Here we are — locked in with the Elite Four.
It would seem that in the world of Pokemon, holding a kid against his will is not frowned upon nearly as much as it is in other civilized societies.
I warned you…
It couldn’t be avoided. Let’s not start playing the blame game.
No need to. It’s clearly all your fault.
Don’t you two start with me too.
I have an idea!
This escape rope has been sitting in my pack the whole game! This is the moment it’s been waiting for!
But wait — it’s a message from Professor Oak!
No, I don’t think you understand what that phrase means. Now is EXACTLY the time to use that. There has never been a time that is more the time for it.
Nope, this is definitely not the time to use that, you bulbasaur thief!
That was three years ago!
Good luck at the championship, asshole!
I have never hated anyone more than I hate you at this moment, Oak.
Well… looks like there’s nowhere to go but forward.
The first of the Elite Four awaits just ahead…
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Will. I have trained all around the world, making my psychic Pokemon powerful. Losing is not an option!
Bring it, Bug Eyes.
Psychic-types, huh? Galuf, bite.
It’s not quite as easy as it looks, but even after being confused by that first Xatu, Galuf is able to cut a swath through Will’s team in no time. And Bite’s ability to cause the enemy Pokemon to flinch means a lot of them don’t even get a chance to retaliate.
That’s until his last Pokemon — Exeggutor.
Galuf needs a heal after the first hit. Exeggutor hits with Psychic, but for some reason it doesn’t actually occur to me that it would be a psychic-type. I mean, grass, sure. But psychic? (Yes, it is.) So we end up sticking with something we know will be effective — Dragon Rage.
But that pause in the Bite onslaught is our undoing. It’s an opening for Exeggutor to lay on the Psychics, and pretty soon we pull Galuf out in favor of our next-toughest Pokemon.
Sabin is level 42. Tons of HP. Impenetrable defense.
He’ll have no trouble cleaning up here.
A fully-healed Galuf rushes back in to burn Exeggutor to the ground…
…but the damage is already done. My boy Sabin is gone.
Maybe if we could have kept everyone alive for another fight or two, but no… Our resolve is broken. I sincerely doubt we’ll survive this now.
Up next, it’s Koga.
I am Koga of the Elite Four. Confusion, sleep, poison… Prepare to be the victim of my sinister technique!
Yeah, charm too probably.
We meet his spider bug-thing with our flying-type —
— who gives the ariados a good walloping.
Forretress shows up as soon as Ariados is down.
…whatever that is. Looks vaguely wooden — kind of like a bit of driftwood. Then again, I could also see it being rock, maybe. I don’t know if there’s a common type among Koga’s Pokemon or just the common theme of status effects.
At least they’re not immune to status effects themselves. Kain puts Forretress to sleep and then we drop Yang in to lay on the smackdown.
Well, that certainly didn’t last long.
Another one bites the dust…
No time to dwell on it. Galuf is staring down Koga’s next monstrosity.
First thing it does is Minimize so that we can’t hit it anymore.
Then some sort of previously unheard-of poison attack.
Are you serious — a hundred and nine damage?
Muk keeps Minimizing and Sludge Bombing over and over. The others… don’t last much longer than Galuf did.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t see this coming.
Pretty soon, it’s just Umaro left.
One final attack gets through Muk’s grotesque evade. One last screw you…
…before the warm, loving arms of death embrace us.
We awake an indeterminate amount of time later, outside the League, to the sound of our phone ringing.
I’m really not in the mood, Liz. Call me back when I don’t have six Pokemon to bury.
There goes another whole team. Six young Pokemon, cut down in their prime.
And it’s all because of me…
Well, no use dwelling on it. There’s Pokemon that needs killin’.
And so the grind begins.
The new team we put together ends up being Rosa the donphan (ground-type attacks to partially fill in for Sabin), Bartz the magikarp (soon to be Galuf’s successor), Celes (on Flying duty), Vincent (as sort of our new Edward/status ailment guy)… and guest starring Strago the stantler and Shadow the wobbuffet as themselves.
