The upcoming releases of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are poised to continue the much-needed revolution to the mainline video games started by Legends: Arceus and helped bring the tally of new species to a staggering 900+. Throughout the games since their 1996 inception, Dragon-Type Pokémon species have always been seen as near-legendary — though several are officially categorized as such too.
Unsurprisingly, they’re also some of the strongest to use in battle, Legendary/Mythical or not. Some of the most popular Dragons are also the colloquial “Pseudo-Legendary” species of their respective regions. Still, there are plenty of other creatures that have earned their popularity through character design and combat prowess.
Kommo-o, from Pokémon Sun and Moon‘s Alola region, is perhaps one of the most inventive Dragon-Type species in the franchise. Even before getting into its aesthetic design, the dual Dragon/Fighting-Type is still wholly unique to it — unless Scarlet and Violet change that with its new roster.
The Pseudo-Legendary of the Alola region, Kommo-o makes great use of its dual typing to be a formidable Physical threat with a versatile movepool available to it. On top of its wildly and well-executed creative combination of pangolins, dragons, dinosaurs, and more, Kommo-o is an interesting Pokémon on all fronts.
Often confused for a Pseudo-Legendary Pokémon, Flygon might be one of the most underrated species both in its native Hoenn region and the series overall. By being a Dragon-Type before they started becoming more prevalent, it’s a competent battler almost by default.
Flygon’s stats are impressively well-rounded, with a 100 in both Attack and Speed, with 80 in everything else. Being a dual Ground/Dragon-Type is another interesting combination for Physical attacks — aside from that glaring weakness to Ice. And in terms of design, it takes a delightfully fun and creative spin on the “dragonfly,” serving a gentler counterpart to its fellow Hoenn-native Salamence.
Opposite of the elegantly conventional European dragon-like Reshiram is the dual Electric/Dragon-Type Zekrom. When it comes to design, it’s a striking combination of dragons from European folklore with imposing dinosaur-like features to complement the yin and yang dynamic with Reshiram’s lighter appearance.
On the battlefield, Zekrom is also opposite Reshiram by honing in on its dauntingly high Physical Attack stat. And like other Legendary Pokémon, its incredibly high stat total is to be expected.
Introduced in the Galar region of Sword and Shield, Dragapult is another Dragon-Type species where developer Game Freak flexed its creative muscles. While this dual-type combination has been seen before with Giratina in Diamond and Pearl, until the 8th generation, it was the only Pokémon with both Dragon and Ghost-Type traits.
Galar’s resident Pseudo-Legendary, the Dragon/Ghost-Type Dragapult is a fun aesthetically memorable mix of real-world amphibians, high-speed aircraft, and perhaps even crossbows with its comically inventive characteristic of using Dreepy as projectile weapons. It’s no slouch in combat either, with its blistering Speed and both of its offenses making it a great mixed attacker.
Haxorus is a surprisingly accessible species to get in-game by catching an Axew. A pure Dragon-Type Pokémon, which isn’t particularly common, Haxorus holds its own in battle despite being second in the region to the dual Dark/Dragon-Type Pseudo-Legendary Hydreigon.
It has all-around sturdy Physical Attack and Defense stats to get the most out of attacks like Dragon Claw and Outrage. Haxorus’ design is also intriguing by forgoing conventional dragon design qualities, instead seemingly taking inspiration from prehistoric, tusked synapsids to go with its cave-dwelling and tunneling characteristics.
The fifth-generation Unova games are now often regarded as some of the best mainline Pokémon games, and they also had arguably one of the best-designed flagship Legendaries. The Dragon/Fire-Type Reshiram is the flagship Legendary of White and, despite dragons commonly being associated with fire, it’s one of the few Pokémon of its dual typing.
Being a Legendary creature, its power is shocking to no one, having fantastic all-around stats. In terms of design, its elegant and wispy style is reminiscent of western dragon folklore, as well as a great contrast to the dark, sleek design of Zekrom in Black.
While the generation VII games of Alola continued to show the mainline Pokémon games’ aging features — until Legends — Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon contained one of the franchise’s most engaging boss fights. Ultra Necrozma is the Dragon/Psychic-Type fusion of it, Solgaleo, and Lunala, culminating in a memorable challenge.
Its design seems to take stunning inspiration from astronomical elements like giant stars. Ultra Necrozma’s celestial appearance lends itself well to the concept, and that dual-typing combined with its Legendary status makes it a powerful presence in battle.
