Kyle Moffat discusses the Pokemon, movesets and abilities he prefers to use while playing through the Kanto Pokemon games.

Third year BA English and Film student and Gaming Editor.
Published
Images by Game Freak

In the main-series Pokémon games, team building is an important feature that dictates the difficulty and enjoyment of a playthrough. As a result, I want to recommend a team of six Pokémon (alongside HM slaves) that can create grant a player a fun experience. This edition will be for the Kanto games, which are the following:

  • Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow,
  • Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen
  • Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee!

 

I will firstly pick a team for Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow. Before we begin, there are a few rules for the teams:

  • No Legendary (Mewtwo, Rayquaza etc), Mythical (Celebi, Darkrai etc) or pseudo-legendary (Dragonite, Garchomp etc) Pokémon, as they can make the games too easy.
  • Choosing the teams will depend on power, enjoyment of use and when you can catch the Pokémon.
  • Accessibility is considered, so using version exclusive Pokémon or Pokémon which require trades will be very limited and when used, substitutes will be shown.
  • I will try to pick teams consisting of Pokémon that debut in a specific region. Pokémon such as Gyarados and Crobat will not be used for every region.

 

Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow

Venusaur (Grass/Poison)

My favourite Kanto starter is Charizard, but Fire types are not great in Kanto. So, Venusaur it is. Even with limited movesets in generation one, Venusaur picks up decent moves that can help a trainer on their journey. This Grass/Poison type Pokémon can handle the first two gyms (Water and Rock) and final gym (Ground) very well while being generally very useful due to the amount of Water types and trainers throughout Kanto.

Moveset:

Sleep Powder – this move only has 75% accuracy but it can buy you time to switch out, land some big hits or set up for the rest of the battle. This is learnt at level 55 so use Poison Powder before to gradually lower an opponent’s health and guarantee damage even when you are not attacking.

Swords Dance – great move in combination with Sleep Powder. This will raise Venusaur’s Attack meaning that a physical move can sweep entire teams. Swords Dance can be found at Silph Co.

Razor Leaf – a higher than average critical-hit ratio and 55 base power is not bad for a Generation One move. Venusaur also gets same-type attack bonus (STAB ) from Razor Leaf.  This move is learned at level 20 as an Ivysaur.

Body Slam – 85 power with 100 accuracy, what could go wrong? This move will not be super effective against anything, but it will be useful if you want a guaranteed hit, or you need a move to deal with Fire, Poison or Bug types. Body Slam can be found on S.S. Anne.

Cut – This HM will be required earlier so I recommend having this on Venusaur before Sleeping Powder can be learned. It is also found on S.S. Anne.

Getting this Pokemon:

Choose Bulbasaur as your starter. Bulbasaur will evolve into Ivysaur at level 16, then into Venusaur at level 32.

 

Nidoking (Poison/Ground)

This Poison/Ground Pocket Monste is useful because of its versatility. Nidoking can essentially cover the weaknesses of your team thanks to its incredible move pool and a great Attack and Special Attack. While types such as Psychic and Water will give you a hard time, there is a lot of coverage that can help you fight these weaknesses.

Moveset:

Earthquake – STAB move with a 100 base power and 100 accuracy. One of the best moves in Generation One, so use it. You can find Earthquake in Silph Co.

Strength – A necessary HM for progressing through the game. It is not all bad however, as Strength is 80 power and 100 accuracy. It can be found in Fuchsia City.

Surf – If you think a Pokémon has higher Defence that Special Defence, it could be worthwhile to try Surf instead. A 95 power and 100 accuracy move is always wonderful. It is found in the Safari Zone in Fuchsia City.

Blizzard – 110 power and 70 accuracy is not awful and it means you have greater coverage. Blizzard is found in the Pokemon Mansion.

Getting this Pokemon:

Head over to Route 22 which is left of Viridian City and go into the tall grass to find a Nidoran ♂. Evolve this into Nidorino at level 16 then use a Moon Stone to get Nidoking.

