GSC In-Game Tier List Mk. IV

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So, Colonel M ran this thread since 2014 and sadly there are a little unfinished parts. Therefore, I asked him and volunteered to take the thread over to get it uploaded.

Thread approved by DHR-107
Pokemon Gold / Silver / Crystal
In-Game Tier List Discussion​
What is an in-game tier list?

In-game tier lists rank Pokemon based on effectiveness and usefulness throughout an entire playthrough. An entire playthrough, in the case of GSC, is classified from the very start of the game until you defeat Red up top on Mt. Silver. In-game tier lists rank Pokemon from an efficient playthrough based off of real-time.

What are the tiers?

In this tier list we currently have six tiers. Tiers are based off of the following:

S Tier
A Tier
B Tier
C Tier
D Tier
E Tier

The tier list is alphabetized for ease of reading. The higher tier a Pokemon is the more it contributes within an efficient playthrough. Pokemon classified as Untiered are Pokemon that are unobtainable outside of the games.

Why is a Pokémon in a certain tier?

Pokemon are ranked under the following 5 criteria:

Availability - Based on how early and probability that the Pokemon is found in the game. Does it require backtracking, HM moves, or other specific requirements such as constant searching? A Pokemon found earlier and with little effort is often better than those found later in the game.

Typing - A Pokemon's typing can be critical for an efficiency playthrough. How does the typing match-up work against the entire game? If a Pokemon has better typing it is often considered a higher rank.

Stats - A Pokemon's stat distribution is important for a Pokemon's success. Does the Pokemon have a stat distribution that compliments the Pokemon's movepool and typing? If a Pokemon has a stat distribution that favors its typing and movepool it will often be higher on the tier list. In general a Pokemon that is often slower than it is faster will be ranked lower on a tier list.

Movepool - A Pokemon's movepool (both Level-up and TM/HM) are crucial for a Pokemon. What moves does the Pokemon naturally get and can possibly obtain? Moves that require usage of rare TMs often have high opportunity costs and cannot be guaranteed on the Pokemon unless it has a very good reason to use the TM (such as having STAB or a high offensive stat).

Major Battles - Major battles consist of Gym Leaders, Team Rocket encounters, Rival encounters, the Elite 4, and Red. How does the Pokemon contribute to major battles? A Pokemon that contributes to many major battles will often be seen higher than those that do not.

An example of the write up is:
Teddiursa (C)

Name: Teddiursa (Crystal)

Availability: Early Game, Dark cave, 5% (Mornings) (Teddiursa) – Mid Game, Dark Cave, 15% (Day) (Ursaring)

Stats: High Attack and good HP complimented with decent Special stats. It’s fairly slow however.

Typing: Normal typing grants it solid neutral coverage with its STAB moves. Defensively it’s immune to Ghost, but is prone to Fighting types.

Movepool: It obtains Headbutt in Ilex Forest and later Return from Goldenrod. It picks up the elemental punches shortly after from purchasable TMs, and Dig/Earthquake later on to complement its strong STAB moves with solid coverage options.

Major Battles: If you catch it early, it’s average against the first two gyms and rather poor vs Whitney. Great vs Morty by virtue of its typing. It provides good utility in pretty much every other major battle due to its strong STAB moves and wide coverage options. Don’t bother bringing it against Chuck and Bruno however.

Additional Comments: You can either catch Teddiursa prior to Violet City during the morning hours, or as an Ursaring during the morning and day after picking up Surf and the Fog Badge. The latter is usually the better option since Ursaring is easier to catch and comes at a comparatively high level, and Teddiursa doesn’t provide much utility against the early gyms.

What tools are allowed for the player to use?

The player is allowed to use any legitimate means within the cartridge for completing the game efficiently. This excludes exploits such as the cloning glitch and the Celebi glitch. The player is only allowed to trade to evolve Pokemon and not to receive outside help otherwise. The player is allowed to use items such as X Items, Potions, TMs, and Berries. Bear in mind that items have opportunity costs associated with them and can still contribute to a Pokemon negatively if it requires a multitude of items. Though X Items are implied that they can be used, please refrain from using them in arguments until this thread is settled. You are free to add notes about X Items; however, they will not be considered until the issue is cleared.

Note that Pokemon are not penalized for being outclassed by something in a much higher tier. For example, Cyndaquil does not penalize Growlithe in a Growlithe vs Oddish comparison.

Tier List Key

() will signify a note for that Pokemon.

  • (C) - Pokemon is ranked based off of Pokemon Crystal.
  • (S) - Pokemon is ranked based off of Pokemon Silver.
  • (G) - Pokemon is ranked based off of Pokemon Gold.
  • (GS) - Pokemon is ranked based off of Pokemon Gold and Silver.
  • (GC) - Pokemon is ranked based off of Pokemon Gold and Crystal.
  • (SC) - Pokemon is ranked based off of Pokemon Silver and Crystal.
  • (Trade) - Pokemon is ranked based off of trading for its evolution.
  • (No Trade) - Pokemon is ranked based off of no trade accessible to the player (this does not include in-game trades).
  • * - Possible tier placement that can change based off of RNG scenarios.

Note that Pokemon may be listed multiple times for this reason. This also includes instances with Smoochum (C) and Jynx. Also note that if a Pokemon cannot be caught in a certain version that it is implied that the Pokemon is ranked based off of the version it is available only (will probably change this once everything is settled in).

Note that once the write-up is done, I will update them to the OP so that it is more convenient to use.

Current Discussion Topic:

S Tier:
- Abra (Trade)
- Spearow
- Totodile

A Tier:
- Abra (No Trade)
- Gastly (Trade)
- Geodude (Trade)
- Geodude (No Trade)
- Gyarados (Red)
- Ho-oh (G)
- Lugia (S)
- Magmar (GS)
- Mareep (GS)
- Miltank
- Nidoran F
- Nidoran M
- Psyduck
- Suicune (C)
- Tauros
- Teddiursa (C)

Name: Teddiursa (Crystal)

Availability: Early Game, Dark cave, 5% (Mornings) (Teddiursa) – Mid Game, Dark Cave, 15% (Day) (Ursaring)

Stats: High Attack and good HP complimented with decent Special stats. It’s fairly slow however.

Typing: Normal typing grants it solid neutral coverage with its STAB moves. Defensively it’s immune to Ghost, but is prone to Fighting types.

Movepool: It obtains Headbutt in Ilex Forest and later Return from Goldenrod. It picks up the elemental punches shortly after from purchasable TMs, and Dig/Earthquake later on to complement its strong STAB moves with solid coverage options.

Major Battles: If you catch it early, it’s average against the first two gyms and rather poor vs Whitney. Great vs Morty by virtue of its typing. It provides good utility in pretty much every other major battle due to its strong STAB moves and wide coverage options. Don’t bother bringing it against Chuck and Bruno however.

Additional Comments: You can either catch Teddiursa prior to Violet City during the morning hours, or as an Ursaring during the morning and day after picking up Surf and the Fog Badge. The latter is usually the better option since Ursaring is easier to catch and comes at a comparatively high level, and Teddiursa doesn’t provide much utility against the early gyms.

- Wooper


- Utilizing several, irreplaceable resources on a single mon is inefficient.
It starves the rest of the team from having access to these resources and they're counted against a mon's rank. This goes for one-use TMs, Vitamins Rare Candies, and the like.

Regarding overleveling:
In the interest of evaluating level curves and performance fairly and properly, wild grinding should only be done if your team is severely underleveled and it should be noted in testing.
Overleveling is frowned upon and should be avoided whenever possible.

- For testing purposes, assume that you are having a four-mon team. Blatantly favouring one mon leads to over levelling as mentioned above.
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B Tier:
- Chinchou
- Cyndaquil
- Girafarig (GS)
- Jynx
- Lapras
- Machop (Trade)
- Pidgey
- Poliwag (Poliwrath)
- Poliwag (Trade)
- Rattata
- Seel
- Sentret
- Slowpoke (Slowbro)
- Slowpoke (Slowking)
- Stantler
- Sudowoodo
- Tentacool

C Tier:
- Aipom
- Bellsprout (C)
- Celebi
- Chikorita

Name : Chikorita

Availability: Starter

Stats: Chikorita has overall decent stats. It has high Defense and Special Defense with passable Attack, Special Attack, and Speed.

Typing: Pure Grass-typing is a mixed bag for both defense and offense. While it provides resistances to 4 types and strong against 3, it is also weak to 5 and resisted by 7. The prevalence of Poison-type Pokémon in particular throughout the game make pure Grass-typing a major detriment.

Movepool: Chikorita's offensive movepool is horrendous. It has to rely on Razor Leaf for STAB until the marginally better Giga Drain is obtained from Eirika's Gym as the prize TM in Kanto, and the sole remotely passable coverage move it learns naturally is Body Slam. The only useful TMs it can learn for additional coverage are Headbutt, Return, and Earthquake, with the last probably better off being taught to something else due to its value. For support, Chikorita gets some decent options like Reflect (learned early at Level 12) and PosionPowder, though these are ultimately not too useful due to being less efficient than straight-up attacking.

Major Battles: Chikorita has poor matchups for most major battles due to its Grass-typing. In Johto, it is only useful against Chuck's Poliwrath and has mixed effectiveness against Pryce's Ice-types due to their secondary types giving them a Grass weakness. Chikorita is at a severe disadvantage for many other important fights, most notably the first two Gyms and the various Team Rocket admins. While it picks up in Kanto for Lt. Surge, Misty, and Brock, by that point you should have a team that is able to handle them.

- Cubone (C)
- Doduo
- Drowzee
- Eevee (Espeon)
- Eevee (Umbreon)
- Entei*
- Goldeen
- Growlithe (C)
- Heracross
- Ho-oh (S)
- Hoothoot
- Horsea (Trade)
- Krabby
- Lugia (GC)
- Machop (No Trade)
- Magikarp
- Magnemite
- Mankey (GS)
- Mantine
- Marill (C)
- Oddish (Bellossom)
- Onix (Trade)
- Pinsir
- Poliwag (No Trade)
- Qwilfish
- Raikou*
- Remoraid (GS)
- Sandshrew
- Scyther (Trade)
- Scyther (No Trade)
- Skarmory (SC)
- Snorlax
- Snubbull
- Teddiursa (G)
- Venonat
- Zubat
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D Tier:
- Bellsprout (GS)
- Caterpie
- Dratini
- Dunsparce
- Eevee (Flareon)
- Eevee (Vaporeon)
- Ekans
- Exeggcute
- Farfetch'd
- Gligar (GC)
- Growlithe (G)
- Hoppip
- Horsea (No Trade)
- Jigglypuff
- Koffing
- Lickitung
- Marill (GS)
- Meowth
- Natu
- Oddish (Vileplume)
- Onix
- Paras
- Phanpy (SC)
- Pineco
- Ponyta
- Rhydon (In-Game Trade)
- Rhyhorn
- Shellder
- Sneasel (C)
- Spinirak (GC)
- Staryu
- Suicune (GS)
- Sunkern
- Swinub
- Tangela
- Togepi
- Voltorb
- Vulpix (S)
- Weedle

E Tier:
- Cleffa (C)
- Corsola
- Delibird (SC)
- Eevee (Jolteon)
- Elekid (C)
- Gastly (No Trade)
- Igglybuff (C)
- Ledyba (SC)
- Pichu (C)
- Magby (C)
- Smoochum (C)
- Tyrogue (C)
- Wobbuffet

F Tier:
- Aerodactyl
- Chansey
- Clefairy
- Cubone (GS)
- Diglett
- Ditto
- Electabuzz
- Grimer
- Ho-oh (C)
- Houndour
- Kangaskhan
- Larvitar
- Magmar (C)
- Misdreavous
- Mr. Mime
- Murkrow
- Pikachu
- Porygon
- Shuckle
- Slugma
- Smeargle
- Sneasel (GS)
- Tyrogue (GS)
- Unown
- Yanma
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Here, I will repost a lot of discussions from the previous thread from Colonel M , atsync , Xen , Lucchini, Its_A_Random and others (sorry if I missed your name). I will continue tomorrow.


