• Leader Absence and Item Schooling
Taking our first few steps into the peaceful Striaton City, we notice it’s the largest city we’ve entered so far. Heading left from the entrance, behind the fence, we will find an X Speed. Now, moving straight up from our starting point we encounter a Gym, but somebody is blocking the entrance. A quick conversation with this man lets us know that the Gym Leader is currently absent, but he advises that we check the Trainer’s School located on the far left of the city. If you took some damage during the trip, head on over to the Pokemon Center on our way, we’ve got a battle coming up. Before we make our way over to the Trainer’s School, though, we have a couple items to collect. Head along the path to the side of the buildings to the right of the entrance of the city. There is a guy back here who will give us a Dusk Ball. On the other side of this alley, in the very bottommost building, there is a man directly to the right as you enter that will give you a Great Ball.
Upon entering the school, we will see our friend Cheren at the head of the classroom, standing by the board. Talking to him will reveal he has apparently been studying the mechanics of Pokemon battling. Accepting his challenge to test his newfound items in battle will mark the next Rival battle in our journey.
For this battle Cheren will be using his starter first, so if you feel uncomfortable using the Pokemon he has a type advantage over, don’t lead with your starter. His Oshawott will use primarily Water Gun and Tail Whip, so you should be able to lower his stats or just attack him until Oshawott is down. The next Pokemon in is Purrloin, which is also level 8. The only real threat here is Assist. If you have your starter out, be wary of your HP because one Assist can lead to a Water Gun, which can make quick work of Tepig! Cheren will give you three Oran Berries for your own personal use. If you wish, you may give these items to your Pokemon or use it during or outside of battle. It will heal your Pokemon’s HP by 10 points.
If you wish, you may take a look around the Trainer’s School. The people located here will give you some advice on the mechanics of Pokemon battling. If you’re a beginner who is curious about the system, this may be worth your time. There is also a boy who will give you a quiz, and, if you pass, he will reward you with a Full Heal. Exiting the Trainer’s School, you will notice that the Gym Leader has taken the place of the man who blocked the entrance earlier. Speak with him and he will suggest going to the Dreamyard to train your Pokemon, and that’s just what we will do.
• Dreamyard and Elemental Monkeys
The Dreamyard is a small, serene place with a few trainers. We will meet our first challenger right upon entering the Dreamyard and moving forward. Her as well as the next trainer should both be relatively easy battles for your level. Ignoring the tree, since we can’t use Cut right now, proceed and talk to the girl at the end of the Dreamyard. She will offer you a Pokemon to cover your weakness, great! Now we can challenge the Striaton City Gym without having to worry about a weakness. After talking to her, pick up the X Defend found just to the northeast of her.
• Serving up the Trio Badge
If your Pokemon are not at least at level 13, then you might want to train a little bit. You can head back to Route 2 and fight some Wild Pokemon to boost your levels a bit if you aren’t confident about the Gym battle. When your Pokemon are a good level, take a trip up to the Striaton Gym.
Now we can take the next big step in our challenge –– the first Gym! Upon entering we will be greeted and offered a Fresh Water, which heals 50 HP during or outside of battle to your Pokemon. This Gym has a restaurant theme, classy! To open the curtains that block the rooms ahead, just step on the button that is the weakness of the symbol on the curtain. In this case, the order is Water, Grass, and Fire. There are two trainers on the way, and both should be pretty easy provided you are at a decent level.
After opening the last curtain and approaching the Gym Leader, you will be greeted with a surprise. From behind Cilan will emerge Chili and Cress, the other two gym leaders of this Gym! The type of your starter Pokemon will determine which one you fight. If you chose Tepig, you will fight the water-type user Cress. Oshawott will net you a battle with the grass-type user Cilan, and if you picked Snivy as your starter, a battle with the fire-type user Chili awaits. This is where the Pokemon you received from the Dreamyard comes in handy, as it will cover your weakness. You may want to lead with that Pokemon; you may also switch after defeating the first Pokemon.
• Gym Leader Battle: Chili – Cress – Cilan
If you picked Snivy:
If you picked Tepig:
If you picked Oshawott:
The very first Pokemon sent out will be the easy one. Lillipup shouldn’t be a challenge for your Pokemon if you trained them to a reasonable level. After doing away with Lillipup, your opponent will send out the Pokemon that counters your starter. You can put in the Pokemon you received from the Dreamyard or keep your starter. I suggest switching to the Pokemon you were given, unless your starter is at a pretty good level. Work Up will boost the opposing Pokemon’s attack and special attack, so watch out for those boosts. Other than Work Up, your opponent will mainly use it’s type move, which shouldn’t do much to you if you switched to the elemental monkey you were given.
After finishing off the Gym Leader, you will be rewarded with the Trio Badge and TM83 Work Up. If you are a veteran of the series, you know that traditionally TMs are a one-use item, but in this generation you may use TMs any number of times and they will never break, so teach whoever you feel like this TM! By obtaining the Trio Badge, you are recognized as having beaten the first Gym of the Pokemon League and Pokemon up to Level 20 will obey your every command. The first giant step in our journey to becoming a Pokemon Master is now complete!