I Have Found Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s Most Annoying Trainer

In every Pokemon game, there's always that one trainer who annoys you. It's not usually a gym leader or a rival. It's not one of those battles that the game places as a difficulty spike or roadblock. We all have our own feelings about the trio of Hop, Marnie, and Bede in Sword & Shield, and Whitney is a classic Pokemon complaint. But these aren't the sorts of people I mean. I'm talking about the minor characters. The ones no one else cares about. The ones who seem to have been put in the game specifically to annoy you personally. In Scarlet & Violet, I have met this trainer. His name is Ernesto the Student, and I want to give him a swirly.

I've written about these annoying trainers previously. In Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, it was Lass Madeline. We meet her just outside the first major city, where she claims she has a "nifty keen" badge. I find this hard to believe. The gym in question is a Rock gym, and she has a level five Bidoof and a level five Starly. They both run only ineffective Normal moves, and Starly is weak to Rock moves. Unless she's taunting you by not whipping out her level 40 Vaporeon, she's lying. I don't really know why Madeline annoyed me, all I know is that she did. At least she's a fairly innocent irritant though. Ernesto is irritating on purpose.

Scarlet & Violet has introduced a new mechanic for trainers in the wild, who no longer fight you on sight but need to be engaged first. Ernesto takes advantage of this in the most annoying way. All of the trainers have little canned phrases that let you know they want to battle. 'My Pokemon are getting strong' or 'Nobody is as tough as me!', you know, waffle like that. Ernesto talks about having something for sale, so curiously, I strode up to him. He laughs derisively and tells you it was all a ruse, and that he's actually a trainer looking for a fight! Oh, how humorous!

This doesn't even make sense. Paldea establishes that both trainers should agree to a battle, rather than the Wild West wilderness of other regions. So even though Ernesto tricks you, in theory we should still be able to walk away and say 'no thanks'. Luckily I had a fully healed party and was able to take him down without a sweat, but it doesn't change the fact that he's the worst trainer in the game.

Look, I get it. It's kind of a fun riff on this new mechanic. But it was put in to allow you to explore a bit more freely, and while you do have to talk to Ernesto to activate the battle, you can't walk away if your team is weak and in need of healing. You're just stuck in his little trap with nowhere to go. It's not a hard battle, but that's what makes it so frustrating. You are clearing the region of Team Star, taking on all the gyms, and challenging all the Titans, and he's just some kid playing pranks.

But then, is he? If that bloke's a high school student, I'm Samuel L. Jackson's grandma. He looks like a wedge of ham shoved into a school uniform. The other bullies are sneaking off to the school bathroom for a smoke, he's off to get a shave and to text his wife that he'll be home late, he's busy pretending to be a merchant to give his garbage Pokemon team a chance of beating an unprepared trainer. His face isn't so much a face as it is fist with eyes, a nose, and a mouth on it. They're clearly going for a cartoonish '80s comic book caricature of a school bully, but they've swung way past that into generic mob henchman.

He's a colossal loser, and his only purpose in life is to make things worse for others. He's Scarlet & Violet's most annoying trainer, and what makes him even more annoying is that most people won't even remember him. I'm annoyed that I'm annoyed by him, he's that annoying. Death to Ernesto the Student, or whatever his real name is.

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