Surskit (Poké Monday 1/25/16)

 Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 2.44.18 AM

Tier: LC
Type: Bug/Water
Base Stats: 40 HP, 30 Atk, 32 Def, 50 Sp.Atk, 52 Sp.Def, 65 Speed
Abilities: Swift Swim, Rain Dish (hidden)

Usable moves: Agility, Aqua Jet, Baton Pass, Blizzard, Double-Edge, Façade, Frustration, Giga Drain, Haze, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Ice), Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, Protect, Quick Attack, Rest, Return, Scald, Shadow Ball, Signal Beam, Sleep Talk, Sticky Web, Substitute, Toxic

Overview

Surskit has a unique typing in Bug/Water, the only existing type combination that is naturally resistant to both Ice and Ground. That’s not its selling point, though; its selling point is that it is one of only three LC-legal Sticky Web users (the others being Sewaddle and Spinarak) and has the best Speed, secondary typing, and coverage of the three.

The main purpose of Surskit is to set up Sticky Web, with which it can support its team (and, in some situations, itself) by slowing grounded switch-ins as long as the hazard remains on the field, and chip away at the opposing team using its strong offensive options backed with its respectable 14 SpA (given max investment and neutral nature) and above average 17 maximum Speed. It is not without its weaknesses, however; its physical bulk is poor, its special bulk is merely average, and it’s weak to common attacking types in Electric, Rock, and Flying. This is especially problematic when faced with Anorith, who is guaranteed to go first and KO with Rock Blast.

Set

Surskit @ Focus Sash
Ability: Swift Swim
Level: 5
EVs: 36 HP / 20 Def / 196 SpA / 20 SpD / 236 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Sticky Web
– Hydro Pump
– Signal Beam
– Giga Drain

Sticky Web is a mandatory move on this set; if you’re not running Sticky Web on Surskit, you’re doing it wrong. Hydro Pump is its strongest STAB move that has great coverage in itself; every team should be prepared to take on Water-type attackers. Signal Beam is its supplementary STAB that hits Grass-types harder than Hydro Pump. Giga Drain gives it coverage against opposing Water-types and, on a less important note, lets it regain lost health.

Focus Sash is the item of choice because Surskit is too frail to take hits on its own, even with Eviolite (but watch out for Rock Blast). Swift Swim is the ability of choice because Surskit is offensively based and therefore has no need for Rain Dish, not to mention having Swift Swim allows Surskit to keep up with rain teams—which, albeit rare, actually exist. EVs are focused primarily on SpA and Speed, with filler EVs dumped into bulk, as frail as Surskit is. Timid nature is required for Surskit to keep up with base 63-72 Speed Pokémon and outspeed base 55-62 (base 53 and 54 are nonexistent in LC). Attack IV is set to 0 to reduce damage from confusion and Foul Play.

Other Options

Protect is an option to defend Surskit from Fake Out and keep its Sash intact, but it serves little purpose otherwise. Ice Beam, although weaker than Signal Beam given the same efficacy, hits various Grass-types (such as Foongus) and most Dragon-types harder, while also hitting Flying-types significantly harder and therefore giving it the potential to discourage Defoggers. And…that’s about it.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/XzumkaPL – Not much room for explanation with this team. I mainly built it around Sticky Web; that’s all there is to it.

This team contains:

  • Surskit (set above)
  • Wooper to discourage setup sweepers
  • Houndour to take care of (most) Grass-types
  • Anorith for Stealth Rock and hazard control
  • Foongus for soaking up hits and forming a sort of wall core with Wooper
  • Pawniard to discourage Defog

No spinblockers, but eh. I don’t feel like a Ghost-type would fit very well on this team, plus I fear that Knock Off will destroy said Ghost-type.

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Potpourri feat. winter 2016 anime (Thought Dump Thursday 1/21/16)

The thing about Thought Dump Thursdays is that sometimes they may be focused on one topic, but other times (like now) they may just be in the classic potpourri style of the former Thought Dump series, wherein I just say what I’m thinking, not caring how many different topics I bring up within the post in question. However, from now on, I decided with such potpourri posts that I would include the main topic of focus—i.e., the topic which I discuss first—as the defining feature of the part of the title outside of the parentheses. This is partly to make the end part of the URL unique and partly so that the posts are less likely to be overlooked.

So, first off: I tend to limit myself in the anime that I watch (especially now that I’ve reached my last semester of college) to series that really interest me. So far, of the anime that have started airing this season, three have successfully grabbed my attention:

Musaigen no Phantom World

I owe my interest in this anime to a tweet by Dutch speedrunner CriticalCyd. From what I’ve seen (i.e., the first three episodes), it’s about people being able to see illusions, including illusionary beings known as Phantoms, and put to rest the Phantoms that cause mischief. In terms of main characters, we have: Haruhiko Ichijou, a dark-haired dude who excels at dropping trivia and carries a sketchbook for sealing and summoning; Ruru, a fairy-like Phantom who accompanies Haruhiko much like Navi; Mai Kawakami, a blonde and busty chick who excels at martial arts; and Reina Izumi, a black-haired girl who has…quite an appetite, to say the least. I don’t have much to say about this one…yet, although the lore is pretty interesting, and I am eager to see more out of the other students who have had various minor appearances (i.e., Koito Minase and that one loli with the teddy bear).

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (KonoSuba)

I’ve been awaiting this anime ever since 2015 when it was announced. Before then, I was already familiar with the manga and had read the first four chapters, and it is certainly great stuff. It’s centered around the shut-in Kazuma Satou who ends up dying a ridiculous death and is invited by the “goddess” Aqua to an RPG-like world to which he is allowed to take any one thing…and he chooses Aqua. So, this fledgeling shut-in and demoted goddess are stuck in the world to make a living and get stronger in hopes of defeating the demon king. On the way, they meet the explosion-obsessed chuunibyou arch wizard Megumin and the masochistic blonde crusader known as Darkness. As a whole, all I can say is that the anime defied some of the expectations I had while reading the manga: Aqua’s hair seems brighter and her skirt a whole lot more see-through, Megumin has a more emotional voice than I expected, and Kazuma is portrayed to be seemingly more useful than the manga made him seem. Still, I’m looking forward to how it will unfold, for better or for worse.

Dagashi Kashi

I have no idea what force of nature compelled me to watch this anime…and read up to chapter 38 in the manga…but I am liking it so far. It’s about an aspiring mangaka, Kokonotsu Shikada, whose father, You Shikada, is the owner of an urban shop that sells cheap snacks (known as dagashi) and wishes for Kokonotsu to succeed the shop, even if he doesn’t want to. Suddenly, he meets the dreamy but eccentric lavender-haired Hotaru Shidare, who makes a deal with You that he will help the Shidare family with their dagashi-selling business if she convinces Kokonotsu to succeed the Shikada shop. Even though Hotaru (and Kokonotsu, whether he likes it or not) is enthusiastic to a fault about dagashi, Kokonotsu refuses the offer through and through, making for a lasting, comedic, and somewhat educational relationship between the two, with some moments shared with Kokonotsu’s friends Tou and Saya Endou. Good stuff.

The rest of the potpourri

Phoenotopia

First of all:

New any% PB! (Please read the following Pastebin—http://pastebin.com/GHcvwBFs—before watching.) 55:14 RTA, which is a 4-minute time save over my previous run! I did say before that sub 1 hour in-game time was possible, and I managed to cut the in-game timer down to 58 minutes! I also said before that “sub 56 [RTA] would be an ideal time for this category,” but I feel even at 55:14 that there is still plenty of room for improvement. I’m honestly surprised that I ended up saving time on the Dread Lands / Mul Cavern split, seeing how I lost about 18 seconds by clumsily falling at the very end. I also lost another 18 seconds (maybe more) by failing Golem Skip, and the early game was rather shaky as a whole. So, I’m thinking low 54 RTA (so 56 or 57 in-game time) would be an ideal goal time.

