GSC In-Game Tier List

atsync

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I think there is a solution to atsync's concern:

Open a bit more on the viability of S Rank

We could open the floodgates to be a bit more accomodating with tiering some Pokemon in S. Some mons are like so close to solid and their arguments against them being S is like "but they aren't Abra / Totodile / Spearow good". On the same token, though, these Pokemon are above and beyond quite a few of these Pokemon as well. Take Cyndaquil for example - I actually could debate this Pokemon to B tier, honestly, and not a significantly better Pokemon than, say, Growlithe in Crystal. Ember is pretty mediocre after mons like Totodile and co are learning Surf, and there's not a lot of coverage options that Cyndaquil can go through. There's Fire Blast, which I admit isn't bad, but with low PP, a chance to miss, and needing to dump a lot of resources to obtaining it there's some awkwardness with calling it (almost 100%) A Tier.
I would prefer this approach to leaving things as is but don't you dare raise Tauros to S lol. My only concern is that I think there is a pronounced and intuitive gap in quality between the current 3 in S-tier and everything else, and unless you do some S+/S- thing, there is a risk that this gap will be masked if you start moving other Pokemon into S-tier as well. This is why I'm more partial to adding a new tier near the top and doing an A-tier split (which is technically identical in purpose to adding S+/S- but whatever), since this would preserve the current S-tier and would help make A-tier less cluttered.

On the contrary, we don't really rank Pokemon based on their difficulty to catch. The only real reason that I ranked Entei and Raikou that low is the practicality of catching it at a reasonable time is after you obtain the Master Ball. We base the Pokemon AFTER the Pokemon is caught, which is partly why I raised Entei and Raikou up a rank as well. I probably wouldn't even severely object to placing them in B either. This would be why I disagree with Tauros drop based on that alone.
With all due respect, I completely disagree with this, and I would also point out that this contradicts the ranking criteria listed in the OP:

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.
We are ultimately making a tier list for an "efficient" playthrough, based off of real time, and ranking Pokemon only on how they perform after they are caught would be a misleading representation of their usefulness in such a playthrough. Pokemon don't just magically appear on your team the moment you enter the area in which they are obtained - almost every Pokemon in the game requires some sort of time investment to obtain, ranging from a bit of walking back and forth/Sweet Scenting in a patch of Grass until the Pokemon appears, to back-tracking to a previously inaccessible area, and even to catching a Pokemon through annoying flee mechanics. Some Pokemon require more time than others. If a Pokemon is expected to cost players substantial time to acquire and would hinder the player's goal in completing the game as efficiently as possible, then it has to have SOME weight in where it ends up on the list, as is the case with stuff like Crystal Teddiursa (I genuinely think it would be S-tier if it weren't so difficult to catch).

Now in regards to Tauros specifically, it could be argued that its availability and grinding issues are what keep it out of S-tier rather than a reason to drop it down to B (or some hypothetical tier between the current A and B). Alternatively, people might think that its strengths out-weight these flaws enough for it to go up to S-tier. I would disagree and that is something that can be discussed, but either way it has to be considered when deciding its ranking and not just dismissed.

I also feel I may add an F Tier since some Pokemon really do deserve to be here based on absolute shit availability or having absolutely little-to-no niche whatsoever.
I like this idea. I would probably envision such an F-tier to be almost exclusively low-leveled Kanto Pokemon myself, and that would put stuff like the Odd Egg mons a tier above which I think is reasonable. Johto junkmons like Ledyba are more debatable (they're technically bad but have more to contribute to a playthrough than most of the Kanto crew).

I apologize for those waiting for tier changes and the like, but I really need to sit and consider a lot first before doing so.
No need to apologize - we all appreciate everything you've done to get this project to this point!
 
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About availability, I wonder about the join time criterion. Does it really make sense to penalize something simply for joining late, assuming catching it isn't particularly difficult and it's either close to your team's levels or catching it up isn't terribly time consuming? Intuitively, I suppose the answer is yes, but it seems to me that it really depends on the purpose the final list is supposed to serve.

To determine the theoretically best Pokemon in a given game, of course joining early is much better than joining late, but if the idea is more to tell people what they should put on their team to have an easy time, it doesn't really seem to matter much (Emerald!Rayquaza would be an extreme example of this I suppose)? Basically the question is if these lists are more of an academic exercise or more of a guide, I think. It should be obvious that you can't use something before it becomes available, but that's why all entries include the availability part.

Regarding catch rates, in some way you could make a similar argument for stuff like Entei/Raikou and say, well, if you happen to catch them, using them will yield good results. The issue is, of course, that you won't catch them on most efficient playthroughs. But I think you can question if that means they should be low on the list, or if they should be high on the list with a note highlighting that you shouldn't go out of your way to catch them.

A point I absolutely agree with is that grinding time shouldn't be ignored. Essentially, how long does it take for something to become usable after obtaining it, or something along those lines.
 

Karxrida

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I'm personally against making S more inclusive. It's exclusive by its nature to illustrate the cream of the crop, and adding more Pokémon to it just devalues its purpose (especially in older games with less Pokémon). I'd rather we reevaluate the Pokémon in A and B, however that turns out.

I'm also really agaisnt dividing S into subranks since I'd prefer consistently between our various tier lists. I redid how ranks were labeled for Colosseum specifically for this purpose.
 
I just beat Pokemon Crystal VC and based on my playthru and seeing where pokemon like Umbreon is placed on the tier list, I think the Dratini line should be higher, I'm not sure how much higher but I know I couldn't have beaten Red and probably Blue without him on my team.

Let me elaborate, I used the under leveled extreme speed Dratini but I didn't start leveling it until I beat the Elite four, prior to that, I ran a 5 team party that was leveled 100% thru trainer battles only. After the Elite four is when I started leveling Dratini with the rest of the team under the same constraints. By the time I got to around Blaine I had gotten Dragonair to level 46 and the rest of my party to around level 44. The reason why I had Dragonair slightly higher is because I had 9 rare candies that I collected on my playthrough. Once I evolved it, Dragonite basically guaranteed me a win against Blue&Red which I'd argue is an amazing advantage when your running a full party and trying to do zero in-grass grinding like I was.

Also, Dragonair's movepool is diverse enough to make it really useful in Kanto. My Dragonair was equipped with Thunder Wave, Return, Thunder Bolt, and Surf, and once it hit about level 35, it was able to handle trainer routes just as effective as any other Pokemon in my team. And Keep in mind, this was me using the Dragon Den Dratini, I could've gotten the super rod earlier and grabbed a level 40 Dragonair which would've allowed me to get a Dragonite a substantial amount earlier. But yeah, its availability and its dependency on rare candies is still a drawback but sine the Red battle is so damn difficult when your operating with an under-leveled full party, i'd argue its usefulness in that battle(and against Blue) dampens those flaws significantly.

(My party after beaten red)
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NixHex

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This is the last time I'll talk about Umbreon but I brought him to E4 at around level 38 and it bodies Will, for the most part. Since it is the first battle, you can preserve the rest of your Pokemon until the second. Eggy's Leech Seed is annoying but if you get lucky (Bite flinch), you're all good. Jynx LK just delays its inevitable death unless you're seeded. Not enough to move to C but was pretty useful for me in that one battle that it could be mentioned in its writeup if we're getting that specific.
 
