Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Saddest Kahuna

Immediately after defeating Guzma (and washing my panties from Primarina's evolution), I was approached by the saddest police officer in the world.  I was sure that I had met him previously (after all, who could forget such a loathsome "slouch-elemental"), but I couldn't remember from where.  He introduced himself as Nanu, the police officer of Po Town.  Obviously, he's not that great at his job.  I can see why he acts so jaded and demoralized given how out of sorts the neighborhood is, but honestly he was even more of a buzzkill that the existential awakening that I had received by my trip to Po Town.

Wait, that's not true, he didn't introduce himself.  Acerola actually popped up out of the godamn ether to say some bullshit like "oh, if it isn't Nanu, my uncle, and the police officer of Po Town".

Please.

So I followed Acerola and apparently Acerola's uncle back to the Aether Outpost we had started from, but when we got there, Lillie was missing.  Via flashback, it was revealed that Plumeria had stormed the facility and kidnapped Lillie and her pokemon Cosmog without any resistance.  

I mean, Hau was there, but he's a useless piece of garbage.  He even admitted that he was too scared to intervene and that Lillie had resultantly decided to just go with them.  Do I have to do everything?

Gladion popped his angry little head in and attacked me in his rage...well, he attacked my pokemon...with his own pokemon...basically he battled me.

This time, he carried Type: Null, Golbat, and Sneasel: the perfect lineup for an angry kid.  The fact that two of those evolve due to friendship miiiiight be meaningful to the plot, but who cares, pokemon!!!

Gladion apologized for attacking and told us that we had to follow them and save Lillie (young love, so adorable).  Apparently, they would have taken her, not to Po Town, but to the Aether Paradise.

DUN DUN DUN!!

I mean, I guess that if all the foreshadowing hadn't given it away, all the vague maniacal laughter would have eventually.  It's not usually the good guys who threateningly smirk and promise to "bring all into their love".

As I made my way to the docks, Nanu approached me, said he was the Kahuna, and said that it was time to battle or whatever.

hahaha okay...?!

Battle Team G-3: The Ones I Had With Me at the Time
Vs. Kahuna Nanu, apparently

The battle itself was actually quite difficult.  I'm glad that he had set upon me so suddenly, because I may not have been able to win with only four pokemon.

Well, maybe I wouldn't go that far...

He led with Sableye.  Sableye is a Ghost/Dark type pokemon and I had already taken a Ghost trial, so I knew that a Dark Trial must be the theme for my third Grand Trial.  Then again, Nanu was just the kind of lazy Kahuna that miiiight say "screw it" and use whatever he had with him at the time.

I was able to damage his Sableye, but I have a history with Sableye and I know how bulky they can be.  This particular Sableye was no exception and it was able to wear down my Electabuzz.  Sable switched out for Krokorock (thank god you aren't Krookodile).  Yeah, dark type.

I predicted his ground move (earthquake) and switched in Trumbeak to avoid it.  It ended up mattering little because Krokorock punished my pokemon with Swagger and then Crunch.

It was Primarina's turn and I decided to take the opportunity to ensure a KO.  Krokorock went first, but Pako Pako is tough enough to survive anything (once) and retaliated with Z-Oceanic Operetta.

Primarina fell to Sableye (that Fakeout and its priority) and so did Sassy Sally.  Ultimately it fell to Sylveon to sweep the rest of his team, which included a Persian whose damage was completely neutralized by Sailor Star Fighter's fairy-type healing move "Draining Kiss".

2-0 Victory!

Awakening and Evolution: Salazzle, Primarina

I actually felt bad while it was happening.  There I was—the privileged kid who recently moved to paradise with my fancy, expensive gift pokemon and all the money I had earned by vanquishing all my opponents in battle—campaigning through the slums that Team Skull calls home, smiting them one by one.

I bet it is always raining here.  I bet this rain is always here.

None could beat me, nobody even came close.  I made it to the “mansion” (remember that?) and found it to be in the same shape as the rest of the town: run down, leaking.

As I made my sad trek through Po Town, I feel as though I learned a lot about myself and about my own privileges.  In addition to this, Sassy Sally evolved.  It may very well be that Salandit only evolves once its trainer has been sufficiently existentially awakened.  However, I can't prove this one way or another and the simpler solution, that it evolves at level 34, is more likely the case.

Along the way, I was treated to even more examples of why Team Skull is my favorite gang ever.  I found one trainer who said that their goal was to collect all the Buginium-Z in the world so that Guzma would for sure be the strongest bug trainer in Alola.  Ultimately, I found an entire actual treasure chest of the z-crystals, so they must be pretty successful--at least by this metric (joke's on them, I stole a shard for myself).  I also found two girl gang members who were arguing about which Skull tank top was whose.  One of them suggested that they write their names on their own shirts.  The other responded by pointing out that that wouldn't matter because all of the Team Skull members' names are "Grunt".

I'll let that one sink in.

...

This is the best game.

At the top of the rundown mansion, constantly leaking due to the torrential rain of symbolism (Editor's note: who knew that weather has such a knowledge of poignancy!), I found Guzma again.  I had come here to save some kid's Yungoos.  Yungoos would be the prize in our battle.

It was an easier match than last time--I was able to take out Ariados with Salazzle's Z-Inferno Overdrive and the behemoth Golisopod with Pako Pako.  After the battle, Pako Pako finally evolved into Primarina.  At this point, I was just showing off.
______________
Salazzle is a well-designed pokemon that I had seen already, but Primarina was new to me.  Honestly, I think this is the perfect final evolution of this pokemon!  It is a Water/Fairy pokemon (a great offensive typing given its bulk and its Special attacking prowess) and its design screams "Mermaid".  I would have preferred a female (I already have one trans pokemon on my team in Sailor Star Fighter), but who can complain?!

Its schtick is that it is a singer and it attacks with its voice.  This is immediately apparent in its special Z-move, Z-Oceanic Operetta, a sound-based water type special move which deals massive damage.
Z-Oceanic Operetta

If I had to rank my favorite water starters, Primarina would land at third out of the seven: after Feraligatr and Greninja and above Empoleon, Swampert, Blastoise, and (bleh) Samurott (bleh).
_______________

With Sassy Sally and Pako Pako at their maximum strength, I made my way back to Accerola, Hau, and Lillie.  What I found would shock me.

(Gotta mine those clicks where I can, yo)

Current Squad:
Primarina/Pako Pako/lvl 34
Electabuzz/Buzz/lvl 35
Salazzle/Sassy Sally/lvl 34
Oricorio/Ori-chan/lvl 33
Tsareena/Bouncee/lvl 34
Sylveon/Star Fighter/lvl 34

On Rotation:
Mareanie/Meanie/lvl 32
Trumbeak/Pip Pip/lvl 34

Pokedex: 180 caught


Friday, January 20, 2017

Beyond the Ghost Trial

This week, August has moved beyond the curtained door into the afterlife after seeking his ghosts and defeating them in battle.

Well, or something like that.

The Ghost Trial had me finding and photographing spooky ghosts doing spooky ghosty things in the haunted mall/beach.  Ultimately, my opponent was the Ghost/Fairy Mimikyu and its buddy Haunter.  Mimikyu has a unique ability in "Disguise".  This allows it to avoid the first direct hit of a match.  It would have been great to know this before I wasted by Z-move "Inferno Overdrive" on it.

I came away with the victory in the end, largely because Beak Blast has the ability to cause burn against pokemon that cause direct physical damage.

The next supporting character I would be introduced to would be none other than Grimsley, the Dark type Elite Four from Pokemon Black and White version.  Grimsley showed up out of nowhere (seriously, even the other characters were commenting on how weird he was standing there in his kimono on the beach) to give me the ride pager for Sharpedo (which would allow me to break through rocks whilst surfing).

I battled Plumeria again.  Since our last match, her Salandit had evolved into Salazzle.  It was level 35, so my own Sassy Sally must be close to evolution, herself!  Team Skull left, but not before stealing a poor little kid's Yungoos.

I decided to help because I am the fighter for love and justice known as Sailor August.  No, I didn't decide to help because the plot called for it.

Turns out that Team Skull lives in a walled off slum that they call Po Town.  There is garbage and graffiti all over...plus it is constantly raining.  There is no power for their pokemon center.  I would probably get pretty grumpy having to live there too.

I think I get Team Skull.  I mean, it wasn't until recently that I really understood the plans or the motivations of the other villainous gangs from previous games, but I do get Team Skull.  They're underprivileged and they just want some respect.

One gang member told me that she dropped out of her trial and that she didn't like how I was coming by and bragging about it and throwing it in her face.  I understand this as a motivation for them to want to assemble and cause a little something to get back at the privileged kids.  I understand that.

On the other hand, it wasn't until recently that I understood the motivation behind Team Aqua:  "return the world to the way that it once was and rightly should be."

Considering the dark forces that have recently taken control of the US government, a good ole reset of the entire species might be for the best.

We're probably going to get one whether we like it or not.

