[Top 10] Villains From The Pokemon Universe (Ranked)

Pokemon UltraSun and UltraMoon's Team Rainbow Rocket
Team Rainbow Rocket after some castle renovations

A mafia boss, an angry pirate who wants to drown the world, and a narcissist who thinks only he deserves to live. Despite its child-friendly exterior, these are all examples of villains in the Pokemon universe. But with so many across all the mainline games, spinoffs, and other materials, who stands out as the best? Which were proper menacing forces and which were so dumb you had to love them? Let’s dive into the world of Pokemon and find out.


10. Archie and Maxie (Ruby and Sapphire, Emerald, OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire, UltraSun and UltraMoon)

Archie and Maxie in their angry pirate and super nerd glory

While not really that dangerous and they do realize their mistakes, these two had to be here. They’re just too much fun. They share the spot due to being largely the same character with the same goal, more or less fancy palette swaps for each other. 

Archie and Maxie are the leaders of Team Aqua and Magma, with the goal to get the wrong colored orb so they can awaken and anger an ancient Pokemon. That…. is the extent of their motivations. Of course they didn’t intend to anger said Pokemon but “point at red orb and blue Pokemon” … they’re not the brightest bunch. (this is remedied in the remakes though)

Further proof of their ignorance? They somehow didn’t consider that Kyogre and Groudon, ancient Pokemon famous for being destructive, would be dangerous to return to life! It literally takes them until the world is plunged into endless rain or heat to realize they made a mistake. But…

They do change. Witnessing the results of their actions, they repent and even help seal the Pokemon back away. Following this, Team Aqua/Magma is disbanded, and the former leaders return the orbs and become regular Pokemon Trainers. Considering their prior actions, this is unexpected character development and arguably makes them the best people of the mainline villains. 

It is worth noting this development doesn’t extend to the admins of the Teams. Each team has two named admins, and while one in each seemingly repents along with their leader, the other does not and continues to cause trouble. This even extends to them trying to fulfill their leader's failed dream in the remakes, before being defeated and vanishing to parts unknown. 

Come the remakes, gone were the rather generic-looking sprites that just seemed like more angry versions of the grunts. Now we had a pirate who Mega Evolved his Pokemon with an anchor around his neck and a super nerd who did the same with what has to be crazily expensive glasses.  Combined with their consistent hammy personalities, this served to make these two even more amazing. 

Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire - Team Aqua & Magma Leader Battle Music (HQ)

It would be a crime to not mention the music in Pokemon, and Archie/Maxie’s theme does not disappoint. While the original version is solid, I do prefer the remake for its extra elements, such as moments when you can hear eerie noises in the background.

Interestingly, portraits in the Sinnoh prequel Legends Arceus greatly resemble Maxie and Archie, suggesting they hail from that region originally. In addition, an NPC saying they used to be on the same team shows they were likely once friends. Perhaps one got too big an ego, or it could have something to do with Archie having met the Mythical Jirachi as a child.

Before moving on, Team Rainbow Rocket of the opening image is worth briefly addressing. This is a team in the Ultra games composed of victorious alternate-dimension versions of the previous games’ evil teams. 

For Archie and Maxie, this means they came from a world of expanded seas and increased land respectively. Their usage of the ancient Pokemon on their teams when you battle them only further shows how thoroughly they won. And yet, there is still a glimmer of repentance in these two as they are last seen holding each other off. Not what one would expect from people who realized their life’s dreams. 


9. Lance (Adventures, notably Yellow arc with brief appearances after)

Lance with a dangerous expression: thinking

Lance the Dragon Tamer, strongest of the Kanto Elite Four, and all of Kanto before Blue and Red topple him. So what is he doing on a villain's list? Well…..

The Adventures version of his character is a very different story. He still leads the Elite Four, but here it's not a respected group that leads the region. It's an evil team in its own right that even the Gym Leaders and Team Rocket have trouble with, despite often having a major numbers advantage. 

Lance is complicated as a villain, hailing from the Viridian Forest like one of the heroes, Yellow. Because of this, he can talk to and heal Pokemon much like she can. Unlike her, he uses this power to brainwash Dragon-type Pokemon, as well as Pokemon similar to dragons (explaining his using the likes of Aerodactyl and Tyranitar). 

Perhaps not surprisingly given what he does to Dragons, Lance’s goal is not a pleasant one for most. He and the Elite Four aim to exterminate humanity, leaving only those they deem “kind to Pokemon”. Which would be hard to even do for anyone who couldn’t literally talk to Pokemon. 

Lance and Yellow both possess the same ability to talk to Pokemon but use it in very different ways. Yellow isn’t much of a fighter and doesn’t like seeing her Pokemon get hurt, often getting annoyed at Red for how often he makes his Pokemon fight. Lance, despite hearing his Pokemon in the same way, makes them fight and cause mass destruction, believing it will lead to a world where they are happier. 

This confidence isn’t unfounded, as he is able to hold off Blaine and Mewtwo (a long story that involves a psychic bond) with little difficulty. In fact, the sheer skill and power of his team put his game counterpart to shame. He even has a Lugia at one point, on the principle of it being “dragon-like”.

Speaking of Lugia, it was Lance’s end goal: to use Lugia to wipe out the human race. However, during the climactic battle with Yellow and Giovanni (featuring the best Beedrill outside of Rusty), he loses control of Lugia, something that has never happened to him. And instead of being angry or annoyed, he… becomes fascinated by the mystery and leaves in peace.

This is the end of Lance’s main role in the series, but he doesn’t vanish. He is seen investigating Lugia, eventually finding its owner and tying up that plotline. And interestingly, he helps Silver, the son of Team Rocket’s Giovanni. 

His last appearance is in the HeartGold and SoulSilver arc, where he works alongside other villains Giovanni and Pryce. This arc is a bit hard to explain fully without going into those characters’ arcs, but in short, Lance helps the heroes by defeating Palkia with his Dragonite. It ends with Giovanni having Lance and Pryce, as his former teachers, train his son Silver.

And with that, Adventures Lance is never seen again. To be fair, neither are a lot of the characters from the earlier series as it takes a different direction from Gen 5 onward. But as his last outing, did he go out on a villainous note?

From my perspective, shockingly no. What started as an interesting but ultimately evil character changed into what could rightfully be considered an antihero. He is nowhere near the heroic type of Red and Yellow, but seeing as after his main arc he was largely a teacher before stopping a Legendary Pokemon, he definitely changed. 

This is further supported by Clair’s brief mention of him. The Blackthorn Gym Leader retains being Lance's cousin from the games, and during a scene confirms she is in contact with him during his missing period in the Johto arc. And with Clair being a good character, maybe this Lance will become a hero after all.


8. Colress (Black and White 2, Sun and Moon, UltraSun and UltraMoon)

Colress plotting how his hair can be styled like that

Colress is rather hard to classify, but given his first appearance had him working for the villainous Team Plasma, it feels right to consider him at best an antihero as of his latest appearance. But going back to the start, he was a scientist working for Team Plasma to research the true strength of Pokemon. A bit vague to be sure, but it gave him a delightfully mysterious presence.

Throughout much of Black and White 2, Colress is defined by two things. One, he uses machines of his invention a lot, such as when he uses the so-called Colress Machine to remove the sleeping Crustle. This machine can be acquired later on and is used for the same purpose by the player, despite not much being known about it, which is concerning to say the least.

The second thing is how he doesn’t agree with much of Team Plasma’s goals. They want to liberate Pokemon from people, he simply seeks power. This apparent inconsistency seems very off and plants the first seeds of doubt about his true intentions.

Jumping forward to the final battle with him before taking down Team Plasma, Colress blocks the way to the leader Ghetsis, more out of duty than respect. And here, well, I feel the original words tell it best.

“Colress: Welcome! I was asked by an acquaintance to help with his research. What I desire is to bring out the entirety of Pokemon potential! If I can accomplish that, I don’t care what it takes! If it means this strength must be brought out by the interactions between Pokemon and Trainers, then so be it! If it means you have to use a merciless approach, like Team Plasma’s, and force out all of the Pokemon’s power, then so be it! And yes, if the entire world is destroyed as a result, then so be it….” (Pokemon Black and White 2, Colress Plasma Frigate scene) 

After this is more or less repetition before the battle starts, but this section is striking. He starts simply, merely commenting on normal Trainer and Pokemon interactions. Next is Team Plasma’s “merciless approach”, not shocking he puts it that way after his previous attitude towards them. But ending with the world being destroyed is quite a jump, although it is notable he is not as enthusiastic about that one, suggesting he doesn’t truly want to go that far. 

Pokémon B2/W2 - Colress Battle Music (HQ)

Colress’ battle theme is rather as odd as he is, sounding very alien in many parts. This is quite fitting of his outsider role in Team Plasma and his team, which unsurprisingly contains the alien-like Beheeyem and Magnezone, which could be described as UFO-like. 

This is almost the last we see of Colress in the Unova games. He does appear on the same Plasma Frigate in the postgame, where he can be rebattled and even gives the player a Master Ball. In addition, if the player has access to the Genesect event, he will briefly appear in that, illustrating his connection there as well.

Colress appears in all the Alola games following this, but as his role in UltraSun and UltraMoon is the same as Sun and Moon but expanded, the latter will be ignored here. In these games, he has matured, believing a Pokemon’s true power comes from a strong bond with its Trainer. As such, he is looking into the power of Mega Evolution and Z-moves, both mechanics that draw upon said bond.

In addition, he is credited with the creation of the items used to fuse Alola’s Legends with Necrozma, drawing on his experience using the DNA Splicers (which he did not make). It is his last appearances in these games that are most noteworthy, however.

In the Rainbow Rocket arc, it is Colress who returns the bosses of the team to their home worlds after the player defeats them. We don’t know it is him until Ghetsis of Team Plasma is defeated. At this point he appears, declaring that he opposes Ghetsis’ goals because he always hates Ghetsis, and sends him home with, of course, another Colress Machine. 

This is followed by Colress restoring things to normal completely, but let’s go back to that Ghetsis line to wrap things up. Colress, despite being second in command of Team Plasma behind Ghetsis, has always hated him. We may not know exactly where this strange man is now or what he’ll try next, but we can be certain it will be hard to predict. 


7. Mewtwo (Mewtwo Strikes Back)

Mewtwo planning world domination.... or maybe he wants a hug, not sure

Of course Mewtwo had to be here. Several versions of this Legendary cat have shown villainous traits over the years, but here I’m referring to one in particular:

Mewtwo Strikes Back - Theme

I will admit to being far behind on the anime due to there being so much of it, but I’m willing to bet this first movie is still one of the best. And that’s largely due to moments like Ash turning to stone, brought up by, of course, its villain in Mewtwo.

Mewtwo, as most Pokemon fans likely know, is the failed clone of Mew that became too powerful and killed the scientists who created it. The movie follows this more or less, just with Giovanni of Team Rocket showing up to offer help afterward. Mewtwo proceeds to work for them for a short time, but as Giovanni’s true intentions come out, Mewtwo leaves in anger to a remote island.

This island, dubbed New Island or the Pokemon Palace, is where the bulk of the story takes place. A number of the anime’s characters are led to the island by a hologram invitation given by a Dragonite. Many of them arrive at the island after a while, having to brave a sudden storm to get there. Mew is seen arriving soon after as well.

The characters are soon greeted by Mewtwo, who is revealed to be the one who invited them. Perhaps brought on by the cruelty of the scientists who made him, Mewtwo views humans as cruel enslavers of Pokemon. He similarly condemns Pokemon for choosing to work with humans. 

Mewtwo’s clones are soon revealed, greatly resembling the original Pokemon but with strange markings. Mewtwo challenges the Trainers to have their Pokemon fight their clones, and it isn’t even close. The originals are promptly captured in special “Mewtwo Balls”, with the Trainers running in panic.

The originals are released not long after by Ash and Team Rocket, leading to a showdown between Mewtwo and his clone army and the original Pokemon. Mew soon arrives and attempts to reason with Mewtwo but is unsuccessful due to Mewtwo’s anger.

The fight goes on for a while until Ash runs between Mew and Mewtwo in an attempt to get them to stop fighting… only to be turned to stone. Cue Pikachu crying to return its best friend to life somehow.

This causes Mewtwo to have a sudden change of heart, declaring the originals have value too despite not being as powerful. He leaves with the clones, but not before sending the characters back with no memory of what happened. Which is…. admittedly kind of dumb. They learned a lesson but immediately forgot about it.

Mewtwo is alive and well in the anime after this, doing his best to avoid humans. While his efforts in sealing off his location through storms can cause some damage, it is no longer malicious. He merely has become a hermit who sometimes travels, preferring solitude to the company of humans or Pokemon. And considering where he started off, that’s not terrible progress.


6. Nobunaga (Conquest)

Only in Pokemon can Nobunaga Oda form a bond with an epic black dragon

I’ll just start by dropping this ominous theme right here….

Nobunaga Event | Pokémon Conquest Extended OST

That song should tell you well what kind of person Nobunaga is for those unfamiliar. Nobunaga is based on the historical Japanese warlord Nobunaga Oda, inspired by the version in Koei Tecmo’s Samurai Warriors series. This may seem odd until you realize that everyone in Pokemon Conquest is pulled straight from those games in one of the strangest collaborations ever. 

Nobunaga in Conquest is much like his real-life/Samurai Warriors counterpart. He is the strongest warlord in all of Ransei (the region the game takes place in, which looks suspiciously like Arceus), and aims to conquer the land. Fairly standard fare and Nobunaga’s seemingly villainous demeanor does nothing to convince you otherwise. 

In what you would assume is the final confrontation, Nobunaga challenges you with his partner Zekrom. The hero of course defeats him, and he leaves with few complaints. This is the last we see of him until the final story of the game is reached.

Now, the lore of the region needs to be addressed briefly. Ransei being shaped like Arceus is no coincidence, for it is stated that Arceus itself will appear to the one who unites the land. Prior to the events of the game, this never happens, but when the player character does, they are greeted by Arceus just as the legend states, with it becoming their partner Pokemon.

Shortly after this, Nobunaga appears again, this time accompanied by a shiny black Rayquaza. Here we learn his true reasons for being so aggressive in his efforts to conquer the region: he hated the fighting and seeing Pokemon treated as tools. And so he sought to conquer the land through force so people would stop constantly fighting over the chance to meet Arceus. 

Following this defeat, it is not shocking he gives up willingly. He wanted to bring peace to the land himself, but seeing as the player has done so, he feels no need to fight you any further. He simply leaves and likely retires in peace.

Much like his historical/Samurai Warriors counterpart, Nobunaga is a fascinating character. On the surface, he appears nothing more than a cruel warmonger. But on closer inspection, he is a compassionate ruler who desires the best for his people. He merely is willing to go to extremes few would consider to achieve that.


5. Giovanni (Red and Blue, Yellow, FireRed and LeafGreen, HeartGold and SoulSilver, Black and White 2, UltraSun and UltraMoon, Let’s Go Pikachu! And Let’s Go Eevee!, Adventures, anime)

Even Giovanni knows gang leaders and cats go perfect together

The original villain of Pokemon, Giovanni has been around for a long time. The leader of Team Rocket, calling Giovanni a mafia boss would be fairly accurate. While this makes his goals seem quaint in comparison to some other villains on this list, he did it so well that he’s memorable despite this.

Giovanni has a sizable role in three regions in the series, more than any other villain. The Kanto games see him as the leader of Team Rocket and Viridian City Gym Leader. This double life was seen as quite a shock at the time, despite being somewhat predictable as the mysterious Gym Leader had to be someone we had seen previously or there would have been no point in hiding it. 

Giovanni’s actions as leader of Team Rocket are, while cruel, are not comparable to the higher-ranked villains on this list. Stealing Pokemon, killing Pokemon here and there, some mutilation. It's not pretty, but it's also kind of grounded compared to the insanity the remaining four villains are capable of. The mind control is pretty nasty though.

Giovanni vanishes from Kanto after you beat him as Gym Leader, vowing to either study Pokemon or bring back Team Rocket, depending on the version of Kanto. While he does not appear in the Johto games (aside from one bit), he is still heavily part of it due to Team Rocket’s goals there. Now led by Archer, their primary goal: take over a radio tower to broadcast to Giovanni they’re back.

And in a special event, through the aid of Celebi, the player can find him when he hears this message and defeat him. Through this event (and Adventures due to game censorship), we find out that Silver, the arrogant rival from the Johto games, is Giovanni’s son.  This makes Silver’s  hatred of Team Rocket make a lot more sense.

Giovanni’s final notable appearance is in UltraSun and UltraMoon (after a cameo in Black and White 2). Here we see an alternate version of him as the leader of Team Rainbow Rocket, taking over Alola’s Aether Paradise and turning it into a villainous castle. There is a bit to mention in this version, but firstly…

Pokémon UltraSun & UltraMoon - Rocket Boss Giovanni Battle Music (HQ)

He finally has a theme properly his own. Well it is a remix of the old Team Rocket theme, it is notably different and feels like him. Strange it took this long for the original villain of Pokemon to get his own theme.

