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Pokemon Training 257: Curiosity Spotlight- Overwhelming the Underwhelmed

TIME :2022-07-03
Dunsparce.

I’ll give you a moment.

Right.  Dunsparce.  Introduced in the second generation of Pokemon games, Dunsparce was possibly the biggest disappointment to be found.  Packing a bag of hit points and not much else, the ‘land snake’, which seems to be part bird, part jackhammer, and all derp, didn’t have much use at all.  Not a thing about it was remarkable, and in most ways it was pretty lackluster.

When Abilities came into play, though, Dunsparce quietly became terrifying- and here’s why.

Dunsparce is a bag of hit points, and a Normal type- weak only to Fighting attacks.  Not the most common attack type in the game.  More importantly, Dunsparce is a bag of hit points equipped with Serene Grace.

Serene Grace, if you weren’t aware, doubles the chance of a move’s side-effect taking place.

In most pokemon with Serene Grace, this is a license for annoyance.  Burning more frequently with Flamethrower, common Thunderbolt paralysis, and a significant chance of Freeze with Ice Beam, just for a few examples.

On Dunsparce, it turns the Land Snake into a truly frightening lockdown pokemon.

Dunsparce, without Serene Grace, is capable of Para-flinch-fusion- Thunder Wave or Glare to paralyze a target gets followed up with Confusion from Swagger (and a power-up to the Confused pokemon’s defenses).  That’s already fairly nasty- a decent chance of not acting each turn and if the pokemon -does- act, chances are even that it will be injuring itself (and pretty badly to boot).  It gets worse when you combine the speed-reduction of Paralysis with Dunsparce’s ability to use a STAB-boosted Headbutt with doubled Flinch chances- suddenly you’ve got less than a 1/8 chance of actually doing what you want on your turn, and Dunsparce just sits there, derping and smacking you with its head while its Leftovers slowly heal it.

It only gets worse from there.  If Dunsparce wants to be especially cruel, it can start powering up- or using boosted moves.  Hex is 100 power against someone under status, and will ruin Psychic types.  Rock Smash with Serene Grace is a guarantee that you’re going to be taking increasing damage not only from Dunsparce but from your own confused motions.  Substitute will give Dunsparce a useful shield against any switch-ins.  Charge Beam always improves Dunsparce’s special attack if it hits.  Coil can turn Dunsparce into a physical terror while you’re trying not to shoot yourself in the foot, and Roost provides it with even better healing than Leftovers in some cases- letting it carry an item more horrifying than Leftovers- like a King’s Rock to let it pack whatever move it likes and have a high chance of para-flinch-fusion.  Earthquake, Bulldoze, Rock Smash, Trump Card, and Iron Tail all come to mind.

While it wasn’t anything to look at when it first appeared (and still isn’t in the literal sense), Dunsparce can come out of nowhere and give you a fatter reality check than you ever wanted, just when you least expect it.