Grading the NHL Reverse Retro Jerseys

I’m back with a non-writing post! And it’s…a sports post?

Shit. What’s that sound? I’m pretty sure it was 85% of my readers simultaneously deleting my blog post from their email, closing out of this tab, or switching to an adult video site. In which case, thank you for visiting, do come again.

For the next to none of you still here, we’re going to talk hockey jerseys. On November 16th, the NHL released throwback jerseys for each of the 31 teams currently in the league. This series, called the Reverse Retro series aimed at remixing classic jersey designs fans love. Granted not every team is old enough to have a retro jersey — looking at you Minnesota1We’ll come back to this one., Columbus, Nashville, and Vegas. But the idea was solid regardless.

Because it’s been a while since I’ve done a true sports post on this blog, I thought we’d take a look at all 31 jerseys and rank give them grades and ranks. If you want to see the full announcement thread from the NHL, click here. In this list, I’ll follow the standard A-F grading system. I also will not be curving the grading scale, so if there are a lot of jerseys I really like, you’ll see a lot of A grades. Full disclosure going into this post: I’m a Blue Jackets fan, though I’ve been known to root for the Sharks, Avs (both pre-Jackets existence), and Golden Knights (because I like them) as well.

Incomplete

Carolina, Colorado

Alright. Let’s start by hitting the two jerseys that I objectively like but have mixed feelings about. Both Carolina and Colorado used to be other teams — the Hartford Whalers and Quebec Nordiques, respectively. As representations of those teams, both of these jerseys are fine, though I would have preferred to see a green Whalers jersey and a sky blue Nordiques jersey, respectively. That said, both of these teams have retro looks they could have gone with that stayed true to their current team. I get the argument a bit more in Carolina’s case, as the single flag jersey was just retired in 2018, whereas the Avs ditched the diagonal Colorado on crimson jerseys in 2007. They’re fine nods to the history of the NHL, but aren’t good fit here — especially when there are two examples of teams who handled this better later in the list.

F: Retro Best Left in the Past

Calgary, NY Rangers, St. Louis, Winnipeg

When your name is the St. Louis Blues, having a red jersey is bad. The goal here is an homage to their 1995-1998 home jerseys, but those were also bad. And yet we somehow made them worse by making them even more red. I’m probably the only person that doesn’t like the Rangers’ Lady Liberty jersey or the Flames’ Blasty jersey, so I’m willing to admit that ranking them here is personal bias2To be fair to the Flames in particular, I don’t know what else they could have done, especially since they revived one of the best hockey jerseys ever by bringing back the yellow-outlined C in 2018.. Winnipeg’s jersey choice is just…strange. I love the old Jets logo, but the rest of the jersey looks awful. It might be the worst one of the whole bunch.

D: Fine as a One-Off, But Stick to Your Main Jerseys

Anaheim, Dallas, Los Angeles, Vegas, Washington

I know I’ll get flack for this, but the Mighty Ducks era of Anaheim hockey might have given us the worst jerseys in pro sports history — and yes, I’m counting the bumblebee Steelers’ uniforms. People love that era, so I get paying homage to it, but it’s still tacky. Same goes for the giant eagle on Washington’s kit and the purple-and-gold Kings uniforms3The Kings wore this color combination for their first 21 years of existence. That said, no one remembers it because it occurred pre-Wayne Gretzky.. The Kings in particular missed out on having a throwback to the single weirdest third jersey I’ve ever seen. Dallas’s jersey isn’t too bad, but when you follow these beauties with an all-white number, it’s disappointing. Vegas’s jersey pays homage to the city’s minor league hockey past, which I love as an idea. That said, such jerseys are typically one-off affairs.

C: Pretty Much What You’d Expect

Boston, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Nashville, Tampa Bay, Toronto

Everything in this grouping is a jersey color combo that you’d see if you asked the average fan to make a jersey for these teams. The best of the group is Boston’s all-yellow kit, but it’s not enough to bump it up a letter grade. Detroit, Edmonton, and Toronto must have co-designed their jerseys with a theme of “what if our current jerseys were more boring?”. Tampa and Nashville highlighted their franchise’s best years. You’d think Florida would have done the same, particularly since it’s been almost 25 years since they went to their lone Stanley Cup final, but instead they chose the dark blue jerseys from an era where they were very, very bad.

B: Not So Bad

Arizona, Buffalo, Columbus, NY Islanders, Ottawa

Let’s lead off by hitting the obvious one that’s going to generate some strange looks. Columbus’s red jersey is WEIRD. Considering they’ve never worn a red jersey as a primary or secondary jersey, seeing this in a retro line is just odd. I don’t hate it though. Arizona took a leap of faith going with a purple jersey — and it works. Granted, it takes A LOT of work to get a purple jersey not to look stupid and even more to get it to look good without yellow as your secondary color. In fact, only one other team has consistently pulled it off over time. But this jersey is pretty good. Buffalo’s sabre design is simple, but considering the terrible jerseys Buffalo has had over the years, this is a positive. You could pretty much use the exact same sentence I just said to describe the Isles’ jerseys historically. Ottawa’s shift to their old logo is a nice touch, but the fact that their retro jersey is red is a bit odd to me. Yes, 2020 will be the first season Ottawa didn’t use red as their primary sweater color since 1997, so having it as the third jersey makes sense. But…not as a retro jersey.

