So You Want to Be a Pokémon Master? - Hoenn

The Third Instalment of This Series; The Best Team for Taking on Ruby and Sapphire

Credit: Patofilio (DeviantArt)

Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald and their remakes as Omega, Ruby, and Alpha Sapphire are fantastic games that introduced a whole host of new Pokémon to fans of the franchise, as well as one of the most overpowered legendary Pokémon in Rayquaza (the Mega Evolved form ended up having its own tier created in competitive battling; AG, or Anything Goes). While all the new additions weren't quite that strong, they certainly gave a refresh to game play.

Now, while I realise that there are two sets of games I could look at, I'm going to focus on the sixth generation remakes; Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. There are two main reasons why:

1. The addition of the Fairy type in the sixth generation made type match-ups and key battles more interesting.
2. The original games aren't as readily available since they haven't been made as downloadable content like generations one and two.

So, without further ado, let's get into the team.

1. Mudkip

Credit: pokemon.wiki.com

I know, it isn't Torchic. Honestly, you could go with either, but I have always been more of a fan of the Mudkip line than I have the Torchic line. Its bulk, high attack, diversity with moves, and the fact that it only has one weakness allows this adorable pokémon to take the top spot for me.

Now, while it may have to combat Treecko and the likes of Seedot and Lotad in the very early runnings, Mudkip—and later on—Marshtomp and Swampert, are some of the very best in key battles. This one pokémon excels against Gym Leaders Roxanne, Wattson, Flannery, Tate & Lisa, Elite Four Sydney, Champion Steven, the entirety of Team Magma, and a fair portion of Team Aqua. It does a fairly good job of trading in all the other key battles, minus your Rival's starter (which would be a Grass type) and Sydney's Cacturne (which won't be an issue).

As for the moveset, try something like this:

  • Earthquake. Unsurprisingly, this move is amazing on Swampert. STAB and high power on a strong physical attacking pokémon? It would be foolish not to have Earthquake.
  • Waterfall. The best physical Water type move available in this game with a chance to flinch your opponent. Running Surf earlier is fine, as the Mudkip line has fairly good Special Attack.
  • Rock Slide. More flinch-inducing fun with this move. Not the best accuracy, but still an incredibly useful way of dealing with Flying and Ice types. Running Poison Jab for handling Fairy types is also viable.
  • Ice Beam. Once again, taking advantage of the decent Special Attack and giving your Swampert coverage against its biggest weakness; Grass.

2. Ralts

Credit: pokemon.wiki.com

Just before Petalburg City, you'll be able to find the second member of our team and probably one of my favourites. Ralts, itself, is a pain to level up, as its not exactly the bulkiest pokémon in the world, but it learns some decent moves in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire like Confusion, Disarming Voice, and Magical Leaf before it evolves into Kirlia. From there, you have two options. If your Ralts is Male, you could use a Dawn Stone to evolve it into Gallade, but instead, you'll want to level up to about 30 so that your Kirlia evolves into a Gardevoir.

Gardevoir is possibly my favourite Psychic-type pokémon, not just for the ones we see in the anime (Diantha's Gardevoir is amazing in battle) but also because of its ability to hit your opponents like a truck. Since this generation introduced Mega Evolution, I'll admit that you'll probably be using that ability with Gardevoir more so than Swampert. Gardevoir's Special Attack stat is already potent, sitting at 125 and it has a reasonable Speed of 80. When Mega Evolved though, that gets boosted to 100 in Speed and a ridiculous 165 in Special Attack.

This makes it one of the best Special move users in the game. Combine that with a wide move pool, and Gardevoir can cover a lot of battles. It does a lot of work against Gym Leader Brawly, Winona, Tate & Lisa, Wallace, Elite Four Sydney, Phoebe, Drake, Team Magma or Team Aqua, and does well against your Rival and Wally. The only major downsides are against Wattson's Magnemite and Magneton and against Steven's Metagross, since Steel is one Gardevoir's weaknesses.

