With over 800 Pokémon and counting in existence, it's impossible for Pokémon to keep an ideal balance as what would be possible in other role-playing games. It's also worth noting that what works in the single player campaign may not work when playing competitively with other people or the post-game battle facilities, and vice-versa. Below are the many species that got the shaft, and the many that frequently give players the shaft.
Types in general
- The viability of the Normal type has had an extreme fall from grace since Gen 1. Gen 1 had the Normal type dominate the metagame with three of its members (Tauros, Chansey, Snorlax) being considered essential in teambuilding due to the extremely broken Psychic type discouraging the use of Fighting types, which is Normal's only weakness. In addition, Fighting Type moves in early generations were either weak or poorly distributed compared to other generations.note The only two types that resist or are immune to Normal have issues of their own, with Rock having extremely exploitable weaknesses that Normal types can run them over with coverage moves or teammates (most notably Ice, Ground and Water), while Ghost was extremely rare (with the Gastly line being the only representative of the type at the time). The Normal type also has the extremely broken Hyper Beam as STAB, a 150 base power move that required its user to recharge for their next turn but in Gen 1 the recharge turn can be skipped if you KO the enemy. However, the changes in Gen 2 which buffed Fighting and nerfed Psychic also severely hit Normal. With the addition of the ubiquitous Steel type resisting Normal and also sharing Normal's weakness to Fighting, as well as the nerf to Hyper Beam to no longer skip the recharge turn and the releasing of more Ghost types, causing some of the metagame defining Normal types like Tauros, Chansey and Persian to fall off a cliff in usage, though Snorlax was still overwhelmingly dominant. Later Gens kicks the type further down in viability with the release of more Fighting, Steel and Ghost types and moves as well as the nerf to Explosion and Self Destruction in Gen 5 to no longer halving the enemy Defense. Nowadays, the only Normal types that manage to see any viabily in VGC, OU, or Ubers are tanks (Chansey/Blissey, Miltank in Gens 2 and 3) or utility support (Porygon2, Ditto, Smeargle, Clefable in Gen 3 and 4 as well as Togekiss before Gen 6). The few exceptions are Arceus-Normal (with its broken 120 in all stats, STAB +2 priority Extreme Speed and the ability to hold an item more useful than the Plates held by its fellow Arceus type, at least until Gen 7's release of Z-Crystal allow other Arceus forms to outclass it offensively), Snorlax in Doubles (being a very slow Pokémon allows it to wreck havoc in Trick Room and its poor physical bulk can be fixed with the extreme prevalence of Intimidate), Mega Kangaskhan (which packs Dark and Fighting coverage for Ghost and Steel types) and Mega Lopunny (its ability Scrappy allows it to hit Ghost types with its STAB).
- The Electric type has the distinction of only having one type that's super-effective against it (Ground). This would make the Electric type theoretically the best defensive type in the game had it not been for most, if not all its species being Glass Cannons (except for Zapdos, who has been a competitive staple), Ground being one of the best and most ubiquitous offensive types in the game, and the fact that they otherwise don't have that many meaningful resistances. Some players believe that this is an example of Fake Balance as this makes certain dual-types (such as Electric and Water, or Electric and Flying) or even certain abilities (like Levitate) awkward to deal with. One rather spiteful example is Eelektross, a pure Electric type with the ability Levitate. This essentially gives it no elemental weaknessnote . The only things preventing it from being a Game-Breaker are its mediocre stats and the lack of resistances.
- The Flying type's viability has been an interesting case. They have only three resistances (Fighting, Bug, and Grass), but they happen to be immune to one of the most common attacking types in the game (Ground), to the point that many Ground types carry Rock type moves (the majority of which are inaccurate) as coverage solely to hit Flying types and partner up with Flying type in Doubles to use Earthquake that will only hit the opposing Pokémon due to the type's immunity. Combining that with their immunity to certain entry hazards leads to Flying-Type Pokémon being extremely prevalent in every single format. Flying-Type moves, however, is another story. Flying-Type attacks are resisted by the common Electric and Steel types and they only hit three types super effectively: Bug, Grass and Fighting, which leads to them frequently unable to compete for a move slot with Fire, Psychic and Fairy type attacks. However, Flying STAB is noted for having otherwise great neutral coverage, as Electric and Steel types are hit by Ground-Type moves, and thus only a couple of moves are necessary for these offensive threats to go wild. Unfortunately, certain non-bird Flying types such as Dragonite, Gyarados and Salamence lack enough viable Flying moves such as Brave Bird, meaning they don't get to enjoy the neutral coverage it offers. Flying-Type status moves, however, have seen significantly more use, with Defog (in Singles after its buff in Gen 6 to remove entry hazards), Tailwind (in Doubles) and Roost being considered essential to fit on teams in favorable formats. The only generations where Flying-Type attacks were extensively used have been Gen 5* , and Gen 8* .
- Over the years, the Fighting type has been a mixed bag. Early Installment Weirdness meant that a lot of types in Generation 1 were barely types at all, with Ghost, Dragon, and Bug being particularly big offenders (having almost no damaging moves and often being reserved to a single evolutionary line). But while Ghost and Dragon have some good qualities and Bug is deliberately meant as a weak Crutch Character type, Fighting had multiple representatives with strong-looking statlines and still ended up languishing in the bottom. On paper, being the only type offensively strong against Normal sounds like a recipe for success... but it trades off with being one of two types weak to Psychic, which is nigh-impossible to deal with when Psychics are the most dangerous things around. All the available Fighting-types had crappy Special, meaning they had no chance of tanking those hits, and none are particularly fast. The only strong Fighting-type move with wide availability and non-fixed damage was Submission, which had disappointing accuracy for a move of average power and recoil as a downside; it rarely even saw use as a coverage move. Defensively, it also lacked any worthwhile resistances; Bug resistance is laughable and Rock resistance was countered by most Rock-types being able to use STAB Earthquake. The result is that, despite some theoretically decent matchups, most Fighting-types bottomed out on tier lists. With Generation 2, this was averted; not only were Psychic and the Special stat nerfed, but the presence of Steel and Dark not only reduced Psychic's dominance but also made Fighting much stronger as an attacking type, and significantly more good Fighting-type moves were added and existing ones buffed, making the type entirely viable. Gen 4 further favored them by introducing the powerful Close Combat and making it widely accessible to Fighting-types. Gen 5 is where the Fighting-type truly shone, as it introduced powerful juggernauts such as Terrakion, Keldeo, and Conkeldurr. Gen 6 continued to introduce other powerful Fighting-types in the form of Mega Evolutions, but this is where Fairy-type got introduced as a counter to Fighting-type. Gen 7 saw a noticeable decline in the type. While the same generation gives Pheromosa and Marshadow the ban hammer treatment, the introduction of the Fairy-type Tapu and the viability of Fairy-types generally didn't favor them. Fighting types fare even worse in Gen 7 Doubles with the heavier demand of the Tapu, thus leaving only those that provide utility or stat boosts viable in the tier.
- The Psychic type has had ultra-high and low highlights in its career. In Gen 1, it was strong against the plentiful Poison and Fighting types, had several powerful species and moves under its banner (species-wise, Alakazam, Mew and Mewtwo were three of the biggest contenders), and had virtually no weaknesses, with Ghost-type moves not working and Bug-type moves being rare and underpowered. Over time, more and better moves of those types were added, the Dark type was introduced as a hard Psychic counter and the ubiquitous Steel type resist it, and both the Special stat split and the physical/special move split left Psychics lacking in bulk and offensive options. It doesn't help that Psychic, which only resists Fighting and itself, is a poor defensive type. Nowadays, the top Psychic-types succeed in spite of their typing, as opposed to because of it. Gen 7 did throw them a bone by introducing Psychic Terrain, which boosts Psychic type moves and prevents priority moves from being used as well as having all the box art Legendary Pokémon and Tapu Lele being Psychic type. Gen 8 was particularly kind to the type, introducing their Psychic Dynamax move that can set up Psychic terrain, as well as completely removing the move Pursuit and lowering the amount of Pokémon that can learn Sucker Punch and Knock Off, which are some of the type's biggest counters.
- The Dragon type was another great type that began to lose its lustre. Before the Fairy type was created, Dragons only had two weaknesses: Ice and itself. Most Dragon-types can learn Fire-, Rock- and Fighting-type attacks to counter Ice-type Pokémon and attempting to counter Dragon with Dragon is to play a stats game. The type resists four common types (Electric, Water, Grass and Fire) and is only resisted by Steel, though it can't hit anything super-effectively besides itself. However, starting from Gen 6 and the introduction of Fairy, the viability of Dragons began to slowly decrease, with Fairy-type being immune to Dragon-type moves while dealing super-effective damage to them. Gen 7 exacerbated this with the debut of the Tapu and Magearna. While there are some useful new Dragons, such as Zygarde Complete Forme, Ultra Necrozma, and Naganadel, the type is still losing viability next to other types, even Bug. Dragon-types fare even worse in Gen 7 Doubles OU, while Magearna is banned there, they must dread Misty Terrain, which halves the power of Dragon-type moves for grounded Pokémon, rendering those that rely on Dragon-type attacks such as Latios and Hydreigon less effective there. Nonetheless, in Gen 8, the Dragon type regained some lost ground with three recipients of Complacent Gaming Syndrome in Dragapult, Dracovish (who wound up being such a problem that it got banned to Ubers with a 90% majority vote), and a newly buffed Hydreigon (with access to Nasty Plot), as well as Eternatus in Ubers, showing that the type still turns out powerful Pokémon as it was meant to, even with the allegedly over tuned checks and balances brought by Fairies.
- At one point, many considered the Fairy-type a hassle to face against, especially to Dragon-type fans. Fairy is not only strong against Dragon, but also against the very common Dark and Fighting-types. And Fairy-types are only weak to Poison and Steel-types; neither used to be known for their offensive potential in earlier gens. However, as of Gen 8, Fairies started to see a dramatic decline in overall presence, as many of their best members were lost in the transition to Sword/Shield, many more counters started naturally spawning in the meta via new Pokémon or older Pokémon rising in usage, the general abundance of quality Poison and Steel moves meant that most common sweepers and wallbreakers had an easy answer to them, and even the Dragon types themselves developed effective strategies to simply overpower them with other STAB or moves, to the point where Dragons now greatly outweigh Fairies in usage in the higher tiers. This is especially ironic considering that the Dragon type was once a Tier-Induced Scrappy that underwent a similar high and low point, and that Generation VIII introduced one of the most overpowered Pokémon of all time in the Fairy-type Zacian. It wasn't until the Isle of Armors and Crowd Tundra DLC that brought the type back to its former glory by bringing back the type's best members like the Tapus, Magearna and Xerneas.
Moves, Abilities, and Strategies
- The move Dark Void was widely hated when it first appeared. An 80% accurate sleep-inducing move that hits both targets in a Double Battle, it's the Secret Art of Darkrai, who also has its Bad Dreams Ability to slowly damage sleeping Pokémon. While Darkrai was Purposely Overpowered and thus off-limits for most formats, Smeargle could also learn it via Sketch, circumventing the ban. Dark Void was the only single move outright banned from VGC (but only in Gen 5), and that starting with Gen 7, it not only failed to work if anyone other than Darkrai used it (which made Smeargle going back to use the single target Spore as its main sleep move), but also received an accuracy drop to 50%. With Hypnosis now a more reliable sleeping move, it's easy to think that the pendulum swung from "unfair and broken" to "unreliable and useless". This also had the unfortunate side effect of obliterating Darkrai's viability in Ubers, detailed below.
