The 10 Best Pokemon Moves Ever

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Am I a Pokemon Master? The answer is an emphatic “Yes.” I have done my fair share of battling, training, and evolving over the years, all working toward a greater understanding of the fine art that is Pokemon. If you allow yourself, you can easily get swallowed up in the incredible depth the series has to offer. So while I’m now embarking on an entirely new adventure in Pokemon White (I wanted a Dragon/Electric-Type for a Legendary over a Dragon/Fire-Type), I wanted to look back and remind myself of a few things I found to be immensely useful in my own experiences. Picking the right move for the right situation is key, and while some moves are cooler than others (that’s a list for another day), there are some moves that I tend to favor on a regular basis. That’s why I’m sharing my knowledge with you today in a list that is comprised of my experience, meaning that it isn’t the exact list everyone else will choose. This is meant more as a suggestion list than a perfect list. With that in mind, here is my list of the 10 Best Pokemon Moves Ever.

Also, a special thanks to both Serebii.net and Bulbapedia, both incredibly awesome Pokemon resources. I check in at both all-too-frequently, and I’d highly recommend you do the same for all your Pokemon needs.

10. Shadow Ball:

Mewtwo Shadow Ball 580x290 The 10 Best Pokemon Moves Ever

If I were Ash, I'd have stayed out of the way from this attack.

I always liked Gengar in my early Pokemon parties, placing a pretty beastly Gengar in my Blue Version team, but it wasn’t until the 4th Generation that I found a Ghost-Type move that proved useful for my needs: Shadow Ball. It isn’t overly powerful, but considering its intended use, destroying Psychic-Types, I’ve learned to respect it. What’s even better is that a handful of Psychic-Types can also learn Shadow Ball, meaning that they’re capable of inflicting major pain to their own kind. Handing Gengar Shadow Ball has served me quite well indeed.

9. Aerial Ace:

Staraptor Aerial Ace 580x326 The 10 Best Pokemon Moves Ever

Be prepared for the might of the quaff!

I like Flying-Type moves, particularly when given to some of my favorite Flying-Types like Pidgeot or Staraptor, and while Fly is usually my move of choice, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of Aerial Ace. It may only have a power rating of 60, but its accuracy is better than perfect. It will always hit, no matter how decreased your accuracy is or how high your opponent’s evasion has risen. This makes it incredibly critical when you absolutely have to end the battle with one last hit. The only times it won’t work is if your opponent is Flying, Digging, or Diving, but otherwise there’s no escaping. Plus, if you’ve got Staraptor, a Flying-Type, you get that STAB effect (that means Same-Type Attack Bonus and multiplies the attack by 1.5), and if you’re fighting a Fighting, Bug, or Grass-Type, it’s Super Effective and worth even more, making that 60 turn into 180. Not bad if you ask me.

8. Giga Drain:

Vileplume Giga Drain 580x393 The 10 Best Pokemon Moves Ever

"I require your life force!"

Seeing as how 17% of Pokemon have a Water-Type to them, it only makes sense to be prepared for them to show up in battle. And what better way to do that than with a move that also replenishes the health you may have lost? Let me then introduce Giga Drain for your ultimate use. A Grass-Type move, making it strong against Water, Rock, and Ground-Type Pokemon, it’s also pretty useful against any Pokemon you encounter, especially considering that STAB effect I mentioned earlier. So how strong is Giga Drain? Well, it was 60. Note that “was” there, as the 5th Generation just cranked it up to 75. Yup, a good move got even better. So let’s do the maths here: Snivy uses Giga Drain, adding the STAB to the 75, making it 122.5, then multiplied by 2 in the case of a Super effective, pushing it to 225, and if it happens to be a combination of Water/Ground (like Quagsire) or Rock/Ground (like Golem), that attack’s power hits 450. Considering you gain back half of what you dealt, knocking out a full-strength Pokemon is going to yield some series return. That’s strategy!

7. Thunderbolt:

Pikachu Thunderbolt 580x325 The 10 Best Pokemon Moves Ever

Buh-BOOM!

