The Pokémon Franchise has become a bit bloated with Legendaries. Legendaries were originally intended to be these hyper-rare, ultra special, one of a kind Pokémon that could destroy entire countries. And that does fit the description for a good portion of them. But the more that were created, the less powerful others got.
Thanks to the creation of Arceus, every single Legendary that isn't an all-powerful god, looks weaker by comparison.
How is Manaphy, a little bubble of water, supposed to keep up with Arceus? It's not, and that's the problem. You've got little ghosts with rings sharing the same nametag as space-bending dragons. I mean every new Generation follows a similar format of two opposing Legendaries that are the poster Pokémon for the cover. Then, once a third, complete version comes out, a new Legendary is released, that's even stronger than the two before it. There's no end in sight for Gamefreak creating exponentially more powerful Legendaries. Pretty soon we're gonna have new Pokémon that can destroy not only our planet but all existence. Heck, I think Arceus might be able to do that already. All this is to say that because there are so many Legendaries now, it's more obvious which ones are winners, and which are benchwarmers. Now I'm talking about their pure canonical strength, as in the cartoons, movie's, Pokedex entries, and other lore. This is NOT comparing them on their stats, appearance, or on the game, they were released in. So buckle in and get ready, because here's The 15 Strongest Legendary Pokémon In Canon (And The 15 Weakest)
Let's be honest, there's no way anyone could make a list like this and not include Arceus right?
It's the Original One, The Supreme Being, The Pokémon With 1000 Arms, Arceus.
This quadripedal centaur-esque Pokémon is literally the most powerful thing in existence. I mean, it's signature move is called "Judgement" a bit on the nose much? Not getting Arceus out of the way immediately would mean I'm no real fan of Pokémon. So here ya go, here it is. It's a great design by the way and I love that Gamefreak gave the Pokémon Universe a diety.
Here we have the My Little Pony Legendary otherwise known as Keldeo. Keldeo is the fourth in the Three Musketeers, the Swords of Justice. this trio of Legendaries found Keldeo when it was young and raised it.
Keldeo doesn't govern any sort of property or aspect of reality, it's just a mildly strong unicorn.
The fact that its Water/Fighting and its name has Kel in the beginning, leads me to believe it's based on the old Celtic folklore of Kelpies. Kelpies are majestic aquatic beasts but Keldeo when compared to Kelpies or even other Legendaries, doesn't stack up.
Here's the first entry in a long list of a duo and trio Legendaries. Usually, the Legendaries of each generation follow this format, 1 big bad mega legendary, two almost as powerful opposite legendaries, and a legendary trio way beneath them. For example, in we have Arceus, then Palkia and Dialga, and the Lake Guardian trio way below.
Palkia is the essentially the creator of space as we know it.
And not space as in outer space, but the fabric of reality kind of space. Palkia is absurdly powerful and can warp space at will, easily ranking among the top tier Legendaries
So let me just say, I love Shaymin. I think it's a great design and the two forms are both really interesting concepts.
But this list is ranking the best and worst legendaries in terms of power, not how much I like them. And Shaymin is not all that powerful.
First of all, Legendaries tend to be singular, as in only one in the world, but there are multiple Shaymin. Secondly, Shaymin is all about flowers and fresh air, it can even clean polluted air within its body. But when compared to god-beings and lava dragons, Shaymin's just weaker.
So here's the quintessential question.
Have you seen Deoxys? It's a literal alien life form.
Not enough for you, what about the fact that it can regenerate itself? Still no good? How about it's 4 different formes Normal, Attack, Defense, and Speed? Now you understand? good. Man Deoxys is just so rad. It's called the DNA Pokémon because it was created from a mutated space virus. It has immense power and has been shown fighting Mega Rayquaza in space. If all that still doesn't turn you around, just look at its amazing design! Orange and blue complementary perfection.
Alright, I fold, Manaphy is adorable. Gamefreak really did a great job of making an adorable little Water Legendary.
Manaphy and it's counterpart Phione are odd Legendaries, they are hatched from eggs when other Legendaries just kind of..came into existence.
