Poochyena can be found on Routes 101, 102 and 103. Additionally, the Poochyena that is used to show off the sneak mechanic on Route 101 will know Thunder Fang if the player starts with Treecko, Ice Fang if the player starts with Torchic, and Fire Fang if the player starts with Mudkip.
Poochyena is one of the early game "derps" in Hoenn, but it definitely has some differentiating factors from many of the others. It is one of the rare early game Dark-types, and it has a fairly high Attack stat to supplement this typing; Dark moves are also very useful in several points of the game. Mightyena can also get Intimidate to provide team support and boost its already not-that-bad physical bulk. This line is never going to be a superstar throughout the game, but it can definitely play a strong role as a secondary damage dealer with ways to annoy enemy Pokémon, as well as proving itself capable throughout the challenge, up to and including the Elite Four passage.
Gym #1 - Roxanne (Rustboro City, Rock-type): Poochyena is not well equipped to fight against Geodude or Nosepass, since its Bite deals less damage than their Rock Tomb and they will soon gain an edge as Poochyena's Speed is cut. At best, an Ice Fang Poochyena can hope to beat Geodude, but it will require to be healed in the process.
Gym #2 - Brawly (Dewford Town, Fighting-type): Poochyena is very poorly armed against this gym and weak to Fighting moves, so it should not be used at all.
Rival (Route 110): Mightyena can 2HKO Wailmer and Shroomish if it knows an elemental fang move that is super effective against them; otherwise, it can still 3HKO with Bite, which also 2HKOs Slugma. It can also take on Marshtomp, but with caution, since its Bide can turn against it; with two Howls, however, Mightyena is certain to 2HKO it with Bite, thereby bypassing Bide. Mightyena should not come close to Combusken and its Double Kick, but can beat Grovyle with two Ice Fangs before its Fury Cutter damage becomes troublesome.
Wally (Mauville City): Although Ralts knows Disarming Voice, the move is weak, and Mightyena's Bite is an OHKO.
Gym #3 - Wattson (Mauville City, Electric-type): Mightyena can function in this gym, though it should preferably have Fire Fang for Magnemite and Magneton, respectively 2HKOed and 3HKOed by the move. Magnemite can be 3HKOed with Bite as well, but Magneton's Volt Switch can 2HKO if it is the last Pokémon standing and it does not need to switch out, so Mightyena will generally be beaten by it; a possible strategy is to use Howl either on the first turn or against Magnemite or Voltorb in general, which boosts Fire Fang to 2HKO range against Magneton, making the matchup possible. Magneton is 2HKOed by Bite only at +2 in Attack; if Mightyena manages one such setup, it will not need Fire Fang to win, and may even want to resort to Bite despite having Fire Fang, since Bite has a higher chance of making the enemy flinch. Voltorb is the best Howl candidate: it is normally 2HKOed by Bite, can be OHKOed at +2, and does not deal much damage with Volt Switch.
Tabitha/Shelly (Meteor Falls, tag battle with rival): Leading against Team Magma is not ideal; the enemy Mightyena's Intimidate will cut Mightyena's Attack, making it require one more Howl. Fortunately, only Koffing's Self-Destruct is a threatening move; at +1, Mightyena can 2HKO Koffing with Bite and is relatively likely to 2HKO the enemy Mightyena with Strength. Mightyena should be kept healed from confusion if the enemy uses Swagger, as it quickly becomes dangerous if it hits itself in confusion. Numel should be 2HKOed with Bite, without using Dig, since it knows Magnitude; on the Team Aqua battlefield, instead, Dig is perfectly safe to use against Grimer and 2HKOs, as well as 2HKOing Carvanha if Mightyena cannot simply OHKO with Thunder Fang.
Tabitha/Shelly (Mt. Chimney): Mightyena's Bite 3HKOs Koffing and 2HKOs Numel. Grimer and Carvanha 2HKOed by Dig, though Carvanha can also be OHKOed with Thunder Fang.
