Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow In-Game Tier List

By DrumstickGaming, Ryota Mitarai, Xator Nova, and various other contributors.

Introduction

Welcome to the Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow in-game tier list! The goal of this list is to rank every Pokémon in Kanto in one of the six tiers, from S to E, each vaguely determining its viability. The major factor under which each is ranked is efficiency; a Pokémon that is efficient provides faster and easier solutions to major battles, which include Gym Leaders, Elite Four members, and the Champion at the Pokémon League, than ones that are inefficient. Pokémon in higher ranks, such as S and A, are considered very efficient, while those in lower tiers, such as D and E, are considered not very efficient.

Please note that this list is aimed at the Western versions of the games (which have different in-game trades and some mechanical differences from the Japanese ones).

What are the tiers?

There are 6 tiers in this list:

  • S-tier
  • A-tier
  • B-tier
  • C-tier
  • D-tier
  • E-tier

Why is a Pokémon in a certain tier?

Pokémon are ranked under the following five factors:

  • Availability: This is how early a Pokémon becomes available in the game and how hard it is to find (read: encounter rate). Does it require significant backtracking, require HM moves, or just have a low encounter rate? This includes catching Water-types post-Surf.
  • Typing: A Pokémon's typing can be of great importance for an efficient playthrough. How does the Pokémon's typing fare throughout the entire game? If a Pokémon has better typing, it is often considered a higher rank.
  • Stats: A Pokémon's stat distribution is crucial for its success. Does the Pokémon have a stat distribution that complements its movepool and typing? If a Pokémon has a stat distribution that favors both its typing and movepool, it will often be higher on the tier list. In general, a Pokémon with low Speed will often be ranked lower.
  • Movepool: A Pokémon's movepool (both level-up and TM/HM) is crucial. What moves does the Pokémon naturally learn and which ones can it be taught? In general, a Pokémon will rank lower if it's reliant on contested TMs (such as Dig and Body Slam) to perform well. Furthermore, the Hyper Beam TM was not considered for any Pokémon's viability, because the TM takes a lot of money and time to obtain.
  • Major Battles: Major battles consist of Gym Leaders, the Elite Four, and the final battle with the Champion. How does the Pokémon contribute to these battles? A Pokémon that contributes to many major battles will often be ranked higher than those that do not.

What tools is the player allowed to use?

The player is allowed to use almost any legitimate means within the cartridge for completing the game efficiently. The player is only allowed to trade to evolve Pokémon and not to receive outside help otherwise. The player is allowed to use items such as Potions, TMs, and Berries. X items are excluded from this list due to X Accuracy + OHKO moves being outlawed; X Items outside of X Accuracy were excluded for consistency reasons. Keep in mind that items have opportunity costs associated with them and can negatively contribute to a Pokémon's rank if it requires a multitude of items, such as two or more.

Glitches, such as the MissingNo. and Mew ones, were not considered due to their game-breaking natures. The only overworld "glitch" that was explicitly allowed was the one where the starter Pikachu's happiness increases if potions are used on it, even if it's at full health, as it affects only the availability of Bulbasaur in Yellow.

Under what conditions were Pokémon tested?

Every Pokémon was tested and ranked under these additional conditions:

  • In Red and Blue, every Pokémon's level was generally the same as each major opponent's ace Pokémon, with Elite Four levels being between 50 and 54, depending on how many Rare Candies are used on each Pokémon.
  • In Yellow, due to a sudden increase in levels after Erika, most Pokémon's levels were as close to those of major opponents' ace Pokémon as possible. This was typically done by fighting every single route Trainer (including Gym Trainers) that were available before fighting the Gym Leader. However, the Elite Four levels were still between 50 and 54, depending on how many Rare Candies were used.
  • The list assumes a run with four Pokémon. However, it should be noted that a Pokémon performs best if it's used as the only active member in a team, as it can be given any contested TM with no problems and can massively outlevel opponents due to receiving all the Exp. Points other teammates would receive instead.

All Pokémon are ordered alphabetically within a tier. The availability listed in each Pokémon's entry is considered its most optimal one.


The List

S-Tier

The following Pokémon have the highest levels of efficiency. These Pokémon do not come very late, are very good as soon as you obtain them, and OHKO or 2HKO most foes effortlessly.

Abra

Abra
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 24, levels 8, 10, and 12 (RB); Route 5, level 7 (Y)).
  • Typing: Psychic is only resisted by Sabrina and is neutral at worst against the other major opponents.
  • Stats: The Abra line boasts some of the highest Special and Speed stats in all of Gen 1, with less than a handful of Pokémon outspeeding it. The line has a notably high critical hit rate (over 20%) but is physically frail.
  • Movepool: Once Abra evolves into Kadabra at level 16, Confusion is replaced by Psybeam and Psychic at levels 27 and 38, respectively. Recover at level 31 and Reflect at level 42 (or through TM) round out its moveset, with Seismic Toss and Thunder Wave providing situational use.
  • Major Battles: Kadabra and Alakazam excel in almost every major battle with STAB moves alone. There are a few exceptions where they have to use unorthodox tactics, such as against Misty and Sabrina, where Seismic Toss and Thunder Wave are needed. Lance is the line's only true bad matchup, as Hyper Beam hits too hard and his Pokémon are not OHKOed by Psychic, though Reflect and Recover can prove useful there.
  • Additional Comments: Overall, Abra is the most self-sufficient Pokémon in RBY. Unlike most of the Pokédex, it needs very few TMs to sweep the game, very little babying to evolve into Kadabra, and can even overcome rare specially defensive foes with the 30% chance to drop Special provided by Psychic. Even if you cannot evolve Kadabra into Alakazam, it will still perform excellently.

Clefairy

Clefairy
  • Availability: Early-game (Mt. Moon (B1F), level 10 or 12 (RB); or Mt. Moon (B1F), level 9, 11, or 13 (Y)).
  • Typing: Normal gives it a neutral matchup against every major Trainer bar Agatha's Ghost-types and Bruno's Fighting-types.
  • Stats: Clefairy has well rounded stats except for a rather low Speed, but it's enough for most of the game.
  • Movepool: Clefable's level-up movepool is poor, but Clefairy's Sing at level 13 is a decent support move. Clefable has access to STAB moves like Mega Punch and Mega Kick via TMs. It also has access to many special attacks such as Thunderbolt, Psychic, Ice Beam, and Blizzard. Finally, it can learn Thunder Wave and Reflect.
  • Major Battles: Misty's Starmie can be defeated by Mega Punch or Seismic Toss. With STAB moves, Clefairy is capable of OHKOing and 2HKOing a lot of foes, with its special coverage handling everything else.
  • Additional Comments: Clefairy can evolve almost immediately with the Moon Stone available at Mt. Moon. It can also wait until level 13 to learn Sing. Because of this, it requires minimal effort to reach its maximum potential through the whole game.

Drowzee

Drowzee
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 11, level 9, 11, 13, and 15 (RB); Route 11, level 15, 17, and 19 (Y)).
  • Typing: Psychic is only resisted by Sabrina's Pokémon and is neutral at worst against the other major opponents.
  • Stats: The Drowzee line boasts average stats all-around aside from high Special.
  • Movepool: Drowzee starts with Hypnosis and learns Confusion at level 17, which is then replaced by Psychic at level 37. Pound upgrades to Headbutt (at level 24) and possibly to Body Slam / Tri Attack through TMs. Dream Eater via TM can be useful for healing after putting foes to sleep.
  • Major Battles: Drowzee can use Seismic Toss to get past Misty, and Lt. Surge's team is decimated if you have Hypno by that point. Otherwise, Hypno has a good showing in all major battles with its Psychic / Normal coverage. The only slight stumble it faces is the Pokémon League, where its relatively sluggish Speed and average stats hinder it; however, this does not stop it from taking out at least a few Pokémon there.
  • Additional Comments: Other than a tiny slow period before Confusion, Drowzee is a great option for RBY with little TM reliance and helpful access to Hypnosis.

Jynx

Jynx
  • Availability: Mid-game (trade for Poliwhirl (generally caught with Super Rod) in the house next to the Pokémon Center in Cerulean City) (RB).
  • Typing: Ice / Psychic is an outstanding offensive typing, with Ice hitting Dragon-, Flying-, Grass-, and Ground-types and Psychic hitting everything else neutrally aside from other Psychic-types; this means no Pokémon in RBY resists Jynx's STAB type combination.
  • Stats: Base 95 Special and Speed are great for sweeping, but Jynx has poor physical stats and HP.
  • Movepool: Aside from Lovely Kiss for status, Ice Punch at level 31 is Jynx's only notable level-up move, with Blizzard via TM being a more powerful Ice-type STAB. Jynx must be taught Psychic via TM for a secondary STAB move. Bubble Beam and Seismic Toss are other options, albeit unnecessary ones.
  • Major Battles: Jynx decimates most of the available foes with its STAB moves, with Lovely Kiss helping it handle opponents like Blaine and Lorelei, whose teams are not weak to Jynx.
  • Additional Comments: While it comes relatively late and wants a TM for a secondary STAB move, Jynx is ruthlessly effective with trade-boosted experience and tears apart the second half of the game almost single-handedly.

Mr. Mime

Mr. Mime
  • Availability: Early-game (trade an Abra (RB) or a Clefairy (Y) in a house on Route 2).
  • Typing: Psychic is only resisted by Sabrina's team and is neutral at worst against the other major opponents.
  • Stats: Mr. Mime has a good Special and is relatively fast, having a 17.59% chance of landing a critical hit. However, it has low HP and Defense.
  • Movepool: Confusion upgrades to Psychic through TM, and Mr. Mime can also be given the Thunderbolt TM to improve the Lorelei matchup. Thunder Wave + Seismic Toss are Mr. Mime's best way of dealing with other Psychic-types. Support moves include Barrier, Light Screen at level 23, and Substitute at level 47, while Confusion can be kept as a secondary STAB to avoid wasting Psychic's PP.
  • Major Battles: Psychic STAB is excellent for most matchups, with only Psychic-types requiring Thunderbolt or Seismic Toss to be defeated.
  • Additional Comments: Mr. Mime's early accessibility, typing, offensive stats, and trade-boosted experience make it an all-around solid choice for any efficient run of the games.

Nidoran-F

Nidoran-F
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 22, level 3-4 (R); 2-4 (B); or 2 or 4 (Y)).
  • Typing: Outside of worsening the matchup against Misty, Sabrina, and Lorelei, Poison / Ground is excellent because it gives Nidoqueen a type advantage against Lt. Surge, RB Koga, Blaine, and Agatha, while also providing it with a handy immunity to poisoning.
  • Stats: Nidoqueen's stats are all-around good; it can reasonably outspeed most foes and can run mixed sets viably.
  • Movepool: Nidoqueen learns a variety of TMs, with Earthquake and Surf being the only ones that are really needed. Other TMs include Seismic Toss, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, Blizzard, Water Gun, and Bubble Beam. Nidoran-F also learns Double Kick at level 12 in Yellow and Nidoqueen learns Body Slam at level 23.
  • Major Battles: Nidoqueen performs well in most matchups with just Earthquake and Surf, with Misty and Lorelei being the only opponents that really trouble it. In Yellow, it is also good for Brock due to learning Double Kick earlier. Other TMs can ease some matchups for Nidoqueen but are generally not needed for a great performance.
  • Additional Comments: Early accessibility and excellent major battles with just Earthquake and Surf, while also not needing other TMs to perform well, make Nidoran-F one of the best options for an efficient run of RBY. Evolve it with a Moon Stone as soon as possible as Nidorina doesn't learn anything useful by level. In Red and Blue, you can also trade a Nidoran-M or Nidorino for a Nidoran-F or Nidorina in the Underground between Route 5 and 6 and Route 11, respectively. Note that Nidoqueen does not learn Dig in RBY

Nidoran-M

Nidoran-M
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 22, level 2-4 (R); 3-4 (B); or 2 or 4 (Y)).
  • Typing: Outside of worsening the matchup against Misty, Sabrina, and Lorelei, Poison / Ground is excellent because it gives Nidoking a type advantage against Lt. Surge, RB Koga, Blaine, and Agatha, while also providing it with a handy immunity to poisoning.
  • Stats: Nidoking's stats are all-around good; it can reasonably outspeed most foes and can run mixed sets viably.
  • Movepool: Nidoking learns a variety of TMs, with Earthquake and Surf being the only ones that are really needed. Other TMs include Seismic Toss, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, Blizzard, Water Gun, and Bubble Beam. Nidoran-M learns Horn Attack at level 8 and, in Yellow, Double Kick at level 12, and Nidoking learns Thrash at level 23.
  • Major Battles: Nidoking performs well in most matchups with just Earthquake and Surf, with Misty and Lorelei being the only opponents that really trouble it. In Yellow, it is also good for Brock due to learning Double Kick earlier. Other TMs can ease some matchups for Nidoking but are generally not needed for a great performance.
  • Additional Comments: Early accessibility and excellent major battles with just Earthquake and Surf, while also not needing other TMs to perform well, make Nidoran-M one of the best options for an efficient run of RBY. Evolve it with a Moon Stone as soon as possible as Nidorino doesn't learn anything useful by level. Note that Nidoking does not learn Dig in RBY.

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A-Tier

The following Pokémon are also very efficient, but fail to reach the level of S-tier, typically because they come slightly later, do not claim enough OHKOs or 2HKOs, or need a relative amount of time in order to become good.

Articuno

Articuno
  • Availability: Late-game (Seafoam Islands, level 50).
  • Typing: Articuno's Ice / Flying provides good matchups against Giovanni, Bruno, and Lance, with everyone else left save for Blaine being neutral.
  • Stats: Base 125 Special, 100 Defense, and good other stats make Articuno a bulky yet somewhat fast sweeper.
  • Movepool: Articuno starts with Ice Beam and Peck and learns Blizzard at level 51. Fly via HM and Toxic and Bubble Beam via TMs provide other options.
  • Major Battles: Articuno stomps every major battle left save for Blaine and Lorelei due to its high level and almost nothing resisting its Ice STAB moves. Articuno can take out most of Blaine's team (though it's slightly harder in Yellow due to Flamethrower and higher levels) and Fly + Toxic can handle Lorelei if needed. Mimic also has a situational use against Lorelei for its chance to choose Slowbro's Amnesia in order to boost up and muscle through with Aritcuno's Ice STAB moves.
  • Additional Comments: Articuno is a fantastic option for stomping the last third of RBY. Its biggest flaws are the reliance on the Master Ball to be obtained easily and Seafoam Islands being out of the way. Blizzard's 90% accuracy in RBY makes it far more reliable than in later generations, though it does only have 5 PP.

Diglett

Diglett
  • Availability: Early-game (Diglett's Cave, level 15-22).
  • Typing: Ground typing gives Dugtrio an advantage against Lt. Surge, Giovanni, Blaine, and Agatha, while being weak to Misty, Erika, and Lorelei.
  • Stats: A fantastic base 120 Speed and decent base 80 Attack combined with a 23.44% critical hit rate as Dugtrio are good for sweeping, though it is very frail.
  • Movepool: Access to Dig upon capture serves as Dugtrio's main STAB move, with Slash at level 35 providing guaranteed a 99.9% when used. Earthquake is learned naturally at level 47, though it is the same Base Power as Dig in RBY. Rock Slide can be taught via TM.
  • Major Battles: Dugtrio obliterates Lt. Surge and loses to Erika and Lorelei, but is good for almost everyone else, particularly Koga, Blaine, Giovanni, and Agatha.
  • Additional Comments: A level 29 or 31 Dugtrio can be found in Diglett's Cave at a 5% rate (easier with Repel and a level 23+ Pokémon), but aside from the higher level, it performs basically the same as just catching a Diglett (not to mention Dugtrio is hard to catch). Diglett is a low investment Pokémon with its fragility being its biggest flaw.

Doduo

Doduo
  • Availability: Mid-game (Route 16, level 18, 20, or 22 (RB); or 22, 24, or 26 (Y). Requires Cut).
  • Typing: Normal / Flying typing gives Dodrio advantages against Bruno's Fighting-types and Erika, though it is neutral elsewhere save for bad matchups against Lorelei and Rock- / Ground-types.
  • Stats: Dodrio has high Attack and Speed and a 19.53% chance to land critical hits, though its defenses are low.
  • Movepool: Doduo can be taught Fly via HM and Tri Attack via TM is serviceable until learning Drill Peck at level 31. Hyper Beam via TM can prove useful, but Dodrio will need to OHKO with it to not be left vulnerable, and it takes some time to buy the 5,500 coins needed from the Game Corner.
  • Major Battles: Dodrio is great for Erika and Bruno but generally average elsewhere aside from having the Speed to potentially outpace and Drill Peck Agatha's team. Bad for Lorelei and Lance as their Pokémon can take a hit and retaliate for heavy damage.
  • Additional Comments: Dodrio is a great Pokémon, but it will frequently need Hyper Beam as a finishing move endgame.

Eevee (Vaporeon)

Vaporeon
  • Availability: Mid-game (Celadon Mansion top floor as a level 25 Eevee).
  • Typing: Pure Water typing makes Vaporeon good against Blaine and Giovanni, bad for Erika and Lorelei, and neutral everywhere else.
  • Stats: High HP and Special make Vaporeon a great special tank, though its physical stats and Speed are somewhat lacking.
  • Movepool: Bubble Beam via TM helps Vaporeon get by until Surf, with Acid Armor at level 42 (RB) or level 47 (Y) helping against Lance. Otherwise, only Ice Beam (or Blizzard later) via TM are needed to be effective against Erika and Lance.
  • Major Battles: Vaporeon can perform decently against Erika with Ice Beam, but it won't sweep her team. Otherwise, Surf performs well against the remaining Gym Leaders aside from Sabrina, Lorelei, and Agatha (due to their Pokémon with high Special and resistances in Lorelei's case).
  • Additional Comments: A Water Stone to evolve Eevee can immediately be obtained from the Celadon Dept. Store. Due to its ease of use, Vaporeon is one of the best Water-types in RBY.

Gastly

Gastly
  • Availability: Mid-game (Pokémon Tower (3F), level 18-24 (RB) or 18-25 (Y)).
  • Typing: Ghost / Poison typing gives the Gastly line immunities to Normal and Fighting moves as well as Bug, Poison, and Grass resistances, which help against Erika, Koga, and Bruno. Sabrina and Giovanni (in Viridian Gym in Yellow) hit the line super effectively, however.
  • Stats: Fantastic Special and Speed make Haunter and Gengar good special sweepers with a roughly 20% critical hit rate, although their physical stats and HP are very low.
  • Movepool: Haunter and Gengar greatly benefit from the Psychic TM (with Dream Eater as an alternative), though they can also be taught the Thunderbolt and Mega Drain TMs for coverage. Night Shade can also prove useful against foes with high Special occasionally, and Hypnosis at level 29 can put foes to sleep, which works well with Dream Eater at level 38 if needed.
  • Major Battles: Psychic lets Haunter and Gengar decimate Erika, Koga, and Bruno, with Night Shade helping against Sabrina. Giovanni is dealt with through Mega Drain and Psychic, with Mega Drain or Thunderbolt helping against Lorelei. Psychic is useful for Agatha, but Haunter and Gengar are average elsewhere.
  • Additional Comments: Haunter and Gengar are good special sweepers, though they will need a TM or two to be effective. Haunter and Gengar perform roughly the same, though Haunter is slightly more reliant on Hypnosis due to its lower power and bulk. You can Repel trick a Haunter at level 30 (RB) or 29 (Y) on the seventh floor of Pokémon Tower.

Sandshrew

Sandshrew
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 4, level 6, 8, 10, or 12 (B); Route 3, level 8 or 10 (Y)).
  • Typing: Ground typing gives Sandslash advantages against several major battles while only being weak to a few others.
  • Stats: Good physical stats with roughly average HP and Speed make Sandslash a good physical tank, though it must be wary of special moves. Also, Sandslash's 65 base Speed gives Slash a 99.9% chance of landing a critical hit when used.
  • Movepool: Slash at level 17, Dig through TM, and Rock Slide via TM in the Celadon Dept. Store are all Sandslash needs to be effective, though Swords Dance via TM can also help boost the power of its Ground STAB.
  • Major Battles: Loses to Misty, Erika, and Lorelei, but is good for almost everyone else, particularly Lt. Surge, Koga, Blaine, Giovanni, and Agatha.
  • Additional Comments: A combination of an early evolution, minimal investment, and few outright bad matchups make Sandshrew a good choice.

Squirtle (RB)

Squirtle (RB)
  • Availability: Early-game (Pallet Town, starter).
  • Typing: Water typing gives it an edge against Brock, Blaine, and Giovanni, while giving Squirtle a weakness to Lt. Surge and Erika.
  • Stats: Squirtle has good well-rounded stats with an emphasis on Defense.
  • Movepool: Bubble upgrades to Water Gun and then Bubble Beam via TM, with Surf later on via HM. Coverage options in the form of Mega Punch, Dig, and Ice Beam / Blizzard exist, but only an Ice move is really necessary. Seismic Toss helps against Misty while Strength serves as a more accurate Mega Punch replacement.
  • Major Battles: Squirtle does well in most major battles with only Erika, Sabrina, Lorelei, and Agatha giving it trouble. Squirtle has advantages against Brock, Misty, Blaine, Giovanni, Bruno, and Lance in return, performing neutrally elsewhere.
  • Additional Comments: Squirtle is by far the best of the the starters with a self-sufficient movepool, which is only held back by a couple of bad matchups.

Zapdos

Zapdos
  • Availability: Late-game (Power Plant, level 50).
  • Typing: Electric / Flying makes Zapdos good for Lorelei, Bruno, and some of Lance, with everywhere else being neutral matchups. It struggles against Rock- / Ground-types though.
  • Stats: Fantastic Special and Speed and great other stats make Zapdos an extremely competent sweeper with a 19.53% critical hit rate.
  • Movepool: Starts with Drill Peck and Thunder Shock, learning Thunder at level 51. Thunderbolt via TM will be Zapdos's most reliable attack though.
  • Major Battles: Stomps pretty much every major battle left if given Thunderbolt due to its high level of 50 when obtained. Drill Peck handles Sabrina, Agatha, and Bruno's Fighting- types.
  • Additional Comments: Zapdos is a fantastic option for stomping the last third of RBY. However, its biggest flaws are the reliance on the Thunderbolt TM and needing a Master Ball to be obtained quickly.

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B-Tier

The following Pokémon claim a lot of OHKOs or 2HKOs but may experience difficulties contributing efficiently to major fights, mainly due to requiring item assistance or coming fairly late.

Bellsprout

Bellsprout
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 24, level 12-14) (BY).
  • Typing: Bellsprout's Grass / Poison typing is useful against Misty, Lorelei, and Giovanni, while resisting Lt. Surge's team, although it's not helpful against Koga and Agatha.
  • Stats: Bellsprout has good attacking stats and average defenses. Victreebel's base 70 Speed gives Razor Leaf a 99.9% chance of landing a critical hit.
  • Movepool: Vine Whip upgrades to Mega Drain through TMs and then to Razor Leaf at level 38, with Acid at level 29 acting as Poison STAB. Growth helps it sweep with Vine Whip and Mega Drain, while Swords Dance via TMs can be combined with Acid or Body Slam / Double-Edge through TMs. Sleep Powder at level 18 allows Victreebel to set up or attack safely.
  • Major Battles: Bellsprout is excellent against Misty, Lt. Surge, Giovanni, Lorelei, and Bruno. It can also sweep other battles with Sleep Powder and Swords Dance. Agatha is a notoriously bad matchup, however.
  • Additional Comments: It is recommended to refrain from evolving with a Leaf Stone from Celadon City until level 38 to learn Razor Leaf. Victreebel performs great against some of the more difficult opponents like Lorelei and Misty and is useful elsewhere due to Sleep Powder.

Bulbasaur

Bulbasaur
  • Availability: Early-game (Pallet Town, starter (RB); Cerulean City, from Melanie if Pikachu has a friendship of 147 or higher, level 10 (Y)).
  • Typing: Valuable for Brock (RB), Misty, and Lorelei, while also being good for Giovanni and resisting Lt. Surge's Electric-types. However, outside of those, the typing tends to be bad offensively.
  • Stats: Bulbasaur has well-rounded stats with a focus on Special. Venusaur's base 80 Speed gives Razor Leaf a 99.9% chance of landing a critical hit.
  • Movepool: Vine Whip eventually upgrades into Razor Leaf at level 30, with Body Slam or Double-Edge via TM being strongly recommended for Bulbasaur to have a way to deal with Grass-resistant foes. Swords Dance via TM at Silph Co. has some marginal use in helping Bulbasaur sweep with Body Slam.
  • Major Battles: Bulbasaur is good during early-game Gyms, but its usefulness fades afterward, with only Giovanni, Lorelei, and Bruno being favorable matchups later on, though it can also muscle through Erika.
  • Additional Comments: Bulbasaur is very useful for key opponents but, due to its shallow movepool, tends to struggle against many other opponents. Players of Yellow, due to a glitch, can use Potions repeatedly on the starter Pikachu at full health to boost its friendship and thus obtain a Bulbasaur faster.

Charmander

Charmander
  • Availability: Early-game (Pallet Town, starter (RB); Route 24, from Damian, level 10 (Y)).
  • Typing: Fire typing doesn't really provide it with any inherent advantages other than Erika and Koga (Y). Furthermore, it makes Misty and Lorelei harder and Fire typing is also resisted by Brock and Lance.
  • Stats: Well-rounded stats with good speed and decent offenses.
  • Movepool: Ember is the only option until Mega Punch and Dig, which help get the line by until Slash at level 33. Flamethrower at level 46 and Swords Dance via TM are good options, with the latter combining well with Dig or Earthquake.
  • Major Battles: Charmander has a shaky performance before evolving into Charizard; it has to play around Onix's Bide against Brock, needs Dig to beat Lt. Surge, and has an average performance against Erika. Once it evolves into Charizard, it maintains neutral matchups against everyone but Lorelei.
  • Additional Comments: Charmander's problems stem from an underwhelming natural movepool until Slash is learned and largely negligible major battle matchups. However, it performs significantly better from Slash onward.

Eevee (Jolteon)

Jolteon
  • Availability: Mid-game (Celadon Mansion top floor as a level 25 Eevee).
  • Typing: Pure Electric-type makes it good for Lorelei, while being weak to Giovanni's Ground-types and resisted by Erika's Grass-types.
  • Stats: Jolteon has excellent Special and Speed with a 25.39% chance to score a critical hit, but it is frail physically.
  • Movepool: Jolteon must be taught Thunderbolt via TM to do anything of note; its movepool is very barren outside of Reflect via TM. Double Kick and Pin Missile can provide situational uses, with the former being helpful against Rock- / Ground-types and the latter being helpful against Grass- and Psychic-types, respectively.
  • Major Battles: Erika, Giovanni, and Agatha give Jolteon problems, but it has no issues using Thunderbolt against most other foes, particularly against Lorelei. Pin Missile can provide situational use against Sabrina if you are at level 48 in Red and Blue (Jolteon learns it at level 36 in Yellow).
  • Additional Comments: A Thunder Stone to evolve Eevee can immediately be obtained from the Celadon Dept. Store. Jolteon must be taught Thunderbolt via TM to be useful.

Geodude

Geodude
  • Availability: Early-game (Mt. Moon (1F), level 8 (RB only) or 10).
  • Typing: Rock / Ground gives the Geodude line a bad matchup against Misty, Erika, and Lorelei, but a type advantage against Lt. Surge, Koga, Blaine, and Agatha.
  • Stats: Graveler and Golem are excellent physical tanks, but their Special and Speed are lacking.
  • Movepool: Geodude gets STAB via Rock Throw at level 16 and picks up Self-Destruct at level 21 (and Explosion later on at level 43). It requires the Dig TM for Ground STAB to get it by until Earthquake at level 36 and to mitigate Rock Throw's terrible accuracy. The Rock Slide TM mid-game provides a great upgrade to Rock Throw.
  • Major Battles: Graveler and Golem lose to Misty, Erika, and Lorelei, but are great for Lt. Surge and Koga with Dig (except in Yellow, where Koga has the Venonat line) as well as Blaine and Giovanni (save for Viridian Gym in Yellow, where he has Earthquake). Golem has an advantage against Agatha and some of Lance, but it is weak to Bruno's Fighting moves.
  • Additional Comments: While Graveler and Golem have some reliability issues until the mid-game, they are still solid choices for a playthrough in spite of their weaknesses and slight TM reliance for STAB moves.

Hitmonlee

Hitmonlee
  • Availability: Mid-game (Fighting Dojo in Saffron City, level 30).
  • Typing: Fighting-type allows Hitmonlee to be useful against Lorelei but is horrid against Sabrina and is not particularly useful for Koga and Agatha.
  • Stats: Good Attack and Speed allow Hitmonlee to be a good physical sweeper, but any special attack will deal massive damage to it.
  • Movepool: Hitmonlee starts off with Meditate and Double Kick, learning Jump Kick at level 38. Hi Jump Kick at level 48 has a higher 85 Base Power, but with 90% accuracy to compensate. Strength via HM can provide Normal-type coverage, with Body Slam and Double-Edge through TMs being alternatives.
  • Major Battles: Hitmonlee is useful against Giovanni, Lorelei, and Bruno and has an even matchup against Blaine. It can be useful for Sabrina if the AI doesn't use offensive moves. It typically struggles against Agatha and Lance due to them largely resisting Fighting-type.
  • Additional Comments: Crash damage from Jump Kick and Hi Jump Kick only does 1 damage in RBY, so it's not an issue.

Jigglypuff

Jigglypuff
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 3 (RB) or Route 5 (Y), level 3, 5, or 7).
  • Typing: Outside of Agatha's Ghost-types and Bruno's Fighting-types, Normal-type gives Wigglytuff a neutral matchup against every major opponent.
  • Stats: Wigglytuff has incredibly high HP. Its Attack is good for the earlier portions of the game, but falls off later on. Its low Special means that it can only hit hard when it hits super effectively.
  • Movepool: Outside of Sing, its useful movepool is entirely TM-based. It should be taught Mega Punch (which later upgrades to Body Slam or Strength) immediately, because it doesn't learn attacking moves until level 9, and Seismic Toss to handle bulkier foes. Other TMs include Ice Beam, Blizzard, Thunderbolt, Psychic, Water Gun, and Bubble Beam.
  • Major Battles: Wigglytuff handles Misty, Lt. Surge, and most of the Elite Four with Seismic Toss and potentially Sing, with Normal-type STAB dealing with Sabrina and TMs handling the other opponents. As the game goes on, it will need to put more opponents to sleep to compensate for its low stats.
  • Additional Comments: While most of its stats are not very high, Wigglytuff can still perform well against most fights thanks to high HP, Sing, and wide TM learnset. It is also in the Fast experience group, so it is easy to train and can outlevel foes to compensate for its low stats. Jigglypuff should be evolved as soon as possible with a Moon Stone due to not learning anything useful by level.

Machamp (Y)

Machamp (Y)
  • Availability: Mid-game (trade a Cubone for Machoke in the Underground Path between Route 5 and Route 6).
  • Typing: Fighting-type allows the line to be useful against Lorelei, but is terrible against Sabrina and is not particularly useful for Koga.
  • Stats: Machamp has a very high Attack, although its other stats are not particularly notable. Its Speed stat gives its Karate Chop around 78% chance to land a critical hit.
  • Movepool: Machamp's only STAB moves are Low Kick (which it starts with) and Submission through TMs, with the former being preferred due to lack of recoil. Machamp greatly appreciates Rock Slide and Dig or Earthquake through TM. Karate Chop is useful for beating route Trainers without wasting its other moves' PP, but isn't useful for most major fights.
  • Major Battles: With Rock Slide and a Ground TM, the line performs well against Koga, Blaine, and Agatha, while Fighting-type STAB lets it handle Lorelei's and most of Giovanni's Pokémon.
  • Additional Comments: Machamp's biggest flaw is the reliance on TMs to perform greatly, but it is otherwise a strong Pokémon which can be trained easily due to trade-boosted experience. You can also catch a Machop in Rock Tunnel for a slightly earlier availability, but it doesn't provide any notable advantages over the traded one. Note that you receive it as a Machoke from the trade, which then proceeds to evolve.

Magikarp

Magikarp
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 3 Pokémon Center, level 5, from Magikarp salesman for 500 Poké Dollars).
  • Typing: Gyarados's Water / Flying typing leaves it weak to Lt. Surge but neutral to virtually everything else aside from Blaine and Giovanni, whom it has an advantage against.
  • Stats: Great stats all-around as Gyarados, with 125 base Attack and 100 Special standing out. Gyarados's other stats are slightly above average.
  • Movepool: Gyarados gets Bite at level 20 and Dragon Rage at 25. Combined with Bubble Beam via TM, Gyarados beasts through the early-game and mid-game. Surf through HM and Ice Beam and Thunderbolt via TMs really help bolster Gyarados's performance, but the latter two aren't necessarily required, with Hydro Pump (level 41) and Hyper Beam (level 52) being alternatives.
  • Major Battles: Gyarados easily handles Misty with Bite, and high Special and can take out Lt. Surge's non-Raichu Pokémon with Bubble Beam. Gyarados is good for Erika with Dragon Rage or Ice Beam and great for Blaine and Giovanni with Surf. It is generally neutral against the Pokémon League but can overpower Bruno with Surf and take on Lance with Ice Beam.
  • Additional Comments: Magikarp being virtually useless until Gyarados holds it back from being one of the best options in-game, as does its Slow growth rate.

Magnemite (Y)

Magnemite (Y)
  • Availability: Mid-game (Route 10, level 16, 18, 20, or 22).
  • Typing: Electric makes Magneton useful for Lorelei and some of Lance's Pokémon, but makes it useless against Giovanni and not very helpful against Erika.
  • Stats: Magneton has one of the highest Special stats in the whole game. While its other stats are not as high, 95 Defense allows Magneton to be somewhat bulky.
  • Movepool: Magneton is viable only when taught Thunderbolt through TM. Outside of that, it doesn't possess any great offensive moves aside from serviceable options in Double-Edge and Thunder, so it can be taught support moves like Thunder Wave, Toxic, and Reflect through TMs.
  • Major Battles: Magneton performs very well against Lorelei and reasonably well against any other foe that does not resist Electric, though Pokémon with high Special such as Gengar and Alakazam tend to avoid 2HKOs from it.
  • Additional Comments: Magneton is a strong Pokémon that can beat most neutral targets easily. Its biggest flaw is its shallow movepool, making it useless against any Pokémon that resists Electric.

Mankey (Y)

Mankey (Y)
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 22, level 3 or 5).
  • Typing: Fighting typing lets Mankey be useful against Brock and Lorelei, but is terrible against Sabrina and is not particularly useful for Koga.
  • Stats: Primeape is fast and has a high Attack, though it's not very bulky. Both Mankey and Primeape have a 99.9% chance of landing a critical hit with Karate Chop.
  • Movepool: Scratch upgrades to Karate Chop at level 15. Primeape's best Fighting-type STAB is Low Kick at level 9. It performs best with Dig and also appreciates the Rock Slide and Seismic Toss TMs.
  • Major Battles: Mankey is one of the only Pokémon that can quickly beat Brock in Yellow. In addition, it beats Lt. Surge just with Karate Chop and is good against Lorelei thanks to Low Kick, while Dig lets it handle Blaine and Agatha. Rock Slide helps against Koga.
  • Additional Comments: Mankey is a useful Pokémon in some very key matchups. However, it needs the Dig TM to achieve its best performance, although it's a solid team member if it gets access to it.

Pikachu (RB)

Pikachu (RB)
  • Availability: Early-game (Viridian Forest, level 3 or 5).
  • Typing: Electric typing is useful for Misty and Lorelei, though rather useless against Brock, Erika, and Giovanni.
  • Stats: Raichu is very fast, having a 19.58% chance of landing a critical hit. Its Attack and Special are also good, though Raichu is frail physically.
  • Movepool: Thunder Shock upgrades to Thunderbolt through TM. Pikachu also learns Thunder Wave at level 9. Its coverage is rather poor, with the only viable alternatives being Seismic Toss and Body Slam or Double-Edge through TMs.
  • Major Battles: Pikachu is useful against Misty's Starmie (despite not beating it) by paralyzing it and then weakening it with Thunder Shock. It can also beat Lt. Surge's Raichu with a combination of Thunder Wave and Seismic Toss. After it learns Thunderbolt via TM, it performs well against most opponents that don't resist Electric-type moves, with Thunder Wave helping against special walls like Alakazam and Gengar.
  • Additional Comments: Raichu is a handy Pokémon that can contribute in many fights by defeating opponents with Thunderbolt or spreading paralysis. However, Electric typing tends to be resisted quite often, and Raichu doesn't possess the means to get past resistant opponents efficiently. Evolve Pikachu with a Thunder Stone immediately as it does not learn any useful moves by level at that point.

Seel

Seel
  • Availability: Late-game (trade a Ponyta (RB) or Growlithe (Y) in Cinnabar Island's Pokémon Lab).
  • Typing: Water typing makes the line useful against Blaine and Giovanni, while Ice typing gives it a valuable advantage against Lance. However, Water / Ice typing is not particularly useful against Lorelei.
  • Stats: Dewgong's stats are good for the most part, though none of them are particularly high, with the highest being its 95 Special. However, it can easily outlevel opponents with trade-boosted experience to compensate for that.
  • Movepool: Dewgong mainly uses Surf and Ice Beam or Blizzard through TMs. Strength is its best option against special attackers. Its fourth move can be a secondary STAB move, such as Aurora Beam at level 35 or Bubble Beam through TMs, in order to not waste the stronger moves' PP.
  • Major Battles: Dewgong easily beats Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno, while STAB Ice Beam or Blizzard handle Lance with little issue. It can also perform reasonably well against Sabrina with Strength.
  • Additional Comments: While Seel comes rather late, it makes up for that with its trade-boosted experience and Water / Ice typing, which gives it an easy matchup against Lance. Players of Yellow will receive it directly as a Dewgong (instead of a Seel) upon performing the in-game trade.

Snorlax

Snorlax
  • Availability: Mid-game (Routes 12 and 16, level 30, must use Poké Flute to wake up).
  • Typing: Outside of Agatha's Ghost-types and Bruno's Fighting-types, Normal typing gives Snorlax a neutral matchup against every major opponent.
  • Stats: Massive HP and great Attack let Snorlax serve as a good tank, though its defenses are average and its Speed is among Kanto's slowest.
  • Movepool: Starts with Amnesia, Rest, and Headbutt, picking up Body Slam at level 35 for a reliable STAB move with paralysis potential (useful with how slow Snorlax is). Notably, Snorlax gets Double-Edge at level 48 (and Hyper Beam later) naturally or through TMs. Snorlax can make some use of several special moves and Earthquake though TMs, especially when the former is combined with the use of Amnesia.
  • Major Battles: Snorlax generally performs well in major battles, 2HKOing most threats with Body Slam. Even Bruno only has Hitmonlee and Machamp with a few Fighting-type moves that they might not even use. Earthquake makes Snorlax good for Agatha, and Amnesia + Ice-type moves work well against Lance (notably, Snorlax is only 3HKOed by Hyper Beam unless it is used by Dragonite, which 2HKOs with it).
  • Additional Comments: Snorlax is a great Normal-type, but its sluggish speed and vulnerability to secondary effects inhibits it to generally picking off a few threats in major battles rather than outright sweeping teams. Rest + Poké Flute (or items) can remedy this, but they make battles take even longer, exacerbating the speed issue.

