Tepig (Poké Monday 5/21/18)

 

Type: Fire

Base Stats:

  • 65 HP
  • 63 Attack
  • 45 Defense
  • 45 Special Attack
  • 45 Special Defense
  • 45 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Blaze Tepig have their Fire-type attacks boosted by a factor of 1.5 when at 1/3 HP (rounded down) or below.
  • Thick Fat Tepig take half damage from Fire- and Ice-type attacks. (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Flare Blitz, Head Smash, Stomping Tantrum (tutor move), Sucker Punch (Egg move), Superpower (tutor move), Wild Charge, Zen Headbutt (tutor move)

Notable status moves: Taunt, Will-O-Wisp, Work Up, Yawn (Egg move)

Notable Z-moves:

  • Inferno Overdrive (Fire) – Converts one use of Flare Blitz into a base 190 physical Fire-type attack.
  • All-Out Pummeling (Fighting) – Converts one use of Superpower into a base 190 physical Fighting-type attack.
  • Continental Crush (Rock) – Converts one use of Head Smash into a base 200 physical Rock-type attack.
  • Gigavolt Havoc (Electric) – Converts one use of Wild Charge into a base 175 physical Electric-type attack.

Overview

Bacon.

The Tepig evolutionary line is known for being fire pigs, which the average human mind associates with porcine meat. And honestly, that is how Tepig is likely to end up if used in Little Cup. It has average Attack, not much in the way of defenses or Special Attack, and a Speed stat that’s too slow for the standard metagame and too fast for Trick Room. If anything really sticks out about Tepig, it’s high-power recoil moves (Flare Blitz, Head Smash, and to a lesser extent Wild Charge) that expedite the activation of Blaze. To put it another way, it heats itself up to either burn mouths or become dinner. Such is the fate of the primary Pokémon associated with bacon.

It’s a shame that Tepig doesn’t have Reckless unlike Emboar, otherwise it would be more usable. I mean, being Fire-type with Thick Fat is redundant, considering Fire already resists Fire and Ice.

Bacon.

Set

Tepig @ Life Orb / Firium Z
Ability: Blaze
Level: 5
EVs: 252 Atk / 236 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Head Smash
– Sucker Punch
– Stomping Tantrum / Superpower

This is a set with choices. Life Orb has the most consistent power boost and gets Tepig to Blaze range even faster, while Firium Z allows Tepig to fire off (no pun intended) a powerful, recoil-free attack when in Blaze range.

Flare Blitz and Head Smash are high-power recoil moves with decent neutral coverage, while Sucker Punch is a form of priority to partly compensate for Tepig’s low Speed. The fourth slot presents another choice: Stomping Tantrum to punish foes that attempt to play around Sucker Punch or switch into a Flash Fire user on a STAB attack, while Superpower deals less situational damage but gives nasty stat drops. (Note, however, that -1 Superpower is slightly stronger than unboosted Stomping Tantrum.)

As for the EVs, focus on offenses; there’s no need to bother with anything bulk-related. (Unfortunate that full investment in Attack leaves only enough EVs to fully invest in one other stat.) Ability choice is obvious because a potential STAB boost is better than redundant resistances.

Other Options

Wild Charge is an alternative coverage option, primarily for Water-types, that also promotes hitting Blaze range. Other Z-Crystals—such as Fightinium Z, Rockium Z, and Electrium Z—offer powerful coverage options without the usual drawbacks.

Yawn is a strange status option that can force a switch or put something to sleep. However, Tepig has a hard time making room for status moves due to its offensively oriented nature.

Problems and Partners

Problems

Pro tip: Don’t bring in Tepig if the opponent has a Diglett. It has Arena Trap, has super-effective STAB, is way faster, and can play around Sucker Punch if it has Substitute and/or its own Sucker Punch.

Onix has obscene physical bulk by LC standards and can only be dented by Superpower and Stomping Tantrum. (Yeah, Tepig can run Solar Beam with Bloom Doom, but Onix normally runs Sturdy + Berry Juice, and there is no other reason to run the move.) Additionally, it is surprisingly fast and has two super-effective STABs on Tepig. Not even the off chance of Will-O-Wisp can daunt it.

Mareanie is defensively potent, resists Tepig’s STAB, has super-effective Water STAB, and cannot trigger the power boost of Stomping Tantrum. The worst that Tepig can do to it is Wild Charge, which makes it more likely to become dinner.

