Anyone that has played any one of the many Pokémon titles in existence today will know that they are a pretty complex affair. It soon becomes obvious after more than ten minutes of playing that the seemingly simple adventure actually involves a remarkable amount of strategy, significant forethought, and a fair bit of prior knowledge about Pokémon and the world which they inhabit. I cannot hope, therefore, to impart all of the knowledge required for absolute victory over and the championing of such a relatively complex game; I will leave this to the infinitely more comprehensive and highly Googleable FAQs available in great number on the internet.
My guide for Pokémon Black Version 2 therefore doesn’t claim to be anything of the sort of these step-by-step guides, rather it hopes to be a text that complies some of the more essential information about the fundamental aspects of the game into one competently-written collection of knowledge, hints and tips that will hopefully serve to enlighten what promises to be quite the long journey ahead. I’m assuming a reasonable quantity of prior knowledge of the Pokémon basics, so if you’re stumped when I say ‘Super-Effective’ or if you think that Riolu is a character from street fighter, then I recommend you search for a different kind of guide.
The crux of the action throughout the main-series of Pokémon games is the recurring format of embarking upon a journey that takes you through the whole of the region, encountering Gym leaders along the way that possess Pokémon of increasingly higher level and therefore growing difficulty. Since this guide is all about the essentials, I’m not going to cover the connecting parts of the adventure between the gyms, since this is covered exhaustively in most FAQs (and the interstitial bits are often pretty linear anyhow); instead, I will cover the details of the gym leaders, the Pokémon they possess and how to go about defeating them in order.
Everyone loves shiny things
Aspertia City Gym (Basic Badge)
The gym itself doesn’t pose any trouble for you since there aren’t any puzzles or unusual environments to work through.
Pokémon: Patrat, lv. 11; Lillipup, lv. 13
Cheren’s Pokémon are normal type and are therefore weak only to fighting-type Pokémon. Both use the move ‘Work Up’, which raises their attack and special attack, with their moves consequently being more powerful and able to knock you out in one or two blows.
Ace up the sleeve: The only way is Riolu. Catch one at Floccesy ranch in the grass (he’s rare, but worth the investment of time) and train him up to at least level 11 where he learns ‘Counter, or even level 15 where he’ll learn ‘Force Palm’. Both moves will deal massive damage to Cheren’s Pokémon, making her use of ‘Work Up’ entirely redundant. If you lose Riolu during battle, then your starter Pokémon should tie up all the loose ends.
Virbank City Gym (Toxic Badge)
Oh goodie, a heavy-metal club that doubles up as a gym whose main Pokémon type happens to share the same name as the glam-metal band ‘Poison’.
Pokémon: Koffing, lv. 16; Whirlipede, lv. 18
Just in case the references weren’t clear enough, Roxie possesses poison-type Pokémon who are both weak to psychic-type moves. Sadly, it’s a little early in the game for psychic-type Pokémon, but Koffing is also weak to ground and Whirlipede will succumb quickly to fire, flying, and rock-type moves.
Ace up the Sleeve
Failing your choice of a fire-type starter Pokémon, Magnemite (found in Virbank Complex) will be your dominator here and is resistant to poison-type moves. Magby (also found in Virbank Complex) can put down Whirlipede very quickly. Bring some antidotes along to heal any poisoned Pokémon, since her Pokémon’s ‘Venoshock’ move deals double damage if your Pokémon are poisoned at the time of the move’s use. Ensure Magenmite is at lv. 16 minimum, and any others are lv. 18-20.
Castelia City Gym (Insect Badge)
The innards of the gym consist of a mini-maze of silk-spun transport tubes, with each entrance having a corresponding exit at the other end. Work your way around defeating the trainers, who own bug and rock-types.
Pokémon: Swadloon, lv. 22; Dwebble, lv. 22; Leavenny, lv. 24
Leavenny and Swadloon are bug/grass types, being weak to fire, flying, ice, poison, bug and rock-types, with Dwebble’s weakness being water, rock and steel Pokémon.
