roughly 3,700 bees ask:

why does sableye have stall? it was already one of the absolute weakest pokemon in the game prior to prankster or its mega, it was introduced a generation after sableye itself was made, it’s on nothing else, and as far as i can tell there’s no flavour reason for it, so why?

I suppose it could be a joke ability – something that intentionally made Sableye worse than it already was in generation III – but that seems unlikely; Sableye was bad all right (and believe me, I know; one of my partners on my first playthrough of Sapphire back in the day was a Sableye), but not comically so.  I think it has to be a flavour reason, right?  Because nothing else makes any damn sense; Stall is too weak an ability to have been intended as any kind of buff to Sableye.  We’re told that Sableye (a lot like Wobbuffet) are reclusive Pokémon that spend most of their lives in darkness.  When attacked, their instinct is to keep to the shadows, to hide and try to avoid combat.  That instinct can be overpowering even in a serious fight, to the point that, in most exchanges, they will hang back and wait for their opponents to attack first.

Ty asks:

I’m familiar with your thoughts on how the games try and paint Mew as the ancestor of Pokemon and how backwards their logic is claiming it’s due to Mew having the DNA of all Pokemon. That, as you’ve pointed out multiple times, is not how ancestry works.

I wanted to share with you an idea I’ve had about how I’d handle the Mew situation and what your thoughts about it are. For me, since Mew is the only Pokemon barring Ditto that can learn transform, I really like the idea that Mew could be the ancestor of all Pokemon, or at least the Mew species. In how I’d handle it, Mew would be #1 in the Pokedex and would be the original Pokemon that could change shape at will. As the curious creatures as they are, mews explored endlessly, tackling any environmental challenges by changing shape into the various Pokemon species we’re familiar with to suit that environment. Over time, those mew who grew older and decide to settle in their areas in whatever shape they were in, over thousands of years, lost the ability to transform and remained in that shape as whatever new species they were. Because so few environments are comfortable for Mew’s natural form, and/or so few mew continued to travel endlessly, modern day mews are fairly rare, hence their legendary status. This would really help explain a lot of artificial Pokemon since the mew that originally became that species took on an artificial form for one reason or another somewhere down the line, rather than Pokemon like Klinklang, Electrode, and Klefki existing and being able to breed in some degree for no particular reason.

Continue reading “Ty asks:”

Z-nogyroP asks:

what do you make of the move trump card? for a lot of weird, obscure attacks there’s at least something you can make of what gets them (quash is on a lot of “royal” pokemon, bestow is on pokemon that help others, etc) but i can’t for the life of me make out what trump card is supposed to say about the pokemon that learn it.

So… Trump Card is a Normal-type special attack that powers up as its PP is reduced, starting from a base power of 40 and climbing to an enormous 200 – though you only get one shot, and need to use a seriously sub-par attack at least four times to get there (it has a similar effect in Mystery Dungeon).  Its attack animation shows a flurry of literal playing cards.  In single-player you could exhaust all but the last PP of Trump Card on wild Pokémon before going into an important fight like a gym battle or something, but against a human opponent I can’t ever really see this move working.  Continue reading “Z-nogyroP asks:”

Z-nogyroP asks:

i feel like you’ve almost certainly answered this question before, but how do you think abilities work? some abilities seem more like physical features (tough claws, thick fat, compound eyes) whereas others are a lot more abstract (pixilate, mold breaker, cloud nine). wouldn’t a tinted lens butterfree’s eyes be just as compound as one with the compound eyes ability? what makes a gluttony snorlax have less fat than one with thick fat?

I’ve tried to answer this one before; let’s see… here.

It’s a bastard of a question, to be quite honest with you.

My natural inclination is to say that abilities have nothing in common and they all work in different ways because… why would they?  As you rightly note, “abilities” covers a very wide range of traits and skills.  There’s no reason to expect that the rules governing a Butterfree’s vision would be anything like the rules governing Snorlax’s rolls of fat.  Continue reading “Z-nogyroP asks:”

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.

ShadJV asks:

Two follow up questions (unrelated to each other):

1) How do Pokemon without arms “hold” items”? I realize it would vary (and I’m not asking you to explain ALL of them) but just… like how do you give voltorb a quick claw? And even ones with arms, how do they battle without being severely handicapped from having to hold a berry without crushing or dropping it in a huge fight?

2) How does Pay Day work then? I’ve still never understood where the coins come from.

1) We do see quite a few Pokémon in the anime holding one particular type of item: Mega Stones.  The stones are usually set in wearable accessories – even for Pokémon with dextrous hands, like Lucario and Gardevoir, so as not to interfere with battle techniques.  You could probably generalise that to most other items, and create custom fittings to suit the anatomy of almost any Pokémon (Voltorb is admittedly a difficult one, but I’m willing to trust that some Poké-world artisan has figured it out).  I suspect trainers may be able to buy an assortment of these from specialty tailors and jewellers. Continue reading “ShadJV asks:”

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… Continue reading “Elchar asks:”