I should also add that this is my first (and possibly last) run completed on the French version. I decided to try it out, just out of curiosity, but I went back and timed it in comparison to the original English, and it wastes about 4 seconds in text boxes.

Second, about 100%…I’ll probably start up another playthrough just to experiment with some things (and get screenshots of potential split icons) because, now that I think about it, I’m kinda confused on Moonstone #42 on the Scribd guide (the moonstone that you get from Floe in Cross Roads). Like, according to the guide, you have to exterminate the slimes, talk to Gill at Great Walls, and then talk to Floe for the moonstone, and that’s how it’s currently routed out. However, to have to go through that much seems a little suspicious to me. Is it really necessary to talk to Gill? Heck, is it even necessary to exterminate the slimes? (I’m thinking “yes” to the latter question, just because it makes more sense that way, although I’m not so sure about the former.) Other than that, I don’t know about changing the route; the only trick in the route for which a stamina boost is absolutely necessary is Harpy Skip, which saves having to put up with an RNG-heavy fight in Ancient’s Crater that would otherwise probably take forever (but most likely not as long as in any% because you would have more HP in 100%). As for everything else, it’s just minor time loss…and besides, stamina-boosting items are not just available at Honey Labs Inn; there’s also the Honeyed Tumonds at Bandits’ Lair and Dread Lands, as well as the Jar of Honey in the Dread Lands save room and the E-Soda in Ancient’s Crater. So, that adds up to 6 minutes of stamina boosts.

Anyway, that’s what’s on the table whenever I get back to it.

Freemium 3DS games

Pokémon Shuffle came out with a whopping 40 normal stages (261-300) in one update. To put that into perspective, that’s literally two-thirds of Roseus Center, which has the most stages of any location in the game, and, heck, even just the number of released stages exceeds the number of stages in any previous location. That’s really something. Another thing about this update: I started out at 99999 coins, spent 15500 on Zekrom (I defeated it without items, but given that I did so on the last move, I obviously failed to catch it at that time), and pretty much all of the rest went into Great Balls, which allowed me to catch everything up to Palpitoad (if only the RNG could have been more cooperative) and a few others with luck. Also, get this: I spent 13300 coins (for Moves +5, Mega Start, Complexity -1, and Disruption Delay) on Mega Rayquaza and still fell short of S-ranking it (had 8 moves remaining). I don’t know if it had something to do with my team; I had Mega Latios, Goodra, Dragonite, and Rayquaza (8/8/7/6)…but hey, now that I have Mega Ray, I can give it a taste of its own medicine next time! (What I have in mind is a team of Mega Ray, Xerneas, Diancie, and…er…Articuno.) Anyway, that’s what’s on the table for Pokémon Shuffle, along with having to S-rank 30 more stages and later take care of the EX stages, so…I guess I’ll just Meowth grind a bunch and get back in the fray when I feel ready.

Next: Pokémon Picross. For a cheapskate like me who refuses to pay for freemium games, progress is quite slow on that game. It really is just like Rumble World in terms of its currency system: get a bunch of Picrites (Picross’s equivalent of Diamonds), unlock the next zone, clear that zone, rinse and repeat. I may have once said that progress is slower in Picross than Rumble World, but now that I think about it, they are about the same; if not, Rumble World may be the slower one because the number of Diamonds you get from Rumble World in the daily events external to missions is entirely RNG-dependent, whereas how many Picrites you get in the Daily Challenge depends mostly on execution and somewhat on RNG. Being on Area 09 and having reached level 10 of the Daily Challenge (which wasn’t too hard due to the prior experience I’ve had with Conceptis’s Pic-a-Pix), I get a daily yield of 11 (or 9 if I get sloppy), which isn’t too shabby. What annoys me, though, is that not a single Pokémon prior to Area 12 is Rock- or Ground-type. Like, really, why the heck is that, especially considering some of the challenges prior to that area have objectives requiring Slash Reveal?

As for Badge Arcade and Rumble World, I don’t have much to say about those. Badge Arcade…doesn’t leave much room for explanation, although I’m going to come out and say that I wish I had a swimsuit Nikki badge. In Rumble World, I’m really close to unlocking the 160-Diamond balloon, whatever that is (I can’t be bothered to look it up), and there’s still the 200-Diamond balloon waiting in the wings.

 

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

Loudred (Poké Monday 1/11/16)

 Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 10.27.52 PM

(decided to put the Pokémon image before the RNG image from now on)

Tier: PU
Type: Normal
Base Stats: 84 HP, 71 Atk, 43 Def, 71 Sp.Atk, 43 Sp.Def, 48 Speed
Abilities: Soundproof, Scrappy (hidden)

Usable moves: Blizzard, Body Slam, Brick Break, Circle Throw, Double-Edge, Earthquake, Extrasensory, Façade, Fire Blast, Fire Punch, Flamethrower, Frustration, Hammer Arm, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Ice), Hyper Voice, Ice Beam, Ice Punch, Low Kick, Overheat, Power-Up Punch, Protect, Rest, Return, Roar, Rock Slide, Seismic Toss, Shadow Ball, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Taunt, Thunder Punch, Toxic, Zen Headbutt

Overview

Loudred is a lesser version of Exploud, an offensively-based Normal-type with a colorful movepool and access to one particular deadly tool in Scrappy STAB Boomburst. Sadly, Loudred lacks this tool and suffers a drop in stats that makes it look less than appealing, even for a PU Pokémon. Its sub-par attacking stats do no justice for its low Speed, and its okay HP is offset by its poor defenses (making for a familiar stat distribution among Pokémon introduced in Gen 3). Its offensive capabilities are outclassed by those of many other Normal-types in the tier (e.g., Bouffalant, Chatot, Ursaring, and even Wigglytuff), and whatever defensive capabilities it may have are hindered by its lack of reliable recovery. The only thing it can really do is take advantage of Scrappy Circle Throw, a shuffling tactic that can only be stopped by Shedinja or Substitute, and it is one of only two PU-legal Pokémon to be able to do so, the other being Pancham (which has slightly better physical bulk and a stronger Circle Throw but slightly worse special bulk and lower Speed). On another note, it’s a shame that Scrappy is incompatible with Body Slam and Seismic Toss.

Set

Loudred @ Eviolite
Ability: Scrappy
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Def / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
– Circle Throw
– Toxic
– Rest
– Sleep Talk

Loudred is such a lackluster Pokémon competitively that the best set I could think of for it doesn’t even have STAB. It can use Circle Throw to shuffle things around (best used with hazards), use Toxic to wear down things that can easily take its Circle Throws (basically pretty much everything), use Rest as its only form recovery, and use Sleep Talk so that it’s not a sitting duck while it sleeps (more so than it is in general).

Eviolite is used for maximum bulk, and Scrappy allows Circle Throw to hit Ghost-types (if it doesn’t miss…90% is a lower number than you might think). Since Loudred has equal defenses, there is no real be-all-end-all decision in terms of what it defends best against, but it is advised to not put any EVs in its already decent HP and instead invest everything in its paper-thin defenses.

Other Options

Since the set above is completely screwed over by Substitute, Loudred can opt to run Roar instead of (or maybe alongside) Circle Throw. However, keep in mind that Roar is stopped by Taunt and Soundproof users (although there are only two good Soundproof users in the tier: Electrode and Mr. Mime, the former of which carries Taunt anyway). Since Body Slam is incompatible with Scrappy, Loudred can instead opt to run Secret Power as a weaker alternative form of paralysis that affects any non-Electric-type not named Shedinja that does not have Limber. Not much else to note, really. Loudred is really not worth using unless it’s a favorite.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/NJP3s1mS – Nothing to be taken seriously; just some dumb PU team with Loudred in it that apparently gets swept by Sub+NP Simipour.

