Tribulations of Great Pokémon 2
by, 3rd June 2011 at 01:14 PM (476 Views)
And we're back for the next series on "Tribulations of Great Pokémon"! Based on suggestion, it is decided that I should go and see the Pokémon in Generation 2! The gist is that in every article, I will take five Pokémon that are great in competitive battling and explain why they are great, along with the challenges in raising them, especially because if you play on a simulator, you won’t experience any of the hardships in raising them. Well, it seems to have got a good start, so I am going to give the second article a go, with five great Pokémon in Generation 2 to investigate. What/who will they be? Read on to find out.
Scizor’s battling potential was not very attractive back in those days, although it got Swords Dance, because Scizor has very little Base Power for the moves it got, and it has very few moves it could use (remember, Pursuit was a Special attack!). You can count on Fury Cutter and Steel Wing to not be ideal moves on Scizor. Perhaps you can try your luck and use Reversal with Endure (and Salac Berry), but Scizor’s Speed isn’t ideal for such a role, despite immunity to Sandstorm damage. In Generation 4, Scizor at least got Technician as an ability, as those low Base Power moves can now be put to use like Pursuit and Bug Bite, but that wasn’t enough, because Steels walling Scizor were still a problem.
However, one day, when Platinum was released, Scizor suddenly got a jump of attention. Why? Let’s take a look at the crowd and see what they see: Bullet Punch? Yes, that’s right, Scizor got one of the best gifts that changed the metagame as was known at that time, and Steel got some attention as an offensive type because of this. Another move that Scizor was blessed with (that wasn’t as popularly known) is Superpower, and this means that now Scizor’s problem of being walled by Steels is no more, so Scizor got a great package deal in a Platinum cart.
As for Scizor’s drawbacks, one of them is Fire weakness, of course. So you can just bring in a Fire-type to give Scizor a hard time, since Scizor do not have any moves that can threaten Fire-types. So, some like Chandelure and Heatran will give Scizor a dilemma (they are faster and resist Bullet Punch). If that Scizor don’t have Superpower, then Steel-types can wall Scizor. Beyond that, Scizor seems to be a perfect Pokémon at this point, considering how it is so powerful and has great utility.
One of the challenges in raising a Scizor is the evolution. That’s because Scizor is a trade evolution, so better whip up another device to evolve Scyther! But you did that and nothing happens. This is because instead of just trading Scyther, you have to trade Scyther with an item: the Metal Coat. Meaning, you don’t immediately obtain Scizor when you found them in the wild. This item varies in location, though, but it’s usually a late or hard find (talking about as a held item). Here’s my point: in Gold, Silver and Crystal, it’s found in S. S. Aqua (post-Elite Four); in Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald, you get it from wild Magnemite (but no regional Scyther); in FireRed and LeafGreen, Memorial Tower (post-Elite Four); in Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, you get it from wild Pokémon in Iron Island or Byron (after getting a National Dex), and in Black and White, in Twist Mountain (winter).
As I have said, Scizor’s turnaround moves are Bullet Punch and Superpower, but the former is a Level 1 move, meaning that you have to pay a Heart Scale to learn it (Scyther cannot learn Bullet Punch) and the latter is only obtained in Move Tutors, so a Scizor in Generation 5 don’t have access to Superpower yet. If you ask me, I would have preferred it if Bullet Punch is placed in Level 80+ in Scizor’s movepool, because I feel that this is a more appropriate challenge to do rather than using Heart Scales, considering how much easier it is to get them these days.
You also have to remember that once you evolved Scizor, then you cannot get Scyther back. It’s probably ridiculous for me to say this because evolution is part of Pokémon, but Scyther is actually a pretty capable Pokémon, as the Base Stat total didn’t get an upgrade (Speed is traded for more Attack and Defence), and their capabilities can even make them different Pokémon rather than from the same family! In fact, Scyther has certain advantages that Scizor doesn’t, like the Speed and the fact that Flying is a great offensive type (not to mention the ability to use the Eviolite). They may seem like form changes, but unlike Rotom and Deoxys, it’s one way, so keep that in mind.
Fortunately for Scizor, it has a pre-evolution, so you can import a Scyther over to evolve and hopefully get a Technician Scizor (Generation 4 ability), but the thing is that there aren’t any notable moves that are only found in Generation 3, with the possible exception of Mimic (because of that glitch), so while it is a tribulation, it doesn’t need to be addressed because you don’t need to face it for a good Scizor.