As for the moveset to run, try something like this:

  • Psychic. Gardevoir's bread and butter. High power, STAB, 100 percent accuracy and a chance to lower your opponent's Special Defense. You could also run Psyshock, which hits into the Defense stat instead.
  • Moonblast. Gardevoir's second STAB move. Same stats as Psychic, but with a chance to drop your opponent's Special Attack instead. You will need a Heart Scale to get it, but Dazzling Gleam does just as well.
  • Shadow Ball. These last two slots could be anything, really, but I like running this for coverage on other Psychic and Ghost types.
  • Energy Ball. Again, just a nice coverage move. You could easily run something like Thunderbolt, Focus Blast, Will-O-Wisp, Grass Knot, Thunder Wave, or Calm Mind in any of those last two slots.

3. Zubat

Credit: pokemon.wikia.com

After the first gym and the ensuing nuisance of Team Magma/Aqua, you'll head to Dewford Town. Northwest of the city, you'll find Dewford Cave and our third team member—a repeat from the Johto team who gets infinitely better in these games.

As I stated previously, Zubat's fully evolved form—Crobat—might be a pain to get because of the fact it evolves with high happiness, but it is more than worth it thanks to Crobat's blistering speed and more than adequate Attack stat. In order to get there, though, it will require a lot of patience. Having said that, Zubat evolves into Golbat at level 22 and it shouldn't take more than another two or three levels before it evolves into Crobat.

The key battles that this pokémon is best in are against Gym Leader Brawly, Elite Four Sydney, your Rival's starter, Wally, and a good portion of Team Magma/Aqua. That may not sound like a lot, but its usefulness outside of battle and the large quantity of battles it goes even in make it more than worth having (the only key battles where it really struggles are against Gym Leaders Wattson, Tate & Lisa, Elite Four Glacia, and Champion Steven).

As for its moveset, try running something like this:

  • Cross Poison. Crobat's best STAB move. This move, like Gunk Shot, was only added in the last couple of generations, but they have greatly improved the power level of so many Poison type pokémon.
  • Fly. The second STAB move and an incredibly useful out of combat move. The best alternative for a non-HM move is Acrobatics.
  • U-Turn. One of my favourite moves to play on fast, physical attacking pokémon. It grants Crobat coverage for Psychic and Dark types as well providing a "get out of jail free" effect if you are in a bad match-up.
  • Confuse Ray. Now, you could run whatever you feel in this last slot, but I always choose to run Confuse Ray for the confusion benefit. You could just as well run Toxic for damage over time or Return to make use of the high happiness.

4. Electrike

Credit: zerochan.net

After you leave Dewford, you'll head to Slateport City. Just to the north of the city, on Route 110, you'll find our next team member. Electrike and its evolved form, Manectric, were the token Electric type for the Hoenn games (aside from the Pikachu clones; Plusle and Minun). 

Admittedly, its not a pokémon I choose to use often, as I favour the likes of Magnezone as a solid Electric type, but I have to acknowledge the fact that this pokémon is incredibly useful. It's another Mega Evolution option for your team (though I still favour Gardevoir for that role). It has some very useful abilities in Static (which paralyzes an opponent that makes contact with it) or Lightningrod (absorbs Electric attacks and ups Electrike's Special Attack), andm when Mega Evolved, Intimidate (cuts your opponent's Attack stat). That, plus its great Special Attack and Speed, makes it a worthwhile addition to the team.

Electrike and Manectric work best against Gym Leaders Wattson (if it has Lightningrod), Winona, Wallace, Elite Four Sydney's Sharpedo, Glacia, your Rival's Wailmer, all of Team Aqua, and a decent amount of Team Magma, minus any of the Numel or Camerupt they use. It fares decently in most of the other battles, only really struggling against Elite Four Drake and Champion Steven.

As for the moveset, try this:

  • Thunderbolt. The bread and butter STAB move for most Electric types. As an alternative, you could run Volt Switch if you anticipate needing the "get out of jail free" effect.
  • Flamethrower. A great coverage move with high damage and 100 percent accuracy. Helps greatly against Grass and Steel types.
  • Thunder Wave. One of the best status move available for Electric types and incredibly useful against the faster pokémon.
  • Snarl. Provides coverage for Psychic and Ghost types and reduces the opponent's Special Attack stat. If you want a little more fun, you could try running Hidden Power.

