Table of Contents
- In-Game Tier List
- In-Game 101: A Refresher
- Don't Use a Full Team
- Diverse Movesets are Grossly Overrated In-Game
- Using Legendary Pokémon isn't a Sin
- "Good" and "Bad" Attacks In-Game
- Seriously, Use Items
- Set Up on Leads and Sweep
- Pokémon Reviews
- #000 Victini
- #001-003 Snivy Family
- #004-006 Tepig Family
- #007-009 Oshawott Family
- #010-011 Patrat Family
- #012-013 Purrloin Family
- #014-016 Pidove Family
- #017-019 Sewaddle Family
- #020-021 Sunkern Family
- #022-024 Lillipup Family
- #025-027 Mareep Family
- #028-029 Psyduck Family
- #030-032 Azurill Family
- #033-034 Riolu Family
- #035 Dunsparce
- #036 Audino
- #037-038 Pansage Family
- #039-040 Pansear Family
- #041-042 Panpour Family
- #043-045 Venipede Family
- #046-047 Koffing Family
- #048-050 Magnemite Family
- #051-101: Growlithe-Krookodile
- #051-052 Growlithe Family
- #053-055 Magby Family
- #056-058 Elekid Family
- #059-060 Rattata Family
- #061-063 Zubat Family
- #064-065 Grimer Family
- #066-067 Woobat Family
- #068-070 Roggenrola Family
- #071-072 Onix Family
- #073-075 Timburr Family
- #076-077 Drilbur Family
- #078-079 Skitty Family
- #080-081 Buneary Family
- #082-083 Cottonee Family
- #084-085 Petilil Family
- #086-087 Munna Family
- #088-090 Cleffa Family
- #091-098 Eevee Family
- #099-101 Sandile Family
- #102-150: Darumaka-Floatzel
- #102-103 Darumaka Family
- #104 Basculin
- #105-106 Trubbish Family
- #107-108 Minccino Family
- #109-110 Rufflet Family
- #110 Braviary (Route 4)
- #111-112 Vullaby Family
- #112 Mandibuzz (Route 4)
- #113-114 Sandshrew Family
- #115-116 Dwebble Family
- #117-118 Scraggy Family
- #119 Maractus
- #120 Sigilyph
- #121-123 Trapinch Family
- #124-125 Yamask Family
- #126-129 Tirtouga-Archeops
- #130-132 Klink Family
- #133-135 Budew Family
- #136-138 Gothita Family
- #139-141 Solosis Family
- #142-143 Combee Family
- #144 Emolga
- #145 Heracross
- #146 Pinsir
- #147-148 Blitzle Family
- #149-150 Buizel Family
- #151-200: Zorua-Landorus
- #151-152 Zorua Family
- #153-154 Ducklett Family
- #155-156 Karrablast Family
- #157-158 Shelmet Family
- #159-160 Deerling Family
- #161-162 Foongus Family
- #163 Castform
- #164-165 Nosepass Family
- #166-168 Aron Family
- #169-170 Baltoy Family
- #172 Volcarona (Relic Castle)
- #173-174 Joltik Family
- #175-176 Ferroseed Family
- #177-179 Tynamo Family
- #180-181 Frillish Family
- #182 Alomomola
- #183-185 Axew Family
- #186 Zangoose
- #187 Seviper
- #188-189 Elgyem Family
- #190-192 Litwick Family
- #193-194 Heatmor-Durant
- #195-196 Cubchoo Family
- #197-200 Cryogonal-Landorus
- #201-249: Skorupi-Ninetales
- #201-202 Skorupi Family
- #203 Skarmory
- #204-205 Numel Family
- #206-207 Spoink Family
- #208-209 Drifloon Family
- #210-211 Shuppet Family
- #212-213 Pelipper Family
- #214 Lunatone
- #215 Solrock
- #216 Absol
- #217-218 Tangela Family
- #219-220 Mienfoo Family
- #221-222 Gligar Family
- #223-224 Pawniard Family
- #225 Cobalion
- #226 Virizion
- #227 Terrakion
- #228-231 Tympole-Stunfisk
- #232 Shuckle
- #233-234 Mantyke Family
- #235-236 Remoraid Family
- #237 Corsola
- #238-239 Staryu Family
- #240-241 Wailmer Family
- #242 Lapras
- #243-245 Spheal Family
- #246-247 Swablu Family
- #248-249 Vulpix Family
- #250-300: Bronzor-Genesect
- #250-251 Bronzor Family
- #252-253 Sneasel Family
- #254 Delibird
- #255-257 Vanillite Family
- #258-260 Swinub Family
- #261 Ditto
- #262-264 Beldum Family
- #265-266 Seel Family
- #267 Throh
- #268 Sawk
- #269 Bouffalant
- #270 Druddigon
- #271-272 Golett Family
- #273-275 Deino Family
- #276-297 Kyurem
- #298 Keldeo
- 299 Meloetta
- #300 Genesect
- Notable Item Locations
- Quick Flowchart
- Held/Evolutionary Item Locations
- TM Locations
- Battle Subway/Pokémon World Tournament Items
- Rare Candy Locations
- Heart Scale Locations
- Move Tutors
- Helpful Links
- To-Do List
- Contact Info
- Legal Information
- Version History
Pokémon Reviews (Continued)
Names: Growlithe -> Arcanine
Abilities: Intimidate or Flash Fire
Recommended Ability: Intimidate is the more consistent choice, and adds to the Growlithe line's respectable bulk. Flash Fire has a bit of merit, though; against opposing Fire-types, you could always bait the opponent into using a Fire attack by placing out a Pokémon weak to the attack, then switch in Growlithe/Arcanine.
Evolution: Evolves with the Fire Stone.
First Encountered: You can encounter Growlithe in the Virbank Complex.
Fire-types are a fan favorite, and Growlithe has been warming people's hearts ever since the first generation (except for Blue players). It was also the only line to get ExtremeSpeed until Dratini inexplicably stole its thunder in Crystal.
Arcanine has a surprisingly high Base Stat Total (it has a BST of 555, while most legendary trio Pokémon have a BST of 580), and it has no bad stats. Its attacking stats and Speed are high, and it even has pretty good defenses with Intimidate to soften up physical blows. You may have heard people say that Fire-types are poor defensively, but they fare better in-game since every opposing team doesn't carry Earthquake, Stone Edge, or a Water-type attack.
Growlithe is tripping over STAB attacks, and can use them from both sides of the attacking spectrum. It only starts off with Ember, but picks up Flame Wheel (level 17), which it may learn in time for the Virbank Gym. It soon picks up the slightly more powerful Fire Fang (level 21), then learns the decently powered Take Down (level 23) for good measure. At level 28, its flame only grows with Flame Burst. Near the sixth Gym, it finally learns Flamethrower (level 34), an excellent Fire attack that most Fire-types won't have access to until late in the game.
Now, you have to make a decision. You can pick up a Fire Stone in the Desert Resort, so you can evolve your Growlithe at any time. However, Arcanine can only learn ExtremeSpeed, while Growlithe can learn a couple of notable attacks. It learns Heat Wave (level 41) which is a slightly more powerful but less reliable version of Flamethrower. Outrage (level 43) is a powerful physical Dragon attack that's helpful against the Opelucid Gym's Dragons. though it's only super-effective against Dragon-types. The big draw is Flare Blitz (level 45), a very powerful Fire-type attack that runs off of Arcanine's higher Attack stat.
I suggest you evolve your Growlithe as soon as it learns Flamethrower. Heat Wave and Outrage aren't deal breakers. You can teach it Fire Blast, which has equal power to Flare Blitz and runs off of Arcanine's lower (but still nice!) Special Attack stat. While Flare Blitz is a great attack, dragging along a first-stage Pokémon until the final Gym is unacceptable. Besides, at level 34, your Growlithe should start slipping behind, so the evolution keeps it a viable party member. Make sure you evolve Arcanine at level 34 so that it can learn ExtremeSpeed. It's not that handy in-game, though, since Arcanine is already fast.
The Growlithe line is fairly barren in TM moves. As mentioned before, Fire Blast is a great attack for it. Dig can hit other Fire-types. Return gives decent neutral coverage alongside Fire-type attacks, while Wild Charge is a late-game option. Don't be tempted by SolarBeam, since Arcanine is weak against all of the types that it would be effective against. Dragon Pulse is an option at the Lentimas Town Move Tutor if you really want to hurt Dragon-types.
The Growlithe line does pretty well at the first couple of Gyms. With Dragon Pulse, it even does solidly at the Opelucid Gym (watch out for Drayden's Flygon). It also does well against Colress. However, the Driftveil and Seigaiha Gyms will give it trouble, as well as Skyla's Swanna. Overall, it has solid matchups.
If you didn't start out with Tepig, Growlithe makes a good Fire-type. It comes fairly early in the game, consistently picks up powerful STAB attacks, and evolves into a Pokémon with an excellent Base Stat Total. It doesn't hit as hard as some other Fire-types, but its extra bulk and steady stream of Fire attacks make up for it. Pick one up if you want.
Names: Magby -> Magmar -> Magmortar
Ability: Flame Body
Evolution: Evolves at level 30; evolves when traded while holding the Magmarizer
First Encountered: You can encounter Magby in the Virbank Complex. (Black 2 only)
Magmar is another Generation I veteran. How does it stack up nowadays? Well, Magmortar has an amazing base Special Attack, nice Attack and Special Defense, and decent Speed (though it actually loses 10 base Speed upon evolving). Its HP and Defense are mediocre, though. Although Magby is a baby Pokémon, it comes with respectable stats for a first-stage Pokémon. Level 30 is far away, though, and its low HP and defenses will irritate you towards the end of its stint. The Magmarizer is found in the Plasma Frigate, so don't expect to have a super-awesome Magmortar until late in the game.
Magby's only notable starting attack is Ember. It's okay, but it will appreciate Flame Burst (level 22). Fire Punch (level 29) will be even better. Magmar keeps up the Fire attacks with Lava Plume (level 36), which has a chance to burn the foe. Flamethrower (level 49) is an accurate and fairly powerful Fire attack, while Fire Blast (level 55) eschews some accuracy for power. You should get the Fire Blast TM long before you have a level 55 Magmortar, though.
Teach your Magmar Fire Blast as soon as you get the TM. Psychic and Thunderpunch are options. Magmortar also picks up Thunderbolt.
Magmortar is a solid choice for a Fire-type. However, it takes forever to grow out of its first stage, and you can't obtain a Magmortar until the late-game. While Magmar should tide you over until then, it's somewhat lackluster compared to other Fire types. It's a good, but not great Pokémon.
Names: Elekid -> Electabuzz -> Electivire
Evolution: Evolves at level 30; evolves when traded while holding the Electirizer
First Encountered: You can encounter Elekid in the Virbank Complex. (White 2 only)
The Electric counterpart to Magmortar. Electivire's has a beastly Attack stat along with nice Special Attack and Speed. It has solid Special Defense, though its other stats are lacking. Elekid's stats are respectable for a baby Pokémon, although its stats are worse than Magby's since the higher Speed doesn't compensate for the lower offenses. The Electirizer is found in the Plasma Frigate, so you can't get your hands on an Electivire for quite a while.
Elekid starts with ThunderShock. It also starts with Low Kick, although it's pretty bad in the early game due to the light, unevolved Pokémon running around. Even when the foes start using evolved Pokémon, it's inconsistent at best. Shock Wave (level 15) is a more powerful special Electric attack that never misses. Thunder Wave (level 19) is a solid choice for paralysis, and combines with Electro Ball (level 22). Unlike the Mareep and Magnemite lines, the Elekid line actually has the Speed to use Electro Ball effectively without using Thunder Wave. Thunderpunch (level 29) should remain a filler until you obtain an Electivire.