Manaphy is made of 80% water and is fast in the ocean. But, it's incredibly weak physically. Its main gimmick is swapping hearts and bonding with any Pokémon. this was to push its Heart Swap in-game ability and essentially switches any two creatures consciousness for a time. While that's an interesting gimmick, it doesn't make it powerful in the slightest.
Regigigas is one of my favorite Legendaries mostly because it's just incredibly bulky. It's about the size of Giratina and has the strength of something 50 times its size.
Regigigas is the one who created the 3 other Regi's, apparently sculpting them itself out of metal, ice, and magma.
It's also said in-game that Regigigas moved the continents on its own thousands of years ago. So let's go through the checklist. Can move continents? Check. Created other Legendaries? Check. Imposing in both its size and stature? Double check. It's clear to see that Regigigas is just a purely powerful legendary.
Half of the Lunar Duo, here we have Cresselia. Cresselia design wise is a mess. While I personally think Darkrai's design is hyper-edgy, it is still a great execution. Cresselia I feel is all over the place. Her and Darkrai are a duo focused on sleep, Darkrai can put people into eternal nightmares, and she can wake them up. A bit different from space controlling dragons or continent moving golems.
Cresselia is all about elegance, and I do actually like that.
But she's not some guardian deity, and her power to wake people up is lackluster at best.
Heatran is another on this list that isn't strong in terms of what it governs, but in pure power. It's a Pokémon that's based on well, heat. It has magma-like blood, can shoot out pure lava, and is made of steel and rocks.
Heatran can crawl on walls, ceilings, and dig into the earth, it's a very adaptable Legendary.
While it's not as strong in its heat as something like Groudon, it's a close second. Heatran is a well made Legendary that isn't too grandiose, while still being intimidating.
Remember how I said Manaphy is an adorable Legendary? Double that, no wait triple it.
Jirachi is by far the cutest Legendary, if not the cutest Pokémon in existence.
A team of scientists was locked in a room for months with the theme being to create the cutest Pokémon. They stayed in there for an extra year and finally came up with Jirachi. That said my cute little Legendary is really weak. It sleeps for thousands of years and is mainly used to grant wishes. It can hold it's own in a fight, but it's mainly just an adorable magic lamp.
Genesect is one of the most interesting Legendaries, lore-wise.
It's a bipedal, insect-like creature that's from prehistoric times.
Oh did the prehistoric thing throw you off? Why's that? Is it because it looks like a robot and has a giant cannon on it's back? Well, I don't blame you for being confused. Turns out it was revived from a fossil then experimented on by Team Plasma to make the most powerful Pokémon in existence. So with that sort of back-story, how could I not include it? Nevermind the fact that it also has different forms, and can shoot webs.
Latios and Latias are the most interesting Legendaries in terms of the odd things they can do.
They both have Mega Evolutions, they can share what they're seeing with the people around them, and they can shapeshift into humans and understand human speech.
It's an odd assortment of powers I tell you what. In the Pokémon Adventures Manga, they actually assume human forms and raise a human being. But, while they're interesting in a myriad of ways, they're definitely not powerful. They're known for being able to fly at Mach speed, but that's about it.
A being that is one-third of the weather trio, next we have Groudon.
Groudon, more than Heatran is all about volcanos and lava.
It can bring about droughts, intense heat, and cause volcanic eruptions. When used in conjunction with Kyogre, diety of the sea, they can create entirely new landmasses. Groudon also just recently got a new Primal Form in the release of Pokémon Omega Ruby. This Primal Form allows Groudon to revert to it's strongest variation by absorbing nature's energy. In this form, it can cause multiple volcanic eruptions as well as generate enough heat to evaporate an ocean.
Victini brings victory. Get it?
Victini is probably the Legendary that's closest to being too strong for this list.
It has the innate ability to store an infinite amount of energy and is able to share it with others by touching them. This makes it incredibly useful when supporting others, but not very strong on its own. Plus, it's small, around the same size as Manaphy or Jirachi. It has a couple other odd abilities such as being able to show visions to people or turning invisible. But overall it's a great support Pokémon that's an almost great Legendary.
