Haxorus, Metagross, Ninetales, Excadrill, and Dragonite pose during a picnic in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Top 21 Strongest Non-Legendary Pokemon

Battles get boring when you're up against nothing but legendaries. Here are the strongest non-legendary Pokemon to add to your team.

As Pokemon’s ninth generation surges on with Scarlet & Violet and the developing Legends: Z-A, there are over 1,000 different species of Pokemon for players to capture and raise. Naturally, trainers seek out the strongest team members to best regional gyms and compete against other players, but battles grow stale fast when the strategy is thrown out the window in favor of overpowered legendary partners.

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In general, legendary Pokemon are defined by their high base stat total (BST) and inability to breed. The same goes for mythical species. These Pokemon are also one-of-a-kind, meaning you can only capture one per save file — unless you import more from HOME or trade with other players. With that being said, Ultra Beasts and Paradox Pokemon are often lumped into the mix as they’re functionally identical to these rare species on two counts. With this in mind, I’ve done some digging to stockpile the 21 strongest non-legendary Pokemon to date.

Top 21 Strongest Non-Legendary/Mythical Pokemon

21. Ninetales

Player posing with Ninetales and Vulpix in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Screenshot by GameSkinny

This one may be controversial since Ninetales doesn’t seem all that threatening at face value. With a humble BST of 505, the Gen I Fire-type has solid special defense and speed on top of an average special attack stat. However, Ninetales is also one of just four Pokemon with access to the Drought ability, which conjures harsh sunlight upon entering battle.

This packs 50% more power into its Fire-type moves and stacks with STAB (same type attack bonus), making Ninetales a powerful special sweeper under the right circumstances. Its move pool is incredibly diverse, too. This allows you to throw together mean setups with moves like Will-o-Wisp, Flamethrower, Hex, and Solar Beam — which land on the same turn in sunlight.

20. Excadrill

Player posing by a sign with her Excadrill in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Much like Ninetales, Excadrill is often underestimated. Its BST comes in at just 508, but this Gen V Pokemon’s potential lies in its promising 110 HP and 135 attack. While its wanting speed stat can hurt its reliability in battle, its Sand Rush ability grants a significant speed boost during a sandstorm, correcting this shortcoming and allowing it to cut foes down quickly and efficiently.

Now, it’s definitely worth noting Excadrill’s lesser defenses can pose a problem against Fire, Water, Ground, or Fighting Pokemon. That said, its advantageous Steel/Ground typing also boasts a whopping eight resistances and two immunities to make up for what it lacks.

19. Absol

Close-up shot of Absol in the Pokemon anime
Image via the Pokemon Company

I allowed myself one hot take here, and this is the hill I’ve chosen to die on. Absol may have a modest BST of 465, but its exceptional 130 attack stat combined with the Super Luck ability — which ups the odds of landing critical hits — make this Gen III Dark-type an absolute monster when equipped with moves that further boost its critical hit ratio (i.e. Night Slash, Psycho Cut, and so on).

When you factor in an even greater increase thanks to new-gen friendship mechanics, Absol is an offensive powerhouse. Even with so-so IVs, mine carried like no other in Alpha Sapphire, landing lethal crits each turn without fail. It also gets a significant stat boost with Mega Evolution, though at the cost of its ability.

18. Gengar

Gengar inside a cave in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Gengar is a textbook special sweeper with impressive special attack and speed stats. Its tricky antics have kept competitive Pokemon players on edge since Gen I, and it’s since been given some extra love with a top-tier Mega Evolution and Gigantamax form.

That being said, it can be easy to predict Gengar’s next move at times, considering how long it’s been around. This goes doubly so for its standard form. Even so, you can’t deny the viability of its Mega, whose Shadow Tag ability has haunted the competitive scene. This effectively prevents its foes from switching out, forcing opponents to face the overpowered Ghost/Poison-type head-on.

17. Dracovish

Dracovish playfully bites Ash in Pokemon anime
Image via the Pokemon Company

Dracovish’s ranking may come as a surprise to some, though I think most fans are privy to this Gen VIII fossil Pokemon’s potential. Sure, its BST of 505 is middling, but there’s a lot this Water/Dragon-type can accomplish with its Strong Jaw ability.