Spearow

Spearow
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 22, level 3 or 5 (RB) or level 2, 4, or 6 (Y)).
  • Typing: Flying typing is useful against Erika, Koga (Y), and Bruno's Fighting-types, with Normal typing giving it a neutral matchup almost everywhere else. However, the typing is bad against Brock, Lt. Surge, and Lorelei.
  • Stats: Fearow is rather fast, having a 19.53% chance of landing a critical hit. Its Attack is also rather good, though Fearow is not very bulky.
  • Movepool: Spearow starts off with Peck, which upgrades to Drill Peck at level 34 as Fearow. Its Normal-type STAB is Fury Attack at level 15 and later Double-Edge through TM. As Fearow lacks coverage, its other moves could be support ones, like Leer, Growl, or Fly.
  • Major Battles: Fearow performs well against Erika, Koga, Bruno's Fighting-types, and Agatha with its Flying-type STAB. Normal-type STAB lets it handle Sabrina easily. Against the rest, it can either easily KO frail threats or support teammates with Growl and Leer.
  • Additional Comments: Spearow comes early and is useful in many matchups. However, it is virtually useless against Rock-type Pokémon and struggles against bulkier physical threats unless it's hitting them super effectively.

Squirtle (Y)

Squirtle (Y)
  • Availability: Mid-game (from Officer Jenny in Vermillion City after beating Lt. Surge, level 10).
  • Typing: Water typing gives Squirtle an edge against Blaine and Giovanni, while giving it a weakness to Erika.
  • Stats: Squirtle has good well-rounded stats with an emphasis on Defense.
  • Movepool: Squirtle starts with Water Gun or Bubble Beam through TMs, both of which upgrade to Surf later on via HM. Coverage options in the form of Mega Punch, Dig, and Ice Beam / Blizzard exist, but only an Ice-type move is really necessary. Strength serves as a more accurate Mega Punch replacement.
  • Major Battles: Squirtle performs well against Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno. It is also useful against Lance with Ice Beam or Blizzard (though it may require healing) and for Koga as long as it avoids Sleep Powder. It generally struggles in other matchups, though it can take out some Pokémon if it has the appropriate move.
  • Additional Comments: Squirtle's biggest issues are that it doesn't come very early, unlike in RB, and that it comes very underleveled, so it has to be heavily invested in to become useful. Outside of that, it is useful in a number of matchups and also provides useful HM utility.

Staryu

Staryu
  • Availability: Mid-game (Route 19, level 15 (RB) or level 20 (Y)) (Super Rod).
  • Typing: Water typing gives it a type advantage against Blaine and Giovanni, while Psychic typing makes it useful against Koga, Bruno, and Agatha.
  • Stats: Starmie's high base 115 Speed (which gives it a 22.46% of landing a critical hit) combines well with its good base 100 Special. Its only particularly low stat is base 60 HP.
  • Movepool: Starmie's movepool is entirely TM-based, with options like Surf, Psychic, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, and Blizzard. The more TMs it has access to, the more good matchups it will have.
  • Major Battles: Starmie can handle virtually every single opponent that it can face if it has the correct TMs; Thunderbolt handles Lorelei, Ice TMs handle Lance, and Surf and Psychic handle the rest. Sabrina is the only major opponent that is not weak to any of Starmie's moves.
  • Additional Comments: Staryu is a notable Water-type due to its large TM learnset. However, the earlier Staryu comes underleveled and is a hassle to grind. You can also catch Staryu at Seafoam Islands at a higher level (level varies per game, floor, and method of encounter), though it misses out on the Koga matchup and will still be at a lower level than your team in most cases. Evolve it with a Water Stone immediately.

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C-tier

The following Pokémon are not great but have a couple of positive traits that prevent them from being outright bad. These Pokémon will take some time to beat foes due to failing to OHKO or 2HKO them.

Eevee (Flareon)

Flareon
  • Availability: Mid-game (Celadon Mansion top floor as a level 25 Eevee).
  • Typing: Fire isn't really useful anywhere outside of Koga (Y) but doesn't saddle Flareon with outright bad matchups either, outside of Lance.
  • Stats: Flareon's offensive stats are very high, with Flareon possessing one of the highest Attack stats in the whole game. However, it is not very fast or physically bulky.
  • Movepool: Flareon's movepool is rather poor, as it doesn't get many useful moves to take advantage of either of its offensive stats. Its physical options include Body Slam and Double-Edge through TMs, while special options include Fire Spin at level 36 (Y) or 44 (RB), Flamethrower at level 52 (Y) or 54 (RB), and Fire Blast through TMs.
  • Major Battles: Flareon is particularly good at KOing frail targets with a physical move, with bulkier threats being put in KO range with Fire Spin. Its Flamethrower and Fire Blast can also pick off KOs at the Pokémon League.
  • Additional Comments: Despite the great offensive stats, Flareon's performance is hindered by its poor movepool and Speed. Evolve Eevee with a Fire Stone immediately, as it doesn't learn anything useful by level.

Exeggcute

Exeggcute
  • Availability: Mid-game (Safari Zone, level 23-27 (RB); 22-26 (Y)).
  • Typing: Psychic is useful against Poison-types and only resisted by other Psychic-types. Grass is good against Giovanni and Lorelei.
  • Stats: Exeggutor has excellent Special and well-rounded stats everywhere else except Speed.
  • Movepool: Exeggcute joins with Hypnosis and Reflect and can learn Leech Seed at level 28, which can be combined with the Toxic TM. Exeggutor doesn't learn much leveling up, but it's compatible with the Strength HM, the Psychic TM, and the Mega Drain TM.
  • Major Battles: Exeggutor defeats Koga, Bruno, and Agatha easily with Psychic and can hit Sabrina with Strength. It can also target Lorelei with the Mega Drain TM.
  • Additional Comments: Evolve Exeggcute with a Leaf Stone at level 28 after learning Leech Seed. Exeggutor's optimal performance relies on the Psychic TM. Without it, it struggles to defeat enemies efficiently, but it can still cheese through battles with Hypnosis or Toxic + Leech Seed. The Slow leveling rate worsens the amount of time that Exeggcute needs to catch up.

Farfetch'd (RB)

Farfetch'd (RB)
  • Availability: Early-game (trade a Spearow in a house in Vermillion City).
  • Typing: Normal / Flying gives it a good matchup against Erika and Bruno's Fighting-types but worsens the matchup against Lt. Surge and Lorelei.
  • Stats: Farfetch'd's stats are rather low and quickly fall off, though traded experience can help it outlevel foes to compensate for that. Its Speed stat gives its Slash around a 93% chance to land a critical hit.
  • Movepool: Farfetch'd greatly appreciates the Body Slam TM in order to hit hard immediately, with Fury Attack at level 15, Double-Edge through TMs, and Slash at level 39 being other alternatives. Swords Dance and Agility at levels 23 and 31, respectively, help it sweep, with the former combining well with all STAB moves bar Slash. Farfetch'd can also make a good HM slave, as it learns both Cut and Fly.
  • Major Battles: Farfetch'd generally needs to set up with Swords Dance and potentially Agility in order to sweep any team. This is unreliable at the Pokémon League, as its low bulk makes it hard to set up consistently. Farfetch'd can also just pick off frail targets with Slash critical hits.
  • Additional Comments: Farfetch'd can make a great HM slave and also is easy to train due to traded experience. However, due to its low stats, it is forced to rely on setup against every major opponent and is generally not useful for the Pokémon League.

Goldeen

Goldeen
  • Availability: Mid-game (Fuchsia City, level 23 (RB); Route 24, level 30 (Y)) (Super Rod).
  • Typing: Water provides it with a good matchup against Blaine and Giovanni but isn't too useful elsewhere.
  • Stats: Seaking's stats are all-around okay but not particularly high. It can run mixed sets with reasonable effectiveness.
  • Movepool: Seaking mostly uses Surf and Ice Beam or Blizzard through TMs, though it can be given the Double-Edge TM for physical coverage. Waterfall at level 39 can help preserve Surf PP.
  • Major Battles: Outside of Blaine and Giovanni, Seaking also handles Bruno easily. An Ice-type move helps against Lance and it also has a good matchup against Sabrina with Double-Edge.
  • Additional Comments: Goldeen can contribute to some matchups thanks to its Water typing and ability to run mixed sets, though it generally doesn't stand out from other Water-types.

Growlithe (R)

Growlithe (RB)
  • Availability: Mid-game (Route 7, level 18 or 20).
  • Typing: Fire typing, outside of giving it a good matchup for Erika, is pretty neutral almost everywhere else outside of Lance, who Arcanine is bad against.
  • Stats: Arcanine's stats are all-around good, with it most notably having a high Attack and being relatively fast.
  • Movepool: The line relies entirely on Ember and TMs, as the only useful level-up move Growlithe learns, Flamethrower, comes at level 50. Arcanine's best options from TMs are Body Slam, Double-Edge, Dig, and Fire Blast.
  • Major Battles: Arcanine performs the best if it knows Dig, as it can beat Koga, Blaine, and Agatha with it. It also performs well against Sabrina, and its Fire Blast can easily pick off KOs at the Pokémon League.
  • Additional Comments: Growlithe is very reliant on the Dig TM, and its viability drops significantly if it doesn't get it. Evolve it with a Fire Stone immediately, as waiting for Flamethrower at level 50 is not worth it.

Horsea

Horsea
  • Availability: Mid-game (Route 19, level 15 (RB); Route 12, level 20 or 25 (Y)) (Super Rod).
  • Typing: Water gives it an advantage against Bruno and Giovanni and neutral matchups elsewhere, bar Erika and Lorelei.
  • Stats: Seadra's stats are mostly good, as it's able to outspeed many foes and hit them rather hard, though its HP is low.
  • Movepool: Seadra's movepool primarily consists of Surf and Ice Beam or Blizzard through TMs and Hydro Pump at level 52. It can also use Smokescreen to cripple foes.
  • Major Battles: Seadra beats Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno with Surf, while Lance can be handled with an Ice-type TM. Erika's team can also be weakened with Ice Beam, though the line isn't doing much there anyway.
  • Additional Comments: Horsea contributes mainly with its Water typing and good stats, though it's rather useless in many matchups. Players of Red and Blue can catch it directly as Seadra on Route 23 after obtaining the Rainbow Badge, with players of Red also being able to catch it at a higher level at the Seafoam Islands with the help of Repels. Players of Yellow can also reel in a Seadra at level 25 or 35, though at a 30% encounter rate.

Kabuto

Kabuto
  • Availability: Late-game (revive the Dome Fossil at Cinnabar Island's Pokémon Lab, level 30).
  • Typing: Water is useful for Blaine and Giovanni and is neutral everywhere else, except against Lorelei. Kabuto's Rock typing is useless, as the line does not learn any Rock-type moves.
  • Stats: Kabutops has a high Attack and is relatively fast, giving Slash a 99.9% chance of landing a critical hit. However, its base 70 Special is not very high, so it will struggle to hit hard with Water-type moves.
  • Movepool: Kabutops's best STAB move is Surf, which can be combined with Ice Beam or Blizzard through TMs. It can also sweep teams with Swords Dance and Double-Edge through TMs. Slash at level 39 allows the line to beat route Trainers rather quickly.
  • Major Battles: Kabutops performs well against Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno, with Swords Dance and Double-Edge allowing it to sweep the other major opponents except Agatha. It can also be useful against Lance with an Ice-type TM.
  • Additional Comments: Kabuto comes rather late, though it can take on more foes than most Water-types if it takes the time to set up Swords Dance, even if it will have to heal often if using Double-Edge.

Kangaskhan

Kangaskhan
  • Availability: Mid-game (Safari Zone, Central Area (East), level 25 (RB); Area 2, level 28 or 33 (Y)).
  • Typing: Normal gives Kangaskhan neutral matchups everywhere bar Agatha's Ghost-types and Bruno's Fighting-types.
  • Stats: Kangaskhan has relatively good Attack and Speed coupled with good Defense and HP. However, its Special is low.
  • Movepool: Kangaskhan's best STAB move is Strength through HMs. Useful TMs include Earthquake, Rock Slide, Seismic Toss, and Surf to handle Rock / Ground type Pokémon. It also learns other special TMs like Ice Beam, Blizzard, Thunderbolt, and Fire Blast, though all have only situational uses due to Kangaskhan's lacking Special.
  • Major Battles: Up until the Elite Four, Kangaskhan is able to reasonably OHKO or 2HKO most foes that take neutral damage from its STAB moves, with physical coverage improving matchups when it hits super effectively. At the Pokémon League, it will generally OHKO or 2HKO Pokémon with super effective Rock Slide or Earthquake.
  • Additional Comments: Kangaskhan is a strong Pokémon that can learn many useful moves, but it is hard to both find and catch. However, in Yellow, its encounter rate in Area 2 is slightly higher, being 15%.

