Pokemon Sword and Shield are officially available to the public today, and that means there's no more need to rely on leaks for information anymore. Easily the most popular Pokemon Sword and Shield leaks of the bunch were the ones revolving around the new generations starter pokemon: Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble. So now that the game is officially out, here's a look and rundown of each of the starter Pokemon and their confirmed evolutions.
Each starter evolves into its secondary form at level 16. From there, each one will take its final form at level 35. Also, unlike most of the previous generations, Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble will remain a pure grass, fire, and water type, respectively, upon achieving their final evolutions.
As the first entry in Galar's Pokedex, Grookey gets to go first. The grass-type of the starter trio, Grookey is a monkey-based pokemon that evolves into Thwackey, the Beat Pokemon, and then Rillaboom, the Drumming Pokemon. Upon becoming the behemoth Rillaboom, Grookey becomes the starter with greatest physical offensive and defensive capabilities, sporting the most Hp, Defense, and Attack of the starter Pokemon. And while he may be the slowest of the trio, his signature move "Drum Beating" helps him out by lowering his opponent's Speed stat by one stage.
Rillaboom's Hidden Ability is Grassy Surge, which triggers the move Grassy Terrain automatically whenever Rillaboom enters a battle. Grassy Terrain lasts for five turns, and during those turns, all grass-type moves are powered up by 50%, the damage of all ground-based ground-type moves are halved, and all grounded Pokemon are healed by 1/16 of their health every turn.
Up next will be Scorbunny, the fire-type of the trio. Scrobunny is a rabbit-based pokemon that evolves into Raboot, the Rabbit Pokemon, and then Cinderace, the Striker Pokemon. As Cinderace, Scorbunny will become the most balanced Pokemon of the starters, with his only standout stat being his Special Defense. And while Rillaboom's attack is higher, and Inteleon's speed is better, Cinderace has a healthy dose of both, making him a very fast hard-hitter. Cinderace's Hidden Ability "Libero," helps it with this strategy by giving it STAB (Same-Type Attack Bouns) to every move it uses.
Also, unlike the other two, Cinderace has two signature moves. The first is his Pyro Ball, a move in the same power class as something like Fire Blast, only it has better accuracy, higher damage output, and is a physical move, which Cinderace loves. The second move is Court Change, which swaps the effects happening on both sides of the field. So if Cinderace battles an opponent with stat manipulating abilities, it can swap the effects.
Last but not least, there is Sobble, the water-type Pokemon. Sobble evolves into Drizzile, the Water Lizard Pokemon, and then Inteleon, the Secret Agent Pokemon. As Inteleon, Sobble is obviously the glass cannon of the group. It has the lowest HP, Attack, and Defense stat of the trio, but sports the greatest Special Attack and Speed.
Itss Hidden Ability "Sniper" tries to help it out with its quick-kill gameplan by boosting its critical hits from 1.25x the damage to 2.25x. Still, critical hits are inconsistent by their very nature, and running anything to try and boost this consistency turns into more of a chore than anything else.
However, out of all the signature moves, Inteleon has the most unique. Snipe Shot allows Inteleon to ignore draw-in effects. So if Inteleon finds itself in a double battle, and the opponent tries to prevent it from attacking its teammate with a move like "Follow Me," Inteleon will shoot its teammate anyway.
The other starter pokemon may not have made it into the game, but every starter in this generation does seem to be competitively viable in their own way. Inteleon is a little niche compared to the other two, but even niche has its uses, and fans are sure to enjoy whomever they pick because of this.
Pokemon Sword and Shield are out now exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.