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
Vaporeon was one of my first loves. I remember using it in my Yellow team of Mewtwo/Pikachu/Zapdos/Charizard/Vaporeon/Snorlax.
Now, just by looking at Vaporeon's stats, you'd think it would be a good Water-type to use. Excellent Special Attack, godly HP, and great Special Defense make up for the sub-par Defense and Speed. However, in a cruel twist of fate, the Water Stone is only available after you get Surf. This means that you'll have to drag along an Eevee for around three Gyms or stick Eevee in storage and get a very underleveled Vaporeon up to par. Even if you have the patience to go dust cloud hunting for a Water Stone, don't expect Vaporeon to improve much, as it still won't get a Water-type attack until Surf. Tragically, Vaporeon learns Water Pulse at level 17, while Eevee are encountered at level 18 at the earliest. The Move Relearner is only available after you defeat Clay, so don't expect to reteach Vaporeon Water Pulse and have it dominate the Driftveil Gym.
If you have the patience to go dust cloud hunting, Vaporeon learns Auroua Beam at level 21, an okay Ice attack (for the time) that will be its best special attack until it gets Surf. Acid Armor (level 29) makes Vaporeon bulkier by boosting its Defense two stages. Vaporeon finally gets its act together with Muddy Water (level 37); it has the same power as Surf, but trades 15% accuracy for a 30% chance of lowering the target's accuracy. Needless to say, Surf is the better choice nine times out of ten, but Muddy Water is useful in double and triple battles since it only targets the opponent's team. The powerful yet inaccurate Hydro Pump (level 45) rounds out Vaporeon's natural movepool.
Like the rest of the Eeveelutions, Vaporeon only learns a handful of TM and HM moves. Surf and Ice Beam are obvious staples. Scald has a handy side effect and can be used for PP preservation once you get the TM, though Surf's PP should be substantial. Blizzard is handy for the Opelucid Gym and various Flying-types.
Since you probably won't have a Vaporeon until you clear the Driftveil Gym, Eevee will be pretty bad at the Castelia, Nimbasa, and Driftveil Gyms. Things will be okay from there, however.
If you could get Eevee only one level earlier and get the Water Stone at a reasonable time, Vaporeon would have been fantastic. As is, you have to deal with a crappy Eevee or an underleveled Vaporeon, neither of which are appealing. If you have an underleveled Vaporeon, feel free to go Audino grinding, but there are more effective Water-types.
Meet the second Eeveelution, Jolteon. It fits the mold of a stereotypical Electric-type, as it has excellent Special Attack and an absurd Speed stat, but low HP and Defense. Things look slightly better for Jolteon than Vaporeon at the start, as the Thunderstone is found in Nimbasa City and Jolteon can learn an Electric-type attack early on.
The bad news is that the Electric attack happens to be Thunder Fang (level 21), which runs off of Jolteon's poor Attack stat. It's stuck with this attack until Discharge (level 37), when it finally gets its act together. While level 37 is late, at least it should get the attack in time for Skyla. Thunder (level 45) is its only other notable attack.
Thunderbolt is a staple on Jolteon, but is found at the very end of the game. Rain Dance can be used in conjunction with Thunder. Signal Beam gives Jolteon a little more coverage. Charge Beam is weaker than Discharge, but has a 63% chance of boosting Jolteon's Special Attack, factoring in accuracy.
Don't expect Jolteon to do a lot in the Nimbasa or Driftveil Gyms. Once it gets Discharge, it should rip through the Mistralton and Humilau Gyms, though, as well as the numerous Water-types that show up later in the game.
Jolteon is another Eeveelution screwed over. Electro Ball would be a great fit for it, but it instead languishes on slowpokes such as the Mareep and Magnemite lines. Pass on this one.
Flareon has the dubious distinction of being the worst Eeveelution since Generation I. Even if it got Flare Blitz at this point, it would still be laughably outclassed.
Flareon possesses a beastly 130 base Attack, nice 95 Special Attack, and surprisingly high Special Defense, but its sweeping attempts are hampered by its low Speed, HP, and Defense. You can find the Fire Stone in the Desert Resort, but it's still too late for Flareon to take on the Castelia Gym.
Flareon fares better than Vaporeon and Jolteon in the STAB department, as it gets Fire Fang at level 21, which has respectable power at the time and runs off of Flareon's amazing Attack. Sadly, that is the best physical Fire move it will ever get. Lava Plume (level 38) and Fire Blast (level 45) are great attacks, but run off of its lower Special Attack.
Notable TMs include Dig and Shadow Claw. It can also learn Superpower from the Lentimas Town Move Tutor.
The Driftveil and Humilau Gyms are hostile towards Flareon, and don't expect it to do much against the Champion's team. At least it can wreak havoc on Colress' Steel-types.
Flareon is still hopelessly outclassed. While it will possess an absurd Attack stat for the Desert Resort, Darmanitan and Emboar blow it away on the physical front, while countless Fire-types beat it on the special front. Its low Speed and defense don't help matters.
Fortunately, the Johto Eeveelutions pick up the slack, with Espeon being one of the best Pokémon in the storyline.
Like Jolteon, Espeon has high Special Attack and Speed along with nice Special Defense, but low HP and defense. Unlike the Kanto Eeveelutions, the Johto Eeveelutions evolve through happiness, so you can pick up an Espeon while you're in Castelia City. Yes, this means you can get a Pokémon with an astounding 130 base Special Attack (on par with legendaries such as Latios and normal Kyurem) before the third Gym!
Make sure you obtain Espeon before level 21, as it will learn Psybeam. It's a decent attack for the time, and when combined with Espeon's amazing 130 base Special Attack, should hold you over until Psychic (level 37). Espeon gets its main STAB attack before most Psychics, which is a huge boon.
