me wrong, there are still objective arguments—if 'Flying' is going to be a type, something that has wings and flies should be a flying type, for instance—but it's not going to be as objective as 'there are 14 Grass-Poison types'.

But I have something to rant about, so I'm going to find 9 other examples of this and use them as justification for my #1 choice. If you're expecting my usual quality of writing, you probably won't find it here, but you're welcome to join me on this public personal therapy exercise. Let's go.

All that said, there are objective criteria for this list. First, the selection has to be a mismatch between the Pokemon's design and its type combination, nothing else. This wouldn't be a list for things like, "It's weird that through 5 generations they still didn't have a Bug-Dragon". Second, the oddness has to manifest in two ways: first, the current type has to be odd for the Pokemon's design, and second, there has to be a clearly more obvious combination. This excludes Pokemon like Beedrill—while Bug-Flying would also make sense, Bug-Poison isn't odd for its design. It also excludes Pokemon like Whiscash: there's nothing really particularly Ground-ish about its design, but was there really a better combination? Probably not. And, it also excludes Pokemon like Gothitelle: while I would argue it would make a lot more sense as a partial Dark-type, the only thing odd about it being a pure Psychic type is the lack of a Dark typing to go with it. (Same goes for you, Psyduck.)

These are Pokemon whose current types are odd without even thinking about other possibilities, and who had better alternative typings. Rankings are roughly by level of oddness, which is strongly correlated to the level with which the typing bothers me.

Palkia is a massive, bipedal Godzilla-like monstrosity that, for some bizarre reason, has a type combination of Water-Dragon. Based on what I've read on the internet, the reason for this typing is that water is taken a bit more metaphorically: Palkia is the Pokemon of space (while Palkia is the Pokemon of time), and space is fluid the way that water is fluid.

Except, that's ridiculous. Space is no more fluid than time. Space might be growing at a constant rate, but it doesn't "flow" like water; if anything, Dialga should be part-Water ("the flow of time") and Palkia should be... Psychic, maybe? Changing the shape of space with your mind? The metaphorical leveraging of water also doesn't make sense with battle mechanics: water is weak to electricity for properties literal to water, which are lost if you start to take the meaning of water more metaphorically. I'd predict between its wings, its color, and its design, Water wouldn't even be one of the top 8 guessed types if you showed someone unfamiliar with Palkia its design.

This one is all the way down at #9 because it's pedantic, but it bothers me. Minior is a Rock-Flying type because it's modeled after a meteor, and meteors fly, right? No, they don't. They fall. Meteors are literally just falling rocks. They appear to fly across the sky because of their speed and the angle at which they enter the atmosphere, but there is nothing about their construction that suggests they're flying. Calling Minior a Flying type because it entered the atmosphere flying is like calling every Grass-type a Ground type because they grow in the ground.

There were cooler things that could have been done with it. Most meteors contain iron and nickel, which are common ingredients in steel alloys. Or, we could lean more toward it being inspired by comets, which typically contain frozen water (which forms the trail behind the comet). Rock-Steel, Rock-Ice, and Rock-Water would all make more sense than Rock-Flying for a Pokemon based on a hunk of space rock.

What is Dhelmise? Dhelmise is the steering wheel from an old-fashioned ship, mounted inexplicably directly on the anchor. Leaving aside the question of what substances the designer must be imbibing to design a ship in that way, what types make most sense for that design? Well, the anchor is likely a heavy metal, so Steel is a given. And, it's the product of a sunken ship, so Water would seem to be an obvious choice. Rock might be a decent alternative to Steel as well.

However, Dhelmise does fill the niche of "inanimate object brought to life", which is commonly a Ghost subtype. That's fair. I'd say Ghost-Steel and Ghost-Water would each make as much sense as Steel-Water. But wait, what's that? A hunk of seaweed hanging from the bottom? Throw it all out then, it's obviously a Ghost-Grass type! Certainly no one would ever try to wipe the seaweed off, thus causing in Dhelmise an identity crisis about its typing. No, it's absolutely crucial that we have a 6th Ghost-Grass type, rather than a 3rd Ghost-Water, a 4th Ghost-Steel, or a 2nd Water-Steel type.

