Fantasy story follow-up (Whimsical “Weekend” #13)

 Yo.

It’s been more than half a year since I first talked about that one fantasy harem series (Cinq du Soleil) that I’ve been working on in my spare time. And somehow, over the past week or so, it’s been on my mind more than anything else I’ve been doing lately.

I mean, I said at one point that I wasn’t going to do a follow-up until I finished the story, but that was before I realized a vital limitation of Google Docs: As the number of pages in a document increases beyond 100, the document also becomes increasingly laggy. I went up to Chapter 7 (if I recall correctly) on a single document, but it was when I finally got fed up with the lag that I decided to start splitting the chapters into groups to be placed in separate documents. That is to say, the document I linked in the first post now only contains introductory content and Chapters 1-5, and I also have a document for Chapters 6-9 (simple but obligatory joke intended) and a to-be-determined set of chapters from 10.

Introductory content + Chapters 1-5

Chapters 6-9

I don’t have as much to say at this point as I did in the introductory post, but…

  • Since completing Chapter 1, I’ve had the tendency to end chapters only when the main characters sleep. I’ve also desired to add more concepts and characters to the story, which basically led to the later chapters getting longer. To put that into perspective, the first document is 87 pages long, while the second document is 101 pages long.
    • Heck, when I first wrote Chapter 9, I went all out on it. I recall Chapters 6-9 collectively being over 110 pages excluding interludes, and Chapter 9 alone accounted for a whopping 42 of those pages. It didn’t take long for me to split the chapter into two pieces: the first one (Chapter 9) being 25 pages, and the second (Chapter 10) being 17 pages.
  • I decided to add an “Interlude” section to the end of every chapter. This idea came about when I realized, before the information updates of Chapter 2, that there was a short aside conversation between Yue and Toru (which was, at the time, the first three lines of the current interlude of that chapter), and I hadn’t really considered making a similar thing for other chapters. Only sometimes (like the case of the interlude before I implemented interludes) do the interludes clarify otherwise unknown or incomprehensible aspects of the plot, but others of times they’re just purely for the heck of it.
  • In a similar vein to the “Information updates” sections, I recently decided that I would initiate later chapter documents with earlier chapter summaries (for instance, the 6-9 document has a summary for Chapters 1-5).
  • The next point is not only a spoiler of Cinq du Soleil Chapter 5, but also of Volume 12 of the Mondaiji light novel, so I shall hide it with white text in brackets. Highlight at your own risk. [In Cinq du Soleil, I included a plot twist that Dealer is Yue’s thought-to-be-dead sister (Diana Panishi). In the Mondaiji light novel, it is revealed that the character Faceless is Asuka’s thought-to-be-dead sister (Ayato Kudō). (I mean, Faceless isn’t portrayed as masculine, but that’s beside the point.) The thing is, though, I wrote that Dealer was Yue’s sister before I read that Faceless was Asuka’s sister, even though Mondaiji Volume 12 was published before I even started Cinq du Soleil. Coincidence? I think so.]
  • Dealer’s Treasure name was changed from “Trump” to “Lucky Draw”, to avoid confusion with the current President of the United States. I came up with the initial name more than two years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to change the name.
  • I had to make another shoutout to good ol’ Kili Surtr Muspelheim. In Chapter 7, Will, the Chief Elemental of Spirit, performs magic attacks by snapping his fingers, like how Kili does in the Fafnir anime.
  • I might have to say that Chapter 8 has been the hardest to write so far, particularly the beach visit and the aftermath thereof. It might be because I’m the type to care more about game-like concepts and plot points than how the characters interact from a casual standpoint.
  • It’s never like I’m totally finished with the chapters I’ve already done. Sometimes I can’t help scrutinizing my metaphorical footprints and, if something seems even a bit off, correct it accordingly.

I think that’s all I have to say for now. I’ve definitely been having fun with this story as I intended to, even if I struggle to find inspiration from time to time. As for the next set of chapters, I’ve gone up to 12 and done a tiny bit of 13 (currently on page 63 of the next document), although I’m thinking there are a few revisions to be made there, and I can’t make any promises regarding how close exactly I am to declaring that set as completed.

Speaking of not making promises, I wonder how long I’ll continue the story as a whole…

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Slight delay on Whimsical Weekend #13

It’s in the works, trust me, but considering how much effort I’d have to put into it, as well as the importance of not staying up too late (for the sake of work), I think I’d be better off putting in the effort over the week instead of pulling an all-nighter or similar to do so.

 Please understand.

I will give a minor hint about the topic, though: It’s about something that I haven’t brought up in detail in over half a year.

6/20/17 EDIT: Done now. http://wp.me/p4GI1b-k7

Archeops (Poké Monday 6/5/17)

 

Type: Rock/Flying

Base Stats:

  • 75 HP
  • 140 Attack
  • 65 Defense
  • 112 Special Attack
  • 65 Special Defense
  • 110 Speed

Ability: Defeatist – If Archeops’ HP is below half, its Attack and Special Attack are halved.

