Monday, April 7, 2014

A Battle with the Champion

I had met the champion before in Lysandre's cafe, but I had forgotten who this Diantha was.  In the best game of all time, Pokemon Red version, I remember being absolutely taken aback by my rival Gary being my final opponent.  Whenever someone had referred to the final gauntlet of trainers in that game, it was always the "Elite Four" or the "Final Four".  It was never the "Elite Four and also the Champion".

Battling Gary specifically, even, was a surprise--and it was even more shocking because the last time I had encountered him in that game was in Saffron City in the Silph building--at least three gym-badges before.  This is exactly enough time to totally forget about that character.

Similarly, the re-introduction of Diantha here was a surprise: "oh yeah, you're still a person aren't you?!" It's not nearly as cool as battling your rival, but it's still something.  It was like battling Steven in Ruby version or Cynthia in Diamond.

Diantha thanked me for taking care of Team Flare and graciously accepted my challenge.  Time for battle!

I find it a little funny that I spent an entire day earlier in this year gushing about how cool Hawlucha is given the fact that it was never formally on my team.  When I made my way through Victory Road, I was reminded of this since it seemed like every single trainer carried one--and all of them had some obnoxious Fairy-killing move like Steel Wing or Poison Jab.

Her first pokemon was Hawlucha.  Is the word I am looking for "opportune" or "destined"?

I had led the match with Hippowdon for tanking and scouting purposes--most of the pokemon I am coming across are physical attackers (like Hawlucha) and Hippowdon can at least put things to sleep and stall them with Sandstorm.  This is exactly what happened, I put Hawlucha to sleep, letting sandstorm whittle it down,then sent in Froakles, hoping to score an easy kill with a super-effective ice beam.  However, Diantha used a Full Restore on the switch.  The result of this is that I switched my Greninja into a fully healthy Hawlucha who not only outspeeds my low-level ninjafrog, but also hits it super-effectively (since Fighting is strong against Dark). 

After sacrificing Greninja to get a free switch-in, I chose Venusaur for some sleep powder/leech seed stalling while I used Revive and hyper potion.  I was positive that I would need that froggie later in the match.

I had calculated it so that Venusaur would survive four hits after Hawlucha woke up, so I set-up my now-trademark "Leech Seed KO/Solarbeam switch KO" move (charging Solarbeam on a turn such that it will hit a switch-in pokemon after a KO).  The issue is that Hawlucha scored a critical hit at the most important part of the exchange and Venusaur was taken out.  Hippowdon had just enough durability to take out Hawlucha.

I remembered her next pokemon, Aurorus, from a trainer battle following my eighth gym match.  Aurorus is the evolution of the fossil pokemon I got at the start of the game--and is Rock/Ice typed.

Now, what do both Ice and Rock HATE?

I sent in Lucario and immediately "went Mega".  The question was whether I wanted to risk MegaLuk's health with a turn 1 Swords Dance or if I wanted to go for the sweep immediately.  I play dangerously.  Mega Lucario used Swords Dance against Aurorus, who used Reflect (thank you).

The rest of the match was an easy sweep: Lucario One-Hit KO'ed Aurorus with Aura Sphere, then the bulky Dragon Goodra with Close Combat and the evolution of the fossil Tyrunt, Tyrantrum, with another Close Combat.

Her next pokemon was the Grass/Ghost pokemon Gourgeist, but I had taught Lucario Shadow Claw when I took on the Psychic gym for type coverage, so the Swords Dance-boosted super-effective ghost move One Hit KO'ed Gourgeist as well.  Lucario just cannot be stopped.

Her final pokemon was Gardevoir, who actually surprised me by Mega-Evolving, but Lucario outsped it and defeated it in one hit as well.