Part 4: Early Game Late GamePart 4: Early Game Late Game
Mt. Battle Reception
Oh goody, Mt. Battle is still in this game. Well let's go.
Back then, I only sought to become more powerful. I didn't need any other reason. As a result, I attained this status. But now, I've taken to questioning my motive for gaining power. I wonder what I'm fighting for. I ponder if I am putting my POKEMON under cruel stress... That's why I urge you to look into yourself. Ask yourself why you want to become stronger before you take that path.
Something to think about. You know, if Pokemon were actually real. But they're not, so I'll do what I want. Anyway, I'm sorry to say that Mt. Battle is basically identical to the last game, so I'm not gonna show it off at all, just refer to the Mt. Battle update in Colosseum. Though there are a couple things here and there to go over when the time comes.
We've still got the Move Deleter, though with no HMs there's not much use for him, but he's always useful.
New to this place is the Move Reminder, a very useful addition, though because you need Pokecoupons depending on the move you want to relearn, it's not as easy as Heart Scales, or Mushrooms in the main series. Thankfully, there are other ways to obtain Pokecoupons in this game, so relearning moves is absolutely possible. Also, it's very much worth your time going through Mt. Battle, since completing an area also gets you a TM, some of which we will definitely be using on the team.
The prize list is nearly the same, though Double Team has been swapped out for Shadow Ball. Psychic, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt and Flamethrower are still here, buuuuuuuuuut EVERY TM you can find here can also be obtained during the main game, so you don't need to save up for these TMs if you don't want to. This will make a lot of Pokemon much easier to use, so with all of these options, there's so much more variety in movesets compared to the last game.
Oh? You're not here to train? You came to see VANDER, one of our AREA LEADERS? Actually, VANDER is in charge of the rookie training session. He's inside right now. If you're in a hurry, you may enter through here.
So begins our climb up Mt. Battle. Again. Okay, we're not actually climbing it, but I will. Offscreen. And not using the main team, since that'd make things too easy.
We're facing against people who have probably never been in a Pokemon battle before. You monsters.
With Teddiursa all fired up, the easy early game just got even easier.
VANDER is teaching some rookie TRAINERS in a zone up ahead.
So, I hold a POKEBALL in my right hand like this... oh, forget it! I'll just try instead of thinking about it!
You're way too strong to be training in AREA 1! Huh? You came to see VANDER? Oh, no wonder! I think VANDER is still teaching out here. You may even see him in the next ZONE.
Oh? Are you a battle challenger? I hate to disappoint you, but we're not running the challenge right now. We're in training, you see. Oh? EAGUN sent you to see me? Oh, to hear about the desert! Understood! I'll be happy to give you my account. But before I do that, I've got a little request. Just on appearance, you look to be an outstanding TRAINER. I'm certain my eyes aren't deceiving me. So, here's my request. To finish up my novice TRAINER's session, I'd like you to treat him to a battle!
Thank you for training with me!
Why, it made me want to jump in and join the fray, too. Anyways, we should talk. But this isn't the place for that. Let's go back to reception.
Oh hey we're going back to the Shadow Pokemon Lab. Well we did so pretty early in the previous game, but couldn't get in until much later.
Oh that's convenient. We're gonna need a lot of Pokeballs. But first, we need to prep for the first proper dungeon of the game.
Now that he's at level 15, we need to evolve Eevee, otherwise we'll miss out on a STAB move at level 16 for the evolution! It's not often we get a fully evolved Pokemon on our team this early, but it's for the best.
Having early paralysis for Shadow Pokemon captures is fantastic as well!
Since we can buy Pokeballs, we can also get Premier Balls. Very handy, since I like my ball variety.
Finally, it's nickname time for both Jolteon and Teddiursa.
Oh I'm loving this name already. Thanks to BlackPersona for the nickname!
And then our Pickup friend. Thanks to Black Robe for the nickname! Let's go to the lab.
Well this place has seen better days. Oh hey, is that Verde?
Five! ...see! What did I say again? There is someone missing! But anyway, enough. He'll return soon enough, I'm sure. What we need to do, Brothers, is this: lock and load on this suspicious kid!
We've been away a while, but this here real estate's belonged to CIPHER for many a year! If you don't quit scurrying about, we'll have to tell your mommy. If you don't want that to happen, then run along home!
All right, then. I'll play with you to while away the time if you want. All right! Bring it on!
Cipher Peon Battle
I dunno how these games make fantastic antagonists, but I hope they never stop. Anyway, to show how this game compares to Colosseum, when we faced the three Cipher Peons with Johto starters, we could only get one until the postgame. Here, we can fight all six Hexagon Brothers and snag all six of their Shadow Pokemon. Starting, of course, with our second team member.
