After facing not one but TWO gym leaders during our last adventure, it’s time to get back to exploring. In order to fit Koga into the last chapter I didn’t take any time to explore Fuschia City, so my first item on the agenda was to get a look at this new town. Fuschia City has a weird shape in that there is one street that wraps around the outside of the city like a square. However, the street also increases in elevation, so the gym is actually raised and can only be reached by going all the way around town. Since I was already at the gym, my first order of business was to hop down and start exploring the east side of town. Not realizing yet how small and square Fuschia was, I followed the road south and actually ended up on the next route.
Route 19 primarily consists of water, but there’s a small beach just south of Fuschia that counts as part of it. Here, I met Jesse and James, and I braced myself for yet another boring double battle against them. Fortunately they’re not there to fight you – instead, they give you the Gold Teeth, an item that I remember from the original Red and Blue as being necessary to progress in the Safari Zone. The Safari Zone in Let’s Go is a lot different in that it was replaced by all the Pokemon GO crossplay functionality, but I figured the warden would be there so I went ahead and dropped by.
While at the Safari Zone I encountered a nice fellow on a Lapras who wanted to teach me to surf – er, “sea skim,” that is. We know at this point that Block hates learning things, but Fuzz was more than eager to hop on a surfboard and master the ways of the water. Now I had what I needed to progress on route 19, but I still needed to find the warden and give him his teeth. I went to the building on the east side of the Safari Zone and lots of worker dudes there told me things about the warden like his nickname, his funny accent ever since he went fishing, but nothing about his location. Once I scanned the Safari Zone, I went back into town and headed back towards the gym, checking the two houses in that area to see if the warden lived in either of them. Unable to locate the warden but confident that I had checked every location, I shrugged my shoulders and assumed that there was some kind of event I still had to experience in order to trigger him spawning at the Safari Zone. With that in mind, I headed south onto route 19.
With Sea Skim now in my arsenal I was ready to hit the water, but not before facing the dudes on the beach first. The trainers on route 19 have primarily water-type Pokemon, although one of the guys on the beach actually had a Dratini. Remember that dragon types resist the starter types (fire, water, grass) as well as electric, so your best bet if you don’t have a dragon move or an ice or fairy type is to hit them with a strong neutral attack outside of those typings. The trainers on land here are weaker than the swimmers and beauties out in the water – typical level 38 versus typical level 42. Since they all like water types you’ll want a strong grass type or electric type in this section of the game. Luckily, we all know that Thorn the Victreebel is more than enough to handle any pesky water Pokemon.
While skimming the sea you can see all sorts of water Pokemon swimming by you in the water. Watch the beauty of the waves as Pokemon like Staryu and Starmie elegantly dance upon the water, but watch your back for the vicious stings of Tentacool and Tentacruel. Any of these lovely water Pokemon would have been great to capture, but naturally I ended up with Magikarp. Now Gyarados is no slouch, don’t get me wrong, but this late in the game is not really the ideal time to be trying to raise a Gyarados right – it already missed many of its key moves by leveling up as a Magikarp for so long. I named the little guy Unagi after the water serpent in Avatar: The Last Airbender and then went on my way.
Water routes are in general a lot more open than land routes but they also have way less going on. Despite its large size there were maybe five trainers on the whole of route 19, and no where to stop to pick up items. In the southwest corner of the route, it transitions to route 20, and with the new route comes tougher trainers. The first swimmer I faced on route 20 had a level 44 Gyarados with a mean Crunch and the ever-annoying Dragon Tail. Every time I would switch to try to get a better Pokemon in against Gyarados, it would Dragon Tail me out into a different Pokemon. Luckily Dragon Tail eventually brought in Vincent, who was able to flinch Gyarados out with Headbutt and finish the match.
I put the Switch down at this point long enough to take notes about the swimmer and when I picked it up again, I was in the midst of my encounter for route 20 – apparently I was catching Tentacruel! Fortunately the actual catching part was easy enough and soon MaiMai the Tentacruel became a member of the team (for those unaware, MaiMai are the little squid-looking creature in A Link Between Worlds). MaiMai actually has pretty solid stats – her speed IVs are rated fantastic and she’s got a special attack increasing nature, so in the case that anything happens to Lucy the Golduck MaiMai would be a nice backup.
Now route 20 is split in the middle by a pair of islands connected underground called the Seafoam Islands. I remembered this location from my original playthrough of Let’s Go as the place where I captured Articuno, and that’s a task I fully planned to avoid in this run. The legendaries are a pain to capture, wasting tons of Ultra Balls, and I of course had no intent of using a legendary in a Nuzlocke run. Instead, I’d simply pass through the Seafoam Islands so I could get to Cinnabar.
The Seafoam Islands have a series of interconnected floors within their caverns and can be divided generally into an east side and a west side. The surface level is the first floor and then there are three basement levels: B1, B2, and B3. Throughout each floor there are large stone blocks that can only be pushed around using the Let’s Go equivalent of the Strength HM, Strong Push. I didn’t have strong push, but I was thinking that the blocks were related to the Articuno puzzle and weren’t a necessity for me to explore the Seafoam Islands.
After catching a Slowpoke that I decided to dub Meticulous, I fought the coach trainer who turned out to have all three Eeveelutions. This required a lot of switching on my part – I needed Grave the Golem for Jolteon, Thorn the Victreebel for Vaporeon, and Lucy the Golduck for Flareon. Flareon is the toughest of the three at level 47, and it carries Flare Blitz – a very scary fire-type move with 180 power after STAB. Luckily for me it also causes recoil, and Flare Blitz recoil is what ultimately took Flareon down after I hit it with a nice Surf attack. This coach trainer is very much worth fighting because she gives you five rare candies, which is five less levels of grinding you have to do. One could argue in a normal Nuzlocke that rare candies should be ignored because you lose “the danger of grinding,” but in Let’s Go the danger of grinding is gone anyway because capturing Pokemon doesn’t require battles. This means that rare candies simply allow you to spend less time capturing and more time playing, so I will definitely plan to use mine if I need to pick up any additional levels during these last few chapters of the game.
One exploration of the Seafoam Islands without strong push at your side – or at least, without using it yet – is not too bad of an idea. I found two big pearls by getting swept away in the fast currents of the water on B3. However, it turns out I was incorrect about progressing through Seafoam Islands: strong push is a necessity for making it to Cinnabar Island. With that in mind, I made my way out of the cavern and flew back to Fuschia City, positive that finding the warden was necessary to progress the game. I did a quick jog around the city to remind myself of which buildings I visited and, once again confident that I had been in all of them, I started making my way to other areas.
Let’s talk about all the places I went trying to find the Safari Zone warden. First, I remembered that there was this old man in Celadon City who could only be reached by using Sea Skim. Maybe that guy was the warden! So I zipped over to Celadon and skimmed across the water. He wasn’t the warden but he did give me the TM for Poison Jab. I returned to Fuschia and heard rumors of an old man on route 12, so I flew over to Lavender Town and headed south. While on route 12 I used sea skim to pick up the X-Scissor TM and then headed to the house only to remember that this was Mr. Dazzling’s house. I flew back to Fuschia and headed west onto route 18, thinking that maybe the warden lived on a route that I hadn’t explored yet. I didn’t spend long on the route, though, or even fight any trainers – he had to be in Fuschia somewhere, right? Maybe I was just crazy.
You remember all those times I swore I’d been to every building in Fuschia? I hadn’t. There’s a house in the southeast corner of town next to the building where dudes teach you about capture combos that I apparently never walked inside of, because the warden is there in all his toothless glory. It was a quick thing to give him the teeth and learn strong push, and with that move in tow I could finally return to the Seafoam Islands and finish things up. The puzzle there involves pushing two stone blocks from the first floor all the way down to B3 – it isn’t particularly complicated as long as you make a point of sticking with one block and following its path rather than trying to jump around or switch sides. I did the east side first and then the west.
Now on B2 of the west side there is a second block puzzle where there are four blocks around a little area with two different holes to fall through. The block on the left side is pretty straightforward, but for the right you’ll have to get creative. The lone block that’s against the north wall is useless – push it out of your way and then put your focus on the two blocks adjacent to each other that are blocking off a dead-end hallway. Push the rightmost of the two blocks all the way up so that you can step behind the left block and push it down. Once you get it down past the rock on the right side, loop around it so that you are to the right of the block and push it over towards the hole. You should then be able to push it up into the hole with little difficulty.
This second puzzle turns out to be the puzzle for meeting Articuno, and though I had no intent of facing the legendary bird at first, it felt silly to be standing right next to it and not do anything. So I gritted my teeth, put Selkie the Ninetales in front of the party, and initiated the battle. The first turn went smoothly for me. I used Fire Blast which did a good 40% and inflicted a burn first turn, and Articuno used Reflect to protect it against physical attacks. As if Selkie would be using any physical attacks! I then nailed it with a second Fire Blast – and Articuno responded with Mirror Coat.
For those who don’t know what Mirror Coat is, it is a counterattacking move in which the Pokemon deals damage based on how much damage they suffered. It only responds to a special attack – which of course Fire Blast is – and the opponent takes double the amount of damage that they dealt. As soon as I saw the move text I resigned myself to the loss of Selkie the Ninetales. There was no way she was surviving a Mirror Coat after an attack that did 40% to an Articuno. Mirror Coat hit and I watched Selkie’s health plummet into the red – and stay there! Selkie held on with a sliver of health, a whopping 3 HP, but it was enough. The burn took care of Articuno and my Pokemon lived to see another day. I spent a few minutes capturing Articuno and once I had that sucker in an Ultra Ball, I scurried out of Seafoam Islands as fast as my little legs would carry me.
As action-packed as the Seafoam Islands turned out to be, there’s still more action to be had on route 20. There are a couple of small islands here where you can land and battle trainers, and these trainers on land have a lot more variety in typings than the swimmers and beauties in the water. I particular want to warn anyone playing along with me about the bird keeper. Normally I see a bird keeper and safely assume I can destroy them with Grave the Golem, but this guy really put that theory to the test. His Fearow had Drill Run – a supereffective move with a high crit chance – and his Dodrio had Jump Kick – another supereffective attack! Luckily Grave’s defense is off the charts, but he had very little health left after what should have been an easy encounter for him. Be careful using a rock type here, particularly if you have a rock type with a lower defense stat than Golem.
After taking out the trainers on route 20, Fuzz and Block finally stumbled onto Cinnabar Island, wet, cold, and beaten within an inch of their lives. Despite it all they managed to make it to the island with their team intact, and I for one think that’s plenty of adventure for one day! In the next chapter we’ll explore the Pokemon Mansion and hopefully take on Blaine, the Cinnabar Island gym leader. Thanks for reading, and remember to come by next Friday at 9 AM EST for the next chapter of my Nuzlocke adventure!