Is there anything lacking a consensus or that needs testing? I'm planning on doing a run.

Might test the Route 32 Tentacool (Old Rod, 15% chance) looks like a pretty solid Water-type and I haven't noticed too much discussion about it.

Nothing is set on stone though. I'm more interested in contributing to the thread rn.
 

NixHex

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While hunting Raikou (who has been at around 5 hp for a couple days) on Crystal, I accidentally ran into Entei. Unfortunately Gengar's hypnosis missed (idk why I didn't mean look first lol), but at least I can track him down later. Anyway, a few minutes later I managed to catch Raikou. I'm like 99% sure I'm gonna run the rest with Raikou and test him instead of hunting Entei, so my run remains "efficient". If anyone is interested, I can go for Entei instead. One or the other.

It's not looking good for either considering the routes to come and the low Stat Exp, but I'd like to do it for completion's sake and to have more info for the write ups.
 
I think we're getting close to a final version of this list.
It's being hard to build a team with Pokémons that I'm not sure that are in the right tier or need further testing.

So far I'm going to run Psyduck, Pidgey, Growlithe and Cubone.
Still need a 5th member though. Anything that needs testing?
 
I think we're getting close to a final version of this list.
It's being hard to build a team with Pokémons that I'm not sure that are in the right tier or need further testing.

So far I'm going to run Psyduck, Pidgey, Growlithe and Cubone.
Still need a 5th member though. Anything that needs testing?
If you are willing to run crystal... I would highly request someone with actual rep (I've done this a number of times, but that doesn't mean anything) checks route 22 (night) poliwag w/ the easy to do water-stone manips.

I think it is at least as good as wooper, if not better.
Bubble is rough at the start, but hypnosis by itself is actually useful unlike you know... Abra.

Basically... I'm in agreement with B rank. I just don't see what wooper (ranked A) offers by comparison in C (or really anything else).

Actually yeah, I think wooper is a B at best. Level 35 earthquake isn't really "early access". It's probably after Jasmine, the only time pre-E4 (and thus pre-tm) you might actually care (assuming you crippled yourself for that fight with spearow/totadile maining). Furret, Radicate, Fearow all deal better neutral damage with normal attacks, and with that awful spA and ludicrously bad speed, wooper/quagsire is going to get injured on everything it faces, a particularly unique trait among the non-shit tier pokemon rated thus far (not that it really matters, but it is rather annoying while running it, imo).

The ability to swap into electric is yet again, quite simply irrelevant if you don't hamstring yourself with only water/flying mon. Electric mons/moves that threaten neutral targets are almost completely non-existent in GSC.
 
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Fireburn

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Recently completed a quick run of Crystal where some friends picked my team. I ended up with Cyndaquil/Poliwag/Hoppip/Corsola/Sandshrew/Drowzee. Some of these were being discussed so here's my comments on them:

Cyndaquil: Not much to say here, I think its still solidly A-rank. The midgame slump with just Headbutt (possibly Return)/Ember is admittedly annoying but its strong performance early and late-game + into Kanto make it worthwhile and plenty worth its spot on the team. Getting Fire Blast is worth it, you don't have to spend money that often in this game so saving for it isn't too difficult.

Poliwag (Poliwrath): Let's not mince words here: Poliwag is really bad early on. Only having Bubble until L13 Water Gun makes it terrible at fighting things that aren't Geodude since even with STAB its outputting worse damage than your starter's unSTAB Tackle. 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. Pre-Morty I pretty much only used it to cover Cyndaquil against Rocks. However, once you beat Morty Poliwag becomes substantially better. 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. I was overall fairly pleased with its performance post-Morty, but slogging through Poliwag before that is pretty dreadful so I think B rank is the highest this thing can conceivably go.

I mostly decided to use Poliwag to compare it to Wooper, which I have also use ingame Crystal before, and after finishing a run with Poliwrath I think Wooper is still better. Poliwrath's stats are overall better but the only truly notable differences are in Speed and special bulk - Quagsire is comparable in terms of offense and physical bulk, and it can learn Amnesia to compensate for the special bulk difference (this might seem silly but Amnesia is actually really really helpful against Clair and Lance and other bosses that spam special attackers and Quag can easily spare a moveslot for it). I would say Quagsire's physical offense is actually superior to Poliwrath's because STAB Dig/STAB Earthquake is much better than unSTAB Headbutt/STAB Submission, despite Poliwrath's higher raw Attack. The Speed advantage is helpful for route sweeping but both perform well against mook trainers and Quagsire has better boss matchups across the board thanks to its typing, earlier evolution, and stronger physical offense. To compare them more directly lets take a look at how they fare against the major bosses:

