Are you a seasoned veteran of Pokémon? Have you caught 'em all already and have grown tired of fighting Trainer after Trainer? Or perhaps you've just gotten bored along the way of catching Pokémon to complete your Pokédex and are looking for a way to breathe some life back into your Pokémon experience?
The New Way to Play series on Marriland will go through various ways to alleviate your boredom and liberate you from the doldrums, showcasing new ways to play your favorite Pokémon games to add additional challenge to them to hopefully make them more fun.
The Wonderlocke challenge is a variant of the well-known Nuzlocke challenge geared towards making the challenge even more difficult by forcing you to only obtain Pokémon through the act of Wonder Trading in Pokémon X and Y. This means any Pokémon you encounter in the wild won't actually be used for any duration of the game.
The rules for the Wonderlocke challenge were conceived back in October 2013, not long after Pokémon X and Y were first released.
Rules of the Wonderlocke Challenge
While many Nuzlocke variants expand upon the typical rules, none have rules that really don't differ from the original set. However, that doesn't mean the Wonderlocke challenge is as simple as the usual Nuzlocke challenge. There are a few subtle changes from a regular Nuzlocke, but you must understand and follow them in order to truly undertake the Wonderlocke challenge.
- Rule #1: Fainted Pokémon are considered dead.
- Part of what makes Nuzlocke challenges so difficult is that fainted Pokémon must forever be removed from your party, since they are considered "dead" for storyline purposes.
- They must be either released permanently or, alternatively, may be placed in a dedicated box in the PC.
- Rule #2: You can only catch the first Pokémon in any new area.
- Whenever you enter a new route or area, you're only able to catch or receive the first Pokémon you encounter there.
- You aren't forced to catch that Pokémon; it's just your only chance to.
- Dupes Clause: Typically, you are allowed to ignore any encounters of Pokémon that you've already caught. Since you can only use Pokémon obtained through Wonder Trade, this clause is changed slightly in a Wonderlocke. If you obtain a Pokémon through a Wonder Trade you've already received, you may Wonder Trade that Pokémon again for a new one.
- You may also impose a limit of how many times Dupes Clause triggers to avoid exploiting it in order to encounter rare Pokémon.
- Rule #3: All Pokémon captured in the wild or obtained in-game must be Wonder Traded immediately.
- This is the whole idea of a Wonderlocke; by Wonder Trading all Pokémon you've obtained you essentially play the whole game without any possibility of knowing what Pokémon you'll be using.
- There is one exception to this rule, as your starter Pokémon cannot be Wonder Traded until you capture a second Pokémon. However, as soon as you do, you must Wonder Trade them both.
- Soul Bond Clause: An original component of the initial Wonderlocke ruleset, if you are given a Pokémon in-game, you do not have to Wonder Trade it and are able to keep and nickname it.
- Level Clause: A Wonderlocke can be made much easier by using this clause. Essentially you can choose to continue Wonder Trading until you get a Pokémon whose level is just about the same as your average Pokémon. This means that you won't be overleveled early in the game or underleveled late in the game
- You may also impose a limit of how large the level gap of your Pokémon can be with Wonder Trades. Typically a range of ten levels is reasonable for Wonder Traded Pokémon.
Compared to other Nuzlocke variants, the Wonderlocke is relatively simple. Basically all you're doing is a Nuzlocke where you Wonder Trade your captures and you don't have any possible advanced planning of your team.
I personally enjoy the Wonderlocke because of how random it is. Other Nuzlocke variants are restricted by the Pokémon you can possibly encounter, while this challenge literally gives your team endless possibilities. Even if you encounter a Pokémon you'd like to use, Dugtrio for example, you are going to have to Wonder Trade it away anyway. You may have terrible luck and be paired with a Magikarp late in the game, or you might be superpowerful armed with a Dialga before you even fight your first gym leader! It truly is amazing what combinations you end up with. However, this is also the worst part of the challenge. If you are truly unlucky, you might not even reach the first gym; however, that is quite unlikely. Just keep a good upper chin and you can win with any Pokémon you obtain.
Another awesome feature of the Wonderlocke challenge is that it can be combined with nearly any other Nuzlocke variant. There are a few eggceptions, such as the Egglocke (see what I did there); however, some variants, like the Wedlocke, pair up nicely with the Wonderlocke, albeit making it far more difficult. Like all other Nuzlocke challenges, you can always adjust how you play, perhaps even making it more difficult as you progress through the game.
