In the world of Pokémon, specific elemental categories – or Types – tend to have a bit more power than others. For a long time, Dragon-Type Pokémon dominated the battling scene, while Psychic-Types and Fighting-Types have been a part of high-level play since the very beginning.
Of course, that means that some Types will fall to the wayside, and if there’s one group of Pokémon that’s been left behind, it’s the humble Bug-Type. Despite the fact that many of Generation 1′s Bug-Type Pokémon went on to become some of the most iconic monsters in the series, most trainers don’t feel like giving up one of their precious party slots to an underpowered monster with weak moves and wimpy stats.
With Pokémon Sun & Moon on the way, maybe it’s time to give our insectoid friends another chance. While it’s definitely true that a lot of Bug-Type Pokémon aren’t all that strong from a purely statistical standpoint, there are still quite a few that can hold their own in battle… and some that are just plain cool. Maybe – just maybe – these 15 Bug-Type Pokémon Are Actually Worth Your Time.
At this point, the Pokémon anime is just as iconic as the games themselves. The adventures of Ash, Misty and Brock introduced millions of kids to the monster-catching phenomenon – and, though it might not hold up as well today as it did in the ‘90s, there are plenty of episodes that are still worth checking out.
The Season One episode ‘Bye Bye Butterfree’ is one of those episodes. At first glance, it largely follows the same structure as every other episode in the series (Team Rocket causes trouble, Ash and Pikachu take them down), but it’s the tearful finale that will make any Poke-fan break down in tears. Watching as Ash lets his Butterfree go is still as gut-wrenching now as it was back in 1996.
The nostalgia from that episode alone is enough to justify using Butterfree…but it’s not as if the Butterfly Pokémon can’t hold its own in a fight. With early-game access to moves like Poison Power, Stun Spore and Sleep Powder, Butterfree makes for a nice curveball in any low-level trainer’s party. Granted, it still has its fair share of nasty elemental weaknesses, but for anyone who’s just starting their Pokémon journey, Butterfree makes for a great companion.
Butterfree is, for many, one of the purest examples of a Bug-Type Pokémon ever. Unfortunately, that comes with some serious drawbacks… but, as Volcarona proves, sometimes the best way to overcome one’s weaknesses is to just light everything on fire.
As one of the few Bug/Fire-Type Pokémon out there, Volcarona is already something special. What makes the monster even better is that, unlike a lot of other Bug-Type Pokémon, it’s actually capable of doing some serious damage. Volcarona’s base Special Attack stat is just plain ridiculous, meaning that its already-powerful list of Fire-Type moves can decimate entire teams in minutes. Plus, there’s the fact that Volcarona can learn some of the best Bug-Type moves in the game, giving it some added variety that few other Pokémon have.
Like many hybrid Pokémon, Volcarona’s got its fair share of weaknesses, and it certainly doesn’t help that its HP and Defense stats aren’t all that great. That being said, passing on a Volcarona simply because of its somewhat fragile nature would be a huge mistake: this is a Pokémon that can make or break entire matches, and having one on a team can be a game-changer.
There’s really no other way to put it: Accelgor’s a weird Pokémon.
Looking at Accelgor’s design, it’s clearly supposed to be something like a ninja, but it evolves from a tiny bug wearing a medieval helmet. Not only that, but it evolves alongside another Pokémon called Escavalier, which is also clearly inspired by medieval knights. How Accelgor evolved into a ninja amidst a litany of medieval-esque Pokémon is anyone’s guess – and it’s not like its stats do much to explain its design.
Really, Accelgor’s main strength is its speed. Aside from the absolute fastest creatures in the PokeDex, it’s almost guaranteed that Accelgor will be attacking first. Its offensive capabilities aren’t necessarily the best, but they’re far from terrible, and Accelgor has a relatively deep moveset to draw from.
To be perfectly honest, Accelgor is far from the strongest Pokémon, and his design doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Then again, that’s enough of a reason to evolve that Shelmet – there’s really no other Pokémon that’s as bizarrely cobbled-together as Accelgor.
Most people would assume that a Pokémon based on a scorpion wouldn’t be very cute. They’d be wrong.
Not only is Skorupi one of the cutest Bug-Type Pokémon out there, it’s not all that bad in battle, either. From a stats perspective, it’s not terribly strong (even for an un-evolved Pokémon), but that doesn’t mean that Skorupi doesn’t have its place on the front lines.
Skorupi’s biggest strength is easily its moveset. Not only does the Scorpion Pokémon have access to a wide variety of early-game status effect moves, but it also pulls its attacks from a wide variety of different typings. Skorupi has access to Bug, Normal, Dark and Poison attacks, as well as a surprisingly long list of TM and HM techniques. Again, Skorupi isn’t the strong Pokémon in terms of stats, but the sheer variety of different moves it can learn makes for some serious mind games once the battles start.
Were it not for the fact that Skorupi’s evolved form completely changes its typing, there’s a good chance that Drapion would have made it somewhere on this list… but that doesn’t mean that Skorupi isn’t worth keeping around.
For the most part, Bug-Type Pokémon seem relatively harmless. Granted, not every Bug-Type monster is as cute as something like Butterfree or Skorupi, but most of them don’t come across as giant, multi-legged monstrosities.
Scolipede is the exception to that rule: standing at just over eight feet tall, a full-grown Scolipede towers over the average human male. There’s also the fact that Scolipede is incredibly strong, and its PokeDex entries constantly mention the fact that even its smallest legs can hold its prey in place while Scolipede’s deadly poison takes effect.
It’s surprising, then, that Scolipede isn’t a tougher fighter. Its stats are, for the most part, average: though its Speed stat is above-average, there’s really nothing else that sets Scolipede apart from other Bug-Types, or even other Bug/Poison hybrids. Even its moveset, which taps from a number of different elements (including Dark and Rock-Type) doesn’t really stand out.
Alright, let’s get this out of the way: yes, Shuckle has one of the worst Attack stats in the entire Pokémon franchise. It’s absolutely abysmal, and as a result, Shuckle can be nearly impossible to use in an offensive role.
Here’s the thing: just because Shuckle can barely muster an attack doesn’t mean he’s worthless. When working as part of a Double or Triple Battle, Shuckle’s allies can boost his attack to an incredible degree, and using the move ‘Power Trick’ can switch its Attack and Defense stats. In fact, if all of the right conditions are met, Shuckle could (in theory) throw out some of the hardest-hitting moves of any Pokémon ever.
And, while his design may not be the most eye-catching, Shuckle is actually one of the more scientifically accurate Pokémon. Everything, from the shell, to the gooey ‘skin’, to the digestive juices, can actually be found in real-life animals known as endoliths. Granted, Shuckle is quite a bit cuter than endoliths in the real world, but there’s no denying that its cuddly appearance is based on actual animals.
It’s no secret that, when it comes down to the numbers, Ariados is a middle-of-the-road Pokémon. That doesn’t mean that Ariados can’t hold its own in a fight, but there are plenty of Pokémon (including Bug-Types) with stronger stats and movesets. At the end of the day, battling with Ariados is more of a personal choice than a strategic one.
Then again, Ariados is on this list for an entirely different reason: its PokeDex entries are downright horrifying. When it first debuted, Ariados’ PokeDex entries were harmless, almost cute…and then the Generation IV PokeDex had to go and ruin everything.
“[Ariados] attaches silk to its prey and sets it free. Later, it tracks the silk to the prey and its friends.”
Think about it like this: Ariados snags a Pokémon with its web, only for the prey to run away back to its family. The prey thinks it got away without a scratch and that there’s nothing else to worry about. Then, when the prey least expects it, Ariados attacks and wipes out everyone in one fell swoop. The idea of one Pokémon eating another is creepy enough to begin with, but imagining Ariados picking off an entire pack of cute little Wurmple is downright terrifying.
