Let's Play! Pokemon: "The Perfect Run" Challenge: Official Announcement + Discussion Thread

Around six months ago, when I first announced my idea to play through the entirety of a Pokémon game without taking any damage, everyone I had told my idea to thought it was a unique idea, but they also thought it was the most insane thing ever. Somewhere here, there's a dead discussion thread of mine regarding this from October of 2018 when I first told the public. (I recommend viewing that one first if you're confused.) Since then, considered cancelling the challenge, due to the intense difficulty, massive amount of preparation, and a lack of motivation. The lack of support anyone had for me stepping out of my comfort zone led me to go on a six month session where I didn't say a word about it, thought nothing of it, and told myself my idea was cool, but way, WAY too difficult in any Pokémon game.

But today, that about all ends. I've had a resurgence in motivation and am ready to take on this dastardly challenge and childhood dream once and for all, and I'll be doing it here for you all to see. I don't care how crazy the idea of playing an entire Pokémon game without taking any sort of damage sounds. Say what you want, but I'm determined to make history. With that, I'm happy to announce early the date this challenge will officially start, as well as the rules I've set in place for the games. Out of this discussion I also hope to choose which of the many main series games to play through for this, and I'd more than appreciate your help with this and many other things if you so wish. Now, without further ado, introducing Pokémon: "The Perfect Run". Enjoy!

Mission: Play through the entirety of a Pokémon game from the start until the end of the main story without taking damage by using any means necessary within the rules provided:

Rules:
1. No cheats, hacks, hacked Pokémon, etc., allowed at ANY moment in the run.
2. Forced Loss Clause: If a "forced battle" of any kind is absolutely, 100% impossible to beat without taking any damage, the player (me) is allowed to take damage, but only in these very specific battles. This rule was put into place to prevent runs from being truly impossible.
3. (Gen 1 Only) 1/256 Clause: If I use an attack with 100% accuracy and it misses due to the game's mechanics, and if the opponent uses an attacking move that does hit afterward, the opponent's hit will not be counted as true damage, since this RNG is unavoidable.
4. Battles must be in Shift mode, not Set mode. This won't be an issue, but this is basically impossible otherwise.
5. Mascot Legendary Pokémon are banned from team construction. Everything else is allowed if obtained legit.
6. Forced Legendary Clause: In the case that you are forced to use a Legendary Pokémon on your team after catching it, rule #5 does not apply and becomes optional.

(More Details Coming Soon, currently searching for which game to use)
 
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Do you think your Rule #2 will only apply to the required "first" battle against Blue/Poochyena/whatever, or do you anticipate it applying later in the game for some reason? I assume that if you can reach random wild encounters before a required trainer battle, you could technically power level so the trainer can't do damage.

I think this will take a lot of planning and may depend on 1) early access to ghost types for immunity to normal 2) getting nice RNG on attempted captures 3) getting nice RNG on the first few wilds using Tail Whip instead of Tackle. Probably a whole lot more.

Good luck! I'm curious to hear your process of elimination for which games you think this is possible in.
 
Do you think your Rule #2 will only apply to the required "first" battle against Blue/Poochyena/whatever, or do you anticipate it applying later in the game for some reason? I assume that if you can reach random wild encounters before a required trainer battle, you could technically power level so the trainer can't do damage.

I think this will take a lot of planning and may depend on 1) early access to ghost types for immunity to normal 2) getting nice RNG on attempted captures 3) getting nice RNG on the first few wilds using Tail Whip instead of Tackle. Probably a whole lot more.

Good luck! I'm curious to hear your process of elimination for which games you think this is possible in.
Hey look someone finally replied lol (don't worry, it's only a joke)

Rule #2 applies to any battles that, based on accuracy and damage calculations, are impossible to beat without the AI being stupid because your attacks won't simply do enough damage. The best example I can give right now is the first two rival battles in BW1; in these battles, the only way to even consider beating both Bianca and Cheren is to choose Tepig for its higher Attack and for all of the following to happen: lower both of their starters to -2 Defense, kill both Snivy and Oshawott with a critical hit Tackle afterward (Tepig must have a high enough Attack for this btw), and make sure they don't use Tackle once throughout the entire sequence. Yeah, uh...that isn't going to happen. I'm pretty sure that each of them are guaranteed to use Tackle at least once (remember it has 100 accuracy in these games) at least once during the first three turns of each individual battle, as I've never once seen them go for 3 Tail Whips or Leers in a row like that. THAT'S the kind of situation I'm talking about.

Blue is a bit interesting in your example because each Starter has low Attack and there's the 1/256 thing in the Gen 1 versions. Poochyena would be impossible if Tackle didn't have 95 accuracy in those games, as Pooch only has Tackle at that level. The same cannot be said for the remakes though, so...I dunno.

