Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness In-Game Tiers

  1. Introduction
  2. High Tier
  3. Upper Mid Tier
  4. Mid Tier
  5. Lower Mid Tier
  6. Low Tier
  7. Bottom Tier
  8. Basement Tier

Introduction

The best possible Pokemon is one that is obtained at the start of the game, can OHKO enemies off the bat, and takes 1 HP damage from everything, while also learning every possible HM, healing itself automatically, and having some neat ability to top it off. Such a Pokemon doesn't exist, of course, but this means that Pokemon closer to this ideal are the best ones possible.

The goal of this in-game tier list is to recommend a select group of Pokemon for an efficient run through of the game. Those will be put in High tier. Very inefficient Pokemon will be put in Low. Things that are neither efficient nor inefficient, for example Pokemon that have some opportunity cost but end up as good as High ones, will be put in the Middle.

Resources are available, but come with the cost of not being able to give it to other Pokemon. Giving Super Potions is fine because you can buy them and you have almost infinite money in the game. Giving a Pokemon a TM like the Dig in RBY cannot simply be assumed as there is likely lots of competition for it. The less competition there is for a TM, the more likely it is that the Pokemon in question can get said TM. A purchasable TM can always be assumed, of course.

Don't confuse an efficient run with a speed run. Speed runs are often segmented and recorded runs with luck manipulation through resets, and aim for the absolute fastest time, but the real time spent on them is usually much, much more. Just assume you want to play through in a relatively low time frame.

Team size is actually by far most efficient if you use one member, but I'm assuming something more like 3 members as otherwise you get extremely centralized lists with starters and early-game Pokemon at the far top and everything else is pretty much too crappy to bother with.

The tiers for Pokemon XD are based on the following:

  • Availability: Can you get them early on and are they easy to get?
  • Stats: Do they have a usable stat distribution?
  • Moves: Do they have a good movepool that needs little TM support? (By that I mean hard to replace TMs such as ones you get from Gyms.)
  • Power: Are they strong enough to sweep through enemies without taking too much damage in return?
  • Type: Do they have useful STABs and resistances?
  • Match-ups: Do they fare well in boss battles?

High Tier

Carvanha
Availability: Early
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes early, is very fast and very strong, but it can't take a hit at all, which can make training difficult until it evolves into Sharpedo. It's ultimately outclassed by Vaporeon, but is a great alternative for a Water-type.

Eevee (Espeon)
Availability: Beginning
Stats: High
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's fast and powerful, learns excellent level-up moves, comes with Bite, and is the first Pokemon you get.

Eevee (Jolteon)
Availability: Beginning
Stats: High
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's fast and powerful, easily able to procure a Thunder TM for its primary STAB attack, and the first Pokemon you get.

Eevee (Vaporeon)
Availability: Beginning
Stats: High
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's very bulky and strong, is the first Pokemon you get, and you get great TMs to teach it.

Growlithe
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: High
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It comes mid-game, comes with great STAB, can quickly evolve with a Fire Stone, and it's ultimately fast and powerful, though a bit outclassed by Houndoom.

Houndour
Availability: Early
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes early, has a great typing, great STAB, and comes at a level higher than the rest of your Pokemon at the time. You also get the Flamethrower TM shortly after evolving from the S.S. Libra, turning Houndoom into real powerhouse.

Makuhita
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes with a good moveset and is very strong. It's also the bulkiest of the obtainable Fighting-types as Hariyama.

Mareep
Availability: Early
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments:It comes early, has great level-up STAB, and comes at a level higher than the rest of your Pokemon. It also comes with Thunder Wave, which makes catching Shadow Pokemon super easy.

Ralts
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It comes decently early, has a good level-up movepool, and is fast and powerful as a Gardevoir. Not to mention Kirlia gets Psychic right away at level 26.

Shroomish
Availability: Early
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: Once it evolves it becomes a powerhouse and it has handy resistances to Earthquake, Surf, and Rock Slide. You can also get the Brick Break TM for STAB shortly after evolving from the Pyrite Colosseum.

Teddiursa
Availability: Very Early
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes very early, is very powerful, and has good level-up moves and a powerful STAB.