Bug-Type Pokémon aren’t really known for their strength. It doesn’t matter if it’s offensive or defensive power, and there’s a reason why most high-level players don’t use Bug-Types: they’re simply not strong enough to compete.
That being said, there are a few noteworthy exceptions, and Pinsir is one of them. For longtime fans, Pinsir is one of the most iconic Pokémon to come out of Generation 1 – and for good reason.
To put it bluntly, a properly-trained Pinsir can be an absolute beast in player-versus-player battles. Its base stats feature ridiculous Attack and Defense ratings, and its Speed stat is nothing to sneeze at, either. Simply put, Pinsir can hit hard and take a punch, and that’s before it Mega Evolves.
What’s surprising is that Pinsir doesn’t really learn many Bug-Type moves; instead, the Pokémon’s moveset mostly revolves around Fighting-Type attacks. It’s a strange combination to be sure, but in the right hands, Pinsir (and Mega Pinsir by extension) can be absolutely devastating.
Alright, yes: it’s clear that Heracross was designed as a Generation 2 version of Pinsir. Everything about the Pokémon screams rehash.
And yet, Heracross isn’t an exact copy. Sure, it shares more than a few similarities with its Generation 1 cousin, but there’s enough under-the-surface differences to warrant catching one of each.
First and foremost, Heracross fights differently than its predecessor. Pinsir was built to be a strong, quick fighter, with high Speed and Attack stats. Heracross, on the other hand, is a bit more durable: though its Speed stat isn’t all that great, high Attack and HP stats make up for it. If Pinsir was built to be something of a glass cannon, Heracross is more of a brick wall, and that mentality extends to its Mega Evolution as well.
Mega Heracross is different from most other Mega Evolutions in that not all of its stats receive a significant boost. To be fair, its Attack stat shoots through the roof, but in exchange, Mega Heracross actually slows down a bit. It’s not a huge difference, but in high-level play, even the tiniest difference in stats decide the outcome of a battle.
6. Ninjask & Shedinja
On the surface, Nincada doesn’t seem all that special. The Ground/Bug typing is a little strange, but even so, it’s not as if there’s anything about Nincada that’ll really jump out and grab a trainer’s attention.
Until it evolves, that is: as of this writing, Nincada is the only Pokémon that evolves into two separate forms at the same time.
Ninjask is the ‘primary’ evolution. Nincada’s original Ground/Bug typing is switched out for a combination of Bug and Flying, granting Ninjask a new Ability and a deeper pool of attacks to draw from. Not only that, but Ninjask is one of the fastest Pokémon out there, making him a prime choice for high-level battling and serious early-match damage.
As if that wasn’t good enough, if the player has an extra Pokeball and a free slot available when Nincada evolves, Shedinja will also join the party. This ‘castoff’ evolution is essentially Nincada’s molted shell – and, while that might not sound like much, its Bug/Ghost typing makes it an absolute beast when it comes to battling.
When it comes to high-level Pokémon play, looks are the absolute last thing that matters. Typing, move-sets, items, team layouts, strategies and counters – all of these are crucial aspects of competitive battling. All in all, it really doesn’t matter if a Pokémon is cute or not.
…and then there’s Joltik.
Just look at it! Sure, fans may cite Pikachu or Eevee as the cutest monsters in the PokeDex, but there’s no denying that Joltik deserves the top spot. Not only is it covered in electric fluff (making it one of the few Bug/Electric hybrids), it’s ridiculously tiny – at only four inches tall, it’s easily one of the smallest Pokémon ever conceived.
Sadly, Joltik doesn’t really have much use in battle. His Bug-Type moves are relatively standard (a.k.a. almost worthless), and his Electric-Type moves are few and far between. Joltik’s evolved form, Galvantula, tends to fare a bit better in battle, but you probably won’t find either on a championship team anytime soon.
Let’s go from one of the cutest Pokémon to one of the most horrifying.
Both Paras and Parasect don’t look all that intimidating at first: both are just little mushroom bugs, complete with comically-sized claws and bright orange shells. It’s only when players start to delve into the PokeDex that the true horror of the Paras line comes to light.
