A pair of trainers stands on a grassy pathway beside a small lake. One trainer, a young boy, watches in defeated resignation as his Lileep desperately spews acid towards his opponent’s Pokemon. The other trainer, a young girl, cheers her Breloom on as it charges – fist outward – towards the Lileep. Breloom’s movements are in slow motion as it breaks through the wall of violet slime and gets closer and closer towards Lileep. Just before the blow lands, we see the young boy’s face grimace.
Yup, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation. Well to understand that, we have to go back to the very end of the last chapter. Having just defeated Flannery at the Lavaridge Gym, my team was now down to three members: Petruchio the Sandslash, Tank the Numel, and Luvbi the Swablu. My mission was simple: get a capture at Jagged Pass, clear the desert on Route 111, and return to Petalburg City in order to face my father, Norman, the fifth gym leader. I was a bit nervous because my team wasn’t the ideal matchup against Norman, but I felt like Petruchio could probably handle things with his solid defense and attack power. First though, I needed to bolster my team and get a little bit of training in.
To get to the top of Jagged Pass, I jumped down the cliffs from Lavaridge onto Route 112 and then took the cable car back to the top of Mt. Chimney. From there, I was able to head south down the pass. I began looking for my next encounter and had to go through a couple of repeats first. After a Numel or two, I finally met a Pokemon I was pretty excited to encounter – a Machop. This fighting type Pokemon would be perfect for taking on Norman! I managed to capture him despite no longer having a status inflicting move, and I named him Flex because I am totally unoriginal when it comes to nicknames.
With Flex now on the team, he became my training priority. I needed to get him up ten levels to be even with Norman’s ace Pokemon, so I quickly put Flex at the front of the party for switch-training purposes. It took some moving around to find a part of the Jagged Pass that had a trainer on it – there are lots of different paths, and the only way to fully explore the pass is to come through multiple times using a different bike each time. A number of the pass’s early ledges require the Acro Bike – since I was using the Mach Bike, I had to jump down a bit before I was able to really explore and find a trainer to fight.
My first opponent was Expert Shelby, an elderly woman who specialized in Fighting type Pokemon. Her first Pokemon was Meditite, a Pokemon I’ve faced in battle plenty of times before. Petruchio was able to handle this fight somewhat easily, although he did take a decent amount of damage from Meditite’s first attack. I switched Flex back in for some switch-training as Shelby released her second and final Pokemon, a Hariyama. I switched in Petruchio to fight it and spent a turn healing him to full HP. After I used a potion, Hariyama used Belly Drum to cut its HP in half in exchange for maximizing its attack power.
For those less familiar with Pokemon rules, this means it was time for me to go into panic mode. Belly Drum increases attack power by six stages, effectively multiplying the attack stat by 4. Against a level 26 Hariyama, none of my Pokemon had a defense stat high enough to survive any move from this thing. I needed to defeat Hariyama NOW or I ran the risk of getting my entire team swept. My only hope was that Petruchio could deal 50% of Hariyama’s HP with a single Bulldoze. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case – he only managed 25%, and with a single powerful blow Hariyama brought Petruchio from 100% HP down to 0. I brought out Tank next, and luckily for me a Lava Plume was able to finish Hariyama before any more damage was done. The moral of this story? Don’t waste time during battle – every turn is an opportunity for your opponent to use a move that could drastically change the game.
With Petruchio gone, my only hope for defeating Norman was now Flex the Machop. Tank would have to work overtime defeating my opponents until Flex was strong enough to hold his own. Luckily, my other opponents on Jagged Pass were easy enough to face – Gulpin, Skitty, Jigglypuff, Gloom, Swablu all fell before Tank’s power. Unfortunately, none of them were worth very much experience at all, and Flex was leveling up quite slowly.
With Jagged Pass completed, I needed to head to Route 111 to try and get some training there. Suddenly, it occurred to me – the desert has two fossils that I can choose from! This would give me another “encounter,” allowing me to build up my team a little more than I expected between Flannery and Norman. With that encouragement now foremost in my mind, I made my way immediately to the Route 111 desert, now accessible thanks to the Go-Goggles given to me by May after defeating Flannery.
The first trainer I encountered on Route 111 was a camper named Cliff. He only had a single Pokemon, a level 26 Sandslash, but it posed a serious threat to my team. One strong ground-type move would put Tank in the ground, and with Flex and Luvbi both a few levels below Sandslash, they’d have a hard time going toe-to-toe with it. Luckily it seemed that Sandslash’s main ground-type move was Dig. Dig takes two turns to use, which allowed me to switch in Luvbi whenever it attacked in order to avoid damage completely – flying is immune to ground, after all.
Switching between Luvbi and Tank, I worked to slowly whittle down the Sandslash. Its other attacks seemed to be Fury Swipes and Fury Cutter. The former was a move that hit two to five times, and with Sandslash’s high attack power it was pretty threatening, dealing 7-8 damage with each individual hit against any of my Pokemon. Fury Cutter, as a bug type move, was resisted by my entire team, so it didn’t make me too nervous. I figured the fourth move was a dangerous ground type move like Magnitude, so I kept hoping he wouldn’t use it. I tried hitting him with a Lava Plume from Tank, which did decent damage but unfortunately didn’t leave a burn. Then, Sandslash hit me with Sand Tomb.
