Pokémon FireRed Nuzlocke Episode #7.8: Too Much Water

First things first: DJ, hit me with a theme song.

When we last left Ophilia, she had finally laid the ghosts of Saffron City to rest courtesy of some dominating performances by the re-formed Phili Five (most notably Reggie the Snorlax’s singlehanded dismantling of Sabrina’s psychic crew).

This will never not make me smile. 🙂

The next official stop on the road to Nuzlocke glory was Blaine’s Fire-type Gym over on Cinnabar Island, but in between here and there was, as the journal title suggests, a whole lotta water. Along the way, we rebuilt the bench, realized some thought-to-be-dead dreams, and even encountered an unexpected twist just when we thought everything was settled.

We start, however, we the official expansion of the Phili Five to the Phili Six:

The Loch Nessie Monster

Nessie the Lapras was anointed the next big star of the Sacred Flame the moment we received her in Saffron, and she did not disappoint. Her stat distribution was eerily similar to Reggie’s, albeit a bit more balanced (slightly less HP/Attack/Spec. Defense, slightly more Defense/Spec. Attack/Speed), and though her moveset was a bit limited at first (Mist? Perish Song?), she was able to Body Slam her way through battles until some better options (Ice Beam, Surf) became available.

The biggest question, however, was how best to transform Nessie into the Charizard counter that my last battle with Cyrus indicated I desperately needed. Her Ice typing might have a made her a nightmare matchup for Dragon Pokémon, but it also neutralized her Water-type defense against Fire attacks like Flamethrower. Toss in her still-not-great Speed, and it still felt like Charizard had an edge in the matchup.

Nessie’s response came at Lv. 37: Rain Dance, which boosted Water power at the expense of Fire’s for five turns. If she could call in the storm either before or during the Charizard encounter, the fire lizard would be snuffed out for good. It was a great idea in theory, but would it hold up in practice? I figured that Blaine’s Gym would be a great place to find out.

Coasting Through Kanto

Buddy, I am better than good. 😉

Up to now, I had left the Snorlax on Route 12 alone and trudged up and down Cycling Road to travel between Fuschia City and Saffron City. With both cities thoroughly explored, however, the time had come to travel the four routes that made up the southeast coast of Kanto, smiting every Trainer who dared cross my path.

From a story standpoint, there isn’t much to say here. There were no pivotal NPCs to meet, no plot devices to discover, and nothing to interact with in the environment save for a bunch of Cut-able trees. There were lots of Trainers looking for a fight, however, and with a little help from the VS Seeker, they went a long way towards making Nessie an official member of Ophilia’s top six-stack.

The real fun began when I reached the Snorlax’s sleeping spot on Route 12 and stumbled upon a small cabin containing yet another fishing enthusiast:

Sweet! I can have some real fun with this…

Having the Super Rod opened up a ton of new options for catching Pokémon, and so I starting concocting an evil plan…

Building The Bullpen

I hadn’t caught any Pokémon along the coast up to this point, so I decided to take a scientific approach and consult Serebii to see just what monsters were available. What I saw took away my breath:

Route 12 (Super Rod)
Pokémon Encounter %
Horsea 84%
Gyarados 15%
Krabby 1%

Wait…you mean my dreams of Gyarados glory weren’t dead after all? Benjamin had not yet evolved by the time he was beaten, so if I happened to stumble across a wild Gyarados, I could still catch it!

Of course, there was no way I was getting around that 84% Horsea chance…until I discovered that Route 13 had the exact same encounter distribution for the Super Rod! Suddenly, I had a plan:

  1. Fish for and catch a Horsea on Route 12.

    With Rain Dance and Confuse Ray, Nessie served as my capable Suzy stand-in, and “Justify” (named after the recent Triple Crown winner) was added to the Sacred Flame’s stable. Check!
  2. Fish on Route 13 until a Gyarados appears.
    Do you know how crabby I would have been if I had got a Krabby instead?

    It only took three battles for Gyarados to appear, and as fate would have it, it was Lv. 17, the same level Benjamin was when he passed on. Nessie worked her magic once again, and “Benjamina” became the newest addition to Phili’s roster. Check!

First Lapras, and now this. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Of course, even with these additions Baroness the Ekans remained the only Poison-type Pokémon in the box, which was like having a bullpen with only one lefthander in it. Ophilia rectified this situation on Route 15:

The interview went something like this:

Me: Are you a Beedrill?

Venonat: Um… No…

Me: Good, you’re hired. Here’s your Poké Ball.

Venonat: Wait, what’s your 401k matching pl— *gets sucked into ball*

Me: Sorry, didn’t catch that. Welcome aboard!

Finally, I made my way south to Route 19, hopped aboard Nessie, and waited for the inevitable…

Oh, and it’s only level eight. Just wonderful.

Had the Poison Posse still been intact, Tentacool would have totally been my Water-type of choice. In a post-Posse world, however, Nessie had an iron grip on the Water-type slot, so “Brella” just got stuffed into a Box and told to share a room with Baroness and Justify.

A live look at Ophilia’s bullpen. It’s not bad, but she might need to deal for a proven closer. (Original image from Rays Colored Glasses)

Rollin’ On A River

With the coast cleaned up and the six-stack set, we finally made our way south on Route 19, mopping up the Swimmers and Tubers as we went. Neither Route 19 nor 20 held a whole lot of interest for me, and with Nessie patrolling the waves and a bullpen brimming full with Water-type Pokémon, neither did the Seafoam Islands. Still, I wasn’t going to say “no” to another Pokémon if the opportunity arose…

…and it did.

