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Generation Two: Gold/Silver/Crystal

Ampharos

Ampharos will always hold a special place in my heart because of my first time ever playing Pokémon Silver. Early in the game I added a Mareep to my party just so I had some Electric coverage. Imagine my surprise when, at level 30, it evolved from the poofy-looking Flaaffy into a slick, Electric monster. Not only that, but it hit like a ton of a bricks, becoming one of my strongest allies. Now, with the advent of Generation 6, Ampharos can become Mega Ampharos, a bloody dragon, as if it needed to be any cooler. — Adriaan den Ouden

Feraligatr

I've raised many starter Pokémon, but Chompy the Feraligatr is my favourite. There's just something about his saucy look and his tendency to one-shot Mr. Mimes with Crunch that really appeals to me. He's even had the same moveset since I raised him in SoulSilver - Surf, Crunch, Ice Fang, and Hydro Cannon. Yes, I know it's a mixed moveset on a physical Pokémon, but I keep it like that as a memory of simpler times when I didn't care. — Becky Cunningham

Heracross

It took a while for Heracross to grow on me. Coming fresh off of Red I thought all Bug Pokémon were garbage. Heracross turns out to be a pretty devestating attacker and helped quite a bit when it came to dealing with the new Dark and Steel types. It's just a shame I didn't get one until after the battle against Whitney because her Miltank just wrecked everything. — Robert Sinclair

Larvitar

There are many Pokémon that follow the larval-cocoon-adult pathway of evolution, but none is as close to as impressive as that of Larvitar. While other Pokémon on the larval path will rush through it trying not to get trounced too quickly, Larvitar knows that good things come to those who wait, taking over five times longer than others to get to its mountain-destroying final form. There's none of this bird-food initial stage either, it knows how to hold its own right from the beginning. — Alex Fuller

Lugia

This giant Psychic/Flying type was introduced even before Gold and Silver's debut, appearing in the second Pokémon movie. It was also where this marvelous creature bumped Charizard down from most favorite Pokémon to second-most favorite in my eyes, and it has remained at the top spot ever since. Lugia is called a legendary bird, though it is more of a strange fusion of a heron, a plesiosaur, a dragon, and a beluga whale. Its design is deceptively simple, yet magnificent. In the movie, Lugia is powerful, focused, serious, noble, and kindly. I still find the ending scene of the second movie, where Lugia's hauntingly beautiful song is played while it and the three elemental birds calm the raging seas and climate, captivating despite how cheesy the overall movie is. I knew I just had to have one once Gold and Silver were released. While Lugia does have access to many attacks, including its powerful signature move Aeroblast, its greatest strengths lie in being used as a wall with its massive defenses, hit points, and surprising speed. Lugia is easily able to withstand super effective moves and outlast many other Pokémon. Of course, I knew none of this as a middle schooler. I still used my Silver version, then Crystal version Lugia as a hard-hitting battlers on the Game Boy games and in Pokémon Stadium 2. — Cassandra Ramos

Scizor

Like Robert (lolwhoops), I was first wary of Bug-type Pokémon such as Scizor. Generation 1 was rough on them, in sharp defiance to Satoshi Taijiri's entymological dream. Generation 2 was much kinder, introducing the herculean Heracross and the cast iron ninja, Scizor. Scizor's high base stats and exceptional attack value create plenty of situations for this steel bug to shine. Technician is excellent for boosting Bullet Punch to one-punch victories; Metal Claw can lead to situations where this stab-happy insect just gets pointier and angrier as the battle goes on. If the battle is going the wrong way, a quick U-Turn can pass the baton to a monster more suited for the task. Normally, Scizor's lower defense would make it a bit of a glass cannon; however, its type resistances go a long way in protecting any squishy bits. Fire's cause for panic, but that's what friends are for. The series would lose a lot if it didn't have buddies helping buddies and covering each other's weaknesses. — Zach Welhouse

Snubbull

Those who follow me on social media know I own and love bulldogs. So colour me surprised when I didn't know there was a bulldog Pokémon. Apparently, its name is Snubbull, and is a pink bulldog Pokémon! A BULLDOG! Snubbulls are cheeky, but determined Pokémon. Loveable, and socialable, Snubbull in tall grass will drive you crazy because they frequently pop up. But don't let that fanged face fool you, as they will show you who's boss! While this Pokémon appears in Generation 2, it gets quite the overhaul in Generation 6 when it becomes a fairy type. As a bulldog owner, it's next to impossible for me to not love Snubbull, and name every single Snubbull "Brutus." High five, Snubbull!Sam Wachter

Teddiursa

Teddiursa may have been engineered specifically to make my heart melt. The stubby tail, perfectly rounded ears, wide eyes, and the way they suck on their tiny little paws like toddlers; it's just too much. I can't handle the cute. Teddiursa are so unreasonably adorable that just looking at them gives me this nostalgic warmth inside. If any one Pokémon could be brought to life to live among us, it should be Teddiursa. The world could really use them right now. We could send them to war-torn countries with the Red Cross to disperse cuddles to the needy. — Trent Seely

Tyranitar

What little kid doesn't like dinosaurs? The lame ones. Tyranitar is important to me not just because his appearance is totally rad and straight out of the Cretaceous period, but because he was a long-awaited reward. There was a lot of work that went into obtaining my Tyranitar. First you had to find a Larvitar, which was only available in one Gen 2 area late in the game. Then you had to rotate it in and out of battle — even after it evolves — because Pupitar just doesn't have great stats either. Finally, after 55 levels of working your tail off you are rewarded with a big, green, T-Rex. And he's great. Like Nidoking, Tyranitar is just a powerhouse of techniques and badassery. But boy, did I ever have to work for it. — Trent Seely

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