Return to Stardew Valley

Updates were released for Stardew Valley this week, and I was eager to return once again to its idyllic landscape. I have not been disappointed.

Pumpkins!

I managed to grow an enormous pumpkin! Probably a record-holder.

I decided to start a new farm, and the above picture shows my in the first year in the fall. I started on the new Hill map, a compromise between less area to build, but a small quarry within its confines. It’s a nice challenge and something different. Four other new maps come with the update.

Since I’m familiar with the game, this second play-through is going much more smoothly. I understand a lot of the key tricks, knowing which crops to plant when, where all the NPCs are located, which buildings to prioritize, etc. As a result, I’m making good process, and the community center is building back up.

I’m looking forward to some of the end-game additions the update brings. There is an additional house upgrade, and some higher-end buildings to sink your cash into. There are also some post-game quests to undertake.

The game is charming as ever, and such a nice place to visit and spend time. I appreciate the earnest sincerity and sweet nature of Stardew Valley, and can’t wait to see and do more!

Pokemon Y Nuzlocke Challenge — Part 8

Spirits were low as we moved towards Victory Road, the loss of Juan-Manuel fresh in our hearts. Pickles was back with us, his expert mastery of HM moves key in traversing the obstacles that would face us along the tough journey to the Pokemon League.

A few trainers were in our way on Route 21, but we brushed them aside. Flo and Impresario lead the way, swapping in Zeitgeist and Sandigator where appropriate. Flo had learned Ice Beam, which would be key later against the Elite Four, and both Impresario and Sandigator had learned the impressively powerful Earthquake.

We made it to the entrance of Victory Road without incident, showing the gatekeeper my 8 gym badges, and impressing him with the power of our fighting spirit. I entered the dark cave of Victory Road proper.

Flo and crew started chewing up all the Pokemon we encountered. Trainers and wild Pokemon alike fell in our wake. We emerged from one cave, traversed some ruins, and went back underground, finding a few items to help us on our way. A Pokemon Ranger healed up my crew, and as I walked east, Serena showed up to have a heart to heart. Of course, she wanted to battle. A combination of Flo, Sandigator, and Impresario knocked her Pokemon out one by one.

Back underground we went, traversing caves with lots of one-way passages, Pokemon trainers, and wild Pokemon battles. It was useful experience, as any level increase would gain us an edge against the Elite Four.

It took a while, but we finally emerged from Victory Road to the Pokemon League. I dropped Pickles in the bank and picked up Endbringer. We were going to need all the help we could get.

With Flo in the lead, I head in to start the fight with Malva, a user of Fire-type Pokemon. Hopefully, Flo could sweep the team, especially when powered up with the Mega Ring. Turns out, that’s exactly what happened. First Pyroar, then Talonflame fell, both of whose fast Speed stat let them get hits in on Flo. But then the slower Chandelure and Torkoal were hit with super-effective Surf, and were dropped in one hit without ever getting a hit in of their own.

I healed up Flo, and we headed on to the next area. Here was Water’s domain, Siebold and his team of Water types. I lead with Zeitgeist, who swept Clauncher and to our great fortune Gyarados with super-effective Thunderbolt. The going was easy until Siebold sent out Barbaracle, who had a high enough defense that Zeitgeist couldn’t knock it out in a single hit. Siebold used two restores in turn, then Zeitgeist took a hit from Rock Slide before finishing off the Barbaracle. Things got scary when Starmie, after using Light Screen to saves itself from a Thunderbolt, brings Zeitgeist low, into the red, with Psychic. I swapped in Sandigator, who was nearly finished off with Surf, and then finally swapped in Flo, who finished the fight.

With two down and two to go, I took the team, lead by Sandigator, to the chamber of Wikstrom, user of Steel-type Pokemon. Sandigator started off strong, using super-effective Earthquake to finish Klefki and Aegislash in turn. Scizor’s X-Scissor proved too powerful, and dropped Sandigator low, so I swapped over to Flo to finish out the fight.

On to the last of the Elite Four, Drasna, the Dragon-type leader. I don’t have any Fairy types, but I was hoping that Sandigator could lead things off with her Outrage, and then swap to Flo who knows Ice Beam. That plan worked out pretty well, with Sandigator downing Dragalge in one hit, and then Drasna sent out Altaria. Outrage wasn’t getting the job done, so I sent out Flo for the quadruple effective damage Ice Beam. Altaria dropped in one hit from Flo’s Ice Beam, and then Noivern dropped as well. Finally, Drasna sent out Druddigon, who got dropped to half and frozen solid via Ice Beam. With one final hit, Druddigon was done, and Drasna defeated.

The Elite Four defeated, all that stands in our way is the Champion, Diantha.

I lead with Flo. Hawlucha was the first Pokemon sent out. Flo used a super-effective Ice Beam to send the Hawlucha packing. Diantha then sent out Goodra. Flo’s Ice Beam was doing some okay work, but Flo was at half health, so I sent out Impresario to finish the job. Luckily, the Goodra’s Fire Blast missed, and a couple of Impresario’s Dragon Pulses knocked out Goodra, but not before Goodra got in a hit on Impresario, bringing him low in health.

When Diantha sent out her Aurora, I sent out Sandigator, hoping to buy some time and heal up both Flo and Impresario. I was able to use a Hyper Potion on both Impresario and Flo, before Aurora knocked out Sandigator with a super-effective Blizzard. I sent out Impresario, who returned the favor, knocking out Aurora with a super-effective Close Combat. Diantha sent out her fourth Pokemon, a Tyrantum, who after enduring a Close Combat, knocks out Impresario with a super-effective Earthquake.

Two Pokemon down to Diantha’s three, and things were getting tense. I sent out Flo, who finished off Tyrantum with a Surf. The tide was beginning to turn, as Diantha sent out Gourgeist, which is felled with a single Ice Beam from Flo.

Down to one last Pokemon, Diantha sends out her ace: Gardevoir, with a Gardevoirite. It’s Mega Blastoise versus Mega Gardevoir. Flo leads with a Water Pulse, which mercifully inflicts confusion, buying Flo an extra turn where Gardevoir can’t act. The next turn, Gardevoir snaps out of confusion and responds with Thunderbolt in first priority, dropping Flo to below a quarter of her health, and then Flo responds with a Surf. Gardevoir dropped slowly, slowly, until finally her health was gone. Diantha and her Pokemon were defeated. I was the new Kalos Champion!

My journey had taken me far, around the world, where we met new friends, and lost some as well. I had lost young Y2k, Champion, beloved Vlad, Icarus the mighty, my longest friend and starter Juan-Manuel, and in the final fight, both Sandigator and Impresario. Standing among the survivors from the Elite Four and the Pokemon League Champion were: Flo, the stalwart Blastoise; Endbringer, creature of legend; Athena, my shield; and Zeitgeist, the spirit of the moment.

There were many honorable mentions, including Pickles, the HM master, the stylish David Blaine, Cascades the Ducklett, and that Haunter I almost caught but totally wrecked.

Diantha entered the names of the six combatants into the Hall of Fame, and I looked back on the time I had with Pokemon Y. It was a great playthrough, more challenging than others I’d had, given the restrictions. I think the toughest was really using Set Mode. It’s very restrictive to not be able to switch after a trainer sends in a new Pokemon. Losing a turn to swap can put you behind in a fight in a serious way. Also, you can’t let a Pokemon faint and swap in another Pokemon that way, because of the no-revive rule! Very tricky.

I think I got pretty lucky in the kinds of Pokemon that I found, and I did bend the rules a little bit with Zeitgeist the Rotom. I think I would have been okay with something that wasn’t super-effective against Water, but it did make things a little easier. But I never saw a Grass type the entire game, and had some trouble with some other type coverage, but was overall okay.

I liked that I used different Pokemon in this game than I never had before. I was actually impressed with some of the types I’d never used before, Pokemon like Bibarel, Dugtrio, Beedril, Vespiquen, Aegislash, and Salamence really made a case for themselves, and I was happy to have them on my team.

I really enjoyed my time with Pokemon Y and the Nuzlocke Challenge. I’m already making plans to try it again with a different generation of Pokemon game, probably Gen V, using Black 2. If I do, I’ll record it here!

Pokemon Y Nuzlocke Challenge — Part 7

The loss of Icarus weighed heavily on our minds, but we pressed on. One final gym badge waited in Snowbelle City, and after that, the Elite Four. We promised to honor the sacrifice of Icarus, and do his memory proud.

Before heading off to Route 18 and our next gym badge, I made a stop again at the Lost Hotel. In a rare exception to the Nuzlocke Challenge rules, I was going to make a second capture in this area. A rare Pokemon makes its appearance here on certain days, and given that it is one of my favorites in the entire game, I was going to cheat a little.

The team and I cautiously approached a trash can in the basement of this ruined building, seeing it shake from some unknown force. Pokeball at the ready, the lid flipped open and out shot a Pokemon: Rotom! This unusual Ghost/Electric type Pokemon has the ability to inhabit different electrical devices, and in doing so, change its shape and type! I sent out Champion to soak up a few hits and weaken it with Flying type moves, a type that Rotom resists naturally. A few hits later, and Rotom was in the red, a perfect opportunity for capture. It took a few tries, as Champion’s health dropped with Rotom’s hits of super-effective Electric moves, but we finally captured the unusual Pokemon. I gave it the name of Zeitgeist.

A new member of our team now along for the ride, we headed to Route 18. This route is pretty short, but has some cave areas to explore in addition to the open spaces. On our first trip into the tall grass we encountered a Torkoal! With Champion out front, we took some serious hits from Lava Plume, and I had to swap out to Flo, who could take the Fire-type hits. Flo got burned, even though being a sea turtle, but who says Pokemon ever made sense? After a long battle, we capture the Torkoal, naming it Carbon Tax.

I took the team into Terminus Cave, because I knew an item inside was key to one of my Pokemon’s evolution: a Dusk Stone. My Doublade, Athena, could use the Dusk Stone to evolve into Aegislash. However, this quest would come at a cost, I would soon learn.

In the cave were lots of trainers, as well as wild Pokemon battles. Our first encounter with a wild Pokemon was a Graveler! I sent out Flo to soak up some damage and use Bite to whittle down its health. When finally low enough, a couple tosses of Ultra Balls got the job done. I named the Graveler as Geologophile.

Many of the trainers in Terminus Cave were those with Fighting types, so often I lead with Champion, to get those sweet, sweet super-effective Flying moves. What I wasn’t expecting was a Rock-type move from one of the trainers. With Champion somewhere around two-thirds health, she got hit with Rock Slide and I watched as her health dropped rapidly and she was dropped to 0. I was overconfident and didn’t expect such a move.

I finally found the Dusk Stone, and used it on Athena to evolve her to an Aegislash. But we were now short a team member who had been with us a long time.

Finishing Route 18, I entered Couriway Town with the team. Professor Sycamore was there to meet us, and told us how he regretted the incident with Lysandre, but was happy my Pokemon and I saved the world and his misguided friend. He battled us with his Kanto starter trio of Venusaur, Charmander, and Blastoise. My team didn’t have too much trouble with his monsters, and we emerged victorious. The Professor wished us continued luck, and we headed out to Route 19.

Rivers and cliffs surround a swampy glen that makes up the bulk of Route 19. In the swamp, we encountered a Haunter. I tried using Aegislash and my weakest moves, but a 15 level difference proved too much, and I knocked out the Haunter in one shot. Guess I won’t be using that Gengarite.

On the bridge on the way out of the area to Snowbelle City, three of the group of friends caught up with me. In turn, Shauna, Tierno, and even Trevor lined up to battle, and I knocked each down in turn. Onwards to Snowbelle City and the last of the gym badges.

Once I got to the gym in Snowbelle City, I learned that the gym leader, Wulfric, is out right now. Time to go find him!

West of Snowbelle City is Route 20, a forested, maze-like route. The first area has a lot of tall grass, so we wanted in! A wild Noctowl drew near! I sent out Athena and used a weak Rock Smash on it, dropping it to low health. With the first toss of an Ultra Ball, it was captured. I named it Keen.