 

Dodrio (Normal/Flying)

Aside from Pokémon I have banned, Dodrio is possibly the best flyer in all of Kanto. Alongside this purpose Dodrio has fantastic Speed and Physical attack which will mean this Normal/Flying Pokémon hits hard and fast. While frail defensively we have other team members who will cover that area, so Dodrio can be purely used for landing the big hits.

Moveset:

Fly – Very useful for getting to locations across Kanto. You will not be using this move often in battle but if you need to, 70 base power and 95 accuracy is not terrible. If you are willing to wait a turn before attacking, this can be a good Flying move. Fly is found on Route 16.

Drill Peck – A very good attack with 80 base power and 100 accuracy. This is Dodrio’s best move. You will require a mushroom to learn this move. Drill Peck is learned at level 30.

Tri Attack – 80 power move with 100 accuracy but will deal with Electric types much better than a Flying move could. Tri Attack is learned at level 45.

Agility – Can be a useful move if you want to guarantee moving first. The only issue is that using Agility can make you vulnerable for a turn, especially with Dodrio’s lacklustre defences. Agility is learned at level 51.

Getting this Pokemon:

Catch a Doduo in the grass at Route 16 or 17, then just make sure it is level 31 or higher and evolve it.

 

Jolteon (Electric)

Electric types are usually very solid choices to have in a team and you have several choices in Kanto, with Jolteon and Raichu being the best of the bunch. Both have similar movesets, but Jolteon has incredible Speed and Special stats in Generation One, while overall having a higher base stat total. Jolteon is great to have because – like Venusaur – it can make quick work of water types. Unlike Venusaur, Jolteon can hit for super effective damage on the likes of Gyarados and Tentacruel.

Moveset:

Thunderbolt – a no-brainer here really. Having a 90 power Electric move excluding STAB and 100% accuracy is a winner. You earn Thunderbolt after beating the Vermilion City Gym.

Thunder Wave – this can be useful for having a one in four chance for the opponent to not move. Also slows the opponent’s Pokémon down, which can be especially if you want to switch to a slower team member. Thunder Wave is learned at level 40.

Skull Bash – a fantastic 100 power move with 100 accuracy. Jolteon has an okay Attack stat and this move will be useful against Grass and Ground Pokémon should you need it. Skull Bash is located in the Safari Zone

Double Kick – this move hits twice for a total of 60 power. It can be very useful against Rock, Ice and Normal type Pokémon. Jolteon gets Double Kick at level 42.

Flash – before learning some of these big moves, Flash will be a useful HM so that you can get through caves. Flash is found on Route 2.

Getting this Pokemon:

You can receive Eevee from a person in Celadon Mansion. Just use a Thunder Stone and Jolteon is all yours!

Starmie (Water/Psychic)

If you ever played through Kanto, you know Psychic types are incredible. Like Dodrio and Jolteon, Starmie hits hard and fast, with good Speed and Special stats. Starmie can take out most types, ranging from Fighting to Ground to Flying to Fire. The only problem with Starmie is when you get it in the game. You will require another Water Pokemon to catch a Starmie and will have to beat the Fuchsia City Gym to use Surf. It is likely your team will be at least level 40 so it is up to you if you want to wait for Starmie or use another Water type.

Moveset:

Psychic – Very powerful move with STAB which takes care of Fighting types and the abundance of Poison types in Kanto. It has 90 power and 100 accuracy. Psychic is found in Saffron City.

Ice Beam – Great coverage for battling Grass types but also fantastic for dealing with Dragon and Flying types. It has 95 power and 100 accuracy. This if found on the Celadon City Store Roof.

Surf – Great move which also has STAB and takes care of pesky Fire, Rock and Ground types with a base 85 power and 100 accuracy. Surf is found in Fuchsia City, in the Safari Zone.

