The Pokémon games have always been aimed at a younger audience. But we've come a long way from it strictly being seen as a children's game. Most of the original fanbase is all grown up and still as passionate about the franchise as ever. Older fans tend to take things a little more seriously than younger ones, and it shows in how they select, train and battle their Pokémon. Battling competitively is popular among many players, and with that, there goes a great deal of effort into putting teams together that can properly complement each other. Trainers wanting to put together a strong team need to know which Pokémon to go for.
But while getting the end product is always rewarding, training a strong Pokémon often involves a tedious and tiresome amount of effort. Be it dealing with low base stats, odd evolution conditions or poor early game sets, getting from point A to B with a powerful Pokémon often takes a good deal of grinding. With that in mind, why don’t we go and look at some of the strongest Pokémon in the game that prove the most challenging to train all the way through.
Here are 25 Pokémon that are impossible to train (but are so powerful they break the game).
25 A Real Steel
Onix is a Gen I favorite that has remained relevant in later installations through its Gen II evolved form; Steelix. Steelix itself has remained a popular choice due to its Mega Evolution. But working your way up to Steelix is a tedious task, mainly due to the item required to evolve it.
On the plus side, both Onix and Steelix gain EXP rather plentifully. Training them isn’t all that bad aside from Onix being a pure tank and requiring some patience when grinding. What really makes this evolution tough is finding the Metal Coat Onix needs to hold in order to evolve. That and Onix having six different weaknesses make this a bit of a grind early on in the process.
24 We Call Haxs
Porygon is a weird little Pokémon, and since being introduced in Gen I has remained something of an oddity. Porygon isn’t all that great of a Pokémon, with stats ranging from average to plain awful. But what’s more promising are its evolutions.
Porygon2 gets a noticeable buff in its stats, that makes it a fairly decent option for trainers and Porygon-Z stands out for its incredible special attack stat. Porygon requires the Up-Grade item and Dubious Disc to go from one evolution to the other. Both of these are typically available late game, which means that you’ll be stuck with a middling Porygon for most of your adventure.
23 Girls Club
There are all kinds of weird conditions that affect how Pokémon evolve. Salandit isn’t all that impressive of a companion as its stats are pretty awful. But its evolved form, Salazzle is a fairly decent glass canon that players can definitely get some use out of.
In this scenario, gender plays an important role.
However, the only way to get your hands on one is to have a female Salandit reach level 33. This is only made harder by the scarcity of female Salandit’s compared to the males (12.5% compared to 87.5%).
22 The Path Less Traveled
Well, here we finally encounter a Pokémon that requires the use of stones in order to evolve. While Gardevoir might be the most well-known evolution in the Ralts line, Gallade is a Pokémon any trainer should seriously consider adding to their party.
However, Ralts is not an easy Pokémon to train. Its stats are very low and don’t really stand out in any one category. What’s more is that it – along with every other member of its evolutionary line – gains EXP at an incredibly slow rate. This means that even when you do manage to get yourself a Gallade, grinding it to higher levels is going to continue to be time consuming.
21 How To Train This Dragon
If you’ve been a fan of the games for long, you’ll know that everyone wanted a Dragonite as a kid. This is the Pokémon that made the Kanto Elite Four an actual challenge towards the end of the game. But trainers looking to get their hands on one will have to go through a process.
First off, the entire Dratini evolution line gains EXP very slowly, which isn’t going to help you reach level 55 any faster. But finding a Dratini is often a chore to start off with. So not only do you have to look high and low for one, you also get put through the ringer trying to train it.
20 Cutting Through The Competition
Scizor is a Pokémon whose evolution requirements are fairly similar to Steelix’s. Scizor can only be acquired via trading a Scyther holding a Metal Coat, so let’s take a look at Scyther first.
Scyther is a great Pokémon with a fantastic Medium fast experience type that makes leveling it up easier than most Pokémon. However, it has traditionally been a tough Pokémon to track down. It also has five different weaknesses and of course – requires that elusive Metal Coat to evolve. While it sounds like a lot of work, it’s all worth it for that Mega Scyther.
19 Live Wire
The difficulty of this next one depends entirely on how you approach it, but let’s assume you’re starting from the ground up. Electivire is the final evolution in the Elekid line. If you were to start off with an Elekid and work your way up, things would be pretty difficult.
Elekid isn’t the strongest Pokémon out there, with pretty pathetic stats and not a whole lot of things going for it aside from its lack of weaknesses. In order to get to Electivire players must tough it out with Elekid until level 30, evolve it into Electabuzz and then trade it while holding an Electirizer.
18 Anything But A Balanced Attack
Among all of the entries on our list, this next one is one of the most unique. Tyrogue was introduced in Gen II as a baby Pokémon part of the Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan line. Tyrogue starts off with equal albeit low statistics in every category and at level 20 evolves into either of the aforementioned Gen I fighters or fellow Gen II newcomer Hitmontop.
