Greetings, adventurers, and welcome back to our tale of horror and hope! Due to Blogger Blitz stuff that’s currently going on, I needed to take a couple of weeks off from this segment. But now we’re back in full swing and ready to conquer more of the region of Hoenn! If you missed the last post, you know that we didn’t make much progress – we started on route 112 and ended up back on 111 by the time it was over! Due to time constraints in my personal life at the time, I wasn’t able to go into more detail about my adventures through the second half of route 111. But in the end, it all turned out to be pretty uninteresting stuff, with only one exception – a new encounter! We added to the team the ground type Pokemon Sandshrew, which I nicknamed Petruchio after Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.
So for those who might be new or who don’t want to revisit last week’s post, here’s where our team stands. Cookie the Illumise and Nancy the Minun have been carrying the team ever since Wattson’s gym. They were my two keepers after that battle – this Nuzlocke is a Restartlocke challenge where I lose most of my Pokemon after each gym, so those two are my only team members who have been around for more than a chapter or two. They were joined in chapter six by Tank the Numel and chapter seven by Britney the Koffing. Finally, in the time between I caught Petruchio the Sandshrew, who rounds out our team as the newest member.
We begin our tale today at the beginning of route 113, an area covered in volcanic ash. Now route 113 is an area that I have spent a lot of time in historically because of the glass master located here. He gives you a pouch which allows you to collect volcanic ash and he then fashions it into items. While many of these items are simply secret base decorations, some of them are magic flutes which clear some of the most annoying status conditions in the game: sleep, infatuation, and confusion. Flutes can be used again and again with no limits and so are very valuable as a “medicine” of sorts, particularly since most of these conditions can only be cured with specific berries or with a Full Heal. Because this is a challenge playthrough, I ignored the flutes this time around and focused exclusively on making progress.
My first opponent was a youngster whose first Pokemon was Trapinch, a ground type. Great, my team’s major weakness! What a great start! I made to switch in Britney to take advantage of her ground immunity – and couldn’t switch. One of the possible abilities for Trapinch is Arena Trap, which makes it impossible to escape unless the Pokemon meets certain conditions (I think flying types are immune? I’m not really sure). This meant that Petruchio was trapped in battle against a Pokemon four levels higher. I sighed and prepared myself to possibly lose my brand new Sandshrew.
Luckily, Trapinch’s main attacking move was Dig. This is a two-turn move that has one turn of prep before the attack hits, giving me a chance to get Petruchio to full health before taking a blow. It’s a good thing I had the opportunity – one Dig from Trapinch brought my Pokemon down to 20%. Petruchio got an attack off that did about 50% of Trapinch’s health, so one more turn of healing with lemonade allowed me to survive the fight and take out Trapinch. Youngster’s second Pokemon was Electrike, which I was easily able to take out by switching in Tank the Numel and unleashing a Bulldoze. One hit knock-out!
Now during this battle I realized just how little medicine I had left. Lemonade was my only healing item and I only had one left after my youngster battle. As a result, I had to backtrack all the way to Mauville along the various routes to refill my bag. I bought thirty healing items in total – 10 potions (20 HP), 10 fresh water (50 HP), and 10 lemonade (80 HP). This would give me a variety of healing items so I didn’t constantly have to use something that healed too much HP. Vending machine items are also a sound investment financially because they cost so much less than healing items purchased in a store.
Potion: $15 per point of health
Super Potion: $14 per point of health
Fresh Water: $4 per point of health
Soda Pop: $4.17 per point of health
Lemonade: $4.38 per point of health
Once I stocked up I headed back to route 113 to continue my journey. My next opponent leapt out of a pile of ashes to attack me by surprise – a ninja boy! This kid had a team full of Koffing, which worked out pretty okay for me. Tank and Petruchio both resist poison types, so I was able to switch-train between the two of them during this fight. Tank was really beginning to prove himself during these fights – perhaps it was time for me to believe in the power of Numel!
My next opponent on this route was a parasol lady named Madeline. Her only Pokemon was a Numel, which has historically been a big problem for me. After all, many of my Pokemon are weak to ground type attacks, and my main solution for ground types (Cookie) is weak to fire. However, this seemed like the right time for Britney to shine, so I switched out Petruchio and let her take the field. Madeline’s Numel then used Lava Plume – a move that I know to be a powerful fire attack – and I watched as Britney’s health plummeted towards nothing. The move left her alive, but it inflicted a burn that nearly finished her off. In total, she was reduced to one-eighth of her maximum health. One more turn of burn damage would end her life, let alone another Lava Plume.
I looked at my options. A ground-type move would definitely kill Tank or Nancy. A Lava Plume would definitely kill Britney or Petruchio, and there was a good chance it would kill Cookie. My only chance to inflict a substantial amount of damage to Numel was to get my own Numel, Tank, into the fray safely. But his health was low from a previous battle – I needed not only a free switch in where he didn’t take damage, but a turn where I could heal him for free as well. My heart sunk as I realized that I would have to make a sacrifice here, and that my only real option was Cookie.
I switched her in, hoping to see a ground move or hoping that Lava Plume did little damage to her. But ultimately I saw what I expected to see – Cookie took over 50% from one Lava Plume, giving me just enough time to heal Tank before the enemy Numel took Cookie’s life. With Tank at full health and now having an opportunity to switch in safely, I unleashed a Bulldoze attack that put the opposing Numel in the ground. Often when I lose a Pokemon I try to convey some message about what I could have done differently – in this battle, there’s not really much I could have changed. I did what I had to in order to keep the challenge going, and had I made a wrong decision here I could have lost the entire Restartlocke instead of just a single Pokemon.
