The Best Steel-Types in Pokémon HG & SS

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Before the Fairy type came into existence, Steel Pokémon were the uncontested kings of defense.

And the best ones are often massively bulky, and have surprising versatility to keep them alive for many turns.

So if you’re booting up some HG/SS and want some suggestions, here’s the Steel-types that I think stand out the most across Johto and Kanto.


3. Skarmory

Skarmory Pokedex in Pokemon HeartGold

Skarmory looks like a lackluster Pokémon on the surface. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find the best entry hazard user in the game.

Skarmory’s low base stats mean we’ll have to teach it a full support moveset, without any offensive moves whatsoever.

First up is Substitute, which’ll consume some of Skarmory’s health to put up a blockade to protect it while we perform the setup shenanigans that Skarmory is here for. Substitute’s TM is in the Goldenrod City Game Corner.

Next is Toxic, the best Poison-inflicting move in all of Pokémon. Pick up this TM from the Battle Frontier Market after your first trip to the Pokémon League, and use it liberally.

Entry hazards are Skarmory’s forte, so we’ll also equip it with Stealth Rock and Spikes.

Stealth Rock is the best entry hazard move in the game, laying down rocks which will damage enemy Pokémon which enter the battlefield. By default it deals 1/8th of the Pokémon’s max HP, but this will go up and down depending on the Pokémon’s weakness or resistance to Rock-type moves.

For example, Pokémon with a x4 weakness to Rock will take a full 1/2 of their max HP just for entering the battlefield.

The Stealth Rock TM can be found in Mt. Silver, or in the Celadon City Department Store.

And the other (slightly weaker) entry hazard move is Spikes, which ignores resistances and weaknesses to deal ⅛ damage regardless of type matchups. That is, until you use it multiple times.

Spikes will stack up to three times, getting twice as powerful each time.

One stack of Spikes will deal ⅛ of Max HP, while 2 stacks will deal ¼ and 3 stacks will deal a ridiculous ½.

The catch is that you’ll have to keep Skarmory alive long enough to make this work.

But with Substitute, you stand a good chance of getting at least 2 stacks of Spikes in before it goes down.

How to catch: Skarmory can be found on Route 45 in SoulSilver exclusively.


2. Steelix

Steelix Pokedex in Pokemon HeartGold

Steelix is a more typical Steel-type: an ultra-bulky slow behemoth that wants to dish out huge Physical attacks, and use Earthquake on any opponent that doesn’t fly or levitate.

And to plan out its moveset let’s start with Earthquake: a move that gains STAB through Steelix’s Steel/Ground dual-typing.

Earthquake is a staple for a reason. So pick it up as soon as you can from Victory Road or the Battle Frontier Market.

For Steel-type STAB we can equip Steelix with Gyro Ball: a move that varies in power depending on the user’s speed. Steelix has a rock-bottom speed stat of 30, which should make Gyro Ball deal massive damage.

Next is some coverage for Steelix’s Fire-type weakness. There are two options here, depending on how much you value accuracy, damage, and bonus effects.

Stone Edge is learned by leveling up to level 57, and it deals more damage than Rock Slide, plus has a high critical-hit ratio – but it has an 80% hit rate.

Meanwhile Rock Slide deals a bit less damage, but it has a 90% hit rate. And it has a decent chance to make the opponent flinch. You’ll have to pick up its TM from the Pewter City Gym.

Rock Slide is my choice between the two, but either move will cover Steelix’s weakness to Fire just as effectively.

And for our 4th move, we have to deal with Steelix’s Water-type weakness. So we’ll teach Steelix Thunder Fang by visiting the move reminder in Blackthorn City.

How to catch: You can catch Steelix in a couple of ways. The easiest method is waiting until Mt. Silver to catch one in the wild.

But if you have a second Gen 4 game and an extra DS, you can instead trade a Bellsprout for an Onix in a house in Violet City (or catch one in the nearby Union Cave). Then equip Onix with a Metal Coat, which you’ll find on the SS Aqua. Trade Onix while holding the Metal Coat to finally evolve it into Steelix, then trade it back to your HG/SS cartridge.


1. Scizor

Scizor Pokedex in Pokemon HeartGold

Scizor topping this list probably won’t be a surprise.

There’s a good reason for its reputation, with its high physical attack and speed taking center stage.

We can buff this attack further with one of the best status moves: Swords Dance.

Use the attack buff you’ll get from it to fire off a few OTKOs with X-Scissor, Scizor’s main Bug STAB damage. Scizor’s Bug/Steel typing comes in handy too, leaving it with only one weakness, a x4 weakness to Fire.

Unfortunately, there’s no coverage for a Fire weakness in Scizor’s move pool. So we’ll have to settle with a way to escape from these matchups.

U-Turn is the perfect way to get Scizor out of a bad situation while also dealing some last-resort damage on the way out.

For Steel-type STAB, Scizor can also learn Iron Head at level 53.

But if you don’t want to wait that long, you can pick up the Steel Wing TM on Route 28.

Scizor is a powerhouse sweeper that can put its unique typing to work to fill almost any niche. It’ll make easy work of Karen’s Dark-type Elite Four team, as well as Will’s Psychic team.

How to catch: You can catch Scyther during the Johto Bug Catching Contest on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Equip Scyther with a Metal Coat (found on the SS Aqua) and then trade Scyther to another game. Trade back the now-evolved Scizor and he’s all yours.

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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.