A Nuzlocker’s Guide to the Spearow Line

Written by Reddit user u/Samurott1

Spearow may not seem too impressive, but the Tiny Bird Pokémon can easily be one of your most fearsome team members. Both Spearow and Fearow are frail, but they both have fantastic Attack and Speed for the point they’re available. They are most useful in the early- to mid-game, but they can continue to be useful deep into your campaign. However, Fearow’s base stats, while amazing at its early evolution level, won’t be as impressive in the late-game. It, like several other bird Pokémon, doesn’t have the best movepool. It’ll eventually get outclassed by the likes of Dodrio, too. Despite its disadvantages, it can still prove itself to be a formidable team member that more than deserves a spot on your team.


Spearow: Route 3 (common), Route 4 (common), Route 9 (common), Route 10 (common), Route 11 (common), Route 16 (common), Route 17 (common), Route 18 (common), Route 22 (uncommon), Route 23 (uncommon), Cape Brink (uncommon), Kindle Road (common), Mt. Ember (uncommon).

Fearow: Route 17 (rare), Route 18 (uncommon), Route 23 (common), Cape Brink (uncommon), Kindle Road (uncommon), Mt. Ember (common).

Spearow’s Match-ups in Important Battles

Spearow versus Rival in Route 22: Pidgey will be 2HKOed by Peck after a Leer, so go that route. If Spearow doesn’t have Leer yet, then it may be best to let another Pokémon handle Pidgey. Bulbasaur is beaten by Peck, and it can’t do much in return. Spearow can’t stand up to Charmander or Squirtle; the former hits too hard and the latter’s Defense is high enough to out damage Spearow’s Peck with its Bubble. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 7; Growl, Peck, Leer.

Spearow versus Brock in Pewter City Gym: Spearow can’t do anything in this gym. It absolutely cannot stand up to Onix, who has Rock Tomb, and it can’t damage Geodude enough. Leer could theoretically be useful against Geodude, but its Defense Curl will nullify anything that Leer does. Any of the starter Pokémon and/or Butterfree is a much better choice for this gym, so just stick with them. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 13; Growl, Peck, Leer, Fury Attack.

Spearow versus Rival on Nugget Bridge: Spearow hasn’t evolved yet, making it risky to use it in this battle. It can reliably beat Bulbasaur, and it will likely be your best Bulbasaur counter at this point. Spearow also beats Abra, but anything with an attacking move can do that. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 17; Growl, Peck, Leer, Fury Attack.

Spearow versus Misty in Cerulean City Gym: As Fearow won’t be that useful in this battle, leave it unevolved (to wait for Aerial Ace at level 25) if you have a better counter. A STAB Water Pulse will hurt, and glass cannons like Fearow despise getting confused. If you don’t have a better counter, Fearow can 3HKO Staryu with Peck and will 2HKO most of the time with a three-hit Fury Attack. Staryu’s Water Pulse is a 4-5HKO. However, Starmie will 3HKO with Water Pulse while it takes a pair of five-hit Fury Attacks to return the favor. Healing items will be required. Use a more appropriate counter if possible. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 21; Peck, Leer, Fury Attack, Pursuit.

Spearow/Fearow versus Rival on the S.S. Anne: Honestly, Spearow should stay unevolved and sit out this battle (bar Ivysaur). It learns Aerial Ace at level 25, and Fearow does not. Unless you want to be stuck with Peck forever or use the Aerial Ace TM, don’t let Spearow evolve. If Spearow evolves, Fearow can handle any of Blue’s Pokémon. However, it will likely not be able to handle all four without healing items. To pull this off, Fearow will need the Secret Power TM so it can deal some damage. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 22; Peck, Leer, Pursuit, Secret Power.

Fearow versus Lt. Surge in Vermilion City Gym: Using a frail Flying-type in the Electric-type gym is bold at best. Fearow cannot switch into any attacks. Fearow can handle Voltorb with Secret Power but will get hit with a Shock Wave. Fearow may OHKO Pikachu with Secret Power, but Voltorb’s Shock Wave will leave Fearow with too little health to risk it. Raichu is a no-go unless you want Fearow to die. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 25; Leer, Pursuit, Secret Power, Aerial Ace.

Fearow versus Rival in Pokémon Tower: Fearow’s trusty Secret Power allows it to take on Pidgeotto. It will likely 3HKO, but there is a 2HKO chance. However, switch to Aerial Ace permanently if you get hit with Sand Attack. Exeggcute and Ivysaur fall to Aerial Ace. Kadabra is slower and much too frail, and Growlithe will fall to three hits (after Intimidate). Gyarados can’t be fought thanks to the sheer power of its Thrash. Charmeleon and Wartortle can be fought. However, chip damage will be a problem in this battle. Bring healing items or save Fearow for your Rival’s Grass-type. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 25; Leer, Pursuit, Secret Power, Aerial Ace.

Fearow versus Giovanni in the Celadon Game Corner: Fearow can’t stand up to Onix and Rhyhorn resists everything Fearow has at this point. Steel Wing would be good, but it is in the Safari Zone. Pursuit is your best move here, but it only does slightly more damage than Rhyhorn’s Stomp. A Water- or Grass-type is recommended here. Kangaskhan is a no-go; its STAB Mega Punch is a 2HKO and Fearow does barely anything in return. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 27; Leer, Pursuit, Secret Power, Aerial Ace.

Fearow versus Erika in Celadon City Gym: Fearow can sweep Erika with Aerial Ace. Tangela is annoying, but it’ll go down eventually. Aerial Ace rips through Victreebel and Vileplume. If possible, Fearow should hold the Cheri Berry you may have picked up on the S.S. Anne. Even without it, Fearow is more than capable of sweeping Erika without trouble. Make sure to stock up on status healing items though. Fearow should be taught Aerial Ace via TM at this point if it lacks it. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 29; Leer, Pursuit, Secret Power, Aerial Ace.

Fearow versus Koga in Fuchsia City Gym: Don’t use Fearow against Koffing; Return will do a lot of damage, but Selfdestruct will likely OHKO Fearow. Muk should be avoided if possible since it has Acid Armor and Sludge will hurt. Aerial Ace can theoretically be used to combat Muk’s use of Minimize, but it just doesn’t hit hard enough. However, Aerial Ace can be helpful if Muk has already gotten a lot of boosts. Weezing is just too physically defensive. Smokescreen can be nullified by Aerial Ace, but it’ll take five hits to defeat Weezing. Use another Pokémon if possible. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 38; Aerial Ace, Fly, Return, Steel Wing.

Fearow versus the Fighting Dojo in Saffron City: Fearow can sweep the Karate Master with ease as its super-effective coverage and high Attack and Speed stat allow it to decimate this “gym”. Fearow’s Fly should be your STAB move of choice against Hitmonlee, who will likely go for High Jump Kick. Fearow can OHKO Hitmonlee with its Fly before High Jump Kick recoil, so Hitmonlee is a non-issue. Hitmonchan has more Defense, but will likely go for the useless Thunder or Ice Punch. Stick to Aerial Ace against Hitmonchan; Sky Uppercut can hit Fearow while it’s flying and both moves 2HKO anyway. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 38; Aerial Ace, Fly, Return, Steel Wing.

Fearow versus Rival in Silph Co.: Pidgeot is slower than Fearow and can be handled with your strongest STAB move (likely Return). Be wary of Feather Dance, though. Intimidate is annoying, but Growlithe can be handled well anyway. Fly is your best move for Venusaur and Exeggcute. You may want to avoid Growlithe and Pidgeot to save Fearow for your Rival’s Grass-type. Alakazam is frail and lacks a Psychic-type attacking move. Future Sight is a joke in this generation; Fearow can tank a critical hit Future Sight from full health. Fearow’s Return will handle Alakazam. Blastoise can be handled thanks to its pitiful STAB Water Gun. Charizard, on the other hand, needs to be avoided. Gyarados can be fought since its best move is Dragon Rage. Keep Fearow above 40 HP at all times when Gyarados is out. Stocking up on healing items is a good idea since Fearow can likely only fight the Grass-type and one other without any healing. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 39; Aerial Ace, Fly, Return, Steel Wing.

Fearow versus Giovanni in Silph Co.: Giovanni’s lead, Nidorino, falls to Return. However, be wary of Poison Point and Poison Sting. Rhyhorn must be avoided due to Rock Blast. STAB Mega Punch from Kangaskhan will hurt, but Fearow can do a lot of damage with its Return. Fearow may not be able to handle Kangaskhan on its own, though. Nidoqueen can also be tough to deal with due to its Body Slam. It’s best to use Fearow for Nidorino only (if you use it at all). Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 39; Aerial Ace, Fly, Return, Steel Wing.

