Taylor and I have been up to our Pokémon ways again, and we have crafted for you our own separate top 10 favorite Pokémon. We will each give separate lists for you to enjoy. Some of them are cute, and others are sterling racer dreams-come-true. I frankly have no idea what I just said! So, let’s dig in!
Elliott’s Top Ten:
A couple of years ago I got back into Pokémon. I had ordered Platinum and played it, but I gave up on it because I was really frustrated. Then, after a couple of months, I gave Pokémon another chance. I went and downloaded the Rom for Emerald and dug into it. Unfortunately, I also gave up on this after I forgot to save the game after beating three gyms in a row. Nevertheless, I got to the point after climbing through Fortree City of where the elusive Absol was. I ran into it right away and instantly KO’d it. I was in love, though. I plodded around in the grass until I ran into it again and caught the sneaky thing. Sure, it has moderate stats and since Ruby/Saphire/Emerald it has become rather common which is a little disappointing since it is kind of a loner. It has all of the makings of being a legendary Pokémon with its sensing disaster and being misunderstood, but, alas, it is not. Absol, however, is a roaming legendary catching beast because it can learn both Mean Look and False Swipe (the only Pokémon that can). I seriously caught Thundurus in 5 minutes because of this wonderful Pokémon. I love the yin-yang design and the balance that it strikes despite being a Dark Pokémon. Overall, Absol and I are BFFs and I have caught one in every game and have quite a collection. (It is also one of the few Pokémon I’ve nicknamed: Aeriemin)
Lugia is the only legendary that graces this list and with good reason: it is the coolest looking legendary ever. Sure, you’ve got some really cute legendaries and some really complicated ones, but Lugia balances out to be streamlined in design without being too simplistic. Pokémon Silver consumed my life when I was 10 and 11, and finally catching that mascot Pokémon was such an accomplishment that I seriously jumped up and down. I remember sitting on my basketball hoop’s stand out in the cul de sac in the midst of suburbia living my privileged life playing Pokémon. Lugia has a lot of weaknesses but makes up for it in defense and sp. defense with a decent speed stat. Whipping Lugia out against Bruno or Marshal almost makes me cry with pleasure. Plus, Lugia is pretty good against with dragons because of learning some ice moves. My personal favorite is Avalanche which hits with 60 regularly but doubles if you’ve been hit first. Overall, Lugia is an insanely well designed Pokemon and my favorite from Generation II. And yes, I nicknamed mine Iliohn after the fallen city of Troy.
I remember popping Pokemon Blue into my Gameboy Color for the first time and being mystified upon getting my very first Pokémon. It was a magical moment in which I knew I would play videogames for a sizeable chunk of my life. It was addictive RPG fun, and I loved it. My first Pokémon was a Squirtle. I worshipped that Pokémon to the fullest extent even including my Mom and me making a Squirtle cake for a silent auction at the Blue and Gold banquet for Cub Scouts. I found that Wartortle, however, surpassed my love for Squirtle. I remember the building celebratory music of evolving my very first Pokémon; I definitely had the shivers. There’s just something classic about the design. I love the unnecessary ear things with the curly tail. Somehow, despite these silly additions to the design, Wartortle managed to be a little badass. It was a shame that it evolved to Blastoise so quickly, but it was always remembered as my shining star. (Wartortle and Pidgey made up quite the formidable pair throughout my mid-game run of Blue).
Typhlosion is a powerhouse. Sure, it has well-rounded stats with Sp. Attack squeeking out so it is hard to exactly train for one thing over another. Nevertheless, it was clearly the best starter of Gen II and it has been, since then, one of the best fire starters in the entire series. Screw all of the Fire/Fighting starters: Typhlosion takes it home with simplicity. Yes, it may take until lvl 74 to get Eruption, but once you get the Eruption/Earthquake combo you can have a formidable Pokémon. Typhlosion just has a really great moveset to pull from. You can add a great deal of variety to its moves while having a great deal of resistances and easy weaknesses to remember. Plus, who can disagree with a Pokémon that has a collar made of fire. Simple in design but a complete killer in battle (if there was such thing as killing in Pokémon). My lvl. 97 female Typhlosion (from Taylor!) and I have been a lot, and it is always my go to Pokémon in the dire need of battle.
