All Pokemon Villains Ranked Weakest To Strongest

Three People Obssessed with Perfection.... Pokemon Villains Everyone!

Pokemon’s villains are a large and varied bunch, making them not the easiest to rank. For the purposes of this list, they will be referred to as the leader and their team, with repeat entries if they appear again in a different enough form. So with that, here are all of Pokemon’s villains ranked from the wimps to the world-ending threats. 


Honorable Mentions. The Spinoff Villains (Various)

But first, these guys should briefly be addressed. It is rather difficult to compare the relative strengths of Pokemon Trainers to actual Pokemon that can talk, and while the manga still has Trainers it's presented in such a different manner that comparing them would be a futile task. Instead here’s a brief overview of the other villains divided by series. 

From Pokemon Masters, Team Break are sort of like the main series villains but as it is a mobile game they’re significantly more limited in scope. Very much Rocket likes who want to steal Pokemon, they’re of decent strength and are likely comparable to Rocket if we got a better grasp on them. 

Then there’s Nobunaga from Pokemon Conquest. He slots neatly into the not-so-evil category with his goal of wanting to bring peace to the land by whatever means necessary. But considering Conquest doesn’t have Poke Balls and instead characters bond with one Pokemon at a time, even with his literal Legendary partner Nobunaga isn’t lasting long against a strong Trainer. He’s still cool though.

In a similar category are the villains from the Ranger games. These are the Go-Rock Squad, Team Dim Sun, and the Pokemon Pinchers. Bunches of goofballs for the most part who live in regions where capturing Pokemon is almost unheard of and who seek to do so anyway through devious means (although some do have partners much like the player does). They’re all kind of lumped together because of this.

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon is a bit trickier. The usual villains, the likes of Team Skull and Team Meanies, are not powerful at all and are largely troublemakers who just don’t like the player. Then there are the endgame bosses… who are quite often literal Legendaries or in the case of Super Mystery Dungeon, sentient negative feelings. Yeah, these games get weird. 

Finally, there’s Adventures, which has a great deal of villains but only a few worth addressing as the rest are smaller parts or repeats of ones from the games. These people are complicated, but here’s an attempt to make it brief. Guile Hideout is a mysterious man clad in armor with ties to Hoenn and Jirachi, able to make use of lackluster Pokemon like Surskit. The Masked Man is another mysterious figure who wants to use Celebi to undo a mistake but is often harsh in his methods. And Lance is an “evil” version of the Dragon Tamer who can talk to Pokemon and is trying to find Lugia, changing from his goal of creating a “Pokemon utopia” to a more complex character as the series goes on.


18. Sordward and Shielbert (Sword and Shield)

Behold, the worst hair in Pokemon

Notice I never said these are all good characters. These brothers with ridiculous hair are not only the weakest villains in the series, but they’re also among its worst characters. 

Pointy and pointier here claim to be descended from the ancient hero kings who saved Galar in the past. Only problem there is the events of the game prior to this proved those kings were in fact Zacian and Zamazenta. Thus their claim to nobility is a lie unless they’re descended from two canine Pokemon. 

The brothers do not take kindly to this and try to discredit this new information… by Dymaxing Pokemon in stadiums across Galar and causing damage and fright. If you want people to take your claims seriously, maybe don’t destroy the region? Just a thought. 

But eventually, the brothers are stopped and realize the errors of their ways, even going as far as to help fund a massive tournament after the DLC plots are finished. It took them a while, but the idiots got there.

As for Pokemon, both have a Sirfetch’d, with the rest of their teams being offensive (Golisopod, Doublade, and Bisharp) for Sordward and defensive (Bronzong, Phalanx, and Klinklang) for Shielbert. On the surface not terrible, and their levels were in the mid-sixties. The issue is the context.

This plot takes place entirely in the postgame after you’ve defeated Leon and his team and his team that caps at 65. Previous Pokemon games would often get around this by making postgame content higher level than the Champion, but here? It's lower and has less type diversity. Unless you somehow beat Leon with a seriously under-leveled team, these guys will be little to no challenge. 

But honestly, that may be the point. With their over-the-top hair and ridiculous plans, these guys are clearly meant to be joke characters. And on that front, they’re not bad at all, they definitely get some laughs. But as far as this list goes, they’re stuck on the very bottom. 


