This guide was submitted by Reddit user u/raptorsarelegit.
Note: this guide refers specifically to Platinum version, but most of the information will also apply to Diamond and Pearl versions.
Welcome to this Pokémon Platinum Nuzlocke guide! This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive walkthrough of the game, as there are many guides that serve that purpose already. Instead, this guide will look at some of the big decisions you’ll be making and important battles you’ll face, providing advice and helpful strategies to give yourself the best chance of success. It also includes a few tips and tricks I’ve discovered through Nuzlocking Platinum, which you can apply to your own run.
Let’s get started!
This generation has perhaps the most balanced starters. All three are very viable, and it’s less of a clear-cut decision to compared to a region like Hoenn, where Mudkip is clearly strongest.
- Good bulk and power
- Has a 50% healing move in Synthesis for Nuzlockers who ban items
- Unique STAB type combination
- Type advantage against the first, fifth, sixth, and eighth gyms, and Elite Four Bertha
- Low Speed
- Common weaknesses to Flying and Fire-types, and has a nasty 4x Ice-type weakness
- Amazing Water/Steel typing
- Great bulk
- Great Special Attack
- Fares well against the first, sixth, and seventh gyms.
- Low Speed
- Tons of viable Water-types in Sinnoh give Piplup competition
- Stuck with the very weak Bubble until Level 19 where it learns Bubblebeam (level 24 in DP)
- Great offensive typing in Fire/Fighting
- Excellent mixed attacking stats
- Very fast
- Expansive move pool including Grass Knot, Thunder Punch (Platinum), U-turn for set players
- Type advantage against first, second, sixth, and seventh gyms and against Elite Four Aaron
- By far the best Fire-type available, particularly in DP
- Mediocre defensive stats
The most consistent starter in this game is Chimchar. While the line possesses average-at-best bulk, its combination of power and coverage rips through Sinnoh. Be careful overestimating Infernape’s bulk and you will be set. Torterra also performs well, and while it lags at certain points in the game, it possesses excellent bulk and solid coverage. Piplup is also fairly solid as a starter, but the abundance of Water-types in Sinnoh and it’s weak early game knock it down a peg.
In this section, we’ll quickly cover which early-game encounters are worth keeping on your team, and which you’d be better off leaving in the box. Virtually every player will encounter most, if not all, of these Pokémon in the first few routes, and because they’re so common they deserve a little bit more attention. You don’t want to waste time grinding Pokémon that won’t be useful to your team, you’ll have enough of that to do later!
Bidoof – Keep (for a little while). Has a decent start, as it learns Water Gun when it evolves, giving it a decent matchup against Roark. Makes a great HM slave later on.
Starly – Keep. Amazing speed, power and possesses the Intimidate ability when it evolves. Staraptor also learns Close Combat naturally, allowing it to hit Rock and Steel-types super effectively. This line is a little frail, so play carefully with it and you will be rewarded.
Kricketot – Box. Not particularly useful early on and doesn’t get much better as the game goes on.
Shinx – Keep/Box. The Shinx line possesses decent bulk and can pack the Intimidate ability, which is one of the best abilities to have in a Nuzlocke. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get a good physical Electric-type move to complement it’s high Attack stat. Shinx also faces competition as an Electric-type with Magnezone/Jolteon/Electabuzz later on.
Magikarp – Keep. You are guaranteed to find one fishing in any town, which often doesn’t have a patch of grass. It is the best Water-type in the game, with great bulk, Intimidate, and the best boosting move in the game in Dragon Dance. Gyarados should be on your team unless you are tired of using it.
Budew – Keep. Happiness evolutions can be a huge pain, but when Roserade evolves it becomes an excellent Grass-type sweeper. It can be little frail, but the line hits hard and does well against Bertha.
Abra – Keep. While it’s not as broken as it was in RSE with the power creep, Alakazam is still an amazing Pokémon.
Psyduck – Keep/Box. Golduck is a decent but not spectacular Pokémon. Feel free to keep or box this, depending on what you get later on.
