Hardcore Gamer’s Top 20 Favorite Pokémon

To celebrate Pokémon’s 20th anniversary, Hardcore Gamer has prepared a list of our top 20 favorite Pokémon. Staff members selected their all-time favorites and wrote a little blurb for each choice. Some of us had a hard time only picking one, so we had to put a couple of favorites up there. They aren’t listed from best to best, but in alphabetical order, just to keep things fair. Without further adieu, here are Hardcore Gamer’s favorite Pokémon.

1. Aggron (Jake’s favorite)


This Steel/Rock-type is an absolute behemoth, both in appearance and defensive stats. With its Rock Head ability preventing any recoil when using Head Smash, it’s a devastating move that can knock out foes in one hit. If that’s not enough, it can even Mega Evolve raising its defense higher and giving it the Heavy Metal ability to give its Heavy Slam attack decimating power. Aggron definitely look like a monster on the outside but to me it has a heart of gold. Just get out of its way when you hear it blasting like a semi-truck into battle.

2. Aipom (James’ favorite)


Aipom is a the cutest little beast of sheer combat fury that’s ever dominated a match. His happy little monkey face and cute three-pronged tail are absolutely adorable, but his mischievous streak also comes through in his character design, giving him an edge that also plays out in combat. The only Pokémon game I’ve ever given time to was Pokémon Gold, on the Gameboy Color, and Aipom quickly rose to the front of my team until I retired him for being a little too effective. It’s hard to catch new Pokémon when your favorite fighter wins the match almost as soon as it takes the field. Still, Aipom is a cute and mischievous bundle of monkey energy who’s always fun to unleash.

3. Arcanine (Natalie’s favorite)


Originally, Arcanine was supposed to be part of the legendary bird trio as the Pokémon representing fire. He was replaced by Moltres because the Pokémon Company didn’t want to confuse people with two bird legendaries and then a dog/lion/tiger Pokémon. Even the Pokedex for the Kanto region still considers him to be a legendary regardless of the fact that he was replaced by a fiery bird. He’s also super cool because his design was based off of mythical creatures that take inspiration from canines and lions and are used as invitations of good luck.

4. Charizard (Thomas’ favorite)


If we’re being honest with ourselves, Charizard is the only Pokémon who matters. It’s a dragon. It can breathe fire. It can learn to fly and cut, making it a great utility Pokémon in addition to an absolute beast in a battle. Charizard doesn’t take crap from anybody, including that punk Ash who makes the common mistake of thinking a Charizard can be tamed into some subservient, domestic lizard. Everybody who wants to champion a lesser, hipster Pokémon like Sudowoodo step off; Charizard will blaze through you like you’re not even there

5. Cyndaquil (Dermot’s favorite)


Cyndaquil is my favorite Pokémon. It’s the best starter Pokémon from the best Pokémon generation and the cutest dang critter in the Pokédex. You can cuddle Cyndaquil when it’s not all flame-y, and when it’s scorchin’ time its back burns big, bright, and bold. Cyndaquil is cutest in its unvevolved form, but as it becomes Quilava and eventually Typhlosion, its body stretches out and its flames become even more awesome and intimidating. Cyndaquil is the kind of buddy I’d like to snuggle with at night and go adventuring with in the morning, and that’s all you really need in a fiery friend.

6. Diglett (Darrius’ favorite)


The Diglett is both the most adorable Pokémon and most horrifying Pokémon in existence. While up top they’re an adorable furry brown cylinder with a Rudolph nose that sing a wonderful song, nobody quite knows what the bottom half of a Diglett could be. In fact it’s made for quite the interesting DeviantArt/Tumblr debate over the years with theories ranging from roots to a gigantic Cthulhu body. We think it’s probably just akin to a mole’s body, but of course imagining that it’s the penis of some beefy creature is more interesting and erotic.

7. Ditto (Luke’s favorite)


Obviously Ditto is the best Pokémon because it can change its cellular structure to become any Pokémon. Not impressed? Think about it this way: Ditto can literally bang any Pokémon it wants without it being weird. No cross species relations here! It sees a cute Noctowl in a tree? Ditto can bang it. Maybe it meets a sexy Dragonaire and takes a liking to it. Ditto can bang it. Not only do Ditto’s abilities give them the means to swing whatever way the wind takes them, but it allows them to choose their own attractiveness. Ditto wants them epic abs? Boom. Machoke. Maybe it wants to go for the mysterious and beautiful? Boom. Mega Absol. Ditto is the ultimate breeding machine. Ditto can be matched but never exceeded.

