Competitive community bans swole dolphin Pokemon over performance-enhancing move

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The competitive community has banned four Pokemon, including Palafin, for its performance-enhancing move. 

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet were released into the wild earlier this month, and since then, players have been busy discovering the strengths and weaknesses of the game's many Pokemon. As with every game, some fighters pack more of a punch than others, but it turns out some of them are so overpowered they've been banned from competitive matches.

As reported by Polygon (opens in new tab), Smogon, a leading site for competitive battling, has deemed that four of Scarlet and Violet's Pokemon give players too much of an advantage, so they can't be used. It's worth noting that Smogon isn't affiliated with Pokemon, so this ban only applies to its competitive games, not official events. 

Late last week, Smogon's voting council shared (opens in new tab) its decision to ban the use of two Pokemon, Palafin and Iron Bundle. Palafin is a cute dolphin with base stats that are pretty underwhelming, but its Zero to Hero ability really boosts its effectiveness. This allows Palafin to transform into its Hero form, giving it a base stat total of 650, which rivals that of legendary Pokemon. Meanwhile, Iron Bundle's "ludicrous" offensive capabilities led seven of the nine voting members to vote in favour of a ban.

Flutter Mane and Houndstone were the first two Pokemon to be banned. In a post (opens in new tab), Smogon explained that Flutter Mane's special attacks and speed were behind the voting members' decision to axe the ghost/fairy type. Conversely, on the surface, Houndstone doesn't appear to be anything special, but its signature move, Last Respects, didn't sit well with the competeive site. The move becomes more powerful based on the number of fainted Pokemon in your party, potentially giving it a base power of 300. 

Other Pokemon, including Chien-Pao, Cyclizar, and Annihilape were also considered, but so far, only the aforementioned four have been removed.

Complete your collection with our handy Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Pokedex

Anne-Marie Ostler
Freelance Writer

Originally from Ireland, I moved to the UK in 2014 to pursue a Games Journalism and PR degree at Staffordshire University. Following that, I've freelanced for GamesMaster, Games TM, Official PlayStation Magazine and, more recently, Play and GamesRadar+. My love of gaming sprang from successfully defeating that first Goomba in Super Mario Bros on the NES. These days, PlayStation is my jam. When not gaming or writing, I can usually be found scouring the internet for anything Tomb Raider related to add to my out of control memorabilia collection.