Unpopular opinions

Even if the enhanced version movesets are significantly better, that brings up a whole new problem. Either dev conditions and/or priorities for the first versions are just so buggered that they can't even properly design the bosses' movesets on the first go or they're deliberately gimping them as yet another push for people to buy the third versions, both of which are very bad for different reasons
I don't think it's necessarily only those two options. There's probably an understanding that only more serious Pokémon fans will buy the third versions of each generation, while the first versions are for a wider audience which includes casuals and kids. So they make movesets easier in the first games, and then give things a little difficulty spike in the third versions because the players tend to be better. Which is still unnecessary, kids can figure out how to win third versions easily too, but it's a less cynical explanation for things.
This is something I hear often, it having "become" this way or heavily changed, and I don't aree. Gym leaders have been filled with gunk Pokemon and movesets since Gen 1. Even late-game. I figure Gen1 and Gen2 don't need that much elaboration (Sabrina Abra lol), but...

R/S Leader(s) 7 has two Pokemon total, and for a double battle no less.
R/S Leader 8... Seaking is neither the worst nor the second worst out of 5. Luvdisc and Sealeo get those honors.

D/P Leader 7 has Snover and Sneasel.

B/W Leader 7 has Vanillish. No leader in the whole game has more than three Pokemon.

All of these Pokemon are worse than any 6-8 XY leader's Pokemon. Sure, Wulfric gets obliterated by any Fire-type, but so does B/W Brycen, unless you fall before the might of... Beartic's Brine.


This may have not been what you meant, but a lot of people point to the "better strategies" and "complete movesets" of Pokemon from earlier generations, and, well...

Winona (6) has Water Gun / Supersonic / Aerial Ace (50 Atk!) / Protect Pelipper. Send help, please. Skarmory has Sand-Attack and Fury Attack.

All of Wallace's (8) Water-types have Water Pulse and no stronger STAB move (besides Earthquake Whiscash, which is admittedly good stuff). Luvdisc has Flail, Milotic has Twister (covers Dragons? it has Ice Beam. Twister just free reprieve chance), and Seaking has Fury Attack. All free-turn filler.

Candice's (7) Sneasel has Avalanche (???) and Slash. Snover has Razor Leaf and Ingrain (sure it'll survive to take advantage of that). Abomasnow has Swagger and Grasswhistle?? Like sure, those two can be dangerous, but this is clearly cheese and not a competent moveset for rewarding play.

Volkner's (8) Ambipom has no STAB moves. Raichu and Luxray have Charge Beam but no other special moves. Octillery has no move above 65 BP, which includes 10 BP Bullet Seed.

Skyla (6) has all-physical Swoobat with 57 Attack. Not technically all-physical because... Amnesia? (not Simple.) Unfezant has Quick Attack, Razor Wind, and Leer.

Brycen (7) has Astonish Vanillish, Rapid Spin Cryogonal, and Swagger Beartic.

B/W Drayden/Iris (8) have two Dragon Dance sweepers! With, uh, Dragon Tail as their only STAB move. What? And Fraxure has Dragon Rage.

"Why are you only using the first entries and not Emerald/Plat/B2W2?" Because X was a first entry too. There may be a case that remake trainers are notably better than first entry trainers, but that's not the narrative I normally hear.
I think the difference, which Codraroll also identified, is that whether something actually is particularly challenging or not, what matters is whether it feels challenging and therefore rewarding. Elite Four members having only 4 Pokémon makes them feel like regular trainer battles, and I think that's what Samtendo means by battles becoming monotonous. When boss battles of recent gens feel tonally like trainer battles of older gens, players don't get that little dopamine rush of feeling like they actually achieved something. This is something SwSh does well, because the atmosphere of gym battles is so damn good that it feels like an achievement even though the battle's easy, and the Elite Four (or Champion's Cup) are actually 6v6 battles right? This is basically all we've been asking for.

Even if the movesets suck and the champion uses a Delibird, if bosses just used more Pokémon the games would be way more fun. Players tend to have 6 Pokémon on their team by the mid-to-late-game, so when the Elite Four or 8th gym leader also uses 6 Pokémon it feels like you actually achieve something when you beat them as opposed to entering the battle with the upper hand. I think gyms should be structured as 1 uses 2 Pokémon, 2 and 3 use 3 Pokémon, 4 and 5 use 4 Pokémon, 6 and 7 use 5 Pokémon, and after that every boss uses 6. Yes, that probably includes the battle against the evil team leader, though 5 is also fine (Platinum Cyrus).
 
This is something I hear often, it having "become" this way or heavily changed, and I don't aree. Gym leaders have been filled with gunk Pokemon and movesets since Gen 1. Even late-game. I figure Gen1 and Gen2 don't need that much elaboration (Sabrina Abra lol), but...

R/S Leader(s) 7 has two Pokemon total, and for a double battle no less.
R/S Leader 8... Seaking is neither the worst nor the second worst out of 5. Luvdisc and Sealeo get those honors.

D/P Leader 7 has Snover and Sneasel.

B/W Leader 7 has Vanillish. No leader in the whole game has more than three Pokemon.

All of these Pokemon are worse than any 6-8 XY leader's Pokemon. Sure, Wulfric gets obliterated by any Fire-type, but so does B/W Brycen, unless you fall before the might of... Beartic's Brine.


This may have not been what you meant, but a lot of people point to the "better strategies" and "complete movesets" of Pokemon from earlier generations, and, well...

Winona (6) has Water Gun / Supersonic / Aerial Ace (50 Atk!) / Protect Pelipper. Send help, please. Skarmory has Sand-Attack and Fury Attack.

All of Wallace's (8) Water-types have Water Pulse and no stronger STAB move (besides Earthquake Whiscash, which is admittedly good stuff). Luvdisc has Flail, Milotic has Twister (covers Dragons? it has Ice Beam. Twister just free reprieve chance), and Seaking has Fury Attack. All free-turn filler.

Candice's (7) Sneasel has Avalanche (???) and Slash. Snover has Razor Leaf and Ingrain (sure it'll survive to take advantage of that). Abomasnow has Swagger and Grasswhistle?? Like sure, those two can be dangerous, but this is clearly cheese and not a competent moveset for rewarding play.

Volkner's (8) Ambipom has no STAB moves. Raichu and Luxray have Charge Beam but no other special moves. Octillery has no move above 65 BP, which includes 10 BP Bullet Seed.

