Pokemon Alpha Sapphire: The Tyranitar Solo Run


That run may well not have existed at all, as I discovered the Tyranitar line solely by chance. While I was cruising Route 18 without Repels for some reason in my last Y run, I stumbled upon a Pupitar. That 'Mon looked so bizarre that my curiosity was instantly piqued; upon researching that new creature, I discovered that its whole evolution line was perfect solo run material, and there was no turning back. A Tyranitar run was going to be a thing, and no later than immediately.

The list of things that make Tyranitar a stellar One and 'Monly is vast indeed. First thing first, it's a three-stage evolution line that mimics bug growth, with a pupal-like middle stage and a nicely late final evolution at Lv. 55. It's also a pseudo-legendary that boasts the 16th highest total base stat of all 'Mons, with a whopping 600. It also changes Type upon its last evolution, going from Rock/Ground to Rock/Dark; that change is guaranteed to shake things up when it comes to STAB and weaknesses. Speaking of which, Tyranitar is afflicted by a mammoth seven weaknesses, including a double weakness to Fighting; that certainly balances its high stats quite neatly. Last but not least, it was granted a Mega Evolution in Gen VI, effectively making it a four evolution stage 'Mon; and you know I just cannot resist ME, even though they make the games laughingly easy.

It should surprise no one that the ensuing run was smooth as heck and pure fighting delight from beginning to end. Larvitar is just so adorable that I wanted to feast my eyes upon it longer than Lv. 30; and thus I delayed my Malachite's evolution into Pupitar until Lv. 50. I expected to struggle mightily; but with Moves like Bite, Chip Away, Rock Tomb and Rock Slide at my disposal, its wasn't even that hard. This makes me question the viability of a full Larvitar solo run, which is something I'd love to tackle — because heck, Larvitar is just too cute. Anyway, once I crossed the final evolutionary rubicon, the late stages of my run became a total breeze. Because indeed, who wouldn't blaze through any living thing with a Tyranitar armed with Crunch, Chip Away, Earthquake and Rock Slide? Heck, I didn't even bother to snatch Return this time around! Hoenn being Hoenn, I half-feared the abundance of Water 'Mons in the game's late stages; but it turned out I needn't have worried, as everything fainted before they could even throw a drop of water at my Malachite.

That run was actually too easy and smooth, even for my lazy taste; and so, I decided to shake and spice things up for the Elite Four. I did that by getting rid of all STAB and deliberately keeping my Moves under 75 power: and that's how I ended up with Fire Fang, Ice Fang, Thunder Fang and Brick Break as my final Move pool. Even with that nerfed set, the Elite Four remained a cakewalk, with all 'Mons bar five going down in one clean hit. I even had the luxury of using all my Moves AND going all super-effective against five of Steven's six 'Mons: Thunder Fang for Skarmory, Brick Break for Aggron, Ice Fang for Claydol and Cradily and Fire Fang for Metagross.

Long story short, the Tyranitar line didn't disappoint; that run was pure pleasure from beginning to end, and I'm seriously itching to run with the creature again in its home region — with the unbearably cute added benefit of watching it trail behind me in HeartGold or SoulSilver. But that's a story for another time and post, dear fellow gamers; for now, let's move on to the next run in line!


Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3 - V Generation: Here we go again

The Re;Birth subseries is strongly linked to summer as far as I'm concerned. This is solely due to the fact that I played the first two entries precisely at that time of the year; since then, thinking of the series brings back memories of sparkling sun, green tea pots and summer TV shows playing in the background. Of course, it works the other way too, as all those things can trigger a strong craving for all things Re;Birth. This is precisely what happened this summer, and I was more than happy to cave in and dive into the yet unplayed third entry.

I was amazed to see that despite not having touched a Re;Birth game for a whopping four years, I was back on track right away. Everything felt deliciously familiar and welcoming, and it wasn't long before I was grinding with abandon. Re;Birth's brand of grinding hits just the sweet spot between stimulating and soothing. It equally lends itself to focused playing and to mindless, front-of-tv playing, and I'm indulging in both depending on the mood. 

I don't have much to add regarding gameplay mechanics, since I already laid them down in my older Re;Birth posts. (See here and there.) RB3 is basically more of the same, bound to delight Re;Birth aficionados and make others scream ripoff. One different thing, though, is the fact that party members come and go on a whim; I don't remember this happening in former entries, and I don't like it much, as it spoils my grinding's smoothness and regularity. Do you know how messy it looks to have party members at uneven levels, Compile Heart? Oh, well; as long as I get the opportunity to level up my chosen crew at some point, I guess I can manage that small annoyance.

