Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald In-Game Tier List Discussion

Tagging the folks who've followed along to Breloom results and what come out to shocking suggestions for Lanturn and Absol and the somewhat controversial Beautifly nom

Merritt sumwun Punchshroom Cobalt Empoleon

edit: I think you could make a very compelling case that the single most optimal team construction is Swampert, Breloom, Absol (before Winona, Tate and Liza), and Lanturn, considering the concentrated leveling of a four mon party, that covers off every single major fight in clearly dominating fashion

edit2: Lanturn evolution is 27 so roughly 50% of Chinchou's caught can be immediately evolved with a Rare Candy
 
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Merritt

literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
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Tagging the folks who've followed along to Breloom results and what come out to shocking suggestions for Lanturn and Absol and the somewhat controversial Beautifly nom

Merritt sumwun Punchshroom Cobalt Empoleon

edit: I think you could make a very compelling case that the single most optimal team construction is Swampert, Breloom, Absol (before Winona, Tate and Liza), and Lanturn, considering the concentrated leveling of a four mon party, that covers off every single major fight in clearly dominating fashion
First I'll do that last bit about optimal team before diving into the run itself. Swampert honestly carries hard enough that even splitting exp it doesn't need much in the way of teammates, so Swampert+whatever is pretty much optimal. Taillow is a great choice, since it beats Rival 2 Grovyle and deals with other grasses that are really Mudkip's only concern because of its early flying STAB and better attack than Wingull. Also has Fly access later. You can follow that up with Abra, Makuhita, or Machop, any really work fine. You can then take those three fairly well through most of the rest of the game, grab a Carvanha or Wailmer to back up Swampert for Tate&Liza, and then add Rayquaza (or Groudon/Kyogre) to the team and finish the game. So yeah, imo optimal team is Swampert+Swellow+strong attacker+second Water-type for T&L+Box Legend.

I don't have too much to say about Breloom. I think it's not out of place in S, but it's not outstanding for some pretty major fights in mid to endgame (Winona and Tate&Liza are the big two). It's not too difficult to have teammates cover in these battles, but having Breloom be so out of commission there makes it feel a bit off for an S rank. The extremely poor Phoebe and weak Drake matchups aren't particularly in Breloom's favor either.

I think Shroomish Breloom does compare well to Torchic. I'd give Torchic the edge for the most part - the very useable fire STAB is a big plus - but Breloom definitely isn't far behind. Breloom is, if not S rank, borderline like Rayquaza.

I've used Lanturn relatively often and I definitely disagree with the idea that it's better than Starmie. Starmie's got a very noticeable power increase over Lanturn with Surf, scoring OHKOs that Lanturn can struggle with, and while Lanturn's Thunderbolt is stronger than Starmie's this rarely matters in practice, since both are probably using Surf against neutral targets and Starmie's more than strong enough with Thunderbolt against targets weak to electric. The bulk of the two is actually pretty comparable, though I won't try to deny that Lanturn edges it out. Starmie's speed advantage is a factor though, since it lets Starmie get the hit (usually an OHKO) off before the opponent while Lanturn usually has to eat a hit, which it does fairly well granted, before taking them down. This reduces Lanturn's sweeping potential against endgame opponents notably.

Lanturn's main advantage over Starmie is a better Phoebe matchup. This is 100% offset by Staryu's ability to contribute against Tate&Liza, since extra Surfs can do absolutely nothing but help against them. In short, since Staryu is a B rank I feel incredibly uncomfortable having Chinchou above it since I'm fully convinced that Staryu is a better Pokemon, and the fact that Chinchou is so late is definitely a mark against it - it's just barely earlier than Box Legend and you can't try to convince me that Lanturn is as effective at cleaning lategame as Box Legend is. Chinchou should move up to B rank at least by your testimony though.

Altaria is a weird one and I think you hit the nail on the head with it being a low C, high D rank mon. Honestly I think you'd have had more success either giving it Flamethrower or Earthquake over Steel Wing - steel kind of fucking sucks against everything endgame, especially when it's not STAB. Embracing special Alt or going hard with physical TMs (return and EQ) make Alt somewhat more effective, but doesn't do anything to stop the mediocre Swablu stage.

I don't have much to say about Claydol. I think you might understate the shit that is Baltoy by putting it in D but Claydol itself is fine.

Absol is a beast and the only real flaw is definitely how TM heavy it is. Insane special coverage when it needs to hit something but mostly relying on the extremely solid Shadow Ball/Strength(Slash) combo. Honestly you can drop Ice Beam and Thunderbolt if something else needs them, Absol takes a hit to effectiveness on the ocean and against some of endgame but it's still definitely solid enough with just Normal/Ghost moves. Personally I support B, although I can see why people wouldn't.

Thank you for chronicling your run and going back after losing your progess, it's appreciated!
 
First I'll do that last bit about optimal team before diving into the run itself. Swampert honestly carries hard enough that even splitting exp it doesn't need much in the way of teammates, so Swampert+whatever is pretty much optimal. Taillow is a great choice, since it beats Rival 2 Grovyle and deals with other grasses that are really Mudkip's only concern because of its early flying STAB and better attack than Wingull. Also has Fly access later. You can follow that up with Abra, Makuhita, or Machop, any really work fine. You can then take those three fairly well through most of the rest of the game, grab a Carvanha or Wailmer to back up Swampert for Tate&Liza, and then add Rayquaza (or Groudon/Kyogre) to the team and finish the game. So yeah, imo optimal team is Swampert+Swellow+strong attacker+second Water-type for T&L+Box Legend.

I don't have too much to say about Breloom. I think it's not out of place in S, but it's not outstanding for some pretty major fights in mid to endgame (Winona and Tate&Liza are the big two). It's not too difficult to have teammates cover in these battles, but having Breloom be so out of commission there makes it feel a bit off for an S rank. The extremely poor Phoebe and weak Drake matchups aren't particularly in Breloom's favor either.

I think Shroomish Breloom does compare well to Torchic. I'd give Torchic the edge for the most part - the very useable fire STAB is a big plus - but Breloom definitely isn't far behind. Breloom is, if not S rank, borderline like Rayquaza.

I've used Lanturn relatively often and I definitely disagree with the idea that it's better than Starmie. Starmie's got a very noticeable power increase over Lanturn with Surf, scoring OHKOs that Lanturn can struggle with, and while Lanturn's Thunderbolt is stronger than Starmie's this rarely matters in practice, since both are probably using Surf against neutral targets and Starmie's more than strong enough with Thunderbolt against targets weak to electric. The bulk of the two is actually pretty comparable, though I won't try to deny that Lanturn edges it out. Starmie's speed advantage is a factor though, since it lets Starmie get the hit (usually an OHKO) off before the opponent while Lanturn usually has to eat a hit, which it does fairly well granted, before taking them down. This reduces Lanturn's sweeping potential against endgame opponents notably.

Lanturn's main advantage over Starmie is a better Phoebe matchup. This is 100% offset by Staryu's ability to contribute against Tate&Liza, since extra Surfs can do absolutely nothing but help against them. In short, since Staryu is a B rank I feel incredibly uncomfortable having Chinchou above it since I'm fully convinced that Staryu is a better Pokemon, and the fact that Chinchou is so late is definitely a mark against it - it's just barely earlier than Box Legend and you can't try to convince me that Lanturn is as effective at cleaning lategame as Box Legend is. Chinchou should move up to B rank at least by your testimony though.

Altaria is a weird one and I think you hit the nail on the head with it being a low C, high D rank mon. Honestly I think you'd have had more success either giving it Flamethrower or Earthquake over Steel Wing - steel kind of fucking sucks against everything endgame, especially when it's not STAB. Embracing special Alt or going hard with physical TMs (return and EQ) make Alt somewhat more effective, but doesn't do anything to stop the mediocre Swablu stage.

I don't have much to say about Claydol. I think you might understate the shit that is Baltoy by putting it in D but Claydol itself is fine.

Absol is a beast and the only real flaw is definitely how TM heavy it is. Insane special coverage when it needs to hit something but mostly relying on the extremely solid Shadow Ball/Strength(Slash) combo. Honestly you can drop Ice Beam and Thunderbolt if something else needs them, Absol takes a hit to effectiveness on the ocean and against some of endgame but it's still definitely solid enough with just Normal/Ghost moves. Personally I support B, although I can see why people wouldn't.

Thank you for chronicling your run and going back after losing your progess, it's appreciated!
Do you have any anecdotal experience of Starmie's bulk because for me it's Lanturn's bulk that reeeeally push it over the edge into A. Being able to solo tank all of the most threatening Pokemon in the game (Kingdra-Juan, Salamence, Kingdra-Drake, Gyarados, Milotic, all of Glacia (Starmie can't do the Glalie's with Crunch and Shadow Ball threatening)) is a major reason I kept touting Lanturn's bulk, not just the pure volume stats (which are very relevant in the case of Gyarados) but the typing as well. Better Phoebe matchup for sure, but also undeniably a better Juan, Glacia, and Wallace matchup in my opinion.

I found that Lanturn was only getting outsped in boss fights (often at a level disadvantage), it was going first in the vast majority of trainer fights which is where the majority of item dependence tends to come from so I don't consider Starmie to have a particularly significant speed advantage, though it's obviously very relevant vs things like Flygon, Salamence, and Gyarados. Fwiw I'd personally put Starmie in A rank as well though the thread to date disagrees, but I definitely think Lanturn is better than Starmie, especially factoring Volt Absorb. One other point of contention would be the time to training, to your point about Starmine contributing vs Tate and Liza you'd have to fish it up, evolve it, and then train it up for a fairly notable period of time before it can catch up on levels. While Lanturn can't contribute vs Tate and Liza, it's grind time is zero with the water routes ready made for training.

As far as my comment on optimal teams my thought process is basically that Mudkip/Swampert beasts the early-mid game and Breloom beasts what it can't, Absol then comes online and beasts a few specific matchups that Swampert can't manage and Breloom is useless in, and then Lanturn comes online as the water destroying water type when that's most relevant and Swampert/Lanturn between them wall the near entirety of the end game. I did consider adding Swellow to that comment but it would be pretty exclusively for Brawly and Wallace-Ludicolo.
 

Merritt

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Do you have any anecdotal experience of Starmie's bulk because for me it's Lanturn's bulk that reeeeally push it over the edge into A. Being able to solo tank all of the most threatening Pokemon in the game (Kingdra-Juan, Salamence, Kingdra-Drake, Gyarados, Milotic, all of Glacia (Starmie can't do the Glalie's with Crunch and Shadow Ball threatening)) is a major reason I kept touting Lanturn's bulk, not just the pure volume stats (which are very relevant in the case of Gyarados) but the typing as well. Better Phoebe matchup for sure, but also undeniably a better Juan, Glacia, and Wallace matchup in my opinion.

I found that Lanturn was only getting outsped in boss fights (often at a level disadvantage), it was going first in the vast majority of trainer fights which is where the majority of item dependence tends to come from so I don't consider Starmie to have a particularly significant speed advantage, though it's obviously very relevant vs things like Flygon, Salamence, and Gyarados. Fwiw I'd personally put Starmie in A rank as well though the thread to date disagrees, but I definitely think Lanturn is better than Starmie, especially factoring Volt Absorb. One other point of contention would be the time to training, to your point about Starmine contributing vs Tate and Liza you'd have to fish it up, evolve it, and then train it up for a fairly notable period of time before it can catch up on levels. While Lanturn can't contribute vs Tate and Liza, it's grind time is zero with the water routes ready made for training.

As far as my comment on optimal teams my thought process is basically that Mudkip/Swampert beasts the early-mid game and Breloom beasts what it can't, Absol then comes online and beasts a few specific matchups that Swampert can't manage and Breloom is useless in, and then Lanturn comes online as the water destroying water type when that's most relevant and Swampert/Lanturn between them wall the near entirety of the end game. I did consider adding Swellow to that comment but it would be pretty exclusively for Brawly and Wallace-Ludicolo.
Sure, Starmie's got rather decent bulk honestly. It usually can take the Shadow Ball and Crunch from Glacia Glalie and not get 2HKOed (unless it got a -def/spdef nature), takes Banette Shadow Balls without getting OHKOed which lets it Surf back to take them out, and doesn't get 3HKOed by Drake Kingdra Body Slam. Overall Starmie's close to as bulky as Lanturn, roughly 10% less bulky or so. The weakness to Crunch and Shadow Ball is unpleasant, but not particularly moreso than the EQ weakness Lanturn has to deal with.

0 Atk Kingdra Body Slam vs. 40 HP / 40+ Def Starmie: 38-45 (29.2 - 34.6%) -- 5.7% chance to 3HKO
0 Atk Kingdra Body Slam vs. 40 HP / 40+ Def Lanturn: 51-60 (26.4 - 31%) -- guaranteed 4HKO

Honestly I don't think Volt Absorb is that amazing by the time you're getting Lanturn, there's maybe one relevant Pokemon who uses electric type moves left? Natural Cure isn't any better, but they're both relatively unobtrusive abilities. Starmie doesn't really need to grind either - it eats up the water routes with Thunderbolt just as well as Lanturn does because there really isn't anything that can take it, STAB or not. If you need to have Staryu do the bulk of the lifting against Tate&Liza you're definitely going to have to grind but otherwise you can just kill a few Pelippers with Thunderbolt on your way back and have Staryu be able to get some Surfs off for some extra damage before fainting.
 
Sure, Starmie's got rather decent bulk honestly. It usually can take the Shadow Ball and Crunch from Glacia Glalie and not get 2HKOed (unless it got a -def/spdef nature), takes Banette Shadow Balls without getting OHKOed which lets it Surf back to take them out, and doesn't get 3HKOed by Drake Kingdra Body Slam. Overall Starmie's close to as bulky as Lanturn, roughly 10% less bulky or so. The weakness to Crunch and Shadow Ball is unpleasant, but not particularly moreso than the EQ weakness Lanturn has to deal with.

0 Atk Kingdra Body Slam vs. 40 HP / 40+ Def Starmie: 38-45 (29.2 - 34.6%) -- 5.7% chance to 3HKO
0 Atk Kingdra Body Slam vs. 40 HP / 40+ Def Lanturn: 51-60 (26.4 - 31%) -- guaranteed 4HKO

Honestly I don't think Volt Absorb is that amazing by the time you're getting Lanturn, there's maybe one relevant Pokemon who uses electric type moves left? Natural Cure isn't any better, but they're both relatively unobtrusive abilities. Starmie doesn't really need to grind either - it eats up the water routes with Thunderbolt just as well as Lanturn does because there really isn't anything that can take it, STAB or not. If you need to have Staryu do the bulk of the lifting against Tate&Liza you're definitely going to have to grind but otherwise you can just kill a few Pelippers with Thunderbolt on your way back and have Staryu be able to get some Surfs off for some extra damage before fainting.
Both to A then, I'm adamant that Lanturn is good enough for it and I've always supported Starmie's strengths. Both are the very best (imo) or among the best at running through the late game
 
tl;dr: some fairly radical suggestions but ones that I think well reflect their performance
- Breloom to S (100%)
- Lanturn to A (1000%)
- Altaria to C/D (50%)
- Claydol to D (70%)
- Beautifly to D (90%)
- Absol to B (80%, 20% to C)
Looking at these suggestions honestly makes me wonder if your standards for each tier are too low. In other words, if you used every evolution family, would you want all of them to move up 1-2 tiers? I'm not saying this is a bad thing; I just wanted to tell you it's what I think.
One other point of contention would be the time to training, to your point about Starmine contributing vs Tate and Liza you'd have to fish it up, evolve it, and then train it up for a fairly notable period of time before it can catch up on levels. While Lanturn can't contribute vs Tate and Liza, it's grind time is zero with the water routes ready made for training.
When I play Emerald, I usually find that my team isn't ready for Tate and Liza when I first arrive at Mossdeep City, so I beat all the trainers between there and Pacifidlog, fly back to Mossdeep, and then go into the gym. So by the time a player catches a Chinchou, will there be enough sea routes left for training? Additionally, raising a Lanturn from level 30 to 40 is no small task, and I think the experience that Lanturn takes from its teammates should be held against Lanturn.
Is STAB thunderbolt really that good? By the time Chinchou is obtained, there are only 2-3 important battles against water Pokemon. And even though Lanturn has good offensive typing, its special attack is pretty bad, so I can't imagine it being very strong when its attacks aren't super effective. It's slow, too, so I can't imagine it doing very much sweeping. How much better than imagined is it?
 
Looking at these suggestions honestly makes me wonder if your standards for each tier are too low. In other words, if you used every evolution family, would you want all of them to move up 1-2 tiers? I'm not saying this is a bad thing; I just wanted to tell you it's what I think.
Claydol is currently D and Altaria I'm practically arguing to drop? Your statement doesn't make sense. Breloom was dominating. Lanturn was dominating. Beautifly was capable. Absol was great. Claydol was meh. Altaria was mediocre.

The ranks I'm proposing reflect those experiences.
When I play Emerald, I usually find that my team isn't ready for Tate and Liza when I first arrive at Mossdeep City, so I beat all the trainers between there and Pacifidlog, fly back to Mossdeep, and then go into the gym. So by the time a player catches a Chinchou, will there be enough sea routes left for training? Additionally, raising a Lanturn from level 30 to 40 is no small task, and I think the experience that Lanturn takes from its teammates should be held against Lanturn.
Is STAB thunderbolt really that good? By the time Chinchou is obtained, there are only 2-3 important battles against water Pokemon. And even though Lanturn has good offensive typing, its special attack is pretty bad, so I can't imagine it being very strong when its attacks aren't super effective. It's slow, too, so I can't imagine it doing very much sweeping. How much better than imagined is it?
None of this is true? Look at my playthrough, I went directly to Tate and Liza and posted directly before acquiring Lanturn, team was level 40 across the board fighting iirc only two trainers on the way to Mossdeep. Lanturn was level 38 by the time i cleared the region roughly equal to to the bottom of sootopolis across to ever grande, the remainder of the routes brought it up to ~41 and the rest of the team to ~43. Stab thunderbolt is very good for clearing through juan (and gym) and parts of wallace, as well as specifically being one of the best neutral options against kingdra. it also rolls through archie (mighteyna, crobat, sharpedo). And of course is so crucial for providing immediate OHKOs against every mon from every water route trainer. It's special attack is not bad, it's average. Average is all you need in gen 3 when back by stab 95 BP moves. It's special attack is comparable to: Absol, Altaria, Blissey, Claydol, Cradily, Crobat, Feraligatr, Flygon, Glalie, Magcargo, Mantine, Meganium, Misdreavus, Ninetales, Rapidash, etc. Lanturn is also not slow, we've previous established in this thread that base 50 speed is pretty slow but fast enough to outpace most trainers, at base 67 Lanturn is rarely outsped by trainers and outspeeds things you'd expect it to in boss fights at level neutrality.
 
I went directly to Tate and Liza and posted directly before acquiring Lanturn, team was level 40 across the board fighting iirc only two trainers on the way to Mossdeep.
If you can get so many more levels than I can then I guess I've been somehow playing Pokemon wrong.
Lanturn was level 38 by the time i cleared the region roughly equal to to the bottom of sootopolis across to ever grande, the remainder of the routes brought it up to ~41 and the rest of the team to ~43.
Okay, so Lanturn gained a lot of experience during this time, right? My point was that if you didn't use Lanturn, then maybe all your other Pokemon would have gotten around 2 levels higher by gym 8 and maybe more by the end of the game.
Stab thunderbolt is very good for clearing through juan (and gym) and parts of wallace, as well as specifically being one of the best neutral options against kingdra. it also rolls through archie (mighteyna, crobat, sharpedo). And of course is so crucial for providing immediate OHKOs against every mon from every water route trainer.
I agree that thunderbolt is very useful against Wallace, but there are a bunch of other attacks that are good for clearing through Archie and Juan. Even if thunderbolt was the very best attack to use against those 3 trainers, that's only 3 out of the 7-8 important fights after Chinchou.
It's special attack is not bad, it's average. Average is all you need in gen 3 when back by stab 95 BP moves. It's special attack is comparable to: Absol, Altaria, Blissey, Claydol, Cradily, Crobat, Feraligatr, Flygon, Glalie, Magcargo, Mantine, Meganium, Misdreavus, Ninetales, Rapidash, etc.
Along with those 2, Plusle, Minun, Raichu, Seadra, Gorebyss, Huntail, and Regice also have average special attack and are also backed by 95 BP STAB attacks. If that's "all you need", then why are they not in the A tier?
Lanturn is also not slow, we've previous established in this thread that base 50 speed is pretty slow but fast enough to outpace most trainers, at base 67 Lanturn is rarely outsped by trainers and outspeeds things you'd expect it to in boss fights at level neutrality.
Does it outspeed enough stuff in the boss fights? Can it really sweep opponents like Wally, Sidney, and Phoebe?
 

Merritt

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please do not compare regice (or the other regis) who is a Good Pokemon locked behind absurd requirements to any Pokemon other than feebas who also has absurd requirements and is a Good Pokemon

also probably don’t compare pokemon with only one stab and in some cases basically only one move (hoenn electrics collectively what is wrong with you) to something with absolutely excellent stabs
 

Punchshroom

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My overall opinions on all the noms made thus far since the last update:

Hariyama [B -> A] Leaning towards no
On one hand, Hariyama is a really nice tank when it comes to important matchups, with Thick Fat Yama being one of the only mons capable of taking on Flannery's Torkoal and Norman's Slakings in a neutral 1v1. On the other hand, its route-clearing ability is weaker than other Fighting-types due to its poor Speed and unreliable Fighting STAB for cleaning, not to mention the combination of high HP but low defenses can make it a Potion sponge/Pokemon Center frequenter when it comes to training it up. I especially don't consider Hariyama to warrant a higher rank than fellow B Rank Fighting-type Machamp.

Slugma [E -> F] DO IT
Utterly poor mon in all aspects: poor stats, poor movepool both level-up and TM-wise, bad weaknesses, extremely late evolution level.

Numel [B -> C] Leaning towards yes
While Numel's damage output is pretty good with some high BP attacks, its sluggishness and only average bulk seem to hold it back enough for it to seem quite out of place in the B Ranks. Its weaknesses also become much more prominent toward the lategame.

