Hello adventurers and welcome to the second chapter of the Adventure Rules Nuzlocke Challenge. If you missed the first chapter, you can check it out by clicking this nifty link here. My plan is to do a chapter in this series each Saturday until I’ve finished the game. I’ll focus a bit more on the technical side of things, sharing hints and tips as I encounter specific challenges in the game. You can think of it as a sort of walkthrough for a Nuzlocke challenge – and in this episode, I’ll be introducing an interactive aspect that will continue on throughout the series.
At the end of the last chapter I had three main challenges looming ahead: Petalburg Woods, the second half of Route 104, and the Rustboro City Gym. My team consisted of Slick the Mudkip, Herman the Silcoon, Zagitha the Zigzagoon, Wobbles the Wingull, and Monday the Slakoth. With the strongest member of the team only at level 11, I had a lot of training to do before the crew would be ready to take on Roxanne at the gym. Luckily, there were plenty of trainers standing in my way to use as target practice.
The first trainer was pretty simple to fight, packing a series of low-level Wurmple on his team. I tried to train up Zagitha a bit during this battle but she was already kind of tuckered out from switch-training alongside Monday. Switch-training is a great way to spread experience around between Pokemon and for weaker Pokemon to gain levels quickly, but you have to be careful about it in a Nuzlocke. An enemy with Pursuit or a stray critical hit could spell the end for either the weak Pokemon you’re training or the experienced Pokemon you’re using to do the grunt work. In this situation, Zagitha took a lot of hits pretty early and I didn’t want to continue switching her into danger.
Wobbles worked hard to prove himself during these battles, due primarily to the use of Supersonic. This move causes confusion and creates a chance that the opposing Pokemon might hit itself instead of your own Pokemon. It may not be a competitively-approved strategy but it’s a great way to reduce the number of attacks coming at your own team while also dealing some extra damage to your opponent.
Halfway through Petalburg Woods you encounter a Devon Researcher under attack by a Team Magma grunt. This guy is your first impression of Team Magma, and in my case he didn’t leave me particularly impressed. His level 9 Poochyena could have been dangerous due to its Howl move, which allows it to increase its attack power, but as long as you focus on attacking you should be able to wear it down before it can deal too much damage. Poochyena’s Tackle isn’t STAB, after all, so the damage isn’t as bad as it could be on a different Pokemon. For those who might be reading this and are unfamiliar with the acronym STAB, it simply stands for Same Type Attack Bonus and refers to the 50% increase in power provided when a Pokemon uses a move that is the same type that they are.
After defeating the Team Magma grunt, you receive free healing and an Experience Share from the Devon Researcher. Now the EXP Share can be a divisive item when it comes to Nuzlockes – some prefer not to use it to increase the challenge of the game, and that’s certainly fair. After all, the whole point of a Nuzlocke is to push yourself – why take the edge off with an item that allows all of your Pokemon to level evenly? However, in my case I’m trying to get one of these articles out once a week, and if I spend a bunch of time grinding levels I’m not going to be able to accomplish that. So in this playthrough I will be using the EXP Share. Trust me, I’ll need it when you all are done with me at the end of today’s chapter.
There’s only one more trainer in the Petalburg Woods, another bug catcher. This one, however, has a new Pokemon that I hadn’t met yet in this playthrough: Nincada. Nincada is a Bug-Ground Pokemon, which made the goofy thing an excellent target for my boy Wobbles and his Water Gun. To add some icing on the cake, after winning this battle and reaching level 8, Wobbles learned Wing Attack. This is a fantastic flying type move for the early game – 60 base power, 90 with STAB, and no disadvantages like a low accuracy. This move made Wobbles a lot more useful and now he’s a Pokemon to keep an eye on – Brawly’s gym is after Roxanne’s and Wobbles now resists fighting type moves and has a super effective move against them. We’ll just have to watch out for Rock Throw.
Once you get out of Petalburg Woods, you reach the second half of Route 104. This area is a bit frustrating because it seems like a new route but is in fact a continuation of an old one, so you can’t actually catch a new team member here unless you somehow avoided any encounters before Petalburg Woods. Still, the little kid to the left takes the edge off by giving you the TM for Echoed Voice, a normal-type move that increases in power as you use it over and over again. I put it on Wobbles for some non-elemental damage and then went on my merry way.
This route has multiple trainers to take on and serves as a fantastic training opportunity for your Pokemon. At this point Slick was my only team member above level 10, so I needed to make sure the rest of my crew got plenty of experience. My first opponent here, Lady Cindy, had a level 10 Zigzagoon. Uh oh. I thought that rich kid at the entrance to the woods was trouble – this Zigzagoon is even more powerful.
