Okay! Let’s see if we can clean up everything else today! We just need to check out the area around Accumula Town and Nuvema Town, there’s like two or three more end-game bosses to fight, then we can head straight back to the Elite Four and hopefully leverage the mystical power of the number 69 (nice) to overcome all these confusing bull$#!t rules I’ve forced on myself to defeat them once and for all!
First of all, we’re done with Striaton City and moving on to the south.
Five – Guys: You cannot use your female Pokémon (unless you have no male or genderless Pokémon). This rule is overwritten by drawing a Six/Chicks, and ends if you draw another Five. You may catch the first male wild Pokémon you see in this area.
Well. Whoops. I guess we’re not smashing the Patratriarchy after all. Time to figure all this out again…
Let’s see; the Kings mean I have to use them, but Judgement means I can only use one of them, and Justice means I have to use them but that also gets blocked by Judgement… so I can keep ManBatBug and Melies, bring back Qaqortoq, hang onto the egg for now… do I just have a free choice here? Well, a free choice of two male or genderless Pokémon from generations I, II or IV, whose natures boost a stat other than attack, ideally who are good with special attacks and already fully evolved. Lieutenant Derby is a no-brainer, and then we can have… uh…
…fµ¢£, who else even is there? Frogger is technically compatible with everything; he’s male, gen IV, gentle, Croagunk has tolerable special attack and he knows Sludge Bomb, but we can’t evolve him into Toxicroak with the Hanged Man in play. I guess I could just wait for some of my Pokémon to get to level 69 (nice); that’ll reduce the interference from Judgement and the Hermit.
…ooooor, I could get Frogger to level 69 (nice)! Then he’ll be able to evolve! He’s level 56 already; he’s not that far behind!
(Frogger has gotten to cross so many roads now that he’s with a real adventuring party. Back in Icirrus City he got hit by trucks every damn time.)
We also get to catch a male Pokémon here, so…
And there’s even more news…
Waffles, like all Happiny, is female, so we can’t keep her with us. I don’t think there’s anyone else who can fit into my sixth slot right now; finding Frogger was hard enough.
Accumula Town is Accumula Town; there’s nothing important here, really.
But here’s route 1, and we’re drawing…
Death: Immediately box any of your Pokémon that are defeated in battle, just like the effect of Nine/Snake Eyes. They are petrified; you can’t use them again until they are freed. In addition, as long as Death remains in play, no petrified Pokémon may be freed (including ones that were petrified by Snake Eyes), except by the effect of the Sun.
This is… rough. Remember that I also have the Ace of Pentacles in play, which means I can’t switch. The Nines (the main card that can petrify Pokémon) can’t be in play alongside the Aces; the two overwrite each other. Death, on the other hand, is happy to kill your Pokémon when they’re trapped in play. I’m gonna have to be careful, maybe keep ManBatBug at the front, since he’s allowed to switch and can’t be petrified.
Nuvema Town is to the south of here, but there’s nothing really in Nuvema Town; the Professors Juniper check your Pokédex progress, Juniper the Elder gives you a Super Rod (in an unusual break from pretty much every other mainline Pokémon game, this is the only fishing rod in this game and you don’t get it until the very end), but we don’t have to care about anything there. However, we can leave the path and surf off to the west…
This is still technically part of route 1, but there’s two further routes – 17 and 18 – past here.
Here we go!
Three – Me: You may catch the first wild Pokémon you see in this area.
All right, let’s see who’s up. May as well give that sweet new fishing rod a try.
Yeah, you’ll do.
Lieutenant Derby is now level 69 (say it with me – nice). Maybe this is what his love life has been missing this whole time?
(Pizza Rat would like to state, for the record, that nothing is “missing” from their relationship, if you know what she means.)
Anyway, with Lieutenant Derby ignoring my cards, we can now fit another gen II Pokémon onto the team, or another Pokémon with a +defence nature. I do have one other generation II Pokémon…
Bubbles isn’t going to be much good right now – he won’t even be able to evolve unless we raise him all the way to level 69 (nice) – but I do have two Exp. Shares, and we’re approaching a point here where we’ll actually want to split up our experience as much as possible in order to keep our Pokémon at level 69 (nice) for as long as possible.
