Whenever you pick-up a new Pokémon game, you’re going to go through the process of putting your team together slowly. As you get to new towns and challenge various Gym leaders, you’ll also encounter different Pokémon that suit what you’re trying to do better than others. You’ll drop some and you’ll add some pretty often until you finally put together a full party you can be happy with. While this process can be time consuming it’s also part of what makes the games so fun. But with some Pokémon you’re just left feeling dissatisfied with how things turned out. You can put all the time you want into training a Pokémon, getting it to evolve and teaching it the moves you think would best allow it to succeed. But in the end, if that Pokémon’s a dud then that’s all there is to it.
Alternatively, there are some Pokémon out there that just don’t look all that useful. Some of these can actually be really good. It’s a trainer’s job to catch as many Pokémon as they can and see each of their strengths and weaknesses, then determine if they’re a good fit. With so many Pokémon out there, we’re going to limit ourselves to those from Gens III, IV and V. We’re going to show you some potential sleepers as well as Pokémon that just don’t have the payoff you’d expect after all that training.
Here are 15 surprisingly strong Gen 3-4-5 Pokémon and 10 that just aren’t worth it.
25 Strong: Shiftry
It isn’t too hard to see what scares people off from Shiftry. Despite having some pretty solid base stats, Shiftry can be a risky play due to its ridiculous seven type weaknesses. Though it doesn’t exactly make up for it, Shiftry also has six type resistances.
With its disadvantages in your mind, Shiftry can still be a useful ally. Its defensive stats are nothing to be impressed about – but it makes up for it in strong Attack, high HP and good enough Speed.
24 Not Worth: Hippowdon
Hippowdon’s problems become pretty clear after you’ve looked past its three highest base stats; HP, Attack and Defense. While they are each above average, the rest of its stats are pretty pathetic. Hippowdon is just too one-sided.
Its Special Attack and Defense are both pretty low, though in the case of the former it doesn’t matter as much seeing as most of Hippowdon’s learnset consists of Physical moves. Still, its low Speed stat along with its abysmally low Special Defense leaves it vulnerable.
23 Strong: Mienshao
You wouldn’t expect something so small to generally be good in a fight. While Mienshao does have its weaknesses, it gets the job done. It isn’t a durable Pokémon by any means, but then again you wouldn’t expect is to take that much of a beating.
Mienshao’s most glaring weakness is low defensive stats coupled with pretty low HP as well. But its Attack stats along with its Speed are phenomenal. It’s an ideal glass cannon option for your party.
22 Not Worth: Luxray
With nothing all that special going for it, Luxray is a pretty standard Electric-type. It’s part of a two-stage evolution tree and evolves from Luxio at level 30. That’s a decent amount of time spent training on just evolution – and what you’re left with isn’t anything all that special.
With the exception of its Attack, all of Luxray’s base stats are pretty average. It isn’t a bad Pokémon that’s for sure. But you could get better Electric-types and put some training time towards other Pokémon.
21 Strong: Swalot
By the looks of this thing, you probably wouldn’t expect it to pack That much of a punch – and you’d be right. But while Swalot isn’t the strongest Pokémon on this list, it can take a good amount of damage.
That’s a good feature in a slow Pokémon that is a subpar fighter. Its defensive stats aren’t that high either, but they’re good enough. With the proper moveset this could be a pretty solid Pokémon to have in your party.
20 Not Worth: Sharpedo
It doesn’t take much to see what Sharpedo’s best-suited role is in anyone’s party. It’s a glass cannon through and through, with typically high attack stats paired with great Speed. While a solid option even without the Mega Evolution, Sharpedo doesn’t stand out too much from its peers.
Its defense stats are low, as you’d expect them to be. If Sharpedo can’t maximize on its quick hit ability it leaves itself really susceptible to attacks. Add in five different type weaknesses and you’ve got a nice headache to deal with.
19 Strong: Grumpig
The evolution of Spoink – probably one of the frailest Pokémon out there according to its Pokédex entry – Grumpig doesn’t seem like all that much to look at. But don’t let its aloof demeanor fool you; this Pokémon can hold its own.
Though its Attack and Defense stats are definitely its weakest point, Grumpig is solid in every other category. Its Special Attack is really great. It learns two pretty solid Psychic type special moves later on in Psyshock and Psychic.
