Pokemon VGC 2016: Good or bad for the game?

vgc

Three days ago, Pokemon released the rules for the 2016 national and worldwide Pokemon championships, which will also form the basis of the VGC section on Battlespot. The main difference between 2016 and 2015 is that many of the legendary Pokemon which were banned are now viable for use. Each team can contain up to two of these newly allowed legendaries.

I’m told this this is quite similar in format to the rules of 2010 (long before I got interested in competitive play.) As you can expect, people on twitter and in forums across the depths of the internet have already begun to argue over whether this is a positive or negative change. Despite the fact that pretty much everyone interested will be doing this already, I have decided to some up my thoughts on the changes.

I’ll start off with the negatives. The main issue for me is that in order to be viable competitively, a team is almost definitely going to have to actually use two of the 15 or so legendaries that are now allowed in the format. This presents an issues immediately which is quite likely going to make me not bother with engaging this year. Essentially, in order to get good legendary Pokemon, you have to go through a process called soft resetting. This involves saving the game before a legendary Pokemon, and then catching the Pokemon over and over again, resetting the game each time until you get a Pokemon with the right stats and IVs. This takes a huge amount of time and is very frustrating and unenjoyable. But if you want to play and win, you will almost certainly have to do it. Unless you have a friend generous enough to do it for you or give you their hard earned ‘Mons, you don’t have much of a choice. This just isn’t viable for me. I have a full time job and little enough time in the evenings as it is. Unless Nintendo change the rules to allow conventional breeding of legendary Pokemon (which I doubt) then I really will have to rule myself out of playing.

However, that is just a personal choice for me. I actually think that the changes are, on the whole, pretty good for the game. Some people are claiming that the meta game will become overly centralised, with only a few Pokemon in regular usage, but I don’t buy that argument because that’s pretty much what happens in every version of the meta game, including 2015 (looking at you Mega Kangaskhan…..which I also use.)

Beyond the Pokemon that are still banned (Mew etc) all discoverable Pokemon are now viable for use. This means that actually, in all likelihood, we will see a lot more variety in the teams as people come up with ever more inventive ways of combining legendary Pokemon with less well known and used Pokemon. Particularly with such an emphasis on weather, with Groudon, Kyogre and Rayquaza all now allowed, many Pokemon which were pretty dump before will actually find their niche.

In short, I’m all for it. I’m just sorry I won’t be able to take part.

Pokemon Wonderlocke Challenge! Episode 4: The road to the Elite Four

elite 4

I know what you’re thinking, “how can you be at the elite four by episode four of the wonderlocke?”

Simply put, the team became too powerful for the game to offer much in the way of challenge. Since our last episode, gym after gym fell to my team with no casualties to report. I played through the story line of containing Primal Kyogre with little in the way of incidents (although it got a bit hairy at times with the battle against Kyogre.)

I therefore decided to throw myself straight into victory road and the Elite Four to bring the wonderlocke to a climax. The road to the Elite Four proved to be the most challenging part of the game so far, purely down to the volume of trainers and the limited amount of healing items that I allowed myself. Despite some tricky moments with some of the Pokemon living with only a few HP remaining, I did make it through to the Elite Four without suffering any further losses. This means that my team going into the Elite Four was as follows:

Abomasnow, Toxicroak, Gastrodon, Sylveon, Gyarados and Goodra.

The first thing that struck me on challenging Elite Four Sidney was that my Pokemon were almost perfectly levelled, with most being on par with or just below the level of Sidney’s. The second thing that struck me was that I have being playing and watching competitive Pokemon for too long. This sounds a bit stupid but it does mean that I have kind of forgotten that kind of random crap that the NPCs actually run on their Pokemon. A combination of this, and perhaps a little overconfidence on my part, led to my defeat in the wonderlocke.

My Abomasnow went down to a random fire punch Dusknoir, Gyarados to freeze-dry Glalie, Toxicroak to a Blizzard critical hit. All of these combined with the pressure of going in to each successive battle with fewer and fewer Pokemon meant that by the time I went in to the battle with Steven the Champion I only had Sylveon and Gastrodon left. Needless to say this wasn’t enough and defeat was pretty certain by that point.

A disappointing end to the Wonderlocke maybe, but it really has convinced me on the fun that can be had in Wonderlocke and Nuzlocke challenges. It forces you to be more creative with your teams and become far more attached to your Pokemon when you realise that you can’t just run to the Pokemon centre to heal up.

Next up…. Pokemon Nuzlocke Challenge: HeartGold!

Top Ten Grass-Type Pokemon!

grass type

Despite grass type being one of the most common Pokemon types of all, I often feel that it is generally overlooked. Possibly this is due to grass being pretty weak competitively, being weak to flying, fire, bug, Ice and poison. This makes it pretty tricky to use, particularly with most teams running an ice attack user to deal with the many dragon type threats which are commonly used (Salamence etc) and the prevalence of Mega-Charizard and Talonflame in the doubles meta-game. Another possible reason for grass type often being overlooked is that there are just so many average looking Pokemon in this type. However, I think it deserves better, so here is my top ten favourite Grass, or part-grass, type Pokemon.

  1. Snivy

snivy

This Pokemon makes the list due to its cutesy charm and appearance of haughty aloofness. It doesn’t hurt that Ash’s Snivy in the TV series really was amazing (once it got its attitude sorted.)

  1. Vileplume

250px-045Vileplume

I loved this Pokemon as a child ever since I saw it in glorious 3D in Pokemon Stadium, pirouetting around using petal dance, smiling away. It earns ever more marks from me by looking bad-ass despite evolving from one of the dullest basic Pokemon in the game.

  1. Chikorita

1878598-chikorita_by_pokesafari

CUTE!! ‘Nuff said.

  1. Leafeon

470Leafeon_BW_anime

I love all of the Eeveelutions. I think they are all so well designed, lots of thought and effort have gone into the look of these Pokemon. They seem to typify their typing in the way that they look, and Leafeon is no exception to this. It’s a pain to evolve if you aren’t sure where to find a moss stone, but well worth the effort. Surprisingly not too awful stats-wise too, with an impressive attack and defence value. Move-pool not too good though.

  1. Bulbasaur

1633835-bulbasaur_by_thunderwest

BULBA-SAUR! I love Ash’s Bulbasaur in the cartoon, its tough and cute in equal measure. I never could understand why Ash leaves it behind…

  1. Cacturne

250px-332Cacturne

Not only is this Pokemon, incredibly sinister looking, its Pokedex is equally disturbing – “Packs of them follow travelers through the desert until the travelers can no longer move.” Looking at its face, I can seriously believe it. Huge style points on this Pokemon.

  1. Abomasnow and Mega-Abomasnow

250px-460Abomasnow

Since I first encountered this Pokemon and its associated mega-evolved form in the snowy cave in the Kalos region, I thought its design was pretty special. Which is saying something as I think that the 6th generation has some really great Pokemon design to compete with, so much so that I wrote a post dedicated solely to this shortly after the release of X and Y (if you missed it, the link is at the bottom of this post.) Who wouldn’t love a giant grassy Ice-monster that looks like it could very well be responsible for all the rumours of abominable snow men?

  1. Gourgeist

711

Haunted pumpkin that wanders around cursing people? That’s sounds pretty awesome to me. “Singing in eerie voices, they wander town streets on the night of the new moon. Anyone who hears their song is cursed.”

  1. Ludicolo

250px-272Ludicolo

This Pokemon makes it all the way to the top purely because it looks like it is the most cheerful creature on the planet and dances pretty well. Making it dance slower when it has a status problem was a fairly nice touch.