Skyla (6) has all-physical Swoobat with 57 Attack. Not technically all-physical because... Amnesia? (not Simple.) Unfezant has Quick Attack, Razor Wind, and Leer.

Brycen (7) has Astonish Vanillish, Rapid Spin Cryogonal, and Swagger Beartic.

B/W Drayden/Iris (8) have two Dragon Dance sweepers! With, uh, Dragon Tail as their only STAB move. What? And Fraxure has Dragon Rage.

"Why are you only using the first entries and not Emerald/Plat/B2W2?" Because X was a first entry too. There may be a case that remake trainers are notably better than first entry trainers, but that's not the narrative I normally hear.
In that case, it really shows how aging the way GF handles the Leaders' Pokémon to the point of insulting, and it really give a sense of a true lack of progression, if you ask me. I agree with what DrumstickGaming had said, too.

The one you have shown are especially dreadful!
 

Codraroll

Cod Mod
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Top Smogon Media Contributor
Moderator
This is something I hear often, it having "become" this way or heavily changed, and I don't aree. Gym leaders have been filled with gunk Pokemon and movesets since Gen 1. Even late-game. I figure Gen1 and Gen2 don't need that much elaboration (Sabrina Abra lol), but...

R/S Leader(s) 7 has two Pokemon total, and for a double battle no less.
R/S Leader 8... Seaking is neither the worst nor the second worst out of 5. Luvdisc and Sealeo get those honors.

D/P Leader 7 has Snover and Sneasel.

B/W Leader 7 has Vanillish. No leader in the whole game has more than three Pokemon.

All of these Pokemon are worse than any 6-8 XY leader's Pokemon. Sure, Wulfric gets obliterated by any Fire-type, but so does B/W Brycen, unless you fall before the might of... Beartic's Brine.


This may have not been what you meant, but a lot of people point to the "better strategies" and "complete movesets" of Pokemon from earlier generations, and, well...

Winona (6) has Water Gun / Supersonic / Aerial Ace (50 Atk!) / Protect Pelipper. Send help, please. Skarmory has Sand-Attack and Fury Attack.

All of Wallace's (8) Water-types have Water Pulse and no stronger STAB move (besides Earthquake Whiscash, which is admittedly good stuff). Luvdisc has Flail, Milotic has Twister (covers Dragons? it has Ice Beam. Twister just free reprieve chance), and Seaking has Fury Attack. All free-turn filler.

Candice's (7) Sneasel has Avalanche (???) and Slash. Snover has Razor Leaf and Ingrain (sure it'll survive to take advantage of that). Abomasnow has Swagger and Grasswhistle?? Like sure, those two can be dangerous, but this is clearly cheese and not a competent moveset for rewarding play.

Volkner's (8) Ambipom has no STAB moves. Raichu and Luxray have Charge Beam but no other special moves. Octillery has no move above 65 BP, which includes 10 BP Bullet Seed.

Skyla (6) has all-physical Swoobat with 57 Attack. Not technically all-physical because... Amnesia? (not Simple.) Unfezant has Quick Attack, Razor Wind, and Leer.

Brycen (7) has Astonish Vanillish, Rapid Spin Cryogonal, and Swagger Beartic.

B/W Drayden/Iris (8) have two Dragon Dance sweepers! With, uh, Dragon Tail as their only STAB move. What? And Fraxure has Dragon Rage.

"Why are you only using the first entries and not Emerald/Plat/B2W2?" Because X was a first entry too. There may be a case that remake trainers are notably better than first entry trainers, but that's not the narrative I normally hear.
This is a very good breakdown, and it illustrates that the earlier games weren't perfect either.

However, if I were to have one counterpoint against it, it's that while Gym Leaders haven't improved all that much since then, the options available to the player have ballooned enormously. In recent games, almost all Pokémon have an extremely wide arsenal of usable moves, and the TMs that teach them are multi-use. Megas, Z-moves, and Dynamax also provide a solid power boost in a pinch. Gone are the days when a level 60 Rhydon used Leer, Tail Whip, Fury Attack, and Stomp. Nowadays, you're likely to have dual STAB and coverage long before level 40. Whatever you face these days, the game is likely to provide your team with a solid answer to it.

Or in other words, the players are more powerful. Major trainer battles are still as exploitable as they were before, but you've got a lot more tools with which to exploit them. It doesn't seem like the games are giving the opponents all the same tools to use, leaving the games feeling much easier by comparison.

That being said, much of the challenge in these games is about finding out which moves to use at what time, and veteran players have the advantage of knowing how to determine this as soon as they open the game. If you know that a Bug/Flying type will be absolutely smashed by a Rock move and how to find a Rock-type in the grass outside of town, of course you're going to find the battle easy. You will click Rock Throw and watch the foe go down. The difficult thing to new players is figuring out how to use Rock Throw in the first place. It can be considered a puzzle, of course it's easier when you know the solution. I think this highlights the need for some higher difficulty settings, so that even players who know the rules can have some more parameters to the puzzle to take into account.
 

ScraftyIsTheBest

Unlimited Blade Works
is a Top Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
So I came across a thread on Reddit last night, and continuing on the discussion we've all been having lately about the games and difficulty, I finally understand one particular thing about the design behind Pokemon games, and I think this is one crucial thing we're all forgetting with this discussion.

The big thing is that most Pokemon games in general are designed with the intention that players have a constantly rotating party. Especially in recent generations with the massive Pokemon diversity available, the general idea is that you are meant to constantly be rearranging your team as the game goes on and your opponents get stronger, pick up stronger Pokemon that are available later. The intention is that the player should go through every route in the game and catch every Pokemon they are interested in, to overall work out a squad of useful Pokemon, and constantly rearrange and change the team as the game goes on and certain Pokemon start falling off, and stronger Pokemon start becoming available.

Most blatantly, this shows with how Pokemon distribution is in general across the games. Early game Pokemon evolve early, and become strong early on, but as the game goes on, they fall off because they're just not strong enough for the opponents that go on later. The best, strongest Pokemon become available late in the game, and in many cases evolve late and don't reach their potential until late in the game. That's precisely the point. The idea is that you catch both kinds of Pokemon, but use the early game Pokemon for the early segment, then drop them as the power level increases and phase them out of your team in lieu of a stronger Pokemon. Most obvious examples of this are the early bugs: Butterfree/Beedrill, as well as the rodents like Raticate, Watchog, etc. They evolve super early and are strong for the early game, but they will eventually fall off and become obsolete. And later on, Dragon-types like Dragonite are super late-game Pokemon, but are by far among the strongest Pokemon in the game.