Since Houndour is super fragile, but can really kick our butt, we gotta be careful.
The Hexagon Brothers have 2-6 Pokemon, depending on the brother, so fights can be super quick, or weirdly long. Resix only has two Pokemon.
I need to catch Houndour in this Premier Ball, since we can get every member of our team in a different Pokeball, which is what I care about. If it had broken out, it would've been a reset, but thankfully not.
Houndour, 120 catch rate (62%, low health, paralyzed, Pokeball), starting moves: Shadow Blitz/Faint Attack, Shadow Shed/Charm, Ember, Roar
I hope you're ready for a Shadow Pokemon rush, they've been bumped up in level to 17 to help you out in the coming dungeon, and I'm starting off with the best one, since Houndour has great SpAtk, Speed and type coverage to really damage a lot of foes. It evolves pretty early and doesn't learn much aside from Bite, but that's really all it needs, those two types compliment each other really well. The best Dark move it'll learn is Bite, alas, as Crunch is way after you finish the game, unless you want the perfect accuracy of Faint Attack. It can go with Flamethrower or Fire Blast and even Solarbeam if you go for the sunshine combo (probably won't this time around). It can do some damage with its physical moves, like Body Slam and Shadow Ball, for some coverage, but it'll need Protect to stick around to deal lots of damage. It'll also rely on Ember for a while, but it had the stats to definitely leave its mark.
Alright, thanks for your time, Roosevelt, but now you're gonna stay in the back for the rest of the game! It'll be a little bit until we get our final team member after all.
I hope you weren't expecting us to actually go into the Lab in this update.
Blusix has 3 Water types, which might be a problem for Houndour, but Shadow moves are pretty good to deal with that.
We're gonna see some interesting choices for Shadow Pokemon. This is definitely the earliest you can use a Spheal.
The main challenge is whittling down the Shadow Pokemon, since the other Pokemon are getting stronger, but they're not there just yet.
Ooh, a new move. Shadow Wave is a 50BP special move with 100% accuracy that damages both opponents. It would be pretty nasty on Pokemon with high SpAtk, but that doesn't dictate what Shadow Pokemon gets what Shadow Moves, Houndour is an example of that, since it has Shadow Blitz. Special Shadow moves are less dangerous since they (mostly) target both opponents and never get as strong as physical moves, nor are as numerous.
Spheal, 255 catch rate (100%, low health, paralyzed, Pokeball), starting moves: Shadow Wave/Aurora Beam, Shadow Mist/Charm, Water Gun, Mud Slap
This orb of glee is a pretty good mixed attacker that learns some cool moves (heh!), but since Surf isn't in this game, it'll be relying on its Ice STAB to do the most damage, since the best Water move you'll get is Water Pulse. It's fine, but Water types are kinda tricky to use in this game because of that. It'll be tough to actually use throughout most of the game since it evolves so late and doesn't really have the stats to be as it is for 15 levels. Still, it gets good enough moves that it shouldn't be a problem, probably, from Body Slam to Earthquake to Rock Tomb. Oh, right, it doesn't learn any other special moves, but hey, you don't need to tutor it Body Slam at least. If you're curious how this Pokemon might work if you could catch it early... it's fine, but it's a bit trickier to use in this game due to slightly more limited options.
Onto the orange looking fellow.
Browsix only has 2 Pokemon and makes me want brownies. Uh, anyway, he actually uses Normal Pokemon, but has a Shadow Baltoy for some reason.
Ah finally, some STAB. You definitely don't wanna miss this.
Thankfully this thing is bulky enough to survive a hit like that. Good thing I didn't make a savestate for it, haha.
Baltoy, 255 catch rate (99%, low health, Pokeball), starting moves: Shadow Blitz/Rock Tomb, Shadow Mist/Refresh, Mud Slap, Psybeam
While Spheal was okay since it took forever to evolve, Baltoy also has that problem and really doesn't deal much damage in return. It's pretty well suited for double battles, with Levitate, STAB Earthquake and screens, but man it is a chore getting it to that point. 40 for both offenses is really not something you want to be carrying around for most of the game, but if you can get it to that point, it gets great defenses and a pretty damn good movepool. You start off with some nice moves, even coverage in, ugh, Rock Tomb, but you can go for anything from Shadow Ball, to Ice Beam, to Double-Edge and even Selfdestruct. It can be a good damage sponge, only really disliking Surf and can set up screens no problem. It's just, you know, it doesn't really do a lot of damage and that's where I get biased.
Alright, we're halfway done. Honestly, you wait a whole update for a Shadow Pokemon and then six come at once.
