Mathematically Analyzing “Creep” by Stone Temple Pilots

Last month, when I wrote about some of the changes I was making to my blog this year, I stated how I likely wouldn’t do a post on the final week of each month unless I had something really good or really interesting that I wanted to write about. Thanks to noted physics and cat expert Gregory Gbur on Twitter, I’ve been provided an idea that fits exactly that premise. Before I get to the idea, I’d like to mention that you should pick up his book, Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics, as it combines cats and science. You literally don’t need anything else in a book.

I’ve been a big fan of Stone Temple Pilots — and more specifically, the work of their late lead singer, Scott Weiland — for as long as I can remember. One of the few songs guaranteed to make me happy in most any circumstances is STP’s song “Big Bang Baby“. Another one of Weiland’s projects, Velvet Revolver, provided the background music for the final segment of my college radio show in the form of “Sucker Train Blues“. And the STP ballad “Atlanta” is one of my favorite songs ever, full stop.

In the above tweet though, we’re meant to explore the mathematical implications of the narrator of the song “Creep“, the third single released off of the band’s 1992 album, Core. For those unfamilar with the lyrics, I’ll link out to them here. That said, the line in the song that caused this question goes as follows.

“Well I’m half the man I used to be.”

The line itself is repeated 16 times in the song which should, in theory, make this a pretty simple answer. That said, I believe that there are several potential answers here, thanks in large part to how you choose to view the song from a philosophical standpoint. In this post, I’m going to examine both the mathematical and philosophical answers to drskyskull’s question in an effort to determine what the actual answer to this question is. I’d like to thank math nerd Katie Nevitt for her assistance in double checking my math in this post, as well as her help in firming up some of the scenarios laid out below. With that, we must ask —

What fraction of a man is Scott Weiland by the end of “Creep”?

Straight Forward Answers

1/65536

Let’s begin with one of the two obvious mathematical answers to this question. Within the song, Weiland says he’s half the man he used to be a total of 16 times. Treating this like radioactive half-life, we assume that the first time he says it, Weiland is literally one-half of the man he used to be. The next time, he’s one-quarter of the man he used to be. This continues until the 16th time of decay, at which point he would be 1/65536 the man he used to be. A CDC study conducted from 2011-2014 found that the average American male weighs 195.8 pounds. 1/65536th of that would be approximately .0029 pounds, or about 1.315 grams. That’s about one and one-third paper clips worth of human left.

Semantic Answers

1/2

Let’s go with another fairly obvious answer as the first of our semantics-based answers. As a teen and early-twenty something who was a bit too emo for his own good, I think there’s a chance Weiland is lamenting the same loss of the same half of himself over and over. If this is the case, there’s not a ton of math to be done here. Weiland is merely half the man he used to be. We can easily depict this by the magicians’ trick where they saw a man or woman in half (vertically in this case), and then not put them back together afterward.

1/128 to 1/65536 (variable)

Though Weiland states he’s half the man he used to be sixteen times in the song, there is a bit of a difference as to how each of those times is presented. For seven of those times, there’s no follow up directly to that line. This leads me to believe that he has become half of the man he used to be seven times for sure, which would make him 1/128th the man he used to be. Going once again off of the assumption that the average human male weighs 195.8 pounds, this would mean that Weiland weighs approximately 1.5 pounds at this stage — roughly the equivalent to three-quarters of a pineapple.

As for the other nine times Weiland delivers the line, it is stated thusly.

I’m half the man I used to be
This I feel as the dawn
It fades to gray

The way the lyrics are worded lead me to believe that in these nine instances, the feeling of being half of a man that he once was is temporary (and regular) as a sunrise. If this feeling is treated as an additional half-life to Weiland’s loss of manhood, he’d be down to 1/256 of the man he used to be. That said, the lyrics don’t tell us enough to be confident as to whether this is a one-off loss and reconstitution or whether we must treat each of the losses as individual, cumulative half-lives. As such, I think there’s a possibility that at his best Weiland is 1/128th the man he used to be, though at his lower points, you could argue he’s anywhere from 1/256th to 1/65536th the man he used to be.

99/6553600

As Katie and I were combing through the lyrics of “Creep”, there was a line that stuck out to both of us that could potentially throw a wrench into these calculations.

Take time with a wounded hand
‘Cause it likes to heal

Unfortunately, Weiland doesn’t give any additional clarification on the severity of the hand injury in question here. For ease of calculation, we’re going to make a worst-case scenario assumption and say that the wounded hand is actually the full loss of that hand. And it is just one hand, as it’s singular in the lyrics. One study conducted found that the average surface area of the hand can be best estimated to be approximately 1% of the total body. Meanwhile, a different study found that a hand weighs a little over 0.57% of the average human’s body weight…though I found that particular study dubious because every time I tried to access the place that wrote it directly, my computer kept throwing security risk errors. So let’s go with the 1% number for ease of math and not giving my computer a virus.

Let’s take our initial mathematical calculation and say that Weiland is 1/65536th the man he used to be by the end of the song. We’ll then take away 1% of his body weight further from there, which leaves us with the incredibly unwieldy fraction of 99/6553600ths of the man he used to be. At this point, things are just getting silly. We must go further.

Other Possible Answers

1/1

At no point in the song does Weiland state that he isn’t a whole man at the end of the song. All he says is that he’s half of the man he used to be. We cannot prove that Weiland wasn’t singing about Voltron, as Weiland sadly passed away in 2015 from a drug overdose. That said, unless the song is being sung by a sentient portion of pineapple or floating vocal cords, I feel pretty good in saying that the singer of the song is, in fact, a whole person.