Reflect – A useful move for reducing Physical damage across your team for five turns. This makes Starmie a useful Pokémon to begin a battle with. You can find Reflect in the Power Plant.

Getting this Pokemon:

I recommend going to Route 19 to catch a Staryu. Then, use a Water Stone to get a Starmie.

I also recommend using a Gyarados or Golduck before finding a Staryu.

 

Snorlax (Normal)

Kanto is very limited in general, so it is difficult to pick another Pokémon. Snorlax is bulky with just one weakness and can pack a punch thanks to its decent attack and good movepool. Snorlax can land a hit but can also buy you time, either to waste an opponent’s PP or to work out their moveset.

Moveset:

Rock Slide – decimates Flying, Bug, Ice and Fire Pokemon. The only problem is the 90 accuracy, but the 75 power is great.  This can be bought in the Celadon City Department Store.

Double-Edge – a move with STAB and 100 base power, as well as 100 accuracy. Risky due to recoil, but can be highly useful. Double-Edge is learned at level 48.

Substitute – very useful against Fighting Pokemon. If not, it becomes a nuisance for opponent, potentially taking two or more turns to destroy. This can be found in the Celadon City Game Corner.

Toxic – Set this up just before or during a Substitute. Badly poisoning the Pokemon is great idea for gradually weakening an opponent, especially with such a defensive Pokemon on the field. Toxic is earned after beating Koga, the leader of the Fuchsia City Gym.

Getting this Pokemon:

You have two chances to catch Snorlax. Use the Poke Flute on Routes 12 and 16 to get your final team member.

 

Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen

Not much changes for this recommended team. However, due to generally wider movesets, abilities and the introductions of the Dark and Steel types in Generation Two. So, let’s go through new and improved movesets and abilities for the team.

Venusaur (Grass/Poison)

Ability – Overgrow

Moveset:

Sleep Powder – learned significantly earlier at level 15 and is still incredibly useful. For such a useful move, 75 accuracy is good.

Growth – replaces Swords Dance with it no longer being a TM. Growth provides Venusaur with options, increasing Attack and Special Attack by one stage. This move is learned at level 41.

SolarBeam – If you are prepared to wait a turn, SolarBeam is worth using. Choosing a 120 base power move rather two 55 power Razor Leaf with 95 accuracy makes sense. Just make sure you are in a battle where Venusaur is not going to faint in two turns. SolarBeam is found in the Pokemon Mansion.

Return – This move starts off as okay at best, but as you travel with Venusaur it becomes incredible. With a potential for 102 power, it is very useful in the second half of the game, as long as Venusaur is not fainting too often. Return is located on Route 12.

 

Raticate (Normal)

Raticate is our HM slave, so you will not be using it in battle. It is their to have the moves you do not want on your team and that is all.

Ability – Run Away is better but its unlikely you will use Raticate either way.

Moveset:

Strength – This is given to you by the Safari Zone Warden.

Rock Smash – You can find this move on Island 1. On a sidenote, the Sevii Islands are exclusive to FireRed and LeafGreen.

Cut – This is given to you by the S.S. Anne Captain.

No fourth move is required since it can only learn three HM’s.

Getting this Pokemon:

It is as easy as catching a Rattata on Route 1. Rattata can only learn Cut and Rock Smash, not Strength. So, catch a Raticate on Route 16.

 

Nidoking (Poison/Ground)

Ability – Poison Point

Moveset:

Earthquake – This move is received much later in FireRed and LeafGreen but is still worth getting. Use Dig before as it is still a solid move, and it can be found on In Cerulean City. Use it until you receive Earthquake after beating the Viridian Gym.

Megahorn – The best Bug move in this game by some distance. 120 power and 85 accuracy means that this move can be risky but will decimate Psychic and Grass Pokemon. Megahorn is learned at level 43.

Surf – Again, Surf is a decent move to have. While it fills a similar role to Earthquake, Surf can dispose of Ground types and can hit Flying Pokemon. Also, it is a necessary move for progressing through the game. Surf is located in the Safari Zone.