Carvanha is another offensive check capable of making mince meat of Tepig, given its sheer power, high Speed that only snowballs as it stays in, and its own form of priority (Aqua Jet) to circumvent Sucker Punch (not to mention its resistance to the move).

That’s just to name a few. Basically, anything that poses a problem to Fire-types in general poses a problem to Tepig.

Partners

Don’t use Tepig. If you do, might as well pair it with the other Unovan starters and/or the other porcine Pokémon of the tier. (…Actually, the non-Snivy Pokémon above are not so viable either.)

In all seriousness, there is not much to say here. Hazard removers, Grass-types, Water-types…pretty much anything from which any other Fire-type benefits. Sticky Web and Tailwind might be helpful too, for that low-but-not-low-enough-for-Trick-Room Speed.

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Speedrunning is hard (Whimsical Weekend #24)

Honestly. On the Phoenotopia leaderboard, there are now 10 total categories: 3 main and 7 miscellaneous. I aim to get a satisfactory time in every established category (notwithstanding subcategories), and I wanted to get one in New Game + (more on that later) before the writing of this article, but the process is so painstaking that I ended up preferring to prioritize writing over grinding. So, here are some miscellaneous categories that I’ve established since the last time I reported:

Diamond Skin

Named after the medal of the same name, this category involves increasing maximum HP to 99—that is, collecting all 23 Heart Rubies and consuming five Chocolate Protein Shakes. I was initially reluctant about establishing this category because one of the Heart Rubies requires 40 moonstones, but later on I thought, “Ah, what the heck.” I mean, it’s a safer category, and the existing categories are not particularly minimalistic about Heart Ruby collecting.

I have not yet started routing this, and it will be at the bottom of my priority list.

Cheat%

For this category and the next two, kudos to fellow Flash game runner Jhynjhiruu for programming a command line tool to decrypt and modify save passwords (it’s on the Resources page of the leaderboard, under Tools, named Phoenomanager). Jhyn also did a Reddit post with a detailed explanation of the intricacies of the save password system. With this tool and information handy, I decided to establish categories revolving around files created by save passwords. (Admittedly, I took inspiration from the SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom leaderboard for the category names.)

Cheat% means getting to the final cutscene from any save file, any at all. The only thing you absolutely have to do to get there is view the cutscene before it, where Billy revives a Phoenix weapon. The simplest appropriate save password meets the following criteria (according to the aforementioned Reddit post):

  • Spawn in room 193 (the room where the cutscene begins)
  • Game time of 50 or so (this is needed for the cutscene trigger)
  • Spawn at point [x = 1100, y = 242] (roughly the location of the cutscene trigger)

The issue is: When you finish the cutscene and get to the escape sequence, you’ll notice immediately that the camera stays in one spot and does not follow Gale. This happens because, if Big Eye is not yet defeated, the camera is bound to a particular set of coordinates, which is…inconvenient, to be sure.

For this reason, and due to the fact that major glitches are not necessary for anything past or including Big Eye, I decided to use the No Major Glitches subcategory to split two types of Cheat% runs: those that involve defeating Big Eye (No Major Glitches), and those that don’t (Standard).

For runs involving Big Eye, it is ideal to spawn in room 192 (the Big Eye room) at point [x = 750, y = 236] (a ground location close enough to the leftmost of the mini eyes).

I did manage to get a decent run of Cheat% with No Major Glitches, clocking in at 3:15 RTA.

However, I don’t plan to do Standard any time soon, because learning the escape sequence blind seems like a huge pain. (It has potential to save 35 seconds over the NMG counterpart, though.)

Here is a Pastebin where I keep my cheat% save passwords: https://pastebin.com/1jqrc1ZJ

New Game Plus

Similar to any%, except starting from a mostly empty save file and with skipping the intro cutscene. By “mostly empty,” I mean: You start a new file, get the save password after the intro cutscene, and can only modify inventory (excluding keys), equipment, coins, and HP. This implies the following:

  • Spawn in room 5 (Gale’s bedroom)
  • Game time of 0
  • Starting point [x = 1724, y = 402] (where Gale starts off the first moment the player can control her)
  • General and Key arrays set completely false
  • Key codes unaltered

Anything I haven’t mentioned is insignificant and therefore will not be monitored in run validation.

As for skipping the intro cutscene, that’s something that I’ve always prohibited in the non-password categories, mostly because it provides unwelcome complication in starting a run. For password categories, however, the process of generating the appropriate save password is complicated enough per se that further complication is meaningless.

