Throughout his 24-season journey, Ash Ketchum has captured over 70 Pokémon. Numerous companions have famously become some of the most beloved and powerful among the entire fanbase: Pikachu, Charizard, and Greninja among others have proven their strength time and time again.
But there are definitely some Pokémon Ash has caught that seem weak on the surface, but end up being surprisingly strong. Whether it’s because they put in work despite not being fully evolved or pushing through a strange personality flaw, Ash Ketchum has numerous Pokémon that are more powerful than their appearance would suggest.
10Pikachu Is Strong Despite Never Evolving
It may seem strange to include one of Ash’s most famous companions, but the fact of the matter is that Pikachu has a ridiculous amount of fight in it. It has taken down countless opponents that are physically and statistically stronger. Pikachu overcomes major disadvantages against Lt. Surge’s Raichu and Drake’s Dragonite.
Additionally, it has competed with and taken out multiple legendaries. Pikachu has won against a superior electric-type Pokémon in Tapu Koko and Brandon’s Regice. And if that wasn’t enough, it earned a draw against Latios. Ash’s Pikachu is easily one of the greatest Pokémon at overcoming the odds, which is shocking considering how weak the average Pikachu is.
9Gible Defies Logic
When first introduced in Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl: Galactic Battles, Gible appears to be one of those companions Ash catches for comedic effect. It likes to munch on things and tease Ash for its own amusement. But this Gible is more than meets the eye. It happens to be one of the most overpowered first-stage evolutions in the history of the Pokémon anime.
It shouldn’t be possible, but Gible knows Draco Meteor which is one of the strongest dragon-type moves of all time. But also, it wins its battles through logic-defying ways. Gible catches a Shuckle in its mouth and wins by shooting it out with Draco Meteor. And if that wasn’t enough, Gible goes on to defeat Team Rocket by eating their metal minions. Its screen time was brief but Gible had some of the most ridiculous feats in the anime’s history.
8Glalie Is More Than Just A Troll
Glalie at the start of Pokémon: Advanced Battle was all about causing mischief. As a Snorunt, it took great joy in being a hindrance. Even when it tried to focus on training, it would still “accidentally” freeze Ash and his friends. But once Snorunt learned Ice Beam and evolved into Glalie, it shocked fans to see what a decent fighter it had to become.
Glalie defeated a Charizard and a Metang in the Hoenn League despite being at a type disadvantage. It also tied with Tyson’s Sceptile which was one of his strongest Pokémon. Glalie got past its rough beginning and managed to step up from being comically useless to a key contributor to the team.
7Rowlet’s Cozy Personality Is Misleading
Ash’s Rowlet is a cute little ball that never evolves in the Pokémon Sun & Moon anime. It is often seen sleeping and looking cozy in Ash’s backpack. However, its cute personality could easily lead to one underestimating it. Rowlet developed a reputation for winning battles when it was clearly at a disadvantage.
It won against Hau’s Decidueye by tricking it with Feather Dance then knocking it out with Brave Bird. And later on, it won against Professor Kukui’s Braviary in aerial combat by dodging its Brave Bird and forcing it to crash into the ground. Every step of the way, Rowlet used its craftiness to overcome the hindrance of not evolving.
6Kingler Dominates In Its First Battle
Kingler is one of the most shocking battlers Ash has ever owned. After Ash caught a Krabby, it was treated as a joke. Ash didn’t realize he could only have six Pokémon at a time which led to Krabby sitting in Professor Oak’s lab for most of season one. To add insult to injury, it was made fun of as a weaker and smaller version of Gary’s Krabby.
So it came as a huge surprise when Ash sent in Krabby for its first battle during the Indigo League. To make matters even more shocking, it dominated Ash’s opponent Mandy. It took out an Exeggutor (which it is generally weak against) then immediately evolved into Kingler right after. Kingler then follows up by sweeping the rest of Mandy’s team all on its own. A Pokémon once forgotten was able to do massive damage with no prior battle experience in the Pokémon League of all places, which was definitely a shocker at the time.
5Oshawott Can Leave Its Poké Ball
Oshawott feels like just another one of Ash’s many starters who failed to evolve. The fact that it was afraid to open its eyes while using Aqua Jet despite being a water-type made it all the more pathetic. But even through all its flaws, Oshawott is still very strong.
The main reason Oshawott is powerful is that it can leave its Poké Ball at will. That may not seem like much on the surface, but even Ash’s strongest Pokémon are incapable of this. In a way, Oshawott possesses a special power that none of Ash’s other companions have. Oshawott also fought hard in multiple gym battles and the Unova League.
4Goodra Goes From Coward To Courageous
Back when Ash caught Goodra as a Goomy, it was afraid of just about everything. It even cowered in fear at the sight of Bonnie’s Dedenne. Goomy acted chickenhearted at pretty much every turn. For the first few episodes that Ash owned Goomy, it seemed like it would never grow into anything.
This is why Goomy surprised Pokémon fans when it evolved to save Ash and friends. Goodra became one of Ash’s strongest Kalos Pokémon. Its ability to tank hits with Bide led to impressive victories against Clemont and Alain’s teams. The once cowardly Goomy turned into quite the powerhouse by the end of Pokémon the Series: XYZ.
3Torracat Beats Opponents Out Of Its League
While Ash never actually got to use Incineroar in battle, it compiled quite the resume in its previous forms. As Torracat, it played an instrumental role in helping Ash complete multiple island trials and beating Guzma to advance to the Alola League finals.
Then there’s the crowning achievement of beating Professor Kukui’s Incineroar. Even as the inferior form of the Litten evolution line, it overcame a champion-level Incineroar that it lost to in a previous encounter. It’s always impressive to win battles against fully evolved Pokémon, but Torracat took it to a new level due to this feat alone.
2Snorlax Is Shockingly Good On Its Feet
When Ash’s Snorlax made its debut in Orange Islands, there was no doubt that it was strong. The issue was that Snorlax felt like more of a joke than a fighter since it slept more than anything else. Yet whenever Ash utilized Snorlax, it always came through.
In the few battles it participated in, Snorlax dominated. In the Johto League Silver Conference, it won against two of Gary and Harrison’s Pokémon each. Later on, Snorlax returned to assist against Greta in the Battle Frontier where it defeated both of her partners to help Ash earn the Guts Symbol. It may be lazy and pathetic at first glance, but Snorlax packs quite a punch.
1Dragonite Is Already Champion Level
Pokémon fans had high expectations when it was revealed that Ash was using a Dragonite in Pokémon Journeys. A fully evolved Pseudo-Legendary should demonstrate top-notch power. But what fans ended up getting was so much more. In just a few short years, Dragonite has already risen to the top as one of Ash’s strongest partners of all time.
In less than 100 episodes, Dragonite has won more big battles than most of Ash’s Pokémon. It won against Corrina’s Mega Lucario as well Iris’ Haxorus. And keep in mind that Iris was the champion of Unova at this point. To win against one of the toughest Mega evolutions and a champion’s Pseudo-Legendary with so little battle experience is so absurd that it’s almost hard to believe.