fighting fire with fire - a Pokemon Platinum challenge run

You might recall that I did a challenge run of Pokemon SS and Pokemon Black a while back. While those games weren´t easy to complete the Fire VS Fire challenge in, they weren´t too hard either. That´s why I want to try the challenge in a game that is more challenging in general: Pokemon Platinum.

For the uninitiated, the Fire VS Fire challenge is run where I can only use the same type that type-specialists use against them. For example, I can only use rock types against Roark and only ghost types against Fantina (yikes). This type of run requires a lot of long-term planning and managing exp, which is what makes it fun.


  • Against gym leaders and e4 members, I can only use pokemon of the type that they specialize in.
  • I have to beat Cynthia to complete the challenge, even though she is not a type specialist.
  • As the meme goes, you don’t become the champion without knowing how to spam full restores. I can use two in-battle items, just like the gym leaders I’m fighting. To make things a bit easier for myself, I will allow healing items of any kind.
  • As I´m playing on an emulator, I use the ´change impossible evolutions` option of the pokemon randomizer. This enables me to use trade-only pokemon.
  • I’m playing on set mode

Starter choice

Unlike SS and Black, the starter choice matters A LOT in Platinum. All three starters can be used in at least two major fights. Torterra and Infernape can be used all the way up to the E4, so the choice is between them. The issue is, both of them are the best available choices against Gardenia/Bertha and Maylene/Flint respectively, so the choice is extremely hard to make. The second-best option for Flint, after Infernape, is nasty plot Houndoom. However, you need to either breed it or grind it to lv 60 to get nasty plot. I decided to pick Chimchar as the starter so that I didn’t have to deal with that. Again, this will make Gardenia and Bertha a lot harder, since Torterra would have been able to easily solo those fights with curse.

In preparation for Roark
The first thing I do after arriving in Jubilife City is to catch a Budew. It´s the only available grass type for Gardenia, other than Turtwig. Since Chimchar won´t see any major action until Maylene, I focus on levelling Budew for now.

The only available rock types before Roark are Geodude and Onix. Both can learn rock smash though, so they have the advantage over Roark’s Geodude and Onix. I catch a Geodude in the Oreburgh mine since they are common and of a decently high level there. Geodude also has much better attack than Onix. I also catch an extra Geodude as switch fodder, just in case I need to heal. I use the highest level one against the trainers in the mine and the ones in Oreburgh Gym. With all that exp, it reached lv 13.


I lead with my lv 13 Geodude. The opposing Geodude only has rock throw and stealth rock, so it doesn´t pose a threat at all. A couple of rock smashes take I out. I use rock smash against Onix once, but Onix uses screech. I switch to my backup Geodude for safety and spam rock smash until Geodude faints. Onix´ defense is lowered so much that one more rock smash from my main Geodude knocks it out. Up next is Cranidos, who isn´t nearly as bulky as Roark´s other mons. Three rock smashes take care of it.

The road to Eterna City
I keep one of my Geodudes in my party to use rock smash, but it doesn´t see combat anymore. My top priority is to level up Budew as much as possible, because it will have to beat Gardenia on its own. Chimchar has to help out against the Team Galactic grunts around Floaroma town quite often. It does evolve into Monferno as result of that though.

Budew is kind of overlevelled already, so it manages to beat Mars´ Purugly with some luck with stun spore hax. I´m becoming more and more confident that Budew will manage against Gardenia. It does well against the trainers on route 205 as well, but it need help from Monferno again against the bug types in Eterna Forest.

Budew is lv 24 when fighting Gardenia. I teach it return before the battle. Nothing on Gardenia´s team can do any meaningful damage to Budew, but the problem is that that also goes the other way. I set up to +6 with growth, and here I realise that growth doesn’t raise attack in gen 4, so return doesn’t get boosted. +6 mega drain take Turtwig and Cherrim out regardless though, it just takes very long. Roserade adds even more tedium with stun spore, but it really can’t damage Budew either. I spam mega drain until it runs out of PP. After that I switch to spamming return, which knocks Roserade out after a while. I realise that this battle description is probably kind of boring, but it really wasn’t an interesting fight.

Next time I'll have to beat Fantina, the most dangerous early game boss, with a Pokemon that is by definition weak to it. Fun times.
In preparation to Fantina
Fantina was my most feared opponent because she has a fast and strong Mismagius with a STAB shadow ball that is always super effective. I have to cheese my way past this somehow. I considered three options: Haunter, Driflbim and Rotom. Haunter can try to outspeed and OHKO all of Fantina’s Pokemon with a shadow ball of its own, and Drifblim and Rotom have access to minimize and double team respectively. In the end, I choose Rotom because it comes at a decent level and it can be used against Volkner later on. I train Rotom to level 29 so it learns ominous wind.