To go super-recent, let's talk about two Galarian forms. Personally, I think alternate forms of existing Pokemon in new regions is a dumb idea anyway; they strike me as a way of turning lazy design into a feature. "Hey, that's not new, it just looks like the printer ran out of ink while printing Vulpix!" "That's because it is Vulpix, but as an Ice-type!" "Oh, so it borrows both the appearance and the name? I love it then, take my money!"

But I digress. Galar has at least two regional variants. Weezing has grown smokestacks, which obviously means it's now a Fairy type, because reasons. Ponyta similarly has drunk whatever was in Alolan Vulpix's water, sprouting cotton candy where its fiery mane used to be. Overall, it now looks like the kind of horse a fairy would ride on its way to trick Demetrius into falling in love with Helena—and Weezing already shows us that Galar likes casting Pokemon as Fairy types, so... naturally Galarian Ponyta is pure Psychic. It doesn't even have a second type to justify the exclusion of Fairy.

Dwebble and Crustle are Pokemon's hermit crabs. Hermit crabs are a species of crustacean, in the Malacostraca class, which also includes crabs, lobsters, and shrimp. Shuckle is one of the Pokemon universe's multitude of turtles, which are in the Testudinata class. What do the two have in common? Very little, except for the fact that neither is a bug. To climb the evolutionary tree to find the category that contains both hermits crabs and bugs, you have to go all the way to the phylum Arthropod, one of the only 11 different phylums of the Animal kingdom. And if you want to group them under the same type as turtles? Go even higher: Kingdom: Animalia, phylum: Chordata, the class is Reptilia because scalies, they got 'em.

There's just no definition under which these are bugs. I'm loathe to add even more water types to a franchise already teeming them, but as most Malacostraca live in the water, Water-Rock would make more sense. Shuckle didn't even need a second typing, although if Flying can be a type, then having Reptile as a type would make just as much... shoot, I'm going down that rabbit hole again.

So, we've established that hermit crabs and turtles are not bugs, much to Game Freak's dismay. You know what else isn't a bug? A plant. Plants aren't bugs. Bugs aren't plants, either, despite the best efforts of walking leaf insects and flower mantises and dead leaf butterflies to prove otherwise (Google those, they're cool). So, what then is the natural type selection for a Pokemon modeled after a literal part of a plant? A pinecone, for example? Grass-type, right? I mean, I maintain it should be called Plant-type rather than Grass-type, but that seems obvious, doesn't it?

Apparently not to Game Freak. Pineco is a pure Bug type; it doesn't even get a secondary Grass type, despite the fact that it's a Pokemon modeled after an item that literally is a plant. Meanwhile, Snover and Abomasnow, two Pokemon that supposedly look like snow-covered trees but actually look like snow-covered mountains, get a Grass subtyping. There's just no justice in the Pokemon world.

I had to break formula for one item on this list. Rather than one Pokemon, this one covers a whole host of them: Pokemon resurrected from fossils. There are 21, from 11 evolutionary lines: Omanyte, Kabuto, Aerodactyl, Anorith, Lileep, Cranidos, Shieldon, Archen, Tirtouga, Amaura, and Tyrunt. All except Aerodactyl can evolve once, and every single one is a Rock type. At first blush, that might make sense: fossils are rocks, after all.

...except, the fossil is a leftover part of the Pokemon, which has been fossilized. Why then is every single Pokemon resurrected from a fossil a Rock type? When other Pokemon die, do they not leave fossils? Is there something about the cloning process from a fossil that imbues an existing Pokemon with Rock-type characteristics? Could there be a future Pokemon world where every single Pokemon is a Rock-type variant of its present-day manifestation? Can we get a game set in that distant future? A million years after Pokemon society destroys itself by turning Pokemon into weapons of mass destruction, and a newly-evolved intelligent civilization discovers through its archaeological digs this distant and inglorious past?

