What is the Pokémon Nuzlocke challenge?

Learn how you can increase the difficulty of your journey in Pokémon.

Image via The Pokémon Company

Are you an avid fan of Pokémon games but tired of going through them with ease? Or do you just enjoy a difficult challenge? If that’s the case, the Pokémon Nuzlocke challenge may be the perfect solution for your problem.

The Nuzlocke is a set of self-imposed rules that you implement to your own Pokémon journey that aims to increase the difficulty of the game and force trainers to use Pokémon they’re not familiar with. The challenge has become popular over the years thanks to content creators who create a whole narrative around the Nuzlocke, like Jaiden Animations.

What are the key rules in Pokémon Nuzlocke challenge?

The rules listed below must be followed if you’re attempting the Nuzlock challenge in Pokémon games.

  • If one of your Pokémon faints, that Pokémon is considered dead and you must release it right after the battle.
  • You can catch only the first wild Pokémon you run through in each route. If that first wild Pokémon faints or flees the scene, you do not gain an additional shot. If the first encounter is a double battle, you’re free to choose which of the two wild Pokémon you want to catch.

Popular Nuzlock rules that are often used by trainers

Those rules are not obligatory, but many Pokémon trainers employ them.

  • Do not reset or reload the game if you lose a battle or don’t catch a Pokémon in the route you are exploring.
  • Trainers must give a nickname to all of their Pokémon to form a stronger emotional bond.
  • Trainers may only use Pokémon they captured themselves. With this rule, trading Pokémon is not allowed, but you can still do it if you need to evolve one of your Pokémon.

Optional rules that will make your Pokémon Nuzlocke attempt even harder

  • You can’t pick the starter Pokémon. Trainers have to decide it using the last digit of the player’s Trainer ID number. If it’s between one and three, the trainer must choose the grass-type starter. If it’s between four and six, you have to pick the fire-type Pokémon. If it ranges from seven to nine, you have got to take the water-type Pokémon, and if the number is zero you can choose the one you want to play with.
  • Play the entire journey without using the Pokémon Centers, meaning you can only heal your Pokémon with potions and status-healing items.
  • The trainer should not catch the first wild Pokémon in each route, but only the first wild Pokémon after each Gym battle.
  • The trainer can only use the same amount of Pokémon its adversary uses.

When does the Pokémon Nuzlocke ends

There’s no written rule that says when the Nuzlocke is finished. Some trainers end the challenge after beating the Elite Four and the rival, for example. Other trainers, on the other hand, keep playing until they capture all the legendary Pokémon that can be found in the game.

If you lose all Pokémon at your party, you can train the ones that have been placed in boxes or head to unexplored routes to catch new ones.