Tag: Pokemon

Reunited and it feels so good

Reunited and it feels so good

After a long week of dealing in hard news, it feels nice to finally make it to the weekend.

It feels even nicer to make it to the weekend when that weekend happens to hold the ever-tantalizing promise of a brand new video game!

The remake of Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga came out today and boy have I been waiting in absolutely impatient anticipation for it. The original game came out almost 14 years ago, and I would argue it easily makes it into my top five favorite games of all time.

No joke, I’ve probably played through Superstar Saga completely a couple dozen times, or at least enough so that I can’t really keep track. It’s one of those games that’s not only a great time, but also always brings me right back to being a youngin’ before life started to get all full of responsibilities and junk.

Oh, and when I say it brings me back, I mean that pretty literally. I have very specific memories of standing by a wall in the yard/playground area of Birney Elementary School fighting the Queen Bean boss with some of my school friends on my Gameboy Micro. We’re talking real deep cuts here.

Ironically I also remember a very similar situation with a game that also got a fairly recent 3DS remake, Pokémon Sapphire. I distinctly remember being in that same general area with my friends, raising a Silcoon in Petalburg Woods (for some reason) while some sort of an elementary school band concert was going on. 

But I suppose that’s a story for another time. Cause I’m in Mario land now.

To be completely honest, this post isn’t even all that accurate, it might technically be misleading from the way I’ve been setting it up. I actually got this game a couple hours ago, but I’ve been so enthralled getting back into it that I forgot to finish writing this. 

Oops.

I’ve been meaning to write a post about the new Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon trailer from yesterday too, since it actually introduces us to a hell of a lot of information that makes me excited for the game… And I’ve also been meaning to study for this Statistics test I have next week… And I’ve been meaning to work on some editing for the Daily Titan to get us ahead for our special financial issue… But I guess we’ll just have to see how well balancing that all goes.

Long story short, Pokémon might unfortunately be the element that falls to the wayside, and if it is just know you can blame not knowing my opinions on an expansive Ultra Space on how much I’m playing Superstar Saga.

Having spent as much time on the remake as I have already, I can confidently say that I’m already forming a solid opinion about it, which is good because I promised our Lifestyle editor that I would be writing her a review for the game.

As a first impression blurb here before I start to put those thoughts more concretely onto paper, I’d say that the game is extremely faithful to the original game in many ways, such as the storyline and comedy that goes along with it, though just about everything graphically and in the sound design has been overhauled to… Mixed effect. Some of it is spot on, but some of it kind of misses the mark for me.

Oh, and there are a good amount of mechanical changes and improvements that sort of feel the same way. A lot of things seem more streamlined and easier to control as a result, but other things arguably feel more cumbersome, which I would almost unfortunately argue brings the issues of being so faithful to an older game to light.

Of course, I am only in the first area of the game outside of the tutorial zone, Stardust Fields, so perhaps my opinions will change as I get exposed to more and more of what’s going on. Either way, I know I’m already having a great time playing, and in a sense that almost makes all of my criticisms more the nit-pickings of an overly obsessive fan rather than anything truly damning.

I guess look forward to next week when I hopefully get that concise review put together. I’ll be working on trying not to kill my editor with an abundance of unnecessary detail… Though like I said, after last week, I’m relishing the opportunity to write something fun. 

So who knows. Only time will tell. Until then, you’ll know where to find me.

Continuing to have fury.

Advertisements

New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Surfing Alola

On September 13 there was a Nintendo Direct. A rather long one, standing strong at 45 minutes worth of information regarding games of all shapes and sizes. Because of life being life I didn’t have the chance to talk about my thoughts regarding the Direct, but there was plenty of great stuff there. The new Kirby game looks really, really fun, as do the Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga remake, Fire Emblem Warriors and Mario Odyssey. Plus there’s plenty of updates coming for games like Splatoon 2, ARMS and Breath of the Wild on top of some interesting ports for games like DOOM, Sonic Forces and a remake of L.A. Noire.

One thing the Direct also addressed was Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon, and there were some interesting information dropped that I sort of regret not delving into. Necrozma’s role in the games was elaborated on a bit more, there was a new Z-Move for Lycanroc shown off that varies depending on which Lycanroc you have and they even told us that new Ultra Beasts will join the line-up of available Pokémon.

Because I dropped the ball and missed talking about that update before I won’t slog down this post with too much discussion about it, but if you want to see the trailer that came with this new information you can hop over to this video.

After all, now isn’t the time to be slogged down in old-new information, we have some new-new information to discuss! I mostly wanted to include that introduction as a filler for the gap in my informative timeline, as today I’m looking to talk about the brand new informational trailer that was released for the world to enjoy.

As usual, I’ll be holding my long-winded discussion below this read more line in case anyone’s looking to not get spoiled on Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon information. That may be counter-intuitive since I just spoiled the entirety of the last trailer right above this, but… That was a few weeks ago. I guess.

Just bear with me.

Continue reading “New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Surfing Alola”

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:

lycanroc
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…

img_5100

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!

