It's finally time. After 4 parts, lots of highs, a few lows, and several VERY disturbing revelations, it's time for Red's Pokemon journey to come to an end. The Elite Four and the League Champion are calling our names, so let's not keep them waiting!

The Practice Round

After catching Articuno (and weeping over Zapdos' unconscious body), it's time for us to head back to Viridian and set out for Victory Road. We hop off of Pidgeotto once more, knowing that this will probably be the last time we need to Fly on them. After picking up Raichu from the PC, we review our final team:

They will gain several levels, and hopefully we can get one more evolution before the end—but at this point, these Pokemon, for better or worse, will be taking on the Elite Four. We venture East, and Blue is here. ...Why is Blue here? He tells us that he's gotten all 8 badges and he's on his way to challenge the Pokemon League, but that we'll make for a nice warm up.

Yeah, that's a great plan Blue: warm up against the person who's beaten you over and over and over throughout this entire adventure. Still, this is a great opportunity to get Dragonair some experience to help push us toward that much desired Dragonite.

Blue starts out with his signature Pidgeot, and an Ice Beam from our favorite Dragon-type sends that bird to a chilly end. Undaunted, Blue drops Gyrados, which is certainly an interesting choice, since the Water-typing will mitigate the Ice advantage our attacks have. Instead, we'll jump over to Raichu, and blast that...flying...water dragon..that isn't a dragon. Who picked Gyrados' typing? Also, can it actually fly? I know Mewtwo makes it fly in the movie, but doesn't it kind of just...sit there on the ground if it's not in the water?

Rhyhorn falls next, and Dragonair returns to throw out Ice Beam and drop them. Next out is Growlithe and a quick visit from Blastoise, with a Surf resolving that issue in short order. Alakazam arrives next, and we switch back over to Draognair and use Slam to take advantage of Alakazam's sub-par physical defense. Last to arrive is Venasaur and a single Ice Beam is all we need to end this so-called warmup, and send Blue scurrying off to the PokeCenter. There are a lot of questions remaining about how exactly Blue got this far, but we'll tackle those later.

Victory Road

Continuing our journey East (after a quick return to the PokeCenter; we're not monsters), we finally arrive at the gates to the Pokemon League. We've got two goals here: generally, we would like everyone to reach level 55, but specifically, we want Dragonite, so we're going to be here for a little while. The guards check all of our badges to remind us of our past triumphs: Boulder, Cascade, Thunder, Rainbow, Marsh, Soul, Volcano, and Earth. A thought occurs to me as we move through these gates—2/3 of this team has been with us since part 1 While I don't necessarily think that's super uncommon, it's pretty cool that we caught a well rounded team so early on!

At long last, we find ourselves before the entrance to the cave that is Victory Road. I don't remember if we need Flash in this cave, but boy do I not want to have to A) waste a move on one of our Pokemon that we're taking to the Elite 4 or B) run ALL THE WAY back to the PokeCenter and get Voltorb. Luckly, we don't need Flash here. (Which is super annoying. Did we only need it for Rock Tunnel? That's such a waste.) Victory Road is full of Pokemon that we, by and large, already have, so we won't get much here. That said, it's full of strong trainers for us to grind on, and we do have another legendary to battle: Moltres. We set off into the darkness and begin the arduous process of grinding Dragonair.

Within about 20 minutes of entering the cave, we find our next potential friend: Moltres. With a terrible cry, it illuminates the dark cave and the battle is on! We open up with Dragonair and FINALLY get to Paralyze a legendary bird, like I planned. Dragonair resists Fire, so we'll let them stay out and fight. Dragonair begins using Slam and Moltres is taking a beating. We're trapped in Fire Spin for 3 turns, but one more Slam should—

Critical Hit. Moltres fainted. Dang it. We're 1/3 on the birds, which is super annoying but it is what it is. Life goes on.

All we can do now is continue Grindfest 2020 to get our team to reach their desired levels. It takes us about 3 hours, but at long last we're ready. Dragonair has evolved. Our team is finally complete.

That's it then—the Elite Four are ready for us! I don't know about you all, but I don't intend to keep them waiting long…

The Ice Master

Alright, the team is healed up. We're going to grab some items from the PokeMart that's right before the entrance to the gym proper. (Full Restores: we're going to spend every last PokeBuck on Full Restores because they are AMAZING). Here is where the team stands before we enter the fight:

We are absolutely on top of our game. The Elite Four will fluctuate between low 50s to low 60s, so 55 feels like a fair compromise, especially since we're going to be running our type advantages to the max. Currently, we have Raichu rocking the top slot because our first opponent is the Lorelei.

I love the idea of an Ice-type team, they just give you so many cool options.(No pun intended.) Unfortunately, gen 1 did not have an abundance of too many Pokemon, so our niche types (Ghost, Ice, Dragon) kind of have to live with what they get. Lorelei's team is mostly duel Ice/Water, with the exception of Jinx (Ice/Psychic) and (oddly enough) Slowbro (Water/Psychic). Lorelei welcomes us, but tells us not to expect to advance much further. Joke's on her, we have a Raichu and they're gonna sweep her entire team. She opens with Dewgong and the Thunder(bolt) storm begins!

Most of these Water-types she has are oddly tanky but even with that, they can still only withstand one or 2 blasts from Raichu. First Dewgong, then Cloyster drop. Slowbro lands next and this one actually gives us a little trouble. They have a decent Special Defense, so Instead of burning all the PP for Thunderbolt, we'll try to use Thunder (which is TECHNICALLY stronger, but the dip in accuracy is really something to be aware of). Sure enough, the extra power does the trick, and Slowbro is down.

Next out is Jinx, and this is actually a problem I had not anticipated. Ice/Psychic is odd type coverage…but it also gives Jinx a lot of utility against our team. Snorlax seems like the best choice here, so we give our bear a chance to shine and they headbutt Jinx into oblivion. Last up is Lapras, and once again Raichu returns to bring us home. Lorelei is SHOCKED, and we're free to advance!

The Fighting Master Bruno is next, and honestly...I WANTED to like Bruno a lot, but I just can't. His gimmick is that he's the fighting guy...but 2/5 of his team are rock type and they're both Onix, who is honestly not that good.

"Well, there aren't enough Fighting-types!", I hear you protest. "I'm sorry, does PRIMEAPE mean nothing to you? Or maybe even like Golem, a GOOD rock type?", I respond.

Sorry guys—I love Onix's aesthetic, but it's just not a good Pokemon, especially this late in the game. Still, I'm about 20 years too late to make this case, so Blastoise goes up front, and we jump in! First off the bat is Onix and one Surf is all it takes to toss that snake out of our path. Hitmonchan lands next and Kadabra joins the fight on our side. Kadabra is absolutely a glass cannon, and while we have type advantage, we WILL drop in one hit. That said, we have another advantage most people forget: Kadabra is damned fast, and sure enough, we outrun Hitmonchan and Psychic sends the boxer packing. Hitmonlee lands next, and with a pang of remorse for my favorite Fighting-type, we blast him out of the arena as well.

Bruno decides to try Onix again, but Blastoise has no issues with this one either and now all that's left between us and Agatha is one BIG Machamp. Still, we've never had reason to fear with Kadabra by our side, and sure enough Psychic...DOESN'T bring this big monster down. Shoot. Well, this bodes ill. Machamp winds up and unleashes a terrifying...Focus Energy? Really?

Fun fact time: Focus Energy is a move that makes it more likely that your next move is a critical hit, four times as likely. On paper, this is pretty good (you're inflicting 1.5x damage with the attack), but in Gen 1, there's an issue: Focus Energy didn't MULTIPLY the chance you get a critical hit by 4, it DIVIDED the chance by 4. Focus Energy, in effect, was the worst move in Gen 1 because doing NOTHING would be better then using this move. Bruno pays for his lack of Gen 1 knowledge by letting his Machamp drop to a second Psychic, and we're on to the third member of this so-called "Elite" Four.

The Ghost Master

Agatha is waiting for us in the next room. Her specialty is Ghost-types, and although we discussed the problem with Gen 1's Ghost-types in part 3, I'll recap: they're all duel typed, with the second type being Poison (weak to Psychic). Due to a coding error, Ghost moves can't hit Psychic-types (except for Night Shade, which causes flat damage, so it's not helpful). With all this said, I don't want us to just let Kadabra run over ANOTHER member of the Elite Four...so we're gonna let Snorlax handle it. Why? Because Ghost moves can't hurt Normal Pokemon either, and we actually gave Snorlax Psywave. We send out our fighters and the battle is on!

We open up with Double Team, and we actually proceed to do this about 5 times. Gengar is trying to use Confuse Ray and Hypnosis but keeps missing, so once our Evasiveness is cranked, it's time to start laying into these Ghosts. Snorlax unleashes Psywave and Gengar is defeated. (It does take a few hits, though.) Next is Golbat, and Psywave resolved that issue for us, though unfortunately Golbat got Haze off first, so our Double Team buff is gone. Luckily, Haunter drops next and we begin Double Teaming again, until we're ready to use Psywave. Haunter falls.

Arbok follows up and hits us with a Glare. This is interesting because now we're Paralyzed. Sure, we weren't going first anyway, but now there's every chance we just lose a turn. We full restore Snorlax and Psywave Arbok out of here. Last is Gengar, and there's actually a fun fact about this Gengar in particular: in Gen 1, it knew Dream Eater...but not Hypnosis, so it couldn't actually put you to sleep to use Dream Eater. In effect, this Pokemon only has 3 moves it can use, unless you're already asleep...but then how did you defeat Arbok? Gengar attempts to use Toxic on us, but this really doesn't work because we're Double Teamed so much. We use Psywave, but this Gengar is a tank. It follows up with Toxic. (Its 2 other moves are Ghost-type, so it HAS to poison us, otherwise it can't kill us.) We continue to unleash Psywave and before we know it, Agatha is done. On to Lance!

The Dragon Master

Oh Lance...Lance, Lance, Lance...he opens up our first meeting by talking about what a superior trainer he is for training Dragon-types. But here's the problem with this logic: there are 3 Dragon-type Pokemon in this version...and they are the same evolution line. So Lance is a glorified version of the junior trainers who have all Rattata or Pidgey. What's more, 3/5 of his team are the Dragonite line...and 2 of them are just Dragonair. What else does he have? Gyrados and Aerodactyl. Ice moves are super effective against Dragon and Flying types. The only one who might resist this is Gyrados, due to its Water-typing, and we have Raichu for that issue. This also begs the question: How did Lance get an Aerodactyl? We had Not John Hammond clone us one, but where did this guy get the DNA when he was busy training his Dragon-types? This is a minor complaint, but hey, we're close to the end—I might only get in one or two more good rants.

Lance opens with Gyrados, and, in true poetic irony, we open with Dragonite. It's mean to take him out with his own ace, but he has no one to blame but himself for being predictable. Our Dragonite attacks with Ice Beam, and after 2 hits, Gyrados drops. Next up is Dragonair, and I actually feel bad here because the only Dragon move in Gen 1 is Dragon Rage, and it does a flat 40. Dragon is super effective against Dragon, but he has no way to capitalize on this. Ice is also super effective against Dragon, and we have Ice Beam. It's a one hit wonder, as Dragonair goes down. Lance sends out another, and the result is the same.

Next up is Aerodactyl...which is actually 4x weak to Ice, so this is kind of embarrassing now. Last is Dragonite, and we actually swap to Blastoise to use Blizzard here. Their strongest move is Hyper Beam and we are slower, so we take that one on the chin. It causes a ton of damage, but our Blastoise holds strong and unleashes hell with Blizzard, twice (Hyper Beam requires a recharge after use), and Dragonite falls. The Elite Four are beaten, but Lance tells us there's a new champ in town...a little brat called Blue. Let's finish this rivalry once and for all!

