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!
Time to get moving again – we’re leaving Castelia City. Of course, first we have to pass through the suburbs, and that means…
Oof – this again.
Four – Elements: Your Pokémon may not use attacks that get a Same-Type Attack Bonus, unless they have no un-STABed damaging moves (note that moves with fixed damage like Dragon Rage and Nightshade do not have STAB). Pokémon in your active party with no un-STABed attacks must learn one as soon as they can (using a TM/TR if you have, or can easily buy, a compatible one). This rule ends if you draw another Four. You may catch the first Pokémon you see in this area that does not share a type with any of your current party Pokémon.
That means our movesets are going to be restricted, as follows:
Return, Confuse Ray, Crunch, Hypnosis
Mulberry: Return, Protect,
Bug Bite, Razor Leaf
Sergeant Derby: Take Down, Charge, Thunder Wave,
Fire Fang, Leer, Reversal, Return
Detective Coolumbo: Roost, Leer, Quick Attack, Air Cutter
Tranquill’s extraordinarily terrible movepool should actually spare the Detective from ever having to follow this rule: not only does Coolumbo have no un-STABed direct damage moves right now, he can’t learn any from the TMs I have. In fact, the only non-STAB attacks Tranquill and Unfezant can learn in generation V, aside from Hidden Power, are U-Turn (an end-game TM), Heat Wave (from an expensive move tutor) and Steel Wing (an egg move inherited from Skarmory).
(The Detective’s a simple man, you know; he really admires people who can get their heads around fancy moves like that, it’s a real talent, but sometimes in his line of work it pays to be simple.)
There are definitely wild Pokémon around here somewhere, but there’s a few trainers to battle before we can get to them.
Notably, this weirdo.
This is way harder and more tense than Burgh, because Colress uses Pokémon that are actually difficult to fight; Magnemite is miserable without super-effective attacks (which we would have from Aurelia, if not for the Elements rule).
Here we go… currently our party has Normal, Grass, Bug, Electric, Fire and Flying; this sandy area should have some Ground-types that Elements will let us catch, so…
…you know what, fine. Welcome to the team. I guess we can slap an Exp. Share on her and keep her at the back for a while. At the moment she does have a non-STAB attack, but it’s Doubleslap, so… yeah.
(To be clear, Fartstink is a very common name in Trubbish culture and, yes, it means exactly what it sounds like in English, but she is sick of people acting like that’s somehow a bad or weird thing)
Oh. Uh. That was very sudden. Leavanny is a friendship-based evolution, so in principle it can happen at any time, but he’s only gained one level since evolving into Swadloon. I guess that’s the power of a committed relationship built on trust, respect and absolutely wild three-way sex.
(Part of Mulberry has honestly started to relish the challenge; he’s had to step up, come out of his shell, be a leader – not so long ago he felt like a third wheel in Woshua and Alvin’s romance, now he’s the one holding the team together.)
this fµ¢£ing Herdier. Let me tell you about this fµ¢£ing Herdier. It hit Sergeant Derby with Intimidate, who then paralysed it with Thunder Wave before missing three times in a row with Take Down while the Herdier just kept buffing itself with Work Up. A Herdier with +3 attack is fµ¢£ing terrifying. Then when Derby finally connected with a Take Down it did fµ¢£-all damage, so I thought “someone’s gonna die here,” because we have the pseudo-Nuzlocke card in play at the moment, and decided to switch to Mulberry and pray. And Mulberrry, well, did lose all that HP to just one Tackle, but also survived and kicked the $#!t out of Herdier with his colossal overflowing sexual bug energy, so you can kinda see Woshua made the right romantic choices by breaking up with a sheep and sleeping with a leaf insect.
(Take Down is one of those moves where the game says it’s 85% accurate, but I can tell you from my first-hand experience that the real number is about 20%)
Anyway, we’re just going to head into the desert here and draw another card…
Sweet, I’ll take a Page. Just to remind you:
Page – Never Have I Ever: Teach all of your current party Pokémon a new move from a TM or TR.
The easy part is to just stick Return on Sergeant Derby, Detective Coolumbo and Fartstink; they’ll all appreciate having a stronger Normal attack (especially the Sergeant, after the last… incident). We also need to find something for Alvin, Mulberry and Aurelia, who already know Return. Dig could be great for Alvin, Aurelia or both, and Rock Smash could be decent, but there isn’t really an obvious pick for Mulberry in the TMs I have right now… I could just overwrite Protect with some filler move like Flash or Rest. Or Struggle Bug, I guess; it only has 30 power in this generation, but it’s not useless. If we didn’t have Elements in play I might go for that, but as is, I think we have to take Flash.
ugh, even when I’m not playing a pseudo-Nuzlocke I fµ¢£ing hate Darumaka. The Hustle ability makes them so powerful, so early, that it can be really hard to keep them from murdering you; even the wild ones are a menace, let alone trained Darumaka like this asshole. Anyway. This is fine (it is decidedly not fine; Alvin switched into that Darumaka to keep it from hitting Mulberry, and Mulberry is losing his $#!t right now). The Snake Eyes rule resembles a Nuzlocke, but there are ways we can get Alvin back: most straightforwardly, by defeating the next gym leader. Assuming we don’t lose anyone else between now and then. Also, Fartstink is now very close to the rest of the team in level, so this might be a good moment to bring Patracia along to help out and switch the Exp. Share to her.
Dwebble is also really rough, but for different reasons; our selection of non-STAB attacks is still mostly Normal moves, half of this team is weak to Rock attacks and Dwebble isn’t weak to Aurelia’s Dig or Reversal like most Rock-types would be.
Of course, there’s always some upside to everything…
SMASH THE PATRATRIARCHY
(Patracia’s a bit self-conscious about coming across as an “angry feminist,” but frankly that style of activism gets results; she just tries to have a sense of humour about it)
Lost in the desert is the ancient ruin known as the Relic Castle. Before we can enter, as always, we must draw a card…
Ooh, that could work for us…
Queen – A Ship Came Into The Harbour: …carrying a boatload of Pokémon! Keep catching the first Pokémon you see in this area until you have caught enough to fill your party. You may choose to skip Pokémon that you know you would not be able to use (e.g. male Pokémon if you have a Six in play, or Pokémon from the wrong generation if you have Justice in play). If you already have a full party, catch one Pokémon of your choice in this area OR free one petrified Pokémon.
This once again presents a difficult ethical dilemma. Because our party is already full, we could use this Queen to free Alvin instead of catching a Pokémon. The problem is, it’s clearly sub-optimal, because we have Patracia to replace him for now, we’ll have more chances to free him later, and a Sandshrew, Sandile or Yamask would be great to have. I couldn’t do that to Mulberry, though; he’s been through enough.
Well, in that case, there’s nothing more to do but move on to Nimbasa City.
I think there’s a few sundry trainer battles in the city, including a double battle against the subway masters just up ahead and maybe some Team Plasma stuff later, so I’ll just draw a card now to cover all of that. There’s also a lot more places to visit in and around Nimbasa City before we challenge gym leader Elesa, so there are a lot more draws and probably a lot of chaos in our near future.
Ohhh, this is a rough one. Better stock up on potions…
The Hierophant: Whenever you heal at a Pokémon Centre or other healing location, you must pay a tithe by buying and immediately throwing away items totalling a certain amount of money. The tithe is equal to the number of badges you have earned (or Alolan trials you have completed) times 1000. If you do not have enough money to pay a tithe, you must sell items in order to pay for it. If you are completely unable to pay a tithe, even by selling items, this rule ends; draw three more cards and return the Hierophant to the deck.
