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.

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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.

Nostalgia: Am I Doing it Wrong?

One of the bigger pieces of video game related news that came out over the past few weeks was the announcement of the Super NES Classic Edition. As a follow-up to Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition, the re-release of the SNES was met with quite a bit of excitement from a lot of people in my peer group. While the NES Classic was largely a draw to those slightly older than me, the Super Nintendo was the primary game console for a lot of people around my age (along with the Nintendo 64 for those slightly younger than me).

The first time I had a Super Nintendo in my home was the fall of 1999. My cousins had a Nintendo 64 and a PlayStation. With the news of the PlayStation 2 that year, my aunt gave their old Super Nintendo to me and my brother, while my younger cousins got the old NES. Not only was the Super Nintendo my first introduction to video games in general, it was also my first real in to the world of gaming — video or board.

The first game I played on the SNES — and still my favorite to this day — was Madden 96. According to original reviews of the game, it was one of the more difficult football games of its time, yet I always found the game incredibly fun to play[1]. I played a handful of other games on the console, including 6 of the 21 announced release games for the console, yet none of the games I actively cared about are part of the SNES’s re-release. The closest thing to a game I loved that’s coming out on the Super NES Classic is Street Fighter II Turbo, but I could get emulated versions of Street Fighter for the WiiU if I wanted it badly enough.

For most of my life, I’ve been a sports video gamer. Yes, I’ve been a fan of strategy games like Pokemon, Fire Emblem, Brave Frontier, and Civilization, but a good football, baseball[2], or hockey video game would keep me engaged much longer than any other game type. It’s why I’m still playing my Xbox 360 copy of NCAA Football 12 nearly six years after its initial release[3]. The problem with sports video games is that even if their gameplay is still good years later, the nostalgia they bring doesn’t exactly stand the test of time.

The aforementioned Madden 96 was the eighth installment of what is now a 29-edition series of video game series. When you’re releasing a new version of the same game every year with nothing more than minimal tweaks and updated rosters, it’s hard to build up nostalgia for that title’s gameplay and/or cast of characters. It’s part of the appeal to games like Half-Life series, where there hasn’t been a release in over ten years. Even when a series has sequels (think the Mario and Zelda franchises), you’re still drawn into them because the story is different enough with each passing game.

I never got nostalgia for that reason. The games I cared about at a young age are still out there, just with newer graphics and updated rosters. Even the non-sports titles are still long enough series that I don’t feel the need to go back and play original titles — unless of course there’s a reason in a newer game I’m playing to do so[4].

As a result, I feel like part of me is missing out on the nostalgia others my age are feeling for the Super NES Classic. The games I played on the original console aren’t being re-released, while the game I like the best of those being re-released is just…meh.

Am I the only one feeling this way? Can you develop nostalgia for yearly series-based video games? Am I just crazy? Sound off in the comments.

5 Ways to Revitalize the Pokemon Go Gym Scene

Edit: Niantic announced massive changes to gyms this morning following the posting of this article. I’m going to keep the article up for sake of discussion of both the ideas here as well as discussion of Niantic’s announced changes.

Though the initial frenzy of popularity that came with the release of Pokemon Go is gone, the game still has a dedicated core base of players. This group ranges from the hyperactive players who spend money on the game to the player who picks the game up once per day for their bonuses, to somewhere in between. As someone who falls solidly into that group of casual, but still somewhat serious players, I couldn’t have been more excited than when I saw that Pokemon Go would be closing its gyms on June 19th (today, as this post is releasing) for “remodeling”.

What will be entailed in the remodeling is up for debate. Data miners on various sites had found code in the game suggesting limits to a specific Pokemon in a gym, however that find has not (yet) amounted to anything. I’ve seen suggestions from various people online with ideas from putting limits on gyms one trainer can be in to changes to the way CP[1] is calculated. That’s to say nothing of the prevalence of spoofers[2] and gym shavers[3] in the game.

I wanted to present a few different ideas that I think could be improvements to the current gym system as it exist. While the problems with the gym system are by no means Pokemon Go’s biggest problem, they do seem to be the most significant problem Niantic is willing to address.

Idea 1 – One Pokemon Per Evolution Line Limit

Let’s lead off by addressing the alleged fix to gyms that was found in code (briefly) a few months back. The current Pokemon Go gym scene features seven Pokemon pretty much everywhere — Blissey, Snorlax, Gyarados, Dragonite, Vaporeon, Rhydon, and Tyranitar. These Pokemon are the seven highest CP Pokemon currently available in the game[4], with two of the Pokemon — Blissey and Snorlax — benefiting from a relative dearth of strong counters to their presence. A solo player, particularly a casual one, has little hope of taking down a high level (6-10) gym is there are more than two Blissey and/or Snorlax present.

One potential solution for this is to set a limit to one Pokemon per evolution line in a single gym. This plus side to this is that players would stop seeing gyms with 4-5 Blisseys in them on a regular basis[5], potentially promoting greater turnover in gyms. On the down side, this likely also means that players would still see 6 of the 7 highest CP Pokemon[6] in a gym on a regular basis. Now those last four spots would be filled with some combination of Donphan, Heracross, Golem, Lapras, and Exeggutor — or pretty much what is seen as occasional filler now.

Idea 2 – Encourage Themed (Mono-Type) Gyms

In every generation of Pokemon until Pokemon Sun/Moon[7], one of the main story lines of the game was to defeat all of the gym leaders in the game’s region before going on to face the Elite Four. If you haven’t played the main games of the series, more about that premise is in my theorycrafting post here.

One of the notable things that was true of all gym leaders/trial captains in the mainline games was that those leaders featured teams that had Pokemon all of a specific element. Whether you were facing Sabrina’s psychic types in Red and Blue, Maylene’s fighting types in Diamond and Pearl, or Valerie’s fairy types in X and Y, you generally knew what you were getting yourself into before you went into a gym[8]. One possible way to improve gym play would be to have gyms rotate what type of defenders are allowed to be in them. For example, let’s say that a specific gym was a water type gym. All three teams could attack that gym with whatever Pokemon they wanted to in order to take over the gym. However, when placing defenders in the gym, they would be restricted to Pokemon with a main or secondary typing of water.

