So, time for me to attempt another spinoff warstory! Hopefully it's formatted better than my previous attempt, an explanation of how I beat Zero Isle South in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness. As before, this is somewhere between an explanation of what I did, and a guide explaining how to pull the same thing off yourself, and I sort-of go back and forth between the two styles of writing. This warstory is about Pokémon Conquest: specifically, the final postgame mission, "The Two Heroes". Each of the castles was cleared using the team mentioned; they're all warrior/Pokémon combinations that I happened to have available on my cartridge at the time, I didn't do any particular setup for it. As such, the vast majority of Pokémon mentioned are either the warrior's default Pokémon (the one they have when you recruit them), or their Perfect Link (because I've been collecting those), in various stages of evolution. The main exception is Oichi's Lampent (because let's face it, who uses Wigglytuff?), which I happened to randomly recruit in a different mission when I needed something better at soloing maps rather than stalling. Some general strategy notes. First, you need to recruit pretty much everyone day 1. Each conquest costs you at least one unit's move for the month; this means you can only capture three castles in January, and need to capture three to be able to have enough units moves in February. Even so, it's very tight on units; this leaves no real time for shopping, and so you're relying on rare items (that carry over between missions). In particular, by far the best unit in this case is Guardian Charm, which is perfect for soloing maps (for people who have never seen it in action, it gives an Attack, Defence, and Range boost to a unit if it's the last one left); and due to manpower constraints, you're going to need to solo most of them. I used the Guardian Charm in almost every mission (except one, where I usd more than one unit). For the same reason, you can't rely on the more powerful gold-background units; some silver-background generic units have to be used as well. (And they can perform pretty well; the important thing is to work out which maps to use them on.) I also refrained from using legendary Pokémon, just because I could. (The most powerful Pokémon I used is probably Nobunaga's Hydreigon. Or possibly a Fire Spin user.) Some of the silver units are better than others, so at one point, I had to band together a team of three of the weakest and use them to take Greenleaf, leaving me with exactly enough unit moves to finish in February (I could have had one spare, but I messed up in the very first battle). Finally, I tended to leave maps that I knew I could win until last, so when possible, the difficult battles happen earlier in the month. The split of maps between January and February was based on who I could recruit; I particularly wanted the powerful units available in Terrera (even if trying to find a map that Rhyperior could actually beat solo was a pain). As for the map strategy, it's a mix of exploiting map gimmicks, exploiting type advantages, and exploiting attack ranges; often your only hope of soloing a map is to try to KO enemies while (most or all of) the other enemies can't reach you, then run away until you can get into that position again. I explain more about the individual maps in the main body of the story. Note that there's a small amount of randomness in the enemy teams, based on who they recruit in January. If you want to try this yourself, go for a 3-month clear first. It's a lot easier, because you have a lot more choice in recruits, and is good practice. On with the story! January Ignis Using: Hero/Jolteon (Sprint, Guardian Charm) Strategy: Hideyoshi is the only particularly dangerous enemy, so it helps to take him out as soon as possible. (In this game, I was lucky and took him out on turn 2 with a crit.) You ideally want 4/5 recruitment here (5/5 would block the square, although note that you can decline a recruit), although I missed one. Once Hideyoshi is dead, try to take out as many opponents as soon as possible. The terrain makes it basically impossible to avoid being hit, so you're going for time-based recruitment. Recruited: Hideyoshi, Rikyu, Hidenaga Pugilis Using: Oichi/Lampent (Flame Body, Guardian Charm) Strategy: Ghosts are really good on this level (in fact, you can do it with a Litwick, but it's harder); note that you need an attack with an AoE that hits two spaces away. The basic idea is to use your 4-space movement to block the enemy on the bridge leading to the central platform, and get the Conkeldurr to just stand there blocking in the rest of his forces. (This needs a bit of luck, but happens over 50% of the time.) Then you use your AoE ranged-2 attack to faint all the opponents behind it in sequence. Once you've done that, capture three flags, knock the Conkeldurr off the stage, then repeatedly attack it as it tries to get back. (You don't want to capture the fourth flag