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Why is the blue Team Mystic the most popular?

The Official Pokemon Channel (youtube)

Pokémon has long been a successful franchise, entertaining fans young and old with a fictional world where one can train, befriend, and work alongside their very own Pocket Monster (Oh, that’s where the name “Pokémon” comes from). With the recent app "Pokémon GO", players are able to choose between three color coded teams: the blue team Mystic, the red team Valor, and the yellow team Instinct. Many players perceive that the yellow team is the least commonly chosen, with the red team in the middle, and the blue team having the most members of all.

So why is the blue team (seemingly) the most popular? Many people who began the game after the pokéball had started rolling joined Team Mystic because they recognized it as the most popular, but how did it become so popular in the first place? Perhaps among players of the game, blue is the most common favorite color. Perhaps it is because when all three options are presented to the player, Team Mystic is presented as the option right in the middle. Or perhaps the answer lies scattered through the history of Pokémon.

Just like the teams for "Pokémon GO", the original Pokémon video games released in the U.S. were each associated with one of the colors red, blue, and yellow. Their names were "Pokémon Red", "Pokémon Blue", and "Pokémon Yellow". As to which game went with which color, I’ll leave that as a puzzle for you to solve. Since "Pokémon Yellow" was released later than the other two, people who played the original games are most likely to remember either "Red" or "Blue" as their first Pokémon game. This places the first layer of bias towards the red and blue teams.

Before we go on, it is important to understand that each Pokémon type is associated with a color. Fire is associated with red, ice and water with blue, and electric with (wait for it) yellow. Shocking, I know. The first Pokémon a player can obtain in "Red", "Blue", and other main series Pokémon games is a choice of a fire, water, or grass type. Players are very likely to use their first Pokémon throughout the game, so they would have a special connection with the Pokémon type (and associated color) that they chose. Once again, red and blue have the advantage. Since blue is associated with two types, blue has a higher probability of being the color of someone’s favorite type.

On the subject of Pokémon types, it is possible to play through the whole of any main series Pokémon game without ever using a Pokémon that knows a fire or electric type move, but you can’t say the same for water. Moves known as HMs, or hidden machines, are essential for surpassing obstacles. There are no fire or electric type HMs, but there have been four water type HMs: surf, whirlpool, dive, and waterfall. Therefore, anyone who has played through a whole game has had to use at least one water type move. Since water type moves are most commonly learned by water type Pokémon (hopefully this isn’t getting too confusing), players are very likely to have used a water type Pokémon at some point in the game and have positive memories associated with it.

The favoring for the blue team may come from more than just a preference for "Pokémon Blue" and the water type, though. Each team in "Pokémon GO" has one of the original legendary bird Pokémon as its mascot. The ice-flying type, Articuno represents the blue team, the electric flying type, Zapdos represents the yellow team, and the fire-flying type, Moltres represents the red team. Each name is a combination of a word root related to the Pokémon’s distinct element and a number in Spanish. Articuno = Arctic (missing a c) + uno (one), Zapdos = Zap + dos (two), and Moltres = Molten + tres (three). Articuno is the “number one” Pokémon out of the three, and may have favoritism from that. Articuno’s advantage in popularity isn’t only in its name, though.

In the first generation of "Pokémon", the rarest type of Pokémon and one of the most powerful was the dragon type. At that time, unless you had the power of a dragon type move, your only good offense against a dragon type was an ice type attack. Dragonite, the most powerful of the original dragon types, is doubly weak to ice. Articuno, as the most rare, and powerful of the original ice-types was, therefore, the best choice in going up against this monstrously powerful Pokémon.

The advantages for Articuno don’t end there, though. Out of the three legendary birds, Articuno has appeared the most in the animated TV show. While the other legendary birds are rarely seen. Articuno had a slightly longer appearance, being a challenge for the main character Ash and his Pokémon Charizard to overcome when facing the competent trainer Noland. Not only does Articuno have the animé advantage, but Articuno has the most cards of the legendary birds in the official trading card game. Articuno soars to the top of popularity on frozen wings.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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