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22nd Feb 2019

The definitive ranking all 151 original Pokémon from worst to best

Kyle Picknell

Fuck ‘Mega Charizard Y’ off, right now. I don’t know what that is, nor do I want to know

Look. I’ve got to keep this intro (relatively) brief as we have 151 of these glorious beasts to get through, all the way from Aerodactyl to Zubat. These are the real Pokémon, after all. The originals. The ones that took you through all the difficult parts of childhood: School, the waiting room at the dentist, the seven hour car-ride down to Devon interrupted by you vomiting your guts out at some obscure M5 services because you were staring at your GameBoy and didn’t look once, not a single time, out of the window at the real world whizzing by. The ones you defeated the Elite Four with for the first time, the single most important moment in your childhood.

This is the first generation, and the best, the still the only ones that really matter. This is all 151 original Pokémon, ranked.

151. Zubat, Fuck Zubat

Absolutely not. Fuck Zubat. Zubat has to be last, to be honest. Zubat only exists to piss you off. Oh, stumbling through the last bit of a cave with half of your Pokémon poisoned, is it? Gameboy screen flashing and the menacing music playing off and on because your beloved Charmander is slowly and painfully dying, is it? Trying to hopelessly stumble toward daylight, and a Pokémon Center, and freedom, is it? Here are approximately 4 trillion Zubats, all level 7, all terribly, terribly annoying shithouses just to make this experience as unpleasant as possible. Here they are, every couple of steps, flapping into you and using Supersonic to confuse your Pokémon and dragging every minor battle out as long as they can, even though they know they will never win.

Say it with me again: Fuck Zubat. Fuck Zubat. Fuck. Zubat.

150. Mr. Mime

Just a bit weird, wasn’t he? Bit frightening. Not a Pokémon you’d be glad to see jump out of the bushes.

149. Electabuzz

Electabuzz just doesn’t feel like a real Pokémon, even though, ostensibly, it is quite good. Just look at it man. Does it look like a Pokémon or does it, in fact, look like someone who has never seen or played Pokémon trying to guess what a Pokémon should look like? Exactly. I mean what are its defining characteristics? It’s an electric Pokémon so obviously they made it big and yellow because, you know, ‘electricity’. Oh, and er, let’s just er, give it a tail, and some hands (hands! does this look like an animal that would have hands!) and two antenna and, errrrrrr, a zigzag pattern. Oh, and call it ‘Electabuzz’, as if the entire creation wasn’t shoddy enough. Honestly not having him lads. Fraud Pokémon.

148. Omanyte

Nobody has ever had or used an Omanyte. Of that I am convinced. Completely irrelevant. Next.

147. Jynx


Jynx is actually sick, and I mean sick, in the game. But as a kid? I couldn’t think of a Pokémon I least wanted than this: An anthropomorphic purple blob in drag.

146. Persian

Maybe the most Tory Pokémon in existence. Look at it. It has got a fucking jewel encrusted in its head. Thinks it’s better than you because it was born better than you. That sort of thing. Can just imagine some red-trousered Tarquin roaming about Chelsea with one of these alongside him.

145. Farfetch’d

Why are you using an apostrophe instead of an ‘e’ there lad? Makes no grammatical sense. Also, it’s a weird monobrowed bird that doesn’t evolve and uses a leek as a weapon. All round just a terrible Pokémon and likely a terrible being.

144. Seaking

Keep scrolling.

143. Goldeen

They’re just fish aren’t they. Fish with horns. Goldeen gets ranked higher because it doesn’t look like it has taken acid.

142. Parasect

It doesn’t have any pupils. It needs pupils. Please, someone, just give it some proper eyes so I can finally sleep at night.

141. Mewtwo

Don’t know how to tell you this pal but you’re in the wrong cartoon. You look like you should be off somewhere fighting Goku for the seventh Dragon Ball. Just not having Mewtwo. By the time you caught one it was the end of the game, so you couldn’t use it, and even if you did, it was so overpowered it was no fun. That’s not what Pokémon is about for me. Disagree if you must.

140. Venonat

Venonat always reminded you of someone at your Primary School, didn’t it? Just that one kid with shaggy hair that didn’t really wash that looked a bit like Venonat. Had the same kind of mouth. You know. Occasionally ate bugs. Yeah? Remember? Yeah, that kid. Gave everyone nits. Made you all have to go home and have your hair washed and combed with that special shampoo. Nobody liked that kid. Nobody.

139. Weezing

If you’ve ever done a Nuzlocke run-through (essentially Pokémon on hard mode: if one of your boys dies, that’s it, you can’t use it again) you’ll know just how miserable and devastating these guys are, self-destructing and critical hitting everything you ever loved. Weezing taught me how to cope with death. (Not actual death, but the permanent loss of a Pokémon that I really, really, really liked, which, whilst not close to actual death, is still definitely a very powerful emotion. Especially when you’re 12.)

138.  Kabuto

Weird little fossil thing. Don’t rate it. Face like the front of an old TV remote.

137. Clefairy

Poor man’s Jigglypuff imho.

136. Clefable

Poor man’s Wigglytuff imho.

