The Most Baffling Survivors of the Pokemon Sword and Shield Pokedex Cull

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Pokemon Sword and Shield’s Pokedex cull shares much in common with the Marvel Universe’s “Thanos Snap.” Half of the Pokemon roster vanished in an instant, and there’s seemingly no discrimination between who died and who was allowed to live.

As someone who enjoys Pokemon Sword and Shield and ultimately feels like the cull helped give the game some room to breathe, I still feel my face bunch up in scorn when I go over the names of some of the survivors. To quote the last, grief-stricken words of King Lear, “Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life, and thou no breath at all?” Or, “Why is Dragonite a puff of smoke while Corphish is allowed to strut around Galar like he owns the joint?”

Game Freak knows. The Lord knows. I do not. I can only go down the list of Sword and Shield’s survivors and wonder why some Pokemon’s lives are apparently more valuable than others.

El-ahrairah’s least-favorite child. | Game Freak/The Pokemon Company

Bunnelby (Generation 6) – Bunnelby is as unexciting as Normal-type vendor trash Pokemon gets. Its design is goofy, its typing is dull, and they’re so plentiful that you practically wade through them as you travel through the Galar region. Moreover, we already have a rabbit Pokemon in Sword and Shield with Scorbunny. My best guess is Scorbunny’s swift cunning made it too fast for predators to catch, so Arceus took pity on Galar’s meat-eaters by also introducing the dumber, slower Bunnelby.

Binacle (Generation 6) – There’s a lot to dislike about Binacle. It’s crummy at battling, it’s based on the extremely ugly Goose barnacle, and design-wise, it’s an uglier, wetter Diglett. I’d say, “Look at it walking around Galar region as if it has a right to be there,” but it can’t walk; the dumb thing has its “feet” encased in rock, like it ran afoul of Galar’s PokeMafia. Its evolution, Barbaracle, doesn’t fare much better. It looks like a Robot Master Dr. Wily reluctantly put together for a kid because he owes their father money.

Sawk and Throh (Generation 5) – I automatically frowned when I saw Sawk and Throh slumming in the Galar region, and I admit there’s a bit of a personal history here. Every Pokemon fan has their ill-informed “Ugh, Game Freak is running out of ideas” moment, and the arrival of Sawk and Throh was mine. Pokemon gave us amazing-looking Fighting-types like Mankey, Machamp, and Riolu, then it whipped out two guys in karate gi. Cool. I’ve since acknowledged that Game Freak has its reasons for making seemingly “lame” Pokemon, but old prejudices die hard.

Grubbin (Generation 7) – I’m not upset at Grubbin being allowed to run around Galar Region; just a little baffled. Maybe someone at Game Freak is a fan of the Death Stranding/Pokemon memes that arose out of E3 2016.

Cubchoo (Generation 5) – Bears are one of my favorite animals, and I’m glad the Pokemon universe has so many big fellows who are eager to bite, maul, and crush whenever I give the word. I have to admit I can barely stand to look at Cubchoo, though. That booger just…dangles. Forever. Surely there are tissues in the Pokemon universe. Please, Cubchoo, take a moment to blow your nose and then come on back so I can re-evaluate you. I think you stand a good chance at being adorable, but not as long as you’re sharing your perpetual upper respiratory infection with the rest of my team.

Goodra (Generation 6) – I really can’t stand Goodra. It’s freakin’ gross. Cubchoo only has a drippy nose, but Goodra’s whole body is a booger. Every time I face off against one, I gag a little. This is surely the hour in which I die, because Goodra’s fanbase is intensely dedicated and interesting. Like, “Don’t look on the second page of Google image search” interesting. Heck, forget the second page. You barely have to scