Starmie (Poké Monday 7/31/17)

 

Type: Water/Psychic

Base Stats:

  • 60 HP
  • 75 Attack
  • 85 Defense
  • 100 Special Attack
  • 85 Special Defense
  • 115 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Illuminate Starmie double wild Pokémon encounter rate when in the lead slot. This Ability has no effect in battle.
  • Natural Cure Starmie have non-volatile status conditions (poison, burn, paralysis, freeze, and sleep) cured when switching out.
  • Analytic Starmie have their attacks strengthened by a factor of 1.3 when moving last. (Hidden Ability)

Notable special attacks: Blizzard, Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, Psychic, Psyshock, Scald, Thunder, Thunderbolt

Notable physical attack: Rapid Spin

Notable status moves: Recover, Reflect Type

Notable Z-moves:

  • Hydro Vortex (Water) – Converts one use of Hydro Pump into a base 185 special Water-type attack.
  • Shattered Psyche (Psychic) – Converts one use of Psychic into a base 175 special Psychic-type attack.
  • Gigavolt Havoc (Electric) – Converts one use of Thunderbolt into a base 175 special Electric-type attack (or Thunder into base 185).
  • Subzero Slammer (Ice) – Converts one use of Ice Beam into a base 175 special Ice-type attack (or Blizzard into base 185).
  • Z-Reflect Type (Normal) – Grants +1 Special Attack with one use of Reflect Type.
  • Z-Gravity (Psychic) – Grants +1 Special Attack with one use of Gravity (via ORAS tutor).

Overview

Ah, good ol’ Starmie. When it comes to moves, Starmie is the sort of Pokémon that prefers quality over quantity. That is to say, its movepool as a whole may be small (understandably so, considering it’s a starfish), but it evidently has enough to get by: strong STABs, Electric+Ice coverage, reliable recovery, and utility in Rapid Spin. Stat-wise, its base Speed sits at a decent 115, its Special Attack at an average 100, its 60/85/85 defenses below average, and its physical prowess not worth mentioning.

As such, Starmie usually takes full advantage of its Speed, sometimes going fully offensive with Analytic, sometimes attempting to be moderately bulky with Natural Cure. That’s how it’s been since gen 5, and not much has changed since. That said, the introduction of Z-Moves did give Starmie a way to boost its Special Attack (because, surprisingly, Starmie does not get Calm Mind or Charge Beam) with one use of Reflect Type with Normalium Z or Gravity with Psychium Z, the former helping it against Pursuit trappers and unfavorable type matchups, and the latter complementing the powerful but low-accuracy side of its movepool including Thunder and Blizzard.

Sets

Set 1: Support

Starmie @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Scald
– Recover
– Rapid Spin
– Psychic / Reflect Type

A more defensive set takes the best advantage of Starmie’s utility options. While its main two moves are Rapid Spin for clearing hazards and Recover for keeping itself healthy, it also tends to run Scald to spread burns and not be Taunt bait. In the fourth slot, it can run Psychic for secondary STAB or Reflect Type to weasel its way out of type disadvantages.

Defensive EVing with Natural Cure and Leftovers gives Starmie optimal longevity, while the Speed investment allows it to keep up with its Speed tier. (Raikou and Mega Absol would be worrisome otherwise.)

Set 2: Offensive

Starmie @ Life Orb
Ability: Analytic
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Hydro Pump
– Ice Beam / Hidden Power [Fire]
– Thunderbolt / Psyshock
– Rapid Spin / Recover

Offensive variants of Starmie consist of four key different components from defensive variants:

  1. Analytic, which, while it may seem counterproductive with Starmie’s high base 115 Speed, is useful for punishing hard switches and the off chance of survival against a faster foe
  2. Life Orb for maximum damage output with freedom of move choice
  3. Full Special Attack investment
  4. Stronger Water STAB in Hydro Pump

Aside from those components, offensive Starmie also puts to use its nifty offensive repertoire through moves such as Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Psyshock, and Hidden Power Fire. However, it is only limited to three other moveslots, so it must choose what coverage to run, perchance with one of Rapid Spin or Recover for a touch of utility.

