What are Pokémon that failed as single-staged and why?

Single-Staged Pokémon: Pokémon (plurial) that do not evolve and have no pre-evolution, and is not considered as a Legendary Pokémon, Mythical Pokémon and is not classified as an Ultra Beast. Single-Staged Pokémon with Mega Evolution or other form are still considered as Single-Staged, while those that receives a new pre-evolution or evolution in later generations are not unless if it is their regional form that receives an evolution instead, i.e. Galarian Farfetch’d can evolve into Sirfetch’d, while regular Farfetch’d still cannot evolve as of Sword and Shield.

Pokémon that were once single-staged in their debut generation until a certain point can still be discussed if their debut is particularly bad.


Additional Rule: Don’t make in-depth details on how to fix them is not recommended as it can fall into wishlisting. Just saying that it could benefit stat buff, new evolution or reworking its mechanic is okay; telling how it will look like if evolved, or giving a heavy rework on how it should be done instead, is ill-advised for sake of not wishlisting.

Single-Staged Pokémon are an interesting group of specimens. Their lack of evolutionary line, in theory, encourage the player to become more profound of the base form even if they cannot evolve thus become stronger, or is rare but pretty powerful on the spot that reward players who managed to find one.

Unfortunately, as several polls like these ones from another forum shows, many single-staged Pokémon tend to be least favorites. The only notable single-staged Pokémon that tend to be major favorites are Lapras, Pachirisu to an extent, Hawlucha, Mimikyu, Dracovish and Cramorant. How so?

It turned out that many of them are either too weak or too mediocre to be worth using if obtained in mid-game or worse, late-game, have an uninteresting or even appalong design, have an interesting battle concept but failed to successfully make use of it, or all of the above. Strangely, these problems are more common with single-staged Pokémon than with Pokémon with evolutionary lines. While each of them have their own fans, it can be said with practically every Pokémon.

Here are three prime examples that failed as single-staged Pokémon and why are they are as such.

:volbeat: + :illumise:
Volbeat and Illumise are a combination of unappealing designs, mediocre stats and not adding anything much to the Bug-type, not helping their already shaky reputation back then. While they may have uses in Contests, they are usually scarce and found in one place, as well as difficult to capture. This make them feels especially unrewarding. Volbeat is a culprit of butchered potential, with Tail Glow greatly rising Special Attack but does not have the stat to make the full use of it outside of cleaning weak Trainers.

:eiscue:
Eiscue, while appealing for a few, comes off as ridiculous in a bad way for many others. The design doesn’t do much to disperse predator - it might instead gather their attention due to how big the Ice Face is - but the titular Ability is situational at best. It provide a single immunity against any physical moves, and can recover its Ice Face upon using Hail (shall that move succeeds) or if a Pokémon with Snow Warning switches in. Problem is that Special Attackers can just ignore this Ability, and it’s Defense (110) is unnecessarily high as it will block a single physical move anyways in it’s Ice Face form. While it may be a threat if allowed for Belly Drum, its limited learnset doesn’t allows it to wallbreak against many defensive threats.

:bruxish:
For all the unnecessary slow speed problem that plagued most regualr Gen 7 Pokémon, Gen 7 is definitely no exception of the trend where single-staged Pokémon rely more on a gimmick to be more interesting, for better (i.e. Oricorio in-game, and Mimikyu overall) or for worse, which is traced way back to both Generation 1 and 2.

Bruxish fits the latter by a landslide. Bruxish sports Dazzling, which prevent the opponents’ priority moves from working. Problem is that not only Bruxish‘s 92 Speed isn’t all that impressive cannot be boosted, but it’s other stats aside of a middling 105 Attack, to which one would rather be using Strong Jaw as it works well with STAB Psychic Fang. It also have an outright appaling design, with the “teeth on lips” and psychedelic colors that will hurt people’s eyes more than it appeals them.

What are non-evolving Pokémon you think are rather mediocre if not downright awful?
 
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For all the unnecessary slow speed problem that plagued most regualr Gen 7 Pokémon, Gen 7 did started the trend where single-staged Pokémon rely more on a gimmick to be more interesting, for better (i.e. Oricorio in-game, and Mimikyu overall) or for worse.
No, no it really didn't. Gimmick Pokemon have been around for a long long time and will be here for many generations to come. Farfetch'd, Ditto, Unown, Wobbuffet, Smeargle, Castform, and Kecleon all say hi (to name but a few).

Anyway I was going to say Basculin, but I guess Game Freak beat me to it on that one, so...

Spiritomb

1630965704797.png


Bit of an oddball choice here, but let me explain myself. Spiritomb is cool and all, but it isn't quite good enough to ever make it to the big leagues. I remember when it first appeared, and people excitedly proclaimed that "it's like Sableye, but better - because it has no weaknesses!" Well, that's true, but being "Sableye, but better" still isn't great. Its impressive defences are let down by horrendously bad HP and it's too weak and slow to be an effective booster. And its ability choices are pretty lame - Pressure is decent enough but, as mentioned, Spiritomb can't exactly soak up hits, while Infiltrator is wasted on it.

If Spiritomb had had an evolution, it would likely have been quite fearsome. And maybe that's why Game Freak didn't give it one. But I've always liked the idea of Spiritomb in theory but found it incredibly underwhelming in practice. It's a great mon in some regards, but like a lot of Pokemon it's missing that one or two crucial elements that would make it truly fantastic.
 