This team contains:

  • Loudred (set above)
  • Ninetales for special sweeping and because the team I thought of at first got destroyed by Leafeon
  • Dwebble for hazards
  • Pawniard for physical sweeping and to discourage Defog
  • Gourgeist-Super for spinblocking and taking physical attacks
  • Altaria to take special hits and provide Heal Bell support

Phoenotopia speedrunning (Thought Dump Thursday 1/7/16)

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 11.25.35 PM

A sort of precursor to this post is Spontaneous Saturday 8/15/15, wherein I talk about the game as a whole and my initial plans for speedrunning it (primarily before I discovered Loot Duping).

Now, what I wish to do is lay out the entirety of my thought process behind speedrunning this game into one blog post. It is a rather long read, which is why I included headings to aid those who wish to skip past certain parts of the reading.

How I started

The reason why I considered picking up this game as a speedgame is because I always found it to be an amazing game and there was no leaderboard for it on speedrun.com (not to mention there is a “Speed Runner!” achievement that is part of the game). The routing started out rather weird, involving not only breaking several chests, but also taking advantage of the NPCs that give you money for items (the guy who sells honey at Sunflower Road buys honeycombs, and the Duri Fruit merchant in Atai buys Duri Fruit, both for 15 Rai apiece). Then, I fine-tuned the route to exploit the fact that you can actually break into the mayor’s palace stash without the Javelin if you pull out a bomb and let it detonate on you at the peak of your jump, allowing you to pop up on top of the permeable part of the roof. Because of the high yield from this (which is normally 90 Rai, in addition to a potential extra 50 or 90 from selling the High Quality Silk), this was the easiest way to cover the expenses for the Iron Hammer (which is pretty much required because it makes boss fights quicker)…that is, until the moment I discovered Loot Duping.

Loot Duping

You may be wondering why I keep going on about “Loot Duping.” In short, it’s when a loot container is broken multiple times on the same frame and thus drops its spoils as many times as it is broken. I’ve mentioned it in my previous post, calling it a “glitch.” I was previously debating this nomenclature, but the SpeedRunsLive glossary defines a glitch as an “unintentional mistake in the game’s code, often exploited.” From a design perspective, I’m sure that the developer did not intend for the chest to be broken any more than once on the same frame; therefore, I now stand by calling it a glitch. I seriously don’t know whether this has been found before, because searching “phoenotopia glitch” on Google came up with nothing pertinent.

Primitive stages of the glitch

It started with the chests in Bandits’ Lair, which I had the idea of breaking by throwing them at each other. Normally, this would produce 50 Rai, because both of the chests have 25 in them, but I got curious when I realized that sometimes I was actually getting 75. Thankfully, I actually recorded a live demonstration of this happening.

Forgive the lack of professionalism; I did a simple recording in OBS and can’t be bothered to edit out the parts where I bring up OBS to start and stop the recording (because the original file is an FLV, which I do not have the software to edit). In this file, I start off with 26 Rai. At the beginning of the video, I get 50 Rai from the duo of chests (ending up with 76), as expected. However, later in the video (at around 0:50), I actually get 75 Rai from the duo of chests (ending up with 101).

This enigma led me to hypothesize that one of the chests had its spoils doubled because it collided with two objects at once. Through experimentation, I figured out how to achieve this “Loot Duping,” as I dubbed it, with the chests in Bandits’ Lair and the piggy banks in the mayor’s palace in Atai, in a consistent manner through pixel-perfect positioning.

Bandits' Lair Loot Dupe positioning

This is the primary Bandits’ Lair dupe positioning, which consists of lining up Gale so that the tip of her front foot is at the center of the second crate from the right (using the top pixels of the crate as a visual aid). If you were to throw the chest at this position, the chest would simultaneously collide with the other chest and the crate underneath it, which achieves the hypothesized effect of doubling the thrown chest.

PRE Loot Dupe positioning

This is the primary Atai palace dupe positioning, which uses the gold between Gale’s legs as a visual aid; i.e., she is positioned so that only the higher pixels of the gold are showing. This was the most important dupe of the run at first, yielding a whopping 135 Rai, more than enough to cover the expenses of the Iron Hammer.

Consistent Loot Duping

Not long after figuring out this new tech, something vital occurred to me. If this “Loot Duping” is achieved when a chest collides with two objects at once, could that also apply to a corner? Thus, I hypothesized, experimented, and figured out the most consistent form of Loot Duping. The easiest and original way to set it up is by positioning Gale so that the tip of her front foot is exactly 64 in-game pixels (192 computer pixels in the standard 900×600 window) from a corner on the same level as her. Once set up, all that’s left is to throw the chest at the corner for double the money.

Based on this new and more consistent method, the positionings of the above two Loot Dupes have been updated.

LDP - Bandits' Lair

Use the purple trinket as a visual aid. Performing this on both chests yields 100 Rai instead of 75.

LDP - Atai palace raid

Use the left vertical groove near the windows as a visual aid. Performing this on both piggy banks yields 180 Rai instead of 135.

By the way, this glitch only applies to containers that contain money or hearts. Other items—that is, Moonstones and consumable items (such as Honey)—cannot be duped. I have tried with the moonstone chest in Daea and the Honeyed Tumond jar near the save point outside of Bandits’ Lair, and neither can be duped.

As I went through the game and made note of places where the glitch can be put to use, I found that corners are not just limited to walls and floors, but also other containers and even enemies. In Sunflower Road, for instance, it is possible to dupe the chests by coaxing a Purple Spider to fall to ground level and using that spider and the ground as a makeshift corner. This is relatively difficult, however, as you have to get the exact positioning before the Purple Spider starts to return to its initial position (which doesn’t take that long) in order for the dupe to be successful.

LDP - Sunflower Road East

Shown above is how you would dupe the chest on the east side of Sunflower Road, which normally yields 20 Rai but yields 40 after being duped. While the Purple Spider to the right of the chest’s initial position is down, look at the groove in the ground positioned in the middle of the leaf to the right of the Purple Spider and make sure it lines up with the center of Gale’s front foot.

Another way to create a makeshift corner is using the Javelin. This occurred to me when I was thinking about how I could dupe the chest in the falling maze in Daea. If there is not enough horizontal space for a traditional dupe, you can throw a Javelin at ground level to reduce the required space from 64 in-game pixels to 50 (i.e., from 192 computer pixels to 150).

LDP - Daea falling maze

Shown above is how you would dupe the chest that I mentioned earlier. You throw a Javelin at ground level and use the vertical beam in the background as a visual aid.

So, to conclude, here is a full list of consistent Loot Dupe positionings that I have found in my recent experience with this game:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1g915a9HxxZtzA2Fj9kMNS0jomsmzQxJcS_S2NzhAsbg/edit?usp=sharing
(If any of the ones that I have omitted are actually possible, and/or if I have missed any others, please let me know!)

4/5/16 EDIT: I just recently found out a way to make Loot Duping easier. If you are one pixel behind the required position (which happens quite frequently in my experience), you can simply place the container on the ground and roll into it. This moves Gale exactly 1 pixel forward, and that gives you the correct positioning.

Frame-perfect Loot Duping

It may not be possible to dupe all chests using the pixel-perfect methodology described above. (The exceptions as far as I know are all chests in Mul Cavern and the one chest in the second invisible maze of Ancient’s Crater.) However, regardless which chests cannot be duped using the pixel-perfect method, all chests can be duped.

