Competitive Pokemon are a force not to take lightly when you first start playing online. Understanding the synergy that’s needed between moves, abilities, stats, and typing on your Pokemon is the key to its success in battle. All that knowledge mostly comes from watching those who have researched before you or doing some research yourself. Above all else, the most critical part of competitive Pokemon building is to use the Pokemon you think are best. In our list of top competitive Pokemon of all time, we’ve found a few picks you may not expect to be on a competitive team.
However, every single Pokemon in this list can lead the charge to a victorious battle, either entirely on their own or with the support of a great team after their decisive setup moves. Almost any Pokemon can be set up for greatness, from Pachirisu to Rayquaza. What cute Pokemon are you hesitating to use? Let this list be an excellent guide to show you that anything can win as long as you have the battle knowledge to back yourself up.
If you keep up with competitive tourney news, you know precisely why Pachirisu is on the list. Never underestimate the little guy: if you study a move pool and natural stats for long enough, you’ll find a good spot for any of your favorites, even if they are tiny and adorable.
Pachirisu is unique because it can provide a great defense, especially considering its size. With moves like Follow Me paired with great natural Speed and Defense, a well-placed Pachirisu can be a nightmare for Double Battles. Se-jun Park, the winner of the Pokemon tourney for X and Y, won using the defenses and move pool of a Pachirisu to its fullest. While the little guy wasn’t making any flashy moves to take out opponents, the amount of field control with Follow Me served enough domination to prove that with the right mindset and a sound sprinkle of strategy, you can use any Pokemon you like and have a good shot at winning.
If you need a solid starting Pokemon for your team, consider one of the best starters around, Infernape. The Speed and Attack on this guy is classically robust, making it a force to be reckoned with all on his own. Infernape has access to a sturdy move pool, too, with attacks like Close Combat, an assortment of elemental Punches, and a great opener like Fake Out all at their disposal. If you dump points into Speed and Attack, you can hardly go wrong with an Infernape as your opener.
He may even sweep your enemy team from the start if you’re lucky. Items that improve your Infernape’s already incredible Attack are best for this scenario, things like the Flame Plate or Life Orb not going amiss. The strategy with the starter is to hit them before they hit you harder. If not, the Infernape will likely go down, not for lack of good Defenses, but simply because that’s the nature of such an impressively strong Lead. Give this thing a Fightinium paired with a Focus Blast on a Special Attacking Infernape, and you have a 190 base-power rendition of All-Out Pummeling. With that kind of power, a Blissey and Nihilego will fall to the numbers in just one hit.
Houndoom is a powerhouse that says no to power creep. It’s a stalwart pick, even among all your options for speedy Fire types. Be that as it may, running it as a speedy Special Attacker is worth it, especially if you give it a Life Orb and a few deadly moves like Flamethrower, Overhead, and Sludge Bomb. If you like Mega Evolutions, giving it Houndoomite is another route you could take for making Houndoom work: the choice is yours since both versions hold up impressively well. Houndoom is a simple setup and will melt anything in its path, just as long as nothing out-speeds it. The Dark typing on Houndoom is perhaps its biggest weakness, all the more reason to make sure nothing outspeeds you.
Enough with the glass cannons; now let’s make some room for some sturdy walls with the attack power to back up an entire team. Ampharos is a threat even without Mega Evolving, with defenses and HP that rival a Snorlax. Mega Evolve it, though, and it turns into a Dragon Electric type with a move pool to perfectly pair with the overwhelming Special Attack at its disposal. Ampharos has access to Dragon, Rock, Bug, and Electric-type moves, giving it the range to destroy almost anything in its way.
With a Defense and Special Defense stat all the way up to high heaven, not much can knock this thing out, save for an all-out assault by a particularly strong Pokemon. Unless your enemy is in the right place at the right time with a Pokemon that matches well against an Electric or Dragon type, Ampharos won’t fall easily. Even when struck with a full-force super-effective move, Ampharos rarely is knocked out with one hit, especially in Mega form. This makes it a fantastic anchor, someone to have at the end of your team in case things go south.
You don’t expect this cute, fluffy guy to have an Attack stat over 300, do you? It does! And with it, a move pool and Ability combine so well it’s almost criminal. Tail Slap is a move that hits two to three times, with Normal typing that grants Cinccino STAB. Pair that with the ability Skill Link, and you have a devastating move that hits five times every single time. Pair that once more with a King’s Rock, and you now have a Cinccino that makes even big Pokemon flinch at its presence. Bullet Seed also works well on this Pokemon, too, giving it a little type advantage wiggle room. The massive Attack stat is the major feature of this Pokemon, rivaling even the best starters you can get, all neatly wrapped into a tiny, cute-faced package.
This Pikachu imitator is no pushover. The very nature of Mimikyu is what makes it such an asset in battle, with an Ability that no other Pokemon has. Disguise gives Mimikyu the ability to take a hit without taking damage, making it the perfect Pokemon to set up stats with. Thanks to having Bulk Up in its move pool, Mimikyu is guaranteed a one-turn respite from all damage while it gets its already impressive stats in order. Running a Mimikyu with a focus on Defense and Special Defense this way makes for a great wall, one that knows how to attack with a wide move pool containing hard hitters like Play Rough, priority moves like Shadow Sneak, and HP restoration saves like Drain Punch.
If you need a wall that also can fire like a glass cannon, consider one of the cutest Eeveelutions around, Sylveon. The defenses on this pink Pokemon don’t mess around, even if you leave them unchanged. It’s completely up to you whether you dump points into Special Attack or one of the Defenses; both tactics work for such an all-around, stat-heavy Pokemon. Sylveon can easily be a Lead Pokemon, with enough stats to set up moves like Misty Terrain, Reflect, and Light Screen with ease. Even when facing impressive starting Pokemon like Infernape or stronger, Sylveon can stand up to an amazing amount of damage. Even with Sylveon as a wall, putting Moonblast on it is a surefire way to deal out some great damage numbers if you have the time or see a super-effective opportunity.
Serperior is another case where the ability absolutely makes the Pokemon. While a Serperior is still a threat and a completely viable Pokemon on its own, there is one ace up its (nonexistent) sleeve: the ability Contrary. If you combine that ability with a move like Leaf Storm, the enemy is in for a coiling barrage of attacks that they may not be able to escape unless they can find something that outspeeds your starter. Contrary reverses all stat drops, meaning that instead of lowering your Special Attack every time Serperior uses Leaf Storm, it goes up instead. Put that on a speedy special attacker, and you have a recipe for domination no matter what stage of the battle Serperior falls into.
Breloom is a unique all-around Pokemon that has the move pool coverage to be a quick lead. The Attack stat on a Breloom is enough to make it a terrifying encounter, especially as a Lead. It may be slower than some other Pokemon, but with access to moves like Close Combat, that’s hardly an issue. Most of the time, Breloom makes for a stalwart Attack stat-focused Pokemon, and should you want to take the defenses one step further, you could always take advantage of Poison Heal, one of the available abilities. Giving it a Toxic Orb will provide the Breloom with a healing factor, in which case you might want to up the Defenses a bit.
Our top spot for Pokemon that absolutely destroy Legendaries without a second thought is the adorable Azumarill. With its Fairy typing it can take down dragons, and with its bulk, it can withstand most hits. For an Azumarill that’ll make Legendary Pokemon think twice, consider the ability Huge Power, which doubles the Attack stat right off the bat. From there you can give a nice Berry to Azumarill and have it use Belly Drum, which maximizes Attack as far as it will go. With this setup, you’ll have yourself an Azumarill that can take out most Pokemon, sporting 400 base Attack before the stat increases.