Maxie/Archie (Mt. Chimney): Mightyena starts at a disadvantage against Maxie, whose Mightyena has Intimidate; Strength and Dig are moves that take several turns to kill another Mightyena, and Intimidate only makes it worse, since using Howl is pointless against an enemy that can Roar at any time. On the plus side, the enemy Mightyena only has Dark moves, so Mightyena will eventually win if it is not forced to switch out or tormented by Swagger. Golbat must be battled with caution, since it knows Confuse Ray, especially if Mightyena's Attack was boosted; if not, Thunder Fang or Ice Fang will averagely 2-3HKO. Mightyena can win with Bite as well, but the move does not outdamage Golbat's Wing Attack by a lot. Camerupt can easily two-shot with Earth Power, but Thunder Fang 2HKOs Sharpedo equally easily; Mightyena's other moves, however, will likely prove insufficient to deal with Sharpedo, given its likely Swagger and Screech shenanigans.
Gym #4 - Flannery (Lavaridge Town, Fire-type): Dig OHKOs Slugma and may also OHKO Numel; Mightyena may optionally use Howl against Numel first, and then attack it. Using Dig leaves room for Flannery's Pokémon to set up Light Screen or Sunny Day, however, and Sunny Day makes Torkoal's Overheat an OHKO against Mightyena; in addition, even if Mightyena used Dig against it, Torkoal could easily reduce the damage output with Curse. It is better to not have Mightyena fight Torkoal.
Gym #5 - Norman (Petalburg City, Normal-type): Since Mightyena can survive a Retaliate from Slaking without the KO boost, it should use Howl on the first turn, to gauge its relative Speed. If Slaking outspeeds, which is the most likely case, Mightyena should then spam Dig until Slaking goes down; if Mightyena outspeeds instead, it can use another Howl before proceeding with the Dig spam. Dig permits Mightyena to be underground at all times when Slaking attacks, if it is well timed; a Leppa Berry is recommended, as the Dig PP may not last long if Norman heals. Vigoroth's Retaliate boosted by the KO deals considerable damage, though; Mightyena should be healed before fighting Vigoroth. Lastly, Mightyena should bail out when the ace Slaking comes out, since its first-turn Retaliate is guaranteed to kill.
Courtney/Matt (Southern Island, tag battle with Steven): It is difficult for Mightyena to do work against Team Magma, due to how strong Camerupt's Earth Power is; if both Camerupt and Koffing attack Mightyena, it will not have much health left, and Mightyena cannot OHKO either of them. Instead, it can 2HKO Sharpedo with Thunder Fang or 3HKO it with Strength or Dig (the latter should not be used if Mightyena is confused, due to having twice the chance of not finishing execution), and Grimer with Dig.
Tabitha/Shelly (Weather Institute): Camerupt beats Mightyena with Earth Power, but Sharpedo can be 2HKOed with Thunder Fang or 3HKOed with either Strength or Dig, while watching for possible Swagger enemy usage.
Rival (Route 119): Wailmer and Shroomish are respectively 2HKOed with Thunder Fang or Ice Fang, though not Fire Fang, as the weather is rainy on this route; they can also be 3HKOed with Bite. Slugma is OHKOed by Dig. Grovyle is 2HKOed by Ice Fang as well, or 2-3HKOed by Bite; however, if Mightyena is outsped and Bite fails to 2HKO, Grovyle will do so with Leaf Blade instead. Fighting against Combusken is still poor judgement, as it can boost its stats with Bulk Up and avoid the Dig 2HKO, while Marshtomp can be 2HKOed with Bite after two Howls; Mightyena should not attack any sooner than that, since Marshtomp still knows Bide.
Gym #6 - Winona (Fortree City, Flying-type): A Mightyena with Thunder Fang or Ice Fang is ideal in this gym. With either move, Mightyena can Howl to +2 in Attack and then OHKO Swellow, as well as Pelipper with Thunder Fang (otherwise 2HKOed by Bite), while Skarmory is 2HKOed (3HKOed by Bite); Ice Fang, instead, OHKOs Altaria from +2 onwards (2-3HKOed by Bite). If Mightyena knows neither move, it should instead reach +3 in Attack to have a better matchup; Bite is a decent move to use, but the lowered damage output will likely make Mightyena require some healing, particularly against Altaria, which knows Cotton Guard and Roost.
