Pidgey is available in the following Johto locations: Routes 29-32; 34-36; National Park, and Ilex Forest (Crystal only). In Kanto, Pidgey is available in Routes 1, 2, 5, and 25. Pidgeotto is available in the following Johto routes: 37, 38-39 (Crystal only), and 43. In Kanto, Pidgeotto is available in routes 2, 5, 8, 11, and 13-15.
Pidgey is the quintessential run-of-the-mill bird Pokémon. It can hold its own early-game, but like many early encounters, its viability tapers off as the game continues. One of the cool perks that Pidgey has is its typing, which allows it to have a good chance of beating Morty (virtually all other Normal-types can claim this as well, though). Plus, it is pretty much mandatory to have a Pokémon with Fly, and Pidgey can fill that role nicely. Zubat, by contrast, must evolve into a Crobat before being able to learn Fly, which will take a lot of time and energy. Another perk to using the Pidgey line is its eventual access to a 102 BP STAB move in the form of TM Return, although there will be many other Pokemon on your team competing for this one-shot TM. There definitely are better Normal-types and better Flying-types, such as Spearow, but if you play during the day, odds are you will find a Pidgey and feel compelled to add it to your team, at least for a little while.
Gym #1 - Falkner (Violet City, Flying-type): It all depends on what Pidgey's level is. Sand-Attack will go a long way against the Pidgeotto, and gives you a decent shot of surviving. However, there are better options.
Gym #2 - Bugsy (Azalea Town, Bug-type): Although Pidgey has the type advantage, it will still find itself dealing marginal damage against Scyther and may end up being defeated. If you overgrind and evolve into a Pidgeotto, however, you will win easily by spamming Gust.
Rival (Azalea Town): If you picked Totodile as your starter, then this fight is a breeze for Pidgey. As usual, just watch out for Poison and Confusion hax as well as Gastly's Curse. If you picked another starter, instead, watch out for Quilava and Croconaw unless you already evolved into Pidgeotto; they're too strong.
Gym #3 - Whitney (Goldenrod City, Normal-type): The only reason you'd use Pidgeotto for this fight is to beat Clefairy. Against Miltank, the only thing you can do is spam Mud-Slap, which is a rather unreliable strategy. However, it can be useful to do so once or twice, to increase the likelihood of Miltank's future Rollout streaks interrupting before they can deal severe damage.
Rival (Burned Tower): Pidgeotto can beat everything just fine except for the Magnemite. Keep away from it.
Gym #4 - Morty (Ecruteak City, Ghost-type): This is where Pidgeotto shines. By equipping a Mint Berry, you become temporarily immune to all of his 'mons' direct attacks. Definitely watch out for Curses or Confusion from the first three, and then spam Mud-Slap against Gengar to your heart's content. Bring healing items, and Awakenings too: if they insist with Hypnosis, they will save you from the pesky Dream Eater.
Eusine (Cianwood City, Crystal Only): Pidgeotto's success depends on whether you have Fly and/or a high-powered Return. If you have at least one of the two, you should be able to easily beat both the Drowzee and the Haunter. However, avoid the Electrode like the plague, since it will destroy you with Thunder.
Gym #5 - Chuck (Cianwood City, Fighting-type): Unfortunately, Pidgeotto is too weak to reliably OHKO any of the threatening 'mons in this gym, so it is best to accompany Pidgeotto with some team support. That, or you could overgrind until it learns Wing Attack at level 33 to ease your pains.
Gym #6 - Jasmine (Olivine City, Steel-type): Don't even think about it. Even Pidgeot sucks at this matchup.
Rocket Executive battle #1 (Team Rocket HQ): Pidgeotto can do a decent enough job if you have Fly and/or Return, but definitely don't even try to take on the Koffing out of fear of SelfDestruct.
Rocket Executive battle #2 (Team Rocket HQ): A good fight for Pidgeotto, though not brilliant. It will likely struggle against Arbok, and might fall prey to Murkrow's Pursuit if weak. Try to take it out of the battlefield before Gloom dies, if you notice its health is low.
Gym #7 - Pryce (Mahogany Town, Ice-type): Pidgeotto can take out the Seel pretty easily, but the other two 'mons are risky. Pidgeot, however, should be able to solo this gym just fine. Aurora Beam will still hurt, however, so be ready to heal and/or switch out. Keep away from Piloswine in either case: it has Blizzard.