But this Giovanni won. He took over his world and captured Mewtwo, even having its Mega Stone. He formed an army of villainous team leaders and aims to use the Ultra Beasts in Alola to conquer everything. He even plans to make Aether’s Lusamine, a villain in her own right, into his servant. This Giovanni means business. 

Through the power of plot armor though, he is easily defeated and sent by Colress like the others. Ominously though, he hasn’t given up and is still plotting when he’s teleported away. For the members of Rainbow Rocket are just sent off, we have no idea what becomes of them. Definitely a scary thought.

Briefly mentioning his other appearances, Giovanni is a recurring force in the anime but rarely is directly involved himself, delegating that duty to Jessie and James. In Adventures, he has Lt. Surge, Sabrina, and Koga working for him, and evolves into somewhat of an antihero as he stops other villains. But as his own schemes never stop, he is definitely still a villain.

But as for mainline Giovanni? The last we see of him is that short cameo in Black and White 2 as a foreign Gym Leader. He has a mysterious air about him, dressed in a black traveling coat. He seems every inch the businessman but is no longer Team Rocket. What he is remains a mystery. 


4. Cyrus (Diamond and Pearl, Platinum, UltraSun and UltraMoon, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl)

Cyrus staring angrily at a distant cloud

Sinnoh’s nihilistic leader of Team Galactic marks the shift from somewhat redeemable villains to true monsters. We get a fair bit of his backstory through his family in Sunyshore City. He was intelligent and asocial, preferring to be with machines over living beings. This led to him not living up to his parent’s expectations and the beginning of him feeling rejected.

 Cyrus became convinced that emotions were the source of the world’s conflict, and sought to remove them to create his perfect world, ruled by him. As the leader of Team Galactic, he sought to achieve this by harnessing the power of Dialga and/or Palkia to undo the current world and make his own. As you would expect, the player stops him and he claims revenge before disappearing. In most of the Sinnoh games, this is the end of him, just vaguely vanishing. Except…

Platinum takes things a bit further with the addition of the Distortion World. Here, Dialga and Palkia are both present and are joined by a third shadowy force in Giratina. The player, Cyrus, and the Champion Cynthia are dragged to this world, where the final battle with Cyrus takes place. After it, you and Cynthia leave. Cyrus never does and as far as we know, is still trapped in this bizarre dimension with Giratina with no way out. Wish granted?

Battle! Team Galactic Boss Cyrus (In-Game Version) - Pokémon Diamond, Pearl & Platinum Soundtrack

Cyrus’ theme feels quite fitting, having elements of space to represent Team Galactic’s motto. But there are some otherworldly aspects there too to match what happens to him. And it's not a bad accompaniment to the Giratina theme that features right after him. One thing of note here is Cyrus is the first main series evil team leader to have his own unique battle theme.

Cyrus’ role in the Rainbow Rocket arc is a bit unusual. He won in his world like all the others and challenges the player with either Dialga or Palkia. However, upon his defeat and realizing the strength of spirit in this world, he willingly returns to his own “perfect world”. For someone so obsessed with his idea of perfection, this victorious version simply leaving is very odd.

So as it stands, Cyrus is either MIA, trapped in an alternate dimension, or ruler of a likely dead world. In two out of three, it could be said he got his wish….. And on that cheery note, let’s move on.


3. Volo (Legend Arceus)

Volo managing to look intimidating with roughly 1% of his eyes visible 

From one insane Sinnoh madman to another, give or take a few hundred years. Volo is the apparent ancestor of Sinnoh Champion Cynthia, and for much of the game, he feels like a good but mysterious character. Notably, this Hisuian merchant (Hisui is the ancient name for Sinnoh) is the first person you battle in the game.

Throughout the game, he makes recurring appearances. He offers advice, helps the character at points in their quest, and fulfills his duty as a merchant. Unless you have a deep-seated distrust of merchants, he does nothing to make you suspect him until the seemingly main threat of the game is dealt with.

Once the player has defeated Primal Dialga/Palkia, Volo asks them to help him find the missing Plates. With only one left, he is convinced Giratina holds it, and is searching for this “banished one”. Following a bit of a rant, he leads the player to the Temple of Sinnoh, certain that Giratina will appear there.

… And reveals he was behind practically everything that happened in the game. He contacted Giratina, causing it to rip open space-time. This enraged the Noble Pokemon you had been dealing with throughout the game and was what led to you being sent back in time to Hisui in the first place. He did all this hoping to meet Arceus so he could use it to recreate the world. Just when you thought Cyrus was nuts. 

