Tag Archives: new pokemon

Minior: A Pebble Full Of Potential

Minior is arguably one of the cutest Pokemon we received this generation, but don’t be fooled by its appearance. Minior is an adorable ball of terror underneath that shell, and I expect it to make a big impact in league format, no pun intended.

The first thing you might notice about Minior is its unique ability, Shields Down. Shields Down means that once Minior’s HP drops into the yellow, its shell breaks away, and some crazy things happens to its stats. Like Aegislash’s ability Stance Change, Minior’s high defenses get delegated to its offenses, and its speed doubles, effectively making it one of the fastest new Pokemon in a generation full of slow, bulky threats. The only difference from Aegislash is that once that shell breaks off, it’s gone for good unless it gets healed above 50%, but it has no recovery moves besides Rest. I couldn’t even begin to describe what it would be like if Minior got a move like King’s Shield to send it back to its shell, but that’s beside the point. The fact of the matter is, with this unique ability and stat distribution. Minior has some great foundations laid to become an interesting defensive and offensive threat.

The first thing you have to understand about Minior, despite how you may have seen it used so far, is that it’s far from being just a one trick pony because of its ability. It’s easy to think of Minior as an excellent Shell Smash sweeper and call it a day, and while it does fill that role excellently, Minior’s potential would be wasted if that’s all it did.

This guy isn’t Crustle or something. (I still love you though, Crustle <3)

Truth is, in a draft league environment, Minior’s potential can be explored to the fullest.

Minior has a myriad of both offensive and defensive moves in its arsenal, and since Minior starts off as a defensive Pokemon, I’m going to talk about the more defensive side of its movepool first. Minior has access to Stealth Rocks, which is always sought after in league format. Reliable Stealth Rock setters tend to go fast; that being said, I wouldn’t rely on Minior to do the majority of your stealth rock setting, simply due to it not being a fully defensive Pokemon. But is it afraid to run Stealth Rocks on its moveset? Absolutely not. Minior makes a great back-up hazard setter if your main one has a bad matchup for a certain week.

Minior also gets access to Light Screen and Reflect, which are great support moves to have, and with 60/100/100 bulk with its shields up, it’s definitely a viable user of these moves. It’s also worth noting that Rest has interesting viability with Minior. It’s not a conventional recovery move by any means, but Rest opens some interesting doors since it’s the only way to get your shields back up. Minior has access to both Calm Mind and Cosmic Power, both of which it can spam until its shields go down. Then, with its shields down, it will be fast enough to go for a Rest and heal all the way back up to full. A set with Cosmic Power, Toxic, Sleep Talk and an attacking move would be the most defensive form of Minior that you could get away with. I’m not saying you should draft Minior just to run this set, but you could catch someone off guard with it if they plan for a more offensive Minior.

Lastly, it’s important to note that Minior cannot be statused while it’s protected by its shell. So not only can Minior serve these more supportive and defensive roles, but it can do that while being a status sponge as well.

But the offensive side of things is even more exciting. Minior, as I already expressed, is an excellent Shell smasher. That’s not only because of its ability, but because of its offensive movepool. Stone Edge and Earthquake are standard options. Acrobatics is a great move if you run White Herb, or even Weakness Policy if you’re incredibly daring. On the special side of things, you have Power Gem or Ancient Power, Dazzling Gleam, Psychic, and even Charge Beam if you are interested in the boosts. Solar Beam is also one more option, which works better on mixed sets (which are very viable) because if you use Power Herb, it allows you to use Acrobatics.

Another more offensive tool Minior has includes U-Turn, which doesn’t work out so well when you Shell Smash up, but it is a viable offensive move and it works well on offensive Stealth Rock sets. Explosion is one last notable option to hit hard on your way out before you die, and can be an effective way of trading Minior for one of your opponent’s more offensive threats in a match.

It’s because of these options that I think Minior has a surprising amount of potential for draft leagues. It has the versatility that makes a lot of good Pokemon great. So even if when tiers settle, and everybody gets used to Minior and realizes it might be “just okay” instead, I think Minior’s unique ability and movepool will keep it off the sidelines in draft league format.

So if you were thinking about drafting this cute little chunk of rock, I say go for it. Who knows? He could just end up being the surprise star of your team. Because just like his design, from a competitive standpoint, there’s a lot more to Minior than what you see on the surface.

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Golisopod: The New Behemoth Bug Type

Honestly, did anybody expect Wimpod to stay wimpy forever? I knew this little bugger was going to grow up into a monster, but Golisopod was not what I anticipated. Wimpod’s ability Wimp Out seemed awful to me at first, and I was hoping its evolution would flip the script a little bit and get an ability that does the opposite: scare out the opponent when your health drops below 50%.

But alas, Golisopod gets Emergency Exit as its only ability, which is basically Wimp Out but with different flavor text. But is Emergency Exit truly a deal breaker? And what can we expect from it in league format heading into Generation 7?

After all, what exactly makes Emergency Exit so “bad?” There’s a few reasons which I’ll briefly explain here:

  1. Emergency Exit activates after you are hit below 50%, not the end of the turn. With Golisopod’s base 40 Speed, you will often get switched out without getting a hit off.
  2. Golisopod is Stealth Rocks weak, so it wants to avoid switching at all costs. In the context of league format, drafting it is essentially inviting your opponent to bring Stealth Rocks against you.
  3. Being switched out against your will hinders your ability to set-up and sweep.

But taking a closer look at Golisopod, namely its stats, reveals some amazing potential. To get a good understanding of its bulk, it’s essentially got the same HP and defenses as Mega Scizor, albeit with a worse defensive typing. (It has 75/140/90 bulk to be precise.) That bulk is valuable to a Pokémon like Golisopod, which will generally always be in fear of dropping below 50% HP. In fact, no matter what way you look at it, Golisopod will always have that issue.

But along with that bulk, Golisopod packs a punch with 125 base Attack, which is respectable for sure.  So, it appears that looking at stats alone, Golisopod has a lot of things going well for it. But what exactly can it do with these stats? What about its movepool?

Primarily, lets cover its signature move, First Impression. First impression is a +2 priority Bug Type Move with 90 Base power, but it can only be used on the first turn it is sent out. This makes First Impression the strongest priority move currently in the game. It functions extremely well with Golisopod’s “crippling” ability, believe it or not, since it acts as a reset button for this move. This makes Golisopod a potentially great revenge killer.

Other highlights of Golisopod’s movepool are as follows:

  1. The newly buffed Leech Life, which is now an 80 base power healing move, which ties with Oblivion Wing as the strongest HP-draining move, unless you count Dream Eater.
  2. Water STAB moves like Razor Shell and Liquidation, both which have a chance to lower the opponent’s Defense. Nice and spammable.
  3. Priority moves in Aqua Jet and Sucker Punch, and of course, First Impression. Although Sucker Punch is now 70 base power this generation, it’s strong enough to help mitigate Golisopod’s poor speed stat.
  4. Yup. Golisopod can set up some hazards if you need it to. This is especially notable for league play, where hazards play a big role in preparation and counter-team building.
  5. Physical coverage moves including Rock Slide, Poison Jab, Brick Break, and Aerial Ace. (Yeah, I know those last two moves aren’t all that impressive, but they could be useful in a league match where movesets tend to get a little funky sometimes.)

There’s two last moves that deserve their own separate section, and not just a bullet point. Substitute and Swords Dance. Based on its ability, Golisopod seems like the last Pokémon you’d want to set up with, because you’d just get ejected at some inopportune time and lose all your stat boosts. But with the threat of First Impression, you can force the opponent to switch, which can be your opportunity to set up a Substitute. A nice quirk in Emergency Exit’s mechanics is that Golisopod will not switch out if its health is dropped below 50% from Hail, Sandstorm, or Substitute. It also won’t switch out if an item like Sitrus Berry keeps it above 50% once activated.

Behind a substitute, you’re free to go for a Swords Dance or two, and with Aqua Jet as a STAB priority move, sweeping with Golisopod is much more achievable than it would seem on paper.

In that sense, Emergency Exit is truly both a blessing and a curse. Just like with every Pokémon, you must play to its strengths and not its weaknesses, or better yet, turn those weaknesses into strengths. Used correctly, Golisopod has the tools to overcome its ability, and even use it as an advantage on occasion. Whether you set up and sweep or set up hazards, slap on a Choice Band or a strap on an Assault Vest, there’s plenty of things you can do with this beastly bug type.

I see this thing having a bit more success in draft leagues than I do in normal Smogon tiers. Behind the right coach with a well-drafted team and some smart movesets, this Pokémon can really shine. I know you could say that about pretty much every Pokémon, but with an ability like Emergency Exit, I feel like Golisopod needs a little bit of defending, as I can already tell many people will write it off because of its ability alone.

But don’t be afraid to use this monster! We’ve been waiting since Surskit for a usable Water/Bug type, and this generation we were introduced to two. And if you learn how to use it well, it will be your opponent that Wimps Out against you!

Every Granbull has its Day

by Dillon P

 

Every time I look at Granbull, I imagine Denis Leary’s ladybug character from “A Bug’s Life” yelling “So! Being a ladybug automatically makes me a girl! Is that it?!” I’m sure Granbull didn’t ask to be a Fairy type, but we can’t deny the benefits it has brought him.

With the introduction of the meta-balancing Fairy type in Generation 6, many Pokemon were renovated with this new type, either having it added to its original typing or replacing its old typing completely. Snubbull and Granbull were subject to such a change, as their Normal typing was changed to Fairy. This new typing gave the often forgotten Granbull new life in a battling format heavily focused on Fairy types and their new potential roles. However, as many Fairy types were brought to the top of Smogon tier ratings, Granbull to this day is still lagging behind in the Rarely Used tier. Granted, Granbull does very well in this tier, but many players that focus on higher tiers may not be accustomed to the true utility this Pokemon has. Especially in a league format, Granbull’s constant overlooking can be detrimental to anyone foolish enough not to be scared of this thing.

The core of any Pokemon’s usefulness competitively is its stat distribution. Granbull has mediocre defense and special defense stats at 75 and 60 respectively, and an even lower speed stat at 45. However, Granbull packs quite the punch with it’s massive 120 attack, a base attack overshadowing higher-tier Pokemon such as Krookodile, Lucario and even Entei.

Of course, an impressive attack stat isn’t enough to warrant much attention from the competitive community. But luckily for Granbull, it has several ways to counter its shortcomings. Its pure Fairy typing certainly helps with its defenses, resisting Fighting, Bug and Dark, as well as being immune to the notorious Dragon type. Aside from this, one of Granbull’s most commonly used abilities, Intimidate, lowers the opposing Pokemon’s attack by one stage, helping Granbull live that one hit and strike back with a vengeance. To make up for its low speed, Granbull has another ability called Quick Feet, doubling its speed from a base of 45 to a much more respectable 90, making it a real problem for many unsuspecting opponents. If Intimidate is too important an ability to give up, having Thunder Wave in a move slot will certainly help, cutting the target Pokemon’s speed to a quarter of what it was.

Speaking of move slots, another key to any halfway decent Pokemon is a diverse moveset, and Granbull has quite the diversity. Of course it knows Play Rough, currently the hardest-hitting (and only, believe it or not) physical Fairy-type move there is, but it knows a plethora of other useful moves: Close Combat, Crunch, Rock Slide, Low Kick, Stone Edge, Wild Charge, Iron Tail, OUTRAGE! Not to mention Thunder, Fire/Ice Punch/Thunder/ Fire/Ice Fang (if you need all of those at once), as well as its best answer to its only two weaknesses in Poison and Steel, Earthquake. Even if you want a bulkier support Granbull, you have plenty of options with the aforementioned Thunder Wave, along with moves like Heal Bell, Reflect, Taunt, Torment and Roar. The best part about this immense diversity is that you can mix and match to your play-style, and THAT is what’s most dangerous about Granbull in a league format.

Many people only see Pokemon based only on their tier ratings and fail to look past OverUsed and UnderUsed for a Pokemon’s potential, but there are many low-tier Pokemon that are low-tier for one reason: someone else does their job better. In Granbull’s case, Mega Mawile, Mega Altaria and Azumarill are very, VERY hard-hitting physical Fairy-type Pokemon, but in a league format, they usually get drafted in the first or second round (Yes, I know Mega Mawile is in Ubers, and it still makes me sad to this day).

So when your turn to draft comes around and you find that your team is made up primarily of special attackers, or your team is particularly Outrage-able, don’t forget about little Granbull sitting in RU. It’s always better to have its fangs facing down the field away from you as opposed to the other way around, as your opponents will surely discover.

