Oh hey, you thought I was done? The subject said Part One, c’mon, let’s not waste any more time.
Okay, sometimes a Pokemon sticks with me because it’s cute, or it’s charming or its place in the story or single player game works for me and sometimes it’s because it looks like an adorable demonic imp that will absolutely get you indicted for tax fraud. Whimsicott is one of those Pokes that I love not just because of those factors, but because it has one of those appealing mechanical gimmicks going on that makes me giggle about how it can be used in the game. It’s the same appeal I get out of a mechanical combo in Magic: The Gathering.
What happens with Whimsicott is that not only is it fast and collect a handful of cool controlling moves to mess with your opponents, but it gets the ability Prankster. This means that all those cool mess-ability moves go first if they don’t do damage. This means that in a lot of matches, Whimsicott shows up, throws out something like a Taunt (interrupting a non-attacking move), maybe a sleep or a stun and then whoosh it’s off again, giggling impishly as it goes.
Whimsicott is an adorable soft child and it has blackmail material on everyone.
Every generation we get an enormous threatening thing that sits at the end of the Pokedex, has a stat total of 600, is the third form evolution of something that evolves slowly, usually after 50, meaning that tournament formats could exclude it by setting their trainer level at 50. They’re always important to the tournament scene, sometimes enormously so (looking at you, Garchomp) and they’re commonly dragons.
Hydreigon is this time’s dragon, a three-headed Dark Dragon which more than most other Pokemon really leans into the monster part of the Pocket Monster idea. If you want to know about this one in-depth, earlier this year, the crew at False Swipe Gaming did a historical rundown on Hydreigon, which is pretty cool and much more comprehensive than my little snippet here.
If you were picking up a single-player electric type, you couldn’t go wrong by Galvantula a great electric of choice for this generation, which got to be extra cool because as a bug, it resisted the normal weakness of Electric, like Eelektross. As a bug it could also pack U-Turn, another move that did something like Volt Switch, and it gets bonus accuracy, making some moves like Thunder more reliable. Great stuff. It may be a fragile little fuzzbug, but after going through the single-player campaign with one it’s hard not to have a lot of fondness for it.
Oh, one of the things that became important once the Weather Wars settled was a move that hit everything for rock damage, which made bugs a super liability on competitive teams. Alas, poor little Galvantula had to scuttle along.
For a while there on the City of Heroes roleplaying Formspring area, I had a character who used the very mopey handle ‘WithoutI,’ which was interpreted by others as “Withoutle,” like, a type of turtle. I wound up using Carracosta artwork for his avatar.
Carracosta’s a big tuff turtle! I like how it looks! It’s made of rocks! And it got Swift Swim, meaning that when there was rain going on, it was also really fast, and that meant when that got banned, Carracosta took a big hit and was still pretty solid for doubles, because it was a big tuff rocky turtle!
Trubbish is one of the all-purpose complaint Pokemon, something people make fun of, pointing out that it’s a trash bag. This is usually then used to denigrate Trubbish as a Pokemon, as a sign that the designers of Pokemon are running out of good ideas, and these people tend to have no real response to being reminded that we’ve had over forty different Pikachu, and Generation 1 had Voltorb and Muk.
There’s this term we use in Pokemon pretty much since Suicune, of the ‘bulky water type’ – referring to a water-type Pokemon that can take a few hits, sometimes recover, and do something while it’s around. Water’s a pretty good type (and the most common type), but the Pokemon that do the best with the type tend not to be fast and aggressive. Jellicent was the latest in this line and it was really good at it.
First, Jellicent had water absorb so if you traded it in when you could tell an opponent was going to throw out a water attack, it’d soak it up and take no damage. It also was a Ghost type, so it’d do the same thing if they were about to throw a normal or fighting type move (and there are a bunch of them). It could also prevent the move Rapid Spin from working, which opponents might use to try and clean up any spikes or rocks you left on the floor.
As the next, most recent Bulky Water-Type, Jellicent was a real good one, and given how comically diverse Gen 5’s tiers were, being good in that format meant you could handle a lot of different, weird things.
I don’t remember too much about Zoroark itself, but I remember meeting a lot of people who made Zoroark their Fursona. Like it was kinda a thing to realise there were people who looked at this Pokemon and didn’t say ‘I wanna train that’ and went instead ‘it me.’
Also, Zoroark did a weird thing where it faked being another Pokemon in your roster? Which is super weird for Pokemon to do, but it’s still a neat trick.
We had a flying/electric Pokemon back in Gen1, but it was Zapdos, and I got really sick of it for making my life hard playing in Gen2 competitive, since it was really bloody good and demanded rock coverage and it ruined my precious Pidgeot. Still, Flying/Electric is a good typing, and it turns out in Gen 5, they wanted to give us another, and the another they gave us was this cute little buzzy squirrel!
Remember how I talked about the mechanical things a Pokemon do being a special kind of appeal? Well, Volcarona here is a kind of offensive cannon of a Poke, and it gets its own special move that increases its speed and offense and makes it more likely to survive the retaliatory hit that comes its way in that one turn to set up. It’s very vulnerable – as a bug/fire there’s a host of things that can do a lot of damage to it and it loses half its hit points if it ever trades in on a Stealth Rock, but it’s such a dangerous thing that I love the idea of setting up and clearing a space for this volcano moth to wreck everything.
It’s a big haymaker of a Pokemon. It leaves you open but if that hit you make connects, you are going to leave a crater.
And finally, we have Excadrill.
You fight an Excadrill, in the game, against the trainer Clay. It’s, odds on, the first time you’ve ever seen this Pokemon, and so you don’t necessarily know what it is. All his other Pokemon are ground types, so you know that much is going on. You might have even been using a Pokemon with Levitate to avoid their damaging attacks, that’d be a good strategy.
Then Excadrill comes out and wrecks your shit.
Excadrill has a combination of stat balances where it sacks out a special defense and defense stat for a good speed, a through the roof attack and a hit point pool that rivals mythical Pokemon, and then it has the move Mold Breaker, meaning it can ignore that levitate you were hoping to lean on. It’s fast, it does tons of damage, and it can take a ton of hits. It’s immune to two types of damage, resistant to eight, and only weak to four, meaning that of all the damage types, Excadrill resists or ignores more than half of them.
Excadrill is so powerful that in speedruns of Black/White, it’s the only Pokemon they use. This is a game where you can get a Legendary that walks up to you and just waits to be caught and Speed Runners will still move around it and ignore it because it’s faster to not bother and it doesn’t help you at all when you have Excadrill.
Excadrill is an absolute beast.
So there, that’s some great Pokemon, for a variety of reasons, that came out in Generation 5.