Tribulations of Great Pokémon 7
by, 11th January 2012 at 10:00 AM (460 Views)
Here we are again, in the next part for Tribulations of Great Pokémon. Our coverage today includes different Generation 2 Pokémon from the last time I covered them (where I covered Scizor, Skarmory, Wobbuffet, Blissey and Tyranitar). The gist of each article is to take five different Pokémon that are great in competitive battling and explore the difficulties in raising them. Realistically, you can’t experience the difficulties in bringing up a Pokémon in simulators, and it is only until you try to bring that Pokémon up on your own that you will find out that it’s not that easy to raise the Pokémon you might find works well in competitive battling. With that, let’s see what I have chosen for this article...
The first Pokémon we start with happens to also be one of the earlier Johto Pokémon, because with a Good Rod available quite early (by the fifth Gym), you can proceed to try your luck at catching Chinchou. It’s also funny how your catch isn’t far off to the evolution, but I guess that’s how the way it is. So, moving on, we now see why Lanturn’s a great Pokémon. In the early Generations, Lanturn has a unique type combination of Water and Electric, which is great offensively, because a Water-type that learns either an Electric attack or a Grass attack is truly a scary thought for other Water-types. With Hydro Pump and Thunder, Lanturn’s can pose a threat in the Rain. As with the conventional Water-type, it learns Ice attacks to put Grass-types and Dragon-types in place. While it has some great coverage, it can opt for a defensive playstyle with attacks that puts it at an advantage, namely Scald for Burns and Volt Switch to scout for a switch. Lanturn also has the distinction of resisting both Electric and Ice, which is a rare trait amongst any Pokémon, thanks to its useful ability Volt Absorb. The recovery is truly a blessing, because Lanturn can’t directly recover its health with a move (Rest notwithstanding). As a bonus, it renders Volt Switch useless, giving you a free turn. With Heal Bell and Thunder Wave, Lanturn can be a supporter.
It’s not always a bed of roses for Lanturn, however. Lanturn’s stats are considered subpar, because despite having a very high HP, it doesn’t have much in others, especially Attack and Defence. It’s true that you can build your defences to be better, but it might not survive hard-hitting attacks, like Earthquake and Power Whip. Another type of Pokémon that threatens Lanturn is the one that resists its attacks, so things like a Grass-type with high Special Defence or Water-types that are not weak to Electric are good candidates (yes, this includes Lanturn itself). Another thing that hurts Lanturn is that because Rotom-W has the same type combination (in a different order), Lanturn is not as good, because Rotom-W has better qualities than Lanturn, particularly higher Special Attack, Speed and an immunity to Ground (however, Lanturn still, poses a threat to Starmie, which counts for something). Basically, Lanturn struggles against a strong attacker or a great wall (or both).
The first thing you might notice about Lanturn is its level-up rate. Both Chinchou and Lanturn are under the “Slow” level up rate, which is troublesome in-game because in Johto, experience is relatively hard to accumulate (more so among party members), so it’s probably not the wisest idea to use Chinchou, unless you want to (or if it’s your HM Slave). Having a slow level up rate means level-up moves are more troublesome to get, and this family learns a few great moves at high levels. Because Chinchou evolves relatively early (Level 27), that means you need to earn more levels to learn those moves. The main culprit in this category is Hydro Pump, which is always learnt at a high level, meaning that you might usually settle for Surf because it’s more useful and adequately powerful. The other two moves worth noting are Discharge and Signal Beam, because both can be useful in-game, especially because Thunderbolt is a hard-to-get TM before Generation 5.
If you are planning to catch Chinchou or Lanturn, make sure you are catching one with Volt Absorb, because that is the ability that differentiates Lanturn from other Pokémon. Fortunately, when catching it, you can sample each Pokémon with a good old fashioned Electric attack. However, when it comes to breeding, the 50:50 chance can be a dreaded thing to deal with, when the other ability (Illuminate) is hardly useful in competitive battling.
