A Nuzlocker’s Guide to the Drowzee Line

Written by Reddit user u/Samurott1

Hypno doesn’t look like much, but it’s an excellent Pokémon to use in a Nuzlocke. Its pure Psychic typing is wholly busted in the Kanto region, albeit not to the extent that is was in the original Red, Blue, and Yellow. It has few true counters, and its great special defense allows it to brush off the rare Dark-type moves. Drowzee’s access to Calm Mind, dual screens, Thunder Wave, Psychic via level-up, and interesting coverage options allow it to be incredibly versatile. Its bulk also gives it a niche over other Psychic-types, most notably the frail Alakazam. All in all, Hypno is an excellent addition to any team and can efficiently fill a variety of roles.


Drowzee: Route 11 (common), Berry Forest (uncommon)

Hypno: Berry Forest (rare)

Drowzee’s Match-ups in Important Battles

Note: This guide assumes that you will evolve Drowzee as soon as possible (at level 26). However, you can choose to wait until level 31 if you want to get Psychic four levels early.

Drowzee versus Rival on S.S. Anne: Drowzee doesn’t match up well against your Rival’s Pidgeotto since its Confusion doesn’t hit very hard and it’s slower. Drowzee’s Confusion hits harder than Pidgeotto’s Gust (which is usually a 4HKO), so it can be attempted. Raticate is faster and can 3HKO with Hyper Fang and Drowzee’s Brick Break is a 2HKO. Raticate’s Hyper Fang can cause flinching though, so be wary. As a side note, do not attempt to pit Drowzee against Raticate if it lacks Brick Break. Drowzee is great for fighting Kadabra thanks to its great Special Defense and resistance to Psychic-type moves. Kinesis and Disable (note: this move has 55% accuracy in this generation) can be annoying, but Kadabra can’t harm Drowzee. Headbutt is a 3HKO. If you get disabled, switch to Brick Break. This match-up is very easy for Drowzee to handle. Drowzee’s Brick Break does more damage than Charmeleon’s Metal Claw (which is likely its best option in this match-up), but Metal Claw’s possibility of an Attack boost could make this a scary match-up. Smokescreen can be annoying, too. Tread lightly. Wartortle is faster and has Dark-type coverage; as such, keep your Drowzee away from it. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 20; Disable, Confusion, Headbutt, Brick Break.

Drowzee versus Lt. Surge in Vermilion City Gym: Drowzee can beat Voltorb one-on-one with Brick Break, but it will likely require healing items. Voltorb’s Sonic Boom does less damage than Drowzee’s Brick Break, but the battle will be drawn out if/when Lt. Surge uses healing items of his own. Pikachu can be 2HKOed by any of Drowzee’s moves, but it is faster and can be incredibly annoying with its Double Team. On the other hand, Pikachu can’t do much to Drowzee. Drowzee’s bad Speed stat allows it to brush off the Speed drop from paralysis, so Thunder Wave from Pikachu won’t be much of a problem either. You may need to use healing items (especially if Drowzee is weak from fighting Voltorb) as it will become difficult to land a hit on Pikachu after it uses Double Team a few times. All in all, Drowzee is capable of handling both Voltorb and Pikachu, but it will require healing items more often than not. Raichu is infinitely stronger and more annoying than Pikachu; let something else handle it. It has the same moveset as Pikachu and hits a lot harder. Its Shock Wave will do more damage than any of Drowzee’s moves. Unless you have a Hypno already, keep the Hypnosis Pokémon away from Raichu. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 23; Confusion, Headbutt, Brick Break, Poison Gas.

Drowzee versus Rival in Pokémon Tower: Pidgeotto is faster and stronger than Drowzee, so keep away from it. Drowzee should stay away from Exeggcute as well (unless you grabbed Shadow Ball from Celadon City already) as Leech Seed makes Drowzee’s Headbutt useless and Barrage can hurt if you’re unlucky. Kadabra can’t hurt Drowzee and Headbutt is a likely 2HKO. Ivysaur is easy to handle as long as Drowzee’s HP doesn’t get too low. Growlithe is carrying Bite and should be avoided. Gyarados should also be avoided; it hits hard with Thrash and Bite. Drowzee’s Brick Break does more damage than Charmeleon’s Ember, but watch out for burns and keep healing items handy. Wartortle is very bulky and also carries Bite; stay away. In summary, Drowzee can realistically handle Kadabra and Ivysaur while fighting Charmeleon is a bit of a stretch. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 25; Confusion, Headbutt, Brick Break, Poison Gas.

