Which of Ash Ketchum’s Pokemon teams is the strongest?


Ash Ketchum has had many Pokémon teams over the years – but which one is the strongest? Ash, as the Pokémon anime’s recurring protagonist, has caught many different Pokémon across many different regions. Each time he visited a new region, he’d assemble a new team to take on the Pokémon Gym Challenge, eventually heading towards the Pokémon League to fulfill his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master.

Famously, Ash won his first Pokémon League in Alola, Pokémon’s 7th generation region. This was a controversial decision, however. Though audiences were glad to see Ash finally achieve his goal, Ash’s loss against rival and friend Alain in the Kalos League’s final match had initially seemed like the best opportunity for Ash to win his first official championship. His team was strong, Ash’s character seemed more mature, and his run in the Kalos League was the best he’d ever had. The sting of his loss in the Pokémon XYZ anime was soothed by his win in the Sun and Moon anime – but only just.

Related: Pokémon: What Happened To Ash’s Charizard?

Now on its eighth iteration, the Pokémon anime has switched up its formula. Instead of traveling to the most recent region, which is the Galar region, Ash and his newest companion Goh travel the world as research fellows working for Professor Cerise. Together they catch and study as many Pokémon as possible. Ash still has his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master and has entered the World Coronation Series, a tournament in which trainers from all over the world can participate. Ash has moved steadily through the ranks in the hopes of one day challenging Leon, the current reigning Monarch. Despite the anime’s change in format, Ash has still caught and trained an entirely new team, including some Pokémon from the Galar region. With Ash’s eighth official team in the mix, it’s interesting to compare and contrast each team’s strengths and weaknesses to determine which one is the strongest.

How Powerful Ash’s Kanto Team Is

Ash Ketchum’s first team in Kanto failed to beat the Pokémon League, but he did manage to make it to the top 16 of 200 candidates, which is no small feat for a debut trainer. His main team in Kanto consisted of his very first Pokémon Pikachu, a fully evolved Butterfree, a Pidgeot, Bulbasaur, a fully evolved Charizard, and a Squirtle. This first team set a precedent for Ash nearly always having a fire, water, grass, and flying type Pokémon on his team, often including at least two of a region’s starter Pokémon. Other honorable mentions include Kingler and Muk, who also participated in some of the matches during the Indigo Conference. Butterfree does eventually leave Ash’s team in what remains an emotional episode, a recurring event throughout the Pokémon anime.

Despite being Ash’s first full team as a trainer, it does involve some heavy hitters. Charizard, in particular, becomes one of Ash’s most powerful Pokémon, though it does take a while for it to be disciplined enough to obey Ash’s battle commands. His relationship with Pikachu also counts for something, and Pikachu famously becomes his one constant companion. But there are a few too many unevolved Pokémon on this particular team for it to be one of his most powerful, no matter how loveable and memorable some of those Pokémon are – who can forget The Squirtle Squad?

In a follow-up to the original Indigo Plateau Conference, Ash participated in the Orange League, a conference that takes place in The Orange Islands. He did win, meaning that his championship in Alola wasn’t technically the first time Ash Ketchum truly won a Pokémon league. In that arc, Ash switched up the Kanto team a bit and included a Lapras and a Snorlax. Snorlax, in particular, was quite a powerhouse, and one of Ash’s strongest contenders at the time. Despite his Orange League win, this team still doesn’t qualify as one of Ash’s strongest teams. There simply wasn’t enough diversity.

Related: What Happened To Brock After He Left The Pokemon Anime?

How Powerful Ash’s Johto Team Is

Ash’s second team in Johto brought him to the top eight in the Silver Conference. Perhaps more memorably, Ash faced off against his great rival Gary and won, though a few of his old Kanto Pokémon were involved in that victory. Once again, Ash managed to catch a full set of starters in Johto, only one of which evolved into its second evolution. Alongside Cyndaquil, Totodile, Bayleef (evolved from Chikorita), and of course Pikachu, Ash’s Johto team also included Heracross, a shiny Noctowl, and Phanpy.

In comparison to Ash’s Kanto team, his Johto team is probably the weaker of the two. It never really found a proper replacement for heavy hitters such as Charizard and Snorlax, though Heracross was probably the most powerful on this team, together with Bayleef. Unfortunately, most of Ash’s Pokémon on this team never realized their full potential power. This may be due to Ash’s style of training at the time. Ash loved his Pokémon and wanted them to become the best versions of themselves. That’s an admirable position to take, and it does remain one of Ash’s best qualities, but it took him a while to combine his love for his Pokémon with his cunning as a trainer.