As for the Ghost-Type situation, that brings up another major early game roadblock I have to face: Quick Attack. In another most every game, so many early game Pokémon have it, including some forced trainers, so the only way to beat it is to A. Have your own Quick Attacker and hope to outspeed AND OHKO, or B. Block them from using Quick Attack by using a Ghost-Type. I didn't say this was gonna be easy. Luckily, in some of the easier games for this (difficulty list coming soon once more people see this), there's one Pokémon that fits this role perfectly: Gastly.

I'll just get this out of the way now. Some games are automatically impossible for this challenge without using a Gastly. Our little ghost friend has all that a Perfect Run team candidate needs and more. It's fast, it can hit hard, it can Quick Attack block, it has various type immunities, and even the move Hypnosis immediately after catching it in some games. Honestly, that's only scratching the surface. I've already done some stat calculations for a game I think I can manage, and Gengar is by far one of the most important final team members.

EDIT: Thank you so much for the good luck! Almost forgot lol
 
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(Somebody is free to delete this in the case that I can't double post on my own thread or whatever)

Update #1: Difficulty Rankings

Each of the Pokémon games has specific challenges to overcome that ultimately decide how hard the challenge will be. Because of this, some games, depending on Pokémon avaliablity, leveling, and more, are actually much easier to do this on. I've organized the difficulty of all the games from 1 (easiest) to 5 (hardest) based on my current research. If you wish to attempt this challenge, I'd recommend picking an easier game. (For those who count the GameCube Pokémon games as main series, those are both a 5 currently.)

RB: 3
Yellow: 4
GS: 2
Crystal: 2
RS: 4
FRLG: 3
Emerald: 5
DP: 2
Platinum: 2
HGSS: 1
BW: 4
BW2: 3
XY: 1
ORAS: 2
SM: 4
USUM: 5
Let's Go: 2
SS: (unreleased)
 
I think it’d definitely be good to check out speedruns for these games as part of your research. Speedrunners have excellent knowledge of trainer AI (which is often really difficult to figure out just from trial and error) and they tend to identify which trainer Pokémon know priority attacks and avoid them, if possible, to save time.

An early Ghost-type like Gastly is a good idea to avoid damage from Quick Attack, but I’m interested to hear how much grinding you’re planning on doing?

The Gastly/Haunter/Gengar line doesn’t get many tools to deal damage to Normal-types, without either using TMs that aren’t available until the midgame or getting extremely overlevelled. The most reliable way I can think of to use a Gastly in HGSS would be to grind against your version’s cocoon on Routes 30 and 31 until you can reliably OHKO Unown. Then, I’d grind against Unown (getting those sweet Attack and Sp. Atk EVs) until it learns Dark Pulse. Otherwise, trainers like Falkner become incredibly difficult to beat:

-Confuse Ray is very unreliable
-Curse causes you to automatically fail the challenge
-Spite, Lick and Night Shade are all useless against Normal-types
-Payback is an option, but it’s a physical attack (working off of the Gastly line’s poor Attack stat) and will never deal boosted damage unless you’re letting the opponent get the first move
-Sucker Punch is both a physical attack AND unreliable (i.e. it’ll fail if the opponent goes for something like Sand Attack)
-Hypnosis+Dream Eater is unreliable for obvious reasons

Of course, even getting to Sprout Tower will require a similar strategy with your starter to get past the one or two unavoidable trainers along the way without getting hit.

This is a very interesting and ambitious idea and I’m definitely keen to see how you deal with all the challenges of this type of run!
 
I think it’d definitely be good to check out speedruns for these games as part of your research. Speedrunners have excellent knowledge of trainer AI (which is often really difficult to figure out just from trial and error) and they tend to identify which trainer Pokémon know priority attacks and avoid them, if possible, to save time.

An early Ghost-type like Gastly is a good idea to avoid damage from Quick Attack, but I’m interested to hear how much grinding you’re planning on doing?

The Gastly/Haunter/Gengar line doesn’t get many tools to deal damage to Normal-types, without either using TMs that aren’t available until the midgame or getting extremely overlevelled. The most reliable way I can think of to use a Gastly in HGSS would be to grind against your version’s cocoon on Routes 30 and 31 until you can reliably OHKO Unown. Then, I’d grind against Unown (getting those sweet Attack and Sp. Atk EVs) until it learns Dark Pulse. Otherwise, trainers like Falkner become incredibly difficult to beat:

-Confuse Ray is very unreliable
-Curse causes you to automatically fail the challenge
-Spite, Lick and Night Shade are all useless against Normal-types
-Payback is an option, but it’s a physical attack (working off of the Gastly line’s poor Attack stat) and will never deal boosted damage unless you’re letting the opponent get the first move
-Sucker Punch is both a physical attack AND unreliable (i.e. it’ll fail if the opponent goes for something like Sand Attack)
-Hypnosis+Dream Eater is unreliable for obvious reasons

Of course, even getting to Sprout Tower will require a similar strategy with your starter to get past the one or two unavoidable trainers along the way without getting hit.