135. Onix

One of the most crushing disappointments you can go through as a kid is getting an Onix. And then realising how pathetically shit it is. Look at it! It’s a 30 foot tall snake monster made out of rocks! This should be the best fucking Pokémon in the game! It should literally be unbeatable! Look at it! What is going to beat it in a fight! What! Literally nothing else on this list! Especially not a Bellsprout using Vine Whip!

134. Horsea

Literally just a seahorse.

133. Mew

Marketing ploy turned into a Pokémon. Used to get a shiny Mew card free when you went to see the Pokémon movie which was cool until you looked at it and it had ‘PROMO’ on and every other single kid in the Odeon had one too. I hold no love for Mew. Neither should you. Get over it. It wasn’t special.

132. Dratini

Arrogant, elitist, nonsense.

131. Dragonair

Oooooooh! I’m the only Dragon type in the game! Ooooooooooh! Love me! Pathetic.

130. Venusaur

A lot of people like Venusaur. To them I say: Look at this shithead and tell me it deserves to stand shoulder to shoulder with Blastoise and Charizard. It doesn’t. It just doesn’t. It’s too slow to do anything, it doesn’t learn any good moves other than Solar Beam, which isn’t that powerful anyway because it takes an extra turn to recharge (and don’t give me ‘oh but Sunny Day’ – that’s second Gen) and it is almost immeasurably uncool. Again: You could have a giant tortoise with CANNONS coming out of its back or a fire-breathing orange DRAGON that has a move called FLAMETHROWER. Oh, no thanks, I’ll have the toad/potted plant hybrid that looks more likely to fall asleep during battle than KO its opponents, please.

No. No thank you.

129. Seel

A sea lion, that looks nothing like a sea lion, called Seel? Right. Get to the back.

128. Paras

I’ve been looking at Paras for five minutes here trying to conjure up some kind of feeling, one way or the other, towards it. I’ve got nothing. I’ve got absolutely nothing.

127. Doduo

Really feels like Pokémon overdid the whole “What if… we just gave it an extra head?” design gimmick.

126. Lickitung

Clearly just some sort of weird in-house sex joke at the game’s development studio that went a little bit too far.

125. Tentacool

Making a Pokémon with a name as good as ‘Tentacool’ and then making said Pokémon look like this, a jellyfish crossed with a miserable Archbishop, is a criminal offence to be quite honest with you. Get it out of here. Trial it at The Hague.

124. Tangela

What’s it thinking? Can’t see its face, can’t tell, don’t trust it. Do rate its little red booties though.

123. Gloom

Wipe your fucking mouth you prick that’s disgusting.

122. Dewgong

Seriously. This is meant to be a sea lion. Google what a sea lion looks like. Google it. Now look at this. What.

121. Omastar

I don’t like its mouth.

120. Venomoth

Just a notoriously uncool Pokémon. Ah Venomoth! Channelling all the power of… moths! Huzzah!

119. Dodrio

Only this high because I really enjoy the one head that has just completely had enough of the constant shit of the other two. Reminds me of Tim from The Office. Same expression when he turns to camera.

118. Ekans 

Literally just a purple rattlesnake.

117. Drowzee

There was just something a bit off about Drowzee. Something you just can’t quite put your finger on. Oh no, wait, it’s because of, yeah, yep, it looks like it exists in a perpetual state of, how do I put this? Erm. Shitting itself. Yeah. It’s that. It’s definitely that.

116. Slowbro

Quite dark, isn’t it, the fact that this Slowpoke is possessed by the Shellder biting its tail and slowly releasing poison into the Slowpoke, not to kill it, but to make it completely subservient? Yeah. Quite dark. A little bit too deep, that.

115. Grimer

Grimer is honestly just here for a good time and you have to respect it, even though it is actual garbage until it evolves into Muk.

114. Ditto

The eternal tragedy of Ditto is that it can become any Pokémon but it will be inferior to the real thing in every single way. It teaches children a very valuable lesson. Always be yourself? Nah, don’t be silly. The lesson here is: ‘If you’re going to copy someone, make sure you pretend they copied you first and everyone thinks they are the imposter instead of you’. It will get you through the entire rest of your life.

113. Vileplume

Look how malevolent and sinister this cunt actually is under its giant mushroom head. Wouldn’t fancy my chances coming across a Vileplume in an alley on a dark night. Terrifying.

Oh no wait, hold on, it’s a Grass-type Pokémon and I could kill it with a cigarette lighter. To the back.

112. Poliwag

Kinda cute but gets loads, loads better once it grows arms. Why does it grow arms? Don’t know and don’t need to know. I’m just glad it does.

111. Exeggcute

Just some eggs, aren’t they? Just some eggs with faces. One of them has literally cracked its skull completely open and you can see its brain. A grotesque, bullshit Pokémon. Although I do like the one in the middle. I am fond of him, the clear ringleader of the half-dozen. Probably the one who cracked the other egg open, actually. For mouthing off or something. Anyone else imagining the eggs talking in prohibition-era Chicago gangster accents? Ok, think I’ve talked myself into Exeggcute. I think I’m into it now.

110. Bellsprout

Good banter Pokémon in my opinion. Always useful in the early part of the game to rinse Onixs and Geodudes and looked like this: A condom over a lightbulb. Tell me it isn’t at least a tiny bit funny. Because it is.

