Tag: Pokemon Sun & Moon

Our new Toy Opening channel

Our new Toy Opening channel

After a lovely family lunch at Mama D’s with my grandparents to celebrate my Grandpa Joe’s belated birthday, Alyson made me take her over to Target.

She didn’t need anything. She just wanted to wander aimlessly and kill time.

To be fair I do that sort of thing with my friends constantly, to the point where we covertly call ourselves the ‘Loiter Bois,’ so I couldn’t argue. In fact I was pretty into the idea. Especially considering Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee & Pikachu just came out and I was interested in seeing it on shelves as I start to prepare my holiday wish list.

But then something happened. Idly wandering the video game and toy aisles making fun of things turned into more when she found this rip-off Lego Pokémon toy of one of my favorites:

IMG_1488

Isn’t Mimikyu just the cutest? Who needs Pikachu when you’ve got one of them, huh?

On the one hand, I don’t know why I let her convinced me to buy this thing. I just started cleaning my room up for the Thanksgiving Break, and having another little figurine to take up space seems counterintuitive. Plus, when I say this thing was a Lego rip-off, I mean it is like a real cheap Lego rip-off.

Just look at how weirdly confusing and unintuitive these instructions are.

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Somehow it manages to take a Lego figurine made out of ~20 pieces and not distinctly separate out which pieces are what for big chunks of the instructions. It took some time to figure out which parts went where.

But at the very least I suppose these Mega Construx are similar to Lego in that they have just random extra pieces for no reason.

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Where do you go, random circle piece? I don’t see you anywhere in the instructions.

Granted I did just complain that the instructions were unintuitive so maybe I’m just missing something… But oh well.

On the other hand, despite those points, I really can’t complain about the purchase. It was maybe six dollars for a pseudo-figurine of one of my favorite Pokémon and it came with a Premiere Ball, which is also probably my favorite kind of Poké Ball.

Its creepy long neck might just haunt me in my dreams, but I’ll happily suffer that fate for Mimikyu.

However, I didn’t just buy this fake Lego. I was pretty close to putting it down and not buying anything because it just didn’t seem worth it to get one item. Especially if that one item was a dumb toy like this.

So my sister made up for it by buying another toy while we were there:

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Yeah that’s right, I know you’ve seen these kinds of dumb collectible packs for every popular culture property in existence.

Well we got one to open up for ourselves just for the hell of it. Even though the movie isn’t out yet as of my writing this, so who knows if it’ll be worth supporting fringe toy-based ventures for it.

All I know is it definitely became worth it when we decided to do this jokey, vague toy opening YouTube channel parody just to put here on the old blog.

See? Even though I make fun of her a bunch on here, she’s still more than happy to make herself look stupid alongside me when the time comes.

I guess this is the part where I would tell you all to like, comment and subscribe to my channel like every cliché in the book tells me I should? But honestly I just use that thing as a dumping place for videos that I want to throw up on my blog, as WordPress has kind of terrible compression when videos and such are concerned.

But that’s going way into the weeds for no reason. I just wanted to share the fun, silly thing my sister and I did today.

Hope you like it.

Strange Associations: Irvine band competition edition

Strange Associations: Irvine band competition edition

Tonight my family and I braved the smoke-ridden California atmosphere to head out to Irvine for the California State Band Championship semi-finals, where Alyson and the RUHS band performed.

I’m not sure whether it’s wrong of me to talk about that while people in areas actually ablaze right now are surviving a horrible tragedy? But the fires have been so intense that the South Bay has seen huge clouds of dust, and we were treated to a bright red sun on the way into Orange County.

Full credit to my mom for snagging this one out the window.

So we might not have it as bad as somewhere like Malibu, to get images like this one I’ve seen circulating out of the LA Times:

But I still felt like it was worth mentioning.

Now let’s get into the meat of this post, shall we?

… Or at least, that’s what I would say. If there was some to get into.

I’m caught in a bit of an awkward position when it comes to talking about this competition. It’s all about a number of marching bands from across the state coming together to perform musical and visual shows so they can earn a spot in the finals.

I don’t think there’s a monetary benefit involved? Unless you consider a school’s potentially increased willingness to fund an award-winning program.

The problem comes when that musical and visual performance is best captured on video, but we’re not allow personal video recording of the performances because the organization is doing “professional recordings” and wants you to buy their video.

I’m not sure I could feasible argue this is a professional venue, and I’d rather not deal with a headache if it turns out they’re the kind of organization that sues if you break the rules.

So brief pictures will unfortunately have to do.

Like this one I got out of the performance by Troy High School:

The drum major actually did something unique by wearing that cloak and performing the prologue ballet for their show on that guitar there.

It was a bit goofy because the whole thing was leading up to a fantasy love story. But it was different and I appreciated that.

Of course I also tried to get Aly’s band performing their show Imagine, which is a somewhat bizarre blend of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Ironically relevant to me this semester if I hadn’t made that obvious enough already.

However, that’s about as exciting as I can get with this whole experience.

So I figured I would harken back to an older post I did and talk about more strangely specific video game-related associations I’ve had thanks to this competition.

