I’ve been thinking about Pokemon a lot lately. Part of this is because of the nice commenters on the Best Of and Worst Of Pokemon lists I posted a while ago. People were mad about which ten I liked best, and equally mad about the ten I liked least. So I figured I’d finally come out and show what my teams were over the many years I’ve been playing. This includes only the Game Boy and DS games since the games on the GameCube were, well, meh. These are the versions I owned and played, and this list isn’t intended to be a “Best Pokemon Strategies” retrospective, but rather a “This Is How I Got Through The Games” retrospective. So kick back and enjoy a nice trip down memory road.
As with most Pokemon fans, I started with the first generation, specifically Blue Version (I don’t care if you think Red Version’s better, I didn’t play that one so shove off). I played through the whole game a few times, but I came to prefer a few specific Pokemon over others. Naturally, my Jolteon was my favorite, having a Thunder attack that never missed, plus Pin Missile for Psychics-types and Double Kick for any Rock-type that tried to take Jolteon down.
Second to Jolteon was Mewtwo, entirely overpowered with Psychic and Recover, but come on, if you have a Psychic-type and didn’t teach it Psychic, you were playing the game wrong. In fact, I taught Psychic to pretty much every Pokemon that could learn it. My Gengar for instance had a nice variety of attacks, Psychic included, as well as Thunder and Giga Drain, a big overkill against Water-types but very useful in a pinch. Combo those crazy-powerful moves with Hypnosis and it was almost like cheating.
Also critical to my team was a beastly Rhydon that knew the all-important Ground-type move, Earthquake. There just wasn’t a better Ground-type move in my eyes. Besides knowing Horn Drill, a one-hit K.O. that somehow hit way more than it was statistically supposed to, I taught my Rhydon surf. Did you know Rhydon could learn Surf? Dang, if not then you’re REALLY playing the game wrong.
I didn’t know a lot of other players who favored Golduck, but he was one of my original favorites (he was in the top 15 of my original Best Of list). I gave him Surf, as required, as well as a few other attacks, but it was Confusion that gave him the best edge since most Grass-types were also Poison-types during the first generation.
My last Pokemon was Charizard (check the Deviant Art yo!) with the classic Fire-type move Fire Blast. I also gave him Fly to deal with fighting types and Dig to combat the Rock-types whenever they came out. Overall, I stuck pretty much exclusively to this team, specifically when going through both Pokemon Stadium 1 & 2, and it worked out for me pretty well. It was rare that I’d have to use more than two Pokemon per battle, so I must have done something right.
By the time Yellow Version came out I was pretty well addicted to Pokemon, and when I learned that it actually adhered closer to the anime in terms of story and a few other things, I thought it was awesome. While my team didn’t initially seem all that interesting (my team was almost exactly Trainer Red’s team from Pokemon Gold/Silver), it was when I decided to take on the Poke Cup in Pokemon Stadium that I knew I’d need some serious strategy, so I planned accordingly. I’m extremely proud of this team, but it may look odd for a few reasons. However, it makes sense if you understand the restraints of the Poke Cup: Pokemon between levels 50-55 only and when you select three Pokemon for a particular match their combined levels cannot equal more than 155.
I was very addicted to the Pikachu the game provided me with, (as well as most recently with this Deviant Artist’s Pikachu) so I used him as the usual opener for most battles. He knew Thunder Wave and Thunderbolt, two good Electric-type moves for reliability. If I intended to go the distance in a fight, I paralyzed my opponent, then started spamming Double Team for stupid-high evasiveness. And if I needed one last good oomph, I used Mega Kick.
Charizard returned with moves identical to the ones previously described from my Blue Version party. And while he was effective, my real beast this time became a Nidoking that knew Earthquake, Toxic, and Ice Beam. Oh man, knowing an Ice-type attack comes in so handy when you least expect it, especially these generations. If you can take any advice from me, it’s to teach Ice-type moves whenever possible.
I used a Gyarados for my Water-type needs, though I also taught it Thunder in case I was fighting another Water-type. Oh, and Hyperbeam, just because Hyperbeam is such a cool attack. Totally ineffective if you use it at the wrong time, but man, when it finished a match, it was just sweet.
For a real change I threw in Dragonair. Why not Dragonite? Because Dragonite would have to be level 55 and I had to plan my team properly. It worked better to have most Pokemon at level 51 and 52 so that I could balance stats better. Having the rest of my party a few levels higher was much more beneficial than having one at the max level. Anyway, my Dragonite knew Thunderbolt, Blizzard, and Surf, making it a good all-around Pokemon for usefulness and raw power in most situations.
But I still needed a suitable Psychic-type in my team, otherwise I’d get stomped way too easily. Therefore, Alakazam was brought in with Psychic and Dig, just in case it needed to escape for an attack round. To be honest though, the reason I had an Alakazam was because I learned my Mew couldn’t be used in the Poke Cup, even though I had trained it with Psychic, Rock Slide, Mega Punch, and Metronome in case I wanted a last-ditch attack. This team someone led me to victory in the Poke Cup, and since then I haven’t used nearly as much strategy in my teams.
