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Tribulations of Great Pokémon 16

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Another week came and gone, but here’s another entry to the Tribulations of Great Pokémon series! As I have stated last week, I will be looking at legendaries exclusively for this one and the next four entries of this series. However, Generation 1 doesn’t have too many of them, so some non-legendaries are added in to make it a bigger article. For every Pokémon in this article, their merits, weaknesses and tribulations will be explored, so let’s find out which Pokémon makes the cut this time!


(This is for @Lord Clowncrete;)

We start things off with a fan-favourite, Arcanine. Since Arcanine is a “legendary” Pokémon, it is appropriate to cover it along with other legendary Pokémon. While Arcanine isn’t generally powerful like the other real legendary Pokémon, it is still a great Pokémon for various reasons. Let’s see the potential Arcanine has.

Arcanine’s base stat total is one of the highest, placed somewhere between the starters and legendary trio. As such, its stats are well balanced. Attack is the strongest point, followed by Special Attack and Speed. Thankfully, Arcanine is blessed with enough moves that allow it to be offensive and defensive. Offensively, Arcanine learns Flare Blitz, Wild Charge, Close Combat and Extreme Speed to make use of its high Attack. This meant that you could use a Life Orb to sweep the opponent if the time is right, or pack a Choice Band for the power. Defensively, Arcanine has Intimidate and Will-O-Wisp to lower the opponent’s Physical assaults, and provide its own recovery with Morning Sun. If you need an immunity, Flash Fire is there to help.

Arcanine does have the severe drawback of being a Fire-type, which means it is weak to common offensive types, plus Stealth Rock. To make matters worse, Arcanine’s Speed fell a bit short, putting it under the magic number of 100, which is where most common threats are. Because of this, some faster attackers are good at dealing with Arcanine, such as Flygon. Even though Arcanine is very difficult to tank due to its coverage and Attack, it is checked by certain threats depending on the move it lacks. For example, without Close Combat, Snorlax could check Arcanine. Wild Charge is needed for several Water-types, and Hidden Power Grass is for those Pokémon that are double-weak to Grass.

Currently, it is time to explore Arcanine’s tribulations. Not to go into too much detail, Growlithe is moderately difficult to find, considering its “uncommon” status in the games. After that, you are free to use your Fire Stone anytime to evolve it into Arcanine, so you could evolve it immediately after capturing if you so wish to. However, even if you do get Growlithe, you need to take into account that Growlithe is the only one who could learn moves. If you need Flare Blitz, Agility or even Crunch, you must learn it as Growlithe first. Due to the slow level-up curve, this process would take long. After evolving Growlithe to Arcanine, you have access to a move that Arcanine only learns: Extreme Speed. Because Arcanine learns this move at an earlier level than Flare Blitz, you would need to use a Heart Scale if you did already learn this move earlier (through breeding).

Speaking of breeding, Arcanine only learns some important moves this way. First of all is Morning Sun, which Espeon learns naturally. Close Combat is another move that is learned through breeding, so keep this in mind. However, none of the Pokémon learns both moves naturally, which leaves Smeargle as the only parent available. It is of interest to note that Growlithe also learns Flare Blitz and Crunch through breeding even though both of those moves are already in the level-up movepool. Do take into account the abilities you get while breeding, because you want to make sure you use the right ability for the right purpose.

Well then, is Arcanine balanced? For the most part, I thought Arcanine is indeed balanced. It has higher stats than the ordinary Pokémon, and it gets a decent amount of fitting moves for its purpose. At the same time, Arcanine is not quick at levelling up and requires some set up when breeding for moves, although it is unlikely that you need both Close Combat and Morning Sun in the same set. In conclusion, Arcanine is balanced.

Verdict: Balanced [±0]


Up next is another Eeveelution Jolteon! Previously, I did Vaporeon, Espeon and Umbreon, so this is the fourth one that will be looked into. Not much to say here, so let’s see what makes Jolteon great.

It doesn’t take long for an average player to find out that Jolteon is a Special attacker after looking at its stats. Its Speed is among the fastest, allowing for first strikes more often than not. Its Electric attacks are pretty powerful, if you take into account its STAB. If there is Rain, its Thunders will hurt (Get it, Thunders?)! With Volt Switch, you could get out of battle more easily. As for other offensive moves, Signal Beam and Shadow Ball are two others you could use, in addition to a Hidden Power. Together, they could form a Choice Specs set for extra power, or perhaps just carry a Life Orb for the same purpose. Remember Jolteon is immune to Electric if you have Volt Absorb, and free healing is always welcomed. With its Speed, Jolteon could also attempt to use Baton Pass to pass Agility or even Substitute to a more deserving teammate.

Unfortunately for Jolteon, it is frail, especially on the Physical side. It will be disposed very easily if hit by a Physical attack that it doesn’t resist, especially Ground, so you need to watch out for those. While its Special Defence is better, it won’t really help Jolteon because it doesn’t really have recovery (it could learn Wish, but frailty doesn’t make this move reliable for self-healing). Of course, a Special wall will ensure that Jolteon won’t be too bad, considering how it has a low Attack. As long as you have a faster attacker or one with an increased priority attack, or even one that could survive a hit and retaliate, Jolteon won’t cause too much trouble either.

Jolteon, being an Eeveelution, is immediately assigned with the traits of being rare, due to Eevee’s rarity. In fact, they have a huge male ratio, so you need to be lucky to have a female Eevee to breed for more. Do keep in mind that each of their eggs takes long to hatch (36 cycles). Catching an Eevee is not convenient either, because of the 5% encounter rate (0.625% of meeting a female) as that catch rate of 45 is bound to have you keep trying for a bit. After that, you will need a Thunder Stone, because Jolteon is not available for free, save for that one even at early Generation 5, although that event only provides Quick Feet Zapdos (its Dream World ability).

If you want to learn Baton Pass, Eevee needs to stay that way for a while, since only Eevee learns it. After that, should you want Agility in your moveset, then you need to relearn it, because Agility is learned at a lower level than Baton Pass. Detect could also work for Jolteon to avoid Earthquakes in Doubles, but that move is obtained through breeding. By the way, if you are looking to learn Discharge, I should warn you: if you try to learn this move in Generation 4 or Black and White, you will find out that it will take a long time to learn this, as it is a move learned at Level 78! Fortunately, Black 2 and White 2 made this easier, since Jolteon learns it at Level 37. Still, if you use Jolteon in-game, you will find out that you won’t learn much besides Electric attacks, since its other attacks are Physical, and the gap between Special Electric attacks is high. This means you need TMs or Move Tutors to complete your movepool, since Jolteon doesn’t even learn Thunderbolt naturally.

Jolteon seems more balanced than Vaporeon. It is a great attacker indeed, but it isn’t much of a survivor. In terms of tribulations, Jolteon is almost like every Eeveelution. In-game, Jolteon isn’t necessarily the best of choices because what it learns isn’t very convenient for the purpose of the quest. But, if you get some extra help (and some luck in regards to Hidden Power), then Jolteon will shine even more. Basically, I think Jolteon is balanced.

Verdict: Balanced [±0]

Articuno, Zapdos & Moltres

It’s high time we get to the legendaries of this Generation. First off, we have this trio of birds. Each of them has a commonly-seen element. If players in Kanto are curious enough, they could find these birds hiding in various places suitable to their element. They are certainly not the best Pokémon or legendary for that matter that is offered to players, but their good stats do make them contenders on certain parts. Because of the way their names are numbered (Uno = one, Dos = two and Tres = three), I will explain each in that order.

What makes Articuno great is its defences. Combining this with Pressure, you will have a decent staller since Articuno has Roost and Substitute for this. In no time, you could even be draining all of Fire Blast and Stone Edge’s PP! Adding on to this is Toxic for more HP drainage. It does have some other neat tricks too. Haze is for boost removing, Roar for a similar purpose and Heal Bell for status removal. Offensively, Ice is a great typing, so there’s that. Recently, Articuno got Hurricane, which it could put to good use in Rain.

Unfortunately for Articuno, it is of the Ice-type, which means it has four weaknesses in total to worry about, especially Rock (Stealth Rock is a big thorn on its side). In fact, it couldn’t properly use its good defences because its defensive type is incompatible with the most common and strongest attacks offered. Forcing out Articuno seems to be the worst, especially if Stealth Rock is already around. Sometimes, Articuno could be prevented with stalling tactics with Taunt, but since Articuno’s STABs are very good, that is a risky strategy for the stallbreaker. Essentially, Articuno’s typing holds it back from being great. Way back.

Up next, we have Zapdos. Of the three birds, Zapdos found the most use, because unlike the other two, Zapdos’ defensive typing is the least worst. That’s because it not only have the least weaknesses, it is not obliterated badly by Stealth Rock. Zapdos, like Articuno, is able to stall opponents, but the difference is that Zapdos’ typing makes it much better in that regard. Being defensive isn’t the only thing Zapdos does well, as it could be threatening offensively as well. Its Electric STAB hurts, but it does not have a Special Flying STAB. However, Hidden Power Ice is a good enough substitute. Rounding this up is Heat Wave, which is necessary for those troublesome Grass- and Steel-types. Zapdos’ Speed is also quite good, being at a nice base 100. Zapdos also has a neat trick up its sleeve as well. It gets Baton Pass, which it could use to pass Speed (Agility) or a Substitute.