Well, truth be told, all the drawbacks would probably make Scizor balanced if it wasn’t for the huge buff (Bullet Punch and Superpower especially), but what can I do? If the game developers decided Scizor needs those moves, then I can only agree with them, because I am not affiliated with them to influence their decisions. So, I am not sure if Scizor is balanced, but I am inclined to say no if it wasn’t for the fact that Metal Coat is a late or hard-to-find item, and of course the trade-with-item evolution.
Skarmory was introduced in Pokémon Silver as a great physical wall that seems to get better each Generation for some odd reason. In its introduction, it has a very unique (but useful) type combination that is yet to be replicated, which gives Skarmory no competition in that part. It also has a huge Defence, which gives it no weakness on the Physical side (Fire and Electric were Special types), allowing Skarmory to be a premier Physical wall at that time, and was infamous as a partner to Blissey, who is very resilient on the Special side (as opposed to Mantine, the version exclusive counterpart). If that’s not all, Skarmory is able to learn Whirlwind to remove a troublesome foe. In Generation 3, Skarmory gained Spikes, allowing it to do something while the opponent switch Pokémon, and in Generation 4, it gained Roost, greatly increasing its survivability, as well as Brave Bird and Stealth Rock. In Generation 5, Skarmory benefitted from Sturdy’s upgrade, no longer choosing Keen Eye as the ability of choice (too bad for those who had a Keen Eye Skarmory in Generation 4).
Of course, Skarmory has problems too. Skarmory’s Special side is on the weaker side, so neutral Special attacks can be quite painful, especially if it’s Fire and Electric. If a Pokémon is capable of mixed attacks like Blaziken and Electivire, then Skarmory may be in trouble. Skarmory is also prey to Magneton and Magnezone, who can zap Skarmory and make sure Skarmory never escape harm (and Skarmory can’t do much back), unless Shed Shell is used as the item of choice. In Generation 4 and beyond, as Fire and Electric can be Physical attacks, if there is a strong enough Physical attacker (like Darmanitan), then Skarmory is not able to stand up against them.
Skarmory, despite a relatively low Base Stat Total for a fully-evolved Pokémon, requires a lot of experience to level up. Yep, Skarmory’s maximum experience is 1,250,000, which as I had said about Cloyster before, doesn’t seem like a lot on paper but in reality is really a lot, especially at higher levels. It seems disproportionate, you may think, but I think it’s disproportionate for Mantine and not Skarmory, because Mantine’s type combination and movepool are not befitting of that kind of challenge. Anyway, as this is a section on Skarmory, enough of that. Let’s not forget that Skarmory’s Eggs take slightly longer than average to hatch, so it may take longer to find out if that Skarmory has the stats you wanted. So, Skarmory fits this kind of experience group thanks to the combination of factors that made it very powerful, and the egg cycle is decent for a Pokémon that doesn’t have overbearing stats.
Skarmory’s good moves include Roost, Brave Bird, Whirlwind and Stealth Rock. However, the moves mentioned are Egg Moves (Stealth Rock was an ex-TM). For Brave Bird, the challenge here is that every one of the parents get this move at a high level (Sky Attack is like this too, but it’s not a hot move for any Pokémon). While the only exception is Ho-oh, it can’t breed, so that doesn’t count. The one with the least level requirement is Starly, who is not too strong, and doesn’t have Intimidate like the evolutions. Because of the usefulness of Brave Bird, then you usually want to inherit the move at all costs, but then, what does that make of Whirlwind? Well, if you happen to raise a Starly for Brave Bird, then you can get Whirlwind along the way! However, thing is, Roost is also Starly’s Egg Move, so some chain breeding is necessary in Generation 5. Sure, it was a TM in Generation 4, but Roost was a limited TM. so in each game, you only have one. Now for Stealth Rock...of course you can teach TMs in Generation 4, but the problem is that in Generation 5, none of the other Flying Pokémon in the Egg Group gets the move naturally, so if you want Skarmory with a Sturdy and all the moves (assuming you had a Keen Eye Skarmory before), then you have to breed with a Skarmory from the previous Generation, as Aerodactyl doesn’t get Brave Bird.
It doesn’t seem that Skarmory has a lot of challenges, but they are there. Because Skarmory’s not a terribly strong and impactful Pokémon, the tribulations stated are pretty reasonable, so Skarmory is balanced.
