Flash Game Speed Marathon: My marathon debut (Whimsical Weekend #11)

Two months ago, I talked about submitting for Memeathon X, specifically with an unofficial category of Phoenotopia that I call “69 HP RTA,” but my submission didn’t make it into the marathon.

Fortunately, not long before the end of March (I don’t remember the exact date), I happened upon a more esoteric submission form posted by Twitch user LaserTrap_ in the 360chrism Community Discord. That form was for a marathon initially named “Flash Games Done Quick,” but they had to change the name mid-marathon because “Games Done Quick” is trademarked. Regardless, considering that a vast majority of the games that I currently speedrun are Flash games, of course this marathon would be the perfect fit for me. So, I submitted Phoenotopia 100%, Rock Bottom All Levels, and Chompy All Levels; and I ended up being one of only seven runners in the marathon (including LaserTrap_).

It was my first time doing live commentary while speedrunning (granted I rehearsed a bit beforehand), but I’d say it went over pretty well. Highlights can be viewed below:

Phoenotopia [100%] in 1:47:16 — https://www.twitch.tv/videos/137592161

Rock Bottom [All Levels] in 7:53 — https://www.twitch.tv/videos/137592857

Chompy [All Levels] in 6:22 — https://www.twitch.tv/videos/137593444

(Other highlights of the marathon can be found at https://www.twitch.tv/lasertrap_/videos/highlights)

Because I rehearsed so little, it goes without saying that there was at least a little rust involved in all my runs. Prior to the week before the beginning of the marathon, it had been six months since my last Phoenotopia 100% WR (1:44:08), five months since my last Chompy WR (5:09), and three months since my last Rock Bottom WR (6:17).

Since the games that I ran are so fast-paced (well, not so much Phoenotopia, but still), I can’t remember off the top of my head where exactly I messed up in each run, but I do recall that I unfortunately didn’t get the 1-minute skip in level 14 of Rock Bottom. Also, apparently my keyboard doesn’t like me pressing down, right, and Numpad 0 at the same time, so I had a tiny bit of difficulty starting the timer for Chompy.

Another thing: I’m not used to talking in general, so running my mouth for practically two straight hours caused my voice to hurt over the weekend. Thankfully, though, it was nothing major.

Bottom line: I dragged myself into a change of pace by becoming part of an esoteric marathon, and the highlights linked above are the results.

 

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Rapidash (Poké Monday 4/10/17)

 

Type: Fire

Base Stats:

  • 65 HP
  • 100 Attack
  • 70 Defense
  • 80 Special Attack
  • 80 Special Defense
  • 105 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Run Away Rapidash have a 100% chance of escaping non-Trainer battles. However, this Ability is useless in competitive play.
  • Flash Fire Rapidash are immune to Fire-type moves and, under circumstances where they would normally take one, their Fire-type attacks are boosted by a factor of 1.5 instead. This boost only occurs once per switch-in and cannot be Baton Passed.
  • Flame Body Rapidash, upon being hit by direct contact, have a 30% chance of burning the attacker. (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Drill Run (via ORAS tutor), Flare Blitz, Low Kick (Egg move), Megahorn, Smart Strike, Wild Charge

Notable status moves: Morning Sun (Egg move), Will-O-Wisp

Notable Z-moves:

  • Inferno Overdrive (Fire) – Converts one use of Flare Blitz into a base 190 physical Fire-type attack.
  • Bloom Doom (Grass) – Converts one use of Solar Beam into a base 190 special Grass-type attack.
  • Gigavolt Havoc (Electric) – Converts one use of Wild Charge into a base 175 physical Electric-type attack.
  • Z-Will-O-Wisp (Fire) – Grants +1 Attack with one use of Will-O-Wisp.
  • Z-Hypnosis (Psychic) – Grants +1 Speed with one use of Hypnosis.

Overview

For Rapidash, not much has changed in the transition from the previous generation to the present. It’s still the same fast-ish attacker in PU with reliable recovery and odd coverage as it was back then. That said, Sun/Moon did bring a few new tools to the table:

  • Smart Strike: Coverage against Fairy-types that’s less redundant than Poison Jab…and another option for Rock-types, I guess
  • Z-Crystals:
    • Firium Z – used in conjunction with Flare Blitz for recoil-free but still powerful STAB, or with Will-O-Wisp for a one-time Attack boost
    • Grassium Z – used in conjunction with Solar Beam for a strong option against the likes of Quagsire and Whiscash
    • Electrium Z – used in conjunction with Wild Charge in a similar vein to Flare Blitz
    • Psychium Z – used in conjunction with Hypnosis to make one use perfectly accurate and with a Speed boost (not that the latter is needed all that much)
    • Groundium Z or Buginium Z to perhaps bring a bit of accuracy to its slightly inaccurate coverage options in Drill Run and Megahorn respectively

Well, actually, that’s about it. The most notable new tool definitely has to be Z-Will-O-Wisp, and Rapidash is one of the most effective users of the Z-Move, let alone in its tier.

Set

Rapidash @ Firium Z
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Will-O-Wisp
– Flare Blitz
– Wild Charge / Morning Sun
– Drill Run / Morning Sun

Firium Z allows Rapidash to choose between base 190 recoil-free Fire STAB or, better yet, a perfectly accurate Will-O-Wisp that boosts its Attack (but only once per battle, of course). That aside, Flare Blitz is its STAB of choice for the sheer damage output thereof. Primary choices for coverage moves are Wild Charge for Water-types and Drill Run for Fire- and Rock-types. On the other hand, it could forgo one of its coverage moves in favor of Morning Sun, which allows it to stick around longer in spite of its recoil move(s). EVs and Nature are offensively focused with particular emphasis on Speed, while the Ability of choice is Flash Fire for the extra immunity and the potential to power up Flare Blitz.

Other Options

In terms of non-Z-Moves, Low Kick is its only option to 2HKO offensive Golem, Smart Strike is its strongest option against Carbink, and Megahorn notably hits Lunatone and Solrock.

