When playing a new kind of challenge you always wonder the difficulties that will appear in your first playthrough that couldn’t be predicted. In my early game I did see coming the bigger issue that I will be facing in the early zones of the game: movepools are shallow.
In the first few zones I got my starter (Leafage/Growl), a Yungoos (Tackle), a Pikipek (Growl) and a Wingull (Water Gun/Supersonic). These first Pokemon I used knowing that they wouldn’t last very long in the team, because none of these moves had enough staying power for me to use it aside from the very first island (without suffering from the choice). The real early decision was to set appart who’d be my early dark type (Rattata or Meowth) and my early electric type (Magnemite and Pichu), knowing that I was limited by the moves Bite and Thundershock so only one of these could be used. My angle was that if I Advanced enough through zones I’d be able to catch a Meowth with both Fake Out and Bite, which could be a good definitive moveset if I got lucky enough to find one with technician. Magnemite came more naturally as I ran into one carrying Magnet Bomb and Thundershock, giving me not one but two STABs (something fresh in my roster so far!). It turned out that he came with a Metal Coat, making it extra Lucky!
To get a chance at catching my Fake Out/Bite Meowth I needed to refrain from catching one before facing the first of the Captains (Mr. Shampoo head). The fight wasn’t very difficult as Magnemite took Smeargle’s Ember without problem despite it being not very effective and Magnet Bomb struck hard. In the next zone I went and caught many more Pokes: Drifloon (Gust/Minimize), Makuhita (Arm Thrust/Sand Attack), Misdreavus (Psy Wave/Spite), Meowth (Fake Out/Bite) and Drowsee (Confusion/Disable). This was a pretty solid roster for the early game that phased out the guys I used before the challenge. Meowth even had Technician as its ability! (neutral nature though). After fighting in the Berry farm I also caught a Cutiefly (Fairy Wind/Stun Spore) and Growlithe (Ember/Roar). At this point I refrained to catch several pokes such as Grimer, Zubat or Gastly because they did not have any decent moves and I knew there were future opportunities to catch them with a superior movepool later in the game. Sadly I could not catch a decent Slowpoke too because he had no attacking moves (the only option was something like Curse/Yawn).
Totally unrelated moment: I caught a Shiny Drowsee! Too bad I did not have any pretty pokeball in the inventory when I got it, but you never spit in a wild shiny like that. It turned out to be Modest too!
Through the first trial which consisted in beating wild Yungoos and Gumshoos, Arm Thrust (Makuhita) more than pulled his weight. Back when I experimented with a One-Move Challenge Makuhita pulled some solid work for several Gyms by using Arm Thrust (this was in OR), so I knew he could last a while in the team without enacting many changes. I was excited to get a Vullaby in the first zone with flying shadows, but it turned out that family was a version exclusive and I faced Rufflet instead. Sort of disappointed I hung around until a Rufflet with Wing Attack and Fury Attack appeared and recruited him to my team. After finding the item Sharp Beak in the same zone I started to feel more optimistic about Rufflet’s future on the team. Wing Attack is one of the best flying level up moves you find in most Pokemon games and Rufflet’s status are well above the early game options such as Pikipek and Spearow. I did not want to evolve Pikipek nor Spearow (as evolving costs me Pokemon), so Rufflet could be a mainstay at least until fully evolved birds start to appear.
I had high hopes at the pokemon garder where Oricorio and Cotonee appeared, but their moves were pretty shallow or already covered by other pokes of mine (Peck/Fairy Wind), having thought ahead of time I’d have preferred to save Peck so Oricorio could join the team at this point, but missing it did not seem so bad, since Rufflet is a decent Flying type representative. Other pokes I sidestepped at this point: Digglet and Delibird, one because I hoped to find a better version later in the game and the second one because of the obvious lack of decent moves. My goal is not to catch too many innecesary pokemon just to boost my numbers and potentially improve moves/evolution stages, so I’m effectively ignoring Pokemon that I feel would add nothing to my team. This might change later on, but it’s time consuming and I rather not dwell too much in the early zones of the game that are filled with Pokemon with weak moves!
Against my better judgement I sent Confusion (Drowsee) against the Fighting type Kahuna, a fight that turned out to be a Pursuit-spam from my opponent, effectively keeping me from saving Confusion and forcing me to go into an offense that couldn’t fully sweep the opponent before Confusion went down. From there I used a combination of Ember’s Intimidate and Gust’s STAB to defeat the last Pokemon of the Kahuna, netting me my victory over the first Big Trial.
Before leaving Melemele I went to pick up a Machop (Karate Chop/Focus Energy) and a Roggenrola (Headbutt/Harden), which I decided would become fixed members of my team. I felt bad of not catching nearly enough Gen VII pokemon, but most of them were too limited by the limitations of my challenge.
Number of Pokemon Lost: 1.