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Image via The Pokémon Company

The best Flying-type Pokémon of all time, ranked

It’s a bird, it’s a plane.

No one can really ever take Flying-type Pokémon for granted. They were the only things that let us fly around the region in early generations of the main series games when we needed to the most. What would you really do without your trusty Pidgeotto during the mid-game of Pokemon FireRed?

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The Flying type has come a long way since then and has had some really memorable Pokémon join its roster. We will be talking about the best ones below.

Here are 10 of the best Flying-type Pokémon, ranked from 10th to the best of all time.

List of the best Flying-type Pokémon of all time

10) Tropius

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Okay, does Tropius have the most optimal dual-typing? No. Does it have the best stats? Not really. But is it a gigantic tree dinosaur that has bananas growing out of it? You bet it is.

Tropius’ concept is pretty unique, and fans of the franchise have always given love to this gentle giant. While it may not have any real value when building a strong team in-game, it certainly was a welcome addition to the roster of Pokémon back in Generation Three. Game Freak, feel free to give this beautiful ‘mon a Mega Evolution if you’re reading this.

9) Drifloon

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Ghost and Flying types are a rare type combination to come by, with only one other Pokémon line sharing this combination. We could have easily chosen Drifblim for this spot, but Drifloon is just smaller and cuter.

It has a little cross across its mouth and tiny little string arms, how could you not adore it? If you are a child, however, you might not want to get close to this Pokémon, as it is known to steal children that mistake it for a regular balloon, but only because it’s lonely. It just wants a friend.

8) Pidgeot

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In every generation of Pokémon, there was always the Route One bird Pokémon in the main series games. The very first bird Pokémon that started this trend was Pidgey. While Pidgey was a cute, almost harmless Flying-type, the same couldn’t be said for its final evolution.

Pidgeot is iconic, and almost everyone had one on their team, even up until the Elite Four. Even though in hindsight, PIdgeot is definitely not the strongest Flying type you could use, the overall power level in Generation One was very low, and with the Flying type being an amazing offensive type, Pidgeot’s Wing Attack’s hit hard on most of its targets.

Not to mention, Fly was an HM that was very valuable to use in the overworld, and Pidgeot was the perfect candidate to have around that can be useful in battles while also giving you a Pokémon that can let you fly around Kanto when you needed it.

7) Cramorant

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Every generation of Pokémon has seen their fair share of light-hearted Pokémon, ones that aren’t really here to add a useful member to your team, but rather to make the world feel more fleshed out, add some quirk to the Pokémon roster, or just give fans a good laugh. Cramorant is one of those Pokémon.

In the main series games, Cramorant isn’t really good at anything, being incredibly mediocre when it comes to its stats. What it is here to do, however, is be incredibly silly. Cramorant has a signature ability called Gulp Missile. When Cramorant uses Surf or Dive, it will bring either an Arrokuda or a Pikachu along with it, catching an Arrokuda when above 50 percent HP, and Pikachu when below 50 percent HP.

Cramorant then shoots the captured Pokémon when its opponent attacks it, causing damage and a secondary effect. Such an outlandish and bizarre ability has never been seen before in the main series games, and both the Pokémon, especially Pikachu, look incredibly funny when struggling to get free from Cramorant’s beak.

Cramorant does this because it is a glutton through and through, and attempts to swallow all of its prey whole. Hey, we’re not judging, our eating habits aren’t the best either. Never change, Cramorant.

6) Lugia

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One half of the Tower duo, and the trio master of the Legendary Birds, Lugia is cool-looking, incredibly strong, and also the mascot Legendary for Pokemon Silver. Those are a lot of titles for a single Pokémon.

Lugia leads the Legendary birds of Kanto, Zapdos, Articuno, and Moltres. When the three birds are at odds with each other, especially over territory, Lugia is the only being that can calm them down. Lugia is said to be so strong that it could hypothetically brew storms that last for over 40 days if it begins flapping its wings.

Due to this unbridled power, it prefers to slumber in solitude, deep underwater. Something really cool about Pokémon so strong that they have to contain their own power, right?

5) Salamence 

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Sometimes, the only reason you need to call a Pokémon one of the best of its kind is because it looks too damn cool not to. Seriously, Salamence is incredibly well-designed, with a perfect balance of an intimidating aura and good looks.

Of course, being a pseudo-Legendary, Salamence has much more to offer. In-game, it sports threatening offensive stats, a good speed tier, amazing abilities in Intimidate and Moxie, as well as a diverse movepool. It is commendable that Salamence is still seeing usage in current competitive formats where a ruthless power creep exists, only adding to this Pokémon’s admirability.

4) Dragonite

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Before the term was even coined, Dragonite was the very first pseudo-Legendary from the Pokémon games. Getting a Dragonite in the Generation One games, or in their Generation Three remakes was a truly monumental task and showed who the truly dedicated trainers were if they were in possession of one.

Dratini could only be found in one single body of water towards the end of the Safari Zone, using the Super Rod. If this wasn’t tough enough, once you caught a Dratini, it would only fully evolve into a Dragonite at level 55. A lot of the time, your Pokémon wouldn’t even hit the level 55 mark before fighting the Elite Four and Champion, which made getting a Dragonite almost a myth.

But once you got your hands on one, you had all the bragging rights in the world, and also one of the strongest Pokémon you could get your hands on. Bulky, strong, and agile, Dragonite has it all.

3) Gyarados

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There’s no doubt that Gyarados is iconic and uber cool. When thinking about Gyarados, however, you actually wouldn’t even associate it with the Flying type all that much. In fact, fans have been questioning why Gyarados is part Flying-type at all. The answer to that question is in Chinese mythology.

Gyarados is based on the ancient Chinese legend of a fish that survives for over a century and climbs up a strong waterfall, who is then rewarded by being turned into a dragon. The fish-turned-dragon gets too cocky, however, as has its wings stripped off of it, which is ultimately what Gyarados is based on.

This backstory only adds to Gyarados’ coolness factor and gives a lot more justification for its mysterious Flying typing.

2) Charizard

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This pick is pretty much a no-brainer, right? After Pikachu, Charizard is the first name that comes to mind when you think about Game Freak’s favorite brainchild.

Charizard is firstly Kanto’s most iconic starter, and the favorite of fans’ by a long shot. The other two are popular and loved as well, but it’s mostly due to the virtue of being the first starters of the Pokémon franchise, and not because they were generally peoples’ favorites. Charizard, on the other hand, was a cool, fire-breathing non-Dragon dragon that felt tough to train and evolve into, but whose strength made the efforts worth it.

Charizard has since gotten not one, but two different Mega Evolutions, a Gigantamax form, and countless merchandise, Game Freak cashing in on its immense popularity. But hey, there’s barely any reason to not love the Fire Starter from Kanto.

1) Rayquaza

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One part of the super-ancient Pokémon, more commonly known as the Weather trio, This large and foreboding serpentine dragon is the mascot Legendary for Pokémon Emerald.

Anyone who has played through Pokémon Emerald knows just how iconic Rayquaza is. Think about Groudon, and then Kyogre, the Pokémon that shaped the land and the seas. During the climax of Pokémon Emerald’s plot, when the two of these unstoppable beasts were feuding, it was Rayquaza that swooped down from the sky, tearing open the clouds and descending from the heavens in what was, at the time, Pokémon’s most epic cutscene.

With one ear-piercing roar, Rayquaza quelled the two super-ancient Legendary Pokémon, and peace was restored within Hoenn once more. Along with it, Rayquaza was imprinted within the minds of us impressionable kids as the coolest thing that ever existed.

Rayquaza also possesses a Mega Evolution, in which it gains the ability Delta Stream. This ability changes the weather to Strong Winds, a unique weather condition available only through Delta Stream. Strong Winds overwrites any weather present on the field and gives a buff to all Flying-types on the field by removing their weaknesses to Ice, Rock, and Electric moves.

With a Mega Evolution possessing an ability that boosts Flying-types even further, a kickass design, and origins of epic proportions, Rayquaza firmly cements itself on our list as the best Flying-type Pokémon of all time.

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Yash Nair
Yash is a freelance writer based in the tropical state of Goa, India. With a focus on competitive Pokémon, he also writes general guides on your favorite video games. Yash has written for sites like Dot Esports and TouchTapPlay, and has a distinct love for indie video game titles.