Espeon has a few notable TM and tutor moves. Shadow Ball and Signal Beam provide extra coverage. Psyshock is weaker than Psychic, but targets the opponent's Defense stat instead of Special Defense, so it may come in handy occasionally. Unfortunately, Calm Mind is only available in the postgame.
Espeon is iffy against Burgh; although Struggle Bug is the only Bug attack his Pokémon know, the move lowers Espeon's Special Attack and allows his bugs to prey on Espeon's low Defense. Clay, Colress, Ghetsis, Shauntal, and Grimsley also cause Espeon problems. However, it does quite well against Marshal.
The high Special Attack and Speed make Espeon an amazing special sweeper, and obtaining a Pokémon with 130 base Special Attack before the third Gym is almost unfair. It's a little limited in its attacks, and it's vulnerable on the physical side, but Espeon's massive power should make up for it. It's an amazing Psychic-type, and teaches players that friendship really is magic.
The other Johto Eeveelution. Umbreon has high HP and defenses, but weak attacking stats and Speed. Since Umbreon evolves through happiness, you can obtain one during your first visit to Castelia City.
Try to get an Umbreon by level 21 so that it can learn Faint Attack (level 21). When you get to the Pokémon World Tournament, reteach it Confuse Ray. Screech (level 29) sharply lowers the foe's Defense, although Umbreon is a defensive Pokémon. Don't bother with Moonlight (level 33), since you can just use healing items.
Use Toxic in conjunction with Confuse Ray to slowly debilitate the foe. Payback and Dark Pulse are alternative Dark attacks, while Psychic provides coverage.
Umbreon does poorly against Colress' Steel-types and Marshal. However, Shauntal and Caitlin's Pokémon will have trouble damaging Umbreon with their STAB attacks, and it can stall against anything else.
Umbreon is a decent Eeveelution. While offense rules the day in-game, Umbreon can still take hits easily and annoy the foe in return.
Leafeon and Glaceon
Leafeon and Glaceon cannot be obtained during the storyline, as the Moss and Ice Rocks are only found in the post-game.
Names: Sandile -> Krokorok -> Krookodile
Abilities: Intimidate or Moxie
Recommended Ability: Moxie. While both abilities are nice, Moxie turns Krookodile into a beast if it keeps nabbing KOs. Intimidate is also an acceptable option due to its mediocre Defense, though.
Evolution: Evolves at level 28; evolves at level 40.
First Encountered: You can encounter Sandile on Route 4 before the Castelia Gym.
We're a third of the way there! The cute little crocodile was in the running with Drilbur for the best Ground-type in Black/White. Drilbur was (and is) the superior choice, but Sandile is easier to find and grows into a great Ground-type itself. Krookodile has a high 117 base Attack and 92 Speed, along with a fairly high 95 base HP, though its defenses are mediocre. Moxie only boosts its great Attack even more. Unfortunately, while Sandile evolves at level 28, Krokorok evolves at the late level 40, so it'll be lagging for a little while. Still, Moxie helps it keep up.
Sandile starts off with Sand Tomb and Assurance for STAB attacks. Neither are too great, but at least you get the Dig TM soon afterwards. Crunch (level 28) is the Sandile line's staple Dark attack. Foul Play (level 40) has a higher base power than Crunch, but is unreliable since it uses the target's Attack stat to calculate damage. Krookodile finally learns Earthquake at level 54. It's very late, but at least it can still spam the attack in the late game.
Obviously, as soon as you get the Dig TM, teach it to Sandile. Rock Slide gets great coverage alongside Earthquake, while Rock Tomb is a good choice earlier on. Aqua Tail is also an option. It can learn Hone Claws, but is better off relying on Moxie for attack boosts.
The Sandile line does very well against Elesa, Colress, Ghetsis, Shauntal, and Caitlin. (It's worth noting that Caitlin's Musharna is unable to damage Krookodile, so don't be surprised if she switches.) While Krookodile hits two of Marlon's Pokémon super effectively, they can drown Krookodile with their STAB Water attacks.
Sandile is a great Pokémon. When you compare Krookodile to Excadrill, you'll find that Krookodile has superior abilities in-game, slightly higher Speed, and a better secondary STAB. However, Excadrill reaches its final form and learns Earthquake much sooner, has higher Attack and superior resistances, and can boost its massive Attack with Swords Dance, making it the superior Ground-type. Still, if you aren't into dust cloud hunting or if you need a good Dark-type, be on the lookout for Sandile.
Names: Darumaka -> Darmanitan
Ability: Hustle; Sheer Force
Evolution: Evolves at level 35
First Encountered: You can encounter Darumaka on Route 4 before the Castelia Gym.
Darumaka, like Drilbur, is an unsuspecting cute Pokémon that evolves into a behemoth. Like Excadrill, Darmanitan supports a gargantuan Attack, great Speed, and high HP, but low defenses. Even Darumaka sports a nice 90 base Attack. Of course, their abilities only make them more destructive. Hustle allows Darumaka to hit surprisingly hard, while Sheer Force boosts Darmanitan's main attacks to obscene levels. While Hustle misses can be annoying, they aren't as bad as in Black/White since you can pick up a Wide Lens early on to boost Darumaka's accuracy. Darumaka evolves at level 35, so you'll have to put up with it for a while, but it's a fairly reasonable time to evolve.