The drive out brought back a memory from over two years ago. Way back to those days when instead of trying to do daily posts, I just wrote about a few things of interest whenever they came up.

Like brand new details about the as-of-yet released Pokémon Sun and Moon.

Boy those were the days, weren’t they? Everyone was so eager to eat up each and every little detail they could about the much anticipated Generation 7.

I miss that kind of game hype.

But now I’m getting sidetracked. All I wanted to say was that the drive reminded me of writing this blog post, specifically the Type: Null portions, in the car.

Which in turn drudged up the chunk about Tsareena and Bounsweet that I wrote in the stands that night.

That’s not where my gaming-centric connections end, though.

The competition is taking place at Irvine High School, where we’ve been here for a different band event in the past.

When we were here last it must have been a few years ago as well, because I distinctly remember playing Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright at the time. In fact I can do you one better and pinpoint the exact mission I was struggling through.

Mitama’s unlocking mission: Paralogue 12, as I looked up.

However… Just talking about that reminds me that I keep putting off that Fire Emblem Heroes post, which is focused on Fates characters.

So I’m going to try and cut my losses by wrapping things up here.

Would only be right to do so with the results. Aly and the RUHS band got fifth place, so they are going on to the finals. Because the top six teams make it through.

I guess here’s to next week when I’ll be doing this all over again!

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

A merry Christmas to all of you out there that are taking a break from your families on this most Yule of evenings and have decided, for one reason or another, to spend some time reading this silly, clichéd offering of mine.

That’s right, as the title above suggests, I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring with a top 10 list of my favorite games that I played this year. It’s been done to death by anyone with an interest in anything… But what can I say. I’ve always enjoyed the idea and wanted to try it myself.

As I don’t celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah ended a couple days ago, I’m just going to be hanging around all day today more or less. I figured doing a list like this could also double as my ‘here are some good gifts for the holiday season’ suggestions. A little late? Perhaps. But I like to think it’s just well-timed enough.

As a couple of forewarnings before we get into things. Just remember that this is my own personal list of favorites. In other words, it’s an opinionated list, so if you don’t agree with me… Well, that’s your opinion. I respect that you have your opinions so long as you respect that I have mine.

On top of that, while it has been an objectively great year for games in general, it has unfortunately not been a wonderful year of gaming for me. Because of the work constraints I’ve had as a college newspaper editor, a full-time student and an intern, there hasn’t been nearly as much time to play games as I would have liked.

So, if anything, these 10 games I’m listing off are arguably the only 10 games I’ve spent any considerable time actually playing this year.

If you don’t see a game you really liked this year, that’s probably why. As a matter of fact, unless you’re a Nintendo junkie like me, you probably won’t see a lot of games you’re familiar with on this list. A Switch and 3DS are my main gaming systems right now, so there aren’t a lot (if any) PS4 or Xbox games in my playing field.

With all that out of the way, let’s jump into the reason we’re all really here than, shall we? After all, what would a games list be without the games?



Editor’s Note: For anyone reading this on my blog proper, I’m going to stick the content under a read more tag. I pretty much let it all out with this one, so it’s long and I don’t want to completely bog everything else down.

Even so, I hope everyone enjoys the show! #UnintendedRhyme



Continue reading “My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List”

Alola begins anew

Alola begins anew

It may only be a year after we were first introduced to the Alola region in Pokémon Sun and Moon… But as a self-proclaimed hardcore Pokémon fanatic, I simply couldn’t resist going out to get the next addition to the series on day one.

I’ll admit, it does help that my Mom agreed to help pay off half the cost as sort of an early holiday gift. I was going to do it anyway, though.

Plus, it also helps that Thanksgiving Break has officially started for me, so I have a whole week to start pouring into some Pokémon when I’m not doing whatever assignments I have.

Or when I’m not writing blog posts like this. I still owe myself one for the three stories I published the week before we left, so hopefully I won’t get too sucked into the game.

That being said, this  post is going to be short and sweet because, frankly, I’m really excited to get into Ultra Moon. Because Mega Noivern for life. Also because Alyson is going to play Ultra Sun given she prefers Solgaleo, as evidenced by her McDonald’s Happy Meal toy from the other day:

I can appreciate the glowing eyes, though Rowlet is still my baby boy so I couldn’t resist not getting him, as you can see in the featured image at the top of this post.

I know the games are going to be fairly different than the originals from all of the pre-release trailers, so now I’m going to see just how different they are, and by extension whether they’re more worth going after than the originals.

To be completely honest, one of the big aspects that might sway that decision for me is how much time and effort the Rainbow Rocket team gets. Seriously Game Freak, you better have added in the original theme songs for each villain team boss or I’m going to be so disappointed in you.

Anyway, all that said, I’m going to go play some Pokémon now. Probably expect a few comparison-type posts in the near future as I work through Ultra Moon, or at least expect a team recap by the end of my journey. I still have to decide who I’m going to use after all, since I’m not going to go with the same squad as I used my first go-around.

Those guys are special to my Moon playthrough. I couldn’t just recreate them.

It does make my job harder since there’s a lot of options that are my favorites now excluded… But I’ll figure it out. Probably going to start with Popplio this time around, I think. Because I’m not sure what other Water-type I would want to use if not Wishiwashi, and because… Well, come on.

