Now, where were we…?
Ah, yes. Ecruteak City – and on our first visit to Ecruteak City’s Pokémon Centre, we meet Bill
Gates the PC man. Once you’ve met him here, Bill returns to his home in Goldenrod City, and we’re going to pay him a visit, because…
…no… no… we’re going to visit Bill, because…
Unfortunately, Darwin’s theories on evolution will have to wait for now; the Fool says I should use him if I can, but Judgement says I can’t use him alongside Deerthing and That Beech.
So we’re done here; we’ll just-
I CAN QUIT ANY TIME I WANT
I just don’t want to.
Walt’s “I don’t breathe fire to threaten my Pokémon” t-shirt is raising a lot of questions already answered by his shirt.
Anyway… back to Ecruteak City.
When you line up the map of Johto with the real Kansai region, Ecruteak City roughly corresponds to Kyōto – Japan’s “cultural capital,” site of dozens of ancient shrines, temples and palaces, and the historic seat of Japanese Emperors for a thousand years. Ecruteak City, likewise, is where Johto’s mythic past still lingers – and where Gym Leaders, Kimono Girls and others, still more mysterious, spin their schemes to bring it back…
If this were one of the original generation II games, the Kimono Girls’ theatre would definitely qualify for a card draw; you can battle all five of them here. Today, though… we’re just going to fight one Team Rocket Grunt, and not even a competent one, so I think in the interests of maintaining the proper significance and gravitas of drawing cards, we ought to skip this area – at least, for now.
What’s the deal with you, calling her “your” Kimono Girl? I mean, I’ll help, but not because you asked. Creep.
Honestly, this is just sad.
It’s like electrocuting a puppy.
I mean, a puppy that was evil and totally deserved it, obviously.
Which is an experience I am able to compare this one to, because of… reasons. Which do not concern you.
Based on some of their later dialogue, I think the person the Kimono Girl is alluding to here, the one who pointed out the player character to them as a potential hero, is probably Mr. Pokémon, although she could easily be talking about Professor Oak or Professor Elm, who both expressed support for us at a very early point in our career.
And this is why we really had to come here – the HM for Surf. You get access to this move at a very early point in these games (although we can only use it to cross water after winning Ecruteak’s gym badge), which is a particularly big deal for a Kingslocke, because HMs can be used freely at any time. It kinda has to be that way, because HMs are often necessary for story progression and I just don’t want to have to think too hard about all the different places a run could possibly end in a technical “game over” if I restricted them in the rules. That does mean getting HM03 is a pretty big power spike, especially for Water Pokémon – but I think we just have to accept that the Surf power spike is simply a basic feature of Pokémon’s single-player power curve in games with HMs.
Anyway, enough of my design claptrap.
Ecruteak’s Gym Leader, Morty, is currently investigating the Burned Tower and won’t be taking challenges until his business there is concluded, so we’re going to have to join him – and draw a card as we do so.
Lucky number seven! Oh, the excitement!
Seven of Pentacles: Ongoing: Whenever you enter a new area, starting with the next one, draw an extra card. This rule is revoked if you draw another Seven.
Unlike the Sevens of the other three suits, which cause you to draw extra cards immediately, the Seven of Pentacles hangs around and draws more and more cards over time. We can expect the… intensity of our rule changes to ramp up a bit over the next few areas. For now, though, things will remain constant.
Eusine’s life’s work is to find Suicune, and he’s almost caught up to it several times, but it seems he’s never thought of using Mean Look to keep it from running away. Maybe he’s been searching since the days of original Gold and Silver, where Suicune had Roar and could just scare you away if you tried to trap it (Entei and Raikou can still pull that trick in this game).
The gym leader of Ecruteak City apparently has special responsibilities relating to the city’s traditions and mythical heritage. Morty is more interested in Ho-oh than in Suicune, but he still feels it’s his duty to keep tabs on Eusine’s investigation.
But it’s not just respectable gym leaders and enigmatic tuxedo-clad mystics who are trying to find the legendary Pokémon; there’s also This Douchebag.
I’m not trapped in here with you; you’re trapped in here with A TERRIFYING MUTANT DEER MONSTER
A decent last-ditch effort, but Mean Look wears off when Gastly faints, so there’s nothing stopping me from switching out Deerthing after only one turn of Curse damage.
Again, a respectable effort, marred by some unlucky misses on Magnemite’s part.
yes, YES, behold THE LIGHTNINGS!
