the ribbons of generation 4

did you know that generation four of the pokemon games features more ribbons than any other generation? in diamond/pearl/platinum alone, you can get 38 new ribbons - and in hgss, you can add one more to that pile for a whopping 39 ribbons. this is a truly crazy amount of ribbons and i feel like i went a little crazy while gathering them. but, with that being said, i sure did gather them. this post is all about reides the kingdra's journey through sinnoh, johto, AND kanto!

as a quick aside, you can check out my other ribbon master posts on my blog, too. the first one (which talks about my decision to take on the challenge, as well as the base #reides lore) can be found here. the second one (about reides' gen3 journey) can be found here.

my gen4 journey with reides began in my childhood copy of diamond. my trainer - named 'juke' after a handle that i had back in those days - picked up reides at the pal park, along with fangs the salamence, albatross the latios, origin the metagross, persana the suicune, and princess the zigzagoon.

i was really thrilled to finally be using one of my childhood playthroughs; back in gen3, i opted against using my childhood file in sapphire, as i wanted reides' original trainer to be recorded as 'Jamie' - and my sapphire file didn't use that name, either! another bonus to this was that diamond was already in the postgame, so i could get to work on grabbing my sinnoh ribbons as soon as reides made the trip over there.

immediately, i got to work on getting the first of the daily ribbons. these ribbons are very simple to get. all you have to do is talk to a woman named julia - who lives in a little house in northern sunyshore - on each day of the week. each day corresponds to one type of daily ribbon. the first ribbon that reides got was the smile ribbon!

julia is a really sweet character, and i really enjoyed my little routine of popping in and chatting with her. i was able to nab each of these heart-warming ribbons while i tackled other ribbon tasks.

the daily ribbons weren't my only routine, either! i also visited the masseuse over in veilstone ever day so that she could boost reides' affection for my new character. (i understand why affection resets when you trade your pokemon over to a new file, as they're technically a whole new trainer... but it still made me feel a little sad... like, reides. it's me!! it's JAMIE!!! the person who worked SO HARD to get you all those ribbons in gen3!!!)

once reides' affection was maxed out, i went over to... dr. footstep. dr. footstep is a guy who lives on the route outside of pastoria city. his whole deal is that he can read your pokemon's feelings for you by looking at their tracks - even if they don't have tracks. (reides, for example, doesn't have tracks. so, yeah. dr. footstep is... talented?)

an important note about this ribbon is that it actually isn't affection-based from gen5 onwards. instead, it's based on how many LEVELS you gain with the pokemon - becoming attainable when you've raised it at least 30 levels from when you met it. this is obviously deeply horrifying, as it means you can totally miss your chance for this ribbon if you trade a pokemon in that was past level 70 (due to the level 100 cap). an exception to this is if a pokemon is 'voiceless' (e.g. if the pokemon is a magnemite, or a beldum, or one of the regis, etc etc) in which case it... somehow reverts back to being based on friendship.

you'd think that the footprint ribbon would be based on *steps* rather than levels, as not only does that make more sense, but it also prevents poor pokemon from being locked out of it forever... but whatever. it's kind of hilarious that the mark of reides' affection for me is summed up by a ribbon which is essentially A Foot but that's a whole other can of worms.

during all of this, i was also grinding out pokedollars so that i could afford the syndicate ribbons. the ribbon syndicate is located over in a very posh mansion in the resort area of sinnoh. i met the 10-ribbon requirement for entry into the syndicate easily, but i then had to take on the challenge of raising enough pokedollars so that i could afford the hilariously expensive trio of ribbons that they had for sale. i had enough pokedollars to afford the first two - the gorgeous ribbon (10k) and the royal ribbon (100k). the last ribbon, however, was priced at 999,999 pokedollars... namely, the most money your character can carry on them. getting my hands on this ribbon would require some work...

