Tribulations of Great Pokémon 3
by, 9th August 2011 at 12:44 PM (426 Views)
It’s honestly been a long time since my last one, but here you go: the latest “Tribulations of Great Pokémon”, Generation 3 edition! Now we look at five more reader-chosen competitively-great Pokémon and explain why they are great, along with the challenges in raising them, because if you play on a simulator, you won’t experience any of the possible hardships in raising them. Without further ado, we shall see who the next five Pokémon are. Get ready...
Well, the first order of the day is Blaziken, the fan-favourite fiery fowl! So, let’s cut to the chase on Blaziken’s merits. Blaziken is a very offensive Pokémon, who not only has high offensive stats, but has the moves to take advantage of them to effectively be a threat, with the popular ones being Flare Blitz, Fire Blast, Hi Jump Kick and Stone Edge. While this merit is great, Blaziken was set back by the existence of Infernape, who was faster despite having less power, effectively causing Blaziken to only shine where the most used Pokémon weren’t allowed. Do note that Blaziken got Agility too, despite it using up one moveslot. This changed when he got a special and shiny new ability from Dream World: Speed Boost. There were numerous Speed Boosters, but Blaziken is the one that stood out from the rest. Why? Blaziken has the combination of power and the ability to boost it, which other Pokémon don’t have, as they only have one of the components (Sharpedo and Yanmega for the former, Ninjask for the latter). Whenever there’s Sun, that’s even better! It’s this combination that is the reason Blaziken is banned from Standard Play, because if the opponent gave Blaziken the opportunity, they will not be able to save their team from probably what is the equivalent of a Cucco attack (unless they have a select few Pokémon that can bravely stand to him).
Blaziken’s drawbacks include the weakness to Water and Ground, both pretty common offensive types. The big one is Water, because Aqua Jet can get past the increasing Speed, which is why Azumarill was popular when Blaziken was around, as it has the strongest Aqua Jet. Another drawback is Blaziken’s initial Speed. Base 80 is the average speed, which means that without Speed Boost, Blaziken is not quite fast. Also, the drawback meant that players need to send in their Choice Scarf Pokémon to get to Blaziken while it accumulates a boost, otherwise Blaziken will often move first. Alternatively, you can use a weather-based Pokémon too, like Sawsbuck in the Sun and Excadrill in Sandstorm, which gives you time to get it done.
The main setback is getting one with Speed Boost. You see, you don’t get Dream World Pokémon right off the bat (except Musharna and Darmanitan). You have to actually get them from the Dream World. There are some Pokémon who are obtainable easily like Tangela and Bidoof, but special Pokémon like Blaziken are, well, special, so he is obtained through special means. What is it, you might ask? You see, you need to buy a strategy guide, which contains a special password that grants you one of the Hoenn base form starters with a special ability. Because the Torchic provided this way is always male, you cannot have unlimited Speed Boost Torchic ripe for the picking, meaning no Egg Moves are legal yet, unlike Eevee. Therefore, Baton Pass Blaziken has to wait. I do need to mention that Baton Pass is a very good move on Blaziken because it can get out if he’s threatened, meaning the recipient benefits from those boosts too!
Blaziken is a starter Pokémon. In its face value, it’s not a bad thing, because you can easily obtain them, but you have to choose Torchic to get Blaziken or else you can’t have Blaziken. Also, all starter Pokémon has a slim chance of being female, with one out of eight occurrences on average. With a slim chance of getting a female Torchic, you need to keep breeding until for a female before you can gain access to Egg Moves. Fortunately for Blaziken, he’s in the Field Egg Group (and he’s a bird!), so that means you get to have any Egg Move that he learns, thanks to Smeargle. If you can’t have Blaziken, always remember to get one from another game or a friend who gladly offers one. Do remember that obtaining Torchic as a starter Pokémon in-game means that you only have the Blaze variety and not the Speed Boost one, and since Speed Boost is the way to make Blaziken stand out, it’s not advisable use this variety to compete with the big name elite Pokémon for there is still Infernape (unfortunately).
So, is Blaziken balanced? Right now, Blaziken is a balanced Pokémon. The best Blaziken can only be obtained through a special way; otherwise you will have an average Pokémon. If there are female versions of Speed Boost Blaziken, I can assure you that their owners will be very popular within the community. Of course, that makes Blaziken even better, but it still maintains the balanced factor of Blaziken, simply because it’s still not easy to obtain, unlike as a starter Pokémon.
One of the suggestions I receive is Claydol. While it’s not the strongest of the strongest as far as I can see here, it’s good to have an average Pokémon in the list once in a while. So, let’s look at what makes Claydol a good Pokémon. Firstly, Claydol has a unique resistance combination that allows it to resist both Rock and Ground attacks, allowing it to wall those with it, thanks to its pretty good defences, and not to mention being one of the special few that gets Cosmic Power. The high defences aren’t the only thing that Claydol can boast. In fact, Claydol’s Support movepool is also one of its attractions. As a Psychic-type, you can bet that the standard Psychic moves are there, like Reflect, Light Screen, Trick and Trick Room. With those, it’s clear that Claydol’s stats and movepool are quite compatible. Claydol also has the distinction of being a special Rapid Spinner, because unlike Cryogonal and Delibird, Claydol resists Rock in addition to immunity from Spikes and Toxic Spikes. Claydol can also put up a fight too with its good choice of attacks, particularly Earthquake, Earth Power, Ice Beam, Stone Edge, Psychic, Shadow Ball and Explosion.
Of course, Claydol has its own faults too. First of all, Claydol has six weaknesses, which is a lot. It’s even worse when all of them are viable offensive types, meaning that despite the blessing of resisting Rock and Ground (among others), Claydol has to watch out for the common dangers everywhere like Surf and Crunch. Claydol has another flaw as a wall. There’s one thing in common with Slowbro, Tangrowth, Hippowdon and Blissey as walls: all of them have their own form of self-recovery. You know what the flaw is: Claydol’s lack of self-recovery (Rest notwithstanding). This hinders its ability to wall strong Pokémon, since Claydol will eventually have to succumb to repeated assaults (and Claydol doesn’t always win the mano-a-mano with its lesser offences and Speed), and the walls I mentioned can last longer as walls because they have recovery. It is interesting to note that both Cryogonal and Delibird have self-recovery despite their weakness to Rock.
One thing I should mention is how Claydol was one of the better Pokémon back in its introduction, but in Generation 4, it became less popular, and in Generation 5, it was still the same: not so popular. Why is that? Well, in Generation 3, its defences were actually very good, so it can put its utility to good use. The weaknesses were also not so bad, as many Ghosts were Special (it was a Physical attack), Darks were mainly Physical (Dark was a Special attack), Bug and Grass usually have low Base Powered attacks, making Water and Ice the only main worries. Generation 4’s power level meant that Claydol wasn’t able to keep up with the times, simply because as mentioned, it didn’t have recovery. Not only that, Claydol has rivals who were simply better because of their type combination. Bronzong became the supporter of choice, while Forretress became the better Rapid Spinner. It didn’t help that Claydol’s six weaknesses were given a better offensive potential both directly and indirectly.
Back in Generation 3, it was quite hard to find a Baltoy, which Claydol started from. There was only one area to find a Baltoy then, and it was the desert Route. There is a one-in-ten chance to get it in Ruby and Sapphire, but a 24% chance in Emerald. You better have a floating Pokémon in the lead, because encountering Trapinch is more common, and if it has Arena Trap, it’s even more inconvenient. By the way, should you encounter a Baltoy with at least Level 19, luck is needed because they may blow up (that’s the level they get Self-Destruct). Generation 4 is no better, as you either need your older games (Diamond, Pearl and Platinum) or wait for a swarm to happen (HeartGold) to get one. In Generation 5, you need to travel many floors in the Relic Castle post-game and get to Volcarona for Claydol, but at least you will always encounter them there. Remember that Claydol has a lower catch rate than Baltoy’s maximum one, and it is generally at a high level there, so some patience may be necessary for capture.
The other tribulation is not much of a big deal, I think. To complete Claydol’s moveset, you usually need TMs or Move Tutors (Trick is the only notable move there) to do it, since some of the good moves originate from there. Psychic, Light Screen, Reflect, Stealth Rock, Ice Beam, Earthquake and Trick Room were the TMs, and the last three are especially hard to obtain. Of course, in Generation 5, TMs are not a problem anymore. Just a thought: when you caught Claydol in Relic Castle, make sure to get the Earthquake TM on your way out to the other exit if you haven’t got it already.
And...that’s it. They really only have two notable tribulation that I observed. I could mention that they are genderless (meaning no Egg Moves), but it doesn’t merit a paragraph for just that, since all I can say about it is the trouble you need to go to find a Ditto in order to get a breeding partner. As I have said, Claydol is a rather average Pokémon, so it’s really no surprise that it didn’t have a lot of necessary tribulations to overcome. It’s the reason I accentuated more on its characteristics in this section. So, do I think Claydol is a balanced Pokémon? Yes, definitely. Claydol was not as easily available earlier on and some of its moves are not easily learned, but it was a great Pokémon at that time. The current times made it more convenient when Claydol is not as great as it once was, so it makes collecting the Pokémon for the PokéDex easier.
Salamence is a pseudo-legendary, and by that definition, it is a powerful Pokémon. So, what’s the great thing about Salamence? First of all, Salamence is a very capable attacker, with excellent Attack and great Special Attack, and good Speed too! As Salamence is a Dragon, you can bet that it is a blessing, because Dragon is a great offensive type. That’s not all: Salamence is capable of learning some potent attacks as well, particularly Flamethrower or Fire Blast, Earthquake and Hydro Pump. Of course, let’s not forget that Salamence has Dragon Dance, allowing its threat level to rise after each use, and Intimidate can help in making sure Salamence is able to grab a boost. If you want, you can carry some useful yet surprising moves like Dragon Tail and Roost for unique strategies. There’s not much to say here, but then I don’t need to go into further detail on Salamence’s strength.
One of Salamence’s drawbacks is its lack of priority attacks. This is really crucial because Salamence is helpless against a powerful Ice Shard user, or even users who possess powerful priority attacks like ExtremeSpeed and Scizor’s Bullet Punch. Of course, the Ice weakness is a drawback as well because it’s a brilliant offensive type, so Salamence needs to watch out for quick Ice attackers like Starmie. Let’s not forget that the Rock weakness makes Stealth Rock a nuisance.
OK, time for tribulations. Every Salamence starts from a Bagon. As a pseudo-legendary, they are hard to find. You see, in Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald, Bagons are found deep in Meteor Falls, meaning you have to use Surf, Waterfall and a good sense of navigation to get there. In White, they are found in White Forest, where you don’t always get to find a Bagon anyway. Still, in Pearl and Platinum, you get to find Bagons with a PokéRadar, but you need to be lucky, as you have a 22% chance of finding them, and of course, the PokéRadar is post-game, so you can’t have the privilege of completing the game with Salamence. You can complete the Elite 4 the first time with Salamence in Ruby, Sapphire or Emerald, but by the time you get at that point, it’s already too late, because you might as well complete the game soon since Waterfall requires the completion of the 8th Gym, and as Bagon or Shelgon is a slow leveller, using your current party is generally better unless you really need to complete the game with Shelgon/Salamence.
Most of the great moves that Salamence learns are not level-up moves. In fact, the moves are usually from Move Tutors, TMs or a parent. Especially in Generation 3 and 4, gaining those moves can be quite troublesome because TMs were one-time. Flamethrower/Fire Blast, Stone Edge, Earthquake and Roost were some of the more notable TMs, and the last two are especially really rare. Dragon Dance is the notable Egg Move, and Outrage is the notable Move Tutor. Even Draco Meteor requires a happy Bagon/Shelgon/Salamence before it can be taught.
Say you want a Dragon Dance Salamence. Because Salamence is under the Dragon Egg Group, it is convenient to breed it, but keep in mind that the natural learners normally get the move in the mid-levels, so you have to really grind the learner to get that move (and they have to be a male too!). If you want some other goodies like Dragon Pulse or Hydro Pump, you can, but you have to find out who can get the combinations. The real trouble of this is actually the number of steps to hatch the egg. You need to take over ten thousand steps to hatch each Bagon egg, which is an inconvenience to check for the right nature because you have to search for so long. Well, what to do? Just ride a bike and carry a Flame Body/Magma Armour Pokémon to make things easier.
Is Salamence a balanced Pokémon? Hm... I think so. Typically, GameFreak does a great job balancing the pseudo-legendaries, with the possible exception of only one (you know who, right?), and so I laud them on that. Salamence is powerful for sure, but it’s not the best defensively despite Intimidate, thanks to both the Ice and Rock weakness and average defences, and it can be dealt with if done right. Before I end this, I like to mention that the family members all have different Hidden Abilities. How is this relevant? Because Tyranitar’s family is like this too (but their normal abilities are also all different). Just a trivia that nobody takes heed of, so that’s why I am throwing this here for fun.
Milotic is seen as a counterpart to Gyarados, who is more offensive compared to the more defensive, as Milotic’s best stat is Special Defence. The ability is also something to consider, because if Milotic is Poisoned, Paralysed, Burned or even Sleeping, then its Defence is improved, making Milotic even more resilient. Milotic is also one of the special Bulky Waters (basically they are Water Pokémon who specialise in their good defences and resistances) because it can Recover (Jellicent is the other notable one). If that’s not enough for you, this Pokémon can even cast Sleep on other Pokémon with Hypnosis (giving it time to recover the damage) or cancel boosts with Haze. Milotic thankfully has good Special Attack, allowing it to use Surf, Hydro Pump, Ice Beam and Hidden Power properly.
The future Generations are not that kind to Milotic, because of the overall power level. For example, Outrage and Draco Meteor are powerful moves, and that kind of dominance is bad for Milotic because it is not a Steel-type. Also, Life Orb is another item to watch out for, especially when used in conjunction with Electric attacks, since Milotic may not be able to wall it for long. However, Milotic is still able to withstand that kind of power level because its defences are still good and Recover is still up for usage. Even worse is that when Ferrothorn is introduced, Milotic is in even more trouble since the metal plant has a strong Power Whip! ...unless Scald is lucky to burn, that is.
Milotic has the weaknesses, but Electric is the worse one because with moves like Wild Charge and Thunderbolt (and Thunder), Milotic may not be able to stall that damage. While it’s worth noting that Milotic is one of the Mud Sport learners (through breeding), you don’t see people using that move all that often (because it takes up a moveslot, typically with the reason that it can be better used for other better moves). Milotic’s ability is good, that’s for sure, but you need to put it in a disadvantage for it to take effect. Burn and normal Poison are the lesser evils, since at the end of the day, Milotic still take less damage. Sleep requires either doing nothing or having a chance of choosing a wrong move, and Paralysis makes Milotic slower and may have a chance to do nothing. Of course, bad Poison is never good in any way for a wall.
If you ever want to find a Milotic, you will probably learn (and maybe be surprised) that you need a Feebas in order to evolve Milotic. Of course, this is all fine and dandy until you realise Feebas is a very rare find. Some other rare Pokémon relies on a very low percentage to find them like Chansey, but Feebas is different: it is only found in certain spots in its area, making the search all the harder. The good thing is that on those spots, Feebas are common, implying that instead of spreading out everywhere, they are schooled in those spots. You have to remember that the spots can be changed is certain things happen (In Generation 3, it changes when Dewford’s trendy phrase changed; in Generation 4, it changes every day), so you have to keep that in mind, because you will have to search for Feebas all over again if it happens. If you don’t like searching for a Feebas, there’s always finding someone to trade with. Luckily, finding Feebas in Unova is much easier than Sinnoh and Hoenn, because while it may still be rare, fishing in rippling waters nets a more common Feebas, and if you are lucky, you might even obtain a Milotic! Even better is that just fishing may have a rare Feebas, but it certainly is better than having random Feebas spots in previous games!
Evolving that Feebas was also such an ordeal. Feebas can never become a Milotic unless you fulfil a certain condition: Beauty. Yep, it’s one of those new evolution methods that are very hard to achieve, but at least it’s a condition that’s tied more to Special Attack, because a Feebas with a hindering nature in Special Attack will usually be counter-intuitive. Anyway, you have to find those berries and play those cooking minigames to get your candies, and you better be great at it if you want a greater raise on the Beauty stat. If you’re done, level up Feebas and you get a Milotic in return! Due to the non-existence of the Beauty stat in Generation 5, you need to evolve Feebas differently, which is a treat for those who don’t like the former method. By trading Feebas to another device with a Prism Scale, you get the evolution too. This is actually easier because getting this item is pretty easy compared to finding berries and turning it into nutrition by playing minigames. You don’t have to trade if you got your maxed-Beauty Feebas from an older game and evolve it, so the only reason you want to do this is to fill the PokéDex, not to mention it’s now possible evolve a Level 100 Feebas (it’s not likely you want to get a Feebas to Level 100, though).
So, is Milotic a balanced Pokémon after all these tribulations? I believe so. Milotic is a rather defensive Pokémon, which made it quite good back in those days when Spikes was the only form of entry hazard and the power levels weren’t that high. In Generation 5, I think GameFreak found out that the trouble players have to go to for a Milotic isn’t worth it, so they made it easier, which is a great thing, because at this time, Milotic is harder to justify its use if obtaining one is as hard as before. Don’t get me wrong: Milotic is still a great Pokémon, but there are greater Pokémon now that can be a hindrance to Milotic, like Ferrothorn and Thundurus. In the end though, Milotic is still a balanced Pokémon despite the lighter tribulations to overcome (I think...).
Our next entrant is also a pseudo-legendary like Salamence, meaning that this Generation gave us two pseudo-legendaries! As a pseudo-legendary, you can bet that Metagross is already destined for greatness, and we shall see why. First of all, Metagross has a great stat distribution, with great Attack and Defence, average stats elsewhere, although its Speed is low. However, you can easily remedy this by using Agility or Rock Polish, which Metagross learns. Let’s not forget Metagross’ various Physical attacks, which it can easily use with its great Attack, like the elemental Punches, Earthquake, Stone Edge and so on. With those attacks, you cannot forget that it has some pretty good support options too. Metagross is a Psychic, so it has Trick, Light Screen, Reflect and Gravity at its disposal. Don’t forget Stealth Rock, which Metagross can use to great effect thanks to the good Defences, type combination and of course, useful moves to use along with it like Bullet Punch and Explosion. Sadly, in Generation 5, the one-for-one strategy with Explosion is not that useful anymore. All in all, Metagross is incredibly versatile at its flexible roles.
As for Metagross’ drawbacks, the first problem is the weaknesses. Fire and Ground are great offensive types, and Metagross hates them because both of them are useful offensive types. Fire especially is a problem, because as a dominantly Special offensive type, it does more damage to Metagross due to its lesser Special Defence. Metagross may have great Defence, but due to the lack of instant recovery, Metagross will hate the repeated Ground attacks. Metagross’ other problem is its slowness, preventing it from initiating the first strike most of the time when it needs to, especially against powerhouses like Garchomp and Darmanitan. The slowness meant that a faster Ground attack will not allow Metagross to escape the attack with Magnet Rise the first time (and it occupies a moveslot as well). Of course, being a Steel-type, Magnezone or Magneton can trap Metagross should it use a resisted move, and it will be in trouble if the trapper is faster, because if Magnet Rise is used, then Metagross is almost helpless (Earthquake is usually the choice of move to remove them).
Tribulation time! I am looking forward to writing about this one, so let’s get on with it. First of all, Metagross is generally not obtained straight off the bat. You have to train its pre-pre-evolution Beldum. You may be thinking: “Sure, every other Pokémon has pre-evolutions that require training, and Beldum’s no different, so it should be easy”. However, training Beldum is not going to be a walk in the park. Why? Beldum only has one attack, which is Take Down. Because the move is suicidal, repeated use of the move is not recommended for training because eventually Beldum will wear itself down (Leftovers can be used if you want to remedy this in a way). Unlike Abra, you cannot use TMs or Egg Moves to remedy this because Beldum can’t learn them. Only Move Tutors can do the trick, but it’s not a recommended option, as both Zen Headbutt and Iron Defence are level-up moves (and they can be costly), but you may learn Headbutt, since it’s a free and reusable Move Tutor. Beldum is also a relatively slow leveller too, but the good thing is that like Magikarp, it evolves at Level 20, and as a Metang, it learns more useful moves.
With this drawback, you may have considered catching a Metagross straight, but this is also another challenge. It may not be apparent if you never play the game or even catch one, but Metagross has a very, very, very low catch rate. In fact, if you think Mewtwo is hard to catch, you will be in for a surprise because Metagross is just as hard to catch. This is actually a very surprising thing, because other pseudo-legendaries are actually easier to capture (15 times easier, actually). You will probably have the logic that pre-evolutions are easier to capture, which is true usually, because most Pokémon are like that. Thing is, like the other pseudo-legendaries, their catch rate never changes despite evolution. You know what this means right? Beldum also has a very, very, very low catch rate. What’s even worse is that as stated, Beldum is suicidal, so your best bet in allowing it to stay longer is to bring a Ghost, because Take Down is a Normal attack, so Beldum will not harm itself repeatedly that way. With this consideration, you better be grateful that Steven gives you a Beldum for free.
Before I forget, I should also mention that Beldum is normally obtained post-game, where it is available in Steven’s house when you are done with the Elite 4, a distant route in Sinnoh and a previously inaccessible location in Unova until the Elite 4 is beaten for example. Unless you trade Beldum to a new game (be wary of disobedience in that case), you don’t have the chance to get a Beldum during your first play-through. I think the only way to get Beldum besides trading it is through the PokéWalker route, but the route is the Winner’s Path, a downloadable event that expired. So yeah, Metagross is one of those post-game Pokémon that you don’t normally get the chance to try out in the main quest.
Rarity is another thing. They are not easy to find. You can only encounter Beldum in a Swarm in Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, and in Black and White, the chance of meeting a Metang is 10% in grass, and a 5% chance of meeting a Metagross in the rustling ones (Another reason to be grateful for Steven’s gift). Because of how hard it is to catch one, you will probably resort in breeding to get more Beldum, preferably one with the best nature and the best possible IVs. However, just like other pseudo-legendaries, Beldum takes a very long time to hatch, so better bring your Flame Body/Magma Armour Pokémon once again.
Well, it is safe to say that Metagross is balanced, because obtaining and training Metagross requires the trainer to go through such adversities that Metagross seems like it deserves being called a pseudo-legendary. I can imagine that if not in the games, a trainer that trains the strong Metagross will be well-respected due to the difficulties they need to face, like Steven, I guess. In short, Metagross is hard to train, but it’s worth it.
I realise that this one took a long time to be published after the last one, because of some work I am supposed to do at this time (not done yet). I think this is a pretty well done article, because I felt that it took a lot of energy to get done. Next time, we look at the great Pokémon in Generation 4, and as usual, which five (great in competitive battling) Pokémon do you want to see reviewed in the future? Post in the comments so I may look at them when the time comes. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing them.
Thanks for reading.
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