The Most Stubborn Team On Earth - Shado's Platinum No-New-Moves Challenge

Shado

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Hey there, I'm Shado and this is a corner of the internet I haven't been active in for a long, long time. I joined the old Marriland forums nearly 6 years ago specifically to play and discuss Pokemon challenges. I hung around for a few years but eventually my interest in Pokemon faded and I just sorta disappeared.

However, like many of you, I've been extremely bored during quarantine. I actually started playing Pokemon again out of sheer boredom! I did a few normal runs, some randomizers, but recently realized that I hadn't done a challenge run in a pretty long time. Then, I realized that I actually knew a place where I could share a challenge run with other people! I'm gonna be honest, it's really weird being back here, but I think it'll be a good time.

Initially I was gonna do some sort of Nuzlocke, but I've done plenty of those and I'd like something a little less stressful. I was looking for a challenge that would allow for a more casual, strategy-based playthrough, and one that would force me to craft my team carefully rather than leaving it up to chance. Basically, I wanted something that would test my team building rather than just battling skills. Eventually I came across a pretty fun-looking challenge where the main restriction is that your Pokemon cannot learn any moves other than the ones you catch them with. I decided this challenge would be relatively laid-back, but it would also require a lot of strategy for taking on different areas and boss battles, especially in the late-game. I'll be playing on Platinum, just because it's the game I know the best (plus I know the story well enough that I'll always know where to go, so I can just focus on the challenge). Here's my ruleset:

1. Pokemon I use can never learn any moves other than the ones that I catch them with. This means no level-up moves, no TMs or HMs, nothing except the first four moves I end up with.

2. The one exception to Rule 1 is that if a Pokemon has less than 4 moves when I catch it, it'll be allowed to learn moves until it has 4, and I'll be able to use them. Once it gets 4 moves though, its moveset will be locked forever like with any other Pokemon.

3. I can only grind to the level under the highest level of the next boss battle before I fight it.

4. No healing items in battle, at least for now. I unfortunately think there may be some situations where my choices will be a) grind for an eternity or b) just use a couple of healing items, and in that case I'm gonna go with the latter. However, I'll try my best to use as few items as possible. Definitely no revives in battle, ever.

5. Obviously I have to teach HM moves at some point, especially because Sinnoh specifically needs a TON of them. I actually need TWO HM buddies, because Victory Road requires 5 HMs in this gen. I'll allow myself a Bibarel :bibarel: for Rock Smash, Surf, Waterfall, and Rock Climb, and a Tropius :tropius: for Cut, Fly, and Defog. Yeesh. Neither of these two Pokemon will be used in battle.

That's about it! I went ahead and played through the first gym, so here's my progress so far:

- I do all the boring tutorial stuff, and then have the chance to choose a starter. This is gonna be an important decision. I expect my starter to get replaced by a stronger team member at some point, but I'd rather keep using it for as long as possible.

- Piplup :piplup: would be stuck with Bubble and Pound as its only attacking moves, so that's a definite no. Chimchar :chimchar: has it a little better (it gets Ember), but I don't think fire coverage is gonna be particularly important early on cause I'll have other options to deal with the grass/bug types that will be coming up. Chimchar does get Taunt, which could be useful, but I still think I would rather have...

- Turtwig :turtwig:! This little guy is actually my least-used Sinnoh starter, so that works out well. Tackle, Withdraw, and Absorb are gonna be pretty bad, but my final learned move will be Razor Leaf, which has a respectable 55 base power and Same-Type Attack Bonus. It's a great move to get past the first gym and it should hopefully be dealing a good amount of damage for the first part of the game.

- I give my Turtwig :turtwig: the nickname Yertle (cause turtle), dispatch the rival by spamming tackle, and head over to Sandgem town for more boring tutorial stuff. I soon get the ability to catch Pokemon and head out to grab my first new team member.

- There's a few options here but to me, the obvious one is Starly :starly:. It knows Tackle and Growl right now, but its next two moves (the last ones I can use) are gonna be Quick Attack and Wing Attack, which are great. A priority move is really nice to have, and it even gets STAB. Wing Attack has 60 base power, which is really good in the early-game. I can see this being useful for the second gym especially, and it'll be nice to have as a second team member.

- It takes me a weirdly long amount of time to find a Starly :starly:, but I finally do and I name her Gail (cause gale).

- I battle some trainers on the way to Jubilife City, do a stupid clown thing to get the Poketch, and go fight my rival.

- I take out the rival's Starly :starly: with Yertle :turtwig:, then Quick Attack the Chimchar :chimchar: with Gail :starly: until it goes down. I learn Wing Attack, and that mean's Gail's :starly: moveset is locked at Tackle, Growl, Quick Attack, and Wing Attack.

- I make my way over to Oreburgh City, and on the Route above there I go to grab another team member. I catch a Machop :machop: and name him Floyd, after the boxer Floyd Mayweather.

- The reason I picked this guy up is because he starts off with the move Low Kick, which I could see being useful at a bunch of random points throughout the adventure. The damage of Low Kick scales with the weight of the opponent. This means against super heavy opponents, it could be really useful, meaning I may swap Floyd :machop: in and out of the party for fights like Byron.

- Right now Floyd :machop: has Low Kick, Leer, and Focus Energy. It'll get Karate Chop as its next move for a more consistent option than Low Kick. He also has the ability Guts, which is a good thing in this case because he'll only have 100 accuracy moves so No Guard would have mostly just been a downside.

- I use Floyd :machop: against trainers in the Oreburgh Mine, and he learns Karate Chop, meaning Floyd's :machop: moveset is locked at Low Kick, Leer, Focus Energy, and Karate Chop.

- I find Roark and beat up the trainers in his gym to get Yertle :turtwig: to level 13. He learns Razor Leaf, meaning that Yertle's :turtwig: moveset is locked at Tackle, Growl, Absorb, and Razor Leaf.

- Finally, it's time for the Roark Fight.

- I take out Roark's Geodude :geodude: in one hit with Yertle's :turtwig: Razor Leaf.

- For Onix :onix:, I decide to try using Floyd :machop: for fun. This turns out to be a mistake, as Onix :onix: actually outspeeds me and sets up Stealth Rock. I know Low Kick will have 120 base power against this thing, so I hope for it to OHKO, but it barely doesn't. Roark doesn't use a potion though, Onix :onix: gets some minimal damage on Floyd :machop: with a Rock Throw, and he takes it out with a Karate Chop.

- Because of the Stealth Rock, I decide to leave Floyd :machop: in to try and take on Cranidos :cranidos:. I figure Floyd :machop: can tank a Headbutt and get at least one hit off before fainting, and he does in fact survive with a little under half HP... except that he flinches. Welp. There's not much I can do here, so I let Floyd faint.

- I throw out Yertle :turtwig: and pray that he can live a Headbutt, even after taking Stealth Rock damage. He does, with 5 HP! And doesn't flinch! One Razor Leaf takes Cranidos :cranidos: out, and I have the Coal Badge.

- So far, this challenge has basically just been a normal Pokemon run. However, that's gonna change for the next segment. My Pokemon are gonna start trying to learn cool moves soon and unfortunately I'm just gonna have to say no to all of it. I'll be back once I've beaten Gardenia!

