dankempster's forum posts

#1 Posted by dankempster (2227 posts) -

Another great entry in what's proving to be a really fun series to follow. I agree with you completely about Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter being incredibly user-unfriendly - the switching between two different cartridges and two different apps was frustrating in the extreme, as was having to move everything you wanted to migrate from the Gen 5 game into Box 1. That being said, I guess it's still a step forward from the six-at-a-time limitations of Pal Park and Poké Transfer. I'm just glad it's all done now, and hopefully the promised forwards-compatibility of the Bank will remove those frustrations from future generations altogether.

I've also been working on a competitive team of my own. I haven't finished the breeding and training yet, but I've taken early drafts of the team online and I've been really happy with how it's performed so far. This is how the team will look when I'm finished (I haven't settled on any nicknames yet, but I would like to nickname them all eventually):


Galvantula is pretty much always my lead. The Focus Sash guarantees setting up a Sticky Web on the first turn of battle, and the little guy is fast enough to out-speed most things and Volt Switch to safety on its second turn (or wreck house, if the opponent leaves in something vulnerable). Compound Eyes and Thunder is a great combination, boosting its pretty unreliable 70% accuracy to a much more respectable 91%, and Bug Buzz rounds out its offensive coverage with another powerful STAB move.

Ability: Compound Eyes

Nature: Timid (+Speed, -Attack)

EVs: Special Attack and Speed

Held Item: Focus Sash

Moves: Sticky Web, Bug Buzz, Thunder, Volt Switch


Tyrantrum serves as my physical wall and carrier of Stealth Rock, which in combination with Sticky Web is an important part of my long-term set-up strategy. It's got an impressive amount of physical bulk and will happily eat up physical hits (I've even had it swallow two super-effective Earthquakes, although I suspect I may not have been up against an EV-trained opponent on that occasion). It's a lot of fun switching it into expected physical hits and watching the opponent take damage back from the Rocky Helmet, then managing to get up essentially free Stealth Rocks when they switch out on the next turn. Crunch takes advantage of its Strong Jaw ability, Dragon Tail is great for shuffling the opponent's deck and forcing them out into Stealth Rock damage, and Stone Edge is a great powerful STAB move, if a little inaccurate.

Ability: Strong Jaw

Nature: Impish (+Defence, -Special Attack)

EVs: HP and Defence

Held Item: Rocky Helmet

Moves: Stealth Rock, Dragon Tail, Crunch, Stone Edge


Excadrill is my Rapid Spinner, intended to keep Stealth Rocks off my side of the field lest they screw over my ace. Because I don't run Sandstorm on my team, Mold Breaker is the best fit for his ability, letting me Earthquake levitating Pokémon and break through other annoying abilities. The Air Balloon lets me safely switch into three of the four existing entry hazards without suffering their effects, as well as any potential Earthquakes from the other side, which may not sound like a big deal, but is incredibly useful for such a fragile Pokémon. As for its moveset, Earthquake is a powerful STAB move, Rock Slide hits Flying-types hard, and I've found Poison Jab to be a nice thorn in the side of opposing Fairy-types (I've managed to 2HKO a Cotton Guarded Whimsicott with it more than once).

Ability: Mold Breaker

Nature: Adamant (+Attack, -Special Attack)

EVs: Attack and Speed

Held Item: Air Balloon

Moves: Rapid Spin, Earthquake, Rock Slide, Poison Jab


Politoed is my special wall and something of a 'red herring' in the context of my whole team. Its Drizzle ability can overturn the Drought ability of my ace, turning harsh sunlight into rain in the blink of an eye and royally screwing over any opposing Pokémon that tries to switch in to take advantage of the sun (not to mention giving Galvantula a never-miss Thunder should the opportunity arise). Scald gets boosts from STAB and the rain, plus carries a chance to Burn. Ice Beam is pretty handy for dealing with Dragon- and Grass-types. Substitute is a great way to get set up against a non-threatening Special Attacker, and gives you a temporary wall from which you can safely Scald physical attackers when they switch in. Protect is great for scouting, stalling Burn damage and aiding Leftovers recovery.

Ability: Drizzle

Nature: Calm (+Special Defence, -Attack)

EVs: HP and Special Defence

Held Item: Leftovers

Moves: Scald, Ice Beam, Substitute, Protect


Scrafty got his slot on the team because I noticed I was lacking physical power and Fighting-type coverage, both of which were leaving me really struggling against special walls like Goodra and Blissey. I've gone for the Shed Skin ability over Moxie because it's useful for shaking off annoying status effects typically used by stalling Pokémon, and my Scrafty isn't really intended to be used as a sweeper. Scrafty's got amazing defensive stats which make him great at shrugging off both physical and special damage, and when coupled with the Drain Punch/Big Root combo, he's wonderfully resilient. Bulk Up boosts both Attack and Defence to make Scrafty both stronger and more resistant to physical damage, Payback is the best STAB option considering its low Speed means it almost always moves last, and Dragon Claw makes wonderfully short work of bulky Dragon types.

Ability: Shed Skin

Nature: Adamant (+Attack, -Special Attack)

EVs: Full Attack, rest split between Defence and Special Defence

Held Item: Big Root

Moves: Bulk Up, Drain Punch, Payback, Dragon Claw


This is my ace, a Pokémon I loved using so much that I endeavoured to build this whole team around it. Pretty much everything listed above serves to create optimum conditions for my Charizard to Mega Evolve and wreck house with its amazing sweeping abilities - there's not much it can't outspeed with a Sticky Web in play, and there's not much it can't take out in one hit with Stealth Rocks on the other side of the field. Drought cuts damage from Water-type attacks, boosts Flamethrower, and turns Solar Beam into a one-turn move that devastates unsuspecting Water-types. Air Slash is a great move that takes advantage of STAB and also carries a chance to flinch the opponent, and Roost ensures its longevity by giving it a means of HP recovery.

Ability: Blaze (Drought when Mega Evolved)

Nature: Modest (+Special Attack, -Attack)

EVs: Special Attack and Speed

Held Item: Charizardite Y

Moves: Flamethrower, Solar Beam, Air Slash, Roost

#2 Edited by dankempster (2227 posts) -

@arbitrarywater: You know, I'd completely forgotten that Pokémon can be obtained at the Celadon Game Corner. I guess if I can pick one up from there it would technically count as my capture for the area, and I don't really mind skipping Eevee for a potential Dragonite. As for Mega Charizard Y, I know it's got its down-sides compared to the X variant, but a lot of the fun has come from trying to compensate for its weaknesses by building a strong, supportive team around it. Hopefully Excadrill's Rapid Spin should help to keep those pesky Stealth Rocks at bay, and with Galvantula's Sticky Web on the other side of the field, it's able to outspeed a lot of other Pokémon (providing they aren't Choice Scarfed) and either KO them or restore its HP in relative safety with Roost. I've given it a few test runs alongside my Tyrantrum and Galvantula, and I'm happy with how it's performing so far.

@mikelemmer: Not gonna lie, it's a huge time-sink, and not something I think I'd be prepared to do again after I get done breeding these six. The Pokémon I've been using online up to now have simply been bred for the appropriate Nature and Ability and then EV trained, and for the most part they've held their own well enough, so I'll probably revert to that approach in future. It's mainly curiosity, to see how deep the rabbit hole really does go, that's put me in this position. I agree with you that competitive Pokémon battling is very much at odds with the franchise's narrative ethos, but I'm not sure how that could be addressed at this point without completely overturning the series' established mechanics, and I don't think an overhaul of that magnitude would please the competitive battling community at all.

@video_game_king: I wholeheartedly endorse the concept of The Kantobury Tales. That is something I would definitely read.

#3 Posted by dankempster (2227 posts) -

@video_game_king: Not sure if this is sarcasm or oversight, so I'll assume it's the latter and bite - it's a quote from Dante's Inferno (not that Dante's Inferno) that appears above the gateway into Hell. I'm sure not many people have married the concepts of 14th century epic poetry and Pokémon, but hey, we're laughing and learning here.

...and yeah, there's totally a face in the rocks. Can't believe I didn't see that before.