In the same token as Giga Drain up there, wouldn’t it behoove you to fight Water-Types on a consistent basis? And why not toss in Flying-Types, too, since they’re so plentiful as well. When considering a good Electric-Type move, it all comes down to power and reliability, and although I like the flashiness of Thunder, its accuracy is only 70%. That’s pitiful compared to Thunderbolt’s 100% accuracy rating. I’ve already shown the effect of STAB and Super Effective attacks working in tandem, so I’ll save you the number crunching, but suffice it to say, Thunderbolt’s power of 95 can get pretty high pretty quick. The only downside is that you can’t hit Ground-Type Pokemon, but hey, that’s why you’re supposed to balance your team and your moves for each situation. Plus, “aim for the horn!” You know what makes Thunderbolt, like most other Electric-Type moves even better? There’s a 10% chance that the attack will paralyze the enemy Pokemon. Hooray for status-inflicting moves!

6. Earthquake:

Torterra Earthquake 580x505 The 10 Best Pokemon Moves Ever

Careful Torterra! Those things are dangerous!

You want something with power, you go with Earthquake. A Ground-Type move, it deals double damage to Electric, Fire, Rock, Steel, and Poison-Type Pokemon. And it does so with a power of 100 and an accuracy of 100% (it even deals double damage to Pokemon using Dig, too). So where’s the downside? First off, it can’t hit Flying-Type Pokemon, or Pokemon with the Levitate ability. Sad but true. Or at least it would be sad if you couldn’t just try using Gravity as a combo with, oh, let’s say some hulking beast like Metagross. Suddenly Earthquake works on all types, including Flying-Types and all those pesky Levitating Pokemon. I’ve been able to clear entire teams with just Earthquake and my Nidoking or Rhydon. I only regret that I’ve downed my fellow teammates more times than I can count due to Earthquake hitting everyone on the battlefield during a 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 battle. But then again, sometimes there have to be casualties in the war of Pokemon, right?

5. Crunch:

Torterra Crunch 580x514 The 10 Best Pokemon Moves Ever

I'm not entirely sure what's happening here, but the sound effect has got to be "Crunch!"

Psychic-Types must be stopped. They must. The 1st Generation suffered greatly from the overly powerful Psychic-Types going unchecked from a lack of a decent offense as Bug-Type moves were the only thing that could achieve a Super Effective attack on Psychic-Types. Problem was, the only Bug-Type move that inflicted damage was Pin Missile, and it was pitifully weak. Consequent generations introduced stronger Bug-Type moves, made Psychic-Types weak to Ghost-Type moves, and introduced the Psychic-killer: Dark-Type Pokemon. Suddenly Psychic-Types cowered in fear, especially when it came to moves like Crunch, a move my Tyranitar used on more than enough Psychic-Types over the years to warrant a medal for heroism. Toss in a 20% chance of lowering an opponent’s defense and I’m a happy camper.

4. Double Team:

Poliwrath Double Team 580x378 The 10 Best Pokemon Moves Ever

Sort of like Shadow Clone Jutsu.

I’ll admit, I’ve never been big on strategies in the Pokemon series that consist of more than a single move knocking out my opponent with smart typing. I’m just not much for prolonging a fight when I can end it faster. Keep that in mind when I mention how devastating Double Team can be to most players’ sanity. This is due to Double Team cranking your Pokemon’s evasion stat way up with each use until after three or four uses, your opponent can hardly attack at all. It doesn’t matter if your opponent switches a Pokemon out to try and counter your Double Teaming as the stat remains on your active Pokemon. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve faced a computer character elongating my battles with a weaker Pokemon using Double Team over and over and over again until I’ve wasted all my PP from my standard moves, reducing my Pokemon to pitiful flails to inflict any damage. This move is the whole reason I became such a fan of Aerial Ace to begin with. It always feels good to be on the delivering end, but never on the receiving end of Double Team, which happens all too frequently. Thus is life.

3. Psychic:

Mewtwo Psychic 580x329 The 10 Best Pokemon Moves Ever

Oh Ash, you silly little kid, why do you even bother?

Remember how I said Psychic-Types must be stopped? The move Psychic is the main reason for that as it clears a room faster than most other attacks ever do. Psychic has a base power of 90, though since you’ll probably be using a Psychic-Type when firing Psychic, that STAB raises it to 135. Super Effective? That’d make it 270. And since Psychic-Types generally have incredibly high Special Attack stats, that one simple Psychic move is going to hurt bad. Oh, and to make matters worse, it has a 10% chance of lowering an opponent’s Special Defense, making it even stronger the next round, assuming it didn’t instantly faint the Pokemon on the first try. I placed this attack in the hands of Mewtwo, the Doombringer himself, and watched as not a single Pokemon could stand up to the insane thrashing that ensued. It was brutal to watch, and I was the one instructing it to happen. Psychic is a move I can’t stress enough. If you have a Psychic-Type Pokemon who doesn’t know Psychic after spending some quality time in your party, seriously, how did you get this far through the game?

2. Ice Beam:

Ducklett Ice Beam 580x327 The 10 Best Pokemon Moves Ever

Let it be known, ducks can easily take down dragons when the conditions are right.

So then, if we’re looking for a type that pops up now and again to really mess up everything you’ve been working towards, then we’re looking for the Dragon-Type Pokemon. Dragon-Types are only weak to two types: Dragon-Types and Ice-Types. Finding a Dragon-Type of your very own isn’t the easiest thing, and beyond that there are few Dragon-Type moves that can be taught through TM to everyone around. However, Ice-Type moves are an entirely different story, with Ice Beam breaking out of the crowd to stay near the top. It may not be as powerful as Blizzard with a power of 95 compared to Blizzard’s 120, but it has 100% accuracy, whereas Blizzard only has a 70% hit rate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed Blizzard to work in a desperate moment and had it fail on me. Unacceptable. Ice Beam, however, has managed to perform admirably, especially against the final Dragon-Type Masters in the Elite Four. Seeing as how the majority of super-powered Legendary Pokemon tend to have Dragon as a primary type, it only makes sense to defend against that with a move that’s sure to dominate. What makes things even better is that so many Pokemon can learn Ice Beam, and via a purchasable TM in the 4th Generation no less. Do yourself a favor and add this to a Water-Type Pokemon today.

1. Surf:

Golduck Surf The 10 Best Pokemon Moves Ever

Surf if good enough for Gary Mother Effing Oak. Isn't it good enough for you?

And speaking of Water-Type Pokemon, why not include the one move that I teach every Water-Type Pokemon that comes through my team? Surf is an HM in every single generation and acts as arguably the most valuable HM next to Fly since it allows you to traverse expanses of water like there’s no problem at all. In battle, however, it still acts as an extremely formidable move with a 100% hit percentage and a power rating of 95. Hyrdo Pump may be stronger with a power of 120, but its accuracy is, once again, only 70%. That just won’t cut it for me. Also, do you have any idea how many Pokemon can learn Surf? Beyond even the obvious Water-Type Pokemon, strange ones like Rhydon, a Rock/Ground-Type, or Pikachu, an Electric-Type (under the right circumstances of course), can learn Surf. Being able to counter your weaknesses by using a completely unexpected move is absolutely a wonderful feeling. When in doubt I use Surf. It has not disappointed me yet.

So there you go, my list of the 10 Best Pokemon Moves Ever. Did I leave out your favorites? I’m sure I did. I know I still left out some other great moves, like Close Combat (place that in the 11th slot), but which ones do you use consistently to get the job done? Leave a comment and let me know. In the meantime, I’ve got places to be and Pokemon to Surf.

Want more articles about Pokemon? Then check these out:

-My Pokemon Team Over The Years

-10 Pokemon You’d Rather Not Evolve

-My Top 10 Greatest Pokemon Related Achievements

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About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

14 Comments

  1. 1. Surf
    2. Earthquake
    3. Giga Drain
    4. Ice Beam
    5. Dragon Pulse
    6. Flamethrower
    7. Thunderbolt
    8. Foul Play
    9. Psychic
    10. Sacred Sword
    11. Fly
    12. Shadow Force
    13. Leaf Blade
    14. Shadow Ball
    15. Aerial Ace

    Moves that have high power, 100% accuracy, and do not reduce the user’s Pokemon’s HP and stats.

  2. hes got a point all of the moves included may not have been super powerful or cheep but none of them had anything bad they all had good percent chance of hitting none were moves that only are good against one type you are certainly a veteran at this game and i strongly recommend you make a top 10 best pokemon list please include aracainine,starmie, and no legendary pokemon it would be to easy and unhelpful.

