Let's Play! Pokémon Colosseum Nuzlocke

Yeah let's do it. This will probably be updated very periodically so if you're interested watch the thread, mainly because Pokémon will die and this game is slow. Beyond that, this will be a somewhat casual nuzlocke by traditional standards because, hey, it's Pokémon Colosseum. This game was not made to be nuzlocked lol. Updates will primarily be based on experiences in battles and team selections -- if you want the plot watch a Let's Play (Chuggaaconry has a great one) -- and this game is commonly considered the hardest to nuzlocke, so it's what we're all here for.

Alternate title: Celever simping over Colosseum for 20-30 forum posts. This game means a lot to me; I was a sickly child and the hospital I frequented had a GameCube, and the best game they had for the GameCube was Colosseum. I replayed it I don't know how many times, and eventually even bought my own memory card that my parents would bring with us on hospital trips. As I was never bedbound, unlike pretty much every other child that would be on the kid's ward, I'd have the GameCube all to myself, so basically I got to skip school to play video games. Not a bad deal, but you can see why this game is close to my heart lol. This is why finally beating this game under Nuzlocke conditions would be pretty awesome for me personally, and publishing the run on here is light peer pressure that means I should actually finish it.

  • You can catch every Pokémon. This is still not all that many, and some of them are the equivalent of useless.
  • Time Flutes are permitted, because it's really not a huge advantage and just saves time grinding. You only get 3, and on many Pokémon they're not worth using anyway.
  • On that note, Mt. Battle and Colosseums are grinding spots. This means that Pokémon cannot die in these areas. Trust me, I've attempted a Colosseum Nuzlocke before without this rule and it's impossible; there are no Wild Pokémon in this game, so these are the only ways to level up outside of progressing in the main campaign. A crit in Mt. Battle leads to the entire playthrough being spent in Mt. Battle as you have to train up something else fresh.
  • Items, outside of Revives, are also permitted. It's double battles, they're way less broken and are also necessary.
  • Level caps are in play to the best of their ability. This means that in pre-battle grinding in preparation for a boss fight, you cannot level over the cap for their ace. Evice is considered the boss for Realgam Tower.
  • Bulbapedia is banned. I have a comprehensive knowledge of this game, I don't need it. And it's less fun when you can just look everything up lol.
  • The nicknaming theme is food, because I'm hungry.
Chapter 1
Something I didn't notice before is that the sack that Rui is kept in is already on the truck and squirming when you first reach Outskirt Stand. The protagonist, Wes, doesn't do anything about it. He's a criminal, what can we expect.

I decided to check out our starters to see what we're working with. I don't know if I'll do this for every Shadow Pokémon we might be able to use, but we're likely to be dependent on these two, particularly Umbreon, for a while.
So we got a fast, offensively-inclined Umbreon, and a slow, defensive Espeon. Great.

VS Rider Willie
I've played Colosseum enough to know that you just mash A and use Confusion and Bite. Espeon OHKOed despite its minimal SpAtk IVs; Umbreon usually 2HKOs its Zigzagoon but it got a crit. Nice stuff.

VS Shady Guy Folly
To be as safe as possible, Turn 1 I used Reflect to minimise damage taken, while Umbreon got its first hit on its marked Whismur. Next turn, Espeon OHKOs the other and Umbreon finishes its own off. This is how a lot of these earlier battles are gonna go.

Anyway, we rescued Rui. I called her Snobi, as I called Wes Celever. Fun fact about my name: since I was a kid, this is the name I have used in video games, as it's just a portmanteau of my two favourite Pokémon when I was like, 4: Celebi and Snover. In games where I played as the female, I instead used Snobi, which is the other way of portmanteauing those Pokémon. Yes, that means my name is said with a soft C. I didn't just add an e to clever; it wasn't until it was pointed out a decade later online that I even saw that connection. I suppose that means I'm not particularly clever.

Speaking of not being particularly clever, I was about 18 when I realised that this is a bathrobe on the mayor's bed:

I always thought it was a moose or bull head. Not sure why, I've never even seen a moosehead in real life. On an old CRT, I think the roses looked like blood to me, and then the ribbons were its tusks or horns.

This is my favourite line in the game. Rui finds out that we were a high-ranking member of Team Snagem who has stolen innumerable Pokémon from their trainers, and the most she has to say is "that's a little shocking!". I've laughed about this line since I first played this game, because it's such an understatement, and her fidelity considering we met her about 10 minutes ago is bizarre.

VS. Team Snagem Wakin
Confusion on Koffing and Bite on Corphish, followed up with Confusion on Corphish. Pretty easy, but Umbreon scored a flinch on Corphish. This thing is getting all kinds of luck, hopefully it keeps up.

Next we head to Outskirt Stand to bust the bank buying PokéBalls. We get 5 PokéBalls for free, buy 10 more, and then spend the rest of our money on Great Balls. We start with Potions, Super Potions, and every status healing item in decent supply, so this is the best use of our money right now.

VS. Miror B.Peon Folly
You know the drill by now. Confusion, Bite, Confusion. Whismur and Lotad down.

VS. Miror B.Peon Trudly
Confusion on Spinarak, Bite on Duskull. Then Makuhita comes out.

Speaking of me being a dumb kid, I always thought that Makuhita's red rings on its cheekbones were its eyes, and its actual eyes were its eyebrows. In my defense, I don't think its eyes looks like eyes either, they're just lines. Eyes are round.

Duskull avoids the OHKO from Bite and uses Leer. This is worst case scenario; Makuhita genuinely hits hard, and is a higher level than us by quite a long way. In retaliation, I opt for Reflect. This isn't XD, so while Makuhita is the catching tutorial, you have to catch it the hard way. Meanwhile, Umbreon finishes off Duskull, and thankfully Makuhita targets Umbreon. It doesn't deal too much damage, so I'm playing it safe and using Return and Bite, hoping for the flinch. This sets Makuhita just below half, but doesn't flinch, and Makuhita uses Cross Chop. Thankfully it was on Espeon, but still dealt around a third of its health under Reflect. Time to Bite again, and on Espeon's move try to catch the guy. We caught it in just a PokéBall, saving our 15 Great Balls for the harder Pokémon later.

Trudly is defeated.

Starter Choice
We heal up, and now comes an important decision. Colosseum has a starter choice between Bayleef, Quilava, and Croconaw. These usually evolve right after you purify them, and you do catch all of them eventually, but very late in the game.

Bayleef is an interesting option. It has good bulk, but its starting moveset is pretty poor. It comes with Razor Leaf which is a spread move, but it's weak. Its attack that only targets one opponent is Body Slam, which is fantastic for its 30% paralysis chance, however. This is really nice for catching Shadow Pokémon, as it deals chip damage and is fairly likely to inflict the best status for catching Shadow Pokémon in this game. Its other move, Sunny Day and Synthesis, are somewhat pointless as healing items aren't banned. It's nice for conserving money, and if it learned Solar Beam earlier it would be amazing, but it doesn't learn it until pretty much the end of the game. It learns Light Screen before the battle against Cipher ADMN Dakim, but the TM for Light Screen is obtained just after Dakim, meaning many other Pokémon can learn it. If I were to choose Bayleef, it would be for Body Slam and its natural bulk, and not much else.

Quilava is an interesting option. Its starting attacks are Flame Wheel and Dig, which aren't great. Furthermore, as a Shadow Pokémon, which it will be for quite a long time, it has pretty poor bulk. It does, however, learn Smokescreen. This is a potentially interesting move for this run as we want to catch as many Shadow Pokémon as possible, and have access to healing items, so there's a chance it could make our life easier. Fire-Type Pokémon are also very rare in this game -- outside of Quilava, our options are Slugma and Entei. Slugma has an extremely high evolution level so it would require a lot of babying, but its defensive capabilities make it an interesting option. Entei is great, but this is a Nuzlocke and it could die. Water- and Grass-Type Pokémon are in much greater abundance, so if we did want a Fire-Type Pokémon, Quilava is a solid choice to ensure access to a capable one.

Croconaw is the best newbie choice for a starter. It comes with Surf, which is the best spread move as it doesn't hit your ally in this gen, and one that not every Water-Type Pokémon has access to in this game. As there are no HMs, a Pokémon has to be given it upon purification, and something like Mantine isn't lucky enough to get that treatment. It also comes with Scary Face, which is a legitimately nice status move as it's a spread move that lowers Speed; I can foresee some nice plays with Colosseum's doubles mechanics, as a Pokémon is sent out immediately after another Pokémon faints, and so a fast Pokémon could KO an opponent and its replacement could be sent into Scary Face, letting us take 2 hits on it. Later on, Feraligatr also learns Screech, which is fantastic in this game -- Gligar is one of my favourite team members solely due to its access to Screech as soon as you get it.

This may come as a surprise, but I ended up opting for Bayleef. I feel like its access to Body Slam is too good to pass up, and though some probable team members like Quagsire also learn it, it's a Nuzlocke and it's always possible that Quagsire could die. If we end up without status, the run becomes so much harder. Also, I'm kind of terrified about Miror B., and Bayleef is the starter with undoubtedly the best matchup against it. Miror B.,'s lowest levelled Ludicolo has Ice Beam, but once we double target and take it out we can switch Bayleef in and spam Sunny Day. I'm pretty sure this tricks the AI into spamming Rain Dance, and if this tactic fails, Bayleef still can tank his Water- and Grass-Type attacks.

Oh, let's IV our Makuhita.
We don't learn Shadow Pokémon's natures until later, but the IV calculator tells us that it's a +SpDef nature, as its stat is too high to just be from IVs. I went ahead and plugged in a random +SpDef nature, and even with that it's 30-31 IVs in SpDef, so this may end up a nice special tank. It's likely that it's +SpDef, -Def, which isn't ideal, but it may also just have no Defensive IVs and be -SpAtk or -Spe, both of which would be A-OK with me. Its high Attack, HP, and SpDef are really nice. I'm not a huge proponent of Makuhita in this game; it's relatively tanky and hits hard, but offers minimal utility outside of that. This makes it seem like it should be a good member of our team for the first stint of the game, however.

Vs. Mystery Troop Verde
He leads with Grimer and his Shadow Bayleef, so we just Confusion the Grimer and use Bite on Bayleef. Hopefully it flinches, but it's nice to gauge whether it would be safe to use Confusion on it afterwards as both are special moves.

Yeah, this is safe to use Confusion on. I doubt even a crit would KO it. Meanwhile Umbreon can use Bite on the Spoink that replaced Grimer. Umbreon scores the flinch on Spoink, meanwhile Espeon's Confusion deals under half of Bayleef's health. I know this, because it used Synthesis and its HP is almost full. It used Synthesis on the first turn too; looks like we might have to spam to PP stall.

