Poké Monday 7/28: Gigalith

Welcome to the first official Poké Monday! The Pokémon to be covered in this segment, whose number was generated at random.org, is number 526, Gigalith!

 

Smogon official tier: NU
Type: Rock
Base Stats: 85 HP, 135 Attack, 130 Defense, 60 Sp. Attack, 80 Sp. Defense, 25 Speed
Abilities: Sturdy, Sand Force (HA)

“Usable” moves (according to Pokémon Showdown): Autotomize, Block, Curse, Earth Power, Earthquake, Façade, Flash Cannon, Frustration, Gravity, Heavy Slam, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Ice), Iron Defense, Iron Head, Nature Power, Protect, Rest, Return, Rock Blast, Rock Polish, Rock Slide, Sleep Talk, Solar Beam, Stealth Rock, Stone Edge, Substitute, Superpower, Toxic

Anyone who hasn’t lived under a rock (no pun intended) as far as competitive Pokémon knows that there is one vital aspect of competitive play that cannot, absolutely cannot, be overlooked: entry hazards. Stealth Rock, Spikes, Toxic Spikes, Sticky Web…all of these should be considered when building any team. You can see among Gigalith’s listed moves that Stealth Rock is there and bolded, and for a good reason. In 5th gen, this was the only thing that Gigalith was known for.

Looking at its stats, its main purpose is to take physical hits (and even special hits, courtesy of Sturdy) and get up Stealth Rock and/or hit hard with its base 135 Attack. Looking at its stat distribution, it would look good with an Assault Vest…that is, it would look good if it had the movepool (and a Gigalith without Stealth Rock is generally a bad Gigalith). But, alas, it is a sluggish mass of rocks. What type of movepool would you expect from a sluggish mass of rocks? Exactly. If you want a Rock-type in NU with a solid movepool, look no further than Golem, but Gigalith has better stats and no extra Grass, Water, or Ice weakness.

Long story short, Gigalith’s purpose is to set up Stealth Rock and hit hard. Here is the set I use:
Gigalith @ Leftovers
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 SpD
Adamant Nature
– Stealth Rock
– Rock Blast
– Toxic
– Earthquake

Out of all the entry hazards to get up, Stealth Rock is the most useful. It breaks Focus Sashes, it secures KOs that would otherwise not be possible, and only Magic Guard users are immune to it (not to mention Duosion and Kadabra are the only Magic Guard users who pose any sort of threat). Rock Blast is its primary STAB move. You could use Stone Edge instead, but I prefer Rock Blast for its better hit rate (even though hit rates generally don’t mean anything in Pokémon; what can miss will miss) and its ability to break through Substitutes. Let’s analyze which is actually more powerful from a statistical standpoint.

Stone Edge: 100 base power, 80% hit rate, 12.5% critical chance
Expected base power: .8*(100+50*.125) = 85 base power (127.5 with STAB)

Rock Blast: 25 base power per hit, 90% hit rate, 6.25% critical chance per hit, 2-5 hits
Expected base power: .9*((50+25*.0625)/3+(75+37.5*.0625)/3+(100+50*.0625)/6+(125+62.5*.0625)/6) = 73.4765625 base power (110.2148438 with STAB)

Therefore, Stone Edge has the better expected base power. Still, Rock Blast breaks through Substitutes.

At any rate, Toxic is for things to which Gigalith does little to no damage such as Seismitoad and Torterra. The Pokémon Showdown damage calculator suggests Explosion, which I guess is an okay alternative, but I just don’t see the point in using the move (anyone who wants to enlighten me, please comment). Earthquake provides good coverage with Rock Blast, forming the classic EdgeQuake combination (Torterra, Vibrava, and Levitate Bronzor are the only NU Pokémon that resist this combination; Magnet Rise is a thing, but it’s generally not used).

Other options: Superpower, Iron Head, and Explosion are options on an Assault Vest (or even Choice Band) set, but again, I don’t condone it. Sleep Talk is an option on Choice Band or lead sets to deal with Sleep Powder leads (like Vivillon and other pesky Bugs). Rest could be used for recovery, but it requires Heal Bell/Aromatherapy support or a moveslot dedicated to Sleep Talk. Façade could be used on a Choice Band set in case it gets burnt (I can confirm that Façade ignores the Attack drop of Burn). Really, that’s the extent of it. As far as what else it has (Autotomize/Rock Polish, special attacks), there are bigger fish in the sea.

