How To Beat Bugsy in Pokémon HG/SS

Bugsy Battle Vignette Screenshot in Pokémon HeartGold

Bugsy’s fight is trivial if you chose Cyndaquil as your starter, since Bugsy’s Pokémon are weak to Fire. But if you chose another starter, the next best way to defeat Bugsy would be to use Pokémon like Onix or Spearow (both have great type advantages).

We suggest using either Geodude or Onix, since they will also be useful for fighting the next Pokémon Gym in Goldenrod City.

Avoid using Stat-reducing moves like Growl or Sand-Attack on Bugsy’s Scyther if he still has another Pokémon alive. His Scyther knows the Move U-turn, which will prevent you from stacking debuffs on it until you defeat his other Pokémon.

  • You can catch Geodude in Union Cave, or in Dark Cave via the Violet City Entrance.
  • You can catch Onix from Union Cave. A special Onix can be also obtained by trading a Bellsprout to the boy in the house next to the Violet City Pokémon Center.

How To Defeat Bugsy (Quick Guide)

Here’s a quick step-by-step overview of our recommended strategy:

  1. Lead the party with Geodude/Onix.
  2. Use Harden/Defense Curl at least thrice (maximum of six stat increases).
  3. (If using Onix) Use Rage at least twice (maximum of six stat increases).
  4. Spam Rock Throw or Rock Tomb until you defeat Bugsy.

Bugsy’s Team

Bugsy’s only notable Pokémon is his Scyther, as the other Pokémon on his team pose little to no threat to you.

Pokémon Level Type/s Ability Held Item Moveset

Scyther (♀)
Lv. 17 Bug/Flying Technician
Powers up the Pokémon’s weaker moves.
Sitrus Berry
  • U-turn
  • Quick Attack
  • Leer
  • Focus Energy

Metapod (♀)
Lv. 15 Bug Shed Skin
The Pokémon may heal its own status problems.

Kakuna (♀)
Lv. 15 Bug/Poison Shed Skin
The Pokémon may heal its own status problems.
Poison Sting

Bugsy’s strategy revolves around Scyther using the Move U-turn to get free hits while switching to his weaker Pokémon. This combo is especially dangerous if you chose Chikorita as your starter.

We will counter his strategy by stacking buffs on our own Pokémon while his weaker Pokémon are in battle, so that we will be prepared when Scyther switches back out.

Preparing Your Party

Here is a list of Pokémon that we suggest you put in your party, in order of importance.

Essential Moves are in bold text.

Pokémon Type/s Level Ability Suggested Move/s Location
Onix Rock/Ground 15+ Any Rock Throw
Union Cave (1F), Trade (Bellsprout)
Geodude Rock/Ground 15+ Any Rock Throw
Defense Curl
Dark Cave (Violet City Entrance), Union Cave (1F)
Spearow Normal/Flying 15+ Any Peck
Route 33 (Day)
Pidgey Normal/Flying 15+ Any Gust
Routes 29, 30 & 31 (Day)
Hoothoot Normal/Flying 15+ Any Peck
Routes 29, 30 & 31 (Night)
Flaaffy Electric 15+ Any Thundershock
Thunder Wave
Route 32
Zubat Poison/Flying 17+ Any Wing Attack
Routes 32 & 33 (Night), Dark Cave (Violet City Entrance), Union Cave (1F), Slowpoke Well (1F), Ilex Forest

Note: We have only listed locations that are accessible at this point in the game.

You may use any of the listed Pokémon for their Type advantage against Bug or Flying, but we recommend bringing either Geodude or Onix.

Not only will they resist Scyther’s attacks, but they also have Moves that buff their Defense.

Tip: Geodude and Onix will also be good to use against the next Gym, as they resist Normal-type attacks!

Our Team Comp

The team I used for this guide is as follows:

Pokémon Type/s Level Ability Held Item Moves
Onix Rock/Ground 17 Sturdy
It is protected against 1-hit KO attacks.
  • Rock Tomb
  • Rage
  • Harden
  • Screech
Chikorita Grass 17 Overgrow
Powers up Grass-type moves in a pinch.
  • Razor Leaf
  • Growl
  • Synthesis
  • PoisonPowder

In theory, Onix should be able to win solo, but we opted to bring our starter as backup.

Option 1: Getting Onix/Geodude

After beating the Violet City Gym, wild Onix can be encountered in Union Cave, south of Violet City. Union Cave connects Violet City directly to Azalea Town, so you can’t miss it.

The entrance to Union Cave on Route 32 / Pokémon HGSS
The entrance to Union Cave on Route 32.

However, if you’re not planning on keeping the Onix on your team for the long-term, we suggest getting the Trade Onix from Violet City instead for the increased experience gain.

We’ve written a more detailed guide on how to get the Trade Onix in our Falkner Gym Guide.

A wild Onix encountered in Union Cave / Pokémon HGSS
A wild Onix encountered in Union Cave.

Geodude can also be caught in the same area as Onix in Union Cave. We recommend catching one there if you haven’t yet, as they will be higher level than the ones in Dark Cave.

Option 2: Catching Other Pokémon

Flying-type Pokémon are strong against Bug Pokémon, and they are plentiful in the early areas as well. You can choose any of them for this fight, as long as they have an offensive Flying-type Move.

Note: Flying-types will be at a major disadvantage against the next Gym Leader Whitney, so be sure to plan ahead!

Another Pokémon you might use against Bugsy is Flaaffy. Flaaffy evolves from Mareep, which can be caught in the tall grass on Route 32.

A wild Mareep encountered on Route 32 / Pokémon HGSS
A wild Mareep encountered on Route 32.

Although Flaaffy’s Electric typing does not resist Bug-type moves, they have the Static Ability which gives them a chance to Paralyze opponents that make contact. Additionally, they have access to the Move Thunder Wave which is a Status Move that also causes Paralysis.

Paralysis, unlike stat reduction or Confusion, is a non-volatile effect. So it will persist even if the opponent switches out.

Azalea Gym Puzzle Guide

Compared to the Gen 2 games, the updated Azalea Gym in HG/SS now has a series of puzzles that you must solve to reach Bugsy.

These types of puzzles are referred to as Ghost Leg puzzles, or Amidakuji in Japan, where you move forward along the straight lines and follow the first available turn or “leg” until you reach the end.

First Puzzle

The first puzzle is a standard Ghost Leg puzzle and should be simple enough to solve if you know how it works.

You should ride the left Spinarak to move directly to the middle platform.

This will lead to an unavoidable trainer battle, but after the battle you can move onto the next part of the puzzle.

The solution to the first puzzle / Pokémon HG/SS
The solution to the first puzzle.

Second Puzzle

The second and final puzzle adds a layer of complexity by adding levers that you can use to disable some legs and change the layout of the puzzle.

The second part has two levers, one blue and one red.

If you want to skip as many trainers as possible, DO NOT pull the blue lever in front of you.

Instead, you should just ride the Spinarak with all the paths turned on. This should lead you to the left side where you will have to face an unavoidable trainer battle.

The Spinarak path without turning the blue path off / Pokémon HG/SS
The Spinarak path without turning the blue path off.

Once you defeat the trainers, flip the blue lever next to them.

This should disable the blue path and allow you to go back onto the Spinirak platform to reach the red lever below.

The Spinarak path after toggling the blue lever / Pokémon HG/SS
The Spinarak path after toggling the blue lever.

So ride the Spinirak over and then flip the red lever. Then ride the Spinarak one last time.

The Spinarak path after flipping the red lever / Pokémon HG/SS
The Spinarak path after flipping the red lever.

You will end up in the middle of the gym where Bugsy is.

To get back to the entrance after the gym battle, the game conveniently provides you with a blue lever near Bugsy. Flipping this level will let you return quickly to the entrance without retracing your steps.

The Spinarak path with only the red lever turned off / Pokémon HG/SS
The Spinarak path with only the red lever turned off.

Battling Bugsy

Bugsy will begin the battle by sending out Scyther.

You should lead your team with Onix or Geodude, and immediately use Harden or Defense Curl. Make a mental count of how many stat increases you’ve stacked.

Note: Scyther might use Leer to counter your stat increase. If they do this, subtract one from your counter.

Scyther will eventually use U-turn and switch with either Metapod or Kakuna.

Bugsy’s Scyther using U-turn / Pokémon HGSS
Bugsy’s Scyther using U-turn.

Either way, you may safely continue to use Harden or Defense Curl until you reach at least three stacks. Just be careful with Kakuna’s Poison Sting and immediately use an Antidote if your Pokémon gets poisoned.

Onix using Harden against Metapod / Pokémon HGSS
Onix using Harden against Metapod.

Tip: We recommend maxing your Defense stacks to +6 to ensure your victory against Bugsy.

Once you’ve raised your Defense stat enough, you may optionally use the Move Rage if you’re using Onix. This will increase your Attack stat if the enemy attacks you.

Since both Metapod and Kakuna only know one attack, they will always trigger Rage. Use this to your advantage and raise your Attack a couple of times.

Increasing your Attack twice should be enough to One-hit-KO Scyther once they switch back.

After stacking enough buffs, you may proceed to use Rock Throw or Rock Tomb.

Onix using Rock Tomb against Bugsy’s Scyther / Pokémon HGSS
Onix using Rock Tomb against Bugsy’s Scyther.

Your attacks should be able to make quick work of Bugsy’s team by now.

Continue spamming your Rock-type Move and you will eventually win the battle.

Bugsy being defeated / Pokémon HGSS
Bugsy being defeated!

After defeating Bugsy, he will award you with the Hive Badge, as well as TM89 U-turn. You will also gain the ability to use HM01 Cut outside of battle.

Crumble Thorn

20 articles

Game Developer, Digital Artist, and Lifelong Pokémon enthusiast. Writes about pretty much anything Pokémon-related, and also covers other games that they happen to hyperfixate in.

View Writer's Posts →