I have been playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Whimsical Weekend #16)

…and I must admit that I’ve become quite obsessed.

Back in early August, I caved in and bought a Nintendo Switch bundle pack with Breath of the Wild (including DLC) and, ever since August 18 when I unpacked everything, I haven’t spent a single day without playing the game. (It is currently the only game I have for Nintendo Switch, but I might consider getting Puyo Puyo Tetris, and I definitely plan on getting Super Mario Odyssey.)

After 70 total hours of playing, my current progress is as follows:

  • All Divine Beasts freed
  • Full Stamina Wheel
  • 12 Hearts
  • 83 Shrines
  • 105 Koroks
  • 12 Main Quests
  • 23 Shrine Quests
  • 30 Side Quests
  • All Sheikah Slate runes, completely upgraded
  • All Towers activated
  • 4 Memories (out of the main 12)
  • 45 Hyrule Compendium entries
    • 20 Creatures
    • 16 Monsters
    • 5 Materials
    • 2 Equipment
    • 2 Treasure
  • 3 Great Fairies

In all this, I have and will, above all else, try not seek any help online. Granted, I did look up that there are 120 Shrines, 900 (!!!) Koroks, 15 Main Quests, 42 Shrine Quests, and 76 Side Quests…but simple quantities like that are acceptable in my book.

Despite that I got DLC with the bundle pack, I plan not to indulge in any of it until I’ve beaten the game normally, and I won’t beat the game normally until I feel fully prepared to do so (i.e., once I feel like I’ve discovered enough areas on the map, or at least recovered the remaining 8 memories and pulled out the Master Sword (in that order)).

Anyway, it’s been quite an adventure, honestly. If I had to describe the game in just a few words, I would describe it as an Elder Scrolls + Skyward Sword hybrid. That is to say, it has all the open-world goodness of an Elder Scrolls game, with bundles of aesthetics and mechanics reminiscent of Skyward Sword.

Not only that, but the puzzles within the shrines and such are brilliantly designed to require plenty of brain power (as in, not much hand-holding here) while not quite being on the echelon of a dedicated puzzle game. That said, I recall having trouble with more than a few portions of the game. Before I go on, though, note henceforth that when I say “I had to,” I actually mean “I felt like I had to.” Just think of it as an abridgement, really. Anyway, so…what exactly I struggled with:

  • Fighting a Guardian for the first time (in Great Plateau, with no ancient weapons or anything like that)
  • Surviving the path to Zora’s Domain for the first time
  • Fighting a Lynel for the first time
  • Immobilizing Vah Ruta without missing any shots (I thought this was mandatory at first)
  • In Sha Warvo Shrine (the one near Flight Range, along the path of the Vah Medoh quest), it took me way too long to realize that the penultimate platform block had an opening concealed from the view of the fan before it.
  • In my first fight against a Talus, I only used arrows and Lizal boomerangs, being blissfully unaware of the possibility that I could simply climb up on that enemy (when the time is right, of course) and go ham on its weak spot.
  • The Yiga Clan Hideout took me three tries to sneak through. Everything past the second guard is a huge pain, like a ridiculous jump in difficulty compared to the beginning. On the third try, I had to avoid everything except the Mighty Banana stash. As in, from the closest opening to the stash, I paraglided all the way to the final stretch, having to creep around the suspecting final guard. It was a struggle at first, believe me…but the final result felt so easy, despite feeling a bit wrong.
  • Climbing one of the towers (the one with the ancient sentries and the Pools of Malice) was a pain, and so was even finding Gerudo Tower (let alone without traversing the desert).
  • All those “Major Test” Shrines (and even a Savage Lynel that killed me) on the path of searching for Gerudo Tower
  • The two upper terminals of Vah Naboris were a humungous pain to get to. All I could think to do was haphazardly shoot arrows through whatever openings I could find near the Pools of Malice, and I eventually managed to find and destroy one of the eyes blocking my way.
  • Getting through Lost Woods—particularly the second part, where you have to follow the embers of a lit fire to get to the end
  • Facing intense cold and heat for the first time
    • In the case of intense cold, I didn’t know that Rito Armor existed until after doing the midair arrow shot training, so I had to keep a Torch with me at all times…until the training, during which I had to fight the bitter cold.
    • Intense heat was much tougher to deal with. I can’t imagine the intended way of going through it, but I went all the way to the southern mine of Eldin, making sure to keep healthy by way of healing items, Mipha’s Grace, and the hot spring near the southern mine…and then hunting down 10 Fireproof Lizards to complete the quest for the fireproof armor. (Side note: I tried to take a picture of one to take advantage of Sheikah Sensor +, but I learned the hard way that taking damage forcibly takes you out of camera mode.)
  • Wrapping my head around how the Goron cannons work, specifically that you have to hit the lever with an equipped weapon to get the cannons to turn
  • I used up 2 Ancient Arrows during the attack on Vah Rudania. On the path to the second cannon, I didn’t really think outside the box and ended up having to fire at two sentries that were giving me a hard time. The path to the third cannon was also quite a handful, but that was when I realized that the path to Vah Rudania is designed with a way to take out the sentries without engaging them in direct combat.
  • Rock Octoroks and phase 2 of Fireblight Ganon have a particular trait in common: They suck in their surroundings, and they fire a projectile that deals ridiculous damage. In the case of Rock Octoroks, I had to fire a precisely timed arrow between the interval of when they spit the projectile and when they hide in the ground. In the case of Fireblight Ganon, there was nothing else I could do. That was when I realized: If a monster sucks things in, simply feed it a Remote Bomb! Since then, needless to say, Rock Octoroks have become much easier to deal with.
  • Fighting the Igneo Talus on the isolated platform surrounded by lava (that thing knocked me into the lava so many times before I figured out how to fight it…)

