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Lions and Tigers of the "Pokémon" Series

In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.

Here is a look at the Pokémon inspired by big cats.

Here is a look at the Pokémon inspired by big cats.

Pokémon's Lions and Tigers

Since we've previously tackled Pokémon's bears, it's only fitting we cover its lions and tigers (oh my) next. After all, there's something about big cats that radiate both majesty and power. Sure, Pokémon has its smaller felines like Meowth and Glameow, but when you're searching for something as strong as it is cool, these jungle animals are hard to ignore.

Usually Fire or Electric, Pokémon's largest cats often complement their agility with a plethora of offensive powers to quickly overwhelm foes. But with several creatures to browse, which predators reign supreme? Here's a glance at the many Pokémon lions and tigers!

Raikou

  • Type: Electric
  • Base Stat Total: 580
  • Debut: Generation II

One of the three legendary beasts of Johto, Raikou most heavily resembles a tiger, and many believe Ho-Oh reincarnated Raikou from a Jolteon who died in the Brass Tower. But fan theories aside, Raikou excels in Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed, making him a great indirect sweeper to hit hard and hit fast.

Like many legendaries, its default ability is Pressure. This drains two PP from opposing moves rather than the usual one. Electric also excels defensively, being weak to only Ground while resisting Steel, Flying, and Electric attacks. This helps cover Raikou's relative frailness.

Where to Catch Raikou

  • Gold, Silver, and Crystal: Raikou can be found roaming after the events in the Brass Tower.
  • FireRed and LeafGreen: After clearing the Rocket Warehouse on Five Island and delivering the Sapphire to Celio, Raikou will roam Kanto if you selected Squirtle as your starter.
  • HeartGold and SoulSilver: In the Gen II remakes, this Pokémon will roam Johto after the events in the Burned Tower.
  • Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: You can find this Pokémon in the Trackless Forest if you have a Ho-oh or Lugia in your party.
  • Ultra Sun: Raikou can be found in the Rocky World of the Ultra Space Wilds.
  • Sword and Shield: With the expansion pass, this legendary can be found during a Dynamax Adventure in the Max Lair.
  • Brilliant Diamond: You can find Raikou in Ramanas Park if you have a Johto Slate.

Entei

  • Type: Fire
  • Base Stat Total: 580
  • Debut: Generation II

Another of Johto's legendary beasts, Entei may have been revived from a perished Flareon, and it bears a regal, lion-like appearance. Entei also stars in the third Pokémon movie, Spell of the Unown: Entei. This is one of the few Pokémon who have toppled Ash's powerful Charizard.

Like Raikou, Entei wields the Pressure trait, and its stat distribution is pretty well-rounded, slightly favoring Hit Points, Attack, and Speed. Because Fire moves all counted as special attacks when Entei debuted, it was initially an underwhelming legendary, but now that all elements contain both direct and indirect strikes, Entei has plenty of options to make good use of its strongest traits.

Where to Catch Entei

  • Gold, Silver, and Crystal: Entei can be found roaming after the events in the Brass Tower.
  • FireRed and LeafGreen: After clearing the Rocket Warehouse on Five Island and delivering the Sapphire to Celio, Entei will roam Kanto if you selected Bulbasaur as your starter.
  • HeartGold and SoulSilver: In the Gen II remakes, this Pokémon will roam Johto after the events in the Burned Tower.
  • Ultra Moon: Entei can be found in the Rocky World of the Ultra Space Wilds.
  • Sword and Shield: With the expansion pass, Entei can be found during a Dynamax Adventure in the Max Lair.
  • Brilliant Diamond: You can find Entei in Ramanas Park if you have a Johto Slate.

Shinx, Luxio, and Luxray

  • Type: Electric
  • Base Stat Total: 523 (Luxray)
  • Debut: Generation IV

Stemming from Diamond and Pearl's Sinnoh region, Luxray is the third stage of the cute cub Shinx. It is one of few potent Electric types you'll find early on. Thankfully, he's a force to be reckoned with, bearing a sweet base stat total of 523. While Luxray moves surprisingly slowly, his physical attack is great, his special attack is good, and his defenses aren't terrible.

He'll take a few hits, but Luxray will give at least as good as he gets, and he's also got three potent abilities to select from. Intimidate impresses as always by cutting all opponents' Attack whenever Luxray enters the field, but Guts makes for a nice alternative. This boosts Luxray's already-daunting Attack by 50% when it suffers a status effect, letting you punish foes for debuffs with unparalleled counterattacks. If you want a fun color swap, hunt for a shiny Luxray to employ a rare golden lion in your battles.

Where to Catch Shinx

The best way to get a Luxray is to evolve it from Shinx. Shinx evolves into Luxio at level 15. Luxio evolves into Luxray at level 30.

  • Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum: Look on Routes 202, 203, and 204. In Diamond and Pearl, search in Fuego Ironworks. In Platinum, look in Valley Windworks.
  • HeartGold and SoulSilver: You can find Shinx in the Plains of the Safari Zone with 10 Plains points. This Pokémon can also be found on multiple routes and in the National Park with the Sinnoh Sound.
  • White: You can find this Pokémon in White Forest.
  • Sword and Shield: With the expansion pass, you can find Shinx at Challenge Beach, Training Lowlands, Challenge Road, and Potbottom Desert.
  • Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: In the Gen IV remakes, you can catch this Pokémon on Routes 202, 203, and 204. It can also be caught at Fuego Ironworks. In the Grand Underground, look for environments like Spacious Cave, Grassland Cave, Sunlit Cavern, and Whiteout Cave.
  • Legends: Arceus: Shinx can be found wandering Aspiration Hill, Floaro Gardens, Oreburrow Tunnel, and Sonorous Parth.
  • Scarlet and Violet: Search in Area Three of South Province.

Litleo and Pyroar

  • Type: Fire/Normal
  • Base Stat Total: 507 (Pyroar)
  • Debut: Generation VI

Many creatures like Luxray and Enteir draw inspiration from lions; Litleo and Pyroar base their entire design around them. Bearing the unique Fire/Normal blend, Litleo and Pyroar enjoy the infamous STAB (same type attack bonus) for both elements, letting you strike to maximum effect with a variety of great moves.

You can find Pyroar in X and Y's Kalos region, and depending on your monster's gender, it'll bear a different appearance when grown (just like real lions). Pyroar heavily emphasizes Speed and Special Attack, making it a good indirect sweeper. It also offers three abilities to choose from (Rivalry, Unnerve, and Moxie).

Where to Catch Litleo

The best way to get Pyroar is to evolve it from Litleo. Litleo evolves into Pyroar at level 35.

  • X and Y: You can catch Litleo on Route 22.
  • Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon: You can find this Pokémon at Poké Pelago.

Litten, Torracat, and Incineroar

  • Type: Fire, Fire/Dark (Incineroar)
  • Base Stat Total: 530 (Incineroar)
  • Debut: Generation VII

Litten, the Fire starter of the Alola region from Sun and Moon, ultimately morphs into the imposing Incineroar. With a respectable base stat total, two helpful abilities to choose from (Fire-boosting Blaze and attack-lowering Intimidate), and his own signature Darkest Lariat attack, Incineroar offers several boons to any trainer's team.

Incineroar's tiger-inspirations aren't as obvious since he strangely walks on two feet, an interesting design choice that many fans didn't enjoy. I personally don't mind as I feel it's a unique concept. I appreciate its elemental duo considering we haven't seen a Fire/Dark typing since Houndoom (be glad Incineroar wasn't yet another Fire/Fighting starter).

Where to Catch Litten

The only way to get Incineroar is to evolve it from Litten. Litten evolves into Torracat at level 17. Torract evolves into Incineroar at level 34.

Litten can be selected as a starter Pokémon in Sun and Moon as well as in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. You can receive a Litten in Sword and Shield if you have the expansion pass, selected Scorbunny as your starter, and find 100 Alolan Digletts.

Solgaleo

  • Type: Psychic/Steel
  • Base Stat Total: 680
  • Debut: Generation VII

The signature mascot of Pokémon Sun, Solgaleo surprisingly doesn't bear the Fire element despite its strong connection to the Sun. Unlike most legendaries, Solgaleo actually evolves; its former stages are Cosmog and Cosmoem, though they bear no resemblance to felines. These are the same pre-evolutions of Moon's mascot, Lunala, so have fun piecing that Pokémon mystery together.

Regardless of its strange typing and family tree, Solgaleo rends foes apart using its 680 stat total, with its best stats skewing towards HP and Attack. Additionally, Solgaleo bears the impressive Full Metal Body ability, a nifty trait that prevents other moves and abilities from lowering its stats. Solgaleo's also packing two signature moves, Searing Sunraze Smash and Sunsteel Strike, making it one of the best legendary Pokémon. Its Radiant Sun alternate form boosts its power even further.

Where to Catch Solgaleo

  • Sun: You can find this legendary Pokémon at the Altar of the Sunne.
  • Ultra Sun: You can find Solgaleo on the Mahalo Trail.
  • Sword: With the expansion pass, you can find Solgaleo during a Dynamax Adventure in the Max Lair.

Future of Lion and Tiger Pokémon

In both the real and Pokémon worlds, lions and tigers are prized for their strength and radiance, dominating the food chains of the environments they inhabit. Whenever Nintendo crafts a new creature based on a bigger cat, you know it'll be impressive. Many will probably have legendary status.

With several fresh faces rounding out today's list, our infatuation with the kings of the jungle remains as strong as ever, and we'll undoubtedly see more ferocious felines in the future. But for now, as we eagerly await Pokémon's next batch of large cats, vote for your favorite companion. I'll see you at our next Pokémon review!

© 2018 Jeremy Gill