A Pokémon Trainer is You! XXVII: School of Brock

[Catch up on the story so far here!]

Which Pokémon do you plan to open with against Brock?
– Jane Doe, the Zorua

Which Pokémon would you like to talk with?
– Jane

You’re a reasonably down-to-earth kid.  You’re not going to go charging into your first gym battle with a Pokémon on your team that, frankly, you barely know.  You’re going to figure out what Jane’s deal is.  As far as Jane herself is concerned, her deal is primarily rolling over and receiving belly rubs, and to be clear, you are 100% down for this.  She is a good girl and her fur is almost outrageously soft and silky.  You still want to know what her powers do, though.  Jane’s species isn’t even in your Pokédex, but the Pokémon Centre has a book room with a decent collection of field guides and textbooks.  With a little help from Jane herself, who yaps encouragingly whenever you find pictures of Pokémon from forested central Unova, you quickly find a profile in a recent trainer’s almanac.  Like I said, Jane Doe is a Zorua.  She’s a Dark-type and a fiercely intelligent ambush predator.  She should be able to learn a range of speed-based techniques, as well as attacks that strike at an opponent’s senses or mental state, and she has certain unique abilities that make your eyes pop out like an old cartoon character’s when you read the book’s description.  This definitely warrants a little practice before you go to bed.

Once you’ve sorted out what her species’ deal is, you try to focus in on what Jane’s deal is.  It seems clear that she wasn’t born in Kanto, but when you try to prod her with more specific questions about how she got here, she just rolls over and asks for more belly rubs.  When you mention the poachers who’d captured her in Viridian Forest, though, “Team Rocket,” she suddenly bares her teeth and growls – not at you, but apparently at the whole memory of her imprisonment.  The vibe you get is not so much trauma or even fear, but almost indignation.  You’re reluctant to press her further, but you do suggest, tentatively, that although you didn’t exactly sign up for hunting poachers, you wouldn’t let them pass unchallenged if you encountered them again.  Jane’s reaction to that is simply to look you in the eye and grin mischievously.

Jane Doe
Special Skill: Vendetta
Jane is motivated by a desire for revenge on Team Rocket, and receives a major bonus in battles against them.

The next morning, you and the bug catchers enjoy a leisurely breakfast with your Pokémon at a chain café near the Pokémon Centre (during which you learn that Aura – who doesn’t eat solid food anymore – is an espresso fiend) then head for the Pewter City Pokémon Gym.  A receptionist at the front desk waves you through to the arena without much fanfare, and you get your first look at the battlefield.  Brock’s arena is a huge slab of grey Pewter City limestone, covered in randomly scattered boulders and pock-marked with cracks and craters from powerful Pokémon attacks.  A bored-looking referee in an orange uniform sits in a folding chair off to one side.   Brock himself is standing at the challenger’s end of the field, talking to someone who has their back to you.  As you approach, he spots you and shouts a greeting.

“Perfect timing!  We’re just finishing up here.  My Pokémon just need to take a breather and some Potions; we’ll be ready for the next challenge in about ten minutes.”  The person talking to Brock – the previous challenger – turns around, and…
“Oh, hey!  So you finally got here, huh?” asks… um…
y’know, the guy, the other guy
fµ¢£, what was his name again
it was, like, a colour or something
Magenta.  No, Lilac!
Look, you remember this idiot’s name if you care about him so much.
Exactly; that’s what I thought.

Lilac’s Squirtle greets Scallion with a cheerful squawk, toddling over to you to play with your Bulbasaur, who is standing dutifully at your side.  Scallion just stares back in confusion, looks back and forth between you and Squirtle a few times, then pointedly backs away.  Squirtle appears puzzled and hurt, and looks up to catch your eye.  You wink, grin and hold a finger to your lips.  Squirtle doesn’t really get it, but it can tell that there’s something you want it to play along with, so it nods and returns placidly to Mauve’s side.  You introduce Mauve to Abner, Ellis, Stacey and Dane, and exchange some pleasantries while Brock is busy with something at the other end of the field – the usual Pokémon trainer small talk topics; how was his trip through Viridian Forest (pretty dull in comparison to yours), are his Pokémon doing well (yes), was it a good battle (very; Squirtle’s type advantage was only just enough to overcome Brock’s skill with Rock Pokémon).  You ask Magenta whether he’d like to stay and watch your match, and after a moment’s hesitation, he agrees and heads up into the stands with the bug catchers and Squirtle.  Abner holds his Metapod up over his head to give it a better view of the field.  You call Nancy out of her Pokéball and tell her to get ready to start cheering – you suspect you’ll need it – then crouch down to talk to Scallion and go back over the strategy you discussed the night before.  Another couple of minutes later, Brock is ready to go.

