Every single Pokémon player goes through a unique thought process when selecting which creatures they want on their current team. Some choose the creatures with the highest possible stats, or at least those that fit their particular play style. Others go for type cores, themed teams, or even randomly generated teams! Then you have the players—myself included—who throw stat values out of the window. We choose Pokémon based on their cool design, their interesting possibilities, or their overall cuteness. It doesn't matter how terrible these Pokémon are in battle: we're going to use and love them anyway.
Of course, not every Pokémon player conforms to just one or even any of these stereotypes! It's more likely that you're a combination of them all. However, we've decided to cast a spotlight on one particular brand of Pokémon: those that have stats that range from mediocre to appalling but are chosen by players anyway. You know the ones: the Pokémon that you want to be good so badly, but no matter how hard you train them, they just kinda suck.
What better Pokémon generation to examine through this lens than Generation Two? Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal introduced so many new Pokémon that could have been amazing... But just weren't. Still, the more self-punishing players out there picked them anyway. There were so many factors present in Generation Two, like the limited pool of moves that Pokémon could learn and the lack of an Abilities and Natures system, that made low-stat Pokémon just irredeemable. Here are just some of the creatures that fit into this bracket—but that we all used at some point regardless.
25 Pichu: Adorable, But Awful
It's very rare that a Pokémon is both incredibly cute and incredibly powerful. It makes sense if you think about it: is a baby electric mouse really going to have the same capabilities as, say, a slightly rougher-looking baby dragon?
Probably not, let's be real.
Sadly, despite being utterly adorable, Pichu is pretty awful in battle. We know that it's a baby Pokémon, meaning that its stats are bound to be very low, but it doesn't even improve that much when it evolves. That's right, we said it: PIKACHU ISN'T A VERY GOOD POKÉMON.
24 Wooper: Worth Sticking With?
While Wooper does undeniably fall into the "cute but kinda rubbish" bracket, it does have one thing going for it. It evolves into Quagsire, which isn't an entirely awful Pokémon in Gold and Silver. On this account, it may be worth powering through the frankly tedious Wooper days to get to that sweet, sweet point of evolution. Still, this doesn't change the fact that Wooper itself has terrible stats. It's passable HP-wise and is an okay-ish attacker, but a Speed stat of 15? No thanks.
23 Hoothoot: Don't Get In A Flap
Since Hoothoot is available pretty much immediately in Gold, Silver, and Crystal, it's made it into a lot of players' teams over the years. If you want to use a Flying-type Pokémon that isn't Pidgey or Spearow, it's the obvious choice. However, think before you commit yourself to train a Hoothoot, guys. It's mediocre at best in battle, and when it evolves into Noctowl, its stats only really rise into the "average" category. It can take a hit or two, but it can't really deal them out.
22 Mareep: A Bit Of A Shocker
Now, Mareep is another first-stage evolution that might well become worth it if you're patient enough. Ampharos is one of the best Generation Two Pokémon out there, even if you're playing one of the games prior to its Mega Evolution being a thing. However, Mareep—and to a certain extent, Flaaffy—isn't the greatest at taking a hit. Training Mareep up to become an Ampharos is very tricky when a couple of well-placed hits can easily knock it out.
21 Pineco: Talk About Self-Destructive
If you're after a Pokémon that can Self-Destruct-spam every opponent it faces, then sure—maybe Pineco is the one for you. However, if you're looking for a creature that can do literally anything else, perhaps think again. Yes, Pineco's evolution—Forretress—is a total tank, but it's a long and arduous struggle to get it to that point. Pro tip: if one of a Pokémon's main weaknesses is Fire-type moves, having a minuscule Special Defense is less than ideal. You could at least give it enough Speed to hit first... But no. Pineco's slow too. Joys.
20 Swinub: Not Worth The Wait
Considering how few and far-between Ice-type Pokémon were back in the early games in the series, you'd at least expect the rare creatures that fit this description to be somewhat good. Sadly, as the entire existence of Delibird proves, this is far from the case. Swinub is another Generation Two Pokémon that should have been so good but is let down by its stats. Even its HP-heavy evolution, Piloswine, is hugely let down by its mediocre other stats and its lack of type resistances.
19 Girafarig: A Waste Of A Great Design
Real talk: Girafarig as a concept is super cool. It's a weird, part-Psychic-type giraffe that has an EXTRA HEAD on the end of its tail. Does head number two mean that Girafarig has twice the power as a Pokémon? Well... Sadly not.
In fact, it's completely let down by its poor defensive stats.
