I was struck with some inspiration this weekend on a new series of blogs I want to do. The idea has been chilling in the back of my brain for a bit and has finally solidified into this here idea.... The Iceberg Report! An investigation into games with far more depth to them than most gamers would care to venture into. And of course I'd like to start with the game I'm currently delving into and a great memory of my childhood...
"Pokemon!" you may say. "Isn't that just a weirdly addictive kids game?" you may ask. "A moose bit my sister once" others may say... but they're very silly so lets ignore them. Yes! Pokemon! There is such a complex and complicated back end to this game that it has taken competitive (yes, there are tournaments) players years to nail down all the math and the secrets behind the game. And these aren't unintentional tricks and tools either, all this functionality was built into the game intentionally as proven by the items provided (detailed later). There is a ridiculous depth to this game that takes a lot of effort and willpower to learn about and delve into, lets start with the basics, terminology....
EV ~ Effort Value
- A hidden number assigned to pokemon. when defeated, they give the players pokemon a set number of "EV"s for a stat. for example Pidgey gives 1 attack EV.
IV ~ Individual Value
- A hidden value assigned to each of the pokemons stats, maximum of 31. Determines how high each stat is capable of being raised to.
- A "quirk" that allows one of the pokemons stats to grow higher than normal, with one other dropping below normal. For example a "Jolly" nature means the pokemon will receive higher than normal speed stats, but lower than normal special attack.
STAB ~ Same Type Attack Bonus
- a move used by a pokemon that shares a type with itself (Flamethrower used by a fire type) will receive a 50% boost to the total damage done
Now with that out of the way lets get started.
Building the perfect Pokemon!
To start off with we'll need to select a role for our pokemon and we have a few general roles to select from. First off you have sweepers and walls. Sweepers are pokemon designed to wipe out your opponents team, usually by 1 hit super effective KO's. Walls are as the name would imply basically damange sponges. They take a beating and usually have some utility to make their presence worthwhile. Each of these can be further classified into physical or special. For example a special sweeper is a pokemon that utilizes the special attack stat to KO opposing pokemon such as Mewtwo or Raichu.
So lets start with a physical sweeper.
You want to look for a pokemon with a high attack stat to start off with. We're going to use Serebii.net's pokedex sorted by attack
to pick one. Let's look at 2 great examples.
First we have Slaking
. While Slaking's attack is MONSTROUSLY high, he's very very slow. The downside to this is that he will be hit before getting a chance to attack 90% of the time. To offset this, he has a very high HP value as well as a decent defense. The downside? atrocious special defense. A special sweeper would demolish him.
Secondly we have Meinshao
. While also posessing a higher than average attack, Meinshao also has a very high speed, allowing it to attack before its opponent gets a hit in. often disabling or KO-ing it before any sort of attack is landed. The offset is of course, that meinshao is about as tough as paper mache.
Since beating someone into absolute oblivion before they get a chance to react is hilarious, lets use Meinfoo for this example.
Before we get started we need to plan out EV's and this one should be simple. We want high attack for physical sweep, and we also want to optimize mein's other great stat, speed. I'll explain EV's more in depth later, but for now know that we want: Attack and Speed.
Step 1: Breeding for natures, moves, and awesome
As with many things in life, hardcore pokemon training starts with sex. What you want to accomplish here is breeding in the ideal nature and moves for your pokemon. First off lets go over some of the basics...
When breeding, here's what the parents give the hatchling
Female: Determines what pokemon is hatched (will be same as the female)
Father: passes on moves that the hatchling could potentially learn
The main 2 purposes of this are as stated before, natures, and egg moves. Egg moves are moves that the hatchling can learn from its father, but not normally via TM/HM or leveling up. For example, Meinfoo
(the pre-evolution fo Meinshao) can learn low kick if a female Meinfoo/Meinshao was bred with a Machop/Machoke/Machamp who had low kick.
Another nigh impossible thing to breed for is a "shiny". Basically it's a palate swap for any given pokemon. Honestly some of them are absolutely badass, but the effort put into getting them...... lets just say some things are best left to luck. The chances of finding or hatching a shiny Pokemon is normally 1 in 8192. The probability is lowered significantly when breeding pokemon traded from different countries, all the way down to 1 in 1136 if both pokemon are from countries other than your own.
For example, here's a shiny Charizard. Droooool.......
Once you've bred a few dozen hatchlings until you have the perfect moves and nature, it's onto EV training..
Step 2: EV training. Better make some coffee
Now comes the painful part. EV grinding. As stated earlier, EV's are a hidden value assigned to the pokemon you defeat. Be warned (or suggested) that if you use Exp.Share, the pokemon holding exp.share will also gain the same EV's as the pokemon who was fighting. Here's a once over of how they work
For every 4 EV's of one stat, that given stat will raise by 1 more than normal next time it levels up. EV's also max out at 252 per stat and 508 total. So when maxing 2 stats that works out to...