“New challenger, first badge, two Pokémon a side, all standard rules,” he calls to the referee, who quickly scribbles something on a clipboard.  Brock looks right at you, directly down the field.  “All right!  This may be your first gym challenge, but I’m not going easy on you.  Rock Pokémon stand for defence, determination and willpower, and you’ll need all three with a Boulder Badge at stake.  Now, show me you can battle with honour – Geodude, go!” He hurls a Pokéball right into the middle of the arena, where it bursts open to release a floating round-bodied Rock Pokémon with two burly arms.  Scallion steps into the ring, grinning broadly.  Brock huffs his approval.  “Be careful of this one, Geodude,” he warns.  “Let’s start with Tackle!”  Geodude flies towards Scallion, its arm moving into position for a shoulder barge.  At a word from you, your Bulbasaur springs sideways, dodging with apparently supernatural ease as Geodude hurtles past, springs forward again to strike it in the back of its head with a stubby claw, then gracefully backflips to land with poise on the arena floor.

Brock furrows his brow in surprise, but keeps throwing out orders.  “Stay on the inside of its Vine Whip range, Geodude!  Tackle again!”  Geodude does as he says, hovering around Scallion, trying to stay too close for Vine Whip to be effective and alternating between jabs and full-body slams.  It scores a few glancing hits, but keeps underestimating the speed of Scallion’s dodges.  Scallion, for his part, strikes Geodude almost every time it attacks, but can’t seem to get through its rocky skin.  It’s a bit of a stalemate situation, but you think you have it under control, as long as-
“Now!  Rock Tomb!”
well, $#!t
You and Brock have both been consumed by the steps of the dance, your Pokémon dodging and striking in circles around each other – but you suddenly realise that Brock has also been paying attention to its wider direction.  Scallion has his back to a couple of boulders, and although there is still room for him to juke away to the side-
Geodude clenches its fist, draws it back and punches hard into the air.  With a horrible screeching crash, another huge boulder bursts up out of the arena floor, cutting off Scallion’s escape.  Your eyes flicker around him, hunting for more escape routes, but before you can call the dodge, Geodude summons another huge rock up through the floor, blocking your paths as fast as you can identify them.  Finally, with one last shout in unison from Geodude and Brock, a boulder crashes up from beneath Scallion’s feet and sends him flying.

When he hits the ground, his body flickers, ripples, then dissolves with a flash of purple light, leaving Jane Doe lying unconscious on the arena floor.  Brock and his Pokémon both blink in confusion, then you see comprehension cross his face.
“You really are full of surprises!  I thought it was impossible for a Bulbasaur to move like that.”  You run out onto the field to make sure Jane is okay.  She’s bruised, battered, and clearly done fighting for today, but doesn’t look too seriously hurt.  Brock calls out to you and tosses you a Potion spray.  “You seriously might have had us there – that would have been embarrassing!  Do I get to fight the real thing now?”  You give him a cheerful, albeit distracted, affirmative answer as you apply the Potion to Jane’s wounds, then recall her to her Pokéball. Scallion is obviously the logical choice to fight Brock’s Rock-types from here.  You can tell Geodude is winded from chasing your Zorua around, and shouldn’t last too much longer against a foe with a type advantage, but you have to assume Brock’s second Pokémon will be something with more bite to it.

[If you think Scallion should attempt an unconventional tactic, explain what you have in mind in the comment section, or by making a submission to the Pokémaniacal question box https://pokemaniacal.com/qanda/ (if you use the question box, enter your name as “APTIY vs. Brock”).  You can make use of the environment, a combo of two or more moves or abilities, an unorthodox way of using a move, or anything else you can think of that isn’t outright cheating.  The more creative the suggestions – as long as they’re reasonably possible – the greater the odds of success will be.]

