With nearly 1,000 Pokémon to choose from out of a modern Pokédex, it can be difficult to whittle down that roster to six for a full party. More often than not, trainers will simply pick the six they believe to be best suited for their team without looking at the hundreds of other Pokémon who may very well play a valuable role on their hypothetical team. There really is no way around this, though. The series is expanding at a rapid rate with each Generation bringing more and more Pokémon into the fray. The only way to create some semblance of balance is to downsize.
Which is exactly what Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s go Eevee did when they released last month. In an attempt to evoke Generation I, both new titles downsized their rosters back down to the original 151 (albeit with one new addition.) As a result, it’s actually easy to find a team of six! Only in comparison, however. 151 is still a huge number to wade through. For every bad Pokémon, there are two great ones, and it’s hard to tell who’s who. If you’re looking for the best of the best, look no further.
25 WEAK: Farfetch’d
Very rarely do Pokémon without the ability to evolve actually amount to much in their respective metagames. Unless they’re a Legendary, chances are they’re only worth catching to fill out the Pokédex. This goes double for those non-evolvable Pokémon that can only be caught early in each game.
Canonically, more trainers eat Farfetch'd than they do use them.
Unfortunately, Farfetch’d falls into this category. With poor typing, an incredibly weak move pool, and one of the lowest CPs in the entire game, there really is no reason to put any effort whatsoever into actually training Farfetch'd. Even from just a single player perspective, he’ll struggle to do your team any good.
24 STRONG: Cloyster
On paper, Cloyster should be quite awful. With such a low Special Defense state, pretty much any Special Attack can knock out Cloyster in one shot. Its Typing- Water/Ice- barely gives it any advantage in itself, only increasing its weaknesses. So why is Cloyster opening the strongest list? One word: defense.
Cloyster has one of the highest, if not the actual highest, defense stats in the entire game. Special Attacks will absolutely throttle it, but everything else? Cloyster will stand loud and proud, tanking hits. Naturally, you’ll need to use Cloyster intelligently, only tossing him out when you know for sure he can survive. When that time comes, though, reap your reward.
23 STRONG: Blastoise
More often than not, your starters are going to end up strong enough to help you get through the Elite Four at the very least. Of course, the fact that Pikachu and Eevee aren’t on this list does almost contradict that notion, but do remember that they are starters in the conventional sense. Blastoise, though? He’s the real deal.
He's a turtle with cannons on his shell. What's not to love?
A pure Water Type doesn’t really give Blastoise all the advantages he may need, but his great moves and all around higher than average stats do make him one of the better starters to take into the post-game. At the very least, he’s a better starter than Venusaur although the competition is admittedly close.
22 WEAK: Onix
Onix is far, FAR more imposing than he looks. The only time Onix has ever been a legitimate threat was in Yellow where Pikachu realistically couldn’t do much to defeat Onix. Unfortunately, Let’s Go forces you to catch a Pokémon Onix is weak against which puts into perspective just how bad Onix is.
In truth, Onix is going to be weak to most Pokémon if only because most Pokémon have some means of getting around Onix’s defense stat. The only reason to hold onto an Onix is if you want a Steelix, but Let’s Go is a Gen I game at its core. You won’t be getting Steelix so there’s no room to be using Onix.
21 STRONG: Alolan Exeggutor
Traditionally, Grass Types are not very strong. For whatever reason, they rarely, if ever, get the same focus as their Fire and Water counterparts. At the same time, this does not mean there are no good Grass Types. While Venusaur did not make the list, his spirit lives on through Alolan Exeggutor.
The biggest neck in the industry.
Although his Alolan counterpart is acting as the Grass rep, Exeggutor is great in his own right. It’s only that Alolan Exeggutor brings out all of Exeggutor’s latent potential front and center. With solid stats and good move variety, Alolan Exeggutor is the perfect Grass Type for any party in need of one.
20 STRONG: Charizard
Even if Charizard wasn’t ridiculously strong, he would still be kind of a fan favorite. Which is evidenced by the fact that Charizard wasn’t all too great in Generation I if only because of how long it took to actually get him going. Picking Charmander was basically Gen I’s hard mode, giving you a disadvantage from start to finish.
