Kingdom Hearts III Review

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I honestly just can’t believe it’s over (or is it?).

Rating: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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This Is Arguably the Most Important Week in Human History

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Folks, every so often the planets align and a series of events so monumental, so important to the future of mankind all occur in the span of one seven day stretch. This is one such time. Years from now, historians will look back on January 28th, 2019 through February 3rd, 2019 as the new cutoff point for calendars. This is the new year one. Get used to it.

For starters, tonight is media night for the Super Bowl. Crazy hijinks, wacky questions, Rams players talking about how much they hate the Patriots and that they totally, 100% AREN’T intimidated by them whatsoever. It’s always a great time. This will set the stage for one of the great triumphs in Western History.

Kingdom Hearts III comes out tomorrow. I’ll say that again in case you didn’t hear: Kingdom Hearts III comes out tomorrow. This is simply preposterous to me. I literally cannot believe it. Kingdom Hearts II came out fourteen years ago. 2005! I’m old and washed up and the gap in between the two main titles of one of my favorite game franchises ever has been over half my life. And tomorrow I’m going to be holding a real-life copy of Kingdom Hearts III. I don’t know how I’m going to react yet. There might be tears, I won’t rule it out.

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I’ve been frantically reading Wikipedia entries. I’ve been watching 45-minute plot compilation videos on YouTube. I’ve come as close as any one man can come to fully understanding the Kingdom Hearts storyline. My body is ready. It’s a matter of if my fragile psyche is.

Wednesday I will be playing Kingdom Hearts III all day. I want the history books to know this, too.

I’ll also be working on my next big project, and I assure you, it’s big. Huge, even. Will totally revolutionize what you think a good time really is. I can’t say anything else without risking unveiling Blayze on the Beach before it’s ready. Oops, did I say that out loud? Silly me.

Thursday is my dad’s birthday. Shoutout to my dad.

Friday my Super Bowl picks come out. Obviously a pretty big deal. Special prop bets included.

Saturday is a day of rest and probably the like, third longest day of the year. Super Bowl Saturday is bruuuuuutal. It’s so boring. It takes three lifetimes to end. But there’s always Kingdom Hearts III.

Sunday, needless to say, will rewrite American history. I don’t want to step on my picks too much, but let’s just say a certain coach-QB combo will win their sixth Super Bowl together. Sixth! And there’s going to be some terrible CBS show premiering afterwards. I’ll have more on this day as the week progresses, but it’s gonna be good. Get your spread locked down now. The last thing you want to do is leave shopping until Saturday.

This is totally the last week of eating like crap before I start working out and eating better. For real this time, I swear.

What a week. What a week. I don’t even know if I’ve done it justice with this description. But those of you who know, know. The world is about to change, and it all starts tonight.

Countdown to 2019

2019

Can’t believe 2018 is over already. I feel like Velma, but instead of looking for her glasses I’m looking for all the years of my life that have passed by. That sounded kind of depressing, sorry. But that’s just how time works, man. Just keeps moving forward. If you even believe in time, at all. But this isn’t a Burning Questions, this is the Countdown of Countdowns. Third year we’ve done this, which is crazy to think about. I also realize I forgot to mention my two-year anniversary when it came and went December 26th. I apologize not only to you, my loyal readers, but to George Michael, the patron saint of the Brian’s Den whose death sparked the creation of this beloved site. It won’t happen again. But for the true fans, the Brian’s Den’s greatest hits always live on deep in their hearts, so was a clip show really necessary? I’ll let you decide. Anyhow, the Countdown. We’re saying goodbye to 2018 with eighteen, yes, eighteen countdowns. It could get ugly after about ten, but we’re powering through; I’ve decided to start working a little harder in 2019. Just part of the #newyearnewme lifestyle.

