Alternate Forms are a relatively new concept in the Pokémon games. First appearing in GS in the form of multi-form Unown but then capitalised upon in FireRed & LeafGreen, the purpose of Alternate Forms are to give certain Pokémon new traits, stats and attacks in order to make the certain Pokémon even more interesting and even unpredictable in battle. There's only one Pokémon from the third generation with alternate forms, while in the fourth generation, there are many many more.
Deoxys is rather unique in that he has 4 seperate forms. In the 3rd generation games, these forms were spread across the different versions and whenever Deoxys was traded over, the form changed to that, recalculating the stats based upon the Base Stats of that particular Pokémon. EVs however will stay, so if you have. Due to this, you can end up getting say an ExtremeSpeed Defense Deoxys form by trading Deoxys from Emerald over to LeafGreen. In Diamond, Pearl & Platinum however, you have the ability to change Deoxys' form at will utilising the meteors in Veilstone City. To change forms in Veilstone, the stone order is this:
Finally, in the Nacrene City museum, you have the ability to change Deoxys form. Here, you don't go to specific meteorites but instead there is just one single meteorite and the forms will cycle through whenever you interact. Just go up to it with Deoxys head of your party and your Deoxys will change form. There are no limits on how many times this can be done.
Battling with Deoxys in the 3rd generation games is rather unique. As all versions are compatible, many will believe about the issue of clashing Base Stats. However, the stats and the attacks of Deoxys will remain on their respective games so even if you're in FireRed against LeafGreen, it will be Attack Deoxys VS Defense Deoxys. However, the sprite you will see your opponent's Deoxys as will always be the Normal Form. This also happens in Colosseum, but not in XD where all the forms are seen. In the 4th generation however, as you can have any of the 4 forms and change them at will, you will see that particular form in battle.
Here are the Deoxys Forms.
#412 Burmy/#413 Wormadam
Burmy is a very unique Pokémon in that its form is ever changing between the three cloaks; Plant Cloak, Sand Cloak & Trash Cloak. These are changed dependant on the area that Burmy last battled upon.
Wormadam is different to Burmy in that once it has evolved, it will keep the form that Burmy was in when it evolved so it will always be Plant Cloak for example. With Wormadam however, its learnset, stats and even its type are completely different for each form so you have to make sure you have the Burmy that you want when you evolve it. Luckily you can cancel evolution so if Burmy is of the wrong cloak at the start of evolution, just cancel and go to another place and evolve. All forms are interconnectable in Diamond, Pearl & Platinum and can be battled and traded with ease.
Rotom is another Pokémon that obtained new forms. In Pokémon Platinum, at certain times, you gad the ability to download the Secret Key over Wi-Fi. This Secret Key gives you access to a new room in Eterna's Galactic Building. In HeartGold/SoulSilver, you need to just take a Rotom to the elevator in Silph Co while. In these rooms, there are five different items on the floor. If you have Rotom in your party and you select one of them, it will change Rotom into one of five other forms. Alternatively, in Black & White, you just need to interact with some boxes in the warehouse in the Route 9 department store. This has Rotom possess the appliance. When he possesses the appliance, his stats are boosted and it can learn a specific attack. If you change forms, Rotom will remove this attack and learn another one so they cannot learn all of the attacks possible. All forms share the same moveset and statistics so the only difference in them is the special move that they have. The forms that Rotom changes into are as follows
Even though Rotom is in all three games, the forms are exclusive to Pokémon Platinum and as such, Rotom's forms are not in Diamond & Pearl. Like other forms, when you go into the Union Room or the WiFi Club, then Rotom will revert forms from its form into the base form, lowering its stats and forgetting its signature move. However, if you go for Battling in the Local Wireless Colosseum area, then Rotom will keep its form, its stats and its signature attack. In Platinum to Platinum battles, you will see the forms all as the forms to which they have transformed. Diamond & Pearl players however will see Rotom as its base form, despite it keeping the higher stats of its form. Rotom also reverts form when you enter it into one of the Battle Frontier facilities.
