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Analyzing Pokemon ORAS' new mega evolutions
1:47 AM on 08.30.2014
I love grapplers
3:10 AM on 08.08.2014
Hey Strider! Let me battle you! #1 Starting a team
4:06 AM on 06.23.2014
One year later: Animal Crossing New Leaf
1:26 AM on 06.08.2014
The 3DS user's guide to Disneyland (and other theme parks)
3:56 AM on 06.04.2014
The StriderHoang Series Dtoid Trading Card Roundup!
2:37 AM on 06.02.2014

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Fresh outta college, one of those stereotypical, bumbling jobless "journalists" wanting to become a "vidya gaems jarnalist". And so the hunt for a job he likes begins! And no, he's not going back to school to become a pharmacist technician, like his mom nags him to be.

I also have a YouTube channel (above image). Self-taught video editing! I'm still unemployed you know, potential hirers!

~ Favorite games
- Red Dead Redemption
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Psychonauts
- Mass Effect 2
- Yoshi's Island
- Pokemon
- Monday Night Combat
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Super Mario World

Also, twitter

Introduction post

10 things about me

Another goddamn 10 things about Strider

~Front Paged
- Downloadables: Every night is Monday Night Combat!
- eSports: Someone you know is hype
- Relaxation: Secretly training
- I calls dibs on Gaige!
- Let's explore space! My top 10 space games

~FAP Approved!
- A discussion about Catherine with my girlfriend
- So I applied for an internship at X-Play...
- Being Social: Cal State Long Beach's Gaming Club
- Persona 4: Ultimate and 4 other fighting games you probably don't know
- A new return to 3rd Strike Online part 1: Picking a main
- Top 6 somewhat natural disasters in gaming
- Villains: For me my dear, it was merely a Tuesday
- Let's talk about Phoenix Wright and Nova in UMvC3
- How I gave my girlfriend Tetris DS and loved every minute of it
- Let's talk about Rocket Raccoon and Frank West in UMvC3
- Xenophilia: The Universal Language of Mecha
- Asura's Wrath might get panned and I'm ok with that
- Acquisition: Solid Snake signed your what?
- A Valentine's Day reflection: two great loves
- Skullgirls and the art of combos
- 6 reasons why you should check out Legend of Korra
- Today, I thought about oversexualization
- Hype: Japan Time
- Objection! The story of an impossible gift for that special someone
- Cultural identity and Sleeping Dogs
- Finn and Flame Princess' big Disney Adventure Picspam
- FTL: Recovered diaries from a derelict spaceship
- Retaliation: Your guide to fighting the Collectors
-Handsome Jack, the father, the hero, the asshole
- Before StriderHoang, there was Marcel Hoang
- Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! You're not all that mathmatical
- Ralph wrecked his way into my heart
- The sixth generation wishlist from five time Pokemon Champion, Marcel
- Strider's big, fat, ride through 2012
- Being the best predator you can be
- The Striderhoang series Dtoid Trading Card Roundup
- Strider's top 10 Kirby powers

~Friday Night Fight Replays!
- 09/02/11
- 09/09/11
- 09/23/11
- 09/30/11
- 02/07/12
- 02/12/12

~The Write Stuff! Get to writing!
- 06/30 - The Beginning!
- 07/06 - Line breaks
- 07/13 - Tone
- 07/20 - Commas
- 08/06 - Balance
- 09/03 - Crossposting
- Write Stuff of September - Pride

~ The Cblog Fapcast!
- XCOM or bust!
- The show must Smurf on!
- ScottyG is on the line
- Hobo extraordinaire, Manchild
- The sorry game
- Girlfriend caps
- #1ReasonHow
- Holiday Revengeance
- My Hairy, Downstairs Fapcast
- bbreaking nnews
- Strider alone
- Oh the Injustice!

Also, check me out on Bitmob!
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Normally for most iterations of Pokemon, we have to wait for full release titles to get a shakeup in the metagame and see something new. Sometimes we get a small change in the form of new move tutors appearing to give unexpected Pokemon new moves but usually the lack of brand new moves or new Pokemon makes most in-between releases very fluffy titles in terms of hard game balance. But Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have one leg up on this rule: new mega evolutions. It seems for ORAS, Game Freak can work around introducing anything too new for a remake and introduce new mega evolutions to older, more beloved Pokemon. As we’ve seen with X and Y though, not all megas are made to be equal. Mega Blaziken is king of offense while a mega for Banette was interesting but ultimately a waste (his best feature being a mega capable of a priority Destiny Bond. Yay! Priority sacrifice!).
The coming megas for ORAS look interesting and fun, but I’m afraid of how capable some of them will be. The bar has been set high thanks to the likes of Mega Blaziken, Gengar, Lucario, Kangaskhan, Charizard (both  X and Y), and Mawile. Remember when nobody used Mawile? Thanks to Serebii listing all revealed ORAS megas, we can review and speculate on the effectiveness of some of the new megas. There’s a lot of revealed data such as confirmation of the 100 point boost distribution and abilities, but having it on paper and having it in practice are two different things so there’s only so much we can speculate on. Mega Garchomp receiving a huge boost in sacrificing speed seems negligible but in practice this fact makes Mega Garchomp unpopular in favor of its standard form.

Mega Sceptile
Personally what I was looking forward to most since I personally own a mixed attacking Sceptile. Sceptile has always been number three due to Swampert being able to set up Stealth Rocks with bulk and Blaziken being Blaziken (with a Life Orb + Speed Boost set). Grass has never been a useful offensive type and Sceptile doesn’t have any supporting options. Mega Sceptile attempts to rectify this seemingly impossible problem by making it part Dragon. Sure!? Why not!?
Sceptile also receives Lightning Rod as an ability. At first, this seems like a waste considering the mega form is already 4x resistant to electric. On second glance though, Sceptile’s strength has always been special attack though and with Swords Dance and no way to boost special attack, this makes potential sets capable of doing either offensive sets well or even, once again, a powerful mixed set. Dragon is a very effective offensive type, being resisted by very few types even in this post-Fairy age. And it just so turns out that Grass can hit Fairy just fine. Still, Grass can be seen as a liability. So while I’ve been hopeful and praising Mega Scep, being an offensive Grass-type is a very big unknown. We also don’t know if Sceptile will have ready access to good Dragon moves. Like Mega Ampharos, he can’t learn Draco Meteor but even worse, learning Dragon Pulse thus far is relegated transferring one that learned it from a move tutor in B2W2.

Rating: 3/5

Mega Swampert
After a dose of anchor arms, Mega Swampert is ready to pummel his foes into the ground where they’ll feel even more powerful Earthquakes! Mega Swampert’s already been confirmed to gain more attack and more bulk. Pretty pedestrian buffs but effective so far as far as improving a Pokemon goes. The real kicker here is that Mega Swampert gets the coveted Swift Swim ability.
Granted, this won’t make Mega Swampert a speed demon, let alone one that continues to be a speed demon after five to eight turns. But this will most likely allow Mega Swamps to outspeed a veritable zoo of competition that are normally comfortable moving before a slow ass like Swampert. Combined with increased bulk, you have a tank strapped with boosters ready to wail on unsuspecting Pokemon. Imagine pitting this thing against Lucario in the rain. Lucario is fast but I bet it isn’t Swift Swim fast. While this temperament is dependent on rain, this could very well be like having a second Choice Scarfed Garchomp slinging Earthquakes around without the lock.

