While the Pokémon Company shows preferential treatment toward the original Pokémon games, it’s not as if later generations are outright ignored. Kids grew up on more than Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow after all. There were plenty of kids who were just getting old enough for games in the early 2000s and started with Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. Many of those same kids are now old enough to be members of the workforce and want to feel nostalgic over their youth too. To cater to them, we saw the 3DS receive remakes in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Pokémon Go even just added 3rd Gen Pokémon.
Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald take a lot of flak from casual fans of Pokémon because they’re not the games they grew up with, and that’s absolutely not fair. There are plenty of notable Pokémon from the 3rd Gen that have shown a lot of lasting power over the years. So we decided we wanted to recognize the most famous of the 3rd Gen Pokémon, if only to highlight some of the favorite Pokémon that some of your younger peers may relate to more.
Aggron loves to fight because it knows it can take on just about anything. Its steel plating allows it to withstand just about any attack out there, boasting one of the highest defense stats in the entire series. However, while Aggron loves a challenge, it’s also a conqueror. Aggron will claim entire mountains as its domain. Don’t worry though, Aggron is a benevolent ruler. When the surrounding land has been besieged by flooding or wildfire, Aggron will help to reshape the land by bringing down dirt and soil from its mountain home.
However, what really bolstered Aggron’s popularity was the anime. Anytime the animators need an incredibly threatening Pokémon that’s still feasibly taken down, Aggron is their go to. It keeps showing up even today. And why not? Even if Aggron is an overall unremarkable Pokémon for competitive play, its image is what sells it. It captures that sense of being a monster without quite resembling anything in reality. This gives Aggron its own unique and definitive design.
9. Plusle & Minun
We’re cheating a bit by combining these two Pokémon into one position, but you really can’t talk about one without the other. Plusle and Minun are rarely seen separate from one another because they get stronger when near another Pokémon of the opposite polarity. Otherwise, Plusle and Minun are essentially the same Pokémon. Both love to cheer on their partners and hate battling on their own. Both create pom-poms out of electricity to cheer on said partners in battle. And, of course, both are not-so-subtly designed to look like Pikachu.
Even with the almost copy/paste design of Plusle & Minun, both Pokémon were created for a very specific function. They were designed to help advertise the newly incorporated doubles battles introduced in Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. Even if they aren’t all that hot in combat, they have a very easy to understand mechanic in their Plus and Minus abilities, which bolster the special attack of each. This eased players into doubles battles and kick-started experimentation to test the potential of the new system.
Plus, they were the beginning of Pokémon’s proud tradition of “Electric-type rodents meant to crib off the popularity of Pikachu”. What’s not to love?
You could say Milotic is something of a reverse Gyarados. Its pre-evolution Feebas is a Pokémon similarly awful to Magikarp, learning the exact same moveset before they evolve into their glorious final form. However, while Gyrados is offense-heavy, Milotic is a much more defensive Pokémon with high HP in addition to its excellent special and solid defenses. This makes Milotic a giant pain to go up against. You’ll even need to factor in Milotic’s signature ability Marvel Scale, which increases its defense by 50% when inflicted with a status effect. One of the most common strategys back in Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald’s heyday was to give Milotic Toxic, then have it use Rest to put itself to sleep while your opponent struggled to make a dent in your Milotic.
However, what really defines Milotic is how it evolves. In Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, all you were required to do was catch a Feebas, raise its beauty stat to the necessary amount, and level it up once. This was meant to incentivize players to test out the 3rd Gen’s beauty pageants by dangling an incredibly powerful Pokémon in front of them. This was also a cute nod to the famous fable of the Ugly Duckling, incorporating beauty into the lore of the games. Unfortunately, when these contests were removed from later versions, they also threw out the beauty stat, which meant they had to change its evolution method into trading while holding an item. This makes Milotic the only example of a Pokémon whose means of evolution completely changed over the course of the series!
Does that tank over there have legs? No, that’s Metagross. That’s worse than a tank, as Metagross is sentient. But not only does this war machine have free will, Metagross’ intelligence surpasses that of a supercomputer. This hyper-brilliance gives Metagross psychic powers, meaning that you’re not even safe from it from a distance. Metagross’ steel body keeps its system of multiple brains (yes, plural) well-protected, but on the off chance Metagross might lose, it’ll just explode and take its opponent down with it.
Metagross is unique within the Pokémon community in how it defies trends set by the franchise. It’s the only pseudo-legendary Pokémon that isn’t draconic in either typing or appearance. This has helped Metagross stand out visually while remaining threatening. Not even its 3rd Gen pseudo-legendary brother Salamence has maintained quite the same level of popularity despite overall being the handier Pokémon for competitive gaming. Even today pseudo-legendary Pokémon are designed to be dragons, which has given Metagross lasting appeal.
The final form of the Treecko’s evolutionary line, Sceptile is naturally quite popular thanks to being a starter Pokémon. However, it’s that design that people really love. Up until the 3rd Gen, we had never seen anything more beast-like come from Grass-types outside of possibly the Bulbasaur line, which was still heavily inspired by the Rafflesia plant. Then, finally, in Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, players saw Game Freak go a little further with Sceptile, whose lizard design lends itself to the plant theme but still conveys a lot of power. No longer were Grass-types regulated to cute critters or weird final forms. Finally, fans had a Grass-type they could say was cool.