Giratina is the first legendary non-event Pokémon in the game that has alternate forms dependant on the game it is on as well as external factors. Giratina's Altered Forme is found on Diamond & Pearl while it's Origin Forme is found exclusively on Platinum. It is also the first Pokémon form change that has the size and mass of the Pokémon change. In the Pokémon mythos, the Origin Forme is the form that Giratina is in in it's home dimension while it is in the Altered Forme when it enters ours, and that remains true in Pokémon Platinum. However, if you attach the item, the Griseous Orb, to Giratina, then it will remain in the Origin Forme.
Giratina is catchable in both games and as such, its form will change easily when you trade between Diamond & Pearl and Platinum. However, when you go over WiFi into the WiFi Club or into the Trade Centre, the Griseous Orb will return automatically to your bag and Giratina will revert into its Altered Forme. Over local wireless however, you have the ability to battle with Giratina in its Origin Forme. PtHGSS to PtHGSS will have the sprite showing that it is under its Origin Forme so you know exactly what you're up against. If you have a battle of PtHGSS VS Diamond/Pearl, then on the Diamond & Pearl games, Giratina will appear in its Altered Forme. It will keep the stats for its Origin Forme and the boosts of the Griseous Orb, but the Diamond & Pearl players do not notice it.
Shaymin is the 4th generation event legendary Pokémon that has an alternate form. Shaymin's Land Forme is found on Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, SoulSilver, Black & White while its Sky Forme is found on Platinum, HeartGold, SoulSilver, Black & White. Being an event Pokémon, you do not have the ability to capture it in-game without an added event item so you won't be seeing this one as often. Shaymin is the first Pokémon to have interchangeable forms that have different types and its form can only be changed by using the item; The Gracidea Flower. Shaymin's Sky Forme is also dependant on the time. It can only be utilised during daylight hours of 4am to 8pm. As soon as it hits 8:01pm if you are in the overworld, or as soon as you exit battle, it will automatically revert to Land Forme. It will also revert if you place it in the Box.
Like Giratina, Shaymin's forms have certain compatibility across the multiplayer bands. Over WiFi and in Trade Rooms, Shaymin will automatically revert back into its Land Forme. However, over local Wireless battles, Sky Forme Shaymin will remain in its Sky Forme for the duration of the battle. Platinum to Platinum players will easily be able to distinguish its forms. But like Giratina, if you battle Diamond/Pearl to Platinum, the Diamond & Pearl players will see the Shaymin in Land Forme regardless of if it is in Sky Forme or not. It will however keep the stats, typing & ability of Sky Forme so their strategy may not work due to the typing so in the interest of fairness, it might be best to tell them that its Sky Forme
This Pokémon has two forms, the Red Stripe Form and the Blue Stripe Form. These forms are not interchangeable and are dependant on its appearance at capture. The Red Stripe form is the form found during play on Pokémon Black and the Blue Stripe form is the form found in White. However, you have the ability to find the other forms in the other games through use of the new Wild Pokémon encounter method where Pokémon will appear randomly it bits of water.
Darmanitan's form change is unique in that not all Darmanitan have the ability to do it. If you have evolved a Darmanitan from Darumakka, then you will not be able to get his alternate form. To get this form, you either need to get a Darmanitan off of the Dream World, or get one of the six that are sitting outside the Ancient Castle in the Resort Desert.
#585 Deerling/#586 Sawsbuck
Deerling and its evolution Sawsbuck each have four different forms. These forms are dependant solely upon the season that is currently in play. As the Season is not controllable by you, you have no control over what form these Pokémon take. but if you store it in the box, it doesnt change so you have it in the seperate form. The forms have no difference in learnsets or stats but are merely an aesthetic change to show off the new mechanic of the seasons.
Tornadus is a standard Unova Pokémon that was given a new form within Black 2 & White 2. This new form is obtainable through Pokémon Dream Radar initially, but all Tornadus can be switched between forms using the Reflective Mirror in Black 2 & White 2. Tornadus captured in the Pokémon Dream Radar game will have the special Hidden Ablity when turned into Incarnation Forme.
Thundurus is a standard Unova Pokémon that was given a new form within Black 2 & White 2. This new form is obtainable through Pokémon Dream Radar initially, but all Thundurus can be switched between forms using the Reflective Mirror in Black 2 & White 2. Thundurus captured in the Pokémon Dream Radar game will have the special Hidden Ablity when turned into Incarnation Forme.