When I was thinking about how Loot Duping relies on a loot container being broken twice on the same frame, I thought about other ways to break a container, and the first two things to come to my mind were: melee and bomb. If you place a bomb right near the loot container and time a melee attack so that it lands right when the bomb explodes, the loot container will produce twice the loot, just like with a pixel-perfect Loot Dupe.

Oh, but that’s not all. At the time of writing this blog post, something more appealing occurred to me. Could it be possible for a loot container to be broken three times on the same frame? Surely enough…well, just watch the video below.

The chest in the upper cave of Adar’s House, which normally contains 35 Rai, is broken in three different ways using the same approach (setting a bomb and throwing the chest at the corner as the bomb detonates):

  1. At 0:16 in the video, the bomb explodes on it before it can collide with any surface. Therefore, it produces 35 Rai, as expected.
  2. At 0:41 in the video, the chest hits the corner before the bomb explodes. Therefore, it produces 70 Rai—twice as much, as with any other pixel-perfect Loot Dupe.
  3. Now, here’s the fun part. At 0:56 in the video, as I intended with this nonsense, the chest hits the corner on the exact frame when the bomb explodes. Therefore, this one little chest containing 35 Rai has its spoils tripled and produces a whopping 105 Rai.

It is possible to do this with the Ki Spear Technique as well, but this requires a manual timing as opposed to a fixed timing (notwithstanding that the explosiveness of the Ki Spear expires after a certain time period). Whether this is less or more difficult is up for debate, but for now, I have to say the Ki Spear approach is easier.

Now, I’m not sure if it’s possible to combine hits from the bomb and the Ki Spear in conjunction with a makeshift corner to quadruple the spoils of a chest, but that would be extremely difficult to pull off if it were, because it combines the fixed timing aspect of the bomb method with the manual timing aspect of the Ki Spear method. Also, it requires a stamina boost, the Nebula Armlet, and literal first-try positioning. If anyone could pull that off and provide video proof, I would be very grateful.

Anyway, frame-perfect duping is not included in runs because it is not nearly as consistent to pull off as pixel-perfect duping. I’m not stopping anyone from trying to pull it off, though, especially because the tripling method, if done properly, can cover expenses like nothing else.

So, enough talk about Loot Duping. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

Any% speedrunning

Before watching this video, please read the following Pastebin: http://pastebin.com/YVDmiFZX (Also note that I will be using timestamps very frequently throughout this section, and they pertain to the video, not the splits.)

This is my first recorded any% speedrun of Phoenotopia, which ended up being 59:22 RTA (1 hour and 2 minutes IGT). I’d say it was a good run overall, outside of the blind sewer navigation (at around 28:06; wasted about 46 seconds), Prince Tower floor 3 (at around 35:10; wasted about 16 seconds), and, most of all, the end bosses (starting at 52:38; died to Big Eye once and 66 twice; lost about 1 minute and 19 seconds to Big Eye and about 1 minute to 66). My statement at 52:14 that “I probably just jinxed it” was more accurate than I expected. Also, some of the dupes could have been better, especially the Daea guard house dupe (at 24:27). On a more minor note, my menuing and mashing through text also could have been better. So, I say this time can be cut down by three minutes, maybe even more. I’m thinking sub 56 would be an ideal time for this category, and sub 1 hour in-game time is definitely possible.

Also, this wasn’t my first actual run, just my first recorded run. I believe I got 1:01:xx on my actual first run and 59:xx on some other run (which I believe was worse than the recorded one). It’s not the first time I tried to record a run either; the first run I tried to record, even though it was on such a good pace, ended up dying to Prince Tower floor 6 (which I execute first try in my completely recorded run at 36:30).

1/23 EDIT: Better (and deathless) run in 55:14 RTA [58m IGT]: https://youtu.be/VAl4LPImc_0

My Route

I completely routed this run from scratch, using an already completed file for movement practice through treacherous areas, and it is devoid of any Heart Rubies. My route can be found here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1R9RCd2kDnB83eX2DuJaYEMN9lHOb9O39p3dr2GScJuE/edit?usp=sharing

The Loot Dupes used in the run are:

  1. Duri Forest interior key room [30 -> 60] (3:45)
  2. Duri Forest exterior [15 -> 30] (6:10)
  3. Panselo leftmost building [25 -> 50] (7:03)
  4. Panselo second-rightmost building [15 -> 30] (7:41)
  5. Panselo lab [30 -> 60] (7:57)
  6. Panselo dojo [20 -> 40] (9:21)
  7. Misty Gorge inn [30 -> 60] (19:52)
  8. Thomas’ Lab [40 -> 80] (23:55)
  9. Daea guard house [35 -> 70] (24:27)

The first six dupes cover the combined expenses of the Rolling Technique Scroll (required to get through Atai Bridge; costs 50 Rai), the Talkinator Juice (required to get the locked-up bandit to tell where Bandits’ Lair is; costs 10 Rai), the Iron Hammer (makes boss fights faster; costs 120 Rai), and 6 Jars of Honey (which, at the cost of 90 Rai, grant 1.2x running speed and double stamina regeneration for 2 minutes each, allowing for quicker movement and some neat tech). The Misty Gorge inn dupe, funnily enough, is just the right sum to buy the Floatation Donut (60 Rai), which is required to proceed through Misty Gorge. The final two dupes are used for extra honey, potentially leaving a bit of backup Rai for revivals if needed (which is further bolstered by the chest in Daea sewers broken normally at 29:19).

Although I feel this financial planning is pretty much optimal in terms of time saved, it’s not very safe because of the following setbacks:

  • You cannot die before Thomas’ Lab
  • You cannot fail any of the dupes listed above; otherwise, it’s a reset

The first setback can be mitigated using the chests in the Bandits’ Lair storage room, but there’s not much to do about the second one.

Techniques used

This run contains some neat little tricks that are used to save time over the intended way of doing things. In particular:

