Over the years there have been many Pokemon games released. Each game takes place in a different “region” of the Pokémon world and with one exception each region has eight Pokemon Gyms led by a Gym Leader that the player has to battle in order to prove his or her abilities in order to gain entry to the Pokémon League. One of the most infamous of these Gym Leaders is Whitney, the Normal-type Leader of the Goldenrod City Gym in the Johto Region (the setting for Generation 2’s Gold, Silver, and Crystal versions and the Generation 4 remakes HeartGold and SoulSilver.)
As I wrote yesterday, I purchased and began playing the digital releases of Hold and Silver on my 3ds yesterday. It was only a matter of time before I made it to the third gym and faced off again Little Miss Cuteness herself. Before I go any further, let me talk a little bit about her Pokémon and the Normal type.
The Normal type is the most common type of Pokémon there is. Completely immune to ghost type moves and weak only against fighting types, they also tend to be able to use the widest range of moves of any other type. As a ten-year old kid back in 2000 I was not entirely aware of this, nor were many of us from what I gathered from the various Pokemon gaming groups I’m part of on Facebook. Many of us were simply not prepared for a master of the Normal in Gold and Silver. There is almost no fighting Pokemon available before you reach Goldenrod, and unless you devoted a lot of extra time leveling your Pokemon, which a lot of us didn’t (back in those days I only used my starter, which always put me at a huge disadvantage) you were bound to always be a level or two lower than her first Pokemon, Clefairy. Clefairy is easy enough to plow your way through, but then you are left with her signature pokemon, Miltank.
A pink cow Pokemon with incredible defensive and attack stats, this is the one that meant a near-certain doom for a newbie’s team, even into the days of HeartGold and SoulSilver. It’s primary moves are Stomp, a power physical attack that has a chance to make the target flinch (miss it’s turn) as well as dealing a decent amount of damage, and Rollout. Rollout is a rock-type move introduced in Gold and Silver that is a five-turn move that gains more and more power each turn. Effectively, it has the potential to knock out a good portion of your team without you being able to go anything about it. And as flying and bug type Pokemon are among the most common you will find before Goldenrod, it is almost a certain one hit knock out if they are put up against this Miltank. And if you chose Cyndaquil, the fire starter, at the beginning of the game, you’re in for even more trouble, since rock is also super effective against fire.
I knew once I got to the outskirts of Goldenrod that I needed to work on my team before I was ready to take her on. The only Pokémon in my team that I knew might stand a chance at defeating her was my Onix, a giant rock and ground type Pokemon I hunted for for almost a half hour. Rock resists its own type, and ground also offers resistance so even with the attack power increasing each time if I could get Onix high enough in level it could have at least two or three good turns to try knocking out the Miltank. So I spent two hours battling every trainer, wild Pokémon, and Whitney’s gym trainers to level up not only Onix but a couple of others, as well, in case Onix went down. As I learned the hard way in my youth, relying only on one Pokémon can easily backfire and cost you the battle.
After the last trainer in the gym was defeated, I hurried off to the Pokémon Center to heal my team and then rushed back to the gym to challenge the Gym Leader. I started with Onix, as planned, and as usual Whitney led with Clefairy. Onix was level 20 and Clefairy only level 16, so I knew this was going to be an easy one. However, rock types being as slow as they are, Whitney moved first, and attached with Metronome. Metronome is a move that transforms into any Pokémon move in existence, and as luck might have it hers turned into Iron Tail, a Steel-type move that is super effective against rock types. This brought down my health a lot. But Onix followed up with Headbutt and brought her down almost to the end, and Onix moved first the next turn and was able to knock out Clefairy with Mud-Slap.
This win made Onix move up to level 21, one level higher than Miltank. Within seconds I was facing off against Miltank, the bane of my ten-year old existence. Miltank moved first with Rollout, as expected, but its first move did only a couple of points worth of damage, so I took the opportunity to attempt to lower its accuracy with Mud-Slap. It did not do much in terms of damage, but it’s secondary effect lowered its accuracy, which is one way to put a Rollout use in its place. If Rollout misses then the next time it hits it goes back to its first-round power, which is never any good even against those weak against it. However, the second time hit. I still had plenty of Hit Points (HP) left, so I chose to do another Mud-Slap. Again, it’s accuracy went down, and again Rollout hit. This brought me to about a quarter of the way down, so I used screech to drastically lower its high defense stat, preparing to end the battle the next turn regardless as to whether or not Onix was taken out. This time, Rollout missed, and I followed up with a powerful Headbutt. This left Miltank in the red, but it still went ahead with its Stomp attack, leaving me with only five hit points. Whoever moved next would defeat the other.
Surprisingly, I went next. A critical-hit with a second Headbutt knocked out Miltank and (literally) left Whitney crying. I got my revenge for all the frustration I’d felt over the years and all the many times and in-game Poke-money I lost trying to best her. I accepted my Plain Badge proudly, thankful that all the years of playing Pokémon prepared me for the rematch of the century.