When discussing single-staged Pokémon, it's important to remember what the purpose of single-staged Pokémon is actually supposed to be. They're not supposed to be as powerful as the final stages of Pokémon that evolve, but are supposed to be more powerful than earlier stages of Pokémon that you obtain at the same point in your adventure. They're the equivalent of pre-promotes in other strategy titles; you have to make a cost-benefit analysis of actually using them, because while they may be strong right now and help you overcome a major obstacle, that means that they are taking experience from your other Pokémon, who will be stronger than it later on. It's also intended for more casual players to eventually realise that the Stantler they caught just isn't putting in enough work any more, so maybe they'll swap it out for a late-game encounter instead, resulting in Pokémon that can only be encountered late in the game to be used by some players.

For that reason, the context in which a Pokémon can be obtained within is crucial. This doesn't even mean that any single-stage Pokémon caught later in the game is automatically bad -- box legends are single-stages geared to late-game power level, but even Pokémon like Durant in Gen V is designed to be a valid late addition to your team that can put in real work. I actually think that this is almost always done correctly, as the vast majority of single-stage Pokémon are encountered in the early-mid portion of the game. Aside from the extremely obvious Delibird, who I think was just a jokemon included for Christmas advertising, there's one Pokémon that really stands out as overly weak.

:bw/heatmor:
Heatmor is one of the saddest examples of an extremely unoptimised stat spread in a later generation. Fun fact about Heatmor -- it actually has the same BST as its counterpart, Durant. The issue is that it's slow and frail, with all of its stats being pumped into Attack and Special Attack. Sure, it will hit fairly hard when it moves second, but usually this isn't even stronger than your fully-evolved Pokémon. And they will be fully-evolved (besides Zweilous lol) because it's encountered in Victory Road. It also doesn't have a particularly good matchup against any of the remaining boss battles, whereas Durant resists 3/4 of the Elite Four and comes with Crunch to spam against Shauntal, and X-Scissor to spam against Caitlin and Grimsley. It also has a bad movepool in Gen V, having Fire-Type, Normal-Type, and Bug Bite coverage by level-up, and while Gen V is when TMs became multi-use, it only learns weaker variants of other types like Rock Tomb and Dig being its most powerful Rock- and Ground-Type attacks. Its best, and entirely functional, moveset is Amnesia, Sunny Day, Flamethrower, and Solar Beam, but in B2W2 Solar Beam is post-game and in BW it's very easy to miss, being right in the corner of Pinwheel Forest, and I think you have to backtrack for it later. I'm sure that Heatmor was designed to be a Victory Road encounter, and someone at Game Freak who made the stat spread genuinely thought it would be as good as Durant, but it was probably their first day on the job lol.

The worst part is that often when a Pokémon is put too late in their original game, it gets encountered earlier in a later title. Not Heatmor though! It's encountered right before the 8th Gym and after defeating Team Flare for good in XY, which is technically slightly earlier, but not to a meaningful extent. It actually is encounterable before the fourth gym in SWSH in the desert area though, so perhaps it has usability in Gen VIII.
 
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When discussing single-staged Pokémon, it's important to remember what the purpose of single-staged Pokémon is actually supposed to be. They're not supposed to be as powerful as the final stages of Pokémon that evolve, but are supposed to be more powerful than earlier stages of Pokémon that you obtain at the same point in your adventure. They're the equivalent of pre-promotes in other strategy titles; you have to make a cost-benefit analysis of actually using them, because while they may be strong right now and help you overcome a major obstacle, that means that they are taking experience from your other Pokémon, who will be stronger than it later on. It's also intended for more casual players to eventually realise that the Stantler they caught just isn't putting in enough work any more, so maybe they'll swap it out for a late-game encounter instead, resulting in Pokémon that can only be encountered late in the game to be used by some players.

For that reason, the context in which a Pokémon can be obtained within is crucial. This doesn't even mean that any single-stage Pokémon caught later in the game is automatically bad -- box legends are single-stages geared to late-game power level, but even Pokémon like Durant in Gen V is designed to be a valid late addition to your team that can put in real work. I actually think that this is almost always done correctly, as the vast majority of single-stage Pokémon are encountered in the early-mid portion of the game. Aside from the extremely obvious Delibird, who I think was just a jokemon included for Christmas advertising, there's one Pokémon that really stands out as overly weak.

:bw/heatmor:
Heatmor is one of the saddest examples of an extremely unoptimised stat spread in a later generation. Fun fact about Heatmor -- it actually has the same BST as its counterpart, Durant. The issue is that it's slow and frail, with all of its stats being pumped into Attack and Special Attack. Sure, it will hit fairly hard when it moves second, but usually this isn't even stronger than your fully-evolved Pokémon. And they will be fully-evolved (besides Zweilous lol) because it's encountered in Victory Road. It also doesn't have a particularly good matchup against any of the remaining boss battles, whereas Durant resists 3/4 of the Elite Four and comes with Crunch to spam against Shauntal, and X-Scissor to spam against Caitlin and Grimsley. It also has a bad movepool in Gen V, having Fire-Type, Normal-Type, and Bug Bite coverage by level-up, and while Gen V is when TMs became multi-use, it only learns weaker variants of other types like Rock Tomb and Dig being its most powerful Rock- and Ground-Type attacks. Its best, and entirely functional, moveset is Amnesia, Sunny Day, Flamethrower, and Solar Beam, but in B2W2 Solar Beam is post-game and in BW it's very easy to miss, being right in the corner of Pinwheel Forest, and I think you have to backtrack for it later. I'm sure that Heatmor was designed to be a Victory Road encounter, and someone at Game Freak who made the stat spread genuinely thought it would be as good as Durant, but it was probably their first day on the job lol.

