It’s GodChilla… Coldzilla… yes, a real Godzilla inspiration (Ttar is Bemular, folks)
The newest pseudo legendary Pokémon from the Paldea region (where are you, Dragapult?) was met with a lukewarm response when it was revealed in the Scarlet and Violet games.
The remarkably designed Dragapult (oh there you are!) from the Galar region made fans go wow and they were expecting much more when the leaks/rumours revealed a Dragon/Ice type species.
But most fans thought that the design looked meh. And yes, I kinda see the point. Pseudo legendaries like Garchomp, Hydreigon, Kommo-o, and Dragapult are blessed with astounding designs.
However, that doesn’t mean that Baxcalibur isn’t full of surprises! Its design and lore elements are pretty decent, and the science behind its very look and existence is jaw-dropping, to say the least.
And that’s why, we will dive into the lore, design, and science behind this icy dragon inspired by a similar article I did for Garchomp.
Here’s a look into the official Pokedéx image of the mighty Baxcalibur:
Right off the bat, we’ll touch down on the most obvious element in Baxcalibur’s design: Godzilla.
In fact, Baxcalibur’s design is actually based on Godzilla, specifically the OG 1954 Kaiju as pictured below:
The ‘1954’ is a nod to the fact that Arctibax evolves into Baxcalibur at level 54 in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.
Now, a fun tidbit on why I wrote ‘actually’ instead of actually… Bax is based on Godzilla without a shadow of a doubt and no, Tyranitar is not Godzilla. It’s based on Bemular, from the Ultraman series. But to Tyranitar’s credit, Bemular is ironically based on Godzilla, so there’s that. But yeah, Baxcalibur is more Godzilla than Tyranitar.
The mythical sword of King Arthur that granted him magical powers and supremacy may also be doing the same to the Gen 9 pseudo legendary!
The dorsal fin in Baxcalibur’s back is in the form of a glaive, a short sword.
And this glaive is stuck in Baxcalibur.
Now why is that important?
Because King Arthur had to withdraw Excalibur from a rock and the sword was stuck into it!
So, this Pokémon’s back has a glaive stuck into it similar to Excalibur…
This also brings us to glaive.
Glaive & Glaive Rush
As mentioned, glaive is a short sword and it was used to both slash as well as stab opponents, with some shapes being better for the slashing trajectory and others being ideal for a nasty stab.
As it is quite evident from the typical designs of a glaive, this weapon would be deadlier if one were to rush into their opponents while holding it. A fatal blow, for sure!
Baxcalibur is smart and it knows the above statement for a fact.
So, it uses its glaive to rush into its opponent ala Godzilla style!
Check it out!
Do you see the similarities between Baxcalibur’s glaive and propulsive breath with Godzilla on the right? Baxcalibur takes its Godzilla inspiration miles longer than Tyranitar… so long, that it uses its signature move Glaive Rush to cover the distance.
But Baxcalibur is smart so it doesn’t stick to the Godzoilla motif alone and brings in a real dinosaur to boot!
For starters, Concavenator was a theropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous period and in the modern age, its fossils have been found in Spain.
Whoa, whoa… wait… Spain? Spain as in, the Paldea region?!
Anyway, here’s what Cocavenator may have looked like:
Do you see the likeness to Baxcalibur?
The sail on its back…
The quills on its arms…
These aspects were brilliantly highlighted by Reddit user ‘EnderCreeper121’ in their post:
Baxcalibur’s face has not been designed randomly, because there’s a lot of thought behind it… cold thoughts!
Baxcalibur’s mugshot reveals sharp protrusions all along its face that are, in reality, icicles.
Icicles are icy structures that form when water drips down from a surface and freezes due to the extremely low temperatures around it.
So never say that Baxcalibur doesn’t have a drip, y’all! It’s got so much drip that it looks like a beard, a cool one too!
Icicles look like something straight out of the Final Destination series and rightfully so. You have to feel bad for whatever Pokémon Baxcalibur preys on.