Our next exposition is on one of the more notorious Pokémon in competitive battling: Blissey. For those who are not familiar in competitive battling, Blissey might be just another Pokémon to you. However, ask a competitive battler and you can be sure they will know about Blissey (and maybe dread her). So, who is Blissey? Blissey is a great obstacle in competitive battling. Why did I say this? Blissey has a lot of HP and high Special Defence, which means that Special Attacks are a no problemo to her, even Special Fighting attacks. Not only this, if you want to, you can give Blissey full Defence capability (maximum Defence EVs) to be able to withstand some Physical attacks.
If that is not enough for you, Blissey can even recover that damage, and more! What’s more? Blissey has a great support movepool, ranging from Aromatherapy to Thunder Wave. Maybe I am exaggerating this, but you can be sure that Blissey can do a lot. Let’s not forget her abilities. Natural Cure means that without Toxic Spikes, Blissey is not worried about status ailments. Serene Grace might be a stretch as an ability because she is slow, but it may be a surprise factor, where you might induce a 20% chance of freeze. It is little wonder Smogon calls Blissey a “pink whore” (not sure about other cultures, but there you have it). While Blissey has some competition with Chansey as Eviolite gives Chansey a much better defensive prowess than her, you still can’t underestimate Blissey’s powers.
Now the drawbacks. The first thing you observed about Blissey is how little her Attack and Defence are. With that extremely low Attack, you can be sure that you will never want to give her Physical attacks, so for example, no Earthquake, Double-Edge or Wild Charge for Blissey (the only exception is Seismic Toss, of course). That low Defence means that for all of Blissey’s sturdiness, strong Physical attacks can bring her down, especially Fighting ones. Blissey’s also somewhat slow, so Blissey is susceptible to Taunt, or worse: flinches. With these considerations, a strong Physical attacker is a must in every team, just in case Blissey shows up.
And now the challenges of raising her. First and foremost, you need a Chansey. But then, what’s the catch? You got to be lucky to meet Chansey by chance to capture her (get it? Chansey’s Japanese name is Lucky and Chansey comes from chance). In the games, a chance of meeting a Chansey is typically very low, as with a Happiny. For example, in the Safari Zone at Fuchsia, you only have a 4% chance of meeting a Chansey, 1% chance in Gold, Silver and Crystal (and remakes), and a 5% chance in Diamond, Pearl and Platinum. It would be even rarer to meet one with a Lucky Egg, which is a tremendously helpful item in getting more experience. If that’s not enough, Chansey’s catch rate is on the low side, so it can be hard to catch one, especially in the Safari (because you can’t weaken them without the risk of escape). Good thing they level up fast, though.
There are two moves that you commonly see Blissey use in simulators: Wish and Seismic Toss. To you, they seem like a great fit for Blissey, as the former grants a lot of HP to recipients (in Generation 5) and the latter at least makes Blissey offensively capable (without training in offence). But the question is: how do you get those moves? Seismic Toss is only obtained in Generation 3’s Move Tutor, and it’s great if you still have one of the games with move tutors (especially Emerald). Wish is an event move for Chansey in Generation 3, and if you managed to get one, that’s great (you can clone them and you will be popular), and if you didn’t, hope someone is helpful or generous to give you one of them.
Blissey also experience a very negligible battling capability. You see, when you are training up a Happiny or Chansey, there’s one thing you have to bear: next to no offensive capability. Blissey’s Special Attack is below average (but still OK), but the same can’t be said for Happiny and Chansey. It’s worse when you realise that this family cannot learn Special attacks when levelling up, so you have to resort in TMs and Move Tutors to do the trick (remember, TMs weren’t free in Generation 1 to 4!). If you do try to attack them with what you have, you will usually use a lot of PP (and need regular healing), which is not very convenient because PP-healing items are hard to come by (Leppa Berries are the easiest item to restock, actually), and Seismic Toss requires multiple uses if you are at low levels. In other words, attacking is easier to train a Pokémon, and Chansey’s not very good at it, while Blissey needs TMs (a great convenience these days) to attack.
One thing I didn’t mention is using Happiness to evolve, because Chansey’s base Happiness is relatively high, so reaching that point won’t take long. That, and the fact that Happiness isn’t the hardest stat to increase (using Vitamins, travelling and levelling up are common activities in raising happiness).
So...is Blissey a balanced Pokémon? Let’s see...you are supposed to go out of your way to capture a Happiny or Chansey while dealing with their low catch rate, and even if you did catch them, you have to bear with their negligible offensive capability. There’s also the fact that the two great moves that make them better are rather obscure moves in practice means that you have to go out of the way to find them (Aromatherapy is an Egg Move, so maybe that counts too). Also, Blissey has a good flaw (bad Physical Defence), so I believe that in the end, Blissey is a balanced Pokémon.