Solar Beam, when converted to Bloom Doom, constitutes its most hard-hitting option against Water/Ground types, and it also works wonders against Water/Rock types such as Relicanth. For example:

4- SpA Rapidash Bloom Doom (190 BP) vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Quagsire: 576-680 (146.5 – 173%) — guaranteed OHKO

4- SpA Rapidash Bloom Doom (190 BP) vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Relicanth: 576-680 (142.9 – 168.7%) — guaranteed OHKO

Z-Hypnosis provides a one-time, perfectly accurate sleep move to cope with defensive threats (Altaria for example) and make it harder to revenge KO by Choice Scarf users and such (or, perhaps, to mitigate Sticky Web).

Problems and Partners

Problems

Physically defensive Altaria can easily take any of Rapidash’s hits, even if Rapidash is at +1 as a result of Z-Will-O-Wisp, and has a decent chance of 3HKOing with Dragon Pulse. That’s without mentioning the recoil of Flare Blitz and Wild Charge on Rapidash’s end, and Altaria’s end has another huge benefit in Roost.

Floatzel is naturally faster than Rapidash and threatens with Water STAB. Perhaps another justifiable reason to run Z-Hypnosis.

The rest of the list depends on what Rapidash is running. If it only runs two offensive moves, it gets walled by a particular subset of Pokémon (Dragon-types and particular Fire-types in the case of Flare Blitz + Wild Charge, and several Flying-types in the case of Flare Blitz + Drill Run). Without Bloom Doom, Rock/Ground and Water/Ground types become problematic. Without Smart Strike, Carbink is tough to break. Without Megahorn, Solrock and Lunatone can be problematic.

Partners

As is the case with all offensively oriented Pokémon weak to Stealth Rock and prone to other hazards, hazard control is one of the best forms of support. Wartortle and Prinplup, which carry Rapid Spin and Defog respectively, are especially favorable, as they resist Water-type moves and do not share any weaknesses with Rapidash.

Knowing that Altaria and Floatzel are the main two problems listed, examples of Pokémon that can take care of both are Politoed and Lapras with Water Absorb. They can take Floatzel’s STAB and Ice Punch, and Altaria is hit with Ice coverage. Lapras is particularly adept in dealing with Floatzel thanks to Freeze-Dry.

Grass-types, particularly those with special attacking potential, can be helpful to Rapidash not running Bloom Doom (and maybe even those that do run Bloom Doom). Be warned that Simisage needs a Choice Scarf to be able to combat Floatzel, and Exeggutor should not be sent out lightly.

Juuou Mujin no Fafnir? (Whimsical Weekend #10)

Still technically a weekend because I haven’t had work since Friday 

Juuou Mujin no Fafnir (alternatively known as Unlimited Fafnir, henceforth referred to simply as Fafnir) is a fantasy harem light novel series written by Tsukasa (ツカサ) and adapted into an anime for the winter 2015 season. I have already talked about the anime once before, but because I am currently reading through the light novel and have also rewatched the anime, I decided that I would go back and provide further detail, be it through rephrasing or adding on to what has already been said.

Back when the anime started airing, I was the type of guy who could (and would) chase breezes when it comes to anime series; I would pay no heed to clichés or minor animation faults or anything like that. Even though I had already watched Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance, which is very similar in terms of execution (in the beginning if nothing else), I somehow decided that Fafnir was worth my attention. That, plainly and simply, was how I got into it.

The lore of Fafnir is centered around gargantuan beasts known as dragons (which are not quite comparable to the types of dragons normally depicted in mythical stories) and humans with dragon marks who are sometimes sought to become mates of the dragons (i.e., transformed into dragons themselves). The humans with dragon marks, who are also characterized by their ability to generate dark matter (a substance that can be molded into a different material by the user’s imagination), are called ‘D’s (with no connection to male genitalia, mind you), and the main character, Yuu Mononobe, happens to be the only male who fits this criterion. Initially a part of NIFL, a military organization meant for dealing with dragon disasters, he starts off having been transferred to Midgard, an island meant for housing an educational institute for ‘D’s, and becomes acquainted with the other ‘D’s who are all female. In particular, Yuu is assigned to the Brynhildr Class and becomes comrades with:

  • Mitsuki Mononobe, his foster sister
  • Iris Freyja, the first person whom he met on Midgard
  • Lisa Highwalker, a blonde tsundere who initially disapproves of him
  • Firill Crest, a (mostly) emotionless avid reader
  • Ariella Lu, a brown-haired tomboy
  • Ren Miyazawa, a red-haired laptop girl of few words
  • Tia Lightning, a transfer student (introduced later in the series) who starts off under the impression that she is a dragon and his wife (she is called Tear in some translations, but I prefer the name Tia because it’s more of a real name (I’ve never heard of “Tear” being a name outside of fiction) and, as mentioned in the light novel, is short for Tiamat (which is dragon-related))

However, Yuu finds himself different from the other ‘D’s not only in his gender, but also in his combat experience. While ‘D’s are usually trained for dealing with dragons, Yuu is initially only experienced in man-to-man combat. Fortunately, Yuu has a dragon living inside him (“Green” Yggdrasil) that provides weaponry for the destruction of other dragons in exchange for his memories. It does get the job done, but with the drawback of hindering his relationship with Mitsuki.

Throughout the story, it is made clear that decisions are to be made when a dragon attacks. The best case scenario would be to eliminate the dragon, but such is much easier said than done. Because dragons are such threats, the characters are occasionally stuck contemplating between two options: (1) killing the ‘D’ whose mark has changed color, or (2) letting that ‘D’ transform into a copy of the dragon in question. They obviously stand and fight to the end, but they always take care to prepare for the worst case scenario.

Anyway, I’d say that about covers it for basic plot elements. So, I mentioned how I got into the series, and the next step would be to talk about how it has managed to keep my attention for so long. The way I was the first time I watched through the anime, it was not hard for a series like this to do such a thing. However, a less common phenomenon is for such a series to leave a legacy even after I finish watching the anime. I would say that this series is nothing special…that is, if not for the existence of one particular character: Kili Surtr Muspelheim. Yes, she is the one depicted in the third panel of the image at the beginning of this post.

