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)
Name: Gothita -> Gothorita -> Gothitelle
Evolution: Evolves at level 32; evolves at level 41
First Encountered: You can encounter Gothita on Route 16 or Route 5. (Black 2 only)
I love how Shadow Tag's release bumped Gothitelle from the Neverused tier all the way to the Borderline tier in standard play. Gothitelle is a bulky Pokémon, with high defenses and Special Attack, but mediocre HP and low Speed. Gothita first evolves at level 32, which is already late, and it reaches its final form at level 41. Fortunately, if you slap an Eviolite on Gothorita, it decent defenses should tide you over in the meantime. Frisk is a crappy ability, since it will be worthless 95% of the time and reveal Sitrus Berries on major trainers' main Pokémon the other 5% of the time.
You'll want to catch a level 26 Gothita, since it will know Psybeam and Psyshock. Psyshock is more powerful since it has 80 power; however, it targets the foe's Defense rather than Special Defense, so you may want to use Psybeam against a physically resilient foe. Psyshock is usually the superior choice, however. Gothorita picks up its main Psychic attack, Psychic (level 39) right before it evolves, which is nice since you shouldn't have the TM just yet. Gothitelle can use Charm (level 54), but it's not worth it since it already has decent defenses. You can also reteach it Fake Tears to give its attacks a little more kick.
Shadow Ball, Energy Ball, Charge Beam, and Thunderbolt are other options to round out its moveset. It can also learn Signal Beam from the Driftveil tutor.
Psychics are iffy in major battles, as stated previously. Clay, Drayden, Ghetsis, Shauantal, and Grimsley all give it trouble, and using Shadow Ball Gothitelle against Caitlin is iffy since half of her team also carries Shadow Ball. It does well against Marshal, though, since it has the resilience to take Paybacks from Throh and Sawk.
Gothitelle is a decent Psychic-type. While its evolution levels are annoying, they're not terrible, and Gothitelle can certainly hold its own.
Name: Solosis -> Duosion -> Reuniclus
Abilities: Overcoat or Magic Guard
Recommended Ability: Magic Guard is the far more versatile and superior ability.
Evolution: Evolves at level 32; evolves at level 41
First Encountered: You can encounter Solosis on Route 16 or Route 5. (White 2 only)
Don't you just want to hug Reuniclus? Like Gothitelle, Reuniclus is a slow, bulky Psychic-type. However, it trades some Speed and defenses for Special Attack. Reuniclus has an amazing base 125 Special Attack and 110 HP, along with decent defenses, but rock-bottom Speed. Unfortunately, Solosis has low defenses and Speed, so you're going to have a bad time training it. However, Solosis has excellent Special Attack for a first-stage Pokémon, while Duosion gets to reap the benefits of 125 base Special Attack.
Catching a level 26 Solosis is required, as it will know Psyshock. Otherwise, you'll be stuck with an unreliable Hidden Power until level 25. Charm isn't worth it since Solosis will take powerful physical hits before it can unleash the attack, while healing items render Recover obsolete. Duosion finally picks up Psychic (level 39) near the end of its stint.
Reuniclus can enjoy Shadow Ball, Energy Ball, Thunder, and Thunderbolt. It also gets a vast physical movepool, though it should be ignored for obvious reasons.
Unfortunately, Psychics aren't hot in major battles; just go re-read Gothitelle's review to see Reuniclus' follies.
Reuniclus is also a decent Psychic-type. It's a powerful, bulky Psychic-type, but Solosis is difficult to train since it will take a ton of damage. Fortunately, Eviolite Duosion can hold its own while unleashing powerful Psychic-type attacks. Espeon is the superior Psychic-type, but Reuniclus will still hit like a truck.
Name: Combee -> Vespiquen
Ability: Honey Gather as Combee; Pressure as Vespiquen
Evolution: Evolves at level 21 if female
First Encountered: You can encounter Combee in Lostlorn Forest. You can also encounter Vespiquen in shaking grass.
Of course, I have to give a shoutout to my college, Georgia Tech! Unfortunately, the Combee line isn't the best Pokémon mascot for us Yellow Jackets (especially since males can't reach their full potential). Vespiquen is a defensive Pokémon. It has high defenses and decent attacking stats, though it has low HP and awful Speed. Bug/Flying is a terrible defensive typing, though, with five weakneses (including a quadruple weakness to Rock). At least it evolves immediately.
Evolve your Combee ASAP. Waiting until it learns Bug Buzz (level 29) is not worth it. Vespiquen has to put up with Bug Bite until level 25, where it learns Power Gem. It's not too useful, since Vespiquen is weak to Fire, Ice, and Flying attack, and can learn STAB Flying attacks for other Bug-types. Heal Order (level 29), like other instant recovery moves, is rendered obsolete by healing items. Toxic (level 33) slowly whittles the foe away. Air Slash (level 37) is Vespiquen's most powerful special Flying attack, although it's too slow to take advantage of the flinch side effect. Its last notable attack is Attack Order (level 45), a powerful physical Bug attack that has an increased chance of landing a critical hit. It's a beefed-up X-Scissor wasted on a defensive Pokémon. You can reteach Vespiquen Defend Order, which increases both of its defenses by one stage, or Confuse Ray, which can be used in conjunction with Toxic.
Signal Beam and X-Scissor" are good Bug attack to tide Vespiquen over until it learns Attack Order. Acrobatics is an amazing Flying attack as usual. Aerial Ace'' is an alternative to Acrobatics if you want Vespiquen to hold an item.
