Poké Monday 11/30/15: Grovyle

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Tier: PU
Type: Grass
Stats: 50 HP, 65 Atk, 45 Def, 85 Sp.Atk, 65 Sp.Def, 95 Speed
Abilities: Overgrow, Unburden (hidden)

Usable moves: Acrobatics, Aerial Ace, Agility, Body Slam, Brick Break, Bullet Seed, Crunch, Detect, Double-Edge, Drain Punch, Energy Ball, Façade, Frustration, Giga Drain, Grass Knot, Hidden Power (Fire, Ice), Leaf Blade, Leaf Storm, Leech Seed, Low Kick, Power-Up Punch, Protect, Pursuit, Rest, Return, Rock Slide, Seed Bomb, Seismic Toss, Substitute, Swords Dance, Synthesis, Thunder Punch, Toxic, X-scissor

Overview

While its evolution stands in UU as a speedy offensive threat, Grovyle sits down in the lowest of the low tiers, struggling to fit in an environment where Leafeon and Simisage have it outclassed as a Grass-type attacker. Only one factor separates it from the aforementioned Grass-types: Unburden. Yes, its primary defining quality is that it is the fastest PU-legal Unburden user. At base 95, it outspeeds everything relevant in the tier the moment it consumes its item. Unfortunately, it does not have the proper means to exploit its uncommon ability. How unfortunate it is that Endure is incompatible with Unburden; otherwise, it would make Grovyle a potent revenge killer against offensive threats. Substitute at least works somewhat, but it requires that Grovyle be as fast as possible, which is redundant with Unburden, not to mention only useful if Grovyle is out against something slower that it can kill and there are faster offensive threats waiting in the wings.

Simply put, Grovyle is mediocre. Frail, weak, lacking in coverage, and severely outclassed.

Set

Grovyle @ Petaya Berry
Ability: Unburden
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 1 Atk / 30 Def / 30 SpD / 30 Spe
– Energy Ball
– Hidden Power [Rock]
– Endeavor
– Substitute

This is the most Grovyle can make out of its meager assets. With Unburden and a Petaya Berry, it effectively hits +1 Special Attack and +2 Speed when it reaches low HP, which can only be achieved through the use of Substitute. (It’s awfully frail, so don’t expect it to take a hit.) EVs are dumped primarily into special offense, with the remaining 4 in Defense so that Grovyle reaches an HP value of 241, which lets it hit exactly 1 HP after four successful uses of Substitute. IVs are for Hidden Power Rock, with its Attack IV minimized to reduce Foul Play and confusion damage.

Energy Ball is its STAB of choice, because Leaf Storm is unfavorable due to its SpA drop and Giga Drain is counterproductive with Endeavor. (Petaya is too, but at least it serves its own purpose.) Rock is the preferred Hidden Power type for Flying-, Bug-, and Fire-types that can take its Grass STAB easily. Endeavor is for problems that its meager offensive prowess cannot solve, and it works well in tandem with Substitute and Unburden. Substitute helps to reduce its HP and block status.

The sad truth about this set, however, is that it usually ends up a liability and/or falls short of KOing a certain Pokémon due to its frailty and subpar offensive stats.

Other Options

You could change its Hidden Power type depending on which resistances to Grass you wish to cover.

Rock (suggested): Bug, Fire, Flying

Ice: Dragon, Flying, Grass

Fire: Bug, Grass, Steel

Ground: Fire, Poison, Steel (plus Sap Sipper Zebstrika)

These are the four optimal types of Hidden Power, each covering three resistant types super-effectively. Keep in mind, however, that Ground leaves it walled by Flying-types, Fire leaves it walled by Fire- and Dragon-types, and the other two leave it walled by Steel-types. I say Rock is preferred overall, though, because Steel-types and Dragon-types are not all that common, and Probopass, the most common Steel-type, is neutral to Grass (as if Grovyle can do crud to it, though).

Sadly, Grovyle has no “other options” beyond changing its Hidden Power type. If it tried to run a Swords Dance set, it would be 100% outclassed by Leafeon. If it tried to use anything other than Unburden, it would be outclassed by Simisage. Don’t even try to run it defensively because it is appallingly frail.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/JjfMHHBA – This is not nearly as fine-tuned of a team as the previous one (the Swanna team). Obviously, it is not a team to be taken seriously because it contains Grovyle and was made for the lowest official tier.

This team contains:

  • Grovyle (set above)
  • Monferno as a suicide lead
  • Basculin to complete a Fire-Water-Grass core, for priority, and for offense in general
  • Armaldo for hazard control and as a physical tank
  • Lickilicky for walling things
  • Kadabra as a revenge killer and Psychic-type attacker in general

Top Three Thursday 11/26/15: Things I’m thankful for

Top Three Thursday is always when I have the most difficulty thinking of a topic (and having a research paper due tomorrow afternoon doesn’t help), but since today is Thanksgiving for those who celebrate it, I figured I would celebrate the occasion in the most obvious way possible. (This may be a little rushed, but it is sincere.)

