Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon (Monthly Musing, March 2019)

The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series has always intrigued me. It was one of the first spinoff series I’d ever been introduced to, starting with a demo of Red Rescue Team on GameBoy Advance. Essentially, the Trainer and Pokémon concepts of the main series are meshed together in a top-down exploration adventure with turn-based combat. Yet despite how intriguing the series is, I never really felt inclined to play any of it beyond Explorers of Darkness for the Nintendo DS…that is, until just this year. When 360chrism was streaming his first Explorers of Sky playthrough, I dropped by a few streams (probably lurking) and noticed chat saying Super Mystery Dungeon was good (whereas Gates to Infinity was never vouched for), which ultimately compelled me to buy the game at 5/8 price and try it for myself.

Overall rating (early this time): 8.8/10. The gameplay is a bit clunky, especially in the beginning, but it gets better as it goes on and contains all the elements to be expected of a Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game: fun, frustration, and a heartfelt story with minimal dependence on previous installments. Also, the final boss was a pleasant surprise…[considering every boss in Darkness was a Pokémon and the non-Pokémon enemies of Super were a fun sort of gimmicky.] <- Homemade spoiler tag

Super Mystery Dungeon was released during the sixth generation of Pokémon, which means it has Mega Evolutions (in a roundabout way) and contains the first 720 Pokémon of the National Pokédex (i.e. sadly no Volcanion). It lacks Hidden Abilities, which is a bit irritating, but at least it has an Ability-changing item and tutor moves. And more importantly, it abandons the complicated methods of evolution (Darkness facilitated only some, and to a less significant degree) and only goes by level requirement if applicable (although evolution cannot be done until the epilogue).

A few mechanics that differentiate Super Mystery Dungeon from the pre-3D installments:

  • Recruitment is very non-standard. The tradition before was to KO Pokémon for a chance to recruit them, but now certain Pokémon provide certain expeditions in order for guaranteed recruitment (and some will even join if you interact with them in the overworld). This proves a benefactor to immersion, but it also means that you can’t nickname any Pokémon but your starter and partner.
  • Alongside the usual Orbs, Super Mystery Dungeon has a more compact form of item called Wands, which you use to fire a finite number of magic projectiles with special effects.
  • Looplets are held items that become incrementally useful as you pick up temporary collectibles called Emeras, each with its own special effect. (A particular Emera (Awakening) is what allows Mega Evolution.)
  • Arguably the most fun mechanic of all, the in-game days sometimes present a trio of “motivated” Pokémon that can be put into the expedition team for additional experience. I call it “fun” because it encourages variety in team formations.

On the anecdotal side of things, I answered the personality quiz honestly and ended up with Turtwig as a starter. The game suggested Pikachu as a partner, but that’s not a good complement, so I refused and was able to instead choose Fennekin as my partner. (It was the best complement of the gen 6 choices.) Starter and partner names were Franklin and Helga respectively, and I named my team the Hundreds. My playtime so far is roughly 100 hours, and I have the most difficult quarter of the game left to complete.

 

À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Guzzlord (Poké Monday 3/11/19)

Type: Dark/Dragon

Base Stats:

  • 223 HP
  • 101 Attack
  • 53 Defense
  • 97 Special Attack
  • 53 Special Defense
  • 43 Speed

Ability: Beast Boost – When Guzzlord knocks out another Pokémon, its highest non-HP stat is boosted by 1 stage.

Notable physical attacks: Dragon Claw, Earthquake, Heavy Slam, Knock Off, Outrage

Notable special attacks: Dark Pulse, Draco MeteorDragon Pulse, Fire Blast, Sludge Wave

Notable Z-moves:

  • Devastating Drake (Dragon)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Outrage into a base 190 physical Dragon-type attack.
    • Special – Converts one use of Draco Meteor into a base 195 special Dragon-type attack.
  • Z-Stockpile (Normal) – Fully restores the user’s HP with one use of Stockpile

Overview

The Ultra Beasts of Pokémon Sun and Moon have multiple traits in common, among them prime-numbered stats, a base stat total of 570, and the Ability Beast Boost. Poipole and Naganadel may constitute exceptions, but that’s not important right now. The point is, Guzzlord, despite being the final Ultra Beast before Ultra Sun/Moon, is easily the most underwhelming of the bunch. Although its HP sticks out at a whopping 223 (second only to Happiny’s evolutions), that’s about all that really does. Low defenses and a lack of longevity make its hit points worth a dime a dozen, and low Speed hinders the potential of its passable attacking stats. Dragon/Dark typing doesn’t help either case, giving it a rough time against Fairy-types and additionally leaving it prone to opposing Dragons, U-turn, and ever-common Fighting and Ice attacks.

At any rate, Guzzlord is best used as a tanky wallbreaker dependent on speed creeps.

Sets

1: Special

Guzzlord @ Dragonium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 196 Def / 252 SpA / 60 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Draco Meteor
– Dark Pulse
– Fire Blast
– Sludge Wave

On the special side, Guzzlord has Draco Meteor with Dragonium Z for dropping nukes, alongside secondary STAB in Dark Pulse and coverage in Fire Blast (for Steel-types) and Sludge Wave (for Fairy-types).

60 Speed EVs is a creep past uninvested base 50s such as Hariyama, Mega Audino, Piloswine, and defensive Diancie. Max Special Attack is a must, and the rest is thrown into Defense to mitigate U-turn and Piloswine’s Ice Shard.

2: Physical

Guzzlord @ Dragonium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 Atk / 120 Def / 136 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Outrage
– Knock Off
– Heavy Slam
– Earthquake

On the physical side, Guzzlord has Outrage with Dragonium Z for dropping nukes, alongside secondary STAB in Knock Off and coverage in Heavy Slam (for Fairy-types) and Earthquake (for Steel-types).

This variant has item removal utility, but Outrage makes it tougher to switch around. Also note the following Heavy Slam base power thresholds:

  • 120 BP: 177.6 kg (below Raikou, starting at Regice)
  • 100 BP: 222 kg (below Aurorus, starting at Camerupt)
  • 80 BP: 296 kg (below Golem, starting at Mamoswine)
  • 60 BP: 444 kg (below Snorlax, starting at Heatran)

136 Speed EVs is a creep past defensive Weezing so that it can land a hit before being burned. Max Attack is a must, and the rest is thrown into Defense to mitigate U-turn and Piloswine’s Ice Shard.

Other Options

Z-Stockpile grants a one-time full heal and a slight defensive boost, complementing Guzzlord’s high HP really well, although at the expense of offensive potential. Dragon Pulse and Dragon Claw are more reliable but less powerful special and physical Dragon options respectively.

Investment-wise, Guzzlord can run 220 Speed EVs to creep past defensive Hitmontop, or 244 EVs to creep past RestTalk Malamar. Alternatively, if on a team with Trick Room support, it can run minimum Speed. This facilitates the possibility of running a mixed attacking set with the best of both sides of the spectrum.

Problems and Partners

Problems

Fairy-types are scary types. The former three (Aromatisse, Mega Audino, and Diancie) are defensively threatening, while the latter three (Comfey, Silvally-Fairy, and Whimsicott) are offensively threatening.

Beyond that, wear it down with faster attackers, which are not hard to find.

Partners

Slow pivots with U-turn—like Incineroar, Silvally-Steel, and Xatu—are effective in granting a free switch. Silvally-Steel has the best type synergy, Xatu is good for Fighting-types, and Incineroar is good for Ice-types.

Trick Room users have potential to combat faster teams. Aromatisse and Slowking also have decent type synergy with Guzzlord; the former is Dragon-immune and Bug-resistant, the latter is Ice-resistant, and both are Fighting-resistant.

Between Shift Gear and Gear Grind, Klinklang is the most effective threat against Fairy-types.

 

The story continues (Monthly Musing, Feb 2019)

Previously on Vouiv-review:

And now…it’s been more than a year and a half. You could say my pace has slowed threefold and not be wrong. This and that have been happening: writer’s block, adult responsibilities, other entertainment, etc. etc. But I have now succeeded in finding inspiration enough to complete the third part. I’ll also list the others in case you missed them.

Between the new chapter set and the previous, I am becoming increasingly aware of how much harder the story is to construct the more it develops. The notable difficulty is keeping things fresh while staying consistent with prior elements, or possibly tying up loose ends without being repetitive. And if you recall when I mentioned in my second post how difficult it was to write Chapter 8, the same sort of thing happened with Chapter 13 (and, to a lesser extent, Chapter 12) due to the abundance of casual events and setting the stage for the obligatory [tournament] arc coming up in the next chapter set. (It’s hinted at in Chapter 9, but I’ll hide it just in case.)

By the way, if Chapter 13 seems rushed, that’s because it kinda is. Among the characters, concepts, and tying up loose ends, there was so much to fit in that I suddenly had less room for fully planning and explaining the five days compressed into the one chapter, by which the part lengths turned out rather inconsistent. It was all for the sake of not making the part document too long, using the previous part as a maximum.

I don’t feel inclined to go into too much further detail here, so I’ll just list the number of pages per chapter. There are bits of white text in here, so use caution when highlighting.

  • Introductory content: 7
  • Chapter 1: 11
  • Chapter 2: 15
  • Chapter 3: 15
  • Chapter 4: 24 including 4.5
  • Chapter 5: 13
  • Chapter 6: 14
  • Chapter 7: 20
  • Chapter 8: 35 including 8.5 and alchemy combinations
  • Chapter 9: 26
  • Chapter 10: 20
  • Chapter 11: 15
  • Chapter 12: 16 including Hibari’s “information sheet”
  • Chapter 13: 40 (11-page part 1, 8-page part 2, 10-page part 3, 6-page part 4, and 5-page part 5)

Chapter sets in respective order have 87, 101, and 101 pages (including the table of contents).

 

À la prochaine! (Until next time!)