Behold my powers! I am the strongest Pokémon in the world! note
— Mewtwo, Pokémon: The First Movie
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- Although it's an often overlooked mechanic of the game, if you take some time to do some berry farming, you will easily never have to spend money on status healing items ever again, as Chuggaaconroy
- Across the generations, the Abra line has been considered one of the gold standards in terms of power. Sure, you have to deal with that annoying little issue of Abra having no attack moves and running at the slightest whim, but one TM is enough to solve all those issues and turn it into a wrecking ball. Once it evolves into Kadabra, it starts bringing actual moves to the table, and while you can't always find a trade partner to evolve Kadabra into Alakazam, it's ultimately not a big issue since Kadabra already has Special Attack on par with most fully-evolved Pokémon and a good Speed stat to back it up. Between their raw nuking power, Speed, and movepools, these guys can easily melt most NPC opponents in games where they're readily available.
- The Psychic-types were notoriously broken in this generation. They only had a weakness to types of attacks that did below-average damage even when super-effective, and those moves were available to very few viable Pokémon. Due to a bug, one of those types actually didn't affect Psychic-types at all, rather than do double damage. Making things worse, the most common type was the Psychic-weak Poison-type. The Psychic-type advantage was augmented by the Special stat governing both Special Attack and Special Defense. This meant that Pokémon with high Special, such as Psychics, were much more useful than Pokémon with low Special, such as Fighting. This issue was fixed in Pokémon Gold and Silver in later generations by separating the stats and introducing two new advantageous types.
- Wrap, Bind, Clamp, and Fire Spin. In the first generation, they prevented the affected Pokémon from attacking, while dealing Scratch Damage every turn. However, the most broken part was that getting free from them still cost a turn, so if the Pokémon was faster than the target, the Pokémon get the chance to re-use Wrap, Bind, Clamp, or Fire Spin before the target get the chance to respond. While the Pokémon can switch out while being trapped, the AI rarely switches their Pokémon out. It also goes without saying, but X-Items and stat-boosting moves increase the potency of these moves. Needless to say, trapping moves were changed from Generation II onwards.
- X Accuracy in the first games gave moves Swift like accuracy. This includes the OHKO moves. The real dangers of this are because beating the eighth Gym Leader, Giovanni, got you the TM for Fissure, which could be used on a lot of final form Pokémon, like Dugtrio, who could outspeed most Pokémon easily, and because OHKO moves could be used to defeat higher-level opponents, it made defeating the Elite Four (barring Lance, who could be defeated using a good Ice Beam user, which most Water Pokémon are) a piece of cake. The combination of X Accuracy and OHKO moves was so powerful that the mechanics for OHKO moves had to be changed in future generations so that they could never connect against an opponent whose level was higher than the user's level or increase in accuracy.
- Dragon Rage (which always deals 40 damage) can be quite devastating when used in Pokémon Stadium's Pika Cup (Lv 15-20), since most elegible Pokémon will have between 39 to 60 HP. For this reason, Dragon Rage and Sonicboom (which always deals 20 damage) are banned from Little Cup in Pokémon Stadium 2.
- Ask most players of GSC and they'll tell you that Totodile is, hands down, the best starter in the games, to the point where soloing the game with one is not just possible, but arguably one of the easier ways to play. For its generation, the Totodile line boasts a shockingly good movepool, able to get Ice Punch from the Goldenrod Department Store for mauling Grass-type opponents and even Dragons (which both the final Gym Leader (Clair) and the champion (Lance) specialise in) while Surf becomes available before the fourth Gym, giving it a powerful STAB option at a point in the game where most Pokémon are scrounging for one that's even halfway decent. Secondly, Croconaw evolves into Feraligatr at only level 30, faster than any other starter in the series by roughly 4-6 levels. Furthermore, out of the 16 Gyms in the game, it only has a disadvantage against two, and both are in Kanto, at which point you can basically just brute-force them with no regard for type matchups. Really, the only things that come close to threatening Feraligatr up until the Kanto post-game are Jasmine's Magneton and one of Clair's Dragonair, and that's assuming the Dragonair doesn't get one-shotted by Ice Punch first.
- In Emerald, you can find and catch Rayquaza just before the final Gym. Unlike Groudon/Kyogre in Ruby/Sapphire, however, Rayquaza doesn't come in at level 40, but level 70. For comparison's sake, Wallace's strongest Pokémon is just under level 60. It's tricky to fight, sure, but you find the Master Ball in Team Aqua's Hideout just before the seventh Gym. Combine this with Rayquaza's high stats and access to strong (if inaccurate) TMs from the Lilycove Department Store for coverage, and it can easily steamroll the entire last part of the game on its own.
- In the Pokémon Black and White main game, the Lucky Egg item. In previous games, this was an extraordinarily rare steal from Chansey, but in this game, it is simply given to you free of charge about halfway through. It greatly increases the experience of the mon holding it, allowing you to gain levels at ridiculous rates provided you kept going through the tedium of redistributing it every time you switched your active Pokémon of course, it's totally worth it to outlevel the Elite Four without any extra Level Grinding on Victory Road unlike the previous gens, and turn the game between getting the Lucky Egg and the Elite Four into one giant Curb-Stomp Battle.
- A big one was the option for players to download both Mewtwo level 70 and Arceus level 100 into Black and White from the Pokémon website. If you have both on your team, most of the in-game opponents won't stand a chance. Admittedly, the battles against Shauntal and Grimsley of the Elite Four and the battle with Alder (their 'mons are all in the 60s and 70s that go around) still require some potions on hand, but still, it's way easier than it'd normally be. And you were able to get Reshiram or Zekrom as well, depending on your version.
