Mimikyu (Poké Monday 11/28/16)

  rng-mimikyu

Type: Ghost/Fairy

Base Stats:

  • 55 HP
  • 90 Attack
  • 80 Defense
  • 50 Special Attack
  • 105 Special Defense
  • 96 Speed

Ability: Disguise – If Mimikyu is attacked directly for the first time in battle, the attack will become a 0-damage neutral attack with the same effect(s) as the original attack, and Mimikyu will change form to indicate that its disguise is no longer active.

Notable physical attacks: Leech Life, Play Rough, Shadow Claw, Shadow Sneak, Wood Hammer

Notable status moves: Bulk Up, Destiny Bond, Pain Split, Swords Dance, Taunt, Thunder Wave, Will-O-Wisp

Notable Z-moves:

  • Never-Ending Nightmare (Ghost) – Converts one use of Shadow Claw to a base 140 physical Ghost-type attack
  • Twinkle Tackle (Fairy) – Converts one use of Play Rough to a base 175 physical Fairy-type attack
  • Z-Safeguard (Normal) – Grants +1 Speed with one use of Safeguard
  • Z-Splash (Normal) – Grants +3 Attack with one use of Splash

Overview

It’s not Pikachu; it’s Mimikyu. (Fun fact, though: their base Special Attack is exactly the same.) It’s a sort of gruesome ghostly thing that dresses as a Pikachu in an attempt to make itself more fetching in appearance. It possesses unique Ghost/Fairy typing that grants it three immunities in Normal, Fighting, and Dragon; a quad resistance to Bug; and only two weaknesses in Ghost and Steel. Along with that, the only existing typing resistant to both of its STAB is Fire/Normal, the typing of Pyroar (which is seldom used otherwise).

As for its base stats, 55/80/105 bulk is decent, base 90 Attack is not too bad, base 50 Special Attack is laughable, and base 96 Speed is a sort of middle ground between base 95s (such as Kyurem-Black) and base 100s (such as Victini). What really defines Mimikyu, however, is its Ability. Recall that the Alakazam line can run Focus Sash with Magic Guard for a one-time guarantee (barring the possibility of multi-hit moves) to fire off a strong special attack. In a similar fashion, if you give Mimikyu a Red Card, that’s a one-time guarantee that any attacking opponent will be forced out (unless said opponent has one of the Abilities Mold Breaker, Teravolt, Turboblaze; or is using one of the moves Sunsteel Strike or Moongeist Beam). This is the most surefire way to prevent a potential sweep from any non-Ability-bypassing Pokémon with multiple boosts under its belt. Even multi-hit abusers (such as Cloyster) will be forced out on the first hit.

To summarize, Mimikyu is not the best in terms of pure offense or utility, but it does have a niche in its dual STAB combination and Ability.

Sets

1: Offensive Red Card

Mimikyu @ Red Card
Ability: Disguise
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Play Rough
– Shadow Claw
– Shadow Sneak
– Swords Dance

As mentioned in the Overview, the combination of Disguise and Red Card gives it one opportunity to stop any non-Ability-bypassing setup sweeper by forcing it out and thereby resetting its stats. Play Rough is its strongest STAB, Shadow Claw is supplementary STAB, Shadow Sneak is for priority, and Swords Dance allows it to increase its okay Attack to respectable levels. EVs and Nature are offensively focused with particular emphasis on Speed to make sure that Mimikyu stays ahead of the base 83-95 bracket.

2: Fast support

Mimikyu @ Red Card
Ability: Disguise
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Play Rough
– Will-O-Wisp
– Taunt
– Destiny Bond

A more supportive focus on Mimikyu’s niche. Play Rough is STAB to prevent it from being useless against faster Taunt users, Will-O-Wisp halves the opposing Pokémon’s Attack and adds 1/16 residual damage per turn, Taunt is for shutting down slower setup/utility Pokémon, and Destiny Bond can be helpful in conjunction with Disguise to force a(nother) switch or force the opponent to fodder off a faster threat. EVs are focused on maximizing Speed and bulk simultaneously, with filler EVs in Attack for a slightly stronger Play Rough.

3: Z-Safeguard

Mimikyu @ Normalium Z
Ability: Disguise
EVs: 88 HP / 252 Atk / 168 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Play Rough
– Shadow Claw
– Swords Dance
– Safeguard

With Z-Safeguard, Mimikyu gets +1 Speed, allowing it to outspeed the entire unboosted metagame, while also adding the status-blocking effect of Safeguard. Couple that with Swords Dance, and you can have something of a Double Dance set (although the issue is that Z-Safeguard can only be used once). The spread provided above ensures that it will outspeed base 85s at +0 and Pheromosa at +1, while providing a bit of bulk with the remaining EVs. (With Adamant, it only reaches a +0 Speed of 291, which equates to a +1 Speed of 436, only enough to cut past base 145 at +1. (To make that creep, the minimum investment is 232 EVs in Speed, with which it also cuts past base 80s at +0.) If you want to go as far as outspeeding +0 Ninjask at +1 while outspeeding base 90s at +0, you would have to invest 208 EVs in Speed with a Jolly nature.) As a side note, Normalite Z also gives access to Z-Swords Dance, which resets Mimikyu’s stats before applying the +2 boost (which can essentially give it +3 if it starts off affected by Intimidate).

Other Options

Façade is an alternative option that allows it not only to circumvent Burn, but also to make it easier to deal with Pyroar. While Play Rough can only manage 75-88 damage on standard Pyroar (which has 313 HP), Façade does 78-92 while healthy and 155-183 while burned. If Pyroar opts not to use Will-O-Wisp for this precise reason, Return/Frustration does 113-134 damage. Be careful when using Return/Frustration, though, because if you use it, the opponent will know that you don’t have Façade (or at least I hope not) and go for Will-O-Wisp. Another thing to note about Return/Frustration with Normalite Z becomes a 160 BP Breakneck Blitz, which does 177-209 damage. (Façade becomes base 140, which does 155-183.)