Totodile does really well to bulldoze through the earlygame with moves such as Rage and Water Gun among other things and it gets Ice Punch early to deal with Grass-types such as Bayleef (though it still cannot one shot them). Even after the earlygame it does a handy job at making healthy contributions to the team and never really drops off. Annoyingly it couldn't one shot Lance's Dragonites with Ice Punch in the mid 40's level-wise, even with a NeverMeltIce on. Kanto was a solid as ever, just that it didn't get much use in Kanto against the major fights due to other members pulling their weight, but those sections have been researched enough and this line is undeniably Top Tier.


Gastly has serious move pool issues initially. It only has Lick to do damage - it doesn’t hit very hard and its PP will be drained quickly. Night Shade and Shadow Ball are decent upgrades but it would be until to becomes Gengar that it will take off.

Among Gastly best attributes early-game is its defensive typing. Gastly often beats things automatically simply because it resists/is immune to the opponents moves. Gastly can beat things, but it can’t beat things very quickly early on and that is its main problem.

Of its move options early-game, I actually found Curse to be one of its most useful options. It isn’t suited for routes but it’s a terrific win condition in some match-ups and I used it on Bugsy’s Scyther and Morty’s Gengar successfully (Gengar in particular is susceptible to Curse with switch stalling because it likes to Hypnosis things that aren’t sleeping and Dream Eater things that are). It also kind of worked on Miltank, but this is riskier because Miltank can out-speed Gastly and start using Rollout (Curse doesn’t inflict damage if the Pokemon KOes you so Miltank can potential skip Curse damage during Rollout’s most damaging turns).

Once you get Gengar you can teach it the elemental punches and start destroying things. It isn’t quite as good as Alakazam but it’s still very strong in its own right, reliably KOing stuff on routes and having many targets in important match-ups across the entire game. It just takes some time to get there. I think A tier is too high and would like to see that drop down to at least B tier.

Obviously Gastly is much worse if it can’t trade, since Haunter inexplicably lacks the elemental punches. I’ll probably test it eventually – most likely it’ll end up as a Rain Dance + Thunder attacker with Shadow Ball and eventually Psychic since that seems to be the best way to use it after the initially Gastly slog.


Geodude is an oddity because its performance varies so greatly from battle to battle. As stated by others, it is at its best during the start of the game and is among the best choices at that point. During early routes Geodude will often find itself walling Pokemon completely with its high Defence and useful resistances, although it will need assistance with the odd Water- and Grass-type that appears. It's also well served for STAB options early-game and it can contribute to varying degrees against the first 4 gyms. It is less useful for the second half, although it still has moments where it can shine, such as against Team Rocket and Jasmine to an extent. It's hurt by having no real upgrades to its move set after its early game options. Rock Throw and Rollout are all it gets for Rock STAB, and it'll be stuck with Dig and Magnitude until Earthquake comes along (it gets Earthquake at level 41 – this is around the same time or possibly after the TM will be obtained anyway, but it does allow for the TM to be used by something else). It's also slow as hell :(

At some point I intend on doing a run with Golem instead of Graveler. When using Graveler, I found I was hitting stuff and falling just short of a OHKO that Golem would have achieved, and on top of that Golem is a bit faster. This may help in match-ups in particular. For example, I found Graveler was unable to reliably beat Jasmine's Steelix (needs favourable rolls from Magnitude, Iron Tail 2HKOed in response), and I also found I need to use 2 X-Speeds on Graveler to ensure that it out-sped Morty's Gengar and avoided Hypnosis, where Golem might do it with one.


Ho-oh has the superior stat distribution compared to Lugia, with much better attacking stats in exchange for Speed and bulk, but Ho-oh is still "fast enough". Lugia has the better move pool arguably but Ho-oh is hardly lacking in options - aside from two nice STABs in Sacred Fire and Fly, it also gets Thunder, Earthquake, Psychic, Shadow Ball and whatever else you want to use.


Lugia is obtained late in Johto, but if you have a Master Ball, obtaining it requires minimal effort (it literally takes a minute to get down to Lugia's room in the Whirl Islands as long as you know where you're going). It has a huge move pool, and it also comes at level 40 and requires no grinding at all. This means that it is incredibly easy to just add Lugia to your team, slap some powerful moves on it, and be on your way, which is more than can be said for most of the other late-Johto Pokemon.

It is important to note, however, that while Lugia's stats are overall great, its offensive stats are rather modest for a legendary Pokemon (90/90, barely higher than Suicune) and lack the support of stat experience that other early-route Pokemon will have accumulated throughout an entire playthrough. Lugia will still beat almost everything one-on-one, but it isn't necessarily the best sweeper.


A better option to use this to use the Red Gyarados rather than catch a Magikarp and grind it up. While the latter option benefits from earlier availability, I don’t think the tedious grinding period is really justified. The Red Gyarados also benefits from guaranteed awesome DVs. Wherever Magikarp ends up being ranked, I think that its placement should reflect the Red Gyarados’ performance rather than that of a standard Magikarp.

Gyarados has overall great stats but a move pool that leaves something to be desired. It really only has Normal moves to use its fantastic Attack with, and its generous special move pool is wasted by its sucky Sp. Atk stat, although the STAB boost for Surf helps a bit.

Despite this flaw and its relatively “late” appearance, I actually think that the Red Gyarados is among the best Pokemon in the game. The reason(s) I think this is because it is a high level capture that will exceed or at least match the average level of your team (depending on when you go for it), and it is an encounter that is not only guaranteed, but mandatory for completion of the game (a distinction shared only with Sudowoodo, the starters and arguably Togepi). To me, the Red Gyarados is basically the mid-game equivalent to Lugia and Ho-oh that you HAVE to battle to win the game, and as far as I’m concerned it is just as destructive in practice.


This is excellent, arguably the best Fire-type in the game even with the availability issue. Cyndaquil can't even compare to this - Magmar has STAB Fire Punch and ThunderPunch immediately off of 100 Sp. Atk while Quilava is still using Ember and Flame Wheel from 80 Sp. Atk. You can argue that Typhlosion regains the advantage later since it's stronger and faster than Magmar, but guess what? Magmar learns Flamethrower at level 41 while Typhlosion isn't going to learn it at all during a "normal" playthrough of GSC, so Magmar is basically the strongest Fire-type during the time that it's available.

That last part about availability is important to stress though. Magmar has a bit of "Tauros syndrome" going on, although it isn't as bad as Tauros since level 16 is better than 13-15 while the grind is just as straight forward (wild Magnemites hate Fire Punch), and the encounter rate is higher too.


Definitely one of the better choices for in-game. It's great STAB, solid offensive stats and bulk, good move pool (getting elemental punches as a Flaaffy is a HUGE advantage over Quilava), early availability, relatively quick grind due to being in the Medium-Slow group, low evolutionary levels, and good match-ups with STAB + Fire Punch are all huge assets. It becomes good more quickly than many other early-route Pokemon and stays good for pretty much the entire playthrough.

Unfortunately, I think it has a significant flaw that prevents it from standing alongside the S-tier Pokemon: poor Speed. Mareep gets outsped quite often, especially during the Flaaffy stage but also in general. Having solid defenses and Thunder Wave allow it to get around this pretty well, but in the end, paralyzing and then killing will always be inferior to just killing without the need to slow down the opponent first.


Miltank has a low catch-rate (especially with a Friend Ball) and comes at Lv 13 when your team will likely be in the early 20s at least. Miltank doesn't just become instantly good when it is caught and requires some time investment. In the end, I just see Miltank as a mid-game Rattata with more bulk in exchange for more required time investment. Rattata in particular has comparable base Attack and Speed and move pool to Miltank (Rattata gets Dig, Miltank gets some special moves it can't use very well) and levels up faster due to it being in a better experience group but comes into the mid-game with more stat experience and is closer to a full-power Return than Miltank is.

But don't get me wrong – I still think Miltank is really good! It does hit pretty hard with its STAB and it is an excellent route cleaner while also being somewhat reliable to turn to in match-ups (arguably more so than Raticate in some match-ups because of the aforementioned extra bulk). It learns some nice coverage moves too, although Earthquake comes very late and it can't use the elemental punches or Surf very well, which just leaves Shadow Ball (still useful for hitting Rival's Haunter at least).


Very good Pokemon. Well rounded stats, grows quickly, and has a wide move pool to give it offensive versatility. It's really easy to slap this on to a team since it's readily available and grows fast, and its move set can be mixed and matched to suit the team, so it'll pretty much fit in any playthrough.

Nidoran-F obviously faces competition for a team slot from its male counterpart, but it must be said that the differences between them are even less than in RBY. Nidoran-M's advantage back then was Horn Attack over Scratch for the early routes, but the existence of Double Kick from the start and the Headbutt TM nullifies this. Nidoran-M still beats it in stat distribution, although I consider this to be irrelevant most of the time – may as well just use whichever one you find first.

There are criticisms to be made about Nidoran-F. It lacks good STAB throughout Johto, and there is that back-track for the Moon Stone, but that is less than 5 minutes for the return trip so I don't care about that much. More concerning to me is its shaky defensive typing for match-ups, with its Water and Ice weaknesses hurting it somewhat against Chuck, Pryce and Clair, and its Psychic weakness giving it problems against Will. That's on top of its awful showing against Morty. Clearly Johto match-ups aren't its strong point, although it is excellent against Jasmine and has Double Kick to assist against the Goldenrod gym. It can also work against Koga and Bruno to an extent.


The fact that it learns Horn Attack when Nidoran-F doesn't was a significant difference in RBY, but with the Headbutt TM rendering this obsolete, the only important differences are Nidoran-M's slightly better stat distribution, their genders (relevant against Miltank and its Attract), and learning a different move at level 23 in their final forms (Thrash for the male, Body Slam for the female), assuming you can grab the Moon Stone in Tohjo Falls before reaching that level. The male is probably better overall, but the difference isn't enough to justify a tier difference between either.

Reiterating my points about the female, I think Nidoran-M is a solid option due to its good experience growth rate, versatile move pool and well-rounded stats. I think its main flaw is that its Johto match-ups are a bit hit-and-miss. Double Kick does allow it to contribute against Miltank (although you won't be beating it one-on-one) and it can do well against Jasmine, but it is completely useless against Morty and has to deal with its Water and Ice weaknesses against Chuck, Jasmine, Lance and Clair, not to mention Will's Psychic spam. It definitely needs a bit of support at times. Its lack of good STAB for much of Johto also presents a slight limitation to its sweeping power in the short term, and it relies on the precious Earthquake TM to finally obtain an adequate STAB option. Overall though, I think it can easily slide onto any team due to its wide selection of coverage moves


Psyduck isn't all that strong and it takes a while to evolve, but you can just catch a wild Golduck instead and cut right to the chase, and I think it’s worth going for.

Golduck's niche among mid-game Waters is not so much related to its battling prowess - its stats are good but not outstanding, and its move pool is basically the default one that most Waters get with the mostly useless Confusion thrown in - but more due to sheer convenience. Golduck can be caught in the pond on Route 35, thus requiring less of a back-track than, say, Lapras, and arrives as high as level 24, with a good grinding opportunity in Wobbuffet's section of Dark Cave if needed. In addition, while stuff like Lapras and Tentacruel have to wait for a bit for their best moves to become available, Golduck can pretty much get its complete move set immediately, with Surf, Ice Punch and Headbutt/Strength being readily available. Also, while its stats aren't outstanding, its Sp Atk. is among the highest of the available Water-types, making it a great force on routes. Its ability to learn Waterfall may also be of note considering Feraligatr, Lapras, Tentacruel and Quagsire are all unable to learn it in this generation.


It is fast and strong, and it has good defenses overall as well, with only its Sp. Atk being remotely bad. However, it still requires a grind. Its highest catch level is 15 and the average team will probably be at level 22-24. There are thankfully a few decent grinding spots for Tauros, although the experience yields aren’t great for most Pokemon it’ll be fighting against. I went with Route 37 since Stantler at least has good yields, although even then the grinding period felt slow. This is on top of the potential time lost looking for and catching Tauros, since it has a sub-5% encounter rate AND a low catch rate too. These issues have always been my main point of concern with Tauros, and they basically came to pass when I tried it in this run.

