Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Black/White Ingame Tier List; The Special types

Part 2: The Special Types

You saw the Physical types last time, so let's go with the Special types for now. Note that I've also updated Part 1 with first location data (which I've worked into the listing for the Special types).


Other type: Fighting (last 2 only)
Rating: High
Evolution path: Basic, L17, L36
First obtained: Starter Pokemon
Yes, it's the 3rd consecutive Fire/Fighting starter. Yes, if they do this again next gen, I will be distributing pitchforks and torches for the inevitable raid on TPCI. Fact is though, it gets extra effort simply from being the starter and it's designed for speedrunning - in the mono-Fire run, I got through to Yaguramu Forest inside of 2 and a half hours with it.


Rating: High
Evolution path: Basic, L35
First obtained: Route 4, accessible before 3rd gym
If you don't have Tepig, you'd better have this for a Fire type. The only problem this has is random fluke misses with Hustle, but that's also jacking his 90 base attack even higher when he makes contact. (Just... don't use Rock Tomb on it.) And once it evolves, it's a 140/95 monster that can afford to step down to Fire Punch and still manages to one-shot everything in its path. Any concerns about raising it should be nulled by the fact that it's available before a Bug gym. Mmm, destruction.


Other type: Ghost
Rating: Med
Evolution: Basic, L41, Dusk Stone
First obtained: Tower of Heaven (before 6th badge)
You'll be tripping all over these things when you get to the Tower of Heaven, and it does need a little babying to get it to the final form. However, it can beat up on its own and a Psychic type in the tower, and you should have a Dusk Stone either from the Cobalion cave or from picking it up from a dust cloud. Shadow Ball is also available pre-E4, and you get to skip the awkward middle stage and make it the 145/85 SA/Speed monster that will get Shadow Tag banhammered again it deserves.


Rating: Low
Evolution: Basic, Fire Stone
First obtained: Either in Lot of Dreams before first badge (if Oshawott was the starter) or Yagurama Forest
The monkeys are pretty much ingame fodder - and Pansear's got the toughest call of all, since the point where you can elect to make him useful is the point you can throw it out of your party for Darumaka. If you're using it, you have to use ingame supplies keeping it alive until it can learn Crunch (at L43) before triggering evolution... so yeah.


Other type: Bug
Rating: Low
Evolution: Basic, L59
First obtained: Larvesta hatches from an egg available upon getting Surf (after 6th badge)
Yes, it's true that Volcarona is amazing. However, the effort you could be putting into raising this somewhat weak Bug/Fire (good luck against all of the Boldore in caves) and getting it to the point of being awesome is effort you could be putting into leveling up a full team. Also, it learns nothing but physical moves and has higher Attack... until it evolves and suddenly gets a base 130 SA. Do yourself a favour: Hatch the egg (10,000 steps!), stick it in a box, and catch its mommy in the postgame when it's L70.


Rating: Low
First obtained: Victory Road
Anteaters are supposed to be cool, too. It's just... average - typical Fire movepool with the noted exception of Bug Bite (lol), and no real reason to raise it over Darumaka. At least it can beat up the Durant inside for easy Exp... except it doesn't even evolve. Sad end.



Rating: High
Evolution path: Basic, L17, L36
First obtained: Starter Pokemon
As seemingly always, the starters are high. However, Oshawatt ended up being the best of the 3 (shock, awe) - there's a lot of Water types that have near-identical Attack and SA in this game, and Samurott simply ended up with the best stats of the bunch. And it was given tools to work on both sides of the aisle - either Shell Blade to Waterfall on the physical end or Water Pulse to Surf with a stop at Boiling Water on the special end.


Rating: Mid
Evolution path: Basic, Water Stone
First obtained: Dream Lot before 1st badge (if Snivy starter) or Yaguramu Forest
It's amazing what a lack of competition will do for a guy - Pansear has identical stats (literally) and it's Low, where Panpour comes in Mid. The difference is, Panpour is competing with... not a whole lot, while Pansear has Darumaka and Litwick making it redundant on both ends. And learning Boiling Water at L22 is the last thing it needs before you can trigger evolution, so it gets a lot more powerful a lot earlier.