Smug collector face.

 On a more general note, I can proudly claim that I'm up to date regarding physical copies of HN games, with nearly every single game secured in my precious collection. The only entry missing is the elusive Megadimension Neptunia VII, which I ordered from Limited Run Games and which has yet to be produced; in the meantime, I'll play the digital version, which I got on a discount (before I knew about the LRG run, that goes without saying.) Anyway, I'll see you soon with my next RB3 run report, dear fellow gamers. In the meantime, keep gaming and take care!


Pokemon Y: The Aerodactyl Solo Run


That run is the surprise of the summer: I was absolutely not planning to run with that oldest of Poke-fossils, neither now nor ever. However, as I was cruising in Glittering Cave, a fateful Rock Smash produced a piece of Old Amber. Having no idea what that item was, I ran to Bulbapedia and discovered the link with Aerodactyl; and when I saw that he boasted a Mega Evolution and that his Mega Stone could be obtained in the exact same spot where fossils were revitalized, there was not turning back. An Aerodactyl run was going to be a thing indeed, and no later than right now.

A bit of Breeding, Trading and Hatching later, I was the proud Trainer of a newborn Aerodactyl; and my, was it a shock to discover my little Météores' starting Move pool. I mean, what kind of monster can wield Wing Attack and Bite at bloody lv. 1? Those are 60 power Moves, for Arceus' sake! Needless to say, one-shooting very quickly became routine. As my Météores boasted a Careful Nature and thus reduced Sp. Attack, I decided early on to make him a pure physical attacker — and his learnset was more than happy to indulge me.

Wing Attack and Bite were ultimately replaced with Aerial Ace and Crunch, along with Return and Ancient Power. Being Special, the latter was far from ideal; however, I stuck to it for a good third of my run because of the STAB and the all-stat bonus effect. I ultimately settled for Earthquake, Dragon Claw, Iron Head and Rock Tomb as my final, Elite Four-obliterating Move pool. Needless to say, said Elite Four was a mere formality, with every 'Mon going down in one clean hit bar Gyarados, Scizor, Probopass and Gourgeist.

Overall, I can say that Aerodactyl's battle prowess is absolutely stellar, and that he's dope solo run material despite his five Type weaknesses. He certainly fared much better against Fighting 'Mons than his fellow fossil Amaura, thanks to his secondary Flying Type that cancels his weakness to Fighting. The Cyllage Rock Gym was a bit hairy, being so early on in the game and without Mega Evolution to save the day; but Météores finally triumphed thanks to his high Attack, the Rocky Helmet and a bit of luck. By the time I challenged the Electric and Ice Gyms and the Water and Steel Champions, Météores had ME in tow and was more than overleveled enough to take care of them without breaking a sweat.

The catch here is Aerodactyl's frustratingly slow growth: not only is he afflicted with Slow leveling-up rate — which ultimately forced me to backtrack and fight earlier Trainers so he could hit the big 100 before the Pokemon League — but he also takes his sweet time to learn Moves. I was absolutely flabbergasted to discover that he learns Giga Impact as late as lv. 83: while this is perfectly consistent with his fossil nature and Rock Type, I shudder when thinking of the players who want to use him in a regular run setting. I was also quite miffed to see his wonderful Rock Head Ability go to waste in my run, as he learns no recoil Moves through leveling-up and I didn't find any recoil TM. Oh, well; he did fine enough with what he had, and it's all that matters.

That glorious experience totally makes me want to run with more fossil 'Mons. Since there is one or two of them in nearly each Gen, I'll probably indulge in a round of fossil runs sooner or later — and create a matching feature on that blog. But for now, other runs are begging for attention; see you soon with more Pokemon goodness, dear fellow gamers! 


Pokemon Y: The Vivillon Battle Report


Welcome, dear fellow Pokefans and Bug 'Mon lovers, to the story of my Vivillon's battle prowess. Bug 'Mons usually make for wildly interesting battles, and Vivillon was no exception. I'd say this though: as far as Bug 'Mons go, Vivillon confortably lounges in the top tier. It's crazy fast, boasts sky-high Sp. Attack and HP and can gain great Type coverage; as a matter of fact, Vivillon is so good that my Swaziland mostly blazed through Kalos, one-shooting everything in his wake. There were, however, two instances where he met his match and I was forced to strategize and grind my way to victory. 

It should surprise absolutely no one that the first of these roadblocks was Grant's Rock Gym in Cyllage. Not only is Vivillon afflicted with a double weakness to Rock, but this is but the second Gym in the game, meaning that the benefits of overleveling had yet to kick in. I went in at lv. 32 with Psybeam, Return, Fairy Wind and Struggle Bug in my arsenal, and managed to beat every single Trainer in the Gym thanks to clever tactics; however, Grant was another matter entirely. I completely and laughingly failed to take down his Amaura: that darn fossil always opened with Rock Throw, destroying my Swaziland in the process. I tried using an X Defense on the first turn, and barely survived one-shooting; unfortunately, I could do nothing after that but heal every turn. There was no getting around it: I needed to grind. 

After taking down a number of wild 'Mons and Trainers I had avoided before, I was back with a vengeance at Lv. 35. Three levels weren't bound to make a whole world of difference; strategy was still very much needed, and I tried a bunch before nailing the right one. One-shooting failed, as well as two-shooting — well, at least I tried, didn't I? The Rocky Helmet + Super Potions combo — which I used to great affect with Amaura itself, how ironic — failed too, because Amaura's Rock Throw and Aurora Beam don't make contact. On top of that, Amaura now always opened with Thunder Wave and paralyzed me; so I had to take that into account as well. The winning strategy involved setting up 5 X Defenses and 2 X Sp. Attacks, while healing when necessary. I then used a Paralyze Heal and proceeded to attack with Psybeam, i.e. my most efficient Special Move under those rocky (indeed) circumstances and down went Amaura in one hit! After that, Tyrunt was a breeze, meekly going down with a single Fairy Wind. Well done, you!

Once again, it should surprise no one that the second hairy battle situation of that run was the Elite Four itself. It was actually more uneven than hard per se, going from one-hit KOs to several turns of struggling. By that time, I had raised my Swaziland's affections all the way to Best Friends Forever (i.e. all five hearts), and it helped tremendously: Swazi 'toughened up' through a one-hit KO and survived with one HP, and avoided a couple of other potentially deadly blows. Malva's 'Mons were one or two-hit affairs with Psychic and Hurricane, as well as Drasna's ones with with Bug Buzz and Psychic; as for Siebold, his whole team went down neatly with Energy Ball. Wikstrom was the hardest of all by a very long shot, as my whole Move pool was non-effective against his Steel 'Mons. I set up one X Defense and one X Sp. Attack I had in store, and got a nasty case of Torment as I was getting rid of Klefki; still, with patience and lots of Full Restores, I finally managed to wear his team down and could move on to Diantha. It was sweet, sweet revenge to one-shoot her Aurorus with Energy Ball; I didn't have Fairy Wind anymore, but Energy Ball took care of Tyrantrum. Cherry on the cake, Mega Gardevoir went down in two clean hits with Bug Buzz, crowning my Pokemon League epopee in the smoothest and most satisfying way.  

That's it for Vivillon, dear fellow Pokefans; however, you'll be glad to learn that I'm not done with Bug 'Mons quite yet. I have not just one, but two other Bug runs lined up before the end of the Pokemon summer season — Gen III Bug runs, no less! I'll keep the suspense intact for now, and I'll see you Bug 'Mon lovers with glowing (hopefully) reports of those runs. And now, on the next One and 'Monly!


Pokemon Y: The Vivillon Solo Run


Here comes the last of my three reader-inspired solo runs, starring Kalos' resident butterfly. Vivillon was suggested by my fellow Poke-fan and Bug 'Mon lover Kumiko, who expressed her curiosity about which pattern I would land. The thing is, I know for a fact that my country gets the Meadow Pattern i.e. the default pattern, the one that appears on Viola's Vivillon and on Bulbapedia. There was thus no suspense whatsoever, and I needed a plan B. That plan involved going on Random.country and refreshing the page until I landed a country that was featured on the 2DS list. That fateful country turned out to be Swaziland which also became my Vivillon's name and it granted me the Sun Pattern. Pretty enough, and certainly better than a number of other patterns out there.

The ensuing run proved wildly interesting in the strategic department so interesting, in fact, that I'm going to write a detailed post about my Swaziland's battle prowess and hardships. For now, I'll focus on the usual nitty-gritty of solo run reports, starting with Nature. My Swaziland's Quiet Nature granted him higher Sp. Attack, which was a blessing given his learnset, and lower Speed, which was perfectly tolerable. With Infestation, Tackle, Struggle Bug and Stun Spore, his early Move pool was nothing to brag about; however, things quickly got better with the arrival of more powerful options. You can see above the pretty nifty Move pool I used for most of my run: Draining Kiss saved my hide more times than I care to count, Bug Buzz was crazy powerful, and Hurricane was the best thing this side of Earthquake. It would have been even deadlier, had Swaziland been endowed with Compound Eyes instead of Shield Dust and gained an Accuracy boost; but hey, it was awesome enough as it was. Also, I've refined the art of reaching lv. 100 right before the Pokemon League: Swaziland hit the big 100 upon beating the last 'Mon of the last Trainer on Victory Road. Perfection!