So, those are things that I struggled with but ended up prevailing over. And even now, I still have some mysteries on the back burner:

  • The fourth Great Fairy
  • The Keo Ruug Shrine riddle
  • The Eighth Heroine (I plan to not fully explore Gerudo Desert until I complete this quest…however I do it)
  • Savage Lynels with clubs (seriously, I can literally only get a flurry opportunity from one of those attacks…)
  • How to snipe the eyes of the thunder and fire dragons, like sniping the eye of the freeze dragon after liberating it from the calamity

To end this off, I’ll try to think of particular things that I like and dislike about the game.

Pros:

  • Nods to other games in the series
    • The Divine Beast names
      • Vah Ruta is named after Ruto, the Water Sage of Ocarina of Time
      • Vah Rudania is named after Darunia (literally an anagram), the Fire Sage of OoT
      • Vah Naboris is named after Nabooru (and Urbosa even says that in the cutscene after freeing the Divine Beast), the Spirit Sage of OoT
      • Vah Medoh is named after Medli, the Earth Sage (is that even the proper term…?) of Wind Waker
    • Part of the Rito Village theme is remixed from the Dragon Roost Island theme of Wind Waker
    • Locations like the Linebeck and Mercay Islands (Phantom Hourglass), as well as Darunia Lake (OoT again)
    • Kass plays Epona’s Song (from OoT) on accordion when at a stable
  • The minigame music (that plays during the climbing challenge, footrace, and such) and Talus battle music are particularly catchy
  • Champion powers can be really helpful, especially Mipha’s Grace and Daruk’s Protection (that sort of mechanic is reminiscent of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, now that I think about it…)
  • Sidon is a cheesy yet somehow likable character, and baby Zora and Rito are adorable.
  • Stuff that I’ve already mentioned

Cons (take these with a grain of salt; I freaking love this game):

  • Random undead and Chuchus are pesky (especially when I try to sneak up on some random enemy or group of enemies)
  • Rain hinders climbing to a crippling degree
  • They removed Beetle’s signature “THANK YOU!!!” from Wind Waker…and now his most notable line is “Saa, saa!” (which is essentially Japanese talk for urging Link to buy/sell something)
  • That freaking blood moon… Well, that in itself isn’t too bad, considering it makes Lynel and Hinox drops significantly easier to hunt for, but it irritates me that the same old dag-blasted cutscene plays every single time after the first blood moon, and you have to press X and + to skip it. I mean, what’s so important about seeing it any more than once?
  • If you approach a Divine Beast while it’s preparing its attack on Ganon, the game moves you to one set point nearby. …Why not just have Link turn back and take a few steps, similarly to how the boat in Wind Waker makes a U-turn if you hit the edge of the map?

For now, this is the best that I can use words to express my admiration for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Next time I talk about this will probably be when I complete the game to a satisfactory degree.

