Tepig is available as your starter Pokemon, received from Bianca in Aspertia City.
Tepig gets even less love in the Unova sequels than it did before. Emboar has heavy amounts of competition from other Fire and Fighting types for your team slot. These not only include returning Unova Pokemon such as Darmanitan, Chandelure, Conkeldurr, and the earlier availability of Pokemon such as Mienshao and the three musketeers, but also newcomers such as Arcanine and Lucario. Worse still, picking Tepig carries a huge opportunity cost, as not picking the other two means Water and Grass types are harder to come by, which is incredibly important when you reach Clay, as it's very possible to be unprepared for him due to bad luck with encounters.
That said, Emboar is still really good. It hits the hardest of the starters and is the only one with a dual type to increase team diversity, which sticks out from the competition it has with others of its type. It also has a wide movepool that is helped by move tutors, and still has plenty of great match ups during the game. In particular, the sumo pig will help you get out of the early game the most easily with good Gym fights early on, and is very useful against Team Plasma's many Dark types. Emboar will suffer somewhat with low speed combined with its frailty in the brutal late game, but is still worth keeping around. Just get something for Clay and you've got a great ally for B2W2 Unova.
Hugh (Aspertia Overlook): Spam Tackle, pray you don't get crit. If your speed is good, you may outspeed Oshawott, making this easier.
Hugh (Floccesy Ranch): Do the same as before. Oshawott doesn't have Water Gun yet for some reason.
Gym #1 - Cheren (Aspertia City, Normal-type): Short of being obnoxiously overlevelled with an Arm Thrust wielding Pignite, which is unreasonable considering the grinding, this is pretty rough. However, Tepig learns Defense Curl at level 13, which can help offset Work Up boosts from Cheren's Pokemon if you don't get crit. Tackle will probably do more damage than Ember due to Tepig's higher attack. While Cheren is difficult, Tepig probably has the best chance against him out of all the starters.
Gym #2 - Roxie (Virbank City, Poison-type): Pretty great match up, actually. Pignite's STAB moves in Ember and Flame Charge will deal good damage to both Koffing and especially Whirlipede. The main issue is getting Poisoned. Venoshock on Poisoned Pignite will hurt a lot, so if you're healthy against Whirlipede, use Ember to avoid Poison Point shenanigans.
Gym #3 - Burgh (Castelia City, Bug-type): Pignite can really shine here. Dwebble will take the most hits, but a few Flame Charges or Arm Thrusts can take it down. Swadloon and Leavanny are both easily OHKOed by Flame Charge owing to their double weaknesses, but you'll likely want at least one Flame Charge boost when Leavanny comes in. This is to ensure that you outspeed it easily, as otherwise Cut will do some damage.
Colress (Route 4): Beware of Thunder Wave or Spark paralysis from Magnemite, but Arm Thrust can break Sturdy quite nicely. Klink is even easier. Shouldn't be a problem with two Super Effective STABs.
Gym #4 - Elesa (Nimbasa City, Electric-type): This is actually better than it was previously in BW. Emolga no longer has Aerial Ace, so can be hit with Rock Tomb or Return. Flame Charge or Return will do decent damage to Flaaffy and Zebstrika. Even with an Eviolite though, repeated Volt Switches will do a huge amount of damage, so be incredibly careful and don't hesitate to support your piggy with other team members.
Rood (Driftveil City): Intimidate and Take Down from Herdier and only having either Arm Thrust, Rock Smash, or Low Kick will make this harder than it otherwise would be. Avoid Swoobat altogether.
Gym #5 - Clay (Driftveil City, Ground-type): It sounds slightly tempting due to having two Super Effective STABs against Krokorok or Excadrill, but don't. Even an overlevelled fully evolved Emboar with the Air Balloon has trouble, so an ordinary Pignite in a standard run should just stay out of the way. STAB Bulldoze off all three of Clay's Pokemon is far too dangerous. Pray you got a decent Water and/or Grass type.
Hugh (Pokémon World Tournament): Simisage should be no problem. Dewott, however, definitely will, even with your level advantage, but Thunderpunch might be useful. Thunderpunch or Return will OHKO Tranquill, but be extremely careful of crit Air Cutters.
Cheren (Pokémon World Tournament, Normal-type): Your slowness makes status moves annoying, especially with only something like Arm Thrust or Low Kick to use. Stoutland might have Intimidate too, which makes this even worse. All in all, Pignite will have some use, but probably will not solo Cheren here.
Colress (Pokémon World Tournament): Magneton's Thunder Wave will be a major pain thanks to being unable to use healing items, but a couple of hits should down it if you've got a healing berry held. Elgyem does have STAB Psybeam, but as long as it doesn't crit you're okay, but it's still a risk. Klink is even easier, Heat Crash will wreck it before it even does anything.
