After years of waiting, Pokemon Sun and Moon are finally here! While it's always nice to take an updated walk through the older games, Nintendo is easily at its best when it's introducing new regions, characters, and Pokemon into the series. Generation VII is no exception: it's clear that Nintendo has gone above and beyond to shake up the series' long-running formula.
Nowhere is this more evident than with the new Alolan Pokemon: these new creatures are some of the most creative Pokemon in years, with a wide variety of shapes, sizes, skills, and elemental Types. Even better, many of the new Pokemon feel right at home alongside their classic brethren. Much like the game as a whole, Nintendo has shaken things up quite a bit with the Pokemon designs, and it's definitely paid off.
Of course, some Pokemon will always stand out over the others. While we can't go over each and every one of Generation VII's newest monsters, here are the 15 new Alolan Pokemon that you absolutely need to know about.
If there’s one Pokemon from Sun and Moon that immediately captured everyone’s hearts, it’s Rowlet. Right from the get-go, the Grass-Type starter was most fans’ favorite - and, going on what Nintendo has revealed, that affection hasn’t been misplaced.
First off, the fact that it’s a Grass/Flying hybrid makes for some interesting battle applications - even if its moveset is surprisingly light on actual Grass-Type moves. Granted, its typing also leads to some serious weaknesses, including Flying, Poison and Fire - but, at the very least, things start to get better as Rowlet hits its final stage of evolution. Instead of sticking with the Grass/Flying hybrid, Rowlet’s final form, Decidueye, switches over to a combination of Grass and Ghost-Type.
On top of all that, Rowlet is just plain adorable. Many will argue that its second and third forms aren’t nearly as lovable, but that doesn’t stop Rowlet from being one of the cutest (and well-designed) Pokemon of Generation VII. Grass-Type starters never seem to get as much love as their Fire- and Water-Type brethren, but Rowlet may end up changing that.
Pokemon with multiple forms are nothing new. Some are simple, like the different wing patters on Vivillon, while some species feature change their shapes and abilities entirely between forms. Oricorio may be the best example of such a Pokemon: not only does the Dancing Pokemon fit in perfectly with the tropical setting of Alola, but each form comes with a new set of skills and abilities.
There are four different version of Oricorio in Alola: Pom-Pom, Sensu, Pa’u, and Baile. Each represents a different form of dance, as well as a different elemental typing-- for example, Pom-Pom Style is Electric/Flying, while Sensu Style is Ghost/Flying. The birds may share a common name and silhouette, but the different styles do a lot to keep them from feeling like carbon copies of one another.
It might not be the most balanced strategy, but it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see an entire team comprised of Oricorio. Who knows-- maybe Nintendo has something up its sleeve for trainers who manage to catch one of each form...
13 Type: Null
As strange as it may sound, man-made Pokemon aren’t all that uncommon. Voltorbs appeared when humans began manufacturing PokeBalls, Muk and Trubbish are a result of pollution, and Banette is the soul of a Pokemon that inhabits an abandoned doll.
In most of these instances, the creation of said Pokemon was accidental. Type: Null, on the other hand, represents one of the few attempts to create a Pokemon for a specific purpose. What’s worse is that, save for the team that created it, no one knows what exactly Type: Null’s purpose is.
It’s because of this ongoing mystery that many fans assumed that Type: Null would play a major part in the story of Sun and Moon. Without going into spoiler territory, Team Skull was clearly the obvious bad guy, but there’s definitely a sinister aura to the Aether Foundation. It’s also worth mentioning that both Type: Null and its evolution, Silvally, are clearly based on the chimeras of ancient mythology. But what kind of Pokemon were stitched together to create Type: Null in the first place, and why?
To be serious for a second: without actually spoiling anything, Cosmog ends up playing a pretty big part in Pokemon Sun and Moon's story. We won't be going into it, simply because there are still a lot of people who haven't made it all the way through the game's main story, but rest assured-- there is more to this little puff of stars than you might think.
That being said, Cosmog isn't on this list because of his role in the game's plot.
Like many of the new Alolan Pokemon, Cosmog is absolutely adorable. Its two star-studded tufts, its surprised expression, its cloud-like body-- it may be shallow, but Cosmog made it on this list simply because of how darn cute it is. Hopefully, it’ll be worth fighting with in the long run, but until then, most fans will probably be happy just to snuggle up to it.
Real talk: all dragons are awesome, no matter how old they are.
Ignoring the fact that Dragon-Types have dominated the competitive game for years (more on that later), Drampa is one of those Pokemon that just feels right. The design, the colors, the lore-- it’s clear that Drampa could have fit in right alongside the original 151, something that can’t be said for many recent Pokemon additions.
What’s even better is that Drampa boasts one of the sweetest, most adorable PokeDex entries in recent memory. From the official Pokemon website:
“...Drampa love communicating with people and Pokémon. Drampa are especially gentle with children and often appear at schools and parks where children gather.
While Drampa is usually a very gentle Pokémon, it can fly into a rage if a child it cares for is hurt in some way. The Dragon Breath move that it fires off at such times is powerful enough to blow down buildings!”