In order to get their preferred evolution, players will need to make use of EV training while training their Tyrogue.
Tyrogue isn’t a very good Pokémon in all honesty. Its base stats are all 35 and it doesn’t learn any useful moves through leveling up. Layers will have to be meticulous when training it and employ the Power Bracer, Power Belt or Macho Bracer, depending on which evolution they’re aiming for.
17 Great Balls Of Fire
Well, let’s assume that we’re once again going to start off this process with the Baby Pokémon in this evolutionary line. That means sticking with a Magby until it reaches level 30, evolving it into Magmar and then trading it holding a Magmarizer.
Here’s why that’s an incredible pain to go through. Magby isn’t all that strong of a Pokémon, with its attack being its only viable stat. To stick with it until level 30 is a test of patience more than it is skill.
16 Grinding & Grinding & Grinding Away
It isn’t hard to see why people would want a pseudo-legendary Pokémon or two on their team. They’re some of the strongest non-legendary Pokémon in the game, and can be available to you much earlier on and throughout your adventure. Most are tough to train, and Salamence is no exception.
You start off with Bagon which won’t be doing you any favours in battle and trust us, at the rate that both Bagon and its evolved form Shelgon gain EXP, you’ll be at a disadvantage for a good while before it pays off. Shelgon is considerably stronger statistically, but still forces players to grind out those experience points with its slow experience type.
15 It Hits HARD
Gyarados is such a solid Pokémon, and its Mega Evolution makes it all the better a choice for anyone looking for a Water-type. The one glaring fault that steers some people away from training this Pokémon is that you have train a Magikarp in order to get one.
Anyone who’s played a Pokémon game can attest to how absolutely useless Magikarp is.
Magikarp’s stats are awful. It only learns Tackle at level 15 which at that point is the second learned move in its moveset aside from the ever useful Splash. Not only that, but it earns EXP very slowly. You’re pretty much forced to switch train the thing until level 20.
14 Scary Tough to Train, But Worth It
Another Pseudo-Legendary, Tyranitar has remained relevant due to its awesome Mega Evolution. The mammoth Rock/Dark-type certainly is a joy to use in battle, but requires a great deal of patience from trainers.
Larvitar isn’t all that strong and is a Pokémon you’ll have to stick it out with considerably if you want to get your hands on a Tyranitar. It’s best suited for physical attacks but learns a lot of special attacks early on. Pupitar isn’t that much better, as it’s so slow that it’ll almost definitely be attacking second each turn, and has a myriad of weaknesses that make it a serious 1 shot KO liability.
13 Search And You Will Find It
Alakazam was one of the strongest Pokemon in Gen I, and the introduction of Mega Evolutions have made it relevant in the current scene. The big problem with Alakazam is managing to evolve one. That all starts with catching and training an Abra.
Abra is pretty quick to run away from battles, so you’d need to stun it right off the bat or get really lucky on your first shot. It only ever learns the move Teleport, and will most likely require switch training in order to evolve. Once you get Kadabra things get fairly simpler – and after that, it’s all a matter of finding a trustworthy trade partner to evolve it.
12 In The Eye Of The Beholder
Milotic is a seriously strong Water-type that really stands out due to its high special stats. Its only real weakness is its attack stat but it doesn’t really learn any useful physical attacks so it all evens out. However much like Gyarados, Milotic’s main turn-off is having to put up with training a Feebas.
Training a Feebas is arguably worse than having to train a Magikarp.
Luckily, it doesn’t matter how much you level up your Feebas, so long as you level it up with a high enough Beauty condition or trade it while it’s holding a Prism Scale. It has the exact same leanset as Magikarp and so it would be better to switch train this dead-weight until it evolves.
11 All You Need is Love
Eevee is really picking up in popularity as the new Let’s GO games get closer and closer to launch. But the Eevelutions have always been popular with fans, with everyone having their own favourite of the bunch.
Sylveon isn’t just the new favorite in the line, but probably the strongest and most useful of them all. After so many evolutions, the means of obtaining each one gets a little trickier over time. If you want a Sylveon then get ready to pour all of your attention into your Eevee. It won’t evolve unless it has two levels of affection, and be sure to teach your Eevee a Fairy-type move at some point before as well.
10 Be it Rain, No Shine
Pseudo-legendary Pokémon are some of the strongest out there and finding one can be a chore. They’re fairly tough to track down and require quite a bit of training. That isn’t made any easier in Goodra’s case. Every Pokémon in that line gains EXP slowly, making training a huge grind.
