Starters Untamed: Johto

Good day PJ readers! I just want to start off saying thank you for such great feedback that was given on my previous article on the Gen I starters. It was more of a success than I initially thought, and I’m very grateful of your insights! And due to some requests I’ll be completing the rest of the starters and go from there. Each Pokémon has their own sets of uses in competitive play, so the amount of talk and debate surrounding this topic is pretty in depth.  Read it all after the break!

Anyhoo, to start off this new article we’ll be discussing the Gen II starters from the famed G/S/C versions. To begin, we’ll discuss the first of few pure grass types (for that time at least); the herb Pokémon Meganium. As mentioned, I am a pretty big grass type fan so when G/S/C came out I instantly fell in love with Chikorita. The design was awesome and yes, I do love the huge flower mane thing that its final evolution sported (so sue me!). Overall this starter is easily the most aesthetically pleasing in my book. However, upon my development in Gen II my opinions of Meganium changed . . . for the worse.

Stat wise, Meganium is just kindof. . .meh. It’s basically built as a physical/special wall, delivering decent numbers in the defense department, clocking in at 100 for each respective defense stat. Offensively, Meganium really falls behind. It’s attack stats are somewhat underwhelming and it’s rather sluggish (I mean, it is a lumbering flower dinosaur) with no way to boost its speed stat. The biggest dent Meganium has offensively is its atrocious move pool. Aside from a few particularly good STAB moves (Energy Ball, Grass Knot respectively) it gets very few attack moves that prove useful in the battle field. The only exceptions are Body Slam (which is later overlooked in the newer generations), Earthquake, and the newest addition of Dragon Tail. I could see Dragon Tail being at least somewhat useful, often phazing opponents by forcing them to switch on Spike/Stealth Rock/Toxic Spikes set ups, but there are many other pokes who work that role much more effectively. Even if it contains Earthquake in its move pool, it most likely won’t kill a fire type in one shot due to the lack of offensive stats and STAB. All you really need to do to counter Meganium is to switch in something that resists its main moves and it won’t have much be able to do much.

If there’s one redeeming quality of Meganium, and that it serves a fairly decent support role. As the newer generations came out, team battles were enhanced and supporting moves became more common. Meganium does come with some respectable bulk and its move pool has been improved on more of a defensive side. Many common Meganium builds come equipped with DualScreens (Light Screen/Reflect) and Aromatherapy. The screens are obviously for defensive set ups, and Aromatherapy can be used to heal any unwanted status effects on the team. With the constant use of Will-o-Wisp, Toxic Spikes, and other irritating moves in the battle field this could prove quite helpful. Now with the DW in play, Meganium learns Leaf Guard. This heals any and all status problems while under Sunny Day conditions. Now Meganium can serve under more of a niche role on Sunny Day teams as a Dual Screener/status healer. Basically a “medic” if you will =p

Even with these new additions, Meganium just doesn’t really cut it in competitive play. Its poor typing comes with the threat of many common attacks and its move pool isn’t allowing it to kill much any time soon. It does play a decent supporting role, but many other pokes fit in to that role much more nicely.

Next up we’ve got the infamous Eruption Pokémon (and my personal favorite fire type starter), Typholsion. I never liked fire types much before this beast came out. There’s something intriguing about his design . . . it’s simple, yet very unique. The exploding mane is what probably did me in. As the years progressed he eventually became my favorite G/S/C starter.

Not only does Typhlosion deliver in looks, he also brings some nasty prowess to the table. Just by looking at Cyndaquil’s base stat distribution you can easily tell that this fire type is built for what fire types do best; to kill things. His speed stat is nothing to scoff at, scoring a high 100. Its special attack complements his speed at an even higher 109. While its physical attack isn’t terrible, it really isn’t Typhlosion’s forte. His move pool started out strong and ends up even stronger, posing surprising threats such as Thunderpunch and Earthquake to take care of his weaknesses. While they’re physical and don’t have a STAB, Typhlosion is built for the offensive so at least one of them is nice to have just in case you anticipate a switch in. Over the years Gamefreak has don’t a nice job improving Typhlosion, giving him moves such as Focus Blast and Rock Slide. Due to his solid move pool it allows Typhlosion to take on many of its threats in competitive play. Just be sure to watch out for pokes that are quicker and have high offensive moves that he’s weak to.

