Pokémon GO Raid-Ladder Nuzlocke
Pokémon GO Raid-Ladder Nuzlocke
Brief summary: The point of these rules is to see how far you can get in Pokémon GO using only six Pokémon at a time. You have to start with the first six wild Pokémon you find, and all subsequent Pokémon must be acquired through solo gym raids. After every successful raid catch you have to transfer a Pokémon so that you always have exactly six in your Nuzlocke team. For a general introduction to Nuzlocke rules used in the main-series Pokémon games, see the Bulbapedia article Nuzlocke Challenge.
In the original Pokémon GO game, the non-linear free-form nature of the game and complete randomness of spawns (along with species biomes and nests) made it impossible to construct a meaningful Nuzlocke ruleset. However, the June 2017 gym rework update has introduced Raid Battles, which allow defining a fairly linear and constrained "storyline" for the player to follow.
Differences From Original Nuzlocke
The original Nuzlocke challenge had two very simple rules:
- You may only capture the first (wild) Pokémon you encounter in each new area you explore.
- If one of your Pokémon faints, you must release it.
All the rest of the Nuzlocke rules were added later. Nuzlocke has been adapted in minor ways for the main-series games; but for Pokémon GO the changes must be somewhat greater.
In particular, the non-linear nature of Pokémon GO makes it pretty much impossible to define "regions" in any way that is comparable to the main-series games, unless you lay out a course for your own geographic area; but such would not be playable by anyone except other Trainers in your area.
Also, it is difficult to select gym battles that will be well-matched to any team of random wild Pokémon that you happen to have at the moment. Most Gyms will contain a first defender that is greatly overpowered for your team of six; and the Gym system does not let you acquire new Pokémon by achieving victories.
A Typical Raid-Ladder Storyline
Your mission is to journey far and wide in search of Arenas, challenging their Raid Bosses in the arena with your team of six Pokémon. After each successful battle you claim the Raid Boss as your prize and may add it to your team of six (releasing an existing team member back to the Professor for his research). As always, you seek to be The Very Best in this case, by beating as many different types of Raid Bosses as possible.
One will typically start by using the six wild catches to solo-raid the easiest raid boss. (The easiest was originally Magikarp, later Metapod, later we had both, and it will probably change again.) After catching the boss, discard the worst of the wild catches in exchange for the newly caught one. Continue solo-raiding the easiest boss enough times to be able to evolve it (i.e. Magikarp -> Gyarados, or Metapod -> Buttefree), then use that to solo-raid whichever type makes sense (Gyarados can easily beat Quilava, Butterfree should go after a grass type like Ivysaur). After one has caught enough Quilava with adequate movesets (possibly powering up and/or evolving one or more of them) the player might start raiding Bayleef, and so on. But some players might successfully use a mixture of caught bosses of different types to win new types of raid bosses in fewer total raids.
Unlike in mainstream Nuzlocke, reviving fainted Pokémon is allowed. The point of these rules is to try to work yourself "up the ladder" from the tier-1 raid bosses to tier-2 and possibly even tier-3. One will need much practise in Pokémon GO battling to develop the special art of solo-raiding; knowing which movesets to keep and how to win in the arena.
In mainstream Nuzlocke Randomness is provided by the game's choice of which Pokémon you happen upon in the tall grass; in Pokémon GO Nuzlocke it's all about the randomly-chosen movesets that the game gives you when you catch a raid boss, and luck and skill in catching. A raid that ends in a failure to catch still counts against your Nuzlocke score.
A lot of skill and strategic decision is needed. Consider the questions:
- How many level-20 Quilava do you need to reliably solo-raid Bayleef?
- After completing the tier-1 raids, which tier-2 raid boss should you attempt first?
- Will you at any point reach a dead-end, and need to go back to tier-1 raids for a while?
Your Pokémon GO Nuzlocke game is scored by two numbers:
- How many dintinct raid boss species have you caught?
- How many raids have you attempted?
So for example, a player might say "I have caught 7 different raid bosses after a total of 143 raids."
Because using a second account is against the game's Terms of Service, many of these rules are intended to make it possible to do Nuzlocke play in a normal Pokémon GO account without disrupting your existing Pokémon collection.
There are also some rules that make play more efficient; for example you can skip most of your Magikarp raids if you already have Magikarp candy, but you must adjust your score fairly based on how many raids you would have had to perform to get the number of candies you're using.
