Empoleon can carry a team all the way to the Elite Four in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl with the right team around it.
Being both Water-type and Steel-type, Empoleon provides some key resistances to many other types, namely Water, Ice, and Psychic. This Pokemon also gets a great move pool, with access to Ice Beam, which is just about a necessity in a game with Garchomp on a champion team.
Which Pokemon should trainers pick to complement Empoleon?
Trainers who choose Piplup to evolve it into Empoleon should first catch a Starly outside of Twinleaf Town. This is because Piplup loses to the early game Grass-type Pokemon, mainly in Gardenia’s Gym (Grass Gym).
Starly, when it evolves into Staravia and then Staraptor, steamrolls this Gym as well as Darlene’s (Fighting Gym) and has a good matchup against Fantina (Ghost Gym).
The other early game Pokemon Piplup users will want to catch is Budew. Its evolution, Roserade, is actually one of the stronger Grass-types in the game. Water and Grass synergize together, since Water-types can deal with Fire and Ground Pokemon that threaten Grass.
The big role that Roserade will play, though, is to counter Crasher Wake (Water Gym). Although a trainer will still need an answer to Gyarados, Roserade practically beats the rest of this Gym. Being a Water-type itself, Empoleon is rather useless here.
After the first Gym, players should look in the grass outside Oreburgh City for a Ponyta. This is because the Sinnoh region has a tremendously low count of Fire-types. The only other options would be Magmar, Houndoom through the underground, or using a Fire Stone on Eevee to get Flareon.
A decent Fire-type, though, will serve any trainer well in the Sinnoh region. Ponyta and its evolution, Rapidash, basically clean up Byron (Steel Gym), Candice (Ice Gym) and Aaron (Bug Elite Four member).
Generation IV fans shouldn’t be surprised at this next pick. Trainers with this team should find their way to the Wayward Cave and catch a Gible since it will turn into the magnificent beast known as Garchomp.
Due to its immense strength, it’s almost never a bad idea to add Garchomp to the team. It gets access to Dragon Rage, which is a great early game move due to opposing Pokemon having low HP.
When it evolves into Garchomp, it can also spam Earthquake on many enemies, namely Volkner (Electric Gym) and Flint (Fire Elite Four member).
To round out this team, players should definitely head to the snow below Lake Acuity to catch a Sneasel. Since it beats Lucian (Psychic Elite Four member), trainers will have the entire Elite Four covered.
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Weavile also can do 4x damage to Cynthia’s Garchomp, which is essential to beat for any trainer who has hopes of beating this game.