Big rules here, little rules down there, let’s go.
Something really funny about Diamond and Pearl is that they come at a point in the Pokémon series before anyone had actually made Game Freak stop putting fµ¢£ing casinos in all their games for small children, but after Nintendo had kinda figured out they should probably tone down the gambling references, at least for the international market (and, y’know, also long before the emerging mobile games industry would totally normalise the idea of designing video games to get children to gamble). Thus, we have the PI (Private Investigator) trainer class. These guys are shown tossing coins in their sprites and their dialogue is all about luck, chance and guessing, which makes them seem like pretty rubbish private investigators. They also use a lot of very luck-heavy moves – Carlos here has three Goldeen, all of whom know Horn Drill. This is because, in the original Japanese, they’re not investigators. They’re gamblers – a trainer class that appears in the Kanto games, both original and remakes, and returns in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee renamed “gamers.” The generation IV gambler just happened to have this noir-style sprite with the long coat and fedora that could believably be renamed “PI” in translations – not a switch you could easily pull with the generation III gambler, who is an old man with threadbare clothes and a dice cup.
This has nothing to do with the challenge run; I just thought it was important knowledge to share.
Anyway, the rest of route 214 is pretty standard and we soon reach the next area: the Valor Lakefront.
…well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.
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.
For those keeping track, I was observing the Five of Swords, which tells me I can’t use female Pokémon. Drawing a Six abolishes that rule, but institutes the opposite: I now can’t use male Pokémon. And you know what that means…
SMASH THE PATRIARCHY
This… limits my options somewhat. With Tippi in the vessel and Andi Site in the mate crate, I only have nine female Pokémon in total, one of whom is a literal infant (genderless Pokémon are also allowed, but the only one I have is Effie, who is locked out after losing the Knight’s Challenge). With the Hermit in play, that effectively drops to eight, since Blinkerbel and Gran Nite are both modest. So I guess my party is going to wind up looking something like…
…y’know what, it could be worse; I was right to give Blinkerbel and Madame Malheur time in the field earlier when I was allowed to use a mixed gender team. I’m also allowed to catch the first female Pokémon I see on Valor Lakefront, plus any other Pokémon of my choice. That means we’re catching…
Is… is that good? Is Girafarig even better than Chingling? Well, of course it is, everything’s better than Chingling, but is Girafarig better than Chimecho? I’m… not sure? I think I probably have to stick with Blinkerbel for the memes anyway.
As for my final Pokémon from the Star… there isn’t much else here; I already have multiple Geodude, Kricketune and Bibarel. Then again… without Tippi, I don’t have any Pokémon that can learn Fly, and that might be nice for utility, so I could catch a Staravia. Maybe a male one just for hypothetical gender balance with Tippi; it doesn’t really matter if I can’t use it right now.
Yeah, you’ll do.
Before moving on, let’s, uh… let’s just take a training break, maybe back in Solaceon Town. I don’t think we necessarily need to be up to the same level as the boys were at, but a basic degree of competence for all our party members would be nice.
Something we should look into while all this is going on is what type Guan Yin’s Hidden Power is.
Ah-hah – Fire. In the long term it doesn’t really matter much, since Meditite usually wants to ditch its special attacks, but it’s nice to know, and Fire is a strong attack type. Meditite kinda gets shafted in the early-game of generation IV by having the Pure Power ability but not actually learning any physical attacks until Force Palm at level 29; at least in generation III some Hidden Power types could be physical.
Hippopotas is also a little bit screwed over in this game by getting no Ground-type attacks until the decidedly underwhelming Sand Tomb at level 25. Sandra does have the advantage of getting Earthquake naturally on her level-up list, but that won’t be for a long time yet.
HMs are always fair game to use in these rules, so I suppose I could give Guan Yin Strength or Rock Smash; unlike King Louie I don’t think she’s going to be dealing with serious moveslot congestion until much later in the game. Come to think of it, Strength would be a decent move for Sandra to have as well; she’s got Take Down now and Strength would definitely be an upgrade, despite its slightly lower power.
Ladies, gentlemen and other distinguished guests, prepare one and all to be transfixed, terrified and titillated by the mystical mistress of mischief and mayhem herself: Madame Malheur!
And of course, where would a magician be without her beautiful assistant?
In theory, the method to evolve Happiny into Chansey is pretty easy if you have the right item: just level her up, during the day, while holding an Oval Stone (which the game conveniently left for us in the Lost Tower). The question is when exactly to do it, because they have slightly different level up lists. I think if I evolve Du Fromage at level 12 exactly she can get both Sweet Kiss and Softboiled, which seems like a reasonable goal. In practice, though… holding the Oval Stone means I can’t give Du Fromage an Exp. Share. Normally I’d just put her at the front of the party and switch her out, but with the Ace of Cups still in play I’m not allowed to switch Pokémon in battle. There’s nothing for it but to take her back to an area with Pokémon she can reasonably fight on her own.
I’ve never actually used a Chansey or Blissey in a story playthrough before. My instinct is that, given limited TM availability together with Chansey’s pathetic physical stats and support-focused movepool, it might actually be best to use her mainly as an out-of-battle HP battery for the rest of the party with Softboiled. It’d certainly be useful in this challenge if I ever had to deal with the Hierophant rule again.
This’ll do for now.
Cyrus must have some serious cult leader charisma going on if he can just ask two random dudes to “protect the lake” with no further explanation and they’ll stand out here indefinitely barring anyone else from approaching. Also, bear in mind that we still have no idea who Cyrus is. He doesn’t introduce himself when you meet him at Mount Coronet, so if this is your first playthrough of Diamond and Pearl, the name “Cyrus” means absolutely nothing to you at this point (unless you’re interested in the history of Achaemenid Persia or the acting career of Jonah Hill).
Valor Lakefront is home to the luxurious Hotel Grand Lake and Seven Stars Restaurant. You can travel east from here to Sunyshore City, but that road is closed until near the end of the game. The resort straddles the lakefront and the east end of route 213, so we’ll be drawing another card as we leave.
There’s also a little sidequest here where you have to use your Pokétch’s itemfinder app to find this guest’s lost room key. Our reward for this service? A dElIcIoUs RiCe CrAcKeR.
Junichi Masuda’s also hanging out here enjoying some well-deserved pampering and relaxation.
The Seven Stars Restaurant has no food (…that we can afford?) but does have five pairs of trainers (different ones every day) waiting to challenge other guests to double battles. I’ve ruled before that areas with no wild Pokémon and only a couple of trainers don’t get a card, but I think this is different; there are a lot more trainers here, it’s almost more like a gym. I think this counts.
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.
Looks like all those TMs I bought back in Veilstone City are going to pay off!
Let me see…
Giving Du Fromage Hyper Beam would be… kinda wild, but also much more effective than Pound (especially once she evolves into Blissey and gets a decent special attack stat) and definitely hilarious. Protect is decent filler if there’s a Pokémon who can’t learn anything else good; Sandra also has Yawn which combos well with Protect. Light Screen and Reflect are available for Guan Yin and Blinkerbel, who are both pretty fragile and could benefit from either. Ooh, Dig! I can- wait, what?
What do you mean Hippopotas can’t learn Dig!? It’s on its level-up list starting in Heart Gold and Soul Silver, that’s this generation, and you won’t let me use a TM for it? Ugh, whatever.
Shock Wave would be a nice secondary move for Blinkerbel, or even for Du Fromage, who could also learn Fire Blast. Either Roost or Steel Wing would be a decent addition for Echo. Focus Blast is a bit silly for Guan Yin, who wants physical moves, but could work (it’s a really good move for Gengar, but unfortunately Haunter can’t learn it). Oh, wait, hang on- Drain Punch, that’s way better; I’ll give her that. Payback is decent in principle but only Echo and Madame Malheur can learn it, and it doesn’t work so well for fast Pokémon. Stealth Rock is crucial in competitive but honestly kinda meh in single-player because the AI doesn’t switch very much; still, I could maybe give it to Sandra.
All right, let’s finalise this.
Guan Yin – Drain Punch
Echo – Steel Wing
Blinkerbel – Shock Wave
Sandra – Protect
Madame Malheur – Taunt
Du Fromage – Hyper Beam
And then, while clearing out the restaurant, quite without warning…
Huh. That was sooner than expected. I think hatched Pokémon start with a higher base friendship level than wild-caught ones; that might explain why Du Fromage has hit the threshold for a friendship evolution already and Blinkerbel hasn’t (that, and Blinkerbel has spent more time on the front lines and fainted more often). I have to imagine Blinkerbel is pretty close, but Chingling can also only evolve at night, so there’s still a little more waiting to do.
Valor Lakefront ends and Route 213 begins right here in the middle of the resort, so let’s draw a card.
oh for fµ¢£’s sake
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.
All that was a waste of time, then
Sandra doesn’t have to get back in the kitchen because she’s been Chosen by the Emperor (there’s a perfectly normal English sentence). I think I’ll keep her on the team and let Testudo keep warming the bench for now, just so Sandra can keep gaining experience in case we need to switch back later.
And we can catch the first male Pokémon we meet on route 213. We could go into the grass and try for a Wingull or Shellos, or fish on the beach and hope for a Remoraid, although even with a Good Rod the chance of getting a Magikarp is more than 50%.
Sure, I’ll take a Wingull. This is long before Pelipper’s heyday, when Sun and Moon gave it Drizzle as an ability choice, but it has some solid single-player utility with its HM compatibility, and I used a Pelipper on my first playthrough of Sapphire so it carries some fond memories.
And here we are in the sprawling marsh settlement of Pastoria City.
Apparently people in Pastoria City like Croagunk. A lot.
The main attraction of Pastoria City for trainers is the gym, of course, but a very close second is the Great Marsh, Sinnoh’s Safari Zone equivalent. Pay no attention to the man behind the teal bowl cut; I’m sure he’s not doing anything suspicious. In Kingslocke runs that have made it to Kanto or Hoenn’s Safari Zones, I’ve ruled that each of the Safari Zone’s sectors, which all have different wild Pokémon, counts as a separate “area.” The Kanto and Hoenn Safari Zones have four each. Pastoria’s Great Marsh has six.
Stuff’s gonna happen next episode, that’s all I’m saying.