Tauros is able to learn Strength immediately, and that only will make it one of the most powerful Pokemon available once trained, assuming the Pokemon doesn’t resist Normal (it will get Return eventually for an upgrade). It is perhaps unfair to say that Tauros’ move pool is “bad” with that in mind, but it’s simply undeniable that Tauros’ move pool is smaller than a lot of other Pokemon when it first becomes available. Surf is useful for Steelix and the occasional Rock, but otherwise Tauros will just be a mono-attacker throughout Johto (Earthquake is available later but is a one-off TM that other things want to learn too). It lacks a good move to hits Ghosts in the meantime which sucks given that Morty is the first gym it can compete in, although it can at least slow Gengar down with Scary Face for support.

Overall, once it gets going, Tauros is a phenomenally powerful Pokemon. Mostly things not resistant to Normal die to it, and Surf (+ Earthquake if available) helps against the stuff that do resist Normal. I think out of Tauros, Stantler and Miltank, Tauros is the one with the strongest case for A-tier.


Wooper is available very early and it is tempting to catch it then with Union Cave coming up. Wooper is indeed useful for these opponents and is a nice partner for Cyndaquil for this reason. But beyond this Wooper starts to feel a bit weak. It doesn't seem to do enough damage with its STABs (prior to Dig at least) and Slam is ass, and it's also pretty slow. It only really takes off when it evolves at level 20, with Headbutt and Ice Punch provide only a slight improvement in the meantime.

Because of this, it makes me wonder if it's better to just wait until Quagsire is catchable in the wild and use it that way instead. It's sort of hard to say because Wooper is slightly weak at times early-game and it would be convenient to skip this period if possible, but at the same time it does work well as an early-game partner for Cyndaquil (removes Rocks) and Chikorita (beats Fires) and it'll evolve eventually and be much better as a result.

It should be said that Quagsire is awesome. Water/Ground is an excellent typing, giving it plenty of resistances and few weakness, while also giving it great types to receive STAB on. Between Surf, Dig and Ice Punch, Wooper is not lacking in moves, and Earthquake at level 35 is incredible. The only "flaws" that Quagsire has are low Speed and a lack of Water and Ice resistances (mainly matters against certain Dragons with particular coverage moves, but the Electric/Thunder Wave immunity could be seen as good compensation).

As far as Wooper's tiering is concerned, I am starting to become less convinced it deserves to be ranked above the other Water-types (bar Totodile of course). Up to this point I considered Wooper to be a clear second to Totodile as far as viable Waters are concerned, mostly because of its availability, typing and "early" STAB Earthquake, but at this point I see Wooper as being at a similar level as the likes of Lapras, Tentacool (wild Tentacruel), Psyduck (wild Golduck) and Qwilfish, and probably some others that I've forgotten.


Chinchou is yet another great mid-game Water that benefits from convenient location and catch level, well-rounded stats and immediate access to a powerful STAB.

The main thing it has to distinguish itself from other Waters is its Electric-type and Spark. These attributes make Chinchou one of the best Waters for dealing with other Waters and that's useful considering the Water routes leading to Cianwood are coming up for it. In addition, Water/Electric is a fantastic attacking combo for when it comes - Chinchou has great match-ups against Chuck, Jasmine and Pryce, and it's also able to do more damage to Clair's Kingdra that a lot of the other Waters can do.

On the flip side, Chinchou doesn't get any Ice moves in Gold/Silver - not even Icy Wind. This makes Chinchou less effective against Grass-types and the Dratini line than the Ice Punching Waters. I personally prefer the Electric STAB since I think Grass is pretty easy to cover elsewhere on a team, but it does mean that Chinchou will need a bit of help at times.

Chinchou is also in the Slow experience group and needs to grind to level 25 for Spark so it doesn't have the Water-slaying power on its side right away, although i didn't find this to be a huge speed bump. I suppose Chinchou could try Rain Dance/Thunder as well but Spark is good enough.


Eevee has limited usefulness in match-ups especially since you’ll probably be playing carefully with it lest it be unexpectedly KOed by a random crit and have its friendship dropped. So that’s a drawback to Eevee/Espeon, although it gets points for being given to you at a high level. It should go without saying that Espeon itself is great, hitting hard and fast with Psybeam and later Psychic, and having some use in important match-ups, not to mention trivialising much of Team Rocket. But I think leaving it in C-tier is probably fine as is because it takes too long to get going and doesn’t get very long to utilise its true potential in playthrough.

Now as far as X-items go, I would be curious to see how useful those might be for raising friendship. X-items aren’t as effective as friendship boosters but they are much cheaper than vitamins and it wouldn’t be extremely difficult to by a ton of them in Goldenrod City and send Eevee in against some underleveled wild Pokemon like Magikarp to spam them. Assuming the X-item has to have an effect on stats to increase friendship, you could potential increase friendship by 24 from when Eevee starts with 0 boosts (6 for each of the 4 stat increasing items; X Accuracy/Dire Hit/Guard Spec don’t increase friendship in this gen apparently). After hitting the maximum, you could switch out and back in again to wipe the boosts and then start boosting again. It sounds tedious but at least the lack of level grind required offsets it.

It would cost 10500 Pokedollars to get 6 of each of the 4 battle items – since X Speed and X Special are slightly cheaper, it would be more cost effective to only use those instead of X Defend and X Attack. I don’t think you’d be able to get enough to evolve it right away (and that might not be ideal anyway because of move pool issues) but it would certainly get Eevee on its way and would be a good supplement for friendship boosts from levelling up, vitamins found in the field, and haircuts.


I think at this we have established that Psychic moves are strong in GSC, particularly due to the huge presence of Poison-types. Normal-types are also strong in GSC because of the large selection of strong STAB moves to pick from. Girafarig is the only Pokemon in the game that gets STAB on Psychic AND Normal, and that gives it a very distinct niche.

Overall, I was impressed by it. Girafarig has well distributed stats, and it has plenty of Normal STABs to pick from to use alongside Confusion. I know some people might note that "detour" required to get it in the first place, but I think this is overstated - with Repels, it literally takes less than 2 minutes to get to Route 43 from Ecruteak, and Girafarig isn't exactly rare. It really doesn't take much time to catch and it grinds amazingly well in the basement of Burned Tower with all those Koffing down there. Once you get it to the right level an amazing match-up with Morty's Gengar awaits - it's immune to Shadow Ball, resists Dream Eater, and it can set up Agility on one of the other Pokemon (preferably the level 23 Haunter if that's sent out since that lacks Curse) then Girafarig has the Speed advantage too.

My only gripe with Girafarig is that it doesn't get an upgrade from Confusion for ages. If it could Psybeam at level 25-30 and Psychic in the 40s or something it would've been amazing.


Of all of the post-7 badges Pokemon found east of Mahogany Town, Jynx is probably the pick of the bunch. It has great power and speed, good STAB options right away, and it is not especially difficult to grind up because the Tangela and Weepinbel on Route 44 are easily OHKOed by Jynx and provide around 500 exp each – with animations on, expect about 20-25 minutes of grinding at most.

Jynx is a bit one-dimensional at first. The problem is that while it has Ice Punch for Ice STAB, it doesn’t have anything else it can use well until the Psychic TM is obtained. Otherwise, all it gets is Hidden Power and some physical moves. Despite this, Jynx has a lot to contribute: mono-Ice coverage is still very good on its own, covering Clair and Lance’s Dragons and hitting several Elite 4 Pokemon for super-effective damage, and it is an excellent route sweeper.


Definitely one of the better mid-game Water-types. It does require a back-track but this is offset by the minimal grinding required to use it. Meanwhile, it starts with STAB Surf and Body Slam for good attacking options and is just a well-rounded Pokemon in terms of stats. Disappointingly though, it doesn't actually get any Ice moves until Icy Wind becomes available (Blizzard might become available around that point too, assuming you go east of Ecruteak first).

Its main niche among Water-types is its additional Ice STAB, which can make all the difference against, say, Clair's Dragonair. A lot of other Water-types generally fail to OHKO with their Ice move of choice and get hit with Thunder Wave in response. Lapras can simply OHKO with STAB Ice Beam. This can also help against some Grass-types that could survive a non-STAB Icy Wind from another Water-type but will fall to a STAB Icy Wind from Lapras.


Machop is obtainable as an in-game trade in Goldenrod City, and it seems designed to be the ultimate Miltank counter. It's basically the only thing with Fighting moves at that point in the game, it resists Rollout, it has a Gold Berry attached to recover from some Stomp damage, and it even comes as a female which means that Attract is ineffective against it. However, Machop's effectiveness in that match-up will depend on how much Miltank spams Stomp since it has the Speed advantage, and Machop is prone to flinching and isn't exceptionally bulky even with the Gold Berry. In this run, Miltank used Rollout which lead to Machop just sweeping her team - there aren't many Pokemon that can claim to do that.

Machop is useful beyond that because Fighting is a solid offensive typing that is also quite rare. There aren't a lot of Fighting-types worth using in GS. Mankey is probably the only other one that's worth the time (I don't really count Heracross as "Fighting" due to its reliance on Normal moves, and Poliwrth is post-champion in GS and functions more like a Water-type anyway). Machop also has boosted experience (and isn't difficult to obtain since Drowzee is readily available), high Attack and bulk, and decent coverage options like Dig/Earthquake, and even the elemental punches (Machamp's 65 Sp. Atk is just good enough to use these for selected route targets imo).

Machop has a few issues. The main one is limited options for STAB. Machop has a neat signature move in Vital Throw which is the strongest accurate Fighting move in GSC (don't say Reversal haha), but it has negative priority, which won't matter in some match-ups due to its low Speed but does cause it to eat extra hits on routes. Machop's strategy will probably involve having both Vital Throw and Karate Chop, with the latter being used for routes quite often, but if it can't OHKO with Karate Chop then it's taking a hit no matter what it uses (Karate Chop is often better to use against faster stuff anyway since 2 Karate Chops do more damage than 1 Vital Throw with the result still being Machop taking a hit, plus Karate Chop has a high crit rate). Machop also evolves a bit later than would be ideal, and as mentioned above, it's Speed is lacking.

I chose to evolve Machoke for this run. I haven't tried Machoke yet but just from observing Machamp taking hits, etc., I suspect the stat difference (including a massive 30 point difference in Atk) might be important. The difference between trade/no trade is obviously not going to matter as much as with Haunter, but it seems more important than with Graveler and Kadabra, so I'm inclined to say that a tier difference between trade and no trade is justified in this case.


Its base stats are admittedly kinda bad but I still found that it was hitting hard with those Returns - I think the various badge buffs it receives early game really help it a lot.

Spearow does outclass it in most respects. Pidgey has some small advantages over it. The main one is its experience group. Pidgey is Medium-Slow while Spearow is Medium-Fast, and that means that Pidgey is able to level up with smaller amounts of experience through the lower levels (and that also means more experience is available for team mates). Pidgey's access to Wing Attack (at level 33 as Pidgeotto) is also somewhat notable because Pidgeotto and Pidgeot do more damage with Wing Attack than Fearow can do with Peck, and given that Fearow doesn't learn Drill Peck until level 40, there will be a brief stretch of the game where Pidgey will have the superior one-turn Flying option (I specify "one-turn" because Fly is a thing).

That doesn't mean that Pidgey is somehow "equal" to Spearow in tiering. The point about Wing Attack, for example, is not really a big deal because, in addition to Fly existing, both Pokemon will be using Return most of the time, and obviously Spearow wins there. There were several times where Pidgeotto would fall just short of a OHKO/2HKO with Return, which Fearow definitely would have gotten, so the power difference between the two is noticeable.


