An entirely Pokemon-related series of rambling articles. This weblog exists because I won a competition for it (somehow) so I'll try to make each article a high-quality affair in its own right. No filler here.
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The Generation V Metagame

Posted October 20th, 2011 at 3:14 PM by (=Nemesis=)
Updated October 21st, 2011 at 7:28 AM by (=Nemesis=) (Rewriting it to be less confuzzling)

... is like being slapped in the face with an old and very heavy fish. Insult and injury in one very smelly package.

So what do I mean by this? Well, there are a few key elements. Much of it is Nintendo's fault. To be fair, they're not entirely to blame. Just "mostly".

The Dream World has got to be the worst thing to happen to Pokemon since Mr. Mime. For a multitude of reasons.

Firstly, the Dream World just sucks. Nintendo expects us to do the following in exact order:

1) Make sure it's been at least 24 hours since a Pokemon was last retrieved from the Dream World.

2) Pick a Pokemon from the PC to be sent to the Dream World. Connect to the Nintendo WFC to send it.

3) Go onto a computer, log onto Pokemon Global Link, and wait for what can be quite a while for the Flash application to load.

4) Play Flash mini-games. Not ones with Nintendo's innate game design flair. No. These were almost certainly outsourced to people who don't care at all. You see 7-year-olds playing these kinds of games. If you want to be competitive in Gen V, knuckle down and play those kiddie Flash games. No other way about it.

5) Keep playing as many as you can for an hour. I think I racked up about 200 points in that much time. If you want, say, a Carvanha with Speed Boost, that's 7,500 points you will need. Or about 30-40 hours of grinding those kiddie Flash mini-games. Since it's a limit of one hour per day, that's an entire month of self-abuse.

6) Wake up your Pokemon, make a note of the time, and wait 24 hours for the next blow to your sanity.

7) Realise that if you live in Japan, they'll give you access to Moody Smeargle, the best Pokemon in Dream World, for free. No points required.

8) Begin murderous rampage.

Pokemon with Dream World abilities can be overpowered. Extremely overpowered. There are the hypothetical ones, such as Drought Ninetails and Contrary Serperior, and there are some that are very real and available threats. I was dipping into the Random Matchup system and got my team handed back to me by a Moody Smeargle. There's a reason I call it the most powerful Pokemon in DW.

Moody is an ability that raises a random statistic by two stages, and lowers another one by one stage. This occurs at the end of every turn.

On the first turn the Smeargle used Fake Out, giving it a free turn in which its Speed was sharply raised. There was literally nothing I could do about the Spore which followed. And on that same turn its Defence fell but its Evasion sharply raised. I couldn't land a single hit after that.

You might argue I was just unlucky there. Its Evasion stat might not have been raised and my Haxorus would have got the blighter (well, maybe not - if that were my Smeargle he'd have a Focus Sash). But that's the point. A game like this isn't supposed to be about blind luck. Moody is the most unfair ability ever to have been invented. No wonder it's banned by Smogon. They even describe Bidoof with Moody as being impossibly powerful.

Speaking of Smogon... their obsession with hypothetical Pokemon always bugged me a little. There's nary a Pokemon without Hidden Power mentioned in its tactical analysis. I think the people there use nothing but Pokemon simulator tools.

Now that the Dream World is up and running, they have been busily replacing 4th Generation tactics with ones that take DW abilities into account. The problem is that this is for Pokemon whose Dream World form hasn't even been made available! The tier lists have been affected so much by this nonsense that I no longer have a good idea, as I did in Generation IV, what is a fair matchup and what is not.

The message here is, if you want a fair Pokemon battle with actual Pokemon rather than simulations... make your own tier list. Smogon's no longer useful for you.

Finally, the Random Matchup feature. It's something Pokemon has needed for a long time now. But its implementation is so bad I almost wish they'd never tried.

I can see why they went for the three-versus-three setup. It leads to shorter, sharper battles and adds an interesting twist in that you have to guess which available half of the team your opponent is going to pick. Unfortunately it does seem to demolish most of the strategy. The opponents I faced typically started with a sweeper, or with a move like Spore. I tried the whole defensive-stalling thing, but if the opponent starts with a sweeper, it was too difficult to be worthwhile.

Especially if your opponent is hacking the game.

And while this might be the sore loser in me, I really do think that's the case. When you're up against a whole team of Shiny Pokemon you get a little paranoid I suppose. And I'm sure Pokemon generally don't get as powerful as some I'd seen.

For instance. I went up against this trainer with a Scizor. I had a Lilligant (Elizabeth) first.

Lilligant uses Sleep Powder. (hit!)
Scizor is asleep.

Lilligant uses Quiver Dance (hoping the Scizor is switched out - I was tired OK)
Scizor wakes up! X-Scissor knocks out my Lilligant instantly.

My Haxorus (Dr. Hax) sent out, uses Earthquake. (hit! 1/4 health removed)
Scizor uses X-Scissor, knocks out my Haxorus instantly.

OK, wha-? As far as relevant stats go, Haxorus and Scizor are closely matched. Scizor has a slight edge in physical defence, but misses out on some of Haxorus' physical attack. I trained my Haxorus for speed and physical attack.

If the Scizor was trained for defence, I can understand how it would have taken low damage. But how could it have enough attack power to OHKO my Haxorus?

And if it were trained for physical attack, how did it so easily cope with that Earthquake?

All I'm going to say for that is that my Haxorus is aptly named.

For that reason, I don't want to touch the Random Matchup again. Ever. I feel as if my perception of my Pokemon team's effectiveness is being distorted and warped by this kind of tomfoolery.

Finally, something that has nothing to do with the metagame at all. It's a general annoyance.

Black and White are the first games to block naughty words in Pokemon nicknames. Yet in the Random Matchup, all Pokemon names revert to their species name. What's the point of censoring nicknames if they're still considered too risky to allow across the internet? Are they worried that someone will hide a stalky-message into their team to trick the innocent?

I dunno. I'm done here. End of rant. I'm off to train my new team.

An Emboar, "FreeCandy", a Whimsicott, "MyFoneNoIs", and a Hydreigon, "555382321".
Posted in Pokemon Life
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  1. Old Comment
    Dude, no offense, but this doesn't really makes much of sense. And, for the record, Smogon isn't using Shoddy Battle anymore iirc. They're using Pokemon Online, a, pretty much, better online battling simulator.
    Posted October 20th, 2011 at 9:54 PM by
  2. Old Comment
    (=Nemesis=)'s Avatar
    Seriously? OK. I'll rewrite relevant parts of the article.

    EDIT: Well I've rewritten it. I'm not quite sure which bits you don't think make sense, but I tried to make things more readable.
    Posted October 21st, 2011 at 7:05 AM by (=Nemesis=) (=Nemesis=) is offline
    Updated October 21st, 2011 at 7:29 AM by (=Nemesis=)

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