After 1,786 attempts, this Pokemon streamer has completed the JRPG's "hardest challenge"

Pokemon Kaizo Ironmon
(Image credit: Nintendo/SmallAnt)

Arguably the hardest challenge in all of Pokemon has a new champion today, and while he's not the first and (probably) won't be the last, his win offers a perfect time for us all to get an introduction to the world of Kaizo Ironmon.

All this is based on Pokemon randomizer mods. These mods make the classic entries in the series more difficult by, as the name suggests, randomizing the Pokemon you find throughout the game. You don't even get to choose from the standard starters - in a nightmare scenario, you might see Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle replaced by Magikarp, Metapod, and Kakuna.

For a Kaizo Ironmon challenge, you need to play a randomizer and adhere to certain rules. Most notably, you can only use one Pokemon in battle. You can choose to catch another Pokemon to replace it, but only once per route, and you're only allowed to catch creatures that are equal to or lower than your lead's current level.

On top of that, you're not allowed to grind XP through fights with wild Pokemon, except to get a newly-caught Pokemon up the level of the main it's replacing. You also can't use healing moves or moves that cause guaranteed status effects. You can't even leave a "dungeon" - that is, gyms, caves, and other major areas with trainer battles - until you complete it.

Streamer SmallAnt's recent victory over the challenge offers a pretty good example of just how tough it is. He beat Kaizo Ironmon in Pokemon FireRed/LeafGreen after 1,786 attempts. Yes, one thousand seven hundred and eighty six attempts. You can lose a run in an instant - in the seven hour Twitch VOD where SmallAnt finally completed the challenge, he lost 84 runs before claiming victory.

Niche challenges to liven up classic games are one of the best parts of the hobby in my view, even if I can never sum up the patience to endure this kind of effort on my own time. So I'm just going to say 'thanks' to SmallAnt for introducing me to the idea of Kaizo Ironmon and a hearty 'congratulations' on his big win.

You can't argue with our ranking of the best Pokemon games. Seriously, it's unimpeachable.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.