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Villainous teams

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Villainous teams (English: Team ~; Japanese: ~団 -dan) are criminal organizations which form the core of the storyline of Pokémon games. There are six in the core series as of Generation VI: Team Rocket, found in Generation I, Generation II and the remakes of both generations; Team Aqua and Team Magma, found in the Generation III core games; Team Galactic, found in the Generation IV core games; Team Plasma of the Generation V games; and finally Team Flare of the Generation VI games. Six villainous teams have appeared so far in the various side series games: Cipher and Team Snagem of Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness; the Go-Rock Squad of Pokémon Ranger; Teams Dim Sun and Debonairs of Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia; and the Pokémon Pinchers of Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs. Whatever their goals are in their respective games, the one thing they all have in common is that they achieve their results through the misuse of Pokémon.


While Team Rocket has vague goals and is Mafia-like (or perhaps Yakuza-like, considering the Japanese background), the other known villainous teams Team Aqua, Team Magma, as well as Team Plasma have clear goals and are cult-like, fanatically believing that achieving their goals will bring about the best interests of the people of the world. Cipher and Team Snagem work together to steal Pokémon from others and create Shadow Pokémon from them, while the leader of Team Galactic wishes to recreate the universe in his image with the powers of Dialga and/or Palkia. The Go-Rock Squad plan to take over the Pokémon Rangers by capturing powerful Pokémon, making them cause disasters, then commanding the Pokémon to stop by using Stylers so they will be regarded as heroes. Team Dim Sun plans on using Pokémon to make energy for Altru Inc. and Almia. Each has an iconic leader - Giovanni (later missing), Archie, Maxie, N and Ghetsis, Lysandre, Evice and Greevil, Gonzap, Cyrus, Gordor, and Blake Hall respectively.

Team Rocket had extensive presence in Generation I, including running the Celadon Game Corner, invading Silph Co., and murdering at least one Pokémon. Even in the anime, where law enforcement officers are clearly present, Team Rocket's activities continue unhindered, as if they were above the law.

By Generation II, they have lost most of their power and attempted to re-group in the Johto region. They initially managed to take over the Goldenrod Radio Tower, only to be defeated by the player, forcing Team Rocket to disband yet again.

In contrast, Team Aqua and Team Magma's crimes are more extreme, including stealing a Pokémon, a meteorite, and one submarine; and causing catastrophes: halting the activity of a volcano and causing droughts and heavy rains by awakening Groudon and Kyogre.

Like Team Rocket, Team Galactic appears to run the Veilstone Game Corner. However, unlike the other teams, Team Galactic has several facilities. A warehouse and the headquarters are both in Veilstone City, and another building is located in Eterna City. Team Galactic is far more successful than the other teams in accomplishing their goals, as they have captured Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf, created the Red Chain, and temporarily capture Dialga or Palkia until the player character and the lake guardians (or, in Platinum, Giratina) foils them.

Team Plasma appears to work in a more mysterious attitude, especially their leader, N. Their goal is unlike the other villainous teams, not abusing Pokémon, but separating humans and Pokémon, comparing Pokémon under a Trainer's command to slaves. (They believe that liberation will actually help the Pokémon.)

The above refers to the games; however, there is a darker interpretation of the teams in the manga Pokémon Adventures.

Core series

Team Rocket

Team Rocket Grunts

Team Rocket members wear black costumes and have a red "R" as their crest. Many variations of the costume have been seen. Their leader is Giovanni.

In the games

In Generation I, Team Rocket often worked to gain money, through methods such as burglary and selling Fossils. Their plans culminated in a hostile takeover of the Silph Corporation building in Saffron City. The gang based their operations in the hidden basement of Celadon's Game Corner.

Initially, Giovanni was the leader of the Viridian Gym. After being defeated by Red, he resigned his position and disappeared to train. Team Rocket was disbanded at this time, but isolated groups still operated in the Sevii Islands until they were made aware of Giovanni's departure.

For three years, Team Rocket appeared to be gone completely. However, an underground movement, led by executives from the Sevii Islands, developed in the Johto region. As usual, it began with crimes committed to earn money (such as cutting off Slowpoke tails and selling them at outrageous prices).

