Written by Reddit user u/Samurott1
To be perfectly honest, Krabby and Kingler are arguably the most mediocre Water-type Pokémon that can be obtained in the Kanto region. This is due, in part, to those Pokémon’s impractical stat distribution. Kingler has a lackluster Special Attack stat, to say the least. While this may have been offset by its amazing Attack stat, the restrictions of the third generation of Pokémon cause this much higher Attack stat to be essentially useless in practice: in this generation, all Water-type moves are based on the Special Attack stat. As such, Kingler, a pure Water-type Pokémon, is typically limited to using moves that do not receive a STAB boost, which is a significant boost in power given to moves when that move’s type and the Pokémon’s type match. Moreover, Water-types are typically relied on to bring Ice-type coverage to a team, especially if they are Ice-types themselves, like Lapras. However, Ice-type moves are also based on the Special Attack stat, meaning that Kingler is nearly incapable of performing yet another staple role of Water-type Pokémon. It certainly doesn’t help that Kingler’s atrocious HP and Special Defense stats result in even the weakest of Special Attack-based moves to deal massive damage to Kingler. Not only that but there is also a plethora of more effective, easier-to-obtain Water-types in the Kanto region, most notably the likes of Lapras, Blastoise, and Vaporeon. By the time Krabby becomes available to you, chances are that you either have a better Water-type on the team already or are planning to seek the likes of Lapras, Vaporeon, or Tentacruel, all of which are easier to obtain than Krabby. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the River Crab and Pincer Pokémon. Kingler’s Speed, while mediocre, still allows it to outspeed the ubiquitous Rock- and Ground-type Pokémon (such as the Geodude line and Onix) and finish them quickly with a super-effective Water-type move (which happens to be one of the few uses that Kingler can find for its Water-type moves). Kingler also boasts an impressive base 115 Defense stat, which is on par with that of Graveler and is among the best in the Kanto region. (Kingler’s low base HP means that its Defense will be less useful than it may seem on the surface, but it can still take more physical hits than many other Kanto Pokémon.) Kingler’s most impressive stat, though, is its base 130 Attack stat, which is just shy of Dragonite’s Attack stat. Kingler may not have a very impressive movepool to use its Attack, but its Attack nevertheless gives Kingler a way to avoid complete uselessness. Kingler also has access to Guillotine, which (in combination with X Accuracies) allows Kingler to run an occasionally effective, if gimmicky, strategy. Overall, Kingler is most certainly a mediocre option of Water-type in the Kanto region due in part to its unfortunate stat distribution, but those that can make the most of its stats and movepool will find themselves with a somewhat useful Pokémon. If nothing else, Kingler can at least provide a nice challenge and a change of pace from the oft-used Blastoise, Lapras, and Vaporeon.
Krabby: [FireRed only] Route 4 (Good Rod, uncommon), Route 10 (Good Rod, uncommon), Route 11 (Good Rod, uncommon), Route 12 (Good Rod, uncommon), Route 13 (Good Rod, uncommon), Route 19 (Good Rod, uncommon), Route 20 (Good Rod, uncommon), Route 21 (Good Rod, uncommon), Route 24 (Good Rod, uncommon), Cerulean City (Good Rod, uncommon), Cinnabar Island (Good Rod, uncommon), Pallet Town (Good Rod, uncommon), Seafoam Islands (Good Rod, uncommon), Vermilion City (Good Rod, uncommon; Super Rod, rare).
Kingler: [FireRed only] Can only be obtained through evolving Krabby.
Krabby: [LeafGreen only] Route 4 (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Route 10 (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Route 11 (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Route 12 (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Route 13 (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Route 19 (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Route 20 (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Route 21 (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Route 24 (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Bond Bridge (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Cerulean City (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Cinnabar Island (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Kindle Road (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Pallet Town (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Seafoam Islands (Good Rod/Super Rod, common; surfing, common), Vermilion City (Good Rod/Super Rod, common), Treasure Beach (Good Rod/Super Rod, common).
Kingler: [LeafGreen only] Bond Bridge (Super Rod, rare), Cinnabar Island (Super Rod, rare), Kindle Road (Super Rod, rare), Pallet Town (Super Rod, rare), Treasure Beach (Super Rod, rare).
