Improved Whimsical Weekend #18 (apologies)

Sorry about the incomplete mess of a post that I uploaded earlier. I made finishing touches to it, and now it’s a whole lot more complete than back then.

Super Mario Odyssey! (Whimsical Weekend #18)

 Désolé!

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Super Mario Odyssey! (Whimsical Weekend #18)

I bought this game on release date (October 28), but between having a full-time job, some unspoken second thing, and wanting to finish Breath of the Wild main quests first, I never had the pleasure of playing it until 2 days later. That said, I enjoyed the crap out of the game and managed to 100% complete it in roughly 45 hours overall. Now, don’t be deceived by quantities (namely that I’ve spent 125 total hours on Breath of the Wild as of now), because I have to say that Super Mario Odyssey has a better ratio of quality to time spent. But, comparing the two games is like comparing apples to oranges, so I’ll just discard any further notion of doing so.

First off, a synopsis. Bowser schemes to arrange a marriage with Peach, and Mario has no choice but to interfere. However, Mario starts off being kicked off Bowser’s airship and lost in some mysterious location, his hat torn to shreds. Fortunately, this mysterious location happens to be the hometown of a hat-like ghost named Cappy, who meets Mario and ends up becoming his sidekick by giving him special powers, notably the ability to control particular creatures. While Bowser is out wreaking havoc and stealing valuables from a multitude of kingdoms, Mario and Cappy give chase, hoping to eventually rescue Peach (and Cappy’s sister, Tiara, who accompanies Peach throughout the story).

Simply put, Odyssey has a rather standard plot, but you can’t expect much different from a main series Mario game, eh? I mean, what makes a Mario game good is the music, atmosphere, and gameplay.

Starting with the music, Odyssey has a great soundtrack all around, with both original compositions and blasts from the past. Here’s a list of my top 3 picks in ascending order: Bowser’s Castle 2, Steam Gardens, and Honeylune Ridge: Caves. (As a side note, I have to say: The Wooded Kingdom music always reminds me of Llama by Phish.)

In terms of atmosphere, I don’t have much to say on the matter, except regarding the quirky characters of the game. I mean, there’s not much that I can say about everything else, because I’m not the type to be easily moved by any sort of scenery or inspired by any sort of theme. Anyways, regarding the characters… I’ll start with minor notes regarding minor characters.

  • The residents of Shiveria are adorable. My favorite minor characters, hands down.
  • “OTEP” is a nonsensical word said by the human NPCs of the game, particularly the bassist of Metro Kingdom. It’s become a meme on Twitch, so don’t be surprised if you see the word thrown around every now and then (to say the least).
  • Not exactly a character, but darned if Burrbos aren’t the most annoying enemy in the game. They’re like Miniblins from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. They die in one hit, but they respawn constantly, make annoying noises, and are extremely pesky with their means of dealing damage.

Next up: talk about Cappy. His powers are irreplaceable, and he definitely tries his best to be a helpful sidekick. Although his help occasionally comes in handy (particularly when it comes to postgame moon/coin hunting), it’s mostly redundant to people (like me) who end up having learned more about the game than the developers would expect (specifically when it comes to gameplay techniques and normally self-explanatory moments). It also makes me curious that he and Tiara pronounce his name more like “Kyappy” than “Cappy”, presumably because the voice actors are Japanese. More importantly, his cries for help after being captured by Klepto are really annoying.

Now, last but definitely not least is the gameplay. I want to say there hasn’t been a Mario game with such satisfying movement since Sunshine or 64. Granted it kinda follows in the footsteps of 3D World, but the cat suit is not absolutely needed (in other words, taking damage does not absolutely negate the fastest form of movement). It’s no secret that Odyssey was developed at least somewhat with speedrunning in mind, considering the movement options, skippable cutscenes, Koopa Freerunning, and a few sequence breaks that Cappy comments on. Even so, it can just as easily be played casually by virtue of its design. What’s also cool is that there’s a multitude of 2D sections in the game despite it being 3D, and even with some throwbacks to age-old games such as Donkey Kong and SMB1.

And contrary to 3D World’s linearity in design, Odyssey has two types of collectibles: moons and purple coins. Some of the purple coins may be a major headache to get (read: Lake Kingdom underwater zipper and Bowser’s Kingdom lantern), but the concept of purple coins makes the game more of a collectathon like Sunshine. (3D World only had stars, stamps, and maybe flagpoles.) I mean, some of the moons were also a pain, namely:

  • Dark Side moons 3 and 4 (Breakdown Road: Hurry! and Breakdown Road: Final Challenge!) – This is the start of a series of challenges that are repeats of earlier moons except that you have to use Cappy to get in and therefore can’t use him within the rooms (like how Super Mario Sunshine secrets have Shadow Mario stealing FLUDD). Well, I didn’t know they were repeats at the time; most of them I did before the original moons. Anyway, it’s some tough crud, lemme tell ya. Although, admittedly I was a bit too search-happy with this particular challenge, but the long jump sequence is challenging regardless.
  • Dark Side moons 5 and 6 (Invisible Road: Rush! and Invisible Road: Secret!) – Honest to goodness, there were times when I felt like I was clearly stepping on the giant Poison Piranhas but ended up somehow getting hit instead. Deceitfully difficult stuff.
  • Dark Side moons 11 and 12 (Yoshi on the Sinking Island and Fruit Feast on the Sinking Island) – This is not part of the series mentioned above. I find it cool that you can directly control Yoshi in this game instead of riding on his back; it feels a bit more like symbiosis than the usual master-servant relationship. Even so, I didn’t know, nor did I think I needed to know, about Yoshi’s climbing technique, so my first playthrough of the challenge consisted of sideflip fluttering and a whole metric frick ton of deaths. I mean, at least the fruit counter doesn’t reset when you die, but it’s always agonizing when the lava catches up (usually no thanks to the spike ball cycles), especially at high HP.
  • Darker Side (a.k.a. Champion’s Road 0.5), although apparently some major skip was discovered for that level. This was actually the first place where I realized that you could control Glydon.
  • Moon Kingdom moon 16 (Found on the Moon, Good Dog!) – It wasn’t in any of the craters that the dog could access, so I had no clue where it could possibly be. I tried using Hint Toad, but the hint he gives only points to the dog, so I just had to keep trying. Turns out the moon is between the debris-filled crater and the straw dummy for moon 7 (Moon Kingdom Timer Challenge 1).
  • Moon Kingdom moon 28 (Mysterious Flying Object) – I went through so much trouble trying to figure out how to catch the UFO, not realizing that the solution was simply a homing cap throw.
  • Metro Kingdom moon 36 (Celebrating in the Streets!) – I missed this secret the first time, and it was such a pain to find it postgame, even with the help of Talkatoo and the Hint Toad.
  • Cap Kingdom moon 7 (Slipping Through the Poison Tide) – Somehow I didn’t notice the hole in the gate across from the entrance at first, and that was also the location of three of the purple coins that I was missing before I realized.
  • Cap Kingdom moon 13 (Taxi Flying Through Bonneton) – I was confused when Hint Toad led me to the binoculars, and that was when I figured out that there are certain moons that require looking at oddities in the sky. (Others include Cascade Kingdom moon 25, Metro Kingdom moon 59, and Bowser’s Kingdom moon 39.)
  • Cap Kingdom moon 17 (hint art) – I thought for so long that those were carpets like in Tostarena; I never imagined people on the moon. The blue circle in the background was the main giveaway, though.
  • Sand Kingdom moon 76 (On the Eastern Pillar) – This one was a pain—but possible—to get without motion controls. That is to say, I was on gamepad at the time, so I didn’t even think motion controls were possible, but I painstakingly found a way to get the moon anyway. What I did was I went to the Tostarena Ruins Sand Pillar location, went to the pillars closest to the east of the nearest Bullet Bill cannon, lured a Bullet Bill from the south pillar, took its hat off at the north pillar, and threw Cappy at the very northeast corner of the pillar while luring the Bullet Bill to where I threw him. This allowed me to reach the box without shaking at all, just holding Y.
  • Luncheon Kingdom moon 53 (Diving from the Big Pot!) – While capturing a Lava Bubble in the giant stew pot, do a rather precise jump to the smaller stew pot on top of the slots building in the plaza. The consequence of failing? Having to warp to the Top of the Peak Climb checkpoint and get back to the giant pot. This particular moon wasn’t a huge struggle, taking me only 2-3 tries, but it set forth a greater struggle that I had on moon 50.
  • Luncheon Kingdom moon 50 (The Rooftop Lantern) – I did this right after moon 53, so I did the exact same thing for this moon, and it was a whole lot more painstaking due to being slightly farther away and having a smaller hitbox. (It took me upwards of 10 tries.) That was before I realized that I could just take a Fire Bro. from beyond the Path to the Meat Plateau checkpoint back to the plaza.
  • Mushroom Kingdom moon 28 (Courtyard Chest Trap) – Aside from the Chest Trap in Seaside Kingdom that’s precisely like Super Mario 64, this was the first Chest Trap mission I had done. I had no idea what was going on, thinking that I had to kill all the zombies in the order specified, and I frustratingly died once or twice before realizing the truth behind it.
  • Mushroom Kingdom moon 33 (Knucklotec rematch) – Those zombies were so pesky.

