Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver starter strategy guide

Welcome to the greatest Pokemon adventure yet – a remake of the classic Game Boy games which, covering both new region Johto and the original Kanto region, is a massive time sink to get your teeth into. Over the next three days we’re going to take you through team building and monster raising, point out some of the areas’ easily missed treats and give you a full breakdown of those all important Gym and boss battles. First up are the fundamental strategies every Pokemon wrangler needs to know to not get smoked on the battlefield…

Check back tomorrow for our Hidden Secrets Guide.

Starter Pokemon

It’s not just a case of picking the cutest – your initial choice of Pokemon has a significant effect on your Heart/Soul experience.

Evolutions: Quilava (Level 14) Typhlosion (Lv 36)

The beginner’s choice. Given the types of enemies you face early on, picking ol’ Cynda will make things easier at the beginning – though its end-game is not that great.

Evolutions: Croconaw (Lv 18) Feraligatr (Lv 30)

A solid choice for the whole of the game, balanced in attack and defence. However, if it’s a specialist water ’Mon you’re after, there are much better ones to use later on.

Evolutions: Bayleef (Lv 16) Meganium (Lv 32)

The best choice for advanced players. Its poor damage early on means Chikorita’s potential is only realised in the second half of your adventure – Meganium can be formidable.

State of grind

Getting your team’s levels up to speed…

The first patch of grass you come across in Johto, spend a good 15 minutes to half an hour, just getting experience. Make your starter Pokemon a powerhouse early on. Dedicate plenty of time to training in between towns or Gyms.

When you’ve caught a new Pokemon, switch it to the top of your team and then, as soon as a battle starts, switch it to a more powerful ’Mon to share the experience. This is the best way to help groom lower level Pokemon.

Making the team

Creating a powerful posse is not easy. Use these tips…

Getting a good spread of Pokemon types is vital. As you progress, aim to train up at least one monster of each type – you never know when you’ll need them.

Small but strong. Concentrating your efforts on smaller teams of four Pokemon at a time will mean you can level faster, leaving space for Slave Pokemon.

Don’t use HM’s weaker moves (cut, flash, etc.) on your good Pokemon. Catch a couple of monsters for this task. And make sure you’ve got your star Pokemon covered.

Poke Balls

Take it from us, never leave town without them!

We’ve lost count how many times we’ve come across a Rare, only to then lose it because of bad preparation. Better balls become available as you progress. Catching the harder Pokemon we like to use Quick, Heavy, Dusk and Ultra Balls. Remember to collect Apricorns so you can get Kurt in Azalea to make balls for you.

Advanced training

Making your ’Mon the best they can be…

You know when your Pokemon level up and you’re presented with a list of its stats, and how they’ll increase? Did you know there’s a way to influence those stat increases? It’s called Effort Value (or EV) Training and it’s a hugely complicated process.

On a basic level, fighting loads of fast Pokemon will improve your ’Mon’s speed stat. Fighting loads of Steelix should improve your defence stats more than if you fought lots of Pikachus. Picking the Pokemon to grind through will give you the edge! For a more in-depth guide click here.

Check the next page to learn all about the TMs and HMs.



Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000
  • PokeSoldier - July 16, 2013 7:57 p.m.

    I chose CYNDAQUIL and leveled it up to Lv10 as soon as I got it and I also named it after Earth's deadliest volcano, Kilauea. Before I challenged Elder Li of Sprout Tower I caught a MAREEP and did the same strategy so that after I battle Li I would be able to then have my MAREEP take on Falkner. My training is about liberation I don't like having my team be unbalanced so I always make sure my team is equal by level so I'll be prepared for any obstacles in Johto/Kanto. Think before you take action.
  • iamcow - January 11, 2011 11:50 p.m.

    @tylerlund381 it should be at the very top of your radio but you need to drag the tuner to it.
  • tylerlund381 - August 10, 2010 12:35 a.m.

    were do you get the poke flute and how plz help me
  • andremurphy212 - June 29, 2010 10:16 p.m.

    i dont know if anybody noticed, but in pokemon there is always more water types in the region than fire types. one of the reasons i picked cyndaquil. it kinda sucks, but i just started, and i don't know where 2 go after u meet mr. pokemon. (the main reason is because i also have platinum, but i still haven't beaten that pokemon league, either. all i'd need 4 now is an exp. share or two.
  • secretsearcher - April 25, 2010 1:59 a.m.

    @lllllACElllll what's the rest of your team like? lacking a fire pokemon shouldn't have been too big a problem. my team is as follows: Typhlosion, Vaporeon, Pidgeot, Ampharos, and Nidoking, all level 40, and my lv 45 lugia. I'm on my way to Victory Road at the moment. Hoping for an easy ride through the Pokemon league so I can get on to Kanto.
  • secretsearcher - April 25, 2010 1:56 a.m.

    Cyndaquil has always been my favorite. Followed Closely by Chikorita. I hate totodile though. There are sooooo many better water pokemon out there.
  • Lenniiiboooy - April 5, 2010 6:40 a.m.

    I picked Cyndaquil. Very excellent pokemon
  • IIIIIACEIIIII - April 2, 2010 1:50 a.m.

    No worries guys, I started again on Emerald to get a Torchic, and imported Torchic to Diamond, then traded it to Soulsilver (it's really amazing how all these games can link up). Just beat the Elite Four a few hours ago and I left off with two Kanto badges under my belt :)
  • Silentboy - April 1, 2010 11:06 p.m.

    I went with the fire type and although the later gym leaders and Elite 4 were kinda hard, I still love Typhlosion.
  • tyeatsairplane - April 1, 2010 6:34 p.m.

    hmm the whole "beating red" thing i said at the end, is totally irrelevant, but i felt cool saying it.
  • tyeatsairplane - April 1, 2010 6:33 p.m.

    @IIIIIACEIIIII i think you should get that dratini with extremespeed from the dragon den place, and level it up to like 50 or something like that, because lance is pretty much impossible without something like that. or you could get lugia. i beat red like 10 minutes ago, i feel so pro n_n
  • kiwicrossing - April 1, 2010 5:57 p.m.

    @IIIIIACEIIIII I had the exact same problem, I'd suggest a Magmar from the Safari Zone
  • IIIIIACEIIIII - April 1, 2010 5:02 p.m.

    Reached the elite four with a team of four Lv.40's, and need a fire pokemon too late in the game. It's gonna take ages to train one up. Thanks for the TM list, it's too bad Thunderbolt is in Kanto; I need it now xP
  • kiwicrossing - April 1, 2010 5:39 a.m.

    I got 30 hours in when I realized that my team sucked and Feraligatr was not good enough
  • crawfishmase94 - April 1, 2010 2:31 a.m.

    @cyberninja it's nice to know someone else has a good taste in starters.:) i got my Meganium to lv 100 to.
  • Cyberninja - April 1, 2010 1:07 a.m.

    thank you i have been looking for rock climb i just beat main campain and started taking out kanto leaders also Meganium i love to death but if you dont like risks dont pick it the most powerful grass moves leave it very valable to attacks because they both take 2 turns i would suggest teaching it earthquake and a rock move so that you can ko almost any foe. trust me in crystal i got it lv 100
  • groovy3000 - March 31, 2010 11:50 p.m.

    i'm the only one i know that doesn't like pokemon
  • theschwartzb - March 31, 2010 11:42 p.m.

    Just so no one else can get it.