Leo M. R. [Patreon cultist] asks:

Imagine Game Freak gave us a new set of starters in a future generation, but instead of the traditional Grass-Fire-Water scheme, it’s a trio of types that have zero interaction with one another; say, Dark, Poison, and Flying. I can only imagine how the fanbase would react upon the initial announcement…

…BUT, upon reaching their fully-evolved forms, they adopt secondary types that are – you guessed it – Grass, Fire, and Water to become Dark/Grass, Poison/Fire, and Flying/Water, thereby simultaneously doing something new with the starters while still adhering to the tried-and-tested formula (and yes, I did choose those three types specifically so that each starter would have a double weakness, and not to each other). Obviously Game Freak shouldn’t announce the final forms prior to the games’ release to maximize that surprise factor. What do you think? Sound like a fun idea?

Honestly I think the initial fanbase reaction would be positive, because “a new starter type trio, even if it makes no sense” tends to get brought up a lot as a fun way to shake up the formula (if anything I suspect some people would be disappointed by the eventual return to Grass/Fire/Water, but whatever; you can’t please everyone).  I’m… sceptical; like, of all the things you could do to change Pokémon’s formula, “change the types of the starters” seems like maybe the tamest.

Continue reading “Leo M. R. [Patreon cultist] asks:”

Blacephalon

Blacephalon

Today’s Pokémon is Blacephalon, whose special skill is to blow up its own head.

And… well, you know, call me crazy, but I would have thought that would be the end of it.  Nonetheless, here we are.  This is the last Ultra Beast, and I just have to deal with it.

Like Stakataka, Blacephalon doesn’t appear in the original Sun and Moon, and its homeworld doesn’t appear in the sequels.  It doesn’t even have a very big anime role, since it co-stars in an episode with Xurkitree and doesn’t get the spotlight to itself, although the dynamic between the two is at least somewhat interesting.  Blacephalon is just… a bit of a weird non sequitur of a Pokémon.  It appears, it blows up its own head…

…profit???

Continue reading “Blacephalon”

Flareon asks:

Am I useful now that I finally can learn Flare Blitz?

Well, I’d say you’re arguably no longer the worst of your siblings, which is… something, right?  Your offensive movepool is still really bad, and that’s a problem that pretty much your entire family struggles with.  The best moves you all share are support techniques, so it’s your toughest siblings – Vaporeon, Umbreon and Sylveon – who are the most consistently useful.  Espeon gets a leg up from her ludicrous hidden ability, and Jolteon kinda gets by on his good offensive stat distribution and strong attack type.  Leafeon is pretty bad, but arguably still better than you because Swords Dance and Chlorophyll give him sweeping potential.  Now that you have Flare Blitz though, you can claim to be at least as good as Glaceon, who has a similar offensive power level but a very weak defensive type and generally poor abilities.  The problem with being you, Flareon, is you’ve got one hell of a Flare Blitz, but you’re lacklustre in both speed and defence, which makes you really easy to kill, and all of Fire’s weaknesses are to really common attack types (Water, Ground and Rock – including Stealth Rock).  In comparison with other physically-oriented single-type Fire Pokémon, well… Darmanitan is somehow faster, tougher and stronger, and has a better selection of physical attacks plus the ridiculousness that is Sheer Force; while Arcanine is faster, surprisingly tough, has Intimidate, is flexible enough for a physical/special mix, and can heal with Morning Sun.  Hell, even Rapidash is faster and has arguably a better physical movepool than you, but at least she has the decency to have bad abilities, average defences and a weaker attack stat.  You could go hang out with Rapidash, I guess?

Turtonator

Turtonator

Right.  Where were we?  Almost done!  I mean, perhaps not almost, because on top of the standard legendary Pokémon there’s a dozen Ultra Beasts in this generation, and then I think at some point I promised I would talk about all the older Pokémon with Alolan forms, and I need to talk about a bunch of the human characters too, and eventually those BASTARDS who DID THIS TO ME in the first place are going to announce generation VIII, which means people are going to want me to TALK about it, and I’m going to need to save up for a bloody Nintendo Switch, and-
Y’know what, let’s just do Turtonator; I feel like blowing something up.

Continue reading “Turtonator”

Ty asks:

Can you share your thoughts on Ice-Types and how they work a little? I’ve always had a pet peeve with the way the games treat Ice’s strengths and weaknesses as if the Pokemon themselves are all actually just made of ice, when that doesn’t seem to be true. All Ice-Types also seem completely fine and safe in warm weather, which shouldn’t make sense if heat and fire actually harm them. The way their moves and abilities work also seem to imply that Ice-Types are capable of removing extremely large amounts of heat from the environment, but that heat has to go somewhere right? Wouldn’t it make the most sense for Ice-Types to be absorbing heat in order to make everything else cold? If so, wouldn’t Ice-Types be extremely threatening to Fire-Types?

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Salandit and Salazzle

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Salandit

I think it’s time to explore some of the more hostile reaches of Alola, with the volcano-dwelling salamander Pokémon, Salandit and Salazzle. Salandit and Salazzle could be based on any of several things, or a mix of all of them, or none of them. Physically they resemble fire belly newts (genus Cynops), a group of newt species native to Japan and southern and eastern China (in the strictest scientific sense, newts are a branch of the salamander family and, compared to other salamanders, remain more aquatic even after leaving their tadpole stage; the words are often used interchangeably though). Fire belly newts are so called for their black colouring with bright red or yellow flame-like markings, which warn predators that they are poisonous and unsafe to eat – so we have a ready-made fusion of the Fire and Poison elements right there. Salamanders also have a very long history of being associated with fire, with stories that they bathe in flames going back at least as far as Aristotle. We could almost stop at that – Salandit and Salazzle are fire salamanders that breathe fire, and they’d hardly be the first Pokémon to come out of “real animal + appropriate-sounding elemental powers” (*cough*Beartic*cough*). But no; there’s more to these crafty amphibians, and as so often in Alola, we can look for answers in the real archipelago of Hawai’i. Continue reading “Salandit and Salazzle”

Oricorio

Pom-pom Oricorio.
Pom-pom Oricorio

I do not have a good record with anything capable of earning the title of “gimmick” Pokémon – Pokémon whose schtick is some unique move, ability or game mechanic that was so clever Game Freak felt they could stop there, and didn’t need to have the Pokémon be any good or the design make any sense.  Today we decide whether Oricorio, the dancing honeycreeper Pokémon, fits that description.  Four interchangeable and mostly cosmetic forms, a weird signature move, a weirder ability… the phrase “walks like a duck, quacks like a duck” comes to mind, but let’s take a closer look. Continue reading “Oricorio”

Litten, Torracat and Incineroar

I have a little personal conjecture about how Incineroar was designed.

Litten
Litten

Game Freak deeply, sincerely, earnestly didn’t mean to make a fourth Fire/Fighting starter Pokémon.  They were just going to sit down and come up with some unique, entertaining and vaguely Hawaiian-inspired Fire-type.  But then Incineroar just rose up, unbidden, out of the primal mists of Game Freak’s collective id, embedded himself in their tortured psyches, and refused to leave.  Aware that they were making another Fire/Fighting starter Pokémon, but horrified by their inability to stop, they desperately called on Yveltal for help, and the vicious and cunning death god answered their prayers by corrupting Incineroar into a brutal Dark-type.

I mean, obviously some of that is speculative, but I think the general outline is close. Continue reading “Litten, Torracat and Incineroar”

Anonymous asks:

Considering Blaziken and especially Infernape, I feel Emboar got the short end of the stick in terms of Fire/Fighting starters… How would you redesign Emboar to make him more interesting? Change his typing? Stats? Movepool? Ability? What about his general design aesthetic? I personally would make him a pure Fire type, since the only pure Fire type fully evolved starter so far is Typhlosion… It would make sense among his own trio with Serperior and Samurott being single typed, too!

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Victini

…oh, Victini, what did you do to deserve this?  I know there are people who like Victini; I know they exist.  Those people would be best served by turning around, sticking their fingers in their ears and chanting “la la la, I can’t hear you” for the duration of this entry.

Let’s have some background.  Victini is the latest in a long line of “cute” legendary Pokémon.  The Psychic cat Pokémon Mew is the fabled ancestor of all Pokémon.  Celebi is a forest spirit who exists beyond time.  Jirachi is a celestial fairy Pokémon who is only awake for one week in every thousand years, but can supposedly grant any wish in that time.  Manaphy, the so-called prince of the sea, possesses unmatched empathic abilities and can touch the heart of any living thing.  Last but not least, Shaymin, the guardian of meadows, is the personification of gratitude and has the power to harmlessly absorb any poison.  Victini, the newest addition to the group, is the embodiment of victory.  Victini is said to be a source of boundless energy, which he can share with anyone who touches his body.  As such, possessing Victini is supposedly an absolute guarantee of victory.  I don’t just mean victory in battle either; Victini is victory itself and can bring success in any kind of situation with any possible outcome that might be considered ‘winning’.  Continue reading “Victini”