I came across a post in the Pokemon that disappointed you thread here by Pikachu315111 about how Boltund, Eldegoss, and Orbeetle in Sword and Shield fell off the map and he eventually booted them as the power level increased. That's precisely the point! These are all early game Pokemon, and they evolve and reach their full power early in the game at early evolution levels, but as the game goes on and the power level increases, you are meant to eventually ditch them once better, stronger Pokemon start becoming available. Meanwhile, on the other hand, a Pokemon like Dragapult is obtained late and doesn't reach its full potential until very late in the game, but is one of the strongest Pokemon out there. This design philosophy was put in place ever since Gen 1, with early route Pokemon like Spearow and the bugs being early bloomers but falling off, until later you get better Pokemon like, say Dodrio and phase them out in lieu of the better Pokemon.

I also came across some posts later like this one that discusses Zebstrika in BW1. BW1 plays the structure I mentioned completely straight. Zebstrika is essentially, putting it in Fire Emblem terminology, the "Jagen" to Galvantula or Eelektross's "Est". Zebstrika is designed as an Electric-type who is obtained early, and compared to many other Gen 5 Pokemon, it evolves relatively early as well. So it becomes very strong and fast early on, and by the point you evolve it, a fast and powerful Pokemon for that point. Meanwhile, Joltik and Tynamo are obtained relatively late, and are exceptionally weak and need a good deal of time until they fully evolve. Tynamo especially, who sucks until it evolves, but Eelektross is a good Pokemon with great offensive stats, a fantastic movepool, and good bulk+Levitate. Zebstrika essentially serves to evolve early and hold you over while you try to raise Joltik or Tynamo, and then once you have Galvantula or Eelektross fully evolved, you can kiss Zebstrika goodbye now that Galv/Eel are fully ready to take over as your main Electric-type.

BW1 gets criticized for having a poor selection of early game Pokemon and leaving all the good Pokemon in the late game, but that's the intention. Every Pokemon was designed with an in-game defined role, and the early game Pokemon barring, say, Drilbur and maybe Stoutland, are designed to be useful early on but to quickly fall off the map in lieu of better Pokemon showing up later, while the late game Pokemon come in, and you are expected not only to catch and raise them, but have them replace and take over the weaker earlier game Pokemon you have now that they're no longer up to snuff.

Now I'm rambling at this point, but you get the gist. The thing we're all missing here is that the intended playstyle I'm describing here is not what most of us do. Codraroll brings up that the challenge for new players is finding out which moves to use at the right time, but that's not all there is to it. The other challenge is also figuring out what Pokemon are good and what Pokemon are not, or at least which Pokemon will be useful in the long term. We don't need to do that, because us veteran players have the advantage of knowing every Pokemon's base stats, movepools, and abilities, and even if we don't, we have Bulbapedia and Serebii at our fingertips and we can look it up beforehand: we know what base stats are, we know what moves are good and what aren't good moves, and vice versa. So all of us just play the game by meticulously planning a fixed team of 6, handpicking the best Pokemon of the lot, and steamrolling the game with ease by handpicking the best Pokemon of the lot, which we know beforehand by looking up their stats and movepools.

A new player isn't going to do this. Without prior knowledge of Pokemon games, they aren't going to plan a team beforehand. Ideally, a new player would come into the game blind, start catching Pokemon and experimenting with them in each route as the game goes on, and keep doing so throughout the game even late in the game, and replace and phase out Pokemon as they start falling off and failing to match up to the power level of the opponents. Think of it akin to, say, the Persona games, where you start off with a few low level Personas, but as the game's power level goes up, you fuse your weaker Personas to develop stronger ones. That's kind of a particular RPG design, but it's also a general kind of design many games go through: the early game "gear" is effectively mediocre at best, but it's serviceable for the power level early on, but weak for the later power level and you are expected to "upgrade" and advance your gear to a stronger inventory to tackle tougher opponents. The items in Pokemon games already do this, as Poke Balls and Potions already have a chain that upgrades to stronger variants, such as Great Ball+Super Potion becoming available a bit later in the game, and even later you get the Ultra Ball+Hyper Potion. It's a natural progression that games are built on.

In fact, I've seen quite a few posts where people have said they found Pokemon games more fun/interesting when they used more than six Pokemon throughout the game and rotated. Especially with a game like XY or even Sword and Shield. This leads me to even more firmly believe that the idea of a party that constantly rotates its Pokemon is how the developers want people to play. Ideally, the only Pokemon that will likely be a permanent team member on your team is your starter: that Pokemon is designed to stay with you from beginning to end. But everything else is designed with a rotational role: catch it, use it until it falls off, and eventually rotate it out in lieu of something stronger, while the late game Pokemon will be obtained late, but they will stay with you up to the endgame as stronger options. That is precisely how the games were designed, and this is likely how a new kid would go into the games. Heck, I'm sure most of us when we were younger never planned our teams and just rolled with whatever we thought was cool and kept catching Pokemon we liked and experimenting with them. I'm sure the new kids of today would do that too.

TL;DR Pokemon games, key thing to remember, is that they are meant to be played with a dynamic and rotating party. Keep catching and experimenting with Pokemon, phasing them out as they fall off, and rinse and repeat. This is a big reason why early game Pokemon evolve early but become weak and subpar later on, while late game Pokemon are better but reach their potential later. Part of the challenge for new kids is that they don't know which Pokemon are good and which aren't: the charm for them is to keep meeting new Pokemon and catching them and playing with them until they lose their luster and then phase them out with another Pokemon they meet later on. Of course, us veteran players know everything about each Pokemon, and know what makes a good Pokemon, so we don't play like this: we can look everything up on Bulbapedia/Serebii and use our knowledge of the inherent Pokemon mechanics to meticulously plan a team consisting of the best of the best and handpick a fixed team of six consisting of the best and most effective Pokemon to use throughout the game, which is another key factor in what makes the games "easy" for veterans.
 
So I came across a thread on Reddit last night, and continuing on the discussion we've all been having lately about the games and difficulty, I finally understand one particular thing about the design behind Pokemon games, and I think this is one crucial thing we're all forgetting with this discussion.