Sand Tomb is not a particularly powerful ground move. Its base power is only 35 (which puts it at maybe 52-ish with STAB). Even at super effective power, that’s only a power around 100, and Sandslash is not a Pokemon that has a particularly high special attack stat. I had no reason to fear that this move would pose any serious threat to my team. So imagine my surprise when Tank was brought down from over 50% HP to 0! I knew Tank was squishy when it came to physical attacks, but this was the point when I realized that Numel is not a Pokemon I ever want to use again. How ironic that the Pokemon I named Tank ended up being the most vulnerable member of my team.
I figured the game was over at this point, but I kept fighting. Flex and Luvbi switched back and forth, narrowly avoiding Digs and dealing a bit of damage at a time until I finally was able to chip Sandslash down to zero HP. It took a lot of healing, though, exhausting my entire supply of Fresh Water and Lemonade. With no healing left, I put on a Super Repel, avoided any more trainers, and simply made my way to the location of the fossils. I chose the Root fossil (as I have always chosen the Claw fossil in the past) and then made my way to Rustburo City to get the fossil transformed into a Pokemon. Lileep, the grass/rock Pokemon, joined my team, and I named it Billie Joe after the lead singer of Green Day (get it? Grass Rock? Ahahahahahahahaha – please don’t leave).
With Lileep now on my team, I was back up to three Pokemon like at the beginning of the episode. The difference? Instead of being levels 28, 28, and 21, they were levels 23, 23, and 20. I had a long way to go before I’d be ready to face Norman now. The time had come once again for a sweaty workout montage! As I’ve discussed before, one of the best ways to grind in this game is to re-battle trainers on the various routes you’ve already explored. It allows you to gain more EXP than wild encounters and also nets you extra money. I headed south from Rustburo City and started a battle with a little lass name Haley. Last time I fought her she had a Lotad and a Shroomish – this time, her Pokemon would be a bit tougher than our first encounter.
Lotad had evolved into Lombre, who I decided to face with Luvbi since she has type advantage. Unfortunately she didn’t actually have a flying type move, so I had to very slowly chip away at Lombre’s health with Round. Meanwhile, Lombre was very slowly chipping away at Luvbi’s health as well. She was down to about 50% by the time she defeated Lombre, so when it came time to face Haley’s Breloom I decided to switch in Flex. I hit Breloom with a Low Sweep to lower its speed and deal some damage, but it was prepared for me – it used Counter to deal twice my damage back to me. Flex was down below half health while Breloom still had a lot of juice left. In that moment, I realized two things:
I had forgotten to buy medicine, and I was going to lose the Locke.
Breloom used Mach Punch to make up for the lack of speed after Low Sweep, putting Flex into the ground with a single blow. Billie Joe was weak to fighting and Luvbi was at half HP – I didn’t stand a chance of winning this match. I sent out Luvbi first and made to attack with Disarming Voice, a fairy-type move that would be supereffective against Breloom. It didn’t matter. A single Mach Punch took Luvbi down. I was now left with only Billie Joe, a brand new Pokemon weak to Breloom’s best attack that was five levels lower than my opponent. Haley teased me a little bit by using Feint on me first, giving Billie Joe the opportunity to pop off one Acid attack. I hoped against hope that it could do enough damage to finish Breloom, but it didn’t do the job. The next turn, Breloom used Mach Punch one last time and dealt the finishing blow to Billie Joe.
So there you have it, adventurers, the end of my Restartlocke journey! This chapter is a great example of how NOT to win a Restartlocke challenge, as I made a lot of mistakes. Honestly, once I lost Petruchio I started playing the game on tilt, not making my moves as carefully and not paying attention to my resources. I was unwilling to bite the bullet and spend time grinding levels on my Pokemon against slow, safe opposition, instead fighting risky battles in hopes of big EXP in short bursts. I didn’t take the time to place better TMs on my Pokemon so that they had good moves for the situation (a flying type move on Luvbi could have saved me serious trouble, for example). And the big mistake was not making sure I had the healing items I needed – had I been able to keep Flex healthy in the battle against Breloom, he might have been able to slowly whittle it down and win the fight. There’s also something to be said here for the riskiness of switch-training; it’s productive for giving EXP to your weaker Pokemon, but it gives your opponent free attacks against you that could be used to make a game-changing move. It’s all risk versus reward, and in this run I took too many dangerous risks and the rewards didn’t pan out as I intended.
The Restartlocke challenge is one of the most difficult runs I have ever done, and this time a combination of bad luck and careless decisions brought it to an early end. I think in the next couple of weeks I’ll do some more detailed articles about my opinions and suggestions for doing your own Restartlocke, speaking in more general terms rather than focusing on this Restartlocke specifically. For those who have been reading since the beginning, thank you so much for sticking with me through this challenge – this is the first long series I have ever successfully completed on Adventure Rules (that wasn’t a community event, anyway), so even though it ended in a loss I’m proud that I managed to stick through the whole thing. Perhaps in the future I’ll do more challenge run walkthroughs in this manner, but with Blogger Blitz coming up in a couple months I’ll probably take a break from this type of article until after that’s over. Thanks for reading, adventurers, and despite my loss I hope this series inspired you to take up a Pokemon challenge of your own!