Top Pokemon Villains Ranked from Worst to Best

Team Plasma, Team Rocket, Team Galactic, Team Flare - which is the best group of villains in all of Pokemon? Find out as we rate them from worst to best, deciding once and for all who's the baddest of the bad.

While there are many aspects of Pokemon gameplay that draw players to the series, without villains to scoot the each game's narrative along there wouldn't much of a game. 

In honor of these villains's supreme importance, we're ranking the villains from each generation of Pokemon from worst to best. Judgements will be made based on evil masterplans, memorability, costume design, maniacal personalities, and anything else that pops to mind. While that means this is a pretty subjective list, there are definitely a few things we can all agree on. 

5.) Team Flare, Pokemon X and Y

Team Flare might be the most stylish group of villains to grace the Pokemon games, but these bad guys from Pokemon X and Y feel uninspired compared to previous generations. 

This isn't for any lack of trying however. Instead of introducing Team Flare as a group of crazy evil-doers set on world conquest, Pokemon X and Y sets them up as a group set on preserving the world for the good and decent people who won't ruin it. 

Lysandre, the billionare philantrhopist leader of Team Flare, frequently complains that the world is full of bad people, and predicts disaster, overpopulation, and stagnation because of this. 

This attempt at connecting Team Flare to real and prevalent issues in our own society falls flat through his maniacal ramblings and illicit doings. It's clear from the player's first meeting with Lysandre that his ideals are perverted, and it comes as no surprise when he announces that he has decided to wipe out all life on the planet. 

Overall Team Flare fails to endear themselves  to players, being neither comically bad nor reaching true anti-hero status. Lucky for us that Pokemon X and had so much else to offer. 

4.) Team Galactic, Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platunum

Like Team Flare, Team Galactic is not exactly the most memorable bunch of villains that Pokemon has offered up. Despite logging hundreds of hours on Pokemon DiamondPearl, and Platinum I still had to do a quick google search to remember who they were. 

Led by Cyrus, Team Galactic is convinced that the human spirit is ruining the world. Therefore with the help of Palkia and Diagla (they have special powers that can mess up the space/time continuum) they want to re-vamp reality.

At the time that Pokemon Diamond and Pearl were released, Team Galactic was the first group of Pokemon villains to blame human beings for the world's ills, making them stand apart from Team Rocket and Teams Aqua/Magma from previous generations. 

Despite that innovation, the team fails to stand out narratively and visually, ultimately feeling like a Team Aqua/Magma clone. You've got to hand it to Cyrus though, he did pick some rather lovely ladies as administrators for the team. 

3.) Team Magma/Aqua, Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire's release in November signals the return of Teams Magma and Aqua for  Pokemon fans everywhere, and if we were solely ranking Pokemon villains based on intelligence they wouldn't have made it this high on the list. 

Team Aqua is convinced that the world's surface should be comprised solely of water based on their love of aquatic Pokemon, while Magma attempts to add more landmass to the world due to their love of land. 

No matter which team you end up facing in the end (which is based on which version of generation 3 you play) it's clear that neither team has fully understood the consequences of their actions by the way they panic once they succeed in waking Groudon/Kyogre. 

 As the silliest and perhaps stupidest team of villains in Pokemon history, they are particularly memorable - though easily dealt with. Though each team leader will wield a Mega evolved Pokemon in the upcoming remakes, it's unlikely the team's have evolved beyond their childish ideas in any way. 

2.) Team Plasma, Pokemon Black and White, Black 2 and White 2

If Teams Magma and Aqua are the least intellgient Pokemon villains, then Team Plasma is the most intelligent group. 

Instead of seeking world domination in one form or another, Team Plasma seeks to separate Pokemon from humans due to their belief that humans don't treat Pokemon properly, and inhibit their ultimate development. 

If you've ever gotten a Pokemon nicknamed "Peni5" in WonderTrade, or sat down and thought about the hundreds of Pokemon you "released" while trying to breed a shiny, then you might have noticed that players don't always take the best care of Pokemon - which is fine, it's just a game. 

While Ghestis - the leader of Team Plasma - eventually confesses that his altruistic rhetoric was just a ploy so that he would be the only Pokemon user in the world, the narrative resonated with many Pokemon players. 

1.) Team Rocket, Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow

I honestly spent quiet a long time debating whether or not Team Rocket deserved to be the best ranked Pokemon villain team. After watching so many episodes of the Pokemon anime, it's hard to separate Jesse, James and Meowth from the original Team Rocket that appeared in the video games. 

Yet moreso than any other group, Team Rocket is just a rotten group of straight up criminals. 

Whenever you encounter Team Rocket in Pokemon Red and Blue or Pokemon Gold and Silver, they're just sitting around trying to make money by any evil means they can think of. Sometimes this involves stealing Pokemon, sometimes this involves cutting off Slowpoke tails, and sometimes this involves experimenting with Pokemon evolution. 

Whatever Team Rocket is doing, they're doing it for the sake of power and domination - never for misguided altruistic goals and never ever for the sake of Pokemon. 

With the least ludicrous narrative, and the highest concentration of pure malice, Team Rocket is definitely the best villainous group in the Pokemon games. 

Published Sep. 29th 2017
  • John Ramsey
    What about Team Cipher? I found them to be quite a serious and grounded evil team in Colosseum. Due to the lack of gyms in the game, they had more of a presence, I think, than other evil teams in the story.
  • Random Internet Dude
    I couldn't agree more. Aside from Team Rocket and Plasma, all other groups seem childish to me. Even Team Flair's plans of Pokemon genocide/immortality felt more on the side of cartoon villainy to me, rather than a seriously dark motive, the way other players take it. Besides, it's just hard to take those jokers seriously. Not to mention the Lysandre "plot twist"(seriously guys, you drop like 10 kg of hints and create a whole goddamn cafe owned by him where people dressed in Team Flair outfits visit, and expect us to consider it a cool plot twist?!).

    What the writers forget is that there has to be some sort of reason for all those grunts to join their obviously insane leaders in the first place too. Team Rocket Grunts were in it for the money, they were basically Pokemon mafia, you could at least understand why someone would join a group of criminals, there are people like that. Most Team Plasma Grunts, and N himself, genuinely believed Ghetsis is working for the good of Pokemon, you can see why someone would join Team Plasma, they want Pokemon to be free, not confined against their will in Pokeballs. Hell, if I was a person in the Pokeverse, I would join Team Plasma too. That's why Team Rocket and Team Plasma are the best teams.

    On the other hand, its hard to believe so many people would swear allegiance to a man planning to drown most of the world's land, or dry up most of the oceans, or create a world with no emotions, or kill every Pokemon in existence. I can understand about the Team leaders, they are all mentally unstable, but how do you explain so many people rallying under their insane group and giving their unwavering loyalty to these psychos?!

    For if they really agree with their leaders' views, the Pokeverse is one really f*cked up world.
  • Chai Chien Liang
    There is only one team that does "blasting off at the speed of light" again and again!
  • Kate Reynolds
    Senior Intern
    Haha exactly!

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