Introduced first in Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire and reintroduced recently in the latest Pokémon Go update, the third generation of Pokémon proved to be a memorable bunch.
With its second sequel, Nintendo offered up more variety and depth to the game. An increase in multi-type Pokémon led to different strategies being required and a tougher time for experienced players.
It was certainly a noteworthy generation, full of a fair share of great additions. At the same time, there were several added members that served little purpose outside of some unique designs. You know, the ones that you catch only to automatically transfer to your PC for storage. It's not exactly something anyone's proud to do, but if they're not worthy to be in your top 6, don't put them there.
While the famous Pokémon catchphrase is "Gotta catch 'em all," that doesn't mean you have to keep everyone you catch. It certainly doesn't mean that you've got to settle for anything but the best on your team.
For this list, you'll see a mix of Pokémon that are heavily underutilized and deserve recognition, and other, less useful types. You know, the ones you'll come across as you're traveling through the Hoenn region and serve little functionality beyond filling up a Pokédex slot. The Hoenn region is no easy land for an aspiring Pokémon master, so it's best to seek out the best of the best, while avoiding the lower tier types.
These choices are carefully selected based on their standard stats, movesets, and functionality when it comes to game progression.
Here are 10 Gen III Pokémon No One Should Catch (And 11 That Are Totally Underrated).
21 Underrated: Cacnea
Cacnea isn't available immediately, but they're worth the time investment once available.
Obtainable strictly in the desert on Route 111 (once you've obtained the Go-goggles), Cacnea is a grass type that packs a serious punch. Its attack and special attack stats are immediately higher than others of his kind, typically reaching around 85 for both.
While its defense does leave something to be desired (as is the case with most grass types), its stats match up with the likes of Treecko and other more popular choices. Post-evolution, Cacturne's attack stats is second only to Breloom and their special attack is the best out of every available grass type.
As a bonus, since they are a dark type, they will offer an extra advantage when battling the penultimate psychic gym, as well as the ghost type Elite 4 member.
20 Avoid: Poochyena
Another dark type, although this one isn't nearly as effective as Cacnea. Poochyena is the first battle in the game, and for good reason.
Like many of the early Pokémon that appear, they're not really worth your time.
Throughout Poochyena's progression, there's no singular point where their stats and moveset offer anything more substantial than what other dark types can give.
None of their stats surpass triple digits and they don't learn their best move (Crunch) until they're level 65. Also, since this game is so much more rewarding towards multi-type Pokémon, Poochyena's dark type-only status greatly hurt its value.
Other dark type hybrids like Houndour and Carvanha have superior attack stats overall and serve as possible match-up wildcards with their separate type move options. Leave this one in the PC.
19 Underrated: Trapinch
Another desert-dweller finds itself on the underrated side of the list. This can easily be chalked up to location, as desert traversal is enough of a pain on its own, particularly if can't find what you're looking for. However, if you grit your teeth and hunt down Trapinch, you'll get hard-hitting triple digit attack stats from the start.
Then, once you get into the evolutions, Trapinch goes through serious changes. Through their two evolutions, their attack stats go down mildly to add better balance. Finally, once they evolve into Flygon at level 45, the triple digit attack is back, but also gain triple digit speed stats and have all other stats not far behind at 80.
This is one of those Pokémon that you see late-game in battles and think "I want one!" Route 111 has you covered.
18 Avoid: Cascoon
Although typically entries on this list go with pre-evolution/standalone types, Cascoon is an exception. Early on, you'll find plenty of Wurmples and you'll randomly get either a Silcoon or Cascoon.
While Silcoon/Beautifly aren't exactly amazing, Cascoon/Dustox are unquestionably inferior.
Stat-wise, Cascoon/Dustox don't have an edge over Silcoon/Beautifly in any area. In terms of movesets, it depends on if you prefer flying-type moves or a mix of psychic and bug.