Damn, I was hoping it'd have Illuminate. Yellosix has 3 Pokemon, with the last two brothers having 4 and 6 Pokemon, respectively. They're the only ones to not share a Pokemon amount with the others.
Hope you didn't spend a lot of time and money on getting that Shadow Mareep in Colosseum, cause here it is in XD! Shame it wasn't Electrike, I do like variety in my Shadow mons and this is far from the last time we'll see a (near) repeat.
Should be easy enough to catch, we'll just whittle it down.
Aren't crits just grrrrrrrrrreat? Shadow Pokemon Resets:
Alright, better to get the crits out of the way early.
Mareep, 235 catch rate (78%, low health, Pokeball), starting moves: Shadow Blitz/Body Slam, Shadow Shed/Heal Bell, Thundershock, Thunder Wave
Oh hey it's this thing, while we didn't specifically use Mareep last game, we used Flaaffy, so we basically used Mareep, since it'll evolve when you purify it. Now this time we get Body Slam to actually use against Ground types, instead of it being stuck with Electric attacks. You'll also get Thunderpunch when you evolve into Ampharos at the right level instead of missing it completely, but you'll have to teach it Thunderbolt or Thunder or whatever. You'll also need Brick Break and Protect, but yeah, what worked before works now. It's perfectly fine to use, it just hasn't really changed all that much.
Guess what, this guy uses Poison types. Woah!
Now that Pineapple has STAB again, he can do a lot more damage.
Ah good, I was wondering when Reverse Mode would show up aga- DID THAT JUST REDUCE HIS BAR BY A FULL GAUGE?
Oh hey, something else I've used. Though this was in a separate playthrough I did for Ruby. Man, I really did play 3 full games for my Emerald LP...
Houndour has also gotten a STAB move and a nature that's... +Atk -Def. Hmm, that's not great, but at least it wasn't Impish.
Gulpin, 225 catch rate (100%, low health, paralyzed, Pokeball), starting moves: Shadow Blitz/Shock Wave, Shadow Hold/Sing, Sludge, Toxic
Before it swallows you whole, Gulpin is a weird Pokemon to use, any Poison type in this game that doesn't learn Sludge Bomb isn't all that great since the TM is postgame. So since Gulpin won't get it until nearly the end of the game otherwise naturally, it won't be blowing you away with power. Still, as a mixed attacker that can learn all kinds of special moves, you can give it Water Pulse, Ice Beam, Shadow Ball, Selfdestruct and Giga Drain and it'll do pretty well. It'll need Protect to dodge Earthquakes and can't utilize Return, since that's also postgame, but Body Slam will be a good option also. But, like Baltoy, it's better suited for defense, but doesn't really get the strong moves it needs to start putting dents in stuff. Oh well, it's perfectly fine, just not amazing. Oh yeah, make sure it has Liquid Ooze, Sticky Hold won't be seeing any use.
Alright, onto the final brother. I think we're more than ready for 6 Pokemon.
Should be pretty easy with Houndour here.
...well at least we've got Pineapple.
Greesix doesn't have 6 Grass types, since he's also got a Pineco. Little cheater.
Please do keep going into Reverse Mode, it's ridiculously profitable.
Seedot, 255 catch rate (100%, low health, paralyzed, Pokeball), starting moves: Shadow Wave/Giga Drain, Shadow Hold/Refresh, Bullet Seed, Secret Power
It's an acorn and it's pretty alright. XD has more than just Eevee evolving by stones, there's a good few evolutions like that, though choosing when to evolve Nuzleaf is the key. It starts off with some alright moves, though double Grass is a bit excessive, you at least get Giga Drain a lot earlier than normal. If you evolve Seedot before 19, then you'll get Fake Out, a great move for doubles and then when you learn Faint Attack at 31, you're free to evolve it to Shiftry, since a Leaf Stone is found in this very area. Oh yeah, moves it can learn. It's a better physical attacker, so you've got Shadow Ball, Brick Break, Body Slam and Selfdestruct to work with. It's not worth keeping Nuzleaf around til the end of the game for Extrasensory, just evolve it. And if you can get the sun going, then you'll be super fast with Cholorophyll, Early Bird just isn't that useful in comparison. Sure, its STAB moves aren't all that great and it has a lot of weaknesses, but Seedot is okay.
We'll refresh our healing items and stuff and get ready to now, properly, go into the Cipher Lab.
This side bit only has a couple items, it's completely optional. Like five of the Hexagon Brothers, you only need to fight one to enter the lab and we can rematch them basically instantly, so battle them whenever you please.
Eight! ...wait. Eight? Now there's too many of us!
