With all the different Pokémon available in the Hoenn region, which ones are the most useful in the Nuzlocke challenge? We’ve attempted to answer that question with this tier list, ranking most of the Pokémon in the region (legendary Pokémon and Pokémon obtainable only in Ruby or Sapphire are not included) according to their viability. This tier list takes into account each Pokémon’s usefulness and power, but does not consider how easy or difficult the Pokémon is to obtain, rather ranking the Pokémon based on their strength if you’re able to obtain them in your playthrough. It also does not take into account at what level the Pokémon evolves, as for this list we consider only the strength of the fully-evolved form. Below is our tier list, followed by a description of each tier and what characteristics we look for in those Pokémon. We hope you find it useful. Happy Nuzlocking!
Note: This is version 3 of the tier list, updated December 2022. We’ve given more credit to Pokémon which learn Encore, such as Plusle, Minun, and Illumise, upgraded Shedinja to S-tier due to its ability to completely wall matchups with proper planning, and made other tweaks and adjustments based on experience and feedback.
S-tier: These Pokémon have excellent typing, stats, and movepools, and have good matchups against important opponents in both the early and the late-game. They are capable of single-handedly clearing portions of the game, regardless of team composition. They have few significant flaws, and should be used without question if the player can obtain them. These Pokémon are the star of an effective team, and the rest of the team members should be chosen to support and compliment them.
A-tier: These are strong Pokémon with great typing, stats, and movepools, who can provide good offensive and defensive presence to a team. They have generally good matchups against important opponents in either the early or the late-game. They may not be as individually dominant as an S-tier Pokémon, but they are powerful core members of a balanced and effective team.
B-tier: These are useful Pokémon with generally good typing and stats, but they may have a shallow movepool, be lacking in a key stat, or simply be outclassed by a similar Pokémon in a higher tier. Many B-tier Pokémon provide either good offensive or defensive presence, but not necessarily both. They may have good matchups against important opponents, but may also have severe weaknesses to common or dangerous foes. They are useful for fulfilling a specific role, and can find a place on an effective team, despite one or two significant flaws.
C-tier: These are Pokémon that may have reasonably good stats, typing, and movepools, but may also be lacking in two of these categories. These Pokémon typically have somewhat limited usefulness, but can be valuable in the right situation. Many of these Pokémon have stats that do not compliment their typing well, lack important moves in their type, or are only useful for a limited section of the game, but a thoughtful player can build around their significant flaws and include one or two of these Pokémon on an effective team, provided the player does not ask too much of them.
D-tier: These Pokémon have generally poor stats or typing or are crippled by a bad ability or other severe weakness. These Pokémon offer little to a team, and should be avoided unless no other options are available, or a player desperately needs a Pokémon of a particular type for a difficult battle. Effective teams will generally not use these Pokémon, except in very specific, limited roles.
E-tier: These Pokémon are prohibitively bad, having poor stats, typing, and movepools. They should be replaced as soon as possible, and players should avoid using them, even in situations where they have a type advantage. These Pokémon will not be found on effective Nuzlocke teams.
That concludes our Hoenn Nuzlocke tier list. Do you agree with our rankings? Tier lists aren’t an exact science, so share your thoughts with us and others in the comments! If you’re planning on starting a Nuzlocke run of Pokémon Emerald, take a look at our Pokémon Emerald Nuzlocke Guide and Tips for all the information you need to complete the run efficiently.
Do you like generation three, but but prefer the Kanto region? Check out our Pokémon FireRed/LeafGreen Nuzlocke Tier List, or our ranking of the FireRed and LeafGreen starter Pokémon. For more tier lists in different generations, head to our Nuzlocke tier lists index for more Pokémon rankings, and be sure to check out Nuzlocke University’s Guides and Articles section for more tier lists, tips, rankings, and other content!