Bug/Flying Pokémon have numerous weaknesses, and it shows in Gym battles. The Nimbasa and Mistralton Gyms are brutal, and the Driftveil, Opelucid, and Humilau Gym Leaders all have a Pokémon with a Rock-type move. Vespiquen will struggle to damage most of Colress' Steel-types, and Ghetsis' Hydreigon can destroy it with Rock Slide before it can launch a Bug-type attack. When it's up against the Elite Four and the Champion, all but four of their Pokémon (Shauntal's Cofagrigus and Golurk, Caitlin's Reuniclus, and the Champion's Haxorus) can nail one of its weaknesses.
While a defensive Bug/Flying type is an interesting idea, it just doesn't pan out. Combine this with Vespiquen's underwhelming offenses, and you're better off just catching a Heracros or even a Pinsir instead.
First Encountered: You can encounter Emolga in shaking grass on Routes 5 or 16.
Emolga is next in a line of Pikachu rip-offs, following in the footsteps of Marill, Plusle, Minun, and Pachirisu. Unlike the last three, however, Emolga isn't garbage. It doesn't have a nice stat spread, though; while it has great Speed, but everything else is mediocre at best. It doesn't evolve, either, so it's stuck with those stats.
Emolga actually gets a good natural movepool. It starts with three solid attacks: Spark and Shock Wave give it STAB attacks from both sides of the spectrum, while Double Team helps it dodge the heavy hits that will come its way. Electro Ball (level 26) is an upgrade, since Emolga actually has a high base Speed and it can be comboed with Thunder Wave or a lucky Static. Acrobatics (level 30) is an amazing Flying attack, and Emolga learns it before you get the TM. Its last notable move is Discharge (level 50), which has a solid base power and a handy 30% chance of paralysis.
Thunderbolt is a staple attack once you pick it up. Signal Beam grants a little extra coverage.
Emolga does well against the specialty types of the Mistralton and Humilau Gyms, as well as the numerous Water-types in the late-game. The Driftveil Gym gives it problems, though, and its frailty will always be an issue.
Emolga is decent for a little while after you pick it up, but it's easily the worst Electric-type you can find in the storyline due to its underwhelming stats. Don't pick it up unless it's one of your favorites or you have a thing for cute Pokémon.
Abilities: Swarm or Guts
Recommended Ability: Guts, since it only adds to Heracross' high damage output.
First Encountered: You can encounter Heracross in Lostlorn Forest. (Black 2 only)
Black 2 players, this makes up for the lack of Route 4 Braviary. Heracross is a beastly Pokémon, with a massive base Attack, solid Speed, and pretty good stats all around. It receives great coverage with its STAB Fighting attacks, though using Heracross' Bug attacks is risky against Psychic-types due to its Psychic weakness and Megahorn's shaky accuracy.
Heracross only picks up a handful of notable attacks, but they're all powerful. It may have Brick Break (level 25) when it's first captured, so you don't have to hunt down the TM. Aerial Ace is also decent. It gets better, though, as Heracross picks up the amazing Close Combat (level 34). Close Combat is a 120 power Fighting attack that lowers the user's defenses by one stage. Obviously, this is a very powerful attack, especially for the time that Heracross learns it. This will be the main attack that Heracross will spam throughout the entire game, although you should keep Brick Break along due to Close Combat's lack of PP. Finally, Heracross picks up the vaulted Megahorn (level 46), which is a Bug-type attack with 120 power, but a disappointing 85% accuracy. Still, it's worth the risk, and you can always slap a Wide Lens on Heracross if you're paranoid. Finally, you can reteach it Night Slash for coverage on Ghost-types.
It's worth noting that you can also go for a suicidal Heracross. Reversal (level 43) is more powerful than Close Combat when Heracross has 10% or less of its maximum HP left, and you can have Heracross relearn Endure. If you go this route, change Heracross' ability to Swarm so that its Bug-type attacks will also be boosted. While this strategy is okay, you're better off just relying on Megahorn and Close Combat for massive, consistent damage.
Heracross also picks up plenty of TMs. You'll want to teach it Bug Bite from the Driftveil City Move Tutor to tide it over until it learns Megahorn. If you get Heracross intentionally statused, Facade makes a nice option. As stated in Raticate's review, you get a status orb in reversal mountain to pull this off easier. Dig and Rock Slide are other options.
Overall, Heracross is an excellent Pokémon. Its stats are made for sweeping, and it picks up very powerful attacks to take advantage of its high Attack stat. Best of all, it's not insanely hard to find; you don't have to go hunting in the Safari Zone (Hoenn) or slather Honey on trees (Sinnoh). Get a level 24 Pokémon and use Repels to hunt down Heracross!
Abilities: Hyper Cutter or Mold Breaker
Recommended Ability: Hyper Cutter, as none of Pinsir's main attacks are blocked by abilities.
First Encountered: You can encounter Pinsir in Lostlorn Forest. (White 2 only)
Poor Pinsir has been living in Heracross' shadow ever since Generation II. Due to its solid BST, an evolution also seems unlikely, but we'll never know. Just by looking at its typing and base stats, you can tell it's a poor man's Heracross. Its Attack and Speed are identical to Heracross', which looks promising. While it has a beastly 100 base Defense, its HP and Special Defense are lower than the other bug's, making it slightly weaker defensively. The pure Bug typing doesn't help, as Pinsir has two more weaknesses and loses amazing STAB Fighting attacks. The latter is a shame, as Pinsir has an astonishing array of Fighting attacks.
Pinsir starts off with Revenge, Brick Break, Vital Throw, and possibly Submission (level 26). Did it steal Fighting attacks from the Riolu or Timburr line? Fortunately, a few levels after you catch it, it picks up X-Scissor (level 29). No, it doesn't learn Megahorn, which is disappointing. Thrash (level 36) has the same power as a STAB X-Scissor and is more powerful than Return, so it could be decent. Swords Dance (level 40) boosts Pinsir's excellent Attack stat, so immediately slap it on. Its final notable move is Superpower (level 43), which has the same power as Close Combat but lowers Pinsir's Attack and Defense rather than Defense and Special Defense. Needless to say, this is another losing trade. At least Pinsir can make up for the Attack loss with Swords Dance.