Obviously, the only thing that’s better than a dragon is a dragon that’ll protect its loved ones with giant, city-destroying fireballs.
The intelligence of Pokemon is a hotly-debated topic. Some fans claim that, despite the fact that they can say their own names, Pokemon are essentially simple animals. Others believe that, based on their ability to bond with trainers, Pokemon are far more intelligent than any real-world animal. While Nintendo may never come out and which side of the argument is correct, there are definitely a few Pokemon that are just as smart (if not smarter) than humans. Alakazaam, for instance, is said to have an IQ of 5000.
While Oranguru may not have such a high intelligence quotient, its PokeDex entry all but confirms that the Sage Pokemon is smarter than most. The PokeDex states that Oranguru are known to go out of their way to help sick and injured Pokemon, even going so far as to use human tools. There’s also mention of Oranguru being mistaken for humans during ancient times, which should speak for itself.
Say what you will about its bizarre Normal/Psychic typing, but the idea of raising a Pokemon that’s just as smart as its trainer definitely changes up the status quo.
9 Wishiwashi (School Form)
Over the past few years, the designs for fish-like Pokemon haven’t been all that strong. Magikarp is a classic, and monsters like Sharpedo and Relicanth are great, but was anyone really hoping for Pokemon like Stunfisk or Gorebyss? Even Generation VII’s Bruxish is a bit much... but, thankfully, Wishiwashi balances things out.
On its own, Wishiwashi doesn’t seem all that impressive. It’s literally called the "Small Fry Pokemon", and the fact that it’s a basic Water-Type probably won’t turn many heads. However, once Wishiwashi hits a certain level, it gains the "Schooling" Ability-- and that’s when things get interesting.
By pulling in dozens of other fish, Wishiwashi’s School Form is a massive upgrade over its original, undersized appearance, and the fact that it receives a sizable boost in power certainly helps turn the odds in favor of its trainer.
Simply put, Wishiwashi is a great twist on a classic formula: longtime trainers are used to raising weaker, fish-like Pokemon into something stronger, but it’s never taken shape in the middle of a battle before!
Ever since the days of Generation I, Dragon-Type Pokemon have played a huge role in the competitive battling scene. For years, fans complained that Dragon-Types were too powerful, and that their immense strength and high base stats gave them an unfair advantage over other Pokemon. Despite this, Dragon-Types still remained of the most popular Pokemon in each subsequent generation-- and it’s safe to assume that Kommo-o will continue that trend.
To be fair, the entire Kommo-o line (which includes its pre-evolutions Jangmo-o and Hakamo-o) is fantastically designed. That being said, the final two stages have a distinct advantage over the first: the change from a pure Dragon-Type to the potentially devastating Dragon/Fighting hybrid.
It's still a bit too early to tell, but there’s a good chance that Kommo-o will be a huge part of Sun and Moon’s early battling scene. Not only is the tropical dragon a sight to behold, but the potential stats and movesets for a Dragon/Fighting hybrid is unparalleled. Like many of Sun and Moon’s new Pokemon, Kommo-o is something that fans have never seen before. That’s more than enough reason to get excited.
7 Alolan Dugtrio
Let’s be honest: the original Dugtrio is more creepy than anything. Ever since the original games launched, fans have speculated about the origins of Diglett’s evolution: are the three heads attached, or do they simply move in unison? What are they hiding by always burrowing below ground? Why are they always so angry?
In Generation VII, none of that matters.
When Nintendo first announced the new Alolan forms, few thought that Dugtrio would ever be included-- and even fewer expected it to sport such a glorious head of hair. It’s absolutely ridiculous, to be sure, but it also feels right: after all those years of digging around with a bald head and angry gaze, Dugtrio can finally reveal its true self.
And, as with all of the Alolan forms, Dugtrio has a new elemental typing-- in this case, Steel. There’s still no telling how useful this specific hybrid will be in high-level play, or what Dugtrio’s new move-set will look like, but... does it really matter when your hair looks that good?
There are a few different elemental typings that, over the years, have fallen by the wayside. We recently spoke out for Bug-Type Pokemon, but if there’s one Type that’s gotten an even worse rap, it’s the Poison-Type. For years, poisonous Pokemon have been passed over in favor of monsters with higher damage output and stronger stats. Even iconic Generation I Pokemon like Koffing and Weezing aren’t used for much more than nostalgia... but Salandit might just turn things around.
In a lot of ways, Salandit seems to be Nintendo’s effort to bring the Poison-Type Pokemon back into the primetime. The Corrosion Ability, which allows Salandit to poison any Pokemon (regardless of Type) could have huge repercussions in terms of how battles are played out. There’s also Salandit’s Poison/Fire typing, which could give it access to some incredibly powerful attacks.
It’s unlikely that a single Pokemon will bring an entire elemental type back into the fold, but Salandit could be the first step in making a Poison-Type team viable. It certainly helps that he’s pretty darn cute, too.
Pokemon based on specific objects are extremely hit-and-miss. For every Lunatone, Solrock, and Cofigarus, there are ten Klefki, Electrode, and Vanilluxe. Most of the time, these Pokemon feel like wasted potential; lazy attempts at creating something recognizable. Yes, people have to deal with bags of garbage all the time, but did Nintendo really need to turn an actual trash bag into a Pokemon?