Okay, I’m probably going to get some people frustrated with this one. Garchomp is such a mega contender that it has been banned from tournaments. Going up against it is basically unfair with its pseudo-legendary skills. Though, if you bring Ice-type to the fight, then the Garchomp is royally screwed. However, it is still crazy strong. It has a phenomenal attack stat with fairly decent speed. Dragon Claw/Dragon Rush/Earthquake/Crunch makes a pretty one-sided match allowing you to breeze through nearly any Elite 4. Plus, it’s a pretty cool looking Pokémon taking note of the Hammer-head shark. I mean, it’s a shark of the air and the land. Of note, I hate its tail. I think it would have been a lot better not to make it look like an actual shark’s tail and instead kept it simple. Whenever I admire my beautiful Garchomp, I pretend that its tail is different and I’m happier for it.
Gen IV is notable for releasing many third stage evolutions to already cool Pokémon. Magmortar is the counterpart to Electivire and is pretty decent looking itself. Togekiss, as Taylor explains is a pretty neat Pokémon, too. Rhyperior, however, is just really stupid looking. Electivire is a hell of a beast sporting the highest base stat and the highest attack of any Electric Pokémon. Sure, it doesn’t have that many resistances, but it makes up for it in sheer power. I like to specialize in sp. attack and speed like Taylor, but having this attack powerhouse on my hands really saves me in a bind. Unfortunately, a lot of its learned moves focus on sp. attack rather than regular attack so you get the STAB but not the attack. Giga Impact makes up for it in leaps and bounds. When in doubt, Giga Impact will save you. I also just like the design of Electivire; it’s like a yellow yeti that kicks major ass. Like Garchomp, though, I have a thing with its tails – they would be a lot cooler if they came out of its back rather than its butt. Plus, Pokémon has this really strange obsession with giving their little fighting animals two tails. I don’t know why, but it’s a little annoying.
Haxorus is, no doubt, the strongest designed Pokémon of Gen V. I still remember it by its Japanese name of Ononokus, but Haxorus is still a pretty awesome English name. Once again, this Pokémon balances out my team with crazy high attack. I love that it actually looks like a phenomenal dragon that doesn’t necessarily need wings. I put a lot of time training my little Axew (kindly traded by Taylor to me) to reach Haxorus. Sure, I still haven’t incorporated it into my team, and it would be nice to have a second type, but it still stands as a figure of monumental achievement by Nintendo to keep designs pumping and staying fresh. When I first saw this Pokémon as Taylor and I texted daily updates on information released for Black and White, I knew it would be one of my favorites.
It’s a big toss-up to which Eeveelution would be my favorite, and Umbreon barely squeaked by. This is mostly due to my hacked shiny Umbreon that I received trading online (for a Mudkip, I should have seen it coming). You think the yellow rings look cool? Imagine neon blue. I mostly like Umbreon because it is such a pain in the ass to battle against. It has ridiculously high defense and sp. defense that really prevent you from getting a good hit on it. Plus, if you smack it with a status affecting move, it uses Synchronize as its ability to reflect back upon you that status effect (a trait it shares with Espeon). Unfortunately, it does not learn any good STAB moves leveling up or even through TMs. So, you have to resort to separate types of moves, but there’s a decent selection to choose from.
Okay, ready for me to geek out? My Mom and Dad really love geocaching. It’s basically where you get your GPS, input coordinates, and discover hidden items ranging in size from a quarter to a large Tupperware container. In the larger caches, items like toys can be put in and you can move these along from cache to cache. One such toy that we put in was a praying mantis figure. We attached a travel bug to it meaning that users on Geocaching can log where they found it and keep track of where it goes. You can check out the geo cache here: http://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?id=2197889&page=1 . As you can see, it has gone to New Mexico and California and will hopefully travel across the states. Well, this travel bug originated while we were camping at Miller Lake in Oregon. We placed three new caches as we went, and my Dad let me name them all. So, I named the first one Scyther Mantis, the second one Metal Coat Mantis, and the last one Scizor mantis. My parents basically allowed me to geek out in the real world. Scizor is just a really cool Pokémon with 9 resistances and unaffected by another one! Sure, there’s 4x with fire, but you can avoid that pretty easily. It has crazy high attack and really rocks the red color. Overall, it may not be the best Pokémon in your party, but it sure as hell is fun to play around with and intimidate other trainers.