This is a very interesting and ambitious idea and I’m definitely keen to see how you deal with all the challenges of this type of run!
Thanks for the feedback! I've already set up the route up to Falkner in HGSS using Totodile, Pidgey, Mareep (or Flaaffy depending on levels) and Gastly. My plan of action goes something like this

1. Go to Sprout Tower at night and save the game right after entering
2. Put Pidgey at the front of the party (Gastly's only damaging move when you find it is Lick, so it works)
3. Make sure Pidgey is able to run from every possible wild Pokémon that isn't a Gastly (Saving here works too)
4. Encounter Gastly and catch it
5. Check for the correct Nature (+Speed recommended), and if possible IVs
6. If Gastly has a bad stat yield, Soft-Reset, then repeat steps 3 through 5 until I get a good one
7. Go to Route 30/31 and put Gastly at the front of the party, then save again
8. Run from any Pokémon that isn't a Metapod/Kakuna
9. Switch-train Gastly against them for a while (this is gonna be fun)
10. Lol, this is as far as I've gotten so far

Ideal Strategy for Falkner (Normal Route):
1. Lead with Level 15+ Flaaffy against his Pidgey (it needs the extra stats from evolution for this route)
2. ThunderShock Pidgey, should be a guaranteed OHKO with proper stats and all that
3. Switch in high levelled Gastly when Pidgeotto arrives, and observe Speed stats VERY carefully on both Pokémon
4. I'm hoping to find a way around this, but for now, Hypnosis must land its 60% accuracy (Gastly must outspeed)
5. Pidgeotto must stay asleep for at least three turns: one to switch back to Flaaffy, and at least two for free ThunderShocks to 2HKO

The Falkner battle has a few alternate options, but all of them require some sort of RNG unfortunately. In a perfect world, in this run you should limit the amount of good luck required as much as possible. There's also the option to trade over TMs, but I'm pretty sure you can only trade after getting your first Badge. I'm not sure what kinds of rules to put in place for item trading. Any ideas for TMs (specific Generations) and evolution stones would be much appreciated.
 
(Again, free to delete if unable to double post)

Update #2: Rule Changes, Team Building Processes, & Game Announcement

I have had some time since I last posted on this forum to think about a few things and am now ready for another update. First off, I'd like to go over some new rules recently added to the challenge. Other small changes have been made but I'll go over a few big ones here.

Item Trading: In various Generations of Pokémon, certain items can be traded over from another save file by having a Pokémon on the other file hold the item. This can help the player (me) obtain specific items such as X Items, evolution stones, and even TMs in Generations 1 through 4. In combination with trade evolutions and/or regular Pokémon trading, this opens up many previously banned possibilities. I decided after a week long debate with myself to not ban item trading, as other trading factors were not banned. That being said, to prevent trade abuse from already completed save files, item trading does have some restrictions. Items that cannot be traded over include Rare Candies, duplicate TMs (ones that I have on both files), the Ability Capsule, and anything that can be sold for a stupidly high money amount, like the Relic items in Unova.

Updated Shiny Clause: I did have a Shiny Pokémon clause included in the regular ruleset, because no one likes being forced to run from a random Shiny in a playthrough, which could be a problem if the Shiny ends up being something like, say, an Arena Trap Diglett/Dugtrio for example. I decided that my original rules, not currently listed on this thread, were a bit too strict, and I decided to make them a little more forgiving. In the event that I do find a random one, I will allow myself to take damage during the actual encounter. More importantly, if one of my Pokémon takes damage during the encounter, I will be permitted to heal at a Pokémon Center. For personal help, I plan on adding in a bonus to compensate for if I fail a Shiny Pokémon encounter during the challenge, or if the Shiny happens to be an Abra. No, seriously.

Next, I'd like to go over team building. The process behind team building is without a doubt one of the most important parts of preparing for the challenge. Despite each game being very different entities, there are a few common factors you'll want to look for when choosing your Pokémon.

1. High speed and/or access to priority attacks
2. Higher attacking power
3. Good important Trainer matchups throughout the game
4. Type immunities (Ghost-Types are great for Quick Attack blocking)
5. Wide movepool, especially with TMs
6. A powerful niche (such as Shedinja's Wonder Guard for example)

And finally. I'd like to announce the game I'll be trying this on. After long consideration, I've decided to start with Pokémon HeartGold, as I wasn't doing anything in that game currently, and it's by far one of the easiest. I also had a team planned out already consisting of Feraligatr, Pidgeot, Gengar, Heracross, Alakazam, and Jolteon.
 

