There’s no denying that the amount of Pokémon we have now is getting a little out of hand. There are almost one thousand different species now, and they’re all mega evolving, z-move-ing, and busting out other fancy new mechanics everywhere you freaking look. It’s chaos.
Some of the newer designs may be a little questionable, as the designers battle to find things they haven’t already done before. If there’s any positive you’d expect from this situation, though, it’s that battling should be becoming increasingly varied; there are more and more Pokémon to choose from after all. Sadly, that’s really not the case at all.
The problem is, not all Pokémon are created equal. Not even remotely close to it. If you’re a competitive battler, you’ll know that the meta is constantly in flux. Strategies and Pokémon rise, are prepared for and so lose popularity, and something new becomes The Big Thing (tm). Despite this, there’s always a certain small crop of truly ‘viable’ Pokémon, and a whole trashcan of terrible to sift through to find them. Much of the roster is utterly useless. Like these guys, for instance.
Let’s kick this shindig off the right way, with my personal pick for the biggest d-bag in all of Pokémon. Smeargle’s stats are woeful, barrel-scrapingly terrible, but it’s often clawed its way to a place in teams through the years. It’s made a living from being an a-hole.
Its sole claim to fame is its ability to learn almost any move in the entire game, via Sketch. With Darkrai being banned, this makes it the only Pokémon able to use Dark Void —a status move that puts both opponents to sleep at once—in the VGC format. It’s totally passive, and completely helpless by itself, but serves as a really annoying supporter. Still, Dark Void’s accuracy was nerfed with the release of Sun and Moon, so we’re seeing less of this thing.
Enough said, really. Nothing more to see here. If you’ve touched a Pokémon title over the series’ twenty-year history, you’ll know exactly why these little buggers are here. We’ve all run out of Repels mid-cave and spent a month and a half trying to get out of a cave — tiny winged demons constantly flapping about our crotches in droves. It’s a sad, sad state of affairs.
Still, Pokémon being a beginner-level RPG at heart, we’ve got to teach the young un’s the ropes somehow. This mechanic is Game Freak’s way of teaching newbies inventory management. They’re saying, "get yourself two dozen Repels, guys and gals. See that Zubat? Here’s another. We’ve got three billion more where that guy came from, buddy boy. You’re going to have a bad time in here otherwise."
Again, I’m sure you’ve encountered this adorably fuzzy little pink ball of hatred and fury numerous times. Fun was not had. By anybody. Ever.
Chansey and Blissey exist to eat hits. You wouldn’t think it by looking at them, but these things eat attacks for breakfast and shrug off bullets like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator movies. When it comes to special walls, they can’t be beat. A combination of monstrous Special Defense and HP as high as the Chrysler Building sees to that.
What’s my beef here? That’s all they do, that’s what. Capable of doing precious little back (unless they’re using fixed damage like Seismic Toss), they just sit there healing and bobbing their heads on your opponent’s side of the field. These things all need drop-kicking into the path of a speeding SUV. Especially Chansey, which is using the Eviolite item to become even bulkier.
Now, I don’t quite know what your deal is, Dunsparce. You lay there on the ground, looking like an odd combination of body parts left behind from various other creatures that were actually worth our time. The Duck-Billed Platypus of the Pokémon world, if you will. You’d be a joke on legs, but you don’t have legs.
You have teeny wings though, as though Arceus himself was mocking you with the hint of a chance not to suck. Are you ever going to get a mega evolution? No, no you’re not, because nobody cares about Dunsparce.
When you do see this thing in battle (which you don’t, ever, because it’s Dunsparce), it’ll be spamming Headbutt, in hopes of flinching you to death with its Serene Grace ability. Not only are you terrible, Dunsparce, you’re also an a-hole.
Come on, this was inevitable. It’s Magikarp, friends, the crème de la crème of crap. The yardstick by which all suckitude is measured.
Now, sure, Gyarados is a badass through and through. The power, the great abilities, the whole it’s-a-mother-freakin’-sea-monster thing… what’s not to like? Sadly, they don’t hatch like that (not so sadly from them mother’s point of view; a twenty-foot kraken erupting from your ladyparts would put a damper on your day for sure), so you’ll have to deal with Magikarp at least a little.
There’s not a great deal I can say about this harmless splasher that hasn’t already been said. We all know the deal here. Still, I guess the little karp has been gaining a bit of support lately with the release of Magikarp Jump.
You know what they say: the cuter they are, the more hopeless they’re generally going to be. I must admit, back in the day, I was kind of fond of Bidoof. It was kind of adorable, its evolved form was big, gormless looking and sort of endearing… I had no issues here. That was my first encounter with the little dude, anyway. Before long, it became apparent that this thing was the Ratatta/Pidgey of its generation.
Pretty darn terrible. In the main game, the little buggers are everywhere — I’m already dreading the Pokémon Go update that brings a Bidoofpocalypse upon the world. That’ll really be The-End-Is-Nigh-sandwich-boards-on-street-corners time.
When it comes to competitive viability, Smogon seems to be the authority. Among serious players, their tiers are taken as gospel, an attempt at balance and ensuring that even the worst of the worst have a fighting chance. Against other Pokémon that suck just a badly, naturally.
Even so, sometimes you’re just stuck scraping right through the bottom of the barrel into the muddy, muddy ground. Unown, more an interesting slice of lore than legitimate Pokémon, is one example of this. Its mighty move pool consists of Hidden Power, the one and only attack it’s able to learn. Abysmal stats are common down on the bottom rungs of the ladder, that’s a given most of the time, but give the poor thing something to work with, why don’t you?
