I took a more casual approach to gaming this spring and see what I wanted to review rather than pressure myself into one. Which is why I got into playing Pokémon Emerald alongside Mother 3. One for casual play, and the other to cry like a little baby. I plan to have a personal retrospective on Emerald when I finish, but, until then, I decided to share my pain when I decided to fix Maxie and Archie’s team.

“Hahaha, welcome the republican party! Where our mascot is an Elephant and Texas is our homeland. (If you’re either party, I’m just having fun.)”

For those of you who are boomers, the 3rd generation had two evil teams instead of one, split into both versions. Team Magma, run by Maxie, were the land raising team of Ruby (or Omega Ruby) trying to revive Groudon. Archie, on the other hand, ran the sea-faring Team Aqua of Sapphire (or Alpha Sapphire) trying to revive Kyorge. Emerald brought the two teams together in the same game, both now the antagonist now fighting each other as they both revive the legendary Pokémon.

For those who do know, you might be asking, why did I bother fixing their teams? Pokemon is meant to be an easy game and they’re just a part of it. What’s wrong with both of them having a Mightyena and Crobat while Maxie has a Camerupt while Archie has Sharpedo? Yes, them having that kind of team fits with the casual play of Pokémon.

What Gamefreak got wrong with Maxie and Archie’s teams, extending to their grunts, is how much their Pokémon choice represent nothing relating to them or their plans. When I think of Magma and Aqua, I think of teams who use Ground, Fire, and Water types. The problem is, although the grunts use mons like Carvahna and Numel, many of them use Poocheyenas and Zubats, which becomes very tedious quick as you make your way through Emerald. I don’t understand why Gamefreak relied on those two. Although Hoenn is in short supply of original fire types, with only 3 lines including the start, but there are still 6 lined with the Slugma and Vulpix line. Ground types have a solid amount, with such new lines as Trapinch and Baltoy with a return of many such as Geodude and Sandrew. In fact, keeping with the theme, Maxie and Team Magma could even use Rock types like Solrock, although I didn’t give Maxie any rock Pokémon, and Grass types such as Seedot and Oddish.

“Is the sea the Democratic homeland?”

This sin is more headache inducing with Team Aqua, who operate in a region criticized by IGN for having too much water yet barely use any of the water types in that water. Hell, in Emerald, there are so many water types that the game, if you count Archie, has 3 water type bosses. Yet a pirate themed team only uses one Carvahna with one dude using a Wailmer. What the hell are they gonna do with their Poocheyena’s when they flood the world? No wonder Psyduck gets headaches in this universe. Gamefreak ended up turning both teams into discount Team Rocket, which is a disappointment. We could have had something unique with the teams, at least with Magma. I’m gonna have to move to a 3rd world country when I say that IGN was right in a sense.

But I got a bit off track. There is a huge missed opportunity that lays hidden between Maxie and Archie. Gen 3 introduced weather effects such as sun and rain, which Gamefreak would use the box legends to embody this new mechanic. Yet, only two bosses in the Elite Four utilize weather. Pretty good that Gamefreak actually decided to utilize on of their team strats through a trainer. But the Team bosses, who you’d think would showcase this mechanic based on their goals to revive the weather legends, never utilize this mechanic. Although Pokémon is a casual experience, I would expect the bosses of the teams to be some kind of challenge instead of “durr Crobat. durr I lost!” The problem with their team is that it ends up making them forgettable among the various Team bosses. It sucks because there was a simple solution. But nah, Gamefreak. Instead of doing something in ORAS, just give them a Weezing and a Muk. And don’t worry about giving Muk to the sea dude. Sure do love the mental image of Archie achieving his goals and Muk giving him the finger as he melts into the sea.

Because this sh!t bothered me so much, I straight up sacrificed a night of studying to go on Showdown and make a better team for the two. One that represents them as characters, represents their goals, and represents the weather brought into this Generation. I took this as a damn challenge. Now, although I say that I “fixed” their teams, this is my opinion. If you have any problem with the choices that I went, or have your own changes, let me know in the comments. I am but a Hispanic college student who just found out the hood is just slang for neighborhood. I am the farthest thing from being an authority.

The Ground Rules

Now to the meat of things. When it came to changing their teams, I placed a few rules onto myself that range vastly. This includes the games I used as the basis since both of them appear in gen 3 and gen 6, the changes based on both of them together, finally the changes based on both of them individually.

For the game related rules, I used the gen 3 mechanics as the basis for how I structured their teams. This means that I could only use Pokémon found within Hoenn during the 3rd generation, no other Pokémon past that, and I had to consider the lack of the physical-special split. Now, while there were some decisions made based on the remakes, I primarily stuck with gen 3 because I’m playing Emerald. Emerald is, to me, the definitive version of the story, even if ORAS are better mechanically, so I wanted to use the 3rd version as the foundation for the team.

