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Looking Back on Predictions

Those who have followed this blog for a long time know that I like to do speculative posts at times. These tend to be video game related posts, usually delving just as much into theorycrafting as they do anything else. That said, I like writing them and typically have a lot of fun in the process of creating them.

One thing I don’t do a good job of, however, is looking back at those posts when it comes time to see what I got right and got wrong. I’m not alone in this. Nearly every sports writer or pundit suffers from the same problem. There’s an entire Twitter account dedicated to calling these freezing cold takes out. If you’re a sports fan, give it a read. It’s great entertainment.

With one of the final posts of 2019, I wanted to take a moment and go back and look at my theorycrafting posts, speculative posts, and just general guessing-type posts I’ve written. What did I get wrong? For that matter, what did I get right? I sure as hell don’t remember. Come and discover right along with me.

10 Pokemon Go Community Day Ideas Based on Shinies

The most recent purely speculative post I’ve written is also one of the least successful, if not inconclusive results-wise, posts that I’ve written. Pokemon Go players have received zero of the Pokemon I listed in this post as Community Day events in the time since this post was written in April 2019. Two of the Pokemon listed in this post, Shuckle and Electrike, have had their shinies released, albeit in very different ways. Shuckle got its shiny released as part of an event and featured boosted spawns as a result. While this isn’t Community Day, I’ll still take this as a win. Electrike, on the other hand, didn’t even receive a formal announcement.

What I Got Right – Shuckle (kind of).
What I Got Wrong – Electrike.
Inconclusive – Everything else.

How Smeargle (Almost) Made Me Quit Pokemon Go

In this post, I mentioned how the implementation of Smeargle was the worst thing to happen in Pokemon Go ever, including the original gym system. While I did mention it in the post, I failed to call out that the biggest mistake Niantic had made to that point was actually the failure to re-implement the footstep tracker that allowed you to locate Pokemon in the early days of the game. This is a grievous oversight on my part. On the plus side, my post no longer matters, because Niantic has since introduced the paid Regigigas event, which is actually the worst thing to happen in the game’s history.

What I Got Right – How frustrating Smeargle was until more info about its mechanics were released.
What I Got Wrong – Pretty much everything else.
Inconclusive – How Niantic will alienate its player base next.

Why Your Super Smash Bros Ultimate Main Sucks

This post was a work of art except for one crucial mistake.

What I Got Right – That it’s super inconsistent for mature characters to be banned from Smash, yet for Bayonetta to somehow be on the roster.
What I Got Wrong – Captain Falcon does not shout his own name during sex. The Wii Fit Trainer does that.
Inconclusive – How much rage I’ll have to hear from the Smash fan base when Edelgard is inevitably added to Smash as DLC.

10 New Mega Evolutions I Want to See on Pokemon Switch

For the second generation in a row, we did not get new Mega Evolutions in a new Pokemon game. While Gen VII brought us Z-moves, Sword and Shield brought us Dynamax and Gigantamax evolutions. The latter is…kind of?…like Mega Evolution. Except not. And it’s not as good. But it’s the closest thing we’re getting. So how did the list do?

Of the 23 Pokemon capable of Gigantamaxing, 22 are from either Sword and Shield or from Generation I. The lone exception? Garbodor. Seriously. This list was doomed to fail as a result. But at least there was one exact hit.

What I Got Right – Lapras! I mean, kind of. But I’m counting it.
What I Got Wrong – Everything else, both literally and by my technicality.
Inconclusive – Why Generation VIII isn’t called Pokemon The Ocho.

10 New Dual Type Pokemon for Switch

At last count, there were 25 dual typings left that hadn’t existed in any Pokemon game to this point. Surely one of the ten Stephanie and I picked to theorycraft will show up on Sword and Shield. Right?

What We Got Right – Zen mode Galarian Darmanitan, at least in terms of that specific typing existing.
What I Got Wrong – Literally every other guess.
Inconclusive – There’s bound to be a part two to Sword and Shield. Just like there was Emerald to Ruby and Sapphire and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon to Sun/Moon. So this list isn’t quite dead yet.

