When it comes to Ash Pokémon, there are certainly a few that stand out among the rest, like Pikachu and Charizard, who regularly help Ash win the day. However, for every successful Pokémon on Ash’s team, there was another Pokémon he caught but couldn’t pull its weight. There are many reasons why this is the case—some Pokémon have personality conflicts that prevent them from performing well in battle, while other Pokémon often have disadvantageous battles or simply cannot Act under pressure.
Determining which of Ash’s Pokémon is the absolute weakest will also depend on a number of factors, the most important of which is their win rate. After all, success in battle doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t result in victory. However, that doesn’t mean winning is the only thing that matters overall. Some Pokémon are not meant for combat but instead play other roles in the show’s plot. They’re still useful despite never actually winning any battles, but that still makes them look pretty weak.
Ash’s Tauros are something of a mystery to many fans, as the episode in which Ash captured them was actually banned from airing in the US and elsewhere. Ash only used Tauros in battle on a handful of occasions, but those instances did not yield good results for Tauros, leaving him with 1 win, 3 losses, and a draw. Tauros actually lost two different games in the final round of the Orange League, a performance that was almost impressively bad. Ash used Tauros in hopes of getting “beginner’s luck” on his side, but this time it seemed unsuccessful.
Ash’s Torterra was performing quite well before its development, but throughout its time in the series, Torterra performed quite poorly overall. With 4 wins, 7 losses, and 2 draws, Torterra’s battle record isn’t quite what fans would expect from a starter Pokémon. One of the main factors leading to Torterra’s poor performance appears to be the reduced speed as it progresses, as many of Turtwig’s fights involve using his mobility to gain an advantage, something Torterra can no longer do.
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Unfezant was Ash’s first catch in Unova, and it was a disappointing introduction to the region. Unfezant ended up with 2 wins and 3 losses throughout Black and White, with one of those wins coming when it first evolved from Tranquill. However, Unfezant is a good example of a Pokémon that doesn’t really exist for fighting, as its flying ability is often used to track down missing people or Pokémon, making it useful in a way. very different. Ash also outclassed several Pokémon on his team in Unova, giving Unfezant less of a fighting chance than Pokémon from other regions.
Muk was only used in two battles, with a final score of 1-1, before having to be moved due to its stench. In fact, the smell was so bad that it seeped through the Poké Ball it was kept in and was just a nuisance to the team. Muk won its first battle in the Indigo League, where it easily destroyed a Bellsprout, but its second battle with Gary in the Silver League saw it defeated easily. From then on, it was never used again, although of course Muk would continue to appear at Oak’s lab whenever Ash visited. Even counting the battles with Team Rocket, Muk still proved incompetent, as his only encounter with James left him asleep and unable to fight.
Gliscor’s record is 2 wins, 4 losses, and a draw, making it easily the weakest member of Ash’s Sinnoh team. As a Gligar, it is an especially emotionally fragile Pokémon, often crying out of fear of failure—or even afraid of heights, which is surprising for a Pokémon that can fly. At least one of Gliscor’s victories earned Ash a badge, so it helps with that, but overall it’s not a good choice in most battles. Once it evolves, it can help scout around and find things by air, so at least Gliscor is still useful in this capacity.
Lapras is generally considered a pretty good Pokémon in the game, but Ash’s Lapras certainly doesn’t make a good case for that. Ash’s Lapras only fought twice and lost both times, giving it the worst possible performance. However, Lapras’ purpose in the anime is not to fight; Lapras primarily exists as a means of transporting Ash, Misty, and Tracy from island to island in the Orange Islands, living up to its reputation as a Transport Pokémon. However, it is a bit disappointing that its performance in battle is so poor and that Ash only possesses it for a short time.
Totodile is an interesting case. It has one official victory – against Charizard, no less – and it single-handedly took down Team Rocket in its first appearance before being captured. Unfortunately, its victory ended there, as it lost in its next three attempts and failed to finish in fourth place. As a character, it’s a very likable Pokémon, but it performs so poorly that it was once taken down by a single Tackle attack (by Onix, but still). While Totodile may be remembered fondly by fans, the fact of the matter is that it fails to win when it really counts.
Snivy is another starter Pokémon, with a meager 2 wins and 5 losses. Snivy also has some personality issues, being a snobby Pokémon that abandoned its first trainer for not meeting its expectations. That attitude ends up being very ironic considering Snivy’s pathetic win rate. To make matters worse, one of Snivy’s victories was due to the use of the move Lure, which made opponents reluctant to attack, but attempts to repeat that gimmick failed immediately. It was clear that Snivy was not fit for combat.
A fan favorite, Palpitoad went 1-2-1 in official matches, but their losses were especially embarrassing. Palpitoad was used against Elesa’s Zebstrika in a gym battle, where it had a huge type advantage, and losing Palpitoad early destroyed Ash’s strategy and resulted in defeat. Palpitoad then fought against Roxie’s Garbodor in a six-on-three match, where it again had the type advantage and was quickly defeated. As Ash’s fifth Pokémon in that battle, it should have also had the benefit of being new, where Roxie’s Garbodor had been fighting for a while, but even that couldn’t help Palpitoad get by.
Heracross finished just under 50% with a 2-3 record. It has a very short attention span, losing battles simply because it is lured with vials of sweet nectar, such as when Team Rocket used some as bait to escape with Pikachu. While one of its victories was quite impressive, coming out on top against Magmar, where it was at a huge type disadvantage, even that couldn’t help make up for its losses. Heracross also had the misfortune of being used against Tobias’ Darkrai and it didn’t stand a chance against the Mythical Pokémon.
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Boldore was only used in three official battles, but it lost two of them, including Roxie’s loss to Koffing, where it should have had the advantage. Like Torterra, it is more useful in its previous form, Roggenrola, as it uses its super hearing to locate an Audino. However, as Boldore, it is ineffective and does not do much in battle or in other situations, although it did have an epic ending against Team Rocket in Black and White, when it launch them for the final time in the series. Its friendly demeanor and frequent good performances attest to the fact that its usefulness is generally limited.
Oshawott’s record is not great, with 4 wins, losses and one draw. Oshawott tends to indulge in Attraction shenanigans, often ending in falling in love with rival female Pokémon. Oshawott also has difficulty using some of its moves, such as Aqua Jet, which while powerful, rarely hits. However, Oshawott certainly has some rough spots as their victories are often difficult ones, even when they have the type advantage. Oshawott’s Scalchop (the shell on its belly) proves to be almost as much of a problem as it is a tool, as Oshawott is often distracted when losing to it in battle and it is necessary to perform some moves , such as Razor Shell.
Incredibly, Squirtle has the exact same win percentage as Oshawott: 4 wins, 4 losses and one draw. In large battles, it is often ineffective, such as only managing one hit on Drake’s Dragonite and losing at the edge of the battle by crashing into a wall. However, Squirtle is slightly more effective as it is used in other non-combat situations, such as the exercise challenges in the Orange Islands, where it performs well. Squirtle eventually returned to the Squirtle Squad and put out the fire, which was probably a better job than fighting.
Ash’s Torkoal has one of the worst records out of all his Pokémon, with only 2 wins to 6 losses and one draw. Worse yet, when Torkoal is defeated, it is usually dealt with in a single blow, meaning it doesn’t even get a chance to perform in battle. It almost became a joke, Torkoal often cried because of his constant failures. Out of all of Ash’s low win rate Pokémon, Torkoal is the one that has probably seen more battles than it really deserves. Ash used it in four Evergrande Conference matches, and it ended up being defeated in each match.
Pidgeotto is unfortunately up there as Ash’s worst Pokémon, having never won a real battle. Pidgeotto, like Unfezant, is often deployed in a reconnaissance role, so it can pull its weight by providing an eye in the sky and popping Team Rocket balloons, but very little others. Pidgeotto eventually evolved into Pidgeot, only to be released not long after, ensuring that it had no chance of correcting that winning record as it never evolved. Pidgeot finally reunited with Ash in his final episode, over a thousand episodes later, but that still meant it never had a fighting chance again.
To be clear, these are simply Ash’s worst Pokémon statistically; many of them are still good and beloved Pokémon on the show. However, if the Pokémon anime has taught fans anything, it’s not to judge a Pokémon strictly by its battle performance but instead as a complete living organism. After all, these Pokémon are full characters as much as they are tools for battle, and these wins and losses will even factor into their development. Even though they might be Ash’s worst PokémonAt least they can still be interesting to watch as characters.