Mega Charizard X
Though it’s admittedly oversaturated in the franchise overall, Charizard is an understandable fan-favorite and one of the most recognizable Pokémon. Charizard is a good example of a simple yet effective design. Though, despite its clear dragon anatomy, the original version is a Fire/Flying Dual-Type.
Once generation six came around with the Mega Evolution mechanic, one of those stones changed it into the Fire/Dragon-Type Mega Charizard X. It’s a great, darker take on the creature design-wise with blue flames to complement the new color scheme. And, as expected, it’s an incredible Physical Attack powerhouse in battle.
Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald were a big jumping-on point for many veteran Pokémon fans. They were memorable pieces of the franchise’s golden years on the Game Boy Advance, and developer Game Freak continued the Pseudo-legendary Dragon trend with Salamence. In true Pseudo-Legendary status, it’s rather difficult to find its first form — Bagon.
By Level 50, players will have a hefty Salamence with impressive stats for mixed Physical/Special attacking. But in capitalizing on its jet plane-inspired motif, it has an immense Speed stat. This fast, hard-hitting attacker is further bolstered with its Mega Evolution.
Coming off the resurgence of the Diamond and Pearl remakes and the aforementioned landmark that is Legends, the Legendary Dialga is getting its time to shine again. It has a strong dual-typing in Steel/Dragon, with the former being one of the best types in the games when it comes to defense and offense.
Thanks to Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum giving the Steel typing a wider movepool, Dialga can make great use of Steel as a Special Attacker.As far as Dragons go, it’s one of the most inventive designs since it seems to take influence from sauropod dinosaurs along with its appealing diamond motif.
The “Pseudo-Legendary” trope in the mainline Pokémon games all started with the original releases. Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow hosted the franchise’s first Dragon-Type species, though, the Dratini line was the only three in Kanto. That made Dragonite the closest thing to a Legendary Pokémon without literally being one, with players having to fish in the Safari Zone for a rare chance at finding its first form.
There’s something charming about Dragonite’s design, as Ken Sugimori opted for a lovable and endearing dragon as opposed to an intimidating one. It’s part of what makes it so iconic, and it has the versatility in battle with stats and its movepool to back it all up.
The Sinnoh region was also responsible for some of the most creative-looking Dragon Pokémon, especially with the flagship Legendary of Platinum. Similarly, Giratina’s dual Ghost/Dragon-Type is one of the most fun combinations in the games. Though the lore of the Pokémon world can be inconsistent, the background story for Giratina is one of the most surprisingly grim and compelling.
Given that Arceus is the Pokémon deity, Giratina looks to be a biblical allegory of the “fallen angel” to the former. Its dark design complements this backstory and its typing makes it excellent for Special Attack-oriented movesets.
Aside from the Legendary Bird Trio of Moltres, Zapdos, and Articuno in the Kanto games, the Hoenn region’s Weather Trio is arguably the next most popular. The emerald-green dragon Rayquaza serves as the master of the three and is among the most iconic Pokémon in the franchise.
Looking over its design and lore, Rayquaza appears to be inspired by dragons of Chinese folklore and the Quetzalcoatl of Aztec folklore. The Dragon/Flying-type’s power, particularly in Emerald, helped present one of the best story events in terms of grand scale.
In many Pokémon fan circles, Garchomp is cited as the top Pseudo-Legendary Dragon in practically every respect. Many of these species got the designers involved to flex their artistic muscles, but this creature is one of the most outlandish in the best ways. Garchomp is a blend of a dragon and a shark, giving it an undeniable “cool” factor — along with the Dragon/Ground-Type — that makes it easy to see why it’s such a fan favorite.
Similarly, it was also part of one of the best boss fights in the Pokémon games alongside the rest of Champion Cynthia’s elite-level team. As if it wasn’t strong enough, the speedy offensive threat also received a Mega Evolution.
Rayquaza’s aforementioned prominence in the franchise went beyond its respective games, as it received a second wave of popularity thanks to its Mega Evolution. It’s admittedly a bit of a technicality since it’s ultimately still the same species, but that resurgence in popularity, striking artistic design, and famously powerful stat spread make this variant deservedly stand out among its kind.
Its stats in the base form were already a force to be reckoned with, but Mega Rayquaza makes it even more formidable in battle. All of its stats get a sizable boost, and it gains the Delta Stream ability to cover its Flying-type weaknesses, becoming so strong that several competitive metas banned it outright.