Pokémon Legends: Arceus - The 35 best Pokémon in the game (2023)

Pokémon Legends: Arceus - The 35 best Pokémon in the game (1)

Cian Maher

February 8, 2022 10:07 am ET

One of the most interesting things about evaluating quality in Pokémon Legends: Arceus is how drastically different individual Pokémon can be here. Now that Snow Warning isn’t a thing, Abomasnow fares significantly worse than in previous mainline games. Rotom Wash without Levitate is a breeze to dispatch, while Togekiss really struggles to find a niche in the absence of both Serene Grace and worthwhile Dragon-type opponents. Typically ‘good’ Pokémon are, well… not so good anymore! For series diehards like us, that’s a pretty difficult thing to wrap our Iron Heads around.

Still, we persevered. After spending around 50 hours with the game, we’ve experimented with all kinds of different teams and strategies that have now culminated in this very list. We’re not going to bother considering competitive viability or anything like that — Pokémon Legends: Arceus doesn’t support online battles, after all.

Instead, we’re thinking about this purely based on how specific Pokémon can perform in a strictly player-versus-environment setting. For the record, we’re not including Legendary or Mythical Pokémon, and every evolutionary family can only be represented by one individual ‘mon from it. These are the best readily obtainable Pokémon in the game in their strongest forms as per their respective evolutionary chains.

Here are the 35 best Pokémon in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which have been very roughly ordered from worst to best.



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Despite its ostensible bulk, Mamoswine is a surprisingly fast Pokémon with access to a monstrous Attack stat and some excellent STAB (same-type attack bonus) moves. Given that it has five weaknesses — and really misses Thick Fat in the absence of abilities — it can be quite a risky Pokémon to use, but if you understand predictions and pivots, it will reliably deal mammoth (eh? eh?) damage to your enemies.


Hisuian Samurott

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Hisuian Samurott is another Pokémon who suffers from having too many weaknesses, although it has a pretty great offensive typing — particularly when you consider the utility of moves like Ceaseless Edge. If you’re after one of the best Water Pokémon in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, you could do a lot worse than this samurai sea lion, especially considering you’re able to get all three starters instead of just the one you actively chose at the beginning of the game. Cyndaquil superiority, tho. Obviously.



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We went into more detail on why Tentacruel is so great in that same article linked above, but to put it plainly: it’s fast, has excellent Special Defense, and can be devastating against a variety of powerful Pokémon thanks to its STAB Water and Poison attacks. Tentacruel often gets overlooked, but it’s been a fantastic ‘mon ever since its inception all the way back in 1996. We reckon people are just terrified of that time a giant Tentacruel bodied an entire city in the first season of the Pokémon anime. Understandable.


Hisuian Arcanine

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We recently voted this lad as the best Hisuian variant in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Outside of being conceptually cool though, Hisuan Arcanine has excellent stats and a pretty dangerous movepool. The only issue with it is that it’s hopelessly frail when it comes to opponents capable of using Water or Ground moves, meaning it can be a wrecking ball in the hands of the right player, but a bona fide wreck in the hands of the wrong one. Also: regular Arcanine is way better.



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Weavile isn’t quite as impactful in Legends: Arceus as it is in some other games, but it’s still a lightning-fast glass cannon who can sweep entire teams if used in the right way. The new battle system doesn’t allow it to make full use of its superior Speed, and it definitely still needs better Ice moves — but it’s a phenomenal Pokémon when used with even the slightest semblance of strategy. It’s also still one of the most impressively designed ‘mons of all time. We’d make a mockery of everyone if Pokémon were real and Weavile was our ace.




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Sneasler is pretty similar to Weavile, although it has a better typing and slightly stronger Attack. Funnily enough, they actually synergize pretty well with one another — Sneasler can use its 4x weakness to Psychic to bait an attack, at which point Weavile can switch in and nullify it with its immunity to that type. Night Slash, game over. Sneasel family superiority confirmed.



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Drapion is very weird in that a lot of people just… don’t talk about it. Poison/Dark is a ridiculous typing — it only has one weakness, is immune to Psychic, and has another four resistances to boot. Pair that with Drapion’s solid Attack and diverse movepool and you’ve essentially got a scorpion wrecking machine at your disposal. On top of that, Drapion is officially known as the “Ogre Scorpion Pokémon” in the Pokédex, meaning it’s probably the closest thing to Shrek you’ll ever get in this series.



