Let's Play! [FINISHED] Pokemon Emerald - Let's use them all! - Playthroughs with each available Pokemon

It's a bit of a shame that this particular playthrough had more duds than usual. Poor mons. They should all have chances to shine.
 
Team #1
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Torchic is the second best starter for in-game playthroughs. Even though, Fire / Fighting starters became a meme, this typing is absolutely amazing. Hitting from both sides of the spectrum in gen 3 with high mixed offenses and mostly great moves. Overheat, especially, is such a giant nuke after just the fourth gym. Flamethrower is an expensive Game Corner TM but is much more solid than Blaze Kick (if not as cool), and Brick Break is a needed better Fighting STAB move than Double Kick. For some reason Blaziken doesn't learn Sky Uppercut until level 59. Gen 3 level-up movepools are weird (you will hear me say that a lot in the future). Blaziken also learns a lot of other useful moves, but doesn't really need them. Its STAB moves are good enough for nearly everything and the TMs are better saved for other team memebers. My only gripe with Torchic is that Combusken falls a bit off shortly before it evolves similar to Marshtomp. It just is a bit slower and frailer than you think before it gets to Blaziken. Overall though, absolutely great Pokemon and probably my favorite starter to use for playthroughs.

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Tentacool is pretty good for the most part. But man, its level-up movepool and early game are awful. For some reason, it only gets its first water move at level 25. Before that it struggles by with Acid and Cut from Tentacool's bad attack stat. Ugh. If you want to use a Tentacool, you should really only catch one later on the water routes after you get Surf. It will be around level 25 then, which means you skip its bad early game, it evolves soon and it can get great moves in Surf, Sludge Bomb and Ice Beam immediately. Even with Tentacool's bad early game, after the 5th gym it is nothing but up for Tentacruel. Great stats, great typing and great moves to bully other water types. It can also carry plenty of HMs. Pretty solid for the rest of the game after that.

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Cacnea is pretty decent as far as Grass types in gen 3 go. Needle Arm is solid and has more PP than Giga Drain. But just like Faint Attack it has low base power, unfortunately. So, even with Cacturne's great high mixed offenses, its offenses are a bit lacking because it is also frail, slow and has common weaknesses. But those can be worked around to some extend and a Grass and Dark typing are both great. Sub Focus Punch is a fun set but not really needed. It can carry some HMs in its last moves. I mostly picked it for my first team because I remembered that Dark types are so good in gen 3 and Cacturne mostly proofed that for me again. You really wish its stats were better distributed, though.

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Baltoy's stats kind of suck but fortunately, it isn't too long until it evolves. Claydol's offenses aren't great but its typing, ability and movepool are just amazing. It learns a ton of useful coverage options like Ice Beam and Shadow Ball and STAB Psychic and Earthquake are just really nice to have. Claydol is never blowing you away with its performance but it is solid throughout the rest of the game after it evovles and can help with tons of fights, even if the Ghost and Darkness weaknesses suck. To make the best out of Claydol, it also needs some important and also costly TMs, so make sure something else on your team doesn't need them more.

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Magnemite is shallow but just very solid. Like all Electric types in gen 3, its entire movepool mainly consists of like 2 or 3 good moves. But hey, Spark, Thunderbolt and Thunder Wave are all great moves and Magnemite's Steel typing does a lot of useful stuff. Magneton is plenty powerful and Electric types are even better in Hoenn than Electric types usually are in in-game playthrouhgs. Wallace's Milotic will just roll you over without a type advantage. Not much more to say about Magneton. It is kinda boring but does its job amazingly.

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Doduo is likely the best Normal / Flying bird ever for in-game playthroughs aside from Swellow before gen 4. Dodrio is fast and strong, its lower bulk mostly doesn't matter. Its STAB Return and Drill Peck hit like a truck. Sadly, it comes quite late due to being in the Safari Zone. And while it doesn't have many type advantages left in the remaining fights, its neutral STAB moves are good enough to kill almost anything. Maxing out its friendship this late is a bit tough, though. Steel Wing also takes care of some remaining Rock and Ice types. Another Pokemon that is mostly uneventful but just really solid throughout.

Counter after team #1:
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Pretty late on this, but Cacturne is honestly more solid and allowed my team to beat Steven pretty much underleveled. It also provided support for the entire team and could dent quite a few end game teams. Leech Seed allows much needed passive recovery for your team if you wanna slug it out. Growth, if you can use it, makes it's Dual Type Stab that much better, these being Faint Attack and Needle Arm. In fact, it can sweep Phoebe with ease since her starting Pokemon cannot threaten you in anyway so you can easily set up 6 Growths and beat her down. Other key match ups it destroys Tate and Liza and a most of Wallace/Juan's Gym while taking down a few members. I will agree that the Speed stat is the most detrimental thing to it as the mixed offenses are perfectly fine.
 
Pretty late on this, but Cacturne is honestly more solid and allowed my team to beat Steven pretty much underleveled. It also provided support for the entire team and could dent quite a few end game teams. Leech Seed allows much needed passive recovery for your team if you wanna slug it out. Growth, if you can use it, makes it's Dual Type Stab that much better, these being Faint Attack and Needle Arm. In fact, it can sweep Phoebe with ease since her starting Pokemon cannot threaten you in anyway so you can easily set up 6 Growths and beat her down. Other key match ups it destroys Tate and Liza and a most of Wallace/Juan's Gym while taking down a few members. I will agree that the Speed stat is the most detrimental thing to it as the mixed offenses are perfectly fine.
I like Cacturne a lot but unfortunately it has some issues. Its strengths are in the late game, but that is also were its low speed and bulk start to really matter. It can only take one, maybe two, decently strong neural hits before going down. That makes it hard to use options like Growth, Leech Seed and Substitute effectively. Cacturne has good enough offenses, so it doesn't really need the attack boost, and prefers to take as little damage as possible. Even in good matchups like Phoebe, Tate & Liza and the Water gym, it has to look out for stuff like Ice Beam Dusclops, Flamethrower Solrock and Ice Beam Water types. Even Steven has some problematic Pokemon like Skarmory, Armaldo and Metagross.
In my mind, Shiftry is mostly better. Its offenses are still good enough, but its better speed, bulk, movepool and ability to sweep with Chlorophyll mean it is more consistent overall. The distribution of Cacturne's stats and its somewhat barren movepool hold it back a lot.

It's a bit of a shame that this particular playthrough had more duds than usual. Poor mons. They should all have chances to shine.
It really was only Snorunt that was basically a massive dud. The other ones were all mostly fine, they just don't blow your socks off. Late game Pokemon need to be amazing like Starmie to be worth considering anymore. And many of the available ones are sadly only okay. Still fun to use, but not too much of a help anymore.
 
I like Cacturne a lot but unfortunately it has some issues. Its strengths are in the late game, but that is also were its low speed and bulk start to really matter. It can only take one, maybe two, decently strong neural hits before going down. That makes it hard to use options like Growth, Leech Seed and Substitute effectively. Cacturne has good enough offenses, so it doesn't really need the attack boost, and prefers to take as little damage as possible. Even in good matchups like Phoebe, Tate & Liza and the Water gym, it has to look out for stuff like Ice Beam Dusclops, Flamethrower Solrock and Ice Beam Water types. Even Steven has some problematic Pokemon like Skarmory, Armaldo and Metagross.
In my mind, Shiftry is mostly better. Its offenses are still good enough, but its better speed, bulk, movepool and ability to sweep with Chlorophyll mean it is more consistent overall. The distribution of Cacturne's stats and its somewhat barren movepool hold it back a lot.


It really was only Snorunt that was basically a massive dud. The other ones were all mostly fine, they just don't blow your socks off. Late game Pokemon need to be amazing like Starmie to be worth considering anymore. And many of the available ones are sadly only okay. Still fun to use, but not too much of a help anymore.
You outspeed Dusclops. It’s a literal non issue. Even I was worried about it but when I saw I outsped the first one, I knew I had nothing to worry about. If you are sending it out against Skarm, I’d be questioning what your plan is. Shiftry isn’t really better imo. It’s more or less the same Pokemon as Cacturne however it’s more TM Heavy to be considered “good” while also requiring a fairly long wait time in Leaf Stone which at that point, you can easily get Cacturne. The point of Cacturne was the it could attack but setting up Leech Seed on troublesome opponents such as Milotic, Metagross, and Kingdra helped out the team greatly where I would have otherwise lost. It’s got enough bulk to take 3 or so hits even neutrally and I had no issues with T&L using it since you can kinda safely buff on her to an extent.
 
You outspeed Dusclops. It’s a literal non issue. Even I was worried about it but when I saw I outsped the first one, I knew I had nothing to worry about. If you are sending it out against Skarm, I’d be questioning what your plan is. Shiftry isn’t really better imo. It’s more or less the same Pokemon as Cacturne however it’s more TM Heavy to be considered “good” while also requiring a fairly long wait time in Leaf Stone which at that point, you can easily get Cacturne. The point of Cacturne was the it could attack but setting up Leech Seed on troublesome opponents such as Milotic, Metagross, and Kingdra helped out the team greatly where I would have otherwise lost. It’s got enough bulk to take 3 or so hits even neutrally and I had no issues with T&L using it since you can kinda safely buff on her to an extent.
My run with Cacturne is a long time ago by this point. I don't remember everything super clearly, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

You do easily outspeed Phoebe's Dusclops. But from what I remember Faint Attack was no 2HKO, even with Black Glasses. And while Dusclops has very middling offenses, Ice Beam is still going to sting with Cacturn's low bulk. You still beat her, but it is likely that you need to heal up Cacturne once or twice during the fight.
That was my point exactly. Cacturne can somewhat help against Steven in Ruby and Sapphire but several of his Pokemon still give it a lot of trouble.
While Shiftry needs more TMs to access its best movesets, in my mind its better to at least have the option to use those attacks, rather than to not have them at all. Shiftry also has dual STAB moves and a random physical move of your choice to be basically the same mixed attacker as Cacturne. But Dig, Aerial Ace and Brick Break are useful coverage against other types, while Sunny Day and Solar Beam give it a much easier time sweeping than Cacturne. And none of those TMs besides maybe Brick Break are all that valuable and important for other team members anyway.
And while Nuzleaf is pretty bad, Cacnea is also not very good, and you have to use that for about 10 levels too. You get both Shiftry and Cacturne about the same time.
Leech Seed is nice but I question how much that helps against Recover Milotic and Rest Kingdra. The chip damage from a normal Needle Arm likely saves equal amounts of turns. I am also not entirely sure if Ice Beam from Milotic and Meteor Mash from Metagross don't just have a good chance of knocking you out from near full HP unless you are above level 50. Those are not weak attacks, and Cacturn's bulk of 70/60/60 is sketchy regarding that.
I wouldn't know why you even need to set up on Late & Liza anyway (I assume with Growth?). But Flamethrower should be a clean 2HKO from Solrock that outspeeds Cacturne. Even if you play Emerald, where you can keep Solrock in the back if you play smart, remember it is still a double battle. Unless you have a second Psychic resist or immunity, your second Pokemon is likely not going to enjoy boosted Psychics while Cacturne is setting up.
 
