Steelix in front of a yellow and blue background with congratulatory text underneath them.

How to Evolve Onix in Pokémon Legends: Arceus

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Reyadh is a writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction who loves to play video games full of monsters and magic. When he's not scribing unique and unrelenting speculative fiction or slaying demons in virtual worlds, he is writing strategy guides to help others reach their gaming goals.

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Key Takeaway

You need to use a Metal Coat on Onix for it to evolve into Steelix. You can buy Metal Coats from Simona in Jubilife Village with Merit Points.

While Onix has a cool design, its evolution—Steelix—looks even better and is more useful in battle. Thankfully, you can evolve your Onix pretty early on in your Pokémon Legends: Arceus adventures. All you need is a specific item.

Table Of Contents

    Evolving Onix With a Metal Coat

    Hovering over a metal coat item and seeing that onix is compatible with it.

    Firstly, you’ll need to obtain a Metal Coat in your satchel and then put an Onix in your party. When you’ve got both, select the Metal Coat and then use it on your Onix. This will evolve your rock snake into a shinier, stronger, and better metal snake. Furthermore, you can evolve Onix at any level (like with most other item-related evolutions).

    How to Get a Metal Coat

    The easiest way to get a Metal Coat is to buy it from Simona in Jubilife Village. Simona and her item stand are positioned approximately between Galaxy Hall’s main entrance and the Training Grounds. Each Metal Coat will cost 1,000 Merit Points.

    How to Get Merit Points

    If you need Merit Points, you’ll need to help people find their lost satchels. Whenever you go to a location besides Jubilife Village, you’ll find white markers on your map that shows the locations of satchels lost by other adventurers. As you pick up the brown packs, you’ll be able to send them back to their respective owners.

    In the menu tab that’s the second from the right (the one with the wifi symbol), you’ll find a “Lost & Found” option. Select this option to be brought to the Lost & Found menu. Here, you can select the lost satchels you’ve retrieved from the wilderness and send them back to their owners. Every time you do so, you’ll get rewarded with somewhere between 50 to 100 Merit Points (give or take a few points).

    As such, you’ll need to run around quite a bit to collect enough Merit Points for evolution item purchases. Thankfully, the citizens of Hisui seem to be very careless with their satchels. For every lost satchel you find, more and more will infinitely spawn in the regions you’ve unlocked through the main questline.

    Reasons to Use Steelix On Your Team

    A steelix resting in a field by a hill in pokemon legends: arceus.

    In terms of stats, Steelix is superior to Onix in all regards except for Speed. With that said, Onix wasn’t even that fast anyway, so trading in a mediocre Speed stat for boosts in every other area is a great trade. While Steelix’s HP and Attack stats are not the greatest, they’re still much better than Onix’s.

    The increased HP and Attack allow Steelix to be offensively useful instead of Onix, who can basically only act as a damage sponge. Plus, Steelix has an even higher Defense than Onix, allowing the former to still be a veritable wall on the battlefield against many threats.

    Steelix’s Potential as a Steel-type Party Member

    Interestingly for a Pokémon that changes types as it evolves, Onix loses its primary typing (Rock) instead of its secondary one (Ground). As such, Steelix’s primary type is, appropriately, Steel.

    Defensively, Steel-typing is an advantage in this case. When you look at Onix’s elemental weaknesses, you’ll find that it has 6 of them, with one of them being an x4 weakness. This is partially balanced out by Onix’s 5 resistances and 1 immunity.

    However, when you take a look at Steelix’s weaknesses and resistances, you’ll find that it is superior to Onix in this regard as well. Steelix is only weak to 4 types—and none of these is an x4 weakness. This makes Steelix far less vulnerable to enemies. What’s more, Steelix has 8 resistances and 2 immunities. Since there are 18 types in the current Pokémon games, this means that Steelix has a favorable type match-up against the majority of pocket monsters you’ll come across.

    The Best Moves For Steelix in Pokémon Legends: Arceus

    Through leveling up (either back when they were an Onix or after they evolve), Steelix will learn some great moves with a Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB). At level 34, Onix/Steelix will learn High Horsepower, which is one of the best physical Ground-type moves in the game. Furthermore, at level 43, Steelix will learn the mighty Iron Tail, which is one of the better physical Steel-type moves you can acquire.

    On top of that, Steelix can also learn many more moves at the move tutor than Onix. In fact, Steelix can learn damage-dealing moves from 10 different types total. The most surprising of these are the elemental fang moves and Aqua Tail. For this reason, you’ll have a lot of options when selecting coverage moves for your Steelix.

    While Steelix can only learn 2 different status moves (both from the move tutor), both are worth mentioning. The first is Power Shift, which swaps the user’s offensive stats with their defensive ones. Due to Steelix’s massive Defense stat, using Power Shift before attacking your foe can let Steelix hit very hard. Additionally, Steelix can learn Rest, which can let it easily wall many enemies. Also, since the sleep status effect isn’t guaranteed to prevent you from moving during your turn, Rest is more viable here than in other Pokémon games.

    For the most part, you’ll want to keep High Horsepower and Iron Tail equipped. However, there are plenty of other great moves you can fit into Steelix’s move slots. Here’s a list of some of the top choices for moves you can learn from the move tutor:

    • Stone Edge [Rock-type] (100 base power)
    • Aqua Tail [Water-type] (85 base power)
    • Giga Impact [Normal-type] (120 base power)
    • Iron Head [Steel-type] (80 base power)
    • Power Shift [Normal-type] (status move)
    • Rest [Psychic-type] (status move)

    Why is Steelix So Different From Onix?

    When Onix was introduced in Generation 1, it was primarily meant to be an ‘early boss’ Pokémon. It was the first gym leader’s strongest pocket monster, but, it couldn’t be too hard to beat. If Onix had better stats and moves, it would have made the early game more difficult for those who didn’t have a Pokémon with a good type match-up against it.

    Since the different kinds of Pokémon one could get at this point were relatively few, Onix was likely given lower stats and weaker moves than appropriate for reasons surrounding early game playability.

    However, as the Pokémon games became more detailed and complex, the developers were able to give Onix a respectable evolution. This gives players who like Onix a reason for using them—albeit only until they get a Metal Coat. Afterward, it’s Steelix’s time to shine in the spotlight.