  • Falkner - This is the only instance Poliwag's availability lead matters b/c Sprout Tower is full of Grass-types that Poliwag doesn't stand a chance against. Poliwag can potentially take out Pidgey and put Pidgeotto to sleep for your starter so it does ok here. Wooper is not obtainable yet so it does nothing here, obviously. Advantage: Poliwag
  • Bugsy - Both aren't too good here, Poliwag can potentially put Scyther to sleep but it wont be killing it, Wooper can potentially do decent chip damage with Slam but wont be killing it either. Tie
  • Whitney - Wooper has a realistic chance of being a Quagsire here thanks to evolving at L20 instead of 25 and it can take the Dig TM to have a good STAB move. Quagsire can take hits from Miltank rather easily and it does pretty good damage back with STAB Dig. Clefairy is only a threat to Quag if it rolls a Grass move with Metronome. Poliwag does jack here other than potential Hypnosis. Advantage: Quagsire
  • Morty - Quagsire solos with STAB Dig. Poliwag can put in some work if its Poliwhirl with Surf but even then it probably won't OHKO anything so it has to fight status and Curse and whatnot more than Quag. Not directly Morty related but Quagsire is also significantly better against all the Kimono Girls (who are basically a miniboss) while Poliwag is pretty useless against them barring Flareon. Advantage: Quagsire
  • Chuck - Both are pretty good here with solid physical bulk and good moves by this point. Tie
  • Jasmine - Her Magnemites have Thunderbolt so this is an instance where Quag's Electric immunity matters. Poliwrath is still good here but Quagsire is better since it has no risk against Magnemite. Advantage: Quagsire
  • Pryce - Poliwrath has the edge here with Ice resistance. Quagsire can still handle this gym fine with Amnesia and Dig/Surf (its probably not getting Earthquake until Radio Tower, like Poliwrath how probably wont have Submission by this point) though, so I'd say Poliwrath only has a small advantage here. Advantage: Poliwrath
  • Clair - Quagsire is immune to her Dragonair's Electric moves and does far more damage with Earthquake to her Pokemon than Poliwrath does with Ice Punch/Submission. Quag can also setup Amnesia against Dragonair to solo this gym fairly easily. Poliwrath is also great here, don't get be wrong, but Quagsire's immunity to TWave/Thunder and higher damage output gives it a notable edge here. Advantage: Quagsire
  • Rival (in general) - Quag doesnt fear anything on the rival's team except Meganium, and if you're using Quagsire you likely did not use Totodile as your starter. Poliwrath on the other hand is annoyed by Golbat and has issues with Kadabra. Advantage: Quagsire
  • Team Rocket (in general) - Quag is somewhat better at securing OHKOes with Ground moves against their army of Poisons, but otherwise both do well here since they have strong neutral attacks and Rocket Grunts suck. Tie
  • Will - Poliwrath hates Will's whole team while Quagsire only really hates Exeggutor. Amnesia lets Quag contribute pretty well here. Advantage: Quagsire
  • Koga - Quagsire is superior thanks to STAB Earthquake. Advantage: Quagsire
  • Bruno - Bruno sucks besides Machamp so I'm calling this even, both do well enough. Tie
  • Karen - Poliwrath has the edge since it handles Umbreon/Houndoom better which are the important things here. Advantage: Poliwrath
  • Lance - Quagsire does a lot better here thanks to lacking a Flying weakness vs Zard and Aero, Thunder immunity (one of his DNites is packing it) and Amnesia buffering it against the powerful attacks of his Dragonites. Neither can likely OHKO the DNites without a crit but Amnesia allows Quagsire to stay in the fight more effectively. Advantage: Quagsire
  • Lt. Surge - Obvious win for Quagsire. Advantage: Quagsire
  • Sabrina - Obvious loss for Poliwrath, Quagsire can potentially take something out with EQ or set up with Amnesia. Advantage: Quagsire
  • Erika - Obvious win for Poliwrath, though you likely aren't using it to beat the Grass Gym. Advantage: Poliwrath
  • Misty - Poliwrath resists Water and can handle her Lapras with ease so Poliwrath gets the edge here. Advantage: Poliwrath
  • Brock - lol Tie
  • Blaine - lol Tie
  • Janine - Janine is awful so despite being weak to Ground Poliwrath is still just as good here by sheer level advantage. Tie
  • Blue - Both are good vs Rhydon and Arcanine, Quagsire has an edge since its not weak to Flying (Pidgeot) or Psychic (Zam). Advantage: Quagsire
  • Red - Quagsire takes out Pikachu with ease while Poliwrath can take out Snorlax with Hypnosis + Submission. Poliwrath has more to fear from Charizard and Espeon, but Snorlax is a pretty burly Pokemon to take out so I'm giving the advantage to Poliwrath here. Advantage: Poliwrath
Looking at all of these, Quagsire has 11 boss matchups where it is better than Poliwrath, while Poliwrath only has 6 matchups where it is better than Quagsire. Quagsire's superior matchups also tend to be against more generally threatening bosses such as Whitney, Morty, Clair, Lance, etc. Because of this combined with Quagsire's wholly superior performance early-mid game I think placing Wooper higher than Poliwag is fine.

Sandshrew: 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.

Drowzee: Drowzee is good. It's kind of weak when you first get it but it can be TMed all the Elemental Punches immediately which makes it a great route sweeper. Once it turns into Hypno its performance improves dramatically, having no real bad matchups besides Karen. Its not the strongest Psychic out there given its raw SpA and lack of STAB better than Confusion until Kanto, but its sheer coverage compensates and it takes hits with ease. It's also a very strong Psychic counter itself thanks to its bulk and a usable Attack stat for flinging Shadow Balls. I would say a promotion to B rank is warranted.

Hoppip: This Pokemon is gutter trash and it should probably be demoted to E tier. Only good matchup in the entire game is Chuck and its offensive capability is limited to unSTAB Headbutt until after Clair when you finally get Solarbeam. It has very minor utility in being able to fling status and Leech Seed at things but its not at all worth leveling it up so it can do those things. I would genuinely rather use Caterpie and that says a lot.

Corsola: This Pokemon also sucks but it is at least better than Jumpluff. It gets decent STAB options and has Normal and Flying resistances which make it fairly good against Team Rocket at least. It's also available via Good Rod fishing at Level 20 immediately after beating Morty so you don't have to grind it that much to add it to the team. Every other Water-type is better though.

tl;dr Drowzee to B, Wooper > Poliwag, Hoppip to E
 
In fairness. "Does nothing other than potential hyponosis" is "does nothing other than render the opposing pokemon cannon fodder to setup"

Fast hypnosis is really really good for either setup or just set switches. And realistically the only other useful pokemon for that is Haunter, who actually can't do literally anything without TMs. And wooper is just straight up useless.
 

Fireburn

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Hypnosis isn't a panacea. It's useful yes, but it doesn't make up for Poliwag's awful combat until evolution (which is half of Johto gone by that point), and its poor accuracy means relying on it isn't something you can necessarily do. Although Wooper doesn't have this utility, it reaches a state where it has good combat much faster than Poliwag which is more important in the context of an efficiency run. GSC is not difficult enough to where extensive setup or status is necessary in the vast majority of fights or even most bosses, and if you need extensive setup you are likely abusing X Items where using Hypnosis first is most likely not going to be necessary.
 

atsync

Where the "intelligence" of TRAINERS is put to the test!
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I actually found Poliwag to be slightly better than Wooper during the very early stages of the game because it has better speed (90 vs. Wooper's abysmal 15), and also because it's in the Medium-Slow experience group and therefore grows more quickly than Wooper (Medium-Fast) through the lower levels that your team will be at during a standard run of GSC. Poliwag also has better offenses than Wooper although the difference isn't enough to make a significant difference. I would agree that Quagsire probably has the advantage over Poliwrath in the long run (and probably Politoed too, although some of those match-ups change a bit due to it having higher Sp. Atk, lower Atk., and a different typing).

The "issue" with Poliwag being stuck with Bubble is only a problem if you choose to catch in on Route 30/31 prior to Falkner. 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.

I have previously argued that it may actually be better to wait until Surf is obtained before getting Poliwag, since you can just catch evolved Poliwhirl in the pond in Ecruteak City and then evolve it to Poliwrath/Politoed (i.e. you skip Poliwag entirely - it's not like Poliwag has a great deal to do for a team prior to that point). But you can also do this with Quagsire, which could also be "better" than using early-game Wooper, so that doesn't really change anything.
 
90 speed + Hypnosis prevents any particular fight (outside of Karen, who is already the 1st or second easiest E4 member depending on if you grabbed a fire type at some point) from ever being an issue. It is quite literally a panacea. It isn't a needed one. It isn't a fast one. But it is with even the smallest bit of effort quite literally foolproof. [Reminder, people on this discussion used mud-slap cheese as a valid defense for Fearow's hard counter. Mud-slap spam is a far lower percentage strat than hypnosis].

Also as mentioned above... poliwag's offensives are WAY better than woopers, and much higher defenses... and actually useful speed.

Like do people not realize how worthlessly terrible wooper is?

Water gun takes 1260 exp to get for poliwag (from 1, 1160 from 4 at early catch and 700 from old-rod). The space from bubble to watergun is at worst 1/6th the exp until wooper evolves. Wooper isn't anything approaching combat ready until it evolves. It's hyper fragile [even compared to poliwag, which is saying something] and super slow. The best thing it can do is dig. It does dig well. Not sure what you will actually want to dig though.

Wooper needs 8000 exp to evolve.
Poliwag needs 11700 exp to evolve.

Can how is that 2.7k exp going to take you "half of johto"?


I will personally easily value the extra 2.7K exp for a pokemon that isn't a literal paperweight before that point.