Zubat – Keep. Crobat is excellent in this game as it has good matchups and possesses solid bulk with access to Roost. While it is a huge pain to train early on (with only Leech Life to start until it gets Pluck), Crobat can evolve very early and will be a solid team member until the end of the game.
Geodude – Keep for a little while. Geodude fares extremely well in the early game. In particular, it does well against Roark and Team Commanders Mars and Jupiter.
Onix – Box. Geodude is much better, and you can’t acquire the Metal Coat until later or by using Thief on wild Bronzor. Wild Steelix can also be caught in Iron Island. Onix does have one small niche in debuffing Purugly and Skuntank by using Screech.
Machop – Keep. If you’ve used Machamp before, you know it’s relatively slow with decent bulk and great attack. You can run really cool No Guard strategies with 100% accurate Dynamic Punch, and it learns the elemental punches through move tutor for more coverage options. If you can’t fully evolve this Pokémon, feel free to box it or trade it for Abra.
Ponyta – Box. Ponyta evolves at the very late Level 40 and it will lag quite a bit in the mid-game. Does well against Aaron, but Ponyta can be difficult to raise until it evolves.
Gym Leader Strategies
In this section, we’ll take a brief look at each Gym Leader, which common Pokémon are good counters to bring, and what strategies you can use to tip the scales in your favor.
Roark (Rock) – All three starters do fine in this gym. The biggest thing to be careful of is screech from Onix lowering your physical Defense. This makes Cranidos a potentially dangerous threat as it knows Headbutt and Pursuit to catch you if you try to switch out. Chimchar users should evolve at Level 14 before fighting this gym. Machop/Geodude and Psyduck are also good options. Geodude can solo this gym too, spamming Defense Curl, Rock Smash and Rock Polish.
Gardenia (Grass) – Golbat/Crobat is the best Pokémon you can use here. It has 4x resistance to Grass-type moves, and you will have STAB Wing Attack to hit opponents super-effectively. If you caught a Wurmple and evolved it to Dustox or Beautifly, this is the battle to use it (may as well, since it has a huge drop off in viability from this point on). Monferno is the next best Pokémon to use here, as you can spam Fire-type moves to win. For safety, equip a Cheri Berry to heal Paralysis from Roserade’s Stun Spore. Staravia also does well in this gym, but it can be rather frail, so play carefully and be aware of potential critical hits.
Fantina (Ghost) – An incredibly tough gym. There aren’t many Ghost-type resists available and her Mismagius has excellent Speed, Special Attack and Special Defense for this point in the game, with good coverage to boot. Umbreon is by far the best Pokémon to use here. If you are playing with a level cap and can’t learn Bite yet, Umbreon is still worth evolving, as it can function as a nice pivot. Captivate Togetic can be decent, if it’s the opposite gender as Mismagius. Other strategies include setting up a Substitute with Staravia and using double team on Duskull. This will trick Mismagius into using magical leaf instead of Psybeam. Floatzel with Crunch and Crobat with Bite also do fine, however, be careful of being hit by Magical Leaf and Psybeam respectively.
Maylene (Fighting) – Gliscor and Crobat are the best Pokémon to use in this gym. Other than these two, Alakazam/Espeon and Staraptor also do pretty well, although they are on the frailer side. Scyther should also sweep this gym but be warned Meditite and Machoke do have rock tomb to hit you with. Gyarados does a fine job of walling Maylene’s Lucario.
Wake (Water) – This battle is more difficult in Platinum than in Diamond and Pearl, as Wake’s Gyarados now has Waterfall. Jolteon is a good Pokémon to use for this battle, as it should one-shot Gyarados and KO Floatzel. Roselia/Torterra easily handles Quagsire, but Floatzel does pack Ice Fang. Having your own Gyarados and using it as a pivot can help greatly in this battle.
Byron (Steel) – Infernape smashes this gym with its STAB coverage moves. Be warned that Bastiodon has Iron Defense and Metal Burst. Equip a Choice Specs to your Surfer and you should be able to KO it in one hit. Ground types like Torterra, Gliscor and Gabite do fine, but you should be careful with Metal Burst and Steelix’s Ice Fang.
