One of the most fun parts of starting up a new Pokémon game is discovering all the new Pokémon found within. However, there are so many to find in every new game. In fact, the most recent Pokémon Sun & Moon, released on November 18th, 2016, has over 300 in its Pokédex alone! It can be pretty easy to miss some playing the game, so we thought we might highlight some of the harder to find Pokémon and how to find them.
In fact, some of the hardest to find Pokémon are actually some of the more useful ones. Some are specifically so hard to find simply because they’re so good that it would ruin the single player campaign if you could find some of these guys so easily. So we thought it would be fun to rank them based on their overall combat ability and how useful they may be in battle.
- Pokédex #: 781
If you happened to fish outside Seafolk Village and chanced upon this anchor, hopefully you didn’t think to toss it back thinking it’s trash. This ghostly anchor is actually Dhelmise, the newest addition to the “Pokémon that look like objects” line like Klefki and Vaniluxe. Of course, chances are that didn’t happen since it only has a 1% chance of even turning up in a single fishing spot, and the game doesn’t exactly give you the option to throw it out before you battle anyway.
Looking at Dhelmise, you might think it’s a Grass/Steel type, or maybe even a Ghost type of some kind. Turns out, those are all correct guesses! Dhelmise is actually a Ghost/Grass type, but its ability, Steelworker, gives it the same boost to Steel moves as it does Grass and Ghost moves. This is good for it, as its amazing Attack strength gets to make use of its signature move Anchor Shot, a hard-hitting Steel move that can trap its opponent into battle!
- Pokédex #: 780
You know, the funny thing is that Drampa isn’t even the gooiest-looking Dragon type Pokémon. But don’t let the fact that it looks like it’s about to melt catch you off guard; Drampa can hit like a truck if you know how to work it. If you want to find one, you’ll have to check in the caves of Mount Lanakila (not the summit) in your copy of Pokémon Moon, where you’ve only got a 10% chance to find one in there. Sorry Sun players, you’ll have to trade with a generous Moon player to get one.
Drampa already has an enormous Special Attack stat and great type coverage with Normal and Dragon moves. That would already make it one of the better Pokémon on this list. However, Drampa has access to not one, but two great abilities in Berserk and Sap Sipper, giving some much needed diversity to its move set. Berserk raises its special attack by one level every time its HP goes under 50%, meaning it can get a free boost in its already insane Special Attack without having to use up a turn. However, if you’d prefer not to let nature take its course, you can always give it some defensive options in Sap Sipper, which will nullify Grass damage to it and raise its Attack by one level, meaning you can easily lure out unsuspecting Grass types and get a free switch into Drampa.
- Pokédex #: 133
This adorable foxy Pokémon has been a series mainstay since the original Pokémon Red & Green games came out in Japan and has maintained popularity rivaling that of the starter Pokémon and yellow juggernaut known as Pikachu itself! It’s so popular, that in Japan they manufactured a special edition 3DS XL model themed after Eevee, an honor normally bestowed only to the yellow rodent and legendary Pokémon. If you want what is arguably the cutest Pokémon in the entire franchise, you’ll need to hunt around Routes 4 or 6 for a very small chance to finally encounter one. Or, if you don’t want to go through the trouble, you can talk to the receptionist at the Pokémon Nursery at the Paniola Ranch, who will give you a mystery egg that will hatch into an Eevee.
You may notice that, bucking trend a bit, we have only listed Eevee as itself and not with its various, famed evolutions. This is because, for the very first time in the franchise, Eevee is somewhat useable on its own on the competitive level! This is all due to its exclusive Z-Move, Extreme Evoboost, which doubles all of Eevee’s stats. This turns Eevee into a potential offensive threat on its own, but what really makes it scary is that it has the move Baton Pass, which can pass stat boosts onto other Pokémon. Just imagine the havoc you can wreak passing off these boosts onto something so strong!
