Johto is an extremely difficult game to Nuzlocke, and there are definitely a bunch of Pokemon that are important to stay away from to be successful.
In Pokemon Gold and Silver, the mechanics make some Pokemon next to unusable. Pokemon get really limited movepools in these games, and the available TMs aren’t very good. Certain Pokemon (like Nidoking surprisingly) simply don’t learn any powerful moves until they get to a high level.
This issue is somewhat fixed in Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, but it can still be a struggle. Anyone who attempts a Nuzlocke of these games would be clever to avoid these Pokemon if possible.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the opinion of the writer.
5 Pokemon in the Johto Pokedex that shouldn't be use in a Nuzlocke
#5 - Gastly
This might be an odd choice to some as Gengar is such a phenomenal Pokemon. Gastly, however, is one of the most difficult Pokemon to level up in the early game. Initially, it will only learn trivial moves like Spite and Mean Look.
At level 21, Gastly finally learns Night Shade, which is a move that actually does considerable damage. Until then though, it’s relying on Lick, which is a 20 base power move. The best way to use this Pokemon is to keep it in the PC until it can get the Shadow Ball TM after beating Morty.
#4 - Hoothoot
For players who start their game at night, this is a very abundant Pokemon. Unfortunately, it is among the worst Flying-type Pokemon in the game. In Pokemon Gold and Silver, the only Flying-type move Hoothoot learns is Peck. The rest of its moveset is dedicated to Psychic moves like Confusion and Reflect. Hoothoot gets somewhat patched up in HeartGold and SoulSilver, where it learns Air Slash.
#3 - Chikorita
Anyone who chooses this starter is playing through Johto on hard mode. Chikorita does have some utility, but it gets beaten by almost every part of the early game in Johto. It does nothing at Sprout Tower, gets beaten by Faulkner, gets beaten by Bugsy, and does nothing in the Rival match in Azalea Town. In order to use Chikorita, a player is essentially relying on good encounters in the early game to carry the team.
#2 - Sandshrew
This Pokemon doesn’t really do much in a Nuzlocke of Johto due to its limited movepool. In Gold and Silver, the only Ground-type move Sandshrew learns is Sand Attack. The only attacking moves it gets access to are small normal moves like Slash and Poison Sting. This Pokemon is pretty unusable until the player can get the Dig TM in the National Park. Even in HeartGold and SoulSilver, the only ground move they give Sandshrew is Sand Tomb.
#1 - Spinarak
Catching a Spinarak is almost like losing an early encounter. This Pokemon really struggles throughout the game and will either stay in the PC or die later on. It helps with no Gyms or difficult battles. In fact, a general tip for a Nuzlocke of Johto is to begin the game during the day. This way, the player has a chance of getting Pidgey, Bellsprout, and even Rattata, all of which are better than Hoothoot or Spinarak.