Tank continued to carry the team through route 113, making the last couple of battles there quite simple for me. At the end of route 113 is a small town called Fallarbor. There’s not much here – mainly a store and a Pokemon Center, and the home of a scientist who has been kidnapped by Team Magma. My rival May met me here and told me about the kidnapped scientist, and I also met Lanette, the creator of Hoenn’s Pokemon computer storage system. She told me about her house on route 114 and then allowed me to bury Cookie in peace.
Lanette did remind me of an important point, though – a new route meant a new encounter! I quickly headed to 114 in order to meet my new team member. On the way I passed a couple of fishermen who looked like trainers – I saved my battles with them for when my new Pokemon joined and made a mental note to have Nancy ready for battle. I stepped into the tall grass of route 114 and encountered a Swablu. I didn’t have strong emotions one way or another about this one – realistically, I doubt Swablu will be staying on my team for any significant length of time, and the Pokemon is only really good when it evolves into Altaria. Still, no point in wasting a capture, so I paralyzed, weakened, and caught the Swablu and she joined my team with the nickname Luvbi, named for the nimby princess in Super Paper Mario.
At this point I also came to a realization – I had fallen behind enough in levels that I would either need to grind or to use the EXP Share while progressing in order to catch up. I had no desire to spend time grinding, so I decided to flip on the EXP share to help me level up a bit more quickly and catch up to where I needed to be. The two fishermen I met at the beginning of the route turned out to be total pushovers, but I will share a warning: Fisherman Nolan’s Gyarados has Dragon Rage, a move which always does 40 points of damage regardless of stats and typing. At this point in the game, a Pokemon at half health may not have a full 40 HP, so be sure your team is ready to take that Gyarados on lest you end up losing someone here.
My next opponents were a pair of twins named Tyra and Ivy, rocking a team of Azumarill and – ugh – freaking Roselia. I would need Tank to deal with Roselia but definitely couldn’t put him onto the field until Azumarill was taken care of. I used Nancy and Britney to take care of that and tried to whittle down Roselia as much as I could, but it wasn’t happening – her constant healing via Mega Drain kept her at nearly full health. Once Azumarill went down I switched in Tank, but I had a new problem – Lava Plume would hurt Britney in addition to Roselia, and we already knew from experience that Britney couldn’t handle that. I instead had to rely on Bulldoze, which would also hit Tank’s partner but missed Britney thanks to her Levitate ability. Team battles can be tough when all of your Pokemon’s attacks are area of effect!
A camper by the name of Shane also made things difficult for me, not in the quality of his fighting but the composition of his team. He had a Minun and a Volbeat, which of course reminded me quite a bit of my two oldest Pokemon on the team, Nancy and Cookie. Poor Cookie, fallen before her time. After the next gym, she would have gotten to retire in peace. Now Nancy will have to retire alone as the rest of the crew continues on to bigger things. The nice thing about defeating camper Shane was that it gave Petruchio the experience he needed to evolve – goodbye Sandshrew, hello Sandslash!
The rest of the trainers on route 114 were total jokes, particularly with Petruchio now fully evolved. I now have an alternative solution to my ground type problem. Britney’s immunity is valuable but her poison type attacks are ultimately resisted. Petruchio, on the other hand, does take damage from ground attacks, but he has high defense and can dish out as much harm as he endures. It’s not a perfect fix (a good grass type would be ideal) but it’ll do the trick for now!
After route 114 comes Meteor Falls, where Team Magma took the kidnapped scientist. Before getting involved in storyline shenanigans, I took the opportunity to get another capture. My encounter this time was a Zubat, everyone’s favorite Pokemon to hate. Like rats in a basement, Zubat are everywhere and encountering one is often a let down. Now don’t get me wrong, Crobat can be a decent Pokemon, but just like with Luvbi the Swablu, there’s very little chance of me having the time to really invest in this Pokemon. So Alucard the Zubat joined the time, but was relegated to the back of the class for the time being. It is interesting to note, though, that this is the first time since starting this Restartlocke challenge that I have had a full team of six Pokemon!
My final challenge of Meteor Falls was to face down the Team Magma admin Tabitha in a double battle. The catch? Instead of using two of my own Pokemon, I had to rely on my rival May to help me out. She led the charge with Slugma while I switched in Tank, which worked just fine for me – I could Lava Plume the opposition without worrying too much about hurting May’s Pokemon. That whole plan changed when the opponent’s Koffing used Self-Destruct, dealing huge damage to all the Pokemon on the field while taking itself out in the process. I had to focus on healing while May simply let her Pokemon be defeated, using her turn to attack rather than recover. Her second Pokemon was her starter, Grovyle, which she used to great effect to finish off Tabitha’s Numel and end the battle. Tank got some EXP without even having to work for it.
With Tabitha defeated and Meteor Falls completed, my next mission is to head to Mt. Chimney and then after that, take on the fourth gym. We’re finally making it through this phase of the game, which is easily the longest stretch without a gym battle (at least in the game’s first half). Next Monday we’ll find out if my team can survive a battle with Team Magma’s Maxie as well as gym leader Flannery. Thanks for reading, adventurers, and be rooting for me next week!