With Team Rocket buried firmly underneath the ruins of the Game Corner and Erica’s badge in hand, it’s time for Fuzz and Block to finally leave Celadon City and make their way back to Lavender Town, the location of the Pokemon Tower. After defeating Giovanni in the last chapter, we obtained the item we needed to progress the story in the Tower and so Lavender Town is the next logical destination. And now it’s even easier to get there than ever: when you exit the Game Corner after bringing down the Rocket hideout, you’ll get access to the Sky Dash technique in order to instantly fly to any town you’ve visited before.
Now we’ve already been to Lavender Town before and there’s not much to see there, so instead we’ll head to the Pokemon Tower. The structure of this building can be a bit confusing, because there are a number of floors but the first two really don’t have anything to interact with. Starting at the third floor you can battle trainers and capture Pokemon, and from there you basically move from floor to floor by crossing the room to the right side then the left side then the right side again and so on until you finally reach the top. Let’s talk about captures, trainers, and the items you can find lying around the Tower.
Pokemon Tower has a pretty limited capture pool and you are nearly guaranteed to end up with a ghost type from a statistical perspective. Gastly and Haunter are the main captures here, but it is technically possible to end up with a Zubat/Golbat or to capture Cubone. Gastly is a tough sell in Let’s Go – the only ghost types in the game are other Gastly, and the type which ghost is meant to conquer (psychic) is super-effective against the Gastly line. As a result, this can be a tricky Pokemon to use, as it is in most cases weak against everything that it is strong against. So naturally, guess what I caught here?
Something funny that happened when I caught Unseelie the Gastly – I noticed Shadow Ball in her moveset and suddenly realized how useful that move would be on Sonny the Hypno. With Sabrina’s gym on the horizon I needed to be thinking about how to deal with her, and Sonny’s high special defense and resistance to psychic type made him the perfect candidate. All I needed to do was teach him a move super effective against other psychic Pokemon – and Shadow Ball was just that move. I remembered seeing it in the department store in Celadon and made a note to go and pick it up when the opportunity came.
Pokemon Tower has a number of hidden items throughout the building, so I’ll do my best to describe the locations of the ones I found. On the third floor in the upper part of the map there’s a channeler named Hope that you can battle. Head right from her location into the upper-right corner of the map and investigate the ground to find a Star Piece, which sells for a decent amount of money. On the fourth floor, also in the upper-right corner of the room, you can find a super potion (hard to complain about free medicine!). Finally, on the fifth floor if you to the bottom-right corner, there’s a Big Pearl – and those suckers are worth a lot of money. All of these items are worth looking for, so be sure to take a minute to make your way to them.
As for the trainers in the Pokemon Tower, they’re not much to phone home about. Almost all of them have level 25 Pokemon in the Gastly line. In fact, excluding the boss of the tower, there’s only one trainer with a different setup. On the sixth floor, there is a channeler staring directly at a gravestone who you can only battle by speaking to. Her Pokemon are level 32 and therefore much stronger than the other trainers you’ve faced here. Luckily you can ignore her if you aren’t strong enough to fight her – she’ll only battle you if you initiate a conversation with her. However, if she’s too tough for you then you are almost definitely not ready for the boss battle in the Tower.
I was able to pretty easily deal with all of the trainers here using Sonny. He was level 35 at the beginning of the Tower and quickly reached 37 by the time it was all over. On level 36 he learned Psychic, a powerful psychic-type move (whoa) that can also lower special defense. I’ll note for those following me that if your levels are lower here, you will want to watch out using a psychic type against ghost Pokemon. Many of the Gastly here have Sucker Punch, a high-priority move that hits even before other priority moves like Aqua Jet or Shadow Sneak. If you’re using a psychic type that isn’t 10 levels above the Pokemon here, you’re more likely to be having some trouble with the super effective damage from that attack.
Jesse and James are the boss of Pokemon Tower, and they’re definitely the strongest trainers here with their two Pokemon Arbok and Weezing on level 34. They’re not any different than they have been previously – watch out for Glare on Arbok, and if you have a flying type and a Pokemon with Earthquake you can make pretty easy work of these two. I will say that if you decide to face them instead with a psychic-type Pokemon, beware of Weezing’s Dark Pulse attack – getting caught off guard by that could certainly give you some problems. Once you’ve defeated Team Rocket, you gain access to the Pokeflute, an item which allows you to wake the sleeping Snorlax spread throughout the world.
If you’ve been following the playthrough/guide quite closely, then you may have missed the Snorlax problem because I knew what routes were blocked and simply avoided them. If you’re playing on your own, you might have seen them – massive Pokemon who block entire roads with their body while they sleep. The Pokeflute is the only way to get past these things, so it is certainly an important item to have on your Pokemon journey. This actually opens up the game in a significant way, so let’s talk about what comes up in the next segment of Pokemon Let’s Go.
The next story segment leads to Silph Co. in Saffron City, the place from which the Silph Scope you used to climb the Tower was stolen. Silph Co. starts and ends with opponents who have Pokemon ranging from level 38-40 – teams a bit too high-leveled for my own team’s current levels. Sabrina, the gym leader in Saffron where Silph Co. is located, has Pokemon just shy of level 45, and Koga in Fuschia City is the same. In fact, these gym leaders can realistically be done in either order. The difference is that while you can reach Saffron immediately, Fuschia City is quite far away down one of two very long paths south from either Lavender Town or Celadon City.
With my Pokemon not quite ready to take on Silph Co, I decided to forge a path to Fuschia City by heading south from Lavender Town. Perhaps by the time I made my way there, my Pokemon would be strong enough that I could zip back to Silph Co. and take care of the battles there. Of course, before I would be ready to do that I needed to get Sonny the Shadow Ball TM. Sonny was still the lowest-level Pokemon on my team, and he’d be the one I needed to get leveled up in order to take on both of the next gym leaders. So my path was clear – I would make my way to Fuschia City with Sonny in the lead of the party, gaining experience along the way to prepare him for the upcoming gym battles.
Route 12 is divided into two sections. The first section leads directly south from Lavender Town until the intersection where a sleeping Snorlax prevents the route from connecting to route 11 in the west. If you recall from way back in our adventure, route 11 is to the east of Vermillion City and is actually the route where we captured Sonny in the first place. Small world! I’ll focus first on the section directly south of Lavender Town, an area covered with docks where fisherman wait for a bite on their lines.
There’s a building on route 12 connecting it with Lavender Town – if you head to the second floor and speak to the girl there, she’ll give you the Roost TM. I don’t consider Roost to be particularly good in non-competitive settings since you can just use a medicinal item instead without having to worry about speed, but if you’re into it then by all means take advantage of it. There are no other notable items on the route that I could find. Most of the trainers here have Pokemon around level 27 and they are nearly all water types. This is a great place to train your electric or grass type Pokemon if you have them.
I want to take a moment here to warn you about a game mechanic that nearly got Sonny killed on this route: speed ties. Normally the Pokemon with the highest speed stat takes the first turn during combat. But when two Pokemon are tied, how is that tie broken? As it turns out, the game just randomly chooses one of the Pokemon to be faster each turn. So for example: while fighting a Gyarados, Sonny acted first on the first turn but then acted second on the second turn. This can be really dangerous if you make a move which depends on you acting first, such as choosing to attack instead of heal when you know the enemy’s attack does killing damage. In my case, Sonny actually survived the second atttack, but only just – if his health had been any lower, not anticipating the speed tie would have been my demise. The best way to avoid this problem is to heal yourself whenever you know you have low enough health that the enemy can deliver a killing blow.
Once you get to the intersection of routes 11 and 12, you can wake up the sleeping Snorlax and battle it. I actually like the way the battle-then-capture mechanism works for Pokemon in Let’s Go – you don’t have to worry about getting them to a sliver of HP. Just defeat them as quick as you can and then engage with the separate capture mechanic. It’s a much better deal and eliminates the risk of accidentally killing a Pokemon you are trying to capture. Now in my case I didn’t consider Snorlax to be my route 12 capture since it is an event Pokemon – every time you play the game, it appears at this spot. Some people choose to capture event Pokemon and count them as the route capture or even count them as a bonus capture – you do whatever feels most in the spirit of the Nuzlocke in your mind.
Once you’ve defeated Snorlax and make your way to the lower half of route 12, the ante is upped pretty significantly. The northern part of route 12 primarily features opponents with Pokemon around level 27 – the typical level of trainers on the lower half of route 12 is 36. This was a pretty rude awakening for me. Sonny was in front training up for his future gym battles and ended up face to face with a level 36 Kingler. I clicked Psychic in hopes of taking it out in one blow, but the Kingler was faster and hit Sonny with a Slam attack. Slam certainly hurt, but it wasn’t enough to kill, while another Psychic from Sonny would finish the match. I clicked Psychic again and prepared to enjoy victory.
That’s…not what happened.
Here’s a Nuzlocke lesson for you. The enemy AI in Let’s Go will not always prioritize the most powerful move in the Pokemon’s moveset. Moves are chosen nearly at random, so even if your opponent has a move that does more damage or is even super effective, they’ll sometimes choose a less optimal attack. What this can do is lure you into a false sense of security, thinking you’ll survive another attack, when in reality you need to switch out.
Sonny took less than half of his HP in damage from a Slam attack. Slam has 80 power and is normal type, so Kingler doesn’t benefit from same type attack bonus (STAB) when using it. But this Kingler didn’t boast Slam as its best move – in reality, this Kingler had Crabhammer. Crabhammer is a physical water move with 100 base power, and with STAB bonus that means a total power of 150 against a neutral target. That’s nearly twice as strong as slam. So if Slam did, say, 40%, then Crabhammer would easily do over 60% and finish off the target. And that, my dear readers, is exactly what happened to Sonny.
Sonny’s loss is a pretty serious blow in a lot of ways. He is my first death in this Nuzlocke run, but more than that his fall came at the time when I needed him most. Sonny was my answer for both Sabrina and Koga’s gyms. Without him, I’m going to have a much tougher time dealing with both of these opponents. I’ll also have to dip into my Pokemon Box and figure out someone to train up by nearly 15 levels to catch them up to the rest of the party.
With that in mind, I decided to end this play session in order to regroup and figure out a game plan for my next play session. Which Pokemon in my box would replace Sonny in my party? How will I train said Pokemon while also preparing my team to raid Silph Co? Those questions and more will be answered in the next chapter of Operation Fuzzblock!