- In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, you can buy a bundle of 12 Castelia Cones daily in any season other than winter for 1200 and sell them to the maid in the caravan west of Nimbasa city for 2000 a pop for a total profit of 22800 Pokébucks a day. Still need more? You can get unlimited Moomoo Milks from Driftveil City and sell them to the same maid for a 400 profit per each. That's one of the legit infinite money methods built into the games.
- Another good money fountain in Black 2 and White 2, provided you were playing with it long enough, is Pokéstar Studios. Specifically, increasing your star ranking results in more fans. The notable people for this would be the Backpacker, Ace Trainer, Old Lady, and the Tennis Player. On every strange ending that isn't the final movie, you get 5 Lava Cookies from the Backpacker and 5 Old Gateaux from the others. This is where the Cash comes in: They all sell for 4000 each, which is about 20,000 for the cookies and 60,000 for the Gateaux. Furthermore, there is no daily wait and some strange endings on available movies are 1-2 scenes at the shortest. Then there are the free Hyper Potions, Moomoo Milks, Full Restores, and Max Revives.
- If you thought the Lucky Egg in Gen V was a Game Breaker, just wait until you see the Exp. Share in X and Y. Remember that crappy Exp. All from Gen I? Picture that, except it's actually good. Long story short, it's a key item that while you have it on, the rest of your party gains EXP equal to half of what you had out gained. This item ensures that you won't know the meaning of the term "underleveled" before the second Gym. In fact, you won't even know the meaning of "grinding" for the rest of the game for that matter as long as the Exp.Share is always turned on. Game Freak toned it down in Pokémon Sun and Moon by bringing back the experience system from the fifth generation, where high level Pokémon gain less experience if a lower level Pokémon is beaten. This makes the player less likely to be over-leveled compared to the 6th gen games.
- Pokémon-Amie can turn into another serious Game Breaker if you use it enough. You bond with your Pokémon by petting it, playing minigames with it, feeding it food and such. While that might seem like little more than what's needed to get Sylveon, if you get your Pokémon's affection high enough, you'll receive epic side effects in battle, such as gaining 20% more EXP in battle, surviving attack with 1 HP, avoiding attacks, and shrugging off status conditions. You'll be shocked and flattered when those effects happen in battle.
- Mega Evolution as a whole can shatter the games in half. Most Mega Evolved Pokémon have stats that match or even surpass most legendary Pokémon and often with much better abilities than their normal counterparts. You often get the ability to Mega Evolve your Pokémon long before you can get any legendaries and rarely do you face opponents with Mega Pokémon of their own to even the odds. The ones available to you in story are often the stronger ones like the Kanto starters, the Hoenn starters and Lucario (who along with Blaziken are banned from competitive play for how powerful they are).
- The DexNav. It allows you to actively search for any Pokémon you have caught on a route, meaning there is no longer a need to spent a lengthy amount of time searching for rare Pokémon. It also shows you the level, the first move, the potential (maximum Individual Value represented by a star), ability and held item of the Pokémon, meaning you can actively search for a Pokémon with great potential and unique moves and abilities (some of the moves can be Egg Moves and abilities can be Hidden Abilities). But the game breaker comes in the rare items they can hold - items they normally would not be found holding in the wild - specifically the ones held by Linoone and Pelipper. Linoone can hold Max Revive, which recovers fainted Pokémon back to full health. Meanwhile, Pelipper holds Lucky Egg, which multiplies Exp by 1.5 times, and could previously only be found on the ludicrously rare Chansey line. With Dex Nav, you know which Pelipper will have Lucky Egg. Farm Pelipper for six Lucky Eggs, slap them onto each of your team members, activate Exp Share, and break the game in its entirety. On the other hand, it is also the perfect way to train up multiple teams simultaneously without worrying about over-leveling your Pokémon.
- Cosplay Pikachu in Contests. The thing comes with nearly maxed contest stats and you need only to pump a few Pokéblocks into it to max them fully, then get the scarves for each type of contest. Then change Pikachu's costume to the right contest type, and winning is extremely easy. At least until maybe Master Rank.
- Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are extremely generous with legendary Pokémon as Last Disc Magic for the main story. Let's go down the list, shall we? You get a Latias or Latios for free, and you can get the other one if you get a hold of an Eon Ticket through Streetpassing. You're able to get a Groudon or Kyogre that holds an item which allows it to change its form as soon as it's sent out. You're also able to catch all four legendary golems, all three lake guardians, all three legendary beasts, and the Swords of Justice members. You can also catch either Lugia or Ho-oh (depending on the version), Heatran, Dialga or Palkia (version dependent), Giratina, Cresselia, Tornadus or Thundurus (version dependent), Landorus, Reshiram or Zekrom (version dependent), as well as Kyurem. Remember this is all Last Disc Magic for a reason. Most of these Pokémon can only be unlocked as soon as you deal with Groudon or Kyogre in the Cave of Origin near the end of the game.
- Though heavily luck-based, Wonder Trade can take the early game and snap its spine over its knees. You only need two Pokemon to use it so after going into Santalune Forest, catching a Pokemon or two and then having a bit of luck and/or patience, it is possible to end up with a highly overleveled Pokemon or a freshly bred level 1 you shouldn't have access to at that point. Sure, the overleveled Pokemon is not always going to listen but the level disparity in early game encounters renders it moot.
- Z-Moves. By making a Pokémon hold a Z-Crystal with a move matching the crystal's type, they can unleash a Z-move. The power of the Z-Move is dependent on the power of the initial attack, but even the weakest of attacks will have at least 100 power. And due to the fact that it bypasses accuracy check and the initial attack's effect, converting attacks like Solar Beam, Overheat, and Focus Blast will unleash a high-powered Z-move of that type without any of the original move's drawbacks whatsoever. Z-Move can only be used once per battle, but it's often enough to turn the tide against any challenging trainer or Totem Pokémon.