- Charizard, the iconic non-Dragon fire dragon, has seen its share of ups and downs through the generations. For Generations I through III it was a semi-viable So Okay, It's Average Pokémon, with its Belly Drum set achieving some success in Gens 2 and 3, but subsequent generations have flung it all over the spectrum:
- Charizard was a very infamous case in Gens 4 and 5, when its flaws became readily apparent average-to-decent base stats combined with no straightforward way to boost its Special Attack along with a poor defensive typing that gave it a 4x weakness to the instantly omnipresent Stealth Rock. The problem with Charizard was that it was one of the series' biggest Breakout Characters; due to its ridiculous popularity, complaints about its lack of viability were even louder than for other Pokémon, and a disproportionate number of newer players insisted on using Charizard in every tier, including Ubers. This caused the big reptile to be endlessly mocked by the more experienced player base as a "scrub mon" that had absolutely no use beyond Rule of Cool.
- Come Gen 6, however, and Charizard was saved from this status by giving it two very powerful and viable Mega Evolutions. Mega Charizard X receives a nice boost to both its Attack and Defense stat along with a slight boost to its Special Attack and it has an excellent Fire/Dragon typing, both offensively and defensively. That's not even factoring in its ability Tough Claws, which boosts the power of contact moves by 33%. Mega Charizard X learns a diverse set of attacks as well as amazing Status moves such as Dragon Dance, Swords Dance, and Roost, making it a solid powerhouse. While some players have called for a Mega Charizard X suspect test a few times, it never really materialized due to the fact that it's never been as overcentralizing as other Mega Evolutions that were banned from the tier, plus it's still weak to Stealth Rock (and trades being slightly less weak to it for vulnerability to other entry hazards) and gains a Ground weakness (never a good thing to have in OU when every team has at least one 'mon packing STAB EQ or Earth Power). Meanwhile, Mega Charizard Y hits like an absolute nuke thanks to its Drought ability and Special Attack higher than Reshiram and Mewtwo, can lead Sunny Day teams much better than Ninetales, and was a common sight on many teams due to its ease of use, feared by many Trainers for its raw power. Base Charizard, however, remained a bottom-tier scrappy, but this was largely ignored because one could simply slap a Mega Stone on it to turn it into one of the most impressively viable Pokémon in OU.
- In Generation VIII, while Mega Evolutions have been removed, Charizard got a big boost from the Heavy-Duty Boots item, which lets it ignore the dreaded Stealth Rock and makes it much safer to use; however, largely due to Power Creep, it ended up in PU once again due to its middling stats and lack of significant niches, especially with the return of Moltres in the Crown Tundra DLC. However, its Glass Cannon Solar Power sets are still very powerful, and are viable in higher tiers as well. While Dynamax and Gigantamax are banned from Smogon's OU format, it is also one of the better users of the mechanic due to its STAB Max Airstream, Max Flare's Sun setup in singles, and G-Max Wildfire's residual damage in doubles and on sun teams (especially in Anything Goes where Groudon is available).
- In Pokémon GO, Charizard mostly averts this for being a solid, above-average choice since its debut, with Blast Burn helping it to maintain its relevancy. Mega Charizard Y is also a very powerful Mega Evolution like in the main series, and one of the best Fire-type attackers in the game. However, Mega Charizard X is in a situation similar to the "outclassed Uber Pokémon" in PvE play, where its CP is strictly lower than Y and it doesn't have an Ability or the physical/special split to make up for it. Although X's typing is slightly better defensively and its Dragon typing lets it get STAB on Dragon-type moves (which have niche use on Charizard), it doesn't really have much else to make it stand out from Y in an environment where Stealth Rock doesn't exist and 2x vs. 4x Rock weakness isn't as much of a big deal. However, it fares better in PvP play where it can take advantage of dual Fire/Dragon STAB as long as it's been given enough Candy for a second charge move.
- Clefable was widely considered a poor man's Chansey during its debut generation for its poorer special bulk (in exchange for a more well-rounded, but ultimately average stat spread) and lower support movepool. Numerous attempts by the developers to expand its movepool and Abilities have yielded some results, turning Clefable into a staple versatile Pokémon in the lower tiers, but it still paled in comparison to the more specialized Chansey/Blissey. However, Generation 6 drastically changed this when Clefable received the new Fairy typing and 10 extra base Special Attack, leading it to explode in popularity as a versatile Pokémon capable of running many sets and running them equally well: A Calm Mind set, a Stealth Rock setter, a Life Orb set, a tanky support set in both Singles and Doubles, turning it into one of the most ubiquitous Pokémon in the entire game. Gen 7 continue its streak with the meta game was extremely kind to it, giving Clefable several Pokémon to check in Singles even though it got outclassed in Doubles by Amoonguss and its own pre-evolution Clefairy. Additionally, in Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, Clefable gained a brilliant move in the newly buffed Teleport, which is a negative priority switch move which allows a teammate to hit the field safely, and pairs incredibly well with Clefable's role as a cleric, as it can heal itself and its teammates with Wish. However, the transition to Gen 8 took away a huge amount of Clefable's movepool, coupled with the introduction of the extremely powerful Zacian-Crowned whose Steel STAB attacks can pummel Clefable quite frequently, had led to the rise of Unaware Quagsire (a Pokémon that Clefable frequently outclassed in Gen 6 and 7 as an Unaware user) to check it and hampered Clefable's viability. It wasn't until the Pokémon Home update that restored some of Clefable's former glory, but it was still a far cry from its Gen 6 and 7 dominance. Nevertheless, thanks to a combination of Teleport and its ever-reliable tools, Clefable still claims a high amount of usage in Gen 8 OU, and is the face of the ever-disliked bulky balance/stall teams, which are near impossible to wear down, especially after the ban of Urshifu, who otherwise punished the passive Wish-Protect combo with its Unseen Fist. Clefable was so useful that it even ended up retroactively becoming a high-tier scrappy in the modern Gen 4 metagame, at times surpassing even Blissey. Even without Fairy-type, Magic Guard was just that good.
- Ninetales is a mixed bag. It possessed useful advantages that were subsequently erased afterwards, sending on a roller coaster of relevance. It originally was a dangerous threat in Gen 1 as a Lightning Bruiser who hit hard on the special side and possessed powerful moves like Fire Spin to trap and ruin opponents. Then Gen 2 proceed to turn its high Special into Special Defense, making Ninetales a mediocre support Fire-Type. Then Gen 5 gave it Drought, turning it into the Sun Weather General of Gen 5's "Weather Wars", earning Ninetales its first OU placing. However, Gen 6 nerfed weather abilities to 5 turns. Ninetales was hit worse by the weather nerf than Politoed, as Sun was weaker than Rain as a weather overall. Like Drizzle, Drought was also banned in all tiers below OU, and the introduction of Mega Charizard-Y, who was a superior sun abuser and hit harder with instant Solar Beams, spelled total doom for Ninetales who fell all the way down to PU, where it remains to this day. Even with Mega Evolution gone, Ninetales can't catch a break because Torkoal received the Drought ability in Gen 7, and completely overshadowed Ninetales on Sun teams because of its higher Attack and Special Attack, much higher Defense and much lower Speed, which ensures that the Sun will be set up. Torkoal also has access to excellent offensive moves like Eruption, Earth Power, Lava Plume, and Body Press, as well as more practical support moves like Rapid Spin, Yawn, and Stealth Rock.
- However, Ninetales also received a very significant buff in Gen 7, admittedly as a completely different Pokémon. Alolan Ninetales was a solid OU Pokémon for the first few months of the metagame, possessing a new Ice/Fairy typing and the unique combination of Snow Warning (setting hail upon entry) and Aurora Veil, which functioned as a dual Reflect/Light Screen that instantly made the entire team much bulkier and harder to deal with for up 7 turns if the Light Clay was equipped. It also had some other decent support moves like Encore and Hypnosis. It wasn't a purely support mon either, it possessed a good speed stat of 109 and perfect accuracy Blizzards in Hail in combination with STAB Moonblasts and Freeze-Dry, which was super effective against Water types that could otherwise give A-Tales a hard time. Despite an unremarkable Special Attack stat of 81 it was still capable of knocking a few holes in teams if the circumstances were right, especially since its speed allowed it to outspeed top tier threats like Garchomp and Mega Medicham. However, its Ice typing severely limited its defensive capabilities and it was almost entirely useless against Steel types. Combined with its frail physical defense, it was often knocked out before it had a chance to do anything. Its usage dwindled over time and it currently resides in UUBL. In any case, it's a massive step up from regular Ninetales.
- Golem is a member of the "Great in Gen 1 but got significantly worse later" club. In Gen 1, Golem's Rock/Ground typing made it ideal for countering Zapdos and the Normal types spamming Body Slam and Hyper Beam, and while it faced competition from Rhydon, who had superior physical bulk and attack, Golem's slightly higher speed and access to Explosion gave it a distinct niche over Rhydon. Gen 2 temporarily gave Golem Rapid Spin through an event, allowing it to further distinguish itself from Rhydon and remain viable by getting rid of Spikes. But overtime, Golem's horrible defensive typing, low special defense, and Water and Grass weaknesses became more exploitable, rendering it more and more of a liability. Things only got worse when Rhydon got an evolution, meaning that Golem now had two Rock/Ground types to compete with, alongside Gen 3's pure Rock type Regirock, which had superior bulk, no double weaknesses, and had Explosion like Golem. Explosion being nerfed to no longer half the opponent's defense during damage calculation starting with Gen 5 certainly didn't help, nor did losing access to Rapid Spin during the Gen 2 to 3 shift. All this resulted in Golem always being in the lowest tier in the game starting with Gen 4, or in the case of Gen 7, Untiered. On the bright side, Alolan Golem has a niche in Gen 7 OU for being to trap and kill Heatran, Excadrill, and Magearna that doesn't have Volt Switch with a combo of Magnet Pull, Earthquake, and Choice Scarf, an achievement that even Magnezone can't claim.
- Exeggutor once upon a time was a top threat in OU and among the most dominant Pokémon in first two generations with its incredible typing, dangerous moves like Sleep Powder and Explosion, and strong stats. However, like Tauros, it steadily slid down the tiers through subsequent generations due to its flaws becoming more and more exploitable, its low speed, nerfed special defense, its once-great Grass/Psychic typing becoming quite vulnerable as well as introduction of better Pokémon with superior movepools that can better take advantage of the sleep turns like Breloom, Smeargle, Amoonguss and even Jumpluff. Despite getting a new popular Alolan form that trades its Psychic-Type for a Dragon-type (which is barely an upgrade, as a 4x Ice weakness is not something that anything wants to have), today the once-mighty tree sits in the pit of PU, where even there it is completely nonviable.
- Lapras has become the face of Pokémon where generational changes were particularly unkind to its viability. In Gen 1, it found a niche as a bulky Water type that could still offer decent offense due to its Ice typing giving it STAB and double resistance on Ice moves. However, later generations' mechanical changes Like... , Power Creep introducing bulkier Water types that offered more firepower, more utility, or a better typing, and the ubiquitous Stealth Rock continuously digging into its viability resulted in Lapras descending into irrelevancy even in PU. Fortunately, Gen 8 gave Lapras a breather with the introduction of its Gigantamax form, which set Aurora Veil on any Ice move Lapras used even outside of Hail. This helped Gigantamax Lapras become one of the most used Gigantamax forms in the game, especially in Doubles where its teammate can take advantage of the extra survivability right away. However, its viability in VGC took a big hit with the Crown Tundra and Isle of Armor DLC that brought extremely powerful Electric and Grass type Pokémon that dominated Lapras like Tapu Koko, Zapdos, Regieleki, Rillaboom, Ferrothorn and Kartana, as well as the ubiquitous Tapu Fini to compete with its slot as a bulky Water type, causing Lapras's usage to take a big hit. The Restricted format opens its viability up again due to its incredible synergy with Crowned-Zacian.
- Tauros is a prime example of a Pokémon that just couldn't keep up with the times. In Gen 1, Tauros was an incredible Lightning Bruiser with well-rounded physical and special stats, solid defenses, as well as a broken Hyper Beamnote and Body Slam at its disposal for STAB. However, later generations would introduce more mechanics and Power Creep that would completely nerf Tauros out of relevancy, with it receiving almost no buffs (outside of Sheer Force) to keep up, and its once impressive stats becoming mediocre with time. Once the king of OU, Tauros nowadays is a Pokémon too strong for the lowest tier at best and isn't looking to be climbing up anytime soon. False Swipe Gaming provided a more detailed explanation here.
- Ditto was, for the first four generations, generally considered the worst usable Pokémon, due to a gimmick that just didn't function well. The Transform move lets it copy an opponent's Pokémon, gaining their stats, typing, and all attendant boosts... but this requires Ditto to get off a successful Transform, which will usually require it to take at least one hit (because Ditto has terrible base Speed) and survive it (when Ditto has terrible base defenses). And even if it pulled that off, it would usually crumble quickly, since it retains that terrible HP after transforming, leaving it a second-rate copy of its opponent. Even the ability to use Transform was shared by Smeargle and Mew, who could learn other moves and had better-suited stats. Its only niche was its ability to breed with anything... and then Generation V's Dream World handed it the Imposter ability. Imposter activates Transform on Ditto immediately upon switching in, meaning that it no longer has to waste a turn, and no longer risks taking a hit right on the jaw to its unprotected stats. Add in a Choice Scarf, and Ditto will always outspeed the opponent unless they have a Scarf themselves, at which it can then pull a revenge kill and turn the opponent's own sweeper against them. However, it struggles against more defensive attackers, since Ditto's health still stays the same (meaning it really needs to one-shot everything it fights) and only has 5 PP for all moves (which is worsened even more with a Choice Scarf locking its moves in). What's more, Imposter can be blocked by measures like Substitute or Illusion, which means Ditto can't simply be thrown in willy-nilly, and Team Preview being introduced at the same time as Imposter means that anyone who sees it will realize they should prepare for it. Imposter Ditto is an odd case where it's viable in all tiers (since it transforms into Pokémon in that tier) but has a rather low viability in each of them due to rather situational use.
- Jolteon was a very good speedy electric Attacker, Scouter, and Baton Passer in OU for the first five generations, to the point where it was even more viable than Raikou in certain Gens, but even its blistering speed was eventually caught by Power Creep. There was nothing particularly wrong with Jolteon, the metagame just got too strong for it, resulting in it falling right off a cliff into RU in Gen 6. In Gen 7, it sits in RU, but similarly to Vaporeon and Sylveon, it is being used by bad players in RU where it can't compete in. Many people are calling for Jolteon to drop into NU, though in Gen VIII it dropped all the way to PU, showing just how badly Jolteon fell from grace.
- Politoed was a wholly forgettable Water-Type from Gens 2-4, until Gen 5 gave it its greatest blessing: Drizzle. The permanent rain created by Drizzle singlehandedly transformed Politoed into the foremost general of Gen 5's "Weather Wars", with the added advantage of being able to overwrite and beat opposing weather setters (because of its low Speed), including Ninetales, Tyranitar and Hippowdon. All rain teams, or teams that preferred to use rain, always ran Politoed, skyrocketing it into OU. However, the story for Politoed doesn't end there unfortunately. Gen 6 proceeded to nerf weather abilities, restricting it to just a few turns. While it still made it in the OU viability ranking, Politoed managed to slide all the way to PU due to its low usagenote . Gen 7 saw the rise of another previously Low-tier Water-type, Pelipper who takes advantage of Drizzle even better with STAB Hurricane and had reliable recovery in Roost, effectively nailed Politoed's coffin back into the low tier. Politoed is still viable in Doubles as it has some nice supporting options and Pelipper doesn't have the time to use Roost there, but the more offensive nature of Pelipper alone means players will prefer it over Politoed. However, Gen 8 Doubles saw the return of Politoed to the metagame in the Isle of Armor DLC because Pelipper has terrible synergy with the Dynamax mechanic (a small support movepool means that it can't help its partner effectively while its low speed and bulk make it terrible at using Dynamax offensively).
- Quagsire is unusual. As detailed here, it was never a top OU Pokémon, its slow, its stats aren't great at all, and its once unique but useful Water/Ground typing was taken, rendering it outclassed by the likes of Swampert, Seismitoad and Gastrodon. Not even its Hidden Ability Unaware is unique anymore, with the more supportive Clefable (whose new Fairy typing made it no slouch in the walling department) also has it. But for some strange reason, even though everything seems to be going against it, Quagsire has never sunk to complete irrelevancy, as it continues to see viability and usage in higher tiers (even seeing prominent Ubers usage in Gen 4 and 8) to this very day. It does help that Clefable is usually used as a Special wall and has another good ability with Magic Guard while Quagsire is firmly a physical / set up nullifying wall. Players have come to respect Quagsire as an underdog that completely defies (or is just Unaware of) tiers, the metagame, and competitive Pokémon conventions entirely and truly does whatever it wants to do in whatever tier it just happens to wander into. The only times where Quagsire is unambiguously good is Gen 2 (its debut generation where it's the only Water/Ground Pokémon) and Gen 8 (the lowered number of Pokémon allowed it to be the best Crown Zacian, Excadrill and Necrozma Dusk Mane check as well as being one of the few walls that could survive and stall out a Dynamaxed/Gigantamaxed Pokémon without needing to Dynamax itself. Unfortunately for Quagsire, the amount of power brought into the Crown Tundra DLC made it fall out of favor. And Crown Zacian was finally banned to Anything Goes, finally ending its viability). Likewise, Gen 3 OU is the only time Quagsire is unambiguously considered bad due to Swampert being better in every way that mattered, and the main reasons to use Quagsire, Recover and Unaware, weren't available to it yet.
- Espeon is perhaps the most extreme version on both ends of this trope. It's widely considered to be the best Baton Pass receiver to its high Special Attack and speed as well as decent Special bulk, alongside access to Magic Bounce in later generations that counter status moves threaten to stop the chain, which means that it is highly hated whenever the playstyle is allowed in Singles since a single bad prediction can result in a +6 tank, sky high attack and lightning fast monster that sweep through the entire team. However, because Espeon requires so much team support, it is widely considered underwhelming in almost every other areas and is thrown into the other end when Baton Pass is banned or nerfed. Gen 5 gave it a massive boom in its slipping viability outside of Baton Pass since it is the generation where it received Magic Bounce, allow Espeon to find a place in Sun team as a entry hazard controller (although it faces heavy competition with Xatu for its larger support movepool, more reliable recovery and Flying typing compliment with the team's weakness to Ground moves and is highly valuable against Sand team), but even that niche slipped away due to the weather nerf and more powerful Magic Bounce user being introduced, most notably Mega Sableye, Mega Diancie, Mega Absol and Hatterene.
- Slowking is a case of a Pokemon that isn't terrible, and has decent stats, but is widely considered inferior to Slowbro due to the fact that its bulk focus on Special Defense instead of Defense like Slowbro, which made it completely outclassed by Chansey/Blissey, while its base Special Attack is only a decent 100, leaving it unable to find a niche over its counterpart. It is only seen in the lower tiers where Slowbro and Blissey/Chansey aren't available to outclass it. However, with the addition of Heavy Duty Boots and a buffed Teleport along with a metagame shift that favors powerful special attackers with Fighting coverage, Gen 8 has allowed Slowking to not be completely outclassed by Slowbro and Blissey.
- However, the situation is reversed with the line's Galarian counterpart, which had their typing change from Water/Psychic to Poison/Psychic, and their offense increased in exchange for lowering another stat. Unfortunately for Galarian Slowbro, that lowered stat is Defense - the stat that gave its Kantonian counterpart any niche, and the higher stat is Attack, a stat that is completely useless for it since its Physical movepool is terrible, making it inferior to its Kantonian counterpart and other tanks. Galarian Slowking on the other hand has its Attack lowered and its Special Attack increased, which goes incredibly well with its movepool, finally allowing it to find a niche as a Special tank that can fire off incredibly punishing attacks like Sludge Bomb, Future Sight, or Scald.
- Wobbuffet started life in Generation 2 as an absolute joke of a Pokémon. Being unable to do anything but counter-attack made it almost entirely useless, since it had no form of recovery beyond Leftovers (making it a poor choice for stalling) and your opponent could easily just do whatever they wanted while Wobbuffet flails about uselessly (including just switching back and forth until Wobbuffet depletes its PP and has to Struggle for Scratch Damage), making it the biggest piece of setup fodder in the entire game since opponents can set up buffs in its face to their heart's content and then cleave through Wobbuffet's entire team. A generation later, though, Wobbuffet became a Lethal Joke Character and an absolute fear factor in Gens 3 and 4 in part due to a move capable of being bred onto it in a later generation, and in part to the ability gained in that generation: Shadow Tag, which prevents the opponent from switching out. However, compared to other examples, Wobbuffet has more potential counters than any other on Pokémon this list (any special-based Dark-type, any physical-based Ghost-type, anything relying on status ailments, anything that can affect Wob's ability...). That said, Nintendo does ban the use of Leftovers on Wobbuffet in official tournamentsnote , showing that even they have a limit as to what they'll tolerate. Gen 4 changed Shadow Tag so two opposing Pokémon with Shadow Tag can switch out. And Nintendo has pretty much switched exclusively to Double Battles for tournaments, where Wobbuffet is significantly less useful (just repeatedly attack its partner until Wob's the only one left). Notably lighter in Gen 5 as Encore is nerfed, but it's still hated because you can't switch in a game where it is the biggest deciding factor. When Shadow Tag itself was banned to Ubers in Gen 6 onward, Wobbuffet reverted to its Gen 2 status and was consigned to immediate disposal in Untiered, only seeing niche uses in Ubers due to generally superior competition in Gothitelle.
- Kingdra, in its debut, was widely coveted by players for its Water/Dragon typing, which gave it only one trivial weakness to Dragon (since initially, there were no good Dragon-type attacks) and solid 4x resists to Fire and Water attacks. The problem was that its movepool was very shallow, leaving it predictable and easily walled. This gave it a reputation amongst Gen 2 and 3 competitive players for being an overrated Skill Gate Character, with Serebii.net even dedicating a particularly vicious Pokémon of the Day to ripping it apart. This changed in Gen 4, where the Physical / Special split and stronger Dragon attacks meant it could finally take advantage of Dragon Dance to severely dent everything but Empoleon with Waterfall and Outrage alone, and Swift Swim also made it one of the most dangerous Rain Dance sweepers due to the weather doubling its Speed and its typing making it hard to faint. The introduction of Drizzle Politoed in Gen 5, which summoned permanent Rain, turbocharged it into arguably the most dominant and hated Pokémon in the game, to the point it was a major reason why Drizzle and Swift Swim were banned on the same team. Gen 6 looked to continue its notoriety, since a change in the critical hit formula meant it could spam powerful, Sniper-boosted Draco Meteors with a 100% critical hit rate and no drawbacks other than 90% accuracy after a Focus Energy (since crits ignored the Special Attack drop). However, this turned out to be a gimmick, and the newly introduced Fairy type (super-effective against Dragons) and Power Creep ensured it would drop to the lower tiers. Nonetheless, Kingdra commands more respect among players than it did initially, and the sheer power of its Rain Dance set even caused modern Gen 3 players to re-evaluate it as a deadly under-the-radar threat in the late game once its counters were removed, a far cry from the mockery it once endured.
- Blaziken has hit both ends of the spectrum throughout the series. In Gen 3, it was regarded as a solid OU Pokémon. Then Gen 4 brought in Infernape, its Suspiciously Similar Substitute, which directly outclassed Blaziken for sharing its Fire/Fighting typing but having a better stat distribution and movepool; as a result, Blaziken was mocked for having no reason to be used over Infernape, and many of its fans took issue. When Gen 5 came along, however, Blaziken got a buff that worked a little too well: Speed Boost. With this new ability and its excellent offensive stats and Fire/Fighting STAB moves, on top of Protect to get a free turn for a speed boost, Blaziken could boost itself to become an unstoppable Lightning Bruiser and sweep entire teams on its own. Gen 6 didn't help matters by introducing Mega Blaziken, which boasted the same broken ability but greatly improved stats. As a result, Blaziken has been banned from OU for Gen 5-7, and was widely regarded as the most powerful starter Pokémon in the series - far outstripping even Greninja and Mega Charizard, who have their own entries here. It was unbanned from OU in Gen 8, where the metagame had gotten deceptively bulky and gotten a large amount of Pokémon that resisted both of its stabs, forcing Blaziken to either run a coverage move to break through them but then lose to offense by giving up protect. These flaws were enough to drop it into UU which it was quickly banned from.
- Mega Gardevoir suffered this fate. Back in Gen 6, it was among the best Mega Evolutions out there, being able to smash through walls of all kinds thanks to Pixilate-boosted Hyper Voice and a variety of utility moves. However, it took a nosedive in viability when VII rolled around. There's the obvious Pixilate Nerf as well as the rise of anti-Fairy walls such as Celesteela, but those were nominal issues when compared to its real arch-nemesis: Tapu Lele. This island guardian could do anything that Mega Gardevoir did but better, thanks to it not taking up a mega slot, the ability to hold an item, and its ability causing it to set up Psychic Terrain upon entering the battlefield. Fittingly, it dropped to the Underused tier... where it was swiftly banned due to being too strong for said tier. Now, Gardevoir rots in the BL tier with Mega Gallade, being too powerful for UU but horribly outclassed in OU.
- Poor, poor Salamence. Once the best Dragon type in Gen 3 OU, it found itself mostly outclassed by Garchomp in Gen 4 (not to mention the introduction of Stealth Rock, which didn't help), but was still a gigantic threat that had some unique calling cards of its own (primarily Dragon Dance and mixed sets) and eventually got itself banned to Ubers after Garchomp was banned, allowing it to tear through OU mostly unchecked. Gen 5 was its swansong, as even though Garchomp was banned in OU again, the general glut of Dragons in OU who could go toe-to-toe with Salamence meant that it had enough reliable, non-niche checks and counters to stay in OU while remaining a threat. The introduction of the Fairy-type in Gen 6 made life hard for Dragons in general and coupled with the factors that kept it in check now actively keeping it from being able to function in OU, got it pushed down to BL. Mega Salamence was an improvement, but it was so hideously overpowered that it found itself banned in short order.
When Gen 7 came around, nothing really changed; vanilla Salamence was back in BL and generally viewed as a worse Garchomp with a couple of things that Garchomp can't do (that other Pokémon can still do better), whose best days have long since passed, while Mega Salamence was still a dominant and hated presence in Ubers even after the nerfs to Aerilate thanks to its massive offensives, bulk, and Speed, mind-boggling versatility, and easy access to reliable recovery.
Gen 8 gave Salamence a better chance at competitive viability despite losing its Mega; it got the Flying STAB move in Dual-Wingbeat and was allowed in UU as a good Dragon Dance sweeper, but is still outclassed by other Pokémon in OU, namely Garchomp and Dragonite (who also got Dual-Wingbeat and loved the new item Heavy-Duty Boots, abusing them better to preserve Multi-Scale).
- Mega Latios got this treatment, especially during its debut generation. While it has high stats, the problem was, wherever it's legal, Latios is legal too. The reason this was an issue is because Life Orb Latios hits for similar damage as Mega Latios while in Uber Soul Dew Latios completely outclass Mega Latios in term of power and bulk and both sets are just as fast as its Mega form, players saw little reason to use Mega Latios. To top it all off, it takes up the mega slot, when you could be using a much more useful mega such as Mega Charizard X. However, things began turning for the better in Sun and Moon, due to the developers nerfing the power level of its Mega competition as well as the heavy nerf to Soul Dew, allow Mega Latios to find its role as a solid mixed attacker, saving it from becoming another unused Mega Evolution.
- Kyogre is an example of how easily things can go south for a Pokémon. For three-and-a-half generations straight, Kyogre was considered "the king of Ubers", and for good reason. Thanks to the rain provided by its Drizzle ability and its base 150 Special Attack, its Water-type attacks hit extremely hard, with a Choice Specs and rain-boosted Water Spout capable of 2HKOing Blissey. It could run a variety of sets, including the Choice Specs set, a Choice Scarf set, or a Calm Mind set. Between this, its high bulk, and the offensive support rain provided for Water-type wallbreakers and Swift Swim sweepers, Kyogre was an almighty threat in Ubers. Things changed in ORAS, however, with the introduction of Primal Groudon, who could get rid of Kyogre's rain and render its Water-type attacks useless just by switching in. The simple addition of this Pokémon made regular Kyogre go from a top-tier monster into an "Outclassed Uber Pokémon", and while Primal Kyogre is not a bad Pokémon by any means, it has the omnipresent Primal Groudon to constantly deal with. Thankfully, Gen VIIIs removal of Primal forms allowed base Kyogre to once again become a highly viable pick, though not to extremely centralizing levels like in the previous generations due to the immense Power Creep.
- Deoxys has stats befitting a Mythical, making it overpowered in any tournament where Olympus Mons are legal. But in such tournaments and in the Uber tier, half of its Formes get severely outclassed, with the latter falling under the "Outclassed Uber Pokémon" category:
- The Normal Forme is completely superfluous thanks to the existence of Attack Forme. Normally, when a Pokémon has multiple transformations, the base one will be a Jack-of-All-Stats, but Deoxys-N is a Glass Cannon. Deoxys-A is also a Glass Cannon, but with what little was in Deoxys-N's defensive stats moved to its attacking stats. Neither Forme can take a hit at all, but A hits significantly harder, so there's essentially no good reason to use Normal over Attack Forme. To put this into perspective: at one point in Gen 6, Deoxys-A's usage statistics placed it at the twenty-first most-used Pokémon in Ubers. Deoxys-N is 267th — just below Scyther.
- The Defense Forme is meant to be a Stone Wall, but it finds itself dealt a bad hand. Its HP — already a dismal 50 in its Glass Cannon states — remains unchanged. Add that onto its pure Psychic-typing giving it little resistances and a lot of weaknesses, and the likes of Lunala, Darkrai, and Genesect have no problem tearing it apart. It also doesn't help that its offensive stats go below average, making it hard to fight back outside of abusing Knock Off. Several attempts of it performing in OU were made in Gens 5 and 6, but at the end of the day, it was deemed too unhealthy and always get sent back to realm of Ubers.
- Staraptor achieved fame as a Com Mon that defied the historically mediocre mold of early route Normal/Flying-type bird by being very good. It has high attack and solid speed, making it a premiere Lightning Bruiser with two very helpful abilities, Intimidate and Reckless, and access to powerful physical STABs with the equally powerful Close Combat for coverage, which lets it completely dent the Steel- and Rock- types that would otherwise wall it. All these attributes should lead to a monstrous wallbreaker on paper, but in practice, its frail defenses and typing, as well as its overreliance on the self-damaging Brave Bird, make it too volatile and inefficient for a serious OU team, which has a vast selection of Pokémon who can fill the wallbreaking niche without having to deal with its crippling downsides. Staraptor to this day has never achieved OU status because it was Always Second Best (or even third) to another Pokémon in OU at what it does and was continually very low in OU rankings. At the same time, Staraptor was never actually weak enough to drop into UU, where its wallbreaking abilities have consistently proven too strong even after three whole generations of Power Creep, forcing Staraptor into competitive limbo indefinitely. It is the only Pokémon to sit in BL for every generation it has been in.
- Porygon-Z is an oddball in Gen 7. With Z-Conversion, not only does it change Porygon-Z's type to match its first moveslot, but also raising all its stats, turning Porygon-Z into a Lightning Bruiser. This allows Porygon-Z to take advantage of its Adaptability ability even better than before. Porygon-Z was quickly banned to BL as it proven to be too much for its former residing tier to handle with that buff. Porygon-Z subsequently performed well in OU... but as time goes on, it is evidently clear that Porygon-Z struggles against other threats, mainly the bulky ones. Porygon-Z eventually gets unranked in the viability ranking by the time Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon rolls in, as a result, this leaves Porygon-Z nowhere to go in Gen 7.
- Mega Gallade is an interesting case. It's not a bad Mega Evolution by any means, but it's stuck in OU with Mega Medicham and the above-mentioned Mega Lopunny. This is an issue because both Mega Evolutions outclass it in just about every aspect, with the former having more raw power and the latter boasting a much higher speed stat and the ability to hit Pokémon like Mega Sableye thanks to Scrappy. The only things it has over those other two is Swords Dance and higher bulk, but the higher initial raw power is generally more appreciated. It also suffers from a bit of Hype Backlash since it looked as if Gallade was finally going to be just as useful competitively as Gardevoir was after the latter got a Mega Evolution. Unfortunately, Mega Gallade is too strong for UU, so it cant escape its reputation.
- Victini is an example of a Mythical Pokémon that could be good but got royally screwed over with regards to its movepool. The most popular movesets for Victini include a slew of powerful Secret Arts, namely V-Create, Blue Flare, Bolt Strike, and Glaciate. The scrappiness comes into play with the fact that all these moves were on specific Temporary Online Content Victini within Gen 5 (and sometimes only for certain countries) and haven't been rereleased since. Even today, most Victini only get by through Z-Celebrate, another event-exclusive move which it only gets via a Japanese event. Suffice to say, the majority of Victini that don't have those moves (such as one from Liberty Garden or the 20th Anniversary event one) find themselves outclassed by Pokémon with less restrictive movepools. Even Gen 8 letting Victini learn V-Create naturally doesnt mean much as Blue Flare, Bolt Strike, and Glaciate are all still event exclusive.
- On paper, Volcarona seems like one of the most fearsome threats in the metagame: Decent bulk, speed, high Special Attack, great movepool in both offense and support, decent ability in Flame Body that go well with its bulk and access to the extremely powerful Quiver Dance. However, its typing of Bug/Fire, while granting it nice STAB coverage, give Volcarona quadruple weakness to Rock and weakness to the common Flying and Water. On top of this, it has a severe case of 4-Moveslot Syndrome- it needs coverage to break through certain Pokémon such as Heatran or Keldeo and will be walled by one if choosing to pack coverage for the other. In singles, this mean its extreme vulnerability to the ubiquitous Stealth Rock, while in Doubles it is hampered significantly by Rain teams (since it either set up Quiver Dance to outspeed them, something that require a lot of support and smart play, or die to super effective Water-type attacks boosted by Rain and Swift Swim users before it can use any of its moves) or Rock Slide spread move. All of these extreme sweep potential and weakness means that Volcarona's viability can swing heavily between generations or even formats depend on how viable Rock attacks and Stealth Rock is (case in point: Gen 7's prevalence of Defog and Gen 8's introduction of Heavy Duty Boots has turned Volcarona from "powerful, but die if Stealth Rock is up" to "unwallable monster" in Singles (at least before the Crown Tundra)), as well as certain moves or Pokémon being present (read: the aforementioned Heatran, and the removal of Hidden Power, meaning Volcarona could no longer use HP Ground against it).