On the way to Hearthome city, I also catch a Gligar. It’s going to be my answer to Bertha, because it has access to swords dance and ice fang. I also considered Gastrodon, but its low speed and lack of a boosting move discouraged me from trying it. In hindsight, Gastrodon would have probably been better anyway because it can also be used against Crasher Wake, but whatever. Obviously, I pick up earthquake as well.


I use Duskull as setup fodder for double team, which goes pretty well. Duskull lands one wisp, which is nullified by a rawst berry. It doesn´t use wisp after that and it´s attacking moves don´t do a lot of damage. It also misses like half of those attacks anyway. Once Rotom is at +6 evasion, I use Ominous wind which OHKO’s Duskull. Haunter tries using sucker punch, but he misses and goes down to ominous wind as well. Rotom actually outspeeds Mismagius, but ominous wind doesn’t OHKO. That doesn’t matter though, because shadow ball misses too. Another ominous wind takes Fantina down. This wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but that’s probably only because I used double team cheese…

The way to Veilstone City

With the Relic Badge in my pocket, I head to route 209. Monferno is at a decent level for fighting Maylene already, so I focus on training Gligar. This is quite annoying actually, because I can’t give it earthquake as I’m pretty sure Infernape needs it to beat Flint. So, for the time being, faint attack is Gligar’s strongest attack. I catch a new Pokemon on route 215: Scyther. Scizor is perfect for fighting Aaron, and I’m sure that it can beat Byron as well. That’s two more major fights covered.

I buy the fire blast tm from the department store. I also fight some the trainers on route 214, to make sure that Monferno can solo Maylene reliably. There´s a collector with six rare pokemon that are all weak to fire, which is worth almost two levels worth of exp. After my little training session, I pick up the dig tm for Gligar and head back to the Veilstone Gym.


I purposefully enter the battle with a damaged Monferno. With blaze activated, Monferno simply outspeeds and OHKO’s all of Maylene’s pokemon with fire blast. Easy peasy.

In preparation for Crasher Wake
Next up is the water gym, and I’m not well-prepared at all, yet. Wake is pretty annoying to beat with just water pokemon because water STAB is obviously ineffective. It’s also difficult to find a pokemon with adequate super effective coverage moves. I think Bibarel is the only available water type that can learn both electric and grass moves for Gyarados and Quagsire respectively. But like, Bibarel…

There are some other options such as Gastrodon and Pelipper (the latter gets shock wave), but in the end, I opted for a pretty unconventional water type: Octillery. It has rock blast and bullet seed, and focus energy + sniper to dramatically increase the damage of each shot. This is obviously very luck reliant, but I don’t care. I’ve never used Octillery before, so this should be fun.

I catch a level 20 adamant Remoraid on route 213. With the exp from all the trainers at the Valor Lakefront restaurant, route 213, Pastoria Gym and route 212, it quickly grows to level 35.

Crasher Wake

I lead with an HM-slave Wingul as intimidate fodder. I then set up focus energy on Gyarados. On the next turn, Octillery flinches. Instant karma is delivered when Octillery procs its quick claw and defeats Gyarados with three hits from rock blast (one crit). Floatzel comes out and uses crunch, which gets Octillery in yellow, while bullet seed only hits twice and doesn’t even proc Floatzel’s sitrus berry. Yikes. I use a healing item as Floatzel uses crunch again. I get one more shot at using bullet seed, and luckily it hits at least three times, with two crits that burn right through the sitrus berry. Quagsire stands no chance, as two more crit bullet seeds take it out in one turn. Not the most reliable way to win, but hey, I had fun with it.
Road to Canalave City
After beating Wake and dealing with team Plasma in the Great Marsh, I fly to Solaceon Town. Route 210 has some pretty tough trainers and the shadow ball tm. That tm is going to be important for Lucian, and I´m sure you can guess which Pokemon I´m going to use it on. Solaceon Town has an npc that gives you choice specs, which I never knew about until now. You learn something new every day. Anyway, after getting surf, I go to Canalave City. Gligar got u-turn around this part of the game, and I evolved it quickly afterwards.

Before taking down the gym, I need to go to Iron Island for the metal coat to evolve Scyther. I got through without problems thanks to Riley. When I returned to Canalave City, I evolved Scyther and gave it brick break. My E4 squad is now fully evolved.


Magneton survives the first brick break and deals heavy damage with thunderbolt. Scizor is faster though, so it takes Magneton out on the following turn. It takes three brick breaks to take down Steelix, but Scizor can survive two eartquakes with the help of a sitrus berry. Bastiodon gets OHKO’d by brick break.

In preparation for Candice
After handling some stuff with Team Galactic, I travel towards Snowpoint City. Candice is up next, and I still don’t have any preparations ready. To be fair though, there aren’t any ice type available earlier, so I didn’t have a choice. I need to catch some local ice types and somehow win. Candice’s team is pretty scary too, because both her Piloswine and Abamasnow are bulky and they have super effective coverage.

I avoid as many trainers as I can on the way to Snowpoint city. I catch two Sneasels and a Snover, all lv 35 (the highest available level), once I’m there. I put Snover on the exp. Share and have Sneasel as my lead. Now it’s time to go all the way back down route 217 to beat all the trainers I avoided. This goes surprisingly well, because a lot of pokemon on this route carry ice shard, which powers up Sneasels payback significantly. I also defeat all the trainers in the Snowpoint Gym. UnFOrtUNaTelY, Snover still hasn’t evolved. Because of that, I decide to take on the Fuego Ironworks and take the thunderbolt and flamethrower tm while I’m there. I also rematch some trainers with the vs seeker.

After all this grinding, Snover evolved into Abomasnow and Sneasel also hit level 40. I teach Abomasnow focus blast and Sneasel rock smash, and hope for the best.

I lead with my Sneasel. It takes out the opposing Sneasel with two rock smashes, but the opposing Sneasel is faster. My Sneasel is heavily damaged, so I switch to my fodder Sneasel when Piloswine comes out. Poor little backup Sneasel gets annihilated by stone edge. Abomasnow comes out and OHKO’s Piloswine with a super effective wood hammer. The opposing Abomasnow comes out now, which is pretty scary as they both carry focus blast. Mine is faster though, thank Arceus, and it actually lands a focus blast, which does about 50% to Abomasnow. The opposing Abomasnow lands focus blast as well, and it’s enough to take mine out together with the heavy recoil from wood hammer. Sneasel comes back in and takes Abomasnow out with a bluk berry natural gift, which becomes a fire type. I have to heal when Froslass comes out, but Candice decides to use shadow ball for some reason, which doesn’t do all that much damage. Froslass outspeeds and it uses double team on the following turn, which scared me a little. Thankfully I land payback, and to my surprise, Froslass just drops. It wasn’t even a crit or anything.

Team Galactic shenanigans

I put Abomasnow and Sneasel in the pc now that I don’t need them anymore. I fill the team slot by getting Rotom back from the day care and putting it on the exp. share. I have faith that it can solo Volkner, so I don’t invest in any other electric type.

With rock slide now usable, I can go to Acuity Lake. After facing Jupiter there, I can route out the Team Galactic Headquarters in Veilstone City. I also get a swords dance tm from the game corner while I’m there. The Headquarter part is always so funny to me. Not only do the grunts just leave the Galactic Pass laying on the ground somewhere, they even have unguarded beds for trainers to rest in. You have to wonder if it’s a smart idea to fall asleep in the Headquarters of a group of criminals…

After the rousing speech from Cyrus, I can go to the Spear Pillar. Cynthia conveniently shows up and we travel to the distortion world. I actually almost lose to Cyrus here because he gets a crit on Gliscor, and Infernape and Scizor are both extremely weak to Honchcrow. Anyway, I scrape by and get to face Giratina. I don’t even bother catching it because I need the master ball for Azelf.

After all this, that one guy at the Valor Lakefront STILL won’t let me go to Sunnyshore City. Turns out you have to talk to Rowan first, ugh. Next on my to do list is to catch Azelf. It takes me what feel like ten soft resets until I get one with a nature that doesn’t reduce special attack. Anyways, I can finally go to Sunnyshore City now. I fight the trainers on route 222 and the ones in Sunnyshore gym to finish my training of Rotom.

I used a really cheesy double team toxic set. This didn’t work too well the first time I tried it because Rotom speed ties with Jolteon. Jolteon also has charge beam, so Rotom can’t easily wall it and set up. I thought of using psych up to steal Jolteon’s boosts, but that didn’t really work either. The solution is actually much simpler. All I had to do was to give Rotom one rare candy. With the extra speed, Rotom becomes faster than Jolteon. This triggers the AI to always use thunder wave to lower your speed. In other words, Jolteon can now be cheesed by substitute.

