Journey Through Isshu Region - Best of In-Game Badasses

By ChouToshio, with help from Aerrow and Coram_Boy. Art by ChouToshio (Roopushin), 360Swampert (Darumakka), and Fatecrashers (Bachuru and Futachimaru).
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"A wild ????? appeared!" This must be going through the minds of many of our readers as they attempt to make their way through the wild grasses of the Isshu Region of Pokémon Black and White. With countless new Pokémon and no familiar faces in sight (not even a Zubat!), it is easy to get lost when putting a team together. This article will cover some of the most useful and easily incorporated Pokémon for the in-game journey. It should prove useful for those looking to speed-run through the story arc, or else simply make their in-game travels easier.

Gotta Start Somewhere

First, let us start with the most obvious point—the starters. Tsutaja, Pokabu and Mijumaru step onto the stage as the fifth generation's Grass-type, Fire-type, and Water-type starting Pokémon. While this article will predominantly focus on exceptional in-game Pokémon, no in-game discussion would be complete without a comparison between starting Pokémon.


Unfortunately, the sleekest looking of the new trio also turns out to be the one with the most problems. Tsutaja, just like its predecessors, is cursed with the worst of the three attacking types, Grass—whose poor coverage and defensive typing has difficulties in the OU metagame as well. Tsutaja is blessed with a useful stat distribution, giving it good bulk and speed that should give its evolution Jaroda great potential for Leech Seed sets in competition, but this is of much lesser value when trying to quickly defeat opponents and progress through the game. Not only does Tsutaja have wanting offensive stats, but it also has an extremely poor in-game movepool. Slam (which Janobii does not even get until level 28) is the only non-grass move it learns of fair Base Power. Its TM move compatibility is also extremely lacking—is incompatible with just about any offensive TM you will find in the early game (except for Grass Knot). It should be noted that Tsutaja does get Growth, which now boosts ATK and Sp.ATK, allowing you to make some fair use of Tackle. Right... Tackle... Tsutaja is definitely the most difficult of the three starters.


Pokabu is a much more solid in-game Pokémon than Tsutaja. Upon reaching level 17, it will evolve and gain a secondary Fighting-type, and the Fighting attack Arm Thrust, giving it much more coverage. Both its offensive and defensive stats are quite adequate for fighting through the in-game journey. Unfortunately, Pokabu is no Chimchar. It does not learn any other (better) Fighting-type moves naturally, missing out on the critical Close Combat. It does however get Grass Knot, which is a very early game TM that adds a lot to Pokabu's coverage.


Mijumaru is probably the best of the three starters in-game. At level 17 it evolves and learns Shell Blade, whose 75 Power and 95 Accuracy can blast through the competition until you pick up the Surf and Waterfall HMs. It also can learn Vengeance, a 70 Base Power Normal-type attack whose TM appears very early in the game. With the awesome power of Water/Normal coverage, Mijumaru and its evolutions will have no trouble breaking the enemies before them, especially with their powerful offensive stats. It also is compatible with Dig and Grass Knot, both extremely early TMs that have great coverage with Water. Revenge, Surf, Waterfall, and Strength all add to an impressive and expansive in-game movepool. Using Mijumaru also means you can use Boappu instead of Yannapu, who suffers many of the same weaknesses as Tsutaja.

The Rest


The three elemental monkeys add a new twist to the in-game. When you reach Sayou City (the first Gym City), head to the north-east, and a girl will ask you what your starter is. Depending on what starting Pokémon you picked, she will give you the monkey that best covers that starter's weakness. This is very useful for beating your rival Cheren in battle in Sayou (who by then will have the super effective advantage over your starter). Sayou City Gym also will use one of the monkeys against you, whichever one is most effective against your starter, and the surrounding grassy area is full of nothing but Normal-types. For all these reasons, picking up one of the monkeys is extremely valuable. They all have excellent speed, fair defenses, and good offensive stats for both physical and special moves. They all also learn Cheer Up, Sayou Gym's TM, which boosts both ATK and Sp.ATK. Hiyappu and Boappu also get Grass Knot, giving them good coverage from the early game with Water/Grass and Fire/Grass respectively. All of them can use Rock Smash and Dig, which offer useful coverage early in the game.

