winstein's Dark-type Reviews - Generation 5 (Part 1)
by, 30th November 2012 at 10:01 AM (4687 Views)
At last, we have reached the Dark-types of Generation 5. Our coverage will involve four Dark-type families, and all of them have something in common: the fully evolved members of each family are used by Grimsley of the Elite Four of Unova, so you will know what to expect if you remember which Pokémon Grimsley used. If you don’t, then never mind because you’ll find out. With that, let’s proceed into “Grimsley’s Gallery”...
(Note: I didn’t manage to find Hilbert and Hilda’s height, so they’re considered 1.65 metres and 1.50 metres respectively.)
Purrloin & Liepard
“Both Purrloin and Liepard are lean and predatory pokemon, and rely less on offensive power and
defensive prowess, and almost completely on trickery and speed. Due to this, not many see the
usefulness of these pokemon in battle, although, used properly, Purrloin and Liepard can
completely take opponents by surprise, and severely hamper the further effectiveness of
their opponents in battle. Aesthetically, Purrloin and Liepard are pleasing: their limber
bodies even in rest leave no doubt as to the speed these pokemon may possess; and
their eyes display their cleverness.” ~ @League
Our first Dark-types are also early Pokémon like Poochyena and Mightyena. Purrloin is based on a black cat, which is associated with certain superstitions. I am sure that before Purrloin was announced, one of the Dark-types that people were expecting was one based on a black cat because of the superstition of them propagating bad luck. That’s not to say black cats are considered bad luck in all cultures; some of them considered them good luck, like in Japan. Liepard, on the other hand, is based on a leopard (a feline species), as its name suggests, although its spots resemble a jaguar’s. However, their names also suggest that they are bad luck, because with names like “Purrloin” (purloin) and “Liepard” (lies), you have to keep your guard up.
As Purrloin’s name suggests, it loves to steal from people. Even though it’s known for this act, not many people seems to retaliate, because it uses its cute façade to fool them into thinking it is innocent. It’s odd that because of Purrloin’s habit, it doesn’t have Pickpocket, which is an ability that benefit this fact. Note that Murkrow also has the habit of stealing people’s valuables, except it is swifter about it. It is entirely possible for both Murkrow and Purrloin to be at odds with one another because their stealing habit might create a vicious cycle. Liepard, like Purrloin, are quite popular among people for its beautiful fur and form. It is said to be quite stealthy, as the PokéDex mentions that “these Pokémon vanish and appear unexpectedly” and “Stealthily, it sneaks up on its target, striking from behind before its victim has a chance to react”.
I mentioned before that these Pokémon are largely criticised, so it’s appropriate that I explain why that’s the case. Many people who used Purrloin can tell you now that it is an underwhelming Pokémon in a play-through, compared to other Pokémon such as Lillipup. This is because Purrloin doesn’t have much in the way for offense, as it only learns its first STAB at level 15 (Pursuit). Another thing that’s criticised about this Pokémon is their frailty. The lack of offense doesn’t go well with its lack of defence. They can’t take too many hits before fainting, which is bad since they are not offensive enough to KO the target first. I suppose it does status well, but generally, offence is the best way to go through the game. In other words, their criticism stems from their underwhelming performance in-game. When I look at their TCG cards, I can’t really tell if Liepard is useful, since it has a relatively low HP for an evolved Pokémon (80 HP) but its attacks might be useful. If you know TCG, you can tell me how Liepard is.
Just because a Pokémon is considered underwhelming by a lot of players, it doesn’t mean that nobody should get one. I am sure there are some players out there who find Purrloin and Liepard great to use. In the game, N used a Purrloin when you first met him, as it was his first and only Pokémon. It shouldn’t be too hard if you have another Pokémon handy, but N has the habit of releasing his Pokémon, which is definitely the case because when you encounter him each time, his team will be different. There’s a theory that the Purrloin that N released belongs to Cheren, which is a nice theory, although there’s not a lot of evidence to support the case (have you seen any proof about this?). The notable person with a Liepard is Grimsley, which is, as mentioned, is an Elite Four member. Besides the games, there is a Purrloin in the aptly-named episode “Purrloin: Sweet or Sneaky?”, in which Meowth and Oshawott had a liking for Purrloin, except that it turns out to be male, which was a real shock for them.
