Pokemon White: rumble in the basement

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Somebody–we’ll call him Mr. 42–asked me the other day if I knew where to find the moves for my Pokemons, because finding the moves might reduce my frustration with the game. This was an exceedingly fair question considering my previous entry in which I said, repeatedly, that I had no idea what to do with Bide. I have indeed figured out how to check out the moves of my little dudes. That’s not the problem. The problem is match-ups.

Which again became glaringly apparent when I descended into the museum basement for my rematch with Lenora.

after the jump, Throh-down

This rematch was all about Throh, a Fighting-type Pokemon who is one of the two newest members of Team Tepignite (that just rolls off the tongue, no?). Throh is a Judo Pokemon. That is his species. I didn’t really have to write that, but it amuses me to do so. I went looking for Throh in the grasses outside of Pinwheel Forest after a commenter–we’ll call him Mr. Binky–advised me to do so, and I’ve spent the last few days leveling him up in those same grasslands. By the time we headed down for the rematch he was at Level 19 and occupied the primary upper left fighting position for my team.

As she had previously, Lenora sent out Herdier. Herdier immediately went aggressive, throwing Takedown at me right away. Throh took some damage, but curiously so did Herdier because of something called ‘recoil’.

One of the difficult things for me to learn in the heat of these little battles has been to use Bide-type moves properly. My tendency at the outset was to look for a spammy attack move I could use against most opponents. That was okay at the beginning, but as I’ve progressed I’ve come to understand that this is counterproductive. Some opponents use moves that absorb energy and send the damage back. So managing my defenses and judiciously using moves that might be considered more passive became imperative. This was tough for me, because I just want to throw rocks and lightning at people. Let’s just say when I play first-person shooters at a LAN party I never get accused of showing muzzle discipline.

Training outside Pinwheel Forest taught me how to do this better. Somewhat. So my first move with Throh was Focus Energy. Here’s how the move is described,

The user takes a deep breath and focuses so that critical hits land more easily.

My first move after having been bum-rushed by Herdier was to take a deep breath. This makes sense if you consider Throh’s species and look past the fact that he’s a Thing-looking mother-effer. Herdier immediately hit me with Takedown again, with the same result. Some damage to me and some to him because of the recoil. I took a deep breath myself in RL and chose Vital Throw, a move guaranteed not to miss.

And boom goes the dynamite.

Herdier was done, just like that. Throh got some ridiculous amount of XP and bumped up to Level 20.

Lenora then sent out Watchdog (Lv.20), the meerkat dude who waxed the floor with me in our first go round. My DS asked me if I wanted to keep fighting with Throh or send out a new Pokemon. I decided to give Throh a break as he was damaged and I sent out my Level 19 electric pony.

Blitzle didn’t stand a chance. Watchdog, standing there all smug in his stupid little tunic, used Retaliate once and that was it for Blitzle. Next I sent out Munna. Same result. Retaliate once. Munna out.

Get your rump in here, Pignite. Give him the what-for with some Flame Charge. Finally some damage to Watchdog. Another application of Flame Charge and Watchdog was below fifty percent. By then Pignite had taken too much damage and had to go back out.

That left a slightly damaged Throh, Timburr, and Roggenrola. I’ve come to have my doubts about Roggenrola. His Rock Blast is cool, but he’s just kind of flaky. Likewise with Timburr, who is another Fighting-type on my team but who, unlike Throh, I cannot seem to master. His attacks–Rock Throw and Low Kick–constantly leave me, and my opponents, underwhelmed.

I gambled and sent Throh back in and immediately healed him up with a potion. Watchdog countered, re-damaging him, but by then it was too late. I’d already chosen Vital Throw again, a move that goes last. After weathering Watchdog’s attack, Throh wiped him out with Vital Throw.

For. The. Win.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Thing is, I don’t think it should have been this close. There were a couple of moments in the battle where I thought Lenora was going to take me out. Times when Watchdog was using some kind of hypnosis thing and I’d have to swap my dudes out because they were asleep. And I’m sure this is because I simply do not get how moves and types match up against other moves and types. I’m getting a clearer understanding of this as I work my way through, following the advice to look online to figure out what types are weak against what other types, and strategizing accordingly. The problem here is, I don’t get how you’re supposed to get that in the real time of an actual battle, especially against other human players. I expect this will come with experience. We shall see.

For now I think I’ll just bask in the joy of my victory and admire my shiny new badge.

Click here for previous Pokemon White diary.

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