Route 17 is a bit circuitous, and there’s more of it that we’ll be able to come back to after navigating route 18. But for now, route 18 definitely deserves a card.
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.
Okay, okay… this is actually not bad. It sucks for Melies, who can only use Stone Edge now, but Lieutenant Derby can ignore this, and Qaqortoq is definitely better with physical attacks anyway.
Oh. Oh no. Ohhhhh dear. This is going to be very bad if I’m not allowed to switch, isn’t it? In fact, this is probably just… very, very bad in many different ways.
Oof. ManBatBug can’t be petrified thanks to the Emperor, but still, oof.
Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.
CHRIS IS A USELESS DUMB IDIOT COUNTER: 6
These fµ¢£in’ veterans and their triple battles, I’m telling you.
Okay, let’s assess the damage… ManBatBug and Lieutenant Derby are protected, but everyone else…
So, who are we allowed/required to use now…?
We no longer have a generation V Pokémon, so we have to bring back either the Detective or one of the gen V Justice League members; I think Coolumbo makes the most sense. Then we can pick male or genderless Pokémon from different generations that have different natures and are at least decent with physical attacks, like… um…
I don’t have very many Pokémon that aren’t from generation V, and a lot of them are female. I… guess we have to go with… eh?
I can use other Pokémon from generations II or IV as long as Lieutenant Derby is at level 69 (nice) and ManBatBug is the Emperor’s Chosen, but I don’t actually have any other male ones.
Also, believe it or not, neither Cumulus nor Petrie actually have any physical attacks right now, so I can put Earthquake on Cumulus and Stone Edge on Petrie, then because HMs are always usable I can add Fly on both of them as well.
I don’t think I have any choice here but to fly back to Nimbasa City and do some level grinding at the stadiums; I have to at least get Coolumbo and Cumulus to level 69 (nice) to keep the same thing from happening again. Once the Detective is level 69 I’ll be able to get one of the gen V Justice League members on board for slot 6 as well.
I can also use all the money this game gives you to pay for some special services at Join Avenue (which I have been dutifully building up this whole time). And…
The male and genderless gen V Pokémon in the Justice League are Timmy Hoffa the Gurdurr, John Swoo the Woobat, Mr. Sparkle the Cryogonal, Dec the Durant and Paul Phyry the Gigalith. Given the team composition I have right now and the fact that I can’t use special attacks, John Swoo and Mr. Sparkle are clearly right out, and Paul is probably not a great choice either. Timmy can’t evolve, but he’s not that far from level 69 (nice) so we can overcome that problem.
I also have to confess, I forgot to check this before and just noticed that Petrie is Bold and Cumulus is Relaxed – two natures that both increase defence. With the Hermit out, I can’t use them together. I’ll probably have to give the sixth slot to Dec once Timmy is level 69 (nice).
Again, say it with me: nice. Because Timmy Hoffa is level 69 (nice) and can ignore other rules, we can evolve him into Conkeldurr.
(Timmy’s a union ‘mon; he was mostly a labour activist back in Twist Mountain, making sure the local Pokémon got fair deals on their work for the construction teams. The whole Justice League thing came totally out of nowhere, but when you think about it, a Unova ruled by a senile ghost queen who demands constant and increasingly inane sacrifices is probably not a great thing for the labour movement either.)
We can bring Dec along as well now.
(I don’t think we ever figured out what Cumulus’ deal is; he was just hanging out in Victory Road and I never really thought he’d be an important team member. Is he a meteorologist? An opera singer? A glassblower? A statistician? Maybe he’s all of those things; he’s a modern educated Altaria, after all. Cumulus has been around the block a few times. Cumulus has seen some $#!t.)
We’re not going to take the extra time to bring Dec all the way up to level 69 (nice) because if we leave an Exp. Share on him, it’ll slow down the rate that the others level up. Now, where were we?
…oh yeah. We need to actually have Surf to get back to what we were doing. Kingslocke generally allows you to bend the rules a little bit when you need an HM to progress, which is good because none of the other Vessel or Justice Pokémon can use Surf. We’re allowed to bring Pamela along for Surf purposes, as long as she doesn’t do any fighting.
All right; rematch with this piece of $#!t.
Much better. Timmy Hoffa did faint, but he’s level 69 (nice) so he doesn’t get petrified. ManBatBug also hits level 70 (not nice), but he’s still protected from other bull$#!t thanks to the Emperor.
Finally we can get on with exploring this area. Because I want the others to save their short window of rule immunity for battles I care about, I’m going to lean mostly on ManBatBug here.
And this is what we’re here for: the P2 Laboratory, the new site of the Team Plasma Frigate, which has another boss fight within.
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.
Hmm. Clearing another card… well, at the moment I can ignore most of them, but that won’t last forever; what’s the worst one? Probably the one that most messes me up is Justice, honestly, just because of how many Pokémon are in the Justice League, but that’s tempered as long as I have Judgement as well because so many of them are generation V. I can get around the Hanged Man thanks to Jim’s custom rule on the Ten of Cups. The Hermit is really annoying, actually; I think we should burn either the Hermit or Death. Actually, if I burn Death I can use the Empress’ other effect to free one of my petrified Pokémon, which is tempting. Death will also continue to be really awful with the Ace of Pentacles in play. Hmm. Yeah… yeah, I think axing Death and freeing Qaqortoq is the correct play. I also just… have two Rare Candies; if I use those I can immediately get Qaqortoq to level 69 (nice), which would mean I can use him without having to deposit Dec, and he has Surf, so we’ll be able to lose Pamela (who technically shouldn’t even be here).
(I never really took a moment to figure out what Qaqortoq’s deal is either, but it’s pretty clear that he’s just a strong, silent type. He’s a bear of few words, and that’s his right.)
Okay! Colress has a powerful high-level team, but we have most of a full team who can switch freely and use any moves they want in defiance of all our rules, and that should last us at least long enough to beat him. Here goes nothing!
Colress’ first Pokémon is an absurdly tanky Eviolite Magneton. Dec is my only Pokémon aside from ManBatBug who isn’t level 69 (not nice), which means that once he’s in play I can’t switch him out until he’s defeated, but I think I need his Hustle-boosted Dig to break Magneton efficiently. With the Death card gone, I can always revive him later so he can keep siphoning experience from the others with the Exp. Share and keep them at level 69 (nice) as long as possible.
Magneton immediately decides to bounce with Volt Switch, so we meet Colress’ Rotom.
Dec actually did a lot of damage with X-Scissor there, and Rotom also took some Life Orb damage, I think we can just…
(There’s just one more thing; the Detective’s heard that Rotom is a Ghost-type, but a washing machine is a physical object, ain’t it? Now, his wife, she swears her washing machine is possessed by ghosts, and the Detective doesn’t know anything about that kind of stuff. He just knows that if you hit an angry washing machine with one good Hyper Beam, it stops being a problem pretty quick.)
Colress’ Magnezone is no joke. Fortunately I’ve managed to revive Dec, who should be able to get in some solid damage here.
Just like Magneton, Magnezone has Sturdy, so even the strongest Ground attacks can’t one-shot it. And Colress has a full restore waiting…
Hyper Beam was a mistake on his part; the recharge turn gives ManBatBug plenty of time to slap Magnezone down with Sky Uppercut.
Klinklang’s Giga Impact finishes off ManBatBug.
I… don’t really remember why I used Qaqortoq here? I guess I thought the recharge turn from Giga Impact would be enough to beat Klinklang with Surf and not have to take stat drops from Superpower, but it turns out Beartic is painfully slow and Klinklang is actually quite fast, so this happened. Fortunately…
The Detective sends Klinklang to the Coolumbo Dimension.
Metagross is actually pretty straightforward for once; it’s tough, but Colress’ Metagross doesn’t know Earthquake, so it can’t put on enough pressure to keep me from just healing the Lieutenant until he can zap it into submission.
I was a little worried about his Beheeyem, which is a Calm Mind tank, but I get some lucky rolls with Signal Beam and confuse it. Not enough for the Lieutenant to win, but…
…enough that the Detective can clean up what’s left.
Phew. That was close. And the Detective is now level 70, which means he’s subject to normal rules again; he can’t switch freely (because of the Ace of Pentacles) or use Hyper Beam (because of Strength). Once Timmy Hoffa is also level 70, I won’t be able to use both of them, since they both have natures that boost special defence, but we’re safe on that score for a little bit longer.
On the plus side, if we’re treating Colress as equivalent to a Gym Leader (which seems fair), I can free one of my petrified Pokémon – probably Melies, who’s very close to level 69 (nice).
And that’s it! That’s all the exploring! I just have one more battle I think I should fight before returning to take on the Pokémon League again.
We’re not really exploring a new area, but… eh, Alder’s a former Champion, I feel like he deserves a card.
Lucky number seven! Two more draws!
Okay, Six is Chicks, Nine is Snake Eyes. The Six overwrites the Five I have now, so we’re going all-female instead of all-male; the Nine overwrites the Ace, so we can switch freely but are at risk of petrification. Fortunately, Lieutenant Derby, Qaqortoq, Timmy Hoffa and ManBatBug are still ignoring everything, but Dec and Detective Coolumbo are male and not level 69 (nice), so they have to go, probably in favour of… I guess it has to be Maggie and Aurelia, right? Different generations, female, physical attacks, their natures are compatible, Maggie’s in the Justice League and Aurelia was a Vessel Pokémon… yeah, this makes sense. I’ll put Exp. Shares on both of them so the others can keep their special immunity longer.
Okay, whatever, this is fine; I haven’t checked Alder’s levels but I’m pretty sure he’s a lot weaker than Colress, since you can fight him straight out of your first Elite Four challenge without having to explore any new areas.
Easy. Does this guy even lift?
So we can free Frogger from petrification, leaving only poor Bubbles the Marill trapped.
Well, that’s kind of it; N and Cynthia are both still out there somewhere, but they’re even more powerful than Iris so I might just leave them alone.
Here we are: back at the Elite Four. I’ll leave this final challenge for next week, since I kinda suspect we’ll be looking at multiple attempts, but let’s take this opportunity to draw one more card and see what we’ll be working with…
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.
Okay, time to SPIN THE WHEEL! The Wheel of Fortune has five different options, so let’s just load up Google’s little dice simulator…
…go for a 10-sider and say 1-2 is option 1, 3-4 is option 2, etc.
Choose one letter. You may only use Pokémon whose nicknames contain that letter.
okay, this doesn’t actually matter too much; I can pick A, E or I and be allowed to keep both Maggie and Aurelia, the others are still ignoring the rules, and after Timmy, the Lieutenant and Qaqortoq hit level 70 (not nice) I’ll have to box them no matter what because they’re all male. Thinking ahead… if this takes more than one try and I lose some of the boys…
(I’m not worried about losing Aurelia or Maggie, because each Elite Four member can free one petrified Pokémon and you can “bank” those over the course of a single challenge, so unless things go disastrously wrong and my whole team wipes on the first or second battle I should be able to get both of them back)
…but anyway, thinking ahead… A or I would let me use Pizza Rat or Invicta, A or E would let me use Carmen San Francisco (I would not work for her, because her full name is too long for the in-game nickname box and her official in-game name is just Carmen SF), E or I would let me use Melies or Nefertiti…
(Just a quick design note here: I think it’s almost always correct, with this particular rule from the Wheel, to choose a vowel, and I feel like I’m okay with that. The thought occurs that this rule might be unwieldy if you play in a language that doesn’t use Latin script – to any Chinese-, Japanese- or Korean-speaking players who for some reason wind up using these rules, feel free to transliterate your nicknames, come up with your own version of the Wheel, or just ignore it and draw again when it appears.)
I vaguely feel like A is probably the letter that gives me the most flexibility with the nicknames I happen to have in my stable right now. Anyway! Let’s take a look at our team and rules as we head into the final showdown!
(fµ¢£, that’s right, Maggie still has Cut; I think I have one Heart Scale left so I’m gonna quickly nip back to Driftveil City, erase that and remember Dig or something)
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 Conkeldurr, 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 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
Strength – no special attacks
The Wheel of Fortune– may only use Pokemon whose nicknames contain the letter A
Six of Cups – no male Pokémon
Nine of Wands – defeated Pokémon are petrified
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