So, what part of New Game + is painstaking? Well, you could say that I have higher standards for it because it’s a shorter category than any% (by about 12 minutes). I mean, the only real thing that makes me want to reset per se is getting an extra cycle on any boss in the game. (Somehow, I’ve lost 3 runs to missing the one-cycle on Big Eye.) For other flubs, I add them up to determine whether to reset or keep going. Even so, they somehow quite often add up to an extent that aggravates me. (For example, there was a run where Harpy Skip took obscenely long and I failed the bomb puzzle after that.)

This is top priority, and the run is so close that I can almost taste it.

Resources

200% (renamed Hundo Plus as of May 24)

NG+ but with 100% collection rate. This is currently uncharted territory, but I’m looking forward to it. (There’s a whole lot to look into.)

Note: In spite of the name, you actually only have to add 90% to the collection rate, because you start off with 10% from having the Morning Star, Nebula Armlet, Lucky Belt, Blood Ring, and Ancient Armor from the get-go. The other 90% is Heart Rubies, moonstones, unlocking Mystery Bento, and restoring Aella’s memories.

 

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Azumarill (Poké Monday 4/23/18)

Rerolled numbers: 27 Sandshrew (lost the proof from accidentally clicking a link on random.org), 305 Lairon (middle stage of a PU mon)

 

Type: Water/Fairy

Base Stats:

  • 100 HP
  • 50 Attack
  • 80 Defense
  • 60 Special Attack
  • 80 Special Defense
  • 50 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Thick Fat Azumarill take half damage from Fire- and Ice-type attacks.
  • Huge Power Azumarill have doubled Attack.
  • Sap Sipper Azumarill are impervious to Grass-type moves and have their Attack raised by 1 stage instead of being affected by such moves. (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Aqua Jet (Egg move), Bulldoze, Knock Off (via tutor), Liquidation (via tutor), Play Rough, Superpower

Notable special attacks: Whirlpool (via HeartGold/SoulSilver HM or Gold/Silver/Crystal Virtual Console)

Notable status moves: Belly Drum (Egg move), Perish Song (Egg move)

Notable Z-moves:

  • Hydro Vortex (Water) – Converts one use of Liquidation into a base 160 physical Water-type attack.
  • Twinkle Tackle (Fairy) – Converts one use of Play Rough into a base 175 physical Fairy-type attack.
  • Tectonic Rage (Ground) – Converts one use of Bulldoze into a base 120 physical Ground-type attack.
  • All-Out Pummeling (Fighting) – Converts one use of Superpower into a base 190 physical Fighting-type attack.
  • Supersonic Skystrike (Flying) – Converts one use of Bounce into a base 160 physical Flying-type attack.

Overview

Two Huge Power users in two consecutive Poké Mondays. Strange, isn’t it? This one is notable in being particularly cute, being Water-type, having the best overall bulk (Mega Mawile has better physical bulk), and having Belly Drum alongside STAB priority. This wasn’t until the 6th generation, when it was at its prime, and not much has changed since then except slightly stronger Water STAB (Liquidation instead of Waterfall).

On another note, Azumarill only has three weaknesses—Electric, Grass, and Poison—and one of those can be patched up with Sap Sipper. The Attack boost is unneeded and pales into comparison to simply using Huge Power, but defensively Sap Sipper is its most considerable option. (Thick Fat only amplifies existing resistances and neutralizes its weakness to Freeze-Dry (which is uncommon in UU).) Keep in mind that the only value to running a defensive set is having the deadly combination of Whirlpool and Perish Song (this is now legal thanks to Virtual Console), and even that is eclipsed by standard offensive sets with Huge Power.

Sets

Set 1: Belly Drum

Azumarill @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Huge Power
EVs: 92 HP / 252 Atk / 164 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Belly Drum
– Aqua Jet
– Play Rough
– Liquidation

Belly Drum boosts Azumarill’s Attack to insane levels. With max Attack, 218 is doubled to 436 via Huge Power, then quadrupled to 1744 via Belly Drum. With such Attack, even a low base power move like Aqua Jet is sure to do massive damage to the opposing team, and +1 priority makes it difficult to stop. Play Rough is secondary STAB for Water-immune foes such as Mantine and Seismitoad, while Liquidation is stronger Water STAB for reliably breaking through walls.

