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The 10 best rental Pokemon in Pokemon Stadium

Be the very best with the very worst

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The rerelease of Pokemon Stadium via the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack has been a mixed bag. On one hand, it’s great to see a spinoff like Pokemon Stadium see the light of day again. Interest in competitive Pokemon battling has taken off exponentially since 2000, so Stadium in many ways feels more relevant today than it was at launch.

On the other hand, the greatest feature of Pokemon Stadium was its integration with Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow via the N64 Transfer Pak. The Switch release of Pokemon Stadium sorely lacks this, forcing players to use rental Pokemon with… less than ideal movesets. Pokemon like Alakazam that are otherwise very good in Generation 1 are rendered practically useless due to rental movesets. Beating Pokemon Stadium with rentals is an uphill battle, but if you are absolutely dedicated, you can make progress with these monsters. You just have to know who to choose.

A couple disclaimers. First, the “best rental Pokemon” will change depending on the encounter. Every Pokemon’s move pool changes between Cups, which can dramatically affect their viability. Additionally, some rental Pokemon counter specific trainers better than others. For example, Dugtrio isn’t on this list, but it is invaluable in outspeeding Lt. Serge’s Raichu before it uses Surf.

Additionally, remember that we’re reverting to Generation 1 rules in Pokemon Stadium. Special Attack and Special Defense are lumped into one stat, and physical/special moves are predetermined by Type. So moves like Ice Punch do not scale off Attack. With all that out of the way, here are generally the best rental Pokemon in Pokemon Stadium.

Screenshot by Destructoid

10: Kadabra

Here’s the thing about Psychic-Type Pokemon in Generation 1: they’re practically uncontested. Even an unevolved Pokemon like Kadabra becomes a force to be reckoned with under these circumstances. Yes, Alakazam has better stats, but it completely lacks the move Psychic. Meanwhile, Kadabra typically has this staple attack in addition to Recover in Poke Cup and Thunder Wave in Prime Cup. It only has Psybeam in the Gym Castle, but this is still superior to Alakazam knowing… Psywave. Why?

Kadabra is specifically good in Pika Cup, where it outperforms competitors like Mr. Mime.

Screenshot by Destructoid

9: Rhydon

Rhydon is a strong Pokemon in Generation 1, and it’s serviceable in Pokemon Stadium. It has an enormous Attack stat, and its access to moves like Dig and Earthquake help it deal serious damage. Its other moves aren’t especially notable, as Rhydon lacks the Special stat to make Thunder or Surf really work. Fortunately, getting Same-Type Attack Bonus (STAB) with Ground-Type attacks justify its spot here.

Screenshot by Destructoid

8: Chansey

Chansey is another great Generation 1 Pokemon that is merely pretty good in Pokemon Stadium. Its sky high HP and Special stats are amazing, but its movesets vary wildly depending on where you use it. In Pika Cup, Thunder Bolt makes it formidable, and Bubble Beam at least gives it some coverage. Ice Beam and Thunder aren’t bad in the Gym Leader castle either, even if the latter will make you pray to the RNG gods for success.

Otherwise, Chansey is mostly here to help you wall Psychic-Type Pokemon that otherwise can’t be countered. Rest and Minimize (Poke Cup) or Seismic Toss (Prime Cup) aren’t ideal, but they’re better than what some rental Pokemon bring.

Screenshot by Destructoid

7: Exeggutor

Exeggutor is a weird one. Its main offensive move in most Cups is Mega Drain, which… isn’t the strongest. This monster mainly makes it here because, again, Psychic-Type Pokemon are good. Since it actually resists Psychic, it can weaken otherwise impenetrable foes with Leech Seed and Stun Spore. It also knows either Egg Bomb or Stomp in all but Pika Cup, letting it deal okay physical damage against monsters with weaker defenses.

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6: Moltres

The Legendary Birds qualify based on stats alone. In the case of Moltres, despite its glaring weakness to Rock-Type attacks, it fares well in the context of Pokemon Stadium. Fire Blast is relatively accurate for the enormous damage it deals, and Fly is a decent move in Poke Cup. Meanwhile, Agility and Reflect help it set up a bit in Prime Cup if you have a good opportunity to use them.