...but admittedly not that much work! by using the vs seeker on an elderly couple on the route right next to the pokemon mansion, you can actually grind pokedollars out super, super easily. they pretty much funded the final syndicate ribbon for me and it really wasn't a painful grind in the slightest. if only real life worked like this...

these side ribbons were honestly a lot of fun to gather as the days went on! they made me wish that we had more stuff like them in future generations, to be honest! i know some people think that they're kind of just 'filler ribbons' which aren't all that meaningful, but i had a great time getting them all. my little talks with julia and my puzzlement over dr. footstep's lore(?) were certainly meaningful to me, and it was pretty awesome to cap out on pokedollars for the final syndicate ribbon! i think ribbons like this offer a unique little break from ribbons that are focused on streaks in battle towers or the standard hall of fame entries, as iconic as those may be.

anyway, on the subject of hall of fame entries... reides obviously had to go grab the sinnoh champion ribbon! i decided to take on the sinnon league with the whole gen3 squad, including princess the zigzagoon.

reides just so happened to be looking RIGHT DOWN into the spotlight in both of these pictures that i took. that wasn't even planned... i guess he just really liked the pretty lights.

with the sinnoh league tackled, the super contests were up next. i was really excited to gather these ribbons, as gen3 made me a HUGEEEE contest fan. with that being said, i knew that sinnoh's contests were a whole lot different from hoenn's contests. despite gathering a TON of accessories for these contests as a kid (THANK YOU, JAMIE OF THE PAST!), i was woefully clueless as to how to win them. i had to do a bunch of research, as the good ol' rest + snore combo wasn't going to carry me through the appeals like it did back in gen3... and i'm very pleased to say that i was able to find a great strategy for winning these things!

the best strategy that i found was provided by Guy_Gin_Smash over on the pokemon ribbon subreddit. it can be found as a reply to this post! i'm attaching a screenshot of it here just in case that thread is ever made inaccessible in the future, but please go give it an upvote if you use it and it's of help to you, too!

following this template, reides' gen4 contest moveset consisted of hydro pump (part of his learnset), natural gift (bought at the veilstone department store), dragon dance (part of his learnset), and protect (bought at the veilstone department store).

of course, the appeal portion was only one third of the contest itself. i also had to take part in the visual round each time. i wasn't too worried about this, as reides' gen3 sheen transferred over to gen4... which meant that i didn't have to make him a single poffin. like i said before, i also loved gathering the contest accessories as a kid, so i didn't need to grind out any of those either. still, i was sure to skim over this page on serebii, which told me which accessories would score the most points based on the theme provided at the start of the contest. the other part of each super contest was the dancing portion, which was basically just a little rhythm game that didn't really bother me once i got into the swing of things.

i enjoyed these contests a lot, but i do feel like a lot of content was crammed into them. the visual stage in particular is a fantastic addition to the contest format, as i really loved putting accessories on reides, but the time limit that they place on dressing up your pokemon made it unnecessarily stressful at times. with that being said, here are a few costumes that reides wore to various contests.

he's a true model imo.

i also really liked seeing all the other contestants' looks. this mime jr in particular was so cute that i had to take a picture of it!

they were a little bit time consuming, but reides was able to get through these contests pretty painlessly. i didn't lose a single one of them, though i absolutely soft-reset my game every time johanna (the player character's mother) showed up as a fellow competitor. i saw a lot of people say that she posed a huge challenge and i was NOT gonna take my chances. sorry, mom! lmfao.

at this point, reides had a sizeable bulk of the gen4 ribbons... and it was time to face the inevitable. my most dreaded portion of my ribbon master journey: the gen4 battle tower ribbons.

like i said in my gen3 post, this ribbon master challenge is my first foray into the battle tower mechanic in these games. even with my limited experience, i've heard plenty of stories about gen4's battle tower ribbons. all of the tales of streaks breaking due to the ai suddenly 'cheating' had me really nervous - especially since they really ramped up the difficulty in gathering these ribbons for gen4. gen3 had 2 battle tower-related ribbons. gen4, on the other hand, has 6. SIX. i knew i would be here for a while, even if i got lucky and my streaks never broke.

this guy pretty much summed up my thoughts on the matter.

still, i had faith in my team - my beloved companions who made the gen3 battle tower ribbons a lot easier than i thought they'd be. i held my head up high and carried on!!

