It is extraordinarily dangerous for terrestrial pokemon to wrestle with a Grapploct in the water, for even if they exceed it in strength, they need their limbs to stay afloat; more than once, the winner of such a match nonetheless drowned. Grapploct's ancestors hunted by dragging their prey into the water, but modern Grapploct are horrified when this happens. It offends their sense of fair play so badly that they refuse to eat the vanquished, and instead hunt exclusively water pokemon, while giving their drowned foes a proper burial at sea (which is to say, in the sediment).

Yet few aquatic pokemon enjoy this sort of combat, so Grapploct learn to walk on land in order to confront their fellow fighting pokemon. Their balance is poor, so Grapploct often compensate by rooting themselves to the ground while their foes literally run circles around them. Their raw physical strength allows them to win more matches than they lose, but every time one is knocked out or pinned, it has a natural excuse: "I would have won underwater".

In truth, all water pokemon can say something similar regarding most pokemon battles, and flying pokemon are likewise constrained within indoor arenas. The terrain in which battles begin is officially referred to as "neutral", but may more fairly be labeled "land", and many water pokemon who struggle to adapt are perfectly respectable competitors in the water. In the case of Grapploct, it is not unheard of for their victorious opponents to offer a rematch not in the sea, but in a shallow pool to reduce the risk of drowning. Yet should Grapploct win, an opponent forced to swim or wade can likewise claim they were at a disadvantage; the rubber match of one such championship series was therefore famously played on a half-wet floor.