Pokémon is a franchise that had to find ways to reinvent itself after so many similar games. Eventually, Game Freak decided to use gimmicks, such as the Mega form unique, regional evolutions.
In Pokémon Scarlet & Violet, we have the Terastal Phenomenon. It is a unique phenomenon that happens in the Paldea region.
This weird phenomenon allows Pokémon to cover themselves in some sort of crystal that changes some of their properties.
It might be a bit confusing at first, but we’re here to explain. This is how Terastallizing works in Pokémon Scarlet & Violet.
What is the Terastal Phenomenon?
The Terastal phenomenon is a temporary transformation, much like Mega Evolutions.
This transformation is exclusive to the Paldea region and was first introduced in Generation IX.
According to Pokémon Violet & Scarlet, “Pokémon can crystallize through a strange phenomenon. The people call this Terastallizing. You can Terastallize your Pokémon by selecting the TERASTALLIZE! button in battle.”
When Terastallized, the Pokémon gains a gem-like shell. This gem appearance also shows the Pokémon’s Tera Type.
What Does Terastallizing Do in the Game?
Generally speaking, the Terastal phenomenon allows your Pokémon to temporarily change its type. This affects Pokémon’s strengths and weaknesses and might significantly affect its damage.
Please note that a Pokémon can have only one Tera Type, but it can be any type. This is where things can get very tactical but also somewhat confusing.
For instance, Gyarados is a Water/Flying Type. Since most Magikarps’ Tera Type is water, most Gyarados will have water as their Tera Type.
That said, this is not a rule. Some Magikarp and Gyarados, especially shining ones or the ones found in Tera Raids, are likely to have very unusual Tera Types.
Although Gyarados is a Water/Flying Type Pokémon, it is possible to see a Water Type Pokémon with fire as its Tera Type.
If a Pokémon’s Tera Type is fire, its type will change to fire when the Pokémon is Terastallized. This would happen even if the Pokémon’s type originally is water.
A Water Type Pokémon that Terastallizes to temporarily become a Fire Type will effectively lose all resistances and vulnerabilities to damage related to being a Water Type Pokémon.
There is a downside, though. That same Pokémon will also gain all resistances and vulnerabilities to damage related to the Fire Type.
So this can mean that a Water Type Pokémon will take extra damage from Water Type attacks in this specific context.
Best Ways to Use the Terastal Phenomenon
When it comes to tactics, there are two main ways to use the Terastal Phenomenon in your party.
The first one is to compensate for a Pokémon’s weaknesses by changing its type. The other one is to double down on a Pokémon’s Type to increase its damage.
They are both practical, and the best use will always depend on the context.
Some extremely powerful offensive combinations can easily one-shot enemies when your Pokémon is Terastallized.
However, using this transformation defensively can save your Pokémon in a very important moment, allowing you to ignore your enemy’s attempted counter-pick.
In fact, there is a very effective way to surprise your enemy when you change your Pokémon’s Tera Type. Using Type Effectiveness with your Pokémon’s Tera Type can allow you to counter-attack the attempted counter-pick, as you will see explained below.
How to Terastallize Your Pokémon Offensively
All Pokémon deal more damage when their type and attack type are the same. For instance, a Water Type Pokémon gains a damage buff when using a Water Type attack.
This is what we call Type Effectiveness in Pokémon.
That buff is also added to a Terastallized Pokémon. For instance, an Electric Type Pokémon, such as Pikachu, will deal extra damage when using electric attacks.
If that Pikachu uses Surf, a Water Type attack, it won’t get the buff that a Water Type Pokémon would get when using that same attack.
However, if that Pikachu’s Tera Type is water, it will get a damage buff to its Surf attack when Terastallized.
There’s more. The buff you get from the Terastal phenomenon is added on top of the Pokémon’s original Type Effectiveness buff if its type and Tera Type are the same.