For both of them together, the first decision was keeping their signature Pokémon. Although Camerupt and Sharpedo (especially Sharpedo) are terrible in gen 3 due to the lack of the physical-special split, and I really wanted to get rid of them, I wanted to respect the decision Gamefreak made when making them the signature. The second was only allowing them to use 5 Pokémon, as this is the team you would fight before the last gym. Also, they ain’t the champion. The third was structuring their teams around weather, and I’m sure you know which weather strategy is going to whom. This is to better reflect their goals of reviving Groudon and Kyorge and make them stand out amongst the other bosses in the game.

The fourth will be expanded upon in the section about them individually, but I wanted their character to be the defining choices of their Pokémon choice. Pokémon teams have the power to tell a story without words, as a person’s choice of mons and moves can say more about their character than simple dialogue. Finally, although Emerald is the basis for their team, I decided to use ORAS for their character. Maxie and Archie barely differentiate from each other in Emerald due to the fact that, in Ruby and Sapphire, they were characterized to be interchangeable. ORAS expanded upon their characters, making one a champion for humans and the other a champion of Pokémon. This was not in the original Emerald. However, I feel it best to use the improvements ORAS brought to them to better fix their teams.

With that, let’s get into both leaders individually.

Maxie: Leader of Team Magma

“Thank you game for putting a speaker in his voice so that this dialogue makes sense.”

For Maxie, based on his goals, I decided to go for a stall team consisting of only land Pokémon. Basically, no water types. As a man who wants to expand the land to further expand human civilization, and who is seemingly a scientist, I saw Maxie as the cold and calculated type who would see Pokémon as nothing more than tools. This is also why I made his team a lot more competitively viable, where the EVs are at their most perfect for each Mon. I thought perfect IVs would be too much for his boss fight. This culminates in a team with the best stall strategies, where they wear you down slowly while barely taking any hits. Maxie’s team is a team given to him.

Camerupt

His signature Pokémon that, admittedly, was difficult to fit well with the team structure that I went with. It does have a decent amount of bulk, mostly in hp, with an attack and special attack to hit back hard. As a fire/ground type, however, it dies the moment water even grazes its feet. Not only that, but its own secondary typing kicks its ass. Since I had to keep Maxie’s signature, I decided the best thing to do was a HP special defense tank combining with a resto-chesto set. Just to note, I highly doubt only the player character uses TMs, so I have no qualm using them for Maxie’s Pokémon. Resto-Chesto, for those who don’t know, is a combination of the move Rest, which induces the sleep status, with the sleep healing Chesto Berry. That way, if in a pickle, Camerupt can heal and wake up with no problem. However, in the likelihood of being in another pickle jar again, I gave it Sleep Talk, which allows the Pokemon to use any random move while asleep. Although risky, this allows Camerupt to fight back with either Earthquake, a stab 100 base move, or the deadly Eruption, which its power does decrease based on the Pokémon’s Hp. It ain’t much, but I think it’s something to make it a threat.

(Image from Bulbapedia)

Claydol

Maxie’s sunny day setter and one of his all-around tanks. With use of Cosmic Power, this thing will set up and take hits all while dealing damage with Earthquake and Solar Beam, the latter using the Sun against those pesky water types. Alternatively, there is also Explosion but, by the time you fight Maxie, his Claydol shouldn’t have it since it learns the move at lv 55. Yes, you do fight a level 25 Camerupt in the game when Numel evolves at lv 33, but I don’t want this team to be way too unbeatable. There’s also Toxic like Vileplume, to deal continious damage, and Refresh to heal status effects, which Maxie would replace Sunny Day with once he gets Groudon.

That’s the thing with Claydol. Although it’s the Sunny Day setter, it can do much more without it’s praising of the sun hindering it’s moveset. Since the weather rocks don’t exist yet, weather only lasts for 5 turns. The exception is Groudon, who’s ability, Drought, creates an endless burning sun just waiting to melt the Artic caps. I could have given every mon Sunny Day, which is an option since trainer A.I doesn’t understand the concept of switching. But then every mon has one move slot wasted for Sunny Day and one wasted turn to make the democrats angry. So, Claydol requires Maxie to use his actual brain. This team benefits a lot more once Groudon is awakened.