109. Wigglytuff

Wigglytuff has served in ‘Nam. Wigglytuff has seen some shit, man.

108. Pikachu

Pikachu suffers a bit because of the expectations that come with it, being the face of the entire Pokémon franchise. The truth is, it isn’t that bad, it was just really, really annoying in the cartoon when all everyone wanted was for Ash to evolve it into a fucking Raichu. You can’t dislike Pikachu, but you can’t like it too much either, otherwise you never really got the point of Pokémon (which we’ll get to at the very end).

107. Meowth 

A Pokémon you’d always catch the first time you played the game because you thought it’d be good as it was in the cartoon series. And then the slow realisation would come that… well, Meowth was completely and utterly useless. Had literally nothing about it. No standout features, characteristics, abilities, anything, yet still weirdly prominent in the grand scheme of things. If Ross Barkley was a Pokémon. Normal Pokémon are bad anyway, Meowth was one of the worst.

106. Slowpoke

So inconsequential you forget it’s even there. Makes me feel the same way I do when I check the Premier League table and remember Southampton Football Club still exists.

105. Hypno

Hypno is the last of the Pokémon on the list that I don’t really care for, it’s completely inferior to Abra evolution chain in every single way. Sorry mate. People only caught you if they didn’t have the capacity to trade on their Game Boys and get an Alakazam. That is the only reason. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride: Hypno.

104. Abra

Not denying his evolutions are fucking sick, but this little sleepy teleport boi couldn’t do anything until it evolved and was actually quite difficult to catch. Abra really made you work for it.

103. Caterpie

Weedle for bedwetters.

102. Weedle

Small, weak, pathetic: Weedle. But the thing is, it knows what it is. It doesn’t pretend it’s something it’s not. And that’s important. That’s key. Yeah, obviously String Shot is garbage, and its Tackle doesn’t do anything, but it’s going to shoot its string at you anyway and bash into you repeatedly until it dies because that’s basically all it can do. And I respect it for that.

101. Pidgey

Pidgey was Spearow but for kids who ate the following packed lunch: DairyLea Lunchables, plain ham sandwich (on white), a strawberry Frube, single Twix finger, carton of Ribena.

100. Spearow

Spearow was Pidgey but for kids who had the following hot school dinner: Turkey twizzler/rock hard margherita pizza square, chips, peas, exactly two cups of watery blackcurrant squash. Would never finish the peas.

99/98. Nidoran♂ / Nidoran♀

Just not touching the potential can of worms here by ranking one over there. Nope. Not going near it. Both were a staple of any half-decent Pokémon run-through. I love and respect them both EQUALLY, yeah?

97. Rattata

A lot of people find Rattata annoying and cunt-ish. Cuntishly annoying. And that is undeniably true. But there’s a simple solution. Get your own, get it to level 14, and then Hyper Fang everything in sight. Revenge is a wonderful thing.

96. Magnemite

You have to begrudgingly respect Magnemite. It’s basically just an indestructible magnet. You’ve got to give it its due as a solid-mid-to-lower tier Pokémon.

95. Koffing

I feel sorry for Koffing. Look how happy it is just to be involved, completely unaware of the perpetual misery its existence will cause once it evolves into a Weezing. Poor lad. Poor, poor lad.

94. Arbok

Arbok, let’s be honest, looks incredible. It was also the main ‘bad’ Pokémon for Team Rocket in the cartoon. In the game? A complete sack of shit. So overall… mixed bag.

93. Raticate

Hyper Fang. I’m telling you.

92. Tentacruel

Looked really, really menacing but again, just wasn’t actually very good. Great name as well. Oh what could have been, Tentacruel.

91. Staryu

Name a more iconic duo than Misty and her Staryu. I’ll wait.

90. Vulpix

Vulpix is a Pokémon for people really, really into scented candles.

89. Oddish

My mate got a haircut once that made him look a bit like an Oddish. That’s the only reason it’s this high. It still makes me laugh thinking about the horrendous Oddish chat that consumed his life for several months. Literally every time he’d walk into a room he’d jus get a bombardment of awful Oddish chat. And do you know what? He deserved it. His hair was ridiculous. Precious, precious memories.

88. Jigglypuff

Sing and Pound, Sing and Pound. No, it’s not the entire life of Justin Timberlake to date, those are Jigglypuff’s best moves. It was deadly in the right hands in the early stages of the game. Even though it looked like this. A football with googly eyes and an Elvis-style pompadour.

87.  Eevee

A) Adorable B) Great evolutions C) Look at it D) Did I mention it was an adorable little fox boi?

86. Sandshrew 

A tubby little shrew apparently made up of bricks? Where do I sign?

85. Machop

Machop reminds of a period in my life when I was 16 years old and I used to go into my step-Dad’s gym in the garage and do about 10 bicep curls and count it as a workout. “I’ve just been working out,” I used to say, having not done anything close to an actual workout. That’s Machop. Drinks milkshake from a protein shaker. Wears a vest even though he looks ridiculous in a vest. Machop.