Ice climbing gear
Notice how the claws on Baxcalibur’s feet are shaped in a peculiar way?
They are quite similar to ice climbing gear, particularly in the shoes. This seems like a natural fit as Baxcalibu would often need to climb steep, icy mountains in its habitat.
With the design done and dusted, let’s dive into the science revolving around Baxcalibur!
Hexagonal Ice (Ih)
The three-dimensional structure of ice reveals a hexagonal structure at atmospheric pressure, that is caused by the bond angles between the water molecules as it forms a solid structure (ice).
The reason behind the hexagonal formation is the attraction between the water molecules that take up angles aligning towards a shape that offers stability, lower chances to melt under increased pressure, and high entropy (disorderliness or chao between the water molecules).
The high entropy lets the molecules engage in continuous activity and helps keep the crystallized structure intact. It becomes more convenient for Baxcalibur as it lives atop icy mountains where pressure is low but is used with trainers in normal surroundings at atmospheric pressure (higher than the pressure in its home).
In other words, the hexagonal configuration lets it adapt to both environments.
But wait, the relevance of ice’s hexagonal structure is more than just a molecular level. You see, Baxcalibur has THIS:
With well-formed macroscopic hexagonal plates of ice near its heart, frontal area of the body, and on its knees, Baxcalibur takes advantage of the stability, adaptability, and energy offered by the hexagonal shape in its core areas:
- Heart, for obvious reasons.
- Frontal of the body, for movement and combat.
- Knees, to jump into the air to deliver its strongest attack, Glaive Rush.
But there’s more!
Ice also exists in a cubic structure (Ic), basically, an ice cube, that can transform (or evolve) into the hexagonal structure, a snowflake. This transition from cube to hexagonal happens due to some complex energy mechanisms but why it is relevant to Baxcalibur?
That’s because Baxcalibur’s base form, Frigibax, has something on its face.
THAT’S A CUBE!
And Baxcalibur is full of hexagons.
Cube evolves into Hexagon. Frigibax evolves into Baxcalibur.
Cryogenic engine for breath propulsion
Let’s check out an image of Baxcalibur’s Glaive Rush:
The Dex entries state how Baxcalibu can spew cryogenic (extremely low temperatures) air that can freeze even molten lava.
But that’s not all because Baxcalibur can use a blast of cryogenic air from its mouth to take a jump, turn over, and propel itself with enough speed and power to deliver a devastating Glaive Rush.
Well, this is exactly how a cryogenic engine functions.
It uses fuel material at extremely low temperatures to offer a thrust that’s strong enough to propel spacecraft.
In fact, cryogenic engines are known for their exceptional thrust-to-weight ratio, meaning that they can produce a high magnitude of thrust relative to their own weight.
Baxcalibur’s upright position (which many fans complain about) is intentional and not just limited to a Kaiju costume.
To be precise, Baxcalibur is also modeled around a refrigerator:
Those condenser coils behind the fridge are technically known as fins, that help in dispensing heat out of the system and keep the interiors cool.
And that’s exactly what Baxcalibur’s Dex entries point to, giving a reference to its ability, Thermal Exchange.
This ability lets Baxcalibur get an Attack boost from Fire attacks and also makes it immune to the Burn status in the mainline games.
But to get a better perspective on this, we’ll have to take a look at fins.
Fins are extensions on the exterior surfaces of objects that increase the rate of heat transfer to or from the object. In this case, the ‘fin’ is the glaive on Baxcalibur’s back, and the ‘object’ is Baxcalibur per se.
Here’s the pictorial representation of a fin:
These fins regulate the transfer of heat from the body and as such, Baxcalibur as a Dragon is able to withstand Ice because of the heat given to it by this fin. The process is so efficient in Baxcalibur’s case that it’s also a partial Ice type.
Moreover, the energy transfer in Baxcalibur’s fin makes it ideal for the Glaive Rush attack where Bax brings its draconic energy into its fin and uses it as a weapon (a glaive). It all just falls into place so beautifully!