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shiftry bad

it borders on unusable

seedot is a literal 1% in Emerald, starts with Bide and only STAB is Bullet Seed until level 31

like cacnea is admittedly 6% in emerald and might not light the world on fire but I'd sooner use it than the empty slot seedot is
 
My run with Cacturne is a long time ago by this point. I don't remember everything super clearly, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

You do easily outspeed Phoebe's Dusclops. But from what I remember Faint Attack was no 2HKO, even with Black Glasses. And while Dusclops has very middling offenses, Ice Beam is still going to sting with Cacturn's low bulk. You still beat her, but it is likely that you need to heal up Cacturne once or twice during the fight.
That was my point exactly. Cacturne can somewhat help against Steven in Ruby and Sapphire but several of his Pokemon still give it a lot of trouble.
While Shiftry needs more TMs to access its best movesets, in my mind its better to at least have the option to use those attacks, rather than to not have them at all. Shiftry also has dual STAB moves and a random physical move of your choice to be basically the same mixed attacker as Cacturne. But Dig, Aerial Ace and Brick Break are useful coverage against other types, while Sunny Day and Solar Beam give it a much easier time sweeping than Cacturne. And none of those TMs besides maybe Brick Break are all that valuable and important for other team members anyway.
And while Nuzleaf is pretty bad, Cacnea is also not very good, and you have to use that for about 10 levels too. You get both Shiftry and Cacturne about the same time.
Leech Seed is nice but I question how much that helps against Recover Milotic and Rest Kingdra. The chip damage from a normal Needle Arm likely saves equal amounts of turns. I am also not entirely sure if Ice Beam from Milotic and Meteor Mash from Metagross don't just have a good chance of knocking you out from near full HP unless you are above level 50. Those are not weak attacks, and Cacturn's bulk of 70/60/60 is sketchy regarding that.
I wouldn't know why you even need to set up on Late & Liza anyway (I assume with Growth?). But Flamethrower should be a clean 2HKO from Solrock that outspeeds Cacturne. Even if you play Emerald, where you can keep Solrock in the back if you play smart, remember it is still a double battle. Unless you have a second Psychic resist or immunity, your second Pokemon is likely not going to enjoy boosted Psychics while Cacturne is setting up.
Growth + Faint Attack rips through literally any Ghost and Psychic type. I wanted to see if it was possible and yeah it is. The Leech Seed does help, I can’t state that enough as is or my run I did in another thread would have ended abruptly. My final moveset for it was Growth/Needle Arm/Faint Attack/Leech Seed with Miracle Seed or Black Glasses on depending on the MU. It’s self sufficient for itself though can’t touch certain Pokemon. Granted these are Pokemon it should never fight like Skarm or any Fire Type. We clearly used Cacturne differently but it’s definitely a solid choice for any team since it’s Utility outshines even Shiftry.
 
How much value do you guys put on single-stage boost moves like Growth in a run, anyway?

My general thought has always been that "if a move's effect can be wholly substituted by a common item, then it's a useless move." Like I'd never use up a slot for Growth when X Special can be bought over the counter. Swords Dance or Calm Mind, though? Might find a use for that.

It's along the same kind of reason why Chansey/Blissey is excellent in PvP but usually deadweight in the quest. The usefulness of a tank/cleric is blunted quite a bit when you can just stockpile items that fill the role instead.
 
shiftry bad
it borders on unusable
seedot is a literal 1% in Emerald, starts with Bide and only STAB is Bullet Seed until level 31
like cacnea is admittedly 6% in emerald and might not light the world on fire but I'd sooner use it than the empty slot seedot is
Seedot is not good but I wouldn't go as far as saying it is unusable. It is not nearly on the same level as stuff like Nosepass or Slugma.
Shiftry is legit solid to good against the last two gyms, several Elite Four members and Champion Wallace. A Pokemon with a performance like that doesn't get the title of "unusable" imo.
Yes, the giant downside of Shiftry is Nuzleaf's horrible early game. But after gym 6 it is legit okay. The 1% encounter is annoying and it does get penalized for that. But I don't think this fact alone should knock it down several tiers. Nuzleaf has the same problem as most Grass types in Hoenn, they just don't get good Grass moves until post gym 6. Nuzleaf's best STAB moves until Faint Attack and Giga Drain will be Bullet Seed and Thief from the TM. Or Strength and Dig. It is pretty bad. I won't deny that. But it does have real strengths when you get past its bad early game.

Cacnea is also mostly a dud until it evolves, with arguably worse stats than Nuzleaf. It also doesn't have anything better than Bullet Seed, and even Needle Arm is pretty late at level 41! Which means Cacturne only has Faint Attack, Bullet Seed and like Strength for a long time. And the extra speed of Shiftry is just a massive deal imo.

Don't misunderstand me, neither of these two Pokemon lines are good. But I think Shiftry has at least a better time in the section of the game that these two actually accel in.

Growth + Faint Attack rips through literally any Ghost and Psychic type. I wanted to see if it was possible and yeah it is. The Leech Seed does help, I can’t state that enough as is or my run I did in another thread would have ended abruptly. My final moveset for it was Growth/Needle Arm/Faint Attack/Leech Seed with Miracle Seed or Black Glasses on depending on the MU. It’s self sufficient for itself though can’t touch certain Pokemon. Granted these are Pokemon it should never fight like Skarm or any Fire Type. We clearly used Cacturne differently but it’s definitely a solid choice for any team since it’s Utility outshines even Shiftry.
My question is what Ghost and Psychic Pokemon does Cacturne actually need additional boosts against, though? Pretty much all should just fold to a STAB Faint Attack from 115 base special attack. The only ones I can think of are like Sableye who can't even touch it and Phoebe's Ice Beam Dusclops. Maybe I just underestimate Leech Seed on Cacturne since I didn't use the move on mine in my run, but I don't think it moves the needle much for Cacturne. Also I would likely place both Shiftry and Cacturne in the same tier for the record. They are mostly the same.

How much value do you guys put on single-stage boost moves like Growth in a run, anyway?

My general thought has always been that "if a move's effect can be wholly substituted by a common item, then it's a useless move." Like I'd never use up a slot for Growth when X Special can be bought over the counter. Swords Dance or Calm Mind, though? Might find a use for that.

It's along the same kind of reason why Chansey/Blissey is excellent in PvP but usually deadweight in the quest. The usefulness of a tank/cleric is blunted quite a bit when you can just stockpile items that fill the role instead.
I am in the same boat as you. Most setup moves in genreal are just not more effective in a normal non-challenge run playthrough. Even something like Sword Dance has not all that much value, since Ideally you shouldn't need to set up at all. Setup moves are only useful if they allow Pokemon to overcome hurdles that it otherwise couldn't. And even then, required setup of more than two turns is a downside rather than an upside in my book.

The only one stage setup move I used seriously so far (outside or Rollout if you want to count that), was Howl on Intimidate Mightyena. Still did not improve my judgement of that Pokemon.

Items are just so superior to a lot of setup and recovery moves, that they are hardly worth it for the most part.
 
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How much value do you guys put on single-stage boost moves like Growth in a run, anyway?

My general thought has always been that "if a move's effect can be wholly substituted by a common item, then it's a useless move." Like I'd never use up a slot for Growth when X Special can be bought over the counter. Swords Dance or Calm Mind, though? Might find a use for that.

It's along the same kind of reason why Chansey/Blissey is excellent in PvP but usually deadweight in the quest. The usefulness of a tank/cleric is blunted quite a bit when you can just stockpile items that fill the role instead.
Cacturne really doesn’t have much moves to really differentiate itself from Shiftey. You could do SubPunch but that’s less than ideal. Growth is perfectly fine as a slot because I don’t know if you’ve seen the movepool.

Seedot is not good but I wouldn't go as far as saying it is unusable. It is not nearly on the same level as stuff like Nosepass or Slugma.
Shiftry is legit solid to good against the last two gyms, several Elite Four members and Champion Wallace. A Pokemon with a performance like that doesn't get the title of "unusable" imo.
Yes, the giant downside of Shiftry is Nuzleaf's horrible early game. But after gym 6 it is legit okay. The 1% encounter is annoying and it does get penalized for that. But I don't think this fact alone should knock it down several tiers. Nuzleaf has the same problem as most Grass types in Hoenn, they just don't get good Grass moves until post gym 6. Nuzleaf's best STAB moves until Faint Attack and Giga Drain will be Bullet Seed and Thief from the TM. Or Strength and Dig. It is pretty bad. I won't deny that. But it does have real strengths when you get past its bad early game.

Cacnea is also mostly a dud until it evolves, with arguably worse stats than Nuzleaf. It also doesn't have anything better than Bullet Seed, and even Needle Arm is pretty late at level 41! Which means Cacturne only has Faint Attack, Bullet Seed and like Strength for a long time. And the extra speed of Shiftry is just a massive deal imo.

Don't misunderstand me, neither of these two Pokemon lines are good. But I think Shiftry has at least a better time in the section of the game that these two actually accel in.


My question is what Ghost and Psychic Pokemon does Cacturne actually need additional boosts against, though? Pretty much all should just fold to a STAB Faint Attack from 115 base special attack. The only ones I can think of are like Sableye who can't even touch it and Phoebe's Ice Beam Dusclops. Maybe I just underestimate Leech Seed on Cacturne since I didn't use the move on mine in my run, but I don't think it moves the needle much for Cacturne. Also I would likely place both Shiftry and Cacturne in the same tier for the record. They are mostly the same.


I am in the same boat as you. Most setup moves in genreal are just not more effective in a normal non-challenge run playthrough. Even something like Sword Dance has not all that much value, since Ideally you shouldn't need to set up at all. Setup moves are only useful if they allow Pokemon to overcome hurdles that it otherwise couldn't. And even then, required setup of more than two turns is a downside rather than an upside in my book.

The only one stage setup move I used seriously so far (outside or Rollout if you want to count that), was Howl on Intimidate Mightyena. Still did not improve my judgement of that Pokemon.

Items are just so superior to a lot of setup and recovery moves, that they are hardly worth it for the most part.
Cacnea gets Needle Arm at 37. You stave off Evo since it’s ultimately better to do so. As for the non boosting thing. That explained quite a lot to me on our philosophy with running these causally, even testing we used boosting moves. It’s pretty much a necessity for it to boost if you want the damage output off those stats. Using a consumable is just…not worth it if you’ve already got a lack of options available to you and I was never needing anything else for Cacturne other than Speed. You use Growth to cleanly sweep Phoebe. Literally no Clops survives an encounter. Yes, you are underestimating Leech Seed. It’s not there for Cacturne but for others to help take down juggernauts like Metagross, Milotic, and just anything bulky. Puts them on a timer while they waste a turn to use Recover or Potions allowing you get that extra hit in needed to OHKO if you outspeed.
 
Cacturne really doesn’t have much moves to really differentiate itself from Shiftey. You could do SubPunch but that’s less than ideal. Growth is perfectly fine as a slot because I don’t know if you’ve seen the movepool.
That is a fair take but the attitude of "why not, Cacturne has nothing better to do with its fourth moveslot" is not exactly painting Growth in a good light, right? Granted other moves in this slot will likely have a similarly small impact as Growth, but then again, it could also use a physical move or an HM in that slot to make use of its also high attack stat or free up moveslots on other Pokemon.

Cacnea gets Needle Arm at 37. You stave off Evo since it’s ultimately better to do so. As for the non boosting thing. That explained quite a lot to me on our philosophy with running these causally, even testing we used boosting moves. It’s pretty much a necessity for it to boost if you want the damage output off those stats. Using a consumable is just…not worth it if you’ve already got a lack of options available to you and I was never needing anything else for Cacturne other than Speed. You use Growth to cleanly sweep Phoebe. Literally no Clops survives an encounter. Yes, you are underestimating Leech Seed. It’s not there for Cacturne but for others to help take down juggernauts like Metagross, Milotic, and just anything bulky. Puts them on a timer while they waste a turn to use Recover or Potions allowing you get that extra hit in needed to OHKO if you outspeed.
I can't imagine not evolving Cacnea until level 37 is worth it. You catch it at level 20, meaning you would have to make do with 35 base speed, 50/40/40 bulk and a bad defensive typing for 17 mid game levels. All for learning Needle Arm four levels earlier? No way. You are better off just giving it the Giga Drain TM to bridge the gap imo.

