Today, Pokémon turns 25. Pokémon has, of course, made a huge to-do about this anniversary (read: why is there a bizarre virtual Post Malone concert?), but it’s got many of us who have grown up on Pokémon feeling nostalgic. To celebrate the birthday of our most beloved pocket monsters, several Syft writers have dared to imagine their Pokémon dream teams.
This was legitimately too hard. All images courtesy of the Pokémon company.
Decidueye – As much as I love Squirtle, Rowlet squeezes past my beloved turtle-friend as my favorite starter of all time. Plus, Decidueye is an archer and dual grass-ghost type! Excellence personified.
Alolan Raichu – Speaking of excellence from the Alola region! I was already a huge fan of Raichu, but a Raichu that surfs on its own tail?! And is dual electric and psychic?! Be still, my heart.
Perrserker – Perrserker was my (beautiful steel) rock during my battle with Leon in Pokémon Sword. As someone who grew up with a fondness for Meowth and was ridiculed for it shamelessly, I see Perrseker as personal absolvement. The fact that Perrserker is weird and smiles in a creepy fashion is just really icing on the cake, as far as I’m concerned.
Sylveon – Even though Jigglypuff is my favorite Pokémon, just in general, I have to admit that, when it comes to battle, Sylveon has been an invaluable addition to my final team many, many times. When I first got Sylveon, I initially thought, “Geez, ribbons? Ew.” But turns out, ribbons are badass! Deal with it!
Absol – To avoid picking two Eeveelutions, I’ll go with Absol for my dark champion. Plus… look at this guy! He just looks cool. Like the emo kid from high school who’s now a published graphic novelist or a philosopher or something. And also like he’d be dual ice-type, which he’s not. Sadly.
Galarian Slowbro – I wish this Slowbro was Poison/Water instead of Poison/Psychic, but I have always been a big fan of the underdog, and therefore the Slowpoke line. I once narrowly beat the Elite Four, while the opponent had out a grass type, with an OG Slowbro. Would this team be more balanced with… say… a Charizard? Sure. But Slowbro for life.
Like my esteemed colleague Kirsten, this was not an easy pick! Yes, half of my team are Hoenn Pokemon.
Sceptile – Always my first pick. My very first entry to the Pokemon game series was Pokemon Sapphire Version. I was less than ten years old at the time, and that game gave me some of the happiest memories. Before getting into the games, I was an avid fan of the television series and I absolutely loved Ash Ketchum’s Treecko. It’s also nice that Sceptile’s pretty solid in battle! But this one is a natural choice of sentimentality.
Mawile – Earlier I mentioned that I had Pokemon Sapphire Version, so I never actually got to own a Mawile until Pokemon X and Pokemon Y. Mawile’s design is so appealing to me. It’s both endearingly cute and vicious looking at the same time! Mawile is also very reliable in battle, especially with its amazing Mega Evolved form! This Pokemon packs a punch while looking adorable, something I admire greatly.
Altaria – It’s always important to have a flyer on your team! However, out of all the Flying-types out there, Altaria’s my main pick! This cloudy bird Pokemon is not only cute, but also a major threat on the battlefield, especially after Mega Evolution. But I’ll be honest, I’m largely here for its lovely, fluffy appearance. It’s just so undeniably cute and soft looking I feel so relaxed just looking at it! From its captivating appearance to its performance in battle, Altaria’s a solid pick for me.
Alolan Marowak – As someone who was so deeply struck by the story of Generation I’s Cubone and its mother Marowak, I was delighted to see individuals online commenting that the reveal of the dual Fire and Ghost-type Alolan Marowak meant that Cubone could reunite with its mother. Helping to further balance out my team as a Fire and Ghost-type, Alolan Marowak is a much needed and appreciated little force on my team. It’s also noteworthy to mention that I absolutely love its design and colors!
Dewgong – Now I know Dewgong may not be considered particularly powerful, but I’ve been attached to this Pokemon from a young age! As always, I need a surfer on my team and Dewgong was naturally one of my first choices. Considering its dual typing of Water and Ice, it further gives my team the balance I’m always looking for. Also, it’s just such a pretty Pokemon!
Heliolisk – I really loved my Heliolisk from Pokemon Y (I named her Sunshine!) She also had the ability Dry Skin, which paired exceptionally well with her move set that included Rain Dance and Thunder. It’s also imperative to mention that it also has a very bright and appealing design! I especially find its frills very cute. When I think of my dream team, Heliolisk is a major pick for me.
Machamp: Simply put, Machamp was my guy. I remember whenever I faced the Elite Four, the combo of “Fire Punch,” “Ice Punch,” “Thunder Punch,” and “Strength” would decimate all. He’s my ride-or-die.
Blaziken: My favorite starter, Blaziken just had the exaggerated swagger of a lean, mean Blaze Kickin’ machine. A1, Day One.
Salamence: Though Salamence wasn’t the fastest Pokemon, damn was it strong. Plus, I spent way too much time trying to capture a Bagon in Meteor Falls not to include him.
