A Nuzlocker’s Guide to Lapras

Written by Reddit user u/Samurott1

Lapras is an amazing Pokémon in Nuzlockes for a few reasons. It is given to you for free, meaning the only requirement to obtain it is the ability to press the A button. It also has excellent bulk, sporting a very good base 130 HP stat with above-average defense to back it up. Lapras’ ability to tank Special Attacks is comparable to that of Snorlax, and it can take neutral physical hits better than the Sleeping Pokémon (calculation: 0 Atk Machamp Mega Punch vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Lapras: 87-103; 0 Atk Machamp Mega Punch vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Snorlax: 102-121). It also has resistances, something that Snorlax lacks. Another positive trait is its easy access to Ice Beam, which it gets via level-up. Its abilities are great for Nuzlockes; Shell Armor blocks those pesky critical hits and Water Absorb gives it an immunity to Water-type moves and a possible form of free recovery. Another positive trait is its wide movepool, including BoltBeam coverage, which allows it to solo Lance bar Aerodactyl (and maybe Aerodactyl, too). As for its negative traits…it has just average Special Attack, low speed, and a weakness to two types that its offensive moves would normally be great for countering (Grass- and Rock-types). However, these traits are easily covered up by its numerous positive ones. Overall, the Transport Pokémon is an astounding addition to almost any team and essentially defines how the game should be played.


Lapras: Silph Co. (gift)

Lapras’ Match-ups in Important Battles

Lapras versus Koga in Fuchsia City Gym: Lapras is best to use in this battle if you taught it Psychic via TM. Barring that, both Surf and Ice Beam have a chance to OHKO Koffing. Lapras may have nothing to fear from Koffing’s Selfdestruct. However, Water Absorb Lapras must be wary of critical hits. Muk can’t do much to Lapras directly, but Toxic and Minimize are perpetually annoying. If Lapras has Psychic, then Muk will fall to about three attacks. If not, Lapras will likely need an extra turn, and there is also the chance Koga will heal. Lapras should only be used against it if you lack a Pokémon that can break Muk. Bringing X Accuracies (if allowed) is recommended. This item can offset Muk’s Minimize, giving Lapras a much easier match-up. Don’t be afraid of Muk KOing Lapras while you buff the Transport Pokémon’s accuracy, unless Lapras is at 50% HP or less, as a critical hit Sludge will take about 50% of Lapras’ HP. Weezing is packing Smokescreen and Toxic, so it can be just as annoying as Muk. However, a pair of Psychics from Lapras will be the end of the Poison Gas Pokémon (Surf/Ice Beam should 3HKO). Koga’s Weezing, unlike its pre-evolution, lacks Selfdestruct. Overall, Lapras is a solid choice for this battle if you lack a better counter. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 38; Surf, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Body Slam/Confuse Ray/Psychic.

Lapras versus the Fighting Dojo in Saffron City: Lapras is weak to Fighting-type moves and can’t put much hurt on the Karate Master’s Pokémon, making it a poor choice for the Fighting Dojo. Hitmonlee’s High Jump Kick will do a lot of damage to the Transport Pokémon if it lands, and Water Absorb Lapras falls to a critical hit. You’ll keep Lapras away from Hitmonlee unless you want to sacrifice one of the greatest Pokémon in the game. Lapras doesn’t fare any better against Hitmonchan, who does only slightly less damage than Hitmonlee. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 38; Surf, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Body Slam/Confuse Ray/Psychic.

Lapras versus Giovanni in Silph Co.: Giovanni’s lead, Nidorino, takes a ton of damage from Lapras’ Psychic, Ice Beam, or Surf (all will 2HKO), and Nidorino can’t do much in return. The Transport Pokémon can effortlessly defeat Nidorino. Rhyhorn is packing a super-effective Rock-type move but is quickly dispatched by a STAB Surf. Kangaskhan’s Mega Punch will do more than you’d like to on Lapras, and the Transport Pokémon is slower and can only 3HKO in return. This match-up is certainly manageable, though you may need to heal Lapras eventually. Nidoqueen can be dangerous with Double Kick, which will 4HKO Lapras. Fortunately, Giovanni’s ace falls to a pair of Ice Beam or Surf attacks. Be wary of critical hits if your Lapras is of the Water Absorb variant. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 38; Surf, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Body Slam/Confuse Ray/Psychic.

Lapras versus Sabrina in Saffron City Gym: Lapras is best in this battle if you kept Body Slam. Otherwise, Alakazam can easily use the Transport Pokémon as set up bait as special moves will glance off of it after a few Calm Mind boosts, and it can heal chip damage with Recover. Body Slam isn’t as useful against Kadabra or Mr. Mime, who carry Reflect and Barrier, respectively. However, Body Slam may OHKO Kadabra if it doesn’t use Reflect on the first turn, so keep that in mind. Either Body Slam or a STAB move will 2HKO Mr. Mime, but be wary of Calm Mind and Barrier, either of which can ruin your 2HKO chances. As Mr. Mime can pass Calm Mind boosts to the terrifying Alakazam, you may want something faster and stronger to take care of Mr. Mime, if possible. Venomoth can only threaten Lapras with confusion from Supersonic, so you can easily 2HKO with Psychic or 2-3HKO with a STAB move. Lapras may 2HKO Alakazam with Body Slam, but the Psi Pokémon is faster and can 3HKO with its Psychic without any boosts. For best results, grind Lapras to level 43 (on par with Alakazam), but it’s still preferable to use a more appropriate counter (such as Shadow Ball Snorlax/Flareon). Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 43; Surf, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Body Slam/Confuse Ray/Psychic.

Lapras versus Blaine in Cinnabar City Gym: Lapras mows through this gym; its Surf will OHKO everything except Blaine’s Arcanine, who is 2HKOed. Water Absorb variants need to be wary of critical hits as Arcanine’s Fire Blast takes about 70% of the Transport Pokémon’s health. This is especially dangerous for Lapras that have sustained chip damage from Ponyta and/or Rapidash, who are faster. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 45; Surf, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Body Slam/Confuse Ray/Psychic.

Lapras versus Giovanni in Viridian City Gym: Both of Giovanni’s Rhyhorn carry a super-effective Rock Blast, but Lapras is faster and destroys them with Surf. Dugtrio is very fast, but its STAB Earthquake will glance off of the Transport Pokémon’s tough hide. Nidoqueen and Nidoking both have Double Kick, but this will do little more than Dugtrio’s Earthquake. Their Earthquakes will outpace Dugtrio’s, but it still won’t do too much damage. As usual, Water Absorb variants should be wary of critical hits. Due to Lapras’ subpar Speed, even Shell Armor variants may require a healing item to sweep. However, Lapras is still an excellent choice for this battle. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 47; Surf, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Body Slam/Confuse Ray/Psychic.

Lapras versus Rival in Route 22: Pidgeot can’t hurt Lapras, who may OHKO in return with Ice Beam. As such, Lapras can easily lead against your Rival. Rhyhorn carries Rock Blast and Horn Drill, but Lapras can effortlessly OHKO it before it can do any damage. Alakazam is tricky; the Psi Pokémon can set up with Calm Mind and Lapras can only 2-3HKO with a STAB move or Body Slam. Shell Armor variants should be okay, but Water Absorb variants must be wary of critical hits. Execute Exeggcute with Ice Beam, which will OHKO. It can only hurt the Transport Pokémon with Solar Beam, and it lacks sun support. Gyarados is a joke to Water Absorb variants of Lapras, as the Atrocious Pokémon’s only other attacking move is, I kid you not, Twister. Shell Armor variants of Lapras won’t take much from Hydro Pump, but rain-boosted ones hurt a little more. Nevertheless, Thunderbolt will utterly decimate Gyarados, so Lapras has nothing to worry about. The Transport Pokémon’s STAB Surf will drown Growlithe with ease. Blastoise’s Bite can cause flinching, but it will glance off of Lapras’ hide. The Shellfish Pokémon can’t bring the thunder, so give it some of your own. Fry it with Thunderbolt. Lapras can 2HKO Charizard with its Surf. Shell Armor variants will have the easiest time with Charizard, who can take about three-fourths of the Transport Pokémon’s HP with a critical hit Flamethrower. Be wary. Shell Armor is also the superior ability when fighting Venusaur, who is packing the high critical hit ratio Razor Leaf. Venusaur’s STAB move will do slightly more than a critical hit Flamethrower if it hits critically, so keep that in mind. On the other hand, Lapras can 2HKO Venusaur with Ice Beam. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 48; Surf, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Body Slam/Confuse Ray/Psychic.

Lapras versus the Elite 4: Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 59; Surf, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Body Slam/Confuse Ray/Psychic.

Lapras versus Lorelei: Lapras can 2HKO Lorelei’s lead, Dewgong, with Thunderbolt. Dewgong can’t do much in return, especially if your Lapras has Water Absorb. Thunderbolt will turn Cloyster into clam chowder, so there’s nothing to fear. Similarly, Thunderbolt will 2HKO Slowbro, who can only annoy you with Amnesia or Yawn. Jynx can’t hurt Lapras either (starting to see a pattern here), but it can be annoying with Lovely Kiss and Attract. It’s easier to take down if you have Body Slam, but Surf will get the job done if you opted for Psychic instead. Lorelei’s Lapras is almost as pathetic as the rest of her team as it lacks an Electric-type move. It may be annoying with Confuse Ray, but your Lapras can 3HKO its doppelganger with Thunderbolt.

Lapras versus Bruno: Lapras is good for OHKOing Bruno’s Onix, but that’s all it’s good for in this battle. Both Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee can 2HKO the Transport Pokémon. Lapras can 2HKO both with its Psychic, but this is risky even for Shell Armor variants. Machamp is even worse; even a Cross Chop that doesn’t land critically will do a ton of damage to the Transport Pokémon. Steer clear.

Lapras versus Agatha: Agatha’s first Gengar can’t hurt Lapras directly, and the Transport Pokémon’s STAB moves can 2HKO in return. However, the Shadow Pokémon’s Confuse Ray, Toxic, and Double Team can be incredibly annoying. Stock up on healing items, if possible. Lapras’ Ice Beam will decimate Golbat, who can’t do much in return. It does carry Confuse Ray, so keep that in mind. Haunter is even frailer than Gengar, but make sure that you wake Lapras immediately with the Poké Flute if it falls asleep. This goes for Agatha’s ace, too; Haunter is packing Dream Eater and Agatha’s ace carries Nightmare. Lapras’ Psychic may OHKO Haunter, and a STAB move is a strong 2HKO. Arbok’s Sludge Bomb can put some hurt on the Transport Pokémon (it’s a likely 4HKO), but Lapras can 2HKO in return with Psychic. The second Gengar’s hits will be on par with that of Arbok, but Lapras can also 2HKO with Psychic.

Lapras versus Lance: Lapras was built to fight Lance; its access to Ice Beam and Thunderbolt, combined with its incredible bulk, allows it to decimate Lance’s team. Thunderbolt might not OHKO Gyarados, but it will come very close. Even Water Absorb variants of Lapras have nothing to fear from the Atrocious Pokémon’s Hyper Beam. Note that the Pokémon that comes out next will likely be the one that poses the biggest threat to the Transport Pokémon. Aerodactyl carries Ancient Power, which can be very scary, especially if Lapras lacks Shell Armor and is weak from fighting Gyarados. Either of Lapras’ STAB moves should 2HKO, but the possibility of an Ancient Power boost is scary. Tread lightly, especially if your Lapras is of the Water Absorb variant. Neither of Lance’s Dragonair can tank a super-effective STAB Ice Beam, and they’re not known for being powerhouses either. Dragonite will fall the same way, but note that its Hyper Beam will take half of Lapras’ maximum HP. Water Absorb variants beware.

Lapras versus the Champion: The worst Pidgeot can do to Lapras is send it back into its Poké Ball with Whirlwind. Blast it with Ice Beam. Alakazam lacks Calm Mind this time around, so feel free to wash it away. Psychic hits pretty hard, but Shell Armor Lapras has nothing to fear. If your Lapras has Shell Armor, note that a critical hit Psychic will take about two-thirds of Lapras’ health. Rhydon falls to a single Surf. However, it’s best to steer clear of Exeggutor, if possible. The Transport Pokémon can’t net the OHKO with Ice Beam, and the Coconut Pokémon’s Giga Drain will do a ton of damage in return while it heals off the damage. Gyarados has Thrash, which will 4HKO Lapras, but the Transport Pokémon should have Thunderbolt to combat it. Arcanine can 3HKO with its Flamethrower (and has Extreme Speed, be wary of that), but Lapras can 2HKO in return with its Surf. Be very careful if your Lapras has Water Absorb and/or has been weakened considerably. Blastoise has a moveset featuring a STAB move that isn’t Water Gun, so it’s a serious match-up this time around. However, the Shellfish Pokémon still doesn’t pose much of a threat, especially if your Lapras has Water Absorb. Fry it with Thunderbolt again. However, Water Absorb variants must be wary of Charizard’s Fire Blast, which will take over four-fifths of Lapras’ health with a critical hit. On the other hand, the Transport Pokémon’s Surf is a 2HKO. Lapras can face Venusaur, but it must be switched out if Venusaur starts charging Solar Beam or if the sun comes out. Solar Beam hurts. However, Lapras that are both slower and carrying Rain Dance can stall out Sunny Day PP if necessary. Lapras’ Ice Beam should net the 2HKO.

Everything in Between

Mid- to Late-Game: If your Lapras is packing Thunderbolt, feel free to make seafood out of the Pokémon in Kanto’s various water routes. Lapras can handle the Poison-types on Cycling Road, but Fighting-types can be dangerous. Bird trainers fall to Lapras’ icy wrath, assuming that it has learned Ice Beam already. Lapras is incredibly bulky, so it can tank some hits from Pokémon in the Power Plant. It’s also good for the Pokémon Mansion. Unless your Lapras is of the Shell Armor variant, you must always be wary of critical hits.

Checks and Counters

Fighting-types: Fighting-types, most notably Bruno’s Machamp, can hit Lapras for super-effective damage and are only seriously threatened by Psychic. It’s good to keep a Psychic-type around, such as Alakazam, to counter these threats. In return, Lapras can tank the physical attacks that most Psychic-types, especially the aforementioned Alakazam, can’t tank.

Overall Grade: S

Lapras is a fantastic tank, has a wide movepool, and is given to you for free. Unless you aren’t allowed to use gift Pokémon, there aren’t many good reasons to not use Lapras. It rewrites the entire game with its numerous positive traits. Overall, the Transport Pokémon is aptly named as it can carry you from Silph Co. to the finish line with relative ease.

Resources to Utilize

Lapras’ Learnset: https://pokemondb.net/pokedex/lapras/moves/3

Written by Reddit user u/Samurott1. For questions about this guide or for specific advice for your playthrough, send them a message on Reddit.