We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

The best gen 3 Pokémon

We head back to Hoenn to decide on the best gen 3 Pokémon, and with 135 to choose from, we can’t guarantee that you’ll Spheal good about it.

Gen 3 Pokemon posing in front of a map of Hoenn

putting together this list of the best gen 3 Pokémon isn’t the easiest thing we’ve ever done, but damn if it isn’t necessary. Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire introduced some now classic mons, including a fiery chicken, a sand-dragon, a metal meteor-masher, and my personal favorite, one sleepy boy. With a few years now gone since the remakes and even more since the originals, we’ve taken a look at the 135-strong roster, picking out our favorites, the most iconic, and the biggest battlers (just in case they ever do port these games for Switch).

For more things gotta catch ’em all, see what we make of Red & Blue’s roster with our list of the best gen 1 Pokémon, gen 2 Pokémon, gen 4 Pokémon, gen 5 Pokémon, gen 6 Pokémon, gen 7 Pokémon, gen 8 Pokémon, gen 9 Pokémon. Or, if your eyes are on the future, see our guides to the next adventure with Pokémon Scarlet & Violet starters, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet legendaries, and Pokémon Scarlet & Violet new Pokémon.

Anywho, here are our picks for the best gen 3 Pokémon.

Flygon, a gen 3 Pokémon, on a Hoenn background

Flygon

The aforementioned sand-dragon, Flygon, is not only one of the most consistently overlooked Pokémon in the third generation, but also across the ever-growing list of dragon Pokémon. Despite not having Salamence’s scorching attack power, Flygon’s unique-at-the-time typing made it a force to be reckoned with, before the fairies came along and ruined everything. Still, we love Flygon for its bugged-out design. Even if the poor thing can’t hold its own in battle these days, we’ll always have Route 111.

According to Flygon’s various Pokédex entries, it has a couple of nicknames, such as “The Elemental Spirit of the Desert” and “The Desert Spirit,” due to the sandstorms it can create, which it also happens to hide in.  As such, it’s actually quite difficult to spot one in the wild. Sure, if you see a sandstorm heading your way, you can make an educated guess that Flygon is inside it, but that doesn’t mean you can see the ‘mon.

Dusclops a gen 3 Pokémon, on a Hoenn background

Dusclops

If you’ve never played a minute of competitive Pokémon you might not know this, but the ghost Pokémon Dusclops is something of a tank, and when I say something of a tank, I mean potentially one of the most frustrating tanks of the third-gen. With matching 130 def and special def stats, and a movepool that includes pain split, I lost count of the number of opponents I cheesed out of a victory with an unshakeable Dusclops, and I still prefer adding the stocky ghoul to my party to its fourth-generation evolution, Dusknoir.

Want to know something quite unsettling? Dusclops is said to be completely hollow on the inside, with its body acting like a black hole, sucking unsuspecting victims into the void. Well, it’s also kind of your fault if this happens to you, as you need to look into its body for the void to take you. As if that isn’t terrifying enough, Dusclops is able to hypnotize its foe, forcing them to do its bidding. One more thing before we go: it might even take your soul if you look at the strange movements of Dusclops’ hands. On that cheery note, we’re gonna move on.

To give this spooky ‘mon the boot, take a look at our ghost Pokémon weakness guide.

Spheal a gen 3 Pokémon, on a Hoenn background

Spheal

Look. At. That. Boy. He’s sweet. He’s round. You can bounce him up and down. He’s everything you could ever want. Spheal won’t win you any gym battles by the time you can add it to your team, but it’s by far the cutest Pokémon across the third generation roster roster, and it’s criminal that the Pokémon beauty pageants aren’t all immediately forfeit to any Spheal that enters.

One of the things we love the most about Spheal is that it prefers to move around by rolling, which is actually its fastest form of movement. Looking at this sweet ball of blubber roll about always makes me smile. Oh, and it’s also covered in fur as if it couldn’t get any more adorable. If you’re ever unsure about whether or not Spheal is happy, just keep an eye out for clapping, if Spheal claps its fins its a very happy lil ‘mon.

Metagross a gen 3 Pokémon, on a Hoenn background

Metagross

The pseudo-legendary of the third-gen Pokémon, Metagross is a massively popular monster that still holds up as one of the best steel Pokémon to ever grace the game. Sure, if it comes into contact with any fire Pokémon special attacks, it’s about as useful as a paper plane crossing the Atlantic, but with basically any other matchup, Metagross is almost certain to Meteor Mash its opponent into smithereens.