Of course, one of the most well-known features about Nuzlockes is the fact that you typically must nickname your Pokémon. However, as you'll be trading any Pokémon you're able to nickname, this rule is moot in this challenge. This doesn't mean that you can't nickname your Pokémon, even I did so for my first Wonderlocke, you just won't get attached to that specific Pokémon. Even though you can't officially nickname the Pokémon you receive through Wonder Trade, you can still give them unofficial nicknames, such as what Marriland did. However, sometimes you may receive a Pokémon in Wonder Trade who already has a nickname. In this case, it's recommended that you retain its nickname, out of respect for the original trainer.
As in all Nuzlocke challenges, when a Pokémon faints, it is considered dead and must either be released or permanently deposited into the PC. While of course we know that Pokémon are not really dead, it's simply considered as such for extra challenge, and often for story-telling purposes. It's encouraged that you use a Pokémon you don't like for death-fodder (even if I'm known to do so) as any Pokémon usually has potential to be a great member to your team. In addition, Pokémon are hard to come by in almost any Nuzlocke challenge, so simply removing those you don't like will greatly add more unnecessary difficulty to your run. That being said, don't forget that you don't need to release a Pokémon when it faints. Sometimes you'll be really attached to a Pokémon and will want to keep it for future generations, which is where the permanently boxing alternative comes in.
Finally, just remember that a Wonderlocke involves more luck than any other Nuzlocke variant. Don't get discouraged if you do receive a Bidoof or a Zubat early on, as those Pokémon can potentially become your best. Who wouldn't want a Crobat anyway?! There are a lot of things that make this challenge difficult, but also very fun, so I hope you'll take the time to try out this awesome challenge.
The Wonderlocke challenge may seem difficult from a glance, but to be honest, it's not as difficult as other Nuzlocke variants, such as the Wedlocke. Sure, you have no say in what your team will be; however, it's like that in every Nuzlocke challenge, it's just more apparent in a Wonderlocke. You can always research ahead of time what Pokémon are available in what routes, and possibly plan out a team or a rough idea of a team ahead of time. With a Wonderlocke, you don't receive such a luxury.
That being said, this challenge isn't much more difficult than a typical Nuzlocke run, mainly because there aren't many changes. In fact, the only additional rule is the forced use of the Wonder Trade feature. If you don't find a normal Nuzlocke very challenging, you may not find the Wonderlocke much different in terms of difficulty. This is a great run for those who enjoy Nuzlockes but may not be interested in having a very hard time beating the game. Overall, the challenge is difficult to normal gameplay, but not much harder than a Nuzlocke.
Also, just so it's clear, while it isn't specifically outlined in the rules, saving your game and then resetting if things don't go your way is NOT allowed! You can save your game, sure, there's nothing wrong with that, but if something happens to one of your Pokémon or you knock out your encounter on a route, tough luck, you don't get to just reset like you do if you knock out a legendary Pokémon by mistake; you have to deal with it.
Thankfully, one of the best things about the Wonderlocke is how easy it is to understand. Some may have a hard time understanding the various rules of other challenges; if you understand the basics of a Nuzlocke, you're basically set for a Wonderlocke. It's a Nuzlocke with Wonder Trading. There's no need to over-complicate things with this challenge, as doing so may just make it less fun.
Replay Value ()
The sign of a good challenge is how likely you are to attempt it again, either on a different game or on a game you've already completed (or failed).
Of all the Nuzlocke challenges available, this is the only which can be infinitely different each time. As with the Wedlocke, it is very unlikely you will even end up with the same Pokémon at any time in the challenge, since you'll never know what other people will be Wonder Trading. The chances of you ending up with the same Wonder Trade results is incredibly low; the Pokémon can be different, their levels can be vastly different, and even the items your new Pokémon hold can vary greatly when you receive them.
You'll never run out of ways to play a Wonderlocke because of how unlikely it is that you'll have the same results each time. A cool thing you can do is to replay a Wonderlocke multiple times and see how much you can complete your Pokédex this way. It may take a while, but you might even complete the Pokédex through this method, and you'll be doing it in a fun and creative way!
Other challenges may not play the same each time, however, none are as random and different as the Wonderlocke, and because of this, I'd say it has the highest replay value of any Nuzlocke challenge.
Fun Factor ()
The ultimate deciding factor for any challenge is how fun is it? Nobody wants to play a game if it's not fun, let alone a more challenging version of the game. Overall, I'd have to say the Wonderlocke is possibly the most fun Nuzlocke variant available! It may not be the most difficult challenge, but by the time you start the run, difficulty won't even be a factor.
Wonder Trading is a wonderful and dynamic feature. The sheer amount of possibilities will always keep you on your toes and wondering what will happen next. There is no downside. Who wouldn't want to defeat the first gym leader with a Mewtwo? Congratulations, you have Xerneas before even fighting Yveltal (spoilers). You'll be anxious before every Wonder Trade, and I find that really awesome.
Of course, there are some things that take away from the fun. The Phanpy in the room is the Pokémon you receive. For example, receiving hacked Pokémon can potentially ruin the fun. It may not be the worst thing in the world, but if you end up with a Diancie or Shiny Arceus, it might distract you from the run itself. The worst problem, however, is the fact that you may receive Pokémon you'd never want to see, such as Bidoof or Weedle. Another large factor is the levels of the Pokémon you receive, although that isn't much of an issue if you impose the aforementioned Level Clause.
- Very simple to understand and play.
- Has the most variety and possible outcomes of any Nuzlocke challenge.
- Is the most unique way to play the Sixth Generation of Pokémon.
- Level grinding can be made much easier by use of the Exp. Share, which is received early on.
- Can be ruined by hacked Pokémon being received in Wonder Trade.
- Pokémon can be too underleveled, by not being strong enough to do anything, or too overleveled, by not obeying, to win a fight.
- You have absolutely no pre-planning for a team.
Tips and Advice
- Never give up! Sometimes you may believe that there's no way to progress in-game, especially if you have lost a few key Pokémon, but don't lose hope just yet. Don't forget, you'll always be able to obtain new Pokémon through Wonder Trading each new area, so you'll always have the chance to receive new, possibly even better, Pokémon.
- Always be prepared! You'll never know when you may get poisoned or paralyzed in the wild or when an opponent will land a critical hit. It's important to always have items on-hand for any situation! Unless you're playing with additional rules, such as no in-battle healing, you should always have extra items with you.
- The EXP Share can be turned off! Some people may find that the EXP Share makes the game far easier than it needs to be. However, in a Wonderlocke, the EXP Share may also be your greatest ally, as you'll likely be receiving low leveled Pokémon from the Wonder Trades. If you don't want to use the EXP Share, you can always turn it off by selecting it in your Item Bag and changing the setting to Off.
- NEVER underestimate your opponent. Seriously, it doesn't matter what Pokémon game you're playing, even if you aren't playing a Nuzlocke challenge. So much can go wrong when you underestimate your opponent, such as losing your best Pokémon or a Pokémon that's about to evolve. There is no worse feeling than losing when you had absolutely no reason to. Always play defensively, even if it means you'll be playing longer and take less chances.
- Don't use Pokémon as unnecessary death-fodder. Although this should go without saying for any Nuzlocke variant (ironic, as I tend to do it no matter what), doing so in a Wonderlocke can cost you. You don't know what Pokémon you'll be receiving in the run, so it's important to make the most out of the Pokémon you do receive. As mentioned earlier, you'll never know when that Zubat you caught earlier on will win a fight as a majestic Crobat. Just keep fighting and leveling up!
No matter what kind of Nuzlocke variant you've played in the past, none are quite as random and fun as the Wonderlocke. It may not be as dynamic as, say, the Egglocke or Wedlocke, but it still has many redeeming qualities! The Wonderlocke can be the most difficult or the easiest of the Nuzlocke variants, and I feel this is one of the best features of the challenge.
Be sure to check out Marriland's Pokemon Y Wonderwedlocke on Twitch and YouTube. New episodes are streamed on Marriland's Twitch Channel every Wednesday, with guests appearing each week as well. If you missed an episode, all episodes can be found in the Pokemon Y Wonderwedlocke playlist on Marriland's YouTube Channel!
How about you, though? Have you ever attempted a Wonderlocke challenge? If so, how did it go? If not, how do you feel about attempting one? Let me know in the comments and be sure to check out the Pokémon Challenges forum where you can post your own ongoing challenges!
PS: I hope you like Bidoof.
Special Thanks to Shhmew from the Forums for the beautiful artwork.