the ribbons of generation 9

as you probably know, the most recent pokemon games feature pretty significant pokedex cuts due to the sheer magnitude of pokemon that are now available to us. this means that some pokemon are simply not featured in certain mainline games, which adds a unique element to a lot of pokemon's ribbon master journeys. re: my experience with reides, working around unobtainable ribbons wasn't exactly a new experience - after all, there were no available shadow horseas/seadras/kingdras in pokemon colosseum or pokemon xd, so i knew that my kingdra wouldn't be able to get the national ribbon (granted to purified shadow pokemon) - but it still was something i had to consider and plot out carefully as i brought him up towards the more recent generations. for example, reides was unable to get the hisui ribbon (granted for taking a photo with your pokemon in the region's photo studio), as the horsea line was not featured in legends arceus... and, for a long time, i figured that he wouldn't be able to get any of the ribbons (and marks!) featured in scarlet and violet.

but then... the dlc happened. the glorious, glorious dlc.

the horsea line was re-introduced into the pokedex when indigo disk - the second batch of dlc for scarlet and violet - dropped. needless to say, i was EXTREMELY hype about this. in my previous post, i mentioned not being sure if reides would be able to join me in this current generation of pokemon. i wondered if i'd have to brave the long, long queues of pokemon shield in order to get the master rank ribbon on him and make him a true ribbon master... but fortune smiled down on me, and reides was miraculously granted access to generation 9 of the pokemon games.

before i get into reides' journey through paldea, kitakami and unova, here's a quick reminder you can find each part of reides' ribbon master journey here! it spans from my childhood copy of emerald version to my... uh... adulthood (lmao) copy of scarlet version... so it's quite the sizeable read! to everyone who's stuck by me for this whole challenge and expressed support for my lovely kingdra: thank you so much! and for anyone new to the reides saga: welcome, and i hope you enjoy my posts about him!

with that handled... it's time to cover a brand new generation of ribbons and marks!

as a big pokemon fan, i tend to play new games and dlc the very moment that i can. in the current era of #gaming, that means obsessively checking for game updates on the night of dlc releases. as i mashed that + button on my pro controller to check for updates to my copy of scarlet, i felt especially nervous. thanks to people being mischievous and sneaking alleged leaks around on twitter, i knew that the horsea line was supposedly being introduced into the game... but i'm extremely skeptical by nature. (can you believe that some people go on the internet and lie?!?!) i didn't want to believe that reides' ribbon master journey would continue until i saw a little horsea (or seadra... or kingdra...) swimming around in a digital body of water myself. once my game finally updated, i sprinted over to blueberry academy as SOON as i could and began running around the terarium in search of a horsea. i found one swimming around in a lake almost immediately.

when i tell y'all... the scream i scrumpt... LMFAO. joking aside, it felt like i could finally breathe again. i was SO READY to plop reides into my file and get right to grabbing the ribbons and marks that were added for gen9. unfortunately, gamefreak had other plans for me, and pokemon home was under maintenance. after falling dramatically to my knees, i busied myself with getting the rest of my team for the dlc ready. this included grinding out the necessary bp to unlock wild starters in the terarium, then embarking on a shiny hunt for my fav starter pokemon of all time - totodile! after hours and hours of looking around, i managed to catch one successfully in a love ball and named him barge. along with the rest of my indigo disk team, barge would go on to be close friends with reides.

anyway, after a lengthy maintenance, pokemon home was eventually ready to go. i leapt right in, retrieving reides and plopping him into my party. i'm a huge fan of the updated pokemon models in scarlet, so i was hype to see the one that they gave shiny kingdra. i was NOT disappointed in the slightest!

LOOK AT HOW GORGEOUS HE IS. the tiny scale details... the glossy shine... my god. as much as i liked the sleekness of the models in gen8, i like the more realistic ones that gen9 introduced a whole lot more. the devs did a phenomenal job; kingdra looks absolutely majestic.

with my full indigo disk team now present in my copy of scarlet, i had to take a group shot and treat everyone to a sandwich!

reides met five new pals: bane the weezing, grunge the krookodile, bento the snorlax, axe the haxorus, and, of course, barge the feraligatr! i shiny hunted for all of them myself, as i really enjoyed doing the same for my kitakami team during my teal mask playthrough.

i wasn't quite ready to take on the indigo disk plotline, though. my first order of business was grabbing a ribbon for reides - namely, the paldea champion ribbon! i hopped on a plane and flew back to paldea, signing up for a spot in the academy ace tournament.

i really love the vibes of the academy ace tournament; everyone is so passionate about the battles, and the music is an absolute JAM. i was especially happy about reides' first experience as a competitor in it, too, because my fav character in the game just-so-happened to show up for it!

that's right: arven - the man, the myth, the legend - challenged me and reides to a battle.

