Challenge The Rival Challenge (previously 30 minute challenge)


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This is something I invented a while ago, but that did not end up seeing the light of the day until a kind soul in #oi agreed to do it with me. His name is Deino and currently he is 2-0 against me, which is obviously intentional because winning keeps people playing.

The 30-minute challenge turns every participant into rivals that meet each other to battle at unexpected times during the in-game campaign. It is based on the stories I've read about people buying Pokemon games together and agreeing to play through and battle each other after every gym or something.

You need the following:
1. Two or more participants. I'll assume two for now because it makes explaining everything easier. They need to be in touch with each other, easiest way is obviously IRC.
2. All people involved need working copies of the same game or equivalent games (say, Ruby and Sapphire is fine), a working online battle simulator such as Pokemon Online (make sure everyone uses the same one) installed, as well as too much spare time on their hands.
3. Some way to keep track of time, preferably an alarm of some sorts.

The process:

After a countdown, a timer is set for 30 minutes and the players start playing their games. They will be playing the game for 30 minutes, free to do whatever they wish during this time. When the 30 minutes are over, everyone has to stop playing. A rival encounter happens now, and both players will start inputting six of their current Pokemon in a simulator. Since mimicing the exact in-game teams fairly is tedious, the following rules apply:

1. Species, moveset, level and nature must be the same.
2. All EVs are set to zero, unless something else has been agreed on (such as a total EV cap for each team or each Pokemon).
3. IVs are all maximized (15 for RBY and GSC, 31 for later games).
4. No hold items, unless something else has been agreed on (such as each Pokemon being allowed to hold any item currently obtainable).

During battle, the only clause to be checked is Sleep Clause.

What you end up with is an entertaining sort of speedrun/race through the game where each of you tries to counter the other person's team the best they can. I've found it a lot of fun so far. Some experimenting with different rulesets may be a good idea. 30 minutes seems like a good time frame so far, but you can try 15 or 45 or 60 or whatever floats your boat.

One thing that does need attention is the starters. The run I'm currently playing against Deino, I made sure we both picked the same starter, since otherwise one person would have a huge advantage over the other. I think some additional ruling regarding starters may be required, possibly banning them from the online battle. It's very easy to semi-solo the game with the starter and destroy everything the other person has tried to train, or even if there's some good counters available the game gets centralized around them a little too much. So if any of you tries this, consider banning starters altogether, or applying some kind of rule where all Pokemon on the team must be within similar level range or something.

For more than 2 players, the online battles should be either round robin or some kind of quick single elimination tournament. The more the merrier! But I can't imagine more than 2 people being able to stay online together for very long.

Have fun!
This seems really cool. I have actually done a similar run with 3 other friends through HGSS last year, but instead of battling every 30 minutes. We would do a round robin sort of thing every gym, having A fight B and C fight D. Then, on Bugzy, A would fight C and B would fight D and so on. Though, this was a Nuzlocke (Nuzlocke rules were disabled during Online fights)

The starter issue is easily remedied with 3 or more people playing, as their would be one person with a starter. On the run I did, I actually traded in a Swinub, having a weaknesss to all 3 Johto Starters, as I had the most competitive experience so we had to handicap my run somehow.

The one thing I don't like though, is that the Pokemon in the battle stay at the level they were in In-Game. As one could easily solo the game with a Pokemon with amazing coverage (such as Nidoking with BoltBeam) and then sweep your underleveled team with their behemoth. What we ended up doing was that all Pokemon in battle would be at Level 100.

If you are, by any chance, curious on the battles played out, I actually ended up recording the first of our battles. Please pardon the narration though, as my voice was a bit annoying at the time.


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The one thing I don't like though, is that the Pokemon in the battle stay at the level they were in In-Game. As one could easily solo the game with a Pokemon with amazing coverage (such as Nidoking with BoltBeam) and then sweep your underleveled team with their behemoth. What we ended up doing was that all Pokemon in battle would be at Level 100.
I can see why you'd use L100 across, but at the same time I really like the aspect of training Pokemon to be stronger for this kind of battle, and not just to learn new moves or evolve. I think a rule like "all Pokemon must be within 3 levels of each other" (so for example if you have a L11 Pokemon you want to use, you can't use anything else that's higher than L14) would be a better way to do this, on the whole.


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This was actually really fun to do with Mekkah. I, of course, defeated him, being the greatest at all in-game challenges. I quickly formulated a plan to stop him easily, which I won't share. Our second battle, I wrecked him again, even though he taught his starter some evil TMs. Luckily, my pokemon were very strong and I edged him out.

All in all, this was very fun to do, and I look forward to doing this again in the future. :D


I'll be your 1-Up girl
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This needs more attention. I wasted a good, fun 4 hours doing this with Mekkah in Heart Gold.