In terms of moves in the Status category, Mimikyu can run Bulk Up as a more defensive take on setup sweeping, but the problem with that is that it lacks any form of recovery beyond Pain Split or Rest+Sleep Talk. Mono-Fairy is pretty good in theory, but Salazzle walls it hard, and Heatran walls it harder. Thunder Wave can be used as an alternative status to spread, but there are better users.

Problems and Partners

Problems

As a Steel-type physical wall, Ferrothorn can take Mimikyu’s attacks very well, inducing residual damage through Iron Barbs and/or Rocky Helmet in the process, and secure the KO with super-effective STAB Gyro Ball (or, failing that, wither it down with Power Whip and/or Leech Seed). Will-O-Wisp and/or Taunt from Mimikyu might be a slight nuisance, but those moves do not entirely stop Ferrothorn from being a threat.

Pyroar resists both of Mimikyu’s STABs, is immune to Will-O-Wisp, can 2HKO any variant with Life Orb Fire Blast, and can potentially burn with its own Will-O-Wisp if Façade is not a problem.

In a similar vein to Ferrothorn, Heatran quad-resists Fairy, is immune to Will-O-Wisp, and is neutral to Mimikyu’s Ghost STAB (which, might I add, is relatively weak). Additionally, it can do one of the following: burn with Lava Plume (defensive), deal heavy damage with Magma Storm (stallbreaker), or guarantee a 2HKO with Flash Cannon (offensive).

Regardless of the situation (burn or otherwise), Excadrill can deal heavy damage—even through Disguise—with its Mold Breaker Steel STAB; only the most physically defensive variants of Mimikyu can avoid the 2HKO from burned Excadrill. It also takes less than half from +0 Shadow Claw.

Partners

Along with being a problem, Pyroar can also be considered a partner because it resists both of Mimikyu’s weaknesses in Steel and Ghost, and it threatens (most) Steel-types with STAB Fire Blast. Conversely, Mimikyu is immune to Pyroar’s Fighting weakness and can use its physical movepool to hack at special walls. Heatran might remain a problem, but hey, Hidden Power Ground.

Greninja can also take Ghost- and Steel-type attacks (and possibly more, depending on what type it chooses to become if it has Protean), and it provides special attacks for Mimikyu’s physical movepool. Battle Bond Greninja might have a harder time with Steel-types, but Protean Greninja can use Low Kick and Hidden Power Fire to deal with Heatran and Ferrothorn respectively.

Incineroar presents another type combination resistant to both Ghost and Steel, and it can use its Fire-type STAB and Earthquake to deal with Ferrothorn and Heatran respectively. On the flip side, Incineroar can use U-turn to pivot into Mimikyu if it encounters a slower Fighting-type that it would have a hard time dealing with otherwise. Too bad it lacks Sucker Punch, though, otherwise it would be a force for faster Ghost-types to reckon with.

 

This is my first time doing a Gen 7 “competitive” analysis, and I don’t find myself to be all that familiar with competitive play, so…yeah, this is all I can muster before the self-imposed deadline of the article.

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

Poké Monday update: Transition to Gen 7, compendium of Gen 6 analyses

The new generation has come. Pokémon Sun and Moon have been released worldwide, and I beat the game in roughly 48 hours (I haven’t quite enjoyed all of the postgame content, but I’ve at least gotten started), so I’m ready to adapt to the new generation. That’s right; Poké Monday will now involve random numbers generated from 1 to 802 (yes, including the unreleased Marshadow) and also start on a clean slate, meaning that Pokémon already reviewed on prior Poké Mondays will just be re-reviewed (especially due to the introduction of Alolan formes, notably Diglett). Speaking of which, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back over the 6th generation analyses.

2014

  • 7/28: Gigalith (526, NU) – Sturdy Stealth Rock user mostly outclassed by Golem
  • 8/11: Litleo (667, LC) – middling offensive Fire-type with an odd movepool and borderline-at-best Ability selection
  • 8/25: Latios (381, OU) – specially offensive Dragon/Psychic-type Trick/Defog user with Levitate
  • 9/8: Makuhita (296, LC) – slow Fighting-type with poor stats but a few unique traits
  • 9/22: Bronzor (436, LC) – bulky Steel-type that fell from grace after the transition to gen 6
  • 10/6: Malamar (687, NU) – Contrary Superpower user with better stats than Spinda
  • 10/20: Lampent (608, NU) – lower-tier Chandelure that can use Trick Room effectively
  • 11/3: Claydol (344, RU) – bulky Stealth Rock user resistant to EdgeQuake albeit weak to Knock Off
  • 11/17: Thundurus (642, OU/BL) – Electric-type special attacker with more speed in Incarnate forme but with more power in Therian forme
  • 12/1: Carbink (703, NU) – utility Pokémon with sky-high defenses but poor other stats
  • 12/15: Rapidash (78, NU) – fast physical Fire-type attacker with reliable recovery
  • 12/29: Sandslash (28, NU) – physically-oriented Ground-type Stealth Rock setter and Rapid Spin user that can also abuse sand

2015

  • 1/12: Heatmor (631, NU) – slow and frail Fire-type mixed attacker with odd coverage options
  • 1/26: Floatzel (419, NU) – fast Water-type attacker with Switcheroo and Water Veil
  • 2/9: Bagon (371, LC) – Dragon-type physical attacker with exclusive access to Sheer Force Dragon Rush
  • 2/23: Kyogre (382, Uber) – strong Water-type special attacker with a new form of rain
  • 3/9: Watchog (505, NU) – Unova’s Route 1 Normal-type, has Analytic and a not-too-bad movepool
  • 3/23: Staraptor (398, BL) – Sinnoh’s Route (20)1 Flying-type, boasts strong Reckless base 120 (Attack and move power) dual STAB
  • 4/6: Nidoran♂ (32, LC) – Poison-type physical attacker with Hustle and Sucker Punch
  • 4/20: Krokorok (552, NU) – lower-tier Krookodile with solid dual STAB and great utility options
  • 5/4: Cloyster (91, UU) – the ultimate Skill Link and Shell Smash (ab)user
  • 5/18: Vigoroth (288, NU) – respectable NFE Normal-type with interesting utility in Bulk Up, Slack Off, and Taunt
  • 6/1: Vivillon (666, NU) – Quiver Dance user with Compound Eyes Sleep Powder and STAB Hurricane
  • 6/15: Tornadus (641, BL2/OU) – Defiant abuser on the Incarnate side, fast all-arounder on the Therian side
  • 6/29: Croconaw (159, NU) – lower-tier Feraligatr (Dragon Dance user with excellent Sheer Force coverage)
  • 7/13: Machoke (67, NU) – lower-tier Machamp (STAB No Guard Dynamic Punch abuser)
  • 7/27: Pineco (204, LC) – hazard setter with just the right amount of utility but hardly any offensive presence
  • 8/10: Plusle (311, NU) – the only Pokémon in existence with Lightning Rod and Baton Pass (as well as Nasty Plot)
  • 8/24: Cacturne (332, NU) – slow+frail attacker with STAB Sucker Punch and more
  • 9/7: Darmanitan (555, UU) – extremely strong Fire-type physical attacker with a gimmicky hidden ability
  • 9/21: Chesnaught (652, UU) – physical Grass-type tank with spiky utility
  • 10/5: Groudon (383, Uber) – tanky Stealth Rock setter with an amazing new forme
  • 10/19: Flaaffy (180, NU) – okay wall with okay utility options and Volt Switch
  • 11/2: Lopunny (428, OU) – extremely fast and decently strong Mega with Scrappy Normal/Fighting dual STAB
  • 11/16: Swanna (581, PU) – offensive Defogger with great coverage in its dual STABs
  • 11/30: Grovyle (253, PU) – outclassed Grass-type that can only rely on Unburden as a “niche”
  • 12/14: Yveltal (717, Uber) – strong Dark-type attacker with an odd stat layout
  • 12/28: Glalie (362, PU/RU) – base is a lead, Mega is an offensive threat

2016

  • 1/11: Loudred (294, PU) – outclassed Normal-type with Scrappy Circle Throw as a “niche”
  • 1/25: Surskit (283, LC) – specially offensive Sticky Web user with respectable coverage
  • 2/8: Rhydon (112, NU) – strong EdgeQuake user with great bulk thanks to Eviolite
  • 2/22: Ludicolo (272, NU) – rain abuser with unique Water/Grass typing
  • 3/9: Horsea (116, LC) – one of many Water-types; a rain abuser (yeah, 3/9/15 is a Wednesday, because I had to postpone the article due to real-life matters)
  • 3/21: Gorebyss (368, NU) – specially offensive Shell Smash abuser
  • 4/4: Diglett (50, LC) – ridiculously fast, physically offensive Arena Trap abuser with some utility
  • 4/18: Petilil (548, LC) – sun abuser with a dual niche in Sleep Powder and Healing Wish
  • 6/9: Tyranitar (248, OU) – strong and bulky sand setter (6/9 is a Thursday, but again, had to postpone)
  • 6/20: Pumpkaboo (710, LC) – super size and small size have offensive and defensive potential, respectively
  • 7/4: Maractus (556, PU) – lower-tier cactus with an odd Ability in Storm Drain
  • 7/18: Dratini (147, LC) – notable Extreme Speed user with decent offensive prowess
  • 8/1: Sudowoodo (185, PU) – Rock-type with subpar base stats but niche access to Wood Hammer
  • 8/22: Feebas (349, LC) – like Magikarp except with TMs/HMs, Egg/Tutor moves, and Adaptability
  • 9/19: Helioptile (694, LC) – fast Electric-type special attacker with odd coverage an odd Ability in Dry Skin
  • 10/17: Poliwag (60, LC) – fast Belly Drum user with Hypnosis and decent coverage
  • 11/7: Rhyhorn (111, LC) – tanky Stealth Rock user with a poor set of Abilities

 

That aside, regarding Gen 7 analyses, I decided to change up the formatting a little, in hopes that I can not only accommodate the new Z-moves but also make the post look better in general. Shown below is a brief preview demonstrating some changes that I plan on making. (Specifically, this part of the review is meant to be between the Pokémon/RNG images and the “Overview” heading.)

For one thing, important words/numbers are bolded, including typing, base stats, Abilities, STAB moves, and Z-moves. What’s more is that I organized the notable moves based on my own judgement instead of just copying off of the usual list from Pokémon Showdown. This way, I can set aside moves that are universal (like Frustration/Return and Toxic), weak, redundant, and/or come off of a far weaker attacking stat. In this case, I omitted: Dark-type attacks because they are redundant with Ghost STAB; special attacks because of the base 50 Special Attack; Trick Room because of the base 96 Speed; and other moves that have situational-at-best effects in general.

Thinking further beyond, I will no longer provide sample teams; the associated segment will be replaced with a different segment named “Problems and Partners,” which elaborates upon two different sets of Pokémon: those that are threatening to the reviewed Pokémon, and those that would make good teammates for the reviewed Pokémon. Again, a brief preview:

 

Nowi Wins I think that’s all I have to say for now. Stay tuned for the next review, which will come out before midnight (eastern time) tonight!

 

Pokémon Picross ability tier list (Whimsical Weekend #5)

I recently (by which I mean about two weeks ago) completed Pokémon Picross for 3DS without once buying any Picrites. My game plan started off with unlocking the five Pokémon slots, extending the P gauge once, and completing as many objectives as possible without unlocking Alt World or the Mega Pencil. After that, I extended the P gauge twice more, unlocked Alt World, and completed as many objectives as possible there without the Mega Pencil. Finally, I unlocked the Mega Pencil, did all the Mega stages and Mega-requiring objectives, and got the infinite P gauge in the process. And yes, there was a lot of Daily Challenge grinding involved. For the record, I started on December 3, 2015, and have spent a total of 114 hours on the game.