17. Piers and Team Yell (Sword and Shield)

Piers, singing with no voice acting since 2019

Team Yell and its leader in Piers being on this list is a bit dubious, as they aren’t really that villainous. But they are officially listed with the villainous teams and have the “Team” title, so alas here they are. Marnie’s chaotic fans and her brother.

Because yes, that’s pretty much all they amount to. Overly passionate supporters of your rival Marnie who go as far as to hinder other Gym Challengers so Marnie has fewer obstacles in her path. Definitely not the nicest behavior, but compared to the actual villains of Pokemon? Pretty harmless.

And when you defeat Marnie, the group takes it in stride and cheers for you instead. Taking it a step further, Piers even helps deal with the idiotic brothers in the postgame and is an overall friendly presence. This all goes to show he isn’t a bad guy, he just cares deeply for his sister and knows to back down once he realizes she’ll be okay.

Piers is fought once during the main story, as the series’ first Dark Type Gym Leader. With a team of Scrafty, Malamar, Skuntank, and Obstagoon, he can be a decent threat but likely not much of a challenge. He notably is the only Galarian Gym Leader to not allow Dynamaxing though.

In later rematches, he is merely a powerful Pokemon Trainer and has added the non-Dark Type Toxtricity to his team, a move quite fitting as his also Dark Type sister has a Toxicroak to throw people off too. But here, he is merely a friendly Trainer who’s focusing on his music. His days of “villainy” are behind him. 


16. Archer and Team Rocket (Gold and Silver, Crystal, HeardGold and SoulSilver)

Archer is there I guess

Moving on from someone who’s barely a villain we have…. someone who’s probably the most boring villain. Archer has made a few appearances, some before he even got a name, and none are too memorable aside from being somewhat of a boss battle. 

Archer fulfills two roles depending on the game. In the Kanto remakes he is merely a Rocket Executive under Giovanni, this is much expanded in Let’s Go but FireRed/LeafGreen has it as well. The Johto games are where he is the leader, however, as Giovanni is absent. 

And in these, he’s… fine? He does lead Team Rocket in committing acts of cruelty, such as cutting off Slowpoke Tails and using radio waves to forcibly evolve Pokemon (the Red Gyarados). But compared to Giovanni he’s quite lacking as a memorable character. He has none of the charisma (quite fitting his goal was just to find Giovanni).

As for Pokemon? When fought as Rocket’s leader he just uses Koffing, Houndour, and Houndoom. Not the strongest but tougher than the usual Rockets, and with Johto’s level curve Houndoom is quite strong for that point in the game. Other battles in the series give him more of the usual Rocket fare (Raticate, Golbat, Muk, stuff like that), making him never too much of a challenge.

Archer was never meant to be a leading villain and it shows. When his gig as the main villain of a game was just to bring back the previous game’s antagonist, you can tell this guy isn’t much of a threat. Some lines of dialogue suggest he’s crueler than the average Rocket, but when that’s all you got it's no wonder this guy was faceless for so many years.


15. Archie and Maxie and Team Aqua and Team Magma (Ruby and Sapphire, Emerald, OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire)

The pirate and nerd of Hoenn 

And now we have the most idiotic but still fun villains in Pokemon, Archie of Team Aqua and Maxie of Team Magma. They share a spot due to being largely palette swaps and only changing their like one unique Pokemon. But unlike the brothers, at least these goofs are fun. 

As anyone who’s played the Hoenn games knows, Archie and Maxie’s plan is to awaken an ancient Pokemon to expand the seas (Archie and Aqua) or the land (Maxie and Magma). Except they didn’t think through what awakening a rightfully sealed ancient Pokemon would do to the world, plus they used the wrong colored orb in the originals…. Yeah, they’re idiots, but fun idiots who realize the error of their ways.

And as for Pokemon, it's pretty much just the grunts and even executives but stronger. There’s the standard Mighteyena and Golbat (Crobat later on), Sharpedo for Archie, and Camerupt for Maxie. They also respectively get Muk and Weezing in the remakes for their final battle, and their shark/camel can Mega Evolve. Barring something I’ll address much later in the list, that’s it. Not really much at all, and Hoenn provides plenty of counters. Just better than the people below them.

Archie and Maxie are definitely fun characters, but that doesn’t buy you any favors on a list of strengths. Perhaps we’ll see more of them later, but as it stands these eco-terrorists aren’t going any higher than this. 


14 Guzma and Team Skull (Sun and Moon, UltraSun and UltraMoon)

Its ya boy Guzma!