Yertle, Lv. 14 Turtwig :turtwig:
Overgrow
Sassy Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Withdraw
- Absorb
- Razor Leaf

Gail, Lv. 11 Starly :starly:
Keen Eye
Quiet Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Growl
- Quick Attack
- Wing Attack

Floyd, Lv. 13 Machop :machop:
Guts
Careful Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Low Kick
- Leer
- Focus Energy
- Karate Chop

Thanks for making it this far, if you have! Feels good to be back.
 

Calaf

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This is such an interesting concept! So far, you seem to be breezing through, but I'm curious to see how hard this challenge will get. Best of luck!
 

Typhlosion

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First off, it's good to see you again, Shado! I remember you used to play a little forum Mafia back in the day.

I have to echo Calaf that I think this is a really neat, refreshing idea. Can't wait to see where it goes!
 

Shado

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@Calaf: Yeah it's been pretty standard so far, but this is the point where I'm gonna have to start giving up on moves that I really wish I had access to. I honestly have no idea how easy or hard this challenge will be either!

@Typhlosion: Good to see you too! Forum Mafia was a lot of fun, I still use some of those roles in games with my friends every now and then.

So I know I said I was gonna fight Gardenia in the next update, but I did quite a bit of stuff before I was able to get to that, so here's part 2! (Also I realize it hasn't quite been 24 hours, but it's close enough and I'd like to do my updates around this time rather than at midnight like Part 1)

- After getting the Coal Badge from Roark, I head back to Jubilife City and catch a Bidoof :bidoof: for HM purposes. I name it Doof and teach it Rock Smash.

- I realize I forgot to grab the Quick Claw, so I pick it up and give it to Yertle :turtwig: for now.

- I head up north and fight some Galactic grunts with Dawn. Gail :starly: beats them up pretty easily and grows to level 13. She tries to learn Double Team, but I unfortunately can't let her learn the cheesiest move in the world as much as I really really want to.

- I go through Ravaged Path and find the TM for Rock Tomb! This is exciting for about half a second until I remember that I'm not allowed to use it. I also find the Bullet Seed TM, which needless to say I am a little less disappointed that I can't use. Well, I guess I can sell them for cash.

- In fact, each TM is basically gonna serve as a bundle of 1000 pokedollars that I won't lose when I white out. Along with Heart Scales and Shards which I also can't use, they're just selling items like nuggets and star pieces.

- Anyway, on the way up to Floaroma Town, Gail :starly: evolves into Staravia :staravia:!

- I beat up some Galactic grunts in Floaroma Town and slather some trees with honey. I don't care about most of the honey encounters but there is a small chance to find Heracross :heracross:. It won't have very good moves but those stats are pretty great for this early in the game. I'm just gonna check the honey trees every now and then just in case, but I'm not gonna focus too much on getting one.

- I fight a few more grunts and then it's time for the Mars battle!

- I gave Gail :staravia: a Pecha berry in case Mars's Zubat :zubat: used Toxic on her, but that didn't happen. Wing Attack killed the Zubat in two hits, and it dealt only minimal damage from a Bite.

- I leave Gail :staravia: in for the dreaded Purugly :purugly:, the reason being that I don't want Floyd :machop: to take damage from Fake Out. A Smallant video recently taught me that for some reason, all priority moves in Gen 4 have the same level of priority, so I select Quick Attack.

- ...it doesn't actually end up mattering because I forget that Purugly has a ridiculous base speed of 112, which is way more than Staravia does. In fact, not even Staraptor has that much base speed! Who the hell designed Purugly?

- Gail :staravia: is able to get off a Wing Attack and a Quick Attack before fainting, bringing the Purugly to a little above 50%. I decide to bring in Yertle :turtwig: instead of going for Floyd :machop: right away. I'd like to get its Oran Berry out of the way first.

- Yertle :turtwig: ends up being able to take the Purugly out on its own! It knocks it out in 3 Razor Leaves, surviving the Purugly's last attack with only 4 HP.

- I may have overprepared here. This was meant to be Floyd's :machop: fight but I didn't even end up needing him. I even gave him a Chesto berry in case Purugly :purugly: used Hypnosis on him... I realized later that the Purugly didn't even know Hypnosis! Welp, sorry Floyd.

- Before heading up to Eterna Forest, I decide to pick up another team member. I think I'd like a decent water move, and the best place to find that right now is most definitely with Shellos :shellos:. I'll unfortunately barely miss out on Mud Bomb, but the respectably powerful Water Pulse is good enough reason to catch this and use it right now.

- I find one pretty easily and catch him. He's a West Sea Shellos which for some reason makes me think of West Side Story, so I name him Sondheim :shellos: after Stephen Sondheim, the composer for a bunch of famous musicals including that one.

- He comes with 4 moves, so Sondheim's :shellos: moveset is locked at Mud-Slap, Mud Sport, Harden, and Water Pulse.
- NOTE: I realized while writing this up that I totally could have gotten a Shellos with Mud Bomb if I had just walked about 10 tiles north and caught one on Route 205 that already knew that instead of Mud-Slap. Whoops. I honestly don't feel like going all the way back to get a better one right now, but I may do that eventually.

- Sondheim :shellos: turns out to be a beast even though I messed up in catching him. He manages to take out some trainers on his own despite being underleveled, and reaches the level of the rest of the team pretty quickly.

- The next order of business is Eterna Forest. I head up and meet Cheryl, and we make our way through Eterna Forest.

- I find out the hard way that Shellos doesn't gain its ground type until it evolves when Sondheim :shellos: nearly faints to a Pachirisu :pachirisu: early on. That's annoying.

- This is where the move-skipping begins to hurt. Yertle :turtwig: misses out on Curse, and Sondheim :shellos: loses a potential coverage option in hidden power. That's pretty unfortunate.

- Cheryl's Chansey SUCKS. This thing misses every other Egg Bomb and it keeps using Softboiled when its HP is already full! What the heck?

- I eventually make it to Eterna City... but I instantly run back into the forest to search for a new team member! Unfortunately, it's a rare one... which will be revealed in the next episode haha get pranked.

Yertle, Lv. 17 Turtwig :turtwig:
Overgrow
Sassy Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Withdraw
- Absorb
- Razor Leaf

Gail, Lv. 17 Starly :starly:
Keen Eye
Quiet Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Growl
- Quick Attack
- Wing Attack

Floyd, Lv. 16 Machop :machop:
Guts
Careful Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Low Kick
- Leer
- Focus Energy
- Karate Chop

Sondheim, Lv. 16 Shellos :shellos:
Storm Drain
Hardy Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Mud-Slap
- Mud Sport
- Harden
- Water Pulse

Thanks for reading! I'll probably update again tomorrow night.
 

Typhlosion

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I keep feeling tense about these boss fights until I remember you're not doing this Nuzlocke-style!

A question: you say TMs are useless; are your Pokemon only allowed to fill their moveslots with level-up moves? Could you use a TM on something that has less than four moves when you catch it?
 

Shado

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@Typhlosion: I'm only allowing level-up moves, so no TMs if a Pokemon has open move slots. The idea is that I cannot actively make a decision that would teach any Pokemon a move. Also yeah, this is definitely a lower-stakes challenge than most! And it's a good thing it is, cause uh...

- Last time, I made it to Eterna City, and then instantly went back to the forest to catch a new Pokemon. That Pokemon is something with a 1% encounter rate, so it takes quite a bit of time to find.

