Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 17)
You’re just about to suffer death by Legendary in the last of our Hoenn Pokémon reviews, but that’s if you don’t suffer death by drowning first. After all, this is the lategame of Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald, the point where you’re surfing all day and fighting Wingulls all night. And by all night, I of course mean all day, because the Gen 3 games never bothered with a night-and-day system. The twilight of your GBA journey is also where you’ll start to find Pokémon at the farthest extremes of the Hoenn Pokédex, from a time when 386 Pokémon was starting to become excessive. Can you believe that…?
We’re getting into the tail-end of Hoenn’s Pokémon now, or the Huntail-end as it were. This ugly brute is part of a split evolution. Once you find the sleepy Clamperl, who I’m a lot more fond of, you can either turn it into a Huntail or a Gorebyss. Gorebyss is a bit derpy, but it’s at least got a kind of graceful beauty to it. Huntail is aesthetic death on every level. Call this thing the Wart of the Hoenn Seas.
Obviously, since Generation 3 is awash with Water Pokémon, it’ll take something special to break the mold. I don’t think Gorebyss is it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s got a sleek look. Derpy, as I mentioned, but there’s some elegance in there as well. But then, what use is elegance? Seaking was elegant. Dewgong also. Even Corsola had a bit of regency about it. But you would have to take leave of your senses before including these Pokémon on your team. I’m sorry, I keep finding myself getting drawn back to Wailord’s whale-crush tactic. Not a bit elegant, it won’t look good on Gram photos. But if it means mercilessly crushing foes, including many a Gorebyss, then I’m all for it.
It’s not as if we’re short on fish Pokemon, so it’s useful to give the new ones some relevance – something that Finneon and Lumineon could desperately have done with. Relicanth here, based on the Coelacanth, gains relevance to the plot in a very odd way: without having a Relicanth in your party, as well as a Wailord, you cannot open the way to catch the 3 Regis. Did they just throw darts at a big board of the new Gen III Pokemon to see who’d be necessary to catch 3 of the ever expanding amount of Legendaries? It’s one way to give use to a Pokémon, I suppose, because this thing is circus ugly and wouldn’t get anywhere near a team otherwise. Bring Relicanth in for that obtuse puzzle, trying desperately not to make eye contact with it in the same way that pretty girls on the dancefloor pointedly stare away from those sweaty lads trying to grind against them. Bag the Regi, and throw this poor lad back into the sea and let it go extinct in peace.
Christ Almighty. These days it at least comes equipped with a Heart Scale to help Pokemon learn new moves from tutors, but in the beginning Luvdisc was merely the product of misspent programming. Awful moves, rotten stats, bland design, an ability that only gives a boost to a stat that doesn’t need it. I’m thinking that whoever put this thing together must have been a jilted lover, somebody who pulled a Ralph Wiggum and scored nul points on Valentine’s Day that year, and they’ll not rest until they ruin the concept of love for everyone else out there. Forgive me for the patronising advice, but try not to use a heart-shaped piece of pink communion bread in battle, if you can.
A poetic phrase I commonly use: from the ridiculous to the sublime. In essence, Salamence isn’t all too different from the likes of Dragonite and Tyranitar. They’ve got beefy stats, they’re humongous and it’ll take you ages to find even their pre-evolutions, let alone train the bugger up. You can bring this guy all the way up to Mega Salamence, where his wings become one giant disc. That’s cool, and it’s got a fearsome cry as well. A great cry is worth twice of any stat. It’s a surly dragon, and it even learns Fly naturally. There isn’t a single thing you could say is uncool or embarrassing about this Pokémon. It’s the Dodge Viper of Gen 3.
A metallic demonic spider with an unnervingly human face, you would expect this thing to show up in Doom rather than your cuddly Pokémon game. The effort involved in actually getting a Metagross i sky-high already. If you can even track down Beldum, its little monkey wrench pre-evolution, the time spent slowly spent training this thing up will probably put you at least one Generation behind. And you can multiply that time outlay by 8,000 is you want it in shiny grey / white. Still, isn’t that what Pokémon Bank is for? Make the transfer happen, and you’ll find Metagross is well capable of doing the dirty work. Hardly any Pokémon has an easy time against Metagross, and if all of that warn’t enough, it even picked up a headcrab X-Wing Mega Evolution to wreak further havoc. Make no mistake, this moody metal marantula is an awesome choice.
It looks slightly more normal than the other two golems in Generation 3 – it’s got more practical limbs than Regice, and has the same number of USB ports as Registeel. But you ought to see the unsettling portrayal of Regirock in the Pokémon Lucario film – he seems to be the main man, or rather the main golem, and when he isn’t upending our heroes with energy beams, his violently spinning body or his own fists, he’s making the most discomfirting sounds to come out of a Pokémon since I tried to run Leekspin through my Chatot. There’s defiitely an intimidation factor with Regirock, and all of the Regis for that matter. I like to imagine that its braille on its “face” says ‘Do Not Touch’. How menacing is that? Or maybe it’s a nuclear launch code or something. Either way, the word is ‘tamper’, and you do not want to be tampering with a thing like this.
Now seems a useful time to explain how to find and capture the Regis. It’s like someone at Game Freak asked the intern if they could come up with the most obtuse and contrived way of keeping their upcoming games Legendaries tucked away from the player: who the hell can read Braille without actually being able to feel the dots? That’s the entire point of the language! Maybe one day we’ll be obliged to recite satanic verses into a microphone – or worse, track down one of 12 Amiibos in the entire world.