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How freakin adorable, right? Right.

Sorry Litten, you’ll get your time in the spotlight soon enough. There’s just some other Fire-types I want to give a whirl this time around.

Okay, for real this time, I’ll catch you all later. If you got US&UM like me, let me know what you think about the games! I’d love to hear your thoughts somewhere on the internet.

New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Plot lines, Pictures and Z-Moves

I’ve spent most of the day out in Fullerton covering a Project Rebound event for a story I’ll be publishing in the Daily Titan’s first issue insert on Monday. The event started at 9 a.m. so I had to get up pretty early to drive out, and then devote plenty of time to covering what was happening.

Frankly, I’m pretty tired after finishing it all and could use a bit of a break before jumping into more interview transcription. I’ve probably transcribed close to 2 and a half hours with of speech in the last couple of days so I’m a bit burned out on it.

Luckily, Pokémon has me covered in the quick distraction department.

The reveal of Lycanroc’s Dusk Form earlier this month was the first really substantial piece of information we learned regarding the upcoming releases of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. However, more new information was apparently dropped during the Opening Ceremony for the 2017 Pokémon World Championships today.

And you know I’m all over talking about anything and everything Pokémon.

So if you’re anything like me and down to put the upcoming semester’s work down for a bit, let’s journey into some new business regarding our second venture into Alola.

Continue reading “New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Plot lines, Pictures and Z-Moves”

New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Rise of the ‘roc, part 3

Been a while since I’ve had the chance to do one of these.

Since the games were teased for us back in June, we haven’t gotten too much new information on Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the follow up sequels/reimagining/who even knows what for Pokémon’s seventh generation games Sun and Moon.

However, now it seems like some information is starting to swing around. In this case:

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Image courtesy of Serebii.net

We have Dusk Form Lycanroc making an appearance. Now orange with green eyes, this third form of the beloved canine wolf from Alola seems to be a mix of its two alternate forms.

Image courtesy of Serebii.net

It keeps its overall quadrupedal look from the Midday Form while adopting a different color and a large tuft of back hair like the Midnight Form has.

We don’t know too much more about this new form past its appearance at this point. Though, it was also revealed that the Dusk Form Lycanroc will be what Ash’s Rockruff evolves into in the Pokémon anime. Whether it will have some insane stat spread or any extra moves unseen in the last two additions has yet to be revealed.

On one hand, I almost feel like this addition could simply boil down to needing to give Ash a super special version of a popular Pokémon, as he has been known to get in the past. If so I suppose that makes sense, though it would be a little disappointing to give such a great Pokémon what is essentially a ‘sell-out’ version. Cool, but clearly made for selling toys.

However, the idea of the Dusk Form does open up some interesting possibilities. While Lycanroc was one of the few Pokémon that got a special Sun/Moon differential treatment (not counting the more traditional version exclusivity), the fact that they’re adding a Pokémon based on the time between the ‘Sun’ and the ‘Moon’ suggests that there might be more of a unifying focus between the two Ultra sequels.

Plus, the fact that they’re adding at least one new Pokémon form in the first place leaves the possibility open that we could be seeing more new forms along the same vein as the Dusk Lycanroc, different significant in-game events, new Alolan Forms or even new Mega Evolutions in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

… Okay, new Mega Evolutions are a stretch, but a man can dream. I’m still holding out for Mega Solrock and Mega Lunatone to make an appearance in the Alola Region.

Now that my buddy Juan pointed out that these kinds of updates are starting to pick up, I’ll probably be talking about them like I did during the build-up to Sun and Moon last year, so look out for that.

How do you feel about the new Lycanroc form? Do you think it’s more of a toy/anime tie-in ploy? Or does it open the doors of possibility for more interesting new stuff to come down the pipeline? What would you like to see them announce for the new games? Let me know in the comments down below!

My thoughts on the June 6, 2017 Pokémon Direct

My thoughts on the June 6, 2017 Pokémon Direct

It’s that time once again, ladies and gentlemen. With a brand new Pokémon Direct this morning comes a brand new reason to get hyped up for the holiday season!

While the Direct itself is only about 8 minutes long, with half of that time filled up by a rather long trailer, there are still three main announcements to pull out: Pokkén Tournament DX for the Switch, Pokémon Gold and Silver coming out on the 3DS virtual console and (most importantly to me) Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon being announced for the 3DS, coming out later this year.

Oh yeah, that’s right. A new(ish) Pokémon game to look forward to again. What a time to be alive.

But I’ll get to that last, as it’ll likely be the longest thing I talk about. For now, let’s go in order and start off with Pokkén.

Pokkén Tournament DX

I’ll get this out of the way first – I have not personally had the chance to play the original Pokkén Tournament. Despite certainly being interested in the game, for some reason circumstances have led to it flying completely under my radar. I never bought the game and neither did any of my close friends, so we never got to experience it together either.

That being said, I won’t be able to judge whether or not I think the game will mesh well with the Nintendo Switch. However, I can say that based on my experiences playing Breath of the Wild and seeing the variety of play style options showcased on the trailer shown during the direct that it seems like the fighting game will work well on the home/mobile hybrid console.