Notable physical attacks: Acrobatics, Aqua Tail (via ORAS tutor), Earthquake, Endeavor, Head Smash (Egg move), Knock Off (Egg move), Stone Edge, U-turn

Notable special attacks: Ancient Power, Dragon Pulse (Egg move), Earth Power (Egg move), Focus Blast, Heat Wave (via ORAS tutor)

Notable status moves: Defog (Egg move), Roost, Stealth Rock (via ORAS tutor), Switcheroo (Egg move), Taunt

Notable Z-moves:

  • Continental Crush (Rock)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Head Smash into a base 200 physical Rock-type attack (or Stone Edge into base 180).
    • Special – Converts one use of Ancient Power into a base 120 special Rock-type attack.
  • Supersonic Skystrike (Flying) – Converts one use of Sky Attack (via ORAS tutor) into a base 200 physical Flying-type attack.
  • Tectonic Rage (Ground)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Earthquake into a base 180 physical Ground-type attack.
    • Special – Converts one use of Earth Power into a base 175 special Ground-type attack.
  • All-Out Pummeling (Fighting) – Converts one use of Focus Blast into a base 190 special Fighting-type attack.
  • Inferno Overdrive (Fire) – Converts one use of Heat Wave into a base 175 special Fire-type attack.
  • Z-Taunt (Dark) – Grants +1 Attack with one use of Taunt.

Overview

Ever since its debut in generation 5, Archeops has been one of an infamous set of Pokémon who are hindered by their Abilities. Its statline is offensively oriented, consisting of a hefty base 140 Attack, a decent base 112 Special Attack, and a comfortable Speed tier of 110. As such, its Ability is a huge detriment. Assuming full offensive investment with a Speed-boosting nature, the effect of Defeatist will render Archeops’ Attack and Special Attack equivalent to base 45 and 31 respectively, making it even weaker than Minior above half HP. It doesn’t help that Archeops is not the bulkiest thing around with its 75/65/65 defenses. Sure, it can take advantage of recovery options in Roost and pinch berries, but: In the case of Roost, can it really sacrifice a moveslot and risk the possibility of being brought below half HP again (or worse)? In the case of pinch berries, can it really afford to dedicate its item slot to one? Oh well, at least it has access to Endeavor, which becomes more effective at lower HP values, in spite of Defeatist’s effect.

Ability aside, consider Archeops’ movepool. Although it consists of utility options in Defog, Stealth Rock, and Taunt; along with Ground coverage complemented by Dark and Water on the physical side and Fighting, Fire, and Dragon on the special side; Archeops is lacking in reliable STAB. Stone Edge is strong (and has the bonus of a high critical hit ratio), but its 5 PP and 80% accuracy hold it back from being a perfect STAB move. (Head Smash is in a similar boat, but with more base power at the expense of 50% recoil and a normal crit ratio.) As for Flying STAB, it has to resort to Acrobatics for reliability or Supersonic Skystrike for power, both at the expense of a precious item slot (granted Acrobatics sets can run a pinch berry if so desired). Oh, and the special side is even worse. To be curt, its special STAB literally consists of Ancient Power. That’s right, no Power Gem, no Hurricane, no Air Slash, not even freaking Air Cutter, just Ancient Power. Having a 60 BP move with 5 PP as its only special STAB is, if nothing else, what holds it back from using its Special Attack stat for anything but coverage.

That’s how it is, and that’s how it’s always been. The transition to Sun/Moon gave Archeops nothing but Z-moves, although that in itself presents some interesting wallbreaking options such as 200 BP physical STAB (which is especially nice on the Flying side), stronger coverage moves, and Z-Taunt—which has the potential to shut down utility- and setup-reliant foes while amping up its offensive potential.

In summary, Archeops is an offensive threat at half or more HP, but its Ability is a severe detriment when it kicks in. Beware priority (especially Accelerock, Aqua Jet, Bullet Punch, and Ice Shard) and Choice Scarf users. Keep Stealth Rock at bay if Archeops is not your only Defogger.

Sets

Set 1: Lead

Archeops @ Focus Sash
Ability: Defeatist
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Stealth Rock
– Taunt
– Endeavor
– Head Smash

A set that takes full advantage of Archeops’ lead potential. Uses Stealth Rock to put pressure on the enemy team, Taunt to prevent opponents from setting up, Endeavor when it falls to a low HP value (preferably 1 thanks to Focus Sash), and Head Smash as a strong STAB move preferable over Endeavor in some situations (namely, against Ghost-types, at full HP, and at low enough HP that the recoil will KO it).

EVs are offensively focused, with particular emphasis in Speed to take full advantage of its Speed tier. No bulk investment is needed due to the nature of the set, and the lack of such investment makes it easier (if only slightly) to activate Focus Sash and maximize the potential of Endeavor.

