Table of Contents
- In-Game Tier List
- In-Game 101: A Refresher
- Don't Use a Full Team
- Diverse Movesets are Grossly Overrated In-Game
- Using Legendary Pokémon isn't a Sin
- "Good" and "Bad" Attacks In-Game
- Seriously, Use Items
- Set Up on Leads and Sweep
- Pokémon Reviews
- #000 Victini
- #001-003 Snivy Family
- #004-006 Tepig Family
- #007-009 Oshawott Family
- #010-011 Patrat Family
- #012-013 Purrloin Family
- #014-016 Pidove Family
- #017-019 Sewaddle Family
- #020-021 Sunkern Family
- #022-024 Lillipup Family
- #025-027 Mareep Family
- #028-029 Psyduck Family
- #030-032 Azurill Family
- #033-034 Riolu Family
- #035 Dunsparce
- #036 Audino
- #037-038 Pansage Family
- #039-040 Pansear Family
- #041-042 Panpour Family
- #043-045 Venipede Family
- #046-047 Koffing Family
- #048-050 Magnemite Family
- #051-101: Growlithe-Krookodile
- #051-052 Growlithe Family
- #053-055 Magby Family
- #056-058 Elekid Family
- #059-060 Rattata Family
- #061-063 Zubat Family
- #064-065 Grimer Family
- #066-067 Woobat Family
- #068-070 Roggenrola Family
- #071-072 Onix Family
- #073-075 Timburr Family
- #076-077 Drilbur Family
- #078-079 Skitty Family
- #080-081 Buneary Family
- #082-083 Cottonee Family
- #084-085 Petilil Family
- #086-087 Munna Family
- #088-090 Cleffa Family
- #091-098 Eevee Family
- #099-101 Sandile Family
- #102-150: Darumaka-Floatzel
- #102-103 Darumaka Family
- #104 Basculin
- #105-106 Trubbish Family
- #107-108 Minccino Family
- #109-110 Rufflet Family
- #110 Braviary (Route 4)
- #111-112 Vullaby Family
- #112 Mandibuzz (Route 4)
- #113-114 Sandshrew Family
- #115-116 Dwebble Family
- #117-118 Scraggy Family
- #119 Maractus
- #120 Sigilyph
- #121-123 Trapinch Family
- #124-125 Yamask Family
- #126-129 Tirtouga-Archeops
- #130-132 Klink Family
- #133-135 Budew Family
- #136-138 Gothita Family
- #139-141 Solosis Family
- #142-143 Combee Family
- #144 Emolga
- #145 Heracross
- #146 Pinsir
- #147-148 Blitzle Family
- #149-150 Buizel Family
- #151-200: Zorua-Landorus
- #151-152 Zorua Family
- #153-154 Ducklett Family
- #155-156 Karrablast Family
- #157-158 Shelmet Family
- #159-160 Deerling Family
- #161-162 Foongus Family
- #163 Castform
- #164-165 Nosepass Family
- #166-168 Aron Family
- #169-170 Baltoy Family
- #172 Volcarona (Relic Castle)
- #173-174 Joltik Family
- #175-176 Ferroseed Family
- #177-179 Tynamo Family
- #180-181 Frillish Family
- #182 Alomomola
- #183-185 Axew Family
- #186 Zangoose
- #187 Seviper
- #188-189 Elgyem Family
- #190-192 Litwick Family
- #193-194 Heatmor-Durant
- #195-196 Cubchoo Family
- #197-200 Cryogonal-Landorus
- #201-249: Skorupi-Ninetales
- #201-202 Skorupi Family
- #203 Skarmory
- #204-205 Numel Family
- #206-207 Spoink Family
- #208-209 Drifloon Family
- #210-211 Shuppet Family
- #212-213 Pelipper Family
- #214 Lunatone
- #215 Solrock
- #216 Absol
- #217-218 Tangela Family
- #219-220 Mienfoo Family
- #221-222 Gligar Family
- #223-224 Pawniard Family
- #225 Cobalion
- #226 Virizion
- #227 Terrakion
- #228-231 Tympole-Stunfisk
- #232 Shuckle
- #233-234 Mantyke Family
- #235-236 Remoraid Family
- #237 Corsola
- #238-239 Staryu Family
- #240-241 Wailmer Family
- #242 Lapras
- #243-245 Spheal Family
- #246-247 Swablu Family
- #248-249 Vulpix Family
- #250-300: Bronzor-Genesect
- #250-251 Bronzor Family
- #252-253 Sneasel Family
- #254 Delibird
- #255-257 Vanillite Family
- #258-260 Swinub Family
- #261 Ditto
- #262-264 Beldum Family
- #265-266 Seel Family
- #267 Throh
- #268 Sawk
- #269 Bouffalant
- #270 Druddigon
- #271-272 Golett Family
- #273-275 Deino Family
- #276-297 Kyurem
- #298 Keldeo
- 299 Meloetta
- #300 Genesect
- Notable Item Locations
- Quick Flowchart
- Held/Evolutionary Item Locations
- TM Locations
- Battle Subway/Pokémon World Tournament Items
- Rare Candy Locations
- Heart Scale Locations
- Move Tutors
- Helpful Links
- To-Do List
- Contact Info
- Legal Information
- Version History
Pokémon Reviews (Continued)
First Encountered: You can encounter Cobalion on Route 13. If you KO Cobalion, it will respawn after you defeat the Elite Four.
It's about time we came to some obtainable legendaries. Black/White only had eight obtainable legendaries in each game (including the event Victini), but BW2 picks up the slack with thirteen legendaries. You can only obtain three during the storyline, though: three members of the "musketeer" quartet.
Cobalion has phenomenal Defense and excellent Speed, and all of its other stats besides Special Defense are good. It has the coveted Fighting STAB, and receives one immunity and nine resistances courtesy of its typing. It should also be slightly higher than your current team's level, so you won't have to worry about raising it.
The musketeer comes with Iron Head and Sacred Sword, which will serve as its main STABs for the rest of the game. While it picks up Close Combat in the post-game, Sacred Sword makes an excellent replacement due to its base power and ability to ignore any stat modifiers. Swords Dance (level 49) patches up Cobalion's Attack and turns it into a true monster.
