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Meet the Pokemon expert revealing the series' most obscure secrets

Pokemon
(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Do you know the greatest amount of damage a single Pokemon can do in a single turn? How about which type matchups haven't shown up in the series' 25-year history, or which of the series' 900 mons is the only one that can't learn normal type moves?

If this is all starting to sound a bit like the world's hardest Pokemon quiz, never fear. The answers to those questions (and dozens more like them) are the work of a Pokemon expert who has spent the last 10 months uncovering and sharing the most obscure details from the past two decades of Pokemon.

At the beginning of this year, Reddit user Mx_Toniy_4869 posted their first Obscure Pokemon Fact to the game's subreddit, home to 3.5 million fans. That fact – chosen due to its relevance to the series' most recent generation – outlined the inherent strengths of the Obstagoon used by Pokemon Sword and Shield gym leader Piers. The punk rocker's signature Pokemon is not only outrageously tanky, it's also the only Pokemon to have had its stats directly tinkered with by the game's developers, a decision that Toniy explains is a result of Piers being the only gym leader unable to take advantage of the game's Dynamax mechanic.

Since sharing that fact, Toniy's obscure facts have appeared on the subreddit every weekday. Recently, the series passed the 200 mark with a post revealing that the Hoenn Safari Zone – an area intended to grant players access to rare Pokemon – doesn't contain any creatures from its own generation.

Gotta learn it all!

Toniy's introduction to Pokemon came when they were eight years old, via an unofficial handbook they received from their cousin. That gift sparked a decade-long fascination with the series, which Toniy fostered by any means possible; their first game was an emulated version of Pokemon Sapphire, eventually followed up with a pirated take on Pokemon Diamond. It wasn't until 2013's Pokemon X that they'd play their first legitimate version of the game, but clearly they'd been hooked long before that.

The inspiration behind the project stemmed "when I realised that a lot of Pokemon knowledge I thought was commonly known among Pokemon fans was in fact not well known at all." That knowledge comes from a variety of sources, including conversations on Reddit or entries on wiki sites like Bulbapedia. Others, however, stem from Toniy's own experiences in-game. One post – about the changing ways in which the move Bide interacts with Ghost-type Pokemon – was uncovered when Toniy's Frosslass was tragically eliminated during a Diamond Nuzlocke run.

Toniy's facts run an impressive gamut of Pokemon history. Some are almost terrifyingly mathematical – walls of numbers that outline the complex intricacies and inconsistencies behind individual moves. Others are single-sentence posts that might explain something as simple as the fact that Bronzor looks the same no matter which way up you look at it. Several posts consider unique quirks of the games maps and music, while many more attempt to outline the many, many coding errors that made their way into the first games – one joke post, uploaded on April 1, suggested that Red and Blue "are made of scrap paper and held together by a glue stick." That might seem like a slightly harsh assessment, until you consider something like fact number nine, which explains why legendary fire-type Moltres doesn't get its version of the powerful elemental move that its Ice and Electric counterparts receive:

While the depth of Toniy's is extremely impressive, it's not infinite. Current plans will see the daily version of the series brought to an end after 251 facts. Of course, that's not just an arbitrary count – Pokemon #251 is Celebi, the final Pokemon in the game's second generation, which Nintendo once famously planned to be the end of the series. A community as passionate as Pokemon, and the likes of the upcoming Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl and Pokemon Legends: Arceus, however, is likely to turn up plenty more facts in future.

For the curious; under certain (very specific) circumstances, Shuckle is able to deal 577 million damage in a single turn; there are 17 type matchups that have never made their way to the game; and Weedle is the only Pokemon incapable of learning a single normal-type move. And if it's suddenly time to swot up, get off to a flying start with our list of the best Pokemon games.

Ali Jones

I'm GamesRadar's deputy news editor, working with Ben T across our gaming news articles. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.