- In Ultra Sun & Moon, the Rotom Dex gives you a chance to use a second Z-Move. While it isn't guaranteed to happen, it pushes any battle extremely in your favor when it does happen. The only catch is that you needed to have bonded with the Rotom Dex enough.
- The Event Rockruff for Ultra Sun & Moon. If one can get around its inconvenient evolution requirementsnote , the Lycanroc is a very powerful pokemon. But that's not what it's here for. The event Rockruff comes with the move Happy Hour. Not only can this be combined with a Z-Move to boost all its stats by 1note , it can also be combined with the Amulet Coin or the Rotom Power: Prize Money. Happy Hour and the Amulet Coin both double the amount of money earned after a trainer battle, and Rotom Prize Money triples it. And they stack multiplicatively. This results in the player earning some incredible numbers◊.
- Poké Pelago has a number of them:
- Isle Aplenty makes berry farming even more game-breaking, it is easily accessible from the X menu and has completely removed the need to water berries every few hours. And all the Guide Dang It! that used to come with maxing out berry returns is now gone, as you will always harvest the maximum amount per berry tree. Instead the Pokémon in the PC do all that for you and a time scale of when the berries can be harvested is given to you. It is also much easier to find berries in the overworld now.
- With enough grinding/catching the treasure hunting area in Poké Pelago can turn into this as well. Sure you might get a couple Hard Stones rather than something valuable initially but once you unlock the later areas it gets much easier to farm for evolution Stones and valuable Vendor Trash. Even more so in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, where you can get fossils this way, even those that cannot be bought in your version of game, and multiple copies each.
- Poké Pelago also becomes exceedingly ridiculous if paired with a bizarre glitch that allows activities to instantly end.note While this does pause other time-related functions, it can also allow you to, among other things, have Pokémon at endgame levels with endgame moves, bottle caps, evolution stones and Vendor Trash to last for days, and enough berries to not have to worry about statuses or running out of PP again, all before Mallow's trial. While a patch did fix this exploit, all you need to do is uninstall the patch, perform the glitch, then reinstall it the next time you go online, or even just keep an unpatched game around.
- Ash-Greninja is this for a good number of reasons. Normally its unique move Water Shuriken has a pitiful Power of 15 (not counting STAB), but also can attack up to five times (averaging two) and always goes first outside of fringe circumstances. What pushes Ash-Greninja into Game-Breaker territory is it's unique Battle Bond ability, which allows it to transform into its Ash form once it KO's a Pokemon. This forms upgrades Water Shuriken to 20 Power and hits three times or more instead of two or more. This basically allows Ash-Greninja to Mega Evolve without needing a stone, so you can just give it a Mystic Water or other water-boosting items to increase the power of Water Shuriken (and for better results, Hydro Pump) even further. Add this onto Greninja's already great Speed and the fact you're guranteed to get one through the free Special Demo (which you get at Level 37), and you have something that will not only be a boon through the second half of the game, but will also be faster than most of the speed freaks in the Battle Tree (though it won't survive most attacks from them if it can't).
- Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon has Ultra Necrozma, unlike most recruitable SNK Boss examples, it's not downgraded whatsoever besides losing its aura. In fact, it might be even stronger, since it can use Light That Burns The Sky when under a Trainer control. Necrozma can be acquired in the middle portion of Mount Lanakila and Nebby can be caught after a battle with Gladion by visiting Mahalo Trail, and items to combine them are obtained after catching the former from Colress. This thing then allows you to Curb Stomp the Elite Four and Champion, as well as all post-game bosses, Ultra Beasts, and non-Super runs through Battle Tree.
- During most of 2018, there is an event running that hands out Legendary Pokemon not present in your version of the game. As of February 2018, you can obtain Dialga/Palkia. Lv 100 Dialga/Palkia. They come with very useful moves like Aura Sphere and they hold a Gold Bottle Cup to allow you Hyper Train them directly. The only problem is obedience, but at the very least Elite Four and Champion shouldn't stand a chance.
- Popplio in the original Sun/Moon is hilariously strong compared to the other starters. It learns both incredibly powerful early TMs in Acrobatics and Scald. It gets its Z-Move first in Waterium-Z, which will also be significantly stronger than Rowlet's Bloom Doom and Litten's Inferno Overdrive since Scald is much stronger than the moves Rowlet and Litten have access to. Primarina's Z-Move, Oceanic Opperetta, is 195 Base Power in comparison to Incineroar and Decidueye's Base 180. And finally, only the Tentacool and Mareanie lines resist the combination of Water/Fairy. For added bonus, Primarina can solo the entire Elite Four with the coverage of its massive movepool.
Ultra took several steps to nerf Popplio by moving both Acrobatics and Scald later into the game, and notably giving Rowlet and Litten useful move tutors early in the game while giving Popplio little to nothing. However, Popplio now gets Icy Wind as an early level-up move, allowing for an easy counter to Grass-types as well as slowing down faster opponents. While not as broken as it was in the originals, it is still a powerful Pokemon throughout the game. It also still soloes the Elite Four with relative ease.
- The candy system in Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, which replaces standard effort values in other main series games, allows you to directly upgrade a Pokemon's stats up to a very generous cap of 200 per stat. With some grinding and perhaps use of the Pokeball Plus toy that can come with the game, you can gather enough candies to boost your Pokemon's stats through the roof. And while the small candies you can get early in the game can only provide up to 50 per stat, that's still enough to completely thresh early gyms, and by the end of the game you can have a team of Lightning Bruisers capable of decimating anything the Elite Four and Elite Trainers can throw at you.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon
- Starting as a Charmander or Cyndaquil is potentially a game breaker due to it learning Smoke Screen early on, a move that makes the target's attacks always miss. It sounds simple, but when used against bosses or making a hallway fight for monster houses, you can just attack without any worry of being hit back.
- Due to a programming oversight (no Pokémon in the first games was given a gender except for the main character), moves that caused the Infatuation status (Attract and the ability Cute Charm, at that time) were absurdly powerful, basically being a nigh-effortless way to ensure that enemies almost never got a chance to attack you. Imprison worked similarly without even being an oversight. In Gates to Infinity, the status can affect everyone once more... but it's somewhat Nerfed because it properly has the 50% chance of preventing the Pokemon from attacking.
- Due to the special properties of the Pokémon Castform and its signature move Weather Ball, a single Castform could do enough damage to KO any non-boss Pokémon in a single hit at low-to-middle levels, and at high levels, could even do the same to any boss Pokémon that didn't resist Fire or Water. This was only minorly nerfed in the Explorers games; Castform now has a 'size' of 4, meaning only one can be on a party and at the expense of another Pokémon, but most normal dungeons don't need more than the single Castform at one time anyway.
- In Red/Blue, upon maxing their IQ (the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon equivalent of 'Happiness', boosted by eating Gummi items), Pokémon acquired the ability "Super Mobile", which allowed them to travel over water, lava, clouds, and even allowed them to bash through walls to make their own path with absolutely no penalty. In a roguelike game, this naturally causes most of the difficulty to soar right out the window. In the Explorers games, this ability was severely restricted to a single legendary Pokémon, Palkia, whom you can only obtain after the game's storyline, making it more of a Bragging Rights Reward.
- X-Eye Seeds snap boss battles right in two. The AI will never attack while under this effect, unlike during Confusion, and Crosseyed status probably lasts the longest of any adverse status effect short of stat drops. Eating an X-Eye Seed reveals that they cause the victim to hallucinate that everything looks like a Substitute.
- If you want to truly humiliate any boss, just try the Hunger Seed. That item will cause any non-player character who eats it to become immobile and do only 1 damage with any attacks, and unlike any other status, it WILL NEVER GO AWAY unless you shoot another food item at them. The intended downside is Hunger Seeds are very rare mission rewards, and cannot be found on the wild except on the Final Dungeons. However, you can easily get them on Spinda Cafe as a consolation prize.
- Several IQ skills on the right IQ groups to boost HP, PP, and other stats could be further combined with Three-Star "Exclusive Items" that buffed a particular Pokémon each (generally giving them Absorption against a type they're usually weak against, or putting them in permanent Light Screen/Reflect status). Not only that, but the effects of those items are shared among all Pokémon belonging to the same evolutionary branch! So for instance, Pokémon like Gallade, Hitmonchan, Vileplume, or Politoed could not only gain the buffs of their former evolutions, but also those of their counterpart(s), for a total of 4 buffs. And the Eevee family... it's actually averted with the Eevee family, since each item explicitly only grants its effects to Eevee and the intended user. While in the Time/Darkness titles you had to combine specific items to net one, usually not even resulting in what you exactly wanted, in Explorers of Sky, you can look up the item you're looking for in the shop, and swap any exclusive items you want to get rid of for the one you want, basically turning any Pokémon with a broad enough "family", through IQ grinding and item gathering, into an Infinity +1 Sword! Want to top even this? Then bring along also the two-star equivalent of the Exclusive Item to get an even bigger stat boost, make your 'mon binge on stat-rising items like Life Seed and Iron, and keep in mind that some of the rarest Exclusive Items affect all the 'mons of the same Type. Pair it with a double-type, and...you know the drill. Most exclusive items are quite useful without being game-breaking. But a handful of them are absurdly powerful. Snover and the Hoenn weather trio can use their three-star items to perform double attacks all the time, for free. A Tyranitar can bring a Rock Gem to permanently move at double speed, and can extend this ability to all Rock-type teammates, plus Cacnea and Gligar with their three-star items. And Celebi's three-star item essentially guarantees that it will never run out of PP, ever. Snover/Abomasnow deserve even more special mention because they can use Blizzard as a perfectly accurate, extremely powerful room-clearing move that hits twice.
- Multi-Hit attacks (Bullet Seed, Fury Swipes/Attack, Pin Missile). Due to the damage calculation in the Mystery Dungeon games being much different than the mainstream titles, these move actually hit as hard as most other attacks per hit. The brokenness comes from the fact that the STAB bonus from the mainstream titles is also implemented in the Mystery Dungeon games, meaning with the right Pokémon (A Treecko with Bullet Seed and the Concentrator skill for instance), this can be quite lethal. And because of how damage mechanics work, it can perform up to five ranged attacks, each of which deals a great deal of damage by themselves. And if you happen to KO the 'mon in front of you? It keeps attacking the ones behind it until you either run out of moves or targets. If you think that's bad, try linking Screech with a multi-hitting move, like Meowth or Persian with Fury Swipes, and watch how fast you take your opponents down. The only downside to multi-hit moves was the decreased the accuracy of each individual attack (and even then, you could usually land one or two for good damage). Combine it with Meowth's Technician ability (increases the base power of "low-damage" moves) and a partner's Sweet Scent (which lowers the evasion of every enemy in the room), and suddenly you're doing ridiculous amounts of damage with every turn. Unfortunately, Meowth was downgraded to a partner in Explorers of Sky, but accuracy buffs/evasion debuffs still synergize well with multi-hit attacks. Sadly, Fury Swipes actually doesn't work with Technician, which only activates on moves with 3 stars of power or lower.
- In the main Pokémon series, Protect makes you invincible to damage for one turn, and Sonicboom only does 20 points of damage regardless of the Pokémon's stats. In the Mystery Dungeon games however, Protect stays in play for multiple turns, allowing for multiple attacks while the opponent is helpless, and Sonicboom is a ranged attack that hits for 55 points no matter what. Also, unlike the original games, where most Pokémon could easily have 200+ health points at the end of the game, most Pokémon naturally won't even reach triple digits (100+ health points) at the later points of the game, so just imagine how devastating and frustrating 55 direct points of damage from a distance (especially off-screen) would be.