Either I missed a crit or the first Confusion was a max roll. During the Synthesis spam, Confusion is barely dealing a quarter of damage, so Confusion and Bite together both do under half its health. This is a great sign if we catch him. Another great sign is that Bayleef dealt just under half of Espeon's HP with Shadow Rush, and now it's in the red after a Confusion, Bite, and recoil (and the damage it already had). Time to throw a PokéBall.

2 shakes.

I just realised Umbreon has Taunt so I've used it; Bayleef isn't out of Synthesis PP yet. We've got it cornered and it just took more recoil. We'll use a Great Ball this time.

Bayleef was caught.

Before we sign off, let's check out our Bayleef.
No wonder Shadow Rush was so strong -- it has to have a +Atk nature, and when I put Adamant in, its IVs are 26-29. Considering we caught the guy for Body Slam, that's pretty perfect. The rest of its IVs are pretty bad though, so that's a bummer.

I'm keeping this a little shorter to get feedback on the style etc.. If you're interested in the playthrough, let me know what you thought of Chapter 1.
Are you using the item glitch? It's most commonly known for infinite master balls but it can also be used to apply x-items to a Pokemon when it isn't its turn
Are you using the item glitch? It's most commonly known for infinite master balls but it can also be used to apply x-items to a Pokemon when it isn't its turn
Nah, I don't intend on doing so. It's one of those glitches that's so easy to do that it could be considered a feature, but it still feels cheap to me. By the time you get the Master Ball you only have a bunch of bad Pokémon and Heracross left anyway, so its only real use is the equivalent of OHKOing Shadow Pokémon in Realgam Colosseum.
How exactly would encounters work for this game's Nuzlocke applications anyway? Maybe someone else has answered this already and I just haven't seen the message yet. Would it be by in-game area? By individual Trainer battles? Maybe something else entirely? I've always been so curious about Nuzlockes for this game and Pokémon XD while we're at it.
How exactly would encounters work for this game's Nuzlocke applications anyway? Maybe someone else has answered this already and I just haven't seen the message yet. Would it be by in-game area? By individual Trainer battles? Maybe something else entirely? I've always been so curious about Nuzlockes for this game and Pokémon XD while we're at it.
Encounters in this game are just not restricted in nuzlockes, allowing you to catch all of them. If you restricted them by location, then you would only have Umbreon & Espeon (starters), Makuhita, something from Battle Square (Slugma, Noctowl, Flaaffy, Skiploom, Quagsire, or Misdreavus; I suppose if you walked past them all you could also choose Furret for Helping Hand), Meditite, Hitmontop, Entei, Ledian, Aipom, and Sunflora. Though that's 10 encounters total, this game is challenging to nuzlocke, and these are for the most part extremely poor options for the game! Considering both the difficult nature of the game and the extremely restricted pool of Shadow Pokémon, the traditional way to nuzlocke this game is that every Shadow Pokémon can be caught.
I'll be watching!! We didn't have console games growing up (just my Gameboy/eventually DS Lite) but one of my best friends in elementary school had the official strategy guide with the fold-out and I read that thing front to back about a dozen times, lol.

Will be neat seeing it played out as a nuzlocke!

I have a very free day so I'm just gonna play on and off today and we'll see how far we get.

First, we're gonna do some grinding in Phenac City. Some would call this an unnecessary risk, but Umbreon and Espeon are still fairly low levelled so getting them up to speed is important. Particularly Espeon -- its purpose is to OHKO everything, so keeping it ahead of the curve in order to do that is important. I'll put all these optional battles in an additional spoiler tag, because they're intentionally fairly easy and likely won't be that interesting.

VS Fun Old Man Drig

He leads with Hoothoot and Sentret. I use Taunt on Hoothoot because I recall it having Hypnosis, which is just annoying to deal with. Confusion on Sentret should 2HKO. And actually it OHKOed, while Umbreon did indeed stop Hoothoot from using Hypnosis, so now we can just chip away at Hoothoot. Due to its high special defence, I use Secret Power on Umbreon for the first time, which combined with Confusion takes it out in one turn.

While we're doing this, let's take on the Pre Gym. I have to admit this is something I rarely do at this point in the game, usually waiting until Justy himself wants to battle us later on. But the levels are intended for us to do this now, so it should be relatively simple.

VS. Cooltrainer Botan
He leads with Sunkern and Hoppip. Yeah, I think we're gonna be OK. Confusion on Hoppip and Bite on Sunkern, both put into the red from them. Hoppip uses Tail Whip and Sunkern flinched, so we won't take damage this battle. Umbreon hits level 28, while Espeon is still at level 26.

VS. Cooltrainer Liqui
Marill and Surskit. I think I'll double-target the Surskit, since it might have Pin Missile or something. Both hits took it out, and Marill retaliated with... Defense Curl. This game genuinely is difficult, just not yet. Confusion and Bite, and then Espeon hits level 27. In the next area, opponents are level 30+, so we're still making important progress even if slow.

VS. Rich Boy Dugo
Trapinch and Swinub. We all know that Trapinch has an insane Attack stat for being a base form, so we'll double target it. Swinub digs a hole, so we can't do anything this turn.