For instance, Gyarados is a quite powerful Water/Flying Type Pokémon. It eventually learns Waterfall, which is a Water Type attack that deals a massive amount of damage by itself.
Because of Type Effectiveness, that attack is even more effective when used by Gyarados.
However, the damage gets even higher if your Gyarados is Terastallized and its Tera Type is Water.
The common offensive strategy is very basic and easy to execute.
Make sure your most powerful Pokémon’s Tera Type and types are the same. You also must ensure your Pokémon has a significantly powerful attack that matches its type and Tera Type.
Attacks like Bolt Strike, Waterfall, and Hyper Beam are good examples of powerful attacks that you can use.
How to Terastallize Your Pokémon Defensively
Using the Terastal Phenomenon defensively is a bit trickier. The basics are quite simple.
Suppose your adversary counters your pick by using a Pokémon whose type is effective against your first choice. In that case, having a Tera Type that doesn’t match your Pokémon’s type might shield it from taking extra damage.
For instance, if your Gyarados’ Tera Type is electric, instead of four times as much damage from Electric Type attacks, it will take half as much damage.
It is especially important that you understand all the Weaknesses and Strengths in Pokémon Scarlet & Violet to make the most out of this tactic.
It is slightly more complicated to use because it is not just about dishing out as much damage as possible.
Defensively Terastallizing a Pokémon means you will spend your one-time Terastallizing opportunity to shield your Pokémon from damage.
This defensive use of this feature would allow you to protect your Pokémom from an attack that could make you lose the match.
It is hard to identify the right moment to Terastallize your Pokémon effectively. You have to make sure that this choice is better than switching a Pokémon or even letting your Pokémon be defeated.
Terastallizing your Pokémon defensively might keep it fighting longer, but it will also prevent you from using the Terastal Phenomenon to deal more damage to your adversary later on.
This takes experience, match-up knowledge, and possibly some level of mind game if you are in a Pokémon battle against another player.
How to Surprise Your Adversary
This is not necessarily the third tactic but a way to use the previously presented tactics.
There might be a time when your adversary uses a Pokémon that is supposed to be countering yours.
In case you are using the Terastal Phenomenon offensively, you might be able to one-shot your adversary’s Pokémon before it tries to use a super-effective attack.
Sometimes, Pokémon might have a lot of damage but not that much damage resistance. This is what you have to pay attention to.
It might be a good idea to Terastallize your Pokémon to preemptively use an overpowered attack even if the enemy takes half damage from it.
If this attack is sufficiently powerful, it might defeat or put your adversary in a situation where it’ll be one hit from defeat. This might be enough to ensure that you will be able to keep fighting.
There’s also another interesting trick. If you decide to use the Terastal Phenomenon defensively, make sure that your Pokémon has an attack that belongs to its Tera Type.
For instance, it might be a good idea to keep a Bug Type attack on your Grass Type Pokémon in case its Tera Type is bug instead of grass.
This way, you ensure that your Pokémon is shielded from Super Effective attacks while allowing it to deal extra damage with a Type Effectiveness buff.
Can I Change a Pokémon’s Tera Type
Yes. There is a way to change your Pokémon’s Tera Type in Scarlet & Violet. To that end, you will need to get Tera Shards and go to Medali.
Check our guides for more information on that. Knowing how to change your Tera Type is a crucial aspect of this new strategy that significantly changes the meta in Pokémon Scarlet & Violet.
Since changing a Pokémon’s Tera Type isn’t that simple, try going on raids or searching for Terastallized Pokémon in the wild before spending your precious resources.
However, if you have a very specific strategy in mind, there might not be an alternative. Grab your Poké Balls, find the Pokémon you want, grind some shards, TMs, go to Medali and turn your vision into reality.
You might want to turn off the auto-save and manually save the game to test your new Tera Type and team composition. The Auto Save can be turned off in the same menu where you change the settings to skip cutscenes in Pokémon Scarlet & Violet.