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To Absent Friends: Memoirs of a Nuzlocke Champion


I have done it. Finally, I am become the very best, like no one ever was; Nuzlocke style.

On the 10th of May at 13:45, I, Shade, age 12, was introduced into the Johto Pokémon League Hall of Fame. And with me my faithful friends and partners, one of which tragically fell in the final battle.

But the road has not been easy. We have overcome many hardships, slain many foes, and not all of us have lived to see this glorious day.

This is our story.

This is New Bark Town. It is where I grew up, in one of the grand total of four houses that make up this bustling place. With no stores in sight and the next town over surrounded by tall grass, food was hard to come by. Neither did we have the luxury of choosing our friends. I was alone for most of my life. I used to stare out over the water, from where you can even see Kanto on a clear day, hoping that something would finally happen to take me away from this place. Ethan liked nothing more than to parade his Marill in front of me. At least he had a friend.

But one day something changed. Professor Elm had an important task for me to perform. I was to visit that old creeper, Mr. Pokémon, and report back to the Professor. I think he's keeping tabs on the old coot. Ordinarily I would've said no, but it just so happens that Mr. Pokémon recently moved into the wilderness so that he could be "closer to the Pokémon". To get to his trademark secluded house with blinded windows, I needed some protection. I needed a friend.

And so it happened, that I received from Professor Elm my very first friend, partner and Pokémon.

I received a Chikorita.

I named him Flowersaur in anticipation of his adult form. Little did I know that our friendship was not to last and his adult form would never be seen. But for the moment, all was well.

As we traveled out into the world, we saw a great many things. We saw strange trainers, all willing to battle us. One red-headed individual stood out to us. He were to become a major source of grief later. But more than trainers we saw any number of wild Pokémon, waiting to be caught. Not wanting to disturb our sensitive ecosystem any more than was strictly necessary, I decided that I would only catch the first Pokémon to cross my path on any given route. Flowersaur agreed.

Yet despite this restriction, me and Flowersaur made a great many new friends. Some early ones were Flappy and Flutter (a Pidgey and a Spearow), Rizzo (Ratatta), and Sunnyside (Togepi) which hatched from an egg given to us by Mr. Pokémon. 

While they were all great friends who seemed to take a liking to me, they were lacking in the protective power that Flowersaur possessed. We needed companions with a bit more oomph. It didn't take us long to find exactly those. The first one was a Zubat. Because I used to secretly watch some Japanese animes when my mom wasn't looking, I had the perfect name for him: this Zubat was to be named Alucard. The second was a female Machop, who I named Musclina. Her time was to come later.

However, by this time I had already decided that I wanted to challenge the Pokémon Gym in Violet City, and neither Flowersaur nor Alucard were particularly suited for this task. Fortunately, closeby was a Route I had yet to explore. Completely dedicated to my self-imposed environmental rules, I prepared to catch the first Pokémon to jump out at me. 

And there she was.

Totes adorbs and with the power to back it up, we made a new friend in Saiyan, the Mareep. Saiyan would go on to become a mainstay of the team, the longest continuous member, and the oldest to reach the Hall of Fame with me.

With the addition of Saiyan, we managed to win our first badge. However, both Alucard and Saiyan almost lost their lives during the fight. I made a mental note to be more careful in the future. We wouldn't want anyone to get hurt. Yet despite my increased state of alert, tragedy struck in the next town over.

Looking to train my new friends before the fight against the next Gym Leader, Bugsy, I left towards the forest west of Azalea Town. As we were preparing to step outside, we were ambushed by that evil red-headed individual, known only as ???. Woefully underprepared and with no counter against his Quilava (who he had failed to give a nickname like a fucking scrub) we battled for all that we were worth. In the end we were victorious, but at great cost. Alucard, one of my oldest friends, had perished. The irony of a creature named Alucard being the first to die was not lost on me. Determined to keep Alucard's memory alive, he was given a proper burial in Box 18 and marked with a heart. He would not be the last to receive this treatment.

