Top Three Thursday 10/30: Ghost-type Pokémon

With Halloween drawing near, what better way to celebrate than to formulate a top three on Ghost-type Pokémon? Well, I can think of several different things, but they’re all out of my comfort zone. So, without further ado…

 

3. Froslass

What is it that I like about Froslass? Its high Speed? Its unique typing? Its interesting movepool? Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Fast Pokémon are pretty cool, even if they are weak (I mean, base 80 attacking stats, that’s subpar), as long as they can run a set that takes advantage of their Speed. Spikes+Taunt+Ice Beam+Destiny Bond seems to be the ideal set, but Choice Specs with Ice Beam+Shadow Ball+Thunderbolt+Trick/Destiny Bond is a cool set as well. I mean, base 110 is not actually that fast, but at least it’s above average. Still, it does have an interesting movepool, for sure.

 

2. Golurk

Having unique typing in Ghost/Ground and being one of the few grounded Pokémon with access to the move Fly are what distinguishes Golurk from other Ghost-types. (It is also the only Ghost-type with access to Stealth Rock.) Reliable physical Ghost STAB is hard to come by and the most reliable, Shadow Claw, is not even available to Golurk, but at least it gets Iron Fist-boosted Shadow Punch which, while lacking the heightened critical hit chance, is slightly more powerful (72 vs. 70) and never misses. Sure, Phantom Force may be even more powerful, but it’s not reliable due to its one-turn delay that can be exploited through switching or Substitute. Never mind its Ghost STAB, though; it has one heck of an Earthquake. Also, it looks pretty cool.

 

1. Shedinja

Shedinja is a really interesting Pokémon. It has a max HP of 1 and an interesting ability in Wonder Guard, the latter of which gives it 13 immunities. Its method of obtaining is also very interesting; you evolve a Nincada with a Poké Ball in your inventory and a free space in your party, and it just suddenly appears. The sad thing is, though, its offensive stats are pretty bad (90 Atk, 30 SpA, and 40 Speed) and it doesn’t get very useful moves (its best options are X-scissor, Shadow Sneak/Sucker Punch, and Will-o-wisp). Still, it is very interesting.

Spontaneous Saturday 10/25: Thought Dump

Thanks to bad time management, I am formulating this past midnight with no specific topic in mind. So, I suppose I’ll just post some random stuff here.

 

Some random Bravely Default data

Some random Fire Emblem Awakening data

 

Some anime duos I’ve noticed as of late (all images are taken from MAL):

(Mondaiji-tachi)
(No Game No Life)
(Trinity Seven)

What they have in common: The male (left) speaks and acts from his heart with not much consideration of the consequences, while the female (right) is always there to question the male’s actions.

 

Others:

(Acchi Kocchi)
(Log Horizon)

What they have in common: The male (left) is oblivious to any form of affection and the female (right) is in love but does not have the will to express it (hello dramatic irony).

 

One last set of duos:

(Machine-Doll wa Kizutsukanai)
(Black Bullet)

What they have in common: The male (left) has a master-familiar relationship with the female (right). Even when the male gets reckless (which is often), the female stays by his side. The female wants to marry the male, but the male refuses the possibility.

 

I don’t know what else to put here…

Nowi Wins Nowi wins!

Poké Monday 10/20: Lampent

RNG 

Smogon official tier: NU
Type: Ghost/Fire
Base Stats: 60 HP, 40 Attack, 60 Defense, 95 Sp. Attack, 60 Sp. Defense, 55 Speed
Abilities: Flash Fire, Flame Body, Infiltrator (HA)

“Usable” moves (according to Pokémon Showdown): Acid Armor, Calm Mind, Clear Smog, Confuse Ray, Curse, Dark Pulse, Energy Ball, Façade, Fire Blast, Flame Charge, Flamethrower, Frustration, Haze, Heat Wave, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Ice), Memento, Night Shade, Overheat, Pain Split, Payback, Protect, Psychic, Rest, Return, Shadow Ball, Sleep Talk, Solar Beam, Substitute, Sunny Day, Taunt, Toxic, Trick, Trick Room, Will-o-wisp

Overview

Lampent is almost a lower-tier counterpart of Chandelure (same subpar speed, same passable bulk, same unique typing, same movepool), but one noticeable quality causes Lampent to fall short: its Special Attack stat. While Chandelure has the second-highest Special Attack in its tier (the highest belonging to Mega Ampharos), Lampent’s Special Attack stat does not even come close. Compared to other offensive Pokémon that share its type:

Fire

  • Camerupt: +10 SpA, -15 Spe
  • Flareon: +10 Spe, physically oriented
  • Heatmor: +10 SpA, +10 Spe
  • Magmortar: +30 SpA, +28 Spe
  • Ninetales: -14 SpA, +45 Spe
  • Pyroar: +14 SpA, +51 Spe
  • Rapidash: +50 Spe, physically oriented
  • Simisear: +3 SpA, +46 Spe
  • Typhlosion: +14 SpA, +45 Spe

