Pokemon that disappointed you in-game despite looking good initially?

Hey all, it has been a while since I've posted on Smogon.

Among my group of friends, I usually have a mon or two per Pokemon game that I would call a "noob trap", or a mon that looks okay on paper but generally flops in practice. I play these games often so I have a few.

In BW1, that would most certainly be Tympole. On paper Tympole looks good, eventually evolving into a Water/Ground type and taking on Elesa and Clay pretty well. So what's the problem? It just...doesn't do anything at endgame as its power falls off. Even with Surf doing alright damage to mooks, it's best Ground move is Dig, compared to its Ground compatriots which all aside from Stunfisk get Earthquake naturally. It lacks the power to compete with the good Water types like Samurott, Simipour and Adaptability Basculin, and it lacks EQ to compete with the other Ground types.

In BW2 this is probably Koffing for me. Koffing on paper looks alright, you get Venoshock not long after you get it, decent physical bulk...but as almost anyone knows, Poison is a terrible offensive type pre-Gen 6 and BW2 has many threats that don't care about Koffing/Weezing (Clay's Excadrill, Skyla's Skarmory, most Poison types like the ones Ghetsis has, to an extent Colress's Steel types unless you use Fire Blast...) and it just isn't that strong when not hitting super-effectively, and about half of the E4/Champion lean toward being special-based. Plus evolving at level 35 and only getting Sludge Bomb at 34 doesn't help.

So, what mons disappointed you in-game?
 
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Hmmmm... I most recently played shield soooo...
First would be Hatterene. Not for lack of trying, but I swear almost every single opponent you encounter had a super effective move on it. She has Anticipation so she “shuddered” every time I sent her out. I could kinda rely on her to take hits for teammates that I didn’t want to die though!

By comparison, Thievul was WRECKING things. The difference being it was able to get a boost off, while Hatterene was too slow to do so without dying.

Galarian Rapidash got benched after a while despite my love for the design. Just didn’t do a whole lot.

Frosmoth was good-ish, but a little underwhelming. Cloyster outperformed it pretty consistently as an ice type. I kept both though.

Barraskewda was effective enough, but it just got super boring to use after a while. It did one thing. Over and over again. I slapped Octillery on instead, who was surprisingly good in game. One shotting things left and right with coverage moves.
 
Hmmmm... I most recently played shield soooo...
First would be Hatterene. Not for lack of trying, but I swear almost every single opponent you encounter had a super effective move on it. She has Anticipation so she “shuddered” every time I sent her out. I could kinda rely on her to take hits for teammates that I didn’t want to die though!

By comparison, Thievul was WRECKING things. The difference being it was able to get a boost off, while Hatterene was too slow to do so without dying.

Galarian Rapidash got benched after a while despite my love for the design. Just didn’t do a whole lot.

Frosmoth was good-ish, but a little underwhelming. Cloyster outperformed it pretty consistently as an ice type. I kept both though.

Barraskewda was effective enough, but it just got super boring to use after a while. It did one thing. Over and over again. I slapped Octillery on instead, who was surprisingly good in game. One shotting things left and right with coverage moves.
It’s funny you say Octillery. I am using it in USUM at the moment. It was another mon I considered disappointing but didn’t put in the above post.

On paper, Octillery looks awesome. You get all these crazy tutor moves like Bounce, Seed Bomb and stuff like natural Ice Beam later. In practice Octillery has consistently stunk for me. It way too often relies on Z-moves to kill anything and has only done okay against Totem Alolan Marowak, to an extent Guzma and Hapu (it’s way too frail for Olivia). The problem is that it gets outmuscled often if it doesn’t one shot something, and because it is slow it WILL be taking hits. It’s a shame too because I want to like it.
 

Ryota Mitarai

Shrektimus Prime
is a Tiering Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor
HGSS:

- Mareep is one mon that I see being really overrated. Beyond the first two Gyms, Mareep is plagued by a very terrible movepool and has to rely on Thunder to deal damage. Its only other coverage is Focus Blast, which also has accuracy issues. At least you can teach it Charge Beam and hope for SpA boosts.

