PKMN of the Week: Smeargle


I mark the hours of my day reproducing the masters.

In the earliest hours, with midnight just past and the world coated in black all around, I paint ten copies of The Persistence of Memory.  Each one mildly shaded as Dalí would present, each clock measured to exact proportion.

As dawn begins to lighten the sky, I start on ten copies of Water-Lily Pond.  The morning hours are suited to Monet and the optimism of the impressionist - capture the movement and the light.  The complexity of brush work is no obstacle to my ability to match the work stroke for stroke.

There is no stopping for me at Noon, that is when I crank out No. 61 (Rust and Blue).  As simple as it looks, it requires some skill to get the blends of color just right.  Rothko only had to do it once - I cannot reach the evening until ten exact replicas exist.

I approach the ending hours of the day with joy and The Figure Five in Gold.  The era captured so perfectly in curve and angle, color and composition.  Is it gold foil or water color?  Does it matter, in the end you won't be able to discern my ten copies from the original.

Every day, I recreate four masterpieces - style, materials, imagery, all exactly the same.  Something, though, is missing.  You see, I am not the original artist.  Some power is missing.  I cannot claim to exactly capture the heart, soul, and intent that collected in each unique and original piece.  I can only reproduce these four, indiscernible yet lacking.

As I grow I occasionally get the opportunity to learn a new piece - I discard one and take on another.  Which will be next?  GuernicaLe Bar aux Folies-BergèreCampbell's Soup I?  Whatever it may be, I will duplicate, triplicate, quadruplicate, etc. and yet never achieve the same power as the original.


Our Pokémon this week is the patron Pokémon of the visual artist - Smeargle, the Painter Pokémon.  This dude inspires us with the promise of infinite customizability and yet, lacks the power of the promise.

Traditionally, Smeargle learns one move:  Sketch.  This Normal-type move does one thing - copies the last move used by an opponent right before Smeargle levels up.  Smeargle learns this every ten levels (1, 11, 21, 31, etc.) and can literally learn every move except for Struggle (not a learned move) or Chatter (because why?).

Let's be honest - Smeargle is a utility Pokémon.  You teach him or her moves that you would like to pass on as egg moves through breeding.  Please do not use Smeargle competitively.  The problem is, even if you outfit him with the awesomest of moves - Draco Meteor, Supepower, Thrash, and Hyper Beam - he packs no power in that punch.  Smeargle has the lowest base stats of any Pokémon that doesn't have evolutions.

Beyond all that - how do you guarantee that your Smeargle learns a particular move.  You have to time it perfectly so that the move is used right before Smeargle hits one of those important level ups.  I will come up with a prize for anyone who can write out a fail proof method for achieving this.

Nicely, Smeargle can have one of three abilities.  Own Tempo blocks confusion (even the confusion that comes after Thrash).  Technician which power boosts any move that starts with a base power less than 60 by an additional 50%.  Finally, Moody, which is pretty cool.  After every turn one randomly determined stat goes up two levels and one drops one level.  If you're feeling lucky, you may get the pump up you needed (still wasted on a Smeargle).

Your Smeargle should hold a Pretty Wing.  Smeargle is an artist - he or she likes pretty things!

Of course, Smeargle is Pokémon of the Week this week so you will all keep the 649 Monsters project in mind.  I fully expect everyone from the following states to attend, no excuses - Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan (upper and lower peninsulas), and Canada.  I will be there, fully prepared to expound on each Pokémon portrait as if it, itself, were the Pokémon of the week.  Someone please make certain that I have a snifter of brandy at hand.