Rocket Executive battle #3 (Goldenrod Radio Tower): Again, keep away from this battle since he has five Koffing and a Weezing, lest they explode against you.
Rival (Goldenrod Underground): Pidgeot can reliably beat the Haunter and Meganium, and potentially the Golbat as well. The Sneasel doesn't have any Ice-type moves, so you can beat that too. Overall, Magnemite is the only real enemy here.
Rocket Executive battle #4 (Goldenrod Radio Tower): Pidgeot can manage fine if you taught it Fly and/or Return, this battle is the same as the one in the HQ. Only Vileplume has evolved, but Pidgeot also has.
Rocket Executive battle #5 (Goldenrod Radio Tower): Houndour and Koffing are easy, because Koffing can't explode. Pidgeot is, however, at a noticeable disadvantage against Houndoom's Faint Attack. It can take it on, but be prepared to switch out if you notice it's not working.
Suicune (Bell Tower, Crystal only): Pidgeot does okay against Suicune, being defensive. However, Suicune undoubtedly has more bulk. Unless you have plenty of healing items, you will not want Pidgeot on the battlefield for the whole fight, but it can help whittle down Suicune's health.
Gym #8 - Clair (Blackthorn City, Dragon-type): If you equip a PRZcureberry, you should be able to outspeed and 2HKO a Dragonair using Thunder Wave, but other than that, Pidgeot is simply not powerful enough to handle anything. In addition, two of the three Dragonair have an elemental beam attack that's supereffective against Pidgeot, which is one more reason to keep away from them.
Rival (Victory Road): The scenario is the same as the battle in the Basement. Pidgeot only really needs to avoid Magneton, and can take on the rest.
Elite Four Will (Indigo Plateau, Psychic-type): You can probably outspeed and 2HKO the Xatus with Return, although Psychic will hurt a ton and Confuse Ray is very annoying. Still, Pidgeot should be at a high enough level now to not care about either.
Elite Four Koga (Indigo Plateau, Poison-type): You can take out the Ariados just fine, and Pidgeot might manage to win against Crobat and Venomoth as well, but will likely struggle against them even with Return. Bring X Accuracies as well, as Koga's Pokémon love spamming evasion moves. Leave Forretress and Muk alone.
Elite Four Bruno (Indigo Plateau, Fighting-type): You can most likely beat all three of the Hitmons, but don't even think about OHKOing that Machamp. You won't, and Pidgeot will take a ton of damage from Cross Chop. The Onix are out of the question.
Elite Four Karen (Indigo Plateau, Dark-type): Pidgeot can potentially make a clean sweep, although that Umbreon will be super annoying. Healing items will help, however, as will X Accuracy, to render its potential Sand-Attack spam useless,
Champion Lance (Indigo Plateau, Flying-type): This is a bad matchup for Pidgeot in general. You MIGHT be able to 2HKO one of the Dragonites or the Charizard before it 2HKOs back, but that would be sacrificial. Both of the level 49 Dragonite know a supereffective move, Thunder and Blizzard respectively, while the level 50 one packs Outrage; Aerodactyl obviously has Rock STAB and Gyarados carries Hyper Beam, which is crazy strong. Charizard is possibly the only balanced matchup, and Pidgeot is still on the losing end, having a lesser offensive stat.
From this point onwards, you can fight the gyms in any order, though you will need to retrieve the Machine Parts from the Cerulean City gym before you have access to the earlier portion of Kanto. Feel free to anticipate or postpone any battles as needed.
Gym #9 - Brock (Pewter City, Rock-type): If only Steel Wing was available... but it isn't, so Pidgeot can't really be of any use here. Keep it out.
Rival (Mt. Moon, optional): The notable change is that Alakazam is fully evolved now. Gengar also is, but the matchup against it hasn't changed any as a result; it only means Pidgeot may be outsped now. Alakazam is fast and hits like bricks, however, so stay away from it. And Magneton too, of course.
Gym #10 - Misty (Cerulean City, Water-type): Pidgeot needs to avoid Lapras and its Blizzard. Starmie has Ice Beam, and even though it's less powerful, it's still not ideal for Pidgeot to fight against. Golduck and Quagsire are fine; spam Return and heal as needed, you should win..
Gym #11 - Lt. Surge (Vermilion City, Electric-type): Again, really not the best gym to use Pidgeot in. Even with a level advantage, these Pokémon have strong Electric STAB or worse even, bomb moves, in the Electrodes' case. Pidgeot may one-shot them with a lot of levels more than they have, but it's not advised to try.
Gym #12 - Erika (Celadon City, Grass-type): Another, rare occasion for Pidgeot to shine. Spam Fly like there's no tomorrow.
Gym #13 - Janine (Fuchsia City, Poison-type): Everything here is at low enough levels that Pidgeot needs not worry about them. Maybe take down the Weezing with something that can kill them faster if you want, otherwise Pidgeot's return will do just fine.
Gym #14 - Sabrina (Saffron City, Psychic-type): Psychic coming off Espeon and Alakazam is really strong, and Pidgeot wants none of that. Unless you have a level advantage of five or more, which can make you outspeed and one-shot Alakazam, don't bother. Espeon is likely best left to someone else either way. Mr. Mime is less dangerous and has less of a Defense instead, so feel free.
Gym #15 - Blaine (Seafoam Islands, Fire-type): Magcargo is not Pidgeot's ideal opponent, as its Attack is low, but it resists and can shrug off all of Pidgeot's moves. Magmar has ThunderPunch too, which makes it much less than ideal. Rapidash is Pidgeot's best fight: it can face off with its Return and hopefully fend off Fire Blasts.
Gym #16 - Blue (Viridian City): The mirror match against Pidgeot is neither good or bad, but you should win it. Exeggutor goes down to Fly. If you can outspeed Alakazam, chances are you can kill it, but otherwise it WILL kill you, so do your calculations beforehand. Arcanine may be doable, but it's both bulky and strong. Avoid Gyarados and Rhydon categorically.
Rival (Indigo Plateau, optional): Since Crobat has evolved, it will be more difficult to defeat, but Pidgeot should know how to deal with bats from the fight against Koga. The matchup is winnable, excepted Alakazam and Magneton, but it will be tougher than before.
Red (Mt. Silver): The only good matchup Pidgeot has is against the Pikachu and Venusaur, and even Pikachu is a stretch, because Electric STAB is still not something Pidgeot likes. Other than that, it is going to be a liability. Snorlax in particular will completely annihilate Pidgeot, so avoid it.
Like many other average GSC Pokémon, Pidgey's movepool starts off somewhat poor, but turns out to be decent as you progress. Its only starting move is Tackle, but it gets Sand-Attack at level 5 and Gust at level 9, which is very useful in a generation where the move is physical. Quick Attack at level 15 provides an okay replacement for Tackle. Pidgeotto gets Whirlwind at level 23 which is not very useful, and Wing Attack at level 33, which is much better. Pidgeot doesn't have much else to offer: Agility at level 46 is redundant because it's already fast, and Mirror Move at level 61 comes far too late to be of any use, even in specific situations.
Right after the first badge, you can get the TM for Swift, which is a pretty solid STAB option at this point of the game by GSC standards. The main factor in the Pidgey line's viability is how quickly you can obtain the TM for Return, which at max happiness will hit like a truck. Until then, you are basically left with Swift. Fly is obviously a godsend as soon as you get it, but that can also take a while. Steel Wing does exist in this game, but sadly enough, Troll Freak made it so that you have to wait until after getting ALL 16 BADGES before getting the TM for it. At that point, it doesn't have much use.
Recommended moveset: Return, Fly, Mud-Slap, Swift / Quick Attack / Hidden Power
Minimum stats are calculated with 0 EVs, IVs of 0, and a hindering nature, if applicable.
Maximum stats are calculated with 252 EVs, IVs of 31, and a helpful nature, if applicable.
Pidgey Line Ratings
At what point in the game should I be evolved? If you can have a Pidgeotto for the Bugsy fight, that would be fantastic. Otherwise, you can put that off until Whitney. You may want to challenge Jasmine and Pryce before Chuck so it has enough time to evolve Pidgeotto into Pidgeot, who can handle Chuck and his deadly Poliwrath.
How useful is the Pidgey line in a Nuzlocke? Pidgey is a pretty average 'mon to have. It will be somewhat useful in the early parts of the game, but there definitely will come a point where it stops becoming effective. At that point, you will hopefully have taught it Fly and Return, which allows Pidgeot to face neutral targets due to its decent Atk and Spe. Just so long as you don't get your hopes too high, Pidgey can be a fine addition to your team.