I have a likely not shocking confession to make. I really like college football. I don’t like watching it as much as I did while I was in college (or even in the years immediately surrounding it), however it is still of great entertainment. You can have great endings, epic games, and hilarious meltdowns of overrated teams. It’s all really good.
That said, the best part of college football (especially when I got to play the NCAA Football video game series) is the polls. It’s a fun, if not subjective and somewhat inconsistent, way of comparing teams to one another. I’m not a particularly qualified person to put college football teams into a top 251At least outside of the aforementioned video game situations.. But you know what I do have some expertise on? Pokemon. More specifically, which Pokemon I like better than others.
With that said, there’s over 800 Pokemon in existence. Putting together this list took quite a bit of time, though I did use Dragonfly Cave’s favorite Pokemon tool to help generate my list. In creating my list, I did decide that only one Pokemon from each evolution line could make the final list. This means that I initially went to 50 Pokemon when generating my list, then cut it down from there. My top 25, along with honorable mentions, is below. I’ve kept my explanations for why each Pokemon made the list somewhat short, as otherwise this could be an obnoxious list.
- Articuno – One of my two favorite Pokemon as a kid (along with Rattata), the Team Mystic mascot has always been one of my favorite Pokemon. I’ve had trouble putting it at the top of any list or on most teams due to its legendary status. That said, if I’m really being objective, it’s my favorite Pokemon.
- Shellder – My favorite shiny Pokemon gets the number two spot thanks to its silly tongue-filled sprites throughout the game’s history, as well as that beautiful hunter orange shiny. If only Cloyster retained that loud coloring with its shiny.
- Hitmonchan – One of the most versatile Fighting types you’ll ever encounter may not be a particularly useful Pokemon, but it won me over as a Gen I kid. The elemental punches are amazing and fit with Hitmonchan’s style, even if the moves are better suited to another Pokemon.
- Vulpix – Prior to Gen VII, Vulpix would have been a top 10 or 15 Pokemon, but not this high. Then Alolan Vulpix came out, combining a creature I really like with my favorite battle typing. I’ve decided to put Vulpix 4 on this list to average out my thoughts on its Kanto and Alolan forms. Ninetales was ranked 5, but since only one of each line makes the list2I only had to make two cuts for this reason, but it did still come up., Vulpix gets the spot.
- Jynx – I recognize most people hate Jynx, but it was on the very first team I ever beat a Pokemon game with. My pro-Ice bias likely keeps Jynx higher on this list than it has any business being, but I still love trotting Jynx out there in online battles, particularly when paired with this next Pokemon.
- Delcatty – The top non-Gen I Pokemon on this list is my favorite cat Pokemon. I don’t care that it looks like it has a neck pillow around its neck. Throw Cosmic Power, Toxic, Rest, and an attacking move3I personally like Facade, as someone is likely going to try to poison this set. on it and really mess with people not expecting to see Delcatty in an actual battle. Or, pair it with a Jynx or Smeargle spreading sleep and watch Delcatty wreck teams with Dream Eater (seriously). I love how trolly Delcatty can be.
- Mismagius – Speaking of trolly, Mismagius is a great Rest/Sleep Talk Pokemon. While I never got into Misdreavus when I played Gen II, getting a Mismagius for the first time in Pokemon Moon made me really love this Pokemon. Plus, it has some of the better art in the game’s history. Even though the Pokemon on my favorite Pokemon of each type list has changed over time4See: Delcatty going from not mentioned on that post to #6 on this list., Mismagius has remained my favorite Ghost type.
- Chandelure – No, I don’t care that it looks like an inanimate object. A ghostly chandelier is amazing. That’s just good design. Chandelure might be my favorite Will-o-Wisp spreader I’ve ever used, but that’s not why it’s this high on this list. That art, though.
- Vaporeon – There isn’t a bad Eeveelution other than Flareon5To be fair, this isn’t Flareon’s fault.. But Vapereon has such an awesome movepool, even though it’s mostly known for Wish and Baton Pass. The fact that it’s had access to Acid Armor since Gen I — at a time when there wasn’t much move pool variety — amuses me to no end.
