Poké Monday minor update

Okay, so here’s the number I got from random.org while preparing for the next Poké Monday:

RNG 

583, which corresponds to Vanillish. Now, its evolution, Vanilluxe, is at the lowest possible tier by competitive standards (i.e., NU), and Middle Cup is not popular enough to have a ladder, so there is literally no reason to use Vanillish over Vanilluxe.

Therefore, I will impose a new rule on coming Poké Mondays (as well as this one): if the randomized number corresponds to a middle-stage Pokémon whose evolution is in NU (just as in this case) or a Pokémon banned from LC whose evolution is in NU, I will randomize again.

Affected Pokémon by this rule are: Bayleef, Boldore, Cascoon, Croconaw, Dewott, Electabuzz, Gloom, Graveler, Grotle, Grovyle, Herdier, Jigglypuff, Kakuna, Klang, Lombre, Luxio, Magmar, Metapod, Palpitoad, Pidgeotto, Poliwhirl, Quilava, Sealeo, Servine, Silcoon, Skiploom, Spewpa, Swadloon, Swirlix, Tranquill, Vanillish (the reason for this rule), Vulpix, and Weepinbell.

Of course, I will also be re-randomizing if a number is a repeat from a prior Poké Monday, and I will make it a thing to note numbers that I have rejected due to defying any of these two restrictions.

Thank you for your attention, and until Monday.

Top Three Thursday 11/27: Starter Pokémon

3. Piplup -> Prinplup -> Empoleon

I’ll be honest: the only real thing I like about this evolutionary line is Empoleon’s one-of-a-kind Water/Steel typing. It is one of the few Steel-types resistant to Water, the others being Ferrothorn and Dialga, and the only one simultaneously resistant (4x even) to Ice. Although its typing comes with letdowns (namely being weak to Fighting and Ground, both of which are used often by physical attackers, which Empoleon does not favor), it has some interesting utility options in Scald, Stealth Rock, Defog, Knock Off, and…um…Yawn? It also has decent bulk and a solid Special Attack stat, unfortunately let down by its poor Speed. At least it’s no slower than Torterra, I guess…?

 

2. Chimchar -> Monferno -> Infernape

Don’t worry; I’m not going to name off all the 4th gen starters. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I don’t discriminate Pokémon by their generation of origin. That being settled, this Pokémon was my first starter choice in 4th gen for two reasons: 1) it’s a monkey, which appealed more to me at the time than a penguin or a turtle, and 2) its fully evolved form has super-effective STAB on both other fully evolved starters (although the same can be said about Torterra and its Ground STAB). Back in my first playthrough of Pokémon Pearl, I slowly but surely leaned towards giving it a purely physical movepool due to its pugilistic nature (although I made Grass Knot an exception because of its ability to hit Water-types), but every part of the evolutionary line has the same Attack as Special Attack. It has some interesting offensive options, namely powerful STAB for both sides of the spectrum, U-turn to damage and switch in case of a dire situation, and Grass Knot, Thunder Punch, and Hidden Power (Ice) for coverage. It also gets boosting moves for both its attacking stats (Swords Dance and Nasty Plot, although it is too frail to use them) and utility options in Stealth Rock and Taunt. It may not be the original Fire/Fighting type (that would be Blaziken), but it is, in my opinion, the best (although not tier-wise, of course).

 

1. Froakie -> Frogadier -> Greninja

Like pretty much all of my favorite things, this was not a love-at-the-first-sight decision. In fact, when the starters were first revealed, I was leaning more towards Chespin than Froakie, but when I got Pokémon Y, something in my mind told me to take the frog. I don’t know what it was, but I sure don’t hold that against it. Even though its base form looks meh, as it evolved, I felt a sense of, “Hey, this guy’s really a ninja…” It’s not that I love its appearance to death, but hey, that fox wizard and um…squirrel? warrior aren’t much better off in appearance if you ask me. Another thing: realizing that the three starters formed a trio of wizard, warrior, and ninja, I thought back to the characters of Log Horizon: Shiroe, Naotsugu, and Akatsuki. The fact that Akatsuki is my favorite Log Horizon character is further manifestation of why I prefer Greninja over the other two starters.

