Although Pokémon Go has always been at least a couple of generations behind the core Pokémon games, it has also had small tie-ins when new core games have been released. When Pokémon Sun and Moon introduced regional variants, Pokémon Go introduced those variants, although Gen VII has still not reached the game.
When Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee were released, both games were used to introduce a brand new Pokémon, Meltan, and its evolution, Melmetal. It was long suspected that Pokémon Go would also be celebrating the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield with something fun for players. So it came as no surprise when dataminers uncovered Galarian Regional Variants hiding in Pokémon Go's code.
Things got even more interesting with the leak and datamining of Pokémon Sword and Shield. The ambitious players over at The Silph Road have combed through every stitch of Sword and Shield to combine that with what we already knew would be included in Pokémon Go and we're here to break down exactly what this means for you!
What are regional variants?
Introduced in Gen VII, the Alolan region was based on the tropical islands of Hawaii. Because of the drastic climate differences between these islands, existing Pokémon species evolved in different manners. Pokémon that players have known since Gen I were showing up with some pretty significant differences. For example, Exeggcutor, a thick palm tree with many faces in the place of coconuts, was now a massive tree over five times the height of a normal Exeggcutor.
Even better, the Alolan Exeggcutor was no longer a Grass and Psychic-type but rather a Grass and Dragon-type! Initially only using 18 Pokémon (several of which are from the same evolutionary lines) and only using Gen I Pokémon, this experiment gave players different faces for familiar Pokémon, and it was a huge success. As a result, the latest core Pokémon games, Pokémon Sword and Shield, will have a whole slew of its own regional variants.
Which Pokémon have regional variants in Pokémon Sword and Shield?
While not all of the regional variants for Sword and Shield have been officially announced, thanks to leaks and dataminers, we have a complete list:
- Mr. Mime
- Obstagoon *
- Perrserker *
- Cursola *
- Sirfetch'd *
- Mr. Rime *
- Runegrigus *
Expanding beyond Gen I and including brand new evolutions for these variants, this list isn't guaranteed to make it to Pokémon Go. While some have already shown up in datamining, Stunfisk, Darumaka, and Darumanitan are currently unreleased Gen V Pokémon.
They may see a release alongside Pokémon Sword and Shield, making room for their Galarian variants to join Pokémon Go's Pokédex. It is also uncertain if the new evolutions, like the Galarian Meowth's Perrseker, would be introduced given that they aren't variants at all but divergent evolutions.
What potential do these regional variants have for Pokémon Go players?
Assuming that all of these Pokémon are brought into Pokémon Go, there are a few who could stand out as more than just new Pokédex entries. In large part, any Pokémon's usefulness in Pokémon Go relies on more than just its stats. The potential move pool makes all the difference, and while we know the potential move pool for these Pokémon in Sword and Shield, Pokémon Go has always had more limited move pools so Niantic's choices on available moves will make or break most of these:
- Meowth and Perrserker: We might not see this one at all given it is not a variant of Persian but rather a new evolution altogether. Perrserker's move pool is varied, and its defense against Steel types could make it quite useful in PVP.
- Ponyta and Rapidash: As a Psychic and Fairy type, Galarian Rapidash keeps the same stats as its Kanto version but has access to some great moves. In PVP, this rainbow unicorn could be extremely useful!
- Farfetch'd and Sirfetch'd: A variant of an already region-locked Pokémon, it's uncertain if players will be able to catch this new variant at all or if it will be restricted to Asia like its Kanto counterpart. If it is available, the Galarian Farfetch'd will have Great League potential as a pure Fighting-type with excellent stats and a great potential move pool. Its evolution, Sirfetch'd, might not make it to Pokémon Go at all for the same reasons as Perrserker, but even if it does, its move pool is somewhat disappointing.
- Weezing: A Poison and Fairy-type, Weezing currently only has Tackle for a fast move, making it mostly useless. However, in Sword and Shield, Weezing will have a lot more useful potential moves that, if implemented in Pokémon Go, could make it far more effective.
- Mr. Mime and Mr. Rime: While these variants of already region-locked Pokémon are fun to watch, that's about all they'll ever be. With their abysmal stats, even an impressive move pool won't save either.
- Corsola and Cursola: Another region-locked Pokémon, Corsola can only be caught around the equator. Whether this same region-lock will apply to its Galar variant is not yet known but I, for one, certainly hope not. As a pure Ghost-type, Corsola's stats put it competitively in the Great League. Plus, it's new evolution, Cursola, has incredible Ghost DPS, putting it close behind Chandelure and Gengar.
- Zigzagoon, Linoone, and Obstagoon: While Obstagoon isn't a guarantee to reach Pokémon Go, even if it is introduced, it's not particularly useful. These three are just pretty new entries for your Pokédex.
- Darumaka and Darmanitan: Regional variants of currently unreleased Gen V Pokémon, it's uncertain if either of these will make it into Pokémon Go yet. Still, if they do, Darmanitan has the potential to be the best Ice-type attacker in the game. Darmanitan also has a separate forme obtained through Zen Mode that adds a secondary type. The original Darmanitan went from pure Fire to Fire and Psychic, but its Galarian counterpart becomes an as a yet unheard of Ice and Fire-type. On top of an incredible type mix, the Zen Mode Darmanitan could have one of the highest potential TDO in the game.
- Yamask and Runegrigus: Another new evolution, Runegrigus, might not make it to Pokémon Go yet. It has an interesting move pool but not much else going for it. Still, it looks pretty cool.
- Stunfisk: This Gen V Pokémon hasn't reached Pokémon Go yet, so no word on whether we'll be getting its Galarian variant any time soon. However, its type mix of Ground and Steel makes it extremely resistant with very few weaknesses. This one could be beneficial in PVP if given the right move set.
For more details on the specific stats, move sets and the like, the folks over at The Silph Road went in depth over here
Any questions about regional variant Pokémon and Pokémon Go?
So, there you have it. Every possible Galarian variant Pokémon Go could introduce. We probably won't see them all, but we will certainly see some. Which are you most excited for? Do you have any questions or speculation on how these great new Pokémon will be introduced? Drop us a comment below, and be sure to check out our extensive guides and coverage for Pokémon Go and Pokémon Sword and Shield!
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Casian Holly has been writing about gaming at iMore since 2019, but their real passion is Pokémon. From the games to the anime, cards and toys, they eat, sleep, and breathe all things Pokémon. You can check out their many Pokémon Go and Pokémon Sword and Shield guides and coverage here on iMore.