The big thing is that most Pokemon games in general are designed with the intention that players have a constantly rotating party. Especially in recent generations with the massive Pokemon diversity available, the general idea is that you are meant to constantly be rearranging your team as the game goes on and your opponents get stronger, pick up stronger Pokemon that are available later. The intention is that the player should go through every route in the game and catch every Pokemon they are interested in, to overall work out a squad of useful Pokemon, and constantly rearrange and change the team as the game goes on and certain Pokemon start falling off, and stronger Pokemon start becoming available.

Most blatantly, this shows with how Pokemon distribution is in general across the games. Early game Pokemon evolve early, and become strong early on, but as the game goes on, they fall off because they're just not strong enough for the opponents that go on later. The best, strongest Pokemon become available late in the game, and in many cases evolve late and don't reach their potential until late in the game. That's precisely the point. The idea is that you catch both kinds of Pokemon, but use the early game Pokemon for the early segment, then drop them as the power level increases and phase them out of your team in lieu of a stronger Pokemon. Most obvious examples of this are the early bugs: Butterfree/Beedrill, as well as the rodents like Raticate, Watchog, etc. They evolve super early and are strong for the early game, but they will eventually fall off and become obsolete. And later on, Dragon-types like Dragonite are super late-game Pokemon, but are by far among the strongest Pokemon in the game.

I came across a post in the Pokemon that disappointed you thread here by Pikachu315111 about how Boltund, Eldegoss, and Orbeetle in Sword and Shield fell off the map and he eventually booted them as the power level increased. That's precisely the point! These are all early game Pokemon, and they evolve and reach their full power early in the game at early evolution levels, but as the game goes on and the power level increases, you are meant to eventually ditch them once better, stronger Pokemon start becoming available. Meanwhile, on the other hand, a Pokemon like Dragapult is obtained late and doesn't reach its full potential until very late in the game, but is one of the strongest Pokemon out there. This design philosophy was put in place ever since Gen 1, with early route Pokemon like Spearow and the bugs being early bloomers but falling off, until later you get better Pokemon like, say Dodrio and phase them out in lieu of the better Pokemon.

I also came across some posts later like this one that discusses Zebstrika in BW1. BW1 plays the structure I mentioned completely straight. Zebstrika is essentially, putting it in Fire Emblem terminology, the "Jagen" to Galvantula or Eelektross's "Est". Zebstrika is designed as an Electric-type who is obtained early, and compared to many other Gen 5 Pokemon, it evolves relatively early as well. So it becomes very strong and fast early on, and by the point you evolve it, a fast and powerful Pokemon for that point. Meanwhile, Joltik and Tynamo are obtained relatively late, and are exceptionally weak and need a good deal of time until they fully evolve. Tynamo especially, who sucks until it evolves, but Eelektross is a good Pokemon with great offensive stats, a fantastic movepool, and good bulk+Levitate. Zebstrika essentially serves to evolve early and hold you over while you try to raise Joltik or Tynamo, and then once you have Galvantula or Eelektross fully evolved, you can kiss Zebstrika goodbye now that Galv/Eel are fully ready to take over as your main Electric-type.

BW1 gets criticized for having a poor selection of early game Pokemon and leaving all the good Pokemon in the late game, but that's the intention. Every Pokemon was designed with an in-game defined role, and the early game Pokemon barring, say, Drilbur and maybe Stoutland, are designed to be useful early on but to quickly fall off the map in lieu of better Pokemon showing up later, while the late game Pokemon come in, and you are expected not only to catch and raise them, but have them replace and take over the weaker earlier game Pokemon you have now that they're no longer up to snuff.

Now I'm rambling at this point, but you get the gist. The thing we're all missing here is that the intended playstyle I'm describing here is not what most of us do. Codraroll brings up that the challenge for new players is finding out which moves to use at the right time, but that's not all there is to it. The other challenge is also figuring out what Pokemon are good and what Pokemon are not, or at least which Pokemon will be useful in the long term. We don't need to do that, because us veteran players have the advantage of knowing every Pokemon's base stats, movepools, and abilities, and even if we don't, we have Bulbapedia and Serebii at our fingertips and we can look it up beforehand: we know what base stats are, we know what moves are good and what aren't good moves, and vice versa. So all of us just play the game by meticulously planning a fixed team of 6, handpicking the best Pokemon of the lot, and steamrolling the game with ease by handpicking the best Pokemon of the lot, which we know beforehand by looking up their stats and movepools.

A new player isn't going to do this. Without prior knowledge of Pokemon games, they aren't going to plan a team beforehand. Ideally, a new player would come into the game blind, start catching Pokemon and experimenting with them in each route as the game goes on, and keep doing so throughout the game even late in the game, and replace and phase out Pokemon as they start falling off and failing to match up to the power level of the opponents. Think of it akin to, say, the Persona games, where you start off with a few low level Personas, but as the game's power level goes up, you fuse your weaker Personas to develop stronger ones. That's kind of a particular RPG design, but it's also a general kind of design many games go through: the early game "gear" is effectively mediocre at best, but it's serviceable for the power level early on, but weak for the later power level and you are expected to "upgrade" and advance your gear to a stronger inventory to tackle tougher opponents. The items in Pokemon games already do this, as Poke Balls and Potions already have a chain that upgrades to stronger variants, such as Great Ball+Super Potion becoming available a bit later in the game, and even later you get the Ultra Ball+Hyper Potion. It's a natural progression that games are built on.

In fact, I've seen quite a few posts where people have said they found Pokemon games more fun/interesting when they used more than six Pokemon throughout the game and rotated. Especially with a game like XY or even Sword and Shield. This leads me to even more firmly believe that the idea of a party that constantly rotates its Pokemon is how the developers want people to play. Ideally, the only Pokemon that will likely be a permanent team member on your team is your starter: that Pokemon is designed to stay with you from beginning to end. But everything else is designed with a rotational role: catch it, use it until it falls off, and eventually rotate it out in lieu of something stronger, while the late game Pokemon will be obtained late, but they will stay with you up to the endgame as stronger options. That is precisely how the games were designed, and this is likely how a new kid would go into the games. Heck, I'm sure most of us when we were younger never planned our teams and just rolled with whatever we thought was cool and kept catching Pokemon we liked and experimenting with them. I'm sure the new kids of today would do that too.