This begs the question then — just how many men was Weiland at the beginning of the song? If we go the lamenting of loss route I mentioned before, this would imply that he was two people at the start of the song. Despite my searching the internet, I couldn’t find any record of Scott Weiland having absorbed a twin in the womb, so I think this option is safe to rule out.

By this logic, you would think that the implication that Weiland was 65,536 men at the beginning of the song is equally unlikely, math, biology, and the universe as we currently understand it would all seem to agree with that statement. But my counterargument to that is this: I don’t care. We cannot disprove that Weiland was not part of a hive mind.

That said, I believe the most likely way to end the song as a whole man for Weiland goes back to the point we addressed in the last section of this post, that of the wounded hand. We’ll again assume that the loss of the wounded hand is literal, if only because of the imagery surrounding it. Though the loss of a hand would cause a loss of mass from the human body, as well as one percent of the surface area, it would be incorrect to assume that the loss of a limb would make anyone less of a human. We can then assume that Weiland is mourning the loss of his hand, but I want to assure him that he’s still a whole man to us.

Conclusion

With all of these factors considered, exactly what fraction of a man is Scott Weiland by the end of “Creep”? Mathematically, I think the answer is pretty simple. He’s 1/65536th the man he used to be. But if you dissect the lyrics and consider exactly what’s being said throughout the song, I think the answer is much less clear. I’m personally in the hive mind camp, but your mileage may vary. Regardless of how you look at it, just go listen to some STP.

The Pros and Cons of Writing Your Own Choose Your Own Adventure Story on Twitter

In mid-December of last year, I had what I felt like was a brilliant idea. I was going to write a choose your own adventure story using Twitter polls. It seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, I’d watched the talented Joe Sondow start an awesome story thread about a raccoon. And I was at a bit of a creative standstill writing-wise. So I figured why not try it. But I needed validation because I was admittedly frustrated with how my writing was going at that point, hence leading off with a Twitter poll.

Ten points to the one person who understood the stop, go, Pennzoil reference. The story started in the very next tweet in that thread, so if you want to go read the story before finishing this post (as there will be light spoilers), click that tweet. I’ll wait.

Now that you’re back (or for those who never clicked away), I want to lead off by saying that there are several other awesome interactive choose your own adventure stories out there. I wasn’t made aware of them until after I had started mine. That said, once you’re done reading this post, I’d encourage you to check out the following CYOA story threads.

I’ve professed my love for choose your own adventure stories in the past on this blog. It’s part of what makes the Fire Emblem series appeal to me so much, particularly in its more recent iterations. I’ve played my fair share of visual novel games in my life because I love the style so much. I even went as far as to turn one of my short stories into a special reward for my patrons last year. Side note, if you want in on cool patron rewards, go support me. But that’s not the point of this post.

After two-plus months of working on this story (and still more coming), I have some thoughts on the pro and cons of choosing to write a choose your own adventure story via Twitter. Please note that this list may change in the future, as the story itself is still incomplete at time both of me writing the post (January) and of when this post is going up (February)1Normally I’d try to shift my posting schedule to make this more accommodating to when I’m actually writing the post, but keeping a more limited blogging schedule is one of my goals this year. It’s still early enough in the year that I really don’t want to fuck that up..

Pro – There’s interaction to drive (and inspire) your story

I want to lead off with a point that might go without saying, though it wasn’t something that was initially obvious to me upon starting to write my story. When I started my story thread, I fully went in expecting 3-4 people to participate in the story. On good days. It had been my experience with a lot of Twitter stuff I’d done in the past. And the first few polls did start out like that.

Eventually though, the story started to get some traction. And people started getting really excited about certain things in the story. One of the throwaway characters I wrote into the story’s introductory section, Jeff, ends up showing up again later because of how frequently people commented about him. This all despite the fact that he wasn’t supposed to appear again at all after early in the story. It’s a feeling really similar to when I published my 2011 NaNoWriMo project chapter by chapter as I wrote it on my blog. The interaction is amazing.

Con – You can’t flesh out the whole story on Twitter

Let’s take a look at one of the choices that appears very early in the story to help explain this concept.

Ignore the typo in the choices2Also ignore the leading tweet posted above it. The way mid-thread tweets post on WordPress is arguably my biggest pet peeve about the platform. Well, that and a lack of natively supported footnoting in the free version of WordPress. But I digress.. There are four different options in this poll, with three of them getting fairly equal support. In an ideal CYOA storyline, each reader/player would be able to make their choice and progress down the path based on that choice rather than having to be stuck on what the majority voted.

It wouldn’t have mattered in that poll specifically. It’s early enough in the story that the basic plan I had for each of the four options was essentially the same. But as the story gets closer to ending, there are some major decisions that will get made that will have a massive impact on the possible endings available in the story. The fact that I won’t be able to play all of those out on Twitter is a bit saddening. Granted, that means I may well have a Twine project on my hands down the line. But that’s neither here nor there.

Pro – It’s a great way to do a CYOA story — even with limited planning

I went into writing my CYOA story with zero planning. Hell, for the first six or seven polls, I was just making up choices with no plan in mind as to what would happen if people picked the answer in question. Weirdly, that didn’t stop the story from working. I’m sure part of that was because it was still very much in an introductory section of the story. But it was kind of nice to write a story without being overwhelmed by whatever was coming next in the plot. For a little while.

