Pickymon, Chapter X: The Real Grind Was The Friends We Made Along The Way

Based on a concept from @ZombieHam on Twitter, Pickymon is what happens when you decide to play the original Pokémon Red with a simple twist – you only get one team of six for the entire game. The rules are simple:
  • Including your starter, you may only catch or purchase 6 pokémon throughout the entire game.
  • No glitching!
  • Trading is not allowed, and you can’t release a pokémon to catch another – once it’s in your team, it stays in your team to the end.
  • This includes Hitmonlee/Hitmonchan, Kabuto/Omanyte and Lapras – if you pick them up, you keep them.
  • Evolution is not only allowed, but required – you can only obtain Flash (HM05) by having ten pokémon in your Pokédex!
  • The game is over when you catch or defeat MewTwo.
Our intrepid writer Charles has taken the challenge. This is his story.

Just a short one from me this time, chronicling my Elite Four preparations. The initial plan was to grind some party members up to specific levels to learn certain moves, then keep going until everyone else was around level 50 or until I got bored. In practice, I ended up doing it a bit differently – prioritising the ones I have goals for as planned, but if they get too worn down (or, on occasion, knocked out), I just keep going through the team, working everyone out as much as possible.

Either way, it means spending a lot of time cycling up and down in this spot:

Sometimes I swerve near the ladders for a cheap thrill

The rotation of team members means I get a proper sense of their movesets again, seeing some of their more powerful acquisitions in action:

It looks like he’s trying to summon something

In my first grind cycle, Steevee learns Pin Missile at the expense of Double Kick, meaning I sacrifice the only Fighting-type move in my arsenal for what is now the only Bug-type move, to be used by my electric pokémon. Type-specific moves for the fringe types feel like something of an afterthought in Gen 1 – Smol can’t learn any Bug-type moves by level-up or TM, and the only Dragon-type move available for Caster (or anyone else) is Dragon Rage, which does 40HP damage regardless of circumstance, meaning any type advantage it might have is irrelevant.

Nevertheless, I need my team strong for the final stretch of the game, so I work them all out to their absolute limits. This means that I do encounter this for the first time in a while:

And also the second and third time, but who’s keeping count?

Other than that, there’s not much to tell. I get FlappyNerd up to level 54 to learn the intriguing Mirror Move. SuperSalad comes all the way up to 55 and picks up Sleep Powder, meaning that 1/3rd of my team can now induce somnambulance at will. And FirePupper hits the big five-o, meaning that he learns Flamethrower, and I can finally do this:

Don’t worry, I put oven mitts on

Drumroll please…

Heckin’ majestic pupper

And so, the weekend’s adventures leave my team looking like this:

Is cycling up and down in a straight line and adventure?

And so I’m ready. Well, they’re ready. I need to go shopping. I want to get through the Elite Four in a single run if I can, so for that I’ll need to do some smart, considered, tactical purchasing.

Bulk buying is smart and tactical.

I satisfy myself with a few Max Potions, a few less Full Restores, and a decent amount of Full Heals. I also like to have some lower-HP healing options on hand so I don’t burn through everything in my bag too quickly, so I nip over to Celadon Department Store and pick up some Super Potions. While I’m there, I decide to check out if I have enough in the bank to boost some stats:

Ah. No. I do not.

Well, I guess I can splurge for one, right? I’ll go for Carbos, the speed-booster, because the Elite Four’s pokémon out-level mine and that might held us find an edge.


Well, whatever. I feel like I’ve got decent movesets – and a few tricks up my sleeve – that’ll help us punch above our weight.

So I guess that’s it. We’re trained. We’re stocked up. We’re ready. The only thing left…

…is a small, unceremonious doorway!

See you soon, big dogs. We’re about to find out just how elite you are.

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About Charles Wheeler

Charles Wheeler is a casual and proud. He has exclusively owned Nintendo consoles for Zelda and Pokémon-related purposes, and invites you to consider the subjectivity of art instead of judging him. He is also a spoken word performer, socialist activist, pro wrestling referee, and owner-father to four rats.
View all posts by Charles Wheeler →

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