7. Munchlax & Snorlax
- Pokédex #: 446 & 143
Munchlax is an odd Pokémon. Its evolution, Snorlax, has been with the series since the beginning, but its pre-evolution Munchlax didn’t get introduced until three generations later in Diamond & Pearl. Nintendo distributed Munchlax for free over Mystery Gift when the game launched, but if you missed the event, you can actually track one down at the very beginning of the game on Route 1, specifically in grass patches close to Professor Kukui’s lab, and then get its affection for you high enough to evolve it to Snorlax. Or, if you’re willing to put in the time for the hunt, you can track down a Munchlax and wait for it to SOS for a Snorlax; but be aware if you’re doing this at the beginning of the game because Snorlax is insanely strong and can wipe out your early team if you’re not careful!
Snorlax has been a long time stalwart of the competitive Pokémon scene since its introduction. While its presence has diminished somewhat in recent years, its tried-and-true “Curselax” moveset is still popular with fans. You simply take advantage of Snorlax’s poor speed and lower it even further in exchange for increased Attack and Defense with Curse, then Rest away any health lost in the meanwhile. The introduction of several extremely strong Fighting-type Pokémon has scared people away from making use of it due to Snorlax’s poor defense, but fans have noted it’s still an effective strategy if you can work around that.
6. Dratini, Dragonair, & Dragonite
- Pokédex #: 147, 148, 149
If Dragonite is supposed to emerge from Dragonair, then how does Dragonite fit inside its skin?... Alright, barring questions about Pokémon biology, Dragonite is still a force to be had after all these years. You’ll need to track down a Dratini first, though, which you can find by fishing around the Poni Meadow, Poni Canyon, or Poni Gauntlet. You have a 1% chance of encountering one that way, however, unless the fishing area is bubbling. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of raising Dratini all the way up to 55 to get it through its Dragonair stage into Dragonite, on very rare occasions it’ll call a Dragonite during an SOS if you pull one up at the Poni Gauntlet.
Dragonite started to get overshadowed over the years by its fellow dragons until it received an excellent Hidden Ability in Multiscale, which halves the damage Dragonite takes when it’s at full health. This makes Dragonite a much more of a tank than its brethren, especially since it can more reliably survive Ice moves despite its 4x weakness. It can take a couple hits to power up with Dragon Dance, which boost its Attack and Speed, and then commence the punishment.
- Pokédex #: 776
This explosive turtle isn’t actually a turtle, but actually a dragon! Shockingly, Turtonator is actually the first non-Legendary Fire/Dragon Pokémon to be found naturally in the series (Charizard you have to Mega-Evolve). You can find yourself one around Blush Mountain in your copy of Pokémon Sun, but only in specific grass patches in the area, and even then you’ve only got a 1 in 10 shot. Moon players will have to talk to their Sun playing friends for one.
Fire/Dragon is a wonderful defensive typing, as Fire balances out Dragon’s Ice and Fairy weakness while Dragon removes Fire’s famous Water weakness. And Turtonator has the stats to make use of this fantastic pairing, with some incredible Defense and solid Special Defense. Best of all, however, may be its signature move, Shell Trap, which activates after a physical move and punishes with an incredible, Hyper Beam-level Fire attack without the wasted turn after!
- Pokédex #: 778
Perhaps one of the most surprising entrants on this list is Mimikyu, the imposter Pikachu that has stolen everyone’s hearts. See, Mimikyu disguises itself because it just wants to be loved, so it pretends to be the star of the series since its real face is so terrifying that apparently it may have actually killed a researcher who happened to look underneath its cloth. You can hunt for one inside the abandoned Thrifty Megamart, but, being that this is the rare Pokémon list, you can expect to hunt around it for quite a while.