Krabby’s Match-ups in Important Battles
Kingler versus Erika in Celadon City Gym: A Giga Drain or two from any of Erika’s Pokémon will result in the end of the Pincer Pokémon. This wouldn’t be as much of an issue if Kingler could fight back in a meaningful way, but the Pincer Pokémon’s best super-effective coverage at this point would be Ice Beam, which doesn’t do nearly enough damage to justify using Kingler in this battle. Keep the Pincer Pokémon far away from this battle unless you want it to die. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 29; Surf, Strength, Mud Shot/Dig, Rock Tomb/Protect/Cut.
Kingler versus Koga in Fuchsia City Gym: There’s no shortage of Pokémon that would be more useful than Kingler would be in this gym, but the Pincer Pokémon can be used if need be. Thanks to Kingler’s high Defense, it can take a Selfdestruct from either of Koga’s Koffing. However, it likely will only be able to take one, and a critical hit will be the end of the Pincer Pokémon. (Note that critical hits will not be an issue for a Kingler with Shell Armor, but those with Hyper Cutter are still at risk.) Surf will result in a 2HKO on either Koffing, but Smokescreen and Toxic could be difficult for Kingler to deal with. As for Muk, Kingler can technically net a 3HKO with Dig or Mud Shot (and should be faster to boot) and Muk only has a chance to 4HKO in return, but the combination of Muk’s Toxic, Minimize, and Acid Armor means that Kingler is very unlikely to take down Muk on its own. A healthy Kingler will fall to about four rounds of Weezing’s Sludge, but Surf should do the same in return and Kingler should be faster. As such, Kingler may be able to take down Weezing or at least deal a significant amount of damage. That said, Toxic and Smokescreen are still present and may cause an annoyance. Overall, Kingler isn’t completely useless in this battle, but it’s unlikely that it will be able to play a significant role in this battle without healing. Kingler can do some damage, but it will need help from other teammates. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 41; Surf, Strength, Mud Shot/Dig, Rock Tomb/Protect/Cut/Guillotine.
Kingler versus the Fighting Dojo in Saffron City: Kingler can make short work of Hitmonlee, who should fall to a pair of Strength attacks. Hitmonlee, while likely faster, can only 3-4HKO in return with High Jump Kick. Moreover, Hitmonlee could even miss High Jump Kick if you’re lucky, making the 2HKO much easier. Kingler may also be able to take on Hitmonchan, but note that it is unlikely that Kingler will be able to take down both Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan without healing. Kingler’s Strength should be a 2-3HKO on Hitmonchan, who may very well be slower. However, Hitmonchan’s Thunder Punch, which is usually a joke as it is coming off of Hitmonchan’s terrible Special Attack stat, is dangerous to Kingler due to the Pincer Pokémon’s low HP and Special Defense. That said, the super-effective Thunder Punch should still only have a small chance to 3HKO, meaning that Kingler (if kept healthy and barring critical hits) doesn’t have too much to fear from the move. All in all, Kingler can take on Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan without too much trouble, but healing may be required if you want Kingler to take on both. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 41; Surf, Strength, Mud Shot/Dig, Rock Tomb/Protect/Cut/Guillotine.
Kingler versus Rival in Silph Co.: Your Rival will lead with Pidgeot, a Pokémon that can hardly touch Kingler. While Pidgeot is most likely faster than the Pincer Pokémon, its Wing Attack is only a 6HKO. Kingler can 2-3HKO with Rock Tomb (which has the bonus of lowering Pidgeot’s Speed) or 3HKO with Strength. However, if your Kingler has Shell Armor instead of Hyper Cutter, then Pidgeot can neuter Kingler with a Feather Dance. Kingler should then switch to Surf, which should 3HKO most of the time. As for your Rival’s Grass-type, it should be handled by another Pokémon. This is especially true for Venusaur, who can easily annihilate the Pincer Pokémon. Exeggcute, on the other hand, is only a threat to a Kingler that has had its Attack lowered and/or is not at full health. Exeggcute is slower and can only 4-5HKO with Confusion, so it won’t be too much of an issue to a healthy Kingler (unless Stun Spore or Hypnosis become problematic). Strength should net a 3HKO on Exeggcute as long as Kingler’s Attack stat is intact. That said, there’s still a chance for Exeggcute to cause an issue for Kingler, so it’s best for something with super-effective coverage to handle the Egg Pokémon. Alakazam, with its sky-high Special Attack stat, may seem dangerous to Kingler at first glance. However, Alakazam can only