Greetings, adventurers, and welcome to the next chapter in my Restartlocke journey! In the last chapter I gave some tips for grinding levels as I trained up a new team on my way to Slateport City. Today we’ll journey through Slateport north to Mauville and take on the gym leader Wattson. But there are plenty of crazy things that happen along the way, and today’s lesson is all about how often gym leaders aren’t the scariest thing you have to deal with.
Slateport City is a pretty large location with a lot of different places to visit. When I arrived I decided to focus on the story beats first and then to check out some other things. The goal here is to deliver the Devon Parts to Captain Stern, but when you arrive at the lab you discover that the captain has gone to the Oceanic Museum. The museum is blocked off by Team Magma until you see this cut scene, so you don’t want to try to skip ahead by going there first.
I tried to run through reception here but the ladies at the front desk are quite persistent. They called me over and made me pay $50 to get into the museum. That’s not a lot of money by Pokemon standards so it wasn’t a problem, but I suppose it’s worth knowing that you don’t want to spend every cent you have before trying to come here. One thing that’s easy to miss here is that there’s a TM you can snag on the first floor – just talk to the Team Magma grunt on the right side closest to the bottom. This is the guy you’ve been beating up the whole time, and he shares the Thief TM with you if you speak with him.
Captain Stern is upstairs by himself, which definitely does not seem suspicious. Once I talked to him a couple of Team Magma grunts showed up to mess with me. Both of these guys were total pushovers – both of them had Numel in their team and the second one had a Zubat. Numel was pretty easy for MaiMai to handle, as Fire/Ground has a 4x weakness to water which puts her Water Pulse attack at 360 Power ((60 Base + STAB) x 4). As for the Zubat, Runnypants the Kadabra was able to take it out with no problems.
After I defeated the Magma grunts, their leader showed up to tell me all about his evil plan. As a kid I had the Sapphire version of the original game, so Maxie was never the bad guy for me. I thought he was pretty cool – he seemed much smarter and more competent than Archie. Nowadays, though, I can’t help but think this guy is kind of an idiot. His entire plan is to get rid of the planet’s water so that there’s more dry land to develop – forget the fact that we need water, you know, to live. We need more room to overpopulate the Earth, dang it!
I expected a fight with Maxie here, but that didn’t end up happening. He simply left me with Captain Stern to deliver the parts. With the plot taken care of, I had the opportunity to run around Slateport a bit. Specifically, I went to the market on the west side of town to explore and see what all the stores were selling. There are multiple stalls that carry rare items you can’t ordinarily pick up in towns. Most of these items are not particularly pertinent or useful for any kind of Nuzlocke challenge, but there’s a stall selling TMs that has some decent stuff.
I specifically purchased the TMs for Struggle Bug and Thunder Wave. Struggle Bug is a special Bug move with 60 base power that’s great on a number of Bug Pokemon. Thunder Wave is versatile and can be used by lots of different Pokemon (including Runnypants) that is guaranteed to inflict paralysis on the target. There were a couple of other TMs here that could be useful depending on what type of Pokemon you have in your team at the time. If you don’t like any of them or don’t find them useful at the moment, I recommend you skip over them – there are more TMs to purchase in Mauville that are more expensive than these, so you’ll want to save up for them.
The other thing I found in the market that’s worth noting is a Mega Stone. The Alakazite is located towards the southern end of the market on the left side. This is a pretty cool find because I actually have the potential to end up with an Alakazam on my team in the form of Runnypants. However, I don’t intend to use Megas in this playthrough (it is a challenge run, after all), and with the Restartlocke rules in place there’s no guarantee that I’ll always have Runnypants anyway. But if you’re playing a more traditional Nuzlocke and want to use Megas, this is a great Mega Stone to have in your arsenal.
After exploring the market I was ready to leave, but the game wasn’t quite ready for me to go yet. Just as I walked out of Slateport’s northern gate, I was dragged to the contest hall to watch the famous contest participant Lisia do a weird dance. She chose me to be her new trainee or something, much to the frustration of all the guys in the crowd who wanted to be chosen as her boyfriend. After enduring that cut scene, I made my way to Route 110.
This is a pretty sizeable route with two different paths – and ground path and a bike path. The bike path is the quickest way through but you can’t get a bicycle until you get to Mauville, so during your first trip you have to take the long way. Of course, that gave me an opportunity for a new encounter, so I gladly accepted the opportunity. It only took a few moments in the grass to meet my new potential partner: a Minun.