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Advertisements

Pachirisu (Poké Monday 8/28/17)

Type: Electric

Base Stats:

  • 60 HP
  • 45 Attack
  • 70 Defense
  • 45 Special Attack
  • 90 Special Defense
  • 95 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Run Away Pachirisu can always flee from wild encounters. This Ability has no effect in Trainer battles.
  • Pickup Pachirisu, if not already holding an item, have a 10% chance of finding and holding a random item at the end of battle. As of Gen V, if such a Pachirisu is not holding an item in battle and another Pokémon has deliberately used up its item and not regained it, then the last consumed item by any opponent ends up in Pachirisu’s possession.
  • Volt Absorb Pachirisu are immune to Electric-type moves and regain 25% HP when affected by such moves. (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Grass Knot, Gunk Shot (via ORAS tutor), Nuzzle, Seed Bomb (via ORAS tutor), Super Fang, Thunder Punch (via ORAS tutor), U-turn

Notable special attacks: Charge BeamDischarge, Grass Knot, Thunderbolt, Volt Switch

Notable status moves: Fake Tears? Other than that, I’m not sure… (Follow Me is helpful for Doubles, though.)

Notable Z-moves:

  • Gigavolt Havoc (Electric)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Thunder Punch into a base 140 physical Electric-type attack.
    • Special – Converts one use of Thunderbolt into a base 175 special Electric-type attack.
  • Bloom Doom (Grass)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Seed Bomb into a base 160 physical Grass-type attack.
    • Special – Converts one use of Grass Knot into a base 160 special Grass-type attack.
  • Tectonic Rage (Ground) – Converts one use of Dig (via Gen VI TM) into a base 160 physical Ground-type attack.
  • Z-Fake Tears (Dark) – Grants +1 Special Attack with one use of Fake Tears.
  • Z-Tail Whip (Normal) – Grants +1 Attack with one use of Tail Whip (Egg move).

Overview

If you know about Pachirisu, chances are that you also know about Sejun Park, a South Korean competitive Pokémon player who won the official 2014 world championship with a Pachirisu in his team (alongside Garchomp, Gardevoir, Mega Gyarados, Talonflame, and Gothitelle). It works best in Double Battles, given its access to Follow Me alongside Volt Absorb, decent Speed, okay bulk, and variety of support options.

However, in spite of the unconventional circumstances leading up to a year’s worth of notoriety, let’s face it: Pachirisu’s stats are mediocre. Base 95 Speed isn’t too bad, and 60/70/90 bulk isn’t awful, but 45 for each attacking stat…well, let’s just say that’s the most unappealing aspect. Some form of Ice coverage not named Hidden Power would help its cause, but alas.

That said, if Pachirisu has proven anything in the past four years, it’s that even the dullest of stars should not be overlooked.

Sets

Doubles Set: The Sejun Park Special

Pachirisu @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Volt Absorb
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Impish Nature
– Nuzzle
– Follow Me
– Super Fang
– Protect

I’m not sure about the spread, but the moveset is precisely as shown. Nuzzle is basically a 20 BP Thunder Wave, except for the fact that the accuracy of Nuzzle remains 100%. Paralysis may not be quite as good nowadays thanks to it cutting Speed down to 1/2 instead of 1/4, but not to the point of rendering a Taunt-proof guaranteed paralysis move unusable. Follow Me draws attention to the user, which is helpful for deterring Will-O-Wisp away from physical attackers or Electric attacks away from Electric-weak Pokémon. Super Fang cuts the target’s HP in half, and thus is usually the most damage that Pachirisu will ever do. Protect is for scouting and for better synergy with wide-area attackers (notably those with Earthquake).

Again, I’m not sure if the spread is accurate. My best guess is that the set prioritizes bulk in order for Pachirisu to take hits as best as it can. Pachirisu might seem more Speed-oriented based on its stat line, but the Speed is not as significant because Pachirisu falls behind offensive threats but has the raw Speed to cut past defensive threats. Volt Absorb is the Ability of choice, because its other Ability choices are next to useless, not to mention having an Electric immunity is nice. Sitrus Berry provides recovery at low HP, which is ideal for the fast pace of Doubles. However, note that the newly buffed Figy, Mago, Aguav, and Iapapa Berries (not Wiki Berry because that confuses Impish Pokémon) restore twice as much HP as a Sitrus Berry, but the remaining HP cutoff for those Berries is half that of the Sitrus Berry.