 

[October 6th, 2016]

Sun/Moon VGC Speculation

by: Wutpulver

How can someone predict how a format, that is not even announced yet, filled with Pokèmon whose stats we don’t know will turn out? Well you can’t, wich is why you should take everything I am going to say with a huge grain of salt.
Instead I am going to look at things that MIGHT be interesting for the upcoming format.

The first Pokèmon I want to look at is also one of my favourite designs: Oranguru. Starting with things we actually know both of its abilities are quite useful in doubles. Inner Focus stops the always common Fake Out while Telepathy has great synergy with its signature move Instruct. This move causes the targeted Pokèmon to immediately repeat the last move it used. Did you ever feel like your Garchomp’s Earthquake needed to deal double damage while leaving your second Pokèmon unscathed? If you did, then Oranguru is your ideal partner. Right now, it seems that it will be a support Pokèmon best paired with fast heavy hitters. The typing Normal/Psychic only has two weaknesses, which are Bug and Dark. Based on its design I predict low speed and strong bulk. How high these stats turn out will decide how important Oranguru will be in the upcoming meta. Its movepool will also play a huge role. I can see it getting Trick Room and Fake Out but these are very uncertain so lets move on instead.

Jangmo-o is mainly interesting because of its ability Soundproof. A dragon that is immune to Mega-Gardevoirs and Syleons Hyper Voice is bound to have some uses. Due to its revealed moves so far (Headbutt, Dragon Tail) I predict it to be a physical attacker along the lines of Haxorus. Its speedtier will be one of the crucial factors for its power.

Lycanroc-Day has quite a few interesting characteristics. Rock is a useful typing since it is great offensively and a counter to the always dangerous Talonflame. Sand Rush will be powerful if Tyranitar or Hippowdon have any place in VGC 17. Its signature move Accelrock is the first priority rock move and probably the biggest reason for excitement. I predict Lcanroc-Day to be a fast, fragile attacker that will make use of STAB Rock Slide and Accelrock to carve its niche.

Alolan Ninetales has an amazing offensive typing. The ultimate dragon hunter. Its viability will almost entirely depend on its speed and special attack. Should it be a prominent member of the new meta players will adapt and bring Bullet Punch on almost any team. Because of this I do not believe it will ever be dominant but a good fix for teams weak to Dragon.

Tapu Koko and Alolan Raichu have to be discussed together due to the obvious synergy of their abilities. Tapu Koko sets Electric Terrain on entry, while Raichu’s speed is doubled while Electric Terrain is active. These two share a typing in Electric and Earthquake as a weakness. Magnet Rise is a possibility but denies themselves the Electric attack bonus that the terrain offers. Raichus current speed is fairly high anyway wich makes the speed boost pretty irrelevant. This is why I hope that Alolan Raichu will have decreased speed and a significant boost in either bulk or special attack. Tapu Kokos signature move Nature’s Madness acts like an electric Superfang and will probably not be used much. I do not think the electric duo will have much of an impact and do not see an archetype developing around Electric Terrain unless more pokemon that benefit from it are released soon.

The most overhyped doubles pokèmon so far is probably Oricorio. Most poeple saw its ability and immediately tried to build combos with Volcarona, Salamence and Gyarados. The problem is that you have to protect your set up Pokemon either with redirection or flinching. Should Oricorio be a support Pokèmon that learns Follow Me or Fake Out, it will not have the offensive potential to make use of the free stat boost. If it is indeed offensive it will not be able to protect its partner properly. Aside from that it mostly looks like a gimmick to me and I don’t expect a high or even respectable BST from it.  The concept could be promising but I am afraid I can’t believe the hype.

[Oct 4th 2016]

[Sun and Moon Speculation] – Alolan Raichu

by BlameTheBlax

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon have already ushered in a new era of competitive play. With the introduction of Alolan forms, totem guardians, and the brand spanking new abilities on their recently revealed Pokémon, the tier lists of both Smogon and this League will undoubtedly go through a paradigm shift. The real question isn’t how the game will change, but rather how it won’t. Today I’d like to discuss one of the more interesting new forms to be introduced. The Alolan Raichu, which I will simply refer to as Psychu, is a lovable Pokémon that fits the stereotypical Hawaiian image. But what chance might it stand in competitive play?

