On the surface, the bright and adorable world of Pokémon seems like such a friendly place. I mean, granted, people set their pets on the local wildlife to train them up, in preparation for fierce, pitched battles with others’ pets, but everything’s E for Everyone-rated, so there isn't anything offputting to see. It’s all bright, cartoony, My First RPG-like friendly fun.
There’s also an assortment of villainous teams plotting world domination, but heck, aren’t we used to those in real life? We’ve gotten used to 15 Pokémon’s various foibles, and distinctly grown-up themes beneath its family-friendly exterior.
One thing that is just plain unacceptable is the lack of equality between Pokémon. I mean, come on, guys. It’s 2018. We really shouldn’t have competitive communities like Smogon dividing them all into classes (read: tiers) and declaring some unworthy of competing at such-and-such a level.
Snark aside, though, all Pokémon are not created equal, or anything even remotely close to it. Mega Kangaskhan would eat Luvdisc as a casual hors-d'oeuvre, pooping out its sorry hopes and dreams before feeling unfulfilled and craving another an hour later, like a Chinese takeaway of failure.
That’s just the brutal nature of competitive Pokémon play. There’s a best ‘mon for a specific team role, and everything else is disregarded. It’s a pity, if you ask me. In this rundown, then, we’re going to celebrate the poor, forgotten runts of the Poké-litter. We’re also going to remember exactly why we’re so picky with our team members, with some of the most questionable Pokémon of all.
30 FORGOTTEN: Mewtwo — The Fallen King
Now, wait a minute. Hold the dang phone here. Mewtwo, the formidable and iconic Psychic-type, forgotten? How in heckola can that be?
Sure, the two-est of all the Mews is a real fan favorite. How else would it have gotten both an X and Y Mega forme, without getting intimate with someone at Game Freak? The thing is, though, it’s just been eclipsed by other legendary powerhouses since its introduction. In formats where such beasts are allowed, we’ve seen the likes of Xerneas and Primal Groudon/Kyogre dominate, while Mewtwo has rarely surfaced.
29 EMBARRASSING: Talonflame — Just Point And Click
As seasoned Pokémon players will know, the dreaded ‘Route One Birds’ tend to be fairly worthless. Staraptor is a feathery ballistic missile of fury and hatred, but otherwise? They’ve rarely been worth bothering with.
So how did we arrive in that dark Talonflame-domination situation, early in generation six? Because of Gale Wings, that’s why. It was not a good time for anyone concerned, with all those unstoppable Brave Birds flying around. Now mercifully nerfed (the effect only activates at full health), Gale Wings Talonflame took spam to a whole new lame level.
28 FORGOTTEN: Charizard — Wait, There’s A Standard Charizard?
The years haven’t been all that kind to Charizard, have they? As with most starter Pokémon (even if this one is the best, don’t @ me), its stats are usable and relatively well-rounded, but nothing exceptional. With some creative BellyZard sets, though, it could become a ferocious sweeper. Provided Stealth Rock isn’t around, which it constantly dang well is.
At this point, though, Charizard’s regular forme has pretty well been erased from existence. While some Pokémon, like Garchomp, happily ignore their Mega Evolution, Charizard is completely defined by it. the special sun sweeper is the more common of the two.
27 EMBARRASSING: Luvdisc — How… Lovely
Now, I can appreciate Luvdisc. I really can.
In this often-cynical and cold world of ours, this little fish is a living embodiment of love, happiness, and togetherness.
“This heart-shaped Pokémon earned its name by swimming after loving couples it spotted in the ocean's waves,” Pokémon Ruby states. “It is said that any couple meeting this Pokémon is promised a loving relationship that never ends,” Pokémon Sapphire adds. Is that just too adorable to be allowed? Dang skippy it is.
Sadly, though, it’s of slim to bupkuss competitive use. Its stats are all just beyond sub-par. Stick to symbolism, guy.
26 FORGOTTEN: Mr. Mime — The Most Feared Clown Since Pennywise
I’m not sure what it is (coulrophobia, perhaps), a lot of people tend to have a strong aversion to Mr. Mime. The poor thing’s never done anyone any harm, as far as I’m concerned, but it just gives off a bit of an uncomfortable air.
You’ll never forget that darn face, but in terms of battle prowess, this thing’s just a non-entity. Very frail and just not offensive enough to succeed, outside of hoping for a chance to boost, its plethora of supportive moves (Wide Guard and Quick Guard among them) are about all it has going for it.
25 EMBARRASSING: Magikarp — The Original, The Worst
Times certainly have changed since the good old days of generation one. We’ve got around one thousand different Pokémon now, and that’s a little scary to even contemplate.
