Starters Untamed: Sinnoh!

Hey all my apologies for being super duper inactive with both the articles and the forums. I’m still here in Germany and will be until May 7th. I’m student teaching at an elementary school and now that I’m five weeks in, I’ve completely taken over all of the planning. Let me tell you, while teaching is most certainly rewarding, it’s really hard (PJ’s Note: I can attest to this as well, I teach preschool here in Japan)! I love it though and I couldn’t picture doing anything else. Since I’ve been in Germany, I’ve visited a few local castles, travelled to Prague, Paris, and Italy. Such wonderful andadventurous places!

[spoiler]Anyway, let’s analyze the D/P/Plt Sinnoh starters. Since grass is always first, let us start with Torterra.Now as I’m sure some of you know I’m relatively partial to grass types, and Torterra is no exception.First off, he just looks totally BA. I mean seriously, a giant tortoise with basically an island on his back?Yes please, I’ll take one. He just looks like a total beast and whenever one gets sent out on the field, Ishutter a bit in fear. Ascetics aside, he’s a solid grass type with some very great assets, but also a fewblaring downfalls.

First off let’s check out his typing. Grass/ground is an interesting mix. He still has a fire weakness, but with his ground secondary type allows him to stand a chance against his flame adversaries. His ground-typing really doesn’t do that much else for him. Sure he can take out poison types now but, overall, poison kind of stinks offensively and isn’t used all that much in competitive play. He does have an uncommon resistance to the Rock/Ground combo, so that helps him counter many OU competitive Pokes. He now has neutrality to water, but that does him more harm than good. He negates electric, but his grass-type already cut that in half so not much of the battle is won there. His most glaring flaw is the fact that he has a 4x weakness to Ice. Ice Beam is a fairly common move in the competitive field, along with Blizzard and the priority Ice Shard. Opponents such as Weavile and Froslass can easily take him out.

Now as for his stats, Torterra possesses high physical and defensive prowess. His base attack is a high 109 and defense scores a 105. His HP is nothing to scoff at, either; reaching a 95 stat base and almost exceeding 400. His special attack and defense are decent, but his physical build is where Torterra really shines. The biggest flaw is his low speed, scoring only a 56. OU Ice and fire types are generally fast, so using Torterra could prove difficult if your opponent switches in on one of his two common weaknesses. His movepool is fairly diverse, but still widely predictable, so he serves great roles in both offense and defense. His dual typing gives him access to two amazing STABS; Wood Hammer and Earthquake.Combined with his monstrous attack, these moves really hurt. He also can learn Rock Polish through D/P/Plt TM, which greatly helps his lacking speed. Synthesis and Leech Seed are also great combinationsfor keeping this tank alive. Unfortunately, his abilities are nothing useful. Of course he comes with Overgrow as a standard ability, and his DW ability is Shell Armor, which protects against critical hits. They both serve a purpose under his offensive/defensive roles, but nothing quite “groundbreaking”(no pun intended . . . or maybe it was :3 ). Depending on what build you’d like, great hold items include Life Orb, Choice Band, and Leftovers. I really enjoy his defensive build, which sports Leftovers as well as Synthesis, Leech Seed, and two STAB moves (preferably Earthquake and Wood Hammer). However,many of his builds are walled by defensive grass types. Yes, I’m referring to you Tangrowth. *glares*

Overall Torterra is a decent offensive grass type. He can be used mainly as an offensive or defensiverole, but his type serves a bit as a double edged sword. It seems like it hurts him in more ways than itbenefits him, but it still doesn’t dismiss him as an overall decent Poke.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]Next up is the fire monkey, Infernape! This fierce fire type packs one serious punch, both aestheticallyand competitively. I love how this guy looks. He’s got a great mixture of pokemon-ish looks and also a hint of culture to him. Like Arcanine, you can easily tell that this Pokemon was probably thought up from an ancient Chinese epic or something along those lines. That’s one of the main reasons why I like him – he’s not too ridiculously over the top or too serious. He starts out just darn adorable of course, but then ends up looking cooler as he evolves.

I’m sure that we all let out a groan when we discovered we’ve yet another fire/fighting type in our midst. I mean, one starter was enough, right? I know I was pretty irritated at the start. But the main thing that differentiates Infernape between his fire/fighting counterparts is that, well, he’s actually good. Good is an understatement- he’s VERY good. Both fire and fighting are solely offensive types and the combination has mixed results, but what makes Infernape so fantastic is that his stats compliment this typing. Infernape comes with a 104 attack and special attack tied together with a 108 speed. This allows him to outspeed numerous threats posed against him in the OU competitive play. Since his attack stats are mixed, he serves well as a physical/special/mixed sweeper. His HP and defenses leave something to be desired, but they aren’t too horrible. Given a single hit from Surf will most likely kill him, he at least has a glimmer of hope for surviving.