Bonus: If you read this far, here is the team I used with this Gigalith: http://pastebin.com/4BUXYZ7Y

This is my first “official” competitive analysis, so any and all questions/comments are welcome (but no trolling, please).

Top Three Thursday 7/24: Fire Emblem Awakening characters

I can’t say I’m a veteran to the Fire Emblem franchise (I’ve only played Awakening and Radiant Dawn, in that order), but I can say that Fire Emblem Awakening has seized a good portion of my time and interest since the moment I purchased it. After completing Normal and Hard Classic once each (I tried Lunatic, but it’s too much for me), I decided to dedicate the aforementioned time to completing the support log, SpotPass characters included (the traditional way, no backup file abuse), and it’s been fun dissecting the game and discovering its mechanics. Anyway, enough rambling; on to listing my top 3 FE: Awakening characters.

3. Anna

Anna was the one I decided to marry in my first Normal playthrough (and my older brother did too, which was entirely coincidental) just because of her red hair, her peppiness, her status as a locksmith, and her inability to marry any unit other than the avatar. I was leaning towards Miriel at first, but I figured she would be better with Virion (don’t ask why). Other than that, my decision didn’t falter. The Morgan I got from the marriage was one heck of an Assassin (even though she unfortunately died at Chapter 22).

2. Kellam

I became attached to Kellam during my Hard playthrough. In that playthrough, I chose a female avatar instead of a male one. Kellam was the earliest male I didn’t have a plan for (I wanted Frederick to protect Lissa, Chrom to be with Sumia, and Virion to be with Cherche), and I was not nearly disappointed when I paired him with my female avatar. The duo was monstrous early-game, Kellam having stellar Strength and Defense and the avatar taking care of magical business while still being physically bulky thanks to the support bonuses (my female avatar had an asset in Luck and a flaw in HP). They produced a Morgan of equal caliber who was able to sponge physical hits as if it were nothing (and use Rally Spectrum+Defense, which would increase the Defense of nearby units by 8 and all other stats by 4, to safeguard other units from otherwise deadly situations). Incidentally, their Strength and Defense caps were 50 or higher as Generals.

1. Nowi

Disclaimer: I am not a pedophile and am equally indifferent towards older women. Nowi may be a thousand-year-old girl in a child’s body, but that’s not why I like her (and, at the same time, I don’t hold it against her). Rather, this also dates back to my Hard playthrough. Even though Nowi’s stats are not stellar when you recruit her, she can really grow in a way that will make you wonder how she was ever weak in the first place. After 30 levels, Nowi (and manaketes in general—here’s looking at you, Nah) can sponge (and dish out) hits about as well as a General like Kellam could, and manaketes take magical hits (and Hammers/Armorslayers) much better. Also, don’t forget that the basis for my profile icon is Nowi in dragon form. Nowi’s personality is humorous too.

Schedule Update

Throwback Tuesday is officially (and perhaps irrevocably) cancelled. I just have trouble finding the inspiration to write such a review off the top of my head, let alone find a topic, because I’m not a man of the past and everything I “haven’t visited in a while” is either not that far past or completely obscured from my memory. Instead, I decided to modify the schedule a bit. Starting this week, it will be a cycle that goes in the following order:

  1. Top Three Thursday
  2. Poké Monday
  3. Spontaneous Saturday

Each cycle will take up two weeks. Also, I updated the freeware-quality banner by modifying the left strip and making the Spontaneous Saturday strip look better.

On Poké Monday, I will generate a random number between 1 and 721 (yes, this will include the unreleased Pokémon Hoopa and Volcanion), most likely on random.org, and do as much of an analysis as I can on that Pokémon. I will take the generated Pokémon and build a team around it on Pokémon Showdown to get a good idea of just what the Pokémon does.

Top Three Thursday and Spontaneous Saturday will be the same as usual.

That’s all for the update. Thanks for reading.

Spontaneous Saturday 7/12: Conceptis Puzzles part 2

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 1.19.55 AM

For this Spontaneous Saturday, I shall expand on my previous post about Conceptis puzzles by talking about 5 puzzles that I hadn’t covered previously: Tic-Tac-Logic, Hitori, Fill-a-Pix, Pic-a-Pix, and Nurikabe.

