Category: Video Games

5 Things I Want to See in Brave Frontier 2

Although I don’t talk about it much on this blog, one of my favorite video games of all time is Brave Frontier. It’s a mobile game that a fellow blogger named Jun introduced me to in late 2013. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Brave Frontier is a turn-based strategy game where you play as a summoner who summons deceased heroes and villains from a war between gods and humans. The game features numerous modes, including an in-depth story mode, player versus player arena modes, cooperative raid and guild modes, and more tedious single player challenges such as trials and grand quests. Your units are largely obtained through the game’s gacha summoning system, though there are a handful of units that can be obtained for free throughout the game’s story mode or via special events. While Brave Frontier’s in-game currency can be obtained in some amount through normal game play or via special events, the currency can also be purchased via real money.

While I adore (most of) the gameplay in Brave Frontier, there are some things I’d like to see improved. One of the game’s makers, Gumi, recently announced Brave Frontier 2 with an anticipated release in winter of 2017. With that launch in the (hopefully) not so distant future, I wanted to take a look at five things that would, in my opinion, help the user experience as Brave Frontier 2 readies to launch.

1. Top-tier evolutions available for all units

In Brave Frontier, there are currently (as of October 7, 2017) 222 units that have the ability to evolve to the game’s top rarity tier, Omni evolution. While this does give the option for some team variety, unless you’re regularly summoning for new units, you’re likely not to end up with a diverse set of units capable of performing well in all game modes. Clearly you’ll need different skills for different challenges, however if all units — including legacy units that never received an Omni evolution — had full evolutions, it would allow for greater team diversity and a more engaged player base. After all, if a player can take their favorite units into battle often, they’ll play the game more. Not to say my favorite unit hasn’t received a new evolution for two years or anything.

Who can BF learn from? Fire Emblem: Heroes

Unlike Brave Frontier, every unit in Fire Emblem: Heroes can be evolved to an end stage evolution. Granted, the evolution system in Heroes isn’t nearly as good as the one in Brave Frontier, but they have every single unit available to evolve into the game’s top-tier of units. Of course, combining this idea with my second suggestion would only further allow players to use their favorite units more frequently.

2. Eliminate the gacha system

If you’re not familiar with a gacha system or a gacha machine, basically you put in your money/game currency/whatever, then you get your item/unit/prize at random from whatever is in the pool of items/units/prizes. Make sense? Brave Frontier takes that system and modifies it ever so slightly, providing some gacha pools with limited units or limited types, as well as occasional pools with unit rate ups. That said, when your game has 1700+ total units, and roughly 1200 of those could be pull from various gates, your odds of getting the unit you want aren’t great. There’s a better way…and it’s even been done by Brave Frontier before.

Who can BF learn from? My Little Pony: Magic Princess, King’s Raid, Brave Frontier Japan, and countless other games.

Many other strategy games allow unit acquisition via straight unit purchase, either via in-game currency or real money. Yes, better units require more currency. But that’s to be expected. Brave Frontier Japan actually has a unit pull system where you’re guaranteed the unit you want to get at anywhere between two to six times the cost of a random unit purchase. There’s so many ways to give players access to units to play a game besides a gacha system. I’d hope Brave Frontier 2 chooses one of those systems.

3. A better arena experience

Arena modes are Brave Frontier’s biggest player versus player modes. One of the modes — normal Arena — is a good mode, albeit a tedious grind fest. It was my favorite mode in the game until the final world of the main story came out. The other two modes — Challenge Arena and Colosseum — are loathed by much of the player base. Challenge Arena was grinding turned up to 11 before it vanished for good, while Colosseum is just as much about surviving RNG as it is constructing a good team. If only there was a game that has a good PvP arena strategy mode…

Who can BF learn from? Fire Emblem Heroes

Oh wait. There is. Though I get that the grid based game of Heroes is quite a bit different from Brave Frontier’s game style, the principles behind Heroes’ modes are good. Arena Assault in Heroes forces you to fight a chain of teams with your teams where you can’t repeat your own units. This is essentially a simpler, less time consuming version of Brave Frontier’s Challenge Arena. Heroes also has chain dungeons that force you to start every room over with the same units, though their health hasn’t regenerated. There’s a lot of potential to pull from here to improve one of Brave Frontier’s best, but most maligned, modes.

4. Reduce the number of social game features required for top-end rewards

Most of Brave Frontier’s top-tier items require you to play the game’s two social modes — raid and guild raid. As a solo player who doesn’t like the social aspect of mobile games, this is incredibly frustrating. Add in the fact that guild raid in particular is dominated by pay-to-win players and you lose the more casual player quickly. So. How do you solve this? Surprisingly, we need to turn to the console world to fix a mobile game problem.

Who can BF learn from? WWE 2K18

One of my favorite parts about any sports or fighting game is career mode. WWE 2K18’s career mode looks awesome for many reasons, but the biggest reason is that there’s no paid microtransactions in the game. There is additional DLC you can download for the game, but this is a huge step for WWE, as well as one that Brave Frontier 2 could benefit from. If you want to build a base of high level players, make the high level rewards available to everyone that puts the time into the game — not just those who burn their money to do so.

5. Improve the build customization system

One of the most interesting parts about the current iteration of Brave Frontier is the Omni unit build customization system. Omni units like this one not only have base abilities on their attacks, skills, and leader skills, but these skills can also be improved through the use of omni skill points once the units are otherwise maxed out. The problem is that there’s a lot of overlap in terms of skills unit to unit, plus resetting the unit’s skills costs in-game currency to do. So. How do we fix this?

Who can BF learn from? Brave Frontier

Oddly enough, Brave Frontier 1 may have already given Brave Frontier 2 the answer via it needs via the game’s Summoner Mode (the final mode of the main story line). In that mode, your avatar character has the ability to equip different weapons, change elements, boost specific stats, and swap freely between extra skills on the mode’s main screen. This seems like the logical next step for unit abilities within Brave Frontier 2. Not only would this type of system allow for greater customization of units, it would add more strategy to building your team for specific modes, dungeons, and challenges.

Creating an All Generations Pokemon Team

As you might be able to tell, I’m on a bit of a Pokemon kick in the last couple of months. Blame acquiring Pokemon Black, blame legendary raids launching in Go, blame the copious amounts of Pokemon YouTube videos I watched on vacation…I really don’t care. It means that I have content I want to talk about, even if it isn’t the most serious topic ever.

While on vacation, I was waiting for my car’s transmission fluid to get changed when this post’s idea hit me. What team would I use within a Pokemon game if I were required to use one Pokemon from each generation? I really hadn’t considered the idea before. After all, I’m still only about halfway through Black[1] and still have yet to play either X or Y. That said, I still think it’s worth taking the task on and theorizing from it.

With that said, there are a couple of parameters I need to set when writing this post. First off, most of you reading this post are probably wondering how I plan to get a Pokemon from each generation onto my team when a Pokemon party can only have six slots, yet there’s seven generations of Pokemon. I’m going to have one reserve spot. Sure, it’s not within the team, per say, but it would be the Pokemon I’d swap in if I needed some type coverage or a change of pace within my team.

Additionally, this team is being written with in-game content in mind, not competitive battling. I can count on one hand the number of online battles I’ve had in any Pokemon game, so I don’t feel qualified to talk about it. This team is primed to take on the end of game bosses in the main series, meaning my team is meant to battle the Pokemon League champions (along with Professor Kukui, who isn’t the technical champion, but is your end boss). This means we’re going to be dealing with a metric fuckton of Water, Flying, Dragon, and Rock types, but not many Electric, Dark, Fairy, or Fighting Pokemon.

Finally, if a Pokemon has an evolutionary chain that spans multiple generations, the generation Pokemon was introduced in is what gen it belongs to. This means that even though Tangela gets a later evolution in Gen IV, Tangela and Tangrowth are Gen I ‘mon. Similarly, all Eeveelutions are Gen I by this logic. Also, Alolan forms also count as Gen I Pokemon, as they’re just type variations of Pokemon introduced in that generation of the game.

Rotation Spot and Honorable Mentions

Rotation – Weaville (Gen II)

There’s surprisingly not a ton of Psychic type Pokemon used by champions (5 by my count), so there’s not a major need for Dark Pokemon to counteract them. That said, having Weaville and its freakishly high speed in my back pocket is never a bad thing. Plus, considering the absolute glut of Dragon (10) and Flying (12) types used by champions, more Ice types can’t be a bad thing.

Honorable Mentions

I considered, but ultimately decided against, giving spots to quite a few Pokemon. Gen I was the hardest to narrow down, particularly because of the high amount of later generation evolutions the gen has. That said, apologies to (in Pokedex order) Alolan Ninetales, Cloyster, Hypno, Starmie, Vaporeon, Dragonite, Quagsire, Scizor, Houndoom, Gardevoir, Metagross, Empoleon, Garchomp, Magnezone, Gliscor, Porygon-Z, Rotom, Leavanny, Whimsicott, Krookodile, Chandelure, Talonflame, Ribombee, Salazzle, and Mimikyu.

The Team

Note: The team I’ve chosen is listed below by generation.

Generation I – Jynx

Remember how in Gen I and Gen II you could pretty much sweep Lance with a single Ice-type Pokemon? Now there’s two Dragon-type champions with the introduction of Iris in Black 2/White 2. Granted, Iris doesn’t have the same level of fear put in her by Ice Pokemon as Lance does, but you can still a massive amount of damage to her team. Nevermind the fact that Cynthia’s fearsome Garchomp is 4x weak to Ice.

So…why Jynx? I decided on Gen I last due to the larger pool of options from this generation, and I found myself wanting to improve upon Weaville’s typing and move pool for my main team. Although Articuno is by far my favorite legendary Pokemon, I made a concerted effort not to take legendaries on this team. That left me with a decision between Jynx, Cloyster, and Lapras for this spot. As you’ll see though, I have plenty of water types on the team, so I took Jynx over the other two.

Generation III – Swampert

Generations III and IV were the hardest for me to fill out, as I’ve only played the main games once. Even then, both were games I played shortly after they came out, but not again. I felt it necessary to take a starter Pokemon from one of the generations on my team and, with apologies to Primarina, Swampert was the only logical Pokemon to put in this spot. His dual-typing of Water and Ground allows for a ton of coverage around the abundant Rock types in champion teams. Combine that with his sky high attack and access to tons of physical moves (particularly Rock moves) and he provides some of the best coverage of my team.

Generation IV – Mega Lopunny

Alright. This one’s going to confuse some people. Hear me out though.

135 base speed and 136 base attack as a mega. On a Pokemon that resists Rock, Dark, and Bug, and is immune to Ghost. I know those don’t sound like the best resistances to have, but they come on a Pokemon with access to Baton Pass. So take Mega Lopunny in, set up with a Substitute, then use some combination of Agility, Charge Beam, Work Up, or Double Team, then Baton Pass out to someone else. Say an Electric Pokemon in need of some extra Special Attack or a tanky Pokemon in need of Speed[2]. Or you could just High Jump Kick your opponent to death. Your choice.

Generation V – Galvantula

Aside from Jolteon and Magnezone, I really don’t use Electric Pokemon. I don’t like them. But considering there are 12 Pokemon that have Water typing and another 12 with Flying typing on champions teams, Electric Pokemon are all but a requirement[3]. So I decided I’d use an Electric type that not only isn’t cute, but isn’t particularly well liked because of its second typing. The goal here, however, is to have Sticky Web slow your opponents down, or to use Galvantula’s high speed to your advantage against slower Pokemon. Most importantly though, I needed an ugly Electric type on my team.

Generation VI – Aegislash

I get that some people hate the sentient stuff-around-your-house type Pokemon, but they’re some of my favorite ones (hence why Stephanie and I had two of them in our Pokemon theory crafting post). Aegislash has amazing typing and great stats, and with only two Dark type Pokemon on champions’ teams, Aegislash can sweep things, particularly if the right stats are passed to it. Since none of the champion Pokemon carry Taunt, Aegislash is free to use King’s Shield as much as it wants.

Generation VII – Toxapex

I really only used two Pokemon beating the Elite Four of Pokemon Moon — Chandelure and Toxapex. Toxapex is a tank. Not just an average tank, a massive, I’m going to stop you from having a team ever again tank. While Smogon prefers Toxapex carrying Regenerator from a competitive standpoint, in-game Merciless is far more useful…and fun. Baton Pass it some speed, then set up with Stockpile and Toxic. The rest of the match is just fun.

 

What would your team look like if you had to use one Pokemon from each generation in the main games? Sound off in the comments.

10 New Dual Type Pokemon for Switch

I know I’ve been doing a lot of gaming related content recently, but there’s just been something about it that has resonated with me. I’m thinking it’s a combination of my love for certain video games, as well as receiving great inspiration from gaming YouTubers. The inspiration for this post came from the video below by Poketuber TruGreen7.

In the video above, TruGreen7 takes a look at dual type Pokemon that have never existed in a core Pokemon game, then speculates on the dual types he’d like to see in Sun and Moon. Some of his wants came true, while others we’re still waiting on. In fact, there are 25 type combinations that have never existed in any Pokemon game, even after Sun and Moon.

For this exercise, not only am I taking a look at the ten new dual type Pokemon I want to see in the next Pokemon game (not counting Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon…as those seem like extensions on Sun and Moon, so far), but I’m also adding some additional color around those Pokemon. I’ve decided to give description as to a potential Pokemon that would fit that typing, its potential skills and a comparable existing Pokemon for stats. Finally, I’ve provided a potential learnset for each of the Pokemon in question using existing moves as of Gen VII.

Each of the type combos is listed below. Before you read, I want to say that I cannot understate how much my friend Stephanie helped me in the formulation of the ideas for these Pokemon. This really was a combined effort on both of our parts to come up with these ideas.

10. Poison/Steel

What is the Pokemon Based on? While Gen VII brought us our first sea urchin-like Pokemon in Mareanie, it didn’t look particularly look like an urchin. Ideally, this would be a Pokemon with two evolutionary stages, with the beginning stage based off of the sand dollar (a type of urchin) and the end stage based off of the Sputnik urchin. Its spiky exterior would lend itself to defensive moves and abilities, with the intent of being a wall-type Pokemon competitively.

Abilities? Poison Point and Poison Touch make the most sense as primary abilities. That said, I feel like a hidden ability of Steelworker would be a nice way to boost a Pokemon with limited attacking capabilities.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? A slower, slightly less bulky Toxapex, but with better typing.

Learn Set? Poison Sting (Learned at level 1), String Shot (1), Harden (5), Water Gun (9), Gyro Ball (13), Toxic Spikes (18), Iron Defense (23), Acid Spray (27), Smart Strike (32), Metal Sound (36), Swords Dance (40), Cross Poison (44), Flash Cannon (49), Hydro Pump (56)

9. Rock/Ghost

What is the Pokemon Based on? I know there’s already a Pokemon literally named Golem. But I’m still pretty sure we haven’t had a Pokemon based on the mythological golem. I get that it’s clay or mud that gets possessed by a spirit, but this specific take on the theme will use rocks that come to live via possession rather than ground/mud.

Abilities? Since the word golem has historically been used to connotate amorphous things, this Pokemon would share abilities with some notable Rock and Ghost Pokemon in the amorphous egg group. The Pokemon’s main abilities would be the Cursed Body and Levitate abilities, however it gets a hidden ability typically associated with Fighting Pokemon as its hidden ability, Steadfast, which can boost its low-speed into a respectable range.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Confagrigus, only with more balance Attack and Special Attack.

Learn Set? Lick (Learned at level 1), Harden (1), Night Shade (5), Haze (9), Rock Blast (13), Confuse Ray (17), Curse (22), Ancient Power (26), Spikes (30), Embargo (34), Shadow Ball (39), Stone Edge (44), Trick Room (49), Mean Look (53), Destiny Bond (58)

8. Fire/Ice

What is the Pokemon Based on? The white Bengal tiger. Basically the lore here is that the tiger’s two parts are composed of its two elements — the white fur made of ice and snow, with the black stripes being ash atop burning embers. When the tiger is cornered, its flames grown bright, allowing it to attack with powerful Ice and Fire…and Water…moves.

Abilities? Intimidate feels like a natural fit on this beast and its pre-evolutions, as does the Refrigerate ability to change the type of the Normal type moves it gets access to. As for a hidden ability, the Solar Power ability will pair well with this tiger’s ability to learn Sunny Day early on.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Arcanine, though with lower Speed and slightly higher Defense.

Learn Set? Tackle (Learned at level 1), Ember (1), Ice Shard (5), Water Gun (9), Sunny Day (13), Water Pulse (17), Fire Fang (24), Ice Fang (24), Take Down (29), Aurora Beam (34), Flame Charge (40), Double-Edge (44), Scald (49), Sacred Fire (55), Ice Burn (61)

7. Normal/Steel

What is the Pokemon Based on? You know that nursery rhyme, “Hey Diddle Diddle“? This is basically what would happen if the end of that nursery rhyme came to life. Stage one of this Pokemon’s life would be a sentient plate that is Normal type only — think one of the members of the enchanted tea set from Beauty and the Beast. But when it evolves, the dish adds its spoon buddy, along with its Steel typing.

Also, both this Pokemon and the next one might be a bit odd. But go with me here.

Abilities? Having a Pokemon that’s part fine china screams the Weak Armor ability, though old dishes have a habit of not breaking, so its second ability will be Sturdy. That said, I really like having a Pokemon with a spoon as part of its design having the Pickup ability as its hidden ability. Because spoons are superior to forks.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Togedemaru. It’s a cute Pokemon, but not a great one, even with an evolution.

Learn Set? Rapid Spin (Learned at level 1), Sing (1), Hex (5), Scald (9), Metal Sound (13), Protect (17), Mirror Shot (22), Baton Pass (26), Metal Burst (29), Echoed Voice (33), Taunt (37), Metronome (42), Iron Defense (46), Flash Cannon (50)

6. Normal/Poison

What is the Pokemon Based on? What if a can of pop (soda/soda pop) came to life? Yeah. That’s the plan here. I know pop isn’t good for me, but I love it. Still though, that much sugar over time isn’t good, hence the Normal/Poison typing.

Abilities? Oddly enough, the two main abilities for this single-stage Pokemon are beneficial despite this Pokemon’s corrosive nature. Sweet Veil benefits your teammates, while Sap Sipper raises our Pokemon’s attack when hit by Grass types. That said, what would the first Normal/Poison typing be without a hidden ability of Corrosion to go along side it?

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Male Salandit. Not every Pokemon can be a star.

Learn Set? Sweet Scent (Learned at level 1), Tackle (1), Defense Curl (5), Toxic (9), Acid Spray (13), Rollout (18), Facade (22), Venom Drench (26), Gyro Ball (30), Nasty Plot (33), Sludge Wave (37), Natural Gift (42), Explosion (48)

5. Bug/Dark

What is the Pokemon Based on? Back to animal/plant/mythical based Pokemon. Did you realize we’ve yet to have a Pokemon based off of the black widow spider? It’s true. And what better way to introduce one of the world’s deadliest spiders to the Pokemon world than through a new typing.

Abilities? A spider with Pressure might not make sense at first, but find a black widow in your house and see how you feel. We’re also going to give this spider the Moxie ability, as its reputation for knocking out things bigger than it precedes it. Finally, the Justified hidden ability makes this spider a nightmare for other Dark types to face.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Scizor-level attack, but with Leavanny-level stats otherwise.

Learn Set? Poison Sting (Learned at level 1), Sticky Web (1), Bug Bite (6), Swagger (11), Fury Cutter (17), Bite (22), Sleep Powder (26), Poison Powder (26), U-Turn (31), Crunch (37), Poison Fang (41), Bug Buzz (48), Lunge (52), Parting Shot (55), Hyper Beam (61)

4. Fighting/Fairy

What is the Pokemon Based on? I’m not saying that there needs to be a Fairly Odd Parents crossover just so Jorgen Von Strangle can become a Fighting/Fairy dual type…but it wouldn’t be terrible. The point remains though. Have a fairy, like a wood nymph, make it super buff and muscular, then throw a tutu on it.

Abilities? When you’re a fighter, your ability to take a hit matters. As such, this Pokemon gets two abilities that’ll help it take a hit that would more severely harm others: Inner Focus and Guts. As for a hidden ability, we’re going to fight some darkness with this Pokemon, so it also gets the Justified ability.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Poliwrath, but with significantly better Attack.

Learn Set? Tackle (Learned at level 1), Leer (1), Detect (5), Power-Up Punch (9), Sweet Kiss (13), Payback (18), Rolling Kick (22), Draining Kiss (26), Submission (31), Work Up (36), Reversal (40), Substitute (44), Play Rough (49), Close Combat (55)

3. Poison/Psychic

What is the Pokemon Based on? I find the idea of a bayou muskrat that wears a gris-gris around its neck to be a good fit here. Although muskrats themselves aren’t poisonous, the luck brought to the Pokemon by the gris-gris would allow for it to use its psychic and poison powers both for healing and for defense.

Abilities? As this Pokemon carries a gris-gris around, the Super Luck ability makes for a natural ability here. That said, the main abilities would be divided by gender, with males getting the aforementioned Super Luck, while females get Queenly Majesty due to the importance placed on voodoo queens in Louisana voodoo. Both genders share the same hidden ability, the ever useful Psychic Surge.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? Sigliyph, but faster and with more Special Attack. Not that Sigliyph would need either of those.

Learn Set? Teleport (Learned at level 1), Hypnosis (1), Smog (5), Quick Attack (9), Acid (13), Vacuum Wave (18), Calm Mind (21), Poison Fang (25), Mirror Coat (29), Focus Blast (34), Heal Pulse (39), Psychic (43), Cross Poison (48), Purify (53), Future Sight (59)

2. Ground/Fairy

What is the Pokemon Based on? It’s a tumbleweed. A single stage tumbleweed Pokemon.

Abilities? Tumbleweeds love blowing around the desert, so the Sand Rush ability is a given. With the tumbleweed itself being a spore-bearing plant, Effect Spore makes for a logical second ability. As for a hidden ability, tumbleweeds just tumble. They do their own thing. Thus, we give this Pokemon Own Tempo as a hidden ability.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? I’m thinking Whiscash, but with a bit lower HP.

Learn Set? Rapid Spin (Learned at level 1), Defense Curl (1), Constrict (5), Fairy Wind (9), Spikes (14), Spore (18), Rototiller (22), Rollout (26), Bulldoze (30), Shadow Ball (35), Lock-On (39), Shore Up (43), Earth Power (47), Dazzling Gleam (52), Fissure (56)

1. Fire/Fairy

What is the Pokemon Based on? The lionhead rabbit (I’ve been told the rabbit in that picture is named Coal). Only instead of the fluff you see around his neck, its flames. This is either a two or three stage Pokemon that has the flames become more pronounced as it evolves.

Abilities? How in the world wouldn’t you snuggle this thing? Clearly one of its two abilities has to be Cute Charm. Furthermore, I envision this being a fast Pokemon, with it only being further boosted by its Quick Feet ability when a status is inflicted. Finally, this bunny’s massive amount of fluff allows for it to have the Overcoat hidden ability, protecting it from weather.

Comparable Existing Pokemon? By its end stage, I’m thinking a faster Blaziken, with maybe a little less HP.

Learn Set? Ember (Learned at level 1), Baby-Doll Eyes (1), Quick Attack (7), Double Kick (11), Flame Charge (16), Double Team (21), Dig (25), Nuzzle (31), Play Rough (35), Work Up (39), Flamethrower (44), Slash (48), Moonlight (53), Blast Burn (59), Moonblast (65)

How Pokemon Go Changed My Opinion on Gen I and II Pokemon

Remember when Pokemon Go was a giant deal? It’s not anymore, though it’s not gone yet. The initial buzz has worn off and we’re back to the point where I get weird looks if I bring up Pokemon Go with non-players (though no one has excitedly told me that they’re proud not to have to spell Pokemon names). I’ve played through 5.5[1] of the 7 main story games, and through each generation, I’ve developed different opinions on certain Pokemon. These opinions change based on how the Pokemon is presented in the game, its moveset, my personal attachment to it, importance to the story line, and many other factors.

In this regard, Pokemon Go is no different. The longer I’ve played Pokemon Go, the more the game has molded my opinions of the Gen I and Gen II Pokemon within the game. Because of Go’s goofy CP mechanic, some Pokemon that were valuable in the first two generations of the game are afterthoughts in Go[2], while Pokemon useless in either the main story of Gen I/Gen II[3] or in competitive play[4] are suddenly relevant because of Go.

That said, just because a Pokemon has become more or less useful because of Go doesn’t necessarily mean I care about it more or less. But there have been some changes in my thoughts on certain ‘mon[5]. With that in mind, here are the five Pokemon I like more — and less — because of Pokemon Go.

Pokemon I like less

5. Togepi

In the anime, the writers do their best to make an otherwise forgettable Pokémon adorable. And it works. You can’t help but find Missy’s Togepi cute. But in the games itself, Togepi wasn’t particularly useful. This trend only got more severe with its lack of viability Pokémon Go. Neither Togepi nor its evolution, Togetic, are very good in Go, making their appearance from a hatched egg groan-inducing after the first time. At least there’s a good third stage evolution coming down the line[6].

4. Spinarak

What if we had a Pokémon that was just as common as Pidgey, but wasn’t as good and took more than four times the candy to evolve? Ladies and gentlemen, Spinarak.

3. Gyarados

A year plus into the game, Gyarados has proven to be one of the most versatile and powerful Pokémon in Go. That’s not my issue with it. Magikarp has always been a pain to evolve into its giant dragon form, but none more so than in Go. It takes four times as much candy to evolve Magikarp as it does to evolve any of the starter Pokémon from their second to final form. Is Gyarados significantly harder to train to than most Pokemon? Yes. Is it four times harder? Nope. Is it that much stronger that it’s worth the effort in a non-water biome? Not a chance[7].

2. Xatu

I remember seeing the Natu line in Gold/Silver and being excited there was finally a Flying/Psychic dual type. And then Xatu was useful, though a bit underwhelming. That said, Xatu might be the single worst end-stage Flying type in Go — and that includes Butterfree and Ledian. Flying type as a whole is underwhelming in Go, and Xatu manages to be the worst available option.

1. Blissey/Chansey

Fuck Blissey[8].

Pokemon I like more

5. Kingler

I don’t think I used Kingler on a single playthrough of Gen I or Gen II. There were a litany of reasons Kingler made for a less-than-desireable ‘mon to use, most notably the fact that Kingler had a low special attack stat at a time where all Water moves were special attacks. That said, Go’s goofy CP system actually turns Kingler into an above average glass cannon Water type. Add in the fact that I picked up a perfect IV Krabby that I named after the giant fire-breathing lobster that lives behind the rings of Saturn, and Kingler is much more likeable in my eyes.

4. Kabutops

I think I found myself liking all three of Gen I’s fossil Pokémon more as a result of Go, however Kabutops in particular stands out.  Kabutops is in the game’s second tier of Rock Pokémon, which is a great type at both attacking and defending. With the recent gym revamp, players are no longer forced to put their top CP units in a gym, drastically boosting the usefulness of Pokémon like Umbreon, Kabutops, and Quagsire[9]. Combine that with Kabutops’ badass design and you have a winning Pokémon.

3. Oddish

What Pokémon has the highest catch rate in Pokémon Go aside from Magikarp? One of the 12 candy evolutions (Pidgey, Caterpie, Weedle)? If not them, what about the next lowest max CP Pokemon[10], Diglett? How about the cave herpes that is Zubat? Nope. It’s Oddish. I already had an Oddish potted plant pot in my apartment before Pokemon Go came out. Its existence as essentially free stardust in Go is wonderful.

2. Sneasel

I already like Ice and Dark Pokemon as it is, so Sneasel was already pretty high on my list of Pokemon I like. But with the badge system in Pokemon Go allowing you to have a higher catch rate once you’ve caught enough of a certain type of ‘mon, Sneasel became an easy way to make progress towards badges for two types that are uncommon in my area.

1. Sudowoodo

I’ve talked about how Sudowoodo is already my favorite Rock type in a previous post. That said, it further endeared itself to me because of Pokemon Go. Just watch it dance at roughly the 25 second mark of the video below.

How can you not love that?

Assessing Fire Emblem Awakening Skills

It’s been a while since I did a proper Fire Emblem post on this blog. At one point in time, I had this grand idea that I’d do a whole series comparing Fire Emblem: Awakening with Fire Emblem: Fates. Here’s the thing though — Fates wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. While it’s an okay game that I enjoyed playing through a couple of times, its relatively boring storyline, strange weapon forging system, and limited reclassing options took away from some of the game’s improvements[1].

Awakening, though not a perfect game, is easily one of the most replayable games I’ve ever played. Part of the appeal to the game — along with the great storyline and engrossing characters — is the ability to build characters with skill sets to suit your play style. Although I would love the personal skills mechanic from Fates to be added to Awakening, there’s still plenty you can do with the five skill limit that your characters have.

This got me to thinking though. What are the best skills to have in Fire Emblem: Awakening? In a game with 84 skills available even before you consider DLC, you certainly have plenty of options at your disposal. I took a look at all 84 skills and considered their usefulness in the main game, importance as inherited skills, activation rates, accessibility, and personal preference to put those skills into 9 tiers with roughly 9 skills in each tier. This post focuses on the importance of these skills in the main game, as wireless play can be a whole different beast.

Tier 9: Replace As Soon As Possible

The Skills: Speed +2, Skill +2, Magic +2, Strength +2, Rally Skill, Rally Speed, Rally Magic, Rally Strength, Rally Luck

The Why: Despite the fact that much of the Fire Emblem gaming community loves the Rally skills[2], I personally can’t stand them. They waste an action for a promoted unit in exchange for +4 of one stat (with two notable exceptions). It’s rare that such a boost will turn the tide of a level or even one battle. You’re better suited to having other skills. If you must have a Rally skill, there’s better options than the five in this group. As for the +2 stat boosts, you’re generally not using them deep into the game. If you must though, use the survival boosts rather than offensive ones.

Tier 8: What You’re Probably Replacing Second

The Skills: Odd Rhythm, Even Rhythm, Underdog, Beastbane, Tantivity, Focus, Defense +2, Resistance +2, Rally Defense, Rally Resistance

The Why: The Defense and Resistance skills for Rally and stat boosts are slightly better than those in tier 9 for survivability, so they get the bump to tier 8. Odd and Even Rhythm only work 50% of the time, which limit these otherwise average skills. Similarly, Focus and Tantivity are limited by the fact that your unit has to be all alone to gain benefits from them, which isn’t a common play style for Awakening. Underdog is a useful skill for Donnel and Donnel alone, but it pales in comparison to his other skill options. Beastbane is handicapped both by the plethora of other units and weapons that deal with mounted units, as well as the fact that taguels are just awful as a class.

Tier 7: Weaker Niche Skills

The Skills: Wyrmsbane, Pass, Relief, Outdoor Fighter, Charm, Discipline, Patience, Special Dance, Hex, Solidarity

The Why: Wyrmsbane gets ranked higher than Beastbane because manaketes are at least competent statistically, even if you’re probably not using Nowi and Nah in that class. Special Dance, Charm, and Solidarity are useful on the adult units that get them, but they have limited usefulness in inheritance[3]. Pass and Relief are similar skills in that their usefulness comes most commonly behind enemy lines, which is situational at beast. Discipline is great in the early game, but you’ll drop it once weapons are maxed. Patience and Hex are avoidance impacting skills, but there’s better options out there. They’re good in conjunction with those other skills, but they’re not required. Outdoor Fighter would be better if more outdoor maps had choke points, but that’s not the case.

Tier 6: Above Average Early Game Skills

The Skills: Avoid +10, HP +5, Luck +4, Indoor Fighter, Despoil, Veteran, Rally Movement, Prescience, Anethema

The Why: All of these skills except Rally Movement (a promoted unit skill) and Despoil (requires a class change) come very early in the game with units you can acquire relatively easily. That said, aside from Luck +4, which helps Olivia’s survivability in her recruitment chapter, none of these skills are critical for units to keep past mid-game. Avoid +10, Prescience, and Anethema are similar in function to Patience and Hex from tier 7, just stronger or less situational. Indoor Fighter is helpful due to choke points on indoor maps, but it’s still not a great skill overall. The only skills I can see keeping end game are HP +5  and Veteran, but only if you have nothing else better to replace them with.

Tier 5: Healers and Killers

The Skills: Hit Rate +20, Lethality, Renewal, Slow Burn, Gamble, Dual Strike+, Dual Guard+, Miracle, Healtouch, Demoiselle

The Why: There’s not a ton of good healing classes in Awakening, so you’ll likely find yourself using the healing skills less frequently than most other skills. Miracle is awesome in permadeath mode, but only in that mode. Healtouch and Renewal aren’t skills I typically keep until end game, though that’s more a function of my dislike for the War Monk and War Cleric classes than anything else[4]. Dual Strike+ is a good skill, but since only Chrom and Lucina can get it, it’s hard for me to rank it higher. Dual Guard+ is more available, is overshadowed by Great Knight’s Luna ability. Lethality is my favorite skill in the game, but is also has the worst activation rate of any skill in the game, so I can’t rank it above this tier. Slow Burn, similar to the Rally skills, is loved by many Fire Emblem players, but games don’t last long enough for Slow Burn to fully take effect. Demoiselle is the only skill in the game that allows you to avoid critical hits, which pairs well with male units running Miracle for extra bulk. Gamble and Hit Rate +20 are acceptable skills, but I usually find myself replacing them with one of the skills in the next four tiers.

Tier 4: Niche Skills and Crits

The Skills: Bowfaire, Counter, Movement +1, Rally Spectrum, Defender, Wrath, Astra, Locktouch, Zeal

The Why: Unless you have a unit in the Assassain class, Bowfaire isn’t worth your time to learn, as hit rate is more critical for Snipers and Bow Knights[5]. Rally Spectrum is the only Rally skill worth a damn, but considering the amount of skills Robin and Morgan can pick up, good luck slotting it somewhere. Locktouch is 100% situational, but indispensable when you need it for door or chest-heavy maps. Wrath and Counter are loved by those who play a melee heavy style, but they’re limited by a need for low HP (which is hard to do for Berserkers thanks to their inherent access to HP +5) or low defense (which isn’t terribly common for those with Berserker access). I’d rather take Zeal’s lower crit boost and call it a day. Astra would be much higher up if it had a better activation rate, but it’s a good skill nonetheless. Free movement is always good, and Movement +1 is one of the few movement skills a non-flying unit can pick up. Defender is terribly underrated, as you’re picking up +7 overall stats along with any pair up bonuses you’re already getting.

Tier 3: Avoidance Is Your Friend

The Skills: Axebreaker, Lancebreaker, Swordbreaker, Acrobat, Luna, Deliverer, Tomebreaker, Quick Burn, Vantage

The Why: All of the -breaker skills give you +50 avoidance if the foe is using a specific kind of weapon, making them stronger than any other avoidance skill in the game by 20. Even though they’re situational, they’re so strong they must be considered top-tier. Acrobat and Deliverer greatly boost movement for infantry/mounted and paired up units, respectively, which is great for quick strike offense. Luna is one of the better offensive skills in the game, but is inferior to Aether due to its lack of healing (despite having a better activation rate). Vantage is one of the few early game skills you’ll want to use in the end game for units with access to it. Quick Burn is far superior to Slow Burn thanks to the fact that most battles don’t go beyond 7 turns, giving you extra avoidance early in a battle.

Tier 2: Damage Boosts Galore (Mostly)

The Skills: Lucky Seven, Swordfaire, Tomefaire, Axefaire, Lancefaire, Bowbreaker, Ignis, Aether, Dual Support+

The Why: Lucky Seven is Quick Burn on steroids, though it lasts half as long. The -faire classes all give +5 damage when using that weapon type, making them end-game staples and good inherited skills if there aren’t better options. Bowbreaker is better than all other -breaker skills due to all flying classes having a weakness to bows. Aether would be one of the top skills in the game if more than Lucina, Chrom, and Lucina’s sibling got access to it. Similarly, Ignis triggers at a great rate, but only Robin and Morgan can access its overpowered abilities. Dual Support+ is broken as all hell, but considering only the extremely uncommon Valkyrie class can access it or pass it down, that caused me to place Armsthrift in the top-tier over it.

Tier 1: God-Tier Skills

The Skills: Rightful King, Galeforce, Aptitude, Lifetaker, Vengeance, Aegis, Pavise, Sol, Armsthrift

The Why: Rightful King allows all other skills to activate 10% more of the time. It’s wonderful on Chrom[6], Lucina[7], and Brady/Inigo. Aptitude is only accessible to Donnel and his child, but it gives the best growth rates in the game. Aegis and Pavise are chance based skills that lower damage received while Sol and Lifetaker heal you while attacking. Armsthrift saves your weapon durability with the best non-100% activation rate in the game, which is important because only the Falchion and Parallel Falchion are indestructible. I feel like Vengeance should have had an activation rate of Skill divided by two instead of Skill times two, as it triggers almost constantly on child units who have it. And then there’s Galeforce…a skill so broken that they had to make it DLC in Fates just so you wouldn’t beat the game in your sleep. Since nearly every female parent has access to the Galeforce skill and since all children except Lucina and Morgan are tied to their mothers in Awakening, nearly every child unit can be given Galeforce with proper planning. This essentially assures you taking 2-3 full turns for your entire team per every one turn your enemy gets. Galeforce is crazy.

 

What are your favorite Fire Emblem Awakening skills? Do you disagree with my tier list? Sound off in the comments.