Kili starts off as a terrorist responsible for the death of Tia’s parents and the creation of Tia’s two horns, and she appears to Lisa (and is soon encountered by Yuu) in an attempt to kidnap Tia and force her to live as a dragon. In spite of her villainy, however, she is surprisingly attractive (especially with that long black hair), voiced wonderfully by Marina Inoue (who also voices Yozora in Haganai), and has some amazing super powers centered around the conversion of dark matter into thermal energy.

Through her mind alone, Kili can create fire and explosive dark matter, and she can melt material such as bullets and guns. She was confronted at one point by a direct attack from Lisa, but she deflected it as if it were nothing. As if that wasn’t enough, she is capable of biogenic transmutation, which allows her to take on any appearance she pleases, notably that of her mild-mannered alter ego [Honoka Tachikawa] (who actually becomes friends with Yuu [and, in the anime, the rest of the Brynhildr Class] before revealing her true identity), and even to heal her own wounds (a quirk that is sadly not seen in the anime). She can also do this biogenic transmutation to other people, which is how Tia got her horns. How is this all possible? In volume 4 of the light novel, it is explained [that she is made of dark matter]. (See those brackets? They indicate spoilers. Highlight the white text within at your own risk.)

So…yeah. The first five episodes of Fafnir were not all that interesting, but then when Kili made her first major appearance in the second half of episode 6, I was left thinking something along the lines of, “Wow…what an amazing character,” and then I became more invested in the anime as I continued watching (hence the image at the beginning of this post). The time between her disappearance at the beginning of episode 7 and the unveiling of her disguise at the end of episode 11 made me increasingly anxious as it passed by, but the finale was well worth it. Her final fight with Yuu made her seem like a pushover (especially considering how close she was to having her way in episode 6), but…well, that’s to be expected. I mean, the battle couldn’t be dragged out any longer because there were still some loose ends to tie up, especially the attack on “Red” Basilisk and the aftermath thereof. I mean, I will admit that it’s a bit disappointing, but hey, that’s just the way it is.

Primary thoughts on the anime as a whole:

  • The story was decent. I particularly liked how the conclusion played out and how the characters were affected.
  • While the nomenclature of ‘D’s is questionable and might turn off some (if not most) critics, I wasn’t the type to care about that sort of thing, and I’m still not.
  • I had no strong feelings about the music or visuals. The theme songs were meh.
  • The characters as a whole were…above average, I’d say. Tia was bleh, Iris was meh, Loki (NIFL representative, formerly Yuu’s commanding officer) and Lisa were okay, Charlotte (the principal of Midgard) was good, Firill and Mitsuki were decent, Yuu was great, Kili was awesome, and everyone else was darn near forgettable (although Ren stood out the most amongst the forgettable characters).

Needless to say, since the first time watching, Kili gradually ended up becoming one of my favorite anime characters of all time. As such, when I was reading through the Mondaiji light novel, I figured that Fafnir would be next on the list, especially since I had read some dissonant information on a certain character profile of Kili. I did mention that the Fafnir anime is an adaptation of the light novel, and it’s specifically based on the first three volumes, although with a few notable differences. There is also a manga adaptation of the light novel, although from what I’ve read of the manga (i.e., only a few chapters), it seems to follow the light novel more closely than the anime.

To summarize the light novel a bit, it’s a story told mostly from the first-person perspective of Yuu, although some parts are from the perspective of Mitsuki, and there are even a few third-person parts as well. As such, not only does the light novel explain and describe more than can be fit into twelve episodes of anime, but the first-person aspect of the light novel makes it so the character’s thoughts and senses are more vividly communicated. Additionally, as mentioned before, volumes 1-3 of the light novel differ in canon from the anime, not to mention the light novel canon carries on much longer (and, consequently, goes further beyond face value).

The main difference in canon lies in how Kili impacts the Brynhildr Class and is kept in check by Yuu. Specifically, Kili, who is initially taken into Midgard as her alter ego, reveals her true identity in the middle of volume 2 of the light novel, which corresponds to the middle of episode 6 of the anime. In the anime, however, she doesn’t reveal her identity until the end of episode 11, which would be more around the middle of volume 3 of the light novel. To elaborate, it’s almost as if the close encounter with Kili in the light novel was split into two moments in the anime: the encounter at Midgard where she appeared to Tia and Lisa as her criminal self, and the encounter on that one ship where she posed as her alter ego and unveiled her disguise. I say “almost” because the anime doesn’t perfectly simulate Kili’s battle tactics as described in the light novel. In particular, the light novel implies that Kili does not require any preparatory motion to generate dark matter and such; but in the anime, the explosions caused by her are heralded by a snap of her fingers. I would assume that this is partly for dramatic effect, and partly because implementing spontaneous combustion would look silly and be tough to find a way to explain. Even aside from that, the clash in the light novel is so much more fierce than the split clashes in the anime that I would go as far as to say that the split clashes collectively are an abridged version of the full clash. (Another case of the “light novel adaptation curse,” as I would like to call it.)

[As a side note, I mentioned in my primary review that I had trouble wrapping my head around the dual identity of Honoka Tachikawa and Kili Surtr Muspelheim, because the anime was rather vague about it. Having read the light novel, however, I’ve come to the conclusion that…well, actually, both are fake names. She needed a normal-sounding name to infiltrate Midgard, and she gave her havoc-wreaking form a more sinister moniker. Well, that’s how I see it, because the light novel is pretty vague about it as well, albeit less so. (Just before the full clash, Kili said that the name “Kili Surtr Muspelheim” was randomly chosen, and I’m thinking “Honoka Tachikawa” is in the same boat. She also said she liked the latter name, but Yuu refused to call her by that name when she revealed her identity, so she stuck with the former name.)] (Sorry, just had to belt out a lengthy spoiler. Once again, highlight at your own risk.)

Also worth noting is that during the Basilisk arc, when the Brynhildr Class relaxes at a hot spring, only Firill sees Yuu there in the anime, whereas in the light novel, Tia is involved as well. Oh, and I’d like to point out that Ren actually says more in the anime than in volumes 1-3 of the light novel (which makes sense, considering her only form of verbal communication in the light novel is “んん” (“Nn,” basically just a grunt) until volume 6, and the anime doesn’t go nearly that far). Wait, one more thing: Kili has purple eyes in the anime, while colored depictions of her in the light novel show her with green eyes.

As for volumes 4 and onward, needless to say, there is plenty of new content compared to volumes 1-3 / the anime: new dragons, new characters, new plot twists, new character development, new camaraderie, new lore, and did I mention the plot twists? What’s particularly great is being able to see the characters in a new light, even in such a way that I ended up convinced that all of them are awesome in their own right (even Iris and Tia, of whom I was not a huge fan when I watched the anime). With that in mind, I wanted to establish a new character ranking of the Brynhildr Class, including the four characters who are newly inducted as members thereof. (I won’t spoil any further than that Kili is one of those characters, so the other three will be hidden through the magic of white text.)

  1. Kili
  2. Ren
  3. [Vritra (given the pseudonym “Ritra”)]
  4. Yuu
  5. Ariella
  6. Firill
  7. Mitsuki
  8. [Shion Zwei Shinomiya (Kraken Zwei subdued)]
  9. Tia
  10. [Jeanne Hortensia (enrolled as Shion’s guardian)]
  11. Lisa
  12. Iris

With all that said, I think it’s time to wrap things up. To recap, Juuou Mujin no Fafnir is a fantasy harem series that I undoubtedly would not have found all too interesting if not for Kili Surtr Muspelheim. But alas, after having fully watched the anime when it aired, I got interested to the point of reading the first 12 volumes of the light novel and even rewatching the anime. Speaking of which, over the course of the rewatch, I have to admit that I noticed some animation faults that my former self didn’t care about: Firill mysteriously disappearing in episode 7, Lisa occasionally having Iris’s hair color when shown at a distance, and that Basilisk’s head skin looks like an unfinished Blender project.

But anyway, if this series is unfamiliar to anyone, I can totally understand that, because on the surface it totally looks like the type of series to be lost in a sea of fantasy harem series. I also wouldn’t openly recommend the series to anyone, but if anyone is somehow interested, all I have to say is:

 

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Chingling (Poké Monday 3/13/17)

Type: Psychic

Base Stats:

  • 45 HP
  • 30 Attack
  • 50 Defense
  • 65 Special Attack
  • 50 Special Defense
  • 45 Speed

Ability: Levitate makes Chingling immune to Ground-type moves, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes. Additionally, it prevents Chingling from being trapped by Arena Trap.

Notable special attacks: Dazzling Gleam, PsychicPsyshock, Shadow Ball

Notable status moves: Calm Mind, Heal Bell (via ORAS tutor), Recover (Egg move), Thunder Wave, Trick (via ORAS tutor), Trick Room, Wish (Egg move), Yawn

Notable Z-moves:

  • Shattered Psyche (Psychic) – Converts one use of Psychic into a base 175 special Psychic-type attack (or Future Sight into base 190).
  • Twinkle Tackle (Fairy) – Converts one use of Dazzling Gleam into a base 160 special Fairy-type attack.
  • Never-Ending Nightmare (Ghost) – Converts one use of Shadow Ball into a base 160 special Ghost-type attack.

Overview

Hoo boy, it’s once again time to play the “what does this nonviable-looking Pokémon have that no one else does” game. To be honest, all I can think of is that Chingling is the slowest Ground-immune Trick Room user with access to a recovery move. It’s also one of surprisingly few Psychic-types in the tier with Fairy coverage in Dazzling Gleam, which grants it much better coverage than the standard Signal Beam or Hidden Power Fighting (granted HP Fighting is the most likely option for hitting Pawniard).

What more needs to be said about this? It’s literally a bell that doesn’t get Heal Bell naturally…it looks a bit similar to Pac-Man…and Healing Wish is something that its evolution gets that it wish it had… Yeah, that’s about it. Not much of a sight to behold, this one.

Set

Chingling @ Colbur Berry
Ability: Levitate
Level: 5
EVs: 156 HP / 116 Def / 236 SpA
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Trick Room
– Psychic
– Dazzling Gleam
– Recover

Ladies and gentle…not ladies, for the first time since transitioning from Gen VI to Gen VII, I…only have one set to suggest for the Pokémon of the Poké Monday. That’s because only four components really distinguish it from any sort of crowd: its Ability Levitate, a decently slow Trick Room, Fairy coverage in Dazzling Gleam, and reliable Recovery for longevity. Along with the three aforementioned moves, it should obviously run Psychic STAB because that’s usually the best chance it has at ever exerting any offensive presence.

Minimum Attack and Speed with Quiet Nature is the ideal fare for a purely special Trick Room user, and Colbur Berry is the suggested item to make Chingling less vulnerable to Knock Off and Pursuit. To further patch such vulnerability, extra physical bulk (with 156 HP EVs to ensure that its HP hits 23, a number not divisible by 8) is given by the leftover EVs from the obligatory maximum Special Attack investment.

Other Options

Chingling actually gets Knock Off via ORAS tutor, which it can use instead of its coverage to be less of an attacker and more on the utility side. However, notice that Dark-types would completely wall it if it were limited to Psychic and Knock Off in terms of attacking options. (That wouldn’t be good, considering the high possibility of Pursuit trapping.)

Speaking of options resisted by Dark-types, Shadow Ball also fits this criterion, but the quirk about it is dealing neutral damage to Steel-types and super-effective damage against opposing Psychic-types.

Now, if it wanted to get by Dark-types (particularly Pawniard), it could run Hidden Power Fighting, but do keep in mind that it does not OHKO the bulky attacker set without hazards.

Its movepool seems to imply that it can also pull a clerical role with Wish and Heal Bell, but Spritzee does that better.

Problems and Partners

Problems

I cannot stress this enough: Watch out for Pawniard! It’s immune to Chingling’s Psychic STAB, neutral to standard Fairy coverage, and can threaten with its Dark STAB.