- Umbreon – It glows. It’s such a pretty glow at that. I originally had Umbreon above Vaporeon in this list, only to realize how frequently I’ve used Vaporeon in my playthroughs of the various games rather than opting to choose Umbreon. While Umbreon is useful — possibly more so than Vaporeon — I had to fix the list to more accurately reflect my usage.
- Murkrow – WHY CAN’T I FIND A SHINY MURKROW IN POKEMON GO? WHY?
- Dodrio – While Fearow was always my Gen I Flying type of choice, over time I’ve become a bigger fan of Dodrio than its Drill Peck-driven brethren. Though this is mostly driven by Dodrio’s silly looks, I do quite enjoy battling with too. Don’t worry, Fearow makes this list too.
- Parasect – Two words: Alazakam killer.
- Toxapex – My favorite non-Alolan form Pokemon from Gen VII is, not shockingly, a Water type. That said, it’s the first Poison type I’ve used with any regularity, not to mention yet another Pokemon that loves harming James in the anime6One of my favorite running tropes in the series.. Marenie was my other evolution line limited cut from this list, but it’s just an amazing line.
- Mawile – I find it amusing that there’s a Pokemon that can literally bite your head off with its head. Pokemon Go reminded me how much I like Mawile, all while disappointing me how much Go doesn’t understand how to implement some Pokemon7See also: Shuckle, Azumarill..
- Fearow – Fearow and Persian were critical hit machines in Gen I. Access to Fly and immunity to Ground type attacks caused me to use Fearow over Persian in many playthroughs of Red and Blue. I don’t make the rules, just this list.
- Ampharos – The quest involving Ampharos in Pokemon Gold/Silver creates a memorable character, causing people to love the electric sheep. But combine that with references to a Philip K. Dick novel and the glorious hair of that mega evolution and you’ve got an amazing Pokemon.
- Gardevoir – Mawile, but people make more fan art of it. Unfortunately, most of that art is creepy. But Gardevoir is super useful.
- Leavanny – In my first run of Pokemon Black, I was stunned how useful I found Leavanny to be. Finding a good physical Bug attacker is kind of hard to do, especially in early generations. I took Leavanny all the way through Black when I beat it, which I never would have guessed when I first started the game. It’s also a shockingly good lead/scout competitively, especially in lower tiers, thanks to access to Sticky Web and U-Turn.
- Lapras – Lapras being introduced as the surfing ride Pokemon in Gen VII was the best decision made about that game. That’s all there is to it.
- Froslass – Another Gen IV Pokemon that I didn’t get to use for the first time until Gen VII, Froslass is one of my favorite Pokemon to use as a competitive lead. It can spread Spikes and take Pokemon down with Destiny Bond. But above all else, at least it’s not Glalie.
- Espeon – Did you know Espeon’s shiny looks like it’s a fox made out of Mountain Dew?
- Xurkitree – The best kept secret to beating the Battle Tree in Sun/Moon? Xurkitree with Thunderbolt coming in on Electric Terrain. Just bring Tapu Bulu or another similarly fast Grass/Water Pokemon to deal with Ground types.
- Shuckle – Don’t fuckle with Shuckle.
- Oddish – The #25 spot on this list was obnoxiously hard to decide on. Do I pick one of the first two Pokemon I ever liked or do I pick the adorable grass bulb that I like enough that there’s a planter shaped like it in my apartment? This is even beyond the fact that I cut two Gen VI Pokemon to get to this point, leaving me with no Pokemon from that (admittedly thin) generation on this list. I leaned to Oddish ultimately, but it was nearly a coin flip here.
Honorable mention: Rattata, Sylveon, Fennekin, Blastoise, Ariados, Meloetta, Hypno, Beedrill, Skarmory, Hawlucha, Persian, Wigglytuff, Liepard, Kabutops, Popplio