A Nuzlocker’s Guide to the Mudkip Line

Written by Reddit user u/Samurott1

When it comes to Nuzlockes in the Hoenn region, there is no Pokémon in the region that can match the dominance of the Mudkip line. It has great defenses, good match-ups against the gyms, an excellent Attack stat, great typing, and very few true counters. It only has to watch out for Grass-type Pokémon, which are few and far between in the Hoenn region. Nonetheless, even weak wild Oddish can pose a threat to Marshtomp and Swampert, and the line also happens to be rather slow. However, these weaknesses are completely overshadowed by its numerous positive traits. As long as you keep this beast away from Grass-type Pokémon, it can almost single-handedly destroy everything in the Hoenn region.

Mudkip’s Match-ups in Important Battles

Mudkip versus Rival in Route 103: Against your Rival’s Treecko, Tackle spam is all you should need. Bring a Potion along in case things go south, and possibly grind a level by fighting wild Pokémon. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 6; Growl, Tackle.

Mudkip versus Roxanne in Rustboro City Gym: The Mud Fish Pokémon need only to use Water Gun against Roxanne’s Geodude, who is too slow to do anything about it. Nosepass, on the other hand, poses a threat. For best results, train Mudkip to level 15. This turns Nosepass’ Rock-type STAB move into a 4HKO (as opposed to a 3HKO) and considerably strengthens Mudkip’s Water Gun. From there, just spam Water Gun. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 15; Growl, Tackle, Mud-Slap, Water Gun.

[Emerald only] Mudkip versus Rival in Rustboro City: This is an optional battle, and, if your only viable choice is Mudkip at this point, it’s in your best interest to refuse. Your Rival’s Wingull has immunity to Mud-Slap and resistance to Water Gun, so Mudkip’s best option is the unreliable Tackle. Wingull’s Wing Attack is a 5HKO whereas Mudkip’s Tackle is a 4HKO, yet Wingull is faster. As a result, you’ll probably need to heal Mudkip for safety after it has been hit a few times. Wingull can also use Supersonic to make this battle last a lot longer than it needs to. Note that Rock Tomb can be used if you wish to use Mudkip here. Furthermore, Treecko is completely impenetrable, especially if Mudkip has evolved into Marshtomp already. Its Absorb may be weak, but it restores health. Moreover, Mudkip’s attacks are weaker. Treecko happens to be faster as well, making this battle even more trivial. As can be seen, it would be in your best interest to keep Mudkip out of this battle. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 15; Tackle, Mud-Slap, Water Gun, Rock Tomb.

Marshtomp versus Brawly in Dewford Town Gym: [Ruby and Sapphire] Marshtomp, the form that your Mud Fish Pokémon should be in at this point, has enough power and bulk to overcome Machop if need be. Your starter is faster than Machop and can hit harder with Mud Shot. However, Machop will likely go for Bulk Up, at which point you should switch to Water Gun. Machop’s Karate Chop is a 5HKO naturally while Marshtomp’s Mud Shot is a 3HKO (and Water Gun is a 4HKO if you need it). Makuhita is significantly more dangerous, especially if Marshtomp is at low health from fighting Machop. If you do not have a more appropriate counter, then make sure you have enough health to take an unlucky roll on Arm Thrust (a little more than half health). Then, use Mud Shot until you either have to heal or your opponent uses Bulk Up twice, at which point you should switch to Water Gun. You could try to get lucky with Mud-Slap, which reduces Makuhita’s accuracy, but this is completely based upon luck. However, this is very risky, so use a more appropriate counter if you have one. [Emerald] For Machop, see the Ruby and Sapphire section. Brawly has a Meditite now, who is an absolute joke as long as you use Water Gun exclusively. It has dual screens as well as Bulk Up, so its only attacking move is Focus Punch, which will never hit Marshtomp as long as you continuously attack. (Again, attack only with Water Gun, which has perfect accuracy.) Makuhita now has Vital Throw and Reversal, making it significantly more dangerous. Reversal becomes deadly if Makuhita is at low health, but this shouldn’t be too much of a problem since Marshtomp is faster. Therefore, Marshtomp will be able to finish it off before it uses Reversal. Vital Throw, however, could become problematic once Makuhita gets some Bulk Up boosts, as it is a natural 4HKO. The strategy for Ruby and Sapphire applies here as well, but keep in mind that it is even more advisable to use a more appropriate counter for Makuhita. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 18; Mud-Slap, Water Gun, Mud Shot, Rock Tomb.

Marshtomp versus Rival in Route 110: [Ruby and Sapphire] Clearly, Marshtomp should stay away from your Rival’s Grovyle, who has Absorb. You can use Marshtomp against Wailmer if you so choose (Mud Shot is a 4HKO whereas Wailmer’s Water Gun is a 5HKO), but note that Wailmer may be the faster of the two until it’s hit by Mud Shot. An unlucky critical hit could also prove deadly depending on Marshtomp’s health. You’ll probably need healing items to pull this off. Numel, on the other hand, will fall to a single Water Gun. [Emerald] Again, stay away from Grovyle if you value the Mud Fish Pokémon’s life. As for your Rival’s Slugma, it’s best to hit it with Mud Shot, an OHKO, as opposed to Water Gun, a 2HKO. Furthermore, Wingull is no match for Rock Tomb, so simply 2HKO unless Marshtomp’s health is low. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 19; Mud-Slap, Water Gun, Mud Shot, Rock Tomb.

