The most appealing feature of Pokémon has always been the titular Pocket Monsters that live throughout the worlds of Kanto, Jhoto, Hoenn and beyond. Now that Pokémon Go has brought Pokémon from their fictional world into the real world, it seems that everyone is working to become more familiar with Pokémon. That sounds like an exciting prospect for anyone who hasn’t picked up a Game Boy or a DS since 2000, but it may be daunting for those living under a rock to learn that there are now a whopping 721 Pokémon in existence.
While many Pokémon are pretty simple and easy to understand, there are a few unique Pokemon that don’t follow the same rules as others. It’s yet to be known if Pokémon Go is going to try and mimic many of these Pokémon’s unique abilities, but these are the Pokémon to keep an eye out for when they arrive.
It’s 1996 and you just went out and snagged the hottest new game on the market: Pokémon. You’re familiarizing yourself with the world of Kanto and becoming accustomed to how Pokémon work. You go through grass, a Pokémon appears, and it battles you. What a surprise it is, then, when you see a new Pokémon called an Abra before your own eyes. This mysterious Pokémon needs to be collected to fulfill your quest to “catch them all”…and then it disappears.
Abra is almost universally every Pokémon trainers first interaction with a psychic-type Pokémon, but they usually end up feeling jaded, with good reason. The only move that Abra learns naturally is Teleport – this makes it not only near-useless in battle, but a real hassle to catch as well. Abra is the first Pokémon introduced in the series with a clear gimmick, but any trainers patient enough to train it are treated to its powerful evolutions, Kadabra and Alakazam.
Nintendo, ever the innovators, constantly look to their game to try and implement their latest hardware. While some of Nintendo’s hardware has had great benefits for the Pokémon series — like the dual screens of the DS — other aspects have been difficult to integrate, like the DS’ built-in microphone.
Enter Chatot, one of many normal-flying types in a long line of normal-flying types. What makes Chatot different than the multiple Pidgey knock-offs that have made their way into Pokémon games is that fact that the player itself is able to control the effectiveness of its signature move, Chatter. However, that move is affected by the player screaming into the DS’ microphone as loud as possible. While this may be a fine approach when playing on one’s own, it’s far from an ideal situation for someone who brings their DS into the library.
Pikachu is very important to Pokémon’s identity in popular culture. So important that the creators of the game thought it would be a good idea to add not one, but two knock-off Pikachus into the game. Plusle and Minun are almost exactly like Pikachu, except one represents a positive electric charge and the other represents a negative electric charge.
Plusle and Minun were introduced in Generation III, and served the purpose of providing an example for 2v2 Pokémon battles. Plusle and Minun learn partner-centric attacks such as Helping Hand, but outside of 2v2 battles, there is really no reason to have preference over either of these electric rodents over the tried and true Pikachu. Plus, having Plusle and Minun means have two electric-type Pokémon in a party that could otherwise be more well-balanced.
Are Normal-type Pokémon really that useful? So much of Pokémon relies on the rock-paper-scissors treatment of type that it seems almost pointless to put too much stock into a normal-type Pokémon, but that doesn’t stop Nintendo from trying to make Normal-type Pokémon interesting, if not useful.
Spinda isn’t incredibly useful. It’s signature move, Teeter Dance, promises to confuse all adjacent players in a fight – including your allies. What makes Spinda different than any other normal-type Pokémon is the unique design of the dizzy bear itself. When players encounter a Spinda in the game, the game itself randomly generates the spot pattern of the Pokémon. What was more likely just an experiment for the creators ended up being the entire gimmick behind this Pokémon, but hopefully, this development allowed the developers to explore new routes to use randomization in future games.
Porygon is the first man-constructed Pokémon that many players are likely to encounter – and it’s also a favorite of any gamblers that happen to pick up Pokémon, as in the first generation, it’s only available as the top prize at the Celadon City Game Corner. However, once won, this rare computerized Pokémon is a powerful asset.
There’s a mystique to Porygon, based solely on the fact that it was difficult to acquire in its first appearance. Porygon’s digital form showcases itself in its signature move, Conversion. Conversion allows Porygon to transform its type into the type of its opponent, or a move type of the opponent. For instance, if Conversion is used on an Electric-type Pokémon after an Electric-type move is used, Porygon will become Electric-type for the duration of the battle. This was the first of many experiments with type that Pokémon would explore over its many games.
Delibird is a weird red penguin, but that’s not what makes it unique. What makes it unique is its bag of tricks – literally. Delibird only learns one move, a move that no other Pokémon learns naturally. Whenever battling a Delibird, you’ll find yourself with a bevy of presents lobbed your way in the form of the move Present. However, much like Santa Claus and a naughty child, these presents aren’t always a good thing.
Delibird is the gambler’s Pokémon. The move Present will sometimes cause a light attack, a medium attack, a heavy attack, or will actually heal the opponent. While some of these options are more ideal than others, the unique nature of Delibird’s signature move makes it a fun addition to any roster, and can prove to add a little bit of drama and suspense to even the most mundane Pokémon battles.
No, No – Sawsbuck isn’t the name of the hot new coffee chain in Unova. Sawsbuck is a seasonal deer Pokémon whose antler decoration differs depending on what season it is caught during. Of course, in Pokémon seasons work differently than in the real world. Each real world month correlates to a different season in Pokémon Black and White. January is Spring, February is Summer, March is Autumn, April is Winter, May is Spring again, and so on.
As the season changes, so too does Sawsbuck. Its Antlers begin to bloom in Spring before becoming fully grown in Summer. Then as the leaves fade away in Autumn before becoming bare in the winter. Its pre-evolved form, Deerling, also changes color along with the seasons. Deerling and Sawsbuck also have the honor of being the only Normal/Grass-type combination in the world of Pokémon.
It may never be known why Nintendo is so dedicated to making its customers look dumb whenever they’re playing their games, but it’s certainly a pattern. From the Virtual Boy to the infamous soda-shaking game in Mario Party 8, many Nintendo games seek to make a fool out of the player to any outside observers. Pokémon is no exception, and long before Pokémon Go was causing players to stop in place and spin around for seemingly no reason, the Pokémon Malamar was making players look sillier than a Mr. Mime at a business convention.
Malamar is evolved from Inkay at Level 30, with the caveat that when Inkay levels up, the player has to hold the 3DS upside down. While this is a silly, silly trial to put the player through, its efforts pay off, as Malamar is surprisingly powerful. Sometimes a little bit of sacrifice goes a long way – and if you’re playing Pokémon in public, you’re likely not too concerned with what the haters are thinking anyway.
What exactly is Ditto? A weird pile of purple goop? A failed attempt at cloning Mew? Whatever Ditto is, there’s one thing that’s clear – it is powerful. Ditto, the first distinctly gimmicky Pokémon to be introduced to the series, knows only one move: Transform. Ditto has the capacity to go from being just a pile of to that of literally any Pokémon in the world, even copying their move set. It can transform into something as insignificant as a Pidgey, or it can transform into Arceus and become God itself.
Interestingly enough, the only other Pokémon that can learn Transform is the legendary Mew. While this means Transform isn’t truly Ditto’s signature move, it does indicate that the designers of the game knew exactly what they were doing when they were developing the little guy. Ditto’s unique not just for being unlike any other Pokémon – it’s also a key part of the early Pokémon mythos.
Pokémon is a universal phenomenon, and no Pokémon exploits that quite like Vivillion. Taking “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” to its logical extreme, there are 20 known variations of the Pokémon. The kicker, however, is that the Pokémon’s pattern depends on where you catch it in real life. A Vivillion you catch in Canada is going to have a different pattern than a Vivillion caught in Brazil.
Vivillion collecting has become a game-withing-a-game for many people, with communities sprouting up dedicated to trading, looking to obtain every single type of Vivillion and complete their Vivillion collection. This technique seems to have inspired Pokémon Go, which has certain Pokémon that are only able to be caught on certain continents. If you’re really going to “Catch ’em All”, it may be time to invest in a plane ticket.
Pokémon types have been an important factor to the series since Generation I, and the series has experimented with deconstructing types from the very beginning, with Pokémon like Porygon being able to change type mid-battle. In Generation III, when abilities were introduced to the game, Pokémon cut out the middle-man and created a Pokémon that changes types automatically, no matter what you may try and do to stop it.
