More About Me (who I am and what I am doing)

Who I am

I am a 20-year-old (as of 9/13/2014) Canadian-American boy (English Canadian, by the way) who harbors an interest in technology—frequenter of the Internet and consumer of electronic entertainment. I am mainly known as Vouivre Critique, and I am a resident of a number of social or semi-social websites.

Behind the name Vouivre Critique

From my MyAnimeList profile: “It all started when I bought Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock for the Wii. The game allows you to give yourself a name of up to 16 characters. I started out as Hidden Insanity, but I changed my name to Echec Critique (French for ‘critical failure’) a month or two after. A year or so after that, I got to know a Guitar Hero Wii group started on Facebook called Team Wyvern. Since I was a part of it, I decided to rename myself Vouivre Critique (French for ‘critical wyvern’) to commemorate my inauguration. I also changed my icon to the one I’m using right now (took me a while to figure out what to use as an icon, to be honest).”

Okay, I’ll be honest: the reason why I know the word “vouivre” in the first place is thanks to the French translation of Final Fantasy Tactics A2 (which, truth be told, constitutes at least 15% of the French I know). Through my experience on Twitch, very few people know how to correctly pronounce “vouivre”, so most of them just call me Critique. If it helps, think of the first four letters as “oui” with a “v”.

As for my other usernames, my Smogon username comes from the French name of Galvantula (as I once stated in Top Three Thursday 8/7), my MyAnimeList username comes from a random fusion of Vouivre, Echec, and the memetic character Weegee, and my Steam username comes from the character You Kasukabe from my all-time favorite anime.

What I am doing here

I found out about this website through my brother. He and I thought at first that we had to resort to wordpress.org, the more professional counterpart, but then I found wordpress.com, the more accessible one, by hazard and started sandboxing with it. It is a nifty website, I must say—a nice place to deposit the thoughts that linger in my mind. Some time near the beginning of June, I decided to start up this blog, Vouiv-review, where I can share my thoughts to the public about stuff I like without having to be too shy about it. You could say it has become my comfort zone of social media. While I am sometimes pressured to be more conscious about what I post now that this blog has followers (which I did not expect at any time between then and my debut), I will try to keep it together and just write whatever comes to mind.

Nowi Wins Thanks for reading!

Brain Food #1 (Whimsical Weekend #15)

 Yo. Let it be known that I stayed up late trying to get this done, even though I spread my effort throughout the week instead of the usual protocol of saving it all until the last minute.

This week, I will be introducing a new series for this blog. It’s called Brain Food, and the premise is that I will ask myself a silly question on my mind and, of course, answer it.

The question of the weekend is…

If I had to make a Super Mario 64 ROM hack but could only change the music, how would I change it?

(For those unfamiliar with the term “ROM hack,” refer to http://sm64hacks.com/thread-992.html)

Now, I’m not here to discredit the original music of Super Mario 64 (on the contrary, I would describe it as timeless), and I don’t actually plan to do what the question entails. This is entirely hypothetical, and purely for enjoyment.

For the individual music changes, I will cover as many different areas/events as I can, including areas that are different but have the same music normally (e.g., Bob-Omb Battlefield and Whomp’s Fortress), but excluding the title screen, courtyard, credits theme, and non-looping jingles (which are 100% okay as is). I’ll also try to use as few Mario games as I can, but no promises about Nintendo games.

File select

Puzzles (Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney)

Hmm… Which file should I select? What am I getting myself into? These sorts of questions and perhaps more are what surfaces on the mind during file selection. Thus, a serene tune that nicely complements thinking is the best fit for the file select screen.

Peach’s Castle

ACDC Town theme (MegaMan Battle Network 3)

Peach’s Castle can best be described as a hub world of sorts, where most of everything else is located. Such also describes ACDC Town in the Battle Network series, and the theme in question has the same sort of upbeat yet welcoming charm that befits Peach’s Castle.

“Why 3 in particular?” you may ask, and that is because 3 was the game that introduced me to the Battle Network series and has the most memorable ACDC theme of the Battle Network games I’ve played.

Bob-Omb Battlefield

Pop Star (Kirby 64)

Bob-Omb Battlefield is the first world (like Pop Star in Kirby 64), is filled with round creatures (Bob-Ombs), and introduces the wonkiness of the game. No doubt in my mind that Kirby 64’s Pop Star theme would be a great match.

Miniboss battle

That Person’s Name Is (Bravely Default)

This theme applies to King Bob-Omb, Whomp King, Eyerok, and Wiggler. I was tempted to come up with a custom theme for each one, but on the basis that Super Mario Star Road only has one type of miniboss theme, I decided to discard that idea.

Quite honestly, this is one of the most memorable battle themes that I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. In my experience with Bravely Default, it’s the sort of tune that made me want to keep playing to the end, for better or for worse. (It may not be applied to that many situations in this case, but that doesn’t matter.)

Koopa race

Boss Battle II (Diddy Kong Racing)

Nothing says “I’m in a heated race with this eccentric creature” quite like the good ol’ Diddy Kong Racing boss theme. It’s always been a catchy tune, and it fits well with the Koopa races in Bob-Omb Battlefield and Tiny Huge Island.

Whomp’s Fortress

Crystal Fortress (They Might Be Giants w/ Strong Bad)

Kind of a joke this time. The “Fortress” part is the main justification of it.

Homestar Runner was a memorable part of my childhood, and nowadays I have occasional nostalgic cravings to satisfy (mainly along the lines of “What was that one toon/sbemail with [insert phrase/event here]?”), and following homestar_ebooks on Twitter is part of the reason for that.

Sleeping Piranha Plant theme

Eternity’s Moment (Bravely Default)

This music is surprisingly catchy, yet it fits the theme of an unsuspecting sleeper, like an undisturbed Piranha Plant in Whomp’s Fortress. Not much more to say there.

Cool Cool Mountain

Snowpoint City (Pokémon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum)

Fits the essence of an entry-level area blanketed with snow. Snowpoint City is, after all, the first residential area in the Pokémon games to canonically feature any sort of snow. Quite fitting for Cool Cool Mountain.

Inside the cottage (CCM)

Icirrus City (Pokémon Black/White)

And this tune fits the atmosphere of being in a snowy area but being sheltered enough to where you can play around unhindered. It’s also hype enough to go well with racing a penguin.

What I didn’t realize is that there are apparently two versions of the Icirrus theme: with and without percussion. Back when I played Pokémon Black, I didn’t really pay much attention to how the music tracks—let alone that of Icirrus City—varied among seasons, but I’m guessing the track without percussion is associated with winter (because it’s more fitting that way).

Aquarium secret

Underwater (Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald)

What better tune to describe fumbling around in an aquarium than the underwater theme of Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, widely known (or at least to me) as the theme of fumbling around underwater to try to figure out how to progress the story past Tate&Liza? Ah, good times in both situations.

Jolly Roger Bay

Gloomy Galleon (Donkey Kong 64)

Both Jolly Roger Bay and Gloomy Galleon are water levels, ship-related levels, and even the fourth level in their respective games. No better match here, I’d say.

Because the ship in Jolly Roger Bay has its own loading zone, I would give it separate music, namely the Ship Ruins rendition of the theme.

Big Boo’s Haunt

Pumpkin Hill (Sonic Adventure 2)

“I ain’t gonna let it get to me; I’m just gonna creep.” Granted Big Boo’s Haunt doesn’t really have any pumpkins, the spookiness of it matches with the spooky vibe of the Pumpkin Hill theme.

Sonic Adventure 2 (Battle for GameCube) was another one of my childhood games, as well as the first Sonic game that I remember fondly.

Merry-go-round (BBH)

You in Wonderland (Persona Q)

Merry-go-rounds are fun…but not when they’re invaded by spooky creatures. Just like how Persona Q worlds (particularly You in Wonderland) always tend to have some sort of uncanny aspect with their theme. As in, the theme in question conveys some sort of fun, albeit a demented sort of fun…if that makes sense.

Peach slide

Beach Street (MegaMan Battle Network 3)

In the spirit of my decision to associate the ACDC Town theme with Peach’s Castle, I figured that the Beach Street theme can be considered a sort of upbeat and playful theme. Appropriate for playing around on a slide and trying to get some sort of record time.

Wing Cap / shell theme

Waterskip Slider (Amazing Island)

The feeling of being able to move around in a whole different, more majestic way. That sort of feeling is conveyed well in the Waterskip Slider theme of Amazing Island.

Under normal circumstances, the theme accompanies a minigame where monsters build up speed by running across a large ramp, jump at the end of a ramp, and skip across the water so as to achieve a record distance.

And, conveniently, the aspects of gaining air and staying above the water’s surface are also characteristic of the Wing Cap and shell, respectively.

Wing Cap stage

Gentle Breeze (Trauma Center DS 2)

You don’t hear much of the normal music in the Wing Cap stage, and when you do, you’re most likely falling into the sky-colored abyss or stranded on the island containing the switch, so I figured: “Why not just go with a meme song?” The song also works because it has “breeze” in the title, and the stage in question is in the sky.

Bowser in the Dark World

Liberation Mission (MegaMan Battle Network 5)

The premise of liberation missions in MegaMan Battle Network 5 boils down to clearing darkness from a treacherous area. That’s how it first seems when searching for Bowser in the Dark World: “I’m gonna defeat Bowser and be done with this!” Yet in reality, the story of MMBN5 doesn’t end with a liberation mission…nor does Super Mario 64 end when you enter a warp pipe.

Simply put, the tune is for a place of darkness and treachery, but far from the finale.

vs. Bowser 1

Boss Theme (MegaMan Battle Network 5)

Once again in the spirit of my previous decision, this music plays more than a few times in the main story of MMBN5, and mostly when fighting the boss of a liberation mission. Just putting two and two together, plain and simple.

Hazy Maze Cave

Forgotten Forest (Phoenotopia)

Hazy Maze Cave and Forgotten Forest are not nearly at the same relative progress point in their respective games, but the two areas have two key aspects in common: (1) It’s easy to get lost, and (2) getting lost may result in death. That’s what led to the association here.

Oh, and both areas can be skipped in their respective games.

Metal Cap theme

Because It’s Midnite (Limozeen)

“Bringin’ the metal back to where it belongs!” I don’t know if this song is really metal (and I always have a hard time distinguishing musical genres), but I really couldn’t think of anything else.

Metal Cap stage

We Don’t Really Even Care about You (sloshy)

In the spirit of saying “in the spirit of” my previous decision, I figured it would be funny if the Metal Cap timer were to expire in the Metal Cap stage and leave a totally non-metal track in its wake. Because, guess what? They are related.

Lethal Lava Land

Hot Damned (Super Meat Boy)

The intensity of Super Meat Boy music doesn’t exactly fit with the lightness of Super Mario 64…except when you can’t help feeling like the music isn’t intense enough. Such is the case with Lethal Lava Land. I mean, the place is chock-full of destructive fire everywhere, yet the music there is the same as in a freaking desert (which, let’s be honest, isn’t nearly as intense).

With that in mind, wouldn’t the music of the Hell world of Super Meat Boy be appropriate?

Inside the volcano (LLL)

Devil N’ Bass (Super Meat Boy)

In the…volcano is even more intense, and thus could use more intense music than the outside. Also, the BGM is associated with Dark Hell, which makes sense in conjunction with the previous choice because the volcano is not as exposed to light as the rest of Lethal Lava Land.

Shifting Sand Land

Pecan Sands (Wario World)

Like Hazy Maze Cave, Shifting Sand Land is far from the final level, and yet somehow is befitting of the final level music of some other game. Pecan Sands can’t be skipped in Wario World, but the music associated with it is intense and desert-like enough to work in this situation.

Inside the pyramid (SSL)

Relic Castle (Pokémon Black/White)

Hey, look, a music choice of an interior area that has nothing to do with the music choice of the exterior area! It may not be quite as intense as the exterior music, but it honestly fits exploring the interior of a sand-infested pyramid where lots of falling is bound to happen.

Dire Dire Docks

Battle for Storm Hill (Donkey Kong Jungle Beat)

Okay…maybe this might be a bit too intense, but my thought process was that Dire Dire Docks is somehow Bowser’s territory, considering how there’s a Bowser-branded submarine (at least for the first star) and an accompanying hatch leading goodness-knows-where, and so it’s kinda like the Battle for Dire Dire Docks…if that makes sense.

