When it comes to Pokemon, not everything is created equal. Some Pokemon are clearly better than others, with huge statistical advantages and all sorts of high-powered attacks. After twenty years of video games, it’s gotten to the point where entire elemental types have fallen by the wayside.
We’ve already covered the oft-overlooked Bug-Type, and it’s time to talk about another, similarly underrated class of Pokemon: the Poison-Type. Over the years, their seemingly pitiful attacks and huge focus on status effects has put the humble Poison-Type into a seemingly inescapable rut - one that they honestly don’t deserve to stay in.
It’s time to turn things around. With Pokemon Sun & Moon introducing a number of new Poison-Types into the mix, it’s time to prove, once and for all, that the stingers, barbs and spores of the Pokemon world deserve their time in the spotlight. Here are 15 Poison-Type Pokémon That Are Definitely Worth Your Time:
One of the biggest things holding Poison-Types back are elemental resistances. In general, they’ve got more weaknesses than strengths, and some Pokemon simply can’t be poisoned... which somewhat diminishes the Poison-type moves in battle. Venoshock can be a great attack, but it doesn’t matter much if the player can’t poison their opposition first.
However, for the first time, players actually have a way around the Poison-Type’s inherent weaknesses: Salandit. The new Generation VII Pokemon comes bundled with the ‘Corrosion’ Ability, meaning that it can poison absolutely anything, including those pesky (and immune) Steel-Types.
The ability for Salandit to poison anyone and everyone is a game-changer, but the perks don’t stop there: the Toxic Lizard Pokemon is actually a Poison/Fire hybrid, giving players access to some extremely hard-hitting offensive attacks. Granted, trainers will have to keep an eye on its low HP and Defense stats, but that doesn’t stop Salandit from playing some fantastic mind games against other Generation VII payers.
Alright, yes: Garbodor is a literal bag of trash. Save for an ice cream cone or a keyring, a trashbag is about the lamest thing anyone could ever base a Pokemon on. That being said, the fact that Garbodor is just a big pile of garbage is part of what makes it such a good Poison-Type Pokemon.
Let’s get it out of the way: nothing about Garbodor’s stats really helps it out. They’re not terrible, especially compared to some other Poison-Types, but there’s nothing that really stands out. Its moveset is also pretty standard, consisting almost entirely of Poison-Type attacks.
It’s the PokeDex entries that really solidify Garbodor’s spot on this list. For instance:
“Consuming garbage makes new kinds of poison gases and liquids inside their bodies.”
Not only is Garbodor one of many examples of Pokemon being influenced by pollution (more on that later), but it’s constantly creating new poisons and acids simply by eating. Many Poison-Type Pokemon take inspiration from the idea of being poisoned - Garbodor, on the other hand, is poison itself.
Out of all of the differing bat-like Pokemon in the series, the Zubat line is easily the most recognizable. In the original games, the omnipresent hordes of Zubat were a player’s worst nightmare when navigating caves, though capturing one and evolving it into a Golbat proved to be worth the effort. When Generation II made its debut, Crobat was added into the mix, giving players another incentive to fight their way through Johto’s Zubat infestation.
When comparing all three, it’s hard to argue that Crobat isn’t the best of the bunch. Zubat is almost worthless in a fight, and while Golbat’s stat boosts certainly help, it still can’t compare to Crobat’s ridiculous speed. Sure, Crobat’s four wings might look a little goofy, but there’s no denying that it’s easily the best fighter of the trio.
It’s also worth mentioning that Crobat’s Poison/Flying typing opens up some surprising tactics when it comes to battling. Poison-Types typically have trouble when going up against Ground-Type Pokemon, but Crobat is completely immune to their attacks; it also benefits from a boosted resistance to Grass-Type attacks.
There’s no denying that, since the Pokemon anime debuted, Koffing and Weezing have become iconic. They’re a symbol of the bumbling antics of Team Rocket...though that’s not really the reason they’re on this list.
While plenty of Pokemon have crazy behind-the-scenes stories, Koffing and Weezing are the subject of one of the best. It’s obvious that the duo are based on pollution and smog, but as it turns out, they originally had a real-world inspiration. While Pokemon Red & Blue were still in development, Koffing and Weezing were referred to as ‘NY’ and ‘LA’ respectively. For anyone living in the United States, those four letters actually carry quite a bit of meaning: they’re abbreviations for two of the biggest cities in the country, New York and Los Angeles.
Basically, Nintendo was poking fun at the fact that American cities weren’t exactly known for their cleanliness. Obviously, the names were changed before release, but that doesn’t stop Koffing and Weezing’s origins from being anything less than hilarious.
Unlike the humble Poison-Type, dragons have always been a big part of the Pokemon battling scene. They were nearly unstoppable for years, especially during the Generation I years. Thankfully, by the time Generation VI came around, Dragon-Types weren’t so overwhelmingly popular - and that opened up the doors for new combinations.