84. Krabby

Just really rate the efficiency of Krabby’s design and name. What is he? A crab. What shall we make him look like them? Dunno, a crab I guess. No! But with a face! Oh, cool. What shall we call him? Err, Crabby? No, wait. That’s too simple. What about… what about… Krabby, with a K? Perfect. Nailed it. Right, I think we’re done for the day. Sushi?

83. Weepinbell

Weepinbell makes me laugh every time I look at it. Every. Single. Time.

82. Gastly

It was always a bit of a game changer when you caught a Gastly inPokémon Tower, even though initially at least, it is very weak. Still, you could put everything to sleep with Hypnosis and then swap in an actual good Pokémon to finish the job. You knew what was coming though, and you knew it would be worth the wait.

81. Magikarp

*Magikarp used Splash* … *But nothing happened!* was honestly the Del Boy falling through the bar for my generation. I can see myself now, little grubby annoying kid with a big purple GameBoy, just fucking wetting himself at Magikarp being useless, over and over and over again. It was incredible, incredible banter, even though it wasn’t.

80. Mankey

Always felt Mankey was criminally underrated to be honest with you. After all, it’s the first Fighting type you encounter in Gen I (in Pokémon Yellow, anyway) and is therefore is absolutely crucial for the first gym – Brock and all his Rock-types.

Mankey is also a cross between a pig and a monkey. It’s a pig monkey. Its official Pokémon category is pig monkey. What’s not to like? Seriously?

79. Shellder

Shellder exists in a perpetual state of muggery, mugging everyone and everything off by constantly sticking its tongue out, the single most offensive thing you can do as a kid. Therefore… therefore I rate Shellder.

78. Diglett

There is an absolutely ruinous conspiracy you find on certain corners of the web that argues that the shine on Diglett’s pink nose – do you see it there, in the top left? – is actually a single tooth. Making its pink nose actually the pink interior of its agape mouth. Since reading that information I’ll admit it took me a while to look at Diglett in the same way. And then I realised it was complete and utter slander and not at all true. Don’t be like me. Trust in Diglett. Always trust in Diglett. It’s a nose. It’s definitely a nose.

77. Voltorb

Voltorb was a ridiculously quick and unbelievably angry (as you can tell from his stern expression) electric Pokémon that resembled a Poké Ball. It would often explode, just because it felt like it. Voltorb, I really feel you man. I feel you.

76. Cubone

Cubone is metal as fuck. It’s about as goth as Pokémon come. It wears the skull of its deceased mother into battle as a helmet. Jeeeeeeez mate. It ain’t that deep. We’re just all here to have a good time, you know?

75. Magneton

Magneton is just three Magnemites stuck together, making it even more indestructible. I don’t know what else to tell you. Sorry.

74. Psyduck

I wanted to rank Psyduck a lot higher because it was the first Pokémon I could ever draw and it was great value in the cartoon, just being confused all the time about everything, like the Pokémon Boris Johnson. That being said, it is just a duck with a headache. It’s a duck with a migraine. It’s a duck that’s had four double espressos and is trying to work its way through Bank tube station at rush hour. That’s it. This is as high as it can go.

73. Pidgeotto

Pidgeotto is a fairly majestic looking bird with Jack Grealish’s slick back. Obviously I’m a fan.

72. Butterfree

Marked down for literally just being a butterfly but marked back up because it learns powerful Psychic move Confusion really early into the game.

71. Electrode

Voltorb, but it’s been to the beauty salon and got its eyebrows threaded. Fair play to it. Maximise your assets. Some people are really into eyebrows. For some reason. For some completely unknown reason.

70. Magmar

Similar to Electabuzz in that it resembles a knock-off Pokémon but infinitely cooler because, you know, fire, and second of all because it took the choker away from the underground S&M scene and brought it back where it belongs. To the people.

Magmar definitely fucks, by the way. It’s Japanese name is ‘Boober’ for god sake. It fucks. In the kinkiest way imaginable, Magmar fucks.

69. Victreebell. Nice.

The final form in the sextoy evolution chain has to go here doesn’t it?

68. Pidgeot

Literally just Pidgeotto with two less letters. Still good though.

67. Fearow

Pidgeot for kids who had their velcro wallet on a chain and were into Limp Bizkit and Slipknot.

66/65. Nidorina/Nidorino

If middle child syndrome was a Pokémon. Other than the Safari Zone, Nidorino and Nidorina could only be found in an unsatisfying, unfulfilling, middle-management, office-based desk job in the city waiting out their best days by just going to Pret relentlessly and emailing around bad memes until they miraculously evolve into a better version of themselves thanks to a Moon Stone, or they get fired. Whatever comes first. Usually the latter.

64. Dugtrio

Dugtrio was great, but never underestimate how lazy the Pokémon design team could be.

63. Poliwhirl

I’m going to leave this one to my mate, Charlie, as I don’t think I can actually top it as a description: “He’s quite a compact fella, isn’t he? Reminds me a bit of Ryan Fraser. Lovely shade of blue on him.”

Note: That will only be funny if you know who Charlie is (unlikely) or who Ryan Fraser is (still fairly unlikely). It might not even be funny then. Anyway, good Pokémon, even better winger.

