Chuck only has two Pokémon. They’re both much higher levels than mine – 29 and 31 – but they are also both open to manipulation, because Chuck’s signature move in this game is Focus Punch, which can be disrupted by attack damage. Only two of my Pokémon should be in danger of being petrified here, Paradise from Rock Slide and Killgore from Focus Punch, and in theory that shouldn’t be a problem for Killgore as long as he just keeps attacking. Even if we lose one or both of them, I’ll get one back if I can win the battle.
Well, here goes nothing.
eugh, I have a feeling this is going to be unpleasant. Well, at least my Supersonic landed. I’m going to have Long John Ruby try to set up Toxic Spikes now; it won’t help with Primeape, but it should make Poliwrath a lot easier to deal with.
Ouch. Primeape has two layers of Double Team up, and Supersonic wore off after only one turn, but at least Long John Ruby did his job. Paradise can slip through Double Team with Aerial Ace, but she’s also likely to be one-shot and petrified by Rock Slide, so let’s keep her as a last resort and have John’s beloved first mate and celestial star-spouse try to take revenge instead…
Opening with Surf was a risk, but it paid off. Now that it’s tried to use Focus Punch once, I think I’ll switch to Swift – if Primeape keeps trying to Focus Punch Antares, we should be able to keep it disabled indefinitely, since Swift can never miss.
…or it could be smarter than that.
Despite that… setback… this isn’t going too badly. Chuck will probably heal here, so I’m going to try Surf again.
And back to playing it safe with Swift.
Oh. Or… okay? That was… unexpected. But definitely good for me – I thought Long John Ruby’s Toxic Spikes were only going to help us with Poliwrath, but now Primeape will have to switch back in later, and it’s lost its Double Team stacks in the process.
I’m assuming Poliwrath has Water Absorb, so sticking with Swift.
Hypnosis attempt fails, poison damage beginning to add up…
He really should’ve done that from the beginning. But this is now an easy clean-up.
Toxic Spikes continues to do its work for me, but Primeape is very fast – fast enough to outrun Sesame.
Oof. Down to two. Even critically injured, Primeape could still lash out with Rock Slide and petrify Paradise before she can finish it. Killgore, on the other hand, should be able to keep it from using Focus Punch.
Primeape resists both the attacks I’m allowed – Rock Tomb and Payback – but we don’t even need to finish it off, just survive one more turn until the poison does the job.
…unless he has more healing. Eh, we’re probably still fine.
Killgore isn’t doing much damage, but the poison gets worse every turn.
Easy. Focus Punch can be a good move, but it’s very technical and using it effectively takes a skilled player with a good strategy (…or a Breloom) – in the hands of an AI, it’s begging to be exploited. OG Chuck in Gold and Silver used Dynamicpunch instead, which is… a dubious move, but one that the AI is capable of using just as effectively as a human player.
With the Storm Badge in hand, we can use Fly to make our journey back to the mainland a little easier – and, as luck would have it, Chuck’s wife has a spare HM on hand as a parting gift for any trainer who manages to defeat her husband.
The new Johto Safari Zone is on Cianwood Island, but it isn’t ready yet. We’ll have to return later.
Back in Olivine City, we can cure the lighthouse Ampharos and send Jasmine back to the gym. And-
oh, now it’s ready? Ugh, whatever
Although Jasmine is nominally Johto’s sixth gym leader, she’s definitely much stronger than the seventh in the original version of the game, and arguably still a bit stronger even in the remakes, despite Pryce of Mahogany Town receiving a much-needed buff. Not only that, she packs a couple of Magnemite who could easily wipe out half my party with a single well-placed Thunderbolt – Long John Ruby, Antares and Paradise are all weak to Electric attacks, and would all be petrified at once. Even if I went on to win the battle – which I doubt I would – that would be devastating. But I’m also not yet sure I’m ready to take on the road to the Safari Zone; there are some pretty powerful trainers there as well. Instead…
…I’m going to return to Ecruteak City and head east.
And this is our next route, which means – in accordance with the Seven of Pentacles – we draw two more cards.
You know, the nice thing about the Kingslocke is, the more stuff you have in play, the better your odds that new cards will somehow get rid of older ones.
Strength: Ongoing: Your Pokémon’s special attacks are locked. This rule is revoked if you draw the Magician.
Strength and the Magician replace each other. This is good news for Killgore, not so good for Sesame, but at least he already knows Drain Punch and won’t need a new move. My other Pokémon can all use whatever moves they like (Paradise thanks to the King of Cups, Antares and Long John Ruby thanks to their unconditional loving support for one another as husband/captain and cosmic space entity).
