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Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s secret weapon is this dumb flamingo named Flamigo

Don’t count this bird out of the fight

An image of a trainer in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet taking a selfie with the flamingo-like character, Flamigo. Image: Game Freak/The Pokémon Company, Nintendo via Polygon
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Flamigo, the flamingo-inspired Pokémon from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, has turned quite a few heads. When the games first came out, Flamigo caught flack from fans as some described its look as “bland” and lazy, because it basically looks like a real-life flamingo. But now, players have come around to the bird because it distinguished itself as a viable candidate for competitive Pokémon, making it a powerful ’mon in its own right.

Flamigo is a flying/fighting Pokémon introduced in Scarlet and Violet. It’s a flamingo whose body is shaped like a punching glove, hence the type combination. It doesn’t have any evolutions, so it’s rather plain in all, but fans are finding creative ways to max out this rather boring bird’s potential.

For starters, Flamigo has a solid type combination. Its flying type makes it invulnerable to ground-type moves, and both its fighting and flying types give it access to same-type attack bonuses on powerful moves like Close Combat and Brave Bird. Additionally, it has a unique hidden ability, Costar, which matches the stat boosts of its ally Pokémon in doubles battles. So if a Pokémon that’s in battle used Swords Dance before Flamigo was switched in, you could swap in Flamigo and it would copy the stat boosts. In addition to this, it also gets a solid support set of moves like Taunt and Tailwind, making for a great support Pokémon in doubles.

There is a hilarious and very strong strategy where I’ve seen trainers using a combination of Dondozo, Tatsugiri, and Flamigo. You can watch the entire video below, but basically you use a special Tatsugiri to super boost the stats of Dondozo. Once you boost Dondozo’s stats and sacrifice a Tatsugiri, you can switch in a Flamigo that will copy the stat boosts of Dondozo.

Game Freak seemed like it approached this gen’s Pokémon with a level of whimsy, because many of the plainest creatures have out-of-the-box strategies or powers that make them weirdly strong. The dolphin Pokémon Palafin gets a ridiculous stat boost when it comes into battle as its Hero Form and sports a base Attack stat of 160. Maushold, which is literally just a group of mice, has an attack called Population Bomb, which can hit up to 10 times in one single use, with each hit having a base power of 20.

All in all, combine these absurd strategies with the new Terastal Phenomenon, which can allow trainers to play with Pokémon types, and it’s looking like we will get a fun and varied competitive scene for Scarlet and Violet.