If you're going to use Poliwag early-game, you're better off just waiting for the Old Rod to be obtained and then back-tracking to Violet City to fish up level 10 Poliwag in the ponds (this option exists in Gold/Silver too). From there you can head to Union Cave to easily get it to Water Gun against the Geodude and Onix there, so the Bubble phase may as well not exist. It doesn't have any good matchups against any early gyms up through Morty and as such is mostly limited to trying to put something to sleep with a Hypnosis to help out a teammate

Thanks to the DST trick evo stones can be obtained consistently, so you can just Surf east to Route 42 and bum a Water Stone off Fisherman Wilson to have instant access to Poliwrath after hitting Level 25, skipping the rather awkward Poliwhirl phase. Poliwrath is pretty darn good - Surf/Ice Punch/Headbutt gives it a massive power boost compared to its weaksauce unevolved self, it has solid stats across the board, Hypnosis gives it pretty good supporting utility, and it has solid matchups against the rest of the Gyms and the E4 barring Will and Koga to an extent. Although its only Fighting STAB is Submission (you will hate yourself if you use Dynamic Punch), its usually good enough to get the job done where you need it, being particularly handy against specific mons such as Karen's Umbreon and Houndoom, Misty's Lapras, and Red's Snorlax.

Alternatively, you could also treat Politoed similarly to something like Slowbro/king in that you could wait until Surf and King's Rock are available, catch a wild Poliwhirl in Ecruteak City or wherever, and then trade evolve it to Politoed.

Politoed itself has an interesting move pool that includes Earthquake and Psychic in addition to the default Water-type options, but since those extra moves are obtained late, Politoed will act as a fairly generic Water-type for most of Johto. That still says a lot though. Waters are well served for moves and so Politoed is a great choice.


It is one of the most accessible Pokemon in the game and while it doesn't come flying out of the blocks upon capture, it gets a strong STAB really early, good coverage options to hit resistances (Shadow Ball for Rival's Haunter/Gengar; Dig for his Magnemite/Magneton) and stats that are distributed well (on par with Miltank in power and speed, but worse in bulk).

Having said that, Rattata tends to contribute more on routes than in match-ups. Normal doesn't really "counter" anything and in later match-ups in particular Raticate will do little more than take a nice chuck out of an opponent and then eat a big hit in response. On routes though, it's in its element – it'll happily tear through stuff with its high base power STAB and good Speed. It hits a particular peak just after it evolves to Raticate, but stays useful for the rest of way through the game.


Seel is highly similar to Lapras – same type, similar stat distributions, and similar move pools. Seel lacks Body Slam, but gets a better back-up STAB in Aurora Beam. The main issue with Seel compared to other Water-types is availability. Seel can't be encountered until Whirlpool is usable outside of battle, and so it misses out on the entirety of the Lake of Rage plot and Pryce's gym. When caught, it'll be a bit under-levelled too, and so some time is lost to get it going (which is less of a problem with many of the other Water-types that are obtained earlier).

Another issue relates to evolution. Seel evolves at level 34, but it is tempting to delay evolution to get Ice Beam sooner (37) than it would if it evolved immediately (43). I opted to delay evolution, and while I think it was the best choice, it also caused problems in some match-ups even in the brief 3 level period of no evolving. For example, against Jasmine, I found I was unable to OHKO any of her Pokemon with Surf, which allowed Magnemite to hit Seel with Thunderbolt, and Steelix to set up Sunny Day and heal with Hyper Potion (hence dragging out the battle). This would not have happened if I evolved into Dewgong prior to battling her.

I think Seel is decent, but I don't think it is on the same level as Lapras and other mid-game Water-types because of its availability problems. It's probably closer to something like Mantine.


it has a significant issue early-game when it comes to grinding. Sentret's base Speed is actually as bad as Geodude's is and that makes it a bit annoying to grind because it racks up damage more easily than Pidgey/Rattata/Spearow and requires more frequent healing. It's middling at the very beginning, but once it gets going it's pretty great.

Evolving at level 15 is really good for it and for a while it became my most powerful Pokemon, firing off fast STAB Headbutts to slaughter route stuff. Its ability to learn Surf is its main advantage over Rattata because it allows it to make short work of occasional Rock/Grounds in a way that Dig isn't able to. It also learns Shadow Ball, Dig and the elemental punches - STAB/Dig/Surf provides it with pretty much everything it needs, and even if Dig is reserved for something else, Shadow Ball and Fire Punch can be used to cover Rival's Haunter and the many Magnemites/Magnetons that appear if necessary.


You should not use the early-game low-level Slowpoke. Instead, wait until Strength and Surf can be obtained. That is when the evolved forms of Slowpoke become available at the bottom of Slowpoke Well. Wild Slowbro can be found by Surfing and if trading is possible, you can just catch a wild Slowpoke (far more common than Slowbro), grab the King’s Rock from the Scientist in the same area, and do the trade. The differences between Slowbro and Slowking are minor and either way, the Pokemon you catch should be around the same level as your current team (i.e. little grinding needed) and you can give it strong moves like Surf, Ice Punch, Shadow Ball and Strength immediately. Earthquake, Psychic and even Fire Blast are options later on. Both Slowbro and Slowking hit reasonably hard and have overall good match-ups throughout the game. Low Speed is really the only flaw.


Stantler's main advantage over Tauros/Miltank, in GS only mind you, is availability. Much like Growlithe and Vulpix, Stantler can be caught before Whitney by heading north to Sudowoodo early at Lv13. This advantage doesn't exist in Crystal because they changed Route 36 to account for the new patch of Grass that grants access to Growlithe before the first gym. It is available on Route 37 though, and has the advantage of a higher max catch level AND a much higher encounter rate (40% vs. 10% for Tauros and Miltank COMBINED).

Stantler is another good Normal-type with luxurious STAB options and well-distributed stats, and it works well as a route sweeper while also being able to punch holes in some gym leader/elite 4/etc Pokemon. There's not really much to say how it works since it's just going to spam Return against everything


It misses out on the first half of Johto but makes up for this with its catch level being unusually high for a non-Rod Pokemon. It also has an expansive move pool. STAB Rock Slide at level 28 is amazing in GSC, but it also has Low Kick, Headbutt and Dig as default options (along with the elemental punches, but it can't use them too well).

Sudowoodo's main flaw is probably its awful Speed which leads to it accumulating chip damage on routes, although it is decently strong and is bulky enough to take some hits. It'll appreciate healing item support regardless. Sudowoodo's match-ups are also a bit hit-and-miss: Chuck and Clair are bad but it can contribute against Jasmine and Pryce, and it does well against Team Rocket and Koga.

The thing that gets me the most about Sudowoodo is that it gives Graveler some serious competition for a team slot during the time in which it is available. Geodude obviously beats it in the availability category and benefits for Ground STAB, but Sudowoodo is far less vulnerable later on in Johto because of its lack of 4x weaknesses, and it also benefits from a better STAB option in Rock Slide earlier on (Graveler will get Earthquake eventually). There may be something to the idea of using Geodude during the first half of the game where it's at its best, and then dumping it for Sudowoodo later on.


A good alternative to Lapras and other Mid-game Waters that has STAB Sludge Bomb to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack. You should NEVER attempt to use a Tentacool fished up early-game with the Old Rod and should instead wait until you can Surf in the field. By then evolved Tentacruel can be added to a team with little to no grinding and can be given Surf right away. STAB Sludge Bomb makes it similar in function to Qwilfish.
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I noticed that some of the Odd egg mons from Crystal ain’t on the list. I’ve done runs with Magby, Elekid, and Smoochum. I can do write ups for each of them, since I feel that the distinction of time makes it easier to separate them from Magmar and Jynx.

One big thing though is the randomness of the Odd Egg can be a detriment. If you have to save and reset to get Elekid, Magby, or Smoochum instead of Igglybuff it could be a big enough opportunity cost to keep them lower down. If Elekid did not have the odd egg rng I would argue S tier even.
This is why Smoochum, Magby and Elekid are in the E tier because the results are random. Also, the DVs of the mon from the Odd Egg is set to all 0 unless you get a Shiny so they'll still have lower stats.
This is why Smoochum, Magby and Elekid are in the E tier because the results are random. Also, the DVs of the mon from the Odd Egg is set to all 0 unless you get a Shiny so they'll still have lower stats.
Id make a case that Elekid at the very least should be higher than E. While it is a pain to reset to get, I found it’s quite strong. It from my experience even at lower levels it did not need much babying. Once it was taught the punches it kind of just did work. I would say that the randomness is a big obstacle but it’s overall effectiveness I would say puts it at least in D.
Id make a case that Elekid at the very least should be higher than E. While it is a pain to reset to get, I found it’s quite strong. It from my experience even at lower levels it did not need much babying. Once it was taught the punches it kind of just did work. I would say that the randomness is a big obstacle but it’s overall effectiveness I would say puts it at least in D.
The chance of an Elekid is a mere 14% (2 % Shiny, 12% non-Shiny which has 0 in all DVs). I don't think they're hatching reasonably fast and, even once they do, it requires some grinding to catch up(although being in the Fast EXP group may alleviate this).

From my own playthrough, it hatches at Olivine City and while grinding in the water route may help, it will still be underlevelled against Chuck and Jasmine. Pryce is difficult because your stats simply aren't enough to beat bulkier fully evolved mons like Dewgong and Piloswine. While the later match-ups are fine and Elekid line has a very good movepool, the initial unimpressive phase and Odd Egg's randomness downgrades it imo. Without the random chance, I would have said C rank or D rank.
Concerning Geodude, I think the Trade and No Trade categories can be merged. With the particular typing and stat distribution, whether it ends up as Graveler or Golem is not such a big deal. It's good in its good matchups, you keep it far away from Water, Grass and Ice moves, and any benefit from the somewhat higher stats of Golem ought to be purely situational.

This is all speculation, not at all from empiric evidence, but again, where Geodude really shines is the early game. In that sense, when it ends up as either Graveler or Golem, it will already have played its most important part (not to say it can't be useful for the rest of the game, in the right battles). Also, due to the extreme weaknesses on the special side, and relatively low speed, it simply can't steamroll the game like many other Pokémon in the same tier. All these things seem to imply that Graveler is practically as good as Golem, outside of the specific scenarios mentioned above.

My final consideration, and this is mostly a side note, is that Geodude matches up extremely well with Chikorita. Not simply because Chikorita resists both Grass and Water, but because your rival will then have the starter that Geodude can wall and hit super effectively, instead of one of the two that can squash Geodude in one hit and even take a few themselves. I'd argue that this makes a bigger practical difference than whether Geodude can evolve once or twice in a playthrough, though since Totodile and Cyndaquil are far and away better allrounders than Chikorita, Geodude's added usefulness might not even make up for that.
Hello! Newcomer here. I have been lurking over the last few months in the in-game tiering threads, and I decided to give a chance to participate in these! I am somewhat familiar enough with the old games to try to contribute with this.

With that said, I think that in the other thread it was suggested to make a new F Tier, and I think that'd be something useful because there's a clear distinction to me between the Kantomons and picks like Delibird or Corsola. Perhaps that could be one of the first steps taken by the new tier list.
Graveler and Golem are still two different Pokémon, whether they end up in the same tier or not.
True but the differences are miniuscule. What about Magikarp and Red Gyarados then? I'll probably just make Pokemon in the same line as separate entries even if they play similarly (Kadabra / Alakazam).
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Sorry for the double post but I am going to put up some discussions for the lower ranked mons here. Hopefully that can generate some more discussion. Meanwhile, I'll work on some write-ups.


While it may not be the first Headbutt user on your team, the Swift TM is a good substitute and you can obtain another Headbutt in Goldenrod anyway.

I would say that the thing that lets it down a bit is its movepool. It actually learns a lot of moves, but very few of its non-STAB moves are of much use to it. Shadow Ball is only occasionally needed for Rival's Haunter/Gengar, it can't use the elemental punches very well, and the rest of its moves are unreliable (DynamicPunch, Iron Tail) or weak (Mud-Slap, Rock Smash). I think the lack of Dig and Surf really hurts it because those are two of the main things that Furret and Raticate have over its stronger contemporaries (EDIT: well actually Miltank/Tauros get Surf but you get the point). Aipom is just playing like Tauros most of the time, except with much less Attack, Speed and defenses in exchange for earlier availability, a better experience group, and the ability to hit niche Pokemon like the aforementioned Haunter.