Anyway, regardless of the amount of grinding involved, Pokémon Picross is a fun game, and something that makes it unique is that each Pokémon has its own ability that can be used to make the puzzles easier. There are 12 different varieties of abilities in the game, each associated with one (or multiple) Pokémon typing(s), and the purpose of this post is to go over each of the abilities from worst to best and provide reasoning as to why the abilities deserve to be tiered as such.

By the way, I even compiled a database of all the Pokémon in the game, coupled with a statistical analysis of type frequency: https://goo.gl/Ad8qtz

Also, if you’re wondering where I got the statistics of Diamond, Square, and Cross Reveals, I actually found them using my own spreadsheets (linked below).

The statistics for Rising and Slash Reveals, on the other hand, are all calculated using a combination of mental math and a four-function calculator.

12. Diamond Reveal

Associated with Fairy-types, Diamond Reveal is the type of ability that should not be used unless either it is required by an objective or there are no other Reveal-based Pokémon to use. Seriously. It’s a good thing that the ability is the least common in the game, because, to put it bluntly, the ability is utter crap.

There are four different sizes of Diamond Reveal, each covering a diamond-shaped area. Going from least to greatest in terms of maximum tiles covered, they are: 5, 13, 25, and 41. In the diagram below, the first three are shown from left to right on top, and the fourth is shown on the bottom.

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-2-09-16-pm

Reveal abilities can come in handy because each tile within range is filled in or marked with an X depending on the actual solution…if that makes sense; it’s difficult to explain. But really, Diamond Reveal is so lackluster. Not only are the maximum values appallingly low, but the expected values are pretty bad too, because the diamond can so easily get cut off if the target point is too close to the edge of the board (which happens very frequently with random targeting).

To put it into perspective:

  • On a 10×10 board, a 13-tile Diamond Reveal has an expected value of ~11 tiles.
  • On a 15×15 board, a 25-tile Diamond Reveal has an expected value of ~21 tiles.
  • On a 20×15 board, a 41-tile Diamond Reveal has an expected value of ~34 tiles.

Even Xerneas (the best Fairy-type in the game, located in Area 16), which has two manual-targeting 25-tile Diamond Reveals, can only manage 50 tiles on one puzzle. This is an underwhelming value when you compare it against the values of the other Reveal abilities.

I do appreciate the concept, and I’m sure that the creators would be hard-pressed to come up with anything else original, but it’s such a rubbish ability in practice. I do like Fairy-types in the main series Pokémon games (because of their few weaknesses defensively and resistances offensively), but definitely not so much in Picross.

11. Auto Fix

Associated with Grass-types, Auto Fix is tied for the fourth-most common ability in the game. The ability automatically fixes any tiles that are filled in when they should be marked with an X. It doesn’t seem like anything worth bashing…until you realize that there’s another ability called Auto Fix X that does the exact same thing and then some. (I will get to that later.) In spite of that, Auto Fix has some perks of its own:

  • Auto Fix has nearly twice as many users as Auto Fix X.
  • Auto Fix has more uses than Auto Fix X.
    • In terms of size 10 Pokémon, the most effective Auto Fix has 10 uses, whereas the most effective Auto Fix X has 5 uses. Talking about no-recharge Pokémon (those with 00:00 cooldown), Treecko (Area 4) has 5 uses, and Klefki (Area 3) has 3 uses.
    • In terms of size 15 Pokémon, the most effective Auto Fix has 15 uses, and the most effective Auto Fix X (excluding Mega Aggron (Area 16), which has 12 uses) has 10 uses.
    • In terms of size 20 Pokémon (excluding Megas and legendaries), the most effective Auto Fix has 20 uses, whereas the most effective Auto Fix X has 12 uses.
    • In terms of size 20 non-legendary Megas, the most effective Auto Fix has 30 uses, whereas the most effective Auto Fix X has 15 uses.
    • In terms of legendary Pokémon, the most effective Auto Fix has 40 uses, whereas the most effective Auto Fix X has 25 uses.

Simply put, Auto Fix is outclassed, although not 100% completely.

10. Square Reveal

Associated with Dragon-types and also tied for fourth-most common ability, I would consider this to be the second tier of Reveal: better than Diamond Reveal, but still underwhelming for a Reveal ability.

Square Reveal comes in five different sizes, each covering a perfectly square area. Going from least to greatest in terms of maximum tiles covered, they are: 16, 25, 36, 49, and 64.

This is another form of Reveal that is fairly prone to being cut off with random targeting, but it is at least better than Diamond Reveal; I can say that much. To put it into perspective:

  • On a 10×10 board, a 25-tile Square Reveal has an expected value of ~19 tiles. (This statistic is not so relevant because the best size 10 Square Reveal user, Dratini (Area 10), has a 25-tile Square Reveal with manual targeting. Altaria (Area 22), which has two random 16-tile Square Reveals, may have a greater potential maximum value, but the expected value (which is roughly 12 per Reveal, not factoring in the potential of the two Reveals overlapping one another) is less than Dratini’s guaranteed value.)
  • On a 15×15 board, a 49-tile Square Reveal has an expected value of ~38 tiles.
  • On a 20×15 board, a 64-tile Square Reveal has an expected value of ~48 tiles.

Again, it is better than Diamond Reveal, but still not the cream of the crop. However, I will admit that 10% Zygarde and Perfect Zygarde (which require passwords but are unlocked as early as Area 5) are some very nice early game assets (each size 20). 10% Zygarde has three 25-tile Square Reveals with manual targeting, while Perfect Zygarde has two 49-tile Square Reveals with manual targeting, allowing them to guarantee revealing 75 and 98 tiles respectively. It’s not the best, but it’s huge for what it’s worth.