Marshtomp versus Wally in Mauville City: At this point, Wally has only Ralts on his team. It’s not threatening as long as Marshtomp’s health is high. Simply use Mud Shot, which may OHKO. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 19; Mud-Slap, Water Gun, Mud Shot, Rock Tomb.

Marshtomp versus Wattson in Mauville City Gym: The only Pokémon that should be remotely threatening here is Voltorb, who has Selfdestruct in both versions. Marshtomp probably won’t survive a critical hit Selfdestruct, but it’s unlikely that Voltorb will go for Selfdestruct on the first turn at all. Have the Mud Fish Pokémon spam Mud Shot, and everything should be OHKOed barring Wattson’s Manectric in Emerald, who can hardly scratch Marshtomp anyway. (As a side note, you might as well gamble for Ice Beam while you’re in Mauville City.) Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 23; Water Gun, Mud Shot, Rock Tomb, Ice Beam/Mud-Slap.

Marshtomp versus Tabitha in Mt. Chimney: [Ruby and Sapphire] Any Pokémon named Numel won’t be able to take a Water Gun, making Marshtomp a great choice for fighting them. Marshtomp will easily 2HKO Tabitha’s Poochyena; a pair of Mud Shots will do the trick. [Emerald] As for Tabitha’s Numel pair, use the same strategy that’s used in Ruby and Sapphire. The Poochyena may be a little tougher in Emerald as it now has Sand Attack, but Marshtomp is more than powerful enough to overcome it with ease. On the other hand, Zubat can be tricky; it has both Supersonic and Bite (and it may be faster). However, as with Poochyena, Marshtomp is strong enough to prevail unless it hits itself in confusion too many times. A single Ice Beam, if you have it, should do the trick, and Water Gun will be a 2HKO otherwise. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 24; Water Gun, Mud Shot, Rock Tomb, Ice Beam/Mud-Slap.

Marshtomp versus Maxie/Archie in Mt. Chimney: [Ruby and Sapphire] Maxie/Archie (depending on the version you’re playing) will lead with Mightyena, a Pokémon that has Intimidate. This will prove problematic for Marshtomp; in fact, it is only recommended that you use Marshtomp here if you have healing items. Even after Intimidate, it’s best to start with a Mud Shot to lower Mightyena’s Speed, as it has Bite. After that, Ice Beam is a possible 3HKO whereas Water Gun is a possible 4HKO. Again, you’ll probably need healing items to pull this off, especially if Mightyena’s Sand-Attack is getting on your nerves. Golbat is tougher as it hits harder with its STAB move, also has Bite, and can use Supersonic. It’s best to use a more appropriate counter here, especially if your Marshtomp is weak from fighting Mightyena. Ice Beam is your best move here, but you may want to lead off with a Rock Tomb to lower Golbat’s Speed. Note that Golbat is faster than Mightyena was, so it may still be faster after you hit it with Rock Tomb. The Bat Pokémon’s Wing Attack is a 4HKO whereas the Mud Fish Pokémon’s Ice Beam is a 3HKO (a 2HKO after Golbat is hit with Rock Tomb). Marshtomp will 2HKO Maxie’s Camerupt with Water Gun, but make sure that its health is high since a high roll Magnitude will hurt. On the other hand, Marshtomp isn’t very helpful against Archie’s Sharpedo, whose Crunch is a 2HKO (and will OHKO with a critical hit) whereas the Mud Fish Pokémon can only 3HKO with Mud Shot. It’s best to leave Sharpedo to something that can tank a Crunch. (As a side note, remember that Crunch is a special move in this generation.) [Emerald] See the Ruby and Sapphire section for Mightyena and Camerupt, who are identical between the versions. The only change in Emerald was made to Golbat, who is now a Zubat and, therefore, significantly weaker. Marshtomp’s Rock Tomb or Ice Beam will result in a 2HKO. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 24; Water Gun, Mud Shot, Rock Tomb, Ice Beam/Mud-Slap.

Marshtomp versus Flannery in Lavaridge Town Gym: [Ruby and Sapphire] Flannery first and second Pokémon are named Slugma, and both should be OHKOed by Mud Shot. They’re weak enough that even a sun-boosted, critical hit Overheat shouldn’t OHKO Marshtomp from full health. However, they are dangerous in that they can set up Sunny Day for Flannery’s ace, who can’t do that by itself in Ruby and Sapphire. Speaking of Torkoal, it’s rather tricky, even for Marshtomp. Torkoal can and will use Attract. This match-up won’t be too difficult if you happen to have a female Marshtomp, but that’s unlikely. As such, you’ll want to pick up a Red Flute from the Glass Workshop, which will negate infatuation. Spam either Mud Shot or Water Gun (they do about the same amount of damage although Mud Shot is preferable under the sun), and Torkoal should fall after three or four hits. Torkoal will 4HKO with Body Slam, which may cause paralysis, so keep that in mind. Overheat will take about one-third of Marshtomp’s HP, but have solace in the fact that it sharply lowers Torkoal’s Special Attack and it doesn’t carry a White Herb in Ruby and Sapphire. [Emerald] Flannery only has one Slugma in Emerald, and it’s even weaker than those encountered in Ruby and Sapphire. See the Ruby and Sapphire section for that. As for Flannery’s new weapons, Numel and Camerupt, Marshtomp won’t have too much trouble against them. Numel, in particular, is an easy kill since the Mud Fish Pokémon can OHKO it with Water Gun. The same move will only 2HKO Camerupt, and you better hope that it uses its one turn of life for Tackle. All of its other moves range from mildly threatening to positively alarming. Its Overheat will carve out a large piece of Marshtomp’s health (a little over a third to be exact), Sunny Day will give Flannery’s ace an enormous boost, and male Marshtomp’s much watch out for Attract. As for Torkoal, it is mostly the same as its Ruby and Sapphire counterpart, but it can use Sunny Day now. The Ruby and Sapphire strategy works just as well in Emerald. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 28; Water Gun, Mud Shot, Rock Tomb, Ice Beam/Return/Secret Power.

Marshtomp versus Norman in Petalburg City Gym: [Ruby and Sapphire] Marshtomp doesn’t perform very well against Norman’s first or second Slaking. Not only will they 2-3HKO the Mud Fish Pokémon with Facade, but also Marshtomp will hardly scratch them in return. (A critical hit Facade may OHKO Marshtomp from full health as well, making Slaking even more dangerous.) If Marshtomp is your only viable choice for fighting Norman, then be sure to evolve it first (which requires a lot of grinding and can’t be done if you’re using a level cap) and note that Norman’s second Slaking has Focus Punch. On the other hand, the Mud Fish Pokémon may be able to handle Vigoroth if need be. Note that this will likely require healing as Marshtomp’s Mud Shot (or Ice Beam once Vigoroth’s Speed has been lowered enough) is a 3-4HKO while Vigoroth’s Slash does slightly more damage and has a high critical hit ratio. Don’t use Marshtomp here unless you have to. [Emerald] Slaking and Vigoroth are similar enough to their Ruby and Sapphire counterparts that the same strategy holds up well here. However, Norman leads with Spinda in Emerald, which can be handled by Marshtomp. Spinda’s Teeter Dance is annoying, but it can’t do much to (the likely faster) Marshtomp, who can 3HKO with Mud Shot or Ice Beam. Linoone, on the other hand, could be too strong for the Mud Fish Pokémon to handle. Linoone has Belly Drum to max out its Attack and Headbutt to make Marshtomp flinch. Moreover, even after having its Speed lowered by Mud Shot, Linoone could be faster than Marshtomp. After a Belly Drum, Linoone may OHKO the Mud Fish Pokémon with Headbutt, Slash, or Facade. Tread lightly around Linoone. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 31; Water Gun, Mud Shot, Rock Tomb, Ice Beam/Return/Secret Power.

Marshtomp versus Courtney/Shelly in the Weather Institute: [Ruby] Marshtomp is best against Courtney’s Numel, who can be OHKOed with your new toy, Surf. Mightyena can be annoying with Swagger, and its Bite may be equally irritating if you don’t lower its Speed with Mud Shot. Unless you’re particularly unlucky, Marshtomp should be able to prevail using Mud Shot followed by Surf spam. [Sapphire and Emerald] Shelly’s Mightyena is the same as its counterpart in Ruby. As such, see that section for the strategy. Shelly also has a Carvanha, which Marshtomp can handle with Mud Shot. Be wary of critical hits, especially if Carvanha uses Focus Energy. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 32; Mud Shot, Rock Tomb/Return/Secret Power, Ice Beam, Surf.

Marshtomp versus Rival on Route 119: [Ruby and Sapphire] Continue to avoid Grovyle, for obvious reasons. Numel and Wailord are no match for Surf and Mud Shot, respectively. [Emerald] Stay away from Grovyle. One Leaf Blade will turn the Mud Fish Pokémon into tonight’s dinner. Your Rival’s Slugma is a pushover thanks to Marshtomp’s new toy, Surf. If you’re fighting Brendan, then his Pelipper will be no match for Marshtomp’s Rock Tomb or Ice Beam. However, you still must be wary of critical hits. As for May’s Lombre, its Absorb does a surprisingly unthreatening amount of damage. However, the move will still heal Lombre and therefore make it impossible for Marshtomp to win this match-up. Use a more appropriate counter. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 32; Mud Shot, Rock Tomb/Rock Tomb/Secret Power, Ice Beam, Surf.

Marshtomp/Swampert versus Winona in Fortree City Gym: [Ruby and Sapphire] Honestly, it’s best to have evolved Marshtomp into Swampert at this point, which is entirely possible unless you’re using a level limit (Winona’s ace is at level 33). Either way, you’ll want the Mud Fish Pokémon to have Ice Beam if you plan to use it in this battle. Whether you have a Marshtomp or a Swampert, Swellow shouldn’t give you too much trouble unless it gets really lucky with Double Team. Marshtomp’s Ice Beam is a 2HKO whereas Swampert’s is a 2HKO. Winona’s next Pokémon, Pelipper, is best fought with Swampert, who can 2HKO with either Rock Tomb or Ice Beam. Against Swampert, Pelipper’s Aerial Ace is pitiful. Marshtomp, on the other hand, can only 3HKO Pelipper with Rock Tomb (Ice Beam is an unlikely 3HKO) and will fall to five hits of Aerial Ace. You’ll probably need a healing item for Marshtomp. Note that Pelipper also carries Supersonic, which can be annoying. Marshtomp may also need healing to handle Skarmory, who will fall to three rounds of Surf. On the other hand, Swampert will 2HKO Skarmory with Surf. Swampert doesn’t have to worry about Aerial Ace, but Marshtomp needs to be wary of it. Swampert can also OHKO Altaria with Ice Beam whereas Marshtomp can only 2HKO. It’ll probably go for Dragon Dance on the first turn, but note that Marshtomp is 4HKOed by Earthquake. Swampert doesn’t need to worry about Earthquake unless its health is low. [Emerald] Honestly, it’s best to have evolved Marshtomp into Swampert at this point, which is entirely possible unless you’re using a level limit (Winona’s ace is at level 33). Either way, you’ll want the Mud Fish Pokémon to have Ice Beam if you plan to use it in this battle. Winona leads with Swablu, who is worthless. It can be annoying with Perish Song, but this isn’t outright threatening, and having access to Ice Beam means that it won’t last long anyway. Furthermore, Swampert will annihilate Tropius with Ice Beam. Marshtomp, however, can only 2HKO. Note that Tropius’ strategy is SunnyBeam, so run for the hills if it begins to charge Solar Beam or uses Sunny Day. Winona’s remaining Pokémon (Pelipper, Skarmory, and Altaria) are the same as they are in Ruby and Sapphire, so use the strategy from that section. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 33/36; Mud Shot, Rock Tomb/Return/Secret Power, Ice Beam, Surf.

Swampert versus Rival in Lilycove City: [Ruby and Sapphire] Blast Swellow into next week with Ice Beam. Do the same to Numel, but use Surf instead of Ice Beam. As for Wailmer, Return or Mud Shot will do the trick. None of these Pokémon are very threatening, but Grovyle is a different story. Do not approach it with a Swampert unless you want to lose (arguably) the best Pokémon in the game to a Leaf Blade. [Emerald] Tropius is one of those scary Grass-type Pokémon that you should avoid, but this specific Pokémon can be dealt with as it is slow and incredibly weak to Ice Beam. Even if you fail to either outspeed or OHKO (both of which are unlikely, if not impossible), Tropius’ Magical Leaf will only OHKO with a critical hit. As for Slugma, wash it away. Furthermore, Pelipper isn’t going to put up much of a fight, but it can be annoying with Supersonic. Ice Beam or Rock Tomb will do the trick. However, keep away from Grovyle and its frightening Leaf Blade. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 36; Mud Shot, Rock Tomb/Return/Secret Power, Ice Beam, Surf.

[Emerald only] Swampert versus Tabitha in Jagged Pass: Tabitha will lead with Numel, who is no match for Swampert’s Surf. Furthermore, Mightyena won’t put up too much of a fight, but watch out for Swagger. As for Zubat, just OHKO with Ice Beam. Camerupt is simply free experience points for Swampert; just use Surf. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 37; Mud Shot, Rock Tomb/Return/Secret Power, Ice Beam, Surf.

[Emerald only] Swampert versus Maxie in Jagged Pass: Maxie leads with a Mightyena, and this one is much stronger than Tabitha’s. It will do twice as much damage, but it’s still nothing Swampert can’t handle. Swagger is still a threat, so be wary of that. Moreover, this Mightyena may be faster than Swampert. Swampert’s Surf, however, should be a 2HKO. Furthermore, Swampert can 2HKO Crobat with Ice Beam. However, Crobat’s high Speed, coupled with its access to Bite and Confuse Ray, will likely make this more difficult for Swampert. Also, note that Crobat’s Air Cutter is likely a 5HKO and has a high critical hit ratio. As for Camerupt, click Surf and enjoy the free experience. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 38; Mud Shot, Rock Tomb/Return/Secret Power, Ice Beam, Surf.

Swampert versus Tabitha/Matt in Lilycove City: [Ruby and Sapphire] For Tabitha, the Numel and Camerupt are free experience points. Swampert can handle both Carvanha and Sharpedo with Mud Shot, especially since the move will lower the opposition’s Speed. Simply 2HKO Mightyena with Surf, and be wary of Tabitha’s Mightyena’s Swagger. [Emerald] In Emerald, this is just a battle with Matt, and it’s not exactly the most challenging battle in the game. For Mightyena, it doesn’t even have an attacking move. Beat it down with Surf. Furthermore, Swampert should 2HKO Golbat with Ice Beam, but be wary of Confuse Ray. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 38; Mud Shot, Rock Tomb/Return/Secret Power, Ice Beam, Surf.

Swampert versus Tate and Liza in Mossdeep City Gym: [Ruby and Sapphire] This battle is quite tricky, even for Swampert. You’ll want something with the Shadow Ball TM sitting beside the Mud Fish Pokémon if you use your starter at all. Fortunately, Swampert has Surf, which is super effective against both Tate and Liza’s Pokémon. However, Solrock has Sunny Day and Solar Beam while Lunatone has Calm Mind and Light Screen. All four of these moves are threatening to Swampert for various reasons. Lunatone’s moves and Sunny Day will greatly reduce the power of Surf whereas Solar Beam will OHKO Swampert with a critical hit. If Swampert gets hit by Lunatone’s Psychic in the same turn, that’s game over for the Mud Fish Pokémon. All in all, Swampert can be helpful before the sun comes out thanks to Surf, but you’ll almost certainly need to switch it out eventually. [Emerald] This battle is even more trivial for Swampert in Emerald than it was in Ruby and Sapphire. Tate and Liza now have a Claydol and a Xatu, and they’re both annoying. Claydol has Light Screen and a massive Special Defense stat whereas Xatu has Confuse Ray and Sunny Day. You’ll want something fast beside Swampert that can annihilate Xatu before it gets going. Furthermore, a Pokémon with Shadow Ball is a must. Swampert’s best chance of contributing here is spamming Surf until something hinders it, such as Light Screen or Sunny Day. Also, note that Solrock has Solar Beam, which probably won’t OHKO Swampert (unless it’s a critical hit), but you still don’t want to risk it with STAB Psychic all over the place. All in all, Swampert can be helpful before the sun comes out thanks to Surf, but you’ll almost certainly need to switch it out eventually. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 42; Mud Shot, Rock Tomb/Return/Secret Power, Ice Beam, Surf.

[Emerald only] Swampert versus Maxie and Tabitha in Mossdeep City: In this tag battle with Steven, where you have to bring three members with you to battle and leave the others behind, it is highly recommended that you bring Swampert along. Destroy anything named Camerupt with Surf, and any Bat Pokémon will fall to Ice Beam (or Surf if you want to hit Tabitha’s/Maxie’s Pokémon too) as long as you are wary of Confuse Ray. As for the Mightyena pair, they are the same as always. Spam Surf and be wary of Swagger. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 43; Mud Shot, Rock Tomb/Return/Secret Power, Ice Beam, Surf.

Swampert versus Courtney/Shelly in Seafloor Cavern: For Courtney’s Camerupt, use Surf on it and enjoy the free experience points. Furthermore, Shelly’s Sharpedo is 2HKOed by Mud Shot. Both of them have a Mightyena, which is essentially the same as all of the others you have fought up to this point. Have Swampert 2HKO with Surf and watch out for Swagger. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 43; Mud Shot, Rock Tomb/Return/Secret Power, Ice Beam, Surf.

Swampert versus Maxie/Archie in Seafloor Cavern: Mightyena is the same as always; watch out for Swagger and 2HKO with Surf. As for Crobat, the move you must watch out for is Confuse Ray. Swampert can 2HKO with Ice Beam though. If you’re fighting Maxie, Swampert is great for fighting Camerupt, who falls to a single Surf attack. Archie’s Sharpedo isn’t too tough, but watch out for Slash, especially if Swampert gets hit by Screech. Swampert can 2HKO with Return (if you have it) and possibly 2HKO with Mud Shot as well. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 43; Mud Shot, Rock Tomb/Return/Secret Power, Ice Beam, Surf.

[Ruby only] Swampert versus Groudon in Cave of Origin: The sun is slightly problematic here, as it turns Swampert’s Surf into a 3HKO as opposed to a 2HKO. It could be beneficial to replace the sunlight. However, if you have Ice Beam, you could use that to 3HKO. This will probably save some time in the long run. On the other hand, you must be wary of Groudon’s Earthquake, which is a 2HKO (and an OHKO with a critical hit). Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 43; Mud Shot, Rock Tomb/Return/Secret Power, Ice Beam, Surf.

[Sapphire only] Swampert versus Kyogre in Cave of Origin: Ironically, the rain is worse for Swampert than Groudon’s sun is. Kyogre’s Hydro Pump becomes a possible OHKO when boosted by the rain. Swampert, who can’t do much in return, should avoid Kyogre at all costs. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 43; Mud Shot, Rock Tomb/Return/Secret Power, Ice Beam, Surf.

[Ruby and Sapphire only] Swampert versus Wallace in Sootopolis City Gym: Unlike most of the gyms in the Hoenn region, Swampert doesn’t do very well here. If you’re saving the Earthquake TM for another Pokémon, then this battle becomes more difficult. Furthermore, every Pokémon here has Water Pulse, which may confuse Swampert. Luvdisc has Attract and Sweet Kiss to annoy Swampert, so you’ll want to retrieve the appropriate flutes from the Glass Workshop. Fortunately, Luvdisc is frail, so you can 2HKO with Mud Shot or Return if you wish. Likewise, Return is your best move against Sealeo, although Mud Shot can also be used. Note that Sealeo has Body Slam, which could be problematic if it manages to cause paralysis. Similarly, Return will 3HKO Seaking. However, Seaking has Horn Drill, and you must be incredibly wary of it. As with the rest of Wallace’s team, it’s better to use a more appropriate counter. As for Whiscash, Swampert’s best move is Surf, which is a 3HKO. However, switch to Return or Mud Shot if Whiscash uses Amnesia, even if it is raining. Wallace’s ace, Milotic, is the most threatening Pokémon he has. Its Ice Beam or Water Pulse will 4-5HKO Swampert whereas the Mud Fish Pokémon can 4HKO in return. Milotic, however, has Recover and loves to spam it. Swampert’s best chance of winning lies in Toxic and heal stalling. If you lack Toxic, you shouldn’t use Swampert against Milotic. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 43; Mud Shot/Earthquake, Ice Beam, Surf, Toxic/Return.

[Emerald only] Swampert versus Juan in Sootopolis City Gym: Juan’s Luvdisc, Sealeo, and Whiscash are the same as Wallace’s in Ruby and Sapphire, so see the section above for the strategy for them. Juan’s Crawdaunt isn’t too threatening; its Crabhammer is a 4HKO whereas Swampert is faster and can 3HKO with Return or Mud Shot. Kingdra, however, is a completely different beast. It has Double Team, which makes it much more difficult to fight than it should be. Swampert can’t even make good use of Toxic since Kingdra has Rest and a Chesto Berry. You’ll want a Pokémon that can use a move such as Aerial Ace and won’t take much from Water Pulse or Ice Beam. Swampert can take some hits (four of five to be specific) and lower Kingdra’s Speed with Mud Shot, but that’s about it. Chances are, your moves will be missing and Kingdra’s will be doing a lot of damage. If you’re interested in spamming healing items and X Accuracies, then know that you can 4HKO with either Mud Shot or Return. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 45; Mud Shot/Earthquake, Ice Beam, Surf, Toxic/Return.

Swampert versus Wally in Victory Road: Swampert will annihilate Altaria, Delcatty, and Magneton with Ice Beam, Surf, and Mud Shot, respectively. You don’t want to risk fighting Roselia, who is a scary Grass-type. Its Giga Drain probably can’t OHKO without a critical hit and Swampert may be both faster and able to OHKO with Earthquake (if you have it), but it’s incredibly risky nonetheless. Furthermore, Gardevoir can set up with Double Team and Calm Mind, making it difficult to deal with. A Dark-type Pokémon is your best option here since they are immune to Gardevoir’s Psychic. (Dark-types can still be hit by Future Sight, which doesn’t take types into account in this generation.) While Swampert’s Earthquake is a 2HKO, chances are that the Mud Fish Pokémon doesn’t have it yet and Gardevoir can make it miss. Keep in mind that Gardevoir is faster and its Psychic will result in a 3HKO on Swampert before any Calm Mind boosts. Moreover, Swampert’s Mud Shot (or Return) is a 3HKO. Swampert may be able to come out on top, but it will almost certainly require both healing items and luck. (You could also try landing Toxic if you have it, but Gardevoir’s Double Team could still cause some issues.) Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 46; Mud Shot/Earthquake, Ice Beam, Surf, Toxic/Return.

Swampert versus the Elite 4: Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 54; Ice Beam, Surf, Toxic/Return, Earthquake.

Swampert versus Sidney: [Ruby and Sapphire] Swampert doesn’t exactly have an advantage here, but its raw power allows it to be pretty helpful in this battle nonetheless. Sidney’s lead, Mightyena, won’t be hitting too hard unless it lands a critical hit. Swampert can 2HKO with Surf without too much trouble. However, Mightyena loves to use Sand Attack, which can be rather annoying to the Mud Fish Pokémon. On the bright side, Sidney will likely send out Cacturne next, who probably forces Swampert to switch out (therefore resetting the accuracy debuff). You could attempt to outspeed and land an Ice Beam, which is a possible OHKO, as Cacturne’s Needle Arm can only OHKO Swampert with a critical hit. However, as was mentioned, Needle Arm could land as a critical hit. Also, Swampert could either miss or have taken enough damage from Mightyena to be OHKOed with a Needle Arm that doesn’t land critically. As such, it’s best to just switch Swampert out when Cacturne enters the match. Shifty, on the other hand, is a Grass-type Pokémon with no Grass-type moves, making it ripe for the picking by Ice Beam, which should result in a 2HKO. Note that Shiftry has Double Team and Swagger, but its Extrasensory is weak enough that Swampert should eventually win without issue. Furthermore, Sharpedo should fall to a single Earthquake, and its best chance of retaliating lies in Surf, which is a 4HKO. You must be wary of critical hits; if Swampert’s health is at half or lower, then heal up or switch to a more appropriate counter. Similarly, Absol cannot stand against Swampert’s Earthquake, which should result in a 2HKO. Keep an eye on Swampert’s health; a critical hit Slash after a Swords Dance boost will carve out about three-fourths of Swampert’s health. [Emerald] This battle is mostly the same in Emerald; Mightyena, Cacturne, Shiftry, and Absol are pretty much identical. As such, see the Ruby and Sapphire section to see the strategy for fighting them. In contrast, Sidney has switched out his Sharpedo for a Crawdaunt, who is arguably easier to defeat than Sharpedo (for Swampert, at least). Crawdaunt is slow, so its attempt to set up Swords Dance will likely be in vain. On the other hand, its Surf is about as powerful as Sharpedo’s and Swampert can’t OHKO (barring a critical hit). The Mud Fish Pokémon needs two Earthquakes to finish Crawdaunt. Fortunately, Crawdaunt is liable to use Swords Dance on the first turn, so there’s likely nothing to worry about. Regardless, be wary of its Surf if Swampert’s health is low.

Swampert versus Phoebe: [Ruby and Sapphire] (If you are running low on Earthquake PP, you’ll want to restore it before this battle. There’s a lot of Pressure and Spite in this battle. If you feel you might run out of PP during the battle, use Surf instead of Earthquake on Banette or Sableye.) This is another battle in which Swampert can be helpful despite not having a clear advantage. The first Dusclops isn’t directly threatening; its Shadow Punch won’t be dealing much damage. However, it does have both Curse and Confuse Ray to annoy you. A Yellow Flute will be helpful for the latter, but the former may force a switch. Similarly, Banette is more annoying than anything else, and Phoebe has two of them. As you don’t know which you’ll be facing, be wary of the possibility of Will-O-Wisp, Toxic, or Spite. Swampert’s Earthquake will 2HKO both of them, but watch your PP. Also, note that Will-O-Wisp’s burn will cut Swampert’s Attack stat in half, at which point you should switch to Surf (a possible 2HKO) or heal. Furthermore, Sableye won’t last very long, as it will fall in the same way Banette will. It does have Attract and its Shadow Ball could cause a problem depending on how much chip damage Swampert has accumulated, so bring a Red Flute and keep an eye on your Pokémon’s health bar. Likewise, the Mud Fish Pokémon should 2HKO Phoebe’s second Dusclops, who can only 5HKO, with Earthquake. Of course, keep an eye on Swampert’s health throughout the match and try not to push it too far (you’ll need it for Drake). [Emerald] All of Phoebe’s Pokémon remain the same as in Ruby and Sapphire, and, on the whole, the strategies are the same as well. The Pokémon’s movesets have changed around, but there isn’t much that can significantly change the strategy. As a result, the strategy outlined in the Ruby and Sapphire section also works in Emerald. Be that as it may, note that Phoebe’s first Dusclops is now packing Protect.

Swampert versus Glacia: [Ruby and Sapphire] (Again, you’ll probably want to restore Earthquake’s PP at this point. It gets used quite often.) This is yet another battle in which Swampert is incredibly useful despite having no clear advantages. However, Hail damage may be a problem throughout this battle, especially since Walrein has Blizzard. Glacia’s first Pokémon is a Glalie, her first of two. Swampert can 2HKO it with Earthquake (but not Surf; Glalie is faster and has Light Screen). (This holds for her second Glalie as well, but note that the second one lacks Light Screen.) Both of the Sealeo should meet a similar fate. However, be wary of Attract (bring a Red Flute), Blizzard (which is a 3-4HKO), and Body Slam (which may cause paralysis). Walrein, on the other hand, is a different story. Swampert can only 3HKO with Earthquake (and you may very well be running low on PP by now) and Walrein can do the same with its Blizzard (and Hail may be up). Walrein also has Sheer Cold, a one-hit knock-out move, which makes Toxic stall nearly impossible. Use something with a super-effective move, if possible, and tread lightly. [Emerald] Just note that Walrein now has Ice Beam instead of Blizzard, Glacia leads with Sealeo instead of Glalie, and the level 52 Glalie now has Explosion. Other than that, the Ruby and Sapphire section holds for Emerald as well.

Swampert versus Drake: [Ruby and Sapphire] In this battle, Ice Beam spam will bring you victory. The move 2HKOs Shelgon and Salamence and decimates Altaria and both of the Flygon. (As a side note, you should have Swampert hold the Never-Melt Ice, found in Shoal Cave, to turn your 2HKOs into OHKOs.) However, keep an eye on Swampert’s health, and note that Salamence’s Dragon Claw is a 3HKO. [Emerald] Mostly the same as Ruby and Sapphire, but there is now a Kingdra to contend with. Its Surf is a possible 3HKO whereas Swampert’s Earthquake is an unlikely 2HKO. Also, Kingdra can make use of Smokescreen to make Earthquake miss. Swampert should come out on top but do keep an eye on its health.

[Ruby and Sapphire only] Swampert versus Steven: Honestly, the only Pokémon that Swampert can’t handle is Cradily, who has Giga Drain. Skarmory isn’t too threatening (just be wary of Toxic); Swampert should 2-3HKO with Surf. It will likely put up Spikes, which will buy you some time to finish Skarmory. Note that Aerial Ace is a 5HKO. Claydol can be annoying with Light Screen and its Earthquake is a 4HKO, but Swampert should come out on top with Surf. However, you will probably need to heal eventually. As for Aggron, simply click Earthquake and watch it faint. It does have a Grass-type move, but it’s Solar Beam without Sunny Day support. Again, stay away from Cradily; it has Giga Drain. On the other hand, Swampert is more than capable of handling Armaldo, who will fall to a pair of Surf attacks. Note that you’ll never land a critical hit on it (due to Battle Armor) and its Slash is a 5HKO. Metagross is very dangerous since its Hyper Beam may OHKO Swampert with a critical hit. However, Swampert can also 2HKO with Earthquake, making it a solid counter to Steven’s ace. Throughout the battle, keep a close eye on Swampert’s health.

[Emerald only] Swampert versus Wallace: Swampert doesn’t fare nearly as well against Wallace as it would against Steven. However, Swampert can still be helpful here. Wallace leads with Wailord, whose Water Spout is a 2HKO (from max health) on Swampert. If you lead with Swampert, you’ll want to hit Wailord immediately to avoid getting hit with a max power Water Spout. The Mud Fish Pokémon can finish Wailord with two or three rounds of Earthquake if need be. However, Wailord is probably something for a Grass- or Electric-type Pokémon to deal with. Tentacruel, on the other hand, is rather easy to deal with as Swampert’s Earthquake is an OHKO. It will probably use Toxic before it falls though, so you’ll need to heal the status or cease to use Swampert. However, Wallace has a Ludicolo, which Swampert must avoid for obvious reasons. Dual Water- and Ground-types are simply not built to stand up to Grass-types. As for Whiscash, its Earthquake is a 4HKO whereas Swampert’s is a 3HKO, and the Mud Fish Pokémon may be faster. However, be wary of critical hits and keep an eye on Swampert’s health bar. Gyarados, like Ludicolo, is best fought by another Pokémon, yet for different reasons: Gyarados is immune to Earthquake and has Intimidate. Swampert will do next-to-nothing to Gyarados, who can set up with Dragon Dance and deal a ton of damage to Swampert with Earthquake or Hyper Beam. Something with an Electric-type move is better for Gyarados (as well as for the rest of Wallace’s team, for that matter). Furthermore, Milotic can stall you forever with Recover and Toxic, so use something that can hit it hard or use nothing at all.

Everything in Between

From Littleroot to Dewford: Before you obtain the Stone Badge, you need to be extra careful of getting poisoned. Buy some Antidotes. Also, be wary of Shroomish and Wingull, who resist all of your attacks except Tackle. Later on, in Dewford, you’ll be seeing a lot of Tentacool, which have Poison Sting (so keep buying Antidotes). Marshtomp/Mudkip will be able to handle the Tentacool with a Ground-type attack.

From Dewford to Lavaridge: Continue to avoid Grass-type Pokémon, the latest being wild Oddish. Other than that, there isn’t much that’s threatening to Marshtomp in this area. However, it’s best to hold off fighting the Winstrate family until you’re ready; they tend to kill Pokémon. Pokémon like Numel and Magnemite are easy pickings for Marshtomp.

The Desert: Marshtomp, being a Water-type that is immune to Sandstorm damage, is an excellent choice to use in the desert. However, be incredibly wary of wild Baltoy, who learn Selfdestruct at level 19.

Caves and Mountains: The Mudkip line almost invariably has nothing to fear in caves. Wild Solrock can be tough simply because they’re fully evolved at a time when most of your team is not. However, all Pokémon, including those in the Mudkip line, must be wary of trainers with Wobbuffet in Mt. Pyre. Don’t ascend unless you’re in dire need of Shadow Ball.

Eastern Hoenn: As always, avoid Grass-type Pokémon. Tropius is prevalent in this area. Other than that, there isn’t much to fear here. At this point, Marshtomp is beginning to fall off in terms of usefulness, so it’s best used against the Pokémon it can easily counter (such as Fire-, Ground-, Rock-, Electric-, and Flying-types) until it evolves.

Water Routes: Swampert performs well here, but is very reliant on either Mud Shot or Earthquake if it lacks Return/Secret Power. Those weak to Ground-type moves are the best to fight; the likes of Tentacool is a great example. Those immune to Ground-type moves, however, should be avoided if Swampert lacks Return/Secret Power; an example of this is Wingull.

Checks and Counters

Grass-types: Honestly, Grass-types are the only real counter to Swampert, and they are rare. The most prevalent example would be your Rival’s Grovyle. Since Swampert is so weak to Grass-type moves, Pokémon that can counter Grass-types pair very well with the Mud Fish Pokémon. Fire- and Flying-types, in particular, work rather well with Swampert. In return, Swampert can handle Rock-types and others that your Grass-type counter can’t handle.

Overall Grade: S

Swampert is certainly not without its flaws. It’s slow and has a crippling weakness to Grass-type moves. However, those two traits essentially create an exhaustive list of Swampert’s negative traits. The Mud Fish Pokémon is so incredible in the Hoenn region that its negative traits are negligible. Its great typing and stats combine to make Swampert one of the best Pokémon to have for a Ruby, Sapphire, or Emerald Nuzlocke. All in all, Swampert is exceptional in this region and can carry your team to the finish line with relative ease.

Resources to Utilize

Swampert’s Learnset:https://pokemondb.net/pokedex/swampert/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.