3. Education

Not something I (or anyone else) can take for granted. If not for education, I would be significantly dumber than I am now. I wouldn’t know how to read or write, how to speak, how to solve math problems (with or without a calculator), how to interpret world phenomena, how to communicate in French as well as English, or how to use computers. In fact, I feel that without education I wouldn’t even be typing this right now.

2. Technological advancement

Isn’t it great how far we’ve come in terms of technology? That’s nothing to be taken for granted either. Not just electronics like computers and television, but also the simpler things like air conditioning, light bulbs, washers, and dryers, not to mention the many forms of transportation to which we have access—cars, trains, planes, and so on. The best technological development of all, though, is the Internet, a means of people the world over to communicate amongst each other without having to do so face-to-face. It also gives me a way to reveal my thoughts to the public in blog form. Finally, the easy accessibility of mass media gives us myriad ways to entertain ourselves.

1. Family

Without family, I literally would not even be born. They raised me well, providing for me while I’m still young, having taught me all I know about moral conduct, and introducing me to the God who brought them together. In addition to that, I am thankful to be able to consult them if I have a problem beyond my control. Honestly, I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am if not for my family. In fact, they are responsible for my education and the fact that I can keep up with technological advancement.

 

Most of all, I am thankful for God, who transcends this top three list with all that He has done.

3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:3-5

So, Happy Thanksgiving, and remember to be thankful for what has been provided (even if you don’t celebrate the holiday; it’s always good to be thankful).

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Spontaneous Saturday 11/21/15: Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 2

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This is the second part of a three-part review series. Click here to view the first.

As you should be aware by now, two very similar anime are airing this season: Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry and Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (henceforth referred to as Cavalry and Asterisk, respectively). They both involve schools with weapons and magic and romance and ecchi and stuff, but just how similar are they really? That is what this review series aims to analyze. I will post one part per four episodes aired of each anime, and this is the second. Keep in mind that these will be released late on the Saturday they’re due because I have to spend a whole day thinking and writing about the last of the series of four episodes. (Well, it’s not so late now that I thought to build upon this review after every episode, rather than waiting until the last moment.)

Again, this review may contain spoilers. Please proceed with caution.

12/19 EDIT: Part 3, where I sum everything up from start to finish, is released. Click here to view it.

Random things I feel I should note

Shizuku (Cavalry) and Claudia (Asterisk) are voiced by the same actress: Nao Touyama.

Another voice actress in common with the two series is Chinatsu Akasaki, who voices the Tsukuyomi sisters (HangetsuMikazuki, and Mangetsu, commentators of the Seven Star Battle Festival) in Cavalry and Ernesta Kuhne in Asterisk.

In Cavalry

  • Alice’s voice actor (Shintaro Asanuma) also voices Izayoi Sakamaki in Mondaiji-tachi (which I find…kinda funny, actually).
  • Yuuri Oriki, the teacher of Ikki’s class, bears a strong resemblance to Tomoko Kuroki from WataMote—same restless eyes, same messy dark hair…same voice actress, even. I made a mistake omitting her from my previous post, because she’s not actually that minor, at least not in comparison to, say, Kurono (the director).

In Asterisk

  • The story involves six academies. The one where Ayato is enrolled is Seidoukan Academy, and Claudia is its representative. The others are: Le Wolfe Black, Allekant, Jie Long 7th, Garrardworth, and Queenvale.
  • Saya is often seen arguing with Julis over Ayato. Don’t call it a love triangle, though, because there are other women attracted to Ayato. (That’s harem for you.)
  • Saya’s voice actress (Shiori Izawa) also voices Mega Drive in SeHa Girls. Because of this among other things, I am fairly convinced that Saya is my favorite character in Asterisk.
  • This reaction image (from episode 6):
    tfw too much oppai

Newly Introduced Characters

Any characters not mentioned in this section are not introduced yet, don’t need a description because they’re so minor, or cannot be described without spoiling anything.

In Cavalry

  • Ayase Ayatsuji – A shy senior who follows in her father’s footsteps, taking a great interest in swordplay.
  • Kuraudo Kurashiki – A troublemaker who took over the Ayatsuji dojo and kicked Ayase out. He seems to like picking on other swordsmen.

