After seeing that the first gym battle represented a bit of a ramp up in difficulty, I started to remember the patch of grass that they tell you about after you pass the Hiker on the first or second route. Its a different kind of grass, long grass or dark grass or something. Anyway, apparantely stronger enemies appear there often. Yeah they weren't kidding, Sewaddle and some other bug and grass types, with what seemed like really high capture rates. I struggled at this point quite a bit, and had to take a few runs of capturing and running back to heal in order to get most of the new pokemon in this long grass. I didn't bother adding any of these Pokemon to my team, however. I'm not a huge fan of Sunkern or Sewaddle. I do like Venipede/Whirlipede/Scolipede though. It is one of my favourite designs from this generation. But poison types never seem to offer much later on in the game in my opinion. Although I think I have used a Toxicroak recently, in my X playthrough (super effective damage against the new Fairy types.)
So on getting to Virbank City, I tried grinding a bit and doing the events at the Virbank Complex. If I remember rightly, there are some good pokemon to be found here. I added some potential pokemon to my group actually. Initially a Magby which I named Vulcanis (I thought it would come in useful against any Magnemites in the area...seriously, they scare me with their Sonicboom attack. Guiles theme and all that shit)). I wasn't entirely sure if I'd keep this in my team for long, I don't particularly like the design of Magby and Magmar...ugly buttface. So I see a few other pretty cool pokemon, a Magnemite which I name Iron Giant, and a Koffing (which was completely walled by the steel typing of Magnemite. Interesting for later perhaps.) I saw a pretty cool addition that I hadn't really payed much attention to previously, the Habitat system in the Pokedex. It sorts, or splits the Pokedex up by area, so you can keep track of what Pokemon you are missing from an area. When you have got all of them, you get a Pokeball stamp in that habitat screen showing that you have all of the Pokemon available from that area. Here is some more info, as I am probably not explaining it well. So when I checked the Virbank Complex habitat, thinking I had all of them (and hoping I did. There is a reward from one of the NPCs in the area for finishing it), it turned out I didn't have everything. So a few more encounters revealed one of the ones I was missing, a Growlithe, which I named Ghost. I will name anything that I might end up using, for the record.
My levels are around 13-16 now; Oshawatt [Barioth] lv16, Magnemite [Iron Giant] lv14, Riolu [Genji] lv13, Purrloin [Dusk] lv13, Growlithe [Ghost] lv13, and I'm thinking my fairly well rounded team should be able to take on the second gym. Do I go for it or go and do some more grinding? I wanna take on the gym, screw it lol.
Gym #2 - Poison
I love the style of this place. Some dingy rock club type of thing. The first guy I face has a Grimer lv14 and a Koffing lv14. Their levels are quite high compared to my team, but I use the Iron Giant Magnemite to negate the poison attacks Koffing had, and Barioth's water gun attacks to beat the Koffing without issues so far.
The second trainer has a Venipede lv14, which I go with a combination of Dusk and Ghost to tackle. I want to see if I can use his fire type moves to do some damage. Ember actually oneshotted it...wasn't expecting that considering I was a level lower. Their second pokemon is a Koffing lv14. I decide to try walling it with Iron Giant again. Steel element is one of my favourites alongside Water. Two Sonicbooms and that battle is done. I seriously think that attack is overpowered to have access to this early. It will only hit for 20HP, but when that is irrespective of defenses and typing, and turns out to be about 75% of a pokemon's HP at this point, that is pretty good.
I realised I like to procrastinate, grind, and search for new pokemon in these games, just from looking at my game time. In fact, I went and grinded a bit before taking on the gym leader, Roxie.
Her first pokemon is a Koffing lv16 (oh dear lol) and I lead off with my lower level Ghost (Growlithe lv13) which has Intimidate. I don't really have a good move that can threaten Koffing, so I switch in Iron Giant (Magnemite lv16) and go for Thunder Wave (gotta set this victory up.) A few Sonic Boom attacks seem to work well. I think Koffing is a physically strong defensive pokemon, so I two-shot him with the Sonic Boom attacks. Whirlipede (lv18) is up next, and it is actually higher level than any of mine. I leave Iron Giant in and go for Thunder Wave. I take a mental note that he has Pursuit, but switch in to Ghost anyway. Leer gets blocked by Protect...and then I realise whats the point in Leering, I can be doing Ember instead. I get in two of them before getting critted to death by Venoshock. I go into Dusk (to share exp) and then switch in Iron Giant (those poison attacks hit quite hard, and this thing is more offensive than I thought.) Sonic Boom finishes it off, and the Toxic Badge is mine.
Protip #2 - I'd really recommend hunting areas for the rarer pokemon that are available. In the Floccesy Ranch you can find Riolus, and with a bit of effort, you can get a pretty strong Pokemon out of it later on. Magnemite isn't terribly rare in the Virbank Complex, and it is very good at this stage. They are actually really good matchups against the first two badges respectively, Riolu less so, as it doesn't really learn any offensive Fighting moves unless you grind it up to lv15 (or lv11 in Black and White) where it learns Force Palm. Magnemite makes the Poison gym really easy though.
tldr: Keep checking your typing across your team, this makes the gym battles a lot easier. i.e. If you have a starter and 2 Normal pokemon,
Play Time - 17:35
Pokedex - Obtained: 17, Seen: 26
Gym Badges -2
Seriously, I'm a bit disturbed after the amount of (yaoi) fan art I had to endure looking for a suitable picture of this gym leader...lol -_-