A: Stellar Sweaters

Chicago, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Vancouver

Four of these jerseys are just sharp. Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Jose basically just took jerseys that were already good and did their best not to fuck them up. They succeeded. Let’s talk about the other two now. Vancouver has a history of making some poor choices with their jersey design. While I am partial to any jersey that uses blue and green together well, the Canucks would have been the one team I could have seen screwing even that up somehow. And they almost did here, taking one of their worst designs ever (their 2001-2006 abomination of a third jersey) and just replacing red with green. And…it works? I’m just as confused as you are. Meanwhile, Minnesota decided to lean HARD into the fact that the Minnesota North Stars used to play there, co-opting their color scheme and using it on the Wild jersey design. It’s awesome. The only reason it’s not in our last category is that I’m sure rebranding would be much more complex for the Wild than the two teams below — you know, since the Stars still exist. But think about it.

A+: Scrap Your Current Threads in Favor of These

Montreal, New Jersey

Do you know how long I’ve wanted to see the Habs wear a primarily blue jersey? I’ve created alternate jerseys for them in every NHL game I’ve had since being a kid to give them a blue jersey. It just looked better in my mind. And we’re finally getting it. As for New Jersey, I love the Santa Devils look. If nothing else, can we please have New Jersey play on Christmas Day every year wearing these jerseys?

Project Tasman Post Story Q&A

It’s been a little while since I’ve talked about it on this blog, but for those unaware, I finished up my Twitter-based choose your own adventure story, Project Tasman, at the beginning of September. The story spanned from just after Thanksgiving 2019 until Labor Day of 2020, was over 70,000 words long, and had amazing engagement from a ton of readers.

As part of wrapping up the story, I’ve posted the story as it was decided in its entirety to Wattpad. If you haven’t had a chance to read Project Tasman yet, but want to experience the story as it was decided on by the Twitter polls, go give it a read. I’ll be posting alternate endings that weren’t chosen to the story over the coming months.

The last item I said I would do as part of Project Tasman was a Q&A session about the story. I’ve been gathering Q&A questions since early in the story and will answer as many as I can here. I’m going to keep my answers a bit more condensed here — otherwise you’d be reading a 10,000 word piece. That said, I will be expanding on a few of these answers in a Q&A podcast I’ll be posting publicly on my Patreon. That podcast will be available to everyone, so no need to pledge to listen (though I’d be grateful if you did).

Also — massive spoilers ahead for the whole story. If you’d rather not be spoiled, go read Project Tasman via the links above and come back here after.

What’s the biggest thing you’d change if you could start over with the story?

This is by far the question that I got the most frequently throughout the story. That said, it’s also the easiest to answer. I would change the whole concept of the changing names/false names that I had in the story. I had that idea at the very beginning of the story before I realized how insanely confusing that’d be to write. If I did it again, I’d limit the name changes to Carrie, Brielle, and Quinn. In Carrie’s case, the name change is needed to preserve the twist for her character. In Brielle’s case, it becomes critical to her identity in certain endings. And in Quinn’s case, she literally had a name change, so there’s no avoiding it for her.

You initially mentioned this would be a month-long project. What changed it into the novel-length project we have now?

I really got into the story. That’s pretty much the sole reason I kept going with it.

As for what I initially planned, I had this idea that the player character of the story, Alana, would be killing someone at the end of the story. And the premise was going to be that Alana was trying to solve this puzzle like a murder mystery to figure out who around her was the killer. Then at the end, she’d realize the killer was her. I still love this idea, but not for this story.

Why do you think there was so much shipping in this story, specifically the Brilana ship and the throuple ship between Quinn/Brielle/Alana?

Shippers gonna ship.

That said, I think people ship as a way to live vicariously through certain characters and what they want for that character (or themselves). The Brielle and Alana ship makes sense because Brielle is overtly sexual and uses it to her advantage against Alana. And I think people find that intriguing, which makes the shipping easy. As for the throuple shipping, I think that came about as a natural extension of Brielle being into Alana, as well as the fact that Quinn is polyamorous. I don’t personally ship it, but I get where it comes from. I did pay homage to this in the chosen ending — and it’s the only ending that could have been picked where this reference existed.

There was a poll in Arn’s loop where we had to choose a D&D alignment. You mentioned there was an alternative naming system you’d considered. What was it?

Your reaction was going going to be on some sort of scale between Lawful and Chaotic on one axis and Playful and Sexy on the other. That said, I never found a scale I liked and that fit, so I scrapped it.

Are there any scenes you felt limited in writing because of the Twitter format?

There are two scenes that jump out here. The first is the suicide discussion between Alana and Mel in Alana’s loop. I couldn’t go into this discussion as much as I’d wanted because I didn’t want to accidentally trigger random passersby. That said, I had a much lengthier, more open-ended discussion between them initially planned.

The other scene is the shower scene with Alana and Quinn at the end of Arn’s loop. It’s the one where Quinn and Alana are in the shower together after having a popcorn fight before Alana breaks down from the trauma and torture that is Project Tasman. If I weren’t writing for Twitter and the public forum, that scene would have gone on much longer — both the sexual nature that it starts out being and Alana’s eventual meltdown. I think it’s arguably the one time in the story where a very intimate scene (and I say that both sexually and then emotionally between Quinn and Alana) is needed and should have been done in deeper detail. But people get kind of pissy if you try to write erotica on Twitter, so I chose not to.

Why was Jeff such an inconsistent character?

Jeff was never meant to be anything more than a throwaway character. But then he became a bit of a meme early in the story, so I gave him a bigger role. This isn’t the first time I’ve had an ascended extra in a story, but it’s the first time they’ve been a hated character. I finally figured out how I wanted to write him. The problem was that it took nearly three-quarters of the story for me to find his voice. For most of the story, he was more plot device than character. This would be one of my first changes in a re-write.

Why would anyone want to kill Carrie?