Top Five Movies from 2018 Based on Brian’s Den Scoring

  1. Mission: Impossible Fallout– One of the five best action movies ever made
  2. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse– Cried like four times
  3. The Commuter– This was like when Greg Maddux would throw an 80-pitch shutout late in his career just to show that he could still do it
  4. Skyscraper– Might be in the pantheon of random Rock action movies
  5. A Star is Born– Couldn’t leave out my boy B-Coop

Top Five Movies I Didn’t See But Will Say I Saw Come Awards Season to Sound Smarter

  1. The Favourite– Just waiting for the Americanized The Favorite to come out
  2. BlacKkKlansman– I watched the first three seasons of Ballers, does that count?
  3. Leave No Trace– Didn’t Viggo do this exact movie a year ago?
  4. If Beale Street Could Talk– Think I’m gonna feel bad about not seeing this one
  5. Bird Box– I will not let the memes win

Top Five Video Games I Played in 2018

  1. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild– Getting myself a Switch for my birthday was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made
  2. God of War– Remember when I tried streaming? That was fun
  3. Fire Emblem Awakening– Yes, I know it’s old. No, I don’t care. I played four Fire Emblem games in a row and it was one of the most legitimately fun eras of my life and may or may not have indirectly lead to my move to New York City
  4. Spider-Man– Big year for Spidey
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate– Smash will always make the cut

Top Five Games I’m Looking Forward to in 2019

  1. Kingdom Hearts III– I’ll be fine if I die after I finish this
  2. Untitled Pokémon Switch Game– We all know this is going to be a banger
  3. Fire Emblem: Three Houses– See above section
  4. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice– I’m going to get this and I’m going to hate myself for committing to what is surely an absolutely impossible game
  5. Final Fantasy VII– Just kidding. This is never coming out

Top Five Songs of 2018

  1. “I Like It” by Cardi B, Bad Bunny, & J Balvin- It’s just a fire song
  2. “Finesse” by Bruno Mars & Cardi B- Cardi B only puts out heat and that’s an undeniable fact
  3. “New Light” by John Mayer- I like that the stigma against liking John Mayer is gone
  4. “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott- I’ll always remember Travis Scott for his Ballers cameos the most. That might be the last Ballers reference this year
  5. “Party for One” by Carly Rae Jepsen- Leave your CRJ hate at the door, please

Top Five TV Shows I Watched in 2018

  1. Good Place– It’s good. Get it?
  2. All or Nothing: Manchester City– So, umm, yeah, I didn’t really watch any shows this year and I don’t really know why
  3. Westworld– There is no way Westworld season 2 should be number three on anyone’s list but here we are
  4. I don’t know, man. New Black Mirror came out that I haven’t watched yet so I’ll say that
  5. Spongebob seasons 1-3- RIP Stephen Hillenburg

Top Five Athletes of 2018

  1. Luka Doncic- I never overreact, I swear
  2. Mookie Betts- Red Sox won the World Series, in case you forgot
  3. Nick Foles- What a large penis this man has
  4. Aaron Donald- Feel like this is what it was like for my dad when he watched Bill Russell
  5. Every Olympian- Remeber the Olympics? They were this year! Crazy

Top Five New Year’s Eve Concerts

  1. Phish- MSG
  2. Bruno Mars- T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
  3. Lady Gaga- Park Theater at Park MGM, Las Vegas
  4. Lynyrd Skynyrd- WinStar World Casino, Thackerville, Oklahoma
  5. Billy Joel- Nassau Coliseum, Long Island

Top Five New Fast Food Items

  1. Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch- Taco Bell
  2. Triple Melt Burrito- Taco Bell
  3. Nightmare King- Burger King
  4. Wild Naked Chicken Chalupa- Taco Bell
  5. Nacho Fries- Taco Bell

Top Five Best Things That Happened to Me in 2018

  1. Moved to New York City
  2. I just got this new deodorant (it’s men’s, FYI. It’s almost 2019) that has lavender in it and it smells very nice
  3. Any of the times I missed a subway train or bus by a matter of milliseconds
  4. My sister got me this notebook for Christmas that makes me feel like Aragorn since it looks straight out of Middle Earth
  5. Actually made some new friends. Rare!