5. Roselia

Credit: pokemon.wikia.com

After you leave Slateport, you will face your rival and then head on towards Mauville City. Once you get there, head west out of town onto Route 117 where you will find the Day Care, a whole host of trainers, and our next addition to the team; the Thorn Pokémon, Roselia.

Roselia in the original games was not that great, in all honesty. However, in the fourth generation of games, it received a pre-evolution in Budew and a third stage evolution in Roserade. That is our goal. Roserade is a pokémon I've used in playthroughs of Diamond, Omega Ruby and Pokémon X and I love its high special attack and longevity in battle, thanks to moves like Giga Drain. It takes some time to get a Roserade, as you need a Shiny Stone to evolve Roselia, an item you don't get until you reach Route 121, and you will need Cut in order to access it.

As for key battles, Roselia and Roserade help best against Gym Leaders Wattson, Tate & Lisa, Wallace, Elite Four Sydney, Phoebe (if you teach it Shadow Ball), your Rival's Wailmer, Wally, all of team Aqua, and a good portion of Team Magma.

The moveset I would run is this:

  • Giga Drain. A great STAB move that helps it last a lot longer in battle. Alternatively, you could teach it Energy Ball if you want some more power.
  • Shadow Ball. Provides great coverage against Ghost and Psychic types as well a chance to reduce your opponent's Special Defense.
  • Dazzling Gleam. Another fantastic coverage move for Fighting and Dark types that also hits multiple targets.
  • Sludge Bomb. The second STAB move with a chance to poison, as well as high damage. Venoshock is an adequate replacement earlier on.

6. Swablu

Credit: pokemon.wikia.com

Our final team member can be found to the Southwest of Fallarbor Town. This little cotton ball may seem a little more frustrating to level up and evolve than getting to a Crobat. Swablu doesn't have much in the way of battle prowess, and there is no way of knowing just how quickly it will level up (its Growth Rate is listed as Erratic). However, once it hits level 35, it will evolve into Altaria.

Altaria is one of the pokémon I've always underestimated (save for Winona's Dragon Dancing pain in the backside). It has naturally high defense stats, access to moves like Roost for longevity, quite a diverse moveset, and a Mega Evolution with the dual-typing of Dragon and Fairy, as well as increased Attack and Special Attack.

Altaria works well against Gym Leaders Flannery, Winona, Wallace, Elite Four Sydney, Drake, Champion Steven, your Rival, Wally, and Team Magma/Aqua. The only really tough battle is against Tate & Lisa, who have Rock types and, unless you can Mega Evolve your Altaria by then, it's the one weakness that it can't avoid.

As for the moveset, this is what I recommend:

  • Dragon Pulse. A fantastic STAB move for Altaria. High damage and 100 percent accuracy.
  • Moonblast. A STAB move when Mega Evolved, but still highly useful, with a chance to lower your opponent's Special Attack. Alternatively, Dazzling Gleam works just as well, with the ability to hit multiple opponents.
  • Earthquake. To take advantage of the Attack stat. A high power, 100 percent accurate move that covers the Steel and Poison type weakness when Mega Evolved.
  • Roost. Provides longevity in battle by healing up to half your maximum HP. Alternatively, you could run Dragon Dance to raise your Attack and Speed, Attract or Perish Song for some really nice turn-based kills.

Alternatives

As always, while this is the team I reckon to be the best to run, it is only my opinion, and there are plenty of other pokémon you could use:

  • Blaziken. Statistically, the best of the Hoenn starters and definitely one of my favourites.
  • Beautifly and Masquerain. Don't underestimate it. I've had countless playthroughs where the early Bug pokémon have ended up being the strongest.
  • Shiftry or Ludicolo. Great Grass types with some fantastic power.
  • Walrein. This big beast is a nightmare to deal with thanks to its high HP and Thick Fat ability, as well as hitting like a truck.

Just remember: however you choose to build your team, if you are having fun, then you are doing it right.

Do you disagree with my team? Feel free to let me know what members you would replace or what your ideal team of six would be.

Keep striving to be the very best.

Jack Tinmouth
Jack Tinmouth

Mid-twenties aspiring writer. Keen on books, coffee, desserts, films and crime shows. Thoroughly unmodern. Spending life stuck in that moment of time between triumph and catastrophe. Quite gay.

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So You Want to Be a Pokémon Master? - Hoenn