Beginning the Game
As with many games, you'll start out by selecting and naming your character.
Following this, you'll be asked to select the settings you wish to play on. The best settings are Hardcore and More Caps. This is because Hardcore prevents the use of items in battle and defaults to Set Mode, which is that you cannot select to shift Pokemon when your opponent has to. More Caps gives the game a level capture that cannot be extended until Gym Badges are acquired.
Once these are selected, you'll be loaded into the game. You'll enter your own home and be tasked to setting the clock. Once that is done you can leave the house. If you head immediately down, you'll find some scientists lined up.
Settings with the Scientists
For Right to Left you'll encounter the following Scientists with their game modifiers.
1. Nurse Joy Items - Enable, Instant Berries - Enable, Shiny Rate - Your own choice, Infinite Pokevial - Enable.
2. EV Enabler - See EV game modifier below.
3. Perfect IV Enabler - Enable.
4. Randomiser - Disable/Ignore.
5. Individually Unique Pokemon - Your own choice.
6. AI Controlled Battle - Disable/Ignore.
To elaborate on the game modifiers that are enabled:
Nurse Joy Items allows for you to receive the items you will have access to at that specific stage in the game without you having to collect them. For example, after beating the first gym and unlocking HM Cut use in the overworld, there is a percent chance when cutting a tree to encounter a Pokemon, receive a random item or for nothing to happen. One of the items you receive can be Charcoal. Rather than you having to cut down a number of trees to receive one or more Charcoal, Nurse Joy will just give them to you after you've earned your first badge.
Instant Berries means when you plant a berry it automatically fully blooms, as opposed to having to wait for the clock in game to pass 24 hours.
Infinite Pokevial means that the key item Pokevial that usually only holds one dose per Pokecenter visit now has unlimited use. Realistically speaking, you're able to return to a Pokecenter at almost anytime so having the Pokevial set to infinite just means you can optimally continue your game without having to pause and back track to heal and return.
Perfect IV Enabler - Usually without this option Pokemon have three IVs that are perfect or 31 and then the other three that are randomised. Perfect IV means that all three IV stats being HP, Attack, Special Attack, Defense, Special Defense and Speed are set to 31. This has no major impact on the game because you can get Perfect IVs as soon as preparing for the second gym so again is a time save.
Once you're happy with the modifiers, you can head North East of Littleroot to visit the house next door to yours and you're told to go upstairs.
Meeting your Rival and Choosing your Starter
Meeting your Rival and Choosing your Starter
As listed above, one of the scientists offers the option to Enable or Disable EVs. For a brief summary of EVs otherwise known as Effort Values, they are a passive stat boost that increase based on the Pokemon, wild or trainer owned that you defeat.
A Pokemon can have a total of 510 EVs in total, but a singular stat cannot exceed 252. For example, you can give a Pokemon 252 in Attack, 252 in Speed and 6 in HP.
There are pros and cons to both enabling and disabling EVs.
When it comes to enabling EVs you'll usually have an advantage over most regular trainers. You can also use the EV Spread to outspeed some Pokemon you couldn't before or invest in better defensive stats for certain match ups. The only downside is you may need to reconfigure the EV Spread of your Pokemon for each important fight when considering various factors.
If the EVs are disabled, you no longer have to worry about keeping your EV Spread up to date and some trainers that had high EV spreads before you will no longer have them. It is recommended to keep them enabled but the choice is yours.
As you interact with the Pokeball upstairs, your Rival that will be either May or Brendan, but will be called Rival for here on out will appear.
Eventually they'll recall that Professor Birch possesses certain Pokemon but cannot remember what region that came from. This is your choice to make on what generation of starters are available to you. This will be as follows:
Kanto - Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle
Johto - Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totadile
Hoenn - Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip
Sinnoh - Turtwig, Chimchar, Piplup
Unova - Snivy, Tepig, Oshawott
Kalos - Chespin, Fennekin, Froakie
Alola - Rowlett, Litten, Popplio
Once you make your selection, head out of town to the North and you'll get to select one of the Pokemon from the region/generation you selected. This will lead to a battle, returning to the lab and nicknaming your starter and beginning the adventure.
Nurse Joy Items and Pokevial
Ignore anything that appears in Route 101 and visit the Pokecenter. From there speak to Nurse Joy, on your first interaction you'll engage in dialogue about the Pokevial you'll receive. After this immediately speak again to trigger the healing animation and then check your bag where at this point you should receive some selling items, repels, rare candies and a selection of berries.
Before leaving the Pokecenter, it is wise to set your Key Item Pokevial to register. This will allow for a single press of a button to heal your party rather than several inputs to find the item in your bag.
Before leaving the Pokecenter, take note that left of the healing machine is the regular Pokemart that will sell medicine and pokeballs, whereas to the left is a gentleman that allows for renaming Pokemon but more importantly to remember forgotten moves and to learn tutor moves. Tutor moves we can return to later after the first gym, however it is worth checking the move relearner especially after Pokemon evolution.
For example, after Sentret evolves into Furret, the move relearner gives access to Coil. Once you're ready to leave you can exit the Pokecenter. Before moving on, you can use the rare candies to raise the level of your current Pokemon. Would suggest Level 10 so you can defeat your Rival, but not 16 so your first encounters are easier to capture. Your Rival will be waiting North of the town at the top of Route 103.
After defeating the Rival, you should head back to Littleroot. Along the way you can talk to the Battle Item Mart employee if you haven't already to pick up a Focus Sash. Once you enter Professor Birch's lab you'll receive 30 Cherish Balls to capture more Pokemon for your party. From here your Nuzlocke begins with whatever rules you have chosen to follow. As you begin to move to leave Littleroot once more, you'll be given an Old Rod and Egg Incubator before you can go.
Receiving the Cherish Balls
Travelling to Rustboro
You'll now have access to Route 101, Route 102 and Route 103 to get your first three encounters before you face any trainers. Once you have them, it is wise to reach the level cap with them all. From there you have one mandatory trainer to face whilst the other three on Route 103 are optional if you keep out of line of sight.
Next thing to do is to speak to Norman in the Petalburg Gym that will initiate a cutscene of Wally catching their Ralts. Once this is done you can continue to Route 104 and Petalburg Woods Path that leads into Rustboro City. These two new areas provide two new encounters meaning you'll now have a full party.
It isn't recommended to use an Old Rod encounter in Petalburg just yet. This is because the Hidden Abilities for Goldeen and Corphish are arguably more useful than their Innate Abilities.
First Aqua Encounter
In the centre of the Petalburg Woods you'll come across a member of Team Aqua trying to steal from a member of Devon Corp. The battle is rather straight-forward if you have a grass type. Carvanha can be a threat if left alive for multiple turns due to Speed Boost ability and chance to flinch with Bites. Skrelp has its Water/Poison typing that makes doesn't allow most of the encounters you get to have a Super Effective move but it doesn't do much damage so you should win in a battle of attrition.
As you leave, quickly collect the TM Bullet Seed from the boy left of the exit and continue North where you'll have to do a mandatory double battle. Rather than head straight into Rustboro City, go into the garden behind the fence to the right and get a new encounter as well as the Ability Pill. Once you have done this you can simply Fly directly to the Rustboro PC.