Let's Play! Finland's Heartgold OPTI-locke

Finland

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Hello! I'm Finland/Tiksi. I hope you could gather the "Finland" part from the thread title, but one never knows. Anyway, I'll be running a HeartGold Nuzlocke, but with the OPTIMAL twist:

Instead of catching the first Pokemon I find, I keep searching until I find the route's least efficient Pokemon. Optimal Pokemon are the bad ones, right?

That's the basic idea, but here's the full list of rules.
Rules with an asterisk (*) I added after an Arc, not when I started the challenge, but were never violated thus far anyway.
Rules with a double asterisk (**) were on-the-spot decisions to unforeseen obstacles I tried to handle as fairly as possible.


1. I have one chance to obtain a Pokemon per area that I enter. I can only obtain eligible Pokemon. This chance expires if I leave the route or end an encounter with an eligible Pokemon.
  • **Integrated complexes with distinct areas (e.g. Dark Cave, Ruins of Alph) count as one area.
2. An Eligible Pokemon:
  • Can be caught in the area without leaving it, assuming I have infinite items and all field abilities, paths, etc. I have already been given access to before triggering an eligible encounter.
    • Unlocking Poke Balls counts as a "field ability", so eligibility is ignored before they are unlocked.
    • "Caught" is intentional, with the exception of the starter. All other Pokemon I must personally catch.
  • Is worst in rank on the old HGSS in-game tier list, or tied for worst, among such catchable Pokemon. (old list used because the new list is not yet complete).
  • *Is not Uber or Top tier on that list. That'd be silly and very suboptimal. No Scyther, Geodude, Heracross, Ho-oh, Magikarp, Nidoran, Pinsir, or Spearow ever.
3. If a Pokemon runs out of hit points, it is considered dead and must be released. If I white-out, the game is permanently over. Standard Nuzlocke stuff.
4. Set Battle mode.
5. My highest-leveled party Pokemon cannot be higher-leveled than the ace of a Gym Leader, or Elite Four Member / Champion.
6. *I can only use one battle item per Gym Leader/Elite Four/Champion battle, and none in other battles.
7. If I take an illegal action, I may reload to the previous save. If the previous save still locks in an illegal catch, I will release all affected Pokemon. If the previous save locks in an illegal boss battle, the game is permanently over. If it locks in some other mistake, I'll rectify it in a fair way, or award myself a game over if the error is severe enough.
8. I'm playing this on my actual 3DS. No screenshots, sorry, but I make sure to add related pictures and stuff like that, because blocks of text make my eyes bleed.

Let's get optimizing!
 

Finland

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Wow, it's been ages since I've touched this game, my first ever Pokemon game. Seeing the Wii in your house brings back good memories.

Also, why is there a tree in your bedroom? Maybe it's a potted plant, even if it definitely looks like a small tree. But why is there a potted plant in your bedroom?

Got my Options button. I should probably not forget about, yknow, the challenge. Set battle mode. Also Frame Type 12 because it's sick.

I'm sure you know what starter we're picking!

FLWRPWR♂ has joined the crew. Why doesn't its face doesn't extend past its body for the walking sprite? Creepy. But he's cute nevertheless. Hardy nature, which is optimal because you have no reason to mess with Meganium's stats, they're perfectly efficient for in-game play...

#152 Chikorita [Hardy]
IVs: 0 - 9 / 2 - 21 / 30, 31 / 2 - 21 / 30, 31 / 31

Can we talk about that perfect Speed IV immediately after I complain about its stats? This could work out.

I don't remember whether the very first encounter is static in this game. But having that encounter on the very first grass tile was a surprise!

This little guy, if you're curious. No Poke Balls yet, so catching rules don't apply. But is he lowest-ranked for the route? You'll find out soon enough!

...and he was the only encounter before reaching Cherrygrove City! I wasn't kidding when I said this was an Optimal locke!

The first encounter after Cherrygrove was a Spinarak that poisoned me Turn 1 with Poison Sting. Going to heal after the second battle ever feels bad
:jynx:


Level 6! Razor Leaf is good.

Now's a good time to check my level cap for Falkner. It's 13. Cool. Hope I don't somehow have to avoid getting Geodude. Especially starting as Chikorita.

Visited Mr. Pokemon and won the first rival fight. POOPFRT will pay for interrupting my walk.

Finally got Poke Balls! Catching rules are now in effect. Our first Route 29 encounter is another Hoothoot, who happens to be tied for lowest rank! Any Route 29 mon besides Rattata (Hoothoot, Sentret, Pidgey) would work, but starting past midnight leaves only Hoothoot and Rattata able to be encountered. Good thing Hoothoot wasn’t too highly ranked, or I’d have to wait a long time if I wanted to catch this route’s encounter!

FTHRDFIEND♂ is on deck at level 3. Route 29 is complete. Let’s save our game and check stats. Careful nature seems ok enough. Insomnia is ideal. IVs gave little information so I’ll check back after we gain a level or two.

#163 Hoothoot [Careful]
IVs: 31 / 7 - 14 / 15 - 31 / ? / 13 - 21 / 1 - 21

Another useful perfect IV! FIEND’s Special Attack apparently broke the IV calc, which is probably a sign that I messed something up. Quite possible given how it’s like 2 AM. Gonna sleep. See you tomorrow!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Daytime now, so plenty of Pidgeys, and Sentrets on the route. FLWRPWR got Poison Powder.

No reason to wait until Headbutt to enter Route 46, as my Optimal teammate is guaranteed whether I have access to it or not.

This Level 2 god actually broke out of two balls, so Poison Powder was much appreciated.

