Top 10 Best Of The Original 150 Pokemon
Pokemon has grown into one of the most popular gaming franchises ever, and in the process its roster has grown to almost comical proportions. The original 150 has ballooned from its already large number to include 649. For those of us playing from the beginning, nothing will replace those first 150 in our hearts. Over the years, most of those Pokemon have been made obsolete by more recent and powerful alternatives in competitive play. A few Pokemon have remained useful over all of these years, and this article is devoted to those Pokemon who have stood the test of time. Which are the best Pokemon to emerge out of the Kanto region? Read on to find out.
Notes: This list is strictly about Pokemon in a competitive setting. Maybe you destroyed the Elite Four with your Charizard, but that doesn’t mean it’s very good.
While Pokemon were judged based on how useful they were in the current metagame, how useful they’ve been over the years was also taken into account. Pokemon that have been good from the very beginning were given preference over Pokemon that became more useful recently.
Mew- Mew was technically part of Red and Blue, but the only legitimate way to obtain Mew was through a Nintendo event or a bizarre glitch that was discovered years after our old clunky Game Boys were upgraded. I decided to focus on the Pokemon that were obtainable through normal means and Red and Blue. Just a judgment call. If Mew was included, he’d be near the top of this list.
Dugtrio- Dugtrio was actually on the first version of his list. Dugtrio has pretty poor stats, but his Arena Trap ability is truly devastating when used correctly. If your opponent sends in a Dugtrio against your weakened Pokemon, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Jolteon- Jolteon is very fast and hits very hard with his special attacks. Jolteon is very good, but other Pokemon are simply better.
Alakazam- Alakazam has been really good in some Pokemon games, and not so good in others. Alakazam’s Speed and wide range of moves makes him powerful, but he hasn’t been consistently good enough to deserve a spot on this list.
Chansey- Chansey can be one of the hardest to kill Pokemon in the game. The only problem with Chansey is that she is largely outclassed by her evolved form, Blissey. While some people still argue that Chansey is the better Pokemon, there was no reason to use Chansey over Blissey until Pokemon Black. Since I’m taking past usefulness into consideration, this keeps Chansey off of this list.
And Onto The List
Bulbasaur was probably the least popular of Kanto’s three starting Pokemon, but over time, he’s become the best of the three by quite a large margin, and one of the best Pokemon in the game.
Venusaur’s success didn’t come overnight. Venusaur was mediocre at best in the first game. Sleep Powder was a nice asset, but Venusaur has low speed and his poison/grass typing gives him LOTS of weaknesses. Venusaur’s fortunes didn’t change until recently in Black and White with the introduction of Dream World. Pokemon found in the Dream World have special abilities, and Venusaur’s special ability is a good one.
Chlorophyll is an ability that doubles Venusaur’s speed in sunlight which means the slowpoke plant Pokemon suddenly becomes capable of beating Electrode in a foot race. If Venusaur can manage to use the move Growth in the sunlight, his special attack and attack BOTH rise, which makes Venusaur very fast and very strong. Combine Venusaur’s incredible speed and power with his ability to learn Sleep Powder and you have a scary Pocket Monster that can even compete with some of the powerful legendary Pokemon.
Venusaur is only so low on the list for three reasons. First of all, I don’t believe there is a legit way to get a Venusaur with Chlorophyll, so if you have one you probably used some sort of nefarious method to obtain it (or you traded with a Japanese player. Japan gets all the good stuff). Secondly, Venusaur goes from amazing to mediocre if the weather changes on him. Lastly, while Venusaur is a potent threat now, he’s been mediocre for a long time. Still, there’s something to love about a previously weak Pokemon who has suddenly become a powerhouse.
I swear I didn’t put Ninetales in the 9th spot to be cute or anything. Ninetales is similar to Venusaur in that he was a once weak Pokemon that has become stronger through the addition of a Dream World ability. Also like Venusaur, Ninetales’ strengths are based on his ability to use sunlight to his advantage. However, unlike Venusaur, Ninetales can now automatically change the weather to harsh sunlight with his shiny new Drought ability.
Drought, previously only possessed by the legendary Groudon, automatically changes the weather to harsh sunlight when Ninetales enters the battlefield, and as any veteran Pokemon player knows, controlling the weather can be the difference between victory and defeat. Ninetales has a nice variety of moves that can take out common Pokemon like Politoed or Ferrothorn with a little luck and preparation. Solar Beam and Fire Blast are quite potent in the sunlight, and moves like Will-o-Wisp and Nasty Plot are great trump cards.