The things Zapdos could pull make Zapdos a very famous Pokémon in competitive battling ever since its early days, so this should tell you it is not to be trifled with. One way to ensure Zapdos doesn’t do too much hurt is to use a Special wall, since they aren’t quite damaged. So, Snorlax, for example, could either use Whirlwind to blow Zapdos away or attempt to paralyse it with Body Slam. Another type of Pokémon that hurt Zapdos is one that carries an Ice or Rock attack and is also faster, although it’s important to note that Stone Edge’s PP is low, and thus, easier to stall out. Of course, there’s no denying that Stealth Rock makes Zapdos not able to switch in too often.

Finally, there’s Moltres. Moltres is more of a middle ground between the two birds, as it is both great and difficult to use. What’s great about Moltres is the fact that it is a Fire-type, so it automatically has Fire Blast to blast any opponent into fumes. Like Articuno, Moltres got Hurricane, turning it into a really difficult Pokémon to switch into because of Hurricane’s effect. Rounding up coverage is Hidden Power. If you want, you could be on the defensive with Substitute and Roost like the other birds (remember Pressure), but Moltres has the distinct advantage of roasting foes, so any Steel-type that tries to absorb Toxic would not be the best decision.

Moltres is difficult to use mainly because it has a Rock weakness. It is so severe that it didn’t see much play, due to the likeliness of its appearance. In addition to this, Water and Electric are weaknesses that Moltres won’t like, and because of that, Rain teams are Moltres’ weakness, unless you know how to properly utilise Hurricane. Moltres is unfortunately not as fast as Zapdos, so it has some problems with Pokémon that are faster too. Of course, Rock-types are the bane of Moltres’ existence, since they resist both of its STAB attacks, though a well-timed Hidden Power is sure to keep them under control.

With the explaining for each bird done, we shall delve into their tribulations. One thing they share is their level-up curve, which is, as expected, slow. As such, it’s probably not a wise choice to use them in your quest if you are looking for a quick completion, due to their level-up moves. Articuno got the better deal because it learns a strong Ice attack at that point in every Generation. In terms of level-up moves, each bird gets a nice move on a later level. Articuno and Moltres both got Hurricane at Level 92, while Zapdos got Zap Cannon instead. In addition to that, Roost is obtained at Level 57, which is better than Tutoring. Every bird also gets some exclusive moves in Pokémon XD. Fortunately for Moltres, it didn’t get anything significant (Roost beats Morning Sun mostly, while Will-O-Wisp is learned through TM). Articuno could only get Haze and Heal Bell this way, while Zapdos only learns Baton Pass and Metal Sound from here. All three gets Extrasensory too, but it’s not necessary.

Now here comes the fun part: capturing them. You see, each bird is located in a faraway place that you are not likely to go to if you don’t explore. So basically, every bird requires you to use HMs to get to them. Articuno requires you to solve what are essentially block puzzles in Seafoam Islands to block the flow of water, in order to reach Articuno through water. Zapdos is a bit easier, because you don’t need to solve puzzles, but the multitude of Voltorb and Electrode would keep you busy for a while. For Moltres, it is found in different places every Generation. In Gen 1, it’s Victory Road. For Gen 3, it’s at Mt. Ember. Gen 4’s Moltres is found in Mt. Silver in Kanto. There is another thing that would really quiver even the most seasoned of players: roaming encounters. They are found in Sinnoh this way, which makes for an uncertain trip to find them. Still, this is not as bad as a certain trio, because at least you have places where you find them reliably. Remember to save when you meet them, because you only get one shot! By the way, you need to remember that they have a catch rate of 3, so prepare your supplies for the ordeal!

Would that mean that every bird here is balanced, then? This is not an easy decision to make, because they are obtained in similar ways, yet they perform differently in battle. Articuno no doubt got the worst deal for being an Ice-type and still being difficult to acquire, but Moltres is more or less balanced due to not requiring past game compatibility. Zapdos is harder to tell because it is the best one due to the combination of moves it learns, but still, one of its moves requires a console game and Heat Wave being an expensive move. Even then, they are not bad for in-game, if you invest TMs for them.

(Articuno) Somewhat Balanced [-2]
(Zapdos) Balanced [±0]
(Moltres) Balanced [±0]


Oh yes, Mewtwo: the strongest legendary Pokémon in Generation 1, so it’s bound to hold this title for some time, until we meet other titans such as Arceus itself. Obviously it is banned in every Generation looking for a fair play, but why? Let’s see what makes Mewtwo more or less a menace.

Mewtwo has one of the best stats spreads out there. There’s everything: superb Speed, awesome Special Attack, great Attack, and defences that are not too bad, considering how fast Mewtwo is. Not only does Mewtwo have awesome stats, it has the movepool to walk that talk. On the Special side, it’s got Psychic, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, Fire Blast, Aura Sphere and Shadow Ball to name a few. What makes Mewtwo stand out from the rest is its recent signature move, Psystrike. This means that not even dedicated Special walls like Blissey are safe, moreso with a boost from Calm Mind. Having some good Physical attacks helped, as it learns Bulk Up, but generally, Special offence is what Mewtwo does best. If you think offence is only Mewtwo’s purpose, you haven’t look at Mewtwo’s status movepool. As a Psychic-type, Mewtwo is blessed with all sorts of support moves, in addition to some appreciated additions, including recovery (Recover), burn (Will-O-Wisp) and paralysis (Thunder Wave).

Mewtwo is so good it is difficult to reliably counter it, as it out-speed even Arceus. However, there are certain measures you could do. One is to use a Choice Scarf user to outpace Mewtwo and swiftly deliver a striking blow, ensuring that it won’t do too much damage. Another way is to know Mewtwo’s moves. If Psystrike isn’t in its movepool, then a Special wall would do well in harming it, such as Ho-oh. Bulky attackers that could deliver a blow on Mewtwo are also something to consider, including Arceus with a super-effective Judgement and a Steel/Psychic-type in Rain.

We will see what makes Mewtwo a difficult Pokémon to acquire. First of all, Mewtwo’s found only in Cerulean Cave, which is obviously near Cerulean City. When you are in there, prepare for a long path full of Pokémon to go through, and also HM users in the form of Rock Smash and Surf. The Pokémon in the cave are at high levels, so you need to have something that could take them on. However, one of these Pokémon in the remakes is the incredibly annoying Wobbuffet, whose Shadow Tag prevents any escape, unless the player packs one of the indirect escaping methods (PokéDoll, Run Away Pokémon and the like). If you have Repels, it is a good time to use them, I say.

If you reached Mewtwo, get ready for a tough battle, because Mewtwo is no pushover. It has a low catch rate of 3 like most legendary Pokémon, so you need luck to get your only copy of Mewtwo here. You better save before fighting it, because worst case scenario, you failed to catch it. In battle, Mewtwo is not to be underestimated either. It has awesome stats at Level 70, but what make Mewtwo difficult to handle are its moves. If you are fighting Mewtwo in Generation 3, expect the battle to take longer than it should, because at that point, Mewtwo knows Recover. If you have a Dark-type, you could avoid Mewtwo’s dangerous Psychic, but if you have Sableye (in Generation 3), there’s nothing to worry about, because Mewtwo cannot harm it, due to the Swift and Psychic immunity. Of course, if you can’t be bothered to prepare, you could just chuck a Master Ball, that is, if you still have it. Beyond Cerulean Cave, Mewtwo is available in events. Because of the once-in-a-blue-moon nature of these, it is advisable to download one if the means are within your reach.

So, you caught Mewtwo, leaving the part where you train it if you want to make it strong. You should be, because Mewtwo’s best moves are available at a high level. If you want to learn Aura Sphere, be sure to reach Level 93 or Level 100, depending on the game. If Psystrike is your goal, good luck with that! That’s only available at max Level, unless you got one from an event with this move. Recover, too, is a high-leveled move, but it’s not as ludicrously high as the other two moves I mentioned.

Now, Mewtwo is going to be rated differently from the others, simply because Mewtwo is an obviously overpowered Pokémon that has shades of difficulty in training. When it comes to Pokémon like Mewtwo, and possible future titans like Giratina, I won’t give them a proper rating because it won’t be fair to balance them like the other great Pokémon. As such, there won’t be a rating for this Pokémon’s balance, because Mewtwo isn’t just a great Pokémon; it is an astonishingly amazing Pokémon.

Verdict: Unrated [N/A]


Back in those days of Generation 1, no one knew Mew existed beyond certain rumours, and the fact that it is possible to accidentally meet one. Basically, Mew was a result of being able to include an extra Pokémon into a Gameboy catridge, but time constraints made it impossible for it to be included as something you could meet in your quest. It is thanks to Mew we got the trend of Event Pokémon, which is something that future Generations will always have. You could even say Mew is the ancestor of pixie legendaries. Mew is also one of the factors that made Pokémon a worldwide sensation, among other things, so we have that to thank too.