Top Five Worst Smells

  1. Whatever’s been brewing in my fridge for the last month or two that I keep waiting for someone else to take care of but it never happens
  2. General garbage
  3. Someone else’s puke
  4. Rotting flesh
  5. Subway when you don’t want it

Top Five Acting Performances Ever by Men

  1. Samuel L. Jackson- Pulp Fiction
  2. Christoph Waltz- Inglorious Basterds
  3. Chappie- Chappie
  4. Daniel Day-Lewis- There Will Be Blood
  5. Nicolas Cage- The Wicker Man

Top Five Acting Performances Ever by Women

  1. Lady Gaga- A Star is Born
  2. Melissa McCarthy- The Heat
  3. Viola Davis- Fences
  4. Ellen Burstyn- The Wicker Man
  5. Jodie Foster- Silence of the Lambs

Top Five Book(s) Ever

  1. If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer by Pablo Fenjves and O.J. Simpson
  2. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  3. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  4. Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
  5. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Top Five Vegetables

  1. Potato
  2. Carrot
  3. Red onion
  4. Non-infected lettuce
  5. Spinach

Top Five Places to Go Swimming

  1. Private pool- No rules whatsoever after a certain age=fun
  2. Health club pool- Usually the highest quality pool and water
  3. Lake- Beach is generally more fun, but lakes are far superior for swimming
  4. Public pool- Especially hotel pools where you can smell the chlorine three blocks away
  5. Beach- Swimming in the ocean is almost always a better idea in theory than in practice

Top Five Italian Renaissance Artists

  1. Michelangelo- The G.O.A.T. and I don’t know who’s really that close to him. Master of every medium. Only thing going against him is that every portrait of him looks like Willem Defoe if he got lost in the woods for a month and the only food he had was heroin
  2. Sandro Botticelli- Most underrated painter ever. Yeah, I said it
  3. Leonardo da Vinci- He’s honestly such an overrated artist but I don’t want to draw the ire of the people who put the emphasis on the “ai” in Renaissance
  4. Raphael- Raphael, of course, was known for his works’ clarity of form, ease of composition, and visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur
  5. Donatello- I swear I didn’t envision this happening but I have no choice now

Top Five Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2019

  1. More calm, peaceful discourse in all areas of the Internet
  2. A McDonald’s resurgence. It’s coming, and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of history
  3. The Patriots winning a sixth Super Bowl
  4. Getting a pet flamingo
  5. Spending more time in the Brian’s Den- 2019 is gonna be huge. Believe it

Why Does No One Care that Every Video Game Steals Ideas?

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I’ll start this off the same way I do every blog about a particularly nerdy or granular topic: this probably isn’t for everyone. I’m going to be diving into very trivial matters of the video game world that, like, five people besides me care about. I won’t feel that offended if you don’t bother reading this. That being said, you should still read this.

So, as I am every year around this time, I’m deep into Assassin’s Creed. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is awesome. Ancient Greece is one of my favorite time periods and it’s just a good game (if you’re wondering why I haven’t reviewed it yet, it’s because it’s so huge and I physically can’t get myself to ignore the non-main story elements. And I’ve been busy doing other stuff. Like voting, NBD) (Yeah, I voted. Got a sticker and everything. Yes, it does make me better than you). Anyway, as I explore the massive world, the same thing that struck me when I was playing Assassin’s Creed Origins hit me now: this is just Witcher 3 with a different skin. My thoughts were mostly drawn to the presence of undiscovered locations on the map represented by white question marks. The first picture is from Witcher 3. This is from Odyssey:maxresdefault_live

Not exactly straying too far from the mold, are they? And that’s not the only thing, either. The combat is pretty much the same, both in mechanics and the way damage is calculated through your own level and gear. The armor rarity and perk system is pretty much the same. I don’t really mind, that much. Why fix what isn’t broken? But this is far from an isolated incident in the video game industry, and I don’t really get why no one cares.

Outside of the people that made PUBG, it seems like every video game company is kind of fine with everyone else just jacking their mechanics and ideas. Take the franchise that started it all. Assassin’s Creed (the first one) is probably the most influential North American game of the 21st century, if only for creating the “climb up to the tallest point to unlock more of the map” thing that every open world game since has included. Every AC sequel, the Arkham games, Spider-ManBreath of the Wild, a billion others. Horizon Zero Dawn at least put their own spin on it, but it was still the same (by the way, the Mass Effect game that came out a few years ago was literally just Horizon Zero Dawn set in space). Did Ubisoft not care that their IP was being passed around like a hot potato? Or were they more worried about the fact that the counter-based combat system they created was perfected by Arkham Asylum and Batman got credit for it? That same combat system was then stolen from Batman by a million other games, as well, and was the basis for the combat system Witcher 3 created. Which brings us to the most egregious offender of all, Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of WarMordor literally took everything that made Assassin’s Creed Assassin’s Creed (the free running, the climbing, the viewpoints, the kind of weird storyline) and added, beat for beat, the Arkham combat system. I was stunned no one did anything about it. It was theft, pure and simple. But, to bring everything full circle, Odyssey turned around and stole a bunch of War’s skill tree and completely bastardized the nemesis system, Mordor’s crowning achievement, with the mercenaries. It’s a giant human centipede of gaming ideas and everyone gets a taste of someone else’s game. It’s preposterous.

And this isn’t solely and American thing, either. Our friends from across the Pacific are, if possible, even more shameless than we are. There’s about 10,000 franchises that are bald Final Fantasy imitators (shoutout Lord of the Rings: the Third Age). Random encounters didn’t always exist. Now, try to imagine a JRPG (or any RPG, for that matter) without them. Turn based combat and large parties consisting of a brooding lead, a spunky teen, a jerk with a heart of gold, and a weird mascot/animal who turns out to be a powerful magical creature are now more expectations of the genre rather than novelties. And it’s all because of Final Fantasy. And, to be fair, pretty much every game since Ocarina of Time was released has been at least tangentially based on Ocarina of TimeShadow of the Colossus is practically set on the same map. Pokémon, which obviously owes a ton to Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda, was the direct inspiration for, like, a billion handheld games, including the forgotten G.O.A.T. of Gameboy Advance, the Megaman Battle Network series (don’t @ me). Obviously, Digimon was started as a pure Pokémon imitator, but, in a funny twist of fate, the newer Pokémon games wound up stealing the Digifarm from Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth. Like, it’s literally the exact same thing. Poké Pelago in Sun and Moon/Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is the Digifarm. You store your Digimon/Pokémon and they can level up/find items passively without the player needing to do anything. It has the same expandable islands, the same feeding system, the same ability to customize training focus, it’s literally the exact same thing. And one of my favorite series and one of the more surprising franchises I’ve ever played, Danganronpa, is just Phoenix Wright set in a high school. They didn’t even bother changing up the objection system. Everyone just takes each other’s ideas. It blows my mind that none of them care. Blows my mind. In music there’s a lawsuit if someone uses a similar chord structure. In gaming, it’s all fair use, apparently.

It’s one thing for a massive studio like EA to have all of their games be the same, but the fact that different, non-affiliated studios continue to use each other’s stuff is baffling to me. I’m pretty sure Madden was the first sports game to have the card-based team creator, and I’m shocked they didn’t try to crush 2K for taking it. I get everything’s a copycat league and you want to imitate successful properties, but can we switch things up a little? I realize there’s only so much you can do and I don’t want to be “enough remakes and sequels” guy but at some point maybe change things up? I mean, it’s not like the mechanic hive-mind has really prevented me from enjoying any of these games, but still. Maybe my problem is that I only play the huge AAA titles that are only concerned with making money so they’re more likely to just do what works instead of actually try and innovate. I know I should start playing more independent games if I really want originality, but I need to be able to contribute to the public gaming discussion, and no one cares about independent games. Guess this is more of a me problem, isn’t it? Oh, well. Just had to get this off my chest.

The Pokemon Draft, Round 3

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In case you didn’t know, football is back. College football has kicked off, NFL is right around the corner. Even the staunchest of football h8trz would have to admit to getting excited about spending every second of their weekends glued to the couch watching some gridiron action. All of this means only one thing, of course- it’s Fantasy Football season. Those with long memories may remember I did a fantasy preview last year. Honestly, I just didn’t care enough this year, and nothing much has changed. Aaron Rodgers is still good. You should draft him. You’re welcome.