Also. Wooper and Quagsire are both TERRIBLE pokemon at efficiency runs with how much wasted time and healing they require due to their slowness.
 
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Just did a quick poliwag only run to champion.

Some thoughts on it.

  1. feeding totadile exp to poliwag was a really nice boost.
  2. Had watergun before the end of sprout tower, things started moving pretty fast by that point, used cynadaquil a 2 times as swap, the second one letting it die on it (so still level 5).
  3. I made sure to kill every wooper I saw in union cave, just out of spite. My rival was also named wooper.
  4. Beedrill on the trainer before Bugsy was the most annoying thing in that gym. Scyther did very little, just as I did very little back to it.
  5. Grabbed an abra north of goldenrod for teleport, hit 24 right as I reached sudo for the first time. Got to poliwhirl before whitney, immediately taught ice punch and return. (Watergun/ice punch/return/hypnosis). Hypnosis strats on Milktank were definitely a requirement and made the match much faster.
  6. Of the kimono girls, jolteon was the only one that scared me, but it died without any hassle just like Espeon did. Morty was likewise easy.
  7. Ran over afterwards to grab poliwrath (and stopped at lake of rage to grab that backup quick, although never ended up using Gyra other than for waterfall/strength/whirlpool slave). Again thank abra for teleport.
  8. At and after goldenrod I started trying to skip more and more trainers since we are in that lull of ludicrous overleveling GSC gives us.
  9. It's at this point where Poliwrath's bulk and decentish speed were both becoming highly appreciated. Jasmine's magnetite did surprisingly little damage, and died easy enough to surf. Steelix ofc just fell over.
  10. Bryce was a walk in the park, just returning everything not-named piloswine. iirc dewdong took two hits, but it wasn't hurting back so who cares?
  11. Back to goldenrod, since I had clock abused a lot for waterstone, I went ahead and swapped back to sunday to grab another return and ice punch TM. This is useful for single pokemon clears of E4 (just saves ethers which I kinda like to keep as backups).
  12. Level 47 going into Clair. Dragonair's thunderbolt was a non-issue. Return 2hKO's and thunderbolt did a mere 1/4th health. No risk whatsoever due to Poliwrath's high bulk.
  13. Grabbed earthquake and dropped hypnosis. I've overleveled enough and poliwrath is "solid enough" that I don't think it's needed anymore.
  14. E4:
    1. Executor died in one hit, probably a range though. Slobrow was annoying, but did die easily enough to return. Psychic was a 3hKO.
    2. Crobat was the first pokemon in basically forever I didn't outspeed. That was amusing. No, it actually was annoying because double team made the fight about 2x as long as it should have been. First swap to another pokemon in ages (after it fell). Full restore and back in action after hoot-hoot bit the bullet.
    3. Vileplume's petal dance did only 25 damage, which was good because I had forgotten about it and had only 26 health at the time.
    4. Aerodactal's wing attack was only a 4 hit ko as well (maybe 3, either way no threat) Dragonites die to ice punch, aerodactal/charizard to surf.
Level 58 on completion. Honestly with Surf/Earthquake/Ice Punch/Return. I see no way that anything in kanto is going to be interesting, so I'm not bothering unless someone really wants me to.

Total time to Champion: 5h6m. Ouch... It's been too long since I've played crystal apparently. I probably lost a significant amount of time to optionals getting poli-wag over-leveled at the start.

Thoughts. Poliwag is definitely pretty decent if, and only if fed. And I know we can say that about any pokemon, but compared to Suicune (and other water pokemon not-named Feraligatr), Poliwag matches pretty well [given the assumption that you are at similar level at similar points in the game] basically because of a much broader movepool (since ice beam isn't available until post e4) with earthquake/psychic/submission (I didn't actually teach submission at any point because I favor return over it, but it is an option). Stats are generally slightly worse, but both function well as bulky waters without any particular crippling weakness (unlike Gyarados, but lacking it's raw power as well).

Basically straight up worse than totadile except for the very small space (if there is one at all) of Poliwrath vs Crocknaw. Similar bulk, and Feraligatr just better offensively.

I think the only thing that I really missed was not having Typhlosion or Ampharaos for thunder punch. Not that Flying types didn't die to ice punch, or that bulky water types were actually a threat at any point, but they did feel slow to get past.
 
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Just did a quick poliwag only run to champion.

Some thoughts on it.

  1. feeding totadile exp to poliwag was a really nice boost.
  2. Had watergun before the end of sprout tower, things started moving pretty fast by that point, used cynadaquil a 2 times as swap, the second one letting it die on it (so still level 5).
  3. I made sure to kill every wooper I saw in union cave, just out of spite. My rival was also named wooper.
  4. Beedrill on the trainer before Bugsy was the most annoying thing in that gym. Scyther did very little, just as I did very little back to it.
  5. Grabbed an abra north of goldenrod for teleport, hit 24 right as I reached sudo for the first time. Got to poliwhirl before whitney, immediately taught ice punch and return. (Watergun/ice punch/return/hypnosis). Hypnosis strats on Milktank were definitely a requirement and made the match much faster.
  6. Of the kimono girls, jolteon was the only one that scared me, but it died without any hassle just like Espeon did. Morty was likewise easy.
  7. Ran over afterwards to grab poliwrath (and stopped at lake of rage to grab that backup quick, although never ended up using Gyra other than for waterfall/strength/whirlpool slave). Again thank abra for teleport.
  8. At and after goldenrod I started trying to skip more and more trainers since we are in that lull of ludicrous overleveling GSC gives us.
  9. It's at this point where Poliwrath's bulk and decentish speed were both becoming highly appreciated. Jasmine's magnetite did surprisingly little damage, and died easy enough to surf. Steelix ofc just fell over.
  10. Bryce was a walk in the park, just returning everything not-named piloswine. iirc dewdong took two hits, but it wasn't hurting back so who cares?
  11. Back to goldenrod, since I had clock abused a lot for waterstone, I went ahead and swapped back to sunday to grab another return and ice punch TM. This is useful for single pokemon clears of E4 (just saves ethers which I kinda like to keep as backups).
  12. Level 47 going into Clair. Dragonair's thunderbolt was a non-issue. Return 2hKO's and thunderbolt did a mere 1/4th health. No risk whatsoever due to Poliwrath's high bulk.
  13. Grabbed earthquake and dropped hypnosis. I've overleveled enough and poliwrath is "solid enough" that I don't think it's needed anymore.
  14. E4:
    1. Executor died in one hit, probably a range though. Slobrow was annoying, but did die easily enough to return. Psychic was a 3hKO.
    2. Crobat was the first pokemon in basically forever I didn't outspeed. That was amusing. No, it actually was annoying because double team made the fight about 2x as long as it should have been. First swap to another pokemon in ages (after it fell). Full restore and back in action after hoot-hoot bit the bullet.
    3. Vileplume's petal dance did only 25 damage, which was good because I had forgotten about it and had only 26 health at the time.
    4. Aerodactal's wing attack was only a 4 hit ko as well (maybe 3, either way no threat) Dragonites die to ice punch, aerodactal/charizard to surf.
Level 58 on completion. Honestly with Surf/Earthquake/Ice Punch/Return. I see no way that anything in kanto is going to be interesting, so I'm not bothering unless someone really wants me to.