Hmm! Brothers, beware! There may be spies among us! Hey, look. It's that kid again!
Let's just, uh, leave them to it.
Well the entrance is wide open, but of course there's going to be plenty of Cipher Peons on the ceiling. Bet their heads twist round when they notice you.
Compared to how the game has gone so far, the Cipher Lab can be a bit tough, there's a lot of trainers and they're even starting to catch up to us in levels!
Sure, we've gone through this place twice before, but five years later, while the layout is the same, we'll be going around it a bit differently. One way doors are still a thing though, grumble.
Sigh... I wish we'd finish up with this research and get out from this dank underground warren. Wah! Who are you?! Where'd you get in from?!
Doesn't mean the fights get all that much more interesting. We're still very much early game.
We'll probably forget about this guy by next update.
Hmm, both these ways are blocked. So does that mean...?
Yep, we're going through this place backwards. Ain't that just crazy?
Let's go fight Ein.
He might be the authority on purification, but if he won't talk, our work's not going anywhere. Wah! What are you doing there?
Huh, that's the first time I've seen a non-Ground type use that move while an Electric type is out in a LONG time.
Alright, we'll get a Data Rom from this place one way or another. Now where the heck is that Earthquake TM?
You know what we haven't seen in a while? A Shadow Pokemon.
Oh well ain't that convenient.
Spinarak, 255 catch rate (100%, low health, paralyzed, Pokeball), starting moves: Shadow Blitz/Dig, Shadow Mist/Refresh, Signal Beam, Night Shade
Okay, we know this Pokemon won't be very good, but hey, Ariados was kinda usable due to Sludge Bomb, so what about here? Oh, no Sludge Bomb. However, we've got Signal Beam, so our best STAB move won't be Leech Life until postgame. But man that's still kinda rough. At least there's other physical attacks to go for like, uh, Dig and Body Slam. I guess there's special moves in Giga Drain and Psychic, but if only this mon got Sludge Bomb, then it would be just fine. As it is, ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh, probably not. You had your chance to use this line, now it's gone.
Hmm, I could go back to Agate and purify Houndour... but we don't have a nickname for it yet (you guys didn't even know I was gonna use one until this update!) and backtracking is a pain. Let's press on.
This will be helpful, having Revives is always nice and our team is, how you say, pretty fuckin physically fragile.
You've got to be joking! I would never cooperate with people like you!
Oh, but why? I so don't get it! Why would you refuse an offer so wonderful as this?
I don't care how often you repeat yourself. I have no intention of helping your SHADOW POKEMON plan. Artificially slamming shut the hearts of POKEMON... it's inexcusable. Put a stop to it immediately.
Oh, you! You are so mean and closed-minded! You won't even try to understand how marvelous it is to help my XD001! NAPS!
Yes'm! Sister LOVRINA!
This is all so your fault! PROF. KRANE is oh so cross because you were so rude when you invited him here!
You can't be serious. Listen to the man already! He's been saying all along that he won't help our SHADOW POKEMON plan...
I can't hear you! The plan is perfect! ...XD001's condition was off by just a little tiny bit.
Being off by just a litle tiny bit is enough to make it drop a ship? And would you look at the uproar...
NAPS! It's so all your fault what happened, every tiny little bit! So... you so do something about it!
You put a lid on it! When it comes right down to it, it's so all your fault. Come on, help us with XD001!
First, we need to talk. I'll teach you why it's such a bad mistake to create SHADOW POKEMON.
Well the Prof seems alright, but is the boss of this place some weird girl? Can't be any weirder than previous Cipher heads, I suppose.
Sometimes it feels like you only go five steps before another Peon pounces on you.
Man, could you imagine a Shadow Bagon?
Well, this ain't a bad choice either.
Numel, 255 catch rate (99%, low health, Pokeball), starting moves: Shadow Blitz/Take Down, Shadow Shed/Charm, Dig, Ember
While it's slow and steady, it can easily win with the race with excellent STAB and good stats. Protect is a must on something very weak to Surf and Earthquake, with Fire Blast, Earthquake and Rock Slide to round the rest of it out. Pretty simple, but those are some great moves. However, you'll be relying on Ember or Dig/Magnitude for most of Numel's time, since it'll be a bit before it evolves. Under the sun, this mon is quite a monster, but it can't do much else aside from Body Slam and Selfdestruct and then Eruption in the endgame. It will definitely take a hit before it goes, but it can very easily do some damage afterward.
Bah. Thankfully there's no alarm of any kind in this game. Another reason why it's better than Colosseum.
But hey, we've reached this healing machine and, indeed, the halfway point of this place. Next time, we've got a Professor to save, an item to get from that box, and a new team member to obtain!