As the Johto Team Rocket grew in size, scientists within the group studied radio waves and how they might be used to control Pokémon. From a former ninja base in Mahogany Town, their experiments affected the Magikarp at the Lake of Rage, causing the Pokémon to evolve unnaturally. Although the experiment was stopped by Lance, Team Rocket soon took over the Goldenrod Radio Tower, intending to use its transmitter to affect Pokémon nationwide and contact their leader, Giovanni.

Before putting their plan into action, however, Team Rocket used the tower to instead attempt to contact Giovanni, hoping he would hear their message and come back to lead. This gave Ethan/Lyra enough time to infiltrate the besieged Goldenrod and defeat Team Rocket's executives, who again disbanded the group. Meanwhile, a time traveling Ethan/Lyra from the future fights Giovanni while the other watches the fight. He then vanishes after the fight and Ethan and Lyra return to their time.

In the anime

Team Rocket has appeared in almost every episode since the second, usually as the bumbling trio Jessie, James, and Meowth, though at times Giovanni as well as other members, such as Butch and Cassidy, will appear.

In the manga

Pokémon Adventures

Team Rocket first appear in Pokémon Adventures when Red and Blue are pursuing Mew in Viridian Forest. They are led by Giovanni, who is portrayed in a much more sinister light than in the anime or games, as with Team Rocket on a whole.

Contrary to the games and anime, who generally depict Gym Leaders as valiant, with a few exceptions. In the Red, Green & Blue chapter, the three most prominent members of Team Rocket, collectively referred to as the Team Rocket Triad, are Koga, Sabrina and Lt. Surge. Like the other villainous trios, two members of the Team Rocket Triad (Sabrina and Lt. Surge) are true to their original calling (though as opposed to the other villainous trios, for them it is being Gym Leaders, not being members of their Team), while one goes his own way, that being Koga.

For a short time, Blaine too worked for Team Rocket, making 5 out of the 8 Kanto Leaders Rocket affiliated at some point in their life.

As in the games, Giovanni later disbands Team Rocket and shuns the Team Rocket Triad, and the four of them go their separate ways. Team Rocket make a brief comeback aboard the S.S. Aqua, but they are on the whole unsuccessful. Later, however, Pryce, under the guise of the Masked Man, reforms Team Rocket for his own uses. At this point his most prominent members are Carl, Sham, Karen and Will. Pryce plans to use Team Rocket to gain control of Lugia, Ho-Oh and eventually Celebi, and through that control time in order to save his Lapras's parents. After Gold convinces him to cease his villainous ways, he too disbands Team Rocket.

In the FireRed & LeafGreen chapter, Giovanni once again reforms Team Rocket, the most notable members now being the Three Beasts of Team Rocket. The main aim for Team Rocket is to reunite Giovanni with his son Silver through use of Deoxys. Like the other villainous trios, two of the Beasts remain true to their original calling as Rockets, those being Orm and Sird, while the other, Carr, goes his own way. In this arc, Silver is intended to inherit Team Rocket, but he instead shuns it. It is unclear what Team Rocket's fate are at the end of this arc, but with the members in disarray, it is most likely that it dissolved.

In the HeartGold & SoulSilver chapter, it was revealed that Carr had taken over Team Rocket and gathered the remaining troops together. His reign of power comes to an abrupt end, however, as the organization is then taken over by the four Rocket Executives, who intend to gather all the Plates and use them to control Arceus. With the unknowing help of Gold, Crys, and Silver, the Rocket Executives manage to enter the Sinjoh Ruins, where Arceus recreates Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina, which Archer intends to be an invincible army for Giovanni. However, when Giovanni arrives with Lance and Pryce, it is revealed that the battle of the three Legendary Pokémon would cause the destruction of both Johto and Sinnoh, as foreseen by Pryce when he was trapped in the time stream. Thanks to Gold opening up to Togebo, Arceus soon calms down the Legendary Pokémon, sending them back to their respective realms. As a reward of his good deed, Celebi then cures Giovanni of his long-time illness, allowing him to return to lead Team Rocket and its rebuilding. Silver still doesn't approve his father's criminal life, intending to stop Team Rocket and convince his father of the error of his ways one day by himself.

