Tribulations of Great Pokémon 15
by, 4th January 2013 at 01:48 PM (956 Views)
Another week, another article. The minute I started setting a target number of articles to complete for this series, I felt more motivated than ever to get productive and churn out more. If you weren’t paying attention to what this series is about, I basically take a few Pokémon that are great in competitive battling and evaluate on what makes them great and what difficulties arises when training them, because I believe that a Pokémon’s balance is more than how they do in battle, which is the half covered in simulators. As such, gaining experience in simulators is only half the battle!
Like last time, I covered six Pokémon based on user choice. Let’s go and see what I chosen!
Known as Clowncrete at one time (Shout out to @Lord Clowncrete;), it’s Conkeldurr! Conkeldurr is made to be Machamp’s equivalent, as evidenced by the many similarities they share, such as being a three-stage Fighting-type and their awesome Attack. In the short time that Conkeldurr was introduced, it made its presence known by being a real threat, while general interest in its counterpart Machamp waned. It does not necessarily mean that Conkeldurr outclassed Machamp, but it would seem like that because they are related. First, we will see why Conkeldurr is very threatening.
If you look at Conkeldurr’s stats, you will notice that it has a huge Attack, high HP and good Defence. As a result, it makes for a wonderful Physical attacker. In terms of attacks, Conkeldurr has plenty. Elemental punches are there, as well as Rock-type attacks. Payback is a nice move too, because you would likely need to have something to hit Psychics and Ghosts. Now this is where it gets interesting. You see, there are two attacks that Machamp lacks that Conkeldurr learns. These two attacks also define Conkeldurr as a threat, and Machamp wished it could learn them. They are Mach Punch and Drain Punch, especially the former. While Drain Punch is almost useful, Mach Punch is always useful. In fact, Conkeldurr can’t leave home without it, due to its low Speed.
Its abilities also seek to boost is power even more, and they each have their own uses. Guts is to turn a disadvantage (status) into an advantage, Sheer Force for boosting certain attacks without Life Orb’s recoil, and Iron Fist is to boost one of the several punching moves Conkeldurr have at its disposal. One way to utilise Conkeldurr’s power is through Bulk Up, because boosting Defence is another way to guarantee that the opponent can't do much. Choice Band is not a bad idea either, if only to take advantage of that huge power. If you are feeling “gutsy”, you could take advantage of Guts' boost and carry a status orb for power and status prevention.
It’s not guaranteed that Conkeldurr will have a field day. You see, while Conkeldurr is great on the Physical side, its Special Defence isn’t that high. This makes it vulnerable to powerful Special attacks, such as Rain-boosted Water attacks or a STAB Psychic from a hard-hitter. Its Speed doesn’t really help matters either. Another thing that Conkeldurr has trouble is with Fighting resistors, which come in three variants: One, walls that are not hit super-effectively (Gliscor); Two, slow tanks such as Slowbro and Reuniclus, because they are slower and take less damage from Payback; Three, powerful attackers that are able to survive Mach Punch (Tornadus, Salamence).
First of all, like Machamp, Conkeldurr is a trade evolution. If you don’t understand, it means that in order to evolve Gurdurr into Conkeldurr, you need to trade with another device. Fortunately, there’s no need to attach any item this time, unlike many trade evolutions (which would use up the item as a result). Another thing that both Machamp and Conkeldurr share is their tendency to become male species, which gives some minor difficulties with getting a female version. When you are looking into getting one, then you should check its ability, because both Guts and Sheer Force have an equal chance of appearing. If you are looking to get an Iron Fist Conkeldurr, you will need to search for a Gurdurr with this ability in Dream Park. Available at 5,000 points, it might take some time before you could meet one. If you are lucky, you could get the one with Mach Punch, because that would remove the need to breed for it.
Conkeldurr’s moves are not necessarily easy to get. Yes, some of them are easy, such as Rock Slide, Payback and Bulk Up, but there are some difficult moves to learn. Mach Punch, the main move, is confined to breeding. The users of that move are not necessarily easy to get, as one’s a starter (Monferno) and another is Hitmonchan. If you want both Mach Punch and Wide Guard, you will need to do more work, because Hitmonlee or Hitmontop are the only ones who could have both moves, so you essentially have to chain breed here (both need to inherit Mach Punch from Hitmonchan first). Drain Punch is a Move Tutor now, but before that, you have to import a Hitmonchan from Generation 4 with this move if you want to have both Drain Punch and Mach Punch (something previous Conkeldurr users had to contend with). Even then, it is expensive, costing 10 shards. The other move tutor moves that Conkeldurr learns are similarly expensive, namely the elemental punches.
After all this, is Conkeldurr balanced? Why, yes it is. Conkeldurr’s really powerful, but it could be expensive or time-consuming to get the right moves, and even then you need to trade. Giving Conkeldurr the right choices allow you to make full use of it, and that is rewarding itself. The only very difficult thing to do is to get both Mach Punch and Wide Guard, which is not fully necessary to experience Conkeldurr’s greatness.
Verdict: Balanced [±0]
When Sandile was first introduced, the first thing people will notice about it, besides its looks, is its type combination. At that time, Ground/Dark was new. Then, the thing that people will notice is its abilities. People already knew what Intimidate do, but the other ability is new, which we now know as “Moxie”. This ability is stated to increase Attack by one stage for every KO, which got competitive players excited because it is a good effect. Fast forward to now, and we got Krookodile.
Krookodile’s advantages are simple. Its Ground/Dark-type provides great STAB attacks, namely Earthquake and Crunch, and a Rock attack is usually used to provide coverage. If you want to punish a switch-out, then you have Pursuit to use. Some of its resistances are even great, especially Electric, Rock and Psychic, which is could put to good use. You could attempt a Bulk Up set if you want something bulky-boosting. Of course, its abilities are very good as well. Intimidate is to buffer a Physical hit, while Moxie is for sweeping. One particular notable set is the Choice Scarf set, which would give Tyranitar a run for its money because if Tyranitar has a positive-natured Speed and Krookodile has a positive-natured Attack, the Attack power will be close, with its extra Speed and Moxie being two advantages.
Unfortunately, Krookodile has nasty weaknesses. Because it is weak to perhaps some of the most crucial types in the game, it is not necessarily easy to use Krookodile. Krookodile’s stats are also not high enough. In terms of Speed, although it is fast, it failed to reach a level that outpaces sweepers reliably. In terms of defences, notwithstanding Intimidate’s effect, Krookodile has trouble with taking hits, especially ones that are powered up or attacks first. Both qualities make Krookodile prone to being revenge-killed.
Now, let’s see some of Krookodile’s tribulations. Krookodile has a few Egg Moves worth getting. The first of them is Pursuit. Thankfully, there are various learners, so you could choose any of the Dark-types to get this move from, including Rattata. Another move on the list is Fire Fang. While it is normally weak, this is Krookodile’s best answer to Grass-types, since it doesn’t learn anything stronger on the Physical side to hit them super-effectively. Both moves are naturally learned by different learners in the same Egg Group (Drapion is the only one who learns both naturally, but it is in a different Egg Group), which is a job for chain-breeding of Smeargle-breeding.
As for the moves that are not level-up related, there are some fairly difficult ones to get. One such move is Superpower, which is needed for anything that is weak to Fighting but not weak to Ground, such as other Dark-types. Another is Stealth Rock, if you want to take advantage of Krookodile’s offensive presence and Intimidate’s effect to scare away opponents. Both moves are available at a high cost of 10 shards each, of different colours. Bulk Up is another move worth mentioning, but it is a TM that requires either meeting one of the seven sages or purchase at the Stiraton Mart for a high price (80000 PokéDollars!). Earthquake is fortunately not an issue, because Sandile and co. learns it by level-up.
Krookodile is not exactly the best Pokémon out there due to its many weak fronts, but it has some distinguishing qualities that make it worth using. Its tribulations are also not very significant compared to many others, but then again, is Krookodile balanced? Yeah, it seems that way, because the moderate difficulty goes hand in hand with how Krookodile is a decent, if not great, choice for any team.
Verdict: Balanced [±0]
Zoroark was the first Generation 5 Pokémon to be introduced, making it very special. Even special is its signature ability Illusion, which gives off a thinly-veiled illusion that might fool the opponent. Its exclusive role makes Zoroark a unique battler indeed.
Besides the ability to fool the opponent with Illusion, Zoroark’s offensive stats are very good, as with its Speed. Along with that offensive presence, there are plenty of great attacks to choose from. This includes a choice of Dark-type STAB, Fighting coverage (Low Kick or Focus Blast), Flamethrower, Grass Knot and Hidden Power. You could even take advantage of a free turn to boost its Attack or Special Attack, thanks to Swords Dance and Nasty Plot respective. Besides that, there are some utility moves you could use. U-turn allows Zoroark to keep its feint a little longer, Substitute for some safety, and Trick to surprise the opponent with an item they can’t put to good use. With Illusion, you would probably want to have a good teammate to keep the disguise. Ideally, they are not weak to Rock and they are vulnerable to Spikes, which is not a difficult task. For example, your opponent sees a Celebi and thought it’s good to use their Landorus to U-turn out since the latter is faster, only to be hit by Hidden Power Ice by Zoroark first!
If you don’t take Illusion into account, Zoroark would be more vulnerable. That’s because its defences won’t forgive even a neutral hit. Not only that, the opponent would have figured a way around Zoroark if its disguise is known, making it more manageable. In that case, they could use a faster Pokémon to counter Zoroark if it does not have a Choice Scarf, or perhaps put a Fighting-type in the spotlight since they resist Sucker Punch and hit hard with their STAB attack.
It’s time we see what makes Zoroark troublesome to find. You see, Zoroark was a target for promotion in a pre-Generation 5 movie, so it was found in a unique way. Basically, you need to have all three Crown Beasts (shiny Raikou, Entei and Suicune), send them to Black or White, then go to Lostlorn Forest to engage in battle with a seemingly normal person (which is a Zoroark in disguise). It has a moderately low catch rate, so it’s hard when your current progress is in the middle of your quest. Fortunately, this is a female Zoroark, because you could breed for more, which encouraged the need to give other people the Zorua species because they weren’t freely available. Such a unique method is sadly not possible now, because the events had expired. If you got the Celebi from that movie event (the one that knew Nasty Plot), then there is a similarly silent boy in Black and White who will react to you if that specific Celebi is in the party. This is a male Zorua, but the difference is that you don’t need to battle it. With a simple Pokéball, you will easily grab it. Still, Zorua’s high male ratio will leave you breeding for a female species for a while.
Fortunately, you don’t need any events in the latest games, because N’s Zorua is available, given by one of the Seven Sages after his defeat. Because it is owned by N, it is easy to breed because of its status as a foreign owner. That’s not the only perk with N’s Zorua. Its IVs are 30 all around (giving it a max power Hidden Power Fighting), and it has a Hasty nature, which is a pretty compatible nature for a mixed attacker. However, it doesn’t come with Egg Moves. Some of the Egg Moves are OK, with Extrasensory, Counter, Detect and Memento having their own uses. If you want them, you can always count on Smeargle.
Compared to Lucario, Zoroark’s tribulations are lighter. That’s not to say that Zoroark got off lightly, because there are still some rough edges to go through, especially in regards to breeding. Zoroark is generally more difficult to use because it is reliant on its illusion to make full use of what it could do for the team, as otherwise it is more easily dealt with. However, that’s what makes Zoroark very good in the first place, so Zoroark is considered balanced because its abilities matches well with its difficulties.
Verdict: Balanced [±0]
The next Pokémon we’ll be investigating is Galvantula. Based on its appearance, it has a predictable Bug/Electric-type, which is good because we never had this type combination before. It’s interesting that Galvantula happens to have the smallest pre-evolution yet. Yep, Joltik is definitely agreed to be quite a cutie, even cuter than a real spiderling.
Galvantula’s type combination is generally good. Defensively, Ground and Flying are neutral to it, due to the negation of weaknesses. In terms of STAB, it is not resisted by a mono-type, and Galvantula’s got strong moves to work with. Because of this, Galvantula is mainly used as a Special attacker because it has great Speed and decent Special Attack. Bug Buzz is awesome because it’s a high-powered attack that has a chance of lowering Special Defence, while its choice of an Electric attack is interesting. You see, Galvantula has Compound Eyes to work with, essentially boosting Thunder to 91% accuracy under normal conditions. This makes Galvantula more powerful than its Special Attack suggest, which makes Galvantula stand out from its Bug kin. If you want some coverage, which you no doubt would appreciate, carry Energy Ball or Giga Drain, for some insurance against Rock- and Ground-types. After that, Hidden Power coverage would suffice, with Ground being the most ideal for hitting other types, although Ice and Fire do have their own uses. On the Physical side, Galvantula notably has Sucker Punch, which is nice to get a first strike when the opponent least suspect it.
One of Galvantula’s flaws is its defences. It may be fast, but it doesn’t have the defences to take a strong neutral hit. However, it does have some good resistances to fall back on (Fighting and Grass being the main ones), so that’s good. Still, it is weak to Fire and Rock, so Stealth Rock will hurt Galvantula, especially if you used it for a hit-and-run user (it learns Volt Switch, after all). Galvantula’s power is not necessarily dangerous, so a Special wall would do great in ensuring that Galvantula won’t try to dish out too much damage. Another thing that troubles Galvantula is paralysis, so avoid them if you could.
Galvantula’s tribulations are not as big as most of the list here, because it doesn’t come to perseverance, but mostly luck. Galvantula is not naturally available, so search for Joltik in the Chargestone cave. However, it has two abilities: Unnerve and Compound Eyes. The latter is what you want, because it is more useful, although Unnerve has its use in Doubles to negate crucial berries (especially the damage reduction berries). After that, you will need Hidden Power, because Galvantula’s coverage requires Hidden Power. This, of course, is up to luck because IVs are a difficult thing to manipulate. Beyond that, Giga Drain is an expensive move to learn, but it is worth the trouble if you think Energy Ball is not for you. Finally, Bug Buzz is a high-leveled move, while Thunder requires you to spend a good amount of money to buy the TM.
That is all. In terms of Egg Moves, there isn’t anything attractive since they are all mainly Physical attacks that Galvantula doesn’t benefit from. But then, does that mean Galvantula is balanced? Hard to say. Sure it is easy to get, but it’s not likely that you will get the best Galvantula without some sacrifices or luck. Therefore, I think that Galvantula is balanced.
Verdict: Balanced [±0]
Ah... Braviary. It looks so strong, yet doesn’t quite have the same impact despite its looks. It’s really a pity, because Braviary deserved better, unlike Staraptor. I would not have mind it if some of Braviary’s tribulations are transferred to Staraptor, to be honest. Yes, I haven’t covered them yet, but it’s something I thought of. As usual, we start things off with what makes Braviary great.
Braviary’s Attack is very good, and combined with its three main attacks (Brave Bird, Superpower and Return), packs a mean punch. One could opt to use a Choice Band to capitalise on the power of these moves, or a Choice Scarf for a Speed advantage. In that case, U-turn is a suitable fourth move. Sheer force isn’t the only thing going for Braviary. It also gets Bulk Up, which goes hand-in-hand with Braviary’s bulk, Substitute and/or Roost to keep Braviary up longer, leaving with either one or two attacks to make good use with. Having Defiant means that Intimidate is not an effective way to neuter Braviary, or if you want to use Rock Slide, Sheer Force boost it, but that’s the only move that takes advantage of this ability.
It’s true that Braviary is a powerful threat, but it has a few issues. First and foremost is that Rock weakness, so if you are not being a bulky booster, this could be a problem. Anything faster or physically bulky that could hit super-effectively are decent answers to Braviary, considering how Braviary’s not that frail. So, something like Steelix or Manectric could be trouble, as long as they avoid one of Braviary’s powerful attacks. As powerful as Braviary is, it is not very difficult to stop.
Braviary is conceived as a late-game Pokémon. As a version exclusive Pokémon, Braviary is only available in White, where you only find Rufflet after Opelucid. This makes for an unfeasible choice in-game because of its relatively low level. To elaborate on why this is unfeasible, look no further at its evolution level. Yep, Braviary is another Pokémon that evolves very late (Level 54!). What makes this worse is the fact that it levels up at a slower pace, making it tedious to use Braviary as an in-game star. Its only noteworthy ability Sheer Force is hampered by the fact that it doesn’t have many moves to take advantage of the power boost (Rock Slide and Crush Claw are the main Physical ones).
It seems that the designers had caught on with how absurd it is to raise Braviary in White, so they made things easier for us by making Braviary appear at Route 4 on Mondays in the sequel, and it even comes with the superior Defiant! As Braviary cannot breed for more of its species, there is no worry for Egg Moves, although the fact that it cannot even get them or pass Defiant to Rufflet in the form of Hustle is a letdown.
Braviary even has difficulty learning some of its best moves. Brave Bird is available only at a very high level (63), while Superpower won’t be available when Rufflet evolved, because this move is learned earlier than the evolution (51). Bulk Up is more of a late-game TM that is either out of the way post game, or very expensive. Roost cost shards, but it's not too difficulte to learn.
With so many factors that go against Braviary in order to fully enjoy the fruits, it feels like more effort than it’s worth. No doubt that Braviary is powerful, but it is more easily stopped because its Speed is easily outmatched. It is quite bulky, but it is vulnerable to Stealth Rock and some powerful attacks that Braviary is weak to. Unfortunately, Braviary is not very balanced, which is too bad, because this Pokémon looks magnificent. Hopefully GameFreak finds more ways to make Braviary either more accessible or more powerful, and White 2 is a step in the right direction.
Verdict: Somewhat Balanced [-2]
* For this article, I will call Meloetta a “she”, unlike the more commonly used “it”.
Finally, the last Pokémon that will be covered is one of the four event Legendaries (not three; no idea why Victini is usually left out). Meloetta unfortunately sees the least use among the four of them, since she* is not part of a main film. She doesn’t seem to be very popular, although it does have some fans, due to her form-changing nature, spawning some fan-made forms, including a form that resembles Hatsune Miku (it’s really out there).
Meloetta’s stats are skewed towards the Special side, making her a powerful Special attacker. Thankfully, there are plenty of options to choose from, including Psychic, Hyper Voice, Focus Blast and Thunderbolt. This allows Meloetta to use a Calm Mind set to amplify those stats, or perhaps use a Choice Specs or Choice Scarf for a more direct approach (Meloetta also gets Trick too). Some of these Special attacks have the benefit of having a secondary effect, which goes well with Serene Grace, so a Thunder will paralyse the opponent 60% of the time. Not bad! If offence is not your type, then you could attempt a Special Defensive approach, taking advantage of Perish Song’s countdown or Thunder Wave (or Toxic) to discourage opponents from setting up. Unfortunately, Meloetta doesn’t learn Reflect, because she would love to have the option to use dual screens.
Perhaps an interesting move that Meloetta only learns is Relic Song. This move is not normally strong, but it has a powerful effect. Not only does it have a chance to put the opponent to sleep, it turns Meloetta into her Pirouette form. In this form, Meloetta becomes a Normal/Fighting-type, and her stats are swapped around. Attack and Speed become the highest stats, but her Special Attack and Special Defence became lower. Still, this make Meloetta a Physical sweeper, and thankfully, there are very good moves to use. Close Combat is the main one, and then there’s Shadow Claw to cover anything that resists Fighting. You could even cover both Physical and Special sides with this form-changing move so that you have an answer to whatever your opponent brings in, including a chance to put something to Sleep.
Unfortunately, while Pirouette form is very useful, it doesn’t activate easily. Any Ghost-type could prevent the transformation, disrupting the strategy (it's worse if Meloetta is stuck in Pirouette form). Even then, the Pirouette form has to contend with her lesser Special Defence and weakness to Fighting (and to a lesser extent, Flying, but this form is faster than Tornadus). The opposite is true for her Aria form, because in that form, it’s the physical Defence that is lower. This makes Meloetta extra susceptible to Bug and Dark, both normally Physical offensive types. Basically, anything fast that hits her super-effectively would be trouble to her.
Like Victini, Meloetta is an event Pokémon. Meloetta is associated with the 15th Movie for starring in one of the segments. The ones in Japan and Taiwan are already over, leaving only South Korea with Meloetta available at theatres (it seems to be the only place available, as far as I know) until the end of February 2013. Because of how difficult it is to get Meloetta, you should attempt to download one if you get the chance to, because who know? You may not have another chance to do it. The Meloetta you get this way is Level 15, which is a bit low. It levels up quite slow, so be mindful of this.
Meloetta’s wide movepool would leave you spoilt for choice, as you could learn them through Move Tutor or TMs. Of course, you only learn the right moves depending on what kind of role Meloetta should perform. Strangely, Meloetta’s signature move is not learned normally. Instead, you need to go to Castelia City’s Café Sonata to find the tutor. Its two best moves, Perish Song and Close Combat, are learned at high levels.
Generally, it is difficult to gauge the balance of an event Pokémon, because on one hand, it is easily available if it happens to be up for distribution, but on the other hand, it cannot be accessed during other times. For the most part, I consider Event Pokémon balanced because they are fateful encounters that are very useful in battling.
Verdict: Balanced [±0]
And that's a wrap, for now. Now, there is some news. There is something I had in my mind for quite some time: do exclusively legendary Pokémon. Therefore, for the next five articles, each representing a Generation, I will be covering as many legendary Pokémon as possible. Next time, all five legendaries will be covered, but that’s not really enough, is it? Because of this, you get to vote for only one or two non-legendary Pokémon from Generation 1. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.
Thanks for reading.
Chosen Pokémon that have been done (meaning, they can't be picked):
- Alakazam, Gengar, Machamp, Cloyster & Gyarados
- Ninetales, Starmie, Tauros, Snorlax & Dragonite
- Venusaur, Slowbro, Jynx, Ditto & Vaporeon
- Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos, Mewtwo & Mew (They haven’t been done yet, but their inclusion is guaranteed in the next one)
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