After wandering around the maze of Route 20 for a while, we emerged into the sunny vale of the Pokemon Village. A refuge for abandoned and abused Pokemon, the Pokemon Village is watched over by Wulfric, who is here currently checking on the village inhabitants. Roused from his reverie, Wulfric heads back to Snowbelle City. I follow, but not before searching the area. In the yellow flowers, we encountered a Zoroark! A couple Slashes later, and it was ours. I named it David Blaine.

Enough goofing off. The last gym battle was nigh. I flew back to Snowbelle City and headed in.

Things were cruising along nicely. Juan-Manuel lead the charge, his super-powered Fire attacks knocking out Ice-type Pokemon left and right. Unexpectedly, one of the trainer’s Pokemon, a Mamoswine, unloaded a super-effective Ground attack on Juan-Manuel. My starter, my friend from the beginning, was knocked out.

This game mode is harsh.

I pressed on, switching in Impresario, with more super-effective moves against Ice, this type with Fighting moves. Against Wulfric, I unloaded a super-effective Close Combat against each of his three Pokemon, knocking each of them out with a single shot. With some measure of redemption, I collected my last gym badge, carrying Juan-Manuel’s lifeless body along with us as we exited the cold hell of Snowbelle City.

Pokemon Y Nuzlocke Challenge — Part 6

The team and I dusted ourselves off and carried on after the loss of Vlad. From Laverre City, we headed north into the Pokeball Factory, where Team Flare was doing some dastardly deeds. We sent those thugs packing, and were awarded a Master Ball for our troubles.

We then headed east from Laverre City, through Route 15. This route is covered in red and orange leaves, and here and there with leaf piles, in which hide items or even Pokemon trainers! We had a few battles, and then I wandered into some tall grass to catch our next team member. I stumbled upon a Skorupi, which come in handy later, and dubbed it Scorpio.

An area off of Route 15, hidden in a ruined building, is the Lost Hotel. Some punks have taken refuge here, and we battled a few of them in the dusty confines of this old waystop. The first wild Pokemon encounter we found was a Klefki, captured it, and called it Keymaster.

Route 15 ended at Dendemille Town, a small burg with some cool architecture. A majestic bridge lead north to an area called Frost Cavern. We healed up in the town and headed north.

In the Frost Cavern, we encountered a Jynx in a wild Pokemon battle. We captured her, naming her Lucky Lady. Afterwards, we chased more Team Flare members out of here, including a couple admins who were harassing an Abomasnow.

After we finished our business in Frost Cavern, off we headed back through Route 17. The area is nearly filled with snow, making passage on foot impossible. However, a helpful Mamoswine, now back on duty since we rescued its friend, the Abomasnow from Frost Cavern, offers to give us a ride.

Hopping on the Mamoswine’s back, the team and I wandered into the deep snow. We explored various tunnels through the snow where some items were hidden. In the midst of a snowbank, we encountered a wild Pokemon: a Sneasel! This is a great type, especially with the Psychic and Ice type using gym leaders that await us, so I was eager to catch it. And catch it we did, naming her Frieze.

We finished up with Route 17 and got to Anistar City, the location of the 7th gym. However, before we could challenge the gym leader, my rival showed up, itching for a battle. I beat her yet again, and she sulked off. Unimpeded, we headed into the gym. Sandigator was an excellent fighter throughout the gym, immune to the Psychic moves of many of the Pokemon here. Against the gym leader Olympia, Sandigator was especially good. Her Sigilyph was a bit of a problem, using Reflect to reduce the damage Sandigator’s moves applied, but consistently jamming Rock Tomb solved that problem. Sandigator’s super-effective Crunch was key against Meowstic and Slowking, and we finished Olympia and her gang off.

Our seventh gym badge in our pocket, we got a message from Lysandre, up to nefarious deeds, ending the world, etc. Off to Lumiose City to find the well-hidden lair of Team Flare. We headed inside to once and for all shut down Lysandre’s plans to end the world.

Many trainer battles ensued as we progressed through the lair. Impresario was very key here, as many of the Team Flare members have Dark types, which Fighting is super-effective against. We learn that the legendary Pokemon Yveltal is trapped inside the base, and it’s up to us to free it and turn off the weapon Lysandre and the rest of Team Flare is using to threaten the world.