Electabuzz keeps the Electric attacks coming with Discharge (level 36), which is superior to the combination of Thunder Wave and Electro Ball. Thunderbolt (level 49) is the best special Electric attack, and Electabuzz/Electivire learns it before you can pick up the TM.
The Elekid line will appreciate Fire Punch and Ice Punch. Psychic is also an option.
Electivire is a fairly good choice for an Electric-type. Although Elekid takes a while to evolve and the Electirizer is found late, Electabuzz's great STAB attacks will keep it viable until you can finally obtain an Electivire. If you're playing White 2, you should consider it.
Names: Rattata -> Raticate
Abilities: Run Away or Guts
Recommended Ability: Guts, as Run Away does nothing in trainer battles.
Evolution: Evolves at level 20.
First Encountered: You can encounter Rattata in the Castelia Sewers.
Rating: Low (Mid-Low)
I'll take "controversial Unova Dex additions" for $1000, Alex.
Yes, out of the hundreds of Pokémon Game Freak could have added, the infamous Rattata and Zubat somehow made their way in. Rattata is normally an early-mid game Pokémon; it evolves early and has decent stats when it evolves, but quickly declines as the game progresses. However, since you get Rattata around the third Gym, it can't perform its usual role as well. For a final stage Pokémon, Raticate has great Speed, but its Attack is mediocre and its defenses are pretty bad.
If you catch Rattata when it's at least level 16, it will know Hyper Fang, which has a nice 80 power for this point in the game. Sucker Punch (level 19) is an 80 power physical Dark attack that has priority if the opponent uses a non-attacking move. Since the computers may just use crappy status or stat-up moves instead, and Raticate is already fast, just stick with Crunch (Raticate, level 24). Double-Edge (level 39) is a more powerful alternative to Return, although the recoil hurts. Finally, it can relearn Swords Dance, which makes up for its mediocre Attack. Its lack of bulk hurts it when it's trying to set up, though.
The Rattata line can scrounge up a lot of TM and tutor moves. A good chunk of these are special attacks, though, which run off of its pathetic Special Attack. Dig and Wild Charge are available through TMs, while Zen Headbutt is an option from the Lentimas Town Move Tutor.
Raticate's most interesting move is Facade, though. By taking advantage of Raticate's Guts ability, this can cause Raticate's Attack to skyrocket. Get Raticate intentionally burned or poisoned (you get a Toxic Orb in Black 2 or a Flame Orb in White 2 to guarantee this setup), then ravage opponents with a Guts-boosted, 140 power STAB attack. You can even throw in Swords Dance for more fun! Remember, major status effects won't wear off after battle in-game, so you can keep abusing this setup. However, you'll have to re-apply this setup every time you visit a Pokémon Center or deposit Raticate in a PC, and statusing Raticate is a real pain until you progress past the sixth Gym and get an Orb. Oh, and the residual damage only adds to Raticate's frailty. There's no way you'll pull this off competitively, though, so might as well have fun with it in-game. This is truly a glass cannon setup, but Raticate should have just enough bulk to survive a hit and enough Speed to start tearing through the opposition.
The Rattata line is best around joining time, where you can utilize its relatively high Attack for the time. It does poorly against Colress and Marshal later on, and is rather frail.
Raticate makes an interesting suicidal sweeper once it gets a status orb and Facade. If this route sounds unappealing, though, just leave Rattata in the sewers. Around the same time, you can catch Pokémon such as Darumaka and Drilbur, which have even higher Attack stats and evolve into terrors. Raticate will never get any better, so unless you want to go with the Guts strategy (which doesn't become viable until after the sixth Gym), don't bother.
Names: Zubat -> Golbat -> Crobat
Ability: Inner Focus
Evolution: Evolves at level 22; evolves through happiness
First Encountered: You can encounter Zubat in the Castelia Sewers.
Rating: Mid (Mid-High)
Yes, Zubat is back. However, it's only found in the Castelia Sewers and its evolution Golbat is only found in the Celestial Tower and Strange House during the storyline, so it won't haunt you every few steps in caves. Plus, it's actually a decent choice in this game. Crobat has well-rounded stats, as it has a blistering 130 base Speed along with good Attack and decent defenses to back it up. Plus, it can reach its final stage early. Just level it up into a Golbat, then use massages and the Bicycle until it evolves into a Crobat. You can even have one by the Castelia Gym, which it dominates.
You'll want to catch Zubat when it's at least level 15, as it will know Wing Attack, which is a solid STAB move for this point. It learns Confuse Ray (level 19) a few levels later, though it's an unreliable attack. Air Cutter (level 28) has an increased critical hit rate, but its base power is weaker than Wing Attack and it runs off of Crobat's lowish Special Attack. Crobat's main boon is at level 33, where it can spam Acrobatics (level 33) to its heart's content. Seriously, that's probably the only attack you'll use for the rest of the storyline. Its only other notable move is Air Slash (level 52); it's much weaker than Acrobatics and is a special attack, but can be used in conjunction with Confuse Ray for some annoyance. You can have it relearn Cross Poison too. But seriously, Acrobatics is where it's at.
The Zubat line has some decent TMs and tutor moves. Some special moves include Dark Pulse and Heat Wave. There's also Giga Drain, which allows Crobat to eat shades of red. Zen Headbutt is a physical attack, while Fly is an alternative STAB attack if you want Crobat to hold an item such as the Lucky Egg or Amulet Coin. Speaking of Fly, it can be used in conjunction with Confuse Ray and Fly for a stalling Crobat, but why stall when you can just pummel the foe with Acrobatics?
The Zubat line is at its best around the third Gym, where you can quickly get a fully evolved Crobat and tear up the Castelia Gym (wath out for Dwebble!). It really takes off after it learns Acrobatics. It isn't so hot in the Nimbasa Gym or against Clay, and Colress and Caitlin obviously tear it apart. Fortunately, it should be able to maim Marshal's Pokémon (sans his Sturdy Sawk) before they can smash Crobat with Rock attacks.
If you can stand to catch a Zubat, it's actually a solid Pokémon since it reaches its final stage very early and makes up for its slightly lacking Attack with STAB Acrobatics. It's pretty much a one-trick (acro)bat, and its Attack can't stand up to some of the other behemoths in the game, but you can use it without any trouble.
Names: Grimer -> Muk
Abilities: Stench or Sticky Hold
Recommended Ability: Stench. Neither ability is good, but Stench is sadly the more practical ability since opponents never use item-removing attacks.
Evolution: Evolves at level 38.
First Encountered: You can encounter Grimer in the Castelia Sewers.
Uh-huh, more Poison-types. Muk has high HP, Attack, and Special Defense, along with decent Defense. Its Speed is low, though. Don't expect to see those stats for a long time, as you have to put up with a Grimer all the way until level 38. Yes, you have to tote a Grimer along until after the sixth Gym.
While this sounds bad, it gets worse since almost all of Grimer's attacks are special attacks. The only physical move it has util level 29 is Pound. Seriously. Sludge has decent power when Grimer joins, and it picks up Mud Bomb (level 21), Sludge Bomb (level 26), and Sludge Wave (level 37), but they're all special attacks! At least Grimer picks up Minimize (level 18), which boosts its evasion by a whopping two stages. Since there's no evasion clause in-game, go nuts. Muk finally picks up a physical Poison attack, Gunk Shot (level 49), but it's too late.
The only way to make Grimer salvageable is by teaching it Gunk Shot early. Unfortunately, Gunk Shot has low PP and crappy accuracy (though a Wide Lens slightly boosts its accuracy), and X-Accuracies aren't readily available until you're near the Opelucid Gym, so Grimer is quickly back to being a crappy Pokémon once Gunk Shot's PP is depleted. It can also learn the elemental punches; however, it's expensive to use Gunk Shot in conjunction with an elemental punch, so prepare to go shard hunting. Dig, Payback, and Rock Slide are also there.
Grimer is a poor Pokémon. It evolves late, has a dearth of physical attacks, and an unimpressive STAB. Don't waste your shards on Gunk Shot, and go catch another Pokémon.
Names: Woobat -> Swoobat
Abilities: Unaware or Klutz
Recommended Ability: Unaware, as the Woobat family can't pull off any gimmicky combos with Klutz.
Evolution: Evolves through happiness
First Encountered: You can encounter Woobat in the Relic Path.
The Woobat line exists since everyone was obviously asking for a Zubat clone. This is a prime example of a Pokémon that's barely usable. It evolves through happiness, so you can get a Swoobat very quickly. The bad news is that, apart from its excellent Speed stat, all of its stats are terrible.
Okay, moves. Woobat comes with Heart Stamp, a 60 power Psychic attack that has a 30% chance of flinching the target. It picks up a Flying-type attack with Air Cutter, a 55 power Flying attack with a high critical hit ratio. Attract (level 25) which infatuates Pokémon of the opposite gender. When combined with Heart Stamp, the opponent only has a 35% chance to attack. Of course, this is very gimmicky and only works on foes of the opposite gender; however, Swoobat isn't great on offense, so might as well try it. At level 29, it starts to resemble a sweeper with Calm Mind (level 29) and it gets solid offensive moves in Air Slash (level 32) and Psychic (level 41).
TM and tutor time. Giga Drain and Heat Wave provide additional coverage. Acrobatics is awesome, but base 57 Attack is not. Toxic is there if you want to go the stalling route.
The Woobat line is best at joining time, since you can quickly get a Swoobat and crush the Castelia Gym. It declines very quickly, though. The Nimbasa, Driftveil, and Opelucid Gyms are all hostile towards Swoobat, as well as Colress and the Elite Four.
This was a short review, but there's not much to say about Swoobat. It gets an early evolution, and can attempt to be a sweeper or annoyer, but comes up short in both areas. It's not terrible, but it's close.
Names: Roggenrola -> Boldore -> Gigalith
Evolution: Evolves at level 25; evolves when traded
First Encountered: You can encounter Roggenrola in the Relic Path.
Rating: Mid (Mid-High)
The Unova region's Geodude. Their evolution requirements are even identical. Gigalith is built like a true tank, with sky-high Attack and Defense, but rock-bottom Speed. Despite Brock's hype, Rock is not an amazing defensive typing; it grants four resistances, but a whopping five weaknesses. People harp on about slow Pokémon in tier reviews, but fail to realize that striking first isn't as crucial in-game as it is competitively, especially with a Pokémon as bulky as Gigalith. You can get a Boldore before the fourth Gym and immediately trade it to obtain a Gigalith, which will have ridiculous stats for that point in the game. Alternatively, you can trade an Emolga for a level 35 Gigalith on Route 7, which will receive the trade experience bonus. It also comes with an Adamant nature and a 31 Attack IV!
It starts off with the STAB Rock Blast, which has a respectable 75 power on average. Smack Down (level 23) is weaker, and its side effect doesn't justify using it over Rock Blast. Rock Slide (level 30) deals a reliable amount of damage, but is only as powerful as an average Rock Blast, and Gigalith won't be able to take advantage of the flinching due to its awful Speed. Stealth Rock (level 36) may jump out at competitive players, but it's not nearly as useful in-game due to the lack of constant switching. Sandstorm (level 42) boosts Gigalith's Special Defense, and can be combined with Iron Defense (level 20) to make Gigalith into more of a tank, but once again, you're better off going hulk smash. Stone Edge (level 48) is Gigalith's most powerful Rock attack, and even comes with a handy critical hit rate. The 80% accuracy is annoying, but missing during in-game isn't fatal. Finally, Explosion (level 55) can be used as a kamikaize attack, but Gigalith will receive no experience for its sacrifice, making it a poor choice in-game.
