Though baby Pokémon are often derided by players for their relative uselessness, being weaker pre-evolutions of existing Pokémon, it is difficult to deny the way they trigger my ingrained evolutionary instincts to nurture and protect my young. For this reason, some could argue they are in fact more powerful and holdable than their evolved counterparts. First introduced in the second generation games, baby Pokémon have been added in each subsequent Pokémon game for a total of 19 adorable little sweetiepies. Today, we’ll be ranking each one based on how receptive they were when I tried to give them a nice pat on the head.
#19 — Mantyke
Starting off our list, we have Mantyke, a Water/Flying-type Pokémon who I could not get to land long enough to pat its soft, bulbous antennae. When it traded the gentle safety of the skies for the salty ocean currents, I attempted to pursue it on boat, but ended up capsizing and had to be resuscitated after risking it all for one single, slimy pat.
#18 — Azurill
Poor guy. This Normal/Fairy-type Pokémon was anything but normal when I approached, hand raised, itching to dribble its tail like a basketball (gently). It ran away sobbing. I’m so sorry, little friend. Maybe next time?
#17 — Munchlax
Tried to bite me! What the hell?
#16 — Tyrogue
To be honest, I didn’t try very hard with this Fighting-type Pokémon, and that’s on me. It’s just… it just looks like some dude, you know? Like a grown man, almost. I don’t want to pet some dude. Where would you even pet it?
#15 — Wynaut
My first success! It took a bit of sizing each other up, but Wynaut eventually let me approach, and I was able to pat the weird thing on its head. It seemed happy enough, though I’m still not sure if it knew what was happening.
#14 — Elekid
This Electric-type Pokémon broke into my home. It drained all the electricity in my house, then stood above my bed while I slept, none the wiser. Maybe it stood for hours in the dark. They say the human brain generates electricity as it spins the lie of reality before our eyes. Perhaps Elekid hungered for that secret feast inside my skull, wanting what it could not have, or would not take. When I awoke, it was gone.
#13 — Smoochum
For a Pokémon who loves to kiss, you’d think Smoochum would be comfortable with other forms of intimacy (head pats). Sadly, that wasn’t quite the case, but it did accept a nice kiss on the head, which was a sort of pat. A lip pat.
#12 — Cleffa
I was urged repeatedly NOT to touch the squiggle on its head. This proved impossible. Is it hair? Is it flesh? Is it vestigial? I had to know. Though knowledge brought me no comfort.
#11 — Magby
Tried to bite me! But I got what I came for.
#10 — Togepi
Togepi was so shy when I met it, but warmed up in no time! You would think the spikes on its head would make it difficult to give a good pat, but I cannot overstate how this is simply NOT TRUE. They’re actually quite soft and rubber-like, and you can bend the center spike forward and boop Togepi on the nose. Well, if it had a nose, that is. This Pokémon is only ranked relatively low on this list because it offered me a bribe for number one placement, which left a bad taste in my mouth.
#9 — Chingling
Chingling did not move when I approached it. It remained perfectly calm for the entirety of our interaction. Its eyes were open, but it never blinked. Now that I think of it, I think this Chingling was dead. Christ, did I pet a dead Pokémon? I should go wash my hands again.
#8 — Happiny
For those asking, yes, I got to pat the egg too. I will return to this happy memory as often as my dreams will take me there.
#7 — Pichu
This sneaky rat bastard didn’t make it easy. I chased him through three gyms and two parking lots and I’m not even sure it was the same one I eventually caught. I snatched it up by the tail, wriggling like a damn fish, and gave it a firm pat on the head, which was great. Afterwards, Pichu looked at me like I was the scum of the earth. I’ll admit, I was shamed.
#6 — Riolu
Though I’ve never been a big Riolu fan, this one managed to sway me with its enigmatic bow and its patience while I decided whether it was wise to go for its black ear things. I decided against it and went for the classic pat. Riolu flinched ever so slightly at my touch, but soon we seemed to come to an understanding in our own solemn, professional way.
#5 — Bonsly
Authorities will never find this Bonsly. After our encounter in the wild, I took it home and planted it in my garden, up to its eyes so it couldn’t move, and I pat it there as often as I like.
#4 — Toxel
This Electric/Poison-type Pokémon seemed really down when I met it, which made it a prime target for a pat on the head. Toxel didn’t disagree, as it nuzzled up to me and made happy sounds upon repeated patting. Definitely a highlight of my week, and presumably Toxel’s week, too.
#3 — Mime Jr.
Upon reflection, Mime Jr. was probably a little too excited to get a pat on the head. It made me question its intentions. That said, in a ranking of how receptive baby Pokémon are to a pat on the head, you can’t get much higher than “wants it so bad it scares you”.
#2 — Budew
Planted in the garden with Bonsly.
#1 — Igglybuff
Was there ever any doubt? Our number one spot belongs to Igglybuff, the sweet, bouncy Normal/Fairy-type Pokémon! Igglybuff has been a personal favorite Pokémon of mine ever since I fell for its siren song upon awakening one night alone in my house, sensing an Elekid who was no longer there but whose presence lingered still, on a deeper level than my lizard brain could comprehend. I followed the echo of a dream deep into the grasslands where Igglybuff welcomed me with a look that said, “you are perfect, you will be okay, you are loved,” and our pact of friendship was sealed with a single, perfect pat on the head.