At the end of the last chapter, Block and his trusty Eevee Fuzz managed to earn their very first gym badge from the rock-hard Brock. We also learned the basics of grinding in a Pokemon Let’s Go Nuzlocke via the catch combo system, and had a lengthy discussion about how to take on the first gym with the worst possible combination of Pokemon. Today, Fuzz and Block will set out on a journey to reach Cerulean City, a path which will lead them through our most challenging area yet: Mt. Moon. First though, we’ve got some stuff to take care of in Pewter after finishing the gym battle.
Defeating Brock earns you the TM for Headbutt, and golly is this little thing useful. Nearly every Pokemon can learn Headbutt, and it’s a pretty decent move. 70 power, 100 accuracy, and a chance to flinch is good stuff this early in the game. It’s particularly effective on your normal types like Rattata, Pidgey, and Spearow, as their Same Type Attack Bonus (or STAB) increases the move’s power to 105. At the very least, Headbutt outclasses Tackle in every conceivable way, so go ahead and slap it on all of your Pokemon. Unless you’re doing an even harder Nuzlocke challenge than I am where you aren’t allowed to use TMs at all – in that case, I bow to your skill!
A little fella at the edge of town will let you know before you head east that your gym badge earns you the right to buy new items at the Pokemart. This is a good time to stock up on items before you head out of town, so take his advice and pop over to the building with the blue roof. With the first badge under your belt you’ll be able to access all of the basic medicines – antidotes, awakenings, paralyze heals, etc – as well as both Pokeballs and Great Balls. Now me, I like to stock up on five of every status healing medicine before I go anywhere, as well as ten potions. That can get pricey, and practically speaking you will not need burn heals or ice heals for the next segment of the game. However, during my run of Mt. Moon I definitely got poisoned and put to sleep, so you will absolutely want tools to deal with that.
A note on balls – I like the approach of selling all of my Pokeballs in order to purchase balls of a higher quality. This will likely leave you with a lower amount of balls overall, which could mean less catching. However, I think the payoff of having a better chance of catching all the Pokemon you find is worthwhile, and there are ways to replenish your stock if you end up broke with your Pokeball stock totally depleted. Most trainers give Pokeballs when defeated and quite a few coming up will give you Great Balls instead, so if you catch efficiently using the grinding techniques we’ve discussed before you likely will not have to worry about running out. I left the store with 20 Great Balls and was able to get all the way through Mt. Moon without an issue.
Once the shopping is done, it’s time to head over to route three. There are quite a few trainers in this area and they have a bigger variety of Pokemon than we have dealt with in the past – which is to say that they have something other than bug types. Their levels are 6-7, so if you trained up for Brock’s gym and have most of your team in the 10 range then you won’t have anything to worry about here. Just watch out for the possibility of getting poisoned by the two campers who each have a Nidoran in their party. Also, there’s a youngster here who is thoroughly obsessed with shorts – he may seem like a goofball but watch out for his Rattata. It knows Quick Attack, and if you get caught off guard by that move at low health then you might have a casualty while you’re laughing about how comfy shorts are. Just keep your health up if you take damage and you should be fine.
You may notice the guy up north after you enter route three who has a chat box with an ellipse over his head. That fellow is what’s called a Coach Trainer, and they are particularly powerful trainers that hang out on each route. Unlike other Pokemon trainers, they won’t just jump at you for no reason. Instead, they’ll only fight you if you agree to the battle. The reason for that is because they are tougher than the other folks you might fight, but the rewards for defeating them are greater too. As we pass coach trainers by, I will discuss whether or not they are worth fighting based on my experience in my run.
The route three coach trainer has one Pokemon, a level 10 Bulbasaur. This is quite a bit higher than the other trainers on the route and its grass typing might present a problem if you didn’t end up with a good flying type Pokemon. I was able to handle him pretty well with Cheesethief the Rattata using Headbutt to flinch Bulbasaur out. The financial reward for this fight is a nice $1100, plus the coach trainer gives you a revive. Since this is a Nuzlocke, revives are selling fodder and they net you a nice $1000 for each one. So this one battle gives you plenty of money to build your wallet back up after that shopping spree, and shouldn’t be too difficult unless you’ve had poor luck with captures – I’d say go for it.
Once you get to the grass on route three you’ll have a chance to encounter a new Pokemon. If you’ve already caught Rattata and Spearow on previous routes, the odds are very strong that you’ll end up with an Ekans here. There’s a teeny tiny chance that you’ll run into a Charmander while running around this route – but in all likelihood you’ll find that after first encountering something way more boring. In my case, that encounter was a Spearow since I missed it back on route twenty-two. Beaky the Spearow joined my crew with a nice neutral nature that doesn’t influence any of its stats in one direction or another. Now I personally prefer Spearow to Pidgey in the long-term since I’m not using mega evolutions, but in the short term Vincent is already pretty well-trained if I ever decide to use a flying type, so Beaky will hang out in the party but likely not see screen time for awhile.
Once you’ve gotten your route three capture and reached the eastmost part of the route, the path curves north and you end up on route four. You won’t get your route four capture yet, but there is a coach trainer here that you can fight. This guy is much tougher than the first coach trainer – his Meowth is level 13 and has Pay Day, a 50 power move that’s boosted to 75 on this very fast Pokemon. Watch your health and don’t be afraid to switch Pokemon fighting him and you’ll likely come out on top. The reward is $1300 and the Pay Day TM (plus whatever money Meowth dropped while using Pay Day) – the TM isn’t particularly worthwhile but the cash will be much appreciated.