62. Kakuna

I can’t really stress enough how much I enjoy the shithousery of Kakuna and it’s sadboi counterpart Metapod. As a kid you’d hate them, my god you would, but they taught you an invaluable lesson in patience. I’ll never forget the time I went into battle with my own Kakuna (only knowing Tackle and Harden) as my only Pokémon against a Metapod. Do you remember John Isner versus Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon? It was like that. But worse. And it lasted longer. In fact it didn’t end. I had to restart the game. I’m not joking. I actually ran out of moves.

61. Metapod

Still don’t know which side is actually its face.

60. Graveler

Graveler is just a big, ugly rock. Do you like big, ugly rocks? I kinda do but it just doesn’t have the same personality of the fella below.

59. Geodude

Perfect. Geodude is a perfect Pokémon. Perfect design, perfect name, found in perfect locations within the game. Perfect facial expression. Even its weird distorted arms are perfect. Just perfect in every way. It’s only this low because it is a first evolution. Let’s face it, everybody had a Geodude. It was impossible not to.

58. Growlithe

Growlithe is a puppy. A fire puppy. And it is an extremely good boy. Like, maybe even the best boy there is. Love and cherish Growlithe. It will love and cherish you.

57. Seadra

Seadra looks like it has opened the fridge at work and found that someone has taken and/or eaten the special risotto lunch it had brought in.

(10 minutes later Seadra will find its lunch, untouched, but moved into the vegetable drawer to make space for some other bits. Seadra will still look like this, tucking into his lemon chicken, absolutely fuming for no reason at all, staring at you from across the office)

56. Rhyhorn

A big ol’ rhino boy, I look at Rhyhorn and think: Yes. Yes, Rhyhorn. You are the 56th best original Pokémon in existence. That’s exactly what you are.

55. Raichu

Obviously Raichu is infinitely cooler than Pikachu but at the end of the day, it is still just Pikachu going through its Bowie phase. Pikachu as a teenager, suddenly smoking and not talking to his parents. Getting drunk off K Cider in the park. Raichu is just Pikachu with an earring and a developing interest in Nietzsche.

54. Ponyta

Honestly getting a bit tired of this now so I’m going to fly through these next few. They speak for themselves. For instance, this is a horse, but on fire. Clearly it’s a good Pokémon. Like obviously it is at least quite good.

53. Primeape

Giant fighting pig monkey featuring a throbbing forehead vein. Again: Good.

52. Beedrill

It’s a wasp with drills attached to its legs. I repeat. It’s a wasp with drills on its legs. Called Beedrill. Phenomenal.

51. Rapidash

It’s a unicorn on fire.

50. Haunter

A ghost with hands! A ghost. With hands.

49. Wartortle, 48. Charmeleon, 47. Ivysaur

Right, I’ll stop now. Here are all the middle evolutions of the starter Pokémon ranked as such because: Wartortle looks like a very old grandpa, Charmeleon was a dick in the cartoon series and Ivysaur is just a slightly bigger Bulbasaur (who I love).



46. Porygon

Porygon has the ability to go into cyberspace at will. CYBERSPACE. AT WILL. FUCK. Also, his episode in the anime caused widespread epileptic seizures. Porygon is wild.

45. Marowak

Marowak has a unique move called ‘Bonemerang’. That is really all you need to know.

44. Sandslash

This is Sandslash speaking now in the style of David Brent: “Me? Claws. Marowak? Bone club. Porygon? Epileptic seizures, sometimes cyberspace. Different weapons… for different needs.”

43. Kangaskhan

Kangaskhan is, as far as I’m aware, a kind of monstrous kangaroo named after Genghis Khan, the notorious mongol leader who raped and pillaged an entire continent and, in effect, fathered 0.5% of the current male population of Earth. Pokémon is fucking bonkers when you think about it. And I will probably never love anything more.

42. Chansey

Chansey is another Pokémon that exists in the complete and total shithouse sub-bracket when used in battle. However. HOWEVER. It is essentially the NHS of the Pokémon universe and if you don’t appreciate the NHS then you are a complete and utter shambles of an individual. Chansey is a wonderful thing, as is the NHS. Never, ever take it for granted.

41. Machoke

Just look at those biceps. And those traps. Machoke me daddy.

40. Tauros

Tauros is a bit of a cheat Pokémon in that it can learn moves it has simply no right to be able to learn, and they just so happen to be the best moves in the game, including the TMs for Thunder, Fire Blast, Blizzard and Earthquake. The downside is that it doesn’t learn any good attacks on its own other than Take Down but, at the end of the day, if you asked me what side I want to be on in battle, I’m going to plump for the one with the bull that can shoot electricity, fire and ice out of its horns and cause earthquakes. I’m definitely on that team.

39. Ninetales

A majestic looking fox-thing that, according to Pokémon lore, will curse you for 1000 years if you pull one of its, er, nine tales. Fair enough mate, was just going to give you a little stroke was all.

38. Kadabra

Kadabra is about 75% as good as Alakazam, who we will get to nearer the end of the list. How is his increased power symbolised in the game? He gets an extra spoon when he evolves. Because of course he does.

37. Kabutops

Kabutops is what happens if you persist with that awful, awful Kabuto fossil for 40 levels. 40 levels. It’s a joke. You do however, get this, the malevolent serial killer of the Pokémon universe. Seriously. It’s description in the game was that “It slices its prey with its sharp sickles and drinks the body fluids”. DRINKS THE BODY FLUIDS. DRINKS. Fucking hell.