18 thoughts on “A Pokémon Trainer is You! XXVII: School of Brock

  1. Scallion already has experience using his Vine Whip to move around in wild and unpredictable ways, and there’s plenty of boulders to use. Let’s swing around and get his Pokemon from angles they’re not ready for! Show Brock that type advantage is good, but an unpredictable attack is even better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you could have scallion swing from the roof of the arena to avoid rocks and land a few high up hits on geodude, he could even poison the geodude from above, even if type effectiveness is an issue, poison damage is poison damage, maybe throw in a leech seed to restore any lucky shots, just playing the long game of chipping away with status conditions and the occasional super effective hit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with the previous commenters. Scallion can use Vine Whips unconventionally to control the battlefield. Getting a set-up with Leech Seed and Poisonpowder is a great idea too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. To piggy back off of the other suggestions… Geodude is tired. We want to take it out without tiring ourselves too quick so maybe not get too fancy. Use the rock tomb boulders as cover and vine whip around them. Conserve energy.

    The acrobatics though? Those might be great for Onix. Onix is big and I can’t imagine it’s *incredibly* flexible. Vine whip swings from anything, rafters or even Onix’s horn itself, and stay evasive. Might even be able to get it to hit itself. But it must have some big blind spots if you stay behind its head. Use that to your advantage.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Even though this isn’t actually the games, there’s a good chance that Bide will still be involved. If Onix looks like it’s charging up, attacking it is the last thing we want to do. Also, remember that Onix is canonically faster than a giant snake made of boulders has any right to be (base 70 is only slow by endgame standards, and even then it’s enough to outspeed most other slow things).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. (Let’s see if sh!tpress lets me make a comment that’s f@$/“-5 visible if I go on anon. I’ve tried five times and I want blood.)

    Okay guys, I’ll be honest: I think swinging around with vine whip is a terrible idea and we’ll lose if we do it.

    It worked really well once, and won a fight we otherwise would have lost, but it was precarious and rested on the suitability of our environment and opponent: It was NOT a special skill Scallion has. He panicked the entire time through, and was barely able of it, as a bulky quadruped. Trainer had to direct him at all times and collapsed from exhaustion afterwards. This ISN’T an ace in our sleeve we can use whenever.

    The canopy was perfect. There were branches everywhere in different heights, whose shape is easy to grasp and hook on, and that give a little, facilitating swinging. Leaves partially obscured and protected us. Canopies are so convenient to hide and swing around in that they compose an entire habitat in the Pokémon world and ours: look at gibbons and squirrels, or at aipoms and emolgas.

    An open stadium is NOT THAT. The space is primed for a level, open field, probably a high ceiling, and there are stands, signifying there is an area outside the field where we cannot stray or we’re disqualified. We can’t swing around on floor rocks. There is nothing on the walls that we wouldn’t be disqualified for reaching. We don’t know if there are rafters to swing on over the field. If there are, Brock would have a clear view of us, with only regularly spaced options of places to go, and likely a worse grip than the branches.

    Lastly, there’s our opponents. Beedrill couldn’t reach the canopy or attack Scallion from afar. An Onyx can do both these things, and any rock type can do the second: all rock type moves are specifically super effective against flying Pokémon, with the reach of smack down extending to even levitating pokémon. If we’re playing funny with the rules, let’s not forget that being airborne could mean rock attacks get worse.

    I agree we might not be able to just brute force our way past this, though. Blue did say he was able to win relying on type advantage, which is worth remembering, but he also said it was close.

    The Geodude doesn’t need any tricks, it’s tired, slower than Scallion, and too weakened to take a quad-effective attack. But the Onyx, if Brock uses one, is strong in all regards by early game standards, and not that slow. Another ace, like some surprise Rhydon or Graveler, would still mean trouble. However, they’d all be a bigger target, and we’d be the smaller one. Brock’s revealed the strategy of staying too close to use a long-range vine whip. So let’s try to do the same. Open with Leech Seed and Poison Powder, and then switch to strafing. Waste the opponent’s time by circling it and running at angles, making it turn and maneuver to face us directly, while its status whittle down its HP. If we ever can face the back or side, let’s attack with vine whip- x4- instead of tackle- x0,5.

    I’m aware I was very dismissive of the swinging plan, and my plan isn’t perfect. But I really can’t see the first plan working, and having just one plan isn’t good. If anyone has other ideas or can iterate on mine, I’d be glad for it.


      1. …marvelous. I didn’t expect this to go up at all, given that I was using the actual account I made.