Mimikyu may not have the stats you’d expect from a solid competitive Pokémon, but everything else it has works in its favor. Ghost/Fairy is an excellent defensive typing that gives it three whole immunities to Normal, Dragon, and Fighting; while its types also balance each other out well enough to only give it two weaknesses in Steel and Ghost moves. But, best of all, its ability Disguise means that the first attack made against it will be completely nullified, giving Mimikyu some time to set itself before it has to start worrying about taking damage. Fans have discovered the best way to use Mimikyu is to switch into a Dragon or Fighting move so it won’t use up its Disguise, then use the opportunity to boost its average Attack stat with Swords Dance while their opponents scramble to send out a counter.
3. Mareanie & Toxapex
- Pokédex #: 747 & 748
This little upset urchin shouldn’t be taken too lightly. Its base stats may not be great, but it can evolve into Toxapex, one of the better defensive Pokémon that you can find in either Sun or Moon. Of course, it’s going to take a lot of work to track one down. You’ll actually need to find a Corsola by fishing around Route 9 or Melemele Sea, which already has an incredibly low encounter rate unless the fishing spot happens to be bubbling up. Then, you’ll have to wait out the battle until Corsola calls for an SOS, which will finally bring out Mareanie. From there, just level up your Mareanie until it hits 38 to evolve it into Toxapex.
One look at Toxapex’s stats should show you that it’s a wall Pokémon through and through. With incredibly low offensive stats in both Attack and Special Attack, you’re not going to be using it to directly attack too much. Instead, you’ll be making use of Toxapex’s sky high Defense and Special Defense while hitting its opponents with status effects that cause set chip damage like poison and burn. While that’s going on, just keep using Recover to refill its health while your opponent languishes at being unable to get that definitive hit!
2. Gible, Gabite, & Garchomp
- Pokédex #: 443, 444, & 445
Everyone, welcome back one of the very first non-legendary Pokémon to get banned by its competitive community! Garchomp made its mark back when it was introduced into Diamond & Pearl, being the signature Pokémon of fan-favorite champion Cynthia and holding an odd speed stat which allowed it to just barely outrun several major threats. In a weird turn, however, you can’t find its first form, Gible, in Sun & Moon. You can, however, find Gabite, its second form, in the Haina Desert, but only at night, during a sandstorm, and you’ll have to wait for Sandile to call it during an SOS. Just catch one and raise it to level 48 to evolve it to Garchomp.
Garchomp is a pain to deal with. Even trying to attack it is a hassle, as most players are going to run its hidden ability Rough Skin, which hits opponents for a 1/16 of their health every time Garchomp is hit with a move that requires the opponent to make contact. You might try to avoid attacking it head on with Ice moves like Ice Beam, which does 4x damage to it, but not only does Garchomp outspeed most threats, it can also learn Stone Edge which just smashes through any Ice type on your team. Stack all that on top of a killer Attack stat and it’s easy to see why people began to dread seeing Garchomp on someone’s team.
1. Bagon, Shelgon, & Salamence
- Pokédex #: 371, 372, & 373
Salamence is one of those classically strong Pokémon that’s near impossible to take down. Even legendary Pokémon struggle to bring Salamence down. And if you’re lucky, you can even find a Bagon as early as Route 3! You can only find it in a very specific patch of grass just to the right of the bottom of the bridge (the one near the berry tree), and you’ve only got a 1% chance to find it, then get it up to level 35 and 55 to evolve it to Shelgon. The truly daring who wish to forgo this process, however, can find a Bagon and wait for it to call for one during an SOS.
There’s not really much that can be said about Salamence that hasn’t already been said elsewhere. It effectively doesn’t have any weak stats. It can work as both a physical and special attack, with decent speed to back it up. Its defenses may not be anything to write home about, but they’re solid enough and bolstered immensely by Salamence’s Intimidate ability, which decreases its opponents Attack by one level as soon as it enters the field. And, to wrap it all up, Dragon Dance can enhance both its speed and attack to astronomical heights and proceed to crush anything. It’s simple and effective.
We’ve only touched upon a small amount of all the rare Pokémon in this list. There are plenty more out there that may be incredibly useful too. If we did, we’d love to hear from you if you have any advice or tips in the comments below!
By Matt Knodle