Some new additions to Tylphlosion really make him shine in battle. Eruption is a great attack if used correctly, seeing as its incredibly powerful (and special based), so combine that with STAB it’ll do tons of damage even to pokes that resist it so long as Typhlosion’s HP is full. However, with the common use of Spikes/Stealth Rock, it could be very risky to rely on. A new physical attack Wild Bolt was introduced in Gen V, allowing him to hit (and hit hard) with an electric attack. It’s a better option than the common Thunder Punch (so long as you don’t mind the recoil). Many have strayed from giving him thunder type attacks. Instead, Typhlosion has found a nice spot on Sunny Day teams. He has access to the powerful grass move Solar Beam, so with Sunny Day in effect you won’t have to wait a turn for a boost. Combined with his high special attack and you’ve got one deadly force. While it might not kill certain water types (many come with defensive bulk) you might be able to take out those ground/rock types lacking in the special defense department. He also comes with a new DW ability; Flash Fire. When he gets hit with a fire type attack it’ll boost the power of his fire type moves but an insane 50%. You might ask, “Who the heck would have the right mind to attack fire with fire?” You’re right, and not many would do so intentionally. But if you play your cards right and anticipate a fire attack, just switch this sucker in to “take the heat”. Nitro Charge is a welcome addition if you’re looking for a quick speed boost (especially if he’s your lead), that way you can set up for a powerful sweep.

Typhlosion is a pretty decent Pokémon overall. He does come with some common weaknesses i.e Water, Ground, and Rock, but if you play your cards right you can create a fiery beast that is capable of sweeping teams.

And finally we have our Gen II water type, Feraligatr. I must say Feraligatr is my least favorite Gen II starter and my 2nd to least favorite water starter overall. I don’t know why, but he just never really caught my attention much. Needless to say he was the last starter that I chose (when I get the games I normally make three runs, each run picking a different starter).

Unlike the previous gen’s water starter, this guy is built mainly for the offensive. He delivers a solid attack scoring a 105 and reasonable physical bulk, having a defense score of 100. His other stats are nothing to be ashamed of either, clocking in at the high 70’s mid 80’s. He’s pretty much your standard offensive water type. At the start of Gen II, though, he really didn’t deliver much. At the time there wasn’t a physical water type attack to compliment his offense, so he was left with moves such as Surf/Hydro Pump for his main STAB. He does learn the ever-so-useful Crunch attack, which is nice to take care of those irritating psychic/ghost types (plus it’s a physical move). To enhance his physical prowess, he also learns Curse so he can become more or less a physical/offensive tank at the sacrifice of his already mediocre speed. Overall water is just a great offensive type, only coming with two resists (obviously water and also grass) and two weaknesses. Most Feraligatrs come with Earthquake and (at the time) Ice Beam to counter his opponents.

Feraligatr really doesn’t shine up until you get into the later generations. A fantastic physical water attack was finally released (Waterfall), thus allowing those water types a chance at a physical sweep. He also gets Ice Punch, which again goes well with his physical attack. Probably the best addition that works for Feraligatr is the move Dragon Dance, which raises his speed and attack by one score. Applying one or two of these and you’ve got an effective sweeper on your hands. Probably one of my favorite combos involves utilizing Dragon Dance with Waterfall and Return. I wasn’t aware of this, but the Waterfall/Return combo hits everything for at least neutral damage (Waterfall takes care of steel/ghost/rock and Return for the grass/water types). Not only that but they’re pretty powerful attacks that go with his physical stats. You can substitute Dragon Dance for Swords Dance if you feel you can do without the speed boost. Life Orbs and speed/attack boosting berries work well with Feraligatr, allowing you to maximize his sweeping abilities. With the new DW abilities, Feraligatr gets Encourage, which raises his attack’s power at the expense of their secondary effect. If you’re O.K with losing flinching from Waterfall, this is the way to go.

