31/08/2020

Pokemon: New Solo Rules


Dear fellow gamers and Pokefans, I have to celebrate an amazing novelty that's going to change the face of my solo running career forever. As I was innocently watching a Youtube video about a Feebas Solo Run, I stumbled upon the most life-altering piece of Poke-data of them all: it is actually possible to trade Eggs. This means that you can raise the hatched 'Mon as your own, and thus do away with the Obedience cap entirely. I swear this never even crossed my mind; and I would have kept ignoring that blessed feature, possibly for years, if not for that video. So, a giant shout-out to Jrose for broadening my solo run horizons in the most dramatic and exponential way! I totally encourage you to check the man's channel if you don't know it already. He's kinda my polar opposite when it comes to running solo: while I'm all about slick cruising, one-shooting and over-leveling, he's all about mad challenges, under-leveling and pitch-perfect strategies — and it's quite fascinating to watch.

Indeed, the number of potential solo runs exploded with that discovery: I can now cruise with literally every single 'Mon, in any entry from Gen III onwards. Heck, I could even go as far back as Gen II if I had functioning GSC cartridges! And I'm not even mentioning the fact that trading Eggs allows me to run with a Lv. 1 'Mon from the very beginning of the game, thus experiencing the absolute quintessence of solo running and creating the most outstanding bond with my lone ranger. It also conveniently removes the temptation to slap a powerful TM on my One and 'Monly before Trading it, thus altering the purity and regularity of its growth. Not only that, but getting rid of the Obedience matter means that I can now battle to my heart's content, without ever having to worry about hitting the current cap. It always felt a tad counter-intuitive to delay my lone ranger's growth and pace myself, skipping battles and counting levels to avoid a mutiny. This is not how I envision a fulfilling solo run; I want to run and rush around, fight as many Trainers as I want, and generally blaze through the whole region while one-shooting every living thing. 

Of course, there has to be a bit of a catch in such a amazingly perfect situation; and the catch is none other than the impossibility to pick up my One and 'Monly's Nature and Ability — lest I'm ready to go through the trouble of hatching several Eggs. On the other hand, Nature is not really relevant before Gen VI, and the choice of the Ability is only important in the case of an hindering Ability such as Normalize; so things are really not that dramatic after all. (And hey, getting a random Nature and Ability can even provide a modicum of challenge!) With that said, trading an Egg may not be exactly optimal for some 'Mons. Right now, the ones I can think of are the ones that evolve in a given place that may be far into the game, such as Glaceon or Leafeon. For those 'Mons, and those 'Mons only, a regular trade might prove the best option. But hey, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it! I'm hardly done wrapping my head about all my brand-new solo run options; for now, I'll just bask in the sheer joy of being able to cruise with 'Mons that were faraway dreams until now.  

This also neatly solves the eternal quandary of 'Which entry should I tackle?'. The answer used to be "the entry that hosts the coveted One and 'Monly early on", then it became "any entry that hosts the coveted One and 'Monly and has an Obedience cap-friendly Gym Distribution "; now, it can be "any entry that hosts the coveted One and 'Monly" — full stop. Mind you, I'm certainly not planning to go as far as to cruise with a given 'Mon in every game it appears in; however, I can very well envision tackling a 'Mon's introducing entry, along with a much later entry if said 'Mon has been revamped in the meantime. As for 'Mons hailing from trade-devoid Gen I, I'll just cruise with them in FireRed and LeafGreen

Of course, I had to try that shiny new trading avenue right away; and that's how I found myself trading an Egg in my freshest Y run, along with a Magna Armor Slugma to speed up hatching — and a Lucky Egg for my future One and 'Monly, just because I can. Gotta give the new baby a welcome gift, right? The ensuing run is still in progress, but let me tell you: this is absolute dope. I'll keep you posted soon enough, dear fellow gamers!

