Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow In-Game Tiers - Reboot

Also, Venusaur sucks and I'm pretty sure it's gonna easily drop to B in my opinion, unless I'm missing something in using it. It falls off HARD after Lt. Surge and never really recovers. It feels like it 3HKOs every Grass resist with Body Slam, and even in matchups you hit neutrally like Sabrina, they have high Special or SE moves. Just...not very good, though I haven't tried Swords Dance, Double-Edge or Hyper Beam, admittedly. And even then, I feel like they are simply a Band-Aid over Bulbasaur's problems rather than Bulbasaur being a good mon in itself. I want to be nice and say A, but I don't think I can in full confidence, at least right now. Sorry Bulbasaur.

If any of you guys have different Bulbasaur experiences, let me know. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.
Venu gets Sleep Powder to make its lategame easier, and Swords Dance should be ideal for it. That said, I would be okay with moving it down to B, partially because its route performance is worse than that of the other starters as well. Having great Gym match-ups early doesn't quite make up for its mediocricy later.

Magikarp can also go to B, the pre-evolution period sucks not only for it, but also for the rest of the team; and it's amplified by the Slow EXP group.

Speaking of Magikarp: I think we can bump Dratini down to D. While it has a good movepool and nice typing, it'll require TMs and spend its pre-E4 time as Dragonair, and Dragonair is a fairly weak Pokémon at that point in the game where most other Pokémon in your team are fully evolved or close to it. Its E4 matchups are less than stellar as well with both Lorelei and Agatha causing a lot of trouble for Dragonite.
 
Also, Venusaur sucks and I'm pretty sure it's gonna easily drop to B in my opinion, unless I'm missing something in using it. It falls off HARD after Lt. Surge and never really recovers. It feels like it 3HKOs every Grass resist with Body Slam, and even in matchups you hit neutrally like Sabrina, they have high Special or SE moves. Just...not very good, though I haven't tried Swords Dance, Double-Edge or Hyper Beam, admittedly. And even then, I feel like they are simply a Band-Aid over Bulbasaur's problems rather than Bulbasaur being a good mon in itself. I want to be nice and say A, but I don't think I can in full confidence, at least right now. Sorry Bulbasaur.

If any of you guys have different Bulbasaur experiences, let me know. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.
Yeah, I think B might be more appropiate at best. It doesn't even learn Earthquake in this generation to patch Grass-resistant enemies. Swords Dance actually helps a lot since you can use Normal-type attacks against bosses and Razor Leaf for coverage, but the match-up against Agatha is still really poor (unless you give it Mimic to copy Dream Eater, and attempt Sleep Powder + Dream Eater if you got to learn that move).

Venu gets Sleep Powder to make its lategame easier, and Swords Dance should be ideal for it. That said, I would be okay with moving it down to B, partially because its route performance is worse than that of the other starters as well. Having great Gym match-ups early doesn't quite make up for its mediocricy later.
Venusaur gets Sleep Powder at Lv55. It won't have many opportunities to use it, if any. (I just finished the game with my team members at Lv47-52 for example)

Reflect + Swords Dance works somewhat, though.


You can skip Misty by doing Bill first and come back to her, so with that, Gyarados can be obtained Pre Misty and be tiered there. There are also times I’ve had Gyarados as the end of Bill, but those may have included wild encounters.
Edit: Like Turdterra said below, yes it is easy to get Gyarados before Misty. I had levels of 20, 22, and 22 there with Bill stuff and Trainers on the way to Vermilion to reach those levels.
Well, that's precisely what I did. I went to Bill's house first, then I battled the Rocket who gives away the Dig TM, and Magikarp was still quite some levels away from Lv20, even if I used it against every mon. Did you perhaps use Magikarp to fight by itself after it learned Tackle? Because I trained it through switching and that may have been the reason, since I saw that it did very little damage to enemies with Tackle and didn't test further.
 
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Ryota Mitarai

Shrektimus Prime
is a Smogon Media Contributor
I wouldn't call getting Gyarados before Misty "easy", but it's definitely possible. I did it in this run that I still have yet to complete. Though before that, my only active member was Bulbasaur and used some skipped trainers, so that may be why.
 
Yeah, I think B might be more appropiate at best. It doesn't even learn Earthquake in this generation to patch Grass-resistant enemies. Swords Dance actually helps a lot since you can use Normal-type attacks against bosses and Razor Leaf for coverage, but the match-up against Agatha is still really poor (unless you give it Mimic to copy Dream Eater, and attempt Sleep Powder + Dream Eater if you got to learn that move).

Venusaur gets Sleep Powder at Lv55. It won't have many opportunities to use it, if any. (I just finished the game with my team members at Lv47-52 for example)

Reflect + Swords Dance works somewhat, though.


Well, that's precisely what I did. I went to Bill's house first, then I battled the Rocket who gives away the Dig TM, and Magikarp was still quite some levels away from Lv20, even if I used it against every mon. Did you perhaps use Magikarp to fight by itself after it learned Tackle? Because I trained it through switching and that may have been the reason, since I saw that it did very little damage to enemies with Tackle and didn't test further.
I used it when it had Tackle. Rival 3 Abra is a good example of using Magikarp for XP there after tests. Other fights where it’s clear that Karp can take them on is good.

Speaking of Magikarp: I think we can bump Dratini down to D. While it has a good movepool and nice typing, it'll require TMs and spend its pre-E4 time as Dragonair, and Dragonair is a fairly weak Pokémon at that point in the game where most other Pokémon in your team are fully evolved or close to it. Its E4 matchups are less than stellar as well with both Lorelei and Agatha causing a lot of trouble for Dragonite.
Dratini has access to the dreaded TWave and Wrap combo which is more or less an Instant Win. If you do somehow get Nite, it has no troubles with Lorelei or Agatha as it does have 100 Special and can use use Tbolt and Surf for both of them. Does this fix Nite? No. But it should be tested before it gets moved anywhere.
 
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Note: I tend to skip every trainer I run into unless if
a)It's mandatory
b)It hides an important item, like a rare candy
c)My party feels clearly underleveled (usually only happens in the late game or in very specific sections)
So I will likely have a different experience with some mons, as they will be relatively underleveled compared to the other playthoughs in this thread, (I tend to use parties of 4 Pokemon though, which is considered the standard in this thread). For exemple, in Squitle playthroughs I fight Brock at level 8 (last trainer in Viridian only), while with Bulbasaur I fight him at level 12 (Leech Seed + Tackle takes too long otherwise, from what I tested, and this way you get Vine Whip mid-fight). I pretty much do what I would consider "more efficient" depending on the situation

On the topic of Bulbasaur, B tier is clearly underselling it. It performs really well against the first 2 gyms and does fine agains the 3rd. Now, I 100% agree that relying on Cut/Body Slam until you get Razor Leaf sucks, even more so with Vine Whip's limited pp... However, once Ivysaur gets Razor Leaf at level 30 it can clean up trainers and boss fights really easily. With Gen 1 crit mechanics Razor Leaf will crit 240/256 times as Ivysaur and 255/256 as Venusaur, which means it effectively has 55*1.5(STAB)*2(Crit) = 165 power, basically a Z-move. It straight up 1 hit kos weak and even middle of the pack pokemon, as well as 2hkoing everything that doesn't resist it, even the higher leveled enemies.
Also, toxic+leech seed (they multiply each other thanks to a bug in this gen, as I'm sure we all know), while slower than just simply going for Razor Leaf (takes 3-4 turns, as opposed to 1-2), is a pretty legitimate way of getting past non-poison type pokemon that resist Razor Leaf. For instance, I just tested and beat Blaine, the fire type gym, with 0 issues, ending the fight at full health. Now, this isn't something you would do in a normal run, since by this point of the game you should have a better pokemon for this fight (as in something that can beat it in 4 turns instead of like 12-16), but it highlights how, even in problematic matchups, Toxic+Leech Seed is a valid strategy. Though I can see the value of Swords Dance+Body Slam to get past poison types, obviously.

C Tier
-Tentacool should not be this low. You can catch a level 40 Tentacruel by using a repel, which is 10 levels higher than its late-game water type competition (like Staryu, who is A tier). It has the highest special stat of any water type and has good means of getting past other water types with Mega Drain (a tm that is in low demand), something most water types lack (like Vaporeon). It's also quite fast and will out speed almost everything.

B Tier
-Duduo, Farfetch'd and Spearow in the same tier seems really weird. Duduo is far better than the other birds, it's not even close. I tested spearow recently and its bulk is really poor and detrimental early game, especially in the rival fight in Cerulean. Meanwhile its power is nothing special, and it seemed like it was stealing away experience from my Bulbasaur, if anything (I retested that starting part of the game with only bulbasaur and it went far smoother). Mid game it's stuck with Fury Attack and Peck until it finally gets Fly, while Farfetch'd can be taught Body Slam (a tm in high demand yes, but it allows it to be immediately useful, even though it will be slightly under-leveled at first) and has boosted exp as well (not to mention the unique Cut+Fly combination). Farfetch'd on the other hand is worse than Duduo, being extremely reliant on the Body Slam tm to perform, and its stats really start to show late-game. They should probably be ranked A, B and C tier respectively, in my opinion. I can also see Duduo and Farfetch'd in the same tier, which would lead to 2 B tiers and a C I suppose.

Omanyte being in the same tier as Spearow, despite being one of the best water types available, seems really inaccurate to me as well, which further makes me think that spearow needs to be lower.

A Tier
Kadabra should be S. It's a complete monster and the only tms it even "wants" are Seismic Toss (extremely low demand) and maybe Thunder Wave for some cheese (for Sabrina, mostly, maybe Misty as well). I would like to mention that obtaining a Kadabra before Misty is really easy (it will evolve on the way to Bill's house) and it has by far one of the best matchups against it (Seismic Toss 3HKos at level 20). If anything, Alakazam should be S+ or something, since it's clearly the best pokemon in the game, by a pretty decent margin, even moreso with the added restrictions.

Squitle seems fine in A since X accuracy is banned, which weakens its Elite 4 matchups a lot.

Magikarp is such a massive experience sink. Does it really deserve A? It's super out of place, being in the same tier as Squirtle and Staryu.

I think the old list might have had the right idea splitting Bulbasaur in Y and RB, but I might need to retest Yellow Bulbasaur to know.

Diglett not being S seems insane to me. A single repel lets you catch a Dugtrio in about a minute and it comes at level 29 at worst, which is super over-leveled by that point. It also auto-wins against the gym leader right next to it. With Dig being 100 base power and Slash auto-critting, it smashes just about everything it runs into. Rockslide tm is just a cherry on top. I think "late-game problems" are being overstated.

S
Snorlax in A seems high to me, let alone S. It's super slow and drags fights for much longer than any of the S and A tiers.

I don't think I've ever used Jynx, but I will definitely test it soon.

Finally, I really don't think One Hit Ko moves with X-Accuracy would centralize the list as much as suggested. All it would do is bump Pokemon like Squirtle (S tier) and trade Seel up. Pokemon like Nidoking deserve S-tier regardless. This combined with them being an obvious, even if silly mechanic (using something that increases accuracy to make an inaccurate move hit), makes me think they are 100% legitimate for a list of this kind. Banning the use of X-Items is creating artificial restrictions, and this type of interaction is very different than something like the missigno or the mew glitch, which require you to do arbitrary things you would only know how to do with a tutorial and are clearly glitches. Now, using a team of around 4 pokemon is also a self-imposed restriction, but it makes sense, since otherwise you end up with 5 early game pokemon in the upper tiers and everything else in the worthless tier, which would be pointless. But obviously most people seem to disagree with this and this is not my thread, which is perfectly fine and I respect it.
 
Note: I tend to skip every trainer I run into unless if
a)It's mandatory
b)It hides an important item, like a rare candy
c)My party feels clearly underleveled (usually only happens in the late game or in very specific sections)
So I will likely have a different experience with some mons, as they will be relatively underleveled compared to the other playthoughs in this thread, (I tend to use parties of 4 Pokemon though, which is considered the standard in this thread). For exemple, in Squitle playthroughs I fight Brock at level 8 (last trainer in Viridian only), while with Bulbasaur I fight him at level 12 (Leech Seed + Tackle takes too long otherwise, from what I tested, and this way you get Vine Whip mid-fight). I pretty much do what I would consider "more efficient" depending on the situation

On the topic of Bulbasaur, B tier is clearly underselling it. It performs really well against the first 2 gyms and does fine agains the 3rd. Now, I 100% agree that relying on Cut/Body Slam until you get Razor Leaf sucks, even more so with Vine Whip's limited pp... However, once Ivysaur gets Razor Leaf at level 30 it can clean up trainers and boss fights really easily. With Gen 1 crit mechanics Razor Leaf will crit 240/256 times as Ivysaur and 255/256 as Venusaur, which means it effectively has 55*1.5(STAB)*2(Crit) = 165 power, basically a Z-move. It straight up 1 hit kos weak and even middle of the pack pokemon, as well as 2hkoing everything that doesn't resist it, even the higher leveled enemies.
Also, toxic+leech seed (they multiply each other thanks to a bug in this gen, as I'm sure we all know), while slower than just simply going for Razor Leaf (takes 3-4 turns, as opposed to 1-2), is a pretty legitimate way of getting past non-poison type pokemon that resist Razor Leaf. For instance, I just tested and beat Blaine, the fire type gym, with 0 issues, ending the fight at full health. Now, this isn't something you would do in a normal run, since by this point of the game you should have a better pokemon for this fight (as in something that can beat it in 4 turns instead of like 12-16), but it highlights how, even in problematic matchups, Toxic+Leech Seed is a valid strategy. Though I can see the value of Swords Dance+Body Slam to get past poison types, obviously.

C Tier
-Tentacool should not be this low. You can catch a level 40 Tentacruel by using a repel, which is 10 levels higher than its late-game water type competition (like Staryu, who is A tier). It has the highest special stat of any water type and has good means of getting past other water types with Mega Drain (a tm that is in low demand), something most water types lack (like Vaporeon). It's also quite fast and will out speed almost everything.

B Tier
-Duduo, Farfetch'd and Spearow in the same tier seems really weird. Duduo is far better than the other birds, it's not even close. I tested spearow recently and its bulk is really poor and detrimental early game, especially in the rival fight in Cerulean. Meanwhile its power is nothing special, and it seemed like it was stealing away experience from my Bulbasaur, if anything (I retested that starting part of the game with only bulbasaur and it went far smoother). Mid game it's stuck with Fury Attack and Peck until it finally gets Fly, while Farfetch'd can be taught Body Slam (a tm in high demand yes, but it allows it to be immediately useful, even though it will be slightly under-leveled at first) and has boosted exp as well (not to mention the unique Cut+Fly combination). Farfetch'd on the other hand is worse than Duduo, being extremely reliant on the Body Slam tm to perform, and its stats really start to show late-game. They should probably be ranked A, B and C tier respectively, in my opinion. I can also see Duduo and Farfetch'd in the same tier, which would lead to 2 B tiers and a C I suppose.

Omanyte being in the same tier as Spearow, despite being one of the best water types available, seems really inaccurate to me as well, which further makes me think that spearow needs to be lower.

A Tier
Kadabra should be S. It's a complete monster and the only tms it even "wants" are Seismic Toss (extremely low demand) and maybe Thunder Wave for some cheese (for Sabrina, mostly, maybe Misty as well). I would like to mention that obtaining a Kadabra before Misty is really easy (it will evolve on the way to Bill's house) and it has by far one of the best matchups against it (Seismic Toss 3HKos at level 20). If anything, Alakazam should be S+ or something, since it's clearly the best pokemon in the game, by a pretty decent margin, even moreso with the added restrictions.

Squitle seems fine in A since X accuracy is banned, which weakens its Elite 4 matchups a lot.

Magikarp is such a massive experience sink. Does it really deserve A? It's super out of place, being in the same tier as Squirtle and Staryu.

I think the old list might have had the right idea splitting Bulbasaur in Y and RB, but I might need to retest Yellow Bulbasaur to know.

Diglett not being S seems insane to me. A single repel lets you catch a Dugtrio in about a minute and it comes at level 29 at worst, which is super over-leveled by that point. It also auto-wins against the gym leader right next to it. With Dig being 100 base power and Slash auto-critting, it smashes just about everything it runs into. Rockslide tm is just a cherry on top. I think "late-game problems" are being overstated.

S
Snorlax in A seems high to me, let alone S. It's super slow and drags fights for much longer than any of the S and A tiers.

I don't think I've ever used Jynx, but I will definitely test it soon.

Finally, I really don't think One Hit Ko moves with X-Accuracy would centralize the list as much as suggested. All it would do is bump Pokemon like Squirtle (S tier) and trade Seel up. Pokemon like Nidoking deserve S-tier regardless. This combined with them being an obvious, even if silly mechanic (using something that increases accuracy to make an inaccurate move hit), makes me think they are 100% legitimate for a list of this kind. Banning the use of X-Items is creating artificial restrictions, and this type of interaction is very different than something like the missigno or the mew glitch, which require you to do arbitrary things you would only know how to do with a tutorial and are clearly glitches. Now, using a team of around 4 pokemon is also a self-imposed restriction, but it makes sense, since otherwise you end up with 5 early game pokemon in the upper tiers and everything else in the worthless tier, which would be pointless. But obviously most people seem to disagree with this and this is not my thread, which is perfectly fine and I respect it.
Couple points here:
X Accuracy + OHKO is super centralizing. It’s cause a lot of mons to be inflated when they really didn’t need to be as high as they were in the old lists. It simply breaks the game and that’s all the Pokémon will be known for. So X Items were banned so Mons could be better evaluated.

Kadabra does not have the same power as Zam and it can falter are key points thanks to that lack of power. That’s why it’s not S.

Diglett is not S because Dugtrio hits insanely hard and Balls can miss it. It’s a waste of resources going that way and Diglett achieves the same result at Surge anyway. You’ll have a Dugtrio at Erika too.

Omanyte is level 30 and has access to Surf and Blizzard out the Gates. Is it B? Who knows. Old list had it as such.

Snorlax is being tested quite a bit. I’ll begin my soon but we are finding it to be lacking for A. So it may be B in the end.
 
Weighing in on the Bulbasaur in B-tier debate.

I'd have it in A myself simply because he more-or-less takes Giovanni down on his own as well as Lorelei in the Elite Four. It does require Body Slam (which is a hard sell) to help it route clean, and it spends far too much time relying on Vine Whip with it's pitiful 10 PP, but it does destroy the first two Gyms on his own as well as late-game usefulness. You'd forgive the lateness of Razor Leaf somewhat by the fact he'll carry you through the early game where you've not got a plethora of long-term Pokémon to choose from and he shouldn't be too lowly leveled without excessive grinding.

A is perhaps high, but I'd not have him lower than Charmander by any means who relies even more on TM support and has to make do with Ember until way into his final stage. Charizard doesn't even get Fly on RB (Yellow only) to provide HM use.

I'm perhaps too critical on TM requirement as this Generation has some atrocious natural learnsets but at one-per-game glitchless you've got to be economical with them.

I would also not have Dratini anywhere near C; I'm push him down as low as E myself. Slow experience curve, dreadful stats until his final stage which is at far too high a level for your own sanity, as well as a shaky catch rate unless you spend on him at the Game Corner. Too much going against it in my opinion to justify him being in C.
 
Dratini has access to the dreaded TWave and Wrap combo which is more or less an Instant Win. If you do somehow get Nite, it has no troubles with Lorelei or Agatha as it does have 100 Special and can use use Tbolt and Surf for both of them. Does this fix Nite? No. But it should be tested before it gets moved anywhere.
I actually don't think Wrap + TWave is all that great. Not only does it mean the battles take forever, Wrap's 85% accuracy is actually an issue that is further amplified by Dratini joining underleveled (and, similar to Karp, it's a pain getting it up to speed). Also, I'm not sure whether TBolt is an OHKO on Lorelei's mons, specifically Lapras and Dewgong; and Surf shouldn't cleanly deal with Agatha's Gengars due to their massice Special.
I'm all for testing it though.

-Tentacool should not be this low. You can catch a level 40 Tentacruel by using a repel, which is 10 levels higher than its late-game water type competition (like Staryu, who is A tier). It has the highest special stat of any water type and has good means of getting past other water types with Mega Drain (a tm that is in low demand), something most water types lack (like Vaporeon). It's also quite fast and will out speed almost everything.
Definitely agreethat it should rise to B. Its performance is somewhat comparable to Staryu (worse due to no TM Thunderbolt/Psychic and a Psychic weakness) while being available slightly earlier (surfing south of Fuschia instead of having to go to Seafoam).