Con – That whole limited planning thing caught up with me quick

Right around day four or five of writing, I realized that in order to keep people engaged in the story, I really needed to come up with a plan. That’s not to say I necessarily needed to come up with the whole choose your own adventure story right then, but I did need to have more structure than what I had at that point. Over the next week or so, I came up with the basic shell of where I wanted to go with the story once it ended. Unlike a typical story, however, I couldn’t just come up with one ended. I took some time and thought about where all the story could potentially go and realized that if the story was told in all of its logical iterations, it’d have six distinct endings. If I truly built out the story in full, there could even be a potential seventh ending, though fortunately my voters made caused that outcome to not be needed.

 

Ranking Every Pokemon Go Community Day…So Far

One of the most well-liked events in the Pokemon Go player base — particularly by those players who are more casual players — is Pokemon Go’s Community Day events. For the unaware, Niantic1The company that runs the Pokemon Go game. will feature one Pokemon a month for an event known as Community Day. During this event, the featured Pokemon will appear in the wild significantly more frequently than normal. The event has typically also coincided with the release of the featured Pokemon’s shiny variant(s), as well as other bonuses for playing during the event. The events themselves usually last three hours, though there have been three exceptions to this rule.

While I don’t typically talk about each individual Community Day as it happens — go read That Little Lola’s work if you want some of those — I did want to take a look back at each Community Day thus far and rank them to determine which one was the best representation of what Community Day done well looks like. In doing that, I took six different factors into consideration.

  1. How useful is the Community Day Pokemon’s end-stage evolution at the time of the Community Day?
  2. How much did I personally care about the Pokemon in question?
  3. How useful is the special Community Day move(s) given to the Pokemon?
  4. How good were the Community Day specific bonuses?
  5. How good were any other bonuses that you could take advantage of on Community Day?
  6. How good is the shiny evolution chain for the Community Day Pokemon?

This allowed me to rank 23 of the 25 Community Days through January 20th, 2020 and determine which ones were the best and worst so far. I’ve chosen not to rank the two super Community Days in December 2018 and 2019, as they were structured a little differently. That said, my very quick thoughts on those.

  • December 2018 was bad because of the massively nerfed shiny rates for most of the event2The typical Community Day shiny Pokemon rate is around 1 in 25. This specific two-day event had a speculated shiny rate of around 1 in 100..
  • December 2019 was better but felt very disorganized because of the split, yet overlapping spawn pool.

With all that out of the way, here are the rest of the Community Days from #23 to #1. Feel free to get angry at and/or love me in the comments.

#23 – Slakoth (June 2019)

To say Slakoth was the worst Community Day event we’ve had so far would be a massive understatement. In addition to being a fairly standard Community Day bonuses-wise, this day featured a Pokemon that has minimal use in the game as a whole. Even in its primary role as a gym defender, Slaking’s outclassed by many lower CP options, including things like Togekiss and Wobbuffet when warding off Fighting types. The featured move, Body Slam, was actually a downgrade to Slaking’s best move, Play Rough. Combine that with a below-average shiny3I’m okay with Slakoth’s shiny, but the evolved shinies are very bad. and this was the most skippable day we’ve had.

#22 – Cyndaquil (November 2018)

I know a lot of people liked Cyndaquil day, but it wasn’t my thing. Typhlosion was a middling Fire type even with the release of Blast Burn into its move pool. Considering it couldn’t even outclass Charizard in terms of usefulness, there was definitely a ceiling here. Plus this was the one outlier Community Day where none of the bonuses were 3 or 4 times bonuses, which was very strange at the time. But combine that with an underwhelming shiny line and my dislike for Gen II starters and Cyndaquil is near the bottom of this list.

#21 – Chimchar (November 2019)

Cyndaquil day with better bonuses. At least Infernape’s shiny is better than Typhlosion’s.

#20 – Turtwig (September 2019)

In my spreadsheet ranking these Community Day’s, Turtwig, Chimchar, and Cyndaquil all tied with the same point total. Turtwig gets the nod over those two for two reasons. First, it’s a competent PvP fighter and decent lower-tier gym defender. Second, this is one of two Community Days to try introducing the featured Pokemon into raids for the day. It’s a good concept, but considering the low number of raid spawns — especially in comparison to the overload of Rocket stops featuring Turtwig4The longer the Team Go Rocket concept is out, the less I like it. It’s a massive grind for bad rewards. — and this feels like a poorly executed concept that should have been a good idea.

#19 – Trapinch (October 2019)

If Flygon had any relevance in Pokemon Go, this would be much higher on the list. But alas, even Earth Power can’t save Flygon. At least Flygon and Vibrava’s shinies make up for the trainwreck that is Trapinch’s teal sprite. I typically love green/teal shinies. Trapinch’s is bad.

#18 – Mareep (April 2018)

I wanted to like Mareep Community Day. I really did. Ampharos is one of my favorite Electric Pokemon. And if we ever get Mega Evolutions in Go, perhaps this day jumps up the list. But like Slaking getting Body Slam, Dragon Pulse is a straight downgrade to Ampharos’ other charge moves. Plus the pink shiny isn’t good. At all. If I didn’t like Mareep so much, this would have been a bottom two Community Day.