Rating: 5/5

Mega Sableye
Sableye wasn’t exactly itching for a mega. With Prankster, Sableye was capable of effectively annoying a team with a variety of priority like Fake Out, Shadow Sneak, Will-O-Wisp, Confuse Ray, Taunt, and Toxic among others. But Mega Sableye now promises to provide Sableye with options outside of annoying your opponent indirectly. An increase in defenses and special attack gives Sableye an offensive presence. Its mega form even provides a legitimate choice between mega evolving or not with a pivotal change in its ability.
Prankster becomes Magic Bounce, being a member of an exclusive group of Pokemon with access to this useful defensive ability which most usefully reflects Stealth Rocks back, among other things. In fact, Mega Sableye is just about the only Pokemon that can take a stray hit. Other Pokemon like Espeon or Mega Absol absolutely must be sure they’ll be reflecting a non-attacking move or else they’ll be losing a significant chunk of health on a wrong guess. Mega Sableye on paper can take a few hits, reflect support attacks, and fight back all by itself.

Rating: 4/5

Mega Metagross
Metagross was another one of my favorites, being a powerhouse Steel/Psychic back before X and Y released. With the advent of X and Y though came detrimental nerfs to Steel’s defensive posture. Without a resistance to Dark or Ghost, many Steel-types were adversely affected, including the powerhouse Metagross. Like Alakazam before it in gen 3, it lost its luster much in part due to Psychic being a disastrous defensive typing against popular Ghost and Dark attacks. Even with Metagross’ super powered hits, STAB Steel attacks just weren’t a big draw to negate Metagross’ growing weaknesses.
That’s probably why Mega Metagross sounds like it’ll be joining Mega Blaziken and Gengar in the ubers tier because Megagross receives insane buffs that are reflective of a sore loser who took his ball, left, and came back with a flail. Megagross receives all around buffs across the board but has a particular focus making up for its speed.  With enhancements to its already powerful attack, defense, and boosts in the special spectrum as well, Mega Metagross is reported to have a significant boost in speed to turn this metal computoid into a dangerous sweeper with nuke worthy Meteor Mashes. And they will be nuking things because it even gets Tough Claws as an ability. The infamous ability which boosts Mega Charizard X’s contact moves by 50% is now primed on Megagross to turn STAB Meteor Mash and Zen Headbutt into life changing decisions of switching out for the opponent.

Rating 6/5

Mega Altaria
ORAS is certainly putting up a load of forgettable Pokemon and giving them a second chance at being competitive. Altaria took the news of the incoming Fairies and decided to partially jump ship and become part Fairy. It partially jumped ship because it’s still Dragon; a Dragon/Fairy dual type which has the same logic as a Fire/Water type. Altaria actually had access to Moonblast long before news of Mega Altaria but it turns out it doesn’t need to rely on it for STAB.
First off, Mega Altaria’s ability is Pixilate, transforming all Normal-type moves into Fairy-type while providing a 30% boost. This allows Mega Altaria to use Hyper Voice as a Fairy attack that has the advantage of bypassing annoying defensive strategies like Substitute.
Secondly, Mega Altaria gains increased offensive power and defense, rounding out Altaria’s bulk while giving it the power to actually fight. While Altaria has always struggled to carve out a niche for itself from better Dragons, Mega Altaria has a unique charm of being a bulky, Fairy/Dragon that will have a mix of interesting resistances (Fairy is immune to Dragon, one of Dragon-types’ few weaknesses).

Rating 3.5/5

Mega Slowbro
Slowbro has always been one of the premier bulky water types. Water/Psychic provides a lot of opportunity to take hits and its high defense was perfect for taking stray Earthquakes and Close Combats. Many megas are often offensively designed and Mega Slowbro takes this chance to be one of those rare defensive megas. Mega Slowbro’s reveal has already demonstrated an insane bump in defensive power. Not many Pokemon laugh off a Dragon Claw from Mega Charizard X and Megabro does exactly that, shrugging it off as a mere 25% blow.
Megabro is likely to be plenty good but situational in choice compared to using it over its base form as there are a few consolations done in the process. Mega Slowbro gains a huge defensive boost but loses Regenerator as its ability in favor of a much more situational Shell Armor. Instead of regaining 33% health on a switch, critical hits will never happen instead. While Megabro still has Slack Off as health recovery, especially with its sky high defensive scores, it still is a mortal blow to Slowbro’s longevity. Slowbro can help retain momentum by switching out to hard counters and recovering health, but Megabro will be more focused on toughing out hits in the long run, walling and stalling hits with Slack Off and staying in.
Megabro’s potential for walling was impressive at first but further testing of losing Regenerator might be the clincher to its overall value.

Rating: 3/5

Mega Lopunny
Quick! Name another Pokemon you think deserves a second chance. If you said Lopunny, you’re really weird. But hey, Mega Lopunny has very envious qualities that make it a strong candidate as a Fighting-type mega on your team.
Mega Lopunny gets everything you need for an aggressive late game sweeper. It gets boosted attack and speed, access to moves like Jump Kick and Fake Out, plus an interesting Fighting/Normal dual type and a complimentary ability to boot. Mega Lopunny gets STAB on really good moves, gets Scrappy as ability, letting all its best attacks hit Ghosts, and retains its Ghost immunity from its Normal-typing. This means Mega Lopunny can ignore any potential Ghost-type switch ins thanks to Scrappy and conversely switch in on any nasty Shadow Balls or Shadow Sneaks.
Basically, Mega Lopunny gives you everything you want from a hard hitting Fighting-type without many of the problems. While Mega Lopunny lacks that critical ability to learn Swords Dance, a Mega Bunny trained to hit hard and fast is by no means a bad strategy.

Rating: 4/5

Mega Audino
Audino fits the same mold as Chansey but unfortunately doesn’t have much to help it leave Chansey’s massive shadow. It certainly rewards grinders with XP but it doesn’t have the same spread in bulk to let it compete with Blissey or Chansey. Audino and even Mega Audino are mostly designed for doubles and triples, where its slew of support moves have more space to shine. But that makes Audino and its Mega form largely irrelevant in a singles battle.
Mega Audino mainly gains increased bulk. Considering it’s HP pool has always been above average and both defenses were just below average, receiving a big boost to those defenses while retaining HP is a big deal to making Mega Audino a long lasting bulky support Pokemon. While it lacks offense, the fact that it’s hard to kill in a multi-battle while it can heal its partners means it offers a tremendous boon when it has teammates. On one hand, targeting it in a multi-battle means feeling like you’re beating your head against a wall. Target its teammates though and their damage can be healed by Mega Audino’s best move, Heal Pulse. The division in viable targets can be paralyzing and Mega Audino’s ability to persevere despite normal medic conventions makes it a great support option. Making your mega a support Pokemon is a matter of preference or strategy but you never know what can be done with creative thinking.

Rating: 2/5. 4/5 on doubles and triples

Mega Salamence
Well here comes another uber candidate honestly. Salamence has always been a strong Pokemon with Intimidate bolstering survivability and Moxie offering legitimately scary pulverizing power. Plus being a Dragon-type with an impressive and diverse move pool doesn’t hurt either. Mega Salamence took a look at what happened with Charizard and decided a simple boost wasn’t enough. So it took something that made a certain other Pokemon scary and gave it to itself.
Salamence is plenty strong; strong enough apparently according to Game Freak that rather than boost offense directly, Mega Salamence gains a boost to defense. But  that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get a scary boost to its punching power though because it takes Aerilate as an ability, which was made famous by Mega Pinsir. Guess what Salamence can learn that turns into a STAB Flying-type attack with an extra free 30% boost? Double-Edge. With Double-Edge gaining a massive STAB boost, an additional option in Outrage, Draco Meteor, or whatever else other strong Dragon move you want, plus your choice in coverage from moves like Fire Blast, Hydro Pump, Earthquake, and Stone Edge, Mega Salamence is a dead simple battering ram to utilize. Just take a second to observe what kind of competition Megamence is attacking and choose the appropriate attack. Chances are your Megamence has access to a move that’ll do 40% or more to something not specifically trained to take hits.
Add to increased defense meaning it can take a Rock Slide or Stone Edge fairly well and you have something with a fairly limited range of soft counters. If Aerilate worked for Pinsir, a Pokemon nobody used, Aerilate will work wonders for Salamence, a Pokemon that’s still viable for use today.

Rating: 5/5

Personally, I'm looking forward to using Mega Salamence and Mega Metagross while Mega Sceptile will need some serious planning but would be an interesting wild card to catch my opponent off guard. Of course there's Mega Diancie too but Diancie isn't even a available legally yet either so we don't know what it'll be like. If you're getting Pokemon ORAS, who will be your go to mega? Mega Pinsir is by far my favorite mega in terms of utility but I'm a big fan of Metagross and lamented over his nerfing this past generation. I very well might pick him up while Mega Salamence is worth a test run simply due to how much Aerilate was a factor in defining Mega Pinsir.

3:10 AM on 08.08.2014

For every fighting game, there is always a grappler character. While not inherently a divisive archetype or idea, the grappler is still a polarizing archetype nonetheless in the circles he or she frequents. Beginners will groan at their might while veterans will begin processing a hundred strategies a minute to prepare a 90% successful plan. But it doesn't matter what game I play, I always end up gravitating to playing a grappler at least 50% of my time on a given game.

But let's back up for exposition purposes. What exactly fits the grappler archetype? A grappler is a character who has command moves that involves grabbing their opponent for a high damage attack. Using their grab is usually central to their attack plan due to its high damage and other useful properties such as knockdown. The fact that it is usually a grab means it is unblockable and the first lesson anyone new to fighting games learns is that they have to jump to avoid it (or at least, be in an airborne state).

The next few attributes don't define all grapplers but fit many in general. Grapplers have poor mobility to balance their high damage. A general strategy against them is to keep them out at range where they can't do anything. They are slow and generally have to develop a gameplan just to get in close. Mind you, most can't run or have bad movement options. While Ryu can take a quick step forward in Street Fighter IV, Zangief has a comparatively slow and lumbering lurch forward. And in nearly any anime fighter, almost everyone can flat out run but characters like Tager or Potemkin can't do anything but walk forward and think positive thoughts.

Grapplers have a wide variety of perceptions depending on who you ask. To a pro, a grappler is a cautiously easy win. Grapplers tend to have the worst match ups in the game and that's before you even factor in the match up against the resident keep away character. I don't keep up but the Yukiko/Kanji match up in Persona 4 Arena is something depressing like 9/1, stating that if skill was equal and conditions were replicatable, Yukiko would win nine times out of ten. It's always surprising and hype-worthy when a grappler places high in a tournament like EVO or even something smaller like West Coast Warzone. A pro player could always play someone who is far better and easier to handle because grapplers are very rarely high in tiers. Seeing a grappler in top 8 is a testament to the players skill that they devoted their time to learning how to grab people by the waist and slam them into the concrete.

Grapplers tend to weed out newbies too. Grapplers are bona fide scrub filters, being an end all be all trial by fire to see if you're really ready to even be considered mediocre. Scrubs can complain that grapplers are cheap or broken. Their grabs are unblockable and do a ton of damage. Of course, if they truly knew what they were doing, they'd know that the hard counter to grabs if to jump. Online warriors can sometimes subsist entirely on scrubs during their game's online career.

But that's why I like playing the grappler. There's a visceral rush of adrenaline whenever you score that coveted grab move. Where technical characters can execute complex 40% damage combos, a grappler can do close to that amount by just getting in close and doing one move. There's a humongous trade off of course but there are other factors too. Losing all that health instantly can be extremely demoralizing and in most cases for the grappler, it grabs momentum by putting his opponent in a hard knockdown state; the opponent is guaranteed to not stand up for a period of time as the sheer impact must have dazed them into an uncontrollable stupor. With a half unconscious victim lying on the ground, a grappler can easily stroll right up to them as they groggily get up and face a dilemma of what to do with a muscle bound, touchy-feely fighter up in their grill.

So now that you know what its like to be a grappler and to fight a grappler, there's nothing else quite like going down a list of well known grappler characters to really know what to expect from your stinging pain as you get thrown into a backbreaker performed from a two-story high leap.

Arguably the most well known grappler and the one who started it all. If Chun-Li is the first lady of fighting then Zangief is the grand poobah of slamming and jamming wrestlers. His signature move, the Spinning Piledriver (the SPD as known by veterans), is what it is: a piledriver with the unnecessary twist of spinning through the air before delivery. Is it needed? Maybe not but that doesn't change the fact that Zangief leaps and average of 20 feet into the air before driving his opponent into what is usually solid Earth.

In terms of other noteworthy options, he has the Banishing Flat (the green glove). This functions as both his mobility and an offensive move as Gief swings a flaming overhand slap in a forward motion, moving him forward, destroying fireballs, and slapping the fear of Gief into his opponents. And all of the above is a good thing because Gief is a huge, bear-sized man who can barely dash and has a huge, lumbering, slow walk speed. Plus not a lot needs to be said about his Final Atomic Buster, his characteristic super move. It's basically all his wrestling moves done in sequence at once. Truly Gief is known for making ridiculous comebacks with such powerful comebacks. What more of a comeback can you expect when you do a suplex, a backbreaker, and a spinning piledriver all in a row?

The big burly government agent from Guilty Gear has a few unique tricks all his own that most grapplers his day wouldn't even imagine having. For one, he has a projectile reflect, the F.D.B., which is a big utility considering most match ups against Potemkin means staying away and throwing everything and the kitchen sink to keep him at a distance. He also has an interesting anti-air option, the Heat Knuckle, in which he grabs a mook right of the air and proceeds to make his freaking gauntlet explode with them still in your clutches. Heat Knuckle and future attacks that use it for inspiration tend to be used more in combos that launch your opponent though, rather than an actual anti-air. Last to note is the combination of his Slide Head and Hammerfall. Slide Head is, for all intents and purposes, a localized earthquake you create by falling face first into the ground. It's completely unblockable if you're touching the ground and leaves you helpless on the ground as you contemplate your future of pain. Hammerfall on the other hand is Potemkin's answer to Gief's green glove; a move that sends him forward with a hit of super armor before clashing his knuckles together for a sandwich of pain. The secret of them together though is that Potemkin can knock his enemies down with Slide Head, then use Hammerfall but cancel the actual attack, using it only to move forward safely with absolutely zero fear of retaliation.

Which brings us to Potemkin's signature grab. A move so damaging that he can only name it after himself. The Potemkin Buster uses his infallible muscles to simply grab his opponent, put them in a backbreaker pose, then leap off-screen and probably the height of a modest office building before crashing down to a backbreaker strong enough to make every WWE wrestler quit for fear of their good health. The super version, the Heavenly Potemkin Buster, isn't as usable as most other grabs since it's a true anti-air for Pots as he flings himself into the air to grab anyone airborne in his way. But just knowing Pots has the meter for this move is enough to ground most people for fear of losing maybe half their life bar to one life changing mistake.

Iron Tager
The Blazblue follow up to Potemkin. Iron Tager inherited a lot of Pot's tricks like his Heat Gauntlet or Hammerfall. Atomic Collider is like Heat Gauntlet in many ways except with one big difference: Tager can combo off a collider grab. Meanwhile, Sledgehammer is a two part, movement based attack where 90% of the time, people never use the second part of the move since its wildly unsafe on block and has limited utility on hit. The first hit from the portion that sends you sliding across the screen though completely laughs off any projectile and has a lot of utility on counterhit which will honestly happen a lot when your opponent isn't expecting a two ton, half-man, half-Buick to suddenly cause you to experience a high speed collusion.

The biggest thing about Tager that sets him apart is his unique power that every Blazblue combatant has. While some people use ice to freeze or a helper doll, Tager uses the secret power of science to assist in his grappling: magnetism. Specific attacks, including a projectile he can use after storing enough electromagnetism, magnetizes his enemies. Only Tager can magically turn a 9-1 bad match into a 4-6 match by applying magnetism to his opponent and instilling the same panic in them that WWII American soldiers would feel when they see kamikaze dive bombers. You see, when magnetized, opponents will be drawn towards all of Tager's most dangerous attacks, including the Atomic Collider (never jump when magnetized), and the Gigantic Tager Buster. The Tager Buster you see, is also a backbreaker. Only instead of grabbing his opponent and leaping with them, Tager throws them into the air and leaps after them before bringing them down. And not only is the range deceptive like all grappler grabs, but magnetism increases its reach significantly.

And then there's the Genesic Emerald Tager Buster, also augmentable with magnetisim. This move defines PTSD for people who have experienced it. It's a move where Tager throws his opponent sky high, leaps after them, grabs them by the torso (his mitts are that big afterall), and drives them straight down into the ground, splintering it in the process. Only there's a huge detail in that when you both come down out of the sky, you show signs of heating up from sheer air speed and friction.

But of course that pales in comparison to his instant kill. Potemkin's is just a really big punch. Tager's is literally out of this world. After placing his enemy in the backbreaker position, he stores energy before rocketing into the stratosphere, before calmly turning around and performing quite possibly the only body slam you'll ever see come out of orbit. It even generates a crater normally only reserves for meteorites!


A lot of grappler characters are made with ideas in line with tradition. Grapplers are slow, have a small number of movement options, and have limited combos and therefore rely on command grabs for real damage. Cerebella is the grappling hero's hero, built from the ground up in Skullgirls by the game's director and designer Mike Z, a renowned grappling fighter in the tournament scene. She has a huge repertoire of tools made just to even out her matchups against zoners and other dominating examples. She has a projectile reflector, an invincible reversal, a close range command grab, a long range command grab, an anti-air grab, an air-to-air command grab, a long reaching poke, several moves with armor and forward movement, and actual combo potential to do damage outside of grabs. All of these things are very rare to find on a grappler. Of all the characters shown so far, none really have invincible wake up options to punish pressure.

While she still certainly struggles against the likes of Peacock and her cartoon menagerie of keepaway cronies, a combination of her unorthodox grappler tools and the ability to partner her up with positive teammates for help or to let her do real Soviet damage when soloing, makes Cerebella really stand out and alone as a grappler. And its not just Cerebella as a character that's interesting but the universal mechanics that are native to her game that also enhance her. First and foremost, the game is built with a feature that allows 360 motions to be performed without jumping. The game simply detects your 360 input and keeps your feet planted on the ground. No more needing to buffer the motion in other attacks! If other grapplers were conceived in a traditional era, Cerebella is the new age wrestler ready to take all comers regardless of their strategy.

T. Hawk
Thunder Hawk may seem like someone who treads on Zangief's territory but they actually differ somewhat on methodologies. Zangief usually has several possible options to fall back on whenever using an SPD isn't feasible. Banishing Flat is a great forward moving attack that resets neutral game and a lot of his normals have great range or movement. T. Hawk has a forward moving attack as well but generally isn't comparable to Banishing Flat. T. Hawk is bigger and slower than Gief and while he hits harder to a degree, the increase in sluggishness is tough. However, his increase in power means he has an increased emphasis on landing his own SPD, the Typhoon.

T. Hawk generally has an even tougher time competing compared to Gief's illustrious career but any opponent will run scared for fear of a heavy Mexican Typhoon. That's basically his whole game plan. Maybe you can sweep them, smack them with Condor Spire, or get a few random hits in with his big mitts he calls hands. But its all so that he can force his opponent to make the mistake of staying on the ground so T. Hawk can grab his opponent by the head and windmill swing them into the ground until they're only a pile of dust. Everything T. Hawk does is for the goal of Mexican Typhoon. If they try to run, Hawk can one of his moves to cover those bases. So eventually the fear to block sets in and that's when Timothy J. Hawkins (East coast nickname), grabs his opponent and sends them hurtling into a Mexican racial oblivion.

Solomon Grundy
The dead man from DC's own Injustice has the luxury of only needing to press one button to do his grabs. Rather then any complex motions, you just need to press the trait button to grab your hapless victim then press a few prompts to continue until you do 40% off one move.

Grundy's trait grabs also give him boosts in attack, health, and defense against chip damage and all are quite lengthy which means if he uses Grave Rot, a damage over time, area of effect attack, he can pile on the damage quickly if his opponent isn't prepared. He also has a unique super all his own, which puts him into a different stance of combat. When his super is triggered, Grundy gains armor for the duration of his short super and any button you press causes him to lurch forward and attempt a grab, even in the air! His opponent must run away since the armor prevents them from zoning him effectively and a combination of the power augment from his trait with his super can lead to instant death for many players. This is before considering that as a strong arm undead zombie, Grundy can also tear most things in the environment off and throw them into unsuspecting opponents. They may think they're safe at fullscreen until Grundy throws a statue at them from across the screen.

Grapplers aren't worth much in the Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 series. All the most played characters are highly mobile, can do some sort of infinite or a combo with can repeat itself for a long time, and can usually fly somehow. While mobile characters are the norm in other games, mobility is proof you won't be affected by Darwinism somehow. But so called grapplers characters are still worth something even if they're actually more gimmicky in their actual grabs. Thor is one of the few characters who actually has a command grab but he isn't known for using it for raw damage.