Ace up the sleeve
Magby or Growlithe (Virbank Complex) are solid choices for this battle, since Swadloon and Leavenny will feel the burn of any fire moves. Zubat (Castelia Sewers) also works well. Dwebble is tricky if you didn’t choose Dewott as a starter, but you can use others such as Psyduck, Golduck or Marill. Magnemite is a defensive powerhouse in himself and could get the job done. Giving a ‘Quick Claw’ (given to you by a woman in the gate on the Castelia City side of Skyarrow Bridge) to Pokémon will give them a speed advantage here, also.
Nimbasa City Gym (Bolt Badge)
Nothing difficult here; just a catwalk to walk down with 3 trainers to beat along the way. They possess combinations of Elekid, Flaaffy, or Blitzle at level 27. These are electric-type Pokémon whose weaknesses come in the form of ground-type moves.
Pokémon: Emolga, lv. 28; Flaaffy, lv. 28; Zebrestrika, lv. 30.
Flaaffa and Zebrestrika are pure electric-types whose only weaknesses are to ground type moves. Emolga hails from the electric/flying type: her only weaknesses are ice and rock-type moves. Elesa often uses the tremendously annoying ‘Volt Switch’ to recall her Pokémon and send in another without losing a turn.
Ace up the sleeve
Being in possession of a Sandlile, Krokrok, or Sandslash will ensure the destruction of Flaaffy and Zebrestrika because of the latter Pokémon’s vulnerability to ground-type moves and the former Pokémon’s resistance to electric-type attacks. Teach these Pokémon TM39 Rock Tomb (found in Relic Castle) to ensure that you direct Emolga to Faintsville. Magnemite (or Magneton) will hold his own here also. Paralyz Heals will come in handy due to Elesa’s use of paralysis-inducing attacks.
Driftveil City Gym (Quake Badge)
While it seems difficult due to the initial darkness, lights will be cast upon the platforms once you beat each trainer at the end of each conveyor belt. All the pre-boss trainers you face will have mainly ground-type Pokémon. Baltoy, Drilbur and Sandile are the culprits and are at level 31 max.
Pokémon: Krokorock, lv. 31; Sandslash, lv. 31; Excadrill, lv. 33.
Again, ground-type Pokémon are the staple here, with Sandslash being the only purely ground-type, Krokrok being ground/dark and Excadrill throwing a little steel into the ground mix. Clay enjoys the use of the ‘Bulldoze’ move, which simultaneously causes some damage and reduces your speed.
Ace up the sleeve
Water Pokémon will generally lay the smack-down on all of Clay’s Pokémon. If you chose Oshawott then you’ll have no problem here, but failing that, you can catch a Ducklett on Driftveil Drawbridge. Riolu/Lucario also works well for Excadrill, as does Magby/Magmar. Having your Pokémon hold a ‘Quick Claw’ is also beneficial to your Pokémon, which should be between level 33-35 for this encounter.
Mistralton City Gym (Jet Badge)
This is one of those gyms in which you must work a little to get to the leader. Periodic gusts of wind will blow in a southerly direction, during which you must hide behind the wall in one of the safe zones. Essentially, you must avoid the gusts hop from safe zone to safe zone, battling trainers along the way, most of which possess flying Pokémon with a maximum level of 37.
Pokémon: Swoobat, lv. 37; Skarmory, lv. 37; Swanna. lv. 39.
It’s not a trick by this stage, but since we’re dealing with flying types, it’s going to be electric Pokémon all the way here. Magneton will deal massive damage as well as being able to resist most of the possible attacks. Failing this, any rock-type Pokémon can also make Skyla beg for mercy (a figure of speech, of course), with TM84 Rock Slide being a heavy-hitter against a flying crowd.
Opleucid City Gym (Legend Badge)
You simply have to control the statue you’re standing on by stepping the direction required: defeating the trainers either side of the central statue is a must before you face Clay.
