One of the best things about being a Pokémon fan is the uniqueness that comes with picking your favorites. Your favorite Pokémon is your own, no matter the schoolyard ridicule that comes with being the only kid who picked Bulbasaur, or the struggle that comes with leaving every Pokémon Center in Tokyo emptyhanded because Lugia is the only legendary they never had a plushie of. Your favorite Pokémon can be based on strength, cuteness, or some mystical appeal you can’t quite put your finger on. That being said, some Pokémon are absurdly weak; enough so that you’ll be scratching your head at the very purpose of their existence.
Disclaimer: For the purpose of not being boring, this list excludes a few obvious early-game choices (like Rattata and Pidgey). Variety is the spice of life, after all, even when it comes to weakness.
Despite what was just said, Magikarp had to be included on this list because it’s Magikarp... It's the Pokémon famous for only having one single move, and that move (Splash) being entirely useless and ineffective every single time it’s used. So what’s Magikarp’s purpose? Like the koi who swims up the Yellow River to be rewarded by a transformation into a dragon, the player’s persistence is rewarded with an evolution from Magikarp into Gyarados, one of the game’s strongest and coolest-looking Pokémon. You have to slow clap Game Freak’s choice to not only base these two Pokémon’s designs on the legend of the koi, but also the necessary steps the player must take to get their reward.
Much like with Magikarp, players are rewarded for their perseverance with these two cocoon Pokémon when they finally evolve into Butterfree or Beedrill, respectively. Until that moment, however, we are stuck with two pokemon who can hardly do much of anything except constantly build their defences. This does nothing but infuriate the enemy player who is left slowly whittling down your health. This is, of course, merely postponing your Pokémon’s inevitable death. Or you can pit two Metapods against each other as Ash did in the first season of the anime. Woof, that kid is thick as two short planks.
Let’s take a moment to give Let’s Go’s developers a pat on the back for making wild Pokémon in this game visible in the field, and thus avoidable. This adjustment has alleviated a headache which plagued not only Red and Blue but also their first remasters Fire Red and Leaf Green. You were able to reach the light at the end of Mt. Moon without smashing your Game Boy into a thousand bits. Mt. Moon is full of thousands of the game’s weakest Pokémon. You catch one to fill up your Pokedex, and then you’re left battling (and easily killing because they’re terrible) a thousand more before you reach the end.
This adorable little pink sphere was made famous in the anime when it sang Ash and co. to sleep and graffitied all over their faces in permanent marker. It’s a favorite for many who prefer Pokémon for how cute they are, but other than singing enemies to sleep—which a lot of other, stronger Pokémon can do—is there anything particularly useful about it? No. Its cuteness cannot be denied, but its strength and skill are all but non-existent.
Also, how did anything like Jigglypuff ever get this far on the evolutionary ladder, with its round body and stumpy legs? It could only have been the product of terrible selective breeding. Jigglypuff is the chihuahua of the Pokémon world.
This one is a bit of a double-edged sword. Ditto could easily be argued to be the strongest Pokémon in the entire franchise, with its unique ability to mimic the appearance of any Pokémon it battles (with the exception of its creepy little face, which unfortunately remains), but to also mimic that Pokémon’s abilities. Meaning, if you have a strong Ditto, and you face up against Mewtwo, you have the high ground. However, like-type Pokémon battling one another is so frequently a bad idea that Ditto is suddenly made a little redundant. On top of that, it has no real strength and skill all its own. If it faces up against a Magikarp or a Metapod, well, you know...
A lot of Pokémon designs over the last 20 years have been the result of creative genius. Others have been a bit of a stretch. Most, however, are based on real-world animals and plants. Chancey, however, is based on… a nurse? I’d say that was weird until I consider that two of its fellow Gen-1 Pokémon are based on Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. Anyway, beyond being the result of a particularly strange design meeting, Chancey is also a horribly dull Pokémon to battle with. Its skill set is bland and uninspired, and there is no real reason to use it when there are other, stronger Pokémon who can do what it does with flair and strength.
In terms of design, Abra—along with his evolved forms Kadabra and Alakazam—is one of my personal favorites. He looks cool, his English name is witty and clever, and he’s the first psychic Pokémon you come across. Sabrina was also a cool bad guy in the anime. All that said, however, Abra is a next-to-useless fighter until it evolves. Being able to do little more than teleport means that Abra does nothing for the player but run away in the hopes that you’ve got something better to switch it out with; this also makes it one of the most infuriating Pokémon to fight and catch in the wild. You’ve got a 50% chance that it’ll teleport away, and a 40% chance of killing it outright due to its low defence. A frustrating Pokémon, to say the least.
3 Mr. Mime
With a renewed sense of popularity after the trailer for the upcoming Detective Pikachu movie reminded us all that Mr. Mime is creepy, Mr .Mime is certainly one of Gen-1’s more stand-out Pocket Monsters. Like many others, he is a kind of cult favorite among fans for his weird designs and move set. This aside, his defensive and offensive skills are certainly lacking; he’s certainly not the wisest choice to take into a gym battle. He might be your favorite for his design, but he is nobody’s favorite for strength, skill, or move set.
Perhaps I’m being a little biased here. It’s tough to compile a list of the weakest Pokémon and resist adding a Pokémon that not only metaphorically represents one of humanity’s greatest mistakes (pollution), but that also has a name which warns us against the dangers of smoking. A Pokémon whose entire aesthetic leads us to assume it’s not all that quick to move or strong to attack certainly does not instill a lot of confidence. To be fair to Koffing, it does have a lot of poison to offer, and poison is viciously effective in most Pokémon battles. However, a lot of other, cooler, stronger Pokémon offer the same benefits, and then some. So you can steer clear of this one.
Okay, I’m definitely being a little biased here. Not only was Jynx’s original design based around the racist practice of blackface, but she also moves around in an unsettlingly suggestive manner. Basically, Jynx’s design is a train wreck; an absolute mess. To top this off with some legitimate list justification, Jynx really doesn’t do much. For a Pokémon who is usually found and caught in the latter stages of the game, she offers nothing new to a player’s roster of tough, meticulously selected, and high-level Pokémon. Not only does she serve no purpose strategically, but she is also an aesthetic disaster. It’s time to let Jynx die.