In essence, this gives biting moves 50% more power — and Dracovish has access to quite a few, the most potent being its signature Fishious Rend. The move itself deals an impressive 85 damage, which is doubled if the user acts first. When you factor in the additional boost from Dracovish’s ability, Fishious Rend is nothing short of deadly.

16. Ferrothorn

Close-up shot of Ferrothorn in Pokemon anime
Image via the Pokemon Company

While most of us tend to quantify a Pokemon’s strength by its offensive output, Ferrothorn is a wall that can’t be overlooked. Now, it’s not totally lacking in offense; it’s actually pretty well-equipped with a decent attack stat of 94. This is helped by its Iron Barbs ability, which damages attackers on contact.

Apart from this, though, Ferrothorn boasts incredible defenses with 131 physical defense and 116 special defense. This alone is enough to outlast opponents with ease, but its myriad resistances and immunities (10 in total) make this Grass/Steel-type virtually impenetrable. Set up with Iron Defense and Ingrain, and Ferrothorn’s got some serious staying power.

15. Gardevoir

Gardevoir in a field at sunset in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Screenshot by GameSkinny

A tried-and-true special sweeper since Gen III, I think we can all agree that Gardevoir has earned its place on this list. First introduced as a pure Psychic-type, it’s since gained a dual Fairy typing, to boot. This has done a lot for its coverage and versatility, making Gardevoir a top choice among both support and DPS-focused players.

That being said, this Pokemon’s greatest strengths lie in its special attack and special defense stats, coming in at 125 and 115, respectively. While solid, players often opt to boost these stats with Calm Mind, then inflict big damage with moves like Psychic and Dazzling Gleam.

14. Snorlax

Snorlax yawns in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of Snorlax, but I can’t discount its place in competitive battling. Introduced in Gen I, this Normal-type has long been regarded as one of the strongest tanks in Pokemon. Its attack and special defense stats are equally promising, sitting at 110 each. However, its colossal 160 HP is what makes Snorlax a truly intimidating opponent.

With just one weakness and access to a slew of health-replenishing moves, it’s the definition of a wall. Add to that its diverse Immunity and Thick Fat abilities and broad move pool, fans of this Pokemon can take their pick of many winning strategies.

13. Haxorus

Haxorus near a waterfall in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Okay, maybe I’ve got one more hot take in me. Haxorus is one of my favorite Dragon-types — and I’m not the first to swear by this Gen V Pokemon’s offensive capabilities. However, it’s not the strongest of its kind, so it’s often overshadowed by the pseudo-legendary dragons. Even so, Haxorus boasts a virtually unrivaled attack stat of 147, outranked only by Megas, true legendaries, and one other Pokemon who’s made our list.

That aside, its defense and speed are pretty solid, too. Thanks to its pure Dragon typing, your only concerns are attacks of the same type as well as Ice and Fairy. Fortunately, Haxorus has access to a generous array of moves, allowing you to combat its weaknesses without issue. Throw in Swords Dance, and you’re golden.

12. Slaking

Slaking lounges in a field in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Speaking of Pokemon’s hardest hitters, Slaking takes the crown with an extraordinary BST of 670. Its HP and attack stats are enviable, resting at 150 and 160, respectively. Looking back on my time spent challenging Hoenn’s gym leaders in Ruby & Sapphire, I can safely say Norman’s Slaking was the bane of my eight-year-old existence. If you couldn’t manage to one-shot this thing, it’d surely take you out with Counter.

Of course, for all Slaking’s brute strength, it does have one glaring obstacle to overcome: its Truant ability. Essentially, this prevents the heavy-handed Normal-type from acting on consecutive turns, which may seem like a waste. Luckily, it’s well-rounded with solid defenses and speed to carry a match.

11. Blissey

Blissey with Team Rocket in Pokemon anime
Image via the Pokemon Company

Blissey is another top performer in its own right, boasting a gargantuan HP stat of 255 — the highest of any Pokemon. Its special defense is also exceptional, coming in at 135. This bulky combination makes the pure Normal-type a formidable foe, especially against back-pocket special sweepers. Equipped with its signature health-restoring move, Soft-Boiled, special damage rolls right off Blissey’s back.

