The 10 Best Pokémon In Yellow: Hands Down

A screenshot from Pokemon: Let's Go, Eevee!

The 10 Best Pokémon In Yellow: Hands Down

Picking the top Pokémon for your team is always a hard choice, whether you are playing a first-gen game like Pokémon Yellow or a Yellow remake like Pokémon Let’s Go! Some Pokémon are simply better choices because of their stats. Others look awesome, which makes them very popular team picks. And others have excellent moves or great evolutions.

So, how do you pick? You get a guide from the experts! If you’re rounding up the best Pokémon for battles and triumph in Pokémon Yellow or similar versions of the game, we’re here to help. Start with these Pokémon and your course is set.


If you want the roughest, toughest, electrocuting-est flying Pokémon around, then make it a goal to capture Zapdos. This legendary Pokémon has a short but powerful list of moves to quickly take down foes. It also paralyzes, creates high defense against special attacks, and increases its own speed.

However, getting Zapdos can prove challenging, and access to it only opens up later in the game. You’ll need to make your way to Ceurlean City, use your ability to surf, and circle around the Pokémon Center there to discover a somewhat-hidden entrance to the Power Plant. Make your way through the Power Plant maze, and at the end you will find Zapdos waiting for you. Always save your game before encounters like these! You usually only get one shot at capturing Pokémon like Zapdos before they disappear for good.


Pokemon X Gengar

This nasty little ghost is a real powerhouse. Ghost types have some great innate benefits in general, being largely immune to both physical and normal attacks, which can negate some nasty moves. This Pokémon in particular has great health and speed, with a focus on special attacks that can quickly mess up an opponent.

The bread-and-butter of a Gengar is Night Shade, a highly reliable, damaging attack that ignores the opponent’s type completely. But when you want to play with your food, you can inflict paralysis, confusion, and sleep. Sleep in particular is dangerous around a Gengar because of Dream Eater, which absorbs HP.

To get a powerful Gengar on your team, you’ll have to capture a Haunter or a Gastly and work on evolving it. But there’s a small issue: Gastly will evolve on its own by leveling, but a Haunter won’t. You can only evolve into the final Gengar form by trading with another player (in the original version of the game). If you’re playing one of the remakes, you may still be able to do this. Otherwise, look for a ROM that includes a workaround. If nothing else, the unevolved forms can still pack a punch just fine on their own.


Tauros may be a normal type, but that doesn’t mean weak or boring. If your team has a Tauros, you’ll have a reliable powerhouse on your side to count on when you need it most. The Pokémon comes with excellent stats including lots of HP and defense to weather attacks, but adds on high speed to help it turn the tables.

Tauros’ innate move set is far from complicated, with basic attacks made to do damage or lower the defense of tough enemies. But Tauros, like many Pokémon, benefits greatly from teaching moves via Technical Machines or other methods. It can learn a wide variety of attacks to fill in holes in your team, including more powerful normal attacks and ice/electric attacks. It also benefits from tricks like Bide to redirect absorbed damage, which works very well with high HP.

You can only find Tauros in the Safari Zone, so be prepared to spend some time searching there if you really want one.


Bladed Scyther illustration from Pokemon Yellow
Let Scyther flay your opponents.

This flying bug is particularly dangerous in a skilled player’s hands. At first, it may not seem like much, a bug type that doesn’t learn bug moves, but don’t miss how powerful it can be. In many ways, it’s the opposite of Tauros, an extra-speedy Pokémon that attacks fast and makes itself hard to hit.

When you rely on Scyther’s speed with Quick Attacks, its Agility boost, and a quick prep Swords Dance, it will start dealing incredible amounts of damage. We wish that this Pokémon had an evolutionary path in Yellow, but that’s a small price to pay for its capabilities. If your team needs speedy damage in a fight, it’s hard to do better.

You can find Scyther in the Safari Zone with a little patience. Or, if you have enough cash, you’ll be able to buy one at the Celadon City Casino. Note that while Scyther has evolved forms in other games, it doesn’t in Yellow.