Honedge resists most of Chingling’s options and has a slim chance of avoiding a 2HKO from Shadow Ball (specifically the lowest possible damage roll paired with a damage roll other than the highest possible, given 0/36/220 Adamant with max Atk), while Shadow Sneak and Iron Head both easily 2HKO (OHKO after Swords Dance).

Frillish can easily OHKO with Shadow Ball, and the tank set (236/116/76 Bold) is not 2HKO’d by any of Chingling’s options.

All in all, if using the specified Trick Room set, do consider that 45/50/50 isn’t the greatest bulk around. Strong special attacks—such as Modest Carvanha’s Hydro Pump, mixed attacking Houndour’s Fire Blast, and especially Gastly’s Shadow Ball—will destroy it. Calcs for proof:

236+ SpA Life Orb Carvanha Hydro Pump vs. 156 HP / 0 SpD Chingling: 23-29 (100 – 126%) — guaranteed OHKO

196 SpA Life Orb Houndour Fire Blast vs. 156 HP / 0 SpD Chingling: 23-29 (100 – 126%) — guaranteed OHKO

196 SpA Gastly Shadow Ball vs. 156 HP / 0 SpD Chingling: 32-38 (139.1 – 165.2%) — guaranteed OHKO

I mean, Psychic is a rather vulnerable type in general, being hit super-effectively by U-turn and Dark-type attacks, and this vulnerability is more easily exploited when Chingling’s Colbur Berry is consumed.

Partners

As a Trick Room user, Chingling’s best partners are naturally slow ones, particularly those that can absorb one or multiple of its weaknesses. Spritzee is especially notable, resisting Chingling’s Dark and Bug weaknesses while also being able to set up Trick Room (and, with its Fairy STAB, allowing Chingling to afford to run Hidden Power Fighting or Shadow Ball). Honedge quad resists Bug and, if Chingling goes down to a Ghost-type, can threaten to revenge KO with Shadow Sneak. Munchlax is immune to Ghost and neutral to Chingling’s other weaknesses, and it benefits greatly in Trick Room by virtue of being the literal slowest thing in the tier, but be warned that it doesn’t like Knock Off (granted, neither does Honedge).

Because Trick Room only lasts five turns, having a Trick Room team does not necessarily mean that everything has to be slow. Mienfoo is an example of something fast that supports Chingling well, taking Bug- and Dark-type attacks comfortably while threatening Dark-types with its STAB. Pawniard is another example, resisting Ghost- and Dark-type attacks while being able to threaten Ghost-types with its Dark STAB.

What’s to come (Whimsical Weekend #9)

So, as of the beginning of this month, I have been privileged to work full-time, and my hours are similar to those that I had during the internship, only one hour later and with only half the commute. Because of this, and because I’ve been spending my leisure time in such weird ways, it’s become increasingly difficult to think of what to write for this blog. This is the second week after my most recent Poké Monday, but I can’t really think of anything that I’d like to write about at this time. For that reason, I will use this post to discuss my plans for the future. (I know this makes things less whimsical, but when I put my thoughts out front, it increases my inspiration to create new content.)

Memeathon X submission

Memeathon is a speedrunning marathon for meme categories and games. The duration of the upcoming Memeathon (Memeathon X) is from March 31 to April 2, and submissions (which opened on February 11) end on March 5. For that reason, I figured it would be the best opportunity to submit my main speedgame: Phoenotopia (the Flash game, of course). I mean, the game itself isn’t enough of a meme on its own, especially considering the non-meme categories range from 50 minutes to just above 2 hours long, so I submitted something shorter and more meme-related: 69 HP RTA. I’ve mentioned the category in at least one previous post, but the route has since changed for the better. Actually, rather than writing about it, perhaps it would be better to link a demonstration video:

I have done a few runs since changing the route, and I’ve completed the objective (getting a maximum HP value of 69) in less than 30 minutes on multiple occasions, although I don’t believe that it’s possible in under 29 minutes. Regardless, when I submitted the run, I used 34:30 as an estimate, although solely because it’s half of 69 minutes. Not a very generous estimate, but I’m hoping to make it work by rehearsing plenty. That’s assuming I’ll get accepted, though, and that’s not a 100% guarantee. If it does happen to be the case, however, I’ll make sure to post something about it on the Whimsical Weekend thereafter.

Phoenotopia any% post-commentated

Earlier this month, I did end up improving my Phoenotopia any% PB by roughly a minute; my record is now 50:53 RTA, 53 minutes in-game time. I streamed the run live on Twitch during midnight hours on that day, and the video without commentary can be viewed at https://www.twitch.tv/videos/119856238 (Sadly, Twitch videos cannot be embedded on this site quite like YouTube videos can.)

Currently, I am working on a commentary transcript so that I can eventually upload a post-commentated version to YouTube. The transcript right now covers about 23% of the video length, so there’s still work to be done in that department.

Juuou Mujin no Fafnir review

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but similarly to what I did with Mondaiji, I felt like doing a review of this series after finishing the 12th volume of the light novel (although the 12th apparently isn’t the last of Fafnir). It wasn’t until about a year ago that I delved into the world of light novels, and I chose this one second because I was so big a fan of Kili Surtr Muspelheim in the anime that I became insatiably curious about her. Currently, I am on chapter 3 part 4 of volume 12, making very gradual progress because I don’t read it all that actively (maybe once every few nights).

Other?

I have no idea, to be honest. Cinq du Soleil and Diamond Hollow II Story Mode New Save are still on the backlog, and I also plan on improving Phoenotopia categories other than any%, but everything else is up in the air.