This isn’t exactly a great capture for me. Minun’s electric type complemented my team, sure, but Minun doesn’t evolve and has a pretty terrible ability, particularly for a Nuzlocke run. I managed to catch the little girl and I named her Nancy (as in Negative Nancy, because she has a negative charge. AREN’T I HILARIOUS?!). Her level was significantly lower than my other team members, and with a gym coming up soon I didn’t feel like Nancy would even be worth training. I relegated her to the back of the party and kept moving forward.
The first trainer here is Poke Fan Isabel, who has a Plusle and Minun on her team. These Pokemon have pretty similar moves, attacks like Spark, Swift, Quick Attack, and Encore are common finds. Interestingly, Plusle started the fight by using Bestow and giving Runnypants an Oran Berry to hold – how nice of it! I took care of Plusle pretty easily, but Minun proved to be a problem. It nailed Runnypants with a critical hit Spark that brought him down into Oran Berry range as well as causing paralysis, and when Runnypants brought Minun below half health it healed from its own Oran Berry. Runnypants barely survived the battle with only 3 HP left – I need to be more careful and not underestimate opposing trainers so much.
To the west of Route 110 is a section of Route 103, the route where we battled May at the beginning of the game. You can’t get a new encounter here but there are some trainers you can fight for more experience points. They’re pretty easy battles, too – despite my team’s overall grass weakness, I was able to handle the Aroma Lady’s Roselia pretty easily thanks to Runnypants. The twins here have a Plusle and a Minun – again playing on a huge weakness of my team – but Slick the Marshtomp was able to wrap things up here pretty easily.
My favorite fight on this route was against Poke Fan Miguel and his Skitty. I started the battle with Floppy the Magikarp in front and needed to switch to someone else. Now Skitty is pretty well known for inflicting the infatuation status – even if it doesn’t have the Cute Charm ability, they tend to run the move Attract for this express purpose. Since the Skitty was female, my best move was to fight it with a female Pokemon. I switched in MaiMai and sure enough, that Skitty tried to use Attract on me. I was pretty proud of that prediction and the rest of the battle was cake.
My time on route 103 made it pretty clear that my Pokemon’s levels were getting a little too high. Slick, in particular, was significantly more powerful than the other Pokemon on my team. I decided at this point to turn off the experience share until I get to a point where my team is more even with the levels of my opposition. With that taken care of, I headed back to Route 110 to experience the next location of interest: the Trick House.
The Trick House is a sort of mini-gym, I guess, with trainers to battle and puzzles to solve. It populates a new challenge periodically based on what HMs you currently have unlocked. The lobby is always a simple office where the Trick Master is hiding somewhere in the room. He’s not generally hard to find – when you first walk in, a little sparkle will indicate where he’s watching you from.
The first version of the Trick House relies on the Cut HM, so you’ll need to have a Cut Pokemon to participate. If you successful caught your Tentacool around Dewford Town, then that shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll want to fully explore the room as in addition to the trainers you can fight for XP and money, there are also a couple of Lava Cookies, which heal any and all status problems a Pokemon has when eaten.
Most of the Trick House trainers were very easy to defeat with Runnypants, whose Psybeam has devastating power when combined with his special attack stat. Both Gulpin and Meditite fell easily to Runnypants, but the last trainer have me a bit more trouble. He had a Geodude on his team that I couldn’t safely switch MaiMai in to fight because of her ground-type weakness – and sure enough, on the very turn I switched to Floppy in order to scout Geodude’s moves, it unleashed a Magnitude 7. It would have defeated MaiMai for sure. I kept her out of the fight and things went pretty smoothly as a result.
After completing the Trick House I was finally able to explore route 110 properly again by heading east from the route 103 entrance. I encountered a youngster along the path who had some particularly weak Pokemon, so I decided to let ole negative Nancy get involved in the fight. She showed off some pretty impressive firepower with her Spark attack and made quick work of the youngster’s Poochyena, but her typing wasn’t ideal for the kid’s Aron or Electrike. MaiMai and Runnypants took care of them, though.
Seeing my next opponent in the distance, my eyes fell upon a familiar face: May. The time had come for my next rival battle, so I charged forward to face off against the first trainer I had ever battled. I led with Floppy to scout so I could get an idea of how May planned to start the battle, and she led off with Slugma. Fire is not a problem for my team, so I went ahead and let MaiMai switch in to take out this guy. Seeing that water was my team’s bread and butter, May chose next to send in her starter: Grovyle. I chose to have Runnypants fight this match, and that’s when things started getting scary.
