Okay; it’s now winter and we’re going to explore eastern Unova!
Marvellous Bridge doesn’t have random encounters or trainers, so we’re not going to draw a card here.
We do, however, encounter our dear globetrotting friend the Magikarp salesman. Pokémon you receive from NPCs are fair game in a Kingslocke, so…
Also fair game are legendary Pokémon, and by invoking the power of the Lunar Wing on this bridge at night, we can summon one.
As is par for the course with legendary Pokémon in generation V, this is a long and not particularly interesting battle.
And it ends with Selene joining Reginald in the Void.
Route 15 – now we draw a card!
The Emperor: Catch the first Pokémon you see in this area. That Pokémon ignores all other rules until this one is revoked.
Hmm. Well, it’s good-ish. I have ruled in the past that a Pokémon with Champion status can claim a place on a team even if your team is full of Pokémon you’re being forced to use, but through the overly complicated combination of the Kings, the Fool, Justice and Judgement I have ended up with effectively one “free” slot, which is currently filled be Lieutenant Derby. The Lieutenant is actually quite good when I’m restricted to non-STAB special moves, and I don’t particularly want to replace him… but he is also my only Pokémon currently vulnerable to petrification, and you never know what card I could draw next. We may as well see what we get…
Sweet, Gligar is solid. I don’t need ManBatBug right now, but I might later.
(ManBatBug will not be cast aside so easily. ManBatBug is the night!)
Here’s Black City, the site of the Battle Tower in Black and Black 2 (in the opposite versions of the game, there’s a completely different town here – White Forest – although it also has a Battle Tower-like facility).
There’s no gym in Black City, and I wouldn’t wish a Kingslocke-compliant Battle Tower challenge on anyone, so we won’t be doing much here, or drawing a card. Besides, the Battle Tower isn’t open right now – its master, Alder’s grandson Benga, is currently away. We’ll go visit Alder in Floccesy Town once we’re done here.
We’ve been here before – we’re now south of Undella Town – so no card here either.
Oh, hell no; I’m not going in this house, not with the rules I’ve got in place right now.
Hugh kindly gives us the HM for Dive here so we can explore the Abyssal Ruins beneath Undella Bay, but I don’t think there’s anything Kingslocke-relevant down there – just loads of incredibly important archaeological finds we can sell on the antiquities black market.
Hugh also wants a battle. Having now passed the Elite Four and Champion, we have no more gym leaders, so I think I’m going to have to treat end-game bosses as honorary gym leaders for the purposes of cards and rules that reference “milestone” battles. Hugh is the first trainer we’ve seen who might have a claim to that status, with a diverse team of six high-level Pokémon with solid movesets. If we beat him, that will end the full-force effect of the four Kings: I’ll still have to keep using my Vessel Pokémon if I can, but they’ll be subject to all other rules normally, and it will be possible for some other card to revoke the Kings’ rules completely later on. This is kind of a big deal, because I have Judgement in play telling me to use Pokémon from different generations, and Carmen, the Detective and Qaqortoq are all gen V; I’ll have to pick just one of them.
Of course, all that assumes I can even beat Hugh.
Long story short: it’s very hard and I use a lot of potions. Bouffalant in particular is rough; my restricted movesets just don’t have the firepower to take it down quickly, and its own physical attacks are very powerful and hit a lot of my team for super-effective damage. Multiple Pokémon are knocked out and I have to revive them mid-battle later.
On the plus side, we see a miracle upset when Pamela dodges Flygon’s Stone Edge and crits with an Ice Beam! I genuinely wasn’t sure I had anyone else who could fight Hugh’s Flygon, so this was a huge deal for me.
(We’re in Undella Town; literally Pamela’s entire deal is watching this specific bay. She’d be a pretty terrible baywatcher if she let a bloody great dragon just rampage all up and down her bay.)
Anyway. I still have to use as many of my Vessel Pokémon as possible, but they no longer have special precedence over my other rules, and Judgement limits me to Aurelia plus one other. I’m actually fine with this; none of my Vessel Pokémon are very good with the restriction to non-STAB special attacks, so I’m happy to deposit Detective Coolumbo and Carmen San Francisco for now. I’m keeping Qaqortoq because he’s doubly required, as both a Vessel Pokémon and a member of the Justice League.
I’m still required to use as many members of the Justice League as I can, but as we saw last time, they’re all generation V, except for Maggie, who is now in the Mate Crate, so Judgement limits me to just one of them (Qaqortoq). I also still have to keep using Pamela, until she hits level 66 and the Fool cycles again.
