How Smeargle (Almost) Made Me Quit Pokemon Go

aka: Yes, people do still play Pokemon Go, you anti-nerd killjoy.

In late February of this year, Pokemon Go finally introduced one of the few Pokemon in the first four generations of the series that had not yet been released — Smeargle. While there were still other Pokemon that hadn’t been released in the game to this point, Smeargle’s omission was both peculiar and understandable, all at the same time. On one hand, most of the Pokemon that had featured slow releases in Pokemon Go had either been legendary/mythical Pokemon1Mewtwo, Lugia, Articuno, Mew, Celebi, Dialga, etc., had unique ways of evolving2Evolving via trade with an item, evolving when leveling up while knowing a certain move, evolving while in a certain location, or Feebas’ weird double evolution possibility., or were Spiritomb3The idea behind this — doing a series of tasks based around Spiritomb’s lore — was amazing. The actual quests themselves were tedious as all hell, as everything around Spiritomb revolves around the number 108.. On the other hand, Smeargle feel into a small subset of Pokemon whose entire gimmick in the game wasn’t covered in any way in Pokemon Go. The best parallel was Ditto, which uses the move Transform prior to changing into whatever Pokemon it’s facing.

Smeargle only learns one move in the main series games — Sketch. The move Sketch allows Smeargle to copy whatever move was last used on it and permanently learn that move to its moveset. This means that Smeargle can learn nearly any move in the entire game, save for the moves Chatter, Struggle4Even though Smeargle can’t learn Struggle via Sketch, it can use the move if it depletes the uses of all of its known moves, just like any other Pokemon., and Sketch itself. Considering the largest movepool in Pokemon Go prior to Smeargle’s release was Mew at 39 total moves, Smeargle certainly could have proven to be a challenge for Pokemon Go developer Niantic.

The way Niantic chose to implement Smeargle in the game was ingenious. In another recent update, Niantic introduced its AR camera feature. This feature allows you to take photos of Pokemon already in your inventory with those mons projected in the real world. This feature was already present when you encounter wild Pokemon5Though quite unwieldy, as most players I know completely shut off the AR catching mode to make catching easier., but because Pokemon Snap is a fandom that just won’t die6I adore Pokemon. This blog has plenty of evidence of that. But where I break from the Pokemon fan base is in my distaste for Snap. Not only should Snap not be remade, it’s proof that just because you slap Pokemon on something doesn’t mean that thing will be good., this was a hotly requested feature in Go as well. Smeargle will randomly photobomb your picture with whatever Pokemon your taking pictures of, giving you a chance to capture Smeargle after the event.

Notice I said randomly in that last sentence. Yes, your encountering of Smeargle is at the mercy of RNGesus. This is where my rage-fueled story begins. Most times below are estimated, though I have a few exact time stamps from pictures.

  • Monday, 4:14 pm: I learn that Smeargle is in Pokemon go and how to acquire it. I load the game, take one AR picture of my Alolan Vulpix, see I didn’t find Smeargle, and close the game. I find the feature and encounter mechanic really cool, marking the last time I have this thought.
  • 7:45 pm: After dinner and cleaning up our kitchen, the wife and I begin trying to encounter Smeargle in earnest. My father-in-law texts saying he found his in around 60 photos, so this seems like a fun way to kill twenty minutes or so before I start editing.
  • 8:00 pm: Both the wife and I are around 100 photos without seeing Smeargle. We’re having fun seeing what stupid pictures we can take, so it’s fine.
  • 8:15 pm: After some searching on Reddit and Discord, we learn that Smeargle’s appearances are completely RNG based. While some people are finding them quickly, others are literally in the thousands of photos with no encounters. My heart sinks a little, but we keep going.
  • 8:30 pm: As part of our last search, we learn that Smeargle can get moves from Community Day Pokemon. This leads me to taking the next 100 or so of my pictures of an Espeon I have that knows Last Resort.
  • 8:50 pm: I am now quite tired of looking at Espeon’s face. Both my wife and I are growing frustrated with the process. She’s at around 250 pictures, I’m just over 300.
  • 9:05 pm: My wife wants popcorn and House Hunters. She has since the Smeargle search started. We’ve both grown angry at the lack of HGTV in our lives. We resolve to spend five more minutes trying to find Smeargle before we give up.
  • 9:06 pm: My wife’s mundane super power kicks in and she encounters Smeargle within 60 seconds of the previous discussion. I decided I’m going to finish out our pre-discussed five minutes, go make popcorn, and continue searching for Smeargle, as the asshole has already ruined my editing time.
  • 9:12 pm: Popcorn in hand, my photo taking resumes as we watch a young couple with a $900,000 budget look for a home in rural Ohio. She’s an avant-garde perler bead artist while he invented hand sanitizer for blockchain. They agree on nothing, yet want a place where their pets — which they insist on calling fur babies — can roam free. The pets will be picking the house. Somehow, this infuriates me less than Smeargle.
  • 9:35 pm: My wife goes to bed. The struggle continues.
  • 10:15 pm: Now at over 500 pictures with no Smeargle, I pause for a few minutes to do some research on how Smeargle works. Apparently you’re limited to getting one per day. Which is great, as I still have zero. I find a Reddit post where someone says they’re over 2,500 pictures with no Smeargle. I consider going to bed, but I’m committed at this point.
  • 10:45 pm: After another half hour of failure, I open Smash Brothers to kick the crap out of something out of rage. I go to Spirit Board and Smeargle is one of the first things that pops up. Fuck you.
  • 11:25 pm: I finally relent and decide it’s time for bed. I’m over 780 pictures at this point. I try taking a picture in the dark to see what happens, but Pokemon Go’s AR function can’t recognize a flat surface in the dark. Which is great, because it seems to have a hell of a time doing the same thing in the light, so at least it’s consistent.
  • Tuesday, 7:50 am: I get to work and have a little time to kill before my shift starts. Smeargle hunt, round two.
  • 7:58 am: Eight minutes later, Smeargle finally shows up. It photobombed a Shuckle, because you don’t fuckle with Shuckle. I didn’t get the moveset I want, but I don’t care. I’m done. I’m fucking done.

Listen, I get it. Some games have RNG-based grindfests. And if that’s your thing, awesome. But Niantic? This was genuinely the worst thing I’ve had to do in Pokemon Go. And I was around when the original gym system existed. If you’re going to give us Smeargle in this way, at least bring back the footstep Pokemon tracker. That was the best.

My Fire Emblem: Awakening Character Tier List

The other day7Read: The other day as of when I wrote this in late January. By the time this goes up, this statement will not be true from a time standpoint., I came across a thread on Reddit where a person finished their five-year long playthrough of Fire Emblem: Awakening. In their post, they created a tier list of how useful they found the characters that you could recruit in the story, ranging from “actively broken” to “didn’t use lol”8Yes, I’m aware there’s another tier below that, but the user’s comments explain why..

This got me to thinking. I’ve been writing posts on this blog with Fire Emblem: Awakening as a topic for nearly three years now. I’ve got an entire blog series dedicated to sarcastically playing through the game that I consider to be far and away my favorite video game of all time. But I’ve never really done a true character tier list for the game. I’ve looked at the skills and tiered them, but never the actual characters themselves.

So, inspired by /u/WritersBlah’s post, I’m going to write a Fire Emblem: Awakening blog post that’s sure to piss off Fire Emblem purists. Maybe not as much as the shipping post I wrote, but it’ll be up there. Unlike the original thread, I’m going to go with a more traditional S through F tier list style. I’m only going to have characters you can pick up in the main story or the paralogues on my list, so no DLC characters. I’ll be considering these characters both in terms of their end game usefulness, as well as their usefulness as parents (if applicable).

Additionally, I am not going to add any of the SpotPass characters9Gangrel, Walhart, Emmeryn, Yen’fay, Aversa, or Priam. to this tier list, as I feel like it’s hard to objectively rate characters that join so late into the game — and are intentionally overpowered because of this. While I’ve used a couple of the SpotPass characters in playthroughs before10Aversa is a good mom for Morgan stats and skill wise., I’m excluding them from this list for that reason.

F: Units That Will Never See The Light of Day

Units: 43. Anna, 42. Say’ri, 41. Virion

While I truly don’t believe there’s a completely terrible unit in Awakening in terms of usefulness, it’s clear that some units are better or worse than others. Both Say’ri and Anna have their place in the game from a storyline standpoint, but unless you’re planning on marrying them to a male avatar unit, there’s not a lot of use to bringing their units into the game. Neither one passes down any particularly amazing skills that can’t be acquired elsewhere, nor are they so broken they can’t be ignored. Virion stands ever so slightly above the two of them, if only because he’s an early game ranged unit and you have to play a few chapters with him. You can’t get a ton of archers in Awakening, but Virion is easily the worst one you could get.

D: Trophy Units or Trophy Parents

Units: 40. Miriel, 39. Basilio, 38. Vaike, 37. Sully, 36. Flavia

Miriel and Vaike suffer from the same problem that manifests itself in different ways — they die way too easy in the early game, especially at higher difficulties. Whether it be Miriel’s squishiness or Vaike’s insistence on not hitting anything, you can’t rely on them to stay alive. Basilio and Flavia are late game trophy units with decent stats, but unless you’re marrying one of them to Robin, you’re likely not using them11Which is a shame because goddamn Flavia.. Sully is a possible wife for Chrom, but is easily the worst possible wife for him, including village girl. At least Kjelle is worth getting, but you almost have to marry Sully to Chrom, Donnel, or Gaius to make it worth your time.

C: Average, But Flawed

Units: 35. Tiki, 34. Ricken, 33. Frederick, 32. Olivia, 31. Libra, 30. Laurent

Tiki suffers the same problems as Anna/Say’ri/Basilio/Flavia, though at least she does have the advantage of being part of the broken as fuck manakete class. Ricken is just a harder hitting version of Miriel, though at least he does become somewhat tanky if you make him a dark knight. Frederick is amazing in the early game on harder difficulties, though using him heavily kneecaps the rest of your team. Olivia is polarizing, as her Dance skill essentially means you get to use your best unit twice in a turn. That said, you also have to keep her alive for this to be a worthwhile strategy, which wastes the time of other units or your healers. Libra is an odd promoted unit to get when he does arrive. He can hold his own, but is held back by being a relatively terrible parent unit. Laurent is objectively the worst of the child units, in part because of how much he’s like his mother. You can make Laurent usable, but it comes at the sacrifice of other, more useful child units.

B: Truly Average in Some Way

Units: 29. Kellam, 28. Stahl, 27. Brady, 26. Tharja, 25. Donnel, 24. Henry, 23. Panne, 22. Sumia, 21. Lon’qu, 20. Cherche, 19. Gregor, 18. Chrom

Before we get to the elephant in the room of this group, let’s hit some of the lower units on the list. Kellam and Stahl are just Frederick with better growths, hence bumping them up a tier. While Brady does get access to the all-powerful Galeforce skill, he’s hamstrung by his healer focused stats. Tharja, Henry, Donnel, and Panne are all interchangeable in terms of spots on this list, with Donnel being the best parent out of the group, but the other three being serviceable fighters — even good in the case of Panne if you reclass her. Sumia, Lon’qu, and Cherche are here because they are both useful (though not amazing) fighters and pass down good skills12In the form of Galeforce, Vantage, and Deliverer, respectively.. Gregor is one of the few parent units that gets Armsthrift without much effort, so he becomes a critical first generation unit. And then there’s Chrom. He’s important because you have to take him in levels and because he gives Aether/Rightful King to his kids. But…he’s objectively not that amazing of a unit. Better than everyone below him? Probably13I’d argue marrying him to Sumia makes him a better paired fighter, but doesn’t that mean Sumia’s the good unit?. Better as a parent? Also probably14Again, there’s a counter argument to be made here thanks to Donnel’s Aptitude access, Sumia and Donnel’s Galeforce access, and Gregor having Armsthrift.. But I find Chrom to be the weak link in most of my end game teams. That keeps him from the top two tiers.

A: Super Subs and Supporters

Units: 17. Maribelle, 16. Lissa , 15. Gaius, 14. Cordelia, 13. Yarne, 12. Owain, 11. Inigo, 10. Noire, 9. Nowi, 8. Robin

If Maribelle and Lissa didn’t give their kids access to the Galeforce skill, they’d likely be down in the B (Lissa) or C (Maribelle) tiers. That said, because of this fact and because of the fact that you have to level grind them to get this skill — making them competent in battle — they’re the bottom of the A tier for me. Gaius is essentially Donnel, only useful in fighting. Cordelia is the best first generation pegasus knight you’ll get, plus the class diversity she passes down to Severa is amazing. We then start getting into the bulk of the children, who are either good units who become great when reclassed (Yarne15Any taguel reclassed to an assassain is fun to use. and Noire16Oddly enough, I would argue archer is Noire’s worst class line. Making her a dark mage or knight line unit makes her beastly, if not a bit light hitting.) or are great units who are missing something keeping them from being top tier (Owain17Lissa’s inherited growths hold him back. and Inigo18If you’re planning on Chrom being his dad to give Inigo access to Rightful King, he becomes amazing. That said, the leg work you have to go through to make that a reality is pants on head dumb.). Nowi is easily the most underrated parent unit, particularly if you reclass her to a dark knight. The fact that my nickname for her on playthroughs is Nowi the Tank should give you some indication of her usefulness in that role. Robin is the best first generation unit both as a parent and in terms of usefulness, though they still fall short of the top tier thanks to how broken some of the kids get.

S: Look Upon Our Works and Despair

Units: 7. Gerome, 6. Kjelle, 5. Cynthia, 4. Severa, 3. Nah, 2. Lucina, 1. Morgan

Gerome’s high strength and access to several -Breaker skills make him a formidable unit regardless of who you make his father. Meanwhile, Kjelle’s utility pretty much dictates that you have to make Donnel or Gaius her dad, lest you miss out on a physical tank that hits twice per turn. Cynthia shares the positives of the first generation flying units, but without many of their stat limitation19Not to mention access to Aether if you make Chrom her dad like I tend to do.. Severa is a jack-of-all-trades unit who excels in a game that usually punishes that type of unit. Combine that with her inherent access to Armsthrift and you have a unit capable of using whatever legendary weapon you choose. With the right dad — even if that dad isn’t Robin — Nah can become your most powerful unit in the game, though she’s limited by the fact that Galeforce is better passed down to Kjelle, Gerome, and Noire than her. Lucina is broken because of her class access and all that comes with it, especially since she’s just a harder, better, faster, stronger Chrom. Morgan, however, is the strongest possible unit you can get in the game, being that Morgan can be the lone third generation unit if you marry Robin to one of the second generation units20Morally: ew. From a game play standpoint: This is absolutely the right call.. This becomes particularly true if their mom is Lucina/Chrom’s other possible daughters or if their dad is Inigo or Brady21Here’s something to think about: Inigo and Robin as Morgan’s parents passing down Galeforce and Rightful King to a Morgan that knows Sol, Vengence, and Ignis..

The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Play Through Ever: Chapters 3 and 4

The following post is part of my series “The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Playthrough Ever”. Spoilers ahead for a six year old game.


Welcome back to the worst Fire Emblem Awakening play through ever. When we last left the Shepherds, we had just gained several useful new units to our party, and also Virion. Sumia saves Chrom from a pegasus being angry at him, Frederick is still tired of everyone’s shit, and Miriel is squishy enough to die from a stiff breeze. We’ll work on that last one once we get access to reeking boxes22The reeking box is an item that allows you to call a small amount of lower level enemies to a map for sake of experience and money grinding. We will be taking full advantage of this because A) I’m a filthy casual. B) It’s fun. and C) Certain units are going to die quickly if I don’t do this. I will not be writing about reeking box levels..

In this post, we’ll be playing through chapters 3 and 4. Chapter 3 is the last formal tutorial-ish chapter, while getting to chapter 4 allows us to access the last menu area we’ll need to play the full game. After this post, I’ll toggle between playing one and two chapters per post, depending on how much I feel like writing.

Chapter 3: Warrior Realm

It’s snowing in Ylisse, which should be a happy time. Instead, Lissa is complaining that it’s cold outside. The Shepherds have arrived at the Longfort, which straddles the border of Ylisse and Regna Ferox. Frederick warns us that such a situation calls for diplomacy. Chrom stresses that he isn’t good at diplomacy, but he’s going to try anyway. We’re fucked.

The scene ends and immediately transitions to Frederick telling Chrom that the Feroxi troops are mobilizing. We don’t get to see what Chrom said to the Feroxi, however we can faintly see a Feroxi soldier drumming on his helmet in the background. We finally get to pick our units this map, which is convenient, as we drowned Virion under the bridge in chapter three.

As we go to start the level, we get yet another cut scene where the Feroxi commander orders his soldiers to attack. Chrom thinks it’s a good idea to try to deflect a barrage of spears with his sword, clearly not understanding how the weapon triangle works. Sumia flies in for what would be a meet cute in literally any other story, but since we met her a chapter ago, I’m just annoyed. I hit Start and skip the rest of their conversation out of spite.

With the level formally started, we run into our first allied unit, the disembodied suit of armor from the cut scene before chapter two. Chrom goes to talk to the suit of armor and HOLY FUCK BALLS THERE’S A HUMAN IN IT. Apparently the human’s name is Kellam and he says he’s been with us for a while now. That said, we didn’t see him at all last chapter. Kellam is clearly a powerful warlock and we will use him accordingly.

For the first time, we’re battling other humans rather than risen23We’re ignoring the fact that Garrick might have been human.. I’m typically a conscientious objector, however, these fools are trying to kill me. I set everyone’s medieval weapons to stun and charge forward, gaining XP for kneecapping Feroxi. Christopher Robin suggests pairing up units to make battling easier, apparently forgetting that I’ve been doing this since the premonition chapter.

It takes a couple of turns to finish taking out everyone in front of the fort and gathering keys, mostly because I’m trying to build up some experience for underleveled units like Chrom, Lissa, and Miriel. Sumia is underleveled at this point too, however there’s far too many archers in the lower level for me to risk leaving her out there at this stage. After healing and picking up items from the ground, we advanced toward the two sets of doors leading to the fort proper.

Once we open the doors, we’re greeted by a highly defensive knight on the left. While Christopher knows that friendship is magic, he realizes that magic is also magic, taking out the knight in one shot with Thunder. Vaike kills things but takes a ton of damage, because that’s his thing. We thin the opposing forces out to a single unit, which we should be able to defeat mathematically. As much as I want Sumia to get the experience, she hits about as hard as using a room temperature brown banana as a hammer. So we let Vaike get the knockout with an actual hammer.

I say knockout rather than kill because after the level, the Feroxi commander apologizes for the attack. If she thinks she’s getting off this lightly for acceptable war reparations, she’s likely right, as Chrom is also shitty at negotiation. Lissa wants us to get a move on, so we end the chapter.

Chapter 4: Two Falchions

Our intrepid heroes have arrived at Arena Ferox just in time for a grand battle between the champions of Regna Ferox. This battle occurs between a champion selected by the East Khan and the West Khan of the empire. Christopher makes the mistake of assuming the East Khan’s gender, but instead of it being a broadchested, chiseled man like Christopher thinks, we get the woman with the best official art in the whole goddamn game, Flavia. The world is better for it.

Flavia tells Chrom that the dust up at the border was Plegia’s fault. Chrom still sucks at diplomacy, but that amuses Flavia, so she says that the Shepherds should be her champions in Khan Bowl XXVIII. If Chrom wins, Flavia will lend military assistance to Ylisee, but if Chrom loses, he’ll have to spend years answering why he didn’t run the ball on the one yard line when he had Marshawn Lynch in his backfield24FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PETE CARROLL, WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?.

Chrom agrees to fight for honor, but also for hustle, loyalty, and respect. We get to pick six units, so we’re going to take in Chrom25Who is required in most every chapter., Sumia, Miriel, Frederick26Frederick and Miriel will be marrying later in this play through, so Frederick will show up quite a bit until Miriel can hold her own in battle., Kellam, and Stahl. It appears the West Khan, Basilio, has recruited none other than the masked fighter themselves, Marth. Who is, again, clearly not male from all of the art. Chrom and Marth have a sword off where Chrom notices that not only does Marth have a copy of his personal sword, Falchion, but that Marth’s father happened to teach her to fight in a style suspiciously similar to Chrom’s. The foreshadowing in this game is so thick you’ll have to cut it with a flamethrower.

We let Stahl and Kellam be our scout and bait units in this level, as it’s much easier to bait out Marth’s teammates than to deal with her head-on27Apply directly to the forehead.. Doing so allows us to pick a couple of units off with Sumia and Miriel, albeit at the expense of Stahl ending up on dangerously low health. Kellam gets in a stalemate with another knight in the process, but as a whole, taking out all of the not-Marth units goes quickly and smoothly. Sumia even says sappy shit to Chrom in the process28Their support levels grew from a random event space. I hate Sumia’s support event space dialogues. They’re rough, even by her standards..

Miriel gets to be the first to engage Marth because swords are not throwing devices, yet fireballs are. Because she’s paired up with Frederick, dual support kicks in and Frederick gets the knockout. I’m too busy laughing to read the rest of the dialogue of the chapter, however Basilio gives us the quiet swordsman Lon’qu to help us on our journey to the west.

Just kidding. I can’t help but mention who part of the post chapter dialogue is Lissa talking about how dreamy Marth is. Don’t worry. I’ll be linking back to this down the line. Chrom snips at Lissa, which I’ve never caught before this run, but it’s MUCH funnier having played the game before than it would be playing it blind. Also, Lon’qu says, and I quote, “He gives orders. I stab people. I think our roles are clear”. Spoken like a man who understands his place in a video game plot.

We end the chapter with a seperate cut scene of Chrom sharing the good news of Regna Ferox’s help with Emmeryn, only for them to find out that Plegia is invading. Maribelle has been taken and, despite my best judgement, we’re going to have to save her. Emmeryn tries to be diplomatic and remind everyone that one spoiled brat is not worth starting a war over, however Lissa, Chrom, and Phila29The head of Emmeryn’s royal guard. are off to save Maribelle. Some middle schooler is coming to join us. His name is apparently Ricken and because Chrom tells him he’s too young to join the mission, that’s a sure fire sign that we’ll likely have to save his ass too at some point.

End of Level Recap

Going forward, this section will have two areas — Units and Supports. Units will be where I share what level and class units are, while Supports will highlight any support growths between units, regardless of whether or not those units can marry. For those not familiar with supports, they go by letter grades — C to B to A, with level S available as marriage.

Units

  • Christopher – Level 5 Tactician
  • Kellam – Level 5 Knight
  • Lissa – Level 5 Cleric
  • Vaike – Level 5 Fighter
  • Stahl – Level 4 Cavalier
  • Miriel – Level 4 Mage
  • Lon’qu – Level 4 Myrmidon
  • Chrom – Level 3 Lord
  • Sully – Level 3 Cavalier
  • Frederick – Level 2 Great Knight
  • Sumia – Level 2 Pegasus Knight
  • Virion – Level 2 Being Dead to Me

Supports

  • Chrom & Christopher: None to C
  • Chrom & Sumia: None to C
  • Frederick & Christopher: None to C
  • Frederick & Miriel: None to C
  • Stahl & Sully: None to C
  • Stahl & Kellam: None to C
  • Stahl & Miriel: None to C
  • Lissa & Vaike: None to C

 

Why Your Super Smash Bros Ultimate Main Sucks

Super Smash Brothers Ultimate (SSBU) has been out for a little over a month now. In the time I’ve had the game, I’ve come to an irrefutable conclusion.

Your SSBU main sucks.

It’s true. It doesn’t matter who you use. Whoever you use as your Smash Ultimate main30The primary character you use in battle. is terrible. You hate them, I hate them, everyone hates them. I considered writing a review for the game itself31I still might. I have strong feelings about World of Light and the character unlock processes for SSBU., however, I felt this was a much more important topic to address.

With there being 74+ characters that are playable in SSBU, writing a blog post talking about each and every one of these characters would be an arduous task, both to write and for you to read. That said, this blog wasn’t built off of writing short posts just for the sake of getting interaction. I write long fucking posts, dammit. So let’s do this. Here’s why each of you uses a garbage main for Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Characters are listed below by the order they appear on Smash’s character selection screen.

Top Row

Mario – Mario is only picked by people who haven’t played video games since the 1980s or who like platformers. Peach has been trying to leave this guy for YEARS. Why do you think she keeps ending up with Bowser. You’re playing as the villain in Mario games. He’s a stalker and Peach is just trying to live happily with her new man…er…dinosaur. Cape is not OP, no nerf is needed.

Donkey Kong – So you know how Mario was actually based off of Jumpman — a character from an earlier Nintendo game? That Nintendo game’s main star was Donkey Kong. If this large ape couldn’t even character the hopes and dreams of an entire company, how could you expect him to carry you to Smash glory?

Link – For five generations of Smash now, Nintendo has made the same mistake. They keep labeling this character as Link, but all of the games he’s in are called The Legend of Zelda. This is a massive oversight on Nintendo’s part. You’re playing as a walking typo.

Samus – For being one of the earliest female protagonists in video game history, you’d think that she would have been written much more poorly. But no. Samus has been a pretty awesome character throughout her existence. Could she be the lone character on this list without flaws? Nope. The only people who main Samus are doing so in order to rub in your face that they’re playing as a female character who doesn’t look stereotypically female and isn’t oversexualized. While they’re right, those type of people are insufferable, making Samus one of the worst mains anyone could have.

Dark Samus – Yes, you’re playing as a female villain. But why would you play as Dark Samus when Wendy exists? I mean, at least you didn’t pick the shitty Metroid villain introduced in SSBU to play as your main32I detest Ridley. So much..

Yoshi – Why would you use a cute cuddly dinosaur as a fighter? That’s an oxymoron. Dinosaurs are evil killing machines, which is literally the antithesis of cute and cuddly. Plus, you’re playing as a character that Mario throws away like garbage every time he needs to make an extra long jump. You’re just a disposable camera that poops eggs.

Kirby – Kirby gets a cool role in SSBU, being the character you start with in World of Light mode. As a result, there’s a ton of players who are learning to play as Kirby — some of them even possibly learning to play him well. This might make Kirby the most common main to have in Smash Bros Ultimate. No one likes a frontrunner.

Fox – There has only been one good Fox player ever. His name was Mad Dawg. None will ever surpass him. Just stop trying.

Pikachu – Being the face of a franchise does not make you good. If Pikachu were really good, Ash would have won a major tournament by now. But do you know how many he’s won? Zero. Pikachu is so bad that they had to make a second Let’s Go game with Gary Oak’s signature Pokemon just so consumers would have a choice to have a real starter Pokemon.

Luigi – This isn’t Mario Kart. In Mario Kart, Luigi is the baddest man in the planet. He’s essentially an Italian Dale Earnhardt. In SSBU, Luigi’s signature move is to trip you — just like a sixth grade bully. Luigi’s final smash is a vacuum cleaner for a reason. He sucks.

Ness – Huh. That’s really neat. I didn’t realize Backyard Baseball got characters into Smash. When were they on Ninten…oh. Ness isn’t from Backyard Baseball? Then why are you using him? Justice for Pablo Sanchez.

Captain Falcon – Captain Falcon shouts his own name during sex.

Jigglypuff – In the Pokemon anime, Jigglypuff tries to sing a beautiful song, only for everyone around who hears the song to fall asleep. Jigglypuff then draws all over those same people with a marker, humiliating them for failing to stay awake during her beautiful aria. In Smash Brothers, Jigglypuff does not attack its opponents with a marker. This is an oversight that will be your undoing.

Second Row

Peach – I’m sure there’s a joke here about how Peach really loves Bowser and not Mario, but I make it several other times in this post, so we’re not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to mention the fact that Peach uses Toad as a meat shield to protect her from attacks. How can you do that to Toad?

Daisy – You have a character named Daisy and she doesn’t come with a Lip’s Stick built in as part of her starting appearance. It’s a missed opportunity. While her black attire might be the single best alternate attire in the game33While Lucina’s Cordelia art, purple Charizard, and dalmatian Duck Hunt have valid arguments, I think they all fall slightly behind., you are still playing as an echo fighter. And who really wants to main an echo fighter? Just play the main fighter they’re based on34Also, as was pointed out to me after publishing this post, Daisy’s voice is bad. Nails on a chalkboard bad..

Bowser – Peach has been running away with Bowser for decades now. Yet, despite being a massive dragon with some massive coffers to build giant castles and employ an entire workforce of guards, he can’t keep a plumber away from the woman he loves. Bowser is the worst protector in the history of protectors. Do you really want to be associated with this loser?

Ice Climbers – When your team is completely useless because half of it falls off stage, you probably weren’t worth bringing back just for the sake of everyone being here.

Sheik –  Ah yes. Sheik. That’s a real fucking hero35Shout out to Kilian.36I would like to take a moment to point out that Sheik’s new final smash for SSBU is AMAZING.. Why aren’t all the Legend of Zelda games based around Sheik? The problem with being a Sheik main in Smash isn’t that Sheik is a bad character — far from it actually. Sheik’s only problem is that she has a move called Bouncing Fish. How can you take someone seriously when one of their most threatening attacks is named after what happens when marine wildlife is taken out of its habitat?

Zelda – That’s not Zelda. That’s Sheik fan art.

Dr. Mario – Dr. Mario is not a licensed medical professional. Despite this, he is frequently seen dispensing medicine throughout Smash matches, While there are a ton of villains in this game, some of whom have allegedly killed people and/or are are the mayors of towns filled with animals, Dr. Mario skirts the reputation of being a bad guy because he’s still Mario. Justice should be served by not playing as Dr. Mario, as it’s the only way to keep him from giving out pills to unsuspecting children.

Pichu – Everything I said about Pikachu above applies here, only you’re playing as a weaker, more frail, though slightly faster version of it. Pichu hurts itself any time it uses electricity, which is a terrible trait to have both as an Electric Pokemon and while living in 2018. Pichu also takes passive damage from WiFi signal, stiff breezes, napping, using an item, not using an item, being near an item, and existing.

Falco – I’ve always found it odd that the Star Fox series chose to include a replacement player from the Washington Sentinels in its games. That said, good on Keanu Reeves for getting those Smash royalty checks. Plus he got to end up with Brooke Langton at the end of the fi…wait. This isn’t that Falco? Then why is he even in the game?

Marth – You’re only maining Marth because you’re a Fire Emblem purist who thinks giving the option not to have permadeath ruins the game. I bet you only play one stock, one-on-one battles in Smash too, right? No? Hypocrite.

Lucina – For being the character who is clearly the actual protagonist for their game, Lucina doesn’t manage to get her own game until more than half way in. For the first half of the game, you just know her as Marth. In Smash, she’s just a clone of Marth — and arguably the laziest clone in the game. If you main Lucina, you’re really just saying that you wish Marth was a hot girl with better customization skins who speaks English37For the record, I’m a Lucina main..

Young Link – Link, but with an overworked teenage sex drive.

Ganondorf – There are so many ways that Ganon has been made to be terrifying in the Zelda series. Yet, for his Smash Brothers character, Ganondorf is depicted as a shitty Klingon wizard cosplay hybrid. The only thing scary about him is the inevitable con-croup you’ll get from spending too much time in his presence.

Third Row

Mewtwo – Sure. Play as a genetically engineered Pokemon specifically designed to be superior to all other fighters. You’re clearly bad enough that you need the help.

Roy – While Roy may or may not be our boy, it’s clear that he’s using a sword coated in some sort of flammable material when fighting. This is a clear violation of the Geneva Convention. You’d think Eliwood would have raised his son better than that.

Chrom – Chrom is so forgotten that he still has to be part of Robin’s final smash despite getting his own character in the game. You don’t main Chrom. No one does.

Mr. Game and Watch – The only valid reason to play Mr. Game and Watch is to get the badge where you KO a character by hitting a 9 on his Judge move. Once you’ve done that, there’s no reason to ever play him again.

Meta Knight – There was a point in the Smash Brothers series where Meta Knight was a broken, near deity level character that likely should have been banned from the game. Those days are long gone. In modern Smash, Meta Knight is fine, but trying to relive its former glory. Meta Knight mains are the cool kids in high school that still talk about their four touchdown performance in the city championship game despite the fact that their own kids are in college.

Pit – There aren’t a ton of characters in fighting games whose powers rely on another character’s powers. Pit can’t fly without Palutena’s assistance. There’s plenty of characters in SSBU that can’t fly, but it’s a critical part of who Pit is. You’re really just a Palutena main but don’t feel comfortable fighting as a girl.

Dark Pit – Pit for posers.

Zero Suit Samus – You like playing as Samus, but only when you can see her boobs. Come on, man. Grow up. Besides, if you want boobs, the internet exists.

Wario – Wario’s entire offense is based off of farting, which sounds cool until you realize that South Park made a whole game based off of this very gimmick. If you want to play as a character who farts all day, there are much better creative outlets out there for you. Go. Be free. Just like a fart.

Snake – I get that Snake is the right player to put in the game because Snake was in the game before and they were trying to bring everyone back. But why is Snake your choice when Revolver Ocelot is a thing? His name is Revolver Ocelot. Revolver. Ocelot. Snake is such a terrible name in comparison.

Ike – One of my favorite things to do is to encourage people who have never played Smash to use Ike’s up special move. With an unskilled player, it’s pretty much an instant self-destruct. With a skilled player, it’s deadly. If you’re reading this article, it’s because you’re currently sitting watching your friends play Smash because you can’t harness the power of Ike’s up special.

Pokemon Trainer – This trainer isn’t Gary Motherfucking Oak.

Diddy Kong – I remember Diddy Kong Racing too. It was like Mario Kart, only not quite as good. Diddy Kong in Smash is the same way. Like a real fighter, but not as good. But hey, at least you don’t have creepy teeth like Donkey Kong.

Fourth Row

Lucas – Ness’ blonde best friend features all the same flaws as Ness does, but you don’t have a baseball bat. Lucas’ recruitment level in SSBU is annoying as hell if you’re going into it blind, but those items aren’t why Lucas sucks. Lucas sucks because he’s just Ness, only crappy. The entire premise to playing Ness is to keep away from everyone in massive battles, then to pick off other fighters when you get the chance. Too bad the dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge strategy only works for so long before you die. And when you do, you don’t even get to do so while wearing a cool hat.

Sonic – God. I’ve got nothing insulting to say about Sonic. Nintendo already buried Sega so hard that the Game Gear is talked about in the same breath as the Commodore 64 and rotary phones. Playing as Sonic is like talking to your childhood imaginary friend as an adult. It’s sweet, but kind of sad.

King Dedede – The best thing King Dedede has ever done is dressing up as King K. Rool in said character’s reveal trailer. It was one of the funniest things I’ve seen. That said, you’ve chosen to main as a Victoria’s Secret model which, while an interesting choice, is not a particularly good choice when considering how few lingerie models go on to be fighting tournament champions.

Olimar – I love watching my wife play the Pikmin games. It’s an oddly calming game to watch, particularly when my wife’s normal fare is X-rank Clam Blitz in Splatoon 238This is the same reason why I love watching The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.. That said, the lack of the black Pikmin as part of Olimar/Alph’s Pikmin Pluck is disappointing. You can’t blow other fighters up with Pikmin. At that point, why even have Olimar in the game?

Lucario – When you think Fighting Pokemon, what do you think of? If you were around the game in Gen I, it’s likely the Hitmonchan/Hitmonlee duo. If you’re a fan of Pokemon Go, Machamp and Hariyama likely come to mind. If you’ve played some of the middle generation games, Heracross, Blaziken, or Gallade might be your first thought. But the only reason anyone thinks of Lucario is because of the Smash series. While Lucario’s aura ability is pretty neat, to say this Pokemon is iconic would be a gross overstatement. You’re playing as a forgettable fighter whose signature move is a knockoff of Mewtwo’s Shadow Ball. Just play as Mewtwo. It’s better to be feared than forgotten.

R.O.B. – R.O.B. is the real Mad Dawg.

Toon Link – I mean, yes, it’s cool we got representation from Wind Waker, which is the single best Zelda game ever created. But why couldn’t it be Salvatore? Toon Link’s existence means there’s more versions of Link in Smash than Mario…and Mario is the face of Nintendo. Sure, Toon Link is the only acceptable version of Link to play as, but are you really sure you want to say you’re playing as a character who deserves to be represented more often than Mario?

Wolf – At least you’re not Slippy?

Villager – The eyes are dead on the outside, but the soul is even emptier on the inside. But it isn’t because the Villager is a heartless killer like has been stated since it’s inclusion in Smash. It’s because the Villager is actually a hostage of Isabelle and the other townsfolk in the Animal Crossing games. Don’t believe me? Why else would you constantly have to take out loans in order to make your home better — even when you’re happy with the home as it is? You’re not fighting to win Smash. You’re fighting for your life. Best of luck with that weight on your shoulders.

Mega Man – Mega Man is finnnnnneeeee, I guess. Sure, Mega Man’s final smash inspired a lot of later final smashes done in the same vein. And yes, Capcom has to make money somehow. But when given the option to play a game with Mega Man or listen to an epic album that tells the story of Mega Man, why would you play the game? Go listen to The State vs. Thomas Light and have yourself a good cry.

Wii Fit Trainer – Wii Fit Trainer is a flawless character that cannot be criticized by anyone.

Rosalina and Luma – On the plus side, Nintendo figured out how to make the Ice Climbers correctly. If you’re going to make one of the characters of a duo useless, go all the way. The downside here is that so few people played Super Mario Galaxy that most people don’t realize that of the two characters Rosalina is actually the useless character, not Luma. Smash created them backwards. No one should main this duo out of principle until this injustice is fixed.

Little Mac – Little Mac’s recovery is so bad that Nintendo had to give him what amounts to a second final smash (in the form of his KO punch) just to make him balanced. I can jump higher than Little Mac. True, now that the Belmonts are in the game Little Mac isn’t the easiest person to dunk on in the game. But he is the one Nintendo gave players the most handicaps to help.

Fifth Row

Greninja – Greninja’s whole gimmick in its Pokemon games is that it changes typing based off of the move it’s using, thereby always giving it a super effective move. SSBU Greninja doesn’t do this.

Palutena – I appreciate the various buffs Palutena got in SSBU, particularly combining her Counter with her Reflect moves. And yes, her up smash is one of my favorite moves in the entire game. But…you could have had Viridi. She’s clearly the funnier character in all of the Palutena’s guidance cut scenes. She even gives Pit flight instead of Palutena in Kid Icarus: Uprising. And don’t give me that she looks too much like a child to be in the game — Villager, Young Link, Toon Link, and Mega Man exist. Palutena is in the game solely because she has Family Guy legs. And she can’t even kick with them.

Pac-Man – Congratulations. You’re playing as a circle with eyes. You are a sand dollar.

Robin – It’s not often than the fourth most plot important character in their own game39Chrom, Lucina, and Emmeryn, in that order, are before Robin. gets a spot on the Smash Brothers roster, but usually when it happens, their name is Luigi.

Shulk – Did anyone actually know who Shulk was before Smash 440My brother-in-law did and was incredibly excited for Shulk to end up in Smash. I contend that he didn’t actually know anything about Shulk’s games and just acted excited, much like I did when I got Cordelia as a modded leader in Civilization V despite never having played Fire Emblem: Awakening at the time.? SSBU fixed the most glaring problem with using Shulk in Smash 4, giving you quick access to change his arts on the fly. That said, Shulk mains still fall prey to the overprediction that they did in the game’s previous iteration, meaning you’re better off working as a college football analyst for ESPN than trying to predict what your art is best to counter your opponent.

Bowser Jr. – I didn’t realize the kids from The Waltons got their own Smash fighters41The target audience for this joke — one that plays Smash regularly and was subjected to the torture that was The Waltons — is approximately six people worldwide..

Duck Hunt – *Sarah McLachlan’s Angel plays* This entry has been removed at the request of Sarah McLachlan and the ASPCA who wants you to cry while looking at sad animals on television instead of playing video games.

Ryu – I have a family member who grew up in the 1990s as a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bulls, Ohio State, and the New York Yankees. He refused to play as anyone else but Ryu in Street Fighter II Turbo and would scream at anyone who tried to use Ryu against him. Don’t be a Ryu main. No one likes Ryu mains.

Ken – I was so excited to get a second character from Street Fighter. That said, instead of getting the character we clearly deserved, we got Owen Wilson throwing fireballs. Wow.

Cloud – As someone who didn’t play the Final Fantasy series prior to Smash 4 coming out, I didn’t get the appeal to Cloud. Now that I’ve played FFVII, I can definitively say that people only play as Cloud because he has a big fucking sword. It’s like driving a Hummer.

Corrin – You’d think a character that’s part hero, part dragon, part prince/princess would not suck, but Corrin’s only in the game because Camilla’s inclusion would have caused Smash Brothers to get a mature rating.

Bayonetta – HOW THE FUCK IS BAYONETTA IN THIS GAME AND SMASH STILL DOESN’T HAVE A MATURE RATING?

Inkling – Splatoon and Splatoon 2 are amazing games created by Nintendo that provided a fresh faced intellectual property to its portfolio. By adding the Inkling to Smash, it’s proof that Nintedo intends to slowly milk the franchise for all it’s worth before discarding it like the Goldeneye franchise. They’ve already chosen to relive the past by picking the Killer Wail42One of the original Splatoon’s special moves…and arguably the least effective, though most recognizable one. as Inkling’s final smash instead of one of the Splatoon 2 specials43I personally would have loved to see the Inkjet or Tenta Missiles.. Don’t you see what Nintendo is doing? #SaveInkling

Sixth Row

Ridley – Ridley was better as an assist trophy and a stage hazard. There. I said it. You’re only playing as Ridley because you think dragons look cool. While this is a true statement, Ridley is terribly designed and not particularly scary. This slot could have gone to Big Bird and it would have been an improvement. It’s not that Ridley was too big to put into Smash, it’s that Ridley is so much more fun to beat than to play as. If you’re a Ridley main, I will target you first just to get you off my screen44Seriously though. We couldn’t get Waluigi, Decidueye, Toad, Phoenix Wright, or even the walking cheat code that was Oddjob, yet we get Ridley?.

Simon – Little Mac jumps higher than you. Castlevania is one of the few games represented in Smash that I’ve never played, so I don’t have much negative to say about the Belmonts other than they’re obnoxiously hard to save if they fall off the edge. I’ve got to say something though so…uh…you’re like a shitty version of Shaft if Shaft wasn’t cool?

Richter – How does it feel to be an echo fighter of an anvil?

King K. Rool – I bet you thought Tick Tock Croc was the good guy in Peter Pan.

Isabelle – Isabelle is a Smash fighter that no one knew they needed and even fewer asked for. Yet, here we are. She does have a cool mechanic on her throws where she can reel you in with her fishing rod before throwing you back from where you came. That’s an amazing mechanic in Bill Dance Bass Fishing, though less so in Smash. If you want someone who can win you a few matches, consider picking someone who is genre savvy.

Incineroar – Incineroar is a pro wrestling-based character, which is a much needed addition to the Smash Brothers roster. That said, if Nintendo wanted a cartoonish wrestling character that’s overpowered, capable of massive comebacks, and appeals to children, we could have had John Cena in Smash. That’s right. Instead of John Cena, we got Incineroar.

Mii Brawler – It’s a Mii character.

Mii Swordfighter – It’s a Mii character.

Mii Gunner – It’s a Mii character.

My Pokemon Top 25

I have a likely not shocking confession to make. I really like college football. I don’t like watching it as much as I did while I was in college (or even in the years immediately surrounding it), however it is still of great entertainment. You can have great endings, epic games, and hilarious meltdowns of overrated teams. It’s all really good.

That said, the best part of college football (especially when I got to play the NCAA Football video game series) is the polls. It’s a fun, if not subjective and somewhat inconsistent, way of comparing teams to one another. I’m not a particularly qualified person to put college football teams into a top 2545At least outside of the aforementioned video game situations.. But you know what I do have some expertise on? Pokemon. More specifically, which Pokemon I like better than others.

With that said, there’s over 800 Pokemon in existence. Putting together this list took quite a bit of time, though I did use Dragonfly Cave’s favorite Pokemon tool to help generate my list. In creating my list, I did decide that only one Pokemon from each evolution line could make the final list. This means that I initially went to 50 Pokemon when generating my list, then cut it down from there. My top 25, along with honorable mentions, is below. I’ve kept my explanations for why each Pokemon made the list somewhat short, as otherwise this could be an obnoxious list.

  1. Articuno – One of my two favorite Pokemon as a kid (along with Rattata), the Team Mystic mascot has always been one of my favorite Pokemon. I’ve had trouble putting it at the top of any list or on most teams due to its legendary status. That said, if I’m really being objective, it’s my favorite Pokemon.
  2. Shellder – My favorite shiny Pokemon gets the number two spot thanks to its silly tongue-filled sprites throughout the game’s history, as well as that beautiful hunter orange shiny. If only Cloyster retained that loud coloring with its shiny.
  3. Hitmonchan – One of the most versatile Fighting types you’ll ever encounter may not be a particularly useful Pokemon, but it won me over as a Gen I kid. The elemental punches are amazing and fit with Hitmonchan’s style, even if the moves are better suited to another Pokemon.
  4. Vulpix – Prior to Gen VII, Vulpix would have been a top 10 or 15 Pokemon, but not this high. Then Alolan Vulpix came out, combining a creature I really like with my favorite battle typing. I’ve decided to put Vulpix 4 on this list to average out my thoughts on its Kanto and Alolan forms. Ninetales was ranked 5, but since only one of each line makes the list46I only had to make two cuts for this reason, but it did still come up., Vulpix gets the spot.
  5. Jynx – I recognize most people hate Jynx, but it was on the very first team I ever beat a Pokemon game with. My pro-Ice bias likely keeps Jynx higher on this list than it has any business being, but I still love trotting Jynx out there in online battles, particularly when paired with this next Pokemon.
  6. Delcatty – The top non-Gen I Pokemon on this list is my favorite cat Pokemon. I don’t care that it looks like it has a neck pillow around its neck. Throw Cosmic Power, Toxic, Rest, and an attacking move47I personally like Facade, as someone is likely going to try to poison this set. on it and really mess with people not expecting to see Delcatty in an actual battle. Or, pair it with a Jynx or Smeargle spreading sleep and watch Delcatty wreck teams with Dream Eater (seriously). I love how trolly Delcatty can be.
  7. Mismagius – Speaking of trolly, Mismagius is a great Rest/Sleep Talk Pokemon. While I never got into Misdreavus when I played Gen II, getting a Mismagius for the first time in Pokemon Moon made me really love this Pokemon. Plus, it has some of the better art in the game’s history. Even though the Pokemon on my favorite Pokemon of each type list has changed over time48See: Delcatty going from not mentioned on that post to #6 on this list., Mismagius has remained my favorite Ghost type.
  8. Chandelure – No, I don’t care that it looks like an inanimate object. A ghostly chandelier is amazing. That’s just good design. Chandelure might be my favorite Will-o-Wisp spreader I’ve ever used, but that’s not why it’s this high on this list. That art, though.
  9. Vaporeon – There isn’t a bad Eeveelution other than Flareon49To be fair, this isn’t Flareon’s fault.. But Vapereon has such an awesome movepool, even though it’s mostly known for Wish and Baton Pass. The fact that it’s had access to Acid Armor since Gen I — at a time when there wasn’t much move pool variety — amuses me to no end.
  10. Umbreon – It glows. It’s such a pretty glow at that. I originally had Umbreon above Vaporeon in this list, only to realize how frequently I’ve used Vaporeon in my playthroughs of the various games rather than opting to choose Umbreon. While Umbreon is useful — possibly more so than Vaporeon — I had to fix the list to more accurately reflect my usage.
  11. Murkrow – WHY CAN’T I FIND A SHINY MURKROW IN POKEMON GO? WHY?
  12. Dodrio – While Fearow was always my Gen I Flying type of choice, over time I’ve become a bigger fan of Dodrio than its Drill Peck-driven brethren. Though this is mostly driven by Dodrio’s silly looks, I do quite enjoy battling with too. Don’t worry, Fearow makes this list too.
  13. Parasect – Two words: Alazakam killer.
  14. Toxapex – My favorite non-Alolan form Pokemon from Gen VII is, not shockingly, a Water type. That said, it’s the first Poison type I’ve used with any regularity, not to mention yet another Pokemon that loves harming James in the anime50One of my favorite running tropes in the series.. Marenie was my other evolution line limited cut from this list, but it’s just an amazing line.
  15. Mawile – I find it amusing that there’s a Pokemon that can literally bite your head off with its head. Pokemon Go reminded me how much I like Mawile, all while disappointing me how much Go doesn’t understand how to implement some Pokemon51See also: Shuckle, Azumarill..
  16. Fearow – Fearow and Persian were critical hit machines in Gen I. Access to Fly and immunity to Ground type attacks caused me to use Fearow over Persian in many playthroughs of Red and Blue. I don’t make the rules, just this list.
  17. Ampharos – The quest involving Ampharos in Pokemon Gold/Silver creates a memorable character, causing people to love the electric sheep. But combine that with references to a Philip K. Dick novel and the glorious hair of that mega evolution and you’ve got an amazing Pokemon.
  18. Gardevoir – Mawile, but people make more fan art of it. Unfortunately, most of that art is creepy. But Gardevoir is super useful.
  19. Leavanny – In my first run of Pokemon Black, I was stunned how useful I found Leavanny to be. Finding a good physical Bug attacker is kind of hard to do, especially in early generations. I took Leavanny all the way through Black when I beat it, which I never would have guessed when I first started the game. It’s also a shockingly good lead/scout competitively, especially in lower tiers, thanks to access to Sticky Web and U-Turn.
  20. Lapras – Lapras being introduced as the surfing ride Pokemon in Gen VII was the best decision made about that game. That’s all there is to it.
  21. Froslass – Another Gen IV Pokemon that I didn’t get to use for the first time until Gen VII, Froslass is one of my favorite Pokemon to use as a competitive lead. It can spread Spikes and take Pokemon down with Destiny Bond. But above all else, at least it’s not Glalie.
  22. Espeon – Did you know Espeon’s shiny looks like it’s a fox made out of Mountain Dew?
  23. Xurkitree – The best kept secret to beating the Battle Tree in Sun/Moon? Xurkitree with Thunderbolt coming in on Electric Terrain. Just bring Tapu Bulu or another similarly fast Grass/Water Pokemon to deal with Ground types.
  24. Shuckle – Don’t fuckle with Shuckle.
  25. Oddish – The #25 spot on this list was obnoxiously hard to decide on. Do I pick one of the first two Pokemon I ever liked or do I pick the adorable grass bulb that I like enough that there’s a planter shaped like it in my apartment? This is even beyond the fact that I cut two Gen VI Pokemon to get to this point, leaving me with no Pokemon from that (admittedly thin) generation on this list. I leaned to Oddish ultimately, but it was nearly a coin flip here.

Honorable mention: Rattata, Sylveon, Fennekin, Blastoise, Ariados, Meloetta, Hypno, Beedrill, Skarmory, Hawlucha, Persian, Wigglytuff, Liepard, Kabutops, Popplio