- Eventually I find the thing I need: A Dustox :dustox:! I catch it and name it Markoth, after the super annoying miniboss from Hollow Knight who also happens to be a moth.

- In any other playthrough, I would just catch a Cascoon :cascoon: and level it up. However, that means it would be stuck with Harden forever, and I'd really rather that wasn't the case. Because of that, I had to run around for a while to find this thing in its evolved state.

- Dustox :dustox: isn't the greatest Pokemon in the world, but it should be serviceable for now. It has a quad resistance against the 2nd gym, and starts off with decent coverage moves in Gust and Confusion. It'll get Protect and Morning Sun to round out its final moveset, so it may make for a decent tank. I've never used this Pokemon, so I'm really not sure if it'll be good or not.

- I go and fight some trainers on the route to the west, and unfortunately Markoth :dustox: isn't hitting nearly as hard as I'd like him to. I realize that this thing is a Bug/Poison type, but its two attacking moves are Flying and Psychic type! That means it never gets STAB, which makes more of a difference than I thought it would. I probably should've just caught a Beautifly :beautifly:, but I think I can still make this work.

- Yertle :turtwig: reaches level 18 and evolves into Grotle :grotle:!

- After beating all the trainers I have access too, my Pokemon are around level 16-18. Gardenia's ace is at 22, so I probably need a bit more than that. A Golbat with Wing Attack would make this gym trivial, but I don't have access to that. A Ponyta with Flame Wheel would also help a lot, but the ones I can catch right now just barely miss out on that move.

- I could grind against wild Pokemon to get up to around 20, which would be the smart decision. However, I'm extremely lazy and extremely dumb, so I decide to just take on the gym right now. After all I have two Pokemon with Type advantages! It'll be easy, right? ...right?

- I'm so cocky that I don't even check Gardenia's moves before the fight starts. She leads with a Turtwig :turtwig:, and I with Gail :staravia:. A Wing Attack gets it to under half health, but then it uses... Reflect. I forgot it had that. I'm able to take the Turtwig out with a Quick Attack and with another Wing Attack, but Gail unfortunately takes a minor hit.

- I need to get rid of these Reflect turns, so I send out Markoth :dustox: to take on the Cherrim :cherrim:. Unfortunately he barely does any damage with Gust, and then gets Leech Seeded. I really overestimated Markoth's firepower. This could be really bad.

- Switching to Gail :staravia: isn't really an option. I need to keep her HP up for Roserade :roserade:, and I don't have access to healing items. Because of that, Markoth :dustox: just has to just whack this Cherrim with Confusion, hoping to get it confused. Once I do, I hit a few Gusts before eventually dying to Leech Seed. Reflect is long gone, so that's enough for Gail :staravia: to take a quick revenge kill with Wing Attack.

- Then Roserade :roserade: comes out. It's faster than Gail :staravia:. Crap. Magical Leaf takes me well below half health, and Wing Attack only does a little more than 50%. This is bad. Really really bad. I'm slower, so I have to use Quick Attack, which obviously doesn't kill.

- The rest of my team members simply die in one hit, except Yertle :grotle: who is able to land a couple hits of his own. Roserade survives the last one with 1 or 2 health and knocks Yertle out. That's a loss. Welp.

- The message is that I should go back and grind to improve my team's damage output and tankiness. Like the idiot that I am, I completely ignore this message and go right back into this fight with level 17-18 Pokemon.

ATTEMPT 2

- This time, I start with Markoth :dustox: instead of Gail. I'd like to try using him against Roserade :roserade: later in the fight, and I think he'll fare better against this Turtwig :turtwig: who has Reflect but no Light Screen. I also get to wear out the 5 turns of Reflect so Gail :staravia: can take Cherrim :cherrim: out easily.

- This actually works pretty well! Markoth :dustox: starts with a crit Gust that takes Turtwig :turtwig: under half health as it sets up Reflect. One more Gust brings it really low. Then Gardenia heals, but Markoth is clutch as hell and hits another crit. This means its able to take the Turtwig out in two more Gusts, only taking a little bit of damage from quad resisted Razor Leafs.

- Gail :staravia: comes out for Cherrim :cherrim:, and I'm really hoping Wing Attack deals over half... it does not. A second Wing Attack brings it to red HP, but Gardenia heals before I can take it out with Quick Attack. Two more Wing Attacks seals the deal, but Gail is only at about 1/3 health from the Magical Leaf hits she took. This would have been avoided if I was a slightly higher level, so my laziness came back to bite me yet again.

- Gail :staravia: is able to get a bit of damage on Roserade :roserade: with a Quick Attack before fainting to Magical Leaf.

- I end up going with Yertle :grotle: first. I know he won't KO, but I know he can do some chip damage before Markoth comes in to finish the job. Sure enough, he gets a little bit of damage off before going down.

- I send out Markoth :dustox:, knowing that this Roserade :roserade: has only Grass type attacks (and I guess also Poison Sting) and no way to whittle me down like the Cherrim did last time with Leech Seed. The super effective Confusion doesn't do a whole lot, but the responding Magical Leaf only does 6 damage. This is gonna be a frustrating battle of attrition, but it's one I can win.

- Markoth :dustox: gets the Roserade :roserade: to a red sliver of health, and a Magical Leaf brings him down to relatively low HP. If Gardenia heals, I definitely lose.

- To my surprise, she doesn't! I forgot that she already used two healing items, one on Cherrim and one on Turtwig. Roserade's :roserade: last Magical Leaf brings Markoth :dustox: to only 3 HP, but he hits one more Confusion, and Roserade goes down! I get the Forest Badge!

- After that disaster, I realize a few important things. First of all, I've gotta take these boss battles a little more seriously. Platinum's gym leaders and other bosses have some really tough Pokemon and I don't have much of a way to counter some of them with this ruleset if I don't get my levels up to theirs. Roserade is one of the best special attackers in the entire game, and it's held by the second gym leader! I can't think of any answer at all for Fantina either, so I'll have to do some problem solving before I even think about fighting her.

- I'm still pretty lazy but I have to do at least a little grinding. I'm kinda scared of Jupiter's Skuntank :skuntank: which I have to fight really soon, so I'm definitely going to grind at least a little bit so I'm not going into the fight with Pokemon 5 levels below it.

- Lastly, Markoth :dustox: is unfortunately not going to be a particularly useful team member past this point. I assumed Dustox's special attack stat was something like 70 or 80, but it's actually only 50! That's just unacceptable, especially when it'll never get STAB. It's got decent bulk, but its typing is literally only useful for this battle that I just finished. I'll keep him in the party for now but I'm not gonna spend too much time grinding him. Beautifly :beautifly: would have been the FAR superior choice.

- After that whole ordeal, I get access to the Cut HM and teach it to Doof :bidoof:. I decide to head back to Floaroma Town to run a quick errand.

- That quick errand is replacing my Shellos :shellos: with one that knows Mud Bomb. Sondheim has been pretty good in the half hour that I've been using him, but I can't justify keeping him, especially with the next boss battle having something scary that's weak to Ground.

- I catch a higher-leveled Shellos :shellos: that already knows Mud Bomb and name him Gershwin, to keep with the composer theme for my Shelloses I guess.

- Gershwin is surprisingly similar to Sondheim. He has the same ability, Storm Drain (by far the more useful one), and even the same Hardy nature! I'm gonna take this as a sign that the universe is forgiving my mistake.

- I knew that boxing Pokemon was something I'd have to do during the course of this run, but not this soon! A good ground type move is just not something I can pass up right now. Sondheim :shellos: has been retired.

Yertle, Lv. 18 Grotle :grotle:
Overgrow
Sassy Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Withdraw
- Absorb
- Razor Leaf

Gail, Lv. 19 Staravia :staravia:
Keen Eye
Quiet Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Growl
- Quick Attack
- Wing Attack

Floyd, Lv. 17 Machop :machop:
Guts
Careful Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Low Kick
- Leer
- Focus Energy
- Karate Chop

Markoth, Lv. 19 Dustox :dustox:
Shield Dust
Modest Nature
Moveset
- Confusion
- Gust
- Protect

Gershwin, Level 11 Shellos :shellos:
Storm Drain
Hardy Nature
- Mud Sport
- Harden
- Water Pulse
- Mud Bomb

Sondheim, Lv. 17 Shellos :shellos:
Storm Drain
Hardy Nature
- Mud-Slap
- Mud Sport
- Harden
- Water Pulse
Unfortunately I caught you at the wrong level, so you didn't know Mud Bomb. In an ordinary run that wouldn't have been a problem, but under this ruleset I can't justify continuing to use you unless I really need to Mud-Slap something at some point.
 

Typhlosion

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Hey, don't worry about it. You set the rules and you've stuck to them, so you're still crushing this challenge.

A shame about Markoth. I'm quite fond of Dustox but there's no denying it's not great in battle.
 

Gokudera

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I love that Sondheim and Gershwin have the same Nature and Ability.
Composer buddies sticking together! Lol.

I love the idea of this challenge. Like you said, the strategy is different than a normal Nuzlocke, where team structure is much more important.

I absolutely agree about Markoth. Dustox is a decent-ish wall, but its offenses are terrible, even for a wall.
Replacing him with a Beautifly might be a good idea.
Looking forw aas rs to how this challenge pans put :)
 

Shado

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@Typhlosion: Yeah I definitely expected to take some losses. I've always thought Dustox had a cool design too, but I just don't see it being useful past this point.

@Gokudera: The nature thing is definitely a fun coincidence! The challenge is gonna give me a lot more team options to consider soon, and I'm quite excited for that.

- After last time's disastrous gym battle, I decided I have to grind at least a bit before taking on the Galactic base in Eterna City.

- Grinding here is absolutely insufferable. There are Meditites that spam detect, Zubats that confuse you, Chinglings that always flinch with Astonish, Bronzors that put you to sleep and confuse you and take a million hits to kill... hey wait a minute.

- One of the things this team lacks is any good way to inflict status conditions. Markoth :dustox: was trying to fill that annoying wall role, but he doesn't actually have any disruptive moves other than Confusion's tiny chance of, well, confusion. While Bronzor :bronzor: has even less attack than Dustox, it does have both Hypnosis and Confuse Ray in its starting moveset, and STAB for its own Confusion. I think those statuses could be really useful for fighting Jupiter's terrifying Skuntank.

- I eventually encounter a Bronzor. I test its ability with Gershwin's :shellos: Mud Bomb, and sure enough it has Levitate, which I like. I catch the Bronzor :bronzor: and name it Hemingway, because he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and Bronzong happens to be a bell.

- Whether or not this guy stays on my team long enough to evolve is gonna be dicey though: I already know I'll have chances to catch one with better moves later, but its nice to have him for now. Hemingway's :bronzor: moveset is locked at Confusion, Hypnosis, Imprison, and Confuse Ray.

- I dump Markoth in the box because I can only bring 5 team members into the Galactic hideout anyway (I'll need Doof :bidoof: to use Cut when I want to enter). Markoth :dustox: has been retired.

- Grinding Hemingway :bronzor: is quite the experience. On one hand, he doesn't deal a lot of damage, but he also takes comically little damage from the wild Pokemon here. With his status conditions keeping the opponents from hitting him, the problem becomes how quickly he runs out of PP on Confusion.

- Even after he runs out of PP to attack with, he's very easy to switch train: he can just inflict a status condition before switching, meaning the next Pokemon I send out will be completely safe. Of course, eventually those moves run out of PP too, which means he ends up looking like this before having to heal:
bronzor.PNG


- Grinding still kinda sucks. Floyd :machop: especially has a hard time because 3 of the wild Pokemon here happen to be Psychic types that know Confusion. Eventually, I'm able to get the entire team to level 20.

- The Galactic hideout goes pretty smoothly. The only notable moment is when Gail :staravia: has to fight a level 20 Kadabra :kadabra:, which is quite frankly terrifying. Luckily, the scientist using it is dumb and uses an X Special on its first turn, and a Wing Attack brings it to red health. One Quick Attack takes it out. EZ.

- I make my way through the hideout, making sure to fight every trainer for XP, and then it's time to fight Jupiter.

- Jupiter leads with a Zubat :zubat: that I know can't inflict any status on me, so I send out Gail :staravia: to take it out quickly. Sure enough, it goes down in two Wing Attacks, only hitting me with one Wing Attack in response that brings Gail to 47/57 HP, which I figure is manageable enough.

- Next its time for Skuntank :skuntank:, so I send out Hemingway :bronzor:. All that switch training where I inflicted a status and then switched out inspired me to try something similar for the beast that is this Skuntank. Sure enough, Hemingway survives a Night Slash at around half health and gets a Hypnosis off... which misses because of course it does.

- Welp. I probably should've gone for Confuse Ray to get a guaranteed status, but I didn't. I think Hemingway :bronzor: might be able to survive another Night Slash because of damage ranges, but it doesn't. There goes that strategy.

- Since I can't status the Skuntank :skuntank:,I send out Gail :staravia: next to get the Intimidate off. Wing Attack does a little less than 1/4 and Night Slash looks to be a 3-shot. I figure I can get two more Wing Attacks off, but it actually outspeeds me on the second turn. I survive that hit with about 4 HP, but a speed tie is not great news for me. I decide to go for Quick Attack to make sure I can get some damage off before fainting, and I manage to activate its Sitrus Berry. Skuntank is at about 2/3 health now.

- Next I send out Gershwin :shellos:. My original plan was to send him out while Skuntank :skuntank: was asleep. Then I would have used Mud Bomb to lower its accuracy and hit it with super effective damage. I figure I can still deal a good amount with a Mud Bomb, and the accuracy drop would still be nice. I just need to survive one hit, which I think I can do, because Night Slash was a three-shot on Gail :staravia:, and Gershwin's :shellos: defense and HP aren't that much lower...

- Night Slash crits because of course it does. OHKO.

- Welp, I guess it's Floyd's :machop: turn. I luck out the first turn as Skuntank :skuntank: misses Poison Gas. Unfortunately, Karate Chop seems to be a four-shot, and I don't think I have that much time. Will Low Kick deal more damage? I honestly don't know, but I figure going to Bulbapedia to check would be cheating. I've got nothing to lose, so I select Low Kick.

- Skuntank :skuntank: hits Poison Gas this time, but I'm not too worried about that. Low Kick connects, and it brings Skuntank all the way down to red health! I just need to live one Night Slash, which I figure just means that I need to not get crit...

- Jupiter is dumb and just orders Skuntank to Screech lmao. Floyd :machop: hits Low Kick and the battle is over. Phew.