Wobbuffet is also a notorious Pokémon in competitive battling for a different reason. Wobbuffet has a very high HP, and while the Defences are on the low side, it can be patched up with enough Effort training. Wobbuffet also packs Counter and Mirror Coat, which are moves that allow Wobbuffet to make use of its high HP to dish out high damage to foes. Perhaps the most powerful trait that Wobbuffet possesses is the ability Shadow Tag. Any escape from Wobbuffet is negated unless the opponent has Shadow Tag themselves, so the opponent cannot merely get out of this deceptively dangerous Pokémon. With Encore, Wobbuffet can take advantage of what the opponent is stuck doing: when they attack, they will receive repeated reflected attacks, and if they don’t, you can switch to something that can handily deal with whatever you are facing. It is little wonder Wobbuffet is considered as one of the few non-Legendary Pokémon to be slated on the ban list.
Just like many Pokémon, Wobbuffet has drawbacks. Wobbuffet is very slow, so many Pokémon can act before Wobbuffet. However, Wobbuffet’s two counter moves usually act last anyway, and Encore on the first turn for a slow Pokémon is good because the opponent will have been stuck with a move. The issue, however, is Taunt. Once Taunt is used, Wobbuffet can’t do much, especially if the opponent has a set up move, which will mean that Wobbuffet is set-up fodder. Wobbuffet also hates status ailments, and the low Speed means that Safeguard can’t be set up in time to avoid it, so a poisoned Wobbuffet will eventually be worn out, as Wobbuffet itself has no self-recovery. If Wobbuffet faces a Physical Ghost, Special Dark or Ghost/Dark Pokémon, then Wobbuffet can’t hurt them, so for example, Golurk can keep Shadow Punching, Houndoom can keep Dark Pulsing and Sableye can just stall out Wobbuffet (because Wobbuffet hates burns and taunts).
One of the challenges in raising Wobbuffet is getting the moves. You see, Wobbuffet has two notable moves that cannot be obtained normally, since Wobbuffet cannot learn any moves. The first one is Encore, which is a Wynaut-only move, and Wynaut requires a Lax Incense when breeding. There are two items that competitive battlers usually use for breeding: Power items and Everstone. The former lets the child inherit a stat value based on item, while the latter lets the child inherit the holder’s nature (with a reasonable probability). If the Lax Incense is involved, then obviously one item has to be forgone, making breeding the best Wynaut harder (though the Power items are the more expendable one in this case). The other move is Tickle. This is an event-only move, so good luck finding a non-hacked or non-Mimic one, because that event was over. The ones with Tickle isn’t the most practical to get, though if you can get it, then that’s good for you (and you can clone them and give people to be popular).
Training Wobbuffet is also a challenge. If you decided to get Encore, remember that Wynaut cannot even attack until Level 15, because Wynaut only has Splash, Charm and Encore, which obviously means that you have to rely on your teammates for offense. When you reached that level, you gain Wobbuffet’s moves, which are Safeguard, Counter, Mirror Coat and Destiny Bond. Now you have two moves that can do damage. However, those moves require Wobbuffet to be hurt, and you also have to predict the correct move, as using the wrong one will be a waste of a move. Should you run into a Pokémon that can’t even attack, then it’s bad because it will be long-drawn if you decide to stay in (worse if you are facing another Wobbuffet, especially in Generation 3). This means that if you want Wobbuffet to gain experience, you usually have to switch your Pokémon around, or you can use an Exp. Share. The former is faster in the long run if you have the Power items since the Effort Values you earn as a result is much better than using an Exp. Share. In other words, Wobbuffet can’t be trained alone.
As Wobbuffet is a simple Pokémon, there isn’t much to say about it, as it has two simple challenges to overcome when you raise Wobbuffet. Do note that if you have finished the Effort training on Wobbuffet, you are home-free, because you can now attach an Exp. Share and let the others get Wobbuffet to a higher level. As it stands, Wobbuffet is (almost) a balanced Pokémon.