At the moment, that’s a tithe of 3000 Money every time I want to use a Pokémon Centre, which I can pay in the form of (for example) 10 Potions. Against my whole fortune of (currently) about 54,000 Money, that’s not too bad, and I’ve got Fartstink holding an Amulet Coin as well, so our income is pretty solid, but it’ll still add up if I run back home to heal after every minor injury.
A bunch of the athletes at Nimbasa City’s Big Stadium are Pokémon trainers, so we’d better pay them a visit…
Our first King of the run!
King – Vessel: Choose and box one member of your current team; you may replace it with a new Pokémon of your choice from this area OR free one petrified Pokémon. The boxed team member is placed in the Vessel and cannot be returned to your active party, not even by the effects of other cards. If there are ever four Pokémon in the Vessel, those Pokémon immediately become your new party (your other two party slots remain “free” and can be filled with any other Pokémon that are currently legal).
Unfortunately, there are no wild Pokémon here to replace whoever goes in the Vessel, nor do we have any petrified Pokémon (looks like I should’ve used that Queen in the ruins to catch a Yamask after all…). Now, who on my team should answer this divine calling…?
“We wanted to keep him almost mythological. He comes from nowhere and goes back into nowhere.”
I was very tempted to offer up Fartstink to the Vessel, but for one thing, if I eventually draw all four Kings, that might lead to me getting stuck with her later in the run, and for another, the next gym is an Electric-type one, and the Detective, despite his brilliance, would have been dead weight there.
(It’s a real shame to be leaving so soon, because there’s nothing the Detective hates more than leaving loose ends; it really keeps him awake at night. Unfortunately, he’s got another case to work on, and boy, it’s shaping up to be a tough one.)
And let’s check out the Small Court as well…
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.
Hmm. Well, unlike the last time I drew the Fool, I do have one usable Pokémon in my PC: Patracia. She’s almost the same level as everyone else anyway, and I have a free space now that Coolumbo’s left to work on his new case. I think it’s probably simplest if we just take this as an injunction to add Patracia back to the party and consider the card’s effect resolved. To be honest, the Fool is a card I probably still need to play with a bit, because it’s not always clear what the card actually does, if anything, when you have seven or fewer usable Pokémon. I might add a clause that says you discard it and draw again if your roster is small, or rewrite it entirely.
We should also explore the area around Nimbasa City before committing to a gym battle. Route 5 takes us out of the city to the northwest, and route 16 leads northeast. We can’t go very far in either direction, but we should stick out noses out at least.
Phew. That’s a weight off my mind. The Nine of Pentacles cancels out the Nine of Cups I already had in play, ending the Snake Eyes rule.
And once we’ve checked out route 5 as far as the Driftveil bridge and fought all the trainers there, we should head east, and…
Ugh, the cards giveth and the cards fµ¢£eth me up…
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.
It’s gotta be Mulberry, right? Sergeant Derby and Aurelia have had their moments, and Alvin’s probably close, but he got petrified for a while back there, and Mulberry’s been with me almost every step of the way.
Well… at least he’s with Woshua. But poor Alvin will be distraught…
Route 16 also includes the entrance to the Lostlorn Forest, where there are more wild Pokémon and more trainers.
Temperance: You may not use attacks with a base power higher than 80.
Well, that’s not too bad, although it’s shame I’m not getting more chances to catch wild Pokémon. With the Elements card in play, I’ve been relying heavily on Return, which has a variable base power (it’s obviously not reasonable for Temperance to expect the player to keep track of the fluctuating power of moves like that; I should write in a little exception clause to make that clear). Crunch and Dig also have 80 base power exactly, so they’re still fair game too. Temperance is mostly meant to mess with really powerful moves you’ll get towards the end of the game, like Fire Blast, Earthquake and Ice Beam.
There’s just one more place to visit before we can challenge Elesa: the old Nimbasa City gym, which is built around a rollercoaster.
When it rains, it pours…
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.
Obviously there are no wild Pokémon in the rollercoaster, so this means we’re down to just three Pokémon for now: Patracia, Aurelia and Fartstink.
(Aurelia supposes she’ll find it a bit trying to be separated from Sergeant Derby, but part of her is also excited to have the limelight for a little while)
(Fartstink’s mostly just glad someone’s taking her seriously for once)
It’s finally time, once and for all, to
(to be clear, the Patratriarchy isn’t just, like, the Patrat word for patriarchy; it’s a secret all-male cabal of Patrat and Watchog who operate a vast intelligence network in order to control Unova and oppose all progress towards gender equality, particularly for other Patrat)
(Patracia hasn’t mentioned that before because she thought it was obvious)
(also Alvin isn’t part of the Patratriarchy)
(again, she thought that was pretty obvious; honestly it’s weird that you’re even asking)
And here’s the new gym. One last card…
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.
Hmm. The Pokémon Centre in Nimbasa City sells a couple of TMs, and the full rules page explicitly allows you to buy TMs before resolving a Page, so I might just slip back and buy all of those; I dunno if any of them will be useful right now, but the options could be important later.
Anyway, TMs. Patracia doesn’t know Dig, which would be a big help against Elesa. Fartstink is compatible with hardly anything, because Trubbish is an awful Pokémon with an awful movepool, but I guess I could give her Thief. As for Aurelia… well, what about Snarl? There aren’t many moves that can reduce a target’s special attack, and she could use a special move of her own. She doesn’t really need Reversal; it’s a useful type but it’s hard to use.
Elesa’s strategy is based around all her Pokémon having Volt Switch. They switch in and out constantly, making it hard to get a clean hit on any of them. Fartstink is pretty clearly outclassed here, but I thought she could do some good by using Stockpile a few times to boost her defences, then keeping her healed while she chipped away with Return. Unfortunately…
Well, I still have plenty of healing; maybe Aurelia can-
…maybe I didn’t make myself clear.
PATRATRI-OH GOD Fµ¢£ING DAMN IT
CHRIS IS A USELESS DUMB IDIOT COUNTER: 2
I think the free healing you get after being defeated in battle should merit a tithe for the Hierophant; I’ll have to make that explicit on the rules page later. Speaking of the Hierophant, I’ll do a little bit of training before trying again against Elesa, but level grinding is, uh… kind of expensive at the moment, and I’m pretty poor after buying those TMs.
I guess that’ll do.
That is the same crit from the same Pokémon at the same moment as last time. I am going to die fighting this awful woman.
More déjà vu to come as Aurelia gets a few good hits in but ultimately can’t compete (we’re sort of getting to the point in the game where Growlithe’s base stats no longer measure up to the evolved Pokémon we’re fighting, and we won’t find a Fire Stone for a while yet). At least it wasn’t a critical hit this time. Patracia, again, manages to beat both Flaafy and Zebstrika on her own. And finally…
Whoo! Badge four!
Which means it’s finally time to end this long and complicated episode (I think the next one will be shorter, since it’s not far to the next gym in Driftveil City). As always, let’s review:
I think it would be fair to say that the team is in what could loosely be called “shambles” at the moment. Woshua, Alvin and Mulberry are all out of the fight, and they aren’t even all together, with Alvin stranded by a completely different card from his loving boyfriends, while Sergeant Derby has also been recalled from active duty, leaving Aurelia to wonder how she’ll ever get all her friends back together. Nonetheless, Patracia’s leadership shall Illuminate the dark corners of Unova and drive out the conspirators against us! Also Fartstink is here. And once more, let’s remind ourselves of the rules as they currently stand:
The Hierophant – must pay a tithe to use Pokémon Centres
Temperance – no attacks with more than 80 power
King of Wands – Detective Coolumbo the Tranquill is in the Vessel
Eight of Pentacles – Woshua the Dewott cannot be used
Eight of Swords – Mulberry the Leavanny cannot be used
Four of Swords – Pokémon cannot use STAB moves
Six of Swords – no male Pokémon