Look at that, another “villainous team” who really isn’t that bad! This is a recent trend in Pokemon, giving rather mixed results. As for Guzma and Team Skull? They’re alright, but that’s partially due to me not liking Gen 7’s Alola much in general. 

Team Skull’s story, like Alola in general, is rather complicated, but in short, they are more or less a gang formed of people who don’t like how Alola is run. Guzma himself failed the island challenge (Alola’s version of the Gym Challenge) when he was younger, but still considers himself the strongest Trainer in the region. 

Without going into the convoluted story in too much detail, Team Skull is interwoven with the real villains in the Aether Foundation, helping them in their goal to bring in the Ultra Beasts. But in succession, every high-ranking member of Team Skull decides Aether is going too far and helps the player instead. Guzma even disbands Team Skull in the postgame and helps with Rainbow Rocket in the Ultra games. 

As for Pokemon, Guzma is a Bug specialist and one of the stronger ones in the series with his final team. But before that, he has Golisopod, Ariados, Masquerain, and Pinsir…. With incomplete movesets. At least later on they’re more complete and Scizor is added in, and in his final team in the Ultra games, Ariados is swapped for Vikavolt. But as it stands it's a competent showing and nothing more.

So yeah, Guzma. He’s not terrible and becomes a somewhat decent person. So pretty middle of the road both as a villain and a Trainer. At least he’s got the whole Team Skull flare going for him. 


13. Chairman Rose and Macro Cosmos (Sword and Shield)

The world’s most impatient businessman 

Chairman Rose is an unusual villain. He is the very first character you see in Sword and Shield, taking the place of the professor in introducing the world. On top of that, he is not all that villainous throughout much of the game, only showing his true colors near the end. And his plan is… to save Galar? Hold up.

Apparently Rose couldn’t wait one day to solve a problem 1000 years in the future. He reveals Galar is due for an energy crisis in 1000 years and plans to use the Legendary Eternatus to bring about the Darkest Day to resolve this. But in a case of Archie and Maxie syndrome, he fails to predict that said Pokemon might be dangerous. Its literally called the Darkest Day, how could that be a good thing Rose?

And so Rose fails and is never seen again, having turned himself in after his failure. Quite a shame too, as he had a lot of potential. He was the most powerful person in Galar, even over Leon, and its people respected him. He came to his position of power through seemingly hard work and he wanted things to stay that way. Rose wasn’t evil, just shortsighted. 

Although his battle paints things a bit differently. His team is mono Steel (Escavalier, Ferrothorn, Perrserker, Klinklang, and Gigantamax Copperajah) and is a threat if you don’t have good counters. And then his theme…. goes hard.

Pokémon Sword & Shield - Chairman Rose Battle Music

Suddenly, as if representing the shift in his character, you battle him with this epic theme playing. The Latin “Rosa sedo credo” literally translates to “I believe in the rose”, which is rather fitting for him thinking of himself as some hero. Even more so is the misheard lyrics “Rose save everyone!”, which was likely not intentional but if you’re listening for English it's quite easy to hear.

Chairman Rose might be the biggest missed opportunity of any villain in the series. With his position of power, goals, and misguided sense of heroism, this man could have been one of the best anti-villains out there, but instead, we got a rushed finale that has sparks of a great idea. At least his team is as challenging as it could be. 


12. Lysandre and Team Flare (X and Y)

Lysandre may be evil but at least he’s fashionable 

Lysandre is, to put it simply, Thanos but badly written and red. Here is another villain who seems a nice but strange guy at first, only to tell you he is Team Flare’s leader later on. And like Team Flare, he is obsessed with beauty and ridding the world of all things ugly. 

Yep, his goal is quite literally to kill everyone and everything he doesn’t consider beautiful. This is only explained in full by a random NPC you can’t even meet until after Lysandre is defeated, for some baffling reason. It seems Lysandre was once a good guy who tried to help people, but eventually, he became convinced of humanity’s stupidity and decided to end them all. While this isn’t the worst motivation for a villain, its implementation leaves a lot to be desired.

And so he tries to use the Ultimate Weapon of Kalos legend to do so, powered by life energy (Xerneas in X) or death energy (Yveltal in Y). He is stopped of course, but not before the weapon fires once, damaging a town but seemingly no people. Except for the Team Flare HQ you were in, that gets completely destroyed and Lysandre with it. This marks one of the rare instances in Pokemon where someone appears to die, as we never see him after this. He’s simply gone, unless you buy into the theory that in X the energy from Xerneas made him immortal before he was trapped, which…. that’s rather dark. 

His team is rather competent, consisting of Mienshao, Honchkrow, Pyroar, and Mega Gyarados. Not the flashiest but decent levels and coverage, and Megas are no joke. 

Red Thanos is far from the best or strongest villain, but he’s definitely memorable. In fact, Team Flare as a whole could be described that way: dumb but hard to forget for how flashy they are. And that’s not even addressing Lysandre’s weird Doc Ock suit thing, which is…. certainly a fashion choice. 


11. Giovanni and Team Rocket (Red and Blue, Yellow, FireRed and LeafGreen, Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee)

Giovanni looking like the boss he is

Giovanni should need no introduction—the original mafia boss villain of Pokemon and the leader of Team Rocket. Chances are most people who know Pokemon know this guy, and for good reason.

As the leader of Team Rocket, Giovanni’s goal is quite simple: amassing large quantities of money and Pokemon. He is cruel in his methods, not afraid to abuse or even kill Pokemon or people who stand in his way. But really that’s where his deeds end for the most part. He’s definitely evil, but compared to some of the more messed up villains, he’s a lot more grounded. 

His Pokemon do vary a fair bit, but in the Kanto games there’s always a Rhyhorn or Rhydon (sometimes both), Kangaskhan (except at his Gym), Dugtrio, and both Nidoking and Nidoqueen, at one point or another. Yellow gives him Onix early on and a Persian, seemingly to reference the anime. A fairly ranged selection of Pokemon covering nearly every Ground type in Kanto, plus some extras.

Later in the series, he adds a Honchkrow, rather fitting of his new look. And finally, in Black and White 2’s Pokemon World Tournament, he brings Rhyperior, Golem, Marowak, Sandslash, Garchomp, Gliscor, Krookodile, and Hippowdon into the mix. This is standard for the Gym Leaders in this tournament, but as Giovanni is also a villainous team leader, it gives him the largest amount of known Pokemon of any Pokemon villain (unless you count Team Plasma’s N as a villain). 

But going back to Kanto, after Giovanni is defeated, he simply leaves. At this point in the series, it was unknown what his intentions for the future were and…. It kind of still is a mystery. He shows up and seemingly hasn’t forgotten Team Rocket, but also isn’t reforming them. Given how much Pokemon likes to return to Kanto though, this is one mystery that will likely one day see a resolution. 


10. Greevil and Cipher (XD: Gale of Darkness)

Greevil looks creepy regardless of the picture 

And the winner for the most obvious villain is Mr. Verich from XD! After the legitimately shocking villain reveal in Colosseum this was a bit of a step-down, but in return, we get one of the most unapologetically evil villains in the series. His Japanese name is literally Deathgold! 

As the Grand Master of Cipher, Greevil’s goal is to create an army of unstoppable Shadow Pokemon and take over the world. Extremely edgy, but it's Orre, it fits. And since Shadow Pokemon in XD are super effective against non-Shadows, it would have been quite easy for him if he wasn’t stopped. Especially with a Shadow Lugia in his possession. 

When you fight Greevil, he leads with that Lugia…. you more than likely chuck a Master Ball at and it's out of the picture. Okay, he still has a full team of entirely Shadow Pokemon. Rhydon, Tauros, Exeggutor, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres. Yep, he has four Legendaries in total, all of them Shadow. The Orre games are known for being difficult, and while this is the easier of the two, it's no cakewalk. 

Greevil, true to his cartoonishly evil nature, doesn’t take defeat laying down and threatens to blow up the base with you in it. He’s talked down by his son and we never see him again (aside from a rematch that only really exists to let you catch the Shadows you missed). And thus ends the crazy bald man’s foray into Pokemon, may we never see this psycho again.


9. Cyrus and Team Galactic (Diamond and Pearl, Platinum, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl)

Cyrus looking angry for some reason

Cyrus is one of those people who likes to watch the world burn. Convinced that emotions are the source of all conflict in the world, Cyrus seeks to destroy them and create an empty world in his image. It can’t be said that Cyrus doesn’t have big goals. 

In a sense, this makes him comparable to Lysandre, as both found the world as it was unsatisfactory and sought to remake it. Unlike the man in red though, Cyrus’ motivations are explored a bit better, and we understand his messed up reasonings for wanting to use Sinnoh’s Legendary Pokemon for his goals. He’s still very evil and isn’t justified in the slightest, but this at least makes him more interesting.