But Alucard's legacy would not end there. With grief still fresh in my heart I went back to Route 33, which I had skipped earlier. The first encounter here was...another Zubat! Still bound by my environmental rules, I caught this new friend, now that our old one was no longer with us. This female Zubat, in many ways the apprentice of Alucard, was named Seras. Seras would prove invaluable to our journey.

And so, many others would be added to our team. Edward was caught as a Sandshrew and was originally a HM slave. That is, until I gave him Dig and he instantly started wrecking shit. Two others had less friendly nicknames than most of the party. Bitchface was a Stantler, who never seemed to be happy, and a Slowpoke would be named Lazy Fuck for obvious reasons.

All looked well, at least for a while.

Then we were hit by the biggest blow in our career. Flowersaur, now a Bayleef, my friend from the very beginning and the one that helped me leave the nightmare of New Bark Town behind me, fell in battle. The perpetrator was a wild Sudowoodo who had been blocking our progress. After squirting him with water, he proceeded to attack. Flowersaur was ready to take him out, seeing through his clever disguise and recognizing him for the Rock type that he was. Flowersaur prepared his signature Razor Leaf....and the Sudowoodo survived. Left with only the tiniest sliver of HP, he used the move Flail on poor Flowersaur. A Flail at low HP can have up to 200 base power, and on top of that it was a critical hit. Nothing was surviving a blow like that, and neither was Flowersaur.

I buried Flowersaur next to Alucard in Box 18 and swore my revenge on Sudowoodo everywhere. I could feel their collective tremble as I promised the dying Bayleef I held in my arms that I would not rest until all Sudowoodo lay dead. I'd even kill the Bonsly, lest they too become the monsters their parents were.

- Not everyone agreed with my plan for just revenge, but thanks to Seras any dissenters were swiftly dealt with.

With my best friend gone, my drive to become the environmentally-conscious Pokémon Master took a serious blow. Why would we attempt anything, if a random Sudowoodo could just up and close the chapter on everything? Why don't I just go back to New Bark Town and whittle my life away? Why are Rock-types such assholes? All these questions coursed through my mind, and for a moment it seemed we would never make it to the top.

It was Seras who brought me out of this rut. Not long after Flowersaur's demise, she evolved into a Golbat, and a Crobat only minutes after. It was then that I realized: these Pokémon are my friends. Golbat don't evolve unless they're your friends, so it was undeniable that Seras loved me deeply. It was then that I realized something. I'm not making this journey for myself: I'm making it for all of us. The Pokémon by my side, the ones that have fallen, and the ones still in the wild. Everyone needs to see that a Champion can be made with only a minimal environmental footprint. Everything is at stake.

With that, I set out again. Musclina was brought back on the team. Though she was clearly envious of Edward and Bitchface, who would consistently hit harder than she could, we loved her all the same.


From there on, things went fast. Very fast. Not as fast as Seras, but still pretty damn fast.

I won every remaining Gym badge with minimal effort. Whitney's Miltank could do nothing before Seras' constant attacks and confusion, Bitchface was untouchable by Morty's Ghosts, Saiyan made short work of Chuck's Poliwrath, Jasmine's Steelix was a bit of a problem but ultimately nothing that Edward couldn't handle, Pryce's Ice types were smashed by Musclina, and Clair's Kingdra was a major pain in the ass but ultimately fell to Lazy Fuck.

In the meantime, we encountered Team Rocket. They never gave us any trouble whatsoever. The elusive redhead was more difficult to deal with, but it was plain to see that my team kept up their training regimen way better than his. Regular trainers like him don't even register anymore.

Of course, we can't forget the new friends we made! During our travels towards Victory Road we caught Porkchop (Swinub), Catdog (Girafarig), The Boulder (Geodude), Hentai (Tentacool), and even a Legendary Pokémon in a Ho-oh named Yoko Oh-No. Two Pokémon who would end up important to our victory were also caught during this time: Rollin' (a Phanpy), and Kalameet (a Dratini).