Enter Dragalge, the only Poison/Dragon hybrid in the entire franchise. Any trainer who brought a Skrelp all the way to Level 48 was rewarded with one of the best-designed creatures in Pokemon X & Y - and if that wasn’t enough, Dragalge is an absolute beast when it comes to battling.
While it’s true that Dragalge does take a hit to its Defense stat upon evolving, the sacrifice is worth it: not only does it gain access to some of the hardest-hitting Dragon-Type attacks in the entire series, Dragalge can also learn a bevy of Poison- and Water-Type moves as well. Combine that with a host of different elemental resistances, and it’s no surprise that Dragalge was such a big deal when Generation VI launched.
It’s easy to forget that Venusaur is, in fact, a Poison-Type Pokemon. As one of the three Generation I starters, most players typically remember it as a Grass-Type - which, given how much of an emphasis is put on its plant-like features, makes sense. There’s also the fact that Venusaur only learns one Poison-Type move naturally - almost everything else in its moveset is Grass-Type.
Even so, Venusaur can make for quite a powerful Poison-Type Pokemon if trained properly. Players will have to dip into TMs to do it, but the combination of Toxic, Venoshock and Sludge Bomb can wreak some serious havoc on unprepared opponents.
There’s also the fact that, because of its Grass/Poison typing, Venusaur actually avoids many of the standard Poison-Type weaknesses. Sure, players will still have to deal with Flying- and Psychic-Types, but even that’s a far cry from the usual litany of weaknesses that Poison-Type Pokemon usually have to deal with.
As one of the recently-revealed Generation VII Pokemon, it’ll still be some time before trainers figure out if Toxapex is fit for high-level tournament play. At the very least, players can rest assured knowing that the Brutal Star Pokemon is easily one of the most durable tanks in the game.
A Water/Poison hybrid may not sound like much at first, but Toxapex boasts a surprising amount of elemental resistances: its only weaknesses come from Electric, Ground and Psychic-Types. There’s also Toxapex’s surprisingly diverse moveset, which only expands once players start dipping into TMs. Ice, Ground and even Dark-Type attacks are all up for grabs, and that’s just the start.
And then there are its stats: Toxapex boasts some of the highest Defense and Special Defense stats in all of Generation VII. Sadly, none of its other stats are worth mentioning, which limits its use in single battles - but, if given a slot in a Double Battle or Battle Royal, Toxapex can provide some serious support while messing with the opposing team.
Much like Koffing and Weezing, many longtime fans of Pokemon will remember Tentacruel from its brief cameo during the show’s opening theme. Admittedly, it’s a little strange (especially considering that the episode shown in the intro never aired in the U.S.), but even so, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Generation I fan who doesn’t remember that scene.
It’s also a little odd, especially because Tentacruel is a capable fighter in the right hands. Like many Poison-Type Pokemon, its stats aren’t the greatest, especially when it comes to HP and Attack - but, despite this, a well-trained Tentacruel can devastate unsuspecting teams.
As was the case with Venusaur, giving Tentacruel the Toxic/Venoshock combo can both cripple and outright obliterate opponents, especially when combined with a Poison Barb. On top of that, using Scald can leave opponents with unexpected burns to deal with, along with giving players a free slot for something like Blizzard or Hex for coverage.
...just be sure to watch out for those Electric-Types. Tentacruel doesn't handle electricity well.
Some fans may be surprised to see a snake-like Pokemon that isn’t Ekans or Arbok on this list. While no one is debating the impact that those two Pokemon had on the franchise in its early days (as they made up the other half of Team Rocket’s party), there’s one Pokemon that lives up to its inspiration in every possible way.
Obviously, Seviper’s appearance was inspired by actual snakes, but there’s a bit more too it than that. As is the case with real-world habu snakes and mongooses, the rivalry between Seviper and Zangoose is the stuff of legend in the Pokemon world. The PokeDex entries for both constantly make mention of the other, going back all the way to their joint Generation III debut. The two are so closely related to one another that they even share the same base statistics.
Speaking of stats, Seviper’s no slouch: both of its Attack stats are above-average, and it only suffers from a pair of elemental weaknesses. To be fair, it probably won’t be appearing on any tournament teams, but for more casual fans, Seviper is a great pick for a high-damage Poison-Type Pokemon.
If Koffing and Weezing represent airborne pollution, then Grimer and Muk are stand-ins for chemical dumping. Even their PokeDex entry goes so far as to blame pollution for their existence:
“...In dirty towns where people think nothing of throwing away litter on the streets, Muk are certain to gather.”
So, Muk may be an absolutely disgusting example of a Pokemon, and proof that humans will likely be the source of their own undoing...but, at the very least, Muk is a near-perfect example of how to design a Poison-Type Pokemon.
