The second generation of Pokémon introduced 100 new creatures for trainers to collect and battle. This is a huge addition to the 151 Pokémon in the first generation. Among those 100 Pokémon, we get all new species as well as evolutions of older Pokémon. Even to this day, Generation 2 is still fondly remembered as having some of the best designed Pokémon in the franchise. It remains as one of the most consistent generations of Pokémon in terms of the design and strengths of the pocket monsters.
With 100 party members to choose from, it’s natural to feel like it's a lot. Who do you choose? Who do you avoid? This list has the answers you’re looking for. We have gathered here 20 of the best Pokémon from Generation 2, with no exceptions. To make your decision making easier, we’ve also collected 10 of the weakest Pokémon. These are the ones you want to avoid at all costs. They are mostly worthless in battle and won’t be doing you any favours during your playthrough of Pokémon Gold/Silver/Crystal.
As a disclaimer, we are only focusing on Pokémon that were introduced in the second generation. So, don’t expect fan favourites like Charizard and Mewtwo to show up here since they are from Generation 1. That doesn’t mean this list won’t be full of powerful Pokémon. In fact, overall, Generation 2 could be the superior batch. Also, when deciding which Pokémon are the best, we considered more than their ability to do damage. Other roles such as tanks and supports will also feature in the spotlight.
30 Weak: Aipom
Aipom is a weak Pokémon, simple as that. It has low stats, a small movepool, and the Normal-typing gives it no advantages. This Pokémon is useless in battle and won’t help you win any gym badges. In Generation 2, Aipom doesn’t evolve into anything. So, there’s no chance of improvement.
It’s got a solid design but that doesn’t count for much when fighting. There are plenty of better Normal-type Pokémon, some of which you’ll see later in the list. Too bad Aipom isn’t one of them.
29 Strong: Blissey
Blissey may not look powerful at first, but it’s an excellent Pokémon. Its main assets are high special defence and HP. Blissey can tank all special attackers and only has one weakness, the Fighting-type. It also learns awesome support moves, like Heal Bell, which cures status conditions for the team.
Blissey isn’t without flaws though since it’s totally crushed by physical attacks. Even a tackle attack can do a lot of damage, that’s how bad it’s defence is. That doesn’t make Blissey less reliable in battle though as it can wall everyone else.
28 Strong: Celebi
Similar to Mew, Celebi also has a base stat of 100 for all categories. That is Celebi’s strength because you can customize it any way you want. It also learns a variety of moves like Psychic for damage and Recover for healing.
While Grass-types have a lot of weaknesses, it also resists some of the more common attacking types, Water and Electric. Since Generation 2 didn’t have too many Pokémon with huge stat totals, Celebi is able to stand out quite a bit.
27 Weak: Delibird
Game Freak must have an agenda against Ice types. They have tons of weaknesses and are rarely good in battle. Delibird is the worst of the bunch as it is also part Flying, meaning more weaknesses.
It also has terrible stats and a bad movepool. One of its attacks is called Present and has a small chance of healing your opponent. If you really need an Ice/Flying type, then you’d be better off using an Articuno. Delibird though? He isn’t cool enough.
26 Strong: Forretress
This little guy is a straight up tank. Forretress is a dual type consisting of Bug and Steel. It’s able to resist nine types (Ground, Rock, Grass etc.) and also has a really high defense stat. That’s not enough to make it a truly powerful Pokémon though.
Forretress has the ability to set traps like Spikes or annoy foes with Toxic. You won’t be doing much direct damage with it, but in battle, every bit counts. If its HP gets low, then you can finish off an unsuspecting foe with a good old-fashioned Explosion.
25 Strong: Heracross
A great design to go along with a great Pokémon. Heracross has an amazing attack stat and a unique Bug/Fighting typing. It learns powerful moves like Megahorn and Earthquake which can easily one-hit KO many opponents. Heracross is one of the better Pokémon in the underrated Bug-type group.
Heracross also has a lot of HP and okay defensive stats making it durable in battle. Keep in mind that it’s seriously weak to Flying types. Don’t keep Heracross around if your opponent sends in a Skarmory or Charizard.