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

 

Abomasnow (Poké Monday 2/13/17)

rng-abomasnow

Type: Grass/Ice

Base Stats:

  • 90 HP
  • 92 Attack
  • 75 Defense
  • 92 Special Attack
  • 85 Special Defense
  • 60 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Snow Warning Abomasnow, upon switching in, conjure a hailstorm lasting five turns.
  • Soundproof Abomasnow are immune to sound-based moves. (Hidden Ability)

Changes upon Mega-Evolving (with Abomasite):

  • +40 base Attack
  • +30 base Defense
  • +40 base Special Attack
  • +20 base Special Defense
  • -30 base Speed
  • Snow Warning Ability

Notable physical attacks: Earthquake, Ice PunchIce ShardWood Hammer

Notable special attacks: Blizzard, Energy Ball, Focus Blast, Giga Drain (via ORAS tutor), Ice Beam

Notable status moves: Leech Seed (Egg move), Swords Dance

Notable Z-moves:

  • Bloom Doom (Grass)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Wood Hammer into a base 190 physical Grass-type attack.
    • Special – Converts one use of Energy Ball into a base 170 special Grass-type attack (or Solar Beam into base 190).
  • Subzero Slammer (Ice)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Ice Punch into a base 140 physical Ice-type attack.
    • Special – Converts one use of Blizzard into a base 185 special Ice-type attack.
  • All-Out Pummeling (Fighting)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Brick Break into a base 140 physical Fighting-type attack (or Focus Punch (via ORAS tutor) into base 200).
    • Special – Converts one use of Focus Blast into a base 190 special Fighting-type attack.
  • Tectonic Rage (Ground) – Converts one use of Earthquake into a base 180 physical Ground-type attack.
  • Z-Grass Whistle (Grass) – Grants +1 Speed with one use of Grass Whistle.
  • Z-Role Play (Psychic, via ORAS tutor) – Grants +1 Speed with one use of Role Play.

Overview

So, um…Pokémon Bank got updated recently, although sadly without another free trial, and so the floodgates are now open. Unfortunately, held items cannot be transferred, and the only available Mega Stones in Alola are those of native Pokémon, the Kanto starters, and the Hoenn legendaries (granted the latter don’t technically have Mega Stones, but that’s beside the point). For that reason, Pokémon like Abomasnow are rendered unable to Mega Evolve legally until their respective Mega Stones are released as entry gifts for online competitions. That is a shame because Abomasnow’s regular stat distribution is mediocre, and with the rise of Alolan Ninetales (and, albeit less importantly, an improved Vanilluxe), it is no longer the fastest or most viable Hail setter in the game.

Speaking of the improved Vanilluxe (improved in that it now gets Snow Warning as an extra Ability choice alongside Ice Body), it has better offenses and fewer weaknesses, but it’s slightly less bulky, has fewer resistances, and is very much lacking in the coverage department (especially with the lack of secondary STAB). As for the other new Snow Warning user, Alolan Ninetales, that one is hands-down the best of the bunch because of its access to Aurora Veil (which none of the other Snow Warning users, surprisingly including Aurorus, possesses), secondary Fairy typing, nice base 109 Speed, and access to Nasty Plot for its own brand of offensive prowess.

With that in mind, Abomasnow isn’t nearly as notable for its Snow Warning Ability as it was in days of old, especially since it cannot legally Mega-Evolve as of now, but it is one of few viable users of its alternative Ability: Soundproof. This notably allows it to block Boomburst, Clanging Scales, Chatter, Z-Grass Whistle, Hyper Voice, Parting Shot, Perish Song, and Z-Sing. Not the greatest viability helper in the world, but it’s something.

So, for the time being, Abomasnow is better suited for lower tiers. Moreover, even if Abomasnow could Mega-Evolve, its Mega form would never see the light of OU, considering it was one of the seven lowest-tiered Megas in the previous generation (the others being Audino, Banette, Camerupt, Glalie, Houndoom, and Steelix) and it doesn’t help that turn order is now determined after Mega Evolution (which actually makes Mega Banette and—to a lesser extent—Mega Glalie more viable). I mean, 90/105/105 bulk and 132 for each attacking stat (with priority, even) is great and all, but the base 30 Speed, Ice typing, and use of a usually adverse weather effect really hurt Mega Abomasnow’s viability.

Sets

1: Z-Grass Whistle (pre-Abomasite)

Abomasnow @ Grassium Z
Ability: Soundproof
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Grass Whistle
– Swords Dance
– Wood Hammer
– Ice Punch

Z-Grass Whistle is a neat little tool against balanced teams. When Grass Whistle is enhanced by Grassium Z, the move becomes perfectly accurate and grants a +1 boost to the user’s Speed when used (even if blocked by some Ability like Soundproof). Because of this, Abomasnow can put a slower Pokémon to sleep, gain +1 Speed, potentially boost its offensive prowess with Swords Dance, and sweep any team without a bulky Fire-type or anything faster than base 114 (or base 60 with Choice Scarf). The dual STAB combination of Wood Hammer and Ice Punch hits anything not mono-Fire or mono-Steel. Also note: If Z-Grass Whistle is not needed, Grassium Z can instead be used to turn Wood Hammer into a base 190 Bloom Doom, which, unlike Wood Hammer, is perfectly accurate, lacks recoil, and does not make contact.

Ability choice is Soundproof to block various harmful moves (including its own Z-Grass Whistle if it gets affected by Magic Bounce/Coat) and to not bring usually adverse weather, while EVs and Nature are focused offensively for maximum Speed and as much Attack as possible.

2: When Abomasite comes out…

Abomasnow @ Abomasite
Ability: Soundproof
EVs: 8 HP / 68 Atk / 252 SpA / 180 Spe
Mild Nature
– Blizzard
– Giga Drain
– Earthquake
– Ice Shard

This is just a rehash of a mixed set analysis from the previous generation, because even if Abomasite were to become legal, Mega Abomasnow would be not much different if at all from the previous generation. (I mean, turn order is now determined after Mega Evolution as mentioned earlier, but that’s not much of a change because Abomasnow is quite slow regardless.) Blizzard boasts perfect accuracy under hail and hits hard off of base 132 Special Attack with STAB. Giga Drain is its best bet for secondary special STAB, which allows it to hit Water-types and gain back HP, all without having to use its other attacking stat. Earthquake grants coverage against Fire- and Steel-types, notably including potential switch-ins of Alolan Marowak and Metagross. Ice Shard grants Abomasnow STAB priority, which somewhat helps its sluggish Speed.

