All right, so, last time I had just drawn the Tower as I began to climb Mount Coronet for the final showdown with Cyrus, and the Tower says this:
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.
So, everything is wiped, all the existing rules are gone: no nature restrictions, no gender restrictions, no evolution restrictions, no restrictions on switching in battle, no fµ¢£ing Justice card hanging around for half the game telling me it’s super important that I keep using an Unown. But my entire team – my six highest-level Pokémon, including my starter, King Louie – are off-limits until further notice. In consultation with the comments section on my last post, I have chosen the following team to replace them, a mixture of old and new faces:
Obviously this team is not, strictly speaking, “ready” for the trials ahead. First of all, we’ll need several HMs to get to the top of Mount Coronet; Otto already has Strength, but I’ll need Rock Climb on Andi Site and the somewhat sub-optimal Surf on Karpe Doom as well (I can always delete it later and replace it with Waterfall, once I have that HM). More importantly, the leaders of Team Galactic will all be using Pokémon whose levels reach into the mid-40s. My Pokémon have the advantages of accumulated EVs (which AI trainers never have, except in the Battle Tower), superior tactics and devastating attractiveness, but they still probably need to get into the high 30s to compete. Fortunately, look where we are:
The upper caves of Mount Coronet have the strongest wild Pokémon we’ve seen in the game so far, in the level 36-38 range, and many of them are evolved, which makes for good experience, and this team has good answers to most of them, even with a level discrepancy. Loras can hit Graveler with Giga Drain, Karpe Doom can cut through Bronzong’s superior defences with Dragon Rage, and the wild Machoke here only seem to have Fighting attacks and can’t deal any damage to Madame Malheur. We can make a lot of progress in a short time.
First on the agenda is a long-delayed evolution…
This is probably as good a time as any to remind everyone that I’m playing here on an emulator that’s been messed with using one of the functions of the Universal Pokémon Randomiser to allow trade evolutions to happen in a purely single-player environment. Graveler and Haunter should both evolve into their final forms at level 37.
The next consideration is Loras. I have a Shiny Stone, which I can use to evolve him into Roserade at any time; the only question is whether any of the moves that he would only get as a Roselia are worth delaying that. Toxic at level 37 is probably worth picking up, Petal Dance at level 40 is powerful but unreliable, and beyond that it’s just utility moves (not having the Moon in play anymore means I can look this $#!t up again!). I think we’ll just grab Toxic and then…
Oh – and I think this calls for us to quickly pop back to the name rater in Eterna City to issue a promotion.
The last thing on my mind is that Riolu and Lucario have quite different level-up lists. I need Moon Moon to evolve by level 19 if I want her to learn Bone Rush (and exactly at level 19 if I want Reversal as well, but that’s less important). I’ve got her holding a Soothe Bell, I’ve given her all the vitamins I can afford, everything I can think of to boost that hidden “friendship” stat so I can become a Level 5 Friend and get access to her Secret Backstory (which, since I hatched her from an egg, is extremely uninteresting). And…
Here’s the revised state of the team. Still clearly not ready, but I think I have to get moving – if I’m going to do a real intensive training session and get them up to level 40 or something, I should probably find out… well, whether this is actually the team I’ll be taking into the final battle. There’s still another couple of card draws before then.
Team Galactic has left a couple of minions to slow us down. They won’t.
Even the grunts are at higher levels than us now. Not that it’ll do them any good.
We’ve made it to the upper slopes of Mount Coronet (and another great track carried by that Sinnohan piano). The wild Pokémon out here are even more powerful than before, getting up to level 40, and I don’t even think this is the end; there are more cave segments to get through before we reach the Spear Pillar. I’ve blown all the money I had left on revives and Moomoo Milk to stay up here as long as I can and keep training on the way. Time to draw.
Two – You: You may catch one Pokémon of your choice in this area.
Well, I’ve made it this far without catching a Bronzor or Bronzong… as long as I’m here, I may as well.
It feels very late to still be catching new Pokémon, but honestly, if I draw something that forces me to go back and box half of this team, I don’t think I can pass up such a high-level reserve option.
Back into the caves – the wild Pokémon here are different from those outside, but also stronger than the ones in the caves below, and there are more Team Galactic rearguard here, so that’s another card…
Queen – A Ship Came Into The Harbour: …carrying a boatload of Pokémon! Keep catching the first Pokémon you see in this area until your party is full (or until you have caught three, if you have fewer than three empty slots in your party).
How is this the sixth time I’ve drawn a Queen, and I’m still only on one King? The King of Pentacles doesn’t go back into the deck while Tippi is in the vessel, it’s true, but there’s still three other Kings in there. I think the Queens are important because they give you a way to fill up your team early in the game, but I am considering making a change to them when I do my rule revision pass – maybe each Queen leaves the deck after being drawn once, or something.
Well, I don’t think there’s anything of great interest here, but we may as well catch what we can. Actually, I’m going to duck around to a different cave entrance where I can access that water and try fishing; maybe see if I can get a Barboach.
To be quite honest with you, I’m not convinced I need as many Geodude and Graveler as I have, but frankly we don’t always get to choose our burdens in life.
This Medicham is easily one of my most powerful Pokémon; I probably ought to have come up with a somewhat more respectful name than “Mad Agnes” but to be fair, she does appear to have spent her life so far meditating in a cave.
If Team Galactic’s been saving their best for last, it doesn’t show.
The eastern slope is part of the same area map as the south, the wild Pokémon are the same and there are no trainers here, so although leaving the cave does feel like a clear break, I think it’s right on the line and doesn’t have to be treated as a new “area” for Kingslocke purposes.
There’s a passage accessible from the east slope that leads back down and northward through the mountain, eventually connecting back up with the Celestic Town entrance, but it’s guarded by Team Galactic grunts. You can’t get up here from Celestic Town either; there’s a boulder that you need to move with Strength, but it can only go one way.
We’re almost there, but my healing and PP are both running out. Andi’s PP for both Earthquake and Rock Blast are both completely exhausted, Madame Malheur is getting low on Shadow Balls, Karpe Doom’s used most of his Surfs and Dragon Rages fighting wild Graveler and Bronzong, and Ser Loras is a bit short on Giga Drains as well. I think there is a point during the climax at the Spear Pillar when you receive a full party heal, but I’ll probably need to use some of my saved ethers and elixirs to get that far. Although there is one piece of good news…
I think this is the final approach to the Spear Pillar. The wild Pokémon are even stronger – some are as high as level 42 – and the last of Cyrus’ grunts are here guarding the way. Let’s draw again…
The Hanged Man: None of your Pokémon may evolve, although you may continue to use Pokémon that have evolved already. You may catch the first unevolved Pokémon you see in this area.
Damn. Andi got in just under the wire, but Madame Malheur is one more level away from evolving. No Gengar for me.
You got that right, sister.
Noooo, surely not. Whatever gave you that idea?
And here we are at last: the Spear Pillar. Here’s the current state of the team:
(Moon Moon’s been holding the Exp. Share this entire time and is ready, if not exactly to contribute, at least to not get pointlessly murdered)
Time for one more draw before the final confrontation begins…
Fantastic. Just fantastic…
The Magician: Your Pokémon may not use physical attacks, unless they have no special attacks. Pokémon in your active party with no special attacks must learn one as soon as possible (from a TM if one is available). This rule is overwritten if you draw Strength.
Fortunately, Loras, Otto and Madame Malheur already rely on special attacks, and Karpe Doom has Surf and Dragon Rage (I think maybe it should also be explicitly written into the rules that fixed-damage moves like Dragon Rage and Nightshade don’t count as either physical or special, same as it’s written that they never count as STAB moves for the purposes of Four/Elements, and are fine to use under either the Magician or Strength). But I need to do something about Andi and Moon Moon. Moon Moon shouldn’t be a problem; I have a Flash Cannon TM from Byron’s gym that should suit her perfectly. Andi, on the other hand… well, Golem can learn Fire Blast, and I’m not sure I can think of any better uses for a Golem’s special attack stat. I guess Andi’s contributions in this conflict are going to be… limited. Well, at least it saves me having to use an elixir to refresh her physical moves. I would love to teach Loras Sludge Bomb at this point as well, but since he has a usable special attack already the Magician doesn’t give us that opportunity (wondering if I should change this?).
Anyway, that was a good bit of progress, so I think I’ll just leave everyone in suspense for the final battle; how does that sound?