Grass types of Generation 4 (Part 1) - winstein's Review
by, 12th January 2011 at 11:20 AM (4508 Views)
So we begin the 4th Generation of Grass Pokémon with 4 families...I don’t have much to say in the introduction, so I might as start right away.
Turtwig, Grotle and Torterra
You know, tortoises and turtles are cool animals, because they have very long lifespan and are slow and overall seen as friendly because of that. Ladies and gents, meet the tortoises of this Generation! These tortoises are likely to be inspired by the concept and myth of the World Turtle, where the turtle would carry the world (or in their case, plants) on its back. Be sure to check out the Origin of Species too; it’s an interesting read. Just a note: I insist on using the term tortoise to refer to them, because these Pokémon are land based. Hope you can bear with me!
The shells of this family are made of soil, which is rife for life. And by life, I mean plant life. Turtwig didn’t have plants on his back, but Grotle and Torterra have on their backs. For Turtwig, his head is the one that contains a tiny little sprout, which I believe is like food for the brain because the nutrition goes directly to the head. The feature of a plant on the head didn’t carry on during evolution, which I guess meant that the tiny plant was only there for temporary nutrition that cannot cope when the tortoise got larger. Grotle was when plants started forming on his back (and when his cuteness is fading). The plants on Grotle also seem to be able to sprout berries, which can and are eaten by other Pokémon, especially birds and bugs, and because Grotle is bigger, he can now be a transport for other Pokémon, probably other turtles too. Grotle also seems to be able to locate fresh water too.
Torterra is now able to hold more life, and we normally see rocks and a tree on him, which seems more awe-inspiring by fan rendition, in addition to the other species that might reside on him. It’s said that some species that reside on him might have lived their whole life on the tortoise, which makes them like the frog in the coconut shell, who don’t know much about the world beyond, being confined on the shell, although the residents have the benefit of change of scenery. It’s also said on the Dex that there was a superstition that a Torterra was holding the land in the Pokémon World, which no doubt stems from the superstition that the world is held by a tortoise and that tortoise is being supported by another tortoise in the infinite regress fallacy. Torterra also seems to be partly based on the ankylosaur, an armoured dinosaur. Therefore, like the previous Grass starters (who are also based on dinosaurs), this family is appropriately in the Monster Egg Group in addition to the Plant Group.
The anime presents two main characters with this starter in hand, who are Ash and Paul. Ash’s Turtwig was obtained in a similar way his Bulbasaur was, which was by the encouragement of a lady. The Turtwig seems to be lively, and I even recall seeing Turtwig playing the drums somewhere. When it evolves into Grotle, he seems to be less agile, so things weren’t going well in battles as it was before evolution, and would rely on defence instead. Another thing I find interesting is Grotle swallowing its own Energy Ball for a power boost, because this action clearly cannot be mirrored in the games. It’s funny how when Grotle evolved into Torterra, the tortoise is more prone to losing, because while Torterra is the fastest of the family in the games, it seems to be the slowest in the anime. As said before, Paul uses one, and was his starter Pokémon, in fact. Unlike Ash’s one, Paul’s Torterra has a better winning record and a better battler (and even teaches Ash’s then-Grotle how to battle the way of the tortoise). There are other appearances of Turtwig like being Gardenia’s Pokémon, but the other members aren’t as common. In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Diamond has a Turtwig known as Wig, who evolved at a faster pace than Ash’s one, wasn’t fast throughout, and was a better fighter as Torterra from what I have read on the 'pedia.
Torterra, as of this Generation, possesses a much better physical durability than all his Grass starter brethren and slightly less special durability than Venusaur and Meganium. This is an advantage indeed, and even better is that he has good Attack as well. The downside is the Speed, in which he lacks the most. While the Speed is indeed lacking, he can increase it with Rock Polish, putting the Speed at a great level. The best part of Torterra is perhaps the movepool. Looking at it, you can see a lot of valuable moves to use. We have Wood Hammer, Earthquake, Stone Edge, Superpower and Crunch as Physical moves, Rock Polish, Roar, Synthesis, Leech Seed, Stockpile, Curse, Light Screen, Reflect, Swords Dance and Growth (Generation 5) as Support moves, and while you won’t take advantage of its Special Attack, the Special attacks aren’t that bad, especially in-game, with Energy Ball, Leaf Storm and Earth Power. Torterra also has the unique resistance to Rock and Ground (and an Electric immunity), which makes him a great stop against Rock + Ground attackers.
Not everything about Torterra is a good thing. While his typing is a blessing, it’s also a curse, because there’s the dreaded Ice weakness, which is compounded. As said before, Speed isn’t Torterra’s strongest suit, which could be problematic when facing an Ice user. Also, of all the starters, Torterra’s Hidden Ability is the least helpful, even though it’s still a helpful one at that. Shell Armour is indeed a rather situational ability, because while it did help Torterra defensively, it’s not guaranteed to have visible benefits in a battle (It does make Curse and defensive variants better, but Ice weakness is never a good thing in any case). Therefore, it’s probably widely agreed that Overgrow is still the better ability for Torterra.
The mythical origin of a tortoise with a piece of land on its back is an interesting tale, and who wouldn’t want to see or ride a tortoise with a piece of land on their backs? Their nature as a tank may not be appealing to Speed lovers, but you still got to give them credit for being powerful. Sure, they get less cute within the evolutionary line, but many other Pokémon had this treatment as well. I say this again: tortoises are exceptionally cool reptiles.
10 trees out of 10!
Cherubi and Cherrim
Cherubi naturally look like cherries, which are sweet fruit. What’s funny about Cherubi is that he/she has two heads, yet his/her evolution only has one head. The other head must be extra nutrition, but because we associate human values to Pokémon, we don’t want to see the extra head go, but it has to go. Oh well, c’est la vie (French for “that’s life”)! Cherrim, on the other hand, looks like a cherry blossom when in the sun, and with those bright pink petals, it’s no doubt based on the flowers that Japan is known for, and when not under the sun, will look like a flower that’s not bloomed.
Cherubi’s extra head holds the nutrition for evolution, and because of how sweet it is, birds like Starly would like to have a meal out of the branching rations, as in having a bite of that cherry. Cherry-picking indeed! When Cherubi is ready to evolve, he/she will absorb the nutrients out of the extra head. This does mean that the other head is actually a dud because whatever happens to it after that will not be influential and will probably end up as a shrivelled and punctured head when it’s fully drained. The extra head could also be an extra life when Cherubi’s gone, which means the extra head will become alive as a result, but this is just my theory, and nothing else. Cherubs are a type of angel, and while I don’t see how Cherubi look like one, he/she’s appropriately in the Fairy Egg Group (in addition to Plant, of course).
Cherrim is a little more interesting. The way he/she only blooms during sunlight is reminisce to the morning glory’s preference to sunlight, where it opens when the sun’s coming up, and closes when the day gets darker. While the blossoming is not related to morning glories, the flower still opens during times of great sunlight, absorbing everything while he/she can, and is cheerful too. Under the hood of the petals when not blooming, Cherrim looks different, because his/her eyes are located near the legs, but the bloomed cherry blossom has a completely different body structure. Someone needs to show a video of Cherrim naturally changing, because how the flower is morphed is something I don’t understand.
Cherrim’s competitive viability is more apparent in Doubles or Triples, because of his/her signature ability Flower Gift. This ability raises the party Pokémon of two unlikely related stats Attack and Special Defence. This is a great bonus because any free stat boost is obviously great. In the Sun, any Chlorophyll user would appreciate this bonus, especially if said user is Physical, like Shiftry and Tangrowth. For Shiftry, it meant being able to explode away for a big score (though Cherrim needed protective instincts first) and Tangrowth’s weaker Special Defence is buffed (and the attack power is heightened). Besides that contribution, Cherrim can also be on the offence, with a Grass move and Weather Ball ready to go. Aromatherapy and Helping Hand will also ensure that Cherrim is able to perform team supporting duties too, although I am not sure about Lucky Chant. However, in Singles, it’s hard to actually take advantage of those bonuses because Cherrim is not too bulky by the standards of Standard Play. In Generation 5, Cherrim’s got better. First of all is Growth’s buff, and not to mention that Ninetales becomes a Drought user to provide constant sunlight and isn't too powerful. Nature Power can now be turned into Earthquake (which is always a useful move), Petal Dance got a power boost, and last but not least, Cherrim got Healing Wave. Although, it would be nice if Cherrim got Reflect for the Defence boost.
If you think Cherrim’s team duties end here, you will be quite surprised to hear that he/she’s a useful Pokémon in the TCG as well. Now, I am not yet familiar with the field of TCG, but I heard that Cherrim’s [Stormfront] a great card(s) to use because it can boost the party’s attack, even though it works for Grass-types and Fire-types only, and the effect can be stacked to do more damage (modifiers are calculated after bonus) because it’s a Pokébody. There’s another card [Arceus 15] that allows for damage reduction (also a Pokébody) which might be able to save a Pokémon card from being discarded. Again, it only works on the aforementioned types. So, you can say that it’s a twist on how useful this Pokémon can be in this environment.
It’s also worth noting that this family is capable of learning both Defence Curl and Rollout, which has a hidden mechanic that lets it double its power when used in order, and while the accuracy can be risky, it is a useful strategy if Accuracy is somehow raised. Also, because this family gets this combination, they are able to pass it to the newest mushrooms that will be reviewed next time.
The concept behind Cherrim’s flower blossom is not entirely new, but because it relates to the ability that Cherrim has, it feels new, because you can see the effects in-game. Both of these Pokémon are interesting, that’s for sure, because they are cute, especially Cherubi’s tiny little cheery cherry head that’s dangling beside him/her.
8 cherries out of 10!
Behold the standalone Grass-type of this Generation, Carnivine. Carnivine is a rather odd Pokémon. It’s a carnivorous plant, but the game’s mechanics are not very kind to it, because of the way it works, where Bug-types not only resist Grass-types, they are super effective against them too. This is not only inconsistent to the real life counterpart, it’s also questionable. At least give an ability that makes Carnivine resist Bugs, and it’s good to go.
Enough of that. Carnivine is clearly based on the Venus flytrap, a species of plants that traps prey in its “mouth” so that the prey can be consumed. Note that I am using the word “prey” here. This is because while the prey is normally insects, it’s just not right to say it when the game dictates the dominance Bug-types have over Grass-types. I am actually surprised to read that beetles are part of the real-life Venus flytrap’s diet, as I associate it as a tough insect. Anyway, maybe the movepool that Carnivine has would compensate this weakness, because this plant clearly has disabling moves that will prevent prey from escaping, like Sleep Powder and Stun Spore.
The real Venus flytrap indeed look like a mouth ready for a meal, and Carnivine also looks like this too, whose mouth is a trap. Also, for some reason, Carnivine has vines underneath to grab things with. This is a...new combination or trapping, and oddly, the vines are referred to as tentacles, which fit the description, but for a plant, this sounds very funny. Real Venus flytraps uses the scent of sweetness to attract said prey, and when they are in the mouth, the trap is sprung, and the prey becomes a meal. Similarly, Carnivine traps prey the same way, but with the added effect of blending with the surroundings.
Somehow, Carnivine’s appearance reminds me of the flying spaghetti monster, and I don’t think I am alone when I see the resemblance. The flying spaghetti monster is some sort of parody in religion as a deity, which I really have no idea what’s it about anyway (you can explain this one better, readers, if you can). Carnivine has vines, tiny eyes and is floating, so it’s easy to see why the resemblence is uncanny. I am guessing that Carnivine is created out of needing to adapt this monster in Pokémon in some way, but I digress. Maybe the designer didn’t know he/she was going to design something that has a passing resemblance to the monster.
In the anime, Carnivine is famous for being James’ Pokémon. Following the footsteps of Victreebel, Carnivine clamps James’ head whenever possible, which I think is supposed to be a running gag to make Carnivine interesting. This one’s a past capture by James, though, and like in the games, Carnivine is found in the Great Marsh in Sinnoh.
Carnivine’s competitive viability is not very easy to capitalise on, unfortunately. Having Levitate is, while a nice advantage to avoid some entry hazards, is seen as redundant since Grass-types typically resist Ground attacks already. Carnivine’s Base Stats have a seemingly unusual distribution of great power, decent defences and low Speed, which is the hardest to take advantage of, and to top it all, Carnivine’s movepool is of a bog standard (Get it?) among Grass-types. It’s true that Carnivine has some great moves like Sleep Powder, Crunch and Power Whip, but there isn’t anything much to differentiate Carnivine from other Grass-types that comes off as outstanding. In fact, Carnivine’s only noteworthy niche is a Grass-type that levitates and isn’t weak to Rock-types, which isn’t saying much. Unfortunately, having Levitate prevents Carnivine from having a potentially great ability, like maybe Unaware or Adaptability. Strangely, Carnivine is a slow leveller, which is odd considering the lacklustre viability. Sorry, it’s hard to come up with something interesting to say about Carnivine in this category.
Carnivine’s a quirky Pokémon, that’s for sure, and I can see Carnivine getting an evolution and a pre-evolution in the same Generation in the future similar to another Pokémon introduced last Generation. This is one wish that I do not have urgency with, because I am just indifferent about Carnivine, but it’s nice for Carnivine to have them, still. There’s a trivia that I would like to mention before ending this one: if Carnivine used Ingrain, he/she will be able to be affected by Ground attacks, but since Carnivine resists them, it’s not such a big deal.
5 vines out of 10!
Leafeon is one of the two “Eeveelutions” of this Generation. The term is a portmanteau of “Eevee” and “evolutions”, which refers to evolutions that Eevee evolves into. Like every member of the Eeveelution, Leafeon’s evolution method is unique to him. Instead of using the Leaf Stone, you need to inspect the Moss Rock, which is located in the Eterna Forest and the Yaguruma Forest. This evolution method of being location-based, in my opinion, makes it so that the setting of the region is forced to have the same item to make this evolution possible, but not being able to use the Leaf Stone because it will doom consistency is something I am a bit bugged about.
Every Eeveelution is in tune with their nature, in which they are basically one with them, like Vaporeon’s ability to dissolve into liquid and Jolteon’s innately shocking body. Similarly, Leafeon is blessed with a body for photosynthesis. Yes, Leafeon’s green body allows him to produce clean air. It’s worth noting that all the Eeveelutions’ Chinese Name have words that means “spirit”, meaning their names are formed by one word for that element, followed by “spirit”, which makes sense, seeing how they all have powers related to their elements. To the non-Chinese speaker, just hearing what they mean might give the impression that it’s not creative, but consider that the English uses a similar format (element + -eon), I say it is fair game. After all, the Chinese language doesn’t have the flexibility of word play the English and Japanese (in the form of katakana), and had to resort in either transliteration or words with meaning.
I cannot really tell whether Leafeon is feline or canine. On one hand, Leafeon has out and pointy ears, no snout, long tail and thin legs that look like a cat, which are feline characteristics. On the other hand, the pointy ears are long and the leafy tail makes it look bushy, which makes Leafeon looks canine. I am going to go with canine, even though the face is feline, because the other Eeveelutions are similar in the fact that their faces are the only part of them that resembles felines (except Espeon). Also, Leafeon’s body becomes plant-like, as we see his ears and tail appearing leaf-like, with some leaves stemming out of the body. The way the leaves stemmed like that didn’t seem right on an animal, but hey, it’s a Pokémon that in tune with nature, so it has to look like that. Somehow, to me, yellow doesn’t seem to go well with green, which is something I am a bit irritated with Bayleef as well.
It’s a tradition for Eeveelutions to have rearranged stat numbers, and Leafeon’s arranged in such a way that Leafeon is the Physical member with great Attack and even greater Defence, and not to mention the Speed’s good also. This makes Leafeon the Eeveelution with the highest Defence. With those stats, it’s clear that Leafeon is suited as a Physical attacker, with Leaf Blade being his main move. It’s a pity that Leafeon has limited coverage, because outside of that Grass attack, we have X-Scissors (Bug), Aerial Ace (Flying) and Double-Edge and Quick Attack (Normal). As you can see on this list, Leafeon has a problem: he has a hard time with Steel-types. Sure, there’s Rock Smash, but use it at your own discretion. It’s worth noting that Leafeon’s the only Eeveelution to get Swords Dance, which is saying something, because Leafeon is able to pass an Attack boost with Baton Pass. Another move that Leafeon get that the others didn’t is Knock Off, which could be useful for removing an item you don’t want the opponent having. Yawn’s an option, though I am not entirely sure if Leafeon’s the best user of the Eeveelutions (It’s Eevee’s Egg Move).
Leafeon’s abilities are related to the presence of the sun, which are Leaf Guard and Chlorophyll. I would say that the latter makes more sense than the former because of his nature, but oh well. Leaf Guard can be useful, but Chlorophyll is even useful on Leafeon, simply because a Pokémon with that Base Speed will be a very fast Pokémon. Do note that Chlorophyll is a Hidden Ability in Generation 5, so you cannot obtain it normally in the games. It’s important to note that Leafeon has a rival in Generation 5, which is a certain deer, who, while doesn’t possess the great Physical prowess of Leafeon, is a better attacker because of better offensive type coverage.
The anime presents appearances of Leafeon, but in the serial anime, Leafeon’s known to be Zoey’s Pokémon (Zoey is basically Dawn’s nice rival), used in contests, of course. The thing about Leafeon is that he/she is involved in one of the most awesome moments in a contest against Nando, which was when the combination of Leafeon’s Aerial Ace and Mismagius’ Psywave is used to make wings grow on him/her (and subsequently winning Zoey the round through point advantage). To quote a fan comment about it, Piplup (the user) says that “...it was really cool and awesome, something that was very unexpected and also a very nice idea that worked perfectly for a Contest Battle. Not sure what else to say, but I really loved that!”
Personally, I am rather indifferent about Eeveelutions, although it’s a fan sensation, being based on cats and dogs which are popular pet preferences (and I suspect that a lot fans of these Pokémon rear those pets themselves). This is because I feel that their concept of split evolutions makes the other split evolutions forgotten, and I fear that it will not allow for other Pokémon to have split evolutions. Of course, fears will never materialise, but that’s my reason. In the end, Leafeon is quite decent and cool, but it’s not my cup of tea.
Here’s a question for you to answer if you can: What does a fan rendition Grass-type Eeveelution look like before Leafeon was announced?
7 leaves out of 10!
If you ask me, the next part of Grass-types is where I find more interest in writing, because the next batch of Grass-types have much better qualities to write about than this one, which I admit was tough for me because I am not sure if the stuff I put here are an interesting to read about. Hopefully they are! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing them.
Thanks for reading.
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