Tribulations of Great Pokémon 11
by, 14th November 2012 at 12:21 PM (619 Views)
Here we are, in another chapter of Tribulations of Great Pokémon! This is the third time Generation 1 Pokémon are covered. The lack of votes from before is disappointing, so I hope today will be better. In this series, I will attempt to find out the troubles involved in raising certain great Pokémon in the games, because I believe that the potential of a Pokémon is similarly balanced by the troubles you need to go through to perfect them, which couldn’t be experienced in simulators. Who did I pick today? Continue to read if you want to know.
As the first starter in the first Pokémon game, not to mention being a version mascot, Venusaur has a lot to live up to. While it is not quite popular among older players (Charizard wins this award), Venusaur is a solid choice nonetheless. Bulbasaur makes going through Kanto easier, due to the way the gym order is set up. In terms or competition though, Venusaur was squarely an above-average Pokémon. It has nice stats, good movepool and type combination, but falls short in some ways. However, all this changed in Generation 5, because Venusaur gained several new things to make it capable, mainly its new Hidden Ability Chlorophyll.
Venusaur is useful due to its excellent synergy under Sun. It possesses certain desirable characteristics, namely the ability to absorb Toxic Spikes, a resistance to Fighting, decent ability to confront waters and decent survivability. Chlorophyll is chief among all of these, because it turns Venusaur's average Speed into a blazing fast one under Sun (if able, it could beat Scarf Starmie!). It can then use its great choice of moves to wreak havoc. Growth is one of the possibilities, as it boosts Venusaur's offences great under Sun, turning it into a real powerhouse. Good thing it has good bulk, because it allows Venusaur to set up more easily. With neat attacks like Giga Drain, Sludge Bomb, Earthquake and Hidden Power, Venusaur isn't short on ways to hurt the opponent. Offence is not the only thing Venusaur has going for it: it can perform support quite well too. SubSeed (Substitute + Leech Seed) is great when you're fast, or you could use Sunny Day in the face of other weather induces. Don't forget that Venusaur learns Sleep Powder, which is an invaluable tool at incapacitating opponents. It's little wonder Venusaur is the premiere Chlorophyll user, even though there are other worthy ones.
Venusaur may be absolutely wonderful, but it is definitely not a perfect Pokémon. One problem is that, without Sun, it cannot perform its job as well, since Growth doesn't greatly boost offences otherwise, not to mention Venusaur becomes slower (and thus becomes more vulnerable to other naturally fast users). It is still faster than other weather inducers, so take note of this. Another problem is that Grass could never cover everything with another move, so a three move coverage is the way to go. Even with three moves, there is at least something that resists all moves, like Heatran resisting Sludge Bomb + Giga Drain + Hidden Power Fire and Dragonite taking the attack well after Sludge Bomb is replaced by Earthquake. Being weak to Ice Shard is another issue, but this isn't always fatal while Venusaur is healthy (Life Orb Mamoswine doesn't OHKO, as I had found out).
If you are looking to obtain a Chlorophyll Venusaur for real, you could get one now, but only if you are into Korean stuff (or are just only in it for Bulbasaur), because you get a password to obtain a Kanto starter of your choice with your copy of Pokémon Black and White, in Korean. Since they are male-only, you cannot breed them for more Chlorosaurs. This means you miss out on certain important Egg moves, notably Leaf Storm and Power Whip. This is a pity, because like Blaziken, if there is a female one, Venusaur becomes a lot better. If you don't know why I refer to Blaziken, it's because it gets Baton Pass (I covered this already, so visit the previous entry for more info).
Considering the rarity of Chlorosaur, I will put Venusaur under the "Balanced" camp, like Blaziken. The reason is, while Venusaur is easily great, its rarity keeps it from being a common face to face.
Verdict: Balanced [±0]
Slowbro is another long-time favourite, due to its dopey expression and its name ('cause "Bro" makes anything cooler). Even then, Slowbro's not a Pokémon to be underestimated either. Like Starmie, it is of the Water/Psychic-type, but it functions differently from its Water-type 'bro. Let's find out why Slowbro's a great Pokémon. Like Venusaur, Slowbro's usability is heightened by its new Hidden Ability, Regenerator.