before entering the tower proper, i knew that i had to change up my team's movesets. gen4 introduced the physical/special split, which meant that the typing of moves no longer dictated if the move was physical or special. for example, BEFORE this split, every single ghost type move was a physical attack move. AFTER the split (i.e. in gen4 and onwards), each move itself was assigned as a physical or special attack regardless of the move's typing. going back to my ghost type example... this meant that you could find ghost-type moves that were special attack moves, too.

my physical attacker, origin the metagross, had to get rid of their shadow ball attack asap, as it became a special attack. i replaced it with zen headbutt but planned on replacing *that* with iron head once i had enough bp for it. i also replaced metal claw with bullet punch. this left them with this moveset:

origin the adamant metagross
- earthquake
- bullet punch
- zen headbutt --> iron head
- explosion

as for albatross, i had the opposite problem: his dragon claw was now a physical move. since he is a special attacker, this didn't fit with his stats - so i replaced it with dragon pulse. his final moveset for the battle tower was therefore this:

albatross the timid latios
- psychic
- dragon pulse
- thunderbolt
- ice beam

i also refined reides' moveset, getting rid of the moves that i used for the super contests and giving him a set that was more suitable for battle.

reides the bold kingdra
- surf
- ice beam
- dragon pulse
- hydro pump

again, as a reminder, i went with a bold nature on my ribbon master kingdra because it suits his personality more! but on the topic of bold legends... i took some time to refine my suicune's moveset, too!

persana the bold suicune
- surf
- calm mind
- rest
- sleep talk

i opted to try out a bit of a bulky set for my suicune, since i heard really good things about it!

with my pokemon's moves all sorted out, i walked through the battle tower's doors. first up on the list was the singles tower. i got two ribbons by battling my way through it; one for each time i faced the iconic tower tycoon, palmer. i got the first ribbon - the ability ribbon - after facing him on battle 21, then the other - the great ability ribbon - for facing him on battle 49.

after defeating palmer twice in the singles tower (and being scared half to DEATH while facing his cresselia on battle 49), it was time to take on the doubles tower. i had to win 50 battles in a row there. i'm pleased to say that the metagross + latios combo was still the stuff of legends - though reides and persana also came in clutch MULTIPLE times!

eventually, we got the double ability ribbon, even if we had to face a whole lot of daunting foes during our climb. every time i saw an ice type, i braced myself for a sheer cold inexplicably gaining crazy-good accuracy... and every time i saw a bulky staller, i braced myself for the long wait for those hp bars to go down. sobs.

the third battle tower ribbon that i took on was... a bit of an odd one. you get the multi ability ribbon once you win 50 battles in a row while using an npc as your partner. this meant that my little latios + metagross strategy would no longer be viable, as i would have to rely on another trainer's pokemon to get to 50 wins. i had riley as an option when i took this challenge on, so i decided to pair up with him for the whole tower. he ended up making for an INCREDIBLE partner! in particular, his absol was a huge help. the climb wasn't without its scary moments, but we clutched it out and got through it.

shockingly enough, my streak somehow didn't break at all during my multi ability ribbon climb! given all the horror stories that i heard about this ribbon in particular, i was SUPER relieved. i'm not sure if i got really lucky or if riley is just really, really good - but, either way... thank you riley!!!

once he got the multi ability ribbon, reides' gen4 battle tower conquest came to a sudden halt, though. you see, the remaining two ribbons - the pair ability ribbon and the world ability ribbon - went beyond the scope of my lone file of diamond. the world ability ribbon focused on a wifi-based challenge (which i'll get into later). the pair ability ribbon was similar to the multi ability ribbon, except i would have to get a streak of 50 wins alongside another gen4 file. i couldn't fight along with another npc; it had to be someone i connected with through co-op play. for my purposes, this meant dual-wielding dses. but there was a bit of a catch, here, as - despite owning every other gen4 game, including TWO copies of soulsilver - i didn't have another gen4 game in the post-game like my diamond file. that meant that none of my other gen4 games had access to the battle tower.

