Overpowered Pokemon That Were Nerfed


  • Gengar lost its valuable ability, Levitate, making it vulnerable to ground moves.
  • Talonflame’s ability, Gale Wings, now only activates when at full HP, making it less powerful.
  • Aegislash’s all-around incredible stats were slightly reduced, making it less of a defensive juggernaut.

As the total number of Pokemon in the series has risen exponentially higher, it’s become entirely impossible to balance them all fairly. This is why competitive play revolves around tiers (see the latest iteration of Smogon’s Strategy Pokedex). The thing is, these tiers aren’t set, and their occupants can move up and down with buffs and nerfs.


Ash Ketchum’s 9 Strongest Pokemon, Ranked

Ash and his Pokemon have ventured across various lands, faced many trials, and battled countless trainers and Pokemon. These are his most powerful.

Game Freak, at times, has stepped in retroactively to nerf particular Pokemon, Abilities, and the mightiest moves, where they’ve become problematic and/or fun-suckingly dominant in the meta. Here are some of the Pokemon that have been hit the hardest by these different types of nerfs over the course of the series to date.

8 Gengar

Gengar smiling in mid-air

Was Given Back A Major Weakness It Had Been Dodging

  • A popular and powerful special attacker for generations
  • Lost its valuable Ability, Levitate, making it very vulnerable to Ground moves

At base 110 Speed and 130 Special Attack, Gengar has been a mainstay of various different types of teams for years. It’s not the fastest or the strongest special attacker, but it has nice enough stats in both areas to wreak havoc. This is particularly so in tandem with its nice movepool, which includes tricks like Destiny Bond to make it an ever-present and versatile threat.

The nerf Gengar suffered in Generation 7 was a simple one: Its Ability was switched from Levitate to Cursed Body. This may not sound like much of a nerf, but the former ability to entirely ignore Ground-type moves was huge for a Poison-type, which has a weakness to them. Being very fragile, Gengar found the immunity an enormous boon for switch-ins, and struggles to get much use from Cursed Body unless it’s very lucky. The loss of the Mega Evolution mechanic also means that the potent Mega Gengar is a thing of the past too.

7 Talonflame

Pokemon Scarlet And Violet Talonflame using Fire-type attack

Its Monstrous Priority Power Is Now Much, Much Harder To Use Effectively

  • Its Ability, Gale Wings, allowed it to run rampant on its introduction in Generation 6
  • Gale Wings is now only usable from full HP, making it essentially a non-factor much of the time

Statistically, Talonflame’s greatest asset is its Speed. At base 126, it can outspeed the majority of opponents. Offensively, it doesn’t look as though it’s up to much, at base 81 Attack and 74 Special Attack. Its Hidden Ability Gale Wings, however, makes it far more potent than it may appear. Priority Flying-type moves give it a sort of Prankster Tailwind, as well as priority on the very strong Brave Bird. It also has access to formidable Fire-type moves, but its Flying STAB is the crux of its power.

Later, Game Freak seemed to realize that this weapon was a little too powerful to be used freely. The nerf, again, was a simple one: Gale Wings, as of Generation 7, only gives that priority when Talonflame hasn’t taken any damage at all. With Brave Bird dealing recoil damage, this makes the bird rather a one-hit wonder, unless it uses alternative moves and is able to play around damage very carefully indeed. As a result, there are times when more defensive builds using its basic Ability, Flame Body, are more effective.

6 Aegislash

Pokemon Past Paradox Forms Aegislash

Its All-Around Incredible Stats Had To Be Taken Down A Peg Or Two

  • Through Blade Forme And Shield Forme, It Was An Offensive And Defensive Juggernaut
  • Its Base Stats Were Reduced, If Only Slightly

Like Talonflame, Aegislash was another Pokemon introduced in Generation 6 that saw heavy use. It’s no speedster, however. Far from it, in fact, at a below average base 60 Speed. Its HP is rather low too. Thanks to the unique mechanic afforded by its Stance Change Ability, though, these are Aegislash’s only non-stellar stats. Technically.


Pokemon Scarlet & Violet: 13 Best Ghost Types In The Game

For trainers who know how to use them, Ghost-types can be some of the best Pokemon out there. These are the top choices in Scarlet and Violet.

King’s Shield switches Aegislash to its Shield Forme, while attacking changes it to Blade Forme. On its introduction, the former had base 150 Defense and Special Defense and base 50 Attack and Special Attack, and the opposite was true of Blade Forme. In short, it boasted incredible stats for every occasion, often allowing it to weather at least one Super Effective move and then pick off the opponent with a switch to its high offenses. Its effectiveness was reduced a little with the advent of Pokemon Sword & Shield, when these base stats were cut from 150 to 140.

5 Zacian

Pokemon Sword & Shield Zacian With Blade In Mouth

A Physical Attacking Menace With A Ludicrous Ability That Had To Be Blunted A Bit

  • Crowned Sword Zacian had 170 base Attack and an Ability that boosted its Attack whenever it switched in
  • Its Ability and base Attack were reworked a bit to make it a more manageable opponent

Box art Legendary Pokemon, generally speaking, are supposed to have immense stats. Pokemon Sword & Shield, however, added one of the most fearsome physical foes in series history. Crowned Sword Zacian is incredibly fast at base 148 Speed, and had 170 base Attack. That would be threatening enough, but it also has Intrepid Sword. This Ability, in its original form, gave it an Attack boost every time it hit the battlefield.