Candice (Ice) – Infernape smashes this gym with Choice Specs Flamethrower, as does Houndoom. Empoleon with Flash Cannon and Surf also does very well here. Generally, any viable Steel-type will be effective in this gym. Snow-Cloak Froslass can be very annoying to deal with due its increased evasion in Hail, which may add some unwanted randomness into the battle if you don’t change the weather.
Volkner (Electric)- Ground types dominate this gym. Garchomp, Gliscor, Hippowdon, Torterra, Steelix, and Golem are all good bets to bring to this battle. Be careful of secondary coverage moves like Ice Fang from Luxray, Fire Punch from Electivire, and Focus Blast from Raichu. Damage reduction berries like Yache Berry can also be used to ensure you survive a critical-hit.
Elite Four and Champion
Aaron (Bug) – Infernape, Staraptor and Crobat perform excellently here. They can easily beat Aaron’s team without too much difficulty except for Drapion. Drapion has great bulk and decent coverage, so you want to use something else to deal with. Drapion does have Ice Fang to watch out for if you plan to use a Ground-type. Drapion cannot hit Steel-types super-effectively, so they are good Pokémon to use here as well.
Bertha (Ground) – This is Torterra’s time to shine if you picked it as a starter. It hits most of her team super-effectively, but it has to be careful of Ice Fang from Gliscor and Avalanche from Rhyperior. Do note that the Sandstorm will make Rhyperior’s Special Defense better and make it difficult to take down. Fast Water-types also do very well here. Roserade can be effective as a sweeper, but it is frail so play carefully. Equip a Choice Specs and give it Grass Knot for good measure. Tangrowth is also a good Pokémon to use if you got it from the Safari Zone. Finally, if Gyarados can can set up Dragon Dance a few times, it will sweep Bertha easily.
Flint (Fire) – If you have Garchomp, you click Earthquake 5 times and win. Fast water types like Choice Specs Floatzel also should destroy Flint easily in Platinum. Gyarados can set up Dragon Dance and sweep, and Gliscor does well if it can outspeed Flint’s Pokémon.
Lucian (Psychic) – Meet the toughest Elite four member. Dark types do fine, but Lucian has ways to hit them with coverage moves like Signal Beam, Focus Blast and Drain Punch. One way to set up a victory is to stall out Mr. Mime, which is his dangerous Pokémon, and use the opportunity to set up with boosting moves or Substitute. Pokémon like Umbreon have insane bulk and can debuff, allowing a sweeper to set up safely. Other good Pokémon to use are Spiritomb, Snorlax (if you can somehow find Munchlax – basically impossible), Magnezone, or Scizor. Weavile also does decently, but be warned, if you do not OHKO, you are likely to lose it!
Champion Cynthia- She’s considered one of the toughest Champions for a reason. Her team is incredibly balanced, and Cynthia has powerhouses on her team like Garchomp and Lucario. You’ll need to bring powerful Pokémon and good coverage moves to win this battle.
Safe strategy – Stall out Spiritomb with a Steel-type with Rest/Double Team/Sand Attack. If you can find a safe opportunity to set up, Dragon Dance Gyarados, Substitute Garchomp, Swords Dance Infernape, and others can give you the edge you need to take down Cynthia and emerge as the Sinnoh Champion.
- Use the Rich Kids on Route 214 to grind for money. They give an absurd amount each time you defeat them, and if you battle them frequently, you should never be at a loss for money.
- Use Pokémon like Geodude in the early game. Rock-type has importance resistances early on, and even if you will box them later, they help immensely in certain challenging battles, such as against the Purugly at Valley Windworks. (Note from feint4 at Nuzlocke University – while you shouldn’t spend too much time grinding EXP on Pokémon you don’t plan on using long-term, using specific Pokémon in battles where they’re needed can be worth it, if it gives your team the key resistance or type advantage it needs to pull through. Don’t be afraid to modify your team when necessary!)
For a few more tips that apply to Nuzlockes in general, check out these advanced Nuzlocke tips.
Thanks for reading, and thanks to u/raptorsarelegit for submitting this guide! Click here for more Nuzlocke guides, tips, tier lists, and other content!
Submitted by u/raptorsarelegit and edited by feint4 of Nuzlocke University.