Flamethrower – Provides good coverage allowing you take out Grass and Bug Pokemon as well as Jynx, Magnemite and Magneton. Flamethrower is in the Celadon Game Corner.

Dodrio (Normal/Flying)

Ability – Early Bird

Moveset:

Fly – Once again, Fly is found on Route 16 and has the same power and accuracy.

Drill Peck – You have two choices with this move in FireRed and LeafGreen. You can either level up Doduo to level 37 so it can learn Drill Peck then evolve it into Dodrio, or you can evolve Doduo at level 31 and wait until level 47 to learn Drill Peck. Aerial Ace can be used before which is a 60 power move never missing. This is found on Route 9.

Tri Attack – This is learned by Doduo at level 21, so may already have the move when you catch it. Get a Mushroom if the Doduo does not have Tri Attack after level 21 and relearn it.

Steel Wing – Provides very good coverage against Rock and Ice Pokemon so it is great to have. Steel Wing is found in the Safari Zone.

 

Jolteon (Electric)

Ability – Volt Absorb

Moveset:

Thunderbolt – Get this move from Celadon Game Corner.

Thunder Wave – This move is learned at level 42 for Jolteon. A bit late but Thunder Wave has enough time to be useful.

Shadow Ball – It is very difficult to provide good coverage for Jolteon in Generation Three. Nonetheless, Shadow Ball is 80 power and 100 accuracy. Despite having just 65 Attack, Shadow Ball can be very useful if Thunderbolt is redundant. Again, this is found in the Celadon Game Corner.

Double Kick – Again, very useful for Rock, Ice and Normal Pokémon. It is also useful for the newly Steel Magnemite and Magneton. Get Jolteon to level 30 to learn Double Kick.

Flash – Before learning some of these big moves, Flash will be a useful HM so that you can get through caves. It is found on Route 2.

Starmie (Water/Psychic)

Ability – Natural Cure

Moveset:

Waterfall – Since Nidoking can learn Surf and since we will need Waterfall, Starmie is best for learning it. It is still 80 power and 100 accuracy so it is still incredibly useful.

Ice Beam – found in the Celadon Game Corner.

Psychic – found in Saffron City.

Reflect – If the Light Screen of Generation Four onwards was available, I would choose it. However, I think having Reflect would benefit the entire team. There are two locations to find Reflect. These are      S. S. Anne and on the Celadon Mart Roof

 

Snorlax (Normal)

Ability – Thick Fat

Moveset:

Rock Slide – Despite the 90 accuracy, it is usually a useful and reliable move. There is a move tutor in Rock Tunnel that can teach you this move.

Body Slam – Double-Edge is only an egg move for Snorlax, so I would not bother going through that trouble. Instead, Body Slam is good enough and does not cause recoil. Body Slam is learned at level 33.

Brick Break – A very useful 75 power Fighting move, that has 100 accuracy and removes the effects of Light Screen and Reflect. Brick Break is located on the S.S. Anne and in the Celadon Mart.

Toxic – Again, great for slowly weakening an opponent and providing gradual damage. Toxic is earned after earning the Fuchsia Gym Badge.

Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu! And Let’s Go Eevee!

Anyone who has played these two Kanto remakes know that these are some of the easiest games in the franchise. Reusable TM’s, easier A.I, the removal of abilities and much more make these games too easy. So, I want to pick a team that creates a bit more of a challenge.

Pikachu (Electric)/Eevee (Normal)

Of course, you are going to have the poster Pokémon. Their base stat totals are okay, which means they can a decent enough job. Fortunately Pikachu and Eevee can learn exclusive moves that make them much more useful in battle so it was worth trusting your partner.

Movesets – Pikachu:

Thunderbolt – the standard move for any Electric type. Having a STAB move with 90 base power and 100 accuracy is always smart. This Pikachu learns Thunderbolt at level 21.