In Asterisk

  • Dirk Eberwein – Representative of Le Wolfe Black Academy. He has a brutish personality with the gall to slander others.
  • Shuuma Sakon – Representative of Allekant Academy. He has a polite personality and accepts a joint agreement with Seidoukan Academy without knowing the full details.
  • Xinglou Fan – Representative of Jie Long 7th Academy. She may be young for a leader, but she is an excellent mediator of conflict between the representatives.
  • Ernest Fairclough – Representative of Garrardworth Academy. He is a capable swordsman with a sense of justice that notably responds to Dirk’s slander.
  • Ernesta Kuhne – A playful and energetic student of Allekant who is behind the creation of Silas’ automatons. She takes great interest in Ayato when they first meet. As playful as she seems, she is quite the schemer.
  • Camilla Pareto – A student of Allekant whose stern personality makes her a foil to Ernesta. She serves as Ernesta’s assistant.
  • Kirin Toudou – The #1 ranked fighter at Seidoukan Academy whose uncle is abusive towards her. She doesn’t really have the appearance of a top fighter, though. I find this character somewhat dislikable due to her distracting breasts and high-pitched voice, but not as dislikable as Claudia. Also, the more I think about it, the more she seems to me like Iris Freyja 2.0 (which is not a point in her favor).

The Story So Far

I decided (as of November 26) to relocate these summaries to Google Docs for two reasons: (1) to minimize spoilers, and (2) while I enjoy writing them, I realize that they seem out of place in a review like this, and I wouldn’t blame anyone if they lost interest because of them.

Cavalry 5-8 summary

Asterisk 5-8 summary

Character Impressions

To be honest, Ayase was not all I’d hoped for, but I suppose that’s because I set the bar pretty high. (I find her at least better than Stella, though.) Saya, on the other hand, is a really cool character (in more ways than one), and I’m glad she’s had more screentime over the past few episodes of Asterisk, even though Kirin has been more prominent. Also, in regards to Shizuku, I really don’t have any issues with her character (contrary to what I said before); it’s just that she doesn’t stand out too much, especially considering her role over the past few episodes of Cavalry was diminished to practically nothing (and she refers to this exclusion at the end of episode 8). Speaking of which, Alice hasn’t had much of a role in these past few episodes either, although that one moment in episode 5—where they show off Stella’s swimsuit, Shizuku’s swimsuit, Kagami’s swimsuit, and…Alice’s swimsuit—was pretty funny.

My opinion on other characters, however, is unchanged, insignificant, and/or completely obvious. On that note, I can say with certainty that I like Ikki more than Ayato, simply because the former is more “psychotic” (as Kuraudo would put it) than the latter. Even though Ayato can get reckless at times, he seems more duty-bound when doing so, whereas Ikki actually enjoys getting reckless (or so it seems in episode 8).

As a whole

The similarities and differences between Cavalry and Asterisk are largely unchanged from what I’ve already mentioned in the previous installment of Cavalry vs. Asterisk. Now that I think about it, though, the fanservice situations in Asterisk seem more oddly forced than those in Cavalry. I mean, in Asterisk episode 1, why would Julis leave her window wide open while changing? In episode 2, how did Julis’s and Saya’s shirts open up as a result of Saya blowing up the fountain? In episode 3, why would Claudia, before calling Ayato to a private meeting, wear a bathrobe that doesn’t even cover her chest properly? Most importantly, in episode 7, how did Ayato and Kirin end up in their underwear in such a way that Ayato didn’t notice until the end of their conversation (which I’m assuming based on the way that moment was portrayed)? Also, why do Claudia in episode 6 and some minor character in episode 8 wear such revealing swimsuits? I realize it’s a work of fiction, but I honestly can’t help pointing out how odd some of these situations are, especially considering the context behind them remains a complete mystery (maybe explained in the light novel (which I haven’t read), or simply to be left up to the imagination). In Cavalry, on the other hand, every moment of fanservice has some reasoning behind it.

Also, I failed to mention the key difference between Cavalry and Asterisk: Asterisk has significantly more sci-fi elements. In Cavalry, the arena and the “student handbook” are the only things even remotely sci-fi. Asterisk, on the other hand, is 90% sci-fi, give or take.

As for which I like better now, I’m leaning towards Cavalry this time. Even though I like sci-fi (to an extent) and there is no character in Cavalry that I consider better than Saya, I feel like the saga in Asterisk starting when Ayato met Kirin was less interesting than the one in Cavalry starting when Ikki met Ayase. Also, the happenings in Cavalry seem a bit more coherent than those of Asterisk (case in point: Asterisk’s odd fanservice moments mentioned earlier). Like before, this decision is tentative, because there is still more plot to be revealed, plus one more pivotal character on the cover of Cavalry who has not yet been introduced (the brunette with glasses and braids), and sometimes my judgement can differ between one moment and the next. I’m hoping in the next and final four episodes that Cavalry will keep going strong and Asterisk will step it up a bit.

 

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Poké Monday 11/16/15: Swanna

RNG (Swanna) 

Tier: PU
Type: Water/Flying
Base Stats: 75 HP, 87 Atk, 63 Def, 87 Sp.Atk, 63 Sp.Def, 98 Speed
Abilities: Keen Eye, Big Pecks, Hydration (hidden)

Usable moves: Aerial Ace, Air Slash, Brave Bird, Defog, Façade, Frustration, Hidden Power (Fire, Ice), Hurricane, Ice Beam, Protect, Rest, Return, Roost, Scald, Substitute, Surf, Tailwind, Toxic

Overview

Important notice: Now that PU is an official tier, any Pokémon legal in PU will have its analysis based on PU rather than NU, and this happens to be one of them. For those uninformed, PU is the tier below NU. The letters don’t really stand for anything; it’s merely a play on the expression that something smells bad, conveniently following the same letter format as the tiers above it (NU, RU, UU, OU). Anyway, enough explaining the tier, because that’s not the purpose of this post.

