Monday, September 21, 2015

Team KO Premier Challenges

Once again Team KO is running several Premiers this year in South Carolina and southeastern Georgia. So far I've only got the SC locales squared away. Additional locations will be added later. I'm planning on hitting middle-SC (Columbia) as well as the Statesboro/Savannah GA area and possibly even a NC location. These are waiting approval, so if the sanctioning links aren't up and going yet you can get details from their associated Facebook event pages.



Just make sure that you...

1. Bring your nintendo 3ds, a copy of Pokemon Omega Ruby or Alpha Sapphire, and a charger. Some of these tournaments can run long, as the Honts' masters attendance varies anywhere from 20-40 players!

2. All tournaments have a 5 dollar entry fee except the North Charleston tournament. It is being held at a Sci-Fi/Gaming convention and is free with entry to the Con. Single day entry is $15. See http://atomacon.org for details.

3. Have fun! Premier Challenges are an easy way to secure Championship Points, meet new people, and grow your local scene all at the same time!

Additionally, I am attempting to raise money from my league members/tournament frequents to purchase a capture card. I doubt we'll have it in time, so if anyone wants to bring theirs and stream contact me at pkmnbattlefront@yahoo.com and we will discuss it.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Weekend Recap: Zygarde, Greninja, and Premier Challenges

Zygarde core and Zygarde cells look
roughly the same. The difference being
there is only one core, and it's internal
organ is red. The cells have a green
organ and are many.
Earlier in the year the next pokémon movie was teased and involved a new "green blob" pokémon and a new giant shadowy pokémon. We now know they are both formes of Zygarde. This isn't exactly anything new, as many fans had already speculated that would be the case. In fact, I was pretty sure that it was Zygarde myself. Recently, it has been the trend for the "third legendary" of a series to have some unique forme or Mega. The trend began in Platinum with Giratina getting its Origin forme. This has continued with Kyurem getting its fusion formes and Rayquaza getting a Mega that doesn't require a Mega Stone. What is unique about Zygarde is that we now know it isn't a single pokémon. Instead, Zygarde is composed of many smaller "Zygarde cells" and a "Zygarde core". The core is the green blob from the earlier announcement.

Zygarde, being composed of many smaller organisms, changes appearance based on how many Zygarde cells are present. The more Zygarde cells you have, the more imposing the Zygarde forme. How this will be handled in the video games in uncertain, but most likely it will be location based. If you want to change your Zygarde's forme, you may have to go to its cave so more Zygarde cells can be added. The next forme shown was Zygarde 10%.

Zygarde 10%. Apparently if you
only give 10%, you turn into a dog.

Oddly enough, this forme looks like a dog. I personally like this forme the least. I think that is mainly because, to me, Zygarde is a snake-like pokémon. It's original appearance, which is apparently "Zygarde 50%", is obviously a snake. Even the core and cell formes are snake-like, or at the very least Dunsparce-like (YAY!). This 10% forme is supposedly speed and attack based. That's neat an all, but I doubt anyone would actively decide to use this over the other formes. If it's 10%, I would assume its strength overall would be 40% weaker than the standard Zygarde, and hardly anyone uses that version already. Also, for an additional creepy factor, this dog doesn't have eyes. Just white hexagonal scales where the eyes would be. No thanks, I'll pass. If you can get multiple formes in one game, I'll get this one for my Dex and then box it forever.



Perfect Zygarde giving 100%.
Gohan is Super-Effective against it.



Finally, in terms of Zygarde formes, we have "Perfect Zygarde". This forme seems to pull from Dragonball Z's "Perfect Cell" at least a little. The head and color scheme along with the whole "absorbing things the become perfect" scenario. Zygarde keeps its typing throughout this whole process (yes... this means the dog is Dragon/Ground), but the end forme has shed a lot of its dragon-like characteristics. The arms, "wings", and tail are pretty much the only dragon-like things about it. In fact, it looks like someone trying to pull off a Zygarde gijinka cosplay (look it up). That being said, the design isn't terrible, its just far and removed from what we would expect looking at the original Zygarde. Then again, so is Zygarde "puppy forme". Since this Zygarde is "perfect" it is said to surpass Yveltal and Xerneas in power. This seems like a clear indicator that we are getting one more Kalos based game. The Pokémon TV series is being renamed from Pokémon XY to Pokémon XY & Z, so it seems like a Z game may be on the horizon. I'm hoping for a sequel in the vain of Black 2/White 2 rather than a rehash like Platinum.. but we'll have to wait and see.

From a biological standpoint, the core is the actual organism. The cells are like drones that operate off of a hive mind, which is coming from the core. The reason that Zygarde can take additional formes is due to adding more cells to the hive mind. The idea here is more cells equals more mass (which isn't always true in terms of biology, but then again a salamander able to breathe fire isn't biologically accurate either). Therefore, using the more cells equals more mass hypothesis, Zygarde can take on larger more imposing forms by having more cells. The core is essentially "Zygarde 0.1%", there is only one involved. Zygarde 10% (dog mode) is with more cells added, Zygarde 50% (snake) adds even more, and then Complete Zygarde contains all of the Zygarde cells in the world. I'm assuming there are 1,000 seeing as it's signature moves are Thousand Waves and Thousand Arrows. This also means, hypothetically, there are formes for 20%, 30%, 40%, 60%, etc however they are likely just skipped for production reasons. Maybe they'll get added somewhere along the line. Anyway, the take home message here, Zygarde Core and Zygarde Complete are the true Zygarde. One represents the most basic component, and the other is with all possible components added. Any forme in-between is simply build up. In this manner, Zygarde is similar to a Portuguese Man O'War, a jellyfish that isn't actually a single jellyfish.. but rather a colony of many zooid animals.