Let’s take a look at the typing first. With the added Psychic typing, Psychu has traded some weaknesses for some resistances and a new STAB. While I can’t quite make a judgement on whether or not that is worthwhile quite yet, I can list the pros and cons of such a change. Due to this new typing, Psychu now has four weaknesses, being Ground, Bug, Ghost, and Dark. In exchange, it can now hit Fighting and Poison types for super effective damage along with Flying and Water types. It would also imply either Psychu gets to learn Psychic, Psyshock, Zen Headbutt, or perhaps a new signature move with the Psychic type. Maybe even all of the above, for all we know.

Speaking of moves, the original Raichu already has a plethora of moves to utilize on a multitude of sets, varying from physically and specifically offensive to support. It can only be assumed that Psychu will inherit this same movepool with perhaps an added Psychic STAB. While there is a possibility of an entirely new movepool, unlike some of the other new forms, this Alolan exclusive has had a very small change. I doubt they’d edit the entire Pokémon for one small thing. Also, the Z-move that Psychu does (which is named Stoked SparkSurfer) is extremely fascinating and undoubtedly powerful.

Continuing on the track of editing, let’s go on to the most interesting feature, the base stats. While I doubt the BST will receive any change, since this is a form change and not an official evolution, I could definitely see some forms of change to the current stats. This new surfing idea behind our mascot’s elder and the animation from Psychu using Stoked SparkSurfer, I could definitely see this thing gaining a slight boost in speed in exchange for some defenses. Due to the animation on Stoked SparkSurfer, which seems to be a physical attack, I could also easily imagine that Psychu is slightly more physically oriented than his Kanto counterpart. With all of this in mind, I believe that the spread will look like 60/100/55/95/55/120. This stat distribution makes Raichu a much more offensive threat while still retaining that same BST.

Last but most certainly not least, let’s talk about its ability. Surge Surfer is exclusive to the shocking Alolan mouse, allowing for twice the speed inside of Electric Terrain. That is highly situational since neither Raichu nor Psychu can’t really take a hit, but I could see the benefits if paired with a Tapu Koko. I’m thinking it will keep Lightningrod as a hidden ability, thus maintaining its viability in Doubles and giving it a niche for Singles. That said, where will Psychu land in Smogon or League play? Assuming it does get a boost to stats similar to the spread I provided above, I could easily see it landing in UU or BL, potentially even OU due to just how fast it is. In League play, I’d see it landing a comfy spot in Tier 2, due to its potential as a glass cannon. It might even be able to hit Tier 1 if we see it getting used well enough. In the end, this is all merely speculation. Nobody truly knows where GameFreak will take us and how much the metagame will vary in the coming months. But given the information that we already know and some degree of creative thinking, anything is possible for this pancake loving surfer. Until then, we’ll just have to ride through the shock waves.

October 1st, 2016

The Secrets Behind Mimikyu’s Disguise

By: TangelaBoots

While hype for Pokemon Sun and Moon continues to build, many of us can’t help but contemplate the competitive potential of some of the newly revealed Pokemon. It’s difficult to tell where every new Pokemon will end up in terms of viability, especially without knowing what kind of stats these new Pokemon will have. However, there is something we do know about every newly announced Pokemon, and that would be their abilities! From the looks of it, Generation 7 is promising to add some fascinating abilities to the game, which will have even more fascinating implications for the league format!

If it wasn’t Mimikyu’s design that immediately captured your heart, its new ability should have at least raised some eyebrows. Mimikyu’s ability Disguise, as many people have pointed out, means that it basically has an automatic Substitute that does not require setup. So what could this potentially mean?

Well unlike normal substitutes, we can assume that Mimikyu will actually be safe from sound moves. It’s also likely that Infiltrator will not bypass Mimikyu’s Disguise either, since apparently Mimikyu’s Disguise saves it from “any hit” once. If taken literally, Mimikyu has an awesome ability overall; but it’s not exactly perfect. Taken literally, a -6 Mud Slap or a +6 Gunk Shot would both break Mimikyu’s Disguise, since they both qualify as being “any hit”. That’s the way I interpret it, at least. In other words, you have to play safely around switching in Mimikyu safely in order to keep its Disguise intact. Slow Volt Switchers or U-turners would probably fit exceptionally well on a team with this little guy.