Competitively speaking, Greninja is one of two Pokémon with access to Protean (the other being Kecleon) and undoubtedly the best. It is the fastest of the starters with base 122 Speed (which is incidentally faster than most of the OU tier), it has a decent Special Attack stat of 103 and an average Attack stat of 95 (which are more effective than they look, factoring in that it gets STAB on everything), and its offensive options are far from limited. Hydro Pump and Ice Beam are on every set, while U-turn, Dark Pulse, Extrasensory, and Hidden Power Fire were options for preliminary X&Y sets. However, the release of ORAS and its accompanying tutors gave it a nice new tool in Gunk Shot, which allowed it to deal more damage to Azumarill and Clefable than any other move while simultaneously providing it resistance to Fairy. Interestingly, it also gets Spikes and Shadow Sneak to take advantage of the weaknesses of its original typing (Electric and Fighting, respectively). There are also gimmicky physical sets, but those just do not work as well as their special/mixed counterparts. All in all, it’s one of the best starters competitively.

Spontaneous Saturday 11/22: Pokémon HeartGold Super Randomizer Nuzlocke progress

Back in June, I was interested in Pokémon Super Randomizer. I started with Pokémon Black, then I moved on to HeartGold, and then on to Black 2. My first Nuzlocke, which was of FireRed, ended in a colossal failure due to having no capable Pokémon but my starter, who ended up dying to my rival. I also did a Scramblocke (like a Nuzlocke, but forum users impose restrictions on your Pokémon), but that ended at Gardenia. However, when I decided to do a Nuzlocke of HeartGold with Super Randomizer, I was surprised to find that I made it past the first eight gyms, and I am “ready” (using that term loosely) to take on the Elite Four.

First off, here are the rules I used (the listed sub-items are selected; everything else is left unselected): http://pastebin.com/PJb7Vq37

Now, here are the Pokémon I caught (named after Twitch emotes and FrankerFaceZ):

Current Party

 chrisKiss – Cresselia (F)
Level: 39
Nature: Modest
Met at: Route 39 (Lv.16)
Characteristic: Loves to eat.
Type: Poison
Stats: 130 HP, 31 Atk, 53 Def, 192 Sp.Atk, 45 Sp.Def, 141 Speed
Ability: Frisk
Moves: Surf / Trump Card / Rock Smash / Lick

 KAPOW – Sunflora (F)
Level: 39
Nature: Modest
Met at: Route 34 (Lv.11)
Characteristic: Proud of its power.
Type: Fighting/Flying
Stats: 141 HP, 36 Atk, 78 Def, 74 Sp.Atk, 61 Sp.Def, 64 Speed
Ability: Volt Absorb
Moves: Wring Out / Surf / Fire Blast / Softboiled

 MyTurn – Swampert (M)
Level: 39
Nature: Brave
Met at: Cherrygrove City (Lv.10)
Characteristic: Likes to fight.
Type: Grass/Electric
Stats: 153 HP, 101 Atk, 86 Def, 46 Sp.Atk, 82 Sp.Def, 60 Speed
Ability: Soundproof
Moves: Wood Hammer / Crabhammer / Rock Slide / ExtremeSpeed

 cirFairy – Uxie
Level: 39
Nature: Careful
Met at: Route 40 (Lv.17)
Characteristic: Good endurance.
Type: Normal
Stats: 178 HP, 83 Atk, 45 Def, 56 Sp.Atk, 85 Sp.Def, 115 Speed
Ability: Poison Point
Moves: Cut / Façade / Waterfall / Assist

 chrisWOW – Ariados (M)
Level: 40
Nature: Quirky
Met at: Dark Cave (Lv.2)
Characteristic: Likes to fight.
Type: Ice
Stats: 144 HP, 44 Atk, 73 Def, 85 Sp.Atk, 39 Sp.Def, 52 Speed
Ability: Pure Power
Moves: Wake-up Slap / Strength / Shadow Claw / Heat Wave

 cirLewd – Golem (F)
Level: 43
Nature: Naughty
Met at: New Bark Town (Lv.5)
Characteristic: Good endurance.
Type: Flying
Stats: 152 HP, 101 Atk, 84 Def, 70 Sp.Atk, 79 Sp.Def, 77 Speed
Ability: Hustle
Moves: Fly / Bonemerang / Spacial Rend / Horn Drill

Boxed

 SwiftRage – Carvanha (F)
Level: 10
Nature: Impish
Met at: Violet City (Lv.10)
Characteristic: Proud of its power.
Type: Dark
Stats: 31 HP, 14 Atk, 16 Def, 21 Sp.Atk, 11 Sp.Def, 20 Speed
Ability: Speed Boost
Moves: Fake Tears / ThunderShock / Low Kick / Rolling Kick

