It's a game that many a childhood was based around. The games, the trading cards, the show, the movies. It was an endless indulgence for kids worldwide. A franchise that had one of the biggest impacts in the 90s, and shines through to today. Now that I've blown its trumpet enough, as with any franchise that goes on long enough, there's bound to be a few mishaps along the way. Over 800 Pokémon later, there are going to be a few lemons in the mix. But the proof is in the pudding: the good outweighs the bad by a huge margin, giving us some of the iconic characters that people still love well into adulthood.
The mistakes are far and few between, but the problem with that is when you do make an error, people notice. There have been some notorious duds through the years, especially among the hardcore fan base. From the utterly useless, down to some downright ugly designs. Luckily for us, the good people down at Pokémon have given us some unreal examples to tilt the scales. You can have all the know-how in the world, but you'll always need the right Pokémon to go along with it.
If you're a real Pokémon fan, then every one of them, good or bad, holds a special place in your heart. Which one of us hasn't imagined walking around with a Pikachu or riding on the back of a Charizard at one time or another?
20 Worst: Swalot
I'll leave the fact that it looks like a golfer's sweater vest alone for a second and address the basics. Swalot is a poison type that is sub-par as a stand-alone Pokémon. It's made even worse when there are a very limited amount of poison type Pokémon. It looks terrible in comparison to most of them.
It's slow, it's vulnerable, and it's got no offense.
Not that you would expect anything less when you look at it. Reminding me of a food critic straight out of a heavy meal, Swalot takes the cake for least intimidating design.
19 Best: Latios
While the pair didn't do great on the big screen when their movies came out, Latios and Latias have made up for that by being some of the best Pokémon Generation 3 has to offer; Latios being the better of the two, in my opinion.
A great-looking design, with the added attack boost that comes with psychic types, give this legendary a cannon to back up its limited but powerful offense. It has the added benefit of not changing its whole look when you use the mega evolution. It changes it into more of a spaceship with cannons on its arms.
18 Worst: Skitty
Skitty is a pretty terrible Pokémon, but it had potential. It could have been a pretty good support though, with the variety of moves it learns by itself or can learn through TMs. Its base stats are so awful that you barely have a chance to use that arsenal, though.
It was never going to be your best Pokémon, by any stretch.
You may be asking ''What about its evolution? That must pump it up enough to be effective.'' Nope, Delcatty is also just a bigger weakling with a dye job. It was the cat that never could, and never will, but it had potential.
17 Best: Swampert
Another one of the new starter evolutions introduced in Gen 3. He's definitely a strange-looking Pokémon that wouldn't look like part of the elite. Swampert protects itself from the usual electric weakness by being a ground type.
The catch is grass has both a negative and a positive for that type. On one hand, you can deal out a super effective attack while also making it very vulnerable to grass types, one of the most common types in the game. If you can get past the buggy look of Swampert, then you have a bulky powerhouse at your disposal.
16 Worst: Plusle/Minun
Ah, one of the few Pikachu substitutes they tried to put in the later versions of the game. They were the product of Pokémon's double battle invention and like many other Pokémon that fell victim to this design, they flopped pretty hard.
Lightning doesn't strike twice, even for Pikachu.
With weak stats and the only way to make them semi-effective being putting them in together (which only happens in meaningless duel trainer battles), it ends up making them fairly useless, especially as electric types with weak physicals. I guess you could use them in the Pokémon contests to look cute? Outside of that, scrap em.
15 Best: Metagross
It's slow, and it's steady. As far as I'm concerned, that always wins the race. Metagross is a giant half-spider that looks like it should be General Grievous' pet. Yet, it still belongs in the top 10. Its defense is beaten only by its attack, which is saying something. You'll need everything you've got and the kitchen sink to make a dent in it. Then when you do make that dent, you had better be ready for one of those steel arms to hit and hit hard. If all else fails, I'm sure those red eyes are bound to make most flee.
14 Worst: Spoink
What is there to really say? Spoink is a cute version of the toys that came out of Sid's bedroom in Toy Story. That's about as useful as it gets; a reminder that won't give you the same night terrors. Psychic types usually make up for their poor physical stats with some pretty overpowered attacks that can one-hit the masses. This one, however, doesn't even deliver on that front. While it's not the worst looking one out there, its nothing to phone home about. All the worst attributes of a psychic type combined with the move set of a Magikarp.
13 Best: Aggron
While this battering ram does have some glaring flaws in its stat list, it is one of the best defensive Pokémon there has ever been. Although it may be hard to tell with the steel armor running down its entire body. You will need that defense, however, because it's one of the slowest Pokémon as well. Wouldn't you be after lugging around 700 pounds in body weight? When you eventually land that thunderous hit, though, it's guaranteed to make an impact. If that doesn't sell you, the fact that it's basically a t-rex with a set of metal horns should be enough to do it.
12 Worst: Luvdisc
Luvdisc might take the cake for least creative design in the Pokémon universe. Is it possible to be any more obvious? Besides the toddler design, Luvdisc has the potential to be a very fast Pokémon, so fast that you might be able to delay the beat down for a few more seconds.
It's literally a swimming heart with eyes and pouty lips.
Yes, unfortunately, it was used in Ruby/Sapphire to get heart scales. Since this wasn't a thing past those games, now it has been cast into the pile of forgotten Pokémon, or sorely remembered at the least.