But why should it be a necessity, though? 115 offenses are plenty strong to OHKO or 2HKO most things, even with its low base power STAB moves. Unless you meant boosting speed with X Speed? I don't use X items, so I can't attest to that.
I am sorry but taking 70%+ damage to get a Leech Seed off (and hopefully not miss or get crit) just doesn't seem all that impressive to me. Maybe that can be seen as a contribution, but I can't see how it is anything major. But again, I haven't used the move, so maybe you are right.

My problem with boosting moves is that they are just very limited in usefulness and efficiency.

Let's say there is a trainer with one weaker Pokemon and bulkier Pokemon.
My example Pokemon is able to OHKO the first Pokemon but needs two attacks to kill the second Pokemon. In this scenario, if it just attacked every turn, then the battles last three turns. And if I used one of the best boosting moves in Swords Dance on turn 1, it is then able to OHKO both Pokemon. But the battle will still last three turns. So setting up wasn't any faster than just attacking normally. And that is often the structure of trainer teams.

So setting up is only faster when the Pokemon can't OHKO everything and the trainer has more than two Pokemon. And that mostly rules out about 90% of battles you will encounter. Only in major battles it is worth considering to set up. And in practice, the situation is even worse because not all setup moves are as good as Swords Dance, the Pokemon might get statused or knocked out while you are trying to set up, and so on.

I am not saying there is no use for setup moves, but just due to their nature and the turn mechanic, finding situations were they are more efficient than normal attacking is kinda hard.
And often setup moves are sited as a crutch for weaker Pokemon in an attempt to make them seem stronger than they really are. But multiple turns of required setup until they finally sweep is not a benefit, if you could have just used a Pokemon that didn't need to do that. Or at least not as much.
 
shiftry bad

it borders on unusable

seedot is a literal 1% in Emerald, starts with Bide and only STAB is Bullet Seed until level 31

like cacnea is admittedly 6% in emerald and might not light the world on fire but I'd sooner use it than the empty slot seedot is
For the record if this was an Emerald tierlist I'd agree that 1% is immediate E-tier (and 6% is much better since 1 in 17 >> 1 in 100) but since it's not I'd say it's fine to argue for them in their own merits.

I used Shiftry in Ruby and it was honestly pretty great, even alongside monsters such as Swampert, Zangoose or Medicham. I also used Growth because it helped ease boss fights such as Roxanne or Phoebe (which keep in mind Dusclops has both Pressure and Protect, so being able to set up on it is useful as otherwise it's just a wasted turn + 2 PP), Cacturne should be pretty much the same for the most part if only marginally worse because Nuzleaf won't be underleveled at the point in the game where Cacnea is available but it's a very small difference. Perhaps being slower than Solrock hurts but you should take unboosted Flamethrower fine.
SunnyBeam (which definitely counts as setup pe5e, just better than others because it also basically doubles your main attack) is helpful but only against bosses because you don't wanna use up its PP in like the water routes. I'd argue the same for Giga Drain except it's not worth it at all so Bullet Seed is imo better against trainers to not have to continually use Ethers.

Is delaying the evolution really worth it Turdterra ? Like I guess the added power is useful against Swimmers but you'll still be using Faint Attack against Tate & Liza so the added value doesn't seem that great. Again I don't have enough experience with Cac, just feel like I'd rather have the early evolution. Needle Arm is definitely better than every non SolarBeam Grass move, tho.

I guess I'm kinda in the middle of the discussion where I value the usefulness of Growth but also don't think Cacturne and Shiftry are that different lol.
 
Team #16
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I already wrote about Treecko here.

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Torkoal is pretty decent but just has no role to play. Its stats are pretty good when you catch it but since it doesn't have an evolution, it never scales up, and those stats are just average later. It has great defense but also awful speed. This thing is never going first. And you never are in need of a very slow, defensive tank Pokemon like Torkoal. Fire is an odd typing for a defensive Pokemon in Hoenn. But aside from its confusing stats and typing, Torkoal is decent. It has a good level-up movepool with early Body Slam and Flamethrower, and Torkoal is even the only Pokemon that learns Heat Wave. Which is still 100 base power in gen 3 and very useful in Emerald especially with its higher density of double battles. Sadly, it doesn't learn any other special moves besides Fire moves. It is a mixed attacker but its physical options are also not very exciting. Pretty much only Body Slam and Sludge Bomb are worth considering, but neither is all that useful for coverage to its fire attacks. It can also use Curse to beat gyms 4, 5 and 6. Norman is especially easy because of its good defense stat and its access to Protect via level-up below level 30. Beyond that Torkoal doesn't really do much of note anymore, and being a good Flamethrower button is only going to get it so far. Torkoal is similar to Camerupt but has worse offenses and a worse movepool but much better staying power. There is a ceilling on how good slow Pokemon can be, though. Especially when the typing doesn't really fit its stat spread.

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I talked about Swablu here.

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Kecleon is more interesting on paper than in practice. It is actually one of the only mid to late game Pokemon that comes at a reasonable level. Since it can be found after Fortree City as a static encounter at level 30. Which is perfectly fine for this point of the game. Kecleon also has a very cool signature ability in Color Change. But as interesting as it is, it is mostly a downside sadly. Kecleon is rather slow, which is intended since its ability requires it to be hit. But there just isn't a reliable way to make good use of its change in typing. You can't control which attacks your opponent is going to hit you with, and you can also only carry four moves, so it isn't even a guarantee that you have the right move to use with your new typing. Sometimes its new typing gives it a useful resist for the next turn, but the opposite can also be the case. Overall, Color Change mostly has the effect of making Kecleon lose STAB on its Normal moves, and nothing else. Which is not good because Kecleon's attack is only okay, and its special attack is underwhelming. It has a big special defense stat but also medicore HP. So it doesn't even take special attacks all that well. Especially because of its initial Normal typing that doesn't give it any resists. As a Normal type it at least has a good movepool. Dig, Aerial Ace, Shadow Ball and Brick Break are okay physical TMs for it. And it learns the usual Thunderbolt, Ice Beam and Flamethrower on the special side. It even starts out with Faint Attack and Psybeam which are okay. But none of these attacks leave much of a dent with Kecleon's meh offenses, considering that often those attacks won't even have STAB. Overall, Kecleon is pretty dissapointing, and you are better off using another Normal type with better offensive stats, since its gimmick doesn't really work.

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Phanpy Is mostly just worse Sandshrew. It can be found in the Safari Zone and evoles instantly into Donphan after a single Rare Candy. And Donphan actually has great stats. A huge attack stat and a lot of bulk. It is a slow tank Pokemon but one that is much better suited for the late game than Rhyhorn. It can actually take a few weak Water attacks and gains its better stats much earlier. The problem is Donphan went to the same school as Sandslash. As in, it just doesn't learn any Ground STAB moves for a long time. Like, it can't even learn Dig with the TM. The only Ground move it learns is Earthquake. Which is great but it also only comes at level 49, which is really late. So for the most part Donphan will just be using random physical moves like Rollout, Strength or Return that don't get STAB. Which sadly makes its damage output less impressive than its great attack stat would imply. And despite the fact that Donphan can actually compete in the Water routes, when it comes to the remaining gym battles it can't really contribute. It can't do anything against the levitating Pokemon of Tate & Liza, and Water Pulse out of the Water gym is just too strong for it. So it mostly is used for clearing the remaining routes, and it is decent at that. But otherwise it can't be of much help. When it finally gets Earthquake it can help somewhat against Sidney and Phoebe but it isn't impressive. Sadly, Phanpy is another victim of its location. If you would have gotten this earlier, like maybe on Route 114, than it would have had a bigger use. Otherwise just get a Sandshrew instead. It is better in pretty much every regard.

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Huntail is another Pokemon that is just a worse version of another Pokemon. There is very little reason to use this over Gorebyss. If you decide to get either one of them, anyway. In contrast to its sister, Huntail has significantly lower special attack, but an usable attack stat instead. So Huntail can be a mixed attacker instead of a pure special attacker. The problem is that Huntail just doesn't learn any useful physical attacks. It can only learn random Normal moves or ... Rock Tomb. Huntail learns Crunch instead of Psychic but if you want a Water type with Water / Dark coverage, then you are much better off just using a Sharpedo instead. So Return is its only relevant move that it has over Gorebyss. And because it comes so late, since Clamperl is a seaweed encounter, it is nearly impossible to max out its friendship naturally. But it turns out that isn't that much of a problem. If you collected the friendship-increasing berries from the garden of the Berry Master, which you will pass by anyway, then you can use those. Normally those berries are not worth it, since they come with the pretty hefty downside of reducing your EVs by 10 points in exchange for friendship points. But if you use them on a freshly caught Pokemon which doesn't have EVs yet, then those berries don't have a downside. If you equip Huntail with the Soothe Bell, then feeding it the 24 berries from the garden of the Berry Master is enough to almost entirely max out its friendship. The last few points can be gotten with a few level ups. Or you caught Clamperl with the Luxuary Ball. Which you might as well, since you want to go to the Abandoned Ship anyway for the Rain Dance TM. Because Huntail's only niche is being a Rain Sweeper, just like Gorebyss. And while Psychic on Gorebyss also had hardly any use, Return does not excel much either. Huntail has the same problems as Gorebyss, but due to its lower special attack, it is a worse rain sweeper overall. It is still strong enough to sweep Drake but that is about it. Huntail is simply a worse version of a Pokemon that already isn't very good.

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Team #17
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I already wrote about Torchic before.

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Whismur is another mediocre Normal type. The whole evolution line is just kind of underwhelming from start to finish. They just have very meh stats. Whismur evolves early at level 20, just like Linoone. But Loudred is also not very good. Its offenses are kind of, sort of, okay, but it has bad defenses and speed. Exploud is finally somewhat decent but it is still hard to get excited about a mixed attacking Normal type with just 91 offenses and not even 70 base speed. And for some ungodly reason, the Exploud evolution is only at level 40. As if Exploud is some kind of powerhouse that needed that. Do we at least get good moves? Sort of. Uproar, Stomp and Strength are decent early game moves. And as a Normal type, it gets a huge TM movepool. The usual physical Normal type coverage of Shadow Ball, Brick Break and even Earthquake instead of Dig is available. And on the special side the usual Electric, Ice and Fire coverage moves. But it also has access to Overheat which is cool. But none of those coverage moves are actually all that exciting coming from 71 and then 91 offenes with no STAB. Whismur is usuable I guess, but due to its low speed and having no resistances, it basically shines against no one. There are worse Normal types in Hoenn, and at least you get Whismur very early. But man, is this thing just lacking.

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Coming from a mediocre Normal type, here is Goldeen. The quintessential mediocre Water type. It is similar to Lotad, as it is one of the earliest Water types you can get. Fishing with the Old Rod in Petalburg City, will give you a Water type before the second gym. Goldeen is one of the original physical Water types. Doesn't really help if you are of the great Water type, when Goldeen has 35 base special attack. But at least Goldeen has decent enough physical attack, and it actually gets Horn Attack very early, which is a decently powerful attack for early game. The big problem is, it is Goldeen's only usable attack until Surf. That is right, we are going the Lombre route again. Goldeen only learns a single Water attack by level-up, which is Waterfall at level 41 as a Seaking. So just like Lombre, Goldeen is almost entirely deadweight for most of the early game. Lombre is neutral to Fire attacks, and Goldeen even resists them, and it still blows against Flannery. And once you finally give it Surf and Ice Beam, it is not like Goldeen gets any less mediocre, now that it can make use of that meaty 35 base special attack. Seeking is also a fairly late evolution at level 33 for such a weak early game Pokemon. And Seaking doesn't even compare to the other orignal physical Water types like Kingler. Its highest stat is its 92 base attack stat. And its special attack and speed stats don't even reach base 70. Great... Its movepool is also a disaster. It has the usual Surf and Ice Beam, and then maybe Return. That is it. It gets nothing else. With Rain Dance in the last slot, it can at least attempt to sweep Drake (the word attempt is doing some serious lifting here btw). And having a single target Water attack in Waterfall for Tate & Liza is nice. But the stats are just not there. Mediocre stats and barren movepool. Goldeen is down there with the worst Rod Pokemon in the game.

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Minun is the defensive counterpart to Plusle. But really they are mostly the same. They swap their stats from attack to defense. So the only really important thing is that Minun has 10 less special attack. But you wouldn't belive how much you notice that lower special attack. Plusle's offensive stats were already barely good enough to get by, and Minun just misses important OHKOs and 2HKOs that Plusle hits. Minun has almost the same movepool as Plusle too but instead of Fake Tears, which did wonders for Plusle, it gets the useless Charm instead, which is a real shame. Minun with its lower special attack would have needed the move even more. Otherwise you get the usual Spark, Thunderbolt, Thunder Wave and Encore that makes these two such good support Pokemon. Minun's performance is mostly the same as Plusle, but just a bit worse everywhere. They are almost the same Pokemon, so there really isn't a reason to get Minun over Plusle, since it has worse offenses and a worse movepool, and the things it has over Plusle are just not worth it. And like I said on Plusle's write-up, they are on the lower side of stats of the available Electric types anyway, so even the good support moves of Minun are not that amazing considering that Electrike is available at the same time.

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I talked about Trapinch here.

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Lileep is an absolute disaster. One of the worst Pokemon in the game. It is such a headscratcher how Anorith and Lileep are such non-functional Pokemon, when they are the first Relic Pokemon again after gen 2 didn't have any new fossils. But I am absolutely conviced now, that none of them were actually playtested. So Anorith had numerous problems, but at least its offensive stats were kind of alright. Lileep is the defensive counterpart to Anorith, so that already gives grounds for concern. But Lileep is so much much worse than Anorith, it is crazy. So first things first, just like Anorith, Lileep is a fossil Pokemon that you have to resurrect at level 20 after gym 4. It is in the horrible erratic level growth group and its evolution to Cradily is super late at level 40. So you will have to make do with the first stage of Lileep for a long time. Anorith had real problems with good Rock STAB moves, and Lileep is even worse off. For reasons that are unknown to god or men, Lileep is the only Rock type in all of Hoenn that can't learn Rock Tomb or Rollout. Its first Rock move will be Ancient Power at level 48. Or more likely Rock Tomb still because Cradily can learn the TM, just not Lileep. Because clearly Lileep needed that nerf. But it gets worse. Anorith's Rock / Bug typing was one of the worst typings among the entire roaster. But at least you could just slap random non-STAB moves onto it. But Lileep and Cradily are specialized in special attack. So that means it can't even do that very well. And as with all Grass types, Lileep's special movepool sucks too. It only has the holy trinity of Bullet Seed, Giga Drain and Solar Beam as available special attacks. So Lileep's best moves until it evolves at level 40 are non-STAB Sludge Bomb from 41 base attack and Bullet Seed from 61 base special attack. Think about how sad this is. So there is no way, it can actually get there by itself, you will have to keep this thing on life support with the Exp Share in the back of your party for most of its time. Cradily itself is also really bad. It has better defenses but its offenses and speed still suck, and more importantly it doesn't even learn Recover, as it is an egg move. So all that Lileep and Cradily will ever do is throw out pathtically weak moves, while having horrible speed and a bad defensive typing. Just awful. If you are interested at all in picking up a fossil, then for the love of god, don't pick up the Root Fossil.

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Team #18
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I already wrote about Torchic before.

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Illumise is bad. I don't think that comes as a surprise to many people. But it was honestly not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Its stats are really mediocre but not nearly as bad as some other Pokemon I used. It has decent speed, which is the most important thing for a struggling Pokemon, its bulk is okay, so it doesn't fall over from just one hit, and its special attack is at least usable. The biggest downfall of Illumise is its level-up movepool. Remember how Volbeat had real shortcomings but had some great level-up moves in the Signal Beam and Tail Glow? Yeah, Illumise doesn't have those. So its best attacking move via level-up is Quick Attack. Yikes. It also has Moonlight and Encore but it can't do anything beyond that on its own. So TMs are a must to make Illumise usable. Shock Wave and Thief are TMs it can use early, and Thunderbolt, Giga Drain and Water Pulse are later options. Thunderbolt is the only really valuable TM among them, and it can also be bought if another team member needs the free TM, so the oportunity cost isn't that high. Thunderbolt coming from 73 base special attack with no STAB isn't exactly blowing your socks off, but Illumise can at least clear most route trainers with it. But due to Illumise's aggressively okay stats it isn't shining against any major trainers. It is functional, but nothing more. It exists in the back of your party and does some route clearing between the important fights. Some other Pokemon are worse but Illumise has pretty much nothing going for it, and just barely escapes the dumpster of unusable mons. It is so boring though. Catch a Volbeat instead, it is much more fun.

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I talked about Skarmory here already.

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Wobbuffet is the Pokemon equivalent of a slot machine with rigged odds. So, I had never used a Wobbuffet in any Pokemon in-game run before and was kind of nervous on how it played. The concept itself was very suspect to me. Wobbuffet is legit the only Pokemon that will go second every time when it attacks, as its only attacking moves - Counter and Mirror Coat - have low priority. As we have seen with many Pokemon before, going second is a very bad trait. And Wobbuffet is designed to only counter attack. But Wobbuffet is also unique in that it can't deal any damage on its own. It needs the opponent to hit it hard too. Otherwise, it won't deal enough or no damage in return. And Hoenn might be one of Wobbuffet's least helpful regions. Hoeen has a bunch of weak route trainers, who, funnily enough, give Wobbuffet the most trouble. As oppossed to most Pokemon, Wobbuffet has an easier time, the stronger the opposing Pokemon are. And Wobbuffet is practically unable to deal with Zubats. Hoenn is also home to many mixed attackers, which coupled with some bad trainer AI makes guessing correctly between Counter and Mirror Coat a huge gamble. And you can't even help yourself because Encore is only in Wynaut's moveset, not Wobbuffet's. And getting the Wynaut egg in Lavaridge Town is certainly not worth it. It takes forever to hatch, and then comes massively underleveled at level 5 around Lilycove City. So you are getting Wobbuffet from the Safari Zone, which means no Encore. There are also a bunch of Dark types in Hoenn, and all Dark moves are still special, even Bite and Crunch. Which means Wobbuffet can't Mirror Coat them, due to it being a Psychic move. So a ton of things are stacked against Wobbuffet being effective. Even EVs and the badge boosts are often more of a hinderance for it, as it causes it to take less damage, which you don't want. And of course, you will have to constantly heal Wobbuffet, who has a huge HP stat, which means you will have to sink countless Hyper Potions into it. This might be the biggest maintanence Pokemon in the game. It struggles for most of the remaining game, but has at least some highlights like against Drake and Wallace, which isn't nothing. But I really don't recommend using this. It is super frustrating to use. Also don't attempt to train this thing up in Mt. Pyre right away, unless you want to lose an hour of progress to a Wobbuffet ditto.

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We already took a look at Raichu but Pikachu is also usable without evolving it. But only if you get one with a Light Ball. Then it is pretty solid. So first things first, how to you get a Light Ball in Hoenn? It is only obtainable from wild Pikachu that carry one with a 5% chance. Yikes. But a Compound Eyes Nincada in the lead slot of your party can at least improve the chance to 20%. But given that Pikachu can only be encountered in the Safari Zone, and only with a 5% chance, it is still only a 1% chance to get a Pikachu with a Light Ball. I personally landed right in the middle and had to catch 5 Pikachus until I got a Light Ball. Took about half an hour but you can certainly have worse luck. So, the Light Ball doubles Pikachu special attack in gen 3. Which it really needs because Pikachu's stats are really, really bad. Factoring in the boost of Light Ball, Pikachu is about as strong as Magneton but can become even stronger with EVs. Most things that applied to Raichu, also apply to Pikachu, but Pikachu is more of a glass cannon than Raichu. Pikachu's bulk is awful and if it get touched by any serious attack, it explodes. But it has good speed and with its strong Thunderbolts it will probably kill most opponents first. Especially because the Water routes are lying ahead. Also, because you don't use a Thunderstone on Pikachu, it actually gets to use some level-up moves that Raichu doesn't. Agility and natural Thunder are nice options. Otherwise, Pikachu is rather uncomplicated as it has basically only Thunderbolt and Thunder as usable moves. Zap opponents with some strong Thunders and hope to never get hit. Worked well enough for me but due to its late availabily and the low chance for a Light Ball, it is more of an inconsistant gimmick Pokemon.

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And here we have Clamperl who is similar to Pikachu. If you can't or don't want to evolve into Gorebyss or Huntail, then Clamperl can still hold the DeepSeaTooth which, just like Light Ball, doubles its special attack. The difference is that Clamperl already has an average special attack stat, which means its damage output is far bigger. We are talking on the same level as Kyogre outside of rain. That is right, it has an effective special attack stat of 150. Coupled with strong moves in Surf and Ice Beam and this thing is doing huge damage. While Huntail and Gorebyss had somewhat trouble leveling up in the Water routes, Clamperl simply OHKOs or 2HKOs most Pokemon even with resisted Surfs. But while this all very cool, of course not all is well with Clamperl. It becomes available really late, after the 7th gym and you need to first get the Scanner from the Abandoned Ship, and then the DeepSeaTooth from Captain Stern in exchange for the Scanner. So there is a bit of side tracking involved to make Clamperl usable. Clamperl also has a horrible movepool. Surf, Waterfall and Ice Beam are its only attacking moves. But at least those are strong moves and Clamperl is strong enough to blow past most resists if they don't threaten it. And sadly Clamperl also doesn't have Swift Swim like Gorebyss and Huntail do, so its low speed is a constant problem. And its bulk isn't exactly good, especially its special bulk. So its strengths lie elsewhere. Instead of sweeping Drake with Ice Beam, it can blast through most of Sidney's and Phoebe's Pokemon with its strong Water attacks. Subtitute helps to create free turns too. Clamperl is also a bit of a gimmick but it is very powerful and also a lot of fun. For a late game Pokemon, it can help with a surprising amount of Victory Road and the Elite Four at least.

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Team #19
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We are nearing the end now. The last four entries will all feature a legendary Pokemon.

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I already wrote about Torchic before.

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I talked about Taillow here before.