Swanna’s main purpose is as an offensive Defogger (don’t even try to use it defensively because Pelipper outclasses it in that regard), and with its dual STABs being unresisted in its tier (aside from Chinchou, but there’s no reason to run that just to counter Swanna), there is no better candidate for this purpose. Swanna sits at an above average Speed tier of 98, putting it past base 95s like Leafeon and Sawsbuck, and its offensive stats are not too bad. Also, its typing gives it a nice set of immunities and resistances—being immune to Ground and resistant to Bug, Fighting, Fire, Steel, and Water—meaning it isn’t entirely devoid of opportunities to switch in.

However, Swanna is not without its shortcomings. 75/63/63 defenses make it relatively frail, meaning it should be careful around the hard hitters of the tier. Its movepool also leaves something to be desired, lacking Hydro Pump or any physical options beyond Brave Bird and Return/Frustration. (It gets Dive, but that’s easy to play around.) Additionally, as many common resistances as its typing gets, it also comes with a weakness to Rock, making it lose 1/4 of its HP per switch-in to Stealth Rock, and a 4x weakness to Electric, which is problematic considering how many Electric-types outspeed it—Dedenne, Emolga, Raichu, Zebstrika, and Electrode (not to mention that Rapidash, which also outspeeds, annihilates it with Wild Charge). Finally, it has little to offer in terms of Ability choices; Keen Eye and Big Pecks are next to useless, and Hydration is only useful in rain. Rain is good for Swanna, though—not just because of Hydration, but also to buff the accuracy of its Hurricanes.

As a whole, Swanna is difficult to bring in, but it is nothing to be overlooked if it comes in safely.

Set

Swanna @ Life Orb
Ability: Hydration
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 29 HP / 0 Atk
– Hurricane
– Scald
– Defog
– Roost

Hurricane is Swanna’s most powerful offensive move, sporting a high base 110 power and a nice 30% chance to induce confusion (although backed with an unfortunate chance to miss). Scald is generally preferred over Surf for a nice 30% chance to burn at the expense of 10 base power. Defog is Swanna’s best utility option, clearing opposing (and ally) hazards and screens, with a nice bonus of making its Hurricanes less likely to miss the opposing Pokémon if it decides to stay in. Roost, although it seems questionable on an offensive set, allows it to regain health lost from Life Orb recoil and potential hazard damage, as well as reducing its weakness to slower/weaker Electric and Rock moves.

The EVs are fairly straightforward; Speed and Special Attack are maximized for maximum offensive prowess, with its Timid nature keeping it at the top of its decent Speed tier. The remaining 4 EVs are put into Defense because its resistances are chiefly physical (and Download is irrelevant outside of UU, LC, Ubers, and maybe OU). Attack IV is set to 0 to reduce damage from Foul Play and confusion, and the 29 in HP sets Swanna’s HP to 289 instead of 291, reducing Life Orb recoil to 28 damage instead of 29.

Other Options

Surf is an option for better direct damage than Scald, which comes with the following perks:

  • 93.8% chance to OHKO 252/0 Armaldo (versus 31.3%, although burn damage will KO it if the Scald itself doesn’t)
  • guaranteed 2HKO on 248/252+ Leftovers Avalugg after Stealth Rock (versus 49.2%)
  • guaranteed 2HKO on 248/252+ Leftovers Bastiodon (versus 12.9%)
  • guaranteed KO with two Surfs on Sunny Day Carbink (whereas two Scalds have a 46.875% chance)
  • better chance to OHKO Choice Band Flareon (93.8% versus 31.3%)
  • guaranteed OHKO on offensive Ninetales (versus 43.8%)
  • 92.2% chance to 2HKO 252/168+ Leftovers Probopass, guaranteed after Stealth Rock (versus 11.3% and 59%, respectively)
  • guaranteed OHKO on defensive Torkoal (versus 87.5%)

That’s only a small portion of the whole tier, though, so Scald is better overall.

Toxic can be used to spread status, notably on offensive and defensive threats that can take its hits easily. Hidden Power Electric guarantees an OHKO on 248/8 Pelipper and opposing Swanna (whereas Hurricane has no chance of OHKOing the former and a 31.3% chance of OHKOing the latter), but it serves no purpose otherwise.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/thL6Vzwy – This team has gone through a lot of testing in comparison to the others I’ve made. I have fought 23 battles—14 wins and 9 losses—across all variations of it, and it has undergone plenty of changes since the first time I conceptualized it.