24 Weak: Ditto
Back in Generation 2, there were no abilities. Ditto’s Imposter ability actually makes it transform upon entering battle. However, in the old games, you have to do it the manual way. Ditto’ only attack is Transform. It will turn into the opposing Pokémon and learn their moves as well.
It doesn’t sound bad at first, but remember, Ditto is a slow Pokémon. You’ll rarely get to attack first. Which means most of the time, Ditto will be knocked out before doing anything. It also doesn’t evolve into anything and can’t learn more attacks through TMs. At least Ditto is still useful during Pokémon breeding.
23 Strong: Ho-oh
The cover legendaries are always strong, there’s no way around it. Ho-Oh has excellent stats, powerful moves and can wipe out most Pokémon with ease. The Fire/Flying type makes it vulnerable to Rock-types, but that’s not a major issue. Ho-Oh can learn Earthquake which counters said weakness.
Ho-Oh’s best move is Sacred Fire which does damage and also has a 50% chance of inflicting burn. Even if you’re struggling to knock out a Pokémon, you can still leave them with a scorching burn for extra damage. Not that Ho-Oh really needs the help.
22 Strong: Miltank
Jokes about Whitney’s Miltank aside, this Pokémon is genuinely good in battle. Miltank has great defensive stats, which means it can tank a few hits. Being Normal-type, it only is only weak to Fighting-types. Having a single weakness is a great asset and rare to see.
Miltank also gets access to Body Slam, a powerful attack that can also paralyze enemies. If it takes some damage, you can use Milk Drink to heal the wounds. There is a lot of utility and variety in Miltank’s moveset. The perfect Pokémon to frustrate your opponent.
21 Weak: Ledian
A weak Bug-type Pokémon. What a surprise. It’s sad because Bug types often have awesome designs but their capabilities in battle are disappointing at best. Ledian has awful stats, especially for a fully evolved Pokémon. You’d be better off using Ditto, and we know how bad that one is.
Ledian can learn some useful moves like Reflect and Psychic, but what’s the point? Even if Ledian survives long enough to attack, it won’t do any damage. This is one of the worst Pokémon in Generation 2 and possibly the entire franchise.
20 Strong: Porygon2
Porygon2 is a great Pokémon and an improved version of Porygon. It has solid attacking stats and learns moves like Ice Beam to utilize those stats. Being a Normal-type, Porygon2 has the advantage of possessing one weakness (Fighting).
Like Miltank, Porygon2 can also heal itself with Recover. This computer program poses a greater threat to your foes because it has access to a wider movepool. Like any good program, you can customize Porygon2 to your liking. That’s what makes it so good.
19 Strong: Suicune
One of the legendary beasts and a solid Pokémon to use in battle. Suicune isn’t as strong as Lugia or Ho-oh, but still has a lot to offer with it’s Water and Ice typing. Its main role is a tank since it has great defensive stats. While you can teach powerful moves like Surf, that’s not what Suicune is for.
Instead, you want to use attacks like Roar and Toxic to slowly chip away at your foes. It’s a slow process made possible by the fact that Suicune is able to take a lot of hits. The Water-type also helps to counter some of the weaknesses from its Ice typing.
18 Weak: Sudowoodo
Sudowoodo isn’t the worst Pokémon on this list, but it’s not very useful either. The most you can get out of it is a Self-Destruct, but there are better alternatives like Golem for that. On the plus side, it is a pure Rock-type, so it isn’t as weak to Water or Grass. It’s not much of a bonus though since it’s stats are still low.
There’s not much else you can do with Sudowoodo so it’s better not to have it in your party. There are so many great Pokémon to choose from, who has the time to stick with something mediocre?
17 Strong: Tyranitar
Tyranitar is an absolute beast of a Pokémon with great stats in all categories. You can build it as either a defensive wall or one of your main attackers. It’s also a Dark type and acts as a counter for many overpowered Psychic types like Alakazam and Mewtwo.
