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This feature originally appeared on UNILAD back in 2019
A long time ago, I made the mistake of ranking all 151 original Pokémon from worst to best. In between the death threats and people sliding into my DMs to tell me to quit writing, a handful of folk said they liked it. Thanks again, mum.
Anyway, here we are years later and I still have nothing better to do and clearly hate myself. So I decided to tackle and rank all 100 Gen 2 Pokémon . Lucky you.
There are two important things to note before we dive in – One: about 70% of Gen 2 Pokémon were seriously forgettable, and Two: I could tell the internet not to take my list too seriously (like I did with the last one), but the internet rarely listens to reason when it comes to lighthearted articles on games aimed at kids – because hey, why should it?
Shuckle is so utterly devoid of any kind of purpose, it might actually be the worst Pokémon of all time. Like movies starring Adam Sandler, I’m aware of Shuckle’s existence – I just wish I wasn’t.
Qwilfish is literally just a cartoon pufferfish. Do you want a pufferfish for a Pokémon when you can have dragons and ghosts and other cool shit like?
Do you? Well? DO YOU?
Presumably someone involved in the making of Pokémon Gold & Silver forgot it was their turn to pitch a new monster, so they came up with this. A lump of coral.
Most Pokémon can’t speak, but if this needlessly phallic waste of space had vocal chords (which I doubt it does, because they would be too useful), it would only use them to beg for the sweet release of death.
If you try and tell me you didn’t completely forget this was a Pokémon, I will call you a liar.
It just looks a bit dumb, you know what I’m saying? Like, I definitely wouldn’t trust Ledyba to operate scissors without adult supervision.
Kind of cute, but ultimately nobody cares about them. Kind of like memes with Despicable Me Minions on them for anyone who isn’t a middle aged woman on Facebook, anyway.
There’s a Friends/Chandler Bing reference to made in here somewhere, but I just can’t be arsed. That’s how little I care about you, Stantler.
There’s such a thing as trying too hard to be cute. Smoochum is proof of this.
I never noticed until just now that Igglypuff looks a bit like a sentient testicle.
If Paris Hilton existed in the world of Pokémon, she would absolutely carry a Snubbull around in her handbag.
Everything about this long blue streak of piss irritates me. From its awful raspy screams, to the way it flails its torso around . Revolting.
I’m not saying Sentret isn’t cute – quite the opposite. The fact is, we’ve all spent the early game grind in Gold & Silver beating dozens upon of dozens of these innocent little creatures half to death, just to further our own plans of being “the very best”.
Frankly, the guilt of it all keeps me up some nights.
Hoothoot wouldn’t be so low down on the list if it wasn’t for the name. Seriously – an owl called Hoothoot? Where’s the dog Pokémon called Barkbark? Or the cat Pokémon called Meow- oh, never mind.
Fun fact: Pineco is the noise someone makes seconds before a pinecone flies towards their face and knocks them out.
You’ve probably stopped reading this by now and have headed to the comments to call for my resignation because I’ve “clearly never played a Pokémon game in my life.”
For the record, I do love Pokemon. And when I say Cleffa is cute, but ultimately throwaway, like this article? I mean that in a jokey way. This is just meant to be a bit of fun.
If people stopped messaging me to tell me I don't know about metagame and Effort Values, they’d probably realise that when I say Natu is the original Flappy Bird, they’d see I was just being stupid. Crucially, note that I said "stupid", not "funny".
Anyway! Sunflora has a pretty promising future as the name and face of an affordable brand of low-fat margarine.
Hoppip is legitimately adorable, and if I could I would keep one as a pet. I’d water it every night and it’d give me playful little nips on the hand.
Someone get me a Hoppip.
If Ray Winstone was a Pokémon, he’d be a Granbull. Probably.
Robots dream of this Pokémon.
Unbothered. Moisturized. Happy. In his lane. Focused. Flourishing
Yeah Unown are pretty useless, but they used to be genuinely mysterious and a genuinely cool idea for a Pokémon, so they aren’t all bad.
Be honest, did you get forget this Pokémon existed? I did. It’s pretty cute, though.
I’ve only just realised that Spinarak only has six legs, not eight, My world has been shattered.
Into every generation of Pokémon, a creature clearly intended to replace Pikachu is born. I believe Marill is that creature.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Adventure Time, but I can’t actually look at Phanphy without thinking of Tree Trunks anymore.
What is Tyrogue? It just looks like a sickly little kid who's about to tell you it's his turn on the Xbox
Question: Togepi seems to wear part of the egg it just hatched from as some kind of shell. Why do none of the other newly hatched Pokémon do that? I’m SICK and TIRED of the inconsistencies, Nintendo.
I mean sure, why not.
I am honest to God finding it next to impossible to say anything interesting about most of the Gen 2 Pokémon so far. Seriously, look at this. It’s literally just a Ferret. What am I supposed to do with that?
And this one? This one is pretty much just a normal looking fish. Anyone who thought Pokémon started running out of ideas much later really needs to revisit Gen 2. I'll take a sentient ice cream over this any day.
It’s just an owl, idk. What do you want from me?
Like the other pinecone but bigger… so, better I guess? I don’t know anymore. I don’t really care either. Anyone who spends more than ten minutes thinking of something clever to say about a Pokémon nobody remembers needs to have a word with themselves.
I studied journalism at university, you know. How did it come to this.
Okay, so Gen 2 isn’t entirely rubbish. Bayleef is pretty cute.
Mantine is also very cute. Fly on, little fishy dude. Fly on.
Can someone explain to me how Octillery evolves from Remoraid? I legitimately can’t understand it, and I’m very accepting of the fact that Magikarp becomes Gyarados.
Skiploom is that mate we all have that’s really tiny and cute but will absolutely get in a scrap to defend your honour if it comes to it.
Look, it’s a baby Pikachu. I can’t say anything bad about a baby Pikachu. I can passive aggressively rank it at number 60 though.
If there’s a more noble creature out there than Jumpluff, I don’t wanna know about it. Plus, its name sounds a bit like "bum fluff".
It uses its tail as a paint brush and has a head shaped like a beret. It’s also a monkey, so I’m a fan.
Wait, is Smeargle a monkey? I always just kind of assumed it was. If you know what Smeargle is supposed to be, please do attach the answer to the back of any death threats you want to send.
Blissey is a nurse, so is very likely severely overworked and disgustingly underpaid (assuming Pokémon get paid). Blissey is still professional at all times, and very cute. Blissey is basically every nurse I know or have ever met.
If they’d just gone with a basic crow design, I’d probably have consigned Murkrow to much lower down the list. As it happens, Murkrow basically looks like it’s wearing some of kind of goth outfit, so I award it a respectable place at 55.
Pupitar is similar in concept to Metapod and Kakuna, but not entirely useless. Plus, it evolves into a really cool dragon who we'll meet later. Nice work, Pupitar.
Magby is where he is because I really didn’t think Magmar was a Pokémon that could be made to look cute in any way. The lumpy head is a bit freakish though.
Now we’re breaking into the top 50, you’ll see we’ve arrived at the Gen 2 Pokémon that are actually really cool. Look at Houndour, it’s just a straight up awesome pup. No two ways about it.
Swinub is too precious for this world by far.
There are so many mythical Pokémon these days that the whole “mythical” thing has kind of lost its meaning. Back when it was just Celebi and Mew, we lived in a simpler and richer time.
Bellossom is just a really well designed Pokémon. It’s easy to see what it does and what it’s all about just by looking at it. Really great work.
If you came here to hear me say something bad about this literal teddy bear, then I am happy to tell you you’ll be leaving disappointed.
Slugma is just straight-up way cooler than a fiery slug has any right to be, quite frankly. I’m still not sure who would use it in an actual team though.
I already made that super witty Philip K. Dick joke with Mareep so I’m not really sure what to do here. I’ll cotton on to something better by the time we get to Ampharos.
A big fat bird that runs around with a bag full of presents? What on Earth is there not to love about Delibird?
Remember that Miltank in the third gym in Pokémon Gold/Silver? Holy mother of God, if that wasn’t the worst difficulty spike I’d ever experienced in a game in my young life, I don’t know what was.
Girafarig’s tail has a brain of its own, and will bite you if it doesn’t like you. I’ll be honest, I don’t care about the front half of this Pokémon, but I find the back end entirely relatable.
The thing about Porygon is that it never needed a sequel. Studios these days have to milk everything, I swear.
Thanks to Nintendo and this damn Pokémon, I spent longer than I’m proud of convinced that slugs grew into snails IRL.
I spent far longer than I’m proud of thinking Sudowoodo was a grass type. I played right into Sudowoodo’s freaky hands.
Sneasel looks a lot like a character from 2006's Sonic The Hedgehog, but without an irritating name, pointless backstory, or the annoying voice acting.
I’ve always thought the majority of bug Pokémon were really lame, but I’m happy to say that Heracross is one of the few exceptions to this rule.
I’m not sure I’d be thrilled if my formally adorable teddy bear turned into this fearsome beast one day, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have Ursaring looking out for you in a fight.
A sentient Beatles haircut with tusks and a penchant for wrecking your favourite electric Pokémon.
Larvitar has dreams, man. It has potential. Larvitar is basically all of us at 14 years old. Unfortunately, while Larvitar eventually becomes a mighty dragon Pokémon, most of us grow into anxious underachievers who spend too much time looking at memes and pretending Brexit and Climate Change won’t cripple us.
Essentially an elephant in battle armour. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.
To my mind, Misdreavous is the ghost of Marge Simpson. Why? Because of the red pearl necklace and big hair. Go ahead, prove me wrong.
I cannot understand why these “spider” Pokémon only have six legs. Was it a mistake? Are Nintendo too scared to admit to the world that a designer forgot to add the extra two legs so they’ve just stuck to this terrible lie? We’ll never know. Dig the colour scheme though.
Azumarill is pretty cute and looks kind of like an Easter egg with bunny ears. Enjoy 31st place, lil’ buddy.
I’m gonna level with you: I don’t know exactly why I put Yanma at 30th. It just felt right. Doesn’t it feel right to you? I don’t care if it doesn’t to be honest, it’s my list.
I just think Quagsire is cute, okay? Plus, it can use water moves and is resistant to electric attacks, which makes it as handy as it is adorable. A fine addition to any Elite Four beating team.
I like Togetic’s energy. Seems like the kind of Pokémon you could go to a Tame Impala gig with. It’d buy the tickets for both of you and would just be like “hey, pay me back whenever you can.” And then you'd never pay it back.
If you really want a Crobat, you have to stop being such a douche to your Golbat. Show it some love. Take it out for dinner and a massage afterwards, maybe.
Xatu can see into the past and the future, which is pretty cool. Sadly, Xatu never bothered to use this amazing power to warn us about 2020.
It’s a ladybird that looks like it could knock you out with one punch. How many ladybirds actually look like that? Not many at all.
If any Pokémon played drums in a punk band, it’d be Croconaw.
The human race didn’t actually invent the aeroplane until the release of Pokémon Gold/Silver in 1999, when it finally became clear that metal birds not only existed, but flourished. True story.
Look at this adorable flower horse… thing. I don’t really know what it’s supposed to be, but I don’t care. Meganium has a good vibe.
It’s an Onix but sleeker and made of metal. As far as Pokémon designs go, this one is seriously awesome.
A tiny green fella with a lil leaf on his lil head. We love you.
I’ve had some harsh words to say about Cyndaquil in the past, which was met with an intense wave of hate from my friends, family, and the five people that read my work. I’ve decided to put it in the top 20 to avoid such upset this time.
I like Elekid a lot, mostly because I realised when I started my draft ranking for this article that it’s kind of shaped like a plug. It’s a subtle touch, but I’m a fan.
While I clearly have some issues to resolve with Cyndaquil, I’ve always been a big fan of Quilava. It’s basically the cool college phase to Cyndaquil’s awkward puberty years.
It doesn’t really look like a sheep anymore, but that’s okay. Ampharos is far more majestic than any creature with a bauble glued to its forehead has any right to be.
Any Pokémon that can write a song as good as Africa deserves to be in the top 20.
Houndoom is the most death metal looking Pokémon going.
Slowking is utterly ridiculous, but I love it for that reason. Plus, it looks a little bit like Homer Simpson. It does!
Lugia is just a straight-up gorgeous looking Pokémon. I think anyone who saw Pokémon 2000 back in the day will remember what a cool creature it is, and finally tracking it down in Gold/Silver was such a thrill.
I like Raikou a lot, but I do think it’s the weakest of the three Legendary doggos (as they shall henceforth be known). The nose kind of reminds me of Mermaid Man from Spongebob Squarepants, and that’s not a bell I can easily un-ring.
Here we are, at the coveted top ten. Let’s just get this done, because I’m tired. I’m kicking off with none other than Kingrda, a beast that combines the majesty of the sea horse with the raw power of a dragon. It shouldn’t work, but it does.
Pokémon Crystal is the greatest Pokémon game of all time. No arguments. Suicune is the graceful cover star of that game, so it gets a spot in the top ten.
Feraligatr looks like it’d tear your throat out if you spilled your drink on it in a pub, or disagreed with it on Brexit.
I’m not saying which way Feraligtr would vote on Brexit, to be clear, just that it’s got some very strong political opinions one way or the other.
Espeon is the second best Eevee evolution, and one of the greatest Pokémon of all time. Cute, powerful, and classy. Three words nobody has ever used to describe me, unfortunately.
I used to think Scyther was cool, and then I got my hands on Scizor. I mean, look at it. It looks like some kind of robotically enhanced bug alien that’s been sent to Earth to single-handedly destroy the planet.
In awe at the size of this lad, absolute unit, etc.
Entei is big and fluffy and probably a very good doggo. It’s also a legendary harbinger of fiery death, which is cool.
Great name, great look, super powerful, and probably the first starter Pokémon most of us took to the Elite Four in Gold/Silver. A top-three Pokémon for sure.
Ho-Oh is a beautiful Pokémon, and I think the legendary Pokémon that has really stuck with me the longest thanks to the classic first episode of the anime. I’m sure you remember it well too.
I instantly wanted to know more about it as soon as Ash saw it all those years ago.
Maybe it’s because I spent my formative years listening to bands like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance, and Umbreon was basically my whole aesthetic at the time.
Maybe it’s just because it’s one of the most genuinely useful Pokémon in Gen 2 (and beyond), and I still make room for it in my party in every Pokémon game since.
Whatever the case, I think Umbreon is brilliant, and I think most will agree with me putting it at number one. If not, do feel free to tell me how you really feel and I’ll probably ignore you.
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