  • As with most 2D platformers that somehow involve climbing, jumping up a ladder is quicker than just climbing it normally—in this case, about 1.5 times as fast. This is first demonstrated as early as 0:28.
  • At about 1:05, when I get the Wooden Bat, I hit the first box from a distance so that I can create a little ledge with it instead of having to hit the box four times (or with two consecutive charge attacks). I gave this trick a pet name known as “Box Ledge.”
  • I occasionally abuse the mechanics of landing lag by either pulling out a bomb (demonstrated at 17:37) or using a midair attack (demonstrated at 4:48). Pulling out a bomb is the simple approach, as landing lag does not occur while Gale is holding an item over her head. Using a midair attack, on the other hand, is more complicated. Normally, when Gale falls from above a certain threshold, if her descent is uninterrupted, she will go through a unique “landing lag” animation that wastes about half a second. However, if she is in the middle of a midair attack animation before hitting the ground, the landing lag mechanics are actually reversed, meaning she will only go through landing lag if she falls from below that threshold, and the inverse is also true.
  • At 3:30, I did not know to hit the key off of its platform using the Slingshot (initially, I would use the wooden box to create an extra platform for me to climb, and that made things way more difficult) until I saw a post on Reddit from more than a year ago of someone else who was considering speedrunning the game (but, as far as I can tell, never followed through).
  • Obviously, Loot Duping, as mentioned above.
  • As first demonstrated on the Armored Toad King at around 4:52, when I try to get off multiple attacks, I start it off with a charged attack, because apparently using a charged attack can make one or two subsequent attacks charged as well. (I give full credit to the TVTropes page (specifically the “Ascended Glitch” part) for that one.)
  • At 14:59, I do a little damage boost and abuse invincibility frames and the speed boost to run past the bandits instead of having to tangle with them.
  • When I started routing any%, it took me quite a while to realize that you can actually destroy the Sand Dragon’s fire hazards with bombs (as demonstrated at 16:15). I imagine this is intended, but it never occurred to me until the primary stages of routing (which was about a year after I first played the game casually).
  • I use the fact that interiors are significantly larger than exteriors in Phoenotopia to make decisions like taking the right entrance to Gale’s house instead of the left at 19:11.
  • Starting at 20:18, I jump out of the water a lot, making it obvious that airborne movement is significantly faster than waterborne movement.
  • To solve the pressure plate puzzle in Thomas’ Lab, instead of having to free the three metal boxes that are barricaded, since I have a stamina boost, I can place the metal box outside of the barricade on one pressure plate, place bombs on the other two pressure plates, and step on the fourth pressure plate, as demonstrated at 22:19.
  • Blind navigation through the sewers, as demonstrated at 28:06, in an attempt to save having to buy the Lamp. It’s easy until you climb the ladder (after hitting the farthest point left from the second-leftmost source of light on the screen), after which it becomes a nightmare. Upon dropping down, hold right so that the very leftmost source of light is barely showing, hit the switch, blindly jump to the platform that gets activated by the switch, wait for the sixth quickened tick of the timed switch, and blindly jump to the platform that re-activates as a result of the expiration of the timed switch. You should see a dust cloud if you did it successfully, meaning that you can jump again and head straight left.
  • At 29:43, I demonstrate the safest of skirmishes, picking at the guard dog using the bombs and taking out the Spear Guard using a combination of the Slingshot and the Iron Hammer.
  • At 30:15, I skillfully evade a guard dog and two guards by jumping over the guard dog and onto the bookcase. This saves the trouble of having to fight them.
  • At 30:30, I demonstrate an obvious flaw in the fish puzzle of Daea prison by sniping a switch off-screen with a well-aimed Slingshot round.
  • At 33:48, I exploit two key factors to take care of the Flying Bomb: (1) Gale is immune to damage when entering a door, and (2) once an enemy has been defeated, it will not come back unless you exit to the world map and re-enter. In essence, I lure the Flying Bomb over, time my exit just right, and voilà—I’ve defeated the Flying Bomb without having to play tennis with it (for lack of better terminology). I also abuse this at 35:46.
  • If you’re fast enough at 33:56, you can get the Flying Bomb above to activate the barricade-lowering switch for you, which is the best way to handle it.
  • At 34:03, it is fastest to alert both Flying Bombs so that the farther one explodes while you flee from the closer one. You could probably take the damage like a man and heal it off later, but I personally prefer to just flee from them.
  • The quickest way to hit the timed switch at 34:45 is by quickly firing the Slingshot. Additionally, at 34:48, pivoting and throwing the Javelin is quicker than climbing up the provided platforms.
  • On floor 5 of Prince Tower (at 36:16), instead of taking the route starting from the far right, I skip about half of the platforms by throwing the Javelin at the peak of a small jump (not necessarily a short hop) and using it as an easier way up.
  • If you manage to two-cycle the Kobold Mercenary General, like I do starting at 37:05, you should not have to worry about its annoying Flying Bomb phase (which, if it occurs, results in some sort of damage pretty much every time a Flying Bomb spawns, at least in my experience).
  • In response to the bomb trap at 41:53, I place a bomb right in front of the first Rolling Bomb to make the duo more avoidable.
  • Similarly, in response to the bomb trap at 44:09, I place a bomb right in front of the first Rolling Bomb on the right side, and the other two blow up by running into each other, making a clear path to the exit. The slightly faster (but riskier) alternative is throwing a relatively precise Javelin.
  • Much like the sewers, I navigate blindly through Mul Cavern to completely eliminate the need for the Lamp. This time, however, it is more semi-blind because you can barely see what is not illuminated (whereas in the sewers it is pitch black). Navigation through this area abuses two key factors: (1) The hives usually take 6 hits of the Iron Hammer to destroy, but explosives (i.e., bombs and the Ki Spear Technique) destroy them instantly. I believe this is another fact that I did not know before but figured out through intensive analysis of the game. (2) If a hive is destroyed and you exit the screen, the beetles that come out of the hive will despawn and never come back. Abusing these two factors makes blind navigation easier than it could be, but it is still relatively difficult. Thankfully, there are two Spotted Lepistas in your path, which each heal 15 HP. (Consult the route for further details on blindly navigating Mul Cavern.)
  • 47:49 shows that there is a part of the third screen of Ancient’s Crater that you can just completely bypass by performing a stamina-boosted hover from the permeable platform on top of the left side.
  • On the fifth screen of Ancient’s Crater, I actually use the third and fifth laser towers to my advantage by throwing bombs at the turrets, letting the laser towers detonate them on sight. This, in tandem with the stamina boost, helps to wither the turrets down with a relatively quick flurry of bombs (3 should be enough to kill), as demonstrated at 49:00.
  • At 49:51 and 51:17, I show off how to breeze through the invisible mazes without using the Artifact.
    • For the first invisible maze, I jump just past the initial platform, throw the Javelin after a short hop, climb up via that Javelin, find the highest possible ground to the left, jump from there, navigate to the top-right, hover over to the second vertical background element to the left from where you are, fall down, and head left.
    • For the second invisible maze, I head left until hitting a wall, head right until hitting the visible platform (literally or otherwise), walk left until I’m just behind the the second gray background element, jump up-left, throw the Javelin, climb up, and navigate easily through the rest.
  • For the upside-down turret that appears in 50:19, you can actually throw the metal boxes below at it, all of which do as much damage as the Iron Hammer, and even hold one as a sort of umbrella to protect yourself from the turret’s projectiles.
  • Ancient’s Crater is more broken than you may think. I literally skip every lockout fight before the boss: the Arc fight at 50:56, the flying turret fight at 51:02, the Golem fight at 51:40, and the Harpy fight at 51:49.
    • Arc Skip and Turret Skip are simple. Just position yourself adequately close to the laser trap, throw a bomb at maximum height, and the bomb will stop the barricade from moving when you activate the laser trap, so get the heck out of dodge before it explodes. In the case of Arc Skip, make sure to hover over the Arc that will appear on the right.
    • Golem Skip is the most difficult trick of the run, and if you fail it, you might as well just defeat the golems normally (although it’s slightly slower that way). You have to position yourself as far into the laser trap as you can without touching the danger zone and throw a bomb while hovering at maximum height. Ideally, the bomb will be in between both of the currently inactive barricades. Then, activate the trap, wait a brief moment, hover left, and get the heck outta dodge. Note: if you hover left too quickly, you will hit the Red Golem corpse and fail to make it in time.
    • Harpy Skip, I have to say, is a middle ground between Arc/Turret Skip and Golem Skip. However, unlike the previous skips, it absolutely requires a stamina boost. Run as fast as you can through the laser trap, jump so that you arc over the elevated ground ahead without bumping into anything, and fall on the right side of the drop (at which point you should ideally make it past the barricade before it’s too late), making sure to slow your descent by hovering, lest you fall into the pit and have to attempt the skip all over again.
  • At 51:10, I perform a neat little exploit in the backwards C area where you can drop a bomb down onto the vertically based laser trap and activate the lower laser detector, which will ideally result in the bomb being hit by the far left laser instead of you.
  • Big Eye seems really difficult with 20 HP, seeing how it takes exactly two blows coming directly from it to kill you. However, at 54:02, I demonstrate a perfect fight against the boss. Since the best number of cycles achievable with the Iron Hammer is 3, the cycles are best initiated at the following points:
    1. After destroying the flying turret. By then, you should have only one mini eye left to blind with your Artifact (on the elevated platform, of course). The sequence of Javelin throws on the roped spheres makes this a whole lot easier to achieve, and you can blind at least one mini eye before Big Eye starts sending the spheres out. Any other mini eyes can be blinded after the wind and lasers (all but the last, obviously).
    2. After the wind and Rolling Bombs. After the first cycle, hold right to stay damage-free during this phase and, when Gale stops jittering, blind the bottom-right, top-left, and top-right mini eyes (and the bottom-left if necessary; most of the time, the Rolling Bombs take care of that one).
    3. Right after the second cycle. Gotta be quick about this one, otherwise the next set of roped spheres will kill you. (Such was the cruel fate I suffered on my first attempt of Big Eye in the recorded run.)
  • You can actually escape from 66 without activating any unnecessary barricades if you’re fast enough. I tried this twice in my recorded run, but I failed both times, so I just decided to take a safer approach and only activate the first two.