And regarding 100% completion, I did almost everything on my own—”almost” as in, I tried not to look up anything (although I was tempted to look up Bowser’s Kingdom purple coin locations) except the best farming spot for coins (that being the secret stage of moon 37, the beanstalk at the west wing of the castle) and 2 of the required captures (specifically the Poison and Fire Piranha Plants).

At any rate, the gameplay of Super Mario Odyssey leads me to believe that it’s not entirely complex but not entirely mindless—that is, just the right balance between simple and clever for a Mario game. I find that the Bowser fights are particularly well done in that Bowser seems to have a surprise for every cycle. Even in the first fight in Cloud Kingdom, the last cycle has Bowser performing a counterattack instead of the usual fare of being pummeled while doing nothing back. Then the second fight has him throwing rocks that can’t be punched, more as the fight draws closer to the end. Another surprising thing to me was the third cycle of the third Bowser fight (unlocked after obtaining all 880 unique moons). Normally, Bowser throws a fixed number of rocks before bursting out in evil laughter and leaving himself vulnerable, but in the cycle in question, he never stops throwing rocks until you approach him and pummel him. (But you have to be quick, otherwise he’ll jump away.) You could always do that in all the other cycles of all the fights, but I never imagined until then that such a thing was possible. (Being able to control Bowser after the fight was also a pleasant surprise!)

And even though I’ve finished the game, I easily came to enjoy watching speedruns of it, primarily on account of how slick the movement is and how so many tricks are revealed that I never knew in my first playthrough.

Final verdict: There is no such thing as a perfect game, but Super Mario Odyssey comes very close.

 

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Pelipper (Poké Monday 10/30/17)

 

Type: Water/Flying

Base Stats:

  • 60 HP
  • 50 Attack
  • 100 Defense
  • 95 Special Attack
  • 70 Special Defense
  • 65 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Keen Eye Pelipper are impervious to external accuracy drops. As of gen 6, they ignore targets’ evasion boosts.
  • Drizzle Pelipper summon rain for 5 turns (8 when holding Damp Rock) upon switching in. If rain is already up, the duration is not reset.
  • Rain Dish Pelipper recover 1/16 HP at the end of every turn while rain is active. (Hidden Ability)

Notable special attacks: HurricaneHydro Pump, Ice Beam, Scald, Surf, Shock Wave (via ORAS move tutor)

Notable physical attacks: U-turn, Knock Off (Egg move)

Notable status moves: Defog (via 4th gen HM), Rain Dance, Roost

Notable Z-moves:

  • Hydro Vortex (Water) – Converts one use of Hydro Pump into a base 185 special Water-type attack.
  • Supersonic Skystrike (Flying) – Converts one use of Hurricane into a base 185 special Flying-type attack.

Overview

In days of yore, Pelipper was notable for being the original, easily accessible user of Water HMs (notably Surf) and Fly. In Alola, there are no HMs for Pelipper to be known for, but Pelipper gained a secondary Ability like no other: Drizzle. Since then, it has become the new Politoed…and, arguably, a better rain setter as a whole. The extra Flying typing has more resistances (including an immunity) at the expense of extra weakness to Electric, and also gives Pelipper STAB on Hurricane (the Flying-type counterpart of Thunder) for great coverage with the obvious Water STAB. Pelipper also has greater utility than Politoed, boasting access to U-turn, Defog, Knock Off, and even reliable recovery in Roost. In fact, the only real offset qualities are worse stats overall and no Encore or Perish Song.

Simply put, 7th gen Pelipper presents a new OU-legal rain setter, perhaps even the new OU-legal rain setter.

Set

Pelipper @ Damp Rock
Ability: Drizzle
EVs: 248 HP / 52 Def / 208 SpD
Calm Nature
– Scald
– Hurricane
– Roost
– U-turn

Not quite the standard fare of competitive set, but it gets the point across. This is a support set that uses Damp Rock for the maximum duration of rain to support itself and its teammates. Scald is boosted by rain and has a chance to burn; the latter factor makes it preferable STAB on defensive sets. Hurricane is backup STAB that hits Grass-types, deals decent damage, and has a chance to confuse (granted confusion has been nerfed, but it’s still nothing to be overlooked). Roost allows it to regain health so that it can stick around longer and provide as much rain support as possible. U-turn gives it a pivoting option that, thanks to Pelipper’s low Speed, usually grants a free switch into a rain abuser such as Kingdra or Mega Swampert.

Now, what makes this set in particular not so competitive is the EV spread. The 248 HP is obligatory for the best improvement to bulk that allows it to avoid the Stealth Rock number of max HP. As for the defenses, they’re simply as equal as possible, with Special Defense favored over Defense.

Other Options

Hydro Pump is its strongest STAB and the most recommended option in offensive sets. (Pelipper has low Speed and rather underwhelming Special Attack, but Drizzle makes offensive sets viable.) Ice Beam hits Garchomp and Dragonite (emphasis on the latter) harder than its other moves, while Shock Wave hits opposing Water/Flying types. Knock Off allows for item removal utility, which is particularly helpful against Chansey and works on anything without a Mega Stone or Z-crystal. Defog clears hazards, but perhaps there are better candidates due to Pelipper’s Stealth Rock weakness. Rain Dance can make it more effective at winning potential weather wars with the foremost of the problems listed below.

Problems and Partners

Problems

Since Pelipper is chiefly a weather setter, it primarily has problems with opposing weather setters.

If Mega Charizard Y switches in, Pelipper will have its Water STAB weakened and its Hurricanes reduced to 50% accuracy, while Mega Charizard Y has recharge-free Solar Beams to fire off.

Tyranitar is weak to Water, but the Special Defense boost that it gets from sand makes it tough for Pelipper to break, and the Rock STAB makes Tyranitar’s presence especially threatening.

Alolan Ninetales may have faster weather, meaning that rain will take priority in a 1v1 situation, but it threatens with Freeze-Dry and has decent special bulk for taking Pelipper’s neutral hits, especially if Aurora Veil is activated in a not-so-1v1 situation.

Ferrothorn is a fierce obstacle to rain teams, being resistant to Water and only being weak to Fire and Fighting. The worst that defensive Pelipper can do to Ferrothorn is burn it with Scald, and even then, that doesn’t stop it from setting up Spikes and/or damaging with Power Whip while gaining recovery through Leech Seed and/or Leftovers. Ferrothorn also has Knock Off for removing Damp Rock.

That is where offensive Pelipper might come in handy, considering this:

252+ SpA Choice Specs Pelipper Hurricane vs. 252 HP / 168 SpD Ferrothorn: 181-214 (51.4 – 60.7%) — 91.8% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

…but since it’s Choice Specs, that can be played around.

It goes without saying, but beware of Electric-type attacks.

Partners

A rain supporter like Pelipper obviously works best with rain abusers. Mega Swampert is a particularly close partner, considering its Ground typing threatens the Electric-types (and, to a lesser extent, Rock-types) that Pelipper despises (and Superpower coverage hits Ferrothorn hard). Kingdra is neutral to said Electric-types but is effective in dealing with the Dragons of the tier.

Worried about anti-rain? Try some anti-anti-rain. Even without rain active, Tapu Koko and Hawlucha have immense Speed and the ability to deal heavy damage to opposing weather setters. How are they related? Apparently it’s a viable strategy to run Electric Seed Hawlucha for an instant +1 Speed and Unburden boost (effectively +4 Speed) plus base 110 Acrobatics when paired with Tapu Koko’s Electric Surge. Hawlucha also has Swords Dance to amp up its firepower, along with Fighting STAB for Tyranitar and Ferrothorn.

There might be more, but that’s all I can think of.

