By Becca Mander
An integral part of the Pokemon adventure is the team you carry with you, to support you and share your journey. I should think that at some point, most enthusiasts will have thought about their perfect Pokemon team – for video game competitors, it’s all about the ‘sweepers’, the ‘leaders’, the ‘walls’; basically the reduction of your team into key cogs in a well-oiled, efficient machine. A gamer might play Chandelure for his awesome special attack stat… but he may in reality hate the sight of Chandelure.
Card gamers want three things: consistency, consistency and, of course, consistency. This leads them to play multiple copies of the same card. In a Resiboar deck, your ‘team’ of six may end up consisting of two Reshiram, an Emboar, a Cleffa and two Ninetales. Wait, don’t I remember reading that Reshiram is a unique Pokemon? So how come two exist in this trainer’s party? And there really seems to be a fiery theme happening here – what happens if an opposing trainer lets loose with a devastating Hydro Cannon during a spontaneous battle? While these problems are unlikely to cause any stress in the card game, if Pokemon were real, they are things I would certainly consider before selecting my trusty team of six.
So, disliking the reification of the video game, and the lopsided parties of the card game, I ask myself, and everyone else: ‘If Pokemon were real, who would make the cut for your team?’ Here’s mine.
‘Zard would be my trusty starter. Perhaps being a redhead brings a natural affinity for fire types; I certainly feel more drawn to them than any other type! Those wings are easily utilised for the HM move ‘Fly’, while ‘Flamethrower’ – the signature fire type move – both incinerates the opposing Pokemon and dazzles the opposing trainer. Along with Pikachu, Charizard is one of the most recognisable Pokemon worldwide, and training one would feel like being partnered with a piece of Pokemon history. I deliberated a little on choosing Charizard, because I also love Venusaur’s razor-sharp grass type moves and giant pink bloom, but, in the end, it just had to be the dragon that made the cut.
If possible, a shiny Lapras would be an awesome catch! The blue is great, but the sunset indigo colour would be the cherry on the cake. I’d love a Lapras due to its intelligence and practicality. Although obviously he would have his limitations on land, his presence in my team would help to fulfil my dream of travel overseas. He would also probably develop his own opinions on the places we’d visit together and be willing to make return trips! I’m thinking journeys to little islands – actually, travelling around islands on the back of a Lapras sounds a lot like the plot for the second generation of Pokemon episodes, featuring the Orange Archipelago. Those were the days… Another thing I like about Lapras is that in the original Pokemon Game Boy games, no matter which Pokemon you chose to ‘Surf’ on, the sprite was always a tiny Lapras, which makes him a pretty seminal Pokemon in my nostalgic eyes!
This is a Pokemon that holds some special memories for me. Linoone was an integral part of my team during my very first run-through of Pokemon Sapphire way back when I was a primary school child. I remember him for his distinctive cry and his habit of randomly picking items up off the floor. It was always a nice surprise to check my party and see that Linoone was carrying a little something for me. That would definitely be useful in a true-to-life situation – perhaps he could forage for food or things to sell! I also like the way Linoone looks; his creamy white fur and brown stripes seem homely to me, like the way cream couches look on a brown carpet. I think Linoone would be a lovely Pokemon to use as a pillow – his shape would make him an ideal neck rest!
I’d like to keep a Psychic type Pokemon by my side for ultimate type coverage when in battle, plus, Espeon is also one of my favourite Pokemon from the earlier games. He appears on two of my favourite cards too – Espeon from Neo Discovery and Espeon *. So, I guess you can gather that I think Espeon would be a great-looking Pokemon to have around. However, his speed and psychic moves make him an excellent offensive squad member, while his apparent loyalty adds to his appeal as a travelling partner. Those eyes are also so alluringly dark and clever-looking! His small size means he could curl up beside me on Lapras’ back for seaborne adventures.
Electric types are awesome in general, and Luxray is certainly no exception. His height appeals to me; I could ride him across grasslands instead of using a bicycle (interestingly, I actually can’t ride a bike). His ability to spot interesting things from behind solid walls would mean that he would be an expert at picking out things to investigate when on a journey in an unknown territory – perhaps he sees some ruins through a thicket of dense trees. He would be a great addition to my intrepid team of explorers!
I side-stepped a great deal of realism in choosing a legendary Pokemon for my squad. Really, if there’s only one in the world, why on earth would this elusive creature choose me as it’s partner? I love Articuno, its my favourite Pokemon. Its glittering wings and shining ribbon of a tail rank it rather highly in a list of the most beautiful Pokemon. There’s also something about ice type attacks that prick the hairs on the nape of my neck – and not just because of the descent in temperature! When I picture an Aurora Beam technique I see rainbows dancing in a stream of fluid ice. I’m a sucker for beauty. Aside from this, if I was actually fortunate enough to capture a legendary Pokemon, it would almost certainly have a permanent place in my party, if only to show my opponents the formidable trainer that they’re dealing with!
So, that’s my party of six. I wonder which ones you might choose? Thanks for reading!