attack Kingler with Future Sight, which takes several turns to be effective and can only 3HKO Kingler, who can 2HKO with Strength in return. Still, Kingler is not invincible here: a combination of Recover and Reflect can cause problems for the Pincer Pokémon. Be wary, but also know that Alakazam shouldn’t pose too much of a threat. Gyarados, on the other hand, is likely too much for Kingler to handle. Dragon Rage is especially dangerous to Kingler, who has a low base HP. The move should result in a 3HKO on Kingler, who can technically 3HKO in return with Rock Tomb. However, Rock Tomb is inaccurate, and Gyarados also has Intimidate. With its attack lowered, Kingler can only 4HKO with Rock Tomb. The Pincer Pokémon, if healthy, can attempt to land a Rock Tomb on Gyarados simply to lower its target’s Speed and make it easier for another Pokémon to handle. However, that’s the best Kingler can do against Gyarados. Growlithe is a different story: despite Kingler’s terrible Special Attack stat, its Surf has a chance to OHKO Growlithe, who can do very little in return. Your Rival’s other choice of Fire-type, likely won’t go down quite as easily. Kingler can nearly net the OHKO with Rock Tomb (which you must remember is still inaccurate) and then follow it up with a Surf (at which point Kingler should be faster thanks to Rock Tomb) to finish Charizard cleanly, but Charizard should be faster initially and can deal a lot of damage with Flamethrower, which is a 3HKO. If Kingler isn’t healthy, it will have trouble taking down Charizard, to say the least. If Kingler is healthy (or if you can heal it) and faster than the Shellfish Pokémon, then it can also take down Blastoise with Strength, which should be a 4HKO. Still, Blastoise can 4HKO with Bite, so be wary of that. If you have a better counter for Blastoise, then use that instead. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 41; Surf, Strength, Mud Shot/Dig, Rock Tomb/Protect/Cut/Guillotine.
Kingler versus Giovanni in Silph Co.: Giovanni will lead with his Nidorino, a Pokémon that will fall to a pair of Kingler’s preferred Ground-type attack. Moreover, Nidorino should both be slower and do very little damage with its attacks, so it isn’t much of a threat to Kingler. Despite Kingler’s terrible Special Attack stat, its Surf could take out Giovanni’s Rhyhorn two times over. As such, Rhyhorn isn’t a threat to Kingler, either. Kangaskhan’s Mega Punch is usually a 4-5HKO whereas Kingler’s Strength should net a 3HKO. As such, a healthy Kingler (especially one that happens to be faster than its opponent, which is possible but not necessarily likely) can take on Kangaskhan without too much trouble, though healing may be necessary. Healing will almost certainly be necessary if Kingler is expected to take on both Kangaskhan and Nidoqueen, the latter of which can be taken down with two or three rounds of Surf. However, Nidoqueen can also 5HKO in return with Body Slam, which has a chance to cause paralysis. You’ll want to keep a backup plan in case things go south, but Kingler should be able to handle most, if not all, of this battle. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 41; Surf, Strength, Mud Shot/Dig, Rock Tomb/Protect/Cut/Guillotine.
Kingler versus Sabrina in Saffron City Gym: Kingler is always going to be at risk in this battle due to its low HP and Special Defense, but its high Attack stat means that it can be somewhat useful if need be. A critical hit Psybeam (which isn’t a threat if your Kingler has Shell Armor) from Kadabra may take out the Pincer Pokémon. However, Kingler can do the same in return with Strength even without a critical hit. That said, Reflect could pose an issue if Kadabra chooses to use it, so keep that in mind. Mr. Mime’s Psybeam won’t hit as hard, but it has access to Barrier and can pass any Calm Mind boosts on to Alakazam, which would be problematic, to say the least. What really makes it difficult for Kingler to come out victorious against Mr. Mime, though, is that Strength is only a 2HKO at best (before Reflect and/or Barrier). As such, Kingler (especially one that is already hurt) would be at risk to be taken out by Mr. Mime’s Psybeam, which is a 3HKO. If you have a better counter, use it. Venomoth can be annoying with Supersonic, but Kingler can still 2HKO with Rock Tomb or 3HKO with Strength whereas Venomoth can only 4HKO with its Psybeam. As such, Kingler, or at least a healthy one, can take on Venomoth. On the other hand, Alakazam is off-limits as it is simply too fast and powerful for Kingler to handle. Since the Pincer Pokémon would be overwhelmed quickly, a teammate should handle Alakazam. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 42; Surf, Strength, Mud Shot/Dig, Rock Tomb/Protect/Cut/Guillotine.
Kingler versus Blaine in Cinnabar Island Gym: Kingler is certainly not as useful here as the likes of other Water-types, such as Blastoise or Starmie, but Kingler still has a resistance to Fire-type moves and access to STAB Surf, which allows the Pincer Pokémon to deal with the majority of Blaine’s Pokémon. However, it may require some healing. Blaine leads with Growlithe, who should easily be dispatched by a single Surf from Kingler, who should also be the faster of the two. Surf should do the same for Ponyta (although it may miss the outright OHKO), but Ponyta might be faster than Kingler. It will be annoying if it lands a flinch with Stomp and Fire Blast will hurt despite Kingler’s resistance, but even the strongest of Ponyta’s moves only has a chance to net a 4HKO on the Pincer Pokémon. Ponyta will have fainted long before it can get to that point, especially if your Kingler has Shell Armor and critical hits are thus not a factor. Rapidash is even more likely to be faster than Kingler and can 3-4HKO with Fire Blast. Kingler should be able to 2HKO with Surf, but this match-up is still rather risky, especially if your Kingler lacks Shell Armor and/or was already hurt when Rapidash entered the battle. As for Arcanine, it will almost certainly end up being too much for Kingler to handle. The two Pokémon can 2-3HKO each other with their respective STAB moves, but Arcanine is likely faster. Moreover, Kingler is likely already hurt when Arcanine comes onto the field. Not only that, but a critical hit Fire Blast may also be the end of a Kingler with Hyper Cutter from full health. As such, another Pokémon should handle Arcanine if at all possible. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 46; Surf, Strength, Mud Shot/Dig, Rock Tomb/Protect/Cut/Guillotine.
Kingler versus Giovanni in Viridian City Gym: Much like the battle with Blaine, Kingler is inferior to most other Water-types in the battle against Giovanni. However, its Surf can still be of use, especially against Rhyhorn. Surf results in an OHKO for both Giovanni’s first and second Rhyhorn. The same can be said for Dugtrio, who is faster yet can only 4-5HKO Kingler with Earthquake. However, Surf should only be able to 2HKO Nidoqueen, who may be slower. Nidoqueen’s Earthquake is slightly stronger than Dugtrio’s, but it still should only result in a 4HKO (with a 3HKO being possible but very unlikely). Nidoking, though, is at a higher level than Nidoqueen in addition to being faster and stronger. Its Earthquake should be a 3HKO and it very well may be faster than Kingler. This is especially problematic if Kingler isn’t healthy once Nidoking enters the battle. Still, the Pincer Pokémon should 2HKO with Surf. Overall, Kingler can take down much of Giovanni’s team, although healing will likely be required if Kingler is expected to sweep. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 48; Surf, Strength, Mud Shot/Dig, Rock Tomb/Protect/Cut/Guillotine.
Kingler versus Rival in Route 22: Your Rival still leads with Pidgeot, who still can’t do much to Kingler. Either Rock Tomb or Strength should finish Pidgeot with three hits while Pidgeot struggles to do damage. Pidgeot still does have Feather Dance though, so a Kingler with Shell Armor as opposed to Hyper Cutter must be wary of that. Also, like in the previous Rival battle, Kingler can make short work of Growlithe thanks to Surf. Your Rival now has a Rhyhorn, which will go the same way. Kingler should generally stay away from Grass-type Pokémon, but your Rival’s Exeggcute is a rare exception. It can only attack with Solar Beam, meaning that (unless Sunny Day, which Exeggcute doesn’t have access to anyway, is used) Kingler can have its way with Exeggcute until it starts charging Solar Beam, at which point Kingler should immediately flee. The likes of Stun Spore, Sleep Powder, and Poison Powder can also be problematic, so keep them in mind. Kingler’s Strength should be a 3HKO on Exeggcute. Speaking of Grass-type Pokémon, keep Kingler away from Venusaur. The Pincer Pokémon will not last very long in the face of Razor Leaf. It’s best for Kingler to avoid Gyarados as well, especially if Kingler is hurt. The Pincer Pokémon resists Gyarados’ Hydro Pump, but it’s still a 4HKO. Kingler might be faster and can 4HKO with Rock Tomb (after Intimidate) in return, but Rock Tomb is inaccurate and critical hits are still a risk for some Kingler. The Pincer Pokémon isn’t completely useless against Gyarados, but it’s still best to use a better counter if you have one. Alakazam should be avoided at all costs since it now has Psychic, which should 2HKO Kingler. Strength is technically a 2HKO in return, but Alakazam is much faster. Even if your Kingler has Shell Armor, it is highly unlikely that Kingler will be able to do much against Alakazam. As for your Rival’s starter, the aforementioned Venusaur is off-limits, and both Blastoise and Charizard are likely too much for Kingler to handle, too. Blastoise is likely faster than Kingler and can 3-4HKO with Bite (which also has a chance to cause flinching). Kingler can do very little damage in return, so it’s best to have another Pokémon handle the Shellfish Pokémon. As for Charizard, Kingler can 2HKO with Rock Tomb, but that move is inaccurate and Charizard can 2-3HKO with its Flamethrower. Moreover, Charizard is almost certainly faster than Kingler. This can be fixed with a single use of Rock Tomb, but that would require both Charizard’s Flamethrower failing to land a critical hit and Kingler’s Rock Tomb hitting its mark. Even then, Kingler is likely too weak from the first Flamethrower to risk missing the next Rock Tomb. Thus, Kingler (when healthy) has a legitimate chance to take down Charizard on its own, but it’s very risky. It’s best to either just use Kingler to attempt to land a Rock Tomb in order to make the match-up easier for another Pokémon or to simply use another counter altogether. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 49; Surf, Strength, Mud Shot/Dig, Rock Tomb/Protect/Cut/Guillotine.
Kingler versus the Elite 4: Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 60; Surf, Strength/Return, Mud Shot/Dig, Rock Tomb/Protect/Guillotine.
Kingler versus Lorelei: Kingler, thanks to its resistance to Water- and Ice-type moves, can take down a good chunk of Lorelei’s team. Lorelei will lead with her Dewgong, whose strongest move is only a 5HKO. Kingler’s Rock Tomb should 2-3HKO in return, and the Pincer Pokémon should be the faster of the two on top of that. If you fear Rock Tomb’s inaccuracy, Return should do a similar amount of damage (if you have it) and Strength should be a 3HKO. As for Cloyster, Kingler’s best move is one of Surf, Rock Tomb, and Return. All have a high chance to 3HKO whereas Cloyster can only deal direct damage with Dive, which is a mere 6HKO and takes two turns to execute. Still, Hail can be annoying as Kingler lacks immunity to it, meaning that (if one of Lorelei’s Pokémon uses it) Kingler will be losing health every turn. Healing is likely necessary if Kingler is to take on more than just Dewgong and Cloyster. As for Slowbro, both its Surf and its Ice Beam should result in a 4HKO on Kingler, who can 3HKO and 4HKO in return with Return and Strength, respectively. However, do be wary of Yawn, and Hyper Cutter Kingler’s health bar must be watched even more closely than that of Shell Armor Kingler due to the possibility of critical hits. Jynx’s Lovely Kiss and Attract can also be annoying, but it can also only 4HKO with its strongest move (Ice Punch in this case). Kingler can nearly OHKO in return with Rock Tomb or Return, so it has a great match-up here as long as its health bar is carefully maintained. Likewise, Lapras can 4-5HKO with its best move, but it can cause paralysis and/or confusion, which can be annoying. That said, three Rock Tomb/Return attacks or four Strength attacks should be the end of Lorelei’s Lapras. Kingler has a great one-on-one match-up with each one of Lorelei’s Pokémon, but taking on all of them is nearly impossible for Kingler on its own without healing. As such, bring healing items or a solid backup plan.
Kingler versus Bruno: Bruno will lead with an Onix, who will be sent straight back into its Poké Ball by a single Surf from Kingler. Bruno’s second Onix will fall the same way, and Kingler should be able to get an easy switch-in (if necessary) thanks to a combination of its high Defense stat and Onix’s terrible Attack stat. Kingler will be most useful against these two Pokémon, but it can also be helpful against Bruno’s other Pokémon if need be. Hitmonchan can technically be 2-3HKOed with Strength and 2HKOed with Return, but the Punching Pokémon will then likely OHKO right back with Counter. Surf spam (even though the move is only a 3-4HKO) is much more advisable. Hitmonchan’s Sky Uppercut should be a 4HKO, and Kingler should also be faster than its opponent. However, Hitmonchan’s Rock Tomb could pose an issue since it will lower Kingler’s Speed if it hits, so be wary of that. Unlike Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee lacks Counter, so Kingler can safely 2HKO with either Strength or Return. However, Hitmonlee is likely faster and can 4HKO with Break Break and Mega Kick, so be wary of that if Kingler is low on health and/or lacks Shell Armor. Machamp, though, may prove to be too much for Kingler to handle. Admittedly, Kingler should most certainly be faster and can also 3HKO with Return (and possibly with Strength as well) whereas Machamp can only 3HKO in return with the less-than-perfectly accurate Cross Chop. However, Machamp can suddenly become an issue after just one turn with Bulk Up, which turns Return into a 4HKO (the same as Surf) and Strength into a 5HKO. Moreover, Cross Chop then becomes a 2HKO, which (coupled with the move’s high critical hit ratio) will leave Hyper Cutter Kingler at risk to fall to a single attack. This isn’t even considering the possibility of Kingler already being weakened due to Bruno’s previous Pokémon, which is a very real possibility. Tread lightly.
Kingler versus Agatha: The fact that Ghost-type moves are all physical will work to Kingler’s advantage in this battle. The only move you’ll see that is based on Special Attack will be Golbat’s Bite, which is good for a Pokémon with low HP and Special Defense stats. Agatha will lead with her first Gengar, whom Kingler can easily out-damage. Surf should result in a 3HKO whereas Gengar’s best move, Shadow Punch, is a mere 7HKO. However, Kingler does not necessarily have it easy due to Gengar’s combination of Toxic, Confuse Ray, and Double Team, which Gengar will most certainly use to make life very difficult for the Pincer Pokémon. It’s best to have a better counter for Gengar. Still, Kingler won’t be taking much direct damage, so it’s at least plausible (though it will likely require healing) that it can defeat the Shadow Pokémon. Either Rock Tomb or Return will result in a 2HKO on Golbat, whose strongest move is Bite, which is a 5HKO. However, Golbat can also be an annoyance with Confuse Ray and Bite has a chance to cause flinching, so this match-up can still easily end badly for Kingler. On the other hand, Haunter is pretty much a free 2HKO with Surf as long as you keep Kingler awake. With the Pincer Pokémon asleep, Haunter can 2-3HKO with Dream Eater. You’ll want to keep that Poké Flute handy. Even so, Haunter is much more likely to kill itself with Curse, so Kingler shouldn’t have much of an issue here. Arbok is made much more difficult due to its Intimidate, which cuts into Kingler’s highest stat. (This is, of course, a non-issue for Hyper Cutter Kingler.) Even with its Attack stat lowered, Kingler can 3HKO with Mud Shot or Dig and has a chance to be faster than its opponent (though it’s by no means guaranteed). Arbok’s best move, Sludge Bomb, is only a 4HKO. However, Arbok also has Screech to sharply lower Kingler’s defense, which makes Sludge Bomb much more deadly. And critical hits are always a threat to Hyper Cutter Kingler. As long as you’re aware of the risks and work around them, Kingler should be just fine. The Pincer Pokémon can also take on Agatha’s ace, which is another Gengar. Kingler’s Surf is a likely (but not necessarily guaranteed) 3HKO. That said, Gengar has a Sitrus Berry, is faster, and can 4-5HKO in return with Sludge Bomb. Moreover, Kingler might not be at full health at this point. As such, Kingler will either require healing or backup. And continue to keep that Poké Flute handy; Gengar has Hypnosis and Nightmare. While Kingler certainly isn’t the best choice of Pokémon to take down Agatha, it can still take down a good chunk of her team as long as you’re aware of the dangers.
Kingler versus Lance: Gyarados will be the first Pokémon you’ll see, and this match-up could go either way. After Intimidate, Kingler’s Return is a 4HKO (3HKO normally) while Strength is only a 5HKO (3-4HKO normally). Gyarados’ strongest move is Hyper Beam, a 3HKO (although it will cause Gyarados to take a turn to rest). As for which Pokémon is faster, Kingler very well could be, but Gyarados could still outspeed, especially if Kingler has a nature that’s detrimental to Speed. Kingler might be able to win out, but it’ll come through with its Attack lowered and will almost certainly be low on HP. As for the Dragonair pair, Kingler should be able to outspeed both (unless Thunder Wave is used on it) and 2HKO with Dragonair. Still, Outrage should result in a 3HKO, meaning that Kingler may need to be healed (and Hyper Cutter Kingler needs to be wary of critical hits). As for Lance’s Aerodactyl, it (like Gyarados) can 3HKO with Hyper Beam but will still need to rest after each use. Its next strongest attacks, which are Wing Attack and Ancient Power, should both only result in a 4-5HKO. Aerodactyl is faster and can always get a boost from Ancient Power, but it should also fall to a pair of Surf attacks from Kingler. Lance’s ace, however, will almost certainly be too much for Kingler to handle. Dragonite’s Outrage should be an easy 2HKO while Kingler is likely slower than its opponent and can’t even guarantee a 3HKO with Return. If you add in Dragonite’s Sitrus Berry and the very real possibility of Kingler being weakened from Lance’s other Pokémon, then the message becomes clear: let something with a strong Ice-type move handle Dragonite.
Kingler versus the Champion: The Champion will lead with Pidgeot, a Pokémon that Kingler can likely handle. Return and Rock Tomb should both result in a 3HKO and Strength is very likely (but not guaranteed) to do the same. Still, Pidgeot should be faster (at least initially for those using Rock Tomb) and can be annoying with Sand Attack and Feather Dance (the latter of which isn’t an issue for Hyper Cutter Kingler). Pidgeot isn’t too directly threatening, though; its Aerial Ace is a 5HKO at best. As such, Kingler very much has a fighting chance here. The same can not be said for Kingler if it is to go up against Alakazam, who will annihilate the Pincer Pokémon with its Psychic. Rhydon, on the other hand, will fall easily to a single use of Surf. That said, Hyper Cutter Kingler must be wary of a critical hit Earthquake, which could be the end of the Pincer Pokémon. Earthquake from Rhydon should be a 2-3HKO, meaning that even Shell Armor Kingler will be at risk if its health is too low. However, Rhydon is still as slow as molasses and can’t even take one hit from Surf, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for Kingler to take down as long as the switch-in is clean. The Champion’s Gyarados may be too tough for Kingler, though. Hydro Pump and Thrash should both be around a 3-4HKO, Gyarados is likely faster, and it has Intimidate. Shell Armor Kingler can do very little, but Hyper Cutter Kingler (i.e. a Kingler that is immune to Intimidate) has more of a fighting chance. Rock Tomb and Return should both result in a 3HKO on Gyarados, but Kingler will still need to be faster, which isn’t very likely (before Gyarados is hit by a Rock Tomb, that is). It’s unlikely that even Hyper Cutter Kingler, especially one that has already been weakened, can take down Gyarados. Still, Kingler can have some limited use against Gyarados. What used to be your Rival’s Exeggcute has now evolved into an Exeggutor and learned Giga Drain, meaning that your Kingler should stay far away to avoid having the entirety of its life force sucked out of its shell. Growlithe has also evolved into an Arcanine and, like Exeggutor, is now much more difficult for Kingler to handle. Arcanine is almost certainly faster and can 3HKO with Flamethrower despite the Pincer Pokémon’s resistance to Fire-type moves. Kingler’s Surf is also most likely a 3HKO (with a chance to 2HKO), but the difference in Speed likely means that Kingler won’t be able to handle Arcanine. That said, if Arcanine doesn’t use Flamethrower every turn and Kingler starts the match-up at full health, then the Pincer Pokémon can likely come out on top with Surf. Nevertheless, it’s risky. Use a better counter for Arcanine if you have it. Kingler is in a similar conundrum against Charizard, who can 2HKO the Pincer Pokémon with Fire Blast. However, that move is inaccurate and Kingler (or at least Shell Armor Kingler since a critical Fire Blast nets you a dead crab) can 2HKO with Rock Tomb. Even so, it is very unlikely that Kingler will be able to take down Charizard safely, so keep a backup plan or just use a more appropriate counter. A better counter should also be used for Venusaur, who will use Kingler as set-up bait. While Venusaur can only deal direct damage with Solar Beam, which requires a charging turn, it can also make use of Sunny Day to put Kingler in immediate danger. Kingler can 3HKO at best with its strongest attack, Return, meaning that it can do a little damage before Venusaur sets up Sunny Day and forces Kingler to flee. However, it’s best to just use a dedicated Venusaur counter immediately since the time needed to switch will give Venusaur a chance to use Growth, which will make it much more dangerous. Likewise, Blastoise will probably be too much for Kingler to handle. The Shellfish Pokémon can 2-3HKO Kingler with Hydro Pump whereas Kingler (who may very well be slower) can only 3-4HKO with Return at best. Not only that, but Blastoise can also set up Rain Dance to make Hydro Pump much stronger. Whichever starter the Champion has, it’s usually best to keep Kingler far away.
Everything in Between
Caves and Mountains: At the time that Kingler becomes available to you, the Seafoam Islands and Mt. Ember will be the remaining areas in this category. The likes of Zubat and Golbat won’t be too problematic; Strength or Rock Tomb should be enough to handle them as they struggle to break past Kingler’s shell. Kingler can also usually handle the Fire- and Fighting-types that appear around Mt. Ember as well. However, Kingler must steer clear of fighting Moltres and Zapdos. The Pincer Pokémon doesn’t have nearly enough Special Defense for that.
Vermilion City Area: Steer clear of the engineers east of Vermilion City; they have Magnemite and Magneton. Krabby should stay out of Diglett’s Cave, but Kingler with Surf shouldn’t have any issues. Even so, you likely don’t need anything from Diglett’s Cave at this point anyway.
Mid- to Late-Game: Kingler, especially Shell Armor Kingler, is one of the few Pokémon that can tank hits from Snorlax. That said, Kingler can’t do much in return either. There are better Pokémon to use against Snorlax. Due to Strength and resistance to Water-type moves (even though it is coupled with a low Special Defense stat), the water routes shouldn’t be too much trouble for Kingler. The Pincer Pokémon’s high Defense stat also allows it to be somewhat useful on Cycling Road, but a Psychic-type Pokémon is usually a better choice for that area. That Defense stat also makes Kingler useful against Kanto’s plethora of bird trainers, especially if Kingler has Rock Tomb. The Pokémon Mansion is also generally safe for Kingler since it contains mostly Fire-types and physical attackers. For Cycling Road and the Pokémon Mansion, note that Kingler should be able to take a Selfdestruct (but not a critical hit) from the likes of Koffing (although the same can’t be said for a Selfdestruct from Weezing unless Kingler has several levels on said Weezing). Ideally, you wouldn’t be in a position where a Pokémon would be facing a Selfdestruct, but Kingler can be great to tank one if need be. However, keep the Pincer Pokémon out of the Power Plant; the whole place is full to the brim with dangerous Electric-type Pokémon. Oddly enough, Kingler can take some hits from Zapdos, who lacks an Electric-type STAB move. Zapdos’ Drill Peck is a 3-4HKO while Kingler’s Rock Tomb is also a 3-4HKO. Still, Zapdos does have Agility and is already faster than Kingler without a Speed boost, so Kingler probably won’t be able to handle this Legendary Pokémon by itself.
Checks and Counters
Grass- and Electric-type Pokémon: This may seem obvious, and it should be. Grass- and Electric-type moves are both super effective against Kingler and are based on the Special Attack stat, which Kingler is especially vulnerable to. For example, Kingler essentially has no way to take on Erika’s team. Fire- and Flying-type Pokémon serve as ready-made counters for Grass-type Pokémon; similarly, Electric-type Pokémon will have trouble with Ground-type Pokémon. Thus, the likes of Charizard, Arcanine, Golem, and Rhydon would make good teammates for Kingler.
Strong Special Attackers: Kingler’s combination of low base HP and Special Defense stats means that most attacks that are based on the Special Attack stat will do a ton of damage to the Pincer Pokémon. Those that are particularly strong in that area, such as Sabrina’s Alakazam, are often so threatening that Kingler can’t stand up to them at all. As such, you’ll want to have a Pokémon that can take hits that are based on Special Attack. The likes of Snorlax and Hypno come to mind. These Pokémon can cover this particular weakness of Kingler’s, making them good teammates for the Pincer Pokémon.
Overall Grade: D
Kingler isn’t completely useless, but that’s honestly the best that can be said of it. The Pincer Pokémon isn’t particularly useful in any of the major battles that it’s available for and is outclassed by the majority of its fellow Water-type Pokémon. Resultantly, Kingler is overlooked by many when it comes to building an effective team. By that same token, Kingler can give its trainer more of a challenge than the likes of Lapras and Vaporeon, so those looking for higher difficulty would want to use Kingler in their playthrough. However, those looking for an effective Water-type Pokémon should stick to the likes of the aforementioned Vaporeon and Lapras. As for Kingler itself, it will have to wait for the next generation to use a physical Crabhammer. For now, it’s stuck with stats that don’t match its typing, making it a substandard choice of Pokémon in the Kanto region.
Resources to Utilize
Kingler’s Learnset: https://pokemondb.net/pokedex/kingler/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.