shoutout to him holding his pokeball upside down. just one more reason as to why he's truly one of the best pokemon characters. (btw, as happy was i was to see arven, i always feel so bad to fight his mabosstiff. that's my FRIEND!!!!!!)

anyway, after sweeping his way through everyone in the academy ace tournament, reides was granted the paldea champion ribbon for his efforts.

after nabbing that ribbon, i decided that i should really get a move on with the indigo disk's actual plot, as i wanted to avoid spoilers and also REALLY wanted to know what happened next in the plot. i was pretty invested in the hooks that teal mask introduced and was especially worried about kieran. (just why did teal mask's plot force us to lie to that poor kid, btw?! just thinking about it gets me so annoyed. i'd go through an 'evil' arc too if i was in his shoes, i'll tell you that.) even though it's not really relevant to reides' ribbon master quest, i figured i'd share some photos of his storyline adventure, too.

(btw, i'm writing this post in feb 2024, which means that indigo disk has been Around for around 2 months and thus the spoiler embargo is pretty much lifted - but, still: be warned that there are some spoilers for indigo disk beyond this point!)

the battles in indigo disk ended up being pretty tough; i was glad that i put time aside to train up my team properly. we managed to take on the blueberry elite four and kieran and ultimately Prevailed - even if the battles were quite close, at times! i was kinda sad that there was no ribbon associated with beating all of them - it would've been nice to finally get some form of an unovan ribbon on my ribbon master - and i was also pretty shocked that the dlc didn't introduce a battle tower. regardless, even if reides didn't get a ribbon for his performance in the battles, it was still awesome to include him in them, and i had a whole lot of fun.

i also brought reides along for the Shenanigans following the blueberry academy plotline.

luckily for me, briar, carmine and kieran were chill with waiting in the underdepths of area zero while i took reides on a bit of a photoshoot. it was just so pretty down there!! how could i resist!!

anyway, silly little wanderings aside, it was really cool to have reides involved in the big showdown against terapagos. i was especially happy when kieran snapped out of his funk and i got to battle alongside him. his hydrapple even used dragon cheer, powering reides up during the battle. it made the whole experience feel all the more significant.

with everything all sorted out, i ended up being really happy with the indigo disk's overall plot. i definitely liked it a lot more than teal mask's narrative and was really pleased that we could become proper friends with kieran once more. (i still wish that we could've apologized for lying to him, though.)

now that i was safe from indigo disk spoilers and emboldened with love for pokemon as a whole, i decided to pick up my ribbon-collecting in earnest once more... though the next ribbon on my list was not actually a ribbon. it was a mark! introduced in gen8, marks are basically the same as ribbons. i think of them as little stickers on pokemon, haha. the first one that i set my sights on was the gourmand mark, which has a chance of being randomly given to your pokemon after eating a meal with them! these meals can be the store-bought ones or the ones that you make yourself via the picnic system.

frankly, i have no idea WHEN reides got this ribbon, as i went sort of crazy with buying lots of different meals. (i really like the food art in this game, okay!!) it definitely didn't take long for one of these meals to really strike his fancy, though. he got the gourmand mark very quickly and also got the title 'reides the gourmet' along with it!

i then decided that i'd try to get the other two marks on reides in one fell swoop. the first of these marks was the itemfinder mark, which your pokemon has a chance of getting when they pick up an item in the overworld. to get this mark, you have to make use of the let's go feature, which allows your pokemon to walk alongside you. the second of these marks was the partner mark, which... can be quite the ordeal. your pokemon basically has a 1/100 chance to get this mark with every 10k steps that you take. additionally, your pokemon also has to be friendly towards you in order for them to have a chance at getting this mark.

since both of these marks rely on random chance, i knew that i could get really unlucky and end up going off on one hell of a grind for them... but i decided to just take it one step at a time. instead of focusing on getting the marks to trigger, i wanted to wander around and enjoy the sights around the various regions of the game. after all, i was lucky to even HAVE reides in this generation - and these marks gave me the perfect excuse to take lots of photos with him, too!

i was especially happy to take some photos of him with aske, my shiny gallade who joined me for my teal mask journey. as you guys know, reides the kingdra is named after a character that i play in a dnd campaign. similarly, aske is named after another character in that campaign; he's reides' boyfriend!

i also enjoyed roaming around *as* reides while using the new synchro machine, too! i'm not sure if items that you pick up count towards the itemfinder mark in this mode, but i'd like to think that they do.

thanks to my casual approach to getting these marks, i actually have no idea how long they took for me to get on reides. one day, i just happened to check and they were BOTH there, so i guess the 'grind' truly ended up being completely painless. in the following screenshot, i'm hovering over the partner mark, but you can see the itemfinder one at the end of the row above it, too.