  1. And the winner is…Trevenant!

trevenant_v2_by_theangryaron-d7758xh

This Pokemon has a great little Pokedex entry, stating that it will willingly protect its forest from harm cause by people and Pokemon, which instantly conjures up memories of Ents from Lord of the Rings or Tree Guardians from the Warhammer Wood Elf army. Add in the fact that its design really is perfect, then this ways always going to be the standout winner.

https://theinverselook.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/6th-generation-pokemon-design/

Awww snap – Pokemon Snap!

poke snap

Everyone has those games which they end up accumulating through various ways and means which never seem to get played. A while back I bought a bundle of N64 which contained a few classics, Donkey Kong 64 among them, which contained a few titles that I had little to no interest in playing.

One of these titles that just sat there gathering dust was Pokemon Snap; it’s not that I thought the game would be bad I just never really got around to trying it out. As it turned out, this was this was a mistake because Pokemon Snap actually is a bit of a gem. For those who are too young to remember, Pokemon Snap is an on rails photography game. Professor Oak is making a Pokemon report and has commissioned you to take photos to add to his report.

pokemon-snap

Admittedly, this sounds terrible, but the game is actually both fun and addictive. You sit in a high-tech vehicle which travels through various terrains and your job is to take photos of as many different Pokemon as possible with points being awarded at the end for the quality of the photographs. Extra points are awarded for the subject being in the centre of the shot, the pose, the sizing and whether there are multiple Pokemon in the photo. It sounds easy, but it is actually quite challenging as they are fast moving and often hiding, attacking other Pokemon, etc.

vulpix

As you photograph new Pokemon, more levels are unlocked and items are awarded for use in helping to photo more Pokemon such as food to lure them to good locations, or Pester Balls to flush rarer Pokemon out of hiding. This makes the game more complicated than you might initially expect, and the frustration becomes so real when you just miss that perfect shot that would give you the highest score. It can be quite painstaking to lure multiple Pokemon to one spot for a perfect shot but the satisfaction of pulling it off is great, as is the lavish praise received from Professor Oak. By throwing balls and food you can also make the Pokemon fight, faint and evolve which prompts Oak to declare your photos as ‘very funny’ and give you extra points. Apparently Professor Oak has a pretty simplistic sense of humour.

I was surprised by how addictive this game is; although the game only has about 7 or 8 levels the longevity is there as it really is hard to resist going back through a level to try and get the maximum amount of points and to flush out new Pokemon. In a way, I suppose the game also teaches you the rudimentary points of photo composition too, although some photos which are clearly amazing snapshots are rejected by Oak on the ridiculous grounds of being slightly off centre. I suppose the compulsion to maximise the points and discoveries is the same drive behind filling out a Pokedex within one of the main entries in the franchise. Perhaps that’s why I am such a sucker for this game; or maybe it really is just a bright and charming (and somewhat odd) addition to the franchise which I regret overlooking for so long.

To get an idea of what to expect, please find a link to the first level below, brought to you by Nintensoft.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BPhFYzX9TY

Pokemon Wonderlocke Challenge! Episode 3: death, grinding and tough choices

eeveelutions

After a somewhat turbulent journey filled with loss and wrath, finally the bright lights of Mauville City beckoned. With my somewhat diminished team I decided that it was time to get some new blood to add to the team before tackling the Mauville City gym, therefore I ventured east of the city to route 118.

Route 118: Voltorb (sent) Feebas (received)

Feebas…not great admittedly but workable, although evolving it into a Milotic might end up being a bit of a pain. Fortunately, this didn’t actually prove to be a problem due to a somewhat unfortunate grinding incident brought on by my own impatience resulting in a fainted Feebas and a feeling of utter shame.

Getting somewhat desperate at this point I took the Magikarp from the box and spent the train ride to work endlessly grinding to evolve Magikarp into Gyarados, or in other words, something useful. Of course this would not help me in the forthcoming gym, Mauville City playing host to the Hoenn electric type gym. As usual, the mooks leading up to the leader offer virtually no resistance whatsoever with Bagon crushing all opposition.

