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Wake Up Call Boss / Pokémon

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Trying to catch 'em all? Then prepare to Skull Bash your head against these stumbling blocks along the way.

  • Pokémon Red and Blue:
    • Brock. Although he's far from being the most powerful Gym Leader, Brock is still unexpectedly strong enough to catch most off guard. Firstly, most if not all of the Pokémon catchable before the battle (Bug, Normal, Flying, Poison, and Electric types) are weak/powerless against his Rock/Ground Pokémon, leaving the starter to be the one to do most of the work. However, if the player powers through Viridian Forest without bothering to grind, only fighting the pretty easy bug catchers in the forest, then their starter may not be strong enough to stand a chance against his stronger Pokémon, especially if they didn't learn the type-specific move that the starter learns after a few levels and which can be used to super-effective him to death. In addition to that, since several fans thought that the fire-breathing Charizard was way cooler than the rest, they had the additional problem of having their Fire-type starter being not very effective against his Rock/Ground-typesnote , with no recourse other than Level Grinding (or to "teach Butterfree Confusion and take Brock to school"). It's even worse in Pokemon Yellow, as your starter Pikachu is completely worthless despite the lower levels of Brock's team, and no, you can't cheat the type system as they do in the anime or manga. To compensate for this, the player can catch a Mankey (Fighting) early on in Route 22, which can deal super effective damage against Rock types, as well as rearranging the movesets on the Nidorans from the same areas so they learned Double Kick (a Fighting attack) at level 12 rather than level 43. Mankey also appears here in the remakes, FireRed and LeafGreen. In addition, Charmander can learn Metal Claw in Generation III, a Steel-type move that runs off his slightly higher Attack stat. In Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee, both starters learn Double Kick at a low level, and Bellsprout or Oddish (depending on the version) can be caught as soon as Route 1.
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    • While Brock is easy to overcome with a bit of game knowledge and/or some grinding, Misty definitely serves as the wake-up call for those who chose Charmander or are playing the Yellow version. Her Starmie is a competitive tier Pokemon with its high speed and special attack, and it can soak multiple super-effective Thundershocks while sweeping your entire team with Bubblebeam, which is the strongest move at this point in the game at 65 Base Power. For Red/Blue players who chose Charmander, Oddish and Bellsprout are the only Pokemon at this point of the game who resist water and can outlast Starmie and even so, they require a bit of grinding before they can be effective counters to it. Yellow players could instead obtain a free Bulbasaur from an NPC. Either way, challenging Misty without leveling up that grass type solely for this purpose is a Luck-Based Mission.
      • Even if you have one of the above Grass-types, due to how high Starmie's special is and how all three, even when evolved at least once, have pretty low-power super-effective moves, you're still likely going to struggle against Starmie. Just a little bit less than with any other option. Surprisingly, the arguably best option against her is the Magikarp you can buy at Mt. Moonnote .
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    • Lt. Surge acts as a nice reminder you can't always rely on super effective Pokemon to carry you through Pokémon Yellow. His Raichu's high Speed will easily allow it to Mega Kick your Rock/Ground Pokemon before you can even react and instead must rely on attrition wearing the enemy Pokemon down.
  • Pokémon Gold and Silver:
    • Gold/Silver had Falkner. Up until this point, you've probably curbstomped every trainer you've fought. Your Rival? The Sprout Tower? Those are easy. If you picked Chikorita as your starter, it's got a natural disadvantage against his Flying-types. Picked Totodile, nobody has an advantage. Picked Cyndaquil, or are using Geodude/Onix/Mareep? Mud Slap will hit hard and screw your accuracy.
    • Falkner serves this role again, but in a different way, in HeartGold and SoulSilver. This time, he serves as an alarm clock for veterans re-playing the game who expect everything to be the same. Up until Falkner, there have been a few changes from the originals, but when you reach him and realize his Pidgeotto took a level hike — from 9 to 13 — and then watch Pidgeotto heal itself using Roost note , you realize the game is broadcasting a big hint with the subtlety of a megaphone: "Boss fights in this game aren't going to be retreads of the original."
  • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire:
    • Ruby/Sapphire has Roxanne. If you picked Mudkip, you'll be fine. Torchic, on the other hand, will be destroyed instantly, and Treecko, despite the type advantage, won't fare much better. For starters, Roxanne's Nosepass is a pure Rock-type, instead of a dual Rock/Ground, so your damage is only doubled. Doubling is still good, but the only Grass move you'll probably have at this point is the weak Absorb (unless you picked up the Bullet Seed TM that exists in the original games but not the remakes), and Nosepass has better stats than Treecko. Fortunately, you can pick up some Water and Grass types before this Gym, and trade for a Fighting-type Makuhita, or you can evolve your starter and stand a better chance (even if it's Torchic, because it gains the Fighting type when it evolves).
    • Flannery, despite her nervous demeanor, can be a challenge due to being the first Gym Leader in the Hoenn games that actually tries to employ something resembling a long-term strategy, thanks to her Pokémon having a good number of support moves — many of which they can't learn naturally, only by TM, which could throw off some players. Her two Slugmas come with Sunny Day, which empowers fire-type moves (and lowers the power of Water-type moves, which are what most players would typically resort to against a Fire-type specialist), and Light Screen, in order to raise their team's special defense and resist such attacks even more. One of them also has access to Smog, a Poison-type move which balances out its low power with a high chance of poisoning the target. It's clear that the two Slugma serve to weaken your team so they become easy pickings for her signature Torkoal. The fire tortoise naturally has high defense, but if the Slugma managed to pull off some setup before you knocked them off, you'll be dealing with increased special defense from Light Screen and a devastating Overheat that has been made even stronger by Sunny Day. Oh, and it has the White Smoke ability, so don't even try decreasing its stats. Even if your Pokemon are able to resist fire attacks, they can still end up infatuated or paralyzed to death, as Torkoal knows both Attract and Body Slam. Emerald makes things even worse, as her entire team now runs Sunny Day, and she also has a new team member in a Camerupt that's a good 7-8 levels below its evolving range and is as strong as her Torkoal. While she's still manageable due to her team being very slow and susceptible to water, if you end up struggling a lot against her, then chances are that you're not ready for Norman, as Flannery serves as a sort of preview for Gym Leader nastiness from that point on.
  • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl:
    • Pick up Chimchar note  in Diamond/Pearl and try to beat Mars the first time. Unless you deliberately overlevel Chimchar,note  her ridiculously underleveled Purugly (level 17 or 18 depending on the game, less than half the level Glameow is supposed to evolve at) will wipe your party.
    • Earlier than that is Roark and his Cranidos. Cranidos has an attack stat of 125 at the cost of piddling defences, but it also has Headbutt (attack of 70) which is perfectly capable of tearing through any first stage starter in two uses if you are lucky. It also has Pursuit which means it can attack as you switch out and Leer to lower your defences and make Headbutt hit even harder. In addition, the fact it's an offensive Pokémon can throw off veterans who were accustomed to Brock and Roxanne using more stereotypically defensive Rock-types, especially because Roark starts off using Geodude as usual.
  • 5th Generation games:
    • Pokémon Black and White has the Striaton Trio (Cilan, Chili, and Cress), who are designed to screw you over, no matter WHICH starter you chose! Each one has a signature Pokemon that will have the type advantage against your starter Pokemon (Pansage for Oshawott, Pansear for Snivy, and Panpour for Tepig). Due to a Broken Bridge that isn't fixed until you obtain their badge, the options for other Pokémon are extremely limitednote  This is also where you first run into the new game mechanics for certain abilities this gen, as their Lillipups will use the Retooled Pickup ability to heal themselves with the berries your Pokemon was just holding to heal itself if you gave it the Oran berries you won from Cheren. Their Lilipups also have high attack and Work Up so that they can boost their attack even further to destructive levels.
    • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 has Cheren, the first gym leader. His Pokemon love to use Work Up, which raises their Attack and Special Attack (the latter of which is useless for him, though). His Patrat isn't too big a problem, but his Lillipup is a whole different story. It's faster, and if it sets up Work Up a few times, you're as good as dead. There are a few okay countermeasures, though, namely to get a Mareep in the Flocessy Ranch (which have a chance of triggering Static to paralyze him if he attacks, or surviving by chance and managing to get in Thunder Wave), to use the X Defend that a student in the Trainer's school gives younote , or if you're incredibly patient, to get a Riolu and get it to evolve into Lucario, which, as a Steel-type, resists Normal-type attacks. It's also worth mentioning that in Challenge Mode, he gets a Pidove with Work Up and Quick Attack, and paralyzing it won't do you much good. (And if you were expecting to walk all over him with your newly downloaded Genesect, you get in there and find out it won't obey you without that first badge.)