Set 2: Z-Move Attacker

Archeops @ Darkinium Z / Flyinium Z
Ability: Defeatist
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Taunt / Sky Attack
– Stone Edge
– Earthquake
– Roost / Knock Off / U-turn

As far as Archeops is concerned, Z-moves are the only real improvement in the transition from Kalos to Alola. Two particularly notable Z-moves are Z-Taunt (Taunt with a +1 Attack boost) and Supersonic Skystrike from Sky Attack (its most powerful Flying STAB). Whatever Z-move it runs, it will most likely depend on Stone Edge for Rock STAB (because the recoil of Head Smash isn’t quite as worth risking when it comes to non-lead sets) and Earthquake for coverage. As for the fourth slot, that depends on team needs. Roost helps Archeops stays out of Defeatist range, Knock Off provides the ability to remove opposing items, and U-turn works for scouting the opponent (but is ill advised with Z-Taunt).

In non-lead sets, lesser bulk is not better because there is no incentive to be below half HP. Dumping the remaining 4 EVs in Special Defense is preferred because:

  1. Running 4 HP EVs would mean that it only takes two Stealth Rock switch-ins to enter Defeatist range, while it otherwise takes three.
  2. Porygon2 with Download is a possibility (at least it seems so at the time of writing; if it actually isn’t, investing in Defense would be preferred because most priority moves are physical).

Other Options

On offensive sets not running Z-Taunt, Archeops can afford to run a defense-hindering Nature, dump its 4 EVs in Special Attack, and use Earth Power as an alternative Ground coverage move to hit Aggron, Regirock, and Steelix harder than Earthquake can. Focus Blast is slightly stronger than Earth Power and has a good chance to 2HKO Regirock, but Earth Power is more reliable in terms of accuracy and PP. Continental Crush from Head Smash is an alternative 200 BP STAB that notably scores an OHKO on 252/0 Eelektross and generally hits Electric- and Rock-types harder. Itemless Acrobatics is Archeops’ most reliable Flying STAB and, unlike Supersonic Skystrike, is not a one-off technique. Acrobatics can also be run alongside a pinch berry such as LiechiSalacSitrus, or Mago and the like (the last of which are improved in Sun/Moon in that they now restore half HP when the holder is at or below 1/4 HP).

A Choice set with Switcheroo could allow Archeops to sabotage the opposition in potentially a more vile way than Taunt could, although item-switching moves have become even less effective with the introduction of Z-Crystals. Archeops can also provide Defog support if needed, but such support requires utmost wariness in all situations.

Problems and Partners

Problems

First and foremost, beware of faster threats. Cinccino is particularly menacing, as it packs Skill Link Rock Blast for not only dealing hefty super-effective damage, but also breaking through Focus Sash with utmost ease. Lycanroc may not be able to break through Focus Sash, but it has super-effective STAB priority in Accelerock to compensate.

Speaking of priority, watch out for these guys too. They are the next most likely candidates for carrying STAB priority that, if nothing else, will easily leave Archeops in Defeatist range and therefore crippled unless it has a pinch berry activate or can find an opportunity to Roost.

Sceptile may not have super-effective STAB, but it does have a faster Taunt to prevent Archeops from setting up Stealth Rock. Sableye is a worse case, boasting access to Prankster Taunt and Will-O-Wisp for shutting down Archeops like nothing else.

In addition, anything that can take a hit and retaliate in such a way to either bring Archeops to Defeatist range or help bring Archeops to Defeatist range can become a problem. However, such problems are more manageable if Archeops runs a high-power Z-move or any variety of Taunt.

 

Partners

Lanturn resists 4/5 of Archeops’ weaknesses (i.e., all excluding Rock), doesn’t particularly mind burn, is immune to paralysis, and can provide Heal Bell support if Archeops finds itself afflicted with such status conditions. It can also use Thunder Wave for its own form of paralysis, as well as Volt Switch to prevent it from being a momentum drain.

Because Archeops is weak to Stealth Rock, it is inevitable that hazard removers be included here. Claydol is only resistant to 2/5 of Archeops’ weaknesses, but it is decently bulky, extremely hazard-resistant (being a Ground-type with Levitate), and can set up its own Stealth Rock. Hitmontop only resists 1/5, but with access to Foresight, it can potentially get a Rapid Spin off against anything. Be careful using Shiftry, because it’s kinda frail, resists 2/5 of Archeops’ weaknesses (sadly not including Rock), and can potentially be counterproductive with Stealth Rock variants of Archeops.

Actually, it’s tough to think of partners for Archeops. I guess just consider what would go well with Stealth Rock and/or how the rest of the team would ideally be molded based on the moves that Archeops runs. That is to say, because of Archeops’ offensive potential coupled with its frailty, it’s better to ask not what your team can do for Archeops, but what Archeops can do for your team.