in Articles, Reviews by winstein

We continue on with the next batch of Generation 5’s Grass-types. Since I don’t have a witty or informative introduction to make, we might as well get on with it. If you are ready, let’s move on!
 
 
 

Sewaddle, Swadloon & Leavanny
 
Height Comparison – Leavanny’s family

 
The first Bug that was officially revealed was Sewaddle, who is loved by many when it first appeared because it is cute. Sewaddle’s appearance was combined with the announcement of Struggle Bug, a move that reduces the Special Attack of several opponents. Swadloon is the cocoon stage, but isn’t actually dormant because it is still actively dieting on leaves. Leavanny is the parental Pokémon, meaning it is naturally a caring Pokémon, especially to its kind, where it makes clothes for newly-hatched Sewaddle. That is adorable, in fact.
 
In terms of bugs with plants, we already have parasitic mushrooms taking over cicadas as well as bagworms with leafy coats. The next one on the list is bugs that are practically born with leafy bodies, and this family are based on them. There is a group of insects whose bodies look like leaves to fool the predators into thinking they are unimportant, which helps them survive in the wild, as they are not the kind that can be threatening and dangerous. They may even imitate the rustling of the leaves when walking to keep up with the disguise. Clever! As such, these Pokémon have the ability to learn Camouflage too. I should also note that there are also insects that look like twigs to make them harder to spot.
 
While leafy bugs are essentially bugs with leafy bodies, these Pokémon seem to have inherent plant characteristics. For example, it’s shown in the anime that Sewaddle can generate leaves out of itself as the Razor Leaf attack. They also can have the ability Chlorophyll, which would normally be an ability that plants can take advantage of. Swadloon actually looks the most Grass-type of the family because of how it is encased in a leafy hide and those odd leaves under its body.
 
In the anime, Burgh uses a Leavanny like the games. However, Ash manages to catch a Sewaddle in the Pinwheel Forest when he and his friends met him for the first time. This Sewaddle didn’t get along well with Ash (and Pikachu initially, for that matter), but after some bonding and rescuing, it joined Ash’s team. There is something new introduced at this point of the anime that wasn’t done in previous sagas before, and that is Ash having more than the usual team of six and rotating among them, which is a new concept that fan opinions are divided over.
 
Each of these bugs is adorned with leaves that reflect their stages. Sewaddle is the youngest, and the leaf adornment it has resembles a baby’s hood. Swadloon looks like as if it’s wrapped in blankets, and the way it looks resemble the Hihikomori, a Japanese term for social anxiety disorder. Leavanny’s leaf adornment gives vibes of the fashion of the 17th century. Their expressions are also really interesting through the stages, with Sewaddle having an innocent face like a baby, Swadloon with a miserable face like an introvert, and Leavanny has a happy face like a cheerful youth. I like how each stage in this evolutionary is creatively portrayed, because each of them displays a unique personality. It’s certainly an improvement as far as Bug-types are concerned.
 
This family have two abilities that are known to be exclusive in each of their types: Swarm is a Bug-type ability, and Chlorophyll and Leaf Guard are Grass abilities. Overcoat is basically an ability based on their appearance of wearing leaves. This trait is actually highlighted in Swadloon’s PokéDex entry, in which it is said to protect itself from the cold with its leaf hide.
 
Leavanny is a decent Pokémon in competitive battling, and Chlorophyll is the better ability to use since Swarm is rather situational. Leavanny has some good physical options (Leaf Blade, X-Scissors, Shadow Claw) to use with Swords Dance, and it can escape harm thanks to Baton Pass. Leavanny is also able to pass boosts from Calm Mind, Hone Claws and Agility too. Besides those, Leavanny is also able to perform some support itself, with great Doubles moves Helping Hand, Entrainment, String Shot and Struggle Bug. Besides those, Leavanny is able to use Reflect, Safeguard and Light Screen, and Me First if you care. If you want, you can even use GrassWhistle (Swadloon only learns this) for a Sleep move, but it is best used with Hone Claws.
 
I would like to see this family get Power Swap as a new move next time, which although doesn’t serve much use, can be useful to pass the unwanted side effects of Leaf Storm. Although their Special Attack isn’t high, Giga Drain will be a great addition to their movepool. Feint seems like a nice choice for a move that goes first. Some Fighting-type moves will be a good addition to Leavanny, and the ones I can see as additions are Wake-Up Slap and Low Kick, as with the Psychic move Psycho Cut.
 
It is actually a very splendid choice to make an insect that happens to look like leaves, because I find the real-life species fascinating due to how they are created that way. Now we need an insect that looks like a twig. Anyhow, these PokĂ©mon are really friendly, but I am yet to see an overprotective Leavanny, since being a parent may make one too cautious. Also, Leavanny comes from the word “nanny” too, right? It does look like one. Perhaps I was thinking stereotypically…
 
 

8 leaves out of 10!

 

+ Leafy insects are amazing creatures
+ Creative three-staged portrayal
+ Sewaddle is cute
- Not one of the best Chlorophyll users

 
 
 
 

Maractus
 
Height Comparison – Maractus

 
Finally, we reach the standalone Grass-type this Generation: Maractus! The name of this cactus Pokémon is a portmanteau of the words “maracas” and “cactus”, so you can call Maractus the maracas cactus. Actually, the Japanese name for this Pokémon is quite similar, which is Marakacchi, and it’s from the term maracas and Mariachi, a genre of music from Mexico. Mexican cactus indeed. I guess the cactus is a kind of symbolism to Mexico, huh?
 
Pokémon Black and White has a desert area, so I can see why this Pokémon is included in the game where old Pokémon are not to be included. We already have Cacnea and Cacturne as cactus-based Pokémon, so Maractus is bound to be similar to them, right? Not really. To me, they are very different, but I can see some people thinking they are the same because they are both cacti. Cacturne is clearly a scarecrow-based Pokémon, and Maractus is very dancer-like. Also, unlike Cacnea and Cacturne, Maractus can actually sprout flowers like other cacti. Oh, and Maractus is vulnerable to Sandstorm damage. Unlike Cacturne, Maractus prefers the Sun, because it has Chlorophyll.
 
Maractus’ protruding ear-like cacti make it look like a rabbit, and I heard that it’s based on the bunny ears cactus. It also looks like a dancer, with the maracas-like “ears” and the festively decorated body. Indeed, this Pokémon is able to dance with rhythm, and it does that for its survival, because birds like to target its seeds on its flowers. Speaking of flowers, I am surprised to hear that cacti are capable of producing fruit, even though I know they have flowers. The dragon fruit or pitaya is one such fruit. Personally, I think Maractus needs a sombrero and it’s all set for a dance with Ludicolo! For some reason, despite Maractus being a dancer, Swords Dance isn’t part of Maractus’s movepool (If Lilligant can get it, why can’t it?), which makes Maractus another Grass-type that doesn’t get this move.
 
It appears that Maractus has water-absorbing abilities, as we can see Water Absorb and Storm Drain as the two abilities that Maractus gets. The cacti’s body is well-suited for the desert environment, because it’s very dry there, and as such, they absorb water quite easily through fast-developing roots and body. Maractus also has thorns, but unlike Cacturne, Maractus cannot naturally learn Spikes. As I have mentioned very early, Cacturne is practically the only source of Spikes for the Grass Egg Group Pokémon, so Maractus needs Cacnea or Cacturne for Spikes.
 
Maractus’ Base Stats makes it seem like an offensive Pokémon, and it has a diverse Grass-type movepool. We can see Petal Dance, Wood Hammer, Leech Seed, Giga Drain, Ingrain, Synthesis and Growth, and the rare Cotton Guard (3 extra stages of Defence). Maractus also has Acupressure, which is always a nice move for stat-boosting, as well as After You, although Maractus is not very fast unless it has Chlorophyll as an ability. Speaking of Chlorophyll, Maractus is the only one with Spikes and this ability, making Maractus a decent Spiker in the sun. You can also use Sucker Punch to get the first hit if you need to. However, Cacturne generally does most things better, as its offences are better, providing a powerful Sucker Punch, despite having less defences.
 
In terms of new moves, I would like to see Maractus eventually get Swords Dance, because it’s its nature to dance. Another move I would like to see it get is Weather Ball, and it would be immensely helpful for its type coverage too. Earth Power or Nature Power will be a very nice move for this Pokémon too, because I can imagine this cactus shaking the floor by dancing. I should note that Earth Power would have been a great addition to any Grass-type, because Ground is very good at covering some of their resistors.
 
Because Maractus doesn’t have Hyper Beam or Giga Impact in its movepool, it likely means that there’s hope for a Maractus evolution in the future. Anyway, as for the Pokémon itself, Maractus is mildly interesting, because it is a fancily decorated Pokémon, despite being on the simple side. To me, Maractus is an alright Pokémon.
 
 

6 spikes out of 10!

 

+ Great mix of concepts on a typical cactus
- Average battling potential

 
 
 
 

Deerling & Sawsbuck
 
Height Comparison – Deerling & Sawsbuck

 
These deer look like they have plant life growing out of them, huh? Both Deerling and Sawsbuck have a never-before-explored type, which is the Normal/Grass type. This is special because usually the Normal-type isn’t paired with any other type except Flying. These Pokémon also takes advantage of the newest feature this Generation: Seasons. For each season, both of these Pokémon will have different coats to accommodate the weather. This is an interesting gimmick, but it would’ve been great if each of these coats have a unique attribute in battling.
 
Deerling’s coat changes also depend on the colour and scent of the grass. Of course, it will hide in tall grass when it senses hostility nearby, which would normally be predators and the like. Due to the reactive nature of the coats, it is easy to see if the season had changed, at least in the anime, which as of this writing, is currently Spring. It is possible that Deerling’s floral tuft leads to the growth of Sawsbuck’s antlers, similar to how trees grow out of seeds. The antlers on Sawsbuck are made out of wood, and plant life can even grow on it, like flowers and leaves. Due to the way it changes state depending on the seasons, Sawsbuck’s antlers are undoubtedly similar to deciduous trees. With these antlers, this deer is able to use its signature move Horn Leech (a Physical Giga Drain). On the thought of venison, would it be treated as a vegetarian meal and a meat meal, since the Pokémon is composed of meat and greens?
 
This family is the first one to naturally get the ability Sap Sipper. Now, if you hear this name, what do you think it’s for? Probably nectar lovers like Heracross. Do you know what the Japanese name for this ability is? It’s Herbivore! Yes, the English name sounds vague and likely subjected to questionable debates on who should get the ability (as well as the questionable effects on the ability like Razor Leaf being rendered useless), but there are some great translated names like Work Up (Cheer Up) and Horn Leech (Wood Horn).
 
In competitive battling, Sawsbuck is a great Sun sweeper. One of the main things it gets is Chlorophyll. It also has a usable range of Physical attacks to use with its higher Attack stat, along with Swords Dance to boost it. The attacks at its disposal are Return, Double-Edge, Meaghorn, Wild Charge, Horn Leech, Jump Kick, Nature Power (turns to Earthquake) and Faint Attack. Its support moves aren’t bad either, with Aromatherapy, Charm, Baton Pass, Synthesis and Thunder Wave (and more) for learning. Still, Sawsbuck still has to watch out for its Fighting weakness, as Mach Punch is a concern. Sawsbuck other abilities are Sap Sipper and Serene Grace. The former can be useful, but it’s not something you can take advantage of on your own. The latter isn’t quite useful, as the compatible moves are mainly Shadow Ball and Energy Ball, which uses its lesser Special Attack stat.
 
Leafeon has the same Base Speed and much better Defence (and Chlorophyll too), but what give Sawsbuck the edge? Firstly, Sawsbuck can use its Normal-type to do some extra damage with Normal attacks like Return and Double-Edge. Secondly, Sawsbuck has an offensive recovery move Horn Leech. Thirdly and most importantly, Sawsbuck is able to deal with Steel-types; With Nature Power and Jump Kick, Steel-types cannot even to hope to stop Sawsbuck from sweeping, which Leafeon can’t do well (its only means to do that is Rock Smash).
 
It would be nice if Sawsbuck can learn Growth, to synergise better with the Sun, so that it is able to take advantage of its other Special attacks. Quick Attack would be a good addition for this family, as deer are quite agile too. Some other rushing moves will be really good additions too, and the ones I have in mind are Head Smash and Skull Bash. Still, I feel that it would be awesome if each seasonal coat contributes to a different advantage in battling, because there’s a lot of potential.
 
Their gimmick is a great addition among myriads of Generation 5 Pokémon, in which we have quite a few with aesthetic differences among species (like Unfezant, Frillish and Jellicent’s gender differences). Apart from that, they are also interesting because of how they are essentially ordinary animals whom are basically infused with plant life. They may not be fully plant-like, but they are quite graceful deer. (Got to remember that deer doesn’t have “s” in its plural)
 
 

9 branches out of 10!

 

+ Possesses seasonal adaptability
+ Great Pokémon in the Sun
+ Unique type combination for a Normal-type
- Seasons don’t affect their attributes

 
 
 
 
We’re almost done with all the Grass-type Pokémon! Next time, we will be exploring the last of the Grass-types. Will it be over very soon? Let’s find that out next time. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.
 

Thanks for reading.


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