Due to how underwhelming Liepard is in-game, you can expect it to be very underwhelming in competitive battling. While Liepard is fast enough, it’s not that fast, and it doesn’t have the defences to be an effective annoyer. However, its status moves are quite unique and its abilities are decent. Limber is a useful ability for a fast Pokémon, while Unburden has a nice Speed boost. However, its Hidden Ability is easily the best of them all: Prankster. With this ability, Liepard becomes at least more useful due to the nice array of status moves it could learn, although its frailty would still get in the way. One unique combination of moves that Liepard could use is the Encore + Torment combo. With this, you are effectively causing the opposing Pokémon to Struggle for every second round. Liepard can also learn Assist, and is the only Prankster with this move. Being able to use a potentially devastating move is awesome. Another strategy one could employ is setting up with Nasty Plot, along with two coverage moves, ideally Dark Pulse and Hidden Power. Other options for Status moves include Thunder Wave, Trick, Yawn, Spite, Rain Dance and Sunny Day. Remember that Liepard now learns U-turn in Black 2 and White 2.
While these Pokémon are quite underwhelming in terms of battling, it makes up for being an aesthetically great Dark-type as they look like a Dark-type and behave like they would normally do, and so, represent the Dark-type well (if it’s not about competitive battling, that is). So basically, these Pokémon are great Dark-types with the crippling flaw of being very underwhelming battlers.
7 Felilou out of 10!
7 Léopardus out of 10!
+ Aesthetically great Dark-types
- Very underwhelming battlers
Sandile, Krokorok & Krookodile
“Krookodile is a boss from Unova! It is cool looking, has 2 Great stabs, a decent attack stat, a couple
of fantastic abilities and goggles for eyes. Sadly it also has a badly designed nose and
a dubious speed stat.” ~ @Lord Clowncrete
Sandile was revealed among a batch of other new Pokémon before Pokémon Black and White were released, and what was interesting about Sandile was its Ground/Dark-type, which was a type combination we never have at that time. Another thing that Sandile had that was new was the ability Moxie, which boosts the attacker’s Attack by one stage if a KO had landed. This news excited competitive players because they believe it will be useful (fortunately, they weren’t disappointed). Krokorok was somewhat hinted in a screenshot with a statue of a Pokémon in a Gym, and while an evolution for this Pokémon was inevitable (because Sandile didn’t look fully evolved), somehow it was hard to believe it will look like that. Krookodile has a surprising design, because not only is it red, its “eyeshades” resemble the famous Kamina glasses of Tengen Toppen Gurren Lagann fame. Krookodile also looks like King K. Rool of Donkey Kong Country to some others, just as Krokorok look like a generic Kremling from the same game.
One feature that this family share is their black “shades” around their eyes. This distinguishing feature makes them look like criminals because the stereotypical variety has a blindfold with eye sockets around their eyes to avoid their identity from being too obvious. In addition to the “shades”, their stripes add the criminal look on them because it’s a common image for criminals to wear prisoner’s clothes, which is often striped horizontally. In fact, Sandile looks like the kind of Pokémon that would act like ruffians because of how a bask of real crocodiles would similarly gang up on a potential prey. In fact, they could also learn Beat Up. Even Krokorok’s PokéDex entry states that it lives among few individuals as a group. This parallel between crocodiles and criminals is brilliant, I must say. It’s important to be careful of a crocodile’s jaws, because the force of the bite can really hurt. In fact, it’s said that Krookodile’s jaws can crush an automobile.