This Pokémon is also known as a pseudo-legendary. Essentially, it has stats comparable to legendaries despite being a regular Pokémon. While most in this category are Dragon types, Tyranitar is unique in that it’s Dark and Rock. A great addition to any team.
16 Strong: Umbreon
This is a less obvious entry to the list. Umbreon isn’t a clear powerhouse like Tyranitar or a utility based tank like Suicune. It’s more common to use it during stall tactics. The main idea is that you use moves like Toxic, Charm and Rest to prolong the battle for as long as possible.
Once you’ve put toxic on everyone, it’s a matter of waiting for them to lose their HP. While this is an annoying strategy, it’s not impossible to beat. Regardless, Umbreon is strong enough to pull off such a plan, so that counts for something.
15 Weak: Unown
Wow, what a waste of pixels. Unown is the worst Pokémon of all time without dispute. Even a Magikarp can do more damage than this “thing.” There is nothing good about Unown at all, not one aspect. It can only learn one move, Hidden Power. It’s not even that good of an attack because of Unown’s pathetic stats.
With other bad Pokémon, you can still do cool stuff like beating the Elite 4 with a Magikarp. With Unown, there’s nothing fun to do. There’s simply no point to this Pokémon’s existence.
14 Strong: Skarmory
Skarmory showcases what makes the Steel type so good. It’s Steel/Flying combination gives it 9 resistances and 2 immunities (Ground and Poison). Add to that Skarmory’s insanely high defense and you have a great wall for your team.
To surprise your foes, Skarmory also packs Drill Peck, a powerful Flying-type attack. This means you can do some decent damage while resisting any incoming damage. Skarmory can resist some of the more stronger Pokémon like Snorlax or Tyranitar, making it a valuable team member.
13 Strong: Raikou
Another one of the legendary beasts, Raikou is an excellent Electric-type attacker. It’s also really fast and can outspeed most other Pokémon. It can learn powerful moves like Thunderbolt to sweep enemy teams.
On the other hand, it’s speed gives it some other uses. Raikou can use Roar to force your opponent to switch. Doing so will cancel any stat boosting moves they used. Not only is Raikou a great sweeper, but it can play a good supporting role too.
12 Weak: Octillery
Octillery is a glass cannon, but not a very good one. It’s low speed and defenses don’t complement the decent attack stats. You can do much better if you want a Water type, like Starmie or Suicune. There’s really no reason to use Octillery over anything else.
Unlike the other weak Pokémon, Octillery actually has something unique about it. It can learn Flamethrower, which is odd for a Water-type. This is useful against tough Pokémon like Skarmory but, once again, there are better choices. Like an actual Fire type.
11 Strong: Misdreavus
Misdreavus is different from other powerful Pokémon in the sense that it has low stats. You won’t be using this as an attacker or defender. Instead, Misdreavus has found itself another role that is equally as important.
With moves like Perish Song and Mean Look, you have here an excellent wall breaker. You trap them with Mean Look and finish the job with Perish Song. It’s a simple strategy that works surprisingly well against most defensive Pokémon. Misdreavus may not hit hard, but it’s still effective.
10 Strong: Houndoom
Houndoom is one of the better Fire types from Generation 2. The combination of Dark and Fire gives it access to a lot of great moves like Fire Blast and Crunch. This helps it take out some of Houndoom’s counters like Starmie or Slowbro. While that isn’t an ideal situation, it’s a good option to have.
Houndoom's good attacking stats to make use of its offensive types. Dark and Fire are good choices against a lot of types, which makes Houndoom a perfect choice for any team. On top of all this excellence, Houndoom has a stellar design that captures his power in battle.
9 Weak: Entei
From one good Fire-type to another bad Fire type. Entei is here because it’s the weakest legendary of Generation 2. It’s siblings, Suicune and Raikou, outclass Entei in every aspect. If you need a Fire-type, then the previous entry, Houndoom, is a better choice. There’s not much legendary about this Fire beast.
The main issue is that Entei doesn’t learn many powerful moves. You can get Fire Blast, but that’s about it. You can’t even make the most of it since Entei’s special attack stat isn’t very high. The only positive is that this Pokémon has a lot of HP and can take a couple of hits.
8 Strong: Steelix
Steelix has one of the highest defense stats in the whole game, even after seven generations of Pokémon. It’s also a Steel-type which is great for defense because of the many resistances you get. Unfortunately, that’s the best Steelix can do since it’s attacking options aren’t great.
That’s not a problem because those insane defenses make up for it and more. You’ll always want something like a Steelix in your team so it can take some hits for your party. It can also learn Explosion which is the cherry on top. You can’t go wrong with a snake made from 100% stainless steel.
7 Strong: Scizor
Another powerful Steel-type joins the list. Steel-types were great in Generation 2 and Scizor is right up there. Not only does it have high defense, but also good attacking abilities. Steel Wing is Scizor’s main form of attack and is useful against most other types. You can also give it Hidden Power Bug to get some extra coverage.
All you have to do is set up a Sword’s Dance and Agility. Scizor will now outspeed and wreck most other Pokémon with relative ease. Scizor may be slower than it’s pre-evolution, Scyther, but it hits like a bullet train.
6 Weak: Sneasel
Nowadays, Sneasel evolves into Weavile and becomes a pretty strong Ice-type attacker. Back then, it was a different story. Sneasel had no hopes and aspirations for the future. Instead, it’s a weak Ice type with no good attacking options and nearly unparalleled fragility.
Sneasel is fast, but won’t do much damage. He may get in the first hit but won’t survive long enough to do a second. It feels as if the developers spent a lot of time getting its design right, but forgot to make usable in battle.
5 Strong: Smeargle
Smeargle has one move called Sketch. With this “attack” you can copy any other move in the game. So really, Smeargle can learn anything. Despite its weak stats, Smeargle is still an extremely useful Pokémon thanks to Sketch.
Most of the time you want to use Smeargle as a support Pokémon. WIth moves like Sticky Web, Toxic, Protect and Disable you can slowly whittle away an opponent’s health. There’s so much potential when it comes to this artist. It all depends on the player’s creativity.
4 Strong: Meganium
Starter Pokémon have a history of being strong, but not too strong. Meganium is the best of the three Generation 2 trio despite being a Grass-type with more weaknesses. Meganium can learn infuriating abilities like Leech Seed and Synthesis. Both will sustain it during longer battles, alongside its high defensive stats.
If you prefer to attack, then Meganium can go the Swords Dance and Razor Leaf route for quick sweeps. It also learns Earthquake to take out pesky Fire-types that want to burn its flowery neck.
3 Weak: Dunsparce
Dunsparce remains an enigma. What is its true purpose? Is it hiding some secret power that is so dangerous that they keep it locked away? Whatever may be the case, the current Dunsparce is a really weak excuse for a Pokémon.
This Pokémon is the very definition of weak. It’s a Normal-type which is okay, but the low defenses don’t do Dunsparce any favors. This isn’t the worst Pokémon on this list you could use (that title goes to Unown) but there’s no reason to have it on your team.
2 Strong: Lugia
Lugia is the other uber legendary of Generation 2. Alongside Ho-oh, it is the best Pokémon from this group. High HP, attack, and defense mean that it will take a small army to knock it out. Lugia also has powerful moves like Aeroblast and Earthquake.
There’s isn’t much else to say. Lugia is simply a well-rounded and excellent Pokémon to use in battle and will never let you down. Few would want to face it in battle and even fewer can hope to defeat it.
1 Strong: Donphan
This is one of the more boring, yet strong entries on the list. There’s no gimmick with Donphan, what you see is what you get. It’s a pure Ground type with solid defense and attack. You can teach it Earthquake for damage and Rest to recover health. It can tank most physical attackers but crumbles against special moves.
Donphan is overshadowed by Steelix and Blissey, who are also great blockers. That doesn’t make Donphan a bad Pokémon by any means. It’s just as reliable as the others, even if it isn’t seen in battle very often.