My experience with the Pokemon franchise has been one largely devoid of PvP. I never touched it in Pokemon X or Pokemon Ultra Moon, the two mainline games I played prior to Let’s Go Pikachu/Let’s Go Eevee. Pokemon Go will be getting a form of PvP soon, but it’s been absent from that game for over two years. The only times I’ve engaged with it were during random instances where I’ve fooled around in Pokemon Stadium on the Nintendo 64 with the default Pokemon.
Taking on Kris from Double Jump the other night in a few Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Let’s Go Eevee battles was an eye-opening experience. Even with just the handful of matches we played that night, it gave me a greater appreciation for the franchise’s battle system and how exciting it can be to go head-to-head with another human.
Right off the bat, my level of investment was at a fever pitch. Unlike the times where I’ve messed around with the default creatures in Pokemon Stadium, I came into the battle with my Pokemon. The ones I caught during my adventures, walked alongside of or rode on in Kanto region, and the ones I hand-picked moves for. My connection with Pikachu was even tighter, as I dress it up, feed it, pet it, and has been an integral part of the game’s story so far.
On the other side of the battlefield was a friend who cares even more about her Pokemon than I do. She’s been playing the franchise for her entire life, names all of her Pokemon (which I currently don’t do), and I had just watched her stream for two hours where she talked to them as if they were her own children, right down to a steady flow of verbal positive reinforcement.
Going into the battle, I had an idea of what she was going to try and do. Partially because I had just spent the last few hours watching her stream, and partially because of the way the game is currently designed. Your starter Pokemon is crazy powerful and they gain a grip of devastating moves along the way. I knew that she was going to rely on Pikachu to obliterate my team, but she knew I would try the same with my Pikachu.
It led to an interesting back-and-forth on how we would deal with each other’s Pikachus. She had an Onix to nullify Pikachu’s electricity, but I had Splishy Splash ready to wash it away. My Chansey got electrocuted into oblivion, but Snorlax was able to sustain multiple blasts. Between his high defense and Yawn attack, Snorlax was the game-changer I needed to get the edge.
That said, Kris had counters too. Snorlax is weak to fighting attacks, and her Pikachu had Double Kick at the ready for super effective damage. In a Pikachu vs. Pikachu encounter, she had the speed advantage, allowing her to hit me first every time. I also failed to realize that ghost-type moves won’t hit on normal-type Pokemon, giving her an edge during the middle of our second match. It wasn’t enough this time, but what happens next time? We’ll both have more Pokemon by then, our current teams will get better, and who knows what combination of Pokemon and moves we’ll have at the ready in the future?
Even with only Gen 1 Pokemon, I still feel like there’s so much room to create a viable team. Maybe we house rule out our starters, but it seems like everything has an answer, and even if you’re not fully prepared, you might be able to find a way with the Pokemon you have. Future generations are probably even better, as later games had even more Pokemon and more moves available to them.
Once again, thank you Kris and Rachel for allowing me to battle you on your stream! I had a blast and our Pokemon will definitely spar again!
Also, if you aren’t already following Double Jump, check them out! I enjoy reading their daily content and I try to catch all of their streams live.
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