We never met any more Sudowoodo, but we had Lazy Fuck flood a forest or two just to be safe. 

 - After much internal debate, I have concluded that this is not strictly environmentally friendly, but nonetheless totally worth it. 

Before we knew it, we were at Victory Road.

However, we had a problem. None of the members of our team were adequately trained to take on the Elite Four just yet. Those guys are fearsome, and we couldn't take any chances. We needed to train at Victory Road. That decision was to be my greatest mistake and my most horrific failure as a trainer and friend.

Training seemed to go well at first. Saiyan had problems with the Ground types in the caves of Victory Road, so she needed a different spot, but everyone else was fine. Lazy Fuck in particular breezed through our enemies. And then it happened. While Edward was facing his umpteenth Graveler, the Graveler got lucky. Underneath his second pair of arms this Graveler was holding an IED, which he used to Selfdestruct. Poor Edward was caught in the blast, and was killed instantly. He was deposited into Box 18. For a split-second I could swear I saw Musclina hiding in the shadows with a satisfied grin, but I choose to believe that was just the grief playing tricks on me. If I needed someone to blame, I could always blame Sudowoodo, Graveler, or any Rock-type who has ever lived. 

With Musclina back on the team to replace Edward, training continued. But we weren't out of the clear yet. While training Bitchface, an enemy Donphan managed to get off a Magnitude 10 critical hit, which Bitchface had no hope of surviving. Victory Road had claimed its second victim, and Box 18 was starting to become difficult to look at. It was then decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and as such Rollin' the Phanpy was brought on the team and evolved into Donphan.

After that, our training was done and we headed to the Elite Four. The redhead was only a minor inconvenience now.

- We have since learned that he has a thing for Rock types. This explains much.

I had come far since I first met Flowersaur back in New Bark Town. Even now I could feel his warm encouragement coming from Box 18. We tackled the Elite Four. All of us. Together. For the environment.

Will's Psychic types gave us surprisingly little trouble. Never once have I regretted using Bugsy's TM U-turn on Seras. She gives a super effective Bug strike, then switches out. Everything that isn't dead will be finished off by someone with better defenses than Seras has.

When Koga's Poison types came out, it was time for Rollin' to shine. She struck Earthquakes like even Edward couldn't have, killing almost everything in one hit. Only Muk gave some trouble, as he would continue to use Minimize. Rollin' responded by just Earthquaking the shit out of the entire building. Safe to say, that Muk was dead.

Bruno released his Fighting types. However, to this day I am unsure what happened here. I blinked once and all of a sudden all of Bruno's Pokémon were dead while Seras was doing a victory lap with a smug look on her face.

Finally, Karen. After Musclina took two hits to take out her Umbreon, none of her other guys gave us any trouble. Dark types can be annoying, but a good clean hit will take them out most of the time.

And then it was time for the Champion, Lance himself.


Despite his status as Dragon trainer, his first Pokémon was a Gyarados. I had anticipated this move, and had Saiyan go first. That Gyarados still sizzles. Then the actual Dragons came out. Fortunately, I had come prepared. I had a secret weapon. Its name was Kalameet. I had secretly been raising Kalameet the Dratini, who was now Kalameet the Dragonite. Being faster than Lance's Pokémon, Kalameet made the first and only strike. Lazy Fuck took out the second Dragonite, and Kalameet the third. After that the fight was essentially over. Lance still had a Aerodactyl, who was swiftly dealt with by Saiyan. 

Finally, Lance's Charizard. For the final time, disaster struck. Rollin', who had been doing such great work up until now, was too slow to outmaneuver Charizard. A critical hit Fire Fang proved to be too much for the lady who had so valiantly replaced Edward. Tripped across the finish line, Rollin''s sacrifice would secure our victory, but she would not be there to see it.

Appropriately enough, I had Seras seal the deal.

We had made it. Without hurting the environment or the Pokémon that live in it, we had become the Champion. At that moment I knew that Flowersaur had been watching me all along. He approved.

And with that, we made the Hall of Fame:

Seras is my best buddy in the whole world.

