Estimated reading time: 20 minute(s)

On the weekend immediately before July 4, 2021, Victor and I decided that we would engage in a July 4-themed Pokémon battle, record it, and publish it to LBRY and here at The New Leaf Journal. With only a week to make our teams, it was a bit of a struggle. Victor did not finish training his team. I was still breeding my last two Pokémon on Friday evening, just a couple of hours before our battle. Nevertheless, we managed to finish our 4th of July-themed Pokémon teams and complete not one, but two battles as the calendar turned from July 2 to July 3.

4th of July-themed Pokémon trainer battle cards for an online Pokémon Sword and Shield battle between the editors of The New Leaf Journal.
Our trainer battle cards. I am Celia, on the right. The little icon on the top right of her card indicates that I caught all 400 Pokémon in the base-game. Victor, as Richard NIXON, is on the right.

In this article, I will upload both of our battles, explain what is happening, and include some live commentary from me and Victor. The post will also explain why we chose the specific Pokémon that we did for our Independence Day-themed teams.

While prior knowledge of modern Pokémon battling will make the battles more intelligible, it is not required to enjoy the post. I will provide links to quick information about Pokémon battling in order to elucidate the content for those of you who are not in the know. Furthermore, Victor’s eco-warrior sword waving requires no Pokémon knowledge at all.

(See the bottom of the article for an invitation to participate in a quiz for the chance to win credit in this very distinguished online magazine.)

The 4th of July Pokémon Project

Victor and I have not played too much Pokémon in recent months. As I noted when we published our first recorded battle on June 9, that was our first online battle in nearly one year. Being a bit out of practice with the occasional monotony of team building, and both having other things to do as well, preparing full original teams in just over one week was a daunting task.

Our proposed July 4 battle had no complicated rules like our still planned Pokémon Draft Battle. We were required to pick full teams of six Pokémon for a one on one (as opposed to two on two) battle with an Independence Day-theme in mind.

A Brief Introduction Pokémon Battles

Are you someone who knows nothing about Pokémon battling? Or are you someone who knew all the rules – back in 1999? If this does not describe you, feel free to skip this brief section. For those of you (the majority, I assume) who are not familiar with the mechanics of Pokémon battles in the current generation games, I have a brief introduction.

Victor and I had two six-vs-six Pokémon battles. In the battles, we each use one Pokémon at a time and the goal is to knock out all of the opponent’s Pokémon. The entire battle between the teams has a 20-minute time limit. If both sides still have Pokémon remaining at the expiration of 20 minutes, the winner is decided via a tiebreaker (neither of our battles reached the time limit, although the second came close).

Each Pokémon knows up to four moves (in almost all cases, a Pokémon will know four moves). Every Pokémon has one or two elemental types – which have strengths and weaknesses against the other types. Pokémon also have different six statistics: Hit Points (health), Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed. Stats are influenced by a variety of factors, including the Pokémon’s base stats, individual values, nature, and training. I explained what goes into training a Pokémon in more detail in my Pokémon Draft Battle preview.

To see an example of how a Pokémon battle works in practice, you can read my first battle video post.

The First Ferrell-Gurbo July 4th Pokémon Battle

The full video of our first battle:

Note that the actual battle starts at 1:55. The first part of the video shows my character conversing with a sheep Pokémon and the team selection.

Below, I will briefly review the key points in the battle and add some in-battle commentary from me and Victor over chat. Victor typed some lovely essays during the battle. I was less talkative because there is a slight lag between my controller inputs and my seeing them when I am running the Switch video through my computer – and I was taking care to not miss-click anything.

Battle Start

See start.

Victor (NIXON) began by complimenting my (Celia’s) outfit. That was very nice of him. After that compliment – which would be the last of the battle – the 37th President of the United States introduced his team as “Team Karen.”

President NIXON led with Xurkitree, an electric Pokémon tree that appears to be made out of cables. He explained his choice in our live chat:

DID YOU KNOW THAT THE AVERAGE AMERICAN WASTES 10,649 KILOWATTS OF ELECTRICITY A YEAR, FOR A TOTAL OF 3955 BILLION KILOWATTS TOTAL FOR THE COUNTRY? THIS CONTRIBUTES TO HARMFUL GREENHOUSE GASSES AND THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR ENVIRONMENT. YOU’RE KILLING OUR PLANET, NICK. Happy Independence Day.