TL;DR Pokemon games, key thing to remember, is that they are meant to be played with a dynamic and rotating party. Keep catching and experimenting with Pokemon, phasing them out as they fall off, and rinse and repeat. This is a big reason why early game Pokemon evolve early but become weak and subpar later on, while late game Pokemon are better but reach their potential later. Part of the challenge for new kids is that they don't know which Pokemon are good and which aren't: the charm for them is to keep meeting new Pokemon and catching them and playing with them until they lose their luster and then phase them out with another Pokemon they meet later on. Of course, us veteran players know everything about each Pokemon, and know what makes a good Pokemon, so we don't play like this: we can look everything up on Bulbapedia/Serebii and use our knowledge of the inherent Pokemon mechanics to meticulously plan a team consisting of the best of the best and handpick a fixed team of six consisting of the best and most effective Pokemon to use throughout the game, which is another key factor in what makes the games "easy" for veterans.
I think that there's a very large wrench in that plan, that results in "teams" made with no prior knowledge being even more static and restrictive than a planned set of 6. Starters are pretty good throughout ingame, and a player always has them in their first few battles. An intended lesson of "pokemon fall off and can be rotated out" is replaced with "The Starter is the only good mon that can be found." Sure, once the later-game hits wild pokemon will start being good, but by then a naive stat comparison will show the starter (almost certainly with full but unoptimized EVs, and a solid level lead if they've been always active) still ahead. It can take obvious special cases like legendaries to get through that, and because they're shown as special, it doesn't teach players that good mons exist in the grass.

But maybe that's just my experience, since I've had at least one planned member ever since I stopped trying to brute-force with my starter. I probably would not have experimented with gen 5's later mons if I hadn't committed to getting Drilbur before buying the game and realized that it puts in work.
 

pokemon4eva

literally my two brain cells
is a Pre-Contributor
This design philosophy was put in place ever since Gen 1, with early route Pokemon like Spearow and the bugs being early bloomers but falling off, until later you get better Pokemon like, say Dodrio and phase them out in lieu of the better Pokemon.
There's no best example than Pidgey, Spearow and Doduo in the Kanto games. The former two are available right in the start but Doduo only appears mid-late in the adventure, and is clearly the superior option in terms of power and movepool. You wish to change your staying team member and start with a newly caught Doduo with little exp (and DV points), that option depends on you.


A new player isn't going to do this. Without prior knowledge of Pokemon games, they aren't going to plan a team beforehand. Ideally, a new player would come into the game blind, start catching Pokemon and experimenting with them in each route as the game goes on, and keep doing so throughout the game even late in the game, and replace and phase out Pokemon as they start falling off and failing to match up to the power level of the opponents. Think of it akin to, say, the Persona games, where you start off with a few low level Personas, but as the game's power level goes up, you fuse your weaker Personas to develop stronger ones. That's kind of a particular RPG design, but it's also a general kind of design many games go through: the early game "gear" is effectively mediocre at best, but it's serviceable for the power level early on, but weak for the later power level and you are expected to "upgrade" and advance your gear to a stronger inventory to tackle tougher opponents. The items in Pokemon games already do this, as Poke Balls and Potions already have a chain that upgrades to stronger variants, such as Great Ball+Super Potion becoming available a bit later in the game, and even later you get the Ultra Ball+Hyper Potion. It's a natural progression that games are built on.
There are some fangames which are designed with that same philosophy. Games like Reborn and Rejuvenation have TRASH early mons but considering how brutal some bosses can be, you gotta use what you have access at the moment (I don't know how I reached this far with my usual 6 team approach). Also there's a level cap which pretty much punishes you for focusing on one mon, so it encourages you to share exp between rotating mons.
 
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Yung Dramps

awesome gaming
It seems like in the wake of SWSH the biggest, newest narrative that has emerged to explain the """""franchise downfall""""" (I don't actually believe the series is in a prolonged period of decline but bare with me) is that Game Freak doesn't have enough development time anymore to make complete, polished games, that the generation lifespans they've been granted to make new ones are insufficient.

After doing just a cursory glance at SWSH's development history and the time given for some other games, I massively dispute this claim.

"Originally teased at E3 2017 and announced in February 2019, Pokémon Sword and Shield were released in November 2019.

Sword and Shield's concept planning began immediately following the completion of Pokémon Sun and Moon in 2016, while full production began a year later in September 2017." -Wikipedia

Basically, SWSH had 3 years of development if you include pre-production, 2 years if you exclude it. Again, people say this is too little, but is it really? Because as far as I can tell by looking at other big Switch releases, this is seems more or less industry standard. Let's start with the 3 year timespan.

-While it's a little fuzzy, Super Mario Odyssey seems to have started development around late 2013/early 2014 giving it a roughly 4 year cycle. That's more than SWSH, but not an immense difference, especially considering how Odyssey went back to the far more glamorous, open and generally more labor-intensive style of games like Galaxy.
-Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's intial dev cycle began in early 2016, giving it a cycle of 2.5 years, less than SWSH.
-Perhaps the most striking and genre-specific comparison I can find, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 started development in 2014 too (admittedly the only source I can find on this is Wikipedia with no citation note, so it might be a wee shaky), in which case it has basically the same timeframe as SWSH and wins the honor for the shortest dev time of any of the Xenoblade games

Now, to be fair, none of these explicitly state whether they include pre-production or not, so let's be extra cynical and go down to the 2 year timeframe. It's definitely a lot tighter, but not completely unheard of; examples of well-made games with such a window include Sonic Unleashed and Splatoon 2.

So, if not dev time, why did SWSH turn out in the questionably polished state it did? Simply put, I think the main culprit is just plain old hardware inexperience. Really when you think about it during the 2010s GF has had to make not one, but two massive unprecedented hardware leaps (2d to 3d, then handheld to HD console), something they've never really been faced with before. With that in mind unless Nintendo's next console is some 8K 500 FPS hyper-realistic monstrosity I highly doubt they'll be forced to make another big leap like that for a long time, so yay.
 

Merritt

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I don't see a particularly strong distinction between not giving sufficient development time to polish a game and not being experienced with the hardware. Aside from resigning yourself to the fact that a game produced on a new gen console will always be unpolished, the only way to get experience with the hardware other than releasing mediocre games to understand it better (oh hey look it's Little Town Hero) would be... to give more time to familiarize the team with the hardware, right?
 
