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
- Mass Effect 2
- Yoshi's Island
- Monday Night Combat
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Super Mario World
Previously, on parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, Pokémon's metagame was slowly gaining speed as it sped towards a hyper offensive strategy. No time for defense or stall! just set up a boosting move like Swords Dance and attempt a sweep! But we move into what was quite possibly the most broken generation of Pokémon with Black and White with the dominance of weather effects.
We are now in the 5th generation of Pokémon with Black and White, shortened as the BW generation. Discussion on the metagame started much earlier then the U.S. release in March as hardcore fans imported the Japanese copy and got an early look at what new things Gamefreak had introduced in the BW generation.
The 5th generation: A Whole New Dream World Just about the only thing we can take for face value is the introduction of triple battles. But like double battles before it, only a small minority of trainers will take to it, even if it's the official set up for Nintendo's tournaments now. Three-on-three battles can be very hectic and difficult to predict but it can be fun for those who are less inclined to complete strategy as throwing out three Pokémon at once makes battles more about luck than prediction.
If there's one word that can aptly describe the BW generation, it's broken and in every sense of the word. Commonly held norms are broken by radically new choices. Certain Pokémon break out of their current status and become something else entirely. And certain strategies are even deemed broken and banned from organized, competitive play. The BW generation is probably the edgy rebel of the Pokémon family. Everything the previous four have done to create an invisible sense of balance has been completely blown out of the water by BW's approach to throwing caution to the wind and just doing it.
First there are new abilities that challenge the status quo. Prankster challenges the old knowledge of priority such as Quick Attack going first and Roar going last. Any attack that doesn't directly damage the target, like Thunder Wave or Sleep Powder, gains a +1 on priority. This ability lets annoying moves like Leech Seed and Substitute go first unless the opponent has their own priority moves. And Whimsicott not only had Prankster but also a plethora of support moves including Leech Seed and even Encore! Not only are there other ground breaking abilities like Prankster (Regenerator is a personal favorite of mine, recovering 33% health upon switching out), old abilities that were deemed useless also gained new functions in BW.
In previous generations, Sturdy protected the user from 1-hit kill moves like Horn Drill or Sheer Cold. It was fairly useless because most trainers don't rely on gimmicky, inaccurate moves. In BW however, Sturdy gained the property similar to the hold item Focus Sash. Both Sturdy and Focus Sash allow the Pokémon to survive an attack by one HP if the attack would've KO'ed in one move. Even better, if the Pokémon can recover to full health, Sturdy is reusable. Now many rock/ground-types with a quad weakness to water and grass were guaranteed to survive at least one round! Sturdy gives them the best chance to guarantee Stealth Rocks.
Secondly there are new attacks, especially boosting moves. Most trainers know about using Swords Dance to double attack on the first turn then doing as much damage as possible. Normally, Pokémon that use Swords Dance have naturally high speed to compliment the boost in attack. But how about a move that doubles attack, special attack, and speed and cuts both defenses in half in return? Shell Break is a blessing every Pokémon would give their left Pokéball to have, but the move is limited to very few Pokémon with a shell design. Shell Break is the reason to have an Omastar from RBY again. Just imagine using Rain Dance, together with Omastar's Swift Swim ability, then using Shell Break. Everything in front of Omastar gets washed away by its Surf or Hydro Pump.
Other moves like Quiver Dance and Coil work in the same way, boosting more then one stat in one turn but being limited to a select few Pokémon. Even straight forward damaging attacks challenged some common sense. Psyshock is a new psychic attack which uses the attacker's special attack but calculates damage with the defenders physical defense rather than special defense. An incredible boon to special attackers who absolutely hate the existence of everyone's favorite special wall, Blissey.
But of course the biggest thing many long time trainers were excited about was the Dream World. Many trainers like myself were salivating at the potential the Dream World would give to some of our favorite Pokémon. Probably the first Pokémon that was announced with unique abilities from Dream World were the Eevee evolutions. Forms like Vaporeon would have access to an ability like Hydration, which heals all status ailments so long as it's raining. Not only is it a great defensive ability but it's also a very exclusive ability, only belonging to Manaphy in the previous generation (which was a great legendary) and Dewgong (which is pretty bad by competitive standards). And Vaporeon has been a great Pokémon since the first generation. But the Dream World also gave older, outclassed Pokémon a new chance to shine.
Even God dreams about farming sometimes
Charizard had always been outclassed by other fire-types, especially since Infernape was introduced in the DP generation. But it gained Solar Power from the Dream World, which multiplies special attack by 1.5 in strong sunlight in return for sacrificing health every turn (let it hold a Choice Scarf and that's 1.5x speed and 1.5x special attack with no need to set up). Sharpedo for a long time had great offensive prowess and decent speed but terrible defense. It was problematic for it to spend a turn setting up with Agility or something similar when it could easily be KO'd very early. But it gained the ability Speed Boost from Dream World and this ability was exclusive to Ninjask up until now. After every turn, its speed increases, allowing it to attack immediately without risking a turn setting up.
Probably the two biggest stars of the Dream World were Vulpix and Politoed, as each got Drought and Drizzle respectively. In essence, the weather changing power of Kyogre and Groudon from the RSE generation in the ubers tier had come down to the standard overused tier. These two are the reason weather teams have become much more prevalent in the OU tiers, which was normally confined to the underused tiers. Some people even consider banning teams that use Politoed's Drizzle ability together with Pokémon with the Swift Swim ability. That's how much of an impact Drizzle Politoed has had.
There are many, many different powerful new moves and abilities that only become more powerful when you find ways to mix and match them. One small subtle change that many don't consider the effect it has is the inclusion of team preview in the majority of battle rule sets.
Traditionally, Pokémon batting was done in a blind fashion. Pick your six Pokémon, wait for your opponent to pick his six, then throw out your leads and start from there. Now in the BW generation, you get a preview of the enemy's team, removing the element of surprise though at the same time, taking the pressure of countering powerful strategies off of trainers. On one hand, team preview ruins many surprise tactics such as employing Zoroark, which can disguise itself as another Pokémon on your team. The surprise still remains as to which Pokémon he's disguised as but now your opponent will be expecting him. On the other hand, you now know that your opponent has both a Politoed (which can only be carrying Drizzle as an ability) and an Omastar. If it weren't for team preview, it would have probably taken too long to figure this out and stop a sweep. While team preview ruins surprise tactics, it reduces the difficulty of trying to counter the hundreds of possible strategies you can't forsee.
And now for the threat list, which has now swelled with over 600 possible choices! A lot of old Pokémon return unexpectedly thanks to Dream World so let's start off with some classics.
Alakazam, who had been on a downward spiral since the GSC generation, finally got good news thanks to Dream World with the ability Magic Guard, which prevents all forms of damage unless it was a direct result of an enemy attack. In other words, it won't receive residual damage from sources like poison, sandstorm, entry hazards, and most importantly, Life Orb recoil while still reaping the damage boost from holding it. As Gyrados has always been a potent threat, it gained Moxie to truly scare off balance opponents. With Moxie raising its attack every time it can score a KO, Gyrados can become a snowballing threat that becomes impossible to stop unless shut down early. Another notable classic is Espeon, which has long fought for a suitable position with Alakazam, which was essentially a better version of it. Espeon gained Magic Bounce, which reflects all indirect attacks back at the attacker. The easiest example to demonstrate this power is as an anti-lead, reflecting your opponent's attempts to hit your team with Spikes or Stealth Rock. It's a nasty ability that can throw off any trainer's rhythm as they can't throw down effective entry hazards.
The new generation has introduced a a plethora of incredible Pokémon that are easy to recall due to their immediate displays of power. Haxorus and Chandelure have the highest offensive stats in the game outside of legendaries. A STAB Outage from Haxorus or Fire Blast from Chandelure is something not even the most powerful walls want to switch into. Excadrill made a splash as being an immediate threat many Pokémon had to measure up to as either a team mate or an effective counter. Excadrill's claim to fame was access to the new sandstorm equivalent of Swift Swim, Sand Rush. With Tyranitar as a team mate setting up sandstorm, Excadrill only needs to use Swords Dance as it arrives and will be able to smash through teams helpless to its sweep with an extremely powerful STAB Earthquake boosted by Swords Dance and outspeeding many threats thanks to Sand Rush. Last but certainly not least, a Pokémon I myself have grown to love, Ferrothorn, the game's newest mixed wall. Not only does it have incredible mixed defenses, but its grass/steel typing gives it a load of resistances. Not only does it resist common types like water and electric and remain neutral to ground and ice, but it has access to Leech Seed, Stealth Rocks, and Spikes, plus has an ability that inflicts residual damage back at physical attackers! Did I mention it has very usable attack as well? And while it's extremely slow, it learns Gyro Ball, which inflicts more damage the slower it is. Ferrothorn is an annoyingly powerful wall that you definitely want to protect from fire and fighting attacks, because once those threats are gone, nothing else has a chance to do any significant damage to Ferrothorn.
While the upgrades to the previous Pokémon are easier to spot than what has fallen in this metagame, there are are a few notable exceptions to point out, though it's still somewhat unclear if anything has fallen.
Pokémon that used Explode took a bad hit as Explode was weakened this generation. Its base power of 250 remains but it no longer calculates damage by halving the defender's defense. This means Explode no longer KO's reliably as it once did, so Pokémon like Electrode and Forretress have less of an impact after doing their job doing things like setting down Spikes or setting up with Rain Dance. The various Rotom forms also lost some strength as they're no longer part ghost. For example, Rotom-H is now fire/electric as opposed to staying ghost/electric before. While the Rotom forms gain STAB with their signature moves, they lose the ability to spin block Rapid Spin users, which means they can no longer block their opponent from spinning away the entry hazards you've laid down. Also, while not weakened, Pokémon like Scizor or Duskinoir gained absolutely nothing from the new BW generation, making it tougher for them to compete with newcomers and old champs with upgrades.
So there you have it. For those of you just now coming in on Pokémon in the BW generation, I hope you've learned a thing or two. Perhaps you've never even heard of the move Shell Break, but hopefully you know how utterly powerful that move is (my friend still cringes at me sending out Omastar with rain). Maybe you've completely ignored Dream World up until now but will now give it a try when you realize you can catch a Magikarp that will evolve into a Moxie Gyrados. At any rate, in it's 5th generation, there are just so many variables to consider in a battle, it's impossible to construct a team that can definitively answer every possible strategy. This is perhaps why team preview is forced upon the majority of battle rule sets. To allow trainers a chance to adapt their team what they think the enemy team may be doing out of the hundreds of different strategies they have chosen with their own team. Do they have a Scizor? Do they have Tyranitar to set up sandstorm? Do they have Snorlax last? Do they have the Skarmbliss combo? What kind of lead do they have? Do any of their Pokémon look like they can Baton Pass boosts? At this point, it's impossible to counter every thing, even if you decide to fight someone within established tiers. There are just too many possibilities!
Hopefully you've enjoyed this small series I've run. Hopefully I can think up of more stories that probe the competitive underbelly of Pokémon you may not know, such as the unknown metagame of the unreleased Dream World Pokémon or the little known bastard strategies you may never come across, like FEAR. But until then, thanks for reading!
Since part 1, 2 and 3 of the history of Pokémon's metagame, there have been a lot of recurring themes and ideas. Every generation had at least one powerful and memorable change that easily makes it the reason why everyone remembers that generation. Also, the metagame at this point has been ancient history to many trainers.
But now we're in our 4th generation with the Diamond/Pearl generation, or DP generation. DP was the first Pokémon game on the DS and it’s still fresh in many trainers' minds. But in my opinion, the changes brought forth in DP were some of the biggest changes ever. Old contenders flailed about in the wake of these changes. Old ideas had to be reworked as long held mechanics were turned on their head. And much like SkarmBliss and Curselax before it, one thing so defined the generation that it would be forever remembered no matter how much the metagame may change in the future. Many readers are probably familiar enough with the DP generation to know many of the things I'll be talking about.
The 4th Generation: The Second Great Split and Getting Rocks Up
Up until now, one of the strongest special attackers in the game, Gengar, would never be caught dead actually using a ghost-type attack. That's because ghost-type attacks were calculated with the Pokémon's attack stat. So even if Gengar were to use a ghost-type attack for Same Type Advantage Bonus (STAB, which is a 50% increase in damage) it would be vastly inferior to something like Thunderbolt, as even without STAB, its special attack was much better.
Since the RBY generation, typed attacks which gave off an impression of having a physical presence used the attack stat while types with a vaguely magic-like impression used special attack. But this mechanic was changed in the DP generation. Many people call it the physical/special split.
Now, individual attacks, regardless of type, would use attack or special attack because it was deemed physical or special. Now Gengar could use a STAB ghost attack, which used its superior special attack, like Shadow Ball. A much more physically inclined ghost-type like Dusknoir could use Shadow Punch, which is obviously physically based. Now every Pokémon could have a reliable STAB move and not have to worry about whether or not it had the power to back it up.
Old walls like the classic SkarmBliss combo would now have to rethink what kind of hits they will be taking. In the past, Skarmory would take a fighting attack no problem with its powerful defense. But despite being a fighting attack, Aura Sphere would hit Skarmory's much weaker special defense and it would take quite a bit of damage. Likewise, Blissey used to take special attacks like water-type moves all day. But now Waterfall is a physical water attack, which would simply blow holes in Blissey's health pool.
As foreshadowed in the previous installments, the metagame has slowly been picking up speed since the stall and defensive teams of GSC. But it's now come to a head in DP as trainers began favoring effective damage output over minimizing oncoming damage.
Look over the overused tiers of many websites and you'll see a recurring attribute in many Pokémon in the OU: speed. While defensive Pokémon are certainly not hard to find at all, many of the most threatening Pokémon are either naturally fast or have access to Agility. Adding more to the offensive theme of DP was the introduction of two new Choice hold items. While held, one of the user's stats is instantly boosted by 50% at the cost of locking them into a move for as long as they remain on the field. Choice Band, which has been around since RSE, boosted attack. Choice Specs on the other hand, boosted special attack while Choice Scarf boosted speed. These Choice items meant that in return for becoming predictable, a Pokémon could attack right away without spending a turn to set up with a boosting move like Swords Dance or Agility.
But believe it or not, the faster pace of DP is not the main thing to take away from DP. One move alone transformed the metagame to the same degree as Alakazam in RBY, Curselax in GSC, and Sand Stream Tyranitar in RSE. And we're not talking about a Pokémon here! That move was Stealth Rocks.
Stealth Rocks is an entry hazard like Spikes. Every time a Pokémon arrives on the field, it receives damage immeditely due to the presence of entry hazards. However, unlike Spikes, which does a percent of damage based on the number of layers of Spikes in play, Stealth Rocks did a percent of damage based type resistance to rock-type attacks. Stealth Rocks only needs to be used once, but if you sent out a flying-type Pokémon while Stealth Rocks were on your playing field, it would instantly lose 25% of its health. God forbid you send out something like Ninjask, which was part bug and part flying. That's 50% of its health gone just from arriving on the field!
The metagame was shaped like clay with the existence of Stealth Rocks. When Pokémon were analyzed for competitive power in DP, the first thing that was examined was its resistance to Stealth Rock. You could expect Stealth Rock to be present in many matches because many Pokémon in the lead position are put on the front just because they were fast and could immediately use get rocks up. Though Spikes has existed for a while before Stealth Rocks, the convenience of only needing one turn to set it up and the return in potentially crippling some Pokémon while getting residual damage on most other Pokémon made Stealth Rocks so prevalent that many positions were either designated for Stealth Rocks or became more wide spread because of it.
Leads would get rocks up, anti-leads would attempt to use Taunt and prevent rocks from being set up, Spinners would use the move Rapid Spin to remove entry hazards, and Spin Blockers were defensive ghost-types who would block the use of Rapid Spin and keep entry hazards on the field. To put it simply, get used to Stealth Rocks because you'll see it a lot in competitive battling.
And now for the threats: I've already mentioned Gengar. It was blessed by the physical/special split and could now begin using STAB special attacks like Shadow Ball. Starmie also continued to be important in OU but was now in as high demand as ever since it was one of the few Pokémon that learned Rapid Spin to get rid of those pesky rocks. Aerodactyl actually gets a mention here now as it discovered a niche as a suicide lead. Despite its low defenses and predictable move pool, trainers used Aerodactyl's speed to guarantee Stealth Rocks while it also had access to Taunt, which prevents all moves that didn't directly attack. That means you could prevent enemy Stealth Rocks then get your own rocks up. But probably the biggest threat, much in the same way as Curselax and Alakazam before it, was Scizor. With its new ability, Technician, which multiplies the base power of attacks that are 60 or less by 1.5, Scizor also gained a new attack which gelled perfectly with Technician: Bullet Punch. With a base power of 40, STAB, Technician, and first move priority all working together with a Choice Band, nothing really wants to take one of these bad boys. Scizor is the reason why Magnezone rose in popularity with its natural resistance to anything Scizor could throw plus its Magnet Pull ability to trap Scizor!
Many of the Pokémon who fell from grace during this generation fell because of the introduction of the Choice items. While Snorlax is still powerful, Pokémon using Choice Band could immediately hurt it before Snorlax would set up with Curse. Alakazam finally fell from the borderline tier to underused since Choice Scarf allowed many threatening Pokémon to outspeed it. Rhyperior, the evolution to Rhydon, simply fell to UU because of the new competition it is facing from things like the faster attacking Agility-Metagross and the new Gliscor, which could recover health with Roost.
Many new threats are only pseudo-new, as many new powerful Pokémon were new evolutions of older Pokémon. Weavile is another textbook example of high speed, high attack but uniquely as an ice-type, which is in high demand to combat dragons. Togekiss became notorious for the paraflinch strategy, paralyzing with Thunder Wave then flinching endlessly with Air Slash boosted by Serene Grace. With paralysis and Serene Grace flinching together, the opponent statistically only has a 30% of actually doing anything. Infernape gained fame for being an extremely fast, mixed, glass cannon. Walls have a tough time against Infernape because chances are, Infernape is carrying both physical and special attacks to break through any wall unless it was also mixed in terms of defense.
With the expanding size of choices in Pokémon in its fourth iteration and the increasing strength of sweepers, the pool of questionable Pokémon was growing. Do not mistaken Pokémon regulated to the neverused tier as being bad though. Creative and persistent trainers can certainly design teams to support the shortcomings of certain Pokémon like Gardevoire, Luxray, or Ninetails. Typhlosion is deemed an NU Pokémon but I certainly liked using it on my Sunny Day teams, spraying powerful Flamethrowers and Solarbeams. But trainers must remember that with Stealth Rocks and many powerful Pokémon being popular, tiers in Pokémon's metagame simply exist as a guide for you. No one's saying you can't be successful with Charizard. Just remember that it faces stiff competition from things like Infernape or even Arcanine. And unlike the previous two, Charizard will lose a lot of health from Stealth Rocks.
Next time on the history of Pokémon’s metagame, we tackle Black and White, the previous generation! More new abilities define incredibly powerful threats and old champions return with some of their former glory! But all is not well as some people suspect that the metagame in the 5th generation may be somewhat broken and overpowered!
While Black and White tried to recreate that feeling of playing Red and Blue by limiting you to only Unova dex Pokemon up until you become the champion, X and Y has older Pokemon pop up alongside new Kalos dex Pokemon, and for good reason. The new mega evolutions aren't new National Dex entries but purely apart of the new battle mechanics. That's why older Pokemon will be included in this list for their mega evolutions and the newly retconned fairy Pokemon.
Aggron has always been my favorite Pokemon since it appeared in gen III in Ruby and Sapphire. While it has a cool design and ridiculous defense, it's general outline is ultimately too niche and extreme; dual-typed as steel/rock gives it two maddening 4x weaknesses to easily accessible fighting and ground type attacks plus something as simple as Thunderbolt would probably do more damage against Aggron's low end special defense.
With the advent of mega evolutions though, Mega Aggron looks to rectify its past mistakes and stand tall as a brand new steel beast. It loses its 4x weaknesses by becoming pure steel, its attack, defense, and special defense go up, and as if it wasn't bulky enough its ability changes to Filter which powers down super effective attacks by 25%.
All this adds up to be the true form of what Aggron should be: a monstrous wall that will tear you down before you can. All hail the steel beast!
When Honedge was first revealed, it quickly became a novel idea. A ghost that's also a sword. A steel Pokemon that's also a ghost. It's predictably very strong on the physical front while its typing and defense offers easy switch-ins.
After becoming Doublade though, it can evolve again through the Dusk Stone and it becomes Aegislash and that's where things get interesting.
Aegislash can shift between a defense form and an attack form by using its signature move, King's Shield. Not only does it act like Protect and reduce an attacker's offensive strength if they clash with it, it causes Aegislash to shift into defense form after attacking in attack form. Its stats shift accordingly, as it can turn from a sturdy wall to a terrifying attacker on its turn. Slowly but sure, people will learn to anticipate what most Aegislash players will do which is where the interesting mind games come in.
