Since the first games, legendaries have represented the very best Pokémon the game has to offer. With overpowered skills and heightened stats, many players covet them for their team. Within the term legendary, we also include mythical Pokémon. The differentiation between the two is still a fairly recent change, so we're going to use the terms interchangeably.
For this list, we'll be looking at legendary Pokémon that are worst or least usable in competitive play. For this list, we will be ignoring their uses in Double Battles. It's also important to remember that Pokémon rankings in competitive tiers are still affected by their popularity. As such, don't fret if any of your favorite Pokémon end up on this list.
Some of these Pokémon are only on here because they just don't match up to the other gods that reach the highest tiers, but they're still quite capable of handling many of the mortals. Almost everything on this list is viable with a good team supporting it, some strategy, and luck. All the while, keep your eyes peeled for some of my favorite legendary Pokémon fanart of these lesser gods and read on!
I know I'll get some hate for this, as Suicune has been beloved by fans since its first appearance. But at the very least, Suicune is at the top of this list, being among the most useful here. As it doesn't really bring a heavy offensive presence, Suicune requires Calm Mind to bring the hurt. It relies on Scald, or more specifically, the attack's 30% chance to burn enemies.
Suicune has good survivability, with defensive stats that are nothing to scoff at. But its health and especially its speed is unexpectedly average for what it does, often requiring notable Effort Value investment into building up one or both of these stats. Suicune can stall, with the likes of Substitute and Protect, but its only option for healing seems to be Rest.
While Kyurem-Black and especially Kyurem-White are insanely powerful dragons to fear, its base form is at least conquerable. In any case, for what they do, all Kyurem could be just a little bit faster. Otherwise, it does have enough meat on its bones to survive a good few hits while dishing out much more. Still, it's really its typing that gets in Kyurem's way.
The Ice-type is useful for defending against Ice attacks that would normally really hurt the dragon. Offensively, it brings the Ice damage to those same dragon slayers. But despite this, the typing also brings a whole slew of new weaknesses to the beast in Steel, Fighting, and Rock (particularly the widespread Stealth Rock meta). Overall, it's still a strong threat.
Compared to its Therian counterpart, Tornadus doesn't have all of its survivability or the maximum potential of its speed. Still, it is quite fast, and with Prankster it will even have priority on its supportive moves like Taunt, and notably Rain Dance. In the rain, its Hurricane attack is no longer as inaccurate.
Tornadus may have better offensive stats in its base form, but it can't really take a hit well. Its defensive stats are below average, and as a Flying-type Pokémon, it has notable weaknesses. And not having its other form's glorious Regenerator ability means it can't keep zipping around with U-turn all the time if the enemy gets a Stealth Rock down early.
This will earn some hate too, as Cresselia is one of the heftiest survivors in the game. Her beefy frame has the potential to soak up tons of damage, and with Moonlight she'll heal it right back up. However, she's still not at the level of the better legendaries, bringing nearly nothing offensive to the table.
Defensively, being only Psychic-type is really more of a hindrance, as her weaknesses aren't covered. And as she doesn't have any counterplay for it, opponents generally deem it best to just take her down with status effects, especially Toxic. Rather, many opt to bring Lunar Dance on her so when she's finally whittled down, she can sacrifice her life to heal someone else.
This placement is assuming Diancie isn't set up to go Mega. A normal Diancie's stats are heavily garnered toward defense and special defense. This would be great, but Diancie's unique typing gives it tons of alarming weaknesses, particularly quadruple the damage from Steel-type attacks. It doesn't help that Diancie doesn't have much stamina, and is quite the sluggish mover.
Diancie can be built to utilize its decent offensive stats, but this necessitates Trick Room, so that it can move first. Meanwhile, other builds can maximize either any of its other stats, but Diancie must have the rest of its points in health. In all builds, Diancie will bring Moonblast, Diamond Storm, and likely Stealth Rock.
Registeel is the golem in the trio that specializes in both defense and special defense. While its counterparts might try to be hybridized for some damage, a Registeel really isn't capable of doing that. When it comes to damaging moves, a Registeel might barely be able to kill a Substitute with a trusty Seismic Toss, though rarely opting for Thunderbolt or Iron Head instead.