Singles Set 1: Support

Pachirisu @ Air Balloon
Ability: Volt Absorb
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly/Timid Nature
– Nuzzle
– Super Fang
– Toxic
– U-turn / Volt Switch

Pachirisu is not as appealing in Singles, but at least it can spread paralysis with Nuzzle, wear down the opposition with Super Fang, and perchance use Toxic to combat more defensive threats. The fourth slot is best dedicated to a pivot move: U-turn if you’re worried about immunities, or Volt Switch for usually greater damage outputs (not that Pachirisu does much damage in the first place).

Bulk is not as significant in this set because of Pachirisu’s lack of reliable recovery, and max Speed allows it to stay on top of its acceptable Speed tier (at least for PU) while doing what it does best. With that in mind, Jolly Nature is best for use with U-turn, while Timid is preferable for Volt Switch. Air Balloon is the item of choice here for providing temporary Ground immunity, to patch up its one type weakness.

Singles Set 2: Offensive?

Pachirisu @ Darkinium Z
Ability: Volt Absorb
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Fake Tears
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Grass Knot / Charge Beam

This is honestly as close to an offensive Pachirisu as you can get. Fake Tears has the potential to force switches and/or amplify Pachirisu’s damage output like nothing else. Combined with Darkinium Z, Fake Tears has a once-per-battle chance to raise Pachirisu’s Special Attack—meaning, in the best case scenario where a foe stays in after Pachirisu uses Z-Fake Tears, Pachirisu’s damage output is effectively tripled. Thunderbolt is reliable and decently powerful STAB, and Hidden Power Ice is the best coverage to complement the STAB. For the fourth slot, Grass Knot is for extra coverage against Gastrodon and Whiscash, while Charge Beam can serve as an alternative and arguably more reliable boosting method to complement Fake Tears.

The EVs, Nature, and Ability shouldn’t need explanation. This is an “offensive” set, after all.

Other Options

Electroweb and Helping Hand are other options for Doubles, the former for slowing down both targets instead of one, and the latter for giving a once-per-turn power boost to whatever ally it may be supporting. Another benefit to using Electroweb over Nuzzle is that Pachirisu can afford to run an Attack-hindering Nature to reduce Foul Play damage.

When it comes to Singles, however, Pachirisu doesn’t have many other options. It can go physical with Z-Tail Whip, allowing it to hit Gastrodon and Whiscash harder (although not so much Quagsire) with Seed Bomb and to hit select Grass-types harder with Gunk Shot. This, however, is less potent than Z-Fake Tears, not only because of the lesser debuff to the opponent, but also because of the weaker Electric STAB and overall worse coverage. Also beware that physically oriented sets are prone to burn.

Light Screen is a support option that benefits the team and enhances Pachirisu’s special bulk, but screens have been obsolete ever since Gen VI drastically changed the mechanics of Defog.

Problems and Partners

Problems

If Pachirisu lacks Toxic, Bite, Rollout (don’t actually run Rollout on a Pachirisu set, please), or super-effective Hidden Power, Shedinja completely stops it in its tracks. That’s another reason why offensive Pachirisu is not nearly as potent as the support variety.

Camerupt can take any one hit that Pachirisu can throw at it (only Tectonic Rage from Dig can manage a 2HKO percentage on 248/8/0 Camerupt) and obliterate the little squirrel with Earth Power.

Golurk and Palossand are both immune to Super Fang and Electric, Pachirisu’s main two forms of damage output, and can retaliate with Ground STAB. They should, however, be wary of Toxic and, to a lesser extent, standard coverage against Ground-types.

Fast Ground-types are problematic as well. Alolan Dugtrio naturally outspeeds, is immune to Toxic, is neutral to Pachirisu’s usual coverage options, and deals heavy damage with Earthquake. Silvally with Ground Memory merely ties in Speed, but watch out for Multi-Attack.

There are many more problems in higher tiers, but the ones above are of the lower-tier sort.

Partners

Swanna is the best bait for Volt Absorb (considering Gyarados, Mantine, and Pelipper are in higher tiers) with its Water/Flying typing, which incidentally allows it to easily switch into Ground-type attacks and retaliate with Water STAB. It can also clear hazards if needed. Should be careful of Rock coverage, however.