Luckily, Herman came through this time around. My little cocoon inflicted the poison status on his first Poison Sting, which meant that Zigzagoon was on a timer right from the get-go. I tried to amp up the turn-by-turn damage by switching in Wobbles to use Supersonic, but the confusing move doesn’t have perfect accuracy and Wobbles missed. On top of that, Zigzagoon had used Tail Whip on Wobbles when he came into battle, so one tackle was enough to put me back on the defensive. I ended up using Slick to wrap things up in this fight. Unfortunately, this wasn’t even the toughest battle I’d be facing on this route.
My next opponent had two grass type Pokemon: Lotad and Shroomish. This was not a fight that Slick wanted to be a part of, and with Wobbles having low health I couldn’t rely on him until I earned a chance to use a Potion. Herman was a good option here, as Bug type resists Grass and Poison Sting was super effective. Still, it was slow going for a couple of reasons. Lotad has Growl and then Absorb, so it lowers your attack power and then leeches your health. Dealing less damage and then having that damage further mitigated by healing slows things down and makes it time-consuming to deal with Lotad without a clear type advantage. And Shroomish was even worse.
There are three factors that make this Shroomish difficult to deal with. The first is Absorb. Just like Lotad, this thing can sap HP, which makes the battle slower because it’s always healing a little bit of the damage you inflicted. This is compounded by the second factor, Leech Seed. This is a second source of healing, one not dependent on typing, meaning that Shroomish can heal twice in one turn when attacking with Absorb and then benefiting from Leech Seed. It wears your Pokemon down fast and makes Shroomish that much harder to defeat. Finally, the goofy thing has Effect Spore – you can become randomly paralyzed, poisoned, or put to sleep when attacking Shroomish with a direct physical attack. In the picture above, Wobbles tried to finish the job with a Wing Attack and ended up taking an inconvenient snooze. I didn’t lose any Pokemon here, but Shroomish definitely left my team worse for wear.
The next fight is a double battle, a pair of twins hitting you with their mighty Lotad and Seedot combo. I say mighty, but Seedot never once used an attacking move against my team. I think the only one it might know at level 9 is Bide, which requires it to take damage in order to dish out damage. During this fight, I had to wait around for Wobbles to wake up, but Monday finally got to show off a little and used Yawn to keep half of my opposition snoring for the duration of the fight. Of course, the most important thing to happen during this fight came after the battle was over:
Heck yeah! Herman is now fully evolved and will be much easier to use in battle now. He has a STAB move in the form of Gust, which could be a decent move for Brawly’s gym if he doesn’t learn a more powerful flying move before then. Of course, Herman still has that 4x Rock weakness to worry about, so once we get to Rustboro City this guy is going to be taking a back seat for some time.
After Herman’s evolution I took on a fisherman with a bunch of Magikarp. This guy is kind of boring to fight but it is effectively free experience since none of the Magikarp can use Tackle yet. I used this as an opportunity to switch-train Monday and Zagitha, who otherwise didn’t really get much screen time during this portion of the playthrough. Once I defeated the guy, I harvested some of the nearby berries and then made my way into Rustboro City.
I made a point of stopping in two main places in Rustboro City. The first was the Cut Man’s house, which is on the west side of town and has two Cut bushes by the door. This guy is super generous and asks you for nothing in return for his HM Cut, which you might need at some point to progress through the game. At the very least, there are some decent items hiding behind Cut bushes in areas I already explored, so it might be worth it to revisit them later. After that I went to the Pokemon Trainer’s School, where the teacher gave me a taste of his Quick Claw – by giving me a Quick Claw. That item could be useful later, so I’ll be glad to hold onto it!
With those items out of the way, it was time to head to Rustboro’s gym and take on Roxanne. Knowing this was a Rock type gym, I decided to focus primarily on Wobbles and Slick. Wobbles was a bit risky because he is weak to Rock-type attacks. I decided to gamble that none of the low-level rock Pokemon being used by the gym trainers would have Rock Throw. If they did, they never used it on me. Wobbles was easily able to clean up the gym trainers so that Slick could focus all of his energy on fighting Roxanne’s team.
The scariest and most frustrating aspect of this gym is that many of the Pokemon used by the trainers here (and by Pokemon I mean Geodude) have the Sturdy ability. This allows them to survive a one-hit KO with a single point of HP left. This means that instead of easily sweeping every opponent, my Pokemon had to take a hit during each battle and against Roxanne herself, she’d rely on Potions to get her Pokemon healed up after they survived a hit with Sturdy. In an effort to avoid this problem I had Slick use Mud Slap rather than Water Gun on Roxanne’s Geodude – that decision came back to bite me.
Even with lowered accuracy, Geodude managed to land a Rock Tomb that did critical damage AND lowered Slick’s speed. This meant that when Nosepass came in, it was faster than Slick and was consistently able to get the first attack. However, that was really the only complication. I had given Slick one of my oran berries to hold before the battle started, so when the crit hit he ate it up and immediately healed most of the way. Even with being evenly-leveled alongside Nosepass, Slick had a huge advantage that made the battle feel quite one-sided. Weirdly, Nosepass never used Rock Tomb against me, which would have likely kept me on the defensive longer or forced me to change strategies. Instead, I was able to take the first gym badge with only a single bead of crit-induced sweat on my forehead.
