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[This guide is still receiving updates. Last update Mar 7, 2011]
Let's be real – almost anyone could manage to make it through Pokemon Black and White's main story campaign without consulting a guide or FAQ. So why would you need a walkthrough for getting all eight gym badges and facing the Elite Four? You don't, as such.
So consider this less of a traditional walkthrough and more of a supplemental guide to enhance your journey through the Unova region. If Pokemon Black and White were books, this would be your book club's discussion notes, which enhance and expand your reading experience, rather than just the Cliff's Notes that help you speed through it.
That said, please feel free to leave your comments below if you have anything to add about your own experiences with Pokemon Black or White.
Let's begin our journey…
Picking a starter
Your starter choice is obviously entirely up to you, and it really comes down to personal preference (but if you're unsure you can consult our Pokedex for info on each one). Remember though, if your starter is male, you won't have an opportunity to breed it until after you beat the game, so at this point it might be worth it to soft reset for a female starter. Being able to breed your starter before you beat the story can be a serious boon, because it makes it easy to put up your starter on the GTS to get the other two starters.
Unless you have a friend who's willing to hook you up with female starters, it's worth considering soft-resetting despite how tedious it can be – you only have a 12.5% chance of getting a female starter, so it can take more than a few resets. Save your game right before you approach the present in your bedroom to save time.
Visiting Professor Juniper
You don't have your running shoes yet, so it's not worth exploring the rest of the town yet unless you really want to. Head to Bianca's house in the southwest corner to see a scene with her father, then head to the lab in the northwest to receive your Pokedex. As you exit, your mom gives you the Town Map too. Onward to Route 1!
It's always exciting to step into your first tall grass in each Pokemon game, isn't it? Grass in B&W has two additions from the grass you're used to from previous generations: shaking grass patches and doubles grass. You may notice a shaking grass patch every so often as you wander around leveling up and catching Pokemon, and it should look familiar to you if you ever used the PokeRadar Poketch app in Diamond, Pearl or Platinum (see our Shiny Pokemon guide). It's very similar, in that shaking grass patches usually have a different kind of Pokemon then you'd normally find in the surrounding grass, usually a rare species. The difference in Black and White is that the shaking grass now occurs randomly on its own whenever grass in on-screen. Even if you've never encountered shaking grass before, you'll know it when you see it.
If you're looking for a particular Pokemon that's only found in shaking grass, walk around the perimeter of the grass until you see a patch shake. Use a repel and enter the shaking grass patch. Repels don't work on shaking patches, so this ensures that you won't be interrupted by a regular wild Pokemon battle on your way to the shaking patch. A wild battle resets the shaking grass, so if you're interrupted by a wild Pokemon, the shaking patch will be gone when the battle is over. We're not sure yet if these shaking patches have any application in hunting shiny Pokemon, like the patches using the PokeRadar do, but it looks doubtful.
The Pokemon most commonly found in shaking patches is Audino, who can be found almost everywhere shaking grass is found. Fainting Audino awards quite a bit of EXP, so after you've caught a few you might consider just battling the rest.
Meet Professor Juniper in front of the Pokemon Center and she gives you a tour inside. The PokeMart is inside the Pokemon Center now – quite convenient. Only two items are available at this point: Poke Balls and Potions, plus a ton of mail if you'd like. None of the wireless/Wi-Fi options are available upstairs yet, but you can now access your PC to manage your Pokemon.
After you exit the Pokemon Center, you'll be forced to battle N after watching a scene, so make sure your Pokemon are ready to battle before leaving the Center. After battling you can explore Accumula further or proceed directly northwest to Route 2.
After you pass through the gate your mom will appear and give you running shoes as a present. As you make your way through Route 2, be prepared for a trainer battle with Bianca.
As you visit each new city or town, it's helpful to pull up the Town Map and check out what services are available in each location. When you enter Striation City, the Town Map lists:
Striation City Gym
So right away, you know the important places to check out while exploring the area. Fennel's Lab is in the second building on the right as you enter Striation City, but there's no point in visiting until after you defeat the first gym leader.