Spoink [C -> B] Leaning a bit on no
As mentioned many times before, it's unrealistic or/and efficient for most people to expect to get a Grumpig before you fight Norman. While it does become solid after evolution, that seems to be all it amounts to from then on. The Spoink stage is a bit of a hassle to train past, especially since it's obtained at a point in the game where stronger physical attacks hit the picture and its poor physical bulk will really show.

Heracross [C -> B] Leaning towards yes
Heracross has two big things going for it: the first is that it's instantly usable, easily beating down route trainers with its sheer might, decent Speed, and acceptable bulk. The other is that it comes with Brick Break, the most reliable Fighting move in RSE, far earlier than any other Fighting-type. While Heracross does suffer from having a lesser amount of favorable matchups than other Fightings due to its late availability and smaller movepool (compared to Medicham), it still seems plenty solid enough for B imo, especially more so than non-trade Machop.

Meditite [D -> C] Could go C
Not gonna deny the Meditite period is rather rough, not to mention it's TM-reliant, but Meditite is still capable of holding its own against the Team grunts and the sea routes. High-Jump Kick can be risky but Meditite is strong enough that you don't have to go for this that often until you get the Brick Break TM. Medicham makes up for its rocky start with its favorable Elite 4 matchups (Meditite is unavailable in Emerald btw), only having issues against Drake unless you feel like Heart Scaling Ice Punch onto it (don't expect to actually OHKO anything with it though).

Claydol [E -> D] Could go back
I'm still not impressed with the Baltoy/Claydol performance discussed so far, but I'm willing to admit that I've just been too hard on it the first time around. Looking at the E and D Ranks, I'd say Baltoy is probably more at home with things like Kecleon and the Poisons than with poor mons like Mawile and Castform.

Breloom [A -> S] Yes
This mon is one of the most powerful in-game Pokemon and has a non-existant babying period since it's functioning adequately as a completely different type of mon. Between Silk Scarf Headbutt the moment you get it and Sky Uppercut at only ~mid-late game, Breloom's power stays pretty absurd for the whole game. Breloom does have some poor matchups against Flying-, Psychic-, and Ghost-type opponents, though these disadvantages don't do enough to offset the sheer destruction Breloom brings upon everything else (and as Texas Cloverlead demonstrated earlier, it circumvents the Drake matchup thanks to Shelgon being Bulk Up + X Speed fodder). A comparison with Torchic was brought up earlier, and honestly I consider the Fire-typing a bigger bonus than the actual STAB since it grants resistances to Flannery and Glacia for setup opportunities, but Breloom's superior level-up movepool makes it a much better Fighting-type performer than Combusken/Blaziken for the majority of the game, particularly against Norman.

Absol [D -> C] Yes
Another TM-reliant mon, but damn does it make good use of its coverage. It's not a particularly strong BoltBeam user but it's enough for it to pack a punch, while Shadow Ball packs a good wallop. Absol even gets Swords Dance which gives some cleaning potential against Tate&Liza and Phoebe. The fraility and general inability to OHKO most important opponents are significant setbacks, as is the late availability, but not enough to warrant D imo.

Altaria [C or D] Leaning on D
Yeah the Swablu stage is an absolute chore and gives me more "Baltoy vibes". I don't think its access to Dragon Dance is even enough to fully compensate for that either, since it'd likely take several boosts to start clean sweeping opponents, unlike most other boosters which have superior power, STABs, and perhaps even coverage, not to mention the bulky boosters can increase their defenses to as to require less/no healing items.

Lanturn [D -> A] Settle down there bud
it is definitively an A rank because this is the single best end game Pokemon available, bar none
cough*Rayquaza*cough

While BoltBeam coverage is sick, I don't consider Lanturn to be better than Starmie's power and Speed. I can agree for a jump to B though.

Anorith [D -> E] Yes
I just realized that Anorith is pretty much a poor man's Aggron, evolving just as late and having just as limited, if not worse of a physical movepool to work with. Anorith takes it a couple of steps further by having a level-up movepool even worse than Aggron's, having bulk too poor to efficiently tank Norman's hits, and possessing no useful resistances afterward.

Ninjask [E -> F] Yeah
I mean it gets early Swords Dance, I guess? Not that it has the bulk nor the power to leverage it; it usually only manages to set up once and then fail to OHKO any important mons (except for Sidney's Grass/Darks, whose status as 'important mons' are debatable lol). This mon is pretty much just operating with Aerial Ace and Shadow Ball for attacking moves, with the latter being a higher demand TM than expected from recent discussion. Baton Pass is also literally the last move it learns at level 45, so no cheeky sweeping strats for pretty much the whole game.

Beautifly [E -> D] NO
Still not wavered at all. It still fits (one of) the E Rank's definition(s) of "being important in one major fight and then just being a route-beater from then on", and there are many E Ranks that contribute in a greater number of important fights than Beautifly can:
- The Electric rodents in E Tier are all better performers than Beautifly for the most part.
- Sableye and Dustox both put down Brawly, but also hilariously trivialize Norman with their natural Detect/Protect. They're not on par with Beautifly's route-clearing in the early-game (though Sableye's Thief should be about as strong as Beautifly's Gust), but should easily bridge the gap with their more powerful TMs later on. Furthermore, they offer additional utility, such as Sableye's rather favorable matchup against Tate&Liza and Phoebe, and Dustox's natural Light Screen and Toxic to try and beat a powerful threat, like Cradily does.
- Early Seedot is F tier, but early-mid Nuzleaf requires less babying, coming equipped with Nature Power for hilarious route-cleaning and Bullet Seed for STAB if you really need it. Shiftry even has respectable endgame usefulness with Sunny Day + SolarBeam.
- Rhyhorn has rather awful weaknesses and Speed for much of the lategame, but at least it has really powerful STABs, and its tankiness allows it to beat most important mons that cannot hit it super effectively (unlike Beautifly, which loses to most anything that it can't hit SE).

When all is said and done, I don't see anything Beautifly has to offer in comparison to the E Ranks to warrant the rise. Even functionally outclassed D Rank mons, such as Girafarig, Natu, Doduo, Pinsir, Corphish and even Slakoth have a much more promising résumé, which would make Beautifly seem even more out of place in D.

Now to pile on the noms :P
E to F

This mon fits many of the criteria of what I would consider F-worthy. It is utterly piss weak and slow, making the journey to reach level 37 feel like ages away. Duskull also doesn't even come with Will-O-Wisp (while Shuppet does, what cruel irony), so it ends up being outdamaged by literally anything that it doesn't hardwall. When it finally manages to evolve its offenses become salvageable, but they're still too poor against anything that it doesn't hit for 4x damage. Dusclops does get Calm Mind, but its special movepool literally consists of just Ice Beam and Psychic, making it the most inefficient bulky booster ever. Most if not all of Dusclops's important matchups come down to how badly its opponents get crippled by burn, which is to say almost none of the remaining gym leaders and E4 are good matchups for Clops. Even in supposedly favorable fights such as Tate&Liza and Drake, its lack of power holds it back severely: its partner is liable to get double targeted by Tate&Liza and be overwhelmed before Clops can even finish 2HKOing something, while Drake will be too busy Crunching Clops that it is not likely to take out more than one important Dragon without excessive healing. It's pretty damn sad when the most impressive accomplishment Dusclops has is... Will-O-Wisping Steven's Metagross. I wouldn't consider it a stretch to call Duskull garbage tier for all the investment it demands and still ends up being mediocre.
 
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Just a thought I had and not a commentary directed at anyone in particular, but the thread as a whole (myself included) has a strong tendency to be very conservative in evaluating ranking shifts, and right so. But even with that consideration it's worth remembering that sometimes the rankings are just wrong, for whatever reason, often inexperience by the original ranker or lack of exposure to the general group.

And I think Absol and Lanturn are good examples of that itt

(Also please don't use Rayquaza as a counterexample in any situation, it's an obvious outlier. And yes if you acquired Rayquaza at level 50 instead of 70 I'd say Lanturn is still the best end game Pokemon)
 

Punchshroom

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Apologies for making yet another nomination after my previous long-winded post, but I feel this is controversial enough to warrant attention.

A to B

I've used Taillow before and it was a blast. It levels up impossibly fast and learns some powerful moves for the early game, making for one of the best route cleaners. It hits a bit of a snag against Wattson but not to worry! It still slaughters nearly all the neighboring trainers and should even be a Swellow by that point, plus not long after beating Wattson, you get the Secret Power TM, yet another strong STAB move to add to the arsenal! ....And then it kinda just hits its peak from there.

Yeah, the issue I have with Taillow is that it starts to lose some steam when you approach the mid-game. Soon enough, Swellow's power is no longer relatively outstanding, and it will be sticking to Secret Power/Return and Wing Attack/Aerial Ace for its main attacks simply because it won't have anything better for the rest of the game, unless you go out of your way to acquire the Return TM from Pacifidlog. Those attacks have rather inadequate coverage to sustain a mon as frail as Swellow. Since Swellow will end up resorting to trade blows, it makes for a less reliable choice in important battles, where it can be expected to be able to pick off one or two Pokemon but usually no more than that, especially given its lack of any particularly advantageous matchups after Brawly.

Edit: Merritt dammit I knew I forgot something; I even went to check the item listings for Fallarbor Town but apparently I was looking incorrectly. However, even though Swellow doesn't lag behind the power curve much anymore, it still has to address its fraility and lack of dominant matchups.

Imo, Swellow would only warrant A Rank if it could somehow consistently attain Guts-boosted Facades to truly crush things, but not only is that impractical, but poison also inflicts damage outside of battle, so this is a pipe dream regardless. In comparison, fellow A Ranker Zangoose is immediately stronger off the bat with STAB Slash and eventually Strength, naturally gets Swords Dance, and has coverage like Shadow Ball and Brick Break to be able to smash through more mons. Granted, Swellow still makes for an amazing route-cleaner, but as stated dozens of times earlier, route-clearing alone isn't a good enough niche, and Swellow can face competition in that from the likes of Sharpedo and Manectric, which are more powerful and have stronger STABs.

Tl;dr: After you get off that high of Taillow killing everything earlygame, eventually it reaches a point where it's not quite killing everything anymore and it starts to be more subject to 2HKOes, and you realize Swellow would no longer achieving that kind of dominance it had for the rest of the game.
 
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Merritt

literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
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Soon enough, Swellow's power is no longer relatively outstanding, and it will be sticking to Secret Power and Wing Attack/Aerial Ace for its main attacks simply because it won't have anything better for the rest of the game, unless you go out of your way to acquire the Return TM from Pacifidlog.
You can obtain the Return TM immediately after Mt. Chimney by returning the Meteorite to Cozmo, which is what allows Swellow to immediately get a resurgence in power since it's liable to be at least moderately high happiness at that point due to sheer earliness. This definitely helps Swellow out in midgame, and although it does fall off somewhat in endgame it can still contribute more than acceptably, it just won't sweep much any more.
 