until after that because you need the recruitment.) This recruits everyone on the stage via the "no damage" method. (Then you have to decline one to get 4/5 recruitment.) Recruited: Yoshihiro, Tadamoto, Takahisa, Masatoshi Terrera Using: Nobunaga/Hydreigon (Levitate, Guardian Charm) Strategy: First, I'd like to mention a simple strategy for cheesing this level with 3 Pokémon (that's rather luck-based, but can be done with a bit of savescumming). You basically just use a Pokémon with range 3 and a Flame Wheel-like attack or a range of 4, and two range 3 Pokémon; on turn 2 get in position so that everyone can move to the lifts the next turn (this might need help from Flame Wheel aimed at a tree); on enemy turn 2 they step on the lifts and get blown off; on turn 3 step on the lifts; on turn 4 capture all three flags at once. Although this can be done entirely with cheap units, it sadly isn't viable for a two-month clear due to needing three units (although it's quite possibly optimal for a three-month clear); the main problem with the strategy is that Scrafty loves to attack you and either KO your units, or step to a square that's in your way. As I did this in January, I also needed perfect recruitment. As such, I used Hydreigon and aimed to kill every opponent without taking damage from enemy units. This needed several tries; most of the opponents can be OHKOed, but Scrafty and Rhyperior can't be. (If you can get behind Scrafty, you can 2HKO it, so using Nobunaga's Ambition is the easiest way to get rid of it, if you can get lined up.) The main problem is capturing all the flags in time; I often failed by 1 day, and when everything eventually worked, it was because of an exceptionally lucky wind blow at the end of turn 18 that blew me off the far flag into range to move onto the middle lift the next turn. I'm not convinced there's a non-luck-based solution to this level with 1 unit, though, at the Link you have at the start of the game. Recruited: Shingen, Yukimura, Kunoichi, Katsuyori, Masatoyo February Given that this is a two-month clear, recruitment in February mostly doesn't matter, so long as you don't fill a castle completely up with units (leaving yourself unable to attack from it). However, you should recruit as many units as possible, for the Energy restoration upon having around (probably exactly) 30 units in your army. Violight Using: Masatoyo/Krookodile (Intimidate, Guardian Charm) Strategy: One of the most cheesable levels in the game; so long as you have a Ground-type unit without a Ground-type attack, you can just attack all her units and they can't attack back. The Guardian Charm is basically just to make sure you win within the time limit. Some suggestions include Wooper and Gabite, but this time I used Krookodile. Ginchyo had the sense to recruit someone with a Carnivine this time (normally she just recruits another Electric-type…), so I beat it first because it could actually affect me. (Note that winning with a regular unit is important when possible, because you don't have enough special units to reach all the castles, another problem with 2-month clears that doesn't happen in 3-month clears.) Chrysalia Using: Hidenaga/Chimchar (Blaze, Guardian Charm) Strategy: This level is very difficult; you go Fire-type for the type advantage, and Chimchar for the high Range and useful AoE. It helps to memorize where the fencings are; turn 1 you aim towards the jagged bridge over the water and move 3 spaces, turn 2 you move another 3 spaces towards the opponent; basically, you want to stay out of range of Beedrill as much as possible, because it's easily the most threatening enemy unit (and there are two of them). You also need to avoid being poisoned, although that mostly comes down to luck. (Using Hidenaga also allows you to Convalesce in order to survive three more turns, which might save you if you get poisoned later on in the battle.) Beating Beedrills is best accomplished by luring them into the fencing, and then hitting them twice while they're helpless for the KO; other units can be fought directly. Yaksha Using: Tadamoto/Scrafty (Moxie, Guardian Charm) Strategy: The most dangerous enemy in general is the Hydreigon, so it's worthwhile to pick something that can OHKO it, like Scrafty with a Moxie boost. (Also, there are few other good places to use Tadamoto.) Bear in mind that you have to stay at least two squares out of Hydreigon's attack range, or it will use Mayhem and totally destroy you. The most dangerous enemy to Scrafty is the Sandile, because it can lower accuracy, and missing will take off half your HP (so you can't afford to miss twice, and based on damage you're taking, not even once really); Pawniard has Dodge, so is problematic for the same reason, but only when you attack it (it's OK for it to attack you). So the strategy is to run into the near left corner through the first two turns, OHKO the Sandile, then OHKO the Hydreigon. (Other things that can hurt are getting paralyzed - I ended up having to face a Shinx - and getting boxed in such that you can't move or attack at all.) So basically, this is a mixture of luck and skill to remove the most dangerous enemies, then hoping your luck holds as you defeat the rest. (Savescumming can help a lot on this level as a result.) Cragspur Using: Katsuyori/Rhyhorn (Lightningrod, Guardian Charm) Strategy: Every single enemy is weak to Ground, and all but the Shieldon is not very effective against Rock/Ground, so this is a pretty obvious Pokémon choice. (Also, Ground-type attacks are hard to solo with because they typically can't win on maps with levitating or flying enemies, so when you find a map you can use them on, it's often a good idea to.) Strategies on this level often involve being tricky with the buttons, but not this time; just press the button turn 1, then go around killing things. For beating the Shieldon, just make sure you get the first hit. Ignore the boulders; they won't do noticeable damage to anything but Simisear (although you can use them on Simisear if they happen to be lined up). Focus on taking out the most damaging enemies first in order to avoid running out of HP. (BTW, there are better abilities for Rhyhorn; Lightningrod is just the ability it happened to have.) Illusio Using: Nobunaga/Hydreigon (Levitate, Guardian Charm) Strategy: This level is basically impossible to solo without the ability to fly, or a huge amount of luck (= constant savescumming). The best Pokémon I've found so far for the purpose is Drifblim, but I didn't have one available, so I had to use Hydreigon instead, and it cleared the map comfortably within the time limit (there were still a few turns left). Preventing the opponent winning by flag capture is tricky; you normally capture your own flag turn 1 because you may as well, then spend your time attacking/KOing units, moving towards the center of the map or to spaces with multiple available portals when necessary. The ability to fly 4 spaces is huge on this map, meaning you don't have to play portal roulette to get anywhere. (This map is when I got the Energy restore for recruitment, which helped on the next map.) Greenleaf Using: Rikyu/Darumaka (Run Up, Power Wristband) Takahisa/Gurdurr (Thrust, Potion) Masatoshia/Machop (Guts, Potion) Strategy: This map is immensely hard to solo unless using a Pokémon such as Charizard, Lapras or Infernape who both has a large attack AoE and a type advantage. We could solo it like that, but instead, it's the best map to use multiple silver units on, because adding extra warriors helps a lot (the main problem is the time limit). Darumaka was my remaining Fire-type silver unit, and I sent it to capture the flag beyond the vine bridge, while the other two Pokémon held the centre of the map, healing with potions when necessary. (The Power Wristband, in combination with Run Up, allowed it to just about 2HKO Serperior.) Using Impact helped reduce the damage in the centre while Darumaka was cleaning up around the edges. Then it returned to the centre, KOed the remaining Pokémon (apart from an Onix, who was dealt with by the Fighting-types), and the last flag was captured via Thrusting the Pokémon guarding it off the square and stepping onto it with another Pokémon (this wasn't necessary in my run, because I had plenty of time, but helps make the time limit a bit longer). Avia Using: Shingen/Rhyperior (Bodyguard, Guardian Charm) Strategy: Rhyperior is a particularly awkward Pokémon to solo with (I had access to Groudon, too, but it has problems against anything that flies). The only remaining castles it can really reasonably capture are Fontaine (which requires Solid Rock or it runs out of HP too quickly, and I forgot to change the ability before starting the 2 month clear), and this one, Avia. The problem here is that Rhyperior, having a Range of only 2 plus 1 from the charm, no melee attack, and only being able to attack once every 2 turns (unless it misses), gets boxed in very easily; if it ever gets surrounded, you've lost. So you have to adopt hit-and-run tactics; try to split the opponents up so that only one can get in melee range (two in an emergency), wait for one to attack you, then retreat two spaces and OHKO it. Then run like mad until you get an opportunity to do it again. As such, I prefer to start in the central area, which both tends to split the opponents up (unlike staying int he starting area), and which has easy access to a jump ramp that allows for a quick escape. The most problematic enemies are the Braviary (holding you in place for 1 turn = potential autoloss, so I take it out first), and Drifloon (it has a Range of 4, and Astonish has knockback and also causes flinches, both of which can be incredibly bad unless you try to exploit the way the knockback works). Carnivine deals a lot of damage, but you can afford one or two hits from it, especially if using Furin Kazan to tank better; treat it like you would Fortify, the Attack boost is irrelevant because you OHKO everything anyway. Fontaine Using: Yoshihiro/Conkeldurr (Spirit, Guardian Charm) Strategy: You really can't lose here. I lured the Chingling over and took it out first, because it's the only enemy who even has a chance to deal significant damage. Chesto! can be used safely for the OHKO on Samurott if you're dealing with a reduced attack from using Superpower the previous turn; it's very hard to die from HP loss here, and Spirit is available as a backup (although it's hardly necessary). Avoid the island with the fountain, as you can potentially get stranded there and lose a certain win, which would be really embarassing. (I got frozen, and after recovering got flinched twice, and still won very easily, with 8 turns left, over half my HP left, and Spirit still unused.) Valora Using: Yukimura/Charizard (Hero, Guardian Charm) Strategy: This is pretty trivial. You can fly, so you don't have to worry so much about the stage gimmick, Hero activates so you have even more of a bonus, you're super-effective against many of the enemies, resist all the enemy attacks, and the enemy who you're not very effective against (Quagsire) can't hit you. So just fly to the middle and start KOing things. The time limit is enormous, so don't worry about how long it will take to wear down the Quagsire. (Although the answer is "4 to 5 turns, less if you get a burn", so not very long at all.) You may have to chase down enemies who end up being caught by a crane, but that should not cause too much of a problem; leave them until last because they'll try to make their way back to the centre naturally. Dragnor Using: Oichi/Lampent (Flame Body, Guardian Charm) Strategy: Yes, the Aron is the only unit that can actually hit you. Yes, you knock it down to Sturdy in 1 direct hit. So aim for it first; it can KO itself on you by getting burned, but if it doesn't, just take it out the turn after. Then just clean up. Remember when Dragnor was hard? (If you ever wanted to try soloing a level without Guardian Charm, this is the one. The main thing to worry about would be running out of time; perhaps you could use a Chandelure instead for even more overkill.) Flash Fire is probably a better ability here, to allow you to stand next to Pyro Nodes safely. (After this battle I got an energy boost for 50 warriors. Not that it matters, because it only affects new recruits, and they can't move until March.) Nixtorm Using: Kunoichi/Weavile (Shadow Dash, Guardian Charm) Strategy: Weavile is an excellent unit for this map; it has good typing for combat against the opponents here, and also walks normally on snow and ice. Shadow Dash lets you pick your fights very easily. (The opponents will tend to get separated on this map, meaning you can pick them off one at a time. But you don't have to, taking them all on at once works just fine too.) This map is often moderately hard to solo, but I kept Kunoichi back for it because I knew how well her Weavile would do. The hardest opponent to take out is the Lapras, and only because it requires several hits (its Shell Armor means you can't speed up the process with Trickster); try to attack from behind it. Spectra Using: Hideyoshi/Infernape (Conqueror, Guardian Charm) Strategy: I think the enemy Litwick is guaranteed Flame Body, but make sure to check; it'd be kind-of embarassing if it had Flash Fire (and make the map unwinnable except if it poisoned itself on the stage hazards, which is pretty unlikely). Apart from that, simply start to the left so you don't have to fight all the enemies at once, and the stage has no major problems; Fire Spin is just that good (although be aware that if it misses any enemy, it hits the others only once, so it can be risky to aim it at a group). Conqueror helps, but isn't particularly necessary. Viperia Using: Hero/Jolteon (Sprint, Guardian Charm) Strategy: Your immense speed, and type advantages against the flying enemies, are your main weapons here. You basically want to get to the enemy starting area and start attacking them before they spread out, and prevent them getting anywhere near the flag near your starting area. The problem with soloing this map is typically that you can't attack and defend at the same time, so you run very low on time eliminating the opponent's attackers and run out of time chasing down their defenders and the flags; but if you get a fast enough start, that typically won't matter. (The opponents can use the trap doors to aim for one or the other of the flags away from where you start, but they can't capture both, and you can KO the enemy they sent to attack the flags while you're going around capturing them, after the main body of their army is eliminated. In my run, I eliminate all but the Spiritomb, who aimed for my flag via the trapdoors, in the first 4 turns.) Courage can help you get enough damage potential to OHKO the Spiritomb, in case you have to attack it from in front. And that's it. 16 kingdoms conquered, plus the one you start with, in only two months. I hope this warstory/guide proves useful to other people who try to get quick clears of Pokḿon Conquest.