Disguise still gives Mimikyu lots of options depending on what kind of moves it gets. The English and Japanese trailers don’t give us much to go off of, since it only appears to use a move that resembles Night Slash. But that’s where speculation comes in! If it falls in line with its fellow Ghost and Fairy brethren, we can assume Mimikyu’s stats will likely be centralized in Special Defense and Special Attack. With that being said, Mimikyu could potentially be a great Calm Mind sweeper if it gets access to it, since it would be able to avoid damage once and get a free Calm Mind or potentially some other boosting move. Ghost and Fairy STAB is nothing to sneeze at offensively either. If Mimikyu turns out to be a physical attacker or if it has mixed offenses, I could definitely see Mimikyu running Play Rough, Shadow Claw, or Shadow Sneak. Shadow Sneak might be particularly useful, since Fairy and Ghost types also tend to be some of the slowest types in the game, statistically speaking.

I could also see Mimikyu becoming an incredible support Pokemon. Ghost types often get access to Will-O-Wisp, while Fairy types get a plethora of team support moves. Perhaps it could get Thunder Wave too, since it’s supposed to be mimicking Pikachu? Mimikyu could become a game-saving counter to setup Pokemon for this exact reason; with Disguise intact, it could take any boosted hit and then cripple the opponent with a Will-O-Wisp, or perhaps use some other kind of unique support move like Perish Song or Disable. The capability to counter setup like that could give Mimikyu an excellent niche league format, especially in cases where a defensive or balanced draft is playing against a much more offensive draft. The ability to switch into a fully boosted attack and survive without running Focus Sash is definitely something coaches are going to have to consider during their team prep, and I could even see people using multi-hit moves to get around it.

Lastly, my approximate prediction for Mimikyu’s base stats are as follows:

  • HP: 70
  • Atk: 80
  • Def: 60
  • SpA: 100
  • SpD: 110
  • Spe: 50
  • BST: 470

But then again, this is all just speculation. Mimikyu could easily turn out to be more of a gimmick than anything, similar to Malamar with Topsy Turvy. We can’t really know until we get our hands on Sun and Moon this November. But personally, I have high hopes for this Pikachu-wannabe.

We Need More “Dumb” Picks in Drafts

by VirtualSpivey

During the draft of last season’s GBA League, PKMNTrainerSteve, aka M4GNITUDE, aka Battler X’s benefactor, made a surprising pick in Sawsbuck to join his team. Quickly derided and mocked for his choice, Steve stuck with the 4-legged buck and it had the audacity to go ahead and run a sweep through the Boston Red Sawks during Week 8. With just a single raise from its Sap Sipper ability, it quickly knocked out four of the opposing team and almost single handily winning the battle.

In a single battle, Sawsbuck showed that its horns are not mere decoration, but rather a bloody mess of corpses and lost dreams for the defeated. Those that mocked the steer were silenced, at least for a little while, and it even made Battler X a few new fans. Sawsbuck was featured as the 3rd best play in the League and people couldn’t believe their precious little eyes. This is the type of battling that needs to be shown more in the GBA League.

While competitive Pokemon is a blast and needs careful planning, especially in this format, it doesn’t hurt to consider that a good amount of Pokemon (that are usually trash) can actually be planned around in League rules. Sometimes a surprise draw can make opponents either not plan for those Pokemon, or be flabbergasted that someone would “waste” a slot on their team.

It would be a fun time to see a Lickitung tanking damage due to other coaches forgetting that it learns a vast array of moves due to its typing, as well as having respectable defenses when it holds an Eviolite. It also doesn’t slouch when it comes to hard hitting moves; it learns both Power Whip and Wring Out naturally, which can hit hard during a predicted switch. Or perhaps the untapped potential of Ursaring can come to the fray and destroy everything in its sight. Heck, maybe someone will go crazy and give it a couple of the ORAS tutor moves like Seed Bomb, so it can wipe out one of the many defensive Water type walls. Ursaring can throw out a Gunk Shot and hit those Fairy foes with the force of an ice cream truck. These are just a couple that I have come up with on a whim, but if one looks carefully they can find a great array of hidden assets to use.

This is an exciting time for the GBA League, with new games coming out and a boat load of new attacks, strategies, and Pokemon coming out to the fray. However, if one takes the time and dedication, they might just find a diamond in the rough.

[Sep 29th, 2016]