I agree with Taillow to B, every time I've ever used it it's good precisely up to level 40 and it's just there for the rest of the game, doing little and being difficult to keep up the pace
 
Beautifly, level 49, Bold nature @ Lax Incense
HP: 138 / Atk: 86 / Def: 71 / SpA: 107 / SpD: 62 / Spe: 90
Silver Wind / Aerial Ace / Giga Drain / Psychic

- In my opinion, a clear D rank. Much better than given credit for despite its flaws. As mentioned before, excellent route cleaned which will consistently 2HKO enemies or OHKO them in the right matchup and will rarely by threatened by opposing attacks due to decent bulk. Limited major fight capability, dominating Brawly and the Team Aqua fights, and providing support vs Tate/Liza and Juan, capacity as primary fighter vs Sidney. Underrated component is how fast it grows, means its able to pick and choose spots much more easily without falling behind. Questions arose over its late game performance, but I found it to be more than capable with Silver Wind and Aerial Ace finding plenty of targets from the Team Aqua cavern and Victory Road. I expect its performance would have been even stronger had I given it my Psychic TM after Flannery pre-Norman, as there was a very noticeable power spike when I gave it the Victory Road Psychic.
Based on my own experiences I don’t agree with this one, unfortunately. The two times I’ve used Beautifly I’ve ended up ditching it. Gust/Mega Drain/Secret Power until level 34 is tough and even Silver Wind and Giga Drain, although definitely a step up, didn’t help much with route-cleaning because of their low PP. To be fair I didn’t teach Beautifly Aerial Ace either time, though. That’s probably crucial.

While you describe its bulk as decent, I found it to be incredibly frail. 60/50/50 defensive stats place it somewhere between Numel and Swablu in terms of eating hits. Obviously your experience is your experience though, and I can’t dismiss what you found in your playthrough. Were there any particular hits you remember Beautifly surviving that gave you that positive impression?

It’s been a while, so I think I’ll give it another go. Maybe I’m colouring my memories with a very negative ‘on-paper’ impression.
 
Specific hits? Hmm that's a tough ask of memory. I know there was one thing in particular in the E4 I didn't expect it to live that it did, I want to say a Surf from something of Wallace's, there was something else prior to Psychic that I was able to Morning Sun stall. As far as the rest of the game I don't recall Beautiful ever being OHKOed prior to Liza and Tate, and excepting Gym Leaders very few things were able to 2HKO it. Then between Liza and Tate and the E4 it's pretty reliably able to hit super effectively making bulk less of a concern, or the things for which it couldn't it wasn't in danger of dying anyway e.g. tentacruel

And yes I would say that aerial ace was very useful, it was my go to stab so as not to waste the limited pp of silver wind and giga drain. Aerial ace was the target move on all grasses and fightings for instance, I usually reserved silver wind for psychics and darks.
 

A case for not dropping Anorith, or at least not in Emerald
(If the RNG works the same in R/S, then it's a case across Gen III)

I've predominantly used in-game tier lists, like many others, in order to blow through the story portion of the game. To me, the crown jewel of Emerald - and one of the biggest reasons to play it - is the Battle Frontier. The strategy of the Battle Frontier begets RNG abuse, specifically for Method 1 Pokemon (those gifted to you, the Latis, and standing Pokemon that you interact with) in order to get good IVs and/or useful Hidden Powers. With this information in hand, I don't find it unreasonable that anyone playing a run on Emerald - especially if they're using an emulation device - to "play by the same rules". Emerald's RNG is a valuable tool that should be utilized, and in very specific cases like this one, deserves mentioning. Do know that I'm aware that a more casual player looking to maybe just "beat the game" or complete the Pokedex would have no use to delve into RNG abuse, but I think even those wanting to pull as much efficiency out of their Method 1 Pokemon, this is a very, very worthwhile investment.

On Frame 6415, or rather 1:46.91 after the intro video begins, an Adamant Anorith with an IV spread of 25/26/26/27/14/31 can be obtained.

So what's special about this Anorith? It can't just be the good IVs and nature, can it?

Hidden Power Bug (Base Power = 69)

Waiting a matter of just shy of 107 seconds - in a process no different than SR-ing for a quality nature - gives this little shrimp its most consistently-powerful STAB move (Rock Blast's level of acquisition and accuracy make it very unreliable, Rock Slide costs valuable BP and can't be obtained until post-game). This effectively turns Anorith - who is most likely evolved by this point - into a Tate&Liza murderer. Reliable Bug-type STAB also dunks on 4/5 of Sydney's team. Keep in mind that thanks to possible over-leveling and its perfect Speed IV, Armaldo is likely to be faster than Crawdaunt.

Protect at level 31, while incredibly hard to justify grinding to before Norman, effectively lets Anorith counterteam his Slaking while boosting up with x-items. Dig can accomplish this too, but I seem to recall that 2 or 3 x-Speeds are required. STAB Hidden Power Bug, at 69bp, is going to do a hell of a lot more to his Pokemon than a non-STAB Metal Claw could ever hope of doing. Ancientpower, obtained at level 37, does require some annoying grinding, but gives Anorith massive utility over Winona too and Ancientpower is doing a considerable number to Glacia's twin Glalie and does at minimum 2/3 damage to both of her Sealeo, and makes quick work of Drake's Altaria.

Assuming Earthquake is being used on another Pokemon, or it's being saved for cloning post-game, Strength, Return, Dig, Brick Break, and Iron Tail are all still viable options for Anorith/Armaldo. For what it's worth, I'm planning on running a set of:

@ Hard Stone
Adamant Nature
25/26/26/27/14/31 ivs
~Earthquake
~Hidden Power Bug
~Ancientpower
~Strength

(I have access to extra TM26 (two copies of the game), so I'm not opposed to being liberal with TMs.)

Now, I'm not proposing that Anorith skyrocket up the rankings, but I spent a lot of time theorymoning this entire thing as I'm about to attempt putting this whole thing into practice. Armaldo is a genuine favourite of mine; I'm disheartened to see it ranked so poorly when its guaranteed distribution can be turned into a tool to make it better. I'd like to see Anorith (RNG) listed in C-rank: the only major downside to it is essentially the early amount of grinding required and having to piss around with SRing a few times to get the timing down. I'll contribute more to this idea as I continue my playthrough.

I'll also consider how other Method 1 Pokemon can be affected by good RNG abuse. Electrode with a strong Hidden Power Ice could make for an interesting Pokemon throughout the game.
 

Merritt

literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
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Unfortunately I'm disinclined to encourage or allow strategies that are unobvious to somebody playing the game normally - things like spinner manipulation, manipulation to nearly constantly keep a Swellow poisoned so that you can constantly fire off Guts Facade, manipulating grass spawns, and RNG manipulation for starters or other interaction based Pokemon are unclear at best to the majority of the audience for the list. At the very least it's not something I'd be willing to implement without it being discussed in the ingame tier list policy thread.
 
Hello everyone. I would like to share some information about my latest Ruby version run using this team:

blaziken.png
breloom.png
solrock.png
manectric.png
walrein.png


Below are the details that I've recorded throughout the run (including movesets, levels, money and HM slaves). Since I haven't played this game in a couple years I wanted to talk to all of the NPCs, so the in-game time is only included for completion. The only time I really trained against wild Pokemon was right after getting Shroomish and in Victory Road. The only items I bought were some Great Balls and healing items before the Elite Four. Pickup Zigzagoon is no joke.

badges: 4
hours: 5:49
dex: 9

combusken (peck, double kick, bulk up, ember) lv. 30
breloom (leech seed, mega drain, headbutt, mach punch) lv. 31
solrock (secret power, psywave, confusion, rock throw) lv. 29
zigzagoon (cut, rock smash)
marill (surf)
seedot (flash)

>BEAT FLANNERY



badges: 5
hours: 6:16
dex: 9

combusken (peck, double kick, bulk up, ember) lv. 31
breloom (leech seed, mega drain, headbutt, mach punch) lv. 31
solrock (secret power, cosmic power, confusion, rock throw) lv. 33
zigzagoon (cut, rock smash)
marill (surf)
seedot (flash)

>BEAT NORMAN



badges: 6
hours: 8:30
dex: 12

combusken (peck, double kick, bulk up, ember) lv. 35
breloom (leech seed, mega drain, headbutt, mach punch) lv. 34
solrock (secret power, cosmic power, confusion, rock throw) lv. 36
manectric (thunderbolt, howl, quick attack, spark) lv. 35
zigzagoon (cut, rock smash)
tropius (fly, flash)

>CAUGHT MANECTRIC AFTER BEATING NORMAN
>SWEPT SEA ROUTES AROUND DEWFORD TO GET ICE BEAM AT ABANDONED SHIP
>MANECTRIC BEAT PELIPPER AND SKARMORY
>SOLROCK BEAT SWELLOW AND ALTARIA



badges: 6
hours: 9:50
dex: 13

blaziken (peck, double kick, bulk up, blaze kick) lv. 38
breloom (sky uppercut, mega drain, headbutt, mach punch) lv. 38
solrock (secret power, rock slide, confusion, shadow ball) lv. 39
manectric (thunderbolt, howl, quick attack, spark) lv. 38
zigzagoon (cut, rock smash)
tropius (fly, flash)

>AT LILYCOVE
>MONEY: 187913



badges: 7
hours: 11:01
dex: 15

blaziken (peck, double kick, bulk up, blaze kick) lv. 39
breloom (sky uppercut, mega drain, headbutt, mach punch) lv. 38
solrock (secret power, rock slide, psychic, shadow ball) lv. 40
manectric (thunderbolt, bite, quick attack, spark) lv. 39
sealeo (surf, ice beam, body slam, dive) lv. 33
tropius (fly, flash, rock smash, strength)

>BOUGHT PSYCHIC FOR SOLROCK
>CAUGHT SPHEAL, EQUIPTED WITH EXP. SHARE
>BEAT TATE&LIZA



badges: 7
hours: 12:23
dex: 16

blaziken (peck, brick break, bulk up, blaze kick) lv. 39
breloom (sky uppercut, giga drain, headbutt, mach punch) lv. 39
solrock (secret power, rock slide, psychic, shadow ball) lv. 40
manectric (thunderbolt, bite, quick attack, spark) lv. 40
sealeo (surf, ice beam, body slam, dive) lv. 40
tropius (fly, flash, rock smash, strength)

>CAUGHT GROUDON



badges: 8
hours: 12:54
dex: 16

blaziken (aerial ace, brick break, bulk up, blaze kick) lv. 40
breloom (sky uppercut, giga drain, headbutt, mach punch) lv. 41
solrock (secret power, rock slide, psychic, shadow ball) lv. 40
manectric (thunderbolt, bite, quick attack, spark) lv. 40
sealeo (surf, ice beam, body slam, dive) lv. 40
tropius (fly, flash, rock smash, strength)

>BEAT WALLACE, PRE-PACIFIDLOG



badges: 8
hours: 14:52
dex: 17

blaziken (aerial ace, brick break, bulk up, blaze kick) lv. 44
breloom (sky uppercut, giga drain, headbutt, mach punch) lv. 44
solrock (secret power, rock slide, psychic, shadow ball) lv. 44
manectric (thunderbolt, bite, quick attack, spark) lv. 44
walrein (surf, ice beam, body slam, waterfall) lv. 44
tropius (fly, flash, rock smash, strength)

>POST VICTORY ROAD
>MONEY: 223833 (BEFORE BUYING ANY HEALING ITEMS)