Pokémon: Druddigon, lv. 46; Flygon, lv. 46; Haxorus, lv. 48
All Pokémon in the party can use ‘Dragon Tail’, which deals damage allows switching of Pokémon without them losing their turn. All Pokémon here are dragon-type, with Flygon also being of the ground type.
Ace up the sleeve
Dragon Pokémon are weak to their own type as well as ice moves. I’ve seen recommendations for using Pokémon such as Virizion, Cobalion and Beartic, but I managed quite sufficiently with Lucario, Magnezone and Oshawott (provided you chose him as a starter Pokémon). I taught Lucario Ice Punch and Dragon Pulse in Driftveil City and Lentimas Town respectively. This was sufficient to win the battle, but I also taught Oshawott Icy Wind in Lentimas Town for a bit of backup.
Humilau City Gym (Wave Badge)
Well just look at that; the gym’s built on water and you must use lily pads to get around. Not a problem, simply hop on the pad in the direction you wish to go, and it will take you there. Marlon’s at the north end of the gym awaiting your challenge.
Pokémon: Carracosta, lv. 49; Wailord, lv. 49; Jellicent, lv. 51
As is indicated by the gym’s watery nature, Marlon’s Pokémon are of the water type (though Carracosta is also rock and Jellicent has a little ghost type in him as well). Marlon likes to use ‘scald’, a water move with a 30% chance of inflicting the burn status condition upon you.
Ace up the Sleeve
A grass Pokémon will give you the upper hand in this battle. At this point I had Leavenny but Simisage, Serperior or legendary Virizion will also work here. Wailord has a pretty hefty HP count, so you may take some damage fighting him. Magneton/Magnezone are also very good due to their resistance to damage in this fight, and electric moves will work wonders for your attacking. Bring some Burn Heal or Full Heals to the fight to counteract any burns you may receive.
Pokémon: Cofagrigus, lv. 56; Golurk, lv. 56; Drifblim, lv. 56; Chandelure, lv. 58
The main type here is Ghost, and her Pokémon are most vulnerable to ghost and dark-type moves. Krookodile is a good choice, but many Pokémon also learn dark-type moves such as ‘crunch’ and ‘bite’. Water Pokemon can also deal some massive damage to Chandelure and Golurk.
Pokémon: Liepard, lv. 56; Krookodile, lv. 56; Scrafty, lv. 56; Bisharp, lv. 58
The theme here is clearly the dark type; fighting Pokémon are therefore the answer (though be careful of the flying-type moves that are used in return). Bug Pokémon can damage Liepard and Grass/Water will annoy Krookodile.
Pokémon: Musharna, lv. 56; Reuniclus, lv. 56; Siglyph, lv. 56; Gothitelle, lv. 58
Caitlin just loves the Psychic types, and her Pokémon are begging to be decimated by bug and dark-type moves. Krookodile works here, as well as Leavenny or any other Pokémon capable of bug-type moves (X-scissor is advisable. Ice or electric types will put Siglyph down, and Magnezone has good resistance to Psychic moves.
Pokémon: Throh, lv. 56; Mienshao, lv. 56; Sawk, lv. 56; Conkeldurr, lv. 58
Fighting Pokémon are weak to flying and psychic-type moves. You can use these types of Pokémon but be warned that Marshall will counteract this with rock and dark-type moves. Teaching Aerial Ace to a non-flying type Pokémon will cover this weakness and still give you the advantage.
Harder than she looks
Pokémon: Hydreigon, lv. 57; Aggron, lv.57; Lapras, lv. 57; Druddigon, lv. 57; Archeops. lv. 57; Haxorus, lv. 59.
A mixture of types makes this fight the most difficult. Ice-type moves are a must here. I taught Lucario Ice Punch with the Driftveil move tutor, caught Altaria on Victory Road (in spite of its weakness to dragon, it can learn Ice Beam), plus TM13 Ice beam is in Giant Chasm. Fighting-types will destroy Lapras and Aggron.
