Three-Year Anniversary Special: Top 10 Favorite Pokémon

pokemon-logo

WordPress notified me yesterday that I had surpassed three years with this blog. I can assure everyone reading that I didn’t think I would spend as much time dedicated to updating this putrid thing for as long as I have, but it’s taken a life of its own. I’ve met a good variety of people and have followed a nice group of bloggers, whose content I enjoy reading, as well as a small gathering of my own. I would just like to thank everyone for making these last three years (though more specifically last one year) a memorable one in the world of online blogging. To celebrate, I’ve went ahead and concocted a Top 10 list I’ve considered writing many times in the past: my top 10 favorite pokémon.

There isn’t really much of a criteria to this list—all pokémon are allowed and are ranked by my personal taste. A pretty straightforward list for straightforward poké-thusiasts.

10. Gigalith

gigalith

Starting out this list is a surprise choice by my part. While I find the pokédex for the fifth generation of Pokémon to be decent, I’m not a huge fan of the narrative of the games. Black & White—along with Black & White 2, which I’ve never actually played—are among my least favorite Pokémon games, which reflects the amount of good memories I have with said generation and those within the Unova region. I found the focus on “What is Pokémon?” too shallow for something as basic as Pokémon, but I can acknowledge the effort to try and make the games more intellectually stimulating. I played through my old copy of White once and that was it for me. Among my main party during that one and only run was a pokémon named Gigalith.

What is also worth noting is my affinity for rock/ground-type pokémon. I tend to enjoy creatures who are bumpy, rocky, or concave in general. I took one look at Gigalith prior to Black & White‘s release (because I am a cheater) and was immediately drawn to it. The thing looks like something straight out of Gurren Lagann, doesn’t it? All sorts of red and blue and spikes and an enormous, impenetrable body that exudes sturdiness. As part of a three-chain evolution, its stats are pretty reliable as well, so Gigalith, along with the aid of Bulldoze, was an easy choice for mowing down opponents with ease. Lest they have water pokémon, of course.

I’ve always liked Gigalith, but had you asked me if it would’ve made this list a few years ago, I’d scoff at you. Gigalith is an interesting case of a pokémon whose appeal grows with time. The more I think back to my days in the fifth generation, Gigalith is one pokémon that always seems to stand out to me. Its reliability and interesting design was enough to thrust itself among my mental ranks and charge past the competition.

9. Gourgeist

gourgeist

I really, really don’t know why I like this pokémon so much. Maybe it’s the cutesy, almost anime-esque design that attracts my weebish senses. My inner love for Halloween and all of its spooky festivities. The fact that its size depends on the specific Pumpkaboo you catch, almost like actually picking out a pumpkin to carve. Whatever it is, Gourgeist has my heart on a string. Or whatever those hand-like hairs are on its head.

Unlike Gigalith, Gourgeist was a pokémon I knew I would love immediately. For a while, it ranked up there among my favorites without any need to think about it. Now-a-days, though, Gourgeist is a little silly to like to such a high degree. It’s a pumpkin seed with hair for God’s sake. One of its moves is called “Trick-Or-Treat”! It’s a living token to Halloween! It’s silly to its core, but silly is better than stupid.

Like most pokémon on this list, Gourgeist was among my main party during my initial run with its generation of games. With the use of moves like Seed Bomb and Phantom Force, Gourgeist proved very nimble in battle, especially against Special-oriented pokémon. It was placed in my party late into the game, but held its own when it came time to train. In fact, it was the only sixth-generation pokémon in my party. I’m such a genwunner.

8. Steelix
steelix

When the second generation of Pokémon came around, a new type was unveiled along with it: Steel type. When my hands latched onto any sort of guidebook detailing the new pokémon available in the game, my eyes always gravitated towards two particular Steel-type pokémon: Steelix and Scizor. As a kid, Scizor was always my favorite between the two. I loved insects and insectoids and Scizor was coated in a lovely shade of red. However, as I matured, I realized that Scizor wasn’t that much of an upgrade past the original form of Scyther, sacrificing speed for better defense and attack. Steelix, however, seemed to improve Onix in every regard, which is why I eventually saw Steelix as the pinnacle of Steel pokémon.

Not to mention, Steelix fits the mold of bumpy, sturdy-looking rock (or steel in this case) pokémon that I’ve grown to be fond of. And if you think about it, look at what Steelix is. Its a giant steel snake! That’s fucking awesome! And despite the Pokémon handbooks typically being pretty odd about sizes, Steelix is still said to be thirty feet long. That’s one big snake.

I’ve yet to really obtain Steelix’s power for my own, as its finicky evolution condition is hard to replicate on a linkless emulator, but I recall training one in my days playing FireRed & LeafGreen. If only I could remember what it was like to have it among my main team. Another day, perhaps, but for now, a man can dream about orchestrating the strength of a giant steel snake monster.

7. Groudon

groudon

I’d like to take a moment to appreciate everything about Groudon’s design.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Okay, I’m done.

Groudon, at one point, was my favorite pokémon. Not “one of,” but the favorite of all of them. It was my favorite pokémon for a long time, too, up until a few years ago when its status as “legendary” began to dull my interest in it. Is that unfair? A tad. But it’s the way I feel.

Y’see, legendary pokémon get a lot of love. Why do they get a lot of love? Maybe because they’re legendary? Maybe because they’re the main focus of their respective games? Maybe because they look cool? Whatever the case, when one comes across a “Top 10 Favorite Pokémon” list, they’re bound to come across at least three or four legendaries. Or pseudo-legendaries (such as Lucario or Zoroark, whose availability in games are limited and are featured in movies). Call it my cynicism at work, but I tend to roll my eyes when I see an abundance of legendary pokémon swarming people’s favorites. It wouldn’t be so bad if I felt these picks were justified, but a lot of the time they’re their favorites simply because “they’re legendaries.” Groudon is part of my own case with the feeling.

There was never any particular reason why I loved Groudon so much. I loved it because it looked amazing. And it was a legendary. And it made me love Ground type. It was simply one of those moments where something became so soul-grippingly joyous to you that it receded your ability to think and strengthened your ability to feel. And I felt, very passionately, that Groudon was the bestest pokémon ever. Because I said so.

To be honest, Groudon wasn’t a lock to make this list because I don’t feel too strongly for it anymore. But it had enough of an impact on my younger life to keep it influential inside my mind. That, and Groudon still looks incredibly cool. It combines the red and black look perfectly and my love for reptiles makes its design pop more than it probably should. I really like the lines that mark up its body like an ancient language. It’s just a really, really cool-looking thing.

6. Kingler

kingler

When I was a very young kid, I was not hard to impress. Take the case with Kingler, who gets the honor of being crowned my very first favorite pokémon. Of all the pokémon to choose from in the first generation, I chose a crab with a pointy crown and a giant left claw. Good job, me.

However, this is not the case of “I’m only putting it here because of nostalgia.” I genuinely love Kingler, and is among my favorite pokémon from generation one. I honestly don’t think Kingler gets a lot of love from Pokémon, as its inclusion in most games comes from either looking underneath small rocks or fishing in the ocean. You have to go out of your way to find a Krabby, for sure. Worse than that, Kinglers are pretty ill-equipped during early-generation games, as its heavy emphasis on Attack as opposed to Special Attack doesn’t give them a good advantage with their native Water type. After all, for a time, all Water-type moves were Special-oriented back in the day. Kingler’s Special Attack is pretty poor, which left it only with Normal-type moves like Vicegrip or Stomp to get the most use of its Attack power.

It’s this heavy-handed approach that makes me like Kingler even more. Cool design aside, it is genuine pity that makes me love this pokémon. It isn’t a smart choice to main in early-version Pokémon games, which makes me want to main it even more. Kingler is an underappreciated gem that shines brighter in later games. I always try to give it some emphasis outside of being an HM slave for moves like Surf or Whirlpool (It can’t even learn Waterfall! What?!). Not to mention, it had its own move dedicated to it early on: Crabhammer. Not a great move in earlier games, but a very handy one later on. You can thank Kingler (or Krabby) for that.

5. Mewtwo

mewtwo

And when it comes to legendaries, Mewtwo stands at the top of the mountain. Or the bottom of the cave. Whatever you prefer.