Kecleon’s ability Color Change forces it to change its type to whatever the last move used against it was. This can be incredibly frustrating for anyone fighting a Kecleon, as its changing type can make it difficult to counter. It can also be incredibly frustrating for those who use Kecleon, as changing types mid-battle makes crafting a strategy near-impossible. Especially frustrating is the fact that Kecleon’s move types don’t change, meaning normal moves are still normal no matter what type Kecleon is.
Shedinja may be the most genuine Ghost-type Pokémon in the entire series, as it’s the only Pokémon you obtain from actually sacrificing another Pokémon. While the sacrifice isn’t all bad – Shedinja is obtained when Nincada evolves into Ninjask, meaning you get two Pokémon for the price of one – it doesn’t make it any less creepy that you are now in control of what is essentially a possessed bug carcass.
The carcass itself may seem strong, but it can’t do much damage considering it only has 1 HP. While that may seem like an unfair advantage, Shedinja’s ability, Wonder Guard, prevents it from almost any attack that isn’t super effective. If you’re feeling lucky enough to avoid super effective moves and like having the only Bug/Ground-type Pokémon in the world on your side, then Shedinja makes an exciting addition to any team.
Some people’s entire mood changes with the weather, and that isn’t true for any Pokémon as much as it’s true for Castform. A science experiment gone right – a rare occurrence in the world of Pokémon – Castform changes form and type depending on the present weather conditions. If it’s extra sunny out, Castform transforms into its fire-type Sunny Form. Rainy? Say hello to water-type Rainy Form. Hail? Ice Form!
Castform’s abilities don’t just affect the Pokémon’s type, it also affects its attacks. It’s signature move, Weather Ball, changes form depending on the Weather. Castform’s moveset is often fairly limited, but it does learn the three key weather-based moves in Pokémon’s third generation: Sunny Day, Rainy Day, and Hail. These three, combined with Weather Ball, makes Castform a nightmare for anything that is weak to Fire, Water, or Ice types.
Continuing the precedent set by Castform, Rotom is an electricity-based ghost with the power to inhabit one of many different forms, creating some entirely unique type combinations. Rotom is usually an Electric/Ghost-type, but by inhabiting different electrical appliances, it can change its secondary type to either Fire, Water, Ice, Flying, or Grass.
This possibility allows for Rotom to utilize some incredibly unique strategies. As if its flexibility didn’t already make it extremely powerful, Rotom’s ability “Levitate” makes it almost completely immune to Ground, which is an electric-type Pokémon’s dream come true.
The phrase “Good artists copy; great artists steal” has never been more true than it has with Smeargle. The only Pokémon with a wholly customizable moveset, Smeargle only learns one move by leveling up – Sketch. Smeargle learns Sketch every 10 levels. When Sketch is used, Smeargle learns the last move that was used against it permanently. That means a Smeargle could go up to a legendary Pokémon, and take that Pokémon’s signature move. Then it could go to another legendary Pokémon, and take its most powerful move, and so on so forth.
While Smeargle’s stats leave a lot to be desired, its ability to collect all the most powerful moves in the Pokémon world make it an extremely powerful tool if left in the wrong hands. Who would think that an unsuspecting beagle with a paint-covered tail could bring about world destruction if it wanted to?
Wobbuffet is barely a Pokémon. It’s the anti-Pokémon. All of its moves are only barely moves. It would be the ultimate punchline in the Pokémon world if not for two facts: 1.) No Pokémon will ever be more of a laughing stock than Bidoof, and 2.) In the right hands, Wobbuffet is devastatingly powerful.
In every iteration, it knows only 4 moves: Counter, Mirror Coat, Safeguard, and Destiny Bond. Those first two moves both depend on Wobbuffet getting attacked, but it deals back the damage and then some. Wobbuffet is the punching bag that punches back. Add to that its ability, Shadow Tag – which prevents the opponent from escaping – and seeing a Wobbuffet in the wild could possibly be the worst thing to happen to your day. Wobbuffet’s uniqueness isn’t always a good thing, though. Due to the nature of Pokémon, there was a glitch in Generation III where if two Wobbuffets entered a battle equipped with leftovers, the battle would become endless. No other Pokémon is getting itself stuck in never-ending torture like that, making Wobbuffet the most unique Pokémon in the world.
Which Pokémon do you think is the most unique? Are there any Pokémon not on this list that you feel were left out? Sound off in the comments section!