My Top 5 Pokémon (Gen IV)

Ten years. That’s how long it’s been since we first set foot in the frigid Sinnoh region introduced in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. People don’t seem to talk about the fourth chapter in the franchise much anymore, but it did tweak a few things that have become standard in today’s games. Whereas once attacks were categorised as physical or special based solely on element, each individual move has now been given a classification. Because, honestly – Fire Punch should be a physical move. IT IS A PUNCH OF FIRE, DAMMIT.

We were also introduced to the teething stage of the Global Trade System, a Wi-Fi service that allowed you to trade Pokémon with anyone across the world. It was a fairly clunky interface back then, and odds are, no matter what you were hunting for, potential suitors were all demanding ridiculous payment. Want a Bidoof? It’ll probably cost you a Rayquaza. But it was a start – and today’s GTS is a much more robust product.

The sprites in gen 4 were a great deal bigger than in previous games, and as a result, a lot of the new Pokémon look rather bold, some might say garish. But I loved ’em. I always do, you know. And now is your opportunity to love ’em too, because I’m sharing with you the grandest ‘mons from the days of DPP. Your typical disclaimer: this is an opinion-based piece, not the end-all be-all ranking of fictional monsters. So don’t get your knickers in a twist!!


…In fairness, nobody has actually reacted in a rage thus far, but I just rarely get a chance to use the phrase ‘knickers in a twist’, so I went with it. Knickers is a fun word. I think I’ll name my next Pokémon Knickers. Knickers knickers knickers.

5. Leafeon

As I mentioned in the first article where I chronicled my top 5 Kanto Pokémon (cough cough link cough cough more clicks plz), Vaporeon is far and away my favourite of the many Eeveelutions. I quite like them all, actually, but these lists would be pretty boring if I just rolled out a buttload of Eevees, now wouldn’t they? Old Leafeon here is the only other one who gets the nod, because it is solidly my second favourite. There’s no shame in second place. Nor is there shame in being named Knickers.

Ever since gen 1, I was clamouring for a Grass-type Eeveelution, and this pixie-looking gaffer finally delivered after a long wait. Each of the Eeveelutions have the same base stat totals (60/65/65/95/110/130) distributed in different ways, and in Leafeon’s case, it received 110 and 130 in attack and defence respectively, making it the bruiser of the family. Its low HP and special defence mean it’s not going to last particularly long in the heat (as houseplants so rarely do), but its 95 speed can be improved in the sun thanks to the amazing Chlorophyll ability, which, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know doubles the speed of its user.

So next time you’re taking your Eevee for a walk through the forest and spot a mossy rock, perhaps you’ll consider levelling it up just once and bringing another lovely Leafeon into this world? Lord knows we don’t need another Sylveon, that’s for darn sure.

4. Regigigas

“Hang on… help is on its way… I’ll be there as fast as I can…”

I’m usually none too enamoured with legendary Pokémon. They’re overpowered by design, so whenever you jump online for some competitive battling, you’ll usually expect to fight some stupid twelve year old loaded to the gills with these behemoths. Because after all, nothing says ‘strategy’ like a Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre on every team.

Old Reggie here, it’s a bit of a misfit in the legendary scene. Though its combined base stats total a hefty 670 (basically two and a half Smeargles worth of might), it is crippled by the single worst ability in the series: Slow Start. For the first five turns Regigigas is in the fray, its attack and speed stats are halved, not unlike me before I’ve had my morning coffee. It might not sound like much, but in the world of Pokémon, five turns is an eternity (e-turn-ity, haha). That counter is reset every time Regigigas is removed from battle, and it can’t learn Protect to help buy time.

Scouring the Internet for effective strategies yields very little. The most recommended way to use Regigigas is, well, don’t use Regigigas, but I have also unearthed a remarkable tactic: simply give it a bevy of punching attacks. The wise scribe explains: “I learn him that moves, and i win every battles except one when i forget to learn him fire punch(i lose because i have battled a grass typep okemon)”

Sage advice, timothy_TESLA12. You have my trust.

3. Vespiquen

An unassuming tree stands before you. You smear Honey on it, and a wild Pokémon arrives, enticed by the scent. Maybe it’s an Aipom or a Cherubi, but hopefully it’s a Combee, a honeycomb-looking insect with three heads. If it’s the latter, the first thing you do is take note on the bottom face. Does it have an orange mark? It probably doesn’t. It rarely does, unfortunately. So you kill the happy bee Pokémon, and start the process over again.

Eventually, you see it. The little orange dot that makes the whole thing worthwhile. That means that this Combee is a female (as only 12.5% are) and capable of evolving into the queen of all bees. Vespiquen is an obtuse, hulking brute of a creature, sturdy defensively and about as fast as evolution itself. Its unfortunate Bug/Flying typing leaves it vulnerable to many things (Stealth Rock, anyone?) and its general sluggishness renders it severely flawed, but it is still a sight to behold.

Plus, you can make it fight by summoning an army of bees! Or surround itself with bees to increase its defence! Or use the bees to… heal itself… somehow… I don’t know how Heal Order works exactly, I just know that it involves the bee society.

My master plan is to someday work it into a Trick Room team, where quickness is reversed and suddenly Vespiquen becomes a blazing speed demon, but I have a serious backlog of tactics I’m hoping to try out, so it’ll have to wait. Let’s just say I’m getting there. Slowly.

2. Mismagius

Gen 4 introduced a lot of new evolutions to familiar old Pokémon, and my favourite was easily the Medusa-head-like Misdreavus’ brand new bag, Mismagius. Now officially a fully-fledged witch (because it has a hat! Witches have hats, you know), Mismagius is more fragile than nana’s fine China, but it’s pretty quick, pretty specially talented, and just downright pretty, to boot.

Much like how I stubbornly lumped Crobat with a gimmicky moveset, Mismagius suffered the indignity of having to survive my laughable Mean Look/Perish Song combo. For the laymen out there, Perish Song knocks out both Pokémon after three turns, and Mean Look prevents the opponent from switching their battler out. The strategy, in theory, requires Mismagius to play hide-and-seek for the next few turns, desperately trying to avoid getting smushed before the Perish Song can take effect. Due to the aforementioned lack of bulk, this is not Mismagius’ forte. For the super laymen, it’s basically like putting a sweater on a dog. You may think it’s cute and all, but everyone else knows it’s silly.

What does the Perish Song actually sound like, I wonder? I tend to think it’s something so horribly offensive, the Pokémon’s brain just melts. It’s probably Nicki Minaj.

1. Stuntank


Do you really need more of an explanation than that? Skuntank is a fantastic beast, part Poison, part Dark, and all kaboom. Tragically for this furry ball of stench, its access to the mighty kamikaze technique Explosion means that its entire playstyle revolves around taking enough damage but just barely hanging on to justify simply pulling the pin and combusting all over the opponent. That Explosion… it was the baddest attack on the block, man. Once upon a time, it sported a base power of 250 while also halving the opponent’s defence, effectively giving it a power output of 500.

For perspective, most of the strongest attacks in the Pokémon franchise hover around the 120 base power mark. Explosion didn’t just shatter that mark – it blew it up!! From gen 5 onward, they removed the defence halving aspect, literally bringing the boom down by 50%. It’s still the strongest move in the game, but it’s not the same. Much like Homer Simpson with the giant can of beer, I can’t help but gaze at the move disappointedly these days. It’s pretty big… I guess.

Most modern builds of Skuntank are completely devoid of the move, which feels somewhat hollow. Just be rest assured if you’re ever battling me online and this guy makes an appearance, it may not live long, but it is going out with a BANG, baby.

Fun fact about this edition of the top 5 ‘mons: it was more tightly contested than previous lists, so take that, gen 4 detractors! Runner-up shoutouts go to Infernape, Gastrodon, Honchkrow, Purugly, Froslass and the aforementioned Bidoof. That thing is all kinds of fun, particularly when Wonder Trade is involved.

That’s another batch wrapped up! Any thoughts? Any counterarguments? Let me know! If I likes it, I frames it on me wall.

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