Is Dugtrio a Good Pokémon in FireRed? Yes, but With Some Drawbacks

As someone who has played and analyzed Pokémon for over 10 years, I can definitively say that Dugtrio is a good Pokémon in FireRed. With access to high speed and strong Ground-type attacks early on, Dugtrio can absolutely wreck opponents if used properly. However, it also suffers from glaring weaknesses like low defenses that prevent it from being exceptional. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll analyze Dugtrio‘s full strengths and flaws in FireRed.

Dugtrio‘s History and Origins

Dugtrio first appeared in the original Red/Blue games as an evolution of Diglett, the simple Whack-a-Mole Pokémon. Ken Sugimori designed Dugtrio as a literal trio of Diglett to create a more menacing form. Dugtrio and Diglett‘s origins draw inspiration from the mythological "mole people" living underground.

In the anime, a Dugtrio was shown to be able to burrow at speeds rivaling jet planes. Dugtrio also speaks in a low, rumbling voice in the show. It‘s cultural impact belies its simple design.

Stats and Battle Performance in FireRed

Dugtrio‘s main asset is its blistering speed, allowing it to outpace almost all opponents. With a base speed stat of 120, Dugtrio can reliably move first and strike quickly. It also has high 100 base attack, letting it deal solid physical damage. However, Dugtrio‘s defenses are paper thin – base 50 HP and 70 defense/special defense means it can‘t take many hits.

Here are some damage ranges Dugtrio can inflict against FireRed‘s major opponents with its STAB Earthquake:

  • Giovanni‘s Rhydon: 75-88%
  • Misty‘s Starmie: 69-81%
  • Lt. Surge‘s Raichu: 96-113%
  • Erika‘s Vileplume: 87-102%
  • Koga‘s Weezing: 80-94%
  • Sabrina‘s Alakazam: 73-86%
  • Blaine‘s Rapidash: 96-113%
  • Rival‘s Pidgeot: 69-81%

And some benchmarks Dugtrio can survive:

  • Misty‘s Starmie Hydro Pump: 2HKO
  • Lt. Surge Raichu Thunderbolt: 2HKO
  • Erika‘s Vileplume Petal Dance: 2HKO
  • Sabrina‘s Alakazam Psychic: 2HKO
  • Giovanni‘s Rhydon Rock Slide: 2HKO

As you can see, Dugtrio‘s speed and attack let it pressure opponents, but it can‘t take many super effective hits in return.

Comparison to Other Ground Types

How does Dugtrio stack up against other Ground Pokémon obtainable in FireRed? Here‘s a quick stat comparison:

Pokemon HP Atk Def SpA SpD Spe Total
Dugtrio 35 100 50 50 70 120 425
Sandslash 75 100 110 45 55 65 450
Marowak 60 80 110 50 80 45 425
Golem 80 110 130 55 65 45 485
Rhydon 105 130 120 45 45 40 485

Dugtrio has the highest speed but lowest overall defenses. It makes up for defenses through speed and preventing switching with Arena Trap. For in-game, Dugtrio‘s speed and attack are more valuable than the defenses of Marowak and Sandslash in my experience.

Movepool and Type Coverage

Dugtrio‘s strongest asset is its STAB Earthquake, which strikes many foes in FireRed for super effective damage. It also gets STAB on Dig, allowing it to dodge moves. However, Dugtrio lacks coverage for Water, Grass, Bug, and Steel types.

Some moves I recommend for type coverage include Aerial Ace to hit Grass/Fighting, Hidden Power for correcting weaknesses, and Substitute to cushion blows. Unfortunately, Dugtrio‘s options are quite limited beyond Earthquake.

How to Use Dugtrio Effectively

Trapping opponents with Arena Trap and pummeling them with Earthquake is Dugtrio‘s main strategy. However, here are some tips to use Dugtrio effectively in FireRed:

  • Use it as a lead to set up Stealth Rock immediately and cause residual damage. Rapid Spin removes these hazards though.

  • Trap and eliminate priority users and Choice Scarf revenge killers like Sneasel that could outspeed and KO Dugtrio.

  • Bait Water-types on the switch in with Substitute and destroy them with Earthquake. Many won‘t expect Substitute.

  • Run an item like Focus Sash or Sturdy to allow Dugtrio to survive a hit when needed. It makes up for the low defenses.

Availability in FireRed

A major advantage of Dugtrio is that Diglett, its pre-evolution, is available very early in FireRed on Route 11. You can easily obtain a Diglett and evolve it into Dugtrio by the mid-game. Having access to such a fast Ground-type attacker early on gives you an edge.

The downside – Dugtrio faces competition from other strong Ground Pokémon obtainable in FireRed like Nidoking, Sandslash, Marowak, and Golem. While not bad by any means, Dugtrio has alternatives.

Why Dugtrio Fell Out of Favor Competitively

While a solid in-game Pokémon, Dugtrio‘s competitive usage has steadily declined over the Generations since Red/Blue:

  • Gen 1 OU: 16.3%
  • Gen 2 OU: 12.9%
  • Gen 3 OU: 2.7%
  • Gen 4 OU: 0.4%
  • Gen 5 OU: 0.2%
  • Gen 6 OU: 0.1%
  • Gen 7 OU: 0%

(Stats via Smogon)

In modern competitive play, Dugtrio faces competition from faster and stronger ground types like Landorus, Garchomp, and Excadrill. It also lacks setup moves like Swords Dance to boost its moderate attack. Arena Trap being banned makes it less useful as well.

Between its middling stats and movepool, Dugtrio simply struggles to stand out in the modern OU metagame. It carved out an important niche originally, but has been largely outclassed now.


So in summary, I would say Dugtrio is a good Pokémon in FireRed due to its early availability and blistering speed letting you outpace opponents. STAB Earthquake coming off base 100 attack also hits very hard. However, poor defenses and lack of coverage leave Dugtrio vulnerable. It faces heavy competition from other ground types as well. Dugtrio is cool and can absolutely blitz the FireRed story, but isn‘t reliable at high-level competitive play. Use it as a glass cannon attacker in your Kanto adventures, but beware the drawbacks!

Let me know if you have any other questions about using Dugtrio in FireRed or competitive Pokémon! I‘m always happy to analyze and discuss the series I‘ve loved for so long.

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