The worst part is that often when a Pokémon is put too late in their original game, it gets encountered earlier in a later title. Not Heatmor though! It's encountered right before the 8th Gym and after defeating Team Flare for good in XY, which is technically slightly earlier, but not to a meaningful extent. It actually is encounterable before the fourth gym in SWSH in the desert area though, so perhaps it has usability in Gen VIII.
Good argument, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to leave them single-staged forever (aside of Legendary which are intended to be both single-stage and powerful), especially those that ended up becoming victim of power creep.

Plus even with the placement, there are oher factors like rarity, the method to obtain them, and other in-game facotrs that are also to consider. Besides, evolution as a mechanic is one of the most important mechanics of Pokémon as most of the time, as it allows natural progression of a Pokémon, not just with the level system; a non-Legendary single-staged Pokémon needs something great so that it can stick around until at least late-game or even beyond. Otherwise, they are easily replacable, or worse, completely ignored.

Part of why Volbeat and Illumise are largely disliked is that they have a bad tendency to be very rare in mid-game locations, and frustrating to catch, particularly Volbeat’s Double Team, Confusion Ray and Flash iirc. All that for really mediocre Pokémon. None of their stats are over 85, which means the most appropriate timing to make them viable without being too strong early game is about the early-mid game where your starter evolved for the first time.

Speaking of Heatmor though, there is a single-stages Pokémon that severely suffered the same problem.

:seviper:
Seviper did have a really cool design, and it’s interaction with Zangoose as hateful, deathly rivalry is something we do not see often back in Generations 1 and 2. In-game and competitive, however, this is where the appeals stop. Being both slow and frail without an Ability to patch either problem is often a death sentance, and Seviper is no exception.

Common problem with most of Hoenn’s single-staged Pokémon is that the 400-465 BST range is bloated with them, making the first time where outside of Legendaries, there are no Gen 3 single-staged Pokémon geared for lategame. (See why Luvdisc is hated partly because of this.) While not a huge problem for Zangoose thanks to reasonable Speed, good Attack and access to Sword Dance, Seviper’s statline wouldn’t work with the same 458 BST.

Worse is that while Zangoose got a helpful Toxic Boost, Seviper got a more situational Infiltrator for Hideen Ability. Even something like Adaptability or Multiscale would help it a lot, but for now, Seviper can be considered as the worse Arbok. I’m not kidding.
 
Spr 4d 201.png

Surprised nobody mentioned this one yet. Its Attack and Special Attack aren't all that good, and all of its other stats are straight-up dogshit. Doesn't help that its only attacking move is Hidden Power, an attack that has only ever been 70 power and below at best.

So, there's literally no reason to use this to fight, but what about the collecting gimmick? That's neat for the people who enjoy that sort of thing, but I don't really care about it. So, for me, Unown just sucks and has no reason to exist.
 
Spr 4d 201.png

Surprised nobody mentioned this one yet. Its Attack and Special Attack aren't all that good, and all of its other stats are straight-up dogshit. Doesn't help that its only attacking move is Hidden Power, an attack that has only ever been 70 power and below at best.

So, there's literally no reason to use this to fight, but what about the collecting gimmick? That's neat for the people who enjoy that sort of thing, but I don't really care about it. So, for me, Unown just sucks and has no reason to exist.
Really, all of the gimmicks should get evos. I'm thinking of Castform, Luvdisc and Spinda especially. Third gen was pretty bad for those
 
I've used Seviper in the hoenn games, it honestly performs fine there. Decent attacking stats help, as does having half a game to passively build up stats..there wasn't much of a time where i was regretting using it.
\
Checking its availablility in other games...I feel like it probably does decent work in XY. You get access to it relatively early on, so even if the general power of late game has it fall off it has a decent early game niche as "relatively decent stats for its location". Honestly XY's sure wide variety of Pokemon and their equally varying power levels probably helps Pokemon like it a fair deal; though that's just speculation.

BW2, though...I've got doubts though, yes. It comes fairly late in the adventure (always an issue for any pokemon, frankly) and I feel like the power of late game makes carrying it around a possible hazard.
 
Original Diamond and Pearl Rotom hands down.

Post game only single stage encounter. Pretty sure everyone thought this guy was a legendary when first encountered (he even plays the legendary encounter music, the only non legendary to ever do so) He has an entirely unique typing (still to this day), and it's an amazing typing at that. Electric/ghost with levitate is one of the best typings ever, even resisting the famous flying/fighting, and room's movepool, while small, was not lacking - it had reliable stabs, triple status with wisp/twave/confuse ray, and even trick (this was pre tutor so this was a rare move back then).

But the stats.

Oh Lord, the stats.

Rotom's stats are bad. Really bad. It's so frail it can get two shot by resisted hits (it can even be one shot by staraptor's CB BB with rocks up) and in general makes very little use of it's resists. Well at least it's strong and fast right? Nope. It's spat is average at best at 95, and it's speed of 91 actually made it one of the slower fully evolved electrics at the time.

And all of this on a post game only encounter.

D/P rotom is such a colossal fuck up, Game Freak made the unprecedented move of taking this pokemon, which was a non legendary and had no plot relevance, and giving it 5 new forms each with a unique, powerful move and hugely buffed stats. They also moved base rotom to be found after the 2nd badge, where it now becomes one of the better in game encounters, especially since its guaranteed.

