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Top 10 Pokémon Moves in Generation 1

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

Pokémon Attacks

As any Trainer knows, Pokémon can only learn four attacks, making it difficult to choose between the many options available. And while Nintendo can nowadays properly supply their game developers, 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, most broken moves from the original Generation 1 (Red, Blue, and Yellow) video games!

Graveler using Earthquake

Graveler using Earthquake

10. Earthquake

Type: Ground
Power/Accuracy: 100/100
Effect: Can hit Pokémon 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, and would later double the pain against Steel opponents as well.

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 fainted 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 offense-oriented 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 Pokémon knew Amnesia, like Snorlax and Slowbro, yet it offered an insane number of stat boosts to these massive tanks.

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 Pokémon 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 stats 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 rare Ice type, which dealt extra hurt to many top-tier Pokémon 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, Pokémon 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, Pokémon had to waste a turn just awakening from sleep (after wasting many being asleep), taking forever to jump back in the action. Spore used one of your turns to remove at least one from the opponent, trading one of your turns to steal three or more of your opponent's.

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.

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 Pokémon 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. As you wrap up your battles with wrap, try singing the Poke-rap for good measure.

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 deals 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 negated by any Pokémon (though partially resisted by Dragon, Grass, and Water foes such as Venusaur and Blastoise), making it capable of whittling down any adversary.

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 (Silver, Gold, and Crystal) properly amended them. Some remain viable options in modern battles, and others don't, but either way, I'm eager to see the future of Pokémon attacks, especially after encountering the potent Z-Power moves.

But for now, as we eagerly await Game Freak's next fantasy adventure, vote for your favorite technique, and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!

© 2017 Jeremy Gill


Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on June 10, 2017:

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.

Kristian Howe from UK on June 10, 2017:

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.