Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Killing It With Fire

Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Darumakka

As promised, I decided to mono-type run Black shortly after solving the White gametape as much as I could. The rules where simple: Only Fire-type Pokemon can obtain experience points during the game, except for one Double battle that is mandatory before I could get a 2nd Fire-type. Other Pokemon can be used but strictly for HM muling.

In order of obtaining, the team was:
1) Pokabu family
2) Yanappu/Baoppu (the former is the Grass monkey that took the Exp in the mandatory double battle. Latter is the Fire monkey.)
3) Victini
4) Darumakka
5) Hitomoshi family (aka The Candle)
6) Meraruba family
7) Reshiram (where Baoppu got ditched)

There is one Pokemon eligible but I didn't use due to obtaining it late: Kuitaran (the Anteater).

In order of awesomeness and ingame tiering, the order goes something like this:

Sir-Not-Available-Anynore Tier: Victini
Fire/Psychic is a great offensive type combo, although Victini's best Psychic move goes Confusion -> Zen Headbutt -> Psychic by TM in the East Isshu area. It was my main anti-Water between Grass Knot as soon as I got it and Thunderbolt in the Surf area. Of course, it's not available anymore until the NA launch, so... yeah.

God Tier: Darumakka/Hihidaruma
One word: Wow.

Sure, his baby form has Hustle. Sure, the result of Hustle is that his Rock Tomb is about as accurate as a Obama biography produced by Fox News. But when it hits, it hits HARD. I was able to stick with Fire Punch pretty much from L22 on as both forms have an innate Attack boost, and mine was Adamant (perfect nature for Encourage ones) running a 140 base Attack. Moveset was Fire Punch, Dig, Rock Tomb/Slide, and Strength until I could use Earthquake (again, postgame).

Good Tier: Pokabu line, Reshiram
You might be wondering why a cover legendary is on the same tier as a starter relatively assumed to be the 3rd best Fire/Fighting starter ever. Simply put, you can't play this way without the former, and the latter gets 2 battles total before you see the credits for the first time. That and the Fighting type STAB actually made him useful against the Dragon gym, and it could run Wild Bolt (off TM 93) with its high HP. Moveset at the end: Nitro Charge, Brick Break, Wild Bolt, Dig/EQ for Enbuoo and Dragon Pulse/Flamethrower/Extrasensory/Fly for Reshiram.

Needs Babying tier: Baoppu, Hitomoshi, Meraruba
In order of severity:
- Baoppu was the weak link most of the way, especially since I wanted Crunch on it for some perverse reason which means keeping it until L43. I couldn't even grind it up with the free Lucky Egg because I needed Acrobat to be high-powered (which means no items on it). It picked up upon evolution but the lack of a dual type and no real ability while equipped with Acrobat kills it. Moveset: Flame Burst, Acrobat, Crunch, Grass Knot

- Hitomoshi is bad, but the final form is a) badass, and b) available at level 41 if you get a good draw on the dust. Will-O-Wisp + Evil Eye (50 pwr special Ghost, 2x if the opponent has a status) was a good combo, but you get Shadow Ball shortly after it so that becomes the go-to attack. Flame Body was also appreciated for random burns + egg hatching (see below). Moveset: Shadow Ball, Flame Burst, Solarbeam, Will-O-Wisp

- Oh god, Meraruba. Sure, it evolves into a badass (Ungamoth) but that happens at level 59. The irritating part is that its main moves as a baby are all physical, and that is the better attacking stat, but the final form is base 130 SA so I ended up ditching mine in the post-game and soft-resetting for a Modest one in the Ancient Cave. Still, seeing something go from L1 to L24 in one Pokemon because of the new experience formula and the Exp Share? Awesome. Moveset: Bug Bite, Nitro Charge, Return, Leech Life (Meraruba) - Flamethrower, Bug Buzz, Psychic, Butterfly Dance as Ungamoth.

 Other things I've learned in the run:
- Gyms that give you hell: 1st (obviously, that's what its there for), 8th. And that's it. You're going to beat 2, 3, 4, and 7, 6 is neutral, and the 5th uses a Ground/Steel as the main Pokemon in which you can win a damage race.

- I was able to go through the game with just 1 HM, except for a few items and the whole getting Meraruba/TM 24 sequence needing a Water-type for Surf. Cut's last use was around the 4th gym, and all of the Surf areas pre-first credits are optional. Love it.

- As mentioned, there's a new experience curve that is still being worked out, but the offshoot is that if you are lower leveled than what you get experience from, you get more points. Proof of this is that I got Meraruba immediately after getting Surf, and it was even with the team by the time I returned to the main game.

- Nothing warmed my heart more than seeing the champ use 3 Bugs.

- Can a brother get a Flamethrower TM earlier? Like maybe, I dunno, before the Elite 4?

- Even with the EXP curve, Kuitaran has the problem of a better Special Attack and a largely physical movepool. Hopefully Gray's move tutors are kinder to him. Then again, there's a whole class of Pokemon I'd probably have to trade eggs in for an ingame run - including Wargle. Sad end.

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