252 stat 1, 252 for stat 2, 4 for stat 3
Now to actually get said EV's. There's a way to sort pokemon by EV on serebii, lets look at the Attack chart
. Near the bottom you'll find that there are a few pokemon with attack EV's and a commonality. Meinfoo, Meinshao, Driddgion, Golurk, and Golett. What do they have in common? you can find them all in or around the Dragonspiral Tower in Black/White. S now you take your new hatchling with its adamant EV and low kick, and give him Exp. Share! Remember how I said earlier he'll gain the same EV's as the battling pokemon? Perfect! So start killing your way through attack EV pokemon. Now here's an important step....
Keep track of how many EV's you've earned!
Usually keeping a tally on some scrap paper works well enough.
there's also 2 main ways to boost EV gain. One is a held item called Macho Brace. It doubles any EV gains for the pokemon holding it. The other is this ailment called Pokerus.
There's a 2 in 65,535 chance of contracting Pokérus in battle, and a 3 in 65,535 chance a wild or hatched pokemon will have it. Battling with a pokemon who has pokerus will spread it to your party. Is it a bad thing you ask? Not at all! Any pokemon with a current or previous pokerus infection will also gain EV's at double the rate, which can be combined with the macho brace. Be warned though, that pokemon in your party will be cured after midnight (though still have the benefit, just can't spread it), but pokemon in your storage boxes will NOT be cured. So keep a few handy.
When you finally have 252 attack EV's and 252 speed EV's you're now at the final step.... his moveset
Step 3: Killer moveset for killer pokemon
This is a fairly simple step. You want to select moves that complement your pokemon and its stats and abilities. Here's a good example for meinfoo.
We want physical moves for our physical sweeper, so looking at meinfoo's moveset we find at level 56. Hi-Jump Kick. 130 power, 90 accuracy, if the pokemon misses he takes huge damage. So massive damage attack with a downside. Now if he SHOULD miss and take tamage, Mainfoo's ability (Regenerator) allows him to heal 33% hp when switched out. Some good synergy there.
Now we have a fighting move which benefits from your STAB bonus. That covers Normal, Rock, Steel, Dark, and ice. You can also give him Stone edge for a powerful rock move and some wider super effectives
Next up lets get some other utility going. Meinshao learns U-turn at level 41. It's a bug attack (again, more range of damage) and also forces him to switch out after that round of combat. Not only does this allow you to swap in a pokemon capable of taking on whatever is infront of you, but you can also scout. Put meinfoo infront of something he's going to 1 hit KO. Your opponent will switch to something to combat Meinfoo with. So open with U-turn, you'll do some damage, then find out what your opponent was going to put infront of him. If you're lucky, he'll switch in a psycic type to kill your fighting type Meinfoo. Why is this good? u-turn is a bug type and will generally demolish most psycic types when hit with that much power. ALSO with regenerator, mein will heal 33% of his hp when switching out.
Now we have 1 more slot left. Why not a stat boost? in the event that you will have a spare turn with either no or minimal incoming damage, you can use Swords Dance to further boost your attack stat. The easiest way to do this is deploy your Meinfoo on something he'll 1 hit, forcing your opponent to swap. On that turn you can safely use swords dance to buff up.
So at this point we have the following:
EV's: 252 attack/252 speed/4 hp
- Hi Jump Kick
- Stone edge
- Swords dance
But we missed 1 thing... Held items. Generally you want to pick something with some synergy to your moves or pokemon. In this case, any held item to boost speed is good to have. You can also use a berry for status cure or a stat boost. for example salac berry will boost your speed when low, which is great for movesets that intentionally drop your HP to trigger a benefit or effect (such as the famous bellyzard). If you can't decide what to use, Leftovers is always a safe option. It regens some HP every round automatically.
Now the last step.... level to 100 by any means you care to. Totally up to you.
Step 4: HAHAHAHAHA you thought it was over...
Repeat steps 1-3 5 more times to build your party. There's no exact science to building a party. Just pick some pokemon you like, and try to cover all your types. You want a wall that can take punishment, a sweeper that can dish it out, and maybe a utility/buff pokemon to mix it up. From here it's all personal choice.
Finally when you have your full team... what can you do? Well Pokemon black and white both have very robust online matchmaking systems as well as even having leaderboards on the pokemon global link. There are also pokemon tournaments held around the globe, or you can simple annihilate your friends for shits and giggles.
Man that was a lot of typing. And all this to build ONE pokemon. I know a lot of you out there probably already know about this stuff, but for those who only ever played this game as a child and still have fond memories of it..... bet you didn't expect THIS did ya.
And that brings us to the bottom of the iceberg.