the ribbon master challenge!

in most pokemon games, your pokemon can earn ribbons for succeeding at certain tasks. be it for entering a region's hall of fame, achieving a high streak in a battle tower, or earning first place in a contest, chances are that your pokemon will naturally pick up a few ribbons on the course of your journey together!

these ribbons get added as a permanent part of your pokemon's data, meaning that they last through each and every single generation and will be visible in the ribbons section of your pokemon's status screen. later generations added 'marks,' too, which share the same space as your pokemon's ribbons and are considered synonymous with ribbons for that very reason.

at the current time that i'm writing this, these ribbons and marks don't manifest as accessories that your pokemon can physically wear, but some games (namely, sword & shield, as well as scarlet & violet) DO grant your pokemon little titles when you equip one of them. that title displays each time you send your pokemon out in battle. an example of this is shown here; my kingdra, reides, has the contest star ribbon from omega ruby equipped. this grants him the title of 'reides the shining star'.

so, with that being said... if these ribbons can be awarded to your pokemon via completing in-game tasks, can grant special titles, and can immortalize your pokemon's accomplishments across all future generations... doesn't that make them PERFECT for collecting? furthermore, why not take that to the absolute extreme and try to get each and every single available ribbon on your pokemon? as its name implies, the ribbon master challenge is just that!

a pokemon becomes a ribbon master when it has gathered each and every ribbon from its origin generation all the way to the most recent generation that it can access. a pokemon caught in gen9 would therefore need to collect all of the ribbons introduced in gen9 and all future generations in order to be considered a ribbon master. similarly, a pokemon caught all the way back in gen3 will need to collect ribbons from gen3 onwards!

more information on the ribbon master challenge can be found over on the pokemon ribbons subreddit; specifically, on this post.

why do the challenge?

as simple as it is to understand what it entails, the ribbon master challenge will have you engaging in all sorts of aspects of the pokemon games. you may even need to play through entire plots in order to gain access to particular ribbons - such as the hall of fame ribbons (which require beating the elite four and champion of the game that you're playing) and the battle tower ribbons (which are only available in the post-game). it's quite the commitment, but it's also extremely satisfiying to work towards collecting everything. if you never opted to take on contests, battle towers, super train, ev train, etc, you'll discover SEVERAL whole new realms of the pokemon gameplay experience. in many ways, it offers a chance for a breath of fresh air in games that you may have already moved on from. and even if you have post-games in everything and simply need to trade in your future ribbon master and get right to collecting, it's still a great excuse to re-visit those files and let the nostalgia wash over you.

with that being said, people's reasons for taking on the ribbon master challenge on will vary. some are drawn in by the element of difficulty, while others may have a special pokemon who they want to decorate with as many accolades as possible. ribbons are gorgeous and an incredibly fun feature, so why not get a ton of them? as a kid, i loved collecting them in my copy of sapphire version. i was delighted by the ribbons' designs and loved to picture my pokemon all decked out in beautiful awards. as an adult, i feel similarly! isn't it just so cool to have a pokemon that's been through so much? ribbons are a hallmark of your pokemon's accomplishments, and those accomplishments deserve to be celebrated.

it can be a bit overwhelming to see a full list of all the ribbons that you'll need to collect, i'll admit to that. but if you're curious about it and are willing to put the effort in, you CAN do it. there are plenty of resources out there which can make your experience super smooth. and, honestly? the whole point of a ribbon master challenge is enjoying the journey. yes, it's satisfying to see a pokemon with its ribbon screen completely decked out... but it's 100x more satisfying to see that pokemon's ribbons and have tons of memories of gaining those ribbons come back to you. it's all about forming a bond with your ribbon master. because, believe me, you WILL form a bond with your ribbon master.

ribbon master resources

the pokemon ribbons subreddit
while i mostly just lurk this subreddit, i really enjoy reading about people's ribbon masters. you can also spelunk around if you have questions; usually, someone's asked something similar already and has received helpful advice! you can also add your pokemon to its hall of fame once it's done with the challenge (or even during its pursuit of ribbon mastery, since there's an area for incomplete or in-progress challengers)!

athis' ribbon handbook
lists each and every single ribbon per region and offers some very helpful tips for getting each one. this handbook also serves as a great guide so that you don't forget any ribbons during your challenge.
on the subject of not forgetting any ribbons - this site lets you track your ribbon master(s) and see the ribbons that you need for each generation.

toast the scizor's story
this video that recorded the journey of a ribbon master was a huge inspiration to me when i decided to take on the challenge. it was pretty much my gateway into looking into the challenge seriously. i'm sure that many people can say the same thing!

my ribbon master experience

i decided to get serious about taking on this challenge in september 2023 and managed to hatch the shiny horsea who i'd attempt it with on october 11th 2023. i named him after my beloved original character, reides, and sought to make him one of the most iconic pokemon in my collection.

given the intricate nature of the challenge, i decided to record my first-ever attempt at it in a series of posts. these posts would serve as reminders of the journey that reides and i shared while also being a means of holding myself accountable for completing the challenge and making reides a proper ribbon master. beyond that, they also offer a lot of advice to people who are taking on the challenge, since i tried to detail as much of the process as i could - from contest movesets to teams that i used in the battle towers! they can be found on my personal tumblr as well as within seafare's blog. for ease of access, i'll put links to those posts here, too.

reides' journey

i hope that you enjoy reading all about reides' journey! if you have any stories about your own ribbon master - or questions about the challenge itself - feel free to contact me via seafare's guestbook!