Gardevoir is one of the coolest Pokémon to come out of Generation III, and one of the strongest 3 stagers. I find it oddly appropriate that we begin with Gen III and end with it. Sure, it may not be considered the best generation, but I think it’s highly underrated. Nevertheless, Gardevoir is a really elegantly designed Pokémon. It emphasizes simplicity and has a sort of secret strength up its sleeve with all things sp. attack and sp. defense. I clearly associate this Pokémon with a ballroom dancer so it has got to be female. In that case, it’s really weird to get a male Gardevoir and I’m glad they made the distinction to have a male version in Gallade. Sure, Gallade has a neat type combination (and weird hips), but you have got to give it to the original. If Pokémon had sex appeal, this would be the one to have it (that and Jynx).
Those that didn’t make it:
- Glaceon: I say this all of the time: it is the Zooey Deschanel of Pokémon.
- Froslass: I just love the mythology of the Yuki-onna and the kimono. Just really well thought out.
- Espeon: I’m a big Eeveelution fan, and this one almost made it because it is so good in battle and who doesn’t need a psychic on their team!?
- Shuppet: I just think it’s deathly cute.
- Poliwhirl: First frog Pokémon for me to fall in love with (every frog afterward except maybe Toxicroak has been inferior).
Taylor’s Top Ten:
Let me preface by saying I am very into Pokemon. Not just that I play the games, but I dedicate months upon months researching movesets, looking up base stats, and customizing the most efficient team possible. As such, my top 10 Pokemon are primarily based on those factors. That being said:
Blaziken is a third generation Fire/Fighting-type heavily favored in the competitive battling circuits and with good reason. Blaziken is an incredibly overpowered Pokemon, especially for a starter, which up until then tended to be a little more well-rounded in the way of stats and learned moves. Blaziken is an immaculate specimen specializing in Attack/Sp. Attack and Speed, a combination that brings TEARS TO THINE EYES. As far as natures go, a Jolly-natured Blaziken is godly among hardcore trainers. Especially in addition to it’s Dream World ability Speed Boost, which increases speed one stage each turn. And as far as design goes, Blaziken looks like an ass-kicker. With a specialty in fire, fighting, and flying-type moves it certain holds up.
Espeon is a second generation “eeveelution” and another Pokemon that’s been coveted among competitive players. Like Blaziken, Espeon specializes in Sp. Attack and Speed (though to a much, much greater extent). I know Espeon’s design is based on a fox, but the shut-in crazy cat lady in me loves Espeon because it looks like my cat (who I refer to as “my baby”, like those crazy ladies who get their own special on TLC). Espeon is really all you could ever ask for in a psychic Pokemon, it’s ability “Synchronize” (passing attained status afflictions to the user) is a godsend, becoming of particular use in the event of paralysis. Espeon’s only downfall (besides a somewhat limited moveset, common among psychic-types) is that it’s strongest move Psychic isn’t learned until level 64, a point at which most trainers have already beaten the Elite Four and moved past the point of shaping their perfect team. But simply because Espeon has such high Sp. Attack, moves like Psybeam can still be made redeemable.
Togekiss is a fourth generation Normal/Flying-type who was made to evolve from Togetic. My love for Togekiss stems a lot from my childhood, when I was amazed by the introduction of Togepi during the first generation and as a wide-eyed and impressionable 8 year-old thought “I MUST HAVE ONE”. And sure enough, by the time Pokemon Silver made its way into my anxious little hands, Togetic had become a main fixture on my team as my Flying-type (though I was unable to mask my disappointment that Togepi, who was probably the cutest thing I’d ever seen could evolve into such an awkward, misshapen bird-thing as Togetic). Togekiss is sort of a difficult Pokemon to obtain, but when it is, it’s an easy pick for a flying-type in any game. Togekiss is primarily centered around Sp. Attack and Sp. Defense, with notable base Defense and Speed as well. But what’s most impressive about Togekiss is it’s moveset. It doesn’t learn any moves by leveling up, but has compatibility with an astounding number of TMs and MTs (move tudors), which opens up a world of customization options.
The recent fifth generation of Pokemon definitely brought out a lot of outstanding fire-type Pokemon, which made it difficult for me to narrow them down to just one for my team. Though in the end, Chandelure had beaten out contenders such as Darmanitan and Emboar. Chandelure is…interesting, it’s certainly not something one would think of a Pokemon to be based on. I mean, it’s a ghost lamp. But I’m willing to overlook aesthetic oddities for stats like this. Chandelure outshines every non-legendary fire and ghost-type Pokemon with its’ Sp. Attack, with decent markings in Defense, Sp. Defense and Speed as well. Chandelure is also set up for an interesting move combination. One of its special abilities (and probably the most ideal) gives the opponent a 30% of burn upon physical contact. There’s also the option of using a move slot to learn “Will-o-Wisp”, a move with a 75% of inflicting burn. This to be followed up by Chandelure’s base move, ghost-type Hex, which doubles in attack power upon a victim affected by status effects bringing its base power to 100. Needless to say, Chandelure has served me well over the course of Pokemon Black and is definitely a ghost and fire-type Pokemon worth investing in future teams.
I’m a sucker for these second generation Pokemon. I’m really inclined to use Pokemon with a 3-step evolution chain, and visually Ampharos is just a really neat-looking Pokemon. The first two generations of Pokemon primarily consisted of hordes of statistically well-rounded Pokemon, and Ampharos fits that mold to a certain extent. Its base HP, Attack, Defense, and Sp. Defense are all moderate and within 15 points of each other. Where Ampharos really excels is Sp. Attack, leaving many electric-type Pokemon of the time in the dust and still continues favor the top-tiers of electric-types. As of the fourth generation, Ampharos became much more beneficial to a well-rounded team with the addition of bug-type Signal Beam, and rock-type Power Gem to its moveset. Ampharos also hosts the ability Static, which has a 30% of inflicting paralysis upon physical contact. All-in-all, Ampharos is a shining example of my childhood nostalgia integrated with my young-adulthood compulsion to raise a perfect Pokemon team.
Wailord is a third generation water-type Pokemon that strays a bit from my usual trend of attack-inclined Pokemon. Wailord isn’t particularly exceptional in terms of Attack or Sp. Attack, borderline awful in Defense and Sp. Defense, instead favoring an astounding base HP, a stat I usually give low consideration towards. By the time the third generation of Pokemon rolled around, I was just entering middle school, and was convinced that being “cool” had long-term benefits geeky kids like me could only imagine. That being said, I would have been mortified to have been caught playing Pokemon. Convinced my already low social-standings would be compromised, I kept far away from the third generation of Pokemon. Though in my heart, I secretly yearned to once again pick up a Pokedex and set out on a journey across the country, capturing and training, and basking in the glory of the champion title. And for some reason, I was inexplicably drawn to Wailord. I’m not big on water-type Pokemon and yet Wailord was so…daunting. It was absolutely massive compared to every other Pokemon, and laughably impractical for battle in reality. But it was a big divergence from the majority of water-type Pokemon at that point, and I had to pay Wailord some tribute for swimming against the tide (badum-ch).
Flygon is a third generation dragon/flying-type Pokemon. Though statstically on the average side, Flygon is another Pokemon is quietly ached to own. Despite not ever owning a third generation Pokemon game until well into the fourth generation, I had already made up a team that included Flygon, being of two types I had normally ignored for a more mainstream-typed team. Flygon isn’t a bad Pokemon, nor is it particularly extraordinary, its’ moveset is fine, its’ base stats are fine. But what really sets Flygon apart for me, is that it’s a dragon-type Pokemon that I don’t feel like a dick for owning. Every previously introduced Dragon-type Pokemon and every Dragon-type Pokemon since (exception Druddigon) have been incredibly over-powered and what I consider borderline cheap (case in point, Hydreigon). They tend to have base stat totals well over 500 and harbor resistances to common types such as fire, electric, grass, and water with their only weaknesses being dragon and ice (another two-types I had almost forgot even existed). Flygon really went against the grain of dragon-types and right into my heart.
