Pokémon FireRed Nuzlocke Episode #4: Gettin’ Diggy Wit It

So I may have overcorrected a smidgen after last’s week journal…

When we last left Ophilia, she was trying to rebound after a grueling trek to Cerulean City that sent three of her Pokémon to the great beyond. It’s said, however, that the hottest fire forges the strongest steel, and a surprisingly formidable team emerged from the ashes, anchored by three monsters (Ivysaur, Nidorino, Golbat) that I had little respect for going into this run. With a path forward that didn’t seem as daunting as the one behind me, I figured I could carry a little momentum into my third gym challenge. I just didn’t expect to carry this much momentum.

We begin this journal, however, with a legal discussion:

The Regional Variant Question

Thanks to my Pidgeot from Pokémon Red and the Oddish from Route 24, Routes 5 and 6 offered me a single measly option for expanding my Pokémon team:

Prepare for…wait, that wasn’t Meowth’s line.

Before G7, I would have tossed a Poké Ball without thinking and continued with my quest. Now, however, the issue wasn’t so cut and dried:

My parents have one of these, but she only knows Fury Swipes.

My Alolan Persian was a member of the six-stack that eventually conquered Pokémon Moon, but did that mean that I was prohibited from using Kanto Meowth/Persian now? Were regional Pokémon variants different enough to consider them as separate entities for Nuzlocke purposes, or did using one mean you couldn’t use any others?

Luckily, legal precedent on this question had already been set: In Gretchen vs. Ultra Sun earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the matter could be settled on a case-by-case basis via coin flip. Heads meant that regional versions were different enough that they could be treated as different Pokémon for Nuzlocke purposes, while tails meant that regional versions were too similar and thus had to be treated as a single entity.

The coin came up heads in Ultra Sun (which meant that yes, the Alolan Raticate consumed my catch slot for that route), but not this time:

No Meowth for Ophilia.

Without a catchable Pokémon, Route 5 held absolutely zero interest for me, so I made my way to the Underground Tunnel…which was just a long, empty hallway, so I ran through it as fast as possible to reach Route 6. This route at least had some Trainers with some decent Pokémon to challenge (including a Lv. 20 Butterfree that gave me some heartburn but didn’t end up killing anyone), but it too lost its luster fairly quickly, and so I stepped gingerly into Vermilion City.

No Trades For You!

After get rekted in Cerulean City, I was very wary going into Vermilion, afraid that Cyrus would reappear at any moment to decimate my party. I wandered through town the way a deminer might work their way through a mine field, making sure the coast was absolutely clear before moving forward. As it turned out, however, Vermilion City was only slightly more exciting than Pewter City, and outside of getting the Bike Voucher, there was nothing terribly interesting to see or do.

However, my hope of expanding my Pokémon roster hit yet another snag: Trading for Pokémon I could possess required catching ones that I couldn’t! I found a nice person who was totally willing to let me have their Farfetch’d, but I wasn’t allowed to catch the Spearow I needed to make the deal. (This happened again on Route 2, where my Abra prohibition kept me from getting a Mr. Mime.)

This game has increased my four-letter word usage by at least 75% since I started playing.

A quick check of Bulbapedia meant that Jynx and Lickitung, despite not being prohibited by past games, were also off-limits because I couldn’t catch the monsters needed to make the trades. Just freaking perfect…

Training Montage Time!

There was no way I was setting foot onto the S.S. Anne with only three feasible Pokémon, so I made a quick detour down Route 11 and ducked into Diglett’s Cave, where I finally found a new recruit:

Another Poison…wait, it’s not actually a Poison type this time!

A solid Ground-type is exactly what I needed to take on Lt. Surge’s crew at the Vermilion Gym, so I stuffed the thing into a Poké Ball and named it Will (because I was “gettin’ Diggy wit it”).