B Tier
-Duduo, Farfetch'd and Spearow in the same tier seems really weird. Duduo is far better than the other birds, it's not even close. I tested spearow recently and its bulk is really poor and detrimental early game, especially in the rival fight in Cerulean. Meanwhile its power is nothing special, and it seemed like it was stealing away experience from my Bulbasaur, if anything (I retested that starting part of the game with only bulbasaur and it went far smoother). Mid game it's stuck with Fury Attack and Peck until it finally gets Fly, while Farfetch'd can be taught Body Slam (a tm in high demand yes, but it allows it to be immediately useful, even though it will be slightly under-leveled at first) and has boosted exp as well (not to mention the unique Cut+Fly combination). Farfetch'd on the other hand is worse than Duduo, being extremely reliant on the Body Slam tm to perform, and its stats really start to show late-game. They should probably be ranked A, B and C tier respectively, in my opinion. I can also see Duduo and Farfetch'd in the same tier, which would lead to 2 B tiers and a C I suppose.

Omanyte being in the same tier as Spearow, despite being one of the best water types available, seems really inaccurate to me as well, which further makes me think that spearow needs to be lower.
A-tier would definitely be overselling Doduo IMO. It's powerful, but having no ways to deal with Rock/Ground-types as well as the Ice- and Electric weaknesses dent its lategame performances enough to not be A.
The main draw to Spearow here is that delicious early Flying-STAB. Nothing else can provide you with that until Farfetch'd; and when you're there you'll almost certainly have a Fearow on your hands whose good stats carry the mediocre movepool until it gets a good Normal TM (Swift or Double-Edge) and learns Drill Peck.
That said, I wouldn't be opposed if Spearow got tested; it could definitely fall to C IMO. Peck/Fury Attack are a far cry away from being solid/good attacks.

I think the old list might have had the right idea splitting Bulbasaur in Y and RB, but I might need to retest Yellow Bulbasaur to know.
Honestly, I don't think that split was justified in the old tier list. Y Bulbasaur can easily grind to 13 (Vine Whip) on Nugget Bridge and beat the Hikers (2 of which are mandatory) to evolve into Ivysaur and body Misty's gym, after which the Bulba performances are basically identical. RB Bulba stays slightly better of course due to higher availability, but that difference should not equate to a tier separating these two (aside from the fact that we should keep 'mons condensed for the sake of simplicity and faster grammar checks).
 
Okay, time for matchups for the rest of the gyms. I'm in the middle of testing Pre-League Rival, so that'll come later as I'm kinda busy right now. Here were my previous matchups up until Lavender Tower.

Sandslash (40): Pidgeot does nothing while Slash 2HKOs. Exeggecute is also 2HKOed (goes for Leech). You outspeed and 2HKO Gyarados with Slash but Hydro Pump murders you. Zam derped whenever I fought it it seemed; nevertheless, Dig OHKOs it. Surprisingly, Charizard survives two crit Slashs! But it does nothing with Rage so it’s fine.

Venusaur (40): Pidgeot does miserable damage with Wing Attack (a 6HKO lol) so you should 3HKO it just fine with Body Slam. Eggs spams PoisonPowder and is 3HKOed. You outspeed Gyarados and 2HKO with Leaf while he goes for Dragon Rage. Psybeam looks to be a 2HKO from Zam seeing as Confusion was a 3HKO (I crit it with Body Slam). Ember from Charizard with a critical hit does about 60 damage (barely a 3HKO) while Body Slam looks like a 3HKO or 4HKO on Zard. While you won’t sweep without items, Venusaur is still fairly good here.

Snorlax (40): Body Slam is a range to OHKO Pidgeot. Even if Eggs goes for Reflect, you still 2HKO. Gyarados goes for Dragon Rage on you while you 2HKO with Body Slam. Snorlax is a fantastic check to Alakazam: even a critical hit Psybeam only does about 90 damage (a 3HKO!) while you OHKO with Body Slam in return. You can Rest on Charizard (who spams Rage) and 2HKO it with Body Slam.

Gyarados (40): Pidgeot is 2HKOed by Ice Beam, while Eggs is OHKOed. Blue’s Gyrados dies to Thunderbolt (FYI, Strength 2HKOs if you lack that). Zam outspeeds but is OHKOed by Strength. Charizard outspeeds but does nothing with Rage while you barely miss the OHKO with Surf.
Sandslash (42): Dig OHKOs Nidorino, Khan outspeeds but Slash 2HKOs it and Giovanni can go for Guard Spec., Rhyhorn is OHKOed and Nidoqueen is OHKOed.

Gyarados (42): Surf misses the OHKO on Nidorino (yeah, seems to be a range) but is bizarrely an OHKO on Kangaskhan. Must be level discrepancy. Obvious OHKO on Rhyhorn and even an OHKO on Nidoqueen.

Venusaur (42):Body Slam 2HKOs Nidorino. Razor Leaf OHKOs Kangaskhan and Rhyhorn, but 2HKOs Nidoqueen. They mostly spam Poison Sting on you. Easy sweep.

Snorlax (42): Body Slam OHKOs Nidorino and 2HKOs Khan. Rhyhorn is barely 4HKOed by Body Slam but does nothing. Nidoqueen is 2HKOed by Body Slam. Don’t even need Rest here. If you give Snorlax Earthquake, it OHKOs Rhyhorn and knocks Nidoqueen to red (even OHKOs if you roll a crit). Everything but Rhyhorn might outspeed you but they do nothing aside from like…Tail Whip or Poison Sting.
(I did Saffron Gym trainers and some of Fighting Dojo to get up to level 43).

Sandslash (43): Dig OHKOs everything. Watch out for Minimize on Muk though. Amusingly, Weezing can sometimes use Selfdestruct if you go for Dig.

Venusaur (43): 2HKO Koffing Razor Leaf (it seems Body Slam can miss the 2HKO), Muk is roughly 3HKOed by Razor Leaf (and seems to be ranges with Body Slam). xWeezing seems to be a 4HKO with Razor Leaf. While both Muk and Weezing uselessly spam Poison Gas or Toxic on you and this is a sweep, it isn’t exactly a quick one either.

Gyarados (43): Surf OHKOs both Koffing and 2HKOs Muk (Minimize is annoying). Weezing is also 2HKOed by Surf. In a repeat attempt, Muk disabled Surf and I was still able to win without STAB, albeit 3HKOing Weezing. So yeah, even with the worst case scenario, you sweep.

Snorlax (43): Everything is OHKOed by Earthquake, though Muk outspeeds and does a little with Sludge. Weezing seems to always Self-destruct, but that only does half your HP. Otherwise, Koffing are taken to red by Body Slam and Muk is easily 2HKOed. Should be an easy sweep as long as you don’t get Poisoned (and Koga spammed X Attack on Muk for some reason).
Sandslash (43): Slash OHKOs Kadabra and Mr. Mime (you even outspeed the latter, though Slash seems to be a favorable range). Dig is a range to OHKO Venomoth (thankfully you outspeed, but it you miss the range Stun Spore sucks). Psybeam from Alakazam hurts being a solid 2HKO, but crit Slash OHKOs it back with a range. Also note, if you get unlucky first turn and Kadabra crits Psychic, you still live with like 5 HP (!) Though do note Kadabra derps easily, I have misclicked Swift and it still spammed Recover once. Psybeam without a crit from Kadabra does 1/3 of your HP. Dig seems to be an OHKO on Zam if it doesn’t go for Reflect. Given how I swept in an attempt where Dig was disabled by Kadabra AND I got Paralyzed (Slash 2HKOs Venomoth) due to the Ai derping, a sweep is possible here. TLDR: You need some slight luck, but Sandslash can do it.

Venusaur (43): Venusaur outspeeds and OHKOs Kadabra with Body Slam. Mr. Mime is outsped and 2HKOed by Body Slam even with a Barrier use, though Razor Leaf does more damage knocking Mime to red.. Venomoth looks like a rough 2HKO with Body Slam, but Leech Life can annoyingly negate this (though it can go for PoisonPowder). A critical hit Body Slam can OHKO Alakazam, but if it puts Reflect up and you don’t crit, it looks like more of a rough 3HKO (Razor Leaf does similar damage due to Zam’s high Special). So basically, you can sweep but it’s fairly RNG based with Venomoth (can chip with Psybeam) and Zam (really hurts with Psybeam and you can come into him with like half HP if Mime goes for Confusion and Venomoth is obnoxious). Decent, can likely take every mon but Alakazam.

Gyarados (43): Kadabra is outsped and OHKOed by Strength, while Mr. Mime is taken to red HP. Venomoth is 2HKOed by Surf, but can be annoying with Stun Spore (can’t threaten you though). You and Zam 3HKO each other with Surf and Psybeam it seems (heck I think Psybeam may even be a 4HKO). With Reflect up on Zam, Strength is a 3HKO. But with Gyarados having a roughly 16% chance to crit Zam, your prospects are still pretty good. Just hope paralysis doesn’t screw you over too much really.

Snorlax (43): Psychic from Kadabra does about 60 of your HP (a 4HKO). Body Slam OHKOs Kadabra and Mr. Mime. You can easily set up an Amnesia on Mr. Mime if you want. Venomoth is OHKOed by Body Slam, though it is a damage range. Snorlax checks Alakazam easily, a crit Psybeam only does about 120 out of your 210 or so HP, and Snorlax OHKOs it in return with Body Slam. With Reflect up, Body Slam is still a 2HKO on Zam. If it goes for Reflect, Zam seems to spam Recover, which at that point, if you roll a 30% Body Slam paralysis, you win. Even without Amnesia, this is a pretty easy sweep.
(Skipped some trainers in Mansion, though I did every mook on the route to Cinnabar to make my party uniform):

Sandslash (45): Slash OHKOs Growlithe and Ponyta, with you thankfuly outspeeding both. Dig OHKOs Rapidash and Arcanine, which Slash 2HKOs and 3HKOs respectively. RBY is so derpy I even won by spamming Slash and I NEVER saw Arcanine use Fire Blast on me in my attempt with just Slash IIRC (I think it was spamming Roar).

Venusaur (45): Body Slam 2HKOs Growlithe, which Blaine can annoyingly prolong with a Super Potion (I got the full para anyway). 2HKO Ponyta but Fire Spin and Super Potions are annoying. You only 3HKO Rapidash with Body Slam…sigh. You 3HKO Arcanine with Body Slam, note that even a crit doesn’t take Arcanine to half HP…I got Arcanine to red HP but I ran out of Body Slam PP when trying to sweep. Translation: Venusaur blows here and even friggin SUPER POTIONS wall you out. I didn’t need to heal and I almost swept, but running out of PP in a boss battle almost NEVER happens in these sort of things so this is still a terrible matchup.