At a standstill 3 (Whimsical Weekend #17)

First off, I’m still in the process of going for all the endings of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2. As of last time, I took care of the Planeptune, Leanbox, Lastation, Lowee, Human, and Conquest endings in that order, so I only have the Holy Sword and True endings left.

The Land and Human endings are basically just the Normal ending with a bonus cutscene after the credits, so not much beyond the standard fare of cutesy aftermath. Conquest ending, on the other hand… I’m still reeling from that jank. It requires a complicated set of criteria to be done before the end of Chapter 5 (a.k.a. the Planeptune event after defeating three of the Four Felons), and I now realize that the developers were right to make it so.

I’ll try not to go into too much detail (for the sake of avoiding spoilers and saving the detailed talk until I finish the entire Re;Birth series), but I will say that Conquest ending has a fairly similar plot line to Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest (hence “Conquest” is in both names), only it’s smaller scale and with less painstakingly difficult battles, but with a greater touch of guilt and loneliness as the plot advances (granted I haven’t finished Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, but that’s the best comparison I can draw). And actually, seeing the more morbid events unfold made me think back to when I played through the Zero Escape series, which is a far cry from what I’d normally expect of a Neptunia game. That said, I’m guessing that the other two endings won’t be quite as intense (but probably at least more intense than the Normal, Land, or Human endings).

While I’m at it, I never really explained to what degree I play through the installments of the Re;Birth series before I consider myself “done” with them. Along with making sure that I’ve seen all the endings, I also strive to unlock all characters, complete all quests and colosseum battles, fill the image gallery (in other words, each ending done on a separate cycle of a single playthrough), and unlock all plans. Anything beyond that would be…excessive, I imagine.

Other than that, the only notable thing I’ve been up to is continuing my Breath of the Wild playthrough, in which I’m up to 108 shrines, 231 Korok seeds, 10 memories, 30 Shrine Quests, 44 Side Quests, 4 Great Fairies, and 231 Hyrule Compendium entries  (64 Creatures, 58 Monsters, 35 Materials, 70 Equipment, and 4 Treasure).

…Yeah, that’s really all I have to say for now.

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Shroomish (Poké Monday 9/25/17)

 

Type: Grass

Base Stats:

  • 60 HP
  • 40 Attack
  • 60 Defense
  • 40 Special Attack
  • 60 Special Defense
  • 35 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Effect Spore Shroomish have a 30% chance to inflict a randomly chosen status condition to a contact attacker: 9% chance of poison, 10% chance of paralysis, and 11% chance of sleep. Attackers with Overcoat and/or Safety Goggles are unaffected.
  • Poison Heal Shroomish recover 1/8 HP per turn when under the effects of poison (toxic or otherwise).
  • Quick Feet Shroomish have their Speed boosted by a factor of 1.5 when under the effects of a volatile status condition. If paralyzed, Speed is not halved. (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Bullet Seed, Drain Punch, Focus Punch, Seed Bomb

Notable special attacks: Giga Drain, Sludge Bomb

Notable status moves: Leech Seed, Spore, Stun Spore, Synthesis

Notable Z-moves: Eh…don’t give this thing a Z Crystal. I’ll explain why.

Overview

Since the fourth generation, Shroomish has taken pride in being the only Little Cup Pokémon with Poison Heal. It is also one of only four with Spore—the most guaranteed sleep move in the game despite now being stopped by opposing Grass-types and Overcoat / Safety Goggles users—and even has the highest base Speed of the four (combined with Quick Feet if that’s what you’re into).

However, that’s where the good news ends. Shroomish’s stat line is not the best, and its typing doesn’t help its cause. Four resistances may be decent normally, but not so much with five weaknesses. It doesn’t have much for offensive coverage, being limited to Grass/Normal/Fighting on the physical side and Grass/Poison/Hidden Power on the special side. 60/60/60 defenses aren’t bad for LC, but preference of Toxic Orb means that Shroomish would be hard-pressed to hold Eviolite.

Simply put, Shroomish is primarily a defensive Grass-type with exclusive (in its tier) access to Poison Heal and almost exclusive access to Spore.