Of them all, though, Magikarp is arguably the very worst. FireRed’s brutally honest Pokédex entry says it all: “It is virtually worthless in terms of both power and speed. It is the most weak and pathetic Pokémon in the world.”
Many ‘mon are just plain hopeless, but few so bad that the Pokédex itself talks smack about them. If Magikarp were a rapper, that entry would be an Eminem diss track.
24 FORGOTTEN: Zoroark — Now You See It… Wait, No You Don’t
Now, I’m a little conflicted here. Dark is one of my favorite Pokémon types, and Zoroark just embodies it perfectly for me. That design, the malevolent look, the super-sneaky ability… it’s all here.
Zoroark isn’t a bad Pokémon, by any means. It’s a powerful threat, able to boost and sweep (while disguised, ideally) either specially or physically. It’s just… you really don’t see it at all. It was flavor of the month a while back, being the poster child and all, but Zoroark is a rare sight indeed today.
23 EMBARRASSING: Stunfisk — Completely Flat
This is a Pokémon that would happily have slotted into either side of the Forgotten/Embarrassing divide, but I eventually plumped for the latter.
I was a little conflicted with Stunfisk, but it's definitely bad.
When Pokémon X and Y were newly released, I entered one of these things in a Battle Spot tournament, where it was righteously smiting Talonflames and Mega Mawiles all over the place (thanks to its Electric and Ground typing). To this day, that remains the finest hour a Stunfisk has ever had, probably the only one in the world.
22 FORGOTTEN: Klinklang — It’s Here, It’s Metal, Nobody Cares
Oh, Klinklang. I feel for you, buddy, I really do. Here’s one of those Pokémon that can handle itself just fine if given the chance, but it won’t ever get one because it’s outclassed.
This pure Steel-type is decently speedy and powerful, also boasting access to an excellent boosting move in Shift Gear. Sadly, though, other Steel-type attackers (Scizor and Metagross, for instance) are way out of its league. That’s the harsh reality of the Pokémon universe. If you aren’t the best of the best, nobody’s going to remember you exist. Unless you’re playing in the NU tier.
21 EMBARRASSING: Unown — The Very Worst, Like No-One Ever Was?
We’ve got some controversy on our hands here, friends. As we all know, Magikarp is just beyond bad, but is Unown worse? That’s a tough one to judge.
This lowly Psychic-type learns a grand total of one move: Hidden Power. Even freaking Magikarp can Flail and such, but Unown’s offenses are marginally better. It can do some kind of damage with that Hidden Power, even if it is the equivalent of poking King Kong in the toenail with a toothpick.
Let’s just compromise and agree that they’re both hopeless.
20 FORGOTTEN: Haxorus — You’re Not Cool Enough To Join Our Gang
Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’ve no beef with Haxorus. When this thing gets a Dragon Dance or two under its huge, scaly belt, it can be as frightening as any top-tier threat. The sad fact is, though, it isn’t a top-tier threat.
The standard’s impossibly high when it comes to the best Dragon-types in standard play, after all. The great land shark-shaped wrecking ball that is Garchomp, after all, is absolutely nothing to mess with. Ever. Haxorus is good, but it’s not that good, which is exactly why it’s forgotten.
19 EMBARRASSING: Slurpuff — Mmm… Dessert-y
As anyone who’s ever been a parent or owned a puppy or kitten will tell you, cuteness and chaos often go hand in hand. You blink for a nanosecond, and they’ve pooped all over the kitchen floor (and that’s just the baby).
If you can’t understand what’s creepy about a Pokémon that looks like a fancy French dessert pastry, you’ve never seen Slurpuff really get serious.
Belly Drum maxes its Attack, which triggers its berry, which gives it the Speed boost from its ability… it looks sweet, but it’ll leave one heckola of a sour taste in your mouth.
18 FORGOTTEN: Accelgor — Speeding Off Into Obscurity
Some Pokémon are forgotten because they’re just all-around average. If you don’t except at whatever you’re doing, you’re likely to be dropped like Snoop Dogg when it’s hot.
Accelgor has the opposite problem: it’s too specialized for its own good. This curious Bug-type brings one thing to the table, blistering Speed (base 145). Its defenses are laughable and its offenses are strictly average. Its role, then, is strictly limited to setting hazards or dropping a quick Final Gambit. When was the last time you saw Accelgor in action? Never, that’s when.
17 EMBARRASSING: Ribombee — Now That’s A Fairy
When the spangly new Fairy type was added in generation six, it brought with it a retcon or two. A number of suitably Fairy-looking Pokémon, such as Jigglypuff, Clefairy and their evolutions, had Fairy added to them.
