The 'Shroom:Issue 104/Strategy Wing
Zhere has to be vone around here somevhere... Ugh, truly unbelievable. How is it possible for zhere to be no boxes anyvhere in zhis place? I don't keep zhis facility zhat clean... Hm... I vonder if I could stand on my nose...
Welp, welcome to Issue 104's edition of Strategy Wing! This month, we don't have any significant changes to announce, but I should mention that this issue does not feature From the Mushroom Vaults. I'm short in size and short on time, so I wasn't able to get as much done this month. I'll be back in next month's Holiday Issue with lots of new content.
'Shroom Mafia III has been a very entertaining experience for me so far. There is currently only one Mafia dead, but one other has had their rolecard publicly revealed, and there are other players currently under suspicion. The Innocents have done a really good job at keeping their team's numbers high this far in — but can they keep it up?
Section of the Month
Oh my, look at how round all those percentages are. A round of applause goes to GBAToad (talk) who won October's Section of the Month with his enthusiastic showcase of some of this community's many creative Super Mario Maker levels. Tied for third are Strategy Wing anchors, Crocodile Dippy (talk) and Yoshi876 (talk), with their highly-informative sections, Pocket Handbook and Mario Kart: Wheel Tips Corner, respectively. Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who voted for my From the Mushroom Vaults entry last month! I really appreciate your support.
And now, on to the real meat of this Strategy Wing edition!
Tips and Challenges
Take note of Yoshi876's recommendations and insight.
Mario Kart: Wheel Tips Corner
Hello 'Shroom racers! And welcome to Mario Kart Wheel Tips Corner, here I plan to give you just some extra tips to help you with your racing, or just some changes in a track that might catch you off guard if you aren't prepared for them. So the lights are out, let's start racing.
You can't race if you don't have a Kart to do it in, so in this section I'll give you some facts about a Kart, Bike or ATV that you can use hopefully for racing success.
This month's Kool Kart is the Super Blooper (Turbo Blooper to my PAL pals) resembles, you guessed it, a Blooper. Now, whilst this has no effect on the Kart, Bowser Jr.'s one is gold instead of the standard white.
The Super Blooper has its strengths in speed and off-road, meaning that it moves quickly on the track, and if by some incident you end up on the grass or other surroundings it's pretty speedy on those as well, although obviously off-road should not be your preferred way of moving around on the track. However, where the Super Blooper lacks is in its drifting ability, and this further hampered by the fact that its handling stat isn't the highest as well, this means more likely than not you're going to be drifting quite wide out, and if you're not drifting, then you're going out wide as well. Both of these are further hampered by the fact that the mini-turbo stat is also quite weak, meaning that you can't outpace your opponents from the boost you do get from drifting. With its speed, this Kart can perform quite well on tracks without many corners, but you're better off with a different Kart if the course does have a lot of corners.
Retro tracks are now a huge portion of the Mario Kart games, typically amounting to half the courses in the game. But usually these courses change some things up, so in this section I'll help you find out "What's Changed" in the retro tracks.
This month I decided to go for the track that first appeared in Mario Kart 7, before making its reappearance in Mario Kart 8, Music Park (Melody Motorway for PAL users). Now, unlike most other retro tracks in Mario Kart 8, the layout of the track hasn't been changed whatsoever, all of the changes come with the visuals. Alongside the graphical improvements (what with fancy lighting effects and shading), additional coins have been added to the course, the Bouncing Notes now squint upon their landing, and also the metronome in their area plays louder than before, and smaller Bouncing Notes appear as spectators for the race.
In this small section I give you a way to shave a few seconds off your time, whether you know about it or not. Be warned, most of these shortcuts will require a Mushroom.
This issue I bring you a shortcut from Kalimari Desert. If you go into the train tunnel on either lap one or two, and go a fair distance into it (enough for Lakitu to be saying you're going the wrong way), when you turn around and go back out, the game will skip the lap for you. This shortcut is best utilized using a Star item so you can quickly get out of the tunnel.
So the spoopy season is over, and now we’re in that awkward lull before the holiday season when I’m unable to sleep due to endless swarms of Christmas lights hanging on every house in my street. Speaking of lights, let’s talk about a Pokémon that has a very glimmering appearance, Starmie! How is this at all related? ...Leave me alone, I don’t have much to work with this month; November can be twisted to Novamber, and Starmie is, well… a mysterious star, so just roll with it, OK?
Starmie was one of the original 151 Pokémon introduced in Generation I, most known back then for being Misty's signature Pokémon. It evolves from Staryu by using a Water Stone on it, so you can theoretically get a Starmie as early as level 1... at the expense of level-up moves, since most Pokémon that evolve from Stone items can only learn moves by levelling up in their base form. Nicknamed “the gem of the sea” due to the rainbow luminescence of the jewel at its core, Starmie and its preevolved form are an enigma to human understanding, seemingly communing with the stars above via radio signals sent out from their core, a core which also allows them to regenerate any other part of their body so long as it’s in-tact. It’s no surprise these very alien Pokémon are labelled as “Mysterious”, a phrase that also defines their playstyle, since Starmie's stat spread allows it to fulfill both an offensive role and a utility role. Indeed, in professional play, Starmie has remained in the top tier consistently through every generation since its introduction, a credential only shared by Gengar.
When thinking about Starmie, the two words that come into mind to describe it are "Offensive Utility". This is because Starmie is zippy as all hell, with an impressive 115 base Speed stat that allows it to outrun (metaphorically speaking, starfishes can't run) the vast majority of Pokémon in the game, which allows it to run a disruptive skillset to cripple the foe before it has a chance to land a hit. Starmie also carries with it an only slightly lower base Special Attack stat that it can capitalise on greatly if you're opting for a more by-the-book aggressive Starmie instead. Its defenses aren't a total disaster, but they're only above average, which proves difficult in taking hits in the ever-aggressive nature of Generation VI's metagame, especially with the power creep of Mega Evolutions coming in to play. Basically all utility Starmies - including my own, which is affectionately named Patrick, after Patrick Star of SpongeBob SquarePants fame (R.I.P., you used to be such a good show before they Simpson-ised you) - will follow this moveset, with the only differences being which Psychic-type move is used:
Scald is the go-to Water-type choice, since aside from the STAB bonus Starmie gets from it, the high Burn chance is absolutely terrifying for Physical Attackers, whittling down their health while crippling their damage output. It has less of an impact on Special Attackers, however, and you may also want to be wary if your opponent is running a Pokémon with Heal Bell or Aromatherapy since they'll just cure all their allies of those nasty burns. Psychic is a powerful STAB Psychic-type move, that's really all there is to say about that, but some people may choose to replace it with Psyshock instead, since while it pulls off Starmie's fantastic Special Attack stat, it'll deal physical damage to the opponent, which can be a way for Starmie to get around Special walls like Chansey, Goodra, or Clefable. Recover is a must-have on Starmie, since while its defenses aren't really going to help it that much, it can put a massive dent in non-offensive mons that are trying to stall out Starmie with residual damage from Poison or Leech Seed, as well as allow Starmie to recover from the entry hazards that it specialises in countering. On that topic, Rapid Spin is absolutely essential for utility Starmie, since Starmie is one of the foremost users of the move in the game, using its impressive speed to remove entry hazards (and Leech Seed, if your foe is trying to be cheeky) before the opponent can respond, then using Recover to restore what damage it's taken in the process, and switching out to allow a more powerful sweeper to start doing its thing without fear of hurting its feetsies on the ground.
Other supportive choices include Thunder Wave to cripple fast Pokémon, as it'll reliably inflict Paralysis on the target Pokémon, crippling mons relying on their speed, which can be a good option in dealing some status annoyances to Fire-type Pokémon that are immune to burn... but who switches a Fire-type Pokémon into a strong Water-type like Starmie, anyway? Confuse Ray can often be better, since confusion stacks on other status ailments, which can absolutely infuriate opponents who have to deal with either the chip damage from burn or the chance to not attack from paralysis, although it is a bit situational at best, since you'll be betting your cards on pure luck with confusion. Trick can be great when coupled with a debilitating item like Flame Orb, Ring Target, or Iron Ball, since it'll remove the opponent of their much-needed items while crippling them with any number of effects, like status ailments, removed immunities, or reduced speed and vulnerability to entry hazards (in the case of Flying-types), while Starmie gains a potentially useful item... and can just heal up from any status ailments the item inflicted on it before being switched! Reflect Type copies the opponents typing which is situational and requires tremendous prediction, since while it can mitigate your weakness to a threatening move the opponent is about to use by switching to their type (which can potentially be a resisted type), your foe may anticipate that and use a move that's super-effective against their own typing. Gravity is somewhat of a double-edged sword, lowering the foes evasion to allow for more accurate Hydro Pumps, Blizzards, or Thunders if you're running a more offensive moveset, but this also leaves you open to being hit with similar inaccurate moves. It's a lot better in doubles, though, since it can allow Flying-types or Pokémon with Levitate to be damaged by Ground-type moves, combining well with mons who rely on their Ground-type coverage to excel. If running a more offensive line-up, you're in luck, because Starmie's coverage is ridiculous; aside from the aforementioned Water-type and Psychic-type STAB moves it has at its disposal, it can learn Blizzard and Ice Beam for Ice-type coverage, Thunder or Thunderbolt for Electric-type coverage, Signal Beam for Bug-type coverage (especially useful in countering the Dark-types that normally give Starmie hell), Dazzling Gleam for Fairy-type coverage (also useful for combating Dark-types), and even Power Gem for Rock-type coverage. There is a lot for you to pick and choose from, and it's really up to you how you want to structure your offensive Starmie, although keep in mind that you'll probably still want Recover on-hand to stay in the fight a bit longer.