Ninetales still suffers from below average defense and attack which make using her tricky. Using Ninetales takes a lot of strategy and planning, but the weather effect she provides is so useful that it’s worth the risk. Sunlight is absolutely essential to set up Pokemon like Venusaur, and eliminating your opponent’s sandstorm or rain can render their team useless.
Water Pokemon tend to have high defense and make good support Pokemon (as we may see later in this list). Pokemon like Swampet, Jelliscient, and Gastrodon fit this role well. Despite the large number of defensive water types in Pokemon, Vaporeon has a few things that help him stand out among his peers.
Vaporeon has a surprisingly great variety of support moves. Like most Pokemon, Vaporeon can use substitute, which combines with his great HP to create hard to break substitutes. Vaporeon also learns wish, which helps him act as a white mage and heal his team mates. Vaporeon is one of the few Pokemon to learn Acid Armor which bolsters his own weak defense, and he has Baton Pass to transfer the benefit to others. Vaporeon has quite a few tricks available to support his team, and also a few moves like Scald to weaken his opponents.
Vaporeon earns a higher spot than Venusaur or Ninetales because Vaporeon has always been a fairly good Pokemon, while the others have only become powerful with recent additions to the game.
Dragonite was always a badass Pokemon, but he wasn’t a very good one. The combination of being a dragon type and a flying type with low speed meant that any Pokemon with Ice Beam could take Dragonite out with no problems. Worse yet, newcomers like Salamance and Garchomp did everything that Dragonite did, but much better. Like Venusaur and Nintetales, Dragonite found salvation with its Dream World ability.
Multiscale halves the damage of anything that hits Dragonite while it’s at full HP which means he won’t get taken out in a single Ice Beam and has a chance to use Dragon Dance, or simply hit something really hard. Dragonite has a great number of attacking moves including the always useful extreme speed to fend off quicker Pokemon and has Roost to recover health. With a great variety of moves and high attacking stats, Dragonite has something to fend off just about any Pokemon you throw at it. As long as you keep Dragonite away from Spikes and Stealth Rock, he can wreak serious havoc.
Dragonite has now become one of the most common Pokemon in competitive play. Dragonite is one of the best Pokemon, outside of legendaries. While Dragonite has rose to the top of the metagame, I placed him lowly because he hasn’t been very good until recently. Since Pokemon Red and Blue, Dragonite hasn’t done much besides looking kind of awesome, and I decided to place more consistently good Pokemon above him.
Evolving the pathetic Magikarp into the terrifying Gyarados was one of the best things about Pokemon Red and Blue, but even after that evolution, Gyarados was still a little meh. Pokemon with Thunderbolt could take out the water/flying type Pokemon pretty easily. Gyarados slowly but surely becaome better over time. The introduction of moves like Waterfall and Aquatail helped Gyarados immensely by allowing him to take full advantage of his great attack. More important to Gyarados’ success was moves like Taunt and Dragon Dance which severely hamper defense minded Pokemon. Taunt prevents Pokemon like Blissey from utilizing any of their non-attack moves, which prevents them from setting up anything complex. Meanwhile, Gyarados is free to use moves like Dragon Dance to allow him to rip through opponent teams.
Gyarados is a surprisingly versatile Pokemon who can be tricky to fight against, and he’s been consistently useful for a long time now. Plus, he just looks awesome.
You know those weak little things that you slaughtered as you surfed around the Sea Foam Islands? Turns out they were actually one of the best Pokemon to add to your team. Tentacruel features great speed, and crazy special defense. These traits made him decent in the first two Pokemon generations, but Tentacruel truly became a force to be reckoned with when he learned Toxic Spikes in Pokemon Ruby and Saphire. The ability to set up traps for incoming opponents and the ability to swat away your opponents traps with Rapid Spin makes Tentacruel a great monster to use. Tentacruel is not going to score lots of KOs, but he makes for one of the best support Pokemon in the game, and his traps can cripple an opponent’s team. When every Pokemon your opponent sends in is instantly afflicted with toxic, it’s just a matter of playing the waiting game. Thankfully, that’s a game that Tentacruel is very good at.
