Pokémon Diamond and Pearl debuted on the Nintendo DS fourteen years ago, introducing all-new gameplay changes like the split between physical and special moves, updates to the game’s UI, and a plethora of other quality-of-life features.
Of course, with every new generation of Pokémon, it is the addition to the Pokédex as a whole is the most exciting part. Generation IV introduced 107 new pocket monsters for players to catch, and some of these were really exceptional in terms of their designs and their individual battle prowess.
Here are the top ten best Pokémon from Generation IV in no particular order:
Water starters up to this point had always been like second bananas to the cooler and more badass Fire starters. Feraligatr came close, but couldn’t cut it against the likes of Charizard, Typhlosion, and Blaziken. Empoleon was the first Water starter that really took the top spot as the coolest starter.
From its trident-shaped horns and sword-like fins, Empoleon truly embodied a regal and powerful look. In battle, this penguin is no slouch either. Empoleon’s unique typing of water and steel makes it has very little weaknesses and has access to a wide range of moves.
This black and blue lion-like Pokémon was definitely one of the most popular Pokémon of the generation, with every trainer definitely having one on their team. This is due to Luxray’s pre-evolution, Shinx, being abundant in the early routes of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.
Luxray’s status as an early Electric-type with high speed makes it a solid choice in any team compositions, and its cool design also makes it a favourite amongst fans. Luxray was also a standout in the Pokémon X and Y anime, as one of Ash’s companions, Clemont, owned one in his team.
Every region of Pokémon has their signature Flying type, typically based on real-world birds. From Pidgeys to Wingulls, these Pokémon have all served the role of being one of the first Pokémon to join a player’s team as well as the one to be taught the HM Fly. While previous regional birds have been alright, the Staraptor line definitely gave the archetype an edge.
With its pointy, red-tipped mohawk, Staraptor definitely gives off a mean vibe, looking like a punk that could fly. Its Normal and Flying type combination may be somewhat common, it did give players enough move variations to last the entire game. Staraptor also gave way to other cool regional birds in other generations, like Talonflame and the recent Corviknight.
This Dragon and Ground type pseudo-legendary may have took a while to level up, but it was definitely worth it to get a bipedal shark with scythes for arms. Garchomp was so cool that it was even the signature Pokémon of Sinnoh’s Pokémon League Champion, Cynthia.
Its unique purple colour scheme also stands out, and truly makes this ferocious dragon distinct among its other pseudo-legendary Pokémon. Garchomp’s status as a complete beast was taken to the next level as it was given a Mega Evolution in Generation VI, which made it look even more formidable than before.
An oddball choice, but definitely a welcomed one, Drifblim is the blimp-like evolution of Drifloon, also known as the Pokémon who whisks children away to the afterlife. Befitting the dark and grim Pokémon entry is the fact that the Drifblim line are Ghost and Flying types.
Maybe it is the spooky origins or the fact that it looks like a possessed zeppelin, but there really is just something about Drifblim that stands out. It also helps that in battle, it has access to a plethora of useful moves, like Thunder, Will-O-Wisp, and Shadow Ball, truly making Drifblim an all-around useful Pokémon.
The unofficial poster child for Generation IV of Pokémon, Lucario’s Anubis-inspired design made for a striking impression, with some people thinking it looks more like a Digimon than Pokémon. Nonetheless, Lucario was a must-have on any Generation IV team. Its dual typing of Fighting and Steel made Lucario resilient and was also able to dish out a lot of damage too.
Lucario was also featured in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and has been a playable fighter in the series ever since. Its use of aura-based attacks drew many comparisons to Dragon Ball Z’s Son Goku, especially since his Final Smash has him firing a massive beam like the Kamehameha and the fact that it was voiced by Goku’s English voice actor, Sean Schemmel.
It was about time that the Pokémon franchise received their own version of the Yeti, and Abomasnow was a real nice fit into the world of electric mice and purple rats. Abomasnow may look like a raggedy, Grinch-like snow monster, but it definitely one of the most unique designs in the franchise.
Combined with its unique typing of Ice and grass, Abomasnow proved to be an effective tank in one’s Pokémon team, being able to pack a punch and freeze enemies in their place. Though one major weakness Abomasnow has is to Fire, which can easily cause it to wither away. At least it received an even more fearsome Mega Evolution in Generation VI that made it even tankier than usual.
Gardevoir was already an amazing Pokémon, a graceful knight-like creature with amazing psychic abilities. That said, the team at the Pokémon Company probably thought the design was probably too feminine, hence why in the next generation, they thought it was appropriate to introduce a more masculine version with Gallade.
If Gardevoir was made to look graceful, Gallade was made to look flashy, with its design evoking the look of gladiators or tokusatsu heroes Kamen Rider and Ultraman. Its unique typing of Psychic and Fighting also honed in on this flashy aspect, giving access to powerful moves like Psycho Cut and Close Combat.
If Gengar left its prankish nature and embraced the darkness, you probably will get Darkrai, the Pitch-Black Pokémon. Its shadowy nature, emphasised by its red and white appendages truly made Darkrai the stuff of nightmares. Most Pokémon up to this point inspired awe and wonder, with Ghost types usually leaning to more Halloween-like spookiness and Darkrai being the only one to be actually scary.
As a Mystical Pokémon, Darkrai was definitely formidable in battle, with its pure Dark typing and Bad Dreams ability giving a bad time to opponents. That said, it was definitely tough to get a Darkrai officially in Generation IV since the item to get him was given away at certain real-world events for a limited time only.
If Darkrai was Freddy Kruger, than Giratina is the actual devil. Serving as the evil master of the Distortion World, Giratina was the foil to Dialga and Palkia’s space and time shenanigans. This renegade Pokémon was also the first Ghost and Dragon hybrid Pokémon, and its signature move, Shadow Force let Giratina disappear and reappear at will.
Giratina was so popular that it became the mascot Pokémon for the third game in the generation, Pokémon Platinum, which also introduced Giratina’s Origin Forme that made it look even more frightening. This also sparked the trend of Legendary Pokémon and certain regular Pokémon to have more than one form in generations to come.