36. Pinsir

Right on theme, here’s Pinsir, a five foot tall stag beetle with massive pincers coming out of its head. As cool and as rare as it is, Pinsir is let down by the fact that despite it being a Bug Pokémon, it doesn’t actually learn any Bug-type moves. Which is sheer fuckery, to be honest. Pokémon giveth and Pokémon taketh away.

35. Hitmonchan

It says a lot about your personality whether you prefer Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee. Way more than your star sign, or the lines on your palm, or whether you enjoy Marmite. Dating apps should open with it. We’d all find love much easier if we could just instantly separate the Hitmonchans from the ‘lees.

Anyway, the Hitmonchan variant was the more defensive and far less fun of the two; a weird boxing humanoid thing in a matching tunic and slippers. The very first time I played Pokémon I chose a Hitmonchan. To this day I regret it and have yet to  repeat the decision since. Says it all.


The final evolution of the Geodude – Graveler – Golem chain, Golem is essentially just a boulder with a face. It is powerful though, and deserves its place near the top end of the list.

33. Muk

Muk is yet another prime shithouse and vastly overlooked by the majority of trainers. It learns Minimize, which means it shrinks, and if it does it more than, say, three times, it is basically impossible to hit. Then it will bomb you with Sludge, which whilst also doing damage, will likely poison your Pokémon. It’s an absolute fucking nightmare to come up against, basically, and will essentially just sit back and laugh you, a 1cm tall puddle of goop, as your Pokémon flounders trying to land a single blow whilst slowly but surely dying from Muk’s toxicity.

Muk is the Pokémon equivalent of a Tony Pulis Stoke City side nicking a goal from a Rory Delap long throw and then seeing the remaining 84 minutes of the game out with a minimum of six centre halves on the pitch and by lumping the ball up to Ricardo Fuller and Mamady Sidibé. It is brutalist, it is reductive, but my god when it works, it works.

32. Aerodactyl

Aerodactyl is the only Pokémon that evolves from a fossil – a lump of ‘Old Amber’ you pick from The Science Museum early in the Kanto journey. You can’t actually get your ancient boi until near the end, when you have to give your fossil to a scientist for him to clone. It’s maybe the coolest way you actually earn a Pokémon in the game and Aerodactyl is well worth the wait thanks to it possessing the highest Speed stat of all and, you know, it being a fucking pterodactyl and everything.

31. Moltres

Moltres is elegant and refined but ultimately the least interesting of the three legendary birds meaning that, unfortunately, it finishes with the bronze medal in their individual three-way battle for supremacy.

30. Zapdos

Zapdos just has a bit more about it, you know? Still. Only the silver medal.

29. Exeggutor

6’7″ this lad is. 6 FOOT 7. This mad walking palm tree with three heads. Ridiculous. An exceptional Pokémon.

28. Golbat

Golbat, the final evolution of the shittest Pokémon in existence (Zubat) in Generation I, is actually really good, all things considered. It’s lightning fast, can fuck you up with Confuse Ray and then finish the job with a series of Bites using its cavernous mouth.

(I recently caught a shiny Golbat on Pokémon Silver, my only ever shiny catch, which may or may not have factored into the rankings. Sorry. It was just a really, really big moment for me. Yes I am 26-years-old. No, I have never ever spoken to a real-life human woman)

27. Starmie

I don’t really have a reason for Starmie being this high. Oh, no, wait, hold on, it’s a fucking psychic starfish from outer space. Of course it is this high in the rankings. Starmie is cool as fuck.

26. Vaporeon

Vaporeon’s stock has dropped for me ever since The Shape of Water happened. Now it reminds of the shagger fish guy just a little bit too much.

25. Flareon

With Fire Pokémon so few and far between, practically all of them have an unfair advantage in a ranking system such as this. They are just, inherently, a little bit more desirable to the knowing trainer. As there are so many good Water-type Pokémon in the game, getting a Vaporeon doesn’t really make much sense when you first pick up an Eevee in Celadon City (even though, on paper, it is a better choice than its red-haired cousin).

Even so, I would never go for a Flareon either to be honest.

24. Kingler

Kingler wasn’t fancy. It was just a very large crab and a good-to-solid water Pokémon. But. But! There was Guillotine – its signature move – and getting a 1-hit KO on a Pokémon you knew was miles better than yours was extremely satisfying. Just imagining Kingler sticking one of Lance’s dragons in those pincers of his and slowly crushing its head brings a tear to my eye, even now, just thinking about it.

23. Golduck

Cool because it is underrated and underrated because – Hello! Look! Please look at it! – of how cool it is, Golduck is one of those Pokémon you ignore as kid but you gradually learn to love. Golduck is a Tesco Clubcard, a savings account, a gym membership. Golduck is growing up.

22. Dragonite

Dragonite should be higher. Dragonite should be so much higher. It’s one of, if not the most powerful Pokémon in the game… and it looks like this. It’s like Charizard’s weird cousin that comes down from the Scottish Highlands or something once a year and tags along to football. It’s too portly, too friendly, too… unthreatening. Tell me, tell me honestly, if Dragonite rocked up at the astroturf one day, would you stick him in goal? You would, wouldn’t you? You just would. You’d tell it to stand in net so you and your pals could fire 30-yard knuckleball free-kicks at it for several hours until you got tired.

