"I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere." - Anakin Skywalker
You'd think that someone from a desolate desert planet would appreciate the sand. Pokemon players should, because it's one of the most powerful and interesting weather effects in this generation of Pokemon games. In the last two Pokemusings, we've covered the battle effects of the sun and the rain. This time around we're going to cover sandstorms. With the introduction of some new Pokemon and changes in how sand affects battles, this is one elemental aspect you definitely want to master.
Above: Use Pokemon like Hippowdon to automatically summon a sandstorm
First off, to get a sandstorm brewing, you need a Pokemon with the Sandstream ability or one that knows the move Sandstorm (TM 37). Like the other weather aspects of Pokemon, there are some areas in the game that are in a perpetual state of sand... uh... storming.
Sand works a bit differently than the sun and the rain. There aren't any attack boosts to be had from this weather effect. Instead, Rock Pokemon get a whopping 50 percent boost to their defense, while most Pokemon take a bit of damage every turn. The only types that can avoid the constant damage are Rock, Ground, and Steel.