Dreadlocke: Second Gym and Rebranding

Well, folks, I’ve been working on my Dreadlocke playthrough, and things have been proceeding pretty smoothly with the challenge. Today I wanted to update you on my progress and give you some updates on the challenge itself.

I just beat Grant, the Gym Leader in Cyllage City. That puts me at two of eight badges in the game, but the distance between badge number one and badge number two is absolutely obscene. In a short amount of time I have collected a lot more trios of Pokemon, doubled my levels, and faced a few situations that I had not encountered yet.

I finally messed up when encountering Pokemon. It was the first failed catch this whole playthrough. While battling a Hippopotas during the Rhyhorn riding segment, I had my Skarmory attack it twice with feint. The first hit looked like it wouldn’t kill after another one, but I guess I got a low roll, because the second hit finished the thing off. It was the first time in almost ten routes that I failed to capture something, and that aspect of this experience was part of what inspired some changes that are coming.

I’ve been sticking with one of my trios from the first gym, the combination of Skarmory, Ralts, and Cubchoo. Ralts has involved into a Kirlia, which certainly helped its power (though has done little for its durability, which still makes me nervous). Skarmory is a fantastic Pokemon and I have used it regularly. I can safely switch it in against a lot of different types, and that massive defense stat means I can switch-train my frailer Pokemon with minimal risk. I’m enjoying using the Cubchoo, a Pokemon I’ve never had the pleasure of training before. It has some interesting moves in its learnset; I recently picked up Brine, and having a water move is a great form of coverage for a pure ice Pokemon.

The other trio I used in the first gym has been boxed in favor of a new set. I got these in my Wondertrades on Route 5, the one just past Lumiose City. Somehow I ended up with three bred Pokemon, all at level one: Tyrogue, Misdreavous, and Mincinno. It took me a bit to train them up, but it has really been worth it. Tyrogue became the balanced Hitmontop, a Pokemon with equal attack and defense and great special defense. Fighting types are always clutch in any Nuzlocke playthrough so picking up Hitmontop was a great trade. Misdreavous I haven’t used much, but it recently learned Hex. So once I find a Will-o-Wisp TM or she learns it on her own, we’ll be in good shape there. Mincinno has been a lot of fun – it’s another Pokemon I have never used, and the little guy packs a punch! I’ve also been taking advantage of Sing to help me when capturing Pokemon.

I haven’t lost any more Pokemon, and even though I was a level below Grant’s two fossil Pokemon I had no trouble fighting him. Hitmontop is the perfect type advantage for that gym, as the odd typings of Amaura and Tyrunt normally protect them against some of rock’s more common weaknesses. I quickly took advantage of having Strength to scoop up the Aerial Ace TM for Skarmory, and now I’m on my way to Geosenge Town.

So there’s the update on my actual progress. Now the second half of this post is an update on the actual format of the Dreadlocke itself. You might have noticed the new art above, and noticed that I keep calling my sets of three Pokemon trios instead of towers. This is because, starting today, I am rebranding the Dreadlocke into a different challenge. The new name for this challenge is the Triplelocke!

I’ve decided on this for one main reason: the challenge, as it stands, does not fit the spirit of the game Dread. I designed this challenge run based on the concept of the Tower, and the Tower falling over, taking the metaphor and making it a bit more literal within the game. But Dread is about the metaphor behind the tower just as much as the literal Jenga tower. It’s about the precarious balance between hope that things will work out, and the horror that comes with failure and death. It’s about a small group of heroes trying to overcome overwhelming odds, not a military unit that is easily able to replace fallen soldiers. Because the challenge I proposed involves catching so many Pokemon, it doesn’t feel like Dread because I have a massive collection of replacement Pokemon in case one of my current trios doesn’t work out. Are all of them as good as the sets I currently have? Nah. But any experienced Nuzlocker can tell you that you can make surprising combinations work if you try hard enough. Heck, I’ve beaten the Elite Four Champion with only a Gothitelle and a Drapion.

Anyway, because the current challenge does not capture the essence of Dread as intended, I’m renaming it. I probably will still try to develop a Dreadlocke at some point, but for now what we’ve been calling the Dreadlocke is now the Triplelocke.

With the new name come some changes to the rules and terminology of the challenge. So let’s take a minute to go over the updated Triplelocke rules!

Rule #1: Capture – You may only capture the first three Pokemon you encounter when you enter a new area. You must successfully catch all three, or otherwise you forfeit all three encounters for that area. If you accidentally faint one of them, are forced to run away, or the Pokemon escapes, then you forfeit the encounters.
Rule #2: Trade – Once you have your three encounters, you trade them via Wondertrade. If you receive a Pokemon via Wondertrade that is part of the evolutionary line of a Pokemon you’ve already received, you may trade it off. If the Pokemon you receive is higher in level than the next gym’s ace, you may trade it off or hold it without using it until the time when it is an appropriate level for your team.
Rule #3: Trio – Once you’ve traded off all three Pokemon, the ones you received back are locked into a trio. Those three Pokemon must always be together. If one member of a trio faints, the other two are forfeited and all three are considered dead. You must release or permanently box them when given the opportunity. If you lose both of your active trios during a battle, you must reset the game to your last save point, release both fallen trios, and resume play from there.
Win Condition: You have successfully beaten the Triplelocke when you defeat the Elite Four Champion.

Looks a little different now, eh? You’ll notice that there are fewer rules now. In particular, I removed the rule about being able to yank a Pokemon you like out of trio that you don’t in order to put it with other Pokemon. I decided that this made the challenge a bit too easy. As long as you don’t play like a goober, it’s pretty easy to successfully catch all three Pokemon on each route. And being able to mix and match by “sacrificing” stuff you don’t mind losing just makes things easier because you can form well-balanced, functional teams in this way. The new rules make it harder to capture trios, and once a trio is together, it’s stuck that way. So if you have a great Pokemon stuck between two mediocre ones, either use the mediocre ones or use a different trio. I also got rid of the rules about heroic sacrifice because, with the rule about pulling Pokemon out of trios gone, it doesn’t make sense to have any partial sets of Pokemon. The only valid grouping of Pokemon is three. Your trios have to be trios, no exceptions.

These changes basically changed the game into a Wonderlocke in sets of three. You catch three Pokemon at a time, trade three Pokemon at a time, and lose three Pokemon at a time. Every Pokemon is part of a group of three, and the three Pokemon have to work together to survive. So since this playthrough is effectively a Nuzlocke x3, I decided to call it the Triplelocke. As before, the Triplelocke can be done without Wondertrade. I find that this would be particularly possible in XY. However, the Wondertrade aspect is to keep you from having a bunch of repeat Pokemon, because in most of the games there are a number of routes where you won’t have three options, or where half of your options will be the same as previous routes.

Starting at some point today, I’ll be making some alterations to the past posts about the “Dreadlocke” so that they are sorted into the Triplelocke category on the site and so they explain that the rules have changed and link to this page. If you’re really interested in the idea of still having a Dreadlocke at some point, don’t lose heart! I have plans to work on that once I get this playthrough finished (maybe with a break in between). But for the time being, I’m going to continue playtesting the Triplelocke with the altered rules.

If you too would like to try out the Triplelocke playthrough, just use the rules above! Feel free to let me know how your own playthrough of the challenge is going in the comments below.

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