If you can manage to quickly Baton Pass it out of battle, go for it. However, if you expect Girafarig to actually be able to take a hit, you'll be sorely disappointed.
18 Sunflora: Not Exactly A Ray Of Sunshine
Did somebody say "incredibly obvious and lazy Pokémon design?" It's a sunflower... Named Sunflora. It doesn't take a genius to come up with a concept like that. Anyway, design flaws aside, let's talk about just how terrible Sunflora is in battle. It's a tempting choice for a Gold and Silver player who's looking for a Grass-type to add to their team. However, one look at its stats should convince you to leave it well alone. Its Speed is so low that it just can't strike first, and its poor defenses leave it unable to take a hit. It's useless.
17 Remoraid: Just Keep Swimming... Away From It
Deciding whether Remoraid is worth using or not in Gold and Silver is a tricky conundrum. On the one hand, it eventually evolves into Octillery, which is a pretty neat Pokémon. However, getting Octillery means enduring Remoraid for 25 levels, which is painful at best. With incredibly low HP, Defense, and Special Defense stats, Remoraid doesn't really stand a chance against anything at all. Yes, its Speed means it might just strike first, but unless it can get a one-hit KO, it's done for in the next turn. Not great.
16 Chikorita: The Worst Starter
It pains me to say it, but although Chikorita is undeniably the cutest Generation Two starter Pokémon, it's also the worst. I know—who could criticize a face like that? The answer is any trainer who's glimpsed at its stats, unfortunately. It simply doesn't have the power to match up to its contemporaries, Totodile and Cyndaquil. Sure, it's alright defensively, but it can't deal out powerful hits like the other starters. Plus, it's got a mad typing matchup against the first two Johto Gyms, which isn't great.
15 Unown: Nobody Knows Why You'd Use This
Unown is a complete gimmick Pokémon, no arguments needed. If you ever decided to use it just because it's kinda cool to have a letter of the alphabet in your party, you almost certainly immediately regretted it. Unown can only learn Hidden Power, and it doesn't have the stats to make this a viable, hitting-hard move. Its Defense stat is garbage, it's too slow to really make an impact, and it has terrible HP. Just avoid it. Like, nothing good can come of you using this Pokémon.
14 Togepi: Iconic, But Unusable In Battle
Togepi is a very easy Pokémon for Gold and Silver players to include in their team, simply because you literally get handed one after the first gym battle. Like, it's right there, in that mysterious egg! Why would you pass up the chance to use this iconic, adorable Pokémon? Well... Just take a look at its stats. It's passable defensively, but its Attack stat is just 20. TWENTY. Same goes for its Speed. Even when it evolves into Togetic, it's let down by its lack of moves that suit its Defense-heavy stat distribution. AVOID!
13 Spinarak: A Lot About It Bugs Us
To be honest, there aren't that many good Bug-type Pokémon in the early generations of Pokémon games. Scyther and Scizor are pretty neat, but other than that, they're all pretty flawed.
Spinarak is no exception to this rule!
Although it's available early on in the game, don't catch it out of an "I need more Pokémon" sense of obligation. Both Spinarak and its evolution, Ariados, suffer from a ruinously slow Speed stat and a lack of decent attacking power. In fact, none of its stats could be considered anything better than "underwhelming."
12 Sentret: Easy To Catch, But Hard To Train
Again, Sentret is an available-early Pokémon that's very tempting to include in your Gold and Silver team. However, resist the urge, trainers! If you progress through the game just a little bit further, you'll find far stronger Pokémon than this Normal-type disappointment. It's painfully slow—like, a Speed value of 20 painful—and can neither attack nor defend to save its life. Sure, that Speed is vastly improved when it evolves into Furret, but it then becomes too frail defensively to do anything about it.
11 Ledyba: Another Sub-Par Bug Type
Another Bug-type Pokémon, another wave of disappointment. Ledyba doesn't really have anything going for it, to be honest. Sure, it's cute, but that's literally it. While Ledyba and its evolution Ledian both have strangely high Special Defense stats, any positive effect that this may have had in battle is totally negated by their rubbish amount of HP. Attack and Special Attack wise, this line is severely lacking. Basically, there is nothing you can do with this Pokémon to make it usable in battle, so don't even try.
10 Jumpluff: It's Not Worth The Effort To Train
Jumpluff may be super-cute and very fluffy, but there are a whole host of reasons why you shouldn't even bother training this Pokémon. For one, it involves using a Hoppip for far too long—including during its "I can only learn Splash" phase. On top of that, when you finally do evolve that Hoppip into a Skiploom and a Jumpfluff, the payoff isn't that great. Sure, Jumpluff's Speed stat is great, but both its Attack and Special Attack stats are trash. You can switch it in to take some hits, but it can't deal any damage back.