18 Strong: Drapion
With good Attack and well rounded Defense and Special Defense stats along with some pretty high base Speed, Drapion can be a fairly reliable Pokémon. Trainers would be smart to take advantage of the multitude of physical moves it knows.
Special Attack is a glaring weakness here, but that doesn’t matter. Drapion only learns one special type move and it’s Venoshock. So long as you can pick some decent physical moves from its learnset you should be good.
17 Not Worth: Audino
Audino is used as a tank. It’s meant to take a good deal of damage and grind your opponent down slowly. And it’s a solid option if that’s what you’re looking for. But is it the best at what it does? No.
Audino has solid Defense and Special Defense stats. Its learnset has some pretty decent moves in it towards the end, but its low Attack and Special Attack make that irrelevant with the amount of damage they’d do as a result.
16 Strong: Ludicolo
With Detective Pikachu in theaters, we’re sure a lot of Pokémon fans have now gotten reacquainted with Ludicolo. This often overlooked and forgotten Pokémon may be notable to most for its cheerful appearance, but Ludicolo is also a great fighter.
Ludicolo has decent stats all around the board. It does a couple of things really well, those being its Special Attack and Special Defense. Everything else is either just ok or solid, but with how its base stats are distributed that’s all you need.
15 Not Worth: Ambipom
You may think that because Ambipom is an evolved form, it may be worth putting some work into to test out. Don’t bother. When it comes to usefulness, they’re both about the same. You wouldn’t consider either a long term party member.
Ambipom has great Attack and Speed, which makes it a solid Glass Cannon. The rest of its stats are expectedly low, with HP somewhat average. Not the worst Pokémon you can have sure, but there are alternatives that do it better.
14 Strong: Sigilyph
What Sigilyph exactly may be is definitely up to debate. But if one thing is clear as day it’s that Sigilyph certainly doesn’t appear to be all that strong. It looks kind of frail but actually has some solid defense. While some of its other base stats aren’t as great to look at, it all evens out.
Sigilyph has great Speed as well as Special Attack. Though its HP stat is fairly below average, it can take more damage than your run-of-the-mill glass cannon.
13 Strong: Gastrodon
Another pretty derpy looking Pokémon on this list is Gastrodon. Despite the different color schemes, both kinds of Gastrodon are the same statistically. Though that doesn’t do much for variety, you can count on Gastrodon being a reliable Pokémon for you.
It’s only really lacking in Defense and Speed. That’s a bit of an unfortunate pairing that’s saved by great HP and Special Defense. Both its Attack and Special Attack are great too. It knows some great Water-type moves and is a solid option if you need a Water-type with Electrical-type immunity and some decent Ground-type moves.
12 Not Worth: Flygon
Flygon is a bit of an unfortunate case. It has the look and design of a strong Pokémon. It’s part dragon-type which raises expectations as well. But sadly, once you get familiar with it, Flygon is just a flash glass cannon.
By now you know the drill. It has high Speed and Attack base stats. The rest of its stats are pretty decent, though nothing special. But with Flygon being the last in a two-stage evolution, you’re expecting more use out of it.
11 Strong: Absol
Absol is probably one of the most recognizable Gen III Pokémon out there. It’s a popular pick from that generation despite not having any evolutions. Maybe it’s just because pure Dark-types are so darn rare. Regardless this is a Pokémon you want in your party.
Absol itself is a great glass cannon. It’s got great Speed and absolutely imposing Attack as well. It can hit opponents hard and fast – and there’s a good chance it does the job right the first time. It can’t take too much damage sure, but with a lot of opponents that won’t matter.
10 Not Worth: Breloom
Next up is this weird-looking little Grass/Fighting-type. Breloom has the absolute displeasure of having six type weaknesses. It is on the flipside resistant to six different types as well, but that doesn’t make up for the former.
Looking at its stats there’s not all that much to be impressed by as well. Breloom has outstanding Attack but mediocre HP, Speed and Special stats. It really is at a disadvantage more often than not when in battle. That’s not something you want on your team.
9 Strong: Musharna
It’s no lie; this little ball of gas can actually be fairly useful in battle and has a handful of really solid stats helping it out. Musharna may not be the most powerful Psychic-type you can get your hands on, but it’s still a solid party member.
