Pearl Kingslocke: Episode 21

Big rules here, little rules down there, let’s go.

Here we are, back in Veilstone City, ready to raid the Team Galactic HQ.

You’re a teal bowl cut with an idiot stuck inside it, you know that?

I’m going to give you everything the guard at the front of the building says, because every word of it is gold.

To be fair to him, I dunno what those are for either; I don’t see why Team Galactic would need these great big antennae for either their ostensible research agenda or their secret plans.  They might genuinely be display antennae.

Okay so

  1. yes, of course I remember you; we met very recently and I spoke to you yesterday; you’re one of the morons who was blocking the entrance to Lake Acuity
  2. you mean to say that Team Galactic gave you the Clefairy you wanted for doing guard duty, then took it off you?  Why?  What did you do to fail in your mission?  You let me through, sure, but only once it was far too late for me to stop Jupiter.
  3. if letting me through was a failure, even though it had no negative consequences for Team Galactic, then why did you let me through?  There was no persuasion, no show of force; nothing changed except I had an extra gym badge.
  4. again, it’s not that hard to get a Clefairy in Sinnoh; I cannot stress enough that you could have had a Clefairy by other means
  5. your partner was from another country?  And when he came to Japan he joined a cult-like space gang but then quit and went home because he screwed up some guard duty?  What was his deal?  What was his life situation like, that he was able to go home any time but stuck it out because he was so invested in Team fµ¢£ing Galactic, until Jupiter was mean to him and confiscated your company-issue Clefairy?
  6. claiming to know nothing about the storage key and then immediately running away and leaving the storage key behind is some top-tier “I’m guarding this poster” nonsense
  7. honestly I kinda want to help this dude get his Clefairy back?  I mean, he seems pretty attached to it, he’s too hapless to be evil and the fact that he even asked for a Clefairy when everyone else in Team Galactic uses mean or vicious Pokémon like Glameow and Stunky and $#!t maybe says something about his personality; like, this is a character arc I could get invested in
  8. see if I were writing the Diamond and Pearl remakes there would be a whole subplot devoted to this guy, and that is why everyone should be glad I didn’t write the Diamond and Pearl remakes

anyway we got the stupid key and we can get into Team Galactic’s basement now

Oh, hey, this is a new one!  I don’t even care about the obvious consequence of drawing this that I’m sure everyone will see immediately; I just like that I get to demonstrate what the card does.

The Sun: Any of your Pokémon that you were forced to box (by Eight/Mate, Nine/Snake Eyes, Knight/Challenge, the Fool, the Wheel of Fortune, Death or the Tower) can now be used again.  However, Snake Eyes and Death are not revoked yet, and you can still lose more Pokémon to those effects in the future.

The Sun does nothing to broad restrictions like the Five of Pentacles, which says I can’t use female Pokémon.  It only cares about things that prevent specific individual Pokémon from being used, and there’s four of those on the board right now: three Eights and the Wheel of Fortune.  The four Pokémon that were “banished” by those cards are all now free to return: Divine, Andi Site and Effie from the Eights, Tiktok from the Wheel.

And, of course, Justice and the Devil are both still in play.  Both of those cards say that if I can use the Pokémon they name, I must, so Tiktok and, yes, Effie the Unown are both coming back.  Loras and Locksley are both limited in their potential as long as the Hanged Man is in play, making it illegal to evolve them (whereas Effie, of course, is limited in their potential by the more serious and insoluble underlying condition of being an Unown), so I think they’ll be the ones to give up their spots.

I love the implication that there are people who are not only at Team Galactic looking to climb some kind of evil corporate ladder, but haven’t given up on it after five years.

Team Galactic’s headquarters features a classic Pokémon level design gimmick: a warp panel maze, like those from Silph Co. and the Saffron City Gym in the first games or the Team Aqua/Magma hideout in Ruby and Sapphire.  Presumably these are built specifically to confound intruders, who haven’t had any opportunity to memorise the connections.

One really nasty trick that doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone, though, is to just turn the warp panels off while an intruder is in a room like this one, with no doors or windows.

Only parts of the building are accessible from the storage basement, and you’ll eventually hit dead ends after going in that way.  But you also find this card key – and with it, we can backtrack, leave through the basement, then stroll right in through the front door to explore the rest of the building.

The Team Galactic HQ is much larger and has many more trainers than a gym, but the warp panels make it much too confusing to try to draw a card for every floor, or anything like that.  But getting the card key and re-entering by the front door feels like a decent breaking point.  I feel like I can draw another card here.

The Queens do nothing in areas with no wild Pokémon; status quo is maintained.

Opponents with a weakness to Ice should really be Effie’s time to shine and… well… they give it a go.