Ah yes, last but not least is Tyranitar, a terror introduced in Generation 2. As a pseudo-legendary, you can bet that Tyranitar is a very powerful Pokémon, as the base stats are pretty good in all areas except for Speed, so from day one Tyranitar is ready to make an impact in competitive battling. The real impact doesn’t start until Generation 3, because in that game, Tyranitar got the lauded Sand Stream, which makes Sandstorm teams viable because that ability creates unlimited Sandstorm, which is good for wearing down the incompatible types. Generation 4 greatly benefit Tyranitar’s movepool as well as getting a free Special Defence boost under Sandstorm, while Generation 5 really didn’t do much, except for some new moves (Dragon Tail comes to mind). However, one thing cannot be ignored: Tyranitar’s good stats and great movepool allow it to perform a lot of roles, so when you see a Tyranitar out, you won’t know its role until it does something.
Tyranitar seems like a very perfect Pokémon in every way, but like any Pokémon, Tyranitar has weaknesses. Tyranitar has six different weaknesses, which is a lot, so it has to watch out for some common attacks like Surf, Earthquake, Bullet Punch (only common on Scizor), and especially Fighting attacks. Tyranitar’s essentially boosted Special Defence means that it can withstand some Special attacks, but fortunately Tyranitar don’t have an instant recovery move, so Special Fighting attacks can still be a problem if usage is repeated.
One of Tyranitar’s tribulations is the evolution path. You may see only one evolution path, I am sure. However, you will realise that it’s not a bed of roses when Tyranitar is only obtained at a high level. That’s right, Larvitar evolves at Level 30, and Pupitar evolves at Level 55. What I am saying is that a Tyranitar requires lots and lots of experience, and I mean it. You see, it is a common practice for pseudo-legendaries to be in the Slow Experience Group, which means that every level takes longer to reach than an average Pokémon, and Level 55 is really a lot of experience. If a competition requires all Pokémon to be at Level 50 or below, then you can’t even use Tyranitar there, including the Level 50 challenge at Battle Tower.
Speaking of pre-evolutions, it is also a common characteristic among pseudo-legendaries to have average base stat totals for their stages, because it is definitely ridiculous to have such strong pre-evolutions from the get-go, so that means you have to train an average Pokémon beforehand. Do note that Larvitar and Pupitar have a different type combination (Rock/Ground), and that’s just something to keep in mind. Also, because both don’t have Sand Stream, they don’t get the Special Defence boost like Tyranitar. Let’s not forget that you don’t get the powerful level-up moves until Level 28, where you learn Thrash, although Bite (Remember, Larvitar and Pupitar don’t get STAB) and Rock Slide may suffice for the time being.
This family is also hard to find. In the occasion it’s not hard, it’s a swarm (or someone with excess), which is supposed to make a Pokémon easy to find. In Generation 2 and 3, Larvitar is located in very obscure locations in addition to a low chance of finding them (Mt. Silver and Sevault Canyon respectively), while in Generation 4 you at least get to find Larvitar...in a swarm. In Generation 5, Pupitar is found in Dark Grass (with a low chance), while Tyranitar is found in rustling grass with an even lower chance. So you see, you have to persist in finding them, and get your “capture spheres” ready!
Maybe not worth mentioning, but for Egg Moves, this family is one of the few to retain Stealth Rock, but nobody naturally learns that in the Egg Group, so you have to import one of the many families who get the move by TM, but since none of Tyranitar’s moves conflict with the new Egg Move (only Iron Tail), this is not really a challenge. Perhaps if you want Dragon Dance then it is, as in previous Generations, it’s a chain bred move, but that’s where Axew comes in to make it easier. But! I only mention the relative unimportance of getting Egg Moves, but do you know that Larvitar Eggs take a very long time to hatch? Yes, with just over 10,000 steps, you get your Larvitar, so hopefully you got yourself a Flame Body or Magma Armour Pokémon ready!
Is Tyranitar balanced? The fact that you have to train a hard-to-find Pokémon that requires a lot of experience and evolve very late means that you will be rewarded for your experience, and there’s the fact that both pre-evolutions don’t have the broad movepool that Tyranitar means that you can’t give them the good Special attacks that easily. But then, the impact it has in competitive battling gave me second thoughts, but still, I think Tyranitar’s balanced, mostly because of all the trouble you have to go through to get a good Larvitar and to even raise one.
(*Whew*) That took long, but I finally did it. If I missed out something, feel free to point them out! Next time we shall tackle on another five Pokémon, this time from Generation 3. I do express an interest to talk about Metagross in the next section, but since I give the power of suggestion to the commenters, I will wait on this to see what you think I should write about. So, which five Pokémon should I look at next time? Do note that they must be good in competitive battling too. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing them.
Thanks for reading.
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