Superpower is an alternate Fighting attack for Cobalion, though the stat drops make it less desirable than Sacred Sword in major battles. There's also X-Scissor and Zen Headbutt.
Cobalion can stand up to Drayden's Haxorus, does well against the Team Plasma higher-ups, and can set up on a higher-up and every Elite Four member except Marshal.
Cobalion is arguably the weakest musketeer (both in-game and competitively), but it's still worthy of its legendary title. Although it levels up slowly, it has no real flaws, and stays strong for its entire playtime. If you don't have an aversion to legendaries, definitely consider it.
First Encountered: You can encounter Virizion on Route 11. If you KO Virizion, it will respawn after you defeat the Elite Four.
Just look at Virizion's gorgeous shiny sprite! Virizion's defenses are swapped with Cobalion's, but their stats are identical otherwise. The Grass typing is a mixed blessing; Grass/Fighting provides better STAB attacks than Steel/Fighting, but it removes some resistances and tacks on two weaknesses. It's not a big problem, as Virizion has the bulk to take some attacks.
The second musketeer starts with Giga Drain and Swords Dance. While Giga Drain is an excellent attack, it unfortunately isn't boosted by Swords Dance (level 49), so you may opt for another Grass attack instead.
Seed Bomb is a good alternative to Giga Drain if you want a physical Grass attack. Work Up can work if you want Virizion to be a mixed sweeper, though it's less destructive than Swords Dance Virizion. X-Scissor is okay.
Virizion also has pretty good matchups. It does well against Marlon and a Team Plasma higher-up, and can even set up on Caitlin. It does well against Grimsley; ironically, the legendary Virizion can't set up on Grimsley's mere Liepard since it would be slain by a 4x effective Aerial Ace.
Virizion is another fine choice for a Pokémon. While it lacks Cobalion's useful resistances, its better secondary STAB and ability to go mixed sets it apart from its comrade. You can't go wrong with Virizion.
First Encountered: You can encounter Terrakion on Route 22. If you KO Terrakion, it will respawn after you defeat the Elite Four.
Terrakion is the last of the musketeers that can be caught during the storyline, and is the most fearsome of the trio. The bull boasts astounding Attack and Speed, along with solid defenses and a negligible Special Attack. Rock and Fighting provide fantastic STAB attacks, but leave Terrakion with an unfortunate five weaknesses.
Terrakion starts with Rock Slide and Sacred Sword, which tide it through for the remainder of the game. Swords Dance (level 49) makes it even more frightening.
X-Scissor is okay, but Terrakion already has Sacred Sword for Dark-types and shouldn't stay in against Psychic-types.
While Terrakion has the best Attack and STABs of the lot, it's only decent in late-game matchups. It does fairly well against a Team Plasma higher-up and the Champion, though it gets hit super-effectively in return. Terrakion does well against half of Shauntal's team, and it can set up on Grimsley and even Caitlin. The other half of Shauntal's team and Marshal destroy it, though.
Terrakion is an absolute monster. It's the last musketeer to join and may be slightly underleveled when it joins, but its offenses make up for this. Like the other musketeers, it can easily find a spot on your team.
The Tympole line and Stunfisk cannot be found during the storyline.
Abilities: Sturdy or Gluttony
Recommended Ability: Sturdy. Although Shuckle is extremely hard to OHKO, you shouldn't be using any berries by this point.
First Encountered: You can encounter Shuckle in Seaside Cave.
Hi Shuckle. Although it's a defensive Pokémon, it ironically can deal more damage than any other Pokémon in the game (though it's nearly impossible to pull off). Shuckle is a Pokémon of extremes. While it has the highest Defense and Special Defense out of all 649 Pokémon, it's tied for worst Special Attack and Speed while its HP and Attack are in the bottom five. Neither of its abilities are useful, unfortunately.
Shuckle's starting movepool is interesting. Power Trick swaps its Atttack and Defense, giving Shuckle a gargantuan Attack stat. However, it's still stuck with its crummy Speed, so a light physical attack will spell lights out. However, if the opponent uses a non-attacking move while Shuckle uses Power Trick, Sturdy could save it from a potentially fatal attack. Its Special Defense is also unaffected, so special sweepers will be in trouble. It's a situational, albeit potentially game-changing, attack. Don't bother with Shell Smash, since Shuckle's Attack and Speed are beyond repair. If you go the Power Trick route, Shuckle will enjoy Rock Slide, Bug Bite (level 42), and possibly Stone Edge.
Offensive Shuckle want Dig. Defensive Shuckle should take Toxic. Sandstorm is actually decent on Shuckle, since it boosts its Special Defense by 50% and slowly whittles away the opponent's health. Flash makes Shuckle even harder to destroy.
Don't try to stall against the Champion, as three of her Pokémon carry super-effective STAB attacks.
Shuckle's not a good Pokémon. Neither Shuckle nor the opponent will be able to inflict significant damage, dragging battles out unnecesssarily. While Power Trick is interesting, it's simply unreliable. It's a solid wall, but save your time and use something else.
Name: Mantyke -> Mantine
Abilities: Swift Swim or Water Absorb
Recommended Ability: Swift Swim to patch up its mediocre Speed.
Evolution: Evolves when it levels up while a Remoraid is in the party
First Encountered: You can encounter Mantyke in Undella Bay. You can also find Mantine in Undella Bay ripples.
Mantyke was the cutest Pokémon of Generation IV. Unfortunately, it loses its charm once it grows up, and never excels in battle. Mantine is Skarmory's special counterpart, as their stat totals are identical aside from the swapped physical and special stats. While Water/Flying is a better offensive typing, it's not nearly as good on the defensive side, especially with a nasty quadruple weakness to Electric attacks. The fact that you need another Pokémon to even evolve Mantyke is slightly annoying.
Mantyke can be encountered all the way from level 25-40. The only notable move it may have is Air Slash (level 36), which serves as its main STAB attack. Hydro Pump (level 49) is an alternative to Surf due to its sub-par Special Attack. If you enjoy taking risks, Mantine can relearn Confuse Ray.
Surf and Ice Beam are staples for any special Water-type, while Blizzard will tide it over in the Opelucid Gym. Unfortunately, Acrobatics is a bad option due to Mantine's poor Attack. Signal Beam is there, I guess.