One of Slowbro's perks is its great Defence. It allows Slowbro to take Physical hits well. While its Special Defence is not as good, it is still not bad. It also has something else that is essential for a wall: recovery. With Slack Off and Regenerator, Slowbro's hard to defeat normally. It is a great partner to Amoonguss, another Regenerator who can also absorb Poison, which Slowbro dislikes. Slowbro's resistances will come in handy against the multitude of Fighting-types out there, so it's not a bad idea to consider Slowbro on your team. Offensively, Slowbro's not too bad either. It could attack with a Water attack of choice, as well as a coverage move. Unlike most Water-types, Slowbro could learn Fire attacks. This gives it something to fend off Grass-, Bug- and Steel-types, something not many Water-types could do. If that's not all, it could even boost it further with Calm Mind, making it an absolute tank. Slowbro, as its name implies, is really slow, but its slowness also has certain advantages as well, such as taking less damage from faster Paybacks and being a great Trick Room user, but...
The low Speed is also a problem. For one, it is easily defeated by a strong and faster Special attacker like Rotom's forms and Thundurus. Being slow also makes it vulnerable to Taunt, so a Jellicent with this move will be able to stall Slowbro. Slowbro's also got some nasty weaknesses to common offensive types, so it has to watch out for ones it cannot take. It is also quite vulnerable to Toxic, because once it is being poisoned, it cannot function as a wall effectively.
Now for the tribulations. Slowpoke and Slowbro are medium to rare finds, even though they were common in the past. This must have something to do with the mass hunting of Slowpoke tails. However, this version of Slowpoke doesn't have constantly reliable abilities (although the immunity to Machamp's Dynamic Punches are awesome). Instead, the Dream World is the way to go. Regenerator ones are obtained at the Sparkling Sea. If you have the original Black and White, you need to earn all 8 badges in the quest and obtain 5000 points. However, in the sequels, you don't need to get busy with progress, as it's a default area. When it comes to training one, it's not that bad, actually. Since Regenerator recovers HP after every battle, you don't need to worry too much about low HP after taking hits (since Slowpoke/Slowbro's slow, after all). Still, evolving at Level 37 takes time.
Unfortunately, that's basically all I could find for Slowbro. The only hurdle you need to cross is so far not that hard to obtain if you get Black 2 and White 2. Moreover, Slowbro doesn't have any Egg Moves it needs. This is not quite as balanced as its advantages of walling and supporting, making Slowbro an unbalanced Pokémon in favour of performance.
Verdict: Somewhat Balanced [+2]
Jynx is somewhat a controversial Pokémon back in the days when Pokémon was a hot thing. As a result of this, its skin becomes purple, which is better than black, I guess. So, Jynx is yet another Pokémon who benefit from its Dream World ability immensely, giving it not only an immunity, but a health source under Rain.
One of Jynx's benefits is certainly Dry Skin. With this, it threatens the average Water-type due to being immune to their main STAB and resisting Ice. Not only that, it works quite well at countering and working with Rain teams (note that rain recovers more than Life Orb's recoil, making it a good item to use). With an Ice-STAB, its Ice attacks also pack a punch. In case it faces something it cannot hit well (say, Fire-types), it can resort to its exclusive Sleep move Lovely Kiss, giving you a free turn to do something like, say, set up a Nasty Plot or Substitute. You could even go all-out offensive with it too, carrying moves like Focus Blast, Psyshock and Energy Ball. In Generation 1, Blizzard's accuracy was great (90%!), which made Jynx dangerous, since Psychic was also a great type to be as well.
Not all is well for Jynx, however. Firstly, while its Special stats are quite good, its Physical stats are rather subpar. This means that, a powerful Physical attacker could end Jynx's life quite easily, especially one that hits multiple times like Cinccino and Klinklang (due to Substitute) or powerful priority attacks like Bullet Punch and Mach Punch. Its type combination also presents it with weaknesses that even its Special Defence won't help, so as long as the opponent used a powerful Fire or Ghost attack, Jynx could be history.