Ability choice is Soundproof for the same reason as before. (Even though Snow Warning would give it 100% accurate Blizzards without M-Evo, it’s much more worthwhile to have the move immunities and to not have to pass around harmful weather before M-Evo.) Mild Nature (preferred over Rash because Abomasnow has a better time dealing with special attackers than physical attackers with maximum Special Attack investment allows it to hit as hard as possible with its Blizzards and Giga Drains. The Speed investment serves to creep past Relaxed Swampert, the HP investment gets it up to 323 HP (which gives it slightly more HP for Stealth Rock switch-ins), and the rest is dumped into Attack for stronger Ice Shards and Earthquakes.

Other Options

On the first set, Earthquake can be used as alternative coverage over Wood Hammer for grounded Fire- and Steel-types, albeit at the expense of strong STAB, coverage against bulky Water-types, and the ability to use base 190 Bloom Doom. Either that, or you could have Earthquake over Swords Dance, granting the utmost of its physical coverage at the expense of offensive presence. Additionally, Role Play, if obtained via transfer, can be used as a Speed-boosting alternative to Grass Whistle. While this doesn’t put the target to sleep and precludes the possibility of Bloom Doom, it works for fun shenanigans if used upon forcing a switch or similar misplay. For instance, imagine having Wood Hammer with the recoil prevention of Rock Head from an incoming Aggron…

On the mixed set, Wood Hammer and Focus Blast are alternatives for Giga Drain and Earthquake respectively. The former is its strongest option against Blissey but induces recoil instead of giving HP back; while the latter hits off of Abomasnow’s more invested attacking stat and hits particular Levitate / Air Balloon users but is far less accurate and leaves the set walled by some Fire-types such as Victini and Alolan Marowak.

To mix things up, you could also use special attacks on the Z-Move set, or Swords Dance on the Mega set. Using special attacks on the Z-Move set would mean more powerful Ice STAB (Ice Beam) and safer Grass STAB (Giga Drain); at the expense of weaker Grass STAB, less accurate and arguably worse coverage (Focus Blast), and lack of a power-boosting option. On the other side, Swords Dance with Mega Abomasnow grants it stronger physical attacks (including priority) albeit at the expense of Blizzard (or any Ice STAB stronger than base 40, for that matter).

As another alternative, Leech Seed can be used in lower tiers to pull off a more defensive set. I mean, its bulk and Speed are respectable enough for its tier, right? (At the time of writing, Abomasnow is currently NU.) It’s worth noting that Abomasnow is one of a handful of Leech Seed users with STAB that’s super-effective against Grass-types (which are immune to Leech Seed).

Problems and Partners

Problems

Abomasnow’s only 4x weakness is Fire, so Fire-types are an obvious threat, particularly those that can withstand its hits (e.g., Torkoal and Rotom-Heat) or are faster than it under all circumstances (e.g., Salazzle). Rotom-Heat is particularly notable as it resists all of Abomasnow’s notable attacks not named Focus Blast. (Well, there is Rock Slide (for base 140 Continental Crush if running Rockium Z), but that option is not very viable otherwise.)

Other bulky/fast attackers that can take advantage of Abomasnow’s many other weaknesses are also problematic. Mega Venusaur and Mega Aggron in particular work well for counters, being neutral or resistant to all or most (respectively) of Abomasnow’s attacks and able to retaliate with Sludge Bomb / Hidden Power Fire and Heavy Slam / Iron Head respectively.

Partners

Because of Abomasnow’s 4x weakness to Fire, a Flash Fire user would be a usable complement, potentially pressuring the opponent into thinking twice before bringing out the lighter. In lower tiers, Ninetales and Flareon are the best special and physical candidates respectively, while Chandelure is the candidate for higher tiers (unless Mega Abomasnow falls a tier below). Chandelure’s Ghost typing also allows it to switch into Fighting- (and Poison-)type moves with ease.

Another thing to note about Abomasnow is that it is weak to Stealth Rock and prone to any form of Spikes, so running a form of hazard control is imperative. In lower tiers, Claydol can take Rock- and Fighting-type attacks while hitting Fire- and Steel-types with its Ground STAB. In higher tiers: Empoleon resists all of Abomasnow’s weaknesses except Fire and Fighting, while Abomasnow can take Electric- and Ground-type attacks, and Empoleon has the ability to Defog hazards away and hit Fire-types super-effectively; while Starmie actually resists Fire (and Steel as well) and can also hit Fire-types with super-effective special attacks (and can run Reflect Type in case of problematic type match-ups).

Abomasnow may no longer be the best Hail setter around thanks to Alolan Ninetales, but Mega Abomasnow’s inevitable Snow Warning Ability can actually be helpful to at least one member of the team, thanks to the introduction of a new Ability in Slush Rush. Currently there are only two users: Beartic (secondary Ability) and Alolan Sandslash (Hidden Ability). Beartic has greater raw power, but Alolan Sandslash has arguably better typing and coverage (as well as Speed).

New PC + speedgames (Whimsical Weekend #8)

PC

I never really made this evident in any of my recent Vouiv-review posts, but I recently built a new PC! I spent roughly $1600 on all the relevant components, and it’s been working very well ever since I got the Windows 10 Home product key and Ethernet cable.

20170129_184232

This is my current setup. It may not be the most complex setup in the universe, but it gives me just what I need. As you may or may not be able to tell, in front of my bed, just near the window, I have a swivel chair facing a single table with the tower off to the right (which unfortunately hides the insides from view) and keyboard and mouse + mousepad in front of a dual-monitor setup on top. Because the monitors are of different sizes and odd angles (the 25″ one being HP brand and the 22″ one being Sceptre brand), I had to use Heroscape tiles (from my childhood) to adjust the heights and angles to my liking.

Also, since it’s a new PC with a resolution differing from that of the MacBook Pro that I would otherwise normally use, I decided that I would use a different wallpaper as well.

It’s from the same series as my laptop and phone wallpapers (that being Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo), and this particular image is from volume 11 of the light novel.

Another funky thing about the dual monitor setup that I have is that not only are the monitors of different sizes and odd angles, but they also produced different sorts of output in their initial state. Thus, I had to tinker with the settings of the 22″ monitor in order to make the outputs as similar as they can be. Even so, I’ve noticed that it’s easier to see darker colors on the 25″ monitor (a fact that I first came to realize while playing around with Phoenotopia Awakening Demo v0.06b), although the 22″ monitor actually has a speaker (whereas the other monitor does not).