I jest with that Amiibo jibe, but you would have to agree that it was in Generation III where this trend of a glut of new Legendaries became commonplace. Gen I set the standard with a trio, an uberly powerful badman and a highly elusive, slightly less powerful Pokemon. Gen II added two mascot birds to this template, which is okay. Gen III now has two trios, in addition to an uber badman, an elusive kindofbadman, and even two pseudo-legendaries. That said, it wasn’t until Gen IV that this trend became truly ridiculous.
I’ll say this, I wasn’t expecting a brother-and-sister combination of Legendary Pokémon. I also have to be honest, I would have expected these two to be a bit bigger as well. And you’ll have trouble using them in a Doubles Battle, since they’re version exclusives. I’d much rather bring Cloyster and Onix to a Doubles Battle anyway, and give my opponents a show. No need to force it, you know? Some Pokémon naturally belong together. How about Lickitung and Jynx? Snorlax and Vanilluxe…?
The boy version of the Lati@s, which makes this a Legendary pair rather than a trio – what Game Freak really need, and I daresay their silence is deafening on this, but what they really need is a non-binary Lati. As it is, these are two more pretty forgettable Legendaries that really make your choice boil down to which type of aeroplane livery you prefer, a blue one or a pink one. Airnuts take that stuff pretty seriously, but I will say it’s cool to fly high with either one of them, which the Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire games allow you to do. Other than that, these are what you call scrub Legendaries – not that good in battle really, but people will still look down on you for using them, so you lose either way.
You’re in some pretty big trouble if you ever witness this thing, this flying blue Moby Dick, because this’ll mean you’re about to be hit with a colossal tidal wave, a typhoon, even a whole tsunami. While Groudon governs the continents and landmasses of the work, Kyogre controls the seas and guess what? If the real world is anything to go by, then the Pokéworld is two thirds water, giving Kyogre the upper hand. I can’t even swim ten feet, much less do a breastroke against whatever maelstrom Kyogre summons. And even if I did escape, it could just flatten me, couldn’t it? Kyogre is a classic legendary, not fit to take any messing. It’ll chew through a lot of its fellow legendaries in a hurry, drowning them in their own despair. A ten-year-old child probably shouldn’t gain control of the world’s tides, but if you do, then no-one will be able to stand up to you. There ain’t many better choices for a team than this.
Of course, just as the world’s continents and settlements are doomed to be subsumed (I’m a cynical poet and I didn’t know it) by the rising seas, so too will Kyogre win out over Groudon pretty easily. You’ve seen Water World of course, so you know how it will go. Actually, you probably haven’t seen that rubbish, at least not all the way through, but suffice to say that this is one of the most one-sided legendary matchups around. Still, there’s plenty of room for Groudon to be a flat-earth – ah, flat-track bully. It’s bigger than Snorlax and weighs more than Wailord, which means its punches and kicks ought to do a bit of damage. I imagine if it stomped on your Castform, that’d be a guaranteed gooey death, although it seems to take a lot for a Pokémon to actually snuff it. Groudon is a fine choice for a team, damn fine – it’s just that Kyogre and Rayquaza are way better. Mind you, track down a shiny Groudon and you’ll see it comes replete with solid goat coating – you ought to able to melt him down and make more than a tidy profit. Might as well, the sea is going to win anyway.
Something about the Chinese meth dragon aesthetic always look a bit fragile to me. It’d blow away your gaffe in one blast of fire from its lips, don’t get me wrong. But there’s something cardboardy about it. Rayquaza is meant to keep the previous two lads in check, but if Kyogre floods the place or Groudon turns up the heat, I can see Rayquaza going like a cardboard toilet roll holder and disintegrating… actually, no I can’t. Rayquaza is an absolute beast and a half, and it can Mega-Evolve too, into a meth dragon so overpowered that it caused the Smogon boffins to run for cover. There isn’t a single wouldbe Pokémon trainer out there, no matter how neckbeardy, that wouldn’t look incredible sitting astride Rayquaza as it lays waste to yet another city. Not putting this guy in your team would be like discarding an Ace in five-card poker – not suicidal, but you’d better know exactly what you’re doing.
Make a wish, and Jirachi will make it come true. Well, I’ve been blowing eyelashes and breaking wishbones and throwing salt at black cats and all sorts but I never get any luck with my wishes, so maybe Jirachi can come through for me. Or is that come true? Only problem – it sleeps for a thousand years, only coming to life for 7 days to grant wishes, before an other millenium’s worth of sleep. I admire its sleeping habits, really I do. But this guy is a bit of a part-timer, wouldn’t you say? Look, say you’re a Pokémon trainer and you’ve got the battle of your life coming up – maybe the girl next door’s come back home and wants to give you a battle for old time’s sake. What do you think the chances are of your Jirachi’s seven active days falling into that window? Bit remote, aren’t they? But here’s what I want to know, and it’s a catastrophically boring question – when I take even a few days off work, I come back to an absolute mountain of emails. This bugger takes ten centuries off and gets all his backlog cleared in a week? I think senior management is going to have to step in and sort this guy out.
A highly adaptable Pokemon, which you’d probably expect since Deoxys is DNA made real. I have a bit of an interest in genetics – after all, when I did my Biology exam in school, it was full of genetics, which I could understand, and not photosynthesis or some rubbish, which I couldn’t. Why should I care so much about what the little planties eat, what about my eats? Deoxys here won’t care about your eats, but at least his teachings of DNA ensured I didn’t receive a mark of ‘Troll’ in my Biology final. In battle, Deoxys fulfils the role of uber badman very well, being able to adapt into Attack, Defense and Speed formes with incredible stats backing each forme. It was a good thing that the Generation 3 remakes let you get Deoxys without some sort of infernal event, if Deoxys ever even had an effort. If it did, it certainly didn’t reach Ireland. What else does, bar stormy weather and European winds of economic depression?
END OF GENERATION III