11 Best: Flygon
Once upon a time, in the land of Kanto, people used to be excited about Dragon-type Pokémon and life was good. Since then, we have realized the glaring flaws in the type. While they usually have some of the best looks in the game they are also the only type to be weak against itself. It also has the unfortunate luck of being a combination of dragon and flying types which leaves you blindsided to its other weaknesses, ice and electric. Flygon takes out one of those by being a dragon/ground combination, completely taking out electric type moves. That plus its boosted stats makes it a force to be reckoned with.
10 Worst: Seviper
The poor man's Arbok has slithered his way into most people's lists of most disappointing Pokémon. Seviper, while it doesn't look terrible, it's poorly constructed and suffers from the curse of having no speed combined with a defense that a Pidgey could breeze through. It honestly looks a bit like someone got a hold of a snake and used it as a doodle pad. If you have some odd nostalgia towards Arbok and refuse to ditch the colorful snake, then you've got a chance at some damage. That's if you can manage to survive the first hit (which is rare).
9 Best: Absol
One of the slickest looking Pokémon to come out of any generation so far. Absol is good in battle if you know how to use it. It's attacking stats aren't the best but that can be fixed with sword dance (that doubles its attack) giving it a big presence.
This one could have landed in my top ten for the looks alone.
It's often one overlooked by the community as well because it isn't a powerhouse like some others in the game. While I'm clearly a little biased in the looks department, Absol is undeniable if you put in the right hands.
8 Worst: Volbeat
This is another one of those duo Pokémon that slowly became a memory, and a bad one at that. Being cute at best, Volbeat is an odd cross between a firefly and a ladybug. It was also a good opportunity to set up the electric/bug type combination long before they did, a missed opportunity and a cruel tease in ways. At least that would have given it some interesting moves to work with. Probably the only insect that would make sense to do this combination with and they let it fly right past them. Now we have an electric tarantula...
7 Best: Blaziken
I, like many others, was wearing a skeptical look on my face when they released this evolution chain. To be fair, Torchic definitely looks underwhelming compared to your Charmanders and Cyndaquils. If you take the time to make it through the awkward teen years, you do end up with an offensive powerhouse. Not to mention the looks have improved dramatically. Diverse as well, so whatever your fighting style, the chances are Blaziken will be your bird. The fire/fighting combination works well, making you effective against a wide range of Pokémon, once overlooked Blaziken now takes its spot among the best.
6 Worst: Feebas
This one's a little complicated because you basically have to get through the rough to find the diamond. Feebas by itself is one of the worst Pokémon in the game, with the lowest stats I've seen so far except its speed. Not that it helps because there's no use in getting there first when you have the attack power of a fly. Not to mention a defense so weak any attack that hits leaves a serious mark. It's the 3rd Generation's answer to Magikarp and Gyarados. You have to deal with having a barely usable fish to get to the majestic Milotic.
5 Best: Salamence
Now, despite all the smack I just talked on the Dragon/Flying mixes, some have other things that greatly outweigh the bad with some significant good. There really isn't a chink in Salamence's armor, if we're talking about stats. It's basically a menacing tank with wings, and if that doesn't impress you, I don't know what will. The attack power alone is enough to put him on the first team. It's very rare that you find a bulldozer with some speed to go with it. It's no slouch in the looks department either, sporting an intimidating build that we expected from Dragon-types for a long time.
4 Worst: Spinda
As I have said before, you will find a few black sheep if your herd is big enough. Spinda is one of those black sheep (red if we're being picky). It's just out of the blue and doesn't really have any purpose.
A lost soul wandering around Hoenn aimlessly.
Its stats aren't good enough to support the few attacks that might cause a little damage. It looks like a misshapen teddy bear that just got a right hook across the jaw. It's a wonder why they even put him in the game except as a space filler.
3 Best: Milotic
While it's stats won't blow you out the water like most others on the list, it is effectively the elegant version of Gyarados. Instead of that all-out aggression that Gyarados has, it's replaced with a beautiful version of Dragonair. The attacks aren't as good but it makes up for that with a good defense and a move set to back it up. If you played your cards right it could endure most of the heavy attacks you see. As an added bonus, you get to look at one of the better designed Pokémon to date and go out with a little flair.
2 Worst: Wingull
Ah, Wingull, Pokémon's seagull. Based off of one of the most annoying animals in existence, Wingull leaves a lot to be desired in the design department. Not intimidating or even that cute if you're going for that angle. Even the stats of this flying rat leave a lot to be desired, being one of the worst type combinations in the history of the series. Water and flying leave it wide open for an electric type, fair enough, electric types aren't all that common throughout the game but you know what is? Rock. One of the things you would want it to be super effective against and one of the most common types in the game ends up being one of its Achilles heels.
1 Best: Altaria
Again, Altaria is another example that doesn't have any particularly amazing stats except the defense. You basically use this as an adorable time waster that you can surprise everyone with. It does have some very powerful moves that you can pull out of the bag if needed. You can put everyone to sleep, then the sneak attack begins. The main thing is it has the defense to put up with a lot and dish it right back. One of the more interesting designs in the Pokémon world, literally living in the clouds. You'll be hard pressed to find a more well rounded Pokémon out there.