Gym #6 - Skyla (Mistralton City, Flying-type): Avoid Acrobatics from Swoobat like the plague, it'll hurt a lot even off Swoobat's fairly low attack. Skarmory is doable with your Fire STAB as it only has the Specially based Air Cutter off base 40 Special Attack, so it won't be too bad if it doesn't crit. Thunderpunch will OHKO Swanna easily, but you'll need to be faster somehow. Chances are, you'll get Featherdanced to make you weaker, and then Air Slash flinched. Avoid anyway.
Hugh (Undella Town): Simisage should be fine and easily OHKOed. Unfezant and Samurott are far too dangerous to tackle, despite Unfezant being a potential OHKO. Super Luck crit Air Slash is bad, Water STAB from Samurott is even worse.
Zinzolin (Lacunosa Town, tag battle with Hugh): Cryogonal and Sneasel are easily OHKOed thanks to their weak defenses. Golbat should be avoided due to STAB Acrobatics, while Garbodor is doable but not ideal.
Gym #7 - Drayden (Opelucid City, Dragon-type): Druddigon might be okay, but will take repeated hits and may crit you. Flygon's Earth Power is a no go. Haxorus only has Dragon Tail for STAB, but you really don't want it to set up. STAB Fighting moves make this a bit easier, but Drayden is best avoided.
Zinzolin (Opelucid City): Be aware of Cryogonal's Reflect shenanigans and Confuse Ray always being a problem thanks to Emboar's low speed, but you should OHKO everything here no problem.
Shadow (Opelucid City): STAB Fighting attacks will OHKO all three Pokemon here. Absol has Future Sight as well as Swords Dance, but it'll go down fast while the two Pawniard are no sweat.
Gym #8 - Marlon (Humilau City, Water-type): Carracosta sounds tempting due to being Rock type, but it has Sturdy and Shell Smash, so avoid it anyway. Don't even bother with the other two. You're a Fire type. Use one of the many good Electric types available if you have one.
Zinzolin (Plasma Frigate, tag battle with Hugh): Crygonal's Reflect and Confuse Ray return, so be careful of them. Also be careful anyway as it's a double battle. That said, Fire and Fighting are super effective against all six Pokemon here. The Grunt's Liepard doesn't even have Fake Out, so it can't even prevent you from attacking.
Zinzolin (Plasma Frigate): The same as ever. Confuse Ray and Reflect and their high speed will annoy you, but you should OHKO everything once you get hits in.
Colress (Plasma Frigate): Emboar can do some work here, but it will unlikely solo the fight and will need support. Magneton and Magnezone will be 2KOed thanks to Sturdy, but Thunder Wave is a huge problem once again. Magnezone is particularly threatening, with Discharge and Explosion. Beeheeyem is to be avoided thanks to being Psychic. Metang is also Psychic and has Zen Headbutt, but Heat Crash or better yet, Flamethrower should OHKO it. Just be really careful switching in if you're on set mode. Klinklang should be easy to OHKO with a STAB move, but don't let it use Giga Impact, especially if it has already used Shift Gear. Overall, the low speed will hinder Emboar but it can be used on some of Colress's Pokémon.
Shadow battle #1 (Plasma Frigate): This is basically the same fight as in Opelucid but with higher levels. Pawniard are a joke while Absol has the same moves. Should be easy to defeat once again.
Shadow battle #2 (Plasma Frigate): Other than the Pawniard, Banette can use Shadow Claw, which may crit, or Psychic. You're likely to 2KO or OHKO it, but crits can be deadly.
Shadow battle #3 (Plasma Frigate): Pawniards barely deserve mention. Accelgor can't do much to you before being shot down in flames.
Black/White Kyurem (Giant Chasm): Risky but possible. Low Kick (thanks to max power) or Superpower shouldn't take more than two hits and may OHKO, but Kyurem can do heavy damage back. Black is the harder fight thanks to Fusion Bolt. Emboar resists every attack that White can use other than Slash, but crits and Dragonbreath paralysis are still annoying.
Ghetsis (Giant Chasm): Very, very bad. Cofagrigus has Toxic, Protect, AND Psychic. Seismitoad has two Super Effective STABs. Eelektross has Acrobatics - if you can survive one you can 2KO it, but it's too risky. Drapion's Earthquake is a major problem and Emboar can't do much back before it loses. Toxicroak isn't too bad but it can still do heavy damage with a crit. Hydreigon should be OHKOed with Low Kick or Superpower, but it has Life Orb Dragon Rush, which will likely come close to killing your starter at best, so despite the type weakness it's really best avoided. Ghetsis is not kind to Emboar.
Hugh (Victory Road): As always, Simisage is fine if you don't get crit, while Unfezant and Samurott should not be fought. His new addition of Bouffalant is a tricky one. You might OHKO it with Superpower or something, but if it survives, Earthquake is sure to deal major damage. If you're on set mode, it's almost not worth trying to switch in on this thing unless you can bait a 4X resisted Megahorn.
Elite Four Shauntal (Pokémon League, Ghost-type): Nope. All four of Shauntal's Pokemon have a Super Effective move against Emboar. Cofagrigus is probably the easiest as it only has non-STAB Psychic (Chandelure does too, but it hits much harder), but don't push it. Emboar can have moves such as Rock Slide or Thunderpunch that may help, but you're still likely to lose. You don't want to lose Emboar so close to the end now do you?
Elite Four Marshal (Pokémon League, Fighting-type): Marshall's Pokémon all have really powerful attacks that Emboar won't like taking. Being able to only 2KO most of them at best really makes this a very dangerous fight.
Elite Four Grimsley (Pokémon League, Dark-type): This is Emboar's best fight during the Elite Four. Liepard has Fake out and Aerial Ace, which shouldn't be a major threat unless they crit. Attract against male Emboar, which is almost all of them, could also be a thing, but Emboar will easily OHKO Liepard anyway. Scrafty thankfully only has Brick Break rather than High Jump Kick, but you'll want a high powered Fighting move and no attack drops from something like Superpower in order to OHKO it. Krookodile is a no go. Intimidate is bad, but STAB Earthquake off higher speed than piggy is worse. Bisharp has Aerial Ace, but is otherwise no problem.
Elite Four Caitlin (Pokémon League, Psychic-type): Interestingly, Musharna, her lead, only has Dream Eater for STAB, so as long as you stay awake and don't let it boost too much with Charge Beam or annoy you with Reflect, it's possible if not ideal. Don't even bother fighting the other three, Caitlin is a Psychic user after all.
Champion Iris (Pokémon League, Dragon-type): There are Pokémon here that are technically possible but extremely risky. These are Hydreigon, which can be OHKOed but has Surf, Aggron, which is easily OHKOed thanks to not having Sturdy but has Earthquake, and Lapras, which may be OHKOked by Superpower or Low Kick but has STAB Surf. Druddigon's most dangerous attack is Sheer Force Focus Blast or Rock Slide, so it's not really preferable. Archeops will absolutely murder Emboar with Acrobatics, so do't fight that. Haxorus has a Focus Sash, Dragon Dance, Dual Chop, AND Earthquake. You're not getting past it with an Emboar. On Set Mode, Emboar really struggles to do work in this fight, but on Shift, it's slightly less rough.
Post-Game: As always, be careful of Emboar's relative frailty and low speed (especially on Set Mode), but it should continue to do work.
Hugh (Aspertia Overlook):
Hugh (Floccesy Ranch):
Gym #1 - Cheren (Aspertia City, Normal-type):
Gym #2 - Roxie (Virbank City, Poison-type):
Gym #3 - Burgh (Castelia City, Bug-type):
Colress (Route 4):
Gym #4 - Elesa (Nimbasa City, Electric-type):
Rood (Driftveil City):
Gym #5 - Clay (Driftveil City, Ground-type):
Hugh (Pokémon World Tournament):
Cheren (Pokémon World Tournament, Normal-type):
Colress (Pokémon World Tournament):
Gym #6 - Skyla (Mistralton City, Flying-type):
Hugh (Undella Town):
Zinzolin (Lacunosa Town, tag battle with Hugh):
Gym #7 - Drayden (Opelucid City, Dragon-type):
Zinzolin (Opelucid City):
Shadow (Opelucid City):
Gym #8 - Marlon (Humilau City, Water-type):
Zinzolin (Plasma Frigate, tag battle with Hugh):
Zinzolin (Plasma Frigate):
Colress (Plasma Frigate):
Shadow battle #1 (Plasma Frigate):
Shadow battle #2 (Plasma Frigate):
Shadow battle #3 (Plasma Frigate):
Black/White Kyurem (Giant Chasm):
Ghetsis (Giant Chasm):
Hugh (Victory Road):
Elite Four Shauntal (Pokémon League, Ghost-type):
Elite Four Marshal (Pokémon League, Fighting-type):
Elite Four Grimsley (Pokémon League, Dark-type):
Elite Four Caitlin (Pokémon League, Psychic-type):
Tepig starts with your standard starter Tackle and Tail Whip. At level 7, it learns Ember, which is the first Fire attack, though Tackle will often outdamage it against some foes due to Tepig's physical slant. Level 9's Odor Sleuth is pointless, but Defense Curl at level 13 can be helpful against Cheren. At level 15, you get your first physical STAB in Flame Charge, which is powerful early on and keeps utility later on due to increasing your speed. However, if you ever want to relearn this move later down the line, you'll need a Heart Scale as the TM for it is unfortunately post game. Evolving into Pignite at level 17 gives you Arm Thrust, which is the best Fighting attack you'll have for a while, though it quickly loses power. Smog, Rollout, and Take Down at levels 20, 23, and 28 respectively don't have any use. Rollout might be handy, but being locked in is dangerous. Level 31 gives you the exclusive Heat Crash. While you're still in Pignite stage, it'll be fairly weak, but once you evolve into the much heavier Emboar, it becomes your best Fire attack for a while. Assurance is learned twice, at level 36 as Pignite and again at 38 for Emboar, but it's pretty weak. Evolving into Emboar also allows you to relearn Hammer Arm, the best Fighting attack you get by level. It can miss and lowers speed, but it's the best you get without move tutors. Flamethrower at level 43 is awesome, even if you have a Special Attack lowering nature and is more reliable than Heat Crash against heavy bulky foes. Head Smash at level 50 is ungodly strong but misses and does huge recoil, so it's best avoided. Roar comes at level 55 and as a TM, and it's completely worthless either way. Finally, if you get as high as level 62, Emboar learns the must have Flare Blitz, which is the best physical attack it gets despite the recoil.
TMs can bolster Emboar's movepool quite nicely. The most useful ones are likely Return, from after Cheren, which often ends up outdamaging Arm Thrust and could easily stay to the end, Rock Slide from Mistralton Cave, Wild Charge, which has nice coverage but is very out of the way and has nasty recoil, and Bulldoze, a nice Ground move that lowers the enemy's speed. Rock Tomb is a mid-game Rock move before you get Rock Slide, and Rock Smash has a more consistent damage output than Arm Thrust, but isn't recommended. Work Up can be a temporary set up move, but won't likely see much use. Brick Break would be great if it wasn't a Tournament BP costing move that is out of the way, but if you decide to go for it is the most reliable Fighting move you'll get. Scald from Marlon is okay, as is Fire Blast, which you may not feel you need thanks to Emboar's array of Fire moves already. Unfortunately, Focus Blast, Overheat, Earthquake, Grass Knot, and Stone Edge are all postgame. So is Poison Jab, but Fairy isn't a thing yet so that's not really a loss.
Emboar has a bit to gain from move tutors as well. Both Low Kick and Superpower are great Fighting moves. Superpower lowers Attack and Defense after use while Low Kick's base power varies, but they are more accurate than Hammer Arm. It's a case of picking your drawback with Fighting moves unfortunately. Fire Punch would be okay if you prefer something more consistent than Heat Crash, but by the time you get Emboar, the latter is generally better. Thunderpunch is pretty great, and doesn't have the recoil of Wild Charge, alongside much better availability.
Recommended moveset: One of Heat Crash/Flamethrower/Flare Blitz (if you get to level 62), one of Superpower/Low Kick/Hammer Arm/Brick Break, and any two coverage moves, or a secondary Fire move, or Flame Charge, or something. Emboar is really versatile, so only the two STABs are obligatory. Going fully Special is unfortunately unviable as most of the good Special TMs are after the Elite Four.
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.
Tepig Line Ratings
What Nature do I want? It's hard to say, as Tepig kind of wants all of it's stats. However, a Special Attack decreasing nature is likely best as most of it's best Special moves are either late or postgame. Increasing Attack is good as most of this line's moves are physical as is it's best stat. Something like Adamant, Lonely, Jolly, or Naughty would work, or a neutral nature. If you have a lowered Attack, the Pignite stage will be painful.
At what point in the game should I be evolved? You should have a Pignite before Roxie. Evolve it immediately to get Arm Thrust. Emboar should be reached before Skyla, around Chargestone Cave or Route 7.
How good is the Tepig line in a Nuzlocke? It's great, despite the general lack of love. It has problems with several areas (Ghetsis and the Elite Four, as well as all the Water Pokemon in the late game), and picking it means losing out on a guaranteed Water or Grass type, but it's still well worth it. Tepig can carry you out of the early game and continue to pull it's weight throughout.
Tepig's type matchups:
Weaknesses: Ground, Rock, Water
Resistances: Bug, Steel, Fire, Grass, Ice
Neutralities: Normal, Fighting, Flying, Poison, Ghost, Electric, Psychic, Dragon, Dark