And, as usual, this was followed by yet another dollop of tragedy. I should have known better as I have spent enough time playing competitively and watching Pokemon videos to remember that Magneton has crazy high special attack. I really underestimated the damage that the Volt Switch would do and paid the price.

As I collected my badge and TM from Wattson I decided it was time to leave Mauville and go on a Pokemon catching spree to replenish my party with wonder trades from routes 111, 112 and the Fiery Path.

Route 111 Geodude (sent) Metapod (received)

Route 112 Numel (sent) Pawniard (received)

Fiery Path Numel (sent) Eevee (received)

The Eevee caught me a bit by surprise and this offered a new challenge in deciding exactly what to do with it. I definitely didn’t want Flareon or Vaporeon as this would be totally redundant with my other Pokemon in the party. In the end I decided that Sylveon would be the best all-round choice and offer some much needed bulk to the party. I decided that Pawniard wouldn’t really work as it doesn’t evolve until level 52 which would be a massive pain.

Until next time, cue the music and let the grinding montage begin…..

Current party:

-Quilava

-Combusken

-Shellos

-Gyarados

-Butterfree

-Sylveon

Deceased:

-Zubat

-Bagon

-Feebas

Pokemon wonderlocke challenge! Episode two

250px-262Mightyena

We left last time on the road which leads to Brawly, the fighting type specialist gym leader. Sadly, unlike last time, there was much more grief in this section than I would have liked.

The gym leader and his cronies did not actually present too much in the way of an issue; Zubat’s wing attack/ brave bird combo was enough to see off the gym with no casualties to report. Sadly, this was the last action that Zubat would see due to an unlucky critical hit inflicted by some two-bit trainer on the following route.

The journey to Mauville was similarly not incident free but did allow for two new encounters:

Route 109 Magikarp (sent) Bagon (received)

Route 110 Electrike (sent) Zigzagoon (received)

The Bagon from route 109 turned out to be an excellent replacement for the recently deceased Zubat. Its moveset included dragon dance, and its dragon typing provides a nice resistance to grass, fire, water, electricity etc.

A trainer battle with a trainer on route 117 saw the untimely death of my recently evolved Mightyena. In truth, this was entirely my own fault for risking the chance of not attacking through paralysis, and this is exactly what happened.

Route 117 Zigzagoon (sent) Honedge (received)

I was mightily please to receive Honedge, the eventual Aegislash would be an excellent addition to my team. Sadly, this was not to be. I immediately set about grinding to get it up to the same level as my other Pokemon, only for it to be wiped out to a pursuit from a Doduo. A DODUO for pity’s sake. Devil bird more like. I was switching out to Bagon to take the hit and it used literally the only move that could screw me. Frustrated just doesn’t quite cover it.

Current team:

Combusken

Quilava

Bagon

Shellos

Deceased:

Zubat

Mightyena

Honedge

Top ten mega evolutions!

Sometimes you just need a good top ten and this is one of those times! Just to be clear, this is based purely on aesthetics rather than competitive viability, as some of these Pokemon really are not cut out for competitive play.

  1. Aggron

306Aggron_Mega_Dream

Looking like a tank which decided to have a baby with a rhino, Aggron looks like one of those Pokemon which, if real, would be far too dangerous to be allowed to live. All blades, all edges and titanic size, this is somewhat reminiscent of a Dark Souls boss….to be feared.

  1. Houndoom

Mega-Houndoom_(dream_world)

Cujo much? Houndoom has a good design anyway and is only improved by becoming mega. The black, white and red colour scheme, coupled with the huge ram horns and pointy tail give more than a vague impression of devilishness. Way cooler than Mega Absol’s emo fringe look…

  1. Steelix

steelix

There is something hypnotic about the tiny shards of metal orbiting Steelix’s face, endlessly moving and supported by seemingly nothing at all. That coupled with Steelix’s serpentine shape and vaguely unsettling grin combine to make this a pretty awesome visual spectacle.