Those alone may be reason enough to consider Aipom on par with Tauros and co., depending on your perspective. Aipom is still OHKOing route stuff just as easily anyway, so its only in the stronger match-ups where the power difference is felt. Aipom is probably worse than Raticate/Furret aside from experience group, but at the same time I don't think it's worse than Pidgey overall. I kind of feel like Aipom should be B-tier just because Normal STAB is THAT effective in game, and Aipom happens to utilise it effectively while being obtainable early and leveling up quickly (supporting itself AND its team mates).


Bellsprout has a lot of issues that prevent it from being a great Pokemon, the main ones being its poor typing, thin move pool and limited usefulness in important match-ups, although it must be said that Weepinbell actually has slightly higher offensive stats than Meganium (90/85 vs. 82/83), as well as STAB Sludge Bomb eventually. Initially though it is fairly weak. Having Vine Whip as its Grass STAB for practically all of Johto, with its middling power and 10 PP, is pretty bad, and until Acid and Sludge Bomb come along it doesn't have a lot else it can use. Early access to options like Growth and Sleep Powder help it out a bit but these strategies aren't ideal for an "efficient" run where you are looking to beat things as quickly as possible rather than setting up and crippling.

There are two main things that I can say that are positive about Bellsprout. Firstly, Bellsprout is extremely easy to add to a team. It comes very early in the game, and it grinds very quickly. Just take it to Dark Cave and kill lots of Geodude (60% encounter rate plus high experience yield). It took me well under 10 minutes to get Bellsprout to match my team, which is faster than most of the other early route Pokemon.

Secondly, it happens to be a good partner for Cyndaquil because of its ability to counter Rock- and Water-types. Route 32 in particular has several Pokemon of these types and Bellsprout can cover these if you picked Cyndaquil. There are other occasions where Grass excels too, and of course the rival will have picked Totodile if you picked Cyndaquil, so there's another target.

Still, even if you did pick Cyndaquil, carrying Bellsprout on your team is a bit of a burden because there are many other parts of the game where it just sucks. Bellsprout may very well be the best Grass-type to pick if you didn't go for Chikorita, but that's a low bar considering how poor Grass is as a type in GSC.


It's difficult to put into words just how fun and easy it is to use to sweep Kanto singlehandedly. Coming at Level 30 seems like a huge negative when you're going into postgame, but this really doesn't hurt Celebi's performance at all -- at most it means it has to hold off on gym battles for a little bit and/or has to start with Janine. Otherwise it's surprising just how easily the little onion fairy blasts through the game with Shadow Ball/Psychic/Sunny Day-Solarbeam; it was a little troubled at first by the couple of Magmar on the SS Aqua but right after that the ball got rolling and the momentum just never slowed down -- as soon as you pick up the Psychic TM it's set for life, but it's not exactly struggling with the few trainers it has to get through before that either. I was also surprised just how well Solarbeam worked as well; I never found myself missing Giga Drain as despite Sunny Day's low PP it provided enough time to dominate 3/4-member teams. I even found myself using Solarbeam without Sunny Day a lot against certain opponents; Celebi's natural bulk and some of its resistances comes in way too handy to not mention.
It trounces every route and sweeps every gym leader with ease -- I used an X Special at Blaine and Blue each to be safe, but it still manages to easily OHKO almost anything it came across; and the few things it couldn't OHKO it wasn't troubled much by at all. The one exception to that was Red's Charizard who -just- survived a Psychic even after two X specials, but it couldn't land a KO with Flamethrower and so I was quickly able to make short work with it. Red's AI then decides that the best course of action for whatever reason is to send in Espeon instead of Snorlax after Charizard, so you can happily set up a Sunny Day free of Charizard worry to OHKO the rest of his team. I was personally Level 70 by the time I got to him, but I promise you I done no extra grinding beyond the trainers that were just in Kanto anyway, a couple Rare Candies I ran into and a couple of Arbok just to get the last few exp. points for a level because it really annoys me when I see an exp. bar that is two pixels away from completion. For a Legendary the onion fairy levels up extremely fast and is much easier to catch too.


On paper, Crystal Cubone seems pretty cool. It's available in the Goldenrod Game Corner for 800 coins and learns decent, natural STAB moves while most Grounds in this game fight over the Dig and Earthquake TMs. In practice though, it' 800 coins seems cheap on paper, but Goldenrod happens to be the city where you're gonna be spending a decent sack of coin for Headbutt and Punch TMs. In most runs, you'll either be forced to choose between getting this and putting off the dept. store TMs for later, or having to actually play the slots/card flip. I ended up having to wait till the morning hours to nab that one slot machine with elevated odds (the one that is blocked by an NPC at other times) before I was actually able to pick it up. Even past the hurdle of obtaining it, Cubone's stats are honestly not that great. Considering that Thick Club is unobtainable until Rock Tunnel in Kanto (and hunting that in itself is not very efficient), Cubone/Marowak won't really be sweeping much outside of SE targets. Speed is also an issue that is further worsened by mediocre SpD too. Also, Bonemerang will miss.


This thing's late appearance dooms it to the lower tiers, but it still has situational usefulness for some runs. Flying STAB is very useful for the Elite 4 and beyond, and Doduo learns Drill Peck at level 33 (as long as evolution is delayed), so if you somehow find yourself lacking this sort of coverage at this point in the game, Doduo might be the Pokemon for you. Tri Attack is also neat since Return won't be very powerful when it's first caught. It isn't too difficult to grind it against the Grass-types on Route 44 either.

However, much like Ponyta, Doduo is also competing with other Pokemon for a team slot that provide the same coverage: Lugia and Ho-oh. Lugia's Aeroblast does more than Dodrio's Drill Peck due to the power advantage, and Ho-oh is just way stronger (albeit while relying on Fly), and they have so many other perks over Doduo that it ends up being difficult to justify using it even in the above situation. That's before you bring up Pidgey and Spearow existing.


Comparisons between Drowzee and Abra are inevitable since they function in similar ways, both being pure Psychic-types with access to a strong typing to get STAB on and great coverage with the elemental punches. But obviously Abra blows Drowzee out of the water in most respects. The main issue I had with Drowzee is that it's very weak prior to evolution. Drowzee is quite weak and slow, easily the weakest member of my team at that point, and often failed to KO stuff even with super-effective hits. It also has a relatively slow initial grind.

I found that Drowzee started to take off when it evolved (level 26). It started to become more reliable at KOing stuff and of course its coverage against important trainers is exceptional. As an advantage over Abra, its physical attack is equal to its special one and it can therefore make some use of physical attacks to extend its versatility. Technically I consider this point mostly moot because its special move pool is more luxurious and already provides it with plenty of coverage, but Shadow Ball does at least allow it to swat away opposing Psychics, particularly an opposing Abra/Kadabra!


After obtaining Eevee, I gave it the 3 X items I already picked up and then taught it Headbutt, putting it at 74 friendship. I then bought 126 X items - after actively saving money and selling off unneeded items/TMs, I had more than enough to get the X items I needed PLUS a Protein, and could have bought an additional elemental punch TM if I needed it. I then went down to Route 34, used the Old Rod to encounter a Magikarp and then started spamming X items as it Splashed, fleeing and re-encountering Magikarp when Splash's PP ran dry.

3 Magikarp and less than 15 minutes later (animations were turned OFF for this), Eevee was sitting at 200 friendship. I added a few vitamins and a haircut on top of that, went about my playthrough as normal, and...Eevee attempted to evolve at level 25! This proves that, in theory, it's possible to get Eevee to evolve early with relatively little effort. Whether this is the most optimal thing to do is a matter of debate because, in addition to cost some money and time, there is still the issue of Eevee needed to stay unevolved until level 30 to get Bite, a move that both Espeon and Umbreon appreciate having in their move sets. In Umbreon's case, I would argue that it evolving it early is beneficial, but ONLY if the Shadow Ball is available for it. Shadow Ball is basically equivalent to STAB Bite after taking badge boosts into account, and by evolving early and giving Umbreon Mud-Slap, Umbreon could make for a decent answer to Morty.


This useful post on GlitchCity Forums that helped make the hunt shorter. Its Elite Four was pretty rough and it didn't do much too useful other than outspeeding Dragonites and either picking them off with Stomp or Stomping them into KO range for Feraligatr's Ice Punch. Once we got to Kanto proper though, it started to get good. Sunny Day + Solar Beam was a good combo. It couldn't solo Surge, but it handily dealt with Erika, Janine, and Misty (Sunnybeam for days here, Lapras lives but doesn't do much other than waste turns). Finally getting Flamethrower at Lv51 helped it pick up more (and would have helped for Surge), and it proved to be a powerhouse on the team. Blue didn't go too well as Gyarados had the better of it (Solarbeam does not much), but it does have a lot of good matchups against his Pokémon. Entei also dealt with Red (at Lv54-56), using the Speedrun strat of using a Guard Special (which makes his Pikachu use Charm often and if it uses Thunder, Entei lives a non-crit one) and X-Items to then sweep the team. Snorlax and Charizard survived attacks, but they didn't do much (Amnesia for lax, Flinch for zard).


Goldeen is a fairly generic Water-type. It does the usual Water/Ice/Normal thing that most Water-types are able to do and it is OK on its own merits, but at the same time it is difficult to justify selecting it over the many other Water-types that exist in this game. The only thing Goldeen has to distinguish itself is its above average attack…and very few moves to use it with.

There are two ways in which you could obtain and use the Goldeen line. The first way is to fish it up early with the Old Rod. Goldeen can be found in the ponds in Union Cave which is awfully convenient, especially when you take its relatively high catch level into account. It really can just be added to a team with little potential time cost compared to some of the other options that are available to you at this point, which can only be a plus.

This sounds decent on paper: it has Peck as a default move which sets it up nicely for Bugsy's gym, and then it gets Horn Attack pretty early for a decent Normal attack (it can't learn Headbutt). But in practice it is underwhelming. UnSTABed Peck from 67 Attack is not the greatest option for attempting a Bugsy sweep, and its match-ups against Whitney and Morty aren't impressive either. Horn Attack is probably roughly equivalent to Quilava's Headbutt in damage output which won't allow for too many OHKOs on routes.

Another problem with the Old Rod method is Goldeen's late evolutionary level of 33 – Goldeen probably won't be evolving until around the 7th gym/Goldenrod Rocket Encounter, depending on team size.

The other method for using the Goldeen family (and in my opinion the superior one) is to treat it like you would Tentacool and just wait until wild Seaking can be caught. Seaking is first obtainable by Surfing on the ponds on Route 42 which is literally next door to Ecruteak City (i.e. no huge side-track involved to get it) and it is found at a minimum of level 20 and as high as level 24, which means it'll need little to no grinding. From there it can learn Surf immediately and it'll have Horn Attack from 92 Attack to at least fend of opposing Waters (it can't get Ice Punch but can settle for Icy Wind eventually). This method basically avoids the Goldeen phase in exchange for later acquisition, which doesn't mean much since Goldeen isn't doing much during that time in the first place. It also has the same advantage as the Old Rod method of requiring little time investment.

Seaking is just decent. Its underwhelming Special Attack hurts it a bit but otherwise it can still do ok just spamming Surf where appropriate while occasionally turning to Horn Attack/Return and Icy Wind for coverage. Personally, I would say that Goldeen/Seaking is probably comparable to something like Mantine, who is obtainable at roughly the same time and also has similar issues with standing out among the overcrowded Water-type gang (Mantine offers comparatively stronger Surfs but is far worse than Seaking at taking down opposing Water-types and is in a slower experience growth group). So probably wherever Mantine ends up being tiered, Goldeen can just go in that tier too (as is the case currently).


