After last week’s rather unproductive sweaty workout montage, Block and his trusty partner Fuzz decided to stop trying to explore the open world of Kanto and instead be railroaded by the story. The game wants us to go to Silph Co and save it from Team Rocket, so by golly that’s what we’re going to do! Of course, I still want to have a team member who has been properly trained up to deal with our next couple of gyms, and with Unseelie the Haunter experiencing a rather untimely demise I decided to pass on the role of psychic-counter to the recently-caught Runnypants, who evolved into Kadabra during the sweaty workout montage. It was time for sweaty workout phase two, but not before I gave Runnypants as well as another team member one other boost.
Those of you who follow Adventure Rules for content outside of Pokemon may remember TC Clockworth from the Blogger Blitz: Shipping Wars competition last month. Clockworth wrote a great Pokemon submission for the competition, and more recently he lent me a hand with the Nuzlocke challenge by helping me trade evolve two of my Pokemon. Originally we were going to evolve Grave the Graveler as well as Unseelie the Haunter, but after last chapter Runnypants stepped into to take Unseelie’s place. After a bit of back and forth, Block had two more team members reach their final evolution, bringing us to a fully-evolved team of six Pokemon for the battle inside Silph Co.
Once Runnypants reached his Alakazam form I spent some time training him up on route 16. I used the same strategy of grinding on Pidgeotto but honestly had a lot less luck this time as far as captures that gave obscene amounts of EXP. It took me 47 Pidgeotto to get Runnypants up to level 42 with the rest of the party, but once I did so he was finally ready to join the team and charge into Silph Co to beat up Team Rocket and finally progress the game’s story.
I do want to spend a brief time discussing Saffron City itself before we dive into the Silph Co conflict. Saffron is actually somewhat empty despite being such a large city. There are basically four streets that run horizontally through Saffron connected by two vertical streets on the east and west sides, but one of those horizontal streets – the second from the top – has a dead end in the middle that prevents you from being able to run all the way across. There are in my mind only two points of interest you’ll really want to hit before heading inside of Silph Co. One is the house in the southeast corner of the city – there’s a man there who just hands you the Psychic TM when you talk to him. Psychic is a powerful psychic-type move (as Billie Eilish would say, “duh”) and it’s worth teaching to at least one Pokemon before Koga’s gym comes up.
The other useful stop here is the Fighting Dojo. This is a gym-looking building right next to the actual Saffron City gym (which is currently blocked by Team Rocket) where you can fight a few battles in order to obtain a TM and a Pokemon. The TM is obtained from the coach trainer hanging around the entrance. She has a level 32 Machoke and a level 33 Electabuzz – defeating them both will earn you the Thunder Punch TM. The Pokemon is earned by defeating the four trainers standing along either wall of the gym before finally facing off against the Karate Master. The karate master has one level 34 Poliwrath, and taking out that Pokemon will give you the ability to choose a Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan to join your party. Now in my Nuzlocke run I’ve limited myself from using event Pokemon, but if you are doing a run that allows it then go nuts! I personally prefer Hitmonlee but you can choose whichever one you like.
With the dojo done and Psychic sitting secure in Block’s pack, I decided to charge headlong into Silph Co. Now Silph Co essentially has four different battles with trainers who are above the average level during this section of the game, and the strongest of these battles (from a level perspective) happens right on the first floor of Silph Co. Blue, infamous rival from the first ever Pokemon games, challenges you to make sure you are ready to take on the burden of liberating Silph Co from Team Rocket. He has a level 38 Exeggutor and a level 40 Charizard, so he’s nothing to sneeze at. In my case I had Selkie the Ninetales out front so Exeggutor wasn’t a problem – except that it hit me with a critical hit Psychic to start things off on an alarming foot. Once Charizard came in, it started spamming Air Slash to flinch me out and artificially lengthen the battle. It took switching to Lucy and spamming a bit of lemonade for healing, but I finally managed to Surf the Charizard into oblivion.
Once you’ve defeated Blue you can head upstairs and start to explore Silph Co. This place is pretty complicated as Pokemon “dungeons” go. There are eleven floors connected by a single elevator, as well as staircases and teleportation pads. The elevator and stairs allow you to essentially reach any floor you want right away, but floors are blocked off by locked doors that can only be opened by the card key item located on the person of our second “boss battle.” Until you have the card key you don’t have free reign of every floor, so you’ll have to figure out how to teleport around the place to the area where you’ll be able to get the card key, and then it’s a relatively simple matter to find the path that leads to Giovanni. I’m going to focus on describing the path that I took through the building – there’s probably an “optimized” path, but you’ll have to decide for yourself what your ideal path is based on which items you want to pick up and how many trainer battles you want to complete.
Speaking of trainer battles, there are A LOT of them here at Silph Co. There are enough trainers here that it actually serves as a decent grinding opportunity – my team’s levels increased on average by 3 by the time it was all over. There are two main trainer classes inside the building: Rocket grunts and scientists. The grunts tend to use poison types and the scientists tend to use electric types, although both trainer types will throw you a curveball at some point. Grunts tend to have level 33 Pokemon while scientists have level 35 Pokemon. The battles here are largely battles of attrition – the number of moves you have and the number of medicines in your pocket will likely dwindle over time, so make sure you have the supplies you need to make it through the entire company before you make your way inside.
Operating on previous game knowledge, I knew that Giovanni would be on the 11th floor but that he could only be reached by finding the appropriate teleportation pad. So I took the stairs to the second floor and started exploring from there. There’s a super potion on the left side of the room between two locked doors, and an X item on the east side of the room that you can reach after battling the scientist. A teleporter in that same room will take you all the way up to the 8th floor, placing you in a room at the end of a narrow hallway. There’s a second teleporter in that hallway that will teleport you into the locked room on the west side of the 8th floor, allowing you to enter there without the assistance of the card key. The item you can pick up there is a revive, AKA $1000 for free. There’s also a lounge area on 8F where you can go to pick up another X item.
Once I cleared what I could of the 8th floor I headed back to the second floor via the teleporter. I then took the flight of stairs to the third floor. Two of the teleporters in here on the east side of the room just connect directly to each other – you can scoop up an X special defense real quick and then head to the southwest corner of the room to teleport to the 5th floor. The room you’ll end up in on 5F is a storage room that has some Pokeballs but more importantly, a Flash Cannon TM as well. Flash Cannon is a decently powerful steel-type move; unfortunately steel won’t have much application for you as fairy types are rare, ice types in gen one generally also have water type, and there are plenty of better attacks for dealing super effective damage to rock types. In the northwest corner of the 3rd floor, you can take a teleporter to the 5th floor that deposits you right next to the second “boss battle” – Archer.
Block has had to face Archer before but this fight comes with a brand new complication – the annoying rival Tackle will stand beside you providing the second Pokemon for your side while Archer and his Rocket grunt ally team up against you. Because you don’t control Tackle’s decisions, this fight can be tougher than the typical double battles you’ve dealt with up to this point. This is especially true because Archer and his partner actually use some pretty decent team strategies. For example, the Protect/Self-Destruct combo allows one of them to explode and deal heavy damage to both members of your team while the other one protects their Pokemon from all damage. They also use Protect to stall, inflicting toxic on one of your Pokemon and then drawing out the battle as the toxic poison deals more and more damage every turn. Luckily for me, Grave the Golem was able to hold his own pretty well throughout the battle, as either Rock Slide or Earthquake was super effective against something on the field throughout almost the entire match.
Once you beat Archer and his lackey, they’ll drop the card key that you need to navigate the rest of Silph Co without having to worry about finding your way around obstacles. There are still lots of floors left to explore, though; in my case, I made a point of exploring all of them so that I could get the EXP from battles and to see if there were any valuable TMs lying around the place. If you head to the south wall of this floor and follow the hallway east and north, it’ll lead you to a nugget that you can only reach from the bottom part of the room. 5F has a teleporter in the northeastern part of the room that takes you to a storage room on the seventh floor. There are three smart candies in front of the door and the Dragon Pulse TM behind the door. Dragon Pulse is a pretty solid dragon type move, but since the only dragon you’ll face in Let’s Go is the Dragonite line you will always be better off with an ice-type move.
Once on the 7th floor you can head south down the central hallway and then hook west and north to reach a PP Up. There’s a room on this floor on the west side that, after being opened with a card key, will allow you to get a Lapras from one of the Silph Co employees. As usual, I’m not adding any gift Pokemon to my team for this Nuzlocke, but Lapras is a fantastic water/ice type that can be a great fit for your team against the Elite Four. Since I’d been to 8F already I skipped up to 9F, grabbing the Poke Balls, Great Balls, and Ultra Balls in the storage room to the southeast.
You’ll notice that there’s a room here with multiple beds and a nurse Joy hanging around. As you might expect, this area is for healing, and it connects quite conveniently to the area where you ultimately need to go to reach Giovanni. So at this point is when you can decide for yourself whether you’d prefer to proceed on to the boss or to scoop up some additional items first. To help give you an idea of which path to choose for yourself, here are the items you can get by exploring the remaining floors:
- 4th floor: Dire Hit, Full Heal, Escape Rope, Star Piece, Great Balls, Revive
- 6th floor: PP Up, Max Repel, Hyper Potion, X Special Attack
- 10th floor: Full Heal, Max Revive, Flamethrower TM, Rare Candy
- 11th floor (by elevator): Max Elixir
Once I’d collected all the items, Block and his trusty companion Fuzz made their way through the 3rd floor teleporter to another teleporter which ultimately led to the 11th floor. Now while the other battles here were ones I remembered and knew to anticipate, I was caught by surprise here by Jesse and James, the third of four “boss-level” encounters here at Silph Co. They are the least of these by a long shot – two level 36 poison types fought simultaneously, with no new strategies from the last time you’ve faced them. After quickly taking care of them, Block was able to move on to battle against Giovanni.
Giovanni has three Pokemon at level 39, so none of them are “stronger” than Blue’s Charizard but they are all at an even level and there are more of them. Giovanni leads with Persian and of course Persian leads with Fake Out, so this is a good opportunity to give yourself a boost with an X item so your turn isn’t a complete waste. Giovanni’s other Pokemon are the ground types Rhyhorn and Nidoqueen. Because of Nidoqueen’s poison typing, the best option here is probably going to be a water type so you can have a super effective move against both of his ground types – Nidoqueen takes neutral from grass-type moves. Fortunately, Giovanni isn’t that hard to fight since ground is a somewhat easy typing to find a weakness for, so I was able to clean him up in pretty short order.
That brings an end at last to Silph Co, and thanks to all those annoying trainers my team is now at the appropriate levels to take on both the Saffron City gym as well as the Fuschia City gym. Of course, we still have to get to Fuschia City, so the next chapter we’ll start off with a gym battle and maybe if things go smoothly enough we’ll end with one too. Thanks for reading and be sure to tune in next Wednesday for even more Nuzlocke shenanigans!