As for the Ace…
Ace – Waterfall: Ongoing: 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 (you may still change your party order outside of battle). This rule is revoked if you draw a Nine/Snake Eyes and cancels out if you draw another Ace.
Ace of Pentacles: Whenever you reorder your party anywhere other than a Pokémon Centre, you owe a tax that must be paid the next time you visit a shop by buying and immediately throwing away items totalling a certain amount of money. The tax is equal to the number of badges you have earned (or Alolan trials you have completed) times 1000. One payment covers reordering your entire party, but only if you do it all at once. You can pay taxes in advance if you wish. If you do not have enough money to cover your taxes, you may only reorder your party at a Pokémon Centre (other healing locations do not count).
The old version of the Aces, from the First Revised Edition, didn’t even let you change your party order unless you were at a Pokémon Centre. I thought that was pointlessly tedious, so I changed it, but here it is again, in a limited form. You can change your party order without heading back to town, but it’ll cost you.
Drawing an Ace also marks an end for the Nine of Wands. Like I said when I drew the card, I think it could stand to be stronger – all the Nines in the Advanced Rules include special ways of wriggling out of losing a Pokémon, but the Nine of Wands as it stands is probably too lenient. There are two directions I think I could go with this for the final version – extend the “chain-petrification” effect to Pokémon in your PC, or have the card function as a regular Nine with the chaining effect on top if a Pokémon is downed by a super-effective move.
There are two ways to clear route 42 – Surf across, or pass through Mount Mortar to the other side. Mount Mortar is huge and you need a lot of different HMs to explore it fully, but you can get to the end of route 42 without any of them. This actually means you can reach Mahogany Town from the moment you arrive in Ecruteak City, without first earning the Fog Badge. You still need Surf to move ahead through the Lake of Rage plotline, but if you just want to visit, you can come here very early. The trainers in this area are therefore pretty weak – no problem for veterans of the Cianwood Gym.
Again, Mount Mortar is huge, and once you can fully explore it, I definitely think it’s deserving of multiple draws for its different zones and levels. For the limited section you can pass through to reach Mahogany Town, though, personally I’m inclined to draw just once (well, twice, because of the Seven of Pentacles).
Nice; Four of Cups cancels out the Four of Swords, so I get my STAB moves back. And we’ll be able to catch some Pokémon…
Two – You: Immediate: You may catch one Pokémon of your choice in this area, and may teach one of your party Pokémon (or the new Pokémon) a TM/TR move of your choice.
Two of Wands: If you draw this card in an area with wild Pokémon, you may forfeit your opportunity to catch one. If you do, you may instead teach two more TM/TR moves to Pokémon of your choice.
Four – Elements: Ongoing: Your Pokémon’s moves that get a Same-Type Attack Bonus (STAB) are locked. This rule cancels out if you draw another Four.
Immediate: You may catch the first Pokémon you see in this area that does not share a type with any of your current party Pokémon.
(I think we know how the Advanced Fours work now. Each suit has several associated types; each Four permits Pokémon of its own types to use their STAB moves, but bans Pokémon of the “opposite” suit’s permitted types – “watery” Cups opposes “fiery” Wands, and “airy” Swords opposes “earthy” Pentacles.)
Well, easy part first – catch the first Pokémon who doesn’t share a type with anyone in my party. There are two Pokémon on the lower level of Mount Mortar who fit that requirement; it’s just a question of which one I run into first.
When you draw multiple cards at once in a Kingslocke you’re supposed to resolve them in the order that you drew them, so strictly speaking I should catch a Pokémon of my choice and then the next Pokémon I encounter that doesn’t match a party member’s type. In this case, the order matters a little bit because I have the Fool in play, but we can always just pretend that I caught the two Pokémon in the order I was “supposed” to (it’ll be our little secret).
…of course, I could, right off the bat, happen to run into the very rare (encounter rate of 1%) Pokémon I was thinking about catching from that Two, before ever finding a Pokémon that fits the Four.
And here we go – a Fighting-type, I don’t have one of those yet.
Of course, this portends a significant change. The Fool still demands that I use the three Pokémon I caught most recently, if I can – and those three Pokémon are now Esca the Chinchou, Pikobalt the Marill and Suey the Machop. The only one of them I can actually use is Pikobalt – I can’t use Esca because she’s female and we have the Five of Wands out, and I can’t use Suey because the Ten of Cups says I can only use Pokémon who share one of Esca’s types. But I also still have Judgement in play, and Judgement says I have to use Pokémon from a single generation… which now has to be generation II. And that’s not technically a “ban,” so Paradise, Killgore and Sesame can’t get around it the way they’ve been dodging the Ten; nor can Long John Ruby or Antares. In fact, upon close inspection and after reviewing all the cards on the table, I think my only legal party is now… uh…
Well, at least he has the good ability. Can’t use Water Gun at the moment because of Strength, but hey, the Defence Curl/Rollout combo with Huge Power should get some work done. Marill also doesn’t have a stellar level-up movepool, and you can use HMs any time, so I could just slap Strength on him.
Strictly speaking, I probably should have thought this through before catching a Marill, but come on, give me a break, the things have a 1% encounter rate in here and he just turned up, what was I supposed to do? Not catch a rare Pokémon without fully considering the consequences? Where has that ever gotten anyone?
And hey – can’t incur taxes for switching my party order from the Ace of Pentacles if I only have one Pokémon, right? Marill also evolves at a surprisingly low level, low enough that it’s practical to just train him up before moving on.
Okay, now we’re talking!
Like I said, the trainers around here aren’t a super high level – but Pokémaniac Harrison here does have a Nidoking and a Nidoqueen, two Pokémon that are much stronger than what most of the other locals are fielding. With Bubblebeam offline thanks to Strength, this is actually a pretty tough fight for Pikobalt.
Later in the game, once we have Waterfall, we’ll be able to fully explore Mount Mortar and track down this mysterious karate master. For now, though, we’ll just have to move on.
This is just the other end of route 42; no card here.
This is Fisherman Tully. He has… this Pokémon.
Which I guess exists, as I have to be reminded from time to time.
I actually made a little squawking noise of worry here when I saw “Magnitude 9” but then I remembered that Azumarill is actually pretty tanky.
And here we are in Mahogany Town! This is the smallest town in Johto with its own gym. There’s no reason to draw cards here right now.
The gym is closed at the moment, and will remain closed until we resolve the crisis at the Lake of Rage. Honestly, with all the experience from the gym trainers to himself and a super-effective Rollout, Pikobalt might have some chance of soloing the gym – he’s already grown to level 22 – but I wouldn’t exactly put money on it.
This dude won’t let you pass until you buy a Ragecandybar – Mahogany Town’s local specialty – from him. And then once you do buy a Ragecandybar, he still won’t let you pass, and refuses to explain why. Because he’s a douchebag.
The “Ragecandybar” is actually a box of “Rage manjū.” Manjū are a traditional Japanese sweet bun filled with red bean paste, similar to daifuku, but made with wheat flour rather than rice flour. In the original Gold and Silver, you could buy multiple Ragecandybars, and they were functionally identical to Potions – same price, same healing effect. In this game, it’s a “key item” that we’ll need much, much… much later.
Mahogany Town is so dinky it doesn’t even have a Pokémart – just this… not-at-all-suspicious establishment.
The guy at the back can sell you the absolute basics – Pokéballs, Potions and Tiny Mushrooms (and the mushrooms have no use except for being sold back to another shop, since this game, for some reason, doesn’t want to encourage children to eat strange unidentified mushrooms). But he and his friend seem like their attention is… elsewhere.
Once in Mahogany Town, there’s nowhere else useful to go but north, along route 43 to the Lake of Rage.
Ooh, sweet! Not many draws that could be better than this.
Five – Guys: Ongoing: Your female Pokémon are banned (unless you have no male or genderless Pokémon). This rule is revoked if you draw a Six/Chicks and cancels out if you draw another Five.
Immediate: You may catch the first male wild Pokémon you see in this area.
Five of Pentacles: Choose one male Pokémon that was in your party when you drew this card and make it a Champion. Choose two female Pokémon that were in your party when you drew this card and petrify them.
We already have a Five in play, so the Five of Pentacles cancels out. This, unfortunately, means that Pikobalt doesn’t get to be a Champion for more than an instant – but it does mean we get to catch another Pokémon, and start using female Pokémon again.
And the Emperor is pure upside:
The Emperor: Immediate: Catch the first Pokémon you see in this area.
Ongoing: That Pokémon becomes a Champion.
So… I drew the Five first and then the Emperor, so if the first wild Pokémon I see is male, then that’s the one I catch off the Five, and the second one will be the Emperor’s Chosen, but if the first one I see is female, then she’ll be the one the Emperor gives me.
oof; I went through 4 Ultra Balls, 8 Great Balls and then like 5 of Kurt’s specialty balls on this thing! What is even Girafarig’s catch rate? 60? That’s not that low! Eventually it was a Love Ball, of all things, that did the job, which I can only interpret as meaning that Pikobalt and this Girafarig have fallen head over heels for one another.
Well, Asa may not be a Champion, but he has found something far more valuable: a boyfriend. Our Champion will be…
Oh, hell yeah; after I missed catching Mareep back around Violet City I thought I’d never be able to get one.
