Part 80: The Insurgence Speedrun Route, Part 2
Opening up the second part of this with the second battle against Taen. This battle is very different on Easy, even moreso than previous battles on Easy. While those just changed movesets and removed items, Easy actually changes his team: he does not have his Pyroar or his Grumpig.
Yet in true Taen fashion, he is incompetent whether you're on Easy or Normal. He will gleefully Mega Evolve his Charizard right in the face of something that is about to use Earthquake. He leads with it on Easy, so you just immediately wreck it with Excadrill, set up on Kyurem, and go from there. On Normal he opens with Grumpig, which a couple of Crunches from Gyarados deals with. Shift to Excadrill as he changes to Zekrom, and set up against it instead. It's straightforward from there.
There's an Elixir to pick up at this spot in Murk Woods.
There are a number of Infernal Cultists in the Fiery Caverns that you must fight along the way - including this guy who will see you after you start surfing - but of course with their type preferences and you having a high level Excadrill (or Gyarados), these are speedbumps at best. It should go without saying to take the rock puzzles in here carefully. Save often in case you screw them up, especially if you're using the bicycle.
Against Zenith, Excadrill's speed and level is good enough that despite Blaziken's Speed Boost and Focus Sash, it will still be faster than it if you have halfway decent stats.
From there it will completely decimate his team - you don't even need to use Swords Dance. The only potential problem is if Rock Slide misses against Volcarona. Not much you can do about that.
Use an Escape Rope after beating him. Before leaving town, you can potentially get some Quick Balls from a girl in the same area of town as the cave before you head to Route 12.
Avoid the trainers as usual, get another hidden Rare Candy, and enter Selene City.
From here, you...immediately Fly to Kepler City and head to the Hidden Workshop. Now here's something I noticed that's a bit janky about the route, you replace Rock Slide with Iron Head. There's only one battle where you use Sandstorm from here before it gets replaced, and its use is dependent on having Sand Rush.
I decided to try some experimentation with the route on this demonstration playthrough by replacing Sandstorm instead, going without it for said battle. There was at least one place where I saw Rock Slide might still be useful, anyway. Its use turned out to be a bust, but I still ended up not needing Sandstorm.
Watch out for Sucker Punch from the initial Darkrai Cultist's Mightyena. Persephone is a simple opponent on either Easy (which the WR run is still on) or Normal. Mega Zoroark and Greninja both fall to an Earthquake, you don't even need to buff.
Next will be a Houndoom on Easy or a Hydreigon on Normal. The former is defeated by Earthquake, and two Iron Heads will beat the latter. Note that Hydreigon will likely get off a Flamethrower unless it flinches, but a healed Excadrill can take one. Just hope you don't get burned, and Iron Head Spiritomb (watch for Sucker Punch on Normal) and Gengar from there.
Remember, you can skip everything in Diana's gym just by walking straight up through the walls. At this point, your Excadrill is so high leveled that it can just flatten everything, and there are no Focus Sashes or Sturdy Pokemon here. On Normal, the only thing you have to worry about is Sableye using Trick or Will-O-Wisp. Otherwise, everything up to Mega Gothitelle falls to one attack.
My notes say to Swords Dance three times against it. The only possible reason this could be the case on Easy is because of Cresselia having Moonlight there, but it does not on Normal. So one will suffice there. An Earthquake will defeat Mega Gothitelle at that point. Cresselia will fall in two Iron Heads. Diana seems to like using Full Restores very early, but all this will do is prolong the battle. She'll still have Gardevoir and Gengar left on Easy, but she sends them out before on Normal.
In any event, the WR run switches back to Normal after this battle. One thing to do before leaving Selene City on Normal-only is grabbing the Shadow Claw TM.
There are plenty of things in the Dragon Ruins that the speedrun doesn't pick up - Insurgence has a ton of hidden items in general. I grabbed an additional hidden Rare Candy which is slightly out of the way in the spot in the left image, and a Max Ether which is right there along the way and you really have no excuse not to get.
Make sure you have sufficient Earthquake PP before fighting Taen 3. After he fails to summon the great Namehere and picks a fight with you and Nora at the same time, you switch in Gyarados right at the start of the battle - do not lead with it because Salamence has Intimidate. Use Ice Fang to defeat it. Taen is still horribly incompetent and may in fact help you defeat his own Metagross while doing nothing to you and little to Leavanny. Note that it has Fly and Flamethrower on Easy, which can prolong the battle by defeating Nora's Pokemon, hence the switch to Normal if you're doing difficulty switching.
He'll bring in Zekrom next, and Delta Typhlosion alongside if Metagross went down. You switch back to Excadrill - Zekrom will just fail to use an Electric move and Typhlosion will likely just try Hidden Power Rock if it was out. From there, you Earthquake away. Nora's Leavanny won't take much damage against the move, and she can help out by Grasswhistling things.