Pokemon Legends Arceus - Volo's Theme

And then this masterpiece drops when you battle him. Longtime fans will easily recognize this as a remix of Cynthia’s theme, his clear descendant. But while she was a heroic Champion who fought alongside the player and had a softer theme to match, his is darker. It has ominous notes to match his insanity and fits him to a tee. This a perfect example of how one song can have two very different versions.

After the honestly difficult battle, Volo is…. not done at all. Giratina comes to his aid and must be defeated twice, once for each form. This makes for one of the hardest battles in the series as a 6v8, with two of them being Legendaries and the rest being no slouches either. It is a true test of skill and a satisfying conclusion to the game. 

Volo’s defeat enrages him as he yells at Giratina and Arceus, asking if the world doesn’t need to be remade. As he hands the player the final Plate, they acquire the Azure Flute used to summon Arceus, and he rages again. He refuses to watch and leaves, but not before vowing to return someday to realize his dream.

And this is the last we see of him. The region’s professor reportedly had an encounter with him after this, where Volo said Giratina had a change of heart. But aside from that, nothing. This psycho is seemingly still out there somewhere, and while this setting is hundreds of years before the events of the main games, this is a world with time travel. Volo could easily appear again.


2. Mr. Verich/Greevil (XD: Gale of Darkness)

Greevil after making sure his teeth were whitened properly

This funny little bald man is one of the most despicable villains in all of Pokemon. The true head of Cipher (he was away during the events of the predecessor Colosseum), he was instrumental in the creation of an army of Shadow Pokemon. And Cipher, well…. they make the other evil teams look friendly with their levels of violence. 

I could easily go in-depth on every member of Cipher as they are all wonderfully memorable characters, but for now, let’s merely focus on Greevil and slightly his bodyguards Ardos and Eldes (shoutout to the dancing king Mirror B. though). 

Early in the game, the player meets a friendly old man named Mr. Verich, accompanied by his red and blue bodyguards. He is popular in the port town you meet him in and even has one of his bodyguards defeat a thug bothering the player. So far, he seems nothing more than a kindly philanthropist. 

Later, when the player wipes out a major Cipher base, Greevil appears on a TV screen as himself and taunts you with the location of his “impossible to reach” lair. It is on an active volcano, on an island surrounded by extremely rough waters. Clearly this man has never seen an action movie.

Now it merits mentioning just how dangerous Cipher is in these games. Through XD and Colosseum, we see them attacking people, controlling entire cities, and giving the Orre region’s limited police force a very hard time. These are hardened criminals, and while the previous game had you as an older former criminal yourself, here in XD you’re merely a child like in any other Pokemon game. This probably isn’t something a child should be dealing with, but apparently, it's the norm in Pokemon.

The final battle of the game is against Greevil, whose team is composed entirely of the Shadow Pokemon he created. Seven in total, with a fight against XD-001 Shadow Lugia before the others. His team also includes the trio of Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, making him no joke, especially with Shadow moves being strong against all non-Shadow Pokemon. Due to the level scaling in the game, it's not a terribly hard fight, but it definitely looks intimidating.

Battle! (Grand Master Greevil)*EXTENDED*[Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness]

And the music very much sells that. The Orre games have excellent soundtracks in general, and this moment is no different. Epic, quiet, adventurous, and ominous, Greevil’s theme tells you he is not someone to be trifled with. 

With his team defeated and/or captured, as the core mechanic of the Orre games is capturing Shadow Pokemon, Greevil seems to suffer a mental breakdown. He sought to use his army of Pokemon with hearts closed to human kindness to conquer the region, and he failed. It is here that it is revealed that his bodyguards were his sons, with Ardos telling him to blow up the island and Eldes to turn himself in. Eventually, he listens to Eldes and leaves.

All told, Greevil was an awful person who only gave in at the very end when he had no choice, and only at the urging of his son. He used his credibility as Mr. Verich to build trust, and his position as Greevil to gain power. Both ended up failing, but it was close. Only one other villain stands above him.


1. Ghetsis (Black and White, Black and White 2, UltraSun and UltraMoon)

Ghetsis about to commit unspeakable acts of terror.... while looking quite fashionable

Who else could top this list really? Some villains are content to conquer the world, reshape it as they see fit, and have an army at their bidding. Definitely evil, but Ghetsis? He makes it personal. 

