Photo: Pokémon Sword and Shield / Game Freak

All The Main Pokémon Villains, Ranked By How Downright Nefarious They Are (Or Aren't)

Over 600 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of All The Main Pokémon Villains, Ranked By How Downright Nefarious They Are (Or Aren't)

It wouldn't be a good Pokémon game without a memorable villain (or 15). Everyone remembers their favorite starters or favorite legendary Pokémon from each title, but the games' antagonists don't always get the same amount of attention. Even those of us who despise the villains have to admit, playing Pokémon just wouldn't be the same without them. From the plucky young thieves to the evil corporate overlords, we've seen it all through the years, and yet each iteration feels unique.

Throughout all the villainous teams, some trainers have been worse than others. Giovanni, for instance, is a ruthless crime lord who seeks power above anything else, while Ghetsis proclaims he's working to liberate all the Pokémon once and for all. 

Not every villain in the franchise is created equal, but there are plenty who stand out among the rest. That's why we've created a list ranking the biggest, baddest villains of the Pokémon series, so now you have a definitive answer on who really is the evilest of all. Check out all the most nefarious Pokemon villain team leaders, and vote up all your favorite baddies.

Photo: Pokémon Sword and Shield / Game Freak

  • 1
    429 VOTES


    First AppearancePokémon Red and Blue

    Affiliation: Team Rocket

    Giovanni is not only the main antagonist of Pokémon Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow, but he is also arguably one of the main antagonists of the entire Pokémon franchise, as he is the leader of Team Rocket and Team Rainbow Rocket. Originally from the Kanto region, Giovanni can be found all over the world in various encounters in both the games and the anime.

    Cruel and power-hungry, Giovanni will do anything to grow his power, wealth, and influence, making him one of the most fearsome Pokémon antagonists ever to grace our screens.

    429 votes
  • 2
    364 VOTES


    First AppearancePokémon Diamond and Pearl

    Affiliation: Team Galactic

    Cyrus is the main antagonist of Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum,and is the leader of Team Galactic, the antagonistic group of the region Sinnoh. In typical villain fashion, Cyrus is incredibly stoic, as he believes showing any sort of emotion is a sign of weakness.

    He also tries to control the Legendary Pokémon, Dialga, and Palkia, so as to destroy the universe as we know it and create a new one in his own image. As far as motivations go, the stakes don't get much higher than that.

    364 votes
  • 3
    376 VOTES


    First Appearance: Pokémon Black and White

    Affiliation: Team Plasma

    Operating under the guise of wanting to free Pokémon from their "slavery," Ghetsis has a more selfish, evil goal in mind. He serves as the main antagonist of Pokémon Black and Pokémon White and is from the Unova region.

    While it seems that Ghetsis has a noble, yet misguided cause, in reality, he wants everyone else to give up their Pokémon so that he can take over the world and destroy Unova unopposed. He also has an adopted son named N, who he attempts to use in his scheme to take all Pokémon away from their trainers.

    376 votes
  • 4
    306 VOTES


    First AppearancePokémon Ruby and Sapphire

    Affiliation: Team Aqua

    Archie is the main antagonist of Pokémon Sapphire and one of the antagonists of Pokémon Emerald, the leader of Team Aqua, and is from the Hoenn region. A pirate who rivals the leader of the opposing Team Magma, Archie is hellbent on expanding the ocean to have a larger domain for water-type Pokémon, and is willing to destroy the land to do so.

    He also plans to release the Kyogre, a Legendary Pokémon that is a manifestation of the sea itself. This just goes to show that Archie is entirely absorbed in his own selfish ambitions, and has no regard for how this might affect others.

    306 votes
  • 5
    328 VOTES


    First AppearancePokémon X and Y

    Affiliation: Team Flare

    While Lysandre's motivations look as though they could be well-meaning from first glance, they reveal themselves to have more sinister origins. The main antagonist of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, Lysandre cares for his Pokemon and his team members, and appreciates the beauty of the world around him.

    However, he plans to eliminate all humans and Pokémon that aren't a part of Team Flare so as to protect them, as well as to preserve the world's resources. We can admit we love a good anti-hero, but Lysander might just take it a step too far.

    328 votes
  • 6
    282 VOTES


    First AppearancePokémon Ruby and Sapphire

    Affiliation: Team Magma

    Leader of Team Magma and rival to Archie, Maxie is the main antagonist of Pokémon Ruby and one of the antagonists of Pokémon Emerald. Also coming from the region of Hoenn, he plans to expand the world's landmass so as to rule over a larger domain on the earth. He also plans to awaken a ground-type Legendary Pokémon called Groudon, which he could use for his own selfish motivations.

    A bit more put together than his pirate rival, Maxie is a crime boss who is cruel and cunning. Just don't let the polished exterior fool you.

    282 votes