Lots of talk is being made about new possible Mega evolutions, and about potential forms changes for legendaries, but do you know made Gen 4 so great? The new evolutions for Pokemon desperately needing a buff in the meta game.

I’ll name 10 candidates that could benefit from a Mega in a later article, but for now, I want to focus squarely on Pokemon that need a big step up before they should even be considered for a Mega. Obviously, Pokemon that already have Megas are likely considered to be at the end of their line, so those will be excluded. I will allude to competitive tiers fairly frequently in this article, so to be a little more coherent, these are Uber, OU (overused), UU (underused), RU (rarely used), NU (never used) and PU (irredeemably awful).

Let’s get rolling.

10) Qwilfish

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Qwilfish is an ugly little Pokemon. It’s obviously a puffer fish, but there’s really nothing more to it. It’s been a staple in UU and RU meta game for several generations now, usually utilized on Rain teams as a utility mule (that means it’s usually geared to a role that neither attacking or defending - it sets up traps and inflicts status ailments).

The Water/Poison is a great defensive type, but its terrible stats leave a lot to be desired. For a Qwilfish evolution to work, you’d be looking for large boosts to its HP, speed and defences. Since its primary role isn’t attacking, it really needs to be built as a more defensive role so it can do its job while sponging a few hits. Access to Rapid Spin could be super beneficial here too.
Alternatively, you could throw its current role out the window and buff its best base stats - speed and attack - to create a great sweeper with a rare type combination that makes it difficult to counter.

In terms of design, it’s really difficult to imagine what a Daddy Qwilfish might look like. It’s always stuck me as having a bit of a punk aesthetic, with the spikes and the perpetually angry/goofy face. So maybe it could be an over-inflated puffer fish with an angrier face, a mohawk and a piercing in its tail. Why not? :D It would evolve when levelled up in an urban area.

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9) Corsola

Corsola has always been a really strange Pokemon to me. When I was a kid, I played through Gold with this thing, but that was only on the mistaken belief that Pokemon that is difficult to catch is somehow intrisicly good (which is obviously false, because Dunsparce exists). But it’s really unique, in that it’s mobile coral with a smiley face. I always thought this design could have been improved upon. Competitively, it’s terrible - it’s actually comparable to an unevolved Pokemon. It has nothing special about it whatsoever. It is PU fodder to the Nth degree.

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But honestly, when looking at Corsola, I don’t think I’d make it good. It needs a lot of work to be something special, and with that Water/Rock typing, it’ll never fly in the higher tiers. Its base defenses are okay, so at the very least, I’d buff those both out to about base 110 and give smaller boosts to the rest of its stats. It has some really great tools for recovery, so I imagine Corsola’s evolution to be a slow, bulky wall used purely to switch in and block sweepers and utility mules. Similar to Qwilfish, it has some decent access to utility moves, so I firmly imagine this thing as a defence-first wall somewhere in the RU tier.

In terms of design, I’d enhance what Corsola’s already got. All the protruding spikes could be adapted into a massive snarl of antler-like corals, to make a creature that looks like as bulky as it means to be. Otherwise, it stays sentient coral with a smiley face! Since Sun/Moon is set in a tropical setting, I think Corsola would ideally evolved when levelled in a coral reef enrivonment.

8) Emolga

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Emolga is here because Emolga is just the worst. It’s Gen 5's “Hey, remember Pikachu?” Pokemon, to match Gen 4's Pachirisu and Gen 6's Dedenne (aka, “DID YOU NOTICE IT’S ANOTHER PIKACHU YET?!”). Emolga has a terrible typing, and a stat loadout more akin to Pikachu than Raichu. It’s basically an unevolved Pokemon that exists purely to have Pikachu in Gen 5 without having Pikachu in Gen 5. It’s terrible.

Obviously, it needs a big stat boost, but it also needs something to set it apart. Its speed is already pretty high, so I’d love to see an ability that gives priority to Electric moves, similar to what Talonflame has for Fire moves, just to really emphasize that this Emolga evo is a speed demon. I don’t think that’ll make it a GREAT Pokemon, but it’ll at least be a Pokemon that isn’t complete garbage.

In terms of design, I’d definitely go as far from Pikachu as possibly. I’d give it a much more squirrel-like appearance, with a big, fluffy tail full of static charge. I’d give it a more rodent-like face, and give it longer limbs and a bigger wingspan. It would evolve by seeing Pikachu Libre and regretting its existence.

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7) Rampardos

I don’t think anyone likes Rampardos. I mean, I do - he was one of my favourite Gen 4 ‘mons. He’s a blue pachycephalosaurus! I mean, what more could you possibly want from a Pokemon? But if you Google image search Rampardos, pictures of Garchomp will be in the first dozen results. And there’s a lot of drawings of pregnant Rampardos for reasons I cannot fathom. The internet is a weird place. In terms of the meta game though, Rampardos isn’t bad - he’s just lacking. He’s the definition of “glass cannon” - hits hard, takes forever to fire, and frail as the Queen. Its base 165 attack stat is amazing, and he could make for a fine wallbreaker, but aside from an okay HP stat, he has absolutely nothing going for him.

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Right now, Rampardos is a slow little fella, so this bad boy needs to hit the track and work on his speed. A Rampardos evolution might get a small boost to his attack and special attack, but what he really needs is a massive boost to speed. The typing is fine, the movepool is great, and the abilities (Mold Breaker and Sheer Force) compliment its ideal role perfectly. Give this guy more speed, and he’ll hit like a truck without the slow wind-up.

Design-wise, I think all the right elements are there. To me, the current Rampardos looks a bit on the chubby side, so if he were given a slimmer design and more muscular legs, and more spikes on his back, I think we’re in business. The core design is great as is, but he does look a little weak and dopey. Rampardos would evolve with an ancient stone that can only be obtained in Gen 7 onwards.

6) Avalugg

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I may be the only person in the world that felt this way, but when the full roster of Pokemon X/Y was revealed, I fell in love with Avalugg. I LOVE the solid, frigid look. He definitely LOOKS slow, but you expect that from a glacier. He’s like a big, dumb brute that defends some sacred temple in some frozen world. He is a giant, frozen coffee table that frightens all but the strongest hearts and minds.

And on paper, he seems like an amazing Pokemon! The 184(!) base defence is one of the best in the game, and his high attack stat is pretty scary on its own. He has access to Curse, a move that buffs attack and defence at the expense of a speed stat he’ll never use. He has a Rapid Spin, a rare utility move for clearing traps. He has Recover, to heal whatever dents get into him. Not to mention Earthquake and a few other great attacking moves.

The trouble is, his special defence is TERRIBLE - an absolutely atrocious base 46(!). The Ice monotype as an extremely poor omen for defence as well, since it has a lot of weakness, all of which are common at every tier of the meta game. The only resistance here is Ice. But otherwise, Avalugg has all the tools to be great. Really, all this big ‘lugg needs is a boost to Special Defense and a new typing.

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Trouble is, design-wise, I can think of a solution that works. Ice/Dragon and Ice/Electric would benefit him greatly, but I either imagine him as a coffee table with wings or a coffee table with electrical towers on its back. Both seem really contrived, and neither fit with the evolution line... But of the two, I think you could make Ice/Electric work - a big hunk of ice with a broader design, stronger legs, and a static charge running through it. He’d have very limited access to electric type moves (I’m thinking Thunder Wave and Volt Tackle). At that point, Avalugg 2.0 would have all the tools to be awesome. He’d evolve when traded with some kind of electrical held-item.

5) Sandslash

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He’s a big pangolin! Sandslash has always had a really cool design, probably because it’s based on a really cool animal. Competitively, Sandslash has never awful. It’s never really cracked the higher tiers, but it’s always filled a comfortable niche in the NU and RU tiers. He’s got good defence and attack, and his speed is okay. His Sand Rush ability gives him double speed in Sandstorm weather, and he has rare access to Rapid Spin. He can also hit pretty hard, with STAB (same-type attack boost) Earthquake and access to Swords Dance.

Sandslash actually reminds me a lot of Magneton, insofar as Magneton was already a pretty good Pokemon before Magnezone came along. Magnezone didn’t give Magneton much it didn’t already have, it was just a decent stat buff that took something good and made it great. Definitely, with Sandslash, I’d look for something similar. It has all the tools it needs to be a decent Pokemon, but with a general stat boost all-around, it can definitely rise up a tier or two, maybe even settle into a niche with Hippowdon in OU (Hippowdon being a Pokemon that sets Sandstorm up automatically when it enters play). Doesn’t need much!

Design-wise, I’d give him a longer design. Pangolins in the wild have a very long, slinky body, with a tail that drags along the ground. I’d keep Sandslash’s big claws and bipedal form, but with a taller body and a big, long tail dragging around. Sandslash would evolve when traded with a new evolution item.

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4) Arbok

I’ve never personally been a fan of Arbok myself, but I know it’s been a huge favourite among Pokemon fans in general ever since I was a kid. I mean, it’s a cobra! And it was one of the most frequently-seen Pokemon in the anime. Stat-wise, it’s pretty bad. Similar to Corsola, its stat loadout suggests that it SHOULD evolve, but it doesn’t. But, Arbok is special - it has a pretty unique attack called Coil. This boosts Arbok’s attack, defence and accuracy. Arbok also has a priority attack - an attack that almost always goes first - in Sucker Punch. It has some interesting tools, but no real way to use them.

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I would give Arbok stat boosts across the board, but not large ones. I think what Arbok really needs is a new typing and a new ability: give it the Prankster ability, allowing it to give priority to non-damaging moves and give it a Poison/Dark typing. This way, Arbok could get moves like Coil and Toxic off right away. The dark typing would turn Sucker Punch from a cool novelty that does fast chip damage to a monstrous threat that, when combined with a few Coils, could absolutely wreck the opposing team.

