Top 10 Pokemon Moves in Generation 1

Updated on September 14, 2017
Jeremy Gill profile image

In-between Pokemon journeys, Jeremy works as a chemical analyst.

Pokemon Attacks

As any Trainer knows, Pokemon can only learn four attacks, which makes it difficult to choose between the many options available. And while, that's typically the case nowadays, back in the original games, Pokemon didn't have the funds to hire many playtesters; meaning some techniques were absolutely broken.

Don't believe me? Here are the ten best moves from Generation 1!

Graveler using Earthquake
Graveler using Earthquake | Source

10. Earthquake

Type: Ground
Power/Accuracy: 100/100
Effect: Can hit Pokemon using Dig

The one move today that's stayed the same over the years, Earthquake nonetheless devastated opponents with its high damage and accuracy. As a TM, it could be learned by a plethora of creatures, and it's one of very few Ground type moves of its age. A strong offensive option, it dealt extra hurt to Electric, Fire, Rock, and Poison foes.

Not many competitive trainers used Dig, but if it ever came up, Earthquake could hit the user while underground, adding another benefit.

Dragonite using Hyper Beam
Dragonite using Hyper Beam

9. Hyper Beam

Type: Normal
Power/Accuracy: 150/90
Effect: Forces user to waste their next turn unless the opponent is knocked out.

Going by base power, the famous Hyper Beam was the strongest of all original attacks (not counting moves that caused self-feinting like Explosion). Possessing the Normal element, it wasn't super effective against anything, but could hit most types without being resisted, and still had a respectable accuracy to accompany its lethal power.

Speaking of lethal, in this generation, Hyper Beam didn't make players spend a turn recharging if the opponent feinted from the attack. This made it the perfect finishing move, dealing a ridiculous amount of damage with no drawbacks.

Psyduck and Slowbro using Amnesia
Psyduck and Slowbro using Amnesia

8. Amnesia

Type: Psychic
Power/Accuracy: -/-
Effect: Raises user's Special by two stages

Amnesia's type hardly matters as it's not an offensive move. Instead, the user has their Special stat sharply increased, meaning it goes up two stages. Remember that Special Attack and Special Defense used to be embodied by the singular Special attribute, so sharply increasing it was basically receiving four stat boosts in one turn!

After one or two Amensias, your opponent would have little choice but to come at you using physical attacks (assuming they have them) while you blast away with bolstered Special techniques. Only a few worthwhile Pokemon knew Amnesia, like Snorlax and Slowbro, yet it offered an insane number of stat boosts.

Mewtwo using Psychic
Mewtwo using Psychic

7. Psychic

Type: Psychic
Power/Accuracy: 90/100
Effect: 30% chance to lower opponent's Special stat by one stage

Again, as Pokemon veterans remember, Special Attack and Special Defense were originally combined into one singular stat, Special. So, unlike in later generations where only Special Defense would be lowered, Psychic's effect could decrease both Special stat for the victim.

Plus, the chance was a hefty 30%, unlike the 10% it would later be changed to. Psychic was strong, accurate, and had sweet odds to lower two opposing stats. If you're still not satisfied, remember that this was before the dawn of Dark and Steel Pokemon, meaning very few adversaries could resist the damage.

Articuno using Blizzard
Articuno using Blizzard

6. Blizzard

Type: Ice
Power/Accuracy: 120/90
Effect: 10% chance to freeze the opponent

Blizzard would later undergo power and accuracy reductions to help balance the move, but back then? Heck, chill the pants off your foes. It's got high damage, high accuracy, freezing potential, and the unique Ice type, which dealt extra hurt to many top-tier Pokemon of the time (Dragonite, Zapdos, Exeggutor, etc.).

By the way, that 10% chance to freeze? It's boosted to 30% in the Japanese versions of Generation 1, Pokemon Red and Green, further fortifying an already spectacular attack.

Parasect using Spore
Parasect using Spore

5. Spore

Type: Grass
Power/Accuracy: -/100
Effect: Puts the opponent to sleep.

Admittedly, not many could learn Spore, but that didn't hinder its fearsome effect: the opponent dozes off. With full accuracy, this move made the dreaded sleep condition inevitable.

