Volcarona and the Relic Castle Catacombs
Right as you're about to enter the Relic Castle, Prof. Juniper will magically be inside of there, popping out to say hello. Why hello there, Prof. Juniper! She points to the strange statues outside of the Relic Castle and tells you they're actually Darmanitan. Oh! She'll give you a RageCandyBar before leaving you to your business. RAGE! In a CANDYBAR!
You can use it on the Darmanitan statues to have one battle you! They loooove chocolate, and RAGE, apparently. Just keep in mind that it'll be used up afterwards, so you might want to save before fighting one. (You can get more either in the winter in Icirrus City or by battling it out in the Royal Unova in Castelia City, although they are both somewhat cumbersome to get.)
|Darmanitan Lv. 35
x5. Each has the Zen Mode ability.
These Darmanitan are particularly special in the fact they have the Zen Mode ability, which transforms them into Zen Mode when they reach less than 1/2 of their HP. That's their blue form, and it has insanely high Sp. Atk and pretty good Sp. Def. It basically switches Darmanitan's strengths to more Special-oriented, which may or may not be a bad thing. At least it combos VERY well with Belly Drum!
Anyway, enter the castle whenever you're ready.
Not much to see or do here since last time. Make your way to the very bottom room and you'll find that there's now a sand hill leading up to that previously inaccessible door. Awesome! Climb on up and head on inside!
Head forward and you'll see a Plasma Grunt. Oh snap! He'll run off in a jiffy, so go on and follow him down the stairs and into the other room.
He'll insist to battle you right away when you enter the next room. He has a vicious Krookodile L64, so be careful! After beating him, you'll need to navigate your way through the Relic Castle Catacombs.
Relic Castle Catacombs
|Relic Castle Catacombs|
|Krokorok||/||Lv. 47 ~ 50||35%|
|Sandslash||Lv. 47, 49||30%|
|Cofagrigus||Lv. 48 ~ 50||20%|
|Onix||/||Lv. 48 ~ 49||15%|
Heading west will lead you to some stairs that take you out of the place, so that's obviously not the direction you want to go! Noooo, so head south from the Plasma Grunt instead.
The best way to get through this place is to head south from the Plasma Grunt, then west, then south, then west twice. That will lead you right to the room with... one of the six Plasma sages, Ryoku!
Talk to him and he'll say some stuff, then he'll give you TM04 (Calm Mind)! Woohoo! Afterwards, Looker shows up to arrest that guy, putting him in his place. Take that, Team Plasma!
Now head north and you'll reach Volcarona's chambers...
Relic Castle (Volcarona's Chambers)
|Relic Castle (Volcarona's Chamber)|
|Claydol||/||Lv. 47 ~ 50||100%|
Thar be Claydols in here! Nothing but Claydols as a matter of fact. Well, nothing except that huge flippin' Volcarona in the back!
Make your way to the back of the room, SAVE YOUR GAME, and then take on the fiery moth Pokemon!
|Volcarona Lv. 70|
Volcarona is the evolution of the much weaker Larvesta, but since it doesn't evolve until level 59 and you can catch a Volcarona ready to go at level 70 anyway, you can essentially treat them as separate Pokemon through your playthrough.
Although Volcarona isn't available until after you've beaten the game, it is absolutely, without a doubt, the single most useful Pokemon you can catch as you traverse the eastern half of Unova and take on some of the toughest Trainers in the game. This is due to Volcarona's gargantuan Sp. Atk, and awesome Sp. Def and Speed to boot. Its HP isn't too bad, although its Attack and Defense are both weak. That's ok, though, because it excels in the three stats you want it to excel in the most. Trust me.
It comes equipped with some awesome moves as soon as you catch it: Heat Wave for some heavy Fire-type damage (100 power, 90% accuracy) which even hits multiple opponents; Bug Buzz to hit for some nice 90 power Bug-type damage; Silver Wind, which has a 10% chance of raising all of your stats, but it is rather weak and should be replaced (but it's not bad for a start); and then, the mother of all attacks — Quiver Dance! Quiver Dance raises Volcarona's Sp. Atk, Sp. Def, AND Speed by one stage when you use it. W-what?! Yeah, you bet! Though that move is learned by a small number of other Pokemon, no Pokemon uses it with more effectiveness than Volcarona, who has stats literally built to take full advantage of those boosts. It picks up Rage Powder at level 80 to force opponents to target Volcarona (like Follow Me), but it isn't overly useful in-game. Hurricane is learned at level 90; even though it's a great Flying-type attack, it is only 70% accurate and may not be worth missing with (I mean, its Fire-type attacks hurt Grass- and Bug-type Pokemon anyway, so it only offers extra type coverage against Fighting-type Pokemon). Lastly, it picks up its signature move, Fiery Dance, learned only by Volcarona at level 100. Fiery Dance hits for a solid 80 power, but it also has a nice 50% chance of raising Volcarona's Sp. Atk by a stage. Wow! It is noticeably weaker than Flamethrower, although still not by much; the potential of increasing Volcarona's Sp. Atk to astronomical levels as the fight wears on is very tempting. Since it is learned at level 100, it's safe to assume that the only thing in-game you will be doing with Volcarona is using it to take on the Elite Four, so it may be better for quickly plowing through them than the Quiver Dance strategy is for lower level Volcarona.
As far as TMs go, Volcarona has plenty of TMs it can learn, although one you should put on it right away is Flamethrower for its improved accuracy over Heat Wave. There are effective strategies in the walkthrough for taking on all of the toughest Trainers, but they all depend on hitting 100% of the time, so Flamethrower is definitely a better choice for in-game purposes. Fire Blast is also an option for added power over any of Volcarona's other attacks (except Overheat, which you should not use), but that less than perfect accuracy may be a deterrent. The best auxillary attack for Volcarona is definitely Psychic, which gives it extra coverage against a whole slew of things. Sunny Day is an option for additional beef, but if you can pull off six Quiver Dances using the walkthrough's strategies, you don't really need it, plus you are better off using one Quiver Dance than setting up a Sunny Day, unless you're expecting Water-type attacks. If you want to use Sunny Day, SolarBeam is an option; it offers coverage against things like Rock-, Ground-, and Water-types, which often carry moves Volcarona does not like, but it means you will lose Bug Buzz as an option (unless you go with Flamethrower/Bug Buzz/Sunny Day/SolarBeam, but Volcarona without Quiver Dance is like having a supercomputer that can't send e-mail). It is able to learn Fly, though, so that may be a good option for move #4 if you don't really care about Psychic and would rather use it to fly around with.
For your in-game travels, the best moveset for Volcarona is definitely going to be Flamethrower/Fiery Dance, Bug Buzz, Quiver Dance, and then move #4. Move #4 is typically the most awesome when it is Psychic for that great coverage, but Substitute (TM) is also a move you may want or need to use when taking on tougher foes like the Elite Four or Cynthia. Why is that? Because being behind a Substitute prevents unsightly critical hits and status conditions. It's not necessary, but if used right, can help provide a good insurance policy.
Overall, Volcarona is an excellent Pokemon due to its ability to become strong enough to one-hit KO any Pokemon in the game that doesn't have Sturdy. On top of that, a lot of the Pokemon the toughest in-game Trainers use are Special-based Pokemon, which Volcarona loves with its fiery little heart. Since it raises its Sp. Def along with its Sp. Atk and Speed, you'll be able to set up with no problem at all. Definitely use it while you travel throughout the rest of the game, and keep it handy when you're fighting the toughest of Trainers.
Despite Volcarona's high level, it is not a legendary Pokemon. It is just a very strong Pokemon that would make an excellent addition to your team at this point in the game. It is harder to catch than either Zekrom or Reshiram were, but it is still easier to catch than, say, Thundurus or Cobalion.
It is a very tough Pokemon in general, possessing incredible Sp. Atk and formidable Speed to boot. It has Silver Wind, Heat Wave, Bug Buzz, and Quiver Dance available as moves. Watch out for Quiver Dance, because that will only make Volcarona faster while also raising its Sp. Atk and Sp. Def. It's like an upgraded Calm Mind, sheesh!
Don't spend your time reviving your Pokemon. Weaken it the best you can, then just keep chucking your best types of Poke Ball at it (Ultra Ball, Dusk Ball, etc.) in hopes of catching it. If it sweeps your entire team, just reset and try again.
After catching it, don't wimp out and use an Escape Rope. Heal with a Revive or something if you're really weak, or just use some Repels, because you'll want to leave this place in style — and by in style, I mean by taking the long way.
Exit Volcarona's Chambers and then make your way northwest. This will eventually lead you to some some stairs leading you out. Make sure you have your Dowsing Machine active, though, because there's a PP Max hidden in the sands on your way up!
At the very top, you'll be in that western "tower" of the Relic Castle that had virtually nothing in it other than a ledge you couldn't figure out how to get up on. Ha! Now you know. And up there is your reward for taking the long way, the incredibly useful TM26 (Earthquake), one of the best TMs in the game. It teaches your Pokemon Earthquake, which does massive damage to all adjacent Pokemon in a battle, including your partner Pokemon. It's great in Single Battles or when teaming up with a Pokemon that is a Flying-type or has Levitate, though!
Alright, now you can leave and head back to a Pokemon Center to both heal and admire your new Volcarona. And figure out where you want to go next.