Before I take my leave, here's one last new rule for the Poke-posts to come — and the ones already written, which I'll amend in the process. Since Pokemon solo running has become a bit of a second career for me, I feel like it's time to be a mite more precise in my run reports titles; and thus, starting now, I'll use the name of the final form my lone ranger reaches in said titles. This way, you'll know immediately if we're dealing with a full evolution line run or a no-evo run. Well, that's all for now, dear fellow gamers; until next post, keep playing and take care!

28/08/2020

Pokemon Y: The Clefable Solo Run



This is the first of three solo runs suggested by you, dear fellow gamers! Clefairy was Melanie's suggestion; this is not a 'Mon I would have cruised with on my own volition, so I was really curious to see how it would fare on the battlefield. If my Jigglypuff solo run was any indication, then Clefairy would fare quite well indeed, being the same kind of cute creature boasting Fairy Type because indeed, I wanted to handle the Kalos version of that 'Mon and get the opportunity to tackle another Fairy 'Mon run. So, how did my little Chamallow get on in Kalos? Quite well indeed, as we'll see right now.


My lovely pink marshmallow started her life as a Cleffa on my Omega Ruby cartridge; and as I was about to trade it, I wondered if I should slap a TM on her. Sure, she had Pound already; but with her miserable base 25 Attack, there was no way she was going to take down 'Mons let alone one-shoot them before a very long time. I finally had her learn Psyshock before the trade, just for the sake of smoothing out her debut and my early run. With that, she was able to make mincemeat out of the opposition right away and to stockpile levels.


Talking about levels, I made a dire mistake during those very early stages of my run. Upon receiving my little Chamallow, I immediately proceeded to raise up her affection in Pokemon Amie in order to get the XP boost. I reasoned that this boost, combined with her fast levelling-up rate, would allow me to skip many Trainers and zoom unhindered through Kalos. Alas, I forgot a crucial variable in that equation: the Trade XP boost, which made Chamallow level up even faster. And thus I found myself in a very weird and unprecedented situation where my One and 'Monly gained levels too fast. I had to pace myself like never before, skipping every single non-mandatory Trainer between Santalune and Coumarine. I kid you not. I got some respite after that and could fight a bit more, before things got hairy again right before Snowbelle. After that, I was mercifully free from all Obedience obligations; but lord, was it aggravating to go full stealth mode for so long. I initially wanted to go faster, but I ultimately ended up tiptoeing and trembling at the sight of a Trainer how ironic! Anyway, that's a lesson: never combine Trade, Pokemon Amie and Fast leveling rate you can have two of them, but all three is a recipe for disaster.


Let's now talk about Moves, shall we? Clefairy is pretty well-endowed when it comes to learnsets, and I wielded a couple of different Move pools over the course of my run. See for yourselves (new additions are in red):

Move Pool #1: Psybeam, Pound, Wake-up Slap, Metronome
Move Pool #2: Psybeam, Wake-Up Slap, Return, Magic Leaf
Move Pool #3: Psybeam, Wake-Up Slap, Return, Thunderbolt
Move Pool #4: Psybeam, Dazzling Gleam, Firethrower, Thunderbolt
Move Pool #5: Psybeam, Dazzling Gleam, Firethrower, Ice Beam

Metronome sounded pretty good on paper; but since I couldn't control usable Moves as tightly as with Assist, the cracks quickly showed and I ditched it without regret. As for Flamethrower, I stumbled upon it in Anistar City's Pokemon Centre, as I talked to the Hex Maniac at just the right time. I never found that TM in Kalos before, and it was a real boon for the Pokemon League. Which, for the record, was a breeze just like all the Gyms before it, as a matter of fact. And good old Psybeam was in my pool from beginning to end! Heck, I don't think I've ever hanged onto a Move that long in a solo run before. Of course, that setting was a tad artificial, but it was fulfilling nonetheless; and ultimately, it's really all that matters, ain't it?


Long story short: Clefairy rocks. She has great offensive stats and the learnset to match, pretty decent defensive stats, and a crap ton of HP. Her only weakness is her pitiful speed; but being oveleveled, I still managed to outspeed most of Kalos' fauna. Here's to you, Melanie: the Clefairy Solo Run you'll never tackle! As for me, that's one more X&Y solo run under my belt, and a jolly good one at that; and now, we're gonna move on to something less cute shall I say darker? Stay tuned for the upcoming run report, dear fellow gamers!

