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Early route Pokémon are ones you get in the first route or two in Pokémon games - things like Rattata, Zigzagoon, Pidgey, Sentret, Yungoos, Starly, Bidoof, and the like.

Have you used these early route Pokémon in your playthroughs at any point, or do they just get boxed (or used as HM fodder)?


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The regional birb has almost always found it's way on to my team for the first playthrough.
I think Galar is the only region where I didn't go with it, and I regretted it when I saw what it evolved in.
I still used a couple early route mons in Galar though: Nickit & Chewtle.

I tend to not really use the regional rodent though.

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First playthroughs: Usually, yes. Captured Taillow, Starly, Fletchling, and Rookidee for the team in their respective games. Grabbed Lotad, Shinx, Budew, Purrloin, and Flabebe, if you count those.

Passes up the early bug in most games. Remembers only Cutiefly. (Thought it was the only Bug-type on a first playthrough for a moment. Rolled with Joltik, though...probably.)

Grabs the rodent for Hidden Machine utility. Sees little combat beyond that.

Challenge runs: Featured Wooloo in a recent one. Randomed into an Alolan Rattata for a short while in another. Technically used various early-game Pokemon in a failed Nuzlocke. Thinks of very few beyond that. Relied on Pokemon past the first gym (X Dark monotype), Wild Area (Sword Ice monotype), or from eggs traded over.
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Age 22
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Generally yes. The exception was ultra moon where I didn't get any pokemon because I wanted to do something different.
Most of my runs on gen 4 games included starly and shinx. I have done some with bidoof too. Never used it as a HM slave tho. I liked dividing Hams between all of my team. I didn't use bibarel much because I always already had a water type in the team (Empoleon).
As for other generations I have used those pokemon, but not till the League. This happened in gen 2 and gen 5. Other generations, like 3 and 6 I used only one of the early catchable Pokemon till the League. Gen 3 was zigzagoon and gen 6 was fletching. Gen 8 was rockidee.

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Virbank City
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I have a soft spot for the early route Pokemon so I've used a lot of them in my playthroughs and entered many different Hall of Fames with them.

The Hall of Famers: I've used every regional bird except for Pidove and Rookidee lines. Not sure if it's considered to be a regional bird but I also used Spearow/Fearow. Then I've also used a few of the early bugs since I love the Bug type in general so I don't mind using even the weaker early route bugs on my teams. I've used Caterpie and Weedle lines in Kanto, Wurmple (Dustox) and Surskit lines in Hoenn and Sewaddle line in Unova. I also used Mankey and male Nidoran lines (if they count) in Kanto, Mareep and Wooper lines in Johto, Lotad and Wingull lines in Hoenn, Lillipup line in Unova and Chewtle line in Galar and they were all great Pokemon to have on the team. I also had a great Sentret/Furret in my Crystal Nuzlocke that helped me beat the challenge and survived all the way until the end, and it even saved me a few times after my starter died (i.e. against Morty, Rollout OP) so I have a lot of love and respect for the Sentret line.

Then I used almost all of the rest early route Pokemon for like the first few Gyms or as HM slaves before eventually putting them in the PC.

HM users: Zigzagoon, Bidoof and Patrat lines are my go-to HM users in their regions, Taillow and Pidove are usually my Fly users in their regions,...

Early game heroes: Last but not least I used Purrloin, Rattata, Poochyena, Wurmple (Beautifly), Bidoof, Shinx, Scatterbug, Ledyba and Nickit lines on some of my teams for at least the first few Gyms but I didn't keep them long term so they never entered any of the Hall of Fames with me, however they were great during the time they were on the team (ok, maybe not Ledyba but it was cute at least).

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Unless I'm doing a challenge I mostly just stick to Zigazoon (Pickup GOAT) and Rookidee (Corviknight is boss).

Other Pokemon just have a tendency to be outclassed and some of the earlier mons (like Pidgey) just kinda sucked - the best Flying move it gets in Kanto is Wing Attack at like level 30 something (also the first flying move in RBY)


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At the point of early game, I don't plan catching a normal type per say there is kind exception that I need a flying type which let easier travel via fly later game. Once I have eon though I pretty much don't need a flyer to guide anywhere and fly seems useless.

Shining pearl replaced the whole HM teach thing so I no longer need to have a flyer around to use a HM slave and only catch rookiedee in SWSH because Corviknight is quiet good on my team
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If Wurmple and similar count, half my SP team was early game mons 🙂

So yeah, it's a mistake to underestimate early game Pokémon just for being early game Pokémon these days. With a good build, many of them have access to great abilities and fun strategies to make up for their mediocre stats.

Besides, which feels better and more rewarding? God mode Snorlax in a Hall of Fame, or humble Raticate in a Hall of Fame?


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4.7 Years
I don't use them most of the time. End up finding the mid-game pokemon way more interesting in most regions.


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Yes. Except in HGSS and B2W2. I often like the designs, and like to have 2 pokémon on my team for the 1st gym. Nostalgia is obviously a factor in my loving most of the Hoenn ones I can get on the second route - can't remember not having at least one of Taillow / Ralts / Lotad (I have Emerald) on my team. Sinnoh does well too, with Starly, Shinx, and Budew all evolving into good pokémon whose design I like. Kanto is solid (Pikachu, Mankey, Nidorans, Pidgey is growing on me although never used it). In Johto I don't really care for anything found in the routes before the first gym, although you can get Gastly in Sprout Tower and go down to the next route which has Mareep in it which I do like.

BW I haven't really gotten much use out of anything before Munna and the monkeys, but intend to use Lillipup next time I play and have a Liepard trained up for PWT. B2W2 has too many non-Unova 'mons at the start, I like to prioritise the new ones in a game, so I played through 3 badges with just my Tepig. I've not yet played Gen VI/VII but in Sword I currently have 3 early pokémon - Wooloo (there's a bunch outside my house irl, of course), Yamper, and Slowpoke-Galar. I know the latter is a DLC one however. My normal definition of 'early route' is 'before the first gym' but I don't count anything after the train to the Wild Area in SS given its size! I think I had 80 Pokédex entries before I even considered going to Motostoke! When I play Shield I'll probably end up training Rookidee and Nickit.

I find the appeal of the early pokémon actually does hinder my ability to enjoy the mid-game pokémon though. In particular I could happily have a BW team of Starter + the contents of Chargestone Cave, or alternatively a full team before I face Lenora (running ahead to Pinwheel Forest).


Like a Star

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It depends on the region. I have used Hoothoot/Noctowl four times in my main team - two in Sinnoh, two in Johto - though, so it's a hard yes. Additionally, I've caught Shinx for both my Sinnoh teams, Mareep for my HG/SS team, Drilbur for both my Unova teams plus my second Shield team, Rookidee and G-Zigzagoon for my first Shield team, Oddish for my first LGPE team, Pikachu for my second LGPE team and second Shield team, and Pichu for both my Alola teams.

To sum up: I don't catch a lot of early route/cave mons, but when I do, they're in for the long haul. :D


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Also tried using Hoothoot back in the HGSS days, but ended up boxing it around the Lighthouse dungeon because of those awful offensive stats. Oof! Stinks because I do like it a lot.

I’ve used some of others mentioned too. Most notable ones being Sentret, Starly, and Shinx, they are all pretty good, even Furret with the type range of teaching it the elemental punches. It was quite useful for me. Also Zigzagoon, used it for a long time beyond just being an HM slave lol.


Literally, who?

Massachusetts, USA
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Never used and early Route mon for Kanto, Johto, Unova, Alola or Galar.
Used Tailow in Hoenn, and Ralts if it counts.
Shinx in Sinnoh, and Fletchling in Kalos
You know what youngster, go talk to all the strangers and kidnappers you want, cause quite frankly, nobody would want you in their car.


gracidea fields
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i used to all the time, but i try to steer away from using them only to see how far i can get with using my starter alone until i can catch something interesting past like... the first or second gym.
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It depends. Is it Sinnoh? Yes Yes Absolutely Yes Those Things Are Broken As Cr*p!
Any other region? Probably not.
Just a cowboy wannabe who likes nuzlockes (not hardcore)


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in the flowers
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Of course. I catch, train, and make teams of every Pokémon found in game. Some of those early route Pokémon might feel identical after a few gens but you never know what's going to really stand out to you until you use it! It could be the [insert generic bird/insect/rodent/pikaclone] that hits a clutch crit and secures you the win, after all. :)

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It depends on the game and region. Kanto? No, I usually don't. I don't really in Johto, either. For Hoenn, sometimes. Hoenn has decent selections for starting Pokemon in the early routes. For Sinnoh, I have a few times. Shinx is a good Pokemon, and there's more variety before the first gym than other games. I have in the Unova games a few times, but only really Purrloin. (I can't remember if I did for Kalos or Alola). For Galar, I tried using Nickit, but it fainted maybe a little too often.

So, for me, it's a mixed bag.

Sweet Serenity

Castelia City
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I very rarely use early route Pokémon during my playthroughs. Ever since generation two, I’ve mostly been starting the game with whatever Pokémon I wanted. Back then, I would use the breeding system to breed whatever Pokémon I wanted to start with in my next game, store them in the N64 boxes in Pokémon Stadium 2 in Professor Oak’s Lab, and transfer them to my new save game early on during the game. In future games, it has been become easier to breed them in one game and transfer them to the next one. Pokémon HOME has made it even more ridiculously easier. In my opinion, it’s a much more fun way to play and you get to grow with the Pokémon you have since the very beginning of your journey. However, I do tend to keep some early route Pokémon and add them to my secondary team, such as Caterpie, for example, which I evolve into Butterfree. I love Butterfree because of her Compound Eyes ability, which makes Sleep Powder almost 100% accurate, and ability to use Quiver Dance and Baton Pass, which is a great way to powerup my special sweepers. Other than that, most of my early route Pokémon stay in boxes simply to complete the PokéDex.


Acoustic Wonderbag

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I've only kept the one's from Hoenn and Sinnoh, the rest have been boxed or used as an HM slave especially Rattata. When I first played Pokemon Yellow (My first Pokemon game) I didn't know about boxing pokemon and I also just caught everything I encountered.

Yes, half of my team we're pidgey.
Age 23
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I don't tend to catch Pokemon before the first gym, as I'll just use only my starter Pokemon until after the first gym. I tend not to use early captures from before the 3rd gym.
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Age 25
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It depends on their design and if they would fit my team. I don't avoid them, but to be honest, there are usually more interesting Normal-types and birds later on.

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Age 20
Kara's Flowers
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In playthroughs with HMs, more often than not I would have an early-game bird up until the end of the game (mainly Staraptor and Unfezant). Nowadays, pretty much the only early-game Pokémon I keep in my playthroughs in Charjabug (and Ampharos in B2W2 if it counts, since Mareep is found in Floccesy Ranch, which is located in Route 20). I tried making Dunsparce work in my UM and B2 playthroughs, but they clearly don't want us to actually use it :(.