Top 15 Best Middle Evolution Pokémon (Ranked)

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One of the most exciting moments of any Pokémon campaign is getting to see your trusted allies evolve.

We get to see this a lot because most Pokémon are part of 3-stage evolutionary lines.

But while we remember the first form and the final form, that middle spot seems to be forgotten.

So this list is for all of those Pokémon who got to go through an awkward teenage phase and wore it beautifully.

Some are on here because of their design. Others are here because they’re just that good competitively.

Either way, these are the best middle evolution Pokémon out there.

Note: I am not including any Pokémon that received an evolution in a later generation. Apologies to fans of Rhydon, Porygon2, and Magneton.


15. Swadloon

Swadloon Pokemon in the anime

Most people don’t think about the Leavanny line much – and I don’t blame them.

Sewaddle is another forgettable caterpillar, and Leavanny itself is a mediocre praying mantis-type Pokémon.

Better looking than Kricketune, but not quite Scyther.

But then there’s Swadloon and it’s easily amongst my favorite Bug Pokémon.

It’s called Swadloon because it is literally swaddled in a cocoon. And with its little frown, Swadloon looks like an angsty teen wrapped up in its hoodie.

Because of this, I think Swadloon is the perfect place to start with this list.


14. Dewott

Dewott Pokemon anime screenshot

When I first played Pokemon Black, I chose Oshawott because I thought it was easily the cutest of the three starters.

Then I saw Dewott and got excited for what the final form would be!

Unfortunately, I was greeted by Samurott.

Now I don’t think Samurott is a bad Pokémon. I just think it’s bad for this evolution line.

Dewott looked so cool!

The way it stands and holds its arms makes it look like it could unsheathe its shell at any time, like a samurai sword.

Dewott looked like it could turn into a cool warrior, but instead we got a big sea lion with a ton of facial hair.

I will never be happy with Samurott. However, I will always love Dewott and the potential that it showed.


13. Grovyle

Grovyle from Pokemon anime

Another final evolution that disappointed me was Sceptile, albeit not as much as Samurott.

Treeko was a small gecko and Sceptile is a big gecko.

But Grovyle just has so much more personality!

All of its sprites look like they’re in the middle of attacking – which is made even more intense with that intimidating glare in its eyes.

The leaf blades on its arms are perfection, and the long leaf off the top of its head is so cool. All of these design choices just scream “speed”!

All of this is lost with Sceptile always standing tall with its big Christmas tree tail hanging on the ground.

And even though the mega evolution does look better, I still think Grovyle is the best looking of the entire evolution line.


12. Quilava

Quilava Pokemon in the anime

Cyndaquil is a cute Fire starter that shoots flames out of its back whenever it uses a Fire-type move.

Typhlosion does the same thing, but has a mane out of its neck.

However, Quilava is the one who nails this look perfectly.

Quilava has two spots where fire erupts from its skin.

The first is its butt.

Weird, but who can’t relate to that?

The second spot is its head. And it comes out as a freaking mohawk.

That’s right, Quilava has a literal mohawk made out of fire. You couldn’t think of something cooler if you tried.

We would get more punk rock looking Pokémon in Sword and Shield, but I’ll never forget that Quilava was the first Pokémon to rock a hairstyle that really shook the establishment.


11. Galarian Mr. Mime

Galarian Mr. Mime in Pokémon SWSH

I have to admit, this is an odd choice.

But what can I say?

The first moment I saw this thing tap dancing its way towards me on Route 10 in Sword and Shield, I couldn’t help but smile.

Not only that, but Galarian Mr. Mime is also pretty good in battle!

If you give it an Eviolite to hold, its Defense and Special Defense will be boosted higher than that of its evolution Mr. Rime, bringing them to a 98 and 125 respectively.

It’s also faster than Mr. Rime, with only 10 less Special Attack.

Combine this with Rapid Spin and the Ability Screen Cleaner and you have a decent support Pokémon.

Well done, Galar! You made Mr. Mime likable again!


10. Wartortle

Wartortle from Pokemon anime

Wartortle is an interesting choice for me, because I actually don’t like its design very much.

It just looks like an angrier Squirtle with fluffy ears and a tail.

However, Wartortle more than makes up for this with its capabilities in battle.

Wartortle can serve two roles quite effectively:

It’s an awesome sweeper with Shell Smash, Hydro Pump, and Ice Beam. But it can be an even better utility Pokémon with moves like Rapid Spin, Toxic, Scald, and Flip Turn.

This is once again because of Eviolite, which boosts both of Wartortle’s defensive stats to 120.

Essentially, Wartortle is just another example of what Eviolite can do. Just give that to any Pokémon you like that isn’t fully evolved and watch it become an unbreakable wall.


9. Bayleef

Bayleef Pokemon in the anime

Bayleef is another example of a Pokémon that gets 120 in both defensive stats with an Eviolite.

However, this doesn’t help Bayleef, as the entire Chikorita line is terrible in battle.

But dang, doesn’t Bayleef look great!

This is easily my favorite middle evolution starter when it comes to design.

The combination of the vine collar, adorable face, and cool leaf on its head make for a Pokémon that’s equally cute and cool.

Bayleef may not be the most useful Pokémon. But it easily gets the most style points in this entire list.


8. Vigoroth

Vigoroth from Pokemon anime

While I have always had a soft spot for Slakoth and Slaking, I have to admit that the Truant ability ruins them for battles.

Not being able to attack every other turn is a huge handicap, and makes competitive play almost impossible.

Fortunately, their middle evolution Vigoroth doesn’t have this issue!

Instead, you get a decent physical attacker with good Speed and awesome defensive stats when equipped with an Eviolite.

All of this is great, especially in-game.

Imagine the sheer joy you’d feel after training a Slakoth all the way to level 18 in Ruby or Sapphire.

It serves as the perfect break before you get to the massive strength (and massive frustration) of using Slaking.


7. Charjabug

Charjabug Pokemon anime screenshot

On the opposite end of the cute and cool scale is Charjabug.

It’s a huge caterpillar-type creature that looks like a 9-Volt battery.

While neither of these are usually appealing, I think that Charjabug looks great.

And surprisingly, it’s also useful in battle!

Here we have another case of Eviolite making a Pokémon awesome. This time, it raises Charjabug’s Special Defense to 113 and its Defense all the way to 138!

This makes it the bulkiest Sticky Web user next to Shuckle.

Combine this with Toxic, Thunder Wave, and Skitter Smack, and you have an incredible support Pokémon.

Seriously, I dare you to use one of these against an opponent just so you can beat them with a literal battery.


6. Braixen

Braixen from Pokemon anime

Braixen has always had a fun design.

It’s super cute and gives off a fun witchy feel.

I also like how it keeps its stick in its tail like a witch’s magic wand. Braixen just has a great design concept that I wish got improved when it evolved.

But what makes Braixen really stand out is its viability in Pokken Tournament, the Pokémon fighting game.

Using Braixen there is a ton of fun – especially since it has the ability to fight up close or from a distance.

As far as I can tell, this is the only middle evolution that’s featured as a lone character in a side game.

And for that reason alone, it deserves a spot on this list.


5. Gurdurr

Gurdurr Pokemon in the anime

Gurdurr looks goofy as all get out with the fluffy hair, clown nose, and pink veins all over its arms.

But you may also notice the giant steel beam that it carries with it.

This is the perfect symbol for how strong this thing can be.

Gurdurr may have been created as a counterpart to Machoke, but it’s better in just about every way.

It’s just a little bit stronger and a little bit bulkier.

This gives it even more time to hit you with that awesome 105 attack stat.

Combine that with Guts and Flame Orb and you have a physical beast on your hands.

Also, it can learn Defog.

While I can’t tell you why, I can tell you that extra utility is never a bad thing.


4. Kadabra

Kadabra from Pokemon anime

Through every version of the first generation of Pokémon, Alakazam has remained the best Psychic-type.

The bad news is you can only get it via trade evolution with Kadabra.

The good news is you cannot interact with anyone and have the second best Psychic-type Pokémon in the game.

Kadabra is really just that good.

Its 120 Special Attack and 105 Speed are nothing to scoff at. Plus, you can give it a Life Orb so that it can deal even more damage without hurting itself due to its Magic Guard ability.

Yes, Kadabra is not nearly as good as Alakazam.

But it’s still much better than a majority of the Psychic Pokémon in the game, even today.

Either way, you won’t be disappointed.


3. Haunter

Haunter Pokemon in the anime

Gengar is easily one of the most popular Pokémon of all time.

It has a cool, spooky design, and it is incredibly powerful.

But for some reason, I have always thought that Haunter just looked better.

First of all, it looks way scarier. It’s a giant head with floating hands and its tongue sticking out! That’s creepy as hell.

Second, it’s actually bigger than Gengar, “standing” at 5’ 3″, even though it’s just a head with floating hands.

Third, it was the main character in my favorite episode of the original cartoon.

Haunter actually made me less afraid of death! How many Pokémon have done that?

Finally, it’s also just as useful for a playthrough as its evolved form – without all the hassle of trading with a friend.

I’ll always love Haunter, and I’ll never understand why it wasn’t the final form.


2. Duosion

Duosion from Pokemon anime

Now for the entry that surprised me the most on this list.

The Solosis line often gets looked past because it’s not the Abra line, and they’re weird amoeba people.

But if players sleep on these Pokémon, they’re going to miss out on some of the best Psychic-types in the game.

This is especially true for Duosion.

Even though it’s supposed to be weaker than its evolution Reuniclus, Duosion has the exact same Special Attack at a whopping 125.

That’s huge for a middle stage Pokémon!

And if you give it an Eviolite, its defenses will be even higher than Reuniclus.

Combine this with the moves Acid Armor, Calm Mind, Stored Power, and Recover, and you’ll have a Pokémon that is never going to die!

Also, it’s freaking adorable.

If you ever have a chance to use any of these Pokémon, I highly recommend it.


1. Doublade

Doublade Pokemon in the anime

I feel like Doublade always gets left in the shadow of Aegislash.

Aegislash has a cool design and a unique gimmick that’s incredibly good.

But do you know who also is incredibly good and has a cool design? Doublade.

Doublade has an awesome 110 Attack stat and an incredible 150 Defense. And Eviolite makes it even better, raising it all the way up to 225.

That’s higher than Stakataka.

Plus, its Ghost/Steel-typing allows it to hit all Pokémon for neutral damage.

Give it a fighting move like Sacred Sword or Close Combat and you’re hitting half the Pokedex super effectively.

I always knew that Doublade was going to be #1 on this list, because it isn’t just a good middle evolution.

It’s a great Pokémon in its own right.

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Jeremy Hanna

Jeremy Hanna is what happens when you put all of your points into constitution and charisma. An improviser and writer for The Completionist, Jeremy loves Pokémon, LEGO's, Wrestling, and Golden Girls. Follow him on Twitter and say hi! @JeremyHanna753