Simply put, the music is rather appropriate for the first star, but perhaps a bit too intense for the others.

Vanish Cap music

You Can’t See Me (John Cena theme)

Painfully obvious, but I love the theme and the meme.

Vanish Cap stage

Stage Builder (Super Smash Bros. Brawl)

All I could think was that the Vanish Cap stage had so much unused space…even in the DS remake. That said, you can’t completely remake the Vanish Cap stage in the Brawl Stage Builder (or any Smash Stage Builder for that matter), although some elements look like they can (notably the platforming just before the blue switch).

Bowser in the Fire Sea

Magmatic Magnetics (Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2)

The loop provided cuts off awkwardly (e.g. at 2:29), but at least it gets the point across, that being that the area accompanied by the music is fiery and has a boss up ahead. (In the case of Re;Birth 2, it’s the place where you fight the grunt villains for the last time (at least in Normal End).)

This song is one of the coolest dungeon themes in what I’ve played of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series (which, granted, isn’t much), and I especially like the double bass towards the middle of the loop.

vs. Bowser 2

One Two Three (Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1)

From the same series, but not from the same game. I mean, I have to say as a whole that Re;Birth 2 took a step down from Re;Birth 1 in terms of music selection, but perhaps that’s mostly because of the poor audio balancing in Re;Birth 2. (Most noticeably, few if any tracks in the game can rival the loudness of the world map theme.)

Anyway, from what I’ve played of the series, One Two Three has to be the best track of all (and one of my favorite battle themes of all time), and it plays when you fight a low-tier dangerous enemy (at least in Re;Birth 1). Kind of a fitting description for Bowser 2, despite that he has a trick up his sleeve compared to Bowser 1.

Snowman’s Land

Arcterra Theme #2 (Metroid Prime Hunters)

When the snow area gets more intense, you can bet that a theme of intergalactic exploration would be more fitting than a theme of some peaceful town, even if both are covered in snow. There’s also arguably more treachery in Snowman’s Land, what with the violently windy breath of the giant snowman, the blanket of ice that somehow has the same effect on Mario as a pit of lava, and the water that drains HP faster and provides no healing.

Inside the igloo (SL)

Land of Immortality (Bravely Default)

This theme plays in a snowy town full of magic-operated machinery that keeps everyone healthy. The igloo in Snowman’s Land may not be that extreme, but igloos have a protective enough design to promote lifespan to some degree. So, I guess it works?

Wet Dry World

On our way / City in the sky (Dokapon Kingdom)

This one is kinda hard to explain. There’s some kind of magic in raising the water level (as there is magic in Dokapon Kingdom), there’s a town in the depths of the area, and the backdrop is…kinda weird for what the level is supposed to be. Weird thing meets weird thing, and they end up like peas in a pod. That’s how it is in every case, really.

Tall Tall Mountain

Justice RIP (Fire Emblem Fates)

Conquering a mountain is a bit like conquering the army of a sunrise land, hence the association here. The music chosen is one of the more intense tracks of the game, and Tall Tall Mountain is one of the last five levels of Super Mario 64, so the association makes sense in multiple ways.

Secret slide (TTM)

Ninjape Rally (Donkey Kong Jungle Beat)

If you’ve seen all the slides in Super Mario 64 (granted there aren’t many), this would most likely be the last. Thus, it’s only appropriate for the associated track to have some sense of finality, being the last character race of Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (and in the final kingdom, no less). There is also a bit of sliding involved in the aforementioned race.

Moreover, the secret slide in Tall Tall Mountain is arguably more tricky than Peach’s slide; although there is no time limit for the former, such is more than made up for with the forked path and quarter pipes.

Tiny Huge Island

Conquest (Fire Emblem Awakening)

Exploring two parallel worlds of different sizes is a grand undertaking. It almost seems like taking on random treachery in an otherwise peaceful area where exploration is obligatory. That’s the kind of feeling that ties this music with this area, I think.

Wiggler’s cavern (THI)

Infiltrating Hostile Territory (Bravely Default)

I’m sure anyone would consider it hostile if there were some giant worm wriggling around and making a scene with its anger. And also, getting the red coins in here is no simple feat, considering the varied heights and surface areas of the platforms within, combined with that gruesome abyss at the bottom.

Moreover, one Bravely Default track transitioning into another sounds like a plan, right?

Cloud secret

City in the Sky (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)

Like the Wing Cap stage, you won’t be spending very long in here without the Wing Cap, so might as well not do much with the music, right? Also, City in the Sky is one of the later dungeons of Twilight Princess and…well, like the cloud secret, takes place in the sky.

Tick Tock Clock

Clock Tower (Donkey Kong Jungle Beat)

It was between this and the Ancheim theme of Bravely Default, but I figured the latter was too desert-y, whereas the Clock Tower music of Jungle Beat would be perfect for the occasion of scaling a treacherous, daunting, and tower-like clock…if you can even call it a clock. (It definitely is in the case of Jungle Beat, but I don’t know so much about Super Mario 64.)

Rainbow Ride

Cloudy Heights (Donkey Kong Jungle Beat)

Both settings share one main trait: If you mess up one little thing, it will most likely cost you dearly. While Rainbow Ride involves grabbing stars with elegance, Cloudy Heights is where you get a massive heap of bananas (I’m talking at least 3000 if done correctly) or cry trying. Basically, they both bring a sort of exotic difficulty to the table as opposed to the rest of the levels in their respective games.

Endless stairs

The Song That Doesn’t End (from Lamb Chop)

Do I even need to explain this? (I don’t know the song all that well, but I’ve heard/seen references to it when I was young.)

Bowser in the Sky

Ripple Star (Kirby 64)

It’s dark, and it has a grand sense of finality. What more to say?

vs. Bowser 3

Grand Finale (Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story)

Okay, when I said I’d try to use as few Mario games as I can…this is the one Mario game that I will use. (Well, it’s a Mario & Luigi game if you want to split hairs, but that’s still Mario if you ask me.) Regardless, the final boss music of Bowser’s Inside Story is really upbeat and intense—perfectly suitable for any sort of final fight involving Bowser.

