We live in dangerous times. The world has never been under as many perils today as ever before, with global warming, rising sea levels, nuclear war, and energy crises all threatening to destroy modern civilization. That’s why I look to games for comfort as I await the inevitable end.
One of those games is Pokémon. It’s so easy to forget the looming destruction of our world when the world of Pokémon is so bright and vibrant and alive. But beneath the child-friendly exterior lies, even more, planet ending perils than the one we’re living in. Who woulda thought that little pet monsters with insane magical powers could be a bad thing?
There are plenty of Pokémon that could (if they wanted to) give society a really bad day. These Pokémon possess so much unbridled power they could destroy the world as we know it in a heartbeat.
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about game mechanics and competitive battling — we covered that already in our previous article on overpowered Pokémon. This list is going to focus on the lore of Pokémon, using Pokédex entries to suss out which of these little guys is harboring a dark power intent on Armageddon.
Take heed Pokémon masters, for these little ‘mons are up to no good.
Let’s start with a Pokémon that seems pretty unassuming: Espurr. On the surface, they look like any other bipedal cartoon cat. But one look at that 1000 mile stare tells anyone that Espurr has seen some pretty hairy stuff. I’m talking Vietnam flashback levels of personal trauma.
You may be wondering why Espurr seems to be so catatonic (get it? Cat? Cat-aton-nevermind). The answer my friends is in the Pokémon Y Pokédex entry:
“It has enough psychic energy to blast everything within 300 feet of itself, but it has no control over its power.”
That’s right - the reason Espurr looks like an endless advertisement for PTSD is because every 300 feet it travels turns into a blasted wasteland. Given that there are a ton of these little furballs roaming around, it’s only a matter of time until we’re all left with that same horrified stare as we gaze out upon the most adorable apocalypse scenario ever.
Here we have Camerupt, the camel-shaped Volcano Pokémon. I know what you're thinking: "It's a camel, how bad can it be?" Let's take a gander at the Pokémon Ruby Pokédex entry, shall we?
“Camerupt has a volcano inside its body. Magma of 18,000 degrees F courses through its body. Occasionally, the humps on this Pokémon's back erupt, spewing the superheated magma.”
18,000 degrees F is hot. Really hot. To put that into perspective, the surface of the sun is only 9800 degrees F. This little guy is an ungulate that’s hotter than the sun! Anything this hot would melt through to the center of the planet where it would cause the liquid magma center to bubble up with enough lava to blow every volcano the Earth has. After that, it’s lights out for all of us.
There's an old Russian fairy tale called The Fisherman and the Fish where a fisherman catches a fish (surprise). The fish, as it turns out, is not only able to talk but also made of magic, and offers the fisherman anything in return for its life. The fisherman thinks a little bit and then tells the fish he'd like a fish so powerful it can level cities.
Gyarados is the Pokémon version of that fish, as described in Red and Blue:
"Rarely seen in the wild. Huge and vicious, it is capable of destroying entire cities in a rage."
A fish powerful enough to destroy sprawling metropolises is bad enough, but Magikarp breeds with most water-types, making a school of Gyarados a one-way ticket to doomstown.
Thanks, Russian fisherman.
Pokémon has always been a series about myths and legends, the only difference being that in Pokémon those legends usually turn out to be true.
The first of our true legends is Xerneas, the Life Pokémon, so called because it can grant eternal life to whatever it feels like. That seems pretty powerful, but hardly world-ending, right?
Earth already has a real people problem; imagine if nobody ever died? Endlessly more people to drive cars, to eat cows, to mine minerals, to cut down trees, to drink water and breathe air. Too many people are already killing the planet, but Xerneas could make things so much worse we’d end the world a lot sooner than planned.
Best known for a pre-evolution that was so hard to catch they had to give it away in later generations, Alakazam is the most powerful non-legendary psychic Pokémon there is. Not only can it read your thoughts, but it can also move things with its mind via telekinesis and teleport.
That’s already a pretty strong resumé, but Alakazam has another box to tick on its job application for world ender. Take a look at its Pokémon Red Pokédex entry.
“Its brain can outperform a supercomputer. Its intelligence quotient is said to be 5,000.”
So Alakazam can do Jedi tricks, teleport, and is the smartest thing ever. If this guy wanted to he could just make off with a nuclear bomb whenever he felt like it. Worse still, with an IQ that large, he could just run for president and people would hand over the keys gladly after a landslide election victory.
I, for one, welcome our new Alakazam overlords.
Japan likes dragons, Pokémon is a Japanese game, ergo Pokémon is gonna have some dragons. That’s just science.
Reshiram is the first of our legendary dragons, and like all dragons, he loves fire. How much does he love fire? Check out his Pokémon Black 2 entry:
“This legendary Pokémon can scorch the world with fire. It helps those who want to build a world of truth.”
What truth are you looking for exactly, Reshiram? The truth of a barren world consumed in flames? You know who else thinks like that? Dictators. All of the world's dictators thought like that.
To all noble Pokémon masters, I say we must rise up to defeat the Reshiram scourge and save our world from Dragon tyranny!
We've already discussed one teleporting Pokémon in Alakazam, but they limit their teleportation to themselves, and it really wasn't what made them dangerous. Hoopa, on the other hand, can teleport anything, and that's a problem.
Introduced in Pokémon X and Y, Hoopa has a magic hoop that it uses to spirit away whatever it wants, as described in its Pokédex entry:
"It gathers things it likes and passes them through its loop to teleport them to a secret place."
