Koffing (Poké Monday 12/31/18)

Shoutouts to this being the last post of 2018. And to reviewing the mascot of Smogon.

Type: Poison

Base Stats:

  • 40 HP
  • 65 Attack
  • 95 Defense
  • 60 Special Attack
  • 45 Special Defense
  • 35 Speed

Ability: Levitate – Koffing is unaffected by Ground-type attacks (barring Thousand Arrows), Spikes, Sticky Web, and Terrains.

Notable physical attacks: Considering Koffing has slightly higher Attack than Special Attack, you’d think there would be something here, but nah. No STAB, and jack crud for coverage. Thanks, GameFreak.

Notable special attacks: Clear Smog, Fire Blast, Sludge Bomb, Thunderbolt

Notable status moves: Haze, Pain Split, Toxic Spikes, Will-O-Wisp

Notable Z-moves:

  • Z-Haze (Ice) – Fully restores the user’s HP with one use of Haze

Overview

Notorious for being the only pure Poison-type with Levitate, Koffing avoids its Ground weakness and sports 5 resistances (Bug, Fairy, Fighting, Grass, and Poison) with only 1 additional weakness (Psychic). Couple that with 40/95/45 bulk, and you got yourself a decent wall for Little Cup. Or perhaps you could consider it a tank, because base 60 Special Attack is not too shabby, especially with Sludge Bomb for STAB and Fire Blast for coverage. Regardless, it can also combat stat boosters with Clear Smog or Haze, cripple physical attackers with Will-O-Wisp, and potentially spread poison with Sludge Bomb and/or Toxic Spikes.

But of course, everything has its drawbacks. A big issue with Koffing is its lack of reliable recovery, on account of which it has to rely on Pain Split or Z-Haze. And they themselves have issues, with Pain Split being significantly less potent in LC and with Z-Haze taking up a Z-Crystal slot on the team. Berry Juice can potentially help with that issue, but it is prone to Knock Off and the like, making Z-Haze not as dumb an option as one might think. Another major issue with Koffing is the less-than-stellar offensive coverage of its STAB. It only hits Fairy and Grass super-effectively (the latter of which is also covered by Fire Blast) while being resisted by 4 types (Ghost, Ground, Poison, and Rock) and blocked by Steel. And it certainly doesn’t help that Koffing has next to no options for its higher attacking stat. On a lesser note, Levitate has the slight downside of disallowing Koffing to dispel Toxic Spikes (unless affected by Gravity, which is a rarity, particularly in LC).

To summarize, Koffing is primarily a physical wall, yet it has the unction to dent the opposition with its special attacks.

Sets

1: Wall (Eviolite + Pain Split)

Koffing @ Eviolite
Ability: Levitate
Level: 5
EVs: 36 HP / 236 Def / 236 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Clear Smog
– Thunderbolt
– Will-O-Wisp
– Pain Split

Making careful use of Koffing’s more tame options. Clear Smog serves as a STAB move and, although weak, has the utility of clearing opposing stat boosts. Thunderbolt hits most Steel-types neutrally, but its greater purpose is to hit bulky Water-types such as Mareanie. Will-O-Wisp is a staple on Koffing sets, as it hinders the physical attackers that are meant to fall prey to this Pokémon. Lastly, Pain Split is the only reliable way that Koffing can keep healthy, and even then the term “reliable” is used loosely.

EVs are chiefly put into defenses; this, alongside the Bold Nature, takes the best advantage of Eviolite. Afterwards, just enough EVs are left to throw into HP and keep it odd.

Stats: 21/9/20/12/14/10 (30 Def and 21 SpD after Eviolite)

2: Tank (Z-Haze)

Koffing @ Icium Z
Ability: Levitate
Level: 5
EVs: 36 HP / 236 Def / 236 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Sludge Bomb
– Fire Blast
– Will-O-Wisp
– Haze

Making not-so-careful use of Koffing’s less tame options. Sludge Bomb is Koffing’s stronger STAB and, because of how much more powerful it is than Clear Smog, simply has a 30% chance to poison. Fire Blast is easily Koffing’s most powerful form of coverage, allowing it to smite Steel-types such as Ferroseed and Pawniard. Will-O-Wisp is exactly as mentioned previously. Lastly, Haze essentially does what Clear Smog does, except it’s not blocked by Steel-types. (It is, however, stopped by Taunt.)

Icium Z grants a single opportunity for Haze to become a full HP recovery move alongside its regular effect. Since this set does not use Eviolite, it doesn’t matter as much whether to go physically or specially defensive; however, going defensive in general is Koffing’s best bet.

Stats: 21/9/19/12/15/10

Other Options

If a little more firepower is desired, Koffing could afford to transfer defensive EVs to Special Attack. For example, the Eviolite set could run Calm Nature with 156 EVs in each defense and 116 in Special Attack, giving it a stat spread of 21/9/18/14/14/10 (24 Def and 21 SpD with Eviolite): a significant Defense drop in exchange for a decent Special Attack boost. Offensive sets can also benefit from Berry Juice as a snappier way to keep them healthy.