Floaty Fall – this Pikachu has higher Attack (80) than Special Attack so let us make the most of it. Having 90 power and 95 accuracy makes this Flying move a useful asset. Go to the Celadon City Move Tutor to get this move.

Splishy Splash – provides great coverage for Pikachu’s only weakness, Ground types. This can be learned from the Fuchsia City Move Tutor.

Thunder Wave – Always a useful move for slowing down your opponent’s Pokémon and getting the chance to prevent the occasional attack. Thunder Wave is learned at level 15.

Movesets – Eevee:

Buzzy Buzz – 90 power and 100 accuracy mean you have a big edge of Water and Flying types with this Electric move. Get Buzzy Buzz at the Cerulean City Move Tutor.

Baddy Bad – helps to deal with the dangerous Psychic types in Kanto. The 90 power and 100 accuracy Dark move is taught by the Celadon City Move Tutor.

Double Edge – a risky move but one that has 100 base power and STAB with Eevee. It is learned at level 28.

Sparkly Swirl – having Fairy moves is smart. They help to dispatch of the occasional Fighting and Dragon types in Kanto. It is learned by the Fuchsia City Move Tutor.

Hitmonlee (Fighting)

This might be a slightly unconventional choice, but Hitmolee can be fun to use.   With 120 Attack and 87 Speed, the Fighting type can pack a punch. In addition, its Special Defence of 110 means that you will not have to worry too much about Psychic and Fairy moves. Hitmonchan is arguably the better of the two Pokémon you choose from in the Fighting Dojo. However, like I said, we are looking for a bit more of challenge from these games.

Moveset:

Brick Break – A basic move for any Fighting Pokémon. A move with 75 power excluding STAB and 100 accuracy is always a win, alongside ignoring Reflect and Light Screen. Brick Break comes on the Hitmonlee you receive.

Bulk Up – Always useful to have when increasing your Attack and Defence. This is a move I recommend using against Pokémon which are special attackers. Set up with Bulk Up a couple of times and you could sweep an entire team easily. You can get Bulk Up in the Celadon City Department Store.

Rock Slide – Earthquake is always a good option but Rock Slide provides good coverage against Flying Pokemon. Keep in mind the 90 accuracy. Rock Slide is found in the Pokemon Mansion.

Poison Jab – Before Generation Six I would never give a non-Poison type a Poison move excluding Toxic. However, this move can be useful against the occasional Fairy and makes quick work of some of the Grass types across Kanto. Poison Jab is located in Celadon City.

Getting this Pokemon:

You will have the choice to pick Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan up in the Fighting Dojo, in Saffron City.

 

Venusaur (Grass/Poison)

It is hard not to include a Grass type when they are so many Water and Ground/Rock types in Kanto. Venusaur is still a great Pokemon so have it in your team.

Moveset:

Petal Dance – a somewhat risky move but one dealing massive damage. For 2-3 turns you provide massive damage but are confused after. This is a risk well worth it in my opinion. Petal Dance is learned upon evolving.

Sludge Bomb – this Poison move can deal with fellow Grass types as well as Fairy types, which are not incredibly common but can still cause trouble in Kanto. Even so, Sludge Bomb is a great STAB move to have. It is found in the Pokemon Mansion.

Toxic – nothing wrong with having a move that gradually saps the health away from an opposing Pokemon. Toxic is found in Fuchsia City.

Earthquake – because why would you not have one of the best moves in the game? Venusaur has never had the most diverse movepool so there are few alternatives. If you think this is a bit too overpowered to have, you could replace Earthquake with Seed Bomb or Light Screen. Earthquake is earned after beating the Viridian Gym.

Getting this Pokemon:

You can catch a Bulbasaur as early as Viridian Forest. It may take a while to find one, but it is worth it. If you cannot be bothered to catch one, you can receive a Bulbasaur in Cerulean City.