 

Well, I hope this turned out to be an okay first installment of Brain Food, in spite of how rushed it ended up being as a whole.

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Starmie (Poké Monday 7/31/17)

 

Type: Water/Psychic

Base Stats:

  • 60 HP
  • 75 Attack
  • 85 Defense
  • 100 Special Attack
  • 85 Special Defense
  • 115 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Illuminate Starmie double wild Pokémon encounter rate when in the lead slot. This Ability has no effect in battle.
  • Natural Cure Starmie have non-volatile status conditions (poison, burn, paralysis, freeze, and sleep) cured when switching out.
  • Analytic Starmie have their attacks strengthened by a factor of 1.3 when moving last. (Hidden Ability)

Notable special attacks: Blizzard, Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, Psychic, Psyshock, Scald, Thunder, Thunderbolt

Notable physical attack: Rapid Spin

Notable status moves: Recover, Reflect Type

Notable Z-moves:

  • Hydro Vortex (Water) – Converts one use of Hydro Pump into a base 185 special Water-type attack.
  • Shattered Psyche (Psychic) – Converts one use of Psychic into a base 175 special Psychic-type attack.
  • Gigavolt Havoc (Electric) – Converts one use of Thunderbolt into a base 175 special Electric-type attack (or Thunder into base 185).
  • Subzero Slammer (Ice) – Converts one use of Ice Beam into a base 175 special Ice-type attack (or Blizzard into base 185).
  • Z-Reflect Type (Psychic) – Grants +1 Special Attack with one use of Reflect Type.
  • Z-Gravity (Psychic) – Grants +1 Special Attack with one use of Gravity (via ORAS tutor).

Overview

Ah, good ol’ Starmie. When it comes to moves, Starmie is the sort of Pokémon that prefers quality over quantity. That is to say, its movepool as a whole may be small (understandably so, considering it’s a starfish), but it evidently has enough to get by: strong STABs, Electric+Ice coverage, reliable recovery, and utility in Rapid Spin. Stat-wise, its base Speed sits at a decent 115, its Special Attack at an average 100, its 60/85/85 defenses below average, and its physical prowess not worth mentioning.

As such, Starmie usually takes full advantage of its Speed, sometimes going fully offensive with Analytic, sometimes attempting to be moderately bulky with Natural Cure. That’s how it’s been since gen 5, and not much has changed since. That said, the introduction of Z-Moves did give Starmie a way to boost its Special Attack (because, surprisingly, Starmie does not get Calm Mind or Charge Beam) with one use of Reflect Type or Gravity with Psychium Z, the former helping it against Pursuit trappers and unfavorable type matchups, and the latter complementing the powerful but low-accuracy side of its movepool including Thunder and Blizzard.

Sets

Set 1: Support

Starmie @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Scald
– Recover
– Rapid Spin
– Psychic / Reflect Type

A more defensive set takes the best advantage of Starmie’s utility options. While its main two moves are Rapid Spin for clearing hazards and Recover for keeping itself healthy, it also tends to run Scald to spread burns and not be Taunt bait. In the fourth slot, it can run Psychic for secondary STAB or Reflect Type to weasel its way out of type disadvantages.

Defensive EVing with Natural Cure and Leftovers gives Starmie optimal longevity, while the Speed investment allows it to keep up with its Speed tier. (Raikou and Mega Absol would be worrisome otherwise.)

Set 2: Offensive

Starmie @ Life Orb
Ability: Analytic
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Hydro Pump
– Ice Beam / Hidden Power [Fire]
– Thunderbolt / Psyshock
– Rapid Spin / Recover

Offensive variants of Starmie consist of four key different components from defensive variants:

  1. Analytic, which, while it may seem counterproductive with Starmie’s high base 115 Speed, is useful for punishing hard switches and the off chance of survival against a faster foe
  2. Life Orb for maximum damage output with freedom of move choice
  3. Full Special Attack investment
  4. Stronger Water STAB in Hydro Pump

Aside from those components, offensive Starmie also puts to use its nifty offensive repertoire through moves such as Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Psyshock, and Hidden Power Fire. However, it is only limited to three other moveslots, so it must choose what coverage to run, perchance with one of Rapid Spin or Recover for a touch of utility.

Set 3: Psychium Z

Starmie @ Psychium Z
Ability: Analytic
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Gravity / Reflect Type
– Hydro Pump
– Blizzard / Ice Beam
– Thunder / Thunderbolt

Z-Gravity and Z-Reflect Type grant Starmie an easy +1 Special Attack, which is slightly stronger than Life Orb and grants a sort of utility with the base move, but takes one turn to set up. Gravity is particularly usable as a standalone offensive option, as it ameliorates the accuracy of its STAB Hydro Pump and stronger coverage in Blizzard and Thunder. Reflect Type is more situational by comparison, especially since it might lose out on STAB Hydro Pump depending on what it faces. Ice Beam and Thunderbolt are options over Blizzard and Thunder respectively, if running Reflect Type or not willing to risk the limited duration of Gravity.

Other Options

Z-Mimic (via gen 3 tutor / gen 1 TM) and Z-Confuse Ray are other Z-moves that boost Starmie’s Special Attack, but those two Z-moves are less practical than the two already suggested. Toxic could fit on the defensive set for wearing down walls that don’t mind taking Scald or Psychic, but the option as a whole is limited for what it’s worth. That’s…about it, really.

Problems and Partners

Problems

Mega Beedrill, Mega Sceptile, and Weavile are all faster threats with super-effective STAB. (Weavile and Mega Beedrill are particularly deadly with access to Pursuit.) Mega Beedrill doesn’t appreciate Psychic STAB, and Mega Sceptile is not a fan of Ice coverage, but Weavile isn’t particularly weak to any of Starmie’s attacks. Even still, the frailty of all three makes switching into Analytic-boosted attacks no easy feat.

Alolan Muk has exceptional special bulk, immunity to Starmie’s Psychic STAB, and access to Pursuit for checking Starmie effectively. However, it is prone to burns from Scald and has a harder time with Reflect Type variants.

