Pokémon Gold and Silver debuted in 1999 in Japan and in 2000 in North America, marking a significant milestone in the Pokémon franchise. These games introduced a new region, Johto, and a trove of all-new Pokémon, moves, and gameplay mechanics. As we revisit these classic Generation II titles, let’s look at what could be the 12 best Pokémon in Pokémon Gold and Silver. This list includes a mix of strong contenders, rare finds, and fan favorites from the second generation of Pokémon. Whether you’re exploring Johto for the first time or taking a nostalgic trip down memory lane, here are some of the top contenders to take your team to Victory Road:
Evolution: Tyranitar is the final evolutionary form of the Rock/Ground-type Pokémon Larvitar. Larvitar evolves into Pupitar at level 30, which evolves into Tyranitar at level 55.
Tyranitar is an absolute powerhouse in Pokémon Gold and Silver. This pseudo-legendary Rock/Dark-type Pokémon boasts remarkable Attack and Defense stats, making it an excellent choice for battles. Its intimidating design and the rarity of its pre-evolutions, Larvitar and Pupitar, add to its appeal. Tyranitar can single-handedly dominate many opponents and is one of the strongest Pokémon in the game.
Tyranitar’s typing gives it resistance to Psychic and Normal-type moves, two common types in these games. However, it is weak to Fighting, Ground, Water, and Bug-type moves, which are also very common, so trainers need to be strategic in their battles.
Fun fact: Tyranitar’s Pokédex entry in these games describes it as having an uncontrollable rage that can demolish mountains.
Lugia is the Legendary Pokémon of Silver, renowned for its incredible stats and design. As a Psychic/Flying-type, it has an advantage over Fighting and Grass-types, which are quite prevalent in Johto. Its high Special Defense makes it exceptionally durable, and its signature move, Aeroblast, is a devastating Flying-type move.
In Pokémon Silver, encountering Lugia deep within the Whirl Islands is an unforgettable moment. While it may not have the brute force of some other Legendary Pokémon, Lugia’s balanced stats and Psychic typing make it an excellent addition to any team. Its unique hybrid typing also makes it more interesting than its Fire/Flying-type counterpart, Ho-Oh, in our opinion.
Fun fact: Lugia is known as the Guardian of the Seas and is said to calm storms with its mere presence.
Evolution: Scizor evolves from Scyther when traded while holding the Metal Coat item. There is no level requirement for this transformation to occur.
Scizor is the evolved form of Scyther, and it’s a Generation II fan favorite for many reasons. Its unique Bug/Steel typing grants it a very interesting set of resistances to Normal, Grass, Ice, Psychic, Bug, Dragon, Steel, and Fairy-type moves, making it exceptionally tough. Scizor also has a fantastic Attack stat and access to powerful moves like Bullet Punch and Swords Dance.
Its sleek, mechanical appearance and distinctive red coloration also set it apart from other Pokémon. Scizor is not only strong but undeniably awesome-looking, making it a beloved choice among battle-hungry trainers.
Fun facts: Scizor’s metallic exoskeleton is as hard as steel. It is also flightless despite having wings, which are used to cool down its body and prevent overheating.
Evolution: Espeon evolves from leveling up an Eevee with high friendship during the day. This highlights the new friendship and day/night cycle mechanics introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver.
Espeon is one of two new Eevee evolutions introduced in Generation II, and it stands out for its elegance and powerful Psychic abilities. To evolve Eevee into Espeon, you must max out its friendship and level it up during the day. Espeon’s high Special Attack and Speed make it a formidable Psychic-type attacker.
In Johto, Psychic-types are highly sought after due to their strength against many gym leaders. Espeon’s graceful feline design and impressive combat capabilities made it a favorite choice for trainers looking for a Psychic powerhouse.
Fun fact: Espeon’s forked tail quivers when it predicts its opponent’s moves (it is a psychic, after all).
Evolution: Ampharos evolves from Flaaffy at level 30 and is the final evolutionary form of Mareep. Mareep evolves into Flaaffy at level 15.
Ampharos is an Electric-type Pokémon with a charming design and a three-stage evolutionary line. It evolves from Flaaffy, which in turn evolves from Mareep. This final evolution results in a potent Electric-type Pokémon with a solid Special Attack stat.
Ampharos is known for its Mega Evolution, introduced in later games, which gives it even greater power and a Dragon typing. However, even without this in Gold and Silver, it’s still a strong choice with a high Special Attack and access to Thunderbolt. Electric-types are strong against Water and Flying-types but are weak to Ground attacks, so trainers should be wary of sending Ampharos into battle against this type.
Fun fact: The light from Ampharos’ tail orb can be seen from space.
Evolution: Umbreon evolves from Eevee when leveled up with high friendship during nighttime in the game.
Umbreon is Espeon’s counterpart among Eevee’s two new Generation II evolutions, and it takes on a Dark typing. To evolve Eevee into Umbreon, you must max out its friendship and then let it level up during the night in the game’s day/night cycle. Umbreon is known for its impressive defenses and the ability to stall opponents effectively.
Dark-types were introduced in Gold and Silver and are valuable for their resistance to Psychic moves, which are common in Johto. Umbreon’s sleek, moonlit appearance and its strategic battling style make it a standout choice for trainers.
Fun fact: Umbreon’s rings on its body glow when it is excited, as well as when it is exposed to moonlight, from which it receives a mysterious power.
