A Nuzlocker’s Guide to the Staryu Line

Written by Reddit user u/Samurott1

Staryu is an incredible Pokémon to have in a Nuzlocke. While it is a version exclusive, it also possesses an amazing Special Attack stat, Speed stat, and movepool. It is also rather easy to find with the Super Rod, especially if you’re using Duplicates Clause, and is available reasonably early. These positive traits give this fantastic Pokémon the ability to single-handedly defeat the vast majority of opponents in the Kanto region if it has the right moves. Another positive trait to add to the pile is its typing, which gives it two fantastic STAB moves and several useful resistances. While only available in one of the two games, Staryu is nevertheless a superb Pokémon in the Kanto region that can carry your team throughout the game.


Staryu: [LeafGreen only] Cinnabar Island (Super Rod, common), One Island (Super Rod, common), Pallet Town (Super Rod, common), Vermilion City (Super Rod, common).

Staryu’s Match-ups in Important Battles

Starmie versus Erika in Celadon City: At this point, you should have evolved Staryu into Starmie and have completed its moveset, which is entirely possible to accomplish before fighting Erika. At even levels, Starmie should OHKO Victreebel with Psychic. Tangela is even easier to defeat with Ice Beam. However, Starmie’s weakness to Grass-type moves makes it a poor choice for fighting Vileplume, who can tank a Psychic and heal off a lot of damage with Giga Drain, which can OHKO Starmie if it lands critically. Honestly, Starmie isn’t a great choice for this gym altogether since you’ll probably have a Pokémon that can sweep Erika at this point (Charmeleon and Pidgeotto come to mind), so use that Pokémon. Starmie can be useful here if you lack a solid counter to Grass-types but is hindered by its weakness to Grass-type moves. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 29; Surf, Psychic, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam.

Starmie versus Koga in Fuchsia City Gym: Starmie is a speedy Psychic-type, making it an excellent choice for this gym by default. Neither of Koga’s Koffing will stand a chance against Starmie’s Psychic; the move is powerful enough that you could OHKO two at once. Starmie might not be able to OHKO Weezing, but Koga’s ace won’t be doing much with its one turn of life. A critical hit Sludge will hurt though; it will take about three-fourths of Starmie’s health. Muk is the scariest Pokémon in this gym, but Starmie can 2HKO it with Psychic. It’ll likely go for Minimize, meaning your second Psychic is less likely to hit. You should pull through unless you’re particularly unlucky. It’s good to have a back-up plan regardless. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 38; Surf, Psychic, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam.

Starmie versus the Fighting Dojo in Saffron City: Starmie will 2HKO both Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan with Psychic. Neither of these Pokémon will be doing a threatening amount of damage to Starmie, even if you don’t have healing items. Simply put, you can easily win if you spam Psychic. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 38; Surf, Psychic, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam.

Starmie versus Rival in Silph Co.: If you haven’t gotten Thunderbolt and Ice Beam for Starmie, now’s the time. Starmie can make short work of your Rival’s team if it has these moves. Your Rival’s lead, Pidgeot, will fall to a pair of Thunderbolts or Ice Beams. The worst it can do is use Whirlwind. Exeggcute will fall to Ice Beam even quicker, and it also lacks a Grass-type move. Similarly, Gyarados will be fried by a single Thunderbolt unless you are particularly unlucky. Furthermore, Growlithe is so pathetic that it almost isn’t worth mentioning. Alakazam, who lacks a competent attacking move, is in this same boat. Starmie will easily wash that boat away with Surf. In contrast, Charizard can put up a fight before it falls to a watery grave. Its Wing Attack is a 4HKO, so Starmie will need to be wary of critical hits if it’s at half health or less. If your Rival has Blastoise instead, note that the Shellfish Pokémon can be mildly threatening with Bite, which is a likely 3HKO. Thunderbolt is a possible 2HKO, but keep an eye on Starmie’s health. Use a healing item or leave Blastoise to a more appropriate counter if Starmie’s health gets low. However, if your Rival is carrying Venusaur instead, you should steer clear. Its Razor Leaf has a high critical hit ratio and will OHKO with a critical hit, even if Starmie is at full health. The Mysterious Pokémon can 2HKO in return with Ice Beam, but it often isn’t worth the risk. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 39; Surf, Psychic, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam.

Starmie versus Giovanni in Silph Co.: This is another match-up where Starmie excels. It can effortlessly OHKO Nidorino and Rhyhorn with Psychic and Surf, respectively. On the other hand, Kangaskhan could cause some issues. Starmie’s Surf is an unlikely 2HKO while Kangaskhan’s Mega Punch is a likely 3HKO. Starmie is faster, so it should pull through. The match-up will probably leave Starmie with low health, which is not ideal for fighting Nidoqueen (assuming Nidoqueen comes out last). Starmie’s Surf is a 2HKO on Nidoqueen, who will hit hard with Body Slam, a move that, if it lands critically, will kill a Starmie at half health or less. Nidoqueen’s Body Slam can also cause paralysis, which could be problematic. You may need a back-up plan for Kangaskhan and/or Nidoqueen, but Starmie will be highly helpful in this battle nonetheless. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 39; Surf, Psychic, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam.

Starmie versus Sabrina in Saffron City Gym: A physical attack, especially one with high Special Defense like Snorlax, is better for this gym. Mr. Mime, Kadabra, and Alakazam all have Calm Mind, so Starmie will do continuously less damage as they boost. Starmie’s resistance to Psychic-type attacks makes it slightly more useful, but it doesn’t have the Special Defense to tank boosted Psychics from Alakazam. (Let’s be honest, even Snorlax has trouble tanking boosted Psychics from Alakazam.) Starmie isn’t completely useless, though. It can 2HKO Kadabra, even if it goes for Calm Mind. This is due to Starmie’s fantastic Speed stat, which allows it to hit Kadabra with Surf before the Psi Pokémon can boost. Furthermore, Starmie can end Venomoth’s life with a single Psychic. However, Mr. Mime can tank a Surf from Starmie much better than Kadabra can, and it can also Baton Pass Calm Mind boosts to Alakazam. Additionally, using Starmie against Kadabra while on Set Mode means that you’ll have to manually switch out when Mr. Mime enters the match. Starmie can naturally 2HKO Mr. Mime with Surf, but Calm Mind will certainly complicate this. It’s not impossible, but it’s rather risky, especially since Mr. Mime has access to the aforementioned Baton Pass. Starmie is also set up bait for Alakazam, who will take less and less from Starmie’s Surf, which is a natural 3HKO. Use Starmie against the Psi Pokémon at your own risk. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 41; Surf, Psychic, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam.

Starmie versus Blaine in Cinnabar Island Gym: Starmie, thanks to its Water-typing, is an outstanding Pokémon to use against Blaine. The Mysterious Pokémon’s Surf will OHKO everything in this gym bar Blaine’s Arcanine, who is 2HKOed. Blaine’s ace is carrying Bite, but Starmie is almost certainly faster and won’t take enough damage to warrant considering the use of another Pokémon here. Simply put, spam Surf to win. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 45; Surf, Psychic, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam.

Starmie versus Giovanni in Viridian City Gym: Another prime example of an easy match-up for the Mysterious Pokémon. Starmie will OHKO both of Giovanni’s Rhyhorn in addition to his Dugtrio. Nidoking should fall in like manner. Nidoqueen may be able to tank a Surf, but an Earthquake isn’t a considerable threat to a Starmie at full health. If you happened to buy a Mystic Water in Celadon Game Corner, this will increase your chances of OHKOing Nidoqueen. All things considered, Starmie should sweep Giovanni’s entire team. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 47; Surf, Psychic, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam.

Starmie versus Rival in Route 22: Starmie can still finish a lot of your Rival’s team on its own. Since the last battle, your Rival has added a Rhyhorn to his squad, but this will be finished off easily with Starmie’s Surf. Be careful if you have to switch in on it though; it has Horn Drill and you don’t want to lose your Starmie right before the Elite 4. Pidgeot, Growlithe, Exeggcute, and Gyarados are just as feeble as usual; Starmie will destroy them with the appropriate super-effective attack. Alakazam has retained Calm Mind and added Psychic, making it rather dangerous. If you lack a better counter (such as Shadow Ball Snorlax, Hypno, or Flareon), then Starmie may be able to win a stall battle (if it comes to that). Note that Starmie’s Surf is a natural 2HKO. Similarly, the Mysterious Pokémon will finish Charizard with a pair of Surf attacks. Starmie is probably 3HKOed by Wing Attack, but it’s also faster than its adversary. For those who chose Charmander as their starter, your Rival’s Blastoise can 3HKO Starmie with Bite while Starmie 3HKOs in return with Thunderbolt. This particular match-up is quite risky, but Starmie’s higher Speed should allow it to pull through. Don’t risk it if Starmie isn’t at full health though. However, Starmie shouldn’t fight Venusaur at all. Starmie will fall to a critical hit Razor Leaf, which has a high critical hit ratio. To reiterate, Starmie can realistically fight everything except Venusaur, but Alakazam, Blastoise, and Charizard will put up a bit more of a fight. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 48; Surf, Psychic, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam.