His team is rather consistent, being Honchkrow, Gyarados, Crobat, and Weavile in all but Platinum, where he adds a Houndoom. A fairly competent team, unless you have a pebble. Yeah, that’s a glaring weakness to Rock there.

… Hold on a moment, he has a Crobat? A Pokemon that is notably obtained with strong friendship when his whole character is about getting rid of emotions? Either Game Freak forgot. he stole it from someone, or there’s more to Cyrus than meets the eye (or he shoved happiness berries down its throat, also an option). 

Depending on the version, Cyrus is either still out there somewhere or trapped in another dimension, a fate which he probably doesn’t mind too much. Just hopefully there’s no rocks there.


8. Gonzap and Team Snagem (Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness)

This is probably not the buffest man in Orre

Yes, this is a real Pokemon character. Gonzap is the leader of Orre’s Team Snagem, a group that can be described as a more successful Team Rocket. After all, they built a machine that can capture Pokemon owned by Trainers and were quite successful with it. Rocket only dreams of being that good at their “job”.

In Colosseum, Snagem is largely intertwined with the other evil team in Cipher, helping them capture Pokemon so they could be turned into Shadow Pokemon. This is only stopped when the player character betrays Snagem and steals their machine, using it to get the Pokemon back.

Gonzap is ultimately defeated in Colosseum along with Cipher… only to reappear in the sequel XD. Here he once again tries to get the machine back, but after failing he actually helps the player stop the new Cipher. It's just a one-and-done, and Snagem is still out there, but it does show some growth on his part.

Gonzap’s Pokemon vary a bit between appearances. In Colosseum, he has Crawdaunt, Shiftry, Pinsir, Hariyama, and Shadow Skarmory in his first match, while his second adds in many more physical attackers. XD’s first match has him adopt a more annoying method of battle with Fake Out and status moves aplenty, while the postgame rematch gives him an interesting strategy of Hyper Beam (and similar moves) before using Roar to avoid the recharge turn. For a gangster, he’s got a lot of different strategies. 

Team Snagem is definitely still out there, led by someone who clearly understands how to battle. They may not be the biggest threat in the world, but given their history of helping people who are, they’re not to be taken lightly. And that’s not even considering Gonzap probably could knock out a Trainer himself without much difficulty. 


7. Penny/Cassiopeia and Team Star (Scarlet and Violet)

Penny questioning why she’s here

If this list was based on the level of villainy, Team Star would be near the bottom. They’re not really evil at all, just kids who had an unfortunate lot in life. But since this is strength-based, well…. Team Star has serious firepower. 

But first, Team Star is simply a group of students who were bullied due to not fitting in to such an extent that they stopped going to school. One thing led to another, and before long they were operating as Team Star at bases throughout Galar. A group of delinquents led by someone they only knew as Cassiopeia.

Who of course turns out to be the shy girl Penny that the player meets not long after arriving at the school. With Penny and the other members defeated, Team Star is… accepted back into the school by the principal, as he was not aware of the bullying that happened before he took the position. So actually a good ending for these troubled youths, going from troublemakers to more or less teachers at their old bases, putting their skills to good use.

And those skills are definitely there. Penny’s team, to the surprise of no one given her Eevee backpack, is entirely Eeveelutions, missing only Esepon and Glaceon. But the real reason Team Star is this high is the other members. The Dark-type Giacomo, Fire-type Mela, Poison-type Atticus, Fairy-type Ortega, and Fighting-type Eri all have a special Revaroom. This Revaroom matches their type and has heightened stats, including HP. And come after several other Pokemon of their type. All of this serves to make these Team Star battles among the hardest parts of Scarlet and Violet.

Penny and Team Star have become accepted again, and with their new positions, more people of similar skills might be in Paldea’s future. And that’s good, the residents of Paldea (looking at you Nemona) would welcome the challenge. 


6. Lusamine and the Aether Foundation (Sun and Moon, UltraSun and UltraMoon)

Pokemon’s worst mom in her strange fashion phase

To say Lusamine is a complicated character would be putting it lightly. She is definitely one of the series’ most evil though, and her strength is no joke as well. And she, um…. has an interesting fashion sense.