Fearow versus Sabrina in Saffron City Gym: Kadabra is likely slower than Fearow and will fall to Drill Peck or Return. Switching Fearow in on Kadabra is a bad idea though. Venomoth is beaten easily with Drill Peck. Mr. Mime is risky since it can set up its Barrier, and it can Baton Pass Calm Mind boosts to Alakazam, which can be catastrophic. Fortunately, Fearow can outspeed and 2HKO with Return or Drill Peck. Alakazam is much too fast and powerful for Fearow to handle. Fearow can take out 75% of Sabrina’s team though, so it’s a solid choice for this gym as long as you bring healing items. You may prefer to use something that can take down Sabrina’s team and stand up to Alakazam, like Snorlax or Flareon. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 40; Fly, Return, Steel Wing, Drill Peck.

Fearow versus Blaine in Cinnabar Island Gym: Ponyta and Growlithe fall to Fearow easily, but Fire Blast hurts if it lands. If one of these Pokémon land a Fire Blast, Fearow can’t handle the other. Burns can be a problem too; a burned Fearow is useless. Take Blaine’s advice and stock up on Burn Heals. Fire Blast from Arcanine or Rapidash will hit too hard; bring a Water-type Pokémon to deal with them. Honestly, a Water-type is better for dealing with Blaine’s first two Pokémon as well. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 46; Fly, Return, Steel Wing, Drill Peck.

Fearow versus Giovanni in Viridian City Gym: Rhyhorn must be avoided; both of them carry Rock Blast. Dugtrio is frail and can’t hit Fearow with anything but Slash. Fearow may also get a free switch-in on Dugtrio as it usually goes for Earthquake. Nidoqueen takes a lot from Return, but watch out for Body Slam if Fearow’s HP is below 50% of its maximum. Nidoking’s Thrash won’t do that much more damage than Body Slam, and it is less bulky. Bring healing items, though. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 47; Fly, Return, Steel Wing, Drill Peck.

Fearow versus Rival in Route 22: Pidgeot’s Feather Dance could cause Fearow some problems, but Fearow’s Return does a lot of damage. Exeggcute and Venusaur are beaten by Drill Peck. Alakazam (now packing Psychic), Rhyhorn, Gyarados (now packing Hydro Pump), and Charizard all pose too much of a threat to Fearow. Blastoise now has Rain Dance but lacks Hydro Pump. However, it’s rain-boosted Water Gun does quite a bit more damage than Fearow’s Return, so use a Grass- or Electric-type. Growlithe is beat easily, even after Intimidate. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 48; Fly, Return, Steel Wing, Drill Peck.

Fearow versus the Elite 4: Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 60; Fly/Hyper Beam, Return, Steel Wing, Drill Peck.

Fearow versus Lorelei: Fearow cannot stand up to any of Lorelei’s Pokémon and live to tell the tale. Jynx is probably Fearow’s best match-up, but it may not OHKO with Return or Steel Wing and Ice Punch will do way too much damage.

Fearow versus Bruno: Thanks to Onix’s pitiful Attack stat, STAB Rock Tomb does half as much damage as Fearow’s Steel Wing. As such, Fearow can stand up to Bruno’s lead. However, Rock Tomb’s secondary effect will hinder Fearow from doing its job against the Fighting-types, so just use a Water- or Grass-type Pokémon. Fearow can also beat Bruno’s second Onix, who lacks Rock Tomb. Drill Peck OHKOs Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan with ease. Fearow’s Drill Peck will 2HKO Machamp, even if it uses its one turn of life to use Bulk Up. Cross Chop hurts though, so make sure Fearow’s health is high. A critical hit Cross Chop is the end of Fearow, so it may be best to beat Machamp with a Psychic-type or something that resists Fighting-type moves.

Fearow versus Agatha: Fearow is part Normal-type, making this match-up much more favorable. Drill Peck beats the first Gengar, but beware of Double Team. Golbat is slower than Fearow and is beaten by Return, but watch out for Confuse Ray. Haunter can only damage a sleeping Fearow, so keep that Poké Flute handy. Arbok hits hard with Sludge Bomb and has Intimidate, so it’s best to keep Fearow away. The last Gengar’s Sludge Bomb does more damage than Fearow’s Drill Peck, so it’s best to use another Pokémon here. Gengar will likely go for Hypnosis though, so Fearow can handle it if its at full health. Make sure to wake Fearow up immediately though, or you’ll fall into a Nightmare. Wait until Gengar misses Hypnosis, which allows Fearow to attack.

