For years, fans of the Pokémon anime have been following the exploits of Ash Ketchum, as he works towards his goal of being a Pokémon Master. Though that hasn’t worked out as planned, the adventures have been fun to watch nonetheless. Ash has gone through numerous companions throughout the show, but he’s gone through even more Pokémon.
Of course, his most memorable Pokémon, Pikachu, has a permanent spot in his party. But Ash has caught and trained a wide variety of Pokémon throughout his adventures. As fans of the anime will know, some of them are stronger than others. While they’ve all contributed, a select few of Ash’s Pokémon have accomplished some pretty tough things.
Updated by Thomas Bowen on October 21st, 2020: After 23 years, 10 year old Ash Ketchum has finally realized his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master. It’s perhaps best not to worry too much about those numbers not adding up and instead consider a number that has played a hugely important role in Ash’s success. 56.
That’s the number of Pokémon Ash has had throughout his long journey (not including unevolved forms, mega evolutions or the additional 29 Tauros, that is). Some have come and gone, some have been with him since the very start while others are new friends whose adventures with Ash are only just beginning. He’s proven himself to be the very best (like no one ever was) and has trained some of the strongest Pokémon in the Pokéverse. These are the pick of the bunch.
Gengar is one of the most popular ghost-type Pokémon in the franchise. Since the very beginning of the show, many fans had been hoping that Ash would some day add one to his Pokédex. Although Sabrina’s Haunter accompanied him for a few episodes earlier in the series, it would not be until Pokémon Journeys that those fans finally got what they wanted.
The Gengar may have brought bad luck to its previous trainer, but so far it seems to be a pretty good omen for Ash. In spite of its failure to complete either of the battles in which it participated, there’s no denying that Ash’s Gengar played a vital role in his early success at the World Coronation series.
Glalie has been a member of team Ketchum for quite a while now. Ash first caught it in the Hoenn region while it was still a Snorunt and it spent much of the Ruby and Sapphire series in the main party. It’s overcome great odds to topple some incredibly powerful Pokémon and is arguably the strongest ice-type Pokémon in Ash’s possession.
Some of Glalie’s highlights include an impressive victory over Clark’s Charizard and its spectacular tie with Tyson’s Sceptile. It’s made a few appearances here and there since then, but has spent most of the past two decades kicking back with Professor Oak in Pallet Town.
Ash caught Meltan towards the end of his time in the Alola region and it’s since evolved into a Melmetal. In its newly evolved form, Melmetal demonstrated both endurance and strength during Ash’s exhibition match with Professor Kukui. He might not have emerged victorious, but he wasn’t too far off.
Although Ash opted to leave Melmetal with Professors Kukui and Burnett when he left for Pallet Town, viewers did get another chance to see Melmetal in Pokémon Journeys when Ash returned to Alola. Hopefully it won’t be too long before it gets another shot in the main party.
Ash caught Sandile during his travels through the Unova region. He was initially a fairly underwhelming Pokémon, but ninety episodes and two evolutions later, he finally evolved into his final form. Truth be told, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
His evolution happened right in the middle of Ash’s semi-final match at the Pokémon World Tournament and helped him to turn the tables and overpower Iris’ Dragonite. He continued to be an important member of Ash’s party throughout their time in Unova, although since then has been in and out of the team.
Dragonite is one of the more recent additions to Ash’s team, having been caught in the currently airing Pokémon Journeys. A decent dragon-type Pokémon is something that Ash has been missing for quite some time, so Dragonite instantly became an important part of Ash’s team. It’s still early days, but it has the potential to be one of Ash’s very best Pokémon.
In the short time that it’s been with Ash, Dragonite has already proven itself to be a valuable asset to the young Pokémon Master. It was able to defeat Korrina’s Meinshao and then, with a little help from its Mega Evolution form, her Lucario as well. This elevated Ash to the Great class where he currently remains.
Having started out as a particularly wimpy looking Krabby, Ash’s Kingler would go on to be one of his most useful and consistent allies throughout his Kanto adventures. It would contribute in Johto as well, but not as much as it did in its native region.
