As far as Bird Pokemon are concerned, Fearow was most certainly one of the best you could run with in the first ever Pokemon games, Red and Blue. While Pidgey was certainly more common and evolved into the very recognizable Pidgeot, Spearow evolved more quickly into a much more fearsome Pokemon. Like Pidgeot, though, Fearow was omitted from Sword and Shield, but returned in the Diamond and Pearl remakes in late 2021.
We’ve already looked into answering the Pidgeot VS Fearow question in a previous article, so here we will repeat the base stats of the two fully evolved Flying-type Pokemon.
Pidgeot: 83 HP, 80 Attack, 75 Defense, 70 Special Attack, 70 Special Defense, 91 Speed
Fearow: 65 HP, 90 Attack, 65 Defense, 61 Special Attack, 61 Special Defense, 100 Speed
That is, until Pidgeot’s base stat Speed was buffed to 101 in Pokemon X and Y.
Still, Fearow has a few things to one-up Pidgeot. It learns one of the best flying type physical moves in Drill Peck, which Pidgeot does not. While Pidgeot does learn some strong special attacks like Hurricane and Air Slash, it doesn’t hit as hard as Fearow’s Drill Peck often does. Fearow also does far more damage with Double-Edge, and while the recoil is nasty, it’s often going to KO something more often in the process than Pidgeot would with the same move. In Red, Blue, and Yellow, Fearow also hit extremely hard with Hyper Beam.
In Gold, Silver, and Crystal, Fearow would transition into a Sleep Talk role, using Rest but still randomly attacking with Drill Peck and Double Edge. Of course, it could also end up using Rest while it was still asleep, but it was worth the one-in-three chance of doing nothing. Fearow also held Leftovers in generation 2, meaning it could still heal a bit when it failed to do anything. It wasn’t anything near competitive, but people still played Fearow in competitive battles here and there.
Another possibility with Fearow was running Hidden Power Ground – if it had the right IVs – or Return. Some ran Curse to cut Speed but hit much harder and gain enough defense to take a hit in return. Others ran Substitute to make up for Fearow’s relatively low HP. Pidgeot could work in a similar strategy, but Fearow simply did it better.
In Ruby Sapphire and Emerald, Fearow picked up Baton Pass, passing Agility speed boosts and Substitutes to its teammates. It hit hard with Return and often ran Hidden Power Ground to deal with many of its counters. Diamond and Pearl gave Fearow the ever-useful U-Turn, a bug-type move that can hit Dark-type and Psychic-type Pokemon hard before returning to the trainer. It also gained Pursuit, a move that no longer exists in Pokemon games as of 2021. That’s because the move’s power doubled if the opponent was planning on switching out, so Game Freak inevitably decided to remove it from Pokemon games starting with Sword and Shield. It also doesn’t exist in Brilliant Diamond or Shining Pearl. On that note, how will Fearow fare in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl?
One of the fun things about the Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl remakes is that despite having the same Pokedex as the original Diamond and Pearl (plus Giratina from Platinum) is seeing how new abilities, moves, and buffs affect the gameplay. That’s right: it’s not exactly the same game. Fearow gained the use of the move Drill Run in Black and White, and it keeps it here. If you manage to get a Fearow with Sniper – its hidden ability you can unlock with an Ability Patch – Drill Run’s high critical hit ratio becomes extremely relevant. Sniper boosts the damage from critical hits by 50 percent, meaning a Fearow critically hitting with Drill Run is going to mess up a lot of opponents.
The problem is that Fearow now suffers from the same problem that caused him to fade from competitive relevance after Black and White: other Flying Pokemon got better. His biggest competition comes from Dodrio, who received a lot of buffs to its move set in later generations. One of the more important moves Dodrio became known for is the Dark-type move Knock Off, which not only hits hard, but makes the target drop its held item. Fortunately for Fearow, Dodrio doesn’t get Knock Off in the remake.
Still, since Sun and Moon, Dodrio is now faster (110 Speed), still hits harder (110 ATK), and new in the remake, learns Lunge at level 43, a Sun and Moon era Bug-type move that lowers the target’s Attack stat. Basically, thanks to a similar Speed buff than Pidgeot got, Dodrio is still better than Fearow.
Fearow is still a good Pokemon, don’t get us wrong. The trouble is, Dodrio got better over time than Fearow did, so there’s few reasons to play Fearow over the flightless bird. Of course, Fearow does have that Sniper ability and Drill Run, but that’s about the one thing it has going for it. Staraptor is the king of Normal-type Diamond and Pearl Bird Pokemon, with Dodrio close behind, and even Swellow is a pretty nice alternative choice thanks to its blazing 125 base Speed. Despite being a solid Bird Pokemon for so long, Fearow has finally fallen behind the times.