But the worst part of all is the condition that must be met in order for Sliggoo to evolve into Goodra. It has to be either raining or foggy in the overworld. This is an inconvenience more than anything, as it forces trainers to be vigilant when taking notice of which areas would be suitable for grinding.
Here is a pretty unique evolution, and one that you’d probably miss entirely if you weren’t aware of the conditions that needed to be met in order to fulfill it. Nincada is a pretty run-of-the-mill Bug-type that gains EXP erratically – meaning that it’s tougher to train at lower levels.
Everything aside from its defense is terrible. It gets a considerable speed boost when it evolves into Ninjask, but that’s not why we’re here. Should the player have an extra slot in their party and an extra Poké Ball then they receive Shedinja. Its stats aren’t pretty, but its Wonder Guard ability makes it immune to moves that deal damage and aren’t Super Effective. A smart trainer can make great use of that.
8 Scavenger Hunt
Horsea isn’t all that intimidating of a Pokémon. It’s a pretty average Water-type that hits fast and hard but won’t last you too long in battle. Luckily it gains EXP pretty consistently, so there’s no worrying about leveling up.
But in order to evolve it into a Kingdra, players need to first get their hands on a Dragon Scale. The item needs to be held by Seadra during a trade in order to trigger the evolution. The problem is they can be pretty tough to track down depending on which generation you’re coming from.
7 Started From The Bottom
Looking at Aron and its final form Aggron, it’s pretty amazing to imagine just how stark a difference there is between the two. Players interested in this Pokémon have to tough things out for a good while before they’re rewarded for their hard work.
Aron relies purely on its defense. It also has a slow experience type, meaning that leveling it up will be a long and tedious task. Same goes for its level 32 evolution Lairon. But once you get that Aggron and the Mega Evolution that comes with it, all that hard work gets put to good use.
6 Star-Crossed Trade Partners
This is by far the most unique scenario on our list. Escavalier and Acceglor each take a spot here because their evolutions are mutually exclusive. Both Karrablast and Shelmet aren’t exactly the easiest Pokémon in the games to go into battle with. But in this scenario availability is what’s really important.
Unless you have a reliable trade partner, you won’t get your hands on either of these.
You can only acquire Escavalier or Accelgor by trading Karrablast for Shelmet or vice versa. That’s the only way either of these will evolve. So you better hope that you can find someone trustworthy to trade with.
5 Cold as Ice
One of the newer additions to the Pokémon roster on this list, this one can be pretty tricky. Crabrawler can only evolve when leveled up at Mount Lanakila. It isn’t exactly the most accessible area in the game and makes things way more complicated than they should be.
Crabrawler isn’t a bad Pokémon, and actually is pretty useful for the first couple of trials, but going through a large chunk of the game with it is a nuisance. Since Mount Lanakila is where the player must travel to challenge the Elite Four, trainers won’t be seeing that Crabominable any time soon.
4 All Talk No Bite
Noivern is an absolute beast of a Pokémon that possesses some pretty nicely rounded base stats. While Noivern might be a fairly enticing option for trainers, the biggest turn-off here is having to train a Noibat in order to get it.
Though it gains EXP somewhat efficiently, Noibat’s base stats are pathetic and don’t really give it a clear cut advantage in any one area. What’s worse is that it only evolves at level 48. So any trainer willing to take up this challenge will be in it for the long haul.
3 Getting Educated
Slowpoke might not look like all that much, but it’s a Pokémon worth sticking it out with as you can work your way up to two different evolutions with it. Of the two, the most beneficial by far is Slowking.
Slowpoke doesn’t slack off when it comes to getting EXP, but has some pretty weak stats along with five different weaknesses that makes it something of a chore to level up. Players need to trade Slowpoke with a King’s Rock in order to get their hands on Slowking. The item is a bit of a pain to go out and find but once you do and you’ve leveled up your Slowpoke to your liking – you’re all set.
2 Deep Sea Diving
Yet another evolution that involves a trade, Clamperl isn’t the easiest Pokémon out there to train, and the items required to evolve it – the Deep Sea Scale or Tooth – have traditionally been tough to track down.
Clamperl’s sporadic EXP growth carries over to its evolved forms, making them pretty tough to train at lower levels.
Regardless of whether you go for a Huntail or Gorebyss in this scenario, both have their merits and are well worth the effort put into acquiring them. But the tediousness of tracking down either required held item, along with Clamperl’s low stats and mediocre EXP intake makes this quite the challenge.
1 The Long, Long Con
Volcarona is one of those Pokémon that checks off all the right boxes; great design, solid stats, good learnset and a useful ability. Too bad that in order to get it, players will have to level grind a Larvesta all the way to level 59.
Aside from a solid attack stat, Larvesta won’t really impress you all that much. It only really starts learning any useful physical attacks at higher levels, and its slow experience type makes it so you’re going to be stuck using it for a long time.