Water-types are solid in any major matchup, so no complaints here.
Despite Mantine's amazing Special Defense, its lackluster Special Attack and underwhelming other stats make it one of the weaker Water-types. You don't need to waste two Poke Balls just for one mediocre Pokémon.
Name: Remoraid -> Octillery
Abilities: Hustle/Suction Cups or Sniper
Recommended Ability: Sniper, as it increases the Remoraid line's damage output
Evolution: Evolves at level 25
First Encountered: You can encounter Remoraid in Undella Bay.
In case you're wondering, Remoraid and Octillery are both based on artillery (as evidenced by Octillery's signature attack, Octazooka). No, that doesn't explain why a fish evolves into an octopus, but at least there's a tenuous connection.
Octillery's spread is nearly identical to Camerupt's: it has high attacking stat, but mediocre defenses and low Speed. Water is a great STAB typing, and Sniper can ramp up its damage output with some luck.
Remoraid are obtained at level 30-40, so it may know Ice Beam (level 34) at joining time. If you get a lower-level Remoraid, you may want to evolve it anyway since Octillery learns the attack at level 40. You get the Ice Beam TM late in the game, so having access to Ice Beam instead of the inaccurate Blizzard comes in handy for the Opelucid Gym. While Octillery doesn't get STAB on the move, it isn't hit for super-effective damage by the Fighting- and Rock-type attacks in the Gym. Octillery learns Hydro Pump (level 52), which is an alternative to Surf if you crave power.
Surf is a staple attack. Surprisingly, Octillery can learn Flamethrower. Psychic, Charge Beam, Signal Beam, Energy Ball, and Seed Bomb provide additional coverage. Don't bother with Rock Blast or Bullet Seed; stick to the more reliable attacks.
Octillery will do fine in any major battle, so you don't have to worry about that.
Octillery gets access to Ice Beam while most Water-types are stuck with the sub-par Blizzard, which is nice. However, its low defenses and Speed are a poor combination. It's a decent Pokémon, but if you want a versatile Water-type, pick Starmie.
Abilities: Hustle or Natural Cure
Recommended Ability: Either. Natural Cure provides consistent recovery, while Hustle ramps up its pathetic damage output. I lean towards Hustle, though, since you can always use Casteliacones in-game.
First Encountered: You can encounter Corsola in the Humilau City water ripples.
Corsola's appearance in Humilau City must be a reference to the aesthetically similar Pacifidlog Town, which was built on Corsola. I have no other idea why this travesty would be in the game. It has decent defenses, but its other stats are awful. While Water/Rock provides a handful of resistances, four weaknesses is a bit of a drag. Corsola has good STABs, but lacks the stats to use them.
Corsola has plenty of moves, most of which will go to waste. With Hustle, Rock Blast inflicts 168.75 damage on average. This sounds amazing, but Corsola's poor Attack and Rock Blast's 72% accuracy ruin that idea. Iron Defense and Aqua Ring (level 38) help Corsola function as a "tank". Lucky Chant (level 23) ensures that Corsola will fall to normal attacks instead of critical hits. Power Gem (level 41) is a special Rock attack, so it doesn't receive a Hustle boost, but at least it's consistently underwhelming. Mirror Coat (level 45) is actually decent since Corsola will take a ton of damage from any attack. Earth Power (level 47) would be cute if Corsola didn't have STAB Water attacks or a weakness to Electric attacks. The Endure (level 35) and Flail (level 52) combo shows up yet again, but Corsola is even worse at pulling this off than Dunsparce or Beartic due to its piss-poor Attack and Speed.
Surf is a staple for special Corsola, while Waterfall is there for physical Corsola. Scald has a chance of burning the foe, which slightly mitigates the beatdown the opponent will put on Corsola. Ice Beam is an excellent attack, but Corsola is not. Don't be tempted by Rock Slide: Rock Blast has the same accuracy and power on average, but has the potential to inflict more damage. Besides, Corsola is too slow to take advantage of the flinch side effect. Rock Polish, Psychic, Shadow Ball, and Dig are just for decoration, since Corsola can't use any of those moves effectively. Since Corsola is so frail, you may want to try your luck with Attract and Toxic.
Don't use it against Marshal's Fighting Pokémon. Or any trainer, really.
In case you couldn't tell, Corsola is a horrendous Pokémon. A huge movepool and two interesting abilities go to waste on a Pokémon with terrible stats. Even Mantine and Pelipper surprass Corsola. To add insult to injury, it's incredibly rare! Friends don't let friends use Corsola.
Name: Staryu -> Starmie
Type: Water; Water/Psychic
Abilities: Illuminate or Natural Cure
Recommended Ability: Natural Cure, as Illuminate is worthless in battle
Evolution: Evolves with a Water Stone
First Encountered: You can encounter Staryu while Surfing in Undella Town. You can also encounter Starmie in water ripples.
Starmie has always been an excellent Pokémon due to its high Special Attack and Speed, along with its varied movepool. While it was a monster in Generation I, it's slightly declined over the years due to the power creep that began in Generation III. Still, you can't go wrong with Starmie.
As stated earlier, Starmie has great Special Attack and excellent Speed. Its HP is low, but it has solid defenses. Natural Cure is always nice for free healing. Unfortunately, Starmie has a whopping five weaknesses, but it can strike down the competition before they can be exploited. You should have a Water Stone by the time you can catch Staryu, so you don't have to stick with an unevolved Pokémon for several Gyms (I'm looking at you, Eevee and Panpour).
Evolve your Staryu ASAP. The only notable moves Staryu learns are Minimize (level 25) and Hydro Pump (level 52). If you have a level 40 Staryu, you may want it to relearn Minimize, but it's unnecessary.
Deck out your Starmie with TMs. Surf and Psychic will serve as its STAB attacks. Thunderbolt and Ice Beam should be slapped on as soon as you receive the TMs. Since the two TMs are received late in the game, you may want to put Thunder and Blizzard on Starmie and give it a Wide Lens in the meantime. These four attacks should easily carry Starmie through the game.
Starmie works well in the final two Gyms; however, be careful since all of Drayden's Pokémon and Marlon's Jellicent hit it for super-effective damage. It also does well against half of Shauntal's team, Marshal (watch out for his Throh and Sawk's Payback), and against the Champion (watch out for her Lapras' Thunderbolt and Haxorus' X-Scissor).
Despite its multiple weaknesses, Starmie's stats and versatility make it one of the best Water-types you can encounter during the storyline. Although there are an influx of Water-types around the time you find Starmie, it really sticks out. You won't regret using Starmie.
Name: Wailmer -> Wailord
Abilities: Water Veil or Oblivious
Recommended Ability: Water Veil, as attraction is very rare
Evolution: Evolves at level 40
First Encountered: You can encounter Wailmer in Undella Bay. Wailord can also be found in rippling water.
The Wailmer line are some of the premier HM slaves in the game. Unfortunately, this doesn't translate into battle prowess. Wailord's HP is massive, and it has respectable attacking stats. Its good qualities end there, as its Speed is poor while its defenses are terrible. Don't expect this Pokémon to sweep or tank well. Water Veil is also a pretty crappy ability. Wailmer evolves at level 40, but it doesn't really matter since you can catch Wailmer as high as level 40.
Wailmer's movepool sucks. Water Spout is wasted on such a slow Pokémon. Amnesia is merely okay. Interestingly, Wailord learns Dive (level 46) naturally. Since badges aren't required to use HMs in Generation V, you can loot the Abyssal Ruins during the storyline. One more point for utility. Hydro Pump (level 62) is an alternative to Surf, though it probably comes too late.
Surf and Ice Beam are staples. Toxic and Attract are gimmicky options for a gimmicky defensive Wailord. Strength, Waterfall, and Dive helps Wailord perform its intended role.
Wailord is okay in battle, but functions even better outside of battle!
If you're looking for a usable Water-type, just catch a Staryu instead. It's much easier to find, and it's much more effective in battle. However, Wailmer and Wailord are the best utility Pokémon in the game, as they can learn four HMs and let you explore the Abyssal Ruins early. While they can't hold up in battle, they're amazing outside of the arena.
Abilities: Water Absorb or Shell Armor
Recommended Ability: Shell Armor, as the computer won't use Water attacks on Lapras.
First Encountered: You can encounter Lapras in the Undella Town water ripples.
Yay, it's Lapras, another fan favorite. It was an excellent Pokémon in Generation I, though it came severely underleveled during the storyline (it came at level 15 right before the Saffron Gym).
Lapras has high HP, low Speed, and balanced stats everywhere else. While Water/Ice is an excellent offensive typing, it only provides two resistances (with Shell Armor) and four weaknesses. As stated in Beartic's review, Ice typing is a mixed blessing; while Lapras has access to an excellent STAB Ice Beam, a lot of Dragon-types carry super-effective Rock and Fighting attacks for it. Shell Armor is decent, as it ensures Lapras won't fall to a lucky critical hit.
Lapras starts off with Ice Beam, which it will abuse for the whole game. Its only other notable move is Hydro Pump (level 49), though Surf is more consistent.
Like Starmie, Lapras has an excellent movepool. Immediately teach it Surf. Thunderbolt is another great attack, although you'll have to stick with Thunder for most of the game. If you don't mind giving Lapras a Wide Lens, you can combine Thunder with Hydro Pump and Blizzard on Lapras, though Thunder and Blizzard still have a shaky 77% accuracy while Blizzard and Hydro Pump have terrible PP. You could also start out the battle with an X-Accuracy. Psychic and Signal Beam are other options. Don't bother with Dragon Pulse, since Lapras already has STAB Ice attacks.
As long as you watch out for its weaknesses, Lapras does well in the Opelucid Gym, and does well in the Humilau Gym as long a it has Thunder.
Lapras is a great Pokémon. While it's hard to find and has four weaknesses, its STAB, vast movepool, and balanced stats make up for it. If you put in the time to find one, you won't be sorry.
Name: Spheal -> Sealeo -> Walrein
Abilities: Thick Fat or Ice Body
Recommended Ability: Thick Fat, as it provides an extra resistance. There is no permanent hail in the game, and Walrein doesn't need to waste a moveslot with Hail.
Evolution: Evolves at level 32; evolves at level 44.
First Encountered: You can encounter Spheal by Surfing in Undella Bay during the winter.
Spheal is absolutely adorable. It almost makes me want to go to the Pokémon Musical and dress it up in a little top hat! alrein has high HP, nice special stats, and decent Attack, though it has low Speed. Once again, Water/Ice is a great offensive but a mediocre defensive typing. Sealeo evolves at level 44; however, since Spheal can be found as high as level 40, it's not an agonizing wait.
The Spheal line's only notable natural move is Hail, which triggers Ice Body and gives Blizzard perfect accuracy. You're better off just using a Wide Lens to boost Blizzard's accuracy or giving it Leftovers for healing. You can reteach Spheal Defense Curl and combine it with Ice Ball (level 13) for a fun in-game tactic. However, if you catch a level 40 Spheal, you'll have to spend two Heart Scales to teach Spheal the combo, so don't bother.
Surf and Ice Beam are staples, while Blizzard is an alternative to Ice Beam. Signal Beam and Rock Slide are fun. Toxic can be combined with Hail for a stalling Walrein, though it's not nearly as annoying as it is competitively.
Walrein does well in the Opelucid Gym, though you'll have to watch out for its weaknesses.
If you want a Water/Ice type, just go for Lapras. Although it has lower Special Attack and Speed, its superior bulk, movepool, and early access to Ice Beam make it a superior choice. Walrein just doesn't have a lot going for it.
Name: Swablu -> Altaria
Ability: Natural Cure
Recommended Ability: Thick Fat, as it provides an extra resistance. There is no permanent hail in the game, and Walrein doesn't need to waste a moveslot with Hail.
Evolution: Evolves at level 35
First Encountered: You can encounter Swablu on Route 14. You can also encounter Altaria in tall grass or shaking grass.