One of the fundamental aspects of the Pokémon experience is the careful selection of your Pokémon team. There are many Pokémon out there that will simply ‘do the job’, and every Pokémon has its merits, but admittedly there are some which simply stand out from the crowd, providing you with an advantage that many other Pokémon simply fail to offer. While these Pokémon are not essential to the completion of your quest, below is a list of just a few that will make you wonder how you ever managed without them.
NB: There are certain to be a fair few overly-zealous fans out there that would be more than happy to contradict and fling heavy criticism at my Pokémon recommendations. I’d like to highlight that by listing these Pokémon I am in no way inferring that they are in any way the best choice for your team, superior to other Pokémon of their type or the most appropriate for any given situation (apart from Lucario: he is undeniably awesome). These are merely some of the Pokémon that I used in my quest.
The first on my list for one of two reasons: the first is that he is obtainable at a very early stage in the game (simply catch a Riolu at Floccesy Ranch and evolve him with high friendship during the day; it does takes quite a bit of searching, however), and secondly, his Fighting/Steel type combination is one that will give you both short-term and long-term advantages. He’s so good, he hasn’t seen the inside of a Pokémon box since I first captured him.
Eevee (and its many evolutionary forms)
There isn’t a Pokémon out there with anywhere near as much potential as this little beauty. Once limited to an already-generous selection of 3 different evolutions (Jolteon, Flareon or Vaporeon), Eevee can now be caught in the wild (empty lot in Castelia City or any hidden grottos) and can now be evolved into one of seven Pokémon, each of different types. I recommend Espeon ( mostly due to the high speed and special attack stats) or levelling Eevee up during the night/around a moon shard to encourage evolution into Umbreon because of his ability to learn some devastating dark-type moves which will put you in good stead when going up against Psychic and Ghost-type Pokémon.
Though this Pokémon doesn’t really feature on many (or any) people’s top-ten lists of Pokémon to dominate with, I’ve decided to go ahead and include him anyway. This is partly to annoy those of you who take the whole thing too seriously, but mostly because Magnezone has formed an integral part of my team since catching a Magnemite in Virbank complex and using him against Poison-type user Roxie. His ridiculously high special attack and impressive defence stats make him a formidable link in your team, and teaching him Hidden Power will cover his weakness against Pokémon he is vulnerable against. He will be handy in Virbank, Mistralon, and Humilau gyms, and can also be employed as a backup during your battles with the Elite 4 and the Champion. Not bad for a sentient hunk of metal, huh?
An extremely powerful Pokémon with raised attack, special attack and speed stats, Zoroark is a dark type that will make your fights against the Elite Four a much more straightforward affair. Recieve Zorua from the house atop the hill area in the north of Driftveil City and evolve him at level 30 into Zoroark. Being able to learn Flamethrower (to cover any ineffectiveness against steel-types, Hidden Power (Flying) to cover any other weakness, and a variety of dark-type moves (you just have to love the same-type attack bonus), Zoroark is all about the attack, and he does this very well. In addition, his ‘Illusion’ ability allows for Zoroark to temporarily transform into the Pokémon at the back of your party, taking on their characteristics and allowing for a juicy bit of type-based madness.
This Dragon/Flying Pokémon is a formidable opponent in most battles, and can be used against the Elite 4 to tackle any flying/dragon/fighting types (in spite of its obvious weakness to dragon Pokémon). It can learn Ice Beam to deal with flying types, and teaching it fly allows you to hop around Unova more cheaply than a budget airline.
One of the fundamental principles to take into consideration when battling is the type of the Pokémon you are both battling and are in possession of. Type-matchups are the relative strengths and weakness of your Pokémon compared to the type of Pokémon you are facing, and are one of the main foundations on which the Pokemon battle mechanic is based. Used effectively, type-advantages can mean the difference between a triumphant victory and having to swallow the bitter pill of defeat. Instead of an exhaustive list of the seventeen different types and their relative weaknesses/strengths over other Pokémon, I’ll just direct your attention to the chart below.
Pokémon type is an extremely important factor to consider when battling. Referring to this chart often will substantially increase your chances of victory.