- Similar to Protect, Endure normally allows the user to survive the next attack with 1 HP remaining. In Mystery Dungeon, it effectively makes the user unable to drop below 1 HP for several turns. Combined with Endeavor, a move that causes the target to have the same amount HP the user currently has, it's one of the most reliable ways to defeat some of the most powerful enemies in the game.
- In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, unlike the main series, Pokémon possess both of their two abilities at the same time. This makes Bronzong a top-class gamebreaker, because one of its abilities (Levitate) negates one of its only 2 weaknesses while the other (Heatproof) negates the other. Its awesomeness is greater when you consider that Bronzong already has high defenses to go against the other attacking types which Bronzong is not weak to, along with the fact that his moveset is very good with Psychic and Gyro Ball being only some of the great moves it can learn. Add to this mix the fact that his low speed from the main game series isn't a factor in these games, and you'll have no trouble getting through most places in the game.
- There was also Shedinja from the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, who unlike in the regular games where they were limited to 1 health point no matter what, were able to eat Sitrus Berries in order to increase its health maximum. Couple that with the Wonder Guard ability, and the Super Mobile ability in the first game which is obtained by eating enough Gummies to reach maximum intelligence, to see how destructive one Pokémon could truly be. It gets even better in Explorers when Shedinja gets an accuracy-boosting IQ class and Silver Wind as an egg move.
- Attacks that hit the entire room trivialize Monster Houses. While Earthquake will hit allies, the rest don't while still retaining decently high power. Silver Wind and Ominous Wind in particular have a secondary effect that gives them a small chance to boost all of the user's stats by one stages, and each hit on an enemy has a chance to activate it. Since Monster Houses tend to have 7+ Pokémon in them, it's highly likely that using either will grant the boosts at least once and make fighting any survivors much easier. Zapdos can be considered one since it learns Agility, Charge, and Discharge. Try linking all three of those moves in that order and see what happens to a monster house... Unless there's an enemy with the Lightningrod ability in said monster house... If you're talking about room affecting moves, specific mention has to go to Agility which raises all Pokémon on the same team's speed greatly, and moves like Silver Wind which hit the entire room, and can power up all of the stats of the one who uses it.
- Dialga and Palkia's signature attacks also deserve a special mention, as they will do the same 150+ damage to your poor enemies from an entire room away as they did to you on their respective boss battles.
- Charizard in the dungeons that de-level the player to Level 1. A Level 1 Charizard starts off with Heat Wave, a decently powerful STAB attack that also hits entire rooms, heavily alleviating much of the challenge of those dungeons.
- Scizor in the Explorers games. To start off, it has the attack stats of a god, and although its natural defense stats leaves some room to be desired, it still has the fantastic Bug/Steel type, giving it only one major weakness and plenty of resistances, and even its mediocre defenses can be covered by increasing it with sufficient drinks and gummies. Secondly, its movepool is also huge, allowing it to take on almost any type or dungeon reliably, and also carries Agility, which can turn almost any boss into a joke thanks to the multiple turns it grants to your whole team. Additionally, it can also learn Silver Wind, a move that hits an entire room at once, thus tearing the dreaded monster houses to shreds. All of the above alone is enough to make Scizor an extremely versatile Pokémon that would be valuable on almost any team, but what truly pushes it to game breaking levels is its ability, Technician, which gives a massive boost to any move with a base damage under a certain threshold. Technician-boosted weak attacks are significantly STRONGER than unboosted "strong" ones, so with the right moveset Technician essentially gives Scizor a free attack boost, including the mentioned Silver Wind and Bullet Punch. Add in Agility and almost every non-Fire type enemy or boss(es) won't even be able to touch it.
- The abilities Chlorophyll and Swift Swim, which in the main games boosted speed under Sunlight and Rain (respectively). However, since speed doesn't work in the same way in these games as it does in the other games, they had to figure out some other way to have the ability manifest itself. Of course, this comes in the form of having your Pokémon attack twice in the same turn for the PP cost of ONE attack. Now combine this with either Groudon or Kyogre, an already broken move like Heat Wave, and the fact that Fire/Water moves get a boost in that weather...
- Then there's Mirror Move. In the mainstream games, it's simply a move that allows you to replicate your foe's move; rather gimmicky and not very useful. In Mystery Dungeon, however, it acts as a Protect—while simultaneously reflecting every move that hits you back at the foe (including status-inducing moves). Not only does this last for several turns, but the reflected moves also factor in types. If you started with a Torchic, simply use Mirror Move on Palkia and watch it OHKO itself with a reflected Spacial Rend. Fantastically useful in monster houses and any multi-boss fights. It's a shame that enemies don't grant EXP if they KO themselves.
- Drifblim is a terror to behold. Thanks to Unburden, it gets its power instantly doubled as long as it's not holding an item. Two repeated Ominous Winds will destroy most Monster Houses. A double helping of Defog + Ominous Wind will sterilize them. Beware, though, because enemy Drifblim and Drifloon won't hesitate to use this trick against you.
- In a game where all base stats might as well be equal, who's bound to be the main beneficiary? Smeargle. Besides running grossly overpowering moves like Mirror Move, Spacial Rend, and Mind Reader + Rollout, it can, along with Cresselia, bring two copies of Lunar Dance (the only PP restoration move) into an exploration, granting infinite PP to the entire team. Sketching a teammate's moves isn't even difficult, only requiring a Blinker Seed and some tweaking of the Nontraitor IQ skill. And just when you thought Smeargle couldn't possibly be any more broken, recall that it has the Technician ability.
