Last summer, Nintendo finally dipped its toes into the mobile arena, putting its flagship Pocket Monsters literally in your pocket with Pokémon Go. Now the Pokémon floodgates are beginning to open, as The Pokémon Company has released Pokémon Duel for iOS and Android, in partnership with Heroz. Like Go, Pokémon Duel is all about collecting your favorite characters, but the fighting is much more interesting than Go’s gym gameplay.
The chesslike board allows players to formulate strategy depending on the strengths of their Pokémon and the weaknesses of their opponents. Players can choose six Pokémon from their decks to fight opponents in duels or versus AI in the single-player campaign. Each character has a unique wheel that you spin for different moves in battle. Lucky spins are important, but not as important as strategy, and that strategy begins with the right deck. Of course, most of the best characters are hard to collect—rated Rare or EX. But there are some more common Pokémon with special abilities that make them just as valuable as their legendary brethren.
Like all things Pokémon, I got hooked by my son, and I’m still jealous of his Ho-oh. But I finally collected Articuno from a booster pack so we’re even. But playing against EX figures, watching featured duels and examining the stats of each figure, we’ve come up with the 40 best Pokémon in the game. As you’d expect, team makeup and how they match up with opponents is just as important as how good your individual Pokémon are. Catch ‘em all!