Water-types are bountiful in the Pokémon world, but they can vary greatly in power. Although these Pokémon tend to be reliable and have strong defensive stats, not all of them are notably impressive in battle. Many of these creatures also have a second typing that complements it, but pure Water-types can more than hold their own.
While certain Mega Evolutions and Primal Reversions count as pure Water-types, creatures that can acquire any typing based on an item or move do not qualify. Some pure Water-types can make a significant impact on a playthrough, like the classic Gyarados, while the likes of Toxapex show how these Pokémon can excel with a secondary type.
Vaporeon, one of the original Eeveelutions, often gets swept to the side in favor of stronger Water-type Pokémon, many of which have a dual-typing. While it is certainly not the most powerful in its category, it has some stats that allow it to be capable in battle.
Vaporeon’s highest stat is its HP, which gives it the bulk to deal with a variety of attacks. It does not have great Defense, but its Special Defense is relatively high. As a result, it does well against Special attackers but not as well against Physical ones. Given the opportunity, though, it can be fairly strong with its high Special Attack stat.
The Kanto region of games had many popular Pokémon, and one of its most memorable Water-types is Gyrados. Dealing with the near-useless Magikarp until level 20 makes for a rocky road to evolution, but after that, Gyarados proves to be a competent battler. Its dual Water/Flying-type is admittedly a hindrance (4x weakness to Electric), but it’s a fearsome partner thanks to its 125 Physical Attack, 100 Special Defense, and decent HP/Physical Defense.
Physical Water attacks like Waterfall help make the most of its stats, with the likes of Dragon Dance being excellent for boosting its offensive prowess. Even better, Mega Gyarados stacks on what already makes it strong, plus a more competent Water/Dark typing.
Feraligatr is in a complicated position as a Water-type Pokémon. Its Speed is unimpressive, which keeps it from moving before many opponents. Its defensive stats, however, are decent and let it withstand a solid amount of damage. Its Attack is good, but it does not learn any Physical Water moves until a high level, limiting its Water potential to Special moves that use its less impressive Special Attack stat.
It learns Physical moves from several other types, though, which make use of its sizable Attack. Feraligatr deserves to have a Mega Evolution along with its fellow Johto starters, which would make it a much stronger Water-type Pokémon overall.
Samurott is in a similar position to Feraligatr with its Speed and defensive stats. However, both are lower than those of Feraligatr. There are certain reasons, though, why Samurott earns higher honors among the best Water-type Pokémon.
Its Attack and Special Attack have similar values, which give it access to both categories with consistent levels of strength. It also learns Physical Water moves at a lower level than Feraligatr. Because of this, Samurott is much more capable in a playthrough. On the other hand, it does suffer from its lack of excellence in any one area.
Out of the three Generation 8 starters, Inteleon is perhaps the most divisive. Many players do not like its human-like design or the concept behind it. Regardless of this, Inteleon can be powerful. Its Defense and Special Defense stats are sub-par, so Inteleon relies on striking before its opponents can. It has great Speed and Special Attack stats.
Upon evolving, Inteleon can learn its signature move, Snipe Shot, which is fairly strong and uses its Special Attack stat. It runs into issues if it does not knock opponents out in one hit, though, which can be a liability against bulky foes.
Although its base stat total is a fair amount lower than other Water starters, Politoed can be stronger with the use of the Hidden Ability Drizzle. This causes rain to fall on the battlefield, boosting the power of Water moves significantly. In its base form, Politoed’s offensive stats are good but not great. With rain, however, it is incredible.
Its Speed is not amazing, but its Defense, Special Defense, and HP let it take a good amount of damage. Many of its powerful moves are available only through Technical Machines (TM) and Technical Records (TR), which can be limiting. If trainers find these items, though, Politoed can be very capable.
The Hoenn region games are still affectionately looked back upon by the fan base as some of the best mainline Pokémon games. One of that generation’s assets is perhaps its well-rounded starters, with Swampert proving to be reliable in its own right. Its dual Water/Ground-type is incredibly useful, granting it immunity to the otherwise Achilles’ heel for Water species (Electric) and only one weakness (4x to Grass).
Swampert has impressive all-around stats, with only its Speed falling below 85. With that, it can make excellent use of attacks like Hydro Pump and Earthquake, while having access to coverage with Hammer Arm, Stone Edge, Ice Beam, and more. Not to mention the Mega Evolution that makes it even more of a Physical powerhouse.