As did Gardevoir. I guess you’ve got to look the part. The same holds true of that generation’s newly-added Fairies, one of which was the Bug/Fairy Ribombee. I mean, just look at the thing. This is quite possibly the teeniest, most adorable Pokémon in existence. It’s quite useful as a lead, too, mostly thanks to its Sticky Web shenanigans.
16 FORGOTTEN: Durant — Scizor’s Estranged Cousin
Bug and Steel, as veteran Pokémon players will know, is one of the best defensive type combinations in the game. It removes two of Steel’s three weaknesses, while… well, making it so that a level 10 Charmander could one-shot you with Ember, but that’s the price you pay.
Scizor is the Pokémon most often seen rocking this combination, but Forretress also has it. As does Durant, which is quite a powerful physical attacker (especially with the Hustle ability). There’s just one issue with that, though: it’s not Scizor.
15 EMBARRASSING: Bidoof — Guess Who’s Back? Back Again?
Ah, yes. If there’s any early encounter Pokémon that has gone down in history as being awful… well, it’s probably Rattata. This is a bit of a miscarriage of justice, in my eyes, because Bidoof’s shockingly bad too and it doesn’t want you to forget it.
I'm dreading the day that this generation is released in Pokémon Go and my commute is littered with dang Bidoofs.
It’s the lord and master of HMs, you’ve got to give it that, but otherwise? All it can do is hope that it manages to get those Simple boosts. It can be highly effective if you can pull it off, though.
14 FORGOTTEN: Tornadus (Incarnate Forme) — Genie Trapped In The Lamp
Of the legendary trios, you could argue that the Forces of Nature could be the most powerful. In just about any competitive environment it’s allowed in, you can be sure that Landorus-Therian is going to crop up frequently. It’s just that good.
When we see Tornadus, meanwhile, it’s almost always in its Therian forme. Tornadus Incarnate tends to be seen as inferior to Thundurus Incarnate, which has the strategy that is Prankster Thunder Wave on its side. With the super-convenient Regenerator ability, the mustachioed bird that is Tornadus-T tends to be far more popular.
13 EMBARRASSING: Shedinja — This Thing Isn’t Playing Around
From a competitive standpoint, Shedinja is one of the most novel Pokémon of all. It boasts a formidable single point of HP, meaning it’s instantly defeated by any damage at all. To balance this, though, it has the exclusive ability Wonder Guard, which negates all direct attacks that aren’t Super Effective.
In short, then, it’s an all-or-nothing type Pokémon. If you’re not careful when using it, you can throw it away in a trice, but a Shedinja sweep is one heck of a demoralizing way to finish an opponent.
12 FORGOTTEN: Toucannon — Fire In The Hole!
Prior to the release of a new Pokémon title, naturally, there’s a whole lot of PR shenanigans to sift through. The trailers the gradual drip-fed reveals, the rumors flying around… it’s a magical, magical time.
During this period for Pokémon Sun and Moon, there was one new critter reveal that really intrigued me: Pikipek. It promised something a little different to the usual Route One Birds™, with new tools like Bullet Seed and Skill Link. Toucannon is all kinds of underwhelming, though, with its disappointing Speed.
11 EMBARRASSING: Flygon — The Wannabe
Oh, Flygon. You poor soul. The injustice is real here, friends, it absolutely is.
Flygon is, let’s be honest with ourselves here, so much cooler-looking than Garchomp (again, don’t @ me). The wings, the pilot goggles, the general Do I look like I give a darn? That’s because I don’t demeanor…
This is a Pokémon destined for greatness, right here. All it needs is a little TLC.
As is often said, no ‘mon has ever cried out for a Mega Evolution quite like Flygon does. Just imagine. Just IMAGINE.
10 FORGOTTEN: Crabominable — The Angry Weeble
Crabominable was another generation seven Pokémon that intrigued me from the off. I’m always a fan of new and unusual type combinations, and we haven’t had an Ice and Fighting Pokémon before.
Granted, this thing looks like one of my beloved childhood toys that famously wobbled but didn’t fall down, but that’s not the point. The point is that this thing is egregiously slept on. Its defenses are questionable and it’s slow, but it’s got some real power and excellent STAB. Give it a chance and check out what it can do under Trick Room.
9 EMBARRASSING: Ledian — The Lame Ladybug
Ever since the very first generation of Pokémon, I’ve felt that the Bug-type just hasn’t been given a fair shake. Back in Red and Blue, it was mostly represented by Beedrill and a STAB Twin Needle, which is just hilariously pitiful.