The catch? It’s got a dismal defense stat of just 10, meaning physical attackers can easily turn the tides in their favor with a single blow. Even so, Blissey manages to carry competitive players to victory time and again as the no-contact moves of special-leaning Pokemon remain favored by competitors.

10. Togekiss

Togekiss approaches the player in Pokemon Sword & Shield
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Togekiss is an overall well-rounded Pokemon with a reliable BST of 545. Its 120 special attack and 115 special defense are its greatest strengths, but its HP, physical defense, and speed stats are solid, too. This lays the groundwork for the Flying/Fairy-type’s lasting presence on the battlefield. However, it’s Togekiss’ Serene Grace ability that really gets the ball rolling.

This doubles the odds of scoring additional effects with moves like Air Slash, which has a chance to cause your opponent to flinch. In the best-case scenario, you’re looking at an uninterrupted string of powerful attacks, resulting in a one-sided match and an easy win.

9. Greninja

Greninja poses in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Not only was Greninja one of Ash’s best partners in the animated series, but it’s also one of the strongest Pokemon around. While it’s undeniably frail, the Water/Dark-type is a skilled mixed attacker with impressive speed. Its special Ash-Greninja form is also as good as a Mega, securing major stat buffs in this state. And its strengths don’t end there.

Greninja has access to the coveted Protean ability, which allows it to take on any type of move it uses. When properly executed, this can act as the perfect camouflage to protect against otherwise super-effective attacks and boost the power of its own moves with STAB.

8. Lucario

Player posing with her Lucario in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Screenshot by GameSkinny

I’d place Lucario in the same realm as Greninja in terms of overall strength. Depending on how you look at it, the two are essentially tied on all accounts. However, the Gen IV Fighting/Steel-type sports slightly better offenses in its base form — though its BST falls short of Greninja’s by five points and its Mega is outmatched by the Water/Dark-type’s special Ash-Greninja form.

Comparisons aside, Lucario is just as strong as it is reliable. It’s a true mixed attacker with access to a plethora of physical and special moves, including the paradoxical special-based Aura Sphere. It can also withstand a long list of attacks despite its fragile defenses thanks to its eight resistances and immunity to Poison.

7. Galarian Darmanitan

Galarian Darmanitan Pokedex entry in Pokemon Sword & Shield
Screenshot by GameSkinny

In its standard form, Galarian Darmanitan is just as much a menace as its Unovan counterpart. On top of solid HP and speed, this regional variant packs quite a punch with an attack stat of 140. While its common Gorilla Tactics ability has its place in the competitive sphere, boosting its attack while locked into a single move, its Zen Mode hidden ability is arguably even more broken.

When Darmanitan’s HP drops below half, the once pure Ice-type changes its form, gains a dual Fire typing, and secures huge buffs to its attack and speed stats. This is quite literally a lifesaver, allowing it to hit unbelievably fast and hard in a pinch.

6. Aegislash

Aegislash Pokedex entry in Pokemon anime
Image via the Pokemon Company

Like Darmanitan, Aegislash is known for its ability to switch forms, though this Steel/Ghost-type is able to do so at will with Stance Change. This comes with an amendment to its stats, which flip-flop between 140 attack and special attack in Blade Forme and 140 defense and special defense in Shield Forme. The switch relies solely on the type of moves used, maintaining its nine resistances and three immunities all the while.

This is tough enough to counter during a battle, but Aegislash’s signature move, King’s Shield, is downright tricky. Along with triggering its transition into Shield Forme, this move also takes priority and delivers a two-stage attack nerf to opponents who make direct contact with Aegislash, throwing a wrench in competitive strategies.

5. Dragonite

Dragonite in a field at night in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Full transparency, I was prepared to give this spot to Hydreigon. While it’s a devastatingly well-rounded pseudo-legendary with above average stats across the board, Dragonite simply does it better. Its standout attack stat of 134 gives this jack of all trades the upper hand against most opponents. So much so, in fact, that elaborate battle strategies aren’t always necessary, though certainly possible thanks to its huge move pool.