9. Rising Reveal

Associated with Normal-types, but surprisingly the fifth-least common ability in the game, Rising Reveal selects a certain number of tiles (depending on the Pokémon) and, for each tile selected, reveals the entire column corresponding to the tile.

From a statistical standpoint:

  • On a 10×10 board, a Rising Reveal with a width of 2 has a maximum value of 20 tiles and an expected value of ~18 tiles.
  • On a 15×15 board, a Rising Reveal with a width of 3 has a maximum value of 45 tiles and an expected value of 43 tiles.
  • On a 20×15 board, a Rising Reveal with a width of 5 has a maximum value of 75 tiles and an expected value of ~71 tiles.

Size 10 Rising Reveals are actually slightly less effective than size 10 Square Reveals, but as the size increases, so too do the maximum and expected values.

I would have to say that the best Rising Reveal user is Arceus (which has two manual Rising Reveals with a width of 3), although it is sadly a mythical Pokémon located all the way in Area 30. Not only does it have a better guaranteed yield than Regigigas (a guaranteed 90 compared to a potential 75 on a board with 15 height, although Regigigas is obtained one area earlier and is not mythical), but it is used to select the second-leftmost and second-rightmost columns, any blackened tile on the third-leftmost or third-rightmost column can be a vital giveaway to the solution of the puzzle.

8. Slash Reveal

Associated with Ground- and Rock-types, although it is the third-least common ability in the game and the earliest accessible user is all the way in Area 12, Slash Reveal is slightly better than Rising Reveal in that size 20 Slash Reveal users are more effective in 20×15 boards because of the irregular dimensions (which are presumably a result of system limitations). Also, the most effective size 10 Slash Reveal user has a width of 3 instead of 2.

From a statistical standpoint:

  • On a 10×10 board, a Slash Reveal with a width of 3 has a maximum value of 30 tiles and an expected value of 28 tiles.
  • On a 15×15 board, a Slash Reveal with a width of 4 (based on Mega Tyranitar (Area 23)) has a maximum value of 60 tiles and an expected value of ~54 tiles.
  • On a 20×15 board, a Slash Reveal with a width of 5 has a maximum value of 100 tiles and an expected value of 92 tiles.

Now isn’t that something. The expected value of a Slash Reveal with a width of 5 on a 20×15 board is very close to that of the guaranteed number of tiles revealed by Perfect Zygarde.

I would also like to note that there is essentially a Slash Reveal version of Arceus, and that is Mega Diancie. It is a mythical Mega in Area 27 and therefore painstaking to access, but it’s a guaranteed 120-tile reveal with a similar sort of property to that of Arceus except in terms of topmost and bottommost rows instead of leftmost and rightmost columns.

Even so, Slash Reveal is arguably the third best Reveal ability, and the best is yet to come.

7. Auto Fix X

Associated with Steel-types, Auto Fix X is the second-least common ability in the game. As mentioned before, in terms of effect, it is just like Auto Fix except better. Not only does it correct tiles that are filled in when they should be marked with an X, but also vice versa. Also as mentioned before, Auto Fix X may outclass Auto Fix in terms of effect, but Auto Fix X has fewer users and uses.

Auto Fix X may be a really handy tool, and I was a huge fan of it in the early stages of my playing the game (i.e., before extending the P gauge to 400). However, as convenient as it is, I have come to realize two painful truths behind the ability (which also apply to regular Auto Fix):

  • If a Pokémon with Auto Fix (X) activates an ability, even if it has not corrected a single tile, that Pokémon will be subject to cooldown after the puzzle.
  • As a human being, I find that I have a tendency to make mistakes. When it comes to puzzles, these are usually misplaced inputs (e.g., in button mode, I had a tendency to press a direction on the D-pad right before releasing the A or B button (to fill or mark with an X respectively)), and Auto Fix (X) corrects those, even if you already know the mistake and wish to correct it yourself.

The second point became especially pesky when I came to realize it. For that reason, I decided to become less invested in Auto Fix X and instead pack another ability that I will explain later on.

6. Slow Time

Associated with Electric-types and the fourth-least common ability, Slow Time does what it says on the tin: It slows down the puzzle timer depending on the Pokémon using it. Specifically:

  • The non-recharge Pokémon with this ability, Pikachu (Area 4), makes the timer run at 90% speed.
  • The most effective non-legendary and non-Mega Slow Time users make the timer run at 70% speed.
  • Mega Ampharos and Mega Manectric (Areas 20 and 9 respectively), the only Megas in the game with Slow Time, each make the timer run at 60% speed.
  • Legendary Slow Time users make the timer run at 50% speed.

The slowing of the timer not only makes it easier to complete objectives with a time limit, but it also prolongs the duration of the timed abilities Stop Time and non-infinite Blue Force (which will be explained later), meaning that it can not only help complete timed objectives but also be a team player for other Pokémon doing so as well.

Incidentally, the absolute slowest multiplier for the timer—which is achieved by setting Zapdos (Area 20), Raikou (Area 20), Thundurus-Therian (Area 29), one of the two Megas, and a Pokémon that makes the timer run at 70% speed—is shown in-game as 0.05. That’s right; it is possible to make the timer run at roughly 1/20 of its regular speed. (On a 20×15 board, this is only possible with the three legendaries, Mega Ampharos, and Luxray (Area 27).)

5. Scatter Reveal

Associated with Dark- and Poison-types, Scatter Reveal is also tied for the fourth-most common ability. Each use of the ability reveals a certain number of different tiles (which varies depending on the Pokémon) in completely random locations. One thing special about Scatter Reveal is that it is the only Reveal ability belonging to any of the eight Pokémon with a cooldown time of 00:00 (in this case, specifically Poochyena (Area 1)).