- Wooper is also sort of given more credit than it deserves. Its stats aren't very great and typing is just average at best for most Gyms. In all honesty, I'd use Lapras, Gyarados, or Vaporeon over this as a Water-type, unless early availability is that important.

- Kadabra. Sure, it destroys Morty and Chuck, but beyond that, I found it hard to use, until the E4, at least. Its bulk is terrible and lacks Focus Blast and Calm Mind, unlike its evolution. Drain Punch from Kadabra was a 3HKO on Whitney's Clefairy, so yeah, needless to say, Kadabra is heavily hampered if not evolved.

- Mankey. You'd think Mankey would be great, being one of the only Fighting-types for HGSS and seeing as it's very good in FRLG, but when I used it, I regretted the decision. Seismic Toss, on average, dealt more damage than Karate Chop and I ended up boxing it before the E4. Needless to say, I found Mankey to be the epitome of "disappointment".

USUM:
- Similarly to Mareep in HGSS, Oricorio is given a lot of credit, more than it deserves. Although it has Flyinium Z to breeze through 2/3 of Akala Totems, Oricorio is very disappointing on the field when not using Z-Moves. Air Cutter from it simply doesn't cut it. If I do admit, it becomes very nice to use once it gets Air Slash, Revelation Dance, and Hurricane, but before that, just keep it for Z-Air Cutter strategies and don't use it outside of that.

- Mawile. Afaik, it was put A rank in the USUM tier list before it got closed. I am using it atm and, I have to say, I am very disappointed. It sucks for major fights other than throwing in an Intimidate. At least it has Last Resort to abuse with Z-Moves. I don't doubt it will become better once I get Iron Head, but it's def more disappointing than it looks on paper.

- Alolan Grimer. This one was very weird to use. Beyond Ultra Necrozma and Ribombee (though it doesn't win against UN, just weakens it, unless you spam Roto Boosts), I barely could find a way for Grimer to win without using Minimize or taking too much time. Needless to say, I think Grimer is more disappointing than it looks good on paper.

- Gengar. This one was just... not good. It is great at the field because of free Shadow Ball and whatnot, but there's barely any major fight where Gengar is good without using low accuracy moves like Focus Blast and Thunder.

I probs have more but cannot think of any (or in other games) at the moment
 
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It’s funny you say Octillery. I am using it in USUM at the moment. It was another mon I considered disappointing but didn’t put in the above post.

On paper, Octillery looks awesome. You get all these crazy tutor moves like Bounce, Seed Bomb and stuff like natural Ice Beam later. In practice Octillery has consistently stunk for me. It way too often relies on Z-moves to kill anything and has only done okay against Totem Alolan Marowak, to an extent Guzma and Hapu (it’s way too frail for Olivia). The problem is that it gets outmuscled often if it doesn’t one shot something, and because it is slow it WILL be taking hits. It’s a shame too because I want to like it.
yeah I guess it has a reputation for being a stinker haha. Maybe Shield’s match ups are a little nicer to it, as I never really struggled with Octillery. But I also use a lot of weaker choices to begin with because I find it more interesting to strategize with them, so maybe he just seems strong compared to my usual teams haha. For example, in BW I stuck with Liepard the WHOLE game.
 
I´ve always found Cyndaquil to be very overrated in HGSS, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I think fire as a type is kind of unnecessary in gen 1 and 2. That´s because all common ice types are part water type, and the only common steel type is the magnemite line. Fire also covers grass and bug, of course, but flying types do so too. And the thing is, (most) flying types can also learn the fly HM. There aren't any dedicated flying type HM slaves in HGSS, so unless you plan on using two HM slaves, you might as well get a flying type on your permanent team. In this case, fire types become mostly redundant. Charizard would have a similar problem if it didn´t learn fly.

