Pokemon Scarlet and Violet turn an obscure meta on its head

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

It turns out Pokemon Scarlet and Violet completely transform a fan-made meta thanks to some new changes.

One of the fan-made brackets on competitive Pokemon hub Smogon is a a meta known as 'NFE' or 'Not Fully Evolved'. As the name suggests, the format permits players to only compete using creatures that haven't yet attained their final evolution, and so have at least one evolution yet to go.

According to Pokemon Scarlet and Violet players, this meta has been seriously shaken up by the Gen 9 games. As per the Twitter conversation below, it's clear that Bisharp entering the NFE scene is seen as a big change for players, as well as the fearsome Dunsparce and Primeape. All three Pokemon had been at the top of their evolution trees for a decade or two, but as they can evolve in the Paldea region, they're able to compete in NFE matches.

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Coupled with the held item Eviolite, which boosts defensive stats for Pokemon that can still evolve, a number of these Pokemon are now full-scale powerhouses. In fact, it seems Primeape might be one of the strongest choices for players working their way through the NFE ladder. Especially with the combination of moves and items depicted just above, Primeape should be an absolute powerhouse on the NFE scene, in theory at least. 

From a cursory search online, it seems a handful of Pokemon have traditionally been seen as the strongest in the NFE category. Vigoroth, Dusclops, Scyther, and Haunter are several popular contenders for the strongest 'mons, and Chansey pops up as another solid player pick.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet don't just turn the franchise's exploration approach on its head, then. The two games might've grabbed headlines earlier this year for ditching the linear storytelling approach for a more freeform style, letting players go where they wanted in whichever order, but players are undoubtedly digging deeper into metas and other scenes and discovering fascinating new changes.

Check out our Pokemon Violet Sinistea Chips and Malicious Armor guide if you're after a solution to one of the more intricate parts of the two new games.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.