EVs and Nature are focused primarily on damage output, with a Speed creep past uninvested Mantine and the rest put into HP. An even-numbered HP value (364 in this case) is mandatory to guarantee the Sitrus Berry activation for a 25% heal if Belly Drum is used without hindrance. As for the Ability, Huge Power is the only viable option for offensive variants.

Set 2: Choice Band

Azumarill @ Choice Band
Ability: Huge Power
EVs: 92 HP / 252 Atk / 164 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Aqua Jet
– Play Rough
– Liquidation
– Superpower

Choice Band is an alternative power booster that does not require a setup opportunity. The first three moves, EVs, Nature, and Ability are as mentioned in the previous set, while Superpower is primarily for hitting Empoleon super-effectively and Volcanion neutrally.

The downside to having Choice Band is that Azumarill cannot freely switch between moves, so being locked into Aqua Jet is problematic if walls remain, while being locked into any other move makes it vulnerable to faster threats.

Set 3: Perish trap

Azumarill @ Leftovers
Ability: Sap Sipper
EVs: 240 HP / 252 Def / 16 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Whirlpool
– Perish Song
– Protect
– Rest

This is a gimmick compared to the other sets, but it emphasizes Azumarill’s defensive potential with its 100/80/80 bulk and weakness to nothing but Electric and Poison thanks to Sap Sipper. With this, it can use Whirlpool and Perish Song to trap foes and have them fainted in three turns respectively. Protect is helpful for waiting out the Perish counter and granting extra Leftovers recovery. Rest is Azumarill’s most reliable means of regaining HP, although it requires Heal Bell or Aromatherapy support to be used to its fullest potential.

As for the EVs, 401 is the minimum odd HP value that Azumarill can have for maximum Leftovers recovery (25 per turn), while a physically defensive build takes the best advantage of its resistances (notably Fighting).

Other Options

Knock Off provides the utility of removing opposing items while hitting Metagross and Celebi super effectively. Bulldoze hits Volcanion super-effectively and deals heavy damage to Magneton without the nasty Attack and Defense drops, plus its Speed-lowering side effect has potential to be helpful.

As an alternative item choice, Z-Crystals boost particular attacking moves—such as Play Rough to strengthen it and make it more accurate; Superpower to avoid the nasty stat drops while maintaining the power; Bulldoze as a needed improvement to its normally flimsy power; and Bounce as a coverage option for Amoonguss and Mega Venusaur in higher tiers (granted Ice Punch also hits the former)—to make them deadlier than normal.

Problems and Partners

Problems

Volcanion is easily number one on the list. High Defense, Water immunity, Fairy resistance, chance to burn with STAB (Steam Eruption), and super-effective coverage (Sludge Bomb/Wave), all while being naturally faster. Really only weak to Bulldoze and Tectonic Rage, and even then, those are low base power moves on high Defense.

Then comes Mega Aggron with its obscene 70/230 physical bulk, resistance to Fairy, neutrality to Water, Filter to reduce damage from Superpower/Bulldoze, and 120 BP STAB in Heavy Slam.

Mega Slowbro also has notable physical bulk in 95/180, and its Water resistance makes it so Azumarill has to rely on Play Rough or the weaker Knock Off to deal damage. Not to mention, unlike Mega Aggron, Mega Slowbro has a reliable form of recovery in Slack Off. Being able to spread Scald burns is nasty as well.

Mega Manectric threatens most variants with Intimidate and/or Electric STAB, but it cannot switch in to Belly Drum variants due to its frailty.

Volcanion and Mega Slowbro are not the only problematic bulky Water-types; the three above are also perfectly capable of spreading Scald burns. (Volcanion has Steam Eruption, but eh, details.) Alomomola has high HP with passable defense; Empoleon resists both of Azumarill’s STABs, and Suicune has the best overall bulk of the three (granted a teensy bit worse physical bulk than Alomomola).

Partners

Raikou and Mega Manectric are suitable for scaring out bulky Water-types, and they have Aura Sphere and Fire coverage respectively for Mega Aggron. Additionally, Manectric’s Lightning Rod pre-Mega lets it soak up Electric attacks from opposing Manectric.

Celebi is good for standard bulky waters (Slowbro, Alomomola, Suicune) and has U-turn to serve as a pivot, but, as a Grass-type, it must be wary of Volcanion’s Fire STAB and Mega Manectric’s Fire coverage, as well as the possibility of Ice coverage from the Water-types.

