The developers of the Pokémon series are keen for the average player to be able to complete each game without too much trouble, which is why you can defeat most of the Elite Fours/Champions by just sticking with your starter Pokémon until the end of the game.
When the time comes for a player to dabble in competitive battling, they have to make some tough choices when it comes to picking their team. The Pokémon that you adored for their cool design or unique gimmick may not be able to hold their own on the battlefield, which means that you may be tempted to choose a less interesting Pokémon that has a better track record when it comes to fighting.
There are some Pokémon that have been ignored in the competitive scene due to being perceived as weak, even though there are strategies that will let them take down more powerful opponents. These same Pokémon have also been used as the basis of challenge runs and have taken down the entire Pokémon League on their own. There are also some Pokémon that are popular choices among players, either due to their design or popularity in other parts of Pokémon media, that will let you down on the battlefield.
We are here today to see which Pokémon are a lot weaker than most people thought and which of the puniest looking ones can actually be champion material when used with the right strategy.
Here are the 10 Pokémon Way Weaker Than Fans Thought (And 10 Even Stronger)
20 Weaker: Rhydon
Rhydon is notable for being the first Pokémon ever created and added into Pokémon Red & Green, which may also be why it appears on the statues in all of the Pokémon Gyms.
Rhydon has incredible offensive stats, but these are let down by a terrible Special Defense and Speed stats.
Rhydon's Ground/Rock typing means that it has x4 weaknesses to Grass-type and Water-type moves, which are commonly seen in competitive battles and can therefore exploit Rhydon's low Special Defense. Rhydon's low Speed also means that pretty much any other Pokémon in the game can outpace it, which means that Rhydon won't get a chance to use its powerful offensive attacks in a metagame filled with status effects and stalling moves.
19 Stronger: Pelipper
Pelipper was once considered to be one of the trash Pokémon from Ruby & Sapphire that only existed to fill up space in the Pokédex. The fact that Pelipper was weak to both Rock-type and Electric-type moves meant that it wouldn't last long against most of the common threats in the competitive scene.
Pokémon Sun & Moon were very kind to Pelipper, as this was the generation where it became one of only three Pokémon to possess the Drizzle Ability. Drizzle automatically summons rain on a switch-in, which means that the player doesn't need to waste a turn in order to create a beneficial atmosphere for Water-type Pokémon. This meant that Pelipper became a highly prized Pokémon for certain teams and rose above the scorn that people had for it since the days of Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire.
18 Weaker: Articuno
Articuno was once one of the most feared Pokémon in the series, but new additions to the battle system made it fall from grace. In Pokémon Red & Blue, Articuno was a huge threat, due to the fact that it was the best Ice-type Pokémon in the game and gained a STAB bonus from Blizzard, at the point before it was nerfed in Gold & Silver.
The weakening of Blizzard (and the freeze condition in general) was a setback for Articuno, but it really took a hit when Stealth Rock was introduced, as its Ice/Flying typing gave it an x4 weakness to Rock-type moves. This meant that Stealth Rock could shave off half of Articuno's health when it entered the field. Articuno is still a Legendary Pokémon and has amazing stats, but the introduction of Stealth Rock (and how common it was) meant that most players would think twice about using one in their team.
17 Stronger: Dugtrio
Dugtrio was once looked down upon due to its stats, as it has one of the best Speed stats in the game, but all of the other stats are terrible. The introduction of a special Ability for each Pokémon in Ruby & Sapphire meant that some previously overlooked Pokémon received a new lease of life and no one benefited more from this than Dugtrio.
In Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire, Dugtrio gained the Arena Trap Ability, which prevented most Pokémon from being able to switch out.
This meant that you could directly influence your opponent's next turn, as they would have to deal with the Dugtrio on the field. Dugtrio's blinding speed, coupled with Arena Trap, means that it's almost guaranteed to take down any wounded Pokémon that your opponent has on the field.
16 Weaker: Sudowoodo
Sudowoodo is one of the few wild Pokémon in Pokémon Gold & Silver that the player needs to battle in order to progress through the game, as one of them blocks the path leading through Route 36. The player needs to defeat Whitney in order to earn the Squirtbottle, which they can use to prompt a battle with Sudowoodo and try to catch it.
It's a shame that the player has to jump through so many hoops in order to face Sudowoodo, as its sole Rock-typing gives it weaknesses to five of the most common types in the game. Sudowoodo's terrible stats (especially compared to similar Pokémon like Golem) means that it won't last long on the battlefield.
15 Stronger: Gothitelle
There are some Pokémon that have been heavily criticized for their designs. Gothitelle is a Pokémon that has turned a lot of people off from using it, due to the fact that its based on Gothic Lolita fashion, which many fans believe is a creepy inspiration for a Pokémon to have. You shouldn't judge Gothitelle solely on its design, though, as it's one of the best Shadow Tag users in the game.
Shadow Tag prevents non-Ghost-type Pokémon from switching out unless they also have Shadow Tag. This Ability can cripple entire teams, due to how it forces the opponent to use whatever they have out on the field. The only other Shadow Tag users in Pokémon are Mega Gengar (which takes up your Mega spot) and the Wobbufett line (which is a highly circumstantial Pokémon), which means that Gothitelle may be your best choice for trapping the enemy team.
14 Weaker: Ariados
Speed is one of the most important stats in Pokémon, as the priority with which you can fire off a move will usually mean the difference between victory and defeat. Because of this, Ariados isn't worth using on your team.
Ariados' incredible selection of moves are let down by terrible stats, with its awful Speed stat preventing it from using its amazing range of attacks in battle.
If you are going to use a Pokémon with bad stats but a great selection of moves, then Smeargle is a far better choice, as it has access to almost every single move in the game.
13 Stronger: Magikarp
Magikarp was the original joke Pokémon that wasn't meant to be used in battle, save for being an experience points sponge for those who wanted to own a Gyarados. It's entirely possible to complete Pokémon FireRed & LeafGreen using a single Magikarp, however, as proven by YouTuber Meikachuchu, who defeated every Gym Leader in Kanto and the Elite Four using a single fish.
It requires the use of a high-level Magikarp and a ton of restorative items, but you can overwhelm the Pokémon trainers of Kanto if you use enough Tackle and Struggle attacks on them. This can take an eye-searingly long time during the moments when you have to face an Onix, but your faithful fish friend can chip those bad boys down piece by piece.
12 Weaker: Regigigas
Regigigas is the master of the Legendary Titans of Hoenn, even though it didn't debut until Pokémon Diamond & Pearl. Regigigas has some of the most impressive stats in the series, with a great overall spread that would make it a force to be reckoned with if it weren't shackled to possibly the worst Ability in the series.
When Regigigas is summoned to the field, its Slow Start Ability kicks in, however, which halves all of its stats for five turns. This drops Regigigas' combat potential drastically, as it likely won't last long enough for Slow Start to end. The fact that Regigigas is a Normal-type Pokémon means that it only has immunity to Ghost-type moves and a weakness to Fighting-type moves. The lack of a defensive typing works against Regigigas, as it can't rely on immunities or resistances to help it last longer on the battlefield.
11 Stronger: Alomomola
The most common roles for Pokémon to fill in battle involve offensive Pokémon that obliterate the enemy with powerful attacks and defensive Pokémon that disable foes using status effects. It's possible for some Pokémon to take on a healer role, but some people overlook this strategy, due to the limited amount of spaces allowed on each team, as the official format is a Double Battle with a party of four.
Alomomola is one of the most effective healers in the game, due to its incredibly high HP stat and the Regenerator Ability.
If you have a wounded Pokémon on your team, you can have Alomomola use Wish, which heals half of the hit points of the Pokémon in the same position as the Wish-user on the following turn. This means that Alomomola can pass the Wish on when it switches out and heal a third of its own hit points with the Regenerator Ability.
10 Weaker: Slaking
Slaking is similar to Regigigas in that it has tremendous stats that are made totally redundant by a terrible Ability. Slaking has great stats overall, with the exception of a mediocre Special Defense. It also has access to some of the best offensive moves in the game, such as Body Slam, Dynamic Punch, and Earthquake, which should make Slaking a tremendous threat on the battlefield.
The problem with Slaking is that it has the Truant Ability, which means that it will always skip every other turn instead of taking an action. The fact that Slaking keeps having to skip turns makes it almost useless in battle, since giving the other player a free turn means that they will have ample time to shut Slaking down.
9 Stronger: Bidoof
Cynthia may be the most feared Pokémon trainer in the series. There are some who claim that Red is more powerful, but his team is only scary due to the levels of his Pokémon, which are otherwise easy to overcome due to their typing. It seems like Cynthia's reputation may be overstated, as a YouTuber named ImEpicToast managed to defeat Cynthia's team using a single level one Bidoof.
In order to accomplish this feat, Bidoof inflicted status effects on the enemy and hid behind a Substitute in order to avoid damage, while using a Leftovers to keep healing itself. This might be one of the cheapest tactics in the game, but it's enough to let a lowly beaver to bring down the Champion of Sinnoh.
8 Weaker: Kricketune
The single player story of each Pokémon game is generally easy enough for the player to be able to use any team they want. This means that they can use gimmick Pokémon and have them be successful in battle. When it comes to competitive battling, most players go with their head over their heart and choose Pokémon for their efficiency, rather than design.
Kricketune has an awesome design, as it mixes the sword insect elements of Scyther with a musical gimmick, but it lets down the side with its below average stats and terrible typing.
Kricketune is one of the few Pokémon with access to the Sticky Web move, but there are better choices for Pokémon that possess that move, such as Galvantula or Leavanny.
