Grass types of Generation 3 (Part 2) - winstein's Review
by, 2nd January 2011 at 03:52 PM (1612 Views)
We reached about halfway in the review of all the Grass-types, which seems very long to me despite having done only a few of these. Anyway, as I said in the last part of the review, Generation 3 seems like the golden age of Grass-types to me, and we shall look at the remaining choices that are in store. Let’s go!
Seedot, Nuzleaf and Shiftry
Let’s begin with this Pokémon family, who also happens to be counterparts with Ludicolo’s family. I apologise for leaving them in the second part of the review, but I figured that as version exclusives, they deserve to be in separate parts. Yes, they were version exclusives, except for Emerald, but even in that game, Seedots are seasonal Pokémon compared to the more common Lotads. This family also has the unique Egg Group combination of Plant and Ground, which will be shared with a more famous future Pokémon family, also a three-stager. One thing that’s odd is that Seedot’s even in the Ground group. To Nuzleaf and Shiftry this makes more sense, but Seedot? This means that we have possibly odd mates like snakes, rodents, monkeys, or even whales. Whale pair with seed? I am sure it’s no odder than pairing with a kitten!
First seeing Seedot, I didn’t think that he/she will evolve into the darker Nuzleaf, to be honest. In fact, it seems that Seedot is considered a different Pokémon from the other two. You see a seed with black markings and I am sure you didn’t expect to see Seedot evolve into Nuzleaf, huh? Anyway, Seedot’s a walking acorn that takes delight in scaring Pokémon by moving to what seems like an immobile Pokémon. Nuzleaf looks like an aboriginal forest dweller, and the nose makes him/her look like the famous Pinocchio. In fact, it seems the nose is his/her source of power, and still likes to scare people. In other words, Nuzleaf is a protector of the forest.
Shiftry, well, looks like a tengu, which is a pretty cool mythical creature, especially to Megaman fans. Tengus are known for their long noses and their wind elemental powers. I am not sure about mind reading abilities, since I didn’t find any other sources saying tengus can do this. Shiftry uses his/her leafy fan hands to generate windy moves, and he/she has plenty of them. Let’s see: Razor Wind, Whirlwind, Defog, Icy Wind, Air Cutter, Tailwind, Ominous Wind, Twister, Silver Wind and Grass Mixer. Too bad Shiftry didn’t have Heat Wave yet... Anyway, about Defog and Razor Wind...since they are Egg Moves, Seedot can also use them, which begs the question how he/she can use those moves (that’s for you to answer). Shiftry’s feet sport thin bases, and looked like geta, Japanese sandals. I am assuming that they are used for sneaking, but I may be wrong on this one.
In terms of anime appearances, all three appeared at once in two episodes “Jump For Joy” and “Leave it to Brocko”. The former is about Shiftry kidnapping Nurse Joy to treat his/her kin Nuzleaf, who had a fever. The latter is basically Brock being separated when he wanted to saved the Nuzleaf he just cured from Team Rocket, and while Brock escaped the clutches of Team Rocket, they caught up with Brock and Nuzleaf, and after some intense battling, Shiftry appears and effortlessly defeated Team Rocket. Another episode showed that you can cheer Seedots by rubbing leaves on them.
Let’s expand on the version exclusiveness now. While Ludicolo’s family is more in tuned with the cooler colours (Sapphire and White), Shiftry’s is more towards the hotter ones (Ruby and Black). Both have evolutions triggered by stones, which in Shiftry’s case requires a Leaf Stone. Both even have the same Base Stat Total between all their members. What’s different in this case is the way the stats are distributed. Seedot is more defensively oriented, while the other two are more offensive. In the same vein, Seedot’s level up movepool is almost different from Nuzleaf, and it’s even as small as the Pokémon itself, I guess. But then, to make up for this, Shiftry’s level up movepool is better than Ludicolo’s, which possesses three useful moves, compared to Ludicolo’s (n)one. Just a bit of trivia: Generation 3’s Shiftry’s level up movepool is very different from Generation 4’s. Anyway, while Ludicolo looks like the comedy, Shiftry’s the tragedy of the duo. Such contrast between the two!
The counterpart comparisons didn’t end here! I said that Ludicolo’s a Rain player, so, as you might have guessed, Shiftry’s the Sun player. Unlike Ludicolo, Shiftry only have one ability that takes advantage of the Sun, but he/she does it outstandingly. Shiftry’s has great offensive stats, as well as the boosting moves to use them with: Swords Dance, Nasty Plot or even Growth is yours to pick. As for the moves, there are some great options to choose from. Dark Pulse, Seed Bomb and Energy Ball for STAB moves, Extrasensory, Rock Slide, Nature Powered Earthquakes, Brick Break, Focus Blast and Low Kick for coverage, Leaf Storm for a power move, Sucker Punch, Fake Out or Quick Attack for first strikes, and even Explosion as a final attack. His/her Dream World ability Wicked Thief isn’t as useful, although Shiftry can learn Fling and perform a contact attack. What’s odd is that Seedot has this ability too!
Perhaps the odd thing about Nuzleaf is how it inspired the name "Nuzlocke", which is a combination of Nuzleaf and John Locke (Lost). If you aren't familiar, the Nuzlocke challenge is a self-imposed challenge where the player only catches the first Pokémon in every new area if they want, and all fainted Pokémon are treated as dead. Not really going into full details here, but it inspired some interesting experiences and comics from those adventures.
There are plenty of cool things I could say about this family, but I think this is plenty enough, because it becomes too long a review now. In short, they are one of the more awesome additions in Generation 3, because they are based on something Grass-types are logically (not specifically): forest friends and protectors.
10 leaves out of 10!
Cacnea and Cacturne
(Left: Cacnea, Middle: Female Cacturne, Right: Male Cacturne)
We come to a couple of cacti. Cacnea looks rather Jack-o-lantern-ish, although I cannot say for sure if this is intentional, while Cacturne looks like a scarecrow, which reminds me of a comic about him/her. Like Shiftry's family (at that time), Cacnea and Cacturne have a unique Egg Group combination, which in their case, is Plant and Humanshape. Also, like them, the first stage of the evolution doesn't really fit the group, as it’s odd that Cacnea is a Humanshape, although he/she has humanoid characteristics. Like them (again), only the basic Pokémon is the pure Grass-type, while the rest are part-Dark.
Cacti are usually desert plants because they consume very little water and store a lot of them in their bodies, plus the fact that sand isn't the best soil to store water, meaning they thrive better there. As such, we are given two Pokémon who happen who are able to withstand the sand, with their cacti origins. Also, cacti have wide-spreading roots due to the lack of rain in their main environment, and can even develop roots quickly. Why am I bringing this up? Because like real cacti, they can learn Ingrain. It is imperative to note that of all the Grass-types, this family is the only one that naturally learns Spikes, so some important Pokémon need them to obtain this move, namely Roserade, Froslass and Glalie (through Roselia or Roserade), and even Nattorei (if you want Leech Seed too).
Let’s get to their appearance. Both of them share a mouth that appears to be sealed and holed, but still capable of eating, like soon-to-be-James' Cacnea eating a cookie. Their eyes are also in the black like their mouth. Both Pokémon possess a different arrangement of spikes, in which Cacnea's are more on the hands and head, while Cacturne is practically adorned with them to look like a ragged scarecrow. Cacnea’s head is topped with a flower, which has aromatic properties, but Cacturne's head has a hat, making the resemblance to the scarecrow more obvious.
The anime presented both of them under major characters. James got a Cacnea after Weezing left his care, which was a painful experience to him as Cacnea's spiky hands were the culprit when it's hugging time. However, later on, Cacnea was passed on to Gardenia, who would train him to his full potential (not sure if he will be seen again). Cacturne, on the other hand, was owned by Harley (May’s rival), and was the best and main Pokémon he used. Not to mention Harley dresses after Cacturne's design!
Cacnea and Cacturne had the distinction of not being able to get damaged by Sandstorm thanks to their ability Sand Veil, which also has the bonus of increasing their evasion in Sandstorm. Cacturne also has great offensive power, which is also very nice, considering his/her ability to learn Sucker Punch and Focus Punch (and some others like Low Kick, Grass Knot, Energy Ball and Seed Bomb). One can further the evasion boost by combining with Bright Powder, so they are able to create Substitutes that will hopefully stay intact, and proceed to wreak havoc with one of the three boosting moves they have: Swords Dance, Nasty Plot or Growth, or Focus Punch for attack. Perhaps Teeter Dance will help make hitting Cacturne harder too.
It's a pity they didn’t have the new ability Sand Throw, which will be a very good ability to them as Speed will be a very huge bonus to their offensive proficiency. Water Absorb's (the Dream World ability) nice and all, but a great ability like that is what they need to capture the attention of competitive battlers out there. Imagine the surprise of Destiny Bond looming around the corner with that Speed...
Admittedly, I find these Pokémon cool in their own way. They are tough and sinisterly and the coolest cacti in the world, and not to mention they are unique sandstorm dwellers. However, the only thing keeping them away from the maximum score was their Dream World ability, which as I explained, would have been better with something more useful and in tune with their abilities. Still, it’s nice that they have notable appearances in the anime, which makes up for it, I guess...
10 spikes out of 10!
Lileep and Cradily
And now we reach to the first Grass-types that also happen to be fossils. Unlike the rest of the Pokémon reviewed today, they aren't plants (like Sceptile’s family), but instead, they are echinoderms, which is a strange group of animals that starfish also fall under. As such, they are appropriately in the Water 3 Egg Group, which Starmie is also in. Because they are not really plants, why are they Grass-types? I am guessing it’s because they look and act like plants, so they have this characteristic.
Lileep and Cradily are inept at moving around. Lileep seems to be rooted at one place, while Cradily can move, albeit very slowly, but since I never seen the anime, I may be wrong (Here’s your chance to prove me wrong! No, HeartGold and SoulSilver’s partner Pokémon system doesn’t count). Anyway, they live in the ocean floor and catch prey with their tentacles. They do have a tight grasp with the ground, as they have some tough anchoring "roots" to prevent being forced around. As such, this is a very good reason they have the ability Suction Cups, an ability that prevents them from being taken away, and Ingrain, so no gale of a whirlwind, roar of the mighty, tail of the dragon or even the throw from the arts of judo can force this guys out.
They have some ancient patterns on them, which I really like on ancient Pokémon (like some of them in the Pokémopolis episode of the anime). They have the eye-like patterns on their heads and for Cradily, underneath, and also those neck rings around their necks to make them look tribal, like the aborigines in Africa. Also, they have tiny eyes in their cup head. With those glowing (sort of) in there, it comes off as mysterious as to what’s inside, similar to cloaked figures like the Black Mages from classic Final Fantasy. Like every fossil Pokémon, they met their extinction for a very long period, which I guessed is because of the Ice Age, but you can prove me wrong on this one too. I am guessing that before their extinction, they were the Grass/Water type, judging by their species as the Sea Lily and Barnacle Pokémon respective.
Like Cacnea and Cacturne, they thrive better in Sandstorm, because they can take advantage of it. Their Rock-type prevents Sandstorm damage, which also provides a Special Defence boost there too, making them thrive better there. Not only that, they can learn some Defence-boosting moves like Barrier, Amnesia and Stockpile, and not to mention have the ability to Recover as well, making them able to stall in the Sandstorm. If that’s not enough, they are also able to use Curse, since nothing can force them out, but still, Trick is a problem to this strategy, as always. However, this isn’t applicable in Generation 3, as Stockpile didn’t have the Defence boost, and Sandstorm didn’t have the Special Defence Boost.
Generation 5 introduced this pair with a very useful ability Storm Drain. This ability helps this pair by giving them immunity to Water, and it is also great for Doubles or even Triples, where no Water attack can thwart their partners, so a Sandstorm team in Doubles or Triples will appreciate having Cradily for defence and support, especially some Water-weak ones like Camerupt and Rhyperior, who appreciates Water-types out of the way. This, however, will not let them stick on the field, but they can still use Ingrain, although this is risky since the user cannot escape.
In my opinion, these Pokémon aren’t immediately appreciated. This is due to the fact that it isn’t obvious as to why they are very creative designs and their origins are relatively obscure to most. Even IGN said that this Pokémon (specifically Lileep) was one of the culprits for the Generation 3 group not being able to hold a candle to the past (fossil) Pokémon, but really, it had been explained that this Pokémon had a very astounding origin which those who knows its origin (or involved in biology) can appreciate. From the ancient markings to their defensive nature, this is my favourite fossil Pokémon.
10 roots out of 10!
Finally, we reach Tropius, the Fruit Pokémon. The only fruit we see Tropius having are bananas, which has a fast growth cycle, but it can only grow once a bunch on each tree. I am assuming that Tropius can grow more bananas even after it’s plucked. Tropius him/herself is a sauropod fused with a banana tree. Sauropods themselves are herbivore, so there’s some consistency there. Also, Tropius has banana leaves for wings. It didn’t seem that the wings can support the dino, but hey, if heavier Pokémon can fly without drawbacks, does it matter?
As stated before, Tropius is basically about fruits. He/she likes to eat fruit, and they grow under his/her chin. An oddity is that the PokéDex mentions that pollen can be emitted from the neck, and if there’s pollen, that means there has to be flowers there too, but nothing is said as such. Also, the only fruit that we see Tropius harvest are bananas, which I am guessing is because it’s the best nutritious fruits, or that it’s the only fruit of the kind of trees Tropius is based on, since I don’t see apples, oranges or pears being ripe from Tropius.
Tropius has some probably coincidental parallels with Venusaur. First of all, both of them have the same Egg Group combination consisting of the Monster Group and Plant Group. Secondly, they have the same average height and weight, at 2 metres and 100 kilogrammes. And of course, both are green.
In the anime, Tropius was seen as Dominick’s Pokémon in a double battle with Ash. Another episode is where Tropius battled with Ash’s Grovyle (soon to be evolved in the same episode). The role of Tropius is bigger in the Pokémon Adventures manga, as he belonged to main character Sapphire, who was given by her father, and was used as a mode of transportation and battling. It seems that as of this writing, he’s Level 56.
Tropius’s competitive value depends on the abilities he/she has. All of them are Grass-related, but only two of them are Sun-related. Sadly, Tropius offensive stats are the lesser of the two, but at least he/she has Growth, Swords Dance and Dragon Dance (Generation 4 addition) to have a fairer shot offensively. Generation 4 gave Tropius Solar Power, which is a nice offensive ability, but the problem is that Tropius will have low Speed if this ability is chosen, but having Roost at his/her disposal is a good thing, as with Leaf Blade. The Dream World ability Tropius has is rather exclusive, since he/she got it along with Exeggcute and Exeggcutor. That ability, Harvest, basically recycles any held berry the user had used during that turn it's used, meaning he/she can keep using the berry over and over. This is a very nice combination with certain berries like the Lum Berry for status recovery or one of the weakness-mitigating berries. You can use one of the pinch berries, but it’s hard to justify its use. It’s a nice addition, for sure, since Tropius can now focus of his/her defensive side by having a beneficial berry to make stalling with Leech Seed easier as with using Dragon Dance.
While it’s hard to vouch for Tropius for his/her competitive viability, I believe that Tropius will still be one happy dinosaur because giving others food and nutrition is a very solid way to help others, especially if they are deprived of nutrition. And the children will definitely enjoy Tropius, as even the PokéDex stated that he/she’s popular with the kids. Of course, the size of one makes them look magnificent. I believe that if one puts aside the mentality of competitive tiers that’s all the rage with certain fans, one can see Tropius as an amazing and benevolent Pokémon who excels in helping people. So in other words, Tropius’ strengths lie in service to others. (I hope it didn’t anger anybody that I mentioned this...)
I have been told that Tropius is a fabulous HM Slave, which I completely overlooked and didn't notice. Yes, in the games where you can catch Tropius, which are Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald and Platinum, Tropius can be caught pre-Elite 4 to travel easily, since he/she's a flyer. In each game, Tropius has access to a good amount of HMs, in which Generation 3 has five (Cut, Fly, Strength, Flash and Rock Smash), Generation 4 also has five (Cut, Fly, Strength, Defog and Rock Smash) and Generation 5 has three (Cut, Fly and Strength). Because of this, you can pair with a Water-type like Bibarel to cover all bases in terms of travelling anywhere. Still, it stands that Tropius' strength lies in the service to others.
8 bananas out of 10!
Finally, we are done with the Generation 3’s Grass-types. I wanted to finish this in lieu of the New Year, but it seems I can’t get it done at that time. Next time, we will look into the Grass-types of Generation 4, and again, it will be split into two parts. And like before, you can guess the main Pokémon that will participate in Part 1 and Part 2. How do you think the reviews can be improved? I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing them.
Thanks for reading.
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