With a high base stat total and access to some great moves, Milotic is one of the strongest Pokémon from the Hoenn region. While its Attack stat is disappointing, it throws its offensive strength into its Special Attack.
While this stat is not groundbreaking, it can be devastating when combined with the Pokémon’s bulk and defensive stats. Opponents often need several turns to defeat Milotic, and it can strike many times before it faints. As the evolution of the weak Feebas, Milotic shows that not everything is as it immediately appears.
First introduced in the Hawaii-inspired region of Alola in Sun and Moon, Toxapex is one of the best Water-type Pokémon when it comes to defense. With a whopping 152 in Physical Defense and 142 in Special Defense, this sea urchin can be an absolute wall competitively. That, of course, comes at the expense of every other stat being fairly pitiful.
However, with this stat spread and its fitting Water/Poison dual-typing, Toxapex can execute a loadout of moves like the powerful Water-type move Scald for damage (and inflicting Burn), hazard-setting moves like Spikes/Toxic Spikes, the signature Baneful Bunker for protection and Poison, and Recover for restoration. Overall, Toxapex is excellent for drawn-out battles of attrition.
The Kalos Water starter Greninja is a memorable Pokémon in general, easily evidenced by its appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series. Though Blaziken — at least during the height of the Mega Evolution mechanic — established itself as the most lethal competitive starter, Greninja’s assets make it a respectable runner-up.
With its admirably close Physical Attack (95) and Special Attack (103) combined with its blistering 122 Speed, this creature is quite the force in battle. Attacks like Hydro Pump, Water Shuriken, and Dark Pulse are fantastic for their dual Water/Dark-type, and Greninja’s Protean ability makes coverage moves just as deadly as its primary weapons of choice.
As far as Mythical Pokémon go, Manaphy is not great. Its stats are all fairly high, but they are the same across the board, preventing it from excelling in any one department. With a limited number of powerful moves, Manaphy falls behind many other members of its classification. As a Mythical, though, it is stronger than most other pure Water-types.
It also has a Status move that can help it significantly: Tail Glow. This move raises its Special Attack dramatically. Its accessible moves are still limited, and many of its more powerful moves are available only through TM and TR, but Tail Glow makes Manaphy much more capable.
With an interesting stat spread, Suicune can face some difficulties. It’s structured as more of a tank overall, with emphasis placed on its defensive and HP stats. While these stats are certainly higher, they are not high enough to deal with excessive damage in the way other tanks can.
By Legendary standards, they are not incredibly impressive. It also does not have easy access to many Special Water moves, which are its specialty. Despite this, Suicune is still a Legendary, so it can wear down many non-Legendary enemies without extensive trouble.
3 Mega Blastoise
On its own, Blastoise is one of the better final evolutions of a Water starter Pokémon. As such, it would rank as one of the strongest pure Water-types in the franchise. With a Mega Evolution, though, Blastoise can surpass the vast majority of Water-types.
This Water-type Pokémon keeps its high defensive stats and even boosts them slightly, although its HP and Speed stay the same. Mega Blastoise has counters and weaknesses, but it truly shines with its drastically increased Special Attack stat. Its Mega Launcher ability increases the power of Aura and Pulse moves, making Water Pulse not only more viable, but also deadly.
While its counterpart Dialga is an imposing Physical Attack-focused Pokémon, the Pearl mascot Palkia hones in on Special Attack. As with any creature classified as a Legendary, power comes by default, and it does so thanks to its stat spread and Water/Dragon dual typing.
This combination is particularly useful for ridding itself of the Ice weakness Dragons are normally plagued by. Every stat is in the triple digits barring HP (90), allowing it the option of outright nuclear attacks like Hydro Pump, Draco Meteor, Spacial Rend, and even coverage moves like Thunder and Fire Blast. Its Origin Forme in Legends: Arceus even bolsters its Speed to 120.
1 Primal Kyogre
As with Blastoise, Kyogre was very strong before acquiring a new form, being the box art Legendary for Pokémon Sapphire. With the introduction of its Primal Reversion, though, it became almost unstoppable.
The only real drawback is its Defense, which is still not bad. Primal Kyogre’s offensive stats are absurdly strong, and with its Primordial Sea ability, heavy rain falls on the battlefield, boosting its Water moves even more. No enemy should want to find itself in Primal Kyogre’s path, because this Pokémon Legendary can destroy teams with ease.