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Offline SubmachineTopic starter

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Do potions make a Pokémon Nuzlocke too easy? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=68240.msg1304677#msg1304677
« on: January 28, 2021, 08:34:43 pm »
This is a topic I have not brought up before, even though I already did two Nuzlockes on the forum. But the title says it all: Is it okay to use potions and other items in battle, or should it be part of the core rules to not allow them? This is what I try to find an answer for today.

If you are in a hurry, skip to Item#4 (4. Do Potions Make a Nuzlocke Too Easy?), where I get to the point.


1. History

Recently, popular youtuber Jaiden Animations[1] published a video[2], where she attempted a Nuzlocke in Platinum for the first time. She has already played the game, so only the Nuzlocke part was new to her. Before I go further, I have to put a Spoiler Warning here for how her Nuzlocke attempt went.

Spoiler for JaidenAnimations Platinum Nuzlocke Spoilers:
Unbelievably, she won! I was astounded, because I lost all 7 of my attempts, even though I was a competitive player once. I thought maybe she is just that good, but then two things got revealed. First: She didn't actually win. The Elite Four wiped the floor with her, and her fans allowed her to redo. Second: She used potions, and I did not.

So she used potions for her Nuzlocke. This one part stood out for me, because I have avoided potions since my first Nuzlocke, and treated potion Nuzlockes as an inferior challenge. Let's explore why.


2. Accessibility

Potions are cheap. I remember my first non-Nuzlocke game in Diamond, which, coincidentally, was also my very first time playing Pokémon. I barely knew anything back then, but I do remember being excessive with buying stuff. Always full on the best pokéballs, highest grade potions, and most expensive moves - that's what the Veilstone Supermarket was for, after all. And I haven't gotten anywhere near to bankrupt up until I got to the Elite Four (I got greedy with Proteins). So, if a noob can always have plenty of high-grade healing materials up until the endgame while being excessive, a reasonable Nuzlocker can be frugal and have all necessary healing items even for the final stretch. (Not to mention berries provide a significant amount of renewable healing too.)


3. The Impact of Potions

So, how do people use potions in Pokémon, you may ask? In the most basic case, you do not keep a Pokémon in battle against an opponent, that you know has super effective moves to use against you. On the contrary, the logical thing is to use a Pokémon that resists your opponent's strongest moves. This already makes it very rare to see a 1-hit KO from your opponents.

Best case scenario: Your opponent's strongest move deals less than 40% damage. In this case, you can exchange attacks twice, then heal third. Then repeat. This works, because potions are always used first, then Pokémon attack second, regardless base speed stats.

Bad but not the worst scenario: Your opponent can kill you in two hits. But even in this case, you can spam potions until the opponent either performs a "low roll", misses, or runs out of PP.

And those are only the basic cases. Potion users have other strategies too:

1.) Set up Def / Sp.Def / Evasion, and use potions when HP is below 50%.
2.) Switch in a defensive Pokémon, and heal up the rest of the team while your opponent struggles with only one.
3.) Sacrifice an expendable Pokémon to heal up important ones on the bench.

So, potions are not only cheap but versatile. But are they strong enough to remove the challenge from a Nuzlocke? This brings us to my final point.


4. Do Potions Make a Nuzlocke Too Easy?

I always adamantly thought the answer to this question was yes, but I have never actually tested it. So for the sake of this investigation, I am starting a new Nuzlocke game to know for sure. But this time, I will allow myself to use potions.

For this one, I checked the official rules on Bulbapedia[3]. Here it says that not using potions is part of the Optional Rules under Increased Difficulty. I also figured out some stuff about how to make this a fair experiment. In the end, this is the ruleset I came up with:

  • Core Rules apply. (This part is mandatory anyway.)
  • The near-universally used rules also apply.
  • I will not use any of the Decreased Difficulty rules, because then I would not know which rule made the Nuzlocke too easy, and could not prove my point.
  • I will use some of the Increased Difficulty rules: random starter, no legendaries, no walkthroughs.

The reason to use some of the extra rules is to not deviate much from my usual gameplay. I am used to playing with these restrictions, and the only thing I want to change is using potions. However, I will keep an eye out during my adventure, whether these extra rules hinder me enough to distort the results.

This is a confined experiment, so I do not expect much of an audience. I am mostly documenting this for general use, so I will not make constant reports and will not upload videos like I did in my previous Nuzlockes here. I may post some key discoveries, and I will post at least once, to make a conclusion after I win or lose.

With this challenge, I risk proving myself wrong, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.~





Sources:
[1] Jaiden Animations' channel
[2] Jaiden's Platinum Nuzlocke
[3] Nuzlocke Rules on Bulbapedia
[4] The mandatory Rick Roll link. Or is it?
And we keep driving into the night
It's a late goodbye, such a late goodbye...

~ Platinum Quest ~

Offline SubmachineTopic starter

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Re: Do potions make a Pokémon Nuzlocke too easy? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=68240.msg1304679#msg1304679
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2021, 06:09:27 pm »
The first checkpoint was the Rock-type Gym Leader. Roark is usually a monster with Cranidos, so I was still cautious with my team's levels. But as it turned out, if you take care of Roark's first two with a Water or a Grass type move (I had to catch a Psyduck and teach it Water Gun), then switch into Onix, he cannot do anything.

Having a rare Onix definitely made it easier, but the knowledge that I could heal made sure that Cranidos had no chance to win. Just teach it Rock Smash, otherwise it would take forever to deal significant damage.

Moving on with a Psyduck, an Onix, a Staravia, a Starly, a Magikarp, and a Ponyta.
And we keep driving into the night
It's a late goodbye, such a late goodbye...

~ Platinum Quest ~

Offline SubmachineTopic starter

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Re: Do potions make a Pokémon Nuzlocke too easy? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=68240.msg1304680#msg1304680
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2021, 03:03:40 pm »
Here is another update. Galactic Commander Jupiter has a Skuntank that hits like a truck, but it can be cheesed with potions. Here's how I did it.

This a generic strategy that can be used for almost any trainer. It is because they almost always send out their weakest Pokémon first. Send out Staravia and start using Double Team to raise your evasion 6 times (the maximum), and heal when it is necessary. If you do this while your opponent has their weakest team member out, you do not risk dying, and you can heal any status problems that you get inflicted with. Staravia is especially good for this, because in case the opponent also wants to set up, you can use Whirlwind to reset the opponent's progress.

Once you maximized your evasion, enjoy not getting hit a lot. And if you get hit, just heal back to max health.
And we keep driving into the night
It's a late goodbye, such a late goodbye...

~ Platinum Quest ~

Offline Linkcat

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Re: Do potions make a Pokémon Nuzlocke too easy? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=68240.msg1304686#msg1304686
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2021, 08:04:32 am »
I would suggest only being able to use potions that you find on the ground or are given to you.
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