Rattata can be found in the following areas: Routes 1, 2, 4, 9, 16, 17, 18, and 22, Pokémon Mansion. Raticate can be found in the following areas: Routes 16, 17, and 18, Pokémon Mansion.
Though it has long been known as the original first-route derp, the Rattata line has grown surprisingly close to the hearts of hundreds of Nuzlockers. As it’s typically one of the first catches, if not the very first catch, that a Nuzlocker makes during their journey, this vicious rodent may turn into one of your most valued companions. Be wary of this as you approach late-game, though; while the Rattata line is surprisingly good in the early stages of the game, it starts to lose its luster around the middle stages of the game when opponents start using evolved Pokémon, although it remains valuable due to its high Attack and Speed stats as well as a strangely diverse movepool (Thunderbolt or Ice Beam, anyone?).
Rattata and Raticate are much stronger from the physical side, although they can learn several awesome special-based moves. If you’re going to use the Rattata line, though, it’s best to just use one that you’ve had since the beginning; Rattata and Raticate are common in grassy patches near Cycling Road as well as other late-game locations, and since Rattata/Raticate shines the most in the early game, it’s normally not a great replacement for a late death (unless you really, really want to take a Raticate to the Hall of Fame and haven’t gotten one earlier; in that case, go for it). All in all, the Rattata line is a speedy physical attacker that is amazing for the first few gyms and slowly declines in usefulness as you progress through the game. Experienced Raticate players suggest not trying to take a Raticate all the way, as its stats really aren’t that great, but as many nuzlockers also grow attached to their early game teams, to hell with that first suggestion. Your first catch always deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame, and Raticate is no exception.
Rival (Route 22, optional): If you have it by this point, Rattata can be useful in this fight, especially if you’ve trained it up to a high-enough level (it learns Quick Attack at level 7, but your rival’s two Pokémon will both be at level 9). Just be careful of crits, as they could turn the battle on its head in a hurry, especially since Rattata is quite frail. Make sure your Rattata is at least on par with your rival’s Pokémon (level 9) before you enter this battle.
Gym #1 - Brock (Pewter City, Rock-type): Unless you’re really desperate? No. Rattata’s Normal-type attacks won’t do anything to the very defensive Geodude and Onix, but you may want to try to weaken them with Tail Whip before, for instance, sending out Charmander/Charmeleon to use Metal Claw.
Rival (Cerulean City): Rattata is likely unevolved by this point, so it’s slightly risky to make it take on your rival’s Hyper Fang Rattata. Pidgeotto is slightly bulkier than Rattata and has Sand Attack, but it isn’t nearly as dangerous. Your rival’s starter will also be quite annoying: Squirtle should be bulky enough to take more than two Hyper Fangs; Charmander is frail but powerful with STAB Ember; and Bulbasaur has decent defenses, nasty status moves (PoisonPowder and Leech Seed), and quite strong STAB Vine Whip. Abra, as always, can be killed by anything that (has) moves.
Gym #2 - Misty (Cerulean City, Water-type): Extremely risky. If you’re planning to use Rattata in this battle, evolve it first. Rattata’s Special bulk is awful, but Raticate’s is surprisingly decent. Make sure to be careful, though, as an untimely crit Water Pulse can put a sudden end to your favorite rodent’s life. Staryu should go down to one or two Hyper Fangs, depending on what level you are (assuming you’ve taken the time to reach level 20 to evolve into Raticate). Starmie is infinitely more troublesome, as it will probably take at least three hits to go down (two if you’re extremely lucky).
Rival (S.S. Anne): Raticate can pretty much solo your rival with Hyper Fang. His Raticate is underleveled (level 16), Pidgeotto still doesn’t really have any good moves, Kadabra is extremely frail (but can hit hard; make sure you outspeed), and his starter should go down to two or three Hyper Fangs. Of the three possible starters, Ivysaur is probably the most annoying, as it has Leech Seed, but none of the three are too dangerous, really.