Kingler pulled off a number of impressive victories during its time in the anime. Though it was knocked out on occasion, it was a staple of Ash’s line-up.
A massive Pokémon, Snorlax’s laid-back attitude kind of made it a perfect fit for Ash’s training style. Though competitive, Ash puts his Pokémon first. This kind of attitude made the two mesh nicely throughout their time together.
Snorlax was featured heavily during the Johto adventures and won several key battles there. Though lazy, Snorlax has shown itself to be unnaturally strong and athletic. Both are traits that have come in handy more than once.
While a member of Ash’s party, Heracross proved itself to be a hard worker and tough fighter that clutched out its fair share of victories for its trainer. Though it was a little quirky outside of battle, Heracross was a very reliable Pokémon to have on hand – and Ash isn’t the kind of trainer to mind a Pokemon with a few quirks!
It was the first Pokemon he caught in Johto and proved to be one of his greatest assets while in the region. It won some pretty tough battles; particularly over Shingo’s Scizor and Gary’s Magmar in the Silver Conference.
Ash’s Infernape has a fairly similar story to his Charizard, as it was somewhat abandoned by its trainer as a Chimchar but joined Ash soon after. Though not as strong as Charizard, Infernape is hands down one of the strongest Pokémon Ash has ever had.
Its Blaze ability made it able to come through in clutch situations and often served as the turning point for a battle. It may not be his strongest ever Fire-type, but Infernape still makes it as one of Ash’s greatest partners.
One of the most affectionate and kind-hearted Pokémon Ash has ever had, Goodra became a much more viable option in battle once it evolved. Goodra was the first Kalos Pokémon Ash caught that fully evolved, and is shown to be one of his most valuable Pokémon throughout his adventures in that region.
As is sometimes the case, Ash eventually released Goodra. But the Pokémon would temporarily rejoin his party before once again parting ways with its former trainer.
Another Kalos region capture, Ash first encountered Noivern as an egg. After hatching, the Pokémon would join Ash and eventually go on to evolve into its final evolution – and a surprisingly powerful one.
Funny enough, Noivern is Ash’s only Kalos Pokémon to not be used in a Gym battle. It still came up big on many occasions though, and while it may have not been used in many huge moments, still managed to make its mark.
Ash’s oldest Pokémon, Pikachu has always been by its trainer’s side – and of course, has always been a fan-favorite. While it may not seem all that strong due to its size, Pikachu has won many battles and defeated foes you wouldn’t expect it to.
Pikachu is one of Ash’s most reliable Pokémon, and has used a variety of moves over the years. It often comes in to finish the job and has proven that no challenge is too much for it. It may not be his absolute strongest, but at the very least, Pikachu is Ash’s most reliable Pokémon.
Ash initially met his Sceptile as a Treecko and helped the little guy in trying to save its tree home. After a battle with Pikachu, Ash caught the little Grass-type and it became a permanent member of his party throughout Hoenn.
Sceptile has an impressive record against Legendary Pokémon, and has faced off against more than any other trainers Pokémon in the anime. It was one of Ash’s most relied upon Pokémon while in his party.
Another abandoned Pokémon that made its way into Ash’s party, Charmander dealt with a lot of emotional baggage early on due to its abusive relationship with its former trainer. That was very apparent when it evolved into Charmeleon and Charizard, but its relationship with Ash eventually got better.
When loyal to its trainer, Charizard was Ash’s most powerful Pokémon and faced off against plenty of tough foes. It proved time and time again that it was one of the strongest members of his party.
As a Froakie, this Pokémon was a hard worker and incredibly selective of its trainer. Its competitiveness led it to choose Ash as its trainer, and things seem to have worked out for both of them in the end.
Greninja proved to be Ash’s strongest Pokémon with its mixture of speed and strength. When able to channel its Ash-Greninja form, it’s on a completely other level than any other Pokémon Ash has trained so far.
NEXT: Pokémon: Every Method of Evolution From Easiest to Hardest, Ranked
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