That’s all of my compulsory Pokémon taken care of… so now I can build a team with anything else I’ve got that fits the limitations of Judgement. I can keep the Lieutenant on board, since he’s not bad with non-STAB special attacks. Do I have a generation III Pokémon who would be decent under these restrictions…?
…not… really? Calafia would be stuck with just Hyper Beam. Cumulus would have to pick up something off a TM, probably Ice Beam. And Melies already has Ice Beam. I think I’m gonna go with Melies, just because we’ve used them before.
(Melies is far more interested in exploring the mysterious cosmos-defying possibilities of love between MOON and ROBOT than whatever the hell is going on here, but they recognise that helping the team out is probably important. Besides, you could make a movie of this stuff.)
Now, we’re in generation V, so there’s only five generations, and therefore only five Judgement-compliant slots. Luckily, we just picked up a Pokémon who doesn’t care about any of our rules, who doesn’t even have to respect our restriction to special attacks.
(Half man, half bat, half bug – ManBatBug is the terror that flaps in the night!)
By teaching Pamela Waterfall, I can get into parts of route 14 I couldn’t visit before, including the entrance to the Abundant Shrine, Landorus’ domain. Landorus isn’t home right now, but there are both trainers and wild Pokémon here, so…
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).
Hmm. Actually… kind of mixed.
This frees Selene and Reginald from the Void.
It also gets Smelta out of Super Hell.
(Smelta has already dethroned and murdered the Super Devil and is the undisputed tyrant of all Super Hell. By freeing her, we have merely given her the opportunity to open the bridge and bring her legions of demonic minions into the physical world. It is only a matter of time.)
But it also frees Maggie from the Mate Crate. Maggie is a member of the Justice League who is from a different generation to Qaqortoq, so now that she’s free, we kinda have to put her back on the team instead of Lieutenant Derby. And… teach her a non-STAB special attack to use. And… it turns out there’s only one non-STAB special attack in my TM box that Steelix can learn…
I… guess we can take her back to Driftveil City and spend a Heart Scale to remember Dragonbreath; that’ll make this… slightly less bad.
At least the trainers aren’t that bad; you can in principle visit the Abundant Shrine before challenging the Elite Four, and the enemies here are balanced accordingly.
I can also use Waterfall back on route 11 to find the Razor Fang, the item I need to do… this!
(I’m honestly not clear on whether ManBatBug is a masked superhero, some kind of murdering psychopath, or both. When you ask him, he just yells something about being the darkness that evil fears, then dramatically jumps out a window or off a cliff or something.)
Oh yeah, now that I’ve beaten Iris, this guy’s back. But, uh… I’m pretty sure Cobalion’s level is scaled according to the other end-game stuff, it’s really strong against most of my team, and everyone except for Pamela and ManBatBug is now vulnerable to petrification, so… I think it’s probably prudent to just leave this one alone.
I don’t feel great about taking on Alder right now; I at least want to level up Melies and ManBatBug some more. Instead let’s return to Castelia City so we can head southeast and check out the other areas of Unova we couldn’t visit before.
There’s nothing Kingslocke-relevant on Skyarrow Bridge, so we just move on to…
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.
- You may always have one, and only one, Pokémon with a “neutral” nature (bashful, serious, quirky, hardy or docile).
Okay, the natures we have right now are… Docile for ManBatBug, Quirky for Aurelia, Serious for Qaqortoq, Adamant for Melies, Jolly for Maggie and Lax for Pamela. Which is not great, because it means I’ve got three “neutral” natures (ManBatBug, Aurelia and Qaqortoq), as well as two negative-special attack natures (Melies and Maggie).
Fortunately, ManBatBug is the Emperor’s Chosen and gets to ignore all of this, and if we pick “no natures that increase the same stat” we can keep both Melies and Maggie, but Aurelia unfortunately has to go, at least for now (with Snarl as her only usable attack, she’s not great anyway, and she’ll be able to hone her paladin abilities by training in a secluded glade at the heart of Pinwheel Forest with the Hermit). But who could possibly replace her? I’d need… a generation I Pokémon, with a nature that increases… um… either special attack or special defence… preferably one who can learn decent non-STAB special attacks…
Pizza Rat has a sassy nature (+ special defence, – speed) and she thinks she just heard someone mention free food! Once again, when our need is greatest, the true hero of this run is a Thunder/Ice Beam Raticate!
(Is there food? Yes? That’s all Pizza Rat needs to hear.)
Pizza Rat is genuinely not terrible in a no-STAB special-only situation, which is kind of incredible. I mean, I’m not going to predict she’ll carry this team through anything, and she has brought down our average level by replacing Aurelia, but Kingslocke is very much an exercise in “take what you can get.”
Cheren has apparently pursued some Team Plasma stragglers to Pinwheel Forest and wants to work together with us to find them. With Cheren and his Stoutland helping us against wild Pokémon double battles and healing us after every fight, this should be a good place to get Pizza Rat, Melies and ManBatBug up to a reasonable level (bear in mind I still have the Nine of Swords in play, so the stakes are high for fµ¢£ing up against one of these high-level trainers).
Something like this?
Anyway, it turns out one of the Seven Sages is hanging out here, but he just wants to yell “boo!”, reminisce for a bit and then leave peacefully. So let’s move on to…
…here! Wherever this is! This is neither route 3 (which is on the other side of Nacrene City) nor route 4 (which runs north out of Castelia City); I think it’s technically part of Pinwheel Forest, but in Kingslocke terms it’s clearly a new “area.”
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.
Okay… so… on the plus side, no more danger of petrification. On the minus side… battles are now going to be even more awful.
Nacrene City is Nacrene City. No battles here.
There was a gym here in Black and White, of course, but now the gym is shut down and it’s just the museum.
Lenora has a fossil for us, and handily…
…we can revive that fossil, and some Old Amber I picked up back in Twist Mountain, at this counter right here. Manipulating the powers of life and death through unholy science to return long-extinct species to the world has never been more convenient!
On the way out of Nacrene City we receive a random egg. People are just giving me rare Pokémon all over the place.
And here’s route 3 – next card!
Ten – Rule Card: An observer to the game may revoke any or all (or none) of the rules currently affecting you, AND free any or all (or none) of your petrified Pokémon, AND either make up a new rule or change an existing one. If no observers are available, you may revoke one rule.
Well, let’s see what Jim the Editor has for us. Turns out he had a couple of ideas, but…
and, like… how can I not pick the meme option, right? We agreed that Jim would revoke the effect of the Fool (I do think I would be able to parse that interaction, but it would certainly make things more complicated) and, from now on, any Pokémon that is exactly level 69 (nice) has the status of a Champion.
Because we’re losing the Fool, I’m going to retire Pamela; there’s still no way I can get her to evolve into Mantine, so even if we got her to level 69 (nice) she wouldn’t be able to reach her full potential. Rather than pick a new Pokémon right now, I’m going to bring along that egg I just got.
I think there’s clearly some interesting strategy to this rule and the way it overlaps with everything else I have in play. Like, if Qaqortoq reaches level 69 (nice) and thus ignores Judgement and the Hermit, that will mean there’s nothing preventing me from using Aurelia (whom I have to use if I can, because of the Kings) or one of the other generation V Pokémon I picked up in Twist Mountain (whom I have to use if I can, because of Justice). Then if those Pokémon get to level 69 (nice), they’ll be able to ignore other rules too, so Aurelia will have all her cool attacks like Flare Blitz and Outrage. But of course, these benefits only last while the Pokémon in question are exactly level 69 (nice), so we probably want to use Exp. Shares to split up the experience we earn and rotate our Pokémon to keep them from reaching level 70 for as long as possible.
Phew, that’s a weight off my mind. The Four of Cups cancels out the Four of Pentacles, so I can use my STAB moves again. We’re still restricted to special attacks only, so right now this only means that Melies gets Psychic, but it’s still a big deal for the future.
I also get to catch the first Pokémon I see in Wellspring Cave that shares no types with anyone in my party. The wild Pokémon here are Boldore and Woobat (who both share types with Lunatone) and Excadrill, who shares types with Steelix… but there’s also water in Wellspring Cave and I don’t have a Water Pokémon with me at the moment, so…
Yeah, I guess I’ll take a-
fµ¢£ you too, I guess
well, I’m not going down there, it’s fµ¢£ing dark down there
(ManBatBug does not fear the darkness, for he was born to inherit its power! But yeah, even he has to admit it’s fµ¢£ing dark down there.)
Kingslocke lets you teach Pokémon HM moves at any time, but Flash is a TM in several games where it’s also an out-of-battle utility move, including this one. Maybe there should be a special exemption in the rules for Flash?