Hitmonlee: When I got a Tyrogue, I didn’t expect it to turn into a Hitmonlee. It was a surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one. Lightning quick and agile, it’s my Glass Cannon.
Snorlax: The one Pokemon I had that had a glutton for punishment, Snorlax was my go-to whenever I was dealing with a Wailord or another high-HP Pokemon.
Flygon: A discount Salamence, Flygon’s here because he looks cool. The Rule of Cool strikes again.
Bisharp: I started playing the Pokemon video game series around Gen 5 and I remember how cool Bisharp looked. With its Steel and Dark typing, plus the homage to chess, Bisharp has a special place in my heart
Hydreigon: Joining in the theme of Gen V and Dark Pokemon, comes the hydra himself: Hydreigon. Hydreigon is one of those dragons that is usually cast aside by his brethren in Garchomp and Dragonite. Hydreigon is just an incredible beast of a dragon and a lovable one in that.
Gallade: I remember Gallade being the first Pokemon I really loved. When younger Jay was discovering Pokemon for the first time, Gallade was a must have playing pretend with my friends. To this day, I still try to make it a viable option on my team
Alcremie: Secretly, baking is a passion of mine (gamers who bake – weird I know). So when I saw Alcremie and it’s different pastel colors, I became reminiscent of the macarons of France which made the Cream Pokemon one of my favorites.
Torterra: Perhaps my favorite starter of the game, I love the Turtwig evolution line. There is just something about seeing terrafirma off the back of a giant tortoise.
Starmie: My friends and I used to have a competitive Smogon league and everyone made the mistake of handing me the Starmie. Starmie was a staple on my team and had to make the list just for its ability to rapid-star like crazy.
Torchic: Growing up in a hyper-conservative household always put Pokemon just outside of my eager arms reach. The most I ever got to enjoy the wonderful world of Pocket monsters was catching snippets of the cartoon at friends’ houses and peeks at the game over friends’ shoulders. Why Torchic stuck with me particularly was from managing to get my hands on a trading card of the small fire type. For a long time that card was the only piece of Pokemon anything that I had, and Torchic will always hold a special place in my heart because of that.
Pikachu: Okay, call me basic but Pikachu is the most obvious pick for a Pokemon dream team. Aside from this pudgy little electric rat being the mascot for the series, Pikachu is a marvel in character design. Pikachu has a certain je ne sais quoi that made my childhood brain want to seek out the series. Like a forbidden fruit, Pikachu’s plump little body on my neighbor’s copy of Pokemon Yellow drew me into the series.
Rowlet: Stepping out of my limited childhood experience with Pokemon, Rowlett caught my eye just in the last year. I don’t know, maybe I just have a thing for Pokemon that are basically circles with round faces, but Rowlet is special to me because my partner introduced me to this dopey eyed little owl thing and now it haunts me at night.
Mimikyu: It’s a Pokemon hiding under a sheet pretending to be a pikachu, do I really need to say anything more.
Ditto: By now you can probably tell that I’m not the most hardcore Pokemon fan. My dream team doesn’t include any special evolutions or legendary types because I really just don’t know any. But what I lack in knowledge I make up for in ingenuity. The way I figure it is that any wild pokemon hiding in the tall grass, gym leader holding back a badge, or any pokemon training jabroni looking to start something will have to contend with my Ditto mimicking their every move.
Diglett: Ah, Diglett. Who among us hasn’t hasn’t wondered what this pink nosed spud is hiding beneath that dirt? What secrets lie in the depths beneath that whack-a-mole esque when it emerges for the tall grass? I personally intend to find out for myself when I get this worm(?) pokemon-thing on my dream team.
Haunter: A Gen 1 fav, Haunter’s design and prankster mannerisms are what brought me to love him. I’m a ghost fan in general, and troublesome spirits are always a plus. Also, for anyone wondering why Haunter > Gengar, I love them both, but Haunter wins because I never had a Gengar as a kid since you have to trade for one.
Crobat: The glow-up from the Zubat/Golbat line, which everyone seems to love to hate, this purple bat is just so cool. With that strong underdog vibe from its first two evolutions, Crobat rounds out a team nicely with that poison/flying duel. Also, they’re huge?? Their Dex entry lists their height as 5’11”, and can you imagine the flare of riding into town on this nightmare creature? Aesthetic.
Riolu: Punch baby! A testament of love to actually evolve, I have a soft spot for most of the baby Pokemon. Riolu in particular toes that line of cute and cool, and it’s association with emotions is not lost on me.
Lapras: The classic steed, the Transport Pokemon of the Ocean, Lapras and their gentle giant nature are welcome anytime. Any relation to cryptids and IRL loch ness monsters is purely a bonus for this sweet pokemon.
Luxray: Sometimes, you just need a big, electric cat to hug on a rainy day. I am willing to put up with any number of electric sparks to live out the dream of being like Steven Universe with his best friend Lion, and hugging that big cat yesssss.
