As we all know, Pokémon is one of those franchises that fans tend to develop life-long appreciation for. So many of the players who immediately leapt into the Galar region on Pokémon Sword and Shield’s release have been playing since those heady days of late-90s Pokémania, which were ushered in by the original first generation games.
As we also know, sadly, not every Pokémon could make the cut this time around. The full National Dex is no more, which has meant that many beloved and iconic Gen I critters are nowhere to be seen. Let’s take a look at some of the saddest losses from the original 151.
10 The Abra Line
Have you ever happened upon a shiny wild Abra? Did you watch, crestfallen, as the stealthy little soul proceeded to Teleport away, crushing your hopes and dreams into sad hunks of salty defeat? If so, you might be totally fine with the idea of never seeing an Abra in the wild again. Good darn riddance.
That’s a little short-sighted, though. For old hands, Alakazam has been a powerful force in the meta for two decades. It isn’t the powerhouse it was back when the Psychic-type was almost unstoppable, but still. What an icon to lose.
For some, this may be an unusual choice. Of all Generation I Pokémon, why Kangaskhan? If you played the original game, you’ll know that this ‘mon’s main claim to fame was absolutely refusing to be caught in the Safari Zone, however many rocks and hunks of mud were thrown at it.
Kangaskhan’s meteoric rise to fame occurred on Pokémon X and Y’s launch, when it was gifted with a Mega Evolution that… well, Godzilla couldn’t have caused as much fear and destruction as Mega Kangaskhan if it had gigantic machine guns for arms and feet made of tarantulas. Mega Kangaskhan’s Parental Bond Ability was nerfed in Generation VII, but it was still a force to be reckoned with. Not only is Mega Evolution gone this time around, Kangaskhan itself has been removed.
8 Nidoran Male And Female Lines
Nidoqueen and Nidoking have always had a bit of an odd place in the meta. While their stats are nothing especially impressive on paper, they often tend to perform a good deal better than they really have any right to.
Nidoking is especially dangerous, with its impossibly varied movepool and Sheer Force Ability to boost the power of that silly coverage it has for some reason or other. They’re fan favorites and icons of the series, and it was a great blow to see them excluded.
7 Dratini Line
Ah, yes. For nostalgic fans of Pokémon Red and Blue, this was probably among the biggest losses of all. Do you remember hunting around for a super rare Dratini of your own and painstakingly levelling it up? Do you remember Lance’s cheat-tastic Dragonite, which just didn’t care that it had no way to actually learn Barrier? Then you’ll be sad to see that Dratini, Dragonair and Dragonite are gone too.
It’s especially sad because Dragonite has received so many nice buffs since those days. Extreme Speed, Dragon Dance, the Multiscale Ability… who knows what it could have be given this time around if it had made the cut?
6 Psyduck Line
Sure, some might tell you that Psyduck and Golduck aren’t much of a loss. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion, after all. The important thing to remember is that Psyduck is as iconic as it is adorable, and these people are wrong.
This one stings because Golduck had recently been seeing some action in the competitive scene, as the only truly viable Swift Swim user for rain teams in the Alola Pokédex. It was seen often with its bird friend Pelipper (now blessed with Drizzle), firing off rain-boosted Hydro Vortexes (Z-Hydro Pump) that would most definitely smart the next morning. Those days are now long gone. Z-Moves and Golduck itself are no more.
5 Staryu Line
For lots of fans, Staryu and Starmie are some of the most interesting and unique Pokémon of the first generation. There’s just something about their design; they look both familiar and mysterious at the same time.
Throw in the facts that Misty famously uses one in battle, they have access to a brilliant range of moves, and are versatile enough to be played offensively or defensively, and you’ve got a top-rate Gen I Pokémon that absolutely deserved to make the cut here.
4 Pidgey Line
Okay, so we may not mourn Pidgey, Pidgeotto and Pidgeot from a competitive standpoint. Aside from the still-rather-gimmicky Mega Pidgeot, when was the last time you saw a member of this line make an appearance in a serious battle? Never, that’s when. Don’t go getting all elitist on us, though. There’s more to the equation than that.
Come on, Pidgey is one of the very first Pokémon players encountered right outside Pallet Town! You can’t even cross the street to the store without encountering 11,384 of them in Pokémon GO! The Pidgey line is legendary, and it deserved justice.
3 Zubat Line
Speaking of being unable to take more than three-eighths of a step without being hounded by encounters, here comes our old friend Zubat. Another one you may not feel is too much of a loss, but stick with us here.
There’s something about the earlier encounters in the games that stick in our minds the most. The Route 1 Rattata/Pidgey grinding, that first tunnel that taught us how crucial it is to keep Repels stocked at all times… you can’t put a price on these memories. Zubat has become a meme in its own right, while Golbat is actually darn good (it shrugs off hits like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator movies with an Eviolite attached) and Gen II’s Crobat is very fast and relatively powerful. Totally deserving of a place in Sword and Shield.
2 Cubone Line
If you’re a fan of Trick Room, you’ll know what an unassuming powerhouse Marowak can be. With its Thick Club in hand, it’s hitting for double the damage that its stats would suggest. It can shred through teams given the right support. It was just recently given a lot of love in the form of Alolan Marowak, too, so you’d think that Game Freak might have wanted to keep it around.
They didn’t, though. Regardless of all of this (and of how tragic and iconic Cubone is), the plucky little Ground-type is gone as well.
1 Articuno, Zapdos, And Moltres
For newer fans, it’s odd to think that there was ever a time that Legendary Pokémon were actually very thin on the ground. A huge deal. Two decades later, there are huge numbers of Legendary and Mythical Pokémon, and the more common ones like Heatran are popping up on teams like they’re everyday occurrences.
Back in our day, though, we only had the original Legendary trio: Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres (plus Mewtwo and the super rare Mew, of course). We prized them. we appreciated them. We grew up with them. We wanted to see them in Generation VIII. Game Freak hopes we understand.