There has been a big leak for Pokemon Sword and Shield, namely large sections of the Pokedex for each game. This happened recently, and I’ve seen fans posting on social media about which starter Pokemon they will be choosing, why, and how they’ll be changing their team depending on which gym they have to take on, or just to ensure they have as many elements as possible covered at all times.
Personally I haven’t looked too closely at the Pokedex leaks. I did go in to take a gander, but found myself feeling guilty and a little cheated, not because the Pokemon are bad, but because I want to discover the evolutions of each Pokemon for myself, as well as the entire roster, throughout my time with the games. So this got me thinking, what are the benefits and drawbacks to planning your time with Pokemon Sword and Shield based on these Pokedex leaks?
For anyone who’s been waiting for Pokemon Sword and Shield since the last mainline RPGs in the franchise, planning might seem like a normal part of your routine for new game entries, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Planning, as I’ve already pointed out, allows you to do several things. First, you can explore which of the three starter Pokemon you want to begin your first playthrough with. These games are dozens of hours long, so it’s a big decision. Now that we know the evolutions for all three of these starters you can look into what elements they’ll develop, and therefore resistances as well.
Second, you can plan a great team before you even start, so you know which Pokemon you need to catch. Being able to see the final evolutions and elemental advantages of each Pokemon before you’re powering through the story will let you craft a team that’s basically unstoppable, or should be. As long as you put together as many elements as possible in you team, you should be able to take on any gym that comes your way, though I suspect that Pokemon Sword and Shield are going to throw a lot of curveballs at us.
The third and final reason to plan, or at least view the Pokedex leaks, is for the fun of it. Pokemon are brilliant, and checking out all of the news ones now is a great way of getting into Sword and Shield before they launch. You can view the Pokedex from the source that originally reported it, Polygon.
Not To Plan
Discovery is at the heart of Pokemon for some players, myself included. There’s something special about playing through the game and catching everything you see as soon as you see it, planning your team around how awesome they look, or their names. This often leads to completely useless teams, and backtracking while you level up your weaker Pokemon with the correct elemental attacks, but it’s fun. Looking at these Pokedex leaks ruins a big part of that discovery, even if they don’t expressly say where these Pokemon can be captured, which ones are legendary, or a number of other details.
Exploration is another big part of the Pokemon franchise. Players only get to explore the story, uncovering the characters and silly interactions once, after that it’ll all be familiar because every Pokemon fans does a new playthrough once a year. Each moment in the story is always punctuated by a particular Pokemon as well, such as Gyarados for the red variant in the lake in Ruby and Sapphire, or Snorlax and Sudowoodo for the routes they blocked, and the items required to wake them up. Without unknown Pokemon that we’ve never seen before to surprise us in these moments, they’ll fade into obscurity, and nothing in Sword and Shield will stand out.
Ultimately there is no right or wrong in this scenario. Each Pokemon player is going to have their own preference for what they do leading up to the launch of Sword and Shield. Let us know what your preference is in the comments.