In another attempt, I was getting some good luck with some crits and misses, then Blaine pulled out Fire Blast Arcanine and I died.

So consensus: you likely make it to Arcanine but still meh.

Gyarados (45): Surf OHKOs Growlithe, Ponyta and Rapidash, leaving Arcanine in red HP who does nothing with Take Down. You outspeed everything; easy sweep.

Snorlax (45): Body Slam OHKOs Growlithe and Ponyta. Stupidly, Snorlax can be pestered by Ponyta thanks to Growl and Fire Spin. You easily 2HKO Rapidash and Arcanine with Body Slam even at -1 Attack. Arcanine’s Take Down hurts though - it does roughly half your HP. This is probably due to hings like Growlithe and Rapidash using Leer and Tail Whip to soften Snorlax up though. First attempt without Rest I barely fell to Arcanine.

So in another attempt, Growlithe died, Ponyta Growl failed and I OHKOed it, Rapidash was knocked to a sliver of red HP by Body Slam and I did about 2/3 of Arcanine’s HP with Body Slam. Hilariously, Blaine’s Arcanine crit Fire Blast doing like 90% of Snorlax’s health AND burning me, and I STILL WON AT 2 HP AND BURNED DUE TO BLAINE DERPING WITH HIS MOVES AND USING A SUPER POTION (may have crit but idk lol)! RBY Ai everyone.

By the way, you OHKO Growlithe and even Ponyta with EQ, even if you are at -1 Attack. Rapidash is taken to red by -1 Earthquake and Arcanine is 2HKOed. Also, Arcanine Fire Blast seems to do about a third.
TLDR: Hope for no Fire Spin on the horses or Growl, and you win easily.
Sandslash (44): Dig OHKOs Rhyhorn, Slash OHKOs Dugtrio. Growl is annoying though, but even with Growl I easily outbulked Giovanni. At -1 Attack and forced to Slash, Sandslash 3HKOs Queen and 2HKOs King with Slash. At -1, Sandslash 3HKOs Rhydon with Dig. WITHOUT debuffs, Dig OHKOs Nidoqueen and Nidoking and 2HKOs Rhydon. Annoying, but still great.

Venusaur (45): Outspeeds and OHKOs Rhyhorn with Razor Leaf. Dugtrio outspeeds and Slash does about 40 damage, a 4HKO; but you OHKO with Razor Leaf. Nidoqueen and Nidoking do nothing, and are outsped and 2HKOed by Razor Leaf. Rhydon is outsped and OHKOed by Razor Leaf. The easiest sweep since Lt. Surge.

Snorlax (45): Rhyhorn tanks an EQ (doesn’t seem to be a range to OHKO), but does nothing with Stomp. Dugtrio does like 40 damage with Dig or so while Body Slam OHKOs it (even with Growl). With no debuffs, EQ knocks Nidoqueen to red (Body Slam 2HKOs) and it does nothing with Scratch. Nidoking does minimal damage with Thrash and is 2HKOed by Body Slam (EQ OHKOs King). Rhydon is 2HKOed by EQ. Even with a Growl, I could sweep; once you get to Rhydon it ineffectively spams Fissure, being slower than you. Tail Whip and physical attacks may cause issues, but honestly I never had to Rest in any of my attempts (I think Rhydon maybe won once?)

Either way, Lax is good here. Just hope you dodge Dugtrio’s Sand-Attack or Growl and you should be fine.

Gyarados (45): Outspeeds everything sans Dugtrio (again, Sand-Attack sucks) and OHKOs everything with Surf. Super easy.

Gyarados can potentially go in B. It has significant TM/leveling a Karp investment, though if given the patience (and maybe Ice Beam) it really does put in work, generally. And yes, you can have one for Misty fairly easily.

Snorlax seems like a B. It is very slow, sure, but it definitely does put in work in bosses, although stat debuffs can be bothersome for it.

Sandslash I believe is a definite A and maybe even an S. This thing has been absurdly useful, never being complete deadweight against a single boss and destroying with Slash and Dig. It does run into trouble with some foes like Gyarados and Charizard, but those are generally restricted to the rival who gets flattened otherwise.Seriously, this thing even can live non-critical hit BubbleBeam from Misty's Starmie and even Petal Dance from Erika's Vileplume at full HP, so even in the worse matchups it STILL does work. I urge people to use this, it is incredible, though maybe not on the level of Zam or Clefairy.

I'm surprised by how much support there is for Bulbasaur in A. It seems more like a B to me. I only just started using Swords Dance with it, but it is not honestly very impressive (requires +4 to OHKO Pidgeot with Body Slam from the penultimate rival fight). Regardless, I think this mon has way too many issues to be A, but I can accept it there if most others support it. Let's review the potential issues this mon has:

-Good for Brock, but this advantage is hampered by the utter crap ton of Bug Catchers on the first couple of routes and Zubat spammers in Mt. Moon. Seriously, Leech Life sucks, but being slapped around by something as weak as Zubat is demoralizing; you will have to backtrack or Potion constantly here. Misty and Lt. Surge are also good, but then you realize you have like 5-10 more levels before Razor Leaf and it's not very pretty outside bosses.

-Even when you get Body Slam, it...doesn't get much better. You're still 2HKOing or even 3HKOing most things, and you almost never get good opportunities to use Razor Leaf. Of the 10 trainers on Cycling Road, 4 of them have Poison types. Venusaur does get some help on Route 12 thanks to all the Water types, but then it is once again shafted on Route 13 where there's a ton of Pidgey line users and Bird Keepers, and one Biker who uses Poisons. Yes, they aren't really a threat, but Pidgey's Sand-Attack gets really annoying really fast and wastes your precious 15 Body Slam PP, and this is a route where you REALLY don't want to walk back from a Pokemon Center on. Route 14 is even worse, where literally every Trainer packs Flying or Poisons, and Route 15 has even more Flying types, a ton of Poisons, and some Grass/Poisons so you waste even more Body Slam PP. You can say "these trainers are optional" both ways, but I was only barely level matching with Koga and Sabrina despite fighting EVERYONE in Silph Co. and the surrounding areas save the water routes to Seafoam Islands (bar a couple Swimmers on land).

-Even though Venusaur can muscle through bosses with Body Slam, it simply doesn't scream efficient to me. Every other member of my party cleanly outperformed it from Koga until Giovanni 3, where it finally got another clean win. Yes, you can Swords Dance, but then that leaves no room for Toxic + Leech Seed combo.

Yes, Bulbasaur is good for early game. I'm not denying that. But for every pro it brings to the table, it brings so many other negatives. Yes, mooks and bosses don't threaten it. That doesn't mean I consider it a good choice for running through the game with past Lt. Surge. I think it's a firm Crutch Character (meaning it just gets you past the first three gyms) and really struggles to contribute past that.
 
Mmm, I think I see where the difference in opinion might be. When I played that part of the game I skipped literally every trainer in the cycling road and only did the first couple of battles in the right side (needed to get the super rod to test something, as soon as I got there I just went back). I don't know, with 4 pokemon, fighting the trainers in Silph Co and the trainers in all the gyms after Erika left me at a good level. You can be ~5-7 levels lower than the gym's strongest pokemon and still do fine from personal experience.
 
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I actually don't think Wrap + TWave is all that great. Not only does it mean the battles take forever, Wrap's 85% accuracy is actually an issue that is further amplified by Dratini joining underleveled (and, similar to Karp, it's a pain getting it up to speed). Also, I'm not sure whether TBolt is an OHKO on Lorelei's mons, specifically Lapras and Dewgong; and Surf shouldn't cleanly deal with Agatha's Gengars due to their massice Special.
I'm all for testing it though.
Last thing before I get off for the day. While it comes in underleveled it can be obtained via Sequence Break and pick up on all the trainers up to that point. So I think it being underleveled can be fixed this way rather easily.
 
Final write-ups for my run:

Team: Charizard Lv44/Primeape Lv41/Farfetch'd Lv44/Snorlax Lv40

Charizard and Snorlax were more or less able to sweep the whole fight with the Ground TMs that were taught to them. Farfetch'd and Primeape may will mainly be getting in 2-3HKOs with their insta-crit moves, but nothing is overly difficulty here. Farfetch'd will need to avoid Weezing's Selfdestruct though.


Team: Charizard Lv46/Primeape Lv43/Farfetch'd Lv45/Snorlax Lv43

If you don't bring anything with super effective STAB, you'll be surprised at how well Arcanine can wear your Pokemon down. Charizard, Snorlax and Primeape can manage if you teach them the right moves. Though everything past Ponyta is a 2HKO. Farfetch'd will have to do a Swords Dance + Fly sweep if it wants to reliably KO anything.


Team: Charizard Lv46/Primeape Lv44/Farfetch'd Lv46/Snorlax Lv44

Much like with Blaine, the other three members can deal with Giovanni better than Farfetch'd. Farfetch'd can manage everything other than the Rhydon line. To a point where it can OHKO Dugtrio. The others can actually deal with his whole team though. Snorlax and Primeape will both need healing at some point though. The former due to his low Speed which leads to Giovanni's stronger Pokemon wearing him down, while the latter has to face Submission recoil when dealing with the Rhydon line. Around this point, insta-crit Karate Chop stops cutting it, making the Nidos 3HKOs that leave Primeape open to strong attacks like Body Slam. Charizard is fine enough even against Rhydon as it will mainly be spamming the grossly inaccurate OHKO moves.


Team: Charizard Lv48/Primeape Lv44/Farfetch'd Lv46/Snorlax Lv44

I've lost count of the number of fights we've had with this guy. Everyone can manage to roughly 1-3HKO everything until Alakazam. It will utterly destroy both Primeape and Farfetch'd, and will wear down Snorlax thanks to the massive speed difference. From my experience, it will mainly spam Recover when fighting Charizard. Thankfully, Charizard will have enough speed stat experience to outspeed it before it can get in too many Psychic moves. Around this point is when Charizard will no longer have the power to reliably deal with Blastoise as it now has Hydro Pump to get in an almost guaranteed KO. If preserved properly, Snorlax and Primeape can just about manage it, though the latter will have to watch out for Hydro Pump and will need Thunderbolt. Even with insta-crit Slash, Farfetch'd is too weak to get past it.