 Kappoad – Breloom (F)
Level: 21
Nature: Calm
Met at: Union Cave (Lv.6)
Characteristic: Good perseverance.
Type: Ice
Stats: 98 HP, 18 Atk, 60 Def, 26 Sp.Atk, 46 Sp.Def, 15 Speed
Ability: Gluttony
Moves: Rock Smash / Shadow Force / Flame Wheel / Sweet Kiss

 Kreygasm – Nuzleaf (F)
Level: 13
Nature: Lonely
Met at: Route 37 (Lv.13)
Characteristic: Hates to lose.
Type: Ghost
Stats: 45 HP, 11 Atk, 18 Def, 11 Sp.Atk, 29 Sp.Def, 29 Speed
Ability: Storm Drain
Moves: Hyper Beam / Shock Wave / Trick Room / Smellingsalt

 wixBowsey – Venusaur (M)
Level: 10
Nature: Quirky
Met at: Ecruteak City (Lv.10)
Characteristic: Strong willed.
Type: Ice
Stats: 35 HP, 18 Atk, 8 Def, 32 Sp.Atk, 30 Sp.Def, 33 Speed
Ability: Flower Gift
Moves: Metal Claw / Ingrain / Twineedle / Mach Punch

 shazamicon – Pikachu (F)
Level: 10
Nature: Mild
Met at: Route 42 (Lv.10)
Characteristic: Often dozes off.
Type: Water/Ground
Stats: 38 HP, 19 Atk, 9 Def, 14 Sp.Atk, 12 Sp.Def, 15 Speed
Ability: Snow Warning
Moves: Thunder / Flash Cannon / Stone Edge / Miracle Eye

 RalpherZ – Granbull (F)
Level: 15
Nature: Timid
Met at: Mt. Mortar (Lv.15)
Characteristic: Likes to thrash about.
Type: Flying/Electric
Stats: 39 HP, 39 Atk, 36 Def, 14 Sp.Atk, 28 Sp.Def, 36 Speed
Ability: Slow Start
Moves: Gastro Acid / Shadow Ball / Roost / Pay Day

 cosmoMido – Pineco (F)
Level: 16
Nature: Sassy
Met at: Route 38 (Lv.16)
Characteristic: Quick tempered.
Type: Steel/Rock
Stats: 45 HP, 15 Atk, 32 Def, 29 Sp.Atk, 12 Sp.Def, 19 Speed
Ability: Rough Skin
Moves: Roar of Time / Sludge / Leech Life / Leaf Storm

 dssAmeh – Chimchar (F)
Level: 14
Nature: Modest
Met at: Burned Tower (Lv.14)
Characteristic: Proud of its power.
Type: Steel
Stats: 37 HP, 9 Atk, 28 Def, 37 Sp.Atk, 20 Sp.Def, 18 Speed
Ability: Compoundeyes
Moves: Earthquake / Skull Bash / Pin Missile / Astonish

 DansGame – Exeggutor (F)
Level: 10
Nature: Hasty
Met at: Olivine City (Lv.10)
Characteristic: Somewhat vain.
Type: Fire
Stats: 49 HP, 30 Atk, 30 Def, 10 Sp.Atk, 24 Sp.Def, 12 Speed
Ability: Immunity
Moves: Rock Slide / Skill Swap / Aeroblast / Absorb

 Kappa – Kabuto (M)
Level: 24
Nature: Bold
Met at: Route 41 (Lv.24)
Characteristic: Quick tempered.
Type: Grass
Stats: 70 HP, 38 Atk, 55 Def, 41 Sp.Atk, 21 Sp.Def, 31 Speed
Ability: Immunity
Moves: Whirlpool / Charge Beam / Taunt / Absorb

 OpieOP – Ludicolo (F)
Level: 24
Nature: Lonely
Met at: Route 48 (Lv.24)
Characteristic: Often dozes off.
Type: Fighting
Stats: 68 HP, 60 Atk, 28 Def, 19 Sp.Atk, 80 Sp.Def, 58 Speed
Ability: Cloud Nine
Moves: Razor Leaf / Discharge / Tickle / Thunderbolt

 FrankerZ – Furret (M)
Level: 23
Nature: Lax
Met at: Route 36 (Lv.12)
Characteristic: Somewhat of a clown.
Type: Psychic/Dark
Stats: 67 HP, 22 Atk, 78 Def, 36 Sp.Atk, 32 Sp.Def, 36 Speed
Ability: Technician
Moves: Power Whip / Thunderbolt / Strength / Milk Drink