Swablu is yet another cute Pokémon. Altaria reaches its final form earlier than most of its Dragon kin, but is noticeably weaker than the other fully evolved Dragons. Altaria is a defensive Pokémon, with high defenses and okay HP. However, its Speed is merely decent while its attacking stats are mediocre. Dragon/Flying has a few weaknesses, including a nasty quadruple weakness to ice, but one immunity and a fair amount of resistances.
While Altaria starts off with the excellent Dragon Dance (level 34), it can only utilize STAB flying attacks, as it doesn't learn any physical Dragon attacks during the storyline. Cotton Guard (level 42) makes it surprisingly tanky, since it can max its Defense with two uses. Dragon Pulse (level 48) is an option if you really want to utilize Altaria's mediocre Special Attack.
Aerial Ace is Altaria's best Flying move. Fly is another option, though it does less damage per turn on average. However, it can work on a stalling set in conjunction with Toxic and Cotton Guard. Fire Blast and Flamethrower get excellent coverage alongside Dragon Pulse. Finally, Draco Meteor is an option if you have a friendly Altaria.
I wouldn't recommend Altaria for the Opelucid Gym, since it'll be overwhelmed by Dragon attacks and can fall to a stray critical even with Cotton Guard. Don't use it against the Champion's team, either, since every single one of her Pokémon carry a super-effective STAB attack against Altaria.
While Altaria gets Dragon Dance, it just goes to waste due to its mediocre offenses. It certainly doesn't live up to the role of a Dragon-type. However, Cotton Guard makes it incredibly resilient on the physical side, allowing it to set up Dragon Dances. It's a solid Pokémon, though there are more efficient choices.
Name: Vulpix -> Ninetales
Ability: Flash Fire
Evolution: Evolves with a Fire Stone
First Encountered: You can encounter Vulpix in the Abundant Shrine. You can also encounter Ninetales in shaking grass.
By now, you should have your team together. There's only one Pokémon from this point on that is worthy of landing on your roster at this point, so you may just want to skip ahead to Metagross. However, I know that there are people who actually put late game Pokémon on their rosters, so I shall slag on.
Ninetales has a strange stat distribution; it has high Speed and Special Defense, along wih decent Special Attack, though the rest of its stats are mediocre. Vulpix, like all of the wild and opponents' Pokémon in the Abundant Shrine, are quite underleveled. Based on their levels, it seems that the Abundant Shrine could be visited as soon as the player entered Route 14 in an earlier version, and Game Freak forgot to adjust the levels in the final product. This means you'll have to grind just to get a decent Pokémon, which is a problem. Ninetales' crappy ability doesn't help, as the opponent won't use Fire-type attacks on it.
Fortunately, Vulpix starts off with Flamethrower. Immediately evolve it, as it learns no notable moves. When you have a Ninetales, reteach it Nasty Plot, which boosts its Special Attack by two stages. You can also reteach it Confuse Ray if you're feeling lucky.
Fire Blast is another Fire attack for Ninetales. Energy Ball adds coverage, though Ninetales is weak to all of the types that the move would be effective against. Sunny Day and Solarbeam is a fun tactic. Will-O-Wisp or Toxic could be utilized with Confuse Ray for annoyance.
Just pick another Fire-type, any other Fire-type. Ninetales arrives very underleveled and starts with underwhelming Special Attack, and Nasty Plot doesn't compensate for its late arrival.
Name: Bronzor -> Bronzong
Abilities: Levitate or Heatproof
Recommended Ability: Levitate, as an immunity is more helpful than a resistance.
Evolution: Evolves at level 33
First Encountered: You can encounter Bronzor in the Abundant Shrine. You can also encounter Bronzong in shaking grass.
Rating: Low (Mid-Low)
Remember Lucian's Bronzong in Diamond/Pearl? I bet it terrorized a lot of noobs. Too bad it got nerfed by nine levels in Platinum.
Bronzong's stat spread is very similar to Ferrothorn's: it has low HP, but high defenses and a slew of resistances compensate for it. It also has decent attacking stats, and its rock-bottom Speed only powers up its STAB Gyro Ball. Bronzong has two immunities (with Levitate) and eight resistances, along with one weakness, making it an excellent tank. However, it's found extremely underleveled, so you'll have some work cut out for you while raising it.
Bronzor's only notable starting move may be Metal Sound (level 31), which can make up for Bronzong's slightly lacking Special Attack. Bronzong quickly picks up Gyro Ball (level 36), which is a perfect match due to its low Speed. Payback (level 46) will usually strike for 100 power due to Bronzong's crappy Speed. Heavy Slam (level 58) is a cute option since Bronzong is fairly heavy, but Gyro Ball is more consistent.
Immediately teach Bronzong Psychic or Zen Headbutt, depending on what type of Bronzong you're going for. Shadow Ball, Signal Beam, and Charge Beam work with special Bronzong, while Iron Head and Rock Slide work with physical Bronzong.
Bronzong works well against Caitlin, since it has a quadruple resistance to Psychic attacks. Levitate Bronzong is also handy against the Champion's Rock-types and her formidable Haxorus.
While Bronzong is a formidable tank, its low starting level kills its usability. It's good if you raise it, but it's not worth the effort since you should already have a competent team.
Name: Sneasel -> Weavile
Evolution: Evolves while leveled up at night while holding a Razor Claw
First Encountered: You can encounter Sneasel in the Giant Chasm.
Sneasel and Weavile are some of the coolest Pokémon. Unfortunately, Sneasel was pretty terrible in Generations II and III since it didn't receive any STAB physical attacks. Generation IV was very kind to Sneasel, bestowing it with physical STAB and an evoluion.
Weavile is the typical glass cannon: it has very high Attack and Speed, along with decent Special Defense, but low HP and Defense. Its five weaknesses and bad ability (yay, Pressure on a frail Pokémon!) don't help matters. While Sneasel can evolve as soon as you catch it, you have to grind at the Battle Subway for a Razor Claw, which is annoying since you'll probably want to beat the game.
Sneasel's only notable starting move is Screech, which acts as a pseudo-Swords Dance. Evolve it immediately, then reteach it Night Slash. Don't waste a Heart Scale on Nasty Plot due to Weavile's awful Special Attack.
Teach Weavile Ice Punch. Low Kick, Dig, and X-Scissor are also notable.