At the end of that seven days, the gym changes to a new typing for defenders. There’s two ways to do this. One would be to kick out all defenders and to set the new typing at random. The second would be to set the new typing based off of the most prevalent secondary type in the gym, then kick out any Pokemon who don’t fit that typing. I’d prefer the former personally, but would be okay with either.

Idea 3 – Randomize Kickout Order

My third idea for improving the gym scene in Pokemon Go is also the one that is now probably the least likely to occur, as it would have been the easiest to implement under the old system. Under the previous gym system, when a team was attacking a gym, defending Pokemon were kicked out in order from weakest to strongest. While this was a great idea in theory, all it ultimately did was to lead to the gym shaving issue I brought up earlier.

If whatever revamp is being done to the gyms is not a major change, I would encourage Niantic to have some level of randomization to the order that Pokemon get kicked out of gyms.While there don’t seem to be a ton of spoofers and gyms shavers where I play, the few I do see are very noticeable, as you’ll find the same group of people in the same gyms after they’re done (typically in the same order with the same Pokemon). Battling a gym down with your alternate account to get your main account in a gym? Have fun with the roulette wheel that could knock one of your friends out in the process.

Idea 4 – Set Tier Limits in Gyms

The main series Pokemon games have a robust competitive gaming scene, thanks in part to competitive battle forums like Smogon and larger world tournaments that occur. These tournaments generally have some sort of tiered system that sets limitations as to what Pokemon, moves, and items can be used within a battle. Aside from the fact that items cannot be used in battle and that legendaries are not in the game currently, Pokemon Go does not feature such limitations.

Why not implement them? Sites like GamePress already do tier lists for top defenders and attackers. Why not have Niantic implement these limitations into gyms? Similar to the mono-type gym idea from earlier in the post, gyms could have rotating tiers on a weekly basis. One week, meta Pokemon like Blissey and Snorlax could be put in the gym with no limitations. The next week, the gym would switch to underused Pokemon, limiting your choices to Pokemon like Raichu and Butterfree. The next week, the gym could be a Little Cup format, filling the gym with Vulpix and Staryu. Different gyms in the same area could have different tiers running at the same time to further enhance play.

Idea 5 – Add in the Special Attack and Special Defense Stats

I get the purpose to the CP number. It’s meant to be a simplified calculation to help people who have never picked up Pokemon before to get acclimated to how the game works while still playing Pokemon Go. But CP makes strong Pokemon weak while making otherwise average Pokemon amazing. Remember Blissey? In the main games, it has the same base stat total as Kingdra. In Pokemon Go, Kingdra’s CP is approximately 3/4 of Blissey’s.

Is that to say Kingdra is a better Pokemon than Blissey? Not really. Objectively it’s not. But by combining Special Attack and Attack into a single attack stat, as well as doing the same with defense, Niantic has put Pokemon with widely skewed stats such as Blissey in a position to be light years better than those with more balanced stats like Kingdra.

The solution? Add in Special Attack and Defense. Blissey remains a wall against psychic/water/fire/other heavy special attackers, but becomes extra frail against strong physical attackers like Machamp (who it already has a weakness to) and Kingler. Meanwhile, Kingdra goes from being an afterthought to being a semi-viable attacker, particularly with STAB[9].

 

I’d like to hear from those of you out there who still play Pokemon Go. How would you improve the gym scene? Is there a particular idea on the list above you love or hate? Sound off in the comments.

My Favorite Pokemon of Each Type

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted on here. I’ve got a few longer posts I’ve been working on that aren’t quite ready to go up (including a continuation of a previous short story), but I wanted to have something up on the blog, as I won’t have a ton of other content going up other places for a little while.

A couple of months ago, I did a post about what the Pokemon League would be like if I were Pokemon champion. The post itself was a fun exercise, though it didn’t quite flow as well as I wanted to. As such, I wanted to take another crack at writing a Pokemon post, this time sharing my favorite Pokemon of each type.

Like my previous Pokemon post, this one too was inspired by a Poketube video, this one by TamashiiHiroka where she covers the same topic as I’ll be doing in this post.

As Tamashii mentioned she would do, I will not reuse any Pokemon on my list even if they’re dual type. For example, if Pidgey was my favorite both Normal and Flying type[1], I’d only use it once on the list, so as to make this list as diverse as possible. Additionally, you may find that my list is biased to early gens (I-III) and Sun/Moon, as I’ve only played Gen IV (Diamond/Pearl) once and haven’t played Gens V or VI at all. With that said, since some of those Pokemon do resurface in Sun/Moon, they may show up here. All images are courtesy Bulbapedia.

Normal – Porygon-Z

Leading off, we have a Gen I Pokemon’s end stage evolution that I didn’t care about at all until playing Pokemon Moon. I’ve never found the Porygon line to be particularly useful Pokemon, despite having one of my favorite designs in the game. Then Z-moves happened, meaning Porygon-Z’s conversion changes Porygon-Z’s type to whatever the first move in its move set is. It’s a great shock and surprise strategy, particularly when I can go in with an Ice type Porygon-Z one battle and a Steel type the next.

Apologies to: Persian, Jigglypuff

Fire – Chandelure

I didn’t carry a single Fire type Pokemon on my end game team until Pokemon Moon. I didn’t see the appeal to them. Everything they could do, Ground Pokemon could do better. And then Chandelure came along. Despite its silly design, Chandelure was an indispensable member of my first Pokemon Moon run through, as its combination of Will-o-Wisp, Hex, Shadow Ball, and Flame Charge made it hard to take down and even harder to out speed.