Wooper
Availability: Early
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's slow, but it has a great typing and is decently powerful. It can be a bit of a pain to catch at the Poké Spots though.

Upper Mid Tier

Eevee (Flareon)
Availability: Beginning
Stats: High
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's slow and outclassed by Houndour and Growlithe, but it comes super early and is very bulky for a Fire-type.

Hoppip
Availability: Early
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: Its attacks are weak, which makes it very hard to level up, but its high Speed coupled with Sleep Powder and handy resistances to Water-, Ground-, and Fighting-type attacks make it a GREAT supporter. It's also a fantastic choice for whittling down Shadow Pokemon for capture.

Meditite
Availability: Early
Stats: Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes a bit under-leveled, but it's very easy to level up through Mt. Battle, comes with perfect coverage, and is very, very powerful. However, it requires you to capture a Trapinch from the Poké Spots, which can end up being very time consuming.

Numel
Availability: Early
Stats: Average
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It has a good movepool and decent offenses, making it a decent Houndour substitute.

Paras
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's weak and slow, but Spore is amazing in helping to catch Shadow Pokemon.

Roselia
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's weak defensively, but is incredibly strong when you catch it. It loses its usefulness late-game though.

Spheal
Availability: Early
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It has a great STAB combo and is pretty bulky, but its late evolution will often hold it back because Sealeo is a pretty poor Pokemon in the later stages of the game.

Vulpix
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes early and with a good moveset; Ninetales has good stats as well. However, it's outclassed by both Houndoom and Arcanine.

Weepinbell
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It comes late but has Sleep Powder if you trade some Poké Coupons with the Move Relearner, and unlike Jumpluff, it can actually hurt things. It's actually the strongest Grass-type attacker you'll get in the game.

Zangoose
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes a bit late but is fast and very strong.

Mid Tier

Banette
Availability: Late
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It comes late, has a shallow movepool, and is a little frail, but it has a high Attack stat and comes with Shadow Ball, which is incredibly strong. It's the best Ghost-type you get, though a rather poor Pokemon otherwise.

Dodrio
Availability: Late
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes late, but is the best offensive Flying-type you get, aside from Salamence. It's also pretty fast and comes with good moves once purified.

Eevee (Umbreon)
Availability: Beginning
Stats: High
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's slow and its attacks are weak, but is an extremely sturdy tank. You're better off choosing one of the other Eeveelutions as Sharpedo and Houndoom are much better Dark-types.

Electabuzz (Shadow)
Availability: Late
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent (No elemental punches)
Additional Comments: It can take Shadow-type attacks well and Shadow Half actually allows it to hurt the final boss's Pokemon. It's also decently fast and strong, which makes it a great alternative to Ampharos.

Elekid (Hordel)
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Very Wide
Additional Comments: It comes later on and is under-leveled, but it comes with excellent attacks and is very easy to level up.

Gulpin
Availability: Early
Stats: Average
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It comes with Sing, which is helpful for capturing Shadow Pokemon, and it is moderately bulky.

Hitmonlee
Availability: Late
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It can take Shadow-type attacks well and Shadow Half actually allows it to hurt the final boss's Pokemon. It's also decently fast and strong, making a good alternative to Hariyama and Medicham.

Poochyena
Availability: Early
Stats: Below Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes early and is moderately powerful, which makes it useful early-game. It loses a lot of usefulness late-game though.

Salamence
Availability: Very Late
Stats: High
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It comes very late, but is very powerful and extremely useful in the final battle to wear down and take hits from Shadow Pokemon. It also comes at a high level and will usually have higher stats than many of your current Pokemon.

Seel
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes mid-game and with a good moveset, though it's mostly outclassed by Vaporeon and Walrein offensively and defensively.

Snorlax
Availability: Late
Stats: High
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It's very bulky and makes a great meatshield for the final battle, although it comes so late that that's about all it's good for.

Swellow
Availability: Late
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It can take Shadow-type attacks well and Shadow Half actually allows it to hurt the final boss's Pokemon. Plus, it's extremely fast and powerful if inflicted with status.