In terms of the number of guaranteed tiles uncovered by Scatter Reveal, note the following:

  • Of all the size 10 Scatter Reveal users, Zoroark (Area 30) reveals the most tiles (25). This is less than the expected value of a Slash Reveal with a width of 3, but bear with me here.
  • Of all the size 15 non-Mega Scatter Reveal users, Beedrill and Umbreon (Areas 26 and 8 respectively) are tied with 30 tiles (but note that Beedrill has a manual activation timing unlike Umbreon).
  • Speaking of Megas: Mega Gyarados, Mega Houndoom, and Mega Sharpedo (Areas 27, 14, and 10 respectively) have the most effective size 15 Scatter Reveals, each having an effect size of 60. Recognize that value? Yes, that is the maximum value of a Slash Reveal with a width of 4.
  • Of all the size 20 Scatter Reveal users, Hydreigon (Area 30) is the only non-legendary and reveals 80 tiles.
  • As a whole, Darkrai (Area 18) is the most effective Scatter Reveal user, able to clear a guaranteed 120 tiles. (That’s enough to clear an entire 10×10 board in one fell swoop!)

I do realize that Yveltal (Area 12) could potentially clear more tiles than Darkrai (because Yveltal has two uses of Scatter Reveal, each with an effect size of 70), but calculating the expected value of that would be far more complicated than doing so with any other Reveal ability. If I were to guesstimate, however, I would say that Yveltal leans towards, but doesn’t quite reach, the caliber of Darkrai.

As a whole, Scatter Reveal can prove to be surprisingly effective in terms of working towards the solution to any given puzzle, but the use of multiple Scatter Reveal users is ill advised (unless the objective requires only Scatter Reveal users or only Dark-/Poison-types).

4. Hyper Scan

Associated with Flying-, Fighting-, and Bug-types (more types than any other ability), Hyper Scan is the second-most common ability in the game. I initially thought that this ability was completely useless because of the existence of Auto Fix X, and it wasn’t until I got started on the Megas that I learned better. Now I feel ashamed and wish to explain my newfound appreciation of this ability.

I mentioned when talking about Auto Fix X that it gets pesky when it corrects misplaced inputs that I already know are mistakes, but Hyper Scan does not have that problem. My primary motive for having such fixing abilities in the first place is this: If I lack these abilities, there are some occasions where I may end up having a row/column marked incorrectly. Unlike Conceptis puzzles, Pokémon Picross does not have an Undo or Check button…and, in spite of myself, I am not methodical enough to keep track of every move that I make from start to finish. So, if I reach a point like that and lack any corrective abilities, I generally have two options:

  1. Cheat by looking at a picture online (Yes, I confess that I have done this before)
  2. Restart the puzzle completely (which is not ideal, especially if I used a legendary for the puzzle)

With that in mind, if I pack a Hyper Scan user and run into such a situation, I can just call upon the Hyper Scan user if needed and have it get me out of that slump. The best part is, unlike with Auto Fix (X) users, if I end up not needing Hyper Scan, I can just not activate it, and the Hyper Scan user will not need to cool down.

Sorry, I got ahead of myself. I never actually explained what Hyper Scan does, did I? At any point in time during the puzzle, activating Hyper Scan will check for incorrectly labeled tiles. If there are any, a number of randomly chosen tiles equal to or less than the effect size of the Hyper Scan will be selected and corrected. Otherwise, a huge check mark will be displayed on screen. (Note that the number of uses for the Hyper Scan is always lowered for any given check, no matter the outcome thereof.)

In terms of Hyper Scan effect size, note the following:

  • Pancham (Area 2), the one with the 00:00 cooldown, has 1 Hyper Scan covering 5 tiles.
  • The most effective size 10 Hyper Scan user is Gyarados (Area 27), which has 1 use covering 15 tiles.
  • The most effective non-Mega size 15 Hyper Scan user is Vivillon (Area 29), the effect of which is identical to that of Gyarados.
  • Megas included, the greatest sum of tiles covered by any size 15 Hyper Scan user is 20. The ones with the fewest uses are Mega Pinsir and Mega Heracross (Areas 14 and 18 respectively), each having 2 uses covering 10 tiles each.
  • The most effective non-legendary, non-Mega size 20 Hyper Scan user is Staraptor (Area 30), which has 3 uses covering 7 tiles each (covering a total of 21 tiles).
  • In terms of Megas: the most effective non-legendary size 20 Hyper Scan user is a tie between Mega Charizard Y and Mega Pidgeot (Areas 28 and 12 respectively), each having 3 uses covering 10 tiles each (covering a total of 30 tiles).
  • Including legendaries and excluding Megas, the most effective Hyper Scan user is Genesect (Area 26), which has 3 uses covering 15 tiles each (covering a total of 45 tiles, even more than a legendary Auto Fix).
  • As a whole, the most effective Hyper Scan user is Mega Mewtwo X (Area 30), which has 5 uses covering 10 tiles each. This covers a total of 50 tiles, making it the most effective checking ability in the game.

Simply put, Hyper Scan is basically a non-automatic (which equates to me as not-as-pesky) Auto Fix X with more uses.

3. Freeze Time

ZA WARUDO!

Sorry, had to. Associated with Psychic- and Ghost-types, Freeze Time is the third-most common ability in the game. Much like Slow Time, Freeze Time does what it says on the tin: It briefly pauses the puzzle timer. This makes it slightly (or, if using a legendary, much) easier to achieve timed objectives. As mentioned before, it also works in conjunction with Slow Time, because Slow Time effectively prolongs the duration of Freeze Time as a result of slowing down the puzzle timer.

