My Pokeymanz, Let Me Show You Them

I’m a Pokemon fanatic, but a bit of an unusual one in that I don’t really care about the postgame. (This is actually pretty consistent with my tastes in general, but that’s a subject for another post.) Like fighting game fanatics who need to unlock the whole roster before they can really start playing, most of the hardcore Pokemon fans I’ve met seem to want to blow through the main game, viewing it as something of a prologue to the collecting, breeding, trading, and training that comprises the “real” game.

Not I. To me, the quest is an end in and of itself. Pokemon might have a rich and varied metagame full of options and strategic potential, but that matters not at all to me, because I don’t like multiplayer. (Again, a subject for another post.) To me, a Pokemon’s worth is dependent on how interesting and fun it is as a mainstay in a normal badge-hunting and gang-toppling playthrough. I like clear goals and obvious endpoints, so it’s unsurprising that defeating the post-game bonus bosses is accomplishment enough for me. I’m the only person who wept when he found out that Secret Power was no longer a TM in Gen V, because that’s a move I’ve used to good effect in my many playthroughs — but it’s a move that has no real applications in trying to storm the Battle Tower or build an ideal versus team. I’m about the only player you’ll ever meet who deletes his files and starts over rather than continuing with them for hundreds of hours.

Which is what I did, recently, with my copy of Soul Silver. My first playthrough, back when the game was first released, was with a team of my favorites that I’d bred specifically for the occasion, with powerful movesets and personalized natures. A few weeks ago, though, I got a hankering to replay, and to play things straight — catch only what you can find in the game. So I started over, and spent a few weeks doing the ‘mon thang again. My playthrough petered out around Blue, but that’s alright, because I didn’t have it in me to grind for Red anyway.

I would never try to claim that my way is the “right” way to play the game… but being so rare, it does have one big disadvantage: You can’t really brag about your Pokemon. No one really cares that you beat the Elite 4 with such-and-such unless it’s really weird or really difficult. No one’s interested in talking about your team unless it’s designed to hand people their asses online. And that tears me up, because I love my Pokemon and want to rave about them. So now, thanks to this blog, I will. This is for my beloved Dewgong in Fire Red who never had her praises sung!

Yuro

Level 54. Female.

No. 053. Species: Persian. Type: Normal. OT: Molly. ID No.: 08584

Quiet nature. October 8, 2010. Route 38. Met at Level 16. Capable of taking hits. Item: Silk Scarf.

Ability: Technician — Powers up the Pokemon’s weaker moves.

HP: 141

Attack: 98

Defense: 88

Special Attack: 103

Special Defense: 91

Speed: 136

Moves:

–Return

–Water Pulse

–Faint Attack

–Shock Wave

Commentary: Persian is one of my favorite Pokemon, but it’s one that I only discovered recently. I first used one in my last playthrough of Fire Red last year and loved her, so I resolved to raise another one sometime in a Gen IV game, where it gets a significant buff (thanks to Technician).

Yuro was never the strongest fighter on the team, but she provided comforting versatility from beginning to end and was especially helpful at dealing with rogue Psychics and Ghosts. Her proudest moment was probably her virtual solo of the Team Rocket Hideout in Mahogany Town — she was all but invincible there. Her power took a pretty amazing step up once we got to Kanto and could start really exploiting Technician, thanks to Water Pulse and Shock Wave.

Sophia

Level 54. Female

No.: 196. Species: Espeon. Type: Psychic. OT: Molly. ID No.: 08584

Bold nature. October 8, 2010. Goldenrod City. Met at level 5. Highly curious. Item: Amulet Coin.

Ability: Synchronize — Passes a burn, poison, or paralysis to the foe.

HP: 139

Attack: 84

Defense: 103

Special Attack: 171

Special Defense: 125

Speed: 150

Moves:

–Psychic

–Grass Knot

–Shadow Ball

–Swift

Commentary: Probably my favorite overall Pokemon in terms of appearance, Sophia served as the team powerhouse, using her high Special Attack to smash the bad guys with powerful Psychic assaults. She was a key player in most of the Gym battles, as well as Team Rocket and the Elite Four. All of this makes up for the fact that her evolutionary method is so obnoxious.

About the only problem with Espeon is that if you’ve raised one, you’ve raised them all. The quadruped Pokemon never get much in the way of varied movesets. Psychic’s a given of course, and in the absence of Signal Beam Shadow Ball complements it well, but all the other moves are stretches. I do like the way Sophia can easily deal with Water Pokemon, just like my first Espeon from back in the day could (with Zap Cannon).

Kuzu

Level 53. Female.

No.: 038. Species: Ninetales. Type: Fire. OT: Molly. ID No.: 08584.

Naive nature. October 8, 2010. Route 36. Met at level 13. Impetuous and silly. Item: BrightPowder.

Ability: Flash Fire — It powers up Fire-type moves if it’s hit by one.

HP: 144

Attack: 113

Defense: 94

Special Attack: 112

Special Defense: 111

Speed: 158

Moves:

–Flamethrower

–Dark Pulse

–Extrasensory

–Will-O-Wisp

Commentary: Ninetales is another Pokemon I’ve always liked from an aesthetic standpoint, but one I’ve usually shied away from using because, prior to Gen IV, its movepool was complete garbage (at least for the purposes to which I’d be putting it). That’s no longer the case in Gen IV, so I decided to give her a try.

The results were mixed. Although a strong fighter, Fire’s always been a little too specialized for my tastes — you really have to search for opportunities to use them. Waiting to evolve so she could learn Extrasensory was probably another mistake, as it resulted in Kuzu being a little too weak to handle midgame enemies, and I never used the attack anyway. I also didn’t make as much use out of Will-O-Wisp as I was expecting — it always seemed more pressing to attack than to inflict status conditions. I loved the early Flamethrower, though — that attack’s busted at level 24.

Nevertheless, she was a champ by the time we reached Kanto. I’m glad I got a chance to use a Ninetales before they become horrifyingly overplayed with the advent of Drought Ninetales in Gen V.

Pero

Level 53. Female.

No.: 241. Species: Miltank. Type: Normal. OT: Molly. ID No.: 08584

Bold nature. October 8, 2010. Route 38. Met at level 13. Mischievous. Item: Muscle Band

Ability: Scrappy — Enables moves to hit Ghost-type foes.

HP: 174

Attack: 99

Defense: 144

Special Attack: 72

Special Defense: 92

Speed: 142

Moves:

–Body Slam

–Zen Headbutt

–Earthquake

–Milk Drink

Commentary: This one was a bad scene from the start. Miltank was another Pokemon I’d been wanting to try out and thus decided to use, but the first one I caught had both a hindering nature and the bad (again, for my purposes) ability. Normally I’d just chuck it in the box and scum for a better one, but catching the first was such a pain in the neck (it took me literally hours) that I didn’t have it in me, so I decided to just stick with it. It’s not like nature’s that big a deal anyway, right?

Then I noticed that Miltank doesn’t actually learn that much without the help of TMs. After Body Slam at level 24 there isn’t much there, which resulted in Pero not being particularly good against anything. She was never bad, but there was never a point at which I thought “You know who’d be perfect for this enemy? Pero!” I always ended up using her only when my other Pokemon were too beat up to continue, or when she’d fallen behind in levels and needed to be caught up. Things got a little better once I taught her Earthquake, but not much.

Ah well. I still find it humorous that my big pink cow is swifter afoot than my lithe panther.

Phoebe

Level 53. Female.

No.: 181 Species: Ampharos. Type: Electric. OT: Molly. ID No.: 08584

Jolly nature. October 7, 2010. Route 32. Met at level 6. Scatters things often. Item: Magnet

Ability: Static — Contact with the Pokemon may cause paralysis.

HP: 176

Attack: 106

Defense: 97

Special Attack: 122

Special Defense: 115

Speed: 97

Moves:

–Discharge

–Focus Blast

–Signal Beam

–Thunder Wave

Commentary: I’ve got a love-hate relationship with Electric-types. They’re so mind-bogglingly useful that I hate to travel without one, but I don’t actually care for many of the actual Electric-type Pokemon. (This is why I’ve raised more Pikachus than I care to remember, despite no particular affection for the species.) Ampharos is pretty okay-looking (and its pre-volutions are downright adorable), but its stat build isn’t laid out in the way I tend to prefer…

Usually when I play through a Pokemon game I decide on four or five Pokemon that I really want to use, and reserve the remaining spots for any Pokemon that catches my fancy or fills a particular hole along the way. Thus Phoebe’s inclusion on the team — I initial caught her just to help me get past Falkner (hence the who-cares hindering nature), but she stuck around long past that just because I didn’t know what I’d do without my fish- and Flying-frying sheep. One result of this, however, was her kind of ad-hoc moveset — she was still carrying around Growl when we were almost at the Elite Four. I got over my distaste for 70% accurate moves long enough to teach her Focus Blast (filling my otherwise Fighting-challenged lineup), and bizarrely enough, I don’t think she missed with it once.

Dorrie

Level 54. Female.

No.: 131. Species: Lapras. Type: Water/Ice. OT: Molly. ID No.: 08584

Serious nature. October 15, 2010. Union Cave. Met at level 20. Sturdy body. Item: Quick Claw.

Ability: Water Absorb — Restores HP if hit by a Water-type move.

HP: 220

Attack: 117

Defense: 116

Special Attack: 118

Special Defense: 119

Speed: 84

Moves:

–Surf

–Ice Beam

–Thunder

–Body Slam

Commentary: An Ice-type is all but mandatory for dealing with Lance, and you of course need something to Surf around on, so I returned to the well of Pokemon I’d never tried before and came away with trusty old Lapras.

Dorrie is a tank, plain and simple. It was staggering how much damage she could take, and she won several battles (against Clair, most notably) simply by outlasting the other guy. Combine that with her versatile moveset and you have a Pokemon that I was always happy to have around.

I mentioned earlier that I’m not afraid to scum for a good Pokemon… Dorrie is one of the ones I did that for. Not only did I save-reset for a Water Absorb Lapras (Shell Armor just doesn’t compare), I messed around with my DS’s clock in order to make Friday arrive sooner. The trainer memo says October 15… it was probably actually closer to the 10th. I am not ashamed!

…Well, that went longer than I’d expected. Maybe we’ll do it again after I finish Pokemon Black, yeah?

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