Pikachu may well be the face of the Pokémon brand but don’t be fooled; for every cute and fluffy creature designed to draw in the young audience and incite ‘awww’s, there’s a beastly Pokémon around the corner just waiting to dig its claws into some poor unsuspecting soul’s flesh. Unsurprisingly for a video game centered on battling and knocking out your opponent’s Pokémon, the franchise is full of monsters bursting with aggression, menace, and brutality, and most of them look like something from the very worst of nightmares. Some are even barbaric enough to change the face of the planet itself with their awesome power.
Based around each creature’s appearance, personality and the information available in the games’ Pokédex entries, this list looks at the Pokémon that are more likely to rip your head off than give you a high five at the end of a battle and that all trainers should take the utmost care with when approaching. Here are the 15 Most Brutal Pokémon In The Franchise.
This ancient Pokémon is said to have died out long before the start of the series and is only available by doing some nifty science on a fossil you picked up earlier in the first game. Trainers should be careful about what it is they’re resurrecting, however. With a spiky frame and dual blades for hands, Kabutops is immediately intimidating in appearance but its behavior is far scarier than its looks.
According to the Pokédex in Pokémon Silver, Kabutops preys on weaker creatures and upon capture, slices them open with its sickles before sucking up the innards like a strawberry smoothie. For a franchise largely aimed at a young audience, that’s pretty dark. An episode of the Pokémon anime even goes so far as to depict Kabutops doing just this in statue form – with the fossil Pokémon greedily tucking into a poor, unsuspecting shark. Perhaps if someone told those geeks over at Cinnabar Island all this, they’d stop bringing the things back to life.
One of several Pokémon based on a bear of some sort, Pangoro is far more brutal than the likes of Ursaring or Bewear. Introduced as part of the sixth generation for the Pokémon X and Y games, Pangoro is often compared to a Berserker due to its habit of mercilessly destroying opponents with brute strength and a fiery temper. This nearly seven foot tall creature recklessly charges at enemies without caring about the potential recoil it may suffer and trainers wishing to raise them must be ready for a scrap at any time.
Strangely for such an aggressive and violent Pokémon, Pangoro actually seems to have a moral compass and doesn’t attack indiscriminately. The beast is said to detest bullying of any kind and is quick to stand up for weaker beings who might be being picked on. Pangoro’s Pokédex entry in Pokémon Y states that the creature is able to snap telephone poles with its arms, adding to its brutal reputation.
Unsurprisingly for a creature defined by its pure, unadulterated rage, Primeape is one of the most brutal fighting Pokémon available within any of the game’s generations. This is perfectly illustrated by the ever-present cartoon bulging vein popping out of Primeape’s head at all times. The metal weights on its wrists and ankles add to this Pokémon’s unhinged character, giving the impression of a prisoner that recently escaped its cage. Furthermore, Primeape is perhaps the most quickly and easily angered Pokémon in the entire franchise, said to become furious over the slightest thing and once angered, it’ll relentlessly look for the perpetrator, it will find them and it will beat them. Primeape is Pokémon’s Liam Neeson.
Primeape’s power comes at the expense of its intelligence and it’ll often become considerably more stupid once the red mist descends. According to data from the most recent Pokémon games, Sun and Moon, Primeape’s anger sometimes becomes so intense it actually dies because of it.
As its name suggests, Incineroar is a ferocious fire Pokémon and is the final form of Litten, one of Pokémon Sun and Moon’s three starter companions. Unlike the cute little cat beast it originates from however, Incineroar is both violent and selfish and – much like another certain Fire-type starter Pokémon we’ll get to later – has a tendency to ignore its trainer’s commands in battle. Even more worryingly, this Pokémon has been known to attack with such ferocity, it often knowingly causes collateral damage to its own trainer.
Incineroar is proficient in physical combat techniques and like most other Fire Pokémon is capable of using moves such as Flamethrower and Ember. Unlike many of those Pokémon however, Incineroar’s flames erupt from belt around its stomach. If that wasn’t brutal enough, this Pokémon’s entire image is based around that of a professional wrestler, complete with a championship belt made of flames and a lean, muscular physique.
Feraligatr is another example of a cute little starter Pokémon – this time Totodile – evolving into an absolute beast. As you’d expect from a monster based on an alligator, this Pokémon has a gnarly set of lethal fangs, as well as powerful hind legs and some vicious claws to boot. Its spiky, intimidating appearance is also about as far as one can possibly get from the stereotypical cuddly Pokémon most people imagine when they think of starter Pokémon.