In terms of effectiveness, I would classify varieties of Freeze Time differently: partly in terms of the sum of times, and partly in terms of the longest one-time use. The reason? In terms of limited-duration abilities (namely this and Blue Force), I always prefer the ones that have fewer uses with longer durations. With that in mind, note the following:

  • Munna (Area 4), the one with the 00:00 cooldown, can freeze time once for 10 seconds.
  • The size 10 Freeze Time user with the longest duration of one use is Misdreavus (Area 17) with a 60-second time freeze. This is also the greatest sum of time freeze durations—albeit tied with Meowstic (Area 9), which can freeze time twice for 30 seconds each.
  • In terms of non-Mega size 15 Freeze Time users:
    • The one with the longest duration of one use is Espeon (Area 10) with a 40-second time freeze.
    • The one with the greatest sum of time freeze durations is Alakazam (Area 12), the Freeze Time effect of which is identical to that of Meowstic.
  • In terms of size 15 Freeze Time users including Megas, the point about Espeon still applies, but Mega Banette (Area 5) has the greatest sum of time freeze durations: 90, which is comprised of three 30-second time freezes.
  • In terms of non-legendary, non-Mega size 20 Freeze Time users…well, there’s honestly not that much competition. Both Gengar and Chandelure (Areas 8 and 29 respectively) have a duration sum of 120 seconds; however, Gengar has one 120-second use, whereas Chandelure has two 60-second uses.
  • The only non-legendary size 20 Mega with Freeze Time is Mega Gengar, which can freeze time three times for 60 seconds each, making for a sum of 180.
  • In terms of non-Mega legendaries, all of them have the same sum of time freeze durations: 600. However, they can be distinguished in a number of different categories that can be counted on one hand:
    • 1 use, 600 seconds: Mewtwo (Area 30), Deoxys (Area 16), Giratina (Area 14)
    • 2 uses, 300 seconds each: Lugia (Area 21), Azelf (Area 24), Victini (Area 24)
    • 3 uses, 200 seconds each: Cresselia (Area 30), Meloetta (Area 21), Hoopa-Unbound (Area 29)
    • 5 uses, 120 seconds each: Mew (Area 4, password required), Celebi (Area 4), Uxie (Area 25), Hoopa-Confined (Area 8)
    • 10 uses, 60 seconds each: Mesprit (Area 23)
  • As for legendary Megas…actually, the only one is Mega Mewtwo Y, which can freeze time 3 times for 300 seconds each, making for a whopping sum of 900. That’s a lot of seconds spent halting a timer.

In conclusion, Freeze Time is somewhat trivial when used by non-legendaries, but the great many legendaries possessing the ability can use it to a great effect.

2. Cross Reveal

Associated with Fire-types, this sixth-least common ability is a combination of Rising Reveal and Slash Reveal, which is one of the reasons why I deem it to be the best Reveal ability in the game. Other reasons? Well, just look at the statistics:

  • On a 10×10 board, a Cross Reveal with a width of 2 has a maximum value of 36 tiles and an expected value of ~33 tiles.
  • On a 15×15 board, a Cross Reveal with a width of 3 has a maximum value of 81 tiles and an expected value of ~78 tiles.
  • On a 20×20 board:
    • A Cross Reveal with a width of 4 has a maximum value of 124 tiles and an expected value of ~115 tiles.
    • A Cross Reveal with a width of 5 has a maximum value of 150 tiles and an expected value of ~141 tiles.

That is freaking crazy. Literally no other Reveal ability can parallel the ridiculousness of Cross Reveal. (Darkrai surpasses the expected value of a 4-width Cross Reveal, but don’t worry about that unless Ho-Oh (Area 24) is on cooldown.) Speaking of Ho-Oh…what a literal freaking legend. An expected value greater than Yveltal’s maximum value, a minimum value that’s only 2 less that Perfect Zygarde’s guaranteed value, and a maximum value that other Reveal users could only hope to reach.

I should also mention that Entei (Area 19) is the closest thing to a Cross Reveal version of Arceus. A guaranteed 96-tile reveal isn’t much, but if used on a tile just away from a corner and its edges (suggested tiles are highlighted black in the diagram below), the third tiles away from the edges covered by the blast can be vital giveaways to the solution of the puzzle.

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-8-51-36-pm

Simply put, Cross Reveal is best Reveal, and the proof lies in the statistics.

1. Blue Force

Associated with Water- and Ice-types, this is the most common ability in the game, and I’m glad it is. Oh, what would I do without the lovely Blue Force? Mon amour…

Huh? Oh, the explanation. Blue Force does this funky little thing where it makes certain rows and columns turn blue. Why do they turn blue? Well, it’s an indicator that the rows/columns are the place to look when trying to figure out the solution to the puzzle. Even as I always do weekly puzzles on Conceptis and gain further puzzle experience through this game, it’s tough to make out which rows and columns are hiding clues and which are to be saved for later, especially in the sorts of puzzles with fewer filled-in tiles (and don’t get me started on Mega Picross). Blue Force, however, alleviates that issue in a way that I cannot take for granted. It’s like having a canteen in the middle of a desert hike, you know?

Anyway, on to the effectiveness, which is laid out in a similar fashion to Freeze Time:

  • Squirtle (Area 7), the one with the 00:00 cooldown, can use Blue Force once for 120 seconds.
  • The size 10 Blue Force user with the longest duration of one use is Marshtomp (Area 17) with a duration of 300. This is greater than any sum of any other size 10 Blue Force user.
  • In terms of size 15 Blue Force users (none of which are Megas):
    • The user with the longest duration of one use is Lapras (Area 6) with a duration of 180, although keep in mind that Lapras is directly outclassed by Feraligatr (Area 21), which has two Blue Force uses, each with a duration of 180.
    • On that note, the greatest sum of durations is 360, which is not only held by Feraligatr but also shared with Blastoise and Swampert (Areas 21 and 27 respectively), both of which have three uses, each with a duration of 120.
  • In terms of non-legendary, non-Mega size 20 Blue Force users, Vaporeon (Area 7) has the longest duration of one use: 300 seconds. Keep in mind, however, that it is directly outclassed by Samurott (Area 16) with 2 uses of 300, which in turn is outclassed by Ash Greninja (Area 3, password required) with 3 uses of 300. (Ash Greninja has the greatest sum of durations of any non-legendary with Blue Force.)
  • With the inclusion of Megas, Mega Swampert has the most effective single-use Blue Force with a duration of 600. In terms of sums of durations, however, the point about Ash Greninja still applies.
  • Now, if we were to include legendaries…remember that all legendaries with Blue Force have an infinite duration. The legendaries in question are specifically as follows: Articuno (Area 22), Suicune (Area 21), Regice (Area 22), Kyogre (Area 10), Palkia (Area 17), Manaphy (Area 2), and Keldeo (Area 11).