Team: Charizard Lv49/Primeape Lv47/Farfetch'd Lv50/Snorlax Lv46

This boss was very troublesome for my set-up. Charizard and Farfetch'd are both weak to Ice (Fire didn't resist it in this game, meaning the former couldn't cancel out Flying's weakness to it), meaning that they didn't stand much of a chance against any of her team members that weren't called Jynx. If Snorlax had Thunderbolt and Amnesia, maybe it could've dealt with her team, but unfortunately, they were too bulky for Body Slam to do anything significant.

Primeape's Submission actually came in handy here, with it dispatching Dewgong easily. Coverage such as Thunderbolt and Rock Slide allowed it to deal with Cloyster and Jynx easily. Slowbro was too bulky for a reliable KO, but all it did was spam Amnesia which meant that Primeape was safe against it. However, Lapras' Hydro Pump was just too strong for it to be a good check against it.


Team: Charizard Lv49/Primeape Lv48/Farfetch'd Lv50/Snorlax Lv46

Charizard can reliably 2HKO most of the team, and none of Bruno's Pokemon do much in return. Onix is so weak at this point that Fire Blast could potentially OHKO it. Primeape can manage the Onix just fine, but his Fighting Pokemon can overpower him. Particularly Hitmonchan's Counter, as Primeape won't be able to land a KO against it. Conversely, while Farfetch'd can't do much against Onix, he can Fly sweep his Fighting-types just fine. Snorlax has the right coverage to deal with Onix, but he has to get extremely lucky to survive the Hitmons. He has no chance against Machamp, Submission is a guaranteed KO.


Team: Charizard Lv50/Primeape Lv48/Farfetch'd Lv50/Snorlax Lv46

This got annoying quickly. Charizard and Snorlax can get in 1-2HKOs against every member of her team, though both of them are liable to the confusion status. Snorlax especially suffers due to a combination of his speed and high Attack stat which increases the damage he receives from confusion damage. By this point, Primeape's Rock Slide is too middling to deal significant damage to anything not named Golbat. Farfetch'd could get in a Swords Dance + Fly sweep, but her Pokemon know too many annoying status moves to allow it to set-up.


Team: Charizard Lv51/Primeape Lv48/Farfetch'd Lv50/Snorlax Lv46

Another tricky one. Charizard is pretty bad here as everything resists Fire and Gyarados can get in an easy OHKO with Hydro Pump. Hyper Beam from anything will kill Primeape and Farfetch'd. Primeape can 2HKO Gyarados with Thunderbolt, but it will need some luck to get in the second one. Farfetch'd just can't reliably kill anything at all as there are no real opportunities to set-up Swords Dance. Snorlax's Blizzard can deal with everything not named Gyarados, but continuous Hyper Beams from his team will wear it down.


Team: Charizard Lv51/Primeape Lv48/Farfetch'd Lv50/Snorlax Lv47

Charizard can reliably 2-3HKO about half of his team. Exeggutor, in particular, goes down easily to either Flamethrower or Fire Blast while dealing very little back. Alakazam and Arcanine can wear it down though thanks to their attacking stats. Just like with the Route 22 fight, Charizard doesn't stand a chance against Blastoise. Primeape will mainly be getting 3HKOs. It has no hope in hell against Alakazam though. Farfetch'd Slashes are strong 2-3HKOs against anything not named Rhydon, but it is too frail to withstand anything at this point. Snorlax's attacks will usually be 2HKOs with the right moveset, but its speed will cause it to require quite a bit of healing. Its speed is so low at this point that Rhydon's Horn Drill was able to land against it. Oops.


Closing thoughts:

Charizard
Still an A. It is a fantastic route killer with Dig and Slash, and every boss from Misty to Lorelei go down easily to whilst lacking methods of fighting back against it. The main two drawbacks that keep it from S are its reliance on the Dig TM and its shaky Elite Four performance. It can manage Bruno (not a big accomplishment there) and Agatha perfectly fine, but Lorelei and Lance have many ways of walling it completely. Despite these setbacks though, it was definitely the most reliable member of my team. Some take issue with being stuck with Ember until you get Fire Blast. But during that stretch, Erika is the main opponent where Fire is useful. Otherwise, most of the opponents are Poison-types that go down to Dig, or weak Normal-types that Slash or Mega Punch earlier on kill dispatch. I definitely wouldn't say it's any worse than Venusaur, who suffers from the issues highlighted by DrumstickGaming. By comparison, Charizard is an excellent route killer and is effective against more gyms long term. I still believe Squirtle is the best pick of three though as it doesn't suffer as much from move droughts as the other two.

Primeape
I want to say C. It gets insta-crit Karate Chop early enough, which carries it through routes until Victory Road where Thrash arrives to replace it. Its boss performance is shaky though as STAB Submission is its best method of dealing damage, a move that's inaccurate and doesn't have the firepower to make up for its recoil damage. This will make it fairly reliant on Potions throughout the adventure. Also, while it has nice coverage in the form of Thunderbolt and Rock Slide, they either have to rely on Primeape's low Special or are middling by the Elite Four. All in all, Primeape is a solid route killer, but iffy against bosses. I'm willing to accept arguments for D, but the amount of 1-2HKOs it will get with Karate Chop throughout the game puts it above the 'generally useless' sentiment that Pokemon in the tier receive.

Farfetch'd
I'd definitely keep it in B. The boosted experience is an instant positive by itself, and a combination of its high level, Swords Dance and insta-crit Slash later on allow it to be an excellent route killer. On bosses, it may need to get a couple of Swords Dances up in order to dispatch them reliably. The main aspect keeping Farfetch'd from an A is its pitiful stats. These will begin to show towards the end of the game, with bosses having Pokemon with stats and moves that will be able to 1-2HKO it, while Farfetch'd will barely be able to 3HKO them. It gets to a point where the guy is fairly useless against the Elite Four. Despite this, though everything beforehand is smooth sailing. Definitely not A, but I wouldn't lower it to C either despite these setbacks.

Snorlax
After some consideration, I've decided on B. As the description for the tier states, it can contribute against most major fights thanks to its stats and wide array of coverage moves. Knowing Blizzard is extremely helpful against the Elite Four. With my team, in particular, it was probably the main reliable way I could deal with Lance's dragons. However, it can have some difficulty making contributions thanks to its low speed, which can cause bosses to either inflict status against it or use powerful attacks to wear it down. I'm pretty sure Snorlax needed more Potions than any other Pokemon in my team thanks to how many hits it has to take because of its speed. It's still a good Pokemon thanks to the reasons I stated, but I definitely wouldn't say that it's S.
 
Final writeups for my playthrough:

Blastoise: Extremely easy sweep. Arcanine's attacks won't be enough for the fight to be any sort of struggle.

Wigglytuff: It can sweep most of the team, but the Arcanine can wear it down after a couple of Fire Blasts.

Golem: A very similar case to Blastoise. Even the low speed isn't a problem here.

Machamp: Without TMs like Earthquake, Dig or Rock Slide, then it will have a hard time by the time it gets to Arcanine.

Blastoise: Will be able to outspeed and take care of most of the team. Dugtrio will be faster, but Blastoise can survive anything thrown at it, and OHKO it with Surf.

Wigglytuff: If it has the right TMs, then it's possible. Although the Nidos can easily wear it down with Horn Attack and a lucky Poison from Poison Sting.

Golem: The fight will be slower than Blastoise's, mainly because it will be hitting their higher physical defences, but it's still a safe sweep.

Machamp: If it doesn't have any Ground-type attacks, it won't get past Nidoking, otherwise the matchup is similar to Golem's.

Blastoise: As with the Silph Co fight, it will get walled by Gyarados. This time, however, Alakazam will be able to soften it down before Venusaur comes in.

Wigglytuff: It can sweep most of the team other than Venusaur, even if it does have Psychic and Blizzard, Razor Leaf will make short work of it.

Golem: As usual, Blue's Water-type of choice will outspeed and OHKO it.

Machamp: Even if it does have Rock Slide, Gyarados can outdamage it with STAB Hydro Pump.

Blastoise: Mostly walled in this matchup as the main strong moves which it can depend on are Earthquake and Strength. It will be lucky to get as far as Jynx.

Wigglytuff: It's possible to get up to Lapras, but its Hydro Pump and Blizzard will do more than what your own Thunderbolt or Thunder are capable of.

Golem: Even Dewgong will outspeed and OHKO it. A complete dead weight in this fight.

Machamp: Cloyster can outspeed it and use Clamp. Relying on Submission for her Bulky Waters will mean that it can't last long without heavy item support.

Blastoise: Very easy sweep. Even without having 2x damage against the Fighting-types, it can use Surf to nail their low defences.

Wigglytuff: If it has Psychic, then it can get as far as Machamp. Otherwise, it's too vulnerable to Hitmonlee's and Machamp's STAB.

Golem: Like Wigglytuff, it can get up to the Machamp. Dig or Earthquake will be able to nail the Hitmons' mediocre physical defences. Machamp is bulky enough to survive Golem's attacks and fight back with Submission and Fissure.

Machamp: Hitmonlee can outspeed and outdamage it with Hi Jump Kick. His own Machamp will most likely be at a higher level to win the mirror match; that and it can always depend on Fissure if necessary.

Blastoise: It will get outsped by most of her team, and will get worn down by the amount of confusion going around. It will need item support to get a sweep in.

Wigglytuff: Very similar situation to Blastoise. Although this time it also has to worry about its dependence on a mediocre Special stat when firing off 2x damage moves.

Golem: While it's slow and has to worry about the amount of confusion going around, its STAB 2x damage moves will allow for a more comfortable sweep.

Machamp: If it doesn't have any Ground-type moves, then it's a dead weight. Otherwise, like Blastoise and Wigglytuff, the iffy speed will give it problems against those who like to spam Confuse Ray.

Blastoise: Gyarados can wall it and fight back with Hyper Beam. This is a disappointing turnout as it can take care of everything else.

Wigglytuff: Even with Ice-type moves, the Dragonair can survive a couple of them and bring it down with Wrap and Hyper Beam. The low Special stat begins to cause problems in the late game; even if you do consider the Fast experience gain rate.

Golem: It will get OHKO'ed by Gyarados' Hydro Pump. It's competent against the Dragonite and Aerodactyl though.

Machamp: Even with Rock-type moves, it will get outdamaged by Gyarados and Aerodactyl. Although being a Fighting-type means that the dragons will just spam Agility against it; allowing for easy victories with or without a good moveset.

