Writing glowing recommendations of oneself is usually not fun - or, at least, usually difficult. Thanks to Chris for being a supremely supportive and insightful peer-editor, and helping me turn a lame ol’ “this is why I think I’m great” into a much more rewarding “this is who I think I am”.
From day one, I’ve known that there were a few things that my team would need. As I mentioned a few posts ago, for example, a Pokemon I could ride in the water was a must. Well, by this point in the post, it should already be obvious: Requirement The Second is somebody to ride in the sky. You know, because flying. Enter Flygon.
Let’s talk about Flygon. What is Flygon? A dragon. Also, a kind of bug-thing. A desert-themed Pokemon. It wears sunglasses which are also eye-guards. It has a color scheme that is totally rad. It has a cool tail. It is big enough to fly on. It has claws and big antennae things and learns all sorts of cool and crazy moves. Its stats are balanced and dependable.
I mean, what’s not to like about Flygon? Besides its (admittedly) slightly goofy appearance - which, by the way, is obviously a net positive in my book - the answer to that question is “Duh, nothing!” I don’t think I’ve stressed how huge of a deal it is that you can ride Flygon. That it can carry you through the air. That it is a dragon that can breathe fire (and ice, and electricity, and sand, and who knows what else). I mean come ON.
As is always the case with my choices, my journey with Flygon is an important piece of the puzzle. In this instance, Flygon’s “story” is great because it goes through such a dramatic growth. Flygon starts off as Trapinch, this strange but loveable bright orange mouth-with-a-body. I don’t know what Trapinch is, exactly - a snout-less dog of some kind? a small insectoid Hungry Hungry Hippo? - but it is always biting everything and it is adorable. Trapinch evolves into Vibrava, which is probably the best example in the entire world of Pokemon of “awkward teenage years.” I don’t have any great passion for Vibrava, admittedly - it’s just a quick pit stop between the silliness of Trapinch and the awesome of Flygon - but that’s something to be cherished, in and of itself.
Wrap-up: It’s a super-cool desert dragonfly thing. Emphasis on the DRAGON.
Having learned that that I like fire types a lot, I knew that I was gonna want one on my Dream Team. And why not? Fire types are badass. They’re warm, they’re passionate, and they’re strong. And sometimes, like in the case of Flareon, they’re also cute. I MEAN HOW CUTE IS FLAREON. JUST LOOK AT IT. SO CUTE.
Quite simply, Flareon is the AdorableHeavy. TVTropes does a good job of explicating this tried-and-true niche, of course, but to recap: we’re talking about the little guy on the team, the cute one, who all of a sudden is super-strong and intense. That’s Flareon in spades. When Flareon’s just chilling out, playing around, it’s nice and easy-going. And soft. Look at that fur! Think about it: Flareon is more or less the ultimate cuddle-mon. Remember that fire-type thing? Cuddling with Flareon is like cuddling with a playful, plush-soft, personal furnace.
When it comes to fighting, Flareon goes from furnace to flashfire. Flareon’s got a killer Attack stat, and a couple great moves to take advantage of it. And while I know it’s not necessarily optimal, I love the flavor of the Overheat move, and it’s a more-than-decent choice for Flareon. In terms of type coverage, we’re not at our best, but it’s a small price to pay for the awesome FIRE quotient. Of FIRE.
"The story" behind Flareon’s growth as a Pokemon doesn’t disappoint, either. I’ve always had a more-than-soft spot for Eevee and it’s family of evolutions (I even played through Gold with a full team of them, once. yup), so gravitating towards one of them wasn’t difficult. As for Flareon specifically, I like the idea of having one member of my team evolve via elemental stone; there’s a facet of decision, there, that doesn’t appear with Pokemon you simply level up.
Wrap-up: It’s a cute ‘n’ cuddly ball of fur that occasionally gets down to business and goes all fiery on yo’ ass. What more do you need?