The Reshiram Zekrom siblings are two Dragons that make up 66% of the Tao Trio of Unova. They're essentially dragons with jets for tails. If that wasn't cool enough, they each use their tails in different ways.
Zekrom can create huge amounts of lightning and generates a field around it which can nullify air resistance and create thunderstorms.
Meanwhile, Reshiram can incinerate everything around it with its tail or changing the atmosphere of the world. Both creatures are powerful enough to impact the planet on their own, and also each has their own identities. This makes them incredibly unique and powerful Legendaries.
If you've read any of my other Pokémon Articles, you know I'm not a fan of the Lake Guardians.
They're some of my least favorite Legendaries both design and concept wise.
While some Legendaries represent space, time, and all of creation, these three represent more human aspects. This trio's meant to represent knowledge, emotion, and willpower. They're not only the Lake Guardians of the Sinnoh region, but they're also lullaby toys for Dialga and Palkia. They were created by Arceus to calm down the pair when they become enraged. Cool fact, but they're still completely lackluster Legendaries.
Alright here goes.
Rayquaza is the coolest, best, slickest, most rad dragon — and my all time favorite legendary.
Phew, got it all out of my system. But for real, Rayquaza is almost perfect. It has all of the creativity of earlier generations with the perfect amount of design sensibilities from later gens. It's the master of the Ozone, flying at extreme speeds in the sky. It's got a Mega Evolution that I don't hate one bit (and I hate most of them). And finally, it keeps two other Legendaries in check and has been shown fighting Deoxys in space. Any further questions?
Type: Null was created to fight Ultra Beasts, that's it.
It was made with cells taken from all of the different Pokémon types. It's essentially Arceus: Lite Version.
Arceus has a system where it's type changes depending on what type of "plate" it's holding. Fire Plate makes it Fire-type etc. Type: Null is the same way with its Memory Drives. While I do like the idea of a man-made Pokémon, built for fighting Ultra Beasts. Type: Null is maybe 1/50th the strength of Arceus. So when you're miles away from the creature you're copying, you know there's a problem.
Here's the sauropod sibling to Palkia, the time titan Dialga. Dialga, like Celebi, is into time manipulation. But rather than the puny baby Celebi, Dialga doesn't need to go back in time to fix problems. Rather it freezes, speeds up, or slows down time to completely destroy its enemies.
Dialga's Signature move is Roar of Time, which description literally states that the Roar is so powerful that it distorts time.
Let's see the lake guardians distort time with their power. Oh, they can't? What a surprise. Of course all 3 of the creation trio made it onto this list.
So we've talked about Zekrom already in this article, a being that can create thunderstorms. Well here's a Pokémon that hitches a ride on them.
Raikou is essentially a statically charged puppy in the eyes of Zekrom or Zapdos.
The three beasts trio of Generation II are amazing in their designs and lore, but not in comparison to the other legendaries. The three beasts don't govern their elements or any aspect of nature, they're just dog-like creatures that can use lightning, ice, and fire. Raikou is the weakest in usage and design among them and unfortunately is never anyone's favorite.
Next, we've got the poster Pokémon for Pokémon Y, Yvetal. Right off the bat,
Yyvetal is the opposite of Victini, it can absorb an infinite amount of energy from whatever's nearby.
When it reaches the end of its lifespan it takes the life energy away from everything around it and sleeps for 1000 years. Kind of a jerk move but hey I get it, I do that too when I need a nap. Overall Yvetal is a Legendary that was designed to cause trouble. So, of course, it makes it onto this list considering it's pre-nap activity is massive destruction.
Meloetta is another adorable Legendary but in a more elegant sense. It's entirely based on music, with its music bar styled streaks of hair and quarter note arms.
It's honestly one of the more creatively designed Pokémon.
But, there's not a single mention of its battle prowess. Meloetta has beautiful songs and dances it can perform for just about anyone, but it can't hold its own in a fight. So while Meloetta is a great Legendary, it's by far one of the lowest in terms of pure strength. Sorry about thought, but it's time to go Meloetta. Exit, stage right.
