All good things must come to an end and this is the last type to focus on for ‘Generation V’ pokemon. Luckily, as we’ve mentioned before, this only means that our ‘Focus On’ articles can find new subjects to cover. Ozy will be diving into Black and White’s different gym leaders next! Let’s dive into the greatest type ever and look at the new additions to it that Gen V brought it:
Here we have the grass starter family of this generation: #495 Tsutaaja, #496 Janobii, and #497 Jalorda. When we saw leaked pictures of that final form it was controversial, but got nowhere near the criticism of the other two starters’ final evolutions. To me the line is an excellent addition to the ‘Grass Starter Family’ that dates back from Pokemon’s conception. The designs of each of the three pokemon are very smooth and rounded save for the spikes on the leaf-ish tails and back adornments. If I were a real pokemon trainer starting my adventure in Isshu I’d have no problem picking a cute little Tsutaaja from Professor Araragi’s collection and will probably do so in my copy of White. I’m not sure if it’s just me but I wish that Janobii was a little bit more similar to Jalorda than it looks (maybe a longer tail or something). The final evolution has a great regal look to it and seems to command some respect from its fellow pokemon. From a strategic viewpoint Jalorda’s base stats don’t disappoint. Great speed and good defenses mean that this serpent can take a beating, but also dish out some punishment. I was also very pleased to see ‘Leaf Blade’ make a comeback in a grass starter’s movepool because it is my all time favorite attack. Whether it is worth putting on Jalorda (versus the now improved Giga Drain) is not something I’m too sure about though. Leech Seed + Giga Drain could give Jalorda some serious staying power in battle. Extremely happy with this grass starter and can’t wait to have it on my team!
Here we have #511 Yanappu and #512 Yanakki; the grass line in the monkey trio. There are a lot of things I dislike about these two primates, but probably their looks are what I dislike the most. Yanakki isn’t too bad to be honest, but its pre-evolved form is too simple and the color scheme is like nails down a chalkboard. Or I may just have something against monkeys… I don’t know (in all reality though, Aipom is one of my favorites). Overall I was disappointed by these lackluster pokemon that really didn’t add too much to the grass arsenal. I was also confused and somewhat annoyed that the three monkey lines had no common first stage. When pokemon look similar (Plusle, Minun / Volbeat, Illumise, etc) they really should have a uniform pokemon that ties them together in my opinion. Statistically Yanakki is inferior to Jalorda and really suffers in the defenses department. Instead it has some higher attack stats, but since grass attacks are half as effective against twice as many types as they are doubly effective, that can be dicey. I’m sure Yanappu and Yanakki will find fans, but unfortunately I won’t be amongst them.
The cute cotton pokemon pictured above, #546 Monmen and #547 Erufuun, have definitely captured my heart. In a very vague way they seem connected to Jumpluff because of their cotton composition, but end up looking much better. Who couldn’t love their fluffy goodness? Their animations are also adorable so thumbs up to the design team. Unlike the jumpluff family these guys have some nice special attack to take down their foes. Its ability ‘Teasing Heart’ raises the priority of non-attack moves by 1 and this works very well with the new move ‘Cotton Guard’ which raises its defenses by 3 stages. It also has decent defenses and could possibly work to stall pokemon by using Stun Spore or Poisonpowder. Unfortunately these two are Pokemon Black exclusives so I won’t be seeing them during my playthrough. If I weren’t going to be choosing tsutaaja I may have caught a monmen to use on my team instead.
Since Black gets two previous pokemon, White gets #548 Churine and #549 Doredia. I really have no complaints about these two when we’re looking at the design and they are really cute, but in a decidedly more feminine manner than their Black-exclusive counterparts. I also see some Oddish/Bellossom influences in there as well. It looks like Nintendo decided to make this the ‘Princess Grass’ line as it is female only. It’s too bad that there is no male-only ‘prince’ to accompany it. The four feet do seem a tad awkward and I’ll be interested to see it debut in the anime and watch how it walks around (or maybe hops?). When viewed from the back you can see a wide cape-like leaf on its back which might have looked better had it originated from its neck instead of the top of its head. When comparing it to Erufuu, Doredia sacrifices some speed to get a much better special attack stat. I suppose if you were to choose between the two you could determine which you wanted by the way you played. If you want to hit them hard, Doredia might be just the pokemon you’re looking for.