Krabby

Krabby
  • Availability: Mid-game (Vermillion City, level 15 (RB); Route 10, level 25, caught as Kingler (Y)) (Super Rod).
  • Typing: Water makes Krabby useful against Blaine and Giovanni but is not good against Erika, Lorelei, and Lance.
  • Stats: Kingler has one of the highest Attack stats in the entire game, although its low Special prevents it from using STAB moves effectively. Its HP is also very low, though its Defense is high. Its base 75 Speed gives Crabhammer a 99.9% chance of landing a critical hit.
  • Movepool: The line's most notable move is Crabhammer at level 42, which is the only STAB move that Kingler can hit hard with. It can also sweep with Swords Dance and Strength through TMs. Surf and Ice Beam or Blizzard can be taught via TMs, though Kingler doesn't use them well.
  • Major Battles: Kingler is good for Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno just with Crabhammer. Sabrina can be handled with Strength as long as you are not outsped or hit constantly. The other matchups bar Agatha can be swept with Swords Dance and Strength.
  • Additional Comments: Due to its low Special, Kingler cannot put most of its moves to great use, so it has to rely on setup to perform well against major opponents that are not weak to Water. Players of Blue and Yellow can also catch Krabby or Kingler at a higher level at the Seafoam Islands, but it might still need grinding for levels. Players of Red and Blue can also fish for Kingler on Route 23 after obtaining the Rainbow Badge.

Lapras

Lapras
  • Availability: Mid-game (from an NPC on Silph Co.'s 7th floor after defeating your rival, level 15).
  • Typing: Water makes it useful for Blaine and Giovanni, while Ice makes it good for Lance. Its typing is not very useful against Lorelei.
  • Stats: Lapras is very bulky due to its 135 HP and also has relatively good Special. However, it is not very fast, so it will be outsped sometimes.
  • Movepool: Lapras uses Surf from HM and Ice Beam at level 38. Sing at level 16 allows it to beat foes it wouldn't be able to beat otherwise. Lapras can also be taught Thunderbolt and Psychic through TMs, with the former improving the matchup against Lorelei. Body Slam at level 25 provides a physical attack.
  • Major Battles: Lapras handles Blaine, Giovanni, Bruno, and Lance with just STAB moves. Sabrina can also be handled to some extent with Body Slam, while Lorelei is a good matchup with Thunderbolt.
  • Additional Comments: Lapras is a strong Pokémon with a good movepool, but it comes very underleveled and is a hassle to train due to its Slow growth rate. Furthermore, because you need to have enough route Trainers left to fight so Lapras can be trained efficiently, you may have to fight your rival at Silph Co. as soon as possible to obtain Lapras earlier.

Machop (RB)

Machop (RB)
  • Availability: Mid-game (Rock Tunnel, level 15 or 17).
  • Typing: Fighting allows the line to be useful against Lorelei but is terrible against Sabrina and is not particularly useful for Koga.
  • Stats: The line's only notable stat is their Attack, which is particularly high for Machoke and excellent as Machamp. Machoke and Machamp's Speed give their Karate Chop around a 70% and 78% chance to land a critical hit, respectively.
  • Movepool: The line's only STAB moves are Low Kick at level 20 and Submission through TMs, with the former being preferred. The line greatly appreciates Rock Slide, Dig, or Earthquake through TM. Karate Chop is useful for beating route Trainers without wasting other moves' PP, but it isn't useful for most major fights.
  • Major Battles: With Rock Slide and a Ground-type TM, the line performs well against Koga, Blaine, and Agatha, while a STAB move lets it handle Lorelei and most of Giovanni's Pokémon. It can also beat Lance's Dragon-types, as they will always use Agility or Barrier against it.
  • Additional Comments: Machop comes rather underleveled and weak, so it takes some effort to evolve it. Furthermore, its evolutions perform strongly only when taught the correct TMs. Machoke and Machamp have a similar performance, so even if you cannot trade to evolve, you won't generally miss out on too much.

Magnemite (RB)

Magnemite (RB)
  • Availability: Late-game (Power Plant, level 21 or 23).
  • Typing: Electric makes Magneton useful for Lorelei and some of Lance's Pokémon but makes it useless against Giovanni.
  • Stats: Magneton has a very high Special Attack. While its other stats are not as high, 95 Defense allows Magneton to be somewhat bulky.
  • Movepool: Magneton is viable only when taught Thunderbolt through TMs. Outside of that, it doesn't possess any great offensive moves, so it can either be taught support moves like Thunder Wave, Toxic, and Reflect through TMs or moves with situational use, such as Double-Edge and Thunder, through TMs.
  • Major Battles: Magneton performs excellently against Lorelei and well against opponents that don't resist Electric, though Pokémon with high Special tend to avoid 2HKOs from it.
  • Additional Comments: Magnemite can beat many neutral foes easily with its high Special and Thunderbolt, but it comes rather late and has a shallow movepool. You can also catch it as Magneton at level 32 or 35 at a 10% encounter rate, so Repels are recommended.

Mankey (R)

Mankey (R)
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 5, level 10, 12, 14, or 16).
  • Typing: Fighting lets Mankey be useful against Lorelei, but it is terrible against Sabrina and is not particularly useful for Koga.
  • Stats: Primeape is fast and has a high Attack; however, it's not very bulky. Both Mankey and Primeape have a 99.9% of landing a critical hit with Karate Chop.
  • Movepool: Scratch upgrades to Karate Chop at level 15. Primeape's only STAB move is Submission through TMs. It performs best with Dig through TMs and also appreciates the Rock Slide and Seismic Toss TMs.
  • Major Battles: If taught Dig, the line performs well against Lt. Surge, Koga, Blaine, and Agatha, with Rock Slide or Submission helping against Lorelei. Blaine can also be handled by Rock Slide.
  • Additional Comments: Mankey can perform well in most fights but is reliant on the Dig TM to do so.

Meowth

Meowth
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 5, level 10, 12, 14, or 16) (B).
  • Typing: Normal is neutral against everything except against Agatha's Ghost-types. It also fears Fighting-type moves from Bruno.
  • Stats: Persian's high 115 Speed gives it a 22.46% chance of landing a critical hit and provides Slash with a 99.9% chance of landing a critical hit as well. The other stats are not particularly high and fall off at the Pokémon League.
  • Movepool: Its STAB moves are Bite at level 12, Body Slam or Double-Edge through TMs, and Slash at level 51. Pay Day at level 17 is a good way to earn extra money. Coverage includes Water Gun or Bubble Beam and Thunderbolt through TMs, though only a Water-type move is really needed.
  • Major Battles: Persian rarely sweeps and is instead better off outspeeding and KOing frailer threats, though it can perform good against Lorelei with Slash. It also performs well against Giovanni with Bubble Beam or Water Gun.
  • Additional Comments: Meowth's biggest contributions are its ability to generate extra money and the ability to outspeed and KO frail Pokémon.

Oddish

Oddish
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 24, level 12-14) (RY).
  • Typing: Grass is useful against Misty, Giovanni, and Lorelei and resists Electric-type moves from Lt. Surge, although it's not helpful against Koga and Agatha.
  • Stats: Vileplume has well-rounded stats except for its lackluster 50 Speed.
  • Movepool: Absorb and Sleep Powder carry Oddish to Acid at level 24 and Mega Drain through TMs later on. Vileplume can learn the Swords Dance TM to sweep teams. The Body Slam and Double-Edge TMs are superior alternatives to Acid.
  • Major Battles: Oddish is excellent against Misty, Lt. Surge, Giovanni, Lorelei, and Bruno. It can also sweep other battles with Sleep Powder and Swords Dance. Agatha is a notoriously bad matchup, however.
  • Additional Comments: It is recommended to evolve Gloom immediately with a Leaf Stone due to lacking useful level-up moves. Oddish relies on Sleep Powder often, though Swords Dance helps its sweeping prowess.

Omanyte

Omanyte
  • Availability: Late-game (revive the Helix Fossil at the Pokémon Lab on Cinnabar Island, level 30).
  • Typing: Water gives it a type advantage against Blaine and Giovanni but is resisted by Lorelei. Its Rock typing does not have offensive use, as the line does not learn any Rock-type moves.
  • Stats: Omastar has great Defense and Special, but is very slow.
  • Movepool: Omastar mostly uses Surf and Ice Beam / Blizzard through TMs. Other notable moves include Hydro Pump at level 49 and TMs like Reflect and Toxic.
  • Major Battles: Omastar performs well against Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno, with Ice Beam or Blizzard helping it against Lance. The other opponents have Pokémon with high Special and thus withstand Omastar's attacks.
  • Additional Comments: Omanyte is strong, but the late arrival and the abundance of specially bulky Pokémon in the late-game hold it back.

Poliwag

Poliwag
  • Availability: Mid-game (Celadon City, level 23 (RB); Route 23, level 30 or 40 (Y)) (Super Rod, reeled in as Poliwhirl).
  • Typing: Water makes Poliwrath useful against Blaine and Giovanni, while Fighting gives it a better matchup against Lorelei. Its typing is not particularly good for Sabrina and Lance.
  • Stats: Most of Poliwrath's stats are okay, but its Special is not particularly high unboosted.
  • Movepool: Poliwrath mainly uses Surf and Ice Beam or Blizzard, with Submission through TMs being its only Fighting-type STAB move. Poliwhirl learns Hypnosis at level 16 and Amnesia at level 41, which help it sweep foes.
  • Major Battles: Poliwrath easily beats Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno and can also contribute against Erika and Lance with Ice Beam. However, it will often need Amnesia boosts and sometimes Hypnosis in order to achieve a sweep.
  • Additional Comments: Poliwrath is very reliant on Amnesia boosts to perform well in most fights. In Yellow, you can fish on Route 23 after defeating Erika, though you could potentially fish at Route 22 for an earlier, but underleveled, Poliwhirl. Also note that level 40 Poliwhirl are rather uncommon, so it may take you some time to find one. Evolve it with a Water Stone at level 41 after learning Amnesia.

Psyduck (RB)

Psyduck (RB)
  • Availability: Mid-game (Route 24, level 15) (Super Rod).
  • Typing: Water allows Psyduck to perform well against Blaine and Giovanni but it is average elsewhere.
  • Stats: Golduck's stats are balanced, with the highest being its 95 Special.
  • Movepool: Golduck relies on Surf and Ice Beam or Blizzard through TMs. It can be taught Dig and Seismic Toss through TMs for coverage.
  • Major Battles: Golduck beats Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno reliably. It can handle Lance as well as Erika with an Ice-type TM. It can also contribute against Agatha if it knows Dig.
  • Additional Comments: Psyduck is rather weak and comes underleveled. Golduck can also be caught at the Seafoam Islands later at a higher level.

Rattata

Rattata
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 1, level 2-4).
  • Typing: Normal is useless against Brock and Agatha's Ghost-types and is weak to Bruno's Fighting-type moves, but it is neutral elsewhere.
  • Stats: Rattata is a fast Pokémon with a 18.95% chance of landing a critical hit, and a decent 81 Attack stat. However, its stats fall off later on, and its Special is low.
  • Movepool: Rattata's Tackle upgrades to Hyper Fang at level 14 and later to Body Slam or Double-Edge through TMs. Super Fang at level 41 can be useful to halve a foe's HP. Raticate greatly appreciates the Dig TM to improve some matchups and Water Gun or Bubble Beam to quickly KO Rock-type Pokémon.
  • Major Battles: Rattata performs well in the early-game, being able to contribute against Brock with Tail Whip and sweep Misty and Lt. Surge. After that, Raticate starts to drop in terms of viability and is generally limited to KOing frail threats unless it's taught Dig, which allows it to perform well against RB Koga, Blaine, and Agatha.
  • Additional Comments: While Raticate starts off strong, it eventually falls off due to its unimpressive stats and is reliant on the Dig TM to maintain viability throughout the game.

Rhyhorn

Rhyhorn
  • Availability: Mid-game (Safari Zone, Central Area (hub) (RB) or Area 2 (Y), level 25).
  • Typing: Rock / Ground is useful for Koga, Blaine, and Agatha while being outright bad only against Erika and Lorelei.
  • Stats: The line hits hard and is bulky physically but is slow and is vulnerable to special attacks.
  • Movepool: The line greatly appreciates Rock Slide and Dig or Earthquake through TMs. It can also be taught Surf (as a Rhydon) and Strength for coverage and HM utility.
  • Major Battles: Other than Koga, Blaine, and Agatha, Rhydon is also useful against Giovanni, Bruno, and Sabrina, but fears super effective coverage from Giovanni and Bruno and Sabrina's special attacks. It can also contribute against Lance, though his team in Yellow possesses more super effective moves that threaten Rhydon.
  • Additional Comments: Rhyhorn can contribute to many fights with its powerful attacks, but it levels up slowly and evolves late. In Yellow, you can also obtain a Rhydon from an in-game trade at the Pokémon Lab in Cinnabar Island for a Golduck, though it skips the Koga matchup, and you either have to train a Psyduck or catch an underleveled Golduck.

Shellder

Shellder
  • Availability: Mid-game (Vermillion City, level 15 (RB); Route 18, level 20, 30, or 40 (Y)) (Super Rod).
  • Typing: Water makes the line good against Blaine and Giovanni, while Ice gives it a type advantage against Lance. Its typing is useless against Lorelei.
  • Stats: Cloyster has an okay Special and a really high Defense, which are balanced out by low HP. 70 Speed lets it outspeed most foes.
  • Movepool: The only notable level-up moves Shellder learns are Clamp at level 23, which can slowly weaken a foe, and Aurora Beam at level 30. Outside of those, Cloyster learns Surf and Ice Beam or Blizzard (as well as Selfdestruct and Explosion) through TMs.
  • Major Battles: It beats Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno easily with Water-type STAB moves, while Lance falls to Ice-type moves. With Clamp, Cloyster can slowly take out other foes with high Special.
  • Additional Comments: Shellder has a great typing, but it levels up slowly and often comes underleveled. However, players of Red and Blue can catch it later at the Seafoam Islands at a higher level. While players of Yellow can get it at level 40, those are rather uncommon. Evolve with a Water Stone either at level 23 after learning Clamp, or at level 30 after learning Aurora Beam if you are not planning on teaching it an Ice-type TM move.