Runnypants was able to do some pretty good damage to Grovyle off the bat using Psybeam, but Grovyle struck right back with a move I was not prepared for: Pursuit. This is a dark type move and therefore super effective against Runnypants, but it presented an even greater problem: there was no way I could switch Runnypants safely now. Pursuit does double damage when the Pokemon is switching out, which means that Runnypants would be completely wrecked if I tried to run (40 Base x2 Supereffective x2 Special Effect = 160 Power). Instead, I healed up and hoped that Grovyle didn’t put on too much offensive pressure – and my hopes pulled through. May had Grovyle use Quick Attack, barely doing any damage to me. But before Runnypants was able to deal the final blow, Grovyle hit me again with Pursuit. And this one was a crit.
I watched for what felt like the hundredth time as the health bar on Runnypants fell from green to yellow down into the red. And just before stopping at zero, the bar mercifully ceased its plunge. Runnypants had somehow managed to survive a critical hit Pursuit, and after that he was able to bring down Grovyle. May only had one Pokemon left, a Wailmer. I wanted to send in Nancy the Minun for type advantage but was worried that she wouldn’t be able to handle a powerful water-type move, so instead I sent in MaiMai.
MaiMai hit Wailmer with an Acid attack, which did a rather pitiful amount of damage. Wailmer for its part hit MaiMai with Rollout…uh oh. Rollout is a move that, once used, the Pokemon is locked in to; it’ll be the only move that Pokemon can use for a number of turns. However, as long as it continues on, each turn it builds in power, steadily growing stronger through the battle. I needed to shut down Wailmer pretty fast, but two Acids did not even do half damage. Meanwhile, two Rollouts from Wailmer nearly put MaiMai in the ground.
Now I had a problem. MaiMai would not survive another Rollout, and neither would Runnypants. The chances of Nancy surviving it were also pretty low – realistically, while I had maybe on or two team members who could survive the first blow, they’d drop the next turn when an even stronger Rollout hit them (the third Rollout in a chain has 120 Power, and the fourth would have 240). I needed to heal up Runnypants and hope that a Psybeam had enough power to take out Wailmer, but in order to do that, someone had to take the fall. I needed to make a sacrifice. I sighed and switched in Floppy, who I hoped had enough defense to survive one Rollout so I could heal Runnypants with a soda pop.
Floppy did survive the first blow, and I was able to heal Runnypants. The second Rollout totally destroyed my Magikarp, dashing my hopes of ever seeing Gyarados on my team. I wasn’t out of the woods yet – Wailmer still had 70-75% of its health, and if Runnypants didn’t finish it off then he’d be taking a hit from a 480 Power Rollout – likely a guaranteed kill. I gritted my teeth as Runnypants blasted Wailmer with Psybeam, the health bar ever-so-slowly trickling down towards zero…and reaching it. Wailmer finally went down, and I breathed a sigh of relief as Runnypants stood unscathed. It was a bittersweet victory – Runnypants could not have claimed the day if not for Floppy’s sacrifice.
There’s a couple of lessons to learn here. First of all, don’t underestimate May. She has a pretty dangerous combination of Pokemon at this point in the game, and their diverse typings mean you’ll need a diverse team to take them on. Second of all, when you see Rollout, you need to try to do something to stop that move’s momentum from building. Inflicting a status that could interrupt the chain is a good move – sleep is ideal, but paralysis or confusion have a chance of doing it too. Finally, don’t be afraid to make the sacrifice play. Sometimes what you really need to change the tide of a battle is one turn where you can focus on healing, and letting a weaker Pokemon that you rarely use take the fall to make that happen. Had I tried simply to heal MaiMai, it may have lived through one more Rollout but eventually the move would grow too strong, finishing her off even from full health. Losing Floppy wasn’t ideal, but it was better than losing anyone else.
I intended for this chapter to cover all the way to the Mauville gym battle, but this feels like a good ending point – particularly since my fight against Wattson was rather dull. Slick made easy work of the electric gym, and I claimed my third badge with no trouble at all. Slick’s overpowered state is kind of a double-edged sword – he’s making it easy to breeze through gyms, but the Restartlocke is intended to be a challenge run. After this gym I’m planning to keep two Pokemon (who I’ll then have to lose after the fourth gym), so in the next chapter I’ll reveal which two are going to be sticking around. Until then, I hope you enjoyed today’s chapter, and if you have any questions about this section of the game or have a specific question about the Restartlocke challenge, let me know in the comments below!