Cloyster always had incredible defense, but never had anything good to do with it. Being able to take hits is nice, but Cloyster couldn’t do anything but annoy your opponent for a few turns until they killed it without taking much damage. Throughout the years, Cloyster gained access to moves like Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and Rapid Spin. As hazards became more important, these moves helped make Cloyster more valuable. It also learned Explosion which made for a great surprise attack. With these moves, Cloyster was able to set up some traps, and exit with a bang when it wore out its usefulness. Cloyster took another step from good to amazing in Pokemon Black and White when it learned Shell Smash.
Shell Smash allows Cloyster to double his attack, special attack, and speed in one turn by sacrificing defense and special defense. Once he utilizes this attack, Cloyster goes from being a slow Pokemon with great defense to being one of the fastest and strongest Pokemon in the game. Cloyster has now become a surprisingly potent threat that could singlehandedly destroy even a legendary Pokemon team that isn’t prepared.
Like most competitive game with multiple characters, Pokemon is divided into tiers. The top (Uber) tier is reserved for the truly overpowered legendary Pokemon like Mewtwo, Lugia, and ummmm… Excadrill. For 99% of the Pokemon that roam freely in the tall grass, Overused (OU) tier is the top of the mountain, and it’s where most competitive Pokemon takes place. Only two of the original 150 Pokemon have managed to keep a spot in the OU tier throughout every Pokemon generation, and Gengar is one of them.
It’s not hard to see why Gengar has been so utilized for so long. Its speed is incredible and its special attack is even better. Gengar can attack with a wide variety of different types which enables Gengar to take down anything that’s not prepared for it. To round things out, Gengar also has some nasty tricks like Disable and Pain Split.
Gengar has one major weakness in the form of his very low defensive stats. If Gengar runs into anything that is faster or has an attack like Sucker punch or Bullet punch, it could be in trouble. Even with this notable flaw, Gengar’s speed and power will always keep Gengar as a viable member of your team as it has been since the good old Red and Blue days.
Starmie is the other of the two non-legendary Pokemon that has remained a constant threat since the dawn of Pokemon. The secret to Starmie’s success is similar to Gengar’s. High speed, high special attack, a ton of different moves are always good things in the world of Pokemon.
Starmie has a ton of different options for dealing damage. Attacks like Hydropump, Surf, and Psychic take advantage of Starmie’s type, while moves like Thunderbolt and Ice Beam give Starmie enough coverage to hit just about anything in the game for good damage.
There are lots of Pokemon with good speed and special attack, but Starmie also benefits from a great ability, Natural Cure, which allows him to shrug off status conditions by switching out. More importantly, Rapid Spin allows Starmie to clear the field of traps like Spikes or Stealth Rocks and set the stage for heavy hitters like Dragonite.
Some may question why Starmie is ranked as the best of the non-legendary Pokemon in this list. Starmie may not be the best of the 1st 150 Pokemon right now, but Starmie has consistently been one of the top Pokemon in the game, and it’s hard to imagine a future in which Starmie isn’t a threat. Starmie has earned this spot through his tremendous consistency. The only other choice for the spot was Gengar, but Starmie’s slightly higher speed, better defense, and Rapid Spin makes it a bit more useful in my estimation. As long as you play Pokemon, you can be assured that Starmie will be a good choice for your team.
In Pokemon Red and Blue, Mewtwo was absolutely unstoppable. Mewtwo had insane speed, crazy special attack, and one of the best set of moves in the game. There were no useful bug or ghost type moves to stand in Mewtwo’s way. On top of that, dark and steel type Pokemon didn’t yet exist. There was nothing that could really oppose Mewtwo. The only way to fight a Mewtwo was by using Mewtwo.
After over a decade, two new Pokemon types, and about 500 new Pokemon, Mewtwo is still arguably the best. While Pokemon like Arceus, Darkrai, and Kyogre can provide a challenge for Mewtwo, the genetic experiment still has enough speed to take out most opponents, along with a wide variety of attacks that leave him ready for almost any situation. Mewtwo learns powerful moves of just about every useful type in the game. With the speed and special attack stats to use them effectively, Mewtwo is a force to be reckoned with. No Pokemon is ever truly safe from Mewtwo’s wrath.
Despite how much has changed in the world of Pokemon, Mewtwo has managed to fend off all comers and keep his spot at the top of the Pokemon metagame. And for that, we salute our favorite little tortured, psychic powered, kitty cat.
What Do You Think?
The world of Pokemon is incredibly complex, and even the best players will disagree on the value of certain Pokemon. My opinion is hardly the final say, and as always I encourage any feedback. However, please make sure you’re reasonably knowledgeable on Pokemon if you want to critique 🙂