My Top 5 Pokémon (Gen V)

We have jumped over the halfway point, my friends! After a month of my ‘mon manifesto, we arrive now at Gen 5 and the ritzy glamour of the Unova region. I remember the first time I crossed the long bridge into Castelia City. The multiplicity of boroughs, the people hurriedly dashing through the narrow streets (I liked bumping into them and shouting ‘hello’ in a loud voice), the camera panning upon your entry to emphasise the sheer enormity of this bustling metropolis… For a day 1 Pokémon fan like myself, it showed how far we had come over the years. That being said, there is still a certain charm to Saffron City and its many doorless buildings.

So what kind of fun creatures could we anticipate in this brave new world? Which ones were worth investing time in? And which should be turned away into the cold? That’s where I come in, boys and girls – because it’s time to take a lookypoo at my top 5 Pokémon from Black & White! This here list remains entirely the opinion of the (incredibly good-looking) writer; if it clashes with yours like too much plaid, leave a comment! Leave a frowny face! Or leave your love, because I enjoy that most of all. ♥︎♥︎♥︎

So strap on your boots, grab yourself a Casteliacone and let’s delve into Unova! And while you’re here, make sure to teach Umbreon Foul Play. …Trust me. You’ll thank me when you’re older.


5. Whirlipede

Let me talk with you for a moment about the plight of the middle evolution.

Many Pokémon are blessed with two unique stages of evolution, a transitional stage, if you will, as they mature from a frail child into their ultimate being. For example, Metapod is literally the cocoon stage that ushers your slimy Caterpie towards its humble dream; to one day become a majestic Butterfree. We should all be so lucky.

Middle evolutions are always a joy, of course, because your precious little monster gets a boost in stats, and you’re one stage closer to its final form (he says in his best Frieza voice). But therein lies the problem, you see. The middle evolution is not unlike the middle child; forgotten, overlooked, undervalued. It lacks the affection associated with first-stage evolutions and the passion reserved with the final stage of evolution. Observe: up until this point, not a single entry of my top 5 had any middle stages of evolution to its name.

Now, Whirlipede has broken boundaries and joined the elite. It is a rolling squishy bug that peers at passersby from inside its spiky shell, and that is simply marvellous. If that hasn’t convinced you, its combined base stats total at 360, just like a circle. Come on, that’s fun, no matter how you slice it. Just don’t slice my Whirlipede – that’d make me sad.

4. Mienshao

This long-sleeved weasel may appear to be much like any other Fighting-type Pokémon at first glance. It has great offensive capabilities and speed, but abysmal defences that will send it to the mat before too long. It seems reasonable, then, that its best use is that of a glass cannon: it comes in, it splits some wigs, it goes down in a blaze of glory. But oh no. Not I.

Simply as a result of its eclectic moveset, I force fed it the notion that it was the new Trapbat. Never mind the fact that it lacks the ‘trapping’ capability that the technique gets its very name from. I made sure that this sucker was able to Bounce, Drain Punch, Toxic and… something else silly, probably attract or similar, to my heart’s delight. For Crobat, a fallback technique like Confuse Ray helps to decrease the damage it takes on the ground. Mienshao does not have such luck. What it does have, however, is Regenerator – an ability that heals ⅓ of its health upon switching out. Combined with the vitality sapping Drain Punch, I figured it was more than capable of replenishing valuable hit points quickly enough to keep it in the fray.

Once I cottoned on that Mienshao’s pitiful HP stat meant that there wasn’t really much for it to replenish, I was forced to admit defeat. Not in the sense that I stopped this insanity, I was just more willing to confess how bad it was. Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Plus, if you also have Drain Punch and Regenerator, you’ll recover even more. Sound logic!

3. Scraggy

It’s Mr. Pants!!

Gen 5 was the first time Pokémon were fully animated, and it was a joy to see. Sure, they’d briefly wiggle upon entering the battlefield in prior editions, but now, you could enjoy their gyrations and gesticulations throughout the entire skirmish. It gave them a new life, and perhaps none illustrated this more amusingly than this Dapper Dan. It grooves about for a few moments, considering its next move, before yanking its pants up and posing grandly. I could watch it for hours. Actually, I have watched it for hours. A Friday night well spent, it was.