Furthermore, two cities after Sayou, in Hiun City, a man at the pier will give you an elemental stone to evolve your monkey should you desire. They appear early, balance your starter, have great TM compatibility and can be evolved at will—have there ever been more useful in-game Pokémon before?


Dokkora makes its first appearance in Yaguruma Forest (or at the entrance of it), right outside Shippou City, the Normal-type Gym. Not only does it appear at a fairly high level with perfect timing for type match-up, it also already knows Low Kick and learns Rock Throw after just two levels at 16. Rock/Fighting is fantastic coverage even in competitive Pokémon, and is amazing in-game. Furthermore it gets two fantastic abilities in Guts and Encourage. If you have Encourage, you can use a 60 Base Power Rock Smash (base 90 with STAB), which is very useful because of how small and light many in-game opponents are at that point in the game. It also can use Cheer Up, and later learns Bulk Up. It is unfortunate that it cannot use either Thief or Shadow Claw later in the game, but Rock/Fighting coverage carries it throughout pretty much the whole journey.

It eventually learns Rock Slide naturally (it evolves at the relatively early level 25, and its evolutions learn Rock Slide at level 33), as well as Stone Edge in its later levels. Dotekkotsu is more than strong enough to carry you through the in-game, but if you have someone to trade with, you can easily upgrade to Roopushin early on, whose 140 base attack literally smashes all the competition flat.


If you picked Pokabu you'll find great interest in this extremely early-game water type. Otamaru may not look intimidating, but even at its initial capture and early levels it is packing extremely useful and powerful moves (relatively speaking) like BubbleBeam, Sing a Round (giving you Water/Normal coverage), and Mud Shot. Even without HM support, it learns the powerful Muddy Water at level 28 (after evolving at level 25). "Compatible with Grass Knot and Dig, two great early-game TMs" is probably something you will hear many times in this article—but there it is. Two great in-game moves for Otamaru to abuse, especially after becoming a Water/Ground-type upon evolution. A final evolution at level 36 is somewhat undesirable, but it is workable. It might not be a stand out in any area, but its decent defensive and offensive stats will be dependable throughout the game. "Probably outclassed by Swampert" would be its OU prospects, but this gen's mudfish (becomes a toad?) will not disappoint in-game.


Where would this generation be without our little Electric Zebra? While it is unlikely that Zeburaika will be beating out Jolteon for people's favorite fast, electricity-absorbing Electric-type sweeper, in-game Shimama's line is simply fantastic. Shimama makes its first appearance on Route 3, appearing extremely early in the game. Terrific offensive base stats and two fantastic offensive abilities make it a prime choice. Lightingrod and Motor Drive both absorb electric attacks, Lightningrod boosting your Special Attack and Motor Drive boosting your Speed. Shock Wave and Nitro Charge appear early, giving you excellent power and coverage for the early game, not to mention free Speed boosts. Nitro Charge comes in extremely useful in beating many early game Bug- and Grass- types, especially for those players who are using Tsutaja/Hiyappu. It will also be your go-to Pokémon against the many different Flying-types you will face in-game.

I should also note that Shimama/Zeburaika (after its early level 27 evolution) are also very useful for the Electric-type gym. Many Ground-type Pokémon have trouble with Emonga, who is immune to their Ground attacks and can paralyze them with Static should they use contact moves. Zeburaika pretty much shuts the flying squirrel down without lifting a finger. Without its Electric-type attacks, Emonga has no attack more powerful than an un-stabbed un-boosted base 40 Pursuit or Quick Attack. Otherwise, it will likely spam Double Team—useless in the face of Shock Wave, which hits without fail, does not touch (so no Static activation), and hits the Flying/Electric rat hard for neutral damage. Upon defeating the Electric Gym, it gets immediate access to Volt Change— a special Electric-type U-turn sure to make waves on the competitive scene and make for fun plays in-game as well! Discharge and Wild Bolt follow shortly! Zeburaika is definitely a strong support for any in-game team.


