My Pokemon Gym: Ground

Welcome to the sixteenth 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, Fire, Flying, Normal, Ghost, Dark, Rock, and Steel type posts when you’re done here. All images courtesy pokemondb.net unless otherwise stated.

Dugtrio

Arena Trap Dugtrio is well-known as being a terribly annoying trapping Pokemon — just not in the manner in which I have typically used it. I’ve always liked using Arena Trap Dugtrio to set up Stealth Rock, then slap a Memento on them. Sure, this set can’t hit most of the route 1 birds, but I really don’t need to use it for that purpose.

Ability: Arena Trap
Item: Focus Sash
Moves: Stealth Rock, Memento, Earthquake, Shadow Claw

Mudsdale

Oh hey. It’s one of the best Pokemon to come out of Gen VII. In Gen VIII, the dynamax function gives Mudsdale access to Max Quake, giving it a Special Defense boosting move to go along with its amazing Stamina ability. It’s really hard to kill Mudsdale once it gets boosts set up, thanks in large part to the fact that Body Press only gets stronger with Mudsdale’s Stamina boosts.

Ability: Stamina
Item: Maranga Berry
Moves: High Horsepower, Rock Slide, Rest, Body Press

Whiscash

You know what’s fun? Special Attacking Whiscash. It has a surprisingly diverse move pool. And it gets to learn one of the most gimmicky, yet hilarious moves in the game, Belch. It’s one of my favorite moves to catch people off guard with in a battle.

Ability: Oblivious
Item: Sitrus Berry
Moves: Muddy Water, Belch, Ice Beam, Future Sight

Krookodile

In other posts, I’ve talked about how much I love flinching movesets on Pokemon. And dear lord does Krookodile ever get a good one. In addition to getting access to the multi-hit move Beat Up, its moveset also has the flinching moves Rock Slide, Thunder Fang, and Fire Fang. I really like running an alternate Anger Point moveset that runs Power Trip, but King’s Rock sets are MUCH more annoying to face. As a gym leader, that seems fun to have.

Ability: Anger Point
Item: King’s Rock
Moves: Beat Up, Rock Slide, Thunder Fang, Fire Fang

Sandaconda

Sandaconda is one of my favorite Pokemon to come out of Sword and Shield, but it doesn’t have a distinct role on this team. I quite like a Coil-setup Pokemon, as well as the flinch chance of Iron Head. That said, the intent is for it to serve somewhat as a backup dynamax Pokemon on this team, even if it’s not running a standard Sandaconda moveset.

Ability: Shed Skin
Item: Lum Berry
Moves: Coil, Skull Bash, Poison Tail, Iron Head

Quagsire

LOOK AT THAT FACE! LOOK AT IT!

Ability: Unaware
Item: Rindo Berry
Moves: Ice Punch, Rest, Liquidation, Sleep Talk


If you enjoyed the post you just read, please consider supporting me through my Patreon. Memberships start at only $1 and help support the costs for this site, as well as my other creative endeavors. You can also support me by purchasing my book, An Epilogue to Innocence, here. I also offer editing services on this page.

We Need a Change

Note: If you’re here for the My Pokemon Gym series that typically posts on the first Monday of the month, the next post in the series will go up next Monday, June 8th. Until then, here’s this post.

I’ve been thinking for a few days about exactly what to write here. And frankly, whatever I could write here will be inadequate for several reasons. But I recognize that not saying anything — and not taking action — is more problematic than stumbling over my own words.

The American culture of racism and police brutality is one that has cost countless lives and has continually held down an entire segment of the fabric of the country. It’s a fact of life that I was very much shielded from growing up and one that it took me well into my adult years to fully understand the scope of. Even though I saw what was going on in the world around me, a part of me felt like it couldn’t be as bad as I would hear from the news or from people that didn’t look like me. I felt this, at times, despite the rational part of my brain and the logical person in me seeing the preponderance of evidence pointing to the contrary.

I don’t feel that I can be inactive about this anymore. While I do my best to support people of color, in particular writers and other creatives in the communities I’m part of, I know I can do better. I’ve made an effort to do more to amplify voices that have better perspective than my own, and I do intend to continue to do so.

I also am looking to make an effort with my pocketbook. Part of the challenge that I’m running into there is that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as funding cuts that will impact my household income as soon as this month, money has become very tight for me. That said, I do have a source of income, albeit a small one, that is still purely discretionary. That is the profits from my first book, An Epilogue to Innocence.

Beginning today, June 1st, 2020, all profits from An Epilogue to Innocence will go to The Marshall Project. If you’re not familiar with them, The Marshall Project is a group that provides nonprofit journalism about criminal justice. Without groups like The Marshall Project, the dark underbelly of the American criminal justice system would remain shrouded in a veil of ignorance for those who do not live through the experience of being a person of color in the United States today.

If you would like to purchase An Epilogue to Innocence, you can do so at this link. If you would like to donate to The Marshal Project directly, do so by clicking this link.

Blog Update: All The Writing Things Edition (WIP Update #6)

Oh hey. It’s a non-video game post. Some of my regular readers may be back for this one.

I know that I’ve done a lot of video game content recently. This is partly because it has been pretty mentally challenging to go through quarantine for me. I talked about it in a post recently, but to say things have only gotten worse from there for me mentally would be an understatement. I’m doing a bit better now than I was in mid-to-late April. That said, it’s still been a challenge to write non-video game posts. As while those posts can be long and involved to write, they’re not the same mental effort as writing my other posts.

I do, however, want to write a post to share a bit about what all I have going on from a writing standpoint. As you’ll see, it’s quite a lot, which may lead to some changes on the blog during the coming weeks and months.

First off, I’ll give an update on my work in progress. The book started going through beta reads in early March. Pre-COVID, my intent was to have all of the beta reading feedback done by May 1st. That said, I’ve shuffled that deadline around a bit thanks to everything going on with coronavirus. My new intent is to be able to work on edits coming out of beta reading in early June, though that too may shift slightly for reasons I’ll get into later in this post.

Additionally, I do have a title for the book as well as a cover artist on commission to create a cover for the book. My goal is to be able to share both the cover and the title at the same time, hence holding off on sharing the title at this point. I’m very excited to show off the cover art once it’s done, as I really like the idea that’s going to be turned into a cover with this book.

My original timeline for getting the book to market was late fall (October/November) of 2020. With the delays I’ve had leading up to this point, I may end up pushing it back. I’d rather take a bit of extra time going through my own post-beta reading edits with my editor and do it well rather than try to rush things out. That said, I’ve also considered querying and/or doing PitMad. Both of those ideas are kind of terrifying to me, especially since I know I could self-publish the book and get it to have some support there. I’ll decide more on that side of things once the beta reading edits are done.

Moving on to that whole point about why my timeline may shift — my editing business has picked up a bit over the past couple of months. This means that I’m actually having to limit new projects I take on for the first time in a long time. If you’re in need of resume editing services, I’m still open for those inquiries at this point in time. That said, all of my other audio and print editing services are currently on hold due to active projects I have, plus projects that are queued up over the next few months.

Between the increase in editing work I’m getting and the next couple of items I’m going to talk about, there may be a decrease in blog posts over the next few months. I’ve almost finished up the My Pokemon Gym series (two to go), but there will be a Pokemon or Fire Emblem post at the beginning of each month still — as I quite like writing them. That said, we’ll see how much I’m able to write up beyond that. My day job has gotten significantly more time-consuming and stressful since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak1In particular since self-isolation started., meaning I’m busier than ever on that front. With that said, it’s also very important for me to prioritize writing work that’s able to make me extra money for when me and my family need it at this point. If I need to cut stuff I’m working on in order to stay sane, this blog will be the first place cuts are made. This includes no post next week (May 18th). That, along with the fact that I already don’t post on the fourth Monday of the month, means that the next post will be on Monday, June 1st.

Shifting gears for a second, I know that many folks who follow this blog also follow the nightly choose your own adventure story I run on my Twitter. Since I wrote my post about the story in February, I’ve started putting the story’s finished chapters up on Wattpad.

The story has gotten a small following on that platform, but due to Wattpad’s banning of mature-tagged stories from public ranking pages, it’s not getting the footing it otherwise would. If you know folks who use Wattpad (or you do yourself), encourage them to follow the story on there, as well as to like the chapters as they read. Even if you don’t have a Wattpad account, I would encourage you to still give the story a read on there. It’s the only place where the story is currently housed, more or less, in its entirety. Wattpad does have the option to write paid stories for them…but the program is currently invitation only, meaning that the best way for me to get involved in the program (aside from application submission, which I’ve done) is to get readers for the story.

I’ll be continuing the nightly polls for the story on Twitter until the story comes to an end. Basing this off of how long each of the story chapters are taking, I’ll estimate this means we’ll get to the ending(s) of the story sometime in the August-October range. That said, since there are seven different possible endings to the story, I’ve already been asked if I can write all of the endings for those who want to read them. I will be doing that eventually. That said, what I’ll likely do is to write the main ending that gets selected as part of the CYOA narrative, then take a bit of time off before writing the alternate endings.

Speaking of Wattpad, I’ll be doing a new story on there that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Last year, I wrote a short story for this blog called Meeting Charlie Madagan. This is a short story that I’ve had bits and pieces of in my head since the summer of 2012. I finally wrote an outline for the story in March of this year and will be publishing monthly chapters for the story starting in June or July of 2020. The timeline is still a bit up in the air due to a couple of IRL things I need to finish up first. That said, I’ll be doing monthly polls on Patreon which will give patrons some light input as to what happens in the story. The first poll will be up for patrons in June 2020. In that poll, patrons will have the option to choose the Wattpad cover art for the story — as I don’t really feel there’ll be a ton of input that will be able to be given in the first chapter.

Finally, you may have noticed that giving my Patreon patrons the ability to help me with my story is a new development. I revamped my Patreon tiers at the end of April, adding in the aforementioned Wattpad story voting as the lowest tier reward for supporting me. For those not aware, you can get a few different rewards for supporting me on Patreon, including signed pictures of not me (signed by me), a monthly bonus blog post (which will likely be WIP related…oh…and patrons already know the title for the story), and a monthly bonus podcast from me. If you have the financial situation to do so, I’d encourage you to support me on Patreon. You’ll get cool shit.

1,300 words later and all of my writing updates are out of the way. So um…yeah?

My Pokemon Gym: Steel

Welcome to the fifteenth 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, Fire, Flying, Normal, Ghost, Dark, and Rock type posts when you’re done here. All images courtesy pokemondb.net unless otherwise stated.

Magnezone

For as much as I like the Magnemite line, I genuinely never know how to use it properly in competitive play. It’s a bulky special attacker in my mind, even though everyone plays it as an anti-Steel Pokemon. As much as I know what the right way to play Magnezone should be thanks to the existence of the internet, I just roll with it the same way I have for generations now — Tri Attack, otherwise Rain Dance then spam Thunder.

Ability: Magnet Pull
Item: Shuca Berry
Moves: Rain Dance, Thunder, Tri Attack, Flash Cannon

Skarmory

The Skarmory/Blissey defensive core was downright terrifying in earlier generations if you didn’t know how to handle for it. And while Blissey is one of my least favorite Pokemon ever, I have a soft spot in my heart for Skarmory. So much so that I’m still just a little annoyed that instead of getting an evolution for Skarmory in Sword/Shield, we got Corviknight. Which, yeah, good Pokemon. But Skarmory deserved better.

Skarmory is on this team to be bulky and to try to flinch opponents. That means Roost, Rock Slide, and Iron Head were guaranteed spots in the build. The last spot came down to Aerial Ace or Toxic. I decided on the former just in case there were ever a situation where I needed a guaranteed hit.

Ability: Sturdy
Item: Leftovers
Moves: Roost, Rock Slide, Aerial Ace, Iron Head

Scizor

One of the unfortunate things about the Steel typing is that it has two Pokemon that I love using Mega Evolutions for1The more I play Shield, the less I like the Dynamax concept. — Scizor and Metagross. In deciding which of the two to have as a mega on this team, I thought about my history with using each of them. And while I’ve used both in their mega forms on my teams before, only Scizor managed to stay useful to me in its base form. This is thanks in large part to its Technician ability, as well as an array of moves that get a boost from it, such as Bullet Punch, Vacuum Wave, Aerial Ace, Thief, and Bug Bite. This set lacks recovery, but that could easily be fixed by dropping Aerial Ace for Roost.

Ability: Technician
Item: Metronome
Moves: Swords Dance, Bullet Punch, Bug Bite, Aerial Ace

Mega Metagross

On the list of non-legendary Pokemon abilities, Tough Claws has to be near the top of the list in terms of most overpowered, right? It powers up ANY move that makes contact. That includes things like Grass Knot. Yes, Grass Knot is powered up by Tough Claws, despite being a special move. Anyway, Mega Metagross is OP, please nerf.

Ability: Tough Claws (Light Metal before Mega Evolution)
Item: Metagrossite
Moves: Meteor Mash, Zen Headbutt, Ice Punch, Grass Knot

Alolan Sandslash

As much as I love the concept of the Ice/Steel typing, even I’m willing to admit it’s not a particularly practical nor useful type. When you have a 4x weakness to both Fire and Fighting — two of the best offensive typings in the game — you’re gonna have a bad time. That said, I just really like Alolan Sandslash. It’s not going to live long. I know that. But if it’s able to switch in on something it can set up on with Curse, it becomes hilariously hard to stop thanks to Gyro Ball.

Ability: Snow Cloak
Item: Focus Sash
Moves: Curse, Flail, Poison Jab, Gyro Ball

Empoleon

Can we take a moment to talk about how so many of the starter Pokemon have terrible hidden abilities for what they’re used for? Empoleon is an example of this. Instead of getting an ability that benfits its excellent defensive typing, its bulk, or its special attack, it gets…Defiant? Defiant works well on a Pokemon with good attack. But unless you’re dead set on making your Emploeon a mixed attacker, there’s not much point. I decided to use it because why not. But what the hell?

Ability: Defiant
Item: Petaya Berry
Moves: Surf, Power Trip, Steel Wing, Double Team

The Best Shiny Pokemon by Color

Shiny Pokemon: the reason everyone still taps on trash Pokemon in Pokemon Go even though they’re getting bored with the game itself.

All kidding aside1I’m not kidding., ever since shiny variants of Pokemon were introduced in Generation II, they have captured the attention of the Pokemon fan base. For those not familiar with the concept, shiny Pokemon are Pokemon that have a color variation different from the main color scheme for that Pokemon. For example, here we have the regular version of Gyarados (all images courtesy pokemondb.net)

And here we have shiny Gyarados.

Got the concept? Good.

I got into a discussion with Lola from the blog That Little Lola regarding some of our favorite shiny Pokemon. I’ve wanted to do a post about shinies for quite some time now, but ultimately didn’t land on the right topic until after that conversation. What follows in this post is my thoughts on the best shiny variant for each color that’s part of this list. Here are the rules.

  • What color a Pokemon is listed under below is dictated by the primary color of its shiny variant. Gyarados would fall under red rather than blue for this reason.
  • Mega evolutions, forms, and regional variants are all considered for this post.
  • I’ve chosen to limit myself to a maximum of three honorable mentions for each color.

Got it? Good. I’m also doing a blog post with the Pokemon I think have the worst shinies by each color as a Patreon reward2By the time this post comes out, the Patreon post will have already gone live., so if you’re interested in seeing that list too, go support me on Patreon.

Red – Dhelmise

We begin with arguably the hardest color on this list to cut down the honorable mentions for. While there aren’t a ton of good red shinies in earlier generations, we more than make up for that from Generation V onward. Even Hoenn gave us Solrock’s criminally underrated shiny form. That said, one of my favorite Pokemon designs, Dhelmise, also gives us my favorite primarily red shiny. I really like how the red seaweed accents the rusted anchor, making for one of the better color contrasts of all shiny Pokemon.

Honorable mentions: Solrock, Clawitzer, Yveltal

Orange – Shellder

While orange has the shortest list of honorable mentions on this list3The day before publishing this post, I realized I completely skipped Gen III when making my orange list, meaning I’d forgot about the amazing shinies belonging to both Seedot and Linoone. Only one makes the list, but I’m adding this note instead of changing the paragraph because of how much it annoyed me that I did that., it does have my single favorite shiny in all of Pokemon, Shellder. Shellder’s orange sprite is so much better than its normal purple coloration that I wish this was the regular form. Of course, if Shellder had a purple shiny, it would make so much more sense for Cloyster to have the weird blue shiny it has. As a side note, orange also features the only Gen VIII appearance on this list. Most of the Sword/Shield shinies are pretty lackluster, but Cramorant’s is nice.

Honorable mentions: Chandelure, Cramorant, Seedot

Yellow/Gold – Drifloon

I combined yellow and gold in part because it was hard for me to draw the line on certain color distinctions — as you’ll see when we get further down the list. Either way, Drifloon was the easy winner from this group, with both it and its evolution having awesome yellow shiny forms. Lucario’s shiny is a bit underrated, though I’m sure that’s driven by the fact that Mega Lucario is just so ugly.

Honorable mentions: Azumarill, Lucario

Green – Taillow

I adore lime green. I really do. I cut four lime green shinies from the honorable mentions section of this color. Not picking Scizor or Beedrill here hurt a little. But of all the green shinies in existence, my favorite is Taillow. The adorable tiny bird has a shade of green that doesn’t show up in many shiny Pokemon. Though PokemonDB’s sprite doesn’t show it off well, trust me. It’s awesome.

Honorable mentions: Beedrill, Espeon, Scizor

Blue – Simipour

This might be the first time Simipour has ever been at the top of a positive Pokemon list. That said, I quite prefer Simipour’s shiny to its regular coloration. Hell, that’s the case with all of the Pokemon in this color’s section of the post, though I think Simipour’s is the biggest improvement over its regular sprite. Of course, the less said about the downfall of the Gible line’s shinies as you get further along the evolutionary chain, the better.

Honorable mentions: Shuckle, Gible, Xurkitree

Purple – Pupitar

Speaking of Pokemon evolutionary chains that have one good shiny amid a sea of not good shinies, I give you Pupitar. Larvitar’s shiny is fine. Tyrannitar’s is underwhelming. But the purple shiny on Pupitar jumps off the screen. It’s striking in a good way. You’ll notice that Murkrow makes my honorable mentions, as I went through quite the mental debate whether or not to classify it as purple (a color it didn’t win) or pink (a color it would have won). To me, it looks more purple than pink, so I chose to put it here. That said, I’m also bad at color theory.

Honorable mentions: Murkrow, Tentacool, Rogenrolla

Pink – Dragonair

Good lord, that’s a good shiny. The pink and the white work really well together. The gold accents are amazing. It’s just beautifully done. Despite pink being a middling color to me outside of the world of Pokemon, there are a TON of good pink shinies in the games, particularly from early generations. I can’t wait for Furret to be allowed in Sword/Shield for shiny Furret sweeping shenanigans.

Honorable mentions: Furret, Mega Mawile, Crobat

Brown – Cacturne

There’s not a ton of brown shiny Pokemon in general. But of the ones that do exist, it really came down to Cacturne and Kantonian Sandslash for this spot. If I’m being honest, a small reason why Cacturne got the nod here is because what makes Sandslash’s shiny so cool is the red spikes and their contrast against the brown, not the brown itself. Cacturne wins out here as a result, but this was the closest choice of any on this list.

Honorable mentions: Sandslash (Kantonian Form), Liepard, Lopunny

Black – Umbreon

Black shinies just look cool. That’s all there is to it. But of all the black shinies in existence, the one that’s my favorite is one of the ones with the most subtle changes from its base coloration, Umbreon. Going from the yellow to the blue accents against the black is just a great touch. It’s not as drastic of a change as Mega Gardevoir or Oricorio Balie go through, but it’s extremely effective.

Honorable mentions: Mega Gardevoir, Palossand, Oricorio (Baile Form)

White – Victini

Like black shiny forms, white shiny Pokemon often also follow the Rule of Cool when it comes to their coloration. That said, white shinies are much harder to come by, which I have to assume is because it’s really hard to color them if you’re a child4You may think I’m kidding, but this is intended to be a child’s game after all. You have to take your target audience into consideration.. That said, of all the white shinies in existence, it’s really Victini and then everything else. It’s too bad getting a Victini is literally impossible now — not that Game Freak intentionally has it that way or anything.

Honorable mentions: Eevee, Litten, Pelipper

Silver/Gray – Fennekin

Hahahahahahahaha. It’s a silver fox. Get it?

Honorable mentions: Metagross, Ferroseed, Vikavolt