Mega Sceptile is similar, but instead of U-turn, it has neutrality to Fire, Focus Blast as a coverage option for Mega Aggron, and Lightning Rod to exploit Azumarill’s Electric weakness. The downside is quad weakness to Ice, which greatly hinders its ability to switch into particular Water-types.

Water-immune thanks to Water Absorb. Resistant to Fire. Immune to Electric. Steel-resistant. Has Ground STAB. Near-perfect complement overall, its downsides being also Water-type and quad weak to Grass.

Smogon Pet Mods (Whimsical Weekend #23)

This is an encouragement to fellow fans of the Pokémon series. If you haven’t heard of Pet Mods on Smogon Forums, then now is the time to become aware. Pet Mods are basically modifications of the Pokémon metagame that are founded upon abstract concepts usually requiring a democratic system to solidify. Need a better explanation? This post does an elegant job of explaining the general premise.

Honestly, I confess that Pet Mods are a prominent reason why this blog is all over the place instead of being focused on particular topics (excluding Poké Monday). Pet Mods are largely dependent on the contributing community, so sometimes I can’t help feeling inclined to play my part, y’know?

While I’m at it, have some recommendations.

Fusion Evolution – Make a fusion of two Pokémon. Give the fusion a name, typing, stat line, and Ability. The fusion’s movepool is simply a combination of those of both its fusees. Very diverse, perhaps to the point of overflowing with creativity. See also: Fusion Moves.

Eternal Pokémon – Inspired by Eternal Floette. Every evolvable Pokémon is given an “Eternal” counterpart that has 1 BST less than its final evolution and has a signature move. To encourage diversity, Eternal counterparts can also have one of their types changed (e.g., the winning Eternal Pansage submission is Grass/Fighting).

You might think that’s not much, but I say it’s enough. And regardless, here’s the main takeaway: Pet Mods need all the contributors they can get. And don’t be discouraged if you submit and don’t/scarcely get voted for (I know that feel); that’s part of living, learning, and having fun.

 

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Bunnelby (Poké Monday 3/26/18)

Type: Normal

Base Stats:

  • 38 HP
  • 36 Attack
  • 38 Defense
  • 32 Special Attack
  • 36 Special Defense
  • 57 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Pickup Bunnelby, if not holding an item, have a 10% chance of ending up holding a random item after battle. During battle, if another currently active Pokémon deliberately uses its item without regaining it while a Pickup Bunnelby is not holding an item, then the item falls into the Bunnelby’s possession.
  • Cheek Pouch Bunnelby recover up to 1/3 max HP upon gaining the effect of a Berry.
  • Huge Power Bunnelby have their Attack doubled. (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Brick Break, Earthquake, Frustration/Return, Iron Head, Quick Attack, Rock Slide, Stone Edge, Thief, U-turn, Wild Charge

Notable status moves: Agility, Bulk Up, Spikes

Notable Z-moves:

  • Breakneck Blitz (Normal) – Coverts one use of Return or Frustration into a base 160 physical Normal-type attack (or Last Resort into base 200).
  • All-Out Pummeling (Fighting) – Converts one use of Brick Break into a base 140 physical Fighting-type attack.
  • Gigavolt Havoc (Electric) – Converts one use of Wild Charge into a base 175 physical Electric-type attack.
  • Supersonic Skystrike (Flying) – Converts one use of Bounce into a base 160 physical Flying-type attack.

Overview

In Little Cup, Bunnelby is one of only two legal users of Huge Power, and arguably the superior, sporting a peak Attack stat of 28 (base 163-172 equivalent), a manageable base Speed, and definitely enough of a movepool to do what it does best: hitting hard on the physical side. That said, it does lack a few helpful tools that its evolution possesses: Swords Dance, Knock Off, Superpower, elemental punches, and Foul Play. Thankfully Bunnelby gets Earthquake, granted without STAB.

To put it another way, Bunnelby is a byproduct of GameFreak making non-useless early-game Normal-types…and it works. Maybe not as much in Little Cup, but definitely as a whole.

Sets

Set 1: Choice Scarf

Bunnelby @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Huge Power
Level: 5
EVs: 52 HP / 228 Atk / 220 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Return
– Earthquake
– U-turn
– Stone Edge

The sets mentioned here are centered around patching up Bunnelby’s average Speed so that it can keep up with otherwise faster threats and to ensure that its relative frailty is not exploited. This set demonstrates method 1: using a Choice Scarf for an immediate Speed buff. This gets it past the unboosted metagame, up to speed with other Scarf users, and tied with Jolly +2 Tirtouga, all without having to spend a single turn.