Aegislash will inevitably only have one or two move sets. It needs King's Shield for sure and its speed is horrible so most will probably use Shadow Sneak, a priority ghost attack that moves first. Playing Aegislash and fighting against one will become 100% prediction based. Will he use King's Shield now? Will he attack now? Will he use something different to move last? Even if you know what Aegislash can do, there's still a massive mind game to wrap your head around!
Hawlucha is a uniquely eagle-themed luchador. He's fairly straightforward sweeper with high attack and speed. His ability also begs to use Acrobatics, a flying attack that doubles in strength when not carrying an item. So rather then not carry an item, a lot of classic Unburden strategys have risen again such as eating a berry or using a Flying Gem.
Whatever the approach, Hawlucha is a powerful and easy to use high risk, high reward Pokemon to use. When not relying on losing an item to power up your attacks and missing with Hi Jump Kick, Fighting/Flying is a very solid type combo that affords Hawlucha good coverage and decent resists at the expense of classic Stealth Rocks weakness. Still, you don't need to put a lot of thought into using Hawlucha effectively. Just give him an item he can afford to lose and start spamming attack until everything is dead or it is dead. He's a hawk-luchador for crying out loud. Stop thinking about it and start kicking things into dust!
You may remember Togekiss from Diamond/Pearl. This fat little dove was introduced as a new evolution to Togepi as a way to make the Togepi line more powerful. Before X and Y, it was a normal/flying like a lot of flying Pokemon. With fairy Pokemon all the rage now though, Togekiss feels like a brand new Pokemon as a fairy/flying Pokemon.
This means in addition to being immune to dragons, Togekiss now resists dark attacks as well as fighting by a whopping 4x. And the release of a new game is a good time to be around, since Togekiss' new weaknesses, poison and steel, are still rarely seen in use. People are still in the mentality of ignoring poison and steel attacks for coverage against the new fairy-type so all Togekiss has to worry are ice, electric, and rock attacks. But with Togekiss' robust special defense, it can shrug off a lot of powerful attacks.
Togekiss' own repertoire of attacks hasn't changed much, but simply changing its typing has given it a huge buff.
Blaziken's hidden ability has always been the coveted Speed Boost, something which increases its speed with every passing turn. It's always been locked away but finally, not only has it been released over mystery gift, Blaziken gets a mega evolution that raises its attack to ridiculous, overkill levels. A well raised Blaziken that mega evolves at level 50 could very well hit an attack of 200!
Together with Speed Boost increasing speed, one turn of Swords Dance boosting attack, and something like Hi Jump Kick, you have a threat that you have to shut down immediately because once the snowball gets going with Mega Blaziken, there's very little you can do to stop it.
While the classic fire/fighting combo gets walled by fairy-types, Blaziken can easily learn Poison Jab to take care of any pesky problems. Once fairies have been dealt with, its hard to think of anything that could possibly survive a single hit from this monster.
It seems ghost Pokemon always seem to have the best design and Trevenant, a grass/ghost Pokemon, is another example of great ghost Pokemon.
It just so happens that grass/ghost can be used as a decent defense in typical grass stall shenanigans i.e. leech seed sets. Trevenant also has the decent bulk though not stellar. Most of its success in stall comes from a couple of great resistances from its grass typing as well as access to leech seed. It also has two great abilities to choose from: Natural Cure and Harvest. While Pokemon like Starmie have Natural Cure as well, encouraging you to absorb statuses or even Rest to switch out, Trevenant is one of the better Pokemon to use Harvest. Harvest allows Trevenant to reuse its berry indefinitely, so a Sitrus berry can keep it healthy for a while combined with Leech Seed and leftovers.
So people think a living key ring is a stupid idea for a Pokemon? People won't be thinking its stupid when they get paralyzed by Thunder Wave. Steel/fairy is actually a deceptively great combo to take hits with. But that's not the real draw here. Klefki gets Prankster as an ability and is the first Pokemon to make real great use of it after the likes of Whimsicott from Black and White.
I already mentioned its great typing for taking hits. Its also capable of putting up the dreaded dual screens, Reflect and Light Screen. And thanks to Prankster, non-damaging attacks receive a +1 priority as if they were Quick Attack. Remember when I said a Pokemon like Blaziken might run away with the win? Klefki can get in with its own emergency brakes and paralyze it, stopping its momentum cold in its tracks.
Klefki has annoyingly good potential for being annoying. So long as you have a Klefki on your team ready for revenge, no sweeper is safe to head onto the field.
There's a common sentiment among the Cblog Recappers at the slow pace of the cblog community as of late. In the interest of revitalizing the cblogs and with Pokemon's inevitable release, I thought we could start a conversation on it due to an important detail regarding Pokemon X and Y's release: its simultaneous worldwide release.
For the longest time, Japan received the game first and people hungry for information regarding the new game would hunt on the web for information and tidbits from people who were playing the Japanese copy. But now the entire world will start the game at roughly the same time and it opens the possibility for ongoing conversation. Think of this post as the start for a weekly game club, where we can talk about our discoveries and thoughts on the game.
Here are some questions to start off the conversation for you to dwell on. Be sure to leave a comment and you may be highlighted on next week's Talking to Trainers About Pokemon. But since we're trying to reinvigorate the cblogs, don't be afraid to really let loose with longer answers by starting a blog. As long as you have long form thought to share about Pokemon, even if it only tangentially relates to this week's questions, don't be afraid to write, write, write!
If you are purchasing Pokemon X or Y, where are you returning to the Kalos region?
I have a feeling many people will say this but the jump to 3D graphics made X and Y really appealing to jumping back in. We all know that despite the 3DS' resurgence in success, a lot of people only got a 3DS for the inevitable Pokemon 3DS game and it's finally arrived.
Also, the Mega Evolutions are a cool take on giving older Pokemon a new lease on life. Lie to yourself all you want, but Charizard will always have trouble competing against the likes of Inferape or Volcarona due to its movepool stats. But with the introduction of Mega Charizard, specifically Charizard X, it receives buffs such as new a ability and even changing its flying typing to dragon. The Mega Evolutions are especially unknown despite leaks, so I'm excited to see where new evolutions can take older Pokemon.
Are there any hopes and aspirations you're hoping on discovering in the sixth generation?
I've already touched on discovering new Mega Evolutions but attacks are a big deal too. One leaked example is dual typed attacks like Flying Press. This move is a fighting-type move that is also flying! Similarly to the previous generation and the introduction of ridiculous boosting moves like Shell Smash or how Psyshock uses the user's special attack but calculates against the target's defense. If Flying Press is a sign of things to come, I can't wait to see how the metagame especially develops with the new moves.
We'll keep it simple like that for now. I could write a lot more but I cut myself off so I could keep the post brief so you can get to thinking and typing yourself! Remember, feel free to leave a comment down here to see if you get highlighted next week but if you find yourself typing out an essay of a response, feel free to break it off into a proper cblog! Get to catching them all Pokemon trainers!
The San Andreas Board of Commerce, Tourism, and Sanctioned Crime has been alarmed at the recent influx of tourists and the proportionate number of tourists turned away at the border checkpoint (reports indicate that when politely asked, visitors did not have the appropriate papers). In an effort to boost tourism numbers through sheer numbers rather than relaxing border checkpoint procedure, the San Andreas BCTSC has commissioned local entrepreneurs to compile a brochure to entice interest abroad in such hubs of culture such as Vice City, Liberty City, and Milwaukee.
Welcome to San Andreas! It's a hell of a state!
Once you enter San Andreas, you'll be treated to our specially designed, focus tested welcoming party. One of San Andreas' best and brightest who could be hired with one week's notice will arrive to help you get acclimated to San Andreas the only way our highly paid panelists know how: a rudimentary race!
At some point though, you'll be free to exercise complete freedom in the state of San Andreas once our tour guide's shift ends and he's no longer required to interact with you. Unless of course he simply doesn't feel like doing the race with you. He can be a dick like that but nobody else would do it for the pay we had to offer.
One of the first things you'll have to do is acquire a car. You'll find that the citizens of San Andreas are more than willing to offer you their car after you give them such encouraging words such as, "Get out!" or "It's mine now!"
After that, one of SA's finest businessmen in the fast paced world of auto sales , Simeon Yetarian, will use his generous heart to give you free auto insurance and a free GPS tracker. We can all unilaterally agree that the state of San Andreas must be good if we give free introductory auto insurance!
One of the greatest reasons for San Andreas' supposed prominence (of which we are legally obliged to tell you that the legal use of such a word to describe this state is still undergoing examination in the superior court) is the embracing of the right to bear arms and use them with extreme impunity. Yes, fans of classic crime movies with their car chases and shootouts can live out their favorite scenes right on the street whether other people want to or not! As retainers of free choice, we encourage you to always speak your mind with your gun if another person so much as looks at you weird or exists strangely within a one mile area around you. How dare that person stand kind of close to you! You know who else acts entitled like that? Hipsters.
And suppose if someone gets a similar idea about you! Why they just want to experience Righteous Slaughter 7 with you! While you're commuting someplace. Even though that game clearly doesn't have vehicular combat in it. That's Warground 5 of course! Pre-order now by the way to receive a free hot gun skin for your shotgun! Anyways, the ensuing car chase is sure to be exciting as testimonials from survivors would account for.
As you spend more time in San Andreas, we're sure you'll come into contact with our colorful, multi-cultural, mono-gendered assortment of investors, civic leaders, and business people. Gerald is a purveyor in the exciting world of illicit substances and will often times offer aspiring investors a cash reward for their trouble in the world of substance abuse and acquisition. Lester is an eccentric computer whiz who will sometimes let you see the colorful side of San Andreas' through the use of explosives and chaos.
Then again, perhaps you, the willful tourist of San Andreas, want to explore the landscape in a more solitary manner? Throughout the cities you'll find locations where people simply flash mob together for a good old fashioned deathmatch. Or maybe you'll find a street race in the Los Santos' river (river being used subjectively). Why, once you're deemed level 15 through some arbitrary method of measurement, you can even participate in one of San Andreas' most beloved past times: horde survival! And there's more like competitive auto theft, bounty hunting, and of course America's past time of cat and mouse with jet and motorbike.
Or somehow you're also an eccentric though not at the same level as Lester. Perhaps you'd love to make your own fun in our beautiful state? Why rob a store you can steal a helicopter? Or maybe you could rob a convenience store with a helicopter? Don't worry as the state insures all businesses against theft with money better left unexplained to its origin. Find one of our rarer motor vehicles like a dirt bike and climb Mount Chiliad with it? You can steal an expensive luxury SUV and sell it for an obscene profit. Or parachute into lovely, perimeter guarded Fort Zancudo and borrow one of their jets with some elbow grease and can-do attitude! Be sure to show off its amazing weapons systems to other like minded tourists! Killing them is ok with our amazing health care. Destroying their personal vehicles however, is a big no-no. Think about how they would feel when their property is destroyed. Try not to think about how they'd feel if you blew them up though. That would be a real bummer.