Gym #3 - Lt. Surge (Vermilion City, Electric-type): If you’re willing to use your TM28 Dig on Raticate, you could very well take on Lt. Surge with Raticate on your team. What’s cool is that it’s not even a waste of a TM, since you can buy more Dig TMs at the Celadon Department Store. Keep in mind that STAB Hyper Fang is just as strong as super-effective Dig (both at 120 base power), so against Surge’s ace Raichu, you should probably use Hyper Fang as to not give it time to set up Double Team. Voltorb and Pikachu should both go down to a single Dig (although it’s better to use Hyper Fang against Pikachu since it has Double Team), but watch out for Pikachu’s Static. Raichu is bulkier than Pikachu and Voltorb, and it is also quite dangerous with STAB Shock Wave and priority in Quick Attack. It also has Static and Thunder Wave to spread paralysis. Take it out quickly to be safe.
Rival (Pokémon Tower): Pidgeotto and [insert starter here] are at moderately high levels (level 25), but both are pretty weak. Both should go down to two Hyper Fangs. Kadabra is still extremely frail, and if you outspeed, you should be able to OHKO. As for the rotating Pokémon (Gyarados, Growlithe, and Exeggcute), you should probably be able to guess which ones will be problems for Raticate and which will be a piece of cake. Exeggcute is physically defensive but should go down to two Hyper Fangs. It has the potential to be annoying with Leech Seed and Hypnosis, but then again, its only attacking move is the infinitely mediocre Barrage. Growlithe has Intimidate to lower your Attack, but it really can’t do anything to you in the way of damage. If your rival has Gyarados, though, it’s probably wise to get the hell out of there and switch to someone with an Electric-type move; Thrash from 125 base attack can seriously hurt.
Giovanni (Rocket Hideout, Ground-type): Not a chance against the Rock-types, and Kangaskhan is too durable and dishes out too much damage in return. It’s not really worth it to use Raticate in this fight.
Gym #4 - Erika (Celadon City, Grass-type): Erika’s easy to beat with any Flying or Fire-type. So go use one of those. Raticate isn’t powerful enough to easily beat the extremely physically bulky Tangela, and Victreebel and Vileplume both pose threats with STAB Giga Drain off of high Special Attacking stats. If you really want to, you can try to abuse Guts by hoping that they use Stun Spore on you. It’s not necessarily a good idea to do that, though, and you’re better off using your Pidgeotto or Ninetales (or Fearow, or Arcanine, or Charmeleon, or Dodrio, or Flareon, or...) for this fight.
Gym #5 - Koga (Fuchsia City, Poison-type): Ill-advised given the Koffing and Grimer lines' high defenses. A critical Sludge from Koga’s Muk would probably be enough to OHKO a flimsy Raticate, and possibly even a bulkier one as well. The only decent move Raticate can use in this gym anyway is Dig, which honestly kind of sucks. Don’t use Raticate here, since it’s really not worth it.
Rival (Silph Co.): Abuse Raticate’s high Speed stat and watch with despair as its mediocre Attack stat causes you to fall short of OHKOs almost every time. You should be able to take down Alakazam with a single Strength/Hyper Fang, and it can’t really counterattack seeing as its only attacking move is Future Sight. Make sure you don’t get Intimidated by Gyarados, though. Your rival’s starter is also extremely strong now (most notably Charizard, which has STAB Flamethrower and Wing Attack by now), so keep Raticate away from it.
Giovanni (Silph Co., Ground-type): Nidorino sucks, and should go down to two Hyper Fangs/Strengths. Rhyhorn’s a nope unless, for some reason, you have Ice Beam. Kangaskhan is much too dangerous for Raticate to face, with its Fake Out + Mega Punch combination doing a number on anything that doesn’t resist it. Nidoqueen is also very bulky and has Body Slam to paralyze you as well as super-effective Double Kick. Oh, and it also has Poison Point to give it a chance to poison you. In a nutshell, you should probably only use Raticate against Nidorino in this fight.
Gym #6 - Sabrina (Saffron City, Psychic-type): Fast STAB Normal-type moves may be enough to dispatch the frail members of the Abra line that are in Sabrina’s possession. Venomoth and Mr. Mime have slightly better physical bulk, but they’re also significantly less dangerous. Do with them what you wish. Just make sure not to let Alakazam set up with Calm Mind, because if it does, it’ll become nigh unstoppable. Also, make sure you outspeed. Otherwise...
Gym #7 - Blaine (Cinnabar Island, Fire-type): Possibly useful against weak Pokemon, but why aren't you using your Surf-user instead? And you do get a Rock-type Fossil revived on this very island...
Gym #8 - Giovanni (Viridian City, Ground-type): Both Rhyhorns resist your STAB, the Nidoroyalty can hit you extremely hard with super-effective Double Kick or STAB Earthquake, and Dugtrio is fast and can also hit hard with Earthquake. You can use Raticate against Dugtrio if you must, but keep in mind that it’s risky.
Rival (Route 22, pre-Elite Four): See Silph Co., but with the additional caution of avoiding Rhyhorn.
Elite Four Lorelei (Indigo Plateau, Ice-type): Honestly, only use Raticate against Jynx. Raticate will have major problems taking the rest down, as all of the others have very good physical bulk. Jynx, however, can be downed by a Shadow Ball or even a STAB Return/Double Edge due to its physical frailty. Keep in mind that it can hit back hard with Ice Punch, though, so be sure you’re a high enough level to ensure the OHKO.
Elite Four Bruno (Indigo Plateau, Fighting-type): See Fighting Dojo. Bad, bad idea.
Elite Four Agatha (Indigo Plateau, Poison-type): Agatha's Pokemon may be frail, but they carry strong physical attacks. Thankfully, Raticate is immune to Ghost-type moves, meaning that Agatha’s Ghosts can do little more than put you to sleep or confuse you. Hopefully Raticate carries Shadow Ball, which is physical in this generation. Immunity to Ghost-type attacks comes in handy against her Gengars, but be careful nonetheless. Shadow Ball will most likely be a 2HKO against the Ghosts, but they can’t do much back to you. If you want, you could try an X Attack on the first turn and attempt a sweep, but beware of her Arbok’s Intimidate and her Golbat’s bulk.
Elite Four Lance (Indigo Plateau, Dragon-type): Ill-advised. Strong physical attacks on all his Pokemon frighten off Raticate's poor bulk, and a Hyper Beam from any one of Lance’s physical juggernauts would probably be enough to send your dear rodent back to its maker.
Champion Rival (Indigo Plateau): Pidgeot has FeatherDance and Sand Attack along with Whirlwind just so it can be a dick. Raticate could work against it, but it would take a long time, and you’d probably be phased by Whirlwind before you can beat it. Alakazam is fast and powerful but also physically frail, so if you can outspeed and deliver a Shadow Ball or Double Edge to the face, you’ll hopefully be able to score a OHKO. Rhydon and Gyarados are very bulky and should not be attempted (although if you have Ice Beam and Thunderbolt, you may be able to deal with each respective one). Exeggutor is bulky and annoying, and can pose a threat while healing itself with Giga Drain. Just switch to a Fire-type for this one. Arcanine has Intimidate as well as Flamethrower, and could probably kill you in one shot. Also, watch out for its strong priority in ExtremeSpeed. Your rival’s starter, finally, is extremely tough and should not be attempted. Fire Blasts, Hydro Pumps, and SolarBeams are not fun to take to the face.
Post-Game: U SUX. And Raticate also kind of does at this point, so stop using it.
Now we’re getting to the fun part. Raticate’s movepool is absolutely hilarious, and it can learn moves that you’d never dream that a rat, of all things, would be able to use. But let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Rattata starts off with Tackle and Tail Whip, and gains Quick Attack at level 7. Unless you intend to conserve PP for some reason, Quick Attack is absolutely and completely superior to Tackle. It has higher base power, better accuracy, and even has a higher priority. Hyper Fang comes at level 13 and is extremely powerful at this point in the game. However, be sure to watch out for its uncertain 90% accuracy. At this point in the game, Hyper Fang, should be enough to OHKO most frail unevolved Pokémon. At level 20, when Rattata evolves, it’ll try to learn Focus Energy. It’s not a good move by any means, but since both Quick Attack and Hyper Fang outclass Tackle, you could replace that. If you evolve at level 20, Raticate will also try to learn Scary Face. Scary Face is normally pretty useless, since Raticate’s very fast anyways, but if you want to learn it, then it’s probably best to replace Tail Whip. Pursuit comes at level 30, but since it has low power (base 40) and is specially-based in this generation, it’s not really worth learning unless you want to train Raticate in the Lavender Tower. At level 40, you’ll get Super Fang, which is a really great move, since it always takes away half of your opponent’s health, allowing Raticate to deal heavy damage even to bulky Pokémon or ones that resist its Normal-type STAB. Last but not least, it gets Endeavor at level 50. Endeavor really isn’t worth it since the Focus Sash doesn’t exist yet, but it can be useful if you’re willing to take the proper risks. Just make sure you know what you’re doing, and beware of critical hits.
Here we go. Raticate’s TM and HM list. Well, let’s see. Like every Pokémon, it can learn Toxic and Hidden Power, but it can’t really use either of those moves too well. The same goes for Sunny Day, Rain Dance, and Taunt. But Ice Beam could definitely be worth it, if you’re willing to buy/earn enough coins at the Game Corner. It allows you to hit the dangerous Rock/Ground-types that resist your STAB. Remember, though, that Raticate has bad Special Attack. Blizzard could also be an option, but its higher power really isn’t worth the awful 70% accuracy. Hyper Beam is definitely worth considering, as, counting STAB, it has 225 base power, and if you’re playing on Shift mode, you can use it as a powerful finishing move. Protect can be useful but isn’t necessary. Return is the best STAB option you have, as it’s stronger than Strength and Hyper Fang and doesn’t have the drawbacks of Double-Edge and Hyper Beam. Iron Tail can be useful, but it’s quite inaccurate and it doesn’t provide great coverage. Thunderbolt provides a great complement to Ice Beam, and can be very useful in taking down the numerous Water-types that inhabit Kanto. Thunder is generally inferior to Thunderbolt but can be used if you aren’t willing to spend the time/money at the Game Corner. Dig and Shadow Ball are both awesome coverage options, the former allowing you to hit Rock-types lacking Earthquake/Magnitude as well as the Magnemite line, and the latter letting you hit those pesky ghosts. Double Team is hax, so don’t use it. Shock Wave is very inferior to Thunderbolt but can be obtained earlier, so you can use Shock Wave Raticate as an early Gyarados killer. Facade and Secret Power are both 70 base power Normal-type attacks and are outclassed by Return, although since Secret Power is a purchasable TM, you may want to use it. Rest and Attract are both usable, but not recommended. Thief is pretty much the same as Pursuit, so it’s not really worth it. Raticate can also learn Cut (useless), Rock Smash (even more useless), and Strength (very useful). Strength is one of the best STAB moves that Raticate can learn, and when you want to forget it to learn Return, you can just go to the Move Deleter in Fuchsia City.
Recommended moveset: Return / Double-Edge, Shadow Ball, and any two between Dig / Hyper Beam / Ice Beam / Thunderbolt
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.
Rattata Line Ratings
What Nature do I want? Adamant and Brave are the best Natures you can get. However, pretty much any Attack-raising nature should be good. Attack-lowering Natures are quite bad, and Special Attack-raising natures can be useful if you want go to mixed.
Which Ability do I want? It doesn't make a big difference, but definitely Guts. Status moves are not easy to come by, but it can make the world of a difference in a pinch, unlike Run Away.
At what point in the game should I be evolved? Probably by the time you beat Nugget Bridge. Before Misty is necessary, especially if you plan to take her on after seeing Bill. While Rattata will get murdered by Misty, Raticate can actually hold its own.
How good is the Rattata line in a Nuzlocke? In the early game, it’s awesome. Hyper Fang and Quick Attack, along with relatively high Speed and Attack, absolutely wreck face. It starts to drop off a bit around mid-game, but it can still be quite useful by taking out the numerous frail or unevolved Pokémon that many trainers insist on using. It crashes hard in the late-game, though, as it can’t really stand up at all against the strong, evolved Pokémon used by late-game bosses and Victory Road trainers. However, it can surprisingly be useful in the Elite Four, as it can Shadow Ball its way through Agatha.