Ty asks:

How would you rate changing Cacturne’s Sand Veil into Sand Rush? Too much? Not enough? Just right?

It would certainly help, because Cacturne is powerful but slow, and heavily reliant on Sucker Punch. It’s exactly the type of Pokémon who would benefit from an ability like Sand Rush, although how much is “enough” is pretty subjective. My concern here isn’t that Sand Rush would be too strong on Cacturne, but rather that it doesn’t really fit. Cacturne is a stalker, a Pokémon who follows prey across the desert, unseen and out of range, until that prey collapses from exhaustion. Tricky moves like Sucker Punch that catch the target off-guard are a good fit; Sand Veil, a silly ability though it admittedly is, is a good fit; low speed and high power are a good fit; a conventional weather-based sweeper mentality isn’t, really. I think maybe some kind of Grass-type situational first strike move, analogous to Sucker Punch, would be interesting – maybe something that has speed priority against a target with less than 50% of its health, but fails against healthy Pokémon the way Sucker Punch fails against status moves?  You could even rework Needle Arm into this; the only other Pokémon that get it are Maractus and Chesnaught, and although Chesnaught is arguably decent already neither of them is in danger of breaking the game. That probably falls under “not enough,” but I like it better as an expression of what Cacturne is about.

3 thoughts on “Ty asks:

  1. I’d like to counter that with the explanation that Cacturne might only be slow when you can see him. Like a terrifying scarecrow monster in a horror film that always seems to magically catch up to you no matter how much you run, Cacturnes love to break into sprint when they know their prey can’t see them. This is a rough accomplishment to perform in a Pokemon battle where your opponent is trying to fight you, but you know what could help? The cover a sandstorm where visibility is naturally low. They’re like Boos in Mario or those angel statues in Doctor Who.

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    1. Ooh, I like this explanation! I particularly enjoy the image of a Cacturne moving like Weeping Angels; that’s a nice shout.

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  2. I like your idea of reworking Needle Arm in that way, but I feel like it clashes a bit too much with Sucker Punch in practice, no? Like, both moves would STAB (no pun intended), so if an opponent is already down 50% health anyway, it feels a bit redundant to have Cacturne rely on two situationally-priority moves. Unless you give Needle Arm a pretty big buff, I don’t see why you would choose one over the other, especially since Dark has much better coverage than Grass.

    Here’s an idea: rework Needle Arm instead to work like Focus Punch, to reinforce the theme of Cacturne hitting you hardest when you haven’t been paying attention to it (Cacturne already gets Focus Punch from move tutors anyway). I think this would mesh very well with Spiky Shield (if Cacturne’s out, would you risk attacking it head on and hurt yourself from Spiky Shield, or would you risk ignoring it and get a base power 150 Needle Arm to your face?) as well as adds incentive to use Sand Veil, since increased evasion (even situationally) can only help a Focus Punch-type mechanic. Add in Substitute, the high priority Sucker Punch, and a partner with Follow Me for Doubles/Triples, and I think we’ve got one tricky cactus to deal with in a sandstorm battlefield.

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