How To Beat Falkner in Pokémon HGSS

Battling Falkner Vignette in Pokémon HeartGold

The easiest way to defeat Falkner is by running a Lv11+ Geodude or a Lv9+ Onix in your team and spamming the move Rock Throw. Using support moves like Harden, Defense Curl or Screech can help improve your chances of winning the battle on your first try.

You can catch Geodude from Dark Cave using the entrance near Violet City. Alternatively, a special Onix can be obtained by trading a Bellsprout to the boy in the house next to the Violet City Pokémon Center.

How To Defeat Falkner (Quick Guide)

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

  1. Lead the party with Geodude/Onix.
  2. (If using Onix) Use “Screech” against Pidgeotto at least once (twice is suggested).
  3. Spam “Rock Throw” until you defeat Falkner.

Falkner’s Team

Falkner runs a Pidgey and a Pidgeotto on his team.

Pokémon Level Type/s Ability Held Item Moveset

Pidgey (♂)
Lv. 9 Normal/Flying Keen Eye
Prevents the Pokémon from losing accuracy.
  • Tackle
  • Sand-Attack

Pidgeotto (♂)
Lv. 13 Normal/Flying Keen Eye
Prevents the Pokémon from losing accuracy.
  • Tackle
  • Roost
  • Gust

You can beat Falkner with just your starter as long as you have a couple of levels above his Pidgeotto. If you chose Chikorita however, battling Falkner’s Flying-type team will be rather difficult.

This guide will show you a method that works against him regardless of the starter chosen.

Preparing Your Party

Here is 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
Geodude Rock/Ground 11+ Any Rock Throw
Defense Curl
Dark Cave
(Violet City Entrance)
Onix Rock/Ground 9+ Any Rock Throw
Trade (Bellsprout)
Quilava Fire 14+ Any Leer Prof. Elm’s Lab
Totodile Water 14+ Any Leer Prof. Elm’s Lab
Chikorita Grass 14+ Any Growl
Poison Powder
Prof. Elm’s Lab

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

Our Team Comp

The team I used for this guide is as follows:

Pokémon Type/s Level Ability Held Item Moves
Geodude Rock/Ground 12 Sturdy
It is protected against 1-hit KO attacks.
  • Rock Throw
  • Tackle
  • Defense Curl
  • Rock Polish
Chikorita Grass 14 Overgrow
Powers up Grass-type moves in a pinch.
  • Razor Leaf
  • Tackle
  • Synthesis
  • Growl

You could easily choose between Onix and Geodude. Pick whichever one you prefer.

Getting the Onix is good because it gains boosted experience for being traded and has access to the move “Screech”, which harshly lowers your target’s Defense.

However, Geodude is the better choice if you want to keep it long-term, as its evolution has higher base stats. It also has access to better coverage moves like “Brick Break”, “Fire Punch” and “Thunderpunch”.

Tip: We recommend keeping your chosen Rock-type Pokémon at least until the second gym, especially if you chose Chikorita as your starter. The type-advantage will also help you against Bugsy.

Option 1: Getting an Onix

Wild Onix are only found after the first gym, but you can obtain a special Onix inside Violet City from a boy named Rudy.

You can find his house to the left of the Pokémon Center.

Rudy’s house, next to the Violet City Pokémon Center / Pokémon HGSS
Rudy’s house, next to the Violet City Pokémon Center.

Once you enter the house, you can talk to him, and he will ask you for a Bellsprout. If you trade with him, you will receive an Onix of the same level as the Pokémon you traded.

Rudy inside the house, asking for a Bellsprout / Pokémon HGSS
Rudy inside the house, asking for a Bellsprout.

Bellsprout can be caught on Route 31, east of Violet City.

Backtrack and leave the city, and just outside should be a bunch of tall grass where you can find wild Bellsprout.

Bellsprout can be encountered in the tall grass pictured above / Pokémon HGSS
Bellsprout can be encountered in the tall grass pictured above. The Entrance to Dark Cave is further to the right.

Once you’ve caught a Bellsprout, you can immediately go back to Rudy’s house and trade it to him.

A trade animation will play, and you’ll receive an Onix nicknamed “Rocky” holding a Persim Berry.

Rocky the Onix, immediately after the Trade / Pokémon HGSS
Rocky the Onix, immediately after the Trade.

Option 2: Catching a Geodude

If you want a Geodude in your team instead, you’ll still need to go to Route 31.

This time, keep going right beyond the tall grass. Eventually you’ll reach the entrance to Dark Cave.

The entrance to Dark Cave / Pokémon HGSS
The entrance to Dark Cave.

Upon entering the cave, you’ll notice that it’s not illuminated, and only your character sprite is visible.

This is not an issue; just keep running left and right staying very close to the exit until you encounter a wild Geodude.

A wild Geodude encountered in Dark Cave / Pokémon HGSS
A wild Geodude encountered in Dark Cave.

Final Preparations

You will need to train your Onix or Geodude until they learn the move “Rock Throw”. This will be Level 9 for Onix, and Level 11 for Geodude.

Tip: We recommend training your Rock-type a few more levels after learning Rock Throw to improve their survivability against Falkner.

If you have not yet completed the Sprout Tower challenge, that will be the perfect opportunity to train your Pokémon.

Sprout Tower is located in the northern part of Violet City, across a couple of bridges.

Sprout Tower pictured next to a bridge / Pokémon HGSS
Sprout Tower pictured next to a bridge.

Once you’ve trained your Pokémon enough, double-check your items and make sure you have enough Potions.

If you’ve run out, purchase a couple of Potions from the PokéMart in Violet City. The PokéMart should be directly to the left of the Violet City Gym.

Battling Falkner

Falkner will begin the battle by sending out his Pidgey. Lead your team with either Onix or Geodude and use “Rock Throw”. You should be able to 1-Hit KO the Pidgey.

Once he swaps to Pidgeotto, the strategy will change a little depending on whether you used Onix or Geodude.

If you chose Onix, you will need to use “Screech” at least once to compensate for your lower Attack stat. You do not need to worry about this if you picked Geodude.

Geodude using “Rock Throw” against Falkner’s Pidgeotto / Pokémon HGSS
Geodude using “Rock Throw” against Falkner’s Pidgeotto.

The strategy remains the same afterwards, just keep spamming “Rock Throw” and you will eventually win the battle.

Falkner being defeated / Pokémon HGSS
Falkner being defeated

After defeating Falkner, he will award you with the ZephyrBadge, as well as TM51 Roost. He will then instruct you to travel to Azalea Town for your next challenge.

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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