Landorus is a standard Unova Pokémon that was given a new form within Black 2 & White 2. This new form is obtainable through Pokémon Dream Radar initially, but all Landorus can be switched between forms using the Reflective Mirror in Black 2 & White 2. Landorus captured in the Pokémon Dream Radar game will have the special Hidden Ablity when turned into Incarnation Forme.
The forms of Kyurem are unique in that they take another Pokémon and completely envelop them in order to create the new form. This is done using the special item, DNA Link Pin which is found in Giant Chasm after capturing Kyurem. When you use this item, you have to select Kyurem and either Reshiram or Zekrom. This will merge the Pokémon together into a far stronger Pokémon. This can be reverted at any time, using the item. Any changes to Kyurem such as Level and EVs carry over to each form of Kyurem, while Reshiram or Zekrom remain untouched. For example, if you fuse a Level 70 Kyurem and a Level 70 Reshiram, and level Kyurem up to Level 92, when you defuse them, Kyurem will remain Level 92 and Reshiram will still be Level 70. However, the moves on Kyurem will reset to the last four in its level up from the current level.
Keldeo is an event Pokémon and also has two different forms. This form is listed as a significant form change, but appears to only be based on aesthetics. It is only in the new, Resolution Form, if it knows the move, Secret Sword within Pokémon Black 2 & Pokémon White 2.
Meloetta is an event Pokémon and also has two different forms. These forms differ in both stats and type. To change the form of Meloetta, you need to take it to the café in Hiun City where you'll meet a character who will teach it a brand new move. This move, Ancient Voice, will allow you to change Meloetta's form at will, however it only changes when its used in battle.
Unown was the first Pokémon in the games to have different forms. Unlike the aforementioned forms on this page however, Unown's forms are all purely cosmetic, despite fitting into the mythos made for Unown during GSC. There are 28 forms of Unown, each representing one letter of the alphabet and, as of the 3rd generation, 2 of them featuring punctuation marks. In Gold, Silver & Crystal there was an Unown Dex plugin to the Pokédex that allowed you to keep track of each forms. This however, has not returned. Below is a table showing all of Unown's forms.
Castform is the first Pokémon to have interchangeable forms based entirely upon attacks that it uses. With the introduction of weather attacks, a Pokémon was eventually devised that makes use of these attacks and thus further benefit it and thus Castform was created. Using the three main Weather attacks; Sunny Day, Rain Dance & Hail, Castform's visual appearance and type changes and its signature attack Weather Ball changes with these changes to make Castform much more unpredictable.
Cherrim is another Pokémon who's form changes when a weather attack is used. Utilising its ability, Flower Gift, if Sunny Day or a Pokémon with Drought has been used, Cherrim changes to a blooming blossom. While this does make Cherrim more susceptable to Fire-type attacks, Cherrim's Attack and Special Attack is raised. Once the sunlight ends however, Cherrim reverts back to its closed form.
#422 Shellos/#423 Gastrodon
Shellos and Gastrodon are rather unique in that while they both have two forms each, the forms are not interchangeable and they make absolutely no difference to the Pokémon. The two forms of Shellos & Gastrodon indicate what part of Sinnoh that they were originally captured in. If they're caught on the West side of Sinnoh (to the west of Mt. Coronet), then they will be the pink West Sea forms, whereas if they are captured on the east side of Sinnoh. As these forms are not interchangeable, you're stuck with them, but in the routes where they reside, they are rather abundant Pokémon so you can easily get both if you do so wish. It is currently unknown if Shellos & Gastrodon that are hatched or obtained in other regions will match these conventions or be completely new.
Arceus, the as-of-yet un-released legendary Pokémon that sits at the end of the Pokédex (as of the 4th generation), is rather unique in that its type and appearance will change if its holding one of 16 special items. These items, when on other Pokémon, boost certain types. However, when they are attached to Arceus, they have that effect but also change its type and form to match that plate. There is one plate for each type which means 17 different Arceus forms. Arceus' signature move Judgment also is affected by these changes. However, due to these forms being dependant on both Arceus' ability and the item, its easy for an opponent to disable it with certain attacks and abilities. Below are the forms of Arceus and which items change it
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