Rather, as a wall, most of its moves will have to be support skills. Expect Registeel to bring Toxic, and bide time with moves like Protect, Thunder Wave, or Rest until the enemy dies on its own. And during this time, Registeel is good at taking most hits. Other than that, it has no real offense and will face trouble against weaknesses that many opponents carry.
Shaymin doesn't quite compare to its Sky Form's Serene Grace, high speed, and high special attack. Instead, this little creature's stats are more rounded out. Its speed is still pretty nice, but its predators are often faster. It has a few options for healing, (Leech Seed, Rest, Synthesis, Healing Wish) each with their own advantages and downsides.
Shaymin is still built as a special sweeper, not quite as powerful as it can be, but bulkier at least. It always needs Seed Flare, which is a great move. However, it will miss on occasion, it has a very low amount of uses, and against tanky opponents the Shaymin relies heavily on Seed Flare's 40% chance to debuff the opponent's special defense.
Unlike other, similar Psychic legendaries, Uxie isn't capable of being a special sweeper with its poor offensive stats. Instead, it is used for its bulky defensive stats for a team support, being switched in to take damage. Though, it needs to be built with health since it's poor in that department too.
In the past, it would use up the rest of its turns to sabotage opponents with status moves before fainting. Now, many find Uxie useful in Trick Room teams and will opt for other supportive moves. Magic Coat is particularly great with the right timing. But finally, Uxie is used to take itself out with Memento to debuff an enemy on its way down.
Other Pokémon with multiple forms might have their stats re-balanced and specialize in something; but not Hoopa when it isn't Unbound, it's just worse. In its base form, it's slower, and has significantly reduced offensive presence. It does have a wide pool of moves it can learn, and as a Ghost/Psychic, it still has plenty of heavy-hits in its arsenal.
Hoopa has high special defense, but its defense against physical attacks is notably low. To make matters worse, its typing makes enemy Ghost or Dark-type attacks do four times the damage against this poor little creature. Even though it will be built for speed, expect many sweepers to be able to outmaneuver it, while carrying something that will knock out the Hoopa in a single hit.
Necrozma looks fearsome, but it's not the slasher you might think from its appearance. Rather Players try to build it tankier, with Morning Sun for healing to try and survive long enough to build up some power. Even though its Prism Armor is a great defensive passive, Necrozma has too many opponents that can take it down before it's done with its setup, necessitating a team to be built around it.
In order to get the maximum output from Stored Power, most of Necrozma's moves will be buffs like Calm Mind, Rock Polish, or rarely Iron Defense, though this may be difficult. Bringing a Seed Item may immediately help with defense, but some take the risk of bringing a Weakness Policy for the special attack boost.
Moltres has a good balance of stats, particularly fierce in its special attack. Still, it can't switch in and out since Moltres gets really hurt from any Stealth Rock that's been set up (and any other Rock-type move of course), though some still endeavor to bring U-turn. This necessitates Roost in most builds, and perhaps Will-O-Wisp to debuff the opponents attack.
The standard Moltres build maximizes special attack and speed. It's a bit troubling that its money makers are Fire Blast and Hurricane, as it feels like these unreliable high-damage moves miss just a little too often. But the drop in power from opting for Flamethrower as its Fire move is noticeable.
Virizion is in an odd place. He has a few big weaknesses to his low defense, especially from any Flying attack from someone faster than him. He has great special defense and speed, but doesn't specialize in either attack or special attack. So players may choose between building around his buffs for either one.
As a special attacker, Focus Blast is the Fighting move to use if it weren't so damn inaccurate. Counterintuitively, it stays alive by holding a Life Orb, losing health but stacking with Calm Mind buffs for heavier healing with Giga Drain.
As a physical brawler, Virizion is great with Leaf Blade. But against Pokémon that necessitate a Fighting move, Close Combat has its debuff backlash. Each use becomes a gamble; to retreat and drop the Swords Dance buffs, or stay and fight to the death.
It saddens me greatly that some of the legendary Pokémon I love most are included in this list, Meloetta included. Though I'd never take away her Relic Song, most competitive players replace her main gimmick in favor of anything else. They do this to maximize her role as a special attacker, being the only Psychic-type that is immune to Ghost attacks.
She's fairly capable with her obligatory Psychic (or Psyshock) and a Hyper Voice as her bread and butter. Still, even when she's built speedy, she's slower than enough Dark and Bug counters that will just run over her dainty self. Though, it's after her that we move onto the lowest tier.