Ghetsis makes very few physical appearances in both games, but what we got definitely counts. Prior to the ending confrontation, he is seen twice giving a speech. The purpose of these speeches is to inform the people of Unova of Team Plasma’s goal to liberate Pokemon from people, acting as benevolent peacekeepers who are doing this for the good of Pokemon. And then there is N….

N is introduced as the king of Team Plasma and is later revealed to be Ghetsis’s son. He is, much like Lance and Yellow in Adventures, able to talk to Pokemon, and through this is the perfect mouthpiece for Plasma’s goal of liberating Pokemon. If he tells people their Pokemon are unhappy, most have a hard time arguing with them.

Except it wasn’t that simple. Ghetsis found N as a child, orphaned in the forest with only Pokemon for company. So he took him in, raised him as his own… and fed him lies. N was surrounded by people who mistrusted their Pokemon, making him think all Pokemon were similarly mistreated. And Ghetsis, the man he looked up to as a father? He manipulated this boy who his caretaker described as “N’s heart is pure and innocent”. It was all too easy for Ghetsis to trick him.

In Black and White’s climax, after the player defeats N and the Legendary he had summoned, Ghetsis snaps. He reveals that all along, Team Plasma planned to liberate Pokemon so that only he had Pokemon and could conquer Unova with ease. In short, another would be conqueror, but he had a much more foolproof plan. If N wasn’t defeated, he likely would have won.

Pokémon Black & White - Ghetsis Battle Music (HQ)

Ghetsis’ theme is excellent, much like Gen 5 music in general. Ominous and foreboding, it perfectly fits the master manipulator that is Ghetsis. 

Ghetsis is defeated and led away by the player’s companion Cheren and the Champion Alder, who N had previously defeated in a show of power. He isn’t seen again in these games, but the Shadow Triad, loyal members of the team, inform the player he has lost everything and is on the run. However….

Black and White 2 see his return late in the games, built as a surprise due to Colress, Zinzolin, and the aforementioned Shadow Triad seemingly leading the new Team Plasma. Upon Colress’ defeat, Ghetsis is disgusted with him for not properly leading Team Plasma and dismisses him. 

Soon the player catches up with Ghetsis, who announces his plans to use the Legendary Kyurem to freeze all of Unova. And in a moment I still remember vividly, commands Kyurem to attack the player. Straight-up attempted murder, no disguising that. The only reason you survive is N arriving with brilliant timing. 

Unsurprisingly, Ghetsis has little use for N now that N has shown he no longer respects him and proceeds to verbally abuse him. During this rant, he fuses Kyurem with Reshiram/Zekrom, creating Black/White Kyurem. This leads to a battle with the Legendary and then Ghetsis himself, and one of the harder ones in the series at that.

As Ghetsis is defeated again, N attempts to be compassionate. Ghetsis however is having none of it and goes even more insane, with the Shadow Triad taking him away. Later, they inform the player he has lost the will to conquer Unova and is no longer a threat, implying he turned himself in. 

Returning to Rainbow Rocket one last time, Ghetsis is the true mastermind of the team. Having won in his world, he reasons he was brought to this one to rule over all of existence. He views Giovanni as a pawn, in the process calling N “a freak without a human heart”. Eventually, the player defeats this Ghetsis and…

He refuses to accept defeat and kidnaps Lillie, a major character from the Alola games. His ensuing ultimatum leads to nothing though as Colress chooses this moment to appear, much to Ghetsis’ rage. Ghetsis can’t understand why Colress is opposing him even though they're not even from the same world. Colress responds by saying he simply hates all Ghetsis and sends him away. This Ghetsis is a madman, but he’s another world’s problem now.

One interesting thing about Ghetsis is the oddities concerning his right side. In many of his appearances, his right arm isn’t seen, and when it is it looks different than his left. Furthermore, his right eye is often hidden behind a mask of sorts, and in the animations, the right side of his mouth is rather stiff. This is never elaborated on, but it adds up to suggest an injury or nervous system issue of some kind. 

So Ghetsis of the main timeline is no longer a threat if the Shadow Triad is to be believed. But given they are villains who worked closely with him, and the actions of his Rainbow Rocket version, this doesn’t seem likely. This man was a manipulator without equal in his world after all. And if he does come back, keep a close eye on your Pokemon.  


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Gamer Since: 2002
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D, Deathloop, Final Fantasy IV, God of War (2018)
Top 3 Favorite Games:Mass Effect 2, Assassins Creed Syndicate, Mark of the Ninja

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