Most of our 6 battles were centered around Geodude. Geodude's fantastic resistances and immunities in Normal, Flying, and Electric made it an incredibly useful pivot. It helped that all of the Pokemon that it was 4x weak to were either too weak or had a terrible movepool that hardly justified using them as they had a bad offensive typing. It also helped that we agreed to not use starters so we couldn't use Totodile or.... Chikorita to beat Geodude. Despite Geodude being extremely strong, we still found ways around it. The battles were also surprisingly long, but that started to change when our Pokemon got more powerful attacks. Currently the record is 4-2, me having the 4 wins of course.

I suggest anyone here who is interested in the 30 minute challenge to try it! #orangeislands is an excellent place to search for matches as there are quite a few other interested people there.


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Me and Jellicent took part in a 30 Minute Challenge today, and we decided to chronicle it with a warstory.

The rules were:
-Pokemon Sapphire Version
-Checkpoint Style (no timer, play until someone hits the checkpoint, then 5 minutes from there you stop to battle)
-No ROM Speedup is allowed (ours went at much different speeds)
-Starters are allowed while playing, but not in battles against each other
-Standard Battle Rules (Species, Levels, Natures must be the same as ingame - EVs set to 0, IVs set to max - No hold items​

We'll be doing a dual commentary of our thoughts before and during the challenge, Deinosaur will be in Green, Jellicent will be in Blue.

- Pregame Thoughts -​

Since we are playing no starters, I don't have to worry about countering whatever we decide to pick. Instead, I thought about all the Pokemon you could get early, and decided from those which direction I wanted to go with my team. I decided that I wanted to get a Beautifly, since base 70/90 attacking stats aren't all that bad for a level 10 evolution. From there I was torn between getting a Wingull and a Zigzagoon, so it was gonna be on a whim what the #2 for my team would be. I really had no plans for anything past Petalburg, but I wasn't that worried, since Jelli is inexperienced. Let's just say I was going in confident that I would 2-0 or 3-0 him, depending on how many rounds we wanted to do.

To be honest, I didn't really have a strategy going into this. RSE is the only gen I've never beaten, but I had a general idea of the early stuff, so I figured I'd wing it. Basic plan was to level up a few mons enough that they could take a hit if I needed them to, and other than that, focus on one sweeper.

- Play Session One -​

So first things first, after destroying May, I went out to catch a Wurmple. I got me a level 3 Wurmple, which was great for what I was trying to do. After quite some time grinding it, he finally reached level 7, the moment of truth. Dustox sucks in my opinion, its more of a defensive Pokemon, and I wanted me a Beautifly.

[BOX]Congratulations! Your Wurmple evolved into Cascoon![/BOX]

...are you kidding me. Well all that time was wasted. I'm hoping Jellicent is doing nothing at all right now so I can catch up. Stupid Casscoon. Alright, well time for plan B. I walk out into the tall grass and pick up a level 4 Rash Wingull. Perfect! So walking around, Wingull is wrecking everything with a STAB Water Gun. I get the message that Jellicent has reached Petalburg City, so five more minutes of grinding, and we move to our battle.

I grabbed Treecko, cuz it could handle the first gym if needed and its access to Absorb seemed slick. I figured it would be easy to switch low level mons out to him, giving them a bit of experience, and then letting him Absorb off the damage he took switching in. I was hoping to get a Zigzagoon or two, as Pickup could net me some nice Rare Candies, as well as Full Restores and Super Potions, easing my reliance on the PokeCenter a bit. After rounding out my team of Wurmple (basically just for Poison Sting hax), Zigzagoon (Pickup, and not terrible early in battle), and Poochyena (intended superstar of the battle), I got to work leveling up Poochyena. In the final minutes, I managed to catch a Taillow, and got a Rare Candy to bring Poochyena up to level 9 ^.^


- Play Session Two -​

Okay so after Buster the Wingull destroyed Jellicent's team, it was time to move on to my bigger prize: Beautifly. A short trip into Petalburg Woods, and I catch myself a level 5 Silcoon. It takes sooooo much grinding to get it to level 10 so it evolves, but it's worth it. Beautifly learns Absorb, which is weak, but nice against the Geodudes and such I have coming up in the next gym. So I think I grind for a little while, and I end up with level 11 Beautifly and level 14 Wingull. It was level 11 last time, so I didn't actually train it that much.

Oh shit, I didn't even know you could catch a Wingull this early. Completely wrecked, I knew I needed a new strategy. Finding the woods above me, that Taillow started looking pretty good. I spammed it through the forest, pumping up its level fast and hoping to get to the next checkpoint before Deino had a chance to continue whatever his strategy was. Zigzagoon really pulled its weight and grabbed another Rare Candy, which I used last minute to get Tailow to level 16.