Firstly, his throw, the Mighty Hurricane, can be done on the ground or in the air. Secondly, Mighty Hurricane isn't used for pure damage but for combos, since after slamming his opponent into the ground, they bounce off the ground perfectly for a follow up combo. It's for this reason that Thor players are known for a nasty trick known as the reset. Rather than complete a combo for a finite amount of damage, Thor lets his opponent tech out of his combo early. The reasoning is that the opponent is so scared that they're only holding back and not trying to mash reversals out. If they are indeed only holding back, Thor can use Mighty Hurricane on them for free. Rather than get 100% of his combo, Thor stops at 60% and performs another combo at 100%. Resets of course are the gimmickiest of gimmicks, easily escapable if the opponent sees it coming. But though Thor's damage is high and his grab is reliable, he gets shut down a lot in Marvel's high octane environment, so any trick he gets is appreciated.

Haggar, also a grappler in MvC3, is basically Zangief if he was the American Mayor of Earth but with two major threats players must respect: respect the pipe and respect the lariat. Zangief also has the lariat move but Haggar's is legendary for its full invincibility. People play Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 where it was toned down but in vanilla his lariat assist was the stuff of legends.

Kanji Tatsumi
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Kanji Tatsumi as he appears in Persona 4 Arena, who uniquely relies on his Persona in order to perform his own command grab and is even afforded a reversal in the form of the universal Furious Action. Cerebella is the only other character on this list with something reliable to wake up with when the pressure is on and Kanji's has his persona shocking him, causing anything and anyone to come into contact with him that isn't blocking to get shocked and paralyzed, preventing them from jumping. Kanji, like Cerebella, has a wealth of unorthodox but effective tools to combat his shortcomings, only being failed by extremely slow start ups on his moves. Take-Mikazuchi, his persona, gives him a deceptive amount of range to poke with. His Cruel Attack is a follow up command that lets him slam his chair into people he's not done with yet, completely negating the problem of staying in after getting in. And Kanji has one particular aerial attack where a swing of his chair takes up an impressive amount of space in front and below him. But anyone who's played P4A knows simple, scrub cleaning Kanjis love to do three things: Furious Action, command grab, and the air dive.

We know his FA and his command grab has the Cruel Attack follow up so he doesn't need to worry too much about staying close. The air dive is something that makes or breaks new players though because it tells whether or not you're dedicated to winning. The game does not teach players that this attack, which causes Kanji to fall out of the air with the fury of one thousand thunderclouds in order to tackle them to the ground and ground pound them, is utterly unblockable but can be avoided simply by crouching. If someone complains that Kanji's dive is cheap, then you know you can count the number of days he's been playing the game on one hand. While his super command grab is locked as an Awakened SP Skill Attack (only available when health is <20%), it's truly a powerful attack that will KO anyone unlucky enough to not be in Awakened mode before getting hit by this attack. Many characters can attempt pre-Awakened touch of death combos but Kanji can pretty much aim to kill or deal a near fatal blow simply by performing his super grab on an opponent on the precipice of Awakening. Nothing is more heart wrenching then seeing your health evaporate completely when you were expecting to rely on Awakening mode's defense buff.

Kanji's dive is the epitome of a grappler match. It forces the opponent to be on their best behavior because grapplers can do so much damage from the smallest mistake. Now those mistakes are easy to avoid doing in the first place but being careless and complacent is a huge opening to a grappler.

There are still so many more grapplers I love that I could name, all with their own unique spin on the classic formula of bashing your victim's head into our planet's tectonic plates. A lot of the characters I've mentioned are from anime fighters or old school fundamentalists. But there's still more your can play and learn lessons of patience from! There are plenty of characters from the SNK side of fighters like Clark Still, Tizon, and Raiden, who all pound away at their opponents mercilessly. Street Fighter still has fighters to offer like R. Mika, the buxom blue peach bomber from Brazil as well as Alex from Third Strike with his unique Stun Gun Headbutt with instant stun ability and then the Andre to his Hulk Hogan, Hugo, well known for his death defying air grab and big hand clap that's capable of snuffing out fireballs. Tekken has Craig Marduk, King, and Armor King to chain together ridiculous grabs, Astaroth swinging an ax and crushing his foes in Soul Calibur, while Tina and Bass represent wrestling in Dead or Alive. Chief Thunder, a possible link to Thunder Hawk, hails from Killer Instinct and only recently in its revival became a grappler. Then there are even characters even further out in the anime fighter spectrum like Bravo from Chaos Code, Kira from Arcana Hearts, Waldstein from Under Night In-Birth, Kanea from Akatsuki Blitzkampf, and Lilith from freaking Vanguard Princess. Yes, I purposely got more and more obscure there. You know fighters? How about goddamn Vanguard Princess?

But the very nature of a grappler is risking everything just to get close and perform an attack that pays it all back with interest. Grapplers tend to face uphill battles but every time we nail that grab, we get that visceral thrill of victory even when we don't literally win. No matter who you are, even if you're another grappler, there's always that moment where you second guess yourself and have the seeds of fear planted as you know one thing for sure: one mistake can means the difference here in this fight.
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Originally I was thinking about reflecting on Smash Brothers' in the interest of Smash 4's hype and release. I wanted to talk competitive retrospect on some of Smash's characters. But what I really want to talk about is winning. In the past, I've talked about the metagame for Pokemon. I've talked about the layered variety of strategies, counters, and heavily used ideas that shape the way how trainers plan their teams in order to win at all costs. I've talked about the overall climate surrounding Pokemon that dictates the best chances for winning. Today I'm taking a more direct approach to talking about Pokemon battles: how to build you own winning team.

More specifically, I'm to walk you through how I build a team. I have several boxes of potential battlers ready to fulfill a variety of functions on a team. Some are gimmicky but work when you catch people off guard. Others play it safer with strong choices and safety nets in cases mistakes happen.

Overall though, building a team to win needs a foundation; a unifying pivot that the entire team can get behind on or support universally. A team is much more than just several strong Pokemon. A strategy or purpose needs to tie the whole team together in order to take them to victory. Let's take the process behind this particular team as an example.

Now these days, not taking the time to incorporate a mega evolution into your team is a waste of potential. Megas have ridiculous specs and bring ridiculous powers to the table. This team starts with the question, "How can I bring my Aggron into battle successfully?" Of course, Aggron won't be battling as himself as Aggron as he is can be pretty underwhelming. No, the center piece of this team is Mega Aggron.

Pain means nothing. Pain is an illusion. [source image]

Let's look at what Mega Aggron is good at. He's great, no, incredible at taking physical hits. A combination of through the roof defense and the ability Filter means Mega Aggron doesn't even fear Earthquake or Close Combat. With respectable investment in attack, Mega Aggron is the very definition of a tank, shrugging off attacks while dishing out pain as well. Mega Aggron also has access to some decent support options like Stealth Rocks or even Thunder Wave, so he doesn't have to think on his own. On the other hand, Mega Aggron can't take special hits well and has bad options at recovering health. Being a mega automatically means he can't hold Leftovers, which is a crucial blow to him as a tank.

So we have a peerless physical tank who will get worn down over time with even the simplest switch ins. When we've decided on a prime strategy, we now have to work on complimenting it so that we can maximize our returns while minimizing the damage. Mega Aggron isn't a be all, end all foundation to rely on for winning, so our particular Aggron will return the favor to his teammates by being knowing Stealth Rocks for hazards and Thunder Wave for crippling sweepers. With Mega Aggron's physical defense, he can paralyze opponents with Thunder Wave when they decide to switch out after realizing how little damage they're doing to him. Stealth Rocks and Thunder Wave is how Mega Aggron supports his supporting allies.

Togekiss and Tyranitar are Mega Aggron's primary support core. While not immediately obvious, Tyranitar functions as the special wall Mega Aggron needs to tag team with. Tyranitar has mediocre special defense but it gets a 1.5 boost as a rock-type under the effects of a sandstorm. TTar becomes a bonafide special wall when you slap an Assault Vest on him, giving him another 1.5 boost in special defense, meaning TTar can take a Hydro Pump as well as Mega Aggron can take Earthquake. Which is exactly the purpose for TTar to switch with Mega Aggron; to take threatening Fire Blasts or Hydro Pumps so Mega Aggron doesn't have to. By using Assault Vest, TTar cannot use support moves of any sort but fortunately has a very strong offensive move pool to mitigate this pigeon holing. Moves like Crunch, Earthquake, Stone Edge, and more, allow TTar to tank special hits and truck through with his own powerful attacks.

Pictured: a truck

Now we move to Togekiss. Togekiss has two primary functions that fit neatly for what we now need. One, Togekiss fits as a Wish passer, using Wish and switching to the other two tanks to help restore. Both tanks on this team lack the ability to recover health in any way, including Leftovers but Togekiss functions as a healer here. Second, Togekiss is a third defensive wall that gives the other two tanks time to breath. Fairy/Flying with an emphasis on special defense allows Togekiss to resist or ignore many attacks that would normally wear down the other two. With Wish, Protect, and access to Leftovers, Togekiss can wall by itself, heal teammates, and fight back with its unique STAB attacks such as Dazzling Gleam or Air Slash. Togekiss' STAB attacks don't have good coverage by themselves though, so most of the offensive lift goes back to the other two tanks.

So we've established the bulk of our offensive presence. We've also established that the bulk of our team is rather defensive. So now the rest of the team is left up to choice as to how you want to fill in the gaps for specific threats and problems.

Trevenant was chosen as another defensive wall for this team. Ghost/Grass provides great defensive utility while also providing an important role: spin blocking. Passive damage from Stealth Rocks is important as it makes the opponent pay a price every time they realize their attacks do minimal damage and decide to switch out. Having a ghost-type block Rapid Spin from clearing the field is a bonus, not to mention Trevenant continues to fit the defensive theme and has several other bonuses to contribute. Will-O-Wisp can burn targets, especially if you guess switches right, you can score double burns and cripple more then one physical attacker. Leech Seed is a great tactic here though, as it not only offers residual damage but also recovery that compounds for your defensive formation. Switching is the only way to get rid of Leech Seed which of course opens more Stealth Rocks damage. Espeon is present to prevent rocks or other hazards from going up on your side with Magic Bounce. Dual screen support also helps in providing longevity. Honestly, providing defensive buffs isn't optimal though, so switching out Espeon for something else that can also deal with hazards would be better, like a Mandibuzz with Defog.

Living forever on all these fucking berries

The last slot is a strong position that every team, regardless of composition should consider: a revenge killer. More appropriately in this case, its a sort of haymaker position, capable of launching quick and powerful strikes that can knock your opponent off balance if they're not prepared. Crawdaunt with its hidden ability, Adaptibility, and its new egg move, Aqua Jet, can arrive off a knocked out Pokemon and provide a strong blow when your opponent isn't ready for. Its important for revenge killers to have access to priority so that they can always moves first and threaten critically weakened enemies. With Life Orb, Adaptibility, and Aqua Jet, Crawdaunt can surprise enemies with a sudden surge of power. If you can predict a moment when Crawdaunt has a free turn due to resistance or simply a fearful switch, he can use Swords Dance to attempt a sweep and leverage Knock Off or Crabhammer against anything that isn't a fast sweeper if it has decent speed investment.

And there you have it. This is my Mega Aggron focused team. Just one of many teams one can construct but it all starts with one main idea and then it receives support in dominoing waves. First, major support that fills in major problems. Then comes secondary support that either provides a minor bolster to the core or helps the primary support branch. In most cases, that leaves space for one or two freelance positions which would usually be a guaranteed revenge killer. Hopefully you can take this quickie as a frame work to building your own teams. This defensive team is certainly more complicated to utilize then a team with a straight set up sweeper team. But trying to focus on building a team around your favorite Pokemon also leads to a more varied team contraction.
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One year ago on June 9th 2013, Animal Crossing New Leaf released to a particularly rabid fanbase on the 3DS. New Leaf presented a logical jump for fans of the quirky slice of life sim game. Instead of playing as a strange midget 10-year-old, you play as a teenage something with far better defined proportions. Instead of moving into a strange animal town as a new resident, you are told to use your humanity to better a town of animals as the new mayor. Instead of being limited to designing simple square pattern designs, you can specify designs onto t-shirts, tanks, jackets, dresses, hats, or postboards. A host of new animals were introduced and the new multiplayer options along with an emphasis on taking photos to share added fuel to the fandom fire. So how was one year of Animal Crossing gone?

Meet colorful creatures and people

Very few of my original townies are still around. In fact, Hopper the grumpy penguin is just about the only original left. Jeremiah the frog, Bill the duck, and Lolly the cat, among others, have all left. But over the course of the year, many villagers have come and gone. In fact, having a storied history of villagers really makes your main street look impressive when all your past townies shop around as visitors. One kangaroo even moved back and remembered my name from her previous stay in Harbor!

I'll miss old favorites like Lolly, who was like a university student, only a cat. She always asked me to catch fish and bugs for her to study.

Soleil was a snooty hamster obsessed with image. But with perfectly coiffed hair like hers, who could blame her?

Bill was a tiny duck with the best muscles on any athlete. When your house is your own personal bathhouse and swimming pool, I guess you would love to spend all that time exercising.

Annalisa was about ready to move out of my girlfriend's town when I happened upon her while she was packing and convinced her to move to Harbor. It's too bad the nicest anteater this side of Japan couldn't stay for good.

Snake, a pink rabbit training to America's Next Top Ninja. Pink probably isn't the best color for stealth but that didn't stop you from running laps around Harbor.

And a special mention to Rodney, the ugliest hamster around. I was glad the smug bastard moved out of my hoe. My girlfriend was less thrilled to find out he took a liking to Yerba Bu.

Of course, the game wouldn't be where it currently is now without its sizable multiplayer aspect. I even bought the game (and system) for my girlfriend and we play together regularly. A few times, neighbors would move over to our towns either out of curiosity or because we offered each other the right to convince prospective mover.

Besides my girlfriend though, I've played with a lot of other friends, both here and at work. Every other month I'd meet someone new at work who just bought a 3DS and Animal Crossing. And since I'd been playing since launch, I'd have the honor of handing down some helpful donations.