It can be a bit frustrating to catch thanks to Roar, but as soon as you get it you can throw it at the Sprout Tower which it'll solo and get up enough levels to learn Ember and pitch in against Falkner as well -- though actually, due to how power calculations work Bite is the same base power and it's the move it'll end up using most of the time at this point in the game. Which is pretty great since it's fairly powerful and hits a lot of trainers for neutral damage, with said trainers usually having low special defence. This means Union Cave's Geodudes aren't a problem, and it can then go on to tear apart Bugsy after a little jaunt with Team Rocket. After that is Goldenrod around which you can catch Growlithe in GS anyway and its performance at that point in the game has been better documented by other more experienced players than myself; but obviously joining the team earlier and being about Level 20 by this point helps a lot. It decimated Morty with Bite, burnt Jasmine's Magnemite to a crisp, took down most of Koga's team with ease and was generally a very solid team member aside from the Whirl Islands routes and Blackthorn Gym. I was very lucky to get a Fire Stone from Alan - though it's not terribly unlikely if like me he's the only person you have registered; I got three fire stones out of him before it came time to evolve - and used it on my Growlithe at Level 34 (when it learns Flame Wheel). Growlithe's performance had started to wane from like Level 27 onwards but evolution brought it right back up to par.


If Dratini is like a Water-type without the STAB boost, it could also be said that Heracross is like a Normal-type without STAB.

Normally Heracross would be let down by the difficulty in finding a tree that generates wild Heracross, but since this isn't actually "random" and can be calculated, finding the right tree is trivial.

I found Heracross to be pretty good. Its move pool is unfortunately limited by its lack of good STAB moves for pretty much all of Johto (aside from Reversal possibly, but that comes late and needs to be set up properly), with only Normal moves and eventually Earthquake to pick from, but Heracross' Attack is so high that it'll often tear through trainers quite easily, especially early game where its base stats far exceed most of the other Pokemon that appear at that point.

Heracross is not as useful in important match-ups and is downright useless in a few of them (hi Morty), so Heracross' role is mostly limited to routes, but it's so good at doing that that it is a pretty good choice overall. It also comes at a pretty decent level upon capture and so doesn't require much time investment to get it going. I found that it started to lag just a bit towards the end of Johto when route Pokemon start to evolve and can more easily tank neutral hits though.


This is just a worse Spearow/Pidgey. The obvious flaw with Hoothoot's design is that its move pool and stats don't gel very well. It has a similar move pool to the other Normal birds but its Attack is subpar. Meanwhile, its Special Attack is above average for a Normal-type, and yet it has nothing to use it with. So in the end, Hoothoot just works like Spearow does, but does it in an inferior way, often falling short of KOs where the other birds would have gotten them. It also lacks options for Flying STAB: it only gets Peck at level 11 (which actually has a huge impact on its performance in Sprout Tower since it won't be at that level without grinding) and it only has Fly as an upgrade.

But on its own merits it actually isn't completely terrible. Like the other birds, it's obtained early and is generally well served with STAB options (although unlike the other 2 it basically only gets Fly to act as an upgrade from Peck) and it can get early Swift and later Return like the others. I also got the Pink Bow from Tuscany on Tuesday after she appeared for a slight power boost (the characters that appear on a particular day to give you boosting items only seem to appear once you get the first badge). Overall, I found that Noctowl was still dealing fairly good damage on routes and in fact I actually found it more useful than, say, Chikorita.


Horsea has the problem of not being available until Whirlpool is usable outside of battle, and that means it can't be used for any of the Mahogany Town arc. That itself automatically make Horsea inferior to the other late-game Water-types in my opinion, but on its own merits it's a decent Water-type.

Wild Seadra can be found in Lugia's Room. Horsea/Seadra is a bit like Slowpoke and Magnemite in that there is a "dilemma" in deciding to grind for an evolutionary item right away or just save the time and wait until you get it in the overworld. Grinding for a Dragon Scale is a slightly more reasonable proposition than grinding for King's Rock/Metal Coat though. Horsea is far more commonly encountered than Magnemite, and Thief will definitely be available by the tie you get into the Whirl Islands (which isn't the case for Slowpoke). It's still quite time-risky though so it's not a good idea in my opinion.

The thing to keep in mind about Seadra is that it's stats aren't really THAT inferior to Kingdra's. Seadra's Sp. Atk., Speed and Defense are completely identical to Kingdra's, so the gains from evolving as soon as possible aren't as great as you might think. Basically all you get is more special bulk, a change in defensive typing and STAB on Twister and DragonBreath, but Dragon moves aren't really that useful in the short term given how weak Twister is. STAB on DragonBreath is a bit better but by the time it becomes available, you're about to gain access to the depths of Mt. Mortar where Dragon Scale is found anyway. Personally, what I would do is, if you have something with Thief, just Surf around and use it on any Horsea just in case, and keep doing this until Seadra is found and caught, or you get a Dragon Scale. If you're lucky and get the Dragon Scale first, great. Otherwise, don't stress and just keep going on with the game.

Seadra is a bit underleveled and requires some grinding, which is another fault. Wobbuffet's section of Dark Cave is an OK grinding spot for it but Golbat and Wobbuffet can be annoying encounters. Once it gets going it makes it's decent enough and share many of the perks of other Water-types. Seadra/Kingdra has one of the highest Sp. Atk. stats among Water-types and it's also one of the fastest Water-types, so its stats are clearly fine.

I guess the main thing Kingdra has as a "niche" is its STAB Dragon moves, which at the very least has perfect neutral coverage with its Water STAB. In fact, Kingdra can run all 3 Water HMs for utility and can then run the secondary Dragon STAB (as inferior as Dragon is as an attacking type in-game) without worrying about being "walled" by anything. Unfortunately, DragonBreath doesn't actually OHKO many things since its power is modest and pretty much nothing is weak to it (Lance's Dragonite takes more from Icy Wind). In any case, you don't reallly need to run Whirlpool at all by the time DragonBreath is obtained, so who cares?


This Water appears quite unique in terms of stat distribution, although it's actually built similarly to Gyarados: both have high Atk, decent Speed when evolved, and terrible Sp. Atk, with the defensive distribution being the main point of difference. Krabby therefore doesn't place a lot of important on its Water STAB as other Waters do, although STAB Surf is still useful at times.

While you can obtain it as soon as you obtain the Old Rod, Krabby doesn't do anything essential during the early parts of the game, so it might be better to wait for the Good Rod to obtain it. That method doesn't require a back-track and it'll be able to learn Strength and Surf immediately, which is its main form of offense. It really doesn't get much outside of those (it gets Dig as an egg move but isn't compatible with the TM). Perhaps I should mention that it gets Guillotine at level 27, earlier than any other Pokemon in the game with OHKO move access, but I explained my lack of interest in that move when I did Pinsir and I'm not not getting excited over it now.

I did find Kingler to be pretty effective. 130 Atk and 75 Speed is nothing to scoff at, and it can work wonders on routes and the like just by spamming Strength on things. That's really all it does though. The lose of 100% critting Crabhammer as a STAB option was a significant nerf compared to gen 1.


Magnemite has 2 key advantages over Voltorb. Firstly, Magnemite has an actual STAB option in its level-up move pool, with Thunder Shock learned by default. This may seem very minor, but it's actually very useful because Magnemite's main (read: only) form of "strong" offense in GS is Rain Dance Thunder. For Voltorb, this is a slight problem because it literally has nothing else to use EXCEPT Thunder, but in Magnemite's case it can make do with ThunderShock as a temporary option and can then use Thunder later on once the money has been obtained. This happens to work very well simply because there's a Water-heavy set of routes coming up for the trip to Cianwood, so Thunder Shock works fine in the meantime.

The other advantage Magnemite has over Voltorb is its Steel-typing, which is arguably a mixed blessing but tends to work out well for it more often than not with its numerous resistances. Seriously, a lot of the stuff you fight on Routes can't touch Magnemite to save themselves, and neither can most of the Rocket grunts nor a lot of the Gym leaders and Elite 4 Pokemon. While Steel does have a few downsides (including a Fighting weakness against Chuck and Bruno), for the most part Steel works out very well for Magnemite, and in fact I consider Magnemite to be the best Steel-type in the game (with respect to the fact that obtaining Scizor or Steelix during Johto is highly unrealistic if not impossible).

In exchange, Magnemite misses out on Voltorb's boosted experience and higher obtainable level (16 for Magnemite vs. 20 for Votorb as per wild Krabby's catch level), as well as its much better Speed. I'm inclined to think that Magnemite is the superior of the two.


This has been pretty decent overall. Despite being resisted by Poison, Fighting is actually a fairly decent attacking type in my opinion – it's kind of like a Fire-type that also hits Dark- and Normal-types super-effectively, in exchange for the Bug and Grass coverage. Mankey has well distributed stats and decent TM compatibility too. Mankey may very well be the "best" Fighting-type (I'm not counting Heracross since it gets no good Fighting moves aside from possibly Reversal and so may as well not be a Fighting-type anyway) although I intend on testing the trade Machop eventually too so we'll see.

The cool thing about Mankey is that it's easy to grind. You can get it as soon as you reach Ecruteak and its Fighting moves happen to be perfectly suited for grinding against the numerous Normal-types and Magnemite on Route 38 (Dig helps with Magnemite too), and the experience yield is great thanks to the presence of Raticate/Tauros/Miltank. Once that's done, Mankey happens to get a good route sweeper that also has a handful for great match-ups (Jasmine, Pryce, etc). It's a useful choice that is relatively time efficient.

The main issue with Mankey is that it doesn't have the most luxurious options for STAB. It has Karate Chop from the start (which is weaker than Strength by the way), but the only "upgrades" it gets to that are Cross Chop or Dynamicpunch, both which are inaccurate and have low PP. This starts to become noticeable late-game especially. It also evolves later than some other Pokemon that are available at the point but Mankey's Attack and Speed are actually comparable or better than some of its contemporaries even before evolution so that doesn't matter that much.


Basically worthless. Mantine doesn't get a Flying-type move (Wing Attack) until level 40, and with a base Attack stat of just 40 its damage output is a joke compared to its other moves. You could argue that the Grass neutrality makes it safer as an option to take on Grass-types, but since a non-STAB Icy Wind will fail to OHKO the bulkier ones a lot of the time, Mantine is still open to getting statused and so it isn't that much safer anyway. Probably Mantine's main issue as far as route sweeping is concerned is that it is among the worst Water-types at dealing with other Water-types. Its special move pool is limited to Water/Ice and it can't use physical moves very effectively and so it gets walled.

STAB Water moves are still great just on their own, and so on its own merit I would consider Mantine to be a decent enough choice. It must be said that Mantine doesn't need a great deal of grinding if you get it ASAP since it comes at a high-ish level (which is nice because I found it hard to find a good spot to grind it – I had some success with Wobbuffet's section of Dark Cave). But I consider Mantine to be slightly inferior to other mid-game Water-types who have some kind of niche to differentiate themselves. In fact, I would describe Mantine as "Tentacruel, but without STAB Sludge Bomb".


Crystal allows Marill to be found in Mt. Mortar (20% rate) but Marill’s terrible stats still hold it back.


For all intents and purposes, Oddish is identical in Bellsprout in terms of the role it plays, except it's even worse since it comes at a less useful time (missing out on those Water- and Rock-types on Route 32 and in Union Cave that Bellsprout is able to assist Quilava in removing) and has less power, epsecially with only having Absorb for Grass STAB for quite a while. Having said that, Oddish can still be of use for Cyndaquil users since it can beat Croconaw/Feraligatr and helps with the Water routes and the occasional Geodude/Graveler/Onix. It also gets Petal Dance eventually, although it won't see much use outside of Kanto. Much like Bellsprout, Oddish has a convenient grinding opportunity, in this case in Union Cave against the Geodude and Onix. I did this run in Silver; Gold offers even better grinding because of Sandshrew's presence.

It is worth noting that Oddish has the opportunity to evolve in Johto with the Sun Stone, which most other Stone evolvers can't boast in Gold/Silver. However, I actually question whether this is the best way to use Oddish. Bellossom's Sp. Atk and Speed are only marginally improved over Gloom's, and the Atk boost is offset by the STAB boost Gloom receives for Sludge Bomb (which can only be learned as a Gloom anyway - Bellossom isn't compatible with the TM while Gloom is), so ultimately all you get is some more bulk and a miniscule boost to its Grass moves, at the expense of a stronger Sludge Bomb which is its strongest move when it arrives and remains that way for the rest of Johto.


