Rules are here, and if you’re interested in hearing about the tribulations of other trainers suffering through this ridiculous challenge run I’ve created, check out the current season of the Exp. Share podcast!
The first segment of the Pokéstar Studios subplot is obligatory for progressing the story, because we need to get Roxie’s dad the ferry captain out of the film industry and back onto his boat so he can take us to Castelia City. I actually think making movies at Pokéstar Studios is a pretty cool little minigame, but it’s not relevant to the Kingslocke, so I won’t be discussing anything that happens here. Let’s just skip ahead to…
A confrontation at the docks between gym leader Roxie, dear innocent rival Hugh and a group of Mysterious Masked Thugs. We just learned about making movies, so obviously we all know that this is a moment we have to draw a card for dramatic effect if nothing else.
The Emperor: Catch the first Pokémon you see in this area. That Pokémon ignores all other rules until this one is revoked.
Unfortunately, without a fishing rod or the ability to travel on water, the Emperor is a dead draw in Virbank City. A shame – this card is one of the few ways I could have added a sixth Pokémon to my party given my current combination of rules.
As a reward for helping Roxie with Team Plasma, we receive the HM for Cut. HMs are always usable at any time in a Kingslocke, but the generation V games almost never require them for story progression and Cut is strictly worse than this era’s buffed Tackle, to say nothing of the more powerful moves we get later, so I’m not going to teach it to anyone yet. We’re also now able to travel to Castelia City, the glittering jewel of Unova.
One of Castelia City’s attractions is the Royal Unova, a cruise ship that sails every evening and provides a venue for Pokémon battles. I happened to get here in the evening, and as the Exp. Share boys’ recent experience reminded me, the Royal Unova has a fairly narrow time window, so we’ll do this before anything else. There’s multiple trainers on the ship, so obviously this calls for a card…
The Hermit: When you draw this card, choose one: your party must not have two Pokémon whose natures increase the same stat, OR your party must not have two Pokémon whose natures decrease the same stat.
The reason this is an “uh oh” is because Woshua and Mulberry have the same nature – both of them are sassy – so no matter which option I pick, we can’t keep both of them in the party. But Woshua, Alvin and Mulberry are a very devoted and loving throuple; if one of them goes in the box, they all go in the box. We’re now down to just Aurelia and Lance Corporal Derby – who, remember, can’t use their STAB moves or switch freely. Once the ship returns to shore after a few battles, we’ll also be able to pick up Patracia, who is free to be a third wheel as long as we have only one valid pair for the Lovers card.
Derby, Aurelia and Patracia are all compatible with each other no matter which of the Hermit’s two modes I pick (their natures are bold, quirky and rash, respectively), so for the sake of argument let’s go with the first option: my party cannot have two Pokémon whose natures increase the same stat. Ordinarily in this situation I’d probably forge ahead and let Patracia catch up to the others by switching her in and out of battles, but since that’s not allowed at the moment, I might just sneak back to Virbank City briefly to grind her up a couple of levels.
(There’s a lot of mixed feelings here; Derby and Woshua broke up because Woshua felt like Derby’s military service would always come before their relationship, and now Woshua’s with two wonderful guys and all three of them are prepared to put each other before anything else, while Derby’s still looking to become a commissioned officer; of course, he also met Aurelia, who’s really supportive of his military career, but that relationship’s still new and what if it goes the same way as the last one?)
Anyway let’s visit the Battle Company
this is a large corporation whose business model is that they have Pokémon battles all day
not clear how this helps anyone
But because this is a new area full of trainers, we’d better draw a card.
…poor Patracia’s just never going to get her moment, is she?
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 petrified Pokémon and Pokémon in the Vessel remain unusable. If you have no other Pokémon, you may catch one of your choice in this area (or the most recent area with wild Pokémon that you visited) OR free a petrified Pokémon.
Okay. Forget EVERYTHING, including the stuff I just said about the Hermit. Everything is wiped. The ONLY rule now in place is that these three…
…are imprisoned in the Tower, and the only way to rescue them is for the others to continue their journey. Alvin, Mulberry and Woshua are free to do whatever they please, but they have no special Musketeer status anymore (although obviously they are still in love with each other and deeply committed to one another; I mean, that goes without saying; why would you even ask?). They’re the ones who now have to take on the Battle Company.
(Of course Woshua feels a little bit responsible for the situation Sergeant Derby is now in; how could he not? To say nothing of Aurelia, who never had to help him or even like him, but did anyway, or of Patracia, who I think is probably Alvin’s long-lost sister or cousin or something? Of course he could just go home and be happy with his two amazing boyfriends, but then what kind of otter would he be???)
Castelia City is also home to Game Freak’s in-universe offices, where we can fight two more trainers: the game world avatars of Shigeki Morimoto and Koji “Kabigon” Nishino, two of Game Freak’s OG designers. Better draw another card…
Nine – Snake Eyes: Immediately box any of your Pokémon that are defeated in battle. They are petrified; you can’t use them again until they are freed. You may free one petrified Pokémon of your choice every time you defeat a gym leader or Elite Four member (or a totem Pokémon or Kahuna in Alola, or a fellow championship contender in Galar). This rule is overwritten by drawing an Ace/Waterfall, and ends if you draw another Nine; once it is gone, no more Pokémon can be petrified, however ones that were already petrified must still wait to be freed.
The stakes are rising – this run is a pseudo-Nuzlocke until further notice. Fortunately, neither Nishino nor Morimoto is mean-spirited enough to give themselves overpowered teams and kick the crap out of our boys.
Now that I’ve thoroughly explored Castelia City, it’s time to visit the gym, but…
…looks like Burgh’s not here. Instead we have to go looking for Team Plasma in…
THE SEWER LEVEL. Which means another card draw:
Eight – Mate: Box the Pokémon in your current party that has spent the most time in your active party over the course of the game (this may be a judgement call; if two or more Pokémon have spent roughly equal time in your active party, you may choose one of them). You cannot use that Pokémon again unless another card revokes this rule.
Well… there’s really only one choice here.
Sorry, Woshua. Really, I should say sorry to all three of them; Alvin and Mulberry are going to be a pair of emotional wrecks until they get their boyfriend back.
After we’ve explored the whole of THE SEWER LEVEL, trained up Alvin and Mulberry a bit with Hugh’s support and banished Team Plasma, we can poke our noses into two other areas accessible from the Castelia underground.
This is the Relic Passage, an ancient tunnel that leads from Driftveil City to Castelia City (although unfortunately it’s one-way due to some inconveniently-placed ledges). It has a totally new biome of cave Pokémon, as well as a couple of trainers, so…
The Fool: Replace the highest-level Pokémon in your party with the lowest-level Pokémon in your PC that is currently usable. You must use the lower-level one and cannot use the higher-level one. Once their levels become equal, start again with the new highest-level Pokémon in your party and lowest-level usable Pokémon in your PC. Continue until this rule is overwritten.
Alas, I only have two usable Pokémon right now; both are level 19 and neither is in the PC, so the Fool does nothing and returns to the deck.
The second area we can now visit is a hidden garden in the middle of the city. There are no trainers here, but you can catch wild Pokémon – I think this is the only place in Unova where you can find wild Eevee. Let’s see what we draw…
Lucky number seven!
Seven – Lucky Sevens: Draw two more cards and follow the rules for both.
Page – Never Have I Ever: Teach all of your current party Pokémon a new move from a TM or TR (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 have a much bigger selection of TMs now than the first time I drew a Page, although most of them still aren’t very good. Honestly, I think the best play here is probably to give both of my Pokémon Return. More importantly…
The Empress: Catch the first Pokémon you see in this area OR free one petrified Pokémon, and immediately end one ongoing rule of your choice.
None of our boxed Pokémon are petrified (which refers specifically to the effects of the Nine/Snake Eyes and Death cards), so we’re going to catch the first Pokémon we see, which is…
Oh. Uh. I guess I get to pick? I have a Grass Pokémon already, and a Pidove would be really useful in Burgh’s Bug-type gym, so…
Just “Detective” is fine, though. He does a lotta work here in the big city, but his wife always says he should get outta the neighbourhood more, you know, see the world a bit – and anyway, what kinda man thinks he’s too good to take some time off to help a few crazy kids?