I had to run back up to Cerulean City to cash in a Bike Voucher anyway, so I figured I would stop along Routes 5/6 for some quality grinding. Will’s pitiful Defense, however, made Hulk’s look huge by comparison, and I had to drop all the way back to Route 4 to find enemies that wouldn’t flatten my newest monster.

Thankfully, Will’s attack set was already pretty decent at Lv. 19, and he climbed the ranks from Route 4 to 24 to 6 fairly quickly. The rest of the crew joined in the grindfest at Route 6 (and eventually back in Diglett’s Cave), and after a good hour or so, I had a quartet of Lv. 26 Pokémon that were ready to kick butts and chew bubblegum…and they didn’t have any bubblegum to begin with.

Oh, and guess who evolves at Lv. 26? You know what they say: Two heads are better than one, but having three is just unfair.

Big Fish In A Small Pond

Nearrrr… Farrrr… Whereevvvver you are…

I didn’t know what was waiting for me on the S.S. Anne, but given what I’d seen on Route 6, I was ready for a gauntlet of bloodthirsty Lv. 20+ creatures that were just itching to toss me overboard.

In reality…

Er… Is this it?

The Trainers on board turned out to be no stronger than their counterparts on Route 6, and my super-buff team went through the whole lot without breaking a sweat. I had to be careful with the type matchups, but most everything tilted in may favor: Suzy wiped up the Water types, Will handled the surprisingly-numerous Growlithes, Bram worked over the Fighting types, and Earl just Horn Attacked whatever he saw into oblivion.

Still, I was sure a stiffer challenge was coming, and when I made my way to the captain’s chambers…

A Dish Best Served Cold

I will have vengeance.

Cyrus wasn’t impressed by the seasick captain, and he was out looking for a fight…and I was the just son-of-a-Bulbasaur to give it to him. I didn’t know who or what was coming, but I had a score to settle, and settle it I would.

Then the Pokémon came out, and…wait, what?

Lv. 19!? …Oh, I’m going to enjoy this.

His Pokémon were barely any tougher than they had been in Cerulean City! Sure, he’d finally manage to evolve them all, but my team was at least seven levels higher than everything he had!  What had this joker been doing all this time, slacking off?

What happened next is a bit too graphic for younger readers’ eyes, so I shall sum it up thusly:

Pokémon Opponent Result
Pidgeotto Earl Two Horn Attacks, one dead bird.
Kadabra Will Will used Dig, and then buried the Kadabra in the hole.
Raticate Earl Earl Double Kicked the rat into next week.
Charmeleon Will Two words: Magnitude. Seven.

The fight was so one-sided that Suzy and Bram never even had to leave the bench. It was the first time that I regretted the decision to make my journals blogs instead of videos, because my reaction to this battle in real-time was absolutely priceless. There would be a new stone in the graveyard that night, but the only thing buried beneath it would be Cyrus’s dignity.

Unlike you, apparently.

Rest in peace, Benjamin and Reed. You have been avenged.

Surge Protector

I stepped off of the S.S. Anne with a shiny new Cut HM and a massive amount of confidence. I made a quick stop at the Pokémon Center, and one felled tree later I was at the Vermilion City Gym.

The Gym played out mostly as I expected: Wipe out the miniboss trainers, spend ten minutes trying to find and flip two consecutive switches (I really hope they do something different with this Gym’s puzzle in Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee, because this one is more frustrating than fun), and tell Lt. Surge I was coming for his badge and his…Technical Machine.

I hope you weren’t planning on going anywhere, because you’re about to be Grounded…for life.

The gym’s trainees had caused me enough trouble with Thunder Wave that I decided not to play around with Surge: Will would be leading off this inning, and he would be in the batter’s box as long as his health would let him. This timeframe turned out to be “the entire battle”: Voltorb rolled over without much of a fight, and while Pikachu and Raichu tried to outflank me by using Double Team, they weren’t actually strong enough to hold their ground, and once Will connected with a single move, it was game over.

Said no one ever.

I collected my prizes, bid the good Lieutenant adieu, and walked away with my head held high.