The only three team members who have stayed the same throughout all variations are Swanna, Gourgeist-Super, and Probopass—and the former two are the only ones whose sets have not changed. In teambuilding, I have gone through the following former members:

  • Pikachu-Belle because I like its offensive moves (Electric STAB, Icicle Crash, Knock Off) and its Lightning Rod; discarded because it’s too slow for an offensive ‘mon
  • Butterfree as another variety of setup sweeper; discarded because it’s frail and relies on Focus Sash to thrive
  • Choice Scarf Ditto to deal with opposing setup sweepers; discarded because it’s worse in practice than on paper
  • Life Orb Zebstrika for switching into Electric-type moves and being really fast; discarded because it’s…not the best in the offensive department
  • Choice Scarf Raichu for revenge killing and switching into Electric-type moves; discarded because Choice Scarf was a bad idea in hindsight, and I feel its offense just didn’t cut it (plus Focus miss)
  • Flareon for Fire offense; discarded because…erm…reasons.
  • offensive pivot Probopass and the lead Krokorok set I posted in a former Poké Monday because, with all the non-offensive moves I kept seeing, I thought it would be good to have Taunt, but I ended up discarding the idea because Krokorok is too slow and too frail (even with Eviolite and Intimidate) to utilize the move properly.
  • Grumpig as a special wall with Heal Bell; discarded because I found my team very Ghost- and Dark-weak and thus replaced it with Clefairy

At any rate, I say the team that I have built—and faced plenty of battles to refine—is a team that relies on predictions in order to keep hazards and screens away using Swanna, while keeping offensive threats at bay using the wall core of Clefairy/Probopass/Gourgeist, the revenge killing capabilities of Scarf Krokorok, and the setup potential of Ninetales.

As far as threats, I say Rapidash tears the team to shreds if it comes in when Krokorok is not on the field. That’s all that immediately comes to mind, but I’m sure there are plenty more.

This team contains:

  • Swanna (set above)
  • Clefairy to stop SubSeed and Toxic stall, as well as to provide Heal Bell support
  • Probopass for Stealth Rock and attempting to wall things
  • Gourgeist-Super to take the Fighting and Ground attacks that Probopass hates (well, actually, I’m more likely to switch Swanna into the Ground attacks), as well as being bulky in general (at least physically)
  • Choice Scarf Krokorok for revenge killing, particularly with Pursuit, and to switch in to Swanna’s weaknesses (although maybe not so much Rock); Adamant nature because Jolly doesn’t cut past anything relevant in the tier
  • Ninetales as a setup attacker to make sure I’m not solely limited to petty offense

Top Three Thursday 11/12/15: Christian music for non-Christians

As I mentioned in an earlier Top Three Thursday, even though I usually keep things secular on this blog, I am a follower of Christ who frequently listens to K-Love on the radio (in fact, pretty much any time I drive solo), and I enjoy Christian music, between the power behind the lyrics and the occasional upbeat song here and there. Be that as it may, I do not feel comfortable sharing my faith with others. Still, if I had to recommend Christian music to people of different faiths, three particular pieces come to my mind.

 

3. My Story – Big Daddy Weave

“Oh, to tell you my story is to tell of Him.” Honestly, we would be nothing without Jesus. Wherever our faith may be placed, His kindness draws us in. His love never gives up. It gives us hope, lets us live freely (not to be taken out of context), and triumphs over the enemy. No matter what we are going through, He is writing our individual stories as we speak, and we will, before long, realize to whom we truly belong.

 

2. Prodigal – Sidewalk Prophets

For those unfamiliar (including myself at the time of writing this), a prodigal is defined in this context as a person who leaves home and behaves recklessly but later makes a repentant return (alluding to a parable in Luke 15:11-32). The bottom line of the song is: no matter how far you may think you are from God, He is the Father of mankind who loves you as His flesh and blood. Moreover, we all have this longing deep down in our hearts for an unconditional love like His, a longing that is especially prominent in times of desperation. The song is upbeat, and it carries a powerful message.

Also, looking back through the parable mentioned earlier, I noticed how the prodigal son had a feast prepared for him whereas his brother, who had been slaving away all his life for the father’s sake, did not receive such a feast. This shows how much more significant it is for a lost person to be brought back than for an already faithful person to continue being faithful (which could be seen as one reason for this blog post).

 

1. Flawless – MercyMe

The music video shown above flawlessly (heh) depicts the overall message of the song. Notice how the band members are covered in paint that gradually disappears as the song progresses, as an accurate depiction of the effects of Jesus’ death on the cross—He suffered so that we would be made flawless in Him by faith. Also notice the people who are shown during the chorus—at first, they are labeled with some form of pain (which is not necessarily physical); then, at the last chorus, they are simply labeled “FLAWLESS”.

Additionally, the first verse provides an accurate description of how we perceive each other in a worldly view: doing right and wrong, thinking there’s worth in what we do. In truth, however, it is not about what we have done, but what Jesus has done for us. His unconditional love is indeed enough to take our wrongs and make us righteous. The cross has made us flawless.