>GRINDED EVERYONE TO LV. 45, BOUGHT 10 REVIVES AND 10 HYPER POTIONS


badges: 8
hours: 15:52
dex: 17

blaziken (earthquake, brick break, bulk up, overheat) lv. 49
breloom (sky uppercut, bulk up, headbutt, mach punch) lv. 46
solrock (calm mind, rock slide, psychic, shadow ball) lv. 45
manectric (thunderbolt, bite, quick attack, spark) lv. 45
walrein (surf, ice beam, body slam, waterfall) lv. 46
tropius (fly, flash, rock smash, strength)

>BEAT E4
>BRELOOM SWEPT SIDNEY
>BLAZIKEN SWEPT PHEOBE & GLACIA
>ATTEMPTED TO SWEEP DRAKE WITH SOLROCK WITH +6 CALM MIND, SALAMENCE LANDED A CRIT WITH FLY
>WALREIN REVENGED BY OHKOING EVERYTHING
>SWEPT STEPHEN WITH BLAZIKEN AND USED AN X-SPEED FOR METAGROSS

blaziken - naive
breloom - docile
solrock - quiet
manectric - modest
walrein - rash

Now, for each individual 'mon:

blaziken.png

Blaziken

A lot controversy lately on whether this guy should be S-tier or not. Paired with Shroomish/Breloom, the Torchic line breezed through the early game and they were kicking ass left and right. Blaziken is mostly hurt by its average mid-game performance as a Combusken. After around the 5th badge, Ember and Double Kick begin to 2HKO more than they OHKO. I decided to keep Ember for a while, but Combusken would definitely benefit springing for a Flamethrower TM, which although I did not record it, I believe I would have had enough money before heading to Fortree, considering I had almost 200k by the time I got to Lilycove. Dig would have also helped it, but I held off on it for some reason.

Regardless, Combusken has a great movepool and many great TMs to utilize. For my run, I only gave it Aerial Ace (to replace Peck) which was then replaced with Earthquake for the E4. Blaziken really needs Brick Break though, as without it you are stuck with Double Kick until Sky Uppercut level 50, which is not even guaranteed during an average run. Bulk-up through level up really boosts his sweeping potential. Overheat was used against only Skarmory as Blaze Kick was not needed a whole lot by the time Blaziken gets it.

Despite some necessary resources, Blaziken is a top tier Pokemon in this game. Although it falls short against the last three gyms, I think the power it demonstrates before Fortree and at the Elite Four gives it this rank. Paired with Bulk-up and some TMs, Blaziken can sweep a majority of the Elite Four. At the very least, it is a borderline case, since Mudkip and Alakazam do not face the same road bumps, but Torchic is a step above nearly everything in A tier (not going to mention Emerald Rayquaza). Blaziken can disarm many threats, although it does enjoy having teammates along the way.

Which brings me to the next Pokemon..

breloom.png

Breloom

It is scary how easily Breloom and Combusken handled the early game together. After getting Headbutt at 22 and then evolving and getting Mach Punch at the next level, Breloom shows his full potential. Having grass attacks is fine off its mediocre Sp. Atk. for a lot of the game since a lot of things can't come close to KOing it back in time. Headbutt and Mach Punch is Breloom's bread and butter. Waiting for Shroomish to evolve and get Spore is the opposite of why you would want to use Breloom. Its typing and Power bring it a long way, and its movepool, while shallow, is very effective and does not require much TM investment. It loves getting Bulk-up though, and lucky for him Combusken learns it by level-up, so there was really no competition between the two despite sharing a type. I replaced Mega Drain with Giga Drain but honestly you're mostly better off just using Headbutt to kill things that resist Mach Punch. Sky Uppercut at a much earlier level than Blaziken is also welcome. I kept Headbutt on mine because I love flinchhax, but it would make a fine Strength user as well.

I think putting Breloom in S-tier would be a stretch, as Blaziken really benefits from its Fire typing and mixed sweeping potential. I could potentially see them being in the same tier, but only if they were both in A. Breloom's weak grass stab pales in comparison to Blaziken's fire, and Normal/Fighting can only get you so far. Breloom can learn Sludge Bomb which may see some use, but Poison isn't exactly known for coverage. Plus, Poison is resisted by Ghost, so that doesn't really solve that problem. Having 4x weakness to flying also really hurts not only against Winona's gym, but the myriad of Bird Keepers you'll face. If you're lucky you may KO them first, though. Nevertheless, an excellent Pokemon well worthy of it's current position in A.

By the time I was approaching the fourth gym, I was really itching for a new party member..

solrock.png

Solrock

Disappointed at first when I remembered Lunatone is a Sapphire exclusive, I was skeptical settling on Solrock. However, I was impressed with its immediate performance. Rock Slide was the kind of coverage I needed for my current fighters, and since I rolled a Quiet nature, Confusion was able to 2HKO fighting types while they did nothing in return. Flannery's gym got crushed by Rock Slide, but Torkoal took it down with Body Slam parahax. If it weren't for that, Solrock would have swept the whole gym. Right after that, Solrock was strong enough to take down Norman's minions with ease. Norman himself was handled easily by my fighting duo. By this time Solrock was completely caught up to the others, and loved facing the various birds and bugs on the route to Fortree. Solrock took down Winona's Altaria and Swellow no problem (the others by Manectric).

By the time I got to Lilycove I had enough money for two Gamecorner TMs. Since I was pleased as punch with Solrock's ability thus far, I spoiled it with a Psychic TM to get an extra bump. By this time it had Rock Slide, too, and I also gave it Shadow Ball. Shadow Ball helped it against the Psychic gym a lot, and contributed to the Tate&Liza fight (remember they're much easier in RS).

By this time, Solrock was losing a bit of its steam. It was still able to handle the occasional flying type or even Psychic some Tentas, but in general it was burnt out. Despite the TM investment, Solrock was absolutely horrid against the Elite Four. Shadow ball failed to 2HKO any of the ghosts while they retaliated with their much stronger STABs. I attempted to sweep Drake by giving it Calm Mind last minute to sweep with Psychic, but even with +6 it couldn't OHKO the Salamence that immediately came out. It scored a crit with Fly and that was end of it. Ice Beam would have been great here to replace Psychic or even Shadow Ball, but Solrock can't learn it unlike Lunatone. I wish I could have somehow transformed it into a Lunatone for the endgame.... It can learn Earthquake but that would have barely helped against Stephen, plus Blaziken was infinitely the better choice for it.

Overall, Solrock had a phenomenal mid-game. It covered Breloom and Blaziken's weaknesses at that point almost perfectly. Rock throw/slide was a respectable STAB, and having Psychic STAB was cool off its otherwise pisspoor Sp. Atk. I think it would have been better as a pure rock type. I can't imagine Lunatone performing much differently, though I think it would be better in the endgame but worse midgame due to being able to learn Ice Beam and lacking decent power for its Rock move.

A case could be made to bring Solrock up to C, but even that may be pushing it considering it's awful lategame performance. The only reason would be for its stellar mid-game since it comes at quite a good time regarding the next few gyms. Probably one of the better D-tier mons, but it would seem a bit out of place in C.

manectric.png

Manectric

I opted for the later Electrike since it's pretty awful before that and I also don't think it makes great use of Thunder wave. As soon as I got Surf I snagged an Electrike, taught it the Thunderbolt TM, and proceeded to wreak havoc on the water routes around Dewford in order to get Ice Beam. With all of the birds on the way to Fortree, Manectric was caught up and pulling its weight. Paired with Solrock, the Flying gym was laughable. Manectric is pretty strong for the rest of the game due to the numerous water types. However, its performance at the Elite Four left more to be desired. It was able to revenge kill a few things and 2HKO stuff due to its massive power (I got a Modest one, too), but its frailty and single effective attacking type leaves it weak to many threats.

B tier is the right place for this. Electric type is awesome offensively and Manectric is fast and strong, but it relies on scoring a OHKO or a 2HKO against something that can't hurt it back much. Bite is hardly worth mentioning since a neutral Thunderbolt is stronger anyway. If you can't hit it with Thunderbolt, you probably should not be fighting it as Manectric. You're better off Thunderbolting Pheobe's ghosts, and Stephen's Claydol laughs at your weak Bites while KOing your with Earthquake. If it got Crunch here or even Overheat then it would be a different story. Still a great Pokemon, but requires a lot more team support than the things currently in A.


walrein.png

Walrein

I needed a Water type, and something that could deliver powerful Ice Beams for Drake, so I caught a level 30 Spheal as soon as I was able to get to Shoal Cave. Since the rest of my team was nearing level 40, I slapped on the Exp. Share along with Surf and Ice Beam. I brought it through Tate&Liza's gym and it was even able to contribute with Surfs against the leaders' rocks. Suprisingly, Sealeo was able to combat many water types on the surrounding routes with Body Slam, albeit less efficiently than an electric type. It also served as my Dive user, since Surf/Ice Beam/Body Slam was all it needed for combat, which was then later replaced with Waterfall (requiring about two seconds going back to Mossdeep after team Magma/Dive shenanigans). Since it is not strapped for moveslots, it can fit into any team that doesn't already have a Surf/Dive/Waterfall user as a great HM slave, while granting its cool (hehe) ice type.

With this, I nominate Walrein to rise to C-rank. Walrein is bulky as heck and can tank quite a few hits while Surfing back. Walrein is a great contributor to the Elite Four just by delivering Surfs to 1v1 many opponents, but it's real achievement is being able to sweep Drake by OHKOing everything while tanking their attacks. I was seriously impressed with this thing. The lines between C and D are vaguely defined, but Walrein serves a unique role that few other Pokemon can fill at that point, and it makes up for its late arrival and moderate babying. It saps off EXP from the team but makes up for it by being one of the best Drake counters you can find, considering you likely don't have one at that point (save for Swampert).

I think C tier is a good place for it mostly because it is let back by its late availability and late evolution, but it is certainly worth raising one due to being able to handle Drake all alone and also contribute to various fights with its respectable bulk and awesome STABs. You really notice the contribution of Ice STAB when you're nailing OHKOs on Drake where most other water types would 2HKO. It can handle a few things in the Water gym by spamming Body Slam and can do a number on Solrock and Lunatone in the Psychic gym (and even Claydol and Xatu if you're playing Emerald). It can also learn Earthquake if you really want, but it can contribute against Stephen by handling Claydol and Aggron with only Surf anyway. Haven't used it in Emerald, but Earthquake lets it beat out Wallace's Tentacruel and it can likely fight off the rest of the team save for Ludicolo and Gyarados.

Having STAB on Ice Beam is extremely welcome, and it's bulky enough to survive quite a number of hits. Body Slam allows it to fight opposing water types while taking hardly any damage in return (parahax is cool, too). It comes no later than any of the other lategame waters such as Starmie and Chinchou. Lanturn has the advantage of electricity and much earlier evolution to help grind against route trainers and positive machup against the water gym and in Emerald against Wallace. Texas Cloverleaf had a great testimony on Lanturn's usage for it to rise to B rank, and although it has obvious advantages, Walrein has similar positive Elite Four matchups but hands down has the advantage against Drake. I think this is enough to bring Walrein up, but not as much as Lanturn since Lanturn is clearly more efficient due to the general use electricity has over ice.