Especially considering you can split the joy cons up to use as controllers for two people, making it pretty accessible to play with friends. That’s a nice looking addition.

Due to my lack of experience with the game, that’s all I can really say about it at the moment. I’m looking forward to hopefully making use of this second chance to try it out, and the additional fighters being added into the console version certainly help with encouragement. I’d main Decidueye all day, every day for… Well obvious reasons for anyone who has followed my blog for any stretch of time.

Alongside Decidueye, the addition of Darkrai, Scizor, Empoleon and Croagunk brings the playable roster up to 21 Pokémon, with a pretty diverse range considering all the options that are available.

The game is coming out on September 22, 2017, so look out for that. I know I will be.

Pokémon Gold and Silver

Okay to be honest, there isn’t a hell of a lot to say here – not from me personally, but just from what was announced in general. Pokémon Gold and Silver will be available on the 3DS virtual console on September 22, 2017, the same day as the new Pokkén Tournament is being released. According to Sun and Moon’s Producer Junichi Masuda in the Direct, the games will look as they did on the Gameboy Color and be compatible with Pokémon Bank, so everyone will get to take their Red Gyarados from the Lake of Rage with them into the Alola region. Pretty sweet.

While this announcement is cool, I’ll admit it seems a little bit underwhelming. Not only does it simply follow the announcement of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, but Gold and Silver also don’t tend to carry the same general nostalgic weight as Red, Blue and Yellow do (despite being infinitely better games in my opinion), so there doesn’t seem to be as much fanfare for them.

However, Pokémon Crystal was the first Pokémon game I ever played, so I’m honestly excited to take up any opportunity to jump back into the Johto region. In other words… Count me in for some virtual console action.

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

Now here’s the real bread and butter of this little 8-minute Direct, the part where it seems Game Freak and Nintendo were intent on burying the lede of their story only to tease us with something on the horizon. When I say burying the lede, I mean they dropped the fact that these games exist and are coming soon in the last few seconds of the more than three minute trailer for Pokkén Tournament DX. Nice going guys, way to drop a bomb out of nowhere.

Before I get into talking about the games specifically, check out these logos:

Images courtesy of Serebii.net

These are some sleek-looking logos, if I do say so myself. Honestly, they remind me a lot of the logos for Black 2 and White 2:

Images courtesy of Serebii.net

Which, I might add, is a theme I’ll be returning to in a minute, so hang onto that thought.

Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon appear to be rehashes of Pokémon Sun and Moon with additional content. Specifically, we get to see a range of new cutscenes and are promised new Pokémon will appear in the Alola region than we saw during our last romp there. The only ones we get to see, however, are versions of Lunala and Solgaleo covered with black, crystalized parts similar in appearance to the Ultra Beast Necrozma.

From here on out, I will be referring to them as Necro-Mega Noivern and Necro-Mega Pyroar.

Okay probably not, those names are starting to get ridiculously long, but callback jokes are always appreciated in my own head at least.

Necro-Lunala and Necro-Solgaleo aren’t necessarily the most physically appealing special legendaries in my opinion, if I’m being completely honest about it. Solgaleo’s gear looks a bit cooler, especially with what appear to be metallic arms on his back, but Lunala’s face looks way more intense with the red-eyes-shining-through-black-crystal effect. I’ll probably stick with Moon, as Lunala is still my personal favorite of the two.

However, this is where the comparisons begin. The whole “main series legendaries fused with a third, less important legendary in a pair of sequels” thing has been done before. In fact, it was done in an eerily similar way for Black 2 and White 2, where Kyurem was fused with either Reshiram or Zekrom to form White and Black Kyurem. On top of that, Black 2 and White 2 have thus far been the only Pokémon game to come out with sequels for both versions of the game rather than just having a third game in a trilogy, whites exactly what Sun and Moon are now doing.

Granted, Pokémon X and Y did not even get a sequel version, so maybe it’s been Game Freaks plan to release two version sequels for every game starting in Generation 5… But who knows, really.

While the idea of dual sequels does not worry me necessarily, as Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 are arguably some of the most high up games in terms of my favorite Pokémon titles, what does worry me a little is the idea that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon seem to be rehashes, like I said, rather than full on sequels. The titles suggest just that: Black 2 and White 2 followed up on Black and White, while Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are just “ultra” versions of their first counterparts.

Also if that is the case, I do feel like better titles could have been used than just the same things with “ultra” added on. I’m an advocate for Kirby Super Star Ultra as much as he next guy, but for a Pokémon title I think it could’ve been cool to do more space-specific terminology to add onto Sun and Moon. That’s more of a personal qualm, however.

Naming conventions aside, the reason why this idea worries me is because the idea behind Black 2 and White 2 being set three years after Black and White was what really made those games special and unique, in my opinion. While they went through the same general region, new Pokémon, set pieces and roadblocks were implemented to show the passage of time had taken effect. On top of that, characters in the game had special moments and scenes that showed their own development over the years since the first games took place, which helped to rocket most of them past most other non-playable characters in the Pokémon World as far as personality and intrigue goes.

Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon don’t seem like they’re necessarily going to get the same kind of treatment. Junichi Masuda says right at the beginning of his explanation for the games that the titles will feature an “alternative story taking place in the same world.” This alternative story does appear to have potentially new protagonists (based on their clothes at least, since facial features appear to be the same), new graphical additions (such as the Wingull flying overhead when the protagonists run past their houses), new locations (like the Pikachu-based area the trailer shows) and new cutscenes featuring a variety of Alolan Pokémon (including my favorite, Mimikyu).

However, it is not fully addressed just how far these changes go. Are they mostly aesthetic differences with new cutscenes on top of the same basic game?

The main thing that tells me that this won’t be the case is Necro-Lunala and Necro-Solgaleo. Most of the events throughout Sun and Moon are driven a least partially by Lusamine’s ultimate plan. Team Skull works under her orders, the Aether Foundation works under her orders and the Ultra Beasts become the true area of focus as the story progresses.

Yet, this focus on Ultra Beasts leads to the main box art legendaries Lunala and Solgaleo seeming to almost take a backseat as far as importance to the plot. Yes, they’re referenced throughout the game and receive a good amount of lore, but this lore mostly comes through things like legends in the Malie City library. At the end of the day, you use these Legendary Pokémon primarily as a means of transportation to stop Lusamine’s plan, rather than them being the embodiment of her plan like most other legendaries have been in the past.

Because Necrozma was not even acknowledged during the main plot in Sun and Moon (it only appeared post-Looker missions in the post-game), the fact that it appears to have a more significant place in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon’s storylines does give me a lot of hope. It suggest that these games, rather than just being a simple rehash of Sun and Moon, will actually be something much bigger. The additions they talk about look to me like Sun and Moon were originally planned to be much bigger games, but development time led to there being a bunch of content to leave out. Either that or perhaps these sequels were in the initial planning stages, and Game Freak has secretly been holding back on us this whole time.

Either way, the long ramblings on such a short reveal trailer should be more than enough evidence that I’m hyped and ready to talk more about the games as we get closer to their release for the 3DS on November 17, 2017.

Just seeing the extra cutscenes with Pokémon like Lycanroc, Mimikyu and Togedemaru were more than enough to get me invested, however. Just saying.

What did you think of the Pokémon Direct? Are you excited for the upcoming titles? And how do you feel about Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon? Do you think the games will be too similar to their predecessors? Or will they tread enough new ground to be exciting additions to the Pokémon anthology? Let me know you thoughts in the comments below!

Marshadow, coming soon to Pokémon Sun and Moon

Marshadow, coming soon to Pokémon Sun and Moon

I’ll be honest, life has kind of been stressing me out lately. A lot. Between classes throwing exams, papers and more at me while the semester winds down, four days of work at the Daily Titan constantly trying to keep sinking ships afloat (Since, as I like to say, news is and always will be a fickle mistress) and certain extra family obligations, it’s been hard not to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Sure, I have my typical daily distractions like Fire Emblem Heroes and Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links, but really I think I’ve started to miss writing about more creative subjects of passion outside of campus news. Here on this blog, at the very least.

I figured maybe I could talk about my mobile gaming obsessions to try and relieve some of the stress, but honestly there are a few barriers to that for me right now.

As far as Duel Links is concerned, I’m just not really sure what I would talk about. There’s no major events happening and I’m still working on building up my card collection enough to be able to build some better decks, so not much of a subject to jump off of… Even if it continues to suck up almost every bit of free time I don’t have.

However, there isn’t much I want to talk about in the realms of Fire Emblem either. I’ve been so busy with work that I’ve just about missed most of the current Pegasus vs. Wyvern riders Voting Gauntlet, and although supporting Team Minerva has proved fruitful up until now…

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Yeah. Not really too much to say when you see that kind of awe-inspiring disparity before you.

Oh, and I pretty much missed the boat entirely on hyping up Fire Emblem Echoes for myself considering it comes out in 10 days. Sure, I’m still going to buy and play the ever-loving life out of that game because it’s Fire Emblem, I just didn’t really delve into some of the complexities of reveal trailers and such because of my aforementioned lack of time.

I was beginning to think hope was lost, and that I’d just have to continue trudging through the daily grind of being a workaholic student journalist… But an old flame emerged, and quite literally breathed fresh life into my lungs.


Okay yes, that whole little introduction segment probably seems a little over-the-top and melodramatic, complaining about first world problems like not having enough interesting things in my video games to talk about…

And it was.

But hey, I wrote most of that at like 2:30 in the morning or something, because like I said I basically don’t have any time during the day and also apparently enjoy making life harder for myself.

Anyway, for as over-the-top as it was, the sentiment I tried to put across still stands. I really feel like this blog became my own little passion project during the build-up to Pokémon Sun and Moon, when every little leak got me excited to talk about my feelings and opinions into an essentially endless void meant to entertain myself more than anyone else.

So when I saw a pretty substantial new Pokémon-related piece of news come out, I just had to jump on it. It really did bring back that internal flame of excited passion to write, even if the subject matter may not be all that extensive in it’s own right.