Set 3: Z-Move

Starmie @ Psychium Z / Normalium Z
Ability: Analytic
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Gravity / Reflect Type
– Hydro Pump
– Blizzard / Ice Beam
– Thunder / Thunderbolt

Z-Gravity and Z-Reflect Type grant Starmie an easy +1 Special Attack, which is slightly stronger than Life Orb and grants a sort of utility with the base move, but takes one turn to set up. Gravity is particularly usable as a standalone offensive option, as it ameliorates the accuracy of its STAB Hydro Pump and stronger coverage in Blizzard and Thunder. Reflect Type is more situational by comparison, especially since it might lose out on STAB Hydro Pump depending on what it faces. Ice Beam and Thunderbolt are options over Blizzard and Thunder respectively, if running Reflect Type or not willing to risk the limited duration of Gravity.

Other Options

Z-Mimic (via gen 3 tutor / gen 1 TM) and Z-Confuse Ray are other Z-moves that boost Starmie’s Special Attack, but those two Z-moves are less practical than the two already suggested. Toxic could fit on the defensive set for wearing down walls that don’t mind taking Scald or Psychic, but the option as a whole is limited for what it’s worth. That’s…about it, really.

Problems and Partners

Problems

Mega Beedrill, Mega Sceptile, and Weavile are all faster threats with super-effective STAB. (Weavile and Mega Beedrill are particularly deadly with access to Pursuit.) Mega Beedrill doesn’t appreciate Psychic STAB, and Mega Sceptile is not a fan of Ice coverage, but Weavile isn’t particularly weak to any of Starmie’s attacks. Even still, the frailty of all three makes switching into Analytic-boosted attacks no easy feat.

Alolan Muk has exceptional special bulk, immunity to Starmie’s Psychic STAB, and access to Pursuit for checking Starmie effectively. However, it is prone to burns from Scald and has a harder time with Reflect Type variants.

Scizor is in a similar boat. If Starmie lacks Scald, Hidden Power Fire, or Reflect Type, Scizor can be a major problem.

Hydreigon is an effective check to variants lacking Ice coverage. It may not have Pursuit in spite of its Dark typing, but it’s immune to Psychic, is not particularly bothered by Scald burns, and can actually exploit Reflect Type due to its combination of typing and coverage.

And, of course, Blissey can take Starmie’s attacks for days and retaliate with Seismic Toss (and, perchance, Toxic).

Partners

Fighting-types make particularly effective partners for Starmie, and each of the five above has its own way of dealing with the problems specified. Cobalion has lots of resistances (including Dark) thanks to its typing, Conkeldurr has Mach Punch for picking off weakened threats, Infernape threatens Scizor with Fire STAB, Mienshao has strong High Jump Kick for hitting hard in general, and Terrakion can potentially use Banded Earthquake to deal with Alolan Muk.

Fairies are also usable partners for dealing with Hydreigon and Mega Sceptile. Togekiss may have an extra Electric weakness, but it benefits from Starmie’s ability to remove Stealth Rock and resists almost every other weakness. Also, both can cleanse status conditions from offensive variants through the use of Heal Bell and potentially deal heavier damage with their stronger Special Attack stats (and Togekiss’s Nasty Plot).

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At a standstill 2 (Whimsical Weekend #14)

It kinda pains me to be doing this when my last “At a standstill” post was Whimsical Weekend #12, but once again, I just don’t have any particular writing topic in mind right now. I did mention freelance coding before, and I’ve been really into it as of late, especially considering I can see the light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel. That and the regular work routine are making it difficult to think about anything else.

I would like to briefly touch upon a few things, though. First off, I take back what I said about the Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth series; I’d rather cover all three installments en masse after all. (I also plan to re-watch the anime afterwards, because that was a blur to me the first time I watched it.) I mean, I decided to start playing Re;Birth 2 last month and managed to achieve the Normal Ending (rather anticlimactically, I must say), and there seems to be a lot more ground to cover for the remaining endings, what with the Shares and Lily Ranks and such. For now, I will say that Re;Birth 2 took a step down from Re;Birth 1 overall, but I won’t explain why in full detail.