- Thundurus' Incarnate Forme was notorious with its Prankster ability and Thunder Wave, enabling it to use Thunder Wave first before the foe. And unlike other Pokémon with Prankster, Thundurus has good offensive stats with great coverage to back it up, and it can further boost its Special Attack with Nasty Plot. Thundurus was eventually banned to the realm of Ubers Gen 5 as it was deemed too powerful. Gen 6 freed Thundurus back to OU with weather abilities nerfed, though nowhere near as powerful since Thunder isnt a reliable option anymore, it was just as annoying as before. However, Thundurus reign of terror ends in Gen 7 with the nerf done to Pranksternote , Swagger and Thunder Wave, as well as Misty Surge and Psychic Surge acting as countermeasures to its tactic, rendering it no longer as effective when compared to previous generations. Still, its infamous legacy left a mark in the competitive scene.
- Like the Starter Pokémon of the same generation, the Legendary Tao Dragons of Gen 5 are often seen as competitively lackluster among the Ubers, mostly due to their subpar speed, shallow movepools, and typing that leans offensively rather than defensively. However, due to being among the few Pokémon that could be transferred into Sword and Shield through Pokémon HOME, most of the Tao Dragon were much better in the early Gen VIII metagame due to a lack of problematic counters, a buff to their moveset, or both.
- Reshiram started its life as a wallbreaker in Ubers with near unresisted STAB in Dragon/Fire, but it had severe flaws, such as its relatively low Speed and having common type weaknesses that made it mediocre. The introduction of White Kyurem made life worse for it; while it also happens to be weak to Stealth Rock, White Kyurem is slightly faster, has more firepower, and has fantastic coverage, making it a better option over Reshiram. Even Mega Charizard X, an extremely niche pick in Ubers, provided some competition for Reshiram at times by sharing the same typing but with higher Speed and the ability to boost with Dragon Dance. The final nail in the coffin for Reshiram was the introduction of Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre causing Drought to disappear entirely from Ubers, resulting in Reshiram falling into the "Outclassed Uber Pokémon" category. The only reason why Reshiram isn't unbanned from Ubers despite being so outclassed is because it would be too devastating in the OU environment.
However, Reshiram worked better in the early Gen VIII metagame, mainly due to the change in environment. On top of the lack of the Primals meaning that the sun wouldn't get automatically shut down, the new omnipresent Ubers Pokémon, Crowned Zacian, is weak to Reshiram's Fire-STAB, which gave Reshiram new life as a Choice Scarf user. While it finds itself in the same tier as Dynamax/Gigantamax Charizard, its much higher stats aside from Speed let it fill a more varied set of roles, whereas Charizard is mainly used as a wallbreaker with its higher Speed and STAB Max Airstream, and Charizard setting up sun can be very beneficial for Reshiram.
- Zekrom fares better than Reshiram, as it isn't as weather-dependent and fills the unique niche of being an extremely strong physical Electric-type attacker. Its main STAB move, Bolt Strike, lets it hit common Pokémon like Ho-Oh and Primal Kyogre for super effective damage, which was very desirable back when regular Kyogre was a common sight in Ubers (i.e., before ORAS). However, Zekrom faces many of the same weaknesses as its brother - namely, low speed, a shallow movepool, and poor defensive typing - and life in Ubers is quite hard for it when the most common Pokémon in the tier is no longer a Pokémon weak to its main STAB, but rather the opposite: Primal Groudon is immune to Electric-type moves, can soak up Zekrom's other physical attacks with ease, and can one-shot it with its STAB Earthquake or Precipice Blades coming off of a much higher Attack stat.
However, Zekrom got a break in early Gen VIII due to both the lack of Primal Groudon and a new tool: Dragon Dance, which allows it to patch up its mediocre Speed while boosting its already-high Attack, letting it Sweep much more easily.
- Black Kyurem was intended to be Purposely Overpowered, but in practice it faltered compared to White Kyurem, due to one key aspect; despite having a massive 170 Attack stat, it only learned one physical Ice-type move, which is the rather unreliable Freeze Shocknote . However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise of sorts; Smogon and other prolific online battling communities deemed Black Kyurem to be weak enough for OU play, where for the first three generations that it was present, it's been a very viable Pokémon and has ironically fared better in OU than any of the other Tao dragons fared in Ubers.
However, Black Kyurem got the most love in early Gen VIII. While it lost Subzero Slammer, it gained two gifts in Dragon Dance* and Icicle Spear* , eliminating its biggest flaws. These two additions, along with the addition of Heavy Duty Boots to help it avoid Stealth Rock and Sticky Webs, proved to be the bigtime boost Black Kyurem needed, and it became too devastating in the OU environment, joining its White counterpart in Ubers for the first time ever.
- White Kyurem is considered a straight upgrade from Reshiram, due to its higher speed and Special Attack and greater coverage. However, it's rarely seen in Ubers and, like Reshiram when first introduced, requires an inordinate amount of "babysitting" and team support to function properly.
- Despite relatively mediocre showings in Gens VI and VII, even Regular Kyurem did better in early Gen VIII, due to the best Fairy Pokémon not being transferable, as well as Kyurem gaining Freeze Dry to deal with the bulky Water-types that previously Walled it.
- Reshiram started its life as a wallbreaker in Ubers with near unresisted STAB in Dragon/Fire, but it had severe flaws, such as its relatively low Speed and having common type weaknesses that made it mediocre. The introduction of White Kyurem made life worse for it; while it also happens to be weak to Stealth Rock, White Kyurem is slightly faster, has more firepower, and has fantastic coverage, making it a better option over Reshiram. Even Mega Charizard X, an extremely niche pick in Ubers, provided some competition for Reshiram at times by sharing the same typing but with higher Speed and the ability to boost with Dragon Dance. The final nail in the coffin for Reshiram was the introduction of Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre causing Drought to disappear entirely from Ubers, resulting in Reshiram falling into the "Outclassed Uber Pokémon" category. The only reason why Reshiram isn't unbanned from Ubers despite being so outclassed is because it would be too devastating in the OU environment.
- Genesect's debut generation found it dominant in OU and Ubers as a versatile pivot that could cause severe damage to the enemy team if they couldn't figure out its set quickly enough. However, the later half of Gen 6 spelt the beginning of the end for it with the introduction of the extremely prevalent Primal Groudon that could wall it endlessly and KO it back with Fire moves. Gen 7 found it becoming obsolete, as the addition of Steel-types that were either much bulkier (Celesteela, Magearna, Mega Metagross) or much more powerful (Mega Lucario, Necrozma-DM) than Genesect as well as the addition of the dominant Xerneas - an extremely powerful Fairy-type that Genesect could not consistently check, has made Genesect languish in Ubers limbo unable to find a niche, while constantly being banned from OU immediately after one suspect test. While the removal of Primal Groudon means that Genesect isn't completely worthless anymore, it still struggles and it can't compete with Dusk Mane Necrozma, who isn't as fast, but has absurd bulk, reliable recovery and immense versatility that lets it more easily fit into teams than Genesect can.
- Talonflame in Gen 6 was easily this due to its Hidden Ability, Gale Wings. While the rest of its stats are mediocre, it is blazing fast. Gale Wings exacerbated this by giving priority to Flying type moves, allowing Talonflame to strike first with Brave Bird or use Roost to restore its health before most of its opponents have the chance to hit Talonflame with their own priority attack. It can use Sword Dance for additional firepower and Tailwind for supporting its teammates in Doubles. Talonflame was incredibly common in competitive formats, in both Singles and Doubles. However, when Gen 7 rolled around, Gale Wings was severely nerfed, as it only gives Talonflame its precious priority when it is at full health. Combine this with the prevalence of Stealth Rock (which shaves off half of Talonflame's health upon switching in, mind you) and its otherwise mediocre stats (sans its Speed), and Talonflame quickly plummeted to RU BL.
- While Sylveon has good special bulk and Pixilate, it faced numerous problems in Gen 6 OU. For one, its terrible defense and speed make Sylveon an easy target for physical attackers. Sylveon also finds itself outclassed by Mega Gardevoir and Clefable, both of which can perform a better job at offensively and defensively (respectively) than Sylveon. The only reason to use Sylveon was its Choice Specs set, which should've only been used if the mega slot has already been taken. Despite these flaws, Sylveon had to wait a long time for its OU usage to be low enough to drop to UU, eventually dropping there at the near end of the ORAS cycle. In Gen 8, the Pokédex exclusions removed most of Sylveon's competition, making it far more viable than in previous the two previous generations.
- Darkrai used to be a terrifying monster in Ubers simply due to the raw power it had when spreading sleep with its signature move, Dark Void, which back then had 80% accuracy, which was especially devastating coming off of Darkrai's obscene base 135 speed. Unfortunately, as detailed in the Moves section, Smeargle ended up causing too much of a ruckus in VGC, resulting in Dark Void getting hit with a massive nerf in Gen 7, which obliterated any viability Darkrai had in Ubers. Darkrai was occasionally tested in OU but was found to be overwhelming there, and while one would think Dusk Mane Necrozma would be a good target for Darkrai to take down, Yveltal does that job better, leaving Darkrai with no niche whatsoever due to its unreliability.
- Solgaleo is another example of how quickly a Pokémon can fall from grace, as it was rendered obsolete during its own debut generation. While it wasn't metagame-defining during the first half of Gen 7, it was still a fantastic check to the omnipresent Xerneas in Ubers, and it could run a solid number of sets with its decent stat distribution and wide movepool. However, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon brought Dusk Mane Necrozma to the table. While the lion-prism fusion is slower, its sheer versatility and superior bulk completely outclassed Solgaleo, with the latter falling to low usage in Ubers as a result. Which is somewhat amusing, considering that Necrozma has to steal Solgaleo's light to gain its Dusk Mane form.
- UB-02 Beauty, a.k.a. Pheromosa, wound up falling victim to this. Its initial advantages were clear, and it didn't take a rocket scientist to see that it was a massive threat in OU. For starters, its Speed is absurdly high, at 151, meaning that only two Pokémon can outspeed it naturally without any priority attacks (Speed Deoxys and Ninjask). Additionally, both its Attack and Special Attack stats are equally high, allowing it to hit most Pokémon hard. And if it manages to knock out any Pokémon, Beast Boost will activate and raise its highest stat, which can be customized based on the situation, making Pheromosa even faster or hit harder than it already was. It is balanced out by its utterly abysmal defensive stats, but even then, Pheromosa usually holds a Focus Sash, ensuring that it takes at least 2 hits before going down. It was eventually banned from OU via a suspect test. Once it hit Ubers, it became painfully clear that Pheromosa was another case of "big fish in a small pond, tiny fish in the ocean", as Xerneas and Ghost-types (namely the omnipresent Marshadow and Lunala) easily blocked it from any sort of STAB bonus, Ho-oh made it run in mortal terror, and its crippling fragility meant that it had zero margin for error and had to kill everything in one shot without any sort of setup and had no time for any sort of utility. As an anti-sweeper, it pales in comparison to Xerneas, Yveltal, and Marshadow, and it proved itself to be the Chum Bucket version of Deoxys-A. While it still pops up in US/UM Ubers here and there (mostly to deal with Zygarde and Mega Salamence), consensus is that 99 times out of 100, you would be far better off using Deoxys-A. Pheromosa got a few notable things going for it though come Gen 8. While it ended up getting banned from OU again not long after the release of The Crown Tundra, it finally got a reliable physical Fighting STAB in Close Combat and a usable new physical Ice move in Triple Axel. Furthermore, it still has an incredible speed tier, being able to outspeed and heavily dent Crowned Zacian and OHKO Shadow Rider Calyrex was excellent. Even after Crowned Zacian got banned, it still has great utility as an offensive pivot (made even more effective thanks to Heavy-Duty Boots), Rapid Spinner and a Shadow Rider Calyrex revenge killer, it's just hard to fit on some teams due to its aforementioned immense frailty providing no defensive utility.
- Dawn Wings Necrozma inherits and boosts Lunala's high Special Attack and great Ghost-type STAB in Moongeist Beam. It also has the misfortune of inheriting its Psychic/Ghost typing, giving it critical double weaknesses to Ghost and Dark. Despite having Prism Armor to reduce super effective damage by 25%, making those a x3 weakness, it's not as effective as Lunala's 50% damage reduction in Shadow Shield when at full health (that can be reactivate multiple time if Lunala can avoid damaging status or entry hazard since it has access to Roost). Worse yet, Lunala is faster and has a wider movepool that includes solid coverage moves (like Ice Beam and Focus Blast) that Necrozma lacks. Even as a steppingstone to Ultra Necrozma, Dusk Mane Necrozma is preferred as its bulk and versatility makes it not only easier to switch in, but also a more viable Pokémon on its own merits (thus it can play mind games on the opponent, who won't know if it will Ultra Burst or not). A special-oriented Ultra Necrozma can use Calm Mind as Dusk Mane before transforming without having to worry about the weaknesses of Dawn Wings.
- Crowned Zamazenta suffers from being hopelessly overshadowed in Ubers. On paper, Zamazenta could work very well as a strong tank or wall with its mighty defensive stats, except it has no way to put those stats to good use. No stalling moves, few supporting moves, not even a good Status Buff, meaning it faces stiff competition for a team slot. Offensively, it's completely mediocre and can be switched into by any sufficiently tanky Pokémon that Zamazenta can't hit super effectively; furthermore, Crowned Zacian and Eternatus are much better at hitting things in the first place. You know Crowned Zamazenta is in a bad spot when even its own base form is considered more viable due to having better Speed and the ability to hold items, and as such it languishes in Uber limbo, unable to find a niche to call its own. Smogon even called for suspecting the Crowned form in OU for testing, for it to possibly get a niche there as a legendary with 700+ BST and was admittedly underpowered enough to be competitively viable without being gamebreaking, but it remained banned from OU, due to being fast and having immediate (albiet lacking in the long run) defensive utility.
- Urshifu-Rapid Strike's Water/Fighting typing, in theory, gives it a larger defensive presence and more type resistances, however, in practice, it's inferior to Single Strike. Its signature move Surging Strikes has a weaker base power than its Dark counterpart's Wicked Blow, and it's a multi-hit move, which means that it gets hurt a lot more by walls with Rocky Helmet or Pokémon with Rough Skin. And, most importantly, its priority move is Aqua Jet, which is significantly lower in power compared to its Base counterpart's Sucker Punch. Rapid Strike can work in a Rain team (an infamously inconsistent playstyle with heavy competition), but its Base counterpart's sheer power without too much support means that it's much easier to fit on a team. Thus, Rapid Strike has only had niche usage in OU while being too powerful to drop to a lower tier. Thankfully, its Single Strike form was later banned to Ubers, significantly reducing the competition for Rapid Strike.
- On paper, Spectrier appears to be Awesome, but Impractical, with a tremendous stat distribution held back by an abysmal movepool that leaves it walled by Normal and Dark types. In practice, it terrorized OU at the start of the Crown Tundra DLC with its extremely high Special Attack and Speed, its ability, Grim Neigh, that allows its Special Attack to snowball after each kill, and STAB Shadow Ball that took advantage of Ghost's great neutral coverage. The aforementioned Normal and Dark types weren't even as good at walling it at first glance, as it could completely cripple them with Tauntnote , Will-O-Wispnote , Disable note or muscle through them with a Substitute-Nasty Plot set. Many unorthodox sets such as Shadow Ball Blissey, Whirlwind Mandibuzznote and specially defensive Hydreigon as well as Obstagoon rose just to have a shot at beating it, causing it to be banned to Ubers following Urshifu, and there it is completely outclassed by Calyrex-Shadow and Lunala due to the former having higher speed, Special Attack and a good enough coverage movepool to keep its checks from completely walling it while the latter has much better survivability and coverage moves to help spread status.
- While her career in Singles has been slipping further and further down the tiering placement due to the increasing buff to Bug, Dark and Ghost, Cresselia has been absolutely dominating Doubles ever since Gen 4. Firstly, her absurd 120/120/130 bulk allow her to survive a turn even if both opponents target her with the right EV investment (and switching is much more costly in Doubles since her partner can blast the switch in), coupled with her Levitate ability allowing her to avoid the ever present Earthquake. However, despite being a passive Stone Wall, her expansive support movepool has led to her everlasting dominance in Doubles, with several speed control methods that work well with her middling 85 base speed (Icy Wind, Thunder Wave, Trick Room), damage mitigation for her partner (dual Screens, Safeguard, Ally Switch) as well as various utility moves (Helping Hands, Skill Swap, Gravity) and serviceable attack coverage moves that allow her to function if she is Taunted. Her passivity and lack of reliable recovery is more acceptable in Doubles since setup sweepers and entry hazards are much less common and Pinch Berries are good enough survivability there. Also, she is not a Restricted Legendary, which has only made her more ubiquitous as she isn't commonly banned in different formats nor competing for the Restricted slot with more offensively oriented Legendaries. Cresselia's Scrappy status reach a fever pitch in 2015 where she was a crucial part of the infamous CHALK composition that made up 6 out of 8 of the VGC 2015 Championship teams, and was the one of the three members of the team to avoid being nerfed alongside Heatran and Landorus, letting them dominate other formats. Her usage took a big hit in Gen 7 and 8 with the introduction of the ubiqitous Incineroar and general Power Creep eventually caught up with her.
- In Gen 7, Swagger has found its spot as a devastating supporting move, in which Tapu Fini would use Swagger on its partner, giving them a free, confusion-less Swords Dance boost without using up a moveslot note . This led to a meta where powerful sweepers ran rampant, supported by Tapu Fini's Swagger boosts and healing from Heal Pulse. Things got even worse with the introduction of Marshadow, who allowed an alternate strategy where Marshadow would use Spectral Thief on a Swaggered opponent, stealing their boosts and leaving most of them fainted while leaving the rest confused. Eventually, Swagger was once again banned from Doubles OU.
- While it isn't as impressive in Singles as the other Tapus, Tapu Fini has proven itself to be a dominating force in Doubles. Due to more Pokémon being present on the field, it's much easier for a partner to benefit from its Misty Surge ability, which makes any grounded Pokémon immune to any status and reduces the power of any Dragon-type move by 50%. Not only does that mean that Tapu Fini singlehandedly makes Will-O-Wisp and Thunder Wave irrelevant in Doubles, but most of the Pokémon that relied on Dragon-type attacks have been phased out as well. Additionally, Tapu Fini is the best Heal Pulse user around, giving its partner extra longevity. It is no slouch in the offensive department either, as Tapu Fini has amazing STAB coverage, and Calm Mind boosting its special attack and special defense.
- Back in Gen 5, Ally Switch was all but ignored due to only allowing a certain number of Psychic-type Pokémon to learn Ally Switch, and they can't take advantage of it. Then came Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, and not only did Ally Switch become a tutor move, but more non-Psychic-type Pokémon can learn the move. Unfortunately, that worked out a bit too well, and it becomes an actual issue with more Pokémon having Ally Switch means a battle can potentially turn into a coin flip gamble. The priority buff to +2 of Ally Switch in Gen 7 doesn't help matters either, since this means most priority moves will not hit the intended target. One of the infuriating user of this move is Shedinja, which thanks to Wonder Guard can only be killed by 5 types or passive damage. And god forbid that it got a type change by move like Soak.
- Following the release of Incineroar's hidden ability, Intimidate, it has become one of the most dominating Pokémon in Doubles. With its all around great bulk, its ability crippling most of the physical attackers, and 50% pinch berry for emergency recovery or Assault Vest boosted its Sp. Defense, taking down Incineroar usually isn't an easy task. Fake Out happens to be one of its most important moves as it provides its partner some momentum to work around by causing its foe to flinch. Not only that, Incineroar also happens to have U-turn and Parting Shot, enabling it to escape from bad matchup and potentially using Fake Out and Intimidate again later, with Parting Shot even drop the Attack and Special Attack of the enemy Pokemon 1 more stage. Incineroar also hits like a truck with powerful STAB moves such as Flare Blitz, Knock Off and Darkest Lariat. Its a menace to face against with what Incineroar can bring to the table.
- Snorlax has become a terrifying force due to several changes. To start it off, Figy Berry and its variants now activate at 25% or less HP while recovering half of its max HP, meaning they now interact with Gluttony, which will consume them at 50% or less HP instead. Additionally, Snorlax can use Recycle to restore the berry if it is consumed by itself. Also, Snorlax gains High Horsepower, which is more powerful than Earthquake due to the spread damage reduction. With most of the Fighting-types phased out in Gen 7 Doubles, Snorlax has a much easier time setting up with Curse or Belly Drum, and it benefitted greatly from Trick Room with its slow speed. However, the true problem surfaced after Marshadow got banned from its second suspect test in DOU, meaning that Snorlax lost one of its best checks. Gothitelle happens to be benefitted greatly from the Marshadow ban as well, thus the infamous duo of Snorlax and Gothitelle were born. What Gothitelle can do for Snorlax is trap Pokémon with Shadow Tag, set up Trick Room, and use Heal Pulse on it if Snorlax can't use Recycle in one way or another. The pair also lead to the rise of the Belly Drum variant, which most considered far too overwhelming to handle. While there are ways to prevent and counter, those are easier said than done. Eventually, a suspect test was held for Snorlax and the result was a ban.
- Deoxys-Attack is one of those Pokémon that is allowed in Doubles OU as it's much easier to handle there, but it becomes a more devastating Glass Cannon than it was ever before in Gen 7 thanks to some new tools that improve Deoxys-Attack significantly. For one, Psychic Terrain, giving Deoxys-Attack more firepower while making it immune to priority moves. While Deoxys-Attack must ditch Extreme Speed as it conflicted with Psychic Terrain, it isn't a huge issue as it's already naturally fast anyway and gives Deoxys-Attack room for other coverage moves such as Ice Beam, Knock Off, Dark Pulse or Shadow Ball. Then there's Z-crystal, by converting Psycho Boost, it becomes Shattered Psyche with a whopping 200 Power, giving Deoxys-Attack even more firepower. A suspect test was eventually held for Deoxys-Attack in Gen 7 Doubles OU, but it evaded the banhammer treatment.
- While Zapdos has been renowned for its well-rounded stats and Tailwind, Gen 7 is where it truly becomes a behemoth. For one, Thunder Wave being nerfed means Tailwind has become the main form of speed control. It can increase its longevity further by either having its special defense boosted by Misty or Psychic Seed or restoring a large chunk of health with any 50% pinch berries, with Roost for reliable recovery, making KO Zapdos particularly difficult. Zapdos also packs good coverage in the form of Thunderbolt and Heat Wave or Hidden Power Ice.
- One particularly formidable Trick Room setter is Diancie. Its low speed, all around solid bulk with Diamond Storm that hits both foes and boosting its defense to ludicrous levels makes as tough as a diamond to deal with. At the first glance, Diancie's offensive stats don't seem impressive, but that's where Weakness Policy comes into play as Diancie can take most super effective attacks with some support, sharply boosts both its offensive stats, and its Clear Body ability blocks Intimidate and Snarl. While Diancie can't do much to Steel-types, that issue can be usually solved by having a partner that's able to threaten them.
- While Magearna is scary in Singles, it is an absolute nightmare in Doubles, as there are more Pokémon present on the battlefield, making it much easier to activate Soul-Heart and having its Sp. Attack boosted to a ludicrous level. Magearna also has a spread attack in Dazzling Gleam to hit multiple Pokémon. Magearna was banned from Gen 7 Doubles OU early in the tier's development.
- The introduction of Dynamax has turned Togekiss from a good support Pokémon into a versatile unpredictable monster. Its lack of Speed that restricted it to a support role despite its amazing Special Attack was patched by Max Airstream, which allows it to outspeed most of the roster while still supporting its partner without wasting a turn to use Tailwind. That, in turn, elevates its Serene Grace Air Slash flinching combo from a gimmick into a very real chance to flinch opposing Pokémon until they faint. Adding to that is the fact that Togekiss didn't lose any of its support movepool from the last generation and can still viably run them. Finally, the reduction of Fairy types from "Dexit" means that its usual competition for a team slot is absent, leading to its rise to be one of the most ubiquitous Pokémon in the Doubles metagame. The Crowd Tundra DLC bringing back the Tapus have successfully knocked Togekiss down from its dominance.
- Indeedee is responsible for a lot of havoc wreaked in double battles, particularly the female variant, due to Psychic Surge stopping all priority attacks, meaning there is almost nothing the opponent can do to prevent Indeedee from using Follow Me short of switching to some other Pokémon that can override the terrain while having the other Pokémon use Fake Out on Indeedee. Indeedee's partner gets to use any move it wants free of interference from the opponent. Should Indeedee ever run out of things to do, it can then use Expanding Force for a hard-hitting attack, even with no Effort Point investment in Sp. Attack, that hits both opponents when Psychic Terrain is out. As a result, any double battling team that needs at least one turn to set up will likely have a female Indeedee accompanying along. However, the arrival of the Crown Tundra DLC lowered the dominance of Female Indeedee by bringing back the Tapus.note
- Specialized Stone Walls are extremely undesirable in Doubles because two opposing Pokémon means double the chances of the opposing Pokémon having/being the attacking type that the wall can't sufficiently stall out. In addition, if the opponent decided to gang up on their partner, the inherent passivity of Walls means that they cannot damage the enemy back. (In)famous passive walls in Singles like Blissey/Chansey, Skarmory, Quagsire, Umbreon, Lugia, Toxapex, Wobbuffet and Giratina all languish in unviability in Doubles. Walls that see a bit more viability tend to have actual offensive presence (Ferrothorn, Snorlax, Slowbro, Tyranitar), well-rounded stat on both Defense and Special Defense (Corviknight, Aegislash, Mandibuzz and Tyranitar again) and/or additional utility (Arcanine, Gastrodon, Cresselia, Porygon2, Suicune).
- Poison-type Pokémon are notably worse in Doubles since they are weak to the extremely common Earthquake while the Poison status and spreading Toxic Spikes, the main draw to most Poison-types, is notably much less useful in the format. Poison-types that see play (most notably Venusaur, Nidoqueen, Amoonguss, Nihiligo, Naganadel, Gengar and its Mega form and Galarian Weezing) do well in spite of their typing, though they do enjoy having super effective STAB against Fairy-types.
- Coalossal is widely disliked in VGC for how reliance it is on Dynamax. With Dynamax doubling its HP, it made activating its Steam Engine ability that increases its speed by a whopping 6 stages risk-free when it's hit by Fire- or Water-type atack from its allies such as Dragapult and Weavile, combined with the speed changes now applying mid-turn from Generation 8 onwards, its Water-type weakness activating Weakness Policy, and G-Max Volcalith having a nasty effect of inflicting damage on non-Rock-type foes for 4 turns that transform Coalossal into a formidable Lightning Bruiser despite its otherwise unimpressive 80 on both attacking stats and abysmal 30 Speed would suggest. However, once Dynamax is out of the picture, Coalossal starts crumbling apart hard. Tellingly, Doubles OU having Dynamax banned meant that Coalossal was completely unviable there and Series 10 VGC not allowing Dynamax caused its usage to take a colossal hit.
- Regieleki has swiftly established itself to be one of the best Pokemon in VGC with its outrageous 200 Speed, the highest in the game, its Transistor ability giving Regieleki's Electric-type move a power boost, and Electroweb that drops the foes' speed that makes Regieleki the premier option for speed control in VGC. Even with some glaring issues such as its lackluster bulk and having no coverage against Ground-type, it didn't slow Regieleki's reign in any way. Amusingly enough, it was an entirely different story in Doubles OU with Dynamax being banned, more Tailwind setters being available, the existence of Zygarde, and having to compete with Zeraora that has a more acceptable bulk while providing support with Fake Out, Taunt, or Coaching. All those elements have resulted in Regieleki being unviable there.
- Tapu Koko has proven to be one of the more terrifying powerhouses in Generation 7 Doubles with its excellent 130 Speed Electric Surge ability that gives a 50% power boost to Electric-type attacks and sleep immunity on all grounded Pokemon. Additionally, Tapu Koko can function in a more utility role with either an Assault Vest or 50% Pinch Berries depending on the format, giving it the versatility to work around with. However, come Generation 8, not only that Tapu Koko was hit the hardest from the power boost nerf to 30% from terrains exposing its extremely mediocre 95 Special Attack stat, it also faced fierce competition from Regieleki in VGC and Zeraora in Doubles OU. The introduction of Grassy Surge in Rillaboom only made matters worse for Tapu Koko as it's able to handle everything Tapu Koko could offer, it's severe enough that Tapu Koko has become downright unviable.
- Smeargle was found to be an oppressive force in the tournament scene from Gen 4 and onwards due to it being able to use Dark Void, a Sleep-inducing move, via Sketch. At that time, Dark Void targeted both of the opponent's Pokémon and had an astonishing 80% accuracy, higher than Sleep Powder or Hypnosis. As VGCs are always double battles, that led to a 96% chance of at least one of the opposing Pokémon being put to Sleep and a 64% chance of both. For three generations, no consistent counter existed that wasn't overly specialized for Dark Void Smeargle, until Game Freak stepped in and made Dark Void unusable if Darkrai isn't using it, as well as a drastic Nerf to its accuracy.
- Season 6 of Ranked in Pokémon Sword and Shield (September to October 2020) gave a temporary ban the top 10 most-used Pokémon in both single battling and double battling. Though they didn't specify which was which, there were 16 Pokémon in all: Venusaur, Gyarados, Porygon2, Tyranitar, Torkoal, Hippowdon, Magnezone, Togekiss, Excadrill, Whimsicott, Incineroar, Mimikyu, Rillaboom, Cinderace, Indeedee, and Dragapult. Notably, most of the Pokémon listed above banned from Smogon for overcentralization—Dracovish, Galarian Darmanitan, and Single-Strike Urshifu (Spectrier had not been introduced yet)—are not on this list at all, with Cinderace being the only Pokémon to terrorize both Pokémon Showdown and Pokémon Sword and Shield due to being the only one of the four of them to not be significantly hurt by the differences in the rules.
- Season 8 of Ranked in Pokémon Sword and Shield (February to April 2021) allowed one Restricted Pokémon,note Mythical Pokémon excluded, into each player's team. This is a repeat of rule changes in Gen 7 when they allowed one, then two. There's just one difference between then and now: Zacian. This Hero of Galar managed to ravage the official Ranked metagame so much despite not being able to Dynamax that Season 9, spanning May to July 2021, reverted the rules back to normal, not allowing any Restricted Pokémon at all.
- Porygon-Z was the only Pokémon to show up in multiple champions' teams in the VGC World Championships for 2021. As it seems, Porygon-Z is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Dynamax mechanic, allowing it to hit like a nuke while providing top-notch support: Not very many Pokémon, besides Ghost-types, can withstand a Max Strike working off of Hyper Beam, power doubled by Adaptability, then raised 30% with a Normal Gem, calculated using Porygon-Z's immense 135 Sp. Attack. It can't hit anything for super-effective damage, but at a final base power of 450 plus lowering the Speed of any opposing Pokémon still standing after that, Porygon-Z doesn't need to hit anything for super-effective damage to be a menace.
- Not a Pokémon, but a move: Max Airstream, which deals Flying-type damage and raises the user's Speed by one level as well as its ally or allies if present. Max Knuckle and Max Ooze, which boost Attack and Sp. Attack respectively, are compensated by being lower in base power, but Max Airstream gives all the benefits of a Choice Scarf that can stack and none of the downsides while being at the same base power as the other Max Moves. This leads to some Pokémon having what would otherwise be Awesome, but Impractical moves, like Bounce on Cinderace and Hurricane on Shiftry, just so they can have Max Airstream when they undergo Dynamax or Gigantamax. Max Airstream has also caused a decline in every type or type combination that's weak to Flying. The Bug-type has been hurt in particular, being the only type not found in the Top 25 in either single or double Ranked Battles in Sword and Shield. The official games' competitive community is okay with all of the other Max Moves and G-Max Moves, but Max Airstream gets more ire than anything else due to the only counter to it being either Trick Room or Max Airstreams of your own.
- On the other side of the spectrum, Max Ooze and Max Knuckle is widely considered to be weakest Max moves. The Developers' Foresight of limiting the base power these Max moves can have to just 100 because of their secondary effect to raise the Special Attack and Physical Attack of both Pokémon, respectively, worked a little too well and both of them are widely considered inferior to Max Darkness and Max Phantasm.
- Defensive Pokémon that sacrifice offensive capabilities like Skarmory and Carbink tend to be ignored because defeating opponents with status moves usually consumes more PP and time than just winning with offensive moves. Even if attacking moves are put on defensive Pokémon, having members with good offensive stats is the better option because they will win with less PP consumption, and they will win with less time.
- Related to the above point, while many non-offensive moves such as Taunt, Torment, Stealth Rock, etc., are invaluable in the metagame, they're considered worse than useless in single player. Status moves like Confuse Ray, Toxic or Spore, and some stat-rising moves like Swords Dance, Rock Polish or Calm Mind get some use, but many people who only played single player wondered what's the point, for example, of a move that prevents a Pokémon from using non-damaging moves like Taunt, when most enemies use nothing but damaging moves, ignoring that such move is specifically designed to shut down support Pokémon in competitive battles.
- Apart from all the problems associated with Ice-types under the Low Tier entry above, they tend to appear in the very late stages of the main story, due to snowy and icy areas where they can be found are always being relegated to the late game. Meaning by the time you find an Ice-Type, they will most likely be way behind your team in stats and levels. The only Pokémon who managed to avert this are Vanillite in Black & White and Amaura in X and Y, being available early in their respective games. Sword & Shield mitigates this a bit: while most of the new Ice-types are yet again unavailable until later, those from earlier generations can be caught in the Wild Area if it's hailing, and a pair of Ice-type fossil Pokémon can be revived before the fourth gym.
