The Top Ten Pokémon from the First Four Generations

The Top Ten Pokémon from the First Four Generations

As Pokémon fans across the globe return to the Sinnoh region today, it is a perfect time to examine the greatest creatures from the games. Game Freak has created hundreds of monsters to fill the world of Pokémon with. To design these creatures, they turned to numerous sources, from traditional folklore to real-life animals. Then, they imbued these creatures with special abilities, like lightning strikes, to create electric mice. Finally, they created evolution lines for several of these creatures, designing both less developed and more advanced forms.

With over eight hundred pokémon available to catch today, there is a multitude of options for every person to name a different favorite. Moreover, while some may enjoy dragons more, others may enjoy the normal types. Still, some Pokémon have proven to be universally more popular than others. In many ways, this popularity reflects the role that they played in their respective games. However, the anime series and movies have also greatly influenced their popularity as well.

With so many pokémon to choose from, we have narrowed down this list to the first four generations, from Red to Diamond. Though, even these four games leave 493 pokémon on the playing field.

Presenting the top ten Pokémon from the first four generations

10. Pikachu


Love him or hate him, Pikachu has become the face of the Pokémon brand ever since the anime picked him as their mascot. This little electric mouse carries quite the punch in both the games and the anime. However, many who play the games will agree that allowing him to evolve into Raichu is preferable to keeping him as Pikachu.

While Pikachu appeared in Red and Blue as the 25th entry in the pokédex, his evolution line begins with the 172nd entry, Pichu. Pichu is considerably smaller than Pikachu, but he also has the electric pouches that define the line. Once Pichu evolves into Pikachu, he basically triples in weight while only gaining a few extra inches of height.

Beyond the pouches on his cheeks, Pikachu is easily identifiable from his lightning-bolt-shaped tail. Despite widespread belief, there was never a Pikachu with a black tip on his tail. Instead, he has always had a darker brown that blended into his yellow fur near the base of his tail.

Even though Pikachu first appeared in Game Freak’s game, he held no importance during Red and Blue. He was only a valid option for an electric-type monster as trainers worked up to the Elite Four. Instead, his exploits as Ash Ketchum’s partner rocketed him to stardom. The Pikachu from the anime series refuses to stay in his ball. Thus, he is ever-present in Ash’s adventures, traveling from region to region.

9. Palkia


Palkia played a key part in the plot for Pokémon Pearl and Shining Pearl. Throughout the game, the player has several encounters with Team Galactic. As the trainer travels to new areas in the Sinnoh region, they learn that Team Galactic and their leader, Cyrus, desire to use one of two legendary pokémon to recreate the entire universe. Thus, they summon Palkia to Mt. Coronet so that they can take advantage of his space-bending abilities.

Palkia has the special ability to warp space, possibly even creating alternate realities. With this power, this pokémon can travel to far-off locations in the universe or may even move between dimensions. Moreover, legends state that space stabilizes with each breath that this creature takes. Due to his space-rending abilities, the people of the Sinnoh region worshipped Palkia as a deity.

Those who capture Palkia will quickly discover that he has a signature move, the Spacial Rend. This dragon-type move tears not only the opponent but the space around the opponent. This move also has a high chance to critically hit its target. Thus, Palkia can cause massive damage against his opponents.

Unlike the games, the anime first introduced Palkia along with Dialga and Darkrai in The Rise of Darkrai, where Team Galactic played no role. Instead, Palkia and Dialga caused havoc in and around Alamos Town as they fought, even when they were not in the same dimension. Eventually, they take their battle at the same time and place that Ash is in. With the intervention of another pokémon, Darkrai, the war between these two legendaries quells and they returned to their home dimensions.

8. Totodile


As fans moved on to the second generation, they found that the game had another trio of starters waiting to greet them. Amongst these three pokémon was the second water starter, Totodile, who resembled a bipedal crocodile. As trainers raised their Totodile, it evolved into Croconaw before reaching its final form, Feraligatr. While all three of these forms maintained the blue color of their starting form, they both grew in size and ferociousness with each new form. Still, Totodile remains the cutest of these three forms.

The pokédex warned trainers that Totodile’s jaws are capable of crushing everything. Also, these creatures do not hesitate to bite anything that moves. So, becoming a trainer to a Totodile is a dangerous task, but the little crocodilian makes it well worth it. His water attacks and abilities make him a powerful choice as they move through the eight gyms in the Johto region.

As Ash’s adventures took him to the Johto region, he fought with Misty over the right to make Totodile his pokémon. Even though Misty specialized in water pokémon, Ash won out to catch this playful little creature. Thus, Totodile became one of Ash’s trusted companions as he traveled through the Johto region. Eventually, Ash left his Totodile with Professor Oak before he traveled to the Hoenn region.

7. Torterra


Trainers who booted up Diamond and Pearl once again met up with another trio of starter pokémon. For those who loved fire monsters, Chimchar welcomed them to monkey around with him. Meanwhile, water trainers could pick up Piplup. Finally, those who enjoyed the greener side could pick up Tutwig as their first pokémon. As Tutwig gained experience, he evolved into Grotle before he reached his final evolution, Torterra, a grass-ground type pokémon.

While most starter pokémon dramatically increase in size as they evolve, Torterra is one of the largest final evolutions for these creatures. He is bulky both in width and height. He even develops a small tree on the back of his shell in this final evolution. Meanwhile, this turtle forms a distinct beak, which resembles the flesh-rending beak of a snapping turtle.

In the anime series, Ash picked up a Turtwig after a scuffle with the ever-present Team Rocket. However, he demanded a battle before he would join Ash’s team. As Ash continued to travel throughout the region, his Turtwig grew in experience and eventually evolved into a Torterra. Turtwig’s final evolution occurred during yet another battle against Team Rocket and their antics.

Meanwhile, Torterra made a massive impact in the Detective Pikachu film, where many of them were the subjects of growth experiments. Thus, there was a sequence where Tim, Pikachu, and their friends scramble across the backs of mountain sized Torterras.

6. Gardevoir


As trainers traveled through the Hoenn region, they eventually met up with the newest psychic-type pokémon, Gardevoir. Gardevoir’s evolution line begins with Ralts. As Ralts gains experience, it evolves into Kirlia, who resembles a child who is learning ballet, especially with how it stands on its toes. Finally, this creature evolves into the embrace pokémon, Gardevoir. However, male Kirlias that hold a Dawn Stone become the psychic-fighting type pokémon, Gallade.

Gardevoir follows along with the dance theme that Kirlia began, for its body seems to form a white, flowing skirt. It also continues to stand on the tips of its toes. Gardevoir also has a Mega evolution which gains an even larger skirt, akin to a ballroom gown.

Gardevoir’s pokédex entry indicates that this creature is one of the most powerful psychics around. If they feel that their trainer requires protection, a Gardevoir can use all their psychic powers to create a small black hole. Even the smallest black holes for the briefest amount of time require a tremendous amount of energy to sustain.

There have been several Gardevoirs that appeared in the anime series. Most of these creatures appeared briefly with negligible impact on the story. However, there have been a few that made an impact on the story. For instance, one trainer, Diantha, had a Gardevoir that outmatched Pikachu in power and speed. Even when Team Rocket captured this Gardevoir, it easily escaped when it mega evolved. Later, this Gardevoir once again battled against Ash and his Greninja.

5. Lucario


Lucario has gained a strong following with both pokémon fans and Smash Brothers fans, for he has become a strong contender in both games. This Fighting-Steel-type pokémon begins his evolutionary line with the tiny Riolu. Trainers that gain strong friendship bonds with Riolu get the pleasure of witnessing his evolution into Lucario.

Since Lucario can study auras to predict movements, it is understandable if one would assume that he was a psychic pokémon. However, his abilities stem from his strong understanding of fighting techniques and the auras that fighters give off. This understanding of auras also permits Lucarios to manipulate energy to form offensive blasts.

Lucario also gained a mega-evolution in later games, where they developed new spikes on its feet as well as red streaks on each of its appendages. Legends in the Kalos region suggest that Mega Lucario was the first pokémon that discovered mega evolutions. However, their new powers as a mega evolution make them very destructive.

The anime series has featured several Lucario, testifying to the popularity of this creature. First, a Lucario appeared in the film, Lucario and the Mystery of Mew. This Lucario belonged to an ancient trainer, Sir Aaron, who sealed him away in a staff. After centuries, Ash released this Lucario so that he could guide him to the Tree of Beginning. During this journey, Lucario learned that his old master did not abandon him and the kingdom. Instead, Sir Aaron had sacrificed himself to save the kingdom.

4. Dialga


While Palkia became the pokémon that Team Galactic summoned in Pearl, Dialga came to earth in Diamond. Likewise, Dialga featured prominently on the covers of both Diamond and the recent remake, Brilliant Diamond. This large blue pokémon possesses the unique ability to control the flow of time. Because of his abilities, the ancient people in the Sinnoh region worshiped Dialga as a deity, believing that time began to move once Dialga was born. They also believed that time flows with the beating of this pokémon’s heart.

Since Team Galactic aimed to remake the universe by controlling both time and space, they summoned Dialga to earth during Diamond’s events. Thus, trainers had to defeat Dialga as he was under the control of Cyrus, Team Galactic’s leader. After the player defeats Cyrus, they get their chance to catch Dialga and add him to their team.

