You hear it all the time, nothing will ever beat the original 151 Pokémon. The likes of Pikachu, Charizard, Squirtle, Gengar and Mewtwo are seen to be the iconic members of a franchise that began more than two decades ago and has since released more than 600 new characters. While nostalgia is a hard feeling to repress, creators have since designed and formed Pokémon that not only rival their original counterparts, but surpass them in terms of coolness, power, moves and mystique. Fan boys (and girls) and difficult to argue with, but this article may be your chance to show them some evidence of how impressive the newer breeds really are.
Some of the ten Pokémon you are about to see may be familiar, but they may also be members of games that you’re yet to play. Either way, they represent a sense of change and make it easy to see why the franchise has enthralled gamers for over 20 years now. Part of the reason Pokémon is such a loved game/show/phenomenon is that when you walk into that grass, or that cave, or that water you just don’t know what will appear.
Seeing the same old 151 pop out and challenge you becomes stale after a decade, let alone two. This is the appeal of adding new Pokémon to the Pokedex, and making sure that discovery is always part of the franchise. If you’re still unconvinced after reading this article, I’d be worried, because here are 10 Pokémon that are absolutely cooler than the first 151 we were introduced to.
Dark-type Pokémon are mysterious, dangerous and unpredictable. In the original 151, Eevee could be evolved into Jolteon, Flareon and Vaporeon but when new types appeared, we were provided with Umbreon, who quickly became the best option available. Arriving in the 2nd Generation, Umbreon has a black coat with yellow markings that illuminate in the moonlight, making it both visually as well as physically impressive. Able to spray poisonous sweat from its pores, Umbreon is the most unique Eevee evolution and can hide in the dark waiting for its prey. Many of Umbreon’s moves demonstrate how rare this creature is when compared to the 151, as Feint Attack (a sucker punch), Moonlight (a restoration of HP) and Last Resort (a powerful, tactical maneuver) that create a Pokemon that balances attack and defense with ease.
This evolution of Metang looks mean, unassuming and ready to destroy. With a combination of the types steel and psychic, Metagross is a robotic beast with four brains and the ability to float in the air when tucking in its legs. It is genderless, heavy and intimidating, I can’t be the only one who thinks those red eyes look ready to break through the screen and devour children. Much of Metagross’ personality is derived from a snake, as it will easily pin down its prey and slowly eat them with its stomach-mouth. A member of Generation 4, this hunter is a key reason as to why design and power is only improving as new editions of the game are released. One look at the move-set proves this theory; Metagross starts with Take Down (a full body charge) and learns the likes of Zen Headbutt (placing all power to the head), Hammer Arm (ouch) and one of the best moves in Pokémon history: Hyper Beam.
Lugia isn’t as unknown as the other members of this list, but still warrants selection as it is part of the Generation 2 Pokémon and is better than the likes of Zapdos and Dragonite. I mean c’mon; one flap of its wings causes a 40-day storm! Guardian of the seas, rarely sighted and the big bad wolf in terms of its wind creation, Lugia is impressive to watch and even better in battle. People are quite familiar with Lugia due to usage in movies and TV shows, pointing to the fact that creators were aware of what they’d placed in the Pokémon world. While not considered a dragon-type (flying and psychic) Lugia still uses the move Dragon Rush to smash opponents into oblivion. Add this to Hydro Pump (made famous from Blastoise) and Sky Attack (the best move of the flying type) and you have a Pokémon that is all power.
Dragons are among the most revered Pokémon; Charizard made the type ‘cool’, and others have since established this notion. But Salamence, a member of Generation 3, soon took the type to a new level. Said to have evolved from earlier forms that desired nothing more than to grow wings, this flying monster is the prototype fighter. Fire-breathing, aggressive and arrogant, the creators appeared keen on improving (or emulating) Charizard for newer gamers. Its uncontrollable nature makes catching a taming this beast a challenge, and the utilisation of razor sharp claws spells danger. One look at its move-set demonstrates a focus on attack with Bite, Headbutt, Rage, Dragon Crunch, Claw all available. There is also the addition of fire moves, making Salamence a type that is difficult to counter. The design is simple yet sleek, angered yet regal. Few can compare.