Now that I think about it, it is actually really easy to skip the first Gray Golem on the second screen of Dread Lands (the one that I destroy with the stationary Rolling Bombs at 42:02) by jumping over it quickly, but that never occurred to me until now. (The any% route document has been updated accordingly.)

100%

This is something I’ve been thinking about along with any%, almost hand-in-hand—routing 100% has occasionally helped me find new techniques for any% and vice versa. The way 100% works is that the “collection rate” at the credits should say 100%. Even though the percentage counter was confusing to me at one point for a reason that I mention in Thought Dump 7 (long story short: 99% at first, unlock Mystery Bento and Power Potion, now at 100%), I managed to figure out what exactly causes the collection rate to rise and by how much. It works as follows:

  • Heart Rubies count for 2% each, making for a total of 46% if all are collected.
  • Moonstones count for 1% each, making for a total of 42% if all are collected.
  • The Blood Ring, Nebula Armlet, Lucky Belt, Ancient Armor, and Morning Star count for 2% each.
  • Obtaining the Ki Spear Technique Scroll counts for 1%.
  • Now, get this: Giving Translucent Meat to the chef in Daea counts for 1%. If you ask me, this is a very arbitrary requirement for 100%, because it is precisely what confused me in Thought Dump 7.

So, it makes sense that the resulting collection rate of an ideal any% run, which requires literally none of those, is 0%.

In terms of routing 100%, I’ve routed out what I find to be the fastest order of visiting the required locations and obtaining the required items, as well as covering the required finances through Loot Duping and various quest rewards throughout the game. A condensed version of the route in question can be found at:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1a-7h04mPT8IHCQui0IUWUjlMpQSZXauU1xevRL6p6ng/edit?usp=sharing
whereas a more specific version of the route can be found at:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cFN4Hn-rKLgZlvWTpQ9_X465IbVG6h5zahmKCCwc85Y/edit?usp=sharing
and my planning of the route can be found at:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wmjQbnNiv0UKS9_VL6KDOOkXPUBbzRS2xgRGjWmNH6U/edit?usp=sharing

I might plan to run 100% eventually, but for now, I’m kinda reluctant. Also, I feel that the route is not quite complete, because I’m wondering where stops for honey could be incorporated, if at all.

By the way, I just figured out today that the Ki Spear Technique is baneful to Flying Bombs (i.e., it causes them to detonate early). I had no idea how to deal with these things at first, but apparently that’s how. This might actually make parts of Daea prison and Prince Tower slightly easier. It’s not worth incorporating into the any% route because you need extra Rai for a Chocolate Protein Shake and some inventory space for both that and a Duri Fruit (the latter of which wastes time to find), not to mention the few Flying Bombs you encounter in the route are not that hard to deal with.

On a final note, that extra in Prince Tower where you have to climb up the ladders and avoid the arrows…is in my opinion the most frustrating thing in the game. (No amount of routing the late-game treacherous areas in any%, nor any part of Forgotten Forest, can compare.)

Afterword

I submitted this game to speedrun.com a week ago, making sure to include the video above in my submission, but I still haven’t received any approval or rejection. Perhaps just before AGDQ 2016 wasn’t exactly the best time to submit… 1/9 EDIT: Looks like it’s approved now. http://www.speedrun.com/phoenotopia

At any rate, I definitely enjoy Phoenotopia (in case that wasn’t obvious), and I find it to be my kind of speedgame, no matter how frustrating it may be at times (especially when I always end up one in-game pixel off when trying to perform a Loot Dupe due to Gale’s natural slipperiness). I also had fun routing it, as annoying as it was to figure out the treacherous areas, especially for any%.

As of now, there still remain some mysteries to me.

  • Once again, is it actually possible to break a loot container four times on the same frame? Like, if you were to have a bomb and a Ki Spear explode on the container on the exact frame when the container hits the corner?
  • At 42:22 in the recorded any% run, why was the Broken Golem not there?
  • After my death on Big Eye (at 53:50 in the video), why did the HP counter display 0 upon revival even though Gale normally revives with 10 HP?
  • What’s the deal with the Gold Bar merchant? I can never seem to figure out how the pricing works—how it’s set or how it changes.

Perhaps some of these have already been figured out (maybe even all of them), but the few times that I have searched the web for anything glitch-related, I’ve come up empty. Some sources, if there even are any, would be helpful.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on quite enough. The point is: I have a route for single-segment any% that is crazy enough to work (and something of a route for 100%), and I have shared the full extent of my thoughts on the matter, hoping that others who are interested in the game and/or speedrunning as a whole will see potential in it as a speedgame, just as I have.

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

Important update + 2015 recap (Spontaneous Saturday 1/2/16)

Important Update

Once again, it’s a new year, and this time, I feel like making an important change to the activity of this blog. First off, titles will henceforth have the topic as a set of words on the left and the blog-related category of the post as a set of words in parentheses on the right, just as demonstrated with the title of this particular post. This is so that I can condense the URL to exclude the information that is unimportant to a new viewer of the posts and put that information aside until the end of the title.

Second, instead of the whole Spontaneous Saturday -> Top Three Thursday -> Poké Monday thing, I figured I would make it so that Top Three Thursday is now Thought Dump Thursday. The reason for this is because, while I like top-whatever lists, they are difficult to come up with, especially in terms of topic. I mean, while three is a reasonable number for some situations, for others, like characters of MonMusu, it’s just not enough, and I don’t really want to make variations unless on extremely special occasions, like how Top Three Thursday 12/24/15 featured nine of the 2015 anime series I enjoyed because of how close the time of publishing was to Christmas. On that note, let’s not forget when I copped out of a Top Three Thursday post. Why Thought Dump? Well, I have written seven “Thought Dump” posts (on 10/25/14, 12/20/14, 2/14/15, 5/9/15, 6/20/15, 8/1/15, and 12/5/15) as a way to weasel my way out of thinking up a specific topic for Spontaneous Saturday. As few views as I get for potpourri posts compared to posts about specific topics (mostly anime-related), I enjoy writing out these Thought Dumps, so I decided to integrate them into the regular schedule.

Third and foremost, I wish to say goodbye to Spontaneous Saturday and replace it with Spontaneous Series Saturday. I was thinking when I was on the whole “Cavalry vs. Asterisk” series: It’s not exactly spontaneous if I make it obvious when the next installments are going to come out. It’s also not really spontaneous if it happens on a regularly scheduled basis, right? Like, “Oh, I’m looking forward to the next Spontaneous Saturday” is such a contradictory statement the more I think about it. So, what I was thinking was: On some Saturday when I feel like it, I will initiate some sort of review series—like Cavalry vs. Asterisk—that keeps going until I say it has ended. That way, the exact nature of the Saturday in question is spontaneous, but it also keeps the whole “series” thing going. More importantly, this lifts a minor burden off of me, as it means that I can actually pick times to think twice rather than thrice per two weeks. Since I feel like I slacked too much last semester (got an A, A-, B, and B-, and I didn’t work steadily enough on the final projects and had to crash them) and therefore I wish to get more serious this semester, I believe this change is for the best.