Fortunately, Darumaka comes with the moves it needs. Fire Fang will tide it over until it learns Fire Punch (level 22), a solid Fire-type attack that will be useul the whole game since it's boosted by Sheer Force. Work Up (level 25) boosts Darumaka's attacking stats, though you're better off swinging. Thrash (level 28) has an amazing 120 base power, making it more powerful than Darumaka's Fire Punch before factoring in typing, and its drawbacks can be worked around easily. Belly Drum (level 30) is a risky attack, especially for Darumaka, but can make it the Darumaka line nearly unstoppable if it's pulled off. Finally, Darumaka receives the prized Flare Blitz (level 33) near the end of its stint. It's also boosted by Sheer Force, so Darmanitan can bowl over foes with its 156 power STAB attack. Don't be surprised if Darmanitan starts OHKOing left and right with Flare Blitz.
Darmanitan picks up Hammer Arm (level 35) right after it evolves, though the Speed drop is annoying. Superpower (level 47) is more powerful and accurate, but lowers Darmanitan's physical stats.
The Darumaka line can make use of Rock Slide. Zen Headbutt may be okay. Most of the time, though, you'll just be abusing Flare Blitz.
Make sure you pick up a Darumaka before the Castelia Gym so that it can catch up quickly. It does extremely well in the Castelia Gym and against Colress, though the Driftveil, Opelucid, and Humilau Gyms are troublesome.
At the end of the day, Darumaka is an excellent Pokémon. It's not perfect, since it has a slightly late evolution time and Hustle misses are annoying. However, when you watch Darmanitan OHKOing Pokémon left and right with its Sheer Force Flare Blitz, it'll all be worth it. It's easily the best Fire-type in the game.
Abilities: Rock Head or Adaptability
Recommended Ability: Adaptability. The ability gives bite to Basculin's STAB attacks, while Rock Head is only useful with Double-Edge.
First Encountered: You can encounter Basculin in the water after you get Surf. I recommend catching a level 30 one on Route 6.
If Basculin looks like it was thrown in at the last second, you'd be on the mark; Game Freak threw it in due to the lack of fish-like Pokémon introduced in Generation V. It wasn't special in Black/White, and there are even more Water-types to compete with it in BW2. Its stats are nothing to get excited over. It has nice Attack and Speed, along with decent Special Attack, but its HP is nothing special and its defenses are low. At least Adaptability gives it a bit of a kick.
Aqua Tail (level 28) will be Basculin's main attack. Crunch (level 24) gives it a bit of coverage, while it can relearn Aqua Jet (level 13) for a priority attack. Double-Edge (level 36) is a decent attack, since Water and Normal moves give great neutral coverage, but you're probably better off with the recoil-free Return. Thrash (level 56) has the same power as Double-Edge and lacks recoil, but locks Basculin into the attack.
Return works well alongside Aqua Tail. Waterfall is slightly weaker than Aqua Tail, but has perfect accuracy and a handy 20% flinch rate. Other options include Bounce, Zen Headbutt, and Superpower.
Basculin is built like a glass cannon, but there are more effective glass cannons and Water-types in general. It will do alright, but you deserve better than that, right?
Names: Trubbish -> Garbodor
Abilities: Stench or Aftermath
Recommended Ability: Stench. While the Trubbish line can't make good use of it, Weak Armor only hurts its decent Defense stat.
Evolution: Evolves at level 36
First Encountered: You can encounter Trubbish on Route 4 before the Castelia Gym. (Black 2 only)
Everything about Trubbish, from its design to its execution, is a failure. Black 2 players, be sure to thank Route 4 Trubbish for lowering the encounter rates of good Pokémon. Garbodor's stats are okay. It has nice attack along with decent defenses, but nothing really sticks out. It also evolves at level 36, which is annoying since Trubbish can't dish out damage.
Trubbish is one of those unfortunate physical sweepers that gets a predominantly special movepool. You can use Sludge (level 18) for a special STAB attack, or DoubleSlap for a non-STAB physical attack. Admittedly, it gets Acid Spray to lower the foe's Special Defense by two levels, but 40 base Special Attack still stinks. Toxic Spikes can be used to poison switch-ins, allowing them to be hit with a full-power Venoshock. Stockpile (level 23) boosts both of its defenses and turns Trubbish into a mediocre tank. Don't combine it with Swallow (level 23), as you can just use a healing item and keep the Stockpile boosts. Sludge Bomb (level 29) is a powerful special-based STAB attack. Toxic (level 36) is useful on a defensive or Venoshock Trubbish.
Garbodor's attacks keep rolling in. Amnesia (level 46) bolsters its decent Special Defense. It finally gets a physical STAB attack, Gunk Shot (level 54) near the end of its stint, but it has poor accuracy and PP just for a final kick in the nuts. Explosion (level 59) is an option to end its miserable life.
You'll want to teach Trubbish Gunk Shot from the Driftveil tutor to make it marginally usable, though it's back to crap once it runs out of Gunk Shot PP. It can also learn Seed Bomb from the same tutor. Payback is okay. As stated before, Venoshock works in conjunction with Toxic (Spikes), though the Trubbish line's Special Attack is still terrible. Just out of spite, it gets a ton of special attacks, such as Thunderbolt, Giga Drain, and Dark Pulse.
Trubbish is pure garbage. You have to drag along a Pokémon with no offense until you complete the fifth Gym, and just to make matters worse, its main STAB attack is unreliable and runs out quickly! There are better tanks out there as well. Even Grimer is better than this. If you accidentally catch one, be sure to clean it off your PC with the "Release" button.
Names: Minccino -> Cinccino
Abilities: Cute Charm or Technician
Recommended Ability: Technician, as it's the Minccino line's main niche.
Evolution: Evolves with a Sun Stone
First Encountered: You can encounter Minccino on Route 4 before the Castelia Gym. (Black 2 only)
We can finally put the horror of Trubbish behind us and look at decent Pokémon once again. Although the Minccino line appears to be one of those cute, gimmicky Pokémon lines, Technicial Cinccino is surprisingly solid. Cinccino is a glass cannon; it has an excellent base Speed and nice attack, but only mediocre HP and low defenses. The Shiny Stone is found on Route 6, so you'll unfortunately have to put up with Minccino for a while.