GF historically has shown to be pretty bad in making the jump
Even OG Pokemon RGB, they were pretty terrible in utilizing the console
GSC dev was them scrambling by until they suddenly got help in optimizing from Iwata. But it still horribly hurt the sizes of Johto and Kanto due to it happening too late
Gen 3 there was no reason to stick to rigid 4 grid movement and shaped tiles. Yet it did, and due to not utilizing palettes properly, the palettes were rigid and prevented proper Day Cight cycles, in addition to archaic text prompts slowing, slow HP drain, and lack of stat modifier indicators
Gen 4 was another chance at full movement and overhaul for battle speed, but they chose to jump into 3D tile design that was...mostly underutilized outside Plat Distortion world. Even Gen 5 didn't really fix that, and 4 was slower than 3 overall ironically
6 and 7 ran like hell on old 3DS. Even for how high poly the mon models were, there's no way they should lag in a mostly empty battle scene. Pokedex 3D pro had even higher poly models, and ran better
So SWSH suffering...we need to admit first that older games are guilty of many of its environment flaws for archaic graphics
 
It seems like in the wake of SWSH the biggest, newest narrative that has emerged to explain the """""franchise downfall""""" (I don't actually believe the series is in a prolonged period of decline but bare with me) is that Game Freak doesn't have enough development time anymore to make complete, polished games, that the generation lifespans they've been granted to make new ones are insufficient.

After doing just a cursory glance at SWSH's development history and the time given for some other games, I massively dispute this claim.

"Originally teased at E3 2017 and announced in February 2019, Pokémon Sword and Shield were released in November 2019.

Sword and Shield's concept planning began immediately following the completion of Pokémon Sun and Moon in 2016, while full production began a year later in September 2017." -Wikipedia

Basically, SWSH had 3 years of development if you include pre-production, 2 years if you exclude it. Again, people say this is too little, but is it really? Because as far as I can tell by looking at other big Switch releases, this is seems more or less industry standard. Let's start with the 3 year timespan.

-While it's a little fuzzy, Super Mario Odyssey seems to have started development around late 2013/early 2014 giving it a roughly 4 year cycle. That's more than SWSH, but not an immense difference, especially considering how Odyssey went back to the far more glamorous, open and generally more labor-intensive style of games like Galaxy.
-Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's intial dev cycle began in early 2016, giving it a cycle of 2.5 years, less than SWSH.
-Perhaps the most striking and genre-specific comparison I can find, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 started development in 2014 too (admittedly the only source I can find on this is Wikipedia with no citation note, so it might be a wee shaky), in which case it has basically the same timeframe as SWSH and wins the honor for the shortest dev time of any of the Xenoblade games

Now, to be fair, none of these explicitly state whether they include pre-production or not, so let's be extra cynical and go down to the 2 year timeframe. It's definitely a lot tighter, but not completely unheard of; examples of well-made games with such a window include Sonic Unleashed and Splatoon 2.

So, if not dev time, why did SWSH turn out in the questionably polished state it did? Simply put, I think the main culprit is just plain old hardware inexperience. Really when you think about it during the 2010s GF has had to make not one, but two massive unprecedented hardware leaps (2d to 3d, then handheld to HD console), something they've never really been faced with before. With that in mind unless Nintendo's next console is some 8K 500 FPS hyper-realistic monstrosity I highly doubt they'll be forced to make another big leap like that for a long time, so yay.
Codraroll had mentioned in a previous post that it feels like to the people doing planning and art development got much more time than the people who was in charge of 3D modeling. It’s probably safe to say while they had roughly similar time to those other games, the people in charge the planning had more time than those implementing the artwork in-game, which explains the rushed element.
 
So, if not dev time, why did SWSH turn out in the questionably polished state it did? Simply put, I think the main culprit is just plain old hardware inexperience. Really when you think about it during the 2010s GF has had to make not one, but two massive unprecedented hardware leaps (2d to 3d, then handheld to HD console), something they've never really been faced with before. With that in mind unless Nintendo's next console is some 8K 500 FPS hyper-realistic monstrosity I highly doubt they'll be forced to make another big leap like that for a long time, so yay.
I've always considered realistic the issue with hardware inexperience.
As Sonikku A stated, GF already shown they are... bad when it comes to hardware transitions. And it doesn't help that over the years they have been carrying around a ridicolous amount of legacy code (see, how battles actually work behind the scenes being the same or almost the same for.. how many gens again?)

I do still wonder how the "next games" will pan out though. This time they had waaaay more time to learn the hardware's quirks, and honestly even going from base game to Armor and then Tundra shown they have learned a few tricks here and there and improved the quality of their work.
And they are now basically in Nintendo's HQ, meaning they can actually access support from their designers, well, assuming they'd actually be willing to ask for it.
 

Codraroll

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And it doesn't help that over the years they have been carrying around a ridicolous amount of legacy code (see, how battles actually work behind the scenes being the same or almost the same for.. how many gens again?)
There seems to have been a massive code overhaul for Ruby and Sapphire that they've built upon to this day. Those old Key Items are still kept in the code. I definitely think another overhaul is long overdue, and it kind of surprises me they didn't use the occasion of Dexit to do so.

TL;DR Pokemon games, key thing to remember, is that they are meant to be played with a dynamic and rotating party. Keep catching and experimenting with Pokemon, phasing them out as they fall off, and rinse and repeat. This is a big reason why early game Pokemon evolve early but become weak and subpar later on, while late game Pokemon are better but reach their potential later. Part of the challenge for new kids is that they don't know which Pokemon are good and which aren't: the charm for them is to keep meeting new Pokemon and catching them and playing with them until they lose their luster and then phase them out with another Pokemon they meet later on. Of course, us veteran players know everything about each Pokemon, and know what makes a good Pokemon, so we don't play like this: we can look everything up on Bulbapedia/Serebii and use our knowledge of the inherent Pokemon mechanics to meticulously plan a team consisting of the best of the best and handpick a fixed team of six consisting of the best and most effective Pokemon to use throughout the game, which is another key factor in what makes the games "easy" for veterans.
A counterpoint is that this playstyle isn't necessarily very intuitive. As a kid, I certainly didn't have a habit of rotating my team that much. What I caught was what I used, and that's generally a tendency I see from other players as well. Upon capturing a Pokémon you're asked to give it a nickname, which encourages bonding with the Pokémon. NPCs are always talking about your Pokémon as your friends and partners, which really discourages sending them to the PC. You wouldn't want little Lucky to miss out on that next big battle, would you?