Don’t sleep on this dual-type Pokémon with abilities that can handle all kinds of situations with its water and psychic abilities. This is one Pokémon that benefits greatly from taught moves. On its own, it only has a couple of attacks. But you can quickly customize as you level, teaching it a wide variety of water, ice, psychic, electric, and other moves to round out your team. This is the perfect pick for those who want to customize a Pokémon from the ground up as they play.

To get Starmie, you’ll need to capture a Staryu. You can find this Pokémon in many places, typically around water and spots where you can fish. When ready, you can teach it moves then give it a water stone to evolve in Starmie.


Illustration of Cloyster for Pokemon.
Defensive and useful, Cloyster is an awesome addition to your team.

If you need a water and ice champ on your team, look no further than Cloyster. As its appearance and description indicate, Cloyster has massive defenses. When it’s learned enough moves as Shellder, it can start putting up tons of damage, too. Clamp is a particularly useful attack with Cloyster to lock opponents down and then inflict them with status attacks or high-powered hits. Alternate defense and attacks and Cloyster will become one of the most powerful duelers on your team, especially once you customize it.

Speaking of customizing, Cloyster has to start as a Shellder, which you’ll want to level up considerably to get a strong move set before evolving. Catch a Shellder by fishing or exploration, especially around Route 17 and Route 18. Use a water stone to evolve when you’re ready.  


Playing a Charizard in Pokemon Let's Go.
Charimander evolves into one of the most powerful options for your team.

Good old Charzy is quite a powerhouse in Yellow once you evolve it, and that’s true of all versions of the game…but it may be most true in remakes that allow for Mega Evolutions. With a high-level Charizard on your team, you can take on nearly any challenge. A favorite tactic is power leveling until the Pokémon learns Fire Spin to bind an enemy in place, then attack with Rage or a fire attack over and over. It’s easy to learn, very effective, and feels awesome.

We also suggest teaching Charizard the Hidden Machine Fly technique: It can only learn this move in the Yellow version of the game for the first release, and it’s a very powerful ability (that also increases world access). Yellow is also interesting in that you don’t get a starter pick that can evolve into Charizard on your own. Instead, you’ll need to find a Charmander and eventually evolve it into Charmeleon before it reaches Charizard capabilities. Find Charmander by talking to a man on Route 24 to get one for free after beating Cerelean city trainers.


Don’t make the mistake of thinking this goofball isn’t worth your time. Snorlax has an infuriating combination of moves, and you want them all on your side of the battle. Once leveled up enough, this normal type Pokémon gains the ability to increase defenses and Rest to regain its HP. Combine that with its incredibly high HP, and Snorlax becomes a tank that can weather tough attacks. On its own, it can return fire with Hyper Beam and other abilities given enough time, but don’t hesitate to teach it additional moves that benefit from HP recovery, power-up times, and similar approaches.

Snorlax isn’t always easy to catch. Watch for one sleeping along Route 12 and Route 16. You can use the Flute to wake them up and quickly catch them before they restore their HP.


It’s a dragon, it flies, and in the newest remakes of the game you can even ride it — what’s not to love? Well, one thing not everyone loves is how hard it is to find this evolved Pokémon and capture it. Fortunately, there’s a simpler way. Capture a Dratini and patiently level it up: You can buy one at the Celadon City Casino, or start fishing in the Safari Zone to capture one.

Evolving the little guy to its final form is important because Dragonite comes with a serious stat boost that will make it hard to beat. Its innate techniques are fine as it levels, but we suggest adding some other attacks to increase usefulness. A wide variety of Technical Machines work with Dragonite including many different types, making it an incredibly versatile fighter in the right hands.  


If you don’t already have a psychic Pokémon on your team, you should really get one in Yellow. The most powerful is probably Mewtwo, but we’re skipping it for this list because it’s difficult to get and only available in the endgame. A friendlier option for a longer playthrough is Alakazam, the teleporting fox with a bag of tricks.

Alakazam specializes in confusing and disabling, protecting against physical damage, and restoring its own HP. It’s a powerful mix that benefits from the Pokémon’s strong stats and a few taught moves to mix things up, especially other psychic techniques to hurt and disable enemies.