Beyond the goofy fun of its self-wedgie prowess, it is also one of the few Pokémon that has three equally useful abilities. Shed Skin gives it a 30% chance to cure status afflictions at the end of each turn, Intimidate lowers the attack power of foes by one stage and Moxie (my personal favourite) raises its own attack stat upon downing an enemy. In short: killing makes it stronger, like Jet Li in The One. But a better version of Jet Li – one with pants!

Alas, Scraggy’s reign of terror would be short-lived, as those dastardly Fairy-types were unveiled in gen 6. Burdened with a Dark/Fighting-typing, Scraggy’s tactical response to encountering a Fairy is to explode into several pieces. A spiritual depantsing of sorts, if I may paraphrase the wise Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

Also, the longer I think about it, the more it dawns on me that its cute orange pants are actually made up of its own loose skin. And that’s gross. Dammit Scraggy, I wanted to love you so.

2. Chandelure

No home is complete without a spooky light fixture! Just don’t invite Sia into your dining room, it’s bound to end in tears.

All three of Litwick’s stages of life (death?) are glorious; progressing from a haunted candle to an equally haunted lamp to an especially haunted chandelier. Its Pokédex entry is particularly grim: it absorbs spirits, which it then burns for all eternity. Depending on how you interpret this statement, Chandelure could theoretically represent Hell itself. HELL CHANDELIER. Which sounds an awesome name for a band, and no you cannot take it, I’m patenting the name as we speak.

Competitively, Chandelure features bucketloads of special offensive aptitude. Apparently, attacking people with consumed spirits is a most effective form of combat; a notion that Shang Tsung has supported for centuries. Its other stats are fairly average (and its HP makes me feel bad on the inside), but its bevy of resistances and interesting movepool options make it a fun option on the battlefield, regardless. I highly recommend Memento, a kamikaze technique that knocks out the user. Seeing this firsthand upsets the opponent so much, their attack and special attack stats both collapse by two stages. How else would you explain it?

1. Sawsbuck

The most wonderful time of the deer. Sawsbuck could be considered a fairly average mammalian Pokémon that has a few quirks to set it apart from the crowd. First off, its unique Normal/Grass-typing give it immunity to eerie spirits. Call it Ray Parker Jr, baby, ’cause it ain’t afraid of no ghosts. I mean, that does make it vulnerable to Fighting-type blows, but in fairness, if you kicked an actual deer in the face, I’m sure it wouldn’t like it very much. Art imitating life, you see.

But its major feature is its seasonal variations. Gen 5 introduced in-game seasons that mirrored those of the northern hemisphere, and Sawsbuck’s appearance would change depending on when you were using it. The spring form (pictured above) soon turns into the robust foliage of summer, followed by a fresh orange autumn sheen, and a sleek white winter ‘do to close out the year. You know those people who like, really get into the holiday season? That’s basically Sawsbuck. Weather or not you like it (pun +1).

Sawsbuck from the Unova region are considered particularly special, because alas, seasons were scrapped in subsequent games. Any Sawsbuck (or its pre-evolution Deerling) obtained in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were eternally locked into a perpetual state of spring. For someone as festive as Sawsbuck, this is a tragedy that words alone cannot express. It often sits alone in a dark room listening to 4 Seasons of Loneliness by Boyz II Men and crying itself to sleep. I assume it does, anyway. At least in my fanfiction, this is most certainly true.

With that, we end another chapter of Pokémondom. We’re approaching our climax, and next week we shall look at the first pair of games to reach the Nintendo 3DS; X and Y. The last time I was pressed to tell someone who my favourite Pokémon from gen 6 was, I hastily answered Greninja. Fast forward a few years, having had to battle 800 variations of the damned thing online, it’s definitely tempered my fondness for the blue bastard. Not to mention, that sucker got Ivysaur bumped from Smash, and I will never forgive it for such a crime.

Did you enjoy Supanova this weekend??

If you couldn’t make it yourself, that’s okay! We’ve got interviews with Nolan North and Masako Nozawa for you to sink your teeth into.

We’ve also got exclusive footage of… umm, well… ah jeez, I can’t lie to you, I’m just hawking my Pokémon Red Nuzlocke Challenge again. It’s not Supanova related, but I assure you, it’s just as awesome! If you haven’t watched in a while, the latest episode features a showdown with Lt. Surge.

Or if you want a break from all of the Pokémon fun, you might be more into my Mario Kart 8 Deluxe LP. Leer on as I attempt to collect the gold of all twelve cups, in the vaunted 200CC engine size, no less! Oh my stars!!

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