the ribbons of generation 8

leaving alola behind him, reides the kingdra headed for generation 8 of the pokemon games in his quest for more ribbons! gen8 of these games feature the galar region (via pokemon sword and shield) as well as the sinnoh region (via pokemon brilliant diamond and shining pearl)! this leap to gen8 was super alarming, as my beloved kingdra moved from the 3ds to the current nintendo console - namely, the nintendo switch! it's crazy to think about how this whole journey began on my copy of emerald version, slotted into my pleasantly clunky brick of a grey ds. reides' journey through the generations has been filled with its highs and its lows, but once he arrived safely in pokemon home, it meant that i could be a bit flexible with my approach to the ribbons available in swsh and bdsp! (it also meant bidding farewell to my shoddy photos of my (3)ds screen for these posts... they will be missed...)

anyway, before i get into the story of reides' gen8 journey, i gotta do my customary shoutout to all the other parts of his ribbon master quest. it's really easy this time around, as i finally put together an index for these posts! you can find it here! that page also has a lot of information about the challenge itself, along with some helpful resources if you'd like to take it on.

if you're all caught up with the story so far, it's time to get started on a brand new chapter.

transferring reides into my copy of pokemon shield was a really emotional experience. kingdra looks absolutely gorgeous on the switch, and i was blown away by how awesome the shiny form looks, too. this moment on the beach at sunset - with a galarian slowpoke and a kingler lurking close by - felt pretty cinematic. it was also really nice to see my trainer character again! i absolutely love all of the different fashion items available in swsh.

immediately, i knew that i had to make my ribbon mastery team a big ol' pot of curry for all of their hard work thus far.

we also played together while we camped out. i was really glad that i was already in shield's post-game, as it saved a whole lot of time on this ribbon master journey AND meant that i'd have tons of toys for my pokemon at my disposal.

after goofing around for hours, i finally decided to take on the first ribbon available in galar. this ribbon was the galar champion ribbon, which your pokemon receive upon entering the galarian hall of fame. i ended up needing to play through the galarian star tournament first, though, as i had procrastinated on doing that for the longest time... so reides ended up taking part in a few more battles than one would think!

it was absolutely awesome to see dynamax in action with reides! it made me wish that kingdra got a gigantamax form, but i guess that would be a bit too amazing for anyone to handle, huh? while taking on this ribbon, i also realized just how much i missed the vibes of the gym challenge in the galar region. the wide stadiums, the cheering crowds, the MUSIC... all of it is so incredibly top-tier and it really got me pumped up! not to mention seeing the absolutely INCREDIBLE cast in action. shoutout to everyone but especially piers. all hail the reigning king of the pokemon punks.

anyway, reides was eventually able to sweep his way to victory in both the galarian star tournament as well as the league battles. he joined the hall of fame and got the galar champion ribbon!

with that handled, it was time to take on galar's battle tower. according to most, this battle tower is an absolute cake-walk, as you can dynamax while most of your opponents (barring leon) can't. it was just a matter of buckling down and spending the time required to amass your wins. as a result, i ended up abandoning the tried and true durant strat and instead took the og trio of albatross, origin and reides, himself, along for the ride.

hilariously enough, i ran into ONE road-block in this tower in the form of a shedinja which i could literally not attack. i had NO moves that could get past its guard... sobs. but another nice thing about the galarian battle tower is that it isn't streak-dependent, instead swapping over to a system relying on ranking up or ranking down. so i brushed off this shedinja encounter without letting it get to me all that much, haha! i also taught albatross shadow ball... just in case.

ribbons also got a bit of an upgrade in the switch games of pokemon. no longer limited to just being pretty graphics on the ribbon screen, you can now equip one ribbon on your pokemon and give it a little title every time you send it out in battle. i equipped the ribbon that reides got for mastering all of the contests in omega ruby, which granted him the title of 'shining star'!

it was so nice to see it every time i sent him out, but i can definitely see myself swapping between all the various titles at reides' disposal!

my climb to the master ball rank was fairy uneventful, though i really understood this child's plight. it's how i felt many times while in various battle towers during this ribbon master journey.

eventually, i made it through the rank itself and got to the final battle against leon. though i had faced him at the end of each rank prior to this moment, it still felt very intense to encounter him knowing that this was my very last battle tower match for the forseeable future. also, his battle tower outfit is SO DRIPPY. love him so much.

not gonna lie, it was pretty funny seeing him say something so inspiring while looking so sad (and the snowscape from one of dynamax-form reides' attacks really added to it). leon is an absolutely amazing character and one of my fav champions ever, though, so i was thrilled that he got to be the final match in my battle tower saga!

even though the swsh battle tower was WAY easier than the others that i faced, i was still so happy to be done with it. my goodness. i really went from ignoring the battle towers in the series to gaining streaks of ~50 in each and every one... it's kind of unreal. reides truly earned the title of 'tower master'!

upon getting the tower master ribbon, we were done with galar. i was sure to make my pokemon team some more curry before they set off for sinnoh! but i honestly wasn't too torn up about leaving galar, as pokemon home lets us shift pokemon between the switch games however we'd like. after so many one-way transfers out of prior generations, it felt kind of surreal - and was also a huge relief.

