If you wish to enter an officially sanctioned Pokémon tournament, then you need to abide by the rules laid out by the Pokémon Company. One of the most important rules involves the Pokémon that are tournament legal, as many Legendary Pokémon are banned from competitive play.
The current rules for the Pokémon Video Game Championships include the kind of names that you would expect, such as Mewtwo, Lugia, Arceus, and Marshadow, as their strength would ruin the balance of the game.
The current ban list is actually a lot looser than the one from 2017, which prevented the use of all Mega Stones.
The return of Mega Evolution in 2018 wasn't welcomed by everyone, as it totally changed the face of the competitive scene, in the sense that players were often forced to use a Mega-Evolved Pokémon in battle, as they were just too useful to ignore.
The big changes to the ban list have changed how the game is played, as Mega Evolution has to compete with Ultra Beasts and Z-Moves when it comes to forming a team. These changes have made some Pokémon more useful to the player, while others have yet to budge from their position.
We are here today to determine which Pokémon need to be added to the official VGC ban list and which ones should be ignored by the player altogether; from the ghost that prevents any tag team action from taking place to the bird whose potential was left on the cutting room floor.
Here are the 30 Pokémon So Strong They Should Be Banned (And 10 That Are Too Weak To Use)!
30 Strong: Mega Gengar
Gengar has always been one of the most popular Pokémon on the competitive scene due to the fact that it was the only fully evolved Ghost-type Pokémon in the first generation of games.
The introduction of Mega Evolution turned Gengar into one of the most feared creatures in the game, to the point where it was banned in many informal tournaments.
The reason why Mega Gengar was so considered so powerful was due to its Shadow Tag Ability, which prevented the opponent from switching out their Pokémon unless they happened to be Ghost-type or also possessed Shadow Tag.
This meant that Mega Gengar was the best trapper in the game and could shut down a lot of teams with little effort.
29 Strong: Naganadel
Naganadel is the newest Pokémon on this list due to the fact that it was one of the few additions to the Pokédex in Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon.
It's the latest addition to the Ultra Beasts and it will likely be added to Ash's team in the future, as he caught Naganadel's previous form (Poipole) in the Pokémon anime.
Naganadel shares the Beast Boost Ability of its Ultra Beast brethren, which increases its highest stat by one stage when it KOs a Pokémon. This means that Naganadel's Special Attack or Speed stat can quickly grow to absurd heights.
The Poison/Dragon-typing means that Naganadel doesn't have to worry about being annihilated by Fairy-type moves, meaning that it is safe to punch holes through the enemy line with Draco Meteor and Sludge Wave.
28 Weak: Slaking
Slaking has some of the best physical stats of any non-Legendary Pokémon in the game, with its Attack and Hit Points being especially high.
All of the amazing stats in the world aren't enough to save Slaking from the bench due to the fact that it has one of the worst abilities in the game -- Truant.
Truant means that the Pokémon won't act every other turn. This means that Slaking will only be taking half the actions of every other Pokémon on the field, which is a crippling weakness in a game where every turn matters.
The strength of Slaking will shine during a single-player journey in a Pokémon game, but it won't last long in a competitive battle.
27 Strong: Mega Metagross
Metagross was always a tremendous Pokémon on the battlefield due to its amazing stats, movepool, and typing.
It's no coincidence that Metagross is the final Pokémon used by the Champion in Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire, as Steven Stone wanted to give you one last beating before you stole his title.
The introduction of Mega Evolution turned Metagross into one of the biggest threats in the competitive scene. This is due to the fact that it gains the Tough Claws Ability, which gives a 30% boost to the damage of contact attacks.
Mega Metagross can deal frightening amounts of damage with attacks like Bullet Punch and Thunder Punch, thanks to the buff provided by Tough Claws.
26 Strong: Celesteela
Celesteela is often regarded as being one of the most annoying Pokémon in the game. This is due to how effective it is as a wall, meaning that it can easily soak up hits from the opposing team.
Celesteela's stat spread favors defensive play, which is helped by it being a Steel/Flying-type Pokémon, which gives it eight resistances and two immunities.
It can also increase its defensive stats with the aid of Beast Boost.
If you don't have a Pokémon that has a significant type advantage against Celesteela (like Zapdos) then you can expect the battle to go on for a lot longer than normal, as you will have to endure the agony of trying to chip down this durable Ultra Beast.
25 Weak: Ledian
Bug-type Pokémon had a hard time in Pokémon Red & Blue due to the lack of powerful Bug-type moves.
Pokémon Gold & Silver added insult to injury by introducing one of the worst Bug-type Pokémon to the series in the form of Ledian.
Ledian has a high Special Defense stat, which is let down by everything else. The abysmal Hit Point stat means that pretty much anything can take out Ledian in a single hit. A physical attacker will absolutely destroy Ledian in combat.
It's possible to use Ledian for setup moves (like Reflect) with its decent Speed stat, but there are many other better options for this role in a competitive match.
24 Strong: Mega Charizard X
Charizard became almost totally useless in Pokémon Diamond & Pearl, thanks to the addition of Stealth Rock to the game. Stealth Rock was so good that it was used by practically every player and it dealt a ton of damage to Charizard whenever it entered the field.
The introduction of Mega Evolution meant that Charizard became a viable choice again, as Mega Charizard X switches to Fire/Dragon-type, which mitigates the damage from Stealth Rock.
Mega Charizard X's real strength comes from its new Tough Claws Ability, which gives it a major boost to attacks like Flare Blitz.
This means that it can deal insane amounts of damage with a single attack. The addition of Tough Claws turns Mega Charizard X into one of the best attackers in the game.
23 Strong: Amoonguss
Moves that inflict status effects are some of the most powerful in the Pokémon competitive scenes, as a successful freeze, stun, or sleep can quickly turn the match in your favor.
The problem with a lot of status effect-inflicting moves is that there is a chance that they will miss, making it risky to use them.
Spore is one of the best status-effect moves in the game, as it has 100% accuracy, meaning that it is guaranteed to put an enemy Pokémon to sleep.
The best Spore user is Amoonguss, as it has the defensive stats to stay alive long enough to start throwing out status effect moves, while it can heal itself with Giga Drain and its Regenerator Ability.
Amoonguss has a wide-range of uses in combat and is one of the best disablers in the game.
22 Weak: Golem
Golem was once a potent force in the Pokémon competitive scene, thanks to its high physical stats. As time went on, Golem became useful for a single tactic, as it was almost guaranteed to get a Stealth Rock onto the field, thanks to its Sturdy Ability.
The Pokémon competitive scene switched to a Double Battle format, which meant that Sturdy didn't offer the same protection as it did before.
The real problem with using Golem was its abysmal Special Defense stat and times four weakness to Grass-type and Water-type moves.
This means that it was susceptible to many of the major threats in the competitive scene.
It seems like this Pokémon wasn't quite as durable as we originally thought.
21 Strong: Tyranitar
Psychic-type Pokémon were a dominant force in Pokémon Red & Blue, thanks to the lack of Pokémon that had a type advantage against them.
Dark-type Pokémon were introduced in Pokémon Gold & Silver in order to balance out the game. Pokémon like Tyranitar were designed to wreck havoc on the arrogant Psychic-type Pokémon, which is something that they still do to this day.
It's telling that Tyranitar's Mega Evolution only gives it a stat boost instead of adding a new Ability, as it didn't need any new additions to make it stronger.
Mega Tyranitar is simply a behemoth of a Pokémon that can absorb hits and inflict damage like nothing else.
20 Strong: Zapdos
The Legendary Birds of Kanto have had an inconsistent history in the competitive scene due to the numerous shifts in how the game is played.
Zapdos has remained as one of the best legal Legendary Pokémon in the game, thanks to its typing and overall great stats.
Zapdos has an amazing movepool that offers it a lot of options in battle, making it hard for an opponent to predict what it has to offer.
Zapdos has an arsenal of powerful Electric-type and Flying-type moves, but it can also act as a wall with Protect, it can summon numerous different weather effects, and it can remove entry hazards with Defog.
It's this kind of utility, backed up by raw power, that sets Zapdos apart from other Pokémon.
19 Weak: Delibird
The various Pokédex entries for Delibird state that it has saved many different lives due to the fact that it carries food in its sack.
Delibird has kept many an explorer alive due to sharing food with them when they have become lost and have run out of meals.
It's a shame that Delibird's generosity doesn't extend to its combat abilities, which are terrible across the board. Delibird has abysmal stats, a typing that makes it weak to the most common threats in the game, and a shallow movepool that doesn't give it the chance to fill out any special niche in combat.
Delibird might be a welcome sight if you were climbing up a mountain, but you don't want to see it on your side of the field during a battle.
18 Strong: Pheromosa
Pheromosa is one of the best examples of a "Glass Cannon" in the Pokémon competitive scene. This is a gaming term that is used to refer to characters with high offensive stats, but low defensive and health stats, meaning that it can dish out hits, but not take them.
Pheromosa has some ridiculously high offensive stats, with both its Attack and Special Attack stats giving it amazing offensive power.
These may be further increased by Beast Boost during battle if Pheromosa can stay on the field long enough to benefit from it.
The sheer offensive capabilities of Pheromosa mean that it can annihilate some of the most potent threats in the competitive scene. You just need to be careful when you bring it out, as Pheromosa won't be able to endure any counter attacks for long.
17 Strong: Cresselia
Cresselia is one of the tournament legal Legendary Pokémon in the competitive scene. It may not have the frightening power of Darkrai, its opposite in the Lunar Duo, but that doesn't mean that Cresselia should be underestimated.
What Cresselia lacks in offensive stats, it makes up for with its incredible defensive capabilities and a movepool that allows it to be patient.
Cresselia can throw out status effects with moves like Thunder Wave and Toxic, while quickly restoring any lost health with Moonlight or Rest.
If the opponent doesn't have a Pokémon that hits one of Cresselia's weaknesses, then they are going to spend a lot of turns being chipped away by the Lunar Pokémon.
16 Weak: Guzzlord
The Ultra Beasts are a group of some of the most powerful Pokémon in the game. They are treated as Lovecraftian monstrosities within the Pokémon world and their arrival may be a threat to the very fabric of existence.
The exception to this is Guzzlord, who has an abnormally high Hit Point stat, but it lacks the defensive capabilities to back it up.
Guzzlord has some impressive offensive stats, but its terrible speed means that it may not get a chance to use them.
Its Dark/Dragon-typing leaves it wide-open to some of the most common threats in the competitive scene, like Fairy-type and Fighting-type Pokémon, which will reduce Guzzlord's impressive hit point number to zero within the space of a single powerful attack.
15 Weak: Tapu Fini
Pokémon Sun & Moon introduced the Guardian Deity Pokémon to the series. These are a group of four Pokémon that protect the islands of the Alola region.
The four "Tapu" Pokémon have been a common sight on the competitive scene, and with good reason.
Tapu Fini has the Misty Surge Ability, which automatically creates Misty Terrain for five turns when it enters the field. The benefit of Misty Terrain is that it prevents all status effects and halves the damage of Dragon-type moves.
The ability to automatically block status effects for five turns can be a devastating tactic against many teams that rely on them and can render some Pokémon inert in terms of their usefulness in battle.
14 Strong: Aegislash
The Aegislash line was derided when it was first revealed due to the common complaint that Game Freak may be running out of ideas.
A floating sword and shield may not the be the most imaginative idea in the world, but it certainly set the competitive scene on fire when it finally arrived.
Aegislash has the benefit of amazing typing and possessing one of the best unique moves in the game, in the form of King's Shield.
The real reason to use Aegislash is its Stance Change Ability, which allows it to switch its amazing defensive stats for a set of offensive ones.
This makes it very hard to knock out an Aegislash as it is switching in, since it will always be in its defensive form, but it will be able to perform a powerful counterattack when it finally gets a turn.
13 Weak: Jumpluff
Jumpluff once filled a very specific niche when it came to Pokémon battles; it would rely on its high Speed stat to ensure that it could fire off a Sleep Powder before the enemy could react.
If the Sleep Power worked, then it gave the Jumpluff a few turns in which to prepare some setup moves (like Sunny Day) or to boost its own strength with Swords Dance, so that it had the power to take down the opponent.
Jumpluff's strategy was always risky, but it became a lot less viable when Double Battles became the main format, as it now had to contend with two Pokémon at the same time.
Jumpluff's abysmal physical stats and typing mean that it can easily be taken down by a lot of the common threats in the competitive scene.
12 Strong: Tapu Koko
Pokémon Sun & Moon offers every player a chance to catch Tapu Koko, as you are thrust into a battle against it after you become the Champion.
It's worth catching a Tapu Koko, as its strength and speed make it one of the most vicious Pokémon in the game.
Tapu Koko possesses the Electric Surge Ability, which allows it to summon Electric Terrain whenever it is switched in.
Electric Terrain boosts the power of Electric-type moves by 50%, which increases its already amazing attacking moves into ones that will annihilate the enemy, so long as they aren't Ground-type Pokémon.
11 Strong: Kartana
Kartana is notable for having one of the highest base Attack stats in the game, to the point where it will carve through anything with a low Defense stat in a single hit.
The addition of Beast Boost means that this Attack stat will only get stronger with each fallen Pokémon, turning Kartana into more of a threat with each passing turn.
Kartana's overwhelming offensive capabilities are balanced out by its terrible Special Defense and Hit Point stats.
This turns a battle against Kartana into one of priority, as it has a very high Speed stat that will allow it to outpace pretty much anything it will face.
Any Pokémon with the power to defeat Kartana also needs to be strong enough to withstand its attacks, which is a lot easier said than done.
10 Weak: Mightyena
There are some Pokémon that are considered to be filler by fans. These are the Pokémon you find at the start of your journey, as they hang around in the grass that surrounds the first few towns.
Pokémon like Rattata, Sentret, Poochyena, and Caterpie are often regarded as filler Pokémon for this reason.
Poochyena might seem like an interesting choice in Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire due to it being a solo Dark-type Pokémon, but it isn't worth the effort.
This is due to the fact that Mightyena has bad stats and a shallow movepool that makes it demonstrably worse than pretty much every other Dark-type Pokémon that you might want to consider using in a competitive team.
9 Strong: Tapu Lele
Priority is an important mechanic in the Pokémon games, as it determines the order in which moves occur. This usually means the difference between victory and defeat due to the fact that most Pokémon can only endure a few hits before going down.
Tapu Lele has the Psychic Surge Ability, which summons Psychic Terrain every time it switches in.
Psychic Terrain has the ability to prevent moves with enhanced priority from working, which means that a lot of Pokémon that rely on swift moves will be forced to use other attacks.
Psychic Terrain also has the effect of increasing the damage dealt by Psychic-type moves by 50%, which means that Tapu Lele will boost its already impressive damage output everytime it enters the field.
8 Strong: Mega Lucario
One of the most important aspects of any Pokémon's move selection is whether they grant a STAB bonus or not. STAB means Same-type Attack Bonus, which refers to the boost that is added when a Pokémon uses a move that shares its type.
Mega Lucario benefits the most from STAB moves due to the fact that it gains the Adapatibility Ability when it Mega-Evolves.
Adaptability doubles the STAB bonus it gets when it uses Fighting-type and Steel-type moves, meaning that it will likely crush any Pokémon that is not resistant or immune to either of those types.
7 Weak: Shiinotic
Shiinotic first gained attention for its unsettling appearance, as it resembled the kind of creature you would see in a fan game where Ash Ketchum is sent to live out his own personal hell in Silent Hill.