There are only a few notable TM moves for Pinsir: Dig, Rock Slide, and Return.
Bug-types aren't too hot in major battles. Elesa's Zebstrika knows Flame Charge, and it doesn't fare well in the Mistralton Gym. While Shauntal gives it trouble, it does well against Grimsley (watch out for the occasional Rock attack) and Caitlin, so it'll be decent in the Pokémon League.
Pinsir makes a solid sweeper, especially once it has Swords Dance under its belt. However, pure Bug is a horrid type for sweeping (on par with Grass), and its main STAB attack is slightly underwhelming. The fact that it doesn't gain STAB on its numerous Fighting attacks is also disappointing. You can do worse, though.
Name: Blitzle -> Zebstrika
Abilities: Lightningrod or Motor Drive
Recommended Ability: Either, as opponents probably won't use Electric attacks on Zebstrika and it doesn't need either stat boost. Lightningrod is probably the better option, though, since it draws away Electric attacks in double/triple battles.
Evolution: Evolves at level 27
First Encountered: You can encounter Zebstrika on Route 7.
I tried using the Blitzle line a couple of times in Black/White, but I eventually dumped it since it was so underwhelming. The same remains true in BW2, especially with the influx of new Electric-types. Zebstrika has good Attack and excellent Speed, but low defenses. It also has decent Special Attack if you're into that.
Its only notable starting attack is Spark, a fairly weak Electric attack. Still, despite its lack of power, it should be enough to get Zebstrika through the Mistralton Gym. Discharge (level 36) has a higher base power, but is a special attack and Zebstrika can't really benefit from the paralysis due to its high base speed. Its last notable move is Wild Charge (level 47), which is the most powerful physical Electric attack. Since the TM is found in Victory Road, obtaining it at level 47 is preferable.
Honestly, there are no worthwhile TMs or tutor moves for Zebstrika. Maybe Return?
Fortunately, Zebstrika comes right before the Mistralton Gym, so it can easily catch up to the rest of your team. There are also plenty of Water-types at the Humilau Gym and various routes, which is helpful.
Zebstrika is a solid temporary Pokémon, as it destroys the Mistralton Gym and also fares well in the Seigaiha Gym. However, it's not a notable physical sweeper, and pales in comparison to other Electrics such as Ampharos, Magnezone, or Electivire. It has a couple of uses, but shouldn't be a long-term member.
Name: Buizel -> Floatzel
Ability: Swift Swim
Evolution: Evolves at level 26
First Encountered: You can encounter Buizel by Surfing in Lostlorn Forest. However, you may want to wait until Route 11.
Ruh-oh, don't tell Sega about Buizel! Like Zebstrika, Floatzel has good Attack and excellent Speed, along with decent Special Attack. While it has higher HP than Zebstrika, its defense stats are even worse. Buizel only evolves at level 26, though, so you should immediately have a Floatzel on your team. How does it stack up?
First of all, if you don't feel like shelling out Red Shards for Ice Punch, immediately reteach Floatzel Ice Fang. It has 10 power weaker than Ice Punch and 5% less accuracy, but at least Floatzel can take advantage of its flinch rate due to its high base Speed. You may want to invest another Heart Scale into Crunch. Unfortunately, the only physical Water attack Floatzel starts off with is Aqua Jet, so put Surf on it in the meantime. Its main STAB attack will be Aqua Tail (level 46), so you'll have to make do with Surf for a while.
Fortunately, if you have Blue Shards to spare, you can teach Floatzel Aqua Tail at the Lentimas Town Move Tutor. While you're at it, go ahead and teach it Ice Punch at the Driftveil tutor as well. Late in the game, you may want to supplement (or replace) Aqua Tail with Waterfall, which trades 10 power for 10 accuracy and a 20% flinch rate. Return gets respectable coverage alongside Floatzel's Water-type attacks. Don't bother with Dig, as Floatzel shouldn't stay in against Electric-types and already hits Fire- and Rock-types for super-effective damage.
Water-types are generally solid in major batles, and Ice Punch Floatzel does well in the Mistralton and Opelucid Gyms (though two of Skyla's Pokémon take neutral damage from Ice attacks).
Floatzel is a Pokémon that requires investment. If you're a miser, don't even bother training it, as it will be slightly underwhelming. Although Floatzel starts off weak, it quickly turns into a solid Pokémon, and is worthy of being your team's Water-type.
Name: Zorua -> Zoroark
Evolution: Evolves at level 30
First Encountered: You can receive N's Zorua in the Plasma Hideout in Driftveil City.
Zoroark is Generation V's answer to Lucario, although it hasn't achieved the same level of popularity as its furry counterpart. Zoroark is a classic glass cannon, with high attacking stats and Speed but crummy HP and defenses. Illusion is a cute ability to fool the computers, although the ruse is easily broken. Since Zorua has N's ID, it will receive boosted Experience, which helps it to quickly grow into a Zoroark. In addition, it comes with an excellent 30 IVs across the board, so it will have great stats.
Zorua's only notable starting attack is the decent Faint Attack. You may want to reteach it Fake Tears for later. It picks up Foul Play (level 29) right before it evolves, which has an excellent 95 base power. However, it uses the target's Attack stat to calculate damage, so it's very inconsistent. Fortunately, after Zorua evolves into Zoroark one level later, it picks up the reliable Night Slash (level 30), which serves as its main STAB for most of the game. The last notable attack Zoroark should pick up during the storyline is Nasty Plot, which boosts its Special Attack by two stages. Night Daze (level 64) would go hand-in-hand with Nasty Plot, but it's learned too late.
