Legendaries are classified according to two separate scales: the Populace Scale and the Faculty Scale. The former organises legendaries by number and population, whereas the latter arranges them by their strength and ability. Together, the dual scale system determines the overall status of each legendary, and with it the laws surrounding their competitive usage and conservation.
The Populace Scale
The Populace Scale is divided into three main catergories: singular, elusive and populous. Populous legendaries are those with a population of seventy or more, the most notable examples being latias and latios, which are found exclusively in the mountainous regions of Hoenn. Elusive legendaries typically have a low or undetermined population; articuno, zapdos and moltres, which dwell in small, isolated communities throughout the Japanese regions and are difficult to track, align with this category. Singular legendaries, by contrast, are ones without a population; they are individual, immortal pokémon, the only ones of their kind. Zekrom, Mesprit and Palkia are examples of such legendaries.
It is legal to capture populous legendaries for the purposes of rehabilitation, conservation, or in order to administer medical treatment, but not for competitive means. They can only be used competitively if they willingly partner a trainer, and even then only in free-for-all tournaments. Elusive legendaries face similar regulation, but their territories are more severely guarded. Capturing or attempting to capture such pokémon most commonly results in imprisonment. Singular legendaries, however, are shielded from all human interference, be it positive or negative. Entering their territory for any purpose is punishable by law, and attempting to capture one (a difficult feat in itself) carries a heavy sentence. Their use in tournaments is also prohibited, if only for the sake of fairness. Not that singular legendaries ally with trainers for such trivial purposes.
The Faculty Scale
The Faculty Scale is divided into four main categories. The boundaries between them are frequently debated.
Kamic - The Kamic classification is reserved solely for the most powerful legendary in existence, the one with the power to craft new life and shape matter to its own will. Most agree that Arceus is the only pokémon that aligns with this category, even though its very existence is debated in the first place.
Seraphic - Seraphic legendaries include trio masters and rulers of natural phenomena. They are of deity-like status, frequently discussed only in legend, and designated to control a particular aspect of the natural world.
Dominion - Dominion legendaries are generally immortal and singular, but never as powerful as Seraphic ones. They may be ruled over by them, or even completely independent, but they do not play a role in the preservation of the natural order. There is a rich history of these legendaries partnering humans, though never for a purpose as simple as competitive battle.
Mortal - Whilst obviously more powerful than most regular pokémon, mortal legendaries are those with limited lifespans. They typically live longer than human beings, but must still breed to preserve the future of their species. Only mortal legendaries, which are typically either elusive or populous, are legal to use competitively (under strict circumstances).
All Legendary Classifications
- Articuno - Mortal Elusive
- Zapdos - Mortal Elusive
- Moltres - Mortal Elusive
- Mew - Mortal Elusive
- Mewtwo - Although its existence would be concealed from the public, its classification would feasibly be Mortal Singular.
- Raikou - Dominon Singular
- Entei - Dominion Singular
- Suicune - Dominion Singular
- Ho-oh - Seraphic Singular
- Lugia - Seraphic Singular
- Celebi - Dominion Singular
- Regirock - Dominion Singular
- Registeel - Dominion Singular
- Regice - Dominion Singular
- Latias - Mortal Populous
- Latios - Mortal Populous
- Kyogre - Seraphic Singular
- Groudon - Seraphic Singular
- Rayquaza - Seraphic Singular
- Jirachi - Dominion Elusive (an unusual combination. They are thought to be immortal, or at the very least long-lived, but the existence of more than one has been confirmed).
- Deoxys - Dominion Singular
- Uxie - Seraphic/Dominion Singular (there is a great deal of dispute as to whether the lake guardians should be classed as Seraphic or Dominion. Some claim the former, insisting that their association with universal concepts such as knowledge and free will gives them a demigod-like status. Others, however, argue that they are only the representations of such concepts, not the rulers of them, thus should only be classed as Dominion. A consensus is yet to be reached).
- Mesprit - Seraphic/Dominion Singular
- Azelf - Seraphic/Dominion Singular
- Dialga - Seraphic Singular
- Palkia - Seraphic Singular
- Giratina - Seraphic Singular
- Regigigas - Seraphic Singular
- Heatran - Mortal Populous
- Darkrai - Dominion Singular
- Cresselia - Dominion Singular
- Manaphy - Mortal Populous
- Shaymin - Mortal Populous
- Arceus - Kamic Singular
- Victini - Mortal Elusive
- Cobalion - Dominion Singular
- Terrakion - Dominion Singular
- Virizion - Dominion Singular
- Keldeo - Debated. Most commonly thought to be Mortal Singular - a unique pokémon that, through its adoption by the Swords of Justice, developed legendary power and status. It is spoken of in historical records, but evidence generally suggests that it no longer exists, most likely due to its mortality.
- Tornadus - Dominion Singular
- Thundurus - Dominion Singular
- Landorus - Dominion Singular
- Reshiram - Dominion Singular (despite their legendary power, the Tao trio is too closely linked to human condition to be considered Seraphic. They do not safeguard the natural order - they adapt to the values of humanity).
- Zekrom - Dominion Singular
- Kyurem - Dominion Singular
- Meloetta - Dominion Elusive (regarded in a similar fashion to Jirachi)
- Genesect - Mortal Singular
- Xerneas - Seraphic Singular
- Yveltal - Seraphic Singular
- Zygarde - Seraphic Singular
- Diancie - Mortal Elusive
- Hoopa - Dominion Elusive (the mythology surrounding Hoopa is conflicting. Some of it states that there is only one, whereas some of it reports that many exist, all in competition with one another. Their undetermined population demands that they are classed as elusive).
- Volcanion - Mortal Elusive