Elchar asks:

Wait so we can just asking you about your thoughts on random Pokémon? I think you have just set a dangerous precedent for yourself. Anyway. My favorite Pokémon ever are Voltorb and Electrode actually. What are your thoughts on them and their battle power? And if Electrode could get Mega evolution, how would you set its stats, types and abilities? Thanks.

Ehhhhhhh… yeee-es?  In principle, sort of.  I try not to make a habit of it, because it has in the past led to an inbox piled high with more “ooh, talk about my favourite next!” than I can deal with.  I prefer to prioritise more specific questions, and I don’t particularly enjoy coming up with design ideas for mega evolutions, because to do a good one requires thinking at right angles to a Pokémon’s base design in a way that I’m not terribly good at.  Having said all that, you did ask, so…

Voltorb and Electrode have an interesting sort of core mystery to them – they look almost exactly like Pokéballs, and there’s no evidence that they ever existed before Pokéballs were invented, but no one knows where they came from or what the connection might be.  We know there are other Pokémon that were created by humans, some in modern times (Porygon), some in antiquity (Golett, possibly Sigilyph), some even by accident (Claydol), so there’s plenty of room to speculate about their possible origins as Pokéball offshoots, but the fact that they resemble the item that symbolises all trainer-Pokémon relationships in the modern world gives them a certain added importance.  As does the symbolism of the fact that they are characterised by their intensely self-destructive behaviour…

As for battles… well, now that I think about it, the generations have really not been kind to these Pokémon.  Why Electrode, of all things, was chosen to be the fastest of all Pokémon back in generation I is somewhat beyond me, but at the time there was at least arguably a point to it.  One of the weird quirks of generation I’s battle mechanics is that critical hits do not occur with a uniform probability for all Pokémon – they’re keyed to your base speed.  Electrode, as the fastest Pokémon in generation I, not only gets to move first in basically every battle, it also has an absurdly high crit rate, just over 27%.  Now, even at the time, that was not a good reason to use Electrode, but it was at least amusing.  But, starting in generation II, critical hits are normalised, leaving speed as the only all-or-nothing stat in Pokémon.  There’s no point in having ludicrous amounts of it – you just need to be one point faster than 90% of likely opponents, and the likes of Starmie or Alakazam can do that; no one needs to be as fast as Electrode is.  And then, starting in generation III, Electrode isn’t even the fastest anymore, behind Ninjask and Emerald Deoxys, who are still comfortably ahead even after the speed buff that Electrode receives in Sun and Moon.  Of course, there’s always Explosion, but generation V even took that from Electrode by revoking Explosion’s vaunted ability to halve the target’s defence at the moment of impact; without that, Electrode’s physical attack score is so pathetic it’s sort of not worth bothering anymore.  So I suppose there is something of an argument that Electrode deserves a mega evolution, if anything does.  I’d say make it look like an Ultra Ball or Master Ball (no need to overcomplicate things) and give it a decent physical attack score and an ability (all Electrode’s current abilities are cr@p anyway) that somehow restores Explosion to a semblance of its former glory – maybe by allowing Mega Electrode to hold on with one hit point after using Explosion, once per battle (the second Explosion does drop you, but come on, how many Explosions do you need?).

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