The Roggenrola line's TM and tutor moves are barren. Unfortunately, it doesn't learn Dig, and Earthquake is obtained in the post-game, so it's basically limited to Rock and Normal attacks. You may want to teach it Superpower, even though it lowers Gigalith's two notable stats. Honestly, it's better off with what it has.
The Roggenrola line is best around the fourth Gym, where you should have a Gigalith with amazing stats that can destroy the Nimbasa Gym. Gigalith also does well against two of Skyla's Pokémon (even though Skarmory has high Defense and Steel Wing, Gigalith should win the war) and can even stand up to Drayden's Haxorus. It's worth noting, however, that it does fairly poorly against the Elite Four: Marshal is a Fighting-type specialist, Caitlin's Pokémon are all special sweepers (though she does have a Sigilyph), three of Grimsley's Pokémon have a secondary type that trumps Gigalith, and half of Shauntal's team give it problems. The Champion has two Pokémon weak to Rock-type attacks, but one of them is a Lapras, and nearly all of her Pokémon have super-effective attacks against Gigalith.
Roggenrola is another one of those strange Mid High Pokémon. Although it's basically locked to Rock-type attacks (which isn't as bad as it sounds), it reaches its final form fairly early and will tear up the competition for a while. However, it has a surprising number of weaknesses, and isn't too hot in the later battles. Still, if you can trade with someone, Roggenrola is ready to rock and roll.
Names: Onix -> Steelix
Type: Rock/Ground; Steel/Ground
Abilities: Rock Head or Sturdy
Recommended Ability: Either. Use Rock Head if you're planning to teach it Double-Edge, but stick with Sturdy otherwise.
Evolution: Evolves when traded while holding a Metal Coat.
First Encountered: You can encounter Onix in the Relic Path. Keep in mind that normal Onix are encountered at level 18, while dust cloud Onix are encountered at level 16.
Onix is another Generation I veteran. Back in the day, Brock's Onix terrorized Yellow players that didn't know about Confusion Butterfree, Mankey, or the broken Nidorans, while the inexplicable number of players that started with Charmander in Red and Blue also despaired.
Well, if you choose to use an Onix, you'll be experiencing despair for a while. The Metal Coat is found in Chargestone Cave, so you'll have to be willing to put up with an Onix for three Gyms. (Magnemite have a 5% chance of carrying Metal Coats, but I honestly wouldn't bother.) Onix has impressive Defense and passable Speed, but its other stats are atrocious. Keep in mind it didn't even evolve until Generation II! Fortunately, Steelix rectifies this by having an absurd 200 base Defense along with a decent 85 base Attack, along with nine resistances and two immunities. Its other stats are nothing to write home about.
Onix starts with Rock Tomb, which has a decent base 50 power. However, its low Attack stat means it will still be inflicting crap damage. Rock Polish (level 19) can be used to boost Onix's Speed, but will become counterproductive once it evolves into Steelix. DragonBreath (level 25) is an option if you really want to utilize that 30 base Special Attack. Screech (level 31) compensates for Onix's complete lack of offense.
Around this time, Onix should evolve into Steelix, and things should be looking up. First of all, go to the Move Relearner and re-teach Steelix Curse. Although it doesn't need the Defense boost, the Attack boost is welcome due to its slightly lacking Attack, and the Speed drop actually comes in handy later on. Rock Slide (level 34) is a solid attack that has good coverage alongside Steelix's STAB ground attacks, though Steelix can't take advantage of its flinching side effect. Crunch (level 37) is also a decent option for extra coverage. Iron Tail (level 40) is a powerful Steel attack, though its 75% accuracy is a real pain. Stone Edge (level 46) should replace Rock Slide, since the extra power and critical hit rate will make up for Steelix's lack of strength. Double-Edge (level 49) is Steelix's last notable move, and serves as a powerful, recoil-free attack when used in conjunction with Rock Head.
TMs and tutor moves. You'll immediately want to slap Dig on Onix when you get the TM, since it can't learn Earthquake during the storyline. Make sure you teach Steelix Gyro Ball. Steelix is a perfect fit for the attack due to its low base Speed, and Curse decreases its Speed even more. You can also teach Steelix Iron Head at the Driftveil tutor for a decent Steel attack, since Gyro Ball only has 5 PP. Aqua Tail is the only other noteworthy attack. Steelix can relearn the elemental fangs, which actually outpower a STAB Dig if they hit for super-effective damage.
Onix actually does pretty well in the Nimbasa Gym, despite its lack of attacking power. Steelix also holds its own against two of Skyla's Pokémon, though Fire Fang is the only way it can really damage Skarmory. It also stands up to Drayden's Haxorus, which is worth a nod.
Although Onix is pretty bad, Steelix makes a respectable tank due to its insane base Defense, Curse, and resistances. STAB ground attacks are always helpful. You have to put up with an Onix until Chargestone Cave unless you want to go Magnemite hunting, though, and it can't learn Earthquake during the storyline, which lowers its ranking.
Names: Timburr -> Gurdurr -> Conkeldurr
Abilities: Guts or Sheer Force
Recommended Ability: Guts, as it only adds to Conkeldurr's massive damage output.
Evolution: Evolves at level 25; evolves through trading
First Encountered: You can encounter Timburr in the Relic Path.
Conkeldurr is the Unova region's Machamp, and its evolutionary line shares similiar evolutionary requirements. It boasts a ridiculous 140 base Attack, along with a meaty 105 base HP and 95 base Defense. Its other stats aren't too hot, though. Since Timburr evolves into Gurdurr at level 28, you can trade and get a Conkeldurr soon before your other Pokémon start evolving.
Timburr starts off with the unreliable Low Kick for a STAB attack, along with Rock Throw. Wake-Up Slap (level 20) is a Fighting attack with a reliable 60 power. Depressingly, this is the Timburr line's most consistent Fighting attack until level 45 unless you're willing to invest the time to get the Brick Break TM. Fortunately, Conkeldurr learns Bulk Up (level 29) to boost its damage output and Defense even further. Rock Slide (level 33) is a straight upgrade over Rock Throw, so make sure you teach that to Conkeldurr. Hammer Arm (level 45) is a powerful Fighting attack, and its side effect isn't too detrimental since Conkeldurr is naturally slow. Stone Edge (level 49) is an alternative to Rock Slide if you don't mind the accuracy drop, since it's more powerful and Conkeldurr will find its secondary effect more useful than Rock Slide's. Focus Punch (level 53) is too risky to pull off in-game due to the erratic AI. Superpower (level 57) is a more reliable move, but its nasty stat drops make Hammer Arm the more appealing choice.
There are a handful of useful TMs and tutor moves. Payback gives Conkeldurr extra coverage against Ghost-types, and will probably strike for 100 base power since Conkeldurr should be moving last. Conkeldurr can learn the elemental punches fromm the Driftveil City Move Tutor to give it some variety. Drain Punch is an extremely helpful move from the Humilau City Move Tutor, since it has a decent 75 base power and grants some free healing. Dig is a decent option. Facade is an option if you want to abuse Guts by intentionally statusing Conkeldurr (keep in mind you'll have to re-apply the status every time your party is fully healed).
The Timburr line is best when Conkeldurr first evolves, since its stats should easily eclipse your other team members' for a while. It's a solid choice against Colress and the Champion and does well in the Driftveil Gym and against Grimsley. However, it isn't too hot against Skyla or Caitlin.
Conkeldurr is a great Fighting-type to use. It's stuck with Wake-Up Slap and Low Kick unless you're willing to put in the time for the Brick Break TM, but its sheer power and Bulk Up make up for this. Definitely consider it if you can trade.
Names: Drilbur -> Excadrill
Type: Ground; Ground/Steel
Abilities: Sand Force or Sand Rush
Recommended Ability: Sand Rush. While Sandstorm isn't worth wasting a moveslot for, the extra Speed is more useful than an overkill Attack boost.
Evolution: Evolves at level 31
First Encountered: You can encounter Drilbur in the Relic Path dust clouds.
Oh, yes. I've been waiting for this. Drilbur starts off as a cute little mole, but becomes insane once it evolves into Excadrill. Excadrill has a sky-high 135 base Attack, a high 110 base HP, and a pretty good base Speed of 88. It has low defenses, but Excadrill's high HP and numerous resistances make up for it. It also evolves at a reasonable time, though it's a bit too late for the Nimbasa Gym.
Drilbur may know Dig (level 19) right off the bat, so you don't have to put up with Fury Swipes and Metal Claw for a while like in Black/White. Hone Claws (level 22) is a decent set-up move that boosts Drilbur's Attack and accuracy, which can be helpful since Drilbur can use inaccurate Rock attacks. Convienently, it picks up Rock Slide (level 29) near the end of its stint, which gets excellent coverage alongside its STAB Ground attacks.
Excadrill picks up the granddaddy of all physical moves, Earthquake, at level 36. (Drilbur learns it at level 33, so you may want to hold off on evolution for a couple levels if you really want Earthquake early.) STAB Earthquake is an amazing attack, and Excadrill picks it up at a good time. For instance, Krookodile learns Earthquake very late, while other Ground-types such as Steelix can't learn it at all during the storyline. Excadrill gets even better when it picks up Swords Dance (level 42), which boosts its amazing Attack to obscene levels. Due to its typing, Excadrill can even set up on the first Pokémon of major trainers such as Skyla, the Team Plasma higher-ups, Shauntal, Grimsley, and Caitlin, and proceed to rampage through the opposing team. Its last notable move is Drill Run (level 55), which is a decent alternative to Earthquake in double or triple battles.
Due to Earthquake and Rock Slide, the Drilbur line's TMs are mostly superfulous. X-Scissor grants a bit of additional coverage. Iron Head can be learned at the Driftveil tutor for an alternate STAB attack, but you're better off with the Ground-type attacks. It can also learn Drill Run early if you're interested. But really, Excadrill learns everything that it needs.
Excadrill is one of the best Pokémon you can find during the game. It starts off solid, and grows into a terrifying menace that can rip through teams with its powerful Earthquakes. I highly recommend it. Buy some Repels and start hunting for dust clouds!
Names: Skitty -> Delcatty
Abilities: Cute Charm or Normalize
Recommended Ability: Cute Charm. While it's luck-based, it gives the Skitty line a chance at avoiding a beating. Since the Skitty line already gets STAB on the powerful Return, Normalize is only useful for paralyzing Ground-types with Thunder Wave.
Evolution: Evolves with a Moon Stone.
First Encountered: You can encounter Skitty in the Castelia City Garden. You can also encounter Delcatty in the Castelia Garden's shaking grass. (White 2 only)
Skitty, Skitty, Skitty. None of Delcatty's stats break 70, so you can already tell how useful it's going to be. Even worse, the Moon Stone is found on Route 6, so you can't evolve it early on. You have a 5% chance of encountering Delcatty in shaking grass, and you can find Moon Stones in dust clouds with enough perseverence, but there are better time wasters.
Evolve Skitty ASAP. The only notable move it learns is Charm (level 25), which will slightly mitigate the pain the opponent will put on Skitty. Sing (level 11) has terrible accuracy, but you clearly have balls if you're using Skitty, so you should take the risk. Waiting for Double-Edge (level 42) is not worth it. When you reach the Move Relearner, teach Skitty/Delcatty Fake Out for some free damage. And by damage, I mean a light tap.
Skitty has a vast movepool, but lacks the stats to take advantage of it. Return is a great attack, and makes the Skitty line slightly less useless. Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, Shadow Ball, Dig, Zen Headbutt, Work Up...the list goes on. Too bad it doesn't get Calm Mind during the story, or it might actually be a mediocre Pokémon!
