As always, rules are here, and today I have a special shoutout to give, because I am on this week’s episode of the Exp. Share podcast, whose hosts Josh and Tanner have been running Black 2 and White 2 with these rules! We talk about the history and design of the Kingslocke, we chat about the game, we have a battle for control of their podcast, it’s a good time. Give it a listen; let my weird reedy voice and unidentifiable accent wash over you. Anyway. Let’s get going!
Before we can move on, Clay wants the player character and harmless, adorable little Hugh to participate in a tournament to build some buzz for his new tournament venue in the south of Driftveil City.
We’ll be fighting three opponents in this tournament: first Hugh, then Cheren and finally Colress. They aren’t exactly normal battles, in that we can only use three Pokémon, we won’t earn any experience and our opponents will all be locked to level 25 (but not us, for this introduction to the tournament system), but I think it’s still appropriate to draw a card here.
…yeah… yeah, that figures.
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.
Once again, there are no wild Pokémon to catch here, so we don’t get any upside from this card. As things stand right now, this is mostly an issue for Pepper, who would normally expect to evolve into Sawsbuck at level 34. Fartstink, thanks to the Knight of Wands, is my Champion and is therefore free to ignore this rule and evolve into Garbodor at level 36; Aurelia won’t be able to evolve anyway until we find a Fire Stone.
Worth noting here is that, for the first time in this run, we now have three cards in play from the Major Arcana: the Hierophant, Temperance and the Hanged Man. If I draw a fourth, the oldest one – the Hierophant – will go away. Also worth noting is that we’ll be healed after each tournament battle, but because these are one-off automatic heals, we won’t owe the Hierophant any tithes for them.
Hugh’s easy enough.
Cheren’s evolved Normal Pokémon are pretty scary, but it’s nice to be the one with the level advantage for once.
Colress’s Pokémon all have pretty big advantages against Fartstink, and Aurelia doesn’t fare too well after switching into a Thundershock critical hit from Magneton, but Patracia has no trouble cleaning up with Crunch and Dig.
After the tournament, Hugh spots a Team Plasma grunt boarding a ship at the docks, so it’s time to go and investigate; I think that deserves another card.
Two – You: You may catch one Pokémon of your choice in this area.
Another whiff – but hey, at least it’s not another nasty rule.
Team Plasma is no problem, but their magic ninja bouncers throw us off the boat before we can do any real damage.
There’s just one more place to go before we leave Driftveil City.
Technically we’ve been to the Relic Passage before, but this end has different encounter tables with much higher-level Pokémon, as well as more trainers, and it’s separated by a pretty big chunk of the story, and in cases like that I usually opt to draw another card.
Finally, a lucky break!
The Sun: All ongoing rules that can force you to box a specific Pokémon (Eight/Mate, Knight/Challenge, the Fool, the Tower or any Ten/Rule Card that forces you to box a Pokémon) are revoked, allowing you to use those Pokémon again. Nine/Snake Eyes and Death are not revoked and can petrify more Pokémon in the future; however, all of your currently petrified Pokémon are freed (overriding the effect of Death).
This doesn’t actually change anything for us practically, right now. The Sun doesn’t do anything about the Six of Swords, which prevents all male Pokémon from being used; it only helps with effects that hit specific individual Pokémon. We’re already using all the female Pokémon we have. Because the Sun does its work instantly and doesn’t stick around, it also doesn’t push the Hierophant out of his Major Arcana slot. But the Sun does allow us to arrange a certain very important reunion:
For the first time since Castelia City, Woshua, Alvin and Mulberry are back together. Their separation has been long and, at times, almost unbearable. They are still prevented from helping their friends by the treacherous and increasingly convoluted machinations of the Patratriarchy. But at last, bathed in the glorious and life-affirming light of the Sun, they can once again express their love to one another in person.
But who could be responsible for this good fortune?
Hidden deep within the twists and turns of the Relic Passage is our benefactor – the one who wields the infinite glory of the unconquerable Sun.
Patracia will have to give up Super Fang in favour of Strength to get inside, but it should be worth it.
One more card…
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.
Truly our mysterious benefactor is working hard to influence events in our favour! The Six of Wands cancels out the Six of Swords we already have in play; once we return to Driftveil City, any of our male Pokémon will be able to join the team again, and we get to catch an extra female Pokémon from the lower levels of the Relic Castle.
(Nefertiti will have you know she used to be a queen, or a princess, or a… well, something anyway; at least a countess, probably. The old memory’s gotten a bit hazy. After all, there’s nothing to do down here except dust off the artefacts and perform rituals for… well, and who died and left her in charge anyway? [Note: inscriptional evidence from the ruins suggests it was almost certainly Nefertiti who died and left “her” in charge.] The conditions are completely unfitting for one of Nefertiti’s exalted station. Whichever exalted station that was, exactly. She’d just like a change of scenery once in a while, that’s all.)
And here she is – the Sun incarnate, whose blazing light has banished the darkness and given our forlorn trio back to each other.
Static encounter Pokémon are always fair game in a Kingslocke; there are special restrictions on legendary Pokémon, but Volcarona is not quite legendary. One of our party must now prove that they are worthy to stand in the presence of the Sun.
(Aurelia has to admit, standing before an ancient sun goddess and being told that you are worthy of her blessing is a hell of a confidence booster. Does this make her, like, a paladin or something, like a holy knight? That sounds pretty cool. She probably outranks her boyfriend now; that’ll give him a shock.)
So, thanks to the blessings of the Sun, we have free choice of which Pokémon to put on our team once again – but we’re not totally free. Our Pokémon still can’t evolve or use their STAB moves, which we need to consider in putting together a new team. Fartstink is a no-brainer; as our Champion, she doesn’t observe the same restrictions as the others, and frankly, she’s earned it. Salt, Pepper, the nameless Zorua and the new Yamask Nefertiti are all pretty severely hampered by not being able to evolve; it’ll also hurt Woshua and Sergeant Derby (who won’t be able to earn his next promotion), but not as badly. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have both Alvin and Patracia active, and I think Patracia’s earned the right to go on leading the party and smashing the Patratriarchy for a while. I hate to separate Alvin from his boyfriends again, but at least now they know they’re all safe and they can see each other at every Pokémon Centre stop. Finally, as powerful as Invicta is, the Elements rule hobbles her pretty badly. Her only usable attack right now is Gust, and we can replace that with Fly because HMs are always fair game in a Kingslocke, but Fly is also too strong to be usable with Temperance in play. For now, Invicta will invest her divine power in her newly anointed paladin, Aurelia. That narrows it down to six Pokémon:
Which means this is the squad!
uh, pending a little bit of grinding (as much as I can afford with the Hierophant still hanging over my head) to bring the boys back up to speed. If I train in the Relic Passage, maybe I can even scrounge up enough Red Shards for another move or two from the tutor; I’d love to get Fire Punch or Signal Beam for Sergeant Derby.
There’s also this Pokémon breeder, who is one of several trainers in these games who’ll ask for a rematch every time you return to their area. Fighting her over and over doesn’t provide a lot of income, but if I use my Amulet Coin it’s enough to pay for some extra Pokémon Centre visits.
Spending the shards kinda feels bad because Ampharos does learn Signal Beam naturally, but not until a really high level; I want the Sergeant to have a non-STAB special attack now.
Anyway, back to the journey.
Okay – Chargestone Cave! There’s three levels to this cave, but the wild Pokémon encounter tables for two of them are identical (the lowest level has more Tynamo and fewer Pokémon of other species), so I’m going to make the somewhat arbitrary decision to draw only twice here. Let’s hope for something good; there are plenty of Pokémon here that would be great to catch.
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.
I, uh… might just pop back to the Driftveil market to buy another dozen bottles of Moomoo Milk. And maybe a couple of Revives as well, since I have a Champion who’s immune to petrification; I can switch Fartstink in to tank anything that looks like it might be deadly.
THE CURSED AGENTS OF THE PATRATRIARCHY HAVE STRUCK AGAIN
Urgh, triple battles can be brutal on the centre Pokémon if the opponents decide they just don’t like them. I guess Alvin will be coming back to active duty once we get through here.
Here’s the lowest level of the Chargestone Cave, where I decided another draw was merited…
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.
Yeah, I’ll always take a Page. Let’s see what new TM options we have… Woshua was never in the party for any of the previous Pages that let everyone else pick up Return, so we’ll give him that. Mulberry could take Reflect. Volt Switch is probably a good pick for Sergeant Derby, even if he’s not allowed to use it right now. I’m not sure there’s any good options for Aurelia… I should probably overwrite Flame Burst with a filler move like Rest or Attract, then replace it with Flamethrower when she learns it. I don’t think we have any strong TMs for Fartstink right now either, but as my Champion she can just choose to ignore the Page’s instructions.
Mistralton City is really just an airport with a couple of houses on the side.
The gym is at the end of the runway – but before challenging Skyla, I’m going to keep exploring a bit further north.
Drawing a card for route 7, and it’s…
Sweet! The Nine of Cups cancels out the Nine of Swords. Patracia is still petrified; to get her back, we have to win a milestone battle (say, beating Skyla to earn the Jet Badge) or draw a card that specifically releases a petrified Pokémon. At least I don’t have to worry about losing anyone else, though.
Twist Mountain is off-limits until the very end of the game in Black 2 and White 2, so Icirrus City is not on our itinerary.
The Celestial Tower, on the other hand, is very much open for business.
There are five floors to the Celestial Tower, but only four of them have wild Pokémon and although the encounter tables do change as you climb, it’s basically the same Pokémon all the way through. It’s also not a great big cave the way Chargestone Cave is, so I’m going to make the – again somewhat arbitrary – decision to draw only one card here.
And it’s King Number 2!
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).
god, the interpersonal dynamics of which Pokémon I put in the Vessel are genuinely so complicated here; like, sending Mulberry, Woshua or Alvin to the Vessel is obviously unacceptable after everything they’ve been through to get back together, but what happens if I send Aurelia or Sergeant Derby? Does that mean they’ve “broken up,” or just that they’re “on a break”? I mean, it does feel like they’ve grown apart and Aurelia does have her new calling to pursue, but I don’t think they’re ready to give up on this thing yet! And what will even happen if the Sergeant is newly single and working closely with his attractive and heroic ex?
Strategy? What the hell does strategy have to do with any of this?
I guess Aurelia is probably the weakest of my current Pokémon under the current rules, and she needs to go on a vision quest to fully embrace her new role as a paladin of the Sun.
(Sergeant Derby is willing to give this a shot, but long distance is always rough, and although he’s obviously proud of his girlfriend’s recent achievements, if he’s honest, the stagnation of his own military career is also starting to make him feel a bit inadequate by comparison. Some complicated feelings to work through here.)
I’m not going to use this King to free Patracia, not when there’s a gym battle just around the corner and there’s no danger of anyone else being petrified. There are three types of wild Pokémon in the Celestial Tower – Golbat, Litwick and Elgyem – and since I get to pick, I think Elgyem would be the most interesting addition to our current roster.
(This p’LANet(sp.?) is faScinaTing,- and iTS inhAbItaNts are as deli&&&#tful as theYY are inS(q?~)cRUTable. tHE beinG desiGN@ted Yueffoh loooKs 4warD to gaINIng their Tru$t and sub;SEQUently PR0BING them. As pAIn’lesSLy as PoSsiBLE, of ~course.)
My previous logic for not using Invicta continues to apply. Yu’effoh has two attacks, Zen Headbutt and Hidden Power, but purely by chance her Hidden Power appears to be Psychic-type, which means she has no non-STAB attacks. If I want to use her, I’ll have to teach her Return, which wouldn’t be terrible but wouldn’t be great either; her physical attack stat is on the “meh” side and she isn’t compatible with any good TMs I have for special attacks. Locked evolutions will make just about all my other backup Pokémon pretty bad; I think for now my best option for my final team slot is probably Nefertiti, who can at least get around the Elements rule with Night Shade. I’ll just level her up a bit before taking on the gym (continuing to pay tithes for healing, obviously; I am broke).
That… should do; Skyla’s Pokémon are pretty high-level, but I think we’re in with a chance. Let’s see what we draw when we enter the gym.
Strength: Your Pokémon may not use special attacks, unless they have no physical attacks. Pokémon in your active party with no physical attacks must learn one as soon as possible (using a TM/TR if you have, or can easily buy, a compatible one). This rule is overwritten if you draw the Magician.
Honestly a pretty good draw, for two reasons. One: this is my fourth Major Arcana card, which means the oldest one gets forced out – no more tithing to the Hierophant! I can heal for free again! Two: most of my Pokémon rely on physical attacks anyway. Fartstink has Sludge Bomb, but she’s allowed to do whatever she wants. Sergeant Derby forgot Return a little while ago in favour of Power Gem (which I was kinda hoping would be a strong pickup for this Flying-type gym, but che sarà, sarà), so I probably need to teach him Return all over again to comply with this rule. As for Nefertiti… well, Night Shade is labelled as a special attack, but it doesn’t actually use the special attack stat, so I think it probably gets around this rule in the same way as it gets around the Four of Swords.
…I am being punished for my sins.
(Easy come, easy go, Fartstink always says. Sometimes wonderful things come into your life unexpectedly, like an exciting group of new friends who make you feel young again and start you off on an adventure like you never had when you were their age; sometimes things you thought you couldn’t live without will leave your life just as suddenly, like a relationship that never quite clicked. You can’t go hoarding things, she’s always told people – always remember to throw out your trash!)
PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER, SERGEANT; AURELIA’S ONLY BEEN OUT OF THE PICTURE FOR LIKE TWO HOURS
…do I even want to know what that Swoobat did to get him to “faint”?
good grief, do we need to get him a Tinder profile now?
or worse… a Grindr profile?
Nefertiti is one spiteful little millennia-old time-addled aristocrat; she can’t beat Swanna straight up, but she can sure as hell curse it and take it down with her.
okay, with the move restrictions I’m under I’m pretty sure I just don’t have anything, at all, that can take a Skarmory in a fair fight; I’m going to have to revive Nefertiti and have her work her magic again.
Which means we have badge number 6 in our hands, and it’s once again time to take a break and review the team!
And, as usual, here are the cards I currently have in play.
Temperance – no attacks with more than 80 power
The Hanged Man – Pokémon cannot evolve
Strength – no special attacks
King of Wands – Detective Coolumbo the Tranquill is in the Vessel
Four of Swords – Pokémon cannot use STAB moves
Knight of Wands – Fartstink the Garbodor is my Champion and can ignore all other rules