Dragonite’s HP and defenses are pretty evenly spread, too, ranging from 91 to 100. This gives you ample room to experiment with smart movesets. You can’t go wrong with attacks like Outrage and Iron Head, which cover all four of its weaknesses. Add Dragon Dance to the mix, and the Gen I Dragon/Flying-type is rock-solid.

4. Salamence

Close-up shot of Mega Salamence in Pokemon anime
Image via the Pokemon Company

I like to think of Salamence as Dragonite’s successor. It takes the Gen I pseudo-legendary’s best qualities and kicks them up a notch with better HP, offenses, and speed. Maintaining a Dragon/Flying typing, it bears the same weaknesses with slightly lesser defenses. While its standard Intimidate ability helps to cut the attack power of its foes, most opt for Salamence’s hidden ability, Moxie, which raises its attack with each opponent defeated.

If that’s not enough to turn the tides, its Mega Evolution certainly will. In this form, Salamence’s newfound Aerilate ability changes Normal-type moves to Flying, securing STAB with hard hitters like Giga Impact, Double-Edge, and Thrash.

3. Tyranitar

Close-up shot of Tyranitar in Pokemon anime
Image via the Pokemon Company

Tyranitar is one of just two pseudo-legendaries to break the Dragon-type mold, and it’s paid off. While dragons are undeniably tough in the world of Pokemon, this Rock/Dark-type is just as solid as its peers. It boasts 134 attack on top of 100+ HP and defenses, allowing it to take what it dishes out. But perhaps its greatest asset is its Sand Stream ability, which summons a raging sandstorm upon entering battle.

This makes Tyranitar a popular choice in doubles, giving strategic players an opportunity to set up for beneficial teammates, like Excadrill. Of course, the storm also deals damage to all opponents but Rock, Ground, and Steel types. With evenly spread strengths and weaknesses, to boot, the Gen II pseudo is tough to crack.

2. Garchomp

Garchomp on a cliffside in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Of all the dragon Pokemon introduced thus far, Garchomp is widely regarded as the strongest — at least, in terms of attack power. Its base attack stat comes in at 130, just four points shy of Tyranitar’s. However, the Dragon/Ground-type reigns supreme in HP and speed, sporting fewer weaknesses, too. With this in mind, it’s no surprise Gen IV’s pseudo-legendary is heavily favored by DPS-focused players.

For all its sheer strength, though, Garchomp performs its best with a bit of strategy. Its standard Sand Veil ability is only activated during a sandstorm, meaning you’ll need to set it up to boost its evasiveness. That said, its hidden ability, Rough Skin, is preferred by many as it causes damage to attackers on contact.

1. Metagross

Metagross takes enters the battlefield in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Metagross is the closest thing to a legendary without actually catching one. Its evolutionary line is just as difficult to secure with a measly catch rate of just 3%. I spent hours searching for a Beldum in Pokemon Violet only for my first find to knock itself out after using all its moves. Despite this, it’s definitely worth the trouble to add its final form to your team.

The Steel/Psychic-type bests Tyranitar and Garchomp in attack, boasting high defenses to top it off. While its HP is outranked by other pseudo-legendaries, Metagross makes up for this shortcoming with a whopping nine resistances and immunity to Poison. Its Clear Body ability also prevents stat debuffs, solidifying its reputation as an absolute tank.

After weighing the pros and cons, these 21 non-legendary Pokemon stood out as the strongest of their kind. Of course, it’s certainly tough to define what makes a Pokemon strong as the ‘dex continues to grow and more unique species emerge. In the end, it’s up to you to bring out your partner’s best. Head over to our Pokemon Scarlet & Violet guides hub to learn more about the best Pokemon for raids and the strongest Grass-types.

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Olivia Rolls
Olivia Rolls earned her degree in English from the College of Central Florida in 2021, and began her career as a freelance writer at Screen Rant the following year. She currently directs her creative efforts toward offering tips and insight on a wide variety of game titles at GameSkinny and N4G Unlocked, a passion she's held close to her heart since adventuring alongside Chikorita in the Johto region of Pokémon Crystal Version as a child. Olivia's all-time favorite franchises are Pokémon and Animal Crossing, but she's generally fond of fantasy RPGs. She's also a budding animanga enthusiast, her personal big three being Jujutsu Kaisen, Fruits Basket, and InuYasha.