Something interesting about Medium A. Williams: her Bronzong's ability is not set. My notes say to use Swords Dance three times and Iron Head, but you can just try Earthquake. If it ended up with Heatproof, it'll go down in one hit like everything else here. If not, you may have to use the buffs.
There's a hidden Revive south of the Pika Taxi part on Route 15. Further south in-between two flowers is a Max Revive, and there's a Nugget in-between them too. Probably could sell the latter for more supplies if you need them, though the route only grabs the Max Revive.
There's yet another Rare Candy to get in the Crystal Caves. Now the WR run defeats Mew with three Iron Heads. But another strategy I came up with is actually catching it. This is faster than three Iron Heads if you can land it on the first try, and it has a non-terrible capture rate - you have roughly a 1/3 shot of getting it with a Quick Ball. If you have spare Dusk Balls, you should be able to weaken it and use those as well. It makes things way easier on Normal-only anyway.
Speaking of, I had to do some rerouting for that. If you were wondering about the Custom Move? Well, the WR run gets it a little later, after Adam. However, given how it simple it makes part of the next gym battle and how you need to use Fly after exiting the cave anyway, now is a good chance to grab it. Fly to Helios, give it to Excadrill over Rock Slide, and make it an Ice-type move with a one letter name.
After this (or not), you fly back to Amphrite City and pick up some Full Restores at the store, as well as a few Full Heals and Max Repels if necessary.
Capturing Mew saves time against Calreath as well, no matter the difficulty. You switch back to Easy here if you're doing that, which opens up by PP stalling Mega Politoed out of Hydro Pumps. That's a OHKO even without the rain. It also has Mud Bomb on Easy, so this is the point where you'd use one of those Air Balloons instead of the Lucky Egg. Don't bother on Normal-only.
On Normal, it has Scald instead, which Excadrill can take a shot of. Either way you'll want to wait out the rain. If you caught Mew, Amnesia four times and switch in Ivysaur to faint on the final turn of the rain. Without it, you'll need to do a bunch of switching and possible reviving. Once you're clear on either difficulty, you can switch to Excadrill and Swords Dance. If you get burned by Scald on Normal, Full Restore.
Greninja may actually outspeed Excadrill. Note that trainer stats, at least on Normal, are not fixed in Insurgence. Because of this, the only thing you can do is try to have an Excadrill that's as fast as possible. There's at least one opportunity to grab a Carbos to help with this, but I forgot to jot down where it was.
Dragonite is why you need to go out and learn the Custom Move. Not even Rock Slide will OHKO it, and it has Earthquake. It might even help on Easy, since it has Aqua Tail there and you need to use two Iron Heads instead. You can't use the Air Balloon on Normal because it will have burst due to Politoed. With it out of the way, only Manaphy is left, and that takes just a single Earthquake.
Head forward with the plot, with another Rare Candy in a rock before Mt. Rose Base. Choose to follow Nora to the Perfection base. Taen 4, I had to come up with some completely different strategies for. He has a Mewtwo, and it has Focus Blast. It will usually outspeed and OHKO Excadrill with it. It has Aura Sphere on Easy, but the WR run switches to Normal for him anyway. What it does is use Sandstorm to outspeed the thing, but my routing has replaced that.
What it does is open with fainting to Poliwrath. Switch in Gyarados, revive, switch in Wingull/Ducklett, then switch back and set up there. It's a straight sweep, no problem.
What I came up with is to change to Shift and teach Mew Psychic before the battle. Also teach it Shadow Claw, but if its Attack is absolutely atrocious, Thunderbolt might be better. Use Psychic to defeat Poliwrath. He may prolong the fight by getting off Substitute. If he switches to Gallade, it's better to reset.
After this, he'll bring in Delta Darmanitan, which has a Choice Scarf. Shift to Gyarados and immediately switch to Wingull. He'll usually use Shadow Claw or Knock Off. If he uses U-Turn, it's probably easier to reset, but you can try setting up against Gallade. If he uses Rock Slide, you can laugh unless you get flinched a lot. Switch in Excadrill and use a Swords Dance. Heal if you need to and defeat it, and then Gallade.
Mega Zebstrika will probably outspeed Excadrill, but it is not a threat. Taen gave a special-based moveset to a Pokemon that's physically-oriented, so Overheat won't come anywhere close to being an issue. Just heal if you need to. He might not even use it, he might try Dazzling Gleam or Hidden Power.