Since this new Arbok evolutions is a bigger threat in the game, it should look more imposing - make it deep purple, maybe even black in colour. Make it so that the crest constantly changes shape, making faces that tease and threaten the opponent. Give it larger fangs and more expressive eyes. Arbok evo is a dangerous trickster, and its design should reflect this. Evolves when traded when an evolution item, but only at night.

3) Dunsparce

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It’s a little flying maggot thing and it’s absolutely awful. Dunsparce is like a weird joke Pokemon, but people have always thought it was the prelude to something greater; like it might shed its skin and grow into some massive Bug/Dragon thing (spoilers). It’s got Serene Grace as an ability (secondary effects are twice as likely to go off, like how Body Slam has a 30% chance of paralyzing), and a few utility moves, but there’s nothing really special here.

But Dunsparce will be great, dammit.

BUG/DRAGON. ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE POKEMON THAT HITS LIKE A TRUCK AND MAKES WIDOWS OF WIVES. Everything that Dunsparces is, we’re throwing it out the window. Dunsparce is moving to Ubers, friendo. Extremely high special attack and speed, with good defences and lousy attack. HP stays at base 100. Gets access to Signal Beam and other great STAB moves. It also gets a unique move called “We came from the bottom and now we here” that is super effective against everything.

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I’m not even kidding, either. I think that would be a genuinely great way to evolve Dunsparce. In terms of design, I’m thinking this hulking, quadrapedal dragon thingy with giant fangs (think Yanmega), large dragonfly-like wings that tuck into a shell like on a beetle, and a long tail with the same rattler thingy that Dunsparce has. And he keeps the same eyes, because they’re goofy and I love them. He evolves when leveled at a sacred temple, similar to where legendaries are normally housed.

2) Cacturne/Maractus

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I had no idea that Maractus existed before today. I didn’t play Gen 5, I’ll be the first to admit that, but I’m a regular Pokemaniac - and I had seen all the others in Gen 5 before. I had never seen Maractus. Cacturne, on the other hand, while also pretty forgettable, has always struck me as a, “That design isn’t done yet” kind of Pokemon. There’s just something about him that’s utterly plain, which is a factor that makes him perfect for an evolution. Both Maractus and Cacturne have little to no usage in the Pokemon meta game, and they have very similar stats - although Cacturne has significantly better attack while Maractus has slightly better speed and defence.

To explain the changes an evo would have, I’d first have to explain its design and its origin. Basically, I have this idea in my head for like... A “reformed” Cacturne and a “corrupted” Maractus. They both evolve with held items - a flower for Cacturne, and some kind of magical stone for Maractus - but only when traded with each other. Very similar to Escavalier and Accelgor, they exchange traits when evolved. Cacturne 2.0 becomes Grass/Fairy and gets covered in flowers and has a more joyful expression, and Maractus 2.0 has its flowers wilt, along with a more menacing expression.

Cacturne 2.0 would get faster and bulkier, with a slight boost to special attack, where Maractus would get a small boost to special attack and a significant boost to physical attack. They both inherit new moves of their new typing, and both fit a niche as sweepers (Pokemon that hit hard, with the potential to wipe out a whole team if deployed right).

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1) Torkoal

NOBODY LIKES YOU, TORKOAL, BUT I DO. I SEE YOUR POTENTIAL. ;~; Torkoal is a turtle, but also a blast furnace. His shell has an eternally burning fire that causes smoke to pour out from it like a chimney. And honest to god, the evolution potential here that Game Freak has failed to capitalize on here astonishes me. Torkoal is a Fire monotype with MASSIVE defence (base 140) and atrocious speed (20). It also has access to Curse, Shell Smash, Rapid Spin, Stealth Rock and other utility moves. But, both its attack stats are decent.

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Fire/Poison. How could this thing not evolve into Fire/Poison? It’s constantly spewing smoke - smoke is the entire design concept around Koffing/Weezing. The defence is great, and it’s a turtle, so the speed will always be low... I’m thinking tank. Give it big boosts to attack and special attack, and give it a boost to special defence. Load it out with Curse, Toxic, Sludge Wave and Fire Blast. He’ll be slow as hell, but he’ll hit like a truck and take a few hits before he goes down. There’s a 4x weakness to Ground to watch out for, but with resistance to a whopping 8 types, Torkoal evo is a force to be reckoned with.

Design-wise, the elements are already there. Just make him bigger, with a bulkier shell, a brighter inner fire, stronger legs, and a more wrinkly, tortoise-like appearance. Make his expression very wise and learned, as he is a master of the battlefield. GO GO TORKOAL 2.0.

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And that concludes my choices for Pokemon that I feel are deserving of a new evolution. I have other choices in mind for Megas, but I really wanted to bring back the idea that old evolution lines just aren’t done evolving yet. Megas are cool, but I think a few Pokemon are really in need of another step before Mega.

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What are some of your choices? Do you agree with my list? Let me know in the comments.