(no emote) Shuckie – Shuckle (M)
Level: 20
Nature: Relaxed
Met at: Cianwood City (Lv.20)
Characteristic: Likes to run.
Type: Poison
Stats: 97 HP, 57 Atk, 22 Def, 51 Sp.Atk, 23 Sp.Def, 25 Speed
Ability: Truant
Moves: Water Spout / Mach Punch / Clamp / Spit Up

 PogChamp – Victreebel (F)
Level: 15
Nature: Naïve
Met at: Route 43 (Lv.15)
Characteristic: Scatters things often.
Type: Electric
Stats: 61 HP, 35 Atk, 14 Def, 23 Sp.Atk, 24 Sp.Def, 49 Speed
Ability: Tangled Feet
Moves: Razor Wind / Bide / Covet / Outrage

 RuleFive – Gyarados (F) shiny
Level: 30
Nature: Lonely
Met at: Lake of Rage (Lv.30)
Characteristic: Alert to sounds.
Type: Steel/Bug
Stats: 109 HP, 81 Atk, 56 Def, 60 Sp.Atk, 56 Sp.Def, 62 Speed
Ability: Cloud Nine
Moves: DragonBreath / Fury Attack / Tailwind / Double-Edge

 scyHoldB – Voltorb
Level: 23
Nature: Gentle
Met at: Team Rocket HQ (Lv.23)
Characteristic: Highly curious.
Type: Psychic/Bug
Stats: 67 HP, 50 Atk, 21 Def, 34 Sp.Atk, 19 Sp.Def, 39 Speed
Ability: Air Lock
Moves: Grasswhistle / Recover / Roar / Sheer Cold

 Keepo – Glameow (M)
Level: 22
Nature: Timid
Met at: Ice Path (Lv.22)
Characteristic: Strong willed.
Type: Psychic
Stats: 70 HP, 11 Atk, 34 Def, 26 Sp.Atk, 28 Sp.Def, 42 Speed
Ability: Sticky Hold
Moves: Power Whip / Mirror Move / Trick / Moonlight

 LilZ – Smeargle (F)
Level: 12
Nature: Jolly
Met at: Blackthorn City (Lv.12)
Characteristic: Often scatters things.
Type: Ice/Electric
Stats: 31 HP, 19 Atk, 24 Def, 10 Sp.Atk, 19 Sp.Def, 13 Speed
Ability: Magic Guard
Moves: Discharge / Extrasensory

 muhBaka – Buizel (F)
Level: 8
Nature: Modest
Met at: Dragon’s Den (Lv.8)
Characteristic: Mischievous.
Type: Fighting
Stats: 24 HP, 9 Atk, 17 Def, 13 Sp.Atk, 20 Sp.Def, 19 Speed
Ability: Liquid Ooze
Moves: Imprison / Ember / Detect / Agility

 BORT – Shuppet (M)
Level: 20
Nature: Sassy
Met at: Route 27 (Lv.20)
Characteristic: Scatters things often.
Type: Grass
Stats: 58 HP, 18 Atk, 28 Def, 23 Sp.Atk, 27 Sp.Def, 27 Speed
Ability: Own Tempo
Moves: Gyro Ball / Water Gun / Rock Wrecker / Snatch

 Eggmad 2.0 – Togekiss (M)
Level: 21
Nature: Lonely
Met at: Tohjo Falls (Lv.21)
Characteristic: Strong willed.
Type: Ground/Dragon
Stats: 95 HP, 57 Atk, 57 Def, 45 Sp.Atk, 26 Sp.Def, 19 Speed
Ability: Tangled Feet
Moves: Wake-up Slap / Avalanche / Rock Tomb / Whirlwind

 talRIPUrn – Darkrai
Level: 23
Nature: Hasty
Met at: Whirl Islands (Lv.23)
Characteristic: Impetuous and silly.
Type: Ground
Stats: 76 HP, 65 Atk, 25 Def, 86 Sp.Atk, 47 Sp.Def, 52 Speed
Ability: Static
Moves: Mud Shot / Crabhammer / Aerial Ace / Pursuit

Dead

 touRunOgre – Larvitar (F)
Level: 7
Nature: Modest
Met at: Route 32 (Lv.6)
Characteristic: Proud of its power.
Type: Bug
Stats: 23 HP, 9 Atk, 6 Def, 8 Sp.Atk, 21 Sp.Def, 8 Speed
Ability: Torrent
Moves: Poison Sting / Brick Break / Thunder Wave

 FailFish – Remoraid (M)
Level: 10
Nature: Naïve
Met at: Route 31 (Lv.4)
Characteristic: Good endurance.
Type: Poison
Stats: 35 HP, 14 Atk, 21 Def, 11 Sp.Atk, 9 Sp.Def, 24 Speed
Ability: Chlorophyll
Moves: Cross Poison / Trump Card / Rock Smash / Bounce

 NightBat – Zubat (M)
Level: 11
Nature: Sassy
Met at: Route 30 (Lv.3)
Characteristic: Likes to fight.
Type: Normal
Stats: 42 HP, 20 Atk, 11 Def, 11 Sp.Atk, 13 Sp.Def, 10 Speed
Ability: Anticipation
Moves: Sky Attack / Howl / Shadow Force / Super Fang

 scyCrud – Gloom (M)
Level: 17
Nature: Naïve
Met at: Route 29 (Lv.3)
Characteristic: Sturdy body.
Type: Dragon
Stats: 55 HP, 26 Atk, 31 Def, 34 Sp.Atk, 29 Sp.Def, 36 Speed
Ability: Early Bird
Moves: Rock Smash / Power Whip / Lick / Silver Wind

 Eggmad – Togepi (M)
Level: 16
Nature: Rash
Met at: Mr. Pokémon (Egg)
Characteristic: Likes to thrash about.
Type: Ground/Dragon
Stats: 51 HP, 26 Atk, 27 Def, 23 Sp.Atk, 9 Sp.Def, 14 Speed
Ability: Shed Skin
Moves: Avalanche / Extrasensory / Charge Beam / Sing

 Kippa – Nidorino (M)
Level: 29
Nature: Naughty
Met at: SLOWPOKE Well (Lv.6)
Characteristic: Quick tempered.
Type: Psychic
Stats: 94 HP, 28 Atk, 26 Def, 28 Sp.Atk, 53 Sp.Def, 70 Speed
Ability: Overgrow
Moves: Dragon Claw / Rock Smash / Sleep Powder / Cut

Poké Monday 11/17: Thundurus

RNG  

Incarnate forme
Smogon official tier: OU
Type: Electric/Flying
Base Stats: 79 HP, 115 Atk, 70 Def, 125 Sp.Atk, 80 Sp.Def, 111 Speed
Abilities: Prankster, Defiant (HA)

Therian forme
Smogon official tier: BL
Type: Electric/Flying
Base Stats: 79 HP, 105 Atk, 70 Def, 145 Sp.Atk, 80 Sp.Def, 101 Speed
Ability: Volt Absorb

“Usable” moves (according to Pokémon Showdown): Agility, Brick Break, Bulk Up, Charge Beam, Crunch, Dark Pulse, Discharge, Façade, Flash Cannon, Focus Blast, Foul Play, Frustration, Grass Knot, Hammer Arm, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Ice), Iron Tail, Knock Off, Nasty Plot, Payback, Protect, Psychic, Rain Dance, Rest, Return, Sleep Talk, Sludge Bomb, Sludge Wave, Substitute, Superpower, Taunt, Thrash, Thunder, Thunder Punch, Thunder Wave, Thunderbolt, Torment, Toxic, U-turn, Volt Switch, Wild Charge

Overview

In this review, I will be covering both the incarnate and therian formes of Thundurus, and I will do this for all other Pokémon with a differing alternate form (I didn’t cover Mega Latios when I reviewed Latios (8/25) but that’s because I knew next to nothing about it at the time).

Incarnate

The incarnate form of Thundurus is an enigmatic Electric-type attacker, being the second-fastest Prankster user with Tornadus incarnate (the fastest being Whimsicott) and the fastest with access to Thunder Wave, as well as having access to setup moves like Substitute and Nasty Plot. What lets it down, however, is that it has a movepool that pretty much requires Hidden Power Ice for coverage. It could also take from its physical movepool, but that does not have much for Ground-types either, let alone things like Gliscor. Basically, it’s an offensive threat with a neat speed tier and an okay movepool.

Therian

Thundurus-Therian has a Special Attack that makes it the second hardest hitting Electric-type on the special side (the first being Mega Ampharos, which does not have a free item slot) with the downside of its Speed being cut down to a worse tier, lower than that of Garchomp, Terrakion, and base 110s (and, more trivially, its Attack is cut down to base 105). Therefore, it can benefit better from a Choice Scarf or use of the move Agility than its incarnate counterpart can. Other than that and its loss of Prankster/Defiant for Volt Absorb, it’s pretty much the same.