Current Squad:


Brionne/Pako Pako/lvl 33
Electabuzz/Buzz/lvl 33
Salandit/Sassy Sally/lvl 32
Oricorio/Ori-Chan/lvl 33
Tsareena/Bouncee/lvl 33
Sylveon/Star Fighter/lvl 34

On Rotation:
Crabrawler, Toucannon, Mareanie

Pokedex: 177 caught

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Guzma, Kukui, Hau, Hap, Gladdion, Hau, Accerola, Lillie, Accerola, Ghost Trial

In typical alpha male fashion, Guzma told me that he would find me some other time and beat me down.  I hope that next time, I take one of my many flying types with me to make the battle against his bug team a little easier.

I gave the Masked Royal's mask...I mean, Professor Kukui, the masked royal's mask...I'm confused too.  At any rate, I exited the conversation with a special Z-crystal for Pako-Pako once it finally evolves. (squee!!)

The princess from before showed-up again with Lillie...apparently their shopping spree was over and they were ready to let me know that they were still a part of the game.  The princess introduced herself as Accerola and once again, she failed to explain her importance.  Lillie showed up to say nothing in particular.  So, with nothing having been done, nor gained from the exchange.  My next run-in with the legion of supporting characters was on the following route with a person named Hap.  Hap gave me a ride pager for Mudsdale, and...I'm sorry, but who the hell are you?! 

Christ, I have found my next nitpick for this game:  there are too many supporting characters...snd specifically too many characters whose name starts with an "H".

Tapu Village was the next town on my journey--the site of the base of Alola's eventual Victory Road. I say "eventual" because, as I mentioned before, the Pokemon league hasn't fully been developed nor build so far.  This is the inaugural championship.  There, I met Hau and Gladdion.  Gladden warned us that there is a pokemon called Cosmog that has the power to destroy reality or something like that...surely he doesn't mean that puffball that Lillie has stuffed into her bag?!

I'm sorry if none of this makes sense or if I'm switching topics too much.  Surely, it isn't just the fever that I'm running that is making this whole experience so surreal.  Surely, it's at least partly that this game has so many clitting characters all over the place that I can't keep track of a single plot thread.

I came upon Accerola again (why are you here?!) and she directed me toward a spooky, haunted beach.  On this spooky, haunted beach was a spooky haunted mall.  Obviously, I was in for a spooky, haunted ghost trial.

Apparently, Accerola is the Ghost Captain!!

Have I seriously just not been paying attention?


Current Squad:
Brionne/Pako Pako/lvl 30
Crabrawler/Ppunches/lvl 29
Salandit/Sassy Sally/lvl 29
Oricorio/Ori-Chan/lvl 31
Tsareena/Bouncee/lvl 31
Sylveon/Star Fighter/lvl 29

On Rotation:
Mareanie/Meanie/lvl 29
Toucannon/Pip Pip/lvl 30
Electabuzz/Buzz/lvl 30

Pokedex: 174


caught

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Vs. Boss Guzma

I arrived at the garden after Team Skull.

It's still unclear how the "mansion" fits into the whole thing, but two members of the Skull Gang apparently decided to take a break from living large in order to make vague threats towards Professor Kukui.  Kukui was standing his ground, though.  He said that he only needs four turns in order to dispatch the both of them.  Geez, when you get right down to it, Professor Kuku is kind of a badass.  



Ultimately, though, we were introduced to the Boss of Team Skull, Guzma.  Guzman and Kukui apparently have some history with each other: it seems as though the two both set off on a trial together, but that Guzma was denied a Captainship at the end of it.  Maybe that's why he's such a Grumpy Gus.

Kukui was willing to take on Guzma, but decided to make it a learning experience for me instead.  I'm imagining little greenhorn August trembling in his preppy little boatshoes at the idea.  "Yeh, thanks for throwing me under the bus, Kukui..."

Guzma started the match by sending in what can only be described as the scariest thing that one could possibly find under their stove.  Golisopod, I would later find out, is the evolution of Whimpod, the Bug/Water pokemon that my little brother has mentioned using, and its big, beefy, and strong.

Brionne led the charge.  I wasn't exactly sure if it would also be a bug/water type, so I used my STAB move, Scald.  Scald gains power as a water move and also has a 30% burn chance.  Burn halves an opponent's physical attack...and those are some big, scary looking pinchers...

I successfully burned Golisopod, but it has used Sword's Dance...twice...Factoring both of these aspects in means its attack stat is at a net 200%.  Woof.  The next turn, my foe used Razor Shell, a move that, as a water type, Brionne resists.  It nearly knocks it out in one hit.  That's one strong bug.

