As you leave the Gym, you’ll be called a newbie by someone. This someone knows your name and introduces himself as Blue. He’s Professor Oak’s grandson and was going to stop by to give you advice on the Gym, but it’s apparent you’ve already succeeded, so instead he gives you 5 Great Balls — an upgraded version of the Poké Ball that is much more effective at catching Pokémon.
One change that happens after earning the Boulder Badge is that new items will be available in the Poké Mart. The items change based on the number of badges you have, so here’s a look at the new inventory:
|Great Ball (New!)
|Escape Rope (New!)
|X Attack (New!)
|X Defense (New!)
|X Sp. Atk (New!)
|X Sp. Def (New!)
|X Speed (New!)
|X Accuracy (New!)
|Dire Hit (New!)
|Guard Spec. (New!)
In addition to the newly obtained Great Ball being available for purchase, there are a few other helpful items.
- The Escape Rope can be used to return you to the entrance of a cave or other “dungeon”. It’s handy for getting out of a situation in a pinch, although you’ll pick up a few of them while exploring, so I wouldn’t prioritize it unless you do a lot of backtracking.
- Repels can be used to reduce the amount of wild Pokémon that spawn for awhile. It’s based on the amount of steps you take and doesn’t last very long. Not really recommended.
- The X Items are in-battle items that temporarily raise the stats of your Pokémon during a battle based on the X Item you use. It’s raised in the same way as moves like Harden or Agility raise your stats, so the effect is removed after the battle or once the Pokémon switches out. Each item raises the corresponding stat by two stages in battle, or essentially doubling the stat, so these items are actually very good to have in case you find yourself in a tough situation. The defensive ones allow you to take hits much better while the offensive ones can stack to boost your damage. An X Speed can top your Speed stat off to make it so you’ll outspeed the foes. You probably don’t need these at this point in the game, but know that they can be helpful tools if you find yourself struggling with a particular fight.
- X Accuracy raises your accuracy when used in battle. Not as helpful as the price would suggest, but there are a few helpful applications for it, such as to ensure you can hit Pokémon with the debilitating Sleep Powder.
- Dire Hit raises the active Pokémon’s critical hit rate by two stages while it’s active in a battle. At a +2 critical hit rate, there’s a 50% chance of hitting every foe with a critical hit, and if you use a move that has a higher critical hit chance such as Slash, you’ll get a critical hit 100% of the time. Can be handy, especially against Trainers that have high defensive stats or are using defensive moves a lot, since critical hits ignore positive stat changes on the foe.
- Guard Spec. is rather worthless most of the time, but every now and then it can help. It just prevents your Pokémon’s stats from being lowered for a few turns, similar to the move Mist. It’s sometimes helpful while setting up other X Items so you don’t get hit with nasty moves like Sand-Attack to lower your accuracy, but otherwise it’s not likely to be worthwhile.
Now that Blue is out of the way, head over to the Pokémon Center if you need to heal your Pokémon, then make your way to Route 3 to the east, which is no longer being blocked.