@thomasmayhew: I am still reeling mate. They were so young. So young...(although on a side note, 'Uri Geller and The Mole' sounds like the name of a comic book/kids' cartoon that I would definitely read/watch)

@arbitrarywater: Unfortunately trading is out of the question here, meaning Alakazam and Gengar are, too. A Gastly or Haunter would be a very useful catch, but it's still a little way off yet, because I need to go through Team Rocket HQ and grab the Silph Scope first. A speedy Ghost type would definitely improve my chances for the upcoming Psychic and Poison gyms, though.

@majormitch: Rosie definitely lasted longer than I expected her to. I think the big problem that I faced in Rock Tunnel was that a lot of my team were offensively powerful, but very defensively frail. That's the advantage Judi Drench has - he's sturdier than anyone else, so he can safely take hits that the other team members couldn't. Hopefully we can get a little more defensive bulk into the team now - I know Machop is slower than Mankey, but he's a bit more resilient too.

The team that I'm building is centred on Mega Charizard Y, which I've had a lot of fun battling with, and a lot of woes battling against. It consists of Mega Charizard Y, Tyrantrum, Galvantula, Excadrill and Politoed, with the sixth slot still undetermined (although I think it's going to go to either Scrafty or Gallade). The basic strategy of the team is for Tyrantrum and Galvantula to set up Stealth Rocks and Sticky Webs respectively to support Mega Charizard Y and enable it to sweep more easily. Excadrill is there as a Rapid Spinner to protect my Charizard from Stealth Rocks. Politoed is there to switch in so its Drizzle ability stops opponents from taking advantage of the sunlight from Mega Charizard Y's Drought. All of these four supporting Pokémon can also hold their own in situations where Mega Charizard Y might struggle, with a decent amount of power and type coverage between them. Tyrantrum and Politoed are also EV trained in Defence and Special Defence respectively, so they're my (slightly unconventional) wall Pokémon. I haven't been able to think of a useful supporting role for the sixth slot, so I was going to go for purely type coverage, but I'm definitely open to ideas if anyone has any.

#4 Posted by dankempster (2227 posts) -

Great blog, as always. I don't really have anything to say games-wise, being as I haven't played any of the titles you talked about. I'm super-psyched to play Ground Zeroes, but I'm holding off on it until I can secure a next-gen console to play it on (which, realistically, might not be until next year). I know you're a fan of the series, so it's good to hear that it's suitably catering to its existing audience. In the meantime I'm scratching my Metal Gear itch by playing through Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance on the 360. It's not your typical Metal Gear fare, but it looks great and plays brilliantly for what it is. My only concern is that it's going to be over before it's even begun - I've heard it clocks in at around only five or six hours.

I mainly came here to drop a comment regarding your books. All I can say is, try not to get disheartened by lack of sales. I know that's something that's more easily said than done, because I empathise with you on that front. Sometimes it feels like you're just pushing content out into a vacuum, whether it be a novel, or a YouTube video, or a blog on a video games website. But I find all of that uncertainty is worth the little moments of pay-off that they can bring. With that said, here's my effort to bring one of those little moments to you. I actually read through 'The Allegiance of Justice' at the start of this month, in the space of about four days, and it's a good book. You've got some great ideas in there, you play around with conventional fantasy tropes, subverting them in ways that had me laughing in spots, and I really admired your occasional breaking of the fourth wall, because I know that's something I could never do as a writer. You define your characters really well, too, through both dialogue and behaviour, and that's a trait I envy because I personally think a lot of my own characters end up feeling pretty homogeneous. Some of your prose seemed a bit muddled and difficult to follow at times, and I would've liked a little more world-building, so I could learn more about the Michiganias, but they're not really 'complaints' per se - more like constructive criticism to bear in mind when working on future projects. Bottom line is, I bought 'Space Cops 5000' as soon as I finished 'The Allegiance of Justice', and I'm looking forward to reading it soon. So keep at it, because this duder is a part of your audience, and he appreciates what you're doing.