The fact that Paras is playing host to a parasitic fungi is creepy enough, but that’s nothing compared to poor Parasect’s fate. By the time it evolves, Parasect has been all but liquefied by the fungi, leaving nothing but a sentient mushroom, some claws and a pair of lifeless eyes. It’s basically like The Last of Us, only players keep the zombie parasite in a ball on their belts.
At the very least, Parasect’s no slouch when it comes to battling. Like all Bug-Types, it has some major deficiencies, but its hefty TM and HM moveset adds some versatility and unpredictability. On top of that, Parasect’s base stats are pretty solid (especially for a Bug Type), with a hefty Attack stat – just don’t expect it to throw the first punch very often.
Heracross may have been a Generation 2 adaptation of Pinsir, but Scizor almost feels like a straight-up copycat. Save for a few tiny differences, Scizor and its pre-evolved form Scyther are almost exactly the same: both feature extremely similar stats, movesets and weaknesses.
So, which one is worth keeping around?
Well, when it comes down to it, Scizor is the all-around more useful Pokémon. Yes, Scyther is a bit faster, but Scizor’s other stats make up for its slower speed – plus, there’s the fact that Scizor can receive an added power bonus thanks to its Mega Evolution, which widens the gap up even further.
However, the real deciding factor is in the two monsters’ weaknesses. Scizor does suffer from an extreme weakness to Fire-Type attacks, but that’s it – meanwhile, Scyther is weak against Flying, Rock, Fire, Electric and Ice-Type moves, meaning that its usefulness outside of very specific situations can be limited. Again, both are great Pokémon (and are definitely worth catching), but a Scizor is probably going to be a better pick in more situations than its pre-evolved form.
Even if you haven’t been keeping up with recent Pokémon games, there’s a good chance that you still know what a Legendary Pokémon is. What you might not know is that there’s a new tier of the extremely rare monsters: Mythical Pokémon are even more powerful than their Legendary counterparts, and are almost impossible to find.
Genesect is one of these Mythical Pokémon. Debuting back in Pokémon Black & White, Genesect is an extremely powerful fighter: its signature move, Techno Blast, changes its elemental damage based on whatever equipment Genesect is holding. And, while its base stats aren’t necessarily the best, Genesect’s Bug/Steel combination means that it’s only weak to Fire-Types, and eliminates many of the inherent weaknesses of most Bug-Types.
Obviously, Genesect is one of the most powerful Bug-Types out there, but its extreme exclusivity means that most people won’t get a chance to fight with one. As a Mythical Pokémon, Genesect is almost impossible to get a hold of outside of Nintendo’s special events – it’s a shame, too, because battling with Genesect is something that every trainer should experience at least once.
…and yet, there’s still one Bug-Type Pokémon that stands above the rest.
For a lot of trainers, Beedrill will be one of the first Pokémon they ever catch. In Generation 1, the Viridian Forest was absolutely crawling with Weedle and Kakuna – and, considering how quickly these Pokémon evolve, players likely entered the first gym with a fully-evolved Beedrill on their team.
The thing is, just because Beedrill evolves quickly doesn’t mean it’s only useful during the early hours of the game. Beedrill’s high-level attacks can absolutely destroy certain opponents, and the ability to consistently poison the enemy team can cause trouble even if Beedrill’s not actually in the fight…and, to make matters worse for Beedrill’s opponents, Generation VI gave the Poison Bee Pokémon a Mega Evolution.
Beedrill’s impressive Attack and Speed stats skyrocket upon Mega Evolving: instead of simply poisoning the other team, Mega Beedrill can devastate just about anything standing in its way. True, even Mega Beedrill can have trouble taking large amounts of damage, but most of the time, the other team won’t even have a chance to attack.
Let’s be honest, Bug-Type Pokémon aren’t widely-used in battle for a reason. That being said, if you’re going to dedicate one of the slots on your team to a Bug-Type, it may as well be the best of the best: Beedrill.