Return (or Frustration if you prefer) is Bunnelby’s primary method of damage output: a reliable base 102 STAB attacking move with not-too-shabby coverage and a whopping 32 max (20 base) PP. Earthquake is Bunnelby’s best and most reliable method (almost as reliable as Return, not making contact but being slightly weaker and with half as much PP) of dealing with the Rock- and Steel-types that resists its STAB. U-turn works for pivoting against the gargantuan walls that can take a hit or two, or simply scouting switches. Stone Edge is an option that hits most Flying-types, but its 80% accuracy and 8 max (5 base) PP make it nowhere near as reliable as Bunnelby’s other attacking options.

The set above yields a raw stat line of 21/13/10/8/10/16. Factoring in Huge Power and Choice Scarf, its Attack and Speed become 26 and 24 respectively. If it went Adamant, it would lose 1 point in raw Speed, resulting in a 2-point loss of Scarf speed.

Set 2: Agility

Bunnelby @ Life Orb
Ability: Huge Power
Level: 5
Happiness: 0
EVs: 228 Atk / 52 Def / 220 Spe
Adamant Nature
IVs: 23 HP
– Agility
– Frustration
– Earthquake
– Stone Edge

Method 2: Use Agility. This takes one turn but, if successful, results in greater overall offensive prowess than the Scarf variant. This set demonstrates that Frustration can be used to the same effect as Return; the two moves have identical power caps. It also employs the usual Earthquake and Stone Edge for coverage. This time, however, Life Orb is the item of choice for the most offensive benefit with the least drawback.

The raw stat line here is 19/14/11/8/10/15. Factoring in Huge Power, its Attack stat becomes 28. With a single turn of Agility, its Speed becomes 30, enough to outspeed most Scarf users and opposing Speed boosters. 19 HP, which requires an IV of 4-23 and a lack of investment, is essential in letting Bunnelby take 1 damage per turn from Life Orb instead of 2. The EVs normally put into HP are instead thrown into Defense, because the leftover EVs from fully investing in offense are not enough to throw into Special Defense.

Other Options

As an alternative to boosting Speed, Bunnelby can use Bulk Up to augment its wallbreaking potential, but it has to resort to Quick Attack (or Agility if it’s daring enough) to keep up with faster threats, and it can only dedicate so many moveslots to its tools. Bunnelby can also set up Spikes, but there are dedicated Spikes users—such as Dwebble, Ferroseed, and Trubbish—that do the job better.

Wild Charge is an extra anti-Flying coverage option, which has more accuracy and PP than Stone Edge but with the drawback of recoil, less power, and not as effective coverage. Rock Slide is a noticeably weaker but more accurate alternative to Stone Edge, and the 30% flinch chance is helpful for speedy sets. Iron Head deals extra damage to Amaura and Lileep and is a more reliable option for Archen, not to mention it also has the 30% flinch chance that Rock Slide does. Brick Break hits Amaura and Lileep for as much efficacy but less power than Iron Head—in addition to hitting Ferroseed, Pawniard, and Alolan Sandshrew—and can serve as a means of removing opposing Aurora Veil. Thief is Bunnelby’s strongest option against Bronzor and Gastly, as well as a form of karma for the event that its item gets removed. Flyinium Z with Bounce is an option for nailing Fighting-type attackers that hope to force it out.

Problems and Partners

Problems

Fighting-type attackers, with their super-effective STAB, are most problematic to Bunnelby.

Croagunk and Timburr are particularly threatening with Vacuum Wave and Mach Punch respectively, while Riolu has Prankster Copycat for turns after its first.

Stufful, by virtue of Fluffy, takes regular damage from Bunnelby’s STAB and can retaliate with its own STAB.

Crabrawler and Mankey naturally outspeed Bunnelby, so they can get the jump on Agility variants or, if holding Choice Scarf, outmatch Scarf variants.

Rock- and Steel-types relatively unfazed by Earthquake are decent candidates for taking Bunnelby’s attacks. Most of the above are capable of setting up Stealth Rock (although Ferroseed prefers Spikes), Lileep has Recover, Bronzor has Trick Room, and Ferroseed punishes Bunnelby’s STAB (and Brick Break too) via Iron Barbs.