Of course, this boost in popularity was helped by the Ruby & Sapphire anime, in which Ash himself started with Treecko. Throughout the course of the series, Treecko would evolve into a Grovyle, which is what it would stay at for most of the anime. Grovyle did eventually evolve into a Sceptile towards the end and became one of Ash’s strongest Pokémon. Sceptile would even return for Diamond & Pearl, where Ash brought him along for the Pokémon League tournament. It managed to defeat Tobias’ Darkrai –a feat unheard of in the world of the Pokémon anime– and solidified its popularity with the fandom.
This elegant Pokémon has enamored many a trainer over the years. Gardevoir blurs the lines between what we consider monster and human. It’s as if Gardevoir is shaped in the image of a woman, but has incorporated those features naturally into its figure. Gardevoir’s head looks like it has a bobbed haircut, but that’s just an extension of Gardevoir. That dress is just a continuation of Gardevoir’s torso without legs to hinder it. It’s the very vision of elegance, captured into the form of a Pokémon.
However, Gardevoir’s got more going for it than just that design. Fans will probably remember Gardevoir from Ruby & Sapphire as their rival Wally’s main Pokémon. As a Psychic-type, Gardevoir was gifted with the high special attack that Psychic-type Pokémon are known for. Wally would evolve from a sickly kid into a real threat late into the game thanks to that. Later generations also gave Gardevoir a Psychic/Fairy dual-typing, transforming Gardevoir into an excellent dragonslayer. Plus, if you needed any more evidence of Gardevoir’s popularity, it was one of the few playable Pokémon in Pokken Tournament that wasn’t a starter or legendary.
Blaziken was unintentionally the root of a lot of jokes within the fandom. At first, Blaziken’s Fire/Fighting combination was extremely novel and as a result made it one of the most popular starter Pokémon. Game Freak apparently caught wind of this and went on to make Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum’s fire starter Fire/Fighting as well, which people tolerated. Then it happened yet again in Black & White. Suddenly, fans lost faith that Game Freak would ever have a fire starter that didn’t evolve into Fire/Fighting. This all started with Blaziken.
And, did you know that Blaziken is also legitimately one of the best Pokémon out there for competitive play? This is because in later games, Blaziken was graced with the Speed Boost ability, which ups its speed by one level for every turn Blaziken is out in play. Combined with its incredible attack stat, this allowed Blaziken to crush anything that came its way without any effort, barring some legendary Pokémon. Unlike Charizard, if your 8-year-old cousin is bragging that their Blaziken is the strongest around, they may actually be telling the truth.
They say that, at the dawn of the planet, Groudon was there creating the land we live on. This is due to Groudon’s power to summon volcanic eruptions, which at some point will cool down and solidify into stable ground. However, keep Groudon away from Kyogre! If the two ever encounter one another again, it’ll be the end of days. Both Pokémon are unable to keep from battling each other, and their glorious duel will ring in the end of days… or the birth of a new world.
Before Ruby and Sapphire, Pokémon stories were a smaller affair. There were certainly legendary Pokémon, but they never evoked the same scale that Groudon does. Pokémon like Ho-oh and Lugia were treated as gods, but only minor gods who oversaw small realms. You didn’t have planet creators like Groudon who quite literally created the land we stand on by engaging in an epic battle that shook the foundations of life as we know it. Suddenly, Pokémon were no longer just mysterious creatures we didn’t understand. Groudon made it apparent we are not their masters. They allow us the opportunity to live.
They say that, at the dawn of the planet, Kyogre was there expanding the seas by flooding the world. What we mentioned earlier about Groudon remains true to Kyogre as well; it’s not too fond of Groudon and is more than happy to sacrifice the entire world for the chance to take a crack at striking it down. The only way to get them to stop is to summon Rayquaza, who acts as a sort of a stern nanny for the pair of legendaries.
While Groudon and Kyogre are popular for roughly the same reasons, we’re giving the slightest of edges here to Kyogre for its domination in the Pokémon competitive scene. Kyogre was notable for a long time for being one of the only Pokémon with enough special attack to break through the ever-popular special wall Blissey. Kyogre’s design also seems just a bit more popular with fans, barring a striking resemblance to a beautiful Orca whale over Groudon’s less defined dinosaur look.
Hey, we heard you might like these? Mudkip is the requisite water starter of Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, so it got a huge marketing push just by nature of potentially being someone’s first Pokémon. Brock snagged one during the Ruby & Sapphire arc of the anime, and it was his primary partner during that section of the series. In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Ruby acquired Mudkip as his second Pokémon towards the beginning series and dubbed it Mumu. And considering Mudkip evolves into Swampert, one of the tankiest starters in all of Pokémon, we’re guessing several of you reading out there chose Mudkip too.
However, your casual fan probably has heard Mudkip’s name through the ever popular “So i herd u like mudkipz?” meme. It’s one of those phrases that sounds so silly that the humor of it has transcended its origins. If you’re curious, it originated from a devianArt group called MudKipClub. The founder of said group would post on other people’s walls and spam them with the famous phrase as an invitation to check out his group. It naturally spread onto discussion boards like 4chan and from there on, history was made! For that reason alone, people will forever remember Mudkip.
Hopefully this list gave you a little insight into some of the Pokémon you may have missed out on if you stopped after Gold & Silver. Ruby & Sapphire were, at the very least, the games that set the pattern for later Pokémon games to follow it. A lot of those traditions were reflected in the Pokémon listed above.
But if you’re a more diehard Pokémon fan, we want to ask you: did we miss anyone? We know that there are plenty more extremely popular Pokémon out there that originated in Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald like Salamence and Rayquaza. Please, don’t just sit there! Let us know in the comments below!