How great it is to have a dual monitor setup with Windows regardless; it allows me to multitask better than I ever have before. For example, I can have a Twitch stream up on the 25″ monitor, some other form of web browsing (which sometimes involves writing, such as this post to this current instant of typing) on the left side of the 22″ monitor, and email and/or some other utility on the other side of the 22″ monitor. (Sometimes, I even have Notepad in the bottom-right corner with the rightmost Chrome window in the top-right.)

Speedgames

Also thanks to the new PC, I find it easier to toy around with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) for better quality footage of the PC games that I usually speedrun (where I would otherwise have to use the MacBook Pro). I currently don’t have reliable sources for external audio or keyboard overlay with the PC like I do with the MacBook Pro, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. I mean, just look at this sample footage in the form of a demonstration of most of the first Prince Tower segment of Phoenotopia 100%:

The splits are just there on the side to show that I can use LiveSplit (while I would normally use Llanfair on Mac) to show all 35 splits at once. (I probably could have done something similar if not the same with Llanfair before, but I couldn’t be bothered to figure out that sort of thing.)

With that in mind, I might actually go back and improve my times in Phoenotopia (and maybe branch out to that one “Most Dangerous Arsenal” category that I mentioned in an earlier post, or maybe even the glitchless subcategory) with the new PC, and I’m heavily considering post-commentating the any% run so that I have a helpful video resource for that category (in a similar vein to the tutorial series that I made for 100%). However, the critical issue in that department is that I would have to get used to the mechanical keyboard. As it stands currently, I have a harder time performing brief inputs (notably short-hopping) with the mechanical keyboard than I have ever had with the MacBook Pro keyboard, so…yeah.

Phoenotopia Awakening Demo v0.06b

But hey, the original Phoenotopia wasn’t the first thing that I considered running on the new PC. As a matter of fact, not too long after I built the PC, demo version 0.06b of the upcoming remake (Phoenotopia Awakening) was released, and the first thing that I resolved to do was write a guide on the demo. The guide is totally completed (at least as far as I’m concerned) and can be viewed here, but…well, the developer’s most recent blog post says that download links for this particular build of the demo will be closed.

Regardless, while the game was fresh in my mind, of course I was the one to submit it on speedrun.com, and that even led me to submit a series entry for Phoenotopia. On the demo v0.06b leaderboard, I established three separate categories: any%, All Collectibles, and All Pearlstones. (I decided to make the third one a miscellaneous category because it’s less sensible of an objective than any% or All Collectibles (similarly to how All Moonstones is a miscellaneous category of the original Phoenotopia).)

By the way, All Collectibles constitutes the following (as far as I know):

  • 7 Anuri Pearlstones (should be left with 1 after unlocking all 6 frog seals)
  • 2 Heart Gems
  • 2 Moonstones (specifically from the breakable tomb and the Giant Slime)
  • 2 Antique Bracelets
  • Energy Gem
  • Slingshot
  • Crank Lamp
  • Bombs

My PBs in the three categories are 4:29, 10:27, and 6:58, respectively. My any% PB was initially 4:59, but a competitor with a 4:56 led me to rethink the route and improve my time.

Here be videos:

Rock Bottom

I don’t think I ever mentioned Rock Bottom in any of my blog posts, but that’s another game that I submitted to speedrun.com. To be honest, though, I didn’t continue beyond 7:45.97 for a long time, and it was back in early November 2016, before I had even bought the parts for the new PC, that I had established that time. Meanwhile, SRCom user CreepinAtMyDoor was out shredding my time to bits, even accidentally discovering a skip in level 14 that saves more than a minute, and ended up with a time of 6:22.1 before the end of that November. I felt at the time that WR was beyond recovery, but then, about a week ago, I had suddenly regained the inspiration to take it back. One day I got 6:35.43, the next day I got 6:30.67, and then finally I was able to take back the WR with 6:17.87 (after a 6:25 run that I opted against uploading).

This game is difficult as crud to optimize, so I am very happy with this time, even though I got spiked in level 12 (and at a very unconventional point too). Man, my heart was racing by the end of that run. Imagine what my reaction would have been if the recording had external audio. (The skip is at 4:15 in the video, by the way. If you miss the hard floor and hit the spongy surface, the run is pretty much over.)

Chompy

Another speedgame in my repertoire, although I haven’t run it since the time I submitted it to speedrun.com. My current record is 5:09.73, which notably includes two deaths in the 21-30 segment and a botched entry into level 11. So, even though I felt at the time that it was a solid run, there is still room for improvement, so I might actually try to get better.

Diamond Hollow II

This one is more of an up-in-the-air case. I don’t own the speedrun.com leaderboard of this game, and the owner of the leaderboard has been inactive for over a year (and it doesn’t help that said owner has no links to social accounts in his/her profile page). Currently there are four established categories:

  • Story Mode – Any% (all seven levels of Story Mode, anything goes)
  • Story Mode – New Save (all seven levels of Story Mode starting from fresh data)
    • The leaderboard owner also imposed a rule against “glitches,” but I honestly believe that the rule is arbitrarily imposed, especially considering the category name does not in any way imply the exclusion of glitches. Besides, I haven’t encountered anything resembling a “glitch” in the game, and I tried asking about it in the forum 9 months ago but still haven’t received a response.
  • Boss Rush – Normal
  • Boss Rush – Heroic

About two weeks ago, I submitted runs for Story Mode Any% and Boss Rush Normal, which can be viewed below:

I specified both real and in-game times because it was ambiguous which to go with, and I used real time as the submission time for the leaderboard because there was only one field.

I might do Story Mode New Save in the near future, but that seems like it would be difficult if not impossible to route out. (I’m thinking it will help to know all the Red Diamond locations, though.) Plus I would have to delete save data, and I’m reluctant to do so considering how long it took me to get a 100% completed file.

As for Boss Rush Heroic…no. No. Never. Forget speedrunning that category; I can’t even beat it casually!

Anyway, that’s all I have to say for now.

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)