Category Archives: Pokemon

The Pokémon DP Remake Art Style Needs to Improve

When I first saw the art style for the upcoming Pokémon games, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, I was warm to it. But since then, the artistic direction hasn’t been sitting well with me.

If you’re wondering what I mean, check out the character model in this picture:

I think that would look awesome on a keychain (Etsy artists, you’re probably well ahead of me). But for a core Pokémon title released in the year 2021? It kinda seems like the Nintendo Switch isn’t being pushed to its limits.

I know that GameFreak could do better. But this time, it wasn’t them. The company has delegated work on the D&P remakes to ILCA, which is short for I Love Computer Art.

Among their accomplishments include Metal Gear Rising: Revengence:

Yakuza 0:

Dragon Quest XI:

NieR: Sutomata:

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown:

And now Pokémon: Brilliant Chibi and Shining Smol:

They may “love computer art”, but it’s plain to see when they’re not putting their hearts into it. Unless you can look at this battle scene and really think this is current gen:

So, who gets the blame: GameFreak or ILCA?

The answer is both. Whether it’s GameFreak for delegating work on their most beloved IP or ILCA for not taking it seriously, both are at fault for apparently not caring much, in spite of the fact that the games in question are ones that gamers have wanted to see for years.

Looking at the art for the D&P remakes, it’s obvious what little more could be done to make the games presentable: outlines and cel shading. And Pokémon fans are well ahead of the game in providing examples:

Just the outlines alone would do it. But check out what cel shading could do for, you know, an anime-style game:

And as if that weren’t enough, here’s more simple outlining at work:

Oh, hold on… That screen was from a Pokémon game released back in 2013. My mistake.

Still, they’re excellent examples of what you can do when you actually love computer art.

On top of the lazy look, there’s the fact that the remakes are made out to be faithful to the originals. Depending on how true that is, there might not be much point to them. After all, we already have the original Diamond and Pearl games. Other Pokémon remakes justified their existences with the presence of additional content, and it would be sensible if the D&P remakes did the same.

Comparisons have already been made between the D&P remakes and the recent Link’s Awakening remake for Switch. While a nostalgia trip could potentially justify that game’s purchase, the original is already available to play on 3DS. There didn’t seem like there was much new to it to justify the $60 tag when money was tight, so I didn’t purchase it.

That brings up a question that’s likely making more than a few Pokémon hardcores a bit uncomfortable: “Do I really need either of the upcoming Diamond or Pearl remakes as part of the core experience?”

This isn’t just a spin-off we’re talking about here, it’s a core installment for the single highest-grossing intellectual property of all time. If GameFreak wanted to, they could produce a polygon-pusher of immense scale. It’s hard to imagine that budget would be a limiting factor, especially considering that they work with Nintendo, a company that’s so rich that they could finance their own projects without turning to a lender.

But instead, they outsource their big game to a different company, and accept their half-baked effort to present to the world as part of their big presentation. Those don’t seem like the actions of a company that strongly cares.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about Pokémon Legends: Arceus. That’s evidence that GameFreak is capable of making a great-looking game. It’s obvious that that’s the one that GameFreak was more passionate about.

Whether it’s GameFreak or ILCA, it’s obvious that they can do better.

The Right Way to Play Pokemon Diamond and Pearl

This guide is intended to help decide the best pokemon you could choose for a playthrough of Pokemon Diamond or Pearl.

This isn’t like a speedrun, which takes advantage of exploits, nor is it a competitive team-building guide. This guide’s team is intended to be the best selection of pokemon that players can reasonably be asked to assemble to get them though the game with a reasonable playtime, and with little to no grinding for levels.

Many players have attempted guides like this, but usually make mistakes like including competitive builds, which aren’t reasonable for simple playthroughs, or they forget to include HM users, leaving anyone who attempts them to backtrack and find for themselves the pokemon that can get them past roadblocks.

A word of advice, before continuing: Pokémon Diamond and Pearl have caves in them, including Mt. Coronet. These places are pretty cool, but not everyone likes them because it’s in caves that wild Pokémon could interrupt your progress every few steps. Here is what you can do about that:

Buy Repels, and Super Repels. When you enter a cave, activate one. If your lead Pokémon is higher in level than wild Pokémon in that area, they won’t interrupt your progress until you’ve traveled the distance it takes for the Repel to wear off. Repels are cheap, so don’t be afraid to spend a little bit on them to save you some aggravation.

