Ash Ketchum with Pikachu on his shoulders, holding two minimized Pokéballs

The Rarest Pokémon Ash Ketchum Ever Caught

Ash Ketchum has caught a lot of Pokémon. Whenever he traveled to a new region, he’d assemble a brand-new team, improving his skills as a Trainer and working towards becoming a Pokémon Champion and a Pokémon Master. Some of the Pokémon Ash caught were more noteworthy than others, however.

Recommended Videos

Ash’s Pokémon teams were quite predictable during the first few seasons of the Pokémon anime. Somehow, he’d end up with most of a region’s starter Pokémon, he’d catch the latest Route 1 Flying-type, find one other new, somewhat more surprising Pokémon he’d bond with during a side-quest, and they’d all join Ash’s trusty partner Pikachu while challenging Gyms and taking on the Pokémon League. Ash may have been adventurous, but his teams were anything but.

In the later seasons, though, something started to change. As Ash grew as a Trainer, his teams grew with him until he was catching rarer and stronger Pokémon, including Ultra Beasts, Mythical Pokémon, and other Pokémon with unique appearances and abilities. Now that Ash Ketchum is officially the Pokémon world’s strongest trainer, we thought we’d honor some of his rarest and most interesting Pokémon partners.

Lapras

Lapras, Ash and Pikachu in the Pokémon anime
(The Pokémon Company)

Though at first glance, Ash’s Lapras doesn’t seem like such a surprising catch, Lapras’ lore tells a different story. When Ash originally caught Lapras during the Orange Islands arc, the Lapras Pokémon species was on the brink of extinction. It was, quite frankly, a miracle that Ash found one Lapras, let alone an entire herd of them. Though Ash eventually released Lapras back into the wild, they did share a heartwarming reunion in Ash’s final run of episodes, Pokémon: To Be A Pokémon Master.

Gible

Ash Ketchum and Gible in the Pokémon anime
(The Pokémon Company)

Gible, like most Dragon-type Pokémon, is considered a pseudo-legendary Pokémon. Though this isn’t an officially recognized Pokémon classification, pseudo-legendary Pokémon are generally those with a three-stage evolutionary line and unusually high base stats. These Pokémon are more powerful than the average wild Pokémon, though they can still be caught in the final stretch of the Pokémon games. Ash’s Gible, a Dragon-type, was the first of Ash’s pseudo-legendary Pokémon.

Incidentally, it was also the catalyst for one of the Pokémon anime’s best recurring jokes—Gible’s Draco Meteor move always hit Dawn’s Piplup, no matter the circumstances.

Goodra

Goodra, Pikachu, and Ash Ketchum in the Pokémon anime
(The Pokémon Company)

Goodra was Ash’s second pseudo-legendary Pokémon and the first he trained to such an extent that it was able to fully evolve. Goomy (Goodra’s first evolutionary stage) is, like Gible, one of the rarer Pokémon in the Pokémon world. As part of Ash’s Kalos team in the XY anime, Goodra became one of Ash’s strongest Pokémon, helping him become runner-up in the Kalos League against one of Ash’s most formidable rivals, Alain.

Dragonite

Dragonite, Ash Ketchum, and Pikachu in the Pokémon anime
(The Pokémon Company)

During his final journey, Ash caught another Dragon-type pseudo-legendary: Dragonite. Throughout the Pokémon anime, Dragonite has been exceedingly rare—only a few other Trainers have been known to have one, including Ash’s friend and Unova Champion, Iris, and the Johto and Kanto Champion, Lance. Dragonite helped Ash win his World Champion title and is no doubt one of Ash’s strongest Pokémon.

Dracovish

Ash Ketchum and Dracovis in the Pokémon anime
(The Pokémon Company)

Dracovish is one of Ash’s most unique Pokémon. In the Pokémon Sword and Shield games, players can revive ancient and extinct Pokémon by combining two fossils to create one new Pokémon. This part of the game’s lore was used in the anime, as well, and Ash’s Dracovish was the result. As such, Dracovish is truly one-of-a-kind, and its surprising speed and jaw strength make it even more unusual.

Lycanroc

Ash Ketchum and Lycanroc in the Pokémon anime
(The Pokémon Company)

In the later seasons of the Pokémon anime, Ash developed a knack for finding rare and unusual Pokémon, and his Alolan Lycanroc was no exception. Though Ash’s original Rockruff seemed ordinary, it eventually evolved into Dusk Form Lycanroc—and Ash has the only Dusk Lycanroc in the entire anime. On top of that, Ash’s Lyncaroc also suffered from an unusual “berserker” state, which turned its eyes red and made it lose control. Thankfully, though, with Ash’s help, it eventually learned to embrace and utilize that part of its personality to become stronger. Ash knew what to do, of course—one of his previous Pokémon, Infernape, used to deal with a similar problem.