I use substitute on turn one, as Jolteon uses thunder wave. I use toxic as Jolteon uses thunder wave again. I set up double team and Jolteon still uses thunder wave. See the pattern? I easily set up double team six times. From there it’s just a matter of toxic stalling all of Volkners pokemon and occasionally using ominous wind. So Rotom cheats its way through another important fight.

Next time, I will be facing the E4 and Cynthia. Cynthia especially is very hard to beat even in a normal run, but I feel like I´m pretty well-prepared.
Preparing for the Elite Four
Before tackling the E4, I first have to fly all over the place to run some errands. I need to get rid of cut on Bibarel to make room for waterfall, I have to get ice fang on Gliscor, and I have to buy a thunder and natural gift tm just in case. I also get some healing items. I obviously bring Scizor, Gliscor, Infernape and Azelf, but I also bring Rotom and Abomasnow to help against Cynthia.

I go into this fight a little too eagerly. I completely forgot to give Scizor swords dance, oops. I decide to see how far I come, just to test the waters a bit. Wing attack 2HKO’s Yanmega, and I also manage to set up an agility. Vespiquen is also 2HKO’d by wing attack, and it does like no damage. Heracross comes out and immediately dies to wing attack. I get a lucky critical wing attack on the opposing Scizor, just what I need. Another wing attack takes it down, but I really have to heal at this point. Drapion does very little damage with aerial ace, so I can safely take it out with x-scissor. I guess I didn’t even need swords dance.

I set up a swords dance while Bertha shoots herself in the foot by using sandstorm. Not only does this not damage my Gliscor, it even activates sand veil for me. As a result, Whishcash misses two aqua tails in a row, as I safely set up swords dance two more times. From there, Glisor OHKO’s everything but Hippowdon with ice fang or dig. Hippowdon tries to be funny with yawn, but it can’t touch Gliscor so it doesn’t matter. Another easy win.

I use close combat to take out Houndoom. Infernape comes out, and luckily mine is faster. However, my earthquake doesn’t OHKO and his does. It actually doesn’t even come close to OHKO’ing, so I can’t fix it with stealth rocks either. Luckily, I can just sweep with swords dance because I didn’t use it on Scizor. So the matchup goes: I use swords dance as Houndoom uses sunny day, and then I OHKO everything with earthquake. Easy.

I set up two nasty plots and OHKO everything with shadow ball or flamethrower. I love setup.


It actually took me a few tries to beat her. The main problem is that I need Rotom to deal with both Milotic and Togekiss, but Milotic OHKO´s it with surf. The issue is that Milotic always comes out before Togekiss because of my lead choice. After severel tries, I decide to do something different. I feed all of my rare candies to Scizor, who learns swords dance and iron head naturally as a result. I also teach it natural gift and substitute and give it an aspear berry to hold. It´s a real nice and specific moveset, if I may say so myself.

I set up a sub on Spiritomb because it takes two hits to break it. From there I alternate between swords dance and substitute until Scizor is at +6. I use a potion and set up another substitute. With my sub still up, I OHKO spiritomb with iron head. Garchomp comes out and breaks the sub with flamethrower, but a technician boosted, +6, 4x effective natural gift absolutely annihilates Garchomp. Lucario get Scizor in red with aura sphere, but it goes down to iron head despite the resistance. Togekiss comes out and defeats Scizor with air slash. I use specs thunderbolt Rotom to cleanly 2HKO Togekiss. Cynthia brings out Milotic rather than Roserade for some reason, so I use thunderbolt again for about 50% of Milotic’s health bar, as Rotom falls to surf. Infernape finishes the job with close combat. Roserade is Cynthia’s last mon, but I don’t actually have a fire move on Infernape at this point, so I use earthquake instead. Azelf comes in and secures victory with extrasensory.

So that´s three games I have done the fire vs fire challenge in. I know I say this every time, but it wasn´t as hard as I thought it would be, especially the matchup against Fantina. Don´t get me wrong, I don´t mind not getting stuck all the time, but I think for these kinds of threads it would be more enjoyable to read if I had to come up with some more advanced problem solving once in a while. Maybe I should have added some extra restrictions or something.

Then again, being able to beat the challenge is also a testament to my (apparently) good planning. Planning the whole run out from the start is really the hard part. Executing that plan is just a test. It's still very satisfying to be able to beat the challenge, and I encourage everyone to try the fire vs fire, or any other challenge run, themselves. You can even try a challenge that you came up with yourself.

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