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Bellossom is the more defensive counterpart to Vileplume, and despite having a lot of differences is just about exactly as good as it. Bellossom requires a Sun Stone rather than a Leaf Stone to evolve from Gloom. Which is a problem because the Leaf Stone is available much earlier, just before the 6th gym, while the only Sun Stone is located in Mossdeep City after you both cleared the 7th gym and Team Magma. Which means you would have to deal with Gloom's much worse stats for a long time.
But it turns out there is actually another source for a Sun Stone much earlier than Mossdeep City. Wild Solrock have a 5% chance to carry one. And a Compound Eyes Nincada in the lead slot of your party can increase the odds to 20%. Solrock can first be encountered in Meteor Falls. At least in Emerald and Ruby. Sadly this chance doesn't exist Sapphire, so in that version the only Sun Stone really is in Mossdeep City. Anyway, given Solrock's 20% encounter rate in Meteor Falls and the 20% chance for it to hold a Sun Stone with a Nincada, there is a 4% chance for wild Solrock to carry a Sun Stone. Which is low but not that bad. That is the encounter rate of Ralts. Plus you don't even have to catch a Solrock, you can just use Thief on it to get your Sun Stone. And the TM for Thief can be easily gotten earlier in Slateport City.
So all you really have to do to get a Sun Stone earlier is to catch a Nincada and pick up the Thief TM previously, and then knock out wild Solrock with Thief until you get a Sun Stone. Took me only about 10 minutes. And if you intend to use Bellossom, you really should do this. Because not only can you use Bellossom's much better stats earlier, you will also get a good Grass STAB move that Gloom just doesn't learn much earlier too. Because Bellossom has Magical Leaf as a relearn move. Which is the same base power as Giga Drain but notably has much more PP. And while it doesn't sap HP, it has the upside of never missing which is also useful given the evasion moves of some enemy Pokemon. And while Bellossom is also a stone evolution, which means it loses Gloom's level-up moves, Gloom has pretty much all the moves it needs by level 24, which it will likely be at when you get to Meteor Falls. Losing out on the later Moonlight and is not a problem. And Meteor Falls is just near Fallarbor Town, so you barely have to backtrack to relearn Magical Leaf.
And then you have a Bellossom with a good Grass STAB move, Sleep Powder and Acid before the 4th gym. That is not bad. It gets to use the Sludge Bomb, Sunny Day and Solar Beam TMs later, but Bellossom this early is already pretty functional and its stats are also good for this point of the game. For example it can tangle with Norman which Gloom really could not. While Bellossom has lower special attack than Vileplume, in favor of more bulk, they perform about as good in the late game. While Bellossom doesn't get STAB on its Sludge Bomb, it also doesn't have a Psychic weakness, which means it is much better against Tate & Liza, and it also actually resists Ground. Given how the investment to get a Sun Stone earlier isn't actually that significant and Bellossom has a much better early game between gyms 4 and 6 than Vileplume has, it makes up for the slightly less powerful Solar Beams later. Otherwise Bellossom plays mostly the same as Vileplume. The powder moves are great and Grass types are good in the late game. That is about it. Surprisingly good.

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Chimecho is one of the worse Psychic types in the game and not worth getting over other earlier and much better options. It comes late on top of Mt. Pyre, has a low encounter rate and its stats are pretty medicore. Its special stats are actually good, but it is rather slow and its bulk is not great considering that it will get far fewer EVs because it is available so late. And it doesn't really have much to distinguish itself from other Psychic types. The big advantage it has over them is its Levitate abilty, which is actually rather nice and gives it a nice defensive profile against the upcomming Tate & Liza. But it will need the Psychic TM because it learns Psychic rather late via level-up and it doesn't learn Psybeam. Its TM movepool is also not very unique. Like most Psychic types, its only other available special coverage move is Shock Wave. Which it should use but it isn't as good as on other mons given Chimecho's worse speed. Chimecho also has access to Shadow Ball to hit the Psychic types of Tate & Liza, but with 50 base attack, it will only be useful against them, and therefore is kind of a waste of such an important TM, so you probably shouldn't do that. Otherwise Chimecho just does similar to other earlier and better Psychic types. But just worse. Calm Mind and screen support is likely the best way to make the most out of Chimecho, but the results are still not that good. Calm Mind + Shock Wave can be decent against Kingdra in the Water gym but even a +6 Shock Wave didn't even OHKO Kingdra in my playthrough. That really is the story of Chimecho. It is just totally outclassed and there is no real point in getting it. Which is kind of sad because its design is cool.

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Luvdisc is really bad. Like really bad. It really makes you wonder why such a Pokemon exists near the end of the game. Or why it exists at all. Luvdisc has shockingly bad stats. They are worse than some early game, first stage Pokemon. Its stats are similar to Wingull. And while Wingull's stats are okay for the early game, it is baffling what you are suppossed to do with Luvdisc's stats in the late game. It also never evolves, so they will never scale up. This is what you are stuck with. And it doesn't get better. Because its movepool is also a disaster. After Surf, Ice Beam and I guess Rain Dance, you struggle to come up with a fourth useful move. It is that dire. Let me put it in another way, Seaking and Seadra are better in pretty much every regard to Luvdisc. Let that sink is. How sad is that. So, Luvdisc is absolutely terrible and pretty much deadweight for the remaining game. I remember how Never-Melt Ice boosted Blizzard didn't even 2HKO Drake's Salamence. Good lord. And just like its bad Water brothers, it has practically no good way of leveling up in the Water routes due to its awful movepool. At least it is in the fast level growth group, but man. Even being a Water type can't save this Pokemon, and if it were any other type, it would likely be one of the worst Pokemon in the entire franchise, which it probably still is.

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Regirock would likely be pretty solid if you could just catch it directly in the Sealed Chamber. But of course we all know how convoluted it is to get the Regi trio. You need to have Wailord and Relicanth in your party and be able to use Dive and Dig to unlock the Regis in the Sealed Chamber in the first place, and then go to their respective tombs to actually catch them after doing another little puzzle. That is an insane amount of extra work you have to do just to get them, considering that the Sealed Chamber is on Route 134, west of Pacifidlog Town, which is already about as far into the game as you can get. Dig is also required to access the second room of the Sealed Chamber, so hopefully you still have the TM by that point or didn't overwrite Dig with a better move on your Pokemon. Because if you don't, you are kind of screwed because no Pokemon in Hoenn naturally learns Dig at a low level. And of course you need to be able to use Dive, which means the Regi trio is only available after clearing the 7th gym. But the biggest obstacle really is getting Wailord and Relicanth, since both are hard to get. Wailord is a level 40 evolution, so the best chance of getting one is fishing up a mid level 30s Wailmer with the Super Rod and then spending some Rare Candies. And Relicanth is a 5% encounter in seaweed which has a notoriously low encounter chance too. The Regis will likly be your Master Ball target, so make sure to pick up the Master Ball from the Team Aqua Hideout too. So it is pretty safe to say that you will be spending at least an hour after Mossdeep City, possibly also dodging a few Water route trainers to get to the Sealed Chamber, until you finally get the Regi of your choice. This fact alone makes all three of them come with a serious downside already.
But when you finally get Regirock, it is actually pretty decent. I think it is the best of the tree Regis, considering its typing and stat distrubtion. Of couse being a Rock type in the Water infested end game of Hoenn isn't ideal but just like Donphan, having only a single weakness to Water, coupled with great bulk mean that it isn't very afraid of Water attacks unless the enemy Pokemon is a serious Pokemon. And just like its brothers, Regirock is also rather slow. But 80/200/100 bulk is incredible, and base 100 attack is not bad too. Its good bulk makes Regirock one of the best Focus Punch users in all lof Hoenn. It is really easy for it to set up Subs that take multiple attacks to be broken, making Focus Punch Regirock's best attack. Even with no STAB, a 150 base attack coming from base 100 attack is going to hurt. Rollout is even better on Regirock than it is on most other Rock types due to its great bulk and Substitute. Earthquake is a good coverage option and all-around damage dealer. While the remaining Water gym isn't good for Regirock, it isn't exactly that bad either, and it can actually partially sweep the gym with Rollout if you set it up correctly. In the Pokemon League, Regirock shines the most. Sidney gets demolished by Regirock with Sub Focus Punch, Phoebe gets swept by Sub Rollout, because she has no good way of breaking Regirock's Substitute, and Glacia as well, because not many of her Pokemon have Water moves. Only Drake and Wallace are too much for it.
Overall, Regirock performance is actually pretty good for such a late Pokemon. But given the effort required to get it in the first place, it isn't really worth getting because there is a good chance that you nearly finished the game in the time you took to get Regirock. I won't deny that Regirock was really fun to use, though. Successfully using Substitute and Focus Punch was great.

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Team #20
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I already wrote about Treecko here.

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Zigzagoon is pretty solid overall, even if its performance is a bit inconsistent. It has some peaks but also some parts where it is a bit mediocre.
The big talking point of Zigzagoon is of course its ability Pickup. After each battle, it has a 10% battle to find a random item, if it isn't carrying one already. In Ruby and Sapphire this was based on a pure probability table. But in Emerald, the level of Zigzagoon now also plays a factor. Zigzagoon can find better items if it is at a higher level. So you can no longer just fill out the rest of your party with level 3 Zigzagoon and get potentially really good items after each battle until you get you entire team together. In general the table is a bit more reasonable in Emerald. But Emerald also added some new items you can get, including Max Revive, Leftovers and even another Earthquake TM. But those are relegated to level 70+, so you are not getting them in your normal playthrough.
For this run, I actually wrote down everything I got with Pickup. In total, Zigzagoon gave me 45 items. About 78% was early game filler stuff like Potions and status healing items, or excess of stuff I didn't need more off, like balls and Escape Ropes. In general, this stuff was not that useful to me directly, so I sold most of this for about 18k $. So even, if Zigzagoon does only find trash you don't need, it still gives you a nice amount of money, which can be helpful in making it easier to buy a Game Corner TM before the fifth gym, if your team would like to have one. But that also means only about 22%, or 10 out of the 45 items, were legit useful to me. Those were 3 Super and Hyper Potions, 1 Revive, 1 Full Restore and 2 Rare Candies. Sadly, I didn't get a Protein or even a King's Rock during my run, which would have been the best items.
So Pickup is definitely a great ability, and at worst is just giving you extra cash, but unless you are getting lucky, it also isn't nearly a broken as some people make it out to be. At least in a normal playthrough. Post-game grinding and challenge runs are something else. And a thing that also not that many people talk about, is that Pickup does actually have a downside. Which is that Zigzagoon is not allowed to carry a boosting item. That is significant because you can get the Silk Scarf and Soothe Bell really early in Hoenn, and Zigzagoon would very much like to use one of them to give its Normal attacks more power or make its future Return stronger. But if you intend to use Pickup, Zigzagoon can't make use of them. So the question arises, are those few good items and the extra cash you get worth more than the stronger damage output? For the most part I think they are, but I can think of teams were it might not be worth it.
Which brings us to Zigzagoon, finally. Because how good is Zigzagoon itself even? As good as the Pickup is, you would like to the Pokemon it is attached to, to be good as well. And that is were Zigzagoon has problems. Zigzagoon is the counterpart to Poochyena, and as such has really bad stats. 60 speed is okay but base 30 attack and 38/41/41 bulk is causing a yikes from me. Thankfully the evolution to Linoone is early at level 20, and Zigzagoon also gets a really good early game STAB move in Headbutt. A 70 base power attack with a 30% flinch chance at level 9 is legit insane but due to Zigzagoon's low attack, it doesn't perform as good as you would first think. Linoone has better stats but it still has worse offenses than even Mightyena. At least STAB makes somewhat up for that. Still, 70 attack and 50 special attack is pretty underwhelming. So despite it having a solid TM movepool, due to being a Normal type, its attack hit like a wet towel for most of the game. Especially because it can't use a boosting item. Strength is going to be its best STAB move for a while without the help of the Soothe Bell. And until Shadow Ball, it will have pretty much have nothing besides Headbutt and Strength. But it is nice that it learns a bunch of early HMs, including Surf, which can also dumpster the Rock types that it otherwise couldn't touch.
Linoone mediocrity continutes all the way into the late game until the Pokemon League. But here it has an unexpected huge peak. Solely because of one late level-up move. Belly Drum. Linoone learns it at level 53, which means it can only use it for the league. But due to how the AI for the Elite Four members works, where they all nearly always use a status move on the first turn like Sand-Attack, Protect or Hail, it is incredibly easy and safe to set up a +6 attack Linoone, that can just sweep each member easily thanks to its good speed. I actually used this Linoone strategy in my run, so that is why I ended up with Linoone so overleveled. It swept the entire league. Normal STAB move, Shadow Ball and Belly Drum is really all you need. Substitute is not required, unless you are a coward because of Sand-Attack Mightyena. Wallace is harder to set up on because his Wailord doesn't always use Rain Dance. You can still do it if you get fancy with the Sunny Day TM and healing items, though.
So that is the performance of Zigzagoon. It is pretty mediocre but has a great ability and randomly sweeps the hardest part of the game. It is fun to at least try the league sweep once, but I personally am not that excited about Zigzagoon, which is why it took me so long to finally use it.

