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Pokémon Sword & Shield: Best extra rules for a Nuzlocke playthrough

Pokemon Sword Shield Expansion Pass Urshifu Gmax
Pokemon Sword Shield Expansion Pass Urshifu Gmax (Image credit: iMore)

The best Pokémon Nuzlocke Challenge is a set of self-imposed rules designed to make your Pokémon playthrough harder. There are two main rules: if a Pokémon faints, it is considered dead, and you cannot use it anymore. The second rule is that you are only allowed to catch the first Pokémon you see when entering a new area, regardless of whether you catch it or not.

As people have attempted and completed the Nuzlocke challenge over the years, they decided to add more rules to make it harder and more interesting. There are dozens to choose from, so we have picked some of the best extra rules you can add to your Nuzlocke playthrough of Pokémon: Sword & Shield for Nintendo Switch. Don't forget to buy one of the best microSD cards for Nintendo Switch, so you have room to record your save files.

Best Pokémon Nuzlocke Challenge: List of the best extra rules

Pikachu Dynamax in Pokemon Sword and Shield (Image credit: Game Freak)
  1. Since random encounters are not present in Pokémon Sword and Shield, I modified one of the core Nuzlocke rules. Upon entering a new area, you can only catch the first Pokémon you make eye contact with on-screen.
  2. The Dupes Clause. If you encounter a new Pokémon and it is one you have already caught, you can ignore it until you find a new species you have not encountered yet. The regular Nuzlocke capture rules will apply once you encounter a new species.
  3. You are not allowed to use the starter Pokémon. After you catch your first wild Pokémon, you must either release the starter Pokémon or permanently put it in the PC. This will open a slot for other Pokémon to take the spotlight.
  4. You can only acquire Pokémon within the single-player content. This means no trading Pokémon with other players to acquire Trade Evolutions or catching Pokémon through Max Raids.
  5. Legendary Pokémon are banned since they are way too powerful for the in-game trainers to handle.
  6. You must nickname all your Pokémon to get more attached to them.
  7. You are not allowed to use items in battle. This includes healing potions and stat boost items. Held items are still allowed in battle though.
  8. If your main party gets wiped out in battle (a.k.a. a whiteout), it's game over, and you must start a new save file even if you have more Pokémon stored in your PC.
  9. Battles must be on the Set option in the settings menu. This makes it so you cannot switch out your Pokémon whenever you defeat a Trainer's Pokémon.
  10. In Gym battles, you must use the same amount of Pokémon as the Gym Leader.
  11. You are not allowed to Dynamax/Gigantamax your Pokémon in battle. This will make fights against enemy Dynamax/Gigantamax Pokémon feel like the Totem Pokémon battles from Pokémon: Sun & Moon.
  12. If you are not afraid of making your Nuzlocke playthrough as chaotic as possible, you can try the Surprise-Trade variant of Nuzlocke. Every time you catch a new Pokémon, you must put it up for Surprise Trading to get a random Pokémon.

Ready to take on the best Nuzlocke challenges?

With these rules, you can push your skills to the limit, discover new strategies and find new appreciation for Pokémon you have ever used before. Have fun in your Nuzlocke adventure.

Alexander Cope is a writer for Windows Central and iMore that has been gaming since the 16-bit era.