Deep within the base, we finally made it to the system that is absorbing Yveltal’s power. We managed to defeat the gang of Team Flare minions defending the system. Then, it was time to face the legendary Pokemon: Yveltal. I weakened it with Icarus, but played kept him out too long. Yveltal felled Icarus with a strong Dark Pulse. Icarus was no more! I sent Flo out to finish the job. We finally captured Yveltal, but at the price of our friend Icarus. I named the legendary Endbringer.

After the capture, Lysandre showed up once again. This time, he was wielding the power of the Mega Ring. Endbringer again lived up to his name, knocking out Lysandre’s Mienshao. When he threw out Pyroar, I counted with Flo, knocking it out with a single Surf. Flo also finished Honchkrow. Finally, it was down to Lysandre’s last Pokemon: Mega Gyarados! I once again relied on Impresario, facing Lysandre’s mega-evolved Pokemon with one of my own. I decided to go with a single, all-out Close Combat, powered by Lucario’s mega evolution. Impresario knocked out Mega Gyarados with a single hit! Lysandre was defeated!

Pokemon Y Nuzlocke Challenge — Part 5

Coumarine City gym down, we headed out. Word is, there’s a disruption at the power plant that supplies energy to Lumiose City. That means the Eiffel Prism Tower is no longer shining! We better get to the bottom of this.

Route 13 is the site of the power plant, situated in some badlands. But there are still Pokemon here, digging underneath the ground. The first one to approach was a Dugtrio! I named them Hydra.

After battling one of the Team Flare grunts, we found their pass card and made our way into the power plant. After battling our way through more grunts, we found the Admin, and managed to get the power back on after defeating them. With the power restored, Prism Tower shone once again! And we learned that it is the gym of Lumiose City, home of Clement, a user of Electric-type Pokemon.

In the gym, both Hydra and Sandigator came in handy. Their immunity to Electric-type attacks kept them safe. But up against Clemont, with his Flying Emolga and Sturdy ability Magneton, I decided to fight Electric with Fire. Juan-Manuel made an appearance, and swept Clemont’s team aside, except for a few Hyper potion applications.

Finishing the gym, I chatted with several folks, including this Lysandre character, who seems a little spooky. But we moved on, and headed onto Route 14. This area itself is a bit darker, the weather and landscape damp. I walked into a swamp and got stuck! Took a few shakes of the movement button to get out. Before I was able to get close to a trainer I wanted to challenge, I was set upon a Pokemon. A Shelmet! With Juan-Manuel at the forefront, I used my weakest attack on the Shelmet, but it was too much for the frail monster, and I knocked it out in one shot! Too bad. That was my one shot for a Pokemon from this route.

Route 14 was short, even though it looped through the swamp a few times. After more random Pokemon battles than I would like to admit later, I made it to Laverre City, one of the smallest cities in the game. I checked around the few available places, and then headed into the gym.

I felt pretty prepared. Vlad, a Poison type with a strong Poison move in Venoshock, lead the way. I managed to sweep most trainers in the gym, and we made it to the leader, Valerie, in no time. She lead with Klefki, a problem for Vlad, as its dual Steel/Fairy type made it immune to Poison. We swapped out for Juan-Manuel, whose Fire attacks made short work of Klefki. Once Valerie swapped in Sylveon, I sent Vlad back into the fight. Sylveon has a pretty high Special Defense, matching up pretty well even against a STABed super-effective attack. But with a few hits, Sylveon went down. Finally, Valerie sent in Mr. Mime, a prime target for Vlad. Or so I thought. I managed a hit with Vlad, bringing Mr. Mime low, but then he unloaded on Vlad with a Psybeam, a super-effect hit on Vlad’s Poison type. I watched in horror as Vlad’s health dropped into the yellow, into the red, and finally hit 0. Vlad had been defeated! Enraged, I sent in Juan-Manuel to finish the job, and finish it he did, with a single Flamethrower blast.

Valerie was defeated, but the victory felt Pyrrhic. The Fairy Badge was ours, but Vlad was gone. The world would be a less rich place without that Crobat in our life.