Hypno versus Giovanni in the Celadon Game Corner: Hypno can dispatch Onix and Rhyhorn easily thanks to Confusion, but Hypno needs Reflect up to face Kangaskhan. As such, using Reflect on Onix (after you’ve used Hypno’s Confusion once to increase the number of turns that Reflect is active) is recommended. Hypno’s Confusion should 2HKO both of Giovanni’s Ground-types. Therefore, Reflect should have two turns left when Kangaskhan comes out. However, Kangaskhan is faster and is carrying Bite, so it’s still a difficult match-up. Fortunately, Hypno has enough bulk to tank a critical hit Mega Punch with full health. Hypno’s Brick Break is slightly worse than Kangaskhan’s Mega Punch in terms of damage (assuming Reflect has expired), but Hypno can pull out a sweep if you’re carrying healing items. If not, get something bulkier in there (or maybe set up Reflect again when it’s over/wait until now to use Reflect). Reflect is the linchpin here; it allows Hypno to take little from Kangaskhan and gives an almost free switch-in to a stronger team member (barring a critical hit). Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 27; Confusion, Brick Break, Reflect, Light Screen/Headbutt.

Hypno versus Erika in Celadon City Gym: Hypno can 2HKO Victreebel thanks to its Confusion, but Stun Spore/Poison Powder may be annoying. It’s best to land one hit, then use Light Screen. Tangela will fall to two or three hits of Confusion, but its Ingrain can be annoying. Hypno’s Confusion should still be a 3HKO after Ingrain recovery, but Erika can make your life more difficult with her healing items or powder moves. If Tangela has used Ingrain, it’s not a good idea to restore Light Screen (as Tangela will get a free turn to heal). Unless Hypno is paralyzed, it will be able to outspeed Vileplume and restore Light Screen. Vileplume will fall to three hits of Confusion. Light Screen is very useful in this battle as it discourages Erika’s Pokémon from healing with Giga Drain. You could go for dual screens, but Acid won’t be that much of a problem anyway. Status healing items are recommended to heal paralysis and poison, but you should use them carefully when screens are active. Each turn you heal burns screen turns. You could forego screens altogether, but this strategy is only recommended if Hypno is packing Psychic already. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 29; Confusion, Reflect, Light Screen, Shadow Ball.

Hypno versus Koga in Fuchsia City Gym: Using Reflect against Koffing is an option. It will give Koga a nasty surprise if he goes for Selfdestruct or Sludge, but you’ll be the one getting a nasty surprise if Koffing goes for Smokescreen or Toxic. Pick your poison. Both of Koga’s Koffing are slower than Hypno and OHKOed by Psychic, so Reflect isn’t necessary. Don’t set up Reflect on Muk, who has Minimize and isn’t afraid to use it. Hypno may 2HKO Muk with Psychic, but it’s unlikely more often than not. Minimize can and will be annoying, so be fully prepared for that. Weezing gets dispatched by Hypno’s Psychic, but be wary of Smokescreen. It does lack Selfdestruct, so that won’t be an issue. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 37; Reflect, Light Screen, Shadow Ball, Psychic.

Hypno versus Fighting Dojo in Saffron City: Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan will both fall to Hypno without opposition. Their Fighting-type moves won’t do much, and Hypno can also use Reflect to make them even more laughable. Hitmonchan’s “coverage” options are even more of a joke; Hypno’s monstrous Special Defense stat can absorb elemental punches all day. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 37; Reflect, Light Screen, Shadow Ball, Psychic.

Hypno versus Rival in Silph Co.: Pidgeot is great set-up bait for dual screens, but Hypno should use Reflect before Light Screen in case Pidgeot decides to go for Whirlwind. Despite Pidgeot’s access to the aforementioned Whirlwind, it’s best to use Psychic once or twice (depending on how much damage it does) to artificially extend Reflect/Light Screen turns (as there will be three or four turns left when Pidgeot faints as opposed to one or two). With or without screens, Hypno can handle Alakazam and the Grass-types without too much trouble. Screens won’t phase Gyarados, who has Dragon Rage, so bring healing items or an Electric- or Rock-type Pokémon (the latter is viable as Gyarados doesn’t carry any Water-type STAB). Hypno’s Psychic will 2HKO Growlithe as it struggles to do anything in return. Blastoise can stall out screen turns with Protect or hit Hypno with its Bite. Dual screens need to be up for Hypno to fight Charizard, but it will need to be switched out when screens expire anyway. Using a more appropriate counter is recommended. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 38; Reflect, Light Screen, Shadow Ball, Psychic.

Hypno versus Giovanni in Silph Co.: Hypno’s Psychic easily beats Nidorino. Hypno is likely faster, so using Reflect against Nidorino will be a great help later. Hypno’s Psychic will 2HKO Rhyhorn, who can’t hurt Hypno when Reflect is active (barring a critical hit). Hypno can beat Kangaskhan one-on-one if Reflect is up, a feat that can’t be accomplished otherwise. Nidoqueen is 2HKOed most of the time and can’t do much in return when Reflect is active. Its Body Slam will 4HKO otherwise, so be wary of a critical hit if Hypno is at half health or less. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 38; Reflect, Light Screen, Shadow Ball, Psychic.

Hypno versus Sabrina in Saffron City Gym: Hypno’s great Special Defense and access to Shadow Ball makes it an excellent counter to Sabrina. Kadabra falls to just one Shadow Ball, but it’s faster and has a Reflect of its own. This may be a good time to set up a Light Screen. Shadow Ball is still a 2HKO on Kadabra after it uses Reflect. Mr. Mime is 2HKOed (3HKOed when its Reflect is active), but don’t give it any time to set up. It can and will Baton Pass some Calm Mind boosts to Alakazam, who is a threat without Calm Mind boosts. Hypno can 2HKO (OHKO if you’re lucky) Venomoth, whose Leech Life isn’t much of a problem. Alakazam will fall to a pair of Shadow Ball attacks, but it can tank one more if Reflect is still active on its side. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 39; Reflect, Light Screen, Shadow Ball, Psychic.

Hypno versus Blaine in Cinnabar Island Gym: Hypno is faster than Growlithe, so set up Light Screen before it hits Hypno with Bite or Fire Blast. Using Reflect is also a good idea. Hypno can sometimes OHKO Growlithe with Psychic, Ponyta is 2HKOed, Rapidash and Arcanine are 3HKOed. Heal or reset screens when necessary. If you have a more appropriate counter that you would like to use in place of Hypno (most likely a Water-type), lead with Hypno’s Reflect or Light Screen to protect your counter from whichever category of moves is more threatening. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 45; Reflect, Light Screen, Shadow Ball, Psychic.

Hypno versus Giovanni in Viridian City Gym: Rhyhorn may be OHKOed by Hypno’s Psychic, so use Reflect first. Dugtrio is likely a 2HKO, and its Earthquake will bounce off of Hypno when Reflect is active. Hypno’s Psychic will 2HKO Nidoking/queen and the second Rhyhorn as well. Reflect greatly increases Hypno’s survivability in this battle, so it’s a good idea to use it. Healing items may be required for a sweep unless your Hypno has exceptional Speed and Special Attack (or has quite a few EVs in those stats). Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 47; Reflect, Light Screen, Shadow Ball, Psychic.

Hypno versus Rival in Route 22: Pidgeot lacks Whirlwind this time around, making it set up bait for dual screens (or Calm Mind variants of Hypno). It is likely 3HKOed by Psychic, so hit it with one or two attacks before using dual screens. Healing items are recommended for this strategy; if you lack healing items, put Reflect up first turn, then use one or two attacks followed by a Light Screen. Screens or no screens, Rhyhorn’s Horn Drill is a threat. Hypno can 2HKO with its Psychic, but that means three out of every forty Hypno will be killed by a Horn Drill (approximate). A Water- or Grass-type is best to use here, but switching them in is dangerous as there are no Water- or Grass-types with Sturdy. Pick your poison. The Grass-types are dispatched with ease, especially if Light Screen is active. Hypno can tank anything from Alakazam (especially with Light Screen active), and its access to Shadow Ball makes it a very good counter. Alakazam also lacks Reflect, so Hypno can 2HKO (OHKO if you’re lucky) in peace. Even Rain-boosted Hydro Pumps will bounce off of Hypno if Light Screen is active, but Psychic doesn’t do much damage to Gyarados. It’s best to ensure Light Screen is up and switch to a more appropriate counter. The same can be said about Blastoise. Growlithe lacks an attack that is strong enough to hurt Hypno, so 2HKO with Psychic. Hypno can’t hit Charizard very hard, but it can set up Light Screen and/or Reflect for a party member. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 48; Reflect, Light Screen, Shadow Ball, Psychic.

Hypno versus the Elite 4: Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 60; Reflect, Light Screen, Shadow Ball, Psychic. (Note: Hypno is also viable with a set that utilizes Calm Mind, which would look something like this: Calm Mind, Psychic, Shadow Ball, Reflect/Light Screen/Thunder Wave. However, Hypno works best as a dual screens supporter since it only has one viable move that benefits from Calm Mind).

Hypno versus Lorelei: Hypno’s Psychic is a 3HKO on Dewgong, who can’t do much in return. I’d recommend hitting Dewgong twice and setting up Light Screen after. Cloyster is hit very hard with Hypno’s Psychic, but it may not be an OHKO. It can also stall out screen turns with Protect. It can’t do much damage to Hypno even when Light Screen is inactive. Slowbro, with all of its physical defense, gets 3HKOed by Shadow Ball. Light Screen makes its attacks a joke and Amnesia is useless since Shadow Ball is a physical move. Slowbro’s Yawn may be annoying, but you have the Poké Flute to circumvent this. Jynx may be OHKOed by Shadow Ball, but it is faster and possesses Attract. Infatuation may be a problem, but Jynx’s Ice Punch does pitiful damage with Light Screen up (although it’s a 4HKO without Light Screen). It shouldn’t cause too many problems unless you’re very unlucky. Light Screen needs to be up for Hypno to face Lapras. Confuse Ray can be annoying though, so keep healing items handy or switch out when necessary.

Hypno versus Bruno: Hypno can completely sweep Bruno thanks to its Psychic-typing. With Reflect active, Hypno walls everything and hits them all hard. The first Onix is usually an OHKO, but using Light Screen isn’t recommended as it may use Roar. As Hypno wants to be in battle in its entirety, this is counterintuitive. Reflect is best to set up on Hitmonchan as opposed to Hitmonlee, but both are good set-up bait. Hypno 2HKOs both. Machamp’s Cross Chop is a joke with Reflect up, but Hypno usually needs at least 60% of its HP to tank a critical hit. Machamp is 2HKOed by Psychic though.

Hypno versus Agatha: Gengar’s Shadow Punch can 4HKO Hypno, but Hypno can 2HKO (or OHKO) in return thanks to Psychic. Gengar will likely go for Double Team, so using screens here isn’t a great idea. It’s best to set up dual screens on Golbat or Haunter. Hypno has Insomnia, so Haunter can only Curse it. Haunter is likely faster anyway, so it’ll curse Hypno even if the Hypnosis Pokémon goes for Psychic first. As such, it’s best to use Reflect and Light Screen (and heal off Curse damage when necessary) and OHKO the next turn with Psychic. Golbat’s Air Cutter is only a 5HKO, but it does have a high critical hit ratio. This will do about 40% to Hypno when it’s a critical hit (as a critical hit ignores screens), so keep that in mind. Golbat will fall to Psychic in one or two turns. Hypno can also get screens up when Golbat is out, but Bite and Confuse Ray may be annoying. With screens up, Arbok’s Sludge Bomb is a pitiful 6HKO (3-4HKO without screens). Hypno can 2HKO (at worst) Arbok, making this match-up favorable. Agatha’s last Gengar has a STAB Shadow Ball, which will net the 2HKO on Hypno. Get Hypno out of there; a critical hit Shadow Ball always OHKOs. Keep that Poké Flute handy when you switch a Pokémon in, as Gengar is very fast and carries Hypnosis and Nightmare.

Hypno versus Lance: A critical hit Hyper Beam from Gyarados is a likely OHKO on Hypno, so this match-up is risky. Something that is both faster and carrying an Electric-type move is a better option for dealing with Gyarados. Hypno can handle either of the Dragonair; Hyper Beam will hurt a little but STAB Outrage is a joke. Hypno’s Psychic is usually a 2HKO, but Reflect and/or Light Screen is good to set up. With or without screens, Hyper Beam from Aerodactyl or Dragonite is scary. Using Hypno against them is not recommended.

Hypno versus the Champion: It’s best to hit Pidgeot with an attack or two before setting up screens; Hypno’s Psychic is a 3HKO. Calm Mind variants of Hypno need to avoid Pidgeot, who carries Whirlwind. Alternatively, you could get screens immediately if you fear the aforementioned Whirlwind. Alakazam is faster and carries Reflect but lacks Calm Mind. This makes it set-up bait for Calm Mind variants of Hypno, and Light Screen should go up if you’re running Dual Screens Hypno. Shadow Ball should be used on the first turn to ensure that a second hit will OHKO (assuming Reflect doesn’t go up first). Unless Reflect goes up on the first turn, Shadow Ball is an almost guaranteed 2HKO. A low health Alakazam allows Hypno to both put up screens and polish off the Psi Pokémon on the next turn. Fighting Rhydon is very risky as Psychic doesn’t do that much damage and a critical hit Earthquake kills Hypno. Take advantage of those screens to get a relatively safe switch-in for a Grass- or Water-type. Venusaur is 2HKOed by Psychic, and a critical hit Solar Beam can’t OHKO Hypno from full health. Exeggutor is 3HKOed by Shadow Ball, and it can’t hurt Hypno if Reflect and Light Screen are active. Calm Mind variants beware: Arcanine is packing Roar. It may be a good idea for Hypno to avoid this match-up altogether; Arcanine is also carrying Bite. Hypno can only 4HKO Charizard, who 2-3HKOs in return with Fire Blast. Even with screens up, Slash can do a lot of damage thanks to its high critical hit ratio. Keep Hypno away from this Fire-type, too. Gyarados can’t 2HKO Hypno with any of its moves, so Hypno can set up a screen and run if it’s at full health. Gyarados does have Bite, so beware of flinch hax. The same goes for Blastoise.

Everything in Between

Caves and Mountains: Hypno can dispatch any Zubat that are annoying you, but Geodude is dangerous due to Selfdestruct. Hypno (not Drowzee) may be able to tank a Selfdestruct, but it can’t tank a critical hit. Just use a Grass- or Water-type for Geodude. This likely won’t be an issue for Hypno with Psychic, as the strong STAB move will decimate Geodude.

Vermilion City Area: Drowzee is challenging to use in this area, but it can handle anything that relies on its Special Attack or is hit hard by Confusion. It should also avoid Diglett’s Cave as it almost requires a Flying-type. Drowzee is easily destroyed by a high roll Magnitude from an Arena Trap Dugtrio. If Drowzee is packing Brick Break, it can handle the engineers east of Vermilion. Otherwise, stay away.

Mid- to Late-Game: Drowzee isn’t the best choice for Pokémon Tower, but it’ll likely be a Hypno by the time you get the Silph Scope. In that case, its super-effective STAB Confusion is great for Gastly and Haunter. Let a Flying-, Grass-, or Water-type Pokémon handle Marowak though. Water-types can be handled pretty well by Hypno unless they resist Psychic-type moves. As such, it can handle a lot of Pokémon on the water routes. If Hypno is packing Brick Break, it can handle Snorlax after Reflect is up. Healing items may be needed for Hypno to solo it; it’s best to utilize Reflect to get a switch-in for a stronger physical attacker. Hypno can handle Cycling Road with aplomb, but watch out for exploding Koffing. You’ll want Psychic before attempting this. It is also good for the Pokémon Mansion. The Power Plant should be avoided; Hypno still has trouble tanking explosions.

Checks and Counters

Strong Attackers: Hypno has a lot of Special Defense, but foes like your Rival’s Charizard or Rhydon can break Hypno with ease. As such, it’s good to have an incredible tank like Lapras, Snorlax, or Vaporeon. In return, Hypno can provide valuable support, as Reflect and/or Light Screen will let these Pokémon ignore almost every non-critical hit attack.

Bulky Pokémon: This only applies to Hypno if it lacks super-effective coverage. Foes like your Rival’s Blastoise can tank a lot of hits from Hypno and retaliate with stronger attacks. As such, it is good to keep a counter for these Pokémon around.

Overall Grade: B

Hypno’s bulk and versatility make it an exemplary Pokémon to have in a Nuzlocke. Its Psychic-typing only aids in this. However, its lack of power will give it trouble in certain battles. On the other hand, its ability to provide support to team members in the form of Thunder Wave and/or dual screens is a huge boon to teams with glass cannons. All in all, the Hypnosis Pokémon can be an outstanding team member that is capable of proving itself in a variety of roles.

Resources to Utilize

Hypno’s Learnset: https://pokemondb.net/pokedex/hypno/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.