Putting appearances aside however, Feraligatr also has brutality embedded into its very nature. Much like Kabutops, this Pokémon has a particularly violent method of feeding and its Pokédex entry in the series’ Gold version claims that Feraligatr savagely tears up its prey by biting down on it with its powerful jaws and roughly shaking it, ripping the poor animal to shreds. Unlike Primeape however, Feraligator’s power doesn’t come at the expense of its wits or intelligence, making this Pokémon a dangerous balance of ferocity and battle-smarts.
Bug Pokémon are usually known for being small, weak and not at all intimidating. Pinsir smashes that particular stereotype by looking like something straight out of a child’s worst nightmare. With a gaping huge mouth and two rows of formidable teeth, as well as two huge spiked pincers protruding from its head, Pinsir is one of the freakiest and most dangerous looking Pokémon in the original batch of 150.
Those pincers aren’t just for show either. The Pokémon uses them to crush, swing and then throw opponents, assuming it doesn’t tear them to shreds first. And just when you thought the nightmare couldn’t get any worse, later Pokémon games introduced an evolution in the form of Mega-Pinsir. This evolved Pokémon not only looks meaner but has sharper claws and the ability to fly, meaning not even the birds are safe from this bug’s onslaught and forcing Pokémon fans to rethink everything they ever thought they knew about Bug types.
Back in the day when Pokémon cards were the hottest thing on playgrounds across the world, there’s a reason everyone wanted to get their hands on a Charizard card. There are two main dragon based Pokémon in Red and Blue – Dragonite and Charizard. And whilst Dragonite looks like the kind of creature that wants to become your best friend and take you on a journey to the end of a rainbow, Charizard just looks like he wants to melt the face off anything that moves.
This attitude was perfectly demonstrated in the original series of the Pokémon anime. Everyone’s favorite eternal ten-year old, Ash Ketchum, was delighted when his Charmeleon finally evolved into its final form but quickly became frustrated when the dragon refused to listen to its trainer’s orders, often hitting him with a flamethrower instead. Aside from his prowess with fire, Charizard is capable of using Flying, Fighting and Ground techniques, making him one of the most fearsome opponents in the game.
When discussing the most brutal Pokémon of all time, it’s impossible not to include a beast whose name is a combination of the words ‘Tyrannosaurus’ and ‘tantrum’. This dinosaur based Pokémon certainly lives up to its title too, with a formidable combination of Dragon and Rock type techniques and high physical attributes. As another fossil Pokémon, Tyrantrum lived long, long ago and according to Pokémon legend, it was considered unbeatable during its heyday which caused it to behave like a despot King, comfortably sitting atop the food chain.
It’s easy to understand how Tyrantrum got its lofty reputation just by looking at it. With a huge jaw housing rows of teeth that can supposedly shred thick metal, thick skin and black claws, this Pokémon is a must-have for any trainer looking to build a team of physically imposing specimens. The only attribute that lets Tyrantrum down is his tiny T-Rex arms.
The only thing more brutal than a large, muscular Pokémon covered in spikes is a large, muscular Pokémon covered in spikes that can poison you. It speaks volumes that Giovanni – leader of Team Rocket and the strongest Gym Leader in Generation I – relies on Nidoking as one of his signature Pokémon and given the beast’s ability to learn one-hit KO techniques such as Fissure and Horn Drill, as well as high-impact moves like Earthquake, that’s hardly surprising. In the anime, Gary Oak also utilizes this terrifying Pokémon as part of his team.
Nidoking’s outer body is as hard as steel and his thick, powerful tail adds an extra outlet for his forceful attacks and as such, it’s surprising that – unlike many on this list - this Pokémon is qiote easy to obtain. Simply evolve a common male Nidoran and expose the resulting Nidorino to a Moon Stone and a Nidoking is born, making him one of the most accessible brutal Pokémon.
Imagine a Nidoking made of pure steel and you’ll have some idea as to the brutal appearance of this Pokémon from Generation III. Unlike Nidoking however, the Steel type Aggron takes a lot of level grinding to obtain but is certainly worth the effort due to its high base stats. According to the Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Pokédex, Aggron’s brutality allows it to claim an entire mountain as its own territory and if it deems any creature to be trespassing, it’ll savagely attack them without mercy. It also wears the dents and scratches in its armor with pride as mementos from victorious battles.