GODGAMER♂joins the crew. Luckily poison no longer kills in the overworld, or his stay would be very short. Run Away is better than Guts I guess. Route 46 is complete.

#19 Rattata [Hasty]
IVs: 15 - 28 / 0 - 12 / 5 - 28 / 28 / 0 - 4 / 23 - 28

That speed plus Hasty is sick. You get Quick Attack almost immediately anyway, but still, I’m not complaining.

The first encounter on Route 30 was a Metapod, but he’s too good for us.

I… have made an error. I went into Route 30 expecting to catch our Bottom Tier friend Weedle, but he is SoulSilver-only. So our unchallenged ratings “winner” for this route is Spinarak, who is night hours only. And I can’t leave this route without catching him or I forfeit the chance. I could change my system clock, but that’s not in the spirit. I can’t grind too much or I’d have to burn my Potions, since I can’t go back to the Cherrygrove Pokemon Center to heal, because that would mean leaving the route. See you in many hours!

But hey, FTHRDFIEND got Hypnosis. Maybe I can gimmick Faulkner to death.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back at last! Ended up being two days until I could pick back up at the right time, but we’re here.

Well, I found the bugger. And Hypnosis failed because it rolled Insomnia. And the first Poison Sting poisoned again. And Poison Powder doesn’t work on Poison-types (believe me, I checked to be sure). I’ll be really mad if I fail to catch a level 2. Only brought one Poke Ball… let’s hope quad resisted razor leaf doesn’t KO?

Screw it, I’m using a calculator. I waited two days for this and I’ll be mad if I fuck it up.

Lvl 9 0 Atk Chikorita Razor Leaf vs. Lvl 2 0 HP / 0 Def Spinarak: 4-5 (30.7 - 38.4%) -- 17.6% chance to 3HKO

And that’s with 0 IVs on the Spinarak. Let’s cross our fingers.

Didn’t kill. Did right about a third. Let’s hope we don’t crit.

Didn’t crit, so it has about one-third health left. But I only have one ball. You know what it’s time for. Assuming you were thinking “another calculator”, that is. If you were thinking something else, you're wrong, sorry!

>33% HP remaining
You have a 91.919% chance of capturing it per ball.

Hell, even if I use GODGAMER to safely chip, he could land a crit, or he could die to crit+poison from Poison Sting, or whatever. And he has a chance to be useful versus Falkner. I’ll take those odds.

Broke out on the first shake...

Well that was a letdown. I can’t be too mad, I still love you Spinarak, but you were a bug bastard today. Bug-type bastard, I know you’re not an insect, you adorable thing. But what a tragic victory jingle that was to hear.

Let’s go heal, I guess… Let’s get more Balls too. Route 30 is complete.

We made it to Route 31. Thank God I didn’t forget to pick up some balls.

Guess who returns as our Optimal encounter! Let’s see if I can redeem myself.

Heal Ball for style points?

Yes indeed. No hard feelings, little guy :)

LTLBUGGER♀is our newest member. About time I get help on the girl power front.

Modest nature.

That’s my bugger. Not like you're a physical-attacking Pokemon or anything.

#167 Spinarak [Modest]
20 - 31 / 0 - 4 / 26, 31 / 0 - 19 / 0 - 19 / 15 - 31

Miniscule attack IVs too. I’d expect nothing less. That HP and Defense though. Almost makes me sad that Pidgeotto’s Gust is special.

The Cherrygrove PC is becoming very familiar with my presence.

Current team and levels: FLWRPWR the Chikorita: 10, FTHRDFIEND the Hoothoot: 6, GODGAMER the Rattata: 5, LITLBUGGER the Spinarak: 4. The 13 cap looms nearer.

At the Dark Cave entrance. I pray to God we will be able to get Geodude here. I haven’t actually checked. I fear the worst.

Oh.

Oh no.

I vaguely knew you that could find Dunsparce in Dark Cave, but looking for it never crossed my mind. Better stock up well on Balls before I enter the tunnel. At least it should make Falkner much more manageable? At least using Dunsparce in-game will be a new experience? At least I don’t have to wait two days to look for it? I’m trying to find a bright side here.

I’ve been back here so much I’ll give you a picture. Feels wrong not to.



15 Poke Balls and a premier ball should be enough. Let’s get started. 1% here I come. A pity that LITLBUGGER doesn’t get Absorb (yet?) so that I could punk on Geodudes to train him up.

I forget how good the Dark Cave track is. Let’s wander around in the dark... after triple-checking that Dunsparce doesn’t have some weird time or location restriction. That'd be an unpleasant surprise 100 encounters in.

I’m tallying how many encounters of each mon I have before Dunsparce. Mostly for posterity, but also so that I am forced to take a second to think before clicking Run. It’d be real sad to do that at the wrong time.

Seeing Leech Life do 1 HP damage is funny and a bit nostalgic.

I think doing loops in the beginning room is the Optimal way to generate encounters. Tragic that I’m already thinking about this 5 encounters in.

I just realized I could accidentally exit the cave and forfeit all of this. I’m just hugging the right wall up and down now to be safe.

Encounters Before Dunsparce:<br />
Geodude: 16
Zubat: 19

1% encounter on attempt 36. I’m either a lucky bastard or have used up my luck. Let’s not forget we still need to catch the thing.

It fell asleep. Only attack is Rage, so safely chipping this thing will be hard. I’m just going to poison it despite the whole death risk. Let’s start throwing the balls and praying.

Broke out on the last shake of the first ball, but saved me major stress by yielding on the second. Never have I been so excited to get this “furiously boring” (read the Dex entry, I’m not kidding) Pokemon. Falkner should be a snap.