Team Aqua

Team Aqua Grunts

They wear blue costumes that look like pirate outfits. They have a skull-and-bones-like "A" as their crest. Their leader is Archie. Team Aqua tries to expand the ocean and awaken Kyogre.

In the games

Team Aqua is led by Archie. They attempt to expand the ocean and awaken Kyogre in Sapphire and Emerald, but help the player defeat team Magma in Ruby.

In the anime

In the manga

Pokémon Adventures

Team Aqua is led by Archie. Their principal aim is to gain control of Kyogre and increase the sea in the Hoenn region. There are three Executives, known as the SSS of Team Aqua, which can be considered a parallel not only to the Three Fires of Team Magma, but the Team Rocket Triad and the Three Beasts of Team Rocket. Like the other villainous trios, one member of the SSS of Team Aqua went his own way, but rather than leaving Team Aqua, it was rejoining after being kicked out.

Team Aqua and Team Magma are presented more individually in Adventures than in any other medium. Team Aqua seem to have more influence, with Archie holding the position of News Director, but they don't seem to be as well equipped, as shown by the fact that they had no idea what the Orbs were until Amber spied on Team Magma.

Team Magma

Team Magma Grunts

They wear red jumpsuit outfits, which have been variously interpreted to look like Ninja costumes or similar to an imp. They have a stylized "M", appearing like a volcano, as their team's signature crest. Their leader is Maxie. Team Magma attempts to wake Groudon and expand the land area of the world.

In the games

They are led by Maxie. In Pokémon Ruby their main goal is to increase the landmass of the Hoenn region. They are first encountered in Slateport City's Oceanic Museum, attempting to steal the Devon Goods from Captain Stern. Later, they steal a Meteorite from Professor Cozmo in Meteor Falls, and use it to try to cause Mt. Chimney to erupt. After being defeated, they aren't seen again until the player reaches the Weather Institute, where a group of grunts led by Courtney are looking for information about the legendary Pokémon, Groudon, and the weather Pokémon, Castform. Soon after, they are seen at Mt. Pyre, and succeed in stealing the Blue Orb. They then steal the Submarine Explorer 1 that Captain Stern built, and travel to the Seafloor Cavern with the Blue Orb to awaken Groudon.

In the anime

In the manga

Pokémon Adventures

Team Magma is led by Maxie. Their principal aim is to gain control of Groudon and increase the landmass in the Hoenn region.

There are three Executives, known as the Three Fires of Team Magma, which can be considered a parallel not only to the SSS of Team Aqua, but also the Team Rocket Triad and the Three Beasts of Team Rocket. Like the other villainous trios, one of the Three Fires of Team Magma goes her own way, in this example, it is Marge, who decides to help Ruby stop Groudon and Kyogre rather than further the cause of Groudon, as the Team's principal aim is. The Three Fires of Team Magma are more distinct from each other than the SSS of Team Aqua, because they all have an individual way of using fire. Marge's is the most straight forward, she simply aims to burn things, Mitch uses smoke to hide his movements and Mack uses heat to cause his victims to hallucinate, oddly, he seems to be able to control these hallucinations.

Team Magma and Team Aqua are presented as more individual than they are in any other medium. Team Magma is presented as better equipped in the field of capturing a Legendary Pokémon and using its powers for their own end, as shown by their knowledge and acquisition of the two Orbs, however, they are not as influential, and Archie is able to convince most of Hoenn that Team Magma are the only villains.

Team Galactic

Team Galactic Grunts

Galactic Grunts wear black and white jumpsuits that vaguely resemble spacesuits and wear their hair in teal bowl cuts. Their leader is Cyrus, who wishes to create a new universe by awakening Dialga or*/and* Palkia. Their team's crest is a stylized letter "G" (Possibly to make it resemble a spiral galaxy). Whereas the other teams usually have large logos on their uniforms, Team Galactic's logos are small, being barely visible on their battle sprites.

In the games

In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, this team's leader (named Cyrus) wishes to recreate the universe in his image with the powers of Dialga or Palkia. In Pokémon Platinum, the leader is still Cyrus, but this time, he tries to summon both Dialga and Palkia to create a world without spirit.

In the anime

Saturn, along with two grunts, appeared in A Secret Sphere of Influence!, though it was just a brief cameo at the end of the episode. Here, they commissioned Team Rocket to steal the Adamant Orb and frame Nando for the crime. At the end, they commented that they (Team Rocket) did a lousy job at it. This was not revealed until their next appearance, Journey to the Unown!. Saturn tries to locate the Unown and control them using a cube with an Arceus pattern. Cyrus, Mars, and Jupiter later appeared in Losing Its Lustrous and Double Team Turnover! with Saturn.

In the manga

In Pokémon Adventures
In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Adventure!

Like in the games, the team is led Cyrus. The team essentially has the same goal as in the games, but was possible that the Commanders did not know about the absolute plan of their leader, since Mars was shocked when Cyrus revealed that his ultimate goal was to create the universe and all of the life fully anew. Hareta, with the help of Mitsumi, a former member, and the Gym Leaders, managed to stop him. Later, Charon becomes the new leader and tried to capture Heatran. Mars and Jupiter left on a search to find Cyrus and were treated as deserters.

One of the most distinctive characters of the team is B-2, a grunt who has swollen buttocks due to Hareta biting him when they first met.

Team Plasma

Team Plasma Grunts as they appear in Black and White
Team Plasma Grunts as they appear in Black 2 and White 2

Team Plasma is the villainous team of the Unova region. Originally, the grunts wear a costume that resembles a knight's armor, while the Seven Sages wear robes. Their objective is to separate humanity from Pokémon. Their leader is N, although the team is being used to further the goals of his adopted father, Ghetsis. After this is discovered, the members of Team Plasma that support Ghetsis change their uniform to be more similar to pirates, while those that support N remain in the old uniform. Their crest is the letters P and Z combined together, looking like the Chi Rho.

In the games

Team Plasma appears in various locations. In Pokémon Black and White, their leader, N, is encountered very early in the game and is battled in many of Team Plasma's appearances. Eventually, N is able to gain control of ZekromB/ReshiramW, and defeats the champion Alder. After the player captures the other Legendary Pokémon and defeats N, Ghetsis reveals his true plans, battling the hero himself. After his defeat and arrest, Looker will ask the player to help him round up the remaining Sages.

In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, Team Plasma has split into two different factions. One of the factions consists of the few members of Team Plasma that are still loyal to N. The other faction, known as the new Team Plasma, is led by Colress. This faction is not attempting to release Pokémon, but instead take over Unova. They intend to accomplish this new goal by freezing the region and stealing all of the region's Pokémon. Having escaped from custody, Ghetsis once again reveals himself to be the true mastermind behind Team Plasma's actions.

The reformed members and N help the player against new Team Plasma, culminating in the defeat of Colress and Ghetsis — the latter controlling Kyurem. Following this, Colress officially disbands Team Plasma, retiring to P2 Laboratory. Ghetsis, having snapped and lost heart upon seeing his plans foiled, is taken away by the Shadow Triad, never to be seen again.

In the anime

Team Plasma's debut episodes were postponed due to Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan but was later retconned out of continuity. Their proper debut was in the Best Wishes Season 2: Episode N arc but in their new outfits.

N debuted at the end of New Places... Familiar Faces! and was properly introduced in the next episode. Colress, with some other grunts, first appeared in Team Plasma's Pokémon Power Plot! experimenting with wild Pokémon. Ghetsis made his proper appearance in Team Plasma's Pokémon Manipulation!. Also, Anthea and Concordia made their debut at the end of the episode rescuing N from Team Plasma. The Seven Sages appeared in a flashback in Secrets From Out of the Fog!. Like in the games, Team Plasma's plan is to use the strength of Pokémon and use it to take over the Unova region.

In the manga

201 Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details. 201

Team Flare

Team Flare Grunts

Team Flare is the villainous team of the Kalos region. Team Flare Grunt's uniform is a mafia styled red suit, while Admins wear more stylized white suits and Scientists wear red suits of varying designs. Their symbol is a flaming letter F.