11/2/15 EDIT: I just realized that 1 has a link to 2 but 2 doesn’t have a link to 3. Let me fix that.
https://vouivreview.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/spontaneous-saturday-conceptis-puzzles-part-3/

 

While it is a puzzle inspired by tic-tac-toe, it is not the tic-tac-toe we all know. No, instead of trying to get three in a row, the objective is to not get three in a row. Although, that’s only part of the objective. The objective in full is to fill the board with X’s and O’s to fulfill the following conditions:

  1. There must be no more X’s than O’s.
  2. There must be no more than three consecutive X’s or O’s down a column or row.
  3. No two rows or columns can be completely alike.

Quick review exercise: Figure out everything wrong with this incorrectly solved puzzle.
Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 2.54.49 AM

 

From the website (since I can’t word it any other way): “Each [Hitori] puzzle consists of a square grid with numbers appearing in all squares. The object is to shade squares so:

  • No number appears in a row or column more than once.
  • Shaded (black) squares do not touch each other vertically or horizontally.
  • When completed, all un-shaded (white) squares create a single continuous area.”

Basically, in Hitori, you have two options: circle or shade. Numbers can only be shaded if they appear twice or more in a row or column and if adjacent numbers are unshaded. There are three main patterns I use to crack at Hitori puzzles: the Triplet, the Stalker Duo, and the Sandwich. Here are all three of them, presented in one image:
Hitori patterns

  • Triplet: If three of the same number appear consecutively in a row or column, shade the outer two and circle the middle one.
  • Stalker Duo: If two of the same number appear consecutively in a row or column with a non-adjacent one of the same number, shade the non-adjacent one.
  • Sandwich: If two of the same number surround a different number in a column or row, circle the surrounded number.

These are 100% guaranteed to yield logical results, but they aren’t be-all-end-all. Just keep the three tenets in mind when solving the rest of the puzzle.

 

In Fill-a-Pix, there are numbers. Lots and lots of numbers. What do these numbers mean? They represent the number of shaded squares surrounding them. Think of it like Minesweeper, but without the mines. It is really simple. Like, unbelievably simple. It’s still fun, though, because unlike some puzzles (see previous installment), it actually requires thinking. Here, I’ll include a solved puzzle to alleviate the brevity of this description.
Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 3.35.39 AM

 

As (subjectively) far back as 10 years ago, there was this one puzzle game I happened upon called Picross. It was basically B/W Pic-a-Pix: each row/column is marked with clues that indicate how many squares must be highlighted, and in what pattern. Here is a sample B/W puzzle:
Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 3.49.05 AM
and here is a sample color puzzle:
Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 3.50.43 AM
So, for instance, column 5 of the colored puzzle must be filled in the following manner: 1 red, 4 blue, 2 black. These puzzles were really confusing to me at first, but there is an algorithmic way to approach it: use the size of the grid and the clues to chip at the puzzle little by little until the full image is created. Use the following equation:

Number omitted = Grid dimension (height or width) – ∑ clues

where ∑ clues is determined in the following manner: Add the numbers in the row/column clue. For every consecutive clue number of the same color, add an extra 1.

Using this formula, if the Number omitted (we’ll call it N) is 0, you can complete the row/column without hesitation. Consider the B/W image shown earlier. Column 4 yields an N value of 0, so let’s fill it out real quick.
Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 3.59.09 AM
But, if N is not 0 and is no greater than any of the clue numbers, you can try to complete the clue, but you must skip N tiles (or the clue number, whichever is less) per clue while filling it in. This time, I will use the color puzzle as an example; column 5 has an N value of 3, columns 3 and 4 have N values of 2, and row 6 has an N value of 1. So, we can incompletely fill these fields out.
Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 2.26.05 PM
Sometimes, chipping away at the puzzle like this may lead to odd breakthroughs (for example, row 6 now has 3 red tiles instead of 2, thanks to the column hints), and that’s what it’s all about. All in all, Fill-a-Pix requires math skills (I sometimes use a calculator when doing weekly Fill-a-Pix) and plenty of patience. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Ah, good old Nurikabe. Yes, good old chances-are-if-it’s-Medium-I’ll-have-to-guess-my-way-out-of-it Nurikabe. Wait, what? Sorry.

Once again, I’ll quote the rules from the website since it’s hard to explain. “Each [Nurikabe] puzzle consists of a grid containing clues in various places. The object is to create islands by partitioning between clues with walls so:

  • Each island contains exactly one clue.
  • The number of squares in each island equals the value of the clue.
  • All islands are isolated from each other horizontally and vertically.
  • There are no wall areas of 2×2 or larger.
  • When completed, all walls form a continuous path.”

Basically, the main things to keep in mind are: isolated “islands” with only one clue each, continuous path of black with no 2×2 squares, and the number of squares per island should be equal to the number within the island.

Review exercise: Compare the following puzzle to its solution:
Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 3.20.32 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 3.21.24 PM

 

Copied from the previous installment: “Overall website rating: 9/10. The only thing I could ask for Conceptis to change is to either set Sound to “Off” by default or to allow account-based defaults so that they apply no matter the device used (my computer’s data got wiped once and I had to turn the sound off again for every single puzzle). Also, more free-to-play puzzles would be nice. (Come on, just one per category per week?)”

Top Three Thursday 7/10: Team Fortress 2 classes

(Disclaimer: Before I start, let me just say that I am a free-to-play (F2P) Team Fortress 2 player who has not played the game in about a month due to keyboard problems and uses a freaking trackpad. Are we clear? Good. Curious about my Steam profile? Click here. Wondering what Team Fortress 2 even is? Click here.)

3. Scout

Gotta go fast! Scout may have the lowest health in the game (shared with Sniper and Spy), but he is the fastest runner and can double jump. Heck, if he has one or two of the Force-a-Nature, the Atomizer, or full Soda Popper hype, he can get even more jumps! He can be seen running around trying to capture points, diverting a sentry’s firing patterns using Bonk, or residually pestering an enemy. However, what makes him really awesome is his role in Mann vs. Machine (MVM): an irreplaceable money collector. He can also use Mad Milk and either the Fan o’ War or the Sandman with “Mark on Death” upgrade to support the team against giant robots.

2. Heavy

I can’t not include Heavy in this one. While he is the slowest class in the game, his unmatched health and massive DPS (damage per second) make him a class to be feared in combat. If you ask me, though, his real selling point is the way he talks. Click here and/or here to get a load of some of the lines he delivers.

1. Pyro

Despite being a man(?) of few (articulate) words and unparalleled ambiguity, Pyro is actually a legit dude. (Okay, Pyro’s gender is not 100% known, but I’m calling it male for now.) As a class, Pyro is known for being all up in the enemies’ faces and burning them to ashes. However, he gets beaten one-on-one by Heavies (under fair circumstances, of course) and is powerless in ranged combat (barring the Flare Gun, Detonator, Manmelter, or Scorch Shot), so his role is more geared towards setting up ambushes, checking for Spies using any flamethrower, and potentially protecting friendly Engineer buildings using the Homewrecker, Maul, or Neon Annihilator. In addition, with an Übercharge under his belt, he could clean house on an enemy Engineer’s buildings using the Homewrecker or the Maul. On a final note, his lines during battle are humorous when delivered through his gas mask. (Click here or here for his lines.)

Throwback Tuesday 7/8: Azumanga Daioh

For this Throwback Tuesday, I would like to deviate from talking solely about video games and talk about the first anime I have ever (completely) watched: Azumanga Daioh.

Aired originally in 2002, Azumanga Daioh is a slice of life anime set in a high school environment. The selling point of a slice of life anime is the characters involved who, in this case, are as follows: Chiyo Mihama (small and prodigious), Ayumu “Osaka” Kasuga (“slow and spacey,” as she is described verbatim in the anime), Tomo Takino (energetic and pest-like), Koyomi “Yomi” Mizuhara (Tomo’s bespectacled antithesis), Kagura (the tan athlete), and Sakaki (the gentle giant). Do note, however, that these are only the main characters.

As its genre would suggest, the events in Azumanga Daioh are everyday situations, sometimes exaggerated to a comedic effect. Much like K-On, I like this series for its comedy and its characters. Most of the humor comes from the idiocy of certain characters (usually Osaka and Tomo), the recurring quarrels of teacher duo Minamo Kurosawa and Yukari Tanizaki, and the perverted comic relief character Mr. Kimura. There is also humor drawn from the animals, namely Tadakichi (Chiyo’s dog), Maya (an Iriomote cat whom Sakaki encounters by fate), and “Chiyo’s father” (the iconic yellow cat thing). Kaori is also a comic relief character, but more in her infatuation with Sakaki.

Yes, the series is mostly humor-oriented, but there was one particular moment where I was like

but I won’t spoil it just in case. Hint: it’s a scene near the end that involves vicious cats.

Overall: 8/10. As a first anime, it was really enjoyable for me, between the humorous and emotional moments. Thank you based YouTube Poop for helping me stumble upon it. (That’s right, YouTube Poop. Odd, I know.)