11/08/2020

Pokemon Y: The Manectric Solo Run



It's safe to say that at that point, I've wanted to cruise with Gen III's signature Electric 'Mon for years; however, there were always flashier 'Mons that caught my fancy, and I kept delaying that run. But no more: it's finally Manectric's time to shine on the battlefield, and show if it's as electrifying as its counterpart Luxray. I must admit I had reservations: Manectric always seemed incredibly frail to me heck, I cannot remember not one-shooting it in my runs and I harboured serious doubts about its viability as a lone ranger. However, I needn't have worried: Manectric quickly became a force to be reckoned with, all the more so with Mega Evolution slapped on top because of course, I had to cruise with the mega-evolved version. You didn't expect less from me, did ya?


My little Orage and her Manectite hailed from my Omega Ruby cartridge courtesy of X, my breeding cartridge for this summer, not hosting Electrike in the wild. Luckily enough, I didn't have to worry about Orage leveling up too fast: Manectric's Slow leveling rate made sure that I never had to worry about hitting that darn Obedience cap on the contrary, I could raise my Orage's affection in Pokemon Amie and use the Lucky Egg like it was going out of fashion. My lone ranger boasted the Static Rod ability, which was properly awesome and made her even deadlier on the battlefield with the added bonus that she was not paralyzed a single time during my run. She was blessed with a Brave nature, i.e. higher Attack and lower Speed; with the latter being Manectric's higher stat and the benefit of overleveling, it could totally suffer a bit of lowering. That made my Orage a perfect mixed attacker, which allowed me to make the most of her non-negligible set of Physical Moves.


And since I'm mentioning Moves, I got a nice surprise in that department or more like plenty of them, really. Manectric's learnset is buzzing (har har) with Electric Moves, both Special and Physical; with a whopping five offensive Electric Moves to choose from in her leveling-up learnset only, I made the most of the opportunity and wielded them all in turns. I finally settled on Thunderbolt for the game's late stages, along with Return and a Dark-Type Hidden Power; as for the fourth slot, I decided to dedicate it to a Physical Electric Move, and ran to the Move Reminder to relearn Wild Charge. That's when I discovered the presence of Fire Fang in Manectric's learnset, and proceeded to learn it on the spot. Of course, I could have aimed even higher and rolled with Flamethrower; but Fire Fang did a great job, and I was happy to exploit Manectric's 'natural' learnset.


And mind you, it's not like I direly needed the most powerful TMs out there: with Mega evolution in tow, my Orage was basically unstoppable. Cherry on the cake, I really loved her mega-evolved design so much so that I wish it could have been her final evolutionary stage instead of a mere ME. And since I'm mentioning design, I didn't quite fancy Manectric's looks. Electrike was quite adorable, and Mega Manectric was sleek and gorgeous as heck; Manectric, on the other hand, looked pretty unremarkable to me. It's a bit too small, with too many bits sticking out and a weird posture; and don't get me started on its ears, which look kinda gross and out of place. Good thing I could switch to Mega Manectric whenever I wanted to and please my retinas. I don't have much to add about Orage's battle prowess, really: her lowest point was Cyllage's Rock Gym, and after gaining the Mega Ring in Shalour, it was pretty much one-shooting until the end.


And so, Manectric totally exceeded my expectations and proved to be stellar solo run material; and as far as regional Electric 'Mons go, it certainly fares better than its statistically-crippled Gen IV counterpart Luxray. And with that, the Pokemon Summer 2020 keeps rolling; stay tuned for more solo goodness, dear fellow gamers!