I still, however, have to acknowledge the fact it was a complete and utter problem in the battle arena due to the Dragon-type being overpowered in the game. Dragonite was irritatingly good. Credit where it is due.

21. Articuno

Articuno is by far and away the best of the three legendaries in Gen I; a gorgeous, soaring ice bird that no quest to the Elite Four was complete without.

20. Scyther

Scyther has the best design of any Pokémon. Bar none. Look at this beautiful fucker. Has to be in the top 20. Has to be.

19. Rhydon

Rhydon has ‘don’ in its name, a drill for a nose and learns Earthquake, which presumably it causes with said nose. I don’t know what else you need from Pokémon. I really don’t.

18. Machamp

If you’re telling me you didn’t want this Herculean, four-armed beast of a Pokémon on your team then you are just flat out lying. According to its description in the game it can throw 500 punches a second and move mountains. Christ. Plus it has two extra hands for choking, er, I mean fighting.

17. Lapras

Stupid sexy Lapras.

16. Alakazam

Alakazam. What can you say? The final form of the Abra evolution chain was a spoon-wielding, moustache-wax-utilising don. It’s really fast, absolutely dominates the ‘Special’ stat category and is the finest Psychic-type there is. Practically unstoppable. And, my word, what a great pair of spoons.

15/14. Nidoking/Nidoqueen

Everyone had a Nidoking or a Nidoqueen. Absolute tanks, the pair of them. They were extremely versatile and you could evolve your Nidorina or Nidorino up into them as early as Mount Moon, which made them easily the best Pokémon in the game at that point. Teach them Earthquake, Rock Slide and Blizzard and you’d have a fucking unit that would stick with you all the way until the end of the game. A staple of the first generation Pokémon experience.

Nidoqueen does actually get the nod for me on this one as I recently defeated the Elite Four on my Nuzlocke save (Gen II) thanks to my biggest, bestest, blue girl absolutely rinsing Lance’s pathetic Dragonites with Ice Punch. Slay Queen. Again, I do not have a girlfriend.

13. Poliwrath

Fucking love this boi. Need some shit punching? No problem. Need some shit hypnotising? Again, not a problem. Need to surf somewhere, or something heavy lifted out of the way? No bother at all pal, you just leave that to old Poliwrath here. It can learn fighting moves, psychic moves, ice moves, water moves, normal moves. He’s a freak. Any Pokémon you can bring out with Earthquake, Psychic, Blizzard and Surf that looks like this, a hallucinogenic anthropomorphic frog in white boxing gloves, is a joke, in my opinion. Feel its wrath. FEEL IT.

12. Gengar

King Shithouse. No other words for him. An absolute menace in the arena. Give me the Hypnosis/Dream Eater combo over and over and over again, dismantling every other Pokémon in sight, until my bones turn to dust. We stan. We stan.

11. Gyarados

Magikarp’s evolution into Gyarados remains one of the most life-affirming moments you can experience in the world of Pokémon. It just shows you can spend the first 20 years of your life an absolutely redundant sack of shit and still turn into a Hyper-Beam wielding, Surf-abusing, Blizzard-throwing monster. One day I will evolve into my own respective Gyarados. One day.

10. Snorlax

If you don’t like Snorlax then you don’t like Pokémon, it’s as simple as that. This guy was just pure, unadulterated vibe; eating leftovers, sleeping, waking up and smashing shit, sleeping again, eating berries, sleeping, waking up and head-butting things, sleeping again, awakening to the sweet melody of the Pokéflute and sleeping again.

Snorlax is Keatsian: ‘Was it a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?’

9. Hitmonlee

I have absolutely abused this Pokémon since day one, even if Hi-Jump Kick did miss at all the most inopportune times and give you the in-game commentary of ‘Hitmonleee kept going and crashed!’. Still, picturing this weird kickboxing mummy just outright missing its opponent by jumping 20 feet too high in the air and fly kicking a concrete wall on the other side of the gym was a lot of fun as a kid. Even if it did mean you’d lose him at the start of every battle.

8. Charizard

Obviously Charizard is sick. Everybody knows Charizard is sick. But to have it as your favourite Pokémon? Come on man. Don’t be like that. It’s like saying your favourite film is The Dark Knight, or your favourite band is the Arctic Monkeys, or your favourite beer is Budweiser. Oh, look, it’s you: Every single male aged between 22 and 26, who is really, really still obsessed dragons for some reason.

It is still Charizard though. So it’s here.

7. Blastoise

You simply have to love Blastoise if only for the ingenuity of its design: A hefty blue tortoise with cannons coming out of its back. Blastoise was my very first final evolution starter (my first run through was with Squirtle) and will always hold a special place in my heart. That’s why it gets the nod over Charizard and obviously Venusaur doesn’t enter the equation. Where did I rank Venusaur again? Six millionth?

Fun Bonus Fact: It’s name is Tortank in French. How does that still work as a pun? Incredible. Whoever named Blastoise wasn’t getting paid enough.