While the black eyeshade design conveys the symbolism of ruffians, the PokéDex mentions how this feature is quite helpful for them. For example, Sandile’s White entry states that this dark membrane helps shields its eyes from the sun’s glare, while Krokorok’s Black entry mentions how its membrane is protection for the eyes from the sandstorm it resides with, as well as a heat sensor. Not only are they used for protection, they are even used for helping their eyesight. Krokorok is stated to be able to see in the dark, which is useful when it needs to be underground seeing what’s ahead of it, I am sure. Perhaps Krookodile’s entry has the quirkiest trait of them all: telescopic vision. As stated in the White entry, “It can expand the focus of its eyes, enabling it to see objects in the far distance as if it were using binoculars”. It sounds like there’s little chance of escaping Krookodile if you are its meal, so don’t make yourself look too tasty for a crocodile!
It’s important to note that gavials are implied to be the inspiration for Krookodile, because its Japanese name (Waruvial) says so. In fact, the gavial has a thinner snout than a crocodile. So yes, while Krookodile’s thinner snout is suggestive because it is shaped like a penis, it is based on a real gavial’s snout. On a lesser note, Sandile’s French name has its roots from that word too. Anyway, crocodilians have relatively thick tails, which looks like it is hard to move compared to thinner ones like cat tails and dog tails because there is just too much weight on them.
In competitive battling, Krookodile is quite useful because of its STAB offensive types, which aids its offensive potential. Thankfully it learns Crunch (because some Dark-types don’t learn this, such as Liepard) and Earthquake, so you can dish out a big hit if you want. Pursuit is a great asset for Krookodile, because it is strong enough to be a hindrance to Psychic and Ghost-types. What makes Krookodile an outstanding user of Pursuit is its abilities. Intimidate would discourage a Physical attacker from staying in because their Attack is lowered, and while that is great, Moxie is a lot more compatible. If you get the KO with Pursuit, your Attack is essentially boosted for free, and if you are able to, you can use your heightened power to dish out more damage. It has some Physical moves for some good type coverage too, although you really only want Stone Edge and possibly Superpower for coverage, since Outrage is best left for Dragons to use (Trivia: Sandile and Krokorok learns Thrash instead of Outrage) and Fire Fang and Thunder Fang are relatively weak. You could even use Bulk Up if you fancy your Krookodile to be a boosting attacker, which is a decent strategy because it has Intimidate as room for safety.
Its Speed, while placed at an odd number, is still alright because it is better than more than half of all fully-evolved Pokémon, not to mention the ability to out-speed more Pokémon with a Choice Scarf (for example, Alakazam will out-speed Tyranitar with a Scarf, but won’t for Krookodile). Even in Little Play, Sandile is a great Pokémon to use because of its offensive type combination and its Speed is enough to use a Choice Scarf to be a quick killer. Sadly, it can’t learn Bulk Up, so it can only use Hone Claws for an offensive move. The main problem with these Pokémon is their weaknesses, because they are weak to some common offensive types, especially Water, Ice and Fighting.
One funny thing I just found out about crocodiles is how their sexuality is determined by temperature when fertilised, instead of being genetically determined. I am yet to know its significance, though. Anyway, crocodile skin makes for fine leather, which can be made into various things like wallets and belts, although the cruelty to them for poaching is opposed by animal lovers, of course. To me, I don’t see the need for crocodile leather stuff, even though there may be some people who take a liking to these kinds of things. I wonder if the Pokémon world even has Krookodile leather, even when their skin isn’t confirmed to be a suitable material as leather. Still, it’s a very big risk to perform cruelty to Pokémon because chances of revenge are high, since the Pokémon are much smarter than ordinary animals. If you ask me whether I have taken crocodile meat or not, then I have to say I didn’t, because I don’t live in a place with this as a delicacy, nor do I have the intention to taste it anyway. I heard that it tastes like chicken, which can be said for some other types of meat.
There are just some Pokémon who has very odd choices for shiny colours, and Krokorok and Krookodile fit the description, because they just look strange when their skins are dark while their “shades” are bright. I suppose the look this way because they look like they are embellished with bling-blings, but if not, then I digress. I am going to go ahead and say now that I also think that Scrafty also has a strange shiny colour, since green just doesn’t suit it. We will be covering Scraggy and Scrafty next, who also live in the desert area in Unova. For now, I would say that Sandile’s family are creative Dark-types.