Sets

Incarnate Set

Thundurus (M) @ Leftovers
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def
– Volt Switch
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Thunder Wave
– Taunt

This set takes advantage of Thundurus incarnate’s access to Prankster Thunder Wave and Taunt to stop sweepers and leads the world over. It uses STAB Volt Switch to keep up momentum, usually after Taunting but possibly after Thunder Waving. I am not confident in the use of Hidden Power Ice in this set just because it’s not fully offensive (despite how it’s EV’d); perhaps a Naïve nature with Knock Off could work as well.

Therian Set

Thundurus-Therian (M) @ Life Orb
Ability: Volt Absorb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Nasty Plot
– Agility

Double Dance Thundurus-Therian uses Agility to patch up its average Speed and uses Nasty Plot to punch holes through walls. In fact, even without Nasty Plot, it can still pack a punch, especially with Life Orb in tow. Something like Expert Belt or Leftovers is also acceptable as an item (although I’m not so sure about the latter). What’s good about Thundurus-Therian is that, as an Electric-type and a Pokémon with Volt Absorb, paralysis will not stop its sweep (if applicable, of course).

Other Options

For incarnate forme, Prankster variants can use Substitute to avoid priority. On the flip side, Defiant can be used on physical or mixed sets for Thundurus to act as a sort of anti-Defog mechanism. Beware that I have run pure physical Thundurus with little success; the Pokémon Showdown damage calculator recommends Naïve, Life Orb, 76 Atk/180 Sp.Atk/252 Speed with a set of Thunderbolt/Knock Off/Superpower/Hidden Power Ice (the spread guarantees to KO 4/252+ Eviolite Chansey with a combination of Knock Off and Superpower, as well as to OHKO with Defiant-boosted Superpower). I used U-turn on physical Thundurus, but looking back, I suppose it prefers to Volt Switch (and HP Ice whenever necessary).

For therian forme, Choice Scarf is the main alternate option to consider (and the most common in usage); it reaches a reliable 496 Speed (given 252 Timid) without setting up while sacrificing a portion of its power. This requires using options in its movepool alternate to Electric STAB and Hidden Power Ice, Focus Blast being a go-to coverage move for Steels that don’t mind its STAB.

Sample Teams

Incarnate team: http://pastebin.com/5muy8zgR

Therian team: http://pastebin.com/qP6XQhrL

Once again, bear in mind that these are sample teams and are therefore subject to improvement.

Top Three Thursday 11/13: Surprises in anime

Anime has its fair share of predictable moments, but there are some moments in anime that I have watched that had me asking questions like, “What the heck just happened?” Here are a few that I found particularly surprising. (WARNING: spoilers inbound)

3. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei episode 2 ending

This, I feel, is the first and best moment in Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei after which we can say that Shiba Tatsuya is overpowered. In this particular scene, Hanzou Hattori engages in a duel with Tatsuya and, even though the former specifically outlined his plan for winning to the viewers, but he didn’t win because Tatsuya somehow teleported behind him and managed to knock him out before he got a chance to cast the spell (and the fact that Tatsuya was portrayed as a weakling prior to that moment made it all the better). The “somehow” is described in detail (or at least what the creators consider “detail”) at the beginning of episode 3, but boy was I eager to know all about it after I first watched episode 2. In fact, I think this is the episode that told me, “Hey, you like this anime, don’t you?” And I do. I truly do.

2. Mahou Sensou ending

This is the only moment on the list (and the only moment I can think of) that is surprising in a bad way. The ending of Mahou Sensou is the reason why it dropped from somewhere around my 10th favorite anime to my 20th favorite. Honestly, it seems more rushed than anything; they skipped Isoshima’s rescue to focus centrally on the fight between Takeshi and Gekkou and the war between Wizard Brace and the Ghost Trailers—and the former, I feel, did not end well. Apparently, Takeshi and Gekkou got out of hand with their powers and were transported to the past where Takeshi, while sitting on a park bench near the school, remained unnoticed by anyone but Gekkou who, while passing by, uttered the words, “I’ve been waiting for you, Takeshi…” What I’m questioning is: Why did they skip Isoshima’s rescue? Why does the director (Monoka Shijou) have magic that can take people back in time? How will Takeshi and Gekkou act now that they don’t have weapons and they’re in the past? What was it that Takeshi’s mother said to him that made anything clear? How will either Takeshi and/or Gekkou get back, if at all? These questions will probably be left unanswered because there’s little chance of a second season if you ask me.

1. TET’S A GUY

This is Tet from No Game No Life. He’s a guy. I didn’t know that until the second half of the anime.

