Home Strategy Pokemon starter guide: HeartGold and SoulSilver part two

Note: Please refer to my last article for the bulk of the strategy. The tactics presented are revised with respect to the starters’ types only. The rest of your team’s composition is up to you.

While putting together this article, I asked a friend of mine what their favorite starter was in Gold and Silver. A master to my expert, she surprised me in a good way. While I’ve always preferred Cyndaquil above Totodile or Chikorita, her thinking was opposite mine. Chikorita is her go to, and the reasoning is simple: there are few worthwhile grass types in Gold and Silver, so why not start with one.

Much in the same way Charmander challenges players in Red and Blue/Green,* Chikorita provides a worthwhile test of your team building skills. You know, those ones where you beat other children’s pets into submission. Screw the trust fall bull crap.


Few greater than Feraligatr

Totodile, and his eventual evolution to Feraligatr, is a solid choice for a starter in HeartGold and SoulSilver. Despite stiff competition from the likes of Kingdra, Gyarados, Poliwrath, Lapras, and even the legendary Suicune. He has the lowest level requirement for his final evolution and Feraligatr’s possible move-sets are almost endless.

He learns an Ice attack via level up, a trait invaluable against the Elite Four and Lance. He can learn Dragon Pulse, Earthquake, Aerial Ace, Rock Slide, and Shadow Claw, among others, In this way, he can potentially defeat every type in the game given the correct combination of attacks. Another of the numerous Water Pokemon should suffice as an HM-slave, besides maybe Surf.

All around, despite not having the absolute best stats in the Water type, I’d say Mr. ‘Gatr is by far the best due to his adaptability.


Gym Breakdown

Falkner: Much like Cynaquil, Totodile has no inherent advantage against the Normal or Flying type. His higher than average Attack stat should do wonders against their lower Defense, but a few Water Guns will suffice if needs be. The Sprout Tower might pose an issue, but if your Pidgey knows gust, don’t worry too much.

Bugsy: Totodile, likely Croconaw by now, begins showing his difference from Cyndaquil with the second Gym. Once again having no type advantages, you need to rely on raw power and maybe other Pokemon to succeed. Bug is still weak against Flying, and Pidgey would do well here. Mareep/Flaaffy can take on Scyther’s Flying dual-type if necessary.

Whitney: Miltank is an annoyance no matter which starter you choose, and I’d suggest getting her paralyzed as soon as possible. From there, hammer away with Bite and Water Gun until she faints.

Morty: Where Quilava faltered against the Ghosts, Croconaw has a powerful advantage. Bite is now a Dark attack, a counter to the Ghost type. His high Attack stat will assist in taking down the Ghastlys and Haunters with their low Defense. Beware of Gengar still, as a couple Shadow Balls will still KO the croc.

Chuck: Type resistances again favor the gatr in the fight against Chuck. He can’t rely on Poliwrath’s use of Surf to achieve victory here, instead needing to fall back on raw power. While Flaaffy/Ampharos remains my choice against this Fighting Gym, Croconaw/Feraligatr can stall for time or finish what the Electric sheep leaves behind.

Jasmine: Magnemite could pose an issue against the Water croc, but you should have some kind of Fire type by this point. I recommend Houndour, Magmar, or Arcanine. Melt the magnet Pokemon down and pull out the ‘Gatr for Steelix. Surf him into submission, or use some other humiliating tactic against the almighty Steelix.

Pryce: While the dual Water type to most Ice types can be annoying, just Thunder them into submission with Ampharos. Piloswine should fall quickly to a couple Surf attacks.

Claire: Hopefully you’ve kept Ice Fang, or taught Feraligatr Ice Beam, or you have some other strategy that doesn’t involve the starter and anti-Dragon attacks. Whatever means you have, use it. Beware of Thunder Wave and Hyper Beam, but Claire is much less an issue with the ‘Gatr as your starter.


Pokemon League Breakdown

Will: If you replaced Bite with Crunch, Will is a done deal. Shadow Claw works well too. Ampharos can take care of the Xatu pair, and Exeggutor should end up poached with your Fire type. Or Ice Beam him to death. Your choice.

Koga: As with Cyndaquil, Fire is your friend against Koga. The ‘Gatr can take everything down himself, but you may want to save him for later.

