My Pokemon Gym: Ice

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post where I shared what my Pokemon gym would be if I were the gym leader of a Fighting type gym. As I mentioned in that post, Fighting isn’t a type that’s particularly high on my list of types I like, though I did want to write the post at the request of one of my blog followers. With my birthday coming up later this month, I wanted to take the opportunity to revisit this gym concept, only this time looking at my favorite Pokemon type. That type would be Ice type Pokemon.

Ice type Pokemon are a much maligned type in the Pokemon universe. While it’s a great attacking type, dealing super effective damage to some of the most frightening offensive types, Ice types are defensive liabilities. Defensively, Ice types are weak to Fire, Fighting, Rock, and Steel Pokemon, nearly all of which feature on most common Pokemon teams in some capacity. This is what makes trainers like Lorelei, Wulfric, and Candice much easier to battle than other gym leaders or Elite Four members. Even with that in mind, my goal is to do my best to represent my favorite Pokemon typing well as a gym leader for it.

As I’ve done on previous Pokemon team/gym style posts, I’ll be sharing the six Pokemon on my team, along with their held items and moves. I’ll also be giving a little additional background into why I’ve chosen each of these Pokemon. I won’t be using legendary Pokemon on my team, despite the fact that the very first Ice type I loved is the original Ice type legendary, Articuno. I’ve tried to limit the number of Pokemon I’ve taken from any single generation, however, since Ice types have a fairly limited pool to pull from — and many of those Pokemon get evolutions in later generations randomly — I have a team that’s largely comprised of Gen I and Gen IV Pokemon.

Alolan Ninetales

Alolan Ninetales courtesy Bulbapedia

One of the critical components of getting any Ice type team to work is setting up Hail for sake of Aurora Veil and residual damage. Enter Alolan Ninetales, which combines both of these into one easy package. I chose to make Alolan Ninetales my lead Pokemon rather than my ace for this reason, as its primary purpose is to protect the rest of my team the best it can. I really wish I had five move slots on this set, as I’d love to run the Toxic/Hex combo that amuses me so much. But alas, that’s not Alolan Ninetales’ job with this set.

Ability: Snow Warning
Item: Icy Rock
Moves: Aurora Veil, Mist, Blizzard, Toxic

Lapras

Lapras courtesy Bulbapedia

Because Ice types have so many weaknesses, part of my strategy as a leader is that I need to have specific counters to those weaknesses. This means that as much as I wanted to bring Cloyster on the team, Lapras is the much smarter choice as my anti-Fire counter. Lapras can be a shockingly good mixed attacker with the right moveset, though I’ve chosen to boost its survivability over attacking power, as it is one of the bulkier creatures on my team.

Ability: Shell Armor
Item: Assault Vest
Moves: Whirlpool, Perish Song, Curse, Protect

Froslass

Froslass courtesy Bulbapedia

Can you tell I like troll-y Ice type Pokemon? Between a screen setting Ninetales, a trapping Perish Song Lapras, and now the queen of Destiny Bond in Froslass, my first three Pokemon on this list are meant to take out major threats to the three Pokemon that end this list. I’ve used Froslass as a lead when I’ve battled online, however her purpose on this team is to cripple the other team’s hard hitters, as well as to take them out with self-sacrifice if needed.

Ability: Cursed Body
Item: Focus Sash
Moves: Destiny Bond, Confuse Ray, Will-O-Wisp, Ominous Wind

Weavile

Weavile courtesy Bulbapedia

And thus begins the hard hitters of my team. Weavile hopes that any Fighting Pokemon are dealt with before it comes in, however it’s set up to start wrecking the other team if that’s the case. As much as I want to justify using Pickpocket on Weavile, there’s no good reason to do so when Pressure exists. Not that anything will live long enough for Pressure to truly matter if all goes well.

Ability: Pressure
Item: Darkium-Z
Moves: Snatch, Icicle Crash, Bite, Dark Pulse

Mamoswine

Mamoswine courtesy Bulbapedia

While Weavile is meant to take advantage of its speed and flinching capabilities, Mamoswine is my glacier. Sure, it doesn’t move as fast as my other Pokemon1Though Mamoswine has shockingly good speed., but it’s going to hit like a truck when it does. I considered putting Mega Glalie in this spot to give me a mega Pokemon, but then I remembered how much I detest Glalie. So no.

Ability: Thick Fat
Item: Muscle Band
Moves: Thrash, Earthquake, Superpower, Avalanche

Jynx

Jynx courtesy Bulbapedia

My ace for this team is a much-maligned Pokemon that I’ve found I’m one of the few people who loves. Jynx is one of my favorite Pokemon to use, both in the mainline games and in Pokemon Go. Yes, it has horribly frail defenses, but the hope is that most of its threats are taken out early by the first few Pokemon on my team — or by Weavile and Mamoswine if not. While I was tempted to do a full kiss moves team with Jynx2As it can learn Draining Kiss, Lovely Kiss, and Sweet Kiss., only one of those made my final moveset. Jynx is oblivious to your team’s wiles, and is the anchor of my Ice type gym because of it.

Ability: Oblivious
Item: Wide Lens
Moves: Lovely Kiss, Blizzard, Dream Eater, Hyper Voice

10 New Mega Evolutions I Want to See on Pokemon Switch

The hype train for Pokemon Switch keeps chugging along. Seriously. Go on YouTube and look at nearly any PokeTuber’s channel. It’s all a lot of people want to talk about. And why wouldn’t fans of the game want to speculate about it? Between the 2017 E3 Nintendo Direct mentioning that Nintendo has a core Pokemon game in development for Switch, the announcement of a new Pokemon as part of the Let’s Go Eevee/Let’s Go Pikachu releases, as well as various other sources reporting a release date of mid-2019 for a core series game, there’s reason to get excited.

One of the more recently introduced game mechanics that I believe will have a greater amount of usage in any Pokemon game on the Nintendo Switch is the concept of Mega Evolutions. There are currently 46 Pokemon capable of mega evolving, which is a particularly low number when considering that there are now 807 Pokemon in the game3I started writing this post thinking there were 806 Pokemon in the game. I’m glad I doublechecked. Apparently a new one got announced in April. Who knew?. In addition to expanding the usage of Z-moves that was introduced in Generation VII, I expect us to see some new Pokemon capable of mega evolution.

So, which Pokemon will we see mega evolutions for? I’ve created a list of 10 Pokemon I’d personally like to see get mega evolutions. For this post, I’ll share with you which ten Pokemon I’d most want to see get mega evolutions in a Pokemon game for the Nintendo Switch, a little information about how I imagine the new evolution playing out, as well as why I want that specific Pokemon to get a mega evolution. All images are courtesy Bulbapedia.

Honorable mentions that missed the cut: Dragonite, Toucannon, Ledian4Yes, the king of garbage Pokemon would be a ridiculous Pokemon to consider for mega evolution. Yet…would it really be all that shocking?, Vikavolt, Delibird, Raichu5*insert tears from Pikachu fans here*, Gothitelle, and Parasect

10. Hawlucha

Mega evolutions were introduced in Gen VI of the Pokemon games. One of the game’s gym leaders, Korrina, knew the secrets behind mega evolutions, yet doesn’t carry a single mega evolving Pokemon in her main gym team. The best way to remedy that is to give one of Korrina’s signature Pokemon, Hawlucha, a mega evolution. Mega Hawlucha would remain a dual type Flying/Fighting Pokemon, but does pick up some additional Defense (20 points), Attack (30 points), and Speed (40 points)6Mega evolved Pokemon tend to gain around 90 points to their attributes overall, generally spread across 3 stats, not including HP. I’ll be using 90 points of gain as the standard amount for all Pokemon on this list.. Instead of retaining its Limber, Unburden, or Mold Breaker abilities, Mega Hawlucha would gain the Motor Drive ability, which would boost its formidable speed even further if it’s hit by an electric attack.

9. Gogoat

Our second (and final) Gen VI Pokemon on the list might be a bit unexpected, as Gogoat is not a particularly standout Pokemon in the game in terms of usage. With that said, its appearances in Super Smash Brothers for WiiU caused Gogoat to grow on me. Mega Gogoat would be our first type changing Pokemon on this list, going from a pure Grass type to a dual Grass/Fighting type, picking up a massive amount of additional Attack (50 points), as well as some Defense and Special Defense (20 points each). Mega Gogoat would also be the first Pokemon with the Grass-type version of Aerilate, turning its wide pool of hard-hitting Normal attacks into STAB-Grass attacks.

8. Fearow

I’d have to imagine that if there’s new mega Pokemon in Generation VIII, at least a handful of them will be from Gen I, particularly with Pokemon Let’s Go on the horizon. As such, I’m going to hope that Fearow gets a mega evolution. Fearow was one of the most underrated Pokemon in Gen I, particularly with how its speed stat combined with Drill Peck to abuse Red/Blue/Yellow’s broken critical hit mechanics. Mega Fearow pays homage to that, as its current hidden ability, Sniper, would become the mega’s ability. Most of Fearow’s growth as a mega would come in Attack (30 points) and Speed (45 points), but a small amount of growth in its Defense (15 points) would make it a slightly bulkier bird to battle. Fearow would retain its Normal/Flying typing as a mega evolution.

7. Mamoswine

With all the hype surrounding the pending7It was pending when I originally wrote this post. The post just got rescheduled a few times. announcement of Generation IV in Pokemon Go, I thought it’d be fitting to include two Pokemon from that Generation in this list. Mamoswine is a beast of a Pokemon, however it’s not the tank of a Pokemon that it looks like it would be. Yes, its Thick Fat ability removes two of its weaknesses, but it’s not a particularly good defensive Pokemon. Its Ice/Ground mega evolution would change that, as Mega Mamoswine would pair the Thick Fat ability with an additional 40 points in both its Defense and Special Defense, with a small boost going to its Attack (10 points) as well. It’s about time this woolly mammoth became a defensive behemoth in its own right.

6. Toxapex

I know what you’re thinking. Does Toxapex really need a mega evolution? It’s one of the best Generation VII Pokemon. And yes, I hear that argument. My counter argument to that is Rayquaza, Grodon, Kyogre, Salamance, Mewtwo, and Scizor. Just because a Pokemon is really good does not mean it shouldn’t get a mega evolution. Toxapex is the lone Gen VII entry on this list, but it’s one of the most standout Pokemon from Sun and Moon, making it one of the most deserving of this spot8Apologies to Mimikyu, the Tapus, Salazzle, Toucannon, and Vikavolt, the last two of which were the hardest debates.. Mega Toxapex would trade out its overpowered Merciless ability for an ability currently unique to Salazzle — Corrosion. Though Toxapex would retain its Poison/Water typing, its stats would see a small jump in Attack (10 points) to go along with massive jumps in its Special Defense (30 points) and Defense (50 points). That 202 base Defense stat would give Mega Toxapex the fifth highest Defense in the game, becoming a wall on the level of Shuckle, just with more power to hit back. More on that in a bit though.

5. Flygon

Allegedly Flygon was supposed to get a mega evolution in Generation VI, but didn’t due to artist’s block. As a writer, I’ve been there. That said, Flygon is overdue for a mega evolution. Despite its massive move pool, Mega Flygon would retain the original’s Dragon/Ground typing, along with its Levitate ability. Due to how overdue this mega evolution is, Mega Flygon becomes our only exception to the 90 point rule, getting an astounding 120 points spread out amongst its Speed (30 points), Attack (45 points), Special Attack (35 points), and Special Defense (10 points). It might be two generations too late, but Flygon would finally get the place it deserves along other mega evolutions, leaving another Dragon type Pokemon as the most asked for mega evolution9Sorry Dragonite fans. Your favorite Pokemon was one of my final two cuts from this list, along with Toucannon..

4. Mismagius

We now begin a two entry run on this list with Pokemon I personally love to use in the main games, and therefore would love to see get mega evolutions. We begin with Mismagius, who is my favorite Pokemon to use a Rest/Sleep Talk moveset with. Mismagius is already a great Special Attack Pokemon, so Mega Mismagius would see a natural furthering of that trait, with a 35 point boost to Special Attack, along with boosts to its Special Defense (30 points) and Speed (25 points). Mega Mismagius would see one of the more drastic changes of any one this list, both with an ability change from Levitate to a new ability similar to Thick Fat which reduces damage from Dark types, as well as a new dual typing of Ghost/Psychic. Yes, that would make Mega Mismagius four times weak to Ghost and Dark, but its ability is meant to mitigate some of that weakness.

3. Shuckle

The beauty of Shuckle is that it’s the most extreme stat Pokemon in the game, boasting the top non-legendary values in Defense and Special Defense, while having bottom five HP, Attack, Special Attack, and Speed stats. That begs the question…how could you make Shuckle even more of a stalling Pokemon? Mega Shuckle is the only Pokemon on this list to not get the full 90 points in stat boosts from its mega evolution, gaining a mere 40 points, split evenly between its Defense and Special Defense. That said, Mega Shuckle changes types from Bug/Rock to Bug/Steel and changes abilities to the Heatproof ability. This means that the only four times weakness Mega Shuckle would have suddenly becomes a regular weakness. Have fun killing Mega Shuckle, especially now that you can’t poison it.

2. Leavanny

Over the years, the Bug typing has gone from one of my least favorite types in the game to one that I actually really like. Yes, Bug has some terrible Pokemon in it, but it also has some really fun Pokemon. In my playthrough of Pokemon Black, one of my favorite Pokemon to use was Leavanny. It was a shockingly adept battler, thanks in part to the combination of Fell Stinger and Leaf Blade in its arsenal. Mega Leavanny remains a Bug/Grass dual type, but does get the Super Luck ability to help raise its critical hit rate, making it an even more dangerous offensive threat. Since Leavanny is losing the Chlorophyll ability as part of its mega evolution, the bulk of Mega Leavanny’s stat boosts go to its Speed stat (40 points), with the remainder going toward Attack (30 points), Defense (10 points), and Special Defense (10 points). With those boost, you might not even need Swords Dance or Fell Stinger on Mega Leavanny, but good luck if it gets the boost from either of them up.

1. Lapras

Finally, we come to the Generation I Pokemon that I feel has most deserved an evolution or mega evolution since its inception. Its bulk has always been its calling card, however Lapras’ ability to deal with Dragon types can’t be understated either. Mega Lapras retains its normal form’s Water Absorb ability, though its growths in Special Attack (45 points) and Special Defense (35 points) make those values the same for the first time since Generation I. The remaining points go into Mega Lapras’s Defense (20 points). Mega Lapras does retain its Ice typing, however thanks to its reputation as an anti-Dragon unit, Mega Lapras gets a type change from dual Water/Ice to Fairy/Ice, further solidifying its niche in that realm.

What do you think of the list? Which Pokemon do you most want to get a mega evolution? Let us know in the comments.

Pokemon Who Can’t Learn Obvious Moves

Pokemon has some weird game mechanics at times. Between the natural level up process, TMs and HMs, move tutors, and breeding, most Pokemon have a bevy of moves at their disposal. Sometimes, this means that a Pokemon can learn a move that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, like Kantonian Raticate learning Icy Wind or Flame Wheel10Kantonian Raticate is the poster child for this phenomenon, and that’s not even taking into account that it learns Jump Kick in the anime. That’s a move that actual makes some form of sense.. Sometimes, a Pokemon’s entire gimmick is the breadth of the movepool it can learn, such as Clefairy or Delcatty11Or, if you want the most extreme case, Mew..

That said despite all of the flexibility in ways that a Pokemon can learn moves, there’s still some glaring misses for logical moves that Pokemon should be able to learn. A glaring example of this that was fixed in Generation VII was the fact that Luvdisc — the heart shaped Pokemon — wasn’t able to learn Heart Stamp until the release of Sun and Moon12It still can’t learn Heart Swap, but this is progress.. While this omission has been resolved, there’s still quite a few missing move pairings that haven’t been addressed. This blog post will take a look at a few of those Pokemon and move matchup that Game Freak has overlooked through seven generations of the game.

Are there any moves and Pokemon pairings that I missed? Be sure to share them in the comments. All images are credited to Bulbapedia.

Growlithe

Let’s begin with one of the two Pokemon that inspired this post idea. Growlithe, a Pokemon that has been around since the original generation of the game, has never been able to learn the move Growl. The puppy Pokemon. The one with growl as the first five letters of its name. It can’t learn Growl. Togepi, the least intimidating Pokemon in existence, has been able to learn it since Generation II. Yet Growlithe cannot.

Everyone good on the premise of this list now? Good. Let’s get into some of the progressively weirder examples.

Mew

If you’re one of the people who actually reads my footnotes, you might have noticed that I mentioned Mew as being the most extreme case of a Pokemon whose entire gimmick is its movepool. Notice how I didn’t say it can learn every move in the game. That has never been its exact role. In Generations I and II, Mew was capable of learning all of its level up moves, as well as every TM, HM, and move tutor move in the game13Since Mew is a Pokemon that cannot be bred, it can’t learn any moves via breeding.. But beginning in Generation III, Mew can no longer learn every move tutor move, as it is locked out of the three starter-only moves, Frenzy Plant, Blast Burn, and Hydro Cannon. As of Generation VII, there are now ten moves that Mew can’t learn via move tutor. Since many of those moves are signature moves for certain Pokemon, it makes sense to limit them from most Pokemon. But not Mew. I want Dragon Ascent Mew, dammit.

Jigglypuff

When you think of Jigglypuff, what comes to mind? Is it the singing one that follows Ash and his gang around in the anime, only to draw all over their faces with a marker when they fall asleep from its singing? Maybe it’s the Smash Brothers edition and its insistence on trying to one-hit KO you with Rest. That said, what you’re likely not thinking of is Jigglypuff as the balloon Pokemon, even though that’s how the Pokedex classifies it. You would think that the balloon Pokemon would get a move that would keep it off of the ground, yes? But that’s not the case. Not only does Jigglypuff not get the Levitate ability, it also is incapable of learning the only move in the game that allows for levitation, Magnet Rise. And while you’re likely thinking ‘yeah…but that’s a move for Electric Pokemon’, remember Vanillite and Larvesta — two Pokemon that are neither Electric nor Steel — can learn it via breeding. What’s worse is that Jigglypuff learns the only move in the game capable of helping an ally levitate, Telekinesis, via move tutor.

Steelix

Steelix is a snake. A really big iron snake, but a snake nevertheless. And what do snakes do, other than wear silly hats to be fancy? They coil up. Need proof? In the link earlier in the paragraph, I count seven coiled snakes on the first page alone. Yet, despite the fact that Steelix is a snake, it can’t learn the most basic action in all of snakery, Coil. Steelix can learn Dragon Breath despite not being a dragon, Aqua Tail in spite of its weakness to water, and Stomping Tantrum despite not having legs. But it can’t learn Coil. Dunsparce learns Coil, and Dunsparce has never done anything useful. Why can’t Steelix learn Coil?

Chesnaught

Lest you think I’m only choosing Pokemon that were introduced in the Game Boy generations, here’s an entry from Generation VI. It usually takes a generation or two for a Pokemon to get their movesets fully realized14Unless you’re talking Gen I Pokemon, in which case that number is closer to 3 or 4., so you might be able to forgive the fact that Chesnaught is missing a logical move or two here and there. But the fact that Chesnaught is missing the move Spike Cannon from its arsenal is strange on two separate levels. First off, it already learns an array of moves where it hurls pointy barbs at other Pokemon, such as Pin Missile, Needle Arm, and Spikes. Second, I find it peculiar that only Water type Pokemon can learn the Normal type move Spike Cannon, despite the fact that it’s not a Water move. Yeah, this hedgehog gets Spiky Shield, but something’s missing.

Mimikyu

For a Pokemon that disguises itself as an Electric type Pokemon while itself being a combination Ghost and Fairy type, Mimikyu has a movepool littered with Normal type moves. Which is fine. Nearly all of them make a ton of sense for Mimikyu to learn15I could make an argument that Splash makes no sense, but I’m not going to be picky.. But why is it that a Pokemon built around a disguise and fooling people can’t learn Fake Out? There are so many Pokemon that can learn Fake Out. Squirtle can learn it. Sableye can learn it. Spinda — whose entire thing is that it falls over itself — can learn Fake Out. Yet the one Pokemon that is pretending to be another one can’t learn it. Because reasons.

Jynx

I really like Jynx. It has one of the more interesting movepools of any Generation I Pokemon, both now and in previous generations. That said, there’s a move out there — one that Jynx shares the typing of — that I’m befuddled how Jynx doesn’t learn. That move would be Synchronoise. For those unfamiliar with the move, Synchronoise is a high-powered move that can only deal damage if the Pokemon you’re battling shares a type with the Pokemon using the move. It’s almost as if they’re synchronized. You know what else is a punishment for synchronization? A jinx. How this move has been overlooked from Jynx’s movepool since Generation V is beyond me.

Ariados

At the start of this post, I mentioned that Growlithe was one of two Pokemon that inspired the creation of this list. Ariados is the other. Ariados has a giant movepool that includes some moves that might make you wonder how a spider can learn them. How Ariados learns Night Shade, Psychic, Psybeam, or Sonic Boom is beyond me. And yet, Ariados is missing the one obvious move it should have had from its creation in Generation II — Sing. Yes. The move that is synonymous with Jigglypuff actually belongs on Ariados. The long leg Pokemon has aria in its name for a reason. It was meant to create beautiful melodies for anyone in earshot to listen to. If Generation VIII gives us a growling Growlithe and a singing Ariados, the Pokemon world will be a better place.

 

Like my list? Disagree with me? Do you have your own thoughts as to what obvious moves a Pokemon should learn that it doesn’t? Tell me about them in the comments.

My Pokemon Gym: Fighting

A few weeks ago, one of my blog followers — and frequent referrer of people to this blog — Todd posed a question on Twitter. If you ran your own Pokemon gym that was monotype, what would your six Pokemon be? Part of this exercise was that Todd got to pick the type of Pokemon that your gym would be represented by. In my case, this means that he selected the Fighting type for me.

I’m not a huge fan of the Fighting type. It’s not my least favorite by any means. I’ve been a big supporter of it in Pokemon Go, despite the fact that it might be the most overpowered typing in that game at this point. But as someone who adores Ice types, I find it difficult to support Fighting types. They wreck my favorite typing without proving a ton of coverage to help protect my beloved snowy Pokemon. That said, I’m going to do my best to give this exercise my best shot, as there are some Fighting types I do like.

As I’ve done on previous Pokemon team/gym style posts, I’ll be sharing the six Pokemon on my team, along with their held items and moves. I’ll also be giving a little additional background into why I’ve chosen each of these Pokemon. Considering there’s only been one Fighting type on all of the teams I’ve done (and I’m not even using that Pokemon on this team), I’m forced to think about which six Pokemon I’d use when leading a Fighting gym. I’m not allowed to use legendaries per Todd’s rules, but even with that in mind, I think I have the six Pokemon I’d use pretty well set.

Breloom

Breloom courtesy Bulbapedia

Breloom might be one of the weirdest looking Pokemon in all of the different generations that have been released. It’s basically a kangaroo with a penis for a head. And yet, it’s one of the more amusing and useful Fighting types. Because of its Grass/Fighting typing, as well as Breloom’s Poison Heal ability, this Pokemon would likely be the bulky wall of my team. Yes, it may struggle against Flying types, but it has coverage for that.

Ability: Poison Heal
Item: Toxic Orb
Moves: Rock Tomb, Leech Seed, Drain Punch, Force Palm

Hawlucha

Hawlucha courtesy Bulbapedia

In my playthrough of Pokemon Sun, I decided that I wanted to make a team built around having Caterpie take out as many members of the Elite Four as I possibly could. Part of this strategy hinged around Hawlucha’s access to Baton Pass, Hone Claws, and Bulk Up, which allowed me to pass Caterpie boosted attack, defense, and accuracy16I got my speed boosts from Mega Lopunny and my defense/special defense/evasiveness boosts from Drifblim.. Were it not for this luchador owl, my strategy would never have worked. On this team, Hawlucha would serve as my scout Pokemon, though it’s got a trick or two up its sleeve if it needs to fight.

Ability: Limber
Item: Focus Sash
Moves: U-Turn, Flying Press, Endeavor, Acrobatics

Poliwrath

Poliwrath courtesy Bulbapedia

Instead of using an Ice type on this team17As the lone Ice/Fighting type is painfully bad., I decided to give one the most underappreciated Fighting types a spot on this team. Poliwrath is overlooked in its own evolution line thanks to Politoad’s usefulness in competitive play. It gets overlooked as a Generation I Fighting type thanks to the Hitmons at the dojo and Machamp’s excellence. With the existence of Keldeo, it’s not even the best Pokemon of its own typing anymore. Oddly enough, Poliwrath serves the role as my team’s special attacker, as it trails only Hawlucha in terms of special attack. There’s some nods to my roots, both as a Gen I fan and as an Ice type lover in this set too.

Ability: Water Absorb
Item: Fightium-Z
Moves: Body Slam, Water Pulse, Ice Beam, Focus Blast

Gallade

Gallade courtesy Bulbapedia

Even in a world where Gardevoir exists, I rather like Gallade as the end stage evolution for Ralts. Gallade is a surprisingly tough Pokemon to take out, especially once it gets rolling. And yeah, it’s not the Dragon killer that its Rule 34-overloaded counterpart is. But at the same time, it does alright for itself when fighting a litany of different Pokemon. I considered making Gallade my mega Pokemon, however as you’ll see in a coming entry, there’s a very good reason why I didn’t18And it’s not just because Gallade’s move pool for Fighting type moves is kind of lackluster..

Ability: Justified
Item: Bright Powder
Moves: Double Team, Leaf Blade, Low Kick, Poison Jab

Heracross

Mega Heracross courtesy Bulbapedia

All hail the great and powerful Bug Pokemon. Heracross and Scizor made Bug Pokemon useful when Generation II came out, with Heracross being the offensive juggernaut to Scizor’s tankiness. As Heracross got a mega evolution in Generation VI, it brought to the table a terrifying 185 base attack to go along with not terrible defense or special defenses. It might not be the best mega Pokemon, but it — along with Scizor — is one of my favorites to use. Skill Link’s guarantee of max hits with multi-hit moves is frightening to come up against in a battle, so I felt like it had a natural place on this team.

Ability: Skill Link (Moxie prior to mega evolving)
Item: Heracronite
Moves: Rock Blast, Pin Missile, Bullet Seed, Close Combat

Hitmonchan

Hitmonchan courtesy Bulbapedia

My favorite Fighting type Pokemon is the anchor to this team. Though it doesn’t get a mega stone like Heracross, nor is it my Z-move Pokemon like Poliwrath, Hitmonchan’s versatility would make it the most fun for me to use. In my very first playthrough of Pokemon Blue19Circa age 12., I carried a team of Blastoise, Fearow, Hypno, Sandslash, Dugtrio, and Hitmonchan. I loved saving Hitmonchan for the end of battles because I could take out pretty much anything with its elemental punches. The same premise applies with this version of the team, albeit without an overreliance on Pokemon who just critical hit everything.

Ability: Iron Fist
Item: Expert Belt
Moves: Thunder Punch, Ice Punch, Fire Punch, Mega Punch

5 Things I Want to See in the Next Pokemon Game

It’s been a few weeks now, but we finally got confirmation that a new main series Pokemon game — effectively generation 8 of the series — will be coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2019. Even though the entry-level games Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Let’s Go! Eevee will be coming later this year, I would argue that most long-time players of the series are much more excited about the next generation game than they are a game that is essentially a remake of Pokemon Yellow with a lot more bells and whistles20I feel like I’m an exception to this rule, as I think that there’s a lot of potential with the Let’s Go! games. That said, I recognize that my opinion is largely biased by the fact that I play Pokemon Go regularly..

There is, of course, potentially a lot to be excited for with a new main series Pokemon game. In the past two generations, we’ve seen The Pokemon Company introduce mega evolutions, Z-crystals/Z-moves, replace the gym system with the trial system, ride Pokemon, plus the addition of a new typing to create additional game balance. Some of these changes are for the better, some are for the worse, but the one thing that’s for sure is that the games will continue to experience change.

With that in mind, I thought I’d present five changes I’d like to see in the next generation of Pokemon games. Since we don’t know a ton about what’s coming in a true next generation Pokemon game21As most of the focus is on the two Let’s Go! games at this point., all of the items on my list will be what I truly would like to see added to those games, rather than any thoughts based off of speculation or rumors about the games found online. If the changes you’d like to see in a coming game aren’t in this list, tell me what you’d like to see in the comments.

1. Reintroduce Competitive, Non-Friendly Rivals

There’s a lot that Pokemon Sun and Moon did really well while trying to rethink how a core series Pokemon game should be played. One of the biggest areas where it fell short was Hau being your primary rival for the series. I get that he’s supposed to be this happy-go-lucky character whose story intertwines with yours as you’re going through the game. That’s great. Lillie is kind of like that too and she’s a great character. But you don’t battle Lillie. And she’s not the main person you have to battle over and over again while being presented with little to no challenge. If Hau was even a little competitive, it’d be fine. That said, Sun and Moon make beating Hau feel like you’re curbstomping your likeable little brother. No one wants that.

We need the jerk rival to return. We need a rival on the level of Gary Motherfuckin Oak. The rivals have been getting progressively easier while also getting nicer. But…why? Make the next rival the schoolyard bully. Or an adult who hates kids because he resents not being able to go on his own Pokemon journey. Just stop giving me this as a rival I’m supposed to take seriously.

2. Revive the Gym System, But Not Fully

While there was a bit of an uproar about the fact that Sun and Moon replaced the traditional 8 gym system with the trial system, I will say that I didn’t mind it. The trials were (mostly) better at difficulty scaling than gym leaders were at their place in the game, so it was a bit more of a challenge22Particularly if you went into the trials blind as I did for most of my run through Moon.. The only problem was that the reason the trials were as difficult as they were was because of the SOS mechanic, which forced you to fight the trial’s totem Pokemon two-on-one rather than one-on-one.

From a nostalgic standpoint, I love the gym leader system. My favorite characters in the first three games — Sabrina, Whitney, and Flannery — are all gym leaders whose battles I enjoyed taking on. That said, if the gym system could be re-instituted where you have a gym leader you take on after completing a trial-style battle, that would be the ideal situation. It would certainly make for a more climatic encounter than the Captain-less trial in Sun and Moon.

3. Make Ice Types Matter

I recognize that this is 100% personal bias. I love Ice types. They’ve been my favorite type since Generation I. But good lord are they garbage defensively.

There was clearly an effort to try to remedy this with the introduction of Aurora Veil in Generation VII, but one of the major threats to Ice types — fighting type moves — has a direct counter to Aurora Veil in the form of Brick Break. It’s not a soft counter either, it’s the hardest of hard counters, as Brick Break not only removes Aurora Veil, but it also deals super effective damage.

So…how do we address it? Perhaps having Ice types resist something other than their own move type23Water and Bug come to mind here.. Maybe give a bulky Ice type an ability like Thick Fat which reduces damage from certain types. There’s also the option of removing the weakness to Rock or Fighting or pairing the Ice typing up with Fire as we’ve discussed before on this blog. Just give me an Ice type that doesn’t have to set up screens or get baton passed stats to death in order to survive.

4. Give Expansive Move Tutoring Options Before Part Two of the Generation

If you’ve only bought the original games in each of the generations of Pokemon24Or if you’ve only played Gen I., you’re likely only lightly familiar with what a move tutor is. The move tutor characters in the main games teach moves to certain Pokemon, either for free or at a cost. The massive problem with this mechanic is that you’re almost forced to wait until the second part of a generation of games comes out in order to take advantage of this feature. Sun and Moon were the main series releases that had the most move tutor moves to date, with 11 possible moves to teach certain Pokemon. Their follow ups, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, had move tutors for those same 11 moves, plus an additional 67 moves. SIXTY-SEVEN. Why. Why not have this in the original games?

While we’re at it, can we bring back the move tutor mechanics from Black and White 2 where you could purchase move tutor moves with shards rather than needing to rely on doing the battle tree? The battle tree is my least favorite part of Sun and Moon’s post game, as if I want to do competitive battling, I’ll just play online. I get that some people like the feature. That’s great. Don’t tie move tutoring to it. That’s all I’m asking.

5. Region Lock the Pokedex Until the Post Game

I can hear the rage coming from the internet now about this item’s inclusion on the list. As much as I liked Sun and Moon, the fact that I could catch so many Pokemon from previous games in the series made me care much less about using Pokemon from Alola, save for my starter, on my first playthrough. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as knowing the intricacies of my team allowed me to beat the game (Moon) a bit more smoothly. When I did a playthrough of Sun, however, I made an effort to take only Alolan Pokemon as my primary team.

The major reason to this change of strategy was that I played Pokemon Black in the middle of these two playthroughs. Generation V forces you to use its regional Pokedex until you beat the main game, only then allowing you access to Pokemon that aren’t native to Unova. I truly think that this forced me to think more about my game experience, which made my run of Pokemon Black much more enjoyable. I’d love to see this brought back in Generation VIII, even if that means Pokemon I love aren’t unlockable until I beat the game’s Elite Four. While we’re at it, if we could have every Pokemon ever in Generation VIII without needing special events to get mythical Pokemon, that would also be nice (though likely very unrealistic).

 

What features would you like to see in a new generation of Pokemon games? Hate or love my ideas? Let me know in the comments.