Crown Tundra's Dynamax Adventures Is Teaching Me to Love Loser Pokemon

Crown Tundra's Dynamax Adventures Is Teaching Me to Love Loser Pokemon

You're guaranteed to make new Poke-friends in Sword and Shield's Crown Tundra DLC. (Still, stay away from Stunfisk.)

In Pokemon Gold and Silver, Elite Four member Karen doles out a famous piece of wisdom that still resonates in an age where Pokemon trainers obsess over their Pokemon's stats, natures, and other fiddly numbers:

"Strong Pokemon. Weak Pokemon. That is only the selfish perception of people. Truly skilled trainers should try to win with their favorites."

As someone who collects favorite Pokemon and "cool" Pokemon instead of paying attention to the nitty-gritty of a Pokemon's fighting potential, this quote resonates with me. If you truly love your Pokemon, you should be able to rise up to any challenge.

As you might surmise by my happy-go-lucky attitude, I get my ass kicked a lot in online Pokemon battles. Before you suggest I'm cold towards my Pokemon, know that I pour all my love into my roster; I will not hear a single word against our bond. My real problem is that I tend to saunter into high-level battles with Water-types bearing favorites like Arcanine, Ninetails, and Charizard—all equipped with moves that seem good and powerful, e.g. Flamethrower and Flare Blitz. Moves that are useless against Water-types, in other words. And Rock-types. And—

That's why the Dynamax Adventures mini dungeon in the Crown Tundra DLC for Pokemon Sword and Shield is excellent training for me. You and up to three other trainers (either online players or AI substitutes) push through a series of Dynamax Pokemon fights that tops off with an encounter against a Dynamax Legendary.

The catch is you're allowed to take only one "rental" Pokemon into the den with you. You can switch out with one of the jobber Pokemon you capture on the way to the Legendary fight (and indeed you might have to since Pokemon can't heal between battles), but you have little control over who you can wield throughout your little journey. Your own Pokemon aren't allowed to accompany you, which makes it impossible for me to load up on the coolest-looking Water-types—Lapras, Vaporeon, and Blastoise—before I lose instantly to Dynamax Moltres.

Your rental Pokemon aren't weak, but neither are they packed with power. They're well-balanced. Each one contains moves that buff and debuff as well as attack. They're well suited to be part of a team, in other words. Problem is, sometimes you're forced to pick a Pokemon that has a solid moveset but is a lame-o in the looks department.

In one run, I was handed a Dunsparce. A Dunsparce. You know what happens to the blind, timid thoroughly uncool Dunsparce when I encounter it during a regular Pokemon journey? It gets boxed immediately. But I quickly warmed up to my little Dynamax Dunsparce when I saw how hard it tried on the field.

Every Pokedex entry about Dunsparce is some variant of, "It's really good at hiding." | Game Freak/The Pokemon Company

It doesn't matter if you think your assigned Pokemon is cool or not: If you can't work together, the Legendary at the end of the dungeon will make short work of you. It's like being part of an odd couple "buddy cop" movie that plays in a matter of minutes. If you're not in harmony, nothing is accomplished. If you learn each other's strengths and play off them, you can achieve anything. (Until your team mate makes a stupid decision that blows everything. But then you and your Pokemon pal can point and laugh in tandem.)

I'm not saying I want to become the kind of Pokemon trainer who obsesses over the nitty-gritty of their Pokemon's abilities and stats. I'm just glad Crown Tundra has taught me a small lesson about respecting the potential of all Pokemon. I will continue to work through Dynamax Adventures, because it's an excellent introduction to hundreds of Pokemon I've ignored for decades. We will grow together, and we will love together.

Except for Stunfisk. I don't care if Dynamax Adventures hands me a Stunfisk equipped with Hydro Cannon, Scald, Hyper Beam, or any other move guaranteed to let us triumph over the toughest Legendary Pokemon. I draw the line at flat sea life whose dead eyes plead for me to end its torment with an expert swing from a two-by-four.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve,, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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