How Powerful Ash’s Hoenn Team Is

The third iteration of the Pokémon anime saw Ash head to the Hoenn region. He may have caught the least amount of new Pokémon in this region, but it was a more well-defined team than his previous efforts, and interestingly enough only included one starter Pokémon. His Hoenn team (including his challenge against the Battle Frontier), aside from Pikachu, included a fully evolved Sceptile, a fully evolved Swellow, Corphish, Torkoal, a fully evolved Glalie, and eventually an Aipom that he caught in the wild.

With this team, Ash once again placed in the top eight of the Ever Grande Conference. Again, it’s an impressive feat, but it does mean that his team was not as strong as it could have been. Ash’s potential as a trainer is explored more fully in the Hoenn series though, and it shows in his Pokémon. More of them have reached their final evolution (except Pikachu), and yet Ash doesn’t allow his quest to train his Pokémon to their fullest potential to stand in the way of treating them with respect and care. Sceptile and Glalie are strong Pokémon, and his Swellow was the strongest Flying-type he’d had thus far.

Related: Pokémon Master Journeys: What Is Project Mew?

How Powerful Ash’s Sinnoh Team Is

Ash’s Sinnoh team is the first team where most of his newly caught Pokémon reach their final evolutionary stages. It’s an undeniable fact that most Pokémon (perhaps barring Ash’s Pikachu, who should be severely overpowered by now), are simply stronger when they’ve fully evolved. Ash tends to catch Pokémon that either can’t or won’t evolve and while he still tries to bring out the best in them, Ash’s team in Sinnoh exemplified what he could do as a trainer.

Ash landed a spot in the top four of the Lily of the Valley conference – but no Pokémon shines more in this Pokémon League than Ash’s fully evolved starter Pokémon Infernape. Abandoned by its original trainer, Paul, who later becomes Ash’s rival, Infernape is, to this day, one of Ash’s strongest Pokémon due to its unique Blaze ability. Other Sinnoh Pokémon include a fully evolved Staraptor, a fully evolved Torterra, Buizel, a fully evolved Gliscor, and a Gible, Ash’s first dragon Pokémon. Regrettably, Gible never evolved, which is a shame, as dragon Pokémon are known to be one of the strongest types of Pokémon in existence, and its final evolution, Garchomp, is a very strong Dragon- and Ground-type Pokémon.

How Powerful Ash’s Unova Team Is

Unfortunately, Ash’s progress with his Sinnoh team was almost completely reversed with his Unova team. Quite a few of his Pokémon never reached their full potential, including all three of the starter Pokémon that he caught. This team includes the fully evolved Pokémon Unfezant, Leavanny, and Krokoodile, the last of which is an undeniably solid Pokémon. In addition, Ash also raised an Oshawott, a Snivy, a Scraggy, a Palpitoad, and he evolved his Tepig into a Pignite and his Roggenrola into a Boldore.

The regression of Ash’s Pokémon team in the fifth generation of the anime is reflected in his Unova League result. Once again, he finishes in the top eight, which while still being an impressive result, is a step down from where he placed in the Sinnoh League. What is interesting about his Unova team, however, is that because of the amount of new Pokémon he managed to catch, Ash was able to rotate his team members instead of forcing some to become second-string players. This system of rotation meant that Ash had a much more versatile roster, though it couldn’t cancel out the lackluster power levels of his Pokémon.

Related: Pokémon Master Journeys Explains A Series Plot Hole

How Powerful Ash’s Kalos Team Is

Ash in the Pokémon XYZ anime is almost unrecognizable from anything that came before. Though he was still 10 years old, he was more mature and more cunning as a Pokémon trainer. No other team had realized its full potential the same way this one had. Each Pokémon was fully evolved, and his Kalos team had a diverse range of types, strengths, and weaknesses, and even included two Dragon Pokémon. On this impressive team, Ash had a Greninja, Noivern, Goodra, Talonflame, Hawlucha, and his ever-present Pikachu.