Meguroko is markedly a Pokemon with unique in-game uses in Pokemon Black and White Versions. It can be caught in an early stage of the story, lurking in the tall grasses of Route 4 and catchable at levels 15-18. It makes a great addition to any in-game team. If you wish to catch the crocodile a bit later in the game, you can try the Ancient Castle, which comes almost immediately after Route 4 and offers Meguroko up to level 21. The Desert Crocodile Pokemon learns a variety of useful attacks both via level-up and TM, including decent forms of STAB at early levels, namely Assurance/Bite and Dig (TM obtainable very early in the game). It is notable that Dark/Ground is a great stab combo in competitive pokemon as well. As it levels up and evolves, it starts learning more powerful attacks including Crunch, Earthquake, and even Outrage (Warubiaru learns it at level 60). Movepool aside, Meguroku gets terrific abilities. Intimidate not only provides a buffer for Meguroku's average bulk, but also provides utility for its teammates in the form of easier switch-ins. The second ability, Overconfidence, can be very useful when facing an opponent with multiple Pokemon, as it will steadily raise Meguroko's Attack as it faints enemies. Meguroko and its evolutions' decent stat distribution, typing, and nice movepool allows it to be of decent use when facing the gyms that follow its capture, including the Raimon Gym specializing in Electric-type Pokemon—a potential roadblock for Mijimaru users.


Darumakka is also available on Route 4 and in the Resort desert, weighing in its early 20s for level. At the point you catch it, it will already have decent attacking options like Fire Fang and Headbutt, and will almost immediately learn Fire Punch. It also is compatible with some great early game TMs like Grass Knot and Dig, which give it good coverage (admittedly, Grass Knot does piddling damage coming from Darumakka's worse-than-caterpie SpA stat) with Fire and Normal. At level 27 it gets the now 120 Base Power Thrash, and at level 33 gets its hands on the ever-desired Flare Blitz, that premium move of physical Fire. Removing their chance for burn, Encourage makes all its Fire-type attacks obscenely strong (Fire Punch goes up to 168.75, and Flare Blitz becomes significantly more powerful than a STAB Draco Meteor). After it evolves (gaining 140 base attack) and picks up Superpower, it will become a true juggernaut of the team, crushing all who oppose. One mush be wary of its average defenses and speed, but appreciate the raw power it will bring to the party. Bang!


Even battling these in-game will give many players trouble. For a fully-evolved Pokemon, Shinboraa is caught relatively early in the game at the desert Resort. It already has Psybeam, powerful enough to carry it through most of the game with STAB and 103 Special Attack. For in-game, it is fast, strong, tough (and can be tougher while supporting its teammates with screens), and comes ready to go out of the box. Of force it picks up the powerful and useful Fly HM, becoming your personal chauffeur across the whole region. Give this flying Totem Pole a shot and you will not be disappointed.


As you make your way into Electric Rock cave after defeating Yakon, you're sure to come across a Bachuru. While at first glance, the electric spider may seem to be rather weak, it's in fact perfectly suited to the upcoming Flying-type gym and the rest of the game. Its chief benefits come from CompoundEyes—giving it a perfectly accurate Thunder—, a useful typing—it is not weak to any of the upcoming gyms or the Elite Four—, and its wide movepool, which lends it the ability to pull off multiple roles, and can earn it a place on any team. When you first get Bachuru, you will be a fair way through the game, heading towards the sixth gym after defeating Yakon and his Ground-type Pokémon. At this point, you'll be able to equip your Bachuru with several key moves you should have found earlier in the game. The first of these is Volt Change, the prize for defeating Kamitsure, the Electric gym leader. This move has two roles for Bachuru; it compensates for its frailty and gives it a reasonably strong special Electric-type move to use against the upcoming Flying-type gym in Fukiyose City. The next town after that will sell you Thunder, allowing you to use that for STAB and Volt Change for safety. The next trick up Bachuru's sleeve is Signal Beam. Learnt at level 34 (just before it evolves into the even more dangerous Denchura), it provides our spider with a great special STAB to tide it over until it finally learns Bug Buzz at level 60, and will stand it in good stead when you finally reach the Elite Four (two members of which have teams which are weak to Bug-type moves). I would say that these two moves are almost essential on Bachuru; both of them give it the tools to fight in almost any of the battles until you beat the Elite Four without worrying about facing Pokémon that resist both of them.