Bringing in some Mexican-flair to our article is the cactus pokemon #556 Marakacchi. Although its appearance was a little bit jarring to me at first it grew on me fast. Even though we had a cactus line in Generation III there is definitely a unique feel to Marakacchi and doesn’t feel like a rehash of a previous pokemon. For some reason the mouth and eyes remind me of Spinda, but it is a bit of a stretch. I’ll be interested to see if anyone agrees with me on that one. Luckily Nintendo didn’t make this a female-only species, even with the flowery ears. Sadly the unique design did not translate into a strategically unique pokemon. With stats inferior to the tsutaaja line and the black/white exclusives I doubt marakacchi will make it on to very many teams. One of my biggest complaints about pokemon is how easily some great ones are wasted because of their low stats. Poor speed coupled with poor defenses make it a less than great choice in the crowded grass family. Hopefully this one’ll make it into the NU (Never Used) tier at least and put a little spice into its battles.
What are perhaps my favorite grass type pokemon from Generation V don’t have any leaves sprouting out of them or even a hint of green color. You’re looking at the pokeball-ish #590 Tamagetake and #591 Morobareru. I haven’t heard much discussion about these two, but I’m prepared to hear some negative comments. While the first stage is probably cute to most; its evolution is a darker, more serious pokemon that may not appeal to all (just like the taste of mushrooms, blech). What I really would’ve liked to see was some stand out defense / sp defense because of the shield like hands on the final stage, but unfortunately it has an average-ish 70 / 80 respectively. Unfortunately this doesn’t bode well for it as a 30 in speed means it’ll be attacking last in almost every battle. HP is the redeeming stat here with a cool 114 and hopefully it would be able to withstand some attacks from opponents before being KO’d. Effect spore is a nice ability to have here because of the chance to inflict a status condition on the opponent. Again, I’m disappointed that great design is hindered by poor stats.
Not wanting to disappoint us, grass has brought its own ‘WTF’ pokemon into this generation. If a UFO and a plant produced babies I’m sure they wouldn’t look much different from #597 Tesshido and #598 Nattorei. These two little monsters brought in a subtype not previously paired with grass before: steel. While covering most of the weaknesses it runs into the same problem as bug/steel and bug/grass, a double fire weakness. This could spell trouble, but luckily Nattorei has great defense / special defense and might be able to withstand some firepower (ha…haha…ahaha pun jokes). With the alien-motif you’d think it might be able to zip around easily, but unfortunately it has a staggeringly low speed stat of only 20, yikes. This line also added a new ability which is essentially ‘rough skin’, damaging an attacking pokemon by 1/8 of their HP after landing an attack making Nattorei a pokemon you probably aim to one-hit instead of gradually wear down. Appearance-wise I’m not a huge fan, but can appreciate the uniqueness of its look. Probably a pokemon that will grow on me, but not one of my favorites.
To finish our article we have the legendary #640 Virizion. In a lot of ways I feel that its typing is an unfortunate consequence of GameFreak wanting to have a diverse group of legendaries in Generation V. To me there are really no signs of its fighting sub-type to be seen. With breloom I could at least see a little bit of a kick boxing look or something of that nature, but here you have a deer-ish pokemon whose only real ‘fighting’ aspect might by how it could trample an opponent (just like tauros, afrobull, and many other quadrupeds in the pokemon kingdom). Besides its tacked on extra type virizion just doesn’t seem too original. We had a sky forme shaymin last generation that stood on four legs and we also have the half-grass type shikijika line in this generation. I can’t help but feel we were a little bit cheated out of potential for this pokemon. Stat-wise it’s what you would expect from a legendary: pretty good. No real stat holes and an amazing special defense make for a good pokemon in that respect. You’ll have to watch out for the double weakness to flying attacks, but I would say they’re less common than the fire attacks some dual types have to be on the lookout for.
Wow! Been a fun series to do for all the staff and we can’t wait to get some our next series cooking. :3
ps- opinions on ‘PJ Plays’ style articles also appreciated! If you guys don’t care for it let me know!