There aren’t many things that outspeed Alolan Dugtrio in its tier, but Floatzel is one of them. If Pachirisu predicts a switch into Alolan Dugtrio and goes for U-turn, Floatzel is the perfect complement.

Crustle doesn’t mind Ground-type moves and can set up Stealth Rock and Spikes to limit switches and Shedinja problems.

Ludicolo handles Ground-types elegantly due to its typing, not to mention it has access to Leech Seed for mild healing support.

And, of course, shoutouts to the rest of Sejun Park’s team:

Brain Food #1 (Whimsical Weekend #15)

 Yo. Let it be known that I stayed up late trying to get this done, even though I spread my effort throughout the week instead of the usual protocol of saving it all until the last minute.

This week, I will be introducing a new series for this blog. It’s called Brain Food, and the premise is that I will ask myself a silly question on my mind and, of course, answer it.

The question of the weekend is…

If I had to make a Super Mario 64 ROM hack but could only change the music, how would I change it?

(For those unfamiliar with the term “ROM hack,” refer to http://sm64hacks.com/thread-992.html)

Now, I’m not here to discredit the original music of Super Mario 64 (on the contrary, I would describe it as timeless), and I don’t actually plan to do what the question entails. This is entirely hypothetical, and purely for enjoyment.

For the individual music changes, I will cover as many different areas/events as I can, including areas that are different but have the same music normally (e.g., Bob-Omb Battlefield and Whomp’s Fortress), but excluding the title screen, courtyard, credits theme, and non-looping jingles (which are 100% okay as is). I’ll also try to use as few Mario games as I can, but no promises about Nintendo games.

File select

Puzzles (Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney)

Hmm… Which file should I select? What am I getting myself into? These sorts of questions and perhaps more are what surfaces on the mind during file selection. Thus, a serene tune that nicely complements thinking is the best fit for the file select screen.

Peach’s Castle

ACDC Town theme (MegaMan Battle Network 3)

Peach’s Castle can best be described as a hub world of sorts, where most of everything else is located. Such also describes ACDC Town in the Battle Network series, and the theme in question has the same sort of upbeat yet welcoming charm that befits Peach’s Castle.

“Why 3 in particular?” you may ask, and that is because 3 was the game that introduced me to the Battle Network series and has the most memorable ACDC theme of the Battle Network games I’ve played.

Bob-Omb Battlefield

Pop Star (Kirby 64)

Bob-Omb Battlefield is the first world (like Pop Star in Kirby 64), is filled with round creatures (Bob-Ombs), and introduces the wonkiness of the game. No doubt in my mind that Kirby 64’s Pop Star theme would be a great match.

Miniboss battle

That Person’s Name Is (Bravely Default)

This theme applies to King Bob-Omb, Whomp King, Eyerok, and Wiggler. I was tempted to come up with a custom theme for each one, but on the basis that Super Mario Star Road only has one type of miniboss theme, I decided to discard that idea.

Quite honestly, this is one of the most memorable battle themes that I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. In my experience with Bravely Default, it’s the sort of tune that made me want to keep playing to the end, for better or for worse. (It may not be applied to that many situations in this case, but that doesn’t matter.)

Koopa race

Boss Battle II (Diddy Kong Racing)

Nothing says “I’m in a heated race with this eccentric creature” quite like the good ol’ Diddy Kong Racing boss theme. It’s always been a catchy tune, and it fits well with the Koopa races in Bob-Omb Battlefield and Tiny Huge Island.

Whomp’s Fortress

Crystal Fortress (They Might Be Giants w/ Strong Bad)

Kind of a joke this time. The “Fortress” part is the main justification of it.

Homestar Runner was a memorable part of my childhood, and nowadays I have occasional nostalgic cravings to satisfy (mainly along the lines of “What was that one toon/sbemail with [insert phrase/event here]?”), and following homestar_ebooks on Twitter is part of the reason for that.

Sleeping Piranha Plant theme

Eternity’s Moment (Bravely Default)

This music is surprisingly catchy, yet it fits the theme of an unsuspecting sleeper, like an undisturbed Piranha Plant in Whomp’s Fortress. Not much more to say there.