Evolution: Machamp is the final evolution of Machop, which was introduced in Generation I. Machop evolves into Machoke at level 28 and then evolves into Machamp when traded with another trainer.
Machamp is a massive Fighting-type Pokémon that has been around since the first generation. Its evolution from Machoke is made possible by trading it with another trainer. As you can probably surmise just by looking at him, this Pokémon is an absolute powerhouse with an impressive Attack stat.
Fighting-types are strong against Normal, Ice, Rock, Steel, and Dark-types but are weak against Flying, Psychic, and Fairy-types. Machamp’s spot on this list is a testament to its enduring popularity and strength in battles.
Fun fact: Machamp has four powerful arms, each capable of moving mountains.
Evolution: Gengar evolves from Haunter when traded to or from another trainer. Gengar is the final form of Gastly, which evolves into Haunter at level 25.
Gengar is the fully evolved form of Gastly, and it’s a Ghost/Poison-type Pokémon known for its mischievous nature and tricky combat capabilities. To evolve Haunter into Gengar, you’ll need to trade it with another trainer, an early mechanic of the Pokémon games that added an element of personal interaction to obtaining some of the most powerful Pokémon.
Gengar’s typing makes it immune to Normal and Fighting-type moves, and its high Special Attack stat and move pool featuring moves like Shadow Ball make it a formidable adversary. Gengar’s eerie and playful (and, dare we say, mischievously cute) design has made it a fan favorite since the early days of Pokémon.
Fun fact: Gengar is said to hide and blend into the shadows as it stalks its prey.
Heracross is a Bug/Fighting-type Pokémon that stands out for its unique typing and impressive stats. It has high Attack and decent Speed, making it a fast and powerful physical attacker. Heracross’s rarity and appearance only in specific trees (headbutt trees) also adds an element of excitement to Gold and Silver when you encounter one.
Bug/Fighting is a unique type combination that gives Heracross resistance to Bug, Dark, Grass, Ground, and Fighting-type moves. Its fighting prowess and distinctive design have made it a beloved choice among fans and a welcome addition to the battle teams of many Pokémon trainers.
Fun fact: Heracross can use its long horn to topple trees and lift and throw items 100 times its weight.
Sneasel is a Dark/Ice-type Pokémon known for its sleek, ninja-like appearance and its rarity in Pokémon Gold and Silver. Sneasel is the pre-evolution of Weavile and Sneasler, both introduced in later games. Nevertheless, it’s still a fan favorite in these second-generation games due to its unique typing and design.
Dark/Ice is a peculiar type combination, giving Sneasel resistance to Ice and Psychic moves but weakening it to Fighting, Rock, Bug, Steel, and Fire-type moves. Its high Speed stat and access to moves like Ice Punch and Faint Attack make it a valuable addition to many teams – so long as trainers are careful not to send it out against the five types it’s weak against.
Fun facts: Sneasel’s claws allow it to climb trees, where it feeds on one of its favorite foods: eggs. Sneasels often hunt in pairs when raiding the nests of bird Pokémon such as Pidgey.
Evolution: Typhlosion is the final evolution of Cyndaquil, the Fire-type starter Pokémon of Gold and Silver. Cyndaquil evolves into Quilava at level 14 before evolving into Typhlosion at level 36.
Typhlosion, the final evolution of Cyndaquil, is an iconic Fire-type Pokémon in Pokémon Gold and Silver. It is an excellent choice for its high Special Attack and Speed and because it’s one of the starter Pokémon available in these games, letting you get it right off the bat. Its design, resembling a fiery badger, is memorable and loved by many fans.
Fire-types are strong against Grass, Bug, Ice, and Steel-types but weak against Water, Rock, and Ground-types. Typhlosion’s access to powerful Fire-type moves like Flamethrower and its versatility in battle make it a reliable companion and a worthy addition to any team gunning for the Elite Four.
Fun fact: Typhlosion can cause explosions just by rubbing its fiery-hot fur, making it ignite.
Evolution: Donphan naturally evolves from Phanpy at level 25.
Donphan is a robust Ground-type Pokémon known for its incredible physical prowess and resilience, boasting impressive Attack and Defense stats. It evolves from Phanpy, and while it may not be the most visually striking Pokémon compared to others on this list, its strength and tanking utility in battles more than make up for it. We still think it looks pretty cool, though.
Ground-types are strong against Electric, Poison, Rock, Steel, and Fire-types but vulnerable to Water and Ice-type attacks. Donphan’s high Attack and Defense stats, combined with moves like Earthquake, make it a formidable choice for both offense and defense. Additionally, its ability to learn Rapid Spin is valuable for removing hazards like Spikes and Stealth Rock from the battlefield.
Fun facts: Donphans live in herds. The size and length of Donphan’s tusk indicate its strength and status in the herd, with males having larger tusks than females.
In the rich tapestry of Pokémon, the Johto region introduced us to a dazzling array of creatures, each with unique charm and capabilities. Whether it’s the elegance of Eevee’s new evolutions, the unyielding strength of Tyranitar, or the infectious cheerfulness of Ampharos, the best Pokémon from Pokémon Gold and Silver continue to captivate fans. Let us not forget that these Pokémon are not just digital companions; they are enduring symbols of the magic that Pokémon has brought to the gaming world.