 

Like before, I recommend to anyone reading to visit K-Love’s online radio player at http://www.klove.com/listen/player.aspx (again, regardless of faith). God bless the people who were inspired to compose this music in His name so that we may have an easier time connecting with Him.

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Spontaneous Saturday 11/7/15: My own fantasy story

Even though I have no desire to take up writing as a profession, I have a secret hobby of writing fantasy stories. It’s been a thing since…well, as long as I can remember, honestly. These stories, much like this blog, are a great outlet for me to dump my thoughts, so they mostly draw inspiration from video games, anime, or other media that I consume.

Right now, I am working on one in particular, titled Cinq du Soleil, which is a sort of pervy fantasy harem story with magical elements. I can’t guarantee it’s good, though, because I’m hard on myself because, again, I’m not a professional writer, and I’ve been single my whole life (which I feel says something about my perception of women). That said, if you wish to see my progress on this story (which you might even catch me editing), click the link below:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eJB_L3JOYaCPpSF2iJjvZjZuPi3i5yc1ifD7N1UynVs/edit?usp=sharing

The rest of this post will explain in detail any background information surrounding the creation of this story; i.e., the untitled precursor concept (for lack of a better term) and any other inspirations and/or explanations behind my ideas.

Precursor

The precursor to this story used to be kept on a text document titled “Brainstorming lewd crud” that is no longer in my possession today, so chances are I may not remember everything about it.

Chiefly inspired by the anime Trinity Seven, the original idea involved two male protagonists and five female (making seven total). The male protagonists were Toru Koroi and Ao Mirakane (the latter of whom is now an antagonist), and the five females were about the same as they are, except Sumire’s last name was Dajira before I changed it to Miyazaki, and Yue Panishi used to be named Panishi Yuu.

Another similarity between the precursor and the original is that it involved five antagonists, granted there are some slight inconsistencies—in Ao’s place was a glasses girl (like Panishi) named Nao some-last-name-I-can’t-remember, Midori’s last name used to be Bolt, and in Dealer’s place was a similar character named Xenon (who was supposed to be female with an alter ego named Sena). Also, I was considering making the L’Ouverture character’s first name Toussaint (with a different last name, of course), but I had no idea how to write that in katakana at the time, and it didn’t occur to me back then to just check the Japanese version of the Wikipedia article of Toussaint L’Ouverture. (I like to provide Japanese writings of most of the names just because.)

Their weapons, however, were somewhat different from how they are now. The glasses worn by the likes of Toru and Panishi used to fire artillery (bullets, missiles, etc.) as opposed to their current purpose of facilitating the use of magic. In addition:

  • Aka’s sword, Picante, used to be named Taki, a random name that also serves as an inversion of Ao’s old sword name, Kita.
  • Sumire used to have a toy hammer (sort of like that of Amy Rose) named DajiPiko, which was a questionable idea in my mind.
  • Kaori’s dual arm blades, Aigu and Grave, used to be Wind and Earth, respectively, before they were converted to pure Wind in light of a radical change in lore explained later.
  • Midori’s swords had a different name, but I don’t remember what.
  • Xenon… I don’t even know if she even had a weapon.

The characters’ specials were different as well. Sumire’s was some sort of threefold attack (of which I can’t remember the name), Panishi’s was a mass firing of weapons (named Heavy Artillery in the precursor, even adapted to Open Fire in the current rendition before it was replaced with Metal Bind), and Mona’s was a love-based attack (of which I can’t remember the name) that dealt heavy damage to non-allies.

Besides that, the whole thing about elements and spells and Chief Elementals and whatnot was not in the precursor. Instead, the precursor was centered around a bunch of monsters (summoned by Neguro L’Ouverture) that were named using corrupted spellings of French animal/monster names from A to Z, and those whose names were closer to Z were more powerful.

I guess that’s all I have to say about the precursor, except that it wasn’t really a fleshed-out story, just a bunch of “Bits and Pieces,” as I like to call them.