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I wrote about Zubat before.

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Slugma is absolutely atrocious. This is one of the best examples of Game Freak's design philosophy in earlier gens. With a few expections, they did not care at all how the Pokemon would perform in their game. It was entirely flavor driven. So while I really like the magma slug design, just about everything is awful about Slugma once you but it to the test. Where do you even begin with Slugma? It is painfully slow. I already covered with Torkoal, how slow Fire types don't really have a role in Hoenn. But at least Torkoal didn't fall over if you breath on it. Slugma has awful bulk, and coupled with its pathetic speed and useless typing, it is a challenge to use this thing without dying constantly. And here is the kicker, you will have to use this first stage garbage for 23 levels! For some ungodly reason, the Magcargo evolution is only at level 38! Why? And despite Slugma's best stat being its okay special attack, Magcargo only gains +10 special attack and suddenly attempts to be a physical tank?! A tank with 50 HP and one of the worst typings of the entire series. Yeah, good luck with that. Fire / Rock is such a godawful typing. All the useful resistances that Rock adds are for types that are long past you when you finally get Magcargo, and instead you have two glaring weaknesses to Water and Ground, that are around every corner in the late game. At least its STAB combination would be good offensively, but despite being a mixed typing, Magcargo has only base 50 attack. So its Rock STAB moves tickle, and its special attacks of base 80 special attack aren't much better. And it is still dirt slow. Even Slugma and Magcargo's surprisingly good level-up and TM movepool, consisting of natural Flamethrower and Rock Slide, as well as being able to use the Overheat and Earthquake TMs, don't save this evolution line. You remember how Camerupt also had certain problems but was actually pretty good once it got a move in? Magcargo is worse in every single regard. Later evolution level, worse move pool, worse typing, worse offenses. Just awful. Slugma is completely dead weight for the entire game and doesn't even have a single point where it would at least be okay. It is not a exaggeration to say that the best thing Slugma can ever do is dying to burn the opponent with its Flame Body ability.

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Kingdra is a substantially better Pokemon than Seadra. Granted, that isn't saying much. But Kingdra is pretty solid in the remaing part of the game where you can use it. That comes with a big qualifier, though. Because Kingdra is a hastle to get. Aside from getting a Horsea in th first place, where you need the Super Rod from Mossdeep and then fly to Slateport City to fish for them on Route 134 to the east, you also need a Dragon Scale to evolve Seadra by trading. And the only way to obtain a scale is from wild Horsea who carry it 5% of the time. 20% with a lead Compound Eyes Nincada. Factoring in Horsea's 15% encounter rate with the Super Rod on Route 134, it is a 3% chance to find a Horsea with a Dragon Scale. And just like with Solrock last weak, you don't actually have to catch extra Horsea, but can just attack them with Thief. So while the chance for the evolution item for Kingdra is similar to Bellossom, it actually takes a lot longer. This is because you don't encounter Horsea the normal way. It is a Super Rod encounter. Which take a long time, and also have a chance to be nothing. So it really took me half an hour to finally get a scale. Then you can quickly go to Kingdra, who is pretty solid. It is kind of funny, that Seadra's offensive stats don't chance at all when it gets to Kingdra. The additional 100 stats all go towards its bulk. And Kingdra's typing gives it only a single weakness, so it is a lot bulkier than Seadra, who was so frail on the special side, which is weird for a Water type. Sadly, Kingdra's movepool doesn't add anything new, so its movepool is still very barren. But for the most part, Kingdra has all the moves it needs, even if it wishes it could learn Dragon Claw, or at least DragonBreath, over the weak Twister. The biggest advantage that Kingdra has over Seadra, aside from its better bulk, is that Kingdra has the Swift Swim ability again, just like Horsea did. Which makes Kingdra a pretty dangerous rain sweeper, as it has the highest speed and bulk out of all available rain sweepers. So you want to get the Rain Dance TM from the Abandoned Ship later. That means Kingdra will be almost fully set up before the 7th gym if you go through the time investment of roughly an hour to get Kingdra ready. It is pretty good against Tate & Liza with STAB Surf and good bulk. Twister can also do a Rock Slide impression here with 30% flinch chances on both targets. Kingdra is not as potent against the Water gym because, just like Seadra, it has no good moves to threaten other Water types. Rain boosted STAB Surfs are still going to hurt and Juan's Pokemon can't really touch it. But the Kingdra ditto is a giant RNG fiesta between Twister flinches and Double Team. Kingdra shines more in Victory Road and the Pokemon League. Kindra easily sweeps Sidney, Phoebe and Drake but can't do all that much against Glacia and Wallace. Among the late game rain sweepers, Kingdra is one of the best, but it also is more of a pain to get in the first place.

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Everything regarding availabiltiy I mentioned last week with Regirock, also applies to Registeel. You probably shouldn't go through the effort of getting it, but if you do, then Registeel is okay. I would still rank it lower than Regirock, though. That is because Registeel is the middle child of the Regis. It doesn't spezialize into either physical or special, and is instead a mixed tank. Sadly it also comes with the lowest offenses out of all of them. But it also has the best typing out of them by far. Pure Steel is an amazing typing, and while its defensive stats are a bit lower than those of its brothers, they are still crazy high, and if you account for Steel's broken 12 resistances, it has actually the highest bulk out of any of them. Technically, Registeel has mixed offenses which means it could also use special attacks. But it only learns Thunderbolt, which mostly doesn't do enough for it and without STAB it is also too weak. Registeel kind of needs to set up with Curse to become threatening, and can't go attacking right away. With its great bulk, typing, Curse and Substitute it can set up on nearly every reamaining major trainer and sweep. Its best attacking moves are Metal Claw and Focus Punch. Metal Claw isn't exactly a great STAB move, but with STAB it has 75 power and a small chance to raise its attack, which isn't nothing. More imortantly, though, Metal Claw is able to hit all the Ghost types that Focus Punch can't hit. Registeel has a pretty easy time sweeping the entire Elite Four, but it does take a while because you really need to set up to +6 each time. Wallace is harder to set up on but it is also possible with item support. Basically, Registeel can sweep most of the remaining game but it is very slow at doing it and it sucks that you have to setup at least once or twice for even Victory Road trainers. Regirock is a lot more threatening immediatly, even if it can't sweep as many trainers as Registeel can.

Counter after team #20:
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At least in theory, Regice should be the best of the trio. Needs Thunderbolt TM but with it and Special Bulk, will easily beat last Gym. Sidney has 3 Mons weak to Boltbeam and the other 2 don't pose much of a threat. Can kill 2 or 3 Phoebe Mons, then Tbolt Glacias Sealeo line and wall the Glalies (or even use Superpower to one of them) . Drake is murdered and if I don't remember wrong, Wallace uses Rain Dance, so Thunder TM could be used to deal more damage to his Mons.
Walrein is for me the best Ice Mon in Hoenn (especially in Nuzlockes due to Encore + Rest, but even in normal runs is decent enough) but Regice has some really useful perks.
 
At least in theory, Regice should be the best of the trio. Needs Thunderbolt TM but with it and Special Bulk, will easily beat last Gym. Sidney has 3 Mons weak to Boltbeam and the other 2 don't pose much of a threat. Can kill 2 or 3 Phoebe Mons, then Tbolt Glacias Sealeo line and wall the Glalies (or even use Superpower to one of them) . Drake is murdered and if I don't remember wrong, Wallace uses Rain Dance, so Thunder TM could be used to deal more damage to his Mons.
Walrein is for me the best Ice Mon in Hoenn (especially in Nuzlockes due to Encore + Rest, but even in normal runs is decent enough) but Regice has some really useful perks.
I may be spoiling next weaks writre-up a bit but I don't agree with your assessment of Regice. In my experience its performance isn't nearly as good as you making it out to be. I just did a quick rematch of the first few Elite Four members with the final level 50 Regice (neutral nature) on that save file to refresh my memory. It has several problems.

Sootopolis Gym:
Whiscash is a problem for Regice. It can set up Amnesia and STAB Earthquake is doing a lot even with its mediocre stats.
Kingdra is even worse for it. Regice is slower and doesn't 2HKO it while Kingdra sets up Double Teams, Rests up the damage and confuses it with Water Pulse. Kingdra can't really touch Regice but it is not unlikely that Regice just gets PP stalled by Kingdra.

Sidney:
Mightyena's Double-Edge does around 35%, so you can't sub on it, and Ice Beam is not an OHKO. He sends out Absol next. Ice Beam is not a OHKO either, and Rock Slide is very nearly a 2HKO from full. If he flinches you or sets up Swords Dance, then Regice is cooked. Assuming you get past those two with Hyper Potion support, the remaining 3 are easier for Regice. But Crawdaunt is not OHKOed by Thunderbolt, is faster than Regice and uses Swords Dance. +2 Strength is also doing a lot.

Phoebe:
Regice doesn't 2HKO the two Dusclops, like not even the first one. So it is very easy to run out of Ice Beams because of Pressure, and the second Dusclops can also troll you with Rock Slide. STAB Shadowball is yet again doing a lot to Regice. It doesn't really have a straightup good matchup against any of her Pokemon.

Glacia:
Regice beats the two Sealeos but Walrein is not as easy. Thunderbolt is maybe not even a 3HKO if you take its Sitrus Berry into account, and it also has a chance to just OHKO you with Sheer Cold (Ice types are not immune to it in gen 3 yet). And the two remaining Glalies just wall Regice. Superpower from Regice is pathetically weak because it barely has any EVs and 50 base attack. One is doing like 40% and then the move is useless. One Glalie even has Light Screen, so Thunderbolt isn't doing anything, and the second one has Explosion to just take you out in one hit.

Drake:
Kingdra is less of a problem this time because it doesn't have Rest, and Smokescreen instead of Double Team. But Flygon and Salamence are a problem. Regice takes its Flamethrowers resonably well but STAB Earthquake and super effective Rock Slide is doing a ton to Regice. Once again, Regice neeeds a lot of healing support to sweep here. I certainly wouldn't say Regice "destroys" Drake.

Wallace:
Several problem Pokemon here. Wailord is not always going to click Rain Dance, and if it doesn't using Thunder with its bad accuracy and Regice's low speed is a lottery. Double-Edge is also not weak. Gyarados is the only Pokemon Regice can OHKO, but not before it does a crapton of damage with Earthquake or even Hyper Beam. And the last four Pokemon just wall Regice all day long. Thunderbolt is doing almost nothing to Tentacruel and Milotic, who both just Toxic it. Milotic recovers off any damage and Tentacruel is hitting Regice hard with STAB Sludge Bomb. Whishcash is yet again setting up Amnesia before dunking it with strong Earthquakes. Ludicolo is not 2HKOed by Ice Beam and sets up on Regice with Leech Seed and Double Team.

