The best Dark type Pokémon, ranked
Introduced in Generation II along with Steel type Pokémon, Dark is one of 18 possible Pokémon types. According to the Pokémon Fandom wiki, “The Dark type is represented by traits that are considered feral and untamable, specifically that born from adverse and intense complex social conditions.” These traits run the gamut from belligerent aggression to a predilection for inflicting ill will, giving this particular type a “negative leaning nature.” Is it any wonder, then, why they’re called Dark Pokémon?
There are always Pokémon that stand out from the rest, but each type has its own collection of favorable choices even if some of them seem more destructive on the surface than others. Here are the best Dark type Pokémon from any and all generations.
One of many legendary Pokémon, Darkrai is a mythical Dark type that was introduced in Generation IV. Interestingly, Darkrai is the other half of the Lunar duo — along with Cresselia — and is the last Pokémon in the Hisui Pokédex. As iterated by Bulbapedia, “Darkrai is known to ‘inhabit’ dreams and causes the target to have unending nightmares, which can be stopped if exposed to a Lunar Feather from Cresselia. However, the ‘unleashing of nightmares’ is actually a defense mechanism, instead of an intentionally malicious act.”
The Pokédex entry for Darkrai is as follows: “Darkrai, the Pitch-Black Pokémon. Legend has it that on a moonless night, Darkrai will lure people to sleep and unleash nightmares upon them.” Although lesser-known than some other Pokémon, Darkrai played a huge role in the Pokémon universe, particularly in the feature-length film The Rise of Darkrai and its main anime debut in Sleepless in Pre-Battle!.
Hydreigon is a dual-type Dark/Dragon pseudo-legendary Pokémon introduced in Generation V. For clarification, “pseudo-legendary” is a fan-made term commonly used to refer to any Pokémon that has a three-stage evolution line. Hydregon evolves from Deino into Zweilous starting at level 50, which evolves into Hydreigon starting at level 60.
Like the aforementioned biography of many Dark type Pokémon, Hydreigon is a violent, destructive Pokémon. It will attack anything that moves, determining it a foe. Many stories describe Hydreigon destroying entire villages. Despite its three heads, it is a singular entity; its secondary heads lack brains and do not move or think of their own accord.
Hydreigon debuted in White—Victini and Zekrom and Black—Victini and Reshiram, under the ownership of Carlita, Juanita’s daughter and Damon’s younger sister. Additionally, Hydreigon made its main series debut in Iris and the Rogue Dragonite!, where it battled a wild Dragonite. As a dual-type Pokémon, Hydreigon is exceptionally powerful.
Introduced in Generation II, Umbreon is one of Eevee’s eight final forms, the others being Vaporeon, Jolteon, Flareon, Espeon, Leafeon, Glaceon, and Sylveon. Eevee evolved into this form due to exposure to the moonlight altering its genetic structure.
Upon being exposed to the moonlight, the rings on its body glow, filling it with a mysterious energy. Whenever Umbreon gets angry, it secretes and sprays poisonous sweat into the offender’s eyes. Umbreon made its main series debut in Power Play!, where it was revealed that Gary’s Eevee had evolved into one.
Since its first appearance, Umbreon has been featured several times in various episodes, including Trouble’s Brewing, Espeon, Not Included, and Strategy Begins at Home!.
Like Hydreigon, the Dark/Psychic Pokémon Malamar is a dual-type, introduced in Generation IV. Malamar evolves from Inkay starting from level 30, but only evolves when the game system is held upside-down. Malamar possesses strong hypnotic powers — more powerful than any other Pokémon — which it uses to force others to do its bidding. People often utilize this ability for nefarious deeds.
Malamar lures prey with the flashing pattern on its body and hypnotic motions, then ensnares them in its tentacles. The prey is then finished off with digestive fluids. Prior to Generation VIII, Malamar and its pre-evolution, Inkay, were the only known Pokémon that could learn the move Topsy-Turvy.
In the anime, Malamar debuted in Kalos, Where Dreams and Adventures Begin! and an evil, psychopathic Malamar appeared in A Conspiracy to Conquer! under the control of a woman named “Madame X,” but in reality, it had hypnotized an Officer Jenny to pose as Madame X.
Again, Greninja is a dual-type Pokémon and utilizes the abilities of both Dark types and Water types. It was introduced in Generation VI, evolving from Frogadier starting at level 36 and acting as the final evolution of the starter Pokémon Froakie.