Other types: Ground (last 2 stages)
Rating: Mid
Evolution path: Basic, L25, L36
First obtained: Yarumagu Forest (before 2nd badge)
It's a basic Water with a strange addiction to sound moves until L25, when it suddenly grows legs, a Ground type and croaks like a madman. Also, Uproar getting its power jacked (90 pwr now) is kind of a cool gimmick. Unfortunately, his movepool naturally is Special when Ground is more of a physical type, and once again, it's got lower in both Attacks and Speed than even Panpour.


Other types: Rock
Rating: Mid
Evolution path: Basic, L37
First obtained: Fossil in Ancient Castle 1F, revivable immediately
It's inferior to Archen in every aspect, but that's largely because Archen's stats are the highest of anything not legendary or psuedo-legend in this game. Between Sturdy, insane Defense and the highest Attack in the type, it packs quite a punch. However, it also inherited the Rock type's traditional Speed or lack thereof, so Sturdy is going to come into play a fair bit.


Other types: Flying
Rating: Mid
Evolution path: Basic, L35
First obtained: Route 5 Drawbridge (before 5th badge)
Boy, it's a good thing Ducklett comes up after the Electric gym - he'd look a lot worse otherwise. Given that there's not a lot on the Special end of the Flying type in this game, it's worth filling in an open slot if you need it. Its stats are in the range between Tympole and Panpour, and STAB Air Slash at L27 is quite fun indeed. At the very least, if you feel the need to carry an HM mule, Swanna learns 3.


Other types: Ghost
Rating: Mid
Evolution path: Basic, L39
First obtained: Hodome City (with Surf)
Ironic that you need something pre-existing with Surf to get this. It's better than Basculin (the other Pokemon who has this same issue) if only because of Water Absorb + Recover giving you the ability to save healing items mid-battle with Recover and a useful second STAB. Unfortunately, it requires a bit (OK, a lot) of grinding once you can get it.


Rating: Low
First obtained: Ingame trade (for Minccino) in Hodome City
Ah, Basculin. Great for raising your team but not so much when you get a hold of it yourself. The ingame trade one has the wrong ability (it either has Reckless or Rock Head, when you want Adaptability for the extra STAB), and once you can catch your own you've already got something around the same level that can Surf. Oh, and it learns 4 HMs if that's your bag.


Rating: Low
First obtained: Hodome City (requires Surf and a water spot to appear)
It's Basculin crossed with Audino. Oh, and it learns Wake-Up Slap. Yipee. It's not quite as useless as its brother from another mother (Luvdisc), and base 165 HP is kinda cool, but it's a lot of support moves and not much else. I suppose there's something involving Submersion (makes opponent Water-type) and the Net Ball... oh, who am I kidding.

Other types: Bug
Rating: High
Evolution path: Basic, L36
First obtained: Thunderstone Cave
There's two High-tier Pokemon that go out of their way to signal their awesomeness: Joltik and (see below). In this case, if you don't get an ability flash at the start of battle, you have Compoundeyes and the result is 120 + STAB/91% accurate Thunder. Yes, please. I'll take several. It's even easy to level it up with a Flying gym immediately following, is easy to get unlike its colleague of the same type in the same cave... it's probably my new favourite Pokemon, to be honest.


Rating: Mid
Evolution path: Basic, L27
First obtained: Route 3
Honestly, there's not a lot of Electric in this game - the Electric gym has exactly 3 (these two Pokemon + Emolga), and since both of its abilities are contingent on stray Electric moves it kinda kicks Blitzle in the metaphroic crotch. The tradition of a low movepool for Electric types continues unabated - especially on the physical end, where his best moves are Spark or the potion-draining Wild Bolt (and that doesn't come up until Victory Road or just before). Still, random Nitro Charge right before the forest is quite handy.


Rating: Mid
First obtained: Route 16
Part of Emolga's problem is that it's a royal pain in the ass to get - 5-10% odds in shaking grass, which is purely random to begin with, and the rest of the time you get Audino. This can vary between taking 5 to 100 minutes (I've encountered both). The other issue is that although it's quick, there's better support Pokemon, and its attack stats are kinda meh (and it has to be bred for Air Slash which you're not going to do ingame).