9 Ganovil out of 10!
8 Escroco out of 10!
9 Waruvial out of 10!
+ Creative concept of cross between crocs and criminals
+ Useful and great-looking “shades”
+ Ruthless and sneaky nature of real crocodiles fit the Dark-type of these Pokémon
+ Good run in the anime
± Questionable design for Krookodile’s snout
- Odd shiny colours for Krokorok and Krookodile
Scraggy & Scrafty
“Boasting one of the best designs in Pokemon history and a fantastic movepool and good stats that
can fit nearly any team, Scraggy and Scrafty have become the cult favorite of Generation 5, and,
in my opinion, one of the best Pokemon made.” ~ @The Knights of Wario Land
These Pokémon happen to be a fan-favourite Pokémon. It’s probably their faces that make them fun to look at, but it could also be their resemblance to those urban youngsters with baggy pants (a hoodie and mohawk in Scrafty’s case). While most of the Dark-types adopt a dark colour scheme, this family has an oddly bright colour scheme, and even stranger is that Dark is their primary type! The choice of colour scheme has got to do something with their habitat, which is the desert route. After all, their colours suggest their natural camouflage with their surroundings. The main draw of this family is their unique type combination, because their offensive type combination is largely unresisted.
These Pokémon are supposed to be based on lizards, but they don’t look too much like one despite their skin because their faces doesn't look reptilian. Lizards are able to shed their skin, so you can say that the loose skin of these Pokémon demonstrates this. Do note that younger lizards shed their skin more often since they are growing faster. Usually the lizard will behave in a certain way when it is about to shed, like suffering a change of colour and becoming more hostile. Lizards are also able to scale up walls, and these Pokémon can learn Rock Climb to reflect this. Scrafty’s PokéDex states that it is able to spew out acidic liquid from its mouth, like how certain lizards have poison saliva. One observation that I came across is how they resemble frill-necked lizards, which might be true, except that these animals are arboreal (as in, they live on trees). However, while lizards have detachable tails to escape their predators, these Pokémon don’t seem to have such a trait, since they have their tails in their skin.
Scraggy and Scrafty look like they are wearing pants, and this is not hard to see. The skin they are wearing around indeed makes it look like they are inspired on the common fashion choice by the urban youth subcultures of hip-hop and punk (Trivia: Lemmy and Iggy Koopa are called Hip and Hop Koopa respectively in the Super Mario cartoons). This is even more evident in Scrafty’s case because, as I mentioned before, its crest looks like a mohawk. If I were to guess, the reason for their slowness is them needing to carry their skinny pants around.
While these Pokémon have a very funny-looking face, don’t assume they’re friendly because of that. In fact, Scraggy’s PokéDex mentions that it loves to headbutt on anyone it makes eye contact with, even though it’s not always a wise decision to do so. Thankfully, their thick skulls provide a room for safety. Even Scrafty doesn’t take too kindly to outsiders, because the moment one enters their territory, they will gang up and beat up the outsider.
In the anime, there is an Egg given to Ash by a kindergarten caretaker as a reward for solving their problem by conciliating the kindergarteners and the teachers or caretakers (this episode has a controversial moral, I must add), and later on the Egg turns out to be Scraggy! The Egg had a brief accident before hatching, but at least it worked out fine. Scraggy initially didn’t trust Ash and his Pokémon due to following its instincts, but later on Ash gained its trust. Another episode (“Meowth’s Scrafty Tactics”) featured Scrafty, in which its home was stolen by a Mandibuzz, which, with the help of Ash and friends (plus Meowth), he gets back in the end. As a consolation prize, his Scraggy learned Hi Jump Kick from Scrafty!
