Straight from the Alolan Ruins – An Introduction to Battle Terrains

One of the most important aspects in the current 7th gen formats is the control of the field. Likewise weather (which you can learn more about here), terrains are circumstances of the battlefield modifiable through the use of moves or the activation of abilities.

Very much like weathers do:

  • Terrain effects last for 5 turns upon activation. You can furthermore get extra turns if your Pokémon holds a Terrain Extender, thus getting 8 effective turns instead of 5.
  • If a Pokémon that activates the terrain is switched out from the field, the effect of the terrain will remain active.
  • If a terrain is active and another one comes into play, the first one will be overridden by the new one.

An unique mechanic for terrains that only grounded Pokémon benefit from their effects, so Pokémon that are not Flying-types or do not have an ability that makes them levitate (like, surprise! Levitate) don’t get to notice any of the effects.

Although the first terrains were introduced in Pokémon X and Y, the introduction of the Alolan Guardians in 7th gen games supposed the creation of terrain-inducing abilities, like Electric Surge or Misty Surge, and also added Psychic Terrain to the mix.

Tapu Koko Electric Terrain

Tapu Koko is the Alolan Guardian in charge of activating the Electric Terrain thanks to its ability Electric Surge, which creates electricity on the battlefield for the next 5 turns (8 if amplified by the Terrain Extender), taking into account the one where it is summoned.

When Electric Terrain is active, Electric-type moves used by grounded Pokémon increase their power by 50%. The electricity also prevents any grounded Pokémon on the field from falling asleep, either through moves like Spore, Yawn or self-induced Rest.

Likewise, under Electric Terrain, Pokémon with the ability Surge Surfer, like Alolan Raichu, will have its speed doubled, and some moves change their effects: Nature Power will become Thunderbolt, Secret Power may paralyze the opponent, and Camouflage will convert the user into an Electric-type Pokémon.

Tapu Lele Psychic Terrain

Tapu Lele activates Psychic Terrain upon entering the field as a consequence of its ability Psychic Surge, which creates a “weirdness” on the battlefield for the next 5 turns (8 if amplified by the Terrain Extender), taking into account the one where it is summoned.

When Psychic Terrain is active, Psychic-type moves used by a grounded Pokémon increase their power by 50%. The effects of the terrain also prevent the usage of any priority moves on either side of the battlefield as long as the target Pokémon is grounded (so using Fake Out on a Flying-type Pokémon like Charizard will still make it flinch even if Psychic Terrain is in play).

Some moves also change their effects when used under Psychic Terrain: Nature Power will become Psychic, Secret Power may decrease Speed by 1 stage, and Camouflage will convert the user into a Psychic-type Pokémon.

Tapu Bulu Grassy Terrain

Tapu Bulu is the Alolan Guardian in charge of activating the Grassy Terrain thanks to its ability Grassy Surge, which creates a grassy battlefield for the next 5 turns (8 if amplified by the Terrain Extender), taking into account the one where it is summoned.

When Grassy Terrain is active, Grass-type moves used by a grounded Pokémon increase their power by 50%. The effect of the terrain halves the damage caused by Earthquake, Bulldoze and Magnitude. Additionally, every grounded Pokémon will recover 1/16 of its full amount of HP at the end of each turn.

As before, some moves will change their effects under Grassy Terrain: Nature Power will become Energy Ball, Secret Power may put the opponent to sleep, and Camouflage will convert the user into a Grass-type Pokémon.

Tapu Fini Misty Terrain

Finally, Tapu Fini summons Misty Terrain upon entering the field thanks to its ability Misty Surge. The mist will last for the next 5 turns (8 if amplified by the Terrain Extender), taking into account the one where it is activated.

When Misty Terrain is active, Dragon-type moves used by grounded Pokémon decrease their power by 50%. The effects of the terrain prevent any grounded Pokémon from status-inducing moves, such as Toxic or Spore; but does not prevent the effects of Taunt or Encore.

As with the other Terrains, some moves will have new effects: Nature Power will become Moonblast, Secret Power may decrease Special Attack by 1 stage, and Camouflage will convert the user into a Fairy-type Pokémon.

Seeds activated by Battle Terrains

Every single terrain has a homonym seed that will activate automatically when the Pokémon holding it enters the field and its corresponding terrain is active. If the terrain comes into play while the user is already on the field, the seed will activate right afterwards.

For Electric Terrain and Grassy Terrain, their seeds will increase the user’s Defense by 1 stage, whereas seeds for Psychic Terrain and Misty Terrain act likewise for Special Defense.

When a seed is consumed, the Pokémon loses its item for the remainder of the match. For instance, Acrobatics doubles its power from 55 to 110, and Pokémon with the Unburden ability will also double their speed. As with every stat boost, if the seed user switches out after using its seed and then enters the field back again, the stats will be reset back to neutral.

Summary

TerrainsElectricPsychicGrassyMisty
Boosted movesElectric 1.5xPsychic 1.5xGrass 1.5x*Dragon 0.5x
Nature PowerThunderboltPsychicEnergy BallMoonblast
Secret PowerMay ParalyzeMay lower SpeedMay SleepMay lower SpA
CamouflageElectric-typePsychic-typeGrass-typeFairy-type
Special effectsPrevents sleepPrevents priorityRecovers 1/16 HPPrevents status
SeedsIncreases DefenseIncreases Sp. Def.Increases DefenseIncreases Sp. Def.

*Earthquake, Magnitude and Bulldoze are halved.

Conclusion

As you might have noticed, Terrains are an essential mechanic when it comes to competitive play. Since the Alolan Guardians are some of the most viable Pokémon on every 7th gen format, it becomes clear why they are omnipresent and nearly every player disposes of one (if not two) of them on their team.

Many Pokémon manage to substantially improve their longevity and thus the capability to function for longer periods thanks to the intelligent use of seeds and terrains, like Drifblim, acting as a supportive pivot, or Hawlucha, an offensive attacker that benefits as well from the Unburden mechanics aforementioned.

Watch out for this during your next battle!

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