Oh, hey, a Pokéball.
Wait, wait. I’m not falling for that. It’s not really a Pokéball; it’s a Voltorb.
Hang on; there are no old Pokémon in Unova! I’m safe! Which means… whoohoo, free stuff! Now, what’s ins-
Today’s Pokémon are Foongus and Amoonguss (and yes, I knew what the adult form was going to be called as soon as I met the juvenile). Foongus and Amoonguss are mushroom Pokémon that use their patterned caps to imitate Pokéballs in order to aggravate and enrage players, who expect to pick up an item but get a battle instead. Old hands will recognize a familiar theme: that of Voltorb and Electrode, the irritable and highly explosive Electric Pokémon from the original games who pull the same trick in power plants as Foongus does in forests. As you may already know, I am extremely touchy about the resurrection and reuse of old themes (especially ones that were annoying the first time). Foongus isn’t just an old idea, he also makes less sense than Voltorb and Electrode. Think about it. Why – or, more importantly given the timescale involved, how – would a wild animal (plant, fungus, whatever) evolve to look like a man-made item like a Pokéball? Voltorb is a Pokémon that explicitly didn’t exist before modern times, and its first appearance coincided with the introduction of mass-produced Pokéballs; it’s almost certain that Voltorb’s appearance and anatomy are not entirely natural. Foongus has no such excuse. The Pokédex doesn’t know why they look like Pokéballs (at least it admits that it doesn’t know, which is more than the blasted device usually offers), but Foongus seem to practice this imitation specifically to troll humans, using the disguise to draw people in, then blasting them with toxic spores. Do they want to avoid us or not? Amoonguss… Amoonguss strains credulity even further, if that’s possible. They apparently use the Pokéball-patterned caps on their arms to lure prey by performing a kind of languid, swaying dance. I will allow a moment for the absurdity of this to sink in. They attempt to lure prey – presumably other wild Pokémon – by mimicking the appearance of a device used by humans to capture and enslave wild Pokémon. What’s more, it explicitly doesn’t even work! Amoonguss’ imitation of a Pokéball is so terrible that most Pokémon can distinguish them from the real thing almost effortlessly! And I can understand why! Unless you’re looking directly down at them, Foongus and Amoonguss look nothing like Pokéballs; a mushroom cap just isn’t the right shape. Voltorb are too large for a perfect imitation and don’t have the button on the front of a Pokéball, but at least they’re actually spherical, and their bodies have the shiny, metallic finish of a real Pokéball, which Foongus and Amoonguss certainly don’t. This… this is just a failed species. Something so incredibly bad at its own survival tactics shouldn’t even exist, much less thrive! Seriously, Game Freak! Why!?
Y’know, I could totally finish this entry right here and I would be completely happy with it; I think I’ve made my point. Let’s keep going anyway.
Oh, and by the way, Amoonguss, if you want to try claiming that “mushroom Pokémon” is a new and original idea, Parasect and Breloom would like a word with you. The difference between them and you, Amoonguss, is that, while Parasect is an insect controlled by a giant parasitic mushroom and Breloom is a kick-boxing dinosaur with fungal traits, you are just a mushroom. A poisonous mushroom, sure, but that’s hardly creative or original. You had your chance at being interesting and you blew it by going with the dumb Pokéball thing, so shut your boring face and show everyone what you can actually do.
To give credit where it’s due, Amoonguss is not a weak Pokémon. He’s a Grass/Poison dual-type, which means he has to follow Venusaur, Vileplume, Victreebel and Roserade. Victreebel and Roserade are heavily aggressive Pokémon while Venusaur is something of a tank; Amoonguss is a support Pokémon like many other Grass-types, including Vileplume (full disclosure: Vileplume is my favourite Pokémon and I am bitterly offended by any attempts to encroach on her territory). From an offensive standpoint Grass/Poison is at best dubious, but it’s fairly solid defensively, bestowing useful resistances to Water, Electric and Fighting attacks. Amoonguss, likewise, has reasonable but not particularly impressive attack and special attack stats and is horribly slow, but luckily is quite bulky. None of this is any reason to use Amoonguss though. If you’re going to use Amoonguss, you’re using him for one thing: Spore, the only 100%-accurate sleep-inducing technique in the game, which is exclusive to him, Parasect, Breloom, and that jerk Smeargle (who learns everything). Never use Amoonguss unless you plan to abuse this attack, and abuse it hard, because the rest of his movepool is… lacklustre. You should probably take the time to get an Amoonguss with Stun Spore by crossbreeding with one of the dozen other Grass Pokémon that learn it, and Toxic is a decent choice if you like waiting for things to shrivel up and die, but neither of those is really very interesting; spreading debilitating ailments is just what Grass Pokémon do. Synthesis for healing is definitely worth consideration. Beyond that… I’m really not sure. In terms of direct damage, I don’t think any of Amoonguss’ attacks are worth looking at aside from Giga Drain, which will make him tougher by augmenting the healing provided by Synthesis. Sludge Bomb will do reasonable damage but it has a fairly high chance of poisoning its target, which is actually a bad thing for Amoonguss for two reasons: first, ‘regular’ (i.e. non-Toxic) poison is easily the least-harmful status affliction in the game, and second, Pokémon can only have one such affliction at a time, so being poisoned will render them immune to sleep, which is Amoonguss’ one big trick. On a similar note, Amoonguss’ ability – Effect Spore – is an absolutely terrible one for him. If an opponent makes physical contact with Amoonguss, there is a chance that it will be paralyzed, poisoned, or put to sleep, at random – so if Amoonguss was trying to use Spore, Toxic or Stun Spore on the same turn, there’s a chance that the effect will be blocked by another status condition (possibly a much less useful one) brought on by Effect Spore and his turn will be wasted. Breloom and Parasect have this non-ability too, but they at least have access to other ability choices (much stronger ones) while Amoonguss is going to be stuck with it until Game Freak decides to release his ‘hidden’ ability.
Spore alone is such a wonderful technique that Amoonguss is almost worth using just for that, even though the rest of his options are mediocre. However, I don’t care. His design is terrible. Nothing about Foongus and Amoonguss is new, nothing about them is interesting, heck, I don’t think anything about them even makes sense! Get them out of my sight!
I hereby deny this Pokémon’s right to exist! Let it be forced to justify itself before a jury of irate Voltorb!