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

Merritt

literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
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WaterBomb just proposed moving two things. Is someone going to address that post or explain why Torchic and Electrike won't move?
There’s one other person who’s doing a run to test some of the Pokémon brought up and I’d like to get their thoughts posted before doing what will probably be a largish set of changes.

On that note, I would appreciate discussion on the mons WaterBomb nominated to drop.
 
On that note, I would appreciate discussion on the mons WaterBomb nominated to drop.
Okay then. I might as well post my opinion here.
WaterBomb made some pretty good arguments for Torchic dropping. Something that's not singlehandedly sweeping the last three gyms or is weak to water probably doesn't deserve S tier, so I agree with Torchic S to A. I'd like to point out that Blaziken is slightly better in RS due to the champion having two fire-weak Pokemon and another two fighting-weak Pokemon.
I'm much less sure about Electrike's tiering. The not getting spark until level 20 and the slow growth rate do hurt a lot, but Manectric's stats and electric type are so good in these games. I guess I can go either way.
 
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Karxrida

Beyond the Shore
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I'm fine with a Torchic drop since it's a bit more inconsistent than the other current S Ranks and doesn't really like how half of the major endgame battles shit on it. Mudkip and Abra may not have super amazing match-ups at the end of the run, but they also don't auto-fold to the Champion Wallace and are generally just really solid for the entire game.

Torchic gets STAB Overheat though, which is super OP for a bit considering when you get it.
 

WaterBomb

Two kids no brane
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I don't know if this is asking too much out of WaterBomb, but testing mid-game Electrike/Manectric would help to solidify a more definitive ranking for it.
Not sure if I elaborated on this in my post, but mid game is where manectric is at its peak of usefulness. Spark is pretty strong on its own with stab, plus you get an early evolution and access to Thunderbolt right after the 5th gym. Obviously manectric makes short work of the Burd type gym and the routes leading to/from Fortree, and can solo the water routes and 8th gym. It's helpful enough during the 7th gym to do damage, although it's only really capable of beating one of the mons 1v1 since it'll take damage and need to switch. After the 8th gym it begins to slow down, and you begin to see the limitations of a Pokemon with only one viable attack. Victory Road is tough sledding for it, and it's not ohkoing anyone in the e4 that isn't electric weak. Its frailty really hurts it there. So, given that it's only really great in the mid game, awful in the early game, and mediocre in the endgame, that's why I recommended a drop. If it had even one viable coverage move (like flamethrower/overheat in later gens) it'd definitely be B worthy. I just found it underwhelming, and 105 spa, while high, isn't enough for it to reliably ohko mons with neutral damage the way Blaziken or Alakazam can.
 
In all three versions, Marill learns all five of the required HMs, doesn't need any evolution to do so, and requires no HMs to catch. This makes Marill a good HM slave throughout the whole game, unlike stuff like Tropius, which comes kind of late, and Zigzagoon, which can't learn any of the late-game HMs. The only bad thing about Marill is that it can't learn fly, so it works well along with any team that already has a fly user. Can Marill be B tier for being such a great HM slave?
 

Merritt

literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
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For reference, Marill is currently at B in Emerald as it comes much earlier (before Roxanne) while Marill is at C in Ruby/Sapphire as it comes notably later (after Rival 2).
 
Would think C tier at best, Tropius is a passable fighter as is Linoone and Zig has Pickup going for it. Marill is just actual dogass at doing anythin
Spamming fly off a 68 base physical attack isn't that helpful. At least it's not as good as Azumarill's huge power-boosted double edges. Also, I never meant to say that Marill was better than Zigzagoon, just that Marill does a bunch of things that Zigzagoon can't.
For reference, Marill is currently at B in Emerald as it comes much earlier (before Roxanne) while Marill is at C in Ruby/Sapphire as it comes notably later (after Rival 2).
That shouldn't matter for HM slaves. The first required HM is rock smash, and Marill comes before rock smash in all three versions.
 
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Merritt

literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
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Spamming fly off a 68 base physical attack isn't that good. At least it's worse than huge power-boosted double edges.
That shouldn't matter for HM slaves because the first required HM is rock smash, and Marill comes before rock smash in all three versions.
Marill learns Water Gun at level 10. I'd hope it's obvious why this is useful for Roxanne - particularly as Marill is the only non-starter available at that point who can learn the move and isn't weak to Rock Tomb - and is certainly something that Emerald Marill can do which RS Marill cannot. It also puts Marill in a position where it can contribute to a few fights that RS Marill cannot (mostly Rival 2's fire type) which is what ended up pushing it up to B. In addition, the extra time means that it's easier to justify levels for Marill and make it a much more worthwhile combat Pokemon than the later catch after arriving at Mauville.