Now against Mewtwo, the best solution I found was switching to Mew and taking it on with Shadow Claw. It's this or PP stalling it out. Amnesia once beforehand if you want to be safe, 3-4 hits should do the trick. After it's down, just shift back to Excadrill and Iron Head Kyurem down.
You can get two PP Ups which are hidden in Mt. Rose - one is here, the other is in a similar rock just to the right of the entrance. There's also an X. Sp. Def 2 to get for later. This aside, make a straight shot with the plot until you reach the Infernal Base - make sure you're on Normal if switching difficulties. Use the PP Ups and an Ether on Earthquake as you enter the events in the Infernal Base. Note that the first Infernal Cultist you fight after getting out of prison has a Krookodile with Intimidate. Counter with Swords Dance against his first Pokemon for this. There's a Chansey to heal with before facing Zenith, make use of it and put Ivysaur up in front.
He leads with an Excadrill of his own, so reduce its attack with Baby-Doll Eyes before switching in your own. Swords Dance once...
And sweep with Earthquake. Again, you don't fight Primal Groudon on Easy. But in this instance, being on Normal makes things play right into your hands. Hence the difficulty switching.
Advance through Route 16, grabbing a hidden Max Elixir along the way. At Narra Town, you finally gain access to X-items, a staple of Pokemon speedruns. The WR grabs 8 X Speeds, 4 X Sp Defs, and 3 X Defends. Normal should probably get a bit more. Some of these are for backup purposes.
Before heading into the cutscenes with Darkrai, you can optionally take a bit of time to grab the Master Ball for a small timesave later. You can get a Rare Candy hidden in the tree in the southeast area of where you first appear in the Prion Site.
Persephone 2 is routine. Start off with a Swords Dance, and hopefully Spiritomb won't burn you or deal too much damage. Earthquake it. If you're on Easy here, it's very simple, just one-shot everything.
It's not much harder on Normal. Her Alakazam has a Focus Sash and Focus Blast, which would've been intimidating a while ago. The simple and easy solution to it is that Excadrill can just survive a hit. She'll likely use a Full Restore at this point, but you'll OHKO it from there. Everything else doesn't have a Focus Sash, is slower than Excadrill, and falls in one hit.
I actually experimented with giving Mew Stealth Rock here as an aside - you can get this from an old woman on the second floor of the building just to the left of PikaTaxi in Selene City - though it can't get it off in this battle. Just head right to the cave after this and keep going forward.
Against Damian on Easy, you fight a regular Deoxys instead of Speed, though it still has a Focus Sash there. It's no threat on that difficulty, you just set up and sweep. On Normal, the Deoxys has Low Kick, so use an X-Defend while setting up and hope you don't get crit.
When the Sash triggers, Damian will just Hyper Potion, so just continue attacking.
Metagross and Delta Charizard both fall to an Earthquake. Ignore the discrepancy here, this was from when I was experimenting with not using Swords Dance. You can get away with it if your attack is high enough, but otherwise it's better to use one.
Now here's a bizarre timesave. While one X-Speed while setting up will allow you outspeed even Deoxys-S, it isn't necessary to use to defeat it. What it does help with is Shaymin-S, guaranteeing you'll be able to outspeed it. But if you're playing at night, you'll only face regular Shaymin, so you can skip that step. You can also just try going without it if your Excadrill is fast enough, or if it has over 120HP or so, it should be able to tank the Energy Ball.
One tiny reroute I did: you can heal at the Chansey in Cerebrum Town or Erebus City. The WR run does the former, but the latter is slightly faster movement-wise. Either or works.
Zigzag up in the gym's second room, rotating the mirrors appropriately while avoiding trainers as you go. Aside, if you chose a male, you get small amount of timesave throughout the game, most noticeable here. Remember, save the frames.
Adam I had to figure a bit out for. The WR route intends to fight him on Normal, but accidentally faces him on Easy. The only significant differences are Greninja's moveset and how he has a Max Revive (which he'll waste on Greninja). It has Substitute/Spikes/Haze/Dark Pulse on Easy, and Toxic Spikes/Spikes/Taunt/Shadow Sneak on Normal. Start off with Swords Dance. If he Taunts before you get it off, you'll have to wait it out, but he can't do much to you in the meantime. Less annoying than Haze on Easy, in any case. Use an X-Speed as well.
Tyranitar has Sand Stream on Easy, which is only to your advantage if you're on it. Even though it and Drapion have Choice Scarfs on Normal, with an X-Speed they still won't be faster than you. Mega Hydreigon goes down to an Iron Head or the custom move.
Spiritomb can hit with Sucker Punch, and when Greninja is back out it can use Shadow Sneak, but they shouldn't deal enough damage to threaten Excadrill.
There's a lot of stuff coming up that I feel I should go into further detail on, so I'll make a second cut here.