Nowadays, though, Charizard is bolstered thanks to his incredible stats, incredible moves, and incredible Mega Evolutions. Both Mega Charizard Y and Mega Charizard X are fantastic additions to any party. Even then, though, base Charizard is enough to pack one heck of a punch.
19 WEAK: Lickitung
Even one of the more creative designs in Generation I cannot hide the fact that Lickitung, at his core, is a ridiculously boring Pokémon. Normal Type with the moves you would expect a Normal Type Pokémon with a big tongue to have, there’s little Lickitung actually brings to the table in terms of strategic play.
You're better off forgetting this abomination of Arceus exists.
Of course, Lickitung can make a good filler Pokémon during the middle of the game, but this is a series where you’re expected to have a full party put together by the Elite Four. With that in mind, why humor Lickitung at all? Simply search for better Pokémon worth using. Mid-game is early enough to start building a full part.
18 STRONG: Lapras
It’s honestly an oddity that Lapras is as good as it is. Despite some truly baffling Typing, Lapras is able to overcome its inherent flaws thanks to some fairly unique moves and balanced stats. A well trained Lapras can do some serious damage with Ice Beam for instance.
At the same time, Lapras is not a Pokémon who can just brute force its way to victory. If you want to use Lapras properly, you need to strategize around them. This does mean it’s one of the more high maintenance “strong” Pokémon on this list, but it is worth using thanks to high CP, balanced stats, and some surprisingly strong moves.
17 STRONG: Snorlax
Snorlax has always been one of Generation I’s better Pokémon. High defense, high offense, and high health, Snorlax is the quintessential JRPG tank given Pocket Monster form. Later Generations have only made Snorlax all the stronger thanks to the inception of held items. Unfortunately, Let’s Go drops said mechanic.
Who needs Leftovers?
Which actually goes to show how powerful Snorlax is. Even without held items to bolster its strength, Snorlax still holds up in a post-Gen I world where Pokémon are actually balanced. He may not have his signature Leftovers, but Snorlax can survive and destroy more than enough in its path to warrant a place on any party. A rarity for Normal Types.
16 WEAK: Beedrill
Despite one of the best designs in the entire franchise, Beedrill suffers not only from being an early game Pokémon, but a Bug Type in Generation I. To be fair, Bug Types are universally mediocre in every Generation, but Gen I especially as not very kind to them. Naturally, Beedrill’s fate is not a good one.
Not only does getting a Beedrill mean enduring the slog that is training Kakuna, Beedrill really doesn’t have enough moves to make up for its poor Type advantages. Or rather, disadvantages. The only way you’re bringing Beedrill to the Elite Four is if you either power level or simply got too attached to cut them loose.
15 STRONG: Gyarados
From a purely stat perspective, of course, Gyarados is as amazing as he is. With an incredibly unique Type, fantastic moves, and high offense and defense, it’s no surprise Gyarados is as high tier as he is. At the same time, what makes Gyarados so great isn’t stats or Natures or moves. It’s usability.
Be careful who you bully at level 5.
Considering you can buy a Magikarp incredibly early in the game for dirt cheap, you can get Gyarados ridiculously fast should you put in the effort to do so. It absolutely is worth it since Gyarados is one of the few early game Pokémon that isn’t a starter who you can comfortably bring all the way to the Elite Four.
14 STRONG: Melmetal
When it comes down to it, Melmetal is more of a novelty than anything. More time consuming to get than is perhaps worth the effort, Melmetal sees a melding of both Let’s Go and its predecessor, Go. As a Legendary, Melmetal has some great stats and moves to pick and choose from, but not many people will actually use Melmetal.
As a result, it can be difficult to gauge just how useful Melmetal is. As of this article, Melmetal is very much one of the strongest Pokémon in the game, but it’s worth mentioning that Melmetal is more or less a Gen VIII Pokémon in a Gen I game. That in itself brings some questions to the table. Use him, cherish him, but don’t be surprised if Melmetal stops being so great in Gen VIII proper.