Bruno: Whatever Flying type you’ve got tucked away should come out now. Hitmonchan can deal with almost anything with his type punches, and Machamp’s Rock Slide is no less dangerous. Be quick, and Bruno’s as good as done.

Karen: Umbreon remains a frustrating foe, if only due to its high defenses and Moonlight. Houndoom isn’t a problem anymore, nor is Gengar or Murkrow. Vileplume is a Fire/Flying type’s little [expletive of choice here].

Lance: Think Claire with higher levels and more types. Ampharos can take care of Aerodactyl and Gyardos, but Feraligatr will have his hands full with three Dragonites. One of them knows Thunder, so you might want to be careful initially. Otherwise, spam those Ice attacks, and Victory will be yours.


Chikorita can…I got nothin’

Gym Breakdown

Falkner: You’ll have to work for this first victory. A couple Gusts and your cute little flower will be down for the count. Pick up a Geodude and get Rock Throw. Spam the crap out of it, and win. Sprout Tower falls to Pidgey.

Bugsy: Pidgey’s up again, as is Mr. Dude. Rock Throw and Gust. Lots and lots of them. Mareep/Flaaffy can fill in as well.

Whitney: The same stuff applies for Bayleef as it does for Quilava and Croconaw. Hit Miltank until she drops, paralyze her, and get a Machop to hit her in the Normal Types. In that order.

Morty: Save for Misdreavus, the Ghost types in HeartGold and SoulSilver are part Poison, making them resistant to Grass attacks. They also have Levitate, making Ground useless. And Psychics are weak to Ghost attacks, and Gengar’s speed makes using them pointless. Bayleaf has pretty good Special Defense, so Shadow Ball won’t do quite so much damage. Without any good type advantages, go the Whitney route. Paralyze and grind. 

Chuck: Finally something Grass can handle. Poliwrath is a couple Razor Leafs away from letting you just take the fifth badge.

Jasmine: Steel can’t do much to Grass, and neither can Electricity. Fire’ll send the Magnemites packing, and if you’ve got a Pokemon with Dig, use him against Steelix. That, or just melt everything you see. I hear that works great too.

Pryce: Again, Water dual-types are something to remember, and Grass eats water for every meal of the day. But beware Ice’s strength over Grass. A couple good Aurora Beams might spell your Meganium’s demise, and a single Blizzard from Piloswine could do the same. Hit hard and fast with Ampharos and a Fire type, and you should do fine. Just don’t let them Rest that much. That shit’s annoying.

Claire: While Meganium isn’t strong or weak against anything in Claire’s arsenal, she has almost to directly harm Grass. One of her Dragonairs knows Fire Blast, so watch out for that. Kingra isn’t resistant to Grass like her Dragons are, so Meganium can do some damage there.


Pokemon League Breakdown

Will: Two Flying and one Ice type spell bad news for Grass. Granted, the first Xatu doesn’t have a Flying move, but it does have a Bug attack, U-Turn, which would bring out something to really destroy Meganium. Stick to Pokemon other than your starter for this fight.

Koga: Poison will kick Grass to the curb. Again, stick to Fire and Rock, maybe even Psychic, for this battle.

Bruno: Take out the Onix with the quickness, and both Hitmontop and Hitmonlee should be fairly easy for Meganium. Hitmonchan should fall to a Flying or Psychic type, as should Machamp, though your starter might do fine there too.

Karen: Houndoom is doom for Meganium, but the rest of Karen’s team isn’t much of a problem. The only stumbling block is Vileplume, *snicker* but a couple Flamethrowers should do the trick with it.

Lance: Two of Lance’s Dragonites have anti-Grass attacks, Blizzard and Fire Blast. Aerodactyl has Aerial Ace, and Charizard is, well, Charizard. Gyrados is part Flying, making your Grass attacks less effective, and his first level 49 Dragonite can probably hit you with a couple Dragon Rushes to put Meganium down. Of course, Chikorita wouldn’t be a challenge if nothing had the ability to one shot it, right?


Tune in next time for the extra-long-in-coming finale to the Skyrim Battle Mage guide. I’ll be doing some mod “reviews”, both my current ones and ones I’ll be looking up. Trust me when I say they won’t be your standard review.


*After looking again, I realized Japan actually released with Red and Green, not Blue and Green. 

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