Weavile does well against Shauntal and Caitlin (watch out for Chandelure's Fire Blast and Reuniclus' Fire Blast). It's iffy against the Champion. Low Kick can maim Aggron and Lapras and all of her other Pokémon are vulnerable to Ice attacks. However, three of her Ice weak Pokémon can smash Weavile with super-effective attacks, and her Haxorus will probably beat Weavile with a Dragon Dance-booosted Dual Chop while it can survive an Ice Punch due to its Focus Sash.
Weavile is a solid glass cannon with a cool design. However, its STAB attacks are fairly weak, it comes late, and it requires Battle Subway grinding. If you're a miser, don't even think about using Weavile, as it will be terrible with minimal investment.
Abilities: Vital Spirit or Hustle
Recommended Ability: Hustle, as it's the only way Delibird will inflict damage.
First Encountered: You can encounter Delibird in the Giant Chasm.
Skip this review.
Delibird's Speed is okay, but its other stats are atrocious. At least Hustle boosts its Attack, though it's a risky ability. Don't expect Delibird to take any hits, especially with its four weaknesses.
Delibird only learns Present. Since this isn't Gold/Silver (where the move could inflict an obscene amount of damage due to some bizarre programming), the attack is somehow more worthless than Delibird.
You could teach Delibird Aerial Ace, which is boosted by Hustle and ignores its negative side effect. You could also teach Delibird other moves, such as Ice Punch, Seed Bomb, or Return.
It has Ice attacks for the Champion's team, which is cool. Assuming they hit. And assuming that Delibird isn't KOed first (which it probably will be).
Just forget Delibird, and give it to someone you abhor this holiday season.
Name: Vanillite -> Vanillish -> Vanilluxe
Ability: Ice Body
Evolution: Evolves at level 35; evolves at level 47
First Encountered: You can encounter Vanillish in the Giant Chasm.
Rating: Mid (Mid-Low)
Vanilluxe was one of the most overrated Pokémon in the Black/White storyline. People hyped its STAB Ice Beam (the Ice Beam TM was unavailable during Black/White's storyline), ignoring its surprisingly slow growth and late evolution time. On one hand, you can catch Vanillish at level 45-47, eliminating the late evolution problem. On the other hand, you get the Ice Beam TM around the same time, eliminating one of the main reasons to use Vanilluxe.
Vanilluxe's stats aren't bad. Its HP is mediocre, but it has high Special Attack, while is other stats are decent at worst. Ice typing is a mixed blessing once again: it's a great offensive type, but a bad defensive type.
Vanillish starts with the vaulted Ice Beam. Vanilluxe learns Hail (level 42), which works in conjunction with Ice Body and Blizzard (level 59), but you're better off just blasting the foe with Ice Beam.
Vanilluxe's movepool is barren. It has the Blizzard TM, Signal Beam, and Return.
It can spam Ice Beam against the Champion's team, though all of the Pokémon they would be effective against carry Ice attacks for Vanillue (sans Haxorus).
All Vanilluxe can do is spam Ice Beam. It comes late, it levels up slowly, and it's unimpressive against the Elite Four. Don't seek it out.
Name: Swinub -> Piloswine -> Mamoswine
Abilities: Oblivious or Snow Cloak
Preferred Ability: Either.
Evolution: Evolves at level 33; evolves when leveled up while knowing AncientPower
First Encountered: You can encounter Piloswine in the Giant Chasm.
Hey look, it's Manfred! Mamoswine has beastly HP and Attack, along with decent Defense and Speed, but mediocre Special Attack and low Special Defense. Ice/Ground provide excellent STABs, but it's a pretty crappy defensive typing with five weaknesses.
In order to evolve your Piloswine, you need to give it a Heart Scale and reteach it AncientPower. You may want to catch a level 44 Piloswine, as it will know Ice Fang, which is sadly the Swinub line's most powerful physical Ice attack during the storyline. Level 46 Piloswine will have the amazing Earthquake (level 46) right off the bat, but you're better off leveling your Piloswine/Mamoswine up two levels instead of blowing another Heart Scale. Mamoswine's only other notable move is Blizzard (level 52), which can be used in conjunction with Hail to obtain perfect accuracy. As an additional boost, Mamoswine's Snow Cloak will be activated. It's a bit of a gimmick, though. If you have more Heart Scales to blow, reteach Mamoswine Peck as an awesome Fighting counter.
Rock Slide is another physical option. Ice Beam is your best bet for a special Ice attack, although Mamoswine's Special Attack is lacking.
Mamoswine does well against half of Caitlin's team (it obviously does poorly against Chandelure) and can spam Ice attacks against the Champion's team, though they can prey on its weaknesses. Keep it far away from Marshal.
Mamoswine seems like a good choice due to its STAB Earthquake and amazing Attack. However, its multitude of weaknesses and weak physical Ice attack bring it down. It's okay, but don't expect anything amazing.
First Encountered: You can encounter Ditto in the Giant Chasm.
A Limber Ditto's only use is breeding. Since there's no Day-Care in the storyline, that doesn't bode well for our smiley friend.
All of Ditto's stats are terrible. Its base stats don't matter after it transforms, but its terrible HP doesn't change, and it will probably take a hit before it transforms.
So Ditto spends a turn transforming, likely losing most of its HP in the process, and you get...a Pokémon that likely has a terrible moveset! So now you're a turn behind and have four crummy moves. Even if Ditto can hit the foe with a super-effective attack, the foe has a 50% chance of striking first. Since Ditto will likely be at low HP, a hard hit will spell lights out.
Ditto can transform into many Pokémon, but it is just as poor in every major matchup.
No. Limber Ditto is never used for a reason.
Name: Beldum -> Metang -> Metagross
Ability: Clear Body
Evolution: Evolves at level 20; evolves at level 45
First Encountered: You can encounter Metang in the Giant Chasm.
Most pseudo-legendaries are terrible in-game since they arrive extremely underleveled and evolve extremely late. There's no reason to spend all of your time hunting for a level 15 Dratini in the Kanto Safari Zone or catch a level 20 Larvitar right before you're about to fight Red. While the Beldum line has never been available in a storyline up to this point, they manage to buck this trend and serve as excellent Pokémon.