...wait, what am I talking about again? Oh, right, weird Pokemon types.

Probably the most well-recognized odd Pokemon type combination is Gyarados. Gyarados is a Water-Flying type, which makes little sense: it doesn't really fly. I mean, it does in the 3D battles of Pokemon Stadium and some of the more recent games, but so does Goldeen, so that's not really saying much (seriously, how do Water types battle most of the time?). By its design, Gyarados would certainly seem to be more of a Dragon type. That'd certainly be better from a typing perspective as well, getting rid of its mortal weakness to electric types and adding a Generation I Dragon type that isn't double-weak to Ice.

There is a common explanation: Magikarp and Gyarados are modeled after an ancient Chinese legend of a carp (Magikarp, magic carp, get it?) leaping over a gate and being granted the ability to fly as a reward. Supposedly, that's why Gyarados is Water-Flying instead of Water-Dragon. There's one problem: in that legend, the carp is able to fly because it's turned into a dragon. So, the common explanation for why it's Water-Flying is actually more evidence that it should be Water-Dragon. Maybe we're all reading it wrong and it's supposed to be a reference to a magic carpet ride. Get it? Magikarp, magic carpet, flying carpets, Gyarados flies? I'm here until the </html> tag, everyone, tip your servers, try the veal.

I originally left Gligar and Gliscor off because while the design certainly doesn't scream "Ground!", there wasn't an obvious other type either. That is, until I read the Pokedex entry from Pokemon Gold: "It flies straight at its target's face then clamps down on the startled victim to inject poison." Its entries from Stadium 2, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, LeafGreen, Platinum, HeartGold, Black, White, Y, Omega Ruby, and Alpha Sapphire all mention poison. It's designed to be a flying scorpion, which aside from proving that Game Freak's goal is to give us all nightmares, should very obviously be either a Poison-Flying or a Poison-Bug type.

So, naturally, it's a Ground-Flying type instead. They say that's because it's inspired by desert scorpions, as if living somewhere sandy makes you any more ground-oriented than living on the ground anywhere else. Through all generations, Gligar has never learned any ground attack besides Sand Attack, and it has learned far more Bug type moves than Flying type moves as well.

Let me describe a Pokemon for you. It's green with diamond-shaped wings. Its eyes most closely resemble those of a housefly: large, red, and bulging. Its most recent pre-evolution has similar bulging eyes in green, walks on four stick-like legs, and uses two sets of two diamond-shaped wings to fly. This pre-evolution also uses its wings to make noise like a cricket. (Its furthest pre-evolution is Marvin from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy if he walked on four legs, but that has no relevance to this rant.) Oh, and the word 'fly' is literally in the Pokemon's name.

What type is it? Flying-Bug, right? Nope! It's likely the most opposite it can be: Ground instead of Flying, Dragon instead of Bug. It has wings, but it's a Ground type. It has bulging bug eyes, but it's a Dragon type. It's literally called a "Fly"gon, yet flying isn't part of its type. Granted, flying should be self-evident in Dragon types anyway (see: Gyarados, as well as my prior rants on how Flying shouldn't be a type), but that still doesn't explain Ground rather than Bug.

It's obvious that Vibrava is based on a dragonfly. Doesn't that affirm that it should be Bug-Dragon? Which has still never existed in Pokemon history? You literally have a Pokemon with 'gon' in the name, whose pre-evolution is literally based on a dragonfly, and you don't make it a Bug-Dragon type? You're going to add four more Ground-Dragon types in the next four generations, and still have no Bug-Dragon, while leaving this poor dragonfly Pokemon as a Ground-Dragon? What is wrong with you people?

I know Pokemon Sword and Shield come out in under a month, Game Freak, but I insist you stop production and add a Galarian Flygon with Dragon-Bug typing this instant. Dragonflies live on every continent except Antarctica, so no matter where you choose to draw your inspiration from, you can claim dragonflies are native to the area. Please. This is without a doubt the single most glaring, unforgivable logical inconsistency of the Pokemon universe.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk, no questions please.


List by DDJ
(10/14/2019)

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