I stuck “Launchpad” at the end of the bench and continued on my merry way, using Earl to move boulders around to redirect currents and clear a path forward.

Articuno: What’s a ‘selfie’ and why are you taking out your phone instead of a Poké Ball?

A Winning Ticket?

After an uneventful Surf, we arrived at the slightly-less-uneventful Cinnabar Island, where the sky was blue, the air was clean, and the Gym was locked up tight. My first stop, however, was the nearby Pokémon lab, where I hoped to cash in the fossil lottery ticket I picked up back it Mt. Moon.

Three? You, my friend, have not been keeping up with the latest scientific literature.

I was satisfied with the resulting Kabuto (if Nessie ever croaked, what better counter could I have for a Fire/Flying Pokémon than a Rock/Water one?)…until I got to the Pokémon Mansion and realized that since I had lumped Silph Co. in with Saffron City, I had to be consistent and lump the lab and the mansion in with Cinnabar Island, which meant I couldn’t catch anything inside. However, considering the only things I could have caught were Koffings and Weezings anyway, I didn’t shed too many tears as I wandered around.

I Love A Rainy Night

Eventually I stumbled across the Secret Key and opened the door to the Cinnabar Gym, which had always been a weird one for me: I take the challenge questions personally and want to get them right, but I also don’t want to leave a bunch of experience points on the table, so I end up answering each quiz correctly to avoid punishment battles…and then going back and fighting the Trainers anyway. None of them gave me any trouble, so I hurried to the back of the building and challenged Ross Koppel‘s evil twin to a battle.

Nyeh nyeh, I have a lower Erdős number than you.

I decided to open with Will and make him earn his keep for a change, and he did just that by one-shotting both Growlithe and Ponyta with Dig. When Blaine went to Rapidash, however, it was now or never: I sent Nessie into battle, called for a Rain Dance, and waited to see what Fire Blast would do…

Buddy, if that’s the most damage you can do, you might as well just give me the badge now.

The rain put Rapidash out “like the burning end of a midnight cigarette,” and Arcanine was so flummoxed that it tried to use Bite instead of Fire Blast. Nessie’s Surf washed them both away with ease, and Blaine was history.

I’d say you’re *puts on sunglasses* washed up.


And so ended a rather unremarkable stretch in our Nuzlocke run. With Nessie achieving level parity and Ophilia achieving seven-badge nirvana, the path forward looks—wait, what the… Hang on, someone’s calling me…

Dude, I’m in the middle of a monologue. What do you want?

Pre-Postgame Content?

Just when I was ready to call in a journal, Bill the Poké Maniac showed up and randomly asks me if I want to go to One Island (gosh, what an original name!). I’d completely forgotten about this diversion in Pokémon LeafGreen, but after seven badges I was ready for a vacation, so I accompanied Bill on his trip to see his fellow Maniac Celio:

What do you mean, “rising”? I’m the contender, fool!

Unfortunately, Celio’s mission to connect his PC system to the Kanto mainland didn’t require “a rising contender,” so Bill sent me on a separate mission to deliver a Meteorite to another fellow Maniac on Two Island.

From there, things started moving really fast: The Maniac/Game Corner proprietor was frantically “looking” (i.e., standing around waiting) for his daughter Lostelle, and wanted Ophilia to check the family home on Three Island…which just happened to be getting overrun by a rogue motorcycle gang at the time.

Good grief, are the Russians funding you too?

Of course, Phili’s crew had a ton of experience smacking down random biker gangs, so they were more than happy to do it again.

Ooh, is this a private party, or can anyone play?
That’s “Miss Rising Contender” to you, pal.

From there, the trail led deep into the Berry Forest, where I stumbled across the ghost of one of my other defeated monsters:

Unfortunately, it was not one of my most useful monsters…

Figuring this might save me the trouble of going Tangela-hunting later, I stuck it in a Poké Ball and kept going.

Lostelle ended up being at the very back of the forest, and she was being tormented by a Pokémon who was trying to assert their dominance over the forest. It took all of about fifteen seconds to cool off said Pokémon’s ambition:

Oh, so you think you’re hot stuff? Let me introduce you to my Hypno…

“The Hammer” efficiently de-escalated the situation, and Ophilia used her “Guide” path action to bring Lostelle back to Two Island and save the day.

All in a day’s work for the glory of the Sacred Flame.

By this point, Bill had fixed whatever it was he was fixing, so we returned to Cinnabar and parted company.

No problem. My bill’s already in the mail.

Actual Conclusions

At this point, all systems are go: I’ve got six strong starters, a wealth of options (…okay, a bunch of Water-types and Ronda) in the bullpen, and a promising strategy to bring down my rival’s Charizard. The path ahead is clear: Beat Giovanni for badge #8, beat Cyrus to reestablish our dominance over him, make a mad dash through Victory Road, and beat every slimy son-of-a-gun in our path to claim Nuzlocke glory. It’s easier said than done, but there’s no team I’d rather do it with than the Phili Six. (…Okay, so  I wouldn’t mind having my Zapdos from Pokémon Red right now.)

Tune in next time as we make make our way north through Pallet Town and see if we can turn our championship potential into production!

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