I won't patronize you: Skitty is a bottom-barrel Pokémon. Even if you have the patience to get a Delcatty in Castelia City, it's eclipsed by Raticate. Anyone that uses Skitty deserves a beatdown.
Names: Buneary -> Lopunny
Abilities: Run Away/Cute Charm or Klutz
Recommended Ability: Cute Charm. Klutz combos are not worth it.
Evolution: Evolves through happiness.
First Encountered: You can encounter Buneary in the Castelia City Garden. You can also encounter Lopunny in shaking grass. (Black 2 only)
Now, I would say that putting a Playboy Bunny caricature in a kids' game is a questionable decision. However, since this is a Japanese RPG, I should just be happy at Game Freak's restraint.
The strange decisions didn't stop at the drawing board, though, as Lopunny has an unusual stat spread. It has great Speed and pretty good Defenses, but its HP is low while its Attack is pretty mediocre. Fortunately, since you catch it in Castelia City, you can quickly get a Lopunny. While its Attack is lower than Raticate's, Lopunny's overall superior stats make it a better candidate for an early evolved Normal type.
Now, Lopunny is meant to be a quirky Pokémon. In competitive play, you're supposed to use Lopunny as a Baton Passer or use Switcheroo with a Flame Orb in order to burn the opponent (Lopunny will be unaffected by the Orb due to Klutz). Now, Lopunny can't pull off either of these roles well in-game. Switcheroo is unavailable (and Lopunny would lose its item permanently if used in-game, so it would be a bad idea anyway) and Lopunny can only pass Agility speed boosts. So, it has to serve as a mediocre physical attacker instead.
First of all, evolve your Buneary ASAP, as Buneary and Lopunny share the same natural movepool (though Lopunny gets Return instead of Buneary's Frustration). On an ironic note, Buneary starts off with Frustration as a STAB attack, but you'll want to replace it with Return since you should have a happy Lopunny. Jump Kick (level 23) is a powerful Fighting-type attack, but it strips away half of Lopunny's HP if it misses. Still, at 95% accuracy, it's worth the risk. Literally the only other notable move it learns is Charm (level 46), which will soften physical blows.
Time for TMs and tutor moves. As stated before, you'll want to teach Lopunny Return ASAP. Thunder Wave and Attract could form a cute parattraction combo to take advantage of Lopunny's decent bulk. It gets a vast special movepool with moves such as Thunderbolt and Ice Beam, but its base 54 Special Attack makes these moves a bad idea, even with Work Up. Finally, the Driftveil tutor carries the elemental punches and Low Kick.
Overall, Lopunny is a mediocre Pokémon. It can't pull off its usual roles in-game (not like it can pull them off well competitively), leaving it as an outclassed attacker. It gets to utilize a powerful Return and Jump Kick early on, but you're better off using a Herdier, which has a mean Take Down and evolves into a well-rounded Stoutland. It's decent for a while, but not worth using in the long term unless you're a Pokephiliac.
Names: Cottonee -> Whimsicott
Abilities: Prankster or Infiltrator
Recommended Ability: Prankster, as it's the Cottonee line's main niche. Infiltrator is situational anyway.
Evolution: Evolves with a Sun Stone.
First Encountered: You can encounter Cottonee in the Castelia City Garden. You can also encounter Whimsicott in shaking grass, though I don't recommend it. (Black 2 only)
Meet the most irritating Pokémon of Generation V. Unfortunately, you won't get any reaction from the computer while abusing Prankster. Whimsicott is built slightly like Lopunny: it has great Speed and decent defenses, but mediocre Special Attack and low HP. However, you're stuck with a Cottonee until Nimbasa City, which won't be able to inflict any damage with its horrid attacking stats.
Cottonee starts off with the defensive moves Leech Seed and Stun Spore. Its STAB move is Mega Drain, which has a fairly poor base power by this point and runs off of Cottonee's 37 base Special Attack. It picks up Razor Leaf (level 19) which is more powerful, but runs off of its even worse Attack stat. Salvation finally comes with Giga Drain (level 26), which should be the Cottonee line's main STAB attack for the rest of the game. Charm (level 28) softens physical blows and works with Prankster.
Now, you can stick with Cottonee for nine more levels, or evolve it into a Whimsicott and miss out on a notable move. Whimsicott learns Tailwind at level 28, which doubles the party's Speed for four turns. However, Whimsicott itself is already blistering fast, and a switch-in will only have two turns to take advantage of the Speed boost unless Whimsicott faints the turn the move is used. Cottonee learns Cotton Guard at level 37, which turns it into a resilient Pokémon. However, putting up with Cottonee until level 37 is a nightmare. So, it's pretty much lose-lose. Finally, Whimsicott picks up Hurricane (level 46), which gives it a little additional coverage, but with a crappy 70% accuracy.
The Cottonee line barely learns any useful TMs. Psychic gives it additional coverage, while Energy Ball is another STAB attack. Toxic can be used in conjunction with Leech Seed and Cotton Guard to turn Whimsicott into a tank, though it takes a while to take off.
Pure Grass typing means it struggles with most of the Gyms and Team Plasma, which doesn't help Cottonee.
Overall, the Cottonee line is pretty bad in-game. Whimsicott can't utilize Prankster as effectively in-game, so it's just a fairly weak sweeper. Cotton Guard makes it tanky, but you'll have to baby a Cottonee for ages. The pure Grass typing doesn't help either. If you're playing Black 2, make the in-game trade for a Petilil.
Names: Petilil -> Lilligant
Abilities: Chlorophyll or Own Tempo
Recommended Ability: Own Tempo, as it works in conjunction with Petal Dance.
Evolution: Evolves with a Sun Stone.
First Encountered: You can encounter Petilil in the Castelia City Garden. You can also encounter Lilligant in shaking grass, though I don't recommend it. (White 2 only)
Now this is more like it. Say hello to Lilligant, the most adorable Pokémon of Generation V. I've been hard on pure Grass-types, but Lilligant has what it takes to succeed. It has great Special Attack and pretty good Speed, though its HP and defenses aren't notable. Unlike Cottonee, you shouldn't have any hesitation about using the Sun Stone on Petilil at a reasonable time.
