In the Pokémon anime, Ash has caught and trained a number of Pokémon over the years, turning many small creature into some of the strongest Pokémon ever seen.
Obviously, when the subject of Ash’s strongest comes up, Pikachu comes to mind. But Pikachu’s power is put on display in the anime almost every episode. What about Ash’s Pokémon besides Pikachu? How do they compare with each other, and which one might be the strongest he’s ever raised?
Ash caught his Snorlax in Pokémon’s Orange Islands, where it was found swimming from island to island, already strong as it devoured everything it came across. Snorlax proved a powerful ally, able to stop a massive Rhydon that was on a rampage with a single punch. It’s also a master of the powerful Hyper Beam technique, which it used to defeat many an opponent in tournament conferences. The only problem with Snorlax as a Pokémon, of course, is that it tends to eat and sleep rather than fight, so motivating it to battle at its strongest is sometimes difficult even for Ash.
As a Mythical Pokémon, Melmetal is not just one of the rarest Pokémon Ash has ever caught, but also one of the biggest and strongest. It was encountered as a Meltan and evolved when hundreds of Meltan came together to help Ash during the Alola League’s championship. Unfortunately, that also means Melmetal didn’t get a lot of opportunities to prove its prowess in battle, and its performance in the tournament wasn’t great. Still, Melmetal knows its signature attack, Double Iron Bash, and if given the chance still ranks among Ash’s strongest.
This strange and strong Pokémon was the result of a fossil revival gone awry, and Ash was entrusted with the odd Pokémon after the scientists were finished researching it. Despite its dubious origins, Dracovish is a formidable opponent, capable of pulling out its signature attack Fishious Rend and obliterating opponents slower than it. Its massive jaw gives it some impressive attack capability, which it often puts to use with Ice Fang to fantastic results. Ash’s Dracovish is a bit spacey, though, and doesn’t always realize important things, like being called back from battle.
The protector of a forest before joining Ash, Hawlucha quickly became a favorite choice of Ash’s during his adventures in Kalos. Hawlucha’s use of its signature move Flying Press won Ash many a battle, even when the odds were against him. Hawlucha, for example, managed to pull out a win against the Fairy-type Gym Leader Valerie, despite its typing disadvantage. Hawlucha was also an excellent mentor to Ash’s other Pokémon, such as Noibat, whom it taught to fly. Hawlucha’s main downside is that it strongly prefers theatrics, even if that isn’t the best strategy in a particular battle.
Literally falling into Ash’s lap as a Goomy, Goodra joined Ash because it wanted to become stronger and braver, and Ash definitely helped it to achieve that goal. Goodra’s Hydration ability came in handy on several occasions, allowing it to heal from status effects in the rain. One of its favored techniques, Bide, allowed it to bear the brunt of enemy attacks before returning them at full power, making it a surprisingly strong Pokémon in battle. Goodra suffered from some traumatic experiences before the Pokémon met Ash, leaving it terrified of Fairy and Bug-type Pokémon, but Ash helped it to overcome this weakness.
Ash met his Sceptile as a Treecko, where he helped it to defend its home. As a Grovyle, it became one of Ash’s most reliable Pokémon, often being the last one he’d use to help secure victory since its Overgrow ability made it especially strong when the chips were down. It even managed to defeat the Mythical Pokémon Darkrai during Pokémon’s Sinnoh League championships, an incredibly impressive achievement. Sceptile’s biggest weakness is likely its pride, as it once lost the ability to use attacks when it was snubbed by a Meganium it liked. Still, that pride isn’t enough to knock it from the top five of Ash’s strongest Pokémon.
Lucario is one of Ash’s newer Pokémon, raised from an egg during Pokémon Journeys. Lucario and Ash developed an immediate connection thanks to Ash’s superpower to see Auras in Pokémon, and so the pair were able to train together very efficiently. It fought against Eternatus after freshly evolving, which it defeated with the help of Pikachu and Goh’s Cinderace, and has an excellent record against Dynamaxed Pokémon. Ash’s Lucario is also capable of Mega Evolving, thanks to a Mega Stone acquired with aid from Korrina. For Lucario, its boldness was often its main issue, as it would attack wild Pokémon at random as a Riolu and sometimes disobeyed, although that mostly ended when it evolved.
Taken in as a Chimchar when his rival Paul abandoned it, Infernape is one of Ash’s greatest success stories. Rejected for being “too weak,” Ash was able to train Chimchar into a strong Pokémon that could fight bravely under almost any circumstances. Its Blaze ability is one of its greatest assets, empowering it to an almost berserk state when things get dire. Infernape had a strong preference for Mach Punch, often defeating foes with a rapid strike. Infernape grew bold enough by Pokémon Journeys that it actually went out seeking to challenge a Moltres just for fun.
Likely the most famous of Ash’s Pokémon after Pikachu, Ash’s Charizard was originally found as an abandoned Charmander, nearly dying in the rain. It didn’t obey him for quite a long time after evolving, but eventually grew to respect all that Ash had done for it. Charizard has participated in more leagues than any of Ash’s Pokémon besides Pikachu and proved critical in winning several badges. Charizard has also battled against several Legendary Pokémon, especially if one counts the films, and has often been able to go toe-to-toe with them for a surprisingly long time. Charizard is prone to rivalries, especially with other Dragon-like Pokémon, such as Iris’ Dragonite, but is often willing to help younger Pokémon (especially Fire-types) that it sees potential in. Unfortunately though, its just barely loses out on the top spot of Ash’s strongest Pokémon.
Ash and Greninja had a bond so special that it could link the two together in battle, causing a Mega Evolution-like transformation to occur. It was always heavily focused on training even before Ash caught it, and had a serious disposition. Greninja’s water veil technique was also extremely useful and proved to be key to the Ash-Greninja transformation. Greninja’s favorite attack is of course its Water Shuriken, something that the Ash-Greninja state radically empowered. Though Greninja opted to stay behind in Kalos and act as its protector, it did reappear in Journeys to help train Ash’s Lucario, something that proved vital to his eventual victory in the World Coronation Series.
While Ash might be most famous for his partnership with Pikachu, it’s clear that he has a variety of strong Pokémon. Ash’s strongest Pokémon inevitably are the ones he forms the strongest bond with, proving why he’s a top trainer.