There’s one caveat that makes Alakazam difficult for certain players to get. For the final evolution, you’ll need to trade with another player in the game. If you’re playing the original on an emulator, that’s not really possible unless you use glitches or other cheats. It may be easier in remade versions of the game, but it’s still not guaranteed. Fortunately, if all else fails, Kadabra is still a strong pick for your team.

FAQs for the Best Pokémon for Pokémon Yellow

We bet you still have a few lingering questions about picking Pokémon in Yellow. Let’s go over them.

What’s the Difference Between Pokémon Yellow and Other First Generation Games?

Yellow was released later than other games like Red, Blue, and Green, so it’s common for players to get a little confused by the differences. We’ll try to break it down as clearly as we can here:

  • Yellow is a version of the first-generation games released later on. It was specifically designed to tie in more closely with the Pokémon animated show, which had then become very popular. That led to several changes, such as the player being forced to start with a Pikachu rather than getting a choice of Pokémon.
  • Gym leaders around the land were also updated with new Pokémon that matched the Pokémon that they had in the show.
  • Some trainer and Pokémon sprites were updated with a bit more detail.
  • A surfing mini-game was added!
  • Certain Pokémon got very minor changes.
  • Pokémon availability was updated, so Yellow gets some of Blue’s Pokémon and some of Red’s Pokémon. On the other hand, there are some Blue and Red Pokémon it doesn’t get at all, like Jynx.

Despite the differences in Pokémon availability, in most cases our list of the best picks works for any version of the first-generation games, thanks to their similarities. While you may want to double-check if a certain Pokémon is still available in other “colors” of the game, our list is still a great starting place.

Do These Tips Work for Remakes like Pokémon Let’s Go, Too?

In most cases, yes. Pokémon Yellow has seen a couple of different kinds of remakes. That includes the fan-created Pokémon Classic, which remains a popular pick for emulators. It can also include the official Switch games, Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu! and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee!. However, those Switch games also included a lot of differences, like a complete graphical overhaul and a new, motion-based capturing minigame.

Despite all these changes, our list is still a strong starting place for putting together a team of powerful Pokémon. Some differences remain, but you’ll still benefit from this roster. However, you may want to double-check the best places and ways to capture these Pokémon, since that may have changed. Fortunately, in many cases general locations and even map layouts remain the same.

One of the biggest differences is that in remakes, Pokémon moves have been significantly expanded. Your Pokémon may have a lot more move options than we talk about in this specific list, although details are usually similar.

How Do I Evolve Pokémon in Yellow?

You may have noticed that a lot of picks are evolved versions of other Pokémon you can find. There are several ways to get these Pokémon in the game.

First, you can simply find them. The higher the level of a zone in the versions of Yellow, the more likely that you can find an evolved Pokémon. However, some evolved Pokémon are very rare, so this method takes a lot of patience. You can increase your odds of finding rare Pokémon in Pokémon Let’s Go by capturing the same species multiple times in a row. This increases your Catch Combo, which yields excellent results when looking for evolved, shiny, or powerful Pokémon.

Or you can start with a non-evolved version and work your way into evolution. The games provide a couple of ways of doing this that varies by Pokémon, so you may want to look up individual Pokémon to see what works. Sometimes, Pokémon will evolve as they level up, especially their first evolution. Sometimes, you’ll need to find a special stone to give them so they level up, especially to their final forms. And for certain Pokémon, you’ll have to complete a trade with others to enable their evolution — which works only on the newer versions of Yellow where people are still playing.

Do I Need a Pokémon of Every Type in Yellow?

Not really: There’s not really room on your team for every type, even if you try doubling up as much as possible. However, you should try to strike a balance. A variety of Pokémon types is important so that you’re ready to fight opponents with various immunities, weaknesses, and strengths. The more diverse your team, the more ready you’ll be for any situation. We tried to include a broad variety of Pokémon types on our list to help out a bit with this, but ultimately it’s your choice.

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