Dark Pulse is Zoroark's best Dark attack. It runs off of Zoroark's 120 base Special Attack, is boosted by Nasty Plot, and Zoroark is fast enough to take advantage of the attack's flinch rate. Snarl (which is coincidentally given by a Zoroark) works with Fake Tears, though you should just use Night Slash instead. Dig, Shadow Ball, Low Kick, and even Flamethrower are there.
Zoroark does well against Shauntal and Grimsley, though it will have problems with Marshal and some of Colress' Steel-types.
Zoroark grows like weed, has great stats, and quickly picks up a respectable STAB attack. Towards the endgame, it can also fire off powerful Nasty Plot-boosted Dark Pulses. However, its frailty is a drag, even though it has 30 IVs in both defensive stats. If you want to use a Zoroark, go right ahead.
Name: Ducklett -> Swanna
Abilities: Keen Eye or Big Pecks
Recommended Ability: Keen Eye. Both abilities are fairly worthless, but I personally find accuracy drops more irritating than Defense drops.
Evolution: Evolves at level 35
First Encountered: You can encounter Ducklett in the dark spots on the Driftveil Drawbridge.
To be honest, Ducklett's encounter method is more interesting than the Pokémon itself. Swanna's stats are overall underwhelming. It has fairly high Speed, but its attacking stats are fairly underwhelming and its defenses are low. Of course, to even get to this point, you have to train Ducklett to level 35. While that's not terrible, Swanna certainly isn't worth the wait.
At least it gets a decent natural movepool. BubbleBeam will be its main Water attack for a little while, while Aerial Ace serves as its Flying attack. However, the latter is quickly rendered obsolete by Air Slash (level 27), which is 25% more powerful and comes with a flinch rate. Roost (level 30) is unnecessary due to healing items. Rain Dance (level 34) is actually worth using, as it powers up the Ducklett line's STAB water attacks and combos with one of Swanna's main attacks. Brave Bird (level 47) compensates for Swanna's lack of offense, though the recoil and lack of a flinch rate means Air Slash may be preferable. Hurricane (level 55) is Swanna's final attack, a 120 power Flying attack with a 30% chance of causing confusion. It normally has 70% accuracy, but has perfect accuracy in the rain.
Surf should be a staple attack on Swanna. Ice Beam is also another excellent option. Rain Dance boosts the power of Swanna's Water moves and gives Hurricane perfect accuracy; while the rain also gives Thunder perfect accuracy, you shouldn't be leaving Swanna in against Thunder users anyway. Past that, there's nothing you want.
Ducklett can drown the Ground-types in the Driftveil Gym, though it will have problems standing up to Clay's powerful Rock Slide Excadrill. Ice Beam also makes it a solid choice for the Mistralton and Opelucid Gyms.
The Ducklett line is nothing special. Some of their Flying attacks have handy special effects, but Swanna's stats don't make up for its evolution time and it learns its most powerful attacks fairly late. I'd pass.
Name: Karrablast -> Escavalier
Type: Bug; Bug/Steel
Abilities: Swarm or Shell Armor
Recommended Ability: Shell Armor, as it ensures that criticals won't break through Escavalier's great defenses. Escavalier already has high Attack anyway.
Evolution: Evolves when traded for a Shelmet. If either Pokémon is holding an Everstone, neither Pokémon evolves.
First Encountered: You can encounter Karrablast on Route 6.
Karrablast's evolution Escavalier is an overlooked, yet surprisingly good choice for an in-game team. Heck, it was even solid enough to land on three-time World Champion Ray Rizzo's 2011 VGC Worlds team (alongside Gothitelle, bulky Hydreigon, and bulky Thundurus before it was cool in VGC). Escavalier has a pleasing stat spread. 135 base Attack is monstrous, and it has 105 base defenses to back it up. Its 70 base HP is a tad low, but its high defenses, nine resistances, and one immunity should make up for it. I'm sure someone in the peanut gallery will scream, "It's slow!", but who cares when it can shrug off attacks? Evolve your Karrablast ASAP.
First of all, go to the Driftveil City Move Tutor and teach Escavalier a couple of attacks. Otherwise, you're stuck with Headbutt for a while, picking up Slash (level 32) later on. It finally learns Iron Head (level 37), which serves as its main Steel STAB attack, though you should teach it to Escavalier via tutor sooner. Also, don't count on its flinch rate due to Escavalier's low Speed. Iron Defense (level 40) is actually a solid attack, as it makes Escavalier even more resilient on the physical end. X-Scissor (level 44) is Escavalier's main Bug STAB attack, though you should get the TM far beforehand. Swords Dance (level 52) boosts Escavalier's gargantuan Attack stat even higher, and it has the defenses to set up a few boosts.
As stated above, teach Escavalier Iron Head and Bug Bite at the Driftveil City Move Tutor. It will get two acceptable STAB attacks, and you should have Red Shards left over. You'll pick up the X-Scissor TM on Route 7, which should immediately be taught to Escavalier. Its movepool is pretty barren, with the only other option being Return.
It's worth noting that due to its typing, Escavalier can set up on many major trainers. For instance, it works well against the last Team Plasma higher-up and every Elite Four member except Shauntal. (It can set up on Cofagrigus, but will be anhiliated by Chandelure.) Escavalier also resists the attacks of Drayden's Haxorus.
If you can trade, consider an Escavalier for your team. It's an excellent tank, as it can take many hits and dish them out with that 135 base Attack. Its main STAB attacks are a little underwhelming, as it only picks up Megahorn through breeding. Bug and Steel aren't known for their attacking prowess, either. Still, a little originality is always nice.
Name: Shelmet -> Accelgor
Abilities: Hyration or Sticky Hold
Recommended Ability: Hydration. Both are situational, but Hydration is still the more useful attack since no computer opponent will use moves like Theft or Trick.