I wouldn't really call any of the remaining major battles good for Regice. Its bad defensive typing, low speed, inability to use physical moves and barren special and utility movepool makes it pretty clearly the worst Regi in my book. Registeel can sweep basically every remaining battle given enough time and Regirock's better physical stats, movepool and typing just line up better against most remaining trainers than Regice does.

Walrein is indeed the best Ice type in Hoenn, but that isn't a high praise when there are only 3 Ice evolution lines and its competition are Snorunt and Regice. Walrein is fine but its very high evolution level, very late availability and only okay stats mean it is just worse than something like Staryu which you can get at the same time.
Also, despite Ice being a great attacking type in general, in Hoenn there weirdly aren't that many good uses for Ice Beam. The only big ones are Drake and Winona, who is a joke of a gym leader anyway. Most Flying, Grass and Ground Pokemon will already be behind you when you finally get Ice coverage.
 
Team #21
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I already wrote about Torchic before.

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Dustox is bad but honestly not as bad as I thought it would be. It is the more defensive counterpart to Beautifly which didn't sound good already, but base 50 mixed offenses sounded even worse. Yikes. But having played with both, I can say that they are surprisingly about equally strong. Or rather weak. While Beautifly has far better offenses, it is also kind of nice to not just die constantly later into the game. While Dustox's offenses are frankly a joke, its huge crutch of a 4x resistance and early super effective Psychic coverage lets it have the same singular highlight of easily beating Brawly. But after that you really should just discard it into the PC forever. Its lower offenses would make going through route trainers more of a chore but the Sludge Bomb TM is here yet again to pick up an otherwise trash Pokemon from the claws of unusable. It kind of, sort of, makes it okay after Brawly and its better bulk means it can actually go for 2HKOs more often. Of course its bulk is not great, but for how early you get it, which means it will end up with a lot of EVs, it is decently bulky for most of the game. Dustox also has Protect instead of Stun Spore like Beautifly has, which is okay against Norman if you only use Dustox against Slaking. And while it does even learn Toxic by level-up, it is too late, so you will still have to give it the Toxic TM, if you want to have it for Norman. Weirdly, for such a defensive Pokemon, it really doesn't have that great of an utility movepool. Even the offensive powerhouse of Breloom has better and more utility. Otherwise, Dustox is just going along, chiping down enemy Pokemon with its weak attacks. It isn't the worst thing ever, but you really have to ask yourself on why you are still holding onto it after the early game.

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Spoink is honestly just good. It is an early gen Psychic type, so that is already nice, but it also comes rather early before the 4th gym, and Grumpig has much better stats than you would think. Even Spoink has alright stats for a first stage Pokemon. Spoink has a unique type related quirk, just like Chimecho. Spoink comes with Thick Fat, which gives it a Fire and Ice resistance, that, coupled with its good special bulk, allow Grumpig to be a much better hit taker than its fellow Psychic type. But don't just think of Grumpig of a slow tank either because it has surprisingly high speed at 80, which is just high enough for an early game Pokemon. And while it can't hold a candle to powerhouses like Kadabra and Gardevoir, base 90 special attack is still strong enough. Spoink even comes pretty self-sufficient right away. It has Psybeam for a good early STAB move and it also learns Psychic by level up on level 34 if you delay its evolution by two levels. But you can also just give it the Game Corner TM if you want to. Sadly, the elemental punches are post game, so it has to rely on the same offensive movepool as most Psychic types. Shock Wave and Thief are good coverage and Calm Mind later allows it to set up sweeps. It isn't a big amount of options but just strong STAB Psychic is almost all it needs. Sadly, Spoink comes a bit too late to evolve into Grumpig before gym 4 unless you seriously go out of your way. But even Spoink can help against a lot of the Fire gym with its Thick Fat resistance. Grumpig has good enough stats to help out against Norman, and it cleanly sweeps Winona. It also has a good matchup against Tate & Liza, and also sweeps the Water gym with Calm Mind. Honestly, it has almost only good matchups against the remaining gym leaders. Like all Psychic types, though, it doesn't do too good in the Elite Four because of Sidney and Phoebe. But Grumpig's Thick Fat ability is yet again helpful here and allows it to setup Calm Minds and swep against Glacia and Wallace. So, Spoink is really one of the better Psychic options in the game. Comes early, has no baby stage, barely requires any support and has great matchups against major trainers. Even, if it can't reach the crazy peaks of Kadabra, it is solid throughout the entire game and worth a recommandation.

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I talked about Doduo here already.

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Relicanth just has too bad of an availability to be worthwhile. It comes incredilby late as a pure seaweed encounter, so post gym 7. And a 5% encounter in seaweed is just dreadful. It will take you a while to find one. God knows why the devs made it so rare when it is required for the Regis. And while Relicanth actually has good physical stats and bulk, you can not show up with 55 speed and 45! special attack as a late game Pokemon. Such low special attack on a Water type would barely be acceptable on a first stage early game Pokemon. But we are like 2 or 3 hours away from the end of the game. So rather think of Relicanth as a late game physical tank that just has its Water typing tacked on. And hey, in contrast to other Rock types, it doesn't have a crippling weaknesss to Water and the Grass types are also mostly long behind you. The thing is, its role of a physical tank just isn't useful anymore at the point where you get it. Regirock in contrast is actually fairly strong, while Relicanth isn't. That is also because like most Rock types, it just doesn't have a good Rock STAB move. It doesn't even learn Rollout to scale up its damage, and Rock Tomb and Ancient Power are very meh for a main STAB move. Its Surfs are also very weak. Even with its possible Swift Swim ability, there is still a possibility that it gets outsped in rain, and its Water attacks will still be too weak for late game Pokemon. A pure physical set is also an option. Rock Head is a good ability and allows it to use Double-Edge from the move tutor without downside. Besides that and its choice of mediocre Rock STAB move, it only really has Earthquake as an option but you really shouldn't waste your valuable TM on this thing since the return is not worth it. I haven't tried Calm Mind but I guess it would make Relicanth pretty hard to kill after a few turns of setup because of its already good physical bulk. But I have a feeling that even at +6, its Surfs would have trouble killing things in the League. Yawn is probably a better support move, if you think that is worth it. Relicanth just doesn't have any good highlights anymore. Wishcash and Kingdra dunk on it in the Water gym, Mightyena weakens it to the point that it can't go through Sidney easily, and it is too slow and lacking in offense to not be harassed by Phoebe's Ghost Pokemon. Without a good Rock STAB move, it even has troubles against Glacia, and its Ice Beam is just too weak against Drake. Wallace obviously just walks all over it. So Relicanth just has no role anymore and is mostly deadweight. Its bad availability just kills it. If it came earlier, it would at least be worth using.

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Regice is the last Regi, and like I hinted last week, I think it is also the worst out of the three. While Regirock and Registeel at least had some uses if you went through the effort of getting them, Regice just doesn't have much of a use anymore. But you wouldn't think that by looking at Regice on paper. It is the special counterpart to Regirock, which means it has crazy special bulk. But it also means it has really low attack. For Regirock it didn't matter that it had low special attack because it barely had any special attacks and didn't want to use them anyway. But it is a much bigger problem for Regice. Due to its low attack stat, Regice is unable to use some of the good physical attacks that make Regirock and Registeel worth using. Curse, Super Power, Focus Punch, Ancient Power, Explosion, Earthquake and Rollout are all great moves for these slow tank Pokemon. But Regice can't use any of them well at all. So Regice has to rely purely on its special attacking options. But like I mentioned before, the Regis only get Electric special coverage. Which means Regice entire offensive movepool consists of Ice Beam and Thunderbolt. That is it. It has nothing else. And while BoltBeam coverage is good, a non-STAB Thunderbolt from a Pokemon with barely any EVs and only base 100 special attack is not going to be strong enough for late game major battles, even with a super effective hit. Like I showed in my rundown of Regice's remaing matchups, it has problems with at least two Pokemon of every trainer and it turns out it just doesn't really have any matchup that you could reasonably call good. And like I mentioned before, despite Ice being a good offensive type, in Hoenn there isn't really that much use for it. And certainly not at the point where you get Regice. Only Drake is left as a Ice Beam target. But Regice really shouldn't be your choice for that job. Even the mediocre Swift Swim users are much better in that role because they actually outspeed Drake's mons instead of taking big damage from Flygon and Salamence's attacks. And while Regirock's Rock typing isn't ideal, it still matches up much better coupled with its high physical defense than Regice's defensive profile. Same with Focus Punch vs Ice Beam. So in short, Regice is bad at fulfilling the only role it still has, has several problematic matchups in the other battles, its movepool is lacking since it can't use its physical moves and it just matches up badly against the remaining late game. What a shame.

We are almost done now, folks. Next week is going to be the final team!

Counter after team #21:
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Do you have access to Ruby or Sapphire? It would be cool if you could use the rest of the guys. I’m focusing on my monotype runs but in the past I’ve wanted to do something similar to you. I wanted to do it in blocks of 3s for each of the starters and I might also use different strategies. For example:
Pokémon Fire Red
1) Reset until I get an interesting bulby. Bulby has potential to abuse sleep seed with his timid nature and 27 speed IV.
2) Reset until I get a charmander. Char has potential to be a mixed sweeper with his 20 atk/spA/spe nature and >20 ivs.
3) Reset until I get a squirtle. Squirt is bold nature and his non atk ivs range from 15 - 28. He’s quite versatile.
4) Get bulby but he probably won’t be using sleep seed unless he takes a more bulky approach :)
5) Non of these charmanders are doing it for me but then I strike gold and hit a shiny! He’s relaxed and his IVS suck but IDGAF. I’ll try to salvage his stats.
 
Do you have access to Ruby or Sapphire? It would be cool if you could use the rest of the guys.
I don't plan to a Ruby or Sapphire runs, no. Emerald only has 5 version exclusive Pokemon missing (aside from pre-post game Kyogre and Groudon I guess).
Roselia is mosty the same as Oddish and Surkit is just bad. Only Meditite, Zangoose and Lunatone would be interesting and I am not goint through 2 Sapphire and 1 Ruby run just to play with them.
 
Fair enough lol. Surskit is the only swift swimmer in XD. I will have to use her on my water run although her best water move is bubblebeam lol. I would play grass on emerald so I can get both Kappa and Tengu, although seedot is rare and the trade one has awful stats :/ Treecko/Lotad/Seedot/shroomish/Oddish sisters/cacnea/lileep/tropius - no Rosella but vileplume is better. Shiftry can also abuse chlorophyll along side the Oddish twins and banana chin and Salsa Duck is too good with his fire/ice neutralities, ice beam and rain support. Lileep will be highly appreciated for her bulk and will be my flying check so don’t pity me lol
 
Final Team #22
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I already wrote about Treecko here.

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Wingull was talked about here.