Cool Cool Mountain

Snowpoint City (Pokémon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum)

Fits the essence of an entry-level area blanketed with snow. Snowpoint City is, after all, the first residential area in the Pokémon games to canonically feature any sort of snow. Quite fitting for Cool Cool Mountain.

Inside the cottage (CCM)

Icirrus City (Pokémon Black/White)

And this tune fits the atmosphere of being in a snowy area but being sheltered enough to where you can play around unhindered. It’s also hype enough to go well with racing a penguin.

What I didn’t realize is that there are apparently two versions of the Icirrus theme: with and without percussion. Back when I played Pokémon Black, I didn’t really pay much attention to how the music tracks—let alone that of Icirrus City—varied among seasons, but I’m guessing the track without percussion is associated with winter (because it’s more fitting that way).

Aquarium secret

Underwater (Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald)

What better tune to describe fumbling around in an aquarium than the underwater theme of Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, widely known (or at least to me) as the theme of fumbling around underwater to try to figure out how to progress the story past Tate&Liza? Ah, good times in both situations.

Jolly Roger Bay

Gloomy Galleon (Donkey Kong 64)

Both Jolly Roger Bay and Gloomy Galleon are water levels, ship-related levels, and even the fourth level in their respective games. No better match here, I’d say.

Because the ship in Jolly Roger Bay has its own loading zone, I would give it separate music, namely the Ship Ruins rendition of the theme.

Big Boo’s Haunt

Pumpkin Hill (Sonic Adventure 2)

“I ain’t gonna let it get to me; I’m just gonna creep.” Granted Big Boo’s Haunt doesn’t really have any pumpkins, the spookiness of it matches with the spooky vibe of the Pumpkin Hill theme.

Sonic Adventure 2 (Battle for GameCube) was another one of my childhood games, as well as the first Sonic game that I remember fondly.

Merry-go-round (BBH)

You in Wonderland (Persona Q)

Merry-go-rounds are fun…but not when they’re invaded by spooky creatures. Just like how Persona Q worlds (particularly You in Wonderland) always tend to have some sort of uncanny aspect with their theme. As in, the theme in question conveys some sort of fun, albeit a demented sort of fun…if that makes sense.

Peach slide

Beach Street (MegaMan Battle Network 3)

In the spirit of my decision to associate the ACDC Town theme with Peach’s Castle, I figured that the Beach Street theme can be considered a sort of upbeat and playful theme. Appropriate for playing around on a slide and trying to get some sort of record time.

Wing Cap / shell theme

Waterskip Slider (Amazing Island)

The feeling of being able to move around in a whole different, more majestic way. That sort of feeling is conveyed well in the Waterskip Slider theme of Amazing Island.

Under normal circumstances, the theme accompanies a minigame where monsters build up speed by running across a large ramp, jump at the end of a ramp, and skip across the water so as to achieve a record distance.

And, conveniently, the aspects of gaining air and staying above the water’s surface are also characteristic of the Wing Cap and shell, respectively.

Wing Cap stage

Gentle Breeze (Trauma Center DS 2)

You don’t hear much of the normal music in the Wing Cap stage, and when you do, you’re most likely falling into the sky-colored abyss or stranded on the island containing the switch, so I figured: “Why not just go with a meme song?” The song also works because it has “breeze” in the title, and the stage in question is in the sky.

Bowser in the Dark World

Liberation Mission (MegaMan Battle Network 5)

The premise of liberation missions in MegaMan Battle Network 5 boils down to clearing darkness from a treacherous area. That’s how it first seems when searching for Bowser in the Dark World: “I’m gonna defeat Bowser and be done with this!” Yet in reality, the story of MMBN5 doesn’t end with a liberation mission…nor does Super Mario 64 end when you enter a warp pipe.

Simply put, the tune is for a place of darkness and treachery, but far from the finale.

vs. Bowser 1

Boss Theme (MegaMan Battle Network 5)

Once again in the spirit of my previous decision, this music plays more than a few times in the main story of MMBN5, and mostly when fighting the boss of a liberation mission. Just putting two and two together, plain and simple.

Hazy Maze Cave

Forgotten Forest (Phoenotopia)

Hazy Maze Cave and Forgotten Forest are not nearly at the same relative progress point in their respective games, but the two areas have two key aspects in common: (1) It’s easy to get lost, and (2) getting lost may result in death. That’s what led to the association here.

Oh, and both areas can be skipped in their respective games.