Cyndaquil itself isn't even a very outstanding fire type either. It has a TERRIBLE movepool with no special coverage at all. Like, why does the volcano Pokemon not learn earth power, at least. It's also heavily reliant on fire blast to do anything of note in gym battles as Quilava, since flame wheel is a physical move and its first real special fire STAB comes at level 35, which is end-game territory in HGSS. It has only like three good matchups against gym leaders + E4, which is not all that impressive.

The obvious advantage of Cyndaquil is that it comes early and that it has good stat. However, both Vulpix and Growlith come fairly early too, and they perform very similar roles. They both have similar stats and similar movepools. Vulpix gets wisp and flamethrower at a very early level, and Growlith gets intimidate and a much more usable attack stat. The only downside to these two Pokemon compared to Cyndaquil is that you need a fire stone to evolve them, which can be annoying to get. Then again, Cyndaquil struggles to evolve before Clair.

The worst crime that Cyndaquil commits is that it´s just very, very boring. It doesn´t have an interesting typing, statline or ability. It has an extreme shallow movepool and zero interesting gimmicks against gym leaders. That´s the most disappointing thing about Cyndaquil to me. I guess Cyndaquil is better than the majority of available Pokemon in HGSS, but that says more about how bad everything else is really. Cyndaquil itself is among the top five worst starters in my book.
 

Pikachu315111

Ranting & Raving!
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Let's see, SwSh is in my most recent memory so there were a few but sadly it was kind of obvious from the start they might not be staying long (mostly cause near their end on my team I was mainly using them to help make catching Pokemon easier):

Eldegoss: I'll give Eldegoss credit for helping me defeat Nessa and it having Sing (plus Rapid Spin to make itself quicker) really helped with catching Pokemon, but at some point I kept on encountering stronger Pokemon and it got the boot.

Yamper: Nuzzle was helpful and Ball Fetch saved me some pocket change, but as soon as I got Toxel it got boxed. BTW why doesn't it nor Boltund get Thunder Fang via Level-up? Heck, why doesn't it learn Thunderbolt by Level-up either? Yeah, can get both from TM/TR but that doesn't help in during the main game until you get them. Not that Low Key Toxtricity doesn't have a similar problem with Poison moves but it still has a good Electric move to carry it along.

Orbeetle: Psychic and Bug sounded like a neat combination to have and was bulky too. But like with Eldegoss I just needed more power at some point and near it's end on my team I was just using it for Hypnosis to make catching Pokemon easier.
 
Ludicolo, ORAS.
Neat typing, well used in the meta game, good move pool. what went wrong?

You don't get the water stone until, well a long time without luck . So for most of the game you don't have a Ludicolo. You have a Lombre. And Lombre is just immensely disappointing for most of the game (& Lotad wasnt great either tbh). Ludicolo itself, when I finally got one, also just felt kind of mediocre; none of its high points come through and I mostly used the rest of my team.

It stood in stark contrast to Sableye, of all things, who I thought would be the weak link until gym 8 where i finally got its mega but no, it was actually pretty dang useful the entire game.
 
Crabominable in USUM. Mine couldn't even take on Nanu without healing items. It's way too slow and fragile, and for a slow Fighting-type you can get one around the same time as Makuhita who outperforms it in the long run by a mile stretch.

In contrast there are a few mons that I think are better than what they're made out to be in-game, like Lickilicky in Platinum, and Magmar/Rhydon in Red/Blue.
 
Mareep in GSC is a definite example. Slow and surprisingly weak, and its movepool is just dire in those games. When Rock Smash is a good option for your Ampharos, you know you're in trouble.

Tropius is one of my favourite designs but it's just terrible in RSE (and all other games, tbh). Learns so few good moves (and a lot of those are via breeding) and comes up short on virtually every stat. I remember rushing to the area you could catch Tropius when I first played Sapphire and searching for it and ending up incredibly disappointed with it. I still love it, though. Just... the idea of it more than the reality.

Bastiodon was one of the Pokemon I wanted most in Gen IV and... yeah, it's not great. Defensively sound, but then I learned that Rock/Steel was a terrible type combination and the novelty soon wore off.

