As we know, a lot of the time in video games, that E for Everybody branding is a bad sign. The title in question will be a cutesy platformer or minigame compilation. It’ll be devoid of drive-bys, explosions, cursing, bullets-amundo violence or anything else that makes Arnold Schwarzenegger movies great. We’re talking Dora the Explorer’s Adorable Cartoon Adventure. Does that sound like something you want to play? No, no it doesn’t.
Still, that’s not always the case. If you want to talk about the true merits of PG-rated gaming, I’d point you to the Pokémon series. No franchise does that ‘Everybody’ appeal better, in my book. There’s no discrimination here. I’ve seen huge tattooed dudes with necks thicker than their heads shriek with girlish glee, because a super-rare Dragonite spawned in Pokémon Go. That’s the power of the ‘mon.
While adults delve forehead-deep in the surprisingly complex world of competitive Pokémon, younger players are content to cruise through the story, bust out their legendary Pokémon and show them off online. When you’ve got a Zekrom using Slash or something, you know you’re facing one of these children. For them, ‘Legendary’ is some kind of Pokémon euphemism for an unstoppable death machine that’ll crush your whole family’s into spam and eat your entire hometown as an entrée, but as veteran Pokémon battlers know, that’s not really the case.
Some legendary Pokémon are far too overpowered for standard play, true enough, but not all of them. The term doesn’t equate to strength, and there are some that are totally overwhelming. Settle in and let’s take an ogle at 15 Legendary Pokémon Who Are Kind Of Lame.
I really, really want to like Kyurem. The advent of Pokémon’s first Ice/Dragon type was an event that filled me with far more joy than I should probably admit. I had to go and lie down in a darkened room for a couple hours, just to calm myself and re-evaluate some of my life decisions. The harsh reality was, though, that this guy would soon become obsolete. While its stats aren’t bad, it gets slim-to-bupkuss use in competitive play. Firstly because the Ice type (while my favorite) generally sucks with the entire collective force of a Dyson store and secondly because the two other Kyurem forms are far better. Using the DNA Splicers allows you to ‘merge’ this beast with either Reshiram or Zekrom, resulting in Kyurem White and Kyurem Black respectively. These are where the real action’s at, Kyurem-wise, leaving the regular vanilla Kyurem with no real reason to exist.
If you’ve got a sibling who’s far stronger/prettier/more successful than you, you’ll know how this guy feels.
I know, friends, I know. I feel the rage coursing through your guts right now, with the strength of 1000 bitterly-regretted Taco Bell meals. Mewtwo? Lame? How in holy hell do you figure?
We’ve got to give the guy his props first, obviously. Mewtwo is the original legendary, the ultimate force of Pokémon Red and Blue. This belligerent being has wrecked everything, with absolutely zero effs given, multiple times in the anime. It’s a monster in every sense of the word. Sad fact is, though, in gameplay terms, Mewtwo has been left behind.
Last year, the VGC format allowed it to be used, even with its two Mega Stones in tow. The result? You hardly saw it in tournament play. Other absurd legendaries, like the all-powerful Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre, took its spotlight. They took it like a-hole bullies at recess, playing keep away with Mewtwo’s spotlight until the iconic Psychic type gave up and left to cry with the lunch lady.
Now, unlike 99.99999% of the Internet’s population, I understand that liking something and said something being criticised is okay. Case in point right here: Articuno is my favorite Pokémon of all time, bar none, and it’s pretty ass whichever way you slice it. Smogon’s tiers go all the way from Uber (the best of the best which is banned from use everywhere else) to PU (the standards by which all horrible is measured). Articuno is right down there somewhere, scraping straight through the bottom of the barrel into the muddy, muddy ground.
You wouldn’t think it, from its stats alone. It looks fairly solid all around. The issue is that it’s a defensive Ice type, and those three words are never to be used in the same sentence. As such, this magnificent bird is often seen as the ‘worst’ of all legendary Pokémon, relegated to cheesy strats like Sheer Cold fishing.
I don’t have any major beef with Entei. It causes volcanoes to erupt simply by barking and that’s some cojones right there. You don’t argue with that level of badassery. It’s quite powerful, it has access to Sacred Fire (now) and its delicious burn chance, solid stats… what’s not to like?
I’ll tell you what’s not to like. Arcanine exists. These two brothers from another hairy canine mother are far too similar, often interchangeable on teams depending on specific niche needs. Sadly for Entei, it usually loses out on the spot, thanks to specific perks the other fiery dog has going for it. The biggest of which being Intimidate, which has always been one of the better abilities in the series. Sorry Entei.
Hey, Victini. I’ve got a bone to pick with you. Remember that whole ‘Victory Pokémon’ thing? How the Pokédex talks about a legend stating that trainers using Victini will always win? Well, I just got BSed by a Sandstorm Bright Powder Garchomp in the Battle Tree for the twentieth time, so what the hell’s that about?
Flagrant false advertising aside, Victini has always seemed like a huge one trick pony to me. We’ve all seen the carnage left in the wake of a V-Create spamming session, but that’s about all this little dude’s good for. And let’s not forget its cry. Far from the terror-inspiring battle cry we expect of legendary Pokémon, Victini sounds like a small child taking a recorder lesson.
If you take a look in the box marked Pokémon That Suck Because Their Great Power Was Terribly ‘Balanced’ By An Appalling Ability Which Nerfed Them To Uselessness (it’s written in tiny text so it fits on the side), you’ll find two ‘mon: Slaking and Regigigas. The latter of which, I’d argue, got the crappier end of the stick.
Regigigas is a rare case of a ‘trio master’ that manages to be even more useless than its trio. The Regis are pretty damn hopeless as it is, as well, so that’s saying something. The hulking golem talks the talk, boasting some impressive attacking power, but it’s such a pain in the ass to make use of it. Gigas’s ability, Slow Start, means that its attack and speed are halved for the first five turns it’s on the field. As such, it’s reduced to using haxy stalling strategies when it’s sent out.
I’ve never quite understood why Phione exists. Or, frankly, how. This little blue bugger is a ‘baby Manaphy,’ I guess, a completely unique little ‘mon which breaks one of the most fundamental rules of the Pokémon world: you can’t breed legendaries. Usually, of course, a legendary Pokémon left at the daycare will never produce an egg. Regardless of whether Barry White’s playing, its partner has been reading Cosmo love tips at work to get in the mood, or anything like that. It just can’t happen.
A Manaphy and a Ditto, however, will produce a Phione. It’s a separate species, looks very similar to Manaphy and is pretty damn lame. In lower tier battles, it can use pretty funky Hydration sets, but that’s about it. Why is this a thing again?
8 Tapu Fini
With the release of Pokémon Sun and Moon came all the usual new Pokémon hype. A whole new region and new ‘mon, obviously, but so much more than that. The revamping of the tired HM system, the removal of the fundamental gym challenges and such made for a experience that felt much fresher than new releases had before. To me, at least.
Some things never change, though. For a lot of us, the most exciting thing was a new band of legendary Pokémon to bust out online. The Tapus are a metagame-defining bunch and you’ll see nary a team without at least one. If I had to pick a lamest member of the group, though, it’d easily be Tapu Fini. This little lady is certainly the least used of the three, with a role that can more easily be taken by other ‘mon in the Alola Dex. A little underwhelming.
Something’s always felt a little off about the ‘pixies.’ Every generation of Pokémon has had a legendary with a base stat total of 600, with a clean 100 across the board. This makes Mew and buddies extremely versatile, allowing the player to go with offensive or defensive sets, attack from either side of the spectrum, whatever they fancy.
The downside to this is obvious. You know what they say about jacks of all trades. Oftentimes, you find your Pokémon outclassed by another, which has more specialised stats in the same areas. Shaymin is an example of this, with a similar drawback to Kyurem. Its Sky Form is a fearsome special attacker, able to reduce the special defense of its opponent and blast through even supposed ‘counters’ if it gets its momentum right. This leaves standard Shaymin without a specific role and in an even more untenable position than its 600 bst cousins.
Now, if I wasn’t a cynical old dude, I’d be fully aware that I can’t really blame Darkrai for my gripes about it. Sadly, I am, so I will. Screw you Darkrai, screw you forever.
In terms of power and such, you can’t fault this Dark type event Pokémon. It’s a very fast, very squishy special attacker, and it’s a popular choice for teams in the Ubers tier. Dark is a powerful typing over there, after all, with monsters like Giratina and Lugia lurking around.
My sole issue here, as an ardent VGC player, is its signature move Dark Void. While Darkrai itself is banned from the format, freaking Smeargle isn’t. As a result, we’ve got the horrors of a double-targeting sleep move to deal with. Granted, Dark Void’s accuracy was nerfed in generation seven, but it’s the ultimate competitive lameness and Darkrai is responsible for it.
There’s a lot to like about Xerneas. I totally get that. Its design is much cooler than its hey-check-me-out-with-my-emo-high-school-student-edginess-let’s-use-a-Ouija-board-and-summon-Bloody-Mary counterpart, Yveltal. It’s got enough power to wipe out entire capital cities with a bowel movement. It’s a freaking deer. All of these are huge undeniable pluses in Xerneas’ favour.
My issue, here, is just that very power. Back in the X and Y days, it was an unstoppable force in competitive play. Overused to the point of tedium, like all the great ones are. I still have nightmares about its boring-ass Power Herb Geomancy shenanigans. Xerneas was far too easy to set up and far too difficult to stop from crushing your dreams into tiny, shattered remnants of hope once it had. Damn you, Xerneas.
Speaking of legendary sixth gen Pokémon, what in the name of hell was going on with Zygarde? This serpentine oddity didn’t seem to fit with the trio and it didn’t seem to have a job to do battle-wise either. When it first appeared, in X and Y, it was just… there. The competitive scene saw it as a bit of a joke, like a Garchomp had let itself go, put on way too much weight and refused to go into rehab despite all the interventions mama organised.
Outclassed by the land shark in every possible way for a couple of years, Game Freak threw Zygarde an enormous bone (a dinosaur bone or something) in the form of its different… forms. Zygarde Complete Forme looks like something the Power Rangers wish they could morph into and has the power to match. It was an odd little minigame, though, finding all those cells and cores.
Again, don’t get me wrong. I’m not just throwing smack talk around for the hell of it, like I’m a strong and sassy woman who don’t need no man. I really like Meloetta. The unusual triple clef design, the form-changing mechanic unique to it, I dig all of that. My issue is that it’s such a pain in the ass to use.
If you’re not familiar with this little lady, Meloetta is a Normal-type special attacker which changes to Pirouette Forme (becoming a Normal/Fighting physical hitter) on using the attack Relic Song. If you want to stay standard, you can just run Hyper Voice or something in place of the move and be on your merry way. A physically based Meloetta, meanwhile, is super awkward to pull off, without mixing EVs, going with sub-optimal natures or just plain wasting a turn using Relic Song.
I used to like you, Thundurus. I really did. Back in the day, you were just a cool genie-looking dude floating on a cloud, brandishing your muscular arms and creating thunderstorms. That sounds like a pretty sweet life whichever way you slice it and I had no issues with that.
The problem arose when, on top of the floating, brandishing and thunderstorm-creating, you decided to become a raging a-hole as well. While Thundurus Therian is a pretty cool and powerful special attacker, Thundurus Incarnate is hellish to fight. Why? Because screw Prankster Thunder Wave, that’s why.
Like Xerneas, this guy became so good at its job that it was meta-defining and ubiquitous. In this case, though, we’re talking priority paralysis, which is even less fun. Arguably.
When the Ultra Beasts were revealed, I felt some kind of way. It was a cool enough idea, but Pokémon designs have been getting enough of a bad rap as it is of late. These ‘beasts’ don’t really look like Pokémon at all, more like interstellar freaks from a Daft Punk music video.
Oddest of all in my view (though it’s not an Ultra Beast per se) is Necrozma. It looks kind of sweet, in a sci fi-y, xenomorph-y kind of way, but totally irrelevant to the Pokémon world. When you’ve completed the Ultra Beast missions post game, it appears in an obscure area from much earlier in the game. You wouldn’t even know it existed without picking up on the cryptic hints, let alone where to find it. Mysterious, not to mention pointless.