Minccino starts off with DoubleSlap (level 13), which has an average power of 66 due to the Technician boost. It's okay, but you'll be much happier with Tail Slap (level 25). This is the Minccino line's main attack, as a Technician-boosted Tail Slap has an average power of 111, which outdamages Return. In the best-case scenario, it has 185 power! Minccino learns no more useful moves, so evolve it into Cinccino ASAP. Reteach it Bullet Seed and Rock Blast, which are Grass- and Rock-type Tail Slaps respectively.
The Minccino line learns everything it needs. You may want Aqua Tail or Dig, but that's pretty much it.
Overall, the Minccino line is solid. It hits surprisingly hard due to its 95 base Attack and Technician-boosted attacks, but its frailty puts it below the Lillipup line.
Names: Rufflet -> Braviary
Abilities: Keen Eye or Sheer Force
Recommended Ability: Sheer Force. A Sheer Force-boosted Crush Claw is slightly more powerful than Return.
Evolution: Evolves at level 54
First Encountered: You can encounter Rufflet on Route 23. (White 2 only)
There's a separate review for the Route 4 Braviary below.
Braviary has a nice stat spread. It has high HP and excellent Attack, along with decent Speed and defenses. It has a vey late evolution time, but it can be caught as high as level 52. Sheer Force is a decent ability, though Braviary barely gets any attack to make use of it.
Rufflet starts off with Crush Claw, which has 112 power under Sheer Force, making it a little more powerful than Return (though at the cost of 5% accuracy). When Rufflet evolves into Braviary, reteach it Superpower for ome additional coverage. Brave Bird (level 63) is a very powerful Flying attack, although you need an overleveled Braviary to use the attack.
Aerial Ace tides Braviary over until (or if) it gets Brave Bird. Return is an alternative to Crush Claw if you dislike Crush Claw's imperfect accuracy. Shadow Claw provides coverage against Ghost-types, while Rock Slide gets a Sheer Force boost. Unfortunately, it doesn't pick up Acrobatics.
Braviary does okay in the final battles. With Shadow Claw, it makes a solid choice against Shauntal. Superpower means it does well against Grimsley, though it has to watch out for Krookodile. Three of Caitlin's Pokémon carry super-effective attacks against Braviary. Braviary can use super-effective Flying attacks against Marshal's team, although three of his Pokémon carry Rock-type attacks. Finally, four of the Champion's Pokémon have super-effective attacks against Braviary, with three of her Pokémon gaining STAB on the attacks.
Why bother raising a Rufflet from scratch at the end of the game? Catch the Route 4 Braviary instead.
First Encountered: You can encounter Braviary on Route 4 on Mondays. (White 2 only)
Move over, Unfezant. This bird is fighting for America.As stated in the Rufflet review, Braviary has a nice stat spread. However, its stats are amazing at joining time, as a Pokémon with 123 base Attack is just brutal after the third Gym. Defiant is a surprisingly useful ability, as it basically gives Braviary a free Swords Dance boost when it would be hit by random Intimidates and other stat drops.
Braviary's notable starting attacks are Wing Attack and Aerial Ace. While Aerial Ace is a solid attack the whole game, you may want to dump Wing Attack if Braviary is running out of space. Slash (level 28) is a decent Normal attack, although Strength should tide Braviary over until it can use a beefed-up Return. Superpower (level 51) grants Braviary additional coverage, and you don't have to waste a Heart Scale on it. Brave Bird (level 63) is Braviary's best Flying-type attack, but you probably won't have it during the storyline.
Return will serve as Braviary's best Normal attack, while Strength will suffice until you have a powered-up Return. Rock Tomb is decent early on, but should be replaced by Rock Slide later on. Shadow Claw is a useful attack for Ghost-types.
Braviary is weak to the Nimbasa Gym's Electric types, although it may be able to OHKO frail Pokémon such as Elekid with Strength. Clay's high Defense Pokémon may also be annoying. However, it does decently in the final fights, and its high Attack mean it will have no problems dishing out damage.
Defiant Braviary is an excellent Pokémon. Unfortunately, it probably won't obtain Brave Bird during the storyline, and it falters at the end of the game. However, it's amazing while you're still mucking around with unevolved Pokémon, and its base 123 Attack and Return keeps it useful the whole game.
Names: Vullaby -> Mandibuzz
Abilities: Big Pecks or Overcoat
Recommended Ability: Big Pecks, as it prevents annoying random stat drops and damaging weather is nonexistent in-game.
Evolution: Evolves at level 54
First Encountered: You can encounter Vullaby on Route 23. (Black 2 only)
The Route 4 Mandibuzz review is below this one.
Despite its appearance, Mandibuzz is a defensive Pokémon, with high HP and defenses. It has decent Speed, although its attacking stats are poor. Dark/Flying is a decent defensive type, with two immunities and a few resistances. It has an astonishingly late evolution time, though you can catch level 52 Vullaby.
Vullaby starts with Air Slash and Dark Pulse. While these are excellent STABs, Mandibuzz lacks the firepower to use them effectively. Immediately reteach it Nasty Plot, which will raise its Special Attack to acceptable levels. Brave Bird (level 63) runs off of Mandibuzz's higher Attack stat, but it isn't boosted by Nasty Plot and comes too late to be of use. If you really want a defensive Mandibuzz, reteach it Flatter.
Heat Wave maims Steel-types. Toxic and Fly can be used in conjunction with Flatter to irritate the opponent.
