Barry – y’know. Short for Barriam.
I love my Grass-types and I love Turtwig… but on the other hand, Diamond and Pearl have a notoriously small selection of Fire-types – if you don’t pick the Fire starter, it’s just Ponyta – so I think I’m going to go with Chimchar.
Fun fact that I discovered recently while playing Pearl with randomised Pokémon and got stuck with the choice of Abra, Ralts or Togepi (who all start with no attacks) as my starter: it’s not possible to lose this first fight. If your Pokémon’s HP drops too low, the Starly will eventually run away.
Right, let’s skip over to Sandgem Town to become Chimchar’s trainer officially, report back to mum in Twinleaf, pick up our first Pokéballs from Dawn, then we can properly get this show on the road.
🎵 Now, give me the secret, man-cub/Come on, clue me what to do, 🎵
🎵 Give me the power/Of man’s red flower/So I can be like you… 🎵
Finally – time to draw our first card. Regrettably, my tarot deck was among the possessions I left in America when I fled the plague last year and I don’t have a new one yet, so I’m going to be drawing from a digital deck. And we’re going to start with…
…the Five of Swords.
Five – Guys: You cannot use your female Pokémon (unless you have no male or genderless Pokémon). This rule is overwritten by drawing a Six/Chicks, and ends if you draw another Five. You may catch the first male wild Pokémon you see in this area.
King Louie is male, so the restriction is no big deal, at least for now. More importantly, we can catch the first male Pokémon we see on route 201. This route only has two wild species – Starly and Bidoof – and it looks like I’m catching…
Route 201 doesn’t lead anywhere except back to Twinleaf Town and Lake Verity, so let’s turn around and head out into the wide world.
Our next card is…
…the Two of Wands.
Two – You: You may catch one Pokémon of your choice in this area.
This is a pretty good start! It’s totally possible for these rules to start fµ¢£ing you over from day one, so an early 2 is nice to have.
I can catch any Pokémon I want here, and there’s a couple of things to consider. Route 202 has Kricketot and Shinx in addition to Starly and Bidoof, and of all those Pokémon I think Shinx is the most interesting. I can only use a male Shinx right now, but I’m still allowed to catch a female one, if I want, and box her until later – having both male and female Pokémon available is good insurance in case I draw a 6 and suddenly have to switch to an all-female team. From memory, Shinx are pretty rare, so I’ll probably just let Fate decide and catch the first one I find, regardless of gender. I can level Jerry a bit while I search.
…or maybe a male Shinx will be literally the third wild Pokémon I find.
The next stop is Jubilife City. Ordinarily there wouldn’t be any reason to draw cards in a city that has no gym. Jubilife City has a Trainers’ School with two kids who’ll battle you, and later on your first fight with Team Galactic takes place in the city, so you could make the argument that it should count, but I think for me it’s just not quite enough to be worth drawing for.
Interestingly, I think this guy is going to be proven wrong by Legends: Arceus, where Jubilife Village (like the real city of Sapporo) seems to be on flat land. He also says that the people of nearby Oreburgh City used their Pokémon to help clear the land, which also seems unlikely if Jubilife is the oldest city in Sinnoh. Bookmark this guy and see if they’ve changed his dialogue for Timey Diamond and Spacey Pearl.
There’s a bit of busywork to do in Jubilife City before we’ll be allowed to leave – finding Barriam at the Trainers’ School and delivering a package, then answering some basic quiz questions from a troupe of clowns to earn a Pokétch (a smart watch for Pokémon trainers with dozens of pointless apps to collect). Theoretically we can poke our heads out into route 218 to the west, but we can’t do anything there right now except pick up a fishing rod and try it out, so I won’t draw a card for that just yet.
We can go north onto route 204, though. This route eventually leads to Floaroma Town, but we can’t get there until we’ve beaten the Oreburgh Gym and earned the right to use Rock Smash in the overworld. The accessible part of the route has both wild Pokémon and a couple of trainers, though – so let’s see what we draw.
The Page of Wands!
Page – Never Have I Ever: Teach all of your current party Pokémon a new move from a TM (if possible, this must be a move that Pokémon has never known in the past). If some of your Pokémon can’t learn any new moves from the TMs you have, do as many as you can.
I do actually have one TM already – the TM for Hidden Power, which you receive as a gift from the kids you can battle in the Trainers’ School. If this were a generation V game or later, with reusable TMs, I’d now have to teach it to all three of my Pokémon. As it is, I’m just going to have to pick one. I think Jerry the Bidoof probably has the most to gain from picking up a special attack with a random type and power.
Jerry’s Hidden Power seems to be Ground-type and has a pretty solid base power – maybe 60? His special attack stat is lower than his attack, and his Tackle should be boosted by STAB to around 52 power, but Hidden Power looks like it’s stronger against Pokémon with roughly equal defence and special defence. I feel like I’ve made a good decision here.
We can finish up for today by taking our first steps onto route 203, where our first battle with Barriam awaits, and drawing one more card.
Six – Chicks: You cannot use your male Pokémon (unless you have no female or genderless Pokémon). This rule is overwritten by drawing a Five/Guys, and ends if you draw another Six. You may catch the first female wild Pokémon you see in this area.
All three of the Pokémon I have right now are male. As there is no way to slip past Barriam and reach the long grass to exercise my right to catch a female Pokémon, I’ll have to fight him with what I have, but after that, I’ll have to catch the first female Pokémon I see and deposit everyone else.
And our lucky winner is…
Well, it could be a lot worse. I think route 203 has wild Abra, and if you get stuck with one of those… well, to be honest, what happens next probably depends on how hard-core you are. I might handwave the “unless you have no female or genderless Pokémon” clause and say that you can use male Pokémon if your only female ones are helpless, like Abra or Magikarp. You could also hang out on route 203 and use your other Pokémon to help level-grind Abra until it evolves and learns Confusion – or, for the truly masochistic, buy as many potions as you can afford, burn all of Abra’s Teleport PP and try to level-grind with Struggle.
yeah, I’m good with Starly.
Anyway. I was already planning to stop here, but this now seems like an especially good breaking point, since I’m going to need to train Tippi up a little bit before she can take on the world. Tune in next time as we strike out for Oreburgh City!
(…bird jesus christ I hope I don’t have to fight Roark with just Tippi; she’s gonna get so murdered…)