13 WEAK: Butterfree
We all sort of already knew Butterfree wasn’t that good a Pokémon. Chances are, if you held onto any hope at all, you dropped it as soon as you saw Beedrill on this list and realized the two shared an alarming amount of similarities from evolution, to design, to context. The thing is, like with Beedrill, does it really matter if Butterfree is bad?
You'll bring Butterfree to the Elite four anyways.
Some Pokémon we just don’t use because they’re good. Rather, we use them because we like their designs and what they represent. Butterfree has a special place in the hearts of many fans due to the fact that it’s one of the earliest Pokémon to evolve to a third form. That doesn’t mean its stats and moves aren’t awful, but love is love.
12 STRONG: Arcanine
Although Charizard is the fan favorite when it comes to Kanto Fire Types, it can barely hold a candle to the likes of Arcanine. Easily one of the most underrated Pokémon in all of Generation I, Arcanine hits hard, hits fast, and takes a surprising amount of damage for a Pokémon that so often goes ignored.
A Lonely Nature Arcanine gets the job done with even more ease. Although being Lonely will decreases Arcanine’s base defense by quite a bit- and it’s a stat it does need- the elevated attack paired with the naturally high speed can ensure some genuine sweeping if trained properly.
11 STRONG: Moltres
Moltres has always been the weakest of Kanto’s three Legendary birds. Whether it be Gen I, Gen III, or Let’s Go, there’s little Moltres can do to get a leg (wing?) up over its brethren. At the same time, “worst” is by no means synonymous with “bad.” Moltres is still the strongest Fire Type in Let’s Go.
Beware the flaming chicken.
As Water Type Pokémon tend to be so overwhelmingly strong thanks to moves like Surf, it can be hard to build a good team around a strong Fire Type. While Moltres will still take perhaps more damage than it should from Water Type moves, its high stats and versatile move pool make it a strong enough Pokémon to put up a great fight.
10 WEAK: Raticate
Rattata has always been the kind of Pokémon trainers catch on route to the first Gym only to box as soon as they have the party they really want. While Pokémon like Beedrill and Butterfree have lasting value thanks to some truly fantastic designs, Raticate barely registers as something worth keeping around.
For good reason, too. Although Raticate can pack a mean bite when trained appropriately, it suffers the fate of almost all Normal Type Pokémon: awkward move pools. Without the proper move pool, there’s only so much Raticate can do on their own. Being an evolution of early game Pokémon, Raticate also just doesn’t have the right stats to put up a good fight later on.
9 STRONG: Zapdos
Zapdos has always been a fantastic Pokémon. Even all the way back in Generation I, Zapdos was worth taking right to the very end. A level 50 Zapdos can realistically dominate most of the Elite Four with careful and strategic play. High stats, a nice Type advantage, and a great set of moves turn Zapdos into more than just an electrocuted oversized pigeon.
Not that surprising, is it?
The only real downside to Zapdos is that, if you’re playing Let’s Go Pikachu, you probably won’t want another Electric Type on your team. If you’re playing Let’s Go Eevee, however, Zapdos can be an incredibly valuable asset for your late game team. There’s a bit of a stigma against using Legendaries, but Zapdos is cool enough to toe that line.
8 STRONG: Articuno
Traditionally, Zapdos tends to be the best of Kanto’s three Legendary birds. In general, Electric Types fare much better in battle than Ice Types do. In fact, Ice Type Pokémon might actually be the weakest in the entire series on a whole. Not that that’s going to stop the actual strongest Legendary bird, Articuno.
Perhaps it’s because Let’s Go’s slightly reconfigured mechanics, but Articuno is easily the best of the three Legendary birds this time around. It, of course, still suffers from a poor Type and some less than stellar moves, but Articuno makes up for its weaknesses with raw stats and the sheer novelty of being an Ice Type Pokémon worth using.
7 WEAK: Dugtrio
What do Poison, Bug, and Ground Types all have in common? Mass under representation. No matter which Generation or spin-off game you’re playing, chances are not a single Pokémon belonging to said Types will make it very high on a tier list unless they’re a Legendary, but that’s its own thing in and of itself.