Scizor is in a similar boat. If Starmie lacks Scald, Hidden Power Fire, or Reflect Type, Scizor can be a major problem.

Hydreigon is an effective check to variants lacking Ice coverage. It may not have Pursuit in spite of its Dark typing, but it’s immune to Psychic, is not particularly bothered by Scald burns, and can actually exploit Reflect Type due to its combination of typing and coverage.

And, of course, Blissey can take Starmie’s attacks for days and retaliate with Seismic Toss (and, perchance, Toxic).

Partners

Fighting-types make particularly effective partners for Starmie, and each of the five above has its own way of dealing with the problems specified. Cobalion has lots of resistances (including Dark) thanks to its typing, Conkeldurr has Mach Punch for picking off weakened threats, Infernape threatens Scizor with Fire STAB, Mienshao has strong High Jump Kick for hitting hard in general, and Terrakion can potentially use Banded Earthquake to deal with Alolan Muk.

Fairies are also usable partners for dealing with Hydreigon and Mega Sceptile. Togekiss may have an extra Electric weakness, but it benefits from Starmie’s ability to remove Stealth Rock and resists almost every other weakness. Also, both can cleanse status conditions from offensive variants through the use of Heal Bell and potentially deal heavier damage with their stronger Special Attack stats (and Togekiss’s Nasty Plot).

At a standstill 2 (Whimsical Weekend #14)

It kinda pains me to be doing this when my last “At a standstill” post was Whimsical Weekend #12, but once again, I just don’t have any particular writing topic in mind right now. I did mention freelance coding before, and I’ve been really into it as of late, especially considering I can see the light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel. That and the regular work routine are making it difficult to think about anything else.

I would like to briefly touch upon a few things, though. First off, I take back what I said about the Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth series; I’d rather cover all three installments en masse after all. (I also plan to re-watch the anime afterwards, because that was a blur to me the first time I watched it.) I mean, I decided to start playing Re;Birth 2 last month and managed to achieve the Normal Ending (rather anticlimactically, I must say), and there seems to be a lot more ground to cover for the remaining endings, what with the Shares and Lily Ranks and such. For now, I will say that Re;Birth 2 took a step down from Re;Birth 1 overall, but I won’t explain why in full detail.

Second, about the same time I started Re;Birth 2, I actually bought the secondary story (Conquest) for my copy of Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, considering the advent of newer Fire Emblem games and that I haven’t gotten the most out of the Fates series yet. But dang, man, I’m sixteen chapters into Conquest on Hard mode, and I have to say that the difference between Birthright and Conquest is the difference between Super Weenie Hut Jr.’s and the Salty Spittoon. (Shoutouts to SpongeBob.)

And finally, I’m thinking that I should later get around to speedrunning Phoenotopia more seriously. My mindset as of late has been: “Wait until a golden opportunity to stream,” but now that I think about it, that’s a terrible mindset to have. I mean, I set my expectations too high when I stream, only to be disappointed when I end it off at an inevitably early time because I can’t get a run past Bandits’ Lair due to my rust. Coupling that with the fact that I get few opportunities to stream in the first place (considering I still live with my parents, and I don’t know when would be a good time to change that), I now realize that I’m probably better off just recording offline instead. And yes, I do still plan to improve my times, even in any% and 100%. (For both categories, I recently devised new strats that I don’t plan to discuss right now. Also, my times in All Moonstones and All Medals could definitely stand to be more optimized, the more I look back at them.)

So, um…that’s about it.

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Voltorb (Poké Monday 7/3/17)

Type: Electric

Base Stats:

  • 40 HP
  • 30 Attack
  • 50 Defense
  • 55 Special Attack
  • 55 Special Defense
  • 100 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Soundproof Voltorb are immune to sound-based moves.
  • Static Voltorb, when attacked by direct contact, have a 30% chance to paralyze the attacker.
  • Aftermath Voltorb, when fainted by a contact move, cause the attacker to lose 1/4 of its HP. (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Explosion, Foul Play (via ORAS tutor), Sucker Punch (via Gen IV tutor)

Notable special attacks: Charge Beam, Discharge, Mirror Coat, Signal Beam (via ORAS tutor), Thunder, ThunderboltVolt Switch

Notable status moves: Light Screen, Magic Coat (via ORAS tutor), Rain Dance, Reflect (via Gen I transfer), Taunt, Thunder Wave

Notable Z-moves:

  • Gigavolt Havoc (Electric) – Converts one use of Thunder into a base 185 special Electric-type attack (or Thunderbolt into base 175).
  • Savage Spin-Out (Bug) – Converts one use of Signal Beam into a base 140 special Bug-type attack.

Overview

Voltorb has the highest base Speed of any legal Little Cup Pokémon…but not much else. And don’t be fooled; this does not mean that Voltorb is the sole fastest Pokémon in Little Cup—rather, given any non-Speed-hindering nature, Voltorb is tied in Speed with base 95s, namely Elekid and Diglett. More importantly, Voltorb won’t be tearing holes through teams with its unusable base 30 Attack and rather low base 55 Special Attack, nor will it be taking many hits with its merely average 40/50/55 defenses, and its special movepool basically consists of Electric STAB, Hidden Power, and Signal Beam. Therefore, its best role…well, there are still no Drizzle users in Little Cup (what the heck, GameFreak), and Voltorb makes a great Rain Dance lead with its high Speed and repertoire of useful Electric STAB. In particular, Thunder is its strongest attack and bypasses accuracy checks in the rain, while Volt Switch allows its teammates to bask in the rain that it sets up.

Set

Voltorb @ Damp Rock
Ability: Static
Level: 5
EVs: 36 HP / 36 Def / 236 SpA / 196 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Rain Dance
– Thunder
– Volt Switch
– Taunt

Weather may not be nearly as prevalent as it was in prior generations, but don’t turn a blind eye to it, and don’t turn a blind eye to this Voltorb either. With a Timid Nature and full investment in Speed, it keeps up with base 95s and stays ahead of base 90s and 85s (notably Meowth, Ponyta, Abra, Taillow, Staryu, and Buizel), allowing it in most circumstances to quickly set up Rain Dance and proceed to either wreck face with Thunder or defer to another team member with Volt Switch. Another tool for making use of Voltorb’s Speed is Taunt, which prevents it from being setup fodder in the face of hazard setters.