Mandibuzz actually has okay endgame matchups. It can spam Nasty Plot against Shauntal and Grimsley's starters, and sweep their team. Unfortunately, three of Caitlin and Marshal's Pokémon slam Mandibuzz with super-effective attacks, including both of their leads. Four of the Champion's Pokémon prey on Mandibuzz's Flying typing, and it shouldn't set up since the Champion's Archeops will simply outspeed and smash it.
Mandibuzz is an okay Pokémon, as it has the bulk to spam Nasty Plots and actually boost its Special Attack to reasonable levels. It's not a notable tank, though, and there are much better sweepers.
Ability: Weak Armor
First Encountered: You can encounter Mandibuzz on Route 4 on Thursdays. (Black 2 only)
White 2 players get the better deal. Don't worry, Black 2 players, there's a version-exclusive later on that will make up for this. Again, Mandibuzz is a defensive Pokémon. Unfortunately, its Weak Armor ability is counterproductive since Mandibuzz appreciates Defense more than an unnecessary Speed boost.
Surprisingly, all of Mandibuzz's starting attacks are notable. Pluck and Faint Attack both have solid power for the time. Nasty Plot boosts its Special Attack by two stages, and you don't have to waste a Heart Scale on it. Flatter is useful on defensive Mandibuzz for some (unreliable) confusion damage. Air Slash (level 41) and Dark Pulse (level 46) both work in conjunction with Nasty Plot.
Snarl is, sadly, Mandibuzz's most powerful special attack until it learns Air Slash. Toxic and Fly can be used in conjunction with Flatter.
The Nimbasa Gym will give Mandibuzz trouble, and Clay's defensive Pokémon will also give it trouble. Again, it has okay endgame matchups.
While Mandibuzz's defensive stats are excellent at joining time, its Weak Armor ability works against it. Mandibuzz will also have trouble inflicting damage later on, even with Nasty Plot. I'd pass.
Names: Sandshrew -> Sandslash
Ability: Sand Veil
Evolution: Evolves at level 22.
First Encountered: You can encounter Sandshrew in the Desert Resort.
Another Generation I veteran steps up to the plate. Sandshrew's main perk is its early evolution into the respectable Sandslash. Sandslash is a stereotypical bulky Ground-type: it has great Attack and Defense, but mediocre Special Defense and Speed stats. Still, it's better than other Pokémon that evolve at a low level, such as Raticate. It also comes at an excellent time, as Sandslash will dominate the Nimbasa Gym.
Its natural movepool is nothing to write home about. It starts with the STAB Magnitude, which has an average of 71 power. Unless you're a risk-taker, just use Dig instead. While Sandslash picks up a steady stream of moves, it only learns two notable ones: Swords Dance (level 38) and Earthquake (level 46). While level 46 is late to pick up its main STAB attack, at least it's not terrible.
You'll obviously want to put Dig on Sandshrew ASAP. Rock Tomb has nice coverage alongside Dig, and destroys the Emolga in the Nimbasa Gym. Later on, you'll want to replace Rock Tomb with the superior Rock Slide. Bulldoze is okay, but Sandslash has the bulk to take a physical hit. X-Scissor, Shadow Claw, and Aerial Ace are other options. If you have the patience to get Double Team, you can combine it with Sandstorm and BrightPowder to make Sandslash fairly evasive.
Sandslash destroys the Nimbasa Gym, and does well against Colress' Steel-types. However, it struggles against Skyla and in the Humilau Gym.
While the Sandshrew line pales in comparison to the Sandile and Drilbur lines, Sandslash is surprisingly viable for a Pokémon that evolves so early. At the very least, it's a fantastic choice for Elesa.
Names: Dwebble -> Crustle
Abilities: Sturdy or Shell Armor
Recommended Ability: Either. Sturdy helps it take a hit after using Shell Smash, but it's rare for Crustle to get OHKOed even after a Smash, so Shell Armor is also a nice ability.
Evolution: Evolves at level 34
First Encountered: You can encounter Dwebble in the Desert Resort.
I'm surprised it took five generations before a hermit crab was introduced. Crustle is built like a typical Rock-type: nice Attack and excellent Defense, but poor Speed. At least it has okay HP and Special Defense stats, so it won't crumble to special attacks. Bug/Rock isn't a good defensive typing, though, with only two resistances and three weaknesses. Still, Crustle should be used as a suicidal Shell Smash sweeper, so this shouldn't be too important. While level 34 is a long time away, it's still acceptable, and should evolve in time for the Mistralton Gym.
Dwebble starts off with Smack Down, which has okay power by the time you catch it. Rock Polish can be handy for boosting its Speed. It quickly picks up Bug Bite (level 23), giving it an acceptable Bug attack to use for a while. Dwebble picks up Rock Slide (level 29) early, which is a pleasant surprise. Obviously, keep the attack on Dwebble for the rest of the game. As soon as you obtain a Crustle, have it relearn the godly stat-boosting move Shell Smash. (It also learns the attack at level 43, but you'll want to teach Crustle the attack ASAP.) The game-changing attack comes at level 43, where Crustle picks up the godly stat-boosting move Shell Smash. This attack lowers Crustle's defenses by one stage, but boosts both of its attacking stats and Speed by two stages! Needless to say, Crustle can run over the opponent's team after a Shell Smash boost. If it has Sturdy, you don't have to worry about getting OHKOed after the attack either! Crustle's only other notable move is X-Scissor (level 38), which will serve as its other obligatory STAB attack.
Dig is the Dwebble line's most helpful TM move, as it smacks the Steel-types that resist its STAB attacks. Aerial Ace is an option for Fighting-types, which also resist the Dwebble line's STABs, but is fairly weak. Shadow Claw is okay for ghosts.