Pokemon Y Nuzlocke Challenge — Part 4

Cyllage Gym defeated, off we go onto Route 10! A new route, a new Pokemon to capture. Who will it be? A Snubbull! A potential inclusion for later. Captured it, named it English, and moved on.

Lots of trainer battles, and some encounters with Team Flare once again. Those suits look so great on those fashionistas.

Several trainer battles later, we made it to Geohenge Town. Pretty quiet little place. Not much going on, so we headed on to Route 11.

This route is pretty short, with only a few trainer battles and scattered spots of grass before the cave. But it counts as a route! So we tried to catch a new monster. The first one that drew near was a Stunky! We made it ours and called him Pepe.

Onward we went into Reflection Cave, and yet another chance for a cool, new Pokemon. Took a little while of wandering around before anything showed its face, and what did I find but a Chingling! I caught that cute little thing, naming it Alarm.

Took a little while of wandering through Reflection Cave before we found our way out and into Shalour City. Once out of the cave, I sought out the gym, but learned the gym leader was not currently there. I took the team out to the Tower of Mastery to find the gym leader, and encountered all my friends there, along with the Mega Evolution Guru. I battled Serena, and won a close battle. Then I headed back after the gym leader, and headed into the gym.

With my two very strong Flying types, the trainers in the gym were no match for me. Vlad swept every Fighting type before him. Finally, we faced down Korrina. I lead with Champion, who knocked out in turn her Mienfoo, Machoke, and Howlucha. It was a bloodbath. I emerged victorious!

We headed back to the Tower of Mastery, and after a battle again with Korrina and her Lucarios, I had the Mega Ring. Now I could activate Mega Blastoise in battle, and hopefully soon, Mega Delphox, now that Juan-Manuel had evolved.

Our job in Shalour City complete, we headed out into the next area, Route 12! I ventured immediately into some tall grass, and was beset upon by a Miltank! In trying to catch it, I got hit hard by a two-turned delayed Bide, and nearly lost Champion! I swapped out to Flo, and then managed to capture the Miltank, and we named her Jersey.

Continuing across Route 12, we surfed across a small river, battled some trainers, and took a ride on the back of a Skiddo around the ranch! The Skiddo helped us find a few items stashed around different places inside the ranch. We traversed Route 12, and made our way to Coumarine City.

Coumarine City is unique in how it’s split up into two halves, linked by a monorail. The lower city is the port area, while the upper city, higher on the cliff, hosts the gym. I took the monorail, and met Professor Sycamore in the station.

Onwards to the gym. The owner of Coumarine City’s gym is Ramos, specialist of Grass-type Pokemon. Since my strongest Pokemon as Fire, Flying, Bug, and Poison types, I had a very easy time in this gym. Every move I used was super-effective, allowing Juan-Manuel, Vlad, and Champion to sweep each Pokemon before them. Even when I faced Ramos, it took only four moves to defeat his three level 30+ Pokemon.

With the Plant Badge in my hand, I was now able to use Fly to return to areas I’ve already visited, letting me bounce around the Kalos region at will. The world is my oyster as my team and I move on to the next challenge!

Pokemon Y Nuzlocke Challenge — Part 3

Wake up, sleepy Snorlax! I know how the soft, soothing sounds of a flute really wake me up out of a deep slumber. But wake him, it did, and after a battle, we caught the Snorlax and named him Strong Sad.

On we go to Route 7, past the Day Care and Battle Chateau. I’ll give both of those a pass for now. But now we have some yellow and purple flowers, so we have a chance to catch another team member! The first encounter in some purple flowers was a Ducklett. I sent out Athena in response, and with a few tackles, lowered the Ducklett’s health. A couple Pokeballs later, and it was ours! I named him Cascades.

I’m hoping we find a Zubat in the cave ahead! Zubat is always one of my favorites, and would be a solid replacement for our Farfetch’d. The place isn’t named Zubat Roost for nothing. I found one in short order, caught it in a Luxury ball in anticipation of our later Crobat, and named it Vlad.