Inspirations/Explanations

  • Again, the anime Trinity Seven is the chief inspiration of this story. During the season it was airing, I thought for some reason, “Hey, this inspires me to create my own harem story! I’ll even put seven main characters in it!” Thus, the precursor was conceptualized. (That said, if you are reading this section before or while reading Cinq du Soleil, do not expect the male lead to be much like Arata.)
  • The male protagonist duo, as it was in the precursor, was modeled after Tiz and Ringabel in the game Bravely Default.
  • Sumire’s first name and appearance (and, to some degree, her personality) are inspired by Sumire Saitou, one of my favorite characters of all time, from the manga K-On! Highschool.
  • The name Panishi is a romanization of how a Japanese person would say the English word “punish,” hence her punitive behavior at times. Her precursor name (Panishi Yuu) is supposed to sound like “punish you,” but her current name (Yue Panishi) is a bit more subtle.
  • The names Aka, Ao, and Midori are based on Japanese color names: red, blue, and green, respectively.
  • Aka’s last name (Fujiyama) meaning “Mt. Fuji” is pure coincidence, I promise. I didn’t intend anything by it; it just came off the top of my head.
  • Aka’s sword name, Picante, is Spanish for “spicy,” as a contrast to Ao’s sword name, Gelato, which is Italian for “frozen.”
  • Kaori’s last name (Delacroix) comes from that of Eugène Delacroix, which was to me (at the time) just some random name I learned about in 10th grade history. Also, my intention with her was to make her a French speaker, so I had to come up with something French.
  • Kaori herself is modeled after Claire Rouge from the anime Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance, and the male lead encounters her in a similar situation (especially so in the precursor, but Kaori’s response to the situation is slightly altered in the current rendition).
  • Kaori’s dual arm blades are supposed to resemble those seen in RWBY Volume 2 Episode 12. Their names, Aigu and Grave, are based on the French names of upward and downward accents, respectively. Moreover, Kaori’s special, Circonflex, is based on the accent that is effectively a combination of the two.
  • Mona Koroi is modeled after the titular character of the manga Cyclops Shoujo Saipuu in terms of her brocon nature and relatively large size.
  • Oda Koroi is named after Oda Nobunaga.
  • Nao, who was in the precursor but not in the current rendition, was based on the character Nao Okuda from K-On! Highschool. Thus, she was intended to be associated with Sumire.
  • Midori’s weapons, Sativa and Sativus, are named after the feminine and masculine forms (respectively) of a Latin botanical adjective meaning cultivated.
  • Neguro’s last name, L’Ouverture, comes from that of Toussaint L’Ouverture. (His dark skin is also part of this connection.) In a similar vein to Delacroix, this name is used as a random French name to signify that he is a French speaker.
  • The whole thing in the precursor about one of the antagonists (Xenon) having an alter ego (Sena) was chiefly inspired by Kili Surtr Muspelheim from the anime Juuou Mujin no Fafnir, who became a wolf in sheep’s clothing by the second half of the anime, when she was disguised as Honoka Tachikawa.
  • The name Tudi (given to the chief elemental of Water) is honestly a name for lack of a better name: a random name that vaguely sounds like “too deep.”
  • Créé is French for “created,” which is based on how the character Créé is artificial.
  • As for the title…I’ll describe it using the words of Kaori Delacroix in the story:
    “‘Cinq’ means ‘five,’ which is meant to symbolize that there are five of us girls who each use one element of the Soleil spectrum, of which there are five total. It is also a play on the term ‘Cirque du Soleil,’ which delivers the message that we can put on quite a show. … The ‘five’ part of the name only refers to me, Sumire, Yue, Aka, and Mona.”

I guess that’s it, maybe even too much. Perhaps I may have forgotten something. I will update the post if so.

 

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Poké Monday 11/2/15: Lopunny

RNG (Lopunny)  

Lopunny
Tier: OU
Type: Normal
Base Stats: 65 HP, 76 Atk, 84 Def, 54 Sp.Atk, 96 Sp.Def, 105 Speed
Abilities: Cute Charm, Klutz, Limber (hidden)

Mega Lopunny
Tier: OU
Type: Normal/Fighting
Base Stats: 65 HP, 136 Atk, 94 Def, 54 Sp.Atk, 96 Sp.Def, 135 Speed
Ability: Scrappy

Usable moves: Agility, Baton Pass, Blizzard, Circle Throw, Drain Punch, Encore, Façade, Fake Out, Fire Punch, Focus Blast, Frustration, Grass Knot, Heal Bell, Healing Wish, Hidden Power (Fire, Ice), High Jump Kick, Hyper Voice, Ice Beam, Ice Punch, Jump Kick, Low Kick, Magic Coat, Power-Up Punch, Protect, Rest, Return, Shadow Ball, Substitute, Switcheroo, Thunder, Thunder Punch, Thunder Wave, Thunderbolt, Toxic

Overview

In past generations, Lopunny was confined to lower tiers because of its lack of offensive presence and not much bulk to compensate. What gave it its niche back then was its access to Klutz and Switcheroo. This was a unique combination back in the D/P era, but the B/W era brought Swoobat with Klutz and Trick. (However, Swoobat is more frail and has a much better niche in Simple Calm Mind.) The combination of Klutz and Switcheroo allowed Lopunny to trade away a Choice Scarf or a Flame Orb without having to worry about the negative effects of those items, not to mention it has Encore in the event that its Choice Scarf is already traded off. Simply put, in the past, Lopunny always used its utility instead of trying to be offensive.