Aside from that, any combination of the moves in both sets can work, although the following general format is advised as a guideline:

  • Poison STAB (Clear Smog, Sludge Bomb)
  • Coverage (Thunderbolt, Fire Blast)
  • Will-O-Wisp
  • Longevity / Utility (Pain Split, Z-Haze, Toxic Spikes)

Speaking of Toxic Spikes, which hasn’t been mentioned in-depth until now, it presents a more reliable way of poisoning than Sludge Bomb (even better if running Clear Smog), but it’s hard to put on a moveset without sacrificing one of Koffing’s healing options or the unparalleled utility of Will-O-Wisp.

Problems and Partners

Problems

Easily the most fierce predator here. It makes a nonsense of the status conditions that Koffing spreads, and it has obscene special prowess with STAB that hits Koffing’s main weakness and weaker defense.

Drilbur is the only Little Cup Pokémon with Mold Breaker Earthquake, so watch out for that if you can’t get an opportunity to burn it.

Guts attackers, notably Larvitar and Taillow, can absorb Koffing’s status spreading and use it to their advantage. Larvitar is particularly menacing, being quad resistant to Poison, immune to Thunderbolt, and resistant to Fire Blast. (For that sole reason, Hidden Power Grass is also up for consideration.)

Aside from that, nothing specific comes to mind. General advice is to not get too reckless, especially around special attackers.

Partners

Wish support is a good place to start, considering Koffing’s notable dearth of recovery options. Lickitung and Spritzee are both excellent clerics, and the two of them together form a nifty core.

Stunky and Alolan Grimer are exceptional checks to Psychic-types and similar special attackers, sporting Psychic immunity and Ghost resistance without the usual Fighting weakness. Stunky has access to Sucker Punch and Defog, whereas Alolan Grimer has Knock Off to its name.

Should Drilbur and/or Larvitar need to be kept in check, Corphish is go-to for its Adaptability Aqua Jet.

Both Meowth variants are good partners, but in different ways. Kantonian Meowth, sporting Technician Fake Out and Feint, makes an excellent check to the offensive threats that Koffing has trouble dealing with. Meanwhile, Alolan Meowth has Z-Parting Shot to keep Koffing healthy, alongside enough Speed to tie with Abra if push comes to shove. (It can also run Thunderbolt if a Mareanie check is needed.)

Afterword

Here’s hoping the new year won’t bring much new pollution.

Smash Ultimate in brief (Whimsical Weekend #32)

Super Smash Brothers Ultimate is the latest installment of its reasonably popular franchise. As a long-time fan of the franchise since its debut on the Nintendo 64, of course I would play the crap out of Ultimate for at least a week after its release. But, uh…this sort of game is hard to explain with words, let alone mine, so I’ll endeavor to keep myself brief.

The best starting point of Smash Ultimate is the World of Light (in the Spirits menu). It’s like Brawl’s Subspace Emissary except not as linear but more mundane. It heavily involves Spirits, which are essentially a cross between Brawl’s Stickers and the recurring Trophies, and the way to progress is by fighting gimmick battles that are clever references to the source material of the Spirits involved. This mode allows for the unlocking of every fighter in the roster (and you can occasionally scoop them up early by backing out of the mode after having played it for a while), and it also contains ten different bosses: Giga Bowser, Galleom, Rathalos, Master Hand, Galeem, Ganon, Dracula, Marx, Crazy Hand, and Dharkon. (I personally found Ganon and Marx to be the two most annoying.) Speaking from experience, 100% completing World of Light is no easy feat. Chrom and Richter have very unconventional access criteria (Chrom by jumping into an open treasure chest and Richter by eliminating all the phantoms in the Castlevania area), and some of the higher-tier challenges have succeeded in driving me insane before I finally ended up completing them. (Having to view all endings in a single file to get 100% is also irritating.) By the way, part of the true ending allows you to legitimately play as Master Hand!

Going beyond World of Light, the next frontier would be Challenges (in the Vault menu). They’re supposed to give you a tour of the other game modes, but with two notable flaws:

  1. As a whole, they just aren’t as rewarding as in the Wii U version. (And ironically, despite being called “Challenges,” most of them are not actually challenging.) But I guess it’s natural for challenges to get easier when most of the legacy single-player game modes (such as Home Run Contest) have dwindled since Brawl. (After all, Smash wasn’t made for mere single-player experiences.)
  2. More importantly, there’s an Online section with 13 challenges that are behind a paywall.

I did manage to complete the other 111 challenges, and the one I found to be the hardest was the one where you have to clear Century Smash as Ken, alone and using only special moves. (From experience, I believe get-up attacks are also prohibited, even if executed with the special button.) 10 Legends in Spirit Board and 3 KOs in Cruel Smash were also painful to complete.