9 Stantler: Oh Deer
The story of Stantler in Pokémon Gold and Silver is a pretty sad one. This deer-themed Pokémon could have been so, so good. It was given an impressively high Special Attack stat that could have made it into a great Special sweeper...
But then it was only given one Special move to use.
That move is Psychic, which doesn't even get STAB. Where is the logic? Since all of Stantler's other stats are mediocre at best, this lack of Special Attack-based moves is its total downfall.
8 Aipom: Too Much Monkey Business
If you're tempted to use this adorable little purple monkey Pokémon in your next Gold and Silver playthrough, please reconsider. It's for your own good. For one, Aipom suffers from the eternal Generation Two curse that is an incredibly limited move pool. Add to that some seriously average stats and you've got a recipe for a disappointment. It may be fast, but Aipom can't hit hard enough or defend well enough to capitalize on that one good stat. Pretty much anything can take Aipom down with ease.
7 Corsola: It Had Such Potential
Corsola has to be the cutest little bit of coral-with-eyes in the entirety of the Pokémon universe. Sadly, its stat distribution is nowhere near as cheery as its adorable little face. Corsola is okay defensively, but aside from that, it can't really do much.
In an in-game situation, that's not great!
It has terrible Speed, awful Attack and Special Attack, and an HP stat that makes its good defenses pretty much useless. However much we might wish for little Corsola to be a viable teammate, it's just not.
6 Magcargo: More Like Magcar-no
As Generation Two Pokémon go, there aren't that many new Fire-types to take the place of a Vulpix or a Growlithe in your team. Magcargo is one of the few Generation Two Fire Pokémon out there, and it's really not great at all. Its dual Fire-Rock typing gives it all manner of serious weaknesses, and while its Defense stat is pretty high, that doesn't make up for how awful the rest of them are. For a fully-evolved Pokémon to have a Speed stat of 30 is just unforgivable.
5 Dunsparce: It Can Stay In Dark Cave
Alongside Delibird, Dunsparce has to be one of the most laughed-at Generation Two Pokémon of all. It's just so awful! The only reason you should use it is as a massive joke, and even then, is it really worth it? To be honest, its stats aren't the worst in the game, but they're painfully average. It's pretty much "meh" in every aspect except its HP, which is good, and its Speed, which is poor. Dunsparce just isn't well enough equipped with either stats or moves to do you any good in battle.
4 Mantine: It Has No Ray Of Hope
Mantine is yet another Pokémon that got totally screwed over in Gold and Silver by its stats. Upon first glance, this Water-Flying type looks like it could be an amazing Special Defense-led Pokémon.
It's got a super-high stat value of 140—great, right?!
Well, not if your ridiculously low HP stat basically makes your Defense and Special Defense values totally irrelevant. This is, sadly, what happens to Mantine. Its HP lets it down, and it doesn't have the Speed or Attack stats to swoop in and deal a heavy blow first. Poor Mantine.
3 Yanma: Useless Until Gen 4
Now, we've got to admit, Yanma did become a slightly more usable Pokémon when it got itself a nifty evolution in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. However, back in the Gold and Silver days, it was pretty poor in battle. It may be moderately fast, but it just has no attacking or defending power whatsoever. If you can't take a hit, and you can't deal out significant damage to other Pokémon, why are you in my team, Yanma? Who cares if you keep on swarming near the National Park?
2 Sneasel: To Be Fair, It Got Better
Again, Sneasel is a Pokémon that vastly improved in Generation Four once it was given an evolution. However, it still bears mentioning that it's not the best choice for a team member in Gold and Silver, despite it being one of the game's few Dark or Ice-types.
Put simply, Sneasel's stats ruin it.
It's incredibly speedy, but that's about it. Despite the fact that most of its STAB moves are special, its Special Attack stat is a mere 35. Why would you do that? Just why?
1 Murkrow: Nothing To Crow About
Back in Gold and Silver, Dark-type Pokémon were a totally new concept and were thus pretty exciting to use. Everyone wanted to see how using this new type might affect your success in the game. Well, if Murkrow was your Dark-type Pokémon of choice, you probably ended up very disappointed. While its Attack and Special Attack stats were by no means awful, its defenses were shockingly bad. Yes, you could probably use its fairly good Speed to swoop in and attack once, but after that, you were toast.