Set

Shroomish @ Toxic Orb
Ability: Poison Heal
Level: 5
EVs: 196 HP / 116 Def / 196 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Spore
– Leech Seed
– Protect
– Giga Drain

This set makes the most of Shroomish’s assets in Little Cup. In particular, the combination of Poison Heal and Toxic Orb is its bread and butter.

Its main tools of sabotage are Spore and Leech Seed, the former being a solid sleep-inducing option, and the latter allowing it to annoy the opposition and/or steal HP. Protect allows Toxic Orb to kick in more easily, notably by guarding Shroomish from Knock Off, and also promotes recovery via Poison Heal and Leech Seed. Its main method of damage output is Giga Drain; though this makes it extra difficult to combat Grass-types, it makes HP gain even easier and has STAB.

Defensive investment is tough, and it can really go either way. While specially defensive Shroomish is less prone to most of its weaknesses, physically defensive Shroomish (196 HP / 196 Def / 116 SpD; Bold Nature) handles its non-weaknesses (and U-turn) better. (I would say that going specially defensive works against Download Porygon, but Porygon is banned this gen thanks to Z-Conversion.) Regardless, maximum HP is preferred for +3 HP Poison Heal (whereas 36 EVs or fewer only leave it with +2) and an odd number (25 rather than 24).

Other Options

Shroomish can opt to go physical—primarily on account of Focus Punch generally hitting harder than any of its STABs not named Solar Beam, and potentially for a Substitute-breaking move in Bullet Seed (which, considering Spore, is not entirely out of the question)—but the main catch is losing out on a STAB draining move.

Sludge Bomb is Shroomish’s strongest option against other Grass-types not named Ferroseed, while Hidden Power Fire deals nearly as much damage to Ferroseed as Focus Punch, without the nasty Iron Barbs damage.

In terms of status moves: Stun Spore gives Shroomish an extra form of status—for any competitive scene involving Sleep Clause—with potential to take more offensive threats, particularly Magby, by surprise. Substitute blocks it from opposing status moves and can be a general annoyer in conjunction with Poison Heal and Leech Seed. Synthesis is its most snappy and potent means of recovery, but it only has 5 PP, heals less against hail teams, and isn’t particularly worth a moveslot compared to its more normal options.

(Disclaimer: Take this paragraph with a grain of salt.) With Quick Feet, Shroomish outspeeds the entire unboosted metagame (with max Speed, of course) and maybe take advantage of Swords Dance in conjunction with any combination of STAB choice, Drain Punch, and Façade…but do keep in mind that its coverage with meager base 40 Attack won’t get it far. (Plus Agility Paras is leagues better offensively.)

Problems and Partners

Problems

Funny how such a similar defensive Grass-type is one of the best solutions for a Shroomish gone rogue. Foongus wrecks face with its Poison STAB and can take anything Shroomish can throw at it (not to mention heal off its meager attacks with Regenerator).

Natu bounces back all of Shroomish’s status moves (not that that matters much, all things considered) and can easily 2HKO with Heat Wave (and, if it’s running Life Orb, any other move not named Dazzling Gleam).

And then there are the offensive behemoths that don’t particularly care about Shroomish’s status moves or STAB (bonus points to Vullaby, Doduo, and Spinarak for having Overcoat, Early Bird, and Insomnia respectively) and retaliate with super-effective STAB.

Oh, and let’s not forget that Shroomish is quite prone to Taunt.

Partners

The primary step to using Shroomish effectively is to eliminate the opponent’s Grass-types. Most of the things mentioned as problems to Shroomish are problems to Grass-types in general, although the offensive varieties should be wary of opponents with access to paralysis moves (such as Ferroseed with Thunder Wave).

In terms of defensive complements, Water-types are go-to. Mareanie is more purely defensive with its access to Regenerator, Toxic Spikes, and Recover, although the Poison typing gives it an offensive and defensive edge over opposing Grass-types. Chinchou, on the other hand, can be more offensively oriented and more easily deal with Flying-types.

Alolan Grimer deals with Natu, if that’s still a problem. It also has Poison STAB for Grass-types.

Onix is a good complement to Shroomish typing-wise, being able to set up Stealth Rock while resisting all of Shroomish’s weaknesses except Bug and Ice, while Shroomish in turn resists Water, Grass, and Ground for Onix. Additionally, Onix’s EdgeQuake STAB lets it deal super-effective damage to most things that are offensively problematic to Shroomish.

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!)

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: