Pokémon Red and Blue Nuzlocke Tier List: All Pokémon Ranked

So much has changed since the first generation of Pokémon games, and yet many fans still enjoy playing and Nuzlocking these classic adventures. The original Red and Blue versions are different from the newer games in many ways, with more recent versions having updated mechanics, movepools, Pokémon evolutions, and more. Which is why, even though we’ve already put together a Nuzlocke tier list for FireRed and LeafGreen, we decided to make a separate tier list for the generation one games. With only the original 151 Pokémon (minus legendaries) available to you, which Pokémon are deserving of a spot on your team? To help you decide, we’ve ranked each Pokémon evolutionary line according to its viability in a Red or Blue Nuzlocke. This tier list does not take into account availability or rarity, only ranking Pokémon based on how useful they are once you’re able to obtain them (a couple of exceptions were made for Pokémon that can reach their final stages extremely early, such as Nidoking/Queen). We hope you find it useful! Continue reading below the tier list for explanations of what each tier represents and how Pokémon tiers are chosen.

Pokémon Red and Blue Nuzlocke tier list. Updated July 17, 2021.

Here’s a brief overview of what each tier represents, and which factors go into our decision-making process.

  • 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 the Red and Blue 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 enjoy tier lists, check out the others we’ve done, including Platinum, Emerald, and FireRed/LeafGreen.

Head over to our Guides and Articles section for more tier lists, guides, rankings, and more!

One thought on “Pokémon Red and Blue Nuzlocke Tier List: All Pokémon Ranked

  1. Initially, I was pretty confused by the whole list, but then I noticed it wasn’t taking into account difficulty to get them. Which isn’t the worst way to tier Nuzlockes, but still, there’s some major issues with this one.

    – Drop Dragonite. Is it strong? Sure. It also requires you to be level 55, and you’re not hitting that until the endgame. Once you’re level 55, between badge boosts and effort values, I’m pretty sure anything can do well in the endgame. And prior to that point, it’s Dragonair, which is completely mediocre. Dratini can be helpful if you grind coins and buy one early for Dragon Rage, I guess?

    – Drop Lapras. There’s only one in the whole game, it’s level 15, and it’s only available after you’ve beaten Silph Co. By that point, your team should be in the low-mid 30s. You can catch it up, sure, but it shouldn’t be that far above the other Water-types.

    – Drop Aerodactyl. It learns literally nothing but Normal STAB and it shows up really late. It’s fast, but you don’t have to be that fast to outspeed most things in Gen 1, and you’re not spoiled for choice when it comes to strong Flying-types or Pokemon who resist Normal (and Aerodactyl’s pretty frail). At the very least, it should be below Dodrio.

    – Drop Electrode. It’s fast, sure, but it’s also made of glass and learns nothing but Normal moves by level-up. You have to blow the Thunderbolt TM to give it semi-acceptable offense or rely on Thunder’s shaky accuracy. Being able to blow yourself up is not a good thing in Nuzlockes.

    – Drop Magneton. Similar issues to Electrode; it needs Thunderbolt to do anything offensively, but it’s also only showing up in the Power Plant. I think at that point, the only major battle left that really calls for Electric moves is Lorelei and cleaning up assorted Swimmers, and you might as well just teach Thunderbolt to something else.

    – Drop Arcanine. You don’t get Fire Blast until Blaine, so either you raise Growlithe all the way to level 40 before evolving it, or you resign yourself to using Ember for 90% of the game. Aside from that problem, Fire-type is a really problematic type in Gen 1; aside from Erika’s Gym, you’re basically only hitting either bug catchers or Pokemon that have Water as a secondary type.

    – Drop Weezing. Holy hell, how’d Weezing get into A-tier? Sure, it’s tanky and it has some utility due to being able to screw with some trainer AIs, but its offensive learnset basically consists of Sludge and Normal STAB. Are you really going to blow your Thunderbolt TM on Weezing? Not to mention, it only shows up pretty late and it doesn’t have any particularly good matchups against the remaining Gym Leaders and Elite Four (barring aforementioned AI-screwery, which any Poison-type can do).

    – Drop Scyther. Again, how did it get up there? Sure, you can pick it up if you grind for coins, but a non-STAB Slash is the only thing it has going for it (it learns Swords Dance, but those two things don’t synergize). Its typing stuffs Fighting and Grass-types but basically nothing else of value and gives it some tricky weaknesses. There’s no way this thing is just below Tauros and right above Mr. Mime and Charizard; hell, Charizard has Slash, too, along with Flamethrower and some pretty great TMs.

    – Drop all the Fighting-types (barring Poliwrath, that’s a good spot for it). Submission is a TM, so you don’t need it if you want to hit Normal-types super-effectively (and it has shaky accuracy), and Fighting doesn’t resist anything of importance. The Hitmons have terrible Special, as well.

    – Drop Pidgeot. If you’re not taking availability into account, then Pidgeot suffers hard; its movepool basically doesn’t exist apart from Normal STAB and none of its stats stand out. At the very least, the gap between it and Fearow and Dodrio, who blow it out of the water, should be a lot larger.

    – Drop Marowak. This thing is basically identical to Graveler stat-wise, minus the Rock typing that lets Graveler wall a huge chunk of the game (sure, it gives it Water and Grass weaknesses, but those stuff Marowak pretty hard as well). I have no idea why it’d go above Sandslash, which evolves sooner, has generally better stats, and can learn Slash naturally and Rock Slide and Swords Dance via TM. Sure, Bonemerang exists, but only at level 48, so you still probably need to teach Marowak a Ground-type move.

    – Raise Mr. Mime. You can obtain this thing at any time you’ve obtained an Abra, at which you can then head over to Route 2 and trade for it. For that price, you immediately gain access to a Pokemon with similar stats to Kadabra (losing some of the raw Special but gaining notably better bulk), along with being a trade (meaning it gains XP faster). You could argue it’s worse than Kadabra, but if we’re discounting difficulty-to-obtain, then I really don’t see why it’d go below any of the other Psychic-types in A-tier.

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