#302 – Sableye

For a pseudo-fantasy setting, Pokémon kind of takes its time getting around to Western fantasy creatures, especially considering how shamelessly series like Final Fantasy poach from the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual.

That said, Sableye is a very goblin-y goblin (and even a very specific sort of Goblin). She crawls around in caves, is loaded up with tricky Dark-themed abilities, and hoards valuable gemstones. In fact, valuables are so deeply-ingrained in her character that they’re also ingrained in her flesh.

Really got that sparkle in her eye.

I kind of like the choice to go with a uniform, shadowy body with just the diamonds and rubies for real definition. You can just imagine this sucker sneaking up on you while underground, invisible save for a chance glint in the shadows.

Simple, but effective.

Less so for Sableye in an actual scrap. One of her main passive abilities is inherently negative (making her permanently move last, which doesn’t benefit any of her natural moves) and every one of her stats is below average. Luckily she has a great movepool to make up for it, chock-full of status moves and tricky utilities and even an attack that circumvents her own wimpy arms. Not the heaviest hitter in general, but she’s generally pretty fun to use if you’ve got the patience to pussyfoot around a bit.

The really unique thing that Sableye used to have is that, save for a two-turn gambit with Detect or Foresight, no attack had advantage on her. The few things super-effective on Dark-types, her Ghost-type half would resist – and vice versa – leaving her immune to the series’ traditional “use a super-effective move to win” flow. In a sense, that was her trade-off for a very okayish stat pool.

Ever since Generation VI, though, the Fairy-type has popped that particular bubble. Granted, Fairy is the rarest type in the game, so she’s still mostly safe. But with Fairy-type moves hanging around on teams for slaying dragons, she can’t really get away with the same build she’s always had.

What Sableye really needs is an evolution. X & Y kind of gave us a really cool one, where she used a massive gem-face as a shield, and she hid in its shadow. Great stuff. Except for the fact that it was a temporary, in-battle gimmick that the series hasn’t visited since. The kid needs that old Mega Evolution formalized as a proper evolution, stat.

And, given that, this could be a really fun little imp to have infesting mines and ambushing spelunkers. I know for a fact that Sableye has her fans, and could do even better with a bit of love. But, as-is, there are plenty of thieving dark-types and cave-dwellers; I have a hard time thinking of how the series would be wanting for her role if she were kept in Reserve most of the time.

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