Ah, just look at the sky. The sun is shining, the Pidgey are chirping, and we are finally not on the inside of a freaking cave. Fuzz and Block are positioned at the Rock Tunnel exit on the second half of route ten, just to the north of Lavender Town. This is an exciting portion of the game with lots of interesting challenges coming up in the near future. Some of those challenges I knew were coming – others I forgot about. Either way, there’s lots of action to enjoy so it’s time to jump in.
We already got a route ten capture in the last chapter and even if we didn’t, there’s no grass on this part of the route. Instead there are four trainers: a hiker, a Pokemaniac, a picnicker, and a camper. The hiker and Pokemaniac on the west side have rock Pokemon and fire Pokemon respectively, so if you have a ground or water type this is a great opportunity for them to get some practice. I had Lucy step up to the plate here and Scald some folks, but her lack of defense became evident rather quickly – I’ll have to be careful switching her in to attacks that deal neutral damage. The only trainer on this route I wanted to specifically talk about is the picnicker. She runs Light Screen on her Pikachu, a move which reduces the damage from special attacks for five turns regardless of whether or not Pikachu is on the field. If you took a lot of damage in Rock Tunnel and are thinking you’ll be dealing the finishing blow, but don’t, you could be caught by surprise at low health. It’s something to be wary of, at any rate.
Once you toast the route ten trainers you arrive in Lavender Town. This is the location of the infamously creepy Pokemon Tower, but there’s also a Pokemon Center and a Mart here so you can finally heal up and restock after Rock Tunnel. After my narrow victory against Primeape in the last chapter I decided to pick up an X Defense and X Special Defense as a safety measure, in addition to restocking my potion supply as well as my great balls. Once I was ready to hit the road again, I made my way into Pokemon Tower. After picking up a nice formal outfit from the little old lady in the lobby, I ran upstairs to find my favorite person in the world.
Honestly I completely forgot that you have a rival battle at this point, so Tackle really caught me by surprise here. So much, in fact, that I hadn’t placed Grave the Graveler in the lead of my party as a defensive measure against Pidgeotto. Tackle’s Pokemon here are level 27 and 28, so if your Pokemon are around 30 after your grinding then you shouldn’t have too much trouble with him. Selkie the Vulpix got a nice kill here with a critical hit Flamethrower than then left a burn on Tackle’s Gloom, the burn damaging putting the little critter down by the end of the turn. The one good thing that came out of this battle is that Lucy finally reached her full potential and evolved!
Once Block defeated Tackle there actually wasn’t much left for me to do at Pokemon Tower – in order to progress further you need an item called the Silph Scope to see ghosts for what they truly are. When you go back outside and head west, you’ll see Team Rocket having a stupidly loud conversation about their very secret base in Celadon City. Gosh, I wonder where you should go next? Following Team Rocket’s path to the west leads to route eight, an area which can cause you some seriously problems during your run if you aren’t careful.
This route has not one, not even two, but THREE trainers who rely heavily on RNG during battle. The two gamblers here (pictured previously in chapter five) rely exclusively on one-hit-kill moves like Sheer Cold or Horn Drill. Their Pokemon are higher leveled than other trainers on the route and therefore harder to take out in one hit, while their attacks will cost you a Pokemon if they hit. There’s also a beauty at the beginning of the route who runs Metronome on her Clefairy. Metronome rolls a random attack and uses it, meaning that there’s no way to know whether or not your Pokemon will be hit with a super effective attack. If you don’t care for RNG challenges in your Nuzlocke runs, then you definitely want to avoid at least the two gamblers, and maybe the beauty as well.
There’s a grassy area inside the fence on the middle of the route where you can capture Pokemon, and there’s a decent variety here depending on what you’ve caught previously. As with many routes, you have Rattata/Raticate as well as Pidgey/Pidgeotto running around. Jigglypuff and Vulpix/Ninetales also run wild here, as well as the Psychic Pokemon Abra and its evolution Kadabra. Abra was the only thing I hadn’t caught yet, so as soon as one popped up I jogged over and caught it. I nicknamed the Abra “Runnypants” as is my long-standing tradition. Don’t worry, it’s not as gross as it sounds – I first nicknamed an Abra Runnypants because a previous Abra had used teleport to run away from me. My wife later pointed out that it sounds like the nickname had a very different origin, but at that point it was too late. Every Abra I ever catch is now named Runnypants, even in Let’s Go where teleporting away is no longer a factor to worry about when catching it.
Now avoiding the RNG trainers on this route doesn’t mean that you’re safe from danger. While you would think that gym leaders and your rival would be the more challenging battles in the game, I’ve found so far that some of the random trainers are a lot more likely to give me a run for my money. The ace trainer in the grass on route eight, for example, had a level 28 Kadabra that very nearly put Selkie the Vulpix in the ground. Kadabra’s Psybeam did a solid 60% in damage and also inflicted confusion, and naturally Selkie felt it would be ideal to hit herself. With only a sliver of health left, I replaced her with Sonny the Hypno thinking that Kadabra wouldn’t have any moves to threaten it. I was right – Kadabra resorted to using Flash to lower Sonny’s accuracy but didn’t even try to whittle him down with Psybeams. The accuracy reduction from the flashes came into play against the trainer’s next Pokemon, a formidable Machoke. Sonny couldn’t land any Psybeams due to Flash, allowing Machoke to bash him with Rock Slides. This forced me to switch Sonny out for Thorn, who finally managed to cut down Machoke after a series of Razor Leaf attacks.
After healing up from that battle, I grabbed the item lying in the grass and was pleased to learn that it was a fire stone. Selkie, my Vulpix, needed a fire stone to evolve, and I was planning to purchase one in Celadon before finding one on the route. When evolving Pokemon who use evolutionary stones, you generally want to have a pretty good idea that they’ve learned all of their moves. Many Pokemon who evolve through stones stop learning moves afterward, though this isn’t true for all of them. At any rate, Selkie’s last significant move, Fire Blast, had already been learned, so I decided to hand her the fire stone right away and have Ninetales join my team.
On the west side of route eight is an underground path that leads to route seven on the other side of Saffron City. Route seven is a very small route featuring only two trainers to fight, but they are some seriously dangerous trainers. There’s also a small grassy area where you can capture another Pokemon, but route seven has the exact same capture pool as route eight. There’s a very good chance that by this point, you’ll have everything you can catch in the area except for the special capture that you can only get when you perform a catch combo. I decided to opt out of using the catch combo here and just focused on the trainer battles.
The first trainer on route seven is an ace trainer with three Pokemon: a Seel and Raichu at level 28 and a Dugtrio at level 29. We’ve fought Raichu many times throughout this run and know what threats it poses, so let’s speak for a minute on Seel and Dugtrio. Seel is a water and ice type, which is a very difficult type to switch in to safely. Switching into a grass type to capitalize on the water-typing will put you in danger of a super effective ice attack. Fire beats ice but water resists fire and is super effective against it. Types like electric and fighting may have an advantage against one of the types, but still takes neutral damage from Seel’s attacks. It’s going to be difficult to find a safe switch-in for Seel, so make sure you have a Pokemon with good special defense and full health. Then there’s Dugtrio. Dugtrio is dangerous because that sucker already knows Earthquake, a ground move with 100 power and accuracy (150 power in the hands of a ground type). That’s a ton of hitting power even against a neutral target, and my newly-evolved Lucy had a hard time enduring Dugtrio’s attacks. A flying type might be a good option here to avoid Earthquake entirely, even if Dugtrio isn’t actually weak to flying.
The second trainer on this route is a coach trainer with two Pokemon: a level 29 Farfetch’d and a level 30 Wigglytuff. Farfetch’d is an easy Pokemon to underestimate – it’s a normal/flying type that doesn’t evolve and isn’t particularly popular even in competitive. But this particular Farfetch’d can catch you off guard if you approach it in too traditional of a manner. The natural counter to flying types is to bring in a rock type, so Pokemon like Geodude/Graveler, Rhyhorn, or Onix make a lot of sense here. The thing is, Farfetch’d is running Razor Leaf, a high-crit grass type move that does 4x damage to Pokemon that are rock/ground type. Fortunately for me, Grave the Graveler was at full health when Farfetch’d nailed him with a Razor Leaf, but if I had been hurt at all then my most defensive Pokemon would be heading back to Pokemon Tower sooner than I would have liked. Also note that both the Farfetch’d and the Wigglytuff run the move Facade, which doubles in power when the Pokemon has a status. If you try to burn, paralyze, or poison either of these Pokemon to give yourself an edge, even if you do it on accident, it will just make them more dangerous to you.
After defeating the route seven trainers, you can head west into Celadon City. Now there are two main events we need to handle here: the Team Rocket hideout at the game corner as well as the gym battle against Erika. From the perspective of the levels your opponents’ Pokemon have reached, the Game Corner is actually the harder of these two endeavors. With that in mind, and with this chapter close to the closing paragraphs, I decided to go ahead and take on Erika with the intent of exploring the Game Corner and the rest of Celadon in the next chapter. So let’s talk about Celadon Gym.
Remember what I said about random trainers often being more dangerous than “boss” trainers? Yeah, this gym probably won’t give you much trouble at all if you have a good fire type Pokemon. I rotated between Vincent the Pidgeotto and my newly-evolved Selkie, but Vincent’s participation was really not necessary. Gym trainers in Celadon vary in level from 28-32, with 29 being the most common level you’ll have to face. The main attacks you are going to want to watch out for here are Sleep Powder – which puts your Pokemon to sleep – and Razor Leaf, which has a high critical hit ratio. Quite a few of the trainers here are missable if you hug the walls of the gym, but unless you don’t have a Pokemon with type advantage there’s no reason to miss out on the easy experience.
Erika herself is no more dangerous than any of the trainers in her gym. She has a level 33 Tangela and Weepinbell and a level 34 Vileplume. Selkie was able to defeat both the level 33 Pokemon in one hit (and she’s only level 35, so the overleveling I did at Rock Tunnel has worn off at this point in the game). Vileplume got one turn to make a move and it used Mega Drain to try to reclaim some health, but Selkie’s type advantage and special defense worked together to reduce the damage to almost nothing. It took mere moments to put Erika down, making her perhaps the easiest opponent I’d faced during this play session.
Block now has four gym badges under his belt, meaning he’s halfway to the Pokemon League! There are still plenty of obstacles in his way, though, not the least of which are the Game Corner and Pokemon Tower. We’ll try to handle both of those in the next chapter, though depending on how much time we spend on each it is possible that we may have to separate them. Either way, I hope you enjoyed today’s chapter of the Nuzlocke run and that the guidance within it is helpful for those of you who have decided to play along. We’ll be back next Wednesday for more Fuzz and Block – until then, good luck catching them all, adventurers!