Courtney/Matt (Mt. Pyre): Mightyena is once again beaten by Camerupt's Earth Power, but can 2HKO Sharpedo with Thunder Fang or 3HKO with Strength or Dig.
Rival (Lilycove City): Swellow can be 2HKOed by either Ice Fang or Thunder Fang; Bite 3HKOs instead, though Swellow also knows Double Team, which will make it difficult to hit in the long run. Mightyena is unlikely to beat Wailord or Breloom: the former has Water Spout and Brine, and is highly likely to take Mightyena to redoubled Brine range after one hit, as Thunder Fang is only a 3HKO and all of Mightyena's other moves leave Wailord with way too much HP for Water Spout to deal reasonable damage; Breloom, instead, makes short work of Mightyena by 2HKOing with Force Palm. Mightyena can beat Magcargo, however, 1-2HKOed by Dig. Mightyena's Ice Fang or Fire Fang allows it to beat Sceptile, but having neither move will result in Sceptile KOing sooner than Mightyena can; Blaziken is too strong, even without any Fighting STAB, and Swampert outpaces Mightyena too much for Howl to allow a catch-up.
Courtney/Matt (Lilycove Hideout): Although Camerupt no longer has Earth Power, Dig will still leave it room to set up Curses, making Mightyena a poor candidate to fight against it. Sharpedo is, again, 2HKOed by Thunder Fang or 3HKOed by Dig or Strength. It still knows Swagger, so Mightyena should be healed from confusion as needed.
Gym #7 - Tate and Liza (Mossdeep City, Psychic-type): Lunatone's only offensive move is Psychic, so it cannot touch Mightyena at all. Mightyena should first 2HKO Solrock with Crunch, and then do so with Lunatone, unless Mightyena's battle partner is particularly vulnerable to Lunatone's Psychic.
Maxie/Archie (Seafloor Cavern): Mightyena can 2HKO the enemy Mightyena with Return after one Howl, though it is not guaranteed that it will be able to keep the advantage, since the enemy knows Scary Face and a cut in Speed severely hinders Mightyena in the rest of the matchup; it also needs to switch against Crobat, which can 2HKO with Acrobatics and will outspeed Mightyena for certain. Weezing is difficult to beat; at +1 in Attack, Crunch is a 2-3HKO, but Sludge Bomb poisoning may chip away Mightyena's residual health if it fails to 2HKO, or Weezing could use Explosion, which is even worse. Similarly, Muk's Gunk Shot is a 2HKO, and Mightyena can 2HKO only at +1 or higher with Crunch. Mightyena would also need at least a +2 in Attack to have hopes of beating Mega Camerupt, considering that it can also Curse and boost its offensive; Mega Sharpedo can be 2HKOed with Thunder Fang, but again only at +1 or higher.
Primal Groudon (Cave of Origin, Omega Ruby only): This is not Mightyena's job; Lava Plume is certain to OHKO even from full health.
Primal Kyogre (Cave of Origin, Alpha Sapphire only): Origin Pulse is overkill against Mightyena, which cannot do much of anything against Primal Kyogre.
Gym #8 - Wallace (Sootopolis City, Water-type): It is recommended that Mightyena use Howl to reach +5 in Attack while Luvdisc is out, as it is its only reasonable opportunity to set up. At +5, Crunch OHKOs all of Wallace's Pokémon; Mightyena will need support against Luvdisc's Sweet Kiss while it gets there, since Attack boosts quickly increase the damage it would inflict by hitting itself in confusion. It is also advised to use Sucker Punch instead of Crunch against Milotic, the only Pokémon on Wallace's team that can outspeed Mightyena.
Wally (Victory Road): Mightyena can OHKO Altaria with Ice Fang after one Howl, or 2HKO it with Crunch still at +1; with one boost, Crunch also OHKOs Roselia and 2HKOs Delcatty and Magneton, though Magneton's Discharge can be tanked only if Mightyena's health is well above half. If Delcatty uses Charm, KOing it and the Pokémon after it will be harder; ideally, Mightyena should boost its Attack more against Altaria, but Altaria's Dragon Pulse 3HKOs, leaving little room for long setups. Avoid Mega Gallade, it will wreck Mightyena with Close Combat.
Elite Four Sidney (Ever Grande City, Dark-type): Mightyena needs to reach +3 in Attack to sweep all of Sidney's team with Return. The setup is possible against Sidney's Mightyena, but the enemy knows Swagger and is likely to use it, so Mightyena should be kept healed from confusion; on the bright side, Swagger facilitates Mightyena's job. Mightyena is unlikely to be outsped by any of Sidney's Pokémon, since it will most likely be higher levelled, but still needs at least a quarter of its health to survive Sharpedo's possible Aqua Jet.
Elite Four Phoebe (Ever Grande City, Ghost-type): Dusclops should be Crunched right away, since it is likely to lead with Curse and thereby faint itself; Curse cripples Mightyena's usefulness in battle, so it should be switched out and then back in if a Curse is laid upon it. The two Banette can be OHKOed with Crunch as well, and Sableye is 2HKOed; none of them are great setup material, as the two Banette can each inflict a status condition and Sableye knows Foul Play, which actually deals some damage starting at +2 in Attack. The setup is also largely unnecessary, because Mightyena also 2HKOs the ace Dusknoir with Crunch.
Elite Four Glacia (Ever Grande City, Ice-type): The lead Glalie's strongest move against Mightyena is Ice Shard. Mightyena can set up Howl until +4 without an issue, and then OHKO all of Glacia's team with Crunch if it holds the Black Glasses (otherwise, Walrein might not be OHKOed). If the Hail is up, Mightyena's health should always be above half when it fights against the Froslass, as their Snow Cloak can make Crunch miss and Blizzard fails to 2HKO, but just barely.
Elite Four Drake (Ever Grande City, Dragon-type): Altaria's Moonblast is of no help; only a Mightyena with Ice Fang can dispatch it without dying, and only if Ice Fang never misses. Both of the Flygon can also be beaten only with Ice Fang, which OHKOs starting at +1 in Attack; Earthquake is a 3HKO highly unlikely to OHKO, so Mightyena can triumph even if it will most likely not outspeed Flygon. At +1 in Attack, Mightyena's Crunch also 2HKOs Kingdra, but the setup must be already there, since Kingdra will outspeed and Surf is a 3HKO bordering on 2HKO, leaving no room for more Howls. Mightyena can take a Dragon Rush from Salamence, but not two, so it may only win if it OHKOs with Ice Fang, which requires a prior setup of +2 or higher due to Salamence's Intimidate.
Champion Steven (Ever Grande City, Steel-type): Skarmory's Steel Wing is likely to improve its defense faster than Mightyena can improve its Attack, as well as being a 3-4HKO, which does not leave as much room as Mightyena would need to set up; Mightyena can at best manage a +2 and then 2HKO with Fire Fang: Crunch is not a guaranteed 2HKO. At +2 in Attack, however, Mightyena can OHKO Claydol with Crunch as well, removing the annoying possibility of Claydol setting up Reflect and/or Light Screen. It can also take on Aggron at +1 or higher if it knows Dig, which will 2HKO; Aggron's Iron Tail also does, however, so Mightyena's health must be either very high or full by the time Aggron comes out, and Mightyena's Howl setups must be pre-existing. Ice Fang 2HKOs Cradily from +2 onwards, likely even after Giga Drain recovery, but Armaldo puts a stop to the show with X-Scissor, a highly likely OHKO. There is also no hope for Mightyena against Mega Metagross, which can OHKO with Giga Impact.
Post-Game: Mightyena should probably just forget that Rayquaza and Deoxys exist.
Poochyena starts with just Tackle. Instead of Tackle, if caught using the sneak mechanic during the catch tutorial, it will have one of Fire Fang, Thunder Fang or Ice Fang depending on the chosen starter. It then learns Howl at level 4, and Sand Attack at level 7, both of which are essentially early game moves; Howl, however, can turn out surprisingly useful in some fights, where the opponent has a lead that allows Mightyena to set up. While slow to set up, due to giving only one boost at a time, it can work. The first STAB move comes at level 10, and it is Bite, very powerful at this point; the next two moves are comparatively underwhelming: Odor Sleuth at level 13 is not really worth anything, and Roar at level 16 is a move Poochyena has no use for. Right after evolving, at level 18, Mightyena gets Snarl, which is outclassed by Bite completely. It then gets Swagger at level 20; this move is risky to use if the opponent may or may not have physical moves, but works well against purely special attackers. Assurance comes at level 24; it is as powerful as Bite on paper, but can be combined with Swagger to deal double the damage, though that assumes Mightyena will be outsped, which might be bad in and of itself. Ignore Scary Face at level 28 and also Embargo at level 32, whilst Taunt, at level 36, might come in handy on occasion, but Mightyena is not bulky enough to use it in general. Take Down, at level 40, comes too late to be useful, not counting that Strength becomes available much earlier in the game. The long due Bite upgrade comes at level 44 instead, and it is Crunch; a handy alternative comes four levels later, Sucker Punch, and while this move does require a certain amount of prediction, it also helps Mightyena overcome its Speed problems. It is also worth noting that Crunch is a level 1 move for Mightyena as well, so it can be retaught by the Move Reminder before Mightyena learns it naturally.
Mightyena gets little in the way of TM coverage. Thief is a handy general purpose move, but has the same base power as Bite, so Mightyena will only really want it to farm items as Bite does have an extra flinching chance. Dig is the only other physical, non-Dark and non-Normal move Mightyena gets. As far as Normal coverage goes, Return is likely Mightyena's best option, with Strength coming up second; Strength also has the perk of being available much earlier than Return, though Bite will always outdamage it, unless resisted. Modest Mightyena can opt for Dark Pulse over Crunch, but Crunch is unlikely to be outdamaged even with a bad nature. There is also Incinerate, but it works more as an early game move than not, and just against the types to which it can deal super effective damage.
Apart from the three elemental fangs, DexNav specimens may carry the very useful Play Rough, a powerful move which offers great coverage paired with Dark STAB; some may also have Sucker Punch, learning it much faster than they normally would. Poison Fang is not bad, but will quickly become underpowered throughout the game, especially for a line that learns Bite so early.
Fairy-types: Aside from being great Dragon busters, Fairy-types complement Mightyena's weaknesses very well, resisting two (Bug and Fighting) out of three of them. Mightyena does not offer much in turn, since it does not sport moves that are good against Poison- or Steel-types; it does, however, have Dig and potentially Fire Fang, which can help in some situations.
Fire-types: Like Fairy-types, they cover for two of Mightyena's weaknesses, Bug and Fairy. Unlike Fairy-types, however, Fire-types will fall short in the Water-heavy segment of the game, so they will not supply for all of the team's needs alone. Nevertheless, they can help Mightyena against some of its sworn enemies, and Mightyena's Thunder Fang may just pay them back at times.
Special tanks: While Mightyena's Intimidate can somewhat compensate for its not-that-great physical bulk, it remains uncovered on the special side. For this reason, the team should have a special tank or wall to absorb the hits that Mightyena is unable to take.
Fast hitters: Mightyena is slow, and this problem will become very evident in the later segments of the game. In order to work well in a team, it needs the support of at least one Pokémon that can deliver hits fast. Glass cannons should preferably be special if paired with Mightyena, which hits physically, but fast and balanced Pokémon can work equally well.
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.
Poochyena Line Ratings
What Nature do I want? Adamant is the best, considering its Attack is pretty good and it would welcome a boost. However, anything that lowers Special Attack is useful by default, no matter the boosted stat. Impish works very well with Intimidate, giving Mightyena considerable physical bulk.
Which Ability do I want? Moxie would be best and goes fantastically with Sucker Punch, but it is a DexNav or horde exclusive, which Poochyena will rarely have. Between the two regular abilities, Intimidate definitely wins over Quick Feet, as there is no reliable way of exploiting the latter and Speed alone accomplishes very little.
At what point in the game should I be evolved? Before the Route 110 rival battle. Poochyena can be evolved before Brawly, too, but Mightyena is unlikely to be of any use in that battle.
How good is the Poochyena line in a Nuzlocke? Quite good, even more so considering it is an early game Pokémon. Mightyena is not the best at coverage, although the DexNav somewhat improves that, but it has a good ability, and the physical/special split did wonders to its STAB. Even with the relatively lacking movepool, it remains useful in a good number of battles throughout the game, even at the Elite Four.