Its ability "Emergency Exit" kicks in once I've knocked it down to 50% of its total health and Golisopod immediately switches out for Guzma's other pokemon.  Guzman must have a penchant for physical bugs, because this pokemon is Ariados.

Ariados outspeeds Pako Pako and Knocks it out with Fell Stinger.  I remember this move from my competitive Omega Ruby days when I was breeding and training a competitive Mega Beedrill.  As soon as the attack was announced, I know that I was in a bad position.  Fell Stinger raises the user's attack stat by 150% if it gets a KO.  

The knockouts against Crabrawler and Mareanie were just as easy.  I was down to two pokemon, but both just happened to be perfect for the given situation.  Because of either magic or dark magic, Salandit survived Shadow Sneak and retaliated with a knockout Z-Inferno Overdrive.  

Golisopod outsped Salandit and easily took it out, but with Toucannon in my last slot, it wasn't going to steal the win out from under me.


Progress Report

With Electrium Z and Steelium Z both in hand (prizes after the trial), I was on my way.  First stop would be a pokemon center to heal up.

As I was out the door, Molayne called me back and handed me the mask of the Masked Royal.  He told me to take it to Professor Kukui because he had left it behind.  (Lol)

I ended up battling all the trainers on the Hokulani Mountain trail in order to challenge the veteran trainer at the top.  Just like the Ace Trainers on the previous islands, this trainer had a Z-Ring of his own.  He had with him an Absol which used the move Z-Black Hole Eclipse.
_____________
I think it might be appropriate to take some time to reflect and note a few important bits of progress.  I have had Bagon off training in the Pokepelago training facilities for the past few islands.  Bagon, remember Bagon?  And how I spent hours trying to get him to spawn?  Well he's a level 50 Salamence now and he's unstoppable.  I used him a few times in wild pokemon battles, but he's a bit too much for my current team, considering that my quad is all barely level 30 or less.  Back to the box with this one--to be called upon only when I need him.

Trumbeak evolved into another great pokemon: Toucannon.  It's no secret amongst the people who know me in the real world that my favorite animals are all birds.  While the ordering is always a bit suspect, my top five favorite animals include the crimson shrike, the cardinal, the blue jay, and the toucan.  That my silly woody-the-woodpecker Trumbeak would evolve into a Toucan pokemon has made me the happiest pokemon trainer this side of Johto.  The icing on the cake is that it's quite strong!  It even learned a new move in Beak Blast.

Ori-chan the Oricorio is still in her Akala Island forme, but I plan on changing that whenever I find the local nectar of Ula'Ula Island.  She's a reliable special attacker and a good support pokemon for my team.

My meanie, Mareanie, is performing quite admirably as well.  It's bulky and it's always reliable in battle.  I'm running "Protect", "Payback", "Toxic", "Toxic Spikes" right now and it's been working well.  Hopefully it learns a recovery move sometime soon.  That's the logical next step for such a bulky stall pokemon.

There isn't much to add about Sylveon given its tight performance in basically every trial match that I have ever had.  I hope that it learns some move that would give me an answer to steel pokemon though.  The only damaging moves that it has right now are Draining Kiss (fairy) and Swift (Normal) and, while I probably wouldn't want to leave it in against Metagross or Gengar, it would be nice to have it learn something that could at least hit such a pokemon...does it learn Dark Pulse?  (Editor's note: No, it doesn't.)

Crabrawler can be relied upon to deliver a strong blow and to eradicate anything that doesn't resist Fighting.  Even neutral hits seem to cause massive damage.  Its ability is Iron Fists (which increases the damage of punching moves), so I'm hoping that it will learn Fire Punch or Hammer Arm eventually.

Tsareena, as mentioned before, is my hard-hitting physical support pokemon.  It is walled out by anything "bug" or "flying", but even against these, I can count on it to survive and put up a Reflect or a Light Screen for the teammates.

Sassy Sally...well...things have been a little tough for this one lately...as I mentioned before, its Z-Inferno Overdrive can be a force to be reckoned with...when some crazy bullshit doesn't happen to ruin the moment.  Right now, I can count on Sassy Sally to throw around big damage and to die on a fairly consistent basis.  It's strong and it's fast, but until it evolves into that sexy Salazzle it might have to be part of the "let's see what happens" crew.

Pako Pako may be under leveled compared to the rest of my rotating squad, but thhis is circumstantial to the plot of the game.  I've had more use for the other pokemon recently and it just so happens that Brionne has fallen behind.  Make no mistake though, when I need something dead, Pako Pako always gets it done.  It's a bulky pokemon that hits hard with nearly perfect coverage in Scald, Disarming Voice, and Hidden Power Fire.
______________
I made my way to the bottom of the hill and finally on to the garden where Kukui would be.  Little did I know that waiting for me there would finally be the main man, the head honcho.