And the Winner Is…

Blue is waiting for us. He welcomes us and boasts about being the best trainer in the world. There are a few issues with his theory and with the world building in general here, but I've decided to save that discussion for later. For right now, Blue is sending out Pidgeot, and we're diving into the final battle!

Raichu drops and we open with a tremendous Thunderbolt! Pidgeot falls to our electric mouse, just as it has since part 1. Undeterred, Blue sends out his next Pokemon is Rhydon, and we swap out to Blastoise! Blastoise drowns the Rock/Ground 'mon, and we're ready for our next foe: Gyrados. Raichu pops out again and demolishes the Water/Flying Dragon.

Halfway done, and next out is Arcanine. We switch over to Nidoking (he hasn't seen any action in this part yet) and Earthquake brings the fire dog down! Alakazam arrives next, and we switch out...to Kadabra. Yes, we're going to do this one more time, just to assert that our Kadabra is better than his Alakazam. We burrow underground and exploit Alakazam's poor Defense. This Alakazam drops Recover and we're in this for the long haul. This is a matter of pride though. We CAN'T get Alakazam, but we're strong enough that we don't NEED Alakazam, and we're here to prove it. Tenacity proves to be our ally, and finally we emerge victorious.

Last to arrive is Venusaur, and we launch Blastoise. This is also a point of pride: this will end as it began, starter versus starter. We launch our secret weapon, Blizzard, and take Venusaur down to below half health. Venusaur begins taking in sunlight and now we have one chance: if Blizzard misses, we are almost certainly losing Blastoise. Blizzard isn't super accurate, but at this point, I'm willing to risk it. We call our attack. As Venusaur prepares to fire their Solar Beam, and a storm of snow, ice, and wind rush forth from Blastoise. Venusaur is unable to withstand the assault, and faints. Blastoise stands victorious over their counterpart, and Blue is beaten!

Blue can't believe that he lost, and while he's still wrapping his head around the defeat, Professor Oak arrives. He tells Blue that he lost because he failed to treat his Pokemon as friends, and congratulates us on our victory. He leads us into the Hall of Fame and our team is entered. We are the new Pokemon League champions!

 

"Wait, what about Mewtwo!" you protest. I had intended to include that aspect of the story as well, but honestly, it was super uneventful compared to this ending. We threw the Master Ball and (surprise) Mewtwo stayed in it. Then we used Dig to escape...done and done.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you guys so much for coming with me on this adventure through time, it was a ton of fun getting to play this classic game again. You may have noticed that there hasn't been a big rant about Blue like I promised. I didn't want to undercut the mood of reaching the end of the game by launching into a whole thing about my issues with him, but since we're at the end of the game...

I understand the cinematic value in having your rival be the final challenge, but here's the thing: Blue has NEVER been our rival. We have been stomping him since day one of this adventure and we've stomped him EVERY SINGLE TIME we've encountered him. To be 100% honest (and my memory isn't perfect) I don't think we've had a single Pokemon faint because of his team. Yet, here the game is, telling me that HE'S the best trainer in the world? That's LAUGHABLE, or at least it would be but he's so pleased with himself that it's honestly just sad. Blue should be an insurmountable challenge in the game. The idea is that we're always a step behind him, trying to catch up...but we never are. He loses every battle, and not a single one could be defined as even close! The final battle was only tough when we used self imposed handicaps, like having Kadabra fight Alakazam or Blastoise versus Venusaur.

Pokemon Silver and Gold handle rivalry in a way that makes more sense. In Silver and Gold, your rival (who is named Silver) is presented in a much more interesting way: he's a thief who CLEARLY does not see his Pokemon as friends or allies, but rather as tools. He appears in Victory Road and we defeat him there, which is really the end of his aspirations to be the Pokemon League Champion. He realizes that he keeps losing to you, and he gives up.

