The world of Pokemon is filled with hundreds of cute critters to collect and send into battle. They are divided into several types that dictate what move-set the Pokemon will have, and what strengths and weaknesses they will possess. Although the array of types in Pokemon has always been vast, anyone who has spent significant time in battles has probably noticed that some types have unusually strong moves and fairly few weaknesses. To address this issue, and add some newness to the game, Pokemon X and Y introduced the Fairy type.

Not only have some of the cutest and most elegant Pokemon have been Fairy types, including Xerneas, a majestic deer-like legendary Pokemon with glowing horns, since the Fairy type has found its way into the game, battling has also become far more balanced, older Pokemon have found new uses, and new moves have been introduced which allow for some creative battling strategies.

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What Are Fairy Type Pokemon

Pokemon Alcremie

Although there are numerous Pokemon types, each with their own unique traits that can be used to form clever battle strategies, when competing online it becomes pretty evident that there are a limited number of competitively viable types. Notably, before Generation 6, Dragon-type Pokemon dominated the metagame, having few weaknesses and a powerful move-set. While it is fun to use mighty Dragon-type Pokemon, it does get boring to see the same creatures appearing over and over again.

The introduction of the Fairy type balances out the Dragon type's lack of weaknesses. Dragon-type Pokemon are weak against Fairy-type attacks while Fairy-type Pokemon are immune to Dragon-type attacks. Fairy types do have their own weaknesses, however. They are weak against Steel-type and Poison-type attacks, so gamers have to look out for Pokemon with these moves.

This is useful knowledge, but it also makes sense on a narrative level. In fairytales, dragons are typically defeated using some form of magic. In Pokemon, magic is represented by the Fairy type, which explains the Fairy type's effectiveness against Dragon-type Pokemon. Furthermore, in European folklore, iron is said to harm and ward off fairies. This gives some explanation as to why Fairy-type Pokemon are weak against Steel-type moves.

How the Fairy Type Improved Pokemon

Togepi Cleffa and Igglybuff

With the Fairy type thrown into the mix, the metagame was given a well-needed shake-up in Generation 6. No more are Dragon-type Pokemon a guaranteed way of bulldozing through battles. Instead, when gamers add a Dragon-type Pokemon to their team, they need to carefully consider how they will deal with their opponent pulling out a powerful Fairy-type.

With the addition of the Fairy type, some older Pokemon were reclassified into Fairy types. Consequently, Pokemon that were once forgotten have suddenly become competitively viable. A sterling example of this is Clefable, who was reclassified from a Normal-type to a Fairy-type Pokemon. Since then, Clefable has become a Pokemon capable of taking on the biggest and nastiest dragons.

Fairy types also opened the avenue for several interesting Pokemon designs. Fairy-type Pokemon are some of the cutest and most charming Pokemon in the series. Xerneas, who debuted in Pokemon X, remains one of the most elegant Pokemon. Eevee has a special Fairy-type evolution called Sylveon who is simply adorable. Then, of course, there is Dedenne who is an Electric-Fairy type that looks like a lovable Fairy version of Pikachu.

Although gamers often remember Generation 6 for introducing Mega Evolution to Pokemon, the addition of Fairy types may be the more revolutionary change to the series. The Fairy type is far more than a mere gimmick. It brings some balance to battles, and it paved the way for Pokemon that have grown to be fan favorites.

Pokemon X and Y are available on Nintendo 3DS.

MORE: Every Pure Fairy Pokémon, Ranked

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