With that explained, on to the team selections:

Any of the three Sinnoh starters are a great choice, and picking between one to compliment this team was hard. But the nod goes to Turtwig, which eventually evolves to Torterra. Torterra takes care of the Ground types that can give this team trouble, particularly Bertha’s Quagsire and Whiscash, which are only weak to Grass. Torterra does great against the first and last gym, but is especially notable in that it’s the only fully-evolved Sinnoh starter that isn’t weak to anything Cynthia’s Garchomp can do.

There’s a couple catches, and that’s that Torterra doesn’t handle Ice, Flying, or Fire-types very well. Worse, these are often fast enough to score the first hit on it. If this is enough for you to consider another starter, none of the other two are a bad choice. Just know that fully-evolved forms of the other two might result in Ground types giving this team problems.

Starly becomes an excellent attacker, and it’s available on Route 202. The first time it evolves at level 14, it gains the super-useful Intimidate ability. If you let it evolve at level 34, it gets the opportunity to learn Close Combat, and it gets great Flying moves throughout its moveset, including Brave Bird at level 49. Even better yet, it gets great Speed and Attack stats, with which to use those attacks.

Staraptor works surprisingly well against Candice, the Ice gym leader, because of the secondary typing of her pokemon. But because Staraptor is weak to Ice, it’s a risky play.

Besides its attack moves, Staraptor has room for a couple HMs, namely, Fly and Defog.

You can also catch Shinx on Route 202. You’ll want one with the Intimidate ability. You’ll know that it has it because it will activate as soon as it appears. Having two pokemon with Intimidate is great, because it makes it so it’s hard for the many physical attackers you’ll encounter to do anything to your pokemon.

Shinx evolves to Luxio at level 15, and again to Luxray at level 30. It’s a powerful physical attacker that gets strong Electric and Dark moves, giving you an answer to Crasher Wake and Lucian.

Bidoof is also available on Route 202. It’s not going to be a battler for your team, it’s instead there to give you mobility with the HMs it learns, keeping moves free for your primary battlers. The HM moves that Bidoof learns are Cut and Rock Smash.

Bibarel is available later on, at Route 208. Its purpose on your team is similar to Bidoof, except Bibarel can learn four HMs that Bidoof can’t, which are Surf, Strength, Waterfall, and Rock Climb.

You meet one of the two cover legendaries as part of a scripted event, and they are Dialga (Diamond Version) or Palkia (Pearl Version). You encounter one of these two on the summit of Mt. Coronet, late in the game. The catch rate is low, so you might want to save the game before attempting to battle it (Palkia, being a Water type, is easier to catch in a Net Ball than an Ultra Ball). They may be a few levels behind your team’s battlers, but leveling them up isn’t much trouble, and their stats, typing, and movepool more than make up for it.

Dialga’s typing lends it many resistances, and it’s only weak to Fighting and Ground. The idea of a move that requires recharging might not sound appealing, until you consider that Roar of Time comes off Dialga’s super-high Sp.Atk stat!

Palkia’s typing means it’s not weak to any type in particular, except to Dragon (remember that in the DP days, Fairy wasn’t a type yet). Palkia’s signature Spacial Rend is very spammable, but strong Water type moves aren’t a bad thing to have!

Once you have the Beacon Badge, you’ll be able to find the Adamant Orb and Lustrous Orb in a room in Mt. Coronet, with the help of a pokemon with Waterfall. Waterfall can be obtained from Jasmine in Sunyshore City after beating Volkner. By the way, is something going on between those two?

How to beat Cynthia’s Garchomp

Cynthia is considered by many to be the hardest champion in any Pokemon game (though Iris seems to be a handful). Cynthia has a diverse team of top tier pokemon, among the most problematic of which are her lead pokemon, Spiritomb, which doesn’t have a weakness (pre-Fairy type), and Milotic, which can use Mirror Coat to retaliate double for Special attacks.

But the hardest pokemon on her team, by far, is Garchomp. This has left many players scrambling to add a fast, hard-hitting Ice type to their teams.

Except you don’t really have to, because of what this team can do.

When Cynthia sends out Garchomp, shift to Luxray (if your battle style is set to Shift, which it should be). “But, Luxray is weak to Garchomp, so why?” you might be asking. This seems crazy, but it’s actually not. When Luxray is sent out, Intimidate activates, lowering Garchomp’s Attack stat. Garchomp is a physical attacker, so this makes the battle much easier. Then, switch Luxray out for Staraptor immediately. Staraptor’s Intimidate goes off as well, and if Garchomp is (predictably) going for Earthquake, it wouldn’t work on Staraptor.

The idea is to swap between Luxray and Staraptor for as long as you can get away with it, or until Intimidate has activated 6 times, bottoming out Garchomp’s Attack stat. At that point, there won’t be much that Garchomp could do to you. Go after Garchomp with strong attacks, and if things go well, that should finish it. Then, you’ll have beaten a pokemon that’s been a nightmare for many, many trainers by being clever.

But what about…

There are a few pokemon that some might have wanted to see on this team, but for some reason, weren’t. Here are a few of them:

Piplup or Chimchar are both great starters. The choice between these was very close. For this team, the choice was made for Turtwig because it rounds this team out just a bit better.

Abra and/or Azelf are both hard hitting and fast Psychic types, but it’s not a great defensive typing, and becomes especially glaring considering their low defensive stats. What’s more, Abra needs trading to fully evolve, so if you go with Kadabra, eventually replacing it with Azelf might not be a bad choice.

Gible can be found at Wayward Cave, but in Diamond and Pearl, the area you find it in requires Strength to access. By the time you can get it, it’s somewhat late in the game for a pokemon at that low of a level.

So, what do you think? Can you think of some ways to improve this team? Are you thinking of trying it for yourself? Or are you looking for some team ideas for the upcoming remakes? If it turns out that a different team might work better for the remakes for some reason, I might make a separate guide for those.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus: First Impressions

I liked the Diamond and Pearl remake announcement. But I get the idea that Pokémon Legends: Arceus has Pokémon players really stoked.

I’m not even trying to avoid the obvious comparison: Pokémon Legends looks like Breath of the Wild. Not that that’s a bad thing.

Pokémon Legends takes place in a feudal Japanese setting (remember that Sinnoh is based on Hokkaido). The game shows a young boy or girl (your choice), likely in their teens, as they journey out with a starter Pokémon (Rowlett, Cyndaquil, or Oshawott), with no evident boundaries as far as travel goes.

The Wild Area in Sword and Shield were merely a taste, as there doesn’t seem to be any on-the-rails elements to Pokémon Legends, so far.

The movement of the protagonists seems to have leveled up, as the trailer shows a trainer diving into a roll. Pretty sweet!

Not only that, the trailer shows the main character stealth-catching a distant Pokémon while hidden in grass, like some kind of ninja. Awesome!

The mythical Pokémon Arceus is to be featured in the game somehow, though in what way remains to be seen.

Pokémon Legends looks great, but there is a catch: you have to wait for it. The game is scheduled to be released in 2022. Before then, we’ll have those Sinnoh remakes we’ve been waiting a long time for.

I wonder whether those are Lucas’ and Dawn’s ancestors.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: First Impressions

Today’s Pokémon Direct has revealed upcoming Pokémon games, and it’s Sinnoh confirmed!

The new Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl versions are heading to Nintendo Switch this fall.

The overworld art features the characters in a chibi style reminiscent of the characters in the original versions.

While this was a surprise, it grew on me pretty quick. In a sense, it’s kind of like Link’s Awakening for Switch, in that its style isn’t dissimilar from the original. It’s a heartwarming look.

However, once the scene shifts to battles, the style more closely resembles recent Pokémon games.

The wild battles seem as though they’ll resemble the traditional wild battles, rather than the Let’s Go style that was featured in the Yellow Version remakes.

Until we see otherwise, it seems safe to assume that the upcoming remakes will be similar to the originals. There would be some understandable differences in terms of battle mechanics, which have changed slightly since the originals.

They seem to be bringing back the underground, which was a feature a lot of players liked. Perhaps this time around, it will be much easier to meet up with other players. Or perhaps it will be implemented differently, allowing you to play with other players online.

Diamond and Pearl were the first games in the series that used the system’s wi-fi to implement internet connection features for battling and trading. Perhaps they’ll implement the GTS as an in-game feature as it was in the originals, rather than implement it externally through an app like Pokémon Home.

