Pokemon has kept fans returning to play their familiar-yet-unique versions generation after generation. While many fans enjoy the slow stroll through the more peaceful Pokemon world, some players obsess over something else: being the fastest trainer to beat the game.
Speedrunning has gained incredible popularity, particularly within the Pokemon community as runners plan routes and carefully select the best Pokemon to usher them through the main story as fast as possible. Some games demand the runner stick with their starter, meticulously selecting the proper moveset changes along the way; however, other runs necessitate a team shakeup mid-run to prepare for the endgame. Across all generations, these Pokemon have separated themselves from the pack, earning their place among the elite few that can carry you to the finish in record time.
10 Nidoking — Earth-Shattering Power
This purple powerhouse muscles its way through a majority of generation one’s Kanto region with necessary coverage and impressive bulk to take you from Viridian City to The Pokemon League in no time — only about 105 minutes. Despite being a third-form Pokemon, you can acquire Nidoking quite early; all you need to do is catch a Male Nidoran outside Viridian City and then use a Moon Stone from Mt. Moon to evolve it.
Nidoking’s necessary moveset includes Thrash, Thunderbolt, and Bubblebeam which will allow it to take down a variety of types with ease, including Water types that pose a threat to the Ground-type Nidoking. If you want an alternative challenge after the speedrun, Nidoking also makes for a great Nuzlocke choice.
9 Krookodile — Dark Dominance
Krookodile is as formidable as it is frightening, boasting a 117 Attack stat and 92 Speed to go along with its decent defenses, making it similar in function to Nidoking. Krookodile also includes Thrash in its speedrun set, adding the powerful Ground-type move, Earthquake, alongside Darkest Lariat to round out its Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB) options.
Despite making way for Eternatus in the closing stages of Sword and Shield‘s current world record, Krookodile is relied on for a large middle segment of the run, easily making it past level 70, after its role is complete.
8 Swampert — A Dual-Type Juggernaut
Swampert’s immunity to Electric-type attacks makes it an extremely flexible speedrun Pokemon despite its painful 4x weakness to Grass types. Swampert, much like Krookodile, does end up splitting the speedrun duties with a Legendary Pokemon, Rayquaza. However, this doesn’t discount Swampert’s incredible versatility, as it functions as both an HM user and Ace Pokemon until you capture the level 70 Rayquaza.
Toward the end of its segment in an Emerald speedrun, Swampert should be finishing with Surf as its main source of damage, also equipped with Strength, Dive, and Rock Smash as its utility moves. The fact that Swampert is only replaced by one of the best Legendary Pokemon in the entire series speaks volumes about its worth as a speedrun Pokemon.
7 Infernape — Fire And Fighting Fury
Infernape’s status as yet another dual Fire/Fighting-type starter evolution often means it’s forgotten, but not among avid speedrunners. This mixed-attacking monster boasts a powerful base stat total including a terrific trio of 104 Attack, 104 Special Attack and 108 Speed to ensure it can deal with a variety of threats.
Infernape’s excellent offensive stats help it make use of moves like Grass Knot, Close Combat, Flare Blitz, and Flame Wheel, in addition to helping it maximize its usage of Flamethrower early in the run. This Pokemon’s raw damage is often enough to make up for any coverage moves it may lack, as this marauding monkey means serious business.
6 Alakazam — A Psychic Powerhouse
Alakazam’s reputation as one of the most powerful Psychic types is well deserved, with over-the-top base Special Attack (135) and Speed (120) to enhance its dangerous moveset. Unlike predecessors focused on coverage to deal with adversaries, Alakazam relies mainly on Psychic to carry it through almost any tight spot.
Alakazam should also be carrying Toxic to inflict chip damage to pesky walls, Recover to heal off any unexpected blows, and Dig as a utility move for when Psychic just wouldn’t be a better option. Alakazam’s ability to shred through the competition, relying almost completely on Psychic, is impressive and highlights just how important its base stats really are.
5 Hawlucha — The High-Flying Luchador
Hawlucha is much more than just a gimmick Pokemon as this fast Flying and Fighting-type menace overpowers the competition with its signature move, Flying Press. Flying Press is unique in that it’s a Fighting-type move, but can also deal additional damage to Pokemon with a weakness to Flying.
Using its unique gimmick, Hawlucha soars above other early game options in Pokemon X and Y, as its moveset of Wing Attack, Flying Press, Encore, and Swords Dance offer it enough raw power to push past any obstacle. In a speedrun as difficult as X and Y’s, it’s impossible to function alone, so Hawlucha makes way for another Fighting type as you approach the halfway point of the game.
4 Lucario — Taking The Fighting Baton
This Fighting-type jackal picks up from where Hawlucha left off, and it doesn’t miss a beat, powering through the remainder of the game with relative ease. Lucario’s excellent base stats deserve recognition as its 110 base Attack and 115 Special Attack ensure that it hits like a truck without sacrificing too much Speed (90) in comparison to its partner, Hawlucha.
By the end of your journey, you’ll be looking at a Lucario approaching Level 80 after all of its foes have been defeated, with a powerful moveset of Close Combat, Swords Dance, Shadow Claw, and Rock Tomb for additional coverage. With so much going for it, it comes as no surprise that Hawlucha is forced to warm the bench when you’re midway through a Pokemon X run.
3 Feraligatr — Ferocity and Function
Feraligatr is a true all-in-one package as you’ll have this blue-shaded behemoth with you from its first battle as a Totodile all the way through the credits. Much like its fellow Water-type starter, Swampert, Feraligatr plays double duty as it carries both Surf and Strength to push through rocks and waterways alike during your journey.
In addition to its utility, Surf supplies a great deal of Feraligatr’s damage in addition to coverage options, like Ice Punch for Grass types as well as Return, to give good general damage against Pokemon who resist Water or Ice. Unlike Swampert, Feraligatr is never substituted for a Legendary, making it one of the few Pokemon who can completely solo a world-record speedrun.
2 Stoutland — The Bane Of Black And White
The Unova region in Pokemon Black and White is often regarded as one of the stiffest challenges in all of Pokemon – that is, unless you have a Stoutland. This Normal-type Pokemon won’t be benefiting from STAB on many moves, but it does boast an excellent 110 Attack stat to support its general bulk and respectable 80 Speed.
Stoutland relies heavily on Return to do damage, a move that grows in power as you become better friends during the speedrun. Add in Crunch for Dark-type coverage, along with Reversal and Work Up to guarantee optimal time on your run. While you don’t start with Stoutland, this surprisingly versatile dog does go the distance, finishing the game as your Ace Pokemon.
1 Mewtwo — The Speedrun Specialist
Mewtwo, unlike the aforementioned options, must be hacked or edited into your safe file or emulator to properly attempt a speedrun. Mewtwo’s stats speak for themselves, highlighted by an astronomical 154 base Special Attack and 130 Speed to bolster its already-powerful Psychic-type moves.
It’s worth noting that if you’re attempting this in Generation One, your critical hits are tied to your Speed, meaning you will be performing critical hits roughly one in every four attacks. Mewtwo’s offense is clearly unrivaled, but it also learns utility moves like Recover, Barrier, and Amnesia to ensure you have an option for every situation. If you’re interested in learning, starting with a Mewtwo run on an emulator may be the best way to gauge your patience for speedrunning Pokemon.