8 Pokemon that should have been Legendaries: Arcanine, Lucario, & more

James Busby
non-Legendary Pokemon

Legendary Pokemon are the most highly coveted creatures in the series, but there are a number of pocket monsters that fall just short of this status. 

Pokemon has always been home to incredibly powerful monsters. In fact, each game brings with it new Legendary creatures for players to catch and train. From iconic Psychic-type Pokemon like Mewtwo to the Sword & Shield’s Zamazenta, there are plenty of strong Pokemon that have made their way onto the Legendary list.

These powerful Pokemon don’t just have cool designs and powerful movesets, they also feature in numerous events, movies, and special giveaways. As a result, these Pokemon are highly sought after amongst trainers. However, there have been times when the boundary between Legendary and non-Legendary Pokemon has been blurred.

8. Unown

Unown Pokemon
Unown have a strong connection to Legendary Pokemon.

Unown certainly holds a special significance in the wider world of Pokemon, particularly pertaining to that of the movie Spell of the Unown: Entei. While these symbolic Pokemon come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the details surrounding them are still a mystery. In fact, the Pokedex entries for Unown state that “research into this topic is ongoing but nothing is known.”

Many Pokemon Gold and Silver fans once believed that catching all the Unown would lead to a big in-game secret. After all, many Unown are found within ancient ruins (Ruins of Alph), which would indicate that there is some greater mystery yet to be discovered.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. 

7. Rotom

Rotom Pokemon

This dual-type Electric/Ghost Pokémon confused many Pokemon trainers in Diamond and Pearl. After all, Rotom famously featured the Battle! theme, which is saved for Legendary Pokemon encounters. To date, Rotom is still the only non-Legendary Pokémon to do this. 

If the music wasn’t confusing enough, Rotom’s sighting in Diamond and Pearl also screams that of a Legendary encounter. During the player’s exploration of the spooky Old Chateau, they will come across a room with a TV in it. Upon interacting with said TV, Rotom will burst out and the Legendary Battle! theme will begin. 

Combine this with fact that Rotom doesn’t evolve, and you have a non-Legendary Pokemon that tricked many Pokemon fans upon its release. In fact, the only real giveaway here is that Rotom can breed with Ditto.

6. Dragonite

Dragonite Pokemon Go Premier Cup
Dragonite has long been a fan-favorite since gen-one.

Part of what makes a Pokemon Legendary is its rarity, strength, and overall mystery that surrounds it. While Dragonite failed to join the Legendary Pokemon club, it has been dubbed as a pseudo-Legendary by many Pokemon fans – joining the likes of Tyranitar, Salamence, Metagross, Garchomp, and more. The gen-one Dragon-type is the first pseudo-Legendary to make the list due to its “above average” stats. 

According to Red/Blue’s Pokedex entries, Dragonite is “an extremely rarely seen marine Pokémon. Its intelligence is said to match that of humans.” Dragonite’s illusiveness was also portrayed in the original Pokemon episode Mystery at the Lighthouse, where it was depicted as unknown giant Pokémon that avoided humans.

5. Zorua/Zoroark

Zoroark Pokemon
Zoroark certainly looks like a Legendary Pokemon.

While Zorark also had its own film (Zoroark: Master of Illusions) and unique event in Black and White, the Dark-type still didn’t get to join the Legendary party. This is particularly strange when you consider that this Pokemon is capable of hiding its “true identity by transforming into people and Pokémon.”

In addition to this superhuman trait, obtaining Zorua also wasn’t a particularly easy feat, either. In fact, players needed a special event Celebi to secure it. If you missed the Celebi giveaway or didn’t have any friends that could help you out, then Zorua would remain unattainable. Prior to Pokémon Black and White 2, Zorua was also the only non-Mythical Pokémon to have been event-exclusive. Despite this, Zorua and Zoroark remain popular non-Legendary picks.

4. Lucario

Lucario Pokemon
Lucario surprised many fans when it was found not to be a Legendary.

Lucario continues to be one of the most popular Pokemon thanks to its cool-looking design and powerful movepool. The Fighting/Steel-type famously made its first non-cameo debut in Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew. It’s not every day when non-Legendary Pokemon get their very own film, let alone feature alongside the most iconic Mythical Pokemon. 

As a result, many fans believed Lucario would be one of the Legendary Pokemon that would be obtainable in Diamond & Pearl. If that wasn’t enough, Lucario was also depicted as being one of the few Pokemon that is capable of telepathically communicating with humans. Despite its high intelligence and ability to “sense auras… and take in the feelings of creatures over half a mile away,” Lucario falls just short of claiming a Legendary title.

3. Volcarona

Volcarona Pokemon
Volcarona’s original encounter is befitting of a Legendary battle.

Velcarona duped many a Pokemon trainer thanks to its encounter method. While the majority of non-Legendary Pokemon can be found in numerous areas of the game’s overworld, Volcarona drastically switched things up. The dual-type Bug/Fire Pokemon only appeared at the end of Black and White’s Relic Castle.

After navigating through several mazes, players would finally find themselves in an ancient tomb. The encounter itself was certainly very reminiscent of a Legendary Pokemon battle, but many fans were surprised to find that it was just a normal Pokemon. 

2. Arcanine

Arcanine Pokemon
Arcanine really burs the Legendary line.

Not only does Arcanine look incredibly convincing as a Legendary dog, but it also has a lot of in-game lore that points towards it being worthy of this title. After all, the Fire-type Pokemon is officially dubbed as the “Legendary Pokémon”, while a Pokedex entry from Pokemon Yellow simply states that Arcanine is: “A legendary Pokémon in China.” 

If that wasn’t enough, this regal canine was famously featured alongside Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres on a stone tablet in episode two of the original anime. It certainly seems Arcanine was originally destined to be a Legendary Pokemon, especially given how it is displayed in both the games and TV show. 

1. MissingNo.

Missingno Pokemon
MissingNo. sparked a lot of excitement upon its discovery.

While MissingNo. “missing number” is not an official species of Pokemon, it certainly sparked a lot of excitement upon its discovery in 1999. The glitch Pokemon appeared as a dual Bird/Normal-type Pokémon in the European/North American copies of Red and Blue. After doing a series of in-game sequences, players could encounter MissingNo. while surfing off the east coast of Cinnabar Island. 

Many Pokemon fans speculated that the glitch Pokemon was a Legendary creature that was cut from the game. However, Nintendo later dispelled this rumor during an official statement where they said that “MissingNO is a programming quirk, and not a real part of the game.” Despite, this confirmation, we still think it would be great to see MissingNo. Make an appearance as a Legendary Pokemon in a future title. 

There you have it, eight Pokemon that should have been Legendaries in the series. Make sure to check out our Pokemon hub for all the latest news and updates.

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