Second, about the same time I started Re;Birth 2, I actually bought the secondary story (Conquest) for my copy of Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, considering the advent of newer Fire Emblem games and that I haven’t gotten the most out of the Fates series yet. But dang, man, I’m sixteen chapters into Conquest on Hard mode, and I have to say that the difference between Birthright and Conquest is the difference between Super Weenie Hut Jr.’s and the Salty Spittoon. (Shoutouts to SpongeBob.)

And finally, I’m thinking that I should later get around to speedrunning Phoenotopia more seriously. My mindset as of late has been: “Wait until a golden opportunity to stream,” but now that I think about it, that’s a terrible mindset to have. I mean, I set my expectations too high when I stream, only to be disappointed when I end it off at an inevitably early time because I can’t get a run past Bandits’ Lair due to my rust. Coupling that with the fact that I get few opportunities to stream in the first place (considering I still live with my parents, and I don’t know when would be a good time to change that), I now realize that I’m probably better off just recording offline instead. And yes, I do still plan to improve my times, even in any% and 100%. (For both categories, I recently devised new strats that I don’t plan to discuss right now. Also, my times in All Moonstones and All Medals could definitely stand to be more optimized, the more I look back at them.)

So, um…that’s about it.

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Voltorb (Poké Monday 7/3/17)

Type: Electric

Base Stats:

  • 40 HP
  • 30 Attack
  • 50 Defense
  • 55 Special Attack
  • 55 Special Defense
  • 100 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Soundproof Voltorb are immune to sound-based moves.
  • Static Voltorb, when attacked by direct contact, have a 30% chance to paralyze the attacker.
  • Aftermath Voltorb, when fainted by a contact move, cause the attacker to lose 1/4 of its HP. (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Explosion, Foul Play (via ORAS tutor), Sucker Punch (via Gen IV tutor)

Notable special attacks: Charge Beam, Discharge, Mirror Coat, Signal Beam (via ORAS tutor), Thunder, ThunderboltVolt Switch

Notable status moves: Light Screen, Magic Coat (via ORAS tutor), Rain Dance, Reflect (via Gen I transfer), Taunt, Thunder Wave

Notable Z-moves:

  • Gigavolt Havoc (Electric) – Converts one use of Thunder into a base 185 special Electric-type attack (or Thunderbolt into base 175).
  • Savage Spin-Out (Bug) – Converts one use of Signal Beam into a base 140 special Bug-type attack.

Overview

Voltorb has the highest base Speed of any legal Little Cup Pokémon…but not much else. And don’t be fooled; this does not mean that Voltorb is the sole fastest Pokémon in Little Cup—rather, given any non-Speed-hindering nature, Voltorb is tied in Speed with base 95s, namely Elekid and Diglett. More importantly, Voltorb won’t be tearing holes through teams with its unusable base 30 Attack and rather low base 55 Special Attack, nor will it be taking many hits with its merely average 40/50/55 defenses, and its special movepool basically consists of Electric STAB, Hidden Power, and Signal Beam. Therefore, its best role…well, there are still no Drizzle users in Little Cup (what the heck, GameFreak), and Voltorb makes a great Rain Dance lead with its high Speed and repertoire of useful Electric STAB. In particular, Thunder is its strongest attack and bypasses accuracy checks in the rain, while Volt Switch allows its teammates to bask in the rain that it sets up.

Set

Voltorb @ Damp Rock
Ability: Static
Level: 5
EVs: 36 HP / 36 Def / 236 SpA / 196 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Rain Dance
– Thunder
– Volt Switch
– Taunt

Weather may not be nearly as prevalent as it was in prior generations, but don’t turn a blind eye to it, and don’t turn a blind eye to this Voltorb either. With a Timid Nature and full investment in Speed, it keeps up with base 95s and stays ahead of base 90s and 85s (notably Meowth, Ponyta, Abra, Taillow, Staryu, and Buizel), allowing it in most circumstances to quickly set up Rain Dance and proceed to either wreck face with Thunder or defer to another team member with Volt Switch. Another tool for making use of Voltorb’s Speed is Taunt, which prevents it from being setup fodder in the face of hazard setters.