Blastoise: Can sweep everything up to Venusaur. Gyarados will soften it down to a range where Venusaur can make short work of it, although the way the rest of the team is structured means that it fares better here than in the Silph Co and Route 22 fights.

Wigglytuff: Like Blastoise, it can get as far as Venusaur. As usual, the high Special means that it can survive a few Psychic and Blizzards whilst fighting back with Razor Leaf and Growth-boosted Mega Drain.

Golem: Alakazam will wear it down for the other members to take care of. As usual, it won't stand a chance against his preferred Water-type.

Machamp: As usual, it needs heavy TM support to get past most of his members. Even then though, the Pidgeot's preference for Sky Attack will mean that it won't last long in the fight. Rhydon and Arcanine are the main party members which Machamp has a safe matchup against.

Thoughts on each party member

Blastoise: Yeah, this thing is definitely in the A tier. It's not quite the powerhouse which the original list made it out to be. It's arguably the best of the starters, but when it boils down to it, they all have their movepool issues. I won't waffle too much about Bulbasaur and Charmander's problems, but Squirtle warrants several of the TMs from the early-mid portions of the game. Bubblebeam, in particular, is a one which it desperately needs to avoid having the same problem as the other starters. While there are plenty of alternatives to some of the TMs which it depends, like Blizzard to Ice Beam and Earthquake to Dig, there are many circumstances where Squirtle would want the earlier one first. By the time it gets Surf and Strength though, it's amazing on the last set of Gym Leaders. Its performance on the routes is also extremely consistent; partially because there aren't any mandatory areas which don't completely favour Grass- and Electric-types. While there are the sea routes, they will come around at a point where Strength and the Ground-type move of choice can take care of them. The comfortable advantage against the first two gym leaders also helps it out some. Even if Mega Punch wasn't given to it for Misty, it can always settle for Seismic Toss or Bite whilst using its bulk to wall her team's attacks.

Wigglytuff: I'm as conflicted on it as everyone else is here. It's early enough, and just having Sing doesn't mean much when the Water Gun TM is only a few steps away. Having a Fast experience gain rate also does it a lot of favours. Even if you do go by LoFortngfellow's research though, Wigglytuff's Special is still fairly unimpressive. However, this mainly starts to show during the Silph Co visit; where it will still to struggle against Blue's starter. Otherwise, it can take on several of the major fights in the earlier portions without much trouble; especially if Body Slam or Mega Punch was given to it. As with most of the Moon Stone Pokemon, even if it misses moves like Thunderbolt or Blizzard, there are plenty of other options to fill in the void. The mediocre Special stat mentioned earlier also won't mean much on maps where most opponents lack the bulk or strength to last long anyway. Although the consequences which it has on the Gyms and Rival fights mean that I can't recommend it over any of the other Moon Stone options. I personally believe that it's a high B.

Golem: I think it's worthy of being in B as well. One massive problem with it's that it learns Earthquake at level 36; meaning that it will be dependent on the Dig TM if it wants reliable Ground STAB. While Rock Slide isn't particularly competitive TM, it doesn't change how it relies on the unreliable Rock Throw for a decent chunk of the game. Fortunately, this doesn't prevent it from clearing the gym which players expect it to beat, Lt. Surge. Before Blue uses Gyarados, it can also function excellently on fights with him if you picked Bulbasaur. The Rock/Ground pair also means that it can clear most maps due to the trainers' shared penchant for Normal- and Poison-types. Because they're physical types, it means they'll do even less damage due to Golem's high physical defence. However, the low Speed and the 4x weaknesses to Water and Grass mean that it will be extremely hit or miss on major fights. While it may seem like a mixed bag of sorts, its consistency on maps makes it a net positive overall. While the sea routes are an issue for it in that department, the Pokemon Mansion's preference for Fire- and Poison-type users prevent it from losing its relevancy in the end-game.

Machamp: Because I stupidly forgot that Golem could learn Earthquake naturally, I gave Dig to it, and Earthquake to Blastoise. Meaning that Machamp was left with no strong Ground-type to make use of its high physical attack stat. Therefore, this look may seem like a less reliable account on the Machop line's viability than it could be. Either way, one could say that my look will emphasise its reliance on competitive TMs. I believe that this Pokemon should be moved down to C. Submission is terrible STAB to rely on, and it doesn't have the defensive typing to compliment the tank-like stats. What you're left with is a Pokemon that mainly stands out in the Rocket Hideout. The Machop babying stage isn't too bad though. It helps how most of the Pokemon in its first dungeon are Rock-types, with the occasional Normal-types from the Jr. Trainers. After the Rocket Hideout though, it's going to be stuck against areas which favour Poison-types. As mentioned earlier, it's going to be mediocre at these points without the right TM support. Said support is also the only way that's going to hold a chance against the later gyms. Otherwise, reliance on Submission will lead to reliance on healing items. That being said, a Pokemon with this high of an Attack stat which can be acquired just as the mid-game starts is something. And this will allow it to have a consistent run on maps where the Pokemon don't resist it. Use it if you wish, but you must be prepared to give up several of your more valuable TMs.
 
I think X-Accuracy + OHKO might have been what pushed Squirtle to S in the previous list, since it lets it sweep the E4 effortlessly on top of everything else it already does well.
Now, we both agree that A makes the most sense, but I think saying Squirtle is "arguably" the best starter is an understatement and if the other 2 ever drop (I don't think they should, for the record), Squirtle should stay, as it's one of the better A tiers. I think it's clearly the best one of the three starters. You are exaggerating its movepool issues, which are some of the smallest in the game.
Needing Bubblebeam isn't really a downside most of the time when you consider that if you are using Squirtle, that will be your water type. Comparing this to Charmander and Bulbasaur needing Dig/Body Slam respectively, far more wanted and generic tms, and still struggling even while having them (they both have issues until they learn Slash/Razor Leaf at level 33/30) is pretty unfair. Obviously some non-water types would appreciate that tm (Nidoran, Clefairy,...), but it's not really a comparable issue in my opinion (Water Gun is also available as a tm, if you really need one of these to nail a 4x super effective hit against a geodude or whatever in the early game).
For the ice type move, as you mentioned, you're bound to have at least one of the two available, unless if you have a really needy team. But I do agree that it would like to have the first one.
Dig/Earthquake, while very useful, are far from necessary when you think about it. What is ground super effective against? Rock, fire, electric and poison. 2 of these are covered by water moves. Electric type pokemon are fairly rare in these games (both in trainers and boss battles), and since we're assuming a team of around 4 pokemon, realistically Squirtle will just switch out on the few you run into. As for poison types, a lot of them are part grass. Obviously these can provide very strong neutral hits, as they are stronger than Strength/Mega Punch, but I would argue they are ultimately the cherry on top of the cake (Dig also takes 2 turns, making it effectively slower than those moves a lot of the time).
 
You're probably right about X Accuracy + Fissure being what put Squirtle in S originally. I probably didn't word the movepool parts that well. I meant to say that it's definitely more an A-tier Pokemon if it's given the bare minimum. The Bubblebeam TM also isn't nearly as demanding as I made it out to be. Your Moon Stone Pokemon is hardly going to be short for moves if they didn't receive. Going by that logic, Vaporeon would be moved down for needing it. The Ground-moves are mainly necessary if you want Squirtle to sweep specific major fights. Even then though, it's hardly likely that players would be picking Squirtle for beating someone like Agatha.
 
.Also, Venusaur sucks and I'm pretty sure it's gonna easily drop to B in my opinion, unless I'm missing something in using it. It falls off HARD after Lt. Surge and never really recovers. It feels like it 3HKOs every Grass resist with Body Slam, and even in matchups you hit neutrally like Sabrina, they have high Special or SE moves. Just...not very good, though I haven't tried Swords Dance, Double-Edge or Hyper Beam, admittedly. And even then, I feel like they are simply a Band-Aid over Bulbasaur's problems rather than Bulbasaur being a good mon in itself. I want to be nice and say A, but I don't think I can in full confidence, at least right now. Sorry Bulbasaur.

If any of you guys have different Bulbasaur experiences, let me know. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.
Venusaur is garbage. If you're playing Blue you can catch Victreebel who statwise is almost identical save for trading 20 points in defense for attack. Victreebel also has a much better movepool.

There's also the opportunity cost of using Venu that prevents you from using Char or Blast, both of whom are much better. Venusaur has terrible match ups against most of the rivals Pokemon, Sabrina, Koga, Blaine, and Agatha.

Venusaur has to level up to 12 to get Vine Whip making it surprisingly the worst choice against Brock. It's nice against Misty although there's a bunch of Bellsprout a short walk away (hint hint). Venu is good against Surge as well but at that point you just got the Dig TM and you can solo him with a freshly caught Diglett if you really need to. It's also good against Erika due to the AI being bad but you get the Fly HM there so it's rarely necessary. Oooh and you can catch wild Weepinbel and buy the Leaf Stone in Celadon so...

In fact why is Bellsprout in C tier? It's practically identical to Venusaur except it evolves faster and has Wrap, and better attack.

Imo Venusaur and Bellsprout should both be B.

Edit: I wrote a long thorough post about how ass Venusaur is in RB a few weeks ago.
Speaking of Venusaur, I think it's the weakest Red / Blue starter. Worth mentioning is that R/B is easy and all the starters can easily solo the game but Venusaur is slightly the worst at it despite being considered "easy mode".

Venu only learns Vine Whip and Tackle until level 30 where it gets Razor Leaf. While Razor Lead is good this is effectively the only good move it learns period. The only TM it gets that actually matters is Body Slam which is good, but Venu has the worst attack of the three starters so it's weakest. There's also Mega Drain which is okay, but very weak and has terrible type coverage against most opponents. I guess that just means it can learn its only HM Cut with less of a moveslot penalty? Compare it to the other two...

Charizard gets Slash and Flamethrower via level up and Earthquake / Dig / Fire Blast / Fissure (X-Accuracy makes it 100%) via TM. It gets Cut / Strength via HM.

Blastoise has a pretty bad level up movepool but it does eventually get Hydro Pump. TMs make it work well as it gets Bubblebeam from Misty as well as Ice Beam, Blizzard, Submission, Earthquake, Dig, and Fissure. For HMs it gets Surf and Strength.

It's terrible against the majority of the bug / bird Pokemon in the early routes.

