Dratini Case Study

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  1. #1
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    Default Dratini Case Study

    As a bit of a research project, I decided to start a new journey in one of the games with an unusual starting Pokémon. I decided to start up my case study in a new game of Crystal, so I loaded it up and picked a Pokémon... Then proceeded to hack the save data to transform it into a Dratini. This particular Dratini is Shiny and Female, with an attack IV of 7 and 10 for the others. Its starting moves were configured as Wrap and Leer, matching what a genuine Dratini would have would it have hatched from an egg. I also had to adjust its Exp from 135 to 156, since Dratini is in the Slow experience group and 136 is insufficient to place it at level 5.

    I just got back to Route 30 after giving Prof. Elm the mysterious egg, and I'm finding that Dratini is especially difficult to work with. The reason I'm posting about it on the forums is because I'm not an expert with the combat mechanics, and I'm sure you guys could provide some helpful insights.

    First and foremost, it will be leveling slower because it's in a different experience group. This means that the trip to Violet City will be less rewarding than it would be for essentially any other Pokémon available in the game up to that point.

    And then there's combat. It currently has Wrap in terms of attacks, and that has a power of 15 in its own right, so I understand it's not a choice cut when it comes to damage output. What I'm not totally clear on is what this means in regards to the base stats. Dratini's stat total is 300, which is shares with other Pokémon such as Bellsprout, Geodude and Pikachu. Its Attack stat is 64 and its Special Attack 50, which look fairly middle-of-the-road, so I would think once it gets some attacks it should put up a decent fight. Its HP stat is 41, which looks like it's probably a bit on the low side. Could someone explain to me the chief significance of the base stats?

    I do remember from previous play-throughs that the Dratini I got from the Dragon Master was similarly difficult to train, though I was able to switch it out during battles to deal more damage with other Pokémon. All of my experiences with Dratini paint the image of something that's easy to defeat but difficult to win with. This includes battle even after teaching it more powerful attacks such as Twister, Dragon Breath and Iron Tail, as well as boosting its Dragon attacks with the Dragon Fang. I just haven't ever gotten one to the point that I feel, "wow, this is something I feel I can use in battle."

    In Generation I, Dratini always fared better for me because I could teach it more conventional tricks like Ice Beam and Thunderbolt, but Generation II doesn't afford me those luxuries and Dratini's level-up schedule looks otherwise anemic. It learns Twister at 15 and Slam all the way at 29, and won't evolve into Dragonair until 30. What I do see is Dragon Rage at level 22, which if my experience with Night Shade on an Ariados is any indication, should hopefully be a game-changer. But the trip there looks like it'll be long and painful. Hopefully things will look better before Sunday so I don't have to rush for the Return TM. (-:

    So hey, am I alone in this, or is Dratini one stick shift of a Pokémon to train as the lead member of the party? Does anyone else have some Dratini insights they'd like to share?

  2. #2
    From Leyend to Myth Infinity Mk-II's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dratini Case Study

    Simply put, pokémon that are potentially stronger are balanced by often being more of a pain to train.

    Dratini's low defenses and slow experience, along lack of useful early moves, are among the lesser of problems in comparision to other pokémon (as as soon as you get TMs and better attacking options it should start to put up a better fight, and evolves at a reasonable level)

    Larvesta for instance, has a terrible typing for in-game, as most encounters in caves will smash it, and you're stuck with a baby form until into the post-game, while also having slow experience gain and the wrong stats. And legitimately you obtain it merely at level ONE, without access to many real moves.


    Anyway, as I have incidentially used a Dratini early game for all games, I can tell you the main difference you're experiencing from Gen I to II

    In Gen I, Wrap was overpowered. Dratini had the speed and attack to abuse it. So even though you had the problem of the very early part of the game being full of physical types with your low defenses, it could offset that by doing plenty of damage.
    And also, the moment you can first obtain it legitimately (celadon), you have access to plenty of TMs to teach it, including Ice Beam.

    In Gen II, Dratini doesn't have any real attacks early on. Though by the earliest you can obtain one (game corner in GS) you still have access to TMs, they also aren't as useful. Waiting for so late game as Dragon's Den is on the other hand is a problem as you obtain it pretty underleveled, but Extremespeed makes all the difference so raising that particular Dratini is much easier.

    [/overexposition]

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    Registered User Jenni's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dratini Case Study

    A lot of pokemon are like this. As an attempt to balance them, basically.. Dragonite and even Dragonair are very good pokemon. To make it balanced, though, dratini is a very difficult pokemon to raise - in Gen1 you could abuse Wrap, but since they fixed that, you have a slow, weak pokemon, who's stuck in it's baby form until around the time other 3-stage evolutions are nearing their final stage.
    The payoff, though, is that when it is fully trained, it is a powerhouse, and at least in-game a dragonite can solo most trainers save maybe the league champion, and Red(in g/s/c/hg/ss) unaided.
    A bit of patience with dratini really pays off. Dragon rage isn't great, but it's better than most of her options early on. Once she evolves, she starts to hold her own pretty well though, and when she hits dragonite she can dominate most opponents.

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    Default Re: Dratini Case Study

    I've just defeated Morty now, and despite being the same level as the other Pokémon in my party, the Dratini is still maybe a 6 out of 10 in regards to where I feel it should be.

    My group looks like this:

    • Dratini - 23 - Experimental; Dragon damage and resistance to all starter types
    • Butterfree - 23 - Psychic damage and status effects
    • Ariados - 23 - Primarily Night Shade for now, but I'll be teaching it Sludge Bomb and probably Psychic for high burst damage
    • Something else that knows Cut

    I was able to get the Dratini to level 12 heading up to the Violet City gym, and this includes Sprout Tower. Leveling it against 3s and 4s was too painful, so I took it into the gym and beat Falkner. My strategy, given my limited options, was to cast Leer three or four times for each opponent before using Wrap on it. It was... tedious.

    While heading towards Union Cave, it finally hit level 15 and learned Twister. The difference was like night and day, as I could finally defeat enemies in two hits; especially the Onix and Geodude in the cave itself.

    It was around this time I decided to make sure I had some emergency backup, so I started leveling a Spinarak I'd caught back before entering Violet City. It was able to hold its own, even so far as to take on most of the Azalea Town gym by itself. It regrettably wasn't able to defeat the Beedrill and Scyther, though, which are worth quite a bit of Exp each. The Dratini wound up getting the rewards from them instead. I picked up a Caterpie while traveling through Ilex Forest, since the status effects (Sleep Powder in particular) make tougher opponents easier to beat in conjunction with its Psychic damage. Nonetheless, I still nearly got flattened by Whitney's Miltank, and only won because of a chance miss by Rollout.

    In all my play-throughs, that Miltank has been without question the most difficult opponent no matter what I try to throw at it.

    Anyhoo, back to the Dratini... I fought Silver (whom I'd literally named "???") in the Tin Tower, as well as two of the Kimono Girls before the Dratini leveled up to 22. Through that, Twister didn't seem to be doing much damage. I thought maybe it was a fluke with the Bayleef, but it proceeded to not do much against the Kimono Girls.

    Does Twister's efficacy wane as Dratini levels up? It should have a net base power of 60 given Dratini's same-type advantage, but I'll be darned if it wasn't wimpy anyway, especially relative to what I saw it do in Union Cave. Unless Bayleef, Flareon and Espeon just happen to have high Special Defense...

    At level 22, it learned Dragon Rage. Similar to Ariados's Night Shade, Dragon Rage will deal a fixed amount of damage. However, where Night Shade deals damage equal to the level of the caster (in this case, somewhere in the low 20's), Dragon Rage always does 40 damage (nearly twice what Night Shade can do at this level). Using that against the remaining Kimono Girls was a walk in the park.

    Dratini leveled up enough times fighting the Kimono Girls that I had it sit out at the Ecruteak City gym, where Butterfree and Ariados took turns leveling up. By the time I got done, everyone was level 23 and I taught Surf to Dratini so it'd have a high-damage attack at its disposal.

    So while Dratini is gradually getting better, I do still have this question: what caused Twister to lose its edge?

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    Default Re: Dratini Case Study

    Okay, got up to the gate to Victory Road tonight before calling it quits. I'd like to have all of my Pokémon at level 35 or higher before proceeding forward to the Elite Four.

    The crew is as follows:
    • Dragonair - 35 - Dragon damage and, as usual, the experiment
    • Haunter - 34 - Taken chiefly for Red's Snorlax, since it's immune to Normal damage and can learn Dream Eater and Curse
    • Umbreon - 35 - Originally selected to counter Will's Psychic attacks, but it's working well as a tank
    • Krabby - 24 - This is currently the utility Pokémon, knowing Cut, Strength, Surf and Whirlpool, but I'll train it up as a way of saying thanks
    • Ariados - 35 - Knows Sludge Bomb for high burst damage, as well as Leech Life for those pesky Grass, Psychic and Dark types
    • Butterfree - 35 - Status infliction (Sleep Powder) and high Psychic damage

    The Cinnawood City gym was fought by the Ariados and Butterfree, so I don't have any Dratini-related experience with that one. The Dratini evolved on the high seas while on the way to face Jasmine at the Olivine City gym (I'd made a trip back to the pharmacy). Though Steel resists Dragon, it doesn't resist Water. Couple that with Steelix's secondary Ground type and it looks like Surf is just the right tool for piercing its defenses.

    Dragon Rage continues to be useful, even into the endgame, since 40 damage in a single shot (that totally bypasses defenses) is still a respectable amount. Its main drawback is the 10 PP it comes with out of the box. I also taught the Dragonair Icy Wind after defeating Pryce, as it's doubly effective against Dragonite's dual Dragon/Flying typing once I reach Lance. The Blackthorn City gym was an interesting experience. Having two Pokémon that are weak to each other go at it kept me on the edge of my seat. I ultimately had to whip out the Umbreon, especially when fighting Claire's Kingdra, but the Dragonair was able to conquer most of the opponents in the gym. Naturally, I taught it Dragonbreath as soon as I had the chance, and gladly used it to overwrite Twister.