However, we're able to improvise a bit in the last two move slots, depending on what you want your spider to do. If you want your spider to be an annoyer, handing out status before tagging out to a sweeper, then your first move should be either Thunder Wave or Toxic (with CompoundEyes, both of these moves have 100% accuracy). If you really want to make sure you can cripple your opponent, you can run both—but personally, I'd rather run one of these (in my opinion, Toxic will stand you in good stead) and either Thunder or Light Screen, letting you set up or switch out to a more powerful Pokémon to sweep with. Alternatively, if you want to go all-out offensive, you can run Thunder for your first slot, and either run Poison Jab, Sing a Round, or Charge Beam (if you don't mind the risk of having three electric moves on a single Pokémon. All three of these can be viable; indeed, if you don't plan on switching out, you can replace Volt Change with any one of them to give you even more power. However, it's worth bearing in mind that for all its power, Bachuru and Denchura are still very flimsy, and having a "get out of jail free card" is massively useful to them.

So, there you have it. Using Bachuru can give you a huge advantage in the second half of the game, due to its speed, strength, and perhaps above all its typing. Don't miss out on the unique opportunities that it presents. Give it a try; I can guarantee you won't regret it!


Arguably the best Grass-type pokemon in-game. On one hand, its special attack stat is... the same as Luvdisc's... and it does not get a physical Grass attack until it evolves and reaches level 37. On the other hand, it is the only Grass-type in-game to have good coverage. Thanks to STAB Take Down (or Vengeance to avoid recoil) and Fighting moves in Double-Kick and Jump Kick, it will almost never be floundering for a usable offensive move. While it does not get too many Grass-type attacks, there's always Grass Knot, after all. Speaking of TMs, it also gets Cheer Up, letting it boost its Attack to frightening levels and somewhat rescue its poor Special Attack. Even if you do depend on Grass Knot, it is not a big issue in-game, and STAB Grass/STAB Normal/Fighting coverage is a blessing that Jaroda would die to have (and is a non-issue as soon as you get your hand on Wood Horn). You can catch this cute little deer at reasonable levels on Routes 6 and 7, and can even find its evolution at the Dragon Spiral Tower.


I have talked quite a bit about Pokémon that are found early, but an in-game team also wants to consider Pokémon that appear late at high levels—such that one can progress through the game without trying to inefficiently raise 6 Pokémon at once. The idea is to raise 4-5 and pick up the last members near the end. Kurimugan is excellent in this latter role. It appears at level 30-33 at Dragon Spiral Tower, outside Sekka City (where you need to go anyway to clean up Team Plasma). While not common, they are certainly not rare. Also of note, with Crunch and Dragon Claw (which it already has upon capture), Kurimugan is capable of hitting almost all of Dragon Spiral Tower's inhabitants for super effective damage, making raising it on its own stomping grounds quite easy.

Only 2 levels after its capture it learns Revenge (at level 35), giving it near-flawless Dragon/Fighting coverage. It is also compatible with the Dig TM, giving it another potential coverage option should you not like Revenge. With 77 / 90 / 90 base defenses, it is quite bulky and can make good use of Revenge. With 120 base Atack, it can rip the enemies to shreds. While being a slow Dragon-type may be a real weakness in competitive play, in-game it means little with few enemies using Dragon and Ice attacks (though keep in mind the last Gym is the Dragon-type Gym, meaning Kurimugan will either clean up or be cleaned up). Great base stats, a great movepool, and resistances to Fire, Water, Grass and Electric make it a fantastic in-game choice.

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