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!
First things first: because I’ve beaten a gym leader, I get to free one of my two petrified Pokémon (note: Pepper is disgraced, not petrified; I think on balance she’s actually slightly harder to get back). Let’s go with Alanis.
(There’s no way Alanis would have been any help in Marlon’s gym, but because the team beat him, she gets freed from petrification. She thinks that’s ironic.)
This week we’re going to find Team Plasma’s base of operations and kick the $#!t out of them – but before we can do that, we have to head up to route 22 again so we can meet Colress… and someone else special.
Remember what I said when I fought Virizion, about how legendary Pokémon in generation V are either an instant walk-over or a miserable 20-turn grind of constantly throwing Ultra Balls over and over? Terrakion is the latter. I run through all my Ultra Balls and have to break into the Great Balls. Four of my Pokémon are knocked out, and I’m pretty sure it only stopped there because Terrakion ran out of PP for Rock Slide and had no other moves that could damage Shoal. But eventually…
For now, of course, Faunus will have to join Artemis in the Void until I can pull a card that releases them.
Now that I’ve spoken to Colress, I can head back to the Seaside Cave, and…
Come to think of it, this is a static encounter Pokémon, same as Snorlax in Red and Blue or Sudowoodo in Gold and Silver. We’re totally allowed to catch this!
Once we’re on the ship, it’s all go – I’m in a battle before I can even draw a card. Time out, dude! I don’t even know if I’m allowed to use these Pokémon!
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).
First things first: there are obviously no wild Pokémon on the Plasma Frigate, so we can free Zoroark from petrification. As for the Vessel…
Ohhhh, god, I dunno… This is my third King of the run, meaning there’s only one more left in the deck. If I ever draw the King of Cups, all my Pokémon in the Vessel will come back, and I’ll have to use them, so I need to start thinking about how to make that team… okay. Carmen is definitely the least valuable Pokémon on my current team, but if I put her in the Vessel, I’m kinda banking on either never drawing the King of Cups at all, or on getting rid of the Hanged Man before I do. Of course, I also have to consider Lovers logistics – if I send Shoal to the Vessel, I also have to box Nefertiti; if I send Carmen, I have to box Lieutenant Derby; if I send Alvin, I have to box Woshua (and neither Woshua nor Mulberry will ever speak to me again). I think… I think putting Carmen San Francisco in the Vessel is the correct play; we’ll just need to find a new partner for Lieutenant Derby, whose love life just keeps getting more and more complicated. Hmm. Ampharos is in both the Field and Monster egg groups, but so far the Lieutenant has only dated Pokémon from the Field group – Woshua, Aurelia, Carmen, Pepper. Maybe what he needs is a nice Monster girl to help him settle down. Wouldn’t that be… ironic?
(Carmen supposes she should apologise for toying with the Lieutenant’s feelings like that, but it’s just business, after all. There’s a bigger score out there, and she would cut the team in, but she’s got her own profit margins to think about. She obviously wishes them good luck looting the Patratriarchy for all it’s worth, though!)
Although the Magician is still in play, I have no TMs for special attacks that Alanis can learn which are also compatible with Temperance. I’m… actually not sure whether this is strictly by-the-book, since Temperance is worded differently than the other move-restriction cards, but I think that should mean she’s allowed to use her sub-80-power physical attacks, same as Alvin. I had balance-related reasons for writing Temperance differently from the Fours, the Magician and Strength, but now that I actually see it overlapping with those cards, I think it’s probably simpler for everyone if they all work the same way.
The way I’ve been playing things so far in this run, I’ve been operating as though I could be forced to spend a Heart Scale to have Alanis relearn Mud Slap in a situation like this, but the more I think about it, the more I don’t believe it makes sense for the rules to work this way. For one, the current wording doesn’t actually require you to use move tutors to find moves that comply with cards like the Magician (only TMs). For another, I don’t want the rules to force players to use these resources that are often very limited in a typical single player run (depending on which game you’re playing). And for a third thing, you’re allowed to use move tutors any time you want as long as you can pay for them, and I don’t want to create scenarios where the correct strategy is to always spend your Heart Scales as soon as you get them (or even throw them away) so you can’t later be forced to spend them on stuff you don’t want. I might revisit this when I write the next edition of the Kingslocke rules – as always, comments are appreciated.
Nice of Team Plasma to offer healing, since I can’t use healing items with the High Priestess in play.
Unlike my last battle with Zinzolin, I don’t have to worry about my Pokémon being petrified, and I have the aid of Hugh’s Serperior, who is both much stronger than the Team Plasma grunt helping Zinzolin and completely unconcerned with following Kingslocke rules.
The Plasma Frigate takes off in the direction of the Giant Chasm, so we have to pursue – back through Humilau City and past the end of route 22.
Three – Me: You may catch the first wild Pokémon you see in this area.
It’s getting more and more unlikely that any additional Pokémon we meet will have any chance to contribute before the end of the run, but I guess the Pokémon here in the Giant Chasm are at least a high level… let’s see who we find.
Madi actually froze Alanis with a lucky Ice Beam before I caught her, and with the High Priestess in play there’s nothing I can do about that unless I go all the way back to town. I think there’s a place up ahead where you get some free healing though?
We’re now in the Giant Chasm proper, and there’s a welcoming committee waiting for us – but before we help Rood and Hugh, we have to draw another card.
Oooh, this is exciting. And by exciting I mean potentially horrible. Although… no matter what result I get here, the Wheel would be my sixth Major Arcana card, which means it forces Temperance out of play; that has to be pretty good.
The Wheel of Fortune: Spin the wheel! Choose one of the following restrictions at random. Whichever result you get, you cannot change a Pokémon’s nickname while the Wheel of Fortune is in play.
There are five potential outcomes on the Wheel of Fortune, and we get…
You cannot use two Pokémon whose nicknames start with the same letter.
Uh-oh. That means, out of Alvin and Alanis, one of them has to go – potentially mucking up my Lovers arithmetic. If I lose Alvin, Woshua goes too, and now that Temperance is gone Woshua can use Surf and is actually good. By the same token… now that Temperance is gone, both Alvin and Alanis have access to a special attack from my TMs (namely Thunder), so if I go on using either one, I have to teach it to them. Since Aggron is even worse with special attacks than Watchog, I think we deposit Alanis.
(We unlock more powerful attacks, and that suddenly makes Alanis really bad. She thinks that’s ironic.)
Which… means we have to find Lieutenant Derby yet another date. I’ve… resisted inflicting him on Patracia so far, since it doesn’t make much sense to have two Watchog on the team, but the only other female Field group Pokémon I have are Robin the Woobat, who can’t evolve thanks to the Hanged Man, and Pizza Rat, who like Alanis would be forced to learn a special attack she can’t use very well. It’s either that, or accept that the Lieutenant is just a lost cause romantically and ask Woshua and Alvin if they’d be okay with that arranged marriage between Mulberry and Calafia, which isn’t ideal either; Calafia can use Earth Power now but still can’t evolve, and poor Mulberry is still stuck with Struggle Bug. Patracia certainly seems like the logical choice; the only question is whether I’m really okay with setting her up with the romantic disaster that is Lieutenant Derby.
…look, she’s only one level away from learning Super Fang, which will be a big help no matter what cards are in play, and she has stated unequivocally that she’s just here for the food. Pizza Rat will obviously receive some training before being thrown into the thick of battle, but there’s no time to get her up to the same level as the others, and it’s not like she’ll be a star combatant anyway.
(Pizza Rat never understood why frozen pizza gets such a bad rap. She prefers her pizza frozen. This will be the first of many lessons the Lieutenant will learn from her.)
Once the grunts outside have been dealt with, we’re back on the Plasma Frigate.
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.
Well, it can hardly make things any worse! I have a lot more TMs for powerful special attacks now than I did the last time I drew a Page, and with Temperance no longer in the way I can really gear up with some of the best ones. Let’s see… Ice Beam for Woshua seems like a no-brainer; so does Psychic for Nefertiti and Shoal. There aren’t really any good choices for Lieutenant Derby, who has a strong moveset already… I guess I could just give him Attract over Thunder Wave; he certainly needs it. Pizza Rat can learn Thunder for that precious “bolt/beam” type coverage. I don’t have any more special attacks on me that Alvin can learn… but I could always take a little detour…
(Alvin is sick and tired of being pushed around. Whoever got him, Woshua and Mulberry mixed up in this stupid game is going to rue the day they messed with him and his loved ones.)
Oh good, there is someone here who can heal me. Rood gives you some Max Revives when you get to the Giant Chasm, but I still have the High Priestess in play, preventing me from using healing items, so…
…my team was getting a bit ragged by the time I fought my way to the back of the ship.
One last bout with Zinzolin. Zinzolin uses two Cryogonal, whose extremely high special defence makes them a challenge for me team, who are locked into only using special attacks. His Weavile is as dangerous as Weavile always is, but folds quickly enough once burned by Nefertiti’s Will-o-Wisp.
Now for the real test.
In the opening skirmish, Pizza Rat cuts Magneton’s HP in half with Super Fang, but gets paralysed by Thunder Wave. When I switch to Nefertiti, Magneton Volt Switches out.
In generation V, Metang isn’t weak to Ghost attacks, so rather than try to take it head on with Shadow Ball, I have Nefertiti burn it first and then destroy it.
Against Klinklang, opening with Pizza Rat’s Super Fang again seems like a good idea. It uses Shift Gear to boost its physical attack and speed. I reason that its Electric attacks will probably be special and switch to Shoal, who should resist most of its other possible moves.
As predicted, Giga Impact is a bust against Shoal, and Cursed Body prevents Klinklang from cleaning up with Thunderbolt. Colress spends his full restore here too.
Colress’ Beheeyem is a Calm Mind tank and manages to outlast Shoal with Recover and Energy Ball, but is weak enough at the end to be easy prey for Woshua.
Against Magnezone, I gamble on Pizza Rat surviving its first attack and try to use Endeavour to fµ¢£ it up, but a potentially brilliant plan is foiled by paralysis. Although things have been going well so far, I could be in trouble here: Nefertiti is injured, Woshua is weak to Electric attacks, and Lieutenant Derby and Alvin have no usable moves that Magnezone doesn’t resist.
My attempt at a cunning boyfriend tag-team strategy – putting Magnezone to sleep with Alvin’s Hypnosis, then switching to Woshua – is predictably foiled when Magnezone stays asleep for only one turn, then one-shots Woshua with Discharge.
Frankly, I’m about due some luck in this fight. Lieutenant Derby manages to confuse Magnezone with Signal Beam and paralyse it with Discharge, leaving it easy prey.
And that just leaves Magneton, who, weakened by Pizza Rat, is no match for an officer in the Unovan army, not even one who’s already paralysed.
We meet Ghetsis in his office on the frigate, but don’t fight him here; he leaves the Shadow Triad to deal with us instead. Once they’re out of the way…
This cave is where the final battle will take place. I’m pretty sure the only opponents waiting are Kyurem and Ghetsis, but still… even if it’s just them, they’ve gotta be worth a card, right? I’m not sure whether I’ll have any opportunity to change Pokémon after I step inside, so I’ll draw now.
Two – You: You may catch one Pokémon of your choice in this area.
Pretty sure that’s a whiff for this area. Oh well; in we go…
Oh, no, hang on, we will have a chance to catch a wild Pokémon. Is there even anything I want in here…? I guess a Lunatone or Solrock might smooth out some of my Lovers arithmetic later on; a genderless Mineral group Pokémon would be a valid partner for Fartstink if I ever wanted her back.
Okay, now it’s time for the final battle.
Black Kyurem is powerful and the team I’ve managed to cobble together doesn’t deal well with Electric attacks, but it’s still just one Pokémon against six. N gives us a quick full heal, and now Ghetsis is up.
(It is honestly not clear to anyone whether Ghetsis is affiliated with the Patratriarchy; I mean, he doesn’t have a single Patrat or Watchog on his team. I think this is just what he’s like?)
My Pokémon are actually, for the most part, a slightly higher level than Ghetsis’. However, the weird team-building decisions I’ve had to make because of the Magician, the Lovers and the Hanged Man have left me with a team that has a lot of type redundancy – two Normal-types, two Water-types and two Ghost-types, as well as three Pokémon that all rely on Electric attacks. As a result I’m very weak to both Electric and Dark Pokémon, which is, uh… half of Ghetsis’ team (Eelektross, Drapion, Hydreigon). In addition, all of his Pokémon have many different attack types to take advantage of the weaknesses of whatever you throw at him, whereas mine have… whatever bull$#!t I’ve managed to cobble together. I have a Thunder/Ice Beam Raticate, for heaven’s sake.
Ghetsis’ Cofagrigus missing with Toxic is great; it means Nefertiti gets to take him down without any loss to her tanking power at all.
Eelektross is tricky; with Thunderbolt and Crunch it can deal super-effective damage to my entire team except for Pizza Rat and Alvin, and Alvin can’t fight back very well with Thunder. Pizza Rat can’t beat it straight-up, but she can weaken it with Super Fang and Endeavour.
My calculation here is that, if Ghetsis doesn’t use a full restore, Woshua will easily outrun and finish Eelektross. Of course, if he does use a full restore…
…which is what actually happens, Woshua still wins, but only at great cost.
Seismitoad can only seriously hurt Shoal with Earthquake, and Shoal can heal through that until he gets a Cursed Body trigger.
Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of randomness in exactly when Cursed Body wears off and whether Seismitoad hits accuracy drops with Muddy Water, so I can’t necessarily control the fight well enough for Shoal to heal up before finishing Seismitoad.