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Machoke is noticeable worse than Machamp but over still decent. It isn't as good as Makuhita either since its staying power is worse. Still, Machoke has the same tools that make Machamp great. Its a good Bulk Up user, learns good moves and even has Guts for gym leaders if you go through the effort of getting it statused. Fighting types also line up well for the early game. Without the better bulk and Thick Fat, Machoke isn't great against Wattson and Flannery like Makuhita is. But Machoke still sweeps Norman and even Winona with Bulk Up. It can't compete with Tate & Liza but Juan can be swept if you set up right. Machoke also has much better moves than Makuhita. Karate Chop is a way better early game STAB move than Arm Thrust, and Revenge is a great mid game nuke. And a move Hariyama also doesn't learn is the later Cross Chop. Strength and Earthquake are good coverage options against Poison and Ghost Pokemon. Otherwise Machoke is just a worse version of Machamp, as you would expect. 30 less base attack is a big loss, and its bulk is signifcantly worse. Which matters because it is still very slow. Still though, Machoke is your typical slow physical breaker and setup sweeper, with some really good moves to boot. Even without the trade evolution, it is decent.

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Corsola is really bad. As if the fact that it comes really late into the game wasn't enough but even if you got this earlier, it likely wouldn't fare much better. It has one of those stat spreads that just doesn't allow it to do anything. It has the make-up of a mixed wall Pokemon. But with base 55 HP and base 85 defense and special defense, as well as a suspicious typing, Corsola isn't doing that very well. And it really is suppossed to be a wall, not a tank because Corsola is such a sitting duck. Base 55 attack and base 65 special attack would be bad even in the early game. But this late into the game these offenses are just pathetic. And as is tradtion, as a Rock type it just doesn't get any good Rock STAB moves because clearly Rock Slide would have broken Corsola. Calling Rock Blast one of the better Rock moves in Hoenn is already sad but it is even worse on Corsola because it can also have the Hustle ability. Good luck trying to hit Rock Blasts with that. You can even waste your good physical TMs like Shadow Ball and Earthquake on this but it is to no avail. Its special attacking side is better but besides the typical Surf and Ice Beam combo it has nothing else. And despite being a wall, it doesn't have much utility. The only non-attacking move on Corsola is Calm Mind. Which is probably the only attempt to make it usable, that isn't completely laughable. Of course, it still isn't very good because its bulk isn't good, so it is hard to set up. Basically, Corsola has no good matchups anymore. It is so outclassed by anything, no matter which role it tries. Completely ruined by bad stats and availability.

107_rayquaza.png

Rayquaza is completely busted. Just like Groudon and Kyogre in Ruby and Sapphire, Rayquaza is completely absurd and sweeps the rest of the game by itself. But Rayquaza is even better. It comes incredibly overleveled at level 70, at least 25 levels above everything else. And of course it has crazy stats and moves since it is a legendary Pokemon. Base 150 offenses to destroy everything, and its other stats are all good too. It has the movepool to cover anything you would ever want. Most aren't necessary, though. If you give it the Thunderbolt TM and make it relearn Crunch, it has the coverage and STAB moves to hit everything remaining in the game. Thunderbolt sweeps through Juan, Glacia and most of Wallace. Crunch hits Phoebe's Ghosts, and Outrage and Fly hit everything those moves don't hit. It is a good idea to give Rayquaza some Persim Berries, though, if you want to sweep with Outrage. Rayquaza's only debatable flaw is that it comes very late. Some other Pokemon come even later, but Sky Pillar is still very late. Still, it is an absolute "I win" button and very fun. Grab the Master Ball from Aqua Hideout and get yourself an absolute monster for the end game.

30_mawile.png

And here we have said later Pokemon than Rayquaza. Mawile is basically not in the game in Emerald. It got done so dirty for no reason. It is available super early in Ruby in Granite Cave, as Mawile is the counter part to Sableye. For most version exclusive Pokemon, Emerald just made one a very low chance encounter. Think Plusle or Volbeat. But in Emerald Mawile is just not available at all in the places it is in Ruby. It is not in Granite Cave, not in the Cave of Origin and not the the Sky Pillar. In fact the only place you can get Mawile in Emerald is in Vicory Road. Literally the last location you can catch Pokemon before the game is over. So Mawile is legit cut out of almost the entire game in Emerald. It is in as little in the game as possible. Why? And it is not like Mawile is some powerhouse. As we see from its performance in Ruby, it isn't exactly a good Pokemon even if you can have it before the second gym. And it is such a shame too because on paper some of Mawile's traits are very good. A pure Steel typing is great, and Hyper Cutter or Intimitade are both great abilities. And just like Sableye, those attributes would be great if they came on a Pokemon with real stats. Base 85 physical stats aren't the worst thing ever, but everything else maxing out at base 55 is insulting. Its movepool is also a mess. Despite not being a Dark type or even a special attacker, Mawile learns a bunch of Dark attacks, which it mostly can't use well. And Mawile is also one of the few rare members of the club that just doesn't learn any STAB moves at all. Like not even with TMs. Mawile doesn't learn Metal Claw. So its best no drawback move it will ever learn is Brick Break or Return. But Mawile can also attempt a Sub Focus Punch set. And it does this reasonably well, even if it is terribly outclassed by Registeel in that role. But both of its abilities, its Steel typing and its okay physical stats makes it not a complete joke. Mawile is actually able to sweep Sidney with Focus Punch. Theoretically, Mawile can also compete against Phoebe with Crunch but its low special attack mean it is only able to touch her Banettes. Sableye and her Dusclops just don't take anything from Crunch. Substitute is also a tutor move, so you have to leave Victory Road and come back if you want to use the move in Victory Road too. So despite having some okay traits, Mawile has to be in the lowest tier by default because it is basically not in the game, and contributes as little as possible.

And that is it! The challenge is completed! In the span of roughly half a year and with 22 teams, every available Pokemon in Hoenn has been given a fair chance and been used and evaluted. I had great fun doing that and I really got more and more into it along the way. Finding nice uses for things and trying to squeeze something out of every Pokemon.

Final Counter after team #22:
Current Emerald Playthrough Counter22.png
 
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Here is a short follow up.

I thought it would be a good idea to give my overview of the viability of every Pokemon in Emerald after the challenge, so here is my tier list.

V4 Emerald 14.06.2024.png


I redid this list like four times over multiple days until I was confident enough with my placings. Even within each rank.
It is also interesting to compare my list to the Smogon community tier list and how they differ.

~ Abra (Trade)
~ Mudkip
~ Rayquaza
~ Shroomish
~ Absol
~ Heracross
~ Magnemite
~ Marill
~ Tentacool
~ Wingull
~ Numel
~ Raichu
~ Psyduck
~ Skarmory
~ Solrock
~ Voltorb
~ Baltoy
~ Grimer
~ Koffing
~ Poochyena
~ Shuppet
~ Clamperl (Gorebyss)
~ Nincada (Shedinja)
~ Regice
~ Whismur
~ Wurmple (Beautifly)
~ Wurmple (Dustox)
~ Anorith
~ Bagon
~ Corsola
~ Goldeen
~ Jigglypuff
~ Luvdisc
~ Mawile
~ Rhyhorn
~ Slugma
~ Spinda
~ Wynaut
^^^ Sandshrew
^^ Geodude (Trade)
^^ Geodude (No Trade)
^^ Machop (No Trade)
^^ Seviper
^^ Cacnea
^^ Natu
^^ Nincada (Ninjask)
^^ Plusle
^^ Seedot
^^ Chimecho
^^ Feebas
^^ Horsea (Trade)
^^ Volbeat
^ Abra (No Trade)
^ Torchic
^ Carvanha
^ Electrike
^ Machop (Trade)
^ Makuhita
^ Slakoth
^ Taillow
^ Doduo
^ Spoink
^ Treecko
^ Zigzagoon
^ Zubat
^ Aron
^ Oddish (Bellossom)
^ Corphish
^ Girafarig
^ Lotad
^ Spheal
^ Torkoal
^ Wailmer
^ Castform
^ Kecleon
^ Minun
^ Phanpy
^ Sableye
^ Vulpix
^ Clamperl (No Trade)
^ Clamperl (Huntail)
^ Horsea (No Trade)
^ Illumise
^ Regirock
^ Registeel
^ Relicanth


vv Gulpin
vv Tropius
v Ralts
v Barboach
v Magikarp
v Oddish (Vileplume)
v Pinsir
v Staryu
v Chinchou
v Swablu
v Trapinch
v Duskull
v Lileep
v Nosepass
v Skitty
v Snorunt

For most Pokemon I have a similar opinion or it differs by a single rank which comes mostly from the fact that the community list is not ordered within each rank. So in my list many climb into the bottom of the rank above. I also in general think a decent amount of Pokmeon are more usable and don't belong in the trash.

Still, though, there were some Pokemon where I disagreed that were more surprising. I will now quickly hightlight some of them.

54_sandshrew.png

I was kinda shocked to find Sandshrew all the way down in E rank alongside stuff like the early game bugs and Regice. Even Phanpy is in the same rank, despite being a lot later and having worse moves.
I don't think Sandshrew is amazing or anything but it is pretty solid and lands in lower B rank in my list. You can get it before the 5th gym, it evolves almost instantly, and Sandslash is a good physical tank. it has good attack and staying power, and is not even that slow. It is sad that it misses Wattson and Flannery as good matchups, but it is good against Norman and Winona, and also a solid route cleaner. Once it gets Earthquake it can dish out some strong STAB Ground attacks against some late game trainers. The biggest flaw of Sandshrew is its need for the Dig and Earthquake TM but that isn't enough to drop it all the way down to E rank. I like Sandshrew. B rank feels right to me.

24_golem.png
24_graveler.png

I also think it is a crime to see Geodude in C rank when it just completely destroys the early and mid game. Besides Brawly, Geodude has not a single important matchup where it is not amazing up until Tate & Liza. For example, it is the only Pokemon with STAB Ground moves against Wattson besides Marshtomb. Geodude and Graveler also just have amazing stats and moves so early. STAB Rollout and natural Earthquake, even recoilless Double-Edge. Granted they fall off in the late game and water routes but they still have plenty of uses (moreso Golem). Seeing how they are just amazing for 75% of the game, they belong in A and B rank imo.

70_feebas.png

Feebas in D rank may also look odd but I really think it is not that bad. If you know what you are doing and prepare accordingly, then the investment to Milotic isn't that insane. It is even better in Ruby and Sapphire because you don't have to wait until Lilycove City for the Pokeblock Case. And Milotic after the 6th gym is still pretty good. Even if it is rather boring, it matches up well agaisnt the last important battles and the League. Milotic just has very good stats. If Feebas came any later it wouldn't be up here but given how much of the game is still left in Emerald and how much Milotic can still contribute, I think its one of the few investment Pokemon in the game that is worth it.

76_tropius.png

Tropius sucks. I really don't know why you would ever use this. It has one of the worst stats spreads in all of Hoenn, despite having a good stat total. A defensive Grass / Flying type is not what you need in this game. Its offenses are just pathetic. The only reason it didn't land in the lowest rank in my list is becauses it still comes resonably early enough and how good Grass matches up in the late game. But just about every other Grass type does better what Tropius can try to do. I assume Tropius was placed in C tier becaues it can be a good HM user. But if you really think about it, it can only do that once you reach Lilycove City. That is were the Move Deleter is. Because there is a very good chance that you already have a Cut, Strength and Rock Smash user on your team when you catch Tropius. So it being able to use those HMs for you doesn't matter until you get rid of those HMs with Move Deleter. And after Lilycove city, you don't need Cut anymore, Flash is optional, and Fly and Strength are actually not bad moves. So, the only two HMs that Tropius can help with are Fly and Rock Smash. Two HMs which you can easily put on much better Pokemon. Tropius also can't use any of the upcomming Water HMs, so there is that. And without its HM role, Tropius just has nothing to show for itself.

There is more to discuss like Mudkip over Kadabra but I leave it for now. Be free to question or ask about some of my choices. Discussing this stuff is fun.
 

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