Evolution: Evolves when traded for a Karrablast. If either Pokémon is holding an Everstone, neither Pokémon evolves.
First Encountered: You can encounter Shelmet on Route 6.
The Karrablast player gets the better end of the deal. Accelgor is a special sweeper, and its stats are notably worse than Escavalier's. Its 145 base Speed is simply overkill, and it will outspeed anything in-game with no issues. Its Special Attack, while solid, isn't as high as Escavalier's Attack, and it has no way of boosting its stats. It has slightly higher HP, but its defenses pale in comparison. Like Escavalier, you'll want to evolve your Shelmet into an Accelgor ASAP.
The problems continue at joining time, where Accelgor's most powerful attack is Struggle Bug. Freaking Struggle Bug! Head over to the Driftveil City Move Tutor ASAP, or this thing will suck to high heaven. While you're at the Pokémon World Tournament, go reteach it Acid Spray, which lowers the target's Special Defense by two stages. It only learns two notable attacks: Giga Drain (level 37) and Bug Buzz (level 44). Both have handy secondary effects, though, as Giga Drain provides some free healing, while Bug Buzz has a slight chance of lowering the opponent's Special Defense.
Teach Accelgor Signal Beam from the Driftveil City Move Tutor. This is literally the only notable TM or tutor move it has.
Again, Bug types are a mixed bag in major battles. Don't use Accelgor in the Mistralton Gym or against most of Colress' Steel-types, but feel free to use it against Grimsley and Caitlin.
Yeah, Accelgor isn't too good. Despite its blistering Speed, it's held back by its crappy typing and low defenses. There are better glass cannons out there, such as Lucario and Zoroark.
Name: Deerling -> Sawsbuck
Abilities: Chlorophyll or Sap Sipper
Recommended Ability: Sap Sipper. While opponents probably won't use Grass attacks against the Deerling line, they may still use Grass-type status moves to give it a free Attack boost.
Evolution: Evolves at level 34.
First Encountered: You can encounter Deerling on Route 6.
Meet Deerling, yet another Pokémon with a worthless gimmick. Sawsbuck's stats aren't special. I'm sure you've seen it before: nice Attack and Speed, but its other stats aren't notable. Normal/Grass seems like an interesting typing, but it comes with a whopping six weaknesses. It has an acceptable evolution time, so you shouldn't have to put up with Deerling for too long.
Its main move is Take Down, which should suffice until you have a powered-up Return. Depending on what level you catch Deerling at, it may have Jump Kick (level 24), a powerful Fighting attack which gives it a little diversity. Sawsbuck's signature move, Horn Leech (level 37) is basically a physical Giga Drain, so it should be a staple attack. Double-Edge (level 52) is an option over Return; again, it comes down to how you feel about the recoil.
Now, I'm betting that most players just pass on Nature Power (level 41) because of the intricacies of the move. Once you understand how it works, though...it's probably not worth using anyway. Like Secret Power, Nature Power's effects vary depending on the terrain; however, while Secret Power had the chance of inflicting various effects, Nature Power turns into a different move altogether. (Chart courtesy of Bulbapedia again)
|Building, Plain||Tri Attack|
|Cave, Rock||Rock Slide|
|Tall grass||Seed Bomb|
|Snow and ice||Ice Beam|
As you'd suspect, it's mainly a gimmick. Half of Nature Power's attacks are special-based, leaving three notable moves: Earthquake, Rock Slide, and Seed Bomb. Since you probably won't visit the Desert Resort once you have a level 41 Sawsbuck and it already has access to Horn Leech, it's very situational and not worth using. But at least you know how Nature Power works now!
Return is a required move for any physical Normal-type. You may want to teach Deerling Seed Bomb to tide it over until it evolves and learns Horn Leech. Don't bother with Wild Charge, since Sawsbuck has Grass-type moves for Water-types and should stay away from Flying-types.
The Deerling line is decent. Those six weaknesses really sting, but they're not crippling. At the end of the day, it just doesn't stand out.
Name: Foongus -> Amoonguss
Ability: Effect Spore
Evolution: Evolves at level 39.
First Encountered: You can encounter Foonguss on Route 6.
Meet the second-most annoying Pokémon of Generation V, right behind Whimsicott. Amoonguss is built as a tank, with high HP, decent defenses, and even competent attacking stats. Effect Spore is unreliable, but free status effects are always welcome. However, it has a low Speed stat. More importantly, Foongus evolves at level 39, which is dismal. Its starting attacks are fairly terrible, as it has to make do with Mega Drain for a couple of levels beore it picks up Giga Drain (level 28). Toxic (level 32) contributes to its stallish nature, and works in conjunction with Venoshock. Right before it evolves at level 39, it learns Clear Smog, a weak Poison attack which removes the target's stat boosts. It's not very helpful in-game.
Now, you have a decision to make. The Foongus line's final and most valuable attack is Spore, a sleep move with perfect accuracy. Amoonguss learns the move at level 62, so you may not even have it by the time you finish the game. Foongus learns the move at "only" level 50, but dealing with a Foongus for that long is a horrifying prospect. Pick your poison.
The Foongus line's best TM is probably Venoshock, which can be combined with Toxic for a 130 power Poison attack. Attract may be okay since it's a tank.
The Foonguss line does poorly in the Mistralton Gym, especially since you may not have an Amoonguss by that point. Amoonguss does well in the Humilau Gym, but Colress, Ghetsis, Shauntal, Caitlin, and the Champion are all pitfalls.
Amoonguss is okay during the storyline. However, its late evolution time and lack of offense hurts it. Save it for the Video Game Championship environment, where you can piss off your opponents with endless Spores, Rage Powder, and random statuses from Effect Spore.