Finally, an adorable Legendary thats strong.
Do you want an argument for why Celebi is strong? Time travel. Done.
Any problem can be solved with time travel. And Celebi is an expert at it. Celebi is known as the "Voice of the Forst" and can revive its own self in any other timeline. Due to this power, Celebi is basically a little immortal fairy. So while this tiny green sprite isn't strong in a physical sense, you can't really win against it. Any loss Celebi has can just be fixed with a quick time hop.
Now it's onto the other cover Pokémon of the X and Y series, Xerneas.
Xerneas is the better version of Ho-Oh.
Where Ho-Oh can grant life to things every now and again, Xerneas does it whenever it wants. It has to power to share eternal life. Opposite to Yvetal, when it gets all sleepy, it releases a huge burst of eternal energy into the surrounding area, then turns into a tree for 1000 years. Make's sense for a stag that can literally create forests. Xerneas is the calm, cool counterpart to Yvetal and is honestly much more appealing for it.
Hoopa is the magic Legendary. Obviously being based on genie's or djinn from Aladdin like stories, Hoopa has 6 rings. It also has two forms Hoopa Confined, and Hoopa Unbound.
Hoopa confined is just like any other small Legendary, adorable, mischevious, and semi-powerful. But Hoopa Unbound is its true form, and oh boy is it strong.
Those 6 rings can summon anything from anywhere. Hoopa is another space bending Legendary and can actually summon Palkia and Dialga if it so chooses with its rings. If this were a standard RPG or MMORPG, Hoopa would be the summoner class for sure.
So Mew is the last adorable Legendary on this list, and I for one am thankful that at least a couple of the tiny guys are strong. Unfortunately, Mew isn't among them. It has tons of power, but never uses it. It's a pure-hearted, slightly mischevious puff of fur.
Mew has the ability to morph into anything it so chooses. Most of the time it uses this ability to play around.
But Mew also has the DNA of every single Pokémon contained within itself, allowing it to learn any and all attacks. Too bad it never lives up to its destructive potential. We get it okay? You're cute!
I mean it's in the name, these three are the forces of nature. See I'm conflicted because I kind of genuinely hate the designs of the Forces of Nature,
but I have to admit they're powerful. This is what I wanted from the Legendary Dogs of Gen II.
In any case, Thundurus, Landorus, and Tornadus can create the elements that are their namesake. Thundurus, with thunderstorms, Tornadus with tornadoes, and finally Landorus who helps...crops grow? That last one is a bit odd but funnily enough, Landorus is the alpha of the three and breaks up any fights.
So this is a bit unfair since I really do love Mewtwo, but it's a failed clone of Mew. That alone makes it worse than Mew and earned it a spot on this list.
Still, Mewtwo is darn powerful and has some pretty hefty telekinetic powers.
Unfortunately, it'd still lose if Mew actually wanted to fight. And I'm not talking about when Mew and Mewtwo fought in the movies because Mew wasn't fighting to win there. Mewtwo is one of the most recognizable Pokémon in the franchise, but with all the Legendaries created since 1996, it's dropped in the rankings.
I always thought the whole Kyogre vs. Groudon thing was a bit unfair. Especially since whenever they showed you the fight, they were fighting in the ocean. Kyogre is essentially the god of the seas and can control them as it wishes.
In fact, since Earth is made up of mostly water, if Primal Kyogre so wished, it could flood the entire planet.
I'd love to play a Pokémon game that had a setting similar to Waterworld. Classic. But really, Kyogre is well designed, absurdly strong, and a big whale, so what's not to like?
This one is a bit unfair, considering their the first and second stage to a final evolution. But sometimes, the world of Pokémon is cold and unfair.
So I'm sorry you adorable ball of space energy, but Cosmog and Cosmoem are awful Legendaries.
They're tiny and frail, and their only abilities are being able to teleport. Abra could do that since 1996. Get a new gimmick you sweet little space cloud. In all honestly Cosmog evolves into either Solgaleo or Lunala and even those two aren't all that strong. It's a line of Pokémon with strong designs, but weak power.