However, I knew I had to throw something up before we dive back into the weekly picks. And so, the perfect opportunity to revive a forgotten bit arose. Friends, I present the long-anticipated third round of the Pokémon Football Draft. If you’re new to the site or just can’t remember anything earlier than last week and don’t know how this works, please read rounds one and two first. It’s pretty simple: which Pokémon would be good at football? Don’t worry, you don’t have to do any thinking. I’ve already built big boards for all seven generations. I didn’t get the nickname “the Mel Kiper of Pokémon” by accident. I had to grind and fight, studying tape and avoiding interaction with the opposite sex until all hours of the night. This isn’t a game to me. It’s a lifestyle.

Anyway, on to the draft. The third gen is really where we start cooking with gas. Some of the best talent in league history comes out of this stacked class. I’m talking some all time greats. Legends. It’s deep, too. There’ll be no need to tank, this year. This is the best class in Pokémon football history, no questions asked. I apologize in advance for any football-related daydreams and erections this Big Board causes. On to the field. If you’ve forgotten, the lack of players means everyone’s got to play both sides.

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1. Slaking (DT/DE/T)

I should clarify that this is my Big Board of best available talent, not a mock draft. Because make no mistake- barring a trade or a shocking change of heart, there’s no chance Slaking is going number one overall. The character concerns are just too extreme. A troubled youth with such a huge chip on both his shoulder that his shoulders are more chip than flesh at this point. In the wrong situation, not only will he be out of the league in two years, he’ll drag everyone in the entire organization down with him. But in the right situation? Start writing the Hall of Fame plaque now. A guaranteed all-time-great if he has his head on straight, Slaking is simply unblockable. It’s impossible to keep him from completely destroying an opponent’s gameplan. When he’s right, any play that doesn’t result in a Slaking tackle for loss is a win for the offense. He’s even a pro bowl level tackle on offense. He literally has everything. Except a reasonable work ethic.

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2. Sceptile (WR/SS)

Randy Moss. That’s all that needs to be said. If he merely breaks every receiving record his career will be a disappointment. Within four years he’ll be considered the greatest receiver in league history by just about everyone, which is likely to be the only consensus opinion in today’s social media landscape. He’s just a freak. Speed, athleticism, skill. A set it and forget it prospect if there ever was one.

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3. Metagross (DT/T)

If the best ability is availability, Metagross has the most ability in the draft. He just doesn’t miss games. He doesn’t miss plays, really. But he’s also got top-five-prospect-level skills to with that endurance. He’s a cornerstone player on both sides of the ball, a leader in the locker room, and one of the smartest players we’ve evaluated. Whoever drafts Metagross will thank their lucky stars for the next decade.

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4. Blaziken (QB/SS)

If there’s one thing this class lacks, it’s quarterbacks. However, what’s absent in depth is more than present in pure ability. Blaziken has all the tools to be a dynamic, dual-threat quarterback that could terrorize the league. A long strider with a massive arm, he creates big plays as easily as most people breathe. Accuracy issues are there (as is a juvenile temper), but the upside is huge. In the quarterback starved PFL, someone like Blaziken will be hard to pass up.

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5. Sharpedo (OLB/DE)

Listen, when you draft Sharpedo you’re not looking for versatility. You’re going to get one thing and one thing only: sacks. Sharpedo lives for sacking the quarterback, and he’s almost impossible to deny. He’s got an explosive first step and all the moves, but, more often than not, he’ll just bull rush the unfortunate tackles who can’t keep up with his speed and power. Again, don’t ask him to go out in coverage or play any offense. Just set him loose on the edge and watch him rewrite the record books.

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6. Salamence (TE/DE)

The first true two-way star on the board, Salamence could easily be a pro bowl-level player on either side of the ball. A physical tight end with an absurd catch radius and a balanced defensive end who can play in any scheme against the run and pass, Salamence is just a talented football player. He doesn’t have great lateral quickness, but doesn’t need it with his raw strength and speed. A skilled blocker to go along with his receiving abilities, Salamence can own the middle of the field on offense, moving the chains at will. He’s got a nose for the ball on defense, and uses his athleticism to stand out amongst the many talented defensive linemen that populate the league.