Taking cues from some other villains on this list, Lusamine not only has twisted ideas about beauty but also is a terrible parent. Seeking to use the Ultra Beasts to reach Ultra Space, she is neglectful and even verbally abuses her own children, ignoring their attempts to reach her. (notably, members of Team Skull and even Guzma himself are involved in this right up until the end)

This culminates in Ultra Space, where Lusamine calls it beautiful and her daughter ugly after fusing with the Ultra Beast Nihilego. This drives her mad and even poisons her, but eventually, she is defeated and healed and seems to be regaining some sanity when the game ends. This is all referring to the original Sun and Moon, as the Ultra games…. kind of messed up the story in a lot of areas, including here. 

Her team is fairly solid, consisting of Clefable, Lilligant, Mismagius (Lopunny in the Ultra games),  Milotic, and Bewear. This is complicated further in Sun and Moon, where all of her Pokemon gain a stat buff much like the Totem Pokemon in the same games. It was a solid team before, but with this, she can seriously cause some pain if you’re not careful.

A postgame scene with her daughter Lillie reveals where this insanity came from. Her husband Mohn was researching the Ultra Beasts before he mysteriously vanished, and her attempts to find him became an obsession. She soon was controlling of her children, even dressing Lillie as one. In a way, her actions came from love, albeit a very twisted form of it.


5. Ghetsis and Team Plasma (Black and White, Black and White 2) 

Pokemon’s worst dad about to murder a child

It would be hard to argue against Ghetsis being the most evil character in Pokemon, considering he practically brainwashed an entire region into believing he and Team Plasma were acting for the good of Pokemon. Not to mention lying to his adopted son and making him think all people were hurting Pokemon. As a Trainer, he’s no slouch either, just not quite as good as the people above.

Team Plasma’s goal seemed simple at first: the liberation of Pokemon from humans who oppressed them. A bold message for a series like Pokemon, but of course as Ghetsis is a diabolical villain, it turns out to be a lie. Ghetsis was merely using his son N, who could understand Pokemon, to convince the people of Unova to release theirs so he could be the only one with Pokemon and take over with ease. 

After his initial defeat, Ghetsis returns in the sequels with a new Team Plasma and goes full supervillain, with no more subtlety. He plans to use the Legendary Kyurem to freeze Unova for…. Revenge I guess? I never really got why and it's a disappointing departure from his layered character in the first Black and White.

But seeing him use Kyurem to almost kill the player is still a shocking moment for a Pokemon game, and it would have worked without the N ex machina. And with his defeat here, Ghetsis goes insane and seemingly turns himself in, ending his threat to the Pokemon world. At least for now.

Ghetsis is fought in both games, with his Black and White team being significantly more challenging. Consisting of Cofagrigus, Buoffalant, Seismitoad, Bisharp, Eelektross, and Hydreigon, and at fairly high levels, this battle takes the place of the usual Champion match. Meaning Ghetsis is meant to be a Champion level fight and yes, he definitely lived up to that. Especially with the (technically illegal since too low-leveled) Hydreigon that has insane type coverage. 

Black and White 2 Ghetsis has almost the same team, just with Buoffalant and Bisharp swapped for Drapion and Toxicroak. The levels are just a tad lower, but as this battle is earlier in the game it isn’t meant to be as difficult, and it shows. Even the Black/White Kyurem you face before doesn’t make this fight harder than the original one.

As a brief aside, some other members of Plasma are worth mentioning. N is a constant presence in the originals and essentially a cameo in the sequels, but he is not really what I’d call a villain. At worst, he’s an antihero, as he promptly leaves Plasma once he realizes he’s been lied to. 

The other one of note is Colress, a scientist in the sequels’ Plasma who effectively replaces N. And like N, he is not loyal to Plasma but is more vocal about it during the events of the story. Colress cares about gaining true power from Pokemon, he’s just willing to use Plasma to get there.

Team Plasma will likely return someday, given how vague Ghetsis’ exit in Black and White 2 was. And given their record as one of the more successful evil teams, the world best be ready for when they do. 


4. Giovanni and Team Rainbow Rocket (UltraSun and UltraMoon)

The face of a man who knows he’s won

Wait, Giovanni again? Yeah, this one’s a bit of an oddity, but I eventually realized it had to be here. Team Rainbow Rocket is too cool to pass up and easily the best thing Alola gave us.

Playing into the alternate dimensions established in Sun and Moon, the Ultra games gave us one of the coolest postgame stories in the series. Alola is invaded by alternate versions of the evil teams of Kanto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos. And the twist? These won in their worlds.