Total time to Champion: 5h6m. Ouch... It's been too long since I've played crystal apparently. I probably lost a significant amount of time to optionals getting poli-wag over-leveled at the start.

Thoughts. Poliwag is definitely pretty decent if, and only if fed. And I know we can say that about any pokemon, but compared to Suicune (and other water pokemon not-named Feraligatr), Poliwag matches pretty well [given the assumption that you are at similar level at similar points in the game] basically because of a much broader movepool (since ice beam isn't available until post e4) with earthquake/psychic/submission (I didn't actually teach submission at any point because I favor return over it, but it is an option). Stats are generally worse, but both function well as bulky waters without any particular crippling weakness (unlike Gyarados, but lacking it's raw power as well).

Basically straight up worse than totadile except for the very small space (if there is one at all) of Poliwrath vs Crocknaw. Similar bulk, and Feraligatr just better offensively.

I think the only thing that I really missed was not having Typhlosion or Ampharaos for thunder punch. Not that Flying types didn't die to ice punch, or that bulky water types were actually a threat at any point, but they did feel slow to get past.
nice info on Poliwag, but solo runs have little to no impact on a pokemon's tiering if this is what you're trying to use as evidence. Of course, most pokemon can do well when over leveled like in a solo run. What this doesn't show is a typical run and how efficient Poli is in those runs.

Tho I will admit, I too just started a run with Poliwag on a full team and it actually works pretty well. I didn't find the bubble phase too annoying with union cave so close to capture (some of this may also have to do with all the easy-to-defeat spinaraks I faced on route 31 since I played mostly at night). Hypnosis has really worked greatly for me (tho this could just be a lucky run idk) and I evolved into Poliwhirl right before Morty (which is where I just stopped playing last night, so I'll be evolving into Poliwrath using time manipulation very shortly).

Obviously, I haven't finished my run yet, but so far I would be in favor of Poliwag rising to B
 
nice info on Poliwag, but solo runs have little to no impact on a pokemon's tiering if this is what you're trying to use as evidence. Of course, most pokemon can do well when over leveled like in a solo run. What this doesn't show is a typical run and how efficient Poli is in those runs.

Tho I will admit, I too just started a run with Poliwag on a full team and it actually works pretty well. I didn't find the bubble phase too annoying with union cave so close to capture (some of this may also have to do with all the easy-to-defeat spinaraks I faced on route 31 since I played mostly at night). Hypnosis has really worked greatly for me (tho this could just be a lucky run idk) and I evolved into Poliwhirl right before Morty (which is where I just stopped playing last night, so I'll be evolving into Poliwrath using time manipulation very shortly).

Obviously, I haven't finished my run yet, but so far I would be in favor of Poliwag rising to B
No, I completely agree that overleveling makes a lot of it trivial. Although I did try more or less to remove a decent bit of that.

I think the biggest conclusion is that assuming you get to the same level as other pokemon, it does very well.
 
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I would like to add some comments on some tiering. This post contains post-E4, pre-Kanto opinions and also post-Red stats after editing.

EDIT: View the tag below to view my opinions right after beating the Elite Four. I believe there are some issues with defining the importance of Kanto. Since winning means beating Red, Kanto should be dedicated to training the best mons to beat him, since Kanto itself is so easy. There seems to be some oversight with how Pokemon are ranked since Johto is generally considered the tougher and meatier part of the game, I agree of course. However unless you use only a couple Pokemon, Red will tower over you if you make unfortunate choices. I think there are a lot of Pokemon that lose some of their steam who are otherwise highly ranked tier-wise for their Johto performance while there are others that prove consistently useful until the end. Read: Meganium. C-tier is unfit for him if you use him all the way through Red. Check out below for more justification.

I just beat the E4 on virtual console Crystal with this team:

Meganium (body slam, razorleaf, psnpowder, reflect) lv.38
Poliwrath (surf, ice punch, hypnosis, submission) lv.39
Ursaring (strength, fire punch, thunderpunch, dig) lv.38
Fearow [KENYA] (peck, swift, mirror move, fly) lv. 38
Espeon (psybeam, shadow ball, bite, quick attack) lv. 39
Magmar (sunny day, dizzy punch, thunderpunch, fire punch) lv. 38

I believe using six Pokemon revealed their advantages and disadvantages better than a solo/duo/trio run could since being underleveled a bit for the E4 is a good test of a Pokemon's abilities, though I am aware of the typical party of three assumption. I barely had to grind to make it up through the E4, though I did casually dilly-dally (read: "using up" in-game time) at times since I hadn't played through GSC in so long. Each base Pokemon was obtained before Morty and not once did any of them leave the party after, or even hold the Exp. Share. No HM slaves, so the move deleter and Poliwrath were good friends to say the least.

poliwrath.png


Poliwrath is really great in Crystal and very glad I stumbled upon him early. There's been some discussion between Poliwrath (C) vs Quagsire, which has been illustrated by some other users. If anything, I think they should be in the same tier. If you have Crystal I really don't think you can go wrong with either of them, and along with Psyduck I think they would all get along together in A since they are all very solid water types that play a bit differently from each other. Poliwrath's bulk, versatility, and earliest water-type availability (besides Toto obv.) raises it above the other B water mons in my opinion.

Finding Poliwag almost first thing on Route 30 in the grass (Crystal only) gives it an upper leg when it comes to availability, and learns hypnosis and water gun fairly quickly at lv. 7 and 12 respectively. Headbutt is nice too and early once you get to Goldenrod. Hypnosis puts Poliwag a step above other water mons because it is bulky enough to afford to miss with it occasionally, and Poliwhirl, despite it's brief awkwardness, likes abusing it with its base 90 speed. Realistically you can put almost anything out of commission temporarily and blast away with surf, or switch something else in. It is a great team support Pokemon in that regard, and counters pretty much every fire type (Poliwrath's fighting type does not like Charizard though) and more notably Karen's Umbreon and Houndoom. Ice punch is indispensable of course. Getting a water stone from Fisherman Tully is trivial in crystal if you have just his number. This early availability of the water stone should be enough to separate Poliwrath (GS) and Poliwrath (C), which may need to include a discussion since there are other stone-sensitive Pokemon like Victreebel that appear to be greatly improved in usage. Poliwrath's fighting type puts him out against flying and psychic types unfortunately, but does help against random rock and dark moves. I wasn't able to get Politoed, so maybe that deserves another look as well, though I think Poliwrath's fighting type and increased defense does give him a slight advantage. Submission at least helped with Umbreon, all Politoed gets is gimmicky perish song.

fearow.png


Kenya the Spearow is a well-known superstar, and I think Kenya deserves his spot in S. However, I barely had to use him since he grew like a weed due to the exp. boost, which leads me to question non-Kenya Spearows, though I think they're advantage over the Sprout Tower and Bugsy is a plus. I'm fine with it staying in S because even if I did not reveal it's true potential in drill peck by the E4 it's still a great Pokemon in-game. Also mirror move is basically useless and wasn't relevant for me in fights such as Clair. Also fly.