First Encountered: You can encounter Castform on Route 6 in thick grass.
Meet one of the biggest gimmicks in Pokémon history, Castform. All of Castform's stats are below par. Castform's gimmick is its Forecast ability, which causes it to change type if the weather is sunny, rainy, or hailing. I should warn you right away that Snowy form is the worst form. Although STAB Ice attacks are excellent, Castform receives four weaknesses and its STAB attacks aren't powered up by the weather. So it's a toss-up between Sunny Form and Rainy Form. While Rainy Form arguably has better STAB, Castform can pick up Flamethrower, which is a reliable, useful attack even outside of its main weather condition.
Castform starts with Headbutt, Hail, Rain Dance, and Sunny Day. Four levels later, Castform learns Weather Ball (level 30), which basically becomes a 100 power STAB attack in sun, rain, or hail. While Weather Ball is a useful attack in the rain, it's essentially a two-turn move, so it only has 50 base power on average during the first two turns. Ten levels later, Castform picks up three attacks: Blizzard, Fire Blast, and Hydro Pump (all level 40). While these attacks are less reliable than Weather Ball in its respective weather conditions, they're more powerful and don't require the weather to be up. Personally, I'd pick Sunny Day or Rain Dance, Weather Ball, and a high-powered move with a filler move.
Castform learns a decent amount of TMs. Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, and Flamethrower are available late in the storyline, while Thunder is also an option. (It also learns Fire Blast and Blizzard, but it should learn these attacks before you get the TMs.) Energy Ball and Scald are also there. Return is there if you're using a normal Castform for God knows what reason. Work Up boosts both Return and Castform's special attacks.
Snowy form Castform spam a perfect accuracy Blizzard in the Opelucid Gym, though his Flygon knows Rock Slide. Sunny form Castform does well against Colress, though a natural Fire-type would do even better.
The weather Pokémon is pretty poor. Essentially, it has to waste a turn to become a mediocre Pokémon of a different type. Why not just use a Fire- or Water-type and spend a turn setting up Sunny Day or Rain Dance? It can also use a mixed set with Return, but Castform's mediocre stats just bring it down. Castform is just a gimmick that didn't work out.
Name: Nosepass -> Probopass
Type: Rock for Nosepass; Rock/Steel for Probopass
Abilities: Sturdy or Magnet Pull
Recommended Ability: Sturdy, as the computer doesn't switch
Evolution: Evolves when leveled up at the Electric Rock in Chargestone Cave
First Encountered: You can encounter Nosepass in Chargestone Cave.
Rating: Low (Low-Mid)
Trivia: English-language Nosepass are also forbidden from being traded on the GTS due to Generation V's censors.
Probopass has phenomenal defenses, but its Special Attack is mediocre while its other stats are poor. Fortunately, it has nine resistances and one immunity, making it resilient. Its quadruple weaknesses to Ground and Fighting attacks really hurt it competitively, but they aren't as glaring in-game. Since Nosepass is caught in Chargestone Cave, you can evolve it into a Probopass immediately. Since Nosepass and Probopass learn attacks at the same levels, there's no reason to delay its evolution.
Well, Nosepass' starting movepool isn't great. Thunder Wave compensates for the Nosepass line's low Speed. Rock Blast is a solid Rock attack, although neither Nosepass nor Probopass have the Attack to make good use of it. Rock Slide (level 29) also runs off of Probopass' low Attack, although it can be combined with Thunder Wave for paraflinching. Power Gem (level 32) is weaker than Rock Slide, but runs off of Probopass' higher Special Attack. Just ignore Discharge (level 39), since Probopass is weak to Water attacks and has STAB Rock attacks for Flying-types. Earth Power (level 43) is a powerful special Ground attack that synergizes with Power Gem. Don't bother with Lock-On and Zap Cannon (both level 50); Probopass shouldn't attack with Electric moves, and the combo isn't worth two moveslots.
Probopass gets no other notable moves. Thunderbolt is a late-game option, although I've already explained why Probopass shouldn't use Electric attacks. Besides, it would be better off with Discharge for the paralysis rate. Iron Head, Dig and the elemental punches run off of Probopass' weak Atack. Magnet Rise is a cute option for surprise Ground attacks, although Probopass will be smacked by the opponent before it can pull off Magnet Rise.
Probopass is decent against Skyla, although it should stay away from her Swanna. It can paralyze Drayden's Haxorus and resists all of its attacks, which is definitely worth a nod. If you're into using X-Items, it can freely set up on Ghetsis' Cofagrigus since it's immune to Toxic and resists all of its attacks. Marlon, Marshal, and half of Shauntal and Grimsley's teams give it trouble, though.
Probopass has a great defensive typing and evolves from Nosepass immediately. However, it has low offenses, and doesn't even get Flash Cannon during the storyline. If you want a Rock/Steel type, use Aggron.
Name: Aron -> Lairon -> Aggron
Abilities: Sturdy or Rock Head
Recommended Ability: Sturdy, as the Aron line can't really take advantage of Rock Head in-game
Evolution: Evolves at level 32; evolves at level 42
First Encountered: You can encounter Aron in Mistralton Cave.
Rating: Mid (Mid-High)
Speak of the devil! Aggron is a physical Pokémon, with a great 110 base Attack and an extraordinary 180 base Defense. However, its HP is mediocre while its other stats are rather poor. Rock/Steel is an excellent defensive typing since its two major weaknesses aren't omnipresent in-game. While Aron evolves a couple of levels after you capture it, you'll have to put up with a Lairon for a decent amount of time. At least Lairon has nice Attack and excellent Defense.