If you haven't played this game, then an important mechanic is the shadow heart gauge. It has 5 bars, and as progress is made on emptying the heart gauge, Shadow Pokémon begin learning more moves in their base set (they start with just Shadow Rush). Using them in battle is a good way to reduce this, so I decide to switch Bayleef and Makuhita in on this turn. It's the only useful thing we could do. Trusting that the AI targeted the right Pokémon (Espeon), I switch Bayleef into its slot. Swinub instead uses Dig on Makuhita. The AI in this game isn't the best lol. Bayleef goes into Hyper Mode which is ideal as you can Call it to reduce its heart gauge further, while Makuhita gets a solid hit on Swinub, which just uses Odour Sleuth. I don't think I'll keep Makuhita on the team for long, so Bayleef making progress it better than vice versa. Call Bayleef and Makuhita finishes Swinub off.

VS. Lady Gwin
Random thought, but all of these trainers' names are puns on the type they use (Botany, Liquid, Dug). Gwin uses Geodude and Rhyhorn, I think intending to be the Rock-Type trainer but technically she's also Ground-Type like Dugo. What's the pun here?

Anyway, on the off-chance Geodude has Explosion I double-target it. Espeon OHKOs with Confusion, so Umbreon uses Bite on Rhyhorn anyway, who flinches. Ez game.

With the Pre Gym completed, Justy gives us a White Herb. Luckily, as we only have 4 Pokémon, Justy doesn't battle us right away. Fun fact about Justy is he is a liar: he says that we should battle when we have a full team of 6 Pokémon. We could do that quickly and return, which many kids do. Justy's Pokémon are over level 40, and our team at this point would be level 30. So basically he holds onto his position by curbstomping under-levelled kids.

VS. Roller Boy Kaib
This is our final battle before moving forward. It's a Wurmple and a Silcoon. I think we're gonna be fine. Confusion on Wurmple to OHKO it, and Bite on Silcoon to also OHKO it. For beating him we get our first TM of the game! It's Torment, and probably won't be used! Thanks kid.

We leave Phenac with a level 28 Umbreon and level 27 Espeon, which is still lower than our upcoming opponents will be, but it's the best we can do. We heal up on the way out, and move forward to everyone's favourite area... Construction Lot. We're told to leave, and now we can go to Pyrite Town. If you don't know it, look up the music to this place. It's wonderful. All you need to know about Pyrite Town is that as soon as we arrive, we're shown that the police in this place are inept.

Duel Square
In Battle Square, there are 6 Shadow Pokémon available for us to catch: Quagsire, Noctowl, Misdreavus, Skiploom, Flaaffy, and Slugma. This is our opportunity to really make our team our own and prepare ourselves for upcoming trials, and to be as safe as possible I intend on only catching Shadow Pokémon that I want to use immediately. We can't purify Shadow Pokémon for a while, and that's how they evolve, so using Slugma, Skiploom, or Flaaffy is an unnecessary risk for 3 strong Pokémon once they evolve. Quagsire would be great now, but is also great later in the game, so I want to save it in case our team members start dropping. For that reason, I'm choosing Pokémon who are good for this point in the game, but fall off in use later, so that if they die it won't come back to bite us -- Noctowl, and Misdreavus. So we'll take those trainers on now; luckily, even though I always forget which Rider has which Pokémon, both Riders have Noctowl and Misdreavus. So we'll take them on one at a time.

VS. Rider Vant
He leads with Shadow Misdreavus and Skitty. I was honestly hoping this was the Noctowl trainer, because catching Misdreavus can be challenging and having Noctowl as backup would have been appreciated, given its immunity to Shadow Ball. Nevertheless, we get to work on catching it, using Bite on Misdreavus and Confusion on Skitty. Misdreavus outspeeds Umbreon and uses Confuse Ray on Espeon, while Skitty barely survives the OHKO and uses Tackle. If your heart skipped a beat at me using Bite on Misdreavus, don't worry:

This is why we want Misdreavus for our team. Its bulk is really nice for this stage in the game, and also the AI in this game is bad at remembering its immunities, so it can essentially dodgetank for us. As Skitty is almost down and seems to only have Tackle, I take the opportunity to switch Bayleef into Espeon's slot. Truthfully, I probably should have gone into this battle with Umbreon and Bayleef leads, as Misdreavus has Shadow Ball, which feasibly could have OHKOed Espeon. I use Bite on Misdreavus again with Umbreon. Sure enough, Bayleef switches into a Shadow Ball from Misdreavus! That was a close call.

On Bayleef's move I try to catch Misdreavus with a PokéBall. It shook 3 times, while Misdreavus' health is just above red. It confuses Bayleef, while Umbreon uses Taunt on Misdreavus because I wanted to... stop it from confusing my Pokémon. That didn't quite work out. I can't really damage Misdreavus any more, as every attack I have it is either immune to or would KO it, so I opt to use a Great Ball on it this time instead, and we'll just use the recently unlocked Synthesis on Bayleef. Money can be scarce in this game, and using a potion seems unnecessary here.

The Great Ball shook once.

Misdreavus uses Shadow Ball on Bayleef putting it in the red. Bayleef hits itself in confusion leaving it on 3HP. And thankfully Skitty uses not-Tackle for the first time, opting for Growl instead. Yeeeeeah we'll use a Super Potion this time after all, and a Great Ball on Umbreon's move.

The Great Ball shook once again.

Misdreavus lands another Shadow Ball on Bayleef, and Skitty uses Tackle. We have to use another Super Potion already, as one more Shadow Ball would KO Bayleef. So we do the same again.

The Great Ball shook once again.