The prospect of evolution and the potential of learning new moves by level-up also entices you to keep your Pokémon around, because you'll never know if it will evolve or get a move that makes it really good. The Pokédex can give you a small pointer of whether the Pokémon has an evolution or not, but it's still hard to tell whether a poorly performing Pokémon is going through a rough patch or if it has reached its full potential and simply is that poor. Without looking it up, it's hard to determine if a Pokémon is worth keeping, but many players might keep it "just in case it becomes good later".

There's also the tendency of recurring NPCs to keep the same Pokémon around throughout most of the game. Early on, Blue eventually discarded his Raticate, but the other team members remain the same from the moment he catches them until the Champion battle. Silver never discarded any of his Pokémon, nor did May/Brendan, Barry, Cheren, Hugh, Hau or Gladion. At one point, Calem/Serena discard a Fletchling they have at the very start of the game, otherwise their teams are static. Only N and Hop make significant changes to their teams throughout the game. I think that if the game is designed around a rotating team, it should have been a little more upfront about it. Talking more about reorganizing your team, NPCs explicitly referring to Pokémon being boxed, stuff like that. Perhaps gift Pokémon are meant to be subtle encouragements to make changes to your team (not-so-subtle in the case of the cover legendary in XY!), but at least for me, I tend to box the gift Pokémon if I've already built a team I'm happy with.

Then again, these days I tend to run two teams in my playthroughs, swapping between them after each milestone battle, but otherwise playing the games completely straight. It's surprisingly fun, and quite challenging at times.

Overall, I think it's easy to sell to players the idea of trying out new Pokémon, but there's some psychological threshold to overcome for a player to discard a trusted team member. I think the games could benefit from addressing that bit a little better.
 
I definitely think another overhaul is long overdue, and it kind of surprises me they didn't use the occasion of Dexit to do so.
To be fair, if Dexit actually stuck to their original iteration ("We aren't going to bring others back and every game will only have the ones present at start") yeah, but since Dexit actually never happened and slowlybutsurely every Pokemon is returning, it isn't as surprising that no overhaul was done.

Obviously, we don't know if the few that are still missing will actually return this game, nor how gen 9 (or gen 8.5 if we get remakes or something similar) will work, but since Dexit was basically a facade, I can see why they wouldn't.

I still wish they didn't try to hide the return of Pokemon, would have saved them SO much shit...
Like, SwSh definitely would have got trash for questionable quality graphics, but I don't think gen 8 would have got half of the hate it actually got if they were upfront with Pokemon being gradually added rather than lie and say that "it's just those 400 and it'll stay like that".
To this day I still hope that the person who came up with that idea got fired.
 
I mentioned once that I dislike regional variants and so on, but seeing the Spaceworld 97 demo... I really want to have a Poison Type Umbreon with minimal design changes.
Similary, I don't like Baby Pokemon, but damn... I really need that baby Meowth. Honestly, GF can just add these baby forms and justify some old Pokemon getting some serious stat buffs.

Would anyone mind Meowth and Persian getting 40+ more base atk and some increase in it's bulk?

That will likely never happen simply because I hardly doubt Game Freak or the Pokemon company wanting to admit the leaked demo is real and reintroduce an old design. And I can't believe how they dropped Porygon2's amazing beta design.
 
I mentioned once that I dislike regional variants and so on, but seeing the Spaceworld 97 demo... I really want to have a Poison Type Umbreon with minimal design changes.
Similary, I don't like Baby Pokemon, but damn... I really need that baby Meowth. Honestly, GF can just add these baby forms and justify some old Pokemon getting some serious stat buffs.

Would anyone mind Meowth and Persian getting 40+ more base atk and some increase in it's bulk?

That will likely never happen simply because I hardly doubt Game Freak or the Pokemon company wanting to admit the leaked demo is real and reintroduce an old design. And I can't believe how they dropped Porygon2's amazing beta design.
At least Alolan Persian got Fur Coat, which means it has huge physical bulk.
 

pokemon4eva

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I disliked when Pokemon did limited events exclusive to certain shops only. For many players who don't live where they are giving these events we had no choice but to rely on hacking devices. I am mostly talking about the events in gen 3 games, since some of the ds related events were online distributed (not ALL of them mind you, which is still a questionable decision...). But since it wasn't possible in gen 3, they instead relied on mystery gift distributions or...sigh....the e-reader. Which is why I ask, why simply just make them in-game events?

- Make Southern Island available if you catch one Lati twin and bring it to the champion or something.
- Make Birth Island available after catching a certain number of mons and showing it to Oak.
- Make Navel Rock available if you have the Legendary Beasts and/or Birds in your team.
- Make Faraway Island available after obtaining all gold symbols or sth.
- There's literally a space station in Mossdeep that serves no purpose and also studies Meteorites. Jirachi can easily fit there.

I dunno, these are some alternatives that also incentivate the player to play more of the post game.
 
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Pikachu315111

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I disliked when Pokemon did limited events exclusive to certain shops only. For many players who don't live where they are giving these events we had no choice but to rely on hacking devices. I am mostly talking about the events in gen 3 games, since some of the ds related events were online distributed (not ALL of them mind you, which is still a questionable decision...). But since it wasn't possible in gen 3, they instead relied on mystery gift distributions or...sigh....the e-reader. Which is why I ask, why simply just make them in-game events?

- Make Southern Island available if you catch one Lati twin and bring it to the champion or something.
- Make Birth Island available after catching a certain number of mons and showing it to Oak.
- Make Navel Rock available if you have the Legendary Beasts and/or Birds in your team.
- Make Faraway Island available after obtaining all gold symbols or sth.
- There's literally a space station in Mossdeep that serves no purpose and also studies Meteorites. Jirachi can easily fit there.

I dunno, these are some alternatives that also incentivate the player to play more of the post game.
Maybe though could have done that with Navel Rock, but all the others were either for a Mythical Pokemon (Birth Island, Faraway Island, Jirachi) or they wanted to have both sort of a version exclusive Legendary but provide an event that let's you catch the other one without having to find someone to trade (Southern Island).

It pretty much goes back to the frustration of Mythical Pokemon. And I reiterate my suggestion that, while I get them wanting to make the Mythical Pokemon for the current gen only available through Events, I think they should make all the Mythical Pokemon from the previous generation available in-game so that players have easy access to them and they're not being used as an advertisement tool anymore.
 

ScraftyIsTheBest

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Not sure if this is unpopular, but here we go...

