Scramble Challange: Give the Gift of Pokémon

By Jellicent and Its_A_Random. Art by elcheeso.
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So, you feel bored with doing regular in-game runs of Pokémon. You have tried to do a Nuzlocke, but you either got bored of them, or they were too hard to the point where just one simple critical hit against you derailed your entire run. You think you've run out of ways to play your typical main-series Pokémon game. Thankfully, there are more ways to play. Enter Scramble Challanges. (Note: Challenge is intentionally misspelt as Challange for historical reasons. Do not blame me, blame user Mattman324 for the whole Challange thing.)

In a nutshell, a Scramble Challange is a form of an in-game run where your "path" is decided for you by other users. That is, in the context of the Pokémon series, you pick the version you wish to do a Scramble Challange on with a difficulty level, ability to trade (or lack thereof), and any other rules you want. Then, other users decide which Pokémon you use and what "restrictions" they have placed on that Pokémon (restrictions being sets of rules that the player must conform to with that Pokémon—for example, no STAB moves). This gives Scramble Challanges a high level of customization on both sides of the spectrum, and while you cannot (under normal circumstances) lose a Scramble, you can also get challanges so hard (intentionally or otherwise) that a Scramble can be nigh on impossible to win.

Looking at the history of this series on Smogon, the Scramble Challange series on Smogon originated with a thread in Stark Mountain in April 2010; since then, the Scramble Challange series has made it to its second incarnation coming up to 800 pages worth of Scrambles, spawned a social group, and formed a minor community around the Scramble Challange series that regularly greets new users, gives challanges to people, and after every 100 pages or so, runs something called the Scramble Awards, which recognizes challanges, users, and other things Scramble-related.

That aside, the Scramble Challange is also a great way for new users to start their Smogon careers, allowing nervous users who are shy to post to ease into Smogon life and build up the confidence they need before starting to post elsewhere, gradually fading out of the Scramble groove, though some users stick around and become Scramble "veterans". Even Its_A_Random started out his Smogon career in the Scramble series, making a name for himself before eventually taking up the de-facto leadership of the community; he still regularly posts in the series.

In this article, we will talk about giving good Scramble Challanges to other users and writing good updates to your own Challanges.

Giving a Challange

So, you're interested in Scrambles, but aren't quite sure if you want to dive into the commitment of doing a full run yet? Or maybe you're already doing a challange and would like to give back to the community that hooked you up with a fun time? Perhaps you'd just like to flex your creative muscles from time to time? Giving a Scramble Pokémon is just what you need!

For every user signing up for a challange, six more are needed to give out Scramble Pokémon. If you're giving one out, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Other than that, feel free to be as creative as you'd like. Usually, a challange will feature some combination of item or moveset restrictions, forced battle actions, evolution requirements, or the need to solo certain types of Pokémon or important battles.

To make things more interesting, it's always fun to inject a bit of personality into the Pokémon. Give it a little backstory if you'd like, and show how it develops throughout the journey. Let's say you're giving a Geodude that can only evolve after soloing 20 Water-types. Does it have a certain resentment for Water-types, or is he just determined to prove his superiority? Does he outgrow this resentment or determination after evolving, or does his motivation only increase with his newly found powers? A bit of flavor can make the challange all the more fun for the Scrambler.

Whatever you end up creating, be sure to have fun with it. Coming up with good challanges can be as enjoyable as the actual Scramble, so get creative. Who knows? Maybe you'll even find yourself winning a few Scramble Awards along the way.


So you get your Pokémon and you are ready to start your Scramble. You then look around the Scramble Thread and see lots of people who had taken on challanges coming back to the thread and updating their challange for everyone else to see. As you play your challange, you become satisfied enough to a point that you want everyone else to see how you are faring. Welcome to the world of Scramble Updates.

In a nutshell, updating a Scramble is pretty easy; if you have written an update to a Nuzlocke Challenge or some other in-game thing in the past, then you will find that a Scramble Update is virtually the same, the obvious difference being that it's a Scramble. If you have not updated something before, then basically an update is like this: you make a text post / video where you get everyone else in the community up to speed on how you are doing in your run.

Generally, if you are writing text updates—the most common form of updating a Scramble on Smogon—a good example skeleton to follow for Scramble updates is in the following form:

This skeleton is a good skeleton to follow when writing a general update for a couple of reasons:

That said, this format is used for when you want to spread out your updates such that it is one update per post. If you want to use a base post for all your updates, however, here is a good skeleton:

This format is as easy on the reader as the single-post update skeleton as mentioned above. Do be careful if you tend to use images, however, as if you are scrambling something as long as the Pokémon HeartGold or SoulSilver versions, you can hit the mandated image limit set on each post with this method. Also, another issue with the base post is the fact that users will often be unaware you have updated. Of course, you can bypass this by posting to say you have updated, with a link to the base post (which you should keep a link of somewhere, like in your signature or something).

Moving on, we will now elaborate on the "What happened in the update" part of the aforementioned base skeleton. To put it simply, this part is what you could refer to as the "Creative Writing" part of the update. Basically, what you write here is completely up to you, as long as what you write remains relevant to what happened in your Scramble. It can be as simple as a bullet point summary of what happened, or it can be as tl;dr as a full blown novel, with each update representing a chapter. There are many ways to do this. You can express the update with old fashioned text, many pictures showing the actual game being played out (if you do this, you should be following the one-post-per-update style to avoid the 100 image limit), videos, or anything else you can think of. In order to get the most out of this part for your updates, here are some tips:

By following these tips, you should be able to crank out good update flavor in no time!

All in all, updating a Scramble Challange can be fun and rewarding, as it allows you to let everyone know that you have actually been playing your Scramble, and when done correctly, can be very satisfying for you and the community to read. Furthermore, they can also attract interested onlookers to try a Scramble Challange or even start updating their own existing Scramble Challanges! They are not mandatory, but are integral in letting users know how you are faring in your challange. In short, updates are cool, and users read them, so do not be afraid to update a Scramble, whether it be good or bad!


Now that you know the basics, get out there and give Scrambling a shot. You can request and give out Scramble challanges right here in Orange Islands. The thread title is on constant rotation, so just look for the thread with thousands of replies and the word Scramble somewhere in its name. The community there is very welcoming, so even if you're new, you're bound to make friends quickly. If you're looking to spice up the Pokémon games, there's no better place to start than Scrambles!

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