this cute curry wasn't the only treat that got eaten, either! i made some pokemon cookies in Real Life to celebrate, as well. i used cookie cutters from the official pokemon store to make these pikachu and munchlax cookies!

i then set my sights on the remake of diamond version... pokemon: brilliant diamond!

the last time reides visited sinnoh, he did so via my childhood copy of diamond version. as i wrote in my post about the gen4 part of reides' journey, this copy of the game was already in the post-game, so i didn't have to play through any of diamond's plot whatsoever when he arrived. however... for this sinnoh visit, i actually didn't have a post-game available! despite owning brilliant diamond since the day it released, i had barely played it. (fun fact: in my first run of the game, i ran into a shiny bidoof on my very first night playing it. i ended up transferring all of the pokemon in it - bidoof included - to pokemon home and restarting it, though, as i was toying with the idea of doing a shiny starter hunt... and then i simply never touched it. so i guess restarting it was actually a waste of time. weeps.) i knew that i'd need to play through its plot to get the ribbon that reides needed, so... you know what that meant.

it was time for a whole other adventure to begin.

i decided to keep reides in the pc for the storyline part of this playthrough. i wanted to raise a team of pokemon from the sinnoh region, and i knew that reides' status as a fully ev and iv trained pokemon at level 100 meant that he would absolutely STEAMROLL the plot. we still went on walks together very often though, and he had his pal hammer the garchomp in the pc for company! (i usually raise a garchomp for my sinnoh teams, as it's one of my fav pokemon in the sinnoh region, but i decided to try to resist this time around and limit myself to pokemon that i had never raised before!)

i absolutely loved my brilliant diamond playthrough. the art direction is a point of contention in the pokemon fandom, but i'm a big fan of it! it seems like people either love it or hate it, and, thankfully, i'm definitely in the 'love' camp! the chibi style is endlessly charming, and the environments were just gorgeous. something about the lighting in brilliant diamond is just SUPER pleasing to me, and re-visiting sinnoh like this allowed me to really appreciate it. since my diamond file was in the post-game, i guess needing to play through this one in its entirety actually kinda worked out in my favour, huh?

i was super delighted to see that the ribbons screen is absolutely gorgeous in this game, too! i really like the status screen featured in bdsp. it's so nice and colourful.

this simple little screenshot is also really important to me. you see, when i was a kid, i got diamond version as a gift from a family friend. he'd gone abroad and generously brought back it back as a present for me. back then, the country that i live in didn't get pokemon games in a timely manner at all (we'd get them in video game stores months after they released in the u.s.), and i actually had no idea that diamond version even existed. (not knowing that a new pkmn generation dropped was a recurring experience in my childhood, LOL.) so playing this game for the first time made for a really magical experience. i have a very, very clear memory of playing it for hours and hours on the night that i started it up... until i could barely keep my eyes open. i trained my team a whole lot and was exploring this route right outside of jubilife, and i thought that the small island on the water was very pretty. i saved there for the night, imagining my trainer setting up a little camp for herself and her pokemon... and now, every time i'm on that route, i can't help but smile at the memory. so you can imagine just how happy i was to take a photo with reides there, with the updated graphics and everything!

furthermore, on the course of my sinnoh journey, i ran into lots of old friends... including none other than riley!

thanks to the way he helped me out in the gen4 battle tower, riley is a really special character to me now. so i was really happy to see him and play through iron island with him! after thwarting team galactic, he surprised me with a little gift.

i actually wasn't planning on raising a riolu - much less a lucario - on my main team AT ALL... but, upon receiving this egg from riley, i knew i had to. as silly as it may sound, i thought it would be a great nod to our time in the battle tower all those generations ago! and so, on that note, here is the storyline team that i journeyed through sinnoh with, and who helped reides get to where he needed to be:

as you can see, there's a bit of a theme going on with their nicknames! i decided to name each member of my brilliant diamond team after in-universe berries. i thought it'd be cute!

anyway, the berry bunch and i had a fantastic time exploring sinnoh. days passed, and, eventually, we faced what i believe to be the most difficult league in any of the pokemon games... including the most daunting champion battle ever.

cynthia lived up to her status as the most skilled champion in the pkmn franchise thus far. we had a battle for the ages, knocking 5 of each other's pokemon out. i actually almost lost to her - she had me completely backed into a corner. but my team pulled through, as kelpsy the glaceon MIRACULOUSLY toughed out an attack that should have knocked him out (via the affection system - namely, if your pokemon really loves you, they can occasionally 'survive' attacks that'd knock them out with 1hp instead) and managed to land a single ice beam on her garchomp. this clutched out the win, and my team was added to the sinnoh hall of fame.

now that i had access to the post-game, i could focus on reides once more. to get his ribbon in brilliant diamond, we'd have to foray into the brilliant contest scene.

brilliant contests are a calibre above the typical condition contests and are linked to all of your contest stats rather than just one. you actually don't gain access to this category unless you've achieved a master rank win in all of the solo-stat categories. luckily, ribbons from oras are recognized in bdsp, so reides didn't have to prove his worth to the judges and could instead get right to competing in the brilliant contests.