My Pokemon Gym: Flying

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

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

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

Swellow

Swellow is one of the few Pokemon that Pokemon Go caused me to like significantly more than I liked it from the original games. Maybe it’s because of Emily Dickinson, but the Taillow/Swellow line was become arguably my favorite first route bird at this stage…with the possible exception of the next Pokemon on this team. Popping a Toxic Orb/Flame Orb on Swellow with the Guts ability makes it a great scout, particularly with the combination of Protect to setup the status condition and U-Turn to change momentum. Brave Bird and Return fill out the last two slots for STAB1Same Type Attack Bonus, but that’s not the primary purpose for Swellow anyway.

Ability: Guts
Item: Toxic Orb
Moves: Protect, U-Turn, Brave Bird, Return

Fearow

Fearow was my original Gen I Fly bot, so it makes this team for nostalgia purposes. I didn’t realize Fearow got Throat Chop until making this team, so I’m throwing that on Fearow because it’s hilarious. My current favorite use of Fearow is Z-Mirror Move shenanigans, so it’ll be the only special move this otherwise physical type attacker will pack.

Ability: Sniper
Item: Flyinium-Z
Moves: Mirror Move, Steel Wing, Drill Run, Throat Chop

Delibird

Delibird is trash. But it’s my trash. And it’s adorable. I’d love to tell you it’s here to do some damage, but frankly it’s only around to have a high speed stat, live on a Focus Sash hit, then take someone down with Destiny Bond.

Ability: Vital Spirit
Item: Focus Sash
Moves: Freeze-Dry, Water Pulse, Destiny Bond, Hidden Power Psychic

Sigilyph

Sigilyph carried much of my first run of Pokemon Black because it’s a shockingly competent Pokemon. My hope is to have it come in on something that likes throwing around status and stalling — think Blissey types — then Psycho Shift the ailment off. Cosmic Power helps with survivability, while Air Slash and Shadow Ball are here for flinches and coverage, respectively.

Ability: Magic Guard
Item: Sitrus Berry
Moves: Psycho Shift, Cosmic Power, Air Slash, Shadow Ball

Crobat

Cave Herpes grew up and got…good? Crobat has always been a Pokemon that interested me, but never one I regularly used. The Inflitrator ability allows Pokemon with the ability to pass through Substitute, which is very situational, but very useful. That said, the primary purpose to this set is using up the Normal Gem with a Quick Attack to start off Crobat’s time in battle. This will allow a double base power Acrobatics, which can hit like a truck coming from Crobat. If only it had the Unburden ability like another Pokemon that just missed the cut for this list2But only because it’s going to be on a different list.

Ability: Infiltrator
Item: Normal Gem
Moves: Leech Life, Acrobatics, Cross Poison, Quick Attack

Honchkrow

WHY CAN’T I FIND A SHINY MURKROW IN POKEMON GO? WHY? IT’S BEEN NEARLY 1500 MURKROW NOW3When I wrote this post in September, I was in the high 1400s of Murkrow seen without a shiny. It is now December 2. I’m at 1675 without a shiny.!

Honchkrow is here to deal out critical hits. All night, all day, crits all the way. Combine the critical rate boosting Scope Lens with a critical rate boosting Super Luck, then add the increased critical rate of Night Slash and fun happens.

Ability: Super Luck
Item: Scope Lens
Moves: Night Slash, Superpower, Torment, Drill Peck

5 Quality of Life Improvements I’d Like to See in Pokemon Go

While I’ve been one to talk about Pokemon extremely frequently on this blog — I have a monthly post dedicated to the game at this point, after all — I’m not one to heavily talk about Pokemon Go. While I’ve played since its launch day in the US, I’m not one to do a lot of theorycrafting about the game. After all, you’re much more limited as to what you can do in Pokemon Go in comparison to other games in the series. There’s just not as much to possibly talk about. Combine that with the fact that there are bloggers like PokeTraveller Lola who do a fantastic job with this already and I feel like there’s not a ton for me to say on the matter.

That said, I did want to take a swing at suggesting some quality of life improvements I’d like to see in Pokemon Go and how they could be implemented. My ultimate goal with this post is not to get Niantic to change the game. Let’s face it, my 150 Twitter followers are barely enough to get me the occasional double digit liked tweet. What I would like to see come out of this though is discussion. While my ideas are just things I’d like to see, I’m sure they could be built off of and turned into great ideas.

I’ve decided to limit myself to five total ideas for this post, as well as to spread those ideas out so that no more than one idea is present per major game mechanic. I could have written a whole post based on improvements I’d like to see to the current raid system or friend-related activities, however I feel like that would come off as bashing those two aspects of the game1While the friendship system is flawed in many ways, it’s better than how a lot of mobile games handle friends. That said, raids are bad right now. I’ll get into why below.. That certainly isn’t my intent with this post. I do generally enjoy Pokemon Go even though I’m currently sitting at 1550 Murkrow wild/hatched encounters without a shiny2Technically, I’m at 1650, but I know that I was in the high double digits before shiny Murkrow was released. For ease of math, I just make it an even hundred.. I’m not bitter at all.

Friendship – Allow Remote Trading

The Idea: Allow trading between friends who aren’t in the same room.

How to Implement it: Ideally, this is a system where the better friends you are with someone, the further distance you can trade with them from. Good and Great friends might have very short distance limits like the current structure. However, Ultra friends could have a 1,000km trade distance limit, while Best friends could trade from anywhere on the globe. If there needs to be some sort of limitation for Ultra and Best friends, maybe there could be a one trade per day limit for trades where the friends are located more than a certain distance apart.

Why This Should Happen: I currently have six lucky friends on my friend list. Of those six friends, four of them are people who aren’t local to me in Northeast Ohio. One is in North Carolina, one is in Canada, one is in Spain, and one is in Australia. Many Go players have sought out friends online from other countries in an effort to get 7km eggs from far away places, only to end up with lucky friends they’ll never be able to trade with. This remedies that.

Why It Won’t Happen: Of all the items on this list, I feel like this is the most likely to happen in some capacity, even if it isn’t the exact why I’ve described it.

Gyms – Give Defense Bonuses to Themed Gyms

The Idea: The first trainer to place a Pokemon in a newly defeated gym sets a theme. If that theme is followed, the stats of the Pokemon defending it are buffed.

How to Implement it: Upon defeating a gym and dropping their Pokemon in, the first trainer to place a Pokemon in a gym gets to choose from one of three themes generated based on the Pokemon they pick. These would essentially be themes of escalating difficulty. Let’s say our first trainer puts Squirtle in the gym. A one-star theme would be simple to follow (Water types). If followed, this theme would give a small bonus (say 5%) to one stat (say Defense) of all Pokemon in the gym. A two-star theme would be a little more complex (Water- type starters), and would give a bigger bonus to a single stat (say 10% to Defense), with a smaller stat boost for other stats of the defenders. A three-star theme would have the most complex difficulty (blue Water type Kanto Pokemon), but would provide the biggest boosts.

Why This Should Happen: Let me tell you how boring it is fighting a gym with Chansey, Blissey, Slakoth, Snorlax, Metagross, and Dragonite for the ten thousandth time. I love seeing gyms with good variety. Did a group of people manage to create a gym with only first-stage Flying types? Awesome. You can bet that I’m not attacking that beautiful thing unless I have to.

Why It Won’t Happen: Considering how little attention has been given to this feature since the rework in 2017, I feel like Niantic might have forgotten gym battles exist.

Battling – Merge the Team Go Rocket and Team Leader Battle Concepts

The Idea: Take the Pokemon battle variety and strategy that the Go Rocket battles provide and move it out of the Pokestop setting — making Go Rocket a fourth team leader battle option.

How to Implement it: I like the Go Rocket battles. They’re one of the harder non-PvP battle options in the game without requiring the massive people investment of a big raid. But players in Pokestop-poor areas may have limited chances to battle team Go Rocket. So, at least for three battles a day3The reward acquisition limit for team leader battles., move the Rocket grunts into the team leader screen and let players battle them from there. Keep the random type and Pokemon choices. Keep the shadow Pokemon reward concept the same. Just give those who don’t have access to Pokestops a chance to play this mode more frequently.

Why This Should Happen: After you’ve done ten or twenty Go Rocket battles, they become boring and tedious. Just like the team leader battles. At least make them like the team leader battles and allow me to do them from my couch rather than having to leave in the winter.

Why It Won’t Happen: Niantic is leaning HARD into the Go Rocket battles in game right now. They clearly think they’ve struck gold here. If anything, I could see team leaders getting moved out of their current implementation and out to gyms or Pokestops, making things even worse for rural players.

Raids – Introduce a Scaled Difficulty Raid System

The Idea: Make every raid beatable regardless of group size…just scale the difficulty based on the Pokemon you’re fighting.

How to Implement it: The current raid system has a suggested number of trainers that should fight each raid boss. Most tier 1 raids are easily soloable, while tier 5 raids range from 4-6 high level players to typically beat4Attack form Deoxys can be soloed despite being a tier 5 raid. I’ve done it. It is not worth the effort for such a bad Pokemon.. This requires coordinating with medium to large groups — which isn’t always practical aside from Community Day for people who can’t afford to spend their entire day playing Pokemon Go. Instead of this, make all raids where the stats of the Pokemon you’re battling are determined by the number of trainers in the raid lobby. From there, tier 1 raids would remain the easiest (and can be beaten with limited, underleveled Pokemon) all the way to tier 5, which will be difficulty to beat within the timer unless you have a fully optimized team.

Why This Should Happen: People have lives. I’ve done one tier 5 raid outside of Community Day in the last 3 months. It’s not worth the effort, especially for Pokemon that are largely just Pokedex fillers. Unless it’s a tier 1 to tier 3 raid, I straight up ignore raids at this point. For a feature that has such awesome potential, it might be the worst feature in the whole game.

Why It Won’t Happen: You know how Niantic does the weekly legendary raid hour? And how an significant percentage of the raid hatch pool is 5* raids? And how Darkrai is effectively the first 6* raid? If anything, Niantic is already going as far away from this suggestion as they possibly can.

Acquiring Pokemon – Thin the Current Spawn Pool

The Idea: Create a limited, rotating set of Pokemon that spawn at a given time in the wild.

How to Implement it: With the start of Generation 5 rolling out in Pokemon Go, there are 500+ Pokemon available in Pokemon Go. While some of these Pokemon can only be acquired through raids, there’s still several hundred possible Pokemon that can appear in the wild. My thought is to thin the pool out — similar to how current type-specific events have boosted spawn rates — and then remove all non-pool Pokemon from the spawns. You could keep a pool active for a month or so, then rotate to the next set of Pokemon. This could even be built within the current event structure5You know, if any of the events had a consistent length with one another.

Why This Should Happen: Gen V’s Pokemon release REALLY made the problem we have currently with a diluted spawn pool hit home for me. I live in a VERY Grass/Rock/Poison/Rock heavy biome (think Mt. Moon in Gen I). In the just over 1 month since Gen V was released in Pokemon Go and when I wrote this6I finished the post on October 25., I’ve seen 6 Drilbur, 10 Foongus, and 2 Ferroseed. TWO. When half of the spawns I see on a daily basis are Bellsprout/Hoppip/Diglett/Cherrim. I get that some Pokemon are more common than others, but if you’re actively advertising that new Pokemon have been released, at least make them spawn frequently. That is to say nothing of the problems with the current egg pools…Gible….

Why It Won’t Happen: There nearly always seems to be an event running in Pokemon Go messing with the spawns. If we could get two weeks straight without an event, this might happen. That said, the last time that happened was….2016? I wish I could give an accurate timeline of this, but it certainly feels like there’s constantly been an event of some sort going on for at least two years straight now.

My Pokemon Gym: Fire

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

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

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

Oricorio (Baile Form)

Okay. I’ll admit that I’m not much of a Fire type user. The Fire type that is my favorite and that I’ve used the most competitively will make an appearance on another team, while two of the three honorable mentions on my favorite Pokemon list are pre-evolved forms that are useless in battle. With that said, there’s a couple of Fire types I love using in VGC-style doubles battles, including Oricorio. I’m fairly sure Oricorio is a horrid singles Pokemon, but that’s not going to stop me here. It’s a scout, as you might be able to tell with U-Turn. That said, Oricorio’s Fire type movepool is shallow. And by shallow, I mean it gets Revelation Dance1Revelation Dance is a unique move in that it changes type based on the user’s primary typing. This means it could be Fire, Psychic, Electric, or Ghost type for Oricorio, depending on which form you’re using., Hidden Power Fire2Which isn’t even the most useful Hidden Power you could give it., and…that’s it. Oricorio makes this team on so many technicalities it’s crazy. That said, pairing it with Mega Gardevoir or Mega Alakazam in doubles is hilarious.

Ability: Dancer
Item: Choice Scarf
Moves: U-Turn, Hurricane, Revelation Dance, Hidden Power Ground

Magmar

*Flash Gordon plays*

Magmar is the very first Pokemon I learned to do trapping shenanigans with all the way back in Gen I. Granted, trapping was broken in Gen I compared to now, but I still felt the need to pay homage to it with this set. The combination of Fire Spin, Toxic, and Confuse Ray will ensure opponents die a slow death, while the combination of Eviolite and Smokescreen will (hopefully) keep me alive long enough to make a dent on my opponent’s team. A realistic hope? Probably not. But I get to be super annoying while I’m still alive.

Ability: Flame Body
Item: Eviolite
Moves: Fire Spin, Confuse Ray, Smokescreen, Toxic

Castform (Sunny Form)

Alright, I get that this is the second Pokemon I’m putting on this team due to a technicality. But if you exclude legendary and mythical Pokemon, the Fire type is devoid of likeable fully-evolved Pokemon (at least ones I’m not using on other teams3Chandelure, Delphox or that aren’t overpowered and broken4Volcorona, Arcanine. Really this was a debate between Castform and Mega Camerupt, but since I’m already bringing a different Mega Evolution on this team, Castform gets the spot. Realistically, Castform is here to set up Sunny Day. It won’t survive to do much else.

Ability: Forecast
Item: Heat Rock
Moves: Sunny Day, Weather Ball, Solar Beam, Ominous Wind

Magcargo

Okay. I know that Passho Berry is wishful thinking unless a lucky Ancient Power boost on a swap happens. That said, the vast majority of this team is built on getting lucky at the right time. Magcargo will hopefully spread some burn around, but let’s be realistic here — it’s gonna die.

Ability: Flame Body
Item: Passho Berry
Moves: Earth Power, Amnesia, Will-o-Wisp, Ancient Power

Mega Blaziken

Finally! A Pokemon that’s going to do some damage to other Pokemon. Clearly the best way to harness this power on a team full of things that die easily is to give Mega Blaziken a set of moves that nearly ensure it’ll also die quickly. It’s a high risk, high reward set, which is exactly what I’d expect from Blaziken. Blaze Kick’s increased critical hit rate is pretty awesome, but since I’m using Mega Blaziken, I can’t boost it further with Scope Lens. This set is walled by physically defensive Water types — but this is a Fire type gym. What did you expect?

Ability: Speed Boost
Item: Blazikenite
Moves: High Jump Kick, Brave Bird, Protect, Blaze Kick

Houndoom

Oh. You expected someone to be running Solar Beam that can take advantage of my Castform’s use of Sunny Day. Well. Here you go.

Ability: Unnerve
Item: Life Orb
Moves: Nasty Plot, Flamethrower, Dark Pulse, Solar Beam

Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Ranking the Main Cast

Warning – Fire Emblem: Three Houses spoilers will abound in this post. While I’ll try to avoid this in general for most characters, there are some characters (Dimitri, Edelgard, Rhea, Hubert, Mercedes, Dedue, and Byleth come to mind) where spoilers are nearly unavoidable in order to explain why I like or dislike them. This is especially true for Dimitri and Mercedes.

I’ve finally done it. I’ve beaten all four paths of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. While I’m waiting on more DLC to come out1Including a rumored fifth path., I figure it’s as good of a time as any to write some of the posts I’ve been meaning to about the game. I’ll have some deeper, more thought-provoking posts on the game in the future, as there’s a massive list of topics I want to write about exploring the various intricacies of Three Houses. That said, I’m not in a position to write most of those posts right now, so you’ll see them trickle out over the next few months, mixed in with less serious posts like this one.

I decided that my first non-review post of the game would be a tier-list of how much I personally like each of the characters. My tiering system is loosely based off of the S-D tier system that TierMaker uses, though I’ve added a few tiers to help make sure that no single tier is too large. Even with that in mind, there are a ton of characters in Three Houses, so I’ve decided to only have characters that Byleth can S-support with in this list. This isn’t a ranking of how much I like each of the S-supports, but I did feel it was a useful place to draw the line. In addition to that, I’ve added Byleth (both male and female) to this list as they’re the main character, as well as Jeralt…for reasons you’ll see as we go through this list. Also, this isn’t a usefulness tier list like my Fire Emblem: Awakening tier list. Three Houses allows way too much customization of units for me to do just a single post about unit usefulness, as you can make nearly any unit as awesome or as terrible as you want2Great Knight Bernadetta is shockingly good, though Dancer Bernadetta might be better than any class for her except Bow Knight..

UPDATE 11/15: I’ve added in Anna and Jeritza to the list below following their DLC releases.

F: Just Go Away Already

Units: 40. Manuela, 39. Cyril

Let’s get these two out of the way quickly as the rest of the list is much more interesting. Manuela is Mallory Archer’s less-interesting, slightly nicer younger sister. She’s here for fan service/fan disservice3Depending on your view of her., getting kidnapped, and annoying Hanneman. Cyril marks the first time in a long time that the token villager unit is actively bad and annoying to have around. He gets the nod over Manuela because of his slightly better utility.

D: STOP TRYING TO BANG MY DAD

Units: 38. Alois, 37. Rhea, 36. Leonie, 35. Sylvain

Yes. Everyone in this class wants to get with Jeralt. Even Sylvain. Sylvain will hit on anything that moves. He and Leonie get slightly higher rankings than Rhea and Alois because Rhea is essentially non-playable, while Alois is just Cyril with a better starting class and better growths. Thing is, I really wanted to like Leonie. I made her the first character I S-supported in my very first run of Three Houses. But she just won’t shut up about Jeralt. She’s like the boy who got close to Stacey just so he could try to score with her mom4As an aside, I recognize that Leonie doesn’t have any sort of romantic feelings toward Jeralt directly expressed in the game. And many Leonie fans will be quick to point out that she sees Jeralt as a father figure and an idol. All of these things are true. But she also scream obcessive fan girl who will take things too far to me. So while saying she wants to sleep with Jeralt is a bit meme-y…it’s only slightly less creepy than the alternative.. Even her fantastic post-timeskip hair and outfit can’t save her from this tier. I actually somewhat like Sylvain — especially as a Dark Knight — but he just fits in this tier.

D+: Character Development That Makes No Sense

Units: 34. Gilbert, 33. Hanneman, 32. Lorenz, 31. Dimitri

We’ll get to the entry in this tier that’s going to induce a lot of rage from the Three Houses fanbase in just a moment. Before that though, we have a guy who abandoned his daugther5An unforgivable sin in my eyes for reasons I’ll touch on later in this post, even if their supports do slightly redeem him, keeping him out of the F tier., a guy who only cares about Byleth because of their crest, and the character who makes the worst hair choices in the game6If you want to argue Linhardt or Bernadetta’s timeskip hair is worse, I’ll buy that, even if I don’t agree. You could also convince me that Mercedes chopping off her hair was another poor choice.. But these three have character development that ranges from non-existent (Hanneman) to poorly explained (Gilbert) to wait…what (Lorenz’s solo ending).

And then there’s Dimitri. For all of the good writing that goes into Dimitri pre-timeskip, his post-timeskip PTSD is jarring. It makes a lot of sense too, even if it is hard to watch at times. But then he just randomly gets over it after Felix’s dad dies. Because…reasons? It’s so frustrating because he has the potential to be one of the best characters in the game, only to not even be a top-three story in his own storyline. I’d make a strong argument that Dedue, Felix, and Mercedes all have deeper stories in the Blue Lions arc — and you could even make an argument Annette and Ashe’s stories having more coherence. I’m going to examine Dimitri in much more detail in one of the future posts I have planned, but until then, I’ll just say that he’s easily the most disappointing Lord character of this game. The only thing that saves him from being the most disappointing character in the game as a whole is Leonie’s existence.

C: Forgettable, Except For That One Thing

Units: 30. Ignatz, 29. Anna, 28. Lysithea, 27. Sothis, 26. Jeralt, 25. Flayn

These characters all bore me, so let’s lightning round the one reason why they’re memorable. Ready, go!

  • Ignatz – Really good painter than may or may not make an erotic painting of Ingrid in their A-support.
  • Anna – Anna’s here! And she has an awesome new outfit! But she has no supports. And no unique class7At least as of 11/15.. And no major bonuses to her actually being playable other than gifting you a stat-boosting item every so often. If her new outfit wasn’t awesome, she’d just be Mr. Krabs.
  • Lysithea – The Death Knight fears no man. He does, however, fear a 15-year-old who learns the only anti-cavalry magic spell in the game8While I realize that Hubert also learns Dark Spikes, Lysithea is the only unit that gets it early enough to use in the first battle against the Death Knight. Even then, you’ll need to either feed her battles or grind free maps to death to get it in time..
  • Sothis – The cutscene where Byleth becomes the Fell Star is fucking amazing. Sothis is boring otherwise.
  • Jeralt – (To the tune of Everybody Wants to Be a Cat) EVERYBODY! EVERYBODY! EVERYBODY WANTS TO BANG YOUR DAD!
  • Flayn – She, like Manuela, gets kidnapped, but at least there’s a reason for her abduction.

C+: Characters Held Back By a Character or Gameplay Trait

Units: 24. Caspar, 23. Marianne, 22. Seteth,  21. Jeritza 20. Ferdinand Von Aegir, 19. Ingrid

Lightning round 2: electric boogaloo!

  • Caspar – Strong unit that does well in melee combat but is so forgettable that I didn’t get him an A-support until the last minute in my Church run.
  • Marianne – Frail but very good mage unit that I’d like a lot more if everything she did didn’t remind me of Fluttershy.
  • Seteth – Even in the run where he’s supposed to matter (the Church run), Seteth feels like a background character. Which is a shame, because he’s one of the most memeable characters in the game.
  • Jeritza – Jeritza is broken as all hell. And he SHOULD be higher on this list. But he sounds like Richmond from The IT Crowd and I can’t un-hear it. I can’t take him seriously.
  • Ferdinand Von Aegir – I want to love Ferdinand Von Aegir because the memeiness of Ferdinand Von Aegir is off the charts. Sadly, Ferdinand Von Aegir is arguably one of the weaker mounted units you’ll end up with, especially if you recruit everyone. At least Ferdinand Von Aegir and Marianne make a cute couple.
  • Ingrid – The jack-of-all-trades who can fill most any role you need her in within Three Houses and be at worst above average at it. Too bad she’s a walking Avenue Q song.

B: Amusing One-Note Characters…and Hubert

Units: 18. Raphael, 17. Hilda, 16. Ashe, 15. Hubert, 14. Catherine

Okay, I get it. Raphael just eats. Hilda is lazy and cunning. Ashe just screams LORD LONATOOOOOOOO mournfully. Catherine kills people for the Church. They’re all boring on the surface. But they’re much more than that if you get into their supports. Raphael is a giant (literally) sweetheart who just wants to eat and train his muscle so he can protect those he loves. Ashe is a former orphan and thief who is kind and pure to everyone he meets. Catherine kills people for the church, but she does so with nails painted whatever color her secret life-partner Shamir asks her to9My ranking of non-Byleth same-sex relationships in Three Houses is 1. Petra/Dorothea, 2. Shamir/Catherine, 3. Everyone else.. Hilda is lazy and cunning and…well, it’s funny how much she can convince other people to do work for her10The internet also seems to like Hilda because puberty hits her like a truck post-timeskip. Thing is, she didn’t need the help.. Plus the fact that she chants for herself after winning a battle won me over. Hubert is evil. That’s his gimmick. Except when he’s not, which you don’t really learn about unless you play routes other than the Black Eagles route. I really like the way Three Houses chooses to limit what you know about characters based on what story you’re playing. Hubert is interesting in that you actually learn more about him if he isn’t part of your team than if he is. I can’t say I’ve ever encountered a non-villain character whose story we learn quite like that in a game before.

B+: Child Abuse is Wack

Units: 13. Bernadetta, 12. Edelgard

Full disclosure: If I liked Lysethia more, she’d 100% be in this category too.

Holy fuck, Three Houses does not shy away from child abuse as backstories for characters. Bernadetta’s was dark enough that the most recent DLC patch actually had to tone it down some. Meanwhile, Edelgard is essentially a massive science experiment gone right…and yet it basically destroys who she is. The tragic backstories make Bernadetta and Edelgard who they are, both for better and for worst. While they aren’t my favorite characters in the game, they are two of the best-written characters. They’re a major reason why I’m glad I played the Black Eagles route as my first run, as it made me much more understanding of how the rest of the game’s routes played out.

A: I Don’t Have a Good Title for This Tier

Units: 11. Linhardt, 10. Felix, 9. Male Byleth, 8. Female Byleth

Linhardt is basically the one-trait character turned up to 11. The dude’s sleepy. He has so much he wants to learn, but he just needs a nap. He’s my entire mood some days. Felix is a tsundere Domino’s delivery driver trapped in a medieval swordsman’s body. The two Byleths also make this tier because they’re so important to the story and some of the best units in the game. The thing is, they’re basically wordless characters. Yes, their story is interesting, but their character itself isn’t, keeping them from a higher ranking. Bylass gets a slightly higher ranking than Boyleth because her pre-timeskip outfit is attractive. I’m not above being pandered to11Hi Shamir..

A+: More Than Meets The Eye

Units: 7. Mercedes, 6. Petra

Major spoilers for Mercedes here. Her brother is the Death Knight. You don’t learn this fact unless certain conditions are met. But if you do learn it and you’re playing the Blue Lions route, holy hell does it add a ton of depth to her story. One of the weird things about Three Houses is that you can have quite a few characters fight/potentially kill people they’re close to over the course of the run. And while many of them are torn about it, most of them do it without questioning it, only having second thoughts after the battle. Mercedes has her mental blue screen of death IN BATTLE with the Death Knight…potentially several times over, depending on how you play each level where he appears. This really sold me on a character I started out not liking. Petra is basically a hostage who could kick the asses of everyone she needs to in order to get free. The thing is, she stays at the Officers Academy as a way to help keep the peace between Adrestia and her home nation of Brigid (which is a vassal state of Adrestia). Many of her endings make her queen of an independent Brigid, which is one of the best feel-good endings you can get in the game.

S: The Ideal Buddy Cop Film

Units: 5. Dedue, 4. Claude

Dedue is the straight-laced behemoth of a man who just wants to protect Dimitri from all harm in the world. Claude is the joking trickster who loves nothing more than a good prank. I would watch the hell out of Fodlan 911 with these two on the police force. Plus both characters are more complex characters than you’d think. Dedue is an amazing chef. Claude just wants to go full Aladdin and show you the world. Dedue struggles with direct racism being a foreigner in a land he’s less than welcome in. Claude is hellbent on breaking the walls down between Fodlan and the outside world. Dedue’s sacrifices in every non-Black Eagles path make me wonder whether Dimitri is the deserving leader of his nation. Claude’s voice actor has the best Twitter account…and he writes books with the best taglines ever. You cannot go wrong with either of these two.

S+: The (Un?)Holy Trinity

Units: 3. Dorothea, 2. Shamir, 1. Annette

The gap between the units in the S+ tier and the S tier (at least in my mind) is bigger than you’d think. Don’t get me wrong, Three Houses is filled with some amazing, compelling characters. But these three take the cake. Dorothea, in addition to being the smoothest flirt you will ever come across in a game, manages to deliver the single saddest monologue in the game if Ferdinand Von Aegir dies battling against your army. She is arguably the game’s canon Dancer unit, but she’s versatile enough that you’re not stuck using her that way. Plus her supports are so good that you’ll want to recruit her on every run — not to mention the fact that she’s the only female character that pretty much every female can have a romantic paired ending with. Shamir is more than just an attractive assassin. She’s the best non-student unit you can get in all paths of the game, with only Catherine giving her a run for her money (and you’re locked out of recruiting her in certain paths). Plus her S-support with Byleth involves her coming up with wedding vows on the spot, which goes to reinforce how smart and caring her supports make her. That said, the best character in the game is Annette. She’s everything Shamir is in terms of a fighting unit, only without the over-the-top sex appeal. She’s caring to a fault and makes up the best songs in the game even though she isn’t a particularly good singer. We must protect War Goddess Annette at all costs.

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