Blastoise has long been a favorite of many old school Pokemon players simply because of how versatile the Shellfish Pokemon can be. His defenses are solid both physically and specially, and he’s also a decent physical attacker and special attacker. While in the first games he was overshadowed in competitive play by Venusaur and Charizard, Blastoise gained access to Rapid Spin, one of the best moves in competitive play for getting rid of hazards such as Spikes and Leech Seed. While some players have often turned to Wartortle in a utility role, thanks to the invention of Eviolite in Black and White, Blastoise still holds his own and even gained a Mega Evolution in Pokemon X and Y. For now, we’ll look at the basic Blastoise before moving on to his Mega form.
Many players looking to fit Blastoise into their competitive teams seem to view Blastoise as more of a special attacker. Indeed, many players as early as Gold and Silver used a move set including Rapid Spin and Surf as the attacking moves, reserving the other two move slots for Rest and Sleep Talk. Because Blastoise has good defenses, consistently being able to rest and regain health while also continuously hitting for damage is not a trait to be underestimated. The addition of held items such as Leftovers made Blastoise even more difficult to deal with.
In Ruby and Sapphire, Pokemon gained abilities. Blastoise gained Torrent, a familiar ability for starter Water Pokemon, which powers up Water-type moves by 50 percent when the user is below one-third of its maximum HP. In the first generation utilizing Effort Values, players maxed out Blastoise’s HP, while dumping a respectable amount into physical defense. Some players continued to use the Sleep Talk set, but introducing Ice Beam over Rapid Spin in some cases, thanks to Ice becoming much more relevant as a way to deal with threats like Salamence. Others abandoned Rest and instead used Roar as a way to force problem opposing Pokemon out and potentially receive damage from entry hazards. In the Diamond and Pearl era, Blastoise functioned pretty much the same way.
In Black and White, Blastoise gained a hidden ability called Rain Dish, which heals a Pokemon for 1/16th of its max HP each turn if Rain is active. While this proved to be a beneficial ability on many other Water-type Pokemon, it never did much for Blastoise, who prefers the Torrent ability. The primary addition to Blastoise’s move set was Scald, a Water-type attack that has a 30 percent chance to burn, a staple move as recent as Sword and Shield.
Finally, Blastoise found a use for its Rain Dish ability, as becoming the Mega Evolution go-to on Rain teams in Generation 6, especially during the later Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby half of the generation. While Blastoise himself had begun to be power crept out of top-tier competitive play, the Mega Evolution brought a very interesting new ability into play: Mega Launcher. This ability is only found on Clauncher and Clawitzer, and Blastoise can use it better. It powers up Pulse moves by 50 percent, and Blastoise can learn Aura Sphere, Dark Pulse, and Dragon Pulse, which are all boosted by that ability. Of course, Mega Blastoise also receives significant stat boosts: +20 to Attack, +20 to Defense, +50 to Special Attack, and +10 to Special Defense. While his Mega Evolution gains nothing in Speed, clever trainers can invest somewhat in Speed to outspeed some common threats such as Machamp, Gligar, and Suicune. Mega Blastoise lost some steam going into Sun and Moon, and eventually Mega Evolutions were phased out in Sword and Shield.
Still, Blastoise continued to make waves (pun intended) in early Sword and Shield competition, relying on Shell Smash to power up his Surf and Dark Pulse attacks. Some builds used Substitute to stall while building up two Shell Smash, while others were happy to simply pack Ice Beam as a third attack. Unlike almost every iteration before, Rapid Spin was no longer as much of a factor, with entry hazards still present, but not nearly as relevant in a format with Dynamax. Like his first generation starter cousins, Charizard and Venusaur, he did receive a Gigantamax form with a special attack, G-Max Cannonade. Similar to Venusaur’s G-Max Vine Lash, it continues to deal damage for four additional turns, but only to non-Water types. While that is a drawback when compared to Vine Lash, there are simply better options to Dynamax, such as Water-type Urshifu or even Inteleon, both of whom have more powerful Gigantamax moves. It’s a shame that G-Max Blastoise hasn’t gotten more love, but also it’s understandable.
With the Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl remakes, Blastoise still learns Scald by TM, as well as Dragon Pulse and Dark Pulse, moves that didn’t exist in the original Diamond and Pearl games. The best move set in these games is likely very similar to Sword and Shield: Shell Smash, Scald, and some combination of Ice Beam, Dark Pulse, and Dragon Pulse. One drawback is that he can’t learn Aura Sphere; but that’s not a huge loss considering you have multiple other Pokemon who can pack that move much more effectively, and there’s no Mega evolutions in these games.
Overall, Blastoise has gone from being a Rest Talker, to a Rapid Spin utility mon, to a Mega special attacker, to a Shell Smash special attack sweeper. While Venusaur, and perhaps even Charizard in some respects, has certainly surpassed Blastoise in usefulness in today’s competitive Pokemon, many people still sleep on Blastoise. It’s hard to see Blastoise ever being anything but a good Pokemon; the matter is if he will ever be good enough to compete at higher levels as we enter Generation 9.