The next thing we will look at them for are their oddly high defences. I know it’s probably very strange that they have high defences yet don’t look like they can be very bulky. However, there are two reasons this is appropriate. The first thing is their skulls. It’s already said that they have very thick skulls, which are used for headbutting and such, to avoid hurting them so much, and that thickness contributes to their great Physical Defence. Now, how about their high Special Defence? If you try to hit both with a Special Attack, what do you think they will do? Think about it: Trainers Black and White hit them with Embers from Tepigs! What do you think they will do? Wait for it...they will pull their skins to block the attacks! Yes, they even use their elastic skin as a shield, and in the anime, Ash’s Scraggy even used it to shield himself from Oshawott’s Water Gun. I thought that the skin was just for show, but now I know they are also useful to have! By the way, in the example I gave from the manga, these Pokémon have an affinity for anything that falls down after pulling it up, like an accordion, so they stole one. What does Black do to attract them? Take a large person’s overalls and pull them up and drop them. It certainly attracted those Pokémon, and they were trapped thanks to an Electroweb that Black had set up earlier.
As both Pokémon have a great offensive type combination of Dark and Fighting, you can expect this to be a wonderful trait to have in competitive battling. In case you are not well-versed with what I am saying, Dark attacks are resisted by only three types (Dark, Steel and Fighting), and two of them are weak to Fighting attacks. This means that with the exception of certain combinations, almost every Pokémon doesn’t resist this type duo (the ones that do are: Heracross, Croagunk and Toxicroak). They accomplish this excellent coverage with their best attacks Crunch and Hi Jump Kick, which makes them Pokémon to consider for the metagames they are available in (Scraggy for Little Play and Scrafty for Standard Play). This is the foundation to their greatness, and there are ways to make it even better.
First up is their ability Shed Skin. With this ability, they can get out of the Burns they hate (as these reduce their Physical Attack stat) sometimes or use Rest to have a 51% chance (30% chance of cure within two turns) of waking up earlier. The latter can be combined with a boosting move of your choice (Bulk Up or Dragon Dance) to make them even more potent, especially because they are already healed up. Next up, you can also make use of their other ability Moxie for some extra power if you are aiming to sweep, so Dragon Dance will be a nice move to use with it. Alternatively, you can also do this under Trick Room. If you have room for a third move (or maybe fourth), then you can use other moves for coverage, like the elemental punches, Zen Headbutt and Stone Edge (Head Smash if you’re feeling risky). Because they are bulky, you can even use Dragon Tail to get a threat out of the way before they get even worse. Intimidate is their Hidden Ability, and while this can be useful in certain situations, Shed Skin is what differentiates them from other Pokémon. Their only downside is their Speed, because they are initially quite slow.
As mentioned earlier, these Pokémon are fan-favourites, and frankly, these quirky Pokémon deserves it because despite their funny looks, they are quite formidable. It’s basically a nice mixture of funny looks and threat level that anyone can really enjoy, unless they happen to prefer a more formidable-looking Pokémon.
10 Baggiguane out of 10!
10 Zuruzukin out of 10!
+ Quirky-looking Pokémon that can be formidable
+ Baggy pants are actually useful
+ The PokéDex explains their high defences in an indirect manner
+ Great offensive type combination
+ They have some traits that match real lizards
+ First Dark-type to be owned by a main character in the anime
- Don't look too much like a lizard
- Odd colour choices, especially Scrafty’s shiny
Pawniard & Bisharp
“Badass look, unique typing and decent moves; it truly is one of the better Pokémon of
Unova region for me. It may not be one of the Pokémon who come far in competitive waters,
but the typing makes the Bisharp family stand out from the rest of the crowd.” ~ @Tsutarja
Next up is another family with a type combination which was never done before. In this case, these Pokémon are of the Dark/Steel-type, which I admit is a type combination that I didn’t like because it seems redundant, because of the shared resistances and a shared weakness. There was an early rumour that both of these Pokémon are version exclusive counterparts to Golett and Golurk, due to how close they are placed on the PokéDex. However, this was disproved, because not only are they both proven to be found in either version, the places you find them are completely different. It’s not hard to see how they are treated like version exclusives, and thus, counterparts, because both of them are different forms of fictional heroes. Golett and Golurk are the giant robots like Transformers, while Pawniard and Bisharp are the super fighters such as Super Sentai.