BIRD DEATH♀ now lurks among us. She is lucky “FRSLYBORING” didn’t fit, but she doesn’t know it. All she knows is RAGE.

Serene Grace, that’s my girl.

#206 Dunsparce [Mild]
IVs: 20 - 24 / 10 - 19 / 0 - 19 / 20 - 29 / 10 - 19 / 30

Good stuff. Just one question. “Likes to run”... how?

DIdn’t know wild Rattata could hold Chilan Berry… You learn something every run.

“The wild Hoothoot identified BIRD DEATH!” I’m sure it has.

Wow. GODGAMER fell to the critical hit of a Level 5 Rattata. Betrayed by his own, and by his Hasty nature. I admittedly didn’t expect him to make it past Falkner, but it’s a pity he can’t chew through Pidgey there. He will be missed. There’s never a good time to have a god gamer taken from you. Now a certain murdering rat bastard is gonna eat Razor Leaf.

We have made it to Violet City, but not without cost. A yet greater battle awaits us in time.

1596514164835.png


THIS IS A BAD TIME, ETHAN!



GODGAMER was released. Bye-bye, GODGAMER! :(

FLWRPWR (Chikorita): 10. FTHRDFIEND (Hoothoot): 7. BIRD DEATH (Dunsparce): 5. LITLBUGGER (Spinarak): 4. Time to get ready for Falkner
 

Finland

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The grinding has begun. I didn’t want to bother with the post-Violet routes, but this grinding has been slow slow. Hoppip is the designated catch for Route 32, so it's Hoppip time? Not quite. I entered the route, but Hoppip can’t be caught during the night. I'm nearly ready to finish for the day, though, so it's fine. Let’s just not accidentally go back to Violet to heal.

Everyone reaching Level 11 is a good stopping point. Five and a half hours on the game clock.

That wasn’t a disaster! FLOPPER♂ may have zero damaging moves but he sure is cute.

#187 Hoppip [Impish]
IVs: 2 - 13 / 30 / 6 - 19 / 2 - 13 / 5, 6 / 17 - 28

Strange little dude…

There’s one more Pokemon I want before Falkner.



Did you remember that you can access the Ruins of Alph off of Route 32? I didn’t.

Did you remember that you had to complete the puzzles before Unown could be encountered? I didn’t.

I entered one “dungeon” area, the big room filled with statues and not Unown. I then went outside, entered another “dungeon” area with the rotating stone puzzle, and completed that. This presents a dilemma. Is the entire Ruins of Alph complex one “route”? Or are the inside and outside separate “routes”? Spoiler from post: My decision is the OP.

Never has so much thought been poured into Unown’s eligibility for a challenge run, but my opinion on what is most fair is: Since you must go back and forth between the outside and inside to fully explore the ruins, the Ruins of Alph complex forms one integrated area. Since I have not left this broader area since entering it, I remain eligible to catch Pokemon in it.

Smeargle is the lowest-ranked Pokemon that can be found outside, and Unown is the lowest-ranked inside. I am currently in the room under the rotating stone puzzle, with no escape rope, so my designated encounter is assured, unless I can somehow reach the ladder before an encounter.

It is also assured should I reach the ladder before an encounter, but realize that I can’t access the grass with Smeargle yet anyway.

With Unown acquired, we are now INVINCIBLE. Hidden Power was super effective on FLWRPWR, could this actually be HP Ice? 1/5 chance!

OHKOd Hoppip! Could be it!!

#201 Unown [Naive]
IVs: 20 / 6 - 13 / 0 - 3 / 6 - 13 / 4 - 18 / 19, 20

I have not had a bad Speed IV yet and I should appreciate that.

IT’S HP ICE! Unbelievable luck. No idea on the move’s power though.

Ranging from KOing, to missing by seemingly 1 HP, to missing OHKO by slightly more against lvl 4 Catepries could give us a rough idea.

55 BP: (17 SpA No STAB) Hidden Power Ice vs. Lvl 4 (No IVs, neutral nature) Caterpie: 14-17 (82.3 - 100%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO. Not guaranteed to fail to KO every Caterpie.

70 BP: Hidden Power Ice vs. Lvl 4 (Max IVs, positive nature) SpD Caterpie: 16-19 (88.8 - 105.5%) -- 37.5% chance to OHKO. Is not guaranteed to KO every caterpie.

A base power in the 60s seems like a fair estimate, which would make it the strongest move by pure base power I have right now. Sweet. Spoiler from post: later grinding saw considerably fewer OHKOs. Lower 60s is more likely.

I did not know that clicking “FIGHT” with no available PP would force you to use Struggle without providing an intermediary screen first! Good to know!



Forgot that I had to do Sprout Tower before Falkner. Would never have guessed Gastly to be below Rattata in the rating. I’ll beat some trainers and catch a glimpse of our lovely rival POOPFRT, but that’s all until night-time. INVINCIBLE is already to 12. All fell before him in weeping shambles. Overleveling is a legitimate worry now. Got the Flash TM and am glad I have Pokemon able to use it.


About 6 hours later, SPOOPSPHER♀ at last joins us. Not exactly sure what I plan to do with her, but there's no reason to not catch while we can. She won’t be much help during the Falkner fight, but won’t be the only one on the team for that.

It’s about time for final preparations. First off is beating the gym trainers to make sure I don’t accidentally overlevel against them. I could go around them if I had to with the clear tiles, but their higher EXP saves me grinding time.

Small note of detail: Figured out something funny with Rage while grinding. “Rage is building” stat boosts aren’t removed if you stop using Rage, you just can’t get more until you Rage again. I can use Rage on Pidgeotto, Yawn with BIRD DEATH whenever I want (which I got at level 6), and resume Rage after. Can’t use Pidgey as Rage fodder though, because Sand-Attack, but still useful.

INVINCIBLE, BIRD DEATH, FLWRPWR, and FTHRDFIEND are capped at 13 (LITLBUGGER wouldn’t be of much help anyway). It’s been a lot of build-up. Let’s see how this goes.

Pre-Falker Team, in the planned team order:

INVINCIBLE (Unown-I) @ Lvl 13. Ability: Levitate
Stats: 38/25/17/24/17/22
Moves: Hidden Power (Ice) (60-65 BP?)

BIRD DEATH♀ (Dunsparce) @ Lvl 13. Ability: Serene Grace
Stats: 51/26/20/27/24/21
Moves: Rage / Yawn / Glare / Defense Curl

FTHRDFIEND♂ (Hoothoot) @ Lvl 13. Ability: Insomnia
Stats: 43/15/14/16/23/20
Moves: Uproar (50 BP, 2-5 turns) / Peck / Hypnosis / Foresight

FLWRPWR♂ (Chikorita) @ Lvl 13. Ability: Overgrow
Stats: 35/19/25/18/25/21
Moves: Razor Leaf, Tackle, Poison Powder, Synthesis

FLOPPER♂ (Hoppip) @ Lvl 7. Emergency fodder.

SPOOPSPHERE♀ (Gastly) @ Lvl 5. Emergency fodder.

Reserve:
LITLBUGGER♀ (Spinarak) @ Lvl 11. Ability: Insomnia.
Stats: 32/16/16/14/13/13
Moves: Poison Sting, Constrict, Scary Face, String Shot

It’s time.



Hidden Power cleanly OHKOs the Pidgey. Let’s find out how much it does to Pidgeotto and pray we don’t die to a crit Gust.

Pidgeotto outspeeds (I forgot opponents can outspeed you!), but Hidden Power easily 2HKOs.

We can end this. Tackle did 10 HP, leaving us with 28. Crit Gust would be very close to a kill, but it shouldn’t kill. We’re using Hidden Power again.

Tackle again. Hidden Power again. It’s over. How much I anguished for this battle, only to sweep with an Unown. This is the peace all true warriors strive for.

I’m quite surprised we get the Roost TM so early. Both Hoothoot and Dunsparce will appreciate it greatly. I’ll decide that later.

Time to wrap up Part 1, save, and actually post this, because posting the beginning and then getting wiped by Falkner would have been sad. Unown didn’t level, so the levels and moves I provided before are still current.

Total Game Clock is 8 hours and 15 minutes.

Route overview:
New Bark Town: Complete. Got Chikorita. Alive.
Route 29: Complete. Caught Hoothoot. Alive.
Route 46: Complete. Caught Rattata. Deceased.
Dark Cave Complex: Complete. Caught Dunsparce. Alive.
Route 30: Complete. Failed to catch Spinarak.
Route 31. Complete. Caught Spinarak. Alive.
Sprout Tower: Complete. Caught Gastyl. Alive but poorly leveled.
Route 32: Complete. Caught Hoppip. Alive but poorly leveled.
Ruins of Alph Complex: Complete. Caught Unown. Alive.
Nearby, incomplete routes: Route 33, Union Cave, Slowpoke Well, Route 35, Route 36, Route 37, National Park

See you all soon!
 

Yung Dramps

awesome gaming
8 hours for just the first gym. That sounds uhhh... Kinda rancid. I know this challenge is making you play really, really sub-optimally, but still. Is this game that grindy or do your mons suck that hard?
 

Finland

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Some of it's from research, planning, commentary, etc. I'm doing mid-session.

Some of the grinding was pretty uniquely rough. Spinarak's 15 BP Poison Sting is a really sad solo grinding option. Constrict is never worth using because a 2x resisted Poison Sting is still stronger, and the poison chance isn't a big difference maker. Also remember 0-4 Attack IVs and Modest.
For Hoothoot, I just got Uproar, it's been Tackle and Peck really, and Hoothoot is just weak especially off that poor Attack IV.
Dunsparce of course took time to find (even though I got pretty lucky), and Rage while not terrible is bad at grinding specifically. Losing the rage boosts after each encounter fight is a big drag, which also means you chew through the 20 PP a bit fast. Still not as bad as Poison Sting though.
Chikorita and Unown had little problems on that front, although Unown greatly benefits from its Hidden Power's both amazing type and decent power.

The levels I got these Pokemon at didn't help. Dunsparce level 4, Hoothoot level 3, and Spinarak level 3. Unown level 5 but again less of a pain to raise.

The push from ~10-11 to 13 was probably not necessary, but I was really worried about that anticlimactic Falkner fight. That probably added some time too.

It should get better. Incoming Headbutt will be amazing for Dunsparce. Hoothoot got a small boost from Uproar and evolves in 7 levels. Spinarak's... praying there's some useful TM relatively soon.

I didn't need to grind much when I played this game as a kid, but the threat of permadeath is exposing that, if you do need to grind, it is often no bueno.
 
Last edited:

Finland

TRUE!
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I'm still just quite happy Falkner is in rearview.
I'm not keeping FLOPPER
and SPOOPSPHER
in the party for now. Grinding them will be pain. The latter in particular could come back when switch training is more useful. Both FTHRDFIEND
and BIRD DEATH
(ironic) get Roost by level, and a later catch could need it more, so I'll wait on that for now.

Headbutt will be great, but there is a problem. Unlocking Headbutting trees expands the pool for eligible route encounters, and we don't want to end up with more Spinarak. Grinding this one has been enough. I'm gonna dash to some routes to make sure Headbutt access doesn't shift their eligible encounters into ones I already have.

Route 36 first!

What, the entire route is blocked off by the Sudowoodo? Well, at least I got the Rock Smash HM, but we won't be getting any catches on this route. Miracle Seed later too for FLWRPWR
1596645120022.png
.



We’ve made it to Union Cave. Onix and Sandshrew are technically on the same tier, but Onix’s placement specifically references Rocky the in-game trade + the ability to trade-evolve for Steelix, neither of which is an option for me. Onix is clearly lower in context. I’m going to rule it as the only eligible encounter.

May as well check my level cap for Bugsy. It’s 17. That’s kind of tight.

Saw an Onix, briefly panicked, then remembered I had started a trainer battle.
:jynx:


FLWRPWR evolves
! Unfortunately it is still bad against Bugsy, but still! Bayleef is sick.

5% encounter for Onix came pretty painlessly actually.
But it did not go well! Its massive physical defense and tiny special defense made it hard to chip safely. I put it to sleep with BIRD DEATH’s
Yawn and FTHRDFIEND’s
Hypnosis, but it easily broke out of the Poke Balls. In desperation, I tried to chip with Uproar, but a critical killed it. I probably should’ve used LTLBUGGER’s
Poison Sting as with the Dunsparce catch. Oh well. He would’ve been a big help for Bugsy. Let’s just get out of here. Union Cave felt so slow.

Hoppip is our designated encounter for Route 33 after the cave. No need to bother with that. Let’s just get to Azalea.



Made it. Heading off for now.
FLWRPWR
Lvl 16, BIRD DEATH
Lvl 14, INVINCIBLE
Lvl 13, FTHRDFIEND
Lvl 13, LITLBUGGER
Lvl 13, (Mystery Egg)


Guess where we are and what Pokemon we can catch. I’ll give you a hint. Both start with “Slowpok”. The Net Balls I picked up earlier could be useful earlier than I expected.

Useful unless I crit with FTHRDFIEND’s
Peck at the worst time. Catching has not been going well! Anyway, time for Petrel. I mean Proton. One of the grunts name-dropped him, I really shouldn’t have messed that up. BIRD DEATH
and INVINICBLE
make quick work of him, but we should not get overconfident before Bugsy and that U-Turn Scyther.

I may as well start giving Apricorns to Kurt for better balls.

As with Falkner, I’ll be taking down the Gym Trainers early to ensure I don’t overlevel against them later.
Money is less tight so I can throw Potions (out of battle!) more conveniently. With their help, FTHRDFIEND
runs through the trainers.

The Mystery Egg hatched! Woohoo! I can’t use Togepi! I'll eventually bring it back to Elm though in case that's relevant for story progress.

FLWRPWR
capped at 17 early. I will only be using him as a last resort, due to his U-Turn weakness, but he is a bulky NFE that can hopefully live exactly one and then Tackle or Poison Powder. FTHRDFIEND
resists U-Turn and can hit with super-effective Peck, but its stats are just significantly worse across the board. BIRD DEATH
can use some combination of Rage, Glare, Yawn, and Roost. INVINCIBLE
has super-effective Hidden Power Ice, but can take 0 U-Turns and could fall to a critical Technician Quick Attack.
I think I have my plan for Bugsy. Lead with LITLBUGGER
or INVINCIBLE
against the first weak cocoon. If he uses the other weak cocoon second, faint it too. If he brings in Scyther second, switch to FTHRDFIEND
to ideally take one U-Turn and finish off the second cocoon. Whenever he brings in Scyther with no other cocoons, switch to one of our non-party mons as a sacrifice, then bring in BIRD DEATH
to paralyze.

Time for Bugsy. There were a pair of excellent Level 17 move surprises, and a TM decision! This should go fine.

Team before Bugsy:
FTHRDFIEND
Lvl 17. Ability: Insomnia.
53/18/17/19/29/25
Uproar | Peck | Reflect | Roost

BIRD DEATH
Lvl 17. Ability: Serene Grace.
64/32/26/34/30/27
Rage | Rollout | Yawn | Glare

INVINCIBLE
Lvl 17. Ability: Levitate.
47/31/22/30/21/27
Hidden Power (Ice) (BP ~ 60)

FLWRPWR
Lvl 17. Ability: Overgrow.
49/28/37/26/37/32
Razor Leaf | Tackle | Synthesis | Poison Powder

LITLBUGGER
Lvl 13. Ability: Insomnia.
36/18/18/16/15/15
Leech Life | Poison Sting | Constrict | Scary Face

FLOPPER
Lvl 7. Ability: Chlorophyll.
22/12/12/9/13/13
Synthesis | Tail Whip | Splash

It was a tough decision, but I eventually gave Roost to FTHRDFIEND
. It would take him longer to learn it by level, and it could be useful in a pinch against Bugsy if I need to set another Reflect. I replaced Hypnosis because I have Yawn for more reliable sleep, and Peck gives me an attack option that doesn’t lock me in for 2-5 turns.


It’s time.

Leading with FTHRDFIEND
and setting up Reflect turn 1 in case I somehow OHKO

WHAT

He sends out Scyther FIRST?

Well.

Still doing Reflect Turn 1 though.

It uses Focus Energy. This is bad.

I didn’t intend to sacrifice this early but it seems the best choice. Hopefully it U-Turns away.

No dice. R.I.P. Flopper
. But this is not a time to mourn.
I switch in BIRD DEATH
. Use Yawn, and am targeted with Leer. Going back to FTHRDFIEND
.
Another Leer, but Scyther is asleep. Back to BIRD DEATH
. Roll time.

It stayed asleep Turn 1 (obviously), stayed asleep Turn 2 (thankfully), and used Leer on Turn 3. That was all the time needed for Rollout to finish it. And the cocoons fell instantly after. It is over. Yes.
And as the burst of adrenaline fades, it’s time to mourn our second fallen. You will be missed, FLOPPER
. You never quite worked out for the team, but you were always adorable.

FLOPPER was released. Bye-bye, FLOPPER! :(
Leaving Azalea with six Pokemon (the remaining party plus SPOOPSPHER
) in my possession and 11:50 on the total game clock.
 
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Finland

TRUE!
is a Top Social Media Contributoris a Top Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributoris a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
After a day off, we’re back again. I'm actually going to put SPOOPSPHER
back because I prioritize training our Ilex Forest catch over it, and this saves a trip to the PC later.

POOPFRT ambush? I had forgotten about this fight. Good thing the team should be prepared for anything.

Gastly falls after two Pecks
and choosing to use Curse. Switching out thanks to Curse damage, to INVINCIBLE
so he can wipe Zubat. It lands Supersonic, and thanks to Unown’s high Attack (so useful!) being well above its defense, I’m going to switch back
. I Roost off damage from Bite, but am confused again. Hit myself once, use Reflect turn 2. Try and Roost, but hit myself again so I’m just going to switch. Since he outspeeds Zubat, I can go back and in again to heal if I have to. Maybe BIRD DEATH
can sleep it.

Or, since his last Pokemon is Quilava anyway, I can try rolling out to victory. Smokescreen cut my chain, but I did land a Yawn. Go back
, but can’t stay in should it wake up optimally and Ember before I can heal. Going back
. Maybe now we can Rollout in peace?
No. I use Rollout while it lays asleep, and land two, so we are close, but then it wakes up and uses Smokescreen again. I land another Yawn and go to INVINCIBLE
to shake off my lowered accuracy and defense. Honestly, I’m going to try and finish it off with him.

And that ends it. Funny how the dreaded Falkner battle took three lines to describe, and this was this. I’m definitely awake now!

Level 19 cap for Whitney? Good thing I checked! I’m not particularly scared of this fight, but still, that’s tight.

Our designated catch has a 15% encounter rate, which isn’t bad. Except from 10AM-8PM, where it has a 5% chance. Guess what time slot we’re in now? At least I got Cut to use on it.

I finally succumbed to listening to outside music while grinding. I should make a grind playlist if I do that enough times.

It was pretty tragic that I found three Zubats (also 5% at this time) first, but our encounter came right after one of the Zubats, so that works.

Why do I particularly care enough about a level 5-6 Ilex Forest encounter? Because two reliable sources of sleep is pretty great.

No messing around now. Putting it to sleep, then bringing out the Net Balls.

About time I actuaully get another catch.


EYES♀
has joined the party. She rather rudely poisoned me
, so she gets the joy of another trip back to Azalea. I give her Cut and Bullet Seed: the latter may be slow, and only has 10 power per hit now, but her movepool needs all the help it can get. No U-Turn access, of course <_<

First reached Route 34. Gonna grind the 5% for Ditto because how could I not?

That was an exciting first two encounters. Decided to try LITLBUGGER’s
confusion against a wild Drowzee, but not only was it outsped, and not only did the Drowzee use Confusion, and not only did it get the 10% chance to confuse me, but I hit myself in confusion. Which brought me into the red. Oops!

Second encounter was this though. No complaints.

WOW
joined the party. WOW, I’m using a Ditto! Without Imposter! Encountered another one right after, too, which was really weird.

I should buy Repels.

If you hadn’t guessed, I’m not going to be using the Day Care. Because.

Made it to Goldenrod. Doing Radio Tower things will be awkward with how close I am to the cap. Or is Whitney’s battle first? I hope it is.

I bought ten Repels.

I’m going to use the Game Corner. Not for Pokemon of course, but items and TMs can be useful. Let’s flip some Voltorbs?

Blew up on the very first try. Good omen.

There’s a Voltorb Flip puzzle solver? Yeah, I should probably use that.

Most of the puzzles can’t be perfectly solved without risk, so this is going to take a while. I think I’ll buy an item or two and that’s it.

I need to get Headbutt! Forgot that.

BIRD DEATH
now has Glare and Serene Grace Headbutt. Tremble before her, ye gods. Way more consistent route-clearer than Rage as well. I now have to think about Headbutt trees for designated route encounters though. FLWRPWR
also appreciates the Normal-type upgrade over Tackle. These are the only two who can learn it.

Almost time for Whitney. Should I get cocky and switch-train EYES
on Miltank? Probably not.

FLWRPWR
could learn Reflect, but I won’t teach it. We already have a Reflect user and he is the only functionally-levelled Poison user. I can pick up the TM at the Goldenrod Department Store if I really felt the need. FTHRDFIEND’s
poor stats are starting to show, but evolution is very soon.

Grinded out the Wide Lens for Dunsparce, which will be useful quite soon. Zoom Lens would be more immediately useful, but Wide Lens is probably better overall for Rollout chaining against all Pokemon. Wasn’t a pleasant grind, but finished with 1001 coins out of 1000, which was pretty cool.

Let’s do this!