XD001 Lugia
Availability: You get it right before the final boss battle.
Stats: Uber Strong
Movepool: Very Wide
Additional Comments: Comes very late, but is very sturdy and extremely useful in the final battle to wear down and take hits from Shadow Pokemon. However, it requires you to either lose the following battle and then go to the box and rebattle the boss since there is no break in between, or enter the battle versus Greevil with only 5 Pokemon.

Lower Mid Tier

Arbok
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes too late in the game and is not that powerful, but it comes with Shadow Half which makes it useful for a while.

Butterfree
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Poor
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's weak, slow, and comes too late in the game, though Sleep Powder is cool for catching Shadow Pokemon.

Duskull
Availability: Early
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It has bad stats and it's very slow, making it hard to train and use effectively.

Golduck
Availability: Late
Stats: Average
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It comes a little late, but is one of the better Water-types you get in the game. It's also much faster than Quagsire, Walrein, and Dewgong, making it a great alternative to Vaporeon.

Grimer
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: Its stats simply aren't good enough, and being a slow Pokemon that is weak to Earthquake is very bad in the final battles. However, it has a very high Attack stat and is bulky like Swalot, making it a decent alternative.

Lapras
Availability: Very Late
Stats: High
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It comes very late, but is extremely bulky and moderately powerful, making it a good choice for a meatshield (assuming it's still a Shadow Pokemon) for the final boss.

Lunatone
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's slow and only somewhat powerful, though it will be at a higher level than the rest of your Pokemon when you catch it.

Magneton
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It has good stats and a great typing, but simply comes too late in the game to be more useful than Ampharos or Jolteon.

Mawile
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Poor
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It has very bad stats and no good STAB moves, but it does have a great typing for when you catch it.

Natu
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: There's no reason to use it over Gardevoir which sports a better movepool and higher stats.

Seedot
Availability: Early
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's too weak and doesn't have any good STAB moves, though you get a Leaf Stone very early, allowing you to have a Shiftry very early in the game.

Shellder
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's weak, slow, and comes too late in the game.

Spearow
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's too weak offensively and defensively, but is one of the better Flying-types available.

Spinarak
Availability: Early
Stats: Below Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's weak defensively, but comes with Signal Beam, making it a strong attacker early-game.

Venomoth
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Below Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It comes too late in the game and is not that powerful, but it's possible to get Sleep Powder from the Move Relearner.

Voltorb
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's simply too weak offensively and defensively, making it outclassed by better Electric-types.

Zubat
Availability: Early
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's tedious to train early on, but Crobat has great stats making it a decent attacker.

Low Tier

Altaria
Availability: Late
Stats: Average
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It's about the only Dragon-type available until the last couple of battles, and its typing is very nice for tanking attacks. However, it comes with a horrid movepool and low attacking stats, making it hard to use and outclassed by many other Pokemon.

Aron
Availability: Early
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's very powerful once evolved, but it evolves late in the game and is hard to train.

Baltoy
Availability: Early
Stats: Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's too weak and slow to use.

Dugtrio
Availability: Late
Stats: Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes very late in the game and is very frail, making it not worth training. It is very fast and comes with STAB Earthquake though.

Hitmonchan
Availability: Late
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's the worst Fighting-type you get in-game and heavily outclassed by Hitmonlee, Hariyama, Medicham, and Breloom.

Hypno
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's very bulky and somewhat powerful, but is utterly outclassed by Espeon and Gardevoir.

Kangaskhan
Availability: Late
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's fast and strong, but comes with a bad movepool and is harshly outclassed by Ursaring.

Larvitar
Availability: Early
Stats: High
Movepool: Very Wide
Additional Comments: It's very powerful once evolved, but evolves too late, is hard to get, and very hard to train.

Magmar
Availability: Late
Stats: Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It isn't a bad Pokemon, just outclassed by the ton of other Fire-types available.

Manectric
Availability: Very Late
Stats: Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes very late and will be outclassed by Jolteon and Ampharos by then.

Marowak
Availability: Very Late
Stats: Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's extremely powerful, but comes very late, making it unusable for the final battle.

Meowth
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's simply too weak offensively and defensively to be useful.

Mr. Mime
Availability: Late
Stats: Average
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It's strong, but super frail defensively. It also comes too late to be more useful than Espeon and Gardevoir.

Pidgeotto
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Below Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's too weak offensively and defensively to be useful.

