Ranking All 151 Original Pokémon From Dumbest To Coolest
Pokémon is celebrating 20 years this year, and Red and Blue are finally releasing on the 3DS Virtual Console. In honor of the occasion, we decided to rank all 151 of the original pocket monsters and write about what makes each one so great/lame. It was a decision we immediately regretted once we started putting together the list, but one we're happy to share with you.
As the headline implies, we start with what we consider to be the dumbest of Game Freak's original offerings, and slowly make our way to the best of the best.
Kyle Hilliard, Jeff Marchiafva, Ben Reeves, and interns Joe Buchholz, Connor Trinske, and Luke Walaszek all contributed to this exhaustive list.
Pokémon has seen its share of creatively challenged monster designs throughout the years, with characters shaped like keys (Klefki), swords (Honedge), and whatever the heck an Unown is supposed to be. It’s only fitting that the #151 spot on our ranking goes to the Pokémon that established the we-definitely-made-a-thing design philosophy of the series’ most forgettable contenders: Tangela. Simply put, Tangela is tangled ball of…something – that’s really as far as the design goes. He’s got two eyes and two feet, but you can tell Tangela never evolved beyond its poorly conceived pun name. You should have stopped at 150, Game Freak.
…Make that 149. Forever known as the racist Pokémon, Jynx’s original design has been roundly criticized for looking a whole lot like a character in blackface, leading Game Freak to change her complexion to purple in future installments. However, Jynx’s defenders claim that the Pokémon isn’t racist at all, but rather based on the operatic “Fat Lady.” We’ll leave it to someone else to debate whether that’s any better, but either way Jynx isn’t nearly worth the trouble she’s caused the series. Jynx, indeed.
149. Mr. Mime
As if normal mimes aren’t bad enough, Mr. Mime appears to also be at least part demonic clown. And why is a mime a Pokémon anyway? That makes being owned and forced to fight by a “trainer” even more disturbing. We’ll see you in our nightmares, Mr. Mime. What’s that? You’re trapped in an invisible box? Good. Now let’s fill that box with cement.
Lickitung is basically just a charmander with a giant tongue. That he presumably uses to lick things. We’re not sure how that’s an advantage in battle, and judging from his calamitous expression, Lickitung doesn’t either. Just in case you thought “giant tongue Pokémon” was an unambitious design goal, Lickitung appears to also have a nipple on the bottom of his foot. We’re totally lickadone with this weirdo.
There’s a reason no one evolves their Jigglypuff beyond their adorable adolescent phase, and that’s because, like Michael Cera, their grown-up counterpart isn’t nearly as cute. Wigglytuff looks like a super-high furby, and wouldn’t fare any better in battle. Save yourself a moonstone and avoid this rabbit-eared abomination at all costs.
Slowpoke is a cross between a pink salamander and a lumpy bodypillow that somehow evolved a mouth. Who would want a Pokemon that’s slower than a geriatric snail in peanut butter? Seriously, Slowpoke is so slow you have to measure the speed of his attacks with a calendar. Watching glaciers melt is mind numbing, but it’s better than hanging out with this guy. Still, some terrifying secret lurks behind his cold dead eyes.
Grimer is a slimy, amorphous blob-like Pokémon, but he looks more like a stale bucket of mop water that came to life. Grimer looks like what’s left after a frustrated vegan threw up their hands. It must be really frustrating to have a baby Grimer, because you never know when to change their diapers.
Exeggutor is egg-straordinary; we don’t even want to crack into this entry. What? Exeggutor isn’t an egg Pokémon? You could have fooled us. That’s how little we care about them. Exeggutor is actually a bipedal plant Pokémon that resembles a coconut tree. Based on what we know about coconut water, he’s probably full of a liquid that taste like a donkey’s bladder.
This guy is supposed to look like a reverse-colored Poke-ball, but let’s be honest; the artists just got tired of drawing goofy-looking animals and phoned this one in. Electrode is an electric/dull-type Pokémon and his attacks are said to be able to cause blackouts. We feel a blackout coming on right now. No, wait, that’s just boredom.
The ancient Romans used to have a saying, “Magikarpe diem!” It means “stupid clownfish,” and looking at Magikarp you begin to understand why the Romans went extinct. Not only is Magikarp a worthless water Pokémon who likes to get high on seaweed, he’s so dumb that his IQ is Pi. At least he’s safe from zombies – they only eat brains.
More like Geodud, amiright? Sorry, that was the kind of dumb pun that a Magikarp would make. But Geodude isn’t much better. Sure, Geodudes are strong, but their brains are full of rocks. He’s dumb enough to try to wave back at the ocean. Since he’s a rock, he probably came out of a volcano at some point, but we wish he’d jump back in one. Yeah, we don’t lava that joke either.
This poisonous Gas Pokémon probably got its name when one of the designers starting choking on a cookie during a naming meeting. At least Koffing isn’t totally worthless; they make good ashtrays.
Let’s face it: When Drowsee isn’t nodding off in the middle of combat, this handsy anteater is a harassment lawsuit just waiting to happen.
Any spelunker knows how much these life-stealing bats suck – you can’t walk five steps in a cave without getting attacked by one. Even if they’re not the worst fighters to have on your roster, our continual run-ins with these flying rodents have ruined us on Zubat. That and their name is stupid, too.
Thanks to his oversized teeth and fierce scowl, Rattata certainly looks intimidating – until you remember that he’s just a pipsqueak of a rodent. In contrast, Pikachu is also a rodent – who can summon lightning bolts down onto enemies. Sorry Rattata, you’re way out of your league.
Hey, what’s that thing sticking up out of the dirt? An oversized worm? A discarded hotdog wiener? Somebody’s big toe? Nope, it’s just a Diglett, which isn’t any more useful than the other guesses.
Metapod is the intermediate step in the long evolutionary chain to owning a Butterfree, who as you’ll soon see doesn’t fare much better on this list. Unless you’re looking for something to put on the end of your hook while fishing for Goldeens, this glorified peapod ain’t worth it.
Weedle may be adorable, but you really don’t want to go into battle with a bulbous-headed inchworm. Just remember to give Weedle an apple to bore through when you leave him at home – we’re guessing this little cutie loves apples.
Holy crap, this guy is a big drooling mess. Gloom looks like a mushroom who is allergic to himself, which might explain his despondent name. Stepping on him would be an act of mercy.
Machop? Awesome. Machamp? Awesomer. Machoke? This oiled-up bodybuilder Pokémon is an interim choice that no one actually wants to choose. After all, Machoke doesn’t even have a strangle ability – so what’s he choking?!
There are plenty of plant Pokémon that make up for the fact that they’re, you know, plants. Victreebel isn’t one of them. Despite what his name suggests, this leaf-hatted loser will never know the joys of winning.
You can tell that at some point during the development of the original Pokémon, the designers at Game Freak just started frantically looking around for objects to base creatures on. Shellder is a shell with eyes and a tongue. What more do you want?!
Designer #1: “Hey, what’s the smallest creature we could make into a Pokémon?”
Designer #2: “A gnat?”
Designer #1: “Great, make him venomous and then let’s go get lunch!”
Based on its gaping mouth and googly eyes, Weepinbell clearly has nothing going on upstairs. This floundering flower sucks as much as Victreebel does, but at least you don’t have to waste a leaf stone to get one.
Here’s your hard-earned reward for resisting the sweet temptation to murder your Metapod: a totally unremarkable butterfly Pokémon with a punny name. Even Butterfree’s Tinted Lens ability can’t cast him in a favorable light.
Chansey must not be sentient, because if she was, she wouldn’t be so happy about being a Chansey. Chansey is classified as an Egg Pokémon because she carries an egg. Not only is that not how classifications work, but what the hell good is an egg in combat anyway?!
genetic-experiment-turned-abomination Mankey is, but he looks like something off of the Island of Doctor Moreau. This human/pig/monkey hybrid should be put out of its misery, not forced to fight in your sick competitions. Who’s the monster now?
Fearow is one mess of a sprite. We get that he has wings and we can kind of make out a beak, but what’s that on his head? A Mohawk? A hat? How hard is it to convey what a bird looks like?
This “evolved” version of Mankey isn’t any less of a monstrosity. We’re pretty sure that once he advances enough to mimic human speech, his first words will be a hushed “killlll meeeee….”
Kadabra is a psychic Pokémon named after the magic phrase “Abracadabra,” and he carries a spoon with him to remind you that, like other spoon-bending psychics, he is an utter sham. In terms of appearances, Kadabra is…some kind of alien fox thing?
Doduo’s twist on the dodo is one of Nintendo’s best puns, which is the only reason this two-headed, wingless bird ranks as high as he does.
Did we really need a second Pokémon based on a breathing difficulty? What’s next Asth-man? Anae-mini? Pneomothorax? Heck, we didn’t even have change that last one! There you go, Game Freak, three more terrible ideas for new Pokémon. You’re welcome.
Wait a minute…what’s going on here? This is just a crab – and despite his name, he doesn’t even look ill-tempered! That’s the best the designers could do? At least Krabby’s claws would be helpful in battle, but on a conceptual level, Krabby is an F+, tops.
Psyduck is a surprisingly popular Pokémon, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s still just a duck who goes around holding his head all the time. You know that sooner or later his noggin is going to explode like that scene from Scanners – which actually makes him pretty cool in our book.
Pokémon has no shortage of nondescript monsters that are designed solely to be cute, and Clefairy is one of them. Seriously, what differentiates Clefairy, Clefable, Jigglypuff, Wigglytuff, and Chansey? Yep, absolutely nothing.
While we’re on the subject of lazy character design: What’s the difference between Paras and Krabby? Answer: Paras has a mushroom on his ass. Genius!
We’d like to issue a retraction to our statements two entries ago: Clefairy and Clefable are clearly completely different. Clefable has slightly longer wings(?) and pointier ears. And also another foot nipple. We apologize for our mistake.
Before he became the wise-cracking sidekick of Team Rocket in the cartoon, Meowth was just a regular cat Pokémon. He’s got a coin on his head because he’s based on the lucky cat of Japanese lore, but he’s not lucky enough to avoid getting slaughtered in a fight with a real Pokémon. Me-owch.
Ugh, how many of these dumb bell plants do we really need? Like Weepinbell before it, Bellsprout ranks slightly higher just for the fact that you don’t have to devote extra time to getting one – instead, you can immediately start regretting the wasted Pokéball.
Raticate is the evolved version of Rattata, which makes him slightly more formidable in battle. He still doesn’t have any electricity-based powers though, so those gnarly chompers aren’t going to get him far.
Vileplume is basically just a Gloom without the death-wish. Vileplume may not fare any better in combat, but his happy visage won’t make you feel guilty for breaking him out of his Pokéball every now and then.
So what makes Caterpie better than its evolved Metapod and Butterfree forms? At least it has some offensive power against plant Pokémon. Think about: Metapod is just a stupid cocoon; the best it can do is hang motionlessly off of somebody. Butterfree isn’t much better, unless you’re looking to pollinate your opponent. At least Caterpie can chow down on his foe’s tender leaves, and his wiggling might gross out more faint-hearted contenders. It’s not much, but we’re working with what we’ve got!
Realistically, a Goldeen isn’t any tougher than a Magikarp, but that what-you-lookin’-at expression and bad-boy unicorn gives Goldeen a significant bump in the ranking.
Designer #1: “Hey, what should Venonat evolve into?”
Designer #2: “A moth?”
Designer #1: “Gnats don’t evolve into mo– oh, who cares, let’s go get lunch again!”
On the bright side, no other Pokémon would want this creep’s little feelers touching them, which is probably an advantage in combat?
Alakazam is one of the laziest evolutions Game Freak has ever put forth: The spoon-wielding psychic now has TWO spoons, even though spoons hold no relevance in monster-on-monster combat! However, Alakazam has a positively majestic mustache, making him superior to precisely 44 other Pokémon. Hey, you can’t argue with science.
Zubat might totally suck, but his evolved form is a party animal! If Matthew McConaughey was a Pokémon, Golbat would be it. We’re still trying to decide if that makes Golbat a good fighter or not, though…
We’re a little confused on this one. “Golem” isn’t a pun; nor is it whatever this thing is supposed to be. That said, this little lizardy rock ball would do reasonably well in a fight.
Good lord – a giant seashell bit Slowpoke’s tail and now he’s making out with it.
Another dumb cocoon Pokémon, Kakuna at least looks like some kind of insectoid alien – he’d be right at home ripping our marines to shreds in XCOM 2. Does that make him a good Pokémon? Based on our ranking, the answer is “kinda.”
We all love Squirtle to death, but his teen phase is kind of a mess; his wing ears don’t make any sense considering they’re even less pronounced on Blastoise, and his name – while meant as an awesome amalgamation of “war,” “tortoise,” and “turtle” – just makes it sound like he has warts of some kind. Don’t worry Wartortle; you’ll grow out of it.
Another Pokémon that’s just a real animal, Ekans is at least based on a creature with some fighting prowess. Ekans is also “snake” spelled backwards, which is about as clever as it gets for Pokémon naming conventions. All that gets Ekans into the top two-thirds of the list. Congrats on achieving mediocracy!
Voltorb is just a Pokéball. That’s it. However, ranking him is kind of tricky. On a technical level, Pokéballs capture every other type of Pokémon, so Voltorb should be #1. On a practical level, designing a Pokémon based on the lifeless spheres that house other Pokémon is just stupid. When everything evens out, 100 seems like the right spot.
Eggs. A cluster of eggs. With stupid faces. Are they six Pokémon? Are they just one Pokémon? Who knows. All they do is evolve into an even dumber-looking Pokémon. Not to mention the fact that one of them is completely cracked open – the others must have gotten hungry at some point.
If you’ve stuck with Grimer long enough to see him evolve, then you probably deserve to own something as blatantly terrible as Muk. He’s basically a bigger Grimer whose face has lost the wide-eyed wonder of youth, but now he’s so toxic and putrid he’ll poison anything in his path – including you. How useful.
The Balloon Pokémon. Nothing about this creature resembles a balloon, except when she inflates before she starts to sing. A singing balloon that gets mad when she succeeds at her only job, which is putting everything around her to sleep. Seems like Jigglypuff’s cute looks are all she’s got going for her.
This is what happens when Game Freak can’t get the rights to Bruce Lee’s likeness: they put him in a big clay mold and hope for the best. Oh, and they give him stretchy legs that can extend while he runs, like a clown on stilts. That’s right: This Pokémon is Bruce Lee inside a big clay mold on clown stilts.
Poliwhirl’s most remarkable feature is he can live in and out of water. He also has a big dumb spiral on his chest, which he uses to entrance anything that attacks him, so he can flee. He’s also covered with oily fluid, which lets him slip away from anything that grabs him…so he can flee. Basically, Poliwhirl is a giant coward.
This hairy, yellow, naked thing is constantly on the prowl, looking for people to hypnotize (hence his name) so he can put them to sleep, drag them off, and eat their dreams. Do not try to catch him; just keep on moving and don’t make eye contact.
Goldeen is back, but he’s lost a bit of his rude ‘tude since we last saw him. He’s still got the unicorn, at least. He’s also referred to as the king of the sea, so he must be good? That or he’s got an excellent agent. On thing’s for sure: You could definitely do worse.
Ditto may be an amorphous pink glob with a goofy smile, but a Pokémon that can transform into anything sounds cool…on paper, at least. Ditto can’t remember a single move besides Transform. Why would you want to copy your opponent’s exact type anyway? Imagine if it was just two Metapods...
A “Tiny Bird Pokémon” doesn’t exactly sound riveting to begin with, but wait until you hear what else he can do! He eats bugs in grassy areas. He flaps his short wings to fly. He is territorial. Spearow may be the most astoundingly boring Pokémon on this list.
Speaking of tiny birds, Pidgey doesn’t fare much better than Spearow on this list. He’s another unremarkable bird, but at least this one has a couple redeeming qualities. Pidgey can blast smaller enemies away with his wing-beats, and has a perfect sense of direction. Ultimately, however, Pidgey still looks like just another bird.
Omanyte is designed to look like a prehistoric mollusk, and that’s all he has going for him. Still, Omanyte is sort of cool just by virtue of the fact that he’s an ancient Pokémon that can be resurrected from his own remains. Plus, this is probably as visually appealing as a prehistoric mollusk can be.
Is this supposed to be a starfish with some kind of jewel strapped to it? Staryu gets points for trying to look nice, at least. Also, if Staryu is like a real starfish, you could cut of his limbs and he’d just regenerate new ones. Staryu might be an alien, too – apparently, it can communicate with the stars using the core in his center. Maybe we should have ranked him higher?
Despite the obviously unoriginal name, Seel gets some credit for being a pretty strange take on his source material. He raises his tail in the air instead of his head, and has a horn and protruding fangs. The horn is actually useful, too, since it can punch straight through ice.
Most of this Pokémon’s appeal comes from how appetizing he looks. The “Wild Duck Pokémon” is nice and plump, and even carries a delicious sprig of green onion with him at all times. No wonder his Pokedex entry says that some believe their numbers are decreasing.
Poliwrath is the result of a Poliwhirl that grew up and stopped running away from all his problems. Poliwrath put new gloves on and started working out, and now he can swim across the ocean without stopping or even using his arms. The world needs more inspirational Pokémon like Poliwrath.
Oddish may be a garden weed, but at least he’s a cute one. He waddles around sewing his seeds, which only adds to the disarming and charming nature of this Pokémon. At least until you try to pull him out of the ground while he’s sleeping, and he screams in your face. Not so cute.
Out of all the Pokémon that look like generic birds, Pidgeotto is probably the least boring. This more-developed Pidgey now has a crest of long red feathers, a razor-sharp beak and very sharp claws. He also preys on dumber Pokémon like Exeggcute, so that’s a bonus.
When you have as much of an attitude problem as Nidorino, it helps to have an interesting appearance. As the upset, unstable teenager in Nidoran’s evolutionary cycle, Nidorino is poisonous and attacks almost anything he sees, but at least he looks somewhat cool while doing it.
Compared to her male counterpart, Nidorina is pretty calm most of the time. She still has that permanent look of adolescent discontent on her face, but that’s probably because she can’t breed. We still have no idea what animal the "Nido-" family of Pokémon is based on.
Dewgong is basically a Pokémon who shouts his name like a doofus, which probably prevents him from placing any higher on our list. His fierce ice-based attacks definitely make up for constantly yelling “Dewgong-gong-gong.”
This cute little armadillo-like creature has a brick-patterned exterior that helps him blend into the environment. Did we mention how cute he is?
If you have an abundance of Nidorino lying around after pilfering the safari zone, it’s always a good idea to toss a moonstone his way. Nidoking completes the male Nidoran evolution tree, and looks awesome.
Nidoqueen is a fierce protector of her young, and is one of the most respectable Pokémon moms this side of Kangaskhan. Nidoqueen’s design conveys a sense of friendliness and ferociousness, which will come out if you get on her bad side.
We could probably talk more about how cool Abra is if he would stop teleporting away from us.
Machop lives in the mountains and spends his time training away from humans, and maybe that’s because Machop is embarrassed about his weird head-dorsal fins. This strong little dude is still cool though, because he can lift up big ol’ boulders.
This wingless bird Pokémon has the honor of being one of the few avian Pokémon that doesn’t just look like an average bird. Not necessarily in a good way, but three heads are theoretically better than one.
With that mouth, Horsea basically looks like some sort of weird aquatic evolution of Birdo from Super Mario Bros. 2. I think they might be distant genetic relatives.
Cloyster is an undeniably cool Pokémon. Well, technically Cloyster is just a little black pearl with a face inside of a badass-looking shell. Turns out putting a weird little Danny DeVito-esque face in an armored shell works out alright.
Gastly’s piercing eyes and sharp fangs make him more intimidating than a ball made out of poison has any right to be.
Starmie is another creature that probably puzzled the marine biologists of the Pokémon world. Starmie kind of looks like two Staryus slapped together and painted purple, but adds more fuel to the extraterrestrial origins theory. Starmie emits electrical waves that can signal out to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Starmie phone home…
Magnemite is rad because he looks like an assemblage of random things from your dad’s workbench. Can you be considered a living being if you’re mostly made up of objects you can buy at a hardware store?
Growlithe is one of the most desirable Pokémon on this list if you’re looking for a loyal pet. Who wouldn’t want a fire puppy to go on adventures with?
Persian is kind of a jerk. He has this stuck-up attitude and is always hanging around that Giovanni guy who is also a jerk. He just has a general disregard for people’s feelings – which might be a good thing. Persian is cool because he’s detached and doesn’t care about anything.
66. Nidoran (male)
The rodents of the Pokémon world are a lot more respectable than our world. Nidoran has a really cute pair of buck teeth that poke out of his mouth, and his cuteness is counterbalanced by his deadly toxicity.
65. Nidoran (female)
The female version of Nidoran barely edges out the male version on our list because she’s small and docile, but only uses her poisonous barbs when absolutely necessary. Nidoran’s reserve is honorable when there are Pokémon like Tauros who are always rampaging and knocking stuff all over the place.
Sandslash is an impeccably designed pholidote Pokémon. Sandslash’s brown quills complement his yellow body and sharp claws, which probably accounts for the “slash” part of his name.
We said some vaguely inflammatory things about Pidgey on this list, but you know what? Pidgeot redeems all of that “regular bird” nonsense. Pidgeot is a noble-looking bird that would make a great companion.
Beedrill makes it high up on our list because his name is so straightforward. When you hear the name “Beedrill” you know you’re going to get a big ol’ bee and some weird drill arms.
If Psyduck is your awkward teen phase, then Golduck is when you finally come into your own and forget about the old days of being slammed into high-school lockers. Nobody would ever shout “nerd alert” at Golduck.
Kabuto evolves from a fossil, but for an animal that’s roughly 300 million years old, the tiny shellfish still manages to look pretty good. How could you say no to those adorable glowing red eyes? It’s almost as if Kabuto is looking at you, saying, “Please, stop making your Pokémon fight. One day, they’ll all go extinct, like me.” Of course, we’ll never listen to Kabuto. We need badges.
Underneath Eevee’s fluffy exterior lies the promise of potential. With so many possible evolutions, it can be easy to forget that Eevee is pretty great on her own merits. Just look at that bushy collar and those pointy ears and try to argue with us.
An eternally burning horse may sound like something more at home on the cover of a Megadeth album than a Nintendo game, but Ponyta’s fiery appearance proves otherwise. According to Pokémon Stadium, Ponyta is “capable of leaping over the Eiffel Tower in a single, giant leap.” That’s amazing.
For a creature that’s eventually going to grow into something as fearsome as a Dragonite, Dratini is pretty teeny. By our standard, Dratini is the cutest sea serpent around.
Is there anything more intimidating than two columns of razor-sharp teeth? How about a set of spiky iron pincers?
Tauros is an irritable bovine Pokémon that isn’t afraid to get rowdy. We don’t know if there’s country music in the Pokémon world, but there’s probably a song or two about big-rig trucks and Tauros grazing on the range.
Strangely enough Hitmonlee is based loosely on Bruce Lee and Hitmonchan is named after Jackie Chan. Nobody looks at the “Hitmon” part of the name though, and when you spell it all out, his name is probably “Hit Monsters Jackie Chan.”
We can’t look at Machamp without wondering, “Where did he get those pants?” Also, did Machamp win a pro wrestling title to get that belt? These are the questions that keep us up at night.
Onix is a sentient series of boulders arranged in the form of a giant snake. While that idea might not sound too captivating on paper, Onix more than makes up for it in toughness. Wait, what are we talking about – that sounds captivating on paper, too!
Another in the long line of shoving three Pokémon together to make a new one, Magneton at least has science on his side – after all, putting three magnets together is how super magnets are made, and we all know how awesome super magnets are. That is how super magnets are made…right?
Where were you when you first realized that Poliwag’s “nose” was actually his mouth? You were right here reading this article, weren’t you?
Unlike most intermediate Pokémon that you have to suffer through to get to their better evolved form, Ivysaur is pretty darn cool. He’s got a mischievous grin, and he looks tough enough to hold his own – aside from the budding flower on his back, that is…
Who doesn’t love the exciting world of geometry? This virtual Pokémon has got angles in all the right places. Due to Porygon’s retro-gaming-inspired experience, we like to think of it as the “indie developer” of the Pokémon world.
Omastar’s spiky shell, wiggling tentacles, and sharp beak make him one of the more terrifying water types out there. He’s pretty intimidating for a species that supposedly went extinct centuries ago.