So, let’s recalculate…
The three Pokémon the Fool now wants me to use, if I can, are Suey, Asa and Wendolene. Of the three, the only one I actually can use is Wendolene, because she’s the only one with a type that matches Esca’s. Well, and also because she’s a Champion and can do whatever she wants. And because she’s a Champion, she can ignore Judgement and be in a party next to generation I Pokémon, if that seems to make sense. The other Pokémon I’m allowed to use are Pikobalt, Esca, Long John Ruby, Antares and Ampere (on grounds of their type – and I have to use as many of them as I can as well), as well as Paradise, Sesame and Killgore (on grounds of their auspicious Pokédex numbers). If I pick generation I, I can get three of my Water or Electric types – Long John Ruby, Antares and Ampere – as opposed to only two if I pick generation II, so I think we have to flip back now to the previous team (but with Wendolene joining in place of Sesame, who won’t deal well with Strength).
There are two big advantages here. One: Killgore is the only one who has to obey either Strength or the Ace of Pentacles (Wendolene is a Champion, and all the others have their spouses present), and he wants to use physical attacks anyway; I just have to remember that once he’s in battle I can’t switch him out or use his Fire Blast. Two: returning to the PC means that Pikobalt gets to spend some time with his new boyfriend, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to join us.
And there is more good news on the horizon!
This gatehouse is being camped by a couple of Team Rocket grunts who will charge you money every time you pass them. They’re just too greedy for their own good – rather than keep their operation secret, they’ve let it become a spectacle so they can make a little extra cash.
Fortunately, there’s no need to actually use the gatehouse – there’s a back way through the long grass.
This is Picnicker Tiffany. She has a Clefairy that she likes to dress up, because she is a caricature of an 8-year-old girl.
This is Pokémaniac Brent. He has an obsession with Bill that rivals Juggler Irwin’s obsession with the player.
There are several Pokémaniacs out here – presumably drawn by the rumours of a unique Gyarados running wild on the lake.
Now for the main event – the lake itself. Hit me, dealer.
The High Priestess: Ongoing: You may not use healing items either in or out of battle. This includes status healing, revival and PP restoring items.
Generally a bit rough, but the High Priestess is one of the cards that married couples ignore, so we’re mostly fine here. More importantly, this is my sixth Major Arcana card and I only have five slots, so the High Priestess will finally bump out the oldest one – Judgement.
The Nine, of course, also means we lose the Ace. I think we’ve met the Nine of Cups briefly before:
Nine – Snake Eyes: Ongoing: Any of your Pokémon that are defeated in battle are petrified. This rule is revoked if you draw an Ace/Waterfall and cancels out if you draw another Nine.
Nine of Cups: Immediately after a Pokémon is petrified by this card’s effect, when you go to deposit it in your PC storage, you may instead petrify a different Pokémon (either from your party or a box) that could form a Lovers-compatible pair with it and is not already banned or petrified.
Losing Judgement is actually a much bigger deal than either of the new cards – because it means I’m now free to add Pikobalt and Esca to the party, and if I can, I have to.
Ampere is perfectly welcome to stay on without her wife (in fact, thanks to the Ten of Cups, she has to), but in the absence of her beloved, she loses her special protections: the High Priestess can block me from healing her, and Strength can disable her Thundershock (Sonicboom is still allowed).
I also have to be careful from now on, because everyone except for Wendolene can be petrified if they’re knocked out – Long John Ruby and Antares can’t protect each other from that (well, actually, in the case of the Nine of Cups, they sort of can, but only through self-sacrifice… which would in either case would immediately cause the other to be banned, because of the downside of their marriage vows).
The Gyarados rampage has caused so much rain that the lake has flooded and drowned the surrounding forest. This is another addition from the remakes.
And here’s this guy.
I’m opening with Wendolene, partly because she can’t be petrified and the red Gyarados is honestly pretty scary, partly because I think her Thundershock should do a lot of damage but not actually knock it out.
Okay, that… may have been overly optimistic. But at least it didn’t use Dragon Rage a second time; I can heal Wendolene (as a Champion, she can ignore the High Priestess) and keep fighting.
I think we go for a Tackle here. Wendolene’s had her attack lowered by Intimidate, so I doubt that’ll finish it.
Okay, it was actually a few Tackles, but I think we’re now in an… okay position to start throwing balls? I just hope it doesn’t petrify anyone before I can catch it.
Whew. Fourth ball. No problem.
The Red Scale is a rare curiosity prized by collectors – you can trade it with our old friend Mr. Pokémon for the Exp. Share.
We’ll join Lance in investigating Mahogany Town next time, and probably add Big Red to our party (he’s a Water-type, after all), but I’ll wait and see what we draw going into the hideout. For now, let’s review the team…