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Hi, figured I'd post on this because recently I did the same type of run, but haven't finished routing everything yet. I chose to do a Crystal run, because I believe it gives you the most options early game to make it so you can power through to midgame easily.

I decided to start with Cyndaquil, for a couple of reasons. The most important being its ability to absolutely roll through the early game. Getting a power fire move for the second gym removes a lot of pressure later on. The early evolution also helps, as it's main job is to be the bridge between early game and Alakazam sweeping. I also found it to be extremely useful to Jasmine and Pryce. Finally, quil gets Smokescreen, which can bail you out of some fights in situations that look bleak.

A perk to Crystal is early Gastly, immediately on Route 31. Gastly is the mon that benefits most from being in Crystal, as we are still in the gens with the bad movesets, so many mons simply do not have a way to hit Gastly. Gastly also gets Hypnosis, and if you're familiar with Sleep mechanics, it's absolutely busted because it has a guaranteed two-turn sleep at the minimum. This helps with things that Quilava will be not be able to OHKO early, like Falkner's Pidegotto. It also has the ability to bail you out of difficult fights, like Rival 2.

Finally came Abra, who immediately becomes the main monster of the team. Being able to trap one with Gastly's Mean Look is always nice, as I took the time to find a solid Abra, which meant catching almost a boxfull. Abra gets the benefit of all of the elemental punches early, thanks to the TMs in the Goldenrod Dept. Store. After some careful grinding (and resetting), Abra finally became a Kadabra and immediately an Alakazam.

We then proceeded to roll through Whitney and Morty, as they would provide no challenge reasonably, considering I have an overleveled Gengar and Alakazam. I stopped here however, because my next goal is to manipulate a Raikou capture and I can't dedicate time to that until finals are over. I expect to have no difficulties with any fights until Rival 4, as that's the only one I can potentially see damaging me until Clair.

I've only had to really reset a ton in the early game, as a lot of things like grinding Cyndaquil and Gastly early can be frustrating. The later I've got the less resets I've had to do. Overall it's been a lot of fun so far, but I'm finding the midgame easier than I expected. Special thanks to Merritt for helping me lab out a couple early game strats.
 
Hi, figured I'd post on this because recently I did the same type of run, but haven't finished routing everything yet. I chose to do a Crystal run, because I believe it gives you the most options early game to make it so you can power through to midgame easily.

I decided to start with Cyndaquil, for a couple of reasons. The most important being its ability to absolutely roll through the early game. Getting a power fire move for the second gym removes a lot of pressure later on. The early evolution also helps, as it's main job is to be the bridge between early game and Alakazam sweeping. I also found it to be extremely useful to Jasmine and Pryce. Finally, quil gets Smokescreen, which can bail you out of some fights in situations that look bleak.

A perk to Crystal is early Gastly, immediately on Route 31. Gastly is the mon that benefits most from being in Crystal, as we are still in the gens with the bad movesets, so many mons simply do not have a way to hit Gastly. Gastly also gets Hypnosis, and if you're familiar with Sleep mechanics, it's absolutely busted because it has a guaranteed two-turn sleep at the minimum. This helps with things that Quilava will be not be able to OHKO early, like Falkner's Pidegotto. It also has the ability to bail you out of difficult fights, like Rival 2.

Finally came Abra, who immediately becomes the main monster of the team. Being able to trap one with Gastly's Mean Look is always nice, as I took the time to find a solid Abra, which meant catching almost a boxfull. Abra gets the benefit of all of the elemental punches early, thanks to the TMs in the Goldenrod Dept. Store. After some careful grinding (and resetting), Abra finally became a Kadabra and immediately an Alakazam.

We then proceeded to roll through Whitney and Morty, as they would provide no challenge reasonably, considering I have an overleveled Gengar and Alakazam. I stopped here however, because my next goal is to manipulate a Raikou capture and I can't dedicate time to that until finals are over. I expect to have no difficulties with any fights until Rival 4, as that's the only one I can potentially see damaging me until Clair.

I've only had to really reset a ton in the early game, as a lot of things like grinding Cyndaquil and Gastly early can be frustrating. The later I've got the less resets I've had to do. Overall it's been a lot of fun so far, but I'm finding the midgame easier than I expected. Special thanks to Merritt for helping me lab out a couple early game strats.
Wow. Looks like my idea isn't as crazy as I thought. Up until this point, I was hoping to be the first person to ever get documented proof of a live run of this kind of challenge. If you end up beating me to that, congratulations, and to be honest, I'd rather someone else have the glory than me. (As far as I know, it's never been done but I could be wrong. Either way it's still a fun idea.

Best of luck to you, my friend. Clair was actually one of only four key battles in HeartGold I still had to route, now that I think about it...I swear if that seahorse puts an end to my run, I'm gonna kill someone...yeah, confession time, I had a childhood phobia of the seahorse.
 

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