You may call Snorlax lazy, but at least he’s always smiling. Ironically, Snorlax’s big belly would probably make the snoozing Pokémon a pretty comfortable pillow substitute in a pinch.
The world could use more Laprases. Called the Transport Pokemon, Lapras is tailor-made for surfing trainers back and forth across bodies of water while still managing to look sleek and stylish.
And you thought Omastar looked spiky. Seadra is quite the tough customer compared to his predecessor Horsea. What Seadra lacks in legs he more than makes up for in poison-tipped fins.
According to the Pokedex, Cubone wears the skull of his dead mother, and no one has ever seen the creature’s face. If that weren’t sad enough, the poor Pokémon spends most nights crying and mourning her passing. We’re sorry, little guy. At least the skull makes you look pretty rad, right?
Kingler continues the pattern of “spiky-looking water types” that seem to be a popular trend on this countdown. Armed with a pair of mismatched claws, Kingler’s massive scale and iron grip have earned him the 43rd slot on our countdown.
Haunter could easily be the scariest floating ball of gas in video games. Surprisingly, despite Haunter’s sharp claws and jagged little teeth, his tongue is probably the most terrifying thing about this ghost Pokémon.
Parasect is a mushroom that’s completely taken over an insect’s body, leaving only a pair of beady lil’ eyes, two claws, and a couple of creepy legs left exposed. Despite being both an insect and a fungus, Parasect’s unassuming demeanor makes him one bug we would never squash.
Maybe having “cool” in his name should be considered cheating, but Tentacool’s got more going for him than just a braggart name. Tentacool’s glowing crystals and light-blue body give the jellyfish an almost otherworldly appearance.
Dugtrio expands on the Magneton principal to further prove that three Pokémon are better than one. What’s going on under the dirt? We may never know, but Dugtrio’s cute enough on the surface that it’s honestly probably better if we never ask.
Raichu’s got a big belly and an even bigger tail, but the electric mouse still manages to stay agile and tough. A cool color scheme makes Raichu one of the top mouse Pokémon in the entire 151. Plus he’s good friends with Pikachu. It’s good to be friends with celebrities.
Geodude, but with double the arms! Graveler’s extra appendages more than make up for his predecessor’s lack of legs. Despite his newfound bipedal prowess, Graveler prefers to move around by rolling, making him the toughest Pokémon on the top of the mountain – as long as his opponent is standing at the bottom, that is.
Scyther is a ninja bug with arms that are actual swords. It doesn’t get much cooler than that. Unfortunately, we had to bump him down a few slots due to his inability to hug. Sorry, Scyther. You’ve got to be a fighter, not a lover.
Who doesn’t love dragons? The evolved form of Dratini is a bit more serpentine than his predecessor, and while those wings on Dragonair’s head might not be functional, they’re definitely fashionable.
What exactly is an Electabuzz? An electric cat with antennae and clawed feet, apparently. All things considered, that’s a pretty novel concept. Keep doing you, Electabuzz.
Vulpix is a cute canid with a ton of tails. Don’t you just want to snuggle that fur? Just be careful not to get burned.
According to the Pokédex, the pattern on Arbok’s hood changes depending on the region. No matter where Arbok is, however, he’s still a giant snake, and no amount of pattern-changing will make that any less awesome.
Rhyorn looks like he could break any wall (or heart) that he needs to. And all without a single apology.
If you ignore the awesome fact that Ninetails has eight extra tails, then you’re still left with a creature that can control minds and live for up to 1,000 years.
Marowak wears his mother’s skull on his head, and has been wearing it for so long that he can no longer take it off. When you’re harboring a grudge like that, no other Pokémon stands a chance.
You wouldn’t think a shellfish Pokémon would inspire such a gruesome creature. Kabutops could show up in a slasher film as a monster and no one would think twice. Thanks for putting the “monster” back in “pocket monster,” Kabutops.
Rapidash is the stuntman willing to set himself on fire and run through the scene when no one else will. Rapidash is a hero.
Arcanine is made of three things: a wolf, a tiger, and fire. That list also doubles as a list of three awesome things.
One of the few early Pokémon with dino DNA, Aerodactyl is basically a pet pterodactyl who fights for you.
Gesundheit. Can’t go wrong with a five-foot tall ice bird.