I was incredibly excited by Blitzle/Zebstrika and found them surprisingly hard to use when I first played BW. Blitzle has no bulk whatsoever and kept getting knocked out, making it incredibly difficult to raise. When it evolved, it never seemed strong enough despite learning some impressive moves. Luxray it ain't.

Noibat/Noivern was probably the biggest disappointment of X and Y. It stays as Noibat for so long and it's pathetically weak. As it was the only Flying Pokemon on my team, I was forced to use it for Sky Battles and it was destroyed every time. It cannot take on more than one Pokemon alone because a couple of neutral hits are easily enough to knock it out.
 

Bull Of Heaven

99 Pounders / 4'3" Feet
is a Pre-Contributor
What's really interesting about this thread is that there are already some answers I disagree with. Frosmoth swept a fair amount of the Champion Cup for me. I've also found Oricorio surprisingly good (and kind of an example of the opposite of what this thread is about). Suggests that a Pokemon doing well in-game is somehow not an entirely objective thing.

I'll second Yamper. I trained one for Nessa's gym, only to watch it get outsped by basically everything, and go down quickly. Another recent one for me is Galarian Weezing; I loved its design, really wanted to use it, and dropped it from my team almost as soon as it evolved.

On the other hand, I expected Polteageist to be an entertaining-but-weak gimmick Pokemon, and instead it pretty much swept whatever my Frosmoth didn't.

Edit: Ah, I forgot about Zebstrika. My favourite Gen 5 design back when I first got the game, so I was never going to drop it from my team, but definitely the least valuable player. But wasn't Luxray underwhelming too?
 
What's really interesting about this thread is that there are already some answers I disagree with. Frosmoth swept a fair amount of the Champion Cup for me. I've also found Oricorio surprisingly good (and kind of an example of the opposite of what this thread is about). Suggests that a Pokemon doing well in-game is somehow not an entirely objective thing.
Oricorio is possibly my fave Pokemon of Gen VII (well, the Baile style, at least - the others look a bit stupid). I had such fun using a Dancer team in the Battle Tree.
 
What's really interesting about this thread is that there are already some answers I disagree with. Frosmoth swept a fair amount of the Champion Cup for me. I've also found Oricorio surprisingly good (and kind of an example of the opposite of what this thread is about). Suggests that a Pokemon doing well in-game is somehow not an entirely objective thing.
I think this comes down to mindset. If you go in expecting a lot from the Pokemon you're using, it's easy to be disappointed by it and vice versa. I used a Pachirisu once, for example. I was actually quite impressed by it, since it contributed quite a lot even though I didn't expect anything from it at first. That doesn't mean that Pachirisu is an objectively better Pokemon than, say, Luxray.
 

Ryota Mitarai

Shrektimus Prime
is a Tiering Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor
I've also found Oricorio surprisingly good (and kind of an example of the opposite of what this thread is about).
Gonna respond to this as I am 101% sure it's directed to me, but I never said it was bad, I just said it was given a lot more credit. I admit it is good for 2/3 of Akala's Totems and that it becomes very strong once it gets Hurricane, Air Slash, and Revelation Dance, it's just that I have never seen someone mention the fact it is... annoying to use during the period when Air Cutter is your best move. I have seen people say Oricorio is Hawlucha-level broken, which I think is a bit of an overstatement.

Anyways, I am also posting cause I've got few other mons to "contribute" here and not to defend desperately my experiences:

BW:
- Tirtouga is a very good example of a mon that is thought to be super good, but in actuality, sucks. First of all, Tirtouga's typing, as a whole, isn't helping it against Elesa and Clay, when otherwise it could have a type advantage. Second, even after using Shell Smash, my Carracosta(s) were easily outsped by opposing Pokemon. I remember it also was a huge item addict in the Pokemon League. This is probably one of the biggest disappointments I have ever faced from a Pokemon with huge potential.

- Sigilyph. This one is more of a thing for the field. In most major fights, Sigilyph isn't generally spectacular. While it is the second best Flying-type after Archeops, it's not something that I recommend using on major fights unless you are in dire need of screens support. From what I recall, it only really beats Skyla (when using Charge Beam), Drayden, and Marshal.