Nice chops bro.

Also announced with Zygarde is a weird new Greninja. Supposedly it's a new forme based off of Ash, which is really weird. Apparently, Ash and Greninja become super besties and start dressing alike. Currently, I have no idea what that is even supposed to mean. Outside of having some mad sideburns similar to Ash's hair, it doesn't share a ton in common with him. This is probably a boon for Greninja.. you really don't want to aspire to be Ash Ketchum. He's a cool guy, but seriously, aspire to be like a Gym Leader at least. Design-wise, people are throwing around the possibility that it is a Mega and just as many people are saying its too similar to its original version to be a Mega. Slight aesthetic changes aren't uncommon for Megas though. Just look at Mega Kangaskhan, Mega Sableye, Mega Ampharos, etc. They aren't too different from their non-Mega versions. Of course, this Greninja could turn out to be a show exclusive thing. Pokémon in the anime have worn clothes in the past that haven't translated into the games (the Squirtle Squad, Ash's Krookodile, Serena's Pancham, etc). Time will tell on this one.

On a side bar from these new formes, the new season for Video Game Premier Challenges has begun this month. I have started looking to scheduling for these tournaments and am shooting to start holding them at the end of September. One has already been scheduled to be held at Atomacon in North Charleston, South Carolina. Once I have a full schedule, likely by Friday Sept 18th, I will post it. The schedule will include all Premier Challenges I plan on hosting during the Sceptile Season which lasts from Sept to November. To learn more about Premier Challenges and how you can earn Championship Points to participate in Pokémon National and World tournaments, visit Pokemon.com. We are currently trying to raise money to buy a capture card to stream our Premier Challenge matches.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pokémon GO! - My Cautious Optimism


Nintendo and The Pokémon Company International, along with the creators if Ingress, have announced a new pokémon game coming to mobile Android and iOS devices in 2016. This game, Pokémon GO,  is an augmented reality game similar to the Pokémon Dream Radar for 3DS and in another aspect, it's also similar to the PokéWalker for HeartGold and SoulSilver. The additional accessory, the Pokémon GO Plus, alerts you when you're near a pokémon via a rumbling feature and LED light. This means you don't have to stare at your phone the whole time. Essentially, the game let's you go to real world locations to battle, trade, and capture pokémon. Hypothetically, it sounds great. I'm not yet 100% convinced though. I'll admit, the main thing holding me back is that it is "Free to start". 

Microtransactions have always bugged me. I'd prefer to pay outright rather than deal with microtransactions. With pokémon games, I often log hundreds of hours playing a particular game. For example, I have logged over 999 hours in Pokémon Y since it came out a couple years ago. That only cost me $35 - 40.

In terms of Pokémon GO, I feel like microtransactions would hamper my play time. It would make the most sense that, like other "Free to start" games, you would be given some starter resources and then after playing for a couple minutes would be required to wait until the resources replenished themselves. In Pokémon GO, which allows you to capture pokémon, I would assume those resources would be pokéballs. If that is the case, what happens when you run out of pokéballs? Most likely you would get a prompt to buy more with real cash or have to just run away from the pokémon you are trying to catch and wait for your pokéballs to be replenished. That seems awful frustrating. I'd also assume that getting rarer pokéballs (Great, Ultra, etc) would require you purchase them. If you are attempting to get even 150 pokémon, that could get pricey.

It's not all bad though. If the microtransactions are reasonable, or handled well, then it could be a huge success. I had initially worried about Pokémon Shuffle and Pokémon Rumble, but I did eventually break down and download them and so far I'm happy with them. Although the microtransactions have hampered how much I play them, I have been able to play them for a good bit for free. I've gotten farther in Pokémon Shuffle than Rumble, primarily because the resources are better handled. Essentially, I can play more with just the free resources in Shuffle than in Rumble. If I spend roughly $30 over the course of these kinds of games and can still get a good bit of enjoyment out of them, then I'm happy. If this game is compatible with main series games, like the PokéWalker and Dream Radar were, then I'll gladly drop some coin on them. Currently, that isn't known, but there have been hints of some sort of compatibility.

  • Pros: 
    • You can capture pokémon "in real life".
    • The graphics look nice.
    • It does have battle and trade features.
    • The Pokémon GO Plus alerts you when you're near a pokémon, so you don't have to stare at your phone the whole time.
  • Cons:
    • Microtransactions
    • It's currently unknown how this game works with main series games.
    • Most likely has some sort of resource time limit.
    • Currently appears to only showcase Gen 1 pokémon.