Tribulations of Great Pokémon 10
by, 29th August 2012 at 05:01 AM (1519 Views)
I am back! To start things off, here’s another Tribulations of Great Pokémon article for your enjoyment. Our entry will deal with Generation 5’s Pokémon. Even with the release of Black 2 and White 2, most of the Pokémon here didn’t receive any significant benefits from the newest tutors.
Since it’s been so long, I might as well explain the purpose of this series again. In this series, I attempt to list down the troubles involved in raising a certain Pokémon in the games, because I believe that the potential of a Pokémon is similarly balanced by the troubles you need to go through to perfect them, which can’t be experienced in simulators.
What are the picks this time? Read on to find out.
Whimsicott & Lilligant
The first pair of Pokémon we shall look at are Whimsicott and Lilligant. Both of them are version exclusive Grass-types, but due to an in-game trade, they don’t count as such. Whimsicott is an elf-based Pokémon that can slip through anything, while Lilligant, a female-only Pokémon, it is understandably attractive to males, and it is even popular with celebrities (somehow the image of a Japanese hostess comes to my mind). Our new Grass-types are useful in their own unique ways, to showcase a few of Generation 5’s introductions.
One of Whimsicott’s merits is Prankster. Usage of a status move in conjunction with this ability ensures that it is executed sooner. This is very useful for Whimsicott due to its broad support options, including Leech Seed, Encore, Stun Spore and Cotton Guard. Infiltrator’s not as useful, but it has its uses (like bypassing Safeguard). It makes a great momentum stopper by preventing set-ups, trapping opponents into set-ups, paralysing opponents, or just plain switching around with U-turn to fake a threat. Other tricks Whimsicott has up its sleeve are Trick Room (it potentially goes before Whirlwind or Roar), Tailwind and Switcheroo. In Doubles, Whimsicott is a great choice in a Tailwind team for its ability to not only set it up, but also to prevent Trick Room from being set up with Taunt. Even Beat Up is a nice combination when used in conjunction with a Justified Pokémon, due to providing a nice Attack boost to it.
However, Whimsicott is not that offensively powerful. Its powerful move Hurricane is hampered by its somewhat lack of power, as with Giga Drain. If facing a strong Pokémon that Whimsicott can’t stop, it’s going to be tough because of its five weaknesses. The lack of offensive presence is what ultimately leads Whimsicott to its downfall, which shows that even a very useful Pokémon is at the same time not too useful. Even then, Whimsicott is not something you want to underestimate, since it could potentially mess with you at the right time.
Now let’s look at Lilligant. Lilligant’s made as a support Pokémon with all those Support moves, so that’s what it does best. You could see some of the nice essentials like Aromatherapy, Healing Wish and Sleep Powder, but there are some that works well in Doubles too, like Helping Hand and After You. Lilligant is perhaps quite famous for Quiver Dance, which makes it special because it is the only non-Bug that gets it. This gives her several advantages, like the lack of weakness to Rock and a Grass STAB. If you have Sun on your side, Chlorophyll is not bad. Own Tempo is nice since Petal Dance won’t confuse. Leaf Guard is another decent ability to use, though not to the extent to Chlorophyll. Thus, Lilligant is either a deceptively threatening sweeper or a very useful support Pokémon.
However, Lilligant is cursed just by being a Grass-type. This gives it several weaknesses, and its STAB type is resisted by many. Perhaps the biggest drawback is her lack of coverage. Hidden Power is the only one you could have, so it can’t cover everything. The introduction of Sap Sipper Pokémon makes it pretty dire for Lilligant, especially because we have stuff like Bouffalant who could prey on Lilligant’s lack of coverage.
As a version exclusive Pokémon, both are only found in one version, but this is not entirely true. That’s because, as stated, there is an in-game trade in each version. The trade you get is quite beneficial in Petilil’s case, due to its very good Special Attack Individual Value (IV). Evolution of both requires a Sun Stone, which is not a common item you would come across. Think twice before evolving them, though, because Whimsicott and Lilligant would not be able to learn the moves Cottonee and Petilil learn respectively.
This is basically the only tribulation that both have, which is why I decided that merging both of them in one article is appropriate. As such, they are easy Pokémon to raise, and you don’t even need to have another version, which makes it even more convenient! They may not be the most used Pokémon out there nor are they the most useful (admittedly, they are very useful when their services are needed), but it’s OK when it is not that hard to obtain them. The only thing you need to take care of is your supply of Sun Stones, and you’re set.
Verdict: Balanced [±0]
Darmanitan is one of the first Pokémon to be revealed, to introduce Sheer Force. Being a Fire-type, one wouldn’t think of Darmanitan as useful, but perhaps Sheer Force might have some uses. Fast forward to knowing its stats, and we see now that it is actually quite threatening. We also know that it has Zen Mode, but since its activation requirement is inconvenient, it is largely unused despite its potential (for one, it knows Psychic and Focus Blast).
When its stats are revealed, the two standouts are HP and Attack. With such a high Attack, one could say that it is the strongest Physical Fire-type in the game. This is compounded by its knowledge of Flare Blitz, which is boosted by Sheer Force, making it an attack to be feared. Thankfully, its high HP will let it survive longer after each use. The high HP allows it to set up a Substitute against those that relies on Night Shade or Seismic Toss as attacks, while Encore ensures you possibly get a free Substitute. When holding Life Orb, Darmanitan doesn’t take recoil from it (Flare Blitz's recoil will still be taken), as long as said attack is boosted by Sheer Force. Speed is another standout, allowing it to out-speed a good amount of Pokémon. Flare Blitz isn’t the only attack it has. Earthquake helps against Rock-types and other Fire-types, as with Superpower. Rock Slide, another attack boosted by Sheer Force, deserves mention. U-turn rounds up Darmanitan’s flexibility.
Unfortunately, for all of Darmanitan’s greatness, it has the huge drawback of frailty. This isn’t helped by the fact that it is weak to Stealth Rock, making U-turn a risky prospect. Its base 95 Speed is good, but not high enough to surpass most threats that are faster. Because Darmanitan misses out on Thunder Punch, a Water-type that isn’t weak to one of its other coverage moves would be troublesome, like Jellicent. Oddly, Darmanitan has a rather low Special Attack, which is an anomaly when compared to other Fire-types. Basically, Darmanitan is strong, but it can’t take even a decent hit.
Let’s look at Darmanitan’s tribulations. If you ask me this, I would say that there isn’t a lot I spotted. Darumaka is not that hard a Pokémon to find, but the fact that it is found in a Sandstorm area makes it slightly trickier to keep it alive. It also comes with Hustle, which makes its attacks less reliable. Due to its frailty, a miss could be deadly. Still, Darumaka’s not too bad since it hits hard with Hustle’s power boost, and it doesn’t take very long to evolve it, as it evolves at Level 35.
Darmanitan may not be the best Pokémon out there, but I felt it’s not as balanced as I thought. It has the serious drawback of survivability, but there aren’t too many difficulties in raising one. I don’t think it’s Staraptor-bad, because Darmanitan didn’t have certain coverage moves that make Staraptor too easy to train. It really takes only Thunder Punch to make it less balanced. While I enjoy the thrill of Darmanitan’s awesome power, I too felt that it is somewhat imbalanced.
Verdict: Almost Balanced [+1]
Haxorus was one of the earliest Pokémon to be revealed as well, and its appearance is menacing. In practice, it could be menacing as well, though not to the extent of some other greats like Salamence. It even looks like a pseudo-legendary, you know! However, it has its own strengths that still make it a great Pokémon. Sure it’s a pure Dragon, but let’s find out why the first Generation 5 Pokémon to be designed is great.
One look at the stats, and you will see something that stands out: base 147 Attack. This puts it a cut above even the greatest Pokémon, and it helps that its Speed is nice. As a Dragon-type, this is very fearsome, as a non-Steel type is looking to take a very lethal hit from Outrage. If that’s not enough, it even learns Dragon Dance and Swords Dance to make it even stronger, whichever is better for you. With Mould Breaker, certain Pokémon couldn’t stand up to it, namely Bronzong. Its coverage options including Superpower and Aqua Tail ensures that Steel-types are not the answer, except for Skarmory. If it does get Fire Punch though (which it thankfully doesn’t have), Skarmory is out of the picture as well. Being a pure Dragon-type ensures that it isn’t weak to too much, so it’s a blessing as well. It’s got the essential level-up moves in range in-game, which is another plus.
Unfortunately, Haxorus’s greatness is undermined a bit by its Speed. It may be good, but there are several threats that will out-speed it and threaten it, like Tornadus and Salamance. Its defences are a bit of a letdown as well, especially on the Special side. They’re not that bad, but not too great either. Since this is a primarily Physical Pokémon we are talking here, Skarmory could be a bit of problem, unless you use Aqua Tail in the rain with Choice Band. It is a bit overshadowed too, due to its more reliable and faster Dragon-type compatriots.
Haxorus, much like all the other Pokémon that are mistaken for pseudo-legendary Pokémon, have some degree of difficulty to counteract its greatness, including its level growth rate and duration of hatching (although its Egg Moves are not important). Axew, its base form, is located in the somewhat obscure Mistralton Cave. This is not at all near Mistralton, despite its name. This requires Surf to get to. However, you could try your luck on finding Fraxure instead at Victory Road too.
Some of the moves Haxorus learns are a bit difficult to get. Superpower is great, but is a somewhat expensive move (10 blue shards!). Aqua Tail is slightly less costly, but it’s still up there. Outrage is expensive to learn, though thankfully it learns it naturally. If you want to do that, remember it is learned at a high level. You might as well use Dragon Claw in-game.
I don’t have a lot to say about Haxorus’ tribulations, because there isn’t a lot to talk about. However, I still believe that Haxorus is a balanced Pokémon. Some of its tribulations are fairly time-consuming to overcome, and its battling potential is balanced too.
Verdict: Balanced [±0]
The next Pokémon in the list is Mienshao. In a surprising twist when it comes to its design timing, Mienshao and its pre-evolution are conceived because the developers felt that they don’t have enough Fighting-types, so they are created as filler. Judging by the Pokémon used by Elite Four Marshal, and also taking into account Grimsley’s possession of Scrafty, I would say that’s understandable. With this fun fact done with, let’s begin investigating Mienshao’s qualities.
Mienshao’s stats are skewered to be a powerful offensive Pokémon. With a high Attack, its Hi Jump Kick would really hurt, more if Reckless is the ability. It helps that it has a decently good base Special Attack, which makes Hidden Power a good choice for coverage. It also makes Me First something you could try out, due to those high Attack stats. It also has one of the most coveted abilities for any Pokémon: Regenerator. With this ability, Mienshao could switch out to recover any damage it took, including Life Orb recoil. This synergises well with Baton Pass and U-turn, as either move grants you an advantage. Speaking of Baton Pass, Mienshao has surprisingly decent moves to synergise it with. Fake Out has some potential as well, racking up damage before using U-turn to get out, while Acrobatics (with Flying Gem) does well against those weak to it. In Doubles, Mienshao has Wide Guard and Helping Hand in addition to Fake Out, to make it a brilliant team player. All these factors mean that Mienshao’s a great Pokémon to use, right? Hm...
You see, one thing Mienshao really lacks is the bulk. Unless the attack is resisted, it will take a lot from a regular one. An increased priority attack is troublesome too, due to Mienshao’s lack of one (besides Fake Out and Feint), so watch out for those as well. Mienshao also has a problem with Ghost-types, since it doesn’t have a definite answer to them. In fact, an untimely Hi Jump Kick would hurt Mienshao bad. Another problem is that it has some form of competition with Terrakion, who possess overall better bulk and more useful attacking prowess, as well as facing the threat of Tornadus-Therian, resulting in relative disinterest in this ermine Pokémon.
With that said, let’s look at Mienshao’s tribulations, all compiled in one paragraph. Mienfoo, the pre-evolution of Mienshao is typically found mid-late-game, as it resides in the Dragonspiral Tower, which is near the seventh Gym. Sawk would probably be a better choice at this point, if you have access to it. Another thing to consider when using Mienfoo is that it evolves at 50, which is quite high, especially since it stays in base form during all that time. Also, a couple of its best Fighting attacks are learned later than its evolution level, so take that into account too. When it comes to breeding, Mienfoo could take a while to hatch, requiring 6630 steps. The only two moves you would consider getting this way are Baton Pass and Me First.
With that said and done with, is Mienshao considered a balanced Pokémon? I think so, to be honest. It is powerful, but its frailty balances this out. In terms of in-game, Mienshao is a late find, and even then, it may take a good long while to evolve it, which requires some effort on the player’s part. So yeah, Mienshao is balanced.
Verdict: Balanced [±0]
Finally, we shall cover this pseudo-pseudo-legendary Volcarona! Volcarona is an odd case as a great Pokémon. When it was first introduced, people thought that it will be bad, due to its disadvantages. Much like Heatran, a Pokémon thought to be terrible thanks to its type, there is a twist. The twist is that this Pokémon is proven to be useful and surprisingly threatening. Instead of listing down this Pokémon’s advantages first like I usually do, I will list down its disadvantages first due to this.
One big problem with Volcarona is its double Rock weakness. This meant that even Stealth Rock is lethal to it. Once it’s used, Volcarona had a hard time surviving. If Rapid Spin is available, that’s good for you. It also makes it a susceptible target to Terrakion and Aerodactyl (and possibly Archeops), powerful and fast Rock-type attackers, and probably certain Flying-type ones too. This is thanks to its relatively low Defence. Bug and Fire are STABs that rarely complement each other, especially against a Fire-type like Heatran. Having an ability that isn’t too reliable (Flame Body) isn’t helping it either. However, despite these disadvantages, Volcarona is still a force. What went right?
One of the greatest moves to have on a Special attacker is Quiver Dance, and Volcarona is by far the best user. With the ability to boost its good Speed and its superb Special Attack further, this is the main reason Volcarona is threatening. As such, its STAB moves won’t matter. The Special Defence boost is a nice addition too, as it makes even Special Attackers unable to stop it. Choose a Special attacker to set up on (like possibly Alakazam), and you’re set. One could opt for more coverage with Hidden Power, or perhaps Giga Drain. Or, you could just use a healing move if you are just looking to survive while boosting. It may not look like it, but Volcarona is a force to be reckoned with once it accumulates enough boosts, even on a Rain team (due to Hurricane).
However, Volcarona is similarly a difficult Pokémon to raise. It starts off as Larvesta, which is its much different pre-evolution. First off, it’s not quite bulky, though it’s manageable as a little Pokémon. Secondly, like Hydreigon’s pre-evolutions, Volcarona’s pre-evolution has a higher Attack. Since you probably use Volcarona for its Special Attack, you would likely have an Attack-lowering nature, hindering Larvesta’s offenses by a little. This is worse if you consider that its best Physical attacks at this time are low-powered, as it learns Bug Bite and Flame Charge before evolving.
If you are considering using Larvesta in-game, it’s probably an impractical choice, because it’s an Egg, and this means it starts at Level 1, which at this point, you rather use something else because Larvesta’s level growth rate is Slow. That’s not going into how long this Egg hatches. Unless you have something else with Flame Body, this would take too long to hatch. This is worse if you consider that Volcarona evolves at Level 59! That is an incredibly high level for such a great Pokémon, only beaten by Hydreigon. I would even say that even Simisear is a better choice in-game than Volcarona, or Heatmor.
The actual Sun Pokémon is found post-game too, so it’s equally not practical to find one unless you trade. In Black 2 and White 2, though, you could find one before the end at Level 35. If you do decide to catch it though, good luck, because its Catch Rate of 15 would have you trying for a while. However, there are a couple of problems: like Larvesta, its best moves are available at a later level (Bug Buzz at Level 70, Hurricane at Level 90 and Fiery Dance at Level 100), and there’s the fact that Quiver Dance is learned at Level 59, when it was supposed to evolve.
Volcarona’s a great Pokémon, but it’s still balanced nonetheless. It has the makings of a unique great Pokémon, but it has a few serious drawbacks as well. Not only that, it is actually a difficult Pokémon to raise if you do decide to have one. Volcarona is indeed a rewarding Pokémon in both raising and battling if you think about it.
Verdict: Balanced [±0]
And so, I conclude today’s entry of Tribulations of Great Pokémon. We shall now go back to Generation 1 next time, so place your votes on which Pokémon you want me to look at, but I ask that this Pokémon is great, or at least useable in competitive battling. You also have up to five picks too. Legendaries won’t be considered, just so you know. Why? I have plans for them. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.
Thanks for reading.
Chosen Pokémon that are done (meaning, they can't be picked):
- Alakazam, Gengar, Machamp, Cloyster & Gyarados
- Ninetales, Starmie, Tauros, Snorlax & Dragonite
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