meganium.png


Yeah, we already know Meganium is severely overshadowed by the other starters, however I wouldn't say it's a terrible Pokemon to choose. Reflect did come in handy at times, notably against Lance to aid Poliwrath and itself against Hyperbeams/Wing attacks, and had no trouble at all with pretty much any water type except for maybe the Dewgongs in Pryce's gym and Lance's Gyarados. C tier may be a little harsh, but it really is restricted to being a good support mon, so of course it thrives best in an even party of 6. I can't imagine it being too helpful with a smaller team and I would rather go for Bellsprout (C) if I wanted a more offensive type, but the pure grass type on Chikorita does come in handy against psychic-type moves. I think C tier is a fair assessment as a Pokemon, but the fact that it's a starter does help it if you don't want to opt for the other two. It's not the most efficient Pokemon and proved little service for the first couple gyms, but it's not the most inefficient either. Mid-tier is not terrible though but there are clearly better options if you're looking for power efficiency. Even a different supporting grass type such as Bellossum seems almost as good. Poison powder is lol and I am not really sure why I skipped Synthesis and kept it, don't think it would change much though.

ursaring.png


Ursaring (C) is A-tier no question. Bulky, powerful, very early, can learn the punches and make good use of strength HM. No debate here, even if it does have a low-encounter rate and a flee-factor. Belongs beside the other normal powerhouses Tauros and Miltank.

espeon.png


Espeon is a strange case for a few reasons, so I do not think it should rise above B at all. I was stuck with Eevee until after the 8th badge, though Eevee isn't too bad with Headbutt, and I also did sacrifice my shadow ball TM but it was worth it because it would have probably been dead-weight before bite at lv. 30. Good thing normal types prevail in the early game, though. The friendship thing is a different issue, since I don't think there's really an efficient way to get it to evolve before Espeon learns Psybeam at lv. 36 without pumping a lot of money into vitamins or using X-items at every possibility. I beat the E4 in 3 days so I only got it 2 haircuts, but it's possible to change the 3DS clock but I didn't think it was worth that much trouble just to get a few extra haircuts. Espeon with bite and psybeam helped rip Will and Bruno apart, but the friendship slog by pretending to like your Eevee keeps it out of A despite its wonderful stats. It is not on the same level as the immediately useful mons in A.

magmar.png


Now, the odd egg is a controversial topic to begin with, but Magby was extremely valuable. E-tier is a joke. How is Pichu (C) in D-tier and Tyrogue (C) in the C-tier! To me, Magby is clearly the best odd egg Pokemon and if you are lucky enough to get it I highly recommend using it. I think it should rise up to C-tier. My odd egg hatched right after grabbing Eevee from Bill, so hatching doesn't take too long if you pick it up first thing after Ilex Forest. It caught up in no time and proved useful for Jasmine's Magnemites. It does face very strong competition against Growlithe for catchable fire types in Crystal.

First, it is the most offensively stable baby of the bunch. 75/70/83 at/spatk/spe spread was able to assist it to lv. 30 before evolving. The dizzy-punch comes in handy, but learning thunderpunch gives it nice coverage. This little guy was ballsy enough to occasionally handle water pokemon with its speed and decent special attack. Magmar (GS) is A-tier, but in G/S you can find it as a Magmar much earlier than Magby evolves, and the odd egg factor with 0 DV's across the board does not help Magby's case. Magmar (GS) is obviously way better than Magby (C) and is catchable at the same spot in G/S that my Magby hatched, but I think Magby belongs in D-tier at the absolute minimum. Tyrogue should either be brought down to D from C or Magby (C) should be brought up to C. Magmar is a seriously useful Pokemon, but the odd egg factor definitely caps it at C. I have no idea about Smoochum or Elekid, but I don't really see how Pichu is above them. I admit that Tyrogue is advantaged for lv. 20 evolution, but it is awful before that and literally must be babied I would think. Magby carried its own despite not being fully evolved yet. Also Magmar seems way more useful than any of the Hitmons.

Since I made a mistake using the shadow ball TM on Eevee, unfortunately I don't think Celebi will be very helpful even if it would perfectly replace Meganium. Shadow ball appears to be Celebi's main move before Giga drain and Psychic, and I wouldn't want to rely solely on Solar beam or getting a decent Hidden power. I think I was reading this thread while playing and found out here that Celebi is available in the virtual console version... after using the shadow ball TM... oh well! That is why I'm going to try out either Larvitar or a lv. 40 Dragonair/Dratini caught with a super rod to assist with Red. The only other decent Pokemon that I could get exclusively in Kanto is Aerodactyl, but honestly he seems to belong in E. His movepool and stats are not bad, but having to catch a Chansey at a 1% encounter rate gives him little leverage to pursue especially so late. Though there are probably plenty of things in the E-tier that it is better than.
I envision Larvitar being able to at least join Dratini in the D-tier judging from the post of newseeds. I will try to report back after beating Red.

TL;DR for pre-Kanto tiers

Meganium -> fine in C (or whatever mid-tier that may be created)
Kenya the Spearow -> fine in S
Poliwrath (C) B->A
Espeon -> fine in B, no higher
Magby (C) E->D or even C... deserves a little more respect!

Now, after having beaten Red, I have a few changes I'd like to add. This is my final team:

Meganium (body slam, razorleaf, giga drain, light screen) lv. 48
Poliwrath (surf, ice punch, hypnosis, submission) lv. 47
Fearow (drill peck, swift, mirror move, fly) lv. 47
Espeon (psybeam, shadow ball, bite, psychic) lv. 48
Magmar (flamethrower, dizzy punch, thunderpunch, fire punch) lv. 48
Tyranitar (crunch, rock slide, earthquake, thrash) lv. 55

tyranitar.png


First thing's first: I replaced Ursaring with the Celadon Game Corner Larvitar. It was not difficult to get enough money for coins with the amulet coin, I only had to beat Erika (whom Larvitar is useless against anyway) without him. Once obtained, I gave Larvitar my EQ TM and waited until he learned crunch at lv. 43 instead of 47 as Pupitar. Larvitar soloed LT. Surge and all the routes with the Bikers/poison types. I focused on getting him to evolve before Red, which was the main priority. I only used the rest of my party to keep up slightly and of course to bail Pupitar out for his poor matchups. To evolve I had to grind a tiny bit in Mt. Silver before Red and also went through the E4 a second time, which was extremely easy with my newly powered-up team. However it was worth it, Tyranitar was the MVP against Red for obvious reasons: EQ Pika, Crunch'd Espeon (even though Mud-slap annoyed the shit outta me), Rock slide'd Charizard, and slowly ended Snorlax in the final round. Tyranitar (C) in the E-tier is a serious oversight. He makes Kanto a breeze in Crystal. Larvitar (C, game corner) should split from its lousy lv. 20 Mt. Silver counterpart and raise to at least D. In fact, at Lv. 40 Larvitar was ready right out of the box so maybe even a C-tier rank would be possible. This thing is a monster against Red if you don't mind giving it a bit of attention... and your EQ TM.

meganium.png
poliwrath.png
magmar.png


Tyranitar would not have been able to do this alone, the other 3 important mons I would say against Red were Magmar, Poliwrath, and Meganium. With that said, Meganium should be B-tier. I know, I know, lol worst grass starter ever lol but you know what? Meganium is consistent as hell thoughout the entire game. Hating Meganium won't change that. It was never an outstanding Pokemon, but it is an excellent team player and also fills the grass-type niche. Stalling out Blastoise's blizzards and using light screen was the only way I think I could have taken that tortoise down. Poliwrath also helped with Hypnosis, which I think is a very good in-game move (which Poliwrath arguably uses the best), because it simply turns bulky Poliwrath into a great supporter and silent killer when needed. Submission and Hypnosis helped chip Snorlax away. Magmar was helpful all the way since its surprised hatch and took out Venusaur nicely, despite his 0 DV's, which didn't really seem to hinder it much. I stand by my D+ ranking, and would firmly place him at C given Tyrogue's presence there.