"But what about Toxic Spikes?", you may ask, "Starmie is not tanky, and even with Recover, the damage-over-time from the Poison is really going to harm its ability to switch in and work its supportive magic!" Absolutely, you'd be right. One thing that hurts a lot of Rapid Spin users like Hitmontop and Donphan is their vulnerability to the damage build-up from entry hazards, especially Toxic Spikes, but Starmie has access to a fantastic ability called Natural Cure. With this, Starmie can switch out after making the field safe again and immediately cure itself of any status ailments it had, making it absolutely ideal for countering Toxic Spikes users. It also combos well with the strategy of using Trick to swap a status-inflicting Orb on the enemy, since Starmie will be inflicted with the ailment before it can switch them out, but it'll easily heal from them with Natural Cure. The other two abilities Starmie has access to are Illuminate and its hidden ability Analytic, the former being an overworld ability that increases the encounter rate with wild Pokémon, so doesn't really have that much practical application in-battle... aside from a cheese strat where you Skill Swap the enemy to swap abilities, potentially gaining a useful ability for yourself while giving your opponent something completely useless to them. At the very least, it'll force a switch-out, so that's always funny. Analytic allows Starmie to do more damage with its moves if it attacks last, which sounds useless on a Pokémon as fast as Starmie, but keep in mind that offensive Starmie's terrify enough Pokémon to encourage switch-outs... meaning Starmie will be attacking last. It's really quite potent. For item choices, something like Leftovers for utility Starmies will help it survive longer in the fight and help its recovery from the entry hazards it needs to remove, although as mentioned early, a debilitating item coupled with Trick can also be a good option. Offensive Starmies will probably want to run damage or speed-boosting items such as Life Orb, which increases its damage output whilst hurting Starmie itself each time it uses a damaging move, or a Choice Scarf or Choice Specs, which increase its Speed or Special Attack respectively, but restricts it to the first move used. While Life Orb coupled with Analytic is devastating, keep in mind that the self-damage will start to take its toll after a while even with Recover; and yes, the same sort of destructive effect comes from the Choice items, but if you desperately need coverage to deal with a Water-immune mon or a Dark-type, you're going to be in a bit of trouble. It's not as super risky as Life Orb, though, because Starmie is the type of Pokémon that likes to switch in and out a lot anyway, but just something to keep in mind. From a defensive perspective, Starmie's typing offers it a tremendous amount of resistances... as well as a lot of weaknesses:
Starmie does have Reflect Type to help deal with quite a few of these weaknesses, but that's very unreliable and requires a lot of prediction to get right. Also keep in mind that its myriad of resistances are let down somewhat by its mediocre defensive stats, so raw damage dealers can still put a massive dent in Starmie even with just a neutral hit, to say nothing of the looming threat of potent super-effective attackers that move faster than Starmie such as Jolteon, Mega Manectric, and especially Weavile, who absolutely destroys Starmie if it happens to be wielding a damage-boosting item. In fact, Dark-types in particular scare Starmie, since Starmie loves being able to freely switch in and out, which Dark-type mons will often punish with STAB-boosted Pursuit, which will whittle down Starmie very quickly. But this is quite a versatile Pokémon whose very presence can put fear in your opponents, and is very much a mon that forces players to rethink their playstyle in order to counter it, and it even has access to so many cheesy troll strategies, so try out Starmie if you want to mystify your foe and become a star player... I'm so sorry for that.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the November Issue of Mario Calendar!! Once again, there are no news regarding this section, so it's time for us to see every Mario, DK, Wario and Yoshi released in the penultimate month of the year!
That's all for now!! See you next month!!