A boring Pokémon for a boring team.
With that said, it goes without saying that Dugtrio isn’t very… good. Low stats, poor Typing, and a weak move pool are only further crippled by a shockingly low amount of CP. Alolan Dugtrio is admittedly a bit better, but growing hair only takes Dugtrio so far. It’s a fine Pokémon for early game, but you’re better off replacing them by the halfway point.
6 STRONG: Dragonite
Dragon Types were so overpowered that modern Generations in the series needed to introduce Fairy Types just to rival them. Naturally, now we have two obscenely overpowered Types, but that’s not always a bad thing- especially if you really like Dragon Type Pokémon like the appropriately titled Dragonite.
Like any good Dragon Type, Dragonite has wide access to a host of different Typed moves that naturally allow it to fight off its weaknesses near effortlessly. Dragonite himself is particularly useful due to how well varied his stats are. A well trained Dragonite is an asset on any party, dealing and taking far more damage than he realistically should.
5 STRONG: Mew
It goes without saying, but Mew is one of the strongest available Pokémon in all of Let’s Go. Mind you, you aren’t going to get your hands on a Mew anytime soon unless you bought the Pokéball controller, but that just makes its appeal all the greater. Not everyone can get a Mew. You’re a special case.
Cute, but dangerous.
Mew’s biggest claim to fame is its ability to learn every single move in the game. Although a Psychic Type by nature, you can mold Mew into anything you want it to be. Naturally, as Mew is a Legendary, it has the stats to fill any role. Only one Pokémon triumphs over Mew in terms of sheer usability, but Mew is a very close second.
4 WEAK: Persian
It’s quite sad just how much Normal Types tend to suffer from Generation to Generation. While their category does imply some semblance of generic Typing, “Normal” shouldn’t be a catch all for “lesser.” Normal Types, in theory, should be the balanced Type, capable of taking on any scenario with a bit of strategic play.
Sadly, Pokémon like Persian really hammer home why Normal Types aren’t so hot in the battlefield. Thanks to a shockingly low amount of CP and weak base stats, the only reason to use Persian is for its speed. Even then, Persian simply isn’t fast enough to give trainers an edge over all around stronger Pokémon.
3 WEAK: Wigglytuff
Wigglytuff falls victim to a little something called “design dissonance.” Design dissonance effectively boils down to the design of a character implying one thing only for their actions to contradict said implication or suggest. It’s actually a very common practice in character design. Unfortunately, Wigglytuff was certainly not intended to be such a case.
The reason Wigglytuff falls victim to design dissonance is because its design heavily suggests a far stronger Pokémon than trainers will inevitably end up using. Tough and sturdy in nature, Wigglytuff should be a heavy hitter Normal Type. Unfortunately, its stats and moves do very little to make it usable in a serious battle.
2 STRONG: Mewtwo
It really should come as no surprise that Mewtwo is the strongest Pokémon in the game. Even in Generation I, Mewtwo was the end all, be all who trainers could only get at the literal end of their games. Naturally, it’s only fitting Game Freak reward players with an obscenely strong Pokémon to make use of.
What makes Mewtwo even stronger this time around is the fact he can Mega Evolve. Both Mewtwo X and Mewtwo Y raise Mewtwo’s stats to astronomical levels. As is, he would already be powerful enough to decimate anything in his path, but Mega Evolving a Legendary makes battles a different game entirely.
1 WEAK: Fearow
When it comes to evolved Pokémon in Let’s Go, few come as close to pure awful as Fearow. While he is by no means the worst Pokémon in the game, he is the worst one you actually have to evolve and train. Fearow is utterly, without a doubt, useless. None of its stats are above average, its CP is pitifully low, and its Typing gives it too many weaknesses without the move pool to overcome any hardships.
If you’re using Fearow on your team, you’re either desperately trying to be a Flying Type Gym Leader or, for whatever reason, you’ve made it all the way to the metagame with next to no Pokémon worth using. To be completely honest, you’re better off having Farfetch’d in your party. At least they have an interesting design.