As for its Ability, Static is the most fear-inducing of the three choices, serving as a “Think twice before throwing out contact moves” tag of sorts (more so than Aftermath, which can be avoided through careful planning while Static activates randomly).

With the above EVs and Nature, this set has the following stats:

21 HP
7 Attack
12 Defense
15 Special Attack
12 Special Defense
20 Speed

Other Options

A set with Life Orb and Hidden Power Ice alongside Electric STAB (preferably Thunderbolt over Thunder) gives Voltorb more of an offensive presence. This, however, faces competition from Elekid, which is slightly stronger and has better coverage at the expense of slightly less physical bulk and a lack of Taunt.

Speaking of Taunt, because Little Cup is oriented less towards setup/utility and more towards raw power than level 100 metagames, it might be preferable in most situations to have Thunder Wave over Taunt in the suggested set. It may be slightly less accurate than in former generations, but it still does a better job against purely offensive threats. If you decide to run Thunder Wave, then you might consider Static redundant, in which case Aftermath is the next most viable Ability option.

Explosion might not seem like a very appealing option considering the nerf as of Gen V and Voltorb’s low Attack stat, but consider the following:

36- Atk Voltorb Explosion vs. 36 HP / 0 Def Diglett: 18-22 (100 – 122.2%) — guaranteed OHKO

It has to bank on a Speed tie to pull this off, but it’s a cooler method of dealing with Diglett than just setting up Rain Dance and fainting. And, considering Voltorb’s Speed, it’s easier to provide a safe switch-in opportunity with Explosion than with Volt Switch.

Thanks to the Virtual Console releases of Red, Blue, and Yellow on 3DS, Voltorb has access to both Light Screen and Reflect (but only with Aftermath), although dual screens are obsolete thanks to the rise of Defog as of Gen VI and the introduction of Alolan Vulpix (which gets Snow Warning + Aurora Veil, the latter being a combination of both screens that can only be used in hail).

Problems and Partners

Problems

Ties in Speed, is Ground-type, and cannot be easily avoided thanks to Arena Trap. Be very careful of this thing, especially if not running super-effective Hidden Power.

Can prevent Voltorb from setting up its weather by virtue of Prankster Taunt, and can potentially set up their own weather if needed.

Depending on Hidden Power choice (usually Ice, but it can be something different—like Grass, Ground, or Fire), Voltorb will likely be walled by a particular subset of threats. Chinchou and Magnemite resist Ice, Onix resists Fire, and Foongus (and other Grass-types, but especially Foongus) resists Grass.

Oh, and don’t forget about this item. It’s not of much use to Voltorb, but precisely because of that, beware Choice Scarf users at base 34 Speed or above.

Partners

Water-types are the most obvious candidates for taking advantage of Voltorb’s capability of setting up rain, and also for dispatching whatever Ground-types may cause grief for Voltorb. Mantyke is particularly helpful for its immunity to Ground-type attacks, although Shellder’s physical bulk is helpful to pack as well. While Corphish, Skrelp, and Carvanha might not have as good synergy with their stats or typing, their strong offensive prowess is considerable even if Voltorb doesn’t carry Rain Dance. Carvanha’s Dark typing can also be helpful for denying Prankster shenanigans like nobody’s business.

In other situations, a Grass-type might be preferred, such as if encountering a Chinchou or requiring a more reliable switch-in to Earthquake. Both offensive and support-oriented varieties exist, such as Snivy and Cottonee respectively.

Offensive variants of Voltorb are not super strong, so having some form of hazard setter can be helpful for the residual damage provided. Onix and Dwebble stick out as effective users, each having Sturdy to be used in conjunction with Berry Juice, the former having a rather high Speed itself and performing well against opposing Electric-types, and the latter having further hazard stacking in the form of Spikes.

And you know, just having a physical attacker (particularly of the Fighting-type variety) around can be nice for Voltorb; otherwise, the likes of Munchlax would be problematic.

Fantasy story follow-up (Whimsical “Weekend” #13)

 Yo.

It’s been more than half a year since I first talked about that one fantasy harem series (Cinq du Soleil) that I’ve been working on in my spare time. And somehow, over the past week or so, it’s been on my mind more than anything else I’ve been doing lately.

I mean, I said at one point that I wasn’t going to do a follow-up until I finished the story, but that was before I realized a vital limitation of Google Docs: As the number of pages in a document increases beyond 100, the document also becomes increasingly laggy. I went up to Chapter 7 (if I recall correctly) on a single document, but it was when I finally got fed up with the lag that I decided to start splitting the chapters into groups to be placed in separate documents. That is to say, the document I linked in the first post now only contains introductory content and Chapters 1-5, and I also have a document for Chapters 6-9 (simple but obligatory joke intended) and a to-be-determined set of chapters from 10.

Introductory content + Chapters 1-5

Chapters 6-9

I don’t have as much to say at this point as I did in the introductory post, but…

