A Nuzlocker’s Guide to the Squirtle Line

Written by Reddit user u/Samurott1

Squirtle’s excellent combination of typing and defenses makes it a boon to any Nuzlocker. Its access to the reliable STAB Surf as well as useful coverage moves like Ice Beam allow it to be a tank that can dish out damage and take some in return. Overall, Squirtle is an excellent choice of starter Pokémon that will serve you well for the entirety of your Nuzlocke journey.

Squirtle’s Match-ups in Important Battles

Squirtle versus Rival in Oak’s Lab: Squirtle’s high defenses will be an excellent tool in this battle. Squirtle can also cancel Bulbasaur’s Growls with Tail Whip. Tackle spam should do the job just fine, but keep that Potion handy. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 5; Tackle, Tail Whip.

Squirtle versus Rival in Route 22: Pidgey can be dispatched without too much trouble. Bulbasaur, however, could be problematic due to Leech Seed. Fortunately, it doesn’t have Vine Whip yet, so Squirtle stands a fighting chance. It may be easier to have something else fight the Bulbasaur, though. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 7; Tackle, Tail Whip, Bubble.

Squirtle versus Brock in Pewter City Gym: If Squirtle is level 13, press A to Boulder Badge. Squirtle’s Bubble could work as well, but it’s safer to get Water Gun. Water Gun spam is all you need in this battle. Recommended Level and Moveset: Tackle, Bubble, Withdraw, Water Gun.

Wartortle versus Rival on Nugget Bridge: Wartortle can handle Pidgeotto, Rattata, and Abra. When facing Pidgeotto and Rattata, be wary of critical hits. Withdraw will boost your defense, but all of that comes crumbling down when something lands a critical hit on Wartortle. Fighting Bulbasaur with Wartortle is not recommended; Vine Whip will hit Wartortle hard. Besides, you should have a Flying-type Pokémon by now. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 16; Tackle, Bubble, Withdraw, Water Gun

Wartortle versus Misty in Cerulean City Gym: Wartortle only does okay in this gym. Wartortle’s Bite will only 3-4HKO both of Misty’s Pokémon, and Water Pulse has a chance to confuse Wartortle. Water Pulse and Swift will bounce off of Wartortle’s tough shell, so Staryu and Starmie can be out stalled with Bite and Super Potions. Use Oddish/Bellsprout if possible, though. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 20; Tackle, Withdraw, Water Gun, Bite.

Wartortle versus Rival on the S.S. Anne: Pidgeotto can be handled by Wartortle, but it isn’t recommended due to Sand Attack. Raticate is dangerous due to STAB Hyper Fang, but it’s possible with Potion support. Kadabra falls to Bite. Wartortle can’t beat Ivysaur one-on-one and shouldn’t try to. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 22; Tackle, Withdraw, Water Gun/Water Pulse, Bite.

Wartortle versus Lt. Surge in Vermilion City Gym: Wartortle, the Water-type Pokémon, matches up very poorly against Lt. Surge. Lt. Surge’s Raichu wins one-on-one against Wartortle very easily, but Lt. Surge’s other Pokémon don’t pose as much of a threat. Raichu’s Shock Wave is a guaranteed 2HKO, but Voltorb/Pikachu can only 3HKO. However, Wartortle will always be slower and Dig is only a 2HKO, so it’s better to use a Ground-type like Nidoking/queen or Diglett. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 23; Tackle/Dig, Withdraw, Water Gun/Water Pulse, Bite.

Wartortle versus Rival in Pokémon Tower: Wartortle can take down Pidgeotto, Kadabra, and Growlithe reliably. Gyarados should not be handled by Wartortle; Thrash does twice as much damage as Wartortle’s Bite. Ivysaur is a no-go as usual; use your bird Pokémon if possible. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 25; Tackle/Dig/Rapid Spin, Withdraw, Water Gun/Water Pulse, Bite.

Wartortle versus Giovanni in Celadon Game Corner: Onix and Rhyhorn fall to Water Gun. Fighting Kangaskhan is possible, but not recommended. Brick Break (if you opted for it) is only a 4HKO and Kangaskhan’s Mega Punch is a 3HKO without defense boosts. You’d have to get lucky with Water Pulse’s confusion chance to get out of this match-up without burning more than a few Super Potions. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 28; Tackle/Dig/Rapid Spin, Withdraw, Water Gun/Water Pulse, Bite.

Wartortle versus Erika in Celadon City Gym: Using a Water-type in the Grass-type gym will seldom be recommended. If you were to use Wartortle, Ice Beam is your best bet. To be honest, picking up Ice Beam is a good idea for a lot of reasons. However, Ice Beam will only 2HKO Tangela, who has the lowest Special Defense stat of Erika’s Pokémon. Keep Wartortle on the bench. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 29; Withdraw, Water Gun/Water Pulse, Bite, Ice Beam.