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Heracross is another one of those Pokémon who can be a brilliant asset to anyone with a vague idea of game sense. If you can play around its weaknesses, it’s sufficiently fast and strong to knock an enormous amount of Pokémon out with a single move. If you accidentally switch into a Brave Bird though… Yeah. Bug’s gonna get squashed. Insta Hera-loss. Sorry.



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Machamp is just super reliable. It has three relatively common weaknesses, but it’s also pretty bulky and hits like a truck. We’re also very Marge Simpson about Machamp in that we just think it’s neat you can actually use it in a PvE run without having to trade for it. It might not be as good as some of the other Pokémon on the list so far, but the novelty of being able to train a Machop all the way up to it becoming a Machamp entirely offline is about as powerful as a 130kg weightlifter with four arms and biceps bigger than boulders. Pretty damn powerful.



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Aside from boasting an aesthetic that’s still regularly collected alongside fan-favorites today, Crobat is a super balanced Pokémon with a whopping Speed stat of 130. It also hits like a freight train, has great STAB moves, and resists both Fairy and Poison attacks — that’s not to mention its natural immunity to Ground. It makes for an excellent pivot who is also capable of doling out damage of its own, and can be a huge asset to any team you’re at least relatively knowledgeable about. Also, Silver’s Crobat is one of the coolest NPC aces in Pokémon history, so there’s that, too.



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Porygon-Z isn’t the most memorable Pokémon around, but it has a Special Attack stat of 135 and access to STAB Tri-Attack, alongside several other powerful techniques from various different types. It’s not the most fun Pokémon in the world to use, but it certainly packs a punch. Looks a bit rubbish though.



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If you’ve ever played competitive Pokémon, there’s a good chance you despise Blissey — for that, we apologize. That doesn’t take away from how good it is though. While it can faint to a single physical Fighting move, it’s one of the best special walls of all time and can be a total game-changer in some of the more difficult PvE battles. It’s not particularly intriguing to use, but if you’re having trouble with a specific battle, it’s worth considering how much damage could be mitigated by a Pokémon that essentially renders the Special Attack prowess of other ‘mons non-existent.



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Snorlax is pretty similar to Blissey, although it’s a bit more balanced and versatile. Its HP and Special Defense stats are lower, but it has a higher Attack stat and significantly better offensive moves. In some ways, it’s a lot less risky to use and a lot more fun to play with. In others, it doesn’t quite fit the same niche as Blissey, meaning a Dark Pulse that knocks it unconscious might have barely elicited as much as a flinch from the Happiness Pokémon. That being said: is Blissey named after snoring? Didn’t think so — there’s a clear winner here, and anyone with any respect for sleep knows who it is.



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Roserade is speedy, has exceptional Attack, and learns an impressive amount of powerful moves. The fact its frailty is noteworthy obviously stands as a point against it, although with clever turn order management it can single-handedly annihilate entire teams. Finding a Shiny Stone can be a bit annoying at first, but they seem to be virtually everywhere in the Coronet Highlands, so your Roselia won’t have to wait an eternity before reaching its final form — unless Dialga messes with the dimension of time, or something.


Hisuian Zoroark

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One of the better new Hisuian variants, this version of Zoroark makes use of its remarkable Speed to exploit its potential as a mixed sweeper. It also has a great typing with Normal/Ghost, giving it the ability to hit literally any type in the entire game with a STAB move that deals at least neutral damage. Pretty cool if you ask us, even if one did maul that poor guy with the camera in last year’s weird, ARG-esque Arceus promotional video.



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Not enough people talk about Mismagius. It can eat most of the moves that are super-effective against it thanks to its absurdly high Special Defense, and is inordinately fast for a Pokémon with that specific gimmick. On the other hand, it can ruin basically anything by spamming STAB Shadow Ball or one of the many other techniques from its ridiculously diverse movepool. If you catch the Alpha Mismagius in Coronet Highlands, you’re basically playing on easy mode. It also has a nice hat.



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Vaporeon doesn’t have quite as much utility in Legends thanks to the widespread removal of proper support moves, but it still has a massive HP pool and extremely strong special stats. Water is and likely always will be one of the best types in all of Pokémon, so it’s only natural that the Water-type Eeveelution makes a good pick for pretty much any team you could ever think to make. It’s also the best Eeveelution. Yes, we’re serious.



Despite being arguably the most annoying Pokémon to catch in the entire game, Spiritomb has just one weakness and boasts three immunities. It’s slow, has a shallow HP pool, and takes neutral damage from several types, but it hits hard and can tank even harder if used cleverly enough. Still probably not worth the wisps, though.



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Staraptor has been one of the best Flying-types around ever since its introduction in Gen 4, so it’s only natural it was taking names and cracking skulls in Sinnoh back when it was still known as Hisui. It has a monstrous base Attack stat of 120, benefits from two immunities, and sports a remarkably good offensive typing. We know it’s a bit basic to use Staraptor in 2022, but if you want a ‘mon who is going to save you time and time again, the Predator Pokémon doesn’t miss — quite literally thanks to moves like Aerial Ace.



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Clefable is defensively outstanding. Nothing about it ever looks too impressive — it has a pretty good type, pretty good stats, and pretty good moves. The whole package, however, constitutes a fairied up version of Gengar who is incapable of dying. A bit ironic given that Gengar is a ghost, eh? How does that work then?


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We already discussed this in our list of the best Water Pokémon, but Empoleon resists just about everything except for the two types that are super-effective against it. It’s always been seen as a relatively boring Pokémon to use because of how defensively oriented it is, but if you’re having trouble with some of the later battles in the game, Empoleon is the kind of Pokémon who can single-handedly turn the tide simply by getting hit, laughing, and retaliating with the fury of an emperor penguin who’s just been told there’s no fish for dinner.



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It’s weird seeing Jolteon higher on a list than Vaporeon, but its Speed and Special Attack stats of 130 and 110, respectively, make it a devilishly powerful Pokémon in Legends: Arceus specifically. It has a wide enough movepool that it can gain coverage to reliably hit over half the types in the game for super-effective damage, which is more than you can say for the vast majority of Pokémon — let alone one with this much offensive potential. It’s also the third-coolest Eeveelution, which nets it more than a few style points.



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This might seem blasphemous to some of you, but Luxray is quite a bit bulkier than Jolteon, hence its higher positioning on this list. In a game like Legends: Arceus, where turn order can be manipulated away from Speed checks, that fact alone is worth a whole lot. Luxray is also a physical attacker, which allows it to bypass the Special Defense of Water ‘mons like Vaporeon, Empoleon, and Tentacruel for super-effective STAB damage with the likes of Wild Charge, while access to Crunch helps it wreck Psychic and Ghost-types as if it’s nobody’s business. Simply put, Luxray is a beast and probably the second-best Electric-type in the entire game. We know some of you disagree. That doesn’t make us wrong.



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While Alakazam is quite a frail Pokémon, it makes use of its absurd Speed and Special Attack to deliver devastating blows before your opponent even knows what hit it. It’s a bit risky to use in a game like Legends, where it can be susceptible to incoming Strong Style moves that outspeed it for no good reason, but if you’re patient and make use of switch-ins to help it KO one enemy at a time, it’s one of the single best sweepers in all of Hisui. Turns out the spoon is mightier than the sword — who knew?



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Umbreon is just a certified tank. Like Vaporeon, it’s worse here than it usually is thanks to the lack of moves like Moonlight and Toxic, although it’s still one of the best defensive ‘mons you can get. It’s also a great Pokémon to reliably use as a pivot point, especially if you can bait certain attacks in order to safely switch in a Pokémon who both resists them and can subsequently deal super-effective damage to their user. Umbreon is one of the purest Dark-types of all time in that its entire utility here is to constantly bait-and-switch the bad guys. We love this little prankster.



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Some people might wonder why a ‘mon like Magnezone is this high on the list, but with 11 resistances, an immunity, and excellent defensive stats, it’s one of the bulkiest Pokémon in history. The lack of Levitate means it has a 4x weakness to Ground in Legends, which is obviously something you need to be wary of. Provided you bear that in mind and plan around it though, Magnezone is nigh unkillable and can use STAB Flash Cannon and Thunderbolt to ruin dozens of formidable Pokémon. Definitely worth the irritation caused by having to level up your Magneton in a specific part of the Coronet Highlands to get one. Or as Oasis might say, “Definitely Maybe.” Or as we might say, “Maybe.” Or as you might say, “No.”



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While a lot of Pokémon fans probably reckon Lucario is a bit overrated at this point, its value has become truly timeless. It’s an offensive powerhouse with a phenomenal typing and it can outspeed an enormous amount of other Pokémon. The fact you can’t catch it until the final area of the game is obviously a bit of an issue when it comes to assembling a team early on, but once you reach the Alabaster Icelands and nab your first Riolu, it’s only a matter of time before the Aura Pokémon starts cleaning up. If our surname was Ryo, we’d call our firstborn son Luca.


Hisuian Typhlosion

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This is purely based on personal experience, but Hisuian Typhlosion is capable of exploiting so much of what Legends has to offer. It has five(!) weaknesses, which is obviously a bit of a problem, but it also has seven resistances and two immunities to offset them. As long as you know what moves your opponent has access to, you can use clever switching to exploit an offensive typing that offers STAB Shadow Ball and Flamethrower, allowing you to take down pretty much anything the game throws at you. We haven’t seen this guy get a whole lot of love yet, but it’s frankly phenomenal. Also: purple flame necklace. That is all.


Hisuian Goodra

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Okay, first things first — Hisuian Goodra is awful. It looks terrible, we hate it, we ranked it as the single worst new Hisuian variant in terms of design. Honestly though? It has two easily avoided weaknesses, an immunity, nine resistances, a Special Defense stat of 150(!), and access to STAB Dragon and Steel attacks. No matter how much we hate to admit it, it’s one of the best Pokémon in the entire game. We’re just as mad about it as you are.

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Part of us still believes that Scyther never needed an evolution — never mind two of them! — although it’s impossible to deny how great Scizor is. It’s only weak to Fire, is immune to Poison, and carries eight resistances. It also boasts a base Attack of 130, which is devastating even with the absence of Technician. Pair this guy with a Water Pokémon to eat Fire attacks and you’re basically unstoppable in PvE. The only tradeoff is that you’d probably look a lot cooler if you had a Scyther instead.



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There’s no real need to devote a lengthy explanation to this one. Everybody knows Infernape is lightning fast, has great Attack and Special Attack, and benefits from STAB Close Combat and Flare Blitz. It’s actually pretty scary how OP this lad is. Let’s just hope this ape never gets bored.



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With two immunities and three resistances, Gliscor is defensively excellent before you even begin to consider its already excellent defensive stats. Defense: excellent. Its weakness to Water is a bit annoying, but the 4x damage it takes from Ice moves is easily mitigated by how predictable they are. Pair all of that with formidable Attack and respectable Speed, and you’ve got what is easily one of the most powerful Pokémon in all of Hisui. Let’s also appreciate that in stark contrast to Scizor, Gliscor is one of those future generation evolutions that was actually cool and justified. Kind of ironic when you consider it next to all the Hisuian variants who are neither of those things, eh?



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Obviously this lad makes the top three. Gengar feels a little bit undercooked in Legends: Arceus thanks to the lack of held items, but it’s still one of the best Special sweepers in Pokémon history. Why are we even explaining this to you? If you’ve made it this far, there’s no way you don’t know how great Gengar is. And if you don’t like Gengar… well, let’s just say that we… don’t like… you…



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It pains us to put this big, lurching sand dragon above Gengar, but Garchomp’s power is irrefutable. As always, the hammerhead shark with wings and the aerodynamic dimensions of a particularly expensive fighter jet is stupidly strong. On top of that, Gible is available to catch all over the place in Legends: Arceus, meaning you can start the long road to level 48 earlier than usual in this game. We reckon using Garchomp in PvE is like playing football against a toddler, but hey, each to their own. Maybe you just like sharks.



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Gyarados will never not top one of these lists. Yeah, we know it has a 4x weakness to Electric moves. Yeah, we know Legends: Arceus doesn’t have Mega Evolutions. And yeah, we know the lack of Intimidate or Moxie definitely takes away from the Atrocious Pokémon’s — yes, it’s actually called that — utility. Does any of that matter? Absolutely not.

Gyarados is monstrous in every sense of the word. It’s a ferocious dragon-but-not-a-dragon with access to STAB Aqua Tail and Hurricane, with a side helping of Psychic-smashing Crunch to boot. To put that in simpler terms, it annihilates literally everything. Why? Because it can. It’s also way cooler than Garchomp, so we have no qualms about using it in PvE.

Gyarados is the best Pokémon in Pokémon Legends: Arceus and nothing else even comes close. If you’d like to dispute that fact, we’d like to recommend disputing that idea before you embarrass yourself. Gyarados is a god. You heard it here first.

Written by Cian Maher on behalf of GLHF.

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