Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 6)
It’s the denouement of the Kanto leg of our quest for a world-beating Pokémon team. And get this – we’re getting so desperate at this stage that we’re looking at reviving fossils and lumping them all together into a Jurassic All-Star team. How desperate is that?! But it’s not all bad news – we’ve got all of the Legendaries of the Kanto region here, waiting for due inspection, and they’re bound to be quite powerful. It’s a bit of a scrub move to seriously use a Legendary in your team though, don’t you think? Well, be that as it may, if you didn’t put Mewtwo at the very top of your lineup back in the day, you were guaranteed trouble. You were just asking to be taken down to the basement, Pulp Fiction style, and left to wait there, bound and gagged, until the gimp came out. Mewtwo was the gimp, and frighteningly good at what he did.
The counterpart fossil of Kabutops, it has pretty stern Defense and Special Attack. But as interesting as the idea of Fossil Pokémon may be, do keep in mind that there’s a reason they’re extinct. Evolutionarily speaking, if I can coin such a word, Omastar’s shell became so heavy and in general he became such a fat bugger that he could no longer chase prey. So I’m picturing a few thousand Omastars just lying there on the sandy shores, unable to move, just sitting there and starving to death like a load of American tourists that’ve fallen off their mobility scooters and end up laying there like sweaty, upside-down turtles in the scorching sun. Well, thanks to some voodoo magic that probably isn’t a good idea if Jurassic Park is to be believed, you can now add this inspirational ‘Mon to your team. Kabutops is cooler, and is the alternate choice if you don’t want Omastar. Yet I would always pick the Helix Fossil out of the two. What does that make me?
How did this come about from a lowly Kabuto? Whatever, it’s a fearsome looking beast with a mighty Attack stat, and even that can be augmented by Swords Dance. I like to imagine this entails Kabutops doing the Johnny Bravo monkey dance with its scythes and watching his Attack stat go right the way up. Ultimately, what I can’t get over when it comes to Kabutops is the shape and curvature of its head. It just isn’t right. In fact, it’s laughable. Not a bad design, don’t get me wrong, but laughable. If you bring Kabutops onto the bus, kids are going to think he’s a “funny man” and you’ll be left red.
The final RBY Fossil, revived from the Old Amber. As I understand it, Amber is the solidified gunk that you get on trees, so I’m not sure how exactly a full rock dinosaur can come out of there. Nonetheless, Aerodactly has humungous Speed, good Attack and not much else. The Electric-type blows it out the sky. It can’t stand up to Water-types either. And as for Big Bang-types? Forget it. Really, Aerodactyl’s day came in the Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon episode of the anime, when the gang were looking for Pokémon fossils but get trapped in a cave-in after Team Rocket, surprisingly not stalking Ash for a change, set off some explosives to try and pilfer all the fossils. Inside the cave, the fossil Pokémon have awakened, and you know what it’s like when you’re woken up 5,000,000 years after your alarm clock – you’re pretty grouchy. Most grouchy and vicious of them all is Aerodactyl, who announces himself with evil eyes and a guttural roar. Excited at the prospect of fighting this new flying Pokémon, Ash’s unruly Charmeleon boldly forces itself to evolve into Charizard, and away they go to slug it out. Not that it was Charizard’s intention to save Ash, of course, he only did it to prove himself – Charizard serves no man.
A pain in the bum to deal with, but an absolute role model to aspire to, Snorlax has massive HP, and excellent Attack and Special Defense make it one of the best tanks of the series – especially with Curse, a move which increases its Attack and decreases Speed. Snorlax is already as slow as a room full of Big Brother watchers of course, so there’s almost no drawback to him here. Plus, when he’s had enough of daily life, he can go right on into a deep sleep. No, Snorlax is a great bunch of lads. It only wakes up to eat, and it must eat near to 900 pounds of food a day just to be content. Think of the calories! I used to struggle eating one pound of beef, and that was in my chubby child days. Let him loose in Pokémon Let’s Go and you can even cling onto his belly as you clamber around. Why wouldn’t you have this guy in your team?!?
The first of the Kanto legendary birds, Articuno has tough stats and wields Ice moves ferociously. These days, the abundance of Stealth Rock, a move which causes Pokémon switching in to lose a percentage of HP, means that Articuno loses a whopping 50% of his HP, thanks to its two weaknesses. This renders the legendary bird something of a legendary pigeon unfortunately. It’s a pity, because a massive, elegant ice-cold tweety-bird is a neat concept for a Pokémon. But its ability to just kill fools outright with the Sheer Cold move, and the fact that it’s big, rare and looks mean is certainly enough to make Articuno worth a spot on your schoolyard-faring team.
Originally found in the Power Plant, one of those hidden little areas of Kanto that you’d never have to go to, probably would never even know about until you looked up the map – or more accurately, a guide. These days, the Power Plant would be part of a DLC pack and Zapdos locked behind a paywall. Or something. Am I right? No? Well, either way, Zapdos is looking good. While the other two birds can get zapped right out of the sky with Electric moves, Zapdos has little to fear there – it can throw out Thunderbolts without fearing Earthquakes. In layman’s terms, this means the electro-chicken has a big leg up over the opposition. It looks the most vicious of the three birds as well. Of the three birds, Zapdos would most serpently be my pick for battle.