As the name of these Pokémon suggests, they are inspired by chess pieces from the popular board game. The parallel is quite brilliant, because when the pre-evolution Pawniard evolves, it’s like the pawn is being promoted into a higher rank, in which it is Bisharp, which comes from bishop, although there’s nothing holy about Bisharp. However, the thing is, in chess, the promoted piece for a pawn is almost always the Queen, because that piece has the most flexible movement, although the Knight’s unorthodox movement is sometimes a viable choice. Actually, Bisharp looks more like a Knight than a Bishop, particularly a black knight. In other languages, only Pawniard has names derived from “pawn”, but Bisharp doesn’t have this association. Instead, it’s more about its sharp blades.
They certainly look like some kind of heroes, as I have said, but perhaps they are more of the anti-hero or dark hero mould because they are Dark-types, which is considered “evil”. I guess it has got to do with their preference of blades, since blades are usually associated with killing, like what the butchers do to the animals. As you might expect, this is what they do to their prey after catching it, which the Pawniard do by catching one in a group, unless this prey happens to be a Fighting-type or Ground-type. Bisharp, being the big boss, is of course the commander and leader of the Pawniard, which is why its Chinese name has “commander” in it. This is quite similar to Honchkrow, because there aren’t usually second leaders in the group, unless there happens to be an alpha male and an alpha female. In fact, the leadership had to be fought for, where the loser will be exiled. Unlike Honchkrow, Bisharp at least does something, which in its case is to land the finishing blow on the prey. Due to how long it takes for Bisharp to evolve (Level 52), I guess it’s good because that way there isn’t many Bisharp lying around. It’s interesting to note that Grimsley’s Bisharp is initially Level 50, which while underleveled, is not as bad as a certain hydra we will be reviewing later.
In the anime, only Pawniard appeared so far. It is first seen in one of the Club Battle episodes where Georgia used one against Ash’s Snivy, and needless to say, Ash won despite the type disadvantage because Pawniard’s sharp blades happen to be its weak point, because it has the tendency to be stuck in rocks (on the head) and the ground (its hands). I used to speculate that a Bisharp episode would feature one leading a group of Pawniard and blocking the heroes’ progress. However, that isn’t the case, since Bisharp was first seen as Georgia’s Pokémon (which managed to defeat Druddigon). In the Pokémon RéBURST manga, a character called Fraud (leader of Great Gavel) has a Bisharp which he can essentially fuse with. Since I never read that manga, that’s all the information I can provide.
In competitive battling, their type combination can really come in handy. Besides resisting Dragons, they have a very strong Sucker Punch. As you can tell, Sucker Punch is what makes them useful because of their high Attack, and combined with their Steel-type (an advantage over Absol), provide opportunities to take a hit thanks to their good Defence. If you think the opponent will switch their Pokémon, you can take advantage of their vulnerable state by using Swords Dance to boost their high Attack further, or use a coverage move like Brick Break or Iron Head. If you want, you could opt to use Choice Band or Choice Scarf to enhance their offensive power.
A Pokémon with blades would be likened to Gallade, another blade-based Pokémon. I remembered reading a comic that after Bisharp and Gallade did a “brofist”, Bisharp fainted because it is supposed to be doubly weak to Fighting. I think these Pokémon look cool, although their type combination is still a bit off-putting because it felt redundant in terms of offensive and defensive capability. Still, some Pokémon is needed to take up this type combination sooner or later. That’s not to say they’re bad or anything, because they are great Dark-types for being heroic in a more sinister way. I do have to admit that it is strange for human-like Pokémon to behave like a pack animal, because well, humans are more civilised.
8 驹刀小兵 (Jūdāoxiǎobīng) out of 10!
9 Caesurio out of 10!
+ Blades increases their threat level
+ Association to chess pieces is brilliant
+ Awesome names in all languages
+ A different take on a heroic-looking Pokémon
- Blades on bodies can get in the way
- Redundant capabilities in type combination
With this done, we are almost done with all the Dark-type Pokémon. It’s been a long time since we started, didn’t we? It felt like a long time, even though it’s only a few articles. There is still time to choose which names I will be using for those Pokémon I will be reviewing, so if you want, do vote for it. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.
Thanks for reading.
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