Pokémon – The Ultimate Quest for Every Ribbon Part 1

During a recent completion of Pokémon Sapphire Version I noticed that a lot of the tasks that were required for completion rewarded me with ribbons that in future instalments give the Pokémon they are attached to a unique flair. This got me thinking, how much work and effort would it take to get as many ribbons as I can on one individual Pokémon? How many ribbons are actually obtainable and which titles would this open up to me?

The quest cannot begin without researching which monster would be best suited for this mammoth task, but fortunately due to the criteria for one of the first ribbons we will aim to achieve this has been narrowed down quite dramatically for us as the National Ribbon is only obtainable by Pokémon that have been purified in the shadow games, Colosseum and XD Gale of Darkness. We also want a Pokémon that is transferrable to Sword and Shield so we can obtain that game’s exclusive ribbons too. For a list of shadow Pokémon see here and for a list of Pokémon available in Sword and Shield click here.

On top of this, we want a Pokémon with a large movepool for contests and something that can hold its own in the Battle Tower and competitive modes in the future games so preferably a strong and resilient monster with great move compatibility. The final thing to consider is that the Pokémon MUST be a lower level than 50 to enter the battle tower Lvl50 tier requirements for one of the battle tower ribbons. Due to these requirements I decided to go with Zapdos, a strong sub legendary with a large number of moves and great competitive viability.

Citadark Isle’s Shadow Zapdos

Our journey begins in the GBA era of Pokémon, a simpler time where there were only 400 monsters but a large number of games we need to traverse across. Due to the outlined candidate requirements, we start our quest in the Orre region, having beaten the story in one of the Shadow games we unlock the ability to trade to the GBA games and as a requirement to trade is to purify then you have already unlocked #1 National Ribbon.

The next task would be to get your Pokémon up to level 50 with as close to the EV spread that you desire as possible for the Hoenn battle tower, you will also need to get two other competitive Pokémon to backup your selected monster and then battle your way through the Level 50 battle challenge until you achieve a 56 win streak. This will take 8 separate challenges of 7 battles and at the end you will be rewarded with #2 Winning Ribbon. Once that has been completed you will also need to complete the level 100 challenge with the same results, but this will require you to reach level 100 on three Pokémon which will result in #3 Victory Ribbon.

Due to the grind to level 100 you will naturally complete the Pokémon league at least once and earn #4 Champion Ribbon as well as max out your effort values and receive #5 Effort ribbon from the girl in Slateport marketplace. Another step to help out with the inevitable level grind is to complete the story mode Mt Battle within Pokémon Colosseum or XD Gale of Darkness and if completed without changing any of your team members you will be rewarded with #6 Earth Ribbon.

Now for the dreaded contests, your best bet is to try and get each condition to as high as possible so that the first three rounds of the contests can be won just by having a head start before the Appeal round RNG shenanigans. I personally used this advice on making gold Pokeblocks and got my condition to nearly max for all stats but make sure you save a lot before eating the Pokeblocks to ensure you get the most out of your time as these stats cannot be reset. Once this has done feel free to complete the first three rounds of each contest type for 15 easy ribbons before we get down to tackling the master class.

For the master class your high condition alone wont win the day, but before we start entering you need to go and speak to the man in the upstairs of the art museum in Lilycove City, he will state he’s looking for an artist to create paintings for the exhibit. Now clear the master rank contests, you will need to teach your selected Pokémon highly appealing moves of the same type as the contest you’re entering and hope for the best, a lot of it is random luck but you should get it after a few attempts. If any of your winning attempts were lucky enough to get the artists attention you should then be rewarded with #27 Artist Ribbon.

That marks the end of the adventure through the GBA games and with 27 ribbons in tow its time to jump generations to the DS. I have listed all available ribbons with their unlock requirements and the title they give you in Pokémon Sword and Shield for reference below:

Name of RibbonUnlock RequirementTitle Given
NationalPurify a Shadow Pokémonthe Triumphant
WinningClear the Hoenn Battle Tower’s Lvl 50 challengeN/A
VictoryClear the Hoenn Battle Tower’s Lvl 100 challengeN/A
ChampionClear the Pokémon League in the Hoenn regionthe Champion
EffortMax out Effort Valuesthe Once Well-Trained
EarthClear Mt Battle in Story Mode in XD or Colosseumthe 100× Victorious
CoolClear Normal Level Cool Contest N/A
Cool SuperClear Super Level Cool ContestN/A
Cool HyperClear Hyper Level Cool ContestN/A
Cool MasterClear Master Level Cool Contestthe Former Star
CuteClear Normal Level Cute ContestN/A
Cute SuperClear Super Level Cute ContestN/A
Cute HyperClear Hyper Level Cute ContestN/A
Cute MasterClear Master Level Cute Contest the Former Idol
SmartClear Normal Level Smart ContestN/A
Smart SuperClear Super Level Smart ContestN/A
Smart HyperClear Hyper Level Smart ContestN/A
Smart MasterClear Master Level Smart Contestthe Historic Genius
BeautyClear Normal Level Beauty ContestN/A
Beauty SuperClear Super Level Beauty ContestN/A
Beauty HyperClear Hyper Level Beauty ContestN/A
Beauty MasterClear Master Level Beauty Contest the Vintage Beauty
ToughClear Normal Level Tough ContestN/A
Tough SuperClear Super Level Tough ContestN/A
Tough UltraClear Hyper Level Tough ContestN/A
Tough MasterClear Master Level Tough Contestthe Formerly Buff
ArtistBecome a super sketch model in Hoennthe Model for Paintings
Table of all ribbons obtainable in Generation 3

And that ends our journey for the 3rd Generation of Pokémon games, has this inspired you to tackle this task, or at the very least go back and grab some titles for your Pokémon for Sword and Shield or the upcoming Scarlet and Violet? Let me know!

Video game completionist and 3D platformer connoisseur, Riley is a fan of the whimsical frenzy of bright and colourful characters to bless us in the late 90's. Their favourite game's are Spyro, Persona 5 and Super Mario Sunshine.

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