Decidueye: This one was a tough choice, as I have a fondness for grass starters; my first ever Pokemon was Treecko on my Gameboy Ruby. But once again, the rule of cute/cool wins, with Decidueye looking decidedly cooler than whatever Sceptile was aiming for. That ghost dual type helps as well, so the owl wins!
(Pokemon Plushie pics for the article as a whole, and general enjoyment)
Gotta catch ’em all!!
Gotta catch ’em allllll,
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, allow me to introduce to you my dream team, “The Squad”– the team that I’ve used to clear the Kanto region on multiple occasions in Pokémon FireRed.
Charizard- My de facto team captain. This dude blazed a path of glory for me on numerous occasions. I’ve picked Charmander as my starter way more times than not to secure this legend.
Graveler- My super heavy hitter. This brute rocked the bells of many a foe on my journeys to become a Pokémon master. When expecting a long-drawn-out battle, he was rarely my go to, but when I needed someone to finish a fight with a couple earth shattering moves, he was the one for the job.
Jolteon- My favorite Pokémon. I’ve always been fascinated with characters with electric/lightning abilities in games, movies, etc., and lightning based attacks in general. Plus, Jolteon looks cool. I always made sure to 1) Evolve my first Eevee into Jolteon every single time, and 2) raise it to be my number one electric type. It always received preferential treatment.
Gyrados- A total beast and an overall great look visually for a dominant team. It was usually always my primary water type. Plus, it made all the time I spent grooming a useless ass Magicarp worth it.
Primeape- Founder and CEO of ‘Smack a B**** Records’. In an effort to raise a versatile team with some diversity, a Mankey was usually one of my go to’s as a rugged, and tough fighting type that eventually evolves into a Primeape.
Kadabra- My Ace! Grooming an Abra into a Kadabra was a MUST for my team. As a dynamic psychic type, it’s usually always at least moderately effective against just about any Pokémon you put in front of him. He always had a knack for coming in clutch when I needed him most.
Alright y’all, are you ready for the absolute best pokemon team in existence? Well, look at everyone else’s, because I’m here for the memes.
Magikarp: Now, I know what everyone’s thinking: “Why would you have Magikarp on your team? It’s so OP, that’s not fair to everyone else you’re playing against.” You’re right. First off, did you know Magikarp’s fins can cut diamonds? And did you know your ass is a lot softer than diamonds? I got that from this video (the fins and the ass), but it’s a very good point. Secondly, James bought a Magikarp from a very trustworthy salesman who informed him that they can multiply to insane numbers, making him millions of dollars in cold hard cash. I don’t know about you, but millions of dollars and the ability to cut diamonds makes this pokemon top-tier for me. Also, I bet it tastes really good.
Mega Slowbro: Look at that thing. Anything that would willingly put its whole body in a live rock with teeth has faced death and won. It’s a psychic type, so all of the mental scarring it experienced from that event can be used to create ultimate power, and with a base attack of 75, you know it’s going to do an aggressively mediocre amount of damage. (Yes its base sp. Attack is 130, but then my joke isn’t funny.) You want that on your team, you need that on your team, and if you don’t… pretend you do for ego’s sake.
Abra: Do you want a pokemon to stay and fight for you to the bitter end, never leaving your side, sharing a bond people can’t hope to match through lifetimes? Yeah, me neither. I’d rather have one to which I can just say, “Yo, get us out of here,” and it’ll teleport away like a boss. The different generations have been weird about whether Abra can teleport people or just itself, but it teleports people in Pokemon XD Gale of Darkness and I literally just played that so… yeah.
Weedle: Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Izzy, stop with these rhetorical questions, no one is actually asking them.” Well, you’re exactly right! Weedle is amazing! First off, the point of almost every pokemon game is to catch ‘em all, defeat the Elite Four (or whatever that game’s championship tournament is) and become the champion of the region. Why does this matter? Well, every player character is destined for greatness, and who is usually the first trainer (after your rival) whom you encounter? A bug catcher. And what does that bug catcher have? A weedle. They think they can defeat the future champion of the region with a weedle, and that means weedle is clearly a powerful choice, and I’m not just saying that because the first time I played pokemon I didn’t know what moves did and I actually lost… let’s move on.
Mankey: In Pokemon Snap for the N64, when you reach the penultimate area, in order to progress further, you have to press a hidden button to open a gate. In order to do that, you have to hit a Mankey onto it. In order to do that, you have to hit a Squirtle into a Mankey from the bottom of a mountain. And. That. Is. Hard. Mankey has been the bane of my existence for Pokemon Snap runs, and that pure hatred and spite is what fuels me in all my video game experiences, so Mankey earns a spot on the team.
Ditto: A pokemon that can transform into any other pokemon? Or anything? I could use this Pokemon to be that person I lost an argument to, so I could rehearse it again and win this time instead of spending hours in the shower and bathroom arguing with myself until I come out on top. Ditto is cool and he’s on the team.
As you can see, Pokemon has meant, and continues to mean, a lot for us here at Syft. Happy 25th anniversary to Pokemon, and here’s to 25 more years!