Apologies to: Vulpix, Blaziken, Litten

Fighting – Hitmonchan

This was one of the only two Pokemon types I immediately knew my answer to who my favorite was. Yes, Hitmonchan was inferior to Hitmonlee in the original games. But I loved the unpredictability of the elemental punches. In later gens, you can combine these punches with moves like Vacuum Wave and Close Combat to make Hitmonchan an adept fighter. It’s not the best fighter, but it’s definitely my favorite.

Apologies to: Hariyama, Poliwrath

Water – Cloyster

This was definitely the hardest choice on my list, as I’ve always tended to use teams heavy in Water, Ice, and Psychic Pokemon. The Cloyster line was one of only two Pokemon in Gen I[2] to learn my favorite Ice move, Aurora Beam. Because of its statistical superiority to Dewgong, I found myself using Cloyster far more frequently. Plus Cloyster is one of the most menacing looking Water type Pokemon, not to mention a hard one to kill at that.

Apologies to: Vaporeon, Dewgong, Lapras, Whiscash

Flying – Fearow

I don’t think there’s a single time where I played through Pokemon Red, Blue, or Yellow where I didn’t have Fearow on my team for the majority of the game. Since I knew Gary/Blue/Whatever you want to call him carried a Pidgeot, I felt like repeating his Pokemon at the end would be pointless. Enter the high-speed Drill Peck machine, Fearow. He looks goofy as fuck, but Dodrio couldn’t match up moveset-wise, and the legendary birds join too late in the game for me to consider replacing Fearow. For that, Fearow holds a special place in my heart. Only one other Flying type is on the same level as Fearow in my mind…but it shows up later in this list.

Apologies to: Articuno, Drifloon

Grass – Oddish

You want a cute Grass Pokemon? Oddish is your bulb. I don’t think I’ve used the Oddish line as my main grass type in any game playthrough[3], but there’s a lot to love about Oddish (at least until it grows up into Gloom). First off, it’s adorable in the anime. Second, it learns a useful moveset that prevents you from needing to stick with Butterfree until mid-game. Third, it has the highest catch rate of any Pokemon other than Magikarp in Pokemon Go, which means stardust for days. Finally, most Grass Pokemon aren’t that great, meaning I’m inclined to replace them with something else anyway. Might as well have one that amuses you — and for me, that’s Oddish.

Apologies to: Tsareena, Exeggutor, Abomasnow

Poison – Toxapex

Like Grass above, I really don’t use that many Poison types in my teams. In early games, they weren’t strong against much of anything, plus most Poison types didn’t have great movesets. They either relied on gimmicks (Weezing’s Explosion/Self-Destruct, Muk’s Minimize) or had terrible stats (Hi, Beedrill). Toxapex, while hard to acquire in Pokemon Sun/Moon, is a legit tank. It’s not quite a god-tier Pokemon, but it’s a dangerous Pokemon in the right hands thanks to its giant defense/special defense stats. Think Shuckle, only cute.

Apologies to: Alolan Muk

Electric – Jolteon

Electric Pokemon are, in my mind, useful, but not likable. Want a badass looking Electric type? Sorry. Since Pikachu exists, everything has to be an attempt at adorable (Minun, Plusle, Emolga, Dedenne, Togedemaru) or so stupid looking you won’t want to use it (Eelektross, Electivire, Luxray, Electrode). If you want a non-legendary Electric type from what’s left, you’re limited to Jolteon, Zebstrika, and Magnezone. I’ll take Jolteon out of that group any day.

Apologies to: Magnezone, Zapdos, Ampharos, Rotom…but only as the Sun/Moon Pokedex

Ground – Quagsire

Look at that face. Look at it.

Apologies to: Dugtrio, Whiscash (again), Zygarde

Psychic – Jynx

Remember that whole thing about liking to carry Ice and Psychic types on my teams? I was a big fan of Jynx in the early games despite its terrible move pool. I mean, she’s serviceable in later games, but outside of Blizzard, if you wanted Jynx to have a good moveset in Gen I, you had to feed her TMs. I carried either Jynx or Hypno as my Psychic in Gen I about 95% of the time. It’s close, but considering my preference to typing over move pool, Jynx wins narrowly.

Apologies to: Hypno, Gardevoir, Slowpoke

Rock – Sudowoodo

Sudowoodo is not a good Pokemon. At all. There are many better Rock types in all of the Pokemon games than Sudowoodo. That said, there isn’t a single Pokemon that you meet in the wild in a more unique fashion than the fake tree Pokemon. After all, you’ve been primed through Gen I and Gen II that you can cut down any small tree in your path. But then…surprise!…it’s a Pokemon encounter a la Snorlax. Sudowoodo wins this category based on impact made on me from the game alone.

Apologies to: Kabutops, Shuckle, Rhydon

Ice – Alolan Vulpix

Though Chandelure was my favorite Fire type, I always found Vulpix to be the best looking Fire type. Brock’s Vulpix was my favorite non-Team Rocket Pokemon in the anime, but I never found good reason to use Vulpix/Ninetales in the early games. Then Sun/Moon came out and we get a Vulpix as an Ice type. I’m sold.

Apologies to: Lapras (again), Dewgong (again), Froslass

Bug – Parasect

Almost all Bug Pokemon are useless. And then there’s Parasect in Gen I. Don’t have a Pokemon that can out-speed Sabrina’s Alakazam? Get a Parasect, teach it Spore and Leech Life, then proceed to curbstomp the hardest gym leader in the game like she’s the fisherman with six Magikarp. Parasect is a super situational Pokemon and largely useless in the rest of the game. But it’s super broken in one specific battle.

Apologies to: Vikavolt

Dragon – Alolan Exeggutor

Before Sun/Moon, I don’t think I used a Dragon Pokemon in an end game team. In my first playthrough of Moon, however, I had two (Kingdra and Alolan Exeggutor). Blame the fact that Dragon moves were terrible in Gen I. I really don’t have strong feelings about this category as a result, so I took the Pokemon I thought had a better design over the one that I used slightly more.

Apologies to: Kingdra, Drampa

Ghost – Mismagius

Outside of Jigglypuff, King troll of Super Smash Brothers, I don’t thing there is a Pokemon more fun to mess with people with than Mismagius. Did your opponent use Protect? You’ve got Phantom Force. Did your opponent Minimize to death? Magical Leaf. Playing doubles and your other Pokemon is obscenely slow like Snorlax? Trick Room. Dark Pokemon giving you trouble? Dazzling Gleam them to death. Mismagius is super fun…and that’s without getting into the Pain Split/Perish Song variants.

Apologies to: Froslass (again), Sableye, Jellicent

Dark – Umbreon

Unlike the type following this one (Steel), Dark has a lot of Pokemon I like. I’ve used quite a few Dark types in-game playthroughs, not to mention many of them have really cool designs. But as a fan of the Eevee line, Umbreon stands out. It’s not my favorite Eeveelution (Vaporeon), it’s not the one I’ve used the most in games (Jolteon), and it’s not even the best designed one (Sylveon). But it is my favorite Pokemon within its type — not to mention a useful one to boot.

Apologies to: Houndoom, Weaville, Alolan Muk (again), Krookodile

Steel – Skarmory

The only other Flying type I liked using in Gen I and Gen II was Skarmory. It looks goofy at best. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t find it useful in the game. Steel typing was surprisingly powerful in Gen II, so Skarmory made sense to use in many cases. While it’s not one of my favorite Pokemon, in a type otherwise filled with Pokemon I don’t care about, Skarmory wins.

Apologies to: Magnezone (again)

Fairy – Primarina

By taking Alolan Vulpix under Ice type, it meant Alolan Ninetales couldn’t appear here. Essentially, this became a coinflip between Primarina and Jigglypuff. Primarina is a far more useful and powerful Pokemon, but Jigglypuff is the master of the Poketrolls. This list may change when I do my next playthrough of Sun/Moon and use a different starter, allowing me to use a different Fairy type in the team. But for now, the opera seal gets the win.

Apologies to: Jigglypuff, Sylveon, Mimikyu

What if I Were a Pokemon Champion?

You might have noticed that I’ve been doing a decent number of video game posts lately. I don’t really have a reason for this, though I realize there’s a handful of my readers that really don’t care about said posts. That said, I’m on a video game writing kick, so I thought I’d try another one.

This time, I’m inspired by the video below by Bird Keeper Toby on YouTube. In the video below, he shares the Elite Four teams, as well as his own team, if he were Pokemon League champion.

The basic premise of Toby’s video is that he is the end game champion of the Elite Four. Toby explains each of the four trainers that precede him in you — the trainer’s — path to becoming a Pokemon League champion. I figured I’d take my own crack at making an Elite Four as well as my own champion team.

In Toby’s video, his Pokemon League theme is a treehouse. In keeping with the idea of having a themed Elite Four, I’m going to have my Pokemon League be a meteorology theme. Weather was introduced into Pokemon in Generation II and my personal obsession with weather[1] makes meteorology a natural fit for the theme. Additionally, I’ve decided to keep with Toby’s theme of making Elite Four members people from previous games. Since my biggest exposure to Pokemon has been in Generations I – IV as well as VII, my Elite Four hails from those groupings.[2]

Battle 1

In the first battle, you’ll be facing off against the first member of my Elite Four, Flannery. For those unaware, Flannery is the fire-type trainer from Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire’s Lavaridge Town. Admittedly, this was the only gym pick I made purely based on previous game skills and not like of a trainer/Pokemon, as there’s not a ton of fire/grass leaders I like.

Flannery is the first fire type leader to use Sunny Day in games, using it on both of her Slugma. In my Pokemon League, however, she’s grown as a trainer from her Gen III days, diversifying her team to include grass type (to fit with the Sunny Day theme) and normal type (due to her familiarity with Norman) Pokemon on her team.

Flannery’s Team

Magcargo
Holds: Heat Rock
Ability: Magma Armor
Moves: Sunny Day, Flamethrower, Recover, Rock Slide

Rapidash
Holds: None
Ability: Flash Fire
Moves: Flamethrower, Solar Beam, Overheat, Bounce

Sceptile
Holds: None
Ability: Overgrow
Moves: Solar Beam, Mega Drain, Dual Chop, Swords Dance

Vigoroth
Holds: Safety Goggles
Ability: Vital Spirit
Moves: Sunny Day, Reversal, Solar Beam, Slash

Torkoal
Holds: Firium Z
Ability: White Smoke
Moves: Overheat, Heat Wave, Iron Defense, Earthquake

Battle 2

Presuming you get through Flannery, you’re on to take on our Rain Dance master, Lana from Pokemon Sun/Moon. Lana is the game’s water trial captain at Brooklet Hill. In nearly every Pokemon game I’ve played, my starter has been the water type starter of the game. You’ll see the influence of my water type starter preference in the second battle, as well as a Alola Pokemon focus in this battle.

Lana’s team also uses rain dance to its fullest by using its powers to improve the accuracy of Hurricane and Thunder via Swanna and Lanturn/Alolan Raichu. I was tempted to add Primarina to Lana’s team as a sixth Pokemon, however I figured keeping all the Elite Four teams at five Pokemon made more sense.

Lana’s Team

Lanturn
Holds: Damp Rock
Ability: Volt Absorb
Moves: Rain Dance, Thunder, Aqua Ring, Surf

Swanna
Holds: None
Ability: Hydration
Moves: Hurricane, Roost, Brave Bird, Surf

Empoleon
Holds: Air Balloon
Ability: Torrent
Moves: Aqua Jet, Brine, Flash Cannon, Rain Dance

Raichu (Alola Form)
Holds: None
Ability: Surge Surfer
Moves: Electric Terrain, Psychic, Thunder, Light Screen

Araquinid
Holds: Waterium Z
Ability: Water Bubble
Moves: Leech Life, Aqua Ring, Rain Dance, Liquidation

Battle 3

For battle three, you encounter the rock/steel/ground filled Sandstorm room of the Elite Four. There’s quite a few options here, particularly considering the prevalence of those types in the first two generations. Of the four Elite Four battles, this one is probably the most straight forward, as you’ll be taking on a familiar face — Gen I’s Brock.

Brock already fields a team filled with rock, ground, and steel types, but he’s got a couple of tricks up his sleeve thanks to his time with Ash, as well as some help he received from Gen II’s steel leader, Jasmine. Brock’s familiar Pokemon do their best to take advantage of Sandstorm, while his new additions attempt to counter those who would damage his main team. And of course, since Brock’s dream is to become a Pokemon breeder, every Pokemon on his team knows a move that can only be learned by breeding (except Magnezone, which can’t).

Onix
Holds: Eviolite
Ability: Sturdy
Moves: Bide, Sandstorm, Stone Edge, Rollout

Magnezone
Holds: Smooth Rock
Ability: Magnet Pull
Moves: Gyro Ball, Discharge, Thunderbolt, Explosion

Golem (Kanto Form)
Holds: None
Ability: Sand Veil
Moves: Stone Edge, Focus Blast, Heavy Slam, Endure

Donphan
Holds: None
Ability: Sand Veil
Moves: Hyper Beam, Rollout, Ice Shard, Thunder Fang

Steelix
Holds: Steelixite
Ability: Study/Sandforce
Moves: Sandstorm, Earthquake, Iron Tail, Rock Climb

Battle 4

You’re finally to the last of the Elite Four members at my meteorology themed Pokemon League. If you beat the final trainer, you’re on to take on me as the Champion. That said, you’ve got to deal with the original ice user and her Hail optimized team first. Lorelei from the Gen I Elite Four is up next.

Unlike the previous three weather types, you know what you’re getting here. Ice gonna give it to ya. There’s just one problem. Lorelei has brought a more diverse team that can learn ice moves — not just ice types. And in the event you plan on bringing in fighting, rock, steel, or fire types here, she’s ready to counter it.

Lapras
Holds: Icy Rock
Ability: Shell Armor
Moves: Blizzard, Perish Song, Surf, Confuse Ray

Froslass
Holds: None
Ability: Snow Cloak
Moves: Hail, Destiny Bond, Thunder Wave, Shadow Ball

Slowking
Holds: King’s Rock
Ability: Oblivious
Moves: Scald, Heal Pulse, Yawn, Dream Eater

Aurorus
Holds: Light Clay
Ability: Snow Warning
Moves: Psychic, Blizzard, Thunderbolt, Stone Edge

Abomasnow
Holds: Abomasite
Ability: Snow Warning
Moves: Blizzard, Energy Ball, Wood Hammer, Ice Punch

Battle 5

Finally, you’re beaten the Elite Four and you’ve reach the champion — me. So what kind of team am I going to bring out? After all, you’ve already ran into the four weather types so far. What else could I have? My team is built around Pokemon who change the weather as soon as they enter battle. The abilities Drought, Drizzle, Sand Stream, and Snow Warning are present on four of my six Pokemon, changing the weather as soon as they enter. As for the other two, they’ll be bent on stopping you in their own unique ways that help balance out my team.

Pelipper
Holds: Damp Rock
Ability: Drizzle
Moves: Hurricane, Surf, Fly, Roost

Torkoal
Holds: Heat Rock
Ability: Drought
Moves: Solar Beam, Heat Wave, Flame Charge, Amnesia

Tyranitar
Holds: Smooth Rock
Ability: Sand Stream
Moves: Dark Pulse, Stone Edge, Dragon Claw, Ice Beam

Scizor
Holds: Scizorite
Ability: Technician
Moves: Silver Wind, Hidden Power, Metal Claw, Toxic

Umbreon
Holds: Chople Berry
Ability: Synchronize
Moves: Yawn, Dream Eater, Confuse Ray, Dark Pulse

Ninetales (Alolan Form)
Holds: Light Clay
Ability: Snow Warning
Moves: Aurora Veil, Toxic, Blizzard, Hex


So. What did you all think? I realize this is a bit different type of post from one I’ve normally done, particularly since it’s a video response. Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments.

Fire Emblem Direct Thoughts

A little over a week and a half ago, Nintendo held a Nintendo Direct event for the Fire Emblem series of games. As you might be aware, I like Fire Emblem just a little bit. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the four games discussed in the event below. If you haven’t watched the event yet, you can find the full video below.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

Shadows of Valentia is a game inspired by an earlier entry in the Fire Emblem series, 1992’s Gaiden. While I’ve played quite a few games in the Fire Emblem series, Gaiden is not one of the titles I’ve played to this point. From everything I’ve gathered, the gameplay mechanics of Gaiden differ pretty drastically from other Fire Emblem games, which is a disappointment. Gaiden combines the turn-based strategy of a typical Fire Emblem game with a navigable world map similar to games in the Legend of Zelda series. I love the turn-based style combat of Fire Emblem, so seeing a Fire Emblem game deviate from that — as three of the games on this list are expected to do to some extent — is a bit disappointing.

With that said, Shadows of Valentia appears to have a good storyline, at least from what little we can glean from the Direct event. The game itself is reported to copy Gaiden‘s gameplay style nearly directly, though an updated story inspired by Gaiden will be introduced with Shadows of Valentia. Part of me is tempted to get my hands on an emulator copy of Gaiden soon to see if I like the style. But there’s two main things holding me back from that.

  1. Gaiden never received an English translation
  2. I really hate Zelda style games

The Direct event shows a scene around the 5:15 mark where you appear to do a dungeon crawl level that really turns me off to the game. As much as I love Fire Emblem, I have no desire to play hack and slash or dungeon crawl games. That said, a lot of the other scenes focus on more traditional Fire Emblem game play. My hope is that Shadows of Valentia focuses more on the traditional game play than the overworld.

Shadows of Valentia will be releasing on May 19, 2017.

Hype Rating: 3 of 5

Fire Emblem for Nintendo Switch

We don’t get a title for whatever the new Fire Emblem game coming to the Switch is, but that’s alright since the game won’t be releasing until 2018. We don’t know much about the new game other than it’ll be the first full console release of Fire Emblem since the Wii. Even in the Direct event, all we got was a 45 second blurb about the game coming out in 2018. That said, of the coming games, it’s the one I’m most intrigued to learn more about and eventually play.

Hype Rating: Incomplete, though likely at least 4 of 5

Fire Emblem: Warriors

No.

But really though. Dynasty Warriors is a hack and slash series that I have zero cares about. If you want to see an example of exactly how hack and slashy this game is, go to the 7:50 mark in the video at the top of the post. The art in Warriors looks amazing from the preview video, though I’d have to assume that’s console gameplay we’re looking at, not handheld. While Warriors will be released on the 3DS and 2DS in addition to the Switch, I do get the impression that either there will be less stellar graphics on the handhelds, or we’ll see a degradation of play quality. Since I can’t imagine Nintendo allowing the latter to happen, I’ll assume that the handheld versions will have lessened graphics qualities.

But hey, at least Chrom is in the trailer?

Hype Rating: 1 of 5

Fire Emblem Heroes

This game screams Brave Frontier or Final Fantasy: Brave Exivus. Bad. To the point where I had to go back and watch the Direct video a few times to make sure Alim wasn’t part of the development for Heroes.

This is Nintendo’s first foray into the mobile market with a Fire Emblem game. Heroes — at least from what we can tell from the Direct video — looks to combine some of the turn-based attack strategy game from Fire Emblem’s other games with summoning type mechanics found in mobile games like Brave Frontier.

Of all the games announced so far, Heroes is the only game thus far where I’m disappointed with the released art. I don’t know if this is because I’m so used to seeing newer Fire Emblem games like Awakening and Fates, however the actual gameplay art of Heroes is subpar. The non-gameplay art (in particular the summoning art) seems to be pretty good, so perhaps it’s just the preview that I’m bothered with.

Not shockingly, Nintendo has decided to go with the microtransaction model for acquiring the in-game currency needed to acquire units in this game. As much as I’d like to try Heroes thanks to my love for the Fire Emblem series (as well as the aforementioned Brave Frontier), I don’t think I’ll find myself picking up Heroes when it releases on February 2, 2017.

Hype Rating: 1.5 of 5

What If Fire Emblem: Awakening Characters Had Personal Skills?

For the handful of people who actually cared about these posts, it’s been quite a while since I did my last Fire Emblem related post. As you might imagine, I’ve decided to drop the series I originally had planned. After writing the character comparison post (and the fact that it went nearly 8,000 words by itself), I realized I was in way over my head for the level of detail I wanted to put into those posts. It was either drop the series or make this blog completely into a gaming blog. I chose the former.

One of the features of Fire Emblem: Fates that I preferred to Fire Emblem: Awakening was the implementation of personal skills for each character. While there where some characters in Awakening (Chrom/Lucina, Donnel, Robin/Morgan) that got unique classes based off of their starting class, most characters picked from the same skill pool. While that’s still true in Fates, each character was also given a personal skill that could not be removed, adding uniqueness to those characters.

In replaying Awakening recently, as well as getting the Fire Emblem: Awakening artbook for Christmas, I began to wonder what the personal skills for each character in the game would be. I’ve tried my best to base these skills off of the character’s personality or story in the game. Since there are three characters (Owain, Severa, Inigo) that overlap between the two games, I’ve addressed them in comparison to their personal skills in Fates.

Warning: Spoilers for Fire Emblem: Awakening. Also, if you don’t care about video games, this is a theorycrafting post. You’ll probably be bored.

First Generation Characters

Robin

Personal Skill – Invisible Ties – All units adjacent to Robin with C support or higher receive +10 Hit Rate/+10 Dodge/-5% Damage Received. Bonuses increase by +10/+10/-5% with each additional level of support.

Analysis: Similar to Corrin’s skill in Fates, Robin’s skill as the avatar of the game is tied to the support levels between them and your other team members. Since Robin is a tactician, it only makes sense that the better he knows his comrades, the more the bonus increases.

Chrom

Personal Skill – Ylissean Brand – Increase the frequency of dual support events by 10% and increases their strength by 10%

Analysis: Though Chrom’s personal weapon, Falchion, and his shield, the Fire Emblem, both play critical roles in the game’s story line, they don’t gain their power until too late in the game for them to be tied to his personal skill. Building off of Chrom’s Lord skills makes more sense from a game long utility standpoint.

Lissa

Personal Skill – Hidden Lineage – When Lissa is the support unit, enemy critical hits are negated. Weapon and class weaknesses still apply.

Analysis: Most every story line involving Lissa in the game is about how she’s self-conscious that her family brand didn’t appear on her. Giving her this skill leaves players a tough choice on difficult maps early in the game — expose Lissa to level her up as a cleric or keep her as a support unit but sacrifice her growth?

Fredrick

Personal Skill – Pick A God And Pray – When Fredrick is supporting either Chrom or Lissa, +10 critical hit rate. +5 critical hit rate when supporting any other unit.

Analysis: I covered this last time, but I hate Fredrick. His only purposes in Awakening are as an XP suck, to be a better dad than Libra/Virion, and to deliver the most kickass critical hit line in the game. His personal skill reflects this.

Sully

Personal Skill – Dame of Valor – If Sully’s opponent is male, damage dealt increases by 10%

Analysis: Considering almost every support of Sully’s involves her kicking the crap out of her future mate in training exercises — usually because they underestimated her — this makes logical sense. She’s not one of the guys, but she’s probably a better soldier.

Virion

Personal Skill – Thorn of Roseanne – Adjacent female allies deal +10% damage when attacking, however Virion also takes 25% of damage dealt.

Analysis: Virion is loathed for his flirtatious ways, which both helps his female companions fight harder, but also hurts him. Playing him would require a lot more strategy, particularly in middle levels once more female units are recruited.

Stahl

Personal Skill – Ravenous – Effects from items used in battle have double impact.

Analysis: Considering the fact that Stahl is constantly hungry, having a benefit from his consumption of items seems only natural. Suddenly Gaius’s Confect gives him +4 Strength, Skill, and Speed, which is useful in a pinch.

Vaike

Personal Skill – Tenure – If weapon skill level is D or lower, experience growth is doubled. If weapon skill level is B or higher, experience growth is halved.

Analysis: Vaike has always struck me as a guy who got by on strength alone for the longest time, meaning he’s only useful for teaching and learning for a beginner. His weapon growth rates should reflect this.

Miriel

Personal Skill – Meticulous – If Miriel has been engaged in combat with a unit before, Miriel gains +20 Hit Rate/+20 Dodge.

Analysis: Considering the number of support conversations Miriel has where she gives advice to other characters on how to improve their battle style with small tweaks, she’s definitely one for small details. Those details will let her dodge and hit better once she sees an opponent in battle.

Sumia

Personal Skill – Animal Whisperer – Mounted, Pegasus, and Wyvern units deal 10% less damage to Sumia.

Analysis: Probably the most natural fit skill in the game considering how we meet Sumia. Her power over animals causes opposing animals to pull up just enough before engaging her that she takes less damage.

Kellam

Personal Skill – Wallflower – Kellam can end on the same tile as any friendly unit, even if that unit is paired up. If an opponent attacks that tile, Kellam can neither be attacked nor defend.

Analysis: No one notices Kellam. Basically his skill would be Pass on steroids.

Lon’Qu

Personal Skill – Protector of Ke’ri – When paired with a wounded unit, Lon’Qu gains +20 Hit Rate and +15 Critical Rate.

Analysis: Despite never appearing in Awakening, Ke’ri’s existence is critical to understanding why Lon’Qu fears women. He’s now a sell sword bent on protecting those he supports, making him dangerous if his allies are wounded.

Maribelle

Personal Skill – Dignified Entrance – Gains +10 Magic/+10 Skill at the start of each battle. Bonus decrease by 1 each turn.

Analysis: I have to admit, of all the people on this list, Maribelle is the one character that I had a much better name for a personal skill than I did an actual skill itself. Nothing I thought of seemed to really suit her. The magic/skill bonus is at least useful.

Ricken

Personal Skill – Apprentice – When paired with another tome user, both Ricken and his support gain +2 Magic/+2 Resistance.

Analysis: Despite the fact that we don’t actually know most of the the characters’ ages, Ricken certainly feels like the youngest character in the game. Yet he’s always trying to learn how to do better magic. The skill is an extension of that.

Panne

Personal Skill – Last of My Kind – If Panne is the last unit to move in a turn, she gains +1 movement.

Analysis: Yeah…both taguel skills are going to be based on their ability to move. Just want to warn you about that now.

Gaius

Personal Skill – Sticky Fingers – If Gaius battles a unit with a better ranked weapon in the same class, Gaius has a 40% chance of stealing that weapon.

Analysis: Dear god do I wish this were a real skill. It’d be very situational, however if you were to put Gaius with a Bronze Sword up against someone with a Killing Edge, Gaius would have a 40% chance to take the Killing Edge for himself. Provided he survives, that is. And yes, sticky fingers is a play on both his thief class and his love of candy.

Cordelia

Personal Skill – Genius – Additional damage dealt to Cordelia by weapon weaknesses/advantages is halved.

Analysis: Fates took the good names for Cordelia’s skill with Caeldori and Subaki’s skills. Point stays the same. Cordelia is underappreciated. She can do everything. I mean, she can reclass into classes that let her use literally every weapon class. She’s a genius.

Nowi

Personal Skill – Playing House – When Nowi is paired with her S-Support or child, +2 Strength/+10 critical rate. Otherwise, -2 Strength/-10 critical rate.

Analysis: Nowi’s supports with Lon’Qu reference her desire to play house and have a family. Needless to say, being paired with her actual family makes her far more vicious than when she’s not.

Gregor

Personal Skill – Smash – Critical hits do 6x damage instead of 3x damage, but also use two uses of weapon durability.

Analysis: I really wish there was a relevant skill I could come up with referencing Gregor’s broken English. But alas, the best we’ve got is his love for smashing things.

Libra

Personal Skill – Incantations – When Libra heals another unit, he recovers 75% of HP healed.

Analysis: I originally had Libra’s skill as a Nosferatu-like heal-when-attacking skill. That said, considering his high crit rate and penchant for Killer Axes, stereo healing seemed more balanced.

Tharja

Personal Skill – Shadow – If Tharja is adjacent to or paired with Robin, her S-Support, or her child, Tharja can only attack second, however her skills trigger 10% more frequently.

Analysis: Depending on what skills you give Tharja (hellooooooo Vengeance), this has the potential to be broken as all hell. However, considering how situational it becomes unless you’re constantly using Pair Up, it should be fine. That said, you’re constantly using Pair Up. Meet Chrom with Vengeance.

Olivia

Personal Skill – Risque – All male units within 2 tiles receive -20 Hit Rate/-20 Dodge. This applies to both enemies and allies.

Analysis: The first couple of times I played through Awakening, I considered Olivia to be a very demure character. Then I read her support logs. And her other dialogue lines. And saw her official artwork. She’s basically trying to be a stripper. Seems distracting on the battlefield.

Cherche

Personal Skill – Loyal Servant – When paired with any noble character (Chrom, Lissa, Fredrick, or Virion), grants +1 to all stats except Movement and HP to that character.

Analysis: I know Minerva is her dragon and having dragons is her thing, but her support lines indicate she’s a damn good servant and diplomat. She’s arguably the unit I underrated the most in my first assessment, so I’ll make up for it here.

Henry

Personal Skill – Bloodlust – Gains +1 Magic for every 15% of HP lost.

Analysis: Here’s a dilemma for you. With this skill, the more Henry is damaged, the stronger he becomes. Combine this with Vengeance and you’ve got a monster if he has high Skill/low HP. But what do you class Henry as? Do you take him out of the Sorceror class to prevent using Nosferatu? Do you leave him in Sorceror so he doesn’t get Lifetaker from the Dark Knight class? Do you just make him a Dread Fighter and say fuck it?

Donnel

Personal Skill – Farmer – Donnel receives +3 Defense and +10 Dodge if he ends his turn on Plains or Desert.

Analysis: Honestly, I like Mozu’s personal skill from Fates for Donnel, but I didn’t want to repeat it. So let’s make him slightly less frail when recruiting him. Doesn’t help build XP, but doesn’t let him die so easy when defending.

Second Generation Characters

*Note: While Owain, Severa, and Inigo have retained their personal skill titles from Fates, I’ve changed the skill slightly to better reflect their usage in Awakening.

Lucina

Personal Skill – Iai Counter – If Lucina lands a critical hit on an opponent with full HP, the opponent is killed and Lucina heals 25% of her max HP.

Analysis: Smash references! Smash references everywhere! But seriously. The kids are broken without personal skills. This is about to get nuts.

Owain

Personal Skill – Aching Blood* – When Mystletainn is equipped, +10 Critical Rate/+2 Strength

Analysis: As much as Owain makes sense as a Dark Mage in Fates, he’s not quite the same without his trusty blade from Awakening. Even though it’s clearly an inferior sword, Owain is empowered by it.

Inigo

Personal Skill – Fancy Footwork* – All female units within two tiles gain +2 Speed. Inigo gains +1 movement if he starts the turn within two tiles of any female unit, ally or foe.

Analysis: Considering Inigo’s use of Rally commands in Awakening is pretty limited, playing off of Inigo’s flirtatious mentality as his skill still makes great sense. Just don’t tell Noire. She might go crazy.

Brady

Personal Skill – Bard – Whenever Brady heals an allied unit, he gains +1 Magic/+1 Resistance for the remainder of the battle.

Analysis: Similar to Henry’s skill, you’ve got some interesting choices to make with Brady. Do you focus him on healing early to build him up as an indestructible Sage near the end of a level? Note that the skill says heals, meaning using the Rescue staff wouldn’t impact Brady’s stats.

Kjelle

Personal Skill – Duelist – Only receives 50% of Pair Up Bonuses. Kjelle receives +1 Strength/+1 Defense/+1 Skill/+1 Resistance for each turn no allies are within two spaces at turn’s end.

Analysis: Kjelle’s entire recruitment level is all about she wants a one-on-one duel with Cassius. Why not play to it in her skill? Sure, she’ll be handicapped as you’re trying to build her marriage supports, but if you reclass her into a Paladin/Great Knight, she becomes your sweeper.

Cynthia

Personal Skill – Valiant Hero – When Paired Up with another unit, Cynthia’s Dual Guard trigger rate is increased by 25%

Analysis: Basically the inverse of Kjelle. Cynthia wants to be the one to save the day. Needless to say, she becomes quite good at it.

Severa

Personal Skill – Fierce Rival* – When supporting her S-Support Unit or her father, if the lead unit triggers a critical hit, Severa is guaranteed a critical hit (if the attack connects). When supporting Cordelia, if Cordelia triggers a critical hit, Severa is guaranteed a critical hit dealing 6x damage (if the attack connects).

Analysis: The one skill that Fates got essentially right. Just add in a rage factor for Severa when her mom gets a critical hit and you’re golden.

Gerome

Personal Skill – Minerva’s Wrath – Gerome receives 10% less damage from Wyvern/Griffon units and deals 20% more damage to Wyvern/Griffon units.

Analysis: Did you need an anti-wyvern unit? No? Are you really going to turn Batman down though?

Morgan

Personal Skill – Amnesiac – If weapon skill is D or lower, weapon experience growth is halved. If weapon skill is B or higher, weapon experience growth is doubled.

Analysis: Inverse Vaike. It makes sense considering his/her backstory.

Yarne

Personal Skill – Rabbit’s Foot – If Yarne receives a hit that drops him below 50% HP, he has a 50% chance to retreat, even if the enemy is mid-attack, as long as there is a free tile to move to.

Analysis: Yarne runs from everything. Easiest skill to write in the entire post.

Laurent

Personal Skill – Mirage – Once per battle, Laurent may use the Mirage tactic. This ends his turn without attacking. The next attack Laurent takes will deal no damage.

Analysis: The skill is a clear homage to Laurent’s recruitment level, wherein you must find a mirage village. Like his recruitment level, Laurent’s skill is underwhelming and ultimately a disappointment.

Noire

Personal Skill – Blood and Thunder – Noire receives one extra hit per attack.

Analysis: A simple skill, yet a useful one for a unit that will likely be a Sniper or a Nosferatu tank in the end game. If Noire doesn’t have Armsthrift, you’re going to go through some weapons, but it’s worth it. The skill is more a nod to her obnoxious speed growth than anything else.

Nah

Personal Skill – Blade Catcher – Damage from all swords except Wyrmslayers is halved. Damage from Wyrmslayers is doubled on top of existing bonuses.

Analysis: One of the better battle related supports is that between female Morgan and Nah, where Nah tries to learn to catch swords to save herself from her only weakness, Wyrmslayers. Nah realizes she can’t catch Wyrmslayers in her manakete form, which is when she needs to the most. Hence the doubled damage.

 

Fire Emblem fans…what did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.