upon realizing this, i decided to take the opportunity to replay soulsilver. as i mentioned in my last post, hgss are my favourite pokemon games of all time. you might think that it's odd that i didn't have a fully decorated post-game, in that case - but i have an explanation for that! you see, i loved hgss so much as a kid that i repeatedly transferred out all of my pokemon so that i could replay the plot of the games as much as i pleased. kind of hilarious, i know... anyway, since i also needed to get a ribbon for beating red in hgss' post-game, reides was destined to be part of yet another storyline team.

after planning out my soulsilver storyline team and deciding that i wanted to raise a steelix, i decided to send reides over with a metal coat so that i could evolve an onix early on. pro gamer strats, i know. i picked up a cute little totodile (who i named tapioca!) as my starter and sent reides over to johto as soon as i unlocked trading!

admittedly, i was utterly thrilled to see reides in soulsilver. i didn't care that this would add a HEFTY amount of hours to my ribbon master challenge - not in the slightest!!! being able to explore my favourite region with a pokemon that means so very much to me was a dream come true - especially since hgss has such a flawless implementation of follower pokemon.

i really enjoyed my playthrough and amassed a team that ended up meaning so very much to me. while i kept reides in my party, i obviously didn't use him all that much in battles, as i wanted his younger pals to get experience and catch up with him.

costume the eevee was named after a kid i saw on halloween, who was in a really cute eevee costume! i picked up my eevee that night after the trick-or-treaters left, and my friend cody suggested that i name the eevee after that kid's costume. (fyi, costume ended up evolving into an espeon!)

here are some more pictures of my soulsilver team and me during the course of our amazing journey through johto.

prior to beating the elite four and unlocking the battle tower, i decided to take a little peek at it and instead ran into this guy, who was really, really eager to take on the challenges.

given the sheer amount of grinding that i had been through, along with the amount of grinding that i knew was in my future... i can't say that i shared his enthusiasm. but i respected him for it nonetheless.

here's a picture of a jigglypuff that i took while i was saving goldenrod's radio tower from team rocket, too. (they are safe!!!)

eventually, our johto quest led us to the pokemon league. sadly, there is no ribbon linked to beating johto's league and entering its hall of fame, but it was nice to take on everyone regardless.

after a really dramatic showdown against lance in his AMAZING room full of golden dratini statues, we entered johto's hall of fame.

after hours upon hours of time spent in johto, i could finally approach the battle tower again - this time with the goal of getting the pair ability ribbon on reides. grabbing my 3ds, i set up a local wifi room on my copy of diamond (apparently, using a copy of diamond or pearl as the 'leader' means you get to face easier trainers when compared to a platinum or hgss leader) and connected into it on my copy of soulsilver. origin and reides reunited with albatross and persana, and we got ready to get our streak of 50 wins.

the battle tower link multi challenge was actually probably the easiest one i've ever done on the course of reides' journey thus far, though that may have been due to the sheer amount of FOCUS i had on it, LMAO. i really didn't want my streak to break, so i took absolutely zero risks... except for when i had to. and boy, did i have to at one particular point of this climb. on battle 49(!!!), most of my team was knocked out, save for reides. i took a picture, as i wanted to show just how the odds were stacked against my boy. but then... he did something amazing.

reides outsped and took down zapdos with surf (which also dealt damage to registeel), then traded a bunch of attacks with registeel - only to clutch out a win with the luckiest hydro pump i have ever witnessed. he kept the streak alive!! (for context, surf's damage wouldn't have been enough to take down the registeel at that point. if reides' hydro pump missed, registeel would have knocked him out, too.)

soon afterwards, we ended up winning the 50th battle in a MUCH less scary manner - and reides got the pair ability ribbon!

this left me with one last outstanding gen4 battle tower ribbon... the world ability ribbon.

the world ability ribbon is technically unattainable now, as it requires the use of nintendo's now-defunct wifi servers. basically, to get it, you connect to nintendo's servers and download a room consisting of 7 battles. by battling through a bunch of these rooms, you can rank up. once you get to rank 5, your team gets the world ability ribbon. due to the servers' being inaccessible though 'official' means, it's not required for a ribbon master challenge. but people have made fan servers that you can connect to in order to try for the ribbon anyway. the one major drawback to connecting to these servers is that the ds can only connect to wifi hotspots that use either the now-outdated wep security protocol or no security at all. as a result, a lot of people don't really have the means to connect to them... and i was one of these people!