- In Gates to Infinity, picking Axew as your hero or partner may as well be an easy mode enabler, as its first two level-up moves are Dragon Rage and Dual Chop. The former is a fixed damage move capable of one or two hit K Oing most early game Pokémon, while the latter is an extremely powerful multi-hitting move that's literally the only melee range attack it'll ever need. Add in the fact that it's a Dragon type, and thus resists numerous common types and is resisted by almost nothing, and there's very little that can stand up to it.
- Excadrill are just as overpowering here as they are in the regular game. They learn both Swords Dance and STAB Earthquake at a relatively low level, and their pre-evolved forms aren't that difficult to find (they can be found in the first dungeon). Combine this with its already ridiculous Attack, and you've got something that deals serious damage, even to Flying-types. They're so stupidly powerful that, unless you know what you're doing, your team's Excadrill will one-shot everyone, including your teammates. And if that wasn't enough, Sand Rush allows the user to move twice in one turn if sandstorms are brewing. Dungeons that force you with only one party member? No worries, just send in the mole. It can make short work of just about everything. The only things it can't handle are the Path of No Return and Slumbering Cave dungeons, since they force all Pokémon to level 5, and their movepools are reduced to level-up only.
- Companion Mode is quite powerful here in Gates to Infinity, if you're patient enough. When in Companion Mode, the story stops completely, and you get to play as a party of the Pokémon you've recruited. Here, you can build up Pokémon Paradise and accumulate massive amounts of resources and items, at the start of the game! The only limits to this are your patience and the fact that better dungeons/missions will be unlocked as the main story is progressed. What really makes this powerful is the fact that there is a shared experience system in effect. All EXP that is earned is shared by all Pokémon, even the ones in Paradise and the story characters. With enough time, your story Pokémon will be vastly overleveled.
- In Super Mystery Dungeon, while you don't get access to it until mid-game, Cofagrigus' gold bar exchange allows people to trade in their gold bars for vitamins. Doesn't seem too bad, but unlike the main series, vitamins do not have a max cap on how many times you can boost the Pokémon's stats. Combine this with the fact that each time your expedition rank goes up, you get an increasing amount of gold bars as your reward, and Super also has a pseudo-Companion Mode which, while nerfed to not be as powerful as Gates, still allows you to grind items, including gold bars and treasure chest with gold bars in them, if you take the time to do some item farming, the stat growth of the main characters can get a tad bit insane. On a similar note, the Water Looplet, one of the few treasures you can get before beating the game. It makes it so that items thrown by its holder fly infinitely. What does that have to do with the above? If you line your party up and throw a stat booster their way, it affects all of them, making stat grinding two Pokémon at once much easier.
- Memento is much more viable in the Mystery Dungeon games than the main series. It sharply lowers the Attack and Special Attack of every Pokémon in the room, but unlike the main series, instead of making the user faint, their HP goes to 1 and they warp to somewhere else on the floor. That last effect makes it a bit harder to use in dungeons, but it allows you to completely break boss fights. After just three to four uses of it, bosses will only be able to deal 1 damage to you unless it's a critical hit.
- Pokémon Rumble U, if you actually pre-ordered it, comes with Black/White Kyurem. These two, once you get their passwords in the game, are unstoppable killing machines that destroy anything bar bosses in a single shot. That is, until the further levels, but it's still amazingly easy.
- Pokémon Rumble Blast (the 3DS version) also has a password system, accessible after the second town. Taking a few minutes to look for codes on the internet and entering them gives you steadily increasingly powerful Mons depending on the area. They are all at a set level and usually know moves you couldn't learn until Axle Town through the random move machine. All you have to do after entering the code is to find them in the overworld and defeat them, and for their level and obtain point in the game, they are absurdly powerful(read: Victini/V-Create, Tornadus/Hurricane, Zoroark/Foul Play). And once you beat the game, you can access more codes for Olympus Mons like Groudon, Dialga, and Lugia. For free.
- And if you were patient enough to continuously beat levels to access that 5% chance, one of many Olympus Mons is yours, depending on the level. Most are faithful to their main series counterparts (Darkrai having high Attack, low Defense, or Lugia having low Attack but high Defense), and some even have both maxed out. And most come loaded with their Signature Move from the start (or a high power attack if they lack one), just to make the rest of the game, barring the EX Battle Royales, a complete joke. And even then, if you do beat the EX Royales and keep searching through specific levels... say hello to Arceus and Mewtwo.
Trading Card Game
- The Game Boy Color version of the Pokémon Trading Card Game, faithful to the original game has Imakuni? was a Game-Breaker. He was weaker than all the AI characters, but if you defeated him (which was quite often), he gives you an unheard-of four booster packs. This makes racking up cards rather easy.
- There's also Pokémon like Hitmonlee◊ who could attack your lead Pokémon with a powerful move, or your benched Pokémon for 20 points of direct damage, easily defeating first form Pokémon with really low health in one or two turns, while it had enough health to last for a while if you didn't have a powerful psychic Pokémon to counter it. It's also an A.I. Breaker in the video game, as the AI will be unlikely to give energy to their active Pokémon if Hitmonlee will defeat it in one hit (which his 50 damage High Jump Kick may well do).
- Similar to the above example the "Haymaker" cards which are basic Pokémon cards with HP comparable to most evolution cards and low energy costs; Scyther, Hitmonchan, and Electabuzz can give you a massive advantage at the beginning of a match, and then there's what happens if you have four in a deck...
- The Pokémon Trading Card Game underwent Sequel Escalation for each generation that was released, plus another for HeartGold and SoulSilver. It's reached the point where the old Haymaker deck is easily overpoweed. This is due to an increased emphasis on evolution in that evolved Pokémon get lower Energy costs for greater effects, more Pokémon capable of hitting the Bench, vastly improved Trainer cards (since then split into Trainers, Supporters, and Stadiums) that can easily search for cards of your choice from the deck or discard pile, and a trend away from Energy being the requirement for attacks, instead leaning towards other effects on the field. Together, this has resulted in a frenzy pace, most tournament decks refined to be fully set up in 1 turn, or 2 at most. For instance, Gyarados has an attack that does 30 damage for each Magikarp in the discard pile. A popular deck is designed to use Broken Time Space to evolve a Magikarp on the first turn (bypassing a rule prohibiting this), find the 3 remaining Magikarps and discard them, attach an Expert Belt (which boosts attack power by 20), and use this move for 110 damage. Also, this attack requires no Energy at all. Compared to decks like these, the Haymaker is but a light jab.
- The Team Rocket booster packs, full stop. These had such Pokémon as Rocket Blastoise who could use its "Rocket Tackle" attack for 40 damage, and flip a coin which if it was called right, negated any damage from the opponent in the next turn including status effects, all for reducing its health by 10 HP, Rocket Charizard who had an attack called "Continuous Fireball", which for one fire energy it could flip a coin until it got tails, and the attack did 50 points of damage to the opponent for each heads it got, and the best part is that most of these very powerful cards were common cards. The rare cards were even worse like Rocket Dragonite who had a power that allowed you to put two Pokémon on your bench at once while it was in battle, and a Trainer Card called "Here Comes Team Rocket" which made both players play the game with their prizes face up, and eliminating the random possibility of picking a weak prize after a victory while thinking of a proper way to use your prizes in any order you want, while keeping an eye on your opponent's possible prizes at the same time.
- The Pokémon SP were pretty broken in general thanks to their speed and the sheer number of options they had. There were trainers that reduced their energy costs, negated opponent Poké-Powers on their turn and even returned a Pokémon SP to your hand without any drawbacks. There was even a card to search your deck for these trainers. The worst Pokémon of all was almost definitely Garchomp C LV.X. It leveled up from a basic Garchomp C, and when it went into play it could completely heal all of your SP Pokémon, has no retreat cost, and with the right combination of cards it could hit any opposing Pokémon for 80 damage for one energy card. You could have a Garchomp C on your bench with nothing attached and get to taking out a vital support Pokémon on their side in a single turn.
- The trainer card Pokémon Catcher. It let you switch the opponent's active Pokémon with one of their benched Pokémon, allowing for easy kills on weak support Pokémon. The card Junk Arm (which allows you to reuse a trainer card) made it even worse, as it allowed for eight uses of Pokémon Catcher per game. This got so bad that it became one of the few cards to ever get nerfed (it now requires a coin flip to work).
- Lysandre's trump card is one of the more notorious cases: it's a supporter card which returned the entire discard pile back to the deck. This single card allowed players to run through their entire deck with minimal problems, and extended gameplay by effectively eliminating the deck out win condition, severely slowing down the match as a result. It became the first card to be banned from competitive play in over 15 years, and only the fifth to be banned in the history of the franchise.
- Next Destinies Shiftry was the next card to be banned. Its Ability Giant Fan could force the opponent to return the targeted Pokémon back to the deck, along with all other cards attached with it, whenever one of the player's Pokémon evolved. ND Shiftry could be combined with a variety of other cards, especially Forest of Giant Plants (instantly evolves Grass-Energy Pokémon in play), to be able to use Giant Fan multiple times in a single turn. This often resulted in the player using ND Shiftry to win on the first turn before their opponent could do anything. Later on, Forest of Giant Plants itself was banned due to the numerous other game-shattering combos enabled by it, which allowed for the even rarer occurrence of Shiftry being unbanned.
- Noble Victories Archeops then followed suit in July 2017. Its ability, Ancient Power, prevents each player from playing evolution Pokémon from their hand to evolve a Pokémon in play, severely hampering evolution-reliant decks. What's more, it could be combined with Battle Compressor (sends cards in your deck to the discard) and Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick (lets you play a Fighting-type Pokémon from your discard to your bench - mind you, if played this way, Archeops does not need to evolve from Archen first) to set it up even quicker and limit the opponent's options even further. While counterplay existed (Hex Maniac, Wobbuffet, Evosoda and Garbotoxin Garbodor to name a few), Archeops caused a lot of evolution decks to have to run these cards, severely limiting gameplay diversity. And to add insult to injury, it could be combined with Espeon-EX to devolve each of your opponent's Pokémon if they had the chance to evolve beforehand, leaving them stuck with useless evolutions in their hand.
- July 2018 added more cards to Expanded's growing ban list:
- The aforementioned Hex Maniac, which canceled out abilities until the end of the opponent's next turn. Depending on the deck, this can do anything from be a minor annoyance to completely bricking it, as some decks, particularly Night March, are absolutely reliant on abilities to even function.
- Ghetsis shuffled all the opponent's item cards in their hand back into their deck; if played early in the game, this can slow down the opponent so badly (and in some cases before they can even play) that it's impossible to recover from.
- Wally allowed for Pokémon to evolve on the first turn; when combined with a certain Trevenant, whose ability prevents the opponent from using items while it is active, then like Ghetsis it can ruin the opponent's early-game set up so bad that they have to concede.
- When Team Up's Kabuto and Omastar were released, Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick saw a ban for similar reasons. Kabutops forbids supporters from being played when active, while Omastar forbids items from being played when active.
- Puzzle of Time is interesting since, while not too strong on its own and being rather Difficult, but Awesome to effectively play, it enabled so many different strong combos that it over-centralized the metagame around it, causing not only a barrier of entry to new players, but also a somewhat stale metagame, so it was banned in order to encourage diversity and also to nerf said strong combos.