As of Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, Zacian’s Hero of Many Battle forme has had its base Attack cut from 130 to 120, and its devastating Crowned Sword forme’s Attack stat was reduced by 20, to 150. Further, Intrepid Sword only activates on the first switch-in now. It remains incredibly powerful, but these changes at least remove the constant threat of multiple Ability activations. The more defensively-oriented Zamazenta has nothing on Zacian, perhaps the strongest Fairy-type to date.

4 Greninja

Pokemon Greninja stands before Slowbro And Azumarill in forest

This Stealthy Speedster Wielded Another Absurd Ability

  • Greninja’s Protean gave it no-limits STAB on every move it used
  • Just as with Libero, the Ability’s use was strictly limited

Generation 6 starter Pokemon Froakie had its naysayers when it was first revealed. Its Water- and Dark-type final evolution, Greninja, proved them wrong. With a wide movepool and excellent Speed (base 122), it proved to be a versatile mixed attacker with some nice support options too. The key to its power was not its base 103 Special Attack or its 95 Attack, both of which are distinctly average.

Its Hidden Ability, Protean, changes its type to that of the move it chose, just before using it. STAB bonus on a wide range of coverage is a devastating weapon, and Cinderace was given just the same with its own Hidden Ability, Libero. Protean has otherwise only been given to Kecleon and the Sprigatito lines. All of these Pokemon, however, were surely disappointed when a strict caveat was applied to their use: They now only change the Pokemon’s type once, and they must withdraw and return to the battlefield before it can be used again. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most dangerous Water-types of recent generations.

3 Mega Kangaskhan

Kangaskhan Mega Evolving in battle

The Baby Was Just Too Powerful To Handle

  • Mega Kangaskhan’s Parental Bond Ability Buffed Its Damage Output To Outrageous Levels
  • The bonus damage was toned down, and the Mega Evolution mechanic may never return

There are a lot of Pokemon that aren’t really good or bad, statistically speaking. They just occupy the middle of the viability scale. There are a lot of Normal-types in this category, and Kangaskhan is a good example of one. For one shining moment, however, it stood at perhaps the very pinnacle of competitive play usage stats, among the greatest Normal-types.


Pokémon: The 13 Best Normal Type Pokémon, Ranked

Normal types aren’t usually the most interesting creatures, but these 10 are some of our favorite Pokémon of all time!

Mega Kangaskhan was a deadly danger. It had high HP and defenses (at base 105 and 100 respectively), and its 125 base Attack was bolstered by Parental Bond, an Ability that gave each attack a second hit at half the power of the first. With the next generation of games, Game Freak acknowledged the horror it had created, and the second hit was adjusted to deal only one-quarter of the damage of the first. Should Mega Pokemon return to the series again, Kangaskhan shouldn’t be as overwhelming a danger.

2 Regieleki

Pokemon Regieleki in battle

A Lightning-Fast Threat That Could Sweep Opponents Aside, Powered By Its Ability

  • The exclusive Ability Transistor provided an enormous boost to Electric-type moves
  • Next generation, this Ability’s boost was decreased significantly

As we’ve seen, there’s much more to a Pokemon’s strength than its simple offensive stats alone. Often, it’s the multipliers from Abilities, items, and other effects that truly boost damage output to the level needed to sweep opposing teams aside. Some Abilities directly boost the damage of moves of a certain type. Steelworker, for instance, increases the damage of Steel moves by 1.5. Only Dhelmise has this Ability, and only one Pokemon has its Electric-type equivalent, Transistor: Regieleki.

In tandem with its ludicrous base 200 Speed and 100 Special Attack, Regieleki had everything it needed to sweep its way through weakened teams without a resistance. It wasn’t reliant on Electric damage alone, either, with the addition of the Tera mechanic in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet. As such, that game saw Transistor’s bonus reduced to 1.3.

1 Gastrodon

Pokemon Gastrodon in battle on grassy surface

An Unassuming Defensive Menace Loses Its Two Greatest Assets

  • Its modest stats bely its fantastic defensive movepool and great utility
  • Nerfs to healing moves and the loss of one very special Water-type attack were incredibly detrimental to Gastrodon

The “bulky Water” is a Water-type Pokemon that makes excellent use of its defensive capacities and Water’s relative lack of weaknesses to sponge damage for its team. Gastrodon is one popular bulky Water, but the shift to Generation 9 was particularly unkind to it.

Gastrodon is infamously difficult to deal with without a Grass-type move, and is a major bane of rain teams specifically with the Storm Drain Ability. As of Scarlet & Violet, Scald has been generally replaced in movepools with the much weaker Chilling Water, removing this sea slug’s ability to Burn opponents (and thus become even more unbreakable against physical foes). In addition to that, the best healing moves, including Roost and Recover, have had their PP slashed to a default 5. As such, Gastrodon’s job is far more difficult than it used to be.


Pokemon Scarlet & Violet: The 12 Strongest Pokemon in the Paldea Pokedex (& Where to Find Them)

As one might expect, the strongest Pokemon in Scarlet & Violet are mostly Dragon-types, but there are one or two surprises thrown in there as well.