PokéBase - Pokémon Q&A
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So, I'm playing Platinum, and I already have a Monferno and a Staravia.
Should I use a Kadabra (not Alakazam, I can't trade) or a Gardevoir?

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Frankly, they're both so similar, it'll boil down to personal preference based on whether you prefer Speed or bulk.

Personally, I'd prefer Gardevoir, because:

  • Despite being slower (Base 80 speed versus Kadabra's base 105), it is still faster than most of the opposing Pokemon you face, with some rare exceptions.
  • It has greater HP and defenses so while both still go down to string Super Effective moves, Gardevoir has a better chance of surviving neutral attacks, which are more common.
  • Kadabra's Recover isn't as useful as you have access to potions, etc. whereas Gardevoir's Magical Leaf gives you a little extra Grass coverage early on.
  • Gardevoir also learns its main STAB Psychic earlier, but Kadabra hits harder sooner.
  • It looks better :b

Now, both of them learn similar TMs and their Special Attack is comparable (125 Gardevoir versus 120 Kadabra) so they're both plenty capable of dealing strong damage with Psychic and Shadow Ball.

The final verdict is this:
Kadabra hits harder earlier on, and is very strong till the middle badges. However, once you get to the latter gyms and the Victory Road and Elite 4, the Pokemon you face are much tougher and more difficult to OHKO. And given how frail Kadabra is, it is very easily knocked out. From here on out, Gardevoir is better. So basically, what you can do is use Kadabra early on (till Fantina, but not beyond Crasher), then swap it out for Gardevoir.

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I don't think bulk matters very much when Kadabra is outspeeding and OHKOing most of its opponents, and magical leaf doesn't matter because both can learn grass knot. Using Kadabra until you get to Wake is even worse than using either of them until the end of the game, because Kadabra gains experience when you use it, and dropping it would waste all that experience.
Gotta disagree there. OHKOing isn't something either of them can consistently pull off, and later on the bulk is more important because you're more likely to 2HKO. As for Magical Leaf, that's quite temporary, and I don't see why wasting the tm for Grass Knot is a good solution either way.

The thing you mentioned about losing the experience is something that I can somewhat agree with, but I truly believe Kadabra doesn't pull its weight later on, so it shouldn't be like you're stuck with the worse option because you spent some time with it.
In that case, just don't use Kadabra at all when you know it'll get worse later in the game.
Kadabras Base 120 Special Attack vs Gardeviours Base 125 Special Attack dosent really make a difference but Gardeviour might be better if you want a more bulky special sweeper as its not as fast as Kadabra
2 votes

Earlier evolution lets Kadabra solo the Route 209 rival battle and almost solo Maylene, while Kirlia is pretty useless in these 2 fights.
Kadabra's higher base speed and boosted experience gain let it more easily outspeed several difficult opponents, like Wake's Floatzel, Candice's Froslass, Aaron's Heracross, Bertha's Gliscor, and Lucian's Gallade.
Kadabra's guaranteed quiet nature and boosted experience gain let it do more damage, despite having lower base special attack.

Gardevoir has better HP and defenses and can learn calm mind by level up, but these are less useful than Kadabra's advantages.