Honestly, Kenya was fun but I don't think he would have kept up without the EXP boost. In the long run, maybe Kenya and regular-ass Fearow should be separated. Though I realized if I had a smaller party Fearow probably would have kept up and could have taken over some of Magmar's roles. And again, fly is pretty indispensable especially for Kanto since you're basically flying everywhere. Fearow and Espeon mostly only provided potion and moral support with Red.

TL;DR summary

Chikorita: C->B
I see there has been a lot of flip-flopping with Chikorita, but seriously it's a starter and a reliable Pokemon through and through. C tier is truly insulting, B is where it belongs. Even with a party of 3 or 4 I could see him earning a spot due since Grass is a reliable type. Razor leaf is decent and giga drain comes soon enough. Running both to conserve PP is a good idea along with a screen and Body slam. I think this fits the bill for a damn efficient mon, even if there are some better choices. There are also many, many, worse picks.

Poliwrath (C): B->A potentially, but it probably could stay in B. I think Hypnosis is worth more than some think. Bulky, great movepool, and useful submission versus Snorlax makes a difference. Many others have expressed Poliwrath's usefulness, I think it deserves a spot alongside Quagsire and Psyduck.

Espeon: Firm B. There is no way it is worth more than that. Hell, I used him mostly as a psychic counter and often found it's paltry 65 atk shadow ball doing just as much if not more than bite to them. Poor movepool compared to Kadabra and Drowzee, but worth it for the stats. I can't imagine how much worse Umbreon would be tbh, even C seems a bit too generous. All the trouble with Eevee but none of the powerhouse tradeoff. Sure he's bulky but his movepool is trash. Banish Umbreon to D I say! (Disclaimer: I love Umbreon)

Teddiursa (C): A. Though I didn't use him until the end he was a great help through Johto, I just wanted a change. He would thrive in a smaller party setting due to his coverage and pure strength neutral STAB and bulk.

Spearow: S or A. Like I said, Kenya is top-tier for sure. Can't be sure about regular EXP Fearow, I just don't see it as that useful unless it's overleveled.

Magby (C): E->D or C. I say C, given how useful Magmar is. The odd egg randomness is really the only killing factor here. I can see Elekid and Smoochum maybe raising a bit too if someone tries them out. Putting these babies in the same tier as Ledyba, Murkrow, Porygon, etc, doesn't seem right. They are early and powerful, and you probably can make good use of the punch-capable babies if you happen to get one. Perhaps an * is needed next to these odd eggs?

Larvitar (C): E->D or C. It seems like it has similar potential to Celebi (VCC) though it does take a bit to train. Potentially getting it at the start of Kanto in Crystal is a huge advantage for Red-bulking. Also it's Tyranitar, I think E is simply an oversight for Crystal; 180k pokebucks is not that hard to raise with the amulet coin.

Final words: The number of the party used is an important consideration. Although typically a selection of 3 or 4 is ideal efficiency-wise, using the full 6 I think helped illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of each member well. Meganium likely does not belong on a two party team simply because it is not offensive enough, similar to other bulky mons like Poliwrath. The support roles of these types of Pokemon cannot be ignored when selecting a balanced play-through team, and I believe support mons can have notable roles on teams of 3-5 party sizes.
 
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Part of the problem with bumping Chikorita is that using it means you can’t use Totodile or Cyndaquil. That’s a pretty significant cost for something when Oddish and Bellsprout are so common.
 
Part of the problem with bumping Chikorita is that using it means you can’t use Totodile or Cyndaquil. That’s a pretty significant cost for something when Oddish and Bellsprout are so common.
For the purposes of in-game tiering we don't consider opportunity cost for things like choosing between a starter, fossil, eeveelution etc. This has previously been gone over in the policy discussion thread -- and as it is a matter of policy, if you disagree I'd suggest you take it there. But for now we're just going with that opportunity cost not mattering.
https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/in-game-tier-list-policy-discussion-thread.3616692/#post-7530684
 
Part of the problem with bumping Chikorita is that using it means you can’t use Totodile or Cyndaquil. That’s a pretty significant cost for something when Oddish and Bellsprout are so common.
I will admit that sludge bomb and sleep powder are nice, however if you're not playing Crystal those two are much more limited, which is currently reflected by Bellsprout (GS) and Vileplume's D-tier. I admit once you get sludge bomb, giga drain, and a leaf stone, Victreebel and Vileplume look much better than Meganium on paper. Poison is a nice type defensively, especially for Chuck, but at least Meganium doesn't have to worry about psychic pokemon. Bellossum shares the pure grass type with Meganium and have similar offensive and defensive stats, but the fact that all Bellossum has for STAB is absorb until giga drain is pathetic. Chikorita however is much more advantaged in this regard by getting razor leaf and can at least use headbutt before getting body slam. Razor leaf isn't a crowning jewel of a move either, but getting it super early gives Chikorita an edge against the copious water types you'll face. Qwilfish and Tentacool won't give you any real issues either with their poison stings and grass neutrality. This is where headbutt is nice, or even strength if you need it. Reflect/light screen are also useful for problematic Pokemon you can't defend well against or quickly KO.

In fact I think grass types are underrated in this game in general. No grass types are above C-tier which I don't think makes much sense, and although it's not the most useful type it's not completely useless and shouldn't be ignored. Many of the current mons in C-tier are there because they are severely limited by a shortcoming in either movepool, availability, or simply pure mediocrity. Victreebel and Vileplume are limited by their stone evolutions, which is hardly a problem in crystal, and I think Victreebel can be a real monster once it evolves and has the adequate moves, but I haven't tried it out. Vileplume also shows some promise. I think Bellsprout (C)'s position is debatable and may be able to join Chikorita in B but everything else looks fine where it is.

The Johto gym leaders do not present any matchups where these grass types would be useful (except for Clair maybe), but you still can't ignore the amount of water types you encounter. Even if they can be easily taken out from something with Thunderpunch, Bayleef is a tough cookie take down and can at least hit back a little. It's not a deadweight by any means. It is a hard counter to Will's Slowbro, and can support against Lance's hyperbeams with Reflect. Not to mention Kanto, where grass types enjoy the easy EXP from the likes of Brock and Misty. By that time Meganium should have light screen to trivialize Lapras and Starmie. It's not a star in the major battles by an means, but it can stand it's ground with it's great defenses and offer great team support like I've mentioned.

Anyway, as Kurona says the opportunity of "wasting" your starter on Chikorita should hardly be an issue anyway. I'm not arguing for the damn thing to rise to S-rank or even A-rank where the other two remain, I simply think B-tier would indicate that it is still a respectable choice and also that it is the most efficient grass Pokemon by a fair margin, even if that's not saying too much. If your goal is to get through as quickly as possible then obviously you'll want a team only with the S-tier mons and call it good, but if you're sick of playing through with Cyndaquil or Totodile then Chikorita deserves a look.
 