- With the bike available to me now, I can progress to Hearthome City. There'll be plenty of encounter options along the way, so I'll have a few options to upgrade my team that I've definitely been considering! I'm gonna need all the help I can get for the potentially scary fight against Fantina.

Yertle, Lv. 20 Grotle :grotle:
Overgrow
Sassy Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Withdraw
- Absorb
- Razor Leaf

Gail, Lv. 21 Staravia :staravia:
Keen Eye
Quiet Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Growl
- Quick Attack
- Wing Attack

Floyd, Lv. 21 Machop :machop:
Guts
Careful Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Low Kick
- Leer
- Focus Energy
- Karate Chop

Gershwin, Lv. 20 Shellos :shellos:
Storm Drain
Hardy Nature
- Mud Sport
- Harden
- Water Pulse
- Mud Bomb

Hemingway, Lv. 20 Bronzor :bronzor:
Levitate
Mild Nature
- Confusion
- Hypnosis
- Imprison
- Confuse Ray

Sondheim, Lv. 17 Shellos
Storm Drain
Hardy Nature
- Mud-Slap
- Mud Sport
- Harden
- Water Pulse
Unfortunately I caught you at the wrong level, so you didn't know Mud Bomb. In an ordinary run that wouldn't have been a problem, but under this ruleset I can't justify continuing to use you unless I really need to Mud-Slap something at some point.

Markoth, Lv. 17 Dustox
Shield Dust
Modest Nature
Moveset
- Confusion
- Gust
- Protect
I caught you to be a wall, and while you were decent at that, you couldn't really do anything else. Your lack of status moves or damage output makes me wonder if I'll be able to justify ever using you again. I gotta give you props for helping beat Gardenia, though!
 

Typhlosion

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Ah yes, the Jupiter fight. I've heard many horror stories about this, and the bad luck didn't make things any better for you. I feel you about it being tough to grind. Sinnoh is very bad for grinding in general, in my experience.
 

Calaf

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The fight against Jupiter in Eterna City is probably my least favorite fight to do on a challenge run across the entire series, so I'm glad to see that you beat her on your first attempt.

Bronzor missing Hypnosis is definitely some bad luck, but Skuntank hitting Poison Gas may have been a blessing in disguise: it seems like the boost from Guts really saved the day!
 

Gokudera

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Hypnosis absolutely has it's real accuracy for the player. But for AI? 60%? I'll hit 4 in a row. Why not?

But, like Calaf said, Skuntank Poisoning Floyd may have saved you. That Guts boost let you take it out in 2 hits. If Skuntank got another turn after Screeching Floyd, that could have been no bueno.
As for Hemmingway, it's probably good to keep it for now, but you might want to hunt for a better one down the line. Imprison is mostly a wasted move in Singles, especially later on. The only situation Imprison might be useful-ish is with Confuse Ray. Other than that, catching a new Coin/Bell buddy might be beneficial later.
 

Shado

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@Typhlosion: Grinding is annoying, but it's definitely a necessary evil for this challenge! With the constant revolving door of team members, I'm gonna have to do quite a bit of it.

@Calaf: Funnily enough, I completely forgot about Guts in the moment. Overall I don't think it really made a difference: I ran the calcs and Low Kick most likely would have 2-shot from that point anyways. The real luck was that Skuntank missed its first Poison Gas, which meant it had to spend the next turn using that again.

@Gokudera: It does sometimes feel like the RNG is stacked against the player, but hey, I did crucially avoid a 90% accurate status move later on in the fight, so that's something. As for Hemingway, well...

- We left off after beating Jupiter. As I attempt to leave Eterna City, Cynthia hands me an egg :pokemonegg:! I promptly dump it in the box forever. Togepi's :togepi: starting moves leave a lot to be desired. Metronome would be the only "attacking move" it would ever get.

- Egg :pokemonegg: has been retired... I guess.

- The game forces me to grab the Explorer Kit, so I do. This allows me to get either Shieldon :shieldon: or Cranidos :cranidos:, but neither of their starting movesets are particularly appealing. There's a few interesting items down there, but I don't feel like investing so much time just to find a few elemental plates.

- I go to Cycling Road to battle the trainers. The only thing of note that happens is that one trainer's Starly :starly: actually manages to pull off the FEAR strat against Gershwin :shellos:. Nice.

- Once I finish Cycling Road, I head up to Wayward Cave to catch two new team members... of course I completely forget to bring any Poke Balls, so I have to go all the way back and by some.

- My first caught Pokemon is a new Bronzor :bronzor:! Yep, Hemingway is already getting retired for a better version of himself. I use Gershwin's :shellos: Mud Bomb to make sure it has Levitate, which it does. I catch it and name this one Aldous :bronzor:, after Aldous Huxley. I figure I might as well keep the same naming theme for my Bronzors (in this case it's authors of classical literature), like I did for Shellos.

- The reason I caught a new Bronzor :bronzor: is because the ones here come at level 20, meaning Aldous's moveset is identical to Hemingway's, except that it upgrades Confusion to Extrasensory, which has 80 power instead of 50. That's a pretty significant difference, and Extrasensory is the best Psychic move this evolutionary line learns by level-up anyways. If I decide to keep Aldous until he becomes a Bronzong, he'll be hitting decently hard with it.

- By some absolute black magic, Aldous has the exact same Mild nature as Hemingway, the Pokemon he's replacing! Ridiculous how this has happened twice.

- Aldous's moveset is locked at Hypnosis, Imprison, Confuse Ray, and Extrasensory.

- Hemingway :bronzor: has been retired.


- I have more stuff to do here, but I can't find the Pokemon I'm looking for. I look it up and realize that I just spent 10 minutes running around the wrong cave. Nice.

- I find the secret Wayward Cave entrance and pick up my second new team member. I catch a Gible :gible: and name him Ishmael. I asked a friend for name ideas and he suggested a biblical name, cause "Gible" is only one letter off from "Bible". I'm no expert on Christianity, but apparently Ishmael spent a long time living in the desert, so I think the name works pretty well.

- Ishmael :gible: doesn't fit an exact role on this team, but I think he'll be hitting pretty hard with the moves he starts off with. He'll evolve really soon, which will give him pretty solid stats for this point in the game. Unfortunately, his nature is Bold, which means his attack is gonna be lower than it should be.

- Ishmael's :gible: moveset is locked at Dragon Rage, Sandstorm, Take Down, and Sand Tomb.

- I go to extract my new team members, then train them up against the trainers on the way to Hearthome City. Aldous :bronzor: is doing about exactly as I expected. Ishmael, :gible: meanwhile, is absolutely killing it. Dragon Rage basically translates to "this move 2-hit-KOs the opponent" at this point in the game, and that's honestly the main reason I picked him up. Take Down is also hitting pretty hard, and it's a good move to have.

- Sand Tomb, however, is extremely disappointing. After checking its stats, I realize it only has 15 base power and 70 accuracy! I could have sworn it was stronger, and unfortunately it only got buffed to 35 and 85 in Gen 5. RIP. Well, at least he has two good moves.

- I make it to Hearthome City pretty quickly, and go to the Contest Hall to find Fantina because the game forces me to. Needless to say, I do not plan on doing any contests.

- Before entering the gym, however, I have some grinding to do.