    1. Not quite in agreement that Onix is strong is all regards, even by early game standards. Sure, it’s got great physical defense (160), but its HP is so paltry that barely matters (35). And sure, it has base 70 speed (which is good for early game) but its 45 base attack is pathetic (rattata has notably higher attack). If we’re talking about whether it’s strong, onix simply isn’t. Geodude, unevolved, has nearly double the attack. In a straight up speed contest, yeah, onix is faster than bulbasaur, but unless Chris is playing loose with their stats, onix won’t hit hard… and if he is playing loose, we should too with our strats. Geodude has always been the bigger threat with Brock since onix is just so bad. The only danger onix has ever posed is bide, which is worth being careful of.

      I’m not entirely sure strafing would work either, as onix is simply faster than bulbasaur. Turning takes less time and effort than strafing, so it already has the advantage, and it’s tail will let it strike at the same time as turning, so it will not really be that busy. We need more than just stalling strats, because, as far as ground movement goes, it is simply faster, and that’s about all it has going on us. We’d be playing to it’s only strength by making it chase us around the battlefield. We need to be offensive. In a battle of endurance, it likely will win.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Huh, I always just kind of felt like Onix was stronger than Geodude fro playing Soulsilver, guess I should have actually checked stats. Still, Scallion is best specced for stalling at least a while, with leech seed and poisonpowder. Onix can’t use many stalling strategies,besides curse, rage, and bind- and you just said it can’t hit hard outside bide, so I actually think we have the advantage on stalling. Curse would be hard to set up with defense not helping statuses, and then the loss of speed would allow for strafing despite worse attacks. Between bind and Leeched Poison I think Scallion would last longer in that alternative. The best way to avoid rage is to status insted of attack. So is bide, mostly.

        And if you say Onix can outmaneuver us, how could we hope to swing from its horn? It’d pluck us with its tail, a rock slide, or just headbutt us. Scallion isn’t an expert acrobat and probably can’t aim for a precise landing on the blind spots of a moving perch that’s trying to KO him while he swings around.


  7. I hope Jane Doe fares better next time she gets to battle!
    I didn’t read the fine print attached to Option B. So uh, creative strategies, yes –
    a) I concur with other commenters: Leech Seed+Poisonpowder stalling, various boulders can be used as cover and as Hookshot points for evasive maneuvers.
    b) …Using boulders as Hookshot points could also be a good way to swiftly counteract Brock’s strategy of keeping Geodude within Vine Whip’s less-effective range.
    c) The vines could conceivably also be used to bind up Geodude’s arms so it can’t earthbend any more boulders.
    d) Have Scallion arrange the rocks into a most serene rock garden, diminishing our opponents’ fighting spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ok guys, when you describe swinging from boulders, can anyone explain what that would entail. Are we hoping for stalactites? Because uless there’s something above us we cannot hookshot at all. Are we hoping for intricate floor structures like those made by aerial erosion, with long elevated edges? Because I think we’ll just get roundish bumps on the ground. We cannot swing from roundish bumps on the ground.


    1. Any leftovers from Rock Tomb (unless they have returned to hammerspace) would probably be tall enough that Bulbasaur can use both vines to grapple them and then… retract the vines quickly, like one of those measuring tape things. A roundish bump in the ground would certainly not suffice, though.


  9. i chose creative tactics so here goes, geodude should go down quickly to a solid hit from vine whip and then i agree with the common tactic of leech-poisoning the onix, however rather than trying anything acrobatic Scallion should play defensive, using vine whip to ward off attacks, themselves attacking only if the right opportunity presents itself.


      1. That’s apropriate as i’d completely forgotten Bide would be a factor when writing that, Unrelatedly though, I wonder how fast and loose Maniacal is going to be with moves and learnsets, Are they pulling from a specific generation for instance or is it a more anything goes setup, Like would zorua be able to naturally learn Detect or Extrasensory despite those technically being egg moves learnt through breeding or Incinerate only being learnable as a gen 5 tm? should i send this in as an actual ask…


  10. OK, if we do use an unconventional strategy I think I have an idea. First, we use leech seed as an opener. Afterwards, we use poison powder, and then, well, we keep using poison powder. Think about it: we’re playing defense, and we can scatter clouds of spores that will irritate onix and possibly cause it to flinch if they land on its face, even if they don’t cause any more posioning. If we’re really lucky, we can make opaque clouds and hide. At the very least, an irritating squirt to make a quick getaway. Hey, if it works for squids….


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