Metal Cap theme

Because It’s Midnite (Limozeen)

“Bringin’ the metal back to where it belongs!” I don’t know if this song is really metal (and I always have a hard time distinguishing musical genres), but I really couldn’t think of anything else.

Metal Cap stage

We Don’t Really Even Care about You (sloshy)

In the spirit of saying “in the spirit of” my previous decision, I figured it would be funny if the Metal Cap timer were to expire in the Metal Cap stage and leave a totally non-metal track in its wake. Because, guess what? They are related.

Lethal Lava Land

Hot Damned (Super Meat Boy)

The intensity of Super Meat Boy music doesn’t exactly fit with the lightness of Super Mario 64…except when you can’t help feeling like the music isn’t intense enough. Such is the case with Lethal Lava Land. I mean, the place is chock-full of destructive fire everywhere, yet the music there is the same as in a freaking desert (which, let’s be honest, isn’t nearly as intense).

With that in mind, wouldn’t the music of the Hell world of Super Meat Boy be appropriate?

Inside the volcano (LLL)

Devil N’ Bass (Super Meat Boy)

In the…volcano is even more intense, and thus could use more intense music than the outside. Also, the BGM is associated with Dark Hell, which makes sense in conjunction with the previous choice because the volcano is not as exposed to light as the rest of Lethal Lava Land.

Shifting Sand Land

Pecan Sands (Wario World)

Like Hazy Maze Cave, Shifting Sand Land is far from the final level, and yet somehow is befitting of the final level music of some other game. Pecan Sands can’t be skipped in Wario World, but the music associated with it is intense and desert-like enough to work in this situation.

Inside the pyramid (SSL)

Relic Castle (Pokémon Black/White)

Hey, look, a music choice of an interior area that has nothing to do with the music choice of the exterior area! It may not be quite as intense as the exterior music, but it honestly fits exploring the interior of a sand-infested pyramid where lots of falling is bound to happen.

Dire Dire Docks

Battle for Storm Hill (Donkey Kong Jungle Beat)

Okay…maybe this might be a bit too intense, but my thought process was that Dire Dire Docks is somehow Bowser’s territory, considering how there’s a Bowser-branded submarine (at least for the first star) and an accompanying hatch leading goodness-knows-where, and so it’s kinda like the Battle for Dire Dire Docks…if that makes sense.

Simply put, the music is rather appropriate for the first star, but perhaps a bit too intense for the others.

Vanish Cap music

You Can’t See Me (John Cena theme)

Painfully obvious, but I love the theme and the meme.

Vanish Cap stage

Stage Builder (Super Smash Bros. Brawl)

All I could think was that the Vanish Cap stage had so much unused space…even in the DS remake. That said, you can’t completely remake the Vanish Cap stage in the Brawl Stage Builder (or any Smash Stage Builder for that matter), although some elements look like they can (notably the platforming just before the blue switch).

Bowser in the Fire Sea

Magmatic Magnetics (Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2)

The loop provided cuts off awkwardly (e.g. at 2:29), but at least it gets the point across, that being that the area accompanied by the music is fiery and has a boss up ahead. (In the case of Re;Birth 2, it’s the place where you fight the grunt villains for the last time (at least in Normal End).)

This song is one of the coolest dungeon themes in what I’ve played of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series (which, granted, isn’t much), and I especially like the double bass towards the middle of the loop.

vs. Bowser 2

One Two Three (Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1)

From the same series, but not from the same game. I mean, I have to say as a whole that Re;Birth 2 took a step down from Re;Birth 1 in terms of music selection, but perhaps that’s mostly because of the poor audio balancing in Re;Birth 2. (Most noticeably, few if any tracks in the game can rival the loudness of the world map theme.)

Anyway, from what I’ve played of the series, One Two Three has to be the best track of all (and one of my favorite battle themes of all time), and it plays when you fight a low-tier dangerous enemy (at least in Re;Birth 1). Kind of a fitting description for Bowser 2, despite that he has a trick up his sleeve compared to Bowser 1.

Snowman’s Land

Arcterra Theme #2 (Metroid Prime Hunters)

When the snow area gets more intense, you can bet that a theme of intergalactic exploration would be more fitting than a theme of some peaceful town, even if both are covered in snow. There’s also arguably more treachery in Snowman’s Land, what with the violently windy breath of the giant snowman, the blanket of ice that somehow has the same effect on Mario as a pit of lava, and the water that drains HP faster and provides no healing.