From jump, I knew that picking a Water-type would be hard. Water-types are tricky, for me. They have to be big enough to ride, should the opportunity for oversea travel ever arise, but they also can’t be confined to the water - how lame would it be to have a friend you could only hang out with while you were near a lake or something, right? Or only if you were underwater, even? So my choices were narrowed considerably.
Milotic is a great Pokemon, not in the least because it meets the above criteria. Milotic has a number of movement methods, including swimming or diving, in the water, and slithering or levitating (thanks, Pokemon anime!) on land. So we’re covered in the “must be able to call on Milotic at any time” department. And no more needs to be said about its size than “it is comfortably ride-able”.
In battle, Milotic is a house. It’s bulky, it’s got great defenses (and a cool defensive ability to boot), and its offense is more than adequate. In terms of damaging options, Milotic is a little limited, but it has a ton of support moves to balance out the moveset. Overall, Milotic is just a balanced, strong contender. And out of battle, Milotic is serene and good-natured; definitely a good friend to have around.
Milotic also has the added benefit of having some pretty cool mythology surrounding it. Milotic is said to be the most beautiful Pokemon in all the land - in fact, its preceding form only evolves when you’ve made it look as beautiful as possible (I’ll spare you the mechanics). Speaking of Milotic’s preceding form, Feebas is pretty darn awful - we’re talking bottom ten here - but there’s a great ugly duckling story to be told there that I think would be a lot of fun to experience.
Wrap-up: Hardy, gorgeous, consistent. Wows on all fronts. A showpiece, a point of pride, and a true companion. And it swims.
“Inchmale hailed a cab for her, the kind that had always been black, when she’d first known this city.”—Familiar, pointed, suggestive. Not the strongest opening sentence on its own, necessarily, but definitely one suited to open a three-quel.
Having a great time with Zero History. It has very little to do with Pattern Recognition (which is a shame, because I miss Cayce, and the present-tense narration, and the tech-heavy style), but is more of a direct sequel to Spook Country (which is nice, because Milgrim is really intriguing, and Hollis is a better protagonist overall because she doesn’t “fit” in the world of Blue Ant as well as Cayce did). Not looking forward to completing the trilogy, in that way that it always sucks to finish a book or series, but tearing through the final act just the same.
Every team needs a bruiser. A tank. When you need to be able to knock down a wall, or cause a big ruckus, or just generally make an entrance, you need to have somebody up to the task. On my team, Venusaur’s the one.
Even discounting that one episode where there’s a fucking giant specimen of the species, Venusaur is big, and that’s a plus. Just as how I like Weavile for how lithe and speedy it is, there’s something ponderous and hulking about Venusaur that really appeals to me. I said “tank” in the previous paragraph, and I meant it - I can totally see myself wading into battle on Venusaur’s back, hunched underneath the canopy of leaves and surveying the scene. Tell me that’s not a cool image.
Speaking of cool images - and the plant life on Venusaur’s back - there isn’t really anything about Venusaur that isn’t larger than life. That prehistoric flower on its back is the iconic source for the Solarbeam move. Nothing says Take Down quite like a Venusaur barreling down on you. And stats-wise, Venusaur’s nothing to sneeze at either. This thing is just a house.
There’s one other thing to consider with Venusaur, of course, keeping in mind the fact that this Dream Team thing is about the full package, the full journey, not just six specific Pokemon. Venusaur is a 3rd-form evolution, and that in and of itself carries a lot of weight. Having some cute little guy evolve, twice, into some super-powered-plant-dinosaur-thing is pretty awesome. And Venusaur’s two previous forms, Bulbasaur and Ivysaur, have grown closer and closer to my heart over the years. Ivysaur especially is a great favorite of mine (perhaps even more than Venusaur!). I love how scrappy and active Ivysaur is, how rough-and-tumble. Ivysaur doesn’t lie down and take it, ever.
Wrap-up: Strong, beefy, and visually impressive. The bulldozer. Pre-evolved forms are great and have a lot of character, to boot.