#5 Posted by dankempster (2227 posts) -

I'm currently putting together a team for battling and would like it to include a Politoed with the Hidden Ability 'Drizzle'. I'm pretty sure that in order to get this, I'd need a Poliwhirl with its own Hidden Ability, and the only way to get one of those is from somebody's Friend Safari.

So is there anybody on this great website who can help me? If you have a Water Friend Safari with Poliwhirl, I'd be hugely grateful of a Friend Code exchange so I can catch one. My 3DS friend code is 0490-5718-6398. I don't actually know what my own Friend Safari is, so I can't promise you anything great in return, but you would have my gratitude.

Alternatively, if someone's got a Swift Swim male Poliwag or Poliwhirl they'd be willing to trade, I've got a bunch of Timid 3- and 4-IV Charmander and some Jolly 3- and 4-IV Tyrunt I'm not planning to use.

#6 Posted by dankempster (2227 posts) -

The Tales series is something I've been meaning to look into for a very long time, but haven't got around to yet (in that respect, it has a lot in common with a lot of other games). Reading this excellent blog has re-ignited my curiosity in the franchise, but also reminded me why I've steered clear of it up to now - they're clearly a huge investment in terms of both time and emotion, and I'm not sure that's a commitment I'm in a position to make considering it's taken me almost two months to reach the Lunar Gate portion of Final Fantasy VIII. I'm sure my JRPG curiosity will get the better of me eventually and cause me to pick up one of the games, which will then sit on my shelf unplayed for months or years until I finally get around to playing it, but until that day comes, thank you for sating my interest for the time being with this brilliant blog.

And as a side note, it's bloody wonderful that blog notifications are working again. Seeing your name pop up in my list of alerts again (among other users whose work I admire) makes me a happy user.

#7 Posted by dankempster (2227 posts) -

@thomasmayhew: Losing Rufus hit me the hardest out of all three as well. He was hugely useful in getting through Mount Moon, dealing with the hundreds of Zubat and Team Rocket's perennial Poison-types with his all-powerful Confusion attack. I didn't really have a chance to get attached to Mandragora because he was around for such a short length of time, and Beryl was starting to lag behind in terms of both levels and usefulness. Meanwhile, both Rosie and Bird Jesus live on to fight another day! Looks like we both would have lost some money on that theoretical sweepstake!

@themanwithnoplan: I didn't think that losing party Pokémon would get to me, but it genuinely did. Especially poor Rufus, who'd been putting in serious work against Team Rocket's deadly Poison-types up until his demise. I'm not sure how much the nicknames are responsible for that, but I don't usually nickname my Pokémon, so it's at least a possibility. Here's hoping we can avoid any more bloodshed in Part Five.

@arbitrarywater: Unfortunately, one of the by-products of a Nuzlocke is that you don't really get to 'choose' which Pokémon you pick up along the way - it's all dependent on that crucial first encounter in every area. I'd love to pick up a Growlithe outside Celadon City (I've never trained one before, and I think the team could use some Fire-type coverage), but there's no guarantee I will. I'm sure fate will conspire to let me put together at least a half-decent team over the course of the Nuzlocke.

@sparky_buzzsaw: First off, it's great to know that notifications have been fixed! Here's hoping some of the other issues aren't too far behind. Second, I'm glad you're enjoying the series from an outsider's perspective. Third and finally, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if that was a real way of getting hold of a Pokémon these days. Some of the new evolution methods are, frankly, fucking ridiculous (one of the newest Pokémon evolves by levelling up with the 3DS held upside down, I believe).

@majormitch: Thanks for the positive feedback, duder. I'm glad the series is proving to be an enjoyable read for people, because I'm really enjoying writing every instalment as well. The 'Graveyard' was just something I started calling my PC box dedicated to 'dead' Pokemon, but while writing I conjured up this mental image of an actual Pokémon cemetery out back of the Pokémon Center, and just kinda went with it. As for the screenshots, I'm playing the game on a Game Boy Advance emulator on my PC and taking screen captures within the program. I won't dwell on it too much, because I know discussion of emulation is frowned upon here on Giant Bomb. I will say that I do own a physical cartridge copy of the game and was originally going to play it that way on my DS, but thought that having screenshots to accompany the text would make for a more engaging and enjoyable read. The big downside to doing things this way is that I won't eventually be able to bring the surviving party members up into X and Y, which is a shame, as I would have loved to migrate the team over if they manage to beat the Elite Four.