- Play Session Three -​

Okay so I am absolutely wrecked by his over-leveled Taillow. Well the rest of his team seems to be pretty weak, so if I can stop that monster, I'll be fine and come out with a victory. We set the checkpoint to Slateport, which gives me an opportunity to dig into the cave at Dewford. I went in looking for a Geodude, but a random whim made me decide on Aron. 4x resist to Taillow's STABs, not to mention Taillow can't get much else movewise this early. So I pick up my level 10 Aron, teach it Rock Tomb, and I'm ready to go. I hit up Slateport with level 16s across the board, and i'm ready face Jellicent for the championship.

Deino had already beaten the first gym while I was spending time leveling Taillow. At this point, I needed to clear 2 gyms and make it to Slateport before he could get a Geodude and level it high enough to tank my Taillow. I snatched another Zigzagoon, hoping for more Rare Candy luck. I also discovered that yes, a level 7 Treecko can clear through the first gym with no items, just spamming Absorb. Taillow blasted through the second gym and I started wondering what level this thing evolves at, though it was too late to bother checking. I was in a race against Deino, and knowing he probably had a Geodude or two by now, I figured my best bet was to grab a Makuhita to smash them with. I zipped through the cave, got a Makuhita, and also picked up a Steel Wing TM for Taillow. I got to the checkpoint and used the last 5 minutes to level up Makuhita.


Deinosaur wins the Best of Three 30 Minute Challenge 2-1!

-Wingull being strongth early
-Aron stopping Taillow
-Beautifly hard countering Makuhita
-Jellicent what a cute user :)

-Cascoon fucking sucks
-Torchic because no starters


Zigzagoon - those early game Rare Candies were quite sweet
Taillow - totally beasted things round 2
Treecko - even though I couldn't use him against Deino, he definitely pulled his weight early leveling and in the first gym
Deino - GG, man. I had fun ^.^


Poochyena - did nothing of note against Deino
Wurmple - time wasted that could've been spent leveling anything else
My lack of RSE knowledge - Wingull early in the game, Taillow one level shy of evolving, ARON IN THAT CAVE! X__X

So thank you for reading, go out and challenge your buddy to a 30-minute challenge!​


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TalkingLion vs. Birkal
HGSS: Part 1

Our Rival Challenge followed these rules:
- TalkingLion plays Heart Gold on cartridge while Birkal plays Soul Silver on cartridge.
- Traditional 30 minute challenge. At every thirty minutes, we stop playing, enter our teams on a simulator, and face off. We also smack talk in #orangeislands.
- All IVs set to 31, set natures, no EVs. Other standard rules apply. TL's Geodude is shiny.
- No items allowed in battle. However, they are allowed ingame. Timer starts when your character shrinks.
- No starters allowed. Once you catch your first Pokemon, you can no longer use your starter.

I read through this thread a week or two ago and thought it was awesome. Did some requesting in IRC and TalkingLion agreed to join me for one of these. Let me tell you that these are a TON of fun. Seriously, get in #orangeislands right now and start one; you will have a blast. Also know that TalkingLion is a crazy cool guy and I can't wait to continue battling with him. We originally started this as a Best of 3, but after having a killer time, we're gonna go further. Here are the first two battles; we'll be adding more as we continue on with this.

Round One: Beginnings

Going into this challenge, I knew that catching a Geodude early on would be really helpful, as it resists a ton of early game stuff. I started with a Totodile, and it ended up being level 8 when I dropped it for Geodude. It took me quite a while to find a level 3 Geodude, since I didn't want a weak level 2 one. After that I trained it up to level 5 before heading up to the trainers on my way to Violet City. I managed to train it up to level 8, needing just 1 more EXP. to level up to 9. I wasn't really feeling confident when I saw that Birkal had 4 Pokemon compared to my 1!

Looking at my options, I figured that Geodude would be the obvious go-to Pokemon for me this run. I chose Cyndaquil as my starter (you seen dat playa, son) and wasted no time in getting a Geodude. I snagged a Sentret before to have a meat shield, but I ended up never leveling it. I also knew that Pidgey would be a great member to have (more on that in a bit) so I picked one up. As I was grinding with my Geodude, I realized that TalkingLion might be doing the same thing. Within the last five minutes, I snagged a Bellsprout because it learns Vine Whip immediately. I threw a few levels on it and went in to war.


TalkingLion: 0 | Birkal: 1

Round Two: Sprout Tower and Beyond

After getting wrecked by that Bellsprout, I knew that I would need a counter to it by the next time we battle, as well as something to get me through Sprout Tower. I catch a Caterpie, and train it up a bit before bringing it to Sprout Tower so that it can actually do something with it's Base 30 Attack. I sweep through the Bellsprout, and wait until Caterpie is level 9 to evolve it as Metapod is weaker. By the end of the 30 minutes, Metapod is 1 level short of evolving and Geodude is 1 level short of learning Rock Throw! I ask Birkal for an extra 5 minutes, and he gives to to me like the nice guy he is. I finish up my training, and then start the next battle!

