Introduced in Generation II in an attempt to rebalance Typing as a whole, Steel Types should have taken the Pokémon world by storm. They were designed to hit hard, be sturdy, and change up the meta game. Unfortunately, Steel Types have been largely ignored by Game Freak ever since, with older Types getting priority when it comes to new designs.
That said, this isn’t to say there aren’t strong Steel Types out there. In fact, some of the strongest Pokémon in Generation VII’s metagame are Steel Types. Of course, not all Steel Types are created equally and some are undeniably better than others, but when Game Freak puts their mind on creating a new Steel Pokémon, they often knock them out of the park.
10 Celesteela (Gen VII)
Celesteela’s lack of speed would typically pose a problem for the Pokémon, but considering how well rounded it is otherwise, Celesteela actually ends up with a lot of different ways to counter its naturally low Speed. Not only does it have high enough Defense to tank a hit or two, its move pool will keep it alive effortlessly with a bit of creative thinking.
By coupling Leech Seed with Leftovers, Celesteela will be able to regain enough health to pose a serious threat in a competitive battle. A Celesteela that’s been EV trained in Speed will also be able to make up for some of the Pokémon’s inherent failings, contributing to a party member that’ll be sure to stay in the ring long after it should have fainted.
9 Ferrothorn (Gen V)
Pretty much any Pokémon that has access to Stealth Rock is going to end up serving a vital role on any team. As Stealth Rock damages any Pokémon that gets swapped in, it can allow players to keep a consistent health lead. Taking into account Ferrothorn’s insane defense stats and that lead will keep him active for quite a while.
In this respect, Ferrothorn is best used as a supportive Pokémon, enduring damage while dishing out enough perhaps not to outright faint opponents, but to set up fainting for later. Ferrothorn also has naturally strong STAB moves, meaning that it can realistically do some serious damage against the right Typing.
8 Mega-Scizor (Gen VI)
It’s kind of crazy how useful a Typing like Bug/Steel ends up being. With surprisingly excellent resistances, Scizor is able to Mega Evolve into Mega-Scizor, an even better version of his base form. Save for his HP, all his stats end up rising considerably with Mega-Scizor in particular hitting and tanking physical hits on a level few Johto Pokémon can muster.
His Ability, Technician, also buffs all his sub 60 power attacks with a 1.5 multiplier, making Mega-Scizor’s obscene attack stat all the more imposing. This is to say nothing of Roost, a move which allows Mega-Scizor to heal himself in battle, a rarity for most Steel Type Pokémon.
7 Magearna (Gen VII)
Like with Celesteela, Magerna will suffer from its low speed should trainers allow it to. It won’t hit fast and it won’t be hitting first more often than not. That said, Magerna has the stats to more than make up for its low speed. Not only is its attack high enough to do some serious damage, its special attack is even higher, dishing out monstrous damage at every turn.
Magearna also falls on the tankier side of things even if its HP is nothing to write home about. With the right EV training, Magearna should realistically be able to one shot other Pokémon with its killer special attack stat. Of course, should it get swept due to its low speed, that won’t be happening, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep Magearna alive.
6 Excadrill (Gen V)
Excadrill has some truly pitiful stats when it comes down to it. His defense, special attack, and special defense are all borderline terrible. At first glance, he’s a Pokémon that perhaps should be ignored. Fortunately for Excadrill, his Ground/Steel Typing ends up giving him a natural defense against the Electric heavy meta game.
More importantly, Excadrill is one of the better sweepers in the game even if he might not look it. His high attack stat makes fainting other Pokémon insanely easy for him. A Sand Rush Excadrill using Swords Dance is going to end up demolishing the competition in no time flat.
5 Jirachi (Gen III)
As a Legendary, it’s only natural Jirachi wind up with some advantages over his Steel Type counterparts. For starters, Jirachi has above average stats for literally every single stat. Though he excels nowhere, featuring a base value of 100 across the board, he’s not hurting in any single department, making Jirachi a very well rounded Pokémon.
Jirachi also has access to Healing Wish— one of the few healing based moves in the game— and excellent Typing. This allows Jirachi to play an active role for a quite a while. Jirachi also hits surprisingly hard and can cover a wide variety of different Type advantages, ensuring he can always contribute meaningfully.
4 Empoleon (Gen IV)
So, it’s important to make a distinction here: this doesn’t apply to current Empoleon. Rather, this only applies for Empoleon in his debut Generation. Much like Alakazam in Gen 1, Game Freak didn’t really plan around Empoleon’s inherent insanity. In Generation 4, Empoleon has resistances to eleven Types.
This alone allows Empoleon to utterly tower over the competition, staying alive far longer than he should. He’s undeniably one of the singlest best Pokémon in Gen 4, if not the best. Naturally, Game Freak did not let this be and Empoleon has been severely nerfed since. It was always bound to happen, though. Just look at Alakazam.
3 Mega Mawile (Gen VI)
In terms of pure stats, Mawile is the single worst Pokémon on this list. Mawile might realistically be one of the worst Pokémon in general going off stats alone. Bad attack and defense paired with awful HP, special attack, special defense, and speed lead to a Pokémon best left forgotten. Until one takes into consideration their Mega Evolution that is.
As Mega Mawile, Mawile becomes one of the best breakers and revenge killers in the game. His move pool is wide enough where he can end up covering just about any situation, plowing through the current meta game. Mega Mawile also ends up with reasonably high defense, giving the Pokémon a very reliable sturdiness.
2 Heatran (Gen IV)
As a Fire/Steel Type Pokémon, Heatran ends up with some very interesting resistances that end up keeping him alive fairly long in battles. His well rounded stats also force him to end up one of the more balanced Pokémon in the game, being able to survive multiple different scenarios while also engaging creatively with the opposition.
Of note, Heatran’s Lava Plume is quite the devastating STAB move. It hits often and it hits hard. While Heatran is unlikely to sweep due to his very low speed, he can realistically survive six altercations back to back if EV trained properly.
1 Aegislash (Gen VI)
The only Uber on this list, Aegislash really is one of a kind. His insanely high defense and special defense stats as a Base are going to keep him alive far longer than he should stay alive, and his Typing is unique enough where there’s not too much to actively hurt him. On the flip side, his Blade form is strong enough to decimate any Pokémon in its path.Aegislash can cover so much ground that there’s a good reason Smogon relegate him to the Uber tier. The only real downside to Aegislash is his lack of proper recovery. Leftovers can really only go so far when it comes down to it. That said, when it pertains to Aegislash, it likely won’t come down to it.