- Joltik. The only major fight where Joltik sweeps easily is Skyla. And even then, Skyla is notoriously easy to beat (I have beaten her with every fully evolved Fighting-type that you can have at that time. I have even swept her with Elgyem). In the rest of the major fights, Galvantula either takes some time actually doing it or only takes out specific threats, as is the case in the Elite Four.
 
While I wouldn't say I expected it to be good, Lurantis in Ultra Sun was way worse than I expected. It's bulk is solid but not quite good, it's attack is high but its moves aren't that strong, and it's super slow. It consistently added up to a package that just wasn't quite enough. And this was in Ultra Sun where I had access to the Totem Lurantis to skip the awful Fomantis phase and have better IVs, I can't even imagine how it would be in the original SM.
 

Yung Dramps

awesome gaming
Weirdly enough all 3 Grass starters I picked recently for Shield, Platinum and Omega Ruby felt like they were among the weaker links of my team. I dunno, they just kinda didn't do as much as I was expecting, had quite a few shaky/slow match-ups and fairly limited coverage. Even Mega Sceptile was the Mega in Omega Ruby I got by far the least mileage out of compared to Gyarados and Gardevoir, can't think of any match-ups where it was a clean sweep, not even Tate and Liza!
 
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Well, if this is about Pokémon that start great and end bad in a playthrough, there's the obligatory mention of Rufflet in Ultra Sun.

At first it's very strong and carries your entire team, until around mid-Akala. But then it quickly becomes deadweight and things like Guzma's Masquerain easily OHKO it even with neutral moves. And when it finally evolves, it's merely decent.
 

Pikachu315111

Ranting & Raving!
is a Community Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor
Well, if this is about Pokémon that start great and end bad in a playthrough, there's the obligatory mention of Rufflet in Ultra Sun.

At first it's very strong and carries your entire team, until around mid-Akala. But then it quickly becomes deadweight and things like Guzma's Masquerain easily OHKO it even with neutral moves. And when it finally evolves, it's merely decent.
Rufflet really suffers from it evolving at such a high level, a sad fate a lot of Gen V Pokemon have. It made sense where you caught them in BW, but come on GF, if you're going to have them appear early in another game their evolution level requirement is going to need to change alongside it.
 
Rufflet really suffers from it evolving at such a high level, a sad fate a lot of Gen V Pokemon have. It made sense where you caught them in BW, but come on GF, if you're going to have them appear early in another game their evolution level requirement is going to need to change alongside it.
It definitely did not make sense for where you caught them. People keep saying this but it really doesnt work out.
I took a Vullaby through the entire game and it did not evolve until the post game.

Level 54 is a very high level, the highest level you face is Ghetsis' level 54 Cofagrigus. You are much more likely to finis hthe game with pokemon in their high 40s to very early 50s then you are to naturally hit Braviary/Vullaby's evolution levels. Even Bisharp (level 52!) is probably at best going to be a Bisharp for like...Ghetsis. Maybe N.
 
It definitely did not make sense for where you caught them. People keep saying this but it really doesnt work out.
I took a Vullaby through the entire game and it did not evolve until the post game.

Level 54 is a very high level, the highest level you face is Ghetsis' level 54 Cofagrigus. You are much more likely to finis hthe game with pokemon in their high 40s to very early 50s then you are to naturally hit Braviary/Vullaby's evolution levels. Even Bisharp (level 52!) is probably at best going to be a Bisharp for like...Ghetsis. Maybe N.
actually Ghetsis’s highest level is level 54 Hydreigon, but yeah you aren’t getting Mandibuzz or Braviary pre-credits.

I’m gonna address this myself, as I know a lot about BW1 in particular, having just finished crafting a BW1 in-game tier list with Ryota on site, even if it is a tiny bit off topic.

The Unova games are probably my favorites in the series. Are they flawless? Definitely not, I still like most other games in the series just fine too. Two of the Unova games’ flaws are the EXP scaling and the late evolution levels.