Sandygast manages to avoid those same pitfalls by working in tandem with Pokemon Sun and Moon‘s setting. Ghost-Type Pokemon are known for taking on a form that reflects their surroundings when they passed, so it only makes sense for a spirit born in the tropics to assume the shape of something from the beach.
Not only that, but Sandygast’s Ghost/Ground typing is something that players have only seen once before. As with all Ghost-Types, fans will have to wait and see if Sandygast is durable enough for high-level play, but even just the idea of trying out a new moveset is more than enough to earn a spot on this list.
And, like many of the other previously-mentioned Pokemon, Sandygast is just plain cute. Bonus points for adorableness!
4 UB-05 Glutton (Guzzlord)
Somehow, the secrets behind the Ultra Beasts managed to stay hidden until Pokemon Sun and Moon's launch. There have been a metric ton of different leaks over the past several months, but none of them divulged any sort of meaningful information about the strange pseudo-Legendary Pokemon whatsoever. Without going into spoilers, know that they play a surprisingly creepy role in the plot of Sun and Moon.
If there is one thing that’s certain, it’s that the designs of the Ultra Beasts are unlike anything else in the Pokemon franchise. Not only are they far removed from the series’ traditional art style, but they’re far more grotesque than anything players have seen thus far. Just take a look at UB-05, also known as Guzzlord. True, there have been plenty of Pokemon known for their eating habits, but Guzzlord takes it to another level. Its entire being is literally nothing but a mouth that seemingly goes on forever.
Clearly, the Aether Foundation has something to do with the appearance of UB-05 and the other Ultra Beasts, but you'll have to play through the games yourself to see exactly what's behind their sudden appearance.
Legendary Pokemon have always been a bit inconsistent when it comes to quality designs. The Legendary Birds of Generation 1 are iconic, and Generation III’s Weather Trio are great, but there are also misfires like the Lake Guardians or the Forces of Nature.
When it comes to the Legendary Pokemon of Generation VII, however, things are looking good. To be fair, the idea of yet another Legendary lion might throw some fans off, but Solgaleo’s design is spot-on. The bright white fur, the dark black accents, the absolutely ridiculous amount of muscles-- if Nintendo was trying to make Solgaleo look strong and intimidating, they certainly succeeded.
On top of all that, Solgaleo’s typing raises some interesting questions about the game’s story. Many expected a Pokemon based on the sun to be a Fire-Type, but Solgaleo is actually a Psychic/Steel hybrid. It may sound random, but Solgaleo’s typing is actually an in-depth reference to alchemy, something that hardcore fans have cited as a recurring theme throughout Pokemon Sun & Moon’s pre-release media.
Lunala is definitely a great Pokemon, that’s for sure, but let’s be real: Solgaleo definitely takes the top spot when it comes to Generation VII’s new Legendary monsters.
2 Alolan Exeggutor
Just... look at it. Look at that magnificent, ridiculous tree monster.
Let’s be honest: no one really cared about Exeggutor when it first appeared in Pokemon Red & Blue. It was weird, sure, but there were plenty of stronger Psychic-Type monsters in the game that didn’t look like a walking palm tree. There’s also the fact that players would need to use a rare Leaf Stone for Exeggcute to even evolve, something that was typically reserved for other, more popular Pokemon.
...then Nintendo revealed Pokemon Sun and Moon’s new Alolan Forms, and the rest was history.
Sure, the Dragon/Grass typing makes absolutely no sense (and could be terrible when it comes to actually battling), and that little head on the end of its tail is strangely terrifying, but that’s what makes the Alolan Exeggutor so great. It’s the sort of weird that Pokemon fans can get behind, while somehow fitting in perfectly with the new game’s location.
Purists may scoff at the idea of Nintendo introducing new takes on classic Pokemon, but most fans seem to love the idea --especially when the resulting Pokemon is such a noticeable improvement over the original.
From the very beginning, Pikachu has been the mascot of the Pokemon franchise. Ever since, Nintendo has been trying to recapture that same magic. Each new game in the series comes packed with its own electric mouse, and yet, none of them have ever lived up to the original.
It should come as no surprise that one of Generation VII’s most popular Pokemon is a literal copycat of Pikachu. Then again, to call Mimikyu a simple rehash would be doing the Disguise Pokemon a disservice. Mimikyu didn’t become an overnight sensation because of Pikachu, but rather, because of its desire to be like Pikachu.
Everyone knows what it’s like to be jealous of someone, to want whatever that person has. Mimikyu is a personification of that envy: the lonely Ghost/Fairy hybrid saw how much everyone loved Pikachu, so it created a makeshift mask in the hopes that someone would become its trainer. That’s not just a sad story, it’s something that most people can relate to.
Yes, Mimikyu is cute, and its typing should lead to some interesting battle mechanics, but the real reason that so many fans love it is because everyone, no matter who they are, wants to be loved. People may dismiss Pokemon as a kid’s game, but you’d be surprised by just how many people can relate to it.
Have you caught any of these must have Pokemon? Let us know in the comments!