The top 20 strongest Pokémon

From Arceus to Zygarde and all the best in between them.

Pokémon has proven itself time and time again to be one of the most beloved franchises in history. This is in no small part due to the captivating designs and capabilities of these wonderful creatures. In this list, we will be examining those capabilities to determine who the strongest Pokémon of all time is. Of course, there are many metrics with which we could examine the strength of Pokémon, so let us be clear in the rules we set for ourselves when deciding how to measure strength.

Each Pokémon may only appear once on the list, and a form change will count as being the same Pokémon even if it changes stats and/or abilities. Strength is defined as how good the Pokémon is for battling in the main series game. And finally, this list will consider Pokémon as they exist right now, not as they existed in their peak meta, though Pokémon from all generations will be considered.

20. Deoxys (Attack Form)

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Even at number 20, Deoxys-Attack is nothing to be scoffed at. While the Pokémon does boast four different forms, which are all-powerful in their own sense, Deoxys-Attack simply stands above the rest in part due to the fact that it is the fifth-fastest Pokémon in the whole series, even though it has a form designated for speed. It has a solid move pool that includes the signature move Psycho Boost, and some crazy fast wall-breaking potential.

19. Giratina (Origin Form)

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Also equipped with a form change is Giratina; its Origin form is among the best Defog users in the highest tier of competitive battling, where more often than not having good field set-up and status effects reigns supreme. When combined with a STAB Hex and Will-O-Wisp, Giratina and Giratina-Origin are both sure threats.

18. Lunala

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Now you might be thinking that Dawn Wings Necrozma is better than Lunala, but much to our collective surprise, it actually is not. Not to mention, we would classify that form as Necrozma rather than Lunala, despite the Pokémon franchise’s recent obsession with making that line rather unclear. With a better speed stat and also an arguably better ability in Shadow Shield, Lunala pretty sternly beats out Dawn Wings Necrozma and quite frankly almost any other offensive Pokémon.

17. Lugia

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Though it is generally considered to be the weaker counterpart to the Tower Duo, Lugia still stands as one of the most incredibly bulky walls in the game. Despite many years of other Pokémon getting alternate forms and more considerate stat distribution, Lugia is still a force to be reckoned with mainly due to the massive defensive stats it has. With access to Roost in conjunction to its ability Multiscale, Lugia is a seriously beefy threat that is generally more than happy to land Toxic and wait you out while you struggle to even dent its health.

16. Salamence

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Originally memed for a design seemingly inspired by French pastry, Mega Salamence is actually the only non-legendary/mythical Pokémon to make it onto this list — sorry, Gengar fans. While this Pokémon is still pretty strong before mega-evolving due to its ability Intimidate, it climbs to a whole different level once it mega-evolves because it gets access to more firepower and also Aerilate, turning the often lackluster Double-Edge into basically a Salamence-flavored Brave Bird.

15. Landorus

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One should expect the Trio Master of the Forces of Nature trio to be strong, and Landorus certainly proves itself more than capable. What makes this Pokémon rank so highly is the fact that it has two different type immunities thanks to its typing, while also having just slightly more speed than most other wallbreakers in the Ubers metagame. These unique advantages combined with a great movepool to abuse Sheer Force make it clear that Landorus has earned its spot among the greats.

14. Mewtwo

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Mega Mewtwo-Y and Mega Mewtwo-X are both tied with Mega Rayquaza for having the highest base stat total of all Pokémon. Furthermore, Mega Mewtwo-Y has the highest base Special Attack stat while Mega Mewtwo-X has the highest Attack stat. As for the best form, we’ll have to go with Mega Mewtwo-Y, simply because the movepool Mewtwo draws from is generally stronger in the Special Attack area. Both would perhaps rank higher if not for some minor weaknesses such as pretty useless abilities and being just slightly outclassed as a wallbreaker by Pokémon higher on this list.

13. Zekrom

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Zekrom is yet another case of less being more, as it turns out fusing with Kyurem to make Kyurem-Black actually makes this Pokémon weaker due to its typing change. As an Electric and Dragon-type Pokémon, Zekrom has great typing to threaten other big hitters, and it is one of the best Dragon Dance users ever released. Thanks to its ability Teravolt, it also can break through some of the more famously powerful abilities that other Pokémon have such as Multiscale and Wonder Guard.

12. Ho-Oh

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Since the introduction of Heavy Duty Boots, Ho-Oh has finally been able to shine. With Stealth Rocks no longer shredding it to ribbons, Ho-Oh flexes the double threat of being a great Defog user with Regenerator or being a quietly high damage attacker thanks to Sacred Fire, Brave Bird, and Earthquake blessing its move pool. If you get around to watching any Pokémon battles in tournaments where Ho-Oh is legal, expect to see it a lot, as it is quite popular in addition to being very strong.

11. Kyogre

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Having the second-highest base Special Attack in the game is certain to make you a huge threat, and Primal Kyogre takes this very literally. This literal whale of a Pokémon can both trigger rain and disable Fire-type moves with the ability Primordial Sea. The real fright of this Pokémon is that it has a base 150 power STAB move in Water Spout, which can be boosted by Calm Mind. That threatening of a move also happens to sit on a hefty Special Defense stat and a decent Health stat, meaning you are unlikely to OHKO this Pokémon.