Blastoise versus Koga in Fuchsia City Gym: Blastoise isn’t able to utilize Dig here, but Surf from the Safari Zone is now available to your recently-evolved water tortoise/turtle. This will be a boon against Koga. Koffing is only 2HKOed by Surf, but Blastoise has the bulk to tank one Selfdestruct. Weezing is just 3HKOed by Surf, but it can’t explode. However, Muk is troublesome due to its high Special Defense and HP. It will be 4HKOed at best. Thankfully, Blastoise has the bulk to tank a lot of hits. It also has Protect, which may lure a Koffing into killing itself for no reason. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 37; Bite, Ice Beam, Protect, Surf.

Blastoise versus the Fighting Dojo in Saffron City: Blastoise has an amazing defense stat and can take down Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan with multiple Surfs. Thunder Punch is worthless on Hitmonchan, so pay it no mind. They will both fall to three Surfs. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 37; Bite, Ice Beam, Protect, Surf.

Blastoise versus Rival in Silph Co.: Blastoise destroys Pidgeot and Growlithe with Ice Beam and Surf, respectively. Alakazam and Gyarados won’t be hit very hard by anything (tip: use Surf on Alakazam instead of Bite since STAB Surf does more damage) but can do a total of nothing in return. Blastoise can easily solo all of your Rival’s team bar Venusaur, who has STAB Razor Leaf and should be avoided. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 38; Bite, Ice Beam, Protect, Surf.

Blastoise versus Sabrina in Saffron City Gym: Again, a super-effective Bite does less than STAB Surf, so grind Blastoise to level 42 and learn Rain Dance. A rain-boosted Surf nets the 2HKO on Alakazam. It may use Calm Mind, but Surf still hits hard enough to justify its use. Something with high Special Defense and access to Shadow Ball (perhaps Flareon or Snorlax) does this job much better though. Avoid the mediums in the gym though; their Ghastlys and Haunters will not hesitate to use Destiny Bond. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 42; Ice Beam, Protect, Surf, Rain Dance.

Blastoise versus Blaine in Cinnabar City Gym: Surf should net the OHKO on everything not named Blaine’s Arcanine. Arcanine is a 2HKO. Other than that, this is the best gym to use Blastoise. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 46; Ice Beam, Protect, Surf, Rain Dance.

Blastoise versus Giovanni in Viridian City Gym: Surf should net the OHKO on everything that isn’t Giovanni’s Nidoking/queen. Other than that, this is the second-best gym to use Blastoise. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 47; Ice Beam, Protect, Surf, Rain Dance.

Blastoise versus Rival in Route 22: Blastoise can handle Pidgeot, Rhyhorn, and Growlithe with ease thanks to Ice Beam and Surf. Any attack from Gyarados is a non-issue for Blastoise, but Blastoise can’t hit it particularly hard. Alakazam can utilize Calm Mind and hit hard with a STAB Psychic, so a physical attacker is generally preferred. Venusaur can be 3HKOed by Ice Beam, but it 3HKOs in return with Razor Leaf, a move with a high critical hit ratio. It’s best to let something else handle Venusaur if possible. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 48; Ice Beam, Protect, Surf, Rain Dance.

Blastoise versus the Elite 4: Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 60; Ice Beam, Surf, Brick Break, Earthquake (Note: Rain Dance, Protect, Return, and Toxic are also viable options to use in place of Earthquake if you wish to use that TM on another Pokémon).

Blastoise versus Lorelei: Brick Break is a possible 2HKO on Dewgong, who can’t do anything to Blastoise in return. Surf is your best bet against Cloyster, but it isn’t recommended due to its ability to set up Spikes (given that you’ll likely have to switch out soon). Earthquake is only a possible 4HKO on Slowbro, who can utilize Amnesia and Yawn to ruin your day. A powerful Grass- or Electric-type move is recommended here. Earthquake is a guaranteed 2HKO on Jynx. However, you must be aware of Attract and Lovely Kiss. Brick Break is a 3HKO on Lapras if you don’t get paralyzed from Body Slam or confused from Confuse Ray.

Blastoise versus Bruno: Bruno’s lead, Onix, is a joke to Blastoise. The same goes for Bruno’s second Onix. Surf and Earthquake will dispatch Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee, respectively. Never use physical moves on Hitmonchan unless it’s very low health; it has Counter. Machamp can be handled by Blastoise, but it’s risky. A Psychic-type Pokémon is infinitely better to deal with Machamp. Cross Chop is a 3HKO on Blastoise while Surf also 3HKOs. After a Bulk Up boost (and possibly having lowered Blastoise’s speed with Scary Face), Cross Chop is a guaranteed 2HKO. Blastoise should only be used if at full health (don’t heal in the middle of battling it, though; that will give it a free turn to set up).