Even after all these X&Y runs, I'm still spotting details I've never noticed before, such as the cultish nature of Team Flare. There is that one girl in Lysandre Café, who says she's nearly saved pokedollars; later, you meet a grunt in Geosenge who claims she bought a new life for the same amount, which may or may not be that same girl from before. I'm also wondering about the relationship between Sycamore and Lysandre. Sycamore is quite the socialite, chatting urbanely with all of Kalos, from Diantha to Dexio and Sina; however, there seems to be something more to his relationship with Lysandre. In Couriway, Sycamore apologizes on Lysandre's behalf, claims he knew of Lysandre's extreme convictions, and deplores not having stopped him sooner all things that indicate a measure of intimacy between the two, which makes me wonder if they are childhood friends, former colleagues or something. A quick search revealed the existence of a Sycamore x Lysandre ship, which means that I'm definitely not the only one who spotted a bond there. 

All this makes me wanna discover Kalos more, both in terms of lore and topography. There are a number of spots I have yet to explore, especially in Lumiose and Waterfall-locked areas, and I'm gonna wait for my shiny new X&Y strategic guide to indulge in discovering them. At any rate, this was a delighful run, which I obviously dedicate to my fellow gamer Kumiko. I'll see you all soon with the dedicated Vivillon battle report, and a couple of extra solo run reports after that. The Pokemon Summer Season 2020 is still a thing, oh yes it is!


Pokemon Y: The Pangoro Solo Run

Here's my second 'Readers' suggestions' solo run of the summer, starring the cute-turned-badass panda of the Pokemon world. That candidate came from my fellow Pokefan Sieg; and lucky me, Pancham had been on my Solo Run Material List for quite some time. It was thus my pleasure to run with him, all the more so as he soon turned out to be stellar solo run material indeed. 

My little Tuxedo also boasts the honour of being my first-ever traded Egg — should have named him Louise Brown, now shouldn't I? Things went sailingly on all fronts: my Tuxedo was blessed with a Naive Nature, and I was more than grateful for the Speed boost, which counterbalanced the Pancham line's naturally low Speed. He only knew Tackle and Leer right out of the Egg; however, his (already) high Attack gave him a good start in life — and battle, letting him exploit Tackle's power to the fullest. 

And talking about Moves, I had a real blast on that front. While leveling-up, Tuxedo learnt Fighting and Normal Moves like it was going out of fashion. Arm Thrust, Karate Chop, Circle Throw, Vital Throw, Sky Uppercut, Hammer Arm, Slash, Comet Punch, Body Slam: he learnt 'em all and wielded 'em all, if only for a couple of battles. Aerial Ace and Shadow Claw also stayed a while (how a 136 kg panda can master Aerial Ace, I have no idea), before I finally settled for Sky Uppercut, Return, Crunch and Earthquake in the late stages of my run. Needless to say, the Elite Four was mostly a one-shooting fest with such a Move pool — it was especially thrilling to take down Diantha's mega-evolved Gardevoir in one smooth, neat Crunch. 

This segues nicely into my impressions of Pangoro's added-in-evolution Dark Type. My experience of secondary Dark Type so far is that is add little and removes a lot — and Pangoro keeps up with that trend. The added Dark Type gives him a Fighting weakness, of all weaknesses — how very ironic — and doubles his Fairy weakness. Not all is lost though, as he loses his Psychic weakness and gains complete immunity in the process. As you may imagine, the back-to-back Laverre Fairy Gym and Anistar Psychic Gym were night and day: while I avoided every Trainer bar Valerie in the former and doped Tuxedo with a couple of Battle Items to make it out alive, I blazed through the latter without taking a single HP of damage. Still, I'm not yet convinced by Dark as a secondary Typing, and I'm still pinning for the 'Mon that will make me change my mind. 

Long story short, that run was pure delight from beginning to end. Pancham/Pangoro seriously packs a punch: with an Attack of 296 at lv. 100, Tuxedo definitely lounges in my Top 5 Most Powerful Physical Attackers — and it has the learnset to match too, with a crap ton of Physical Moves at his clawtips. So, here's to you, Sieg: a successful and delighful Pangoro Solo Run for the summer! Bet you didn't expect anything less, did ya? I'll see with soon with the third and last (so far) run of the feature, dear fellow gamers; until then, keep playing and take care!