I was feeling pretty good about myself after a pretty solid victory. I decided that I wanted to push myself ingame, so I breezed through Sprout Tower. I got out of there with plenty of time to spare, and my Pidgey had grown considerably by learning Gust. Since I had a bunch of time left over, I figured I'd tackle the Violet City gym. Everything went smoothly until his less-than-pleasant Pidgeotto got two crits in a row, I missed Rock Slide, and it KO'd my Geodude. I had about five minutes left, so I rechallenged and won without breaking a sweat. I was pretty proud of my team: Pidgey had a solid movepool now and Geodude was shaping up into an awesome Pokemon. I felt pretty confident that I could take TL once again. But little did I know...


TalkingLion: 1 | Birkal: 1

And that is where we leave you for today! We'll be continuing this in the future. Again, I highly encourage all of you to try these out. Definitely one of the most fun things I have done in a while. Leave some comments if you enjoyed this!


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I absolutely love doing these, and it's great that they're finally starting to pick up somewhat. I really wish more people had a more long term mindset for this though...I think I've had like 5 of these started with someone, only to have them taper off after the first battle, either because they were losing or because they didn't know the idea is to actually do more than like one fucking battle. One of the things that seems to turn off people from this is that it takes quite a bit of time to actually, you know, go through a game. Time that you actually both have to be online. It's especially tedious with turbo buttons out of the equation.

Also before anyone else thinks of doing this: please don't write guides on how to do this. It's a lot more fun to figure out on your own how to do things. For example, everyone and their mom knows by now that Geodude dominates at least the first four encounters simply because almost nothing can touch it, and the few things that can are usually fodder to something else. This is why you should also experiment with different rulesets, such as banning Geodude, or allowing a starter with a level cap.

Ace Emerald

The hero pays the price
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Ace Emerald vs Burning Sapphire

I actually had a really similar idea the other day, so our game is pretty different. I will be facing my brother (Burning Sapphire) irl. I divided the map into 6 areas, and in each area we will face off using only Pokemon caught (not received) in the area leveled to an agreed level. Post Elite Four, we'll battle once more anything goes.

I'm a very competitive player, and while I'll always play through the game, I don't do nearly as much as my brother. He's done countless different challenges on different games. So we figured this was pretty middle of the road: a semi-competitive challenge run.

Area 1

My team

My brother's team

My team had a little bit of planning. In Area 1, nothing resists Flying and a lot is weak to it, so Tailow was a must. Ralts came in because it's a little bit stronger than other beginning Pokemon, has a relatively high STAB (50 in confusion), and I figured my brother might have Dustox. Dustox is one of two fully evolved Pokemon by our level cap (10), so I figured it'd be useful.

The Battle
It's not super complex, so I'll just summarize.

I start Tailow, bro starts Poochyena.
I switch to Dustox to save Tailow for sweeping late game, bro Howls.
Bro Howls again, while I poison with Poison Sting.
Tackle from Poochyena still was pretty terrible, and a tackle fest left Dustox at low health and Poochyena out.
Bro sends out Dustox, like an idiot I forget I have Confusion, tackle for a little while he KO's with Confusion.
I send out Ralts, and end Dustox with about 33% health.
Bro sends out Wingull, who finishes Ralts with about 65% health.
Tailow's Quick Attack did much more than Water Gun, and he cinched the victory.

Ace Emerald: 1
Burning Sapphire: 0

It was pretty close, and we're both looking forward to Area 2.
Anyone want to combine this with a Nuzlocke (faint upon death, 1st encounter per route (N/A), and nicknames) and Mystery Egg (people give you eggs, say, 12, and you use them through the run) run?
I'm going to do a challenge like this with my white2 file and my friend's black2 or white2 (not quite sure which) as soon as the U version gets released on Oct 7.
I've messaged Espeon, but if anyone else got there first then I'd be up for playing against someone at some point! I'm in the UK so be aware of that regarding timezones. However, I work from home and play my DS while working so I'm around relatively often.
My friend Moses (doesn't have a Smogon account) and I will consider challenging each other to a rival challenge on our white 2 files when I receive mine for Christmas. Area 1 will be from new game to obtaining the Vs. Recorder in Nimbasa; area 2 will be from Nimbasa Gym to first entering Undella; area 3 will be from the third in-game (non-PWT) rival fight to the final gym; area 4 will be the focus of the Kyurem saga; area 5 will be Victory Road and the Pokémon League.


Look at my shiny CT!
Doing this irl with my sister on fr/lg. Since I have a lot more experience, I picked whatever starter was left over on her game (the one with the type disadvantage with hers). She picked Bulbasaur, so I picked Squirtle. As an additional handicap, I decided that I may not evolve my Squirtle. Will post updates soon.

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