Pokémon: Every Villainous Team, Ranked

Many Pokémon villains appear in the spin-off games, but it is the main series' villainous teams that are often scrutinized and compared.

For any good game worth its salt to push an interesting narrative, there needs to be both a protagonist and an antagonist. These can both come as individuals or as teams, with villainous organizations being a frequent occurrence in the Pokémon franchise. Villainous groups in the Pokémon universe may vary in their ultimate motives and goals, but they always present an obstacle for the player to overcome.

While some are intent on world domination or destruction, others simply exist to carry out villainous acts or crimes. There are even those who are not actually bad people, they are just being misled. There are plenty of Pokémon villains who appear in the spin-off games, but it is the main series’ villainous teams that are often scrutinized and compared.

Team Yell Are Just Overly-Enthusiastic Fans

Villains within the Pokémon universe are so often led by a charismatic individual obsessed with power or a certain destructive concept. Gen VIII, however, introduced a group with different motives and a generally less antagonistic aura – Team Yell. Team Yell are fans of a trainer named Marnie but take their support too far and too seriously, often trying to impede or distract her rivals.

As intended, interactions and battles with them are frustrating, with them obstructing the player from competing fairly with Marnie. However, these extreme measures still pale in comparison to many of the other villainous organizations.

Team Skull Are A Simple Band Of Thugs

After the intensity of the past two villainous groups, Gen VII’s Team Skull bring a new side to the franchise’s villains. They mainly just behave like thugs and gang members, with their crimes and general aggression very rarely having an overarching purpose.

As also shown in the anime, Team Skull are more of a cohesive and internally friendly unit than other organizations, with their leader Guzma appearing to be more like them compared to other villainous leaders and their groups. In the games, Team Skull are even reduced to being henchmen hired out to aid Aether Paradise and Lusamine.

Chairman Rose And Macro Cosmos Go To Extreme Measures To Ensure Galar’s Future

With Chairman Rose’s status as the main antagonist of Sword & Shield being kept a secret for most of the game, his organization Macro Cosmos is also barely brought to the forefront until the later stages. The shocking twist and reveal of Rose’s scheme, a desperate attempt to secure an energy source for Galar, sees him release Eternatus and unleash chaos.

While the player has several battles with Bede, a trainer who is sponsored by Rose, he is ultimately used and disowned by the Chairman. The player gets to finally fight Macro Cosmos members at Rose Tower and even faces off against Oleanna in the process, before later battling Rose and Eternatus at the Energy Plant.

Team Flare Are Extravagant In The Name Of A Beautiful New World

Led by Lysandre, Team Flare are the villainous team of the Kalos region in both the games and the anime. They’re a group that buys into the “beautiful and better” philosophy. On the surface, they don’t seem too bad for bad guys in comparison to those of other generations. But, digging into Lysandre’s plans to use the Ultimate Weapon to destroy the world and start again quickly shifts this preconception.

They may not stand out as much as other villainous organizations but the idea of them having an Elite Four member on their books, Malva, is an interesting concept and dynamic to add to such a group.

Aether Foundation Seems Perfectly Nice But Lusamine’s Obsessions Corrupt That Image

The Aether Foundation is seen as a pleasant organization that makes caring for and curing hurt Pokémon its main priority. However, its president Lusamine is later revealed to be the main antagonist of the Sun & Moon games.

Her obsession with Ultra Beasts following the disappearance of her husband overshadows all of the work that they have done, with a handful of employees supporting her. This ultimately makes the Aether Foundation, or at least a fraction of it, a villainous organization. The player gets to fight both Lusamine and Faba, as well as various employees.

Teams Aqua And Magma Both Want Different Things But Their Extreme Goals Do Have Similarities

Ruby & Sapphire are the only main series games of the Pokémon franchise to have two prominent villainous organizations that appear depending on which version fans are playing. Team Aqua are the water-loving team led by Archie. Maxie heads the land-obsessed Team Magma. Zubat and Poochyena are commonly used Pokémon within both groups, with Aqua also utilizing a lot of Carvanha and Magma opting for Numel.

Both groups and their missions have potentially devastating consequences, with them trying to flood the world and expand landmass respectively. They are both even portrayed in a more extreme and antagonistic light in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire.

Team Plasma Have Interesting Lore And Concepts

The initial threat of Team Plasma in the Black & White games and anime focuses more on destroying the harmony between humans and Pokémon, rather than anything as brazen as destroying the world. Upon their introduction, they appear to be more like Team Rocket in focusing on stealing Pokémon. Their leader, Ghetsis, raises the stakes and intensity surrounding their actions.

Between Black & White and Black 2 & White 2, the Gen V games are rife with lore and story surrounding the complexity of the villains. Team Plasma stand out because of it.

Team Rocket Have Appeared In The Games And Anime More Than Any Other Villainous Group

Team Rocket will always be the first villainous group to come to mind when considering the entire Pokémon franchise. They are the main antagonists in the first generation games, appear as a recurring presence in the second, and are represented by Jessie, James, and Meowth in nearly every single episode of the Pokémon anime.

The anime trio’s incompetence could easily take away from the organization as a whole, but Team Rocket appear to be adaptable when it comes to crime, with them expanding from simple theft in the games. The remnants of the group even resurface again in the Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon post-game in the form of Rainbow Rocket, with more dastardly plans afoot.

Team Galactic Take Ambitious Villainy To The Next Level

After the previous generation had split its villains between Ruby & Sapphire, with Team Magma and Team Aqua being the respective villains of their particular games, Diamond & Pearl brought the focus back onto one organization. Team Galactic were given far more focus.

With the despicable Cyrus at the helm, Galactic’s plans are not limited to the immediate Pokémon world. Instead, they aim to destroy and recreate the entire universe with the help of their version-specific Legendary Pokémon. Cyrus’s plans shift in Platinum as a means to introduce Giratina and the Distortion World. Platinum adds more to Galactic (like Charon and the detective pursuing them, Looker) to add more depth and gravitas to the group.

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