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Top 10 Legendary Pokémon

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

Legendary Pokémon

Rare, powerful, and supposedly one-of-a-kind, legendary Pokémon have long captivated fans of the Pokémon universe. Although each game offers several to capture in regular gameplay, many can only be found in special real-world Pokémon events. This frustrates some trainers, but it admittedly adds to the feelings of awe when obtaining them.

With dozens of options spanning all elements, which mythical creatures reign supreme? These are the top ten legendary Pokémon!

Lugia

Lugia

10. Lugia

Type: Psychic/Flying

Base Stat Total: 680

Introduced in: Pokémon Gold and Silver (Generation 2)

Surprisingly, despite being the guardian of the seas, Lugia bears no Water element, although it helpfully learns some potent Water techniques. Its defensive prowess combined with a useful hidden ability that reduces damage when at max health (Multiscale) makes it a strong tank. Offensively, signature move Aeroblast inflicts high damage with a good critical chance, and Lugia's other attacks encompass a variety of types, shaping it into a surprisingly competent all-around battler.

Compared to Johto counterpart Ho-oh, Lugia bears more overall weaknesses, but a greater range of offensive moves. It also has no moves that hit it for quadrupled damage (watch out for Rock, Ho-oh) and it was particularly powerful back in its day, where Steel and Dark types capable of type-trumping it were rare. Lugia proved popular enough among fans to star in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, where it gained a unique Shadow Lugia form.

Zekrom

Zekrom

9. Zekrom

Type: Dragon/Electric

Base Stat Total: 680

Introduced in: Pokémon Black and White (Generation 5)

With its sleek black design, Unova's Zekrom electrified many fanatics. Its type bears four weaknesses but six resistances, and no type deals 4x damage to it, making the rare Dragon/Electric combo a useful pairing. Its stats are fairly balanced, with the exception of a superb Attack, offering Zekrom impressive physical power.

Its movepool is neither great nor terrible, hitting all the right beats without going beyond. Sadly, a lackluster ability (Teravolt) and the introduction of the Fairy type (which trumps dragons) in Generation 6 slightly hinder this still-formidable beast.

8. Giratina

Type: Dragon/Ghost

Base Stat Total: 680

Introduced in: Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (Generation 4)

A Pokémon from Sinnoh with its own unique typing (ironically being weak to both its own elements), Giratina possesses five weaknesses but six resistances and two immunities, limiting adversaries' aggressive options. It brandishes a variety of Ghost moves, including signature attack Shadow Force, alongside a few other types. Thanks to its twin forms, Giratina also affords several abilities to choose from, like Levitate to negate Ground moves or Telepathy to avoid damage from allies in team matches.

Overall, Giratina satisfies Trainers searching for a great tank considering its stupendous Hit Points, Defense, and Special Defense, plus its potential defensive ability and numerous resistances.

7. Rayquaza

Type: Dragon/Flying

Base Stat Total: 680

Introduced in: Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire (Generation 3)

Stemming from Hoenn, the original legendary Dragon Rayquaza descends with incredible offensive powers and good typing, although it must beware the 4x multiplier from pesky Ice moves.

Rayquaza wields stupendous Attack and Special Attack, but learns only a few types of moves while leveling, and will need to be augmented with TMs and other technique-developing methods. Its default ability, Air Lock, negates weather effects, which can be helpful but is too situational to rank among the best abilities. Overall, it's a fearsome predator only weakened by those darn Ice attacks and a stale ability.

Mega Rayquaza

Type: Dragon/Flying

Base Stat Total: 780

Retaining its type, Mega Rayquaza not only increases its stats to monstrous amounts, but it also gains a much better ability, Delta Stream, which prevents Flying Pokémon from suffering increased damage against otherwise super-effective types. In essence, both issues with the base form are solved, skyrocketing Rayquaza to new heights even in modern contests.

Yveltal

Yveltal

6. Yveltal

Type: Dark/Flying

Base Stat Total: 680

Introduced in: Pokémon X and Y (Generation 6)

A rare Dark-typed legendary, Yveltal's high Attack and Special Attack allow it to effectively assault foes with both direct and indirect strikes. Signature move Oblivion Wing uses this offense to great effect by restoring 75% of the damage it deals. Sadly, the technique is Flying-type, which won't stack with the Dark Aura ability that powers up all Dark moves on the field. Nonetheless, Dark Aura is still a great attribute that can aid both Yveltal and its allies.

While leveling, Yveltal learns the expected Flying and Dark moves alongside a scattering of Dragon, Fighting, and Psychic attacks. If compared to its Kalos counterpart, Xerneas, well . . .