So Giovanni, Maxie, Archie, Cyrus, Ghetsis, and Lysandre are all back and more twisted than ever (and assisted by the otherwise unnoteworthy Faba of the Aether Foundation). You know they mean business when they literally kidnap the regional villain in Lusamine. She’s reformed somewhat by this point and somehow becomes a damsel in distress to an extent… yeah I don’t know why this happens either. 

But as for the villains? Maxie got more land in his world, and Archie got more water. Cyrus and Lysandre got their “perfect worlds”, and Ghetsis rules over a helpless region. And Giovanni, in a bit of Gen 1 favoritism, leads them all as the de facto “king” of Kanto (its worth noting that Ghetsis’ dialogue here says he’s the one in charge and Giovanni is his puppet, definitely in character but never confirmed). 

Their teams are largely unchanged, just with one significant addition to each: a literal Legendary Pokemon. Giovanni gets a Mega Mewtwo, Maxie has Groudon and Archie has Kyogre. Cyrus, Ghetsis, and Lysandre’s differ by version, being Dialga, Zekrom, and Xerneas in Ultra Sun and Palkai, Reshiram, and Yveltal in Ultra Moon. For some odd reason, each only has five Pokemon even if they had more before, but despite this, they still have high leveled Pokemon with solid movesets. And each has a Legendary. This is one hard evil team to take down.

As each member is defeated, Colress of Team Plasma takes them away. This is the main world’s Colress, who has shown he is on the side of good and uses his skillset to send the villains back to their worlds. Which is… guess those worlds are still awful to live in then? Not the best solution Colress, try harder next time! 


3. AI Professor Sada and Professor Turo (Scarlet and Violet)

New contenders for worst parent…. and cool robots

Sada and Turo, cool designs aside, are quite unusual for Pokemon. Despite being the professors of Scarlet and Violet (Sada in Scarlet, Turo in Violet), they are the main antagonists of the games. With one notable exception, they are really just the same character with a different coat of paint, hence why they’re sharing a rank on this list.

You never meet Sada or Turo. Prior to the events of the game, the professor is killed at a lab in Area Zero during a fight between two Koriadon/Miraidon (again version dependent), and an AI they built to help with research takes their place. This AI is the professor you interact with during the games. 

Going back a bit, the professor is the one who invited the Tera Orb that is so prominent in Scarlet and Violet. Fascinated by this energy, they looked into time travel and Area Zero, hoping to find the Paradox Pokemon they had read about. They succeed and bring some to the present in Area Zero…. all the while neglecting their son Arven, who grows up alone. 

Eventually, the player is contacted by the AI as they are helping Arven. The AI doesn’t agree with the professor’s research and wants the Paradox Pokemon to stop spilling through time. To that end, the player is called to Area Zero to help, as the AI’s programming prevents it from doing anything itself. 

But of course, that programming comes into play, and in the depths of Area Zero, you must battle the AI professor. This is where the one exception comes into play: Sada has Scarlet’s past Paradox Pokemon, while Turo has the future ones. This gives Sada Slither Wing, Scream Tail, Brute Bonnet, Flutter Mane, Sandy Shocks, and Roaring Moon; whereas Turo has Iron Moth, Iron Bundle, Iron Hands, Iron Jugulis, Iron Thorns, and Iron Valiant (stunning names, I know).

Both are solidly high leveled strong teams with good movesets, but in my experience, I have to give the slight edge to Sada for Roaring Moon alone. It may have just been because I didn’t have great coverage for it, but that thing was a menace. But realistically both are of comparable strength as they share the third spot here.

Following the battle you have to face the other Koraidon/Miraidon with your own, but it's entirely scripted and impossible to lose. Once the AI is properly defeated it seems oddly happy and apologizes to Arven, passing on his real parent’s last message of love before stepping into the time machine to shut it down. It's a surprisingly emotional scene for Pokemon, and if this is where the franchise is headed, there’s definitely more good things to come.


2. Volo (Legends Arceus)

Quite likely the most power-hungry character in Pokemon

Meet Volo of Hisui, essentially Cyrus 2.0… or should it be the other way around since this is earlier in the timeline? Regardless, Volo starts out seemingly nice and pleasant until practically the end of the game, at which point he goes full psycho. It's definitely a sight to behold.

Volo is a Hisuian merchant of the Gingko Guild, and while it is never outright stated, he bears enough resemblance to Cynthia for him to be her ancestor (considering that’s how ancestors seem to be determined in Pokemon for some reason, apparently the Pokemon world has very strong genes). Throughout most of the game, Volo is merely a helpful character, even being the first Trainer you battle. That is until Palkia/Dialga is dealt with.