Blastoise versus Agatha: Blastoise can 2HKO both Arbok and Golbat with Earthquake and Ice Beam, respectively. Surf will likely 2HKO Gengar and Haunter, but watch out for Confuse Ray, Hypnosis, and Curse. If Blastoise falls asleep, wake it up immediately; Nightmares are scary.

Blastoise versus Lance: Lance’s lead, Gyarados, is the only thing that can pose a real threat to Blastoise. Ice Beam is only a 4-5HKO and Hyper Beam will hurt; however, Hyper Beam is all Gyarados can do, and Blastoise can even tank a critical hit Hyper Beam from full health. The resting turn also gives you a chance to heal Blastoise. Surf will rip through Aerodactyl and Ice Beam will 2HKO all of Lance’s dragons. Keep an eye on Blastoise’s health though; STAB Outrage will hurt.

Blastoise versus the Champion: Pidgeot, Rhydon, and Arcanine all fall to Blastoise’s STAB or coverage moves. Alakazam is dangerous, but Earthquake will likely 2HKO. STAB Psychic will hurt even before a boost though, and Alakazam is faster. Keep those Full Restores handy if attempting this. Be careful though; Psychic is a 2HKO at +1. I wouldn’t recommend using Blastoise against Alakazam. Venusaur is manageable if you kept Rain Dance; using Rain Dance after Venusaur sets up Sunny Day halves the power of Solar Beam and makes it a two-turn attack. This will devolve to PP stalling though, so it’s recommended that you use a different Pokémon.

Everything in Between

Pre-Boulder Badge: Squirtle is just pretty below-average in the very early stages of the game. Squirtle’s Bubble doesn’t hit anything too hard, but its bulk will allow you to tank some hits. Be wary of Weedle; stock up on Antidotes and Potions. Money is pretty tight this early in the game, but keeping Squirtle alive is worth any amount of cash.

Caves and Mountains: Squirtle does very well in caves due to its ability to rip through Geodudes, preventing them from having the chance to explode. Squirtle can handle just about anything in caves; however, you must be wary of the picnickers in Rock Tunnel, who may carry Oddish.

Vermilion City Area: Wartortle is an okay choice for the S.S. Anne trainers. The sailors and fishermen should be dealt with via Oddish/Bellsprout, but Wartortle’s Bite can be used in a pinch. As a side note, don’t use the aforementioned Grass-type Pokémon against any Tentacool; they may have Liquid Ooze. Diglett’s Tunnel is dangerous, but Wartortle does have super-effective STAB for a stray Dugtrio. However, just go through this tunnel with a Flying-type. Be wary of the engineers on the route east of Vermilion; Magnemite/Magneton will hurt Wartortle pretty bad.

Mid- to Late-Game: Wartortle is a great choice for the Pokémon Tower due to Bite and Water-type STAB for Marowak. Opposing Water-types on the route south of Lavender Town may cause an issue, though. Snorlax is dangerous as always, and Koffing (and Cycling Road in general) should be avoided if you lack Surf. Bird trainers are easy KOs for Blastoise, but be wary of the two Dodrio trainers near Fuchsia if Wartortle hasn’t evolved yet. Blastoise is a good choice for the Pokémon Mansion, but the water routes and Power Plant are a no-go.

Checks and Counters

Grass-types: Grass-type pose a problem to Squirtle due to their super-effective STAB, so a Flying-type like Fearow, Golbat, or Pidgeot is recommended. These Pokémon also appreciate Blastoise’s ability to counter Kanto’s Rock- and Ground-types. Fortunately, the abundance of Flying-types and Blastoise’s access to Ice Beam makes this weakness easy to play around.

Electric-types: While rare, Electric-type Pokémon can pose a threat to Squirtle due to their super-effective STAB; therefore, a Ground-type like Nidoking/queen or Dugtrio is recommended. These Pokémon also appreciate Blastoise’s ability to defeat Ground-type Pokémon.

Water-types/special walls: Pokémon like Muk and Dewgong can tank some Water-type attacks due to Blastoise’s not-too-strong special attack stat. A strong physical attacker and a Grass-type is recommended.

Overall Grade: A

Squirtle’s lack of raw power and the abundance of Water-types may make the Pokémon difficult to use at times, but the line’s great bulk, typing, and movepool allow it to be useful throughout the entire game.

Resources to Utilize:

Blastoise’s learnset:https://pokemondb.net/pokedex/blastoise/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.