I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea here; like, I’m continuing to make a sincere effort to actively use Effie, they’re levelling with the rest of my team and they occasionally win battles, but they are easily the worst Pokémon on my team, maybe the worst Pokémon I’ve ever had on any team, and consume more potions and revives than my other five Pokémon put together.

They can handle a Silcoon, right?

…I’m gonna use a super potion just in case.

The nice thing about Kadabra is that its standard list only has Psychic attacks, which are not very effective against Effie.  This can sometimes trick the AI into thinking that they can’t easily kill Effie (which, of course, they absolutely can), causing them to fµ¢£ around with moves like Miracle Eye instead.

The other great thing about Effie is that they only have one move, so being hit with Disable can immediately force them to use Struggle.  This obviously isn’t helpful but it is kind of funny.

…you know what, I’m calling this one a win.

Say what you like about Team Galactic, it’s very thoughtful of them to provide their minions with a nap room with comfortable beds.

And here we are: Cyrus himself.  Another reminder: if this were your first playthrough of Diamond and Pearl and you didn’t know anything about the characters and story, this is the moment you would learn that Cyrus is the leader of Team Galactic (in Platinum’s version of the story you find out much earlier).  I haven’t included all his dialogue here because there’s just so much of it, but Cyrus’s position on everything that’s happened is that it’s stupid of us to care about anything at all, much less to care about the fate of the lake spirits, who after all have nothing to do with us.  The fact that anyone wants anything or experiences any emotions, in his philosophy, is just evidence of how flawed and broken human souls are, which is why – he claims – he’s made a conscious effort to discard all emotion.  Cyrus often makes reference to the human spirit being “incomplete,” but to be honest, it sounds like his real problem is that he thinks it has one aspect too many – the one represented by Mesprit, the “being of emotion.”  Dude hasn’t tried to purge himself of knowledge or will; that’s all I’m saying.

Anyway, we gotta fight this douchebag.  Obviously.

This fight with Cyrus is kind of like a sneak preview; when we battle him again on Mount Coronet (which must be only, like… a day later, maybe two?) all three of his Pokémon have evolved, making him much more threatening.  This first time, he’s not very difficult.

Especially when he opens with Embargo like a fµ¢£in’ dumbass.

God I love this move.  It’s so bad but it feels so good to use.

The reason it’s so bad, of course, is that Sneasel then comes straight in to murder you and you get no chance to respond – but honestly, that was probably going to happen anyway; Tiktok wasn’t looking too good after that first Drill Peck.

Pre-Drizzle Pelipper gets a lot of flak for being basically terrible in anything remotely resembling a competitive setting, but in single-player it’s honestly not bad – compatible with two HM moves that have good field utility and solid damage, and tanky as hell, especially against physical attacks.  I mean, it’s no Skarmory but it’ll do.

And once again, Smeagull comes in with a clutch freeze!

Cyrus gives us a Master Ball in recognition of our boldness in coming to face him here.  He claims he doesn’t need it, because he sees himself as different from both normal trainers – who think of Pokémon as friends – and the other members of Team Galactic – who think of them as “tools.”  Cyrus wants to “make the power of Pokémon [his] own,” and has a special tool prepared for that.  It’s interesting that he specifically distances himself from people who use Pokémon as “tools,” because that’s a phrasing that’s used over and over again across different Pokémon media for villains of all stripes; Cyrus thinks he’s better than all of them. I also like to make something of the fact that the Master Ball often (though not always) comes to the player from directions that should perhaps make us cautious about using it flippantly; in Red and Blue it’s the object of Giovanni’s plot to take over Silph Co., in Ruby and Sapphire we find it in Archie/Maxie’s private office in the Lilycove hideout, and here it’s a gift from a cold-hearted schemer who thinks he’s superior to all other life.

Cyrus allows us to free the lake spirits and thus buys himself a head start so he can leave for Mount Coronet while we’re still busy here.

The dialogue doesn’t make it clear exactly what Team Galactic has done here, or how, but it’s clear that it’s something awful.

Commander Saturn, once again, has been left behind to delay us.

Kadabra doesn’t do any better against Jerry on the rematch.

Toxicroak, on the other hand, has the sense to just smack him with a strong Fighting attack this time.

Toxicroak could probably have beaten King Louie as well, but made the singularly awful mistake of handing an Infernape an attack boost.

…and lost the toss-up.

Unfortunately, King Louie doesn’t last against Bronzor, leaving Tiktok to clean things up.

Like any fight with a Bronzor, it is long, drawn-out and exceedingly boring.  Unlike most fights with Bronzor, it ends like this:

Saturn concedes defeat and allows us to release the lake spirits.  He admits that he doesn’t know exactly what Cyrus was up to either, but is confident that it’s far too late for us to interfere.

Our work in Veilstone City is done, for now – time to head for Mount Coronet and stop Cyrus.

We’ve been through Mount Coronet before, of course – this is the same cave that leads from Oreburgh City through to Hearthome City, where I caught Karpe Doom – but we didn’t have the HM access necessary to climb to the top.  Much as I hate putting a sub-par Normal-type move on a Pokémon with as crazy a movepool as Infernape, I think I have to give King Louie Rock Climb here.

Sorry for wasting your TM, Fantina, but Shadow Claw’s probably his least good attack.

The upper level of the Mount Coronet caves has much stronger wild Pokémon, so it probably meets my general criteria for a new “area.”  Let’s draw one more card and finish up for today.

…oh boy.  Well, the deck’s got fantastic timing, you have to give it that.

The Tower: Box your entire party.  You cannot use any of them until this rule is overwritten.  However, all other current rules are revoked.  Only Pokémon in the Vessel remain unusable.  If you have no other Pokémon, you may catch one of your choice in this area (or in the last area with wild Pokémon, if there are none here) before boxing your party.

Cyrus isn’t the only one whose team’s getting a makeover before our next battle…

So, first order of business: all six of the Pokémon I was using are going bye-bye.  King Louie, Brighteyes, Smeagull, Tiktok, Effie (press F to pay respects) and Jerry are all locked in the Tower until further notice.

But the good news is that the Tower strikes everything else from the record.  I can use any Pokémon I like out of the 37 others I own, without regard to gender or nature or any other rule.  But with so many to choose from… it’s kind of hard!  So I’d like to hear what readers think.  This isn’t going to be a binding arbitration, like where I draw a Ten and the first person to comment commands the power of life and death, but I’ll give it a day, read the comments, then do my best to listen to what everyone has to say and build the team the people want.

To review what’s on offer…

I have several Pokémon who are already pretty high level, many of whom have made great contributions to the cause in the past: Divine the Misdreavus, Du Fromage the Blissey, Anna and Otto the Girafarig, Alexolotl the Quagsire, all storied names.  Sunfire the Ponyta, Locksley the Sneasel, Loras the Roselia and Tannenbomb the Snover have less honour to their names, but are all above level 30.  And there are many more Pokémon who have fallen a bit behind, but have nonetheless given distinguished service before: Madame Malheur the Haunter, Karpe Doom the Gyarados, Blinkerbel the Chingling (hey, if Effie’s gone, someone has to carry the meme flag, right?), Testudo the Shieldon, Andi Site the Geodude, Harvey the Staravia, Echo the Golbat.  Or should we elevate someone new?  Moon Moon the Riolu is newborn but could have great potential, Gran Nite the Graveler and Judy the Machop were promised great glory but had it snatched away from them by a cruel twist of fate, Sandra the Hippopotas was anointed by the Emperor but never had a chance to serve, Trixie the Gastrodon is fully evolved at level 29 and ready to take on the world, Ashoka the Meditite and Hippolyta the Croagunk would be great candidates to fill King Louie’s Fighting-type shoes, Goodbuoy the Buizel is only level 10 and never got a moment in the sun, Sheila the Psyduck is also here, Beetlhoven and Beetlyoncé the Kricketune can provide backup music, and Real Tree… well, Real Tree is a real tree, honest!

There are no wrong answers!  Or at least I hope there aren’t!

9 thoughts on “Pearl Kingslocke: Episode 21

  1. Just for the hack of it: I vote for you to pick six lowest level Pokémon in your boxes and go train. They will be your Tower Buddies. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My picks, mostly based on what I phind aesthetically pleasing:
    Loras+Sunphire+Trixie or Alexolotl (so that all starter types are represented)
    Madame Malheur or Divine (neat Normal/phighting immunity, even neater nicknames)
    Locksley (Sneasel is just really cool)
    Blinkerbel (can carry on Ephphie’s “legacy”, except it can be kinda awphul at doing several diphpherent things rather than just ophphensively bad at using HP Ice…)
    or maybe Anna/Otto instead oph either the ghost or Blinkerbel, because Girapharig deserves some love!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Three thoughts:

    1) If I had one pick only, that would go to Du Fromage. I mean she’s the only one who memes harder than Effie, I want to see more from that hyper beam Blissey! She deserves it!
    2) As suboptimal as it is, I love Girafarig and, given this isn’t competitive or a Nuzlocke, would enjoy either one of them taking up the reigns again.
    3) Andi Site may no longer be our champion, but she’s a champion in my eyes. And she now can evolve! It’d be great to bring her out of retirement to fulfill her destiny.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Alas. After a long and distinguished service, Effie is finally taken from us once and for all. F. Gone but never forgotten.

    As for the new team, I also like the idea of using Andi again, and I think after all that Effie nonsense you deserve to be able to use Karpe Doom. XD

    While I’m here though, let me point out another piece of music I really like – Cyrus’s boss theme. It just feels so climactic! And I love that bassline.

    Liked by 1 person

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