Did you know visitors can also own property too? We didn't either! Our team of attorneys are still researching how this is possible but in the meantime, buy! Buy! Buy! Eventually through penny pinching and smart use of such tactics like not-dying, you too can own a tiny studio apartment with a two car garage located next to the power plant. There, you'll be able to expand your collection of vehicles which were most likely acquired through legal means with some help from your local mechanic. Drive in a car and your mechanic will attach a tracker for free and viola! It's now yours so try not to think too hard about it. Be the envy of your peers as you drive a classy ATV through the mean streets of Los Santos. Try not to be too enviable of course, or else an up and coming entrepreneur may make for a hostile take over of your goods. Of course, it's insured so don't worry. We mentioned insurance was cheap right? But you won't have to worry about it too much if you install a remote bomb on your car. After all, only the most happening trend setters put bombs on their cars in case they're stolen. You know what they say! If I can't have it, no one can!
We hope this handy brochure of sorts has encouraged you to visiting our lively state of San Andreas. If you were on the edge of deciding, maybe this will have pushed you over it to see what we're all about!
We are also legally obliged to tell you not to actually jump off any edges you may be contemplating on jumping over. Have fun in San Andreas and see you online!
Just like Mass Effect 3, Splinter Cell: Blacklist's multiplayer is a surprising highlight for most people. Though Spies vs Mercs has a successful past, it still rings that I-can't-believe-the-singleplayer-has-good-multiplayer-too bell; it takes ideas that are familiar in that universe and establishes them on their own in a different gaming environment.
Unlike ME3's Galaxy at War mode though, things are less transparent. Actually, very few things are ever explained to you, which makes things increasingly difficult on top of learning strategies and meta-game. Outside of classic mode, the various customization options can be difficult to understand since so little is explained. Little things like the difference in the stats between accuracy and control aren't explained, so should I slap items that increase one stat or the other on my gun? How exactly does the Merc's ATS visor when I can't notice what it defines for me?
Well luckily, I'm here to help you along. Like some older fighting games, a lot of knowledge is gleaned from good old fashion trial and error along with some friendly input from the community. The customizable playlists of Spies vs Mercs can be difficult for the first few levels and even leveling up can be arduous if you can't eke out a few wins to level up faster. Here are some beginning tips to help you get out of the hell that is level 1 to 10 so you can be on your way to blasting spooks and stabbing mercs.
Spies Vs Mercs - general tips In nearly every mode, in most scenarios, spies simply can't fight mercs head on. Their SMGs are passable at best at medium range and simply cannot compete at long range where mercs simply need to aim down their sights to accurately perforate you. 90% of your offense as a spy will be coming from blindsiding mercs with your knife.
The spies main weapon isn't either of the weapons they can equip but rather their goggles, spatial awareness, and the environment. Never walk on the ground floor like the mercs. Always take the spy exclusive routes like air vents, ledges, and crawl spaces.
Never get close to a spy as a merc. Spy grabs are surprisingly easy and merc melees can't compete, especially if the spies are using specific gloves that extend their melee range. Always keep them at arms' length and if you see a spy at range, don't be afraid to shoot. They can't do much, even with their SMGs.
Environmental knowledge is important to mercs too. Knowing where there are high ledges can help you stay alive, keeping out of reach of spies trying to ledge pull or death from above.
Lone wolves won't succeed, even in TDM. There is strength in numbers, even if there's no communication or teamwork there can still be avengers.
Patience is key no matter the game type. Spies need to be absolutely sure of their plan since they die so easily and mercs have to pick their route carefully lest they walk into a trap. Even in something as simple as TDM, you can never be sure how much the enemy knows with their goggles and visors scouting the environment. Waiting a few more seconds can pay off more compared to rushing into a situation rashly.
Spy tips Your choice in goggles can determine how you play:
Sonar goggles can detect people at range intermittently but it can be a liability at close range when you need real-time feedback against aggressive enemies.
Thermal goggles give you an accurate, live image but at the cost of short range. Everything past a few meters won't render in your goggles and you'll have to turn them off to see further.
The EMF gives you a mix between the two, with medium range and real-time imaging but there can be a lot of visual noise as it also picks up on other ambient electronics.
Good spies need to balance their goggle usage. Too much time with them on can cause you to lose important visual information like brightness and cover, not to mention detection from merc RFD visors. Not using them enough can lead to you getting blindsided unexpectantly.
Be careful about how you use your SMG. You can kill mercs if you get the drop on them and they're not too armored. Too much armor though and you'll be completely outclassed. Spy vs spy, SMGs are a great equalizer when you both have so much awareness. You'll be able to gun down a lot of spies who reckless try to charge you for a melee kill.
In case you don't know, the accuracy rating refers to how tight your bullet grouping is. Control refers to how well the gun deals with recoil. Considering that SMGs are fired from an awkward third-person view unlike the merc's first-person view, accuracy and control are important factors while power should be a secondary concern. Most spies don't take any armor anyways and shooting mercs is usually a bad idea so damage per bullet doesn't matter in the long run.
The stun crossbow is a high skill curve weapon. It's a one shot, silent crossbow that fires a bolt that stuns enemies for a decent amount of time. Usually enough time to run up and score a much easier melee kill. You need to be sure of your aim though because a miss in a face-to-face confrontation is usually death. At least you can use it while hanging off a ledge though, unlike the SMGs.