Dwebble does fairly well at the Nimbasa Gym since it has Dig and can smack Elesa's Emolga down. The Driftveil Gym isn't too kind, the Humilau Gym destroys Crustle, and Skyla is surprisingly hostile due to her Skarmory and Swanna. However, Crustle does very well against Grimsley and Caitlin, and can even set up on the Champion's starting Hydreigon if it has Sturdy.
Shell Smash is a major boon for the Dwebble line, as they're one of the only two evolutionary lines in the storyline with access to this fantastic attack. However, you'll have to put up with Dwebble for quite a while, and its most powerful STAB moves are fairly weak by the endgame, which slightly hampers its attempts at sweeping. Still, any sweeper with access to the gamebreaking Shell Smash is worth a nod.
Names: Scraggy -> Scrafty
Abilities: Shed Skin or Moxie
Recommended Ability: Moxie, as it boosts the Scraggy line's slightly lacking Attack. Shed Skin is unreliable, and you can always use Casteliacones.
Evolution: Evolves at level 39
First Encountered: You can encounter Scraggy on Route 4.
Meet the Hoodlum Pokémon, which was a little late to the whole gangsta fad. Despite its thug-like appearance, Scrafty is a defensive Pokémon. It has low HP and Speed, but nice Attack and surprisingly high defenses. Scraggy even has decent defenses for an unevolved Pokémon, which can be bolstered with Eviolite. Speaking of Scraggy, you'd better get used to that backsprite, because it evolves all the way at level 39. Fortunately, the Scraggy line has enough perks to make up for its late evolution time.
The Scraggy line has a nice natural movepool. Scraggy starts off with Faint Attack for a respectable Dark attack, and quickly picks up the powerful Brick Break (level 20). This is truly a blessing for the Scraggy line, as most Fighting-types don't learn this move naturally. Payback (level 23) is another usable Dark attack due to Scraggy's low Speed, though Faint Attack is more reliable against the unpredictable computer. Now, while Brick Break would be enough to tide Scraggy over, it decides to up the ante by learning the extremely powerful Hi Jump Kick (level 31). This Fighting attack has an amazing 130 base power, but strips half of the user's HP if it misses. Fortunately, you can pick up a Wide Lens, which boosts the attack to 99% accuracy. Right before it evolves, Scraggy picks up Crunch (level 38), which serves as its main Dark attack. Scrafty's only notable move is Head Smash (level 53), which is twice as powerful as the more reliable Rock Slide, but less accurate and with a nasty side effect.
As if a STAB Hi Jump Kick wasn't enough, the Scraggy line can learn plenty of TMs. The most notable are the elemental punches; Ice Punch is particularly nice for the Opelucid Gym. Rock Slide, Dig, and Zen Headbutt are okay options. Unfortunately, Bulk Up is off limits until the post-game, which would have been a perfect fit for Scrafty. :/ Work Up is an acceptable alternative, as it has the bulk to boost its Attack.
Once you actually have a Scrafty, it does extremely well in the late battles. For instance, it has good matchups against Marlon and the Team Plasma higher-ups. However, it really shines in the Pokémon League, as it destroys every Elite Four member except Marshal (watch out for the occasional surprise Fighting-type attack) and half of the Champion's team.
The Scraggy line has a lot going for it, since it has a vast movepool and is an excellent late-game Pokémon. However, putting up with Scraggy until level 39 is a chore, even with Hi Jump Kick and Eviolite. If you can tough it out, though, you'll be rewarded.
Abilities: Water Absorb or Chlorophyll
Recommended Ability: Chlorophyll, as the computer won't use water attacks on Maractus anyway.
First Encountered: You can encounter Maractus in the Desert Resort.
I started to type up Sigilyph's review instead. Poor Maractus. :( Right from the bat, you can tell Maractus will be a ho-hum Grass-type. It has great Special Attack and decent Attack, but the rest of its stats are pretty mediocre. Once again, it's a pure Grass-type locked to Grass moves, and it doesn't shine like Lilligant did.
At least Maractus gets a slew of useful Grass-type attacks. It doesn't start off too hot, as it only starts with Mega Drain. It soon picks up Needle Arm (level 22), which has decent power and runs off of Maractus' decent Attack stat. The real boon is Giga Drain (level 26), which should be a staple on Maractus for the rest of the game. Acupressure (level 29) randomly boosts one of Maractus' stats by two stages. However, don't expect to this attack to make Maractus amazing; it takes 21 PP to max out all of its stats, so this can only be done once. Petal Dance (level 38) will be Maractus' most powerful Grass attack. Sucker Punch (level 42) is a priorty attack with decent power, but lacks STAB and runs off of Maractus' lower Attack. Sunny Day (level 45) and Solarbeam (level 50) are acceptable options if you don't want to lock Maractus into Petal Dance. Finally, Cotton Guard (level 55) makes Maractus more durable.
Honestly, Maractus learns no notable TM or tutor moves. Have fun with Bounce and Drain Punch, I guess.
As a pure Grass-type, Maractus has poor major matchups. I won't go over them again.
Maractus has fairly high attacking stats at joining time. However, it's far outclassed by Lilligant as a special Grass-type sweeper due to the latter's superior stats, Sleep Powder, and Quiver Dance. Even Serperior outclasses it, since it can function as a tank with Coil. At least it's better than Sunflora.
Abilities: Wonder Skin or Magic Guard
Recommended Ability: Magic Guard, as it protects Sigilyph from the various forms of residual damage.
First Encountered: You can encounter Sigilyph in the Desert Resort.
Sigilyph was arguably the best Psychic-type in Black/White, though Espeon has usurped its position in the sequels. The totem pole has well-rounded stats, with high Special Attack and Speed and solid defenses. However, Psychic/Flying isn't hot as a defensive typing, with five weaknesses. This really hurts Sigilyph in the late-game, but its great stats at joining time will help to tide it over.