  1. Ampharos

ampharos-mega

Because you’re worth it too! Mega Ampharos really does look like an advert for Pantenne or Herbal Esseences with that wavy, majestic hair and ‘I’m so much more awesome than you look.’ Pretty cool, in other words.

  1. Banette

mega_banette_by_drphantom24-d6q29a1

This Pokemon could quite easily be something fished out of the Warren’s basement or straight out of the mind of Tim Burton. Childhood fear mixed with the everyday made terrifying doesn’t even come close to describing the horror that would be if this Pokemon were actually to exist.

  1. Blastoise

VfY2LDGFSNuaXMj8cnwB_mega_blastoise_by_xous54-d6lefuo

Huge reptile with a howitzer sized cannon on its back? Enough said.

  1. Altaria

334-mega

IT’S SO FLUFFY I’M GOING TO DIE!

  1. Beedrill

tumblr_neshbjFNI11tvr41fo1_1280

All menace, all pointy, all badass! I have always liked the design of this Pokemon, and going mega has only made me like it more edgy.

  1. Charizard X

Pokemon-Mega_Charizard_X_Official_Art_300dpi

I love the colour scheme; the blue balefire streaming out of the mouth makes this design seem to be a little ethereal.

  1. Gengar

094Gengar_Mega_Dream

Gengar is one of my most favourite Pokemon designs, so I really couldn’t see how it could be improved upon. The hellish underglow lighting up the Gengar as if it was emerging from the pits of the underworld managed to do it though.

Agree or disagree? Did I miss anything off my list? Let me know in the comments!

Wonderlocke Pokemon Challenge! Episode 1

starters

In the absence of a new Pokemon fix to entertain myself, I have decided to embark on a Wonderlocke play through of Alpha Sapphire to keep things fresh.

For those who perhaps don’t know, the wonderlocke rules are as follows:

-Only one Pokemon can be caught on each route.

-The first Pokemon encountered on each route has to be caught, if it faints then you cannot take a Pokemon from this route.

-Each Pokemon caught must be immediately traded on wondertrade and the received Pokemon can be used.

As you can imagine this can lead to some interesting Pokemon being used in your party which might otherwise be overlooked and can introduce Pokemon not native to the region. To keep the difficulty up somewhat, a Pokemon cannot be used if it is received at a level ten above what you traded, and if it faints in battle it can no longer be used.

I am going to regularly post my progress throughout the game with updates on all Pokemon received and lost. Last night I created my character, Lucina the trainer, and made my way to the first gym to battle the leader Roxanne.

Caught and received Pokemon:

Route 101 – Zigzagoon (sent) Bunelby (received)

Route 102 – Wurmple (sent) Poochyena (received)

Route 103 – Zigzagoon (sent) Cyndaquil

Petalburg Woods – Pokemon knocked out

Route 116 – Wurmple (sent) Shellos (received)

The route to the gym leader was fairly uneventful, the only casualty being Bunnelby who I carelessly let faint to a Seedot using bide (embarrassing, but Bunnelby is up there on my most hated Pokemon of all time due to its hideous evolved form so no great loss there.)

The gym itself was rather trickier as I did not get Shellos until just before the leader. The gym was predominantly rock type, and my Cyndaquil and Torchic both suffer badly against rock types. My Poochyena’s defences are terrible and didn’t hold up well at all. Only the arrival of Shellos Waterpulsing the crap out of everything made the leader beatable without casualty (although it was a close run thing.

Next time…..The journey to badge number 2!

Current Party:

-Torchic

-Cyndaquil

-Poochyena

-Shellos

Deceased:

-Bunnelby

Pokemon channel!

I have recently had an attempt at making my own YouTube pokemon battle video. Eventually I want to get my own capture card and start recording properly.

The battle narration needs a lot of practice to become polished but I enjoyed my first attempt a lot even if the quality of the video isn’t that great. If you want to take a look at the video then just click on the link below.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GVlhkbv2et8

I hope you enjoy!

If you want to battle just comment below!

20140719-223058-81058976.jpg