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Generation IV: A look back

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Introducing only 107 new Pokémon, Generation IV was not as expansionary as Generation III was to the franchise, but this did not make it any less of a generation. No, indeed, I think it made it more of one. Generation III was all about the change of the series, a revamp that cost us compatibility with Generations I and II, but brought us so much. The true potential of the changes brought on by Generation III, however, could not be fully realized until Generation IV perfected them, much as the game mechanics introduced in Generation I were not perfected until Generation II.
 
At the beginning of Generation IV, one of the most criticized changes was the introduction of {{bp|damage category|damage categories}} to moves, designating them to be physical or special depending on the move itself, rather than its type, and making all non-damaging moves status moves. Many saw this as an attack on their Generation III strategies, making Pokémon such as {{p|Sceptile}} and {{p|Blaziken}} "unusable". And while it is true that Sceptile's higher Special Attack stat was hurt by its lack of special moves, both were now able to utilize moves of types they previously could not more effectively. {{p|Sneasel}}, of course, is one of the most important examples of this. Always known in the {{bp|Pokémon Trading Card Game|TCG}} as a formidable opponent, so far as even causing {{TCG ID|Neo Genesis|Sneasel|1525|its first TCG card}} to be banned from play, in the games it had an incredibly weak combination of stats, typing, and learnable moves, with both {{t|Ice}} and {{t|Dark}} being considered special types, and Sneasel's Attack base stat of 95 far outclassing its pitiful Special Attack base stat of 35. Its receipt of an evolution in {{p|Weavile}}, as well, boosted its usability, though the item required for evolution remains quite rare and expensive at the Battle Frontier.
 
And while expansion of the number of evolution families was minimal, like Sneasel, several older Pokémon received new evolutions in order to make them more usable. Many of these, like Sneasel, were Pokémon introduced that did not evolve before, with Pokémon such as Aipom, Yanma, Tangela, Lickitung, Roselia, and Nosepass receiving new evolved forms, while several others, old favorites such as Magneton, Electabuzz, and Magmar, received new evolutions as well, completing a three-stage evolution family.
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