Starmie versus the Elite 4: Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 58; Surf, Psychic, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam.

Starmie versus Lorelei: Starmie’s access to Thunderbolt, coupled with its resistance to Ice- and Water-type moves, makes it a fantastic choice for battling Lorelei. Starmie can 2HKO the first Pokémon you’ll fight, Dewgong, who can’t do much in return. Furthermore, the Mysterious Pokémon should easily OHKO Cloyster, who has a terrible Special Defense stat. Starmie will 2HKO Slowbro, too, and the Hermit Crab Pokémon can’t do much in return besides Yawn. It may be annoying with Amnesia, but this match-up still won’t be much trouble for Starmie. Jynx, on the other hand, is a little trickier. Starmie can’t hit it with a super-effective attack, so it must rely on Surf. On the bright side, Starmie’s Surf is still a likely 2HKO and, as a genderless Pokémon, it sports an immunity to Jynx’s Attract. The Mysterious Pokémon can 3HKO Lorelei’s ace, Lapras, but you must be wary of Body Slam and Confuse Ray. The former will 5HKO Starmie and the latter is rather annoying. After the battle, make sure to restore Thunderbolt’s PP if you need to.

Starmie versus Bruno: The Mysterious Pokémon performs fairly well in this battle, which will become a pattern in the Elite 4. Starmie can effortlessly OHKO both of Bruno’s Onix with Surf. Neither Hitmonchan nor Hitmonlee can pose much of a threat to Starmie, but the latter can make the match-up with Machamp slightly more troublesome as its Mega Kick is a 3HKO. Starmie will 2HKO or OHKO both of these Fighting-types with Psychic. (If you managed to get yourself a Twisted Spoon by stealing it from a wild Abra, Starmie should hold it in this battle to vastly increase its OHKO chances.) As for Bruno’s ace, the Mysterious Pokémon should finish it off with two Psychics. A critical hit Cross Chop will erase half of Starmie’s health; keep that in mind.

Starmie versus Agatha: Starmie is a Psychic-type and Agatha is a Ghost-type user. This simple fact may lead you to believe that Starmie should sit on the bench, but that is certainly not the case. The only Ghost-type Pokémon you’ll see is from the Gastly line, which is also weak to Psychic-type attacks. Furthermore, all Ghost-type moves are physical and therefore come off of the line’s pitiful Attack stat. Starmie is likely faster than Gengar, too. This is compounded by the fact that two of Agatha’s Pokémon aren’t even Ghost-types; she has an Arbok and a Golbat. Don’t be fooled by the typing since Starmie can perform well here. Agatha’s first Gengar will come out first, and it is likely OHKOed by Psychic. If it lives, Starmie can tank a Shadow Punch anyway. Additionally, both Golbat and Haunter will fall in the face of Starmie’s Psychic. The Mysterious Pokémon can finish Arbok in the same way. Arbok does have Bite, but this doesn’t hit too hard and does less damage than its Sludge Bomb, which is a 3HKO. Agatha’s ace, another Gengar, can 2HKO Starmie with Shadow Ball and OHKO with a critical hit. Starmie may OHKO first, but you may not want to risk it if you have a more appropriate counter.

Starmie versus Lance: Using Starmie against Lance is a classic high-risk, high-reward scenario. A critical Hyper Beam from any of Lance’s Pokémon (bar Dragonair) spells death for the Mysterious Pokémon, but Starmie will usually OHKO first anyway. This is the case with Lance’s lead, Gyarados, who Starmie will likely OHKO with Thunderbolt. Gyarados may tank it though, and Hyper Beam hurts. It’s a little risky, but it may just pay off. (Gyarados also has Bite, but this isn’t threatening as it has low base power and comes off of Gyarados’ pitiful Special Attack stat.) With Surf at its disposal, Starmie may be able to OHKO Aerodactyl. Its Ancient Power and Hyper Beam are each dangerous in their own way, but Starmie shouldn’t have too much trouble. Have a back-up plan at the ready, though. Neither of the Dragonair should be too difficult; Ice Beam should do the trick even considering it is likely a 2HKO and not an OHKO. One of them has Thunder Wave though, so be wary of that. Also, be cautious if Starmie’s health is getting low. Dragonair isn’t too powerful, but Hyper Beam hurts nonetheless. The Mysterious Pokémon should 2HKO Dragonite with Ice Beam. Dragonite will probably go for Safeguard if it isn’t active, but you must watch out if it is already active. A critical hit from Outrage or Hyper Beam will likely end Starmie, so this match-up is rather risky. Be cautious in this battle.