That sentiment carries over to battling. Muk learns some of the hardest-hitting Poison-Type moves in the game simply by leveling up, along with a number of Ground-Type moves for elemental coverage. It’s even one of the few Poison-Type Pokemon with half-decent stats, including above-average HP and Attack.
Plus, if you’re not looking to carry around a giant pile of incredibly poisonous pastel sludge, the new Alolan version is full of brightly-colored (and equally poisonous) garbage. Festive!
Few Pokemon embody the idea of a Poison-Type like Toxicroak does. Everything about its design screams poison, and not in the same, over-the-top ways of Koffing, Weezing, and Muk. If those Pokemon were a nod to the sort of damage that mankind is capable of, Toxicroak is all about just how poisonous nature itself can be.
Right off the bat, it’s easy to see that Toxicroak is based off of South American poison dart frogs. However, Toxicroak outdoes its real-world inspiration by featuring a pair of bone-like appendages on its hands, which it uses to stab opponents and poison them in one strike.
Toxicroak also boasts a unique elemental typing: as the only Poison/Fighting hybrid in the franchise to date, the Toxic Mouth Pokemon has access to one of the most unique movesets out there. Yes, it does suffer from a few noticeable weaknesses, but Toxicroak’s wide range of attacks and above-average stats make up for any elemental shortcomings.
Back in Generation I, there was really only one pick for the best Poison-Type Pokemon. Sure, Arbok and Weezing were popular, but when it comes to raw power, the Royal Family of Poison-Types was the clear winner.
Getting both Nidoking and Nidoqueen takes quite a bit of work: capturing both versions of Nidoran isn’t all that tough, but training them, evolving them and finding a pair of Moon Stones is no easy feat. Thankfully, all that work was worth it, as Nidoking and Nidoqueen were (and still are) some of the strongest Poison-Type Pokemon out there.
From a statistics perspective, the two are almost identical. Save for a few minor differences in HP and Attack, Nidoking and Nidoqueen share near-identical stats, and their elemental resistances and weaknesses are exactly the same. The only notable differences come from their movesets, but even then, their attacks are largely similar to one another’s.
At the end of the day, picking one over the other is a matter of personal preference...but why stop at one giant, poisonous dinosaur when you can have two?
Ignoring the fact that spiders are clearly the worst thing on the planet, Ariados is a strong contender for the position of best Poison-Type Pokemon. Sure, its Bug/Poison typing doesn’t do much to excite, but Ariados has more than a few tricks up its sleeve.
We’ve already gone over the fact that Ariados is one of the most brutal killers in the Pokemon world, and is somehow scarier than its inspiration. Spinning webs from both ends is weird enough, but unlike actual spiders, Ariados don’t stay in one spot - instead, they wander the forests at night, hunting for food. As if spiders weren’t bad enough already, Ariados doesn’t even have the common courtesy to stay in one spot.
And, while its moveset may not feature much in the way of Poison-Type attacks until the higher levels, that’s no reason to think that Ariados is some sort of pushover. It’s surprisingly slow, but an above-average Attack stat is all it takes to turn the fight in Ariados’ favor.
Most of the Pokemon on this list poison their opponents in battle, while some spread man-made pollution as they travel. However, there’s only one all-natural Pokemon that actively poisons the world around it simply by existing: Vileplume.
Numerous PokeDex entries mention that Vileplume spreads highly dangerous spores just by walking around. What’s worse is that, not only are these spores poisonous, but Vileplume doesn’t seem to be able to control it. Oh, and it does get worse: unlike most other Grass-Type Pokemon out there, Vileplume is no herbivore. From the Generation III PokeDex:
“Vileplume has the world's largest petals. They are used to attract prey that are then doused with toxic spores. Once the prey are immobilized, this Pokémon catches and devours them.”
So, to recap: Vileplume is literally a walking poison factory with little control over the spores it drops, and it brutally devours anything unlucky enough to get paralyzed by its cloud of toxin. Who said Pokemon was just a kids’ game?
SPOILER WARNING: while we won’t be discussing any of the main story, anyone who doesn’t want to know about the Ultra Beasts should beat Pokemon Sun & Moon before reading this.
Parasect is, unsurprisingly, a perfect example of a parasite. What starts off as a bug with a few mushrooms on its back eventually withers away, leaving control of its shell with the fungus. It’s terrifying, but at the very least, Parasect’s parasite is self-contained.
...but what if there was a Pokemon that could take a human as its host?
That’s exactly what UB-01 SYMBIONT, otherwise known as Nihilego, can do. As one of the extra-dimensional Ultra Beasts, it was already immensely powerful - but the fact that it can take over and possess humans is on an entirely different level. Pokemon has been known to steer into eerie territory once in a while, but Nihilego sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi horror film.
Plus, there’s the fact that Nihilego is just plain powerful. It boasts above-average stats both offensive and defensive, along with a varied moveset that would make most other Poison-Types blush. The only thing going against it is a wide array of elemental weaknesses... but what good will those do when its enemies start losing their free will?