Misdreavus hits Bayleef with Shadow Ball, while Skitty hits it with Tickle. Bayleef is now at -2 Attack, so if this kept up then we could have our Attack drop low enough to knock Misdreavus into the red without KOing it. However, Tickle also lowers Defence, which would probably make Shadow Ball a 2HKO on Bayleef. We need to switch to Makuhita to erase the stat drops. Great Ball on Umbreon's move again.

The Great Ball shook once again.

Makuhita comes in and takes way over half of its health from Shadow Ball, being left on 32/88 from full. So we have to switch back to Bayleef, who will be able to barely tank another hit. Since the PokéBall worked the best, screw it lets throw a PokéBall again. Great Balls aren't working out.

The PokéBall shook twice. Why is it working better than the Great Balls both times we used it?

Bayleef comes into, of course, a Shadow Ball, and tanks it pretty nicely. Skitty uses Tickle again, though, which is a problem. We need to use a Super Potion on Bayleef to let it tank a Shadow Ball, and a Super Potion on Makuhita so that we can erase Bayleef's stat changes again. See why healing items aren't banned now?

Misdreavus uses Confuse Ray while Skitty uses Tackle on Bayleef, reminding me that I used Taunt on Misdreavus ages ago. That was probably a bad move, as any turn Misdreavus is using Confuse Ray is another turn that Misdreavus isn't using Shadow Ball. Regardless, I'll switch Makuhita into Bayleef's slot just to erase the Tickle from a while ago. This Skitty is annoying me now, so we'll use Bite on it.

Misdreavus uses Shadow Ball on Makuhita unfortunately, putting it was below half health again. Skitty is KOed and replaced by a Zigzagoon. To save Makuhita we switch back to Bayleef, and use Bite on Zigzagoon since I'm not sure how it's gonna annoy me but I know that it will. And sure enough, it uses Tickle too, on Bayleef. We only have one Super Potion left because we only start with 5. I could heal up Makuhita to get a switch to remove this Tickle on Bayleef, while I KO Zigzagoon with Umbreon (Bite is a 2HKO). However, that would mean I wouldn't be able to heal Bayleef up again in the future. With one defence drop, Shadow Ball is probably a 3HKO, so I'm gonna leave Bayleef in and chance it. Umbreon uses Bite on Zigzagoon, while we throw a Premier Ball at Misdreavus, because maybe it wants to be special.

Misdreavus was caught. Then, Zigzagoon was KOed.

We managed to make it through without any casualties, aside from our stock of Super Potions and PokéBalls. This should be worth it, because as you can tell Misdreavus is great. Let's check how great it is, actually:
...Well, damn. Misdreavus pretty much has to have 0 IV -Atk Nature, which sucks because Shadow Ball is physical this gen. What perhaps sucks more is how much damage Makuhita was taking from a minimum Attack Misdreavus. At least this Misdreavus' Special Attack is decent, though it doesn't get special moves until it's purified.

As we had to go and heal up anyway, we talked to the guy in the Colosseum to proc Cail. I'll head to the shop before battling the other Rider for Noctowl. At this point, I think I want to replace Makuhita with Cail's Furret immediately. We only had enough money to buy 8 Super Potions, but I went ahead and got them all.

VS. Rider Nover
He leads with Shadow Noctowl and Ledyba. I'm gonna kick things off with Taunt on Ledyba, because I'm pretty sure it carries annoying support moves, and we'll Reflect with Espeon. Noctowl's Shadow Rushes and Flys are likely to hurt. Espeon gets the Reflect off before Noctowl uses Shadow Rush on Umbreon, which with Reflect only dealt 8HP! Umbreon blocked Ledyba from using Safeguard, which would be awesome if Bayleef had Body Slam yet.

Umbreon and Espeon just double-target Noctowl with Confusion and Bite. Espeon gets Confusion off before Noctowl flies in the air, dealing almost no damage. Umbreon of course misses. Since Espeon can't do any damage itself, we'll use Secret Power on Umbreon as it's likely to deal more damage than Bite would, and use Helping Hand on Espeon. It's funny to me how in this game they gave Espeon, the attacker, Helping Hand, as it would be way better on Umbreon. But in situations like this I guess it's useful! Even though Reflect is up, Noctowl dealt almost no damage to Umbreon with Fly, so I'm scared that this Noctowl might be really weak. Regardless, its bulk is worth picking up for now, and it also learns Hypnosis, which is potentially amazing for catching Shadow Pokémon. Since Noctowl using Fly again is fairly likely, we'll use Secret Power on Ledyba and Espeon will Confusion Noctowl. Return could KO at this point if it critted, while I don't think Confusion would.

Oh my god.

Confusion did crit, and I'm suddenly thrilled I opted for Confusion over Return, because Noctowl must have only 1HP left:

This looks ideal, but Shadow Rush deals recoil damage. Luckily, Noctowl used Reflect this turn, but if it uses Shadow Rush it's down. We need to use a Great Ball now, while Espeon can use Confusion on Ledyba.

The Great Ball shook 3 times. Ledyba was KOed, and Wingull sent out. Noctowl uses Hypnosis on Espeon and misses. Time to try a Great Ball again, and we'll Confusion Wingull.

Noctowl was caught. Espeon OHKOs Wingull. Successful battle, and at least we weren't in danger this time around, only Noctowl itself was!