8. Drowzee (Shawn’s favorite)


This was my first Pokémon I ever gave a nickname. I played a lot of Pokémon Blue back in the day and one Pokémon that’s always been a mainstay on my team if I could get one was Drowzee or better my Drowzee, Mr. Magic. I don’t think Drowzee is the best designed Pokémon, it’s simple and a bit weird with it’s elephant-like snout and yellow and brown body, but I think it’s my favorite mainly because it was my first nicknamed Pokémon. It’s lore of being a Pokémon that devours the dreams of children is also particularly interesting to me. I’m still not sure why it and Hypno cannot learn Dream Eater by leveling up. Fix that for Gen VII Game Freak.

9. Farfetch’d (Steve’s favorite)


Let’s face it, most Pokémon are pretty stupid. I mean why doesn’t Snorlax just move out of the way sometimes? It’s like living with Chris Christie. Yet one Pocket Monster stands apart from the pack when it comes to Pokéintelligence and that’s Farfetch’d. More than just a duck, he’s a duck with a leek. Does he need to evolve? Nope, he’s perfect already. Does he need an apostrophe in his name? Nope, but Farfetch’d uses one anyways. He’s even smart enough to help steal Pokémon from dumb trainers through an elaborate scheme. Also we’ve heard Peking Farfetch’d is delicious.

10. Feraligatr (Marcus’ favorite)


Feraligatr is my absolute favorite Pokémon. It all started with selecting an adorable little Totodile in Pokémon Gold. Sure, that weird middle stage of Croconaw wasn’t awesome, but once my guy finally evolved into Feraligatr all bets were off. With powerful attacks and an awesome design, I found it hard to ever set him aside for other Pokémon. In the end, my Feraligatr hit level 100 rather quickly and stomped out any Pokémon in the way. Luckily, the Pokémon designers have been creating more extremely cool reptile/dragon/dinosaur creatures in years since, but Feraligatr is still my favorite.

11. Garbodor (Kim’s favorite–“Fiancée of Hardcore Gamer”)


You think Garbodor is trash? No, you’re trash. When I first laid eyes on Garbodor, I too was one of those unfortunate “Pokémon is running out of ideas!” heathens. But the more public hate Garbodor garnered, the more I felt sorry for him. So, I did what any proper trainer would do – I put him on my team. There’s nothing that brings you closer to a Pokémon than raising it in battle. It was then that I got to appreciate everything that makes Garbodor a truly well thought out, unique Pokémon. That’s right, unique. Garbodor is a sentient bag of waste and it makes for a genius design. He’s not just an uncreative pile of sludge – he was once a full trash bag that burst open, leaving the bag as a mask and cape, while the actual decomposing trash heap formed his body. The garbage bag he’s born from could literally not contain the incredible excellence that is this Pokémon. Bits of objects are embedded in him, and he makes use of these things as resources. A long metal wire forms an arm, and discarded pipes form fingers – which he uses to shoot disgusting poison. He uses unwanted materials to his advantage. Imagine the possibilities if he wanted a final form? But, the real beauty is in the details. Tiny holes in the top of the bag allowed pressurized trash to squeeze through, forming what looks like mouse ears. But perhaps my favorite of all is the way his mouth resembles the back of a garbage truck. Also, this Pokémon EATS garbage. That’s right, he cleans up after your filthy self. He makes the world a better, greener place. One man’s trash is this ladies’ treasure.

12. Hawlucha (Kyle’s favorite)


Immediately after getting a good glimpse of the X & Y roster, I knew that I flat-out needed to have a Hawlucha in my party. I mean, how can you say no to a frigging luchador hawk?? It is just one of the best designs this series has had, right down to its signature Flying Press move where it mimics a pro wrestler leaping off of a turnbuckle to body slam an opponent. Awesome. And bonus points for Ash’s Hawlucha in the anime, due to its fighting prowess, big brother instinct, and the fact that it gives fist bumps as a sign of appreciation. Dammit Nintendo, why did you leave it out of Pokkén Tournament…

13. Miltank (Derrick’s favorite)


Miltank ranks high in my list mainly because I have fond memories of Whitney, the Goldenrod City Gym Leader, beating me brutally in Pokémon Silver and Pokémon HeartGold. Pokémon, is for the most part a very easy game, especially if you’ve been playing from the beginning. I may lose only a handful of battles in my entire playthough, but Whitney and her Miltank always make me nervous. Whitney’s Miltank uses rollout and if it gets one or two attacks off on your team it can easily wipe the rest of them. You’ve been warned! Miltank also has access to the Scrappy ability so that it can use it’s Normal-type STAB moves against Ghost-types. It’s fun to catch people off guard with that! Lastly, Miltank is awesome because it’s the source of Moo Moo Milk and who doesn’t enjoy a nice cold glass?