Nostalgia plays a very heavy factor into this placement, but what also plays a part is Mewtwo’s backstory as a genetic clone of the other legendary pokémon: Mew. Mewtwo. Mew. Mewtwo. It’s kind of an odd name if you think about it, but it fits regardless. The thought of cloning and building the ultimate pokémon from DNA is infinitely fascinating to me. Mewtwo’s design only accentuates his sort of “Science-y” look. He looks like, well a clone.

He was a part of Super Smash Bros. Melee, the first Pokémon movie, another Pokémon movie, an animated special showcasing its younger years, and eventually got two Mega Evolutions because why not? Mewtwo is a popular pokémon, and the creators know this. They’re willing to stick him into whatever fits and I have no problem with that whatsoever (yet). Mewtwo is the symbol of an interesting human and Pokémon interaction story gone wrong, and in my own mind, the most effective Pokémon has ever come to immersive storytelling.

I always preferred Mewtwo over Mew (He looks more masculine, therefore he’s cooler!). It had the highest base Special Attack of any pokémon until Deoxys’ Attack Form surpassed it. It had a sleek, simplistic design. It took a zillion pokéballs to catch. It had everything going for it as a prime and true legendary pokémon, and still does. That’s why its my favorite legendary pokémon. A title that may never be relinquished.

4. Feraligatr

feraligatr

Remember everything I said above with Groudon and how everyone lists legendaries as their favorite because they’re legendaries? The same can be said with starters. They’re their favorite because they’re starters. Only this time, I can understand where they’re coming from.

A lot of people will immediately proclaim Charizard to be the greatest starter pokémon of all time. It’s got a great design, good stats, and was one of three starters in the first Pokémon games ever made. Nostalgia definitely plays a big role in it, but Charizard has a lot of good going for it. But for me, who started off with the second generation, my first will always be Totodile, which evolved into my fourth favorite pokémon: Feraligatr.

Water type is among my favorite types. I like reptiles and reptile-looking things. I like offensive powerhouses. I like minimal use of spikes. And it was my first starter. Wrap all of this together and you have the perfect starter for me. Feraligatr has nostalgia wrapped around its scaly skin and won’t relinquish it for the world. Feraligatr is to me what Charizard is to everyone else. It was my first, and damn did it help me when it came time to fight Lance. Teach it Ice Punch and you will have zero issues whatsoever.

However, Feraligatr suffers from the same problems Kingler does: its a Water type with strong Attack power. Early games automatically list Water-type moves as Special Attack. Feraligatr is at a disadvantage. Even so, the dependability of Feraligatr is one to be praised, as I never choose any starter outside of it when given the chance (I am very stubborn). At least Feraligatr can learn Waterfall… past generation two.

3. Nidoking

nidoking

Alright, guys. This is just pure, unadulterated masculinity and testosterone at work here. Nidoking is, and I hate to even use the term, fucking badass. It is among the most creatively unique pokémon of the first generation and its design is oozing with everything I love about anything. Spikes, muscular, mean, reptile-like (I guess?), and a very interesting choice going with light purple with the major color scheme. Purple doesn’t get enough love; it’s a damn good color.

Just to pollute this list with some grade A cringe, I used to think that Nidoqueen evolved into Nidoking. Why? Because obviously females are inferior to males. In terms of strength, anyway. I used to have a poster that listed all of the first generation pokémon in a circular chart that orbited around the Pokémon logo. For whatever reason, I would look at that chart and follow the line to the point where Nidoran (female) would appear, travel the evolution line, then skip Nidoran (Male) and Nidorino and jump straight to Nidoking. It’s stupid and sexist, but it also showed how much I valued Nidoking as a pokémon, despite never really controlling it.

My love for Nidoking was aided by Pokémon Stadium, where Nidoking was equipped with Earthquake, an OP move that devastated everything in its path. I was demolish everything with that move, further cementing Nidoking’s awesome legacy in my mind. This would only end around the time it got to the third generation and I played Pokémon Stadium again and used Nidoking constantly, only to be killed multiple times when I got to Misty’s gym. It’s almost like Ground is weak to Water or something.

Despite that (and a surprisingly low stat base), Nidoking has always been an easy choice as a main party member. I think aside from Feraligatr, Nidoking is the pokémon I use most often in my main party. It hasn’t failed me yet; in fact, I had a Nidoking in my last playthrough of Pokémon Y. During the Championship fight against Diantha, Nidoking one-shot every pokémon she used. How’s that for useful?

