Competitive Spotlight: Terrain

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Welcome, Azurillanders, to the second Competitive Spotlight! For this edition, we’re looking at a relatively new mechanic, introduced in Generation 6: Terrain!

(If you're reading from the front page, click Read More to get started!)


Basic Explanation

So what does Terrain do? Apart from each Terrain having a specific effect on the battlefield, there are three moves that change based upon the Terrain: Camouflage, Nature Power and Secret Power. Previously, the Terrain was determined by wherever you were battling in-game. In Link Battles, the Terrain was fixed to a specific type: Nature Power and Camouflage were Normal-based (though Link Battles were considered as Sand for Nature Power in Generation 5). In Generation 6, the different types of Terrain allowed for these moves to be more useful in a Competitive Battle, as well as enabling more strategy in-game.

Aside from these three moves, each Terrain has effects on the battlefield, lowering the power of certain moves and granting a benefit to all Grounded Pokémon. Grounded Pokémon are all Pokémon that do not have Levitate as their ability or are not part Flying-type. Giving Pokémon the held item Iron Ball, using Ingrain, Smack Down or Thousand Arrows, will make the Pokémon considered Grounded. Switching out will remove the effects of Ingrain, Smack Down and Thousand Arrows.

When Gravity is in effect, all Pokémon are Grounded Pokémon. Using Roost will make a Pokémon Grounded until the end of that same turn. If Gastro Acid is used on a Pokémon with Levitate or a Pokémon holding an Air Balloon is given the Ability Klutz, they will be considered Grounded Pokémon.

Additionally, if a Pokémon is holding the held item Air Balloon, or under the effects of the moves Magnet Rise or Telekinesis, they are not considered Grounded Pokémon.

There are four different types of Terrain, all of which have varying effects.

Electric Terrain  
Increases the power of Electric-type moves used by Grounded Pokémon by 50%, and prevents all Grounded Pokémon from falling asleep. This includes all ways of causing sleep, including Yawn and Rest.
Grassy Terrain  
Increases the power of Grass-type moves by all Grounded Pokémon by 50%, and restores 1/16th of all Grounded Pokémon’s HP each turn. This terrain also halves the damage taken from Bulldoze, Earthquake, and Magnitude.
Misty Terrain  
Halves the damage taken from Dragon-type moves for all Grounded Pokémon, while also preventing any status conditions (including Confusion) for all Grounded Pokémon.
 Psychic Terrain  

Increases the power of Psychic-type moves for all Grounded Pokémon by 50%. This Terrain also prevents all Grounded Pokémon from being hit by priority moves, such as Bullet Punch, Extreme Speed, and Aqua Jet.


Effects on Moves

As stated before, all four types of Terrain can change the effects of the moves Camouflage, Nature Power, and Secret Power. 

  Under Electric Terrain Under Grassy Terrain Under Misty Terrain Under Psychic Terrain
Camouflage Changes the Pokémon's type to Electric Changes the Pokémon's type to Grass Changes the Pokémon's type to Fairy Changes the Pokémon's type to Psychic
Nature Power Becomes Thunderbolt Becomes Energy Ball Becomes Moonblast Becomes Psychic
Secret Power May induce Paralysis May induce Sleep May lower the opponent's Special Attack May lower the opponent's Speed


Ways to Activate

There are a few different ways to activate the different types of Terrain. Each Terrain is activated by the move of the same name; for example, Electric Terrain activates Electric Terrain. Each Terrain can also be activated by each of the Tapu’s corresponding Abilities.

Tapu Koko, the Electric/Fairy-type Legendary Pokémon, activates Electric Terrain upon switching in, using its Electric Surge Ability
  Tapu Bulu, the Grass/Fairy-type Legendary Pokémon, activates Grassy Terrain upon switching in, using its Grassy Surge Ability
  Tapu Fini, the Water/Fairy-type Legendary Pokémon, activates Misty Terrain upon switching in, using its Misty Surge Ability
  Tapu Lele, the Psychic/Fairy-type Legendary Pokémon, activates Psychic Terrain upon switching in, using its Psychic Surge Ability



Each Terrain has a corresponding seed that, when held by a Pokémon, will activate immediately upon switching in, regardless of whether the Pokémon is Grounded or not.

Description Image
The Electric Seed boosts Defense by one stage during Electric Terrain
The Grassy Seed boosts Defense by one stage during Grassy Terrain
The Misty Seed boosts Special Defense by one stage during Misty Terrain
The Psychic Seed boosts Special Defense by one stage during Psychic Terrain


 These seeds not only give a nice boost to Defense, but have given certain Pokémon new tricks to use in battle.


Hawlucha benefits very much from using one of the seeds, as not only will it boost its defenses, but it will also activate Hawlucha’s Unburden Ability, which doubles its speed once a held item is used. On top of that, Hawlucha can learn Acrobatics, which is a 55 Base Power Flying-type move that has its power doubled if the Pokémon uses (or doesn’t have) an item. This makes Hawlucha, who already has an impressive Speed of 118, one of the fastest Pokémon in OU; and gives it access to a 110 Base Power STAB move.

All four of the Tapus are able to summon a complimentary Terrain upon switching in, but Tapu Koko and Tapu Lele in particular can use these terrains very well.

Tapu Koko is a very fast, hard-hitting Pokémon. With its 130 base Speed, it will out speed a lot of Pokémon, even in OU. And thanks to its Electric Terrain, its only decent 95 Special Attack can be helped by that boost to Electric-type moves. This gives it a very powerful Volt Switch, allowing it to not only do a great deal of damage, but switch out on a bad match-up as well. On top of that, it gives Thunderbolt 142.5 base power, making it a scarily strong Electric-type move that not even Pokémon that take neutral damage want to face.

Tapu Lele benefits greatly from its Psychic Surge, especially thanks to the prevention of priority moves. Without priority moves, a lot of threats in OU, like Mega Mawile or Mega Scizor, will need to take another hit before taking out Tapu Lele, since they're both naturally slower. Lack of priority can also be a major help in Double Battles, since the Terrain affects all Pokémon on the field. And, as with Tapu Koko, the boost to Psychic-type moves gives Tapu Lele, who already has a great 130 base Special Attack, a frighteningly powerful Psychic.


Terrain has changed Competitive Battling. The Tapus are all powerful Pokémon, and having teams that make use of the different types of Terrain is almost obligatory in the current OU meta. Catching the Tapus in-game can prove to be difficult, especially Tapu Fini with Misty Terrain preventing status moves.

Love them or hate them, Terrain has definitely had a big impact on the latest two Generations. What are your thoughts on Terrain? Have you used them in Competitive Battling? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!



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