03/08/2020

Pokemon Omega Ruby: The Delcatty solo run



So, I'm back to ORAS again, after ditching my Delcatty solo run one year ago. The reason for that most unexpected comeback is pretty simple: I recently discovered that ORAS are an utter and complete treasure trove of 'Mons that are incredibly hard, if not impossible, to find in other games. Glameow, Larvesta, Lopunny, Ponyta, Deerling, Clefairy: you name them, they roam Gen VI Hoenn. Heck, even super-duper rare Venomoth itself can be found in the wild in ORAS! And don't get me started on all the Mega Stones lying around, which are just begging to be picked up and slapped on my next One and 'Monly. Mega Audino, here I come! Anyway, pair that sheer wealth of 'Mons and MS with the very convenient possibility to trade with X&Y and pretty lenient Obedience conditions, and you get a massive amount of potential Gen VI solo runs.

Well, now you have.

Of course, gaining access to that treasure trove of solo runs involved finishing at least one run of ORAS; and if you remember well, Omega Ruby and I didn't exactly part on the best of terms. However, I had an inkling at the time that I could like ORAS with a bit of tweaking namely, to treat it as its own unique game, and to avoid playing it back-to-back with Ruby and Sapphire. Luckily, I hadn't erased my OR save file from last year; and so, I was able to dive right back into my aborted Delcatty run and to finish it in one smooth, clean go. And mind you, it didn't even hurt; in fact, I daresay that I really enjoyed OR this time around. Not touching Gen III for a whole year really cleaned up my memories of Hoenn, allowing me to start anew with OR and to appreciate it on its own merits. It's still too early to elaborate on my impressions of those remakes; but I'll sure get around to it once a have a couple of runs under my belt.


At any rate, I enjoyed the second half of that Delcatty solo run, and I took the purple feline all the way to the Elite Four and beyond. And it wasn't even that hard, too! Although I had left my Delcatty with a crappy Move pool made of Secret Power, Assist, Feint Attack and Dig, I had no problem progressing and vanquishing the opposition. And with my run firmly back on track, I launched into the Great Quest to Get a Decent Move Pool. Mind you, my Move pool from last year was serviceable enough: Secret Power hit quite hard with added status effect bonus, and Assist allowed me to access six extra Moves Surf, Brick Break, Strength, Cut, Fly and Dragon Breath. However, I wouldn't be able to rely on Assist during the final showdown; and thus I needed more Move options.

There's no such thing as 'too much water' but more on that in a future post. Yup, teaser!

And thus began the most backtracky fetch fest of them all, which had me Flying, Surfing and Diving all around Hoenn to get my hands on a measly four TMs that didn't even have the decency to fully exploit my Am├ęthyste's stats. See for yourself:

Shadow Ball: Inside Mt. Pyre's probably the easiest to find.

Thunderbolt: In New Mauville; obtained by running an errand for Wattson, after beating Primal Groudon.

Ice Beam: In Sea Mauville, obtainable only with Dive.

Return: Available only in Pacifidlog, i.e. at End Game's door. RSE let you get a second Return TM from Professor Cozmo in Fallarbor; ORAS offers no such convenience and forces you to go all the way to Pacifidlog.


Those four Moves made the cut to the Pokemon League; they could have been a dope set indeed, if not for the fact that my Delcatty boasted a Careful nature and thus a lowered Sp. Attack meaning that she couldn't make the most of Shadow Ball, Thunderbolt and Ice Beam. And since I Moon-Stoned her before she hit lv. 46 and learnt Play Rough, I was stuck with a mere single Physical Move to exploit her most powerful offensive stat. Now, did this hinder me in any way? Not at all; I steamrolled the Elite Four and the Champion just the same and all the other Trainers before them, for that matter.

All's well that ends well.

At any rate, I now have a finished OR run under my belt, which means that the stage is set for serial recruiting, breeding, MS-picking and trading. Ditto being kinda hard to find in ORAS how very ironic indeed I already recruited a specimen in X and sent him to my OR cartridge for immediate breeding purposes. As for the other half, I have a number of runs already lined up; but for suspense's sake, I'll keep the identity of my future One and 'Monlies under wraps until I post my reports. Until then, dear fellow gamers, keep playing and take care!