Found in the highly monotonous Victory Road, which is already a bit of a black mark against it. Like Articuno, and indeed like Charizard, it loses half its HP to Stealth Rock, which just about dooms it in real-life proper battles. A shallow movepool since the early days and even to this day doesn’t do it wonders on the old Smogon front either. In a more practical sense, it wasn’t even shown in the original anime opening while Zapdos and Articuno were! To be fair, Moltres was in the Japanese opening, but for some reason got cut out of the Western version (Arcanine and Rapidash had to suffice instead). So in more ways than one, Moltres ends up as a heavily-maligned, big fiery turkey. Its egg was even in the way of your odd on-rails vehicle in Pokémon Snap – you could hardly not crash right into it and dump it into the lava, a highly ignominious moment for a so-called Legendary Pokémon. Why were the legendary birds in eggs anyway?
Introducing the only (fully evolved) Dragon type of Pokémon RBY. It has massive Attack, and I don’t mean the musical group. Good for Hyper Beam, but not so good for the Dragon Rage move, which did a fixed 40 HP of damage – and back in the day, that was quite literally the only Dragon move available to anyone. Nowadays, Dragon types are like turds in a field and there’s a plethora of damaging Dragon attacks to use, as well as ExtremeSpeed and Roost and… Slam. That all helps to spare Dragonite’s blushes just a little bit. And it’s the Pokémon of choice for that apex predator Lance, even if his ones are horribly guilty of hax by being able to use Barrier and by evolving many levels too early. Possibly Dragonites are liable to juicing? Maybe their veins are better suited to ‘roid programs than other Pokémons’? But even if that were the case, Dragonite is like a kind of cuddly bear Pokémon, the type that Ursaring isn’t. Except Dragonite is, if you want to be truthful about it, a dragon.
You know all about this fella. A product of gene-splicing in an effort to clone Mew, which is pretty heavy stuff for a children’s game when you think about it. He was the supervillain of the first anime film, and he could even talk when the mood suited him. He killed off Ash (with Mew’s help, it has to be said) but a few tears brought him back somehow. Maybe that’s why Cloud never managed to revive Aerith, not enough tears? Whatever. Mewtwo could be captured in the Cerulean Cave (otherwise known as the ‘Unknown Dungeon’, but never the ‘Unown Dungeon’) when the Elite Four and Champion were beaten, making him simply a post-game bonus. Once you caught Mewtwo, you could call yourself a Pokémon Master. And his stats were just brutal, with the best of them being his massive Special stat that could be boosted by Amnesia, and every single one of the rest of his stats were above-par as well. He could use Recover, Psychic, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, all kinds of other tricks. He was overpowered on purpose, and very definitely an Uber – he still is. In playground battles, I disliked using Mewtwo, simply because everyone else did use him. Most Mewtwos were so powerful that you had to have something in place to get rid of him (and Bug types wouldn’t work, Gengar couldn’t really manage it and Dark types weren’t around), but I enjoyed the challenge. As for Pokémon Stadium, in which the sadistic computer AI cheated with glee, I took great pleasure in going through the viciously tough Prime Cup and Gym Leader Battles with a Mewtwo saved onto the game previously, with near max stats. Thanks DANO, your Mewtwo brought me more victories as an perma-angry young child than I’ll ever know. Finally, Mewtwo has a few Smash Bros appearances under his belt, although he never seems to be quite as powerful or usable as you might think. What really finishes Mewtwo here is that, for Smash Bros Brawl, he was replaced by Lucario. Lucario for God’s sake. You can’t come back from that.
This little bugger. This tricky little blighter. Mew was the subject of all kinds of crazy rumours flying about the place, back just before the Internet came around. Little wonder really, since Mew was snuck into the coding of Pokémon Red and Green (the Japanese versions of our Red and Blue) shortly before release. Everyone, Nintendo included, thought there was 150 Pokémon – but no, Mew was the secret 151st. He’s had a history has Mew: even the trademark for his name was applied for as early as 1990, making him the first Pokémon by name, even if Rhydon was designed first. When rumours of a hidden Pokémon first came out, we were all eager to believe it. References to Mew were made in RBY, and the early anime intro gave us the briefest glimpse of what could possibly be Mew. But surely not. Surely Mewtwo was the last Pokémon, the ultimate? Well… sort of. You could get Mew on your game, though he could only be attained by special promotional giveaways run by Nintendo. God knows if any of these giveaways ever reached Ireland, probably not, but there was no need to fear: there exists a glitch within RBY, undiscovered until 2003, which allows players to safely catch a Mew. When they did, they may have found their expectations were either exceeded or exaggerated: Mewtwo was indeed more powerful than Mew, and even Starmie and Alakazam had power not far behind. But Mew was capable of learning every TM and HM, which swung the battle back in its favour. It’s still an Uber today, banned alongside Mewtwo. And Celebi, and Jirachi, and other ‘cute’ hidden legendaries that are rarer than hen’s teeth. Mew is fairly formidable, has bundles of tricks, and he’s well worth having IF you can get him. And no, the mysterious truck near the SS Anne has absolutely nothing to do with the glitch I mentioned. What a red herring that was!
END OF GENERATION I