Just when you thought Infernape couldn’t get any better, well, he does. His moveset is outstanding and diverse. As mentioned, his stats are a mixture of physical and special attacks. Almost all of his STAB physical attacks have special attack counterparts, which make him even more unpredictable in the battlefield. If you’re like me and prefer to hone in on one specialty, he learns Swords Dance and Nasty Plot, which can give you the upper hand while in battle, especially due to his great speed. One thing that really makes me love Infernape so much is that he learns Grass Knot. This move alone made me think of the nickname “Swampert killer” for Infernape. A modest, EV’ed Infernape will ALWAYS 1HKO a Swampert (at least to my knowledge). Swampert is another common threat in the OU field so having an Infernape on your team could really prove useful. I prefer the special build Infernape, sporting amoveset containing Nasty Plot, Flamethrower, Grass Knot, and Close Combat. The first three are nobrainers, giving Infernape a sweet STAB and counter to water/rock/ground threats. Close Combat is justfor good measure, as even with a non-eved attack it still packs a serious punch.

Now as far as abilities go, Infernape has gotten a great upgrade. He started out with Blaze in D/P/Plt, which is the typical fire starter ability. Now with the DW, he knows Iron Fist, which powers up all punching attacks. These include Infernape’s Mach Punch, Fire Punch, Thunder Punch, and Focus Punch.It’s a great ability to have especially if he’s physically based. Infernape absolutely loves Life Orbs, which only enhance his attacking prowess. Choice items work well with him too if you decide not to use his stat boosting moves. However some of his attacks are fairly predictable, so it might not be your ideal choice.

Infernape is probably the best starter out of Gen IV. He comes with great versatility and phenomenalstats that make him an asset to any team that needs a fire slot filled.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]And of course, lastly we have the vicious emperor Pokemon, Empoleon. This water starter really is quite interesting once you look past his surface features. First off, he just looks totally awesome. I mean, come on, what more could you want than a metallic pointy penguin . . . thing? He of course starts out just so adorable, and he really ends up being a complete beast. I’m not much of a fan of water starters, but Empoleon sure did surprise me with his cool looks and intimidating demeanor.

As mentioned, once you look beyond the surface Empoleon doesn’t seem to offer much. His stats are built for an offensive wall with his 88/101 Def/SpDef and 111 SpAtk. He sports some decent HP and Phys. Atk as well, being 84 and 86. His speed is the lowest, clocking in at 60. One might ask what makes this wall different than others. The answer to this is his useful typing. Being a Water/Steel, Empoleon comes with an 11 resistance package and three easily counter-able weaknesses; Electric, Fighting, and Ground. His resistances really compliment his stats, making him even a better offensive tank than before. This allows him to outlast many and makes an easy switch-in to common Pokes in competitive play.

The biggest hindrance to Empoleon is his predictable and somewhat crummy moveset. Due to his lack of speed, it’s almost guaranteed that most Empoleon in competitive play carry Agility. If you manageto pull it off, it makes Empoleon a huge force to be reckoned with. Not only does he have exceptional attack and defenses, but now his speed skyrockets. Surf is another common threat that he carries, as it compliments his special attack and comes with a lovely STAB (switch this in for Hyrdro Pump if you prefer damage over accuracy). Other moves that help him out are the well-renowned Ice Beam and the priority move Aqua Jet, which is super helpful if you don’t have Agility to boost up your speed. One thing that Empoleon practically needs on his move set is Grass Knot, which is a perfect counter for his water brethren. Many water types carry sufficient amounts of bulk and are common switch ins to Empoleon as none of his learned moves are either resistant or just not strong enough to make much of a dent in competing water types. He does learn a few flying moves, which could help him combat against his grass/fighting weaknesses, but there are far too many better moves to choose from.

Now being a tank, Empoleon could serve as a great supporting role with Subtitute and a Petaya berry.This will give him a great defense to attacks and the Petaya berry will raise his special attack after his HP is low. Combine with Agility, and you’ve got a solid set that’s capable of wiping out teams. A single boosted Surf would pretty much one hit most things lacking in defense. If you prefer to focus on his defenses, Leftovers would be a better choice. You could also give him a Life Orb or Choice Specs if you’drather go all-out offense. Empoleon can play many roles on the battlefield so there are many builds thatwork for a variety of situations.

As far as abilities go, Empoleon really doesn’t have much to offer. Torrent could be useful if for your Substitute build, but Defiant isn’t all that spectacular. With Defiant, Empoleon’s attack is raised two stages when his stats are lowered. Chances are the only physical attack you’re going to use is Aqua Jet, assuming you even have it. Torrent would be much more useful as it helps out all of his water attacks, which would mean his wonderful Surf packs an even more powerful punch. Empoleon makes a great teammate if you need a bulky water. He has his share of counters, but if you play him right he could decimate the battlefield with his superb defenses and strong attacks.[/spoiler]

Alrighty guys – hope you enjoyed this article! Apologies for the delays as I’ve been super busy with work! Hope you enjoy it 🙂 Any and all constructive feedback is welcome!

Article contributed by, as always, the fabulous Bojingles, thanks!