- I also have one more team member to replace, and this one is gonna hurt a little: I'm replacing Yertle :grotle:. He's unfortunately starting to fall behind, and doesn't offer any utility or coverage to the team right now. Normally, a Grotle at this point in the game would be setting up with Curse, and it would have Bite as a coverage move. I don't have that option, so Yertle mostly just spams Razor Leaf.

- I do have a better option for a Grass type that I can catch now. That option is Roselia :roselia:, who I grab at level 19 on the Route between Mt. Coronet and Hearthome City. I name him Aster, because it's the name of a flower but also sounds a bit more masculine than most flower names.

- Aster's :roselia: moveset is a lot better than Yertle's :grotle:, even if it's just Grass type moves. He has Magical Leaf and Mega Drain, an upgrade over Razor Leaf and Absorb, and his high Special Attack stat means they'll be hitting a decent amount harder than Yertle :grotle: was. Aster :roselia: also has Stun Spore and Leech Seed, two very good utility moves that might save me during the Fantina fight.

- Aster's :roselia: moveset is locked at Stun Spore, Leech Seed, Mega Drain, and Magical Leaf.

- Sadly, Yertle :grotle: has been retired.

- I've already done a lot, so I'll be battling Fantina in the next update. First, I've gotta train this new team up to a respectable level. During the grinding that I've done so far, Ishmael :gible: evolved into Gabite :gabite:, so that's where I'll stop for now.

Gail, Lv. 23 Staravia :staravia:
Keen Eye
Quiet Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Growl
- Quick Attack
- Wing Attack

Floyd, Lv. 23 Machop :machop:
Guts
Careful Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Low Kick
- Leer
- Focus Energy
- Karate Chop

Gershwin, Lv. 23 Shellos :shellos:
Storm Drain
Hardy Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Mud Sport
- Harden
- Water Pulse
- Mud Bomb

Aldous, Lv. 23 Bronzor :bronzor:
Levitate
Mild Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Hypnosis
- Imprison
- Confuse Ray
- Extrasensory

Ishmael, Lv. 24 Gabite :gabite:
Sand Veil
Bold Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Dragon Rage
- Sandstorm
- Take Down
- Sand Tomb

Aster, Lv. 20 Roselia :roselia:
Natural Cure
Lax Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Stun Spore
- Leech Seed
- Mega Drain
- Magical Leaf

Sondheim, Lv. 17 Shellos :shellos:
Storm Drain
Hardy Nature
- Mud-Slap
- Mud Sport
- Harden
- Water Pulse
Unfortunately I caught you at the wrong level, so you didn't know Mud Bomb. In an ordinary run that wouldn't have been a problem, but under this ruleset I can't justify continuing to use you unless I really need to Mud-Slap something at some point.

Markoth, Lv. 17 Dustox :dustox:
Shield Dust
Modest Nature
Moveset
- Confusion
- Gust
- Protect
I caught you to be a wall, and while you were decent at that, you couldn't really do anything else. Your lack of status moves or damage output makes me wonder if I'll be able to justify ever using you again. I gotta give you props for helping beat Gardenia, though!

Egg :pokemonegg:
You sure are an egg.

Hemingway, Lv. 20 Bronzor :bronzor:
Levitate
Mild Nature
- Confusion
- Hypnosis
- Imprison
- Confuse Ray
I caught you to land one move, and you missed it. Luckily, you did show me that a Bronzor could be a worthwhile team member, but Aldous's stronger moves meant that I had to leave you behind.

Yertle, Lv. 22 Grotle :grotle:
Overgrow
Sassy Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Withdraw
- Absorb
- Razor Leaf
It's always hard boxing the starter, and it's unfortunate that it had to be this way, but your moveset just couldn't keep up with the rate that the opponents were getting stronger.

Losses (1):
- Tried to fight Gardenia while way underleveled.
 

Typhlosion

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Hah, I love Ishmael's name. Funny how we both ended up using the Gible line in our ongoing challenges. Isn't early-game Dragon Rage the best?
 

Gokudera

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Ishmael is a great name for the Gible line, for sure.
It's a bit of a shame that Sand Tomb is the only move that can get STAB, but Dragon Rage will be pretty strong for a while.
It's sad seeing Yertle be retired, but Roselia is a strong replacement, especially with that moveset. Leech Seed is going to be great.

I really like that you putting the sprites next to the nicknames. It's not always easy remember every nicknmane in every challenge.
 

Shado

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@Typhlosion: The Gible line is one of my favorites, especially in the early game. The fact that it's basically the only dragon that can already be in its second form this early is really nice.

@Gokudera: I'm happy I was able to find a Grass type with a good moveset. Stun Spore and Leech Seed are gonna be pretty useful going forward. As for the sprites, I first saw that in Calaf's challenges. It's definitely helpful for keeping track of which team member is which.

- Grinding is once again pretty annoying. Everything here seems to know status moves.

- Luckily, it doesn't end up taking too long. I get the whole team to level 24, except for Floyd :machop: who I decide to give an extra level so he can evolve... except that of course I forgot that Machop evolves at level 28, not 25. Nice.

- I actually end up putting Floyd :machop: in the PC, and I bring out Yertle :grotle: instead. That's because Floyd only has fighting type moves, so he can't actually deal any damage to any Pokemon in the Ghost-type Gym. I leave Yertle at level 22 cause I don't expect to use him at all, but it's technically in my best interest to have him in the back of the party.

- I decide to fight the gym trainers just to gauge how much damage I can deal to the Pokemon in this gym. My Pokemon are doing alright, but I'm still not sure if I'll be able to win this gym battle.

- I decide to give Aster :roselia: the Quick Claw in case luck is on my side today, and then it's time to fight Fantina!

- I lead with Gershwin :shellos: against Fantina's Duskull :duskull:. I know this thing has Will-O'-Wisp, so I want to use a special attacker against it. I don't plan on using Gershwin anywhere in the rest of the fight, so I might as well use him here.

- Gershwin :shellos: takes miniscule damage from a Shadow Sneak and responds with Water Pulse, which is clearly a 3-shot. Duskull :duskull: then lands a Will-O'-Wisp which I don't care about, followed by one more Shadow Sneak before it goes down to Water Pulse.

- Next up is her ace, Mismagius :mismagius:. I was hoping for Haunter, but because I have a water type out and this Mismagius has Magical Leaf, Fantina decides to send it out instead.

- I switch to Aster :roselia:, hoping to tank a Psybeam and land a Stun Spore... luckily, Quick Claw activates and Stun Spore lands before Mismagius :mismagius: can attack! Not only that, but it gets fully paralyzed. That's some fantastic luck right there.

- Aster :roselia: is now faster, so he's able to set up a Leech Seed. Mismagius :mismagius: responds with Confuse Ray. At this point, I decide It's safe to start hitting Magical Leafs. Unfortunately Mismagius finally gets to hit Aster with a Psybeam, which does about 3/4. Another Magical Leaf brings it down to red, but Aster faints to a second Psybeam.

- I figure she'll heal, so I bring out Ishmael :gabite:. Fantina brings Mismagius :mismagius: back up to almost full HP with a Super Potion, but Dragon Rage does well over half. I forgot that for whatever reason, Mismagius doesn't actually get any increase to its base HP stat of only 60 when it evolves from Misdreavus. Because of this, Dragon Rage is really strong against it. Ishmael outspeeds because of the paralysis and is able to knock out Mismagius with one more Dragon Rage.