I'm certainly not against combining the two Marill rankings into one, but this is why they're ranked separately at the moment.

While I can't fully agree that Linoone has passable combat (I've always found it all but useless aside from death fodder), Tropius's "combat" is more along the lines of firing off Razor Leaf at grass weak Pokemon. It's not the most useful thing ever, but it does help against the massive amount of water starting from Lilycove onward. In terms of what make Tropius in particular a more useful HM slave than Marill, it's largely the combination of Rock Smash, Strength, and Fly all into one Pokemon. Other than Tropius, your options for that are Vibrava (requires a not insignificant investment as a Trapinch to get to evolution compared to the payout as an HM slave) and Salamence (lol). The combination of Surf, Dive, and Waterfall meanwhile is on a massive number of the region's Water types, allowing Tropius to fit in with any of that number and instantly fill every single necessary HM in two teamslots instead of three (fly might not be "necessary" but it's hard to argue it's not necessary for efficient play). It even can run with Flash or Cut if you don't plan to have Tropius to see any combat, Flash in particular making life easier in Victory Road.
 
Marill learns Water Gun at level 10. I'd hope it's obvious why this is useful for Roxanne - particularly as Marill is the only non-starter available at that point who can learn the move and isn't weak to Rock Tomb - and is certainly something that Emerald Marill can do which RS Marill cannot. It also puts Marill in a position where it can contribute to a few fights that RS Marill cannot (mostly Rival 2's fire type) which is what ended up pushing it up to B. In addition, the extra time means that it's easier to justify levels for Marill and make it a much more worthwhile combat Pokemon than the later catch after arriving at Mauville.

I'm certainly not against combining the two Marill rankings into one, but this is why they're ranked separately at the moment.
I do agree that Marill is a lot better in E than in RS. Still, I find that Marill works so much better when it's used as more of a "pure" HM slave and doesn't win any battles or gain any experience, that its (lack of) performance in battles doesn't make enough of a difference to lower it to C tier.
it's largely the combination of Rock Smash, Strength, and Fly all into one Pokemon. Other than Tropius, your options for that are Vibrava (requires a not insignificant investment as a Trapinch to get to evolution compared to the payout as an HM slave) and Salamence (lol). The combination of Surf, Dive, and Waterfall meanwhile is on a massive number of the region's Water types, allowing Tropius to fit in with any of that number and instantly fill every single necessary HM in two teamslots instead of three
First, while Marill does fit on a lot fewer teams than Tropius does, I think it deserves to be tiered higher than Tropius simply because it comes a lot earlier. There are a lot of smashable rocks and water before the player can reach Route 119 and find a Tropius. Why not have a Marill take care of all of that?
Second, Codraroll said something in the DPPt thread that I thought might also be relevant here. Please correct me if it's not. (interestingly, it was also about Tropius)
Lickitung and Tropius (and indeed many other good HM slaves) have a problem that set them far apart from Bidoof: the most troubling HMs they could alleviate your team from are required to get to them in the first place.

One could argue that after the (strictly speaking) optional Defog, the worst HMs in DPPt are Rock Smash and Cut. Almost everything that gets Fly can utilize it for a decently powerful STAB, Surf is amazing in general, and Strength is a rather powerful Normal-type move - handy for coverage, if nothing else. Rock Climb belongs in the bad bunch because of its imperfect accuracy, though, but let's focus on the aforementioned two.

Rock Smash and Cut are also the earliest HMs in the game, and are required to proceed beyond Oreburgh City and Eterna City, respectively. This means they have to be put on a team member by that time, and you have to give up two of your moveslots to proceed out of the early-game. The Move Deleter, however, isn't found until Canalave City, which is the 6th Gym. This means that the Pokémon you teach Cut and Rock Smash in the early game will be stuck with those moves until they close in on level 40 (in Platinum, at least - I can't remember the levels in DP off the top of my head), involving at least three Gym battles and a handful of major Team Galactic/Rival battles. Yeah, you can catch Tropius and Lickitung to take over the HM slaving job, but unless you sack the 'mon you've been using until then (in which case you already have a HM slave and wouldn't need Tropius and Lickitung for HM slaving in the first place), the useless moves will be stuck on your more valuable team mates for the first two thirds of the game.
Third, aren't we not supposed to tier things based on whether they get outclassed by something? Are we really going to lower Marill's ranking just because better alternatives are available, or raise Tropius's ranking just because better alternatives are nonexistent?
 