  • In Pokémon X and Y, Viola is a Bug-type specialist, so you can easily blaze through her team with a Fennekin or by catching a Pansear in Santalune Forest or Litleo on Route 22, right? Not so fast. Viola's first Pokemon is a Surskit, a Water/Bug-type that is neutral to fire attacks, will use Water Sport to make your fire attacks even weaker, and then will wash them away with Bubble. (And if it's not doing that, it's getting the jump on you with Quick Attack.) note  At least if you can get past Surskit, all you have to deal with is a Vivillon... that is likely faster than anyone on your team, mind you. (Interestingly enough, one of the best Pokemon to catch for this battle is Pikachu, as both Surskit and Vivillon are weak to Electric. Or, ironically, Chespin, which learns Rollout by that point.)
  • The Seventh Generation Games:
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon first give you the Totem Gumshoos/Alolan Raticate (depending on your version), the first Totem Pokemon you face, as your Wake-Up-Call Boss. If there was an indication that Sun and Moon would be vastly different than the previous games, this would be it. The Totem Pokemon will activate a special aura that will increase its stats (in this case, defense) and will most likely be the first Pokemon to use the S.O.S. Call you encounter, which puts you at a disadvantageous 1 vs. 2 fight.
    • The second Totem Pokémon, Totem Wishiwashi, does one better. Totem Gumshoos / Alolan Raticate only use the S.O.S system to get in a second attack but Totem Wishiwashi uses two very clever double battle strategies. First, both of the Pokémon it summons know Helping Hand to give its already powerful attacks an extra boost. The other thing it will do is summon an Alomomola that knows Heal Pulse. Wishiwashi's ability depends on having high HP to send it into school form; if it gets down to 25% then it enters the weak solo form and Heal Pulse can counter that weakness brilliantly.
    • Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon: Your first fight against Dulce/Soliera can be a frustrating one (you fight Dulce in Ultra Sun and Soliera in Ultra Moon). He/she uses a Furfrou, which will give Fighting types and physical attackers a very hard time thanks to its ability, Fur Coat; which halves damage from physical moves and therefore makes it quite bulky. While its moveset is pretty basic, the way it’s utilized will make it hard to take down. Sand Attack lowers your Pokemon’s accuracy, Growl and Baby Doll Eyes lower Attack and makes physical moves do even less damage, and Headbutt, a STAB attack, can do some nasty damage to your mons at this point in the game.
    • Then, several of the totems have changed since Sun/Moon, and none of them are jokes. The first one to be changed is Totem Wishiwashi, having Totem Araquanid in its place. Wishiwashi and its cohorts rely mainly on using the rain to make their Water Guns strong enough to power through foes. Water Gun is all they have for offense- something like Paras, with abilities that nullify any Water attacks, shuts Wishiwashi down completely. Araquanid, however, is not so simple. It knows offensive moves of FOUR different types, something scary on its own when all of the bosses generally only had one or two offensive moves at this point. Aurora Beam, a strong Ice move at this point in the game, is able to counter any Flying types you may think to use, such as Dartrix or Hawlucha. Any other Grass types you may try to use will be destroyed by Leech Life, a powerful Super Effective Bug-type move that also restores Araquanid's health. Bite is probably its least useful move, but it will be used to defeat any Ghost types like Gastly you may try to use to inflict status on Araquanid. And finally, its strongest move- Bubble. While its base power is the same as Wishiwashi's Water Gun, Araquanid's ability effectively makes any Water move double in power. This ability, paired with the rain that always falls on this battle, will make even a neutral hit feel like a Super Effective one. Its allies are no joke either- Dewpider can do decent damage to you as well, and Masquerain can Paralyze you or boost Araquanid's speed. Even the best counters for this boss have trouble defeating it- this spider isn't a joke.