Not only is Metagross a hard-hitter, but this creature is also highly intelligent courtesy of the number of Metang that combine to create it. Metagross has four brains due to this, effectively making it a supercomputer. Intelligence such as this means that Metagross is highly efficient at analyzing its enemies.

Make sure you’re ready to take down Metagross with our guide to what the steel Pokémon weakness is.

Slaking

Let’s be honest, we can all relate to Slaking. I wish sometimes when people ask me to do things I could simply slack off. Interestingly, some new light has shone on the canon behind Slakoth’s peculiar evolutionary path, explaining that it reverts to its sleepy ways once it’s experienced the vitality of Vigorith because, according to the developers, at least, the ‘mon realises the effort isn’t worth it. Amen, Slaking, amen.

If you want to know how to beat slaking, consider giving our normal Pokémon weakness guide a read.

Milotic a gen 3 Pokémon, on a Hoenn background

Milotic

Metagross might be the official pseudo-legendary of Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, but Milotic is the one that we kids would talk about in hushed tones on the playground. This infamous ‘mon, with its unreasonable catching method, and even more ridiculous evolution method, was something of a myth to those who didn’t own it, and the shiniest badge of honour for those who did. While it’s not quite the Pokémon master ID card it used to be to have Milotic in your party, it’s still one of the most beautiful, nuanced designs we got to experience in Hoenn, and it still looks as good today.

We strongly suggest you read our water Pokémon weakness guide. Trust us, you need all the help you can get to defeat Milotic.

Cradily and Armaldo a gen 3 Pokémon, on a Hoenn background

Cradily and Armaldo

I have to mention Cradily and Armaldo in the same breath as, for someone who loved the fossil Pokémon gimmick of the first generation of Pokémon, I felt it was sorely missed in Gold and Silver. Then, the third generation Pokémon come along providing this pair of fantastic fossils arrive with their peculiar typings and extravagant designs. I even went through the extra effort of getting a friend to breed their fully evolved Armaldo so I could take both of the ancient ‘mons on my quest. This pair might not stand up quite so much since more powerful monsters thought lost to history have arrived in later generations, but they still have a special place in the history of Hoenn.

To defeat rock Pokémon and grass Pokémon hybrid Cradily, check out our rock Pokémon weakness and grass Pokémon weakness guides. Or, to beat the rock and bug Pokémon Armaldo, consult our bug Pokémon weakness article.

Gardevoir a gen 3 Pokémon, on a Hoenn background

Gardevoir

Give a man a Gardevoir, and he’ll probably beat the elite four the first time of asking, give a Gardevoir to Wally, and there’s no such luck. Despite being the mascot Pokémon for one of the wimpiest characters to ever grace the Pokémon series – and there’s some real wimps in there, I’m telling you – Gardevoir is one of the most elegant designs across all generations, not just the third-gen Pokémon roster, and is still one of the most proficient pure psychic-type attackers.

Want to know what your future battle with Gardevoir holds? Take a look at our psychic Pokémon weakness guide. Alternatively, if you want to know how to get a Gardevior, head to our Ralts evolution article, where we also explain how to get the fighting Pokémon Gallade.

Salamence a gen 3 Pokémon, on a Hoenn background

Salamence

For me, Salamence never set my world on fire, but on asking the PT team who should make the cut for this list, it was pretty clear that it’d be sacrilegious to leave gen 3’s answer to Dragonite. Salamence is raw power, with incredible stats and a diverse movepool, there were few more competent threats for the fledgling competitive Pokémon meta at the time. The eventual arrival of Mega Salamence made some pretty big waves too, and even I, hardly a Salamence stan, can agree that the mega design is something to behold.

Do yourself a favor, read our dragon Pokémon weakness guide to try and save yourself a headache against Salamance.

Wailord a gen 3 Pokémon, on a Hoenn background

Wailord

Forget leaving the best until last. We’ve left the biggest until last, with Wailord taking the final spot on our list of the best gen 3 Pokémon. To this day, Wailord is still the biggest non-legendary Pokémon, shaping up at an incredible 47 feet. The big whale has little use in battle besides soaking up attacks with its monolithic HP stats, but its iconic size made it a talking point on release back in 2003, and it’s still one to this day.

There you have it, our picks for the best gen 3 Pokémon you can find in the corners and crevices of Hoenn. For more adventures, see our picks of the best games like Pokémon and keep an eye on our new Pokémon game. And, to discover how to beat the various types of Pokémon, check out our dark Pokémon weakness, poison Pokémon weakness, normal Pokémon weakness, fire Pokémon weakness, and electric Pokémon weakness guides.