Victor V. Gurbo

I replied that I saw where his team was going from the preview.

Sticking with his naming trend, he named his Xurkitree #Xurkitdawg.

I led with Copperajah, a copper elephant Pokémon. Sticking with my “Pookie” name trend, I named it “Repooklican.” Lurking in the name was commentary on the desire of certain elected officials to remove per-country limits on employment visa categories, but I was too focused on the battle to explain.

A Big Elephant

Time Stamp.

In each Pokémon battle, the trainer can “dynamax” a Pokémon of his choosing one time. Dynamaxing a Pokémon makes it very big for three turns, doubles its health points while maxed, and changes its moves to max moves. In the June battle I posted, I held off using my max until the very end of the battle. There was no such wait here. Not feeling particularly threatened by Victor’s bundle of wires (aside – why didn’t Victor use an actual tree Pokémon?), I maxed Copperajah on turn one and used its special max move – G-Max Steelsurge.

Gigantimaxing a Copperajah in an online Pokémon Sword and Shield battle.
Giagantimaxing Repooklican the Copperajah.

Victor, having the faster Pokémon (you will be shocked to know Copperajah is slow), used Volt Switch, which deals damage and switches his Pokémon out. He switched into Colossal, a Pokémon that is an actual pile of flaming coal, and Colossal (#Colossodawg) took my G-Max Steelsurge. G-Mas Steelsurge is a special move. In addition to doing damage, it places a steel-type entry hazard on the opponent’s side of the field (Copperajah is the only Pokémon that can place a steel-type entry hazard). I always wanted to try that move – so this was the perfect excuse. The hazard damages opposing Pokémon every time they switch in. Victor had no moves to remove entry hazards, so it remained for the entire battle.

Repooklican Saves the Planet

We’re not really here for strategy though? Why did Victor choose a pile of coal for his Independence Day team?

DID YOU KNOW THAT THE US CONSUMES AN AVERAGE OF 731,071,000 TONS OF COAL PER YEAR, WHICH DISASTROUSLY EFFECTS OUR ENVIRONMENT? YOU’RE KILLING OUR PLANET, NICK. Happy Independence Day.

Victor V. Gurbo

Before Victor’s pile of coal went down on the next turn, he set up his own entry hazard – Stealth Rock. The Stealth Rock was a bit annoying, but there was nothing I could do to stop it other than going back in time and using my max ground move instead of G-Max Steelspike on the first turn. I praised myself for saving the planet:

Look, just destroyed a coal mine.

Nicholas A. Ferrell

The free market at work.

That’s Not a Buffalo

Time Stamp.

Victor then sent out his very rare shiny Tauros, #Taurosdawg. It should be obvious that Tauros is a bull. Victor, however, was determined to place a round peg in a square hole:

DID YOU KNOW THAT THE AMERICAN BUFFALO WAS NEARLY HUNTED TO EXTINCTION? AMERICA STARTED OUT WITH 30 MILLION BUFFALO, AND THEY WERE DOWN TO LESS THAN 100 BY THE 1880s. WHY U HATE BUFFALO NICK? Happy Independence Day.

Victor V. Gurbo

I was perplexed, for as you will soon see – I brought a buffalo Pokémon to the battle. Victor brought a bull and called it a buffalo. I noted that there was a powerful take-away from this:

This is symbolic. You tree-huggers have no idea what you’re talking about.

Nicholas A. Ferrell

(For the record, I am fond of trees – but in a branch-shake or high-five kind of way.)

We had a friend in high school who once told Victor in an online chat:

There’s no such things as turkeys. Dick Cheney just painted a chicken brown and gave them fat-cats in Washington pay raises.

High School Friend (punctuation and capitalization added)

Discerning New Leaf Journal readers will note that this brilliant line was borrowed by Justin of my Justin and Justina dialogue series. But I digress. Victor had a bull, painted it shiny, called it a buffalo, and gave them fat-cats in Washington raises while he accused me of driving the buffalo to extinction.

Victor promptly dynamaxed his Tauros, and we exchanged damaging attacks.

Dynamaxing a Tauros in an online Pokémon Sword and Shield battle.

Alas for Repooklican, it was on its final max turn. I did not have anything that I could safely switch into Tauros’s max fighting move, so I had little choice but to bid Repooklican farewell for our first battle. He served the cause well – both my prospects for victory and reducing CO2 omissions. Victor described his victory:

The Republican party just fainted.

Victor V. Gurbo

America’s Revenge

Time Stamp.

In theory, I was in a bit of a pickle. Tauros is fast and it has a high attack stat. Furthermore, both of its max attacks against Repooklican had raised its attack stat. I had a plan, however. After Victor bragged about demolishing one of America’s two mainstream political parties, I warned him that “AMERICA WILL HAVE REVENGE.”

My second Pokémon was Patriotic Pook the Braviary. Braviary is an eagle colored red, white, and blue, that was introduced in the fifth generation of Pokémon games (note the current generation is eighth, I have written about first and second here at The New Leaf Journal). The fifth-generation games were set in a region based on New York City. How could an Independence Day team not have Braviary?

Although Tauros is naturally faster than Braviary, and could knock Braviary out in one hit, I had a trump card. My Braviary had an item called Choice Scarf. Choice Scarf increases a Pokémon’s speed by 1.5X in return for locking the Pokémon into the first move it uses (until it switches out). The scarf made Braviary faster than Tauros – and it had a move called Retaliate. Retaliate is ordinarily a 70-base power move (that is mediocre), but when it is used a turn after one of your Pokémon is knocked out, its base power is 140. Victor and I had the following live exchange:

Victor: …
Nick: RETALIATE
Victor: Well done.
Nick: Ty.

The Masons

Time Stamp.

Victor returned with his electrical tree. I was not 100% confident that Braviary’s un-boosted retaliate would KO Xurkitree, and I was 100% confident that Xurkitree would knock out Braviary with any electric attack. In the spirit of Washington, I decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and I switched into “Masonicpook” the Magneton.

I had wanted an eye-focused Pokémon in honor of the eye of providence on the back of the $1 bill. “Masonicpook” is a better name than the true story of the eye on the back of the dollar bill. I had originally planned to obtain a good Sigilyth, which would have made much more sense, but circumstances intervened. Breeding a good Sigilyth would have required an extra step that breeding Magneton did not – based on what I had on hand. For that reason, I went with Magneton so we could have our battle before 2 AM.

I swapped in Magneton because it was my only Pokémon that could safely switch into a Xurkitree attack, due to its being bulky and resisting electric-type moves. Victor’s tree used Thunderbolt, a powerful electric attack (especially from Xurkitree), and it did solid damage (60/157) despite my resisting it.

While Magneton could take Xurkitree’s attacks, it could not do much in return. It only knew electric and steel moves, both of which Xurkitree resisted. Furthermore, had Victor stayed in, he would have KO’d Magneton while only taking one attack. However, as I noted, Magneton was the only Pokémon I could actually switch into a Xurkitree attack safely, so I had to stay in. I opted for Magneton’s steel move. It was then that Victor made a beautiful move (for me, at least).

The Fall of #Wheezingdawg

Time Stamp.

Victor switched in his Galarian-form Wheezing, named #Wheezingdawg. Wheezing is a poison and fairy type. The fairy half is weak to steel, and Wheezing’s health and special defense are two of its weaker stats. Combined with Magneton’s high special attack, I knew that Wheezing would only be making a cameo appearance in our first battle. Victor, unaware of his error while we waited to see the results, sent his pre-prepared planet-saving lecture:

DID YOU KNOW THAT THE UNITED STATES EMITS APPROXIMATELY 5.1 BILLION METRIC TONS OF ENERGY-RELATED CARBON DIOXIDE, WHICH IS WHY IT’S BEEN SO HOT THIS WEEK. YOU’RE KILLING OUR PLANET, NICK. Happy Independence Day.

Victor V. Gurbo

I ignored Victor’s lecture, and remarked when I saw Wheezing take the field while I was waiting to see my attack on video:

Wow… That was unfortunate.

Nicholas A. Ferrell

Then Victor saw it too:

…Huh… Maybe round two will be better.

Victor V. Gurbo

Victor should have stayed in with Xurkitree, but having decided to switch – he likely forgot either that Magneton is a steel type or that his Wheezing is weak to steel. The stars aligned for a colossally disastrous switch.

Galarian Wheezing is supposed to purify the air. Fear not though, its presence was not needed after Repooklican destroyed the coal mine.

Our Dying Coral Reefs (and Epstein)

Time Stamp.

Victor sent out “#Cursoladawg” the Cursola. Cursola is the ghost of a coral reef representing dying reefs. A natural choice for any eco-warrior team. Victor explained:

DID YOU KNOW THAT 50% OF THE UNITED STATE’S CORAL REEFS ARE DEAD? DEAD, DEAD AS DISCO, DEAD AS JEFFRY EPSTEIN WHO CERTAINLY DID NOT KILL HIMSELF. SO NOT ONLY ARE OUR OCEANS BOILING, AN AMERICAN CITIZEN WAS MURDERED IN THE METROPOLITAN CORRECTIONAL CENTER OF NEW YORK CITY. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON NICK? Happy Independence Day.

Victor V. Gurbo

To be sure, boiling oceans would probably be preferable to Metropolitan Detention Center in the winter. But I digress.

Cursola, like the tree, has a massive Special Attack stat that I was not at all inclined to switch another Pokémon into one of its attacks. Instead, I thought that paralyzing it with thunder wave would be a good idea. Unfortunately, I had not been paying attention – Victor’s Wheezing set Misty Terrain with its ability when it entered. Misty Terrain blocks all moves that cause status effects (paralysis, freeze, burn, and poison). Thunder Wave did nothing, and Cursola dropped Masonicpook with “Burning Jealousy.”

Showing Victor What a Buffalo Is

Time Stamp.

Braviary would ordinarily be my go-to switch after losing a Pokémon, but Cursola, being a ghost-type, was immune to Retaliate (a normal-type move). It was time to show Victor what a real buffalo is. Meet “Americanpook” the Bouffalant.

(This is a buffalo, Victor.)

Bouffalant is known for being a powerful attacker, but I tried something different with mine – definitely my most creative set of the bunch. Bouffalant has powerful boosting moves for both of its defense stats. Amnesia raised its special defense by two stages and Cotton Guard raises its defense by three stages. Since Cursola was using special attacks, I used Amnesia on turn one. Cursola’s Burning Jealousy did next to nothing after the special defense boost.

Bouffalant uses amnesia against Cursola in a Pokémon Sword and Shield online battle.
Americanpook had amnesia, but I didn’t when distinguishing between a bull and a buffalo

What Victor did not realize was that Bouffalant had very little to threaten Cursola with. Its most powerful move was normal type – and therefore does not affect Cursola. Its other attacking move was Poison Jab – which I added to try to poison an opposing Pokémon and stall it with my defense boosts. Cursola resisted poison.

I anticipated that Victor would switch after seeing how little damage Burning Jealousy did, so I took the turn to set up Cotton Guard in anticipation of a physical attacker switching in. No switch came, however, and Victor used Burning Jealousy again, which did a tiny bit more damage than I recovered with my held item, Leftovers (Leftovers recovers 1/16 of the maximum health every turn).

Victor Brings in an Actual Pile of Garbage

Time Stamp.

The Pokémon design team can be extraordinary creative. Sometimes. Other times we get a Pokémon like Garbodor, an actual heaping pile of trash. That is not an insult, I rather like Garbodor as I explained in an article about a misshapen snowman that reminded me of it. But Garbodor is a dump-turned-Pokémon. Why did Victor bring #Garbodawg?

DID YOU KNOW THAT US LANDFILLS ARE FULLED WITH APROX 139.6 MILLION TONS OF GARBAGE? THIS INCLUDES 26.82 TONS OF PLASTIC WHICH WILL NEVER DECOMPOSE. YOU’RE KILLING OUR PLANET, NICK. Happy Independence Day.