It's probably the worst against Brock. Squirtle solos him at level 8 with Bubble. Charmander does it around level 10-11 with Ember. Bulbasaur has to be 13 to get Vine Whip, unless you want to try it with Leech Seed + Tackle.

Cerulean City is arguably the hardest part in the game as you're hard walled between Misty and the Rival battle. Ivysaur does well against Misty but it's pretty awful against the Rival, only really being useful against Ratatta / Abra (everything is good against Abra). Charmander / Squirtle can usually solo the rival's first three, use the rest of the roster against his starter, then grind nugget bridge until you can push through Misty. Crushing Misty is easily Bulbasaur's highest point. Also worth mentioning is after the rival battle you can capture Oddish / Bellsprout both of whom learn Razor Leaf and have similar stats to Venusaur.

Vermilion City's Surge is soloed by catching a wild Diglett, or even by just using Dig a few times on your starter. Well except Ivysaur who has to grind through it with Vine Whip! The rival is on the SS Anne and once again matches up better against Ivysaur with Kadabra and Pidgeotto.

Assuming you don't skip it for later, the Lavender Tower Rival is pretty rough for Ivysaur. 4 of his 5 Pokemon resist grass and two hit you super effective. Wartortle and Charmeleon only have two bad type matchups.

Celadon city gives you Fly, allowing the Doduo you caught to solo Erika. Alternatively catch an Oddish / Bellsprout and teach it Cut as her shitty AI will spam Poisonpowder until you team wipe her. I guess Cut Ivysaur solos without issue. Venusaur gets Mega Drain here so that's something but also Blastoise gets Ice Beam. While Venusaur matches up typewise against Giovanni well he also has an Onix + Rhyhorn that ONLY KNOWS HORN ATTACK. It doesn't even matter what you use. His only "real" Pokemon is Kangaskhan who all starters take on the same.

The Ghost tower sucks balls for Venusaur. You might have Razor Leaf OHKO the Gastly here if you're high enough level but Char and Blast definitely one shot everything here.

At this point I usually go make a deal with the Missingno and become a god but assuming you're following the path next up is Saffron City. As per usual Venusaur matches up bad against the rival (he can't even hit Gary's water type Super Effective!), bad against the average poison type Rocket grunt, and is just total, incomparable trash against Sabrina. I guess Venusaur does decent against the fighting gym, but the Hitmons have 35 special lol so it's really not much of a fight for FWG STABs.

What's next? Cycling road or the route south of Lavender to go to Fuchsia? Cycling road has a lot of poison type bikers while the Lavender road has lots of bird trainers and cooltrainers which grass sometimes stumbles against but fire / water sweep.

Venusaur gobbles ass against Koga and his psychic-juggler buddies. Char / Blast both probably know Dig and easily handle Koga.

I think everyone usually flies to Pallet to take the easier route to Cinnabar but once you're there get ready for a fun time of poison / fire types in the mansion and getting just destroyed by Blaine. Char / Blast easily sweep. Also Missingno Sky Attack smashes Venusaur.

Lastly there's Giovanni. You'd think the grass type would be the best against the Ground type gym leader but... not really. Blastoise obviously 6-0s but Charizard is immune to ground and none of them have rock moves. Most of them have special stats hovering around 45~ so Charizard likely one shots the majority of his team. Venusaur also probably sweeps with Razor Leaf. It's just an easy fight in general.

On the way to Victory Road you fight your Rival. Squirtle matches up well against 5/6 of his Pokemon, Charizard matches against 5/6 Pokemon (Rhyhorn only knows Horn Attack), but Venusaur is only good against 3/6.

Victory Road is full of a variety of things but if you go after Moltres, oops! Venusaur is weak. Oh did you try to catch Zapdos? Drill Peck. Ooh, Articuno? Ice Beam.

Elite 4 Lorelei is on paper hard for Venusaur but probably easy if you can OHKO everything with Razor Leaf. Blastoise also does well but Charizard is worthless unless you use Fissure + X-accuracy.

Bruno loses to anything with a pulse.

Agatha only has poison types. 4 of her 5 Pokemon hit Venusaur super effective.

Lance gets soloed by anything with Ice Beam but if it comes down to it Venusaur doesn't really do much to dragons. I think Lance will spam Agility due to psychic type "super effective" so I guess Venusaur can spam Cut until you win. At least Charizard has Slash.

Rival gets pretty much soloed by Dig Charizard / Blastoise but Venusaur loses badly to Pidgeot, Alakazam, and Charizard.

Beat the game and go to the Cerulean cave to get your grass / poison ass blasted by Mewtwo. Or Master Ball it.

tl;dr Venusaur sucks against almost everything in R/B
 
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Venusaur has to level up to 12 to get Vine Whip making it surprisingly the worst choice against Brock. It's nice against Misty although there's a bunch of Bellsprout a short walk away (hint hint). Venu is good against Surge as well but at that point you just got the Dig TM and you can solo him with a freshly caught Diglett if you really need to. It's also good against Erika due to the AI being bad but you get the Fly HM there so it's rarely necessary. Oooh and you can catch wild Weepinbel and buy the Leaf Stone in Celadon so...

In fact why is Bellsprout in C tier? It's practically identical to Venusaur except it evolves faster and has Wrap, and better attack.

Imo Venusaur and Bellsprout should both be B.
It's what I have been saying all along about Bellsprout! There shouldn't be a two-tier difference of two between them. I'm not sure if I'd put them in the same tier, but I think that after Bellsprout learns Razor Leaf, it's strictly better than Bulbasaur.
 
Ivysaur gets Razor Leaf at level 30. Weepinbell gets Razor Leaf at level 38, which means you cannot evolve it into Victreebel until 38, so Weepinbell in fact evolves slower than Ivysaur (level 32) unless you wanna be stuck with Mega Drain and Solar Beam for your best Grass moves. Until then, all it has offensively are Vine Whip, Wrap/Cut, and Acid (at level 29), whereas Ivysaur's got Vine Whip and Body Slam. If you're using Bulbasaur, it should already be at least level 16 by the time Bellsprout can be caught, which means it has a decent level and power advantage at the same time frame. Grinding Ivysaur to level 30 is far easier than grinding Weepinbell to 38. If you don't give Ivysaur Body Slam, then sure, it loses a significant advantage over Weepinbell, but given the tier list's premise of efficiency, Ivysaur is one of the best candidates for Body Slam because of how much of an increase in Ivysaur's efficiency it provides, so it can generally be assumed that Ivysaur will receive Body Slam. Something like Clefable can still use Mega Punch.

This is just my opinion, but Wrap is extremely slow and shouldn't be considered "efficient", even if it allows Weepinbell to defeat things it otherwise would be unable to. I see a lot of Pokemon writeups discussing how a Pokemon can win a battle with some luck or using some gimmicky, slow strategy, and making it out to be a good matchup because of that. It's not a good matchup if you need luck to win. It's not a good matchup if you're taking 5 turns to take an ace out. Ivysaur's Body Slam is way more efficient than Weepinbell's Wrap. It's disingenuous to say that Victreebel has a "much better movepool" when its Normal movepool is inferior barring Wrap (if that can even be considered an advantage) and it gets Razor Leaf several levels later than Ivysaur does. Acid and Wrap are the only offensive moves it gets over Venusaur. It does get an early Sleep Powder, but at 75% accuracy (75% is too reliant on luck for my liking, but this is personal standard) and it being more efficient to just power through with sheer damage, I don't see it as a meaningful advantage. Growth from the start would be great given it's functionally identical to Calm Mind if it weren't for the fact that criticals ignore stat boosts in this gen, so it's only good for Vine Whip and Mega Drain. Bulbasaur and Bellsprout are by no means "practically identical" barring advantages for Bellsprout, Bulbasaur is clearly the more efficient of the two, even if Grass is a terrible type for in-game and Bulbasaur is clearly the worst starter. While not particularly meaningful, selecting Bulbasaur means that the player can easily defeat Misty before fighting Rival #3, which means that the player can definitely use Bubble Beam for this fight, useful for Nidoking/queen or Clefable. This is not possible if the player intends to use Bellsprout for Misty.

--

Not how I meant to make my first post, but well...I've been lurking here for over a year, the idea of an efficient playthrough is intriguing, but I don't like the guidelines or the standards of efficiency used. Trying to create my own guidelines for personal use, I've set myself on trying to route out a playthrough of the game that involves the minimum number of turns necessary. I strongly dislike the speedrun strategies that involve heavy item abuse and favorable RNG, so I'm assuming no in-battle item usage and mostly unfavorable RNG. As an additional guideline, I'm requiring myself to use a Grass type (favorite type). Given the general inefficiency of Grass types, I think that the most turn efficient strategy is to just not use them. But I want to confirm this, not assume it. I only recently started on routing actual Pokemon games, was working on a Pokemon-style Touhou fangame. I doubt that my guidelines or findings will be useful, but there's a possibility, so I guess it's worth talking about it when I've routed it out more.

For what it's worth, there was talk about Pikachu being B-tier, comparing it with Jolteon. I don't see Jolteon's higher stats as sufficient to put it a tier above Pikachu, given Pikachu's strong early game performance. Using Jolteon means saving Thunderbolt until Celadon, and the stat differences shouldn't make that much of a difference in what Jolteon can 1-2HKO or outspeed that Raichu can't also do as to warrant a higher tier.
 
Ivysaur gets Razor Leaf at level 30. Weepinbell gets Razor Leaf at level 38, which means you cannot evolve it into Victreebel until 38, so Weepinbell in fact evolves slower than Ivysaur (level 32) unless you wanna be stuck with Mega Drain and Solar Beam for your best Grass moves. Until then, all it has offensively are Vine Whip, Wrap/Cut, and Acid (at level 29), whereas Ivysaur's got Vine Whip and Body Slam. If you're using Bulbasaur, it should already be at least level 16 by the time Bellsprout can be caught, which means it has a decent level and power advantage at the same time frame. Grinding Ivysaur to level 30 is far easier than grinding Weepinbell to 38. If you don't give Ivysaur Body Slam, then sure, it loses a significant advantage over Weepinbell, but given the tier list's premise of efficiency, Ivysaur is one of the best candidates for Body Slam because of how much of an increase in Ivysaur's efficiency it provides, so it can generally be assumed that Ivysaur will receive Body Slam. Something like Clefable can still use Mega Punch.
True I didn't think of that. However you overestimate the grind required.