Another neat feature that was in the originals was the Pokétch, which shows that Pokémon was really, really early to the smart watch dealie.

Obviously, they’re bringing back the character of Hikari/Dawn, who is a well-admired character. But you might have already known.

It’s a tad obscure, but I remember a special Manaphy egg as part of my early Pokémon Diamond experience. The Manaphy egg has a distinct appearance, and when it hatches, out comes the mythical Pokémon, Manaphy, at only level 1.

How or whether this special egg would be implemented, I don’t know. But it was a special part of my Diamond version experience.

My first ever import game was a copy of Pokémon Pearl from Japan. I was able to beat the game, despite it being in a language I didn’t know at the time. Considering this, I’m considering learning a bit more Japanese and playing one of the upcoming games with a Japanese-language setting.

I’m looking forward to Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, though I’m still not sure which version to get. Are you looking forward to them, too?

Yearly Pokémon Popularity Poll Results Are In: Dedenne Wins?!

Each year, a poll is conducted to determine the most popular Pokémon. The results for this year are in, and you may be surprised to learn that Dedenne has taken top honors.

This year, the poll was conducted in Japan alone, putting aside a few clever people who found a way to vote anyway. Because of this, Japanese sensibilities dominated the poll.

As it turns out, the Japanese have different sensibilities than we expected. The top Kanto Pokémon wasn’t Pikachu (at #7), it was Magnemite (at #5). The runner-up was Cincinno (#2), and after that was Sableye (#3). Barbaracle (#22) and Spheal (#24) also placed, which seems kinda odd.

Come to think of it, it’s possible that the poll was rocked by troll votes.

Dedenne is a small Electric/Fairy Pokémon. It bears a resemblance to Raichu, and considering that, I think I understand much of its appeal. It spent some time among the cast of main characters in the anime during the 6th generation of Pokémon games. It was caught by Clemont, a member of Ash’s group, who then allowed his sister Bonnie, another of Ash’s group, to care for it (Bonnie was not old enough to catch her own Pokémon).

To be honest, Dedenne doesn’t seem to have much competitive value. Though that’s not preventing some genius player from finding a way to become world champ with the little guy on their team, as Se Jun Park did with Pachirisu.

These may not be the poll results we were expecting, but it’s still great to see something different get the spotlight. Are we months away from seeing more Dedenne merch?

From ryanthescooterguy on DeviantArt

Congratulations, little guy.

The Pokemon Trading Card Game Comes Up Huge

The Pokemon Trading Card Game (Pokemon TCG) is once again making the news, with the cards taking off so hard, that there are now card shortages, and Nintendo is now working hard to print up new cards to keep up with the demand.

Sound familiar? That’s just what was going on in the late 90’s, when the Pokemon TCG was first introduced. Back then, the fervor was so great that kids were actually getting into fights over the cards, and some schools even banned them.

There was also a brief moment around the late 2000s when the Pokemon TCG actually overtook Magic: The Gathering as the most popular Trading Card Game!

Of course, Pokemon has been popular, about as long as it’s been around. Just because you’re not hearing about it on the news doesn’t mean that people aren’t still playing it.

But you know what else is making the news? There are now Pokemon TCG Happy Meals at McDonald’s, and scalpers are buying them up in huge quantities to get at the cards.

One YouTuber has even won the scorn of the Pokemon community by buying as many as 100 Happy Meals just for the cards! I haven’t found his video, so it’s likely he since deleted it, but in any case, he’s now in damage-control mode.

At some locations, it’s possible to buy the cards separate from the meals, a fact that some are likely taking advantage of. But if you just want a few cards, it’s understandable, because then you don’t have the minor inconvenience of throwing out the “food”.

As you are likely aware, calling McDonald’s food “food” is pretty generous, though the problems with them are shared by much of fast food, such as adding excessive sugar to items like bread to make them more addictive. Wendys has ketchup that’s so sweet, it’s just wrong.

When it comes to food, people need to develop more self-respect.

Remember those guys who, in the nineties, tried telling us that Pokémon was fading? They’re still wrong.

A moment enjoyed is not wasted.

Japanese Police Arrest Man Over Illegal Pokémon

A shiny Sobble, image from Serebii.net

They say that it’s legal until you get caught. For an Aichi prefecture man in Japan, it just got more legal than he was counting on.

