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A Sapphire tale.

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With Pokemon OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire freshly announced, I've decided to tell a little story about a recent experience with Pokemon Sapphire. Interesting? Maybe not, but it might help pass a few idle minutes.

A few months ago, I got to thinking about my old teams in old games, many of whom have migrated onward and are currently kicking back in Kalos, even being used often in online battles to this day. I decided to turn each game on for the first time in a while and take a look at the Hall of Fame for old times' sake. Pearl, FireRed... but the first game I tried was Pokemon Sapphire. The internal battery was long dead, freezing time in Hoenn forever, but the game still mostly functioned... yet there was a small problem.

No Hall of Fame.

I was in Lilycove City, and a quick check of my badges told me that I had seven of them. Not eight, seven. The last one was missing. A quick glance at my Pokedex reminded me of the Pokemon I had been using, because there were only a few evolution lines registered as caught. My team had been Blaziken, Beautifly, Dustox, Azumarill, Manectric and Skarmory.

I barely even remembered them, and have no idea where most of them are now, but they certainly weren't in Hoenn. My party was almost empty, my PC utterly vacant. No, there was one other Pokemon registered in my Pokedex, and it was the only Pokemon I still had.

My HM slave Zigzagoon.

He was very low-levelled, and here I was in Lilycove City,a late-game location. No means of flying. Barely any way to compete with the local Pokemon in battle. I could have just shut the game off, but one thing stopped me; there was no sign of Kyogre in my Pokedex. I had made it right up to the start of the Kyogre event and just... stopped playing, trading my six team members onward. At this time, Pokemon Bank was still not out yet, and I was hoping to use the GTS to trade for the version exclusive legends I didn't have in Pokemon Y, so I figured one more Kyogre would be helpful. I wanted to go and get it.

Back to the small problem of having one underlevelled, HM slave Zigzagoon.

I felt bad for him. He'd only ever been used for his talents with Surf, Strength and Cut back in the days before X and Y, or even Black and White. He'd waited for me for years, all alone. It was then that I decided two things; that I was going to capture Kyogre, and that this faithful Pokemon would be on my team when I did it.

We worked our way up from there, together. I fished in Lilycove City to train Zigzagoon against the weak Tentacool in the ocean, the only real option that wasn't suicide, and even caught a level 2 Tentacool as my second team member, but things were going too slowly for my liking. Eventually, I did the only sensible* thing and ran. All the way back to Mauville City, on foot, running from every encounter along the way, and thanking fortune that the only opponents that were too fast to run from on the first try were Linoone obsessed with Mud Sport. We made it.

(*Disclaimer: Action might not be sensible. Do not try this at home.)

From there, I turned my attentions to obtaining a full team, without using the Pokemon that I had already raised often in other games. I wanted a team I liked, even if they weren't the most effective choices. While training Zigzagoon and Tentacool north of Slateport City, I captured an Oddish as my third team member. Trained more.

I knew in the future that I would need a Pokemon that could fly, and so I headed towards Petalburg City on foot, debating whether to capture a Taillow or a Wingull. On the way there, I met and captured a Poochyena, one of my favourite Hoenn Pokemon, and my team grew to four members. Then, passing through the city and reaching the ocean, I encountered a Taillow.

He was tough. I thought I had leveled sufficiently to at least handle this, but this tiny thing took down my Poochyena and Oddish with little trouble. I decided that this was a Pokemon I wanted for my team, and used my Zigzagoon... and finally managed to capture him. Perfect. Five members now.

But what of the sixth? I had no idea which Pokemon I wanted, and resorted to an online Pokedex to decide. Eventually, I came across one of my least favourite Pokemon of all, one I had tried to use in previous playthroughs and simply could not stand: Lileep. The fossil was probably still there, in the desert, waiting for me to pick it up. But should I? Ehhhh...

Yep. I found it and went back to Rustboro City, and shortly thereafter had a complete Pokemon team. Zigzagoon, Tentacool, Oddish, Poochyena, Taillow and Lileep. This would do nicely, but there was a long road ahead.

We trained. Pokemon evolved. I taught Lileep an odd set of moves from my many leftover TMs which she still has to this day, one that made little sense but that I actually enjoyed using. I taught Taillow to fly, Tentacool to surf, freed up Zigzagoon's moveset so that he could be more than a HM slave. Eventually, they started to evolve. Oddish became Gloom, and an encounter with a Leaf Stone evolved her into Vileplume. Tentacool became Tentacruel, Taillow became Swellow, Poochyena became Mightyena. My faithful Zigzagoon became a Linoone, like those that had chased us through the wilderness to Mauville. Lileep... well, five out of six isn't bad, right?

Eventually, I decided that it was time. We went underwater, we took on Team Aqua and won. Then, Sootopolis City and the Cave of Origin, and a difficult battle against Kyogre. It took many attempts, but in the end, we prevailed. I captured Kyogre, my objective fulfilled.

But why stop there, when there was also a Rayquaza still waiting for me at the Sky Pillar?

I'd come too far to give up now. We took on Wallace in the Sootopolis Gym and obtained that long-awaited eighth badge. Lileep evolved into Cradily. We went to the Pokemon League together, and after endless attempts, we defeated the Champion. Then, the Sky Pillar... and we won there, too. Captured Rayquaza after a lengthy battle.

With Linoone, Tentacruel, Vileplume, Mightyena, Swellow and Cradily, I stood atop the world in more ways than one.

I transferred them all onward, my six team members, Kyogre and Rayquaza, all the way forward to Black 2. When Pokemon Bank came out, I sent them all on to Kalos in Pokemon Y. I traded Kyogre away for a Groudon, kept this Rayquaza and traded my others for what I was missing. Obtained every legendary Pokemon (Diancie wasn't around then). Job done, at last.

As for my six team members, most of them are enjoying retirement in Kalos. Some of them still fight from time to time. Tentacruel sometimes finds her way into my online team, and Cradily, with her odd moveset, remains one of my favourite Pokemon to use in spite of how much I had disliked the species before. Linoone is a forgotten HM slave no longer, but a Pokemon that will stay with me as long as I can transfer.

I never got around to capturing any of the other Hoenn legends. Latias, Regirock, Regice, Registeel. They're still out there, even after my team has moved on.

I guess I did leave a Plusle and a Girafarig behind...

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  1. Phoenixon's Avatar
  2. Ellron's Avatar
    This is a great story! If I may ask, what's the unusual moveset of your Cradily?


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