Nuzlocke Variants

This page is regularly updated. Check back often for more Nuzlocke variants and new rulesets.

Here we’ve collected a number of examples of different variants of the Pokémon Nuzlocke challenge, along with brief descriptions. These are intended to add variety, novelty, and/or challenge to the basic Nuzlocke experience. Click on the name of a variant for a more detailed explanation of the rules.

  • Hardcore Nuzlocke: A variant in which item use and over-levelling are restricted, in order to produce a more difficult run and more strategic play.
  • Soul Link: A two-player cooperative Nuzlocke in which each Pokémon is “linked” to a partner Pokémon on the other player’s team – if one partner dies, so does the other.
  • Wedlocke: Pokémon are assigned into pairs or “couples” by gender. Couples fight together, and when one member of a couple enters a battle, the player may only switch between that Pokémon and its partner for the duration of the battle, or until both partners are knocked out.
  • Egglocke: Caught Pokemon are replaced with Pokemon from eggs, which are randomly generated by the player or sent by other players, viewers, or friends.
  • Monolocke: Only Pokémon that have a certain type may be caught and used in the player’s team. Sometimes referred to as the “gym leader challenge”.
  • Wonderlocke: Each Pokémon that you catch must be Wonder Traded for a random new Pokémon.
  • Apocalocke: The player selects (or is assigned) an apocalyptic disaster as the theme for the run. Depending on the disaster chosen, only certain types of Pokémon may be caught and used.
  • Giftlocke: The player is not allowed to catch Pokémon, and must use only their starter and gift Pokémon that are obtained without catching.
  • Generationlocke: The player plays through each generation of games in order using the standard Nuzlocke rules. The surviving Champions of one generation are sent to the next generation as a team of starters.
  • Uniquelocke: None of the player’s party Pokémon may share a type.
  • NOHKOlocke: A player’s Pokémon must be boxed or released if it knocks out an opposing Pokémon from full health in a single hit.
  • Chesslocke: The player may only capture a certain number of Pokémon, each of which must be assigned a role and certain restrictions based on various chess pieces.
  • Zombielocke: Pokémon that are knocked out may be revived as “zombies”, and may only be healed by sacrificing other Pokémon.
  • Loserlocke: The player may only use Pokémon from a one or two-stage evolutionary line, and may only use regular Poké Balls.
  • BallLocke: The player may only catch one Pokémon in each type of Poké Ball.
  • Starlocke: The player begins the game with one Pokémon of each type (eighteen total), and may not acquire any more. They may not switch out party members unless fainted.
  • Sleeplocke: The player must complete the run in a single sitting, without falling asleep in real-life.
  • Tasklocke: Intended to boost the player’s real-life productivity. The player must nickname their Pokémon after real-life tasks and chores which must be completed before major battles.
  • Draftlocke: Multiple players race to complete a Nuzlocke challenge. At the start of the game, players take turns drafting types, and may only use Pokémon of the types they’ve drafted.
  • Tribelocke: Pokémon are caught together in groups of random sizes, and must fight together as “tribes”.
  • Routelocke: The player picks a route or area, and can only use Pokémon that can be found on that route.

For more ways to modify any Nuzlocke run, check out our Optional Rules page.