Another thing that gives this team an advantage over any of the others so far is Greninja’s ability to naturally mega evolve. Mega evolution allows certain Pokémon to temporarily evolve into an additional form, often becoming more powerful as a result. Ash and Greninja’s bond was so strong that they were able to do this without the help of a mega stone, which no other character or Pokémon in the anime was capable of doing. This once again proves how diligently Ash raised his Pokémon this time around. The results speak for themselves. Ash placed second overall at the Kalos League, and, to this day, discussions still rage on whether or not Ash should have won this league first.

How Powerful Ash’s Alola Team Is

In the seventh generation of the anime, Ash arrives in Alola and goes back to school. This was a strange turn of events, considering how far Ash went in the Pokémon League last time, but it seems it did the trick. This was the first time Ash won a proper Pokémon League. However, it should be taken into account that this was the first time this Pokémon League was ever held in Alola, and, as such, it is possible that Ash’s opponents this time around were a bit easier to contend with.

However, his team here was no joke either. With a fully evolved rare-form Lycanroc, a fully evolved Incineroar, the mythical Pokémon Melmetal, and an Ultra Beast (Naganadel), Ash’s team here had quite a few heavy hitters. Unfortunately, his Rowlett never evolved past its first form, but Ash was able to master Z-Moves, giving most of his Pokémon, even the presumed weaker ones, an extra boost of power.

Related: Every Legendary Pokémon In Pokémon Master Journeys: The Series

How Powerful Ash’s Pokémon Journeys Team Is

Nowadays, Ash travels around with his Pokémon Journeys team, taking on the World Coronation Series one battle at a time. So far, he’s made it to the top eight trainers in the entire world, an incredibly impressive feat that brings him one step closer to his goal of defeating Champion Leon in a Pokémon battle. Since his Pokémon Journeys adventures aren’t restricted to just the Galar region, Ash’s latest team also includes some old favorites. His team, aside from Pikachu, includes a Lucario, a Gengar, a Dragonite, a Dracovish, and Pokémon’s Sirfetch’d.

Ash seems to have learned from his time in Kalos, as his team features fully evolved Pokémon (aside from Pikachu). Dragonite, Lucario, and Gengar in particular are surprisingly powerful choices. Pokémon Sword and Shield also prove that Dracovish is an unexpectedly dangerous Pokémon too. Quite a few of his Pokémon in the Journeys anime can either Mega Evolve or Gigantamax and use Z-Moves as well. This gives these Pokémon a distinct advantage in terms of boosted power, something that no other team has had to the same extent.

Why Kalos Is Ash’s Most Powerful Pokémon Team (For Now)

The top three of Ash’s strongest Pokémon teams are quite obvious: his teams in Kalos, Alola, and his Pokémon Journeys team are miles ahead of any of the others. This is a testament to how much Ash has developed as a trainer over the years, and how committed the anime was to building upon that development with each new iteration of the show. However, one team is still stronger than the others, but there are a few factors to consider.

Battle gimmicks such as Mega Evolution, Gigantamax, and Z-Moves give Pokémon on these teams an unfair advantage over the others. By taking those abilities out of the equation entirely, the evolution status of these Pokémon, their base stats, and their overall performance become the only factors to consider, leveling the playing field. On that basis, Ash’s Alola team ranks third overall. Rowlett’s stalled evolution brings the total power level down, and even though this team delivered Ash the championship, his battles in the Alola League weren’t as tough as those he’s had to endure in the Lumiose Conference or the World Coronation Series.

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That leaves Ash’s Kalos team and his Pokémon Journeys team. Both are quite evenly matched – though once again if battle gimmicks are involved, Ash’s Journeys team would undoubtedly come out on top. Remove those from the equation entirely, however, and it becomes a different story. Ash’s Kalos team went up against one of the strongest teams ever shown in the anime. Alain’s team, who only just beat Ash, included a Mega Charizard, Tyranitar, Metagross, and Weavile, all of which are considered some of the strongest non-legendary Pokémon in the entire franchise. Considering the bond that Ash had with Greninja and Goodra, it’s clear that his bond with those Pokémon was stronger as well. All in all, at the moment, Ash’s Kalos team probably wins the question of who his strongest team is, but it is unlikely to hold that position for much longer.

Since Pokémon Ultimate Journeys has officially been announced, Ash’s Journeys team will only continue to grow. They are already impressively powerful, and will likely soon surpass even the power and bond that Ash has with his Kalos team. In any case, Ash’s future as a trainer is brighter than it has ever been before, and who knows? Perhaps, in a future iteration of the Pokémon anime, Ash’s newest team might be even stronger than his Kalos and Journeys teams combined.