Other types: Flying
Rating: Mid
First obtained: Roams after 8th badge
It's base 125 SA, learns Discharge shortly after acquisition if you don't have the optional Thunderbolt TM, and picks up Grass Knot so it's not an auto-switch for Ground types. The things that kill it are a) no secondary special STAB at all, and b) the fact that it only shows up post-8th badge and is a roamer, which makes it likely you'll just want to stick with Galvantula.


Rating: Low
Evolution path: Basic, L39, Thunderstone
First obtained: Thunderstone Cave
It's the perfect counterpart to Calm Mind Suicune - both have no weak (thanks to Levitate). But to get the awesome typing, you have to handle the following problems: 1) Slow growth rate. 2) In the first form (where you catch it), its movepool is Tackle, Thunder Wave, Charge Beam, Spark and THAT IS IT. No TMs until it hits L39, and not even having a Flying gym on the other side helps. Here be Magikarp. 3) It's slim odds to even find the thing in Thunderstone Cave (2% until you get to the optional 2nd basement, then it goes to 8%). You'll want to look out for this Pokemon's evolved forms in the late game - it's why Axew is so necessary - but raising it may be more trouble than it's worth.


Other type: Ground
Rating: Low
First obtained: Sekka City (before 7th badge)
This type combination: Nice concept, bad execution. By the way, Electric/Ground doesn't null either one of the component type's weaknesses, it's slow as *expletive deleted* which is the last thing an Electric type needs, and it's kinda hard to raise it because the next gym is Ice. Ruh roh raggy. The random Water moves are interesting, but not enough to save it from NFC West-level mediocrity.



Rating: High
Evolution path: Basic, Sun Stone
First obtained: Yaguramu Forest (Black), ingame trade in 2nd badge city (White)
Let me explain that 77 base SA is about the lowest I'd tolerate on a Grass type, then let me point you in the direction of base 116 Speed. Also, the "Mischevious Heart" ability that it has half the time - including guaranteed with Modest if you have to make the ingame trade in White - means that irregardless of the Speed, its non-damaging moves will go first guaranteed. This wouldn't be a contest if it had Sleep Powder.


Rating: Mid
Evolution path: Basic, L17, L36
First obtained: Starter Pokemon
You ever wondered why Snivy looks so smug? Well, he knows that if he ever gets released in the Dream World, it'll pick up the ability that makes his Leaf Storm insanely broken. However, for now he's stuck with a limited Grass-type movepool + Aerial Ace + Coil (Att+Def+Acc), and that's it. He's the first starter in HISTORY that doesn't even learn Earthquake. It gets bonus effort for being a starter, but that's it.


Rating: Mid
Evolution path: Basic, Sun Stone
First obtained: Yaguramu Forest (White), ingame trade in 2nd badge city (Black)
This is the reason Smogon had a "Upper-Mid" tier in their list - if you're going to use it, you have to accept the fact that its movepool is Grass, Grass and Grass. It does learn Sleep Powder, and has access to Butterfly Dance (+1 to both Special stats AND Speed), which is about the most broken stat move in the game, but if you're going to fit this role Erufun gets the job done a lot better.

Rating: Mid
Evolution path: Basic, Leaf Stone
First obtained: Dream Lot before 1st badge (Tepig starter) or Yaguramu Forest
I might have to use this one in a future run - it's a lot closer to Panpour than Pansear, in that it learns a quality move (Seed Bomb, in this instance) at L22 and can get evolved right after. It even has a quality movepool on the physical end (it learns Leg Sweep for some reason - wtf) and doesn't miss Acrobat since it grabs it by TM anyway. The only problem is, there's another physical grass type to worry about...


Other type: Normal
Rating: Mid
Evolution path: Basic, L34
First obtained: Route 6 (accessible before 5th badge)
Ah, Deerling. Higher attack than Pansage, but available a lot farther back in the game - thankfully, before the Ground gym which is just where it's useful. It also gets a lot more powerful Fighting move in Jump Kick, can get Megahorn by returner, and doesn't need to worry about healing once it learns Wood Horn (75 power physical, 50% recovery).


Rating: Low
First obtained: Resort Desert (after 3rd badge)
It's the Caturne problem, except Maractus doesn't get Dark STAB and loses out on a lot of movepool as a result. If you're going to use this thing in a world where even Lilligant exists (and can be obtained in the next city when they comp you a Sun Stone), don't. About the only thing it has over the rest of the type is Accupressure, and that's too random to rely on ingame and with something that has the traditional Grass weaknesses.