We head back to the Stadium to heal, and at this point I think we've shown it's important to take on some of the optional trainers to grind. I am not fighting anyone else at Duel Square, because I want to return for the remaining Shadow Pokémon if and when I feel they'd make good additions to our team. We still have limited resources and money, and as you can tell, these battles can use up a lot of them. Oh, before that, as we're planning on using Noctowl let's check it out:
It seems to be middling in everything to some extent, but both of its defensive stats are good. It's likely that one is boosted by a nature too, if its Speed isn't. Amusingly, Noctowl and Misdreavus have exactly the same Attack stat, despite Misdreavus' having 10 higher base Attack than Noctowl. I'm not mad at them being weaker because it helps for chipping Shadow Pokémon down, but we only really have one hard-hitter in Espeon right now. It would be nice to have more.

I really want Bayleef to get Body Slam before we fight Cail, as I want to catch his Furret badly. Espeon is still level 27 while Umbreon has cut ahead to level 29, so we'll lead with those 2.

VS. Chaser Emok
Gulpin and Zubat. I'm glad I left Espeon in the front, though of course these 2 are strong against Bayleef. I'll just Confusion Gulpin to OHKO it, and target Gulpin with Shadow Rush in the hope it'll actually hit Zubat after Gulpin goes down. That's exactly what happened, though Bayleef barely missed the KO on Zubat and it retaliated with... Astonish. Still dealt a 7th of Espeon's health, but we're fine. Espeon hits level 28.

VS. Chaser Calda
Sentret and Taillow. Double-target Taillow for now, as it's a little scary for Bayleef. Bayleef is at the point where we could fight Rogue Cail and its heart would drop enough to unlock its next move, which I'm pretty sure is Body Slam. If it's Razor Leaf, then hey we did what we could but this is the last optional trainer in Pyrite. Confusion OHKOs Taillow, while Bayleef hits Hyper Mode. Sentret uses Thief on Espeon which somehow dealt less than the Zubat's Astonish, but that's fine. Slakoth replaces Taillow, so we'll use Confusion on it while calling Bayleef. Slakoth barely survives the Confusion but uses Amnesia, which is fine. Sentret uses Thief on Bayleef instead. We check Bayleef's moves and... it's Razor Leaf, not Body Slam. That sucks, but is immediately useful as we can use it to finish off Slakoth and hit Sentret, while using Confusion on Sentret to likely finish the battle this turn. Confusion OHKOed Sentret anyway, never mind.

Now, I could run around for ages to drop Bayleef's Heart Gauge to Body Slam range before fighting Cail. Just running around is an effective way to deplete the Heart Gauge of your Shadow Pokémon, but is slow, and honestly feels like a bit of an exploit in a situation like this. I'll just go back and heal up in the Stadium and then fight Cail, it's fine.
VS. Rogue Cail
I decided to just lead off with Umbreon and Espeon, as is tradition. This was a good choice, as he leads with Furret and Ralts. Bite with Umbreon on Ralts and Reflect with Espeon is a great way to kick things off. Furret uses Helping Hand on Ralts, which is why I want to use the thing myself over Makuhita, but Umbreon outsped and OHKOed Ralts anyway. Seedot replaces Ralts, and we'll use Confusion on it while using Secret Power on Furret. I don't know what the potential status effect of Secret Power is in Pyrite Town, or even if it changes based on location in this game, but I'm hoping for paralysis. Confusion OHKOs Seedot, and Machop switches in. Furret uses Strength which deals a fifth of Umbreon's health, which is fine, meanwhile Secret Power does almost nothing to Furret. Our answer to what it does in Pyrite Town is that it deals confusion. Not great for something we want to catch TBH, but it's almost at full health so it should be fine. Confusion to OHKO Machop, naturally, and we'll use Bite on Furret. Furret hits itself in confusion, dealing more than Umbreon's Secret Power did lol. Furret's now at half, so I think we'll use Bite again and just throw a PokéBall with Espeon's turn in case it works out.

The PokéBall shook once.

Even under Reflect, Strength is a 3HKO on Espeon, meaning it would die to a crit here. We'll switch Misdreavus into Espeon's slot, and throw a ball with Umbreon. Secret Power + confusion damage might kill Furret here, so we'll wait for confusion to end before chipping Furret further.

The PokéBall shook once.

Furret snapped out of Confusion and used Strength on Umbreon, dealing a solid chunk. Our Reflect just wore off, too, which is a little scary. We'll use Secret Power on Furret and hope that it doesn't become confused. At this point we'll upgrade to Great Balls, too, on Misdreavus' turn.

The Great Ball shook once. Furret used ??? Helping Hand it doesn't have an ally. Secret Power did confuse Furret, damn. This is where she's at:

This is roughly the amount of damage it dealt to itself in confusion before, so we need to catch it. At least it's in the red now, and confusion might not KO it. We'll throw a Great Ball on Umbreon's move and just switch Bayleef into Misdreavus' slot to reduce its heart gauge further.

Furret was caught!

Before doing anything else, we head to the police station to switch Furret into Makuhita's slot in the party.
Hm, this isn't a wonderful Furret at all. -Speed nature, and middling everything else besides Def but it's probably +Def nature. Ah well.

