How To Beat Chuck in Pokémon HG/SS

Chuck Battle Vignette in Pokémon HeartGold

Chuck’s tactics revolve around reliably landing Focus Punch. The best way to counter this is by using Haunter, since it’s immune to Fighting-type moves, and it can drain the opponent’s health with Curse.

Chuck’s two Pokémon have different gimmicks: Primeape relies on spamming Double Team to prevent your attacks from hitting, while Poliwrath uses Hypnosis to put your Pokémon to sleep before attacking.

Sure-hit moves like Aerial Ace and Shadow Punch can be used to bypass Primeape’s evasion. Additionally, Pokémon with the Ability Insomnia will nullify Poliwrath’s entire strategy.

If you want to go with our Haunter strategy, then Haunter evolves from Gastly starting at level 25. You can catch Gastly at night inside Sprout Tower in Violet City.

How To Defeat Chuck (Quick Guide)

Here is a step-by-step overview of our recommended strategy:

  1. Lead the party with Haunter.
  2. Use Curse and Confuse Ray against Primeape.
  3. Stall and use recovery items until Primeape faints.
  4. Use Hypnosis on Poliwrath.
  5. Repeat Steps 2-4.

Chuck’s Team

Chuck only has two Pokémon, much like Falkner and Whitney.

Pokémon Level Type Ability Held Item Moveset

Primeape (♂)
Lv. 27 Fighting Vital Spirit
Prevents the Pokémon from falling asleep.
  • Leer
  • Double Team
  • Rock Slide
  • Focus Punch

Poliwrath (♂)
Lv. 30 Water/Fighting Water Absorb
Restores HP if hit by a Water-type move.
Sitrus Berry
  • Hypnosis
  • Body Slam
  • Surf
  • Focus Punch

Both of his Pokémon have the move Focus Punch, a Fighting-type move that has the same base power as Hyper Beam. Because of STAB (Same-Type Attack Bonus), this attack will usually one-hit KO any Pokémon if used successfully.

However, the move has two big downsides.

  1. Focus Punch has decreased priority, meaning it will almost always hit last regardless of your Pokémon’s speed.
  2. And the move will also fail completely if the Pokémon using it is hit by any damaging move before it can attack.

Chuck will try to get around this major weakness by not letting you hit his Pokémon.

His Primeape will buff itself with Double Team to increase its evasion, whereas Poliwrath will instead disable your Pokémon with Hypnosis before charging a Focus Punch. Both strategies can be countered but will require a bit of preparation.

Preparing Your Party

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

Essential Pokémon, Abilities, and Moves are in bold text.

Pokémon Type/s Level Ability Suggested Move/s Location
Haunter Ghost/Poison 30+ Any Curse
Shadow Punch
Confuse Ray
Evolve Gastly:
Sprout Tower
Noctowl Normal/Flying 32+ Insomnia Air Slash
Evolve Hoothoot:
Routes 29, 30, 31, 35, 36 & 37 (Night), National Park (Night)
Hypno Psychic 30+ Insomnia Psybeam
Evolve Drowzee:
Routes 34 & 35
Heracross Bug/Fighting 30+ Any Aerial Ace Headbutt Trees:
Routes 33, 42, 44 & 46, Azalea Town
Kadabra Psychic 30+ Any Miracle Eye
Evolve Abra:
Routes 34 & 35
Bayleef Grass 30+ Any Magical Leaf
Poison Powder
Evolve Chikorita:
Prof. Elm’s Lab
Exeggutor Grass/Psychic 30+ Any Confusion
Seed Bomb
Leech Seed
Sleep Powder
Evolve Exeggcute:
Headbutt Trees:
Routes 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38 & 39, New Bark Town, Cherrygrove City, Violet City, Ecruteak City, National Park
Croconaw Water 30+ Any Evolve Totodile:
Prof. Elm’s Lab
Quilava Fire 30+ Any Swift Evolve Cyndaquil:
Prof. Elm’s Lab
Note: We have only listed locations that are accessible at this point in the game.

Like with Whitney, Ghost-types are undoubtedly the best Pokémon against Chuck because of their immunity to Fighting-type attacks.

And Haunter is really your only choice unfortunately, because Misdreavus (the only other Ghost-type Pokémon available in HGSS) can only be obtained later in the game.

Fortunately, Haunter is not the only solution for this Gym Battle. There are other game mechanics that we can take advantage of that do not involve being immune to Focus Punch.

Strategies without a Haunter

Certain moves like Aerial Ace and Swift ignore evasion completely, and will always hit the target unless it protects itself or is in the middle of certain two-turn moves like Fly or Dig.

Farfetch’d, Fearow and Heracross can naturally learn Aerial Ace, the Flying-type variant of the sure-hit moves. For this strategy we recommend picking Heracross, as the other two Pokémon are susceptible to Primeape’s Rock Slide.

  • Alternatively, you could also use moves like Foresight, Odor Sleuth or Miracle Eye to disregard the increased evasion during accuracy calculations. You could use Pokémon like Kadabra and Arcanine for these moves to allow you to hit Primeape more consistently.
  • Poliwrath’s gimmick can easily be shut down by simply having a Pokémon with the Ability Insomnia. Hypno is the perfect candidate for this, as it also has STAB for Psychic-type moves.
  • Noctowl is a decent all-rounder pick against both Primeape and Poliwrath since it has the Ability Insomnia, as well as access to Foresight and some strong Psychic- and Flying-type moves. However, it has weaker stats compared to both Heracross and Hypno.

Note: You will need to train Noctowl to Level 32 to gain access to Air Slash, which is significantly stronger than its earlier STAB Flying-type move, Peck.

Of the three starters, Chikorita will have the biggest advantage for this Gym battle, as it gets STAB with Magical Leaf, the Grass-type version of Aerial Ace. Since it’s a sure-hit Grass-type move, it works well against both Primeape and Poliwrath.

Whatever team composition you choose, it’s important that you’re able to handle both of Chuck’s strategies.

Our Chosen Team

The team we used for this guide is as follows:

Pokémon Type/s Level Ability Held Item Moves

Ghost/Poison 30 Levitate Chesto Berry Shadow Punch
Confuse Ray

Bug/Fighting 30 Swarm Quick Claw Brick Break
Aerial Ace
Horn Attack

Psychic 30 Insomnia Psybeam

Fire 30 Blaze Charcoal Flame Wheel

We will be basing our strategy mostly around Haunter, but we’ve chosen to run a couple of backup Pokémon in case things go wrong.

Getting a Haunter

Wild Gastly can be found at night inside Sprout Tower. Sprout Tower is in the northern part of Violet City, connected by a series of bridges.

Sprout Tower at night / Pokémon HGSS
Sprout Tower at night.

Haunter evolves from Gastly at Level 25 and learns Shadow Punch at the same level.

Shadow Punch is the Ghost-type variant of Aerial Ace. While it isn’t required to learn it since Haunter has poor Attack stats, it will still help in defeating Primeape later.

Extra Prep + Getting Chesto Berries

Before challenging the Cianwood City Gym, we recommend training all your Pokémon to at least Level 30, on par with Chuck’s strongest Pokémon.

But Noctowl should be trained to at least Level 32 so it can learn Air Slash.

As with all the other Gym battles, make sure to stock up on Revives and other recovery items.

While we have the option of using Awakenings or Full Heals to cure our Pokémon when Poliwrath uses Hypnosis, it will be a guaranteed death sentence because Poliwrath will use the same turn to charge Focus Punch.

Instead, we can use Chesto Berries as a Held Item for our Pokémon to automatically cure the status condition once.

There are various ways to randomly obtain Chesto Berries, but the only reliable way is by trading Blue Shards to the Juggler in front of the Violet City Pokémon Center.

The Juggler in Violet City, offering Berries for Shards / Pokémon HGSS
The Juggler in Violet City, offering Berries for Shards.

Shards are a class of items that can be randomly obtained by using Rock Smash on breakable rocks. We will need Blue Shards to get Chesto Berries.

The simplest way to farm for Shards is by:

  1. Repeatedly smashing breakable rocks above Cianwood
  2. Or by repeatedly smashing the breakable rock next to the Pokémon School in Violet City, just above the Pokémon Center
A breakable rock in Violet City next to the Pokémon School / Pokémon HGSS
A breakable rock in Violet City next to the Pokémon School.

Unlike other breakable rocks, this rock cannot spawn wild Pokémon, so it makes the farming process much faster.

To respawn the breakable rock, simply enter and exit the Pokémon School. Eventually, you should be able to get a Blue Shard from the rubble.

Obtaining a Blue Shard from using Rock Smash / Pokémon HGSS
Obtaining a Blue Shard from using Rock Smash.

Once you have a Blue Shard, walk back to the Juggler and trade it in for the Berries. He will always give a set of three different Berries based on the color of the Shard given.

Below is the list of Berries that can be obtained from the Violet City Juggler:

Shard Berry Set Berries Obtained
Red A Cheri Berry Pecha Berry Leppa Berry
Blue B Oran Berry Chesto Berry Wiki Berry
Yellow C Aspear Berry Sitrus Berry Iapapa Berry
Green D Rawst Berry Lum Berry Aguav Berry
Obtaining a Chesto Berry from the Juggler / Pokémon HGSS
Obtaining a Chesto Berry from the Juggler.

Once you’ve got a couple of these berries, make sure to give them to your Pokémon as Held Items before battling Chuck.

Tip: You can also trade in Green Shards and use Lum Berries instead of Chesto Berries, as those can cure any status ailment, including sleep.

Gym Puzzle: Getting Chuck’s Attention

Unlike the previous Gyms, the Cianwood City Gym can be challenged immediately without needing to complete any other side quests. After entering the Gym, you’ll find Chuck directly in the middle.

However, when you talk to him, he will not respond to you.

To get Chuck’s attention you will have to remove the flow of water pouring onto him.

Chuck the Fighting-type Gym Leader, not noticing the Player / Pokémon HGSS
Chuck the Fighting-type Gym Leader, not noticing the Player.

A winch can be accessed by going up the rocks to the left, and that’s how you’ll turn off the water.

There will be two trainers in the way, but the first one is skippable if you time your movement properly.

The path to the winch, highlighted in red / Pokémon HGSS
The path to the winch, highlighted in red.

When you approach the second Trainer, you will find that he will walk towards you before battling, blocking the way to the winch. We can easily fix this by leaving the gym and reentering. The second trainer should return to his original position & he won’t battle you the second time.

Tip: Stop by the Pokémon Center before returning to the Gym so your party is fully healed for Chuck’s battle!

Once you leave and come back in, head to the winch and activate it to adjust the flow of water. Once you do this, you can start your battle with Chuck.

The red winch, being turned by the Player / Pokémon HGSS
The red winch, being turned by the Player.

Battling Chuck

Chuck will begin the battle with Primeape. We will lead our party with Haunter.

Primeape’s AI will force it to spam Double Team for 4-6 turns as long as you’re not using a sure-hit attack. Take this opportunity to cast Curse on Primeape, then heal immediately during the next turn.

Note: Although Curse is also a sure-hit move, it does not count as an attacking move so Primeape will still use Double Team.

Haunter casting Curse on Chuck’s Primeape / Pokémon HGSS
Haunter casting Curse on Chuck’s Primeape.

Once you’ve healed, use Confuse Ray. Continue trying if it misses.

Pay attention to its moves, and make sure to use recovery items should you get damaged. Haunter is very frail and will not survive more than one hit from Primeape even at Level 30.

Haunter using Confuse Ray / Pokémon HGSS
Haunter using Confuse Ray.

If you can find an opening, use Shadow Punch to deal additional damage. Primeape should go down after a few turns.

When Poliwrath enters the battle, use Curse against it, even if it will KO Haunter. Landing the Curse is a priority of ours for the constant damage. Once the curse has set, we can basically just stall until Poliwrath faints.

If Haunter was not KO’d by the second Curse, immediately heal the damage, and tank the first Hypnosis with the Chesto Berry if it hits.

Afterwards, use Hypnosis on Poliwrath. Haunter should reliably outspeed Poliwrath, giving us the advantage when it comes to landing the attack.

Tip: If Haunter gets put to sleep, have them faint so you can safely switch to your backup Pokémon.

Haunter using Hypnosis on Poliwrath / Pokémon HGSS
Haunter using Hypnosis on Poliwrath.

After using Hypnosis on Poliwrath, follow up with a Confuse Ray. The duration of confusion does not go down if the target is asleep, making it a good way to keep the enemy locked.

Make sure to take advantage of openings and use damaging moves whenever possible.

Haunter using Shadow Punch against Poliwrath / Pokémon HGSS
Haunter using Shadow Punch against Poliwrath.

Just keep your team healthy and eventually you’ll take down Poliwrath (or the Curse will take it out) and you’ll win the battle.

Chuck being defeated / Pokémon HGSS
Chuck being defeated!

After defeating Chuck, he will award you with the Storm Badge, as well as TM01 Focus Punch. You will also gain the ability to use HM02 Fly outside of battle.

Crumble Thorn

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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.

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