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 4.12.09 PM

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:

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-11-23-08-am

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

img_4869

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.

Another year older, 20 years in

If I had any sense of comedic timing, I would’ve figured out that a year ago I should have waited a few extra days to create my blog so I could coincide that birthday with my really for real birthday today.

Oh well.  Water under the bridge I suppose.

And water everywhere for that matter, since the sky has opened up here in Southern California.

​To be completely honest, rain on my birthday is a bit of a tradition at this point.  My parents still love to tell the story about how my first birthday was washed out by a typhoon.

Enough thinking about the past though, because now that I’m 20 years old and officially no longer a “teen,” it’s time I start thinking ahead to the future.

The first thing I find myself thinking of is whether or not it seems conceited to be writing myself a post about my own birthday.  Like sure, it’s my blog and everything, but it still feels strange.  

I’m not even entirely sure what to say past reflecting a little on my hopes that 20 will be a great year for me, just like 19 was.

Maybe it would be easier to think of things I’ll miss now that I’m another year older.  If I had to pick one thing about being under 20 that I’ll miss… 

It would be no longer getting meal discounts.

Was this whole post just an excuse to fit this surprisingly well placed joke out there? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.

Rest In Peace oh great deal of the century

A Pokémon update: Here comes the Bank and the Alola Friendly competition

A Pokémon update: Here comes the Bank and the Alola Friendly competition

The first week of school, adjusting to new courses, setting up things for our first few issues of the Daily Titan and some personal things happening at home have kept me incredibly busy for the past week or so.  In fact, they’ve kept me so busy that I haven’t been able to address some fairly big things happening with Pokémon Sun and Moon that have honestly been hugely of interest for me.

Namely the release of an update for the Pokémon Bank (or Pokébank for short) allowing it to be used with the Generation 7 games.

For the uninitiated in the room, Pokébank is an application out of the Nintendo 3DS eShop released during Generation 6 that allowed you to transfer Pokémon (with the help of the additional Poké Transfer application) from the Generation 5 games Black, White, Black 2 and White 2 into Pokémon X, Y, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.  It also acts as a cloud-like storage space for Pokémon, holding 100 boxes that you can freely transfer Pokémon in and out of while playing the Generation 6 and now Generation 7 games.

You can also transfer Pokémon up from the 3DS ports of Red, Blue and Yellow… But I haven’t had the chance to play those yet.  So I can’t use that feature.

An added bonus in the update that allows the application to be used with Sun and Moon is access to the previously unavailable Z-Crystal Mewnium Z:

I haven’t had the chance to transfer a Mew into my copy of Moon yet, so I can’t use Genesis Supernova, but I’m excited to being able to as soon as I get the chance.

With Pokébank officially released, I’m looking forward to finally being able to do two things.  First, I’ll be able to fill out my PC boxes with my complete collection of every single Pokémon, a collection I spent quite some time fleshing out a few years back.  Second, I’ll be able to transfer all my competitively bred Pokémon over, either to use again or to re-breed with new strategies in mind for competitive battles.

On the subject of competitive battling…

alolafriendly
Image courtesy of Serebii.net

The Alola Friendly battle competition begins today!  I’ve actually spent some time picking through the four competitive teams I’ve bred thus far to pull together a complete squad that’s balanced and viable for battle together.  Though it probably isn’t objectively smart to give away the strategies of my team ahead of actually battling with them… I enjoy talking about what I’ve done with my cute and powerful Pokémon.

So, here we go.


Cuddles

img_4713

Cuddles, my Komala.  She’s sleeping, but she’s still ready to kick ass and take names all the same!  Entry hazards like Stealth Rocks and Toxic Spikes aren’t a problem when she can Rapid Spin them away, but her utility also extends to healing other team members thanks to the combination Wish and U-Turn attack pattern.

Oh, and STAB full friendship Return with 136 attack really, really hits hard.

Add on some extra healing from the leftovers and Cuddles isn’t a threat to… Sleep on.

And with that lousy pun, I officially move on.


Peek

img_4714

Peek-a-boo (Peek for short) is up next: My cute and not-so-cuddly Toxapex.  Toxapex is generally considered to be overused in the current pre-Pokébank competitive metagame, but I never really understood why.

Until I actually used a Toxapex.  Since then I totally understand the reasoning.

If her Toxic stall combined with the Recover attack and Regenerator ability wasn’t bad enough, Peek can Haze away any stat buffs her opponent tries to set up (I know I’ve certainly torn down a few Swords Dance-setting Pokémon) and Scald to potentially burn any opponents that can’t be poisoned.

My Toxapex is also a defensive monster, which gets even better in combination with extra Rocky Helmet damage each time the opponent makes physical contact.  Mix that all up with the attack stat-slashing burn status coming from Scald and Peek makes for an exceptional late-game stalling team sweeper.


Charlotte

img_4715

I may have talked about Charlotte before, but this isn’t exactly the same Charlotte as before.  Instead, she’s what I like to consider the competitive embodiment of the same Mimikyu I used during my main game play through.  All the same tricks with a far exceeding degree of power.

Seriously, Mimikyu remains one of my favorite Generation 7 Pokémon, and I love using the powerhouse that is Charlotte whenever possible… Even if I haven’t been able to successfully use a Z-Destiny Bond quite yet.  Leech Life makes for a good substitute though, as it makes use of her sky-high attack and allows her to regain some health at the same time.


Syrup

img_4716

I continue to hate the explanation for Raichu’s evolution that was given on the official Pokémon website leading up to the release of Sun and Moon.  Seriously, eating too many pancakes would not cause a ‘divergent evolution’ in a new land, it’s just the most ridiculous thing.

Yet, when I fell wholeheartedly head-over-heels in love with Alolan Raichu after seeing the Pokémon sit on her tail in mid-air like it was a bench in Pokémon Refresh, I knew I needed a cute name to give my little Electric/Psychic-type.  I couldn’t get that explanation out of my head… So Syrup just felt right.

At the same time, Syrup is incredible in battle.  Deciding not to make use of its ability, Surge Surfer (which requires an Electric Terrain effect to be set up as a means of doubling her speed stat), I set up my Raichu to hit hard with a Modest nature and move faster than just about all others with a Choice Scarf-boosted 162 base speed.  Most of the time she Volt Switches out to let another Pokémon come in and tank a hit from whoever the opponent may be, but even if she isn’t doing that her other special attacks hit hard on a variety of different Pokémon types.

Honestly?  Alolan Raichu has become one of my favorite Pokémon as of late, simply due to how useful my little Syrup is.  Guess I have her to thank for breaking my annoyance over the lousy background lore of her species.  I just can’t stay mad at a Pokémon so sweet.


Iris

img_4717

Iris, who I’ve named for what I feel is a pretty obvious reason, is one of the more… Unexpected Pokémon I’ve built thus far.  I’ve liked Masquerain since Ruby and Sapphire, but haven’t ever found a chance to use one until now.  The original team she’s a part of is a little more gimmick-y all together, but Iris definitely stands apart as something special.

Not only can she swap in on a physical attacker to cut their attack with her ability, Intimidate, she has a decently high speed stat and a pretty damn-high special attack stat, making her exceptional as a good Pokémon to force the opponent to swap out their Pokémon.  With a Flying-typing helping her dodge Ground-type attacks, that idea becomes even more useful in application.

Iris also works well with Peeks, since it’s always useful to cut a Pokémon’s attack before swapping into the defensive wall, or swapping out of the defensive wall into a Pokémon that can resist Ground-type attacks like Masquerain.  Such a good combination.

Sticky Webs make for a good entry hazard when I feel like playing speed games, but the real bread and butter for Iris comes from being able to hit a large variety of types with Expert Belt-boosted Super Effective attacks: STAB Air Slash and Bug Buzz, plus the addition of a Hydro Pump or Solar Beam (if I’m using a Sunny Day team at least).

All-in-all Iris has a great thing going for her, and she fits into the team I have quite well.


Cheval

img_4718

Wrapping up the team and ruining what could otherwise have been an all fatal female show of force is Cheval, my big bad Mudsdale.  Don’t let his gender fool you however, he fits in with the others from a power perspective more than well enough.

While I’ll admit his name isn’t the most creative, as it’s just ‘horse’ in French, Cheval puts in just the finest of work for me.

Usually I have him holding a leftovers, but considering I can’t have replicated items across my team members in official Pokémon battle rules, I decided to give my Mudsdale an Assault Vest instead.  Honestly, it makes him extremely viable to take hits on both the physical and special side since the item boosts his special defense by 50 percent.

The hard-hitting move pool this horse gets access to also makes him quite the asset.  In my experience, Cheval has been able to kill Alolan Ninetails and Mimikyu in one hit with Heavy Slam, which can really put holes in some teams.  Plus, STAB Earthquake and Close Combat makes it very easy to hit Steel and Rock-types, as well as many more. Finishing with Rock Slide allowing him to hit Flying-types as well and Cheval is an absolute monster.

It helps when Cuddles is able to heal the big horse with a Wish U-Turn as well.  Especially when I get to imagine the little Koala snuggling up to her big equestrian friend.


There’s only one problem that arises, even after all the work I put together to set this team up.  One problem that, no matter what I do to try and correct things, is unfortunately unavoidable…

img_4712

I’ve been so busy for the past week that I missed the registration window for the Alola Friendly competition.  Thus, unfortunately, my squad won’t be able to prove themselves in that official fashion.

Oh well, at least I can use them all together to duke it out in the Battle Spot and against my friends.  There will be plenty of battles for me to take part in later, I’m sure.

If you like the team I’ve built, or if you have any ideas for teams you think I could build (especially since all 800+ Pokémon are available in the latest generation) let me know below!  I’m always looking for new things to try, especially since I’ll need something to keep me from going nuts after hours of homework and newspaper shifts.

Until the Fire Emblem content comes around at least.