Metagross has insane physical stats, great special stats, and okay HP and Speed. Steel/Psychc is a great defensive typing, with eight resistances and one immunity, while Clear Body also prevents any annoying stat drops from ruining Metagross' sweep. Since you can find Metang at level 45 at the earliest, it'll evolve into Metagross as soon as it levels up.
Unlike most Pokémon, Metang actually starts with a good movepool. Meteor Mash is a strong, albeit slightly inaccurte, Steel attack, and will serve as Metagross' main attack. Agility increases its Speed by two stages, patching up its main weakness. Psychic is a strong, reliable Psychic attack, though it runs off of Metagross' weaker attacking stat. You should reteach it Zen Headbutt for a physical Psychic attack (or go to the Lentimas Town Move Tutor).
Metagross has a few other options. Dig is a helpful attack for Steel-types, while Iron Head gives Metagross a more accurate physical Steel attack. Ice Punch and Thunderpunch are always useful, while Rock Slide is also an option. Even Shadow Ball isn't too bad of an idea.
Metagross is a solid choice for any of the final battles; for instance, it has a quadruple resistance to Psychic attacks, and has its own Psychic attacks for Grimsley's Pokémon. Just watch out for Pokes such as Shauntal's Chandelure and Grimsley's Krookodile.
Metagross is the last excellent Pokémon you can find during the storyline. Unlike most pseudo-legendaries, it actually arrives at a respectable level, and has the tools it needs to succeed even without a ton of investment. It will easily rip through the remaining battles.
Name: Seel -> Dewgong
Abilities: Thick Fat or Hydration
Recommended Ability: Thick Fat for an extra resistance. You don't need to rely on Hydration when you have healing items.
Evolution: Evolves at level 34
First Encountered: You can encounter Seel or Dewgong by Surfing in the Giant Chasm.
Dewgong has been, and likely always will be, outclassed. It's simply an inferior Lapras. Dewgong has solid HP and defenses, though the rest of its stats are mediocre. Water/Ice is the same deal as always; great type coverage, but the weaknesses aren't so hot. Thick Fat isn't a good ability since Dewgong already has a quadruple resistance to Ice attacks, while Hydration is a waste with healing items.
Depending on Seel's starting level, it may have Aqua Tail (level 43) or Ice Beam (level 47). These are the only two notable attacks it learns.
Surf is a staple for most Water-types. There's also Signal Beam.
It's okay during the final battles, but is nothing special.
Pick another Water-type instead. There's pretty much no reason to use Dewgong over a Pokémon like Starmie or Lapras.
Abilities: Guts or Inner Focus
Recommended Ability: Guts, as an Attack boost trumps a situational immunity.
First Encountered: You can encounter Throh on Route 23. (White 2 only)
Throh was a top-notch Pokémon in Black/White, as it had excellent stats at joining time and received a steady stream of useful Fighting-type attacks. Unfortunately, Throh comes late in BW2, so it doesn't stand out anymore.
Throh has a bulky stat spread. It has high HP and solid defenses, along with a high Attack stat. Unfortunately, its Speed is terrible, but Throh has the bulk to withstand most attacks. Also, its low Speed isn't much of a detriment if you're using Revenge. Fighting isn't an amazing defensive typing, but it has great offensive coverage.
The fighter will always start with its signature attack, Circle Throw (level 37). This attack is a Throh-exclusive version of Dragon Tail, as it always moves last and forces the opponent's Pokémon to switch out (or ends a random battle). It's not too helpful in-game, since the opponents' Pokémon will rarely use stat-boosting moves and entry hazards aren't effective in-game. Depending on its level, Throh may come with Bulk Up (level 33) or Superpower (level 49). While Superpower is normally a solid Fighting attack, it conflicts with Throh's bulk, so catch a level 48 Throh with the excellent Bulk Up instead. Amusingly, Throh receives the Endure (level 41) and Reversal (level 53) combination. Like most Endure/Flail users, Throh is too slow to take advantage of this shaky tactic. You'll probably want Throh to relearn Revenge. If Throh is damaged on the turn it uses the attack, Revenge's power will equal Superpower's, and moving last isn't a big detriment since Throh is naturally slow.
Payback is a solid option to hit Ghost-types, and will normally strike for double power due to Throh's low Speed. The elemental punches, Dig, and Rock Slide are also out there. Bizarrely, Throh also learns Pain Split. It's not a good attack in-game, but I wanted to point it out since the move seems out of place on a Pokémon like Throh.
Throh does decently against the Elite Four. It's a great choice against Grimsley, holds its own against Marshal (watch out for Mienshao's Acrobatics), and does well against half of the Champion's team. However, three of Shauntal's Pokémon have super-effective attacks against Throh, and Caitlin destroys it. It's also worth noting that the Victory Road trainers are slightly hostile to Fighting-types, as most trainers carry at least one Pokémon that resist Fighting-type attacks. It's not a huge deal, but is worth noting.
In BW2, Throh is just another Fighting-type. It's a solid option for the endgame, but don't expect it to be as impressive as it was in Black/White.
Abilities: Sturdy or Inner Focus
Recommended Ability: Inner Focus, as it's unlikely that Sawk will be OHKOed at full health.
First Encountered: You can encounter Sawk on Route 23. (Black 2 only)
Sawk was amazing in Black/White, since it was basically a Heracross that could be caught before the second Gym. With its phenomenal starting stats and solid movepool, Sawk could breeze through the game. However, like Throh, Sawk doesn't stand out anymore due to its late joining time.
Sawk's stat spread is very similar to Heracross'. Their Attack, Speed, and Defense are identical, and Sawk's base HP is only five points lower than Heracross'. Unfortunately, Sawk's Special Defense is a whopping 20 points lower. Sawk also lacks Heracross' secondary STAB, and has a slightly worse defensive typing since it loses out on one weakness but two resistances. Still, Fighting is an excellent STAB, and Sawk has massive Attack to take advantage of it.
You'll want to catch a level 48 Sawk so that it starts off with Brick Break. Level 49 Sawk come with the amazing Close Combat (level 49), which will serve as Sawk's primary STAB attack, but Brick Break is a solid backup in case Close Combat's HP is depleted. Like Throh, Sawk receives Endure (level 41) and Reversal (level 53), but is actually a viable user of the combo due to its decent base Speed. Its Sturdy ability can also act as a free Endure. However, Reversal only surprasses Close Combat when Sawk has 10% or less of its total HP remaining, so it's still a gimmick.