Out of the cave and we were on Route 8. I immediately spotted an open patch of grass, and headed in! To my delight, I encountered a Bagon! I normally don’t use Dragon types in my playthroughs, as they take quite a bit of XP to level up. But I wasn’t letting this one go. A few gentle smacks and into a Pokeball it went. This Bagon was now know as Icarus.

After capturing Icarus, I continued down Route 8, high cliffs over the sea below. A few trainer battles later, I ended up in the next town, Ambrette Town, which didn’t have a ton to offer. No gym, but we did pick up some items, plus TM94, Rock Smash, that would come in handy at the next gym. Off we headed to Route 9!

Riding along on the Rhyhorn was fun. Smashed some rocks, and what appeared but a Sandile! Pickles the Bibarel took a few hits, whittled down the Sandile’s health, and we managed to catch it, naming it Sandigator.

Further on, and past a few trainer battles, was Glittering Cave. Random Pokemon encounters here are a little different, and instead of tall grass you encounter shady areas. I dove into the first one, finding a Machop! I sent out Champion to soak up some damage, and caught it. My Machop’s new name: JOHN CENA.

After adding JOHN CENA to my crew, I fought a bunch of Team Flare grunts. My team is a little overlevelled for the area, so they got beat pretty bad.

After the battles, I was off back up Route 9, into Ambrette Town, and then north on Route 8 to Cyllage City. Since I’d technically already caught Icarus on Route 8, I didn’t do any fishing, instead battling the trainers, and making my way to the next gym.

A short walk later, and I arrived with the team in Cyllage City. I encountered the gym leader, Grant, on my way in. He handed me a HM, Strength, and told me to come calling. I wasted no time heading in.

The first few trainers in the Rock gym used moves that caused confusion, much to my annoyance. It took longer than typical to get past them. After some confusion, I was at the final battle versus Grant. It was a tough fight. My level 28 Flo and level 24 Athena were both nearly knocked out against his Amaura and Tyrunt, but in the end, we prevailed. The Cliff Badge was mine!

Pokemon Y Nuzlocke Challenge — Part 2

Santalune gym went pretty smoothly, up until we battled Viola. Juan-Manuel, my Fennekin, was only level 13 going into it. Starting against Surskit was a grind, because my Fire-type moves were weakened by Water Sport. Then we battled against Vivillon, and Infestation nearly did us in. Juan-Manuel dropped to 3 hitpoints before I was able to use a potion. Very close one. But we got there in the end.

Before heading on to Route 4 and Paris Lumiose City, I took a detour down Route 22. I took on a couple trainer battles, and then found some tall grass, looking for another monster. First one up, Farfetch’d! Initially, I was kind of disappointed. I knew it was a base type with no evolution. But even with its mediocre stats, it is a flying type, good for later in the game, plus the moveset is real good. So, I caught Farfetch’d, and named him Entree. Welcome to the team!

After our new member’s acquisition, we did some training on Route 22. Pickles was only level 3! So we had some work to do. B. B. King grew up into his final form, Beedrill! Juan-Manuel metamorphosed into Braixen!

Training on Route 22 completed, we headed up to Route 4. Battled some trainers, and then into some flowers this time to find a new Pokemon. Another bug type showed up, Combee! We found a female, and managed to capture it, naming her Champion. At level 21, we’ll have a very strong Vespiqueen!

Many wild Pokemon and trainer battles ensued. Pickles is an indomitable tank. B. B. King has a unique style of applying Infestation, trying to poison the foe, and sitting back using Harden. Juan-Manuel learned Psybeam, and we’re going to tear up opposing Fighting types. Which just so happens to be the third gym!

We finally made it to Lumoise City, and said hello to Professor Sycamore. After a battle, he gifted us with a new starter! I picked Squirtle to try to fill in some coverage, and named her Flo.

We picked up a Gulpin on Route 5, named Disaster, made it to Camphrier Town, then on to Route 6, where we found a sweet Honedge we named Athena! Pretty good type coverage now. On Route 6 we had a very tough battle with a pair of Furfrou. Their Fur Coat ability halves all damage from physical attacks, so we broke out Juan-Manuel and Flo to do some special attack damage. Life totals got pretty low, and a timely super potion dug us out of trouble. We then headed to the Parfum Palace to get the Poke Flute that will allow us to proceed down Route 7 and wake up the lazy Snorlax that dozes on the bridge. After chasing some rich guy’s dog around the gardens for a little while, we saved the day. Whew! Pokemon is so much work.