Overall, Ruby/Sapphire isn't exactly structured in favor of bug types. Out of every gym leader, it's only the psychic gym that has a bug weakness. However, even with that gym, Beautifly would be better suited for it as they don't have the weakness of being a poison type.
It's best to avoid bug types in general with Gen III, but definitely keep Dustox out of your team.
17 Underrated: Duskull
Duskull is one of the very few ghost types available in Ruby/Sapphire. In addition, outside of Duskull's considerably high defense and special defense, the other ghosts offer more stat-wise.
This is where it depends on whether you're a patient trainer who's willing to take on a bit of a fixer-upper. If you are, you will be rewarded with a notably-strong ghost type in Duskull's evolved form, Dusclops.
While speed remains extremely slow, their defenses go from 90-130 and their other stats nearly double. Alongside this stat increase is a set of new moves like Hex and eventually Payback. These moves, coupled with the more-appealing attack stats, lead to a tank of a ghost Pokémon that will hold its own in any fight.
16 Avoid: Tropius
If you were to judge them purely based on appearance alone, Tropius looks like they'd be rather elite.
A lack of any standout stats and pretty weak offense leads to Tropius being rather disappointing.
Since they aren't available until later in the game, your expectations are understandably higher.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of any triple digit stats, game-changing moves naturally learned, and rather slow speed combined with lackluster defense, there's no area where Tropius succeeds above all others.
They're well-suited for being HM mules as they can learn several, but there's little in terms of natural talent to take advantage of. Add to the fact that their flying/grass type hybrid status only leads to increases in types its weak against, and you've got an impressive-looking disappointment.
15 Underrated: Corphish
Although it has a similar look to Krabby, Corphish's water/dark status offers a rather unique water type for your party.
Corphish's mix of strong water and dark moves (which are learned without any TMs) makes them another great strategic pick up if you want an advantage in water v. water match-ups.
Stat-wise, Corphish starts with prominent offensive stats that get bumped up to 120 post-evolution. If you can accommodate rather mediocre special defense stats, then you'll be rewarded with a hard-hitting water/dark hybrid. As a cherry on top, the moves they learn are perfectly-suited to their greatest strength: attack.
If you find yourself in need of a water type, check out Route 102. You may find exactly what you're looking for.
14 Avoid: Castform
Castform is a classic example of special event-type Pokémon that feel worthy when you encounter them. Standing out amongst normal types, Castform's constant design changes based on the weather gives off extra strategic options. Sadly, while their flexibility move-wise is refreshing, their jack-of-all-trades stats lead to them being a bit of a waste.
Similar to other normal types, their flexibility in the types of moves they can learn is betrayed by a lack of strong stats to support them. Since their special attack is middling, alongside their regular attack, their offense is never strong enough.
You look at the moves they learn, and it seems rather too good to be true.
It's when you finally throw them into battle that you see their conditional nature leads to inconsistency you won't want to deal with.
13 Underrated: Mudkip
Choosing a starter is easily the hardest choice in any Pokémon game, and it’s the first one you make. Starting with Gen III, you started selecting hybrid starters that each offer their own advantages.
While Torchic’s eventual fire/fighting combination has its perks, Mudkip’s water/ground combination can’t be beat.
Not only does their hybrid status cancel out and nullify a water type’s weakness (electric), it also plays well to their high physical attack. This, combined with their impressive move set (Muddy Water, Earthquake, Take Down), allows them to always be a powerhouse for your squad.
Considering the triple digit HP and attack stats they get upon their final evolution, as well as their 90+ special attack and defenses, it’s hard to believe just how unappreciated Mudkip is. When choosing your starter, do not leave them behind.
12 Avoid: Sableye
An immediate appeal of Sableye is their lack of weaknesses. Without any weaknesses to worry about, you've immediately got an upper hand. Yet, Sableye's somewhat middling statline makes it so they can't take too much advantage over this matchup nightmare scenario.
Add in a moveset that doesn't really offer too much in the form of offense (outside of Shadow Ball at level 37), and you've got someone who's good for buying you a turn or two and little else.
Since other ghost types have evolutions and greater progression, they end up being the superior ghosts with better stats.
Sure, the other ghost types have their weaknesses, but they make up for it with better defenses and offense than what Sableye offers.
11 Underrated: Clamperl
Here's an example of another example of a diamond in the rough, except instead of the desert, this diamond's underwater.
Clamperl, a Pokémon available deep in the depth of the Hoenn region's waters, is an uncommon choice for most trainers. However, if you're willing to hold out until late game, Clamperl and its subsequent evolution options offer a formidable addition to your team.
Clamperl's got impressive defense and special attack on their own, only to then be improved in whichever evolution you choose.
If you evolve them into Huntail, you've got a water type with triple digit attack and defense, alongside a mid-90s special attack. Gorebyss, the other evolution, offers a special attack in the 110s and the same triple digit defense. Both have great offense and defense-- what's not to like? Whatever you prefer, Clamperl's a worthy choice.
10 Avoid: Minun
"Wait, is that Pichu?" No, not quite, but you're not the only one to think that. After all, both Minun and Plusle bear a striking resemblance to Pikachu's pre-evolved form. With the Hoenn region not offering a ton of new additions to the electric group, maybe Minun's not a bad option.
Unfortunately, both Plusle and Minun aren't great picks for your electric type spot. Even if you really want one of the two, Minun is the second weakest electric type in the game (with Pichu being the only one that's weaker).
No matter how cute they are or what TMs you give them, Minun simply isn't worthy of a spot on your team.
Their stats are just too low and there are far more worthy electric types roaming through Hoenn's tall grass.
9 Underrated: Numel
A major trend in Gen III Pokémon is the way that a fire type is never just a fire type. Almost all of them are hybrids, which can work for or against them.
In Numel's case, its ground type status opens itself up for water to be extra effective but balances it out by cancelling out its weakness against rock types. Additionally, the types of moves it learns due to this hybrid status (like Earthquake and Fissure) makes them even more of a force to be reckoned with.
Like the others before, evolution suits Numel very nicely. The evolution to Camerupt bumps their offense into the 100s and increases their defenses to a level far more sustainable.
Out of all the fire type hybrids, Numel/Camerupt is right up there with the best of them.
8 Avoid: Skitty
In general, it's best to avoid the normal type cat Pokémon. They rarely offer anything that another Pokémon can't.
Skitty continues the trend started by Meowth/Persian.
Skitty has unimpressive initial stats and the mediocrity only continues,with Delcatty, whose stats max out at 70. Considering Gen III has other more imposing normal types like Loudred and Slaking, choosing Delcatty is simply choosing incorrectly.
Even if you really wanted them on your team, they are, at best, a support Pokémon. They have moves like Charm and Sing to weaken the opposing Pokémon, but that's it. Their offense isn't significant enough to do necessary damage and their weak defense ensures they're an easy KO. Avoid choosing the cute pick and go with someone more practical.
7 Underrated: Torkoal
Now then, if you want a fire type without any hybrid elements or additional move types, you can't go wrong with Torkoal.
Offering up the best defense out of all fire types alongside mid 80s offense, Torkoal is easily Ruby/Sapphire's most underrated fire type. Sacrificing only speed, players get an absolute tank of a fire Pokémon that can hang on during those tough battles.
Add in a natural move set of Body Slam, Flamethrower, and Heat Wave to that statline, and you'll see why Torkoal is worth checking out.
Other fire Pokémon have their perks and abilities, but for a trainer who only wants a fire type in its simplest form, Torkoal is the perfect match for the job.
6 Avoid: Mawile
In a different generation, Mawile would've likely been a relatively solid choice for a steel type. However, in Gen III, there are just too many superior steel types for Mawile to be the one on your roster.
The alternative steel types are a bit more user-friendly.
