Pokémon Sword & Shield will go down in gaming history. Not only for all the sweeping changes to the mainline Pokémon formula but for the infamous National Dex controversy. GameFreak’s Junichi Masuda announced earlier this year that there will not be a National Dex in the upcoming sequel.
Unfortunately, that means many players’ favorite Pokémon will not make the cut into the next mainline entry of the Pokémon saga. Datamined leaks reveal which the previous Pokémon will be included and which ones will not. While some are understandable, others are surprising given their history in the games, community and competitive scene.
Here are the most shocking National Dex cuts players will see in Pokémon Sword & Shield.
10 Fossil Pokémon
Fossil Pokémon tend to be a hit or miss. They either have widespread popularity or appreciation in the community (e.g. Aerodactyl, Armaldo), or they fade into obscurity and maintain a very small fanbase. Either way, how trainers obtain them are the same: do something in the story, get some fossils, take it to someone who can restore them, get Pokemon. Simple.
Sword/Shield could’ve been the opportunity to give some of these Fossil Pokémon new life. Instead of creating new Galarian forms for already well-known Gen 1 Pokémon, less popular fossil Pokémon could have different forms based on the fossil found. Let’s say for Archen, it can have another Form if a player got a Beak Fossil instead of a Plume Fossil. It’s a suggestion that probably won’t be fulfilled.
9 Igglybuff Line
Jigglypuff is a curious choice to leave out, especially considering its popularity throughout the history of the franchise. In the early seasons of the anime, it was a recurring character that would draw on people’s faces. Jigglypuff was changed into a Fairy-type in X/Y, and it was even featured in the Detective Pikachu movie.
Since Jigglypuff did not make the cut, that also means Igglybuff and Wigglytuff will not make a return. People arguably care more for Jigglypuff than its other two forms, but it does not diminish the disappointment.
8 Happiny Line
Like Jigglypuff, Chansey and its evolutions went from Normal-types to Fairy-types in Gen 6. Chansey is a classic Pokémon, associated with Nurse Joy and a caretaker-type of Pokémon. In actual gameplay, Chansey’s evolution Blissey is used as a tank Pokémon. Some competitive trainers will maximize her defenses and HP, spam stat-boosting moves and Baton Pass to another Pokémon.
Is it possible that the Happiny line was removed for this reason, but Blissey offers some strategical variety to the game. Most Pokemon that are used in competitive are either weak hard-hitters or overbearingly beefy and strong. Unfortunately, this pink Pokémon is gone for now.
7 Zorua Line
Zorua and Zoroark were instrumental Pokémon when it came to the marketing of Pokémon Black & White for the Nintendo DS. They even had their own movie and tie-in events, akin to Lucario who was also used to market Pokémon Diamon & Pearl at the time. The Zorua line has its special place in the Pokémon fanbase.
Cue the shock when fans found out that the Illusion Pokémon did not make the cut, even though Lucario did. Lucario is more viable competitively than Zoroark, who is too weak, and its gimmick isn’t that great. But obviously, that is not the reason it was cut. Fans of the vulpine Pokémon can only cross their fingers and hope they lurk around in the next entry.
6 Magby & Elekid Lines
You know those pairs of Pokémon that seem to be inseparable in each Generation? Espeon and Umbreon? Escavalier and Accelgor? Sawk and Throh? Magmar and Electabuzz were the original duo, representing the powerhouse Types of Generation 1: Fire and Electric. Their evolutions, Magmortar and Electrivire, burst onto the scene in Gen 4 with great stat boosts and powerful moves.
Since they’re listed in this article, their removal from the game was a real headscratcher. They’re not the best Pokémon, but they’re pretty powerful. They have amazing designs, were around when Pokémon GO first dropped, and newer players can attach to them. Missed opportunity, honestly.
5 Scyther Line
While some people are glad that Gen 1 is getting as much treatment as the rest of the Generations, they were stunned at the exclusion of some fan and competitive favorites. Scyther is an awesome, humanoid take on a praying mantis, and Scizor is its badass evolution introduced in Gen 2.
For a long time in competitive Pokémon, Scizor was an overpowered pick due to its speed, moves like Bullet Punch and the Technician ability. Scizor also got a Mega Evolution, which caused quite the stir in the community. His removal could be a means to balance the game, but that won’t stop the hurt.
4 Abra Line
Another Gen 1 fan favorite has been cut from Sword/Shield. Out of all the possible options, this one was a little puzzling. Alakazam is quite a success story throughout history. It was strong when Red/Blue first came out, and it continues to be a powerhouse, especially after gaining a Mega Evolution.
Now, because Alakazam is a classic Pokémon and is very viable throughout the game -- that’s probably why it was removed. It would easily overshadow any other Psychic-type or Special Attack-oriented Pokémon. For returning or longtime fans, it’s comfortable, familiar and easy. It’s understandable to remove the Abra line but still a little upsetting.
3 Ho-oh & Lugia
On top of most Legendaries and Mythical Pokémon getting the boot from GameFreak, this iconic duo will also not be returning. Ho-oh, the Rainbow Pokémon, and Lugia, the Diving Pokémon, are very near and dear to veteran players, especially the latter. Lugia had its own movie, a TV special and was featured prominently in the cult classic Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness.
Considering that the Kanto Region games got two remakes and the Johto Region only got one, fans of the neighboring region are feeling a little snubbed. Lugia and Ho-oh could have been featured as extra Pokemon in the post-game with new forms or abilities, but that would be a stretch in terms of the story and probably baiting… Poor Johto.
2 Most Psuedo Legendaries
This shook both the standard Pokemon community and the competitive community. Psuedolegendary Pokémon like Garchomp, Metagross, Salamence, Dragonite and Hydreigon will not be returning in Sword/Shield. For those who aren’t aware, Psuedolegendaries are Pokémon whose base stats total to 600, matching their strength to that of a Legendary/Mythical Pokémon.
These Pokémon tend to be strong fan favorites, particularly because of the characters who utilize them: Steven’s Metagross, Cynthia’s Garchomp, Lance’s Dragonite. They are also heavily used in the competitive setting, sometimes being must-picks. And we’re not getting started on Mega Evolutions.
Because Psuedolegendaries are so mechanically strong, they would also overshadow a lot of Pokémon introduced in Galar. At least Tyranitar is there?
1 Previous Starter Pokémon
What’s probably caused the most rage is that all Starter Pokémon except Gen 1 starters will not be returning to Sword/Shield. Favorites like Chimchar, Torchic, Totodile, Froakie, Chikorita and more will not be available in this entry.
What’s annoying to fans more is the favoritism toward Gen 1, especially the starters. They were also the first starters to get Mega Evolutions in X/Y, with Charizard getting two Mega Evolutions. Charizard also has a special Dynamax form, which is annoying both fans of the fire lizard and normal players.
Hopefully, there is some rotation in future games, where other starters and Pokémon will be available and Gen 1 starters will get the backseat for once.