Can emos be blond?
Not long after leaving Paniola ranch behind I ran into Hau who was annoying a new character named Gladion. I’m glad it’s not just me that finds Hau’s optimism irritating, even if the other person is a fictional character. Gladion looks like that kid that desperately wants to be emo and got his mum to take him to Hot Topic one time but he’s not allowed to dye his hair yet. He will wear that Hot Topic outfit every day for the rest of his life though, dammit. He’s also got a bit of a chip on his shoulder about… Something… I think it’s about being kind of a contractor henchman for Team Skull, but not a real henchman. Two Team Skull members came up after we fought to tease him about that AND ABOUT BEING HOMELESS?! Damn Team Skull, what the hell? That was harsh, and kind of brave considering he has a freaky-ass dog-fish-lizard Pokémon that is far better than their Ratattas.
I messed up…
After Gladion was done being dramatic and mysterious I got to move on and it wasn’t long until I was in the next area and ready to start the next trial. This was the one trial I could actually remember from my previous, generic playthrough I think because I had struggled a bit with it and been surprised by it. I knew the Totem was a water spider thing but unfortunately I couldn’t remember what level it was (or called), but my team were all about level 20 and I felt confident with that. I also had a pretty heavy electric/bird team so I went in without feeling I had to do too much grinding and was feeling pretty cocky about it overall. I was in for a shock. The Totem was an Araquanid, a creepy spider with a bubble on it’s head. I sent out Chops the Flaaffy to shock it into oblivion but it hit her with Bubble, not normally a threatening move, but in this situation it was. I had to switch once it summoned a Dewpider to help it. Pom pom the Oricorio was sent out but the same thing happened, and with the Dewpider in the mix as well it just wasn’t happening. Same issue with Peeko the Wingull. Then I thought it was time for the big guns and sent out my beloved Squidward the Inkay to deal with them. Squidward is an amazing Pokémon with the Contrary feat, so if you try to lower his stats they just get higher, and some really good moves that have been making a lot of fights very easy. I used Reflect because at this point I was clucthinc at straws hoping maybe Bubble was a physical move (it’s not) and maybe it could at least lower the damage being done but it didn’t help. Then Araquanid used Leech Life… Which one-shot Squidward. I was devastated. I thought Squidward was going to go all the way to the elite 4 with me, he didn’t even get to evolve yet. I had to take a minute to process his death before I could continue the fight. I was also really annoyed at myself because I had completely forgotten that bug type is super effective against psychic type because you know, Urie Geller can’t bend spoons if a fly lands on him I guess.
At this point I was getting genuinely worried that this would be the end of my challenge, if no one could stand up to Araquanid more were going to start dying, but I had one last hope (and second favourite) : Rudy the Brionne, my starter. I sent him out and had him just use Work Up to raise his Attack and Special Attack for 6 turns so he was beefed up then struck with Icy Wind and BAM the Araquanid was dead. I felt no joy at his defeat though, there was just a hole in my team that no totem defeat, or many new Pokemon could fill…
Magikrap to Magikal
Begrudgingly, I set about catching a Pokemon in the trial area. This could potentially be the Pokemon to replace Squidward so there was a lot riding on it, I didn’t really have anything in the Box that I felt could match him. A ripple in the water, a jerk on the fishing rod and I reeled in my new team mate… Magikarp.
I was disappointed at first, they take so long to level BUT then I realised that it was a level 21, just one level away from evolution and that was a game changer! Neville the Magikarp was added to the party and put under a gruelling training regime until it evolved into a Gyarados. Now we’re talking. In my previous Nuzlocke I managed to get a Gyarados but it was defeated almost instantly so I vowed to be a better trainer for Neville.
Mandatory Battle Royal
Our next stop was the battle royal stadium where you fight three people with the first Pokemon in your party. I walked in and triggered a cutscene with Hau, Gladion and ‘The Masked Royal’/The Professor in a wresting mask (whatever he’s into I guess, no judgment) and they all decided to battle then and there with me and the Pokemon at the front of the team. Realising that Chops the Flaaffy was the Pokemon at the front of my party and also injured, I desperately tried to claw my way out of the building but the cutscene was in full flow and poor Chops was thrown out the safety of her pokeball to fight a Rockruff, Type: Null, and Torracat. I was very scared. I like Chops and the wound from losing Squidward was still sore, I couldn’t lose Chops too. I tried to be as strategic as possible and used thunder wave on Torracat in the first round. Magically, none of the other Pokemon attacked Chops in that round, which was a huge relief. Round 2 I used thunder wave again on Rockruff as Type: Null was burned but Chops took a hit from Torracat that nearly wiped her out. With just 5 hit points left I resigned myself to Chops’s untimely demise, but she was going to go out swinging! She used thundershock on the Rockruff and… it was defeated, therefore ending the battle! I didn’t realise just defeating one would end it or I would have been more aggressive, I thought you had to be the last one standing. Phew. I ran out of there ASAP knowing that I would never return while on this challenge. I do think that in a normal game it’s a fun format though.
Next stop on the journey is the volcano park for a fiery battle!