Pokemon Type Reviews: Poison


I always save my favorite for last, and "poison" as a theme is truly the one and only thing I can possibly find cooler than ghosts, giant insects or plant monsters...and two of those are paired with it with reasonable frequency. There's just something about toxic, infectious, putrid and acidic things I've just found rad as hell ever since I was a kid, especially when you get into the myriad ways real plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms wield their own chemical warfare.

"Poison" as a pokemon element is even broader than that, of course, encompassing venom, poison, smog, sludge, trash and even plain old horrible smells into a single mysterious elemental energy, wielded in all sorts of strange, imaginative ways by different pokemon.

In the first generation, poison sort of filled the role of the "bad guy" type, which may be why it was slapped onto spooky bats and ghosts. Unfortunately, its weakness to the wildly common psychic and ground attacks made it one of the weaker types in the game, and the introduction of poison-immune steel types in the second generation dealt another blow to the type's dignity. This would finally be rectified nearly two decades later with the addition of fairy type, which, as we all know, withers under the destructive power of pollution.

Even with all those wonderful giant bugs, monster plants, ghosts and sea monsters that aren't poisonous, I know I could be perfectly content using nothing but poison pokemon - that it's exactly the specialty I'd have as an in-universe trainer. Perhaps due to its weaknesses and perhaps due to its aesthetics, it seems as though poison is rarely anybody else's all-time favorite type, with hits like Toxapex and Gengar more popular in spite of the typing than because of it. Poison is relatable to me as an underdog of the types, dismissed as "weak" and "ugly" and once even typecast as "villainous," but perhaps this is just one of the type's hidden advantages - the inclination to underestimate it. My poison-heavy teams sure don't have any trouble dealing with fairy types, at least, and for everybody else, the fae folk have become a competitively centralizing threat.

I just can't tell you how good it felt the first time I knocked out a Gardevoir with one hit from Garbodor's Gunk Shot.

MY TOP SIX FAVORITES:

MY NEXT SIX FAVORITES:

COULD BE BETTER:

Because I just couldn't say "least favorites," but the Gastly and Bulbasaur lines just have no reason to BE poison types, Roserade is a downgrade from Roselia's design and I wish Nidoqueen was allowed to have spines and horns as impressive as Nidoking, whose spines have for some reason gotten smaller and smaller anyway.

THE MOST CREATIVE:

Oh whoops I pretty much repeated my favorites again, sorry guys

SCARIEST/MOST BADASS:

THE PRETTIEST:

THE CUTEST:

THE GOOFIEST CHARM:

THE "ELEMENTALS":

This isn't a top list of any sort, but it's an interesting pattern I wanted to point out. With the sole exception of Seviper, every pure poison pokemon line (bearing in mind that the Nidorans eventually become poison/ground) consists of two stages and focuses on a single, distinct concept of what "poison type" means.

Venom, smog, sludge, acid and trash. These two-stagers never repeat a theme and never break the pattern with a new evolution or mega form. Only Muk has deviated, sort of, by offering a poison/dark Alolan alternative, and I hope the rest of these guys will see some fresh attention some day - they all need it.

What themes are left for future "basic elemental" poison pokemon? We will, of course, get to that shortly!

WHAT'S MISSING?




Something in a Gas Mask

Gas masks are generally cool as heck, already resembling the face of some bug-eyed biomechanical insectoid, and it's kind of surprising we don't have any pocket monsters that even vaguely evoke one. It would be the perfect facial design for a fly, of course, but we're talking poison here, and I don't know if I'd want my long-awaited housefly to be another vulnerable bug/poison. Ideally however, I'd like to see a weirder, more nondescript monster with a gas masked motif, and it'd be the perfect motif for a pure poison type themed specifically around stench. Yes, other poison types are known for rancid odors, but Gloom and Skuntank are the only two really centered on it as a theme.


An Oil Slick

While Muk and especially Alolan Muk can pass visually for oil creatures, they're distinctly intended to represent toxic sludge, which is quite a difference. An oil Pokemon could be almost like that "shadow" idea I had for the ghost type, a perfectly black, two dimensional blot crawling on the ground, but could possess a head and limbs that rise up from it to attack. There's also the possibility of incorporating the barrel or drum as a "shell."

Pure poison would again be ideal to me, but a signature ability could make this one immune to water attacks and become poison/fire if hit by any fire-type damage.


A Germ

Japan's go-to anthropomorphization of a "germ" is typically a rude, blackish fairy-imp ripped off from Baikinman, and obviously I'd be cool with that for an infectious disease pokemon, but I'd also be cool with a more accurate giant virus, or a giant bacterium, or some blobby creature made out of viruses or bacteria, or even just a creature that carries a disease, like some sickly, coughing and sneezing ghost type or the explicit plague doctor people expected from Aromatisse.

"Germs" are briefly mentioned as part of Weezing, Muk, and even the non-poison Goodra line, but where the heck is our full-blown pathogen pokemon!? More than any other, this is THE theme I want most for another of those "elemental" poison types.


So I guess that's it then.

We've reviewed every pokemon with a look back at every generation and every type. Now there's finally almost nothing left until new games come along...but I've got at least a few more article ideas in the works.

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