Merritt

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I do agree that Marill is a lot better in E than in RS. Still, I find that Marill works so much better when it's used as more of a "pure" HM slave and doesn't win any battles or gain any experience, that its (lack of) performance in battles doesn't make enough of a difference to lower it to C tier.First, while Marill does fit on a lot fewer teams than Tropius does, I think it deserves to be tiered higher than Tropius simply because it comes a lot earlier. There are a lot of smashable rocks and water before the player can reach Route 119 and find a Tropius. Why not have a Marill take care of all of that?
Second, Codraroll said something in the DPPt thread that I thought might also be relevant here. Please correct me if it's not. (interestingly, it was also about Tropius)
As I said before, I'm not objecting to combining the two in B, I was explaining why they're ranked separately now.

Third, aren't we not supposed to tier things based on whether they get outclassed by something? Are we really going to lower Marill's ranking just because better alternatives are available, or raise Tropius's ranking just because better alternatives are nonexistent?
This is a false equivalency, particularly the "raise Tropius's ranking just because better alternatives are nonexistent" part.

Of course we raise things with valuable, unique niches. It would be absolutely insane not to. Let's use an example of Emerald Rayquaza. It's hard to argue against the statement that nothing is more efficient than to grab Rayquaza and smash the rest of the game - there is no "better alternative" to Rayquaza's sheer combat ability from Juan to Wallace. That would be why Rayquaza is ranked so highly, it would make no sense to not raise its ranking due to a lack of better alternatives.

Even if we look at the statement in an abstract sense, it's bizarre. Saying that it's not right to raise something because there are no better alternatives is comparable to saying that we shouldn't raise the best of something above the worst alternatives. That's kind of contrary to the purpose behind tier lists.

I'll say it one last time for good measure - I'm not against combining Marill into one rank in B/C or dropping Tropius to C. What I was saying before was an explanation of why they have their current rankings and the post before that (about Marill's current ranking) was more a response to Texas than you to say that Emerald Marill is already at B.
 
As I said before, I'm not objecting to combining the two in B, I was explaining why they're ranked separately now.
Yeah, I guess I shouldn't have been so aggressive. Sorry.
This is a false equivalency, particularly the "raise Tropius's ranking just because better alternatives are nonexistent" part.

Of course we raise things with valuable, unique niches. It would be absolutely insane not to. Let's use an example of Emerald Rayquaza. It's hard to argue against the statement that nothing is more efficient than to grab Rayquaza and smash the rest of the game - there is no "better alternative" to Rayquaza's sheer combat ability from Juan to Wallace. That would be why Rayquaza is ranked so highly, it would make no sense to not raise its ranking due to a lack of better alternatives.

Even if we look at the statement in an abstract sense, it's bizarre. Saying that it's not right to raise something because there are no better alternatives is comparable to saying that we shouldn't raise the best of something above the worst alternatives. That's kind of contrary to the purpose behind tier lists.
Okay, this post is not trying to change the tiering of anything. There apparently is something I don't understand and I want to have it clarified and have my questions answered before doing anything else ingame-tiering-related.
I didn't really get what you said about Rayquaza. I see Rayquaza as very different from Tropius. Rayquaza has a very unique niche in Emerald runs. However, outside that niche, Rayquaza is still one of the best Pokemon in the whole game and almost as good as the S-tiers, as it can solo a significant part of the game with maybe only one HM slave for team support. Tropius, on the other hand, does a few things and does them well. Specifically, of all the Pokemon that can be obtained before Fortree City and can learn fly, Tropius is the only one that can learn more than 2 other HMs. While this is a pretty important necessity for anyone not using Swellow, Tropius still can't do much else and "requires significant team support" to work. What I think is a similar case is Manectric, which is probably the single best Pokemon in the game for sweeping everything on the long sea routes. It's often even better than Grovyle/Sceptile, as more of their water Pokemon are neutral to grass than neutral to electric. However, as WaterBomb pointed out earlier, Manectric isn't quite as helpful in other parts of the game. I think Tropius and Manectric have pretty similar situations, and Tropius isn't the single best HM slave in the game for the same reason why Manectric isn't on the same tier as more consistent things, like Abra or Taillow. Am I making sense? Is this really more fair of a comparison? Also, the example given in the OP said that Corphish shouldn't be E tier just because it's outclassed by Carvanha. Shouldn't the opposite be true too? If stuff like Wingull, Magikarp, and Marill didn't exist and Corphish was the only bulky water in the whole game, then it wouldn't go up to B tier just because there were no better alternatives and people were forced to use it to get past certain boss fights, right?
 
Fact of the matter is that Tropius is capable of contributing as an attacking HM slave solely off of fly better than marill can ever hope to, don't know why you brought up huge power double-edge when you're using all four moveslots for your hms
 
Fact of the matter is that Tropius is capable of contributing as an attacking HM slave solely off of fly better than marill can ever hope to, don't know why you brought up huge power double-edge when you're using all four moveslots for your hms
You want to use Pokemon to fight while all four of their moves are HMs? I always thought that was a waste of experience and not a good idea. Experience points are a valuable resource in playthroughs and should be reserved for only the best Pokemon that will return the most from the investment. (and even if HM slaves were used for battling huge power-boosted strengths are pretty strong too)
 

A

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I finally got to finishing my Emerald run, and with that in mind and after asking Merrit (i'm that test runner), I'm here to make this nomination. I'll also be posting another one soon, but let's focus on this for now.

to B
(Emerald Makuhita/Hariyama)

Hariyama is honestly one of my go-tos in Gen 3 runs, but that's besides the point, let's go over why Hariyama is worthy of B rank. To start off, its experience group makes it so it's extremely easy to level and only drags on during the late-game, to where you should be ready to finish the run at that point. It contributes extremely well to nearly every major battle that exists, and thanks to the accessibility of Bulk Up, can more often than not facilitate its own sweeps. Thick Fat and Guts are also quite handy abilities for these. While "moving last" seems to be a huge issue here, Vital Throw is a really strong STAB move early on and Hariyama isn't too terribly slow to attack normally with Strength/Arm Thrust in the meantime. Its power spike is pretty early and remains relevant even through the late-game.

Is this Pokemon strong enough to OHKO or 2HKO a fair chunk of the game?: Yes, it is, and again, it can facilitate its own sweep thanks to Bulk Up, only really needing like 1 healing item or so during the important battles. Speaking of which, let's highlight these now. (And since you're generally not going to be running more than 1 Fighting-type, Bulk Up is an uncontested TM that Makuhita slots in and becomes a staple the moment you get it. It's really good.)

Does this Pokemon require a bit of item reliance in sweeping?: Only in major battles, and it's not bothering enough to the point where you're burning too many to overly hinder Hariyama's success.

Flaws: Vital Throw makes you go last and that's your main STAB move for the most part, poor healing efficiency with HP restoration items due to really high HP pool.


Gym Battles
Roxanne:
Not available.
Brawly: Arguably one of the hardest fights for most if not all available Pokemon at the time except for Taillow and Ralts, you pretty much take out Meditite and that's it.
Wattson: Bulk Up thrashes Wattson's squad and Mane's not strong enough to 2HKO you with Shock Wave.
Flannery: Does alright if you're guts and can still sweep, but Thick Fat can absorb even Sun boosted Overheats without too much repercussion, and Bulk Up makes the dream work.
Norman: Bulk Up into Vital Throw beats Norman quite well, you can even use BU vs Drum Linoone, +6 normal attack only does 40% ish or so, you KO, and now you're also going to survive Slaking's hit, but you can go unboosted and just click Vital Throw here.
Winona: Not the best, but can actually still perform a semi-sweep by using Pelipper as setup fodder, you could fully commit to it but it'd take say about 2 healing items, generally you don't want to use Hariyama vs this anyway but it is plausible thanks to Bulk Up allowing you to tank Aerial Aces.
Tate and Liza: No.
Juan: If you've kept Vital Throw (you should really keep it up until this point, or maybe Sydney if you don't want to get pranked by Double Team. After beating Juan, you can freely pick up Brick Break as the consistent replacement.), Your bulk is massive and turns Luvdisc into setup fodder, you'd only need one healing item max. Vital Throw also prevents Kingdra's Double Team from ever becoming an issue. Sweeps inbound.

Elite 4 + Champion

Sydney: 1 Bulk Up into Brick Break seals the game, Hariyama is bulky enough to eat 2 Extrasensories from Shiftry if he rolls that, the odds are heavily in your favor.
Phoebe: A sweep is possible here actually, but requires a bit of maneuvering and if you're willing to give Hariyama the Earthquake TM. If you're Thick Fat, equip either Lum or Rawst Berry, if you're Guts, then you don't have to worry at all. Get rid of Dusclops 1 and bait Dusclops 2 in, Dusclops 2 becomes absolute setup fodder. Your bulk is good enough to contest vs the remaining Banette + Sableye, and Guts ignores the attack drop from Will-o-Wisp, while Rawst Berry cures the burn and lets your sweep go through as normal by spamming Earthquake after a few boosts.
Glacia: Aside from Flannery, this is where Thick Fat really shines. (Guts is doable, but Thick Fat is highly recommended as it reliably sweeps Glacia aside from Walrein.) Use Bulk Up vs Sealeo 1, it will generally go for Hail. Brick Break then proceeds to stomp face all aside from Walrein, which may get lucky and roll Sheer Cold and hit. (A/N: My actual battle here was quick claw Hariyama outpacing Sealeo 1, and Brick Break destroyed everything except Walrein, which got a really lucky Sheer Cold 1st roll into OHKO. Still managed, of course.)
Drake: Shelgon 1 does pitiful damage and you can use it as setup fodder, to the point where Aerial Ace from Altaria does nothing, but Salamence's Dragon Claws can sting quite a fair bit, but you can indeed sweep.
Wallace: Whiscash can be used as setup fodder and you can attempt to take out a good chunk of the mons, but things like Leech Seed (and or Double Team) Ludicolo, Toxic Milotic/Toxic Tentacruel can make life difficult for a full sweep, as well as Wailord's Water Spout hurting way too much. However, if you want to commit to a full Hariyama sweep, attack Wailord and manipulate its HP to make sure Water Spout does pitiful damage whilst not forcing Wallace to heal. Bulk Up in this case buffers vs Double-Edge and Thick Fat makes Blizzard tickle.

(yes, Hariyama has the potential to solo E4+Wallace aside from Dusclops 1, that's quite impressive.)

All in all, while Hariyama might have its downsides with "muh speed" or having poor healing item efficiency, it's advantages make up for these little nuisances and it should definitely be in B rank.
 
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Fireburn

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I recently completed a run of this game and saw some of the things I used being discussed here. My team was picked by friends and I used Torchic/Lotad/Geodude/Shedinja/Swablu/Voltorb.

Torchic: I disagree with WaterBomb's assessment and I think keeping it S-Rank is fine. I found that using Brawly's Bulk Up TM immediately on Combusken made up for the mid-game issues he described, and I was actually able to use Combusken to solo Flannery and Norman with Bulk Up and a few potions. It does run into some Speed issues against Norman but iirc the Petalburg Mart sells X Speeds so that easily makes up for it. Blaziken's offense is fine on the water routes if given the Return TM from Cozmo, since by the time Lilycove is reached it should definitely have maxed out friendship and 102 BP Return off 120 base Attack is gonna shred Wingull/Tenta lines pretty easily, especially since the majority of the swimmers on the sea routes use NFEs iirc. The only fights I found Blaziken wasn't able to contribute were Tate and Liza, Drake, and Wallace - more or less everything else falls to it.

(Glacia is definitely a plus MU in practice fwiw - Blaziken can set up 1-2 Bulk Ups on her lead Glalie and then Brick Break should KO everything)

I would also argue that RS!Torchic definitely shouldn't drop, since unlike Wallace Blaziken has a great matchup against Steven. and Tate and Liza is much easier to defeat in RS as well.

Lotad: I made the first version of this tier list and I had ranked Lotad highly on it. After using it again I can conclusively say that I didn't know what I was thinking at the time and I profusely apologize. Lotad is pretty bad. It's good early on because of a fast first evolution and a strong matchup against Roxanne, but after that it just sucks sooooooo much afterward since its stuck with Bullet Seed and Nature Power as its only attacking moves until you get the Surf HM and Ice Beam TM after Gym 5. In fact, it doesn't get any Water moves at all until Surf, which prevents it from being able to contribute to Flannery despite being a Water-type. It does improve and become surprisingly workable once it gets Surf and Ice Beam, but then you have to contend with Lombre having pretty bad stats since the Water Stone isn't obtainable until after Gym 7, and being a Grass-type means it can't really contribute well against Winona even if given Ice Beam. Fortunately it does redeem itself as Ludicolo after Dive, since then you can also get Rain Dance TM and run a Swift Swim sweeper set that's pretty effective against Juan and most of the Elite Four. I don't think it's quite bad enough to be D rank but I also don't think its good enough to be C Rank either b/c of how low its offense is between Gyms 2 and 5 (a large segment of the game) - if there was a rank between C and D I would probably put Lotad there.

Geodude (Golem): Golem is good for a very specific segment of the game and that is Gyms 3-6 (having excellent matchups against all of them) and Magma/Aqua Hideout. It falls off hard after Aqua Hideout, maybe it was just me but my Golem was -Speed so I often saw it get outsped and killed by random trainer Water mons it probably shouldn't have died to. It's also not particularly useful in any of the Elite Four matchups, with a special shoutout for being completely useless against Wallace unless you want to try your luck with Quick Claw Explosion. Still, Golem's midgame dominance was nice for my particular team since Lotad was a late bloomer and Combusken sometimes needed backup against birds. It's good against enough of the game to where I think keeping it C Rank is fine, with the caveat that you shouldn't expect too much more out of it post Aqua Hideout.

Nincada (Shedinja): I would actually like to make an argument for Nincada to drop to E Rank. Leveling up Nincada to Level 20 is an incredibly frustrating experience. First, Nincada has no moves stronger than Scratch and Leech Life until L14 (unSTAB) Fury Swipes, and that is all it has until evolution where it learns...Fury Cutter. Smashing. This means that Nincada basically can't 2HKO anything unless its Poochyena, so as a result it kills things very slowly. Secondly, Nincada is in the Erratic EXP group. While Erratic requires the least amount of EXP overall, it requires the most EXP to level in the early levels by far, which means that Nincada kills things really slowly AND levels really slowly. This means that this mon requires an insane amount of grinding early game in the worst EXP group for early level grinding which is very time-consuming. And to add insult to injury, the end result is not worth it at all. Nincada and its evolutions have zero good boss matchups, especially Shedinja because it turns out Fire/Flying/Ghost/Dark/Rock coverage is not hard to come by on bosses in multiple instances. Ninjask AT LEAST has SD and Baton Pass and a Speed stat to redeem itself slightly, Shedinja however is slow and dies to a larger variety of Pokemon than you would expect. I only got use out of it against exactly two Pokemon and that was Juan's and Drake's Kingdras - I probably could have saved hours of my life if I had just Master Balled Rayquaza instead to do the exact same thing.

The only positive thing I can say about Shedinja is that it doesn't really need EXP anymore once it reaches Level 20 - its matchups are so binary that all you really have to do to ensure it wins its sparse winnable matchups is to give it the Toxic TM. However, that doesn't make up for the sheer pain spent grinding it early game only to have next to no payoff later. Using Shedinja is pretty much the exact opposite of efficiency and it needs to go rot in E Rank where it belongs.

I would also argue Ninjask to E Rank for similar reasons, though it does have SD, a Speed stat, >1 HP and later Baton Pass, so Ninjask at least has some team support perks that might make the slog worth it lategame. I don't personally think it is, but since I haven't used Ninjask myself I won't comment further on it.

Swablu: Swablu has a similar problem to Nincada - its in the Erratic EXP group, which means leveling it to Altaria is a huge pain in the butt, though it can at least be immediately TM'd Secret Power and Steel Wing to have some decent moves so its not as much of a painful experience. Swablu's raw offense is fairly mediocre but it can at least 2HKO things its own level with Secret Power/Return once it gets some EXP under its belt, so its an ok route sweeper. Altaria is a significant improvement at least - although its raw offense is still pretty lame, its typing is solid for handling the ocean routes, it has a lot of coverage options through TMs, and it does get the coveted Dragon Dance which gives it sweeping potential against some of the lategame bosses, particularly against Juan and Wallace (it can set up on his Whiscash). Aside from Wallace though its Ice/Dragon weaknesses keep it from being too effective against the Elite Four, and it doesn't have any particularly strong matchups against any other Gyms. Basically, it's ok - it gets the job done but there are better choices. C Rank fits it I think, I personally consider it very slightly below C Rank because its EXP group just sucks so hard when you first get it.

Voltorb: Voltorb was the biggest surprise for me and I'm going to argue for it to rise. It's currently languishing in D Rank but its honestly a lot more useful than that. It is captured at around Level 25-26 in New Mauville after Gym 5 which is fairly close to evolution, and it can be TM'd Thunderbolt immediately and unleashed on the ocean routes around Dewford to efficiently evolve (I assume you're going to visit the Abandoned Ship b/c a free Ice Beam TM is too good to pass up). Electrode statwise is a faster but weaker Manectric, but it still has plenty enough power to slay any fish and birds which there are plenty of after Gym 5. Now Electrode doesn't have any coverage options other than Thief or a lucky Hidden Power, which is somewhat unfortunate, but Manectric doesn't really do much better there with just unSTAB Bite. Where Electrode does shine over Manectric though is the additional support options it gets. Notably, it learns Light Screen and the majority of the remaining bosses after Winona (where Electrode has a great matchup) are primarily special attacking types (esp relevant for Tate and Liza, Juan, Glacia, Drake to an extent, and Wallace), or it can use Explosion so even in a bad matchup it can at least trade its life to kill or put a massive dent in a troublesome foe. I even took out Wallace's Milotic in my run by Exploding on it and then finishing it off with Blaziken. Now granted, Manectric does have more power and 2 Gyms more availability over Electrode - both are pretty significant ngl - but once Voltorb is available I felt that their performance was comparable, and it certainly wasn't the performance I would expect from a D Rank Pokemon.

Another small but important difference is that Voltorb is in the Medium Fast EXP group while Manectric is in the Slow EXP group, so while Voltorb will start off weaker than a leveled Manectric when it becomes available it will catch up pretty fast.

In short, I think Voltorb is worthy of C Rank. It's about as good at being a Thunderbolt machine as Manectric post Gym 5 and the unique options it gets over Manectric allows it to contribute more to matchups where Thunderbolt spam won't carry the day.

tl;dr Keep Torchic in S, Drop Nincada (at least Shedinja) to E, Raise Voltorb to C
 
Nincada (Shedinja): I would actually like to make an argument for Nincada to drop to E Rank. Leveling up Nincada to Level 20 is an incredibly frustrating experience. First, Nincada has no moves stronger than Scratch and Leech Life until L14 (unSTAB) Fury Swipes, and that is all it has until evolution where it learns...Fury Cutter. Smashing. This means that Nincada basically can't 2HKO anything unless its Poochyena, so as a result it kills things very slowly. Secondly, Nincada is in the Erratic EXP group. While Erratic requires the least amount of EXP overall, it requires the most EXP to level in the early levels by far, which means that Nincada kills things really slowly AND levels really slowly. This means that this mon requires an insane amount of grinding early game in the worst EXP group for early level grinding which is very time-consuming. And to add insult to injury, the end result is not worth it at all. Nincada and its evolutions have zero good boss matchups, especially Shedinja because it turns out Fire/Flying/Ghost/Dark/Rock coverage is not hard to come by on bosses in multiple instances. Ninjask AT LEAST has SD and Baton Pass and a Speed stat to redeem itself slightly, Shedinja however is slow and dies to a larger variety of Pokemon than you would expect. I only got use out of it against exactly two Pokemon and that was Juan's and Drake's Kingdras - I probably could have saved hours of my life if I had just Master Balled Rayquaza instead to do the exact same thing.

The only positive thing I can say about Shedinja is that it doesn't really need EXP anymore once it reaches Level 20 - its matchups are so binary that all you really have to do to ensure it wins its sparse winnable matchups is to give it the Toxic TM. However, that doesn't make up for the sheer pain spent grinding it early game only to have next to no payoff later. Using Shedinja is pretty much the exact opposite of efficiency and it needs to go rot in E Rank where it belongs.

tl;dr Keep Torchic in S, Drop Nincada (at least Shedinja) to E, Raise Voltorb to C
First, Nincada isn't really stuck with scratch and leech life; it can learn cut pretty early, which is a small improvement. Also, if you evolve Nincada at exactly level 25, then you get a Shedinja that knows swords dance. Every trainer that has at least one Pokemon that can't hit Shedinja becomes setup fodder for it. Even cut can be pretty strong after using swords dance 3 times.
 

Fireburn

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Cut is a small improvement, forgot about that, but I don't think it turns any 2HKOes into OHKOes or 3HKOes into 2HKOes, its only +10 BP and does not have STAB.

Delaying evolution to SD is an option but Shedinja is a horrible sweeper due to being slower than Golem, forced to rely on weak moves for most of the game, and unable to take a hit from anything with status, Leech Seed, or an SE attack. And there are a lot of things in this game with Flying/Dark coverage or confusion inducing moves. It's completely useless against Team Magma and Team Aqua, for instance.

Waiting until L25 also costs Shedinja one of its actually ok matchups which is against Wattson - it walls his Electrike and Manectric and can be used to either absorb Selfdestruct from Voltorb or force it to use Rollout. It's only other good matchups in major fights are Juan (walls his whole team barring Luvdisc), Drake's Kingdra, and Wallace (walls half his team), and by that point you have Toxic. This is a depressingly low payout considering how long it takes to grind Nincada up to L20 and isn't efficient at all. The few matchups where Shedinja is good do not compensate for its long list of flaws and just how utterly painful it is to grind up Nincada.
 

Merritt

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Cut is a small improvement, forgot about that, but I don't think it turns any 2HKOes into OHKOes or 3HKOes into 2HKOes, its only +10 BP and does not have STAB.

Delaying evolution to SD is an option but Shedinja is a horrible sweeper due to being slower than Golem, forced to rely on weak moves for most of the game, and unable to take a hit from anything with status, Leech Seed, or an SE attack. And there are a lot of things in this game with Flying/Dark coverage or confusion inducing moves. It's completely useless against Team Magma and Team Aqua, for instance.

Waiting until L25 also costs Shedinja one of its actually ok matchups which is against Wattson - it walls his Electrike and Manectric and can be used to either absorb Selfdestruct from Voltorb or force it to use Rollout. It's only other good matchups in major fights are Juan (walls his whole team barring Luvdisc), Drake's Kingdra, and Wallace (walls half his team), and by that point you have Toxic. This is a depressingly low payout considering how long it takes to grind Nincada up to L20 and isn't efficient at all. The few matchups where Shedinja is good do not compensate for its long list of flaws and just how utterly painful it is to grind up Nincada.
Also worth noting about Shedinja is that it's one of the Pokemon who'll force even normal route trainers to switch if their current Pokemon can't touch it and another member of their team can. I admit I'm not an expert on Gen 3's AI, so I can't be sure it'll happen every time, but it's definitely a not-uncommon event. This makes using Shedinja vs even route trainers somewhat unpleasant.

For Shedinja, since its matchups really are so binary, it's very easy to make a list of everything it can and cannot take on for major battles. Starting at Wattson because Nincada's exp group is so painful that getting Shedinja for Rival 2 is unlikely at best in an efficient playthrough.

Wattson: Electrike, Manectric, Magneton has to rely on Supersonic. Since Voltorb is the lead, this is a pretty good matchup overall.
Maxie@Chimney: Nothing :(
Flannery: Nothing :c
Norman: Linoone, Spinda relies on Teeter Dance.
Rival 3: Lombre, Marshtomp. Rather nice if you chose Torchic, really terrible if you chose Mudkip.
Winona: Nothing :C
Maxie@Magma: Mightyena relies on Swagger. Still real bad overall.
Tate&Liza: Lunatone, Xatu relies on Confuse Ray.
Maxie&Tabitha: Both Mightyena rely on Swagger. Don't bother.
Archie@underwater: Both Mightyena and Sharpedo rely on Swagger.
Juan: Entire team, Ludisc (lead) has Sweet Kiss.
Wally: Magneton relies on Supersonic, Gardevoir.
Sidney: Crawdaunt, Shiftry relies on Swagger
Phoebe: Nothing :c
Glacia: Walrein, as long as none of the three Hail users set up Hail.
Drake: Kingdra
Wallace: Wailord, Whiscash, Gyarados.


Wattson: Both Magnemite and Magneton rely on Supersonic. Voltorb isn't the lead here ://///
Chimney: Nothing
Flannery: Nada
Norman: Nothing :(
Rival 3: Marshtomp
Winona: Nothing
Tate&Liza: Lunatone. More feasible than Emerald at least.
Seafloor Cavern: Mightyena and Sharpedo rely on Swagger.
Wallace: Entire team, Luvdisc (lead) has Sweet Kiss
Wally: Magneton relies on Supersonic, Gardevoir.
Sidney: Shiftry relies on Swagger
Phoebe: Nothing
Glacia: Walrein, as long as none of the rest of her team use Hail.
Drake: Altaria
Steven: Aggron, Metagross. Don't let Skarmory set up Spikes.


Condensed version - Shedinja is really nice for Sootopolis, there are entirely too many confusion moves, and RS is vaguely worse off for Shedinja. Shedinja is a decent niche choice if you need a guaranteed win against a small number of Pokemon, but it's definitely not particularly good or efficient and I personally would agree with dropping it.
 
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Condensed version - Shedinja is really nice for Sootopolis, there are entirely too many confusion moves, and RS is vaguely worse off for Shedinja. Shedinja is a decent niche choice if you need a guaranteed win against a small number of Pokemon, but it's definitely not particularly good or efficient and I personally would agree with dropping it.
I'm just pointing out that you can prevent confusion damage by using X speeds and the yellow flute, but I guess it's probably not worth keeping it in D.
By the way, is anybody going to agree or disagree with C tier Voltorb?
 
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Codraroll

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You could also get around confusion using Persim Berries, but you'd have to make sure that the opponent will be KO'd before it could confuse you again. Not a very good plan, I confess, but it's at least a small measure.
 
Just because I can, I have listed all Hoenn Pokemon either wild or used by regular trainers that can't hit Shedinja using their level up movepools. (I didn't count confuse moves or moves learned after level 45) I probably missed a few because there's this one trainer on one of those sea routes that uses it and I forgot the trainer existed.

Zigzagoon Linoone Wurmple Silcoon Cascoon Seedot Shiftry Vigoroth Surskit Abra Nincada Ninjask Magikarp Azurill Delcatty Tentacool Tentacruel Aron Lairon Machop Machoke Machamp Meditite Plusle Minun Magnemite Magneton Volbeat Illumise Sandshrew Sandslash Whiscash Wigglytuff Feebas Staryu Starmie Raichu's pre-evolution Pinsir Clamperl Chinchou Lanturn Luvdisc Horsea Seadra
 
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