The EXP scaling isn’t too bad. If anything, it makes sure you don’t overlevel, and while it can be annoying when you’re outleveling things, it does its job, and Ghetsis isn’t over-the-top hard to the point you have to cheese it like Cynthia (Gyrados) or the final boss in Colosseum (which requires you to grind like mad). If you’re having trouble with Hydreigon, ironically send out a Psychic type which can typically take a hit and set up a Light Screen (for example, Musharna is 3HKOed by it) and THEN send in your counter. Even without Light Screen, most Fighting types can take a hit and fire back with STAB and Scrafty IIRC can take a Focus Blast and live in red. Whimsicott can also priority Stun Spore Hydreigon but it sucks so I digress.

Note the late evolution levels didn’t start here. You have things like Ponyta in Gen 1 (notable when it reappeared in Gen 4, not so much 1), Whismur in Gen 3 (also level 40) and Toxicroak in Gen 4 (to an extent). Unova games are where the problem became mainstream. Everybody knows how terrible Larvesta, Deino, etc. are. I’ve even seen minor complaints about Haxorus and Vanilluxe’s evolution levels (which I don’t get as you should be 50 by the League, especially when the game gives you Lucky Egg). Mienfoo also isn’t winning many awards for best in-game Fighting type.

Rufflet and Vullaby are probably the most egregious examples of this, I mean, Level 54?!! I love these games but I can’t defend that, it’s awful game design to expect me to walk into endgame with an unevolved mon aside from maybe a Psuedo-Legendary (and even THEN getting Hydreigon at 64 is dumb). Ironically I have gotten Mandibuzz pre-E4 but I did that because I’m stubborn, not because it’s good.

BW1 Pawniard is legitimately in the top ten of “worst first impressions I’ve had of something in-game, EVER.” You start with Metal Claw and Assurance. You are expected to get to Night Slash at 49. Brick Break via TM is stronger than your STAB unless you run boosted Payback (and Pawniard takes hits like a baby, even mons like 10 levels lower still maim it, it’s hilarious). And Bisharp...well you get it and it exists. Can’t really form an opinion on it much. I mean I guess it can kill 2/4 of the E4 but raising Pawniard is like saying “I want to scroll my gameplay down to a crawl.” Much better in BW2 though, at least it has Iron Head tutor and higher level curve there.

Even discounting late evolution levels, Unova is notorious for this sort of thing. Why does only Munna get Psychic at Level 37? Why does only Cottonee get Cotton Guard at level 37? I know they are Stone evos but still. And why does Amoonguss get Spore at level 62?
It’s...weird.
 
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Note the late evolution levels didn’t start here. You have things like Ponyta in Gen 1 (notable when it reappeared in Gen 4, not so much 1), Whismur in Gen 3 (also level 40) and Toxicroak in Gen 4 (to an extent). Unova games are where the problem became mainstream. Everybody knows how terrible Larvesta, Deino, etc. are. I’ve even seen minor complaints about Haxorus and Vanilluxe’s evolution levels (which I don’t get as you should be 50 by the League, especially when the game gives you Lucky Egg). Mienfoo also isn’t winning many awards for best in-game Fighting type.
I think the thing is it's not just how high the levels are, it's how high they are relative to the Pokemon's placement and the pokemon themselves.
Like let's go back to Ponyta, right? It evolves at Level 40, which is definitely pretty late for gen 1!
Except:
  1. Ponyta arrives on average at about level 32. It can appear lower, it can apepar as high as 34, but about there. 6 levels isn't too outrageous an ask
  2. Kanto's level curve is very high, likely owing to being a gameboy RPG. Blaine's Pokemon starts at level 40 and it only goes higher from there. Depending on your route, you're very likely to have Rapidash farily soon after capturing it.
  3. Ponyta is...surpisingly....not a terrible Pokemon. You ever look at its stats? 410 BST, 90 speed, 85 attack, reasonable-ish 65 special for an unevolved Pokemon this is more than servicable for the couple levels you're dragging it around for.
Its real problems come from movepool in gen 1 but that's..well...hardly unique to Ponyta unfortunately...

Anyway in contrast a shocking number of gen 5 Pokemon are weaker than Ponyta for far longer. This problem gets exponentially worse when they decide to plop down things like Rufflet around the first area of the game in later games, but we'll put that aside. Something like Loudred isn't goign to get a lot of blowback because it's more or less a one off in a sea of Pokemon that evolve at reasonable levels (& in Loudred's case in particular being a middle stage helps offset it). But when you routinely go oh this pokemon is cool and then look at when they evolve its like, wow. What?
Makes me wonder if the exp gain was tweaked later in development and at one point you gained al ot more relative to the final game, with the pokemon levels just a byprodut.

Also I will say that while the complaints about Haxorus & Vanilluxe's levels are a smidge overblown, they do still evolve later relative to most contemperaries in other generations. Most pokemon are fully evolved by 40 (...outside of unova, i mean) unless you're a pseudo and these two bozos evolve at 47 & 47. It's just more for the pile.

Even discounting late evolution levels, Unova is notorious for this sort of thing. Why does only Munna get Psychic at Level 37? Why does only Cottonee get Cotton Guard at level 37? I know they are Stone ev And why does Amoonguss get Spore at level 62?
It’s...weird.
This is common, to varying degress, throughout the series though. It's horrendous in gen 1 in particular, just see what horrible moves they shove at super high levels for no adequate reason, but it keeps cropping up even today.
For my money incidentally, i'd say that the real worse one is Gen 3 Shroomish. It gets it at 54. Note I specified Shroomish. Even several generations later, Breloom cannot learn Spore, instead just lowering the threshold to 40.

e: To bring this back on topic here's another for the pile: Deciduyeye
It's not a terrible Pokemon, I suppose. Like decent stats, move pool. The problem is it is very hard for grass & ghost pokemon to shine in Alola, so a grass/ghost is not helping. It contributed very little compared to the rest of my team.
 
I think the thing is it's not just how high the levels are, it's how high they are relative to the Pokemon's placement and the pokemon themselves.
Like let's go back to Ponyta, right? It evolves at Level 40, which is definitely pretty late for gen 1!
Except:
  1. Ponyta arrives on average at about level 32. It can appear lower, it can apepar as high as 34, but about there. 6 levels isn't too outrageous an ask
  2. Kanto's level curve is very high, likely owing to being a gameboy RPG. Blaine's Pokemon starts at level 40 and it only goes higher from there. Depending on your route, you're very likely to have Rapidash farily soon after capturing it.
  3. Ponyta is...surpisingly....not a terrible Pokemon. You ever look at its stats? 410 BST, 90 speed, 85 attack, reasonable-ish 65 special for an unevolved Pokemon this is more than servicable for the couple levels you're dragging it around for.
Its real problems come from movepool in gen 1 but that's..well...hardly unique to Ponyta unfortunately...

Anyway in contrast a shocking number of gen 5 Pokemon are weaker than Ponyta for far longer. This problem gets exponentially worse when they decide to plop down things like Rufflet around the first area of the game in later games, but we'll put that aside. Something like Loudred isn't goign to get a lot of blowback because it's more or less a one off in a sea of Pokemon that evolve at reasonable levels (& in Loudred's case in particular being a middle stage helps offset it). But when you routinely go oh this pokemon is cool and then look at when they evolve its like, wow. What?
Makes me wonder if the exp gain was tweaked later in development and at one point you gained al ot more relative to the final game, with the pokemon levels just a byprodut.

Also I will say that while the complaints about Haxorus & Vanilluxe's levels are a smidge overblown, they do still evolve later relative to most contemperaries in other generations. Most pokemon are fully evolved by 40 (...outside of unova, i mean) unless you're a pseudo and these two bozos evolve at 47 & 47. It's just more for the pile.