Aside from that, all I can note is that Classic Mode is better than it’s ever been (with opponents being thematic instead of random and with the incremental difficulty), that the newcomers are hype, how triggered I am over Snake only having old codec conversations despite Pit having new telepathy conversations, and that All-Star Smash is super challenging. (I tried it as Wolf, having misread a couple of the “Games and Other” Challenges, and I couldn’t get past 39.) And since Ultimate is on the Switch, it will probably grow to be my next “chill” game (which formerly was Octopath Traveler).

Overall rating: 9.8/10. You can’t go wrong with Smash, but some aspects of this particular installment are a bit pesky. The lack of touch controls in the menus (think Puyo Puyo Tetris) is another thing, but Octopath didn’t have them either, so I’m not entirely bothered.

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Sentret (Poké Monday 12/3/18)

Type: Normal

Base Stats:

  • 35 HP
  • 46 Attack
  • 34 Defense
  • 35 Special Attack
  • 45 Special Defense
  • 20 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Run Away Sentret are guaranteed to flee in wild battles.
  • Keen Eye Sentret are impervious to accuracy reduction and ignore evasion boosts.
  • Frisk Sentret reveal foes’ held items upon switching in. (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Aqua Tail, Body SlamDouble-Edge, Frustration/Return, Knock Off, Quick Attack, Pursuit, Sucker Punch, Super Fang, U-turn

Notable special attacks: Charge Beam, Flamethrower, Hyper Voice, Ice Beam, Shadow Ball, Surf, Thunderbolt

Notable status moves: Curse, Work Up

Notable Z-moves: Sentret needs no Z-Crystal.

Overview

Best not mess with Sentret. That base 46 Attack is capable of ravaging many puny souls with its Double-Edge and Quick Attack, and base 35 Special Attack lets them taste the rainbow that takes the form of its special movepool. And its opposition is hard-pressed to break through that thick 35/34/45 bulk, let alone if they can compete with base 20 Speed.

Ah, whom am I kidding. Sentret has the lowest BST of any pure Normal-type. That should say enough about its viability, let alone in Little Cup. Very underwhelming, even for a Route 1 rodent. (Route 29 in this case, but eh, details.) On the other hand, Johto is a very nostalgic region to me, because Pokémon Silver was the first Pokémon game I was able to play with a strategy guide at my disposal.

Regardless of that, Sentret does have a rather colorful movepool. Unfortunately, because of its poor stats and lack of redemptive Abilities, it’s hard-pressed to do much with that movepool. Such is the curse of Pokémon that don’t age well.

Sets

Set 1: Yeah

Sentret @ Eviolite
Ability: Frisk
Level: 5
EVs: 76 HP / 68 Atk / 84 Def / 236 SpD / 36 Spe
Impish Nature
– Super Fang
– U-turn
– Knock Off
– Body Slam

Scout, slow pivot, tank. Uses Super Fang to whittle away at the opposition, U-turn to keep momentum, Knock Off for item removal, and Body Slam to spread paralysis. In all seriousness, this is Sentret’s only redeemable set.

EV investment is focused on Eviolite jump points and non-even HP, plus a bit of Attack and Speed for good measure.

Set stats: 21/12/12/9/14/9 (18 Def and 21 SpD with Eviolite)

Set 69: Um

Sentret @ Eviolite
Ability: Frisk
Level: 5
EVs: 228 Atk / 4 Def / 236 SpD / 36 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Curse
– Body Slam
– Knock Off
– Quick Attack

If you have the audacity, try running Curse to set up, Body Slam and Knock Off to deal damage, and Quick Attack for priority.

Because Sentret’s Attack is on the low side, that’s where its investment here is purely focused. Defenses are kept even for Eviolite, and the rest is thrown into Speed because it doesn’t belong anywhere else.

Set stats: 20/15/10/9/14/9 (15 Def and 21 SpD with Eviolite)

Set 420: No

Sentret @ Life Orb
Ability: Frisk
Level: 5
EVs: 4 Def / 236 SpA / 196 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 29 HP / 0 Atk
– Charge Beam
– Hyper Voice
– Ice Beam
– Shadow Ball

Meant for use with Sticky Web support…and by only the most adventurous of Little Cup players. It relies on Charge Beam to boost Sentret’s meager Special Attack so that it can utilize its colorful movepool notably consisting of Hyper VoiceIce Beam, and Shadow Ball.

EVs are focused primarily on offense, preferring Modest because Timid doesn’t hit any notable jump points in outspeeding with Sticky Web (whereas Modest outspeeds base 52 and below with max Speed). Its precious little remaining investment after maximizing special offense is thrown into Defense. HP is lowered a bit to reduce the residual damage of Life Orb (1/10 rounded down) from 2 to 1.

Set stats: 19/8/10/14/11/11

Other Options

Real talk: If Set 1 doesn’t get you enough mileage, don’t even bother.

Problems and Partners

Problems

The entire metagame. Particularly Timburr and Mienfoo.

Partners

Any Pokémon that can hold its own weight. Preferably something with paralysis or Sticky Web support.