6. Arcanine

Look at this majestic beast. Arcanine had near-legendary stats because it was originally meant to be a legendary Pokémon and on top of that, it looked like this. Have you ever seen anything more majestic? Some of my fondest memories as a child involved wandering around with an Arcanine flamethrower-ing everything in sight to cinder. I love this boy. I will always love this boy.

5. Squirtle

I was very close to ranking the three original starters together before I realised that’s a copout. They are all magnificent in terms of design, name, and character. Each became immediately important to you and a companion for your entire journey through Kanto, hence their seemingly lofty ranking. Truthfully, they are almost impossible to choose between. With that being said, you do, eventually, choose. You have to. At the start of every game you manage to make this seemingly impossible choice. So we must do it now.

Squirtle, despite my being the very first Pokémon I ever had, comes third of the three, and fourth overall. And I don’t have a reason for that, other than I know I wouldn’t choose him now, just because there are so many good Water types in the game. Old age has warped me. When I play now I am always planning ahead, preparing for the Elite Four and attempting to balance my starting six.

So really it’s not Squirtle’s fault, its mine. But Squirtle did get me to where I am today and for that I will always be eternally grateful.

4. Bulbasaur

Despite my own personal vendetta against its inevitable, useless conclusion, Venusaur, I am extremely fond of Bulbasaur. It’s the best of the three starters in the early part of the game, the bit where you struggle the most and can absolutely rinse the first – and I’m checking my notes here – four gyms on its own if you play them right.

Bulbasaur was great and it kills me knowing what it eventually grows into. On my most-recent non-Nuzlocke run-through I had an absolute blast with the little guy. It was a joy to train. That is, until it eventually got to Venusaur at Level 32. I still tried to incorporate it into my starting six for the Indigo Plateau run but I just couldn’t, there’s no place for a plodding grass-chewer among my squad of champions. It sits in a Poké Ball in a box at the Pokémon Center, presumably with that stupid expression on its face, whilst I complete the rest of the game without it. Sorry Bulbasaur. You don’t deserve it.

3. Charmander

Charmander wins the battle of the original starters because it is the hardest to raise and by picking it, you know you will have a really tough time getting through the first few gyms in the game. But, as they tend to do, things get better, and you know you’re going to end up with an all-conquering Charizard at the end of it all. So you persevere.

It’s fitting that it is the weakest at the start and the strongest at the end, when it matters.

2. Cloyster

Cloyster was originally a bit lower in the rankings but it didn’t feel right. To leave it there would be to ignore all of the unique joy it used to give me as a kid, which is the whole point.

Catch a Shellder (really easy, literally just fish anywhere) give it a Water Stone and boom, you had this, a black pearl with the most ‘fuck you’ face imaginable, the most ‘fuck you’ armour imaginable, another layer of armour for good measure, and the single most underrated move in Generation I that only Cloyster (and Shellder) can learn.

It was called Clamp. Let me tell you about Clamp. It had an initially average-looking 35 power rating but it lasts between 2-5 turns and completely prevents your opponent from doing anything to you whilst it hits. Effectively, this means it is more a 70 power move (which is good, and that’s the worst case scenario), but if you’re lucky can actually hit your opponent for 175 total power without taking a single scratch. And then there’s the fact that if, IF, your opponent does eventually get a turn (hint: it probably won’t), Cloyster had the highest Defence stat of anything. You could Hyper Beam it and it would just laugh. It was almost literally untouchable. And look at its face – doesn’t it just know it. Now you do too, the great Cloyster secret I’ve held for years.

The single best Pokémon – Jolteon

You’re mildly irritated/annoyed/fuming/incandescent with rage by this point, aren’t you? That the particular Pokémon that you hold most dear isn’t up here in the number one spot. I’m glad. That’s exactly the point. That’s what Pokémon was about, developing a ridiculous emotional attachment to a tiny pixelated monster for reasons you can’t really explain. For me it was Jolteon, and it was always Jolteon, and it will always be Jolteon, the sleek electric dog/fox/cat hybrid that is just about the fastest Pokémon there is with one of the highest Special Attack ratings. I only need a level 55-60 Jolteon and I’m able to take over Kanto.

Imagine yourself, in the game. A little pixelated version of you. Not Red, with his stupid hat and backpack, but you. What Pokémon is following you around? Every trainer has ‘their guy’. The one. The favourite. And no matter how many others they catch, it remains their real, sole, true Pokémon companion. Ash had Pikachu, Brock had Onix, Misty had Staryu. Even those Team Rocket losers Jessie and James had a Meowth.

I picture myself, a younger me, a lanky, floppy-haired loner roaming about Kanto. And there’s me, when I’m trying and failing to chat up Misty, with a Jolteon. And there’s me, wandering around the long grass, frying Caterpies and Weedles with my Jolteon. And there’s me, kicking the door down in gyms, going in, saying ‘this is my yard’ and leaving with a badge, with my Jolteon. There’s me, reaching Lance, the last stage of the Elite Four, and twatting his Dragonite out of the sky, with my Jolteon. There’s me embarrassing my Rival over and over and over again, no matter what Pokémon he has or what level they are, cooking them with Thunder Wave and Thunder, with my Jolteon.

There’s me, growing old, with my Jolteon.