Vanilluxe is a fifth generation ice-type Pokemon. As I’ve literally just mentioned, I tend to stray from ice-types. Aside from water/ice-type Walrein, I’d never even considered investing in an ice-type for my team. Ice-types aren’t particularly effective against most types, and have a few too many weaknesses to common elements than my usual preferred types. But playing through Pokemon HeartGold, I quickly realized the importance of having a countermeasure to the dreaded dragon-type, Johto being the home of Dragon Masters Clair and Lance. I struggled against both of them, and when I researched the newly introduced fifth generation dragon-type Pokemon I knew I had to change my ways. I know I’m going to get a lot of flack for praising Vanilluxe, but I have a soft spot in my heart for goofy things and I can’t imagine anything sillier than engaging a trainer in a heated Pokemon battle and throwing out an ice cream cone “Take this, you motherfucker”. Vanilluxe isn’t particularly gifted in comparison to many Pokemon, but as far as ice-types go it’s worth long-term investment. Speed is definitely a stat that needs training with Vanilluxe to go up against dragon-types, but if you work hard enough to build Vanilluxe up to level 67, it learns the 1-hit KO move Sheer Cold. Vanilluxe has certainly served me well over the course of Black, and will likely remain a go-to ice-type for future generations.
Chinchou is a water/electric-type introduced in the second generation. I’m not really sure how to explain myself here. Chinchou is by all means a statistically awful Pokemon. The type combination and ability “Volt Absorb” make it worth note, but other than that it defies all criteria I ever held dear to me in a Pokemon. Its moveset isn’t bad, but it’s difficult to invest in since it lacks anything super ordinary in terms of stats. But as a child, I adored Chinchou for a reason that I now fail to grasp. It’s insufferably cute. It’s in my top 10. Deal with it.
I don’t really give a lot of love to the first generation of Pokemon. Obviously it came around in my crucial formative years, and heavily impacted the geek I am today. But in comparison to the other generations, it doesn’t house any particular qualities that make it stand above the rest, obviously other than introducing the series as a whole and acting as a trailblazer for the RPG genre, the routes are comparatively short and direct, the majority of the Pokemon don’t have stats particularly of note. But as a kid, I felt like my Pokemon were truly my companions. I pretended they missed me when I was away at school (…I was a lonely child), and that they fervently craved adventure as much as I did. Wartortle really stood out to me back then, typically most 3-Pokemon evolution chains don’t spend a whole lot of time in their second forms and Wartortle isn’t an exception. But as a kid Wartortle, Hypno, and Dugtrio were always on my main team at some point just because I liked them, and no further reason. I knew the basics of type-advantages and weaknesses but I was disinclined to care so long as I had these three. Wartortle always being at my side as I jumped over cliffs, swam through oceans, and trekked through mountains on my way to become the champion.
Those that didn’t make it:
- Dugtrio: Dugtrio’s pretty cool in my opinion. I know Ground Pokemon tend to be pretty powerful, but for some reason they’ve never captivated me except for Ol’ Duggie.
- Hypno: I get it guys, Hypno doesn’t LOOK cool. But I feel a definite kinship towards my long-nosed brethren, and Psychic Pokemon are just fascinating to me.
- Empoleon: Empoleon narrowly missed the cut. It has good stats, good type combination, and an impressively varied moveset (provided you get a little creative with your TMs). Just he’s so overused, I don’t feel right nudging out one of my top 10 for him. MAYBE NEXT TIME.
- Manectric: Playing through Pokemon Emerald would have been impossible for me without Manectric (well…it would be difficult). His stats are nothing to scoff at, and he proved to me that 2-stage evolution chains are people too. Actually, if I wasn’t so nostalgic about Wartortle he’d probably be my 10.
- Typhlosion: Typhlosion doesn’t really stand out much in the way of stats, but him and I have had 300+ hours of bonding time over the course of HeartGold and he never disappointed me. His move list boasts impressive range of physical and sp. attacks. And he’s one of the few Pokemon who can learn the ultimate Fire-type move Eruption.
Excited about the Pokémon that we love? How about checking the ones that we hate, as well! Taylor and I worked hard to figure out our most hated Pokémon and we hope you enjoy basking in our negative glory as much as we did. You can find our top hated Pokémon here.
If you would like to contribute your own top ten, let me know in the comments section and we can work something out.