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In-game you  can make almost any Pokemon work but cacturne is good for the play through
its good against- tate and liza , juan , phebe and wallace . get the giga drain tm for it which is in the place which
you surf down before lilycove city,  show a girl your cacturne she will give it to you .
moveset-
cacturne @ quick claw
feint attack
giga drain
strenth
his hidden power or filler
source - my emerald playthrough 2 years ago
hope I helped!
sorry I forgot to add that a teacher will give you a quick claw in rustboro city

3 Answers

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Best answer

Cacturne is one of the worse Pokemon in Emerald. Its strongest move is return, which does not get STAB when used by Cacturne. Cacturne also has low speed and defenses and weaknesses to the common ice and flying types, so it does not get many opportunities to move in battle.

Use Vileplume or Sharpedo if you want a good grass or dark Pokemon. Sharpedo is naturally very fast, and Vileplume can easily raise its speed with sunny day and chlorophyll. Route 118 Oddish comes already knowing sleep powder. You can teach it sludge bomb immediately after catching it and solar beam and petal dance a bit later. Carvanha comes already knowing crunch, and you can teach it surf and ice beam immediately after catching it.
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Would Cacturne be better if it had high speed?
maybe a little bit. It might also be better if it could learn moves like crunch, leaf blade, flamethrower, or calm mind.
1 vote

Cacturne has some pretty polarizing issues in the context of an ingame playthrough, but I don't think it's one of the worst Pokemon available in the game. It can be salvaged and has a few niches Vileplume and Breloom can't claim, like its Psychic immunity. I'll go over its main issues in this answer for you to keep in mind for if you want to use it.

  1. Movepool
    Cacturne's learnset is... pretty terrible. Your strongest STABs are both 60 base power, one of which you don't get until Level 41, and its TM learnset is incredibly lacking, effectively requiring Return, Facade, or Secret Power early so you aren't stuck with Poison Sting and Absorb for a while. It also has no access to some of the early TMs that would help its coverage and power issues, such as Bulk Up, Dig, Rock Tomb, or even Sludge Bomb. The main TM you NEED to give it is Giga Drain, so tough luck if you wanted to give it to another party member for coverage like Tentacruel. Giga Drain itself is pretty bad in Generation 3, due to having only 60 base power and 5 PP, but do you really want to be stuck with Absorb until Level 41?

Recommended final learnset:
Needle Arm
Feint Attack
Return/Strength/Secret Power/Facade
Leech Seed/Giga Drain

  1. Typing & Stats
    Grass/Dark gives you six resistances, a few fairly common such as Water, but in return Cacturne is burdened with six weaknesses, most of them being very common types. Additionally, Cacturne's 70 HP and 60 Defense and Special Defense are rather fragile, meaning it cannot stay in against multiple Pokemon or reliably solo trainers. 115 Attack and Special Attack are fairly strong, though its weak STABs put a large burden on it. But most egregious of all is perhaps the 55 Speed Cacturne possesses, which is terrible, especially later in the game. This effectively requires over-leveling to outspeed late-game Pokemon.

Ultimately, Cacturne can be used and it does possess good matchups against major battles like Juan, but its issues may put you off from using it, and Vileplume, Breloom, Sceptile, and arguably Tropius are better choices for a Grass type. However, its unique Dark type might be worth considering as most of the Dark type Pokemon in the Hoenn Pokedex are really terrible, with only Mightyena notably standing out for earlygame utility.

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Obligatory explanation comment for "most of the Dark type Pokemon in the Hoenn Pokedex are really terrible" that I didn't feel like including in the main answer as it's about Cacturne:

Absol is also pretty terrible, most of its stats are bad except for that 130 Attack. The problem? Dark is Special in this generation. It doesn't even get Crunch through level up; the best move you're stuck with is Bite. Swords Dance and Slash early seems tempting but... Just use Zangoose, who is much faster, nearly as strong, and can actually utilize Normal STAB like Crush Claw and Return.
Mightyena is useful early but eventually its stats and movepool fail to keep up with competition. 60 Sp. Atk is pretty terrible for a Dark type too, even though it does learn Crunch early.
Shifty is stuck as Nuzleaf for most of the game and unlike Gloom its stats are terrible and its learnset perhaps even worse. It's most notorious for not learning a single Grass-type attack through level up. By the time you get a Leaf Stone for it, you might as well replace it with an Oddish and start training that into a Vileplume instead.
Sableye has very poor stats across the board, especially in regards to Speed, and its learnset is equally bad, not getting good STAB until Level 29 for Feint Attack. It effectively requires most of the highly contested early TMs like Shock Wave and Dig to hit important targets.
Sharpedo... is actually excellent. Use it in a run and you'll be surprised what it's capable of. Its bulk is terrible but it's fast and strong, and it learns Crunch and Surf effectively for free. I didn't bring it up as a mention in the Cacturne answer because most Emerald runs should have at least one surfer and Sharpedo doesn't need Secret Power as it learns Slash early, so the two actually synergize really well.
Crawdaunt, on the other hand... One of the worst options in the game due to its low speed and worse learnset. It gets Crabhammer early it can't use its 120 Attack for any of its STABs.
I think Absol is the best dark Pokemon in Emerald. It can outspeed most NPCs and learn swords dance by level up, and swords dance-boosted return is broken regardless of whether it gets STAB. I used Absol once, and it defeated Tate and Liza, Juan, Sidney, and Phoebe by itself while being slightly underleveled.
Also if Sharpedo is good, why did you mention Mightyena instead of Sharpedo in your answer?
0 votes

I’m always looking for fun Mons to use in playthroughs. Cacturne isn’t one that I’ve spent much time with, but looking at its movepool and stats in Emerald, it looks like a promising option.

@hoennseptile, who I’m commenting after, brought up some great ideas and brought out it’s playthrough strengths well. Giga Drain is always a nice move for Grass-Types, especially since you’ll be getting some health back after using it! However, just to present another option, Cacturne eventuall learns Needle Arm, its signature move. Like Giga Drain, it has a base power of 60 and deals special damage. However, instead of healing for a little bit of HP afterwards, it has a 30% chance to make the target flinch, which when fighting Gym Leaders could end up being a life saver!

As for the rest of the move set, @hoennseptile pretty much brought out the rest of the best options. Using an HM or two on it will give it some utility along with its damage output. Growth is another option if you want a way to give Cacturne a small damage boost. That’s about the gist of Cacturne’s best options. Good luck with your playthrough!

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