Single Account Compliance
- Nuzlocke play must be performed on your existing Pokémon GO account, because the Terms of Service prohibit the use of multiple accounts. Therefore, these rules assume that you keep track of your six Nuzlocke Pokémon, and recommend this be done by naming.
- You may only keep six Nuzlocke Pokémon at a time.
- Name each Nuzlocke Pokémon in a way that makes them easy to find.
For example, you can start each name with a quote (") character and sort your collection alphabetically (A-Z).
As in normal Nuzlocke, give them interesting or creative names.
- Keep track of whether you're working on Nuzlocke game or doing normal play. It is particularly important to account for candies (discussed more below).
- Use your Nuzlocke Pokémon only in raids for your Nuzlocke game. You can also play normal Pokémon GO using all your other Pokémon.
- Before starting a raid you must decide whether it is part of your Nuzlocke game or part of your normal game, and choose your team accordingly.
- After the six starter catches, you do not use additional wild catches for your Nuzlocke game. (Any wild catches you make become part of your normal collection.) This is a significant departure from mainstream Nuzlocke play.
- You may not use egg hatches towards your Nuzlocke game.
- You may not buddy-walk your Nuzlocke Pokémon or place them in gyms.
- Start by catching the six first Pokémon that appear on your screen. Do not pick and choose. Continue catching until you have six successful catches.
- Your six starters should be from normal spawns, not nest spawns or event-specific spawns (example of the latter: Ponyta during the Fire/Ice event). If the spawn was common in your region, you may count it as a normal spawn. Use common sense and play fair.
- You must "Savage-Season" your six starters. This means, no berries are allowed and only normal Poké Balls (not Great or Ultra) balls may be used. Nuzlocke is meant to be a challenge. (Berries are allowed in raid-boss catches, but the game only allows you to use a limited number of "Premier" Balls.)
- Each Starter must be given a name, which is (in the words of the original Nuzlocke challenge), "for the sake of forming stronger emotional bonds".
- You must power-up your Starters as much as possible using the candies you got from catching them (3 for a normal catch, 5 for a 1st evolution, etc.) This includes acquiring more Stardust, if needed, by additional catches, hatching eggs, and/or feeding berries in gyms. This rule further intensifies the feeling of attachment you'll form with your Starters, all of which you'll eventually need to transfer away.
Provisions for Starting Players
In the unlikely event that someone plays these rules from a brand-new account, the following rules are to be used only if necessary:
- Do not catch your six starters until after you have reached level 5; visited on a Gym and choosen a team (Instinct, Mystic, or Valor).
- After doing that, and at whatever point you decide to start the Nuzlocke, catch six starters and name tham appropriately as described above.
Maintaining your Nuzlocke Team, and Use of Outside Items
- Evolving and powering up your Nuzlocke Pokémon is allowed only after getting enough candy from your Nuzlocke catches.
- You may freely use any potions or revives. (Because raids are the only way to get new Pokémon by these rules, it would be pretty much impossible to get very far unless revives were allowed. And since many raids do not award enough revives to recover five fainted Pokémon, the storyline would quickly end.)
- Catching new Nuzlocke Pokémon happens only via the Bonus Challenge
after a successful raid battle. In these catches you may use any of
your berries. (This is different from the "no-berries" rule that
applied to the six Starters.)
However, you may only use as many Golden Razz berries as were awarded in the raid battle you just completed.
(This rule allows catch skill to play a role in Nuzlocke scoring. Players who are good at Excellent throws might use Pinap berries to reduce the number of Nuzlocke raids required to obtain their first Gyarados; a player who is poor at timing might use Nanab berries to improve their chances of successfully catching Bayleef.)
The First Rung of the Ladder
- After you have your six Nuzlocke starters, use them to solo-raid Magikarp.
- Set up your Starters in strongest-first order. For these purposes, "strongest" simply means "highest CP".
- After each raid catch, transfer away one of your Pokémon.
"Transfer" means either deleting the Pokémon completely from your game
(transfer to the Professor), or simply renaming it so it becomes part
of your normal collection.
You may transfer the one you just caught.
Do not transfer anything if your raid battle failed. (But remember that if a raid battle fails, you may retry the same raid boss without using another Raid Pass.)
Do not transfer anything if the bonus challenge (catch attempt) failed.
If the Pokémon is transferred into your normal collection, it is strongly advised that you remove the special name you gave it, and either restore its generic name or follow whatever naming system you use in your main collection.