As for its Ability, Static is the most fear-inducing of the three choices, serving as a “Think twice before throwing out contact moves” tag of sorts (more so than Aftermath, which can be avoided through careful planning while Static activates randomly).

With the above EVs and Nature, this set has the following stats:

21 HP
7 Attack
12 Defense
15 Special Attack
12 Special Defense
20 Speed

Other Options

A set with Life Orb and Hidden Power Ice alongside Electric STAB (preferably Thunderbolt over Thunder) gives Voltorb more of an offensive presence. This, however, faces competition from Elekid, which is slightly stronger and has better coverage at the expense of slightly less physical bulk and a lack of Taunt.

Speaking of Taunt, because Little Cup is oriented less towards setup/utility and more towards raw power than level 100 metagames, it might be preferable in most situations to have Thunder Wave over Taunt in the suggested set. It may be slightly less accurate than in former generations, but it still does a better job against purely offensive threats. If you decide to run Thunder Wave, then you might consider Static redundant, in which case Aftermath is the next most viable Ability option.

Explosion might not seem like a very appealing option considering the nerf as of Gen V and Voltorb’s low Attack stat, but consider the following:

36- Atk Voltorb Explosion vs. 36 HP / 0 Def Diglett: 18-22 (100 – 122.2%) — guaranteed OHKO

It has to bank on a Speed tie to pull this off, but it’s a cooler method of dealing with Diglett than just setting up Rain Dance and fainting. And, considering Voltorb’s Speed, it’s easier to provide a safe switch-in opportunity with Explosion than with Volt Switch.

Thanks to the Virtual Console releases of Red, Blue, and Yellow on 3DS, Voltorb has access to both Light Screen and Reflect (but only with Aftermath), although dual screens are obsolete thanks to the rise of Defog as of Gen VI and the introduction of Alolan Vulpix (which gets Snow Warning + Aurora Veil, the latter being a combination of both screens that can only be used in hail).

Problems and Partners

Problems

Ties in Speed, is Ground-type, and cannot be easily avoided thanks to Arena Trap. Be very careful of this thing, especially if not running super-effective Hidden Power.

Can prevent Voltorb from setting up its weather by virtue of Prankster Taunt, and can potentially set up their own weather if needed.

Depending on Hidden Power choice (usually Ice, but it can be something different—like Grass, Ground, or Fire), Voltorb will likely be walled by a particular subset of threats. Chinchou and Magnemite resist Ice, Onix resists Fire, and Foongus (and other Grass-types, but especially Foongus) resists Grass.

Oh, and don’t forget about this item. It’s not of much use to Voltorb, but precisely because of that, beware Choice Scarf users at base 34 Speed or above.

Partners

Water-types are the most obvious candidates for taking advantage of Voltorb’s capability of setting up rain, and also for dispatching whatever Ground-types may cause grief for Voltorb. Mantyke is particularly helpful for its immunity to Ground-type attacks, although Shellder’s physical bulk is helpful to pack as well. While Corphish, Skrelp, and Carvanha might not have as good synergy with their stats or typing, their strong offensive prowess is considerable even if Voltorb doesn’t carry Rain Dance. Carvanha’s Dark typing can also be helpful for denying Prankster shenanigans like nobody’s business.

In other situations, a Grass-type might be preferred, such as if encountering a Chinchou or requiring a more reliable switch-in to Earthquake. Both offensive and support-oriented varieties exist, such as Snivy and Cottonee respectively.

Offensive variants of Voltorb are not super strong, so having some form of hazard setter can be helpful for the residual damage provided. Onix and Dwebble stick out as effective users, each having Sturdy to be used in conjunction with Berry Juice, the former having a rather high Speed itself and performing well against opposing Electric-types, and the latter having further hazard stacking in the form of Spikes.

And you know, just having a physical attacker (particularly of the Fighting-type variety) around can be nice for Voltorb; otherwise, the likes of Munchlax would be problematic.