At the Trainers' School you must fight Cheren, so be careful because he has whichever starter your starter is weak to. Once you've defeated him, you can either head straight to the gym or slightly past it to the east to check out the Dreamyard.
It's smart to go to the Dreamyard first, because the third NPC you encounter there as you walk east will give you one of the monkey trio – Panpour, Pansage or Pansear – whichever element your starter is strong against. This is another moment where it might be prudent to soft reset for a female monkey if you're concerned about being about to breed offspring to trade. To save time, save right before you speak to her (she's right outside the entrance to the abandoned building), and make sure there's a spot in your party to receive the monkey so you can check the gender right away and reset as needed. And if soft-resetting isn't your thing, don't worry – it's not the end of the world if you have to wait until you beat the game and obtain a ditto to breed certain Pokemon. Plus, you can also find the other monkeys in shaking grass patches in Pinwheel Forest or Lostlorn Forest later on.
Not much else you can do here for now, so head back to gym if you haven't already and get your first badge. Once you've defeated the gym leader and exited the gym, Fennel will meet you and lead you back to her lab where she presents you with HM01 Cut. Make sure you talk to the other woman in the room before you leave too.
Now that you have your first badge, when you revisit the PokeMart you'll notice a lot more items are now available. Stock up on whatever you need, then head back to the Dreamyard and use Cut to access the abandoned building.
You'll notice in the Dreamyard that certain items in the ruined building area are obscured depending on where you're standing, so make sure you walk around a bit to find every item you can. Because of the semi-3D visuals in B&W, you'll notice this happens quite a bit, so be on the lookout for little hidden Poke Balls as you explore.
The Dreamyard has a basement level that's off-limits for now, so after you've finished your business with Team Plasma and caught yourself a Munna, head back to Fennel's house and she'll give you the C-Gear and Amanita will give you the Pal Pad. The C-Gear sort of takes the place of the Poketch from Diamond and Pearl, but instead of having lots of little apps, it's the hub for various multiplayer and online functions.
Route 3 is the first Route with doubles grass, but you'll get to that later after your next encounter with Team Plasma. You'll know it when you see it because it's a dark color, and of course Cheren waiting there to explain all about it. It's exactly what it sounds like – grass patches where two Pokemon appear at once instead of just one. Be prepared for doubles battles by making sure that the first two Pokemon in your party are strong enough to handle the nearby wild Pokemon.
Pokemon Day Care
You're only allowed to deposit one Pokemon into the Day Care for now, so you won't be able to breed quite yet. Also take note that moves can be overwritten automatically as Pokemon level up inside the Day Care, so use caution with Pokemon whose movesets you don't want messed up.
The woman in the building directly west of the Day Care will heal your Pokemon whenever you talk to her. As you make your way west, Cheren will appear to challenge you again, so make sure you're healed up as you head past the Day Care area. After the battle and scene, head northwest to follow Cheren into Wellspring Cave.
Our first cave! Just like the shaking grass patches outside, caves have swirling dust patches that pop up here and there, but these patches can contain either wild Pokemon or items. If you see a patch you want to enter, use a repel to make sure you aren't interrupted by another encounter.
After the battle with Team Plasma, there's not much else to do for now but grab TM46 Thief and leave. Keep heading south and then west through Route 3 to eventually reach Nacrene City.
Part one - Nuvema Town, Route 1, Accumula Town, Route 2, Striation City (Tri Badge), Dreamyard
Part two - Nacrene City (Basic Badge), Pinwheel Forest, Castelia City (Insect Badge), Route 4, Desert Resort, Nimbasa City (Jolt Badge), Route 5, Driftveil City (Quake Badge), Cold Storage, Route 6, Chargestone Cave
Part three - Mistralton City (Jet Badge), Celestial Tower, Route 7, Legendaries: Cobalion and Virizion, Route 17, 18 and P2 Lab
Part four - Twist Mountain, Icirrus City (Freeze Badge), Dragonspiral Tower, Relic Castle, Route 8, Tubeline Bridge, Route 9, Opelucid City (Legend Badge), Legendaries: Tornadus/Thundurus, Route 10, Victory Road, Pokemon League