Thursday, January 15, 2015

Why Does Japan Get All of the Events?

Hoopa Kang
I just want to preface this article with the fact I would love more downloadable pokémon events. I don't event care what they are. I am a collector at heart and I want to "catch 'em all". To that end, I often go to pokémon events and get multiple downloads for my multiple games. I usually end up with 2 or 3 of each at the least, more if it's a Mystery Gift download, less if it's a serial code download. Why? I know my friends, and despite me reminding them, they will likely forget to get a dude and I don't want to deal with the whining so I give them one of my spares. Well, on Wednesday Hoopa was announced to be in the newest pokémon movie (so also a new event), and it seems to open up old wounds in people. The outcry typically is, "why does Japan get so many events, but *insert non-Japanese location* gets constantly screwed?" or "why does Gamefreak hate *insert your country here*." Well, to begin with, Gamefreak doesn't regulate events. The Pokémon Company International does. Secondly, even then the events are handled by the branch in your area. Well, let's break down the numbers and see just how much The Pokémon Company is screwing over the United States, for example.

Using Serebii.net's EventDex, I counted how many times each event pokémon was made available from 2003 to the present. Each individual opportunity is treated different, even if the pokémon in question is identical to another event. For example, the E 4 All Manaphy event, the Nintendo World Manaphy event, and the Toys R Us Manaphy event that occurred almost concurrently in 2007 are treated as separate opportunities to get Manaphy. Spin off games that allow you to catch events are also counted, such as getting Darkrai and Deoxys in Pokémon Ranger. An additional Deoxys was added to the total to also account for the Deoxys in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. The data is shown in the graph below.


As the graph shows, that although Japan does get more events than the U.S., there isn't a ton of difference for most. For example, Mew was available 3 times in the U.S. and 5 times in Japan. The only significant difference is seen with Jirachi (3 times in the U.S. vs 14 in Japan), Shaymin (2 U.S. vs 6 Japan), and Genesect (1 U.S. vs 3 Japan). So why is there any difference at all? The answer is structure and culture. There are a lot of differences in how events are handled and received in Japan vs the U.S. Let's take Hoopa, the next event, as an example. Most likely Japanese movie goers will get a download when they reserve their ticket, and then another when they go to actually see the movie. In the U.S., that's not how it works. The event system is linked to stores, not theaters. Therefore, there is no "ticket reservation mon", just the mascot of the movie given out at a local Gamestop or Toys R Us. 

There is one other aspect that creates animosity for event exclusive 'mons, and that's having to wait so long for them. People often are upset they have to "wait forever" to get those end of the Dex guys. Well, you can blame the hackers for that. Hoopa was leaked in 2013, so it does seem like forever. However, it was only officially announced YESTERDAY. If there had been no hack leak of something that wasn't planned until the movie was released, there would not have been such a long waiting period. In fact, the U.S. will likely get it this Fall/Winter. Using the spoiler time table that puts us at almost a 20 month wait since it was first leaked. If it hadn't been spoiled, and you just heard about it yesterday (like TPCi had likely planned) then it would have been only a 8 - 9 month wait. Still long, but not as long as it is thanks to spoilers. You really can't blame TPCi or Gamefreak for that. 

Anyway, where does that leave us on non-event exclusive pokémon like Surfing Pikachu? Well, Japan definitely gets more than those!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Getting the Most Out of Serperior

"Smugleaf" does seem to capture
this pokémon's personality...
Serperior is the final evolution of Snivy, which was the grass starter from Gen V. When the Unova starters were first shown, there was a little debate as to what Snivy was supposed to be. However, when its evolutions were finally released, there was little question. An obvious play on the fact that snakes branched off from lizards, evolutionarily speaking, we see the lost of Snivy and Servine's legs as it evolves into the serpentine Serperior.

Unfortunately, Serperior didn't seem too superior when it's stats were examined. It has good speed and bulk, but little else. That being said, none of the Unova starters really "shined" when they first came out. Well, it's Gen VI now, so let's see if we can get the most out of the superior snake.

First off, going back to stats, Serperior is asking to be raised bulky (Base: 75HP/95Def/95SpDef). Oddly enough, it's a rarity in that it is also a very fast bulky pokémon (Base: 113 Speed). I have attempted to make a relatively speedy Support Serperior before, and it works out ok when using strategies like Dual Screens (running Light Screen and Reflect). The problem now is that there are so many pokémon that are either faster with Taunt or that have priority Taunt thanks to Prankster. Its Grass typing doesn't do much to help it's walling abilities either. It's weak to Fire, Poison, Flying and Bug which are all pretty common (with the exception of Bug potentially). Grass doesn't really have much in the way of resistance either. Sure it can tank Earthquake like no one's business, however, I doubt that would even attempt an EQ on it anyway.

Serperior also suffers from one poor ability, Overgrow, and a shallow movepool. Which leaves it pretty easy to predict. It does have one really amazing ability, however we will get to that later. Getting back to Serperior's movepool, it seems to lack any focus. It has some gems in terms of support, physcial attacks, and special attacks.. but most tend to be Grass type moves and therefore reduce it's coverage.

Lucky for Serperior earlier this month the Hidden Ability Contrary became available in Japan. With some luck, you may be able to come across one in Wonder Trade, the GTS, or chatting with people (or get one from future Team KO tournaments). The most obvious exploit of this ability is Leaf Storm. With Leaf Storm, Contrary Serperior will gain +2 to Special Attack rather than lose power (usually -2 to Sp. Atk). This has the potential to make Serperior, at the very least, a moderately viable option for battle. If you are using Serperior, I don't think you should use anything but Contrary!

The Superior Cannon
Nature: Timid
Item: Choice Scarf
Attacks: Leaf Storm, Outrage, Hidden Power (Ground or Rock), Um... Eh.. really let's face it, you're just going to spam Leaf Storm.
Strategy: Spam Leaf Storm. Seriously. The other moves are really just there if you get forced out by Roar or something and comeback in with no more Leaf Storms. An EV spread of 88HP/252SpAtk/168Speed will ensure that you outrun anything with a speed less than 501. Well, that means you'll outrun every non-Speed Boosted Mega as well as any non-Scarfed pokémon (except Speed Deoxys). Leaf Storm is not very effective against Fire, Poison, Flying, Bug, Grass, Dragon, and Steel. Seeing as Serperior is weak to those first 4 types, I wouldn't leave it out to fight those anyway. I wouldn't bother fighting Grass or Steel either. Dragon, on the otherhand, is easily handled by Outrage if you are lucky enough to be fighting Salamence (or it's Mega). Why is that lucky? Well, Serperior is faster, and Contrary means that its attack will get boosted from Intimidate rather than cut! This means even with Serperior having no EVs in Attack, it would still OHKO a Salamence, and unless that Mega Salamence has 168 EVs in Defense or more, it's a OHKO. In fact, even if the Mega Salamence is Impish with max Defense Serperior still has a 12% chance to one shot it, and is sure to 2HKO it. If Mega Salamence is Impish with max Defense though, it DEFINITELY won't be OHKOing Serperior. Not too shabby. This works best in Rotation or Singles. You definitely don't want multiple pokémon ganging up on Serperior with this set.

Storm the Wall
Nature: Calm
Item: Assault Vest or Leftovers
Attacks: Leaf Storm, Dragon Pulse, Hidden Power (Rock or Ground), Giga Drain
Strategy: Again, Leaf Storm is the crux of the set. It deals considerable damage while simultaneously boosting Sp. Attack. Assault Vest adds a little more bulk vs special Fire attacks from non-Fire opponents (again, Mega Salamence comes to mind). EVs for this set are simple. Max out HP and Speed (252) and put the remaining 4 in Sp. Attack. For added variance, Leftovers can be swapped for Assault Vest. If you do this, you can swap out Hidden Power for Protect or Substitute. If you are playing in Doubles or Triples, that is pretty much a given. However, Taunt will still be an issue. Most people Taunt Serperior right off the bat given it's past use as a Dual Screens pokémon. If you want to run Dual Screens, you can use the same EV spread given here. Regardless there are a lot of pokémon that give Serperior trouble and other teammates will have to account for them, namely Talonflame, Mega Kangaskhan, Aegislash, and Mega Charizard Y.

Can you think of any other ways to put Serperior to use?