There are two ways to go about obtaining Onix: the in-game trade one in Violet City and a wild-caught Onix in Union Cave. At first glance, the in-game trade Onix is clearly superior because it arrives slightly earlier and of course gets boosted experience. This point in particular is a huge asset for a Pokemon obtained so early in the game.

But there is one very important reason why you might want to use a wild-caught Onix instead: obedience. The outsider Onix will stop obeying you properly from the moment its level goes above 10, and it'll stay that way until you beat Bugsy. This can make using Onix a pain and is especially relevant at this point in the game since it prevents Onix from being as good of a counter to Bugsy as it could have been (although I would say it is still advantageous overall). Onix also becomes an even worse choice for Faulkner since Rock Throw is learned well above the level 10 cut-off for obedience. Catching a wild Onix allows you to avoid the obedience problem, and it also makes Onix a more reliable counter to Bugsy, which makes it a considerable option.

Thankfully, the obedience problem is temporary and will almost certainly never rear its head again, so there is a pay-off in the long run. Personally, I still think the in-game trade Onix is far superior despite the obedience problem. It's important to note that Onix will often beat things it could already beat anyway since it still walls them – it's just that it will take a bit longer than normal because it'll randomly use the wrong move or will skip turns for a while. But once you get past Bugsy, the issue is completely behind you and the boosted experience is there for the taking.

There is one other issue that needs to be discussed as it relates to Onix's viability: evolution.

Onix needs a Metal Coat to evolve. There are two guaranteed Metal Coats in GSC, but both are post-game, with the one on the S.S. Aqua being the earliest one. This is obviously problematic for Onix because Onix is rather weak, and being stuck in that form for the whole of Johto is pretty bad. Consider that Onix is a Rock- and Ground-type, and also consider previous assertions by various people about Geodude dropping off slightly during the second half of Johto. You're in for a rough time.

There is one other option available to get around this, but it isn't a great one: obtain Metal Coat from a wild Magnemite encounter. Magnemite is obtainable at roughly the time that Onix's typing starts to become less useful, so it seems reasonable to evolve it right there if that option is available. Unfortunately, finding a Magnemite with a Metal Coat is no easy task. Magnemite has a 20% encounter rate on Route 38, but only a fraction of those hold a Metal Coat. The odds of finding one with Metal Coat are probably less than the 1% chance of encountering a Snubbull on the same route outside of a swarm (the odds can be increased slightly using the Repel Trick).

Now, you could try grinding for Metal Coat right away, but keep in mind that you will not have any way to know if a Magnemite has a Metal Coat just by looking at its sprite, and as far as I know, you will have no access to Thief or any other methods to screen for this. Therefore, you will be required to catch each Magnemite you encounter, and if you don't get it you'll have to reset and try again. This will be very time consuming and is exacerbated by the fact that Magnemite has a flee chance, albeit a relatively low one. If you do go this route, it may be wise to bring some Fast Balls (these Balls are glitched but Magnemite happens to be one of the 3 Pokemon for which the catch rate boost is applied).

A more sensible approach (and the one that I took) would be to at least wait until the Thief TM is obtained from the Mahogany Rocket Hideout and then using that to check for Metal Coat. This approach is more time-efficient and the fleeing problem is resolved as well. It means having to use Onix unevolved for a little bit longer but Onix will still be useful for the Rocket Grunts at least (you don't have to challenge Pryce right away either, assuming you want to use Steelix there). Note that the Thief approach is still very time-consuming though. In this particular attempt, it took just over 2 hours which is just awful.

I am of the opinion that trying to get an early Metal Coat is simply not viable. The amount of time that you are risking is too great, and the pay-off is…just ok. Steelix is certainly stronger than Onix and does better in selected match-ups, but at the same time it still has troubles in other match-ups (Poliwrath, Kingdra) and is also burdened with awful Speed, and prior to Earthquake it's move pool is a bit bare. And so with that in mind, I think it is only reasonable to assume that someone using an Onix in an efficient run will probably be using an Onix for the entirety of Johto and will then have Kanto to use Steelix if the option to trade is available.

From there, it's just a question of how much we penalise Onix if it can't be traded, given that Steelix will only have its advantage during the post-game. I suppose a tier difference is justifiable depending on how much weight is given to performance in Kanto. It's worth noting that Onix does have some use in some Kanto match-ups, including against Lt. Surge, Janine and Blaine, but Steelix will do better against Sabrina and others (but worse against Blaine) and probably has more use overall.

Now in regard to how Onix performs in Johto (aside from the obedience thing), obviously it shares a lot in common with Geodude and mostly performs the same role, excelling during the first half of Johto (where it can use its resistance to wall a lot of trainer Pokemon) but dropping off towards the end of it. Onix's damage output is noticeably worse than Geodude’s though. In this particular run-through, my level 18 Onix actually failed to OHKO Bugsy's Scyther with Rock Throw by a sliver of health which was depressing (Onix ultimately lost because it chose to disobey my commands for the rest of the battle). Onix also has a slightly worse move pool than Geodude since it gets Rock Throw slightly later and lacks Magnitude (Dig is its strongest STAB for Johto assuming no evolution). One advantage Onix does have is better Speed; Onix is not a Speed demon by any means but it is noticeable when Onix is able to out-speed random Gastlys and such when Geodude cannot.


Basically identical in function to Heracross, with identical Attack, Speed and BSTs, and similar move pool troubles (arguably slightly worse because it doesn't even get Earthquake). Heracross will get strong STAB eventually but this comes very late and may not even be obtained before Red, so Pinsir is pretty much on par with it.

As far as move pool "advantages" for Pinsir go, I definitely have to mention Guillotine, which comes at a relatively low level and can be paired with X Accuracy in the same way that it can be in RBY to sweep teams. Unfortunately it doesn't really work very well here - Guillotine won't work on Pokemon that are higher-leveled than Pinsir even after X Accuracy, and that prevents it from being used in the match-ups where you might actually want to use it (Lance, Red, etc.). It can still be used in other contexts but in most cases Pinsir's raw power will already be sufficent to kill things with just Strength/Return, so it mostly ends up being redundant. In any case I believe it was decided in another thread that this combo wasn't going to be considered for this tier list so this is mostly irrelevant.

Swords Dance is another move it has which is kind of cool, although it probably won't be available until Kanto so it won't see a lot of use. Submission is a shaky option that provides it a decently powerful option to hit Rock- and Steel-types, but it has shaky accuracy and recoil, and again it's a bit late.


Its most notable feature would be its attacking stats: Attack equal to Feraligatr and Special Attack that is only second to Vaporeon among Water-types. But while Octillery is infamous for having an insane move pool in later generations, its move pool in GS is more modest. It gets Psybeam as a semi-unique move, but otherwise it has the usual Water/Ice/Normal coverage that almost every Johto Water-type that is obtainable long before it has, and STAB Surf does more damage than Psybeam against most opponents anyway (it gets Flamethrower in Crystal, but no Fire Blast in any of the games, it can't learn Blizzard, and Ice Beam is too late to see any use in-game unless you get it from the Crystal move tutor). I do not remember how viable it is to get it without a swarm. In any case, Octillery does alright with its tools.


Sandshrew is pretty bad until you get the Dig TM, then it becomes pretty good. It's basically a poor man's Geodude, trading Rock STAB for slightly better Speed and more resilience against Water and Grass moves. Unlike Geodude however it does not do well against Bugsy and is pretty TM dependent needing both Dig and Earthquake TMs just to have STAB. However if it gets the resources it needs its pretty solid. Still beats Morty, can even beat Whitney on its own if given the Fury Cutter TM, and has better matchups against Chuck and Jasmine. In terms of E4 its solid vs Koga and Bruno, can beat Lance's Aerodactyl, and can contribute against Karen in general with strong Earthquakes. Kanto performance on the whole is very good barring Erika and Misty. Another interesting perk of Sandslash is that it is a viable mon to cleansweep Red with X Item abuse thanks to being unfazed by Pikachu with the help of a Guard Spec (which I did in my run). I think C Rank is still fine, its not bad but it requires a significant non-renewable resource dump (3-4 non renewable TMs is pretty steep) that lowers the potential of your other possible teammates.


Scyther is a fairly straight forward Pokemon and is actually pretty good. Its move pool is a bit lacking but it has good Attack and Speed and is a great route sweeper.

Scyther is highly similar to Heracross. Both are Bug-types that have limited options but carry enough power to function just fine with Headbutt. Scyther is a little weaker than Heracross and arrives just a bit later, but compensates with more Speed and, most importantly, an actual STAB option in Johto in Wing Attack at level 30, which gives to better match-ups against Chuck and Bruno.

Ultimately, I consider the two Bugs to be interchangeable and I think they should rank side-by-side on the tier list – I don't think one is better than the other and it's basically just a case of picking your poison.

Just a note about Scizor: evolving Scyther comes with the same problems that I outlined in Onix's section, but in this case it isn't as big of a problem. Scizor has certain perks over Scyther but it doesn't represent a clear improvement, and if anything, you just lose the STAB boost on Wing Attack along with some Speed, just to gain some extra resistances for Kanto match-ups and a bit more Attack. If we must have separate entries for traded and untraded Scyther then so be it, but these too will just end up in the same tier.


Skarmory's main asset is its defensive typing. Skarmory flat out walls some important Pokemon and is suited perfectly for Team Rocket in particular.

Skarmory is not a good Pokemon for in-game runs though. It comes late in Johto and is a pain to grind up, and it is actually pretty weak because it only has Fly for most of the time it's around. It is an annoying 2-turn move that will miss occasionally and isn't that powerful to begin with, and so while Skarmory will beat things, it won't beat things quickly enough.


In GS, Snubbull arrives at the same time as Tauros and Miltank. Using the DST trick, it is easy to obtain, and it comes at level 16 and is in the fast exp. group, which is far better than the level 13/slow exp. group combo that Tauros and Miltank have and allows it to grind much more quickly. It also evolves at level 23 into a Pokemon with more Attack and Special Attack than Tauros/Miltank, along with a wide move pool that includes Normal STAB, Bite for initial coverage against Ghosts in Ecruteak (another perk over the bull and the cow), elemental punches, Shadow Ball and even Sludge Bomb, although it sadly misses out on Earthquake and Surf.

Granbull is mostly let down by terrible Speed, but otherwise it is a terrific Normal type.


How it does early-game in Crystal, and yeah; it does amazingly. I could just immediately give it a Headbutt TM, throw it at trainers and watch it tear through things while levelling up very fast thanks to that exp group it's in. Miltank still proved a bit too much for it just before evolution, but it still put in a lot of work against Goldenrod Gym and after evolution it proved a great asset with Bite against Ecruteak gym as well; while Thunderpunch turned out to be a fantastic move to fall back on for a team that otherwise didn't have any other super effective moves against Water-types. It's eventually let down by its low speed, though that's the only huge negative I could find aside from Bite and Thunder Punch being held back by low special attack at times; this is still a fairly bulky very powerful normal-type attacker that I found very reliable -- and it certainly didn't stop it from teaching Will, Karen and Team Rocket's bosses a lesson or two either.


Another “post-7 badges” Pokemon, but this one has potential maybe. We know how strong it is from its performance in Crystal and so that needs to be said is that it has overall great stats outside of Speed and an equally great move pool. It should fit nicely onto teams that still happen to have an available slot and would benefit from some more power, but unfortunately being so late and under-leveled is as much as problem as it is for all the other late-Johto Pokemon and so a significant time-cost is incurred for using it. The fact that it’s a fleeing Pokemon doesn’t help its cause either.

It’s difficult to say where it should land in a tier list, but at the very least I would say that is more useful than Phanpy, Gligar, Skarmory, Delibird, Swinub, Lickitung, Doduo, Ponyta and Tangela.


I like to think of Venonat as Caterpie and Weedle rolled into a single package. Its stats distribution and level-up move pool (containing status and Psychic-moves) is reminiscent of Butterfree, and yet it has STAB Sludge Bomb much like Beedrill.