But the original D/P rotom will always in my heart be one of Game Freaks biggest blunders
 
Checking its availablility in other games...I feel like it probably does decent work in XY. You get access to it relatively early on, so even if the general power of late game has it fall off it has a decent early game niche as "relatively decent stats for its location". Honestly XY's sure wide variety of Pokemon and their equally varying power levels probably helps Pokemon like it a fair deal; though that's just speculation.
Can confirm, XY are great for letting you use stuff you can't in other games. Dunsparce, Farfetch'd, Kecleon, even Volbeat and Illumise come early enough that you could theoretically use them from lvl 10-25 or so. You know what else you get early there?
:plusle: :Minun:
Look, I get why they exist. Demo the new double-battle system in RS, encourage people to train up mons just for that, so they make the Pikaclone for the gen double-battle focused. I get it. Why must they suck? You can't have a double-battle with 2 electrics, they'll die instantly, so the gimmick requiring them to both be out at once doesn't even work. And in Singles, they're basically worse than any other electric. Their moveset is doubles-focused, their ability is useless, and their stats are worse than plenty of alternates that are available even from early on in various games. They desperately need some sort of evolution. I'd make it a merged evo where either turns into the same mon, because that would be interesting, and a new ability, since Plus/Minus are so niche, but there are plenty of doubles-focused abilities that they could get. Honestly, even a minor buff to both their bulk and actually learning a special STAB would make them pretty useable in-game.
 
:eiscue:
Eiscue, while appealing for a few, comes off as ridiculous in a bad way for many others. The design doesn’t do much to disperse predator - it might instead gather their attention due to how big the Ice Face is - but the titular Ability is both unfun and situational. It provide a single immunity against any physical moves, and can recover its Ice Face at the end of each turn during Hail. Problem is that Special Attackers can just ignore this Ability, likewise if Hail is on, this Pokémon is infuriating to fight against if you go for a full physical team. While it may be a threat if allowed for Belly Drum, its limited learnset doesn’t allows it to wallbreak against many defensive threats.
Just want to point out, thats not how Ice Face works, it doesnt recover at the end of each turn during hail, it only happens the same turn you use Hail/Snow Warning (doesnt work if hailstorm was already the current weather or if a new weather replace the hail).

Anyway, to stay on topic, popular mons are usually strong, cool or cute, but thats just what most people like about anything, 'marketable' qualities, single stage ugly or funny looking mons that arent all that good ingame or in competitive are filling a small niche, unique and different, they didnt fail, not everyone can be Pikachu, Dragapult, Greninja or any other popular mon, there is a need of variety, someone at gamefreak must know there is a lot people who loves what other people dont like or apreciate.
Is fine to have some weak mons and not everyone can evolve, now if they made something that was supposed to become popular and didnt, thats a failure.
:Falinks:
I think Falinks had a chance to become a much more popular mon, but it appears too late and they overbalanced it, an omniboosts is cool but kind of pointless when the user is just, weak. Is also a mono fighting-type and we have too many of those, specially this gen. Next generation it should appear in the wild after the first gym, people would actually give it a chance.
 

TMan87

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You knew it had to come. You were expecting it, disappointed to not spot the sprite in the thread... yet.
But I aim to please, so let's talk about a Pokémon that really could not stoop lower.
:ss/stonjourner:

It's Stonjourner time, baby!
Nothing is good about it. Abolutely nothing. Let's do this from the top.

Typing: Pure Rock is already an ill omen, as Rock is meant to mostly be a defensive typing but has horrendous weaknesses that plague it, Grass and Water (2/3 of the starter trio) counting amongst it. However, there are pure Rock-types that do rather well for themselves, like uuuuh... Gigalith? Maybe?

Stats: Well maybe its stats allow it to shine somewhere? Let's see... 100 HP is okay, I suppose. 125 Atk is pretty good, as is 135 Def! 20 SpA is understandable, it's not like you'd use a special set anyway. Next is...
Oh.
Oh no.
20 base SpD is atrocious for an otherwise bulky mon. You could sneeze on it and it'd die. It completely undermines the tanky aspect they seemed to go for and compounds Rock's already glaring weaknesses, as Water and Grass are primarily specially biased types.
70 Spe is quite fast for a Rock-type, but sadly not enough to really compete as an offensive Pokémon.

Availability: This is where the cookie really crumbles. Not only is that thing a version exclusive, but it's also on Route 10, the closest thing Galar has to a Victory Road.
I repeat: that thing comes after the 8th badge if you're not lucky with Max Raids.
And it has a 2% encounter chance.
Two. Percent.
Meditate on that for a minute: it's not even an already low 5% chance. It's a 2% chance. In Sword only. And for that low of an encounter, you'd expect some pseudo-legendary kind of power level, with Duraludon admittedly fitting that spot.
Nope! Instead, you get Stonjourner. Have fun, don't come back.

Name: Yes I'm rating its name as well, to really drive the point that this is a complete failure from GF's part.
Its name is a combination of stone and sojourner. Alright, fair... But it's not sojourning anywhere, because that would imply a temporary stay. It's literally native to Galar! It's been here for potentially ages! Even the name doesn't sit right!

Design: Its design is, without surprise, quite middling as well. My best way to describe it is "if you told someone without much Kirby knowledge to draw Rock Kirby". It has a weird, derpy face and small blocky arms. It's weirdly proportionated. I don't like it.

Reference: And to top it all off, even that was not done right. As cultured chap Plague von Karma said in another thread, it does a poor job at referencing Stonehenge, one of England's most known monuments, taking its roots in the Neolithic era.
Game Freak saw Stonehenge and instead of a cool, mystical location (which Galar isn't short of), we get walking rock. Yay.