 

Charizard (Fire/Flying)

At last, I get to include Charizard! As a Fire and Flying Pokemon, Charizard gets access to a decent movepool anyway but add some Ground, Dragon and Fighting moves into the mix and Charizard can fill any role. Since we can more than one of the Kanto starters, that is exactly what I would do.

Moveset:

Flamethrower – the first move for a Charizard. 90 power excluding STAB and 100 accuracy is always a win. Get Flamethrower at Silph. Co.

Fly/Wing Attack – for some reason Charizard cannot learn Air Slash until level 62 so we will have to make do with one of these moves. This is really based on personal preference. Wing Attack is learnt upon evolution whereas Fly is found on Route 16.

Will-O-Wisp – always a useful move to use against physical attackers. If not it still gives a burn which can whittle down a Pokemon. Will-O-Wisp is found in Viridian City.

Earthquake – good coverage for several types, especially the very frightening Rock type. Again, Earthquake is earned after beating the Viridian Gym, so Dig (found in Cerulean City) is a great option for earlier in the game.

Getting this Pokemon:

Charmander can be found as early as Route 3. You can also get Charmander as a gift on Route 24.

Slowbro (Water/Psychic)

Starmie is slightly overpowered for the Let’s Go games so lets go with another Water and Psychic Pokemon. Slowbro has absolutely no speed whatsoever unlike Starmie. However, it has decent defences and a wonderful 100 Special Attack, so it is still doing a lot of damage while soaking up a couple of hits.

Moveset:

Surf – while no longer a HM, Surf never fails me. You simply cannot go wrong with this incredible Water move. Surf is found on Route 15.

Psychic – like Surf, a great move that has STAB with Slowbro and makes use of the incredible Special Attack it possesses. Psychic is located in Saffron City.

Ice Beam – great coverage always comes from Ice Beam. If necessary, this can take Grass Types out with ease. In addition, Ice Beam sweeps through Lance’s team in the Elite Four. Ice Beam is found in the Seafoam Islands.

Yawn – Especially with low Speed, putting a Pokemon to sleep is very useful. If you are patient enough for a turn then I recommend Yawn heavily. When catching a Slowpoke, it should already know Yawn.

Getting this Pokemon:

Pick up a Slowpoke on Seafoam Islands and get it to level 37 to evolve.

 

Alolan Sandslash (Ice/Steel)

Sandslash is one of my favourite Kanto Pokemon so I am absolutely including it. We have enough Ground moves on the team, so Alolan Sandslash is the next best choice. Ice and Steel is a cool combo (no pun intended). Despite the X4 weaknesses to Fire and Fighting, Alolan Sandslash can make quick work of Dragon, Flying and Rock types. It does a decent enough job in battle but has the clear weaknesses that make the Let’s Go! Games a bit more challenging. Decent Attack and Defence make it a powerhouse who can take hits, just be careful of its Special Defence and HP. There is also no guarantee it will go first with its 65 Speed, so be careful.

Moveset:

Ice Punch – Great STAB move that should take out most Pokemon weak to it, thanks to Sandslash’s great Attack. Get Ice Punch on Route 21.

X-Scissor – always have a move for Psychic type Pokemon in Kanto. 80 power and 100 accuracy make X-Scissor reliable. X-Scissor is found on Route 12.

Iron Tail – allows you to take care of Ice, Rock and Fairy types. 75 accuracy is not great but when it hits it is very good. Get Iron in the Celadon City Department Store.

Stealth Rock – Always useful to have a battles against trainers with several Pokemon. Set Stealth Rock up early and you cause damage every time an opponent Pokemon enters the battlefield. You will find Stealth Rock on Victory Road, giving just enough time to be useful. Use Protect or Substitute before.

Getting this Pokemon:

Catch a regular Sandshrew on Route 3 or 4. Then you can trade for an Alolan Sandshrew in Celadon City. Finally, use an Ice Stone.

 

These are my Kanto teams! I hope you try some of these out and be sure to comment your teams and changes you would make!


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