Anyone think maybe he’s talking about himself?
To be honest with you this is not the impression I’ve been getting
Well, now that that rude little interruption has been dealt with…
Whether to count the basement of the Burned Tower as a separate “area” is another one of those grey areas where I think you could reasonably interpret the rules either way. The basement has a slightly different encounter table from the ground floor – notably, I think it’s the only place in Johto where you can catch wild Magmar. So if you want that chance, you do sort of have to count it… and in my case, that means drawing two cards…
Alas, the Burned Tower is doing its best to keep the Tower card in play: drawing the Chariot a second time means I now have five Major Arcana slots, so getting Vasya and her team back is that much further away. But there is some upside here…
Three – Me: Immediate: You may catch the first wild Pokémon you see in this area, and may teach that Pokémon a TM/TR move of your choice.
Three of Swords: You may also catch the second Pokémon you see in this area (as usual, you may skip duplicates). If you do, (ongoing: ) choose and ban one of your current party Pokémon; this rule is revoked if you draw another Three.
Like the Empress last time, I think the Three of Swords is another instance where – given the option to catch an extra Pokémon, even at a cost – the Fool demands that I have to take it. All the wild Pokémon down here are from generation I and, together with Darwin the Eevee, will switch me back to using generation I Pokémon with Judgement (although Magmar and Zubat, by virtue of their cross-generation evolutions, have some nice flexibility on that). The Fool will also make both of them compulsory members of my party, while the Three of Swords will stay in play and bar me from using either Deerthing or That Beech – my choice on this one. I think I’ll give up Deerthing; That Beech is useful because she’s “protected” so well from the effect of the Magician.
So… let’s see what I roll! Skipping duplicates means I can ignore Zubat, but I’m still more likely to get a Rattata and a Koffing than a Magmar.
Well, I suppose we’d better recalculate. The Fool dictates I have to use my three newest Pokémon: Darwin, Mozzarella and Lavalene. Judgement says I have to use Pokémon that are all from the same generation. Darwin and Lavalene are both allowed to count as generation II (because of Espeon/Umbreon and Magby) but Mozzarella can only be generation I, so that’s what I have to use. I have room for three more Pokémon, so…
I think I’m going to go with Sesame rather than Zoltar – I want her to evolve into Kadabra so she’ll have a Pokédex number ending in 0 and get Doc’s bonus from the King of Pentacles.
I also need to make sure everyone has a special attack if they can learn one. William and Abazigal are already taken care of, Sesame just needs to evolve, Lavalene knows Ember… the only special attacks Eevee can learn before evolving are Trump Card (at level 57), Shadow Ball and Hidden Power (TMs I don’t have), so I think Darwin gets to ignore the Magician for now… but Mozzarella… Rattata can learn a few special attacks, some good ones, even. I just have to…
Just deal the cards, you sick son of a Sudowoodo.
…where were we?
Eusine doesn’t seem to be upset with us for disturbing Suicune and causing it to run away. Now that we’ve seen what we need to see in the Burned Tower, he and Morty will leave and the Ecruteak Gym can reopen.
Before moving on, I should probably do a little training. Morty is a pretty tough opponent and I’d be hesitant to challenge him without a full team of six Pokémon at least at level 21. Exploring a bit more outside Ecruteak City will help with that, but I think before doing even that much, I should do some levelling with the Pokémon who just joined me.
…and also a little evolving. I should also consider some of Darwin’s theories.
Alan here has attempted to buy my affection with a Fire Stone, but I don’t have a Water Stone or Thunder Stone yet. I just caught a Fire-type, and Flareon is kinda garbage in generation IV. Darwin will eventually evolve into either Espeon or Umbreon on his own; I’m well-supplied with Psychic-types, but a Dark-type might be an interesting addition… Vaporeon or Jolteon could be good as well, once I can find the stones.
Starting now, it’s also possible to randomly encounter Raikou or Entei in areas all around Johto, but they’ll run at the first chance they get. Legendary Pokémon are always catchable in the Kingslocke, but at the moment there’s not much I can do to trap or weaken them – I can only throw a Pokéball and hope for a miracle.
Anyway, this is enough to be getting on with. Let’s find out what awaits us beyond Ecruteak City…
Once again, thanks to the Seven of Pentacles, I’ll be drawing two cards here.
The cards giveth, and the cards taketh away… but at least we get to see the special effect of the Three of Cups! Let’s deal with the Eight first.
Eight – Mate: Ongoing: The Pokémon in your current party that has spent the most time in your active party over the course of the game is banned.
Hmm… that would be Abazigal, indisputably. A shame; I was hoping he’d get to stick around for more of the heyday of Dragon Rage, but at least he got to help us through Whitney.
The Eight of Wands further adds…
Eight of Wands: If you have any boxed Pokémon that have not levelled since they were caught, choose one and make it compulsory and a Champion as long as this card remains in play.
And as good fortune would have it, I do have one Pokémon in my PC who has not levelled since joining the crew: Kenya the Spearow! As long as we’re deprived of our Dragon-type, we’ll at least have the consolation of a very angry bird. Champion status even overrides Judgement, so Kenya will be able to help us even if we have to switch back to using generation II Pokémon later. Now for the three – I’ve been looking forward to testing this one.
Three – Me: Immediate: You may catch the first wild Pokémon you see in this area, and may teach that Pokémon a TM/TR move of your choice.
Three of Cups: You may catch a second Pokémon of your choice in this area. If you do, the two Pokémon you caught are married. For the rest of the game, as long as either one of them is banned or petrified, the other one is automatically banned (unless it is currently a Champion). However, while they are both in your party, they ignore all battle restrictions (their moves cannot be locked, they can switch freely with an Ace in play, they can be healed with the High Priestess in play, they ignore any custom rules from a Ten/Rule Card that limit battle actions). They are always considered a compatible pair by the Lovers card and any other card that references the Lovers, regardless of gender or egg group.
(The Three of Cups also revokes the ongoing component of the Three of Swords, so Deerthing is no longer banned.)
Two “married” Pokémon would be particularly useful to have right now because I have the Magician in play. I don’t get to choose the first one, so let’s see what pops up…
Well, I suppose it’s not ideal… but I get to pick Paradise’s spouse from any of the Pokémon that live on route 38, and there are several strong possibilities.
Case in point…
Yes, Paradise is a female duck married to a robotic magnet creature who cannot comprehend binary gender, and yes, they are very happy together and don’t need anyone’s judgement. They can be used separately, as long as neither of them is actually banned, but while they’re both in the team, they can ignore some of the Kingslocke’s most frustrating rules, including the Magician’s ban on physical attacks (well, Paradise would be able to ignore the Magician anyway because she’s in the Flying egg group and receives Nadja’s bonus from the King of Cups, but there are other benefits). This particular marriage also benefits a great deal from the fact that Farfetch’d is #160 in the Johto ‘dex, meaning that (with the King of Pentacles’ bonus) Paradise can’t be banned, insulating her and Ampere from a lot of the potential downsides. This is a “for the rest of the game” effect – it’s not tied to any card, and nothing will ever make it go away. Marriage is a serious commitment!
The Fool’s whims cycle ever onward, always asking me to use the newest Pokémon, so Darwin and Mozzarella are out, and Paradise and Ampere are in. Just like the others, they could probably use some training. And as long as we’re doing that…
This is Lass Dana. In recognition of our magnificence, she is willing to share with us the tribute given to her by her (doubtless vast) harem of worthless boyfriends.
This is School Kid Chad. He has an embarrassingly obvious crush on Professor Oak (and, I mean, who could blame him?).
So, by the time we’ve fought all the trainers on route 38, our team is going to look something like this…
Assuming my next draw (or, uh… next two draws) going into the gym doesn’t completely fµ¢£ everything up, we’re actually in a pretty strong position here. Kenya is a Champion; Ampere and Paradise are a power couple; Sesame is vulnerable to petrification from the Nine of Wands but should also be absolutely murderous with Confusion. I feel pretty good about this!
Let’s see what the cards have to say about that.
Six – Chicks: Ongoing: Your male Pokémon are banned (unless you have no female or genderless Pokémon). This rule is revoked if you draw a Five/Guys and cancels out if you draw another Six.
Immediate: You may catch the first female wild Pokémon you see in this area.
Well, if this were the standard Third Revised Edition, two sixes would cancel each other out… but as this is the Advanced Rules, there will be some lingering effects.
Six of Pentacles: Choose one female Pokémon that was in your party when you drew this card and make it a Champion. Choose two male Pokémon that were in your party when you drew this card and petrify them.