Mawile is structured more for strategic players who feel like experimenting with moves like Baton Pass, Stockpile, and Spit Up.
Even if you are looking to get experimental, almost all other steel types have superior statlines and more effective move-sets to take advantage of. In the end, it's a question of whether it's worth the time/TMs needed to make Mawile a formidable inclusion. Looking at the details behind them, it's difficult to say that they are.
5 Underrated: Swablu
When most players dive into Ruby/Sapphire, they commit their flying type slot to Tailow and never look back. While Tailow/Swellow is certainly a worthy choice, Swablu (along with Altaria) offers a flying type with something other birds don't offer: defense.
Swablu/Altaria offers a strongly balanced statline as there's no obvious weakness. This includes speed, which is still in the triple digits post-evolution, even though that's usually the one stat sacrificed in favor of defense. Their offense may be in the 70s, but it's not far behind the other main flying types.
When you consider how much tougher they are in comparison to other birds, it's a worthy tradeoff. They may not hit quite as hard, but Swablu and Altaria will take more hits than most of the other non-legendary Gen III birds.
4 Avoid: Meditite
Although a fighting/psychic type hybrid is certainly appealing, Meditite's statline permanently holds it back from greatness. Regardless of if it's pre- or post- evolution, Meditite/Medicham's stats don't go above 80-- and that's just for its speed stat.
Compared to Glalie's jack-of-all-trades status, Meditite and Medicham feel like an inconsistent, lesser version.
Considering psychic and fighting rely on high attack stats, Medicham's attack is their greatest weakness.
They learn but one great move (Hi Jump Kick) and little else. They may be the only psychic/fighting type in the game, but their statline makes them seem ill-equipped for either type. Trainers are better off just committing to a different fighting or psychic type, as this one's just not strong enough.
3 Underrated: Baltoy
Speaking of a psychic hybrid, how about one with a more impressive statline? Baltoy/Claydol offer up defenses in the hundreds and speed that is close enough to 100 to ensure they're not always attacking second. You can also appreciate their Levitate ability, wiping away any fellow ground type moves from the opposition.
Baltoy/Claydol's moveset is nothing to ignore either as they learn moves like Psybeam, Rock Tomb, and Explosion. Throw in any moves of your own through TMs and you've got a Pokémon that can hurt the competition in many different ways.
Their health may be on the lower side, but their impressive defense levels and prospective offensive options will guarantee you've got the advantage.
2 Avoid: Nosepass
The first gym leader may use them, but that doesn't mean you should. Nosepass is another example of a Pokémon that offers strength in one area and nothing else.
Their defense is certainly impressive, but their undeniably-low HP, attack, and speed makes them a hard sell for anyone.
Even with a learned moveset that includes Rock Slide and Zap Cannon, it doesn't mean much when the moves don't have the stats to back them up.
After all, defense can keep you in the battle for longer, but it won't guarantee a win. Besides, when you look at how each rock type offers more in certain statlines or just a greater overall balance, Nosepass doesn't surpass its peers.
Learn from Roxanne's mistakes and ensure that your rock type is truly your best option.
1 Underrated: Snorunt
If you're looking for an ice type that isn't a hybrid of another type and uses the same jack-of-all-trades mentality as Castform (in a slightly better fashion), then Snorunt is worth bringing in to your party. Outside of Regice, Snorunt (and its evolved form Glalie) are the only solely-ice types in the game.
While hybrid type status usually works in the favor of the trainer, the tradeoff always comes with the additional weaknesses that come with the extra type. Since all the other ice types are hybrids, they have more weaknesses than Snorunt/Glalie do.
Snorunt's stats start out as 50s all-around, which is relatively solid for a non-evolved Pokémon. Glalie bumps it up to 80s all-around, besting Castform's all-70 statline.
Add in a strong set of moves learned naturally through progression and you've got a jack-of-all-trades worth keeping around.
What's your favorite Gen III Pokémon? Let us know in the comments!