Mesprit has good, balanced stats, but it doesn't really excel anywhere except in having a wide pool of moves. Still, it's usually relegated to special sweeper or support. Built offensively, Mesprit might go for attacks like Psychic, Signal Beam, and Ice Beam. Less offensively, Mesprit can set Stealth Rock and weather moves, or bring moves to try to buy time for Calm Mind buffs.
One of the most frequent uses for the sprite is to have Healing Wish to heal team members and itself. Sometimes it will need a U-turn for these switches too. So, Mesprit has a lot of options for play, but the Pokémon after this point don't really have such redeeming factors.
Regirock is an acceptable hybrid between a wall and a physical sweeper. It can be built defensively, and bring support abilities like status ailments, Stealth Rock, or Sunny Day. However, in that role there are usually better choices. Since it's Rock without the Ground-subtype, it'll at least survive a Water or Grass move better than some of those other options.
Still, for a tank, it really should have more in the way to sustain health. Some points invested in attack will make the Rock quite capable of scaring Flying or Fire-type foes. Stone Edge can be unreliable, so some prefer to bring Rock Slide instead. It can also learn Earthquake, but it makes the lack of a Ground-subtype now a hindrance since it won't boost the damage.
There is no better example of a legendary Pokémon that has gotten worse with every new generation. While it may have been a contender before, by now it's quite the poor choice for any team. Even with legendary stats and a good pool of moves it can learn, it cannot be as efficiently utilized either offensively or defensively as other legendaries.
On paper it's fairly bulky, but being Ice/Flying means it's blown up anyway by a lot of common moves, particularly a Stealth Rock. Since it's not a hugely special attack beast, players will utilize its Pressure ability, needing Roost and maybe Substitute to stall while whittling down opponents' move uses. And offensively, Hurricane is still a bit inaccurate.
Regice is a bit slow, necessitating a speed build and perhaps even Rock Polish. That, or it needs Thunder Wave to instead slow opponents. This ice golem still has some use. Regice has a great special defense. And its special attack allows it to run through some opponents with Ice Beam and Thunderbolt.
Like the other golems, it really doesn't have anything in the way of keeping itself alive, so it might forgo speed for a health build and possibly need Protect. Still, an enemy's Stealth Rock will make switching out fairly painful for it. Regice's placement here is the final nail in the coffin that shames all ice legendaries, yet also finishes marring the hopes of the Legendary Titan trio, especially considering the next entry...
It's a real shame since I genuinely like Regigigas. However, this Pokémon isn't even close to any other placement, as its ranking here is quite solid. While it has some seriously bulky base stats, it just can't properly utilize them due to its Slow Start passive, which halves strength and speed for the first five turns that it's out on the field. Some players choose to set up ways to get rid of his passive, but it's rarely worth the trouble.
Slow Start means it can't be switched in and out without the requisite turns resetting. Yet, Regigigas also has a severe lack of avenues for healing too, making it difficult to keep it in play. And its Normal-typing is pretty much never useful, except for some damage with Return.
There is only one reason to ever protest Phione's placement as the worst legendary Pokémon in competitive play, and that's the controversy over whether it should even be considered mythical in the first place. Offensively, without its parent's amazing Tail Glow buff, Phione's stats are completely outclassed even by its lowest-tier peers in competitive play.
Those who do deign to use it invest in tankiness and utilize its Hydration ability to heal its ailments in rain. Phione will set up an extended Rain Dance, and have Rest for healing knowing Sleep will wear off. Typically, Phione brings Scald or perhaps Toxic. And that's the extent of what it can do. But even relegated as just a Water-team support, it can still easily be replaced by better options.
1 Cosmog And Cosmoem
Okay, I'll admit that this particular ranking is playing dirty. Cosmog and Cosmoem are a part of the only evolutionary line among legendary Pokémon. Solely for being pre-evolutions, they wouldn't have a competitive use. But Cosmog even has no place in any sort of Little Cup leagues that might use a base form — and Cosmoem isn't much better.
Cosmog is the Magikarp of legendaries, only capable of using Splash at first, and still unable to fight as it learns Teleport at level 23. It evolves into Cosmoem at level 43 and gains Cosmic Power, which is basically Harden. Suffice to say, they are the worst here on any team. But none should forget that their options for a final form (Solgaleo and Lunala) are considered overpowered competitive beasts.