Collecting all the things

There's no shortage of things to collect in Animal Crossing. Grabbing stuff is probably 90% of the game and it appeals to the collectors and kleptomaniacs out there. Whether its all the masks of the Japanese theater set or the entire set of Astro furniture to make a room look like a space station. And it doesn't necessarily stop at complete collections either. I have a room with no official aesthetic unity according to the Happy Home Academy but I've created my own game room, complete with six back-to-back arcade machines that feature Mario and Luigi in a vaguely Street Fighter view.

The multiplayer aspect again rears its pretty face. Every so often I'd exchange items with my girlfriend, particularly when on the prowl for specific items. It's especially a factor since I had access to Gracie's rare item boutique earlier than her and again now that she's started over.

The holidays and events

My favorite holiday by far is Halloween. In fact, I don't like celebrating actual Halloween all that much but preying on my neighbor's base fears and dressing up as a bug with my girlfriend as a ghost must be one of the top 10 cutest things I could do in the game.

Nature competitions are often held on Saturdays too. Sometimes I'd cheat a little and pre-catch a ton of specimens the night before. Usually when the day of the competition came, I'd like talking to my villagers as they parade around town with their nets and fishing poles like they're hot stuff. I know my beetles were the best though. I have the entire bug series of furniture to prove it.

I even checked in on my town during New Years. I missed most of Christmas but I still managed to buy a Christmas tree in time for it and displayed it in my home so that everybody who streetpassed me at work knew I was celebrating properly. Thanksgiving was a time I could celebrate the hallowed American holiday alongside a particularly remarkable turkey chef.

Even simpler birthdays were fun to partake in. Finding a gift was always a special little moment. I actually gave Bonbon, who is a peppy bunny, a rabbit hood item. I gave Jeremiah blue furniture since he's such a big fan of the color. Of course my own birthday wasa nice occasion to see my local animals celebratemy special day and give me a birthday cake. And I should mention all the countless letters and gifts I gave to my girlfriend. On long days where we wouldn't see each other over Skype because of work, sometimes we'd just leave our gates open for us to visit each other. And on more than one occasion we'd surprise each other with letters with gifts.

And all the other mayors

A special thanks has to be had for all the people I've played with over the past year.

I considered Destructoid's own AlphaDeus an Animal Crossing philanthropist of sorts. The sometimes troubled mayor threw himself into the game and made incredible progress, to the point where he honored many fellow mayors with kind gifts and donations. I only wish Dtoid's former resident musician only the best.

ZombiePlatypus was one of the many people to share and help in AlphaDeus' large scale efforts.

Steffu of Almond, one of my friends, is also a talented artist. I'd enjoy her Swapnotes when the service was still online as well as more than one trade and favor. When Lolly was getting ready to move before I could convince her to stay, Steff offered her boyfriend to adopt Lolly rather then to let her fade into Animal Crossing oblivion.

My coworker, Josie, continues her interest in the game to this day. Though she worries for the day when Kyle moves out of her town. To be fair, I'd be the same way with O'Hare.

And finally my girlfriend, Adriana aka Kitty Olivas aka Miss G. For those empty days filled with wonder, thoselong nights together on the island, those days spent harvesting your orchards, or those days just spend idling on a bed together while we Skyped.

For most of the people who have moved on, it's understandable with it being a simple game. Animal Crossing has always been a favorite of mine since the Gamecube days. But for the past year, it's been something special for me and my girlfriend. Animal Crossing is a fine game to slow down with. On long, hard days where it seems like the world is crashing down around you, it's always nice to slow down every once and a while and talk to a rabbit wearing a straw hat about how vintage his book collection is.

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Have you ever taken your 3DS to a major theme park and remarked at the surprising number of streetpasses you've received?

As many of you may know in my day to day musings, I work at the (alleged) happiest place on Earth. I work at the Disneyland Parks and Resorts, though not Disneyland proper. I actually work at California Adventure, which is an important distinction because we have alcohol and Disneyland doesn't. I also own a 3DS and like it quite a bit. This past May, I received my 3000th streetpass. While I have yet to take my 3DS with me to a convention where I'm likely to get over a hundred easy over the course of an entire convention, I do work at a densely populated amusement park five days a week, which attracts international attendance the world over. Compared to 3 days at a con maybe once or twice a year, I get 10 streetpasses on a slow day and up to 20 or more on busy days.

And I'm not the only person. Of course I'm not the only person who has a 3DS at the park. And not to take a cheap shot at Sony, but I've never seen any of my co-workers whip out a Vita. But I've worked at an amusement park for over two years, gathering over 3000 streetpasses, and meeting a variety of people both directly and in-directly with my 3DS. Here is my little manifesto of bringing a 3DS to Disneyland, what to do for sociability, what to expect from others, and in general amusement park musings with a portable game system.

1) Know the main thoroughfares

An amusement park is only as good as its design and layout. DCA's layout is convenient because it's possible to take two different loops across two sides of the park and be back at the entrance with no complications. If you're hunting for streetpasses, it pays to know the basic flow of foot traffic. It shouldn't take a rocket science to figure out where everyone is guaranteed to be at least once after you look at a park map.

You may be familiar with the name Main Street. For Disneyland, this is the first place you walk through, filled with shops and food to whet your appetite both coming into the park and out. And it's the only way in or out of the park with exception of the monorail. It's the same idea for DCA except its called Buena Vista Street and you probably should've already figured out where I'm going with this by now. Everyone entering the park is sure to pass through these areas, so no enterprising 3DS owner is going to weasel their way through your wireless net. It's always easy to figure where lots of people are due to roadways being big nerve centers in between lands, entrances, and exits. So over the course of a natural visit, you're bound to get a lot if you make the most of your stay and explore.

2) Employees like to be noticed

My current street plaza greeting is set to DCA Stores CM! Now passing by guests have a more intimate time at the park knowing the person they streetpassed is indeed an employee and likes Animal Crossing, as per my choice in a Nook hat. But streetpassing, as we all know, isn't some one way street. I've streetpassed a lot of other employees of varying degrees of customization and information.

One co-worker I've tagged about 46 times so far. We work together often and even if we don't work immediately in the same area (for example, next door), we know we were near each other. Another person, whom I know as Jujuboy, I've streetpassed over 50 times and I've never even met him, much less recognized him. All I know is that he's a DCA Foods CM and wears a bear hat, so I know he works on my side and most likely either serves people in a restaurant setting or works a cart where he hands people huge turkey drumsticks that taste like ham (we have a turkey leg air freshener. It smells like ham).

I've streetpassed with other stores CMs, food, janitors, attractions, and entertainment. Pretty much the only kind of person I haven't streetpassed are maintenance people and most of them are old fogeys who know their way with an electric wire but probably not a new-fangled Gameboy. But it's always a nice feeling when you walk around the park and take home a little piece of the park's experience with you. Who knows? Maybe the guy piloting your Jungle Cruise tour boat is a huge Fire Emblem Awakening fan?

3) You'll fill your world map fairly well, but mostly from Japan

Thousands of people come to Disneyland everyday. Many of whom come from out of state or even out of country. The price hike was done to stem the overcrowding and yet I'm pretty sure we're busier then ever. A lot of who you'll tag will probably be around the Anaheim area or a few hours out. Every so often though, you'll get someone interesting from out of the country. Maybe Canada or somewhere from Europe. Nine times out of ten though, it's from Japan.