Aron starts off with Iron Head, which will serve as the line's main Steel STAB for most of the game. Unfortunately, the Aron line is too slow to take advantage of the flinch effect naturally. If Aron has Rock Head, it will receive no recoil from Take Down, but it's not a big deal. Lairon picks up Iron Tail (level 40) right before it evolves, which is more powerful than Iron Head and has a more useful side effect for the Aron line. However, its 75% accuracy is abysmal. Aggron patches up its low Speed with Autotomize (level 48), which boosts its Speed by two stages and halves its weight. However, the weight-halving effect conflicts with Aggron's devastating Heavy Slam (level 57), an attack that increases in power the heavier Aggron is than its target. Since Aggron is one of the heaviest Pokémon in the game, Heavy Slam will usually have a high base power, and it breaks even with Iron Head at worst on all but a handful of Pokémon.
Rock Slide should serve as the Aron line's main Rock attack. Rock Polish boosts Aggron's Speed by two stages and lacks the weight-halving effect. Aggron also has access to Shadow Claw, Dig, Shadow Claw, Payback, Superpower, and the elemental punches. Don't use Aggron's numerous special attacks due to its abysmal Special Attack.
For Aggron's matchups, see Probopass above.
Aggron is a solid Pokémon that can take hits and dish them out in return. Unfortunately, it reaches its final stage late, and crumples to most special attacks. Still, Aggron is quite the respectable Pokémon.
Name: Baltoy -> Claydol
Evolution: Evolves at level 36
First Encountered: You can encounter Baltoy in Volcarona's Chamber in the Relic Castle.
Meet Claydol, which has fallen from its glory days in Generation III competitive play. Claydol is a decent defensive Pokémon. It has high defenses, thoguh the rest of its tat are mediocre at best. Claydol has a decent defensive typing, as it has two immunities with Levitate and a handful of resistances. However, this comes with six weaknesses, which is terrible for a defensive Pokémon.
Try to catch a Baltoy at level 28 or higher so that it will have Extrasensory (level 28) rather than Psybeam. AncientPower is an okay special attack, though its side effect is situational and it has low PP. Cosmic Power (level 31) boosts both of Claydol's defenses. Earth Power (level 40) is a powerful special Ground attack, and is the last notable move that Claydol learns.
You'll definitely want to teach Claydol Psychic. Ice Beam, Charge Beam, and Shadow Ball are other notable attacks.
Unfortunately, Claydol has fairly poor matchups. Most of Skyla's Pokémon resist both of Claydol's STAB attacks, while all of Drayden and Marlon's Pokémon carry super-effective attacks. It does well against one of the Team Plasma higher-ups, but does poorly against the other. Shauntal and Grimsley destroy Claydol, while half of Caitlin's team carries super-effective attacks against it. Claydol fares decently against Marshal, though three of his Pokémon also strike Claydol with super-effective attacks. Claydol does well against the Champion's Aggron and decently against her Archeops, though it's unimpressive otherwise.
Those six weaknesses really drag Claydol down. When combined with its lack of offenses, Claydol isn't the best Pokémon you can use. Just go with an offensive Ground-type instead.
Ability: Flame Body
First Encountered: You can encounter Volcarona in the Relic Castle. Larvesta cannot be encountered during the storyline.
I knew that the Relic Castle Volcarona would be nerfed in BW2. In Black/White's post-game, it could singlehandedly sweep Cynthia and every Pokémon League member besides Grimsley after Quiver Dancing to its heart's content, but how does it fare in the sequels' storyline?
Volcarona has a great stat spread, with an amazing 135 base Special Attack, good Special Defense and Speed, and decent HP to compensate for its low Defense. It levels up slowly, but at least you don't have to spend an eternity babying a level 1 Larvesta to get a Volcarona during the storyline.
Well, its starting moveset is mind-bogglingly bad. Enjoy String Shot, Leech Life, Gust, and Fire Spin. I don't care how cheap you are with your Shards: teach this thing Signal Beam immediately. It won't learn any more bug attacks until you've beaten the game (Bug Buzz is learned at level 70), so go ahead and do it. With one exception, Volcarona learns a new move every 10 levels. Whirlwind (level 40) isn't worth it, while Silver Wind (level 50) isn't worth using due to its low PP and chance of its secondary effect. Right before (or during) the Pokémon League, Volcarona learns the phenomenal Quiver Dance (level 59), which boosts its special stats and Speed by one stage. While this set-up move was great for Lilligant, it's even better for Volcarona due to its superior STABs.
With Quiver Dance, Volcarona can set up on every Pokémon League member except Marshal and devastate their teams. There are a couple of nuisances, but they can be worked around. Grimsley's Liepard has Aerial Ace, but it's a weak non-STAB attack that has a chance of triggering Volcarona's Flame Body. The Champion's main Pokémon is a Haxorus that holds a Focus Sash, so it's guaranteed to survive one of Volcarona's attacks. However, since the Champion leads with a Hydreigon with an all-special moveset, you can simply have Volcarona Quiver Dance to its heart's content. Heal Volcarona while Hydreigon deals laughable damage, then blow through everything except the Haxorus. Even if the Champion heals Haxorus with a Full Restore, Volcarona will outspeed and OHKO it. (The Champion also has an Aggron, but it fortunately has the Rock Head ability instead of Sturdy.)
The only other attack Volcarona may learn during the storyline is Heat Wave (level 60). It's a solid attack, but you should go with Flamethrower's reliability or even Fire Blast's power.
You need to invest TMs or tutor moves into your Volcarona to make it proficient. As I stated earlier, you must teach it Signal Beam from the Driftveil City Move Tutor to give it a solid STAB attack. Unfortunately, Volcarona's main Fire STAB will be Flame Spin until you can buy the Fire Blast TM. You may want to teach it Heat Wave from the Humilau City Move Tutor, or just wait for the reliable Flamethrower TM. Psychic is an option for Fighting-types. (Don't use it against Marshal's Pokémon, however, or Volcarona will just be OHKOed by a Rock attack.)