Xerneas

Xerneas

5. Xerneas

Type: Fairy

Base Stat Total: 680

Introduced in: Pokémon X and Y (Generation 6)

A rare Fairy legendary, Xerneas brandishes several boons. Its type is only weak to Poison and Steel but resists three elements and is completely immune to Dragon! Furthermore, the ability Fairy Aura boosts the power of Fairy moves, which coupled with the same-type-attack-bonus and Xerneas's offensive stat-spread (interestingly, the exact same as Yveltal's) makes it Fairy techniques absolutely lethal.

Beyond that, Xerneas learns a fantastic number of non-Fairy moves while leveling, increasing its type coverage and always keeping opponents on their toes.

Solgaleo

Solgaleo

4. Solgaleo

Type: Psychic/Steel

Base Stat Total: 680

Introduced in: Pokémon Sun and Moon (Generation 7)

Unlike most of its brethren, Solgaleo belongs to an evolution chain, and is one of the most well-balanced legendaries stat-wise, slightly favoring HP and Attack. In later levels, the lionlike beast acquires Fire, Rock, Grass, and Normal moves to round out its Psychic and Steel arsenal, and its useful ability Full Metal Body prevents stat reduction. The technique Morning Sun also lets Solgaleo heal itself, recovering additional health during the intense sunlight weather condition.

Solgaleo holds a huge advantage over Alola counterpart Lunala when it comes to typing, where Solgaleo harbors a jaw-dropping nine resistances—plus an immunity—with only four weaknesses and no 4x damage weaknesses.

Dialga

Dialga

3. Dialga

Type: Dragon/Steel

Base Stat Total: 680

Introduced in: Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (Generation 4)

One of several legendaries able to control time, Dialga serves as the mascot of Pokémon Diamond. Its stats are well-balanced, but favors Special Attack. Couple this with its indirect unique attack, Roar of Time (basically a Dragon version of Hyper Beam), and you've got an easy way to deal astonishing damage with little effort.

While Dialaga can only select from the lukewarm Pressure and Telepathy as its abilities, it enjoys arguably the best type combination of all legendaries. Being weak (and not 4x weak) to only Fighting and Ground, Dialga resist nine elements and completely ignores one! This gives the offense-oriented battler a surprising degree of vitality, surviving long enough to recover from the recharge period Road of Time demands.

Primal Groudon

Primal Groudon

2. Groudon

Type: Ground

Base Stat Total: 670

Introduced in: Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire (Generation 3)

A rare Ground legendary, Groudon's intimidating form appropriately focuses on Attack and Defense. While its base stat total is a pinch lower than today's other entries, Groudon possesses a tantalizing ability, Drought, that automatically creates sunlight (like the Sunny Day move). This powers up Fire, weakens Water, and lets it use its Grass-typed attack Solarbeam without needing to charge, a fine addition to its arsenal as it makes Water foes eager to attack and Ground Pokémon nervous. Finally, Groudon learns Fighting and Fire moves in addition to Ground, and its Rest technique heals itself fully at the cost of falling asleep for two turns.

Primal Groudon

Type: Ground/Fire

Base Stat Total: 770

Primal Groudon, functioning similarly to a Mega Pokémon, lumbers in with impressive stats and a terrific ability, Desolate Land, which amplifies the effects of regular harsh sunlight by entirely negating Water-type attacks (which would otherwise hit Primal Groudon hit for quadrupled damage). Bearing that in mind, it wields a fantastic number of resistances (seven!), suffers double damage only from fellow Ground-type moves, and tears foes asunder with its awesome Attack stat.

1. Mewtwo

Type: Psychic

Base Stat Total: 680

Introduced in: Pokémon Red and Blue (Generation 1)

A manmade Pokémon cloned from Mew's DNA, the iconic Mewtwo has long terrorized opponents. With incredible Special Attack and Speed, it often vanquishes foes before they can strike back. Mewtwo can also heal itself with Recover, and when it first debuted, Steel and Dark types didn't yet exist, making Psychic monsters the undisputed kings of Kanto.

If Mewtwo has a weakness, it's an underwhelming ability (Pressure) and a limited-type movepool. However, TMs and such can expand its options, and like Charizard, Mewtwo can morph into one of two Mega forms, further increasing its versatility.

Mega Mewtwo X

Type: Psychic/Fighting

Base Stat Total: 780

As of this writing, Mega Mewtwo's forms share the highest stat total (along with Mega Rayquaza). X's Attack is skyrocketed here, making the addition of the Fighting-type more than welcome, although Special Attack remains high enough to stay viable. Both defensive scores are balanced, making it difficult to exploit a weakness in this fearsome fighter.