#17 – Pikachu (January 2018)

The very first Community Day ever had no right being this high on the list. The first event of anything is supposed to be a terrible, buggy mess. And it was buggy. And Pikachu got a horrid featured move. And its shiny is the second-worst one we’ve had featured on any Community Day. But this Community Day did two things very, very right that we’ve yet to see replicated.

  1. The featured Community Day move could be accessed via TM during the event.
  2. There was a flat 2x XP bonus for all activities during the event.

Seriously. Considering how unrealistic those two things are for ANY event now, it’s a bit crazy to see that BOTH were done for the very first Community Day.

#16 – Charmander (May 2018)

Let’s get the good out of the way. Blast Burn was not only the best possible news for Charizard, it made it meta-relevant at a time where Entei and Moltres were hard to come by. Its relevance didn’t last long, but it was good while it lasted. Now the bad. Average bonuses, a Pokemon whose end-stage evolution has one of the worst shinies in Pokemon history5Purple Charizard for life. — though not the worst…we’re getting there — and is the single most overmarketed Pokemon this side of Pikachu. At least Charmander itself is cute.

#15 – Chikorita (September 2018)

Chikorita day would have been just slightly better than Cyndaquil day by itself. Frenzy Plant is relevant on Meganium, so it’s not like this day would have been a total bust. That said, the reason this is at #15 rather than in the 20s is because of what happened immediately after the day. Meltan’s soft launch happened. I have not seen the Pokemon Go community as hyped about something as Meltan’s launch, either before or since, with the possible exception of trading. It was the most exciting 30 minutes of a Community Day thus far.

#14 – Bulbasaur (March  2018)

In PvP, Venusaur with Frenzy Plant is STILL relevant. Think about that for a second. It’s almost two years later and a Gen I starter that isn’t the face of the franchise or a prominent member of Ash’s team is still relevant in a mode of Go. That said, nearly everyone I talked to hated this day solely because of how similar Bulbasaur’s shiny looked to its regular sprite. And…yeah, that’s totally valid. It was terrible. This is still the day where I’ve caught the most Community Day shinies to date (11). But during a time where the game’s shiny indicator didn’t exist yet, this day was tedious.

#13 – Totodile (January 2019)

There was no hope for a Gen II starter to make the top 10. That said, Totodile day is what I think of as an average Community Day at this point. Nothing too exciting. The move is an upgrade to the end-stage evolution’s current moveset, making that Pokemon relevant if you have a week pool of Pokemon to pull from. Otherwise, it’s about the shiny (average in Totodile’s case) and spawn rate (same).

#12 – Bagon (April 2019)

I expected Outrage to be better on Salamance than it was. But Salamance’s movepool is just so weird. And Bagon day had one of the lower spawn rates of any Community Day to this point. So while Bagon day should be higher on this list, Niantic did a great job managing to disappoint on this specific event.

#11 – Treecko (March 2019)

One of two Community Days I’ve missed over the past two years, Treecko day comes across as Totodile day, but with a Pokemon with better stats. To this point, it’s the best Grass type Community Day we’ve had, though I’m sure that’ll change once Snivy comes out6I swear to god, if I run into one more Serperior with Leaf Tornado in PvP…. It’s a really good shiny at least?

#10 – Ralts (August 2019)

Ralts is a bunch of ifs mashed into one day. Ralts has great shinies…if we ever get Mega evolutions. Ralts has a great Community Day move…if Synchoronoise ever gets its secondary bonus effect. Dropping 10k eggs all day would be great…if they weren’t all Ralts. The Ralts line is one of my favorite evolutionary lines in the game. This was a disappointment though.

#9 – Squirtle (July 2018)

The biggest thing about Squirtle day that I think people forget in retrospect is that even with Hydro Cannon, Blastoise was never really meta-relevant. That said, no one remembers this because Squirtle day featured the first instance of being able to encounter shiny Pokemon from Pokestop tasks AND gave us sunglasses Squirtle from those tasks. Sure, the sunglasses aren’t the ones worn by the Squirtle Squad. But it was a unique Community Day concept that there really hasn’t been a way to repeat to this point.

#8 – Torchic (May 2019)

Torchic Community Day was the first of two Community Days we’ve had wherein the end-stage evolution of the featured Pokemon got its signature move released along with the Community Day move. While Blast Burn is objectively better than Blaze Kick in most scenarios, I tend to run Blaze Kick/Brave Bird on my Blaziken in PvP for better shield breaking. Torchic’s shiny is one of the more difficult ones to discern from the original in Go, but it’s not Bulbasaur levels of bad. We got a meta-relevant Pokemon (albeit on the fringes) in this Community Day with more than one move available to it. While I don’t like this exact format as much as Pikachu day or another day I’ll be talking about later in this list, doing the signature move release alongside the Community Day move has been pretty successful in the past.

#7 – Dratini (February 2018)

Dratini’s Community Day was really good. Dragonite was still a top tier Pokemon — one that candy was hard to come by for at the time. While Draco Meteor wasn’t an upgrade for Dragonite, it was a nice alternative to Outrage at a time before having a second charged move was a thing. Spawn rates this day were crazy, even by Community Day standards. So why doesn’t this day rank higher? I took a couple of points off for this being the first Community Day to set the precedent for specializing what bonuses you receive on Community Day. That by itself though only knocked it down from second to fourth. What dropped it all the way to seventh was the fact that Dragonite has the single worst shiny sprite in all of Pokemon. Which is a shame, considering how good Dratini and Dragonaire’s are. But it’s still true.

#6 – Larvitar (June 2018)

The second of two Community Days I missed on this list was likely one of the best. At the time, Tyrannitar was the best Dark type attacker. The Community Day fast move Smack Down also made it the best Rock type attacker. That’s insane to think about. That said, everything from #3 through #6 on this list was within 1 point of each other, so it came down to shiny version and personal preference for that Pokemon. In both of those categories, Larvitar is average, all while going up against Pokemon I like a lot and that have good to great shinies. Pupitar has the best purple shiny in the game…but Larvitar and Tyrannitar’s are just kind of there.

#5 – Piplup (January 2020)

The most recent Community Day was, despite the strange hemisphere time offsetting thing, one of the better Community Days we’ve had in a while. You got a Pokemon that benefits massively from its Community Day move, combined with some of the best spawn rates I’ve seen in months, plus a very good shiny, great typing, and a Pokemon whose evolution chain I loved. This specific day had me written all over it. It doesn’t make it higher than fifth on the list because Empoleon isn’t particularly relevant outside of PvP and because I recognize that unlike the four above it, Piplup day is boosted because of my bias for it.

#4 – Eevee (August 2018)

Eevee day was actually a two-day event, where there were two separate windows where Eevee spawns were boosted. This allowed players to catch an absurd amount of a Pokemon that you NEED a lot of, considering it has 8 possible evolutions (even though only five were out at the time). Both Eevee and its evolutions evolved between the start of the first day’s window and the end of the second day’s window got the special move Last Resort. While it isn’t the best move, it did have some light meta usefulness at the time, particularly on Umbreon and Jolteon. I’d personally love to see all Community Days follow this two-day, two window format, but I understand that Eevee was a special case. Considering how helpful this was to get a ton of budget7Aside from the fact that you were likely using a TM to get rid of Last Resort. PvE attackers in the form of Flareon, Jolteon, and Espeon8You could argue Vaporeon belongs here too, but considering the prevalence of Gyarados, Poliwrath, Suicune, and Kingdra by this point, nevermind the fact that Kyogre was also out (but not readily available), and Vaporeon was there to fill the back end of most teams, even by this point., it’s one of the better days we’ve had.

#3 – Beldum (October 2018)

Beldum day was the last Community Day I remember looking back on and being annoyed I didn’t plan ahead for it. While people online had a good idea at the time what the pattern for non-starter Community Day Pokemon was, it really wasn’t confirmed by any stretch by the point Beldum was released. So of course when I got my 100% Beldum on day 1 after it was released, I walked it and caught more and evolved it straight away. Too bad Metagross has terrible charge moves without its Community Day move, Meteor Mash. And Meteor Mash did make Metagross relevant, though not as much as you might think. But considering how much this Pokemon needed a Community Day, combined with the boost its signature move gave and the top-tier shiny it gets, getting a podium finish on this list was a foregone conclusion.

#2 – Mudkip (July 2019)

Is there a Pokemon — with the possible exceptions of Charizard and Larvitar — that benefitted as much from its Community Day move as Swampert? Swampert went from being a good but not great Pokemon to one of the best Water attackers around with Hydro Cannon. Before Hydro Cannon got nerfed recently, having a Hydro Cannon Swampert on your team was the best way to cheese any battle with Giovanni. Considering how terrible of a grind the Giovanni quests are, this was a massive blessing. The Mudkip line has good shiny forms, which helps. Plus this was the second Community Day to have a signature move released at the same time as the Community Day move, though Muddy Water didn’t have the same impact as Blaze Kick. If it weren’t for amazing timing that happened in February 2019, Mudkip would have been an easy pick for the top of this list.

#1 – Swinub (February 2019)

Let’s get the bad out of the way here. Ancient Power is only useful in PvP for Mamoswine9Generally speaking, that is. That said, I did use it as my way of handling Giovanni’s Articuno in the Rocket battles, as I desperately lack good Rock attackers.. Granted, you can use it for other things — see the footnote in the previous sentence — but it is a gimmick. And the Swinub line’s shinies are alright at best. But let’s talk the bonuses for this Community Day. During Swinub Community Day, players got the following bonuses.

  • 3x catch stardust
  • 2x catch candy
  • 5x the rewards from trainer battles, including guaranteed Sinnoh Stones
  • 6-hour lure modules

The first two items on this list are relatively standard Community Day rewards10Though we haven’t had a catch candy reward to this point, this is what I’d imagine it’d be if we did get one.. The trainer battle rewards were game-changing at the time, as most players were struggling to find ONE Sinnoh Stone, nevermind being guaranteed five just from doing PvP battles. Combine that with the fact that lure modules — which typically last 3 hours from Community Day — were further doubled by the Valentine’s Day event that was going on, and people were able to catch like crazy. This fact makes Swinub Community Day the bar a Community Day needs to beat in order to be considered the best…and it’s not particularly close.

My Pokemon Gym: Ghost

Welcome to the eleventh iteration of the My Pokemon Gym series. If you’re new to this series, I take a Pokemon type then build out my team of six Pokemon of that type as if I were the gym leader. Here are the rules:

  1. I can’t use legendary/mythical Pokemon
  2. I can’t reuse Pokemon I’ve used in previous gyms in this series.
  3. Forms of the same Pokémon can be reused, provided they have different typing. For example, if I used Rattata in a Normal gym team, I could use Alolan Rattata in a Dark gym team.