Lieutenant Derby is just straight-up more powerful than Toxicroak, but still takes a lot of damage before bringing it down.
Ghetsis’ Drapion knows Earthquake, which means Lieutenant Derby can’t fight it. Neither can Nefertiti or Shoal, and Woshua is on his last legs. This one is up to Alvin.
Unfortunately, although Alvin hits with Hypnosis, Drapion only stays asleep for one turn – not enough for Alvin to get the kind of damage he needs with Thunder to line it up for a Hyper Beam finisher.
I was hoping Woshua would outrun Drapion; his Torrent-boosted Surf would easily be enough to finish it. But it turns out Drapion is actually a lot faster than I realised.
Nefertiti can clean up with Night Shade, but now I have nothing left that can stand up to Ghetsis’ Hydreigon.
CHRIS IS A USELESS DUMB IDIOT COUNTER: 4
Well, I guess the world’s going to end now, but at least we gave it our best.
If only I were allowed healing items, I think this would be a lot closer. A max revive here, a full restore there… but with all these cards stacked up against me I think I just need to go away and build up a slightly bigger level advantage. I should at least have Pizza Rat at the same level as the others, right? Let’s face it, she’s already defying the odds just by being here; she doesn’t need to be fighting a level gap as well.
And as long as I’m using a Thunder/Ice Beam Raticate I may as well pump her special attack stat. Alvin’s too, while I’m here.
Everyone else will get some incidental training in as we level up Pizza Rat, of course. So maybe we end up with a team that looks a little more like… this…?
I’m gonna be honest, I’m not that much more confident than I was the first time, but let’s give it a go…
And Nefertiti once again dodges that Toxic opening! Almost all of Ghetsis’ Pokémon have Dark attacks, so preserving her HP isn’t that big a deal, but it’s still an excellent piece of opening luck. I’m going to try keeping her in against Eelektross; I don’t think it’s a great plan, but she should at least be able to weaken it with Will-o-Wisp.
Missing on the first Will-o-Wisp was bad and allows Eelektross to take down Nefertiti with minimal pain… but at least that burn is going to chip away at it.
Flamethrower on Lieutenant Derby hurts a bit, but isn’t too bad.
As proven last time, Seismitoad isn’t difficult for Shoal, and this time we get a bit luckier with Cursed Body timing and Muddy Water rolls, so we have more HP left over.
Lieutenant Derby is weak from fighting Eelektross and can’t beat Toxicroak alone this time, but a timely critical hit does force Ghetsis to spend his full restore here.
Shoal will definitely one-shot Toxicroak with Psychic, but he’s also definitely slower: the question is, can Toxicroak take him out first?
The answer is no, not even with a crit!
This is Woshua’s destiny: to face down Hydreigon and save the world.
Crucial miss on that first Dragon Rush (this is why we don’t use direct-damage moves with 75% accuracy, kids); Hydreigon would have beaten Woshua if that hadn’t happened, and we would have been relying on Pizza Rat to finish it.
Let’s see if Alvin’s luck is any better this time around.
And a final Hyper Beam secures the victory!
(Pizza Rat cannot stress enough that she’s just here for the food. It’s cool that Alvin and his boyfriend saved the world or whatever, though?)
Now that Ghetsis has been beaten, there’s only one thing to do: march right up to the Pokémon League and demand to know whether they’re secretly working with the Patratriarchy! Of course, we should probably head back to town and heal first.
This entrance to the Giant Chasm leads back to Lacunosa Town, and technically the exterior is its own area, with different encounter tables to the crater forest. One more draw before we end for today…
Ace – Waterfall: You cannot switch Pokémon in battle unless one faints or is forced out of play. When your Pokémon do faint, you must use them in party order. This rule is overwritten if you draw a Nine/Snake Eyes, and ends if you draw another Ace.
Oh, what fun we’re having.
Anyway, that’s enough for now: let’s review the party and our cards.
The Chariot – has been drawn once; up to 5 other Major Arcana cards can be in play
The Magician – no physical attacks
The High Priestess – no healing items
The Lovers – party Pokémon must be in opposite-gender pairs that share an egg group
The Hanged Man – Pokémon may not evolve
The Wheel of Fortune – no two Pokémon whose nicknames start with the same letter
King of Wands – Detective Coolumbo the Tranquill is in the Vessel
King of Swords – Aurelia the Growlithe is in the Vessel
King of Pentacles – Carmen San Francisco the Mienfoo is in the Vessel
Ace of Pentacles – Pokémon cannot switch in battle and must be used in party order
Special – Artemis the Virizion and Faunus the Terrakion are in the Void