Now, fins come in all shapes and sizes as you can see in the image below:
Oh, dear Arceus! Did you notice the fin right at the top of the image?
It literally looks like Baxcalibur’s glaive! 😯
Now, we will come to a popular idea shared by many Pokémon fans about Baxcalibur’s design. A lot of Baxcalibur fan art on the internet depicts it as having two significant ‘upgrades’ in its design:
- Multiple fins on its back, similar to a Stegosaurus.
- A hunched stance, similar to a Spinosaurus. Arctibax notably carries this off and it’s particularly popular because of this.
But Baxcalibur is smart (hehe).
It knows physics and prefers it over aesthetics (not that it doesn’t look good already!)
Here’s an argument on why those design upgrades wouldn’t be ideal for Baxcalibur, despite the fact that it would have certainly looked cooler, as illustrated in this incredible artwork by Reddit user ‘WhenBuffalosfly’ in a post.
Why not a Stegosaurus?
If Baxcalibur had taken a cue from the plates on the back of a Stegosaurus and had multiple fins as shown in the image above, it wouldn’t have been powerful enough.
Why? Here’s why…
So the heat present around Baxcalibur’s body is absorbed by convection, that is, heat transfer between a fluid (gas or liquid) and a solid. This fluid (in this case, hot air/cold air around Baxcalibur’s fin), flows in layers known as the boundary layer.
If Baxcalibur had multiple fins arranged on its back, the spacing between the fins would result in an irregular flow of the boundary layer, and if the protrusions come too close as Baxcalibur manoeuvres its body (particularly in battle), the boundary layer flow would ‘suffocate’ and result in ineffective heat transfer.
This would lead to Baxcalibur being unable to receive a set amount of heat transfer necessary to power up its powerful Attacks. And with a staggering base Attack stat of 145 in the mainline games, Bax always needs a smooth and uninterrupted transfer of heat to and from its body.
So having multiple fins would have made it thermally awkward for Baxcalibur. Also, fun fact: there’s a term in heat transfer science called fin effectiveness, that measures how effectively a surface would transfer heat after the addition of a certain arrangement of fins.
After loads of trials and errors and numerous experiments, it has been scientifically concluded that having multiple fins may not necessarily increase the efficiency of heat transfer.
In a nutshell, Baxcalibur’s large single-fin arrangement gives it the highest potential to achieve adequate heat transfer and flex its massive offensive prowess in battle.
Why not a Spinosaurus?
A hunched stance would have definitely looked great on Baxcalibur. No doubt about that.
But would it work as well? Not really.
In Baxcalibur’s usual position, its fin alignment is horizontal and if it bends over (like a Spinosaurus), the fin alignment would be vertical.
Heat transfer analysis of both horizontal and vertical fins has established that vertical fins are better at cooling down due to more ease in losing heat. However, Baxcalibur needs to store its underlying heat/draconic energy for longer periods of time in battle.
So with the existing horizontal alignment of its fin, Baxcalibur doesn’t lose the heat energy gained so quickly and is in a better position to use its strongest attacks.
Not to mention, in its usual pose, the horizontal fin alignment gives more surface area to the surrounding air, helping it absorb heat more efficiently.
As evident from the image above, Baxcalibur’s natural pose lets the usual horizontal flow of air pass over the ‘black’ parts of the fin, letting it absorb heat with utmost efficiency.
Black is also the best color to absorb heat.
In a Spinosaurus pose, the sharp and relatively thin edges of the fin would directly face the horizontal flow of air and cool down faster.
Baxcalibur may have been thought to have the most underwhelming design among the pseudo legendaries but in reality, it is definitely among the most interesting!
Additionally, it is a beast in combat, having the highest ATK and HP stat of all pseudos in the mainline games.
I hope that this article gives you a fresh perspective on just how cool (pun intended) Baxcalibur is, and impresses you with the jaw-dropping elements of design and science behind it! 😀