Poké Monday, however, will remain untouched.

So, here’s the deal: Thought Dump Thursday every second Thursday from January 7 onward, Poké Monday every second Monday from January 11 onward, and Spontaneous Series Saturday at random intervals.

Good? Good.

Also, I have updated the header image and blog info section accordingly.

2015 Recap

Much like the 2014 recap, since 2015 has come to an end, I shall provide a recap of what has become of Vouiv-review from the beginning of 2015 to the end of 2015.

January 3 (Spontaneous Saturday): 2014 recap. Just like this half of this post, only this one has hyperlinks on the post titles and is based on a different year.

January 8 (Top Three Thursday): Video game music. I talked about some video game music that I like from Pokémon X&Y, Super Smash Bros., and Bravely Default. Over time, however, I’ve grown to like the Ripple Star stage 3 music in Kirby 64 more than the F-Zero music.

January 12 (Poké Monday): Heatmor. Primarily offensive Fire-type known for being one of the few of its type to learn Giga Drain. While it is relatively slow and frail, it gets Sucker Punch to mitigate that.

January 17 (Spontaneous Saturday): Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. I talked about my thoughts on the most recent Super Smash Bros. game after having it for about a year. I have, by the way, completed all of the challenges I was missing before.

January 22 (Top Three Thursday): Video game characters. Rita Mordio (Tales of Vesperia), Yoshi (Mario series), and Nowi (Fire Emblem Awakening). This list remains unchanged, at least for now.

January 26 (Poké Monday): Floatzel. A fast Water-type physical attacker with two primary defining aspects: Water Veil and Switcheroo.

January 31 (Spontaneous Saturday): Wake Up, Girl Zoo! I talked about the first eight episodes of a spinoff of the anime “Wake Up, Girls!“. This spinoff was short and sweet, and it made for a good laugh.

February 5 (Top Three Thursday): Most annoying GH6 guitar charts. I expressed my frustration towards charts in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock that I am unable to full combo (and will remain so for a long while).

February 9 (Poké Monday): Bagon. Physically oriented Dragon-type attacker in LC with relatively low stats but an interesting Ability in Sheer Force.

February 14 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 3. I talked about the Battle Maison (notably my quest towards the Doubles trophy) and my thoughts on winter 2015 anime.

February 19 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Internet memes. Costanza reaction face, Tony Kornheiser’s “Why”, and Yee. My favorite meme now, though, is JOHN CENA.

February 23 (Poké Monday): Kyogre. Dominating force in Ubers whose environment has changed (quite literally in some contexts) with the introduction of Primal Reversion.

February 28 (Spontaneous Saturday): Poké Monday in further detail. A sort of follow-up to the series based on changes to the metagame that required appending further thoughts to my past analyses.

March 5 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Mega Evolutions. Sceptile, Beedrill, Gallade.

March 9 (Poké Monday): Watchog. The first-route Normal-type of gen 5. Not much to expect there.

March 14 (Spontaneous Saturday): Cross-a-Pix. I talked about a relatively new form of puzzle, one somewhat similar to Pic-a-Pix, that was introduced to Conceptis approximately two weeks prior to when the article was written. I also gave tips on how to solve these puzzles.

March 19 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Twitch streamers: Redux. Witwix, 2dos, and 360chrism. What bothers me a little is that this redux needs a redux because some of the information is outdated, notably the emote sets (and I rarely, if ever, watch Witwix anymore). It was nice to take a trip down memory lane in terms of the emotes, but updated emote sets can be viewed at twitchemotes.com or frankerfacez.com, depending on the variety of emotes.

March 23 (Poké Monday): Staraptor. Strong Flying-type attacker with average Speed that uses Reckless Brave Bird and Double-Edge for heavy damage output.

March 28 (Spontaneous Saturday): Final thoughts on winter 2015 anime. I talked about Absolute Duo, Juuou Mujin no Fafnir, and the second season of Log Horizon. None of these has a particularly good reputation, but Kili from Fafnir remains to this day one of my favorite anime characters of all time.

April 2 (Top Three Thursday): Recent Guitar Hero 3 FCs. That time when I finally managed to get Nothing for Me Here, The Number of the Beast, and Cult of Personality.

April 6 (Poké Monday): Nidoran♂. Poison-type physical attacker with average-at-best stats, only notable for Hustle and Sucker Punch.

April 11 (Spontaneous Saturday): Sym-a-Pix, the puzzle that I underestimated. I talk about a variety of puzzle that I dismissed in my first Conceptis puzzle review because of a naïve misunderstanding on my part.

April 16 (Top Three Thursday): Advice I would give to other drivers. Since I had recently started driving solo to university at the time, I thought I would drop a few of my pet peeves based on other drivers whom I have observed.

April 20 (Poké Monday): Krokorok. Average offensive threat capable of performing a lead role with Stealth Rock and Taunt, and wearing down the opposition with STAB Earthquake and Knock Off.

April 25 (Spontaneous Saturday): Momentary pause. Since it was close to the deadline and I had no specific topic in mind, I decided to cop out and post an Imgur album pertaining to my army in Disgaea DS, a game that I was into at the time but ended up losing interest.

April 30 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Christian music. For the first time in Vouiv-review history, I revealed my Christian faith by sharing a few songs that I found (and still find) impactful: Virtuoso, He Knows My Name, and Proof of Your Love.

May 4 (Poké Monday): Cloyster. An offensive threat that is notorious for Shell Smash and Skill Link Icicle Spear.

May 9 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 4. I talk about Pokémon Rumble World and spring 2015 anime.

May 14 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite speedruns to watch. I like to watch speedruns on Twitch, so I thought I would name off some of my favorites at the time: Kirby 64, Bravely Default, and Donkey Kong 64.

May 18 (Poké Monday): Vigoroth. Lower-tier threat known for a nasty combination of Bulk Up and Slack Off.

May 23 (Spontaneous Saturday): Super Randomizer Nuzlocke – a follow-up? I ended the HeartGold Nuzlocke on a salty note and started a new one in Black 2. However, I do not think I will be picking these back up; I think I’d rather just do regular randomizer (just Pokémon, moves, and items randomized) or Metronome only, if anything.

May 28 (Top Three Thursday): Reasons for lack of inspiration. Basically, I copped out of a Top Three Thursday post and made excuses for it (some good, some bad).

June 1 (Poké Monday): Vivillon. Setup sweeper with access to Quiver Dance, as well as Compound Eyes Sleep Powder and Hurricane.

June 6 (Spontaneous Saturday): Tapping methods in Guitar Hero. I talked about some tapping methods that I use to hit especially difficult sections in Guitar Hero. I did indeed finish this post, even though it said “UNDER CONSTRUCTION” for…well, way too long.

June 11 (Top Three Thursday): Characters I find it hard to like but don’t dislike. Sometimes, my opinion can be somewhat complicated, a few instances being on Camilla (Fire Emblem Fates), Hestia (DanMachi), and Niko Yazawa (Love Live).

June 15 (Poké Monday): Tornadus. The only 100% pure Flying-type Pokémon, which is primarily offensive in its incarnate forme but can act somewhat defensively in its therian forme.

June 20 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 5. I got the FC of If You Want Peace… Prepare for War on Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, talked about my progress in Pokémon Shuffle and Rumble World, and talked about the anime that I had been watching, trying to be brief about it.

June 25 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite music from Nintendo 64 games. A more specific version of Top Three Thursday 1/8/15. Beforehand, I reminisced about the days when the Nintendo 64 was fresh in my mind.

June 29 (Poké Monday): Croconaw. Lower-tier counterpart of a strong Water-type attacker that is notorious for Sheer Force and its great selection of moves with which to abuse the ability.