The Team:
FTHRDFIEND
Lvl 19. Ability: Insomnia.
58/20/19/21/31/28
Uproar | Peck | Reflect | Roost
BIRD DEATH
Lvl 19 @ Wide Lens. Ability: Serene Grace.
71/36/28/37/33/30
Headbutt | Rollout | Yawn | Glare
FLWRPWR
Lvl 19 @ Miracle Seed. Ability: Overgrow.
53/31/41/29/41/35
Razor Leaf | Headbutt | Synthesis | Poison Powder
INVINCIBLE
Lvl 17. Ability: Levitate.
47/31/22/30/21/27
Hidden Power (Ice) (BP ~ 60)
LITLBUGGER
Lvl 13. Ability: Insomnia.
36/18/18/16/15/15
Leech Life | Poison Sting | Constrict | Scary Face
EYES
Lvl 6. Ability: Dry Skin (not sure if I’d prefer this or Effect Spore).
21/13/14/11/10/8
Bullet Seed | Cut | Poison Powder | Stun Spore

FTHRDFIEND
being up first again is on purpose. He can set Reflect on Clefairy, so hopefully our ace in the hole
can finish Clefairy off fast to be bolstered from Miltank for a few turns.

CLEFAIRY used METRONOME! METRONOME used SWALLOW! Fitting because Whitney’s about to eat shit.

It got Roar of Time the second time O_O. 22 points of damage, but I can land the finishing hit while it recharges.

I’m glad I paid attention to my team’s genders. Attract won’t help you now! It can’t flinch with Stomp, doing a measly 9 damage thanks to Reflect, and I successfully paralyze it turn 1. Let’s see how YOU like being flinched and haxed to death!

Wait howd I still get outsped

Wait howd the paralysis go away

Why does it hold a lum berry…
Super Potion time for me. That’s my one alloted item for the battle. Paralyzed it… again. But I only have 29 HP
and a critical Stomp could take me out. Let’s set Reflect again and plan our next move.

Luckily I have two Headbutt users. Tragically this one
is vulnerable to Attract. This will be slower than I thought, but now that it is paralyzed and I have two healers, my eventual victory should be assured. I go back to
and take lots of Stomp damage. I roost. It uses Rollout. Reflect again. Full paralysis should interrupt it so I’ll go to
.

Razor Leaf crit does decent damage and full paralysis comes. Razor Leaf missed but it is fully paralyzed. I go for Headbutt hoping for a flinch + then a crit Razor Leaf after to finish it before it heals. No dice on flinch, and it uses Milk Drink. Two more Razor Leafs but they are weak without crit.
is too weak to switch in again. Attract. Three immobilizations in a row kills my progress. I might have to fodder somebody. Reflect would’ve been amazing to have on
...

20 PP on Stomp? I may want to go for PP stall. Crit Stomp meant I would have died if immobilization happened, bad! Go to INVINCIBLE
who takes big damage. To LITLBUGGER
now. I need a window to breathe.

Fodder EYES
(RIP) but at least it used Rollout. Time for BIRD DEATH to pray.
Would have finished if not for her Super Potion. But at least the potions are finished. I’m probably one Stomp away from death. Tough decisions. Fodder LITLBUGGER
(RIIIIP). Give
breathing space. Roost. Luckily it uses Rollout. Reflect. Roost removing Flying type is keeping me alive. BIRD DEATH
comes in under Reflect support, and Miltank is fully paralyzed anyway.

SHE HAS TWO SUPER POTIONS????

Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Have to keep clicking Headbutt.

AND ITS OVERRRRRR THANK GOOOOOOOD

Eat. Fucking. Shit. I’m dizzy. It went bad but it was a substantial miracle it didn’t go worse. Three badges down.

Play time is 14:22, but I left it open a bit before remembering to get this, so it’s a bit less than that.

There’s of course something we have to do.
EYES
was released. Bye-bye, EYES! :(
LITLBUGGER
was released. Bye-bye, LITLBUGGER! :(
Wow, that hurt. Especially for
. But we must press on. The party leaving Goldenrod is
,
,
,
, and SPOOPSHER
, with WOW
in PC reserve.
 

Finland

TRUE!
is a Top Social Media Contributoris a Top Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributoris a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
Route 35’s encounter is Ditto again. No need to bother. Poor repeat encounters put some pressure on me to keep the better members of my team intact!


Level cap is 25 for Morty. That gives some breathing room.

Let’s go, FTHRDFIEND
! Sick upgrade!

A terrifying sequence that was. BIRD DEATH
tries to use a trainer’s Magmars as Rollout bait, but the first one burns her, letting them Leer her and bring her into the red before she can land the finishing blow. Lock-in moves that don’t let you switch are scary for trainer battles!

The National Park catch is Daytime only, unless I would want another Spinarak, so let’s take advantage before night comes. I use
Yawn to sleep it, but catch it before it actually falls asleep. Not bad.


NAPALM
has joined the party! Hey, it looks like a bomb, doesn’t it?

Double Grass-types are redundant? You’re redundant!

It graciously learns Cut.

For Route 37, I have to Headbutt for another Spinarak, but that beats waiting until night to find one on the route.

BUGGER JR.♂
has been caught. It has Night Shade, which is stronger than Leech Life, I guess.

Let’s check some IVs.

#191 Sunkern [Docile]
IVs: 17 - 23 / 0, 1 / 7, 8, 9 / 15, 16 / 17 - 23 / 31
#167 Spinarak [Jolly]
IVs: 20 - 26 / 5 - 11 / 20 - 26 / 14 - 26 / 14 - 19 / 31

Not too shabby, I suppose. Still no good attack IV for our Spinarak, but at least not Modest nature. What is up with my excellent Speed IVs?
Made it to Ecruteak. INVINCIBLE
’s lack of power outside of super-effective hits is starting to show. Tragic

The POOPFRT battle at Burned Tower was actually very scary. I should really stop underestimating him despite his ridiculous name. Sonic Boom/Thunder Wave/Supersonic Magnemite is a real problem when I couldn’t use items in battle, and it crippled BIRD DEATH
before she could deal with Quilava. Thankfully, FLWRPWR
poisoned it (I told you access to poison was important!) so that FTHRDFIEND
could stall it out. Reflect was great for Flame Wheel. If that Poison Powder had missed...