In essence, Blue Force is so amazingly useful in Pokémon Picross that it is the one ability that I have always kept handy whenever I could (although part of me thinks that Cross Reveal is faster for 1-Pokémon challenges).

 

Phew…that’s definitely it for this post. It was tiring, but I had fun with it, and I hope it can be of use and/or entertainment value somehow.

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

Rhyhorn (Poké Monday 11/7/16)

 rng-rhyhorn

Tier: LC
Type: Ground/Rock
Base Stats: 80 HP, 85 Atk, 95 Def, 30 Sp.Atk, 30 Sp.Def, 25 Speed
Abilities: Lightning Rod, Rock Head, Reckless

Usable moves: Ancient Power, Aqua Tail, Blizzard, Body Slam, Crunch, Double-Edge, Dragon Pulse, Drill Run, Earth Power, Earthquake, Façade, Fire Blast, Fire Fang, Flamethrower, Frustration, Hidden Power (Fighting, Grass), Ice Beam, Ice Fang, Megahorn, Poison Jab, Protect, Rest, Return, Roar, Rock Blast, Rock Polish, Rock Slide, Sleep Talk, Stealth Rock, Stone Edge, Substitute, Superpower, Swords Dance, Thunder, Thunderbolt, Toxic

Overview

Rhyhorn belongs to a slew of Rock-/Ground-type Pokémon in Little Cup that are most notable for using Stealth Rock. However, unlike the others that share its exact typing, Rhyhorn does not have the luxury of Sturdy to allow it to (usually) guarantee surviving any one attack. (Moreover, even if it did have Sturdy, its base HP is too high to make good use of Berry Juice; in other words, Rhyhorn’s absolute lowest attainable HP value is greater than 21.) Although—going strictly off of base stats—Rhyhorn has a slight edge over Geodude (specifically in Attack, Speed, and HP), the lack of Sturdy (and, to a lesser extent, Sucker Punch) is a game changer in opposition of the rocky rhino. And then there’s Onix, which may have terrible offenses but has a much better Speed stat with access to Taunt (and some decent bulk including the highest Defense stat in the tier).

Heck, the problem isn’t just that Rhyhorn lacks Sturdy; the Abilities it does have are pretty much useless. Lightning Rod usually amounts to nothing in Single Battle format; its Ground typing prevents it from receiving a boost, and even if it weren’t Ground-typed, the Special Attack boost would be next to useless with that base 30 Special Attack (which is a shame because Rhyhorn has a respectable special movepool). Rock Head gives it a recoilless Double-Edge, but why bother with that if you could use Megahorn to hit Grass-types such as Lileep and Psychic-types such as Slowpoke, or Aqua Tail to hit bulky Ground-types harder? As for the third ability…Reckless Rhyhorn (or Rhy-anything for that matter) is a joke. All Reckless does is make its…ugh…Take Down a base 108 move…with 85 accuracy… *coughmightaswelluseReturncough* (Shame that Double-Edge is a Gen 3 tutor move and therefore incompatible with the ability…and even if it weren’t…again, why not roll with actual coverage in Megahorn or Aqua Tail?)

In essence, the primary use of Rhyhorn is as a Stealth Rock user with good ol’ EdgeQuake STAB, base stats that are nothing to scoff at, and coverage against some walls in the tier that can take on its dual STABs. Don’t expect it to take hits like its Sturdy rivals can, though.

Set

Rhyhorn @ Eviolite
Ability: Rock Head
Level: 5
EVs: 36 HP / 236 Atk / 76 Def / 36 SpD / 76 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Stealth Rock
– Rock Blast
– Earthquake
– Megahorn

What this set does best is getting up Stealth Rock. Even though Rhyhorn lacks Sturdy and has some common weaknesses (including 4x weaknesses to Water and Grass), its natural bulk backed with Eviolite is nothing to sneeze at. Rock Blast is a multi-hit STAB that deals strong damage to Flying-types (which is great for discouraging Defog) and breaks through Sturdy and Focus Sash. Completing its good ol’ STAB EdgeQuake coverage is Earthquake, which deals reliably high damage to grounded foes. Megahorn, as mentioned before, is coverage for bulky Grass- and Psychic-types.

EV investment is chiefly Attack-focused with investment in bulk to improve its survivability, and the pinch of Speed helps it to speed tie with uninvested base 35-44 (e.g., Shroomish, defensive Porygon) and other such invested base 25-34 (e.g., Hippopotas, Honedge, Skrelp). With the EV spread and Nature specified above, Rhyhorn has an overall stat distribution of 25/19/17/8/10/10 (defenses are 25 and 15 respectively with Eviolite factored in). Choice of Ability is much less relevant to the set, although Rock Head is preferred as a less beneficial ability for Trace users, mainly Porygon, to copy.

Other Options

Also as mentioned, Aqua Tail is another coverage option, primarily for Ground-types such as Hippopotas. In addition, Rhyhorn possesses an obligatory Rock-type setup option in Rock Polish, but also a more interesting setup option in Swords Dance. However, with Rhyhorn’s lack of Sturdy and the existence of Shell Smash, these options are much less valuable than the standard Stealth Rock tank role to which Rhyhorn is best suited.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/cKc4wmpj

This team contains:

  • Rhyhorn (set above)
  • Fletchling to cover Grass- and Fighting-types
  • Foongus to take on Water-types
  • Staryu to clear hazards
  • Mienfoo so that Lileep doesn’t crud on the team
  • Ponyta to form a Fire+Water+Grass core with Foongus and Staryu (and to serve as a counter to Ferroseed)

It’s admittedly a bit lacking in Special offense, but that should be no big deal in Little Cup.