Now with my first gym conquered, it’s time to change things up a little. I mentioned in the first chapter that I had some interactive elements planned for this Nuzlocke challenge and that I’d be introducing them in this chapter. The time has come, adventurers. For you see, the challenge I am doing here is no ordinary Nuzlocke run. This is a more advanced challenge run called a Restartlocke.
Here’s how it works. After defeating each gym leader, I have to make significant cuts to my team. I can only keep one, two, or three Pokemon – the rest must be released back into the wild. In addition, there are special rules based on how many Pokemon I keep on my team. Those rules are as follows:
- If I keep THREE Pokemon, then after the next gym battle I must keep less than three Pokemon.
- If I keep TWO Pokemon, then after the next gym battle I cannot keep those two Pokemon again.
- If I keep only ONE Pokemon, there are no additional rules. But, I only have one Pokemon.
Them’s the breaks, adventurers. Now that Roxanne stands defeated before me, Team Adventure Rules is going to have to make some cuts. I currently have five members: Slick the Mudkip, Herman the Beautifly, Zagitha the Zigzagoon, Wobbles the Wingull, and Monday the Slakoth. At most, I can only keep three of them, and if I do that, I must keep even less after the next gym. It’s a tough decision with potentially great consequences, so it’s not a decision I can make alone. You, adventurers, can help me decide which Pokemon I need to keep and which ones to release.
I won’t send you in blind, of course. This is a walkthrough of sorts, so let’s take a second to look at the technical advantages of certain choices.
Slick is my starter and Mudkip is honestly a fantastic Pokemon throughout the early game of Omega Ruby. While Slick doesn’t have any advantages against Brawly, he’ll be fantastic at both the third and fourth gyms. Additionally, once he evolves in a couple of levels he’ll only have one type weakness, which is really valuable from a defensive standpoint. Because Slick has the potential to be useful at least up until the fourth gym, he’s a solid candidate to keep (and not as a “keep two” option that would cause him to disappear after fighting Brawly, right when we need him most).
When it comes to being advantageous against Brawly, Wobbles is an excellent candidate to keep at least this first time around. He resists fighting and has a pretty strong early-game Flying move that will be very useful in Brawly’s gym. After that he’d definitely need to take a break because Watson would mess him up pretty bad (4x weakness to electricity), but he could potentially be decent against Flannery and her fire Pokemon barring any Rock Slide shenanigans.
Herman might be able to help me out in Brawly’s gym. He has a 4x resistance to fighting but a 4x weakness to rock, so if any of Brawly’s Pokemon know Rock Throw then Herman will be taking a dirt nap pretty early on. As a fully-evolved Pokemon already, Herman may have some decent early game stats but isn’t necessarily a great candidate to take super far into the game. He’s also weak to the next two gyms after Brawly.
As a normal type, Zagitha isn’t really going to give me an advantage in any of the upcoming gyms (particularly in Brawly’s) but she could be good to have on the team for other trainer battles and general exploration shenanigans. I mentioned in the last chapter that Zagitha could serve an HM-servant role if needed. I already have Cut which I could give to her, and I think the only other Pokemon that might be able to learn it would be Monday. Zagitha also picked up Headbutt after the gym battles, which is an absolutely devastating early-game move against Pokemon that don’t resist it (105 Power after STAB with a chance to flinch).
Then there’s Monday…oh, Monday. I mentioned in the last chapter that I’m honestly not a huge Slakoth fan, and I think that played out in how much I used him in this chapter – or rather, how much I didn’t use him. Truant is too frustrating of an ability to work around and makes it difficult to take advantage of the strategic openings created by Yawn. Slakoth is a long-term investment – you deal with how difficult he is to work with early game in exchange for the raw power of Slaking down the line. However, in a Restartlocke, it’s going to be somewhat difficult for me to baby any Pokemon like that because I might have to give him up after the next gym. I will say one thing in Monday’s favor, however – he’d be awesome to have on the team for capturing purposes. Being able to put wild Pokemon to sleep with yawn will make catching new team members a lot easier.
With all of that in mind, what would you like to see, adventurers? Would you like to see most of these team members stick around but more leave after the next gym? Would you prefer for two stars to have one last hurrah while paving the way for the next team? Or do you think there’s only one Pokemon really worth keeping? Let me know in the comments below how many Pokemon you’d like me to keep and which ones you want me to keep. If there are no responses I’ll just choose on my own based on my personal preferences and my estimation of my strategic needs moving forward. I’ll break ties the same way, choosing what I consider to be the most practical of the options voted for by readers.
Thanks for reading, adventurers, and I look forward to seeing who you want to stay for the next chapter!