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Pokémon Review: Butterfree and Beedrill

In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.

Caterpie, Metapod, and Butterfree

Caterpie, Metapod, and Butterfree

History (Butterfree)

After catching a Caterpie in Viridian Forest (or watching Ash do so in the anime), many of us raised it to become Butterfree, our first fully evolved Pokémon. At the time, Bug types were characterized as quick to evolve—but also quick to reach their maximum potential.

Can Butterfree still earn a spot in your roster, or is it overshadowed by stronger Pokémon? Today, we'll first review Caterpie's final form, then do the same with fellow Bug type Beedrill!

WeaknessesResistances

Flying

Fighting

Rock

Bug

Fire

Grass

Electric

Ground (Immune)

Ice

Type and Stats

Type: Bug/Flying
Base Stat Total: 385 (Boosted to 395 in Gen 6)

First, type. Bug/Flying Pokémon are doubly resistant to Fighting and Grass, immune to Ground, and resistant to Bug. Unfortunately, they're also doubly weak to Rock, and weak to several other types as well. Rock is a common offensive type in competitive play (darn you Stealth Rock!) and a quadruple weakness to it really affects a Pokémon's overall usability.

To make matters worse, Butterfree simply has a low stat total, focusing slightly on Special Attack and Special Defense. For early on in the games when you catch it, it'll probably be the strongest member of your team, but will inevitably fall behind later in your journey. For the main games, it's good enough to help get you through, but it just doesn't have enough power to use in real-life tournaments. (Have you experienced competitive battling? It'll make you rethink whether Pokémon is really for kids.)

Butterfree

Butterfree

Abilities

1. Compound Eyes: Raises accuracy of moves by 30%.

Time for some good news. Butterfree's excellent ability helps it utilize strong but inaccurate moves. Thirty percent on all attacks? Yes, please!

2. Tinted Lens: If a move is "not very effective" against a target, double its power.

Another good ability that lets you attack resistant foes and still deal decent damage. Useful if the moves you plan to use already have high accuracy.

Some of Butterfree's best attacks.

Move/ TypePower/ AccuracyEffect

Hyper Beam/ Normal

150/ 90

Deal massive damage, then use a turn to recharge.

Quiver Dance/ Bug

N/A (affects self)

Raises Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed.

Energy Ball/ Grass

90/ 100

10% chance to lower foe's Special Defense.

Moveset

Butterfree redeems itself somewhat through its array of attacks. Just by leveling, it'll learn a variety of status moves as well as some nice Psychic and Bug techniques. Add in TMs, and this bug becomes exceptionally hard to predict.

Giga Impact, Sleep Powder, Stun Spore, and Toxic especially benefit from the extra accuracy of Compound Eyes.

Butterfree can learn Bug, Flying, Psychic, Normal, Grass, Posion, and even Electric attacks, so you've got plenty of options when considering Butterfree.

Shiny Butterfree

Shiny Butterfree

Overall

Overall Score: 4/ 10

Unless it's part of some challenge, you just won't see Butterfree in top tier battling due to its low stats. But for lower-tier tournaments, it's splendid abilities and vast pool of techniques help keep it relevant—just watch out for Stealth Rock. Feel free to pick up and Butterfree while exploring Kanto—it's not perfect, but there's more to it than the low stat total would suggest.

Champion's Quiz: Butterfree and Beedrill

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. As of Gen 6, what one Electric move can Butterfree learn through tutoring?
    • Thunder Shock
    • Electroweb
    • Thunder Wave
    • Volt Tackle
  2. What unusal color of Butterfree did we see in season 1 of the anime?
    • Black
    • Orange
    • Pink
    • Green
  3. If you get this, I'm impressed. The original Butterfree card from the TCG was noted to be what level?
    • 12
    • 22
    • 28
    • 36
  4. What move was, until Gen 5, the signature move of Beedrill?
    • Twineedle
    • Poison Sting
    • Pin Missle
    • X-Scissor
  5. Beedrill is available in Pokemon Black or White?
    • Only White (without trading)
    • Only Black (without trading)
    • Trick question - you can catch it in both without a trade.
  6. What chance does a Beedrill have to be female?
    • 35
    • 50
    • 75
    • 90

Answer Key

  1. Electroweb
  2. Pink
  3. 28
  4. Twineedle
  5. Only Black (without trading)
  6. 50

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 1 correct answer: Rank 1: Team Rocket Grunt. Keep trying!

If you got between 2 and 3 correct answers: Rank 2: Rookie Trainer. Not bad.

If you got 4 correct answers: Rank 3: Gym Leader. Well done.

If you got 5 correct answers: Rank 4: Elite 4 Member. Great job!

If you got 6 correct answers: Rank 5: Champion. You really know your Pokemon!

Weedle, Kakuna, and Beedrill

Weedle, Kakuna, and Beedrill

History (Beedrill)

A Pokémon that echoes Butterfree's evolution levels, location to be caught, and stat total, Beedrill, nevertheless, has a few key differences. How does this classic insect hold up in modern battles? Well, first, we need to consider its...

WeaknessesResistances

Flying

Fighting

Rock

Poison

Fire

Grass

Psychic

Bug

Fairy

Type and Stats

Type: Bug/Poison
Base Stat Total: 385 (Changed to 395 in Gen 6)

As a Bug/Poison Pokémon, Beedrill unfortunately also has a weakness to Stealth Rock, but thankfully not to the same extent as Butterfree. It's also got a fair share of resistances, especially against Grass and Fighting attacks, which will only inflict 1/4 damage. Not bad, Beedrill.

Stat-wise, Beedrill fairs similarly to Butterfree, except it favors Attack over Special Attack. Special Defense is also decent, but Beedrill's stats simply don't cut it against stronger Pokémon. Early on in your quest, Beedrill makes a great companion, but once your other Pokemon begin to evolve, you'll notice its usage begin to dwindle.

Beedrill

Beedrill

Abilities

1. Swarm: Raises power of Bug attacks by 50% when health is at or below 1/3.
A decent ability to power up Bug moves in a crisis.

2. Sniper: Critical Hits power up by 50%.
Here's the ability I'd choose. Even a Beedrill can inflict some heavy damage when it lands a critical, especially with Sniper. Also, unlike Swarm, Sniper effects attacks of any type.

Some of Beedrill's best attacks.

Move/ TypePower/ AccuracyEffect

Twineedle/ Bug

25/ 100

Hits twice, each has a 20% chance to poison.

Focus Energy/ Normal

(Affects Self)

Raises critical hit chance by two stages.

Swords Dance/ Normal

(Affects Self)

Raises Attack by two stages.

Moveset

Beedrill has plenty of attacks to choose from. If yours has Sniper, then Focus Energy helps you land criticals. Twineedle is a nice Bug attack that deals decent damage with a great chance to poison foes. Similary, Poison Jab also damages foes with the potential to posion. Toxic Spikes works great in competitive battles; if used twice, your opponent's Pokémon will all be badly poisoned with they switch in.

TMs increase your options even further. Beedrill can learn some Dark attacks, like Payback, to increase its versatility. Roost will allow it to heal itself when HP gets low, and Drill Run is a good Ground attack that deals criticals often. In short, Beedrill learns an impressive array of techniques while leveling, and even more through TMs.

Mega Beedrill

Mega Beedrill

Mega Beedrill

Type: Bug/Poison
Base Stat Total: 495
Ability: Adaptability: Raises power of same-type attacks from 1.5 times to 2.

Unlike Butterfree, Beedrill currently has a Mega form, and I have to say—I love it. Get this: its Special Attack actually decreases, and the only stats that go up are Attack and Speed. But they really, really skyrocket; as long as you stick to physical moves, Beedrill will hit first and hit hard.

The new ability helpfully increases your same type attack bonus, making Bug and Poison moves particularly effective. There are stronger Mega Pokémon out there, but few Mega evolutions strengthen a Pokémon like Beedrill's.

Shiny Beedrill

Shiny Beedrill

Overall

Overall Score: 6/10

Beedrill's Mega form, Sniper ability, and nice variety of attacks help atone for a low stat total. I doubt it'll see much use in most tournaments (at least in its normal form), but I've been pleasantly surprised by the potential of this often overlooked creature. Give it a chance and see if you have as much fun with this glass cannon as I do!

Your Thoughts

Hopefully you've discovered the capabilities (and limitations) of these two Bug types. Feel free to share your thoughts, and I'll see you at our next review: Pidgeot and Raticate!