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The Fairy typing has added an interesting wrinkle to the Pokémon type chart since being added to the mix in Generation VI. Not only has it given the Steel and Poison types some offensive value, but it’s served to stem the unstoppable dominance of Dragon-types.
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Dragon-types like Garchomp, a metagame-dominating force since its introduction (wherever Landorus-Therian isn’t available, at least). How do you get your hands on their fearsome Dragon/Ground Pokémon? First, you’ve got to evolve the innocuous-looking Gible. Let’s take a look at how to do that, as well as some other interesting details about this little land shark.
As you probably know, Gible’s got quite a lot of growing to do before it emerges as an all-powerful Garchomp. As such, it’ll evolve not once, but twice.
To evolve Gible itself, you’ll need to raise it to level 24. From that point, it can evolve into Gabite. From there, it’s a bit of a slog to level 48, at which point Garchomp can be yours. That’s not too much of a wait, considering it’s a pseudo-legendary Pokémon (and one of the most powerful of them at that).
Needless to say, advanced Dragon techniques are a little beyond Gible for now. It’s got two evolutions to get through, after all, and isn’t much more than an angry little toothy mouth on legs at this point. Nonetheless, it’s a tenacious little critter and never backs down from a challenge.
In anime episode “A Meteoric Rise To Excellence!,” Ash and co encountered a Gible desperate to learn to use the formidable Draco Meteor. They tried hard to help but the move was just out of reach. It did cast it once, though, which just goes to prove how proud and powerful these creatures are from the start.
In the Pokémon world, people live right alongside their Poké-pals. Pokémon aren’t just tools of battle: they’re trusted co-workers, loyal companions, beloved pets. One thing the series often skates over, though, is the practicality of living alongside some species.
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Magcargo, for instance, has a body temperature so high that it could burn the drapes to cinders or melt your face just by looking at you. Gible, meanwhile, is used to a very warm climate. As Pokémon Ultra Moon’s Pokédex reports, “its original home is an area much hotter than Alola. If you"re planning to live with one, your heating bill will soar.”
Generally speaking, Dragon-types are designed to look majestic, powerful, intimidating. Gible, standing at only 2’04,” doesn’t exactly overflow with these qualities, but it’s not a critter to be underestimated. Those fangs we mentioned earlier? They’re not just for show, friends.
According to Pokémon Moon, “It skulks in caves, and when prey or an enemy passes by, it leaps out and chomps them. The force of its attack sometimes chips its teeth.” Yikes. The good news is, its power and tenacity will serve it well in battle on evolution.
The reckless little critter is definitely trying hard to be a warrior, sinking its many teeth into just about anyone or anything that passes by its lair. As such, we don’t want to rain on its parade or anything. It’s just, judging by raw stats alone, it’s got a long way to go.
Base 70 Attack is really all it has going for it, with awful defenses, Speed and Special Attack. Gabite’s base 90 Attack and 82 Speed are a step up, but it’s also very poor in every other area. You wouldn’t really think that a monster like Garchomp would come from such an unceremonious start.
To expand a little on this, it’s true that no Pokémon’s perfect. Those with fantastic stats across the board are shunted off to the Ubers tier never to be seen in standard competitive play again (except where official rules allow the likes of Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre in a metagame). As much of a fuss as we’ve made of the pseudo-legendary Garchomp, it has its shortcomings too.
Apart from the fact that Ice-type attacks bring it to a swift, painful and chilly end, it only really excels in Attack, with its above-average Speed not nearly as impressive as it used to be (lots of faster Pokémon have been introduced since the Gabite line’s debut). Its Special Attack is very average (Mega Garchomp fares a little better here), though it does have solid all-around bulk for an offensive Pokémon. It remains a huge threat, though perhaps not to the degree it once was.
Players of the mainline Pokémon games who don’t really dabble in the TCG are often surprised by the differences. The TCG simplifies the type chart, in the interests of keeping the game easier to play. What this means is that some players’ favorite Pokémon are sometimes unrecognisable.
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Take Gible and its line. The Ground type doesn’t exist in the TCG, so you might expect that Gible would just be Dragon. That’s not the way it works, though. Appearing on ten different cards in the TCG to date, Gible is sometimes Dragon-type, sometimes Fighting and sometimes Normal. This card art is from the Mysterious Treasures expansion, the Pokémon’s first appearance in the TCG.
Now, as we’ve seen, Gible and Gabite aren’t particularly weak, but they’re hardly setting the Pokémon world alight with their physical attacking prowess either (not for the want of trying, in Gible’s case). You may be surprised to learn, though, just how powerful magical Gabite seems to be.
This stage one evolution’s scales are said to have incredible healing properties, able to restore stricken people and Pokémon to health. In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time & Darkness, for instance, Gabite healed a stricken Shinx by giving it one of these magical scales. Just how powerful are these items? Well, according to Pokémon Diamond, “there is a long-held belief that medicine made from its scales will heal even incurable illnesses.”
As a rule, shiny Pokémon don’t really appear much in the main story of the games. Yes, a certain red Gyarados in a certain Lake of Rage springs to mind, but other than that, they tend to be only hunter by the player in their own time.
In Pokémon Black 2, however, a very special Gible awaits trainers who defeat Benga in Area 10 of the Black Tower: a shiny one with an Exp Share. He’ll give it to you at Alder’s House. In Pokémon White 2, interestingly, your reward for beating Benga at the White Treehollow will be a shiny Dratini instead.
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Often, Garchomp is just seen as a strictly offensive Pokémon. The Trainer points it towards an opponent’s weakened team and it shatters their hopes and dreams with powerful Dragon STAB and/or Earthquake. It’s certainly solid at that job, but there’s also a lot more it can do besides.
The Gible evolution line has access to Stealth Rock, arguably one of the series’ best supportive moves. It also has a great selection of coverage beyond its STAB, with Iron Head and Poison Jab for those pesky Fairies, Rock Slide for speedy flinches in doubles, Fire Blast for surprise special power and more besides. It’s very versatile and dangerous all around, with the option of Sand Veil for some cheeky RNG on sand teams or Rough Skin, which pairs nicely with a Rocky Helmet on a more supportive set. You’re never quite sure what a Garchomp’s going to be running.
NEXT: The 10 Strongest Ground-Type Pokémon, Ranked
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