now you might be wondering: why bother with this ribbon if it's not necessary for completing the challenge? the answer is pretty simple. beyond it being a matter of pride, in future generations, all of your pokemon's contest and battle tower ribbons from gen4 and gen3 get consolidated into two memory ribbons. these ribbons are depicted on a silver plaque if you're missing any ribbons and a gold plaque if you managed to get them all., you're seeing where i'm going with this, right?

people really, really want the gold plaque.

L;FDGKDFL;GK but real talk - pokemon home recently let pokemon with 7 battle ribbons get the gold plaque anyway, so it's just something that people encourage attempting if you have the means. since i didn't have a readily available wifi hotspot that was compatible with the fan servers, i was very much on the fence about taking it on. i decided to procrastinate on making a decision and, instead, wandered out of the battle tower and towards a whole new region: kanto!

the only new ribbon in hgss is the ribbon you get for beating red - and you can only challenge him once you're done with kanto's gym challenge. while journeying kanto and battling these leaders, i also took a bit of a breather in order to complete one of my favourite little sidequests in the pokemon games.

if you collect five of these shiny leaves and put them on your pokemon, your childhood friend back in new bark town will craft them into a beautiful golden crown for your pokemon. unfortunately, no ribbon is attached to completing this sidequest, but it's an absolutely incredible one that also grants you this gorgeous certificate.

empowered by his shiny new crown, reides and i kept up with our kantonian journey - facing each and every gym leader. there's something so special and bittersweet about kanto's status during the johto games. everything is so familiar... but also so different. it was particulary sad to face blaine off in one of the seafoam caverns, as cinnabar had been overrun by a volcanic eruption. but the hope that blaine had for the future of his gym was inspiring, too. it really gave kanto a lot of depth; a sense of its people still having to face challenges, even after your journey as protagonist had ended back in red, blue and yellow.

eventually, we met up with the final gym leader: blue, himself!

upon beating him in battle and getting my 16th gym badge in soulsilver, i gained access to mt silver. i knew that red, the ultimate pokemon trainer, was at the very peak of this lonely mountain teeming with high-levelled pokemon.

i journeyed to the peak as soon as i could. i had every intention of spending a lot of time training in mt silver and even gathered lucky eggs to make the task easier - but, in the end, i couldn't resist challenging red the very moment that i found him.

i'm very, very pleased to say that red still lives up to his status as a legend. his team makes for a very, VERY difficult fight; it's incredibly satisfying to face them all. time and time again, it always lives up to the hype. after duking it out, i managed to emerge victorious... albeit by the skin of my teeth. for being part of the team that won this battle, reides got the legend ribbon.

i was sure to take a picture with the rest of my team during our trek through mt silver, too! without them, this whole journey wouldn't have been possible, after all. we also took a photo together in pallet town, right outside of red's house. since my personal pokemon journey began in kanto with pokemon red version, it was quite the emotional shot. i was really happy to have such a great team with me!

this marked the end of my soulsilver storyline playthrough, but i wasn't quite done with gen4 just yet. i was finally at the world ability ribbon crossroads. feeling emotional over my progress up to this point, i decided that i would try to take it on, as i wanted reides to get that gold plaque from gen6 onwards and i didn't want to bypass an optional ribbon unless i absolutely HAD to do so. this meant that it was time to research just how the hell i would connect to those fan servers.

eventually, i found a thread on the ribbon master subreddit talking about an incredibly simple method of connecting to them. they said that you could use a flashcart or homebrewed 3ds to inject your save into your pc. from that point on, you just needed to run your save on the melonds emulator and use its wifi feature to connect to the dns featured on the poke classic network. (it's also worth noting that you need a rom that's been patched for online play - you can use the wfc patcher to do this). i decided to give this a try, as, before this point, i had no idea that emulators even supported wifi without a billion complicated workarounds. even if it didn't work out, it was super interesting to me.