- Lusamine was fine in Standard, but in Expanded, Lusamine loops became a strong part of the metagame. Players would use Lusamine to get back another Lusamine and any sort of a supporter if they needed to. They could also be used to stall infinitely.
- Delinquent could be used as part of a Turn 1 lock. A Stadium, Red Card, Delinquent, and Peeking Red Card could leave the opponent with 1 card in hand on the first turn. While it was hard to pull off, other enablers like Shaymin-EX and Tapu Lele-GX existed, allowing players to assemble the cards they needed frequently.
- The first two cards to be banned were Sneasel and Slowking from Neo Genesis. Sneasel had the Beat Up attack which, for only two Darkness energy, flipped a coin for every Pokémon you had in play and did 20 damage for each heads. Given that this equates to 6 flips most of the time and that Darkness energy had the additional effect of adding 10 damage to your attacks per energy, this meant an average of 80 damage for 2 energy, at a time when 30 for 2 was considered good. On top of that, it also had no weakness and free retreat, and was a Basic Pokémon. Slowking ended up broken due to a "Blind Idiot" Translation: its ability Mind Games caused your opponent to flip a coin every time they tried to play a Trainer card. If tails, not only did the card fail, but it was placed on the top of their deck, effectively shutting down their draw next turn. Why was this so bad? Because the English translation of the card forgot to include the phrase "this ability only works when Slowking is your Active Pokémon". As a result, you were able to fill your bench with 4 Slowkings and give your opponent only a 1/16 chance of playing Trainer cards.
- As a general rule of thumb, most Pokémon EX are very powerful due to them almost always being Basic Pokémon as opposed to fully evolved (Stage 2) Pokémon. The EX 'Mons have high HP, strong attacks and low to medium energy requirements, and some can switch Pokémon or heal damage making them tough to get rid of. The Gamebreakers however are the Mega EX Pokémon, who can be placed on top of EX Pokémon or regular Pokémon, and have massive HP reserves and insane attack power. And consider you can have more than one EX in your deck. Some decks just revolve around getting 4-5 EX on the bench, loading them up with energy, then sweeping the opponent.
- Zoroark-GX is a Master of All, able to fill almost every role in the game. Its ability, Trade, allows you to discard 1 card from your hand and draw 2 new ones, making it one of the best support Pokémon. Its attack, Riotous Beating, allows you to do up to 120 damage for a single Double Colorless Energy, making it ruthlessly efficient as a beater itself. For more Dark-based decks, it has Trickster GX, which allows it to copy any of your opponent's Pokémon's attacks. It's telling that even after all the support for Buzzwole-GX (its main competitor in the Standard format), it was the dominant archetype until Tag Team GX Pokémon were released..
- In Expanded, Zoroark is by far the most dominant Pokémon of the format due to having more support. Sky Field, from the Roaring Skies expansion, allows it to hit for 180 with Riotous Beating. Choice Band boosts this to 210, enough to kill most meta Pokémon in the game. This is nothing compared to Exeggcute, however. Its ability, Propagation, allows it to come back to your hand at any time, but an interaction between the rules on public and private zones made the "once per turn" part irrelevant. With Exeggcute, discard costs became completely optional. Having just one Exeggcute in the discard pile means that Trade becomes Bill. The Zoroark/Exeggcute archetype is also the reason why Hex Maniac is banned, allowing you to circumvent Sudowoodo, hit full damage, and have all Exeggcutes as discard fodder.
- Mega Gengar. Its ability is what takes the cake: all Mega Gengar icons vanish from the field. While not happening instantly is somewhat less than ideal in the timed stages, it still has a temporary Complexity -1 effect, which is something that costs a massive 9000 coins otherwise. The removal of all Gengar icons also almost certainly causes a large chain to happen, which in turn results in fewer Mega Gengars showing up until the end of the chain. Also added the fact that it takes one Mega Speedup to Mega Evolve sooner, Mega Gengar became an absolute favorite in Competitive stages for the time. Although Mega Rayquaza is a bit of a Power Creep, Mega Gengar still has a use if you were to go itemless in some stages as well as performing huge combos easier had you played on a stage that allows three Pokémon (or if you use a Complexity -1 on a stage that doesn't use non-supports).
- Mega Rayquaza is considered to be the only Pokémon better than Mega Gengar, removing up to ten non-Dragon icons from the field whenever it's matched. While it's an extreme case of Awesome, but Impractical normally, giving it the maximum amount of Mega Startups turns it into this on stages that don't have single digit move counts.
- Mega Beedrill. While not the strongest Mega, it's ability is to stop time so the player can tap a single icon on screen, and all of the icons around it in a 3 by 3 square disappear. While Mega Tyranitar has a similar ability and does more damage, Mega Beedrill has one major thing above it. When fully candied, it can Mega Evolve in a single match. A strategy to clear Survival Mode without items is what made Mega Beedrill so popular.
- Ditto used to be this long before is was made available, and that's because of a second passive ability that no one Pokémon is able to have. It's main ability Swarm isn't too special, but its second ability, given to Ditto's nature made it able to match with every other Pokémon on the board. This means that combos are always guaranteed to happen, it can remove disruptive non-support Pokémon easily and rack up points like nothing else since this effect can go on for quite some time. It was so good that unscrupulous player hacked their save data to cheat their way up the leader boards in Competitive stages, along with the ability to use either use Arceus' ability Double Normal, unobtainable Pokémon with other game-breaking abilties at the time or even simply use two Pokémon as apposed to four note . Thankfully, Version 3 came in which removed this passive ability as well as adding a checker for players if they used legitimately obtained Pokémon in Competitive stages. Though since Ditto is now made available, it's ability Swarm became Transform, while not very game-breaking, it's basically a much better Swap with is able to change some of the Ditto icons on the board into one of your own support Pokémon.