The spies only offensive gadget is the sticky camera. These things are essentially C4 as you can throw them and detonate their impressive explosive ordinance after they've landed. Goggles make using the actual remote camera function redundant but it packs enough explosives to kill even the most heavily armored merc. Unlike C4 from Call of Duty, you'll be stuck standing still momentarily as you shift to the camera view and detonate it but the blast radius is deadly.
The intel suit is an important asset to any team. Spies utilizing it best move slow and stay alive because the ability to see enemies through walls without losing peripheral awareness is so good. Not to mention you won't have to risk RFD mercs from detecting you if you keep them off thanks to the tagging.
The digital ghillie suit doesn't provide perfect invisibility but it's useful enough to cross open spaces and hide on open ledges with some peace of mind. Scoring kills with it on also nets you an extra 100 points for a ghost kill.
The overcharge suit not only shuts down enemy tech and equipment, but it resets the cooldown on their suits' powers as well. It's also a full proof method of countering annoying enemy drones. I've scored hilarious mine kills with this suit too.
Most spy equipment is easy enough to understand but remember that if you're playing Blacklist mode, it is highly recommended that the hacker equip the EM Fuzzer pants. The hacker cannot afford to expose himself, even when faced with opportunistic kills and removing your enemy ID tag goes a long way in helping you hide. If you don't have EM Fuzzers, leave the job to someone who does and run interference.
If you're wondering why you're losing in a spy vs spy melee collusion, chances are they're using takedown gloves to extend their melee range.
Armor for a spy is great if you want to play aggressively. Especially in playlists like TDM where armor will make the difference in spy versus spy situations. You can easily win most SMG fights with extra armor against most spies who run armorless.
Want to try for a stupid melee kill? If you press the cover button while running, you'll slide, preserving your momentum while dramatically lowering your profile. Useful for avoid gunfire and ducking into cover but also great for sliding under bullets while getting into range for a melee kill. You're sure to piss off your fair share of players with this useful tactic.
Merc tips You can equip extra armor but keep in mind that most spies would rather swing around and try to instant kill you with their melee. That's not to say armor isn't useful though as it will discourage spies who get cheeky with their SMGs and it is important against other mercs in mixed games.
The motion tracker is by far the easiest merc visor available plus it's available by default! Put simply, a cone detects fast moving targets in a 90 degree wedge in front of you every second or so. In other words, tracking isn't in real-time but on rapidly refreshing radar. Each refresh also beeps, which is useful for alerting you to sudden movement. The beep is actually what makes the motion tracker the easiest to use as it audibly warns you of hostile movement, which can bring your attention quickly. It's completely blind to crouch walking and climbing movement so you'll have to look up and check your corners to be safe. The motion tracker is the only visor guaranteed to work too, since there isn't any equipment that outright blocks it except for player discretion. This makes the enhanced detection helmet a good choice, extending the reach of your motion tracker before enemies begin to to assume they're in range of your detection device.
The ATS (acoustic tracking system) is the least explained visor in the game and partially what inspired this guide. While it describes it tracks gunfire at long range and footsteps at close range, it fails to explain that it provides a reticule over loud gunfire while the bottom of your hud displays a sound graph. The sound graph moves in the direction it detects footsteps and other ambient sounds like explosions and it even tells you if it's in front or behind you! If the graph spikes upward, it's in front while downward spikes tell you the sound is coming from behind. The ATS is fundamentally similar to the motion tracker, giving you directional information of hostile movement but the ATS provides information in real-time but lacks any audio assistance. It's possible to sweep your field of view back and forth and miss very minute footsteps come from one direction. Still, the ATS rewards vigilant mercs with very accurate information since it is possible to pick up on the sounds of spies crouch walking and climbing. Beware of spies wearing silenced boots though. Of course, silenced weapons won't be highlighted with reticules.
The RFD (radio frequency detector) is the most specialized of the three merc visors. It specifically detects enemy equipment, including spy goggle usage. The good news is that when spies use their goggles, it practically advertises their location, plus you`can see annoying traps like proxy mines. The bad news is that you can't tell if a spy is using the RFD blocker or if they're just sitngy with their goggles. A good tip is to check if your opponent can be tagged by UAV or intel devices. If you can tag them, its safe to assume they're using the RFD blocker. If a blocked notification appears telling you that you can't tag them, they're probably using the RFD blocker. I personally use it in tandem with an intel device to cover my bases and always detect someone regardless of equipment.
Taking mines can be useful if you run the UAV suit. Place them at choke points where you want to deploy to protect you while you're vulnerable controlling your drone.
The adrenaline suit is really useful when dealing with gun fights, as the increased health and mobility makes all the difference in taking heavy fire. The speed boost is also useful to combine with sprint boots for crazy marathon dashes.
The disruptor suit pairs well with RFD to disable equipment. You can also pester people through walls and cover and keep their equipment usage down.
The rest of your experience will boil down having a good team to back you up. You may experience stacked teams and rage quitting on the majority of Spies vs Merc's objective gametypes but TDM is a good place to start off by yourself since you're more likely to play against other individuals and the pace of TDM means people are more likely to finish complete games. Keep in mind that in gametypes like TDM, the teams will be mixed so you may do spy vs spy or merc vs merc but overall, these tips will work in general.