The bird starts with Psybeam, a STAB Psychic attack with a respectable 65 base power. A few levels later, Air Cutter (level 21) provides it with a Flying STAB attack, though its 55 power is slightly underwhelming. Light Screen (level 24) and Reflect (level 28) are handy pseudo-passing moves, though they aren't amazing in-game. By now, Sigilyph's STABs should be underwhelming, so it will certainly appreciate Air Slash (level 41) and Psychic (level 44) later on. Cosmic Power (level 48) is Sigilyph's last notable attack, which boosts its decent defenses.
There are a handful of useful TM and tutor moves to teach Sigilyph. Signal Beam is a cheap move that provides extra coverage against fellow Psychic-types, though you're probably better off with the slightly more powerful Shadow Ball. Charge Beam is an option to increase its Attack. Strangely, it learns Ice Beam, which is always a great attack.
Sigilyph is similar to a Jeigan (a Fire Emblem archetype): it starts off very strong, but gradually declines as the game progresses. It's always a solid Pokémon, but those weaknesses really get grating after a while. The Nimbasa, Driftveil, Opelucid, and Mistralton Gym leaders all have Pokémon or attacks that prey on Sigilyph's weaknesses, so it's not too hot in Gym battles. The Team Plasma higher-ups also give it trouble. However, it's hilariously bad in the Pokémon League. Sigilyph is weak to Shauntal and Grimsley's specialty types, so that's two down. It can strike Caitlin's Pokémon with Shadow Ball or Signal Beam; however, all of her Pokémon except Reuniclus are fairly bulky and can strike it with super-effective moves in return, so it's pretty much a stalemate. While both of Sigilyph's STABs are effective against Marshal's Pokémon, all of his Fighting-types except Mienshao carry a Rock-type attack. The Champion is especially merciless, as Sigilyph's STABs aren't super-effective against any of her Pokémon while all but her main will strike it down with powerful moves. In other words, Sigilyph will just be a burden in your final challenge.
Sigilyph has pretty good stats, and makes a good alternative to Espeon if you don't want to take the time to raise its happiness. However, it's stuck with weak STAB attacks for quite a while, and Air Slash is fairly weak for a main move. Its numerous weaknesses also come back to bite it in the end. Still, it's another good "Mid High" Pokémon, so have fun with it if you want.
Names: Trapinch -> Vibrava -> Flygon
Type: Ground for Trapinch; Ground/Flying for Vibrava and Flygon
Abilities: Hyper Cutter or Arena Trap for Trapinch; Levitate for Vibrava and Flygon
Recommended Ability: Hyper Cutter for Trapinch, since the computers don't switch
Evolution: Evolves at level 35; evolves at level 45
First Encountered: You can encounter Trapinch in the Desert Resort.
I remember using Flygon in Generation III competitive play back when it was slightly underrated. Fun times. For once, I'll review the base stats for each member of the Trapinch line. Trapinch starts off with an amazing 100 Attack, but its defenses are poor and its 10 base Speed is appalling. While Trapinch will hit hard, it will take a ton of damage in return. Unfortunately, you're stuck with a Trapinch until level 35. Vibrava has slightly improved defenses and much better Speed, although its Attack actually plummets by 30 points, making it an unimpressive attacker. Vibrava finally evolves into Flygon at level 45, where all of its base stats rise by 30 points, turning Flygon into a competent attacker. Ground/Dragon may have a nasty quadruple ice weakness, but it has phenomenal coverage (just ask Garchomp), and Flygon comes with a helpful two immunities.
Trapinch has no notable starting moves. Bulldoze lowers the foe's Speed by one stage, but Trapinch is so slow that you're better off with the more powerful Dig. Rock Slide (level 25) gets excellent coverage alongside the Trapinch line's STAB Ground attack. Trapinch learns Dig (level 29), but you should get the TM beforehand. Crunch (level 34) also provides additional coverage. Vibrava learns no notable attacks. You can reteach it Screech, though. Flygon finally picks up Dragon Claw (level 55) near the end of its stint.
The TM and tutor distributions really hurt Flygon, as Earthquake ad Outrage are only obtainable in the post-game. Immediately slap the Dig TM on Trapinch and permanently keep it. Flygon picks up Thunderpunch and Fire Punch. Since Flygon's best physical moves are unavailable, you may want to focus on its Special Attack. Draco Meteor is a nice option for Flygon, since its obscene 140 power makes up for Flygon's mediocre Special Attack. Flygon picks up an array of other special attacks, such as Dragon Pulse, Fire Blast, Flamethrower, Giga Drain, and even Signal Beam.
Trapinch does well in the Nimbasa Gym, as it's immune to Electric attacks, and it also does well against Colress' Steel-types. Don't expect it to do a lot in the Humilau Gym, obviously.
Sadly, the Trapinch line doesn't cut it in-game. It takes forever to obtain a Flygon, and you're stuck with a slow, frail Pokémon or an underwhelming attacker in the meantime. To add insult to injury, Flygon doesn't even pick up Earthquake or Outrage. Pick up a Drilbur, Sandile, or even a Sandshrew instead.
Names: Yamask -> Cofagrigus
Evolution: Evolves at level 34
First Encountered: You can encounter Yamask in the Relic Castle.
According to Bulbapedia, English language Cofagrigus couldn't be traded on the GTS without a nickname in the past due to Generation V's built-in censors (in case you couldn't tell, there's an unintentional homophobic slur in its name). Cofagrigus is a defensive Ghost-type, following in the steps of Dusclops and Dusknoir. It has obscenely high Defense, along with high special stats, but it has low HP and rock-bottom Speed. Mummy is a gimmicky ability that probably won't be helpful most of the time; however, if you're facing a member of the Yamask line, watch out if your Pokémon is relying on an ability such as Guts or Technician. Yamask evolves at the distant level 34, so get used to its lack of offense.