  • Since completing Chapter 1, I’ve had the tendency to end chapters only when the main characters sleep. I’ve also desired to add more concepts and characters to the story, which basically led to the later chapters getting longer. To put that into perspective, the first document is 87 pages long, while the second document is 101 pages long.
    • Heck, when I first wrote Chapter 9, I went all out on it. I recall Chapters 6-9 collectively being over 110 pages excluding interludes, and Chapter 9 alone accounted for a whopping 42 of those pages. It didn’t take long for me to split the chapter into two pieces: the first one (Chapter 9) being 25 pages, and the second (Chapter 10) being 17 pages.
  • I decided to add an “Interlude” section to the end of every chapter. This idea came about when I realized, before the information updates of Chapter 2, that there was a short aside conversation between Yue and Toru (which was, at the time, the first three lines of the current interlude of that chapter), and I hadn’t really considered making a similar thing for other chapters. Only sometimes (like the case of the interlude before I implemented interludes) do the interludes clarify otherwise unknown or incomprehensible aspects of the plot, but others of times they’re just purely for the heck of it.
  • In a similar vein to the “Information updates” sections, I recently decided that I would initiate later chapter documents with earlier chapter summaries (for instance, the 6-9 document has a summary for Chapters 1-5).
  • The next point is not only a spoiler of Cinq du Soleil Chapter 5, but also of Volume 12 of the Mondaiji light novel, so I shall hide it with white text in brackets. Highlight at your own risk. [In Cinq du Soleil, I included a plot twist that Dealer is Yue’s thought-to-be-dead sister (Diana Panishi). In the Mondaiji light novel, it is revealed that the character Faceless is Asuka’s thought-to-be-dead sister (Ayato Kudō). (I mean, Faceless isn’t portrayed as masculine, but that’s beside the point.) The thing is, though, I wrote that Dealer was Yue’s sister before I read that Faceless was Asuka’s sister, even though Mondaiji Volume 12 was published before I even started Cinq du Soleil. Coincidence? I think so.]
  • Dealer’s Treasure name was changed from “Trump” to “Lucky Draw”, to avoid confusion with the current President of the United States. I came up with the initial name more than two years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to change the name.
  • I had to make another shoutout to good ol’ Kili Surtr Muspelheim. In Chapter 7, Will, the Chief Elemental of Spirit, performs magic attacks by snapping his fingers, like how Kili does in the Fafnir anime.
  • I might have to say that Chapter 8 has been the hardest to write so far, particularly the beach visit and the aftermath thereof. It might be because I’m the type to care more about game-like concepts and plot points than how the characters interact from a casual standpoint.
  • It’s never like I’m totally finished with the chapters I’ve already done. Sometimes I can’t help scrutinizing my metaphorical footprints and, if something seems even a bit off, correct it accordingly.

I think that’s all I have to say for now. I’ve definitely been having fun with this story as I intended to, even if I struggle to find inspiration from time to time. As for the next set of chapters, I’ve gone up to 12 and done a tiny bit of 13 (currently on page 63 of the next document), although I’m thinking there are a few revisions to be made there, and I can’t make any promises regarding how close exactly I am to declaring that set as completed.

Speaking of not making promises, I wonder how long I’ll continue the story as a whole…

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Slight delay on Whimsical Weekend #13

It’s in the works, trust me, but considering how much effort I’d have to put into it, as well as the importance of not staying up too late (for the sake of work), I think I’d be better off putting in the effort over the week instead of pulling an all-nighter or similar to do so.

 Please understand.

I will give a minor hint about the topic, though: It’s about something that I haven’t brought up in detail in over half a year.

6/20/17 EDIT: Done now. http://wp.me/p4GI1b-k7

Archeops (Poké Monday 6/5/17)

 

Type: Rock/Flying

Base Stats:

  • 75 HP
  • 140 Attack
  • 65 Defense
  • 112 Special Attack
  • 65 Special Defense
  • 110 Speed

Ability: Defeatist – If Archeops’ HP is below half, its Attack and Special Attack are halved.

Notable physical attacks: Acrobatics, Aqua Tail (via ORAS tutor), Earthquake, Endeavor, Head Smash (Egg move), Knock Off (Egg move), Stone Edge, U-turn

Notable special attacks: Ancient Power, Dragon Pulse (Egg move), Earth Power (Egg move), Focus Blast, Heat Wave (via ORAS tutor)

Notable status moves: Defog (Egg move), Roost, Stealth Rock (via ORAS tutor), Switcheroo (Egg move), Taunt

Notable Z-moves:

  • Continental Crush (Rock)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Head Smash into a base 200 physical Rock-type attack (or Stone Edge into base 180).
    • Special – Converts one use of Ancient Power into a base 120 special Rock-type attack.
  • Supersonic Skystrike (Flying) – Converts one use of Sky Attack (via ORAS tutor) into a base 200 physical Flying-type attack.
  • Tectonic Rage (Ground)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Earthquake into a base 180 physical Ground-type attack.
    • Special – Converts one use of Earth Power into a base 175 special Ground-type attack.
  • All-Out Pummeling (Fighting) – Converts one use of Focus Blast into a base 190 special Fighting-type attack.
  • Inferno Overdrive (Fire) – Converts one use of Heat Wave into a base 175 special Fire-type attack.
  • Z-Taunt (Dark) – Grants +1 Attack with one use of Taunt.

Overview

Ever since its debut in generation 5, Archeops has been one of an infamous set of Pokémon who are hindered by their Abilities. Its statline is offensively oriented, consisting of a hefty base 140 Attack, a decent base 112 Special Attack, and a comfortable Speed tier of 110. As such, its Ability is a huge detriment. Assuming full offensive investment with a Speed-boosting nature, the effect of Defeatist will render Archeops’ Attack and Special Attack equivalent to base 45 and 31 respectively, making it even weaker than Minior above half HP. It doesn’t help that Archeops is not the bulkiest thing around with its 75/65/65 defenses. Sure, it can take advantage of recovery options in Roost and pinch berries, but: In the case of Roost, can it really sacrifice a moveslot and risk the possibility of being brought below half HP again (or worse)? In the case of pinch berries, can it really afford to dedicate its item slot to one? Oh well, at least it has access to Endeavor, which becomes more effective at lower HP values, in spite of Defeatist’s effect.

Ability aside, consider Archeops’ movepool. Although it consists of utility options in Defog, Stealth Rock, and Taunt; along with Ground coverage complemented by Dark and Water on the physical side and Fighting, Fire, and Dragon on the special side; Archeops is lacking in reliable STAB. Stone Edge is strong (and has the bonus of a high critical hit ratio), but its 5 PP and 80% accuracy hold it back from being a perfect STAB move. (Head Smash is in a similar boat, but with more base power at the expense of 50% recoil and a normal crit ratio.) As for Flying STAB, it has to resort to Acrobatics for reliability or Supersonic Skystrike for power, both at the expense of a precious item slot (granted Acrobatics sets can run a pinch berry if so desired). Oh, and the special side is even worse. To be curt, its special STAB literally consists of Ancient Power. That’s right, no Power Gem, no Hurricane, no Air Slash, not even freaking Air Cutter, just Ancient Power. Having a 60 BP move with 5 PP as its only special STAB is, if nothing else, what holds it back from using its Special Attack stat for anything but coverage.

That’s how it is, and that’s how it’s always been. The transition to Sun/Moon gave Archeops nothing but Z-moves, although that in itself presents some interesting wallbreaking options such as 200 BP physical STAB (which is especially nice on the Flying side), stronger coverage moves, and Z-Taunt—which has the potential to shut down utility- and setup-reliant foes while amping up its offensive potential.

In summary, Archeops is an offensive threat at half or more HP, but its Ability is a severe detriment when it kicks in. Beware priority (especially Accelerock, Aqua Jet, Bullet Punch, and Ice Shard) and Choice Scarf users. Keep Stealth Rock at bay if Archeops is not your only Defogger.

Sets

Set 1: Lead

Archeops @ Focus Sash
Ability: Defeatist
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Stealth Rock
– Taunt
– Endeavor
– Head Smash

A set that takes full advantage of Archeops’ lead potential. Uses Stealth Rock to put pressure on the enemy team, Taunt to prevent opponents from setting up, Endeavor when it falls to a low HP value (preferably 1 thanks to Focus Sash), and Head Smash as a strong STAB move preferable over Endeavor in some situations (namely, against Ghost-types, at full HP, and at low enough HP that the recoil will KO it).

EVs are offensively focused, with particular emphasis in Speed to take full advantage of its Speed tier. No bulk investment is needed due to the nature of the set, and the lack of such investment makes it easier (if only slightly) to activate Focus Sash and maximize the potential of Endeavor.

Set 2: Z-Move Attacker

Archeops @ Darkinium Z / Flyinium Z
Ability: Defeatist
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Taunt / Sky Attack
– Stone Edge
– Earthquake
– Roost / Knock Off / U-turn

As far as Archeops is concerned, Z-moves are the only real improvement in the transition from Kalos to Alola. Two particularly notable Z-moves are Z-Taunt (Taunt with a +1 Attack boost) and Supersonic Skystrike from Sky Attack (its most powerful Flying STAB). Whatever Z-move it runs, it will most likely depend on Stone Edge for Rock STAB (because the recoil of Head Smash isn’t quite as worth risking when it comes to non-lead sets) and Earthquake for coverage. As for the fourth slot, that depends on team needs. Roost helps Archeops stays out of Defeatist range, Knock Off provides the ability to remove opposing items, and U-turn works for scouting the opponent (but is ill advised with Z-Taunt).

In non-lead sets, lesser bulk is not better because there is no incentive to be below half HP. Dumping the remaining 4 EVs in Special Defense is preferred because:

  1. Running 4 HP EVs would mean that it only takes two Stealth Rock switch-ins to enter Defeatist range, while it otherwise takes three.
  2. Porygon2 with Download is a possibility (at least it seems so at the time of writing; if it actually isn’t, investing in Defense would be preferred because most priority moves are physical).

Other Options

On offensive sets not running Z-Taunt, Archeops can afford to run a defense-hindering Nature, dump its 4 EVs in Special Attack, and use Earth Power as an alternative Ground coverage move to hit Aggron, Regirock, and Steelix harder than Earthquake can. Focus Blast is slightly stronger than Earth Power and has a good chance to 2HKO Regirock, but Earth Power is more reliable in terms of accuracy and PP. Continental Crush from Head Smash is an alternative 200 BP STAB that notably scores an OHKO on 252/0 Eelektross and generally hits Electric- and Rock-types harder. Itemless Acrobatics is Archeops’ most reliable Flying STAB and, unlike Supersonic Skystrike, is not a one-off technique. Acrobatics can also be run alongside a pinch berry such as LiechiSalacSitrus, or Mago and the like (the last of which are improved in Sun/Moon in that they now restore half HP when the holder is at or below 1/4 HP).

A Choice set with Switcheroo could allow Archeops to sabotage the opposition in potentially a more vile way than Taunt could, although item-switching moves have become even less effective with the introduction of Z-Crystals. Archeops can also provide Defog support if needed, but such support requires utmost wariness in all situations.

Problems and Partners

Problems

First and foremost, beware of faster threats. Cinccino is particularly menacing, as it packs Skill Link Rock Blast for not only dealing hefty super-effective damage, but also breaking through Focus Sash with utmost ease. Lycanroc may not be able to break through Focus Sash, but it has super-effective STAB priority in Accelerock to compensate.

Speaking of priority, watch out for these guys too. They are the next most likely candidates for carrying STAB priority that, if nothing else, will easily leave Archeops in Defeatist range and therefore crippled unless it has a pinch berry activate or can find an opportunity to Roost.

Sceptile may not have super-effective STAB, but it does have a faster Taunt to prevent Archeops from setting up Stealth Rock. Sableye is a worse case, boasting access to Prankster Taunt and Will-O-Wisp for shutting down Archeops like nothing else.

In addition, anything that can take a hit and retaliate in such a way to either bring Archeops to Defeatist range or help bring Archeops to Defeatist range can become a problem. However, such problems are more manageable if Archeops runs a high-power Z-move or any variety of Taunt.

 

Partners

Lanturn resists 4/5 of Archeops’ weaknesses (i.e., all excluding Rock), doesn’t particularly mind burn, is immune to paralysis, and can provide Heal Bell support if Archeops finds itself afflicted with such status conditions. It can also use Thunder Wave for its own form of paralysis, as well as Volt Switch to prevent it from being a momentum drain.

Because Archeops is weak to Stealth Rock, it is inevitable that hazard removers be included here. Claydol is only resistant to 2/5 of Archeops’ weaknesses, but it is decently bulky, extremely hazard-resistant (being a Ground-type with Levitate), and can set up its own Stealth Rock. Hitmontop only resists 1/5, but with access to Foresight, it can potentially get a Rapid Spin off against anything. Be careful using Shiftry, because it’s kinda frail, resists 2/5 of Archeops’ weaknesses (sadly not including Rock), and can potentially be counterproductive with Stealth Rock variants of Archeops.

Actually, it’s tough to think of partners for Archeops. I guess just consider what would go well with Stealth Rock and/or how the rest of the team would ideally be molded based on the moves that Archeops runs. That is to say, because of Archeops’ offensive potential coupled with its frailty, it’s better to ask not what your team can do for Archeops, but what Archeops can do for your team.