Inside the igloo (SL)

Land of Immortality (Bravely Default)

This theme plays in a snowy town full of magic-operated machinery that keeps everyone healthy. The igloo in Snowman’s Land may not be that extreme, but igloos have a protective enough design to promote lifespan to some degree. So, I guess it works?

Wet Dry World

On our way / City in the sky (Dokapon Kingdom)

This one is kinda hard to explain. There’s some kind of magic in raising the water level (as there is magic in Dokapon Kingdom), there’s a town in the depths of the area, and the backdrop is…kinda weird for what the level is supposed to be. Weird thing meets weird thing, and they end up like peas in a pod. That’s how it is in every case, really.

Tall Tall Mountain

Justice RIP (Fire Emblem Fates)

Conquering a mountain is a bit like conquering the army of a sunrise land, hence the association here. The music chosen is one of the more intense tracks of the game, and Tall Tall Mountain is one of the last five levels of Super Mario 64, so the association makes sense in multiple ways.

Secret slide (TTM)

Ninjape Rally (Donkey Kong Jungle Beat)

If you’ve seen all the slides in Super Mario 64 (granted there aren’t many), this would most likely be the last. Thus, it’s only appropriate for the associated track to have some sense of finality, being the last character race of Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (and in the final kingdom, no less). There is also a bit of sliding involved in the aforementioned race.

Moreover, the secret slide in Tall Tall Mountain is arguably more tricky than Peach’s slide; although there is no time limit for the former, such is more than made up for with the forked path and quarter pipes.

Tiny Huge Island

Conquest (Fire Emblem Awakening)

Exploring two parallel worlds of different sizes is a grand undertaking. It almost seems like taking on random treachery in an otherwise peaceful area where exploration is obligatory. That’s the kind of feeling that ties this music with this area, I think.

Wiggler’s cavern (THI)

Infiltrating Hostile Territory (Bravely Default)

I’m sure anyone would consider it hostile if there were some giant worm wriggling around and making a scene with its anger. And also, getting the red coins in here is no simple feat, considering the varied heights and surface areas of the platforms within, combined with that gruesome abyss at the bottom.

Moreover, one Bravely Default track transitioning into another sounds like a plan, right?

Cloud secret

City in the Sky (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)

Like the Wing Cap stage, you won’t be spending very long in here without the Wing Cap, so might as well not do much with the music, right? Also, City in the Sky is one of the later dungeons of Twilight Princess and…well, like the cloud secret, takes place in the sky.

Tick Tock Clock

Clock Tower (Donkey Kong Jungle Beat)

It was between this and the Ancheim theme of Bravely Default, but I figured the latter was too desert-y, whereas the Clock Tower music of Jungle Beat would be perfect for the occasion of scaling a treacherous, daunting, and tower-like clock…if you can even call it a clock. (It definitely is in the case of Jungle Beat, but I don’t know so much about Super Mario 64.)

Rainbow Ride

Cloudy Heights (Donkey Kong Jungle Beat)

Both settings share one main trait: If you mess up one little thing, it will most likely cost you dearly. While Rainbow Ride involves grabbing stars with elegance, Cloudy Heights is where you get a massive heap of bananas (I’m talking at least 3000 if done correctly) or cry trying. Basically, they both bring a sort of exotic difficulty to the table as opposed to the rest of the levels in their respective games.

Endless stairs

The Song That Doesn’t End (from Lamb Chop)

Do I even need to explain this? (I don’t know the song all that well, but I’ve heard/seen references to it when I was young.)

Bowser in the Sky

Ripple Star (Kirby 64)

It’s dark, and it has a grand sense of finality. What more to say?

vs. Bowser 3

Grand Finale (Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story)

Okay, when I said I’d try to use as few Mario games as I can…this is the one Mario game that I will use. (Well, it’s a Mario & Luigi game if you want to split hairs, but that’s still Mario if you ask me.) Regardless, the final boss music of Bowser’s Inside Story is really upbeat and intense—perfectly suitable for any sort of final fight involving Bowser.

 

Well, I hope this turned out to be an okay first installment of Brain Food, in spite of how rushed it ended up being as a whole.

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

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).

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.

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!)