Even though this was the chosen ending, I’d argue no one actually wanted to kill Carrie. That’s kind of the point of the moral quandary that I ended up going with as the theme of the story. Even when given that level of ultimate power, most people would struggle with deciding how to use it. And it’s completely understandable why.

I think the reason Carrie was chosen is because there was such a low likelihood of survival from her car crash. There is an ending where she does survive and that ending is my headcanon ending. But I get why people chose to have Carrie die.

What’s the worst choice we (the Twitter voters) made?

I don’t think there were any directly terrible choices made. The shippers taking control of Noel’s loop was the most ill-advised choice made, in that you learned next to nothing about Noel. But even this wasn’t completely a negative.

One one hand, ignoring Noel forced you to learn that Carrie and Sabrina are one and the same a full loop early. This lessened the impact of that twist, in my opinion. Had you learned about it on time, it would have happened at the end of Carrie’s loop. Readers would have gone through Carrie’s whole cloudcookoolander persona time, only to be hit with the wham twist of her identity at the end of the loop. And I think this would have hit REALLY hard.

However, that would have also locked you into a path where you make a choice about killing Arn at the beginning of his loop. The choice would have been either to kill Arn then, antagonize him, or question his motives. The former would have ended the story just after its midpoint. Antagonizing him would have locked you into a path where either you kill Noel, you kill Arn, or you die. The only way out of that would have been to question Arn’s motives — but by avoiding Noel, you also avoided turning on hard mode for the rest of the story.

By ignoring Noel, you also locked yourself out of the choice to kill Quinn. This is probably for the best, as the ending where you kill Quinn is a massive downer.

What’s your preferred ending to the story, both as a reader and as the author?

As a reader, I really like the ending we got. It’s bittersweet in that Carrie dies. But nearly everyone else gets what they deserve. Arn is shunned. Noel is in prison still. Quinn gets her happy life and maybe her desired polyamory. Brielle gets to work in a hotel in the Netherlands and maybe have the relationship she wants with Alana. Alana is at peace with everything she has to do.

As the author, I most wanted us to have the ending where Arn dies. Once I started planning it out, I made it where there’s only one ending where Carrie survives, and that’s the ending where Arn dies. In that ending, you have medical POA over Carrie now, but don’t need to consider euthanasia because she recovers miraculously. Brielle gets out and gets everything she does in the ending we got — except that she feels she needs a clean break from Quinn and Alana for her mental health. Noel stays stuck in Project Tasman. It’s all the good things about White Ending 1, plus Carrie lives in exchange for no polyamorous ending with Brielle.

As a side note, I’m treating the Yellow/Arn ending as the canon ending for any future projects you might see with these characters.

Who was your favorite character to write?

Carrie. Writing her actions and dialogue was so simple. I just said to myself “what is the most absurd response possible to this scenario?”. And that’s what Carrie did. She’s capable of being serious — especially as Sabrina — but that didn’t need to come through much here.

Who was your favorite character in general?

Quinn. I adore her character and her backstory. She’s the closest I’ve ever written to a me-level hopeless romantic in a story. If I re-write this story, that’ll come out more.

Who was your least favorite character to write?

I want to say Jeff, but that was more because I didn’t know what I was doing with him for most of the story. If I’m objective about it, the answer is probably Arn. He was one of two really morally gray characters in the story, the other being Brielle. While I think I did a pretty good job of developing Brielle in such a way that people were still rooting for her even if they didn’t like her, Arn was meant to be more of a character that you didn’t like even if you understood where he was coming from and could potentially empathize with him. And I think he just came off as a total dick in most cases.

Who was your least favorite character in general?

Noel. Fuck Noel.

Was there a scene that we didn’t get to see that you wish we had?

There’s a scene I’d originally written for the end of Noel’s loop where you end up hiding in Quinn’s room while she’s sleeping. This same premise happens in the version of the story you all got to see, but the key difference here is that she wakes up in the loop where you stay with Noel. Remember, in that loop not only are you and Quinn not together and you’re back with Noel, but Quinn is very broken up about it.

The scene in question features Alana talking to Quinn about how she’s scared about Project Tasman without specifically explaining why or what’s going on. And Quinn gets very protective of her. The scene gave a bit of foreshadowing to Quinn’s darker past. It was also meant to reinforce the fact that she loves Alana unconditionally, even if that love isn’t returned. Because, again, I adore Quinn and she’s insanely loving.

My 10 Favorite Shiny Pokemon of Each Type

Last month, I wrote a post detailing my 10 favorite Poekmon of each type. I wrote it because I was tired and because it required relatively little thought — and if I’m honest, because my Pokemon and Fire Emblem posts are good for getting traffic here. So I’m doing a follow up to that post, wherein I’m borrowing another idea from Lola over at That Little Lola. This month, I’m writing a post compiling my 10 favorite shiny Pokemon by each type.

That all said, here are the rules.

  • Pokemon may appear in multiple typing lists (so if Pidgey were one of my favorite Normal and Flying types, it could appear in both lists).
  • All Pokemon may appear in the list, including legendaries, regional variants, and various Pokemon forms.
  • Pokemon whose type can be modified with items (Genesect, Silvally, Rotom, etc) will appear in whatever their base type is. For Pokemon that have different variations present in the wild (Oricorio), I’ll consider them in all types they’re available in.
  • A Pokemon’s evolution line may only appear once per type. For example, if both Pidgey and Pidgeot were in my top 10 normal types, whichever one is ranked lower would be removed from the list. Exceptions: The Nidoran lines remain split because of how they appeared in Gen I. Same with the evolutions of Tyrogue for the same reason.
  • This list may not be 100% consistent with previous top Pokemon lists I’ve made. This is partly because a new generation has come out since then, but also because opinions change, man.
  • As I’ve done before, I’m going to be using Dragonfly Cave’s favorite picker tool to help me make these lists.