On April 7 (yes a few days ago, but I’ll spare you all the 56th mention of my tight-packed schedule) two videos came out. The first of which revealed a new Mythical Pokémon preparing to grace 3DS’s all around the world:

It’s only 16 seconds long, but man did it feel reinvigorating to hear that battle theme play over a reveal trailer again… Even if that trailer is, in this case, more of a teaser announcing that more details will be “coming soon.”

Now, Marshadow is by no means a new reveal to anyone enveloped in the Pokémon Community. Literally every detail about this cute little Ghost/Fighting-type could be found on Serebii.net and probably just about every other Pokémon website right around when Sun and Moon first dropped last November – if not even before then.

Personally, I love his design and I love his typing. Marshadow will be our first Ghost/Fighting-type, and with access to the ability Technician, all the elemental punches and more, he’ll definitely be fun to mess around with. Even if I’m still not a fan of using Legendary and Mythical Pokémon just in general.

However what really helps Marshadow now stand out is the second video that was put out on April 7. A pretty substantial trailer for the next Pokémon movie: Pokémon, I Choose You.

When the first trailer for this new movie came out some time ago, I didn’t really pay it much mind. The Pokémon anime hasn’t been a part of the package deal that keeps my interest in some time, and the movies kind of get lumped into that same category for me.

Seeing this new trailer changed that, however. As it turns out, there are going to be far more liberties taken with the original anime story from the looks of it.

Most notably, which should be obvious by the way I’ve set this whole thing up, Marshadow appears in Ash’s shadow and acts as a guide for the new trainer and his friends. At least, according to the movie summary translation on Serebii. Yeah, I’m still leaning heavily on that site for my information – some things never really change.

The movie is also going to take a much more intense turn toward Ash’s relationship with the Johto legendary Pokémon Ho-Oh, who was famously first unveiled in the initial episode of the anime, essentially confirming that more Pokémon games would be coming out at the time.

A heavy focus on these two Pokémon isn’t the only thing that has been changed for the 20th Pokémon movie, however. Trainers and Pokémon from Alola appear to challenge Ash. It’s a nice touch considering there’s so much synergy between Alola and Kanto in Sun and Moon, as trainers are literally seen traveling between the two regions pretty frequently, though with this other point some things are brought into question.

At the same time as there is more of a focus on Alola, Ash’s travel partners are not the expected Brock and Misty we’ve all grown to know and love from the early years of the show. Some things are still the same, as many of the shots in the trailer parallel plot points in the original anime, but there’s still quite a bit that seems to be different.

Does this suggest that the movie is set in an alternate universe from the original show? Or is this retelling perhaps more of an attempt to reboot and modernize the original for a current Pokémon loving audience?

I’d be willing to wager the prior over the latter, but who knows at this point.

While we’ve yet to get the details on exactly how Marshadow will be released, whether the ability to download him will be linked to the movie in some form or another, it seems like there probably will be a tie-in with the movie in Japan before the rest of the world gains access to the Ghost/Fighting-type considering that’s the pattern we’ve seen many times with Mythical and Legendary Pokémon in the past.

Even if there’s a wait, I’m still excited. Pokémon has grown a little under my radar lately, and being able to talk about it and imagine possibilities involving lore again really has my motor running.

What do you think about Marshadow? Or the idea of the newest Pokémon movie changing up the well-known original plot of the original season of the anime? Are you excited about it? I know I am, so let me know what you think in the comments below.

Reflections on the 2017 International Challenge for February

Reflections on the 2017 International Challenge for February

I don’t usually start these posts with a look behind the curtain, but I figure this seems like an alright time to do so.

To be frank, I expected to have this post out a couple of weeks ago.  Jokes on me for expecting the battle record results to be released right after the competition, I suppose.

Next time I enter a competition, I’ll be sure to account for this and try to space out whatever I release about it.  I unfortunately won’t be entering the Alola X Kanto Regional Rumble that registration has opened up for this weekend both because I don’t have a team set up and also because being sick really doesn’t help my energy level or processing power.

Oh, and while I’m at it, I figure I should mention that this is my one-hundred-and-first blog post!

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The post I made earlier today about the story I had published was actually my hundredth, and if I had realized it was going to be I probably would’ve incorporated things to be a bit more grandiose.  Oh well, if anything this shows that I continue to live up to my blog’s name – Work in Progress.

I continue to be amazed that what started out as a literal placeholder for a blog name that I couldn’t come up with has sort of come into its own as something that makes sense for the continual development of myself as a writer and a game player.

Am I thinking too much into that?  Maybe.  Maybe I’m just lazy and still haven’t come up with a better name.  But that’s neither here nor there.

With all of that out of the way, enjoy this sort of really late recap of a battle series I did some time ago.  I’ve been throwing it together for a while.  I’ll throw it under a read more since it’s pretty big and I don’t want to push everything else down too much, so continue on if you’re interested!

Continue reading “Reflections on the 2017 International Challenge for February”

Preparing for battle – The 2017 International Challenge for February

I put a lot of pomp and circumstance around my entry (or lack thereof) in the Pokémon Sun and Moon Alola Friendly battle competition when it came around last month.  With Pokémon standing in pretty consistently as my favorite video game series, competitive team building and battling has been one of the things that has helped elongate my interest and playtime since I began to do it in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

Of course, I’d been planning on trying out a team in the Alola Friendly competition, but I missed the registration window.