Before Generation 5, TMs were disposable. Lanturn’s main moves are from TMs that are rare. For example, Thunderbolt and Ice Beam were Game Corner TMs, Water Pulse was a one-time TM found in your quest (although you can inherit this move by breeding now), Charge Beam was a Gym reward and Thunder Wave is bought at the Battle Tower or Frontier (meaning you need Battle Points to get each of them). A Move Tutor you would like to consider for Lanturn is Heal Bell, because as a defensive Pokémon, being able to use your free turn to recover from status is big for the more offensive Pokémon.
Lanturn doesn’t have many tribulations to overcome, but it doesn’t really need that many. It’s not the most spectacular Pokémon out there with its exploitable drawbacks, but it does have some qualities that allow it to stand out as an option for your team. Because of this, I think Lanturn is balanced.
Verdict: Balanced (±0)
Espeon & Umbreon
Now for something completely different. Instead of covering either one of the pair, I decided to cover both of them. Why? Both of them have similar tribulations, even though they are great in different ways (besides, both of them have the same number of votes). So, let’s break into how Espeon and Umbreon are great.
Espeon’s stats are in such a way that makes him ideal for attacking on the Special side, with a very high Special Attack and great Speed. However, what set Espeon back in those days was that Alakazam and Azelf are simply better Pokémon in terms of offense. Alakazam has higher Special Attack and Speed, while Azelf has a high Attack and better Speed in addition to Levitate. Espeon does have something both of them don’t: Baton Pass. With it, he can use it with Calm Mind and Substitute to pass it when the time is right. Alakazam may have gotten a wonderful upgrade known as Magic Guard, but Espeon obtained a very exclusive ability: Magic Bounce. This is a godsend for Espeon, because it gave way to a more reliable Baton Pass team, since Roar and Whirlwind cannot disrupt the chain anymore. The advantage extends to reflecting entry hazards, so if you sense your opponent taking advantage of your vulnerability like Skarmory, bring in Espeon to reflect their Status move! You can take advantage of your boosts too, because Stored Power allows you to unleash a powerful Psychic fury!
Espeon’s problems involve its relatively shallow movepool, as he doesn’t have many moves, so its versatility is more limited, but if you have Magic Bounce, you ought to be useful in some way. Espeon’s Physical frailty can be a problem as well, so watch out for moves like Pursuit or Shadow Sneak!
Umbreon is a defensive behemoth, possessing great defensive stats, so it ought to be able to take a lot of hits. It has recovery as well (Moonlight and Wish), which is always great for a wall. Its defences allow it to be annoying, so one way of utilising it is to use Curse while maximising Special Defence and using a relatively powerful attack like Payback (because you are going to be slower, it should do more damage). Another tactic (that lacks sportsmanship) is the Double Team and Toxic manoeuvre, although it has its problems like Steel-types. Another thing that Umbreon used to be able to do was to use Baton Pass and Mean Look, because the trapping effect could be passed, allowing Umbreon to switch into something that takes advantage of the trapped Pokémon.
Umbreon suffers from the advent of strong Fighting attacks these days, because its great defences cannot keep up with the sheer power of those moves, meaning that it became less and less useful. Umbreon also couldn’t do much to any Steel-type or Dark-type, because it doesn’t have a useable Fighting-type attack to scare them. The biggest issue with Umbreon that hampers its niche is the fact that trapping effects cannot be passed now, so the Mean Look + Baton Pass combo can’t work.
Both of these Pokémon actually share some tribulations because they are made with the same evolution method and similar concept in mind. The first thing about them is their evolution. To evolve them, you need to raise Eevee’s happiness to a very high level, in which he will evolve. However, you need to time your evolution right so that he evolves into the right Pokémon. Evolve during the day to get Espeon, and evolve at night for Umbreon. To be on the safe side, evolve when the time is certainly day or night, because the evolution is determined by the clock. You can’t evolve Eevee this way in FireRed and LeafGreen, due to the lack of an in-game clock. By the way, before you proceed to evolve, keep in mind that Eevee only learns Baton Pass, so if you want it, stave off the evolution until you learn it, because none of the Eeveelutions learn this move.
Eevee is a largely prized Pokémon. In Gold and Silver (and the remakes), you receive this Pokémon from Bill or exchange 6,666 coins at the Game Corner for one. In Sinnoh, Bebe will only give you an Eevee if you received the National Dex (obtained by meeting every Pokémon on the Sinnoh Dex at least once each), but in Platinum, because Eevee is part of the Sinnoh Dex, that won’t be necessary. However, the ones that you are probably interested in are the ones with their Dream World ability. You can get an Eevee at the Pokémon Café Forest in the Dream World, which is an event that you will not see anymore, since it’s gone. Anyway, this is the only way you can get Espeon with Magic Bounce and Umbreon with Inner Focus, both great abilities for them. If you need an Eevee with Anticipation (his Dream World ability), ask around for one! I am sure there are people who would be happy to breed you one.
Speaking of breeding, Eevee is a dominantly male Pokémon, so it may take a lot of tries to get a female Eevee. A female Eevee is important because you can get to breed the Dream World ability if she has one, but the most important thing with them is that you can get to breed for more Eevees for your collection. Egg moves are also another thing you want. For Espeon, you probably want Stored Power, but for Umbreon, you probably want Wish (chain breed without Smeargle), Curse and Yawn. Umbreon seems to have the more troublesome moves to get through breeding, I must say. However, Heal Bell is immensely useful for Umbreon, so you might stick to Synchronise since this move is a HeartGold and SoulSilver move tutor.
It’s funny that while Espeon was less useful early on, it becomes more useful now. The opposite is true for Umbreon, who was useful early on, but not so much now. It’s like their usage balances them out, but that makes their contrasts more significant. Anyway, are they balanced? Yes, they are. Espeon needs his Dream World ability to be useful, and obtaining Eevee this way is harder. Umbreon doesn’t need his Dream World ability, but his Egg Moves are harder to get. In addition to that, their usefulness makes up for their relatively small movepool.
Verdict: Balanced (±0)
Forretress is one of the most famous Pokémon in competitive battling, and for good reason. As a Pokémon capable of placing all forms of entry hazards (Spikes, Toxic Spikes and Stealth Rock), this is the area that Forretress is quite versatile in. Besides generating entry hazards, Forretress is also able to spin them away thanks to Rapid Spin. With its great Defence, this is not that hard to do, and the makes Forretress a perfect candidate to take a Dragon-type attack and place entry hazards or spin them away. For some bizarre reason, Forretress also learns Volt Switch, which is not so strong on Forretress, but it allows Forretress to escape some potentially bad match-ups and more importantly, Magnet Pull. If you don’t need those attacks, then you can try out another strong attack, like Gyro Ball, Earthquake or Payback (not as useful anymore because it doesn’t do double damage on a switch-in). In Generation 5, Forretress can now use Sturdy to protect it from a KO, which it can always take advantage of, although its lack of recovery might mean it can’t do much after that (it can learn Pain Split, but it’s rarely a must-have option). Forretress might also make good use of Gravity, so if you want, you can try it in non-Single battles. If you also want, you can even use Reflect and Light Screen, which it can surprisingly learn.
If there’s one giant flaw with Forretress, it’s the Fire weakness. As such, Forretress might be struggling with Fire-types or Pokémon who can learn Fire attacks. If a Dragon-type can learn a Fire attack like Salamence and Hydreigon, Forretress also needs to be careful with them because while it can tank a Dragon attack, it can’t do it on a Fire attack. Its low Special Defence is also another big flaw, especially in the face of Water and Electric attacks (and Fire too, of course), since they are almost always Special attacks. If it’s Raining, Forretress might have a weakened Fire weakness, but the Water “weakness” will be too much. Forretress is also quite slow, so a Pokémon who can easily Taunt Forretress will be at an advantage, especially a Ghost-type like Jellicent, because it can spin away hazards or place them.
With the introduction of Ferrothorn, Forretress has met its match. Ferrothorn’s main advantages over Forretress is a more reliable recovery (Leech Seed is better than Pain Split, right?), resistance to Water, Electric and Rock (making it great at dealing with Rain teams), higher Special Defence and powerful STABs (Gyro Ball usually hits for high power because Ferrothorn is much slower; Power Whip is great for those Water-types). Still, Forretress has its own advantages over Ferrothorn, like higher Defence, Ice resistances and neutrality to Fighting, Toxic Spikes, switch-out attacks, and of course, Rapid Spin.
So with this, what are Forretress’ tribulations? First, you must catch a Pineco. You never meet a Forretress in the wild, so you need Pineco. The main way to find a Pineco is to use Headbutt on a tree in Kanto or Johto, but Pineco is an uncommon find (, so you might not find Pineco on your first try. In Emerald, Pineco is available in the extended portions of the Safari Zone, where it’s also rare to meet one (5%). To find a Pineco in Sinnoh, Emerald needs to be a dongle for your games. In Unova, Pineco is available as a Swarm, which means you don’t always get to find Pineco. If you meet a Pineco, that’s great, but here comes another challenging part: pay attention to Pineco’s level. Why do I advise you to do this? Because Pineco can learn Self-Destruct at a low level! In Gold, Silver and Crystal, you can catch a Pineco at level 10, but it only has three moves, so you have a 33% chance of losing your find. You didn’t have Damp or Taunt to prevent that from happening, so Sleep was the only option. In HeartGold and SoulSilver, Pineco’s level is more flexible, so as a general rule: if it’s at least level 6 or level 17 at most, be prepared. Unova’s Pineco isn’t safe either, because if it’s not between level 20 and 33, it might commit suicide. At a catch rate of 190, it isn’t hard to catch, although a little weakening wouldn’t hurt.
One thing that is important to remember about Pineco is that it isn’t a Steel-type, so you don’t have resistances to take advantage of, unlike Ferroseed. If you are planning to train Pineco, you probably want to have a partner Pokémon ready because Pineco isn’t a powerful offensive Pokémon, and while you can say there’s Gyro Ball, you have to remember that wild Pokémon are untrained Pokémon, so they don’t have bonus Speed, and Gyro Ball has very low PP. If you can afford to teach it Earthquake, then you can teach it (I am astonished that Pineco can learn this move!). The big reason you need a partner Pokémon is that Pineco is so slow that it really can’t run from battles easily, so an unfavourable matchup can be really risky since many Pokémon out there are faster. Evolving at Level 31, this would take some time. Even as Forretress, you probably need the assistance of a strong attack if you want to efficiently train it, so if you are in the middle of training, give Forretress a powerful move like Return before re-teaching it the offensive move you want it to have in the first place (preferably a TM).
It’s interesting to note that like Ferrothorn, Forretress is capable of fending off the powerful legendaries with its resistances, especially to Dragon, while it places entry hazards that benefit the hard-hitters, so it can be useful in Über Play. So, after all this, is Forretress considered a balanced Pokémon. I am not 100% sure if it’s completely balanced. I would say it’s almost balanced because it is not that easy to train one, and you have to remember that Stealth Rock isn’t a TM anymore, so you need Dwebble’s help this time. I guess it’s balanced because while it has powerful team support, it has some exploitable drawbacks.
Verdict: Balanced (±0)
I didn’t expect Ursaring to be one of the Pokémon I will be doing, but I suppose this Pokémon is eligible because technically it is a great Pokémon, after all. First, let’s get right to how Ursaring is a great Pokémon. One key trait about Ursaring is its high Attack. As you can guess, this makes Ursaring an offensive threat. This is very true because it has the Physical attacks to complement its high Attack, and its type coverage doesn’t disappoint. Within the list of moves, you can see Return, Double-Edge, Facade, Close Combat, Focus Punch, Earthquake, the elemental punches, Stone Edge and Crunch (There are others too, but these are the notable ones). If that’s not enough for you, you can boost your Attack further with Swords Dance, Choice Band or Bulk Up (Belly Drum if you want to risk it, although it’s not recommended). There is a risk in burning Ursaring, because if you do, then it will be even bad news for the opponent if Ursaring happens to have Guts! You can even use Quick Feet if you feel the need for Speed, and as such, the status Orbs can be useful items to use. Thankfully, Ursaring has decent defences, so it might survive something weak. All in all, Ursaring is all about power.
While Ursaring is strong, its slowness and limited life held it back. Its Speed is in the “slow” category, so if it faces something faster and stronger, especially a Fighting-type, Ursaring is in danger. There isn’t a shortage of Pokémon under this category. A Pokémon who is also under the category of being a Physical wall can be a problem as well, if they are also strong enough to put Ursaring in place. Lastly, if Ursaring uses a status Orb, Pokémon with great Physical defence, fast Substitute users or even Fake Out users can stall it out, because its survivability is shortened.
Well, I didn’t really find much about Ursaring that is too much of a tribulation, but let’s start anyway. One of Ursaring’s problems is that its level-up movepool doesn’t have useful moves. The only notable moves are Thrash and Hammer Arm, both of them high level moves. This means that many of Ursaring’s useful moves come from TMs, breeding and Move Tutors. You can get the elemental punches from the move tutor, as usual, although one needs to accumulate the currency associated with those moves first. TMs were a problem in those days, because some of them were rare or expensive, like Earthquake, Façade and Swords Dance. However, TMs are easier to use because you can reuse them, but you still need to find them anyway. As for Egg moves, the ones that stick out are Belly Drum, Close Combat, Crunch, Cross Chop and Double-Edge. The essential ones are Close Combat and Crunch, since the other ones noted are much riskier than other options. Thing is, none of the parents learn both moves at once, so if you want both of them, you can breed Close Combat on Growlithe or Snubbull and learn Crunch, or breed Crunch on Riolu and learn Close Combat as Lucario, or you can always use Smeargle, whichever is more convenient.
There’s also finding this Pokémon. In the Generation 2 games, this family is exclusive to a version, which are Gold and SoulSilver (believe it, the choice is swapped). For some reason, Teddiursa is rare in those games, but Ursaring is a bit more common (although its catch rate is lower, of course). With a 10% chance to find one at Route 45 (earliest you encounter this one), you probably might not be using one for your in-game quest, although it’s still plausible. It’s even rarer in Crystal, because you only have a 5% chance to find one in the Dark Cave, and even then, it’s only in the day! Ursaring has a 20% chance of appearing in Route 28, Victory Road and Mt. Silver, which is moderately rare but doable. In Hoenn, you can find a Teddiursa in Emerald’s extended Safari Zone, which is home for Pokémon you don’t see on the Hoenn PokéDex. It’s more common there, at a 30% encounter rate. If you want to find one in Sinnoh, you need Emerald as a dongle. Of course, you can go to Rugged Mountain for a Teddiursa in the Dream World, so good luck finding one there! If you are looking to status Teddiursa for more power (because if you KO a wild Pokémon on your first turn, you won’t suffer status damage), remember that Teddiursa has Pickup instead of Guts, so the only reason to apply status is if you have Quick Feet.
Ursaring is a rather simple Pokémon because its only job is to put offensive pressure on the opponent, which it does well. However, it has certain flaws that prevents it from becoming too much of a threat, which is a great thing because at least it makes Ursaring manageable. At the end of the day, does making Ursaring manageable mean it’s a balanced Pokémon? I am inclined to think so. Whilst not the most popular choice for a Pokémon, at least you have some challenges in raising one, because that encourages planning on the trainer’s part.
Verdict: Balanced (±0)
Did you know that both Teddiursa and Phanpy are version exclusives in Generation 2? Because of that, I think it’s appropriate that I take the suggestion about Donphan too, after Ursaring. Donphan just seems like an average Pokémon at first glance, because it doesn’t look like a big Pokémon to show off how great it is, but it has certain qualities that make it viable, and thus a great Pokémon. There is a reason it is proven to be popular in Standard play. So, how is Donphan a great Pokémon? First of all, Rapid Spin is not a common move learnt by the masses, and Donphan happens to be one of the better users of this move. Donphan has the means to beat Spinblockers (usually Ghost-types) with Odour Sleuth, a move that renders Ghosts vulnerable to Rapid Spin. Its Physical bulk allows it to reliably spin away entry hazards if the opponent is a Physical attacker. If able, Donphan can also set up Stealth Rock too, which is a great way to spend your turn if you think the time is right. With Stealth Rock on the field, you can try Assurance, because that will be very strong against a potential Ghost-type switch-in. Other support options that Donphan is capable of using well include Knock Off, Roar and Toxic.
With that said, it sounds like Donphan is a supporter, but its offensive capabilities shouldn’t be ignored. With a high base 120 Attack, surely it can deal some major damage to opponents. Earthquake is chief among them, as it’s the strongest attack Donphan uses, and even if Donphan goes on the defensive, it’s still decently powerful. You may opt for other attacks if you have the space, so you may choose from Stone Edge or Rock Slide, Head Smash, Superpower, Fire Fang, Thunder Fang or Seed Bomb depending on what you need to hit. Ice Shard deserves a special mention because it is primarily used to defeat a weakened Dragon. In Generation 5, Donphan’s Sturdy allows it to be safe for a turn, improving its defensive capabilities because with Leftovers and a resistance to Stealth Rock, it doesn’t take long for it to reach full health. Sun teams provide great synergy for Donphan because the Sun mitigates Donphan’s Water weakness, while it does a huge favour by removing Stealth Rock, which Fire-types generally dislike. Overall, Donphan can go either offensively or defensively and do well.
Donphan does have some weaknesses as well. Besides the literal Water, Grass and Ice weakness, Donphan is on the slow side, so it can normally be out-sped (which is where its Sturdy and great Defence comes in handy). Special attackers, especially strong ones, will be a big problem as well, because Donphan’s Special Defence is lesser, so it needs to be wary of most Special attacks. Donphan might have a problem if it faces Physical walls, especially ones that resist or is immune to Earthquake, as it isn’t exactly a set-up attacker. Still, if Donphan successfully used Rapid Spin, it did its job.
The first of Donphan’s tribulations is Phanpy. Phanpy is not the same Pokémon as Donphan, as it doesn’t possess a high Attack like Donphan, so it isn’t immediately the same offensive threat as Donphan. It does learn some decently powerful moves when it levels up, like Rollout and Take Down, but it’s not too impressive. Because Phanpy doesn’t learn Earthquake like Donphan, you don’t get to use this move, unless you teach it TM. Perhaps the most important point about Phanpy is how it learns several moves that Donphan doesn’t learn. They are not quite as important to learn, although if you want, you can learn Double-Edge before evolving. Both Phanpy and Donphan are considered an uncommon find. It’s not too troubling to get, but it not easy to find them. Oddly, Donphan is easier to find in the places you can find it, although Phanpy is more widespread. Still, Pickup can come in handy, so don’t discount on that.
In terms of moves, you want Donphan to learn Rapid Spin since it doesn’t have many learners. Thing is, Phanpy and Donphan’s have a lot of level up moves not shared with one another, and Rapid Spin is one of those moves. You definitely cannot learn Rapid Spin naturally after evolution since Donphan learns this move at level 6, way later after Phanpy’s evolution (level 25). What I am saying is you need a Heart Scale to learn this move, although you can use the Pomeg glitch if you want (I don’t understand this glitch, so if you can explain it in more detail, I would appreciate it). The same applies for other essential moves like Fire Fang, Ice Fang and Knock Off (the first two are starting moves, so Heart Scales are definitely necessary). If you want to breed Head Smash, you probably want it with Ice Shard, so you need Smeargle since no parent learns both. Head Smash is a rare move to be used, so you are better off teaching one of your Pokémon that move. It’s typically a high level move, and the one who learns it with the least experience is Tepig. Ice Shard is easier to get because the overall level requirement for this move is lower.
Donphan is not the kind of Pokémon that’s too spectacular to have more significant tribulations. This is because the actual Pokémon is not too tough to raise. The main issue with Donphan is the moves, because access to the right moves is what makes Donphan useful, like Ursaring. Donphan is just one of those Pokémon with a moderate difficulty in raising, with just a bit of trouble involved in learning the more significant ones like Head Smash, Rapid Spin and Superpower. With its share of drawbacks, Donphan is a balanced Pokémon.
Verdict: Balanced (±0)
All the Pokémon that are covered are all surprisingly balanced. I said this because previously, there may be at least one Pokémon who isn’t completely balanced, like how Excadrill isn’t all that balanced, and the same could be said about Scizor. Anyway, I hope you like this article, and if you have any feedback to improving this series, be sure to voice out! Next time, we will be covering another batch of Generation 3 Pokémon, so readers: pick up to five Pokémon from that Generation that are great in competitive battling. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.
Thanks for reading.
Chosen Pokémon that you can’t pick: Blaziken, Claydol, Milotic, Salamence & Metagross
Total Trackbacks 0