Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Nuzlocke Challenge Explained

There is a lot of value in replaying the Pokémon games across all generations. For instance, you can go about a couple of gyms in a different order in Gen 1 or try using an entirely new set of six main Pokémon. But there is also the Pokémon Nuzlocke challenge that adds some immense replay value to the JRPGs.

With the release of the next mainline games in the series, it is time to focus on the Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Nuzlocke challenge and how that would work in the new open-world format. Thankfully, it seems that not much should change on that front for players. 

What Is the Nuzlocke Challenge? 

Some players go generations without finding out about this method of playing the games since it is, technically, unofficial. 

The name of Nuzlocke comes from a fan comic called Nuzlocke that had to do with a mix of the Pokémon Nuzleaf and the Lost protagonist, John Locke. In addition, it helps that there is the word “lock” in the name since that is exactly what this challenge is all about. 

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The idea of the Nuzlocke challenge is to “lock” you into what Pokémon you use for that playthrough. Instead of picking the most potent, balanced, or cutest Pokémon, you can find, it is somewhat left to RNG. The most basic rule of the Nuzlocke challenge is how you assemble your team. 

In the Nuzlocke challenge’s most basic form, you can only catch the first Pokémon you find in each new area you visit. It doesn’t matter if you encounter a Bidoof followed by a Shinx; you would only be able to capture the former in this area. 

The only exception is in double battle scenarios, in which the player can pick which Pokémon they want but still only one. The other main rule is that once a Pokémon faints in battle, even a single time, they are considered dead at this point. You must release them and move on without them, including the starter. 

Other optional rules you can apply to the challenge, like naming your Pokémon to have a better connection to them when they pass. Or, even having a game over if all of your party’s Pokémon faint since it would be a game over. 

But this isn’t a challenge you set up in the game’s backend itself, so it is up to the player to restrict themselves in this manner. You can pick and choose what rules you prefer and all that. 


The Nuzlocke challenge is to get more value out of your Pokémon games. Some players like to play the games with the standard method and then use the Nuzlocke challenge on the second playthrough. Sure, you could replay the games usually, but where’s the fun in that?

For others, the difficulty in the challenge itself is the reward. It tasks you with strategizing with typings and moves in a way you wouldn’t usually have to worry about. You must think about your every move since you could be stuck with some bland Pokémon for the entire journey. 

The Nuzlocke challenge makes for excellent content for people to watch as you stream yourself going through the gauntlet. 

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There are other variations of the Nuzlocke challenge, and it is possible to apply your own homemade rules if you like. For instance, some players prefer to catch Pokémon only after obtaining their next Gym badge rather than in each new area. 

Others might like to prevent themselves from using healing items or even held items to get an advantage in combat. Still, others might restrict breeding, using legendary Pokémon, or even evolving their Pokémon. 

Perhaps the most intriguing variation is the Wonderlocke challenge, where the player only gets their Pokémon from Wonder Trading rather than catching them. This way, it is genuinely randomized what Pokémon you’ll use. 

Does The Pokémon Company Truly Hate Nuzlocke Challenges? 

When it comes to the Nuzlocke challenge, these are unofficial rules. According to the former Nintendo Minute hosts Kit and Krysta, there is even the possibility that The Pokémon Company hates the Nuzlocke challenge and has even threatened to fire or cut content in the past if mentioned. 

This begs the question: why? More than likely, it had to do with the fact that TPC and even Nintendo are wary of fan content. This is usually a problem in the form of Pokémon hacked fan games, mods of existing titles, or even piracy. 

But even something as innocuous as the Nuzlocke challenge could fall into that category, even though it doesn’t break the game or cause legal issues. That said, though The Pokémon Company seemed to despise the Nuzlocke challenge in the past, it seems to be getting more open over time. 

Without a doubt, there should be no concern about doing the Nuzlocke challenge, streaming it, or making videos about it, as you are doing nothing wrong at all. 

How to Do Nuzlocke in Scarlet & Violet

When it comes to the Gen 9 Scarlet & Violet games, Nuzlocke is a bit trickier. Since these are the first genuinely open-world experiences, it affects the mostly linear, at times, JRPGs of Pokémon’s past. Here are some variations and rules to help with these massive games. 

For one, you can still do the tried-and-true region-based catching. Each area in the world has its name, such as the Inlet Grotto near the start of the games. Since Pokémon roam around the overworld, limit yourself to the first Pokémon you see. 

In addition, you can tackle the Gyms in any order you like. You could simplify the situation by locking your ability to catch a Pokémon until after you beat a Gym. You could even play around with the Gym challenge and make yourself start with the most brutal Gym first and work your way backward. 

Lastly, you could even restrict the new features like the Terastal phenomenon so that you have to win battles the old-fashioned way. 

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.