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Generation Five: Black/White/B&W2

Darmanitan

Here's a fun fact about me: while other kids grew up with stuffed teddy bears I was raised with a stuffed gorilla. My gorilla, named Jojo, was my best friend for pretty much my entire childhood. As such, I've always had a great affinity for apes. I think they're beautiful creatures. So, I fell for Darmanitan's design as soon as I saw it. Not to suggest that the Pokémon's only saving grace is its appearance. Darmanitan is a competent fire Pokémon with a surprising ability hidden away. This hulking ape has a Zen Mode that allows it to tap into Psychic powers and seriously kick Moo while looking like an adorable Daruma doll. In fact, Darmanitan's Zen Mode has the highest base Special Attack of all non-legendary/Mega Evolved Psychic-type Pokémon. He's one funky monkey. — Trent Seely

Emboar

Emboar is one of my favourite character designs ever. A big, tubby Fire bearded fighting boar is pretty close to what I would want to be if I was a Pokémon. Sure, he was a little slow, but he hit like a sack of bricks and lead my team to many gym victories. Also, he has a beard literally made of fire. — Robert Sinclair

Excadrill

Excadrill is my choice for generation five Pokémon, for numerous reasons. While the mix of Ground and Steel types leaves this dual-type with four weaknesses (Fighting, Ground, Fire, and Water), it also grants him a whopping eight resistances — Normal, Flying, Rock, Bug, Steel, Psychic, Dragon, Fairy — along with two immunities, Poison and Electric. As it's fairly easy to cover the former four weaknesses and much more challenging to counter several of the latter, he's a great way to round out a team. It can also learn three powerful STAB moves: Earthquake, Dig, and Bulldoze, along with some cool cross-type moves like Aerial Ace, Fling, and Shadow Claw. It's one of the faster growing dual-types in its generation, meaning even if you capture or breed it late, it can catch up fairly quickly. — Anna Marie Privitere

Snivy

My first exposure to Snivy was the Smugleaf meme. Before the English names for the Generation 5 Pokémon had been released, the residents of certain corners of the Internet amused themselves by making the most tortured animal-element puns within their power. Wotter. Boarbecue (Editor's Note: I named Tepig 'Baconator'). Leafsnake. That last one isn't even a pun. Clearly, something had to be done. From his sassy popped collar to his sarcastic countenance, this little critter knew the way of the world. Eventually, he would evolve past the need for legs: his strut was on the inside. I salute you, Snivy, for your class and noble soul. Even among Grass starters, the best of all starters, you're a cut above. — Zach Welhouse

Trubbish

During my stint with Black and White I was convinced that Pokémon desingers were clearly running out of ideas when they introduced Trubbish and his evolution, Garbodor. Seriously, a trash bag Pokémon is utterly silly, and yet I fell hard for the little guy. When my friend from Scotland was visiting our cottage one year, we made a pact to complete our Pokémon games with Trubbish in our final line-up. Surprisingly, he was a terrible choice to raise because he had nothing he was immune to, everything could damage him. Who cares though! Trubbish was the cutest little trash bag Pokémon, and I was happy to have him on Team Adorkable bring up the strange, yet darling factor. Thank goodness neither of us went in on getting Trubbish tattoos we had intial proposed... — Sam Wachter

Victini

Gen 5 is notoriously low on good Fire types, so it's Victini to the rescue! I don't usually favour the cutest Pokémon in the bunch, but I really like this little critter. I even have a "life-sized" stuffed Victini. It's Scott Wachter's (Fowl Sorcerous) fault. He's not allowed to tell me about Pokémon merchandise sales anymore. — Becky Cunningham

Zoroark

Is it odd that many of my most favorite Pokémon of all time first appeared in the movies? It seems, though, that the Pokémon Company couldn't recreate Lucario's popularity in Zoroark. That might be because the thirteenth movie, which debuted Zoroark and its pre-evolved form Zorua, is a poorer film compared to eighth. Even so, Zoroark sports impressive design, looking rather vicious and more bestial compared to the more anthropomorphic Lucario. Though based on the kitsune like, Vulpix and Ninetales, Zoroark and Zorua focus more on the illusory abilities of the mythical creatures. The thirteenth film's Zoroark has much less of a personality compared to the movie Lucario, but her ferocity and determination to do what she must to protect Zorua is quite apparent. Zoroark also plays an interesting role in Pokémon Black and White and Black 2/White 2. The anti-villain N has a Zoroark as one of his final Pokémon, and the games' opening implies it was one of the Pokémon that grew up with him. N's hair even somewhat looks like the Illusion Fox's mane. With its awesome design, display of power in the film, and minor role in N's backstory, I was hopeful that Zoroark would prove to be competitively viable, or at least a decent contender in the Battle Subway. It does suffer from some of the same weaknesses that Absol does, but it is notably faster and can be a good physical or special attacker. Zoroark's unique Illusion ability also aids in Zoroark's battle prowess. Zoroark may be glass cannon, but it is fun to occasional trick an opponent into attacking the Dark type fox with a Psychic move. — Cassandra Ramos

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