- Her last Pokemon is Haunter :haunter:, and while I could just Dragon Rage it, I'm worried about the fact that it knows Hypnosis and Confuse Ray. In response, I send out Aldous :bronzor:.

- Aldous :bronzor: takes around 1/4 from a Shadow Claw and responds with Imprison. Because Aldous also knows both Confuse Ray and Hypnosis, Haunter is now unable to use either move.

- I decide to leave Aldous :bronzor: in and use Extrasensory while it whittles me down with Shadow Claw. He's able to get it to pretty much exactly 1 HP before fainting.

- Gershwin :shellos: comes back in and tanks a Shadow Claw, then KO's Haunter :haunter: with a Water Pulse. With that, the gym battle is over.

- I bring Floyd :machop: back into the party and box Yertle :grotle:, this time for real. He didn't end up needing to do anything, but I didn't really expect him to. There may be a time when I bring him back out again, but that's probably not any time soon.

- There's one more fight I'd like to get out of the way today, so I head down to the next route and challenge Barry, my rival.

- Barry leads with Staravia :staravia:, which I know has some annoying moves. Because of that, I start with Aldous :bronzor:. It sets up a Double Team, but I still manage to land Hypnosis and put it to sleep.

- After that, I try Extrasensory but it only does about 1/4. I switch to Ishmael :gabite: to try and take it out quicker. One Dragon Rage takes it to red HP, but on the next turn, I miss Take Down, Staravia :staravia: wakes up, and it uses Endeavor to bring me to 5 HP. That's exactly what I was worried about in the first place.

- I know this thing wants to go for Quick Attack, so I switch to my own Staravia, Gail :staravia:. Sure enough, the opponent uses Quick Attack, which only deals about 1/6 damage to me. On the next turn, I use my own Quick Attack to knock Barry's Staravia out before it can use Endeavor.

- Next up is Buizel :buizel:, so I send out Aster :roselia:. Buizel lands a Pursuit for 1/6 damage, and one Magical Leaf is an OHKO.

- Barry then sends out Monferno :monferno:, so I switch to Gershwin :shellos:. Monferno just uses Leer, and Gershwin's Water Pulse does well above half and confuses.

- I'm feeling pretty good here, so I click Water Pulse again. To my surprise, Barry switches Monferno out and sends out his own Roselia :roselia:, which obviously doesn't take a lot of damage from Water Pulse. You don't see AI trainers switch very often, so that's cool.

- I switch to Aldous :bronzor:, who promptly gets paralyzed by Stun Spore. I then get Leech Seeded, but I do manage to land a Hypnosis and Roselia :roselia: goes to sleep.

- I then switch to Gail :staravia: because of the status conditions on Aldous, but Barry surprises me by switching again, back into Monferno :monferno:. That's a good move because Roselia likely has Natural Cure, but I was still surprised to see the AI switch out twice in one battle.

- Luckily, I still have a type advantage. Gail :staravia: tanks a Flame Wheel nicely and takes out the weakened Monferno :monferno:. Barry sends out Roselia :roselia:, which goes down to one Wing Attack.

- With that battle complete, I decide to stop for now. My next job is to travel to Veilstone City and prepare for the battle against Maylene.

Gail, Lv. 26 Staravia :staravia:
Keen Eye
Quiet Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Growl
- Quick Attack
- Wing Attack

Floyd, Lv. 25 Machop :machop:
Guts
Careful Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Low Kick
- Leer
- Focus Energy
- Karate Chop

Gershwin, Lv. 25 Shellos :shellos:
Storm Drain
Hardy Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Mud Sport
- Harden
- Water Pulse
- Mud Bomb

Aldous, Lv. 24 Bronzor :bronzor:
Levitate
Mild Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Hypnosis
- Imprison
- Confuse Ray
- Extrasensory

Ishmael, Lv. 25 Gabite :gabite:
Sand Veil
Bold Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Dragon Rage
- Sandstorm
- Take Down
- Sand Tomb

Aster, Lv. 24 Roselia :roselia:
Natural Cure
Lax Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Stun Spore
- Leech Seed
- Mega Drain
- Magical Leaf

Sondheim, Lv. 17 Shellos :shellos:
Storm Drain
Hardy Nature
- Mud-Slap
- Mud Sport
- Harden
- Water Pulse
Unfortunately I caught you at the wrong level, so you didn't know Mud Bomb. In an ordinary run that wouldn't have been a problem, but under this ruleset I can't justify continuing to use you unless I really need to Mud-Slap something at some point.

Markoth, Lv. 17 Dustox :dustox:
Shield Dust
Modest Nature
Moveset
- Confusion
- Gust
- Protect
I caught you to be a wall, and while you were decent at that, you couldn't really do anything else. Your lack of status moves or damage output makes me wonder if I'll be able to justify ever using you again. I gotta give you props for helping beat Gardenia, though!

Egg :pokemonegg:
You sure are an egg.

Hemingway, Lv. 20 Bronzor :bronzor:
Levitate
Mild Nature
- Confusion
- Hypnosis
- Imprison
- Confuse Ray
I caught you to land one move, and you missed it. Luckily, you did show me that a Bronzor could be a worthwhile team member, but Aldous's stronger moves meant that I had to leave you behind.

Yertle, Lv. 22 Grotle :grotle:
Overgrow
Sassy Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Withdraw
- Absorb
- Razor Leaf
It's always hard boxing the starter, and it's unfortunate that it had to be this way, but your moveset just couldn't keep up with the rate that the opponents were getting stronger. You did come back out momentarily in case I needed your help to fight Fantina, but I didn't end up using you.

Losses (1):
- Tried to fight Gardenia while way underleveled.
 

Typhlosion

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That Imprison strategy was genius. I've never played Platinum, only Diamond, so I don't know the pain of taking on a Mismagius that early, but you handled it well! Puns in the title are always appreciated as well.
 

Calaf

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Wow, I figured Dragon Rage would be pretty decent, but I didn't think it would shred through Mismagius the way it did. Go Ishmael!
 

Shado

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@Typhlosion: I'm the other way around actually. My first main-series Pokemon game was Platinum, yet I've never actually played Diamond or Pearl.

@Calaf: Unfortunately we're reaching the point in the game where Dragon Rage will be a 3-shot rather than a 2-shot all the time. It's still very nice to have that reliable damage output.

- After beating Fantina and Barry, it's time to head over to Veilstone City.

- During my first trainer battle of the day, I put a trainer's Budew :budew: to sleep with Aldous :bronzor:. The trainer then switches out to a Bonsly :bonsly:, which marks the third AI switchout in the last two battles. I've had entire Pokemon playthroughs with less than 3 AI switchouts!

- The same trainer has a Pichu :pichu: which inflicts para-fusion on Aldous :bronzor:, then calls my switch to Ishmael :gabite: by setting up a Nasty Plot. Why is the AI making smart decisions all of a sudden?

- The rest of the battle is easy, as are the rest of the fights on the Route. I do pick up the Good Rod, which may come in handy later.

- I get to Solaceon Town and instantly head towards the Ruins to grab some stuff.

- Solaceon Ruins give me access to any type of coverage move I want! Unfortunately that comes in the form of Hidden Power on Unown :unown:, so I don't plan on using this great power that the game has graciously decided to bestow upon me.

