You catch Pokémon, you train them, they evolve, and they grow stronger. That’s how the Pokémon series has always worked. However, there are a few exceptions to the formula: Pokémon who get stronger as they level up, but actually become worse when they evolve.
The primary factors behind a Pokémon’s decline are its stats and moves. While most Pokémon receive universally higher stats during evolution, only some of the six stats increase for certain Pokémon while the remaining stats decrease. Some evolved Pokémon can learn the same moves as their previous forms in addition to new moves. Others may learn an extremely limited number of attacks, making the evolved Pokémon far less versatile than their unevolved counterparts.
Few new moves may seem reasonable if the evolved Pokémon receives higher stats. In certain circumstances, however, limited moves prevent Pokémon from being playable. When Pokémon evolve, they preserve their current moves and may learn new moves according to their evolved form. If a Pokémon lacks moves when evolving, that Pokémon never again has access to its previous moves.
A variety of other factors may make Pokémon worse according to different players: an evolved Pokémon could have undesired abilities, weaknesses, immunities, or attacks. These factors allow players to build all kinds of teams and look down upon different Pokémon—which is exactly what makes the Pokémon games so great. Based on the various mechanics and Pokémon that have developed over the past twenty years, here’s 15 weird Pokémon that somehow get worse when they evolve.
While the evolution between Porygon and Porygon2 is perfectly reasonable, the evolution between Porygon2 and Porygon-Z is strange and, in some cases, detrimental. The Pokémon’s totals stats barely improve from 515 to 535, and the balance of the Pokémon completely changes. Porygon-Z has higher Special Attack and Speed than Porygon2 but lower Defense and Special Defense. Whereas Porygon and Porygon2 possess higher Defenses than Attacks, Porygon-Z follows the opposite pattern, causing the final evolution of this Pokémon to completely differ from previous forms.
If players have trained Porygon2 due to its high Defense, they’ll be extremely disappointed when they discover the Pokémon’s final form. Regardless of whether you prefer an offensive or defensive Pokémon, Porygon-Z’s stat increases are so minimal that evolving Porygon2 often does more harm than good.
Although Togekiss possesses far higher stats than Togetic, Togekiss can learn only five moves while leveling up. Because of this, a wild Togekiss is often inferior to a trained Togetic. However, even a trained Togetic turned into a Togekiss may harm the player; if exposed to a Shiny Stone at any level, a Togetic will evolve into a Togekiss. Thus the Pokémon may evolve with almost no learned moves, giving Togekiss few starting moves and even fewer moves to learn.
By deviating from the typical formula in which evolved Pokémon may learn the same moves as their earlier forms plus additional moves, Togekiss punishes players who choose to hurriedly evolve their Pokémon. With few moves to choose from, Togekiss will quickly deplete its PP and thus become unusable in battle.
Eevee may evolve into eight different types of Pokémon, which offers fun variety and allows knowledgeable players to customize Eevee. Without prior insight into Eevee’s variable evolutions, however, players may end up with a Psychic-type Espeon when they desired an Electric-type Jolteon. Unwanted evolutions might skew players’ teams, making Eevee useless in some contexts.
While the original three evolutions for Eevee—Vaporeon, Flareon, and Jolteon—are controlled by the player, the five newer evolutions—Espeon, Leafeon, Umbreon, Glaceon, and Sylveon—are based on external factors and will occur as soon as certain requirements are met. For players who are either unaware of these factors or are in the wrong place at the wrong time, Eevee may easily evolve into an unwanted Pokémon.
With a gun for an arm, Magmortar looks like it should be far more powerful than Magmar. The total stats for these Pokémon are extremely similar, however: while Magby jumps from 365 to 495 with Magmar, Magmortar barely increases to 540.
The most disappointing aspects of Magmar’s evolution are its decreased Speed and unchanged Attack. While lower Speed fits a massive Pokémon like Magmortar, the stationary Attack makes no sense for an armed giant. Players might expect Magmortar’s other stats to significantly improve to make up for the disappointing Attack and Speed, but its HP, Defense, Special Attack, and Special Defense are largely unchanged.
Because Magmar and Magmortar possess nearly equivalent sets of moves as well as similar stats, evolving Magmar is more disappointing than beneficial. If placed in a battle together, Magmar would surely win thanks to its superior Speed.
By evolving Caterpie, players will witness one of the strangest events in both the real world and the world of Pokémon: metamorphosis. Every evolution in Pokémon resembles metamorphosis due to the physical restructuring of evolving Pokémon, but only some Pokémon follow the realistic steps of metamorphosis. Caterpie is one of the few; beginning as a caterpillar who evolves into a cocoon Pokémon (Metapod), Caterpie eventually transforms into a butterfly (Butterfree).
Although Caterpie’s evolutions are visually and narratively entertaining, they aren’t very practical. Metapod gains increased Defense, Special Attack, and Special Defense but suffers from huge decreases in Speed and Attack, giving the Pokémon very little chance of winning a fight. The Pokémon’s stats fluctuate but barely increase—Caterpie possesses a total of 195 while Metapod has a total of 205. Evolving Metapod into Butterfree is extremely gratifying, but patience and multiple visits to the Pokémon Center are required to level up Metapod.
Despite its superior stats, Wigglytuff’s limited moves prevent the Pokémon from fully surpassing its predecessor. Jigglypuff offers a wide variety of moves, including all three types of moves: physical, special, and status. Wigglytuff, on the other hand, can only learn six moves through leveling up—none of which are special moves. Higher Special Attack makes Wigglytuff appear stronger, but without any special moves the Pokémon ends up being somewhat useless.
While Jigglypuff’s moves use a wide range of PP, Wigglytuff’s six moves require large amounts of PP. In order to maintain Wigglytuff’s effectiveness in fights, players must either visit Pokémon Centers or quickly expend their Elixirs and Ethers. With few moves and limited PP, Wigglytuff spends little time on the battlefield compared to Jigglypuff.
Electabuzz’s final form, Electivire, undoubtedly possesses higher stats. With a massive increase in Attack, small increases in HP and Defense, and only a small decrease in Speed, Electivire looks good on the page. On the field, however, Electivire suffers from its combination of stats and moves. While increased Attack would benefit other Pokémon, all three forms of Electivire rely more on special moves than physical ones, meaning their Special Attack stat is more important than their Attack. Apart from Giga Impact—which is an amazing physical move that cannot be acquired for a long while—Electivire’s special moves are more powerful and more common than its physical moves.
Through increased Attack and stagnant Special Attack, Electivire fails to optimize on its set of moves. Combine that with the lowered Speed and Electivire functions as a slower version of Electabuzz, making it possible for Electabuzz to beat Electivire in a fight.
Players can understand and maybe even predict Caterpie’s evolution into a cocoon, but Weedle’s evolution will shock new players. Resembling a spiked worm far more than a bee larva, Weedle’s transformation into a pupa and then a bee makes little narrative sense.
While its evolutions are less logical than Caterpie’s, Weedle’s new forms are a bit more practical. Weedle, Kakuna, and Beedrill all have slightly lower HP and Defense but more Attack and Speed than Caterpie, Metapod, and Butterfree. These stats are preferable for Weedle’s evolved form, Kakuna, because Kakuna still has high Defense and can level up faster than Metapod.
Kakuna is undeniably superior to Metapod, but the Pokémon’s confusing evolutions may cause players to discard Kakuna for stronger and more logical Pokémon.
Of the Pokémon on this list who lack new moves in their final form, Raichu is the absolute worst. With only four moves learned through leveling up, Raichu lacks natural abilities and requires extensive use of TMs and HMs in order to gain new skills.
Raichu’s stats are much better than Pikachu’s, however. As long as Pikachu evolves at a high level with a variety of moves, Raichu is actually a really good Pokémon. Otherwise, Raichu lacks moves and thus is ineffective in battle.
In the Pokémon TV show, Pikachu refuses to evolve into Raichu and manages to defeat the evolved Pokémon. Thanks to Raichu’s limited set of moves, a scenario in which Pikachu defeats Raichu is very possible in the games as well. Despite Raichu’s superior stats, a Raichu with few to none of Pikachu’s moves stands little chance against a well-trained Pikachu.
All three forms of Cleffa have the ability of either Cute Charm or Magic Guard as well as the possibility of acquiring a hidden ability, but that hidden ability differs for the final form, Clefable. While Cleffa and Clefairy have the hidden ability Friend Guard, Clefable has Unaware. Friend Guard provides great protection for allies, whereas Unaware only protects Clefable.