in addition to this category, bdsp also introduced some new contest mechanics, too. your final contest score can be split into three parts: 'visual', 'dance', and 'move'. these all seem pretty self-explanatory; the visual part is linked to your pokemon's contest condition/sheen, the dance part is linked to how well you perform in the rhythm game, and the move is linked to your timing in executing the one contest move that you're allowed to take in with you during the contests. but the visual part actually has an element of added complexity in bdsp, as it also involves a new mechanic of placing stickers on your pokemon's pokeball so that cool effects play when you send them out. (this feature was also in the gen4 sinnoh games, albeit not incorporated into those games' contests.)

the effects which these stickers play have a direct impact on your pokemon's visual score. however, for brilliant contests, normal stickers don't really cut it. instead, people recommend grinding out champion stickers (from taking on cynthia's rematch team post-heatran plotline) and showstopper stickers (from beating the other master rank contests) in order to get a decent appeal score. since reides didn't need to take on the master rank contests, i didn't have any of those - and i wasn't all too interested in grinding for more. i figured that grinding out champion stickers would work out better, since they give more points in the visual portion of the contest, anyway.

before starting that grind, i decided to give the brilliant master contest a try with nothing but the base-game stickers. given reides' perfect contest stats from omega ruby, i wondered if his contest skills would be enough to scrape through and secure a win.

as it turned out...

...they were not.

people are NOT exaggerating when they talk about the difficulty of the brilliant master rank contest!! i was pretty shocked that my lovely kingdra was getting absolutely terrible visual ratings. (LIKE, LOOK AT HIM!! LOOK AT HIM!!!!!!! HE'S SO CUTE!!!!!!! AND PERFECT!!! AND SWEET, TOO!!!!!!!!) anyway, my outrage aside, it turns out that using those two types of stickers to boost your pokemon's visual rating is pretty much a necessity. the rhythm game portion of it is also not to be underestimated and typically requires a bit of practice. luckily, i'm fairly decent at rhythm games, but i knew that i would have to get those stickers from cynthia after all. i played through the pre-requisite bit of the post-game - catching heatran in a premier ball! - and made my way back to the league. with my storyline team vibing in the pc and my ribbon mastery team ready to FIGHT, i got settled and began grinding out the battles.

initially, i intended to get 20 champion stickers on the ball so as to fill it up entirely with them. after getting 8 stickers in one night, though, i was kind of worn down and decided to give the contest another try. i also taught giga impact to reides, as it's SUPER good in the bdsp contests (your pokemon gains a big boost to its score when you use it while you have a positive 'jam' score in the dance game) and can be easily bought in the veilstone department store.

i was delighted to see that my protag's mother - johanna - was there for this contest, as well as gym leader fantina. both johanna and fantina are great at contests in-universe, so i was excited at the prospect of at least succeeding on this contest round, even if reides didn't manage to clutch out the win.

...however, by some miracle, reides managed to do just that!! not only did i finally manage to succeed in the brilliant master rank contest, but reides also secured the win. at this point, it was, like, 4 in the morning for me. i was absolutely astounded; i actually wondered if i was somehow hallucinating. the twinkling star ribbon was the one and only ribbon that i needed in brilliant diamond, and after so much work to get to this point... was finally granted to reides!!!

upon recieving this ribbon, reides acquired all of the ribbons that he needs in order to be a ribbon master... save for ONE. one (1) single ribbon stands in his way... and that ribbon is the one that's granted to a pokemon for emerging victorious in a master ball ranked online battle. now, i can technically get this ribbon by putting reides back in pokemon shield and trying to climb the ladder in gen8... but, as you likely know, the current gen (as of me writing this post) is gen9. that means that the gen8 battle servers are... well...


okay, no. they're not entirely empty. but people have stories of waiting for hours to get into one single match, and i'm not sure if i want to put myself through that unless i absolutely must. and i might just have to, as kingdra hasn't been officially announced as part of the generation 9 pokedex... however, with indigo disk on the horizon (3 more days!!!), i figured i'd wait to see if kingdra would be included in its national dex before subjecting myself to gen8's very delayed match-making times. if it isn't, i'll just devote another post to my competitive climb in lieu of a gen9 one. (tbh, i'm considering making a totally seperate blog post for my very first foray in the vgc realm regardless - but we'll see how it goes!)

either way, i really, really enjoyed my time with reides in gen8. it has been so awesome to see him in games that i can play with the most up-to-date nintendo console, and kingdra's models across the switch games have just been so incredibly snazzy. i said this at the start of the post, but it truly is crazy to see just how far my little shiny horsea from emerald version has journeyed. i love reides so very much and i couldn't possibly be more proud of him!!!

so let's keep our fingers crossed that reides will be allowed into gen9 so that he can explore the paldea, kitakami, and unova regions! thanks again for cheering him on, and i'm looking forward to writing another update soon!!! that update may very well include reides finally achieving full ribbon master status at long last, so i'm already excited for it! :D

mood: happy
music: sirencore - banshee