Ghost

  • Drifblim: -5 SpA, +35 Spe
  • Golurk: same Spe, physically oriented
  • Gourgeist-Super: -1 Spe, physically oriented
  • Haunter: +20 SpA, +40 Spe
  • Mismagius: +10 SpA, +50 Spe
  • Rotom (normal): same SpA, +36 Spe

Pretty much all of them are better somehow. (Shedinja is also an offensive Ghost-type, but I omitted it because (a) physical and (b) worse offensive stats.) Although Lampent is neither the most offensive nor the bulkiest thing around, it has (arguably) the best extra STAB among its Fire-type comrades, super-effective STAB on Steel-types  over its Ghost-type comrades (Golurk has Ground STAB, but Lampent hits Ferroseed and Steelix harder), and Trick Room to get by its ugly Speed stat. Also, its typing and ability stop Combusken (not carrying Stone Edge or Shadow Claw) cold.

Set

Lampent @ Life Orb
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 248 HP / 252 SpA / 8 SpD
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Trick Room
– Fire Blast
– Energy Ball
– Shadow Ball

Fun fact: Lampent is the only Fire-type in the tier with access to Trick Room, and its Speed is low enough to make good use of it. Do keep in mind, however, that anything below base 34 Speed uninvested will be slower, the most notable of the Pokémon in that range being Steelix. Fire Blast and Shadow Ball are Lampent’s two main STABs, while Energy Ball is coverage for Water-types and Rock-types.

Other Options

You could run a defensive set with Eviolite, making use of Lampent’s passable bulk and unique typing, but its defensive movepool does not contain anything worth considering over other defensive Pokémon (Dusclops, for instance). Choice Scarf with Infiltrator seems like an interesting idea at first, but Ninjask and, heck, even Seviper are better suited for such a role. Calm Mind could also work, possibly in combination with Flame Body or Will-o-wisp, but Lampent has no form of recovery outside of Pain Split or Rest, so I would personally not recommend it.

 

As usual, I will provide a team, even if it is hastily thrown together and has been subject to very little laddering. http://pastebin.com/VPL85chp

Top Three Thursday 10/16: Bravely Default Jobs

This post may contain spoilers, so read at your own risk.

 

3. Pirate

When I first discovered this job, I was not a huge fan of it due to the poor aim of axes (think Stone Edge accuracy but only slightly better), but if you patch that up with Hawkeye* (Ranger specialty or job level 12) and get all the pirate abilities until Skull Bash (job level 11), it becomes a helpful addition to the party, reducing stats while dealing decent damage. Torrent (job level 13) is really destructive, dealing anywhere up to 4.8 times a conventional attack in water damage at the cost of 2 extra BP. At high levels, this will always do over 1000 and sometimes 9999 (or higher if you have the capacity/craziness to use Bravely Second). Early game, Berserk with Attack spam can be used to deal some pretty hefty damage, and if you really don’t like the inaccuracy of axes (I personally was not that averse, but at least averse enough to give up leveling up as a pirate at job level 10), you can always use swords (rank A). The pirate’s stats are not to die for, though—unparalleled Strength and some physical bulk with average Agility and subpar everything else. Given the choice between pirate and ranger, I would choose ranger stat-wise (but pirate abilities are better).

*Side note: Hawkeye is such overkill that even a Giant’s Axe can be wielded without much worry.

 

2. White Mage

No solid team is complete without a healer. I always make it a point to have at least one character with healing capabilities (for which purpose I chose Agnès). It is imperative that this healer gets silence immunity ASAP, either through the White Cape accessory or through Black Mage job level 6 (I use the former). White Mage abilities are especially effective with the Spiritmaster support abilities Save WM MP (specialty or job level 6) and Holy One (job level 9), but those are not available until after the fire crystal (side note: Spiritmasters trump (or tie with) White Mages in every stat but Strength). White Mages also get a handy support ability in Angelic Ward (job level 8), which has a 50% chance to halve damage taken for the low cost of 1 point, a blessing for that rank E defense (whether White Mage or Spiritmaster). Wind spells are also helpful, ensuring that white magic is not strictly limited to support roles.

 

1. Vampire

This is a job that I rate not so much for its capability but for its style. It is really grueling to unlock, at least before the earth crystal (you have to fight 6 dragons just to enter the dungeon, the dungeon takes no prisoners, and the asterisk bearer is difficult as well), but I am glad to have discovered it because it is pretty darn cool. The ability to use monsters’ abilities to your advantage has always interested me, ever since Final Fantasy Tactics A2 with the Blue Mage class. A few Genome abilities in the game that I find particularly appealing are Firestorm (from Flame Moth), Gastric Juices (from Gastric Worm), Sandstorm (from Sand Worm), Toxic Whirl (from Kaiser Cobra), and Hellfire and Deep Freeze (both from Orthros; the former can also be obtained from Cerberus). To make things better, even though Genome abilities cost plenty of MP, vampires have the command ability Magic Thirst (job level 6) to gain some MP for free.

Tip: in Bestiary entries in D’s Journal, if a move is surrounded by <>, that move can be absorbed through Genome Drain.

 

Honorable mentions to the following:

  • Performer support abilities Buff Up (job level 9) and Support Amp (job level 6) for being such a dastardly combination.
  • Salve-Maker with Attack Item Amp (job level 4) for dealing solid, consistent damage at not much cost. (Compounding recipes that inflict elemental damage only cost 400 pg for each use and deal 2250 or 3375 to all foes depending on elemental affinity of the target(s).)
  • Templars for Rampart (job level 7) and Spiritmasters for Fairy Ward (job level 11).
  • Freelancers for Examine (job level 1), JP Up (job level 10), and Flee (job level 11).

Spontaneous Saturday 10/11: Fall 2014 anime

Note: These analyses are written after the first episode.

 

Log Horizon 2nd Season – I really like Log Horizon; it was my favorite Fall 2013 anime and the first virtual world anime I’d ever watched (I’ve never watched Sword Art Online, and I don’t feel like getting into it because I’ve seen plenty of criticism about it). Although the pacing is slow and the anime is more talk than action, the action is pretty darn cool and some of the aspects of the virtual world are interesting to learn about (for instance, the thing about on-the-spot food versus cooked food). I also like the romance between Akatsuki (who is shy) and Shiroe (who is dense), accompanied by the intervention of Minori. The first episode of season 2 was pretty weird, though. It took me not too long to notice that the art style had changed, and the last part was inexplicable. What happened is a spoiler, so I’ll link to a pastebin to read at your own risk: http://pastebin.com/qGML8nKE

Trinity Seven – Oh, hey, another fantasy harem. We have the male lead (Arata Kasuga), who is really open about what he thinks (like Izayoi from Mondaiji-tachi or Sora from No Game No Life), and a group of seven girls known as Trinity Seven. As of the first episode, Arata only meets three: a busty tsundere (Lilith Asami), a kuudere who slightly resembles Arata’s childhood friend (Arin Kannazuki), and a ninja with a funny speech pattern (Levi Kazama). The plot is centered around the Arata’s impetus to find his childhood friend (Hijiri) after imagining a world of chaos and becoming a mage as an “option three” way out of being forced to choose a grimoire or his life. That’s all I know about the anime; no impressions yet because there has not yet been any real action.

Hi☆sCoool! SeHa Girls – This one is a bit of an odd one. I stumbled upon it because someone on MAL said it was like Choujigen Game Neptune, and I can’t say I was disappointed. The episodes are short (only around 10 minutes each), it’s a 3D animation (a nice change of pace from the normal 2D), and it involves video games. Specifically, it involves a trio of girls based on video game consoles aspiring to graduate from a school where prowess in video games is required. There’s…not much else to get from a 10-minute episode.

 

Those are the only anime series for this season that caught my fancy. I am open to other recommendations, but whether I will watch recommended anime is another matter.

Oh, and 8/10 season so far.

Poké Monday 10/6: Malamar

RNG 

Smogon official tier: NU
Type: Dark/Psychic
Base Stats: 86 HP, 92 Attack, 88 Defense, 68 Sp. Attack, 75 Sp. Defense, 73 Speed
Abilities: Contrary, Suction Cups, Infiltrator (HA)

“Usable” moves (according to Pokémon Showdown): Aerial Ace, Calm Mind, Dark Pulse, Destiny Bond, Façade, Flamethrower, Foul Play, Frustration, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Ice), Hypnosis, Light Screen, Night Slash, Payback, Protect, Psychic, Psycho Cut, Psyshock, Rain Dance, Reflect, Rest, Return, Reversal, Rock Slide, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Sunny Day, Superpower, Switcheroo, Taunt, Thunderbolt, Torment, Toxic, Trick Room

Overview

Malamar can be classified as a heralded combination on the wrong set of stats, similarly to how Hustle Aerial Ace is squandered on the likes of Delibird and Togekiss, or (albeit on a slightly different track) Fur Coat on a Pokémon like Furfrou with odd stats and few support options. It’s something of a balance, I guess.

So, even after the 5th generation, when Spinda was given Contrary with Superpower as a Dream World exclusive move, it seems GameFreak wanted another Contrary user with Superpower, presenting itself in the form of Malamar. All, and I mean all, of Malamar’s stats are better than Spinda’s and Malamar gets the luxury of two STABs, but Malamar has a 4x weakness to Bug (which is really common thanks to U-turn), a 2x weakness to Fairy, and an immunity to Psychic—nothing to write home about compared to Spinda’s one 2x weakness to Fighting and one immunity to Ghost. Another thing Spinda has that Malamar lacks is Sucker Punch. Without priority, even if Malamar has +6/+6 in Attack and Defense, if it’s at a killable percentage, it’s easy to revenge thanks to its base 73 Speed.

Speaking of that Speed stat, the problem with it is that it is too slow for standard sweeping and too fast for Trick Room. All other Trick Room users (in NU, at least) are slower than that, and any uninvested wall below base 50 is also slower. Fortunately, nothing below that speed tier is likely to U-turn in your face (except Vespiquen, but who uses that?).

In summary, Contrary+Superpower is a great combination, but Malamar’s typing and stats are meh and its Dark STAB is not up to snuff.

Set 1

Malamar @ Assault Vest
Ability: Contrary
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Adamant Nature
– Superpower
– Psycho Cut
– Night Slash
– Rock Slide

This is the set I used during playtesting, but I did not have much time to do so because I placed most of my time elsewhere. (The rest of the sets are entirely from the head; keep that in mind.) Typical me. As a matter of fact, I was so naïve, I just went with a run-of-the-mill bulky set and gave no thought to speed creeping. 12 EVs put Malamar past uninvested Seismitoad…and that’s the only speed creep I can think of.

At any rate, Superpower is the main move with which anyone associates Malamar. Paired with Contrary, there is a chance that it might do things (yeah, its status as a sweeper is shaky). Psycho Cut and Night Slash are its two main STAB moves, offering some pretty nice coverage with Superpower, and anything beyond that is filler.

Set 2

Malamar @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Contrary
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Superpower
– Psycho Cut
– Night Slash
– Switcheroo

This set brands Malamar as more of a revenge killer than a sweeper of any kind. However, its problematic base 73 Speed puts it behind Electrode, Accelgor, pretty much anything else with a Choice Scarf, and anything above base 43 at +2. The moveset is pretty much the same outside of one trick (no pun intended) that cannot be used on the Assault Vest set: Switcheroo. It allows Malamar to cripple walls (or potentially setup sweepers) if need be and gives it the freedom to use Superpower with other moves, like it can on non-Choice sets.

Set 3

Malamar @ Life Orb
Ability: Contrary
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Brave Nature
– Trick Room
– Superpower
– Psycho Cut
– Night Slash

In this case, Iron Ball can be used over Leftovers to outslow the real slow slouches. (On that note, you could also run Fling as a gimmick, heh.) Offensive Trick Room allows it to get by its Speed problem (if only slightly) while at the cost of short duration and lack of priority as a failsafe.

Other Options

A set of Superpower / Night Slash / Rest / Sleep Talk can also be used, but it is completely walled by Fairies, of which there are 8 in the tier (Carbink, Dedenne, Floette, Granbull, Mr. Mime, Slurpuff, Togetic, Wigglytuff), and Rest+Talk is hardly a viable strategy with Malamar’s subpar stats. Tanga Berry can be used to reduce the sting of U-turn, but it is entirely situational and merely single use. Any other options are victims of four moveslot syndrome, extremely situational, or better left to other team members.

 

I will provide a team, but definitely take this one with a grain of salt because it has literally lost more times than it has won. http://pastebin.com/0pfRpALq

Top Three Thursday 10/2: Anime theme songs

Three things to note:

  1. This includes opening and ending theme songs.
  2. These are YouTube videos, so sorry if they are muted or taken down because of copyright or whatever.
  3. I cannot explain why I like these songs because I would probably only provide empty feedback like “This song is catchy” or some other simple adjective phrase like that. I am no music connoisseur.

Anyway, I am pretty selective about what songs I like, especially when it comes down to anime theme songs (I can only think of 16 that I like, only 4 of which are endings), but the ones I do like are among my favorites. I cannot understand Japanese, but I don’t need to understand the lyrics of a song to enjoy it (in fact, in some cases, it’s probably best that I don’t know). However, the problem I tend to have with opening themes is: if the theme is catchy enough, it will hinder a good percentage of the attention I pay to the anime itself. This is especially true with numbers 3 and 1 on this list. Speaking of the list, here it is:

 

3. “Stalemate! (すているめいと!)” by IOSYS jk Girls (D-Frag! opening)

 

2. “Maware! Setsugetsuka (回レ!雪月花)” by Hitomi Harada, Ai Kayano, and Yui Ogura (Machine-Doll wa Kizutsukanai ending)

I tend to think of this one as the Japanese version of “You Spin Me Right Round”.

 

1. “black bullet” by fripSide (Black Bullet opening)

I was hoping they would incorporate this theme into one of the fight scenes like To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (which is pretty much what got me liking “only my railgun”) but, alas, they did not.