Clefable is an excellent Pokémon with higher stats, but Clefable and its previous forms are completely different. For players following particular plans, Clefable can overthrow strategies and reduce the strength of entire teams. Clefairy can support its party through Friend Guard and moves like Healing Wish; Clefable solely supports itself. With few new moves and no moves that support the team except those provided by Clefairy, Clefable disappoints any players expecting a better version of Clefairy.
As if Caterpie and Weedle weren’t weird enough, Nintendo added a third cocoon Pokémon that’s even stranger than its companions. Wurmple may follow two evolution chains: it can evolve into Cascoon and then Dustox or Silcoon and then Beautifly.
While Silcoon and Beautifly suffer the same problems as the evolution chains of Caterpie and Weedle, Cascoon and Dustox offer a wonderfully traditional evolution chain. Cascoon possesses the same stats as Silcoon, but Dustox’s stats vary from Beautifly so that every single stat increases during evolution. Every cocoon Pokémon except Dustox loses Defense in its final evolution, making Dustox completely superior to Cascoon.
The most frustrating part about Wurmple is that its evolution is completely random. Dustox provides the safest final form for new players, but only half the players using Wurmple will acquire Dustox. Regardless of which final form you desire, Wurmple can enrage players seeking a specific evolution chain.
Trapinch’s evolution results in the most confusing and detrimental stat fluctuations in Pokémon. Vibrava’s HP, Defense, Special Attack, and Special Defense increase by merely 5, and Attack is lowered by 30 while Speed increases by 60.
Although the massive increase in Speed might seem good, Trapinch makes up for the inability to attack first with some fantastic abilities and moves. With the abilities Hyper Cutter and Sheer Force and an arsenal of physical moves, Trapinch’s high Attack guarantees massive amounts of damage.
Vibrava, on the other hand, fails to make up for its increased stats and decreased Attack. Higher Speed means little because Vibrava lacks Trapinch’s offensive power; while Vibrava has a higher chance of beginning a fight, Trapinch provides a far greater chance of victory.
The base stats of Scyther and its final form, Scizor, both add up to a total of 500. Whereas almost all Pokémon gain higher stats, Scyther is one of the few Pokémon whose total stats remain the same during evolution.
Scizor has increased Attack and Defense but decreased Speed. The evolved Pokémon also possesses fewer weaknesses to the various types of Pokémon, although Scizor is significantly weaker against Fire-type Pokémon than Scyther. While Scizor’s new stats and immunities may benefit some players, the stats and weakness to fire may harm other players. Regardless of different players’ strategies, the absence of increasing stats makes Scizor inferior to the majority of evolved Pokémon. Scyther gains no benefits from Scizor and should probably never be evolved.
Slaking may have vastly higher stats than Vigoroth, but those stats are negated by Slaking’s passive ability, Truant. Truant only lets Slaking move every other turn, allowing opponents to significantly damage or even defeat Slaking before the sloth-like Pokémon can attack.
While Slakoth and Slaking share Truant, Vigoroth—the evolved form of Slakoth and the predecessor to Slaking—fortunately lacks the annoying ability. Instead of following a logical evolution chain in which all three forms use Truant or the final form discards Truant, Nintendo chose to make Vigoroth oddly superior to its final form. Vigoroth satisfyingly replaces Slakoth while Slaking is a disappointing evolution. Despite its increased stats, Slaking is far more vulnerable than Vigoroth and thus is, in many situations, significantly inferior to Vigoroth.
Nincada is one of those extremely rare Pokémon whose total stats decrease during evolution. The Pokémon may evolve into two different forms: Ninjask or Shedinja. Ninjask offers a traditional and practical evolution, giving Nincada massive increases in all stats except Attack and Defense, but Attack and Defense are simply swapped.
Shedinja’s stats nearly resmemble Nincada’s except for one significant variation: Shedinja’s HP is lowered to 1. Shedinja stands no chance of survival in battle thanks to its laughable HP, making Shedinja one of the worst Pokémon despite being a final form.
If you happen to have an empty slot for a Pokémon and (in some games) an extra Poké Ball, your Nincada will evolve into a Shedinja rather than a Ninjask. As a circumstantial punishment, Shedinja is the most radical and disappointing deviation from the Pokémon formula and represents the greatest flaws in the series.