Long before you fill any other territory, spend any amount of time in the park and you're bound to get a few Japanese streetpasses. I've almost completely filled the country of Japan. If there's one thing the Japanese absolutely love, its our damn teddy bear, Duffy the Disney bear.

You see, this isn't any other teddy bear. No, this bear has a storybook origin of being a special companion. Minnie, fearing for Mickey's sanity on his long voyages as a sea captain, because apparently he's always been a sea captain, makes a teddy bear which may or may not have already achieved sentience. It's not clear whether its already animated like the taxi cab that lives in Toontown on the other side of the park, or whether Mickey's sea madness gave the bear sentience out of necessity, like some big middle finger to Tom Hanks and Wilson. Regardless, Mickey enjoyed his suddenly magical friend so much that he recommended Minnie to make it a business that hopefully didn't become slavery. Thus, the merchandising of Duffy was born.

Did you like that story? The Japanese sure did. So much that they created Shelly the bear, Duffy's girlfriend which is exactly analogous to Mickey and Minnie, right down to the bow to signify this is the girl. To Shelly's credit, she has blue eyes and damn if a Japanese diehard won't make sure you know that.

Knowing the parity the 3DS has in Japan, its likely that just about any Japanese tourist will have a 3DS. What matters is that they bring it with them because they want Duffy merchandise hardcore. We have a five item limit because grifters will come by and buy as many bears as they can so they can fence it back home in their Asian country of choice at exorbitant prices. That's right folks, there are people developing a black market for Disney brand goods and boy does it sound lucrative.

4) There will be plenty of chances to play on your 3DS

So you've shelled out a proportionate amount of money according to how far away you live and you plan to live it up at the park, right? Why bother sitting down to play your handheld when you have an entire park to explore and enjoy. Well, whether you want to or not, you will be finding excuses to crack open your sleeping 3DS.

First are the lines. If you haven't been to an amusement park in a while, wait times can be 30 to 45 minutes for mildly popular rides. Radiator Springs Racers, the crown jewel ride in Cars Land, used to have face two hour waits daily. Something like 10% of your day devoted entirely to waiting for a ride. When you run out of things to talk about with your friends, your neighbors, and that weirdo wearing a jacket covered in pins, you'll break out your 3DS pronto. Maybe you'll make an impromptu wireless Mario Kart game?

And lines are everywhere. Wait times for rides, wait time for shows, wait time for food, and god help you if you need to go to one of the more available restrooms.

You'll probably eat. You like to eat right? Well, you're most likely not going to get right back into the thick of it on a full stomach. Maybe a quick game of Mario Kart while you digest? I know I ain't getting on Space Mountain on a full stomach.

And to me, the chief reason you'll be breaking out your 3DS in the middle of your expensive vacation is just fatigue. The park is huge and you'll be trekking a huge distance for your fun. You will eventually take a break on one of our many benches. You'll find throngs of people just chilling for a respite on benches, corners, and where ever else they can be out of foot traffic to just catch their breath. You know what doesn't demand a large amount of physical energy? Selling your perfect fruit in Animal Crossing New Leaf.

5) Shopping is fine too

You'd be surprised at what you may find sometimes. Keep an open mind and you may find something that will tempt you to impulse buy it. But some surprise shopping brings you closer to someone who may be streetpassing too, not to mention the passing traffic outside.

Let me put it another way. I work in the stores department of an amusement park and I still get surprised at new stock that makes me want it. Wreck-it Ralph pins, Captain America shields, and a conductor hat with Mickey ears on it are all things I've either bought or wish I bought. No matter how jaded I get, I sometimes wonder if the park wouldn't just pay me in merchandise. Plus I get plenty of streetpasses despite being locked to a store. I probably get more streetpasses working someplace like Buena Vista Street since I'm right next to the gate. But I still get plenty of action over at the pier where the crowds may thin a little bit. It's not like there will be a shortage of people plus I'll probably tag more Japanese tourists there since there's tons of Duffy stuff there. But fuck Mad T Party. Those guys are just interested in listening to bad pop/party music and must not be the kind of crowd to own a 3DS.

6) Pay attention to your stuff

Always keep your stuff on you and at least in your sight. Always.

If you're just resting or eating, you may surprise yourself at just how forgetful or careless you are. My advice is to never intentionally set it down unless you know it'll always stay in your peripheral vision. We're talking an internationally known theme park here. Employees are generally all about integrity but we can't do anything if the one of the 20,000 other guests get to your stuff first.

I imagine you're coming with a nice bag. A normal 3DS fits in your pocket but a bag should be an important consideration not only for shopping but for high speed rides. Screaming Through California has designated carry on pouches for a reason you know. That shit's got loop on it and at least if you're careless enough to forget to grab your stuff off a ride, chances are high a CM will get to it first and turn it into lost and found.

But hey, I own an XL and even that still fits in my pocket. Why risk it? Keep it in your hands or your pockets.

7) Check your streetpasses often

This is probably expected if you've been to a convention before with tens or twenties of people tagging you every minute but it remains here. You'll want to take any chance you get to clear your plaza and misc game features before it fills up and blocks future tags. I've had days where I've probably missed a few tags since my plaza filled up an hour before I realized it. It's good to check during lines, while you shop, while you eat food, while you eat snacks, etc.

Every so often, I decide to create personal messages to my streetpasses, especially after a lot of streetpasses. I see lots of people with messages of allons-y or sometimes I just send a topical message like how balls hot it is in Anaheim right now. Several times I've gotten messages of Yay Disney and of course I'll congratulate them. Maybe I'll ask the foods CM how its going or wish my guests a happy stay. Then I'll play Kirby Triple Deluxe to pick up their key chains or check the HHA Showcase in New Leaf to remark how bad their home design skills are. Fun fact though: once again, the Japanese are really great at designing their Animal Crossing homes. I've seen a One Piece themed house. Crazy, right? Not to mention if you have the streetpass games, the variety in identities will be a boon.

So whip out you 3DS with pride if you ever stop by the happiest place on Earth. I'll be around DCA, serving up shirts and stuffed toys and watching the children prance around, driving their adults crazy until they buy a couple of margaritas or a few glasses of wine deeper into the park. I'll keep my Animal Crossing gate open start a quick game of Smash anytime for you. Just don't ask me to check you in.
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Phew! I've been making these for nearly two weeks as a minor hobby in between work and school. But finally I feel satisfied with what I set out with these Dtoid Trading Cards: make cards for the community members who probably would never set foot on the forums and therefore would never have their shot at a trading card.

Marche has made around 36 cards over a period since the thread started. In a little over two weeks, I've addicted myself to making around 33 cards! So without further ado, here is the StriderHoang Series Trading Card Set!

Remember! If you have any ideas for cards, don't be afraid to make some yourself! And if you can't work any photo manipulation software, you can still leave behind a recommendation and their move set!

Move set by Usedtabe

Moveset by The Artist Formerly Known as Blue Lion

Moveset by That Darn Blue Lion

Description by Luna Sy