Partners

Spritzee is a usable cleric and pivot for Bunnelby, notably being able to take Fighting-type attacks and cleanse burn and paralysis with Aromatherapy.

Mudbray defends well against physical attacks, and most Fighting-types are physically oriented. Additionally, the problems listed above, with the exception of Bronzor, do not take Mudbray’s STAB very well.

 

Super-size Pumpkaboo is another candidate for taking on Fighting-types, and it has Will-O-Wisp for punishing the physical sort.

Natu also works as a Fighting-type check and has Magic Bounce to not be setup fodder against hazard setters.

Ponyta, as the premier Fire-type in LC, can deal with Bronzor and Ferroseed with relative ease. It is also (under normal circumstances) faster than the Fighting-types with problematic Speed tiers.

At a standstill 4 (Whimsical Weekend #22)

Somehow I feel like it’s been quite a long time since the last time I said I was at a standstill. At the very least, quite a bit has happened since then.

Again starting with Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2. Turns out I managed to complete absolutely everything (including 100 mil credits and Colosseum plans) except Stella’s Dungeon. I was thinking at first that it was rather tedious (and I don’t want to cheat my way through it), but I feel like, if I approach it as I did the Pokémon freemium 3DS games back before working full-time, it might not be so bad. Going beyond, as eager as I am to finish the trilogy with Re;Birth 3, I feel that perhaps it would be preferable to savor the fruits of the effort taken to complete Re;Birth 2. And also…

I recently started Doki Doki Literature Club, a free-to-play visual novel on Steam. It disguises itself as a cutesy, anime-inspired dating simulator, but it’s no secret that beneath this surface lies some disturbing content. Even so, at this point in time, I am prepared for anything, specifically a psychological thrill to throw off my attraction towards Japanese culture. With that in mind, I am putting off Re;Birth 3 until after completing DDLC, if nothing else.

Also since last time, I discovered all the remaining shrines of Breath of the Wild (including the new DLC ones) and increased my Korok seed count to 533 (admittedly mostly thanks to the Korok Mask from early DLC). I’ll be on and off searching for the remaining seeds, because the seeds are tedious to search for, but the game is still fun to play from time to time.

…And that’s about it to report.

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Bronzong (Poké Monday 2/26/18)

 

Type: Steel/Psychic

Base Stats:

  • 67 HP
  • 89 Attack
  • 116 Defense
  • 79 Special Attack
  • 116 Special Defense
  • 33 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Levitate Bronzong are treated as if airborne. That is, they are unaffected by Ground-type attacks, (Toxic) Spikes, Sticky Web, Rototiller, Arena Trap, and Terrains. This Ability is nullified if the Pokémon is grounded by means of a move or item affecting it (such as Iron Ball, Gravity, or Smack Down).
  • Heatproof Bronzong take half damage from Fire-type attacks and the residual effect of Burn.
  • Heavy Metal Bronzong are treated as if having double weight, which equates to 824.6 lb (374 kg). (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Earthquake, Explosion, Gyro Ball

Notable status moves: Rain Dance, Stealth Rock, Trick Room

Notable Z-moves: N/A

Overview

Bronzong is the only Steel-type with Levitate, as well as the only Levitate user with two additional Ability choices. (Well, not that it would ever use Heavy Metal, but that’s beside the point.) Its typing, Steel/Psychic, was really good for two generations since its debut, only having two weaknesses that are each covered by its two Ability choices. The 6th generation, however, gave it two more weaknesses: Ghost and Dark. The latter weakness is particularly annoying because of the Knock Off buff in the same generation. Another debuff from Bronzong’s generation is that Explosion no longer takes half the opponent’s Defense in its damage calculation (that was the case from gen 1-4), so it doesn’t have quite the oomph that it used to.

Speaking of generations, Bronzong was pretty bulky for its generation, but the power creeps of the generations thereafter, slowly but surely, caused its influence to decline. It is one of the few Steel-types in its tier, but that is a result of Bronzong declining in usage: an inevitable consequence of this stagnant bell in the ever-changing metagame.

For starters, Bronzong doesn’t have much of a movepool. Its only real utility options are Stealth Rock and Trick Room, and its only real offensive options are Gyro Ball and Earthquake (off of base 89 Attack, even). Trick Room aside, Bronzong faces competition with Registeel, which has better bulk, arguably better typing (despite lacking a weakness-mitigating Ability), and more reliable damage output in Seismic Toss.