Other type: Steel
Rating: Low
Evolution path: Basic, L40
First obtained: Thunderstone Cavern
Everyone draws parallels between Ferrothorn and Forretress, and I never used Forry ingame either (of course, that was largely related to the fact that I couldn't FIND the bloody thing). You're trading Bug for Grass on STAB - and Bug doesn't have Power Whip, so advantage Ferrothorn, but you're also trading Sturdy for a Rough Skin knockoff. Not worth it either way.


Other type: Poison
Rating: Low
Evolution path: Basic, L39
First obtained: Route 6 (before 5th badge)
Of the two Grass types on the same route, Deerling wins by a mile. You've got a low-stat Grass/Poison (the first of the game, but still) who doesn't even learn Sleep Powder or Stun Spore. Much like Voltorb, this Pokemon exists solely to troll you on the world map and should be treated as such.


Rating: Mid
Evolution path: Basic, L35, L47
First obtained: Freezer Container (before 5th badge)
The Ice type is set up to win quite well for the rest of the game when you first get to the Freezer Container - after that, the gyms go Ground, Flying, Ice (oh, this thing learns Mirror Shot and Flash Cannon) and Dragon. Based on that, you'd think it would be high... except for the highly limited movepool (Ice, Steel and Weather Ball by returner at oh, L47) and slow experience growth it has. Still, it's the only easily obtainable Ice type/Ice Beam user pre-E4, so it's Mid.


Rating: Low
First obtained: Mt Helix (leads up to 7th badge)
The main problem with this thing - besides 30 base Defense meaning a Mudkip's Tackle can bring it to red - is that it's so blooming hard to get. It's 1% in spring/fall, nonexistant in the summer months, and even in the winter it's 5%. So basically, don't even bother going for it - Vanillite ends up with higher base SA anyway.


Rating: Low
Evolution path: Basic, L37
First obtained: Mt Helix (leads up to 7th badge), post-Victini Mystery Gift
I did carry this for a while when they were distributing the special Mystery Gift version and got so frustrated that I ditched it just after it evolved. Everything's worse with bears indeed - it runs off Attack but it needs its egg moves to have a usable physical STAB until evolution, 'til then it's stuck with Icy Wind. Do not want, even with a 1.5x EXP bonus.



Other type: Flying
Rating: High
First obtained: Resort Desert
Ah, now we're cooking with gas. Pretty sure every Fighting E4 member packs Rock Slide strictly for this guy - and with 103/97 on the Special Atk and Speed, you know why. Comes with every usable Special move for its STABs, and gets Shadow Ball as well as comedy Charge Beam/Flash Cannon options. Or, you can run 3 moves + Fly and have a usable mule as well. Definitely pack this for the end game.

Rating: Mid
Evolution path: Basic, L32, L41
First obtained: Route 16 (Black)


Rating: Mid
Evolution path: Basic, L32, L41
First obtained: Route 16 (White)
Both covered at the same time because they're virtually identical - Solosis has higher SA, but Gothita has decent Speed and can Thunderbolt instead of relying on Thunder. Both of them are good enough for government work, but you get more out of the box benefit with Sigilyph whose ability (Magic Guard) is actually useful when you get it.


Rating: Low
Evolution path: Basic, Moon Stone
First obtained: Lot of Dreams (after 1st badge)
Maybe Bel should have let Plasma run off with this thing, she may not be as weak ingame as she is. It's like Solosis except everything is worse, and it doesn't have a lot of the movepool options until after the Elite 4 by which time this should be rotting in Box 1. At least it's easy to fill that slot in the party considering they give you a Moon Stone as part of the plot...


Other type: Flying
Rating: Low
Evolution path: Basic, happiness evolution
First obtained: Underground Waterway
At least the form that appears in caves is slow so you can run with it. Although they tried to push it as the Golbat equivalent (right down to hitting final form by happiness), it's not as annoying. Unfortunately, the extra speed came at the expense of everything else - base 77 SA is the lowest of the type, and the fact that you have to put up with an unevolved Pokemon for an unknown amount of time dooms this to the box.