The boss of Team Skull.

Current Squad:
Brionne/Pako Pako/lvl 26
Crabrawler/Ppunches/lvl 28
Salandit/Sassy Sally/lvl 28
Oricorio/Ori-chan/lvl 27
Tsareena/Bouncee/lvl 30
Sylveon/Star Fighter/lvl 29

On Rotation:
Toucannon/Pip Pip/lvl 30
Mareanie/Meanie/lvl 26


Pokedex: 154 caught

Monday, January 2, 2017

Vs. Vikivolt

The Captain of the Electric Trial at Hokulani Observatory is named Sophocles.  His schtick is that he's quite nervous at the job.  Apparently, Mo and he both work at the observatory as inventors and technicians.  Mo used to be the trial captain, but he passed the position on to Sophocles.  Normally the captains are all chosen by the Kahuna, but Ula'Ula Island is currently in a state of flux about this.  Mo was a bit vague about it all, but I am admittedly intrigued.

"DETECTED PRESENCE OF
APPROACHING TOTEM POKEMON!"
Sophocles greeted me with a slightly short and frustrated remark about how he was going to summon the totem by sing a machine that he had invented.  He was decidedly short with me--almost a little hostile.  He seemed to lack the ceremony of the other Captains--and it eventually came to light that this was because of the fact that he lacked the confidence of the others.  Mo kept encouraging him and telling him that he was doing fine; by the end of the trial he was visibly smiling.  His character was a lot more real than many pokemon characters that I have run into in the past.  He acted the way that a real human would if they lacked the confidence in their own abilities: grumpy and brusque.  Sometimes, all you need in order to get someone else to open up to you is a little reassurance that you respect them.

The machine drained the power in the facility and I had to battle a Grubbin and a Charjabug in the dark as the totem approached via cutscene.  It was still dark in the Observatory when Vikivolt attacked.

Battle Team: Support Offensive
Vs. Vikivolt
The battles that had preceded my match against the totem, Vikivolt, had severely damaged my team and left Salandit unconscious.  Without my Z-move user in Inferno Overdrive, I had to turn my trust over to Tsareena instead.

I had brought this particular team because I don't have any true answer to electric pokemon.  The rest of my pokemon are all weak to shock.  The resulting battle team, "Support Offensive", was a weird bunch that just so happened to be weak against bug pokemon.  Sure, Salandit has the advantage, but as I mentioned previously, she was knocked out.  Crabrawler's fighting moves would have little effect, Tsareena is outright weak to bug moves, and I can't quite recall whether fairy moves are weak to the bug type or if it is the other way around...

It was Vikivolt vs Bouncee, then.  I wanted to spend the time debuffing my foes, so I used Low Sweep to lower Vikivolt's speed and to apply a little chip damage, and then Reflect to give my team a bit of breathing room.


Vikivolt is a bug/electric pokemon and its Bug Bite eventually took out Tsareena.  It's ally pokern was another Charjabug which seemed to be tossing around Thunderwaves all willy-nilly.  I used Ppunches to slow it down again with Rock tomb.  The chip damage was starting to add up and I saw an opening, so I sacrificed my crab in order to use a Revive on Salandit.

Time for revenge!  Z - INFERNO OVERDRIVE!


Occa Berry...

Vikivolt was holding an Occa Berry, which halved the damage of my fire move.

Godamn bullshit.

Now, down to Star Fighter, my question from before remains: does bug do weak damage against fairy or is it the other way around?

I sigh in relief: fairy is effective.  However, Vikivolt is tough and Charjabug continues to keep paralyzing my pokemon.  I use Baby Doll Eyes for a few turns...if I could avoid any critical hits or fully paralyzed turns, I could take him out...

Could becomes "did" and now it is Sylveon vs. Charjabug.  My Paralysis turns start to kick in, but due to all the petting that I've been giving my pokemon in Pokemon Refresh, Sylveon has a chance of recovering from paralysis whilst in battle.  A little luck, and a little more luck and my paralysis is healed and Charjabug has "fallen in love" with my Sylveon (due to its ability, "Cute Charm").  I don't blame it, Sylveon is pretty cute.

Sidenote: How many times can draining kiss fucking miss?!

Both Sailor Star Fighter and Charjabug are mortally wounded.  Will Charjabug's sacrifice itself for love?



Editor's Note: It did.