Pokémon HG/SS: The Best Rock & Ground-Types, Ranked

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Both Rock and Ground Pokémon are hard to come by.

It’s a shame, too, since they’re often some of the best monsters you can add to your team.

So to honor these rare typings, we’re ranking the absolute best Rock/Ground types that you could add into your team in the Johto games.

We’ll be focusing on HeartGold & SoulSilver here, but these picks can apply to Gold/Silver/Crystal as well.


5. Golem

Golem in Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver

Golem is a strong Pokémon that’s let down by an unfortunate dual-typing.

Its Rock/Ground-typing gives it 4x weaknesses to both Grass and Water moves, rendering it fairly useless in battles against these common types.

But if it’s not fighting against Pokémon with these types, Golem will get to bring out its greatest strength – its pool of high damage physical moves.

Earthquake is of course one quintessential choice, making up 1/2 of Golem’s STAB moves.

For Rock-type STAB, Golem could use Stone Edge, learned naturally at level 49.

Unfortunately, level 49 is a long time to wait. So maybe teach Golem Rock Throw or Rock Blast in the meantime.

When Golem isn’t up against something it can one-shot, consider laying down some entry hazards with the Stealth Rock TM, found in the Celadon Department Store.

And for a final suggestion, we can teach Golem “Roar” as a last-ditch way to remove a Grass or Water-type Pokémon from the field. Roar can be found as a TM on Route 32.

How to catch: Catch a Geodude on Route 45 or 46, then evolve it into Graveler at level 25. Trade Graveler to another game and back again to get your Golem.


4. Tyranitar

Tyranitar in Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver

Look, I know Tyranitar is probably the best Rock-type this side of Gen 8… but I can’t put it any higher on the list.

Larvitar isn’t found in the wild until the dying hours of HGSS, right before the final battle with Red.

So you’re not going to get much use out of it.

But what if you trade Larvitar to yourself earlier from another game? Well that’s more like it.

Pupitar learns Stone Edge at level 54, which will become Tyranitar’s primary STAB move.

For Dark-type STAB, we can give Tyranitar Crunch, another move it’ll learn as a Pupitar.

Earthquake will also make an appearance here, to deal with any Steel-types that could pose a threat to Tyranitar.

And finally we’ll give Tyranitar the Flamethrower TM to cover its Bug and Grass weaknesses. Flamethrower can be found in the Goldenrod City Department Store or on Route 28.

How to catch: You can obtain a Tyranitar in a couple ways. The proper way is to catch a Larvitar on Mt. Silver, and train it to level 30 to evolve it into Pupitar. Pupitar will then evolve into Tyranitar at level 55.

The way I recommend, however, is trading a Larvitar to yourself from a completed copy of Diamond or Platinum, where it can be found on Route 206 and 207 respectively.


3. Marowak

Marowak in Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver

Marowak might seem like a bit of a downgrade from Tyranitar.

But what it lacks in stats it makes up for in accessibility.

As a pure Ground-type, Marowak should of course have Earthquake in its moveset.

But it doesn’t learn that through leveling, so we’d have to find the TM for Earthquake this time around though. Pick it up from Victory Road or at the Battle Frontier Market.

We can also give Marowak some extra utility by teaching it Dig via TM. This is helpful in battle & in the overworld as a free Escape Rope.

You can get Dig as early as the National Park, just north of Goldenrod City.

Marowak is often let down by its weak defensive stats, so we can teach it Stealth Rock to ensure it’ll have a lasting impact on the battle despite the short time it’ll spend fighting.

Finally, consider teaching Marowak Flamethrower to give it some vital coverage against its weakness to Grass-type moves.

How to catch: Both Marowak and its pre-evolution (Cubone) can be found in the Kanto Rock Tunnel or the Johto Safari Zone.


2. Aerodactyl

Aerodactyl in Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver

As my personal favorite Pokémon on the list, Aerodactyl misses out on the top spot due to how late in the game you’ll finally get ahold of it.

Aerodactyl’s once-unique typing of Rock/Flying gives it an interesting array of resistances of weaknesses – so let’s base its moveset around mitigating some of the unique dangers that it’ll face.

Flamethrower will take care of its Ice and Steel-type weaknesses, while Iron Tail will protect it from any Rock-type users.

The Iron Tail TM will be given to you as a reward for beating the Olivine City Gym.

Rock Slide can act as Aerodactyl’s main offensive move, learned naturally at an eye-watering level 65.

Until then, Rock Tomb will work as a substitute – find that in Union Cave, between Azalea Town and Route 32.

For Flying-type STAB, both Fly and Aerial Ace work great, so feel free to pick whichever fits your priorities best.

How to catch: Collect the Old Amber by repeatedly using Rock Smash on the rocks found in the Ruins of Alph. Take it to the Pewter City Museum in Kanto to have it revived into Aerodactyl.


1. Steelix

Steelix in Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver

Steelix is a cut above the rest on this list – and it has its Steel/Ground dual-typing to thank for it.

We can take advantage of Steelix’s laundry list of type resistances and fill its moveset with 4 offensive moves.

Earthquake makes a return here as the best Ground-type move once again, while Stone Edge will act as a nice bit of coverage against Fire-types.

Steelix’s huge bulk gives it the perfect opportunity to lay down some Stealth Rocks, too. So be sure to pick up that TM.

And then finally we’ll leverage Steelix’s bottom-tier speed stat to make the most of STAB Gyro Ball, a move that gets more powerful the slower the user is.

How to catch: Catch an Onix in Union Cave, then pick up a Metal Coat from the S.S. Aqua after defeating the Elite Four.

Equip Onix with this Metal Coat, and then trade it to another cartridge to evolve it into Steelix. Trade back and enjoy your new snake.

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Jack Salter

Jack is a writer from the UK that spends too much time Nuzlocking the Pokémon series. After a crushing defeat, he relaxes by rewatching Attack On Titan in the hope that it'll make the final season come out sooner - It never does.