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A Team Plasma Grunt (Japanese: プラズマだんのしたっぱ Team Plasma Underling) is a type of Pokémon Trainer that first debuted in the Generation V games. They are members of Team Plasma. There are male and female versions. In Black and White, they dress similarly to knights from the Middle Ages. In Black 2 and White 2, they have switched over to a uniform that is darker and more militaristic in appearance and functionality. However, the older uniform still exists in those games as well.
They tend to usually use Patrat, Sandile, Scraggy, Purrloin, and Trubbish along with their respective evolutions. In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, they are seen with a more diverse pool of Pokémon, using Pokémon from other regions, mainly consisting of Poison-, Steel-, and Dark-type Pokémon. They share a majority of their non-Unova Pokémon with Team Rocket Grunts.
In the games
In Pokémon Black and White, Team Plasma Grunts act hypocritically, as they fight for Pokémon liberation yet keep their own Pokémon to battle with. They defend themselves saying that their purposes are different from those from the regular Trainers, whereas N seems to catch nearby wild Pokémon for battle and release them after, and the Seven Sages refrain from battling and call upon grunts instead. In fact, N, Ghetsis and the Team Plasma Grunts are the only Team Plasma members to even battle the player. Although they preach living in peace with Pokémon, some of them still abuse Pokémon, such as two grunts kicking a Munna for its Dream Mist. They also treat Pokémon as tools, such as when one grunt states that N's Castle was built by overworking the Pokémon they had captured.
In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, Team Plasma is broken into two different forces, each with different purposes. One force still vows loyalty to N. They have seen the error of their ways and have decided to do good in Unova by setting up a safehouse in Driftveil City under the head of Rood and returning the Pokémon they stole to their Trainers as well as taking care of the ones that haven't been claimed. Some individual former members have gone on their own journeys to prove themselves such as Backpacker Mae at Victory Road. Ghetsis is the leader of the newer force, which intends to take over Unova. Many Team Plasma members sided with Ghetsis and hold a grudge against their former leader N for his betrayal, and wear their new uniforms as a sign of rebellion. Some grunts are clueless about the events that took place two years ago, hoping that N will someday return or have joined for the sake of continuing their careers. After the defeat of Ghetsis, Colress disbands the new Team Plasma and some of the members from this faction have decided to follow the new regime.
Black and White
Black 2 and White 2
Pokémon Black 2/White 2
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In the anime
Team Plasma Grunts in the anime
Several Plasma Grunts made an appearance in BW112, debuting in their new outfits. They were protecting Colress while he was conducting his research of how to control wild Pokémon with special sonic devices. After Team Rocket had arrived and stolen his research data, Colress and the Grunts left, destroying the place with a self-destruct mechanism as they did. They also served a payback for Team Rocket for their deeds by blowing up their balloon with a missile fired from their aircraft, sending the trio blasting off again.
A trio of Plasma Grunts appeared in BW118, where they were sent on a mission to seize N.
They were originally supposed to appear in their older uniforms in BW023 (unaired) and BW024 (unaired) in a confrontation with Team Rocket but the episode was postponed due to the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and, as of BW112, retconned from continuity.
Unlike previous villainous teams in the anime, some Plasma Grunts have been referred to by name. Angie, a female grunt, assisted Colress in his debut appearance. Two male grunts, Nero and Bianco, served as antagonistic characters of the day; attacking N when he tried to free an injured Braviary.
| Plasma Grunt's Golbat
| A Plasma Grunt used a Golbat to slow Ash and his friends down before entering the abandoned observatory which Colress was using as the site of his research.
Golbat's only known move is Shadow Ball.
| Plasma Grunt's Liepard
| A Plasma Grunt used a Liepard while battling against Ash and his friends, who were trying to stop the Grunts from getting to N, Anthea, and Concordia. Liepard battled against Cilan's Pansage, and was eventually defeated with a Bullet Seed.
None of Liepard's moves are known.
In the manga
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
Two Team Plasma Grunts made their first appearance in An Odd Speech where they accidentally disturbed the camping site of Black and White while they were building a stage. After showing them that they have the proper permit to build the stage, Black and White apologize for sleeping there and move to another location to let them finish building.
Three female Plasma Grunts make an appearance at the Dreamyard in Battle at the Dreamyard where they capture Black's Munna, Musha. After tracking them down, Black faces the Grunts in battle and defeats them, retrieving his Musha in the process.
The same three Grunts return in The Mystery of the Missing Fossil where they steal the Dragon-type Fossil held in the Nacrene Museum. Using a Cofagrigus to manipulate the skeleton, they were able to make it walk around as if it was alive. They were stopped by Black and the Gym Leader Burgh when they defeated the Cofagrigus.
A Plasma Grunt takes Bianca's Litwick in Big City Battles with the help of his Amoonguss. Black, Iris, White and Burgh help Bianca retrieve her missing Pokémon by defeating the Amoonguss in which Black was able to do so by using Nite as he had the type-advantage against Amoonguss.
Three other Plasma Grunts make an appearance in At Liberty on Liberty Garden at an island called Liberty Garden. They were after the Victini that was in there. However, the Grunts were stopped thanks to Black and his team.
| Team Plasma's Timburr
|| Timburr (multiple)
| These Timburr were used to build a stage for an upcoming speech in Accumula Town. Mistaking them for attackers, Black stopped one of them but apologized once he realized his mistake.
None of Timburr's moves are known.
|| An Odd Speech
| Plasma Grunt's Watchog
| Watchog was used to attack Black so the three Grunts could steal his Musha. Because Black only saw its striped pattern when he was attacked, he mistook the pattern as the face of a much larger Pokémon. Later, Watchog battled Black again but was defeated when Black exposed its true form which allowed him to know where to attack. Afterward, it was adopted by Fennel and Amanita.
None of Watchog's moves are known.
|| Battle at the Dreamyard
| Plasma Grunt's Gothitelle
| While Team Plasma were at Liberty Garden to catch Victini, one of the grunts had Gothitelle create a psychic force field to prevent anyone from leaving the island. Later, it hypnotized the people (except for Black, White and Team Plasma themselves) to drive them away. Afterwards, Gothitelle went after the Victini with Black's Brav on the trail. Gothitelle was able to dodge most of Brav's attacks and severely hurt him after he stood in front of Victini to protect it. However, Gothitelle ended up getting hit by Brav when he received a power-up from Victini earlier and finishes Gothitelle off with Brave Bird, defeating it. With Gothitelle defeated, the psychic force field wears off and the hypnosis wears off as well. With everything back to normal, Team Plasma withdraw from Liberty Garden.
None of Gothitelle's moves are known.
|| At Liberty on Liberty Garden
| Team Plasma's Vanillite
| Vanillite was sent out to attack Black at the Cold Storage. By creating a wall of ice that acted like mirrors, Vanillite managed to confuse Black. By using Berries to focus Nite's flames, Black managed to melt the ice and quickly knocked Vanillite out.
None of Vanillite's moves are known.