The Fluff: Starstruck, Or, An Ode To Minior
Hello, my dearest PUCLonians, and welcome to a particularly starry-eyed edition of The Fluff! Today, my subject will be a single (but most singular) Pokémon: the star of Alola, if not, sadly, of Sun and Moon… Minior!
A Rainbow of Stars
It is unusual for me to dedicate an entire article to a single Pokémon, especially since SumtimesIFly does such a fantastic job of spotlighting Pokémon in his articles (in fact, he’s written about Minior here). But Minior has so much going on with it, at least for me, that I just couldn’t resist spending some time talking about it with you all.
First of all, I’m kind of surprised this Pokémon wasn’t hyped even more in the Sun and Moon marketing campaign. Space and celestial objects are arguably the most evident theme of these games, to my delight, and with rainbows being so relevant (the working title for the games was Pokémon Rainbow!), a literal rainbow-colored shooting star Pokémon could have easily become the mascot of the Alola region. Don’t get me wrong, Minior did get a lot of attention: it was in what was probably the most popular Sun and Moon reveal video, along with the first Alolan Forms, and it had a very relevant (and moving, darn, hand me a kleenex) role in the beautiful cinematic trailers depicting little Shohei’s move to Hawaii. But Nebby, er, Cosmog, was of course center stage for most of the starry-themed campaign for Sun and Moon… a fact that looking back seems even more natural, as it is not only Lillie’s companion and the plot’s McGuffin, but it also turned out to be both of the version mascots at the same time! (Not so bad for someone who can’t even grasp the concept of staying inside a freaking bag, I suppose.)
Meanwhile, Minior got submerged by the oodles of other Pokémon being revealed, and never quite became a true signature Pokémon of Alola, being relegated to a decorative pattern on merchandise that showcased other stuff. Which is adorable, of course, but I do think if the cards had been played a bit differently, Minior could have been an even bigger hit.
Even as it is, though, Minior’s novelty doesn’t fade that easily, probably because it has two main gimmicks going for it: you can collect it in seven colors, and thus also choose to use the one you prefer, and, of course, its Shields Down Ability gives it two Forms and an alluring competitive trick.
To me, personally, Minior has an added sentimental value. It is partially based on konpeitō, which, first, I’d eat all the time if it was readily available here, because rainbow star candy, and second, was featured in the mostest adorablest way with Luna and a super cute astronomer in the Sailor Moon S movie, which absolutely enchanted me when I was 12. All in all, there was no way I could not love Minior, and so it was one of the Pokémon I was most looking forward to catching in Sun and Moon.
Getting a Minior, and most of all collecting them all, is hard enough to be interesting, but not so hard as to be frustrating (which is how I think it should be for most Pokémon; when I found out some new Pokémon only appeared when called into SOS battles, I gave Game Freak the hugest mental side-eye ever).
First of all, Minior is appropriately only found atop Mount Hokulani, aka the bestest place in all of Alola (if not the prettiest). It’s where the Observatory is (in case I haven’t babbled at you about it yet, astronomy is my truest childhood passion), and where you can get most of Kurt’s Poké Balls and the two super adorable star-shaped Pokémon from space: Minior and Cleffa.
Even if you’re not trying to collect an entire rainbow of Minior, its catch rate of 30 (the same as Chansey and Xurkitree, to give you context) will mean you’ll probably want to get some damage on it, especially as it can’t be given a Status condition in its Meteor Form. But once you crack the shell and Minior’s Core Form color is revealed, you have a faster, more offensive ‘mon on your hands… which, at the level it’s found at in the wild, always knows Self-Destruct. So even if your team doesn’t have trouble tanking that, you’ll have to look for another Minior and start all over again. Minior never calls for help, so you can’t chain it in an SOS battle, either, but its 30% rate of appearance in the grass makes this rather reasonable.
It took me a little while to collect all the seven Minior colors… especially since in the promotional material they never show all the seven colors together, so I was under the impression there was only one shade of blue available (and the difference between Blue and Indigo Minior is not incredibly evident unless you see them side by side or in immediately consecutive encounters). Also, I was trying to get each ina Ball that would complement its color. But once I had, I was happy as a Clamperl! Now I’m just missing a shiny one, but for that, I’m definitely better off breeding with the Masuda Method (again, no SOS chains).
Shell Smash Your Way To Victory (… Or Not)
Competitively, Minior strikes, in my opinion, a decent balance: the combination of Shields Down, Shell Smash and its move pool make it a potentially amazing set-up sweeper… but its horrible defensive typing and the unreliableness of actually getting to attack in Core Form ensure that Minior is almost never a sure-fire win button (in fact, it rather often runs the risk of ending up, in my experience, as a wasted team slot made of fool’s gold).
My Minior in the U.U.T.C. had Shell Smash, Acrobatics, Earthquake and Power Gem, and I ran a White Herb because my team had Alolan Ninetales on it, so Focus Sash would have been useless. I usually tried to set up behind Ninetales’s Aurora Veil, but that actually hindered me in a couple of occasions, as Minior would get damaged… but not enough to pop the Form change. And so either its speed wasn’t enough to beat a Swift Swim Kingdra, or its attacks were not enough to OHKO things. On the other hand, Minior’s defensive stats in Meteor Form are not that amazing (again, Rock/Flying is defensively horrible), and since it’s off the ground, there’s no way to protect it from priority moves, even with the help of Tapu Lele, so getting it just damaged enough to go to Core Form and then actually keeping it alive is no easy feat.
I’m sure better competitive players than me get more out of their Minior, but the fact that it’s firmly placed in Smogon’s NU Tier is in my opinion testament to the fact that its gimmick is in no way overpowered. But it’s certainly fun to try it every now and then, and I love being able to personalize my teams with choices such as Minior’s color.
Minior is certainly among my favorite Gen VII Pokémon, and if the only additions to the National Pokédex in USUM are Ultra Beasts, there’s a good chance it will be on my team as I go through Ultra Sun. What about you, PUCLonians? Do you like Minior? Have you used it in a Playthrough, or on a competitive team? What color did you pick? Have you collected them all? Is there another Pokémon you’d like me to talk about? Let me know in the comments, and thank you for reading another Fluff!
Until next time,
The Fluffiest Whimsicott