- I do pick up the HM for Defog, an Odd Incense, and a Mind Plate. It's weird that the game decided to put two items with the exact same effect next to each other, but whatever. Aldous :bronzor: gets the Mind Plate to make up for his underwhelming attacking stats.

- I could go to the Lost Tower, but there isn't anything of value for me up there so I skip it for now.

- The next route has a couple of interesting Pokemon options. Scyther :scyther: has great stats, but its moves aren't anything to write home about. Kadabra :kadabra: would also be powerful, but it doesn't know Psybeam yet and would thus be stuck with Confusion and 3 filler moves.

- I could also catch a new Staravia :staravia: to replace Gail. It would know Endeavor and Double Team instead of Tackle and Growl, which is in theory a strict upgrade. However, I think Double Team is kinda dishonorable and I wouldn't use Endeavor that much. Also, I'd be losing out on all the EVs Gail has gotten up to this point, which means a new Staravia would prolly just be worse than Gail, at least for a bit. I decide to just stick with Gail for now.

- The trek to Veilstone is long, but the only battle of interest is a double battle with a Lickilicky, Drifblim, and some other Pokemon that took a while. After I make it to Veilstone City, I grab Doof :bidoof: and go back to grab some loot that was locked behind Cut.

- One of these items is the Fist Plate, which is a good item for Floyd :machop:.

- I decide to go to the gym and train up against the gym trainers. The first trainer has 3 Machokes :machoke: at level 23, 25, and 27, aka the three levels that I thought Floyd :machop: was gonna evolve at, and then he didn't.

- As if by some witchcraft, Floyd :machop: reaches Lv. 28 during this very fight, and evolves into Machoke :machoke:!

- Unfortunately this gym only has 4 trainers to fight against, and my Pokemon are still too low level to take on Maylene. Luckily, I'm able to head down to the Route below me to train. I fight some trainers there and also pick up the Big Root, which goes well with Aster's :roselia: Mega Drain.

- While battling trainers, I realize that I can actually get all the way to Route 213 before fighting Maylene. That means I'll be adding a team member earlier than I expected to!

- Remember that Good Rod I made note of? Well, this is where it comes into play. After far too much fishing, I finally find what I'm looking for: a Remoraid :remoraid: from levels 19-25. This one is only level 19 which is unfortunate, but I'll take it.

- Remoraid :remoraid: at this level have a weirdly potent moveset: they come with Bubblebeam, Psybeam, and Aurora Beam as attacking moves. That represents super effective damage against 8 different types, by far the most of any member of my team.

- It took me a long time to decide whether I wanted to use a Gastrodon :gastrodon: or an Octillery :octillery:. I decided on the latter for a few reasons. While Octillery is less bulky than Gastrodon, it's a tiny bit faster and it hits a lot harder. It can't deal with electric types, but I already have an electric immunity on my team (:gabite:) and another resistance (:roselia:) so I think I'll be fine, at least until Volkner.

- Good ice type moves are extremely hard to get in this ruleset: I can't just teach Ice Beam to my water type of choice like I would do in any other playthrough. Having Aurora Beam is gonna be nice.

- Lastly, I've used Gastrodon :gastrodon: during many playthroughs of Platinum, but I've never used Octillery :octillery: in any game at all! I think it's an underrated Pokemon, so I'd like to give it a chance to shine.

- My Remoraid :remoraid: is a female. Octillery's name partially comes from the word "artillery" and while it's specifically based on a cannon, I decide to name my Remoraid Trebuchet after what is undoubtedly the superior siege weapon. I imagine her Pokedex entry must be something along the lines of "this Pokemon is capable of launching 90kg projectiles over 300m".

- Trebuchet :remoraid: moveset is LOCKED at Lock-On, Bubblebeam, Psybeam, and Aurora Beam.

- Unfortunately this means Gershwin :shellos: has been retired. That's my second Shellos in the box, this time one level off from evolving. Oof.

- I'll train the team up and next time we'll take on the 4th gym battle!

Gail, Lv. 29 Staravia :staravia:
Intimidate
Quiet Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Growl
- Quick Attack
- Wing Attack

Floyd, Lv. 29 Machoke :machoke:
Guts
Careful Nature
Holding the Fist Plate
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Low Kick
- Leer
- Focus Energy
- Karate Chop

Aldous, Lv. 28 Bronzor :bronzor:
Levitate
Mild Nature
Holding the Mind Plate
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Hypnosis
- Imprison
- Confuse Ray
- Extrasensory

Ishmael, Lv. 29 Gabite :gabite:
Sand Veil
Bold Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Dragon Rage
- Sandstorm
- Take Down
- Sand Tomb

Aster, Lv. 29 Roselia :roselia:
Natural Cure
Lax Nature
Holding the Big Root
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Stun Spore
- Leech Seed
- Mega Drain
- Magical Leaf

Trebuchet, Lv. 19 Remoraid :remoraid:
Sniper
Naughty Nature
Holding the Exp. Share
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Lock-On
- Bubblebeam
- Psybeam
- Aurora Beam

Sondheim, Lv. 17 Shellos :shellos:
Storm Drain
Hardy Nature
- Mud-Slap
- Mud Sport
- Harden
- Water Pulse
Unfortunately I caught you at the wrong level, so you didn't know Mud Bomb. In an ordinary run that wouldn't have been a problem, but under this ruleset I can't justify continuing to use you unless I really need to Mud-Slap something at some point.

Markoth, Lv. 17 Dustox :dustox:
Shield Dust
Modest Nature
Moveset
- Confusion
- Gust
- Protect
I caught you to be a wall, and while you were decent at that, you couldn't really do anything else. Your lack of status moves or damage output makes me wonder if I'll be able to justify ever using you again. I gotta give you props for helping beat Gardenia, though!

Egg :pokemonegg:
You sure are an egg.

Hemingway, Lv. 20 Bronzor :bronzor:
Levitate
Mild Nature
- Confusion
- Hypnosis
- Imprison
- Confuse Ray
I caught you to land one move, and you missed it. Luckily, you did show me that a Bronzor could be a worthwhile team member, but Aldous's stronger moves meant that I had to leave you behind.

Yertle, Lv. 22 Grotle :grotle:
Overgrow
Sassy Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Tackle
- Withdraw
- Absorb
- Razor Leaf
It's always hard boxing the starter, and it's unfortunate that it had to be this way, but your moveset just couldn't keep up with the rate that the opponents were getting stronger. You did come back out momentarily in case I needed your help to fight Fantina, but I didn't end up using you.

Gershwin, Lv. 29 Shellos :shellos:
Storm Drain
Hardy Nature
Moveset (LOCKED)
- Mud Sport
- Harden
- Water Pulse
- Mud Bomb
You were a valuable team member for a while. I probably could've kept using you, but I just found a more interesting team option. Hang in there though, I could totally see a situation where you'd be useful.

Losses (1):
- Tried to fight Gardenia while way underleveled.
 
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Typhlosion

Heart and Soul
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Rainbow Rocket Executive
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Ben
- My Remoraid :remoraid: is a female. Octillery's name partially comes from the word "artillery" and while it's specifically based on a cannon, I decide to name my Remoraid Trebuchet after what is undoubtedly the superior siege weapon. I imagine her Pokedex entry must be something along the lines of "this Pokemon is capable of launching 90kg projectiles over 300m".
Bro

I'm crying tears of meme happiness

So proud to know you in this moment.
 
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