Anyway, let’s leave this cave and move on to…
Like the Nacrene and Icirrus Gyms, the Striaton Gym isn’t a working gym anymore; it’s just a restaurant now. You can fight one battle here: a double battle, teaming up with any of the gym leader triplets, against the other two. I don’t normally draw for areas with only one or two trainer battles, but I guess this is a former gym, so…
Ah… my old nemesis. Fortunately, all the Pokémon I’ve been using, and many of my others waiting in the wings, are fully evolved now, so the Hanged Man mostly just fills another Major Arcana slot.
Now, thinking strategically here… I have a lot of Pokémon who should be effective against Cilan’s Grass-types, so if I pair up with Cress, he can handle Chili’s Fire-types.
You can come back here every day and partner up with whichever of the brothers you like, so-
They’ve been here all along! Have the triplets been taken in by their schemes, or have they been working together all along?!
$#!t, we’ve gotta get out of here
Okay, here’s the Dreamyard – apparently inhabited by none other than Latios. We’ll have to head deeper in before we can actually fight him, though. But first…
Yeah, y’know what, we haven’t had one of these in a while, this might as well happen.
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.
That’s right, the Patratriarchy has caught up to us, and it’s time to SMASH. This is actually not too bad; Pizza Rat and Maggie are female, Melies is genderless, ManBatBug is the Emperor’s Chosen, I still have that egg with me, so the only one I actually have to get rid of is Qaqortoq. I think can just replace him with Carmen San Francisco… let’s see, she’s a Vessel Pokémon, so she’s on the priority list; she’s gen V, so she slots in under Judgement; her nature is Lax, which raises defence… yeah, I think we’re good to go!
And we get another Pokémon. I don’t think anyone else we catch at this point is going to matter this close to the end; between Justice, the Kings, the Hermit and Judgement I have hardly any choice in who’s actually on my team, but we may as well catch…
(I think she’s asleep anyway. Let’s just leave her to it.)
ugh, my eternal nemesis… a small tree. Let’s try going the other way.
The Dreamyard has two zones, one above ground and one below. I think the wild Pokémon encounter tables are the same for both, but there are trainers in both zones, and… well, it kinda feels like it should count as a separate area, doesn’t it?
The Chariot: You permanently gain two additional “slots” for ongoing rules from Major Arcana cards. The Chariot returns to the deck after being drawn, and drawing it multiple times continues to give you more slots.
…fantastic. Just when I thought I might fill up all my Major Arcana slots soon, here comes the Chariot to bump me up to 9. Fun fact: I think the theoretical limit on the number of Major Arcana cards you can possibly have in play is 14; the others either don’t have ongoing effects, or cancel each other out, or have the power to wipe other rules.
Of course, the slightly unfortunate thing about Carmen is that her only usable move right now is Swift, and with the Ace of Pentacles in play we aren’t allowed to switch out. Faced with a measly little Gastly, she has no choice but to sit and wait for it to knock her out. She should be really strong if we can get her to level 69 (nice), but it’s going to be a tough few levels.
I don’t think there’s any way around that tiny tree; I guess I’ll just have to put Cut on Maggie and take her to the move deleter later.
(Maggie’s a practical woman; she understands the stakes here.)
o hai Latios
…legendary Pokémon in generations IV and V, I’m fµ¢£in’ telling you. You drop ‘em to next-to-no HP and sit there throwing Pokéballs at them for so long that they run themselves out of PP and Struggle themselves to death. Peak game design.
Y’know what, I can’t even be bothered continuing after that; let’s call it here for this episode. I think we only need one more to finish exploring everywhere, then we can challenge the upgraded Elite Four and sort the rest of this bull$#!t out.
But first, a reminder of what we’re working with:
The Chariot – has been drawn three times; up to 9 other Major Arcana cards can be in play
Justice – must use as many as possible of: Timmy Hoffa the Gurdurr, Maggie Tite the Steelix, Smelta the Heatmor, John Swoo the Woobat, Mr. Sparkle the Cryogonal, Dec the Durant, Qaqortoq the Beartic and Paul Phyry the Gigalith
Judgement – must use Pokémon from different generations
The Magician – no physical attacks
The Emperor – ManBatBug the Gligar is the Emperor’s Chosen
The Hermit – no Pokémon whose natures raise the same stat
The Hanged Man – Pokémon cannot evolve
Ace of Pentacles – no switching in battle
Six of Swords – no male Pokémon
Ten of Cups – Pokémon that are exactly level 69 (nice) are immune to effects of other cards
THE FOUR KINGS – must use as many as possible of: Detective Coolumbo, Carmen San Francisco, Aurelia and Qaqortoq