An even greater issue with Bronzong (which also applies to other Steel-types in the tier) is its lack of recovery beyond Rest, which means that it is easily worn down in spite of its typing and its Ability choices.

Simply put, Bronzong is best used as a Trick Room setter, and its Ability choices alone make it considerable over Registeel as a Stealth Rock setter.

Sets

Set 1: Trick Room

Bronzong @ Macho Brace
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Trick Room
– Gyro Ball
– Earthquake
– Explosion

Bronzong is one of the best Trick Room setters in its tier due to its decent bulk, comfortably low Speed, and neat typing in conjunction with Levitate. Macho Brace (Power items work too) supplements its Speed value to make it roughly equivalent to base 15, allowing it to outslow things like Escavalier and Mega Camerupt. The reduced Speed also amplifies the power of Gyro Ball, Bronzong’s most effective STAB. Earthquake is valuable coverage for Fire-types, Electric-types, and fellow Steel-types that resist Gyro Ball. Explosion is there for scenarios where Bronzong has expended its worth and needs to grant a free switch to an ally. It can also put a dent through defensive threats (particularly Water-types) that can take Gyro Ball and Earthquake with impunity.

EVs, Nature, and IVs are for maximizing offensive output, amplifying bulk, and minimizing Speed to optimize Trick Room and Gyro Ball. Levitate is the preferred Ability here because of the hazard immunity that it provides and because Ground is a more common attacking type than Fire.

Set 2: Stealth Rock

Bronzong @ Leftovers
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Stealth Rock
– Gyro Ball
– Toxic
– Earthquake

Bronzong can also use its bulk and typing-related strengths to serve as a Stealth Rock setter. This set is similar to the above, only it uses a more defensive investment, Leftovers for gradual recovery, and Toxic to keep its passivity in check while granting freedom of investment. Speaking of investment, it doesn’t necessarily have to be physically defensive; it can be specially defensive or mixed defensive, whatever fits the team’s needs.

Other Options

The legality of Drizzle in lower tiers is a bit ambiguous, but I believe Bronzong’s tier does not allow it. For that reason, Rain Dance is a considerable option for mitigating Bronzong’s Fire weakness and supporting certain Water-type attackers, particularly the likes of Araquanid and Golisopod who benefit from Trick Room. This should be used with Damp Rock for maximum potency.

Iron Head and Zen Headbutt are extra STAB options. The former has about average damage output compared to Gyro Ball, coupled with a flinching chance that could come in handy in Trick Room. The latter is similar, but it uses a different (and arguably worse due to Dark-types being immune to it) STAB, has 10% accuracy, and is less likely to flinch. As such, Bronzong does not have room for either of these two attacks.

Despite Special Attack being Bronzong’s lower attacking stat, Bronzong has an interesting special repertoire notably containing Calm Mind, Psychic, Flash Cannon, and Bloom Doom via Solar Beam (primarily for Quagsire). However, there are many better special attackers in the tier such as Gardevoir and Necrozma.

Problems and Partners

Problems

In general, it is key to avoid super-effective types. Mega Banette is particularly worrisome with Prankster Taunt, Will-O-Wisp, and Destiny Bond alongside hard-hitting STAB. Dhelmise is faster prior to Trick Room, doesn’t take much from Gyro Ball, and has STAB Shadow Claw off base 131 Attack. Mega Camerupt resists Shadow Ball, outspeeds Macho Brace variants before Trick Room, and hits obscenely hard with its Sheer Force boosted STAB. Pangoro also doesn’t take much from Gyro Ball and has STAB Knock Off. Rotom-Heat quad resists Gyro Ball and is immune to Earthquake thanks to its own Levitate. Salazzle hits hard with Fire STAB, but it doesn’t take Earthquake well, making it a check at best.

By virtue of Thousand Arrows, Zygarde-10% can make Levitate variants prone to Ground-type attacks and deal heavy damage to Heatproof variants.

Partners

Slow Pokémon are the best allies of Trick Room variants. Fire, Ghost, and Dark resistances have particularly good synergy with Bronzong. Mega Camerupt deals well with most of the threats mentioned above, and Rotom-Heat can’t do much back to it. As for Pangoro…well, the resistances are reason enough.

Bulky Water-types are also valuable due to their ability to take on most Fire-types with relative ease. Rotom-Heat checks them but has a hard time switching into Water STAB.