The other Fire-Types really don’t outperform Moltres, so give this bird a shot if you need the coverage.

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5: Articuno

Similarly, Articuno is worth a pick due to consistent access to Ice Beam. Ice is great offensively, so covering this base alone makes Articuno valuable. Additionally, a frozen Pokemon is tantamount to a KO’d Pokemon, as the only ways to heal the condition involve items (which you can’t use) or getting thawed by a Fire-Type move (which you won’t use).

While Articuno is very vulnerable to Rock-Type attacks, it easily outspeeds the likes of Golem and Rhydon. And with its trademark powerful Special stat, it will claim easy knockouts before they even act. That said, its Prime Cup variation does know Agility, so you can boost your Speed even further if you need it.

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4: Zapdos

Rounding out our legendary birds, Zapdos is a remarkably strong pick in the Poke Cup. Thunderbolt is the move for Zapdos to have, and Thunder Wave lets it debilitate foes if it lacks type advantage. Combined with fantastic Electric/Flying Typing, Zapdos becomes a legitimate powerhouse.

In the other Cups, Zapdos is stuck with Thunder, which is… well, inaccurate. That said, you do have Save States on the Switch Online version of the game, so you can restart encounters if they don’t go your way. Some may say this is cheating, but playing without the Transfer Pak is already unfair, so you might as well level the playing field.

It should be noted that Jolteon is very comparable to Zapdos. With less Special but more Speed, the thunder fox may be your best pick against monsters like Tentacruel and Starmie. It has the same primary Electric moves as Zapdos in each Cup, so pick whichever counters your potential opponents best.

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3: Vaporeon

Gym Castle Vaporeon is just solid. With access to Surf and Aurora Beam, Vaporeon has good coverage and stats to match. It’s still pretty good in the other Cups, though some other Water-Type Pokemon may wind up being a bit better. Starmie is a great pick in the Poke Cup, as the combination of Surf and Thunder is too solid to pass up. Vaporeon can work in Prime Cup too, just note that you’ll use Hydro Pump instead of Surf.

Screenshot by Destructoid

2: Nidoking

Earthquake. That’s why Nidoking is here. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but access to potentially the strongest move in the game with a STAB boost goes a long way. Additionally, while Rhydon has the greater Attack stat, Nidoking has a distinct Speed advantage. It won’t outspeed actually fast Pokemon, but it will run circles around other Ground-Type options aside from Dugtrio.

You won’t use any of Nidoking’s other moves outside of specific circumstances. Horn Drill is there as a last resort if you’re really backed in a corner, but gambling on a 30% chance isn’t great strategy. But as a counterpoint, did I mention Earthquake is really strong? The fact that Nidoking’s Special stat will keep it from passing out at the sight of water is also nice.

Screenshot by Destructoid

1: Jynx

Jynx is the best rental, hands down. While every other Pokemon on this list is lucky to have two decent moves, Jynx approaches a well-rounded kit. Psychic is your powerful bread-and-butter move, dealing solid damage against virtually every monster in the game. Ice Punch isn’t the best Ice attack, but it’s still benefits from STAB and gives Jynx valuable coverage. Finally, Lovely Kiss is a relatively accurate Sleep-inducing move, which can help you safely switch in a new Pokemon in a pinch. You just might have to endure the enemy waking up on turn one a few times.

Best of all, Jynx always has access to these moves. Her fourth move will be a Normal-Type attack depending on the Cup, which does provide her a way to damage opponents with high Special stats. Additionally, a Psychic/Ice-Type combination combined with good Speed gives Jynx an abnormally high set of favorable matchups. Just watch out for Rock and Fire-Type attacks.

Of all the rental Pokemon, Jynx is the only one you could feasibly use in every encounter. Her usability falls off hard in Pokemon Stadium 2, but for the sake of our collective sanity, let’s worry about that later.


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Author
Timothy Monbleau
Guide Editor - Timothy started writing community blogs for Destructoid in 2012. He liked it so much he decided to write articles for the site professionally. His love for RPGs and the Ys series will endure forever.