Outclassed by Starmie and Chinchou, yes, but sharing a tier with the likes of Wailmer and Corphish seems wrong. Walrein's ice typing is what I think sets it apart and hardly hinders it defensively considering the lack of threatening fighting and rock types (except Cradily and Armaldo). I think Walrein has a home in the tier between the great lategame waters and mediocre ones. Crawdaunt is likely close, but is more frail and has no usable Dark STAB that would set it apart (aside from 51 Crunch in Emerald, but that seems too late). Swords Dance is cool until you realize all you have to use it with is UNSTABBED lower BP moves (Armaldo syndrome), plus its speed isn't doing it any favors. I know comparing Pokemon side-by-side is not the best practice, but I think it is necessary here to showcase what Walrein brings to the table versus Pokemon with similar availability and typing, which is its Ice STAB and bulk. Overall, I think it's a really solid Pokemon let down by it late availability and late evolution, but even before it evolves it is able to handle its own as Sealeo. Level 30 is not terribly far behind even though it does benefit from EXP. Share support. I think being ranked a tier lower than Staryu and Chinchou is justifiable as it performs above the other similarly available Water types.

Thanks for reading!
 
Last edited:
Breloom is totally S :p

Sounds like you had a similar experience to when I played through pokemon XD with spheal, Sealeo is a pretty legit Mon so there's really not too much in the way of a dead period to Walrein and as you say it's got a great power/bulk curve. Would support for C for sure.
 
Hey, me again. I restarted my Ruby and did another run with the following troops:

swampert.png
shiftry.png
swalot.png
zangoose.png
ninetales.png


Again, the following presents the stats of my run including levels, in-game time, movesets, Gym outcomes, etc. for your reference. In this run, I went through the Trick House in an attempt to attain more EXP. I'm not sure if it was worth it since overall my team was underleveled compared to my previous run (of which I did not go through the Trick House). Funnily enough, the in-game play times were roughly the same (just shy of 16 hours). Talking to every character must take the same amount of time as going through the Trick House. By the time I reached the Elite Four, I had enough money to buy 3 expensive TMs from the Game Corner. In R/S, apparently Zigzagoon has broken Pickup abilities. The only items I bought were 10 Hyper Potions and 10 Revives prior to facing the Elite Four. I found 9 Rare Candies and used all of them where approximately three of them were scored through Pickup; the rest were found by checking "obvious" hidden spots as I did not use a guide to find them. For the natures, I soft-reseted these Pokemon in order to get a "not bad" nature; I simply got lucky on the second or third try with Zangoose (Adamant) and Ninetales (Modest). I try to fight every trainer and only grind before the Elite Four against wild Pokemon in Victory Road.

badges: 1
hours: 1:15
dex: 5

marshtomp (tackle, mud shot, mudslap, water gun) lv. 16
nuzleaf (nature power, harden, growth, bullet seed) lv. 14
zigzagoon (cut)
seedot

>BEAT ROXANNE
>ATTEMPTED NUZLEAF SWEEP WITH HARDEN+GROWTH BUT GEODUDE LANDED A CRIT WITH ROCK THROW



badges: 2
hours: 1:45
dex: 5

marshtomp (tackle, mud shot, mudslap, water gun) lv. 17
nuzleaf (nature power, harden, growth, bullet seed) lv. 18
zigzagoon (cut)
seedot (flash)

>BEAT BRAWLY


>CAUGHT GULPIN WITH A BIG PEARL



badges: 3
hours: 3:36
dex: 6

marshtomp (tackle, mud shot, mudslap, water gun) lv. 26
nuzleaf (nature power, fake out, growth, bullet seed) lv. 25
gulpin (pound, yawn, shock wave, sludge) lv. 24
zigzagoon (cut, rock smash)
seedot (flash)

>BEAT WATTSON & SURROUNDING TRAINERS
>MONEY: 45550



badges: 4
hours: 5:12
dex: 8

marshtomp (tackle, mud shot, mudslap, water gun) lv. 28
nuzleaf (nature power, fake out, growth, bullet seed) lv. 29
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge) lv. 29
zangoose (slash, quick attack, swords dance, strength) lv. 21
zigzagoon (cut, rock smash)
seedot (flash)

>BEAT FLANNERY



badges: 5
hours: 5:45
dex: 8

marshtomp (tackle, mud shot, mudslap, water gun) lv. 29
nuzleaf (nature power, fake out, growth, bullet seed) lv. 29
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge) lv. 30
zangoose (slash, quick attack, swords dance, strength) lv. 24
zigzagoon (cut, rock smash)
seedot (flash)

>BEAT NORMAN
>SWALOT YAWNED ON FIRST SLAKING, ZANGOOSE GOT 3 SWORDS DANCES AND 2HKOED
>2ND SLAKING CAME OUT AND OHKOED ZANGOOSE WITH FACADE
>NUZLEAF KEPT BAITING FOCUS PUNCH FROM SLAKING, EVENTUALLY WON BY SPAMMING BULLET SEED
>VIGOROTH WEAKENED AND SLOWED DOWN BY MARSHTOMP'S MUD SHOTS, GULPIN FINISHED IT OFF
>MONEY: 93490



badges: 6
hours: 8:29
dex: 10

marshtomp (surf, mud shot, ice beam, take down) lv. 34
shiftry (nature power, fake out, faint attack, bullet seed) lv. 33
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge bomb) lv. 35
zangoose (slash, quick attack, swords dance, strength) lv. 34
zigzagoon (cut, rock smash)
tropius (fly)

>BEAT WINONA
>SWALOT KILLED EVERYTHING WITH SHOCK WAVE (EXCEPT ALTARIA)



badges: 7
hours: 10:59
dex: 13

swampert (surf, mud shot, ice beam, dive) lv. 37
shiftry (strength, fake out, faint attack, giga drain) lv. 39
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge bomb) lv. 37
zangoose (slash, quick attack, swords dance, strength) lv. 36
ninetales (will-o-wisp, confuse ray, overheat, flamethrower) lv. 36
tropius (fly, cut, rock smash, flash)

>CAUGHT A VULPIX AT LEVEL 29 (WITH FLAMETHROWER), IMMEDIATELY EVOLVED
>BEAT PSYCHIC GYM WITH SHIFTRY (AND SWAMPERT VS. LEADERS)



badges: 7
hours: 11:47
dex: 13

swampert (surf, earthquake, ice beam, dive) lv. 39
shiftry (strength, fake out, faint attack, giga drain) lv. 40
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge bomb) lv. 37
zangoose (slash, quick attack, swords dance, strength) lv. 38
ninetales (will-o-wisp, confuse ray, overheat, flamethrower) lv. 38
tropius (fly, cut, rock smash, flash)

>TOOK DOWN GROUDON



badges: 8
hours: 12:11
dex: 13

swampert (surf, earthquake, ice beam, dive) lv. 39
shiftry (strength, fake out, faint attack, giga drain) lv. 40
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge bomb) lv. 39
zangoose (slash, quick attack, swords dance, strength) lv. 40
ninetales (will-o-wisp, confuse ray, overheat, flamethrower) lv. 38
tropius (fly, cut, rock smash, flash)

>BEAT WALLACE



badges: 8
hours: 13:54
dex: 13

swampert (surf, earthquake, ice beam, waterfall) lv. 43
shiftry (strength, fake out, faint attack, giga drain) lv. 43
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge bomb) lv. 42
zangoose (shadow ball, quick attack, swords dance, return) lv. 42
ninetales (will-o-wisp, confuse ray, overheat, flamethrower) lv. 42
tropius (fly, cut, rock smash, flash)

>POST VICTORY ROAD
>MONEY: 303070



>GRINDED TEAM AND USED 9X RARE CANDIES TO GET ALL TO LEVEL 46
>BOUGHT 10 HYPER POTIONS AND 10 REVIVES



badges: 8
hours: 15:42
dex: 13

swampert (surf, earthquake, ice beam, waterfall) lv. 48
shiftry (strength, fake out, faint attack, giga drain) lv. 47
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge bomb) lv. 46
zangoose (shadow ball, quick attack, swords dance, return) lv. 49
ninetales (will-o-wisp, confuse ray, overheat, flamethrower) lv. 47
tropius (fly, cut, rock smash, flash)

>BEAT ELITE FOUR

Now for the individual analyses.

swampert.png

Swampert, lv. 48
Naughty nature, (Surf/Earthquake/Ice Beam/Waterfall)

There isn't much to say about this beast. Swampert is famous for its performance in these games as not only the best starter but best Pokemon overall. Mudkip is a solid mon from the start and has barely any poor matchups. I wanted to use this to get a feel on how a top-rank Pokemon felt as a reference; Mudkip did not disappoint and was the Gym assassin. It could sit back between Gyms and come out swinging regardless of its level. There was not a single time where I was frustrated with its performance; it is the perfect Pokemon for Hoenn.


shiftry.png

Shiftry, lv. 47
Naughty nature, Early Bird ability, (Strength/Fake Out/Faint Attack/Giga Drain)

Before I being talking about this, I would like to nominate Seedot to rise to D-tier. With its current placement in E-tier, I feel that Seedot is simply condemned to this horrible rank due to its first impressions. Yes, Seedot alone is god awful and probably warrants a G-tier rank, but after babying it for merely one Route and the forest, you can give it Bullet Seed. And now Seedot is not so terrible. Honestly, the grind to Bullet Seed is negligible, and with your starter acting as a big brother, you can manage. It also learns the neat move Nature Power at level 13 and then evolves early at level 14. It has a decent matchup against Roxanne, even though mine died to Geodude's critted Rock Throw while it was setting up Growth and Harden. However it is important to note that it pretty much requires Bullet Seed to be effective at all this early, which shouldn't be that hard since there is nearly no competition for that TM (aside from Shroomish, but you do not wanna use both of these at once probably).

As a Nuzleaf, it can manage through many routes and not die. How compelling, right? Getting Earthquake from Nature Power is cool sometimes, but generally it will be Swift, which is not a bad move to have early-game. Along with Fake-Out, Nuzleaf can handle its own on routes over the course of the first several gyms. Your Rival's water type falls prey to it, especially if you picked Torchic. Unfortunately, it does not have any favorable matchups from gyms 2-6. Five gyms seems like a lot, but once it learns Faint Attack, gets the Giga Drain TM, and evolves before Fortree, it becomes relevant again. Just in time to destroy the Psychic gym, Water routes, and anything in the Water gym that doesn't pack Ice Beam. It also walls Wally's Gardevoir as a bonus.

In the Elite Four, Shitfry shuts down Phoebe except for her Dusclops with Ice Beam. It can handle Sidney's Sharpedo with its elusive combo of Fake-Out and Giga Drain. Other than that, it can't do much else in Ruby, however in Emerald it can probably handle Wallace's Wailord and Whiscash.

Overall, Shiftry is a respectable Pokemon. Not great, but certainly not completely terrible. Once you get past the brief awkward stage as a Seedot, it's able to take down its fair share of route mons and is later presented with some favorable matchups. If you really dread the Seedot stage, you can hold out until you can catch Nuzleafs in the wild on your way to Fortree (Route 114). I think its current placement in E-tier is a slap in the face, as it is one of the earliest Pokemon you can catch and also has use in the lategame by virtue of its grass type. Its offenses ain't bad either at 100/90/90, allowing it to run a mixed set of whatever you want. Fake-Out is a cool softening move and I taught mine Strength after Nature Power began to wane (after reaching Lilycove). Faint Attack and Giga Drain are decent enough, and Shiftry does enjoy holding either Blackglasses or Miracle Seed, both items that require hardly any or no backtracking.

Finally, it can run a Sunnybeam set, but honestly I didn't even notice mine had Early Bird until it wasn't able to outspeed Groudon, not that I planned on giving it that set anyway. Fake-Out and Strength plus its STAB attacks are in my opinion good enough to be useful.


swalot.png

Swalot, lv. 46
Lax nature, Liquid Ooze ability, (Body Slam/Yawn/Ice Beam/Sludge Bomb)

A solid D-rank Pokemon, but regardless I would like to recognize its performance. Prior to fighting the trainers on Slateport's beach, I caught a level 13 Gulpin. After learning Sludge almost immediately, Gulpin could combat many opponents, especially the Machops around. Yawn is a neat move that I kept on the entire playthrough as it is useful in a pinch. What can I say, I'm a sucker for decent sleep moves, and Gulpin/Swalot is bulky enough to take a hit while the opponent falls asleep the next turn.

Although Gulpin is worthless against Wattson, it claimed the Shock Wave TM (it can't learn TBolt or Thunder...), which drastically improved its route sweeping abilities along with Sludge. When it evolves at the early level of 26, Swalot learns Body Slam, a personal favorite of mine. Strong BP and chance to paralyze is exactly the kind of move Swalot likes off of its 73/73 attacking stats. Not the strongest Pokemon, but bulky enough to take hits and deal some damage with its cool movepool. Speaking of cool movepool, this thing learns Ice Beam, unlike its poison brethren Muk, Weezing, and Seviper. Not only does it learn Ice Beam, it is also found a bit earlier than Seviper and also evolves much earlier than Grimer and Koffing. These things make Gulpin a solid choice if you want an early Poison type.

Despite its overall bulk, Swalot does not have the best matchups. If you gave it Shock Wave or even Ice Beam, it can handle the flying gym with ease, but other than that it is best suited as a mere route sweeper and only has situational use against the following gyms. Yawn helps it 1v1 a lot of opponents, especially in the water gym, but generally Swalot does not get more than a few hits in before being taken down. This is the sort of performance I would expect from a D-tier, therefore I think Swalot is at home there with the other similar poison types.


zangoose.png

Zangoose, lv. 49
Adamant nature, (Shadow Ball/Quick Attack/Swords Dance/Return)

Where do I even begin with this monster. Right away, you get Swords Dance and Quick Attack. You also have Strength at that point. With this, Zangoose OHKOs almost everything that doesn't resist normal type moves. You can potentially set up some Swords Dances against every gym. By the time you get to the Psychic gym, you'll have access to the Shadow Ball TM, which Zangoose ultimately loves to complete its moveset. It can also learn Brick Break. I didn't teach mine Brick Break since I wanted to keep the priority potential of Quick Attack, but really pick your poison.

In all my years of playing this game for some reason I never picked up a Zangoose. Try it, you won't regret it. Solid A rank. If people are arguing for Breloom to be S rank then I would like to see their reasoning as to why Zangoose won't join it. As I've mentioned before, I think they are both solidly A-ranks in the end. Blaziken is another story that I've talked about, but overall it has the advantages of being a starter and also moveset perks that Zangoose and Breloom lack keeping them out of S-rank.


ninetales.png

Ninetales, lv. 47
Modest nature, (Will-O-Wisp/Confuse Ray/Overheat/Flamethrower)

What a majestic Pokemon, which is why it pains me to condemn Vulpix to E-tier. You are able to capture a Vulpix right at the point where Fire type starts to become irrelevant. I sought out a level 29 Vulpix (when it learns Flamethrower) so I could evolve it immediately with the Fire Stone I had to backtrack to get in the Fiery Path. Right away I gave it the Overheat TM and its final moveset was as you see it above. Ninetales had almost no grinding period as it was able to handle the subsequent opponents following Mt. Pyre. Despite this, mono-fire is absolutely terrible with the upcoming water route. Ninetales has respectable stats, namely its speed, but its attacking stats leave more to be desired (76 Atk/81 SpAtk). Although these stats are decent enough, Ninetales only gets fire STAB, Iron Tail, Return, and Dig as moves worth mentioning. That's it. You are honestly better off sticking to its monofire attacks in level-up Flamethrower and the Overheat TM. Even then, Ninetales' offensive stats aren't impressive enough to OHKO most neutral targets. Sure, it can survive a few hits with its 100 base Sp.Def, but generally you'll be wishing Ninetales were a bit stronger.

Ninetales has awful matchups for the remainder of the game from the moment you capture it. It's not spectacular against the psychic gym, and you'd be insane to try to use it against the water gym. For the Elite Four, Ninetales does have some okay uses in R/S. Shiftry, Cacturne, Glalie(s), and Skarmory. Everything else either takes too long to KO or can threaten you with a move of their own (i.e. Metagross). You're probably better off catching a Pikachu in the Safari Zone because at least that will be able to train against the numerous water trainers up ahead. Despite Ninetales' moderate power, it is let down by its shallow movepool, poor matchups, and less than stellar offensive stats.


Summary of tier suggestions:

Seedot: E->D
Vulpix: D->E
 
Last edited:
Shiftry can completely skip the Seedot stage and learn strength immediately if you get a Nuzleaf on Route 114. Seedot isn't something you would particularly need when battling Brawly or Wattson, so I'm pretty sure the Route 114 Nuzleaf is better than the early Seedot.

I'm honestly impressed by the fact that you posted two runs within 60 hours of each other. Stuff like this makes me feel like I'm the only one here who has a life outside of Pokemon.
 

Merritt

literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
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Hey, me again. I restarted my Ruby and did another run with the following troops:

View attachment 137236View attachment 137237View attachment 137238View attachment 137239View attachment 137240

Again, the following presents the stats of my run including levels, in-game time, movesets, Gym outcomes, etc. for your reference. In this run, I went through the Trick House in an attempt to attain more EXP. I'm not sure if it was worth it since overall my team was underleveled compared to my previous run (of which I did not go through the Trick House). Funnily enough, the in-game play times were roughly the same (just shy of 16 hours). Talking to every character must take the same amount of time as going through the Trick House. By the time I reached the Elite Four, I had enough money to buy 3 expensive TMs from the Game Corner. In R/S, apparently Zigzagoon has broken Pickup abilities. The only items I bought were 10 Hyper Potions and 10 Revives prior to facing the Elite Four. I found 9 Rare Candies and used all of them where approximately three of them were scored through Pickup; the rest were found by checking "obvious" hidden spots as I did not use a guide to find them. For the natures, I soft-reseted these Pokemon in order to get a "not bad" nature; I simply got lucky on the second or third try with Zangoose (Adamant) and Ninetales (Modest). I try to fight every trainer and only grind before the Elite Four against wild Pokemon in Victory Road.

badges: 1
hours: 1:15
dex: 5

marshtomp (tackle, mud shot, mudslap, water gun) lv. 16
nuzleaf (nature power, harden, growth, bullet seed) lv. 14
zigzagoon (cut)
seedot

>BEAT ROXANNE
>ATTEMPTED NUZLEAF SWEEP WITH HARDEN+GROWTH BUT GEODUDE LANDED A CRIT WITH ROCK THROW



badges: 2
hours: 1:45
dex: 5

marshtomp (tackle, mud shot, mudslap, water gun) lv. 17
nuzleaf (nature power, harden, growth, bullet seed) lv. 18
zigzagoon (cut)
seedot (flash)

>BEAT BRAWLY


>CAUGHT GULPIN WITH A BIG PEARL



badges: 3
hours: 3:36
dex: 6

marshtomp (tackle, mud shot, mudslap, water gun) lv. 26
nuzleaf (nature power, fake out, growth, bullet seed) lv. 25
gulpin (pound, yawn, shock wave, sludge) lv. 24
zigzagoon (cut, rock smash)
seedot (flash)

>BEAT WATTSON & SURROUNDING TRAINERS
>MONEY: 45550



badges: 4
hours: 5:12
dex: 8

marshtomp (tackle, mud shot, mudslap, water gun) lv. 28
nuzleaf (nature power, fake out, growth, bullet seed) lv. 29
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge) lv. 29
zangoose (slash, quick attack, swords dance, strength) lv. 21
zigzagoon (cut, rock smash)
seedot (flash)

>BEAT FLANNERY



badges: 5
hours: 5:45
dex: 8

marshtomp (tackle, mud shot, mudslap, water gun) lv. 29
nuzleaf (nature power, fake out, growth, bullet seed) lv. 29
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge) lv. 30
zangoose (slash, quick attack, swords dance, strength) lv. 24
zigzagoon (cut, rock smash)
seedot (flash)

>BEAT NORMAN
>SWALOT YAWNED ON FIRST SLAKING, ZANGOOSE GOT 3 SWORDS DANCES AND 2HKOED
>2ND SLAKING CAME OUT AND OHKOED ZANGOOSE WITH FACADE
>NUZLEAF KEPT BAITING FOCUS PUNCH FROM SLAKING, EVENTUALLY WON BY SPAMMING BULLET SEED
>VIGOROTH WEAKENED AND SLOWED DOWN BY MARSHTOMP'S MUD SHOTS, GULPIN FINISHED IT OFF
>MONEY: 93490



badges: 6
hours: 8:29
dex: 10

marshtomp (surf, mud shot, ice beam, take down) lv. 34
shiftry (nature power, fake out, faint attack, bullet seed) lv. 33
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge bomb) lv. 35
zangoose (slash, quick attack, swords dance, strength) lv. 34
zigzagoon (cut, rock smash)
tropius (fly)

>BEAT WINONA
>SWALOT KILLED EVERYTHING WITH SHOCK WAVE (EXCEPT ALTARIA)



badges: 7
hours: 10:59
dex: 13

swampert (surf, mud shot, ice beam, dive) lv. 37
shiftry (strength, fake out, faint attack, giga drain) lv. 39
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge bomb) lv. 37
zangoose (slash, quick attack, swords dance, strength) lv. 36
ninetales (will-o-wisp, confuse ray, overheat, flamethrower) lv. 36
tropius (fly, cut, rock smash, flash)

>CAUGHT A VULPIX AT LEVEL 29 (WITH FLAMETHROWER), IMMEDIATELY EVOLVED
>BEAT PSYCHIC GYM WITH SHIFTRY (AND SWAMPERT VS. LEADERS)



badges: 7
hours: 11:47
dex: 13

swampert (surf, earthquake, ice beam, dive) lv. 39
shiftry (strength, fake out, faint attack, giga drain) lv. 40
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge bomb) lv. 37
zangoose (slash, quick attack, swords dance, strength) lv. 38
ninetales (will-o-wisp, confuse ray, overheat, flamethrower) lv. 38
tropius (fly, cut, rock smash, flash)

>TOOK DOWN GROUDON



badges: 8
hours: 12:11
dex: 13

swampert (surf, earthquake, ice beam, dive) lv. 39
shiftry (strength, fake out, faint attack, giga drain) lv. 40
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge bomb) lv. 39
zangoose (slash, quick attack, swords dance, strength) lv. 40
ninetales (will-o-wisp, confuse ray, overheat, flamethrower) lv. 38
tropius (fly, cut, rock smash, flash)

>BEAT WALLACE



badges: 8
hours: 13:54
dex: 13

swampert (surf, earthquake, ice beam, waterfall) lv. 43
shiftry (strength, fake out, faint attack, giga drain) lv. 43
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge bomb) lv. 42
zangoose (shadow ball, quick attack, swords dance, return) lv. 42
ninetales (will-o-wisp, confuse ray, overheat, flamethrower) lv. 42
tropius (fly, cut, rock smash, flash)

>POST VICTORY ROAD
>MONEY: 303070



>GRINDED TEAM AND USED 9X RARE CANDIES TO GET ALL TO LEVEL 46
>BOUGHT 10 HYPER POTIONS AND 10 REVIVES



badges: 8
hours: 15:42
dex: 13

swampert (surf, earthquake, ice beam, waterfall) lv. 48
shiftry (strength, fake out, faint attack, giga drain) lv. 47
swalot (body slam, yawn, shock wave, sludge bomb) lv. 46
zangoose (shadow ball, quick attack, swords dance, return) lv. 49
ninetales (will-o-wisp, confuse ray, overheat, flamethrower) lv. 47
tropius (fly, cut, rock smash, flash)

>BEAT ELITE FOUR

Now for the individual analyses.

View attachment 137236
Swampert, lv. 48
Naughty nature, (Surf/Earthquake/Ice Beam/Waterfall)

There isn't much to say about this beast. Swampert is famous for its performance in these games as not only the best starter but best Pokemon overall. Mudkip is a solid mon from the start and has barely any poor matchups. I wanted to use this to get a feel on how a top-rank Pokemon felt as a reference; Mudkip did not disappoint and was the Gym assassin. It could sit back between Gyms and come out swinging regardless of its level. There was not a single time where I was frustrated with its performance; it is the perfect Pokemon for Hoenn.


View attachment 137237
Shiftry, lv. 47
Naughty nature, Early Bird ability, (Strength/Fake Out/Faint Attack/Giga Drain)

Before I being talking about this, I would like to nominate Seedot to rise to D-tier. With its current placement in E-tier, I feel that Seedot is simply condemned to this horrible rank due to its first impressions. Yes, Seedot alone is god awful and probably warrants a G-tier rank, but after babying it for merely one Route and the forest, you can give it Bullet Seed. And now Seedot is not so terrible. Honestly, the grind to Bullet Seed is negligible, and with your starter acting as a big brother, you can manage. It also learns the neat move Nature Power at level 13 and then evolves early at level 14. It has a decent matchup against Roxanne, even though mine died to Geodude's critted Rock Throw while it was setting up Growth and Harden. However it is important to note that it pretty much requires Bullet Seed to be effective at all this early, which shouldn't be that hard since there is nearly no competition for that TM (aside from Shroomish, but you do not wanna use both of these at once probably).

As a Nuzleaf, it can manage through many routes and not die. How compelling, right? Getting Earthquake from Nature Power is cool sometimes, but generally it will be Swift, which is not a bad move to have early-game. Along with Fake-Out, Nuzleaf can handle its own on routes over the course of the first several gyms. Your Rival's water type falls prey to it, especially if you picked Torchic. Unfortunately, it does not have any favorable matchups from gyms 2-6. Five gyms seems like a lot, but once it learns Faint Attack, gets the Giga Drain TM, and evolves before Fortree, it becomes relevant again. Just in time to destroy the Psychic gym, Water routes, and anything in the Water gym that doesn't pack Ice Beam. It also walls Wally's Gardevoir as a bonus.

In the Elite Four, Shitfry shuts down Phoebe except for her Dusclops with Ice Beam. It can handle Sidney's Sharpedo with its elusive combo of Fake-Out and Giga Drain. Other than that, it can't do much else in Ruby, however in Emerald it can probably handle Wallace's Wailord and Whiscash.

Overall, Shiftry is a respectable Pokemon. Not great, but certainly not completely terrible. Once you get past the brief awkward stage as a Seedot, it's able to take down its fair share of route mons and is later presented with some favorable matchups. If you really dread the Seedot stage, you can hold out until you can catch Nuzleafs in the wild on your way to Fortree (Route 114). I think its current placement in E-tier is a slap in the face, as it is one of the earliest Pokemon you can catch and also has use in the lategame by virtue of its grass type. Its offenses ain't bad either at 100/90/90, allowing it to run a mixed set of whatever you want. Fake-Out is a cool softening move and I taught mine Strength after Nature Power began to wane (after reaching Lilycove). Faint Attack and Giga Drain are decent enough, and Shiftry does enjoy holding either Blackglasses or Miracle Seed, both items that require hardly any or no backtracking.

Finally, it can run a Sunnybeam set, but honestly I didn't even notice mine had Early Bird until it wasn't able to outspeed Groudon, not that I planned on giving it that set anyway. Fake-Out and Strength plus its STAB attacks are in my opinion good enough to be useful.


View attachment 137238
Swalot, lv. 46
Lax nature, Liquid Ooze ability, (Body Slam/Yawn/Ice Beam/Sludge Bomb)

A solid D-rank Pokemon, but regardless I would like to recognize its performance. Prior to fighting the trainers on Slateport's beach, I caught a level 13 Gulpin. After learning Sludge almost immediately, Gulpin could combat many opponents, especially the Machops around. Yawn is a neat move that I kept on the entire playthrough as it is useful in a pinch. What can I say, I'm a sucker for decent sleep moves, and Gulpin/Swalot is bulky enough to take a hit while the opponent falls asleep the next turn.

Although Gulpin is worthless against Wattson, it claimed the Shock Wave TM (it can't learn TBolt or Thunder...), which drastically improved its route sweeping abilities along with Sludge. When it evolves at the early level of 26, Swalot learns Body Slam, a personal favorite of mine. Strong BP and chance to paralyze is exactly the kind of move Swalot likes off of its 73/73 attacking stats. Not the strongest Pokemon, but bulky enough to take hits and deal some damage with its cool movepool. Speaking of cool movepool, this thing learns Ice Beam, unlike its poison brethren Muk, Weezing, and Seviper. Not only does it learn Ice Beam, it is also found a bit earlier than Seviper and also evolves much earlier than Grimer and Koffing. These things make Gulpin a solid choice if you want an early Poison type.

Despite its overall bulk, Swalot does not have the best matchups. If you gave it Shock Wave or even Ice Beam, it can handle the flying gym with ease, but other than that it is best suited as a mere route sweeper and only has situational use against the following gyms. Yawn helps it 1v1 a lot of opponents, especially in the water gym, but generally Swalot does not get more than a few hits in before being taken down. This is the sort of performance I would expect from a D-tier, therefore I think Swalot is at home there with the other similar poison types.


View attachment 137239
Zangoose, lv. 49
Adamant nature, (Shadow Ball/Quick Attack/Swords Dance/Return)

Where do I even begin with this monster. Right away, you get Swords Dance and Quick Attack. You also have Strength at that point. With this, Zangoose OHKOs almost everything that doesn't resist normal type moves. You can potentially set up some Swords Dances against every gym. By the time you get to the Psychic gym, you'll have access to the Shadow Ball TM, which Zangoose ultimately loves to complete its moveset. It can also learn Brick Break. I didn't teach mine Brick Break since I wanted to keep the priority potential of Quick Attack, but really pick your poison.

In all my years of playing this game for some reason I never picked up a Zangoose. Try it, you won't regret it. Solid A rank. If people are arguing for Breloom to be S rank then I would like to see their reasoning as to why Zangoose won't join it. As I've mentioned before, I think they are both solidly A-ranks in the end. Blaziken is another story that I've talked about, but overall it has the advantages of being a starter and also moveset perks that Zangoose and Breloom lack keeping them out of S-rank.


View attachment 137240
Ninetales, lv. 47
Modest nature, (Will-O-Wisp/Confuse Ray/Overheat/Flamethrower)

What a majestic Pokemon, which is why it pains me to condemn Vulpix to E-tier. You are able to capture a Vulpix right at the point where Fire type starts to become irrelevant. I sought out a level 29 Vulpix (when it learns Flamethrower) so I could evolve it immediately with the Fire Stone I had to backtrack to get in the Fiery Path. Right away I gave it the Overheat TM and its final moveset was as you see it above. Ninetales had almost no grinding period as it was able to handle the subsequent opponents following Mt. Pyre. Despite this, mono-fire is absolutely terrible with the upcoming water route. Ninetales has respectable stats, namely its speed, but its attacking stats leave more to be desired (76 Atk/81 SpAtk). Although these stats are decent enough, Ninetales only gets fire STAB, Iron Tail, Return, and Dig as moves worth mentioning. That's it. You are honestly better off sticking to its monofire attacks in level-up Flamethrower and the Overheat TM. Even then, Ninetales' offensive stats aren't impressive enough to OHKO most neutral targets. Sure, it can survive a few hits with its 100 base Sp.Def, but generally you'll be wishing Ninetales were a bit stronger.

Ninetales has awful matchups for the remainder of the game from the moment you capture it. It's not spectacular against the psychic gym, and you'd be insane to try to use it against the water gym. For the Elite Four, Ninetales does have some okay uses in R/S. Shiftry, Cacturne, Glalie(s), and Skarmory. Everything else either takes too long to KO or can threaten you with a move of their own (i.e. Metagross). You're probably better off catching a Pikachu in the Safari Zone because at least that will be able to train against the numerous water trainers up ahead. Despite Ninetales' moderate power, it is let down by its shallow movepool, poor matchups, and less than stellar offensive stats.


Summary of tier suggestions:

Seedot: E->D
Vulpix: D->E
For Seedot, I think you’re underestimating the important factor of how absolutely useless it is until Winona and even a little beyond. While it does become a decent Pokémon afterwards (although Giga Drain has such low PP and Bullet Seed has such low power and Solarbeam always needs two turns), this means you need to grind useless Nuzleaf so that once it evolves into Shiftry it doesn’t get blown away by higher leveled opponents. I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of the extra time you needed grinding teammates was on Nuzleaf, because it’s just so bad at fighting and getting exp naturally. You can’t even avoid this issue by catching the Route 114 ones, since they’ll be equally under leveled.

Meanwhile getting Seedot up to be able to fight Roxanne is an equal boar of a task. Along with requiring a backtrack through Petalburgh Woods after getting the Bullet Seed TM (because realistically Seedot can’t fight anything except Route 101 and 103 mons and win) Seedot can’t fight Wurmple either. This means nearly half of the battles Seedot tries for grinding in, it can’t actually fight and needs to switch grind. Training Seedot purely off switch grinding isn’t exactly reasonable either - you end up with a mediocre Seedot and a better teammate. Seedot realistically needs to evolve for Roxanne, which is a pretty big commitment to pour into something as helpless and needing support as Seedot.

Seedot could maybe move up, but I think the sheer amount of exp you need to baby into it so that it’s actually able to contribute when given the Leaf Stone means it fits in better with E rank.
 

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