I’ll spare you the boring details, but rest assured it’s far from a day at the beach leveling six Pokemon up to their 40s.
The best place we find for grinding early on seems to be the west sea near Cianwood City.
Not exactly the most exciting place, though, being nothing but tentacools and tentacruels. But it gets the job done.
If there’s ever a time to experiment with new Pokemon, this is it. When you’re doing nothing but battling, you quickly realize who’s a good addition to the team and who isn’t. I was worried about Vincent, but she proves to be a beast once she evolves into golbat and eventually crobat.
A combination of Confuse Ray and either Bite or Wing Attack devastates anything bug, grass, psychic, or ghost. And probably other types I don’t even know about.
Similarly, Strago goes from pretty-okay to murder-machine once he learns Stomp — which is effective against pretty much everything.
Between the Hypnosis-induced sleep and Stomp’s chance to make enemies flinch, most Pokemon he faces can’t even touch him.
Rosa, Celes, and Bartz are — unsurprisingly — also quite up to the task.
On the other hand, I can’t seem to find much use out of Shadow. Not a big fan of Minwu either, who replaces Shadow for a bit.
Aeris, maybe? Seems like she could be usef–
I swear that wasn’t intentional, as much as I may hate Aeris. Guys like Strago and Vincent have been killing everything so effortlessly that I kind of stopped giving the game my full attention. Oops.
What about Mog? We haven’t really touched him since…
Gosh, not since the Miltank Incident, I think.
Well, I’ll say this: he holds up better than Aeris did.
But I still have to wonder whether we can really rely on him when we never know what move he’ll use.
…case in point.
Welp, I suppose the question is moot now.
So that’s essentially how the grind goes. We annihilate basically every squid in the ocean, and once we’re high enough level, we move on to the gravelers and donphans south of Blackthorn. By the end, we’ve lost just those two Pokemon, but I’m really paranoid we’re going to lose more on the final battle.
We’ve leveled eight past the big 4-0: Bartz, Celes, Rosa, Tifa, Leila, Porom, Strago, and Vincent. For those of you counting — yes, that is two more than we can actually bring with us, and it’s mostly because I still have no idea what level the League Pokemon go up to. The highest we saw was 43, but who knows what their levels balloon to by the time we get to the champion.
I’d like to leave someone behind who I can count on in case we wipe again. Aside from the half-dozen water-types we’ve got sitting in the PC, I mean.
That someone is two someones: Strago and Vincent.
Sorry, guys. You’re just too awesome (and I’m too sentimental) to gamble you on this one.
So with those two safely at home, our final team is in place.
Bartz: leader of the team! He fears nothing (except electric moves since those do 4x damage and that’s pretty scary)!
Tifa: the brawler! Try not to lose your head when she gets you with her Guillotine attack!
Rosa: the tank! Elephants never forget… how to kick ass!
Porom: the spikey rat thing! She doesn’t do anything particularly interesting and I have no idea what poison is effective against!
Really making me feel appreciated here.
Leila: a piece of coral! In case we needed another water-type!
Celes: the cool one! I mean, look at that plumage!
We roll up to the League like the bosses we are.
Don’t you think I should evolve before we head in?
But nidoqueens are so lame.
Don’t be a baby.
So we put our approach on hold for a minute, throw out the Everstone Porom’s been hanging onto, and head back into the caves.
Until she hits level 46.
Fury Swipes is cool, I guess, but I was looking for an evolution.
And still nothing.
Aw, man… I’m starting to wonder: Is the Nidoran line another one that requires a stone to evolve? Which would means that Everstone was totally unnecessary. Also that Porom’s not evolving any time soon, since the stones are nowhere to be found.
Why didn’t you tell me you couldn’t evolve without a stone?
How should I have known? You’re the Pokemon expert.
That’s it, then. No more delays.
Let’s just round out our supply of potions before we head past the point of no return again…
30 is good, right? You know, just to be on the safe side. Not that we’ll need them, of course! I mean, what kind of chump would abuse hyper potions to win the Pokemon Championship, right?