Fearow versus Lance: Fearow can’t do enough damage to Gyarados after Intimidate, so don’t lead with the Beak Pokémon. On the other hand, Fearow can handle both Dragonair with ease. Fearow will likely be able to tank a critical hit Hyper Beam from either of them. It doesn’t like to switch into Thunder Wave, though. Dragonite and Aerodactyl must be avoided; Dragonite is much too strong and Aerodactyl hits very hard with Ancient Power.

Fearow versus the Champion: Pidgeot’s Feather Dance is still capable of forcing a switch, but Fearow is faster and stronger. Venusaur and Exeggutor fall to Drill Peck. However, there isn’t much else that Fearow can accomplish in this battle. Arcanine carries Flamethrower and Extreme Speed, Charizard and Alakazam are too strong, Gyarados and Blastoise have Hydro Pump and Rain Dance, and Rhydon is a powerful Rock-type.

Everything in Between

Pre-Boulder Badge: If you have a Spearow at this point, it is very useful. The Bug-types in Viridian Forest will drop like flies due to the Tiny Bird Pokémon’s early access to Peck, which may prevent some poison-related deaths. Make sure to stock up on Antidotes anyway.

Caves and Mountains: Keep Spearow/Fearow away from Rock-types, especially the Geodude that can explode. Zubats aren’t too difficult though, and the Mt. Moon Rocket Grunts won’t pose too much of a threat. The picnickers in Rock Tunnel can be handled though; they carry Grass-types. Hikers must be avoided though.

Vermilion City Area: Fearow is good for the S.S. Anne, but keep it on the bench if it’s a Spearow waiting for Aerial Ace. Keep Spearow/Fearow away from the engineers on the route east of Vermilion since they carry Magnemite and Magneton. Diglett’s Cave is great for Fearow because of its Flying-typing, but Spearow must be wary of Normal-type moves from stray Dugtrio. Those will hit the much frailer Spearow pretty hard.

Mid- to Late-Game: Fearow is a good choice for Pokémon Tower with Aerial Ace, which will dispatch the frail Gastly. It can even stand up to Marowak; Fearow is immune to Ground-type moves. The Water-types can be handled as long as they aren’t named Shellder or Cloyster. Snorlax hits everything hard, and Fearow is pretty frail. Be cautious. Koffing must be avoided, but the Fighting-types of Cycling Road will be beaten by Fearow’s Fly (which you can use on the Machop line since No Guard was introduced in the next generation) or Aerial Ace. Bird trainers will go down easy, just watch out for the two trainers with Dodrio near Fuchsia (one on the route to the west, one on the route to the east). The Power Plant must be avoided and the Pokémon Mansion is traversable thanks to Drill Peck (stay away from Koffing due to Selfdestruct). The water routes near Cinnabar are generally a good idea, but an Electric- or Grass-type may be preferable.

Checks and Counters

Rock-types: Spearow can’t hit Rock-types for super-effective damage until it gets Steel Wing from the Safari Zone. Its best neutral move until then is Pursuit, which won’t do much coming off of Fearow’s low Special Attack stat. Keeping a Grass- or Water-type around is a good idea. In return, Fearow can wallop Bug- and Grass-types.

Electric-types: Electric-types of any kind are dangerous, as they resist Fearow’s Flying-type STAB. Magneton in particular is troublesome since it resists Normal-type moves too. Keeping a Ground-type Pokémon around is recommended. In return, Fearow drills Grass-types (both literally and figuratively thanks to Drill Peck).

Physical Walls: Fearow has a good Attack stat, but there is just some Pokémon it can’t break. Weezing and Snorlax come to mind. It’s a good idea to keep a solid counter around.

Status abusers: Anything that can slow Fearow down with paralysis is a threat. Fearow needs its speed to function since it’s so frail. Fortunately, moves like Stun Spore and Thunder Wave are seen on Grass- and Electric-type Pokémon, respectively. Fearow can beat almost every Grass-type one-on-one. However, it’s good to keep a Ground-type around to deal with pesky Electric-types.

Ice-types: These Pokémon can hit the frail Fearow very hard, so keep a good counter around. Fortunately, this is mostly limited to Lorelei. As such, keep and Electric-type around.

Overall Grade: B

Fearow sports great Attack and Speed as well as early availability. It is also useful in a few important fights and can wreck the mid-game thanks to its high Attack. However, it falls off a bit in the late-game and has a shallow movepool. On the other hand, Return or Drill Peck can put in a lot of work in the late-game, and it only needs those two moves to dish out heavy damage to a lot of the game’s Pokémon anyway.

Resources to Utilize

Fearow’s Learnset: https://pokemondb.net/pokedex/fearow/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.