September 25, 2018

Trainer Spotlight: Steven Stone

This month, we turn the spotlight toward Steven, the skilled Pokémon League Champion and rock enthusiast.

This month's spotlight focuses on Steven Stone, a Pokémon League Champion in the Hoenn region and son of Mr. Stone, the president of the Devon Corporation. One might think this Champion's contributions to Pokémon lore would be confined to his initial appearance in Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire, but he's proven to be quite a key player throughout the Pokémon universe.

Throughout the years, Steven has popped up in other Pokémon adventures—and not always in the role of Champion. Even if he's not sporting that impressive title, though, Steven (and his frequent partner Metagross) has had quite an impact on the world of Pokémon. Let's take a closer look at Steven's many exploits.



In the Video Games

Throughout his many appearances in the Pokémon video games, Steven proves himself to be both an incredibly skilled Pokémon Trainer and a kind and helpful mentor. He clearly cares not only for Pokémon but for the entire Hoenn region.

Players first meet Steven in Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire when they deliver a letter to him in Granite Cave. It's here that we learn about Steven's interest in rare stones. After complimenting the player and their team of Pokémon, Steven departs with words of encouragement, telling the player that they could potentially become the Pokémon League Champion someday.

Of course, Steven would know about such things, as we eventually learn that he himself is the Hoenn region's Pokémon League Champion that players face after besting the Elite Four. His Pokémon team contains a few Rock- or Ground-type Pokémon, although he seems to favor Steel-type Pokémon. In fact, Steven's Metagross (a Steel and Psychic type) would go on to become his signature partner Pokémon beyond the video games.

In Pokémon Emerald, we learn that Steven is still on his journey, and his friend Wallace is now Hoenn's Pokémon League Champion. Steven is now a wandering Trainer on a quest to discover rare stones. Despite having stepped out of the battle limelight, Steven confronts Team Magma's Maxie and Tabitha when Team Magma threatens the Hoenn region by causing Mt. Chimney to erupt. To prevent this disaster, the player joins Steven in a Multi Battle against the villains. Later, he would be waiting in Meteor Falls to challenge the player after they have defeated Wallace.

Steven continues to be an important presence in Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilver when he shows up outside the Pokémon Fan Club in Vermilion City to share a bit of information about the possibility of Latios or Latias appearing in the Kanto region.

We learn that Pokémon appear to have a strong trust in Steven when the player encounters him on Route 118 in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire. Latios or Latias appears to ask for help, leading both Steven and the player to Southern Island. There, one of these Legendary Pokémon communicates to Steven that it wishes to join the player's team.

From that point on, Steven remains a crucial part of the story as he assists the player and divulges crucial information about the Legendary Pokémon Groudon and Kyogre and the potential threat they represent. Not content to simply sit back and leave the fate of the world to others, Steven is willing to leave his post in Ever Grande City to take matters into his own hands.


In Pokémon the Series

Interestingly, Steven is not presented as the Hoenn Pokémon League Champion in Pokémon the Series, at least not at first. Even so, he is still a highly proficient Trainer whose interest in mineral research from the video games is immediately reflected in the series.

When he makes his debut in the Pokémon Advanced season, Ash, Brock, May, and Max first meet him as a Trainer in Granite Cave after being directed there by Steven's father, Mr. Stone (“A Hole Lotta Trouble”). The group gets lost in the cave due to interference by Team Rocket, and everyone (even Team Rocket) finds themselves being chased by a group of angry Aron. Max, Pikachu, and Meowth happen across Steven and his own Aron, and he offers to help. The wild Pokémon are persuaded to cease their pursuit, but when Team Rocket decides to attack in the confusion, Steven calls on his Aggron to send the troublesome trio blasting off again.

Team Rocket clearly holds no grudges against Steven, though—quite some time later, in Pokémon the Series: XY Kalos Quest, the trio becomes amusingly obsessed with him after stumbling onto what they believe to be Steven's notebook (“Rivals: Today and Tomorrow!”). James (who now refers to Steven as the Hoenn Pokémon League Champion) wants to learn Steven's Pokémon training techniques from the book, while Jessie hopes to marry the handsome (and presumably rich) Champion.

Finally, in Pokémon the Series: XYZ, Steven and his partner Metagross show up once again to assist Ash and his friends, displaying his willingness to dive into battle to protect the world, as in his video game role. This time, our heroes are battling Lysandre and Team Flare, who are threatening to take over the world (“The Right Hero for the Right Job!”). Thanks to the power of Mega Evolution, Steven's Mega Metagross proves to be a valuable asset in battle. Mable, one of Team Flare's scientists, attempts to lure Steven into switching sides, but he refuses. During the battle, Steven uses his knowledge of rare minerals to determine the true nature of the mysterious artifact known as the Giant Rock (“Rocking Kalos Defenses!”). As Ash leaves the Kalos region, we briefly see Steven once more, working with Sawyer to investigate the ruins of Lysandre Labs (“Till We Compete Again!”).


In the Pokémon Mega Evolution Special

The four-part Pokémon Mega Evolution Special, which follows the adventures of Pokémon Trainer Alain and his young friend Mairin, presents an earlier part of Steven's tale. Here, the Hoenn Champion has an entirely different relationship with the nefarious Lysandre, as the two are working together to harness the full power of Mega Evolution (“Pokémon Mega Evolution Special II”). Their studies lead to the discovery of the Giant Rock, a powerful energy source that has attracted the attention of the Legendary Pokémon Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre. Steven and his partner Mega Metagross team up with Alain and his partner Mega Charizard X to combat these ancient Pokémon (“Pokémon Mega Evolution Special III”).


In the Pokémon TCG

Three different Pokémon TCG cards have featured Steven over the years. Although all three Supporter cards have different effects, they're all good for refreshing your hand. Perhaps Steven's love of digging up rare stones translates to digging into your deck to find the cards you need.

The first Pokémon TCG card to feature Steven was Steven's Advice, which debuted in the EX Hidden Legends expansion. This card allows you to replenish your hand by drawing cards up to the number of your opponent's Pokémon in play, with just one restriction: you can't play the card if you have more than seven cards in your hand (including Steven's Advice).

A few expansions later, in EX Power Keepers, Steven's Advice saw a reprint with a slight change to the restriction: you can't play the card if you have seven or more cards in your hand (including Steven's Advice). That makes it just a little harder to play. Either way, Steven's Advice could prove useful if your opponent's Bench was full and you needed a fresh hand of cards to help prepare a counterattack.

It was quite a while before Steven returned to the Pokémon TCG. In the XY—Roaring Skies expansion, the Steven Supporter card allows players to search up another Supporter card and a basic Energy card from their deck. The card would get a lovely full-art version in the XY—Ancient Origins expansion.

Steven reappeared in the most recent expansion, Sun & Moon—Celestial Storm, with the Steven's Resolve card. Once again, Steven allows the player to get more cards out of their deck. This time, the player can search up any three cards to put into their hand—but doing so causes their turn to end. However, that downside can be circumvented if the player's Active Pokémon is Metagross from the same expansion—which is, of course, Steven's signature Pokémon (the Champion even appears behind his powerful partner in the illustration). Thanks to Metagross's Extend Ability, playing Steven's Resolve does not end the player's turn—so they have a chance to play the cards they just searched up, and they also get to attack with Metagross or another of their Pokémon.



Whether he's reigning as the Hoenn Pokémon League Champion or exploring the region in search of rare stones, Steven has proven himself to be one of the most enduring characters in the world of Pokémon. Only time will tell if this skilled Trainer will show up in the future for more adventures, but in the meantime, look forward to another Trainer Spotlight next month!

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