The one main thing that sets Feraligatr back is his number one contender: Gyarados. Gyarados sports much higher attack, slightly higher speed, and a better ability (Intimidate). He also comes with the same moves and then some, such as Stone Edge, Bounce, and Payback . He also has higher defenses (79 in defense and 100 in special defense) with better HP. The main drawback is the 4x weakness to electric and a weakness to Stealth Rock. The way I see it, play Feraligatr if you’d rather have more defense and Gyarados if you’d prefer raw power.

In essence, Feraligatr delivers fairly well on the offense. Posing a decent threat with a great move pool and the offensive typing of water, Feraligatr could be a solid asset to any offensive team so long as you have a distinct set that you’re going for. After a Dragon Dance or two, you’d better be prepared to deal with an offensive killing machine.

– Mr. Bojingles

Thanks for another great article!  Look forward to the Hoenn starters being ‘Untamed’ soon!

  1. Good article like last time. I agree with all of the statements you made, even the disappointing “meh” factor of Meganium =/

    Regardless, I always pick Typholsion- not only is it a Fire type that I actually like (it’s a rare thing with me), but it’s cute AND kicks ass. <3

  2. ah much better article then the last one but one thing if we go back to gen II there wasnt a physical defense split yet so cruch wasnt as strong as it is now it drew power from sp att. which feraligator wasnt bad at(i myself was a typloshon fan ^_^) when i did pick feraligatr it was much better pick over meganium only because of its poor move pool back in gen II but it was alright in gen IV back to typloshion. i thought typhloshon had a excellent attack stat i gave i thunderpunch just because and its speed is awesome but now that theres the split on phycial and special split i rely more on his speed and sp att. (gen II always was my favorite gen loved all three starters)

      1. Uh, no… He’s talking about the move category. The physical/special divison of attacks only occured in gen 4. Crunch was a special attack in gen 2 (and 3)…

  3. I’m seriously jealous of how good this guy is at writing. >:(
    I think he should do all my English analysis’ and essays for me. 😀
    Whaddya say? 😀

    1. If the price is right. . .XD

      Thanks Ozy! Your “Focus On” articles actually what made me want to write about this topic, so I should really be thanking you!

      1. ;_____;
        I don’t know why, but that small thing of appreciation totally made my life. :’D

        mr.bojingles = new favourite commenter. :3

  4. 😀 yes the Typhlosion article ive been waiting for THANK YOU! i just recently got back into competitive battling and my Typhlosion took out a darkrai with one focus blast. As soon as i buy HeartGold (or most likely, SoulSilver(had silver first as a child)) im getting Typhlosion for old time’s sake, Though, Feraligatr was also my Gold Version choice. who knows, i might get both lol 😛

    As before, great article! was interesting to read and im sure ill see more like this 😀

  5. Very nice article!
    I personally don’t like the second gen’s starters… I usually take the Water one, but Feraligatr just… isn’t my type. And I’m not a big fan of Meganium or Typhlosion… 🙁

    And just to be picky… Having Aromatherapy doesn’t help against Toxic Spikes since they poison you as soon as you enter. Crunch (Dark) was a special attack prior to gen IV. Empoleon, Burungeru and Nattorei all resist the Water/Normal combination.
    😉

    1. Very insightful observation!. . .I forgot about those water/grass steel types and of course the water ghost. I forgot to think about the newly released generation. It’s still a pretty decent combo that works well for the offense types.

      As for Aromatherapy, it does heal existing conditions so while it might not take away Toxic Spikes permanently it does heal anybody who was affected by them. I didn’t realize this before but poison types absorb Toxic Spikes x_X At least that’s what happened when I switched in Roserade. It was either that or the fact that Roserade is just that awesome.

