Timburr, Gurdurr and Conkeldurr

1ef2e-timburrIf you’ve been following my rantings thus far, you’ll know I take an extraordinarily dim view of anything that could be described as “[Pokémon] 2.0” and would have much preferred it if Nintendo had just used the Pokémon that existed already and told the creature design guys to come back when they had something interesting.  This is why I was initially quite excited when I met Timburr, an impish-looking little Fighting-type whose combat style involves bitch-slapping you with a plank.  I cannot help but think that this is awesome.  Honestly, I can’t find very much to fault with Timburr; he’s a cool little Pokémon with a lot of attitude.  The only problem I have is that his ‘thing’ seems to be helping out construction workers, which is already what Machop have always been for.  Making it more blatant by giving him construction materials to carry around just seems… pointless.  Now, the Black version Pokédex entry doesn’t mention this, so I missed the whole construction theme and actually got something of a “mischievous forest spirit” vibe from Timburr and thought it would be really cool if he evolved into a Grass/Fighting dual-type and graduated to bitch-slapping you with an entire tree.  I mention this to make it known that my disappointment that this is not the case will surely colour my opinions of Timburr’s evolved forms.  Thankfully, however, I don’t think there is a great deal of room for bias on these Pokémon…

3be53-gurdurrOkay, so Timburr’s plank evolves into a girder.  If I liked the idea of bitch-slapping people with a plank, the idea of doing so with a friggin’ I-beam has to have some appeal, right?  Well… yes.  I still think it’s an awesome idea.  Seriously, though, just look at this Pokémon.  Really look at it.  I can only think that something went badly wrong here.  Is it just me, or does Gurdurr look like a clown?  If so, WHY?  I don’t think the idea of a clown Pokémon is necessarily wrong in and of itself; it worked for Mr. Mime, for instance, way back in Red and Blue, but Mr. Mime looked like a clown because it was part of the design.  He was a mime; his whole shtick was creating invisible walls with his freaky mime-powers.  Gurdurr, on the other hand, is a… a body-building clown who carries a steel girder and helps out at construction sites?  Who said this was okay!?  Who looked at this concept and said, honestly, from the bottom of his or her black heart, “yep, we’re gonna roll with this”?  It can’t have been accidental; there’s just no other conceivable purpose for the giant red nose (or at least, none that I can think of) and the hairstyle is clownish too (or at least… I think that’s supposed to be hair).  My one shining bit of consolation here is the feeling I get when I remember that Gurdurr learns the attack Wake-Up Slap, which, when used on a sleeping opponent, does double damage and, well, wakes it up.  Most Pokémon that learn this technique fight with their hands (hence “slap”).  Gurdurr fights with an I-beam.  Because I am a horrible person, I find the resulting mental image absolutely hilarious.  Thank you, Gurdurr, for giving this to me.  Anyway, Conkeldurr… The tricky thing about the concept of a Pokémon that fights by dual-wielding massive blocks of concrete is that it’s going to turn out either awesome or stupid.  There’s not a lot of middle ground for something like this.  Putting a big red clown nose on it is going to make it stupid.  I’m sorry, but that is one of the thirteen irrevocable Laws of Design.  My biggest problem with Conkeldurr (besides the nose) is that, although he’s the only one that explicitly fights with his props (I assume Timburr and Gurdurr use theirs, but the Pokédex doesn’t actually confirm it; it just says they use them as training weights) I just can’t imagine him doing so, partly because of the way he holds them in the artwork.  Try as I may, I cannot picture Conkeldurr actually using those in a fight.  Maybe that’s just a problem with me, though.  Conkeldurr’s concrete blocks are the only ones that are actually evident in the attacks these Pokémon know; they naturally learn a couple of Rock attacks as they level.  Most of their other attacks are just bog standard Fighting-type ones, leaving me to wonder whether they just set the plank/girder/concrete down whenever they need to do anything…

faaaf-conkeldurrAnd with that mention of attack techniques, I shall gracefully segue into the mechanical part of this entry.  The only really interesting thing I can identify about Conkeldurr’s movepool is that he naturally learns those Rock-type attacks, Rock Slide and Stone Edge, on his own, which is a pity since those attacks are already available to, y’know, pretty much every other Fighting-type Pokémon ever by way of TMs, which are reusable in Black and White and therefore no longer even a significant economic factor.  I’m not sure there’s anything useful Conkeldurr can get that Machamp doesn’t… I mean, there’s Taunt, I guess, but you generally want to put that on a fast Pokémon, which Conkeldurr isn’t.  Machamp on the other hand can inherit Thunderpunch, Fire Punch or Ice Punch from a male parent (and unlike Golem, he can still get them on Black and White, so Conkeldurr can’t even complain that this is an unfair comparison).  To be absolutely fair though, you’ve already got the makings of a pretty good set with a strong attack from each of the Fighting, Ground and Rock types.  So, since I’ve confirmed my initial suspicions that Conkeldurr is very similar to Machamp I may as well continue the comparison… *sigh*… Conkeldurr has more brute force at its disposal and is a lot tougher against physical attacks, but also slower and slightly weaker against special attacks – overall, probably a better stat line, since Conkeldurr has given up some points from special attack, which neither of them uses anyway, for more important stuff.  I am having unpleasant call-backs to my recent assessment of Gigalith as “Golem, with bigger numbers and fewer options.”  Conkeldurr does have a lovely new ability, Sheer Force, which strips away the secondary effects of attacks that have them (like the paralysis caused by a Thunderbolt, for instance) in exchange for more power.  This just makes Conkeldurr even more certain of being able to stuff more damage into the opposing team than Machamp can.  However, I’m not sure that creating Conkeldurr really achieved anything that couldn’t have been done just by giving Machamp Sheer Force as an alternate ability through the Dream World (with access to the elemental punches he’d be able to use it more effectively too)…

cc689-machop252cmachokeandmachampQuick summary of the last paragraph for those who are just skimming: Conkeldurr is bigger and stronger than Machamp but can’t do as many different things, or indeed anything specific that Machamp can’t (and Machamp isn’t without means of increasing his own damage output either).  He’s certainly a powerful Pokémon, but I’m not sure he’s so much more powerful than Machamp that you have to use him even when you don’t want Machamp’s additional options.  What’s more… I cannot get over the abject stupidity of this design, which manages to step on Machop and Machoke’s toes with the whole construction theme while simultaneously putting clown noses where they plainly do not belong.  In short:

I hereby deny this Pokémon’s right to exist!  Let it be pitched into the Hudson River wearing a pair of concrete shoes!

EDIT: When I was writing this entry, I somehow managed to miss that Conkeldurr learns Mach Punch and Machamp doesn’t, which is a major advantage for Conkeldurr because it means that he doesn’t necessarily lose to Pokémon that outrun him.  I think at the time I must have seen it on Conkeldurr’s list and assumed that Machamp could learn it as well without actually bothering to check.  My position remains unaltered, though – I just would have given Machamp Mach Punch as well as Sheer Force.  It’s not like there’s any reason he shouldn’t have it.

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