Slowpoke (RB)

Slowpoke (RB)
  • Availability: Mid-game (Route 23, level 23, caught as Slowbro) (Super Rod).
  • Typing: Water makes it useful against Blaine and Giovanni, while Psychic gives it a type advantage against Koga, Bruno, and Agatha.
  • Stats: Slowbro is a bulky Pokémon that is very slow and generally needs Amnesia boosts to hit hard with its 80 Special.
  • Movepool: Slowbro's offensive options are Surf, Psychic, and Ice Beam or Blizzard through TMs. Amnesia at level 44 allows it to sweep foes in neutral matchups.
  • Major Battles: Slowbro handles Koga, Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno reliably. With Psychic, it can also help against Agatha if it doesn't get crippled by status moves and it can help against Lance with an Ice-type TM.
  • Additional Comments: Slowpoke comes underleveled and is hard to train due to its Slow growth rate. It is reliant on Amnesia boosts to OHKO many opponents, and its low Speed makes it get worn down easily. Slowbro can also be caught at a higher level at the Seafoam Islands via Repels.

Tauros

Tauros
  • Availability: Mid-game (Safari Zone, Area 3, level 26 (RB); level 21 (Y)).
  • Typing: Normal gives Tauros neutral matchups everywhere bar Agatha's Ghost-types and Bruno's Fighting-types.
  • Stats: Great Attack and Defense combined with an incredible 110 Speed make Tauros a speedy physical tank with average HP and Special.
  • Movepool: Tauros starts with its only decent natural STAB move in Stomp. TMs are where Tauros shines, with Body Slam or Strength being good STAB moves that can be complimented by Earthquake, a combination that hits everything neutrally. Thunderbolt and Ice Beam or Blizzard are also decent options due to Tauros's passable Special.
  • Major Battles: Tauros generally uses Body Slam to 2HKO foes in major battles, being good for Sabrina as well as Blaine, Giovanni, and Agatha if you teach it Earthquake. It is neutral elsewhere save for Bruno unless you give it Thunderbolt for Lorelei and Ice Beam or Blizzard for Lance.
  • Additional Comments: Tauros is one of the best Normal-types, but its sheer rarity combined with Safari Zone mechanics make it only a decent choice overall. Note that, in Yellow, Tauros has a slightly higher 10% encounter rate in all areas it is found in (in RB, the highest is 4% in Area 3).

Tentacool

Tentacool
  • Availability: Mid-game (Viridian City (level 15) (RB); Vermillion City (Super Rod, level 10, 15, or 20) (Y)).
  • Typing: Water / Poison makes Tentacruel good for Blaine and Giovanni, though it makes it weak against Sabrina and awkward for Lorelei.
  • Stats: Great HP and Speed combined with a beefy 120 Special make Tentacruel a special sweeper with a critical hit rate of 19.53%. However, its physical stats are low.
  • Movepool: Any level 15 Tentacool already has Wrap as well as Acid and can be taught Surf via HM. Barrier at level 35 can bolster Tentacruel's Defense, while Hydro Pump can deal heavy, albeit inaccurate, damage if desired. Mega Drain, Ice Beam, and Blizzard can be taught through TMs.
  • Major Battles: Tentacruel can be good for Erika with Ice Beam and ride Surf to victory against Koga, Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno. Sabrina, Lorelei, and Agatha will be somewhat difficult due to their Pokémon's special bulk, but Lance is easily handled with either Ice Beam or Blizzard.
  • Additional Comments: Tentacool is a great Water-type, but it typically coming underleveled knocks its viability down. The Tentacool on Route 21 can come as high as level 40 in RB and 30 in Yellow but are very rare even with Repel.

Voltorb (RB)

Voltorb (RB)
  • Availability: Mid-game (Route 10, level 14, 16, or 17).
  • Typing: Electric gives Voltorb a good matchup against Lorelei and a neutral matchup everywhere else bar Erika and Giovanni.
  • Stats: Electrode is the fastest Pokémon in the entire game and has a 27.34% chance of landing a critical hit, though most of its other stats are average.
  • Movepool: The line is heavily reliant on the Thunderbolt TM for optimal performance. Outside of that, it doesn't have much other than Selfdestruct and Explosion at levels 27 (as Voltorb) and 50 (as Electrode), respectively. However, it generally has to weaken the target first to KO it with either. Support moves like Thunder Wave and Toxic can be taught through TMs.
  • Major Battles: Electrode performs well against Lorelei and Bruno's Fighting-types and can KO Lance's Gyarados and Aerodactyl. Outside of that, it can generally beat targets without Special bulk, but it is virtually useless against Pokémon that resist Electric-type moves.
  • Additional Comments: Voltorb's biggest contribution is its great matchup against Lorelei. Although its offensive stats are not high, they are compensated for by its high chance of landing a critical hit. You can also obtain it as an Electrode at level 43 at the Power Plant by picking up one of the fake item balls, at the cost of a later arrival.

Vulpix

Vulpix
  • Availability: Mid-game (Route 7, level 18 or 20 (B); buy at Rocket Game Corner for 1000 coins, level 18 (Y)).
  • Typing: Outside of a type advantage against Erika and Koga (Y), Fire doesn't give it good matchups, with Lance notably resisting it.
  • Stats: Ninetales is fast, having a 19.53% chance of landing a critical hit. It also has a great Special, but its other stats are lacking.
  • Movepool: Vulpix has to struggle with Ember until it learns Flamethrower at level 35. It also learns Confuse Ray at level 28. As a Ninetales, it appreciates the Dig TM to improve some matchups, and Fire Blast through TMs is a stronger Fire-type STAB move.
  • Major Battles: It struggles as a Vulpix against anything, though its performance improves a lot once it learns Flamethrower and evolves. It can perform well against most foes that do not resist Flamethrower, with Dig giving it a better matchup against Blaine and Agatha.
  • Additional Comments: While Ninetales is a good Pokémon, you have to put up with the bad Vulpix period in order to use it effectively. While you could evolve it with a Fire Stone immediately, Ninetales would have no reliable and powerful STAB move this way. You also have to spare the Dig TM for it so it can have some better matchups.

Weedle

Weedle
  • Availability: Early-game (Viridian Forest, level 3-5 (R) or level 3 (B)).
  • Typing: Bug / Poison makes it good for Misty, Erika, Koga, and Giovanni's Poison-types. It's risky for Sabrina and neutral elsewhere.
  • Stats: Beedrill's HP, Attack, and Speed are all roughly average, with its Defense and Special being poor.
  • Movepool: Beedrill struggles with Poison Sting and later Fury Attack until it learns its main STAB move in Twineedle at level 20 (to which Pin Missile can serve as an alternative at level 32). Agility at level 35 and Swords Dance via TM help Beedrill sweep, with Double-Edge serving as Normal-type coverage.
  • Major Battles: Beedrill loses to Brock but sweeps Misty and Erika easily while being okay for Lt. Surge. Beedrill loses to Blaine, but is good for Koga and Sabrina if it can set up, though it must be wary of Psychic-type moves from the latter. While being decent for Giovanni's Poison-types, it will generally struggle to set up at the Pokémon League due to lacking stats.
  • Additional Comments: Beedrill is the only Bug-type with proper STAB in Twineedle and is quite good for roughly half the game thanks to the ubiquity of types weak to Bug-type moves. However, it's average ultimately due to its stats falling off and it relying on setup to sweep later on. Weedle is much more common in Red than in Blue.

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D-Tier

The following Pokémon have more negative traits than positive ones, although their positive traits allow them to be somewhat usable. These Pokémon are good only in specific matchups and are generally useless otherwise.

Aerodactyl

Aerodactyl
  • Availability: Late-game (revive from Old Amber at the Pokémon Lab on Cinnabar Island, level 30).
  • Typing: Rock / Flying worsens the matchup against Lorelei, but provides Aerodactyl with a type advantage against Bruno's Fighting-types and a resistance to Blaine's Fire-types. Aerodactyl's Rock typing is also useless offensively, as it learns no Rock-type moves.
  • Stats: Aerodactyl's Speed is one of the fastest Pokémon in the game with a 25.39% chance of landing a critical hit. Aerodactyl also has good 105 Attack, but is not very bulky.
  • Movepool: Aerodactyl's STAB moves consist of Wing Attack and Fly, and later Sky Attack through TMs. Its only usable forms of coverage are Bite at level 38, Fire Blast and Double-Edge through TMs, and Hyper Beam at level 54.
  • Major Battles: Aerodactyl performs well against Sabrina and Blaine. At the Pokémon League, it can OHKO frailer Pokémon with Sky Attack. The other matchups tend to be bad for Aerodactyl due to its limited movepool and low bulk.
  • Additional Comments: Aerodactyl comes rather late and is not particularly useful in most of the remaining fights. Old Amber can be obtained in the backroom of the Pewter Museum of Science, though you need Cut to access the room.

Caterpie

Caterpie
  • Availability: Early-game (Virdian Forest, level 3 (R), 3-5 (B), or 3-6 (Y)).
  • Typing: Bug / Flying is only useful for resisting Erika's Pokémon. It makes Butterfree weak against RB Koga, Lt. Surge, and Blaine and is useless offensively, as Butterfree doesn't learn STAB moves at all.
  • Stats: Butterfree's stats are very high for the early-game, though, as the game goes on, they will start to fall off.
  • Movepool: Butterfree learns Confusion and Sleep Powder at levels 12 and 17, respectively, in RB and at levels 10 and 15, respectively, in Yellow. Confusion upgrades to Psybeam at level 32 (RB) or 34 (Y) or to Psychic through TMs. Mega Drain through TMs provides coverage against Rock-types.
  • Major Battles: With a Psychic-type move, it can beat Brock, Koga, Erika, and Bruno with little difficulty. Brock is especially notable, as, in comparison to most other Pokémon, Butterfree can hit hard with Confusion and play around Bide with Harden. Against the rest, it typically has to put foes to sleep with Sleep Powder and take a lot of time KOing them with Psybeam or Psychic.
  • Additional Comments: Butterfree is good for a few fights, but its low stats force it to put most foes to sleep and slowly take them out.

Chansey

Chansey
  • Availability: Mid-game (Safari Zone, Area 2, level 26 (RB); Central Area (East), level 21 (Y)).
  • Typing: Normal has neutral matchups everywhere save for Agatha and Bruno's Fighting-types (which Chansey would use Psychic for).
  • Stats: Base 250 HP and 105 Special make Chansey the ultimate special tank, though its Speed is low and its physical stats are lacking.
  • Movepool: Chansey's natural learnset isn't really worth mentioning aside from Sing and Light Screen at levels 24 and 48, respectively. However, Chansey has an expansive TM movepool of great special options like Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, and Psychic, with options like Reflect + Softboiled and Thunder Wave also available for utility.
  • Major Battles: Chansey performs well against Koga, Giovanni, Bruno, Agatha, and Lance with Ice Beam and Psychic. Thunderbolt can help for Lorelei as well.
  • Additional Comments: Chansey's 1% or 4% encounter rate, low catch rate, and high reliance on TMs prevent it from being tiered higher, though its Fast growth rate keeps it relevant. Chansey is not a bad Pokémon, but it simply requires too much investment to be effective.

Cubone

Cubone
  • Availability: Mid-game (Pokémon Tower, level 20 (all games) or 22 (RB)).
  • Typing: Ground is useful for RB Koga, Blaine, and Agatha but bad for Erika and Lorelei.
  • Stats: Marowak's stats outside of its 110 Defense are not particularly high; it is rather slow and its 80 Attack isn't that notable.
  • Movepool: Although Cubone starts with Bone Club, it vastly prefers Dig or Earthquake through TMs due to their higher power and accuracy. It also learns Bonemerang at level 48 as Marowak as a replacement, though it comes rather late. As it cannot use special TMs effectively, it is limited to Strength for useful coverage.
  • Major Battles: Marowak is typically useful only against Ground-weak opponents like RB Koga, Blaine, and Agatha and generally struggles to OHKO neutral foes due to its unimpressive Attack.
  • Additional Comments: Despite learning Ground moves by level, they are either weak or come late; thus, Cubone is still reliant on the Ground-type TMs to be useful. In Yellow, Cubone is available from the fifth floor of Pokémon Tower onwards.

Dratini

Dratini
  • Availability: Mid-game (buy at Rocket Game Corner for 2800 coins at level 18 (R) or 4600 coins at level 24 (B); Safari Zone, Central Area (Hub), level 15 (Y) (Super Rod)).
  • Typing: Dragon gives it a bad matchup against Lorelei, though it also resists Grass for Erika. It is useless offensively, since Dragon-type STAB moves do not exist.
  • Stats: Dragonair's stats are average everywhere, with Dratini's stats being abysmal. Dragonite's stats are exceptional, but the line evolves too late to get much use from them.
  • Movepool: Dragonair learns a variety of TMs, such as Surf, Body Slam, Ice Beam, Blizzard, Thunderbolt, and Fire Blast. It can also utilize the combination of Wrap and Thunder Wave or Agility to slowly weaken foes.
  • Major Battles: With Surf, Dratini proves useful for Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno. Ice Beam can also improve the matchup against Erika and Lance. Thunder Wave + Wrap can be used to put foes in range for one of its moves to KO them.
  • Additional Comments: Dratini levels up slowly, is not easy to obtain and performs well only in a few matchups unless you give it contested TMs. In Yellow, you can reel in a level 15 Dragonair (10% encounter rate) in the Safari Zone's Central Area (Hub).

