I challenged my friends to tell me why I’m wrong about my impervious ideas. In the first edition of You’re Wrong, Daniel, my friend Jonathan Dantzler, writer for the gaming site Equity Arcade, tells me why my top 3 Pokemon from the original games are doo doo.
Hands are hard to draw when you’re a little kid, especially when you were a little kid like me and everything was hard to draw. Thus, instead of fingers, you just give your creations knives for hands. Sure, they’re impractical, but nothing says “I am eight and this is the most badass thing ever!” like giving your monster blades where its palms should be.
Scyther is a dinosaur bug with knives for hands. That’s three venn diagram circles big banging into each other to create the perfect Pokemon. If you didn’t spend hours in the Safari Zone trying to catch one, you’re lying. I know that you’re supposed to be finding the Warden’s gold teeth, but that dude can eat apple sauce until I’m done with my hunt. Scyther is a white whale, and I would not rest until I caught one.
Jon’s Counter-Pick: Farfetch’d
Hoisted by your own petard, Daniel. The only reason for Scyther’s popularity is that he has knives for hands. He’s a Pokemon for those kids on the playground that collected energy cards because they “made you strong” or who believed the Mew on the truck rumor. He’s a Pokemon for plebs, basically. Put him in battle and that bug type will get squished like so many soft pancakes.
For the rare Pokemon pick, lemme counter with my buddy Farfetch’d. “But Jon, he uses a leek to hit people! That’s not anywhere in my fan fiction!” And it’s not in real life either, you damn idiot, but who cares because he is a green onion ninja. This novelty persists past the point of Farfetch’d’s usefulness, but don’t get it twisted: he is still a highly valuable normal type in the early-mid game.
If you can ignore the fact that he’s only about seven-feet-tall and makes a sound in the Mewtwo movie like a trombone being played by a fart, Dragonite is king. In the episode “Mystery at the Lighthouse” he shows up, takes rocket launcher shots, and walks away. He’s the first Pokemon in the game that has to live up to the status that he built in the anime. I took on the Elite 4 with a Dragonite that knew Fire Blast, Blizzard, Thunder, and Hyper Beam. Was I terribly screwed? Yes. A Dragonite with a grand total of 25 pp is a terrible idea. Don’t do it. But if that’s not the definition of courage, I don’t know what is.
Jon’s Counter-pick: Alakazam
Dragonite is far better than your awful Scyther choice, but still lacking. Look. We all had the OP Pokemon in our Gen 1 party, the one that we taught Hyper Beam and mopped the floor with. But if you’re gonna go OP, you should at least 1) commit fully and 2) choose a Pokemon that actually looks cool. Enter: Alakazam.
For one, Alakazam breaks the game even more than Dragonite. Psychic attacks in Gen 1 are criminally strong, and he gets all the ones Dragonite doesn’t plus Hyper Beam. Aesthetically Alakazam also wins out. Why choose someone that looks like a cereal box character when you can go with Obi-Wan Ken-Hoenn? Seriously. Look at that full-body moustache. He’s the Al Swearengen of Gen 1.
The strategy guide told me that if I wanted to both pick Charmander and beat Brock, that I needed to get a Mankey. And the strategy guide was god. Mankey/Primeape is one of those guys that looks dumb (he’s a hairball with a pig nose and arms), but ends up staying on your team for waaaay longer than you expected. He’s the true pinch hitter of Pokemon Red. When my Pidgeot had beaten itself to death in confusion, and my Charizard had died from poisoning fucking again, Primeape was there to lock in a solid win with his mix of brute strength, average speed, and nothing else.
Jon’s Counter-pick: Blastoise
Primeape looks like what happened if the crap that came out of my vacuum canister had hands and an anger problem. I’m picking up on a distinct aesthetic deficiency in young Daniel, and it’s very disappointing.
He’s much more useful than Slipknot Scyther, though, with some great strength and useful maneuvers. But like all Fighting Pokemon, he suffers from the broken balance of Gen 1 and the dominance of Psychics. Fighting Pokemon pretty much become useless late-game once Normal types begin to disappear.
Enter Blastoise. Let’s get your first protest out of the way: how are guns different from knives? One, shut up. Two, they give Blastoise access to the very useful water type, paired with the raw strength of Primeape. He’s the balanced choice. Primeape is the choice for those same card-carriers on the playground.