Victor V. Gurbo

That introduction combined with what I know about Garbodor cued me into a potential issue for Bouffalant. Garbodor knows toxic, which causes poison. Poison is a good way to get around my defensive Bouffalant, since defense-boosts do not mitigate poison damage. Furthermore, the misty terrain that had been set by Wheezing expired on the turn Garbodor entered, meaning that its status-afflicting moves would work.

I decided to set up a second Cotton Guard to wall any attacks from Garbodor. Victor, as I predicted, used Toxic, which effectively put Bouffalant on a timer (toxic does increasing amounts of poison damage each turn). On the next turn, I went for Bouffalant’s most powerful attack, Head Charge – a high base-power move that deals recoil damage to the user. Garbodor hit Bouffalant with Gunk Shot, a very powerful move that did next to nothing with my defense stat being boosted the maximum six stages (X3).

Fortunately for me, Head Charge did more than half damage against Garbodor, and on the next turn, I was able to weather a second Gunk Shot, knock out Garbodor, and survive with a tiny bit of health to take a 4-2 lead.

The American Buffalo Rises

Time Stamp.

Victor, down to two Pokémon, had to choose between #Cursoladawg and #Xurkidawg. Cursola would have been the safest choice, but because Victor had not seen that my last move was Poison Jab, he did not know that. He went into Xurkitree, which was a fair choice. Even though my Bouffalant’s special defense was plus-four stages (double what it would ordinarily be), it was on relatively low health and Xurkitree does have a huge special attack stat.

I was not confident that Bouffalant would live a Thunderbolt from 5 HP even with the special defense boosts, but I certainly had nothing to switch in. Combine that with the fact Bouffalant was poisoned and on low health, I stayed in and used Head Smash – which I knew would be a one-hit KO if I survived Xurkitree’s attack.

Victor could have gone for Volt Switch and switched into Cursola, which would have risked being hit with a fourth move he did not know – but in reality, would have nullified my Head Smash and seen Bouffalant fall from poison after accounting for the Volt Switch damage. Instead, Victor must have been confident that Thunderbolt would be enough. It did 39 points of damage out of 50 – and Bouffalant knocked it Xurkitree with Head Smash – and itself from recoil damage.

Victor responded to missing the KO with Thunderbolt:

Victor V. Gurbo

I had my own response:

BUFFALO! BUFFALO!

Nicholas A. Ferrell

America the Brave

Time Stamp.

With Victor only having Cursola and my having three Pokémon remaining – the battle was all but won. I would have switched into my Exploud (“Partypook”) but for one problem. Exploud’s most powerful move is a normal-type attack, which Cursola is not affected by. It can have an ability that allows it to hit ghosts with normal moves – but I forgot to change its ability before the first battle. Thus, my choice was between Patrioticpook the Braviary and Nixon Jr (to be explained in the next battle) the Pinsir. Nixon Jr would very much not like Cursola’s Burning Jealousy if it missed a knockout on its first move, so I called in America the Brave to finish the battle.

Instead of Retaliate, I used Braviary’s strongest unboosted attack, Brave Bird. Brave Bird is a flying-type move with 120 base power, but it does recoil damage – much like Bouffalant’s head smash. Because of Stealth Rock, Braviary was taking 25% damage every time it switched in – but with the battle about to end, the recoil from Brave Bird was no problem.

Braviary uses Brave Bird in a Pokémon Sword and Shield online battle.

With that, I won the first battle 6-3. I ended up only using four of my six Pokémon. Clearly, we needed another battle to show off the full lineup.

The Second Ferrell-Gurbo July 4th Pokémon Battle

We agreed that we would use the same Pokémon for our second battle, but that we could make adjustments. I made two changes (I am not sure if Victor made any). I changed the ability on my Exploud and I gave my Nixon Jr the Pinsir “Heavy Duty Boots” – which would protect it from entry hazard damage.

Battle starts at about 1:42.

The second battle was better-fought and more competitive than the first. I won 6-4, and given our teams, Victor would have needed quite a bit to go right in order to win. But he made the second more difficult by setting up his entry hazards early (Victor used his Garbodor to set up Toxic Spikes – a poison-inducing entry hazard, in the second battle) – and I did not set up my own entry hazard because I opted to hold on to my dynamax instead of using it early for the purpose of setting up a trap.

Despite this being the better of the two battles, I will only note a few specific points. Firstly, having made most of our jokes, the second battle included less live commentary. Secondly, this article is already a bit long – and those of you who followed along with the first battle should an understanding from that about what is happening in the second. If you did enjoy the first battle, I recommend watching the second to see the adjustments that we made based on what we learned in the opener.

The Miss-click

Time Stamp.

Neither Victor nor I had lost a Pokémon in a switch-filled first half. I note this section out of courtesy to Victor, who made an unfortunate miss-click (I had a slightly less unfortunate one). Victor set up Stealth Rock with Colossal, which can only be done once. One turn later, with the chance to knock out my Magneton, he accidentally hit stealth rock again, leading to my Magneton – with two health points left – knocking out his Colossal instead before fainting from burn damage.

Between that and the Wheezing-switch in the first battle, Magneton was the lucky Pokémon of the day).

It was not a decisive miss-click, but Victor could have found a way to make use of his Colossal on low health later in the battle. I take the small breaks where I find them.

The Unimpeachable Nixon Jr

Time Stamp.

Victor had a brief 2-1 lead as we crossed the ten-minute mark in our battle. Garbodor was holding down the fort on his side of the field. Time to bring in one of the two Pokémon I did not use in the first battle – Nixon Jr the Pinsir.

Why is my Pinsir “Nixon Jr”? It was originally Victor’s. We played the seventh generation Pokémon games – Sun and Moon for the Nintendo 3DS. In 2016 or 2017, Victor traded me a Pinsir that he named “Nixon Jr.” It is possible to transfer Pokémon from as far back as the third-generation games, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire – released in the United States for Game Boy Advance in 2003 – to the modern Pokémon Sword and Shield. It goes without saying that it is easier to move a Pokémon from generation 7 to Sword and Shield.

Anticipating entry hazard issues – and noting Pinsir takes extra damage from Stealth Rock due to its being a bug type – I gave it Heavy Duty boots to nullify entry hazard damage.

Nixon Jr would teach Nixon some valuable lessons. He first knocked out Garbodor with Earthquake. Victor then brought in his unfortunate Wheezing from the first battle to hit Pinsir with a super effective flame thrower. However, I took the entry of Wheezing as a chance to set up Swords Dance (increasing my attack) before knocking Wheezing out with Earthquake.

I had a message for Victor:

NIXON! UN-IM-PEACH-A-BLE!

Nicholas A. Ferrell

(Do note Nixon was never impeached. Common misconception. You’re welcome for the lesson.)

Victor explained his thought process:

Thought Wheezing was floaty.

Victor V. Gurbo

To be sure, Wheezing actually can have an ability called “Levitate” that nullifies ground-type attacks like Earthquake. Victor’s Wheezing, however, had Misty Terrain, which I noted in the first battle.

Victor next switched in Cursola, which also fell to Earthquake.

You know, if Victor took better care of Wheezing – maybe we wouldn’t be having all of these earthquakes.

Avenging Nixon Jr

Time Stamp.

Victor forced Nixon Jr to resign from the battle with Xurkitree, which was faster and able to knock it out with Thunderbolt. I switched in Braviary the Patrioticpook – and immediately avenged Nixon Jr with Retaliate. In the first battle, Braviary used Retaliate against a dynamaxed Pokémon – so the game did not show the normal animation. Here, however, you can see one of the best Pokémon attack animations in its full glory.

Braviary KOs Xurkitree with Retaliate in a Pokémon Sword and Shield online battle.
If Retaliate doesn’t have the best animation, it’s way up there.

Thanks to Nixon Jr and Patrioticpook, I opened up a 5-3 lead for the second time in two battles.

A Maximum Finish

Time Stamp.

Victor’s final Pokémon was Tauros – which I reiterate is a bull, not a bison. I knew that Victor would max Tauros. Maxing Braviary was an option – but a poor one. Were I to max Braviary, I would no longer have the one-move restriction from Choice Scarf, but I would also lose the speed boost while maxed. For that reason, I was not sure that I would win a max-battle against Tauros.