We fetch the gear from the Construction Lot and then get ready for the Stadium battle. Before we do, there are two decisions. The first is that Stadiums are exempted from deaths due to training clause. However, this is the one time taking on a stadium is forced by plot. On the other hand, our team is healed automatically after every battle, so if a Pokémon died it's automatically revived by the game. If it's a lead Pokémon, this means it sponges experience that would go to other Pokémon. For that reason, I'll play with the intention of not letting anything faint, but I won't record the battles because strategy etc. doesn't mean much here. I'm also just spamming Shadow Rush due to the below:

The other choice is whether we use this to continue catching Espeon and Umbreon up on levels, or to start using our Shadow Pokémon in order to unlock their moves. Really, I have Noctowl and Furret for Hypnosis and Helping Hand respectively, and IIRC it takes a while for them to learn these moves. For that reason, I'm gonna lead with the both of them to start chipping away at their Heart Gauges. While deaths are turned off it's a good opportunity to, though I still want them to get experience so I want to switch around if they're put in danger.

Turns out Hypnosis is actually the first move Noctowl gets, oh well. It got it in the first battle. And Helping Hand is the first move Furret gets; it learned it in the second battle. At least what I wanted to get out of the Stadium is what I did!

OK, Stadium's done. No one died, so deaths being turned off didn't matter, which I'm glad about. Everyone is now at around half their heart gauge empty, besides Bayleef who now does have Body Slam. We also got Toxic which is awesome, and it's viable to put this on Umbreon right away. If this were a game where TMs were multi-use I actually definitely would, but I'm hesitant to use such a good TM up so early. There are Pokémon we get later like Forretress who depends on Toxic more than Umbreon, if we ended up using it, which is possible since it's so bulky. So for now I'll leave it in my bag; we don't need it yet.

VS. Cipher Peon Nore
We get let into Cipher's base of operations in Pyrite Town, and immediately have a battle. I switched Umbreon and Espeon back in, but it looks like this guy is a full-fledged Bug-Type trainer. I knew he had the Shadow Yanma, of course, which by the way is awful and will not be used, but he also has a Pineco. It's fine, though, we'll just Bite Pineco and use Reflect. Yanma actually outspeeds everyone and uses Supersonic on Umbreon which could become annoying. Umbreon hit itself in confusion and Pineco is using Bide, so we'll use Taunt and Return on Yanma. It's still worth catching her, so hopefully Return doesn't KO. Yanma uses Sonicboom which sadly probably would deal more than Shadow Rush from her, but missed. Yanma is hit with Taunt and Return doesn't deal much damage to her at all, so we'll double target Return and Bite. The hypothesis is true -- Yanma uses Shadow Rush on Espeon and deals 19HP. Umbreon hit itself in confusion again, which is probably good because I think Bite probably would have KOed Yanma actually. We'll switch Noctowl into Umbreon's slot to use Hypnosis, and Espeon can Confusion Pineco as it tried to unleash its energy. Yanma tried to use Supersonic on Noctowl which is funny because Umbreon was still confused, but I guess the AI knew Umbreon would snap out this turn. Next turn Yanma does confuse Noctowl while Espeon finishes Pineco off, being replaced with a Nincada. Noctowl doesn't hit itself in confusion and hits Hypnosis, so we'll use a PokéBall on it with Noctowl's move and Confusion Nincada to OHKO.

Yanma was caught.

It's replaced with Surskit, this battle is easy to polish off we can just double target it. Espeon hits level 29.

OK, so the next period of this game is an absolute gauntlet of battles. There are around 10 trainers, none of whom have Shadow Pokémon, as we climb through Cipher's headquarters. I'm just gonna provide battle logs in the style of Showdown for them, because my thoughts don't matter that much, this is just a chance to help Umbreon and Espeon catch up in levels for good.
VS. Roller Boy Pike
Taillow and Hoothoot vs Umbreon and Espeon

Espeon used Confusion on Taillow
Taillow used Endeavour on Espeon, leaving it with 6HP
Umbreon used Bite on Taillow
Taillow fainted.
Hoothoot used Foresight. Oh, thank God.

OK so I thought these would sorta just be spam A sorta deals, but if Hoothoot attacked Espeon with anything there it would have fainted. Yikes.

Noctowl replaces Espeon.
Umbreon used Bite.
Hoothoot flinched.

Noctowl entered Hyper Mode.
Umbreon used Bite.
Hoothoot used Foresight.

Celever called Noctowl.
Umbreon used Bite.
Hoothoot used Wing Attack on Umbreon.

Noctowl entered Hyper Mode.
Umbreon used Bite.
Hoothoot fainted.

Luckily we're right next to a healing machine, so we heal up before progressing.

VS. Bandana Guy Geats
I remember this guy; he's actually pretty scary. His whole shtick is only using moves that lock you in, such as Thrash and Petal Dance.

Umbreon and Espeon vs Larvitar and Carvanha

I don't know if he has moves besides Thrash on these guys, but if he does have Bite that's pretty scary. I want to use Reflect, but luckily Noctowl has Reflect by now itself, so we'll switch it in.

Noctowl replaces Espeon.
Umbreon used Bite on Larvitar.
Carvanha used Focus Energy.
Larvitar flinched.

Noctowl is still in Hyper Mode, we have to call him.

Celever called Noctowl.
Umbreon used Bite on Larvitar.
Carvanha used Thrash, it was a critical hit! Noctowl is left with 32/102 HP.
Larvitar used Focus Energy.

OK, so now we can't use Reflect; a crit under Reflect would still kill Noctowl. Umbreon can finish off Larvitar this turn and outspeed it, but we need to switch something else into Noctowl's slot. We'll go for Misdreavus, as Carvanha is now locked into Thrash, so hopefully we can dodge tank.