Here we go.

Normal

10. Meloetta (Aria Forme)
9. Furfrou (Dandy Forme)
8. Wooloo
7. Bunnelby
6. Linoone (Hoenn)
5. Deerling (Summer Forme)
4. Pikipek
3. Unfezant (Male)
2. Taillow
1. Furret

Because many Pokemon have such wildly different shinies form to form1Pokemon spells it as forme, but I’m going to call it form in this section, as autocorrect REALLY hates the word forme., you’ll notice that I broke out the forms in much greater detail here than my other list. I’d forgotten just how good male Unfezant’s shiny was until I started making this list. It wasn’t enough to knock off my two favorite Normal shinies, but it is really good. You may also notice a complete lack of Kanto shinies, as well as only one from Johto. This may well become a theme, because many of the early gen shines were rough to look at.

Fire

10. Blacephalon
9. Salandit
8. Raboot
7. Victini
6. Incineroar
5. Magcargo
4. Ponyta (Kanto)
3. Chandelure
2. Braixen
1. Oricorio (Baile Form)

I enjoy how much this specific list mirrored my favorite Fire types list with four of the Pokemon (Oricorio, Chandelure, Magcargo, Incineroar) being exactly the same and two others (Braixen, Raboot) being other Pokemon I liked within the same evolutionary line as ones that made my other list. This specific list features a pair of Pokemon I’ve been looking for a shiny of for a long time, so if you know anyone who has a shiny Oricorio Baile or Ponyta from Kanto, let me know.

Fighting

10. Makuhita
9. Scrafty
8. Grapploct
7. Breloom
6. Combusken
5. Passimian
4. Crabrawler
3. Meloetta (Pirouette Forme)
2. Pheramosa
1. Poliwrath

Hello. It’s still me. The only Crabominable fan in existence…though I prefer Crabrawler’s shiny to that of its evolved counterpart. The red boxing gloves are a nice touch. Shout out to Passimian for managing to have a not terrible shiny that I’d completely forgotten about.

Water

10. Accelgor
9. Tirtouga
8. Pelipper
7. Tapu Fini
6. Clawitzer
5. Cramorant
4. Simipour
3. Kabutops
2. Poliwrath
1. Shellder

Congratulations to Dracovish for potentially having the worst new shiny in Gen VIII2All of the fossil shinies in Gen VIII are very bad.! You earned it! That said, you might notice that my top five here are all repeats from my favorite Water type list. This is for a good reason — if there’s a Pokemon I really like, it never hurts my opinion on its shiny, especially if that shiny is above average.

Flying

10. Mothim
9. Drifloon
8. Cramorant
7. Rookidee
6. Pikipek
5. Zubat
4. Oricorio (Baile Form)
3. Unfezant (Male)
2. Taillow
1. Murkrow

Flying type has so many good shinies, but they nearly all follow a specific pattern. That pattern is that the pre-evolution shinies nearly universally look better than the fully evolved form shinies. There are certainly some exceptions to this, but considering that Rowlet, Trumbeak, Hoothoot, and Golbat all just missed this list, there’s a definite trend here. In some cases, this is because the end stage evolution has a poor shiny (see Rookidee vs. Corviknight), but in most cases, it’s just that I like the pre-evolution’s shiny better.

Grass

10. Tsareena
9. Roserade
8. Cacturne
7. Morelull
6. Decidueye
5. Deerling (Summer Forme)
4. Oddish
3. Seedot
2. Tangela
1. Dhelmise

I had never seen Morelull’s shiny before making this list. And you know what? It’s really good. I’ve placed it 7th because I don’t want to overvalue a Pokemon just because I just saw its shiny and am reacting upon initial sight. But damn. That’s a good shiny.

Poison

10. Ariados
9. Nidoking
8. Toxapex
7. Poipole
6. Roserade
5. Salandit
4. Oddish
3. Venomoth
2. Zubat
1. Mega Beedrill

Remember how I said that Flying type had so many good shinies? Venomoth — a Pokemon that would have struggled to make the top 15 Flying types — comes in third on my Poison shinies. It’s not for a lack of good Poison types, as you’ll notice by many of the other Pokemon featured here also appearing in their respective dual types lists. Flying was just that deep. It’s a shame Mega Evolutions aren’t in the game anymore, as Mega Beedrill has an amazing shiny.

Electric

10. Mega Ampharos
9. Heliolisk
8. Electrode
7. Graveler (Alolan Forme)
6. Eelektross
5. Magnezone
4. Raichu (Alolan Forme)
3. Manectric
2. Vikavolt
1. Xurkitree

Meanwhile, Electric type has some BAD shinies. When Electrode — one of the most forgettable shinies in existence — makes the top 10 comfortably, your typing has a shiny type problem. The top four Pokemon here all have great shinies, but the drop off from fifth onward is harsh.

Ground

10. Gabite
9. Barboach
8. Golurk
7. Vibrava
6. Donphan
5. Palpitoad
4. Nidoking
3. Pupitar
2. Sandslash (Kanto Forme)
1. Palossand

Ground type is the land of mid-stage evolutions with really good shinies. Krokorok, Zygarde, and Piloswine all just missed this list, which would have added to the four mid-stage evolutions already on the list. With the exception of Vibrava, nearly all of them are more vibrant than their end stage evolutions. That’s usually what draws me to shiny Pokemon. If two Pokemon are side-by-side and one of them is just a dulled version of their main pallet, I’m going to like it far less than a shiny Pokemon that dials up the contrast of its colors. Palpitoad and Pupitar are two of the best examples of this period, not just in the Ground type.

Psychic

10. Dottler
9. Deoxys (Speed Forme)
8. Lunala
7. Sigilyph
6. Victini
5. Meowstic (Female)
4. Slowking
3. Mega Gardevoir
2. Solrock
1. Espeon

This might well be the most colorful collection of shinies on this list, featuring Pokemon who are primarily lime green, red-orange, black, magenta, white, purple, crimson, and silver. And that’s not even counting whatever you’d call the technicolor dream coat that Sigilyph’s shiny is.

Rock

10. Tirtouga
9. Corsola (Johto Forme)
8. Omastar
7. Roggenrola
6. Magcargo
5. Graveler (Alolan Forme)
4. Pupitar
3. Solrock
2. Shuckle
1. Kabutops

Rock has some interesting shiny Pokemon, including a few that people otherwise forget about. Johto’s form of Corsola is one of the better baby blue shiny Pokemon, while Magcargo and Slugma both have real underrated shinies. The Mountain Dew Reaper owns the top spot here, but not for a lack of competition.

Ice

10. Sealeo
9. Eiscue
8. Piloswine
7. Mega Glalie
6. Sandslash (Alolan Forme)
5. Avalugg
4. Lapras
3. Crabominable
2. Delibird
1. Cryoganal

Ice type might be my favorite typing for Pokemon as a whole, but the shiny sprites for the type are woefully underwhelming. Hell, even one of my least favorite Pokemon period, Mega Glalie, made this list — though that has more to do with the Snorunt line having good shinies than anything else. If I were allowing more than one representative per evolution line, this list would be dominated by the Bergmite, Snorun, and Alolan Sandshrew lines.

Bug

10. Araquanid
9. Ariados
8. Venomoth
7. Accelgor
6. Vikavolt
5. Wurmple
4. Pheramosa
3. Mega Beedrill
2. Shuckle
1. Scizor

Much like Bug is a brutal typing on my favorites list, it’s a rough typing to get near the top in shinies as well. The top 8 here are very tightly packed — to the point where you could throw the top 5 in particular into a hat and let me draw a name for first place.

Dragon

10. Druddigon
9. Kingdra
8. Naganadel
7. Flapple
6. Latios
5. Gabite
4. Mega Ampharos
3. Mega Altaria
2. Vibrava
1. Dragonaire

Much like Ice, the Dragon shiny pool is pretty shallow. In addition to suffering from Middle Pokemon Are Better syndrome, there are just some ill-advised shiny colorations (looking at you, Dragonite). I feel like shiny Flapple would be higher on this list if I had one for myself, as the granny smith apple coloration is pretty good.

Ghost

10. Mismagius
9. Jellicent (Male)
8. Decidueye
7. Aegislash
6. Golurk
5. Lunala
4. Dhelmise
3. Palossand
2. Mega Banette
1. Chandelure

This is how you do a thin pool. Despite Ghost being one of the least represented types in all of Pokemon, nearly all of the shinies are above average, with most of them being amazing3I mean, the less said about shiny Dusknoir, the better. But that’s it.. One of the shinies I most actively sought out in Pokemon Go — Mismagius — barely even cracks the top ten here. Ghost might well have the best top to bottom shiny quality of any typing…but that’s another post.

Dark

10. Purrloin
9. Morgrem
8. Krokorok
7. Shiftry
6. Incineroar
5. Bisharp
4. Scrafty
3. Cacturne
2. Umbreon
1. Murkrow

Alright. I swear it wasn’t intentional that the top three of this list is identical to my top three favorite Dark types as a whole. It just kind of worked out that way. There are a small handful of Pokemon whose typing I forget changes as they evolve, only to remember them when I make lists like this. The most notable example is how Staryu is mono-Water type and not Water/Psychic like its evolution. That said, the second biggest example I can think of is the fact that I never remember that Seedot is mono-Grass.

Steel

10. Magearna
9. Lucario
8. Bisharp
7. Genesect
6. Escavalier
5. Magnezone
4. Aegislash
3. Zacian (Crowned Forme)
2. Mega Mawile
1. Scizor

Most Steel types have shinies that are varying shades of gold, silver, and gray. If you’ve made it this far in the list, it should not shock you that most of my choices for this list do not follow that pattern. Sure, Magnezone and Magearna make the list, but they’re the exceptions, not the rule. In Steel type, it’s important to stand out. That’s what the best shinies in this type do well.

Fairy

10. Tapu Lele
9. Mega Gardevoir
8. Morgrem
7. Mr. Mime (Kanto forme)
6. Azumarill
5. Mimikyu
4. Morelull
3. Sylveon
2. Tapu Fini
1. Mega Mawile

Mega Mawile goes back-to-back, which shouldn’t come as a shock. That said, shout out to Mimikyu for making the drained color shiny work. It wasn’t enough to crack the top 10 in Ghost, but that type is stacked. It’s a good shiny, despite the fact that it goes against the logic of most shiny coloration.

Book Launch Announcement (Times Two)

Hello. Yes, I know this is a non-Monday post. I have something to say.

*clears throat*

KOTOV SYNDROME WILL BE RELEASING ON JANUARY 23, 2021!

Announcement – Part 1

Oh. Hi. If you can still hear over the sound of my all caps shouting, I have some things to tell you about.

I’ve been talking about my work in progress book, Kotov Syndrome, for nearly three years now. I recently shared that I have a fancy awesome cover created by the talented Lauren Restivo. Since that point, I’ve reviewed three proof copies of my book, done a few rounds of editing, and gotten very angry KDP’s inability to handle the italic version of Helvetica1Seriously. This was the weirdest thing. There’s no good explanation for it anywhere in KDP’s documentation. The only thing I can figure is that Word technically classifies Helvetica’s italic version as an oblique font rather than true italics. But still. It’s fucking Helvetica. It’s been around since 1957!. That said, I think I’m finally done with editing (aside from one last grammar and style check). That means I can finally submit my manuscript to various platforms and setup pre-order. That, in turn, means I have a release date.

As of today, you can pre-order Kotov Syndrome as an ebook and paperback through various channels. I’ll be linking to some places where you can buy at the bottom of the post. While I encourage you to pre-order via whatever channels you enjoy the most, if you don’t care, I would recommend pre-ordering the ebook through Amazon or Apple Books. The more pre-orders I can get for an e-book, the better. As for paperback, feel free to request through your own local book store or your shop of preference. I personally adore Barnes & Noble, but I know that’s a me thing. And hey…while you’re at it, you should totally request my book through your local public library. Because that’d be the coolest thing of all.

I do not intend to do a hardcover version of the book at this time. While I’d personally love a hardcover of the book, there wasn’t a ton of interest in it outside of myself — especially not at the price point I’d have to put it at in order to even break even on a hardcover. If there’s enough pre-order interest in my book, I might change my mind. Additionally, if I can get enough support on Patreon to be able to fund some advertising for the book, that would potentially change this as well. So, if you’re not a patron and wish to help put me in a position where I can do hardcovers, go support me on Patreon. Please 😀

One other quick note I want to throw out there. This book deals a lot with mental health issues, as you’ll see in the synopsis. For every book I sell (pre-order or otherwise), a portion of the money I make will to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I don’t know an exact amount yet, as there are still storefronts working on being setup. That said, I’m leaning towards something like 15% of the proceeds I’d make for a book.

Synopsis

So what’s this book about? You know, since I’m encouraging you to buy it and stuff.

Kotov Syndrome Cover

Kotov Syndrome focuses on a young woman, Erika Edens, who is struggling with life. She’s stuck in a dead-end job, suffers from mental illness and recurring nightmares, is estranged from her family, and is unlucky with love. Out of the blue, Erika’s ex-girlfriend and only previous long-term relationship, Abby Lin, contacts her out of the blue. There’s just one small problem.

Abby is a computer simulation. And she needs Erika to save her.

The story follows Abby as she adjusts to living life as a computer simulation in an android body in a world increasingly hostile to this technology. Meanwhile, Erika finally has her long-lost love back in her life. But can she put her demons aside long enough to co-exist with Abby as a roommate?

Trigger Warnings: Alcoholism, anxiety, bigotry, car accident, death, hate crimes, homophobia, intrusive thoughts, mental illness, racism, sexism, strong language, trauma/PTSD, violence

Feedback on Kotov Syndrome

While Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of Kotov Syndrome are not yet available — more to come on that — I wanted to share some feedback I received from beta readers on the book. These pieces of feedback have been shared with the consent of the beta readers in question. While they did review a working version of the book, I feel like their feedback is worth sharing, hence asking them and then doing so. Quotes may be shortened for clarity, but are otherwise unaltered.

It’s an easy read. Like not in a childish way, but some books just seem heavy and need breaks. I didn’t want to stop reading yours. – K.N.

I read through it in 2 days on the first reading on my phone, so it is definitely not boring. – T.

Abby and Erika feel very real and they both feel very…whole. It’s absolutely like getting a glimpse of full, real people with rich histories that, even if I don’t know them, they’re there. – E.J.

The entirety of what I have written for Chapter 22 is “That… was terrifying”. SO. MANY. FEELINGS. – S.S.

I do really like Erika’s character though. She seems very real, and very flawed, which is nice. Not a heroine, yet relatable. – T.W.

Announcement – Part 2

Wait, you say, confused why I’m speaking for you in the middle of a blog post that you’re reading inside your own head. There’s a part 2 to this announcement? Yes, there is.

On the same day that Kotov Syndrome is releasing, author duo Jacob Crawford will be releasing the second book in the Dark Sentinels series, this one being called The Assassin.

For those unaware, Jacob Crawford is a mother-daughter author duo comprised of P.E. Crawford and E.V. Jacob. E.V. is a dear friend of mine and I could not be more excited than I am to be launching our books on the same date. I’m also the editor for The Assassin and believe me when I say that I am hyped as fuck for this book. While The Assassin is not available for pre-order at this time, you should consider picking up the first book in the series, The Shadows, to have something to read while you wait on our books to come out.

Where You Can Pre-Order Books

If you’re interested in pre-ordering either Kotov Syndrome, I’ve put plenty of links below to help you do so. As we get closer to the release date for these books, if there’s anything you can do — or would like to do — to help spread the word about said books, we’d love your help. More info on that to come in the near future. If/once The Assassin is available for pre-order, information for that will be posted here as well.

Kotov Syndrome Pre-Order Links

UPDATE (11/22/20): This page was getting insanely long, so I’ve moved all of these links to the new Kotov Syndrome page on my blog. If you haven’t already, go add the book to your Goodreads shelf.

My 10 Favorite Pokemon of Each Type

So um…yeah. That whole My Pokemon Gym series that’s given me content for the past 17 months1The original post was a one-off I did nearly a half year before the rest of the posts.? It’s over now. And because this blog is a video game and writing blog, I feel like I should write more video game things. Thing is, I’m writing this in the early summer of 2020. And let me be clear — I’m mentally exhausted right now.

As such, I’m stealing an idea from Lola over at That Little Lola…kind of. She does posts going through her favorite Pokemon of each type. Which is awesome and is the concept that inspired this post. That said, I don’t feel like writing another 18 month long series. That sounds exhausting. So I’m going to write two really LONG Pokemon posts. This will be the first one, while the second will be about shiny Pokemon. I also won’t be sharing thoughts on every single Pokemon on the list, because I don’t feel like writing a 10,000-word post that isn’t fiction or about Fire Emblem. I will give a quick wrap up of each type at the end of the type, however.

That all said, here are the rules.

  • Pokemon may appear in multiple typing lists (so if Pidgey were one of my favorite Normal and Flying types, it could appear in both lists).
  • All Pokemon may appear in the list, including legendaries, regional variants, and various Pokemon forms.
  • Pokemon whose type can be modified with items (Genesect, Silvally, Rotom, etc) will appear in whatever their base type is. For Pokemon that have different variations present in the wild (Oricorio), I’ll consider them in all types they’re available in.
  • A Pokemon’s evolution line may only appear once per type. For example, if both Pidgey and Pidgeot were in my top 10 normal types, whichever one is ranked lower would be removed from the list. Exceptions: The Nidoran lines remain split because of how they appeared in Gen I. Same with the evolutions of Tyrogue for the same reason.
  • This list may not be 100% consistent with previous top Pokemon lists I’ve made. This is partly because a new generation has come out since then, but also because opinions change, man.
  • As I’ve done before, I’m going to be using Dragonfly Cave’s favorite picker tool to help me make these lists.

Here we go.

Normal

10. Lickitung
9. Porygon-Z
8. Swellow
7. Eevee
6. Fearow
5. Furret
4. Jigglypuff
3. Delcatty
2. Dodrio
1. Rattata

With apologies to Bidoof, my favorite first route Normal type and my original childhood favorite Pokemon tops the Normal type list. Normal’s frequent crossover with Flying means there are a lot of birds on this list. The most surprising Pokemon on this list were Furret — who I’ve grown to love over the past few years — and Lickitung (who was an afterthought until I played Let’s Go Eevee).

Fire

10. Magmar
9. Cinderace
8. Centiscorch
7. Incineroar
6. Flareon
5. Magcargo
4. Chandelure
3. Oricorio (Baile Form)
2. Delphox
1. Vulpix

If I didn’t limit each Pokemon evolution chain to one appearance per type, this list would primarily be just the Vulpix, Fennekin, and Litwick evolution lines. That’s the thing about Fire types. I either adore them or I hate them. Really once you get past Flareon on this list, it’s a lot of ‘yeah…I guess that’s fine’ options. Shoutout to Oricorio Baile Form for being the lynchpin of my Gen VII doubles teams.

Fighting

10. Heracross
9. Kommo-o
8. Hawlucha
7. Breloom
6. Hitmonlee
5. Crabominable
4. Poliwrath
3. Marshadow
2. Pheramosa
1. Hitmonchan

Hello. It’s me. The only Crabominable fan in existence. Alola had some awesome Fighting types. So much so that three Pokemon I love using in games — Bewear, Falinks, and Gallade — all miss the cut for this list. Hitmonchan and Pheramosa were and easy one and two on this list. That said, everything from third through I’d estimate fifteenth or so is a tough debate. There are a ton of Fighting types I feel freely similarly about.

Water

10. Cramorant
9. Simipour
8. Lapras
7. Kabutops
6. Toxapex
5. Poliwrath
4. Vaporeon
3. Tapu Fini
2. Quagsire
1. Shellder

Hey! We have our first crossover Pokemon between lists. I’d say I’m surprised it didn’t come sooner, but then I look at the types above and realize it makes sense this hasn’t happened before now. Inteleon and Omastar were the most difficult cuts from this list, while the debate between Quagsire and Shellder was tough at the top of the list. Excluding every Water starter was rough, as I’m always Mr. Use A Water Starter in my games. That said, Pokemon has never been lacking for likeable Water types.

Flying

10. Xatu
9. Swellow
8. Drifblim
7. Crobat
6. Fearow
5. Sigilyph
4. Oricorio Baile Form
3. Murkrow
2. Dodrio
1. Articuno

Arguably the easiest top three to pick thus far, I could have told you that this list would be Articuno, Dodrio, and Murkow in that order even without the picker tool. That said, I find that I do have a fondness for the Psychic/Flying typing, with both Sigilyph and Xatu making the list. If only I liked Lugia more.

Grass

10. Tangrowth
9. Cacturne
8. Decidueye
7. Pansage
6. Kartana
5. Bellsprout
4. Tsareena
3. Leavanny
2. Parasect
1. Oddish

It took a tiny bulb Pokemon to keep the Bug/Grass representatives from sweeping the top spots on this list. As you might be able to tell, my Grass type Pokemon likes are either cute, tiny things, or horrifying monstrosities. There isn’t really an in-between here.

Poison

10. Salazzle
9. Tentacruel
8. Ekans
7. Beedrill
6. Ariados
5. Toxapex
4. Crobat
3. Bellspout
2. Venomoth
1. Oddish

More than any other generation on this entire list, Poison type has a very strong Gen I bias. Thing is, I really don’t like a ton of Poison types in general and especially not Gen I Poisons. Of all post-Gen I poison types, the only ones I’ve ever used on my end of game teams are Toxapex (which I’ve used very heavily) and Eternatus (which…meh?). There’ll be some variation soon though.

Electric

10. Vikavolt
9. Emolga
8. Magnezone
7. Pachirisu
6. Jolteon
5. Tapu Koko
4. Xurkitree
3. Stunfisk
2. Zebstrika
1. Galvantula

Gen I’s reign of terror at the top of the type list ends in an abrupt way, as there are zero Gen I Pokemon in my top five Electric types. Thing is, both Galar (Pinchurchin, Toxtricity) and Kanto (Electrode, Raichu) had Pokemon just missing out on the top ten.

Ground

10. Dugtrio
9. Mudsdale
8. Vibrava
7. Sandaconda
6. Sandslash
5. Stunfisk
4. Palossand
3. Whiscash
2. Krookodile
1. Quagsire

Alright, let’s get this out of the way. LOOK AT THAT FACE! LOOK AT IT! That said, shout out to Vibrava for being one of the few middle stage evolutions that I like better than either the form bigger or smaller than it.

Psychic

10. Lunala
9. Alakazam
8. Xatu
7. Meloetta (Aria Forme)
6. Sigilyph
5. Espeon
4. Delphox
3. Gardevoir
2. Jynx
1. Hypno

Hypno carried me through my very first run of Pokemon Blue ever (at age 11 or so), meaning I have a soft spot for this incredibly creepy Pokemon. This is in spite of other Psychics in the top ten being my one of my favorite shinies (Espeon), the lone mythical I REALLY want (Meloetta), two of my favorite VGC Pokemon (Gardevoir, Alakazam), and one of my favorite Pokemon to annoy others with (Jynx). Also, let this list serve as your daily reminder that Noctowl is not a Psychic type.

Rock

10. Carracosta
9. Aurorus
8. Nihilego
7. Onix
6. Solrock
5. Magcargo
4. Omastar
3. Shuckle
2. Kabutops
1. Sudowoodo

Rock type is filled with Pokemon I’m indifferent about. Even the bottom parts of this top ten show this. I mean, Solrock and Nihilego are fine Pokemon — they’re just better than a bunch of other Pokemon I also don’t care much about. The top four of Rock are amazing and fifth isn’t too bad either. But after that, there’s a steep dropoff.

Ice

10. Glaceon
9. Crabominable
8. Jynx
7. Dewgong
6. Cloyster
5. Frosmoth
4. Lapras
3. Froslass
2. Ninetales (Alolan Forme)
1. Articuno

Yes, my favorite Ice type is a legendary. No, I do not care.

Bug

10. Wurmple
9. Shuckle
8. Galvantula
7. Ariados
6. Scizor
5. Venomoth
4. Pheramosa
3. Leavanny
2. Frosmoth
1. Parasect

Remember how I said Rock sucked because nothing after 5th was anything I cared about? Bug was the opposite of that. Two Pokemon I’ve used regularly in battle — Heracross and Butterfree — didn’t even sniff the top ten. Galvantula was my top Electric type Pokemon and it’s EIGHTH on this list. There’s another type further down this list that made that type’s top five and it didn’t make the top ten here. Bug type’s brutal, yo.

Dragon

10. Goodra
9. Eternatus
8. Drampa
7. Zygarde
6. Vibrava
5. Altaria
4. Exeggutor (Alolan Forme)
3. Kommo-o
2. Dragonaire
1. Kingdra

The entire Dratini line could have made this list, but my self-imposed one Pokemon per evolution line limit prevents that. Alolan Exeggutor might be the funniest thing I’ve seen in a Pokemon game, even now that we’re a few years after it came out. Do I use it? Nah. Do I laugh every time I see it? Yes.

Ghost

10. Banette
9. Lunala
8. Mimikyu
7. Palossand
6. Marshadow
5. Decidueye
4. Drifblim
3. Mismagius
2. Chandelure
1. Froslass

The top two spots here might have been the hardest choice on any of these lists, especially since both of them feature on my current Shield singles team. Froslass gets the edge if only because of my love for Ice types. You may notice the is the second list Palossand has shown up on. I’d argue it’s one of the most underrated Pokemon to come out of Alola.

Dark

10. Houndoom
9. Muk (Alolan Forme)
8. Absol
7. Incineroar
6. Shiftry
5. Krookodile
4. Liepard
3. Cacturne
2. Umbreon
1. Murkrow

Dark, like Rock, is kind of top-heavy. It’s not to the same extent, as there are quite a few Dark types I love. But I almost put Guzzlord in the top 10. And Guzzlord is just fever dream Muk. Speaking of Muk, I completely forgot about its existence until shortly before publishing this list, meaning Weavile got bumped at the last second. I feel like I should do a gym theme post wherein my theme is Pokemon I love that everyone else seems to hate. It can be Cacturne, Crabominable, and four other Pokemon that I’ll figure out when I’m not sleepy.

Steel

10. Copperajah
9. Ferrothorn
8. Skarmory
7. Kartana
6. Corviknight
5. Meltan
4. Empoleon
3. Scizor
2. Magnezone
1. Mawile

Oh look. Another type filled with cute things or horrifying monstrosities. Or, in Mawile’s case, both.

Fairy

10. Tapu Koko
9. Mimikyu
8. Clefairy
7. Primarina
6. Sylveon
5. Ribombee
4. Gardevoir
3. Mawile
2. Tapu Fini
1. Jigglypuff

The fact that Ribombee couldn’t crack the top 10 Bug types should tell you something about how deep Bug is in my mind. That said, once this list got past Clefairy, I was really struggling not to pick things in the evolutionary line of stuff I’d already picked. Apologies to the Milcery line, whose entire evolution gimmick is a big reason why I don’t like it as much as I should.