You see, Spore itself hasn't changed over the years, but the sleep mechanic has. Back then, Pokemon had to waste a turn just awakening from sleep (after possibly wasting some being asleep), taking forever to jump back in the action. Spore used one of your turns to remove at least one from the opponent, making the tradeoff either equal or in your favor.

Charizard using Fire Spin
Charizard using Fire Spin

4. Fire Spin

Type: Fire
Power/Accuracy: 15/70
Effect: Traps and deals damage to opponent for 2-5 turns, during which they are unable to attack.

Here we are. Sure, the previous moves were unbalanced, but now we're encountering the true monsters of Generation 1. You'll notice the weak strength of Fire Spin, but don't be fooled . Later iterations would have the strike deal minor damage over 2-5 turns, and that's still what happened, except here the opponent couldn't do anything during this period!

Yep, just Fire Spin all day and watch the explosive frustration of a Trainer unable to attack. The Fire element also added variety to your offensive repertoire, and this is just one of four opponent-stopping moves..

Onix using Bind
Onix using Bind

3. Bind

Type: Normal
Power/Accuracy: 15/75
Effect: Traps and deals damage to opponent for 2-5 turns, during which they are unable to attack.

Bind is similar to Fire Spin except it's Normal and has slightly higher accuracy. The same deal as before, Bind halted and damaged opponents, with the one exception of Ghost-type Gengar and its prior evolutions, who are immune to Normal moves.

However, Gengar's dual Poison element made it vulnerable to popular Psychic moves, and contrary to popular belief, Ghost strikes were actually resisted by Psychic initially. My point? The one Pokemon immune to the likes of Bind and Hyper Beam was vulnerable to the bountiful Psychic techniques of the time, mitigating the advantage.

Arbok using Wrap
Arbok using Wrap

2. Wrap

Type: Normal
Power/Accuracy: 15/90
Effect: Traps and deals damage to opponent for 2-5 turns, during which they are unable to attack.

Wrap is exactly like Bind except it has better accuracy. At least Fire Spin and Bind had a decent chance for missing; here you'll hit with almost every blow.

Again, Gengar was immune to the attack, but competitive Gengars would be countered by any of the commonly seen Psychic wielders. Mewtwo, Starmie, Exeggutor, and Alakazam, to name a few.

Cloyster using Clamp
Cloyster using Clamp

1. Clamp

Type: Water
Power/Accuracy: 35/75
Effect: Traps and deals damage to opponent for 2-5 turns, during which they are unable to attack.

The final of the trapping moves dealt far more damage per turn. Clamp admittedly doesn't match Wrap's accuracy, but 75 still hits three out of every four uses.

The extra power meant not only will the opponent be helpless, they'll be helpless and battered. Plus, the Water element wasn't completely resisted by any Pokemon (though partially by Dragon, Grass, and Water foes such as Venusaur and Blastoise), making it capable of whittling down any adversary.

Which move do you prefer?

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Your Vote

While it was fun massacring NPCs using these unholy attacks, they limited strategic options in competitive play, and I'm pleased the Johto games properly amended them. Some remain viable options in modern battles, and some don't, but either way I'm eager to see the future of Pokemon attacks, especially after encountering the new Z-Power moves.

For now, feel free to vote for your favorite, and I'll see you at our next countdown!

Questions & Answers


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      • Jeremy Gill profile image

        Jeremy Gill 11 months ago from Louisiana

        Hi Kristian, you're right! Ice moves on Water Pokemon are definitely a potent option. Ice is wonderful offensively but vulnerable defensively, so utilizing the attacks from a non-Ice fighter lets you take down Grass, Flying, and Dragon Pokemon with ease.

        Ice is resisted by Steel, but that didn't exist yet in Gen. 1, making it even more formidable back then.

      • KristianHowe profile image

        Kristian Howe 11 months ago from UK

        In my opinion the Ice types in the first two gen's were over-powered, although I only ever played vs the NPC's so I could be wrong!

        A strong water type with a good ice type move (blizzard was an excellent choice) was always my strongest pokemon.