Strategy Session – Pokemon Platinum, Part II

Pokemon Platinum has a number of new Pokemon – Formes, new shapes for old critters that only appear under certain circumstances. Perhaps the Pokemon who changed the most with the introduction of Platinum, Shaymin’s new Forme offers it new moves, new strategies, and one of the most unusual side effects Pokemon has ever seen.

shaymin-landShaymin – Land Forme
HP: 100 Atk: 100 Def: 100 Sp Atk: 100 Sp Def: 100 Spd: 100
Ability: Natural Cure: This Pokemon is cleared of all status effects when it leaves play.

Until the release of Platinum, Shaymin’s Land Forme was the only available shape for this little critter. Although Shaymin’s stats are great – it shares its stat distribution with such heavies as Mew and Celebi – its movepool is so limited that it was difficult to use.

With the new Move Tutors, Shaymin now has access to Earth Power, Seed Bomb, and a number of other useful moves, which gives it some great coverage. But Shaymin’s biggest draw has always been its signature move – Seed Flare. This move has a huge base power, and although its accuracy leaves something to be desired, its side effect is what really makes it shine. Seed Flare’s 40% chance to sharply lower the opponent’s Special Defense gives it the ability to hit twice as hard after the initial strike, blowing through resistances and giving even Pokemon with a 4x resistance to Grass a run for their money.

Unfortunately, even with the addition of new moves, Shaymin’s movepool is still uncomfortably small. The little hedgehog still has trouble dealing with Pokemon who are immune to stat reduction, like Regice or Metagross, or who can immolate it before Seed Flare has a chance to work its magic. Shaymin’s small movepool also makes it a bit predictable, allowing a smart foe to switch in an appropriate counter almost as soon as they see the little beast.

While Land Forme does very much appreciate the new toys it acquired with Platinum‘s release, it still suffers a lot of the same problems as before. And while Sky Forme Shaymin doesn’t fix the hedgehog’s movepool problem, it does allow for some different and surprising tactics.

shaymin-skyShaymin – Sky Forme
Grass / Flying
HP: 100 Atk: 103 Def: 75 Sp Atk: 120 Sp Def: 75 Spd: 127
Ability: Serene Grace: The secondary effects of attacks used by this Pokemon are twice as likely to occur.

Where Land Forme Shaymin was more of an all-rounder, Sky Forme is pure offense. With a huge boost to its Special Attack and Speed, Sky Forme Shaymin can use the new tools Platinum has given it to devastating effect, to say nothing of the fun one can now have with Seed Flare.

With Serene Grace boosting Seed Flare’s defense-lowering side effect to 80%, very few Pokemon can switch in on this Shaymin without running the very real risk of being unceremoniously curb stomped the very next turn. Serene Grace also gives a boost to Sky Forme’s other new toy – Air Slash. Under normal circumstances, Air Slash has a 30% chance of flinching the opponent, but with Serene Grace boosting that to 60%, it can be a real trial for an opponent to even get a move in. Especially if another party member has been spreading Paralysis through the opponent’s team.

Still, Sky Forme Shaymin does have a number of issues, even on top of the restrictions Pokemon Platinum puts on using alternate Formes. For a start, Shaymin’s new Grass/Flying typing gives it a number of new and unpleasant weaknesses, including a 4x weakness to Ice. Even worse, Shaymin will revert to Land Forme if the opponent gets lucky enough to inflict the Freeze status.

Although Sky Forme Shaymin still has problems to deal with, it’s still an immensely powerful and dangerous critter. If you do find yourself up against one, your best bet is to play on that 4x Ice weakness and pray you don’t get flinched.

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