Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Science of Pokémon: Regional Speciation

The Alola region, like other regions, is home to a unique floral and faunal pokémon. However, one aspect that is currently unique to Alola (seemingly) are Alolan regional variations of already well known pokémon. Differences between related pokémon as a whole is not new, like the two formes of Gastrodon (and Shellos). The East Sea and West Sea variations of Gastrodon are unique to the eastern and western portions of Unova respectively. Unlike Alolan formes, the two formes of Gastrodon are not different outside of their physical appearance. Both formes of Gastrodon have the same typing, states, moves, and abilities. This is not the case for Alolan formes, which is why they are so unique.
The West Sea Gastrodon (pink and brown) and the East Sea Gastrodon (green and blue).
There are different types of speciation events that can result in various subspecies of organisms. In terms of Gastrodon, the two formes are a result of allopatric speciation. Allopatric speciation occurs when populations are separated geographically. For Gastrodon, they are geographically separated by Mt. Coronet, which splits Sinnoh in two. Once separated, the populations undergo genetic changes independently. If the populations do not merge back together, they may even become so different as that they will no longer be able to breed and produce viable offspring. Once this has occurred, the two subspecies are considered separate species. With Gastrodon, they can still breed, therefore they have not been geographically separated long enough to truly become two separate species. Alolan pokémon are similar in that regard. For example, an Alolan Muk can still breed with a standard Muk.
Muk (left) alongside Alolan Muk (right)
Alolan pokémon, however, seem to have been isolated from their global counterparts longer than the two formes of Gastrodon. The morphological (size, shape, color, etc.) difference between the mainland subspecies and the island subspecies is very distinct. Often the differences go beyond simple appearances and extend to typing, abilities, and moves. Hypothetically, should the Alolan formes continue to be isolated from their mainland counterparts, they would eventually be different enough to constitute completely different pokémon species. It is possible that isolation events like these are what resulted in a lot of the morphologically similar rodent pokémon such as Pikachu, Emolga, Pachirisu, and Dedenne. These species can still breed, but they are distinctly different enough in morphology that the PokéDex considers them separate species. Like real world animals and plants, genetic work done on the electric rodents could potentially show that despite having very different morphological traits they are not true species, but rather subspecies (or in Pokémon World terms, formes) of the same species. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Shiny Tapu Koko Now Available

The shiny Tapu Koko that people were complaining about during the Lycanroc promotion is now live via Mystery Gift. To get this guy, just boot up Pokémon Sun and Moon and download it from anywhere with a wifi signal. If you have multiple games, then grab multiple Tapu Koko. They will be excellent trade collateral once the event is over.

Shiny Tapu Koko
Lv: 60
OT: Melemele
ID: 170714
Nature: Timid
Hold Item: Electric Seed
Ability: Electric Surge
Attacks: Nature's Madness, Discharge, Agility, Electro Ball
GTS Status: Shiny Tapu Koko is in a Cherish Ball and has a ribbon that makes it untradable on the GTS or via Wonder Trade. If you receive a Shiny Tapu Koko through either of these services, then it is not the official Mystery Gifted shiny Tapu Koko.

As this is a nature locked event, all shiny Tapu Koko will be Timid. This means this Tapu Koko is meant to be utilized as a fast special attacker. You can save in front of the Mystery Gift man at the Pokémon Center and repeatedly get the Tapu Koko to ensure you get the stats and Hidden Power you want. Ideally, this would most likely be an Ice type Hidden Power, but there are other types that cover some of Tapu Koko's weaknessess (HP Fire for Steel-types for example).

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Featured VG: Battle of Alola Team

Since the Global Link tournaments began in Black and White I have been trying my best to participate in every single one, and sometimes even when I haven't really prepared a team for that tournament. Well, the Battle of Alola tournament is a good example of one such instance. Here's a rundown of what the Battle of Alola:
"Kicking off a new era of online Competitions, the Battle of Alola features the Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon games. Create a team using only the Pokémon found in the Alola region. The battles will be Single Battles, and only three of the six Pokémon in your party will enter each battle. All Pokémon will be set to Lv. 50 for the duration of the battle. Plus, items will not be allowed. Good luck in the Battle of Alola!"
The Battle of Alola tournament took place in December, less than a month after Sun and Moon came out. I basically decided to just use whatever team I had used to beat the story. The poor guys were not even EV trained, but that was not a big deal to me for this tournament.

They can whoop on NPCs, but other people, not so much.

For the first time ever, my "first tournament of the season" team had shinies on it. My Palossand and Exeggutor are both shiny, so I felt proud to show those guys off. The tournament was not the most fun tournament I've ever played in, especially since we weren't allowed items. I, for some reason, have the worst showings in tournaments that don't allow items. Synergy-wise, there's no overlying strategy with these guys. I basically just tried to cover my bases on types. The natures for these pokémon were actually passable too, with the exception of Primarina (Lonely). Palossand is Bold, Muk is Brave, Lunala is Bold, Lycanroc is Impish, and Exeggutor is Relaxed. Unfortunately, by the time this tournament rolled around I hadn't gotten the Trick Room TM yet. If I had, I think this team would have done much better. Instead, as expected, my team got destroyed. At the end of the tournament my rating was as the lowest I can remember (1388) and I had a deplorable win/loss record (4/12).

Good news though, the rest of the Sun and Moon tournaments I've participated in have steadily seen my score go up. In the next few weeks, I will continue to post on those tournaments.

Team Knockout July Tournament

Next week registration for the next Team Knockout online friendly will open. An online Friendly Competition requires 20 participants for the tournament to take place.

-Single Battle
-National Dex (Excluding legendaries like Mewtwo, Lugia, etc.)
-Migrated Pokémon Allowed
-Z-Crystals and Mega Stones allowed

Early registration beings on July 13th. Standard registration begins on July 17th at 9:30am EST (1pm UTC) and runs through July 21st at 7:59pm EST (11:59pm UTC). You can register at the tournament's Global Link page.

Tournament battles will be played through the Battle Spot (just like with any online tournament) from 
July 21st at 8pm EST (12:00am UTC) through July 22nd (7:59pm EST; 11:59pm UTC). 

For this tournament we are testing a "Battle Block" system. Although you can go into the tournament at any point during the battle period, I suggest logging in specifically during these "Battle Block" times. to ensure you can find an opponent.

Block 1: July 21st 8pm - 11pm EST (July 22nd 12am - 3am UTC)
Block 2: July 22nd 10am - 1pm EST (July 22nd 2pm - 5pm UTC)
Block 3: July 22nd 4pm - 7:59pm EST (July 22nd 8pm - 11:59pm UTC)

Prizes will be given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners so long as the follow the guidelines on the Facebook event page to confirm they are the players who won those prizes. Prizes are still "to be determined" based on attendance, however they will likely be legendary pokémon (or shiny pokémon) holding Bottle Caps, PP Maxes, or PP Ups.