- The early Com Mons that are based on mammals (Normal-types like Rattata, Sentret, Zigzagoon, Bidoof, Patrat, Bunnelby, Yungoos and Skwovet, Dark-types like Poochyena, Purrloin, and Nickit, and Normal and Dark-types like Alolan Rattata and Galarian Zigzagoon) tend to be disliked due to not holding up for most of the journey or having bland designs. However, a few stand out:
- Bidoof is widely considered to be the Scrappy of Pokémon; in addition to being a generic regional early-game Mon that appears in nearly every feasible location, its design lands it into being one of the goofiest-looking Pokémon in the series, although its ridiculous design has turned it into a Memetic Badass among certain parts of the fandom and it does make a good HM slave. Gen 7 finally giving Bidoof Swords Dance, which synergizes ridiculously well with its Simple ability and may have won it an edge in battling.
- Patrat, Black and White's version of the early-game Mon, is even more hated than Bidoof. Bidoof's evolution, Bibarel, is at least a good HM slave. Patrat and Watchog, on the other hand, only learn a few HM moves. The creepy stoned eyes on a chipmunk design didn't help matters. Fans often describe Patrat as "the next Bidoof". Watchog also gained a reputation of being an absolute pain to deal with in-game, due to getting Hypnosis and learning several powerful moves early on. It's also notorious for being spammed in the early game by other trainers, especially Team Plasma grunts—more than half of all Plasma grunts have at least one Patrat or Watchog on their team!
- Bunnelby is generally disliked for much the same reason as Bidoof is (somewhat bland design), but the source of many a player's ire towards it was because Wonder Trade was introduced in the same generation, and Bunnelby's widespread availability in early routes caused Wonder Trade to be flooded with the rabbit. Its evolution, Diggersby, is considered to be ugly but at the same time, the family has access to Huge Power as a hidden ability, putting it in the same category as Bidoof and Bibarel.
- Despite being a Normal Com Mon based on a mammal, Lillipup avoids being lumped in with the others and is well-liked. Factors for this include the generally handy ability Pickup, it not being modeled after a rodent, and Stoutland being a ride Pokémon in Gen 7.
- Zubat is the franchise's definition of Goddamn Bats for a reason. They appear relentlessly in caves and other dark, damp places in every generation (it's saying something when this line of all things appears in every regional Pokédex). It's Poison/Flying, meaning that its signature attacks can often poison your Pokémon, and comes with Supersonic/Confuse Ray, to put confusion on top of poison. It's fast too, meaning that you can't escape with a slow Pokémon on the field. Its final evolution, Crobat, is a Base-Breaking Character when it comes to popularity, but nobody can deny that Zubat and Golbat justify the Repel item just to stay sane.
- Gligar was this for some fans back in Gen 2. Pokémon Gold had Gligar, the first Ground/Flying type, while Pokémon Silver had Skarmory, the first Steel/Flying type. The reason Gligar was seen as a joke back then was because its moveset is terrible. As a result, people only caught it for Pokédex data. However, it was saved from its unfortunate status as the Pokémon Generations moved on. Now able to learn moves like X-Scissor, Sky Uppercut, and even Earthquake, the fans began to see it as invaluable when fighting Poison, Electric, and Rock types. It also helps that since Sinnoh, it gained an evolution.
- The baby Pokémon (also introduced in Gen 2) come off as this for being largely inferior to their evolutions stat-wise, as well as having evolution requirements that range from difficult (raising one all the way to level 30) to needlessly situational (friendship evolution during a certain time of day). Furthermore, the baby Pokémon will simply evolve into a Pokémon that you likely had to obtain to breed for the baby in the first place. While a few learn moves that are inaccessible to their evolved forms (Pichu learning Nasty Plot), most are simply for filling the Pokédex. Gen 4 is where Game Freak finally realizes that Baby Pokémon should be used to allow players early access to more powerful Pokémon, such as making Budew and Munchlax available early on.
- Feebas is terribly weak and rare, so getting one at all depends on the use of a strategy guide and luck, and evolving it into a Milotic is just as big of a pain. In Gens 3 and 4, it requires its beauty stat to be maximized in order to evolve, and only certain natures of Feebas make this possible. Though Feebas becomes much easier to evolve from Gen 5 onward by simply trading it while holding a Prism Scale.
- The elemental monkey trio, consisting of the Pansage, Pansear, and Panpour lines. They're prime examples of the Crutch Character trope, as they seem to only exist to help Trainers beat the first Gym. Their designs and competitive aspects are both mediocre, which doesn't help their cases. Special mention goes out to Simisear. In the Pokémon Election, a Japan-based Pokémon popularity poll, Simisear somehow scored last placenote . The poor fire monkey ended up getting a pity event to commemorate its loss.
- Crabrawler is decent for the early-game, but it can't evolve until the player reaches Mount Lanakila, which is the site of the Pokémon League. Crabrawler can be obtained before the first trial at level 8 or so, while Mount Lanakila is only accessible after defeating the Big Bad. Even with Eviolite to help its defenses and Power-Up Punch to boost its Attack, it has a whole lot of trouble holding its own until then, and often gets benched for better, much more easily obtained Fighting-types. Sadly, it's not much better as Crabominable: Despite its great Attack stat, decent HP, and a good movepool, it gains three weaknesses, loses one resistance, and only gains one, has mediocre defenses not helped by its type, and it loses quite a bit of Speed. It doesn't help that Crabrawler is the only thing that appears in Berry Ambushes, making it an unnecessary waste of time when people are simply hunting for Berries. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon throws the line a bone by letting you access a tiny part of Mount Lanakila on your first trip through Ula'ula Island (thus letting you evolve Crabrawler that much earlier), but the other problems, like Crabominable's Glass Cannon nature remain.
- Chikorita, Bayleef, and Meganium have the dubious honor of being the worst traditional starter Pokémon both in-game and competitively. What really makes Chikorita the worst (or at least most challenging) choice in-game is that it has a type disadvantage against three of the Johto gyms (Flying, Bug, and Ice) while its sole type advantage is over part of Pryce's gym (all but one of the trainers use Water, Water/Ice, and Ice/Ground Pokémon), which has an innate type advantage against it. It also fares poorly against Morty's gym due to them exclusively using the Gastly line (with the Chikorita line's shallow movepool, they won't be able to deal effective damage against the Poison-type of the line), and while it does provide utility with Reflect and Poison powder against Whitney, shell still be difficult anyway thanks to the overwhelming odds of attract being usablenote as well as the addition of a Lum berry in the remakes, Chuck's Poliwrath is literally the only Pokémon it has a clear advantage over. They won't fare well against Team Rocket either, as they frequently use Poison and Flying-types. Granted, it has a type advantage against many of the post-game Kanto gyms, but by that point, most players should have a well-rounded team and shouldn't be depending exclusively on their starters anymore and have access to better Grass-types like Vileplume. Its stats are also focused on defense and support over offense, which is less practical in the story and makes defeating opponents more difficult as the NPC Pokémon get stronger later in the story. Sun and Moon mitigates things a little by having Chikorita available on Melemele Island via Island Scan early in the game as an option for those who didn't pick Rowlet, and it has a clear advantage against the Water trial, but even then, it is outclassed by other Grass-types such as Tsareena.
- Following Chikorita, Snivy is the most difficult starter to use in Gen 5's main story. While its Hidden Ability Contrary lets it hit like a tank with Leaf Storm, this isn't obtainable in-game beyond long-expired events. The Snivy line's intended strategy is to stall and drain opponents away with Leech Seed and Giga Drain, which is time-consuming and impractical in non-competitive formats. It has a prohibitively small offensive movepool and average offensive stats that necessitate buffs with Coil or Calm Mind to be really threatening. Its advantages lie in its high Speed (fully evolved it's one of the fastest Pokémon readily available in the main story of both sets of games) and access to Glare, which is useful in disabling opponents and making legendaries easier to catch.
- However, it's generally agreed that the worst starter of all time is Pokémon Yellow's Pikachu. Chikorita and Snivy may be flawed at best, but at least they can evolve, while Pikachu is stuck with its horrid base stats (barely better than an unevolved starter, with only Speed being more than dreadful) and it lacks almost all the equalizers that the games would go on to give it: no Light Ball, no Volt Tackle, no Gigantamax forms, nothing but a slightly upgraded movepool over the Red and Blue Pikachu, which wasn't considered especially great to begin with even after evolving. And the upgraded movepool isn't that helpful, since it still learns basically nothing but Normal and Electric moves, plus Submission through a TM. Even if you get around its stat issues, Pikachu has terrible matchups against the Kanto Gym Leaders and Elite Four, with only Misty, Lorelei, and some assorted Flying-types being weak to it (and they're still a lot stronger than Pikachu, and it doesn't resist their attacks). Brock in particular becomes a full-on Wake-Up Call Boss in Yellow, because while Bulbasaur and Squirtle could stuff him easily and Charmander could do surprisingly well with Ember, there's simply nothing Pikachu can do to his team—the designers actually had to alter the movepools of Mankey and the Nidorans just to give the player a way to beat him. When they revisited the concept in Pokémon Let's Go, they had to retool Pikachu very heavily to make it viable as a starter: buffing its stats, giving it significantly overpowered moves, and handing a whole bunch of other mechanics to the player.
- Many Pokémon Black and White Pokémon that evolve by leveling up have abnormally higher thresholds then their contemporaries in earlier generations note . Some like Larvesta and Tynamo are clear examples of Magikarp Power, but others like Rufflet only evolve at Level 54. This causes issues in later generations, where you can catch a Rufflet on Route 3 on Melemele Island early in the game and get nowhere near evolving it into Braviary until you've reached the Elite Four, or even after the credits and into the postgame.
- For the Battle Tree in Sun and Moon, the player starts out with only Rada as their Multi-Battle partner in the Battle Tree, and she may as well have selected the worst possible selection of Pokémon imaginable. Both her Barbaracle and Hawlucha are vulnerable to the alarmingly common Electric-type, the former being even more so to Grass-type attacks.
- The AI trainers provided in Pokémon Sword and Shield's Max Raid Battles are purposefully underwhelming to encourage playing with real people, so they aren't really that powerful against higher-ranked raid battles. For example, Isabella's Magikarp that knows Hydro Pump (thanks to a buff introduced in the game that allowed it to learn that move by level up eventually) is not the most useless trainer available. That dubious distinction goes to Alfie's Wobbuffet, Poke Kid Freya, and/or Martin's Solrock, which kind of go overboard with the whole "encouraging sociability" act. The Wobbuffet, as it is usually meant to be, cannot attack the target directly, and often relies on Counter. The problem is, said target doesn't always target the Wobbuffet, leaving it doing no better than using Splash. Sadly, often when it is attacked, it's doing something else like using Amnesia, or just goes down anyway. The Eevee will never use anything other than Helping Hand despite having 3 attacking moves, which does not help at all when the target has 12 total shields and just needs to be attacked. The Solrock, despite having Psychic, would rather spend its time buffing its stats via Cosmic Power and Rock Polish, which the raid boss will simply reset the next turn. Martin is so widely hated, even Pokemon.com's official Max Raid Battle guide made fun of him and his "darn Solrock".
- Even spin-off titles are not immune to having annoying to use Pokémon. One such example is Cresselia in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers, crossing over with Damsel Scrappy. Not only do you have to escort her to the end of Dark Crater (a frustrating task already with regular Pokémon, and she's a Legendary), but she also has the habit of wandering over lava (Which burns her and ends up wasting your Reviver/Heal Seeds). She's also involved in the final battle against Darkrai, in which she's incapable of doing much of anything to him other than fighting off his Mooks.