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More Than One Way to Catch a Pokémon

As a longtime fan of more casual RPG games, I always find a good groove whenever I restart my adventure, doing the usual RPG thing of playing my own way. Whether that’s always having Cloud be the Bahamut master in Final Fantasy VII or specializing Commander Shepard in Mass Effect to rip the optics from a Geth Prime at 200 ft… with mind bullets. So, it makes complete sense that I carry this tradition to Pokémon, right?

Since the announcement of Pokémon Black 2 & Pokémon White 2, I’ve had serious doubts about whether I’ll continue to enjoy my guilty pleasure. I’ve already played through multiple generations at least twice in most cases, and my Pokémon team formula is always pretty consistent. I’ll pick my starter, and then bulk out my team to make sure I get a Grass, Water and Fire type. Next it’s a Flying type, then usually an Electric type, and I round the whole lot up with whichever critter is looking the best to me at the time. Since each game has constraints as to which members of these types are available, I usually use what feels like the same old team.

The reason I found Pokémon Black & White to be a breath of fresh air for the franchise: 150 new monsters and none of them taken from previous games. Okay, so some looked a bit familiar, but they were all new. That didn’t stop me from falling into my old routines, though. My end team on my first Pokémon White play-through ended up being Emboar, Leavanny, Carracosta, Swoobat, Eelektross and Haxorus. The same formula of types I’ve been using for over a decade.

Eager not to lose one of the last pieces of my childhood, I sought help from the internet, and various Pokémon websites hoping that their communities could provide some tips for renewing my Pokémon Trainer spirit! The answer came rather quickly: add your own challenge! Let’s face it, these games are aimed at a younger audience and the difficulty is set to their level. As an experienced Pokémon player, adding a new challenge is just another way of ramping up the difficulty.

Not the dream team I would have chosen, but they've worked out better than I could have expected.

Turns out that there are many challenges already popular among Pokémon fans, from the Mono-type challenge (your entire team is composed of only one main Pokémon type) to the “realistic” Nuzlocke challenge (your Pokémon effectively die when they get knocked out, and you can only heal them a certain number of times). Given that my problem is always ending up with a similar team, I went for a Scramble challenge.

In this challenge, my six Pokémon were chosen for me (nicknames, too), and certain criteria were set for their evolution requirements.  I’m only half way through this challenge, and I can already tell you that it has been my most enjoyable Pokémon playthrough to date. That’s all thanks to my unlikely team of Dewott, Negai (the Musharna), Gurdurr, Winteer (The Deerling), Emolga and Dwebble (5 of which I would have never dreamed of using in-game).

Not only does this mean I can once again walk fresh-faced into Pokémon Black 2 & Pokémon White 2, but it’s also got me thinking outside of the box for future RPGs. Maybe I’ll even play Mass Effect 3 again as an Engineer, or Skyrim as a Bosmer Archer.

The information I found on the challenges was provided in the Serebii.net forums.

For more information on the various rules of the Nuzlocke Challenge, check out this article on Bulbapedia.

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  1. Cory

    What does everyone have against the engineer for ME3? That was the only class I played through the entire series! You essentially get 2 extra squad mates as an engineer!

    anyways, good article. I should try one of those pokemon challenges.

  2. Cory

    Also, don’t forget the HM slave you need for pokemon games. Most of the HMs are terrible, so one pokemon that can learn 4 of them goes a long way to making sure the rest of your team doesn’t suck.

  3. wildbanshe

    If you’re looking for even more of a difference why don’t you check out Pokemon Conquest as well, seems …. interesting.



  4. Cory said
    Also, don’t forget the HM slave you need for pokemon games. Most of the HMs are terrible, so one pokemon that can learn 4 of them goes a long way to making sure the rest of your team doesn’t suck.

    In Black & White you only need to use an HM move once to get to the Elite 4, so you no longer have to cart around an HM slave and can concentrate on just a battling team. Best decision Game Freak ever made


    wildbanshe said
    If you’re looking for even more of a difference why don’t you check out Pokemon Conquest as well, seems …. interesting.



    Not a fan of the side Pokemon games, but Conquest definitely looks…. interesting.

  5. Cory

    Huh, I was unaware that HMs are no longer necessary to get through the game. I still kept that habit up from the previous games. Good to know!

  6. Athena

    Nice article! I personally prefer my games easier so a challenge is not for me, though the last Pokémon game I played (Black & White) I decided to do something slightly different than my usual team (having an Ice type in there), which was fun. I don’t play competitively but just for the single player (I still need to finish it!). I look forward to see what they’ll do with Pokémon Black & White 2.

    @ HM’s
    I agree, that is a great decision! There are a few HM’s that are good moves (ie. Surf, Fly) but most of them are crap.

  7. wildbanshe

    I personally got bored with Black and White and didn’t even play any after I beat the elite four (normally I EV Train an awesome team to 100, which while kinda boring its such a great feeling when you finally finish) , but this articles definitely inspired me to go back and play some Pokemon some more, probably going to do the Nuzlocke on my phone emulator with Saphire/Ruby. Anyone done the Nuzlocke before?

  8. Cory

    I found your Serebii forum name, Tudor :D

  9. Cory said
    I found your Serebii forum name, Tudor :D

    Drats, I’ve been found out!

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