Pinsir
Availability: Late
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's fast and strong, but comes with a horrid movepool and receives no good STAB.

Poliwrath
Availability: Late
Stats: Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes very late and is outclassed as both a Water- and Fighting-type. It is bulky though, which could make it a useful meatshield for the last couple of battles.

Primeape
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It's fast and kinda strong, but ultimately outclassed by the other Fighting-types available earlier in the game.

Rapidash
Availability: Late
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's fast and strong, but comes too late to be more useful than the other Fire-types available.

Solrock
Availability: Late
Stats: Average
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It has a neat typing and stat distribution, but comes too late in the game.

Starmie
Availability: Late
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Very Wide
Additional Comments: It's an amazing Pokemon, but comes super late in the game, by which time it's outclassed by the other Water-types available.

Tangela
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's too slow and has a bad typing, though Sleep Powder is cool.

Trapinch
Availability: Early
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It has a terrible level-up movepool, and its evolutions come too late.

Bottom Tier

Beedrill
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Poor
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's weak, slow, and comes too late in the game.

Chansey
Availability: Late
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's super bulky specially defensively, but has zero offensive capabilities.

Delcatty
Availability: Early
Stats: Poor
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's comparatively strong upon capture, but quickly loses its usefulness due to its extremely poor stats.

Farfetch'd
Availability: Late
Stats: Poor
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's a terrible Pokemon, and on top of that it comes late in the game.

Gligar
Availability: Early
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It has a terrible level-up movepool, making it almost impossible to train.

Ledyba
Availability: Early
Stats: Very Poor
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's too weak and slow to use.

Lickitung
Availability: Late
Stats: Poor
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It comes late and with a terrible movepool, plus it is very weak offensively.

Magcargo
Availability: Late
Stats: Below Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's decent offensively, but has possibly the worst typing available for double battles.

Nosepass
Availability: Late Mid-game
Stats: Poor
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's very weak and very slow.

Phanpy
Availability: Early
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It has a terrible level-up movepool, making it almost impossible to train.

Pineco
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: Unless you want to blow up with Explosion or Selfdestruct, it's not powerful enough.

Raticate
Availability: Late
Stats: Below Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It has only decent stats at best, and comes with a horrible movepool, though Super Fang could be useful for catching the remaining Shadow Pokemon.

Sableye
Availability: Late
Stats: Poor
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It has absolutely horrid stats and comes with a poor movepool.

Sandshrew
Availability: Early
Stats: Below Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's entirely outclassed by Phanpy, which in itself is bad.

Scyther
Availability: Late
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's fast and strong, but has possibly the worst movepool ever.

Shuckle
Availability: Early
Stats: Poor
Movepool: Horrid
Additional Comments: It has zero offensive capabilities, making it hard to train and use.

Snorunt
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Below Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's outclassed by both Seel and Spheal, which both have better stats.

Surskit
Availability: Early
Stats: Poor
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's simply too weak.

Swinub
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It has a ton of weaknesses and is weak defensively.

Togepi
Availability: Early Mid-game
Stats: Below Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It comes way too late to train and is not even good once it is trained.

Basement Tier

Articuno
Availability: Very Late
Stats: High
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's captured during the final boss fight.

Chikorita
Availability: Very Late
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It requires you to complete the Mt. Battle with the original team you registered when first entering.

Cyndaquil
Availability: Very Late
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It requires you to complete the Mt. Battle with the original team you registered when first entering.

Dragonite
Availability: Very Late
Stats: Very High
Movepool: Very Wide
Additional Comments: It can't be captured until completing the main storyline.

Exeggutor
Availability: Very Late
Stats: High
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's captured during the final boss fight.

Moltres
Availability: Very Late
Stats: High
Movepool: Shallow
Additional Comments: It's captured during the final boss fight.

Rhydon
Availability: Very Late
Stats: High
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's captured during the final boss fight.

Tauros
Availability: Very Late
Stats: High
Movepool: Wide
Additional Comments: It's captured during the final boss fight.

Totodile
Availability: Very Late
Stats: Above Average
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It requires you to complete the Mt. Battle with the original team you registered when first entering.

Zapdos
Availability: Very Late
Stats: High
Movepool: Decent
Additional Comments: It's captured during the final boss fight.