Illustration: Jim Cooke, photo via Shutterstock

Some people will tell you that the worst Pokémon designs are the ones based on real-world items, rather than animals. Those people are wrong. Actually, some of the best creatures in the pocket monster roster are ones based on inanimate objects.

The thing about inanimate object Pokémon is, you can tell Game Freak actually has fun coming up with them, because they’re so ridiculous. Comparatively, having the obligatory bird Pokémon at the start of your adventure, or a new Pikachu-like, feels boring and uninspired. Even well-designed creatures, like Rockruff and Bewear, will never inspire the same amount of delight, horror, and confusion than something based on, say, a sandcastle. That’s exactly why I love monsters based on objects, they’re weird, unexpected, and they inspire all sorts of horrifying philosophical questions. Are these Pokémon actually objects, or living, breathing Pokémon that just happen to look like things? What is the real difference between a rock Pokémon and a keychain Pokémon; aren’t they both equally not-alive? I don’t know. I love that I don’t know.

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Here’s the definite ranking on Pokémon based on inanimate objects, from worst to best. (Some evolutions will be grouped together, as they tend to be similar to one another.)

Voltorb/Electrode

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Klinklang

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Magnemite & Magneton

Roggenrola

Nosepass

Geodude

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Solrock

Lunatone

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Bronzong

Comfey

Cofagrigus

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Cryogonal

Avalugg

Exeggcute

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Gourgeist

Rotom

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Aegislash

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Dhelmise

Litwick & Chandelure

Sandygast & Palossand

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Klefki

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Vanilluxe

Trubbish & Garbodor