The elemental punches, Dig, and Rock Slide can round out Sawk's roster.
Like Throh, Sawk has decent end-game matchups. It does well against Grimsley and half of the Champion's team and holds its own against Marshal, but does poorly against Caitlin and most of Shauntal's team. Watch out for the anti-Fighting Pokémon on Victory Road.
Unfortunately, Sawk is a shadow of its former self. There are plenty of hard hitters at this stage in the game, and the similar Heracross can be found before the fourth Gym. It's still decent, though.
Abilities: Reckless or Sap Sipper
Recommended Ability: Either. While a Reckless-boosted Head Charge is a real boon for Bouffalant, the recoil may be unappealing. Sap Sipper is a fairly situational ability in the late-game, though.
First Encountered: You can encounter Bouffalant on Route 23.
Weget another look into Game Freak's deep design process. "Tauros + afro = new Pokémon! Next." Bouffalant is built like a tank. It has high Attack, along with solid HP and defenses, but low Speed. Too bad its Normal typing only gives it one immunity.
If you don't have a Heart Scale to spare, catch a level 49 Bouffalant since it will know Head Charge (level 31). A Reckless-boosted Head Charge gives Bouffalant a 144 power STAB attack, and serves as its main niche. Megahorn is another powerful attack, but it has sub-par accuracy. Thrash (level 51) is a solid choice if you dislike Head Charge's recoil or the freedom to switch attacks with Return. Bouffalant can pull off Swords Dance (level 56) due to its decent bulk, though it will likely take two hits before it attacks. Don't use it in tandem with Thrash during longer battles, though, or you'll have to waste a turn curing Bouffalant of its confusion or lose its Swords Dance boosts by switching out. You can reteach Bouffalant Revenge, since Bouffalant will likely move last anyway.
Return is a solid alternative to Head Charge. Payback is a solid option due to its low Speed. There's also Zen Headbutt, Wild Charge, and Rock Slide.
Bouffalant is a decent choice for the Elite Four. It can smack Shauntal's Pokémon with Payback while it's immune to their Ghost-type STAB attacks. With Megahorn and Revenge, it can also take on Grimsley and Shauntal (watch out for Grimsley's Scrafty and Reuniclus' Focus Blast). It's also a solid choice against most of the Champion's Pokémon.
Bouffalant is yet another end-game Pokémon that doesn't stick out. Add it to your lineup if you want, but it's unnecessary since you should have a solid team.
Abilities: Rough Skin or Sheer Force
Recommended Ability: Either. Sheer Force boosts Crunch and Rock Slide, but since Druddigon should mostly use Dragon-type attacks, Rough Skin's extra damage will usually be more useful.
First Encountered: You can Druddigon in Victory Road's caves.
I would comment on Druddigon's design, but Smogon's Rarelyused Druddigon analysis puts it best: "With a head that looks like the failed art project of a 4-year old, combined with thistle leaves for wings, Druddigon seems like a failure of a Pokémon." Ouch.
Druddigon is yet another tanky Pokémon. It has excellent Attack and solid defenses, but its Speed is low and its HP is a bit lacking. In-game, Dragon STAB is a little iffy; it hits every type except Steel for neutral damage at worst, but it lacks super-effective coverage, and Druddigon is weak to the only type that Dragon attacks are effective against! Worst of all, it doesn't get to spam obscenely powerful attacks such as Outrage or Draco Meteor constantly.
Well, Druddigon starts with no good Dragon attacks. Revenge is a solid attack since Druddigon is slow, and Night Slash is also decent. Immediately reteach it Dragon Claw to replace the sub-par Dragon Tail. Don't be tempted to use Rock Climb with Sheer Force, as it's still weaker than a STAB Dragon Claw. Superpower (level 55) can replace Revenge if you don't mind the stat drops. Druddigon finally picks up Outrage (level 62) at the end of the stint, though it will be slightly overleveled once it learns the attack.
Rock Slide is solid, and works with Sheer Force. Dig, Fire Punch, Thunderpunch, and Aqua Tail are also out there.
Don't be tempted to use Druddigon's Dragon attacks on the Champion's three Dragon-types, as they will all outspeed Druddigon (with the possible exception of the Champion's own Druddigon) and blast it with their own Dragon-type attacks.
Druddigon is pretty sub-par, as Outrage comes too late to be of use. Don't waste a Heart Scale on a mediocre late-game Pokémon.
Name: Golett -> Golurk
Abilities: Iron Fist or Klutz
Recommended Ability: Iron Fist to boost Shadow Punch's power.
Evolution: Evolves at level 43
First Encountered: You can encounter Golurk in Victory Road.
We're almost there! This is the penultimate review.
Golurk is yet another bulky Pokémon. High Attack, decent defenses, low Speed, you get the drill. Ground STAB is always welcome. Ghost/Ground grants three immunities, but five weaknesses, so it's a mixed bag.
Level 50 Golurk will come with Earthquake (level 50), which is amazing as always. Immediately reteach Golurk Shadow Punch, which has an okay 72 base power with Iron Fist. Hammer Arm (level 60) is another decent attack. Remember, Golurk is a Ghost-type, so Curse (level 40) will halve its HP instead of boosting its stats.
You have the elemental punches, Rock Slide, and even Fly. Go nuts.
Late-game matchups. Shauntal and Grimsley's teams rip Golurk apart with their STABs. Golurk can hit Shauntal's Pokémon with Shadow Punch in return, but her Pokémon have the edge due to their Speed. Golurk is solid against Caitlin, although two of her Pokémon carry Shadow Ball. Golurk is also solid against Marshal - his Conkeldurr can only hit Golurk with a not-very-effective Stone Edge - but watch out for his Throh's powerful Payback. Golurk destroys the Champion's Aggron, but it's not special otherwise.
I can't recommend Golurk. Its Ghost STAB is weak even with Iron Fist's boosts, it comes underleveled, and its late-game matchups are a bit underwhelming. Sorry, Golurk.