Blazing fast and with a surprising amount of kick behind her, Seras is a sawblade with wings. In fact, here is an artist's rendering of Seras attacking fools:

Alucard would've been proud.

Saiyan fries things. She fries them good.

The oldest member of the party, Saiyan has been here from the first gym to the Elite Four. She was always dependable and has never been in any real danger of dying.

Lazy Fuck was easily the biggest surprise on the team. Initially weak and barely worth it, she managed to turn things around and really solidify her place with us.

Killed one of Lance's Dragonite, is a certifiable wall of defense and is one of the strongest members with Seras and Saiyan. Very much okay in my book.

To be honest, I expected more from Musclina. She had her uses every once in a while, but when I get a Fighting type I expect a kung fu fighting badass. Musclina has less Attack than Edward did, and in fact has the second-lowest Attack of the entire team (after Lazy Fuck). That's right, she has less Attack than Saiyan, who also has the highest Special Attack.

But she's here and she never specifically let me down, so all is well.

Rollin' held her own very well after she was called in to replace Edward. Her Attack was through the roof, and in fact was equal to Saiyan's Special Attack. An Earthquake by Rollin' hurts.

Unfortunately, her tough hide was unable to protect her from a critical hit by Lance's very last Pokémon. Rollin' only just barely didn't make it. But, like Edward, we will never forget her.

Kalameet was a special weapon, intended to take out Lance's own Dragonite. He performed this duty admirably.

And that, my friends, is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned up-side down and I became the Pokémon Champion of Johto.

It wasn't always easy, and I've lost many friends along the way. But I've also made many new friends, and I've shown the world that you can be the very best at Pokémon, while also being the very best for the environment and the wild Pokémon population. One Pokémon per route is all anyone should ever need. For that is the Nuzlocke way.

And as is the Nuzlocke way, we shall honor our fallen comrades, who have not lived to see our great victory here today.

Here is to Box 18.
To Alucard,
To Flowersaur
To Edward
To Bitchface
And to Rollin'.

Here is to absent friends.

- Us heroes, we have so much to do

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About ShadeOfLightone of us since 7:43 AM on 07.16.2010

The Dutch one, Grand Marshal of the Nintendo Defense Force, heckler of GajKnight, and zen personified; I am ShadeOfLight, one of your Community Managers .

I'm a Dutch law PhD who loves to play the vidya. I'm a Nintendo-fanboy at heart, and I could play Zelda games continuously from now until the end of time. I also used to be on the Cblog Recaps team for Thursdays, and I did that for 4 whole years.

Next to Zelda I'm also obsessed with the Monolith Soft RPGs Xenoblade Chronicles and the Baten Kaitos series. I will not pass up the opportunity to mention them, ever, and I consider myself to be Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean's biggest fan. I'm fairly certain Monolith Soft exists specifically to make me happy.

Being the good Nintendo fanboy that I am, the Switch is the new love of my life. I'm on a steady course of turning it into a Nintendo + Indies machine, as Iwata intended.

Even a list of my favorite games across all platforms will be dominated by Nintendo and indie, with a few wild cards here and there.

Besides gaming itself, I like reading up on gaming-related news on my favorite website in the whole wide world: Destructoid. I'm pretty much here all the time. I love all the people here, and I'm glad that I get to be a part of this whole thing. Wouldn't know what to do without you!

And it turns out you guys love me too!
I've had some blogs promoted:
- Digital Property: Entering the Third Age
- Better with Age: Batman: Arkham Asylum
- Waifu Wars: Midriff or Bust
- And posted as The Wombat: 2014: I want to make love to you. Seriously.

MikeyTurvey drew me as an archer:

StriderHoang made me a Trading Card:

and a Spell Card for The Wombat:

Meanderbot drew me plus himself and Pixielated drinking root beer:

RobertoPlankton drew the following scenario based on my username and avatar:

And Alphadeus wrote me a theme song:
Radiant Umbrae (ShadeOfLight)
Steam ID:ShadeOfLight


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