 

Heh, actually, that’s not the number one surprise. In all seriousness:

1. Hamatora season 1 ending

Of all the moments in Hamatora, the ending of season 1 remains the one that has surprised me the most. I mean, it’s cool that Moral lost against Nice, but wait…who shot Moral? Wait, Art’s back? I thought he was shot down in episode 7. Wait, he shot Nice!? I thought they were friends! Yeah…that was pretty much my reaction to that ending. It is cleared up in the second season why Art was still alive and why he shot Nice, but it was beyond my comprehension the first time it happened. I’m also surprised they came out with a second season so soon; season 1 aired Winter 2014 and season 2 aired Summer 2014. I’m glad, too; I was wondering if the questions raised by the first season would just go unanswered, but…far from it.

Spontaneous Saturday 11/8: How I approach video games

I do not remember the exact date I was first exposed to video games or the first video game to which I was exposed, but I do recall having access to a Nintendo 64 and a Game Boy Color when I was young. On the 64, I remember playing Super Mario 64, various Mario Party games, Banjo-Kazooie, Super Smash Bros., Kirby 64, Donkey Kong 64, Diddy Kong Racing, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Yoshi’s Story, and Pokémon Stadium. I hardly remember my experience with any of them (let alone Banjo-Kazooie, which scared me away when I saw mutated Tootie), but I remember being really interested in Kirby 64 due to the mechanic of combining types (to the point where I formulated in my own little fantasy world a “successor” with four type slots instead of two). Meanwhile, on the Game Boy Color, all I remember playing are Pokémon Blue and Silver (and the only thing I remember about Pokémon Blue is the game crashing). However, during the Game Boy Advance years, along with Pokémon FireRed and Emerald, I was exposed to another portable game series through MegaMan Battle Network 3 (and also played the 4th installment because the series got me interested). I also remember playing some Tony Hawk game, some Shaman King game, and some Monsters Inc. game.

Past that, the list of Gamecube, DS, Wii, Wii U, and 3DS games to which I have been exposed is too long to list. I will say, however, that I have not been limited to Nintendo games; I have played a number of Xbox and Xbox 360 games as well—Fusion Frenzy, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, Jet Set Radio Future, Halo 2 and 3, the Elder Scrolls IV and V, and Trials Evolution. There are also, of course, a number of computer games that I have played, among the most notable being AdventureQuest, Runescape, and Team Fortress 2.

 

So, enough with the games that I have played; let’s move on to the question at hand: how do I approach video games? Obviously, I play them because they are fun, but do I really treat them as fun? I have said before that while some of them drive me to the point of frustration, the “If there is a mountain, I will climb it” mentality keeps me going until whatever end I may meet (refer to Spontaneous Saturday 9/27). After or during a game, I will stop at some points to experiment with mechanics or comb every corner of an area if applicable. Also, needless to say, if there is a means to 100% completion as opposed to simply beating the game, I will work as much as I see fit towards whatever the 100% completion may be. If there are any games that I do not 100% complete (e.g.: Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, Kingdom Hearts 385/2 Days, the Pokémon games), it is because the games are too difficult or tedious to 100% complete.

One other thing I must confess: there is no real rhyme or reason to the games that I play. Of course I shall continue to follow the main series Pokémon games wherever they may go, I recall having played all of the 3D Mario games (64, 64 DS, Sunshine, Galaxy 1 and 2, 3D Land, and 3D World), and I am planning on getting Smash 4 for Wii U when it comes out. However, most of the other games I have played do not seem to follow a particular pattern. Torchlight, Guitar Hero, Fire Emblem Awakening, Bravely Default, some of the Tales games (Abyss, Vesperia, Symphonia 1 and 2), Team Fortress 2, the Xbox games I mentioned, the Zero Escape games, Rhythm Heaven, Custom Robo Arena, Pokémon Conquest, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 (not A1), Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time and Bowser’s Inside Story (not Superstar Saga), The World Ends with You, Amazing Island, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, MegaMan Battle Network 3-5 (not 1, 2, or 6)…they just never seem to follow any particular pattern. The way I am with video games, I am always reluctant to try new ones, but if a video game draws enough interest out of me, I will play it and enjoy it. Be that as it may, I will absolutely avoid horror games, anything centered around zombies, and anything with excessive violence that is not cartoony enough for it to be “okay.” Sadly, even though I can categorize the games that I avoid like the plague, I cannot categorize the ones that I like the most because there are so many different ones to choose from.

Long story short, I approach video games with the “If there is a mountain, I will climb it” mentality and I only play games which capture my attention in some way and to which I am not averse in any way.