Want to read my other My Pokemon Gym posts? Go read the Fighting, Ice, Psychic, Grass, Dragon, Fairy, Electric, Bug, Fire, Flying, and Normal type posts when you’re done here. All images courtesy pokemondb.net unless otherwise stated.

Chandelure

A shoo-in for both my Fire and Ghost teams, I decided to put Chandelure on my Ghost team because this type isn’t one I have a lot of depth in, especially since Decidueye and Froslass ended up on my Grass and Ice teams, respectively. Chandelure’s typing and abilities give it a ton of resistances and immunities, which is awesome for a speedy lead. I’m keeping the non-Gen VIII move Flame Charge on Chandelure, as it’s a great momentum builder, but the rest of the set is intended to force matchups I want later on in the game. It’s not my normal status-inflicting lamp I love to use, but I think it fits in better with this team.

Ability: Flash Fire
Item: Choice Scarf
Moves: Flame Charge, Memento, Pain Split, Trick

Mimikyu

And so we arrive at the first of two Pokemon that I slotted on this team solely to get the team to six Pokemon. Mimikyu is a fine Pokemon, but it’s not one I particularly love. That said, it’s a super useful Pokemon with a great ability. Plus it’s arguably the least annoying of the Pikachu clones. Mimikyu can — and will — hit hard if it get setup. With Chandelure’s Memento possibly forcing a switch, followed by the free hit that Disguise gives, that’s possibly two times to get Swords Dance up. And not many things like getting hit by a +4 Attack Mimikyu with Life Orb. Especially not when it already has some thumping physical moves.

Ability: Disguise
Item: Life Orb
Moves: Swords Dance, Leech Life, Play Rough, Shadow Claw

Cursola

Image courtesy Bulbapedia

This was the last spot on the team I filled, debating between several Pokemon that are either good, but that I don’t care about (Aegislash, Gengar, Alolan Marowak) or Pokemon that I like but are trash (Dhelmise, Golurk, Cursola). In the end, I went with Cursola, partly for some Gen VIII representation, but also because going with Alolan Marowak just felt wrong when Chandelure is already on the team. Cursola is slow and hits hard…and that’s about all it’s got going for it. I know I’m not living long with Cursola. Let’s just try for boosts and hope it works.

Ability: Weak Armor
Item: Bright Powder
Moves: Ancient Power, Protect, Light Screen, Reflect

Mega Banette

I love me some Mega Banette. The Prankster ability is fun to throw around status with, while its design and thumping Attack stat are great to boot. It’s one of my least favorite Pokemon to come up against in a battle, and for that alone it earns a spot on this team. I’ve seen quite a few sets online arguing that you only need one attacking move on Mega Banette. While I don’t totally buy that, there is quite a lot you can do with Knock Off. That said, if you managed to know that your opponent is locked into a move they don’t want to use — say because your Chandelure tricked a Choice Scarf onto them — you’ll want a second move to use while you’re forcing them to Struggle to death.

Ability: Prankster (Cursed Body before Mega Evolution)
Item: Banettite
Moves: Thunder Wave, Disable, Knock Off, Gunk Shot

Mismagius

LOOK AT THAT HAT. LOOK AT IT.

Ability: Levitate
Item: Sitrus Berry
Moves: Calm Mind, Mystical Fire, Thunderbolt, Shadow Ball

Drifblim

Another member of the Caterpie Elite Four Dream Team makes one of these lists. The chain’s primary passer of bulk and survivability was Drifblim, carrying Stockpile, Minimize, and Amnesia1I originally carried Calm Mind instead of Amnesia, but Caterpie’s lack of access to Special Attacking moves in Sun/Moon caused the change. all to be Baton Passed to our buggy little friend. That said, Drifblim isn’t typically a defensive Pokemon, preferring to go on an all-out offensive. I’ve chosen to go the more Special Attacking route here, if only because that’s what this team is lacking outside of Mismagius. That said, try the bulky, evading Drifblim sometime. It hates Shock Wave, but shrugs off most other moves, especially with Bright Powder.

Ability: Flare Boost
Item: Flame Orb
Moves: Shadow Ball, Psychic, Minimize, Mud-Slap2Seriously. Yes, I know it’s a legacy Gen IV move. But it’s hilarious to watch people disconnect when they can’t hit your Drifblim because they’ve been hit with a Mud-Slap after a Minimize.

9 (More) New Dual Type Pokemon Ideas for Switch

Welcome to the last (for now) final Monday of the month blog post. This post is actually a collaboration post with Lola from Poke Traveller Lola. She and I decided to take a look at the final 18 dual-type Pokemon combinations that don’t exist and create our own Pokemon for them. Her post will be linked here when it goes live later this week.

I know what some of you are thinking. Tim…didn’t you do this before? And the answer is yes. Sort of. I am going to co-opt the format from that post (as I quite like it). That said, there’s a few additional rules I’ll be following this time that Stephanie and I didn’t follow last time.

  1. I must give a name to the end-stage Pokemon I’m designing.
  2. If there’s an evolutionary line, I’ll call that out, including names for the full line and evolution levels/methods.
  3. I must try to create one new ability somewhere in the post (this is my own challenge more than anything).
  4. I can’t reuse any ideas from the previous post.
  5. None of the Pokemon in this post will be regional variants of other Pokemon. That’s a whole other post.

