Leo M.R. asks:

In many ways I think Glacia from RSE and Flint from DP are polar opposites, pun semi-intended. Not only are their personalities the reverse of each other (Glacia is cool, elegant, and reserved; Flint is passionate, boisterous, and a little unhinged), their situations are also reversed (Glacia is an Ice-type specialist in a hot region; Flint is a Fire-type specialist in a cold region). Despite all that, they’re both penultimate Elite Four members with only two fully-evolved Pokémon of their chosen type specialties available in their respective regions (Glalie and Walrein for Glacia; Rapidash and Infernape for Flint), and yet they have the complete opposite approaches to team-building. My question is: whose approach do you think worked better? Glacia’s “Imma stock my team full of repeats if it means sticking to my type specialty!” approach or Flint’s, um, imaginative “these things are hot!” approach?

Obviously this doesn’t apply to Glacia from ORAS – where she gets to add a Froslass at least – and Flint from Platinum (and hopefully BDSP as well).

Bonus question: if Glacia from RSE were to do a Flint and fill her team with a Glalie, a Walrein, and three other non-Ice Pokémon, what do you reckon those three other Pokémon would be?

I suppose I prefer Flint in theory and Glacia in practice.  I like Pokémon teams that give a character a little bit of flexibility in responding to threats against their specialty type while still feeling thematic.  Flint’s Diamond and Pearl team is just so… all over the place.  Drifblim for hot air, Steelix for hot rock in the Earth’s mantle, Lopunny… is vaguely feminine in design and therefore “hot”?  Glacia’s team composition is boring, but her duplicate Pokémon still manage to have slightly different movesets and do slightly different jobs (as do Phoebe’s duplicate Banette and Dusclops, in the same Elite Four lineup) while contributing to a fairly coherent overall strategy (at least by the standards of generation III AI trainers).

For alternative Pokémon on Glacia’s team… well, let’s assume we have to pick Pokémon that are both among the 200 in the Ruby and Sapphire Hoenn ‘dex and able to learn at least one Ice attack.  Let’s also try not to load her up with just Water Pokémon; that’s just the easy way out of this kind of problem for Ice-type trainers.  Glacia has this vaguely Nordic look to her, she’s from another region that’s far away from Hoenn and much colder (she claims that Hoenn’s heat is good for training Ice Pokémon), her slogan is “flaming passion in icy cold” and she’s very serious, but also very elegant and poised.  Her existing team uses Hail in combination with defensive and disruptive effects like Attract, Encore, Light Screen and Body Slam paralysis to wear opponents down.  I think the Pokémon that most immediately jumps to mind as a possibility for her is Gorebyss, who signifies Hoenn’s tropical climate, is beautiful but deadly, and has access to moves like Confuse Ray and Amnesia that fit Glacia’s battle style, as well as Ice Beam.  Nothing else sticks out to me as such an obviously good fit, but I’d like to offer for consideration an Ice Beam Altaria (elegant, aloof, can paralyse with Dragonbreath) and Ice Punch Alakazam (poised and focused, can capitalise on the chip damage inflicted by Glacia’s other Pokémon; bonus points for giving it Ice Punch and Fire Punch).  Neither of those Pokémon can learn Hail, so we pretty much have to give it to Gorebyss, but I think I’m okay with that.  It’s just a shame Castform is so terrible or we could use that as an extra pseudo-Ice-type – then again, Phoebe does have a Sableye (in the pre-Mega Evolution days, mind you) so this Elite Four wasn’t above scraping the barrel a little.

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12 thoughts on “Leo M.R. asks:

  1. To be fair to Phoebe this was also the pre-Fairy days, so Sableye’s only weakness was brute force. Cynthia’s Spiritomb pulled that off much better, but that’s a Champion so it absolutely should have.

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  2. (Just dropping my suggestions here since this is a topic I love to tinker with.)
    DP Flint: Machoke/Machamp mirror Loponny’s “hotness”-theme, so switch out Steelix for one of those. Maybe replace Drifblim with another Rapidash.
    Platinum Flint: Pfft, now he just has a bunch of Fire-types.
    Replace Houndoom and Flareon with Machoke/Machamp and Lopunny.

    Glacia: I’d take the easy route of going with a bunch of Water-types. Either Gorebyss and Huntail for a deep-sea pair (the seafloor is kinda cold right?), or Tentacruel and Whiscash to resist Ice’s weaknesses. I’d remove both of her Sealeo and keep the Glalie.

    Also, for the rest of E4s:
    Sidney – remove Sharpedo/Crawdaunt and either Shiftry or Cacturne, add two of Zangoose, Seviper and Pinsir.
    Phoebe – Ninetales can replace Sableye or one of her Dusclops or Banette.
    Drake – I really want him to have a Tropius, but that wouldn’t really help him. Aggron or Seviper would kinda work. I’d remove Altaria, since I’m a big fan of NFE:s and repeating Pokémon (and Altaria’s already featured prominently in Fortree).

    Aaron – perfect just the way he is. Especially in DP, but his Platinum team is fine too.
    (Platinum) Bertha – because this is my imaginary Pokémon game, Rhyperior isn’t available. Sudowoodo’s back!
    (Platinum) Lucian – Gallade is also unavailable. Bronzong remains his ace. Now, is Wobbuffet native to Sinnoh?

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    1. Oh, I am really on board with Ninetales for Phoebe. It fits so well! Not only does Ninetales have an association with curses and vengeance and all that good ghostly stuff, Vulpix are also found on Mt. Pyre! Hoenn’s cemetery AND where Phoebe’s grandparents are. Love it!

      I’d give Drake a Sceptile, personally. It’s kind of dinosaur-y and as we all know: Dinosaurs are Dragons (hello, Tyrantrum!). Plus it would’ve been so justified later when Mega Sceptile becomes a thing!

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      1. I like Sceptile for Drake too. The only drawback is that Sceptile’s weak to Ice, which is also why I think Tropius is a bad fit for him (and that’s the only reason Tropius is a bad fit 😛 ). Admittedly Seviper and Aggron aren’t the best candidates on a strategic level either, Seviper being slow and rather frail and Aggron being weak to Water, and it’s safe to assume most Ice Beams will come from a Water-type anyway. At least Sceptile’s speedy enough to do something about it!

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        1. It’s okay! Handling Ice attacks is what his Kingdra is (nominally) for! 😛 Speaking of water dragons, I kind of like that they DIDN’T give Drake a Gyarados even though it’s in the Hoenn Dex. Lance and Clair have done that idea to death, methinks.

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  3. while i recognise that flint’s team is more a result of poor dex variety than strategic picks i did like that D+P made the leaders/E4 more masters of their *type* rather than just masters of *pokemon of that type* and it made them more interesting for it, Platinum did this less so as it filled some of the holes in the dex and reworked their teams, but in D+P trainers like volkner and flint all the members of their team had a move of the type they specialised in and it meant you couldn’t just sweep with a type advantage yet people see that as ‘oh they’re not using pokemon of X type they specialise in, what a terribly constructed team’, a good type-theme team is more than just throwing together every option you have because it is that type.

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    1. “a good type-theme team is more than just throwing together every option you have because it is that type”

      I agree, but the team should still make sense. Flint’s Steelix, Drifblim, and Lopunny made very little sense. Heck, Drifblim’s only Fire move was Will-O-Wisp, which… every Ghost Pokémon get! A Honchkrow with Heat Wave would have made more sense than that.

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  4. I’m definitely with you on “Flint in theory, Glacia in practice”. I distinctly remember you complimenting what Game Freak did with Karen’s and Steven’s teams from way back when, because it made me reconsider what constituted an interesting and thematic team for those characters. Flint’s DP team, however, remains stupid. Like come on, his Drifblim didn’t even know a Fire attacking move! Will-O-Wisp is enough for a supposed Fire-type Master?!

    Your picks for Glacia are… interesting. I didn’t want to load the rest of her team up with Water-types; that’s a cop out answer. I can definitely see her with a Gorebyss (sidenote: I always wonder why Wallace never uses one, since it’s very traditionally beautiful and he’s all about that. Maybe he’s saving the spotlight for Milotic?). Plus it evolves from the deep sea-dwelling Clamperl, so it’s sorta got an association with some coldness. Altaria, I’m less sure about… I feel like it would kiiiiind of step on Drake’s toes a bit? Elite Four members tend not to share Pokémon even if their type specialties match (not even Sableye for Sidney and Phoebe, or Froslass in ORAS for, funnily enough, Glacia and Phoebe) and if Glacia had one, I think it’d kind of take away the effect of fighting Drake’s. Plus it’s already Winona’s signature AND Lisia’s partner; a bit overdone in the Hoenn games, if you ask me. Alakazam is even weirder, I gotta say!

    If we gotta have an Ice Punching Psychic type, I’d say Medicham is probably a better fit? Not only is it a Gen III Pokémon that isn’t used by any major character, it’s also got that ‘poised and focused’ vibe, and can’t you just imagine one meditating in the cold? They did that exact thing with Candice a generation later, so I think that train of thought tracks. And instead of Altaria, how about – and hear me out here – Masquerain? It’s already got some association with weather (rain, admittedly, but still! Maybe hers is specially-attuned to cold weather?) and you can give it Blizzard to take advantage of Hail as well as Water Pulse or Hydro Pump to surprise unsuspecting Fire-types. Additionally Stun Spore fits perfectly in her team of disruptors, and let’s not forget Intimidate here. Also… its primary color kinda sorta resemble Glacia’s dress?

    I realize Medicham and Masquerain aren’t particularly inspiring choices, but as you pointed out, this Elite Four wasn’t above scraping the barrel a little.

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