Top 10 Hardest Pokemon ROM Hacks

This is a somewhat arbitrary list of the Hardest Pokemon Romhacks out there. I may be missing some because I haven't played them all.

I try to keep hacks that mostly avoid fake difficulty tactics, which is what Dark Rising did, using level spikes only, and bad AI.
The Top Ten
1 Pokemon Crystal Kaizo

Very few people have ever beaten this fully and legitimately, and some even resort to savestates in casual play, and in one case, walk through walls and hacking in movesets. Only two successful nuzlockes even exist as of this time of writing.
It also has some cruel map layout changes, such as ice puzzles, trainer guantlets, and an absolutely brutal endgame. Bosses have the best possible movesets, and a really good AI to abuse them, which are far superior AI than gen 3 AI, since they can actually use Hidden Power effectively. You cannot use revives, ethers, x items, in battle, only outside it.

2 Pokémon Stadium Kaizo

No contest. This is bar none, the ABSOLUTE HARDEST Pokémon Romhack ever.
Especially the Cups. You will lose many times before you reach the end. No nuzlocke of any hard hack is as cruel and brutal as this game.

3 Pokemon Vega

This is a game that has genuinely hard movesets, saddled with some unfortunate level spikes, but remains interesting and engaging with some new movesets, fakemon, and some japanese map puzzles. A new translation is out.
This game also doesn't seem to give you the chance to purchase revives or full restores, making the endgame guantlet very tense.

Picked the fire starter and now I can't get past the shuckle in the first gym. Every mon on the way is weak to rock except useless togepi.

4 Pokemon Blue Kaizo

This has a unique aspect compared to many difficulty hacks, most notably taking advantage of near infinite items, infinite power points, following synergy, and even switching, and "predicting" your switches near perfectly, unlike future generation hacks.
There are also map layout changes designed to punish players for backtracking, and either forcing them to navigate carefully, or cocktease them.
There are more successful nuzlockes, and if you know how to predict exploits and type match, it may be easier than some other notorious hacks like Vega.
No revives or x items during battle.

5 Touhoumon Lunatic

Out of all of the Touhomon hacks out there, many claim this one to be the hardest of all of them, while mostly avoiding the common fake difficulty traps like level spikes and excessive base stats (going above 720 with competent movesets). World Link is also up for contention, feel free to add.

It's great I've already beaten it tho try making it's harder?

6 Pokemon Fire Red Omega

The difficulty hack that inspired many difficulty hacks. The boss teams use a lot of wildcards that has references to Pokemon Media, like Vulpix for Brock, Togetic for Misty, Electrode for Koga, etc. The movesets are extremely competent, while following a steady difficulty curve and level curve, and attempting to capture outside legendaries will be complicated when powerful post game trainers are guarding them.

7 Pokémon Dark Rising

It was such a hell. But nuzlocked it. Anyone who wants to play this hack, I have nothing but blood and fear to offer you...

What is the first gym? No just no.

A wild Leftover appeared

8 Pokemon Pyrite

This has a very interesting handicap of using no items in battle, and in the gym, no experience points or escaping the gym until you defeat the gym leader. The level curve is smooth, and while you are up to your neck in trying to survive the guantlet, the enemy rosters are reasonable compared to more brutal lineups. Should not be underestimated under any circumstances though.

9 Pokemon Yellow Strike

Inspired by Blue Kaizo, this is a gen 1 difficulty hack of Pokemon Yellow, with some improved graphics, and even some shifts in who you face (you fight Blaine after Brock, and Misty after Sabrina, which does make the game a lot more difficult). The movesets are competent, and it even added some extra supereffective moves, and fixed the Psychic type weakness oversight. It is quite a fun gen 1 hard hack.

10 Pokemon Reborn

There is a sheer forced curve in this one, by far the worst level setting I've seen. EVERY Gym match only allows up to a certain level. And don't forget, there's about TWENTY GYMS. The last Gym's level cap is set to be Lv. 95, and no doubt that leader's gonna have 100's. I've NEVER seen a successful Nuzlocke of this game, and I've only seen two come close. Also, don't forget the knock-off evil Megas and Terrain effects. That's the real thorn in your side.

Loved it gave me a real challenge pulled through, if you want a really story driven game that still gives plenty of stuff on the side to do I recommend it's a fantastic well made Pokémon game with whole new characters, and choices affect the game somewhat absolutely enjoyed it, the great struggle was worth to get to the end thou

F-ing field effects...

The Contenders
11 Pokemon Snakewood

I'm not particularly fond of this hack, the Shamylan Twists in the story is atrocious, a nearly admirably cruel puzzle was ruined because they were traps from your allies instead of your enemies for one thing. And some of the boasts from the creator of being a better storyteller...
There are nasty boss level spikes, some occasionally nasty fakemon with higher stats, some predictable, others not, while some battles are pathetically easy. You may fight some buffed Legendaries as well.
But the scripting is really really well done, there are some cruel mazes by your, secret allies, some different kinds of exploration, but it is starting to veer into fake difficulty territory with obscene base stats, ability abuse, and level spikes.

This should be higher. I beat it once on Nuzlocke. Destroyed Senex with only my Swampert remaining.

I remember beating this. It was a good game.

12 Kaizo Emerald

It could've been the single hardest romhack.
If it didn't have the utterly terrible Gen 3 AI.
Seriously, GEN 1 AI could perform better.

Still, a powerful contender for the hardest gen 3 hack.
And the game will kick your ass if you aren't careful.

This hack broke my will to live as a casual player.

I struggled for days

13 Pokemon Insurgence

At Hard difficulty important trainer battles starting from the 4th Gym have max IVs, some EVS(unsure of amount), decent movepools and strats and also carry beneficial items. There's also a level cap for each main trainer battle. I had to retry a lot and bring backups in case my main team is countered.

Has lots of content. Includes delta pokemon(different typing), custom moves, new mega evolutions, new pokemon abilities, Hidden grottos, Online secret bases and doesn't require HMs.

Incredible game. So cool. Awesome.

14 Pokemon Glazed

Whitney is appropriately an Elite Four member in this game. There are tons of battles around, some easy and some hard, and the game is very long, but it has a lot of interesting content.

By far one of the best hacks, especially on the current update, so much to achieve. Highly recommend iv training, makes it easier.

This was a good playthrough with a good storyline and some fairly difficult battles.

15 Pokémon Clover

This is one of the hardest pokemon games known to man. This game made me sick

The anti cheating makes it much more difficult than pokemon emerald Kaizo

16 Pokemon Renegade Platinum
17 Pokemon Light Platinum

So hard Team Steam is no joke.

18 Pokemon Apollo

You are a part of team Rocket and trying to stop red(your rival) from destroying team Rocket. The game is kinda hard and fun.

19 Pokemon Blaze Black 2
20 Pokémon Mega Power

One phrase "the shady" you have to fight this guy three times straight without healing your Pokemon

21 Pokemon Crystal Enhanced

One of the earliest Crystal Hacks that create tough movesets and lineups for teams, while also giving you variety and options, sometimes too good options that allow you to overpower even strong enemies. The levels of the post game bosses can go above level 100, so be cautious.

22 Pokemon Cawps
23 Pokemon Fuligin

I got smashed in the first gym. Never thought a Furrett could be so terrifying

24 Pokemon Sweet
25 Pokemon Naturia
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