Bellsprout can be caught at level 14 north of Nugget Bridge. From there until around Celadon the game is extremely kind to Grass Poisons. The route to Bill is full of Hikers with Geodude and Onix. Misty and her minions are a few Vine Whips away from xp bursts. Surge is easily tanked once you're a Weepinbel and Diglett Cave is just piles and piles of free Xp. Then there's the SS Anne, Rock Tunnel, and Erika all in a row where Weepinbel can just smash. Also if you don't catch it for Misty Bellsprout can be found at level 22 prior to Celadon. So there's never really a point where you have to go out of your way to grind, you just use it in important battles and it should do fine. Additionally Stun Spore + Wrap is a cheese machine. Yes wrap spam takes longer than direct attacks but it allows you to break higher level opponents without grinding. Bulbasaur on the other hand absolutely requires Body Slam to be usable. At least Victreebel can get by without it. Lastly Growth / Mega Drain / Sleep Powder / Wrap is enough to carry through most bosses before you hit 38.

Also there's pretty big gameplay changes if you pick your starter vs just slapping a Victreebel onto your team. The opportunity cost of a starter is you don't get the other starters!

Venusaur means no Charizard or Blastoise where if I pick Char or Blast I can just slap a Bellsprout on my team and have it pull about as much weight as Venusaur, only being a bit weaker from level 30-38.

So in a vacuum yeah I guess Venusaur probably is better. But Victreebel cheeses boss fights at lower levels, doesn't require TMs to break anything that resists grass, and allows you to use the better two starters. In any case I still support both of those for B as they're much better than anything in C and worse than anything in A.
 
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Ryota Mitarai

Shrektimus Prime
is a Smogon Media Contributor
There's also the opportunity cost of using Venu that prevents you from using Char or Blast, both of whom are much better.
Venusaur means no Charizard or Blastoise where if I pick Char or Blast
I don't really see this as a good argument. Whenever Charmander or Squirtle perform better than Bulbasaur should bare zero relevance to its ranking and how it performs for the games and therefore preventing you from picking them isn't really a convicing argument for me. Regardless, I don't know of a (modern) list that has tiered down a starter because the other two are better and I see zero reason as to why this list would be an exception. If, theoritically, all starters perform as A-rankers, then they should just be put in A. Bulbasaur being in the lower tier for the mere reason of "being the worst starter" is not describing its performance for the game accurately for its performance, not to mention it's very arbitrary anyways

But anyways, I posted my objection only for the purposes of it being considered for future nominations with a similar context. I am not gonna agree or disagree with the nomination to B, because in my unfinished run I slapped SD / Body Slam / Hyper Beam on it, so my opinion will definitely be skewed towards a higher ranking.

e: to make it clear, I realize you are saying "tier down Bulba because I cannot use the other two starters". My point, to word it better, is that this doesn't reflect Bulbasaur's actual performance for the game and so if,theoritically, it performs as an A-tier, but it prevents you from using the obviously better starters, it still should be A.
 
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So in a vacuum yeah I guess Venusaur probably is better.
The tier list is in a vacuum (which is one reason I find it unsatisfactory, but this is irrelevant). It works out better for your argument that way, because Bellsprout isn't actually worth the time to capture and raise when the same EXP could be distributed to a Nidoking or Clefable with Water Gun and stronger neutral coverage for the rest of the route. There is no reason to catch a Bellsprout outside of Celadon except to use a Bellsprout, it offers no efficient merit at that point. You'd still have to grind to 38 for Razor Leaf, if anything that Bellsprout would be at a lower level than one caught at Route 24. I suspect that this is also true of Ivysaur, that it's more efficient to stop using it soon after catching a Clefairy, but my routing hasn't gone far enough to confirm this. Ivysaur grinds just as well as Bellsprout against Grass-weak opponents, and actually fares better overall with Body Slam on stuff that Bellsprout/Weepinbell can't grind on with Grass attacks. You are definitely going out of your way to grind if you're doing Diglett's Cave, which is totally unnecessary for Ivysaur. I don't view Stun Spore + Wrap as an advantage because it's more efficient to just use something else if that's the best strategy you can muster with it. You're going to have other Pokemon besides Bellsprout if you're using it.

It's certainly true that Ivysaur's value plummets without Body Slam. That much is undeniable. But at the same time, it is precisely because Body Slam is so significant on it that it is simply the most efficient choice for Body Slam. It makes far more sense to assume that it has Body Slam than to assume that it does not. And with Body Slam, Ivysaur is more efficient than Bellsprout throughout the entire game, except for Swords Dance + Hyper Beam strategies.
 
I don't agree either with the opportunity cost of Bulbasaur depriving you from the other starters being an argument against Bulbasaur. If a player picks Bulbasaur, then the other two simply don't exist and Bulbasaur is, regardless of the opportunity cost, still your best bet against Brock and Misty early. Bulbasaur also has an advantage over Squirtle and Charmander in the sense that it requires less experience to get the move that will defeat Brock (Leech Seed), and thus it enables to player to train something else during that period of time.

Allowing the player to have the Bubble Beam TM before Nugget Bridge with ease without the need to catch another Pokémon or any TM is also a good argument over Bellsprout, I didn't think of that.

It does get an early Sleep Powder, but at 75% accuracy (75% is too reliant on luck for my liking, but this is personal standard) and it being more efficient to just power through with sheer damage, I don't see it as a meaningful advantage.
I think you're underselling this, at the very least in the context of Venusaur vs Victreebel, because being able to sleep an opponent and use Swords Dance is allowing a mon to clear match-ups it wouldn't otherwise be able to, for example Sabrina, Rival, or Blaine. And while other mons are better in these match-ups (you can use a Water-type against Blaine and call it a day, or not use a Poison-type against Psychic-type mons), it's still something that Victreebel can do that Venusaur can't, and it allows you to not need a dedicated team slot for that weakness.
 
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atsync

Where the "intelligence" of TRAINERS is put to the test!
is a Pokemon Researcheris a Contributor to Smogon
I have made the decision not to get too actively involved with this project this go around, but since I saw it mentioned, I just wanted to chime in and say that X-Accuracy and Fissure did NOT have any notable weight in Squirtle's initial placement in Top/S-tier. It was judged to be good enough without OHKO spam - the analysis we wrote for it back then doesn't even mention Fissure.
 
Ivysaur gets Razor Leaf at level 30. Weepinbell gets Razor Leaf at level 38, which means you cannot evolve it into Victreebel until 38, so Weepinbell in fact evolves slower than Ivysaur (level 32) unless you wanna be stuck with Mega Drain and Solar Beam for your best Grass moves. Until then, all it has offensively are Vine Whip, Wrap/Cut, and Acid (at level 29), whereas Ivysaur's got Vine Whip and Body Slam. If you're using Bulbasaur, it should already be at least level 16 by the time Bellsprout can be caught, which means it has a decent level and power advantage at the same time frame. Grinding Ivysaur to level 30 is far easier than grinding Weepinbell to 38. If you don't give Ivysaur Body Slam, then sure, it loses a significant advantage over Weepinbell, but given the tier list's premise of efficiency, Ivysaur is one of the best candidates for Body Slam because of how much of an increase in Ivysaur's efficiency it provides, so it can generally be assumed that Ivysaur will receive Body Slam. Something like Clefable can still use Mega Punch.

This is just my opinion, but Wrap is extremely slow and shouldn't be considered "efficient", even if it allows Weepinbell to defeat things it otherwise would be unable to. I see a lot of Pokemon writeups discussing how a Pokemon can win a battle with some luck or using some gimmicky, slow strategy, and making it out to be a good matchup because of that. It's not a good matchup if you need luck to win. It's not a good matchup if you're taking 5 turns to take an ace out. Ivysaur's Body Slam is way more efficient than Weepinbell's Wrap. It's disingenuous to say that Victreebel has a "much better movepool" when its Normal movepool is inferior barring Wrap (if that can even be considered an advantage) and it gets Razor Leaf several levels later than Ivysaur does. Acid and Wrap are the only offensive moves it gets over Venusaur. It does get an early Sleep Powder, but at 75% accuracy (75% is too reliant on luck for my liking, but this is personal standard) and it being more efficient to just power through with sheer damage, I don't see it as a meaningful advantage. Growth from the start would be great given it's functionally identical to Calm Mind if it weren't for the fact that criticals ignore stat boosts in this gen, so it's only good for Vine Whip and Mega Drain. Bulbasaur and Bellsprout are by no means "practically identical" barring advantages for Bellsprout, Bulbasaur is clearly the more efficient of the two, even if Grass is a terrible type for in-game and Bulbasaur is clearly the worst starter. While not particularly meaningful, selecting Bulbasaur means that the player can easily defeat Misty before fighting Rival #3, which means that the player can definitely use Bubble Beam for this fight, useful for Nidoking/queen or Clefable. This is not possible if the player intends to use Bellsprout for Misty.

--

Not how I meant to make my first post, but well...I've been lurking here for over a year, the idea of an efficient playthrough is intriguing, but I don't like the guidelines or the standards of efficiency used. Trying to create my own guidelines for personal use, I've set myself on trying to route out a playthrough of the game that involves the minimum number of turns necessary. I strongly dislike the speedrun strategies that involve heavy item abuse and favorable RNG, so I'm assuming no in-battle item usage and mostly unfavorable RNG. As an additional guideline, I'm requiring myself to use a Grass type (favorite type). Given the general inefficiency of Grass types, I think that the most turn efficient strategy is to just not use them. But I want to confirm this, not assume it. I only recently started on routing actual Pokemon games, was working on a Pokemon-style Touhou fangame. I doubt that my guidelines or findings will be useful, but there's a possibility, so I guess it's worth talking about it when I've routed it out more.

For what it's worth, there was talk about Pikachu being B-tier, comparing it with Jolteon. I don't see Jolteon's higher stats as sufficient to put it a tier above Pikachu, given Pikachu's strong early game performance. Using Jolteon means saving Thunderbolt until Celadon, and the stat differences shouldn't make that much of a difference in what Jolteon can 1-2HKO or outspeed that Raichu can't also do as to warrant a higher tier.
Gonna pop in here. We aren't speedrunning if this is what you are implying. The list has already banned the most commonly used Item Combo which is X Accuracy and an OHKO move. As for the fangame, I fail to see any relevance here with that. Additionally, we should not be comparing mons to one another and using that as a condition to tier. The Pokemon should be tested on its own merits. You can compare a mon to make a point or argument, but never when it comes to actually placing them.
 

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