In the Pokémon games, Dusk Form Lycanroc is similarly tough to obtain. The Rockruff you catch needs to have a certain rare ability to evolve into the right form.

Greninja

Ash Ketchum and Ash Greninja in the Pokémon anime
(The Pokémon Company)

Though Ash traveled to the Kalos region in the XY anime, a region well-known for introducing the Mega Evolution battle gimmick, Ash never caught a Pokémon that was traditionally capable of Mega Evolution (at least, not until he caught and trained his Lucario in Pokémon Journeys). And yet, Ash’s bond with his Greninja was so strong that Greninja was able to evolve into a more powerful, altered version of itself during battle, just as other Pokémon who can Mega Evolve do—without the aid of a Greninja Mega Stone.

Greninja’s appearance shifted so that it matched Ash’s, and their auras connected, too. Lovingly dubbed Ash Greninja, this Greninja became one of Ash’s strongest Pokémon. Even though they later parted ways, as Greninja stayed behind in Kalos to protect the region, their bond never wavered, as proven when they were reunited just before Ash became World Champion.

Noctowl

Ash Ketchum and his shiny Noctowl in the Pokémon anime
(The Pokémon Company)

Though Ash certainly encountered quite a few shiny Pokémon during his journey, the only one he ever caught was Noctowl. Shiny Pokémon are rare in both the Pokémon anime and in the Pokémon games—when Ash caught his Noctowl, the shiny encounter rate in the games was roughly 1 in 8192—as they are Pokémon with a different coloration than is normal for their species. Regular Noctowl are different shades of brown. Ash’s, on the other hand, is gold, and it is also smaller than the average Noctowl.

Naganadel

Naganadel and Pikachu in the Pokémon anime
(The Pokémon Company)

In the Alola region, Ash and his friends encountered a rare type of Pokémon known as Ultra Beasts—Pokémon that come from a different dimension. Naganadel, previously known as Poipole, was one such Ultra Beast. As such, it is one of the rarest Pokémon in Alola and even in the wider Pokémon world. And yet, Ash still added it to his team, and it helped him win his first official title as Champion of Alola. Sadly, Ash eventually released Naganadel so that it could return to its own dimension.

Melmetal

Melmetal and Ash Ketchum in the Pokémon anime
(The Pokémon Company)

Though Ash never caught a proper Legendary Pokémon, he did, somehow, manage to catch and train a Mythical Pokémon. Mythical Pokémon are even rarer (and often more powerful) than Legendary Pokémon, so one being a member of Ash’s team was certainly quite the feat. Melmetal, much like Naganadel, became a trusted member of Ash’s Alolan team, leading him to victory in the first-ever Alola Pokémon League.

(featured image: The Pokémon Company)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article All ‘Zom 100’ English Dub Voice Actors
Promotional art for Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
Read Article We Might Find Someone Like Ayanokoji in ‘Classroom of the Elite’ Season 4
Ayanokoji Kiyotaka from Classroom of the Elite Season 3
Read Article Will Luffy Be Able To Settle the Score in ‘One Piece’ Episode 1101?
Money D. Luffy looks rich behind a pair of shades in One Piece Gold
Read Article These 10 ‘Dragon Ball Z’ Fusions Are Pure Fusationship Goals
Gotenks glows with power and flexes his muscles in "Dragon Ball Z"
Read Article Here’s the Lowdown on the Joestars, Anime’s Most Dysfunctional Family
Jojo from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure being a fasion icon
Related Content
Read Article All ‘Zom 100’ English Dub Voice Actors
Promotional art for Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
Read Article We Might Find Someone Like Ayanokoji in ‘Classroom of the Elite’ Season 4
Ayanokoji Kiyotaka from Classroom of the Elite Season 3
Read Article Will Luffy Be Able To Settle the Score in ‘One Piece’ Episode 1101?
Money D. Luffy looks rich behind a pair of shades in One Piece Gold
Read Article These 10 ‘Dragon Ball Z’ Fusions Are Pure Fusationship Goals
Gotenks glows with power and flexes his muscles in "Dragon Ball Z"
Read Article Here’s the Lowdown on the Joestars, Anime’s Most Dysfunctional Family
Jojo from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure being a fasion icon
Author
El Kuiper
El (she/her) is The Mary Sue's U.K. editor and has been working as a freelance writer for various entertainment websites for over two years, ever since she completed her Ph.D. in Creative Writing. El's primary focus is television and movie coverage for The Mary Sue, including British TV (she's seen every episode of Midsomer Murders ever made) and franchises like Marvel and Pokémon. As much as she enjoys analyzing other people's stories, her biggest dream is to one day publish an original fantasy novel of her own.