The Pokémon games are known for having several incredibly powerful monsters, with even the cutest and most diminutive Pokémon evolving into much more robust and versatile creatures. Many of these evolutions take work to get to, forcing trainers to level up their Pokémon to high levels. On the other side of the spectrum, though, are the many Bug-type Pokémon.
Bug-type Pokémon are known for being weak and fittingly evolving early. Caterpie is one of the most well-known Bug-type Pokémon from the classic era, keeping it and its evolutions around in most subsequent generations. This includes Sword and Shield, where Caterpie can be caught alongside several new Pokémon. Here’s how to catch the little bug in the current generation and when it evolves into its slightly more powerful forms.
In older games and the current generation of the main games, Caterpie remains one of the first Pokémon to be encountered in the game, showing just how weak it and its evolutionary line are. Caterpie is first found in Route 1 of Sword & Shield and can be fought and caught in several other areas afterward.
The caterpillar creature is not hardy in the slightest, which is part of why it’s so easy to defeat and capture. Its HP and Speed stats are its strongest attributes, and the latter stat, in particular, can be useful in helping it get some hits in. It can further make an opponent’s Pokémon slower by using the move String Shot, which is normally already known in the wild. Even with these boosts, however, Caterpie really isn’t worth having around unevolved. Thankfully, it doesn’t take long at all to get it into its second and third forms.
Caterpie evolves into the cocoon-like Metapod at level seven. Given that Caterpie in the wild is already at a low level when caught, it’s usually one of the first Pokémon in a player’s party to evolve into a new form. Its evolution sees some slight boosts to its stats; namely, it gains a more robust Defense stat. Even then, however, it really isn’t that great of a Pokémon, and since its third and final form is just around the corner, evolving it quickly is the way to go.
If players evolve Caterpie into Metapod at level seven instead of waiting until level nine, their Caterpie won’t learn the move Bug Bite. This can be tutored to an evolved Metapod through the Move Tutor at every Pokemon Center, anyways, so it’s no big worry. If players do want Caterpie to naturally know this attack in its evolved forms, holding off on evolution for two more levels isn’t a long wait, either.
The final form of the Caterpie evolutionary line is Butterfree, well known for initially being a staunch part of Ash’s party in the anime. This butterfly Pokémon is the dual Bug/Flying-type that can first be reached at Level 10, and it’s definitely much stronger. This dual typing makes it more vulnerable than ever, though, with Fire, Rock, Ice and Electric-type attacks all being Super Effective against it.
Being part Flying-type does offer it more protection against those moves, however. All of its base stats get a significant boost, most notably its Special Attack and Special Defense. It also naturally learns many more moves, such as the status effect causing Poison Powder and Sleep Powder. This extends to attacks it can learn through TMs, such as the powerful Hurricane and Pollen Puff.While it still isn’t the strongest Pokémon or even the toughest Bug-type, Butterfree is incredibly versatile and a great Pokémon to use, especially early in the game.
Instead of a regional variant, Butterfree also has a Gigantamax form in Sword and Shield, though it takes a bit more effort to get this form. One must encounter Butterfree as a Raid Boss in the Rolling Fields section of the Wild Area. Upon capturing, the player will be in possession of a Butterfree that can change into this gigantic, more powerful mode. This new form helps breathe new life into the classic Pokémon and makes it a lot more competitive against newer, even tougher pocket monsters.