At this point, Volo asks you to help him find the remaining Plates, a task that is relatively simple until only one remains. This is the Ghost-type Spooky Plate, and Volo seems to think Giratina has it. Not the biggest stretch considering you obtained other Plates from other Legendaries, and so you go to the Temple of Sinnoh (what will become Spear Pillar) with him.

… Where he reveals he was working with Giratina all along and was responsible for the events of the game occurring, from the Alpha Pokemon to the player being sent to the past. All so he could meet Arcues and use it to fix what is wrong with the world. Now clearly showing his lust for power, he challenges you to battle.

With a remix of Cynthia’s theme playing, he sends out Spiritomb, Roserade, Togekiss, Hisuian Arcanine, Lucario, and Garchomp. And then both forms of Giratina once his first team goes down. Yep, it's a 6v8, and you don’t get a chance to heal. Not only that, his entire team is a menace as well, easily being the most powerful in the game. Volo doesn’t give you a break, and to beat him you need to be ready. 

But when he finally is defeated, he seemingly gives up and becomes even more enraged at Giratina fleeing. He simply leaves after giving you the Spooky Plate, and aside from some dialogue from the professor, he is never heard from again. But considering he mentions being willing to wait hundreds of years if needed to accomplish his goals, chances are this madman will be back someday. 


1. Evice and Cipher (Colosseum) 

I swear this isn’t Doctor Robotnik

Colosseum remains to this day the hardest official Pokemon RPG and Evice and Cipher are exactly why that is. Evice may be a pretty shallow character compared to some others on this list, but that doesn’t matter much when he’s as powerful as he is. He’ll steal the Chaos Emeralds… I mean Pokemon regardless. 

Evice is a twist villain at its finest. Introduced as Es Cade, he seems nothing more than a jolly old mayor of a peaceful oasis city. With the shifty Nascour around him, most players would never suspect him and instead focus on the creepy man bothering the friendly mayor. 

This is all a ruse of course, as Nascour was working for Evice all along. Evice outranked him as the head of Cipher, and their plans to take over Orre and capture its Pokemon were almost foolproof. 

But the real reason Evice and Cipher are at the top? Actual proper Double Battle strategies that brute force rarely worked on. Touching briefly on the Admins, Mirror B. has a solid Rain team, not amazing but he’s just the first one. Dakim runs Earthquake while the other half of his team resists it, and that Shadow Entei you’d want to catch is easily destroyed by it (Shadow moves aren’t super effective here like in XD at least). Venus gets by using annoying tactics like lots of Attract, and Ein runs a proper Rain team by having Thunder. Oh, and Venus has Shadow Suicune while Ein has Shadow Raikou. And that’s before we get to Evice and Nascour.

Nascour runs Dusclops, Gardevoir, Blaziken, Xatu, Walrein, and Shadow Metagross. All good Pokemon and you’ll likely have to deal with it being largely a 2v1 while you’re trying to catch that Metagross with its horrible catch rate.

Evice’s team is the stuff of nightmares. Slowking, Scizor, Machamp, Salamence, Slaking, and Shadow Tyranitar. Tyranitar’s catch rate is comparable to Metagross’, so good luck with that. And of course, Evice’s team jumps about five levels from Nascour despite being immediately after. Oh, and his strategy? Lots of brute force with buffs, and worst of all? His Slowking WILL Skill Swap with Slaking, meaning you’ll have to deal with that beast attacking every turn until you take it down. Yep, Evice knows exactly what he’s doing. 

I was a bit unsure at first whether Evice and Cipher or Volo should take the number one spot, but I ultimately decided on this ranking for one major reason: Legends Arceus gives you so much more options than Colosseum. Not only does Colosseum give you access to only a sliver of the amount of Pokemon you’d have in Legend Arceus, but it is also much harder to gain levels. So here you’re stuck with what you got and can’t easily out-level your problems. You have to beat it the hard way.

And when you do, you are greeted with an ending only Pokemon Colosseum could accomplish: Evice and Nascour trying to escape in a helicopter only to get shot down by Ho-oh. Yes, that actually happens. The two are arrested (shockingly that didn’t kill them), and the edgiest Pokemon game ever draws to a close with a literal bang. What a note to go out on. 


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Gamer Since: 2002
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D, Deathloop, Final Fantasy IV, God of War (2018)
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