While Silver Version was my favorite, I didn’t have the energy required to think out elaborate strategies for teams and then go about training them properly. Things were just quickly becoming too much for me to handle. Still, I had a few staples of my party.
My number one, Feraligatr, was my go-to guy for the majority of the game. The Elite Four were a real pain in my side until I came up with the genius idea to teach Feraligatr Ice Punch, thus making him an ultra dominator against Lance’s entire team of Dragons. And if Psychic-types appeared, a good old-fashioned Bite sent them packing. Feraligatr went through the Elite Four more than fifty times, helping to raise dozens of younger Pokemon to evolution.
And while Feraligatr was incredibly useful, sometimes I still needed a good Psychic-type to deal with wannabies. Lugia was good for that, knowing Psychic, Recover, and Surf, plus Aeroblast just because. Still, while Lugia was pretty useful against most types, against other Psychic-types the best option was my Tyranitar with Crunch, the Psychic-killer. He also knew Rock Slide, Earthquake, and Fire Punch to axe any poser getting too close.
The rest of my team was kind of hit-or-miss, getting used the majority of the game but not really standing out much. I used an Ampharos for a while that knew Thunder, Thunder Wave, Iron Tail, and Fire Punch, giving it pretty decent coverage against opponents, but no matter what I did, Ampharos never felt that powerful. I used a red Gyarados with no real spectacular moves, and a Donphan that knew Earthquake and Rollout. See? My Silver Version team is just unspectacular. I didn’t need anyone other than my Feraigatr, Lugia, and Tyranitar.
Are you wondering where my Sapphire Version team is? To be honest, I looked through the game to see whom I’d used and the results were painfully boring. I didn’t even put any time into catching and evolving the other Pokemon of the game. I simply just didn’t care.
LeafGreen is almost as bad. In fact, it might be worse because in looking at my team I can see that I haven’t even beaten the Elite Four yet. I also didn’t get a chance to trade any key Pokemon to evolve, so I have a Kadabra, a Haunter, and a Graveler rather than an Alakazam, a Gengar, and a Golem.
I didn’t even pick a starter I was happy with. My Squirtle became a Blastoise really quick, but I couldn’t make him very effective in any setting despite knowing Surf, Bite, and Dig. I don’t even have a sixth slot filled, currently in flux between one of the three Legendary Bird Pokemon of the game.
The only real standout here is my Persian, which I’ve mentioned before. I was absolutely determined to make this Pokemon work, so I taught it Dig, Bite, and Shock Wave. I don’t know why I expected that to be so cool, but that was as good as I could do, and it didn’t even provide me with a victory over the Elite Four. I promise you though, my fourth generation Pokemon are better.
I had the luck of having two close friends also huge on Pokemon at the time of Diamond and Pearl’s release. I picked up Diamond the same as my friend Trinh, whereas Thomas had Pearl. Along with this camaraderie came a significant drive to ACTUALLY play the game I bought. Just the other night I popped Diamond Version back into my DS and took on the Elite Four to train a few random Pokemon, and even though I had only beaten the Elite Four once before, this second time was no problem whatsoever.
I chose Piplup as my starter, deciding that a Water/Steel-type in a final evolution was a cool type to go with, even though I secretly wanted to have Chimchar (I just couldn’t get past the whole “It’s just Torchic but a monkey” thing). Now an Empoleon, it knows Blizzard (take that Dragons!), Drill Peck, Metal claw, and its all-powerful move Surf. I took town most of my opponents just by surfing them to death. Surf is the best Water-type move rather than Hydro Pump. Don’t believe me? Just use Surf enough and you’ll trust it over Hydro Pump.
I also found a ton of use out of my Staraptor, being another Pokemon I obtained almost at the very beginning of the game. While three of its four moves are Flying-type attacks, they all have a different use. I have Fly for most occasions, Aerial Ace for most others, and Brave Bird when I need to make sure my last attack finishes the battle. His fourth and final move is his best, though: Close Combat. A Fighting-type move for a Flying-type is so danged useful I don’t know why more people wouldn’t be singing its praise. All Steel, Rock, Normal, and Dark-types are screwed, especially since my Staraptor is holding a Fist Plate, making that close Combat even stronger.
Next up is a more traditional favorite, Gengar, back with some new moves. Still keeping Thunder, we add on Shadow Ball and Dark Pulse. Turns out Shadow Ball gets the most use of its four attacks, but Thunder does come in pretty handy. Also in the “classics” category is Golem, stacked with Earthquake, as all good Ground-types should be.
Luxray was a surprisingly great Electric-type, knowing Thunder Fang and Spark, but also learning Charge, enabling it to spend a turn powering up if I knew I wasn’t hitting my opponent that very second. Toss in Crunch and you’ve got yourself a real winner.
And following all of these in my party as my “Reinforcement Pokemon” is Dialga with Metal Claw, Dragon Claw, Ancient Power, and the attack with the greatest name ever, Roar of Time. I don’t even care that it takes a turn to rest after wiping out my opponent; it is just too awesome.
So there you go, now you know my teams. I’m sure some of you have much better strategies than I do, so why don’t you tell me all about them in the comments. Be warned: If you outrage me enough I may unleash Roar of Time at you, and I promise you won’t like it.
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