1. Normal/Rock

What is the Pokemon Based on? There’s going to be a ton of part-Normal types on this list. And the thing about Normal type is that they tend to be based on animals we encounter in the real world. Which means we’ve seen them done to death. But you know what we haven’t seen that often? A bird that can’t fly. This Pokemon is based on the kiwi bird, which is both adorable and has the aerodynamics of a rock.

Evolutionary Line and Name(s)? Pumwi -> Granwi (level 24)

Abilities? Considering the massive size of the kiwi’s beak, one of its primary abilities has to be Big Pecks. I also like Early Bird because, you know, bird. For the hidden ability, I decided to go with an ability that belongs to another bird Pokemon, Decidueye, giving it the Long Reach ability for its beak.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Something along the lines of Spearow and Fearow would make sense here, only with lower HP and Speed, but higher Defense and slightly higher Special Defense.

Learn Set? Peck (Learned at level 1), Baby Doll Eyes (1), Rock Blast (5), Defense Curl (9), Mimic (12), False Swipe (17), Rollout (22), Stealth Rock (27), Pluck (33), Sandstorm (38), Chip Away (43), Skull Bash (47), Rock Slide (55), Bounce (on evolution)

2. Electric/Fighting

What is the Pokemon Based on? Wait. Didn’t we do this already with Luchadora Pikachu? *checks notes* Apparently not. Huh. Well then. I’m picking a Numbat. And it’s a luchador. Because the name amuses me. And a robot Pokemon would be WAY too on the nose.

Evolutionary Line and Name(s)? Kimohmra

Abilities? We’re going to mix some abilities here, giving our new Pokemon Static as an homage to Luchadora Pikachu as one ability, while its second primary ability will be Unburden, which it shares with another wrestling-inspired Pokemon, Hawlucha. For a hidden ability, we’re going to give this Pokemon the dreadful Slow Start ability. This is because our Pokemon is going to be the babyface that gets beaten up throughout the early stages of the match, only to come back and win in the end.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Interestingly enough, Hawlucha, but with better bulk.

Learn Set? Thundershock (Learned at level 1), Growl (1), Spark (7), Bide (11), Rolling Kick (16), Nuzzle (21), Force Palm (27), Thunder Punch (32), Mega Kick (36), Coil (41), Reversal (47), Taunt (54), Close Combat (61), Volt Tackle (68)

3. Normal/Ghost

What is the Pokemon Based on? I’m pretty sure the primary reason The Pokemon Company hasn’t done a Normal/Ghost type yet is because there’s no such thing as a normal ghost. That said, I knew what animal this would be inspired by immediately upon ending up with this typing. It’s the vampire bat. There really isn’t another logical option. The fun part about this is that you’ll have two forms thanks to your ability.

Evolutionary Line and Name(s)? Stomida -> Fangidae (level 18) -> Vlaidae (level 40+ at night)

Abilities? We’re going to do a new ability here loosely based off of Wishiwashi’s Schooling ability. When our Pokemon has above 25% HP it will be in its Vampire form, which uses its full compliment of stats. When it’s at or below 25% HP, it will be in its Bat form. In this form, its Attack and Special Attack are cut by 80%, but its Speed is doubled.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Crobat, only it hits like a fucking truck in the Vampire Form.

Learn Set? Tackle (Learned at level 1), Astonish (1), Leer (5), Quick Attack (9), Disable (12), Shadow Punch (17), Night Shade (23), Hyper Fang (28), Moonlight (32), Drain Punch (36), Shadow Claw (41), Detect (46), Recycle (50), Oblivion Wing (59)

4. Fighting/Fairy

What is the Pokemon Based on? I hate that I made my self-imposed rule that I’m not allowed to reuse ideas, as I love my Jorgen von Strangle homage. So for this one, we’re going to have a really buff dandelion. People think they’re weeds. While they’re technically correct, they’re also wrong. I love dandelions. They’re fighters. That don’t attack. Unless you’re complaining about your lawn being attacked by them. In which case, you’re wrong. The base Pokemon will be based on the yellow dandelion, while the evolution will be based on the puffball dandelion.

Evolutionary Line and Name(s)? Danden -> Dandette (level 32)

Abilities? Do you know how hard it is to kill a dandelion? I thought so. Its first ability is Sturdy on principle. We’re also going to give a secondary ability that is the inverse of Speed Boost, meaning our Pokemon will get slower each turn. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Finally, we’re going to give it a hidden ability of Storm Drain, as the first moment it rains marks the return of dandelions across the Midwestern US.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Shuckle. Yes, I know there’s so many more weaknesses here. But it really does amuse me to make an unkillable plant unkillable.

Learn Set? Absorb (Learned at level 1), Charm (1), Rock Smash (5), Fairy Wind (9), Bulk Up (15), Leech Seed (19), Curse (25), Recover (30), Growth (36), Revenge (41), Floral Healing (48), Rest (53), Final Gambit (59), Geomancy (67), Pollen Puff (on evolution)

5. Normal/Bug

What is the Pokemon Based on? To misquote my wife, there are no normal bugs and they all must die. But what is the most normal bug? I’m leaning a housefly.

Evolutionary Line and Name(s)? Buzzn -> Gnatign (level 20)

Abilities? Remember that whole kill it with fire thing? We’re cranking that up to 11, giving this fly the Fluffy ability straightaway. It’ll also get the Compound Eyes ability because it’s a fly and flies have those. As a hidden ability, I think most of us have probably been trapped in a house with a fly before and feel like we’re stuck. So I’m thinking the right answer here is Arena Trap.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Houseflies are harmless so…shitty Dustox?