LANCE is the champion in this version, and is spoken of very highly throughout the game. We actually speak with him at the Lake of Rage, where he lets us help him clear the Rocket Base. His Dragonite is nigh unstoppable and you can understand why he's the champion. He's built up, and the final battle with him generally feels more rewarding than the battle against Blue, where you've been crushing him the entire time. And now Blue is painted as the best in the world when...he really isn't ever that.

Pokemon Red & Blue Versions kicked off an adventure that is decades in the making. It introduced us to characters and creatures that we remember fondly, even 20 years later. It's a beautiful game and it's still a joy to play. The game is very clearly a first attempt at everything that has come since (the dialogue and story set up are...not always smooth), but if you have the chance, I would highly recommend returning to that sleepy little town called Pallet, and beginning your own adventure in the wonderful world of Pokemon.

Now, let's shoehorn in the card game one last time!

Red: 60 Cards

Pokémon: 25
4 Squirtle
3 Wartortle
2 Blastoise
4 Dratini
3 Dragonite
3 Abra
2 Alakazam
4 Snorlax

Trainers:19
4 Professor Oak
4 Computer Search
3 Bill
3 Pokémon Breeder
2 Switch
2 Item Finder
1 Energy Retrieval

Energy: 16
12 Water Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy

For our last deck of this journey, we're gathering up some of the icons of our playthrough and making no compromises on evolutions! Blastoise is a must-have here, and the Rain Dance Pokémon Power will stand front and center to help us deal out big damage with Blastoise and spread the love to a small army of Wartortles. Combined with Snorlax, it's a solid front line, with beefy HP and lots of room to abuse Double Colorless Energy.

While we never got Alakazam into action in our playthrough, we're not holding back here! There's no way we can run enough energy to leverage Rain Dance and pay for the Alakazam line's attacks at the same time, but Alakazam's Damage Swap Pokémon Power can definitely come in handy.

And hey, we finally evolved Dragonite in our playthrough! We definitely want it in the mix. Dragonite's pretty good for our purposes, with a beefy attack that costs two Double Colorless and a really useful Pokémon Power: Step In lets you swap Dragonite into the active slot, softening your need for the trainer card Switch and letting you throw up a big wall with 100 HP. Combined with its single energy retreat, Dragonite brings a lot of maneuverability to this deck.

That leaves us with three evolution lines, one of which - Alakazam - we're not going to attack with, so we're going to save some space and speed along the Rain Dance strategy with Pokémon Breeder. Seek them out with Computer Search, reuse them with Item Finder, and get those big evolutions on the board for our grand finale!

Blue: 60 Cards

Pokémon: 27
4 Bulbasaur
3 Ivysaur
1 Venusaur
4 Pidgey
3 Pidgeotto
2 Pidgeot
4 Rhyhorn
2 Rhydon
4 Growlithe

Trainers: 16
4 Professor Oak
4 Computer Search
Bill
2 Item Finder
2 Switch
2 Gust of Wind

Energy: 17
5 Grass Energy
4 Fighting Energy
4 Rainbow Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy

Blue's final deck is sort of a fitting doppelgänger of our own strategy, to mixed results. Venusaur supplies Ivysaurs with energy as mid-sized frontliners, fuelling Ivysaur's Vine Whip by moving around Grass Energy with its Pokémon Power. The Pidgeot line still puts in major work with Pidgeotto's solid Whirlwind attack and Pidgeot's free retreat--arguably the best thing Blue has going on.

Rhyhorn got an upgrade when Blue evolved it into Rhydon. Here, in card form, that translates to more of the same: both Rhyhorn and Rhydon have Horn Attack, dealing 30 damage for a Fighting and a Double Colorless Energy. But Rhydon has higher HP, AND you score a chance to clear special conditions by evolving. Again, Horn Attack's another great use for Double Colorless.

That leaves us trying to wedge in Blue's Arcanine, but with such a high need for Fire Energy we really can't make it work. We'll sprinkle in a few Growlithe, power it along with Rainbow Energy,, and call it a day.