Once a Pokémon is transferred into your normal collection, it may not be transferred back into your Nuzlocke game.
- You may use any of your Nuzlocke raid bounty, including Golden
Razz Berries, for your Nuzlocke game, but only if they're applied
immediately. In particular:
In each raid catch, you may only use as many Golden Razz Berries as you received from that raid. If you have any left over, these get "transferred" to your normal game. They are never transferred back.
You may not "carry over" Golden Razz Berries from one Nuzlocke raid to use in a later Nuzlocke raid catch attempt.
Rare Candy may be saved for use in your Nuzlocke game or in your normal game. However you may not use more Rare Candy in your Nuzlocke game than you acquired through Nuzlocke raids. Careful accounting is required.
The revives you receive may be used freely at any time, on Nuzlocke or on normal Pokémon.
Any TM you receive must either be "transferred" to your normal game, or be used immediately on one of your Nuzlocke Pokémon.
You may not save a TM from any raid to use on a Nuzlocke Pokémon one or more raids later.
Provisions for Trainer Diversity
The following rules are to be used only if necessary. They provide for situations that typically arise when a lower-level trainer gets six weak Starters, or when a high-level trainer has one or more very strong Starters:
- Depending on what you happen to catch, your Starter team might make
Magikarp raids too easy. To make it a little more challenging, high-level
Trainers are encouraged to apply this rule:
add together the CPs of your six Starters. If the total is greater than the CP of the Magikarp raid boss (CP 1165), release your highest-CP Starter and replace it with the first wild catch whose CP is smaller. Continue as needed.
Once your Starters are down to a total CP less than 1165, do not use this rule again. The following rules are used as-needed to fine-tune your Starters to a team that can consistently solo-raid Magikarp.
- If you fail to catch your first Magikarp raid boss, immediately
catch a new Pokémon in the wild, and replace your weakest (lowest CP)
Starter with this newly-caught Pokémon. Then re-enter the raid gym and
After losing a raid battle, you can repeat the same raid without using a new Raid Pass so long as the boss is still in the gym. Raid bosses last 1 hour.
Repeat this as many times as you can until you run out of time (raid boss leaves the gym) or until you win the Magikarp raid.
If after three or more attempts you did not succeed in beating Magikarp, wait until you have leveled-up to the next Trainer level, then attempt a new Magikarp raid. Apply this rule as needed (replacing a weakest Starter with a new wild catch).
- If you consistently beat Magikarp raids with three Starters completely unused, or if you complete your very first Magikarp raid with four Starters completely unused, your Starter team is too strong. Immediately catch a new Pokémon in the wild, and replace your strongest (highest CP) Starter with this newly-caught Pokémon.
Working Up The Ladder
- Continue solo-raiding Magikarp until you get Gyarados.
- Use Gyarados to solo-raid Quilava.
- Use Quilava or Typhlosion to solo-raid Bayleef.
- Continue in like manner. See how many different raid bosses you can win.
- All raids must be solo. Because of the six Pokémon limit, you may eventually need to start over with Bayleef, Quilava or Croconaw to get some of the tier-2 raids.
- Are any tier-3 raids soloable this way?
It will take many raids (at least 58, depending on your catch rate and use of Pinap Berries) to get your first Gyarados. Because this would make play impractical, it is permitted to use candy from your normal game provided that you account for this in your Nuzlocke score:
- For every 4 Magikarp candies you use from your normal game,
or fraction thereof, you must add one raid to your Nuzlocke score.
For example: If you perform three Magikarp raids and get a Karp that you consider worth evolving, you will have 11 Magikarp candies. You may use another 389 candies that you have already collected, however you must add 98 raids to your Nuzlocke score. Thus, your score will say that you have Gyarados after 101 Nuzlocke raids.
- Similarly, every 6 candies applied to evolving a 1st
evolution to a 2nd (e.g. Bayleef to Meganium) count as one raid.
For example: If you complete three Bayleef raids and transfer two Bayleef, your Nuzlocke game has 12 Chikorita candies. You may add 88 Chikorita candies from your normal game if you add 16 raids to your Nuzlocke score.
- If you really want to, you may use Rare Candies towards your Nuzlocke game only by first converting them to a normal candy of the desired species. The resulting candies are counted the same as if they had been acquired normally.
This page was written in the "embarrassingly readable" markup language RHTF, and was last updated on 2018 Feb 04. s.11