Happily, Aggron has a softer side and if its mountain home is destroyed by the forces of nature, this Pokémon will re-landscape the area, planting trees and putting the land back to its usual state. Don’t let its skills in exterior decoration fool you however, Aggron’s horns can pierce rock and metal with ease.
Moving away from Pokémon who are just outwardly intimidating, Houndoom’s brutality has a more supernatural edge. A dog Pokémon and a mixture of the Dark and Fire types, Houndoom’s appearance is inspired by none other than the Devil himself, with a pointed, pitchfork tail and large ram-like horns, as well as a symbol resembling a skull on its neck. The satanic theme is continued in Houndoom’s fighting style, with Pokémon lore dictating that a fire wound caused by a Houndoom will hurt for eternity, forever haunting the recipient.
Houndoom is also known for an eerie howl that nearby humans have claimed to be the call of the Grim Reaper. Looking like the Devil and sounding like the Grim Reaper, Houndoom is surely one of the darkest Pokémon in the series and the brutality of his character is undeniable. Oddly, this Pokémon’s mega evolution – unlike Pinsir – actually dials down the evil overtones somewhat, meaning Houndoom’s regular form is actually its most intimidating.
Some Pokémon on this list are brutal towards their enemies, some towards their prey, a few even towards their own trainers. Groudon however, directs his ire towards the entire world. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire established two legendary creatures from the beginning of time: Groudon of the land and Kyogre of the sea. The two mythical beasts are locked in an eternal battle, with one attempting to expand the land and the other the oceans and their struggle is of sufficient magnitude to do the planet some serious damage.
Although both Groudon and Kyogre are equal in terms of their power to reshape the Earth - with no consideration for the loss of human life - the Ground type Pokémon gets the nod here for a significantly more brutal appearance than Kyogre the whale. The legendary beast’s titanic claws and jagged tail ensure that if you had to put your money on one or the other in a scrap, you’d bet on Groudon.
If you’re wondering why such a diminutive and comparatively normal looking Pokémon is so high on a list based on brutality, it’s purely because Cubone wears the skull of its dead mother on its head. If that doesn’t define brutal, surely nothing does. A resident of Lavender Town’s Pokémon Tower graveyard, Cubone is one of the many creatures in that location with dark origins and the story goes that after witnessing the death of its parent, the Pokémon becomes traumatized with grief and starts howling at the full moon since that for some reason reminds it of its deceased mother.
As a result of his grieving, Cubone begins to wear the corpse’s skull as a helmet – something that becomes permanently attached when it evolves – and this represents perhaps the more macabre Pokémon origin story in the entire series. Even Norman Bates had the decency to leave his mother’s corpse in one piece. Cubone may not be the strongest Pokémon on this list but there’s more to brutality than sheer strength.
Back on the other end of the size scale, Yveltal is another legendary Pokémon and the cover star of Pokémon Y. Like Groudon, Yveltal’s power is seismic in scale, except this mythical beast has the ability to absorb the life force from other living beings. Yveltal’s Pokédex entry for the franchise’s Y version even goes as far as to say that when this monster is near death, it absorbs the life force of every living thing on the planet. Not many Pokémon boast the ability to bring about the apocalypse.
It’s difficult to argue with the brutality of a Pokémon that takes the whole world with it when it bites the dust and the fact that it’s covered in talons, claws and horns only adds to the intimidation factor. Interestingly, the more observant victims of Yveltal may notice - before having the life drained out of their bodies - that this Pokémon actually resembles the game’s titular letter ‘Y’. Cute.
Whether you’ve played the original trio of Pokémon games or just watched the series’ first motion picture in 1998, Mewtwo’s brutality and power are beyond legendary. Mewtwo is genetically engineered from the Pokémon Mew and the scientists that created it deemed the creature so powerful, they locked him away in a cave only accessible to those who have defeated the Elite Four. The group that experimented on Mewtwo intentionally created it to be both violent and vicious.
Pokémon: The First Movie solidified Mewtwo’s status as the most brutal creature in the franchise when the Psychic type Pokémon conspired to wipe out the entirety of humanity, leaving only Pokémon roaming the Earth and it hatches a highly intelligent plan in order to do so. Love and friendship save the day, of course, but Mewtwo’s psychic abilities, high intellect and disdain for human beings easily make it the most brutal Pokémon in your collection.
Pokémon Sun and Moon are available now.