I was sure, however, that Braviary could easily deal with Tauros once its max was up. For that reason, I decided to switch. My final two options were Exploud – not yet revealed in either battle – and Copperajah. I decided to switch into Repooklican the Copperajah. In this case, its battle with Tauros went even more poorly than the first. Victor used a max steel move which damaged Repooklican and boosted Taoros’s defense, and then finished Repooklican with a max fighting move that boosted Tauros’s attack.

Tauros had one more turn of max left. For that reason, switching in Braviary was not an option (Retaliate would not knock out a max Tauros with +1 defense). It was time to reveal my final Pokémon.

Partypook Celebrates

Time Stamp.

Partypook the Exploud. I figured a very loud Pokémon was fitting for July 4th. The two battles did not go as planned for it. Exploud is a powerful special attacker, and I had a whole strategy prepared for it. It never made the field in the first battle in part because I forgot its item – Throat Spray – which would have boosted its special attack after it used its strongest attack – Boomburst. I had hoped to show it off in the second battle, but the stars never aligned – thanks in part to Nixon Jr ripping through half of Nixon’s eco-warrior team.

Because Tauros was maxed and had a super effective move against Exploud, I could not use my planned strategy. Instead, I maxed Exploud and used Max Guard to block Tauros’s last max attack.

Dynamaxed Exploud faces off against dynamaxed Tauros in a Pokémon Sword and Shield online battle.
A big showdown.

On the final turn, Nixon used non-max Tauros’s powerful Close Combat, which when combining its being super effective against Exploud, the passive damage Exploud incurred from Stealth Rock and poison, and Tauros’s attack boost, nearly knocked out Partypook despite its being maxed. However, Partypook just hung on, and then knocked out Tauros from full health with Max Strike, ending the battle in my favor.

While I am disappointed that I did not get to use Partypook as planned, I suppose finishing the battle is fair consolation.

It is worth noting that I would have won the battle regardless. Braviary, like Tauros, knew Close Combat, and that move would have been more than enough to knock out Tauros from full health even with its defense boost.

Bonus Material: How I Trained My Team

I had a few long nights over the past week training my Pokémon team after working during the day and posting New Leaf Journal content in the evening. I had to breed four of the six Pokémon on my team. The two exceptions were Nixon Jr, which I had trained in spring or summer 2020, and Copperajah (Repooklican), who was ready to go save for some stat training.

In order, I bred Rufflett (pre-evolution of Braviary), Whismur (pre-evolution of Exploud), and Bouffalant. I finished breeding Bouffalant late on Friday afternoon. At that point, I was running out of time. As I noted earlier, I had planned to breed Sigilyth as my eye Pokémon, but in the interest of time, I went for Magnemite (pre-evolution of Magneton instead). It took nearly an hour – and was quite frustrating, but I finished at about 8:30 PM, a couple of hours before Victor and I battled.

After getting my members together, I took another hour (after a walk) choosing their moves and giving them vitamins for stat training (the latter depleted my in-game money).

Victor noted that two of his six Pokémon were not fully stat-trained. Garbodor was one of the two. I took the time to put my team together correctly because I hope to be able to use some of them in future battles.

A Quiz and Offer for Readers

I have a quiz for readers.

There was a second Pokémon that I originally planned to use on my 4th of July team but opted not to for two reasons. The first reason was that based on what I had in my Pokémon box, breeding it would have taken more time than other options – time that I did not have last week. The second reason was that it is very closely related to one of the Pokémon that Victor gave me for our Draft Battle.

I have a special offer for any reader who can figure out which Pokémon I am referring to see our draft teams.

Here are the rules:

  • Post your guess in the Guestbook (one guess per day).
  • Name the Pokémon that Victor gave me for the Draft Battle that I am referring to.
  • Explain why you think I would have chosen that Pokémon for an Independence Day-themed team.

If any reader both correctly guesses the Pokémon and offers something approximating the reason why I would have included it on the Independence Day-themed team, I will not only update this article to give credit, but also credit the reader in a short article on the subject of the reason.

To be sure, other blogs probably have better offers than this. But all entries are welcome in the Guestbook.