Mega Mewtwo Y

Type: Psychic

Base Stat Total: 780

Retaining its original type, Mega Mewtwo Y's Special Attack increases to ungodly proportions. Its Special Defense and Speed also exceed that of X, but its Defense actually drops from its base form, exposing a potential weakness of an otherwise fantastic Pokémon.

Using Legendary Pokémon Competitively

With dozens of legendaries to browse, narrowing the list to just ten was a daunting challenge. As strong as these fellas are, remember that most competitions ban or restrict their usage, so adjust accordingly when constructing your ultimate team.

But for now, as we count the days until our next expedition, vote for your favorite legendary and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!

Questions & Answers

Question: Is the Pokemon Rayquaza stronger than Arceus?

Answer: In terms of pure base stat totals, no, but considering Rayquaza's moves, abilities, and mega evolution, I believe he's more competitive overall.

Question: What is the weakest legendary Pokemon?

Answer: If you count it (even official sources dispute its mythical status), I'd say Phione, who only has a base stat total of 480.

Question: Is Golurk a good Pokemon?

Answer: He's okay. While he's immune to three types and carries several resistances, his base stats are only decent and he has five weaknesses.

Question: Why isn’t Lunala on the list?

Answer: Lunala simply didn't quite make the cut. There are so many legendaries, but so few spaces.

Question: Which pokemon is better, Lunala or Mewtwo?

Answer: I'd say Mewtwo.

Question: Why is Mega Rayquaza not in first place?

Answer: Hey, at least Rayquaza made the list. When looking at these Pokemon, I factored in both their Mega and regular forms where applicable. In my humble opinion, Mewtwo's normal state (plus two different Mega options) definitely trumps Rayquaza in overall usefulness.

Plus, there's no denying Mewtwo's iconic status and absolute superiority in the generation where it debuted thanks to Dark and Steel's absence, and unlike Rayquaza's Ice fragility, it doesn't have a quadruple weakness.

Question: Isn't Arceus powerful? It's a legendary right?

Answer: It's true that Arceus currently has the highest total base stat total of all Pokemon, excluding mega evolutions. So why isn't it here? Well, first, there's its lackluster ability that can shift its type to whatever type of Plate its holding. This lets you alter Arceus's element, sure, but doing so uses both an ability and a held item slot that could have been used for better purposes.

Then, Arceus's base type (Normal) isn't particularly good defensively, and Arceus doesn't learn many important moves while leveling, although its broad access to TMs helps there. Overall, it's definitely strong, but a different legendary with a useful ability and cleverly held item could probably take an Arceus.

Question: Is Arceus stronger than Mew?

Answer: In gameplay, yes. In lore, probably.

Question: What about Kyogre and Primal Kyogre, Groudon's counterpart?

Answer: With a good defensive type and great ability, Kyogre/Primal Kyogre narrowly missed this list.

Question: What do you think about Mew?

Answer: Mew's a pretty cool cat, but his stats are comparatively low (600), he doesn't specialize in any one area, and he never got a mega form.

Question: What is the most powerful Pokémon?

Answer: Eternamax Eternatus, although you can't legally use him in battle.

© 2018 Jeremy Gill

Comments

GARY on August 22, 2020:

is Zygarde any good?

Hermione on July 19, 2020:

I go for Xerneas she's the best I mean not against Mewtwo, but I really adore her kindness toward Diancie and her love for peace

Yeetus115 on April 07, 2020:

I have Pokemon White version 2, and it was such a surprise that Regirock appeared in an otherwise empty room.

Bmh on January 10, 2020:

I like groudon because it has primal form and thats really cool

Pokètoons on February 22, 2019:

I rather meet Xerneas! She looks cool!

Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on February 05, 2019:

@Poppy

Thank you! Groudon's dinosaur-like design definitely enthralled many players, and capturing legendaries was especially exhilarating back before we could trade with players worldwide, which made them feel even more unique.

One of my favorite aspects of legendary Pokemon is discovering how badly we've been mispronouncing their names due to the lack of in-game voice acting; for instance, I long referred to Kyogre as "Kai-o-grey".

Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on February 05, 2019:

Great article! It's so exciting when you finally encounter a legendary Pokemon in a game, especially if you don't know it's coming. I remember the awe of finding Zapdos in the Power Plant back when playing Fire Red as a kid, or finally getting a picture of Mew in Pokemon Snap.

I always liked Groudon as well, ever since playing the first Mystery Dungeon game (though he was more of a world-destroying demigod than a Pokemon you could catch).

Nico on November 30, 2018:

what about reshiram

Darkrai on September 22, 2018:

It running hypnosis and dream eater or dark void is OP

Alan on September 07, 2018:

Finnally someone remebers zekrom i love zekrom and now that he should have a gx card i cant wait zekrom is also my favorite pokemon