7 Stronger: Espeon
Eevee is one of the most popular Pokémon in the series, to the point that it's sharing top-billing with Pikachu as the mascot of one of the upcoming Pokémon Let's Go games for the Nintendo Switch. The problem with Eevee is that it isn't a very good Pokémon on its own and its numerous evolutions aren't much better in combat.
Espeon stands out from the other Eeveelutions due to its amazing Speed and Special Attack stats. These stats gave Espeon a lot of utility in battle, especially when it came to using Calm Mind and passing it on to another Pokémon with Baton Pass. Espeon gained a huge boost in Pokémon Black & White, as it could now gain Magic Bounce, which protected it from all status effect moves and fired them back at the enemy Pokémon.
6 Weaker: Aurorus
Pokémon X & Y brought some new dinosaur Pokémon to the series, which got a lot of fans excited at the prospect of using fossils to bring some ancient Pokémon back to life in order to wreak havoc. Aurorus was one of the new dinosaur Pokémon, but it didn't leave much of a mark in terms of its battle prowess.
The issue with Aurorus was its Rock/Ice-typing, which gave it a x4 weakness to Fighting-type and Steel-type moves. Fighting-type Pokémon became a lot stronger after Pokémon Black & White made a push to make the type more effective in battle, while the introduction of Fairy-type Pokémon in Pokémon X & Y meant that Steel-type Pokémon became a lot more common, especially Aegislash, which was one of the most powerful new Pokémon introduced during the same generation as Aurorus. This poor Pokémon may have looked cool, but there were just too many threats out there for it to handle.
5 Stronger: Rattata
Rattata gained a reputation early on as being the first trash Pokémon in the series, which only existed to take up space in the Pokédex and had no relevance in battle. Those who gave the poor purple rats a chance found that they could be one of the most threatening Pokémon in the series, thanks to the F. E. A. R. strategy, which stands for Focus Sash, Endeavor, (Quick) Attack, and Rattata.
Focus Sash prevents a Pokémon from being knocked out in a single attack, keeping them at one hit point, while Endeavor matches the opponent's hit points with your own.
The Rattata can then use Quick Attack to score the easy win on the next turn. The F. E. A. R. strategy is so effective that a YouTuber named isleep2late used a modified version of it to defeat Steven Stone, the Champion of Hoenn, while using only a level one Rattata.
4 Weaker: Meganium
Starter Pokémon tend to earn a special place in the heart of the player, due to their uniqueness and the fact that most players will keep their starter in their team until the end of the game. There are some starter Pokémon that are better than others, with Blaziken and Greninja being some of the most feared Pokémon in the series.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have Meganium from Pokémon Gold & Silver. Meganium is outclassed by the other Grass-type Pokémon in the series, due to its average stat spread and lack of access to support and status effect moves, which are meant to be the bread and butter of the Grass-type Pokémon in the series. Meganium isn't a terrible Pokémon by any means, but it lags behind most of the other Grass-type Pokémon that you will see in competitive battles.
3 Stronger: Serperior
Serperior shares Meganium's solo Grass-type, but they are otherwise totally different, as Serperior's stat spread has been doled out in such a way that it can fill different niches on the battlefield. Serperior also has access to one of the best Ability & move combos in the game.
It's possible for Serperior to possess the Contrary Ability, which reverses the negative stat drops from certain moves and turns them into boosts. Serperior also has access to Leaf Storm, which is a powerful Grass-type move that is meant to lower the Special Attack stat of the Pokémon by two stages whenever it is used. When Serperior uses Leaf Storm, it makes itself stronger each turn, making it a tremendous threat on the battlefield.
2 Weaker: Butterfree
Butterfree is a Pokémon that is based on sentimentality, as many people remember the episode where Ash gave up his beloved Butterfree, which was a storyline that was rehashed in the latest Pokémon movie. A lot of players who chose Charmander as their starter Pokémon in Pokémon Red & Blue also raised a Butterfree, as it was one of the few ways you could beat Brock, due to the fact that it learned Confusion.
Butterfree doesn't stand much of a chance on the battlefield, due to its low stats and terrible typing, which gives it six weaknesses, one of which is a x4 weakness to Rock-type moves.
This means that a Stealth Rock will decimate this poor butterfly Pokémon as soon as it enters the field.
1 Stronger: Ditto
Ditto was considered to be a terrible warrior for years and was only used as a breeding machine by most players. This was due to the fact that Ditto can only ever learn Transform, which gives it every aspect of the opponent (including stats and typing) save for the HP stat, which will potentially turn Ditto into a weaker version of the enemy Pokémon.
The introduction of the Imposter Ability in Pokémon Black & White made Ditto a lot more viable, but a YouTuber called Pikasprey Yellow proved that a lone Ditto could conquer the Kanto region. It's possible to complete Pokémon Red & Blue using a single Ditto, which means that you can beat each trainer using their own first Pokémon against them. You have to level Ditto up a lot in order to give it enough health to survive, but it can still be done. This purple blob can help you become the best, like no one ever was.
Are there any other Pokémon that are stronger or weaker than we thought? Let us know in the comments!