I had a good time two weeks ago with my Kanto list, and since I’m staying on the hype train for Sword and Shield, I’m back for another completely objective top 10. Since Johto introduced about 100 pokemon compared to Kanto’s 151, and many of them are baby pokemon, it felt like there was a smaller pool to choose from, but that didn’t stop me from finding ten pokemon I really loved. As usual, this is completely suggestive, and the list isn’t in any particular order.
I hinted at this on my last list, but I tend to go with the grass starters. Hell, I’m even wearing a shirt with a bunch of grass types as I write this list. When I booted up Soul Silver for the first time, though, I couldn’t convince myself to pick anything other than Cyndaquil. Not only is it completely adorable, its design incorporates the fire on it really well. Charmander’s flaming tail is cool, yeah, but Cyndaquil has flaming spikes on its back. I like its evolution line as well, but I have to give this spot to the one Pokemon that broke my grass allegiance.
Wooloo’s getting lots of love now, and for good reason, but do y’all remember the original adorable sheep pokemon? I love Mareep so much. Not only is it inspired by the title Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, it is so CUTE. Look at those innocent eyes, those big horn ear things, that little curl of wool that looks like hair, those stubby little legs, that big orb on its tail (which glows, according to the pokedex!). I want at least ten.
Like most, I was never interested in the Zubat line, getting tired of its incessant spawn rate in every cave under the sun (only Unova is safe). Then one day, I saw a let’s play by Chuggaaconroy where he picked up a Zubat and insisted the Crobat would be worth it, so the next time I played a game I decided to give it a chance. While it’s not quite OU tier, its powerful speed stat lets you make quick work of opponents, and I was pleasantly surprised to see what was basically cave fodder grow up into something so powerful. There’s also something very sweet about an almost universally disliked pokemon getting a friendship evolution.
First of all, Yanma’s second form needs a mega evolution, and the fact that it would be called “Mega Yanmega” is reason alone to make one. If I was a vigilante in Johto, Yanma is definitely a pokemon I’d rely heavily on. Not only would a swarm of four foot long dragonflies be incredibly menacing, they can apparently flap their wings fast enough it generates a shockwave that can break glass. Very useful for breaking into Rocket bases. I’d be willing to bet they’re also capable of picking up villains and carrying them away. Like Gastly from the last list, I like this one because of its darkness potential.
Espeon is so cool. Evolving with high friendship during the day, it develops psychic powers for the purpose of protecting their trainers, which apparently doesn’t only apply to predicting what an opponent will do in battle but they can also predict the weather. This is a useful skill to have, as later pokedex entries state that its psychic powers are solar-powered, which explains why it can battle in the day and why it can learn morning sun. There’s a lot of internal consistency here, which I really like! Also, who wouldn’t love a psychic cat as a companion?
Yeah, I’m adding them both on here, what of it? Umbreon is a perfect foil to Espeon: it evolves with high friendship at night, and while Espeon uses the sunlight to defend its trainer, Umbreon uses the darkness to become a predator. The yin-yang relationship between them is very cool, and trading between games so I could do a run with both of them was a blast. Add on the adorable appearance (which probably would be terrifying if you just saw their eyes and glowing spots in the dark), and this one earns a spot on the list with their twin.
Another spooky ghost type to celebrate the season, and Misdreavus is messed up. It lives off the fear of others, so it stalks the night in search of people to scare. While I am pretty jumpy and easily startled, I have a hard time believing that this cutie’s capable of genuinely scaring anyone. It’s a smiling little ghost with flowy hair, Casper has the potential to be scarier. However, they have to survive somehow, so I like to believe that Misdreavus is a lesson in determination. Even the cutest of little ghosts can become scary if they put in the work.
Usually I fill out my team pretty early, get attached, and battle through the game with early-game mons. When I first played through Soul Silver, though, I saw this Pokemon before I even started and decided I wanted it, so I waited and waited (and waited), and even though I was a detrimentally impatient 8th grader I finally managed to find one. I think I already had two other flying types on my team at that point, but it was worth it. Skarmory’s a bit goofy looking, yeah, but having a miniature jet plane by your side is more than cool enough to make up for it. He was also the first steel type I used as a permanent team member, and not the last.
It’s a seahorse that’s also a dragon that you can surf around on. I wish it wasn’t a trade evolution, but having a well-rounded water type with dragon moves and some HM coverage more than makes up for needing to beg someone to dig up this 10 year old game and trade with you to get it. It’s origin is cool too, apparently seahorses are called “dragon’s child” in Japan, so they made a dragon seahorse. Man, I love dragons.
It’s a common theory that Entei, Raikou, and Suicune were initially a Flareon, Jolteon, and Vaporeon before dying when the brass tower burned. Basically, this is a roundabout way of putting Vaporeon on the list twice. Jokes aside, since their resurrection, Suicune runs endlessly throughout the region, kept to no master, wind trailing behind them as they go. According to the pokedex, they’re capable of purifying water. A mystical creature who spends their life traveling in solitude, occasionally stopping to do good is one of those beautiful, unattainable dreams that we play video games to get closer to.
Be sure to check out my Hoenn list!
Max is a student at Rutgers who likes writing fantasy and playing video games such as Zelda, Mario, Undertale, Earthbound, and Stardew Valley.