The Orange Islands - Smogon's Casual Retreat

By Jellicent. Art by Danmire.
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Ever wanted to take a step back from all the competitive battling and just play the games for fun? Maybe you're new to the site or a long time lurker that doesn't feel like you know enough about current competitive Pokemon to really contribute much to the discussion. Perhaps you quit competitive battling a long time ago but stuck around Smogon for the community and your love of Pokemon in general. Well, Orange Islands is the place for you. While most of Smogon is dedicated to the competitive side of Pokemon, things are quite different in OI; in fact, competitive discussion is against the rules there. Instead, discussion focuses on the actual games, spinoffs, anime, and manga.

Discussion Threads

Discussion threads are probably the easiest place to just dive in and start sharing your thoughts, questions, and experiences. Did you spend weeks trying to find a Feebas in RSE? Attempting a speedrun of Pokemon Ranger and want to tell us all about it? Need some tips for clearing a level in Pokemon Conquest? Just find the proper discussion thread and post it up! OI also features hype threads for upcoming games, complete with the most up-to-date news releases and leaks. While there aren't any occurring right now, the recent Black 2 and White 2 and Pokemon Conquest games were covered quite thoroughly prior to their releases. The rules have recently been expanded to include anime and manga discussion as well. It's a great part of the forums to keep an eye on for new things to come from the entire Pokemon franchise.


Playing through the main game is fun, but it can get a bit repetitive. OI is home to some cool challenges to make the game a bit more interesting. Nuzlocke Challenges are basically a hard mode for Pokemon. Players are only allowed to catch one Pokemon per area, and that Pokemon is the first one that you run into. If you accidentally knock it out, scare it off, or don't have any PokeBalls on hand, too bad; you don't get a Pokemon from that area. If one of your Pokemon faint, then you can no longer use that Pokemon. Also, all of your Pokemon must be nicknamed. On top of those three rules, players will often add in their own regarding items, PokeCenters, etc. to make things even more difficult.

Also of note is the Scramble Challange (yeah, that's how they spell it). Starting up a Scramble is pretty easy; simply post in the thread stating the game you are playing, how hard you want the challenge to be, and any other specific rules or requests that you have. Other users will compile a team of six Pokemon with unique quirks (such as a Geodude that can only use 2 moves unless it solos Erika) that you must use throughout your playthrough. It definitely makes for some interesting teams and stories. Other challenges, such as Speedruns, Gauntlets, and 30-Minute Challenges, can be found in OI as well.

In-Game Tiers

Where would Smogon be without tiers? While usually our tiers are based on actual competitive value, in-game tiers work quite a bit differently. Availability of the Pokemon, usefulness against gym leaders, what moves it learns by level up, and what TMs, HMs, and tutor moves it can be taught combine with the usual stats, type, and ability for determining just what Pokemon are best for playing through the actual games. Currently, there are in-game tiers in the process for RBY, GSC, and BW2. The really cool part is that the result of all this tiering discussion will end up onsite! There's also an in-game tier list being made for Pokemon Conquest. These are all great ways to start helping out, getting to know the community, and creating cool resources for Smogon.

Battle Subway / Battle Frontier

While you won't get far in the Battle Subway or Battle Frontier without a bit of competitive knowledge, the fact that it's against the game's AI and not another human makes it more like an in-game challenge. Because of this, Subway and Frontier discussion has found its home in OI. A list of Subway records, along with Battle Tower records, can be found in the forum. There are a lot of great strategies to be found in the records list (several of which are quite different from standard competitive strategies), making it an awesome tool for anyone looking to get their hands on a gold print or some Battle Points. Various guides to improving your Frontier battling, as well as what opponents to expect, can be found in the forum as well.

Let's Plays

Let's Plays offer users a chance to share their gaming experiences with the community. This can be done in any medium the author finds most appealing (video, text with screenshots, comics, pure text, song, whatever). They're a great way for users to show off their creative side while providing everyone with something enjoyable to read or watch. While Let's Plays for Scrambles, Nuzlockes, etc. usually go in the respective challenge threads, more casual playthroughs often warrant a thread of their own. Be warned, however: putting together a Let's Play can be a lot of work, especially when using more ambitious styles and forms of media. It's advised to only attempt one if you're certain you can see it through to completion. With that said, the most important part of a Let's Play is to have fun. The more you enjoy playing and sharing, the more likely the community will enjoy your LP as well.


Like most offshoots of Smogon, Orange Islands has a strong IRC presence. #OrangeIslands has a rather laid back culture, where users casually discuss the non-competitive side of Pokemon. It's also a great channel to get helpful tips for your playthrough, as experienced players are always hanging around there. If you're looking for someone to attempt a 30-Minute Challenge against, or maybe some teammates for a Pokemon Mystery Universe expedition, #OrangeIslands is the place to ask. A new feature is movie nights, where the community comes together to watch the Pokemon films. Talking (or, rather, typing) during the movie is more than encouraged. If you're looking for a place to just shoot the breeze and talk about the games or anime, #OrangeIslands on SynIRC is always open.

Final Notes

Orange Islands is a bustling community in Smogon that is constantly growing. Whether you're looking to get your feet wet or just wanna relax and dry off a bit, it's open to anyone. There's always something there to discuss, and you're more than welcome to start up some new discussions yourself! Also, we've got something big in the works, and it shouldn't be long after this Smog issue that there'll be a new, exciting thing for everyone to partake in. You'll just have to keep your eyes on Orange Islands to find out what it is...

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