Q
So it looks like no one asked questions. Here is one. Pokémon game mechanics can be seen questionable. Like the breeding mechanic and other things. I mean seriously allegations to cockfighting and eugenics.
Anonymous
A

Bear in mind that the time I receive a question and the time I answer it are not closely related, because I am a lazy little $#!t.

Anyway, your question - I see you’re new here; welcome to this blog!  You probably want to start with this thing, followed by this, this, this and all of these, and maybe some of these too.

In short: yes.  Yes they can.


Phantump and Trevenant

Phantump.

Ghost/Grass – another of those never-before-seen combinations that always make me so excited.  What’s more, we get not one but two interpretations of it – Pumpkaboo and Gourgeist, whom we’ll probably be looking at next time, and today’s Pokémon, Phantump and Trevenant.  These two Pokémon go for ‘sinister,’ and boy, do they nail it (I… immediately regret using the expression ‘nail it’ to describe a vengeful Pokémon made of wood).  Ghost Pokémon get to play with some of the most evocative ideas in the book, balancing between life and death, on the edge of the great unknown – let’s see where Phantump and Trevenant can take that.

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Q
How would you feel if in a new generation, Game Freak allowed Pokemon to have more than 2 types? (i.e. Water/Flying/Dragon Gyarados). What are some Pokemon who you could see as having more than two types thematically?
Anonymous
A

Eh.  I feel like dual-types are already stronger than single-types; the extra weaknesses are more often than not balanced by extra resistances, and dual-typed Pokémon generally have more powerful and versatile offensive skills because they have STAB on two elements.  Provided you avoid any triple-weaknesses (which wouldn’t be that common; hell, against 1/3 of all attacking types it wouldn’t even be possible), I think triple-typed Pokémon would in general have an unfair advantage - unless you changed some of the games’ other underlying assumptions about type; you could do away with single-typed Pokémon altogether, for instance, adding a second type to all of them, or you could reduce STAB from +50% to (for example) +35% for dual-types and +20% for triple-types.  That might make things interesting.

In terms of the idea of it, apart from the mechanics, well, I’d go for it if I thought the two-type limit was a constraint on the designers’ freedom, but I don’t, really.  Giving a Pokémon abilities like Levitate or Swift Swim can already convey an affinity for or link with a particular type without having to actually add the type itself.  I don’t think we lose anything by not having that option.

Having said that, you did ask, so… Gyarados as Water/Flying/Dragon would make sense, switching to Water/Dark/Dragon upon mega evolution; Flygon could become Dragon/Ground/Flying and swap out Levitate for something else (watch out for those x8 Ice attacks, though); Jirachi I think would make sense as Steel/Psychic/Fairy; Stunfisk really should be Ground/Electric/Water; Yanmega maybe could go to Bug/Flying/Dragon (‘cause, y’know, dragonfly); Dragalge could be Dragon/Poison/Water… there’s probably a few more I’m not thinking of.


Q
hello! this is my first time asking or saying anything to you, I've to say everything you write is pretty awesome! please keep' em coming! I wanted to ask about your thoughts on shiny pokemon, I've read almost all your entries and I can't recall ever reading about it. In game or in anime, any thoughts? What about Ash's Noctowl? I stopped watching the anime so I'm not sure if there are more than one shiny variation, as opposed to the games.
A

I feel like this has come up before, probably in a question someone asked me… yeah, here it is.  They’re not something I find terribly interesting in themselves - mostly I figure it’s just a rare recessive gene that happens to be prized by collectors, although it would be interesting to see how communities of wild Pokémon react to the trait.  I suspect they do not generally view it positively, or you would expect it to become more common.  As far as the games are concerned it doesn’t alter their abilities at all; Ash’s Noctowl was also very small and unusually intelligent even for a Noctowl, but as far as I know no other shiny Pokémon in the anime have exhibited special properties.  They don’t really turn up often enough to see any particular patterns in their behaviour or status.


Q
I am a fan of Rapidash, but its not as powerful as some other Fire Types. It's thing is that it runs really fast, which would make me think it has one of the highest speed stats in the game, but it's not even the fastest Fire Type.. So I wanted to share my idea for a signature ability and have your opinion. "Fast Burn" - All Fire moves have Priority 1 and will go before any attack (including Extremespeed).
Anonymous
A

Well, minor point of description, what you’re actually saying is “all Fire moves have priority +3” - the reason Gale Wings doesn’t beat Extremespeed is because Extremespeed has +2 priority rather than just +1 like Quick Attack et al.  +3 would mean that Rapidash automatically outruns Extremespeed, Feint, Follow Me and Rage Powder, and can potentially outrun Fake Out, Endure, Wide Guard, Quick Guard, Crafty Shield and King’s Shield, but still loses to Protect.  The big deal here is King’s Shield, because +3 priority on Fire moves would mean that Rapidash absolutely murders Aegislash (who’s not going to outrun her on a priority tie).  If you’re okay with that, fine - Aegislash could stand to be taken down a peg or two - if not, make it +2 and Rapidash can still outrun slower Pokémon using Extremespeed and faster Pokémon using lesser priority attacks.

Anyway.  What we’re getting here is the Fire equivalent to Talonflame’s priority Brave Bird, in the form of Flare Blitz, so it makes sense to compare the two (priority Will’o’Wisp is not nothing, but I feel like Flare Blitz is the big draw here).  Rapidash’s physical attack stat is significantly higher than Talonflame’s, though, which is worrying when you consider what a dangerous Pokémon Talonflame is, largely on the back of Gale Wings.  Their defences are similar, and Rapidash has less trouble with Stealth Rock but doesn’t get Earthquake immunity.  The main disadvantages are that Rapidash doesn’t have a second STAB attack, can only heal herself with Morning Sun, doesn’t have set-up moves (although Hypnosis could be interesting), and doesn’t have U-Turn.  She does have marginally better coverage with Megahorn, Wild Charge and potentially Drill Run through the Black and White 2 move tutors.  Another point is that Fire, unlike Flying, has no shortage of good special attacks, and while Rapidash prefers physical, her special attack stat is actually very similar to Talonflame’s attack, which means that bunging in Overheat to murder physical walls is a very real possibility.  I don’t think it really ruins any of the Pokémon that would otherwise counter you, but it will certainly make life more difficult for them.  Overall… it makes perfect sense in terms of Rapidash’s flavour that she should be the fastest of the Fire-types; she’s supposed to be a speed demon, and this certainly gives her that. She would certainly be dangerous, and I’m just generally wary of handing out anything that compares favourably, by any metric, to Talonflame’s Gale Wings, but she lacks some of the little extra tricks that help Talonflame to really shine like Swords Dance and priority Roost, so I don’t think we’re getting into broken territory here.


Was the Trojan War Really a Thing?

Apologies again for my absence, which has gone on a bit longer than I’d hoped, but I should hopefully be back semi-regular soon enough.  In the mean time, let’s take a look at the question that has been consuming me and my free time during my absence: Was the Trojan War Really a Thing?

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TOO MUCH $#!T TO DO

Taking a break; if you’re lucky I’ll tell you some time this week about whether or not the Trojan War really happened (the correct answer, of course, is “I don’t f#$%ing know but I still have to write an essay about it”).


Xerneas and Yveltal

Xerneas.

To my amazement, we’re already coming quite close to the end.  Only a handful of Pokémon from eastern Kalos remain, then I’ll have to think of something else to pass the time until I pick up Alpha Sapphire or Omega Ruby (at the moment it’s looking like I’ll finally do that series on the rival characters that I’ve been putting off forever).  Meanwhile, my unfathomable whims decree that now is the time to take on the flagship Pokémon of X and Y: the divine guardian of life and the terrifying shadow of death, Xerneas and Yveltal.  I’m not even going to bother talking about stats or moves or any of that nonsense; I know I usually do, but you really don’t need me to tell you that these things are godlike, right?  Stick some attacks on them and go commit brutal murder; whatever.  I’mma talk about themes and stuff.

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Q
So there is a Pikachu Amiibo toy. Look it up.
Anonymous
A

I did not know what an Amiibo was prior to receiving this question, and having now looked it up I’m not sure I see the point…


Q
There's something I've been wondering about lately, and I want to get your opinion. Do you think the Flygon line are reptiles with an insect motiff, or insects with a reptillian edge? I myself lean toward the former, but I'm very much interested in your input.
A

Does it matter?  Trapinch is basically an insect - it’s supposed to be an antlion or something - and Flygon looks basically like a reptilian western dragon, with Vibrava being somewhere in between (and, appropriately enough, a dragonfly).  Since they’re in the Bug breeding group, I’m inclined to say that they’re biologically more like insects, despite Flygon’s appearance.


Q
Some Pokemon like Eevee have evolutions that act like an actual evolution, some creature adapting to certain living conditions. However, most Pokemon don't actually evolve, they just grow up; hence baby Pokemon. Bulbasaur isn't adapting to a new environment or anything it's just getting older, thus the bud on its back blooms and its body grows. Does this bother you at all, or do you not mind it?
Anonymous
A

Well, Pokémon evolution is sufficiently different to real-world evolution anyway that details like whether it’s ‘adaptation’ or not kind of go over my head.  Darwinian evolution has no effect on individuals.  Organisms cannot ‘evolve’ within their own lifetimes.  Only populations can evolve.  What Pokémon are doing - dramatic change within the lifetime of a single creature - is really metamorphosis; it makes more sense to compare Bulbasaur to, say, what a cicada or dragonfly does.  Evolution is a bit of a silly thing to call it, I suppose, but I think I’ve been desensitised to it over the sixteen years I’ve been playing Pokémon.


Bergmite and Avalugg

Bergmite.

Single-typed Ice Pokémon do not have a terribly good record on this blog.  Black and White produced three of them, and I condemned all three (for different reasons, of course); later on, Glaceon was partially responsible for my coming to the conclusion that we should just be done with Eeveelutions and move on to something else.  For some reason Game Freak’s designers seem to have trouble getting past “this Pokémon has ice powers” as the central feature of what these Ice-types are and do.  Bergmite and Avalugg… well, there’s something there… let’s take a look.

The Pokédex describes Avalugg, with a group of Bergmite huddled on its back, as resembling “an aircraft carrier made of ice.”  This would strike me as a rather uninteresting and honestly pretty silly comparison (which, let’s be honest, would not be atypical for the Pokédex), if not for the fact that there was in fact a time during World War II when the Allied Powers actually tried to build an aircraft carrier made of ice.

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Q
Nice and informative goodra fact, but why you referred to it as a "she?" It seems the community wants to make goodra a female only Pokemon for some reason. Still, thanks for the insights, I liked them!
Anonymous
A

I offer no explanations, justifications or apologies for my brain’s subjective gendering of Pokémon designs (which often makes little sense even to me), nor do I expect such from others.


Q
I don't know if you've been following the VGC world championships, but if not (or still if so, I suppose), there's a guy named Se Jun Park who just won the video game Masters' division with a surprisingly effective Pachirisu on his team. While it is admittedly still a rather redundant Pikachu clone, does the fact that it's actually somewhat competitively useful make you feel any better about Pachirisu?
Anonymous
A

Well, that was really quite spectacular.

See, this is the thing that’s quite nice about Pokémon.  In a lot of games that have… shall we say ‘issues’ with balance, the inferior option is completely and unarguably inferior all the time.  Pokémon just has so damn many attacks and abilities that practically everything has some skill or combination of skills that nothing else can imitate.  Se Jun Park has found Pachirisu’s: only a bare handful of Pokémon can learn Follow Me, which is an incredibly easy attack to screw up but very dangerous if you’re good with it, and of those, Pachirisu is the only one who can actually restore health while using it (via Volt Absorb).  Super Fang also means that her nonexistent attack scores don’t really matter, while her defences are actually pretty solid - not great, but she only has one weakness anyway.  Stick a couple of powerful Electric-weak, Ground-immune Pokémon on the team - Gyarados and Talonflame - to force your opponent to bring out powerful Discharges and Thunderbolts while messing up their Earthquakes, and you’re all set.  I mean, she’s still useless in singles - it’s just not the same game, and you’d never pull off that kind of $#!t without the right partners - but hey, it’s something Pachirisu’s good at!  This calls for celebration!


Goomy, Sliggoo and Goodra


Goomy.Let’s talk about dragons.

If there’s one thing Game Freak are good at, it’s thwarting English-speaking fans’ expectations of what a ‘dragon’ is (odd, considering that the Japanese name for the Dragon type in Pokémon is a transliteration of the English word ‘dragon’).  If I had a dollar for every time I’d ever heard someone complain about how cutesy Dragonite is a Dragon Pokémon but badass, firebreathing Charizard isn’t, I would have… like, eight, maybe nine dollars, easy.  Then of course there’s fluffy Altaria, the Eon Twins, Shelgon, Mega Ampharos (who owes her existence to a Japanese pun – Ampharos’ Japanese name, Denryu, can be taken to mean either “electric current” or “electric dragon”), and now Charizard actually is a Dragon (sort of), but we also have these adorable things: Goomy and Sliggoo, two blind swamp-dwelling molluscs whose most remarkable feature is their ability to constantly secrete disgusting slime.  One might be forgiven for thinking ‘Dragon’ now really just means ‘weird $#!t.’

…so, wouldn’t it be fun if I told you there are not one but two snail dragons this thing could be based on, one from Japanese folklore and one from southwestern France?

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