Ekans

Ekans
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 4, level 6, 8, 10, or 12) (R).
  • Typing: Poison only gives it resistances for Erika and Koga and a weakness to Sabrina's Psychic-types. Arbok doesn't learn any STAB moves, making its type offensively useless.
  • Stats: Arbok's Attack and Speed are the only mildly impressive stats it has, though even they fall off later on. It is also fairly weak as Ekans.
  • Movepool: Ekans relies on Leer, Wrap, and Poison Sting until it learns Bite at level 17. Arbok depends on the Dig or Earthquake TM (the former being preferred early on) to perform well. Other useful moves include Glare at level 27 and Mega Drain, Rock Slide, and Strength through TMs.
  • Major Battles: If Arbok knows Dig (or Earthquake later on), it will perform well against Lt. Surge, Koga, Blaine, and Agatha. It also performs well against Giovanni with Mega Drain, Lorelei with Rock Slide, and Lance's Dragon-types because they will always use Barrier or Agility against it.
  • Additional Comments: Arbok is held back by its bad Ekans period, especially pre-Bite. Furthermore, it's reliant on super effective hits to maintain viability later on, so its performance worsens greatly if it's not taught good TMs.

Electabuzz

Electabuzz
  • Availability: Late-game (Power Plant, level 33 or 36) (R).
  • Typing: Electric gives it a good matchup against Lorelei, although it's useless against Giovanni.
  • Stats: Electabuzz has decent offenses and 105 Speed (which gives it a 20.50% chance of landing a critical hit), but its bulk is unimpressive.
  • Movepool: Although Electabuzz learns Thunderpunch at level 42, it is still better to give it the Thunderbolt TM. Outside of those moves, Electabuzz can be taught Psychic, Strength, and Submission through TMs for coverage.
  • Major Battles: Electabuzz is useful against Lorelei, Bruno, and Lance's Gyarados and Aerodactyl. It will generally do fine unless against Ground-types or specially bulky Pokémon like Gengar and Alakazam, though the latter can be handled with Strength.
  • Additional Comments: Electabuzz comes rather late and is not very powerful, though its high critical hit chance can compensate for its unremarkable offensive stats.

Farfetch'd (Y)

Farfetch'd (Y)
  • Availability: Mid-game (Route 11, level 26 or 31).
  • Typing: Normal / Flying gives it a good matchup against Erika, Koga, and Bruno's Fighting-types but worsens the matchup against Lorelei.
  • Stats: Farfetch'd stats are rather low and quicky fall off; thus, it has to rely on setup to compensate for them. Its Speed stat gives its Slash around a 93% chance to land a critical hit.
  • Movepool: Farfetch'd greatly appreciates the Body Slam TM in order to hit hard immediately, with Fury Attack at level 15, Double-Edge through TMs, and Slash at level 39 being alternatives. Swords Dance and Agility at levels 23 and 31, respectively, help it sweep, with the former combining well with all STAB moves bar Slash. Its only Flying-type option is Fly through HM.
  • Major Battles: Farfetch'd generally needs to set up with Swords Dance and potentially Agility in order to sweep any team. This is unreliable at the Pokémon League, as its low bulk makes it hard to set up consistently. Farfetch'd can also just pick off frail targets with Slash critical hits.
  • Additional Comments: Farfetch'd has low stats and, therefore, is unable to perform well anywhere without having to set up. Furthermore, even with setup, it is an unreliable choice against the Elite Four, which further limits its usefulness.

Grimer

Grimer
  • Availability: Late-game (Pokémon Mansion (1F), level 30 (R), 30 or 34 (B), or 26, 29, 32, or 35 (Y)).
  • Typing: Poison is not useful for what is left of the game and gives it weakness against Sabrina and Giovanni.
  • Stats: Muk has high HP and Attack, though it's slow and its Special prevents it from using special TMs effectively.
  • Movepool: Grimer's only STAB move is Sludge at level 37. TM-wise, it can be taught Mega Drain, Thunderbolt, and Fire Blast.
  • Major Battles: Muk is able to take on physically frail targets with Sludge and threats it can hit super effectively with TMs. It is useful against RB Lance, as his Dragon-types will always use Barrier or Agility against it.
  • Additional Comments: Grimer comes late and is not particularly useful for what is left of the game. You can catch it directly as a Muk at a higher level with the help of Repels, though its level and rarity vary per game and floor. Grimer is more common in Blue and Yellow than in Red.

Growlithe (Y)

Growlithe (Y)
  • Availability: Late-game (Pokémon Mansion (1F), level 26, 30, 34, or 38).
  • Typing: Fire does not give Growlithe any advantages at this point of the game and makes it weak against Giovanni. It is also resisted by Lance's Pokémon.
  • Stats: Arcanine's stats are all around good, with it most notably having a high Attack and being relatively fast.
  • Movepool: The line relies entirely on Ember and TMs, as the only useful level-up move Growlithe learns, Flamethrower, comes at level 50. Arcanine's best options from TMs are Body Slam, Double-Edge, Dig, and Fire Blast.
  • Major Battles: Arcanine can perform well against Blaine and Agatha with Dig and also performs well against Sabrina. It can also pick off kills at the Elite Four with Fire Blast.
  • Additional Comments: Growlithe comes late, and the only way for it to be any good is if you kept the Dig TM for Arcanine. Evolve it with a Fire Stone immediately, as waiting for Flamethrower at level 50 is not worth it.

Hitmonchan

Hitmonchan
  • Availability: Mid-game (Fighting Dojo in Saffron City, level 30).
  • Typing: Fighting allows Hitmonchan to be useful against Lorelei, but it is questionable against Sabrina and not useful for Koga and Agatha.
  • Stats: Hitmonchan has good Attack, but its Speed is not very high and its Special is very bad.
  • Movepool: Hitmonchan's optimal moveset comes from TMs. Its only STAB move is Submission, with Strength acting as coverage. Hitmonchan's low Special prevents it from using the elemental punches effectively.
  • Major Battles: Hitmonchan struggles to sweep any fight outside of the first Giovanni battle. It generally contributes by OHKOing frail targets with STAB Submission, though it's also useful against Lorelei.
  • Additional Comments: Hitmonchan struggles to perform well against most fights due to its bad bulk and poor movepool. Its only positive traits are its high starting level, good Lorelei matchup, and ability to OHKO some Pokémon easily.

Koffing

Koffing
  • Availability: Late-game (Pokémon Mansion (1F), level 30 (RB) or 32 (B)).
  • Typing: Poison is not useful for what is left of the game and gives it weaknesses against Sabrina and Giovanni.
  • Stats: Weezing is bulky physically and has 85 Special, but is rather slow.
  • Movepool: Koffing learns Sludge at level 32 and greatly appreciates Thunderbolt and Fire Blast through TMs. Selfdestruct and Explosion at levels 43 and 53, respectively, allow it to weaken foes later on.
  • Major Battles: Weezing performs well against Lorelei and Bruno's Fighting-types with Thunderbolt. Lance's Aerodactyl and Gyarados are handled by Thunderbolt, while his Dragon-types only use Agility or Barrier against it.
  • Additional Comments: Koffing comes late and is reliant on TMs to be useful. You can also catch it directly as a Weezing with the help of Repels, though its level and rarity vary per game and floor. Note that Koffing is more common in Red than in Blue.

Lickitung

Lickitung
  • Availability: Mid-game (trade a Slowbro on Route 18 (RB)).
  • Typing: Normal is neutral almost everywhere, with only Agatha's Ghost-types being immune and Bruno's Fighting-type moves hitting it super effectively.
  • Stats: Lickitung has below-average stats; it is slow, doesn't take hits well, and generally doesn't hit hard unless it has Swords Dance boosts or type advantages.
  • Movepool: Entirely TM-based. Lickitung learns Strength and Earthquake, which can be combined with Swords Dance. It can also be taught Surf for HM utility.
  • Major Battles: In most fights, the only way for it to perform well is to set up Swords Dance, but it is too slow to utilize it effectively.
  • Additional Comments: Despite the boosted experience, Lickitung has difficulties performing well in most major fights due to its below-average stats. In Yellow, Lickitung can only be obtained in Cerulean Cave, making it unavailable for the main game there.

Magmar

Magmar
  • Availability: Late-game (Pokémon Mansion (3F), level 34) (B).
  • Typing: At this point of the game, Fire does not provide it with many advantages, with Magmar losing to Lorelei and being resisted by Lance.
  • Stats: Magmar's stats are largely unimpressive, with its 95 / 85 offenses not helping it for what is left of the game. However, it can outspeed most foes reasonably with its 93 Speed.
  • Movepool: Magmar's Ember upgrades to Fire Punch at level 43, with Flamethrower coming at level 55 if you can reach that level. Fire Blast through TMs also provides more power, while Strength, Psychic, and Submission through TMs provide coverage.
  • Major Battles: Magmar generally doesn't sweep any of the remaining fights, though it can contribute to Sabrina with Strength and handle much of the endgame with a powerful Fire Blast.
  • Additional Comments: Magmar comes late and is not very useful for what is left of the game, despite learning good STAB moves.

Moltres

Moltres
  • Availability: Endgame (Victory Road (2F), level 50).
  • Typing: Fire / Flying provides it with a neutral matchups save for Lorelei, who Moltres is weak against.
  • Stats: Moltres has an incredibly high Special and good other stats. However, they are held back by a lack of EVs.
  • Movepool: Moltres mainly uses Fire Blast and Sky Attack through TMs, with Fire Spin slowly weakening bulky Pokémon.
  • Major Battles: Moltres can take on most Pokémon at the Pokémon League by hitting them with an appropriate STAB move. However, it will need Ethers and Elixirs thanks to the low PP of its primary STAB moves.
  • Additional Comments: While Moltres is very powerful, it doesn't contribute much due to coming extremely late.

Onix

Onix
  • Availability: Mid-game (Rock Tunnel (B1F), level 13 or 17 (RB), or level 14, 18, or 22 (Y)).
  • Typing: Rock / Ground gives Onix a bad matchup against Erika and Lorelei and a type advantage against Koga, Blaine, and Agatha.
  • Stats: Onix greatly appreciates Dig or Earthquake (preferably the former due to its earlier acquisition) and Rock Slide through TMs. Its only other Rock-type move is Rock Throw at level 19. Bind at level 15 can slowly weaken foes.
  • Movepool: Onix greatly appreciates Dig or Earthquake (preferably the former due to its earlier acquisition) and Rock Slide through TMs. Its only other Rock-type move is Rock Throw at level 19. Bind at level 15 can be used to slowly weaken foes.
  • Major Battles: Onix is useful for Koga and Blaine as well as Agatha. It can also defeat Lt. Surge provided you went to the Rock Tunnel before fighting him.. However, don't expect Onix to OHKO its foes in the later portions of the game.
  • Additional Comments: Due to its terrible stats, Onix is useful only in few matchups and needs the Dig TM to become usable immediately.

Paras

Paras
  • Availability: Early-game (Mt. Moon (B2F), level 8 or 12 (RB), level 13 (Y)).
  • Typing: Bug / Grass is an unfortunate typing, only really helping against Misty, Sabrina, and Lorelei, but providing it with three 4x weaknesses.
  • Stats: Parasect has well-rounded stats except for base 30 Speed, which only enables a 49% critical hit chance with Slash.
  • Movepool: Paras joins with Scratch, which upgrades to Body Slam through TMs and later Slash at level 39. It learns Stun Spore and Leech Life at levels 13 and 20, respectively, and Dig through TMs. Swords Dance through TMs combines well with Body Slam and Dig, while Growth at level 41 can combine with the Mega Drain TM. Spore at level 30 allows Paras to safely set up against the foe.
  • Major Battles: Paras has good matchups against Misty and Erika with Leech Life. If given the Dig TM, it is also excellent against Lt. Surge and can face Agatha. If given the Mega Drain TM, it can also target Giovanni and Lorelei. The Swords Dance TM improves every matchup significantly, although Blaine and the rival still give issues.
  • Additional Comments: Spore is Paras's selling point, giving it free turns, but it doesn't work well with Paras's low Speed. Ultimately, Paras requires multiple specific TMs to reach its maximum potential. In Yellow, you can also trade a Tangela on Route 18 to get a Parasect, though that Parasect misses out on its best matchups.

Pidgey

Pidgey
  • Availability: Early-game (Route 1, level 2-5 (RB) or 2-4 (Y)).
  • Typing: Normal / Flying gives it a good matchup against Erika, Koga (Y), and Bruno's Fighting-types. However, it is bad against Brock, Lt. Surge, and Lorelei, as well as any Rock-type Pokémon.
  • Stats: Pidgey and Pidgeotto's stats are not very good, and you are stuck with them for a while due to Pidgeotto's late evolution. Only after it evolves into Pidgeot do the stats become acceptable, though they fall off later on anyways.
  • Movepool: Pidgey's Gust and Quick Attack upgrade to Double-Edge through TMs. For a Flying-type move, it can use Fly through HM and later Sky Attack through TM. It can also be taught support TMs like Reflect and Toxic.
  • Major Battles: The line beats Erika, Koga (Y), and Bruno's Fighting-types just with a Flying-type STAB move. Outside of those, the line generally contributes by KOing frail foes, though it can OHKO some threats at the Pokémon League with Sky Attack.
  • Additional Comments: Despite coming early, Pidgey is limited in its contributions due to its lackluster stats, typing, and movepool. You can also catch it directly as a Pidgeotto in Yellow's Viridian Forest at a 1% encounter rate.