Make ure you catch a level 21 Yamask so that it will know Will-O-Wisp and Hex. Will-O-Wisp burns the foe (although Yamask will probably take a hit before it can launch the attack), while Hex's power doubles when the target is afflicted by a major status ailment. A powered-up Hex breaks even with two Hexes after one use, and inflicts far more damage with each subsequent use. Ominous Wind (level 25) is a decent STAB attack, though it has low PP and is extremely unreliable. Curse (level 29) can slowly chip at the foe, and you can use an item to restore Yamask's PP afterwards. However, if the foe lands a critical hit before Curse is used, this could spell Yamask's demise. Cofagrigus' only notable attack is Shadow Ball (level 39), the best Special Ghost attack.
Cofagrigus can learn Psychic and Energy Ball. Toxic is also an acceptable status alternative to Will-O-Wisp.
The Yamask line does well against Caitlin and Marshal, although Shauntal and Grimsley's Pokémon will likely overwhelm it.
The Yamask line isn't up to par. It takes a while for Yamask to evolve, and it's stuck with poor offensive moves until then. Even though it has decent defenses, it will be taking a decent chunk of damage since it will keep moving last. I'd pass.
The Tirtouga and Archen lines cannot be found during the storyline.
Name: Klink -> Klang -> Klinklang
Abilities: Plus or Minus
Recommended Ability: Either, as they're both worthless in single battles.
Evolution: Evolves at level 38; evolves at level 49
First Encountered: You can encounter Klink in the Chargestone Cave.
It's...a gear. Wow, I'm sure Game Freak busted their creativity on this line! Now, Klinklang actually has good stats. Its HP is low, but the Steel-types' slew of resistances and its Defense stats make up for it. In addition, it has access to two good signature moves. However, getting there is the hard part. Klink evolves for the first time at level 38, which is already late; however, it evolves into Klinklang at an agonizing level 49. You'll have completed all of the Gyms and most of the storyline by that point. Its worthless abilities in single battles don't help.
Klink's only notable starting move is Gear Grind, a Steel attack which hits twice for 50 damage. Think of it as the Klink line's exclusive Meteor Mash. Automomize (level 31) basically acts as a free Agility; it also halves Klinklang's Speed, but Screech (level 40) will make up for Klang's underwhelming Attack stat. Klinklang finally picks up its other signature move, Shift Gear (level 54) late in the game. This is an improved Automoize, as it boosts Klinklang's Speed by two stages and Attack by one stage. Needless to say, this is a great attack, though it's not worth waiting until end-game for.
The Klink line's movepool is barren. Return is your other best option. Klinklang also picks up Wild Charge in BW2, though it comes late in the game.
The Klink line had potential, but their late evolution time pretty much kills them. If you're willing to put up with the pre-evolutions for God knows how long, it can be a good Pokémon, but there's little point in dragging along an underwhelming Steel-type in the mid-to-late game.
Name: Budew -> Roselia -> Roserade
Abilities: Natural Cure or Poison Point
Recommended Ability: Natural Cure, as free healing is always welcome. However, Poison Point synergizes well with Venoshock, so it's another viable option.
Evolution: Evolves through happiness during the daytime; evolves with a Shiny Stone
First Encountered: You can encounter Roselia in the Lostlorn Forest. You can encounter Roserade in shaking grass, though it's not recommended.
Fun fact: Roselia is the only Pokémon to get a pre-evolution and an evolution the generation after its debut. Roserade is built similar to Lilligant: it has high Special stats and Speed, but low HP and Defense. Roserade gets the shorter end of the stick, though, since Lilligant has higher HP and Defense and can boost its other stats with Quiver Dance. Roserade is only one of two fully evolved Grass/Poison types in the Unova Dex (a far cry from Generation I, where most Grass-types possessed this typing). It's slightly better than pure Grass, since it has one less weakness and can hit Grass-types super-effectively, but it's still not amazing. You can pick up a Shiny Stone on Route 6, so you don't have to wait too long for a Roserade.
Roselia starts off with the fantastic Giga Drain, which should be on its arsenal for the entire game. Its other moves aren't special; Leech Seed is okay if you want a tanky Roselia, while GrassWhistle is an inaccurate sleep move. You'll want to teach it Toxic Spikes (level 28) later on; set up one layer to poison an opponent's switch-in, then hit them for massive damage with Venoshock. It's a cute little combo. From here, you have a choice; you can wait for Petal Dance (level 37) or obtain a Roserade, which learns no new attacks. Either option is fine, though I recommend evolving your Roselia ASAP since Giga Drain should be ufficient. Before you evolve your Roselia, you may want to teach it Growth. It boosts both of Roselia's attacking stats one stage normally, and boosts them by two stages in the sun. However, if you're going to use Sunny Day and Growth, you're better off using Growth twice for the same result and saving a moveslot. Speaking of Sunny Day, you can have Roserade relearn Weather Ball, which becomes a 100 base power Fire-type move in the sun.
The Roselia line is light on TMs. Venoshock, as stated before, works well in conjunction with Toxic Spikes. Sunny Day is also an okay attack whose uses have been outlined above. It can even learn Rain Dance to turn Weather Ball into a 100 power Water attack, but this is silly since Grass attacks are already super-effective against Rock- and Ground-types and there are more effective options against Fire-types. Toxic can also work with Venoshock and works with a stalling Roserade.
Overall, the Roselia line make decent Grass-types. You're better off with Lilligant, since it comes with superior stats, moves, and doesn't have to delay its evolution to learn Petal Dance. However, Roserade makes a solid replacement.