Since then, we’ve seen the release of powerful new Bug Pokémon and Bug moves, but the type is still trailing behind. Game Freak just can’t help releasing the occasional reminder of Bug’s feeble past. Our second-generation friend Ledian here, for instance. I can’t help but wonder what use it’s putting Iron Fist to, with an Attack stat of base 35.
8 FORGOTTEN: Lycanroc — Talking The Talk But Not Walking The Walk
A lot of you have probably dated someone just like Lycanroc. Not an odd rock-wolf-thing, you understand (that’d be an odd life decision), but a cool, superficial type.
Rockruff is super cute, there’s no denying that. It evolves into a werewolf-looking thing and a regular wolfy-looking thing, which is a further plus. Its new Dusk forme arrived with Ultra Sun and Moon, which is neat, as is that exclusive Rock-type priority move.
After the novelty wore off, however, players realized that it’s just too frail and not quite powerful enough to be worth the trouble.
7 EMBARRASSING: Castform — Five Formes Are (Not) Better Than One
Concept-wise, Castform is definitely a top-tier Pokémon for me. Rain and sun teams are some of my favorites to build, and so a Pokémon that celebrates weather effects is something I can always get behind.
The way you’re given it at the Weather Institute and has a different form for each type of weather is neat.
The sad thing is, these transformations do nothing for Castform’s stats, which are a lowly base 70 across the board.
This ensures that there’s really nothing it can do that another Pokémon can’t do much better.
6 FORGOTTEN: Granbull — The Fantastic Physical Fairy
So, yes, As we all know, with generation six came the spangly new Fairy-type. This indirectly nerfed the rampant Dragon-type, and it also had another effect: bringing a whole new force for the metagame to deal with.
Among the ranks of the Fairies are a lot of formidable threats, the Tapus among them. As a general rule, they tend to be specially-inclined. An exception to this is Granbull, which was retconned from Normal and is much better off for it. Another powerful Pokémon that’s often slept on, Granbull is no slouch.
5 EMBARRASSING: Rotom (Fan) — You’re Just So Redundant
Now, don’t go running away with the wrong impression here. Rotom is an excellent and very viable Pokémon, what with its flexibility thanks to all of those formes it can adopt. Some are better than others though, for certain.
Lil’ Easy Bake Oven Rotom (Rotom-Heat) and Fill Me With Your Dirty Underpants Rotom (Rotom-Wash) are generally agreed to be the best. Rotom-Fan, however, is a bit of an oddity. As the old running joke goes, it has no ability, as it’s already immune to Ground moves (being part Flying). What’s it all about, Game Freak?
4 FORGOTTEN: Magcargo — Hotter Than The Sun? Come On, Man
Now, when was the last time you saw a Magcargo in a serious battle? I’d venture a guess at probably never. With the size of the Pokémon roster nowadays, it was inevitable that a majority of the critters would kind of fall by the wayside, and Magcargo is just another one.
It’s quite unique, with its Fire and Rock typing, and has reasonable utility as a Stealth Rock setter. It’s decently bulky and can even deal some considerable damage when hitting specially. It’s just so very average and forgettable.
3 EMBARRASSING: Cresselia — Yep, Here It Is Again
The important thing to bear in mind here is that, yes, Cresselia is good. It’s one of the best defensive Pokémon ever made, actually, with its great bulk (on both sides) and HP. It’s a top-notch supporter, too, with access to everything from Helping Hand to Trick Room and Lunar Dance.
Which is great and all, but there’s such a thing as being too good.
You know that using this is bad and you should feel bad feeling you sometimes get, when you’re on the receiving end of a tedious metagame staple? That’s how it is with this little lady.
2 FORGOTTEN: Delibird — Santa Claus Is (Not) Coming To Town
If I were a trainer in the games, I’d most definitely be a Bird Keeper. That sprite of the guy with the birdcage? That’s me, through and through. It’s always been my favourite type to use, and I’ve had some success with a mono-Flying team (as far as that’s possible) lots in the past.
There are some Flying types, however, that even I can’t excuse. Delibird, while its design is beyond perfect, is just plain bad. When your signature move has a chance of healing the opponent, you know it’s time to rethink all of your life decisions to date.
1 EMBARRASSING: Wormadam — Literally And Figuratively Trash
Do you remember that moment in Detective Pikachu, where Burmy loses its leaves and the little wormy thing inside is revealed for the first time? That’s still the one and only interesting thing that’s ever happened involving this little guy.
Wormadam has three different formes. Regular, Sandy, and Trash. None of them have any real redeeming qualities, and they’re only ever seen dropping Stealth Rock and other utility roles in the very lower tiers.
The Sandy forme makes me think of cookies and cream thanks to its coloring, but that’s the only positive here.