This is common, to varying degress, throughout the series though. It's horrendous in gen 1 in particular, just see what horrible moves they shove at super high levels for no adequate reason, but it keeps cropping up even today.
For my money incidentally, i'd say that the real worse one is Gen 3 Shroomish. It gets it at 54. Note I specified Shroomish. Even several generations later, Breloom cannot learn Spore, instead just lowering the threshold to 40.

e: To bring this back on topic here's another for the pile: Deciduyeye
It's not a terrible Pokemon, I suppose. Like decent stats, move pool. The problem is it is very hard for grass & ghost pokemon to shine in Alola, so a grass/ghost is not helping. It contributed very little compared to the rest of my team.
I meant Ponyta in Gen four actually, particularly Platinum. I know in Kanto it comes at a high level. And I also know Ponyta has an okay 420 or so BST. And since Rapidash doesn’t get Flare Blitz until stupid late...have fun with Flame Wheel.

But yeah, they should’ve really tweaked evolution levels. And Shroomish with Spore is still pretty weird. I would make the counter argument that with smart use of Eviolite this problem is partially mitigated. Darumaka has Hustle misses? It’s okay, Emolga Volt Switch is a 4HKO for example. And Unova isn’t the hardest region really, not when the gym leaders only use three mons and for the most part the leaders aren’t too bad (with some exceptions like Lenora with her grand total of like 3 counters, Elesa and to an EXTENT Clay. Even then a Fighting type trivializes two of those.)

Trying to think of other underwhelming mons in-game...Pineco is pretty awful. You see Forretress as some awesome thing, and then you actually USE Pineco with those horrid offenses and pretty bad Bug STAB (Bug Bite is meh, have fun getting to level 31). And Forretress isn’t much better.
 
Don't think that haxorus n vanilluxe's late evo levels r overblown at all. Recently ran emboar, swanna, simisage, excadrill, haxorus and galvantula, fighting every trainers and still can't get my team above lvl 46 when i got to the league. In fact, i had to use two rare candies to evolve fraxure!

Now maybe always slapping lucky egg onto yr first mon is the way to go (i used it only to evolve joltik and axew, swapped items afterwards) but idk that seems a pretty tall order for a casual player in a game considering you get a variety of type boosting items (overall inefficient but more fun to use personally?)
 

MZ

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Ok lemme drop a bunch of scattered thoughts on this. I'm coming primarily from a Nuzlocke perspective though ftr.

FRLG Mankey is a very common mon to think about for early game, lots of Charmander runs will rely on it for Brock, but that evolution level is really a killer with how frail it is beforehand.
FRLG Poliwrath kinda? It works fine but I'm hard pressed to say it's better than any other Water type in the game, hitting just too weak to really do much for you and with a super unremarkable moveset. Its type matchups are decent but even then it fails to be all that exceptional in what it does. Any Water-type should sweep Giovanni but Wrath isn't doing a ton otherwise. Probably better than Kingler ig but that doesn't look especially good.
Emerald/ORAS- People know Lombre takes way too long to evolve, but its counterpart Nuzleaf doesn't get any moves in gen 3 and it kinda sucks. Better in ORAS where you have attacks that do damage but it's still frail with a really poor typing. It looks cool and is one of the early game mons that eventually develops a decent looking stat spread but it's really poor.
Emerald/ORAS Wailord- nice meme mon but wow this just kinda doesn't tank like you want. Like Poliwrath it's fine because some water is all you really need but lackluster as hell. Worse than Pelipper.
Platinum Skuntank/Purugly/Honchkrow/Mismagius- I thought they would be in the game but they weren't. Very cool.
SWSH Toxtricity- not worth the investment, very average movepool/offenses/typing combined with the need to hatch and raise for 30 levels to start using because Toxel is worthless. Major letdown.
 
SWSH Toxtricity- not worth the investment, very average movepool/offenses/typing combined with the need to hatch and raise for 30 levels to start using because Toxel is worthless. Major letdown.
I dunno, I wasn't really pushing too much through raids yet I could put it at around level 28-29 through EXP Candies alone so I could barely notice the Toxel stage.

That it's not particularly impressive anyways, well, I could agree to that (but since I was constantly rotating Pokémon I didn't use it too much).
 

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