In addition to getting us a new Pokémon, the Empress is the only card that lets the player choose a card to be rid of. Which presents us with an ethical dilemma!
If we burn the Tower, then Patracia, Aurelia and Sergeant Derby will ALL be free. But if we burn the Eight of Pentacles, then Mulberry and Alvin can get their boyfriend back. We could also burn the Nine of Cups to keep any of our Pokémon from potentially being petrified in the future, but I think they would all agree that there are more important things at stake here.
With a heavy heart, Alvin and Mulberry agree that they have to do what Woshua would want – and he would want them to help the others first.
(People keep making jokes about how Mulberry “has Alvin to himself” now, and you know what? Not only is that really insensitive, that’s not how their relationship works. He loves both of them; they both love him. And he doesn’t have to take this $#!t from anyone.)
I should really do a bit more training before trying to take on Burgh’s gym, but I’m going to draw the card for it now, just so we know what we’re working with.
Three – Me: You may catch the first wild Pokémon you see in this area.
No wild Pokémon in a gym – this one’s a wash. Let’s head back to the garden and train up a bit before our challenge. Very carefully and with plenty of Potions, of course; we don’t want anyone getting petrified.
Could be better, could be worse, but we’ve got to stick our necks out sooner or later. We’ll continue to level up in the gym itself, and between Aurelia and the Detective, we should be fine. Hopefully.
(Yes, it’s been hard for Alvin; it’s been hard for both of them. They could have had him back by now, but as it is, they don’t know when they’ll see him again – or even if. But mostly, Alvin just wants to do better for the boyfriend he’s still got, and make sure they both get through this.)
(You know, something’s been bothering the Detective. These little things, they worry him; he can’t help it. Why would someone set up this, uh, this game with all the cards and, uh… sorry, you don’t have a lighter or anything, do you? Thank you very much. Why would someone go to all the trouble to set up this “Kingslocke”? You know, the Detective’s wife has a friend who’s into tarot; she does readings at parties, knows all the cards and everything, but she never mentioned no convoluted rules like this. Really feels like there’s something downright occult goin’ on here. The Detective knows it’s probably nothing, but he just gets these bees in his bonnet sometimes; you know how it is. Oh, and just one more thing… who’s this “Pokémaniac Chris” guy, anyway?)
We can lose one Pokémon here and be okay. Obviously it would be better not to lose anyone, but beating a gym leader allows us to free one petrified Pokémon, so losing one in the course of the battle works out to be even. I’m most worried about Burgh’s Dwebble, who can counter Aurelia and Detective Coolumbo with Rock-type attacks, but hopefully I can rely on Sergeant Derby and Alvin there.
Easy win for Aurelia there…
Less easy, but even without that last Thundershock crit I think the Sergeant would have been fine.
And it turns out, Burgh, that the answer to your question was “yes.” Leavanny’s Cut is pretty nasty, but that quadruple damage from Fire attacks stings, and Leavanny’s defences are only average. I have to agree with the Exp. Share boys’ assessment – I wasn’t really expecting any of Black 2’s gym battles to be easy, but Burgh’s strongest Pokémon is hampered by such a garbage type combination that there’s just not a whole lot they can do.
That’s our third badge in hand! Meaning we can call it quits for now – this has been a really long and complicated episode! Let’s review the team:
Thanks to the Tower wiping everything, and the Empress subsequently wiping the Tower, we only have two cards in play at the moment, but they’re pretty important ones:
Nine of Cups – Pokémon defeated in battle are petrified
Eight of Pentacles – Woshua the Dewott cannot be used
Will Alvin and Mulberry be reunited with their boyfriend? Will Sergeant Derby and Aurelia be able to have it all, love and success? Will Detective Coolumbo get to the bottom of his new case? Only one way to find out, and that’s to keep drawing cards! I’m now caught up to where Exp. Share was last week, so I’ll be pushing onward to the Nimbasa Gym soon, then aiming for weekly updates going forward.