One thing about Jynx is that it is a female-only Pokémon. This essentially means that there is no worry about getting the "incorrect" gender. However, Jynx is not exactly a common sight. In the areas you can catch wild ones, it is hovering at the 10% rate. Smoochum's no better, considering it has the same rarity. Jynx was also a traded Pokémon in Red and Green, in which you need to give up a Poliwhirl. However, Jynx's two default abilities are not the reason for its usefulness.
The main ability Jynx should have is Dry Skin, which is obtained in Spooky Manor, one of Dream World's locations. Fortunately, there is no point requirement to meet Smoochum. However, if you do this, you will be missing out on past Generation moves. Don't worry about it: there is nothing of note that Jynx cannot learn now (maybe it will miss out on Metronome and Mimic (for that glitch), but neither move mattered). There is one move of note that Jynx learns only through breeding: Nasty Plot. As of now, there are three lines of direct parents with this move, and Chimchar learns it the earliest. Since Chimchar is usually male, that's not hard to get. Smoochum does have a slightly long hatching time, though.
Now the big question: is Jynx balanced? Performance-wise, Jynx is quite balanced, since it is decently powerful with a certain drawback (remember that low Defence?). When obtaining it, I would say it is also, due to certain hurdles to overcome. Jynx's best ability is a Hidden Ability, and Nasty Plot is an Egg Move (that requires decent effort to get).
Verdict: Balanced [±0]
Ditto is something of an oddball. It is the only Pokémon who could breed with anything that can breed, with the addition to legendary Pokémon Manaphy. Because of this, Ditto is very useful if you want to breed for female versions of dominantly male species (starters, fossils, giveaways), or any Pokémon with great Individual Values. Beyond that, it was not a Pokémon to pick for battling because it only learns one move, and it is not very good at using it due to its low stats. That all changed when Ditto was given its new Hidden Ability: Impostor.
The way Impostor works is, when Ditto switches into a target, it will immediately copy a target, right down to how many boosts they accumulated. Due to this, it is popular to pack a Choice Scarf to become faster than its opponent, essentially allowing it to revenge-kill an offensively-boosted opponent such as Dragon Dance or Swords Dance boosters. HP is the only stat that isn't copied, therefore you could maximise your HP for more survivability. At max HP, Ditto has the same HP as a Tornadus that doesn't invest in HP EVs. If you are gutsy, you could pack other types of items, like Quick Claw (allowing for a first turn 60% of the time) or Red Card (against bulky boosters).
Unfortunately, Impostor also has limitations. It doesn't work if the opponent is behind a Substitute, or if the opponent is under an Illusion (giving them away as a result). Hidden Power's type doesn't get copied either, so you need to plan the IVs yourself to get the most out of it. If using Choice Scarf, Ditto will also have trouble against a bulky booster since Ditto's HP and PP (the side effect of Transform) is low, so it normally cannot outlast its opponent that way. Also, smart opponents could pack a counter to their own teammate in order to better deal with a Ditto should they see one.
Normally, when you find Ditto, it will have Limber, since this is its default ability. This ability isn't the best on Ditto, since you need a turn to set up a Transform, and that gives the opponent a free turn or an opportunity to harm Ditto. The one with Impostor, on the other hand, is not as easy to find. You see, if you want to get one, you need to search a Hidden Grotto in Black 2 and White 2 for one. Like Jynx, Ditto is located in the Hidden Grotto of Giant Chasm (Kyurem's location). Being late in the game, you won't find it immediately. In addition to that, you don't always get to find a Ditto (since you might find other Pokémon or even items), so it's going to take some time to find one. Before I forget, I should mention that Ditto, despite being a universal breeder, cannot breed with its own species, which essentially means you cannot resort to breeding to get a Ditto with a perfect IV. Fortunately, HP is the only one that matters, making this an easier task.
It's easy to see how Ditto is a balanced Pokémon. It's not easy to find, but if you do, you have a flexible (heh) Pokémon in your hands that you can use in any metagame. From its revenge-killing capabilities to its scouting powers, Ditto is a decent pick for a teammate.