  3. X-scissor is incredibly reliable on my scyther, and dig was my dugtrio’s best move in blue. But surf is agreeably the best move in the games. Well said, my friend. Also, flamethrower is the single best fire type move. But my blaziken cleans up using almost nothing but sky uppercut and blaze kick.

  4. here are some MORE practical moves (and strong ones too):
    Waterfall ; Flamethrower ; Air Slash ; Aura Sphere (+ Dark Pulse, and your Lucario will be tha CHAMP) and I totally agree on Earthquake. That move is hot shit that beats my team to the edge xD

  5. I always make it a sport to beat the elite four with pokemon between 30-40. With the right pokemon and the right moveset it is possible. If you have enough money to by hyper potions and revives for in between the battles.

  6. I am more of a strategic player. I like Toxic. Almost every pokemon can learn it. Use it with leech seed an just watch ur opponents get slowly killed. If you have rest or protect on the same pokemon it doesnt matter what type ur up, it gets killed, slowly.. (Gna Gna). Or a Kecleon with toxic and substitude. Works wonders!

  7. here is my top five list of moves:
    1.draco meteor
    2.frenzy plant,blast burn and hydro cannon
    3.overheat
    4.dragon claw
    5.fusion bolt and fusion flare

  8. meh, i only use surf, muddy water, waterfall, and earthquake or dive (that’s right, swampert is really the only thing i ever use) and i ocationaly teach surf to another pokemon so i can teach swampert blizzard, but only for the elite 4 (muddy water is quite a bit better than surf)

  9. I think you mean substitute not decoy
    Spore is better than Hypnosis beacause it always hits (but few pokemon learn it)
    And confusion?
    Confusion is the least powerful psychic move and does not always cause confusion. And a pokemon does not lose PP after being hurt by confusion
    How come flamethrower isnt there?
    On an unrelated matte, I have found a great combo
    Hydreigon with Dragon pulse, Dark pulse(bred on by arbok) Crunch and Hyper voice(good for double battles)with a nature that raises either attack or special attack holding a life orb. Great combo

  10. I like this list but i disagree on surf
    This is my top 10 list
    1 dragon claw, paired with any stat boosting move or even stab alone on a dragonite will 1hit or hurt so much will make any opponent force heal
    2 earthquake, wonderful move i have at least 2 pokemon every team i make
    3 ice beam, awesome utility that has a wide range of pokemon that can learn it, especially my favorite gengar
    4 hypnosis, underated move that wreaks havoc. most people forget about this move and if your pokemon has a high enough speed it gives you a free turn for leftovers to work and if they dont have status healers its a free kill
    5 stone edge, the more situational earthquake that works were earthquake doesnt
    6 flame thrower, good on dragons to deal with the annoying ice types
    7 decoy, works wonders with leftovers on a high speed pokemon, providing a constant meat shield
    8 confusion, the ultimate annoying move. if it works they hurt themselves wasting pp at the same time
    9 dragon dance, increasing damage and speed and coupled with a dragonite it makes any dragon type move 1hit ko
    10 whirlwind, combined with spikes/psn spikes/stealth rock it is one of the few strategic moves that i enjoy. it annoys the hell out of any one you use it on and since use this move on a wall like blissey it leaves room for other annoyers like toxic or thunder wave

  11. Awesome list. Every water pokemon i have (I always started with squirtle) had surf and ice beam as their main attacks. For me however, the combo hypnosis/dream eater is my favourite because first you incapacitate the opponent and then you suck away his life to heal yours. Plus, Dream eater has a power of 100 i think. I gave this to my gengar (my fave pokemon) and iwrecked so many people cause he somehow never missed hypnosis. Slash is a great one too as well as body-slam (this one i just think is cool, yet it does paralyze quite often).

  12. Because a lot of those moves have so few PP that they only really last through one battle before getting used up. Plus, each has an accuracy of only 90% and the three ultimate stater Pokemon moves (Blast Burn, Hydro Cannon, and Frenzy Plant), all require you to recharge during the next move. And to top that off, so few Pokemon can learn those moves. So that’d be why I didn’t include them.

  13. why didnt ya include the ultimate moves such as draco meteor, hydro cannon, blast burn or frenzy plant?

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