The unsettling appearance is about the only thing that Shiinotic has going for it due to the fact that it has the crippling combination of incredibly low Hit Point and Speed stats.
This means that it won't have the chance to survive long enough to pull off any moves that could make it worthwhile, as even its decent defensive stats won't keep it around for long.
6 Strong: Salamence
Salamence has remained one of the most powerful Pokémon in the series since its debut in Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire. A lot of players will likely remember the struggle against Drake's Salamence in that game, and he wasn't even the Champion.
Salamence's usefulness dipped slightly during the Pokémon X & Y era due to the introduction of Fairy-type Pokémon.
This disadvantage was quickly swept away by the debut of Mega Salamence in Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, as its incredible overall stats and Aeriliate Ability gave it such a boost that it still remained one of the most vicious and powerful Pokémon in the series.
5 Strong: Landorus (Therian Forme)
Pokémon Black & White introduced the Forces of Nature trio to the series. These three Pokémon would gain new forms in Pokémon Black 2 & White 2, as the Reveal Glass allows them to transform into their Therian forms, which resembled animals.
Landorus' Therian form is often considered to be the best of the three, thanks to its amazing stat spread and a STAB boosted Earthquake that will deal a ton of damage when used.
Landorus-T is also proficient with Stealth Rock, which makes it an ideal lead Pokémon, as its Intimidate Ability means that it likely won't be OHKO'd before it can fire off the Stealth Rock.
4 Weak: Meganium
The starter Pokémon that are given out at the beginning of each game are intended to get you through the story mode with ease. It's usually possible to complete the game using only the starter Pokémon, so long as they are the only Pokémon leveling up.
The starter Pokémon generally don't have amazing stats when it comes to competitive battles. Meganium might be the biggest example of this, as it's often considered to be the weakest Grass-type starter Pokémon in the series.
Meganium has the problem of being a jack-of-all-trades in a system where it is outclassed in each individual area by other Grass-type Pokémon.
There is no reason to use Meganium over the likes of Venusaur or Tangrowth, which is partly due to its weak movepool, which is the area in which most Grass-type Pokémon shine, thanks to the abundance of status effect moves that are usually at their disposal.
3 Strong: Mega Blaziken
Blaziken is often considered to be the most powerful starter Pokémon in the series due to its amazing stats, typing, and movepool. Blaziken's Speed Boost Ability is also a key part of why it's so successful, as its Speed stat gradually grows over the course of the battle.
Mega Blaziken is similar to Mega Tyranitar, in that it only offered a huge boost to its already impressive stats.
The improvements Blaziken receives to its Attack, Special Attack, and Speed stat when it Mega-Evolves turn it into one of the most physically dominant Pokémon in the game.
2 Strong: Mega Kangaskhan
Kangaskhan was considered to be one of the worst Pokémon in the series for the longest time. The introduction of Mega Evolution turned Kangaskhan into one of the most popular competitive Pokémon on the tournament scene.
Mega Kangaskhan allows the baby Kangaskhan to join the battle. In mechanical terms, this means that it gains the Parental Bond Ability, which allows it to attack twice with the same move each turn, with the second attack dealing half damage.
Parental Bond means that moves like Seismic Toss deal a ton of extra damage, while Body Slam has an extra shot at paralyzing the enemy.
The extra damage output offered by Parental Bond turns Kangaskhan into one of the deadliest Pokémon in the series.
1 Weak: Farfetch'd
The saddest thing about Farfetch'd is the fact that it came so close to achieving glory. The recently leaked demo of Pokémon Gold & Silver revealed an unused evolution for Farfetch'd called Madame, which was a cool looking swan with a sword.
This form would not only have given players a reason to catch/train a Farfetch'd, but it could also have benefited from holding an Eviolite.
As it stands, there is no reason to use a Farfetch'd in battle. It has terrible stats, a boring movepool, and has one of the most common typings in the game, meaning that there are plenty of better options for your team.
This is a shame, as Farfetch'd was so close to being awesome.
Can you think of any other strong Pokémon that should be banned? Let us know in the comments!
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