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7. Vigoroth (OLB/MLB/FS/SS/WR)

Like a ball of clay, Vigoroth can be molded into anything you want him to be on the defensive side of the ball. A freak athlete with an inexhaustible motor and a mean streak ten miles long, Vigoroth loves causing havoc and confusion. His long arms clog passing lanes, he’s quick to diagnose plays, and his active feet allow him to arrive at the ball early and with a vengeance. He’s relentlessly coachable and has a thirst for the game. The only drawbacks are his recklessness, temper, and tendency to tire himself out early in games. His passion for the game doesn’t extend to the offensive side of the ball.

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8. Ninjask (WR/CB)

If he were just a little bigger, he’d be a top-five prospect. He’s the quickest player ever evaluated as well as one of the fastest, and is completely impossible to tackle in the open field. Routinely making defenders look absolutely foolish, Ninjask is a terror in the right system. He was made for the slot in an uptempo, run and gun offense, and can totally dominate underneath. Only problem? If he ever is tackled, he’ll likely wind up on the IR. Severely undersized and brittle, you’d better have a top training staff if you want to make Ninjask a focal point of the offense.

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9. Aggron (T/G/DT)

Nothing you haven’t seen before, Aggron is a beast of a tackle. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a high-level player, though. A bit of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to blocking, he’s strong but not superhumanly so, has good feet and hips but not the best, has solid hands, and has very good size. He doubles as an above average run stuffer on the other side of the ball. He’s as reliable as they come.

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10. Groudon (T/TE/DE/DT)

If football games were decided when teams got off the bus, Groudon would be the best player in the league. A mountain of a player, he’s the second biggest player in the draft, but looks like if Hercules and Serena Williams had a child and then fed that child steroids for 22 years. He can practically lift the entire stadium with one hand. The only problem? He might be the slowest player in the league. He might be the slowest professional athlete of all time, really. He was able to dominate at tight end in college, but against pro defenses he’ll be much better suited to playing tackle. He’s a true space eater on defense, and pity the ballcarrier that runs directly into his path.

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11. Wailord (T)

It’s pretty simple: you can’t get around him. Even if he’s a total bust, he’ll go down probably the greatest pass blocker of all time. He might never give up a sack in his career. The only problem is that he’s so big he kind of cuts off half the field. You can’t really run behind him without being swallowed up by his never-ending body. Shorter quarterbacks may struggle to see over him. He’s very, very slow. But, again, if you run a pass-first scheme Wailord eliminates many of the variables that can kill pass plays. He’s another likely Hall of Famer from this class.

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12. Combusken (RB/MLB/OLB)

Another two-way star, Combusken can quickly establish himself as one of the best runningbacks and linebackers in the league. A Todd Gurley-Le’Veon Bell type three down back, Combusken gets better the more touches he gets. He’s a violent, physical runner that seems to have been plucked from a bygone era, and he can get into trouble with the new helmet safety rules. Be prepared for many fifteen yards penalties, both when he’s got the ball and when he’s making tackles. Still, he makes teams better simply by being on the field, and has an infectious energy about him.

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13. Wailmer (G/DT)

Yet another massive line prospect, Wailmer prefers the thick of the interior to the perimeter. A dominating run blocker and, through sheer size, a decent pass blocker, Wailmer can be a staple at the pro bowl. He’s also a wrecking ball of a d-tackle with a thick, powerful base and a good get-off. Wailmer is Graveler without the off-the-field concerns, and the fact that he’s so low on the board tells you all you need to know about this class.

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14. Swampert (DE/TE)

A prototypical hand-in-the-ground pass rusher with no love for quarterbacks, Swampert is the type of defensive end every defensive coordinator dreams of having. Blessed with ideal size and athleticism and a constant desire to improve his technique, you’ll be hard pressed to find an easier player to install into a team. He’s listed at tight end, but he’s really more of a glorified blocker than anything. Does have surprisingly soft hands, though, and is good catching in traffic, making him a good red zone target. He won’t be a sexy pick, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t always on playoff teams.