  • Pokémon Sword and Shield:
    • Kabu, the third gym leader, is notable for actually declaring himself "the first real roadblock of the Gym Challenge" (though, perhaps ironically, he doesn't say this until after you beat him). The first two leaders are relatively trivial, having only one decent fighter, but Kabu starts with a Ninetales, followed by an Arcanine and a Centiskorch for the Dynamax-user. The first two persistently try to burn you with Will-O-Wisp, and the last has a Bug-type damaging attack that can catch you off-guard if you're attempting to breeze through with a Water or Rock type. Did we forget to mention that his Centiskorch can Gigantamax, thus giving it access to a move that automatically applies Fire Spin?
    • The first Wild Area has many "strong-looking" Pokemon of over level 25, at a point where your team is likely around 10-15. Not only are they dangerous to fight, you can't even catch them yet because this game restricts capture level by how many gym badges you have. You may get most of your team knocked out trying to weaken one, only to discover that you can't throw Poké Balls at it. For these reasons, you're explicitly warned to run away if you encounter one of these.
  • Pokémon Colosseum: Between the perpetual Double Battles, limited Pokémon to choose from, and trading being prohibited until the post-game, Orre is no joke, and at least one of the following three opponents is sure to be your tripping point.
    • Miror B. has a dance squad of no less than four Ludicolo, whose abilities benefit from rainy weather, which all of them can invoke with Rain Dance. Because of how Shadow Pokémon work, the only Pokémon you can level up at this point in the game are your starter Espeon and Umbreon, who can't get the type advantage; if you try to use your Shadow Pokémon, you're stuck with a level disadvantage. Two of the Ludicolo know Astonish, which might cause your Pokémon to flinch and lose the turn; one of them knows Leech Seed, which will stick the Pokémon it hits with an HP drain until its withdrawn and heals Miror's Pokémon to boot; three of them have Water-type attacks that will be bolstered by the rain, and all of them have a Grass-type attack to hit anything that resists Water. And once you take out three of the dancers, he sends out a Shadow Sudowoodo, who has a five-level advantage on his Ludicolo and shares none of their weaknesses.
    • Cipher Peon Skrub will tank with Clamperl and Wynaut (the latter of which will return fire like the Game-Breaker it is) while thrashing your team with Geodude's Magnitude and his Shadow Hitmontop. You can't rely on pure power to overcome Clamperl or Wynaut, because if you do, Geodude and Hitmontop will make you suffer. Hitmontop in particular is the first time in the game where an opponent's Shadow Pokemon can really wreck your team, forcing you to play strategically, especially if you plan on enduring attacks while trying to Snag it. And your Shadow Pokemon don't gain levels until you beat this guy.
    • Dakim. His Earthquake+Protect combo will decimate an unprepared team, and then the player realizes he has a Shadow Entei. This is a massive step up from anything the core series has in store - not only is this Legendary Pokémon participating in a Double Battle, but wild Pokémon - including wild Legendary Pokémon - don't use tactics at anywhere near the level of trainers. But Colosseum believes in Artificial Brilliance, and combining that with the stats of a Legendary Pokémon is already spelling disaster before you factor in Shadow Rush and the dreaded 3 catch rate.
  • There's the battle between Gurdurr and Scraggy in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity. It's essentially the first major boss, but at this stage in the game, they can easily wipe you. They're both very strong, you've got only two team members, and if you're too reckless, you won't last long unless you keep healing up. There's also nothing you've got that's super-effective against any of the two, leaving you to chop away with regular-powered moves. If you chose Tepig or Pikachu as your character/partner, watch out; if Gurdurr gets burned or paralyzed as a side-effect of Ember or Thundershock, his Attack will skyrocket, and he'll easily destroy you in three, if not two hits. Plus, Scraggy has surprisingly high defenses. It's difficult enough that later on, when Gurdurr fights alone, it's much easier since it's a two-on-one battle. But still, this is enough to warn you of what's to come in this game's bosses.
  • Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia has Drapion. First off, you have to fight it directly after two Rhyhorn and three Stunky. Secondly, the only nearby Pokemon with an assist that's super effective against it at the time is Drowzee, which may or may not help. Third, it hits HARD. However, what really makes this fight difficult is that is has a nasty habit of leaving poison puddles, limiting the area you can circle it and latter starts spamming a poison cloud attack, limiting the time you can circle it.


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