At the end of route four by the entrance to Mt. Moon, there’s a Pokemon center where you can rest up before you delve into the upcoming challenges. This is where the aforementioned shady man lives, and he’s selling a Magikarp for $500. Now if you’re the kind of player who is accepting gift Pokemon during your run, huzzah! You just got a water type. If you are not accepting gift Pokemon, there’s really nothing else of note here. The time has come to charge headlong into Mt. Moon and see what challenges await us there.
You’ll be momentarily accosted by Jesse and James but will then be free to explore Mt. Moon to your heart’s content. Let’s take a moment to talk about the structure of the area. Mt. Moon consists of a large cavern that I’ll refer to as the “main floor” – if you want to just finish this area as quickly as possible, all you have to do is take the path east, north, then west to the third and final ladder and then follow that trail to the exit. However, there are a couple of other ladders which lead to areas that are essentially dead ends, but have some items you can pick up. As we come to those ladders, I’ll discuss them and you can decide for yourself whether or not you want to mess with them. Personally, I think the items are worth the trip.
As you travel through the cave you’ll encounter a number of Pokemon trainers whose levels vary from 7-10. What makes these trainers tougher than the ones you’ve encountered up to this point is that they have Pokemon of some types you haven’t encountered yet, or encountered only rarely. You’ll fight your first fighting type and your first psychic type in Mt. Moon, as well as encountering a couple of rock/ground trainers and even someone who has electric type Pokemon. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your team and use them to your advantage when you run into someone who has new types.
As far as capturing opportunities go, there are quite a few new Pokemon in this area. The rock types Geodude and Onix, the fairy type Clefairy, the poison/flying type Zubat, and the grass/bug type Paras all appear in this cave – er, mountain. I even ran into a Chansey during my time there, although the likelihood that you’ll see Chansey before anything else is quite low. You’re probably most likely to find a Geodude or Zubat, so pray for Geodude; while rock type won’t do much for you in the next gym, having a good ground type will do wonders in the third gym, plus give you extra defense against lots of the regular trainers you find wandering around the game world. In my case, I got exactly what I wanted – Grave the Geodude joined my party with a boring-but-serviceable neutral nature.
If you’re thinking about doing some grinding in this area and wondering what to chain, your best bet is probably Onix. Chansey gives incredible EXP but doesn’t spawn frequently – if your patience stretches further than mine then good for you, but chances are you won’t want to wait long enough to run into multiple Chansey. Onix is a bit difficult to catch but once you get a chain going, it only takes one good Onix (size bonus, first throw, catch combo, great throw) to get some impressive EXP. I got over 700 off of one Onix that sent my entire party up one level, with some of them getting two. If you want something a bit easier to catch than Onix, Clefairy has a higher base EXP than Zubat or Geodude and an easier catch rate than Onix or Chansey and so operates as a nice middle ground.
Let’s talk about the ladders, shall we? There are two dead-end pathways you’ll encounter on your way through Mt. Moon. The first leads to an area where you’ll find a rare candy behind a team rocket trainer – beat the dude up and that’s a free level up for any Pokemon in your party! I like to save rare candies for a future occasion, but you can burn it now if you want. Once you get up the ladder, head to the northwestern part of the main cavern and check the center of the crater there – you’ll find a stardust, an item with a decent selling price. Speaking of money, when you reach the second ladder in the main cavern you can follow that down to an area where there’s a nugget on a platform. If you check the center of the crater in front of the platform, you’ll find a moon stone, an item necessary for evolving Pokemon like Nidorino/Nidorina, Clefairy, and Jigglypuff.
Once you’ve explored the cavern and made it to the third ladder, the path will take you to a super nerd guarding a pair of fossils. This is the electric trainer I alluded to earlier, and one of his Pokemon is Magnemite, a steel and electric type. This thing will be tough for you to wear down with pretty much any Pokemon in your party due to that steel typing – consider lowering its defenses or hitting it with sleep powder if you have it to make things a little easier. I got decent mileage out of having Cheesethief use Super Fang to cut it down to half health immediately; once that was done, Grave was able to resist anything Magnemite could throw at him and slowly chip the thing down with Headbutt. If you’re accepting event Pokemon or gift Pokemon during your run, you might consider giving some thought to whether you want the Dome fossil or the Helix fossil – in my case, I just grabbed one and headed for the “boss battle” of Mt. Moon.
The boss fight in Mt. Moon is the pair of bumbling-but-lovable goofballs Jesse and James. They come at you with their signature Koffing and Ekans combo, both at level 12. You’re still not facing anything tougher than the previous gym leader, but the big difference here is that you’re fighting a double battle. This means that you need to have two Pokemon ready to hang in there against this pair of poisonous pests. If you caught a Clefairy on Mt. Moon, keep it away from this battle – poison puts fairy types in the ground real fast.
Honestly at level 12 neither of these Pokemon has anything too dangerous to your team. Ekans can hit both of your Pokemon with Acid at once, but the damage is split between them so the chances of you taking much of anything from that are slim. Bite can be problematic if Ekans is faster than one of your Pokemon – it can be used to flinch you out and prevent you from getting turns. Koffing is less dangerous than Ekans at this point; its attacks are weaker and less accurate, but there is some danger of getting poisoned by Koffing. The worst strategy for this fight would be to target down Koffing first and then deal with Ekans later – Koffing has a lot more defense and Ekans can potentially cause you to lose attacks through flinching, so that’s the path of greatest resistance. Instead, take out Ekans first and then you can take your time with the bulkier Koffing.
I came out of this fight no worse for wear, and after it was over took my first steps onto the Cerulean City side of route four. This is where I’ll wrap up for today’s chapter – next time I anticipate that we’ll be able to get a couple of new encounters and battle the Cerulean City gym. For now, Fuzz and Block will take a much-needed rest at the exit of Mt. Moon. Thanks for reading, adventurers, and be sure to come back next week for the next chapter in Operation Fuzzblock!