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15. Latios (WR/SS) 16. Latias (WR/FS)

It felt disingenuous to separate the sibling duo that tore up the receiving record books in college, so I’ll bunch them together. Latios and Latias are essentially identical prospects: great all-around receivers that possess good speed, great quickness, good route running, and good hands. Both have pro bowl potential with the possibility of something more, but they aren’t the game changers Sceptile and Ninjask are, and the jury is still out if they can perform at the same level if they’re on different teams. Latios is ranked one spot higher because of his greater commitment to defense.

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17. Cacturne (TE/WR/DE/OLB)

One of the more intriguing offensive players in the draft, Cacturne allows offenses to achieve the 2018 football nirvana known as “Being Multiple.” A wide receiver in a tight end’s body, Cacturne is a walking matchup problem that can rip defenses up the seam or on the outside. He can line up anywhere and requires constant defensive attention. Of course, his disciplinary record precedes him. His role as the leader of the Grass University Pyramid Scheme is well known (the trial is next month), and he was recently busted for shoplifting at a Golf Galaxy. If he can survive the legal issues, he’s a top player.

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18. Medicham (QB/OLB)

An intellectual, accurate quarterback that can suffer from paralysis by analysis, Medicham can probably be viewed as the PFL Alex Smith. This isn’t an insult, by the way. Medicham is conservative and doesn’t have the biggest arm, but you know what you’ll get from him: a steady hand that doesn’t make mistakes and takes the openings the defense gives him. You can win with a guy like that, especially in a league filled with so many all-or-nothing chuckers. He’ll never blow anyone away, but he won’t be the reason you lose, either. The dearth of quarterbacks obviously helps his standing.

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19. Regirock (TE/T/DT/DE)

One look at Regirock tells you all you need to know about him- he’s massive and made of rock. At times a dominating defensive lineman and left tackle, he has a nasty tendency to loaf and drift through games. Like Groudon, his lack of speed will likely force a full-time move away from tight end, but he still has the latent skills to serve as a goalline option. If you have a coach that can connect with him and bring out his full effort every play, he’s great value in the second half of the draft. If not, well, at least he looks good in shorts.

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20. Registeel (TE/DE)

A more nimble, less talented version of Regirock, Registeel suffers none of the character concerns of his sedimentary counterpart. He’s a football robot that cares only for this week’s all-22, but there are concerns he’s already reached his ceiling. Now, he’s still a fine player, but what you see is what you get. A C+/B- tight end and a B+/A- defensive end. At this stage in the draft, sure things become less glamorous when compared to the dice-rolls that follow, but give me someone I can count on to be the first guy in the facility every morning.

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21. Kyogre (TE/DE/OLB)

My high school football coach used to say that someone looked like Tarzan and played like Jane if their production didn’t match their physical stature. Yes, it’s 2018 so we can’t say that anymore, but the fact remains that it describes Kyogre perfectly. All the tools are there for an elite player, it’s just a matter of whether or not he’s tough enough and wants to work hard enough to maximize them. In college, he got by on size and talent alone. In the pros, it’ll take a little more if he wants to be considered one of the best, which, all things considered, he really should be. Rumors of a Fortnite addiction may scare away traditional coaches.

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22. Grovyle (RB/WR/CB)

Another Swiss Army Knife of a player, Grovyle is just someone you want to get the ball to, no matter where he lines up. A natural running back, he flashed enough receiving skills at the combine to kickstart the imaginations of every offensive coordinator who ever watched Dexter McCluster highlights. He’s even got enough of an arm to be used as Wildcat QB (the PFL is about seven years behind the NFL strategy wise). Good in the return game, as well. Doesn’t offer much besides depth at corner.