In the anime series, Dialga made his large debut during the movie, The Rise of Darkrai. Rather than causing trouble for the earth via the misdeeds of Team Galactic, Dialga and Palkia battled across time and space on their own accord. Their battles created distortions that threatened to destroy Alamos Town. Things got even worse when these two legendaries crossed dimensions to battle where the town stood. Luckily, their battle ended thanks to the interference of both the human residents and Darkrai.

Dialga continued to show up from time to time throughout the series and movies. However, he remained a rare sight, since he is a legendary creature.

3. Lugia


When traveling across the seas in the Pokémon world, one might get the rare chance to hear Lugia’s song. Lugia is one of the legendary birds that resided around the world. When it came to this bird, his realm was the oceans, where he was the unquestioned guardian. His power over the seas also made him the most powerful of the legendary birds. Likewise, the legends of the Johto region stated that Lugia had the power to quell raging storms.

Lugia made his debut in the second generation, where he was the mascot for Pokémon Silver and, later, SoulSilver. As trainers traveled across the Johto region, they defeated the evil ambitions of Team Rocket. This defeat allowed them to get their hands on the Silver Wing, which allowed them to capture the legendary Lugia.

Lugia soon returned to play a key role in a spin-off game, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. The Lugia in this game clearly had something wrong with him, for his brilliant white scales had turned black. Shadow Lugia was the creation of the criminal organization, Cipher. Unlike the average pokémon found during that game, the player could not purify Lugia through any normal means. However, the player could purify him in the Purify Chamber with all nine sets at maximum tempo.

Lugia also played a significant role in the second Pokémon movie, Pokémon 2000: The Power of One. As a wealthy collector, Lawrence III, traveled the region, he made it his goal to gather all three of the legendary birds: Articuno, Moltres, and Zapados. Unfortunately, he not only caused disturbances in nature but could not contain the birds. When they escaped, they began to battle against each other. Luckily, Ash made contact with Lugia, whose song calmed the three birds.

2. Rayquaza


Rayquaza made his home high up in the clouds, near the ozone layer, where he took in nutrients from water particles. However, he also was a particularly important component to the Legendary trio that came from the Hoenn region. He reigned over the sky while the other two legendaries, Groudon and Kyogre, ruled over the land and sea. However, if Groudon and Kyogre began to battle, Rayquaza would descend to the ground to restore the peace.

Such was the case in Pokémon Emerald, which had Rayquaza as its mascot creature. During the events of this game, both Team Aqua and Team Magma succeeded in waking up the legendary pokémon, Groudon and Kyogre. Thus, those two began a battle that threatened to destroy most of the region. Thus, the player contacted Rayquaza to end the battle. After Rayquaza returned to the sky pillar, the player had the chance to capture this legendary creature.

On the other hand, Rayquaza played a distinctly different role as he first appeared in the anime during Destiny Deoxys. Since Groudon and Kyogre’s battle had already come and passed in the anime, Rayquaza did not restore peace between this duo. Instead, Rayquaza became agitated as it believed that Deoxys was invading his territory.

1. Charizard


When it comes to fire-type pokémon, there are none more popular than the very first fire-type starter, Charizard. When players started up either Blue or Red, Professor Oak greeted them before giving them a choice of three pokémon. Players could pick up the water pokémon, Squirtle, the grass pokémon, Bulbasaur, or the fire-pokémon, Charmander. Once they began their journey with Charmander by their side, they would eventually get the chance to evolve their partner into Charmeleon then finally Charizard.

As Charizard, this pokémon gained two large wings that made him resemble a traditional European dragon. However, Charizard was a fire-flying type and never was a dragon. Still, he could learn a few dragon-type moves, like Dragon Pulse. Meanwhile, the flame on its tail gains a blazing nature, indicating its emotions.

In the anime series, Ash quickly befriended a Charmander when he saved it from freezing to death on a rainy day. As he learned that Charmander’s trainer had abandoned him, he condemned the prior owner. Eventually, by proving his loyalty to the Charmander, he convinced the pokémon to join his team. As Charmander evolved into Charizard, Ash found that the pokémon no longer respected his orders. Often, Charizard would respond to Ash by blazing fire straight into his face. Certainly, Charmander knew that Ash was a terrible trainer.

Who was your favorite Pokémon?

We have shared our picks for the top ten pokémon from the first four generations. We chose these pokémon with a combination of popularity, lore importance, and personal preference.

Still, we would love to hear who your favorite pokémon were. Comment below to let us know who you would have picked for this list.

Do you have old and used Pokémon toys?

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Made in collaboration with:

Chris Ingledue 


Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!

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