Conclusion: Would not care if Stonjourner was snapped out of existence and replaced with Mega Flygon something else entirely.
 
:gs/corsola: :gs/qwilfish:

Couple of Johto Waters. These guys were outclassed by the Kanto fossils and Tentacruel, respectively, from the moment they touched the ground. Which is too bad, they have neat designs and a lot of character. There's potential for them to be somewhat salvaged with an evolution but who knows. It's many, many years overdue.
 
You knew it had to come. You were expecting it, disappointed to not spot the sprite in the thread... yet.
But I aim to please, so let's talk about a Pokémon that really could not stoop lower.
:ss/stonjourner:

It's Stonjourner time, baby!
Nothing is good about it. Abolutely nothing. Let's do this from the top.

Typing: Pure Rock is already an ill omen, as Rock is meant to mostly be a defensive typing but has horrendous weaknesses that plague it, Grass and Water (2/3 of the starter trio) counting amongst it. However, there are pure Rock-types that do rather well for themselves, like uuuuh... Gigalith? Maybe?
I will maintain that Rock has the potential to be a good Specially defensive type. Water coverage is basically nonexistant, as is grass outside of solarbeam. What really lets rock down as a physical wall is the weakness to fighting and ground without the massive load of resistances Steel offers. Additionally, sandstorm boosts the special defense, and only the special defense, of rock types. Heck, Tyranitar's first listed set for gen 8 OU is a specially defenisve one.

None of this helps stonjurner whatsoever, despite the concept of a mystically attuned monument allowing a specially defensive role more than most rock types would have.
 
You know, I'm curious. Barring later Gen cross evos for none legends/mythicals...

Gen 1: 20/151 single staged pokemon
Gen 2: 21/100 single staged pokemon
Gen 3: 21/135 single staged pokemon
Gen 4: 5/107 single staged pokemon (no I won't count Phione)
Gen 5: 14/156 single staged pokemon
Gen 6: 5/72 (Volcanion is mythical*)
Gen 7: 14/81
Gen 8: 8 + 4 fossilmon/ 81* single staged
Interesting how 1-3 have similar counts standalone, though unfortunately for 3, while later gens mitigated the amount of Gen 1/2 single mons heavily with evos, 3....only got 3 mons to decrease
The other issue is 3 used pairs A LOT due to the double battle gimmick
 
Gen 3 is infamous for its huge number of single stage mons (18 in total) with more than half of them having a counter part that may or may not be version exclusive. A lot of them have bizzare gimmicks too such as Kecleon being road blocks and Castform showcasing weather.

:Spinda:
I find this ugly little thing to be the most bizzare AND unnecessary of them all. Its gimmick is that it has a different spot pattern based on personality value of all things which is pretty random. It has a pretty colorful movepool but its BST is the same as Elekid. Even Gamefreak's treatment of it is bizzare. When BW came out it got Superpower to take advantage of its new hidden ability Contrary. Unfortunately Superpower is only available in the now defunct dream world as for whatever reason it can't learn it from tutors. Needless to say Malamar and Lurantis are superior to this ugly little thing. Then gen 6 came out and gives us the abomination that is its 3d model... which in turn result in this. I do reccomend looking at its analysis from gen 3-6 its comedy gold.

I was going to talk about Unown and Stonjourner but someone beat me to the punch.
 
I find this ugly little thing to be the most bizzare AND unnecessary of them all. Its gimmick is that it has a different spot pattern based on personality value of all things which is pretty random. It has a pretty colorful movepool but its BST is the same as Elekid. Even Gamefreak's treatment of it is bizzare. When BW came out it got Superpower to take advantage of its new hidden ability Contrary. Unfortunately Superpower is only available in the now defunct dream world as for whatever reason it can't learn it from tutors. Needless to say Malamar and Lurantis are superior to this ugly little thing. Then gen 6 came out and gives us the abomination that is its 3d model... which in turn result in this. I do reccomend looking at its analysis from gen 3-6 its comedy gold.
This reminds me of Luvdisc, another failure of a single stage Water type though without the design and character of Corsola and Qwilfish. From its XY analysis, checks & counters: "Love knows no boundaries" lol.
 

ScraftyIsTheBest

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Game Freak saw Stonehenge and instead of a cool, mystical location (which Galar isn't short of), we get walking rock. Yay.
Technically there is a location that's sort of based on Stonehenge in Galar at least according to official sources and that's actually Turffield, especially according to the Official Galar Tour Brochure they made some time ago. It's sort of apparent in that town considering the many Stonehenge-like stones that are prominent there but they made it into a little town in Galar instead of a mystical monument like the real Stonehenge is, so it's more loosely based on Stonehenge rather than a total replica of it. Funnily enough Stonjourner is nowhere near that area.

Stonjourner is still one of my least favorite Gen 8 mons and a blemish amongst an otherwise memorable roster for me,, but I felt that was worth mentioning at least.

:gs/corsola: :gs/qwilfish:

Couple of Johto Waters. These guys were outclassed by the Kanto fossils and Tentacruel, respectively, from the moment they touched the ground. Which is too bad, they have neat designs and a lot of character. There's potential for them to be somewhat salvaged with an evolution but who knows. It's many, many years overdue.
Corsola had the luxury of having a regional form in Galar that also had an evolution in the form of Cursola, which is something I suppose. The original Corsola remains eternally condemned to mediocrity unfortunately.

