Early versions of Pokémon GO have featured real-time weather and scenery in the game, with one of the more recent photos displaying a sunset. As Niantic continues to fuse the real world with this game, it’s safe to assume that day-to-day weather will be implemented into the game.
Fittingly enough, weather has been a core mechanic in the main series Pokémon games since the second generation. There are loads of different weather effects present throughout Pokémon games (however, a majority of them are niche and only stem from specific Pokémon’s abilities – i.e. Mega Rayquaza – so I’ll only cover the main ones). First, I’ll briefly cover the four main weather conditions in Pokémon and how I feel like they’ll operate in Pokémon GO.
Rain: When raining, the power of water-type attacks are increased and the power of fire-type attacks are decreased. It also allows specific moves, being Thunder and Hurricane, to hit with 100% accuracy. Accuracy isn’t present in GO, so Rain is likely to only buff water moves while making fire moves weaker. During rain, it may be useful to place grass Pokémon in gyms since their most obvious counters will be weakened, as well as water Pokémon to further increase their strength. I assume that this will be the most common naturally occurring weather condition.
Harsh Sunlight: Almost the exact opposite of rain, harsh sunlight increases the power of fire-type attacks while lowering the damage of water-type attacks. It decreases the accuracy of Thunder and Hurricane, but also lets the moves Solar Beam and Solar Blade come out instantly. It’d be interesting to see Solar Beam act much faster in Pokémon GO in this weather condition. In harsh sunlight, Pokémon like Rhydon and Golem can thrive since their main counter, being water, will be weakened, and not everyone has a strong grass-type.
Hail/Sandstorm: Lumping these two together because their core mechanic is the same: Pokémon lose a percent of their HP between turns. However, sandstorm doesn’t damage rock, ground, or steel-type Pokémon, while hail doesn’t damage ice-type Pokémon. Furthermore, Sandstorm increases the (special) defense of rock-type Pokémon. Interestingly enough, both of these weather conditions also halve the power of Solar Beam and Solar Blade.
Harsh sunlight and rain are both common weather conditions that people may expect to play in throughout the year, but how often do sandstorms and hail occur where people play Pokémon GO? I’d imagine not many. That’s where abilities come in. In the main series games, some of the most powerful abilities actually summon weather to the battle. In earlier generations, summoned weather lasted indefinitely, or at least until it was replaced by a different weather. This was changed in the 6th generation of Pokémon games to only last a certain number of turns – perhaps GO could reflect this by making summoned weather only last as long as the Pokémon remains in battle, or for some number of minutes.
Drizzle, Drought, Snow Warning, and Sand Stream are the abilities that summon these four weather conditions. Only Politoed, Pelipper, and generation 3’s Kyogre have access to Drizzle. Ninetales and generation 3’s Torkoal and Groudon have access to Drought. No Pokémon in GO, or even in generation 3 has access to Snow Warning, but perhaps the most game changing ability, Sand Stream, is Tyranitar’s trademark ability.
If Tyranitar were to have access to Sand Stream in Pokémon GO, it would effectively deal more damage and be harder to take down at the same time, if GO chooses to keep the defense-boosting quirk of sandstorm intact.
As for abilities that actually interact with the weather, there are plenty! Dry Skin is an ability that gradually heals the Pokémon in rain while also making opposing water-type attacks heal it instead of deal damage. On the flip side, Pokémon with Dry Skin gradually lose HP in harsh sunlight and take extra damage from fire-type attacks.
Full immunity to attacks isn’t, and probably shouldn’t, be present in Pokémon GO, so I could foresee Dry Skin simply making the Pokémon resist water-type attacks while keeping the other traits present. Parasect and Jynx have the potential to carry this ability.
Rain Dish is a simpler version of Dry Skin – it doesn’t nullify water-type attacks, but it heals the Pokémon as long as it remains in the rain. It doesn’t come with any downsides, either! Blastoise and Tentacruel can have this ability, and could give them solid defending potential in rainy weather.
Perhaps some of the more potent weather-reliant abilities are Swift Swim, Chlorophyll, and Sand Rush. They have the same effect – they increase the Pokémon’s speed – but only apply in rain, harsh sunlight, and sandstorms respectively. In Pokémon GO, these abilities may increase the speed at which the Pokémon attacks, or perhaps tweak the effect and just make the Pokémon deal more damage (because an Exeggutor launching faster Confusions seems scary strong!). Pokémon that can carry Swift Swim include Golduck, Poliwrath, Seaking, Omastar, Kabutops, Quilfish, Mantine, and Kingdra. Pokémon that can carry Chlorophyll include Venusaur, Vileplume, Victreebel, Exeggutor, Tangela, Bellossom, Jumpluff, and Sunflora. Unfortunately, the only Pokémon before the 5th generation of games to carry Sand Rush is Sandslash.
Solar Power is an ability that can turn Charizard into the hard-hitter that most people want him to be. At the cost of some HP between turns, Solar Power boosts the Pokémon’s (special) attack stat in harsh sunlight. Couple this with the fact that the sunlight will already be boosting Charizard’s fire-type attacks, and you’ve got the hardest-hitting fire-type attacker in the game. Sunflora can also carry this ability to make for a potentially solid prestiger in the sun.
On the more defensive side, Leaf Guard protects a handful of Pokémon from status conditions in the sunlight (my previous post explains how status conditions might work in GO). These Pokémon include Meganium and Jumpluff. There is a rain-equivalent to this ability called Hydration, but instead of outright preventing status conditions like Leaf Guard, Hydration heals the status at the beginning of a turn if it’s raining. Pokémon that can have this ability include Dewgong, Lapras, and Vaporeon.
A couple of Pokémon can even eliminate the effects of weather with the ability Cloud Nine – specifically, Golduck and Lickitung. If Tyranitar’s sandstorm proves to be too powerful, perhaps the underappreciated Golduck can rise to the occasion!
All in all, weather has tons of potential in Pokémon GO. Different metas could develop depending on your location – perhaps you’re in a dry part of the world and the game will consider the more desert-like locations to have a sandstorm effect, or perhaps your constant rain showers will make the water-type meta even stronger than it already is. Perhaps fire-types can finally be appreciated in the summer! And if you don’t like the current weather, then work toward the Pokémon that can whip up a change of pace with abilities!
This is the final “article” I’ll be writing until after the gym rework, thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed.