winstein's Dark-type Reviews - Generation 4 (Part 1)
by, 2nd January 2012 at 02:09 AM (7319 Views)
We are now halfway through the Dark-type Pokémon, and this time for this part, we will be covering all the Pokémon who has Dark-type as a secondary type. The truth about this section is that it is easier to review them than the other part (which I haven’t started, but Darkrai makes it more challenging). It’s surprising to know that the new recruits for Generation 4 are mostly single-staged Pokémon, but whatever. Without further introduction, let’s get on with today’s Dark-types: Stunky, Skuntank, Spiritomb and Drapion.
Stunky & Skuntank
“Don't let its silly cry fool you, the Skuntank line a big threat if you're not prepared. Just...don't
look at the skunks for defensiveness; it's their weakest stats. Also, am I the only one who finds
the skunks really, really adorable?” ~ @Karamazov
We begin this review with a pair of skunks. As anybody who live in the same place as skunks (which fortunately isn’t in my country), they have a tendency to let out their foul and almost ineffaceable stench from their anal scent glands when threatened, and the worst part is that they are very accurate with their spraying. Way to base a Pokémon based on these notorious animals (not that it’s bad; it adds variety to the Pokémon world).
So, because skunks are generally repulsive due to the threat of that stench, they can be considered evil in a way, hence the Dark-type on these Pokémon. However, this smell is very useful for the animals because it’s their only defence mechanism, and, without it, they can’t survive long. Because of their repulsiveness, skunks are not afraid to scare other animals away by being there, as they know that potential predators will not be exactly fond of their presence. This sounds like a bully with good marksmanship and a catapult that you don’t want to interfere with because you know revenge is not going to be pretty, even though this bully is small-sized! Still, the great horned owl is not fazed by the skunk, because its sense of smell is weak (a good thing sometimes, in this case), so it can dine on skunks if they want to. For some reason, Skuntank releases its stench from its tail, which is a lot stranger if it looks this way, because tails are never used as shooters beyond imagination (take, for example, Guard Scorpion from Final Fantasy VII).
One thing I find funny about Stunky is how it can be found in the Spooky Manor in the Dream World. This is completely uncalled for, because I kind of thought a mammal should be in a more natural area. Still, when you have a skunk in a house, this is already a bad thing since the place the skunk is in becomes uninhabitable, which adds to the spooky atmosphere. I do have to add that there are people who keep skunks as pets, although they need to get their scent glands removed first to make them more tolerable.
Among Team Galactic members, Skuntank is known as Jupiter’s Pokémon. I am not sure if having a Skuntank will aid her reputation because skunks are never really animals we will want to get near, but I suppose being a villain means being repulsive is a key trait. Still, Jupiter’s hair colour matches Skuntank’s colour, and seeing that Skuntank is a Dark-type with a smell-based ability... I might have said too much. Like certain important people in evil organisations, they have at least one underleveled Pokémon, and as you might have guessed, Jupiter’s underleveled Pokémon is Skuntank. Stunky evolves at Level 34, but it is Level 20 or 23 in the first encounter depending on your game. This is the Pokémon you also see with her in the anime, but for some reason, her main Pokémon isn’t Skuntank in the manga. The Pokémon DP Adventure manga did show that she has a Skuntank, but her MVP (the “P” stands for Pokémon, of course) is Tangrowth. In the Pokémon Special manga, Skuntank isn’t even in her control! Instead, it is Tangrowth again.
Besides Jupiter, some of the anime’s Officer Jennys in the Sinnoh region are shown to have Stunky as their partner Pokémon. Ash and gang also met Jeremiah at Snowpoint City who has a Skuntank as a starter Pokémon, which I admit is a very strange choice because this starter is already fully-evolved, but I am not complaining, since we have games with Espeon and Umbreon as starter Pokémon.
In the Pokémon Special manga, Skuntank is shown to release some fumes, which made Platinum (or Platina to those who prefer this name) faint at the smell, but the bad thing is that she was riding a bicycle going downhill at the time! Unfortunately, she is rolling towards a hole, which means someone had to save her from the gap, but nobody can reach her in time, so Pearl had to use Platinum’s Prinplup to freeze the path in order to make an ice path moving upwards to prevent the descent. All is well after that (well, almost; Platinum did learn how to pedal the bike, but not the brakes). As with real skunks, the smell persisted on the heroes, so they needed a bath to clean it. Interestingly, the nose of a woman at a hotel reception was crooked due to that smell.
In Little Play, Stunky is one of the best Pokémon to deal with Ghost-types, due to two big factors besides being a Dark-type. The first is that unlike most Dark-types, Stunky doesn’t take a lot of damage from Fighting attacks (common coverage for the average Ghost-type). The second is an immunity to Poison (due to Poison-type), which means that neither Toxic nor Toxic Spikes will limit its longevity. Its movepool is not bad for this, as it has the standard Dark attacks (Crunch, Pursuit and Sucker Punch), Flamethrower or Fire Blast, Explosion (only in Generation 4) and Taunt.
Skuntank, on the other hand, is harder to find a use for as Drapion is more useful, thanks to its good Defence and Speed, and has a generally better movepool, offensively and supportively. However, that’s not to say Skuntank doesn’t have some form of merit. For example, Skuntank is able to use Explosion to take out an opposing Pokémon (only in Generation 4), strip part of the opponent’s HP if they made contact thanks to Aftermath, Stench to provide the occasional flinch, Sucker Punch, which Drapion doesn’t have, and Screech to combo with Pursuit.
There are some things that I mentioned in my Poison-type review that I didn’t mention here, because it’s not necessary in a Dark-type review, but there are some interesting observations that are worth mentioning again. Poison-type mammals are very much unheard of, and this family is the first of its kind (Nidos don’t count because they are partly reptiles). Their fumes have surprisingly combustible properties (judging from their knowledge of Fire attacks), and the way Skuntank positions its tail and how it can shoot out from it looks similar to a tank, as its name implies.
It’s too bad neither Stunky nor Skuntank learn an Electric attack, because I can use the word “revolting” on them just for sake of sticking a pun, but if that were the case, people would be using the term already. That aside, Stunky and Skuntank are average Dark-types, at least in my eyes, because they don’t quite have the level of characteristics as other Dark-types.
7 Skunpoos out of 10!
6 Moufflairs out of 10!
+ Stunky is very useful in Little Play
+ Unique defensive mechanism comes in handy
+ Good show in the anime
± Questionable appearance
- Has few Dark-type characteristics
- Skuntank is not as useful as other Dark-types
“Spiritomb is my favourite Ghost. It's personifies creepy with its backstory of being 108 mischievious
spirits bound to a stone and looking like a Halloween creature. Like Sableye, it doesn't have type
weaknesses under normal conditions, and it has the added bonus of being stronger than Sableye.” ~ @$aturn¥oshi
Like Sableye, who was reviewed last time, Spiritomb also has the quirk of not having any weaknesses, thanks to its type combination. With the odd exception of a Foresight, Odour Sleuth or a Scrappy Pokémon, you can’t hit this Pokémon for super-effective damage. Of course, like Sableye, there is a notable hack of implementing Wonder Guard on Spiritomb to make it immune to direct damage.
Spiritomb is heavily linked to a special number, like it is linked to its rock. The special number is 108. Spiritomb is said to be composed of 108 spirits, and its stats have this number too. It weighs 108kg, it is placed in #108 in the Sinnoh PokéDex, and its base Defence and Special Defence are of 108, each. This number is also special in Buddhism, because that is the number of temptations a person needs to endure before he or she can achieve Nirvana. It would be nice if its base HP was also of 108, but I suppose the designers were afraid it would be too broken if that were to be true. As a Pokémon who is composed of 108 spirits, it can surprisingly produce offspring like any living Pokémon, which must mean the spirits are original, very much like how other Ghost-types are living beings in their own way. However, this theory may contradict another theory which says that Spiritomb’s spirits come from the graveyard tower nearby.
The spirits that Spiritomb is composed of are bound to a rock, which is called an Odd Keystone. The Keystone’s job is to anchor Spiritomb, preventing it from doing any mischief, which is a punishment for its misdeeds 500 years ago, back at the Feudal Japan period. This is from where Spiritomb’s Dark-type can be derived from: the evilness of the spirits, more so in Japanese because the Dark-type is called the Evil-type. With a mysterious spell, Spiritomb is bound to the Keystone, and as of now, it’s unclear what the spell is. However, a counter-spell for this curse sounds like an idea for an evolution, if you ask me.
Odd Keystones can be found in Sinnoh, especially in the Underground. Speaking of the Underground, you need to have some communication with other players there as, in order to be able to summon Spiritomb at the Hallowed Tower, you need to talk to 32 different players in there, or one player 32 times. As you can imagine, this is troublesome. Once you are done, the Odd Keystone that you placed at the Hallowed Tower should take effect, and you can fight Spiritomb. Remember to save in case of failure, or else you have to do this all over again if you KO’d Spiritomb. After catching one, you can breed for more, and this is preferable if you want a better Spiritomb because of how hard it is to catch one. If you want, you can also obtain Spiritomb in the Spooky Manor of the Dream World, but you need a high point requirement before you can meet up with one. That said, it is much easier to trade with another player, but it’s good if you have a Spiritomb, since you can make other players’ lives much easier.
Due to the rarity of a Spiritomb, it’s not unusual for it to be considered a legendary and very powerful. In fact, the anime (“The Keystone Pops!”) made Spiritomb a force to be reckoned with. Another oddity about the anime is how easily Spiritomb is released from the keystone. In the manga, Cynthia owns a Spiritomb, which is like in the games, where you never met a Spiritomb until you battle Cynthia, demonstrating that not only is Spiritomb very rare, but also that only a worthy champion has the capacity to obtain, catch and train one. Anyway, in the manga, Spiritomb used its psychic abilities to transport the razor leaves and some water, which are attacks used by the main characters’ starters. This is used to halt Team Galactic’s assault and save Rad Rickshaw, inadvertently allowing the main characters to obtain free bicycles.
In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, Spiritomb is typically an antagonist. In Explorers of Time and Explorer of Darkness, Spiritomb is the boss of the Sealed Ruins and it captured Grovyle, which means the player must battle Spiritomb to free Grovyle. In Explorers of Sky, the possibly same Spiritomb is ordered by Dusknoir to hold Celebi in the Icicle Forest so that Grovyle enters the centre of an electric field.
In competitive battling, Spiritomb is one of the best Pokémon to deal with Psychic-types. While it’s true that other Dark-types can do this too, Spiritomb has the distinction of being immune to Fighting and having good defences, so it doesn’t need to worry about the preferred coverage move used by most Psychic-types. This makes Spiritomb a nice Pokémon to deal with Alakazam and Reuniclus. It has the necessary tools for dealing with them too. Sucker Punch and Shadow Sneak means that Speed isn’t an issue, Pursuit means the escaping Pokémon will get hurt (if you have Infiltrator, they can’t rely on screens to reduce the harm) and Trick is a nice surprise for a wall. Spiritomb certainly has other tricks as well, like taking advantage of its good Defences to set up Calm Mind with Dark Pulse and Hidden Power as attacks, being full-on defence with Will-O-Wisp and Pain Split, or if you feel like it, stall with Curse or waste opponent’s PP with Spite and Pressure. While you can try out Nasty Plot, it’s important to remember that Spiritomb is slow to be much of a threat since it doesn’t have Trick Room, and besides, Calm Mind provides a much needed durability, which is important for any slow Pokémon to avoid being taken out. Speaking of Trick Room, I imagine that if Spiritomb could learn this move, it will be a viable Trick Room user, as it is compatible with Nasty Plot, Memento, Destiny Bond, Imprison and Spite.
I have always found Spiritomb’s spiral eyes to be funny because it makes Spiritomb look like a crazy and dizzy Pokémon. Its battle animation even shows that it swirls its body, making Spiritomb a twisted Pokémon indeed! You know, I just realised how punny Spiritomb is, and I thoroughly enjoyed that. Spiritomb’s body is supposed to be transparent, but it is shown to be opaque in some versions (like the anime), because of how hard it is to draw transparency. Spiritomb isn’t alone in this, as Reuniclus’ family is like that, too.
I am a fan of quirky Pokémon, so you can say I take a liking to Spiritomb. I think it’s great how Spiritomb has some admirable qualities, which gives players reasons to use it. The only complaint I have is how hard it is to get one (I never had a Spiritomb before). Finally, Spiritomb is a great Dark-type, because it fits the design of one, as does its behaviour. Not only that, Spiritomb is moreover made out of 108 different spirits, making it another Dark-type who prefers a team-based offense like other Dark-types, such as Houndoom and Sharpedo.
9 花岩怪 out of 10!
(Read as Huā Yán Guài, for those who don’t understand Chinese)
+ No type weaknesses
+ Both a great Ghost-type and Dark-type
+ Design fits its twisted nature
+ Brought to you by the number 108
+ Makes a good antagonistic Pokémon
- Difficult to obtain
- Inconsistent transparency
“I don't normally Dark-types, but Drapion sure made me make an exception. It has good stats,
a good movepool, a great ability in Sniper and has an awesome design to boot. What's not to like?” ~ @Zenax
While Drapion is technically a Dark-type, the reason I asked much earlier about reviewing this Pokémon is that I would have preferred to cover Drapion with Skorupi in a Bug-type review, because Drapion has some Bug characteristics, like being based on a scorpion (an arachnid, like spiders) and evolving from a Bug-type, but after asking a few of my fellow mates here, it’s decided that Drapion will be covered along with the rest of the Dark-types. I may have hesitated before because I didn’t feel like covering the same Pokémon thrice (the first time was back when I was reviewing Poison-types), but I might as well go with the flow now. After all, there’s always a chance I can cover Skorupi in more detail.
Drapion isn’t the first Pokémon who evolves from a Pokémon who wasn’t originally a Dark-type, but gained it as a secondary type after evolution. This would insinuate that the Pokémon who didn’t evolve yet (Skorupi, Seedot, Cacnea and Corphish) are more innocent, however, after they evolve, they became rowdy and have evil thoughts. This is especially true for Cacnea and Corphish, but Seedot is trickier to explain since it somehow has some “evil” qualities, namely the ability to learn Nasty Plot, the ability Pickpocket, and the capacity to breed with Wailord.
This Pokémon is not to be trifled with, as you can expect from something based on a scorpion. Indeed, Drapion proves time and again that it is a very challenging opponent. In fact, Drapion has a tendency to attack people in the desert, earning its bad reputation (well, what do you expect from a scorpion, a hand wave?). In the anime, the formidable and cold Pokémon Hunter J has one (among other great Pokémon like Salamence), which goes to show something about her. Paul the famous, fan-favourite rival of Ash has a Drapion, who managed to defeat many of Ash’s Pokémon in their match in the Lily of the Valley Conference (Sinnoh League). In the manga, one of the scientists from Team Galactic uses a Drapion (another uses Kricketune).
One very useful technique that Drapion has shown in the anime and manga is its ability to turn its head around, which is very useful for avoiding any blind spots for surprise attacks. Because Drapion’s arms are attached to its head, it can attempt a nip while looking behind. With its rather sturdy build, Drapion might not need the help of poison to defeat its foes, which it takes pride on. With such strong claws, I don’t think you would want to irritate Drapion, as those claws are said to critically pinch cars!
In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Explorers games, Drapion is part of Team AWD (stands for Arbok, Weavile and of course, Drapion), a team with a bad reputation since they are thieves. The team pursues the challenges of the Zero Isle. The sequel to those games shows them being the antagonists in the Team Charm special episode.
Drapion has the distinction of being the only Dark-type who can learn Toxic Spikes, so if you want to form a Dark-type team and want Toxic Spikes, this is the Pokémon for the job, much like if you want Spikes, you need Cacturne because it’s the only Dark-type Pokémon that can learn this move. Still, it’s not all that bad, since Drapion has only one weakness (Ground), and this is easily patched up by its teammates as Ground resistors and levitators are not in short supply. In return, Drapion absorbs the dreaded Toxic Spikes, which have the potential to wreak those who can be poisoned. Of course, Drapion isn’t limited to Toxic Spikes, as it has a good Attack to use, along with a handful good moves. Some noteworthy attacks included the coveted Earthquake, Crunch and Aqua Tail. Drapion even has Swords Dance to boost its Attack further, or if you fancy a more supportive set, you can use Taunt, Whirlwind or Knock Off, in addition to Toxic Spikes (very good with Whirlwind, of course).
Well, that’s it for Drapion. I decided to save some more of my say for the time I review Skorupi, because when elaborating about scorpions, Skorupi needs to be talked about since it shares some traits with its real-life counterpart. I can see why Drapion is a Dark-type, and it might have been a good thing, in fact. The two benefits are not being outdone by Scolipede and of course, having no Stealth Rock weakness.
8 Drascores out of 10!
+ Good competitive battler
+ Extremely formidable
+ Dark-type might be a blessing
+ Has roots as a Bug-based Pokémon
- Not as much of a Dark-type as it is a Bug
It’s funny how whenever I get to the Pokémon in later generations, things begin to become easier to review. This was how I felt when I reviewed the other three types, to tell you the truth, and I feel this way now. This may have to do with having less material to refer to, but I can’t just expect things to be easier because there may be a time where something in the path throws off this pattern. So, next time we look at the other half of Dark-types. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.
Thanks for reading.
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