10. Calyrex-Shadow

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Calyrex might be the newest Pokémon on the scene, but in terms of battle prowess, it wasn’t born yesterday. Calyrex-Shadow is our choice for the best form of Calyrex as it has incredible attacking strength without the massive price in speed that Calyrex-Ice pays. As One (Spectrier) is a very threatening ability in terms of sweeping potential, and with STAB Astral Barrage, that potential can become reality. This Pokémon also has great utility thanks to access to Aromatherapy, meaning that it can be a huge damage threat and also a life saver to a team wrecked by status effects.

9. Marshadow

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Marshadow is deserving of its Ghost typing, as it makes for a scary attacker. The Pokémon seems to be designed to counter whatever you are doing. Have a held item? Then it can use Poltergeist. If you attempt to raise your stats, it can steal those stats using Spectral Thief. Want to attack first? Marshadow has Shadow Sneak and the Technician ability meaning that Shadow Sneak will hit 50% harder than usual. Generally, it won’t even need to use a priority move to outspeed you since only five other Pokémon on this list can even outspeed it.

8. Xerneas

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There are two very simple reasons why Xerneas is on this list. The first is that it is the only Pokémon who can learn Geomancy, which is arguably the best stat-boosting move in the game. The second is Fairy Aura, which really just makes getting hit by Moonblast a death sentence to any Pokémon not specifically bulky with Special Defense or resistant to Fairy-type moves. These two strengths don’t even come at a cost, as Xerneas itself is quite durable even though it is generally considered an offensive Pokemon.

7. Zygarde

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Zygarde is somewhat of a strange case. The best form of Zygarde is Zygarde-Complete, though to achieve this form you need Power Construct on Zygarde and be below 50% Health. Thanks to Substitute, you can generally guarantee this change will take place, but even without the form change, this Pokémon is very threatening. Gamefreak decided that Zygarde needed four different signature moves, but Thousand Arrows stands above the rest as the most useful move. This move strips away Ground-type immunity from Flying-type Pokémon, meaning that Zygarde is perhaps the most threatening Ground-type attack user.

6. Groudon

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Groudon, much like Kyogre, has access to a Primal form. In this form, it gains the ability Desolate Land which completely removes a 4x weakness by disabling all damaging Water-type moves from happening. Gifted with the fourth-highest attack in the game, Primal Groudon is simply a force. Competitive battlers partially judge entire teams on whether or not they can consistently even answer this monster. It can set up your Stealth Rocks, sweep with Swords Dance, stall out your foes because it has massive stats and Toxic, and outspeed your foes because of Rock Polish.

5. Eternatus

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In a world where every Pokémon can Dynamax, we have been given the tried and true answer of Eternatus and its signature move Dynamax Cannon. Dynamax Cannon is a move that does double damage to Pokémon who are Dynamaxed, and it has a base power of 100. Due to Dynamaxing’s ubiquity, one could effectively see this as meaning that Eternatus has been given a move that hits a high priority target with a base power of 200. This doesn’t include the advantage it gains as a Poison-type — being unable to be Poisoned and being a Black Sludge holder.

4. Necrozma

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How strong does Necrozma’s move “Light That Burns The Sky” sound? Well, it has 200 base power, ignores its target’s abilities, and also bases its damage on your highest offensive stat. It might just be the best move in the game, but Necrozma-Dawn Wings can learn it too, so what makes Necrozma-Dusk Mane better? Well, the ability Prism Armor mitigates some super-effective attack damage, making it an ideal Weakness Policy holder. The only real weakness of Necrozma-Dusk Mane would be Speed, but because it has Trick Room, that weakness disappears. It also has Stealth Rocks and Dragon Dance meaning it can be a wall or sweeper, and as such earns the number four spot.

3. Arceus

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Multitype is an ability that allows Arceus to share a type with the Plate/Z Crystal it holds. It also has high and evenly distributed stats, making it the most versatile Pokémon. Not every type is created equal though, meaning that different Arceus’ have different strengths. Generally speaking though, Arceus-Ground is king, mainly because the better part of this list doesn’t have a good answer to Arceus-Ground. The god of Pokémon carries other advantages too, as it can learn nearly every relevant utility move for setting up or taking down basically any status condition or entry hazard.

2. Yveltal

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While Yveltal might not carry an obvious and upfront overpowered feature, it excels in being both an every-mon and the biggest threat to the biggest threats. With the flexibility to be supportive through Defog, offensive with Dark Pulse and Oblivion Wing, disruptive with Taunt and Knock Off, and defensive with Roost and Toxic, this Pokémon is the answer to every battle-related issue. To top that off, it has excellent stat distribution to back all that up, having only a weak Health stat that is well covered by its defenses.

1. Mega Rayquaza

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Mega Rayquaza is tied for having the highest base stat totals of all obtainable Pokémon; it’s also the only mega-evolved Pokémon to not need a Mega Stone granting it an unrestricted item slot, and it has Delta Stream, one of the best abilities in the entire Pokémon franchise. Mega Rayquaza is so astoundingly strong that an entire tier known as “Anything Goes” was created because it dominated what used to be considered the highest tier of Pokémon. There just isn’t any other reasonable choice for the number one spot. Even its signature move, Dragon Ascent, is ridiculous. The attack Brave Bird shares both its damage, typing, and accuracy but inflicts 1/3 of the damage dealt back to the user, whereas Dragon Ascent has no drawbacks. Mega Rayquaza has and will likely continue to stand out as the most powerful Pokémon of all time — period.