SMGNMOMENT♂
. I’ll give him the party nod over BUGGER JR.
for now.

I was happy about the space until Morty’s level cap, because I assumed there would be more time until I could battle him. There was not. This grind could be unpleasant.

FTHRDFIEND
learns Confusion? He may be an even bigger contributor than I hoped. I’ll replace Peck.

It’s rare that Gym Trainers are scary. Mean Look+Curse+Confuse Ray is scary! But I cleared them out.

I am a fool, and left Route 38 without looking for my catch, but luckily Route 39 has the same designated encounter.

Splent a lot of time looking for Morning/Day Farfetch’d before realizing it wasn’t 8 AM yet. Luckily it’s 7:59 now so…

Wait, my DS clock is one hour fast? How have I not found a 10% encounter yet, then??? Also I should fix that. I did eventually.

Didn’t expect to see Raikou O___O

Oh, Morning starts at 4AM anyway. What was I thinking? What is this Farfetch’d thinking?



K♂
has at last joined the party. Grinding for a Farfetch'd. I just can’t even at this point.

I forgot to do a route overview. I should do that soon.

BIRD DEATH
learned Pursuit at the last possible level before the cap, which I replaced Rollout with. Rollout is good, but has problems with locking in, relying on multiple hits, and accuracy. Pursuit will give me more freedom against Morty and is good for Headbutt-immune Ghosts generally.

I’m going to play it ultra safe and train up K
for Morty. Let’s see what his stats are.

#83 Farfetch'd [Careful]
IVs: 9 - 14 / 24 / 15 - 21 / 9 - 15 / 8 - 13 / 12 - 17

Very… okay. Minus special attack nature is pretty neat, as is the starting movepool, with Aerial Ace and a not-awful trio of Fury Attack, Fury Cutter, and Knock Off. Keen Eye is pretty pointless with Aerial Ace, but Inner Focus isn’t that much better anyway.

Grinding her has been a bit slow, but getting Slash by level is a big help.

Unfortunately, K
fell at level 21 to a critical hit Stantler’s Stomp. Let’s hope our current team is enough for Morty.

K was released. Bye-bye, K! :(

The Team:

FTHRDFIEND
Lvl 25. @ Oran Berry. Ability: Insomnia
94/35/34/45/63/46
Uproar/Confusion/Reflect/Roost

BIRD DEATH
Lvl 25. @ Quick Claw. Ability: Serene Grace
92/46/36/48/42/39
Headbutt/Pursuit/Yawn/Glare

FLWRPWR
Lvl 25. @ Miracle Seed. Ability: Overgrow
68/39/53/37/52/46
Magical Leaf/Headbutt/Poison Powder/Synthesis
INVINCIBLE
Lvl 19. Ability: Levitate
51/34/24/34/23/30
Hidden Power (Ice) (BP ~ 60)
NAPALM
Lvl 13 @ Wide Lens. Ability: Chlorophyll
33/12/13/14/15/16
Mega Drain/Cut/GrassWhistle/Growth
SMGNMOMENT
Lvl 14. Ability: Levitate
39/24/28/22/20/18
Smog/Tackle/Poison Gas/SmokeScreen

Battle seems easy on paper. FTHRDFIEND
is literally only vulnerable to Spite, Mean Look, Curse, and Sucker Punch, has Confusion to hit everyone super effectively, and can heal off chip with Roost. The rest of the team can come in support if needed, though if Wide Lens GrassWhistle actually happens, that’d be bad! After Whitney (shivers), though, I’m not going to be cocky.

Lead Gastly falls to one Confusion. Glad it didn’t Curse and force me to switch. That also bodes well for the move’s power against the Haunters and Gengar.

Second Pokemon is the Level 21 Haunter, which can only affect me with Curse. I wonder what it will use.

Hypnosis??? I mean, I’ll take it. It did outspeed and use Curse before (self-inflicted) death, though, so I should switch out. In hindsight, I should have spammed Roost until it used Curse, but nothing I can do about that now.

Gengar’s here, Switching to BIRD DEATH
. She can be slept, but at least she doesn’t worry about Shadow Ball. Gengar does not have Dream Eater, so Sucker Punch is its only direct option, but maybe it can Mean Look and switch into a Curse Haunter? Probably not possible with AI limitations, but…

Mean Look on switch. Hypnosis misses. Pursuit lands but doesn’t deal that much. Gengar has Sitrus Berry, which could make it take a bit longer. I checked items after Whitney’s Lum Berry incident!

I’m going to try and Glare. It uses Sucker Punch, but Glare misses (75% accuracy remember). It successfully sleeps me. I’m staying in, don’t have much choice anyway.

Sucker Punch works if you choose an attack while sleeping? Didn’t think that what I clicked in Turn 1 of sleep would matter. Only 20 damage though. It does SP again (I suppose it wouldn’t do anything else) and I paralyze. Activate Sitrus with another Pursuit.

I should just switch in
now. Oh wait, I can’t. Oops.

Two more clicks of Pursuit, and Morty sore-losers by literally killing himself with Curse while outspeeding. Complete cakewalk. Too bad I grinded a Pokemon for that just for it to faint. Oh well, always feels good to finish a Gym battle, especially with half now done! Shadow Ball is a schnasty TM but I won’t commit to giving it out yet.

I’ll do the Route Overview next chapter, because that will end an arc. See you then! 18:36 on the Play Clock right now.

Bit of a shorter chapter.
 
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