PKMN of the Week: Cyndaquil


Something you can say about most people who love Pokémon, either the video game, card game, cartoon, manga, or whatever else - they have a favorite Pokémon.  It seems strange that you would, in the most objective sense Pokémon are just tools that, in comparison with other role-playing games, are the equivalent of swords, spells, and tools.  Would you say they have personality?  Yet people identify with their favorite Pokémon.  They extend from the utility in the game and create something greater than what is presented in game or through the Pokédex entries.

Honestly, my favorite Pokémon these days tend to be the Dark-types.  While the translated-from-Japanese typing actually comes across as Evil-type, I agree with the translators that this isn't a good match.  Dark comes closer to indicating that these dudes may use some shady tactics but you can still use them for your altruistic purposes.


Originally, though, and probably for always, my favorite individual Pokémon is Cyndaquil.  I am currently playing SoulSilver for the first time and, of course, chose Cyndaquil as my starter.  His name is Champion.  This isn't the first time that I've had the fire mouse as my starter.  I originally bought Pokémon Gold version for my Gameboy Color and chose Cyndaquil for my starter there too.  His name was Mortimer.

Let me tell you a story about Mortimer, an analog, which may shed some light on why we have favorite Pokémon.

In 2003 I decided to get a dog.  This was going to be the first dog I had on my own and the first dog that was mine.  I did a lot of research about different dog breeds to figure out which would work out best for me.  I didn't want a large dog since I live in a small condo and I wanted a dog that would be unique without being weird-looking.  I decided on a Toy Manchester Terrier.

You probably are not familiar with the Toy Manchester.  If you ever watch dog shows they usually go to commercial when that breed is presented.  They aren't super-tiny - mine was about sixteen inches long and a foot tall.  Similar to a Boston or a Fox terrier.  They are very handsome, black and tan - think about possibly a real Houndour.

Now, here's another thing - while I don't collect stuffed animals (this is what I call them, plushes to me comes too close to people with an odd fetish) - I have a little hedgehog my mother brought me from Buckingham Palace.  I named him Mortimer (Mortimer the Hedgehog sounds about right, doesn't it?).  Ever since I got that stuffed Hedgehog, I have named most of my things either Mortimer or a derivative.  My Palm Tungsten W and most of my computers?  Named Mortimex.  Maybe you get the point.  So I named my dog Mortimer.

Mortimer Athanasius Anderson

Mortimer - Dead Sea, Athanasius - Eternal Life - he could have been a Dark-type.

Maybe you can tell, but I loved Mortimer more than I have ever loved anything before or since.  He was my little boy.  He was spirit and energy and a reflection of my soul in the real world.  When we played we played intensely and with passion.  When we were at rest, well, Mortimer was the kind of dog who always had to be touching someone.  He was either in your lap or next to you, pressed up to make sure you were there.  Not a single night passed that we did not fall asleep together, Mortimer curled up with his nose pressed against my stomach.

I recently had a discussion on Twitter about whether Pokémon die.  Yes, Charmander will die if his tail goes out.  Cubone's mom died.  Alder's favorite Pokémon died leading him to wander the country in remorse.

This is what happens when the creatures you love die.  You need to take time to adjust to the world without them by your side.

My Mortimer had a birth defect.  His Kidneys were bad and, shortly after his fifth birthday, he became very, very ill.  I won't go through all of the details but I had to live through things I didn't think I would ever have to, see things that were absolutely terrifying, and still I lost him.  He died on a cushion in the middle of the living room with all of us at home around him.

What lives on, though, is the memories I built with that little guy.  I have videos of him on YouTube which capture something but, in my heart, I remember the day we were walking and it started to pour.  I picked up Mortimer and put him inside my hoodie, he poked his head out the neck hole and we ran home together.  The seven hour drives to South Carolina where he would curl up in my lap and fall asleep.  The day he first came home and was so tiny he could stand on my open hand.

Your favorite Pokémon - that starter that just stayed with you all the way through the Elite Four?  The one you picked up along the way who just had to become part of your party?  The card that garnered you your first league wins?  The episode of the cartoon that meant the most to you?  These are the memories that, greater than the character itself, create the Pokémon that is your favorite Pokémon.

Cyndaquil.  Just like Mortimer the dog - little, warm.  You just want to curl up with him on a cold night and have him warm you up.  When he plays, though, watch out for that Flamethrower.  You can't get a better Pokémon!

Cyndaquil's base stats focus on attack and speed, Speed being his highest base stat at 65.  Special Attack is next at 60 and Attack is 52.  In further descending order Special Defense is 50, Defense is 43, and HP is 39.  Poor dude can't take too many hits.

I am committed to bringing my current Cyndaquil, Champion, top level 100 in SoulSilver without evolving him.  Once I can I will have him hold Eviolite, the lump that boosts Special Defense and Defense by 50% (basically making them 75 and 64 base stats respectively).

Champion has a Quirky nature, meaning he doesn't have any stats that are boosted or hindered (I am fine with that, no gains, no losses).  You should aim for a Cyndaquil with a Modest nature so you can build up his Special Attack (the majority of his, and his evolutionary line's, strongest attacks are special).  You can't really EV train your starter, but if you get a Cyndaquil in a trade you should split EVs between HP and Special Attack (poor dude really needs help in the HP department).

If you don't let your Cyndaquil learn Eruption at level 58 you're doing it wrong (150 base power special attack with 100% accuracy)!  Overheat is cool as a secondary Fire-type move, 140 base power but only 90% accuracy.  It is very difficult to target Cyndaquil's weakness to Ground, Water, and Rock-types so let's just hope for a cooperative Hidden Power, ok?  Sunny Day or Swagger should be some cool options for status moves.

There is no doubt that Cyndaquil is my favorite Pokémon.  My contribution to 649 Monsters was a Cyndaquil made out of yarn using tunisian crochet and cross stitch.  I used pure wool so that, if you hold your had against the Cyndaquil, it will warm up.  Hopefully he will find his way to a good home.