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Pokemon Sun and Moon: What the Nuzlocke Challenge Is

Nuzlocke Challenge – Pokemon Sun and Moon

If you’ve been playing Pokemon Sun and Moon, you may have found that the game (the single player, at least) is a bit easy. It’s not uncommon for players to find themselves not needing to swap out their Pokemon until very late in the game. And some won’t even do so then. Your starters can become very powerful, carrying you through most of the experience. The fact that there is no difficulty setting makes it seem like you have no choice but to run through this easy experience, but there is a way to make things more challenging, and it’s called the Nuzlocke Challenge.

The Nuzlocke Challenge is a set of rules that players apply to their playthrough. It was created by a webcomic artist back when he was in college and got its name due to one of the characters in the comic he drew to share his experience looking like a Nuzleaf. While the rules started out simple, they’ve evolved over the years and make it incredibly difficult to complete a Pokemon game.


There are two sets of rules: basic and optional. The basic ones are mandatory for a Nuzlocke Challenge run, while the optional rules allow you to fine tune the experience to make it either more difficult or a bit more forgiving. None of the rules make the game easy, though.

Basic Rules 

You can only capture the first Pokemon you encounter in each new area. This is a major part of the challenge as it prohibits you searching for specific types or monsters. If you don’t catch that Pokemon, then you’re out of luck and must wait until the next area before you can attempt to catch another.

2 Any Pokemon that faints is considered dead and you must release (although placing it in a box is fine, as well). You can never use that monster again and must continue with whatever you have left.

It turned out that these rules helped the artist become much more attached to his little friends and made for a much more difficult and rewarding experience. He found himself caring for the few monsters he was able to catch, and became much more careful in his approach to battles.

There are many optional rules but we’ll only cover a few from the community to give you a feel for how they work.

Optional Rules

Starter Pokemon are chosen based on the last digit in your Trainer ID Number. 1-3 gets you a Grass-type (Rowlet), 4-6 is Fire (Litten), and 7-9 is Water-type (Popplio). If you’re lucky enough to get a zero, you can choose whichever Sun and Moon starter you want.

You’re allowed to catch any Shiny Pokemon you see, you just can’t use them. This way, you don’t have to miss out on the extremely rare opportunities but you still don’t ruin the challenge. This is known as the “Shiny Clause.”

Some players like to limit the amount of times you can use a Pokemon Center or ban them altogether.

Limit the amount of Poke Balls you can use through the entire game.

5 Limit the level you can reach before each Sun and Moon Trial so you don’t exceed the level of the Totem and/or Captain.

Make it so you’re unable to use the Refresh Mechanic.

Make it so you’re unable to flee from battle.

These along with other possible amendments are sure to make your Sun and Moon runs a heck of a lot more difficult. The Nuzlocke Challenge is not for the faint of heart, so if you get frustrated easily or don’t like to lose, you may want to give this one a wide berth. But, if you feel you’re the best to ever pick up a Poke Ball and throw it at a random monster, than this may be for you.

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