A 23-year-old man from Nagoya was arrested for running afoul of Japan’s Unfair Competition Prevention Act after using external software to change the ability of a Pokémon (a shiny variant of Messon, called Sobble in English), and sold the Pokémon to a man in Kyoto for 4400 yen (about $42).

Wow, you can get that much money for shiny Pokémon? I’m sitting on some bank, and didn’t even cheat to get it!

The same man reportedly made 1,125,000 yen (about $10,000) in about a year’s time. Assuming the same rate, that comes to about 238 Pokémon sold.

Is anyone else considering selling some Pokémon to supplement their income? Imagine how much it would rock to buy a house with money made by selling Pokémon! Working to pull it off is taking way too long.

Of course, there are some I’d like to hold on to, like Kona, my shiny Alolan Raichu.

Nintendo has previously announced their intention on banning those using hacked data in Pokémon Sword/Shield, as well as Pokémon Home. Because the Pokémon franchise has taken on paid subscription-based elements (features in Pokémon Home, Sword/Shield’s use of Nintendo’s online service), Nintendo now has a more financial incentive to ensure that the Pokémon characters exchanged using their online services maintain their integrity. Otherwise, players wanting legitimate Pokémon may feel cheated, and may possibly discontinue their use of subscription-based services.

There’s also the point that if Nintendo wants the competitive aspects of Pokémon to be taken seriously, they cannot allow cheating. Considering that they live-stream their competitions to an international audience, there’s a lot at stake.

My shiny Lugia is kinda making me feel like a jet-setter.

The Right Way to Play Pokemon Sword and Shield

This was not an easy guide to write. It’s obvious why; it’s because shortly after the outset of the game, you’re placed into the Wild Area, where you get so many team choices, it’s easy to be sunk by indecision.

This guide takes on the difficult task of determining the best team to use to play through the game out of the many, many different pokemon available. It’s not about building a competitive team, it’s about picking among the most practical choices for a fast, efficient playthrough so you can quickly get to the meaty, delicious postgame.

This guide makes the assumption that the DLC bonuses found due to the purchase of the Expansion Pass aren’t being considered. If they were, the matter of smashing your in-game opponents would be largely trivial. If you have access to the Crown Tundra, you’d have access to randomized over-leveled legendary pokemon, and much of the game wouldn’t pose any challenge.

If you’re in a hurry to win, but wanted someone else to do the nerding-out for you, then this guide is for you.

The first pokemon on this team is Sobble, and it’s easy to find, as it’s a starter pokemon, and the starter for this particular run. If you pick one of the other two, you might be getting a pokemon you prefer, but then this team might not work.

As much as I’d like to recommend Scorbunny for you, the starter for this run would be Sobble. It’s great on it’s own, especially thanks to the fact that its final form, Intelleon, is fast and hits hard. But Intelleon works well with the rest of the pokemon on this team, so the nod goes to Sobble.

Shortly after starting out, you’re going to be heading to the Wild Area. The place is huge, but it’s possible to get to the next destination quickly. But before you do, there’s a couple items you’ll want to seek out before leaving.

One of which is the Thunder Stone. The Thunder Stone is located on an elevated area on the northeast of the Lake Miloch area. It’s in a red item ball near a cliff.

The other is the Fire Stone. The Fire Stone is located in the Motostoke Riverbank area, north of the bridge, on the west side of the area by a group of three pipes. It’s also in an easy-to-find red item ball.

Both these items will come in handy for other pokemon on this list, and when you have them, you’d be glad you had these items on hand.

The next pokemon on this team depends on which version you are playing: Vulpix (the Fire-type Kantonian variant) if you are playing Pokemon Sword, or Growlithe if you are playing Pokemon Shield. Either one can be found on Route 3.

These two pokemon may have been overlooked when GameFreak was balancing the game, and both break the game in the same way. Either one can be evolved immediately after you capture it using the Fire Stone, giving you a pokemon with end-game base-stats before the first gym, albeit at early-game levels.

As if that weren’t sweet enough for you, you can teach these pokemon any move in their level-up learnsets, for free, at any Pokemon Center. Both can learn Flamethrower, but Arcanine can learn Crunch and Flare Blitz, and Ninetales can learn Nasty Plot and Extrasensory.

Also, they have a type advantage against the first gym.

The next pokemon for this team is Tyrogue, which you can also find on Route 3. The idea is to evolve the guy into Hitmonchan. However, Tyrogue is one of those pokemon with an abstract evolutionary method, and it might end up becoming something you weren’t planning on if you weren’t paying attention.

Tyrogue starts evolving at level 20. If its Defense stat is higher than its Attack when it starts evolving, it’ll become a Hitmonchan. There are a couple methods you can use to help this to happen. One is to catch a small handful of Tyrogue, and go with one which has a Defense that is significantly higher than its Attack. Also, you can send your Tyrogue to a Defense Seminar Poke Job to give its defense stat a boost.

Hitmonlee is a great pokemon for its high Attack and Speed, but the reason Hitmonchan works better for this playthrough is because it learns punching moves of different types which can help Hitmonchan against a variety of opponents. Ice Punch is super-valuable, and if it also has Thunder Punch, Hitmonchan will have coverage that most opponents won’t be able to resist. Hitmonchan learns these moves at level 24.

Drilbur is located in Galar Mine. No ridiculous evolution method required, Drilbur evolves to Excadrill at level 31. But when that happens, Excadrill picks up the super-useful Steel typing, and its attacks come harder from its high Attack stat. At level 40, Excadrill learns Swords Dance, giving an already-mighty pokemon the ability to sweep entire teams with ease.

Are you skeptical that Pokemon’s signature hug-em-squeeze-em, Pikachu, made the team? Remember the Thunder Stone you picked up in the Wild Area? Because we’re about to pull a Lieutenant Surge and use a Thunder Stone on a Pikachu right after catching it!

Now, why would we do that? Because Raichu benefits similarly to Ninetales and Arcanine, that’s why! You’ll have a long list of awesome moves to teach it at a Pokemon Center, including Thunderbolt, Nasty Plot, Nuzzle, the list goes on.

You’d have yet another endgame tier pokemon with an excellent moveset, with the only drawback being that it has early-game levels. And you still haven’t made it to the first gym.

By the way, if you’re playing the Shield version, you might want to settle for an Eevee, instead. It seems GameFreak decided to be cute and made the Sword version into the Pikachu version, and the Shield version into the Eevee version, by giving Pikachu a 5% appearance rate in Sword, but only 1% in Shield. The rates are the reverse for Eevee in the Shield version, so it might not be a bad idea to go with Eevee in the Shield version. Jolteon is still a strong Electric type, but it takes longer to teach it it’s power moves. But hey, you’d save the sanity you might have lost searching for a Pikachu.

This team is rounded out by a Morgrem you can catch much later on in Glimwood Tangle. You can also catch an Impidimp in the same area, but Morgrem is already evolved, and comes at a higher level. Morgrem evolves to Grimmsnarl at level 42.

If you can obtain a Morgrem with the Prankster ability, that would be strongly preferred, because then he can help you turn things around against strong opponents by giving priority to status moves. Aside from that, his typing makes him an excellent choice against this game’s many strong Dragon types, as well as Psychic, Dark, and even Fighting types that appear often in the late game.

That team should get you through the game, with power-leveling at a minimum. But here’s the point in which some of you might be asking, “But what about…” There are a lot of great pokemon that could have made this team.

A. Lot. Of. Them.

The Wild Area gives options, and plenty of them, and much of the difficulty in writing this guide had to do with considering from among the many pokemon that are available there. There are many viable pokemon that could have made the list.

Some players might be wondering why I didn’t include Zacian or Zamazenta. Those two are seriously strong pokemon, but neither of the two are available until the post-game, so they don’t get considered for a playthrough. Eternatus is another strong pokemon, but by the time you catch it, you’re one battle away from the post-game, and it’s comparable to what would already be on your team.

Do you like Scorbunny? So do I. But Ninetales and Arcanine offer amazing power for the point in the game that they become available, and it’s hard for another pokemon of the same type to compete with that. Gyarados packs a wallop, and it boosts its own stats with Dragon Dance. Gengar hits hard and fast, and comes with helpful type immunities.

And there’s more. The list goes on and on.

But hey, now you know what works, so you don’t have to guess around.

The Pokémon Company to Start Banning Cheaters

I’ve repeatedly heard the sentiment that if Nintendo didn’t want us to cheat, they wouldn’t have made certain Pokémon so hard to get.