Pokemon Y Nuzlocke Challenge — Part 1

A good friend was telling me about his recent (mis)adventures in the Pokemon handheld games. He told me about his playthrough of Pokemon X using the self-imposed Nuzlocke Challenge rules. I’d heard about the game type before, but never had a lot of interest in it myself. I’m kind of a casual when it comes to most games, and my tastes in the Pokemon games skew decidedly towards using supremely overpowered and care-fully tailored monsters. So, I wasn’t keen on taking on the challenge myself.

A second source of Nuzlocke inspiration had come from the recent video series by Monster Factory famed McElroy brother Griffin, where he records himself playing through a Nuzlocke Challenge on Pokemon Y. I’ve been watching with my son, and it’s great fun to watch other’s minor sufferings.

However,  it wasn’t until I finished my recent second playthrough of Pokemon Emerald that I decided to jump into my own Nuzlocke Challenge. I decided I would follow in Griffin’s footsteps and, since I’d only had a run through Pokemon X on my own before, I would play Pokemon Y in Nuzlocke mode!

Starting out, I decided to follow the optional rule for picking your starter. Namely, this rule:

  • Starter Pokémon is based on the player’s Trainer ID number. If the last number is 1-3 the player starts with a Grass type, 4-6 is Fire type, 7-9 is Water type, 0 is the player’s choice.

Turns out, my Trainer ID ended in 5, so I was the proud new owner of a Fennekin! Another core rule of the Nuzlocke Challenge is that you must name each of your Pokemon. Since I had nick-named myself El Presidente, I decided each administration needs a loyal second in command, so I dubbed my Fennekin as Juan-Manuel. We are friends to the bitter end. Even when the US-backed coalition comes to drive us from power.

Juan-Manuel and I headed out onto Route 2 in the hopes of finding a new buddy to join our growing oligarchy. Wandering around in the tall grass, I encountered a Pidgey! Unfortunately, after I had reduced it to less than a quarter health, I realized I hadn’t purchased any Pokeballs. Oops! I decided this would be my one and only cheat of the rules, and ran away from the fight, vowing that the next monster would be the replacement. Also unfortunately, but after returning with extra-dimensional magic Pokeballs, we encountered a Scatterbug. Bleh. Reluctantly, I caught him, and dubbed him Y2k.

My journey with Y2k didn’t last long. I put the bug up front of my party, hoping to get him some XP. Well, he was just too low level, and when I got in trouble in a wild pokemon battle, he dropped low in health. When I tried to run, I couldn’t get away! After the second failure to run, Y2k was felled by a tackle from a vicious Pidgey. RIP in peace, Y2k.

I was doing pretty poorly at this so far. But I resolved to improve the situation, and entered Santalune Forest with my friend Shauna, who helpfully healed my Pokemon whenever I wished. Very handy.

After I prepared Juan-Manuel with a pep-talk, we ventured into the tall grass. The first Pokemon we encountered was a Weedle! Not too bad. Now I just had to capture it. A couple tackles from Juan-Manuel was all it took, and with a single toss of a Pokeball, the Weedle was mine. I’m not sure why, but I named him B. B. King. Maybe because it looks like he plays a mean guitar? I mean, he knew String Shot (GET IT?!).

I took a little time to level up B. B. King and Juan-Manuel a little bit in Santalune Forest before heading out onto Route 3. After a couple trainer battles, I ventured into the tall grass to find the next member of my team. Highly disappointed when the first monster I encountered was Bidoof. I could have had a Fletchling! I would have even taken a Pidgey or Pikachu. Bummer. Reluctantly, I caught Pickles the Bidoof, and headed up into Santalune City.

It was here that my adventures came to a close for the day. I knew there was a gym battle ahead of me. It was my hope that Juan-Manuel and B. B. King were up to the task, because Pickles is just awful. You should feel bad, Pickles. Useless.

More to come!