Rating: Low
Evolution path: Basic, L42
First obtained: Tower of Heaven
You get it later than the version exclusive Psychic, and you sacrifice HP for defenses or a slight boost in Speed. The non-Flying Psychics have a similar movepool so it comes down to how soon you can pick it up - and as mentioned, Elgyem loses that race. Plus, it creeps the hell out of me.


Rating: High
Evolution path: Basic, L38, L48
First obtained: "Axem Cave" (needs Surf)
If you're going to come in after the 6th badge, you need to be quite special to still come in at High - and Axem delivers. It comes in a few levels below the team but is instantly compatible with Dig, X-Scissor, and Aerial Ace (all of which you should have) so you can level up in the cave, and you know which one to catch right away since the game tells you at the time of encounter which ones have Mold Breaker. 97 base Speed might doom it in PvP, but it's great ingame, and it's still rolling up to a base 147 Att at the endgame. And this right here is your Tynamo-family murderer in the endgame what with Mold Breaker laughing at Levitate.

Rating: Low
First obtained: Dragon Helix Tower (available before Badge 7)
It's pretty sad when a Dragon packing 120 base Atk and potential for the equivalent of STAB on Crunch/Rock Slide is a Low. However, such is the fate of Druddigon, who has the twin problems of being the slowest Dragon in history (literally) and being available before an Ice gym, when everything is likely to outrun you and KO you in one shot.


Rating: Low
Evolution path: Basic, L50 (!), L64 (!!!)
First obtained: Victory Road
So how many reasons does this thing have to be Low? Late acquisition? Check. Insane evolution requirements? Check. Ability that causes random misses which will inevitably come at the worst possible time against the final boss? Check. The Larvesta Syndrome - where it focuses on one attack until the final form, then switches? Check. Even Lance thinks the last boss before the credits is cheating, since he has Hydreigon a full 10 levels below where you can get it.


Rating: Low
Evolution path: Basic, L20
First obtained: Route 2.
And finally, the sole pure Dark in the game... and it's probably the worst early Pokemon since Sentret. Great job. Sure, sticking a random Dark type in the early game is neat - but its STABs consist of Pursuit, Assurance, and Night Slash in the 40s by which time you've ditched it. It's not even a good HM mule, since everything else it does is handled better by one of the two early Normals.

So the final tally of high Pokemon: Lillipup, Sawk, Scraggy, Sandile, Drilbur, Archen, Tepig, Darumaka, Oshawatt, Joltik, Cottonee, Sigilyph, Axem (13 total). Grab a combination of those 13 and your game will be a cinch.


  1. would u still recommend Yuniran?

  2. I think druddigon is high because:It has no second form so its easy to train him,with a quick claw you can win easily the 8th badge,and the dragons are very useful.You can use a exp share at the start,also litwick is high too,look his compination ghost fire and you can put it will-o-wisp and flamethrower

  3. Ferrothorn should be high. I had one on my team, and the curse/gyro ball combo swept through teams.

  4. Frillish doesn't need much grinding at all. Just equip it with the lucky egg and have it fight Audinos to level it up. Frillish doesn't even take damage from their attacks, so you don't have to switch it out, allowing it to get the full EXP. I evolved a newly caught one into a Jellicent roughly 12 minutes after catching it.

  5. Haxorus should be in the physical section, imo. It can retain it's top spot for sure in the physical department, but Hydreigon is far more dangerous with special attacks than Haxorus. If nothing else, Haxorus' attack stat split is a bit too lopsided with a spread of Atk/SpA 147/60, while Hydreigon is more balanced with a respectable 105/125.

    Also, Deino loses his Hustle ability (I personally hate the accuracy loss) with his final evolution and gains Levitate. Both dragons are indeed very dangerous, one is simply better for pre-E4 content (Haxorus) and one is better for post-E4 content (Hydreigon). Also depends if you need a physical or special sweep.

    As if Gamefreak was trolling us, Haxorus has exactly 1 LESS speed than Hydreigon... lol. 97 for Hax and 98 for Hyd.

    On a side note, I'm far more fond of Litwick and his evolutions than Darumaka, simply because of Hustle and as you say, 'working' when it is least wanted. Chandelure can absolutely destroy the E4 and does especially well with post-game content like the battle subway. Immunity to normal/fighting is a huge boon for the chandelier as well.


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