2. Dunsparce

dunsparce

YOU BETTER BELIEVE I PUT DUNSPARCE AT THE NUMBER TWO SPOT.

I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING: “WHAAAAA? DUNSPARCE? WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT DUNSPARCE?” I’LL TELL YOU WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT DUNSPARCE.

DUNSPARCE WAS ONE OF SIX MAIN PARTY MEMBERS DURING MY RUN OF POKÉMON Y AND BOY, WAS HE A GREAT HELP. MORE HP THAN HALF OF MY TEAM. TOOK HITS LIKE A SOLDIER. THREW HITS LIKE A GOLEM. DUNSPARCE WAS MY TANK. IT TOOK THE HITS AND DISHED ‘EM, TOO. ITS DECEPTIVELY TOUGH BODY ALLOWED MY TEAM TO TAKE DOWN OPPONENTS WITH EASE. DUNSPARCE WAS THE CENTER TO MY OFFENSIVE LINE. THE QUARTERBACK TO MY OFFENSE. THE MIDDLE LINEBACKER TO MY DEFENSE. THE FOUNDATION OF MY HOUSE. THE MONEY IN MY BANK ACCOUNT. THE BEATS OF MY HEART. DUNSPARCE’S BEAUTY AND GRACE ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH.

ALSO IT WAS PRETTY COOL TO FIND A RARE POKÉMON IN DARK CAVE AS A KID WITHOUT ANY KNOWLEDGE THAT THERE WERE ANYTHING ASIDE FROM GEODUDES AND ZUBATS IN THERE. IT MADE THE ENCOUNTER ALL THE MORE SPECIAL. I BET YOU THINK THIS WHOLE SPOT IS A JOKE. WELL I GOT NEWS FOR YA, PUNK. IT’S NO JOKE. I LOVE DUNSPARCE. AND YOU SHOULD, TOO. BECAUSE DUNSPARCE.

1. Abra

abra-2

Some people saw this coming, but for those who didn’t see this coming, allow me to explain why Abra is the greatest pokémon of all time.

Okay, not the greatest, but my favorite of all time. Abra is one of those bizarre choices where the pokémon’s behavior says more about it than its design or stats ever could. Abra is asleep for twenty hours of the day and is conscious of its surroundings despite that, allowing it to teleport away at the blink of an eye.  Some people see this as annoying, and it is, but it also speaks to me in some strange, asocial way.

Now, I haven’t always been the most social guy. As a kid, I was very fond of being left alone and thinking and crafting mental pictures all in my head without anyone bothering me. Because of this reclusive nature, I’ve found myself empathizing with the manner in which Abra behaves: teleporting away from any hostile environment. While Abra more does so to not be captured or attacked by wild animals, it’s this sort of manner of escape that I’ve always understood. I find a little part of me inside of Abra, even if it doesn’t apply to my actual situation. It does so for survival while I do so more for personal comfort. Regardless, I think its uniqueness makes up for its lack of battle finesse.

Subjective vomit aside, I’ve always liked the simplistic design of Abra. It’s very mouse-like, while also sort of hinting at a boy-ish youth that exhibits the necessity of always having to run away. While its evolutions are cool on their own (though I think Kadabra looks a little dumb), Abra has that sort of bland charm that speaks volumes without speaking at all. Kind of like Feraligatr, Dunsparce, and Mewtwo before it (on this list). One doesn’t have to have a bunch of spikes or lasers or metal suits to earn the title of “awesome.” Sometimes you just need to tread to the basics to get to that core appeal. Have I mentioned I hate Mega Evolutions?

An odd choice for a favorite, but a favorite nonetheless. Abra has that sort of oomph to it that I like. I use Alakazam to main, obviously, but Abra is always a nice treat to start with, despite the uselessness in battle.

 

Honorable Mentions: Cacturne, Solrock, Donphan, Clefable

2 thoughts on “Three-Year Anniversary Special: Top 10 Favorite Pokémon

  1. Alakazam was my MVP in Red and Blue. He destroyed everything. But Kingler? That’s a unique choice. Not exactly the most inspiring or intriguing Pokemon.

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