Learn Set? Pound (Learned at level 1), Minimize (1), Growl (5), Quick Attack (9), Bug Bite (14), Round (18), Powder (22), Facade (27), Wing Attack (31), Metal Sound (35), Swords Dance (40), Quiver Dance (45), Lunge (50), Uproar (54)

6. Ground/Fairy

What is the Pokemon Based on? What exactly would a Ground/Fairy type look like? In my mind, the first thought is a wood nymph of some sort. But based on that, you’d immediately think Grass, not Ground. So is it a possessed avocado or something? Clearly not. Avocados are evil and would, therefore, be a Dark/Ground type. Maybe a sentient compost heap? Fine, let’s go with that.

Evolutionary Line and Name(s)? Bogger -> Methene (level 34)

Abilities? Anyone who has ever been near a compost pile knows that the worst part of composting is keeping random farmers trying to grow organic vegetables away from your backyard. You’ve got to do something, but I don’t think our primary ability, Stench, is going to be enough. Nor can you just use this Pokemon’s secondary ability, Run Away, as they’re just going to find you. No. You have to go nuclear. You must use the Power of Alchemy (also this Pokemon’s hidden ability) to get away from them.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Swalot, but with less HP and lower Speed.

Learn Set? Growl (Learned at level 1), Acid (1), Scratch (5), Mud-Slap (9), Poison Gas (14), Crafty Shield (19), Stockpile (23), Spit Up (23), Swallow (23), Magnitude (28), Amnesia (32), Grassy Terrain (38), Seed Bomb (42), Belch (45), Play Rough (49), Earth Power (55), Earthquake (59)

7. Normal/Steel

What is the Pokemon Based on? Prior to the release of Gen VIII, I would have made a Normal/Steel type a robin, a crow, or some other common bird. But then we got Corviknight and…it’s pretty much just that. That said, everything here is based on animals. So let’s go with a Pokemon based on a pair of scissors. And I literally mean a pair. It starts as one and evolves into two. Think Duoblade, but with arts and crafts.

Evolutionary Line and Name(s)? Scix -> Crafix (level 10) -> Shearix (level 25)

Abilities? I’d like to think the appearance of this Pokemon is slightly dictated by its ability. One with Light Metal will appear like arts and crafts scissors, while one with Heavy Metal will look more like pruning shears. There’s not any particularly good ability to throw on this Pokemon as a hidden ability, so since I likened it to Duoblade earlier, let’s say No Guard for the hidden ability.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? The resistances say Scizor, but the stats say Excadrill.

Learn Set? Scratch (Learned at level 1), Harden (1), Copycat (6), Sharpen (11), Cut (14), Metal Claw (19), Spikes (24), Slash (29), Smart Strike (33), Last Resort (37), Razor Wind (42), Swords Dance (46), Leaf Blade (51), Guillotine (56)

8. Ice/Poison

What is the Pokemon Based on? This is the only Pokemon on this list that I had an ability in mind before knowing what I wanted to make for the Pokemon itself. I ended up landing on a platypus, which is just a venomous duck, more or less. Except that its ability makes it unique on so many levels.

Evolutionary Line and Name(s)? Toxice -> Venichill (level 22) -> Neurikelv (with low friendship at level 35+)

Abilities? This Pokemon would get a brand new ability, Antifreeze. The premise of it is simple — if a damage-dealing move has a chance to inflict a status effect, be that burn, paralysis, sleep, or poison, a Pokemon with the Antifreeze ability will replace those move’s effects with an equal chance to freeze. Note that Pokemon with this ability CANNOT learn moves that have a status effect chance of above 30% (so not Toxic/Thunder Wave/Nuzzle/etc). Other effects like confusion and infatuation work the same as normal. Moves like Toxic Spikes and Fling that indirectly inflict a status aliment work as normal.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? A more offensive Toxapex, but with worse typing.

Learn Set? Poison Sting (Learned at level 1), Withdraw (1), Scratch (5), Water Gun (9), Nasty Plot (13), Acid Armor (18), Body Slam (23), Aqua Tail (27), Scald (32), Fling (36), Calm Mind (40), Ice Beam (44), Sludge Wave (49), Blizzard (56)

9. Normal/Ice – Blitzer

What is the Pokemon Based on? I mean. This is clearly where the direwolves from Game of Thrones belong, yes? Three stages. Starts as a pup. Then becomes a dog. Then it’s a majestic fucking wolf. Blitzer is a wolf Pokemon.

Evolutionary Line and Name(s)? Snuppy -> Blizzy (level 18) -> Blitzer (level up while knowing Foresight)

Abilities? What abilities can I give a Normal/Ice Pokemon? Normal. Ice. Normal Ice. Normalice. Yep. Refrigerate. Well, and Normalize. As for a hidden ability, let’s create the Fighting and Steel type version of Thick Fat. Let’s call it The Situation Room. Because if a Lucario so much as sneezes near Blitzer, it’s dying without it.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Luxray? That feels like a good stat spread for Blitzer.

Learn Set? Tackle (Learned at level 1), Tail Whip (1), Growl (5), Scratch (9), Frost Breath (14), Howl (18), Ice Fang (22), Block (27), Bite (31), Shadow Claw (35), Foresight (38), Icicle Crash (42), Psychic Fangs (47), Haze (52), Thrash (58)

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