But honestly the Wild Area in Sword and Shield is one of my favorite concepts. I love the idea of having a big, expansive space to explore where there are tons of wild Pokemon to find, and it's incredibly fun to be there and look for Pokemon every day and catch them. I've legit found it incredibly fun to spend time moving around the Wild Area, looking for Pokemon to catch, and catching Pokemon left and right and filling my Pokedex.

The Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra took upon the concept of the original Wild Area and did even better with it, with the Isle's wide biome diversity, and the Tundra's incredibly expansive map with a ton of interesting secrets, as well as legendary Pokemon, and whatnot. And both areas are just absolutely wonderful to explore and it's a blast to meet Pokemon here and there while exploring those places, and catching them.

I have legit never had so much fun trying to fill my Pokedex and catch Pokemon before this, and the Wild Areas are such a fun place to do it. The original Wild Area was pretty decent, if a bit of missed potential, but it was still incredibly fun and the free camera movement and exploration showed great promise, which the Isle and Tundra built upon and made even better. Having just finished off my Pokedexes for Galar, these places made the experience of catching Pokemon and completing the Pokedex just that much more enjoyable, and I love the concepts they were going for with the Wild Areas. While it's not necessary for future games to have something like this, I think it would be really great they could expand upon this concept even more in the future, because the Wild Area is honestly such a great concept to me and one I truly found enjoyable.
 
I have no hope for Diamond and Pearl remakes. I recall looking forward during the Gen 7 era what they could do to improve the games.
Generation 4 is one of my least favorite generations. DP have insane amount of issues. Let's go over refreshing some of our memories:
- lack of Fire types because "cold region", and still adding an elite 4 member specializing in fire types... I criticized Gen 3 for the lack of good fire types and fire types in general, but even then you will have a hard time in a region with "too much water". But in Sinnoh, you basicly require a Fire Type, otherwise you will be walled by Bronzel and Bronzong. But your only option are less than half the amount of Hoenn's evolutionary lines. The starter and Ponyta. And there is no way around it, Ponyta is awful in DP because no Flamewheel, horrible movepool and evolves at lv40.
But hey, you can teach it Fire Blast and 80 SpA is respectable. It rivals Monferno too.
- it's a cold region, but no early game ice types and there is a lack of ice types too. Why does Candice even have 4 Pokemon if she can't have a full team of ice types. Also by the time you have an ice type, you have a water type with ice attacks which is better to begin with. Ice Types usually suck in game too because of the horrible way you can obtain them. I recall Articuno being the only classic ice type worth adding to your team. Maybe there are more.
- You have to see all the Pokemon in the Pokedex to get access to the post-game and palpark
- too many legendaries making them less valuable and the enjoyment (for me at least) to find them and catch gets repetitive and boring
- too many myphical Pokemon. I still can't get it believe the reasons given for the lack of an Azure Flute distribution. Gosh, where could be the most important place be where I could encounter a deity Pokemon? If only there were some hint where to use the damn flute. We will never solve it like we never solved the Regi-riddles.
- still having version exclusive legendary Pokemon.
- too many HMs
- honey trees

What I want is fixing some of these issue, because while I dislike Gen 4, I feel it has actual potential. But seeing what GF is doing time and time again, I have no hope honestly. Giratina will likely be stationary, you catch it and somewhere an old lady will give you the Platinum Orb. And Flint will likely have no fire types until the post game, if that even exists. Maybe he will have Charizard because at least he is in SwSh.
Tagging to get your opinions on the remake.
 
This is something I hear often, it having "become" this way or heavily changed, and I don't aree. Gym leaders have been filled with gunk Pokemon and movesets since Gen 1. Even late-game. I figure Gen1 and Gen2 don't need that much elaboration (Sabrina Abra lol), but...

R/S Leader(s) 7 has two Pokemon total, and for a double battle no less.
R/S Leader 8... Seaking is neither the worst nor the second worst out of 5. Luvdisc and Sealeo get those honors.

D/P Leader 7 has Snover and Sneasel.

B/W Leader 7 has Vanillish. No leader in the whole game has more than three Pokemon.

All of these Pokemon are worse than any 6-8 XY leader's Pokemon. Sure, Wulfric gets obliterated by any Fire-type, but so does B/W Brycen, unless you fall before the might of... Beartic's Brine.


This may have not been what you meant, but a lot of people point to the "better strategies" and "complete movesets" of Pokemon from earlier generations, and, well...

Winona (6) has Water Gun / Supersonic / Aerial Ace (50 Atk!) / Protect Pelipper. Send help, please. Skarmory has Sand-Attack and Fury Attack.

All of Wallace's (8) Water-types have Water Pulse and no stronger STAB move (besides Earthquake Whiscash, which is admittedly good stuff). Luvdisc has Flail, Milotic has Twister (covers Dragons? it has Ice Beam. Twister just free reprieve chance), and Seaking has Fury Attack. All free-turn filler.

Candice's (7) Sneasel has Avalanche (???) and Slash. Snover has Razor Leaf and Ingrain (sure it'll survive to take advantage of that). Abomasnow has Swagger and Grasswhistle?? Like sure, those two can be dangerous, but this is clearly cheese and not a competent moveset for rewarding play.

Volkner's (8) Ambipom has no STAB moves. Raichu and Luxray have Charge Beam but no other special moves. Octillery has no move above 65 BP, which includes 10 BP Bullet Seed.

Skyla (6) has all-physical Swoobat with 57 Attack. Not technically all-physical because... Amnesia? (not Simple.) Unfezant has Quick Attack, Razor Wind, and Leer.

Brycen (7) has Astonish Vanillish, Rapid Spin Cryogonal, and Swagger Beartic.

B/W Drayden/Iris (8) have two Dragon Dance sweepers! With, uh, Dragon Tail as their only STAB move. What? And Fraxure has Dragon Rage.

"Why are you only using the first entries and not Emerald/Plat/B2W2?" Because X was a first entry too. There may be a case that remake trainers are notably better than first entry trainers, but that's not the narrative I normally hear.
What frustrates me is that we have 25 years of competitive Pokemon to reference when making sets. It isn't even hard. STAB that use the stronger attacking stat good. Coverage good. Setup moves good. Stuff like Ground + Ice, Boltbeam, or Dragon + Fire has near universal coverage. Like 5 minutes on Google is all they need to find passable movesets. Either they want the games to be easy or they're completely ignorant to their own game mechanics.
 

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