Starmie versus the Champion: The Champion leads with Pidgeot, and Starmie can 2HKO the bird with Thunderbolt or Ice Beam. Alakazam lacks Calm Mind this time around, so Starmie should 2HKO with Surf without too much trouble. Rhydon is in its final form, but it also lacks Horn Drill now. Starmie will finish it with a single Surf. Starmie can fight Gyarados thanks to Thunderbolt, but the Atrocious Pokémon may have enough bulk to tank one attack. Its Thrash is only a 3HKO, but the damage you may sustain from that could be problematic against the Champion’s other Pokémon. It may go for Bite though, which will do less damage than Thrash. Stay far away from Exeggutor this time around; it’s packing Giga Drain. The Mysterious Pokémon fears Giga Drain and can’t do enough damage with Ice Beam to offset what Exeggutor will heal. On the other hand, Starmie can 2HKO Arcanine with Surf. Be wary of Bite though, which is a likely 3HKO. You must also be wary of Extreme Speed, which allows Arcanine to finish a Starmie that is at one-third or less of its maximum health. Blastoise is risky; it will 3HKO with Bite whereas Starmie can 3HKO in return with Thunderbolt. Use a more appropriate counter if you have one. Charizard can 3-4HKO with Aerial Ace, but Starmie can 2HKO in return with Surf. As such, it’s only threatening if Starmie’s health is low. Furthermore, Starmie can safely 2HKO Venusaur with Psychic. Venusaur has traded in Razor Leaf for Solar Beam, so it’ll need a turn to set up. Starmie’s high Speed will allow it to finish the job.

Everything in Between

Caves and Mountains: Starmie will only be available for the Seafoam Islands and Mt. Ember, both of which aren’t a problem. Thunderbolt or Ice Beam will take care of any Zubat or Golbat whereas Thunderbolt and Surf are great for the wild Pokémon in the Seafoam Islands and Mt. Ember, respectively.

Vermilion City Area: Just watch out for the engineers east of Vermilion City who have Magnemite and Magneton. Staryu should stay out of Diglett’s Cave due to the threat of Dugtrio, but Starmie should be fine as long as it has Surf. (You probably have no need for Diglett’s Cave at this point anyway.)

Mid- to Late-Game: My advice is to stay away from Snorlax, who hits hard with Headbutt and takes little from Starmie’s Special Attacks. A bulky physical attacker (or something with powerful Fighting-type moves) is a better counter for Snorlax. On the other hand, Starmie decimates the water routes with ease if it has Thunderbolt. (Psychic will generally work well, just not on the likes of Slowpoke/Slowbro.) If you taught it Psychic, Starmie is a terrific choice for Cycling Road, a place full of Poison- and Fighting-types. The Mysterious Pokémon can also handle bird trainers with Thunderbolt or Ice Beam. The Pokémon Mansion is another place where Starmie shines. The Power Plant could be troublesome, so bring a Ground-type and a bomb disposal unit if you have those.

Checks and Counters

Electric-types: Starmie is weak to Electric-type attacks and doesn’t have super-effective coverage for these Pokémon. Fortunately, these Pokémon are few and far between, especially since you’ll likely catch a Staryu after you’ve already fought Lt. Surge. Ground-types are undoubtedly the best counter for these Pokémon. The likes of Golem or Rhydon can fill this role. In return, Starmie can deal with the Water-types (and, to a lesser extent, the Grass-types) that would threaten your Ground-types.

Overall Grade: S

Starmie is a superb Pokémon to have in the Kanto region, and it’s backed up by numerous positive traits that almost completely overshadow its negative ones. Starmie has no suitable way to deal with Electric-types and its bulk isn’t too impressive, but its access to BoltBeam coverage and fantastic typing make the Mysterious Pokémon a first-rate option in the region. This is to say nothing of its ability to almost solo the Elite 4 and Champion. It’s a wonderful addition to almost any team that is capable of single-handedly carrying you to the finish line.

Resources to Utilize

Starmie’s Learnset:https://pokemondb.net/pokedex/starmie/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.