Musharna has pretty high Special Stats along with some really good HP and solid Defense. Its weaknesses are its low Speed and Attack. But it can take a decent amount of damage and has a ton of great Special moves in its learnset. So even if you are attacking last you can be sure it’ll take damage as well as it gives it.
8 Strong: Gliscor
While we’ve already gone over why Gligar is the sort of Pokémon you don’t want to waste your time on in a previous list, things are completely different when you bring up its Gen IV evolution Gliscor.
Gliscor – aside from a pretty low Special Attack stat – is a pretty well-rounded Pokémon with some great base stats. With its high Speed and Attack stats, Gliscor can be seen as having some of the traits of a glass cannon just with much higher defense.
7 Not Worth: Cacturne
Younger you might’ve been tempted to get themselves a Cacturne based solely on its design. It’s a pretty cool looking Pokémon and definitely stands out as one of the fiercest looking in Gen III. But that doesn’t equal actual strength.
Let’s look at some disparaging facts here. Cacturne may be immune to Psychic-type moves, but it’s also weak to seven different types. That’s a lot of risk considering how bad its defensive stats are and how slow it is, not to mention its low Base HP stat as well. It’s Attack and Special Attack are fantastic but that doesn’t really matter given the points above.
6 Strong: Vespiquen
Bug-types don’t exactly have the best reputation when it comes to strength and usefulness in battle. While there are some exceptions, of course, many just aren’t all that strong. Vespiquen falls under the category of the former though, and you’d be surprised at just how strong it is.
A Bug/Flying-type, Vespiquen has quite a few weaknesses; especially when facing Rock-type moves. Don’t let that deter you though, as aside from some pretty abysmal Speed, Vespiquen has some pretty well-rounded stats. Its defensive stats are its highlight but it also has high enough attack that it can be a viable damage dealer as well.
5 Not Worth: Beartic
A massive Pokémon, Beartic seems like an enticing party member option for a few reasons. It’s a pure Ice-type which you don’t see many of and has some pretty gnarly Base Attack. But that doesn’t cover up for its weaknesses.
In terms of type weaknesses, Beartic isn’t as bad off as some of the other Pokémon on this list. It has high HP to go along with its fierce Attack stat but the rest of its stats are either average or below that.
4 Strong: Scolipede
Poison-type Pokémon – and subsequently their moves – are always something of a pain to deal with. Even if you have the right kind of items to counter Poison-type status effects, it’s still a pain to waste a turn on it. While Scolipede’s stat distribution makes it a pretty clear cut glass cannon, some moves in its learnset give it a little more value than that.
If you look at its base stats, Scolipede screams glass cannon. It checks all of the boxes; high Speed and Attack, low HP. But aside from its fairly below average Special Defense, it can take a decent beating before going down. Add in the wide array of Poison-type moves in its arsenal and you’ve got a winner.
3 Strong: Porygon-Z
The Porygon evolution line isn’t really what most trainers would think of when putting together a decently strong party. That’s a shame because those who have more experience with the Pokémon in question will tell you that they’re great to have on your team.
Though obtaining it can be a bit of a pain, Porygon-Z is worth every bit of the effort you’ll put into getting it. While no one would call it a tank, it can certainly last in battle. Its most promising stat is its Special Attack. With both Zap Canon and Hyper Beam in its learnset, 135 base Special Attack is great to have.
2 Not Worth: Watchog
Just look at this thing. Everything about it tells you to keep away. We’ve covered some deceptively strong Pokémon on this list, but with Watchog what you see is what you get; not all that much.
The evolved form of Patrat, Watchog’s only decent stat is its Attack. The rest are either average or well below that. It’s hard to think of a good reason as to why you should put in the effort of training this Pokémon other than temporary convenience. Watchog is a placeholder in your party, and even at that, it isn’t a very good one.
1 Strong: Klinklang
Is the design silly? Yes. Does it give off the vibe that Ken Sugimori was running out of ideas? Sure. Can it hold its own in battle? If you can work around its strengths, then absolutely; Klinklang will definitely help you win battles.
The biggest knock on Klinklang is that most of its moveset is geared towards Special moves, while its high Attack base stat makes Physical moves the more obvious choice to capitalize on. But you just have to be prepared and know which moves are best to teach it. TM’s will be really helpful in doing that.