Petilil starts off with Mega Drain as a fairly weak Grass-type attack. However, it also starts with Sleep Powder, which is an excellent status move despite its 75% accuracy. Magical Leaf (level 19) will help to tide it over until Giga Drain (level 26), which will be its main STAB attack for a while. After Petilil learns Giga Drain, immediately evolve it into Lilligant. Just two levels later, it learns the fantastic Quiver Dance (level 28), which boosts its Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed all by one stage. You should see the strategy: disable the opponent with Sleep Powder, boost Lilligant's stats to high heaven with Quiver Dance, then heal off any damage with Giga Drain. Fantastic. Lilligant's only other attack is Petal Dance (level 46), which Own Tempo Lilligant can abuse without any drawback.
The Petilil line's TM and tutor selection is barren. Dream Eater would actually be decent in-game since the computer won't switch out a sleeping Pokémon, but it's only available in the post-game. Its only other non-Grass special attack is Round, which is terrible.
Unfortunately, Lilligant isn't so hot in major battles, as it struggles in most of the Gyms and against the Team Plasma higher-ups. However, it can set up on some Pokémon with Sleep Powder and Quiver Dance. Just don't try it against Drayden, since his Pokémon can use Dragon Tail to force Lilligant out of the battle.
Like Excadrill, Lilligant receives all of the tools it needs to succeed. It's not a complete monster, as it's unfortunately locked to Grass-type attacks. Sleep Powder's 75% accuracy can also be annoying. However, Lilligant can easily disable the opponent and set up in the blink of an eye. If you want a Grass-type, this is your best bet.
Names: Munna -> Musharna
The Munna line is only available in the post-game.
Names: Cleffa -> Clefairy -> Clefable
Abilities: Cute Charm or Magic Guard
Recommended Ability: Magic Guard, as it's an amazing ability that will protect the line from all sorts of miscellaneous bumps and scratches.
Evolution: Evolves through happiness; evolves with a Moon Stone.
First Encountered: You can encounter Clefairy in the Giant Chasm.
Meet Clefable, the most criminally underrated Pokémon in BW2. While it's relegated to the lower tiers in competitive play, it's surprisingly potent in-game. Needless to say, you'll want to evolve your Clefairy ASAP. Clefable has fairly high HP, decent Special Attack, and nice Special Defense, along with passable Defense, but its other stats are pretty mediocre. This doesn't matter. Clefable is yet again a defensive Pokémon, but it can actually function as a solid tank in-game. It can't learn Calm Mind, unfortunately, and moves such as Heal Bell and the unobtainable Wish aren't worth it. However, Clefable has more sinister tactics in mind.
Clefairy comes with two unsuspecting moves: Stored Power and Cosmic Power. Stored Power has a pathetic base power of 20, but its power increases by 20 for each of its user's stat boosts. Cosmic Power boosts the user's Defense and Special Defense by one level. Evolve it into a Clefable, and re-teach it Minimize, which boosts its evasion by a whopping two stages. Since there are no competitive clauses in-game, enjoy racking up those evasion boosts!
If you're on the ball, I'm sure you can see the strategy: Use Minimize and Cosmic Power or Work Up to give Clefable two stat boosts a pop, then unleash Stored Power. Now, due to PP conservations, you'll have to use these attacks conservatively. However, if you just use Minimize and Cosmic Power/Work Up twice in one battle, Stored Power will have a massive 180 power, on par with Victni's V-create! This will allow you to use Clefable for 10 battles without having to restore its PP. As if that wasn't amazing enough, Clefable will have a 57.1% chance of dodging attacks with perfect accuracy due to its evasion boost, and will possibly have +2 Defense and Special Defense on top of it, making it nearly untouchable. If you're willing to go only seven battles before depleting Minimize/Cosmic Power's PP, you can use Minimize and Cosmic Power/Work Up three times for six battles and two times in a seventh battle, causing Stored Power to have 260 power and allowing Clefable to have a 2/3 chance of dodging attacks with perfect accuracy! Use a PP Up on Minimize, and you can use Minimize three times in eight battles.
The Cleffa line learns a ton of TMs and tutor moves, but most are unnecessary. Shadow Ball allows Clefable to hit Ghost-type Pokémon. Work Up can be used to boost both of Clefable's attacking stats. Drain Punch or Brick Break is an option for the Champion's team.
Clefable can't set up against Marshal, obviously, but it doesn't have any major problems in any other major matchups.
Granted, it does take a while to power Clefable up, and a very powerful critical hit can spell its doom if you're careless. (Needless to say, don't use it against Marshal.) However, if you want to be creative and use a surprisingly vicious Pokémon, pick up a Clefable. You won't regret it.
Names: Eevee -> Vaporeon, Jolteon, Flareon, Espeon, Umbreon, Leafeon, or Glaceon
Type: Normal; Water; Electric; Fire; Psychic; Dark; Grass; Ice
Abilities: Run Away or Adaptability for Eevee; Water Absorb for Vaporeon; Volt Absorb for Jolteon; Flash Fire for Flareon; Synchronize for Espeon and Umbreon; Leaf Guard for Leafeon; Snow Cloak for Glaceon
Recommended Ability: Adaptability for Eevee, but it doesn't matter since you shouldn't be lugging around an Eevee for long.
Evolution: Evolves with a Water Stone; ThunderStone; Fire Stone; through happiness in the daytime; through happiness in the nighttime; when leveled up at the mossy rock in Pinwheel Forest; when leveled up at the icy rock in Twist Mountain's basement
First Encountered: You can encounter Eevee in the Castelia City Garden.
Rating: Low for Vaporeon, Jolteon, and Flareon (Mid-Low for Jolteon); Top for Espeon; Mid for Umbreon; N/A for Leafeon and Glaceon