Verdict: Balanced [±0]
Unlike the other examples in this list, Vaporeon became great not because of its new Hidden Ability, although that ability is still very good. Anyway, as one of the first Eeveelutions, Vaporeon is considered something of a darling among the fans, for reasons I don't comprehend. Along with Jolteon, it managed to stay popular due to its strengths. Unfortunately, Flareon doesn't have the same privilege unless a miracle happens. So, let's get right into what makes Vaporeon a great Water-type.
The first thing you will notice on Vaporeon is its three best stats: HP, Special Attack and Special Defence. Based on this, its Special durability is really one of the best things going for it, and its power is not too bad either, allowing it to hit back when needed to. Since Water-types are really the only obstacle it has, Toxic will patch up some problems. Add Scald to the mix, and it works really well as a staller since a lucky burn from Scald will aid its lower Physical durability. Water Absorb is naturally a nice ability to have, since being immune to one of the great offensive types in the game is neat. However, Hydration is not so bad either, since you get full recovery in Rain if Rest is used, making Vaporeon really frustrating to take out indeed! That's not all it could do, though. Wish, a move shared among the Eeveelutions, is quite useful to Vaporeon, since its HP is high, allowing another teammate to recover lots of HP. As a Baton Pass supporter, Vaporeon's main strength is to pass Defence, since it learns Acid Armour, and with this move, it will become really, really resilient!
Vaporeon is not a perfect Pokemon, even though I made it sound like it is invincible. If it were true, it will be banned for sure, but it's not, so let's find out why. Vaporeon suffers from what is called a four moveslot syndrome. Basically, it cannot do everything with just four moves, as forgoing a move makes it vulnerable to something. For example, removing Toxic will make it susceptible to certain bulky Water-types, and forgoing Ice Beam makes it vulnerable to Grass-types (especially Ferrothorn). While Vaporeon's defensive capabilities seem great, it doesn't fare well against powerful super-effective attacks like Rotom's Electric attacks or Virizion's Leaf Blade (and Genesect). If Vaporeon isn't one with Heal Bell or even Hydration, it will have trouble with Toxic. Finally, the premiere Special wall Blissey/Chansey will ensure that Vaporeon won't do much to the team, since both could stand up against it.
Tribulation time! Well, as a proud member of the Eevee family, it is already subjected to the difficulty of obtaining a female species. It's going to take a while to get a female one too, considering how you need 36 cycles (9180 steps) to hatch each egg. As a gift Pokémon, this is quite troublesome indeed. If you want, you could also attempt to find one at Castelia Park, but with a 5% chance to encounter each one, getting a female species is also going to take a while if you are not lucky (although it's not as bad as hatching eggs, which you need to do in previous generations). Why do you need a female Eevee? Besides collecting the Eeveelutions, Vaporeon can only learn Wish (and Yawn) from something else. A Hydration variant isn't as dependent on said Egg Moves, so you could pass the need of a female Dream World Eevee if going for Vaporeon.
By the way, don't be hasty when evolving Eevee if you are looking to learn Baton Pass. If you are going to pass Acid Armour, you will need to relearn it in Black 2 and White 2. For Heal Bell, it's a Move Tutor (at an OK price or 4 Yellow Shards). Most others are obtained through TMs or HM (in the case of Surf). Ultimately though, you have to pick your moves wisely, because as I have said before, Vaporeon cannot cater to covering everything (although this unpredictability is an appealing quality).
Finally, is Vaporeon balanced? Vaporeon is decently hard to obtain, but its battle performance is not too shabby. It certainly has the versatility with its good stat distribution, only marred by the inability to cover everything. Compared to the rest of the Eeveelutions, Vaporeon is top-tier. I am leaning on unbalanced for this one.
Verdict: Almost Balanced [+1]
One done! Now that that’s over, it’s time to pick the next five Pokémon, this time from Generation 2. Remember that these Pokémon must be great in competitive battling, or at least usable in some way. No length conclusion this time, but I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.
Thanks for reading.
Chosen Pokémon that are done (meaning, they can't be picked):
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