#8 Posted by dankempster (2227 posts) -

Great write-up, sir. I didn't participate, but I really enjoyed watching the original Twitch Plays Pokémon stream last month. Partly because of all the fantastic memes, stories and fan-images that grew out of it (praise Helix), but also because it was captivating just to watch the experiment unfold. I think a big part of what made it such compelling viewing for me was how novel it was as a concept, which is probably why I've struggled to extract much enjoyment from the new Crystal stream. I guess the curiosity that drove my interest in the original steam was sated when they beat the Elite Four, so I didn't feel like I really needed any more TPP once the credits rolled on Red.

On a personal note, my favourite part of the stream was without a doubt when thousands of people came together as one for long enough to actually catch Zapdos, and then completely fell apart as they attempted to free their new quarry from the dreaded PC, resulting in what subsequently became known as 'Bloody Sunday'. It was a twenty-four-hour period that perfectly epitomised the run as a whole. Assuming you were a regular viewer, I'd be keen to know if you had a favourite moment too.

#9 Posted by dankempster (2227 posts) -

@themanwithnoplan: I genuinely couldn't believe it. It was pretty much the only thing I could do in that situation, and I was incredibly lucky to have the ball stay intact. The great injustice of it all is, I may not even use that Abra - my inability to trade means it would never become an Alakazam, and I'm not sure a Kadabra would be resilient enough in a Nuzlocke run. Glad you're enjoying the blogs, and thanks for the feedback. Next one should be up on Sunday, all being well.

@crusader8463: And I wish you the best of luck in your endeavour, duder. I did a similar thing through the latter half of last year, playing through LeafGreen, SoulSilver, Emerald, Platinum and White in order to transfer as many Pokémon as possible into a single cartridge. Everything is now sitting in Pokémon Y and I'm pretty sure I have in excess of 500 individual species, with the ability to breed or evolve for all the non-legendary Pokémon I'm still missing. Your Team Rocket Challenge concept sounds really interesting, and I'd be really curious to see or hear how that pans out if you do decide to pursue it - any idea which game you'd attempt it in? Finally, I hope you succeed in breeding the Koffing of your dreams, although breeding itself is a very dark rabbit hole to go down, should you choose to. I typically breed for good Natures and the occasional Egg Move, but I draw the line at all this 'five perfect IVs' stuff - that's one step too far for me.

@arbitrarywater: Having watched a couple of Nuzlockes done by YouTube Let's-Players in preparation for this project, I think this is how the start of a Nuzlocke usually goes down - early deaths are more often caused by stupid mistakes than being truly overpowered by the AI. If what I've seen is any indication, this stuff will probably start getting legitimately difficult around the fourth or fifth gym. I'm not saying the team will start suddenlydropping like flies once we hit Celadon City, but I think some definite set-backs are in the future for Judi Drench and co.

@thomasmayhew: If I were an independent punter, my money would be on Rosie without hesitation. I don't see how her numerous brushes with death thus far can be anything other than subtle foreshadowing by unseen, divine forces.

@ulquiokani: Thanks, it's great to know you're enjoying the series so far. I'm just as surprised as you are that Team Judi Drench made it through the rival battle without any casualties, believe me - switching Rosie into that Rattata's line of fire was very nearly disastrous. As I said to Thomas above, I'm pretty sure Rosie will be the first one to bite the bullet at this point, she's so defensively fragile that it's only a matter of time before she squares up against something strong enough to one-shot-kill her. And thanks for the compliment on my writing style, too. It's definitely a fun little project to work on from a writer's perspective as well as a game-player's, and a welcome chance to flex my grey matter in a slightly different way from my usual writing style.

#10 Edited by dankempster (2227 posts) -

@thomasmayhew: Haha! Not the Brock's nipples, mate. Just one letter too many, I'm afraid.