Misdreavus replaces Noctowl.
Umbreon used Bite on Larvitar; Larvitar fainted.
Barboach replaces Larvitar.
Carvanha used Thrash on Umbreon and became confused. Umbreon has 75/99 HP.

OK I was wrong, the Oddish must be later. We'll switch Bayleef in then, Razor Leaf is good here and Carvanha might have Bite, still.

Bayleef replaces Misdreavus.
Umbreon used Secret Power on Carvanha, dealing over half.
Carvanha hits itself in confusion and deals the remaining 40%, LOL. Carvanha fainted.
Barboach used Thrash, dealing 15HP of damage to Umbreon.

Umbreon used Bite, dealing under half.
Bayleef used Razor Leaf, finishing Barboach off.

Yeah, we'll definitely go back and heal again before progressing lol.

VS. Hunter Geare
Umbreon and Espeon vs Magnemite and Remoraid

Espeon used Confusion on Remoraid, leaving it in the red.
Umbreon used Bite on Remoraid; Remoraid fainted.
Magnemite used Thundershock, dealing 21HP to Espeon.

Furret replaces Espeon.
Umbreon used Secret Power on Magnemite. Magnemite becomes paralysed!
Magnemite used Thundershock on Furret, dealing 29HP.

Furret used Shadow Rush, doing over half to Magnemite. It's hit with recoil.
Umbreon used Bite on Magnemite, leaving it in the red.
Magnemite used Thundershock. Furret has 40/104HP remaining.

Furret used Shadow Rush. Magnemite fainted! Umbreon grew to Level 30 and wants to learn Confuse Ray! We'll replace Snatch; we've never used it, and probably never will.

That's how I thought more of these battles would go in here. Not almost dying in the first two! We'll heal again, lol.

VS. Bandana Guy Loba
Umbreon and Espeon vs Wingull and Wooper

Espeon used Confusion on Wingull; Wingull fainted.
Umbreon used Bite on Wooper, leaving it with a third of HP left.
Wooper used Slam on Espeon, it missed!

Espeon used Confusion; Wooper fainted.

And we don't need to heal, ayy!

VS. Bodybuilder Akmen
Umbreon and Espeon vs Electrike and Voltorb

Electrike used Quick Attack, dealing 8HP to Espeon.
Espeon used Confusion on Voltorb, leaving it with a quarter HP.
Voltorb used Shock Wave on Umbreon, dealing 11HP.
Umbreon used Bite on Voltorb; Voltorb fainted.

Espeon used Confusion, leaving Electrike on a sixth HP.
Umbreon used Bite; Electrike fainted!
Umbreon was paralysed by Static.

MFW I thought I wouldn't have to heal because it was such light damage. BRB :(

VS. Rider Raleen
Umbreon and Espeon vs Doduo and Ledyba

Espeon used Confusion on Doduo, barely missing the OHKO.
Doduo used Pursuit on Umbreon, dealing 1HP.
Umbreon used Bite; Doduo fainted.

Espeon grew to level 30! It wants to learn Swift, and... actually, we'll replace Return with it. Swift is directly worse than Return at dealing damage, but we want that. It's almost False Swipe a generation early! We only ever use Return if we want to deal as little damage as possible anyway; if Confusion is ineffective we'll just switch Espeon to a different party member, or use Helping Hand on Espeon to support our ally. Reflect and Helping hand are too good. Swift is also just nice for small amounts of chip damage on both Pokémon, which is sometimes genuinely useful if a Pokémon barely hasn't been KOed.

Swablu replaces Doduo
Ledyba uses Tackle, dealing 2HP to Umbreon.

Espeon used Confusion on Swablu, dealing under half.
Swablu became confused!
Umbreon used Bite on Swablu, leaving it in the red.
Ledyba used Comet Punch on Espeon, dealing 11HP.
Swablu hits itself in confusion.

Espeon used Swift; Swablu fainted!
Umbreon used Secret Power, leaving Ledyba just above red.
Ledyba used Tackle, dealing 3HP to Umbreon.

Espeon used Confusion; Ledyba fainted.

We'll heal; why not.

VS. Hunter Tura
Umbreon and Espeon vs Spheal and Snorunt

Espeon used Confusion on Spheal, dealing half its health.
Umbreon used Bite on Spheal, leaving it in the red.
Snorunt used Bite on Espeon, dealing 22HP.
Spheal used Powder Snow, dealing 5HP to Umbreon and 15HP to Espeon; it was a critical hit on Espeon.

Espeon used Swift; Spheal fainted; Snorunt took chip.
Umbreon used Bite, dealing over half of Snorunt's health.
Snorunt used Bite on Umbreon, dealing 3HP.

Espeon used Swift because I spammed A, barely missing the KO on Snorunt.
Umbreon used Bite; Snorunt fainted.

We'll heal again. If nothing else, the walking helps the heart gauges of our Shadow Pokémon lol.
We almost finished the Pyrite Building off, but that's me done for today. LMK if you liked the battle log structure, there are definit benefits to it compared with what I was doing. Either way we now have a full team of Pokémon that can carry their weight, and no one's dead yet! Chapter 3 will be when stuff starts getting really difficult, though.

Current Team
Here's my team! Shadow Bone is the replacement for Shadow Rush, because showdown doesn't have Shadow Rush on it for obvious reasons. Umbreon has a Serious nature, which is the default so doesn't get put into the importables.
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