As a choice for efficient in-game runs, the biggest problem it faces is that it takes a very long time to reach a point where it feels like a competent Pokemon. Venonat is definitely on the weaker side of things in its unevolved state, and having only Swift and Confusion (both without STAB) for damage in the short-term doesn’t help its cause. The one positive thing I can say about its early performance is that it comes at a reasonable level and can grind somewhat quickly against stuff like Drowzee.

It does improve quite a bit later on though. Venomoth isn’t an amazing Pokemon but its competent, and it has a distinct niche of being a Poison-type with access to Psychic moves, which is helpful against other Poison-types (Psybeam can be learned at level 33 by delaying evolution).


It's wiser to skip Zubat’s early phase and catch a wild Golbat once Surf is usable outside of battle, perhaps utilising a Friend Ball or X Item spam to increase its happiness quickly. Crobat itself is not too bad thanks to its amazing Speed and decent stats overall, but I actually found it to be identical in function to Scyther in that it's focused on Normal moves initially but eventually gets Wing Attack (it doesn't get Sludge Bomb or Shadow Ball in this gen), except that obtaining Crobat in the first place is more convoluted.
True but the differences are miniuscule. What about Magikarp and Red Gyarados then? I'll probably just make Pokemon in the same line as separate entries even if they play similarly (Kadabra / Alakazam).
Tiering policy is just that trade evos count as separate pokemon really, even if extremely similar. They might be more comparable than the two Gyarados, but that’s still two Gyarados and not Graveler and Golem.

Ryota Mitarai

Shrektimus Prime
is a Smogon Media Contributor
I honestly think if a Trade and (No Trade) version are too similar, they can just be merged in one rank and one write-up. Less write-ups = less things to be QCed and GPed, increasing the article's chances (however small they are) of being uploaded on the website. If there's any distinct advantage of evolving Graveler (e.g. it beats an opponent Graveler cannot), this can easily be noted in a write-up


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I've been thinking about Bellsprout and I think that I may have undervalued its worth a bit simply because of its excellent synergy with a lot of the standard early game choices. I mentioned Cyndaquil in my original analysis of it but its ability to cover rocks and waters at the same time allows it to fit in nicely on a team with Geodude and the birds, as well as the early route normals (and really only Furret can cover rocks effectively later on because it can use Surf), and Bellsprout can have a lot of its bad match-ups resolved through support from the Pokemon mentioned above. It can work alongside Totodile decently as well although it isn't quite as useful there.

It's probably a mid-tier mon at best still just because its move pool really sucks early-game but it really is an incredibly splashable Pokemon (especially for a Grass-type) due to its synergy, its fast grind against the wild Geodude in Dark Cave, and the utility of its status moves (Miltank is so much easier to take down if you can hit it with Stun Spore).
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I've been thinking about Bellsprout and I think that I may have undervalued its worth a bit simply because of its excellent synergy with a lot of the standard early game choices. I mentioned Cyndaquil in my original analysis of it but its ability to cover rocks and waters at the same time allows it to fit in nicely on a team with Geodude and the birds, as well as the early route normals (and really only Furret can cover rocks effectively later on because it can use Surf), and Bellsprout can have a lot of its bad match-ups resolved through support from the Pokemon mentioned above. It can work alongside Totodile decently as well although it isn't quite as useful there.

It's probably a mid-tier mon at best still just because its move pool really sucks early-game but it really is an incredibly splashable Pokemon (especially for a Grass-type) due to its synergy, its fast grind against the wild Geodude in Dark Cave, and the utility of its status moves (Miltank is so much easier to take down if you can hit it with Stun Spore).
I have to disagree here although I remain open to this possibility. True, it really helps the match-up early on when paired with Geodude but having only Vine Whip as STAB until Victory Road (Lv37 as Bellsprout, Lv42 as Weepinbell). This means you need to defeat the Mahogany Rockets ASAP for it to get a usable Poison STAB for neutral match-ups. It might be able to help out against Chuck but from my experience, it can't make much headway against Claire as Sludge Bomb 3HKOes Dragonair and Kingdra who can paralyse you, for example.
What makes Totodile S and Cyndaquil A? Totodile's final evo has a mediocre STAB spA, while Typhlosion's is a good 30 pts above. While it's true you can get Surf earlier than Typhlosion gets Flamethrower, Typhlosion does about the same amount of damage with Flame Wheel. It also gets Thunder Punch to cover its weakness to Water, similar to Ice Punch for Feraligatr's Grass weakness. While not as useful against Dragonite, you can get a clean 2HKO (which is what Feraligatr does, anyway) with Icy Wind Red Gyarados. Typhlosion also does better against the Grass and Bug types in the Elite Four.
There was a lot of discussion on this in an earlier thread I believe, but basically it comes down to this: Quilava gets flame wheel at level 31. By that point you have spent around 10+ levels with Surf (95*1.5 = 142.5 power) as Croconaw, instead of Ember (40*1.5=60, which is pathetic, it struggles to kill several things it should, while Surf is OHKoing neutral hits). Furthermore, you get Feraligatr at level 30, further cementing the difference between them. Eventually, at level 36, you get Typhlosion and can teach it Fire Punch and Thunder Punch (both incompatible with Quilava), but by that point Cyndaquil has been severely outperformed. Also, Fire Punch is still weaker than Surf, so their damage output, despite the special attack difference, is comparable even at that point. Croconaw also gets Ice Punch before Whitney, making its coverage a lot better (Quilava is stuck with Fire+Normal until Typhlosion). Finally, flamethrower is learned at level 60, which is an insane level to hit in a normal playthrough. Last playthrough I did of this game I beat red with a team around 49-50 if I am not mistaken.
What makes Totodile S and Cyndaquil A? Totodile's final evo has a mediocre STAB spA, while Typhlosion's is a good 30 pts above. While it's true you can get Surf earlier than Typhlosion gets Flamethrower, Typhlosion does about the same amount of damage with Flame Wheel. It also gets Thunder Punch to cover its weakness to Water, similar to Ice Punch for Feraligatr's Grass weakness. While not as useful against Dragonite, you can get a clean 2HKO (which is what Feraligatr does, anyway) with Icy Wind Red Gyarados. Typhlosion also does better against the Grass and Bug types in the Elite Four.
As much as I like Cyndaquil, it's indisputable that Totodile is a cut above it in terms of efficiency. Gatr gets Surf way before Typh gets Fire Punch and Gatr is still stronger thanks to Surf's BP vs Fire Punch's BP annd Gatr's substantially higher Attack for throwing Returns around. Flamethrower is basically irrelevant as most runs of the game will not reach L60 (Guard Spec + X Items on a Ground-type or Snorlax lead make beating Red pretty easy). The main relevant power gap closure Typhlosion has is Fire Blast access through Game Corner, which while possible to get is expensive and has some issues with route clearing due to low PP. Typh also has some trouble dealing with Rocks and Dragons regardless of coverage while Feraligatr has 109 Atk Returns and Ice Punch to deal with its natural type disadvantages. - Credit: previous thread

Sorry for the lack of updates recently. Busy with work. Expect an update tomorrow about the new tier F tier (I think Unown, Aerodactyl, Chansey, Porygon, Misdreacus, Clefairy, Tyrogue and other late-game mons are a lock for F)
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Tier Update:
- Cleffa (C)
- Corsola
- Delibird (SC)
- Eevee (Jolteon)
- Elekid (C)
- Gastly (No Trade)
- Igglybuff (C)
- Ledyba (SC)
- Pichu (C)
- Magby (C)
- Smoochum (C)
- Wobbuffet

- Aerodactyl
- Chansey
- Clefairy
- Cubone (GS)
- Diglett
- Ditto
- Electabuzz
- Grimer
- Ho-oh (C)
- Houndour
- Kangaskhan
- Larvitar
- Magmar (C)
- Misdreavous
- Mr. Mime
- Murkrow
- Pikachu
- Porygon
- Shuckle
- Slugma
- Smeargle
- Sneasel (GS)
- Tyrogue (GS)
- Unown
- Yanma

Summary of changes and reasons where applicable:


This is frankly terrible. 9% chance of obtaining it from an Odd Egg (1% chance of DVs no being 0 everywhere) and hatching around Olivine City is not something you want for an efficient playthrough. You will want to feed it Vitamins and giving it haircuts to make it reach 220 Happiness asap where you get Pikachu who still hits weakly and can't take a hit. Only reason I did not drop it further is it gets natural Thunderbolt as a Pikachu and can then evolve further into Raichu where it can make good use of its stats.


I don't think these guys need an elaboration of why they're awful and inefficient for an in-game run.

Kanto-locked mons except Snorlax to F-tier
They actually come far too late and most probably too low-levelled to contribute. Ho-oh(C) is even worse in this regard because of the lengthy quest to trigger it.

1) I've seen people argue for a higher rank for Houndour and Larvitar(C) in the previous thread so I'll let more input on them if possible.
2) Anything else you'd like to see in the lower ranks?

There's another wall of text coming but I'll post another time so that I don't overwhelm people with too much spam


May I ask why is Jolteon ranked lower than Vaporeon or Flareon? Just out of curiosity, since I'm wondering what's different between all three, especially in Gold/Silver. Shouldn't they be ranked separately from their Crystal incarnations?

As for suggestions to see in E, you could probably have Togepi, since it arrives underleveled, though I don't know how you're dealing with Eggs. Do you assume the player just continues until the Egg hatches, or do they walk around and waits before proceeding?
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May I ask why is Jolteon ranked lower than Vaporeon or Flareon? Just out of curiosity, since I'm wondering what's different between all three, especially in Gold/Silver. Shouldn't they be ranked separately from their Crystal incarnations?

As for suggestions to see in E, you could probably have Togepi, since it arrives underleveled, though I don't know how you're dealing with Eggs. Do you assume the player just continues until the Egg hatches, or do they walk around and waits before proceeding?
Jolteon has an absolutely horrid movepool in GSC with no STAB moves at all since you get it at Lv25 and it got Thundershock at Lv16. Spamming Normal move / Shadow Ball from 65 Atk absolutely sucks. If you want power, you need to shell out for the Thunder TM which is really expensive and comes at a point where you will be shelling out money for TMs such as the Elemental Punches and Headbutt. If you want it to have "coverage", you need to have Eevee until Lv30 which is after Goldenrod Rocket and even then it is just non-STAB Bite. Not fun.

Flareon also doesn't have STAB moves unless you shell out for Fire Blast. However, it does have 130 Atk to throw a Normal move / Shadow Ball combo so it is not a complete liability.

Vaporeon is much better than the other two because it is a Water type and gets Surf. It also learns Bite and Aurora Beam naturally. However, you can only get a Water Stone after Mahogany Rocket in Crystal so it misses out on a good portion of the game.

All three can be relegated to E or F in GS though since you can't get them until Kanto. I don't hold strong opinions on this.
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There was a lot of discussion on this in an earlier thread I believe, but basically it comes down to this: Quilava gets flame wheel at level 31. By that point you have spent around 10+ levels with Surf (95*1.5 = 142.5 power) as Croconaw, instead of Ember (40*1.5=60, which is pathetic, it struggles to kill several things it should, while Surf is OHKoing neutral hits). Furthermore, you get Feraligatr at level 30, further cementing the difference between them. Eventually, at level 36, you get Typhlosion and can teach it Fire Punch and Thunder Punch (both incompatible with Quilava), but by that point Cyndaquil has been severely outperformed. Also, Fire Punch is still weaker than Surf, so their damage output, despite the special attack difference, is comparable even at that point. Croconaw also gets Ice Punch before Whitney, making its coverage a lot better (Quilava is stuck with Fire+Normal until Typhlosion). Finally, flamethrower is learned at level 60, which is an insane level to hit in a normal playthrough. Last playthrough I did of this game I beat red with a team around 49-50 if I am not mistaken.
I just want to add that if you're going to use the Cyndaquil family you should do yourself a big favour and give it Fire Blast as soon as you reach Goldenrod. It will literally never get a better STAB move and when you haven't a lot of coverage options you want your biggest STAB.

It also appreciates Dig, but thats in high demand.

Edit: To clarify the Fire Blast TM is available from the Game Corner.
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