As its name suggests, Greninja moves with the speed and grace of a ninja. It uses swift movements to confuse its enemies and uses weapons made of compressed water, most commonly in the form of throwing stars.
In the anime, Ash’s Frogadier evolved into a Greninja in A Festival of Decisions! while battling Heidayu’s Bisharp. Originally, Greninja debuted in A Rush of Ninja Wisdom! under the ownership of Ippei, the strongest ninja hailing from Ninja Village, but only in a fantasy. His Greninja made its physical debut in The Legend of the Ninja Hero!.
Continuing the trend of dual-type Pokémon, Pangoro, the evolved form of Pancham, is a Fighting/Dark type. It evolves from Pancham starting at level 32, if the player has a Dark type Pokémon in their party.
Despite its cantankerous demeanour, Pangoro is kind to those it considers to be its friends and it does not tolerate those who bully others. With arms powerful enough to snap a telephone pole, it charges into battle like a berserker, heedless of any damage it might suffer.
A Pangoro appeared in The Bamboozling Forest!, where it was the guardian of two mischievous Pancham. The trio later became embroiled in Team Rocket’s latest hare-brained scheme. Serena’s Pancham evolved into a Pangoro in a dream in Dream a Little Dream from Me!, but Pangoro first debuted in Kalos, Where Dreams and Adventures Begin!.
Absol, a pure Dark type Pokémon, was first introduced in Generation III. It has the capability to transform into Mega Absol with the assistance of the Mega Stone Absolite and is not known to evolve into any other Pokémon or possess a previous form. Using its horn, Absol is able to sense even subtle changes in the land and sky to predict when a disaster will occur and will try to warn people when one is approaching. Although initially thought — especially by the elderly — to be the cause of these disasters, Absol gained a reputation for fascinating others. Absol has been referred to as a “bringer of doom” and can move as swift as the wind.
As Mega Absol, the Pokémon emits a fearsome aura that has been known to kill fainthearted people from shock. It directs this aura at its opponents by beating its “wings,” which are not capable of flight. However, Absol apparently detests assuming this form, as it normally dislikes fighting in the first place. Absol made its main series debut in Absol-ute Disaster, wherein townsfolk were blaming Absol for all of the bad things that were happening to their town during the past month.
Liepard, the evolved form of Purrloin, uses its element of surprise to attack opponents. Another pure Dark type Pokémon, Liepard is known to be rather moody and vicious and has well-developed muscles that allow it to run silently and strike opponents from behind. Liepard made its official main series debut in Lost at the League! under the ownership of Stephan, a rival of Ash who debuted in Oshawott’s Lost Scalchop!. In the next episode, it battled Ash, but lost to Krookodile’s Dragon Claw.
2. Alolan Meowth
Meowth was made famous for its involvement in the Team Rocket trio alongside Jessie and James, but the Meowth that Pokémon fans know and love is a Normal type, whereas its regional forms branch out into many different type categories. In the Alola region, Meowth has a Dark type regional form. It evolves into Alolan Persian when leveled up with high friendship. According to the Pokédex description, “Meowth are not native to the Alola region, but people brought them here. Eventually, their appearance changed to what we now see. They are prideful and cunning.”
In The Grand Entrance and Delivery Boy Sun, during a flashback, three Alolan Meowth were shown under the care of Sun’s great-grandfather. In the present day, Sun (a main character in Pokémon Adventures) was shown with one of these Meowth, nicknamed Cent, using him to defeat two Team Skull Grunts with the move Pay Day.
Yet another legendary Pokémon, Yveltal is a member of the aura trio and the counterpart to Xerneas and Zygarde. All three legendaries make up the Pokémon: XYZ franchise. Yveltal is a Dark/Flying dual-type Pokémon and its body shape resembles the letter ‘Y’ appropriately.
As for its abilities, Yveltal has the power to absorb life energy by spreading its wings and tail feathers. When it reaches the end of its lifespan, it steals the life energy of everything around it and then transforms into a cocoon to sleep. As seen in the the anime, any living creatures drained by Yveltal turn into petrified stone. Its counterpart Xerneas has the power to undo this by filling those petrified victims with life energy.
Yveltal debuted in Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction. It was first seen in a flashback destroying the Allearth Forest before transforming into a cocoon and slumbering. Additionally, Yveltal made its main series debut in The Legend of X, Y, and Z! during a flashback, where it unleashed trouble on a kingdom, turning people and Pokémon to stone such as Aila, the daughter of a village elder and the love interest of Jan.