Comparing My 2003 "Competitive" Pokémon Lineup to 2021 Standards

Looking back at the Pokémon team decisions made by kid-Niko. Spoilers: They aren't great.

Comparing My 2003 "Competitive" Pokémon Lineup to 2021 Standards
FireRed Pokémon League run using some of the Sapphire squad.

When you're just over 10 years old and want to face friends in a link cable enabled Pokémon battle in Gen 3 Pokémon, you might go the same route I did:

What's cool? I'm going to use that.

So recently I re-found my old Pokémon games:

  1. Gold and Silver
  2. Sapphire
  3. FireRed
  4. Platinum
  5. Y (though this won't be included in this lineup)

And apart from Gen 2 (RIP to the coin cell battery) I was able to check out my saves. I was most prolific in generations 2 and 3, but since my Gen 2 saves are gone, we'll focus on my Sapphire lineup - to which I traded up through the generations and currently sit in my Platinum save.

The following table contains my level 100s with some of their stats then a little comment and a rating both influenced by my memories and builds from Smogon.

Pokémon Nature Ability Attacks EVs Smogon Tier Comments Rating
Kyogre Docile Drizzle Body Slam
Water Spout
Ice Beam
Hydro Pump
106 HP
152 Atk
84 Def
33 SpA
66 SpD
69 Spe
Uber I guess it's closest to the Water Spout build, with the Smogon comment "and is often seen as amateur". Fair enough. Somehow I ended up with about the right amount of HP EVs (ideal being 108 HP) but am super lacking in the special attack EVs. 3/5
Sceptile Careful Overgrow Slam
Leaf Blade
False Swipe
88 HP
128 Atk
65 Def
79 SpA
34 SpD
116 Spe
UnderUsed Banlist Welcome to my starter. I remember walking by the school pool in intermediate school talking with friends about their final form starters and thinking "Man... Mine is garbage compared." Maybe that's why I went with False Swipe - to make it easier to catch cooler Pokémon. 1/5
Magneton Relaxed Magnet Pull Zap Cannon
Tri Attack
91 HP
169 Atk
64 Def
56 SpA
61 SpD
69 Spe
OverUsed Upon looking at the moveset I instantly remembered that I specifically wanted the Lock-On/Zap Cannon setup. I remember it being garbage, it with how it's built, I very much still agree. 1/5
Muk Gentle Sticky Hold Disable
Sludge Bomb
40 HP
46 Atk
23 Def
14 SpA
15 SpD
15 Spe
UnderUsed I think I remember this being a unique case where it was raised in the daycare. That would explain the moveset and low EVs. 1/5
Gyarados Lax Intimidate Hyper Beam
Hydro Pump
Fire Blast
21 HP
156 Atk
112 Def
62 SpA
54 SpD
105 Spe
OverUsed Had to be here, always gotta have a cool Gyarados. Except, that moveset and EVs suggest it could hit harder if it was setup like it should be: a special attacker. I think I remember being mildly underwhelmed when battling friends, now nearly 20 years later, I understand why. 1/5
Swellow Timid Guts Aerial Ace
Wing Attack
Double Team
36 HP
72 Atk
43 Def
18 SpA
35 SpD
12 Spe
UnderUsed Banlist Perhaps another daycare Pokémon? I remember using Aerial Ace in battles, but that's it. 1/5
Crawdaunt Quirky Shell Armor Crabhammer
Bubble Beam
25 HP
105 Atk
100 Def
100 SpA
100 SpD
80 Spe
NeverUsed I secretly enjoyed this Pokémon, perhaps because it was unique with a Dark/Water typing. Sadly it is the victim of no physical water attacks even though I remember thinking a high attack stat with a move like Crabhammer was good. That cheeky little Guillotine though. 2/5
Armaldo Mild Battle Armor Ancient Power
Metal Claw
84 HP
185 Atk
92 Def
29 SpA
89 SpD
31 Spe
UnderUsed Banlist I wanted it to be better. I've always been fond of the more ancient and extinct, but man in battle with how this is built, another for the trash. 1/5
Absol Mild Pressure Double Team
Swords Dance
107 HP
132 Atk
103 Def
30 SpA
36 SpD
102 Spe
UnderUsed How cool was the edgy blade bits? Looks like I kept the moves that felt the part and with a tad bit of type coverage with flamethrower. Competitively, another bad one in the lineup - double entendre intended. 2/5
Medicham Bashful Pure Power Psychic
High Jump Kick
97 HP
147 Atk
93 Def
51 SpA
67 SpD
55 Spe
UnderUsed Banlist My thought process as follows: the power for High Jump Kick + this being a kicking Pokémon = powerful. I got to the right answer with the wrong workings. What was carrying me was the ability which doubles attack along with amazingly having okay EVs. 4/5
Wobbuffet Jolly Shadow Tag Counter
Mirror Coat
Destiny Bond
82 HP
181 Atk
53 Def
99 SpA
53 SpD
42 Spe
Uber I didn't realise how incredibly powerful Wobbuffet was. I knew it was good but I could never get the hang of it. Probably because I didn't understand how Physical and Special worked. I barely used it. 3/5
Glalie Relaxed Inner Focus Crunch
Ice Beam
Sheer Cold
79 HP
182 Atk
56 Def
84 SpA
62 SpD
47 Spe
NeverUsed I thought it was neat and remember thinking I had great moves on it. I think I had a similar soft spot here as with Crawdaunt along with another OHKO move of Sheer Cold. 2/5
Solrock Hasty Levitate Cosmic Power
Rock Slide
Solar Beam
7 HP
7 Atk
0 Def
3 SpA
3 SpD
21 Spe
UnderUsed This has to be the cutest attack pairing to a Pokémon so far in this list. Each attack is deeply related to the Pokémon in my young mind. It's the sun so of course it's cosmic, shoots a solar Beam and explodes. I remember also being surprised it was a rock type, so I guess I threw in Rock Slide for good measure. Also, another daycare 'mon. 3/5
Lunatone Sassy Levitate Cosmic Power
Future Sight
9 HP
6 Atk
2 Def
3 SpA
0 SpD
3 Spe
UnderUsed I'm sure this was in daycare with Solrock, a beautiful pairing. Again with a fitting moveset, I think I've come to enjoy how I built both Solrock and Lunatone. But they weren't great in battle. 3/5
Aggron Modest Rock Head Double Edge
Iron Tail
56 HP
171 Atk
62 Def
106 SpA
65 SpD
50 Spe
UnderUsed Another ability I took notice of. Basically the job of Aggron was to hurtle itself into the enemy with no recoil damage. 2/5

Something we see all the way through is a lack of EV understanding. I didn't even know they existed until about 2006/7 when a friend of my told me if I just kept battling against wild Skitty I would get a faster Pokémon. After knocking out about 10 low level Skitty, I moved on and never revisited the idea.

Abilities are something I never really took notice of - we only see it about three times in this list. They were more a garnish rather than an integral part. Looking at you Muk.

Held items. The only ones I understood were berries and Leftovers. No Choice Band, Choice Specs or Macho Brace for me.

"Hidden Power? The move that could be any other damage type? It's always weird and weak, I'm not interested" - well early-to-mid-2000s-Niko, it's really useful to expand a move pool to get coverage or super effective attacks when otherwise impossible.

Overall I remember winning a lot of battles, so I feel we were all as bad as each other. But it was enjoyable regardless because we were at the same level, it would've been awful to fight against a properly decked out Blissy, Rayquaza, Metagross or Salamence to name a couple.

In terms of strategy, you can tell from above it was mash my Pokémon into their Pokémon until win or loss. A friend of mine sprung a Milotic on me one day in battle. I had no idea this existed because it's kinda hard to get, but it was my first experience against a proper wall and it was scary. We also had no concept of setting up things like traps, or stalling or sweeping. As long as my Hyper Beam was stronger, then all was well.

Continue screen for my Pokémon Sapphire save.

Oh and if you want to know how I grabbed my old saves to analyse this stuff, you can check this post:

Backing up My Game Boy and Game Boy Advance Saves With an InsideGadgets GBxCart RW
Using the InsideGadgets GBxCart RW I was able to really easily back up my old Game Boy and Game Boy Advance game saves and ROMs. Really simple and quick.