July 4 (Spontaneous Saturday): My final thoughts on spring 2015 anime. I talked about Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic, Nisekoi:, DanMachi, and Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo. Yamada-kun and KinMoza were particularly enjoyable, and the others were okay.

July 9 (Top Three Thursday): Annoying aspects of Pokémon Shuffle. What really grinds my gears about this freemium puzzle game. (I still enjoy the game, don’t get me wrong; it’s just that it gets under my skin sometimes.)

July 13 (Poké Monday): Machoke. Lower-tier abuser of No Guard STAB Dynamic Punch.

July 18 (Spontaneous Saturday): The most situational GUI I’ve ever coded. A GUI built in Java for the sole purpose of catching a Reshiram to meet my standards.

July 23 (Top Three Thursday): SGDQ 2015 runs I am looking forward to. The Legend of Zelda (classic) swordless, Metroid Prime Hunters all items, and Donkey Kong 64 no levels early. I did enjoy these runs, and…guess what: another GDQ (specifically AGDQ 2016) is coming up real soon.

July 27 (Poké Monday): Pineco. Effective hazard lead in Little Cup that is somewhat usable in level 100 formats thanks to Sturdy and Pain Split.

August 1 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 6. I made another situational GUI, this time for Entei, which I still haven’t caught and probably will not until I have soft-reset for certain event Pokémon (Rayquaza, Zoroark, Hoopa). I also talked about freemium Pokémon, SGDQ 2015, and newly released anime.

August 6 (Top Three Thursday): Fun things to do in Pokémon. This list encompassed all generations, but only of the main series games. Surfing on Sharpedo, playing Voltorb Flip, and breeding were the activities that made this list.

August 10 (Poké Monday): Plusle. Electric-type with Nasty Plot, Baton Pass, and Lightning Rod. No other Pokémon follows these four criteria. (Aside from that, it’s trash.)

August 15 (Spontaneous Saturday): Phoenotopia. I talked about one of my favorite free online games of all time and my plans to speedrun it. As of now, I have completed the any% route, but I still have yet to get a recorded run. (I had a great one going last night, but it died to the 6th floor of Prince Tower.)

August 20 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Japanese music. This is not like the top three anime theme song list I did last year (although it still contains Maware Setsugetsuka); it also includes Vocaloid music.

August 24 (Poké Monday): Cacturne. An offensive threat with the strongest Sucker Punch in its tier and some nice supporting moves as well (including boosting moves on both sides of the spectrum).

August 29 (Spontaneous Saturday): Actually spontaneous. When I try to be “actually spontaneous,” I actually just spill the beans about what’s going on in life, notably what media I’m consuming at the time (in this case, Persona Q) and anything pertinent to my career.

September 3 (Top Three Thursday): Hardest things to pay attention to.  I always have a hard time processing what goes on during drawn action scenes, particularly long readings, and university lectures. This article was where I voiced my frustration.

September 7 (Poké Monday): Darmanitan. A ridiculously strong physical Fire-type attacker although average in Speed and relatively frail.

September 12 (Spontaneous Saturday): More spontaneity. Progress reports on Pokémon Shuffle, Persona Q, and Phoenotopia routing.

September 17 (Top Three Thursday): Labyrinths in Persona Q. You in Wonderland, Group Date Café, and Inaba Pride Exhibit. I also talked about the labyrinths that I didn’t include (Evil Spirit Club and Clock Tower). Persona Q was a fun game, and I’m glad for its existence.

September 21 (Poké Monday): Chesnaught. Grass/Fighting physical tank with Bulletproof, original (and best) user of Spiky Shield, and can also set Spikes.

September 26 (Spontaneous Saturday): My thoughts on Monster girls. I talked about (most of) the monster girls of the anime Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou and how I would rank them from bottom to top.

October 1 (Top Three Thursday): Advice I would give to new Twitch users. My attempt to explain important aspects of Twitch to those who are unfamiliar with it.

October 5 (Poké Monday): Groudon. A threat defensively and offensively that has improved greatly with the introduction of its Primal Reversion.

October 10 (Spontaneous Saturday): I have so much on my mind… A little rant about how it feels like life comes and attacks me at moments when my mind feels so loaded that I have to rant about it.

October 15 (Top Three Thursday): Responses to failure to meet a deadline properly. Based partly on college assignments but also partly on this blog. Risks happen all the time, so it is vital to have one or multiple risk responses. I learned that in Project Management class.

October 19 (Poké Monday): Flaaffy. Fledgeling Electric-type that can pretend to be a defensive pivot in lower tiers through the use of Seismic Toss, Volt Switch, and Toxic.

October 24 (Spontaneous Saturday): Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 1. The first of a three-part series comparing and contrasting the anime series Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry and Gakusen Toshi Asterisk, which are similar in plenty of ways. The first part does not concern any episodes past 4.

October 29: RIP today’s Top Three Thursday. Yep, this is the cop out.

November 2 (Poké Monday): Lopunny. Physically offensive threat with ridiculous Speed and a nigh unresisted STAB combination in Scrappy Normal and Fighting.

November 7 (Spontaneous Saturday): My own fantasy story. I talked about Cinq du Soleil, a story of my own creation chiefly inspired by the anime Trinity Seven, and any background information on it that I have dug from the inner recesses of my memory. As of now, I am partway through chapter 5.

November 12 (Top Three Thursday): Christian music for non-Christians. Another revealing of my Christian faith, featuring the songs My Story, Prodigal, and Flawless.

November 16 (Poké Monday): Swanna. An offensive Defogger in PU (first ever PU analysis on Vouiv-review) with pretty much unresisted STAB coverage in Hurricane and Scald.

November 21 (Spontaneous Saturday): Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 2. The second part of the aforementioned three-part series. This part does not concern any episodes past 8.

November 26 (Top Three Thursday): Things I’m thankful for. I was actually in a rush and had a term paper due on the same day, so, since it was Thanksgiving, I had to go with the obvious topic.

November 30 (Poké Monday): Grovyle. Fledgeling Grass-type that is nothing more than the fastest Unburden user in PU.

December 5 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 7. For this Thought Dump, I decided to avoid anime talk (aside from a brief expression of approval of One Punch Man) and instead stick to other topics: freemium games (including Nintendo Badge Arcade and Pokémon Picross), Steam games, Cinq du Soleil, and Phoenotopia routing. A follow-up about Phoenotopia: I actually figured out that unlocking the Mystery Bento was the key to getting the extra 1%, which is really silly if you ask me. I mean, the Mystery Bento of all things…what does that have to do with anything?

December 10 (Top Three Thursday): Anime that I might consider watching. Dog Days, Overlord, and JoJo. I watched Overlord before JoJo, but only for the sake of the next Top Three Thursday (mentioned later).

December 14 (Poké Monday): Yveltal. Strong Dark-type attacker (both offensively and defensively) with odd stats.

December 19 (Spontaneous Saturday): Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 3 (finale). The final part of the aforementioned three-part series, which summarizes everything from start to finish, talks about any changes in my thoughts from part to part, and wraps up my thoughts on both anime series.

December 24 (Top Three (times three!) Thursday): Nine favorite anime series of 2015. Seiyuu’s Life, MonMusu, Asterisk, Cavalry, Fafnir, Yamada-kun, Overlord, Hibike Euphonium, and One Punch Man.

December 28 (Poké Monday): Glalie. Spikes+Taunt lead in PU, strong Ice-type attacker in RU.

 

It was a great year overall, even though I had to cop out of quite a few posts, especially with all the Thought Dump jank going on, as well as the “fake” Thought Dumps (posts that seem like Thought Dumps but are not titled as such). Thanks for the support, those who provided it!

Nowi Wins Here’s to another year…?