Here's the problem - if you miss your aim and teleport something into space already occupied by something else (like say, a building), then the nuclei of the two objects would fuse, releasing an enormous amount of energy. The amount of energy would follow Einstein's famous E=mc2 equation, but lemme tell you, squaring the speed of light makes a very large number, which means even a small amount of mass will give you an explosion equivalent to a modern hydrogen bomb.
I pray that Hoopa never misses.
Next on our legendary list is Volcanion, the Steam Pokémon. If there was ever a Megaman/Pokémon crossover, Volcanion would be the boss third down from the left.
Despite its clear volcano-inspired name, Volcanion is actually all about steam, as explained in Pokémon Y:
"It expels its internal steam from the arms on its back. It has enough power to blow away a mountain."
The amount of power needed to "blow away a mountain" is roughly equivalent to the atomic bomb tragically dropped on Hiroshima. And that's just the power it expends in a measured, controlled way. Imagine what would happen if whatever this thing uses as containment were to be breached? It'd be a nuclear meltdown to make Fukojima look like the fourth of July.
One of the legendary dragons from Gen IV, Dialga is the first true Pokémon deity to grace our list. As a god among mere mortal creatures (albeit with magical abilities), Dialga has a pretty awesome party trick: he can control time.
Like Xerneas, on the surface, this doesn’t seem like an end of the world scenario, but look a little deeper, and you see that Dialga has his paw on the proverbial doomsday button. He can speed up time, sure, but he can also go back in time to start messing around with world history. If Star Trek and Dr. Who have taught me anything it’s that you don’t go messing around with the space-time continuum.
Worse yet is a scenario from Pokémon Platinum’s entry:
“A legendary Pokémon of Sinnoh. It is said that time flows when Dialga's heart beats.”
If this guy’s heart stops beating, time stops. Forever. We better hope this guy has a defibrillator at home or we’re all boned.
Magnemite is a personal favourite of mine, and his evolution Magnezone is a real powerhouse. Naturally, my end-game teams would always have a Magnezone in them. I knew that Magnezone could get up to some mischief, like erasing my hard drive, but I felt a little data loss was a small price to pay for a sturdy steel-electric-type.
Then I read this little tidbit from Pokémon Moon, and my whole world changed.
“As it zooms through the sky, this Pokémon seems to be receiving signals of unknown origin, while transmitting signals of unknown purpose.”
That cute flying saucer shape is no coincidence — Magnezone is a scout to an incoming alien invasion! It’ll be like Independence Day, but with Pokémon!
And no amount of earthquakes will save us — Magnezones can levitate.
We’ve had a lot of pretty ridiculous apocalyptic scenarios so far, so it’s nice to take a break and look at something a little more easily understood. Mewtwo is the ultimate Pokémon, genetically engineered to be nigh invulnerable in combat. It can shield itself from all attacks, and launch energy balls capable of leveling entire cities. It’s sort of like the Goku of the Pokémon world, only less hungry and more murder-y.
There’s only one thing standing in the way of Mewtwo and total word destruction - a small boy with a Masterball. Seriously though, why can’t Mewtwo just zap the little ball into dust before it hits him?
If you’re wondering why I keep referring to Mewtwo as an it, that’s because it’s genderless! Which you’d know if you’d read our previous article all about it. If you haven’t read it, I’ll wait here patiently while you get caught up.
All done? Good. Moving right along.
Time for yet another Dragon! This one is super creepy with all the spiky wings and spooky tail and lack of a discernible mouth. Giratina is the stuff of nightmares, so it’s only fitting that the denizen of the Distortion World makes it pretty high on our list.
Like Dialga, it can control time, but for Giratina, that’s child's play. Giratina goes one step further by altering the very physical laws that make up the universe. When Giratina is in town, left is down, up is rutabaga, and every moment is like straight out of a Lovecraftian horror on acid.
Giratina can make it so that launching a nuke covers the world in decapitated puppies rather than nuclear fallout.
Gen III was all about apocalyptic Pokémon. Kyogre can flood the world, and Rayquaza can cause planet-spanning hurricanes, but what sets Groudon apart from either of these is his attitude. Groudon isn’t here to play nice. Groudon is here to cause a world-shattering volcanic eruptions and chew bubble-gum. And it’s all out of gum.
On top of causing volcanoes to appear from nowhere and destroying entire island chains, Groudon is so hot as to “make water evaporate with light and heat,” causing massive droughts. For those of you not up on your apocalyptic scenario science, this one is up there along with global warming and meteor impact.
And if it meets Kyogre before it evaporates all the water it’ll just have a world-ending, kaiju style battle. At least we’ll all go out entertained.
You may be wondering why a Pokémon that you grind out to level-up is so high on this list. Trubbish is, after all, literally a bag of trash.
Allow me to break this one down. First, the world has a garbage problem — we create so much of it that we're running out of places to put it. The Pacific Ocean has a garbage patch that is over 700,000 square kilometers wide. Second, we take a few choice items from Trubbish's Pokédex entries in Black and White:
"Black Inhaling the gas they belch will make you sleep for a week. They prefer unsanitary places."
"The combination of garbage bags and industrial waste caused the chemical reaction that created this Pokémon."
If the world keeps making garbage, we'll keep making Trubbish, and then we will all sleep forever.
"It is told in mythology that this Pokémon was born before the universe even existed. It is described in mythology as the Pokémon that shaped the universe with its 1,000 arms."
In the beginning, Arceus created the heavens and the Pokémon world. In it were hundreds of Pokémon that didn’t make a whole lot of sense from an evolutionary standpoint, but it made for a good game universe, so Arceus said, “Ship it!” And it was good.
What, you want more explanation than that? Arceus is the Pokémon God. He’s the be all, end all. He’s the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. In all Pokémon is Arceus and in Arceus is all Pokémon.