by Tanner Kinney
The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte’s editorial board.
Pokemon is one of the most beloved game franchises of all time. Millions around the world are engrossed in the franchise, whether it be through the main series games, getting deep into competitive battling, or valiantly trying to reclaim to local gym at the Pizza Hut for Team Valor in Pokemon Go, it’s hard to escape the franchise. I’ve never stopped loving Pokemon, and of course have my own personal favorites, but that’s lame to talk about. Personal favorites usually suck anyways and are low-tier trash Pokemon.
Today, we’re taking a different approach to selecting the best Pokemon. To celebrate the release of another Gen 1 remake/sequel/reboot in Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee (pronounced roughly like “Ay-vay,” as shown by the first trailer for the game), we’re going to analyze using hard science to determine which ten Gen 1 Pokemon are objectively the best. This hard science will include exclusively classic Gen 1 Pokedex entries, competitive tier lists, anime appearances, and strength in the manga Pokemon Adventures. In some cases, Gen 1 logic (Psychic-types having only one weakness, broken critical hit system, etc.) will be used to determine Pokemon strength. There will also be no ties, because ties are a cop-out and there’s always a way to decide, objectively, which Pokemon is the best.
By deciding objectively, not only is this list superior to biased “top ten Pokemon” lists, but surely no one on the internet can argue with the hard science presented in encyclopedia entries written by actual 10-year-olds and then interpreted by nerds on the internet. There are a few noticeable absences though, and I’ll get those out of the way now: the legendary bird trio (Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres) are absent because to dispatch two of three of them you just need to chuck a rock at them. Mewtwo is also absent because this list is organic and GMO-free, for your health and mine.
During my research, I was trying to determine which, if any, of the Eeveelutions would make the cut in the top-ten. Unfortunately, none of them are really too powerful in any capacity, unless you consider the fact that Vaporeon has the ability to dissolve into water using Acid Armor. Flareon in particular seemed like a failure, considering it was basically a joke Pokemon with its low speed, bad typing, and no useful Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB) attacks. However, the Pokedex entry paints a different story.
It says in the Pokemon Stadium Pokedex entry that, “[Flareon’s] fiery breath reaches close to 3,000 degrees. Its body temperature exceeds 1,650 degrees when storing fire inside.” You may be thinking that’s not significant, but in reality, think about how Kanto is inspired by Japan. That means that, in Kanto, they’d likely use a system of heat measurement in line with Celsius, as opposed to Fahrenheit. Through these deductions, Flareon’s “fiery breath” is able to reach a heat of 5432 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Steelforge.com, this means that Flareon can melt every single metal excluding tungsten and rhenium. Flareon not only melts hearts, it also melts pretty much everything else.
This one may lose some people, because not only is Jigglypuff not fully evolved, it has a bad stat line, and can be taken down by pretty much anything. Jigglypuff is seemingly a big, round, adorable target. Yet, this would require the opponent to actually be able to do anything to attack the Jigglypuff. As shown in the anime, particularly the episode “The Song of Jigglypuff,” Jigglypuff’s song has the ability to send any person or Pokemon into a realm of sleep. Jigglypuff put the entire city of Neon Town to sleep during the end of the episode, and judging by the passage of time it was at least a full night of rest.
There is mention that enemies who do not fall asleep to Jigglypuff with be a great danger to it, yet in Gen 1, there were no abilities on any Pokemon. Without Soundproof, even the strongest of foes can be lulled and escaped from/drawn on. This isn’t even to mention Jigglypuff’s standing in the competitive tier list of Super Smash Bros being stronger than such great heroes as Samus, Link, Ness, and the main-man Mario himself.
Nidoking is a no-brainer for this list as he is objectively the fastest Pokemon in the Kanto region. You may point out that Nidoking’s speed stat is underwhelming and that it isn’t even OU according to Smogon tier lists, but Nidoking has the power to single-handedly take down every gym leader, trainer, rival, and elite four member (minus Brock) in under two hours. This Pokemon is THE face of Gen 1 Pokemon speedrunning, with only some runners using the alternative of Blastoise before eventually giving into the Nidoking. He may not have the impressive biological ability of other Pokemon, but it’s clear Nidoking can hold his own against tough competition.
According to competitive research from Smogon, “Amnesia Slowbro has gone down in history as one of the most famous and well-known sets in the world of competitive Pokemon.” For those who are unaware, due to the lack of the special-split in Gen 1, special attack and defense were both the same stat, called “SPECIAL.” Amnesia is a move that raises the user’s special by two stages. This was Nasty Plot before Nasty Plot was even a move, and it turned certain Psychic types into absolute monsters to deal with. Slowbro is the second best behind Mewtwo and since Mewtwo is disqualified from this list, Slowbro makes a good replacement. Additionally, according to research from Bulbapedia, “Slowbro has lost the capability to feel pain due to the Shellder’s poison.” It is an unfeeling, indestructible monster. Never anger a Slowbro, it won’t end well for you.
This buff boy is an incredible fighting type Pokemon, with a great attack stat and some real power behind its punches. Bruno’s Machamp in particular can pack a punch if you didn’t bring a bird friend with you. But Machamp is even more powerful than most people understand. It may be a manlet at 5’0” tall, but it is nearly 300lbs of pure muscle and meat. To top it off, according to Pokedex entries, Machamp can not only send someone over the horizon line with a single punch like the One Punch Man, but also can move mountains with a single arm. It can fire off five-hundred punches a second using all of its arms. And, considering Karate Chop’s broken crit rate, Machamp has a 55/65 chance to deal a critical blow with every swing. Machamp is objectively the strongest fighting type in Kanto and a real threat in any combat scenario.
The ruler of organic Psychic types, Alakazam has remained a competitive threat consistently since the beginning of type. It’s not only lightning fast, but also incredibly bulky against other special attackers thanks to Gen 1 logic. It hits like a truck and tanks like a tank, and doesn’t even bat an eye while doing it. It literally uses psychic powers to move its body, particularly its freakishly large head. But Alakazam’s cranium is large because it contains a brain more powerful than any supercomputer. According to Pokedex research, Alakazam not only has an Eidetic memory, but also has an IQ of 5000. That’s at least twice the IQ of the average Rick and Morty fan! It can instantly identify weaknesses of foes, and with the overpowered Psychic typing, not many Pokemon are stronger in raw combat stronger than Alakazam.
Now we are moving from “strong battling Pokemon” to “potentially apocalyptic Pokemon.” Muk is living toxic waste, built up from years and years of trash leaking into sewers. It is reported that this Pokemon’s mere presence kills plant life around it. Even accidentally touching Muk can leave someone in the hospital due to its dangerous toxins. This Pokemon thrives off the destruction of the environment. Even its footprints contain poison, according to the Pokedex. Muk can single-handedly destroy an entire ecosystem.
Despite all of that, it’s a rather friendly Pokemon, as shown in the anime when Ash’s Muk endangers all life around it and clearly tries to kill both Professor Oak and Ash. It also engulfs a poor little Bellsprout, fainting it instantly. On top of all of that, Muk is a pile of sludge, so how do you kill it? It simply divides and creates more Grimer. Muk is unkillable and easily the most dangerous Pokemon on this list.
Ditto is on here for a very obvious reason: it can transform into any other Pokemon. It can transform into any of the Pokemon lower on this list, and even the two higher on the list than Ditto. In the anime, it is shown that Ditto can also transform into humans and other objects, including a cannon. The Pokedex describes it with much less power though, saying it is “capable of copying an enemy’s genetic code to instantly transform itself into a duplicate of the enemy.”
Yet, research indicates it can also transform based on memory. Although this list is using purely Gen 1 material, it is fair to note that Ditto was seen transforming into a Pokemon that didn’t even exist, which was later discovered to be Meltan. This means that Ditto could become anything it understands and can remember. Ditto can literally become a PokeGod. But, seeing as Ditto is the Green Lantern ring of Pokemon, it usually just transforms into whatever is in front of it. Nevertheless, the potential is there for Ditto to be the ultimate threat.
Mew is of course on this list. In canon, Mew is the genetic core of all other Pokemon, and contains the DNA of every single Pokemon in existence, discovered or otherwise. This is why it can learn any attack and can even transform itself into other Pokemon (see Ditto for why this is so powerful). Mew was powerful enough to challenge Mewtwo, and has consistently been an über tier Pokemon for a reason. It is a legendary beast, the only Pokemon available through special events in Gen 1, although it could be obtained using other means. Mew was even able to hide under a truck for decades before people discovered it wasn’t Mew at all, just lies and deceit.
Considering all of the facts around Mew’s objective power, it’s a wonder why it isn’t at the top of the list. What could be more powerful than the Pokemon that is all other Pokemon? With incredible stats and typing and legendary power, Mew is easily the most powerful Pokemon in the game. Yet, there’s one Pokemon that is so dangerous, so strong, it transcended the game world and endangered the lives of people in our world.
Yes, Porygon. The Pokedex refers to it as “a man-made Pokémon that consists entirely of programming code. It is capable of moving freely in cyberspace.” That seems pretty cool on its own, of course, since it could invade and possess technology before Rotom made it a gimmick. It does not need to breathe or eat, it can survive purely just by existing. That on its own makes it a very objectively strong Pokemon, but its subpar stat-line definitely says otherwise. So, what makes Porygon the objectively best Pokemon, the strongest of all of them?
Porygon was featured in a major role in episode 38 of the original anime, in an episode titled (in English) “Electric Soldier Porygon.” This episode featured Ash and co. teaming up with a Porygon in cyberspace to battle Team Rocket. Don’t remember this episode? Well, that’s because this is one of the banned episodes of the anime, only aired once and never shown or released again. This episode reportedly caused over 700 seizures in Japanese people, primarily school children. The show was put on hiatus for several months, and for years following the incident there was a disclaimer in front of all Japanese television shows cautioning viewers while watching TV to view in optimal conditions.
You can argue Porygon isn’t to blame for this, but I disagree. There’s a reason it was never again featured in a major role in the anime, along with any of its evolutions. Porygon is powerful enough to endanger real human beings, not just the ones in the world of Pokemon. That alone makes Porygon the strongest and, objectively, the best Gen 1 Pokemon of all the original 151.
So, when Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee comes out on November 16th, remember to pack your Porygon so you can challenge any and all opponents both in game and out of it. As we’ve determined through extensive scientific research, it is clearly the best of all Pokemon. If you have problems with this list, take it up with the science. Facts don’t care about your favorite Pokemon.
Images: YouTube, Bulbapedia
Featured Image: Sam Smith
Tanner is a Film and Media Studies major and a Digital Media minor. His Neo Yokio review won a second-place CSPA Golden Circle award for the 2017 semester. He enjoys playing JRPG’s of any variety, regardless of how obscure and strange it is. Tanner is also the host of Byte at the Movies, the premiere movie discussion live-stream.