Over in the trainer lineup, Item Finder helps Blue put together those evolutions and retrieve Double Colorless Energy as needed, while Switch helps compensate for some of the bigger retreat costs. Gust of Wind gives the strategy a little more teeth, working with the Pidgeot line to create some board disruption.

In the energy department this deck's anchored with Double Colorless and Rainbow Energy, leaving Blue to balance his need for Grass Energy on the Venusaur line, and Fighting Energy for those Rhyhorns and Rhydons. We'll skew slightly heavier toward grass to make the most of Venusaur's Pokémon Power.

Lorelei: 60 Cards

Pokémon: 21
4 Seel
3 Dewgong
4 Cloyster
2 Shellder
4 Lapras
4 Jynx

Trainers: 23
4 Professor Oak
4 Computer Search
Bill
3 Scoop Up
2 Switch
2 Gust of Wind
3 Energy Removal
1 Energy Retrieval

Energy: 16
10 Water Energy
3 Psychic Energy
3 Double Colorless Energy

Lorelei's Pokémon in the Red and Blue games actually lend pretty well to the Pokémon in the original TCG sets: the Dewgong line takes center stage with reasonable energy-to-damage ratios, Shellder plays second fiddle, and Lapras is a decent Basic that sadly lacks aggressive oomph. Jynx forces the deck into Psychic Energy, but since the rest of the build is pure Water, the emphasis goes to the other three Pokémon.

The low number of Stage 1s and the absence of any Stage 2s combines with focused Water typing to leave lots of room for trainer cards. And while none of Lorelei's Pokémon are super high-impact, Scoop Up works nicely with those big Basics to deny your opponent prizes. Gust of Wind helps score KOs, and Energy Removal plays into the ice-type theme of freezing your opponent's 'mons to keep them from attacking.

All in all, Lorelei's lineup works pretty well adapted for the TCG space, creating a disruption-heavy lineup that's a bit weak on attack power, but strong on board and energy control.

Bruno: 60 Cards

Pokémon: 21
4 Hitmonchan
4 Hitmonlee
4 Onix
4 Machop
3 Machoke
2 Machamp

Trainers: 24
4 Professor Oak
4 Computer Search
4 Bill
3 Scoop Up
2 Pokémon Center
2 Energy Retrieval
2 Gust of Wind
2 PlusPower
1 Switch

Energy: 15
15 Fighting Energy

Bruno's lineup revolves around lots of strong Basic Pokémon, and since they all use Fighting Energy, this build has a ton of space for trainer cards! Pokemon like Hitmonlee, Machoke and Machamp have pretty big attacks for equally big energy costs, but the real meat and potatoes are the smaller attacks that offer great energy-to-damage ratios.

Hitmonchan was the centerpiece of the classic "Haymaker" strategy in the early days of the Pokémon TCG, and its Jab attack, offering 20 damage for just one Fighting, is pretty awesome on a 70 HP body. Special punch is viable too, at a far less economical cost of three energy for 40 damage, but with Scoop Up and Pokémon Center keeping your 'mons safe at the cost of their energy cards, you may never use it.

Hitmonlee's a weaker card here, with only 60 HP and no single-energy attack, but Stretch Kick can still steal prizes here and there. Onix is classic wall-and-stall, a card you'll usually want to Scoop Up or Switch out when the time is right. Don't discount Machop! With 50 HP and another 1-energy-for-20-damage attack, it's a surprisingly powerful mini Hitmonchan, and it can hold its own before you evolve it. Let it sop up damage and score a hit or two, then rush it into Machoke and Machamp ASAP to keep your opponent from finishing it off.

Use Gust of Wind and Plus Power to score prizes and keep the pressure on your opponent. Combined with your healing trainers, this deck can go the distance round after round while busting out some game-breaking surprises. This deck might actually be better than Bruno deserves.

Agatha: 60 Cards

Pokémon: 24
4 Gastly
3 Haunter
2 Gengar
4 Zubat
3 Golbat
4 Scyther
3 Ekans
1 Arbok

Trainers: 20
4 Professor Oak
4 Computer Search
Bill
2 Switch
4 Gust of Wind
2 Energy Retrieval
2 Item Finder

Energy: 16
7 Psychic Energy
5 Grass Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy

Agatha's got problems, both in our playthrough and in her TCG form. There just aren't a lot of options for a Ghost Gym Leader in the early days of Pokemon. Agatha runs two Gengar plus a Haunter in Red and Blue, fleshing out her lineup with a Golbat and an Arbok; two Pokemon that I'm pretty sure are there because each of them has one attack that fits Agatha's MO (Golbat's Ghost-type Confuse Ray and Arbok's Poison-type Acid respectively). Pretty tenuous.

So we don't have a ton of options. The good news is that while Gengar was a bit lacking in his first TCG appearance, Haunter was great! It was no heavy hitter - Haunter's one attack, Nightmare, only dishes out 10 damage - but putting the opposing Pokémon to Sleep is solid. Combined with Haunter's Pokémon Power Transparency, which blanked your opponent's attack against Haunter on a successful coin flip, it was pretty annoying.

Haunter also had free retreat, something it shared with Gastly, Zubat, and Golbat. Zubat's Confusion attack, Supersonic, can leverage Double Colorless Energy, and Golbat's Wing Attack is a decent 30 damage for three colorless as well.

So we've got Grass Pokemon... a bunch of free retreat 'mons... and a chance to use Double Colorless Energy. We've also got a canon lineup that would only max out at 12 Basic Pokemon. That means we have to break with the source material to fill out those Basics, and considering all the factors at work, we're gonna bust out the BIG CHEATS and just run four copies of Scyther. Free retreat, 70 HP, and a colorless attack that deals 30 damage? Or even 60 damage with the right set-up?

I know, it's not fair. But we're gonna get this old lady across the street somehow.

That leaves us stuck with Ekans and Arbok to finish out the Pokémon. They're terrible, but hey, they can't all be Scythers. Don't worry, we're giving Agatha four Gust of Wind to make up for it.

Lance: 60 Cards

Pokémon: 23
4 Dratini
4 Dragonair
3 Dragonite
4 Kangaskhan
4 Magikarp
2 Gyarados
2 Aerodactyl

Trainers: 22
4 Professor Oak
4 Computer Search
Bill
3 Mysterious Fossil
2 Item Finder
2 Switch
2 Gust of Wind
1 Energy Retrieval
1 Scoop Up

Energy: 15
11 Water Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy

Lance's lineup is actually better than it looks, solely because of how the energy balance works out. Lance only used Dragonite, Gyarados and Aerodactyl in Red and Blue; like Agatha, he triples down on a single evolution line with two Dragonair and a Dragonite, something we just can't replicate in the TCG.

At the same time, Gyarados is a huge sink for Water energy…something that kept it out of Blue's deck in Part 3. And Aerodactyl's a Flying Rock-type, which translates to a Fighting-type here.

But guess what, it all works out! Aerodactyl's Wing Attack takes nothing but colorless energy, dealing 30 damage for a Double Colorless plus one of anything else. Dragonair and Dragonite are colorless Pokémon too, and we're fleshing out the lineup with Kangaskhan (I don't have an obsession, stop being so judgemental) to get the deck up to a solid number of Basics. That means the only Pokémon here that needs a specific type of energy is Gyarados, and we can throw our back into it with eleven Water Energy.

Aerodactyl's a particularly unique card. It's a Stage 1, but it evolves from Mysterious Fossil, which is actually a trainer card. Its Pokémon Power locks out all Evolutions, so you'll want to evolve to Gyarados and Dragonite before you drop Aerodactyl. Deciding when to battle with it and when to just keep it safe on the bench is an important call, but if you can snipe out your opponent's bigger threats with Gust of Wind and then drop the 'dactyl, you can snowball momentum and take wins in one of the most unfair ways possible. Don't be afraid to Item Finder and Computer Search to get everything going.