Luckily, the 2017 International Challenge for February has a prize worthy enough to encourage me to remember to register on time this time.  For participating, players get access to the Mega Stones for Mawile and Beedrill, which up until now have been unavailable in Generation 7.

Mega Mawile happens to be my favorite Mega Evolved Pokémon, so I jumped on the opportunity to get those stones right away:

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See?  Totally signed up this time.

Given that the 2017 International Challenge for February is a doubles battle competition, I decided to breed a whole new team just for the occasion.  I do have a wonderful combination sitting in my box with Wishiwashi and a Speed Swap using Ribombee, but I didn’t have a lot else to work alongside them.

Therefore I built a squad around a doubles combination I wanted to try, and I’m actually pretty proud of how it turned out.  Again, it might not be smart to give my strategy away ahead of time… But I also just love to gush about these things.  So here goes anyway!


Big Chungus

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My Elective is actually the first Pokémon I have competitively built that I didn’t personally name.  I was a little stuck on just what to call him and let my friend Juan name him instead.  Thus, Big Chungus was born.

It’s grown on me, admittedly.

This Pokémon was the reason I initially wanted to build this specific doubles team in the first place.  I had the idea of running a Motor Drive Pokémon holding a Cell Battery so I could get both an attack and a speed boost at the same time.  Combined with a Discharge user, I figured he could become a real beast in the field.

But of course I never decided to look up this strategy online ahead of time.  If I did, I would’ve found out that Motor Drive absorbs the Electric-type attacks before they can do things like activate items.  So that strategy kind of flew out the window.

While this development was disappointing, it didn’t lessen my zeal to build a powerful Big Chungus to sweep away the competition.  He still gets a speed boost from Discharge and now has the chance to hold a berry so he can heal some health when knocked down a few pegs.  By using a consumable item like this, I still have the opportunity to play with Thief and steal the items of opponents once it’s gone – the plan I had going for Cell Battery use as well.

Thunder Punch serves as Electivire’s primary STAB attack while Ice Punch gives him an opportunity to take down pesky Ground-types that gets sent out (a particularly useful strategy against Pokémon like Garchomp).  Finally, Cross Chop gives him more of a super effective damage spread against Normal-types, Ice-types, Rock-types and Steel-types.

The crux of Big Chungus’ skills only really become fully apparent when combined with his partner, so I should probably introduce him too.  Thus, without further adieu:


Schnoz 

This protruding proboscis Pokémon, aptly deemed Schnoz, is my team’s Discharge dealing defensive wall and the proud partner of Big Chungus whenever I get the chance to use them.  While this is mainly because of discharge, other factors help contribute to that as well.

Firstly, Schnoz has Magnet Pull as his ability.  As a result, no Steel-types can switch out when he’s on the field.  This doesn’t mean a lot for Probopass himself, but it does mean that Electivire can spam some Cross Chops while they’re out together.  Other team members benefit from this magnetic pull as well, like a certain other monkey I’ve trained, but he really is meant to work with Big Chungus.

Wide Guard is another example as to why they’re meant to work together.  Even though the Air Balloon Schnoz holds allows him to dodge Ground-type attacks until hit, Wide Guard lets him block Earthquakes for both himself and his partner.

Let me tell you, it’s incredibly satisfying to block an Earthquake from a Garchomp that’s killed by Ice Punch that same turn.

Flash Cannon and Stealth Rocks finish off Schnoz’s moveset, giving him a pretty powerful STAB attack and another utility option to damage opponents as they switch into battle.

Like some of the other Pokémon I’m using on this team I’ve built, I never expected I would ever use a Probopass in my life.  In fact, I was pretty opposed to his overall design not too long ago.  Now that I know what he can do, particularly in conjunction with my big, strong electrical ape, I’ve come to like the mustachioed magnetic rock.

Or at least, I like seeing the two of them in battle together.  If it wasn’t weird to say it out loud, I might even say that the two are the flagship couple on my squad.

But it is pretty weird to say, so let’s move on shall we?


Capuchin 

This semester I’m taking a course on primate behavior at Cal State Fullerton.  It’s easily my favorite class that I’m taking right now and I could probably argue that it’s one of the most fun courses I’ve taken in college in general.  Something about the subject matter and the professor just really click together for me.

One thing I’ve learned through the class so far is that the Capuchin monkey has to be my favorite primate ever.  Not only are they cute, but their tool usage is pretty incredible to watch, and I still haven’t gotten tired of it.

Seriously, check it out:

That’s some really cool stuff.

Anyway, the reason I’ve gone on this little tangent about primates is because it happens to coincide perfectly with this particular team member, a Passimian simply dubbed Capuchin.

Not only is there an intrinsic pun just in using a monkey name with ‘cap’ in it for a monkey wearing a shell like a hat, my Passimian likes to use stone tools as well.  His Hard Stone both improves his Rock Slide attack that hits both sides of the field and makes Fling a powerful 100 base power Dark-type move.

The Receiver ability works real well in a doubles battle setting as well, allowing Capuchin to steal his partner’s ability when they faint.  He could wind up able to absorb all Water or Electric-type attacks, he could gain an immunity to priority attacks, he could trap a Steel-type opponent against a Pokémon that’s super effective against them and more.

Really it’s just about a win-win no matter what he gets since a jolly speed-oriented heavy attacker is the monster in question.  I really do love having this team member around, and I’m looking forward to seeing him take some lives during the competition.


Tharja 

Tharja the Mandibuzz is essentially my main defensive wall.  While Schnoz fits that role pretty well too, Mandibuzz intrinsically has an immunity to Ground-type moves that balances the two weaknesses I have.

My strategy for using her is pretty simple honestly.  Knock Off and Brave Bird are strong STAB attacks with the prior also allowing me to nullify most of my opponent’s items.  Toxic is there so I can make use of the hefty bulk behind this bird in situations where those two attacks just won’t cut it.

Now Roost is where things get interesting.  With her hidden ability, Tharja gains two speed boosts at the cost of one defense stat debuff whenever she gets hit by a physical attack.  This boost compensates for her middle-tier base speed stat and helps her outspeed most opponents.

Once she’s that much faster, Z-Move Roost recovers her health AND replenishes her stat debuffs, making it so she has all the speed with none of the fallen defense.  It feels fantastic to pull it off on an opponent, especially if a Brave Bird or two can sweep up the rest of their side.  Plus, Z-Move Brave Bird can really pack a punch when I need to use it instead.

Before Tharja came along I never really imagined I’d ever use a Mandibuzz, but now I really dig what she can do.

Oh, and I figure I should add that she’s named after the Plegian mage from Fire Emblem Awakening because she has that darkness-and-death vibe going on.  Also because Fire Emblem Heroes has gotten me way back in the mood for any and all things Fire Emblem.

Seriously that game is like my current addiction.


Peach

Named after arguably the most famous princess in all of video game history, my Tsareena is here to kick ass and take names.

Literally.

Because kicking is her thing.

It’s a joke, see?

Anyway, moving on.  Tsareena actually wasn’t meant to be on this team I’ve built.  Originally I intended to run a Hyper Voice Sylveon thanks to the accessibility of the move via Poké Bank, but with this competition being limited to the Alola Pokédex I wasn’t sure whether I would be allowed to use a Pokémon with the pentagon icon indicating origins in Generation 6.

So, in came Tsareena as a replacement.  Not only is she strong against Ground-types (which I apparently felt was something I needed to correct against), she has quite a few weaknesses to make use of a Weakness Policy alongside her immunity to priority attacks and her diverse move pool.

Plus Trop Kick is just great.  I had quite a few experiences while practicing where I would lower the attack stat of a Pokémon using a super effective move and get a sweet stat boost as a result.  Pretty solid strategy also courtesy of my friend Juan.

Tsareena’s moves round out with Acupressure, which is more of a gimmick I was looking to try out in the moment.  Rapid Spin may have been smarter, but I like the idea of being able to strengthen my other Pokémon during a calm moment.  Hopefully the random nature of Acupressure doesn’t wind up screwing me over.


Nessie 

Like Tharja and Peach before her, my Lapras (named after the infamous Loch Ness monster) has a rather simple role on this team.  She’s the strong special attack wall to balance out the more physically oriented group around her.  With 237 HP and a 161 special defense stat (boosted to about 240 or so thanks to her Assault Vest), it’s pretty hard to take her down.

She even lived against a Thunder in the rain from a Tapu Koko during one of the practice battles I did.  It’s nuts.

Past her amazing walling status, Nessie also has a pretty wide typing coverage.  Hydro Pump is STAB and hits Fire, Ground and Rock-types.  Freeze Dry is also STAB and hits Flying, Grass, Dragon, Ground and specifically Water-types.  Dragon Pulse hits Dragon-types and isn’t resisted by much.  Finally, Psychic hits Fighting and Poison-types.

I’d considered running Perish Song as a way to take down Pokémon that are trapped by either Magnet Pull or a Mean Look from Schnoz, but I preferred having the walling capabilities that only an Assault Vest can bring.

I also decided to run Nessie with Water Absorb rather than Shell Armor so that I can switch her in whenever I’m expecting a Water-type attack to come my way, even if I’m stuck with taking potential critical hits as a result.

Though she has no particular gimmick, Nessie really rounds out my team well.  Her strength and attacks are solid all around and make her a good Pokémon to bring out for a wide variety of situations.

I’ve always loved Lapras, and I’m glad to finally get the chance to help her shine.


Tonight is the last night to register for the 2017 International Challenge for February, and battles will go underway throughout the weekend.  I’ll be keeping a log of how I do and there will probably be an update on that coming by Monday or so… Assuming the world doesn’t fall apart in the newsroom again like it did this last week.

While I’m really looking forward to putting this team to work, I’m also always looking for more ideas to build in the future.  If you have any comments about my team and how it shapes up or if you have any teams in mind you want to see built, I’d love to hear any and all of it!

Good ideas are never a bad thing to stockpile, I’d say.