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I actually think you are greatly overselling Chikorita. The problem with filling the "Grass-type niche" is that you don't really need a Grass-type when Goldenrod's Ice/Thunder Punch TMs for sale cover everything you'd need a Grass-type for. The reason no Grass-type is higher than C Rank is because Grass-types are terrible in Johto: Surfing sections are relatively short, most of the mook Trainers are Team Rocket which spam Poison-types, and most of the Gyms and the Elite Four are also generally strong against Grass. Grass-types are only situationally useful against specific Pokemon, which isn't enough to make up for their broader inefficiency.

I would actually argue Bellsprout and Oddish are better than Chikorita since they get Sleep Powder and a powerful STAB Sludge Bomb to be more generally useful, but even they have enough issues to where they are relatively poor choices for an efficient run.
 
I actually think you are greatly overselling Chikorita. The problem with filling the "Grass-type niche" is that you don't really need a Grass-type when Goldenrod's Ice/Thunder Punch TMs for sale cover everything you'd need a Grass-type for. The reason no Grass-type is higher than C Rank is because Grass-types are terrible in Johto: Surfing sections are relatively short, most of the mook Trainers are Team Rocket which spam Poison-types, and most of the Gyms and the Elite Four are also generally strong against Grass. Grass-types are only situationally useful against specific Pokemon, which isn't enough to make up for their broader inefficiency.

I would actually argue Bellsprout and Oddish are better than Chikorita since they get Sleep Powder and a powerful STAB Sludge Bomb to be more generally useful, but even they have enough issues to where they are relatively poor choices for an efficient run.
Perhaps I am overselling Chikorita a bit because I still don't think it's that great nor do I have any personal attachment to it, but I think it has proven useful throughout the entire game and that it is out of place in the C-tier. It's very bulky and can be used in a pinch in a lot of situations against hard-hitters and fight back against the frailer ones or even set up a screen if it has to, which I think is a solid strategy in-game. Pokemon that are in the S and A tiers definitely should be held to a higher standard when it comes to their KO potential, but Meganium can tank a lot of hits and isn't taken down easily.

I will admit that I think it all comes down to the size of the team when it comes to Chikorita's usefulness. It's hard-pressed to earn a spot on a party of 3 and definitely can't easily solo the game, however it is the team support where it excels. Setting up screens may seem like a waste of time to some but when you're running an underleveled large team it is greatly appreciated.

I disagree that Oddish is better, it's only potentially better after it can get both sludge bomb and evolve into Vileplume. Bellossum is a poor man's Meganium and really only has sleep powder and a weak sludge bomb over it. Bellsprout in Crystal like I've said probably can earn a spot in B-tier with it's awesome duel offenses along the late razorleaf/giga drain and sludge bomb. Sludge bomb is a great move and you can get it right after Morty, but what use are either of those two beforehand besides sleep powder? Absorb things to death? Chikorita is there from the start and even if it's not outstanding against large matchups doesn't mean it's not a versatile mon. It requires no babying and doesn't have to rely on weak shit like absorb ever after razor leaf. If Chikorita didn't learn razor leaf I'd banish it way lower, it's that essential for it.

It is possible we are interpreting the tier listings differently. Great matchups is only one of the criteria. Yes grass generally sucks, but Chikorita is a starter, has the stats to tank and can decently attack with headbutt and razorleaf. The "grass-niche" it has against almost any water type is filled in after the fact. The point I'm trying to make is that it's a solid Pokemon to use and performs right when you get it all the way to fighting Red. It doesn't have to stand out and frankly I don't think many of the other B-tier Pokemon stand out against it either. Like, Pidgey? Pidgeot's stats are trash and it only stands out because it can fly and take on some things with wing attack and a STAB normal attack. EDIT:/ I realize Pidgey does indeed matchup favorably for the first couple gyms and Chuck, but big matchups are still only part of the criteria! / It's movepool isn't any better beyond that, but it is considered better than a starter with good stats and useful moves? The other normals are granted cool movepools and great neutral STAB, even if their stats are mostly subpar like Sentret or Rattata. Espeon is hardly worth it and Sudowoodo loves his Rock-type niche but is slower than molasses. I could go on.

I really think comparing it to Cyndaquil and Totodile is really what's keeping Chikorita down as it obviously has no contest against them, but it is not C-tier. Typing is important, but it's not the be-all end-all. Chikorita is a way better Pokemon to use than some of its other C-tier companions like Marill and Goldeen, who are only there due to their water typing I assume.
 
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atsync

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I've done another playthrough of Silver with Golem/Haunter/Umbreon/Kingdra/Tangela. I'll probably do some analyses on these some time later when I've done another playthrough or two with different Pokemon so I can present a larger pool of Pokemon at once.

I'm bumping this because I wanted to make a brief post about my experiences with X items and raising friendship. In my previous analysis of Espeon, I talked a bit about the potential of X items as a tool for increasing Eevee's friendship. It's something I wanted to try out in a playthrough, and since I was Umbreon in this recent run anyway it seemed like a good opportunity to try it out.

A couple of things to know about X-items:
  • Using an X Attack, X Defend, X Special or X Speed on a Pokemon will increase its friendship by 1, as long as the Pokemon currently has <200 friendship; otherwise, there is no effect on friendship. Using a TM has the same effect. Since all freshly caught Pokemon in gen 2 start with 70 friendship, a maximum of 130 X items can be used to increase friendship in this way. Hatched Pokemon start with 120 and therefore require less to achieve the same result. Pokemon caught with a Friend Ball start with 200 and so this trick is useless in those cases.
  • Contrary to what I thought before I started this test, the X item doesn't actually have to have an effect on the corresponding stat to increase friendship. For example, using an X Speed on a Pokemon will 6+ Speed will still consume the X item and increase friendship without having an effect on the Speed stat. This means that you don't even have to wipe the stat boosts through switching or fleeing to continue using this strategy, making it all the more convenient.
  • All X items are available for purchase in Goldenrod City. X Speed and X Special are cheaper than the other two. Given the above point about the X item not needed to increase the stat to increase friendship, the best approach is to just buy lots of X Speed and/or X Special and ignore the others.
  • There are 2 X Defends and an X Attack in the field prior to obtaining Eevee.
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. Otherwise it might be better to wait, and with that in mind, going the X item route might not necessarily require using enough to get to 200 (i.e. you save time). Eevee's Headbutt is pretty much stronger than anything Umbreon could use anyway. In my own case I was also using Haunter and I wanted to give Shadow Ball to that instead so I chose to delay evolution.

I don't know how much of an impact this could have on the tier list, but what intrigues me about this strategy is whether there are any other applications for it. You could, for example, do a similar thing with Kenya (or any Pokemon for that matter) and raise its friendship to buff Return sooner. Hell, X Speed is available in the Violet City shop so you very easily start boosting happiness even earlier if you wanted to - you probably won't be able to get enough to hit the 200 bench mark with anything at that point, but at least you'll have a stronger Return ready for those early route Normals when you reach Goldenrod.
 

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