Mew, believed to be the ancestor of Pokémon, is privileged with the ability to learn every move that can be taught by TM or Move Tutor. Not only does it have access to even the most obscure of moves (Softboiled, Frost Breath etc.), it learns its own share of unique moves, such as Transform, Reflect Type and Aura Sphere. This gives Mew the ability to do a lot of different things with its ability to mix and match different moves. In fact, it is not possible to know what Mew does until it used some of its moves. It could be a Special sweeper, Physcial attacker, Staller, Baton Passer or even support. Mew’s stats are well-rounded, possessing good defences, Speed and attack, which fits its ability to do all sorts of things. Its versatility was a reason it was banned from play before Generation 5, so you could use Mew in ordinary battles now.

It’s true that Mew is really unpredictable, but one thing you have to remember is that Mew is not specialized in any one stat. This meant that Mew could be out-sped by something that is meant to out-speed it, and it’s all the better if they have a super-effective move or just a really powerful move. As the Psychic-type doesn’t have a lot of resistances, it might be easy to do a lot of damage. Beyond this, its unpredictability means that there is no sure counter. However, if you found out what it does, you may have an easier time dealing with Mew because of the set it pulled off. For example, its Special sweeping set is easily countered by anything that could take a Physical hit, while its support set might be stopped by anything that isn’t bothered by status.

And now, we see what makes Mew a really tough Pokémon to get. First of all, Mew is an event Pokémon, so that’s bound to make it hard to get in the first place. It seems that there is no way to get Mew through events anymore, even in previous Generation, because no such even exists anymore. Therefore, if you have the means of getting Mew, you should get one because there might not be another opportunity. Fortunately, Mew ‘s level-up curve is not bad.

My Pokémon Ranch for the WiiWare is another way to get Mew, which should be the alternative because its method of obtaining one is in itself troublesome. What you need is 999 Pokémon in the ranch, before Hayley will offer you a trade, asking for any Pokémon Egg for a Mew, which shouldn’t be a hard task to fulfill. This could only be done if you have Pokémon Diamond, Pearl or Platinum, and not HeartGold and SoulSilver. Still, if there is no event in the near future, this is the other way to get it, although I imagine it is obsolete now since we are starting to see Generation 6 unfold.

Mew’s movepool spans across Generations, so if you need a certain move from a previous Generation, you won’t be able to do that because there are no events pertaining to previous Generations, unless you still have Mew from Generation 3 and cloned it in Emerald. For example, Softboiled cannot be learned anymore (but at least Roost is a suitable replacement), as with Counter. Even Generation 4 moves are not immune to this, such as Sucker Punch and Baton Pass. If there is one bright side to all of this, it is that Mew only has one ability, which is Synchronise, so it does not have any move complications. Simulators give users the freedom to choose any move, but remember that this is not easily replicated in real life.

Mew is very elusive for good reason. It is a very difficult Pokémon to get, but what you get is a Pokémon that is very good because of the moveset possibilities and the fact that you got a very difficult Pokémon. While it is true that Mew isn’t as strong as it once was, Mew is always great due to the fact its movepool is one of the best, and as a result, a sense of unpredictability.

Verdict: Balanced [±0]

Alright, this one is done! By the way, if you want to see the comprehensive list of Tribulations of Great Pokémon, check out my Notes page in my profile. It has Pokémon that are done, votes that are tallied so far, and Pokémon that I think would work in an article like this. This is because I want to make things easier when it comes to voting for the next one. Speaking of that, we will be touching on Generation 2’s legendary Pokémon next, but it doesn’t seem like there are plenty of them either. So once again, you could choose one or two non-legendary Pokémon from Generation 2 that are great in competitive battling. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.

Thanks for reading.

Chosen Pokémon that has been done (meaning, they can't be picked):

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Updated 11th January 2013 at 10:15 AM by winstein



  1. Kyriaki's Avatar
    From Generation 2?

    Typhlosion. Johto solo'ing is never impossible with this guy XDD
  2. Neosquid's Avatar
    I have to give Mew credit, because you never really know what it's going to do.

    From generation 2? Jumpluff (through whether or not its great is a matter of opinion, I just like it personally) and Feraligatr.
  3. Lord Clowncrete's Avatar
    Nice one @winstein; Arcanine is amazing.

    I would frankly say that mew is just too hard to get to rate it balanced.

    For the next series, all three Johto starters would be amazing.

    (Also regarding the quotes for normal types, I will will let this one slip for now. Can't think of anything. sorry)


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