In the games

At first, Team Flare's goal is claimed to be making the world "beautiful" with style and lots of money. Despite of their goal, several grunts and even their leader Lysandre confirm that they seek a world on the benefit of only those within Team Flare, disregarding anybody else. Team Flare would attempt to make money by stealing and selling Fossils. They would also syphon energy from the Kalos Power Plant, and later on steal Poké Balls from the Poké Ball Factory which they would use to increase their army of powerful Pokémon.

It is eventually revealed that Team Flare's true plan is to use the ancient Ultimate Weapon in order to obliterate all life except themselves in order to start anew, as Lysandre no longer sees a bright future for the current society — which, in his words, has grown to an an unsustainable level and is doomed by "unproductive fools" consuming the planet's limited resources. At this point, it is explained that all their actions were preparations to this goal: the energy from the Power Plant was needed to reactivate the weapon, and the large number of Pokémon was needed to feed it, as it is powered by their life energies.

Post Elite Four, the player is tasked by Looker to help him solve a series of crimes related to a person known as Essentia, which would be revealed to be the result of experiments by Xerosic, one of Team Flare's scientists.

Side series


A Cipher Peon

In the games

In Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness this group aims to turn every Pokémon in the world into Shadow Pokémon. Their leader in Colosseum was Evice and their leader in XD: Gale of Darkness was Greevil.

In the anime

Everything associated with Orre does not appear as in the anime. Due to the connection between Shadow Pokémon and the Iron-Masked Marauder's Dark Balls, it would not be surprising if this team were based on him.

In the manga

Team Snagem

In the games

In Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD this team tries to steal every Pokémon in the world using their special device, the Snag Machine. In both games, their leader was Gonzap.

In the anime

Team Snagem has not appeared in the anime at any point.

In the manga

Spin-off games

Team Great Rocket

In the games

In Template:Card GB 2, this team are located in the Trading Card Game Islands. They attempt to steal the Legendary Cards of the Grand Masters in Pokémon Card GB2: Here Comes Team GR!. Led by King Biruritchi, they take over TCG Island and kidnap several of the Club Masters.

Go-Rock Squad

Go-Rock Grunts

In the games

In Pokémon Ranger, this team attempts to capture the legendary beasts with their own version of the Capture Styler.

In the manga

In W Mission Story: Pokémon Ranger - the Comic, the Go-Rock Quads capture Deoxys and use it against the Rangers Lunick and Solana. They controlled Deoxys by the use of their instruments. The Go-Rock Squad could also change Deoxys's formes with them.

Team Meanies

Team Meanies in the anime

In the games

In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team, they are the enemy team. They harass the player and their partner many times, including stealing their personal rescue missions and attacking them. Eventually, the player has to rescue one of the members, and the leader of the team asks for help.

In the anime

Team Meanies appeared in the Mystery Dungeon anime short, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Team Go-Getters out of the Gate!. Like in the games, they are the enemy team to Team Go-Getters.

Team Skull

Team Skull

In the games

They are a team of Pokémon in the second pair of Mystery Dungeon games. It is made up of Skuntank, Koffing, and Zubat. They frequently harass the player's team, until Brine Cave, where Skuntank is injured. The two teams finally make up, and Team Skull is never seen again.

In the anime

Team Skull has not appeared in the anime.

Team Dim Sun

In the games

Team Dim Sun minions

In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, this team attempts to control all Pokémon in Almia Region. Their head Blake Hall's goal is to force all the Pokémon in Almia to produce limitless energy for his company, the Altru Inc.

In the manga

Phobos Battalion

In the games

Phobos Battalion are the enemies in Pokémon Trozei!. Their goal is to steal Pokémon to use their energy and power up a secret weapon called Phobosphere. Their leader is Baron Phobos.

In the manga

Pokémon Pinchers

Male and female Pokémon pinchers

In the games

The Pokémon Pinchers are a villainous team based in the Oblivia region, appearing in Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs. Their leaders are the Societea, four people who wish to extend their lives with the Golden Armor and rule the world.

In the anime

Two Pinchers and Red Eyes were seen in anime specials Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs (Part One) and (Part Two).

In the manga

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