There’s also another reason for Claydol’s position. Trainers, in Omega Ruby, describe Route 11’s desert, where Baltoy are found, to have possibly been a bay. Okay, a lot of this is based on that exhaustive video on Omega Ruby by ShayMay, but I loved his interpretation of what this area signifies. It symbolizes Maxie’s dream to dry the sea for more land, yet this area is such a desert wasteland that it makes you wonder if Maxie’s paradise will never come.

(Image from Bulbapedia)

Skarmory

I didn’t Crobat, a Pokémon that evolves from friendship, to really fit well with a cold and calculated type of person. Instead, I thought, “why not give him Skarmory, a Physical tank found in the volcanic ash section of the region.” This also happens to be a place near Mt Chimney, the location of Team Magma’s base. Why Skarmory? Because Skarmory is an annoying tank so overused I’ve lost several times in Gen 3 OU battles on Showdown because of it. What makes Skarmory a threat is its combination of Roar and Spikes. Spikes is the only move I gave Skarmory that deals any damage because, if it gets 3 spikes up, Roar allows it to give continuous damage by singing Fnaf songs so cringy your Pokémon will physically leave the battle. If the opposing Pokémon isn’t fast enough, it’s back in the ball for the others to get spikes damage. Now, it’s not as perfect as I write, as Skarmory’s checks are other flying types and Pokémon faster than it. I actually learned Stealth Rocks wasn’t in the game, which surprised me. Like Camerupt, I also gave it the rest sleep talk strat for recovery except I gave it Leftovers for continuous healing. I’ve seen Smogon do toxic and taunt, which I think is a good strategy as well. All of these work in the end. Skarmory’s role is support, to give the enemy continuous damage with each switch in.

(Image from Bulbapedia)

Vileplume

What’s a sunny day team without a grass type? And I thought Vileplume fit that need very well despite being found in a route full of rain. Vileplume acts as the toxic setter and team healer. God job Gamefreak, you completely invalidated Oddish’s own existence in this region. Thought of putting status effects on Maxie’s Pokémon? Vileplume’s aromatherapy will quickly get rid of that. And then itshows you it’s twitter page to induce Toxic. For this mon, however, I made two movesets instead of one just because I wasn’t sure on which to go with. The first has leech seed and Giga Drain for more continuous recovery, while the second has Solar Beam and Synthesis to fully utilize the Sun. I think either one is fine, though let me know in the comments which one you think is better.

I thought it best to use Vileplume for the role of a bulky Grass type because of its secondary poison typing, allowing for them to not get poisoned themselves. Vileplume does take a lot of hits from different types, and doesn’t have a lot of attacking options besides Solar Beam or Giga Drain lest it be given evs for its attack stat to use Poison moves. However, Chlorophyll gives it the speed boost it needs to do what it needs to do.

(Image from Bulbapedia)

Dusclops

Found in Mt. Pyre, and is Maxie’s last team member, Dusclops is another overall bulky Pokémon like Claydol. However, rather than Claydol using Cosmic Power to raise both defenses, Dusclops role is to use Substitute to take more hits. This is combined with the dreaded Focus Punch, a powerful fighting move that needs to be charged without the mon getting hit. So, you can see where the combo’s strength is. Besides that, Dusclops has Night Shade to give set damage based on it’s level, so about 43-45 fixed damage, and then Will-o-Wisp to cripple you’re physical attackers. Because of Dusclops’ ghost typing, it’s a good switch in for fools who try to remove Skarmory’s spikes with rapid spin.

Another reason for Dusclops’ position is where it’s found. Mt Pyre is the Lavender Tower of Hoenn, where the graves are found, and is where Maxie gets the orb to revive Groudon. But the graves are the significant part for Dusclops inclusion. Basically, it’s the edgy visual that Maxie is gonna kill a bunch of people in the process of reviving Groudon.

(Image from Bulbapedia)

Archie: Leader of Team Aqua

“I’m an independent. I vote the Green Party and nobody can stop me!”

Archie, on the contrary, I decided to go for a hard-hitting team consisting of only Pokémon found within or near the sea. So, one of the things that made Archie hard to figure out a team for was how redundant he was. Gamefreak decided to have one of their evil teams be based around Water, only to then decide to make the final gym, Juan, and the Champion, Wallace, also water based. All three of these wet boys are also surrounded by water routes. At this point, I think IGN had a point and I never thought that’d be possible.

As a man who wants to expand the sea for Pokémon’s sake, and as someone who seemingly lived along the depths with his hardy crew, I saw Archie as the passionate but misguided type who sees his team as almost a part of him. This is also why, when using Showdown for this team building, I randomized the evs and ivs for his team. He doesn’t care about their stats (although he would care for their moveset). This is a man who caught and befriended his Pokémon, and damn it all if he isn’t gonna use them. This all culminates in a team that benefits from the rain so that they can hit hard and cripple you long enough to not stop them in their tracks. 

Sharpedo

If Camerupt was a headache, then Sharpedo was an aneurism. Now, in my actual retrospective on Emerald, I will probably say that I liked the lack of physical special split because it made choosing a team much harder and required some more thought than other team building I’ve done in other games. However, in practice, the game really is the rock, paper scissor game we joke about it being with little to no thought with each battle. Every rock is physical, and every dragon is special. What I thought would be a fun dive back into the past actually revealed its glaring problems.

Sharpedo is the embodiment of why the physical-special split needed to happen. The Pokémon is a physical attacker, yet Water and Dark moves are all special in this game. Meaning its best stat can’t be used to use its actual typing. It is Archie’s worst mon, but I gotta keep it because it’s his signature.

So, what did I do with this meat sack? I went with a Subtitute strategy where it sets up agility in order to get a similar speed boost alongside its Swift Swim brethren. I gave Hydro Pump, but Crunch is also a good option as well. Finally, rather than go for Slash, I actually decided to give it Return in order to exemplify how I see Archie as the one who loves his Pokemon. And…that’s the best that I could.

(Image from Bulbapedia)

Gyarados

Originally, I wanted to go for a Walrein because of its bulk as a Rain Dance setter and good coverage. However, Juan uses a Sealeo, while Glacia uses two and a Walrein. I thought giving Archie would cement his role as redundant further. So, I decided to go for Gyarados.

Gyarados, although it doesn’t get Dragon Dance due to it being learned at level 50, is still a harsh threat. It gets options like Earthquake for Electric Types and Hydro Pump for stab. Combined with it being one of the Rain Dance setters for the team, Hydro Pump will hit harder than Will Smith on Oscar night. It also has the ability Intimidate to cripple physical attackers. Finally, in case you put a status effect on it, I gave it Facade to double the base power.

So, why Gyarados over other water types or even Pelipper? The reason is because I would see my interpretation of Archie raising a Magikarp up into a Gyarados. Magikarps are known for being terrible Pokémon that evolve into an amazing one, if someone puts the time and effort. I think having one would tell a lot about Archie’s character more than dialogue.

(Image from Bulbapedia)

Lanturn

In case you think of one shotting everything with an electric type, this Pokémon can come in and absorb it like the Thing to the crew in Antartica. While another Rain Dance setter, I also gave it Thunder Wave to cause guaranteed paralysis to slow your team down. I gave it Hydro Pump for stab, but Lanturn’s greatest strength is using rain for a 100% accurate Thunder which will slap foes harder than Will Smith on Oscar night. I originally thought of giving Archie only tough and fierce looking Pokémon, but I thought the adorable Lanturn represents his softer side. With Kyorge’s awakening, Rain Dance would be replaced with Ice Beam for more coverage.

(Image from Bulbapedia)

Relicanth

Found within the depths, a mon that represents the ancient world that Archie longs to bring back, is a Relicanth. I can only imagine his face when he reels one in, as it’s one of the rarer mons in the area. Unfortunately, Relicanth’s only benefit in the rain is swift swim as its low special attack means its water type moves are virtually useless. Thankfully, it’s got the attack stat to use Ancient Power, which has a chance of raising all of its stats, and Earthquake as another Electric check. I also gave it the good old chesto-resto strat and even Toxic to cripple mons. A fast little rock that symbolizes the world Archie wishes for.

(Image from Bulbapedia)

Kingdra

What I thought would be Archie’s sweeper until I realized Dragon Dance does absolutely nothing for it since it’s a primarily special user. The physical special split really hinders Archie’s team alot. So, instead, I went with a substitute strat where it can dish out Hydro Pumps and Dragon Breathes to paralyze the foe once again. I thought a Water/Dragon type would be an interesting challenge for the player and an interesting addition to his team. Like Relicanth, it’s ability swift swim boosts its speed to hit fast and hard. Also, it’s a rain dance setter, but with Kyorge it’d be replaced with Disable to hinder an opponent’s move. With Dragon giving it some good resistances and a decent offense, I saw Kingdra a good addition to the team.

(Image from Bulbapedia)

Honestly, a lot of Pokémon fit Archie’s team well. From Tentacruel to Gorebyss, the sea is full of mons that could have made it onto the final team I made for him.

And that just about wraps it up. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on how I would fix Maxie and Archie’s team. This was a weird post, but I was really invested in seeing how I could change up their Pokémon. Thank you for reading and, like I said, let me know in the comments how you would change Archie and Maxie’s team. Welp, see you again next time~

-Samuel Argueta

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