The word “vapor” isn’t really a good thing to have in your name, but when you’re a fox-fish-thing who got fashion advice from a Dilophosaurus, then you can be called whatever you want.
We think Magmar is a lava platypus.
Moms don’t really stick with their kids much in the world of Pokémon (e.g. Cubone, every player character, etc.), which is why Kangaskhan is better than most. She takes care of her own.
Forgiving the fact that his name sounds like a form of inexpensive public transportation, Rhydon is a bipedal rhino which is something we like.
Joltean is like the Super Saiyan of Evee transformations, with his angular yellow hair making him an imposing force you should not test.
Squids are cool creatures, and Tentacruel just looks a little angry, like something could set him off at any moment.
Charmeleon is like a slightly grown-up, cool-guy lizard. He’s the kid in your high school that wasn’t a jock but got along with everybody and wore sunglasses all the time. He’s the Ferris Bueller of Pokémon.
Undoubtedly inspired by the mythical Phoenix, the idea that you could possess a bird capable of erupting into flames is an awesome idea.
Evee is an adorable Pokémon with multiple transformations, but Flareon beats out his brothers by expertly treading the line of looking like a snuggly pet and a talented combatant at the same time.
Being an electric bird is cool on its own, but when you’re so sharp that just looking in Zapdos’ general direction would give you a paper cut, you have to appreciate the design.
Mew is a hero because his existence was called into question for a period of time. He’s also the younger, more adorable version of Mewtwo, and one of the hardest Pokémon to track down in the original game.
Much like his cousin, Blastoise, we’re pretty sure Venusaur is mostly made of tank. If you ran across him in a cave, your first instinct would undoubtedly be to text your friends and family to go ahead and delete your Facebook account and clear your browser history because you won’t be coming home.
Part turtle, part bear, and part canon, Blastoise is the kind of Pokémon you don’t want to accidently come across in the wild. He has a look in his eyes that implies crushing you would really be no problem at all.
Gengar is a ghost, which has scary implications about the nature of life and death in the world of Pokémon – but that’s not why Gengar cracks the top 10. He can only achieve his final form through trade, and he reminds us of Totoro – but like a scary, less-huggable version of Totoro that uses his powers to destroy rather than show young children the importance of optimism and listening to your parents.
The Scarface of the Pokémon world, Gyrados looks awesome and earns credit for the fact that he came from nothing. You have to build up Magikarp to arrive at Gyrados and his open, terrifying mouth implies that he fully understands everything he had to do, and every obstacle he had to overcome to get where he is today.
Dragonite is seven feet tall, making him a fire-breathing force of nature. Yet thanks to wings that seem too small for his body and a baby dragon face, you can’t help but love him as he decimates everything and everyone.
Charmander is a great, lovable fire beast. He’s a popular pick when it comes to selecting your starting creature because fire is fun, but it’s not until he’s much older that he becomes the more awesome, much more sought-after Pokémon.
Bulbasaur is an interesting creature that eschews the typical design of mixing together two animals, or putting a slant on a familiar creature. We’re not quite sure what Bulbasaur is, which is what makes him great. He’s sort of like a turtle, but also a plant, and maybe a lizard? We’re fans.
The starters all have a special place in our heart, and Squirtle’s first form beats out the other two by recalling our love for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He can spit jets of water, hide in his shell, and he is hands-down the cutest of the starters.
As the saying goes, Game Freak clearly saved (one of) the best for last with #150. He stands like a human, but is somehow also a cat. He’s brooding, dark and mysterious, and later had a film devoted to his lineage. He’s the whole reason the Master Ball even exists, and it’s totally worth the expenditure of the single-use item to add him to your roster.
Even if you don’t know Pokémon, you know who this electric rodent is. Pikachu is the true star of the anime adaptation and the elected leader and spokesperson of all things Pokémon. Pikachu was the one you had to find and capture, because even though your mom probably didn’t care about your collection, she could at least acknowledge and recognize Pikachu, which makes him awesome.
He may be a fire-type Pokémon, but that doesn’t prevent everyone from confusing him for a dragon. Pikachu may be the one you recognize, but Charizard is the one you want. Powerful, gigantic, and imposing, his ultimate form makes your first selection a no-brainer. Charizard is the coolest Pokémon, even though his tail is on fire.