14. Pangoro (Jake’s favorite)


Though the most recent generation of Pokémon lacked in number, there were a few gems that stood out. One I love to use in battle is Pangoro. This giant panda is a dual Fighting/Dark-type Pokémon and is just fun to play with. It’s Iron Fist ability boosts the attack of punching moves, so it will definitely benefit from learning Power-Up Punch which increases the Attack stat and gains even more power with its STAB. Attach a Metronome to Pangoro and every punch it lands will steadily grow strong enough to take down anything in one hit. Using Pangoro in this beastly way is entertaining. I think Pangoro gets a bad rap for being grumpy and angry all the time but we all know how cute they can be, it’s all just a show. It’s pre-form, Pancham, is pretty adorable too which can attract trainers to it in the first place.

15. Rayquaza (Kevin’s favorite)


Rayquaza is a beast. As an aerial dragon, Rayquaza hovers in the atmosphere waiting to swoop down on its pray. Extremely fast and powerful, Rayquaza boasts some of the best base stats of any legendary Pokémon, which get a boost thanks to Mega Evolution. With a beautiful design, interesting story, and amazing stats, Rayquaza is the ultimate dragon, and one even the Mother of Dragons would desperately want to capture.

16. Scizor (Derrick’s favorite)


Scizor is my favorite Pokémon because it uses priority moves like bullet punch and quick attack to strike before it’s opponent. Normally these moves would be rather weak but Scizor’s massive attack stat and Technician ability make them dangerous. I’m a fan of Trick Room and Scizor fits well on that team archetype too because it’s slow when not using a priority move. Lastly, Scizor just looks awesome and had a really sweet anime episode that stuck with me. It was an episode called Wired For Battle and Ash challenged a Scizor named Blade that used metal claw.

17. Scrafty (Kyle’s favorite)


Again in the category of Pokémon I instantly knew I wanted the second I saw the roster, Scrafty was a little street fighting SOB I knew I had to have on my team. I’m not entirely sure why everyone associates them solely with hip-hop culture, since the Mohawk always suggested a punk rocker to me, a lizard who loved headbanging to the likes of Social Distortion (and yes, I know Unova is NYC, but Scrafty doesn’t care about your rules, man). It gets even better when combined with its pre-evolved form, Scraggy, which looks like a little kid adorably trying to imitate it’s badass older brother.

18. Snorlax (Chris’ favorite)


My favorite is Snorlax because it is an enormous, lazy, fat cat. His absolute defiance of insomnia is something I aspire to. What other creature can dominate a battlefield without waking up?

19. Tangrowth (Jake’s favorite)


Obviously, I can’t just have one favorite. So, I’m adding Tangrowth as one of my top choices. Sure, it’s slow and just a giant walking mass of vines, but it’s absolutely adorable. It took awhile for Tangela to gain an evolution, but the wait was absolutely worth it! Tangrowth has high stats when it comes to attacking and takes full advantage of it by learning Power Whip. It also learns a wide range of TMs which definitely come in handy against the plethora of weaknesses Tangrowth goes up against. You can burn Tangrowth to a crisp, inject it with poison or let it be devoured by insects and I’ll still cherish it as one of my favorite Pokémon.

20. Tyranitar (Derrick’s favorite)


My third and final favorite Pokémon is Tyranitar. He’s got bulky stats that only increase in a sandstorm which he summons when entering battle. There aren’t many Pokémon that can change the weather like Tyranitar. He’s a great double battle Pokémon with his STAB move Rock Slide and is a good switch in to other bulky Pokémon like Cresselia. Tyranitar also looks scary as hell and has a sweet nickname in T-Tar.

Thank you for joining us in celebrating Pokémon’s 20th anniversary. Feel free to share your favorites in the comment section below. We love to hear what all Pokémaniacs have to say.