The Fun Has Been Doubled!

Before heading north back to Cerulean City, I decided to clean up Route 11 and see if there were any useful Pokémon to be had there. As it turns out, there was:

Gosh, I’m starting to feel sleepy…

Psychic Pokémon were incredibly OP in the original Pokémon Red/Blue games, and after spending my entire journey worrying about when one could to do my Poison-heavy lineup, I finally had the chance to add one to my team. While it turned out to be my most difficult capture yet (it broke out of a few Poké Balls and resisted Sleep Powder with its Insomnia ability), before long “Luna” (named after a certain dreamwalking pony) was working in the service of the Sacred Flame.

Luna practicing the Royal Canterlot Voice with her namesake.

Besides Luna, however, Route 11 featured little of interest, as every Trainer and Pokémon I encountered wilted in the face of my Thunderbadge-certified team. …Well, almost every Pokémon:

I’ll deal with you later.

Conclusion

I’m not sure I had a right to feel good after episode #3, but I certainly do now. Will was easily the MVP of this session, and he joins a Suzy/Earl/Bram core that was already pretty darn solid. Despite the coming challenges (especially from moves like Selfdestruct), I think the team is set up perfectly for the short/mid-term: Suzy, Will, and Bram should dominate Rock Tunnel, Bram and Earl are ready to wreck Erika’s Grass-type Gym, and Luna gives me some insurance against the Gastlys/Haunters of Pokémon Tower and eventually Koga’s Poison-type Gym. (Even my Oddish has found a role as an HM carrier.) Round this six-stack out with a potent Water-type, and I might have a shot as Nuzlocke redemption after all!

Tune in next week as we make our way to Celadon City in the most roundabout fashion possible!

8 thoughts on “Pokémon FireRed Nuzlocke Episode #4: Gettin’ Diggy Wit It

  1. 1.) Don’t forget the VS Seeker in the Vermilion City Pokemon Center! There’s a girl standing there that gives it to you. If you remember it from Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, it’s the same thing and will be very helpful (hence why my favorite games to Nuzlocke are the Gen 4 games, this one and Gen 5 (Audino!).

    2.) Are you waiting for a certain move on your Nidorino before you evolve it?

    Otherwise, wow you had a good week! I’m unfortunately away right now, but last time I played my Nuzlocke, I had Pikachu (Lv. 20 I think?), Nidoking (Lv. 21), Raticate (Lv. 20) and Charmeleon (who I nicknamed Din at Lv. 17 … it’s catching up! 😉 ). I’m admittedly underleveled but I love the team right now (and I have no deaths!)

    You’ll definitely be fine for awhile. With Dugtrio, the Rock Tunnel is absolutely harmless, and you’re set up for some good encounters very soon!

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    1. Congrats on the no-death run so far!

      I grabbed the VS Seeker, but I didn’t mention it in the journal because I didn’t use it much in Pearl/Platinum. With EXP at a premium, going back and re-challenging Trainers will be more useful this time around!

      I’m a little nervous about evolving Nidorino before facing Erika (the added Ground typing could be a problem), but I’ll probably do it before taking on Koga. Apparently Nidoking gets Megahorn at Lv. 43, so I’ll definitely evolve Earl before then! 😉

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    1. That felt sooooooooo good. That Pidgeotto beat the snot out of Earl in Cerulean City, so it was nice for Earl to return the favor this time. 🙂 I was hoping for a higher-numbered Magnitude when Charmeleon came out, but 7 was enough to do the job.

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  2. Well … my 3DS died. Of all the rotten timing … that 3DS was my only way of playing Yellow, Crystal and a few older Zelda titles 😭

    Now I’m limited to just my DS Lite XL … oh well, a Platinum Nuzlocke could be fun.

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    1. That’s terrible! I’m sorry to her about that. I get mad whenever I lose small bits of unsaved progress, but to lose both the progress *and* the game is just awful.

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