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23. Flygon (CB/S/WR)

An excellent cover corner with ideal recovery speed, fluid hips, and ball skills, the only thing lacking from Flygon’s game is seemingly confidence. After being beat deep twice in the fourth quarter of the National Championship Game two years ago, Flygon had a crisis of faith. To start the year, he was biting on every pump fake, he was losing assignments, he was dropping easy interceptions, and he was out of position constantly. Ironically enough, it was only a shift to receiver that started to get his mind right again. Flashed some of his true ability in the final weeks of the season, but questions remain about his mental toughness.

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24. Rayquaza (WR/TE/S)

In addition to a pure evaluation of talent, part of this exercise is to project future success. It’s still unknown if Rayquaza will ever play in the league, which is why he is shockingly low on the board. With enough raw talent to be a top ten pick in any draft, Rayquaza is still taking at least two years off to go on a religious mission. People won’t want to hear it, but this obviously makes most coaches question his commitment to the game. He’s also going to be pursing a master’s degree while away, which raises even more concerns that Rayquaza, one of the most dominant offensive and defensive players in college football, may never play a down in the PFL. Not saying anything about his decision, but I, for one, wouldn’t want to turn down all that money. All those impoverished children are still gonna be there in ten years.

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25. Metang (OLB/DE/MLB/RB)

A slower Clay Matthews if Clay Matthews actually still played football, Metang is versatile enough to line up at defensive end or any linebacker spot. He lacks consistency and can disappear at times, but when he flashes, he flashes big time. He creates turnovers at will and will lead the league in tackles at least once. A running back in name only.

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26. Meditite (RB/CB)

Whereas previous draft classes were heavy on line prospects, we’re finally seeing the skill positions fill out. Meditite ran for over 2,000 yards last season and he has a fringe third round grade. Just shows what kind of talent is in this class. Meditite is all about quickness, and, while he may never get 30 carries a game, there’s no reason to believe he can’t have 700 yards rushing and 60 catches in a season.

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27. Zangoose (G/MLB/OLB)

Though undersized and possibly better suited for a more glamorous position, Zangoose refuses to stop playing guard. Many may see this as admirable, I consider it a little pig-headed. He’s proved skeptics wrong at every level, sure, but you’re telling me Zangoose is supposed to block Golem? I don’t see it. What I do see, however, is a sideline to sideline linebacker who can step in and be a leader day one. If he focused on defense, he could have a long and successful career. Just give up being a guard, dude.

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28. Absol (DE/OLB)

A pretty one-dimensional pass rusher, Absol will give you exactly what you think he will when you draft him. Could round out his game and become an every down player, but, at the start, will be little more than a situational pass rusher. He can still make an impact, however.

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29. Regice (T/DT)

The slowest, least talented, and least durable of the trio, Regice can still carve out his place in the league because of his high work ethic. He’ll never be an all pro, but can be more than serviceable as a right tackle or rotation defensive lineman. Is perhaps best suited to a veteran mentor role, the biggest challenge he’ll face will be becoming a veteran.

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30. Hariyama (DT/T)

A beefy, space-eating nose tackle, Hariyama will always grade out as a superior run defender. It’s just a matter of if he’ll ever be anything more than that. Based on his combine performance, I’d say probably not.

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31. Tropius (T/DE/DT)

Like Rayquaza, Tropius’s off-the-field pursuits have scouts questioning his dedication. However, unlike Rayquaza, Tropius is actually still playing. His fashion label may be picking up steam despite his standing as a middle of the road prospect, but it’s doubtful that will have any real impact on his ability to have a full career. At the very least, he’ll look good while playing.

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32. Marshtomp (FB/MLB/OLB)

The fullback isn’t quite dead yet, and Marshtomp is easily the best lead blocker in the draft. He brings the wood when he blocks and has soft hands, to boot. He’s just not a particularly good athlete. He lacks the speed to ever be a true difference maker on defense, but at least he’ll always go 100%.

Next Five

Walrein (G/C/DT), Shelgon (RB/FB/MLB), Banette (WR/CB), Armaldo (DE/OLB/TE), Crawdaunt (MLB)

Coaching Prospects

Duskull, Vibrava, Sableye

Would Have Been Number One But Would Kind of Break the League if I Included Him So Now He’s Just the Belichick of Pokémon Football

Deoxys