Pokemon has been around for quite a while. The original 151 are older than several long-running game franchises, so you wouldn't be at fault for believing a lot of them have phased out by now in terms of battling capability.
At the very least, these fifteen have stood the test of time and continue to make waves in today's competitive meta. Some of them have been good for as long as they've existed, while others are late bloomers. But either way, their positions in Generation Eight's meta proves they've still got it.
This list will not include Pokemon banned to Ubers or regional variants of Kanto Pokemon.
Despite having the exact same base stat total, Nidoqueen hasn't been able to match Nidoking in competitive viability. Nidoking's stats are better distributed, with Nidoqueen not being as offensive, strong or fast, and not benefiting as much from its mildly better defensive stats.
Still, Nidoqueen fulfills a role quite similar to its higher-tier counterpart's, and succeeds in relatively lower tiers. It's a Sheer Force wallbreaker, sporting the appropriate attacking moves to make the most of its ability across several types. In contrast to Nidoking, Nidoqueen has also been seen playing some utility, with moves like Stealth Rock and Toxic.
Shell Smash sweepers are a rare but phenomenal breed, and one of Generation One's many Water/Ice-types typically leads that charge. Cloyster has a near-perfect mold to be a Shell Smash sweeper, with the Defense to withstand physical hits before the set-up, and the attacking moves to make the most of it afterwards.
Apart from that, Cloyster also has the Skill Link ability, which makes it dangerous with moves like Icicle Spear and Rock Blast in its arsenal. Its one glaring flaw is its horrible Special Defense, which can get it knocked out with one decently-powered special move.
Sun teams may be somewhat of a lost art, but Venusaur is keeping those rays of sun alive in higher tiers of competitive battling. It’s arguably the best sun sweeper in the game, due to its versatility and ability to set-up with the sun out.
It has access to Growth, a rare kind of set-up move that doubles its stat boosts in the sun. When combined with Chlorophyll's boost to Speed, Venusaur is near-unstoppable. That said, in stark contrast, Venusaur becomes way too vulnerable without the sunny weather, thanks to its below-average Speed and physical bulk.
Tentacruel is an excellent special-defensive wall and utility Pokemon, and it’s been that way throughout most of its existence. Its 120 Special Defense and good Poison/Water defensive typing have served it well for multiple generations.
It doesn't deal that much damage with 80 Special Attack, though its most popular moves like Scald, Sludge Bomb, and Knock Off come with excellent secondary effects. It really shines with a support movepool, with Toxic, Toxic Spikes, Haze, and its unique selling point: Rapid Spin. In terms of other stats, it's got a good 100 Speed, though its physical Defense is sorely lacking.
It isn't even a fully evolved Pokemon anymore, and yet Chansey still has nearly as strong a presence as it did in Generation One's competitive scene. Its clerical and defensive abilities are only matched by its evolutionary superior Blissey, and even then, there are cases where Blissey finds itself in a lower tier than Chansey.
With the Eviolite, Chansey gets a ton of extra bulk, which makes it even harder to knock out when combined with the same tools Blissey has. That said, one Knock Off or Trick can make it much more vulnerable, giving it a bigger blind spot defensively.
Gyarados has laid waste to Smogon’s UnderUsed tier, adopting the job of being a Moxie sweeper: offensive Pokemon that can snowball opponents to death when left unchecked. It typically gets a head start on that charge with Dragon Dance, then performs said task of laying waste with moves like Waterfall, Ice Fang, Power Whip, and Earthquake.
Without that head start, though, Gyarados can be a bit underwhelming. It particularly lacks the Speed to make a difference without setting up, and its raw Attack stat isn’t quite enough to effectively deal with a good wall.
As alluded to, Nidoking arguably still stands as best among Sheer Force wallbreakers, even in an UnderUsed tier chock-full of them. It doesn’t look like that on paper, what with its mediocre attacking stats, but combine Sheer Force and a Life Orb with Nidoking's great offensive typing and wide array of moves, and it can certainly bring the heat.
Its weaknesses lie in its mediocre Speed and bad defensive stats, which relegates it to mostly just playing a wallbreaker role against slow walls. Fortunately, its Poison/Ground typing still gives it an edge over even some of the OverUsed tier’s strongest.
Generation Eight threw this Fire/Flying-type a bone with the introduction of the Heavy Duty Boots, getting rid of its crippling weakness to Stealth Rock. Moltres is now more free than ever to play its designated role as an offensively potent utility Pokemon.
Its offense comes from 125 Special Attack and a strong STAB-move duo of Hurricane and your Fire-type move of choice. Its support potential comes from access to moves like U-Turn, Toxic, Roost, and especially Defog. That said, it’s neither blazing fast nor defensively excellent, so the right threat won’t need too much time getting rid of it.
Generation One's only fully-evolved Ghost-type arguably still embodies the type at its most offensively capable. 130 Special Attack and 110 Speed make it a fine set-up wallbreaker, with its access to Nasty Plot and especially with its surprisingly wide movepool. Lately in Generation Eight's competitive meta, it's been used most often as a Substitute sweeper.
That said, it hasn't quite cracked Smogon's OverUsed tier in more recent generations, as other Ghost-types possess a bit more versatility, and faster sweeper-type Pokemon easily overtake it. It's always had to deal with terrible defensive stats, and losing Levitate in Generation Seven particularly hurt.
The prototypical special-attacking Psychic-type, Alakazam is an absolute grenade of an offensive weapon. It’s a lot like Gengar with its one-shot capable Special Attack and more than competent Speed to back it up, making it potentially the most dangerous Pokemon on a team.
Its prowess in the move department is excellent as well, with not only attacking moves but two choice set-up moves in Calm Mind and Nasty Plot. That said, it’s also like Gengar in that it can’t take a hit to save its life, so bringing reinforcement for some of the meta's faster threats would be key.
You could say Mew fell off, especially with Mewtwo still sitting comfortably in the Ubers tier. Still, the original Mythical has kept its case for the most versatile battling Pokemon of all time.
It's hard not to be when you have 100 in every stat and nearly every move in the game available to you. It's been used in almost every role, from utility player, to unconventional set-up sweeper, to suicide lead. Regardless, all-around Pokemon work best as glue for the team, so to speak, and Mew's never a bad choice for filling in the gaps of a competitive team.
The Electric-type of the Legendary bird trio just edges out Moltres as the best of the flock, providing a bit of an extra punch. Zapdos has all the utility tools Moltres may have, alongside more offensive firepower and defensive aptitude.
Being an Electric/Flying-type has so many benefits. Defensively, it reduces Zapdos's weaknesses down to two arbitrary offensive types in Rock and Ice, and offensively, it makes it a sought-after special attacker. Its movepool’s also wider than you'd expect, giving it access to your typical STAB attacks, Volt Switch for pivoting, Heat Wave for some coverage, and Defog.
The first pseudo-Legendary ever actually took a while to get going. But now, having gotten a few buffs over the generations and getting better STAB moves as the Dragon-type found its footing, Dragonite finds itself near the top of the pseudo-legendary category in terms of power.
It’s the definition of a two-way threat, being proficient both offensively and defensively. Its offensive prowess is more obvious on paper, rocking a sky-high Attack stat of 134, several strong physical moves, and the ever-dangerous set-up move, Dragon Dance. Its defensive prowess comes mainly from its Multiscale ability and the extra longevity it can get from Roost.
This Water/Psychic-type has been moving at its own speed for generations, still standing tall as one of competitive battling's defensive titans. It might have to share the spotlight with Slowking and its Galarian cousins, but the original is arguably still the breadwinner of the family.
Its skills far surpass just having good defensive stats. Having the Regenerator ability certainly helps, giving it unbridled longevity on a battlefield and making it one of the meta's best pivots. It's offensively capable too, with the offbeat Future Sight and ever-useful Scald as commonly chosen choice weapons.
Clefable wasn't always a competitive regular, but since it was given the Fairy-type in Generation Six, it took the meta by storm and represented the type at its best in the art of Pokemon battling. Literally every pseudo-Legendary out there is still frightened by the sight of this moon pixie.
In Pokemon's revolving door meta, Clefable can play any role. It's most known as a defensive wall for Dragon-types, but it has the Special Attack to deal a high-powered Moonblast, the healing moves to play a cleric, and two fantastic abilities to choose from in Magic Guard and Unaware.
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