  6. Great read. Loving these untamed articles 😀

    Although I must say the Johto starters (and the region in general) have always been my least favourite

    Keep up the good work man

  7. i am doing this comment to have my take on jhoto starters ok
    meganium: out of the jhoto starters, this poke is based off the sauropod, this poke has the same characteristic as its inspiration: low speed, man, this poke fails attack wise, but i think its a wall
    typhlosion: 1 starting word: BOOM, man, this poke is the mammalian equivilent of GROUDON, the fact that this poke can learn rollout, volcanic attacks and learn BOOM attacks impresses, as this starter is 1 of my fav /:-{)
    feraligatr: this poke is an archosaur: sweet, the fact that this poke learns SUPERPOWER is also sweeeeet, this poke now has a counterpart that is also sweeeeet: warubiaru, man , this poke is also i of my fav starters as well

  8. Johto was my favorite Pokemon Generation. This was the generation that I felt the Pokemon Company got everything just right. Generation 1 was like the “tester generation” and Generation 3 was when things started to get weird (like Pokemon designs and when the Anime started going downhill.

  9. People, Feraligatr’s new ability is AMAZING.

    Encourage negates the recoil of Life Orb while keeping the boost in tact.

    Waterfall becomes 80 x STAB x Encourage x Life Orb.
    You only lose flinch but that doesn’t matter with that power and lack of Life Orb damage.
    Encourage also works on Ice Punch and Rockslide IIRC

    Sadly it doesn’t work on Aqua Jet >__>

  10. I absolutley love Typhlosion’s movepool. It has access to a great range of attacks compared to all of the other starters, which I find surprising because it is a pure Fire type, whereas other Fire/Fighting starters have less available in terms of type variety. There was always something about Typholsion I found interesting, yet for me it was all ways known as the least popular Starter, due to Charizard’s popularity and then Blaziken fan base.
    I never liked Meganium, for the reasons you listed and I always wanted to use Feraligatr yet there have always been better alternatives. I really look forward to your Gen 3 coverage, I never used Swampert effectivley and Sceptile and Blaziken are a great pair of Pokemon.

  11. my favorite starter from johto is feraligatr,its my favorite water starter of all(mijumaru comes in 2nd)i just love feraligatr,i have a evd adament one!

    also,i finally got a tsujara with the perversity ability!im not so sad because of it,its also female,so it can pass it down.going to make a lv 1 tsujara with leaf storm(through breeding),and it also hav perversity,so it will haul butt.if anyone wants one,let me know
    this made me feel better 🙂

  12. I HATE TYPLOSION, well compared to enbuoh, its jst too simple really, ferailiatr is awesome, meganium is so cute although its move pool is bad. in my opinion pokemon old style is crap, pokemon i love if there was so many pokemon it feels like i was looking at a new one every day

      1. nah i luv infernape and enbuoh, typlosion has to much simplicity with charizard who is the least creative pokemon in existence, there is one reason why people say that the old pokemon are better, because they got used to playing with the old ones and dont like change

        1. the last part is not true at all….i love all the starters of the gens I-IV and gen V isnt bad either(and i been playing since the red and blue days) i just think the designs for the final forms of the starters are rushed and sloppy and im sure many fans would agree on that. it took time for them to grow on me but i come to love the fifth gen starters. i love denkai and janonbi its that enbuoh design that looks horrible and makes no sense they could have done a way better fire/fighting pig design(i mean come on flaming beard???)

        2. While you are correct about the fact that Pokemon fans are an Unpleasable Fanbase with a serious case of They Changed It Now It’s Sucks, I do have one thing to say to you: Simple doesn’t equal bad.

  13. Well, its November 20 in Japan. So doesn’t this mean the guide book with the sugimori art is available now?!

  14. BREAKING NEWS!!!!!

    ENGLISH NAMES OF STARTERS TO BE REVEALED ON MONDAY!!!!!! OFFICIAL POKEMON.COM WEBSITE SAYS SO!!!

    AAAAHH!

    1. Not sure who you’re directing that question at, but I’ll answer it anyway 😀

      Grass: Torterra
      Fire: Typhlosion
      Water: Blastoise

      Turtlez win.

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