    The trip down the mountain and towards the Pokémon League gate was characterized by everyone taking turns leveling up. By the time I set foot in Victory Road, the Haunter was 33 and everyone else (save for the Krabby) was 35. Haunter was close to leveling, so I walked around and encountered a beefy level 40 Graveler, who prompty used Self-Destruct and gave me the free Exp I needed. Thanks, Graveler! As for the Krabby, I was hoping I could chain-breed Icy Wind onto it, but the only valid bridge Pokémon is Corsola and that can't learn the move. So instead, I think I'll be clever and send it to Generation I to pick up Ice Beam, then level it to 34 without evolving so it can learn Protect before reaching 35. It will retain Surf and Strength.

    Lastly, Umbreon is the archetypical specimen of the tank. The thing simply can't be killed. And unlike other traditional toughies, it is neither slow nor Rock type. Its primary weakness is in its damage output, but I figured since I needed high Friendship to evolve the Eevee in the first place, I might as well teach it Return and give it the Pink Bow. It's very handy in case of emergencies, and has already dealt the finishing blow to a handful of gym leaders.

    Anyhow, as it pertains to the Dratini experiment, the Dragonair is much more bearable. It's still somewhat fragile, but not to the extent that it presents itself as a problem. The high special damage from Dragonbreath and Icy Wind, on the other hand, is definitely something I enjoy and I'm confident it will be able to clear the room once it becomes a Dragonite.

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    Default Re: Dratini Case Study

    Well, Umbreon pretty handily became the new Pokémon League champion. I knew going in there with a bunch of 35s was risky, but what I hadn't accounted for was the sheer durability and damage output of the fully-evolved Pokémon I'd be up against. Umbreon won out as a matter of longevity more than anything.

    • Will - The Umbreon was the obvious choice here, since it's immune to psychic and has good defense against Normal.
    • Koga - I wasn't packing any heat going into this battle, so I wasn't super-effective against the Bug types. The only Psychic damage I had was the Butterfree, which was instantly destroyed by the Venomoth's Psychic. The Umbreon took care of this one too.
    • Bruno - This guy was pretty easy. I had a tag team of the Butterfree using Sleep Powder and Psybeam, and the Kingler using Surf. Despite the 5-7 level difference, they went down pretty quickly.
    • Karen - The enemy Umbreon was strong enough that it could easily take down anything that I had save for my own Umbreon. While the Ariados took the Vileplume and the Butterfree took the Gengar, the Dragonair still went down in one hit. More than anything, the Houndoom was vicious being level 47 and using Flamethrower. My Umbreon could take two hits from that on a full life bar, and I was able to confuse the Houndoom long enough to get a couple Surfs off.
    • Lance - The Ariados and Dragonair were instantly squashed by the Gyarados, and the Kingler found out the hard way that Dragonite knows Thunder. However, its abundant use of Hyper Beam gave--who else--the Umbreon ample opportunity to confuse it, heal itself, and revive the Kingler so it could use Ice Beam. Kingler took down the Aerodactyl as well, and Charizard was effectively another battle with Houndoom.

    So what's missing? Dragnair. It didn't get much of a chance to do anything, since it was considerably slower than its opponents and it was so fragile that it had limited opportunity to attack.

    My verdict is this: in Generation II at least, Dratini is a lousy starting Pokémon.

    The Haunter was largely useless as well. It didn't have any significant damage between Shadow Ball and Night Shade, and its Poison type made it weak to some attacks that caught me off guard (I'm looking at you, Magnitude).

    However, this can be chalked up to a matter of poor planning. Had I taken a Corsola along for the ride with Rollout or Surf, the heaviest hitters wouldn't have been so much of a problem. Having said that, my team was designed primarily with Red in mind, where the Dragonair, Haunter and Umbreon have the advantage. I'll have to see how that goes over when I get there.

  7. #7
    Merry Christmas! Oswin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dratini Case Study

    @GuyPerfect; Because this is more about your own progress of the game, it isn't really suited here. It would be better in the blog section, so I'll close this. Thank you for understanding.

    Bulbagarden Forums - Recent Blogs Posts - Blogs

    If you have any questions, you can always ask in here:
    http://bmgf.bulbagarden.net/f226/simple-questions-simple-answers-gens-1-4-a-118351/

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    Registered User BlackGroudon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dratini Case Study

    Im doing this in firered atm.



    I Claim Groudon.Yay

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    Default Re: Dratini Case Study

    So interesting. Thank you for spending your time researching this and sharing it.

  10. #10
    Registered User BlackGroudon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dratini Case Study

    Do you want me topost my results as well,or make a new thread?



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  11. #11
    真実の英雄 smalllady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dratini Case Study

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackGroudon View Post
    Do you want me topost my results as well,or make a new thread?
    Like PkmnGreen said, you should make your own blog entry about it.

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