...and, hilariously enough, it worked out on my very first try!

i seriously felt like the 'technology is incredible!' guy who lives in every single starting town of every single pokemon game. i found myself suddenly having the means of getting this elusive ribbon despite gen4's servers being defunct. how incredible is that?! i couldn't be more grateful to the people maintaining those fan servers.

the setup was the first part of my world ability ribbon challenge, though. as awesome as it is to be able to connect to the wifi rooms, those rooms are also NOTORIOUS for being filled with hacked pokemon. popular ones include machamps with the no guard ability (which means that its moves never miss) running sheer cold (a move that can ohko your pokemon; they typically have a very rare chance of hitting) and spiritombs with wonder guard (an ability that makes it so only super effective moves can damage the pokemon with it; spiritombs in gen4 have no weakness).

there are ways to counter these hacked pokemon, however. you can outspeed machamp before it can land sheer cold (or run a focus sash on your pokemon, which will make it survive a sheer cold with 1hp), and you can also decimate spiritombs with wonder guard if you use fire fang against it (fire fang SOMEHOW bypasses wonder guard in gen4; a little happy mistake of a glitch, haha).

in an incredible moment of serendipity, i also found a counter-meta team for these hacked pokemon which included latios AND metagross! i was thrilled, since i already had albatross and origin all trained up. while i had to steal a shuca berry from a wild ponyta trotting about on mt silver, that was easily done. i started training up a garchomp, too... but then i got lazy while ev training him and ended up trying out the rooms with reides instead of a fire fang user. (i'm well aware that this was a really big risk LMAO - if i ran into a single hacked spiritomb, i'd have to take an immediate L and raise that garchomp before facing the room again.)

in selecting the rooms that i wanted to challenge, i opted to download those in the late 20s to 30s range, as those rooms are said to have less hacked pokemon within them. i wasn't sure if that was just a rumor, but i tried it out anyway.

in the end, i had a blast. i really liked seeing everyone's nicknamed pokemon in the rooms that i downloaded. i'm not sure if it's because of the 'late 20s to 30s range' strat or what, but i ran into ONE single hacked pokemon, who i will now proceed to shame:


luckily, 'i'm sorry' the machamp wasn't a threat and he didn't get a single sheer cold off on my team. he did, however, land a will o wisp on origin, which had me wondering if he was even running sheer cold to begin with? either way, we beat him up real good!!!

i don't want give that machamp the only shoutout re: this ribbon, though! i also want to show off some of the pokemon that i ran into while working towards rank 5. i believe these pokemon are also taking on the ribbon master challenge.

this is only a small selection of the pokemon that i saw, but i still really loved to meet them all. it made me a bit emotional, too, as i thought about future ribbon masters running into reides the kingdra. :') i can also vouch 100% for the anti-hack team that i posted; if you're struggling with getting this ribbon, definitely give that team a try!!

after grinding through these rooms, my team eventually hit rank 5. reides got the world ability ribbon... the 6th and final gen4 battle tower ribbon, which was also the final ribbon of his gen4 journey.

as you can tell from this absolutely massive post, gen4 was a journey and a half. my god. i'm well aware that most of my time spent in this generation was likely during my soulsilver playthrough, as i wanted to raise a proper team and take my time with the experience, but oh my goodness gracious. i should've known it would've been a monumental task, given the sheer amount of ribbons available... but it still took me by surprise. no regrets, tho. none at all.

i sent reides (and the rest of the pals accompanying him on this ribbon master quest!) to unova, which doesn't have any ribbons - but i took a quick picture of his new status screen regardless.

after the quick stop-over, i put everyone in pokemon bank and sent them to kalos. at the moment, reides is there - chillin' and ready to take on the generation 6 portion of this quest. in particular, i'm excited to take him to omega ruby, as i got him in emerald version and he's a hoenn baby!

so, yeah! that's how reides' journey though sinnoh and johto played out! i'm super excited to keep on going with this ribbon master journey. just like i said last time, i hope that you'll keep on cheering him on, too!!!

mood: productive
music: dragula - rob zombie