Volcarona does poorly in the Humilau Gym, but it's absolutely amazing againt Colress' Steel and Psychic team. It can also set up on Ghetsis' Cofagrigus, which only knows special attacks.
Volcarona is a Pokémon with huge potential, and destroys the final foes once it gets a few Quiver Dances under its belt. However, it doesn't get a solid Fire attack for a while, leaving it stuck with a Bug-type move for coverage. It also receives Quiver Dance at the very end. Still, with a little patience, Volcarona's great stats will tide you over until it receives its coveted moves.
Name: Joltik -> Galvantula
Ability: Compoundeyes or Unnerve
Evolution: Compoundeyes, as it allows Galvantula to spam a 91% accurate Thunder. Unnerve has little use beyond disabling the Sitrus Berries of major trainers' main Pokémon.
First Encountered: You can encounter Joltik in the Chargestone Cave.
I remember Audino grinding in Black/White so I'd have a Galvantula before Skyla. The grinding wasn't fun, but destroying her Gym was worth it. :) Galvantula has nice Special Attack and great Speed, but its HP is low and its defenses are mediocre. Electric is a great STAB, though, and the Bug STAB covers Grass-types. Unfortunately, Joltik starts off a little underleveled. Evolving at level 36 is acceptable, though Joltik will be lagging behind the rest of your team until it evolves. You can try leveling it up at the Mistralton Gym, but Joltik will be outsped and take heavy damage from the evolved Flying-types in the process.
Joltik's only notable starting attack is Electroweb, a 55 power Electric attack that lowers the opponent's Speed by one stage. Electro Ball (level 29) comes a few levels later, and you're better off just spamming Thunder Wave and Electro Ball. Signal Beam (level 34) is a solid Bug attack, and will be the Joltik line's main Bug attack for nearly all of the game. Discharge (level 54) is normally an acceptable Electric attack, but Galvantula should be spamming Compoundeyes Thunder by this point, and the Thunderbolt TM shouldn't be far away. Bug Buzz (level 60) should replace Signal Beam, and is useful against a couple of the Elite Four members.
You should definitely teach Thunder to Galvantula, as spamming accurate Thunders is its main niche. Thunderbolt is actually inferior to Thunder on Galvantula, but can be used for PP preservation if necessary. Energy Ball or Giga Drain is actually a cute option for Ground-types, though Galvantula should tread carefully since Ground-types can carry Rock-type attacks.
Galvantula does well in the Mistralton and Humilau Gyms, and once again, the numerous Water-types are simply fodder for it.
Dropping Thunders on enemies is a blast, and Galvantula has advantageous matchups in the Mistralton and Seigaiha Gyms, as well as against Grimsley and Caitlin. However, Joltik's slightly late evolution time and low defenses bring it down. At the end of the day, it's a solid Electric-type.
Name: Ferroseed -> Ferrothorn
Ability: Iron Barbs
Evolution: Evolves at level 40.
First Encountered: You can encounter Ferroseed in the Chargestone Cave.
Rating: Mid (Mid-High)
Here's yet another annoying Grass-type in competitive play! Unlike Whimsicott and Amoonguss, however, the Ferroseed line can actually hold its own in-game. Ferrothorn has a great stat distribution. Its 74 base HP is underwhelming, but its massive defenses, ten resistances, and one immunity make up for it. Its 94 base Attack stat is also nice, especially for a wall. The base 20 Speed is appalling, but it actually works to Ferrothorn's favor by powering up one of its main attacks. Unfortunately, it's slightly underleveled at joining time, and evolves all the way at level 40. You'll get the Lucky Egg soon after completing Chargestone Cave, but this is still a problem since Ferroseed has little offense. Iron Barbs is a surprisingly useful ability, and you can even give Ferrothorn the Rocky Helmet to strip away 25% of the opponent's health each time it uses a physical attack. If the opponent uses a multi-target attack like DoubleSlap at least four times, it will KO itself! I doubt it'll happen, but it will be priceless if it does.
It starts off with Gyro Ball, which will be one of the Ferroseed line's main attacks due to their rock-bottom Speed. Iron Defense is a decent move to raise Ferroseed's defenses, but you should immediately reteach it Curse. Curse increases Ferroseed's physical stats and lowers its Speed; Gyro Ball is indirectly powered up by the latter effect. After Ferroseed evolves into Ferrothorn, it immediately learns Power Whip (level 40). This is bascially a variant of Fire Blast, as it has 120 power and 85% accuracy. Needless to say, it will serve as Ferrothorn's Grass STAB. Now you have a nice little Cursing Ferrothorn to fall back on. Iron Head (level 46) is a decent Steel attack that can serve as backup if Ferrothorn runs out of Gyro Ball PP or faces another slow foe. Payback (level 53) is also decent since Ferrothorn should be striking last.
You may want to teach Ferroseed Seed Bomb to give it a little offense and to serve as a more reliable alternative to Power Whip once it evolves. Iron Head can also be taught early, but Gyro Ball should suffice until level 46. Bulldoze is okay against Steel-types, which resist Ferrothorn's STABs, but shouldn't be used against Fire-types since Ferrothorn will be fried before it launches an attack.
Ferrothorn resists all of the attacks of Drayden's Haxorus and Ghetsis' Hydreigon, and punishes them with Iron Barbs. It also does well in the Humilau Gym (watch out for Scald burns!). Don't use it against Marshal, obviously.
Ferrothorn makes an excellent tank, and has high-powered STABs to dish out the damage in return. Babying it is a chore due to Ferroseed's lack of offense, but Ferrothorn is worth the trouble. It's yet another "Mid High" Pokémon.