We had a flaming horse in the original 151, but now we have a flaming ape, and be honest, which looks cooler? First introduced in Generation 4, Infernape quickly became a favourite and boasted the types fire and fighting; a deadly combination that represents power and speed. Notorious for its speed (it is said to be beaten by none in terms of quickness), Infernape is a fighting machine that beats opponents down with jabs and kicks. Creators clearly realised that Primeape and Rapidash didn’t receive the attention they should, so improvements were made to increase appeal. Strength is key and this Pokémon starts with one of the most powerful fire moves, Flare Blitz, which sees it cloak itself in fire and charge. An issue with Infernape is that it hurts itself during many attacks, but boasting Fire Spin, Flame Wheel and Punishment make it a powerhouse option.
Another dragon-flying type to add to the list, Rayquaza is everything Gyarados should have been. Having lived for hundreds of years in the Earth’s ozone layer, this Pokémon exerts a power that few would be able to match and looks like a falling meteor when in flight. Rayquaza is also equipped to use destructive attacks such as Hyper Voice (a shout of epic proportions), Outrage (an absolute rampage) and Dragon Pulse (more mouth beams). Part of the Generation 3 team, Rayquaza just looks ready to consume anything in its path. Likened to the dragon from Dragon Ball (and perhaps borrowed from), this creature is extremely rare and wouldn’t often be viewed in the Pokémon universe, but that doesn’t mean it should be forgotten.
A Generation 5 entry, Haxorus is a dragon (that can’t fly) that is territorial and known for its incredibly sharp and sturdy tusks. Covered in hard armour and boasting razor claws, Haxorus has one of the best moves in any Pokémon game; Giga Impact, where the user charges at the opponent with every bit of power it can summon. Its axe-like jaw looks like it would tear anything other than steel in two, and it is an improved design on Kangaskhan. Dual Chop, Dragon Claw, Guillotine and Slash demonstrate the capabilities of this unique beast, and make it easy to see why he is one of the iconic members of Gen 5. It is stated as being kind until provoked, which is a fresh take on the dragon type who are often seen as aggressive and all too ready to show their power (and flames). While slow, the creators produced a character that has characteristics of a rhinoceros, an elephant or a dinosaur, and that’s pretty cool to me!
Does Suicune even need a description? One look at the picture says it all. A popular entry from Generation 2, this rare water-type Pokémon just reeks of legendary. It doesn’t need to look angry, or sinister, or intimidating to be awesome. Suicune has the important job of racing around the world and purifying water, while being at one with the wind. That is way more cool then just looking angry. This is a peaceful entry based on coolness, calmness and character. It is graceful, elegant and worthy of capture. I can’t think of a Pokémon in the original 151 that possesses such traits, as even Mew fails in comparison. Suicune is also a more than capable fighter with moves such as Blizzard (the best ice technique), Hydro Pump (the best water technique) and Extrasensory (a psychic trick) that demonstrate a range not usually seen in a Pokémon. Seeing this creature dash through the night cleaning the streams and healing the world is a delight.
This character is a fighter in Super Smash Bros, which reveals how well gamers took to the Generation 4 combination of steel and fighting types. Built for battle, Lucario can read the thoughts and movements of opponents through their aura…and he isn’t even a psychic type! It can know how you’re feeling from half a mile away, able to read weaknesses and exploit them with a range of moves that even include Dragon Pulse. Fast, agile and with spikes on its fists, who would pick a fight with Lucario? Machamp may have four arms, but placed in a ring with Lucario and I know who I’d be choosing. The healing powers, mind control, power-ups and guard maneuvers make this Pokémon as capable as they come, and show how the creators have built on previous fighting types to improve the category.
It just doesn’t get any cooler than a flaming, fighting chicken with fiery cuffs, a mullet and retro pants, does it? The Generation 3 icon, the final evolved form of Torchic (available at the beginning) continues the trend of fire types being the best available Pokémon in the Pokeworld. Courageous, blazing and able to jump to great heights (can clear a 30 storey building), Blaziken’s wrists burn brighter the tougher the opponent. We can only imagine how amazing a battle with Charizard would be.
Trained in martial arts and quicker than the eye, it is easy to see why Blaziken is the coolest Pokémon outside the 151. Fire Punch, Blaze Kick and Sky Uppercut are but a few highlights of the move roster, which only increases in power. Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
No, it’s a god damn fire chicken ready to beat the living shit out of anyone who gets near it. Can you think of a more deserving number 1?