Cheating has long been an ethical dilemma among gamers, though among game makers, the matter is pretty clear. But if only there were some way that game makers could make their stance clear…

…Oh, hold on. Yet another one is doing just that.

The Pokémon Company has just announced its plans to roll out bans for those who used “altered data”. These bans would impact Pokémon Sword, Pokémon Shield, and Pokémon Home. These bans would be either temporary or permanent, and no refunds would be issued in the instances in which violators were using paid services.

What I can say about this is, it’s about time. Pokémon was already the single highest-grossing intellectual property of all time, and with it, there’s a huge competitive community. There are yearly competitions, some of which live-streamed, to audiences all over the world.

If The Pokémon Company wants their games to be taken seriously as a competitive e-sport (as much as one could take such a thing seriously), they cannot allow cheaters to continue to run about unchecked.

This is an especially serious issue for Pokémon Home, elements of which are renewable paid services. Particularly impacted would be the GTS (Global Trade System), the economy of which is driven by the rarity of certain Pokémon. If players could duplicate rare Pokémon at will, their rarity becomes diminished in a sense comparable to over-inflation, and any incentive to use the paid service for long becomes effectively diminished.

As it has been, Pokémon Home’s GTS feature is like a game of hot potato, where players pass around an obvious hack until they get something they’re willing to settle for, in exchange for the legit Pokémon that they deposited to begin with. Somehow, I doubt that that was the kind of experience Nintendo had in mind when publishing Pokémon Home.

But now they want to do something about it? It’s about time. In fact, they could have done something about it a lot sooner. Because in doing so, they’d be enforcing their own Terms of Service. You know, the rules of the game that people are paying to play and use Nintendo online services for?

But if banning a bunch of kids will make them cry because it turns out that there are consequences to cheating, then maybe Nintendo is going to be the ones teaching them the lessons that their parents aren’t.

And maybe the games will become a lot more fun once the field is thinned out by banning those with no regard for the spirit of the game.

Battle Tower RMT – Pokemon Sword Version

pokekid means business.pngThe Battle Tower: serious business.

The Battle Tower is a feature in Pokemon games that simulates competitive play against an AI, but it’s also a way to farm BP, a currency used to purchase some highly-desirable items.

Here is the team that I used to reach the highest rank:

882.png

Dracovish @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Strong Jaw
6 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly nature (+Spe -SpA)
– Fishious Rend
– Crunch
– Ice Fang
– Earthquake

Dracovish looks like nature made a mistake, and hits like GameFreak made a mistake. Fishious Rend is a move that does enormous damage, but the catch is that the user has to go first, and Dracovish has a seemingly-inconvenient Speed stat. This set cranks up the power of Fishious Rend while going full-tilt to increase Dracovish’s Speed, enabling this monstrosity to sweep entire teams with ease. Fishious Rend benefits from Strong Jaw, giving a power boost to an already ridiculously strong move. The other moves are for coverage.

By the way, Dynamaxing allows a Choice item holder to temporarily choose a different move, which gives an answer to Shedinja and other pokemon that might be immune to Fishious Rend.

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Zacian @ Rusted Sword
Ability: Intrepid Sword
6 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly nature (+Spe -SpA)
– Iron Head (Behemoth Blade)
– Play Rough
– Close Combat
– Swords Dance

While using a massively OP super-legendary may seem unfair, remember that the idea of a Battle Tower team is to win. What’s great about Zacian isn’t just that it’s strong, but its typing compliments Dracovish just right. Both Dragon and Fairy types can potentially give Dracovish trouble, and Zacian has the typing and moves to come to the rescue. Zacian has to watch out for Ground and Fire types, which aren’t much problem for Dracovish. The two go together excellently well.

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Rotom (Wash) @ Choice Specs
Ability: Levitate
6 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid nature (+Spe -Atk)
– Hydro Pump
– Trick
– Thunderbolt
– Volt Switch

Rotom provides a more direct answer to the Water types that might resist this team’s power moves. If you wish, you can go with Rotom Mow, which would take down Gastrodon in a hurry, but this comes with the risk that Rotom might take significant damage from an Ice-type move from a pokemon like Lapras on the switch-in. While stall pokemon like the Toxic/Protect users don’t usually cause Dracovish much trouble, those strategies are ruined when a Choice Specs are Tricked onto them.

Can you think of a way to improve this team? Or do you have a different team of your own? Feedback is welcome.