Now, I guess Luvdisk’s status as truly ‘useless’ is up for debate. After all, there is one popular function of these guys: farming Heart Scales. The item is quite commonly found on wild Luvdisk, and is always super handy. With one of these in hand, you can persuade the move relearner to teach lost moves to your Pokémon. Oftentimes, this is the only way to learn certain crucial moves, and long-time Pokémon trainers will know the importance of a good stock of Heart Scales.
Luvdisk in and of itself, though, is all kinds of ass. It does have Swift Swim, Hydro Pump, and Ice Beam, the prerequisites of any rain sweeper set, but it’s much worse in that role than every other damn thing that does the job. You are not getting swiped right on Tinder, Luvdisk, that’s for damn sure.
You may also think it’s a hell of a stretch to call Talonflame ‘useless.’ After all, this feathered fiend was the scourge of Pokémon X and Y, dropping those damn priority Brave Birds on everyone’s butts. Single-handedly making just about any Fighting-type useless was one of its favorite hobbies, and ensuring that nobody every had a good damn time was another.
How the mighty have fallen. These days, you see nary a Talonflame anywhere. What went wrong for the erstwhile superstar? Gale Wings was nerfed in seventh gen; that flying move priority now only works when the user has full health. This simple move clipped Talonflame’s wings in a big way, essentially removing it from existence for the most part (see also: Mega Kangaskhan).
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… ten million of these $#~!@#s appeared.
Tentacool is, by all accounts, the Zubat of the sea. One of my enduring memories of the surfing sections of Pokémon Red and Blue is encountering the jellyfish Pokémon, repeatedly, with every half-inch I moved. This is, of course, right where you’d expect to find them (a jellyfish in long grass is going to be regretting all kinds of life choices, after all), but the issue here was the spawn rate.
The ratio of Tentacool to anything interesting you might want to catch ever was not favourable. Can you imagine playing through these areas, or Zubat’s caves, without Repels? What if there’s a parallel universe somewhere where these items were never added to the game? The horror.
You know what, Castform? I actually kind of like you. You seem like an all-around cool gal/guy/freakish genderless weather-blob. I’m sure that you often take the time to call your mama, that you don’t forget your anniversary and that some of your proceeds go to charity. Your design is totally unique, you’re a cool concept, and I dig all of that.
The only snag is, you’re the very definition of a wasted opportunity. While I really like the fact that they have a different form in each weather condition, you just don’t have the ability to make use of any of them because their stats are bubkis. If you’d only tried a little harder, we could have had something really special on our hands here. That ridiculous sunflower-looking form you take in bright sunlight? That’s a thing of beauty, right there.
There’s a lot of pressure on my generation to perform. To excel. To strive for more. To hitch up our damn pants, get over ourselves and be the best mother freakin’ us we can possibly be. Parents tell us this, schools certainly tell us this, and it can be a tough gig.
Mediocrity and coasting through will not do, is the message. Stop being an apathetic procrastinator, is also the message. Sudowoodo didn’t get either method, and it’s just fine being mediocre. The thing that gets me about this ‘mon is the constant goofy grin on its face, as those it’s perfectly satisfied with its lot and at peace with the world. Perhaps, with all the strain that everyday life puts on us, we could all stand to be a little more like Sudowoodo. Only a little, though.
Sure, Pichu was a tedious inevitability in the grand scheme of things. As soon as the baby Pokémon mechanic was introduced, it was plain that Pikachu would get an infant form. It’s Pikachu, after all, and Pikachu gets everything.
And so the world was lumbered with Pichu. First, let’s remember that this runty little thing is among the worst characters to ever hit Smash Bros. One of the fastest and most agile too, granted, but that doesn’t count for too much when you have all the strength of a one-legged kitten in a coma. In my eyes, Pichu’s just a cutesy little slice of fanservice, and the baby forms of Pokémon don’t really add too much to start with. The world would probably have managed just fine without Mime Jr ever existing.
Or Kakuna, if you’d rather. Let’s be frank here, these dual slices of craptastic are two sides of the same worthless coin.
You’ll always encounter these things during the early stages of the game, when your arsenal consists of super OP moves like Scratch. When you come up against a Metapod/Kakuna that spams Harden at the end of each turn (namely, all of them, because that’s all they can do), it’s really not a fun time for anyone concerned.
Even more passive and infuriating than Chansey and Blissey, it’s really humiliating to admit that you’ve been walled by a Metapod. It’s happened to everyone, though, so you’re not alone.
Have you ever seen two of these things battling it out? It’s the grudge match of the century, and that’s about how long the fight would take.
1 Your 4ooth Non-Shiny Charmander
There’s one surefire way to make you hate any Pokémon, however much you previously loved it. All you have to do is start trying to hatch a shiny of it.
Some years back, Pokémon bigwig Junichi Masuda revealed the existence of the Masuda Method. This is the technique of leaving a Pokémon from one region (say, North America) in the daycare center with a Pokémon from a different region (Japan). Doing this will increase the likelihood of a shiny Pokémon hatching from the eggs.
Your odds are still pretty darn awful, though. It’s not unusual for breeders to go through hundreds of eggs before getting lucky. Like many people, I remember Masuda-ing for a shiny Charmander; who could resist that sweet, sweet, edgy black Charizard? It was a long and painful process, and I started to despise Charmander’s very existence near the end of it.