The Champion part of this effect, unfortunately, will immediately end when the Six of Pentacles is cancelled out by the Six of Wands… but the petrification will not. I only have one male Pokémon in my party right now, and that’s William, so…
…we’ll have to say goodbye to the young prince for now.
Then there’s the Six of Wands.
Six of Wands: When you draw this card, roll a 6-sided die to randomly choose one of your Pokémon to identify as female for the rest of the game (if you roll a Pokémon that is already female or has already changed gender in the past, reroll, unless there are no eligible Pokémon in your party). All cards and rules permanently treat that Pokémon as female, even after this card leaves play.
Further text to the rule clarifies:
That Pokémon is trans now. Ignore the ♂ sign; it means fµ¢£ing nothing. If you want, you can change your Pokémon’s name even if you have the Wheel of Fortune in play, because I’m not about to let bureaucracy keep her from living her goddamn life. Did you know scientists in the Pokémon world don’t know the first fµ¢£ing thing about how Pokémon gender, sex or reproduction even work? It’s been a scam all along; it’s all LIES AND PROPAGANDA I WILL NOT BE SILEN-
Of course, with William already gone from the party, the only Pokémon I have who wasn’t already female is Ampere, so I don’t even need to roll, really. Not sure a name change is necessary either; I think the name she already has works for any gender. I suppose this just means that Ampere has chosen to embrace the strange organic concept of “gender” in order to explore new dimensions of her relationship with her darling wife. They’re going to be real trailblazers in robot/duck sapphic romance.
Anyway… we need to replace the prince with another generation I Pokémon, so… hmm… well, Breeze still can’t evolve, Darwin can’t damage Ghost-types, with Zoltar there is a very real danger of the Nine of Wands chain-petrifying him and Sesame… Mozzarella may be an Ice Beam Rattata, but I think she might be the logical choice. If nothing else, she’s immune to Ghost attacks. And actually, she’s less than 200 experience points from…
If there’s one thing I know about an Ice Beam Raticate, it’s that she’s better than an Ice Beam Rattata. Truly, the legacy of Pizza Rat lives on.
Morty’s acolytes aren’t much of an obstacle… but that man himself might be. The main obstacle is his Gengar – level 25, with a potent Shadow Ball attack. In original-recipe Gold and Silver, Shadow Ball was a physical attack and not particularly strong on Gengar, so it had to rely quite heavily on Hypnosis and Dream Eater for most of its damage (which, in turn, means relying on the player not to have learned that Dream Eater is very easy to foil if you’ve stocked up on Awakening medicine). Modern Morty is… a touch more straightforward with his methods.
Still, I think this team can handle it.
An easy first win for Lavalene.
Morty’s not afraid to bring out the big guns early.
Kenya’s immune to Shadow Ball, but Gengar has a backup in Sucker Punch. It’s stronger than her… but Sucker Punch has only 5 PP; I think I can run it out easily enough.
Yeah, you can try to Sucker Punch me, but that only works if I actually try to attack you, doesn’t it?
Oh, Mean Look? Very scary. I’ll tell you what I told the last guy – I’m not the one who’s trapped in here with you.
You can put Kenya to sleep too, but what are you going to do after that?
It’s trying to use Shadow Ball; that probably means it’s out of Sucker Punch PP. Which means that now…
…the fun begins!
Hyper Potions are all well and good, but when you’re this wide open to an exploit…
Well, that was the hard part. Who wants to clean up the rest?
Curse is a very cool and flavourful move in theory; it’s just a shame it’s so easy to negate by switching out.
This one, on the other hand, might be able to figure out the combo… but it still has to survive long enough to do some good with it.
I think we have a speed tie here; Lavalene and Haunter have each outrun the other once. So the final clash is down to Fate!
ugh, or Morty could refuse to confront Fate. He’ll never meet Ho-oh acting like that.
See? Fate punishes him with a burn on his Haunter!
And once again it comes down to the speed tie. I could heal Lavalene again; after all, Morty’s used two potions and I’ve only used one, so it would be fair. But I don’t need to. Because I know that Fate is on my side.
And that is why I am destined to be Ho-oh’s chosen, not him.
Well, seeing as I’ve proven that point… we haven’t come that far today in terms of distance, but we’ve certainly been busy, so I think we can end this entry here. I just reviewed the team before the battle and very little has changed, so I don’t think there’s any need to do so again – let’s just finish with another look at the cards: