Throughout his travels, Ash Ketchum has assembled and fought alongside numerous Pokémon teams. Due to his tendency to box his existing teams with Professor Oak in order to start anew, the only consistent factor in Ash's various teams is Pikachu. He approaches each new region as an experienced champion -- one who seemingly never ages.
When looking at Ash's teams across every region, some stand out more than others in terms of power. Which ones rank as his greatest, and which are among the weakest? By analyzing the power of his individual Pokémon along with the raw talent it took to train each one, we can determine Ash's greatest Pokémon League Team.
9. Ash's Orange Island Team
Ash's Orange Island team might be his absolute weakest. Yes, it led to him winning his first Pokémon League, but the team was essentially filled with restricted potential. Having Lapras and Squirtle together showed an over-reliance on water-type Pokémon. While Snorlax brought some diversity, this is essentially just Ash's Kanto League team with less diversity. It also felt at times that this group did not progress or evolve the same way it did during Kanto, or later in Johto. However, one undeniable advantage? This is when Charizard finally respected Ash enough to listen.
8. Ash's Unova Team
Ash's teams typically improved in general over time. The "older" and more experienced Ash became, his ability to assemble his Pokémon was better honed. However, Unova is the great exception to this, in part because much of his team remained unevolved and lacked their full potential. He would bring in Pikachu and Charizard, but Ash repeated the mistakes of his earlier teams by keeping Pokémon like Oshawott or Scraggy unevolved.
7. Ash's Johto Team
The Johto team suffered from losing Ash's best Pokémon and never really replacing them. Charizard later returns at key moments in Ash's journey, but at no point did he find a replacement trump-card Pokémon. Heracross is pretty unique among this group, but Chikorita -- later Bayleaf -- never reached its true potential as a Meganium.
The rest of this team never evolved and felt consistently as though they could have had more potential if they were better trained. They did make it to the Pokémon League and help Ash defeat Gary Oak, but only because key members from the Kanto team returned to the fold.
6. Ash's Kanto Team
Ash's debut team in Kanto failed to beat the Pokémon League, but that doesn't mean it was bad by any means. Yes, the Pokémon in this era remained mostly unevolved -- and yes, Ash gave up far too many of them like Haunter and Butterfree -- but this is the team that brought Ash Charizard. Some Pokémon, like Bulbasaur and Pikachu, refused to evolve multiple times and Ash worked to make them better rather than fail to bring out their potential. Furthermore, Ash caught 30 Tauros and a Haunter during Kanto. That has to count for something.
5. Ash's Hoenn/Battle Frontier Team
Ash caught the least amount of Pokémon during Hoenn, leading into the Battle Frontier. However, this is still one of his most solid and well-defined teams. Though Ash did rely on older Pokémon while adventuring in the Battle Frontier, the Hoenn team was incredibly powerful -- Charizard even defeated a legendary Articuno. This is also where Ash raised another starter, Treecko, to its final evolution, creating a powerhouse. Ash's travels during the Hoenn League showed he had great potential and could advance to the next level.
4. Ash's Sinnoh Team
Ash's Sinnoh team is the first where most of his Pokémon -- some classic and some newer -- evolve to their final form. In many ways, Sinnoh is one of the Pokémon protagonist's first signs of true maturity, especially considering he overcame intense obstacles like defeating his rival Paul. The only reason Ash didn't beat the Sinnoh League is that he had to confront the absurd power of Tobias, who pulled out multiple Legendary Pokémon and still struggled against Ash.
3. Ash's Kalos Team
The Kalos team is another sign of Ash's growing maturity as a trainer, being able to maximize the potential of all his Pokémon. His Greninja proved a powerful threat and, while he did eventually have to send his Goodra home, this pseudo-legendary dragon is one of Ash's strongest Pokémon ever. He ultimately proved his skill as a trainer by selecting particular types to have at his side when confronting the Pokémon League and beyond. This is also where he used Mega Evolutions, which definitely helped.
2. Ash's Alola Team
Alola has to be one of Ash's strongest Pokémon teams as it's the one that finally won the Pokémon League. While his Rowlet never fully evolved, Ash maximized its potential, making it even stronger than its evolved form. On top of that, Ash's mastery of Z-Moves led to him unlocking each of his Pokémon's hidden abilities. Still, the merits of his Alola team can be summed up rather simply: this is where he became a Pokémon Master.
1. Ash's Journeys Team
Ash's Pokémon Journeys team is still developing, but there's already one undeniable feature: having achieved his goals, he is now a Pokémon Master. Whatever team he walks away from now has the backing of all his previous Pokémon, waiting with Professor Oak for when he calls on them again.
All of Ash's future Pokémon are now trained under the context that he has finally achieved his dreams. He's proven that he can take any Pokémon under his wing and help them become the best they can be. That alone makes any future team Ash trains stand atop the list of his Pokémon teams. The potential waiting around the corner has never been higher.