Qwilfish is indeed long overdue for an evolution though, yeah. Such a sad and forgettable mon in just about every aspect. Considering Legends: Arceus has confirmed it will introduce new evolutions to older mons (Wyrdeer and Basculegion) part of me is lowkey hoping Qwilfish finally gets the evolution it needs in that game, or if not there, then maybe a later gen will some day. It's largely forgotten about at this point which makes it ripe for a new evolution at some point. Legends: Arceus has the perfect opportunity to give it one, considering it already did to another forgettable fish mon (Basculin).
 
Ditto had to use a turn to use Transform before Gen 5 and the odds of getting one with Imposter in game means you usually still have to if you want to use one in a casual playthrough. With Base 48 stats, it's easier said than done and you'll be in a speed tie after transforming unless you have a Choice Scarf. And if you do have a Choice Scarf, you're choice locked. I think this is more of a gimmick not being good though.


Luvdisc's stats are barely better than unevolved Route 1 Pokemon and it was only available after visiting the town with the 7th Gym in RSE. It's after the First Gym in XY, but even that's too late for it to be useful unless you count trading it for Steelix. It's right at the point where the Route 1 Pokemon are starting to evolve! Being a source of Heart Scales does not save it from sucking and it's barely even a gimmick. I'm not even convinced that it's a gimmick, but it does give Luvdisc some use. It has no chance of being good ever unless it gets a 3 Stage Evolution Chain or a regional variant that has one. (Yeah, I'm saying its so bad even its evolution would suck.) The worst part for Luvdisc is it looks like it should evolve into Alomomola, but it doesn't.


Celever already talked about Heatmor, but it only gets worse the more you think about it. Heatmor will never be an early game Pokemon because it's paired with the much better Durant that it supposedly hunts. x4 Fire Weakness Heartmor always kills Durant, right? Well, as if being overshadowed by its prey wasn't enough, Durant outspeeds Heatmor and can found at Levels when it knows Dig in every game you can find them. With 109 Atk and Hustle, the supposed prey wins. I know that leaves a chance to miss, but 80% of the time the "prey" wins. In the only place they can't be found at Levels they'd know Dig at, The Wild Area, they have Guillotine instead. 30% is better odds for Heatmor, but they have to risk that every time they hunt. How have Heatmor not gone extinct? Are they ambush predators? They don't look like it. I know I'm thinking too hard about fictional ecosystems that only appear to work until you think about in game mechanics.

For even more insult to injury, worse Pokemon tend to rely on gimmicks to be viable and Heatmor is about as bad as it gets. Heatmor had Fire Lash as a signature move in Gen 7, which was far from good enough for any serious use or even enough to make it worth making catchable in Gen 7. Durant had its gimmick ever since its introduction in Gen 5, not that it needed one. The gimmick of Truant and Entrainment forces AI trainers (and noobs that don't switch) to do nothing every other turn. It makes them into the best setup chance ever with Protect and it let people get crazy winning streaks in the Battle Mansion and Tree. (Probably the Subway too. I haven't seen that leader board.) Durant is even better at gimmicks!


I'd also like to give a dishonorable mention to Throh because the Fighting Elite 4 had it use Grass Knot on Servine. (Base 30 SpA and Resisted 40 Power) I know Throh has good stats and is really good in game, but I can't take it seriously ever again after that.


Tauros might deserve a mention too for being the only Non-Legendary Gen 1 Pokemon other than Ditto that still doesn't have an Evolution, Mega, or Gigantamax. Something about that implies failure, but I can't say that one of the best Pokemon in Gen 1 OU failed as a Single Stage Pokemon. He's always avialable at points of the game where his 100 Atk and 110 Spe are really good so I can't say he fails at being good in game in any game either. I'd guess he fails at being noteworthy enough in modern games for extra love, but he was rideable in Gen 7. Tauros is probably the most successful Single Stage Pokemon.
 
Ditto had to use a turn to use Transform before Gen 5 and the odds of getting one with Imposter in game means you usually still have to if you want to use one in a casual playthrough. With Base 48 stats, it's easier said than done and you'll be in a speed tie after transforming unless you have a Choice Scarf. And if you do have a Choice Scarf, you're choice locked. I think this is more of a gimmick not being good though.


Luvdisc's stats are barely better than unevolved Route 1 Pokemon and it was only available after visiting the town with the 7th Gym in RSE. It's after the First Gym in XY, but even that's too late for it to be useful unless you count trading it for Steelix. It's right at the point where the Route 1 Pokemon are starting to evolve! Being a source of Heart Scales does not save it from sucking and it's barely even a gimmick. I'm not even convinced that it's a gimmick, but it does give Luvdisc some use. It has no chance of being good ever unless it gets a 3 Stage Evolution Chain or a regional variant that has one. (Yeah, I'm saying its so bad even its evolution would suck.) The worst part for Luvdisc is it looks like it should evolve into Alomomola, but it doesn't.


Celever already talked about Heatmor, but it only gets worse the more you think about it. Heatmor will never be an early game Pokemon because it's paired with the much better Durant that it supposedly hunts. x4 Fire Weakness Heartmor always kills Durant, right? Well, as if being overshadowed by its prey wasn't enough, Durant outspeeds Heatmor and can found at Levels when it knows Dig in every game you can find them. With 109 Atk and Hustle, the supposed prey wins. I know that leaves a chance to miss, but 80% of the time the "prey" wins. In the only place they can't be found at Levels they'd know Dig at, The Wild Area, they have Guillotine instead. 30% is better odds for Heatmor, but they have to risk that every time they hunt. How have Heatmor not gone extinct? Are they ambush predators? They don't look like it. I know I'm thinking too hard about fictional ecosystems that only appear to work until you think about in game mechanics.

For even more insult to injury, worse Pokemon tend to rely on gimmicks to be viable and Heatmor is about as bad as it gets. Heatmor had Fire Lash as a signature move in Gen 7, which was far from good enough for any serious use or even enough to make it worth making catchable in Gen 7. Durant had its gimmick ever since its introduction in Gen 5, not that it needed one. The gimmick of Truant and Entrainment forces AI trainers (and noobs that don't switch) to do nothing every other turn. It makes them into the best setup chance ever with Protect and it let people get crazy winning streaks in the Battle Mansion and Tree. (Probably the Subway too. I haven't seen that leader board.) Durant is even better at gimmicks!


I'd also like to give a dishonorable mention to Throh because the Fighting Elite 4 had it use Grass Knot on Servine. (Base 30 SpA and Resisted 40 Power) I know Throh has good stats and is really good in game, but I can't take it seriously ever again after that.


Tauros might deserve a mention too for being the only Non-Legendary Gen 1 Pokemon other than Ditto that still doesn't have an Evolution, Mega, or Gigantamax. Something about that implies failure, but I can't say that one of the best Pokemon in Gen 1 OU failed as a Single Stage Pokemon. He's always avialable at points of the game where his 100 Atk and 110 Spe are really good so I can't say he fails at being good in game in any game either. I'd guess he fails at being noteworthy enough in modern games for extra love, but he was rideable in Gen 7. Tauros is probably the most successful Single Stage Pokemon.
To make it even worse than this, Heatmor has never actually had a gimmick for 99.99% of players. You noted that Fire Lash doesn't make it worth catching in Gen VII; I actually think it's fine as a move as it only competes with Flame Charge (weak), Flare Blitz (recoil) and Fire Punch which is much more broadly distributed and Fire Lash is slightly better than it. The issue is that you can't catch Heatmor in Gen VII, even in the expanded USUM dex! I think it's the only instance of a Pokémon being given a new signature move but not being in that region's regional dex, and once it was obtainable again in Gen VIII, Fire Lash had already been given to other Pokémon.

They've really done everything wrong for Heatmor.
 
:rb/lickitung: :rb/porygon:

Lickitung and Porygon are not single stage Pokémon anymore, but they are in the Kanto games, and both are completely useless in them. Kanto has a bunch of single-stage Normal-types, and they're all way better than them. I'll be comparing them in gen. I since Porygon got it's evolution in gen. II. You've got:

:rb/snorlax: Snorlax, who has great HP (160) and Attack (110), letting it take lots of hits and dish them out too. It also gets Amnesia to raise it's Special.
:rb/chansey: Chansey, with an insanely high HP stat of 250 and great Special (105) that lets it sponge special hits for days AND deal good damage with it's own special moves, and it has Soft-Boiled to recover HP.
:rb/tauros: Tauros, an amazing sweeper who's considered THE best Pokémon in RBY OU.
:rb/kangaskhan: Kangaskhan, who admittedly isn't as strong as the other 3 (they are all OU in RBY while Kangaskhan is UU), but it's still leagues above Lickitung and Porygon.

Meanwhile, Lickitung has nothing to differentiate it from the others and has mediocre stats with the lowest BST. It's best stat is it's HP at 90. It's tied with Snorlax in Speed (30) but Snorlax compensates for it in other areas which Lickitung doesn't.
Porygon's highest stat is a sad 75 Special, and it has Sharpen and Conversion which... Yay? Not the best signature moves ever.

"But that's only in competitive play, surely they are decent in-game, right?". Nope.

As the results from this poll show, Lickitung is the least popular Kanto Pokémon in in-game playthroughs, and Porygon is the 4th least popular. Chansey is the 6th least popular but that's because of it's rarity and it was nerfed after Special was split into Sp. Attack and Sp. Def (this poll is for all Kanto games, not just RBY). And as we already established it's great in competitive, Lickitung and Porygon can't relate. Even frickin DITTO is more popular than these two despite being just as bad because at least it has a fun gimmick.

It's not hard to see why they're so unpopular. Snorlax is amazing and you basically get it for free since it's a guaranteed encounter. Tauros, Chansey and Kangaskhan are rare Safari Zone encounters but their good stats makes it worthwhile to go out of your way to catch them.

Meanwhile, Porygon has to be bought at the Game Corner for an absurd amount of coins, and Lickitung can only be obtained in a trade by giving away a Slowbro in Red/Blue (why would you do that when Slowbro is actually a good Pokémon?) or in the postgame in Cerulean Cave in Yellow.

Thankfully Lickitung and Porygon both got evolutions in later gens (Porygon even got two), but in their debut generation they were absolutely terrible.
 
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Gotta put a chip down for RBY Onix too. Lower HP than Weedle, same Attack stat as Pidgey, and a slightly worse Special. Its Speed isn't entirely awful at 70, and its 160 Defense is godly, but Onix is extremely easy to play around and generally you'd be better off using Geodude (whose stats match or outmatch Onix in 3 of 5 cases).

I suspect that Onix was originally intended to be a quite strong lategame Pokémon, maybe somewhere between Graveler and Golem in terms of strength, to be a budget option for those who couldn't trade to evolve. After all, Onix is found in Victory Road, and Bruno carries a pair of them. But then it was decided to give Brock a big and visually impressive Pokémon to serve in the first boss battle, Onix was chosen, and its stats nerfed to oblivion to not make the battle super hard. Onix remained a giant boulder snake and one of the most visually impressive Pokémon ever made (case in point: the desert level in New Snap), but mechanics-wise it's a giant dud.

Thankfully, Steelix was there to make up for it. It basically doubled all of Onix's stats, got an even higher Defense, and nerfed the Speed stat Onix didn't use much anyway. Plus upping the cool factor even more, of course.

In more modern times, single-stage Pokémon seem to be designed with a battling niche from the onset, to prevent them from being completely outclassed (a fact which, sadly, removes the need for Pokémon to be rescued by cross-generation evolution). Still, I'd like to ask what the point of Pincurchin is. It may not be entirely useless, but it's so completely forgettable I can't figure out what possible use it could have. Setting Electric Terrain with its Hidden Ability, perhaps, but then what?
 
Gen 3 is infamous for its huge number of single stage mons (18 in total) with more than half of them having a counter part that may or may not be version exclusive. A lot of them have bizzare gimmicks too such as Kecleon being road blocks and Castform showcasing weather.

:Spinda:
I find this ugly little thing to be the most bizzare AND unnecessary of them all. Its gimmick is that it has a different spot pattern based on personality value of all things which is pretty random. It has a pretty colorful movepool but its BST is the same as Elekid. Even Gamefreak's treatment of it is bizzare. When BW came out it got Superpower to take advantage of its new hidden ability Contrary. Unfortunately Superpower is only available in the now defunct dream world as for whatever reason it can't learn it from tutors. Needless to say Malamar and Lurantis are superior to this ugly little thing. Then gen 6 came out and gives us the abomination that is its 3d model... which in turn result in this. I do reccomend looking at its analysis from gen 3-6 its comedy gold.

I was going to talk about Unown and Stonjourner but someone beat me to the punch.
the sad thing is its BST is poking fun at 360 degrees for a circle....
So it's entire existence is a gimmick
Though I disagree with the model's anim being bad. It's always stated to wobble/walk awkwardly, and even Hal's model for Colo/XD has it waltz over . It's a bit chunky though in XY...

Kecleon though, he's one of the first Gen 3 mon made along with Wailmer (to the point he was shown in the anime before a third of Gen 2 mon). And most likely, his existence was strictly for one thing: Abilities!
Because Gen 3s biggest change was those, and Kec's ability in changing type adds another level of variance helped make it noticeable. Why there was only one capturable is weird, especially since there was art of Brendan riding with one
1631054864141.png

Still mad MD and the anime had a much better shiny....
 
the sad thing is its BST is poking fun at 360 degrees for a circle....
So it's entire existence is a gimmick
Though I disagree with the model's anim being bad. It's always stated to wobble/walk awkwardly, and even Hal's model for Colo/XD has it waltz over . It's a bit chunky though in XY...

Kecleon though, he's one of the first Gen 3 mon made along with Wailmer (to the point he was shown in the anime before a third of Gen 2 mon). And most likely, his existence was strictly for one thing: Abilities!
Because Gen 3s biggest change was those, and Kec's ability in changing type adds another level of variance helped make it noticeable. Why there was only one capturable is weird, especially since there was art of Brendan riding with one
View attachment 370524
Still mad MD and the anime had a much better shiny....
There's multiple Kecleon that you can find with the devon scope and it is (for some insane reason) a 1% encounter on a few routes.
 
In more modern times, single-stage Pokémon seem to be designed with a battling niche from the onset, to prevent them from being completely outclassed (a fact which, sadly, removes the need for Pokémon to be rescued by cross-generation evolution). Still, I'd like to ask what the point of Pincurchin is. It may not be entirely useless, but it's so completely forgettable I can't figure out what possible use it could have. Setting Electric Terrain with its Hidden Ability, perhaps, but then what?
Pincurchin falls the same category of “helplessly medicore single-stage Pokémon” like several found in Gen 1-3. I do not think we are out of the woods yet, and who knows if there might be regressions when it comes to how new single-stage Pokémon are handled - it might goes out of hands, too.

It does not help that the “gimmick” Ability they have, if they do have one, can end up being put too much focus and prevent more than a few from being truly viable. Mimikyu worked very well because Disguise is a one-time 1 HP Substitute, but with great typing and decent enough stats and learnset to make full use of it. The rest with Ability-dependant forms, aside of Wishiwashi and Cramorant which one is a monster in playthroughs and the other surprisingly good if you play your card right, ends up not capitalizing their “gimmick” well. It can work, but it’s no easy task to balance it.

Hawlucha and Oricorio are an examples of modern single-staged Pokémon can work without relying on a gimmicky Ability, too. Hawlucha is straightforward but managed to be appealing with being a “pint-sized powerhouse“, and while it’s move is not always helpful, it’s statline and Unburden do enough job to make it viable.

While Oricorio is not a competitive-winning Pokémon, it is a very useful Pokémon in Alola in-game, especially USUM due to early access Z-Flying moves. It’s gimmick is a form that gives a different primary typing with their signature move ensuring guaranteed STAB, and changes depending on each of Alola’s differently colored flower. Being one of the few new fast non-Legend Gen 7 Pokémon with decent enough Special Attack, alongside moderately interesting designs, in addition to early availability, gives it an egde over other Gen 7 single-staged Pokémon except Mimikyu, who is always useful, but especially Bruxish.

It’s really up to execution. But personally, too many single-staged Pokémon relied except those I mentioned favorably (Wishiwashi, Cramorant, Oricorio) had too much focus on their gimmick, and tend to age the worst among past Pokémon and even modern Pokémon.
 

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