The Fluff: Five Pokémon I Used To Dislike (And Now Love)
Hello, my dear PUCLonians, and welcome back to The Fluff! For this article I had tentatively planned a UUTC retrospective, but, against all odds, it turns out I am still in the tournament! So I can’t go discussing my sets and stuff like that. But in honor of a certain Pokémon on my team, who has been a true bro, I will instead bring you a retrospective on my ever-shifting taste in Pokémon. Here are five Pokémon I did not like one bit when I first encountered them, but who then won me over by virtue of their prowess in battle, their sheer coolness, or their hidden cuteness. (Hint: it’s pretty much always due to them kicking butt in battle. I am nothing if not grateful to my bros.)
Number 5: Scizor
When Gen II unveiled an amazing Steel-type evolution for Scyther, one of the coolest Bugs in the biz, I was, shall we say, not as impressed as most of my fellow Pokémon fans were. Scyther was not my favorite Gen I Bug to begin with (that honor shall ever go to the Butterfree line), and Scizor did away with some of the things that made Scyther objectively cool. An awesome green color? Sorry, Scizor is red (yeah, I still don’t have a shiny one. Yet), not one of my favorite shades at all. Fast as a ninja? Sorry, that Metal Coat is super heavy. Blades like a praying mantis’s? Nope, sorry, Scizor has giant blunt pincers!
Now, that sounds a bit shallow.
And indeed it was, Whimsicott. In Gen VI, I started watching YouTubers play Pokémon, and I was struck by how fun (and effective) Scizor could be. Defog, U-Turn, Bullet Punch, one weakness, great stats… While it may not be the first Pokémon to catch my eye, Scizor was one of the first to find a spot on my competitive teams. My love for Iron Man was born the moment I saw the first movie (just call me a heathen all you want, comics people, I will take it), and when a fanart pointed out the similarities in style, I started to appreciate the finer points of Scizor’s looks, too. Now I have two (or three) competitive Scizor, and if I ever have any spare time to try and breed shinies, Scizor will certainly be one of the first I hunt for. Although I probably shouldn’t name that one Pepper or Tony… know any good superheroes in a green armor?
Number 4: Araquanid
Yes, I know: did I change my mind on Araquanid in just two months? No.
It only took one. Maybe.
While playing Sun and Moon, all wide-eyed and full of wonder, the one thing that did not give me a lot of reasons to squee was, usually, encountering Pokémon, since they had pretty much ALL been spoiled beforehand.
Well, you did squee really loudly for one Pokémon, my dear. And rightly so.
Yes, the story of how I nearly deafened my parents when I encountered a Cottonee is an old one by now. But there was a time I randomly encountered something I had, indeed, never seen or heard of before! While surfing along in Brooklet Hill, there she was… a Dewpider! I squeed really loud, because… an actual new Pokémon!!!
And then I took a second look, and went… meh. Fine, I thought. Not really my thing, but maybe this Bug/Water type will stay a Bug/Water type, finally? Let’s take her with me and see what she evolves into. And when she did… I was slightly freaked out, I’ll admit. Araquanid is not an easy sight to behold for the very first time. I put Paris in the box and went on with my journey.
But then everyone was hyping Water Bubble, and I saw a few people use Araquanid, and I realized that a), it was very good, and b), it was quite a lot of fun, too. And so I got Paris out of the box and lo and behold, she had the Nature I wanted, and, long story short, she is now the proud ancestor of Space Oddity, one of my UUTC bros, and Araquanid is one of my favorite Gen VII Pokémon to use.
Number 3: Mawile
As a pretty useless pure Steel type (not really my favorite, sorry, Viger), that was not easily accessibly in the versions I owned, Mawile was not really a Pokémon on my radar… except for how the whole Futakuchi-onna thing was freaky as heck. But when Gen VI came around, Mawile gained two things: a powerful Mega Evolution-
And the best added typing ever!
Yes! Fairy has really become my favorite Type along with Grass. Seeing little Mawile go from useless to a total powerhouse (that was still not broken at all, Smogon, I still resent that Gen VI ban), with an interesting typing and enough flaws to make playing with it interesting, really struck my fancy.
Unfortunately, the lovely Mawile I bred never got to be trained before the Smogon ban, and only ever got to grow up when we were at PUCLcon and planning to compete in a Singles side tournament. We ended up using Smogon rules as, well, it was all PUCL people, but at least I had an excuse to finish raising my baby. And now that I’ve taken part in the most recent Online Competition, there’s a shiny Mawilite in my near future! The glorious return of the hero is near!
Number 2: Infernape
When my siblings gifted me with a copy of Platinum, I had no doubts about my starter: I picked Piplup and never looked back. It was a cute penguin that evolved into a b.a. penguin, and nothing could be better; certainly not a turtle that didn’t look like a turtle (I love turtles) or a monkey with its butt on fire (I most emphatically do NOT love monkeys).
There will be zero arguments about the awesomeness of Empoleon here, of course. My boyfriend rocks.
As does mine. And, ahem, I had been with mine for like a couple of weeks when Platinum came out here, so I might, possibly, maybe have named my Piplup kind of after him. Ahem. The moral of this story is, I never thought about using Infernape at all (see above re: not loving monkeys).
Years later, YouTube struck again: the Gen V and Gen VI sprite and model for Infernape did it a lot of aesthetic favors, and I realized that the combination of its stats and insanely cool movepool made Infernape a brilliant Pokémon (if not one that would thrive in OU). I used Infernape on Showdown for a bit, but as I could never fit him on an OU team (or find an occasion to play UU on cartridge), I have yet to breed a competitive one. But I am definitely longing to, and now that the meta has shifted once again, who knows, maybe this little now-stylish monkey will find an interesting niche on one of my future teams.
Number 1: Volcarona
I guess the lesson here is that I take a while to warm up to Bug types? Thing is, I’m not someone who is generally afraid of bugs (with the exception of some very creepy, very crawly ones), but “giant hairy moth with freakishly small arms, no legs and weird eyes” is not a description that gets you a straight path to Whimsicott’s heart.
Or to Whimsicott’s heart. Well, you know what I mean.
But over time, I started to appreciate that Volcarona was… kind of cute, if not in a classical way. Its Pokédex entries spoke of it as a mythical, generous creature that used its immense power for good, its fur looked really soft, and its gradient-colored wings were quite pretty.
And then, let me guess, competitive struck?
Yes, that seems to be the other theme here. I learned about Bulkarona, the amazing set that could tank most non-Rock-type hits, click Quiver Dance, and proceed to make opponents desperately root for Godzilla in their fruitless battle against this modern Mothra, and I couldn’t breed a Larvesta fast enough.
(Let me please take a moment to say that I just NOW figured out that as one of the best and most specially defensive Rock types around, Tyranitar is a great counter to Volcarona and this is probably intended. Wow. I’m slow.)
I have never used a different Volcarona set… so far. Who knows what the Gen VII meta will bring; all I know is that my Parhelion will probably be one of the first Pokémon I bring over to Gen VII when I finally buy a Bank subscription for my new Nintendo account.
My dear PUCLonians, do you also have Pokémon you learned to love by facing battle at their side? Or is there a Pokémon you used to love, but now for some reason detest? Let me know in the comments, and come back in a couple of weeks for another Fluff!
Until next time,
The Fluffiest Whimsicott