After a not-so-harrowing journey through Mt. Moon, Block and his trusty Eevee Fuzz find themselves on route four, just west of Cerulean City. It is here that the second gym awaits them, but there are plenty of shenanigans to engage in before making it to the battle against Misty. After all, in the last chapter we didn’t get an opportunity to meet a new Pokemon partner on route four, so the first thing we need to do is look for an opportunity to capture something new to join the team.
I want to expand a bit on the capturing rules I described two episodes ago when exploring Viridian Forest after a discussion in the comments with Pinkie over at Pinkie’s Pokemon. Pinkie pointed out that special captures such as the starter Pokemon in Viridian Forest or on route three only spawn during a capture chain, meaning you would have already had to capture some Pokemon in order to get them to appear. I did some research on combo chains after our talk and sure enough, Pinkie is right – some Pokemon only appear when you have a catch combo going. However, there’s a trick you can use to still have a chance at getting these Pokemon as your first encounter! If you build up a catch combo on a previous route and then enter the new route, the combo chain is still active and therefore all the benefits are active, too. This means that anytime you are about to approach a new route, it might be a good idea to build up a catch combo on a route you’ve cleared already in order to increase your likelihood of a rare encounter. Thanks for the tip, Pinkie!
Now I didn’t have a catch combo going to give me anything particularly unusual on route four, but that’s alright because what did appear is something I was quite happy to capture: a Psyduck. I had no water types on my team and that’s a problem I wanted to rectify. I only had three great balls left after Mt. Moon, but that was two more than I needed to put this ugly duckling on my team. I noticed my new buddy was female and thought immediately of the journalist in the Detective Pikachu movie. A quick Google search reminded me that her name was Lucy, so I gave Psyduck the nickname Lucy and immediately added her to the party to start gaining EXP.
Capturing Lucy gave my team just enough experience for something else exciting to happen: Vincent, my rarely-used Pidgey, hit level 18 and evolved into Pidgeotto! Vincent sat in the back for most of the Nuzlocke up to this point, but it certainly doesn’t hurt anybody to have a Pidgeotto hanging around just in case one of those pesky fighting types shows up, not to mention tough grass types. With Vincent’s stat bonuses from evolution, he would now be more effective as a normal type middle-ground play than Cheesethief for awhile.
Other possible encounters on this route include Rattata and Spearow if you don’t have any of them yet, as well as Ekans if you missed that on route three. The only other truly notable thing about route for is that just outside of Cerulean City, at the southeastern part of the route, there’s a bush concealing an item that when investigated is revealed to be three Great Balls. Free balls is always a good deal, so you definitely want to scoop those up just before you walk into town.
Cerulean City has three locations of note outside of the gym, the Pokemon Center, and the Mart. There’s a house in the southwest with a number of bicycles outside. If you go in and investigate all of the different types of bicycles, the guy who lives there will give you 5 heart scales in exchange for listening to him ramble. In the house to the left of the Pokemon Center, you can find a woman who is giving away a gift Pokemon if you’ve captured a certain number of Pokemon. That gift Pokemon is a Bulbasaur. Now I’m not accepting gift Pokemon in my run, but if you are doing an easier Nuzlocke this is a grass type you certainly do not want to miss. Finally, there’s a house in the northwest which has an open door in the back. Go out the back door and head east to reach an item on the ground that turns out to be a rare candy. Use it in a pinch to gain a much-needed level – or burn it now on your strongest Pokemon, I’m not your mom.
Before you can battle the gym you’re going to need to run an errand to the north of the city. Before you head that way, though, you should heal up at the Pokemon Center and restock your medicine and balls at the Mart. I’d also recommend putting a rock or electric type at the front of your party if you have access to one. If you’re wondering why in the world you’d want to do that, the answer is easy: you’re about to get jumped by your rival as soon as you try to cross Nugget Bridge.
Tackle always leads with a Pidgey, so hopefully you put that rock type in front like I suggested. Of course, if you’re playing in Set battle mode like I am, this will be the first time where that really starts to cause you to think about your strategy. Tackle also has an Oddish in his party now, which of course is four times effective against Pokemon like Geodude or Onix. This forced me to switch out Grave, and I tried to have Cheesethief come in and handle things, but his lack of an evolution is really starting to show when it comes to his horrid defenses and HP. Instead, I brought in Vincent and ended up having to switch to Grave again when Tackle’s Pikachu came out. Pikachu is annoying to fight because he might spam Double Team to raise his evasion, but against a rock-ground Pokemon he doesn’t have any dangerous attacks to bring to bear. Note that the Pidgey and Oddish are level 12 and Pikachu is level 13 – still very similar to the tougher trainers we faced in the last chapter.
Once Tackle was taken care of I started across the Nugget Bridge. This is an iconic location in Kanto – fight five trainers along the length of the bridge and if you win, you get a nugget. That’s $5000 plus what all you make off of the trainers, so it’s a lucrative deal if you can win the matches. And trust me, you can – the levels here vary from 9-11, so if you did any degree of grinding back in Mt. Moon you should be able to deal with these trainers without much trouble at all. The final trainer who gives you the nugget is a disguised Team Rocket member, but other than having two Pokemon instead of one he’s no tougher than the other enemies here. You’ll notice up north a dude just standing around with a Charmander – that little fella is another gift Pokemon, if you’re doing a run where they are accepted.
The area north and west of Nugget Bridge is known as route twenty-four, and that means another capture opportunity. If you get a capture chain going before heading to this area, you increase your odds of possibly capturing a Squirtle as the special encounter. Otherwise, there are two Pokemon here that we haven’t seen yet on other routes: Venonat and Meowth. You can also find Bellsprout, Psyduck, and Pidgey if you never ended up catching those on earlier routes. In my case I ran into a Venonat, which I decided to name Mothball since it is a ball that evolves into a moth. That’s right, I’m clever.
Once you’ve explored the small path to the west of Nugget Bridge, you have no choice but to walk back to the bridge and then head east. Now you’ll notice that once you start down this path, the text for route twenty-five pops up on the screen. Wait, what? I have no idea why route twenty-four is just a teeny tiny strip of grass with a couple mothballs in it, but that means that we get yet another encounter in this area past the bridge – three in one chapter! Although route twenty-five is technically a different route, it has the exact same capture options as route twenty-four which means you get a second chance at Squirtle, Venonat, and Meowth, as well as a third shot at Psyduck and a millionth shot at Bellsprout or Pidgey. In my case I caught a Meowth, which I named Morgana after Persona 5 even though technically that character is a boy. But hey, Morgana can be a lady’s name too, yeah?
Once you’ve got your capture for this route you can start working your way through the trainers. Be aware that the first couple of trainers you fight will present quite a spike in difficulty from the ones you’ve been facing up to this point. The hiker near the tall grass has a level 14 Onix, and the bird keeper across from him has a level 15 Pidgeotto. My levels were high enough to handle these fights, and there’s an advantage to having to face stronger enemies: more EXP. Once I finished up with these two bozos I got my third evolution of the Nuzlocke, and this one would prove invaluable for the upcoming fight against Misty.
There are a few other trainer battles that I want to talk about on this route. The second hiker has a Geodude at a high enough level to learn Stealth Rock – if it sets up Stealth Rock, you’re going to want to be careful switching. His second Pokemon is a Machop, but bringing in a flying type with rocks up will cost you a full quarter of your health. There’s a picnicker soon after who has a Goldeen – if you’re using a grass type to deal with it, make sure your health is high. Goldeen runs Peck and though it is a weak flying move, if it catches you off guard it could be the cause of a frustrating Pokemon loss. Finally, the picnicker’s camper boyfriend is blocking the trail to the north of him – if you walk just at the edge of his line of sight, he’ll move away from that trail so that after the battle you can go and get the item behind him: the TM for Thunder Wave. A high accuracy paralysis move is great for reducing the speed on dangerous opponents and potentially taking turns away from them, so that’s a good TM to have on you.
The final trainer on route twenty-five is the coach trainer, and she has one level 16 Machop to contend with. This Machop is frustrating because of the TM that this coach trainer specializes in: Seismic Toss. Seismic Toss is a set damage move that always does damage equal to the level of the Pokemon using it, meaning Machop gets a guaranteed 16 damage per attack. That’s quite a bit of damage at this level range, so be careful if you are switching in a Pokemon that isn’t at full HP – two hits might very well do you in, and three almost definitely will. Of course, winning the match gets Seismic Toss in your hands, and that can be an effective weapon against foes who are well-defended against your attacks.
At this point there’s some story nonsense with Bill, and afterward you can head south and follow the path west to skip past all the trainers and grass and take a shortcut back to Cerulean City. I took a moment to heal up and then headed straight for the gym. Every gym has a prerequisite to meet and for Misty, you need to have a Pokemon that is at least level 15 or higher. Don’t let that fool you – no one at Misty’s gym has a Pokemon under 16, and Misty’s ace is level 19. Misty is what I would consider to be the first true challenge of the game based on my experience in this run; if you come in unprepared, it’s going to be a problem.
Misty has three trainers in her gym. One is unavoidable but two can be worked around if you want to skip them. The tricky thing about Misty’s gym is that everyone has a solution for grass types. The first trainer has a Goldeen with Peck, the second a Shellder with Ice Shard, and the third a Seel with Ice Shard. None of them hit too hard on their own, but if you forgot to heal when you came in or don’t heal between matches after taking damage they could put you in a difficult position. If you managed to capture a Pikachu in Viridian Forest, that’s probably your best option for taking on this gym. Once you push past the trainers, Misty herself is your final challenge.
Misty has two Pokemon, a level 18 Psyduck and a level 19 Starmie. If you’re using Bulbasaur/Ivysaur or Bellsprout/Weepinbell, you’re going to want to watch out for the Confusion attack on the Psyduck. I personally didn’t have a problem wiping Psyduck out, but if you are a bit lower leveled than me (Thorn was level 22 for this fight) or have worse stats, then it’s something to keep in mind. Starmie is a lot more problematic thanks to this annoying move called Scald. Scald is a powerful water move – 80 base power with nearly a 1 in 3 chance to inflict a burn on the target. Getting burned doesn’t just cause you to take damage over time; it seriously impairs your attack power. In my situation, Thorn could only deplete about 25-30% of Starmie’s health with Vine Whip because of the burn, but trying to heal the burn was worthless because Misty just Kept. Spamming. Scald. Instead I had to focus on Thorn’s health and try to whittle Starmie down slowly. It’s also worth noting that Starmie knows Psywave, which is an attack that deals a random amount of damage and could be devastating on a high roll. Luckily in my case, Thorn did what Thorn always does: he nailed a critical hit when it mattered the most, and I was able to walk away with a Cascade Badge.
That brings us to the end of the fourth chapter of the Fuzzblock initiative! This was most certainly the most action-packed chapter so far with three captures, two evolutions, a rival battle, and a gym battle. Next time we’ll start working our way towards Vermillion City to board the SS Anne. Fortunately so far I’ve had a lucky run where lots of the encounters and battles have gone my way, but Misty has shown that things are finally beginning to ramp up. Will Fuzz and Block continue to find success in their challenge, or will the Nuzlocke finally begin to take its toll? Find out in the next chapter!