Now that ORAS has gifted it with an awesome Mega Evolution, its role has been reversed completely. For starters, it no longer has any use for Klutz Switcheroo in its tier because it lacks viability without its Mega Stone, Lopunnite. (It would be better off using its hidden ability, Limber, so that it can switch in freely on Thunder Waves and Glares before it Mega Evolves.) In addition, upon Mega Evolution, its already decent Speed stat is boosted by 30 base points and its paltry Attack stat by a whopping 60, putting it at the 5th highest Speed tier in OU (behind 160, 150, 145, and 140) and giving it some nice offensive power to back it up. Not only that, but it gets extra Fighting typing with Scrappy, meaning its dual STABs hit everything except Shedinja for neutral damage or above. This means that it can freely High Jump Kick and/or Fake Out without having to worry about the average Ghost-type switch-in. Finally, it has passable bulk for being offensively oriented, gets a +10 Defense boost on Mega Evolution, and can take Knock Offs relatively well after Mega Evolving (which it couldn’t if it ran a set like it did in prior generations). The extra Fighting typing also makes it easier to switch into Stealth Rock, which only takes 1/16 of the bunny’s HP instead of 1/8.

However, even Mega Lopunny is not without its limitations. Being Fighting-type gives it some extra weaknesses in Flying, Psychic, and Fairy, the first of which makes it prone to revenge killing from the likes of Talonflame and Mega Pinsir. Additionally, Mega Lopunny may be something offensively, but it’s not that powerful, especially considering that it lacks the freedom to hold an item other than Lopunnite. Its High Jump Kicks may hit hard, but its Returns/Frustrations…not so much. This means defensive Fighting resists like Landorus-Therian, Mew, and Clefable can sit in front of it without much worry, especially the first of these. Finally, Mega Lopunny uses up a Mega slot, which means that it cannot be run alongside other Megas. Therefore, when teambuilding, careful consideration is necessary, specifically in terms of what it does and how other team members can cover its bases.

In summary, Mega Lopunny has amazing neutral coverage with its high BP STABs and some nice offensive stats to back it up, but its extra weaknesses and lack of freedom of item choice hinder it somewhat.

Set

Lopunny @ Lopunnite
Ability: Limber
Happiness: 0
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– High Jump Kick
– Frustration
– Fake Out
– Power-Up Punch

This set takes full advantage of Mega Lopunny’s offensive potential, utilizing its access to a nigh unblockable Fake Out (the only one besides that of Kangaskhan), hard-hitting dual STABs, and Power-Up Punch as a method of increasing its capability of wearing down more defensively oriented teams. Fake Out also has the neat advantage of allowing it to Mega Evolve freely without having to worry about base 106-135 Pokémon outspeeding it the turn it Mega Evolves.

Again, the best pre-Mega ability is Limber, which allows it to switch freely into Thunder Wave and Glare. 0 Happiness with Frustration is preferable over max Happiness and Return, especially in battle simulators where max Happiness is the default, for the sole purpose of hindering Ditto that try to copy it—Happiness is not one of the values that Ditto copies when Transforming, so if the Ditto has max Happiness, Frustration will become a base 1 Normal-type move.

EVs are pooled mainly into Attack and Speed, maximizing its offensive capabilities. Jolly nature is required to outspeed base 120-130 (notably Tornadus-Therian), as well as Choice Scarf users up to Malamar, and speed tie with Mega Manectric and other Mega Lopunny. Pre-Mega, this puts it past base 92-104, notably Mega Medicham. The remaining 4 EVs should not be put into HP; instead, they should be invested in Defense to reduce residual damage. (With 4 HP EVs, Lopunny reaches an HP stat of 272, which is divisible by 8 and 16, meaning Stealth Rock will do 34 pre-Mega and 17 post-Mega. However, keeping its HP at 271 reduces Stealth Rock damage by 1 (33 pre-Mega, 16 post-Mega) due to GameFreak’s damage formulae always rounding down.)

Other Options

Baton Pass gives Lopunny the option of keeping up momentum or potentially passing a Power-Up Punch boost (although I personally would not recommend PUP and Baton Pass on the same set). Substitute is another thing that Lopunny can Baton Pass, which also protects it from status moves and gives it one-time insurance against priority. Ice Punch is its best option against Landorus-Therian, which, at -1, 2HKOs the standard defensive variant after Stealth Rock and/or in conjunction with Fake Out. Façade can be used to counteract a potential burn or to deal greater damage than Return/Frustration when poisoned, but it is a liability otherwise (considering a resisted High Jump Kick doesn’t do much less than a neutral unboosted Façade). Lopunny can also use Healing Wish support, but there are better candidates for clerical roles.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/J3tYJMTf – Only tested once. It won its only battle, but that was against a team with Uxie, Kingdra, Arcanine, Scizor, Sylveon (Toxic+Protect even), and Mega Gardevoir.

This team contains:

  • Lopunny (set above)
  • Garchomp for Stealth Rock and warding off most priority users
  • Chansey for pure walling and Aromatherapy support
  • Heatran as another Stealth Rocker and defensive Steel-type
  • Gengar to take care of Psychic- and Fairy-types
  • Excadrill as a Choice Scarf user, Rapid Spinner, and alternative Fairy slayer