Pinsir

Pinsir
  • Availability: Mid-game (buy at Rocket Game Corner for 2500 coins at level 20 (B) or 6500 coins at level 30 (Y); Safari Zone, Central Area (Hub) at level 23 (B) or Area 3 at level 25 (Y)).
  • Typing: Bug is useless for Pinsir offensively, as it learns no Bug-type moves. Defensively, it gives Pinsir weaknesses against RB Koga and Blaine; however, it also grants a resistance to Giovanni and Bruno's Fighting-types.
  • Stats: Pinsir has one of the highest Attack stats along with good Defense and Speed, though its HP and Special are bad. Its Speed notably gives Slash a 99.9% chance of landing a critical hit.
  • Movepool: Pinsir's only viable offensive moves aside from Slash at level 49 are Strength and Submission through TMs. It can combine the latter two with Swords Dance through TMs to sweep opponents' teams. In Yellow, it also learns Bind at level 21 for gradual trapping damage.
  • Major Battles: Pinsir generally performs well by setting up Swords Dance and then using an appropriate move. Pinsir can damage Agatha's Ghost-types with Seismic Toss.
  • Additional Comments: Pinsir's shallow movepool forces it to rely on setup to sweep any fight. Furthermore, it levels up slowly and is a hassle to obtain.

Pikachu (Y)

Pikachu (Y)
  • Availability: Early-game (Pallet Town, starter).
  • Typing: Pure Electric typing makes it good for Misty and Lorelei but weak to Giovanni's Ground-types and resisted by Erika's Pokémon.
  • Stats: Due to it not being able to evolve in Yellow, Pikachu's below-60 offenses and paper-thin defenses fall off quickly. Its Speed of 90 gives it a 17.59% chance to land a critical hit, though.
  • Movepool: Thunder Shock, Thunder Wave, and Quick Attack get Pikachu by until Thunderbolt at level 26. Body Slam via TM is an upgrade to Quick Attack. Light Screen at level 50 and Seismic Toss through TM are fairly helpful.
  • Major Battles: Good for Misty and Lorelei, but by the time you reach Koga and onward, Pikachu's stats will be too low to do much to evolved foes.
  • Additional Comments: Despite learning Thunderbolt naturally, Pikachu's slightly buffed moveset from RB simply isn't enough to compensate for Pikachu's low stats late-game, and it is by far one of the worst starters of all time.

Ponyta

Ponyta
  • Availability: Late-game (Pokémon Mansion, level 28, 30, 32, or 34) (RB); Mid-game (Route 17, level 28, 30, or 32) (Y).
  • Typing: Fire only gives Ponyta an advantage against Erika and Koga in Yellow, while in RB, it doesn't provide it with any good matchups.
  • Stats: Rapidash is fast and has good Attack along with an okay Special, though its other stats are bad.
  • Movepool: Ponyta's STAB options are Ember, Fire Spin at level 39, and Fire Blast through TMs. Outside of that, its only forms of coverage are Body Slam and Double-Edge via TMs.
  • Major Battles: In Yellow, it can contribute against Erika with Ember and Koga with Fire Spin. In both games, it is useful against Sabrina and is generally good for KOing frail targets or hitting foes hard with Fire Blast later on.
  • Additional Comments: Ponyta is held back greatly by its useless typing and shallow movepool. While it comes earlier in Yellow, it doesn't perform well enough in that game to rise a tier.

Psyduck (Y)

Psyduck (Y)
  • Availability: Late-game (Route 6, level 15 (Psyduck) or 15 or 20 (Golduck)) (Surfing).
  • Typing: Water allows Psyduck to perform well against Blaine and Giovanni but it is average elsewhere.
  • Stats: Golduck's stats are balanced, with the highest being its 95 Special.
  • Movepool: Golduck relies on Surf and Ice Beam or Blizzard through TMs. It can be taught Dig and Seismic Toss through TMs for coverage.
  • Major Battles: Golduck beats Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno reliably. It can handle Lance as well as Erika with an Ice-type TM. It can also contribute against Agatha if it knows Dig.
  • Additional Comments: Psyduck comes late and underleveled, making it inferior to most other Water-types despite its comparable matchups.

Scyther

Scyther
  • Availability: Mid-game (buy at Rocket Game Corner for 5500 coins at level 25 (R) or 6500 coins at level 30 (Y); Safari Zone, Central Area (Hub) at level 23 (R) or Area 2 at level 25 (Y)).
  • Typing: Bug / Flying is useless offensively due to Scyther learning no Bug-type moves and Wing Attack (only learned in Yellow) being unhelpful. Defensively, it gives it an advantage against Erika, Giovanni, and Bruno's Fighting-types as well as weaknesses against Koga and Blaine.
  • Stats: Scyther is strong and fast and has a 99.9% chance of landing a critical hit with Slash, though it's not very bulky.
  • Movepool: Scyther's most optimal moveset consists of Slash at level 29, Double-Edge through TMs, and Swords Dance at level 35. In Yellow, it also learns Wing Attack at level 50.
  • Major Battles: Scyther only performs well by setting up Swords Dance and then using Double-Edge, though it will have to heal sometimes due to recoil. It can also pick off frail targets with Slash, though it's useless against Agatha without Wing Attack.
  • Additional Comments: Scyther has a shallow movepool and is a hassle to get.

Slowpoke (Y)

Slowpoke (Y)
  • Availability: Late-game (Seafoam Islands (1F), level 28 or 30) (walking).
  • Typing: Water makes it useful against Blaine and Giovanni, while Psychic gives it a type advantage against Koga, Bruno, and Agatha.
  • Stats: Slowbro is a bulky Pokémon that is very slow and generally needs Amnesia boosts to hit hard with its 80 Special.
  • Movepool: Slowbro's offensive options are Surf, Psychic, and Ice Beam or Blizzard through TMs. Amnesia at level 44 allows it to sweep foes in neutral matchups.
  • Major Battles: Slowbro handles Koga, Blaine, Giovanni, and Bruno reliably. With Psychic, it can also help against Agatha if it doesn't get crippled by status moves and it can help against Lance with an Ice-type TM.
  • Additional Comments: Slowpoke comes underleveled and is hard to train due to its Slow growth rate. It also needs Amnesia boosts to perform well in many matchups. You can catch it as a Slowbro directly, but it's at a 1% encounter rate and using Repels won't help you.

Tangela

Tangela
  • Availability: Late-game (Cinnabar Island, in-game trade for a Venonat) (RB); Mid-game (Safari Zone, Center Area (Hub), level 22).
  • Typing: Grass is useful against Lorelei and Giovanni but lackluster in other spots.
  • Stats: Tangela has great Defense and good Special but low Attack and Speed. Its lower stats can be mitigated with the trade bonus in Red and Blue.
  • Movepool: Tangela's best STAB moves are Solar Beam and Mega Drain through TMs, which can be combined with Growth at level 48. It can also be taught Swords Dance and Body Slam or Double-Edge through TMs. Sleep Powder at level 39 helps Tangela set up and sweep most foes, albeit inefficently.
  • Major Battles: Tangela works well against Giovanni and Lorelei thanks to Growth. With the Swords Dance TM, Tangela's other matchups improve significantly. Agatha is a notoriously bad matchup without gimmicks like Mimic Dream Eater.
  • Additional Comments: Tangela can contribute in the endgame thanks to Sleep Powder, but it is all around inefficient, as it requires multiple Swords Dance or Growth boosts to sweep.

Venonat

Venonat
  • Availability: Mid-game (Safari Zone, Area 2, level 32, caught as Venomoth) (RB); Early-game (Route 24, level 13 or 16) (Y).
  • Typing: Bug / Poison gives it a type advantage against Erika and RB Koga while resisting Bruno's Fighting-type moves. However, it leaves Venomoth with weaknesses to Sabrina and Blaine, though it also hits the former super effectively.
  • Stats: It is very weak as Venonat, and Venomoth's stats are not very high either, with its highest stats being 90 Special and Speed.
  • Movepool: In Yellow, Venonat has to manage with Tackle, Confusion at level 11, and Leech Life at level 27 until it evolves. It can also be taught Psychic and Mega Drain through TMs, with Psybeam at level 38 being an alternative for the former. Sleep Powder allows Venomoth to cripple foes.
  • Major Battles: Venomoth is good for Erika with Leech Life, while Koga and Bruno are defeated with Psybeam or Psychic. It can contribute against Giovanni with Mega Drain. The other opponents' teams need to be put to sleep as they are problematic otherwise.
  • Additional Comments: Venomoth is not very powerful and relies on sleep in order to beat anything that it doesn't hit super effectively. While Venonat comes earlier in Yellow, its inability to be useful for the earlier fights counterbalances this.

Voltorb (Y)

Voltorb (Y)
  • Availability: Late-game (Power Plant, level 43, caught as an Electrode from fake item balls).
  • Typing: Electric gives Voltorb a good matchup against Lorelei and a neutral matchup everywhere else bar Erika and Giovanni.
  • Stats: Electrode is the fastest Pokémon in the entire game and has a 27.34% chance of landing a critical hit, though most of its other stats are average.
  • Movepool: The line is heavily reliant on the Thunderbolt TM for optimal performance. Outside of that, it doesn't have much other than Selfdestruct and Explosion at level 50. However, it generally has to weaken the target first to KO it with either. Support moves like Thunder Wave and Toxic can be taught through TMs.
  • Major Battles: Electrode performs well against Lorelei and Bruno's Fighting-types and can KO Lance's Gyarados and Aerodactyl. Outside of that, it can generally beat targets without Special bulk, but it is virtually useless against Pokémon that resist Electric-type moves.
  • Additional Comments: Voltorb comes rather late and, due to its unimpressive Special, is not very useful for what is left of the game. However, its high chance of landing a critical hit allows it to maintain some viability against bulkier threats.

Zubat

Zubat
  • Availability: Early-game (Mt. Moon, level 6-11).
  • Typing: Flying / Poison is barely useful offensively but gives resistances against Erika and Koga and weaknesses against Lt. Surge, Sabrina, and Lorelei.
  • Stats: Golbat's stats are all-around fine for most parts of the game but fall off at the Pokémon League. The highest one is Speed at 90.
  • Movepool: Zubat is stuck with Leech Life until it learns Bite at level 15. The only STAB move it learns is 35 BP Wing Attack at level 32 as a Golbat. TM-wise, Mega Drain makes it useful for KOing Rock / Ground-types, while Double-Edge is a stronger alternative to Bite
  • Major Battles: Zubat can beat Misty, Erika, and Bruno reliably. It can also be useful against Koga (Y), although it should watch out for Psychic. In the other fights, Golbat generally struggles to perform well due to its low-power moves and typing.
  • Additional Comments: Zubat is a good Pokémon for a few key fights but tends to be useless elsewhere.

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E-Tier

The following Pokémon have the lowest level of efficiency. They have little-to-no good matchups or their performance does not compensate for the difficulty of obtaining them.

Ditto

Ditto
  • Availability: Mid-game (Route 13, level 25) (RB); Late-game (Pokémon Mansion (B1F), level 12, 18, or 24) (Y).
  • Typing: Normal, then whatever it transforms into. Due to its low Speed, it will generally take a neutral hit before transforming.
  • Stats: Ditto retains its low HP even after transforming, and base 48 stats beforehand don't help it take a hit.
  • Movepool: Transform, then the moveset of whatever it transformed into. This is particularly bad in Red and Blue because Trainers' movesets are level-up based.
  • Major Battles: Ditto is not a reliable Pokémon for any major fight, as it is very likely for it to take heavy damage before transforming, and whatever it transformed into is not likely to be useful against the other Pokémon of the opponent.
  • Additional Comments: Ditto is the single worst Pokémon one can possibly use in Red, Blue, and Yellow, as it is unable to defeat anything reliably.

Porygon

Porygon
  • Availability: Mid-game (buy at Rocket Game Corner for 9999 coins at level 26 (RY) or 6500 coins at level 18 (B)).
  • Typing: Outside of being threatened by Bruno's Fighting-types and being unable to hit Agatha's Ghost-types, its Normal typing gives neutral matchups elsewhere.
  • Stats: Porygon's stats are rather low; thus, it generally relies on super effective moves to hit hard.
  • Movepool: Its best moves come from TMs, which include Tri Attack, Ice Beam, Blizzard, Thunderbolt, and Psychic. Psybeam at level 23 is an alternative to Psychic if the TM is not available to it.
  • Major Battles: Porygon's performance is largely dependent on which TMs it is taught, though Ice Beam and Psychic help the most. At the Pokémon League, due to the foes' superior stats, Porygon will at most take out a few threats with super effective moves.
  • Additional Comments: Porygon takes a lot of time and resources to be obtained and needs contested TMs in order for it to perform acceptably.

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Untiered

The following Pokémon are not legitimately obtainable in any of the three games before beating the Pokémon League or are obtainable only through events.

Mew

Mew

Mewtwo

Mewtwo