Pokémon Sun and Moon are less than two weeks away, and we at Gamnesia wanted to celebrate—that’s why, for the eighteen days leading up to the games’ launch, we’ll be revealing our team’s Top Ten Pokémon of each of the eighteen Types! Our staff had a number of great Ground-Type creatures to choose from for today’s list, and we all worked hard to select our favorite ten of these earth-loving creatures.
So let’s get started! Here are our choices for the Top Ten Ground-Type Pokémon:
“It flies across the sky at Mach speeds. Removing the seal on its chest makes its internal energy go out of control.”
— Pokémon Black Version
A mighty Pokémon created in ancient times, Golurk is designed after the Golems of Jewish folklore: beings formed from clay or mud into a humanoid shape and then brought to life through magical means. Its look also seems somewhat similar to, and could very well be inspired further by, the giant robots and mecha that pop up so frequently in modern Japanese anime and culture. Golurk’s secondary Typing as a Ghost-Type gives it a wide variety of moves to compliment its primary Ground abilities, and strangely enough, it can even learn Fly…which really just makes the mecha allusions all the stronger.
“They never allow prey to escape. Their jaws are so powerful, they can crush the body of an automobile.”
— Pokémon Black Version
Krookodile is the final evolutionary stage of the Sandile line, a Ground- and Dark-Type creature whose appearance definitely matches up with that latter Typing. Its dark red scales may look menacing, but it lightens things up a bit with the way the area around its eyes look like sunglasses, transforming it from what could have been an evil looking creature into one that looks stereotypically “cool.” Even so, they are apparently pretty violent, never letting targets escape their excellent vision and the crushing might of their jaws.
“It collects bones from an unknown place. Some whisper that a Marowak graveyard exists somewhere in the world.”
— Pokémon SoulSilver Version
When Cubone overcomes its grief and adopts a more violent temperament, it succeeds in evolving into the mighty Marowak, a savage, bone-wielding warrior with a skull for a face. It is incredibly skilled with its weapon, as reflected in its signature Bone Club and Bonemerang attacks, and of course it also has access to a number of other Ground-Type attacks, though usually these require TMs for it to learn. While we admire Marowak a great deal already, we’re especially intrigued by its upcoming Fire/Ghost Alolan form, which looks like a great new twist on this classic creature.
“It curls up, then rolls into foes with its back. Its sharp spines inflict severe damage.”
— Pokémon Diamond & Pearl Versions
Sandslash is the evolved form of Sandshrew, gaining enormous claws in the evolutionary process that allow it to cut through both enemies and the earth with ease. It also gains a back covered in sharp quills, which it can use to dig into opponents by rolling up into a ball, and while both the spines and claws may be break from the stress of overuse, Sandslash will begin to regrow them in less than a day. It’s a pretty simple but solid design, and it’s getting a neat revamp with Alolan Sandslash in Gen VII…although we do have to wonder how well the
Sandslash name can work for an Ice/Steel-Type Pokémon…
“Groudon is said to be the personification of the land itself. Legends tell of its many clashes against Kyogre, as each sought to gain the power of nature.” — Pokémon Omega Ruby
One of the powerful Legendary Pokémon of the third generation, Groudon wages an endless war against Kyogre of the seas by summoning droughts and forcing volcanoes to erupt, thereby evaporating water and expanding the reach of the land. Its design is definitely reminiscent of dinosaurs, and the power at its disposal is certainly nothing to take lightly. Just like
with Kyogre, the ORAS remakes reintroduced us to Groudon in a phenomenal way, with its new signature move Precipice Blades and its Reversion to Primal Groudon helping us to fall in love with this mighty Legendary all over again.
“These Diglett triplets dig over 60 miles below sea level. No one knows what it’s like underground.”
— Pokémon Crystal Version
Diglett and Dugtrio first entered the Pokémon universe in the first generation, and now, twenty years later, we still haven’t a clue what they look like underground. You’d think somebody would have dug one up so we could see the whole thing at some point, but nope! It’s as much of a mystery as Game Freak’s reasoning for giving Alolan Dugtrio those weird new hairdos. These mysteries might play a big role in our fascination with this line, but the three headed evolution is also pretty neat in its own right, as it’s capable of digging up to sixty miles deep in a single hour—a trait which affords it powerful Ground-Type attacks like Earthquake and its once-signature move Fissure in the process.
“If Donphan were to tackle with its hard body, even a house could be destroyed. Using its massive strength, the Pokémon helps clear rock and mud slides that block mountain trails.”
— Pokémon Sapphire Version
Referred to in the Pokédex as the Armor Pokémon, Donphan is the evolved form of Phanpy and resembles an elephant with tire treads running down the length of its back. That armor is aptly designed, though, as Donphan can easily roll up to take a tire-like form and drive directly through opponents with the force necessary to demolish a house. This lends itself perfectly towards giving Donphan the dreaded Rollout move, and its tusks have also often served it well in a fight. Donphan’s design simply looks like a powerful form, like one that you would fear coming across, and its various body parts functioning together so perfectly makes it a creature we can’t help but adore.
“By lightly spinning its drill-like horn, it can easily shatter even a diamond in the rough.”
— Pokémon Crystal Version
Rhydon is known throughout the
Pokémon fandom as the very first Pokémon to ever be created and added to the code of Japan’s original Red and Green versions. It is designed after both dinosaurs and rhinoceroses—though the horn that lies in the center of its face obvious takes after a modern drill instead, and in more than just appearance. Rhydon can spin it exactly like a drill, and the force this weapon creates can shatter even diamonds. That’s hardly the only component to this Pokémon’s strength, however, as its hide can withstand molten lava and its tail can collapse buildings with a single sweeping motion.
While Rhydon may have gotten a further evolution into Rhyperior in the fourth generation, this original beast will always be our preferred member of this evolutionary line due to how often we used it in our old quests. The Drill Pokémon is powerful all on its own, capable of learning a variety of attacks of multiple Types (even Surf, somehow), and it’s intelligent enough to make it into quite the worthy partner for a Pokémon Master.
“Cubone pines for the mother it will never see again. Seeing a likeness of its mother in the full moon, it cries. The stains on the skull the Pokémon wears are made by the tears it sheds.”
— Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire Versions
Marowak may be the strong one in the family, but the lore behind its previous form of Cubone continues to tug at our heartstrings to this day. The timid little creature is said to have lost its mother at a young age, and now it wears her skull on its head in memory of its fallen family member, hiding its face from prying eyes as it struggles to overcome the trauma caused by its great loss. Sure, this doesn’t really hold up so well when you take into account the breeding mechanic introduced in Gen II, and Game Freak maybe should have created a baby form for this evolutionary line to help explain the dissonance of how Cubone emerge from their eggs already apparently wearing their mother’s skull. But most of our staff doesn’t bother to nitpick the lore that much.
Like its evolution, Cubone also comes equipped with a bone for a weapon, giving it the unique Bone Club and Bonemerang moves, and its skill with this weapon and these moves is what allows it to survive despite its caretaker’s passing. It’s hard to think of a Pokémon with a sadder backstory, but its ability to press on in spite of all that hardship is a bit inspiring as well. Cubone has become a memorable creature to us simply because, in spite of that strength, we still want nothing more than to hold it close and whisper to the little guy that everything will be alright.
So with that bit of heartbreak out of the way, which Ground-Type creature takes the top slot? What could possibly overcome all the other choices we’ve named so far? Guess what—it’s not a Gen I Pokémon (about time we had one of those, right?). No, instead, we picked…
“Flygon is nicknamed “the elemental spirit of the desert.” Because its flapping wings whip up a cloud of sand, this Pokémon is always enveloped in a sandstorm while flying.”
— Pokémon Ruby Version
Serving as the final evolution of Trapinch, the mighty Flygon was the very first Pokémon to mix the Typings of Ground and Dragon, and my goodness did it leave a mark when it did so. Modeled after the adult form of the burrowing antlion, probably with a little bit of dragonfly inspiration mixed in for good measure, the Mystic Pokémon Flygon dwells in the desert, kicking up sandstorms each time it flaps its wings. This motion also produces a sound akin to a woman singing, which has led many people to identify it as a desert spirit, even though there doesn’t seem to be anything truly supernatural about it.
As both a Ground- and Dragon-Type Pokémon, Flygon gains access to a vast and powerful move pool, from Earth Power and Earthquake to Dragon Claw and Dragon Rush—and it can further expand its repertoire with TMs and HMs. In addition to more moves of its own Types, Game Freak also took into account its design and lore, giving it access to wing-based moves like Steel Wing and Fly and paying homage to the heat of its desert habitat with its access to Flamethrower and Fire Blast. Even the fact that it’s modeled after insects comes into play, with several Bug-Type moves just waiting to be taught to it. It’s an impressive move set no matter how you look at it, and it’s awesome to see so many elements being used to provide Flygon with such a variety of options.
While Flygon never got the Mega Evolution that Game Freak wanted to provide it with, we’re hopeful that future generations of games will let this creature shine even brighter than before—and even if they don’t, it’s still shining strong already. Flygon is just an incredible Pokémon, and we’re pleased to see it listed as our number one choice of all Ground-Types.
That does it for our list of our favorite Ground-Type Pokémon! What did you think of our choices? Would you have rather seen something else, or is our order exactly how you would place them? Let us know in the comments below, and come back tomorrow for our next Top Ten list for a different Pokémon Type!
Banner put together by: Colin McIsaac
And be sure to check out the rest of our Top Ten Type Pokémon lists: