While each game presents a uniquely challenging Nuzlocke experience, there are certain universal Principles of Success which apply to all challenges.
Already familiar with basic Nuzlocke strategy? Head to Advanced Nuzlocke Tips afterwards for more.
- Grind Pokémon EXP: The golden rule. The higher a Pokémon’s level, the greater its chance of survival. Try to keep your Pokémon at least two or three levels higher than trainers in your area at a bare minimum, and never enter a major battle (Gym Leader, rival, etc.) under-leveled.
- Do your research: Unless you are doing a blind run, look up the location of rival battles and other dangerous events, and before challenging a Gym Leader know which Pokémon they carry, what moves they know, and what levels they are. This can help you avoid many nasty surprises and prevent avoidable Pokémon deaths. Check out our Resources page for links to helpful websites and databases.
- If in doubt, switch out: If your Pokémon’s health is low, or their defensive stats have been lowered significantly, switch out earlier than you think you need to. Always assume your opponent’s next move will be a critical hit and act accordingly.
- Carry Antidote: These are cheap, and losing a Pokémon to poison while walking to a Pokémon center is demoralizing and totally avoidable. Don’t be afraid to spend money on important items like this! While money is limited early on in most games, Pokémon are a far more valuable resource.
- Have a backup plan: Before any major battle, have a backup Pokémon that can handle things in case (heaven forbid) your main counter to the opponent’s team dies. You’d be surprised how quickly your whole team can be wiped out after one bad turn if this advice isn’t followed.
These Principles of Success provide a basic framework for approaching the challenges of a Nuzlocke and can increase your chances of successfully completing your run. For players looking to master the Nuzlocke challenge and tackle even more difficult Nuzlocke variants, continue to Nuzlocke 102 – Advanced Tips.