with the marks now handled, i had one more ribbon to get on reides before he could become a true ribbon master. this ribbon was the one that i was the most nervous about by FAR. the master rank ribbon is granted to your pokemon once you emerge victorious in one (1) online battle against another player... but the catch here is that the battle has to be in the master rank. for me, it meant climbing from the beginner rank all the way up there.

naturally, i procrastinated with this ribbon a whole lot. i took reides along for the (amazing) epilogue when it dropped in january, taking more pictures with him and making more memories... all the while wondering just when i'd get around to tackling the Final Ribbon.

as it turns out, i didn't actually end up procrastinating on it all that long. my friend cody visited me a few days after the epilogue dropped, and my other friend blee stayed over at my house for his visit, too. both of them knew about reides the kingdra and we decided that we'd tackle operation: final ribbon acquisition together, with blee spearheading it as someone very well-versed in vgc. over the course of a few days, we managed to get up to master rank - running into a bunch of really interesting teams and occurences during the climb of legend. (special shoutout to a dedenne who kept trying to spam nuzzle on pokemon who were completely immune to it, but who successfully spread the glory of Cheek Pouch via entrainment onto us all.) i learnt a truly crazy amount of stuff about the competitive world of pokemon and really enjoyed all of the different rental teams that we tried out.

upon arriving in the master ball tier, we had to switch gears, though, as we couldn't use rental teams anymore and, instead, had to build one from scratch so that reides could be included in it. i ended up building this portland regional finals team as per blee's recommendation, though we swapped out raging bolt for reides, himself. since it was my own team and not a rental one, we gave nicknames to each team member.

my entei is one that i got in an event years and years ago (they're shiny and in a cherish ball), so i couldn't nickname them... but just know that they are 'flamberge' in spirit. o7 reides also got an electric tera type (and tera blast as part of his moveset) for fun, as his namesake is associated with storms.

it was a lot of fun making this team!!! the very specific ev-spreads that some of the pokemon required gave me a newfound appreciation for all of the feathers that i happened to pick up while wandering the terarium... not to mention all of the mochi that i collected while oustin' ogres in kitakami.

once the team was all built, it was time to get the final W in order to secure the ribbon at long last. we could all breathe a whole lot easier, as when you rank up to another ball tier, you can't "demote" to a lower one - so falling back into the ultra ball tier wasn't a concern. victory didn't evade us for long, either!

after a REALLY fun battle against someone named alex, operation: final ribbon was finally complete.

reides - along with the rest of the team who helped clutch out the victory - got the much-coveted master rank ribbon.

upon getting this ribbon, it finally happened.

reides the kingdra officially became a ribbon master.

a journey that began back in october 2023 finally came to a close. with his 91 total ribbons (since his two golden memory ribbons have 48 ribbons in total within them), reides now has each and every single ribbon that he can possibly attain from his origin game of emerald version to the current pokemon generation.

i'm sure that all of my posts speak for themselves in terms of the sheer amount of effort that i put into this challenge. there were many times that i thought i hit a "roadblock," be it in the form of a gruelling grind or worries over not being able to access something due to hardware restrictions. in the end, however, reides was able to rise above all of the challenges. i got sooo much help and support from friends over the course of this whole challenge, so i have to give a BIG shoutout to every single one of y'all! and, of course, i have to extend thanks to all of the people who posted about their ribbon mastery experiences online, as i definitely couldn't have guided reides to this point without them. i'm hoping that the posts that i made about reides' journey can serve as a guide of sorts to anyone who wants to pick up the challenge for their pokemon, too!

at any rate, reides is my very first ribbon master and i definitely plan on keeping his ribbon collection up-to-date in future generations of pokemon. i say it time and time again, but the ribbon master challenge is amazing because it gets you interacting with aspects of the pokemon games that you may have never even thought of trying out. you form a true emotional bond with your pokemon, and it's just... so very fantastic. you make so many memories!!! so while there might not be an update to the reides saga until those generations are out and about, i'm already excited to keep on hunting for ribbons and am hoping that the horsea line is included in every single game going forward! because, quite frankly... it's what reides deserves. >:)

before i Sign Off on this post, however, i wanted to share something i bought to celebrate reides; namely, a custom shiny kingdra diorama from nerdidecor on etsy.

ISN'T IT SO CUTE!!!!! i put it right on my desk next to my pc so that i can always have a little reminder of my amazing ribbon master with me. i'm hoping to get more shiny kingdra stuff in the future, too!

either way, thank you all so much again for keeping up with me and my beloved kingdra! i'm already looking forward to being able to write up another one of these posts in the future! until then, reides is definitely going to enjoy a nice vacation from ribbon hunting. rest assured that i will be taking the very best care of him!!! :D

mood: proud
music: basis - lara somogyi