Poké Monday 11/3: Claydol

RNG 

Smogon official tier: RU
Type: Ground/Psychic
Base Stats: 60 HP, 70 Atk, 105 Def, 70 Sp.Atk, 120 Sp.Def, 75 Speed
Ability: Levitate

“Usable” moves (according to Pokémon Showdown): Calm Mind, Charge Beam, Cosmic Power, Dazzling Gleam, Double-Edge, Drill Run, Earth Power, Earthquake, Extrasensory, Façade, Frustration, Grass Knot, Gravity, Gyro Ball, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Ice), Ice Beam, Light Screen, Magic Coat, Protect, Psychic, Psyshock, Rain Dance, Rapid Spin, Reflect, Refresh, Rest, Return, Rock Polish, Rock Slide, Shadow Ball, Signal Beam, Sleep Talk, Solar Beam, Stealth Rock, Stone Edge, Substitute, Sunny Day, Toxic, Trick, Trick Room, Zen Headbutt

Overview

What distinguishes Claydol from other Pokémon in the RU tier is its unique typing and ability. Ground+Psychic with Levitate makes it one of the few Pokémon resistant to Ground+Rock coverage as well as Rock+Fighting coverage. Unfortunately, Pokémon who use those types generally have a way to get by walls like Claydol (either through their additional STAB or coverage moves). Fortunately, its bulk, although not the best, is respectable at the least; it’s mostly guaranteed to take any one hit. This helps with its variety of utility options: Stealth Rock, Rapid Spin, dual screens, and Trick Room. Actually, don’t use Trick Room on Claydol unless you absolutely need a Trick Room setter with such typing; it suffers in the same “valley of speed” (too fast for Trick Room, too slow for normal situations) as Malamar, only Claydol is actually faster. (Whereas min speed Malamar outspeeds anything uninvested below base 50, min speed Claydol outspeeds anything uninvested below base 52. This means even things like Registeel go before Claydol in Trick Room.) Another thing that sucks about Claydol is, while it has a neat offensive movepool, its offensive stats leave a lot to be desired. Heck, without its utility, Claydol would be pretty much outclassed by Cresselia—120/70/120/75/130/85 stats, enough offensive coverage in Psyshock and Moonblast to get by, and semi-reliable recovery in Moonlight.

Long story short, Claydol has interesting typing that lets it resist common types (Fighting, Rock, Psychic, immunity to Ground—thanks to Levitate—and Electric) but simultaneously renders it weak to common types (Grass, Water, Ice, Dark, Ghost, Bug), has some respectable bulk, and is better for its utility than its offensive prowess.

Set

Claydol @ Leftovers
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 248 HP / 8 SpA / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Stealth Rock
– Rapid Spin
– Toxic
– Earth Power

There are a number of ways to go about this set, but this is the one I prefer. The general idea is to get up Stealth Rock and Rapid Spin whenever necessary. This particular implementation of the set uses Toxic to wear down walls that can take its Earth Power with ease, and Earth Power is to chip away at Pokémon who don’t mind Toxic. You could run Psyshock or Ice Beam over Toxic, but Claydol’s offenses are so lackluster. (Ice Beam does 2HKO 248/8 Eviolite Gligar, though.) You could also go physical, using Earthquake and either Zen Headbutt or Stone Edge, but both of the latter moves are unreliable with their chance to miss. Besides, Pokémon susceptible to Ground are generally physically defensive (read: Drapion, Durant).

There are many ways to go about EVing this set; Pokémon Showdown suggests a spread of 240 HP, 12 Def, and 252 SpD. You could use this build, that build, or go physically defensive depending on your team’s needs. Heck, you could even try Modest or Adamant offensive if you so desire. (I wouldn’t recommend it, though.)

Other Options

As mentioned before, Claydol has other utility options in dual screens and Trick Room, as well as an interesting offensive movepool. Magic Coat is also something worth bringing up, as it can reflect things like Taunt, hazards, and Toxic that can bother Claydol (or the rest of the team, in the case of hazards). With this, it brings to mind a number of sets: Light Clay dual screens with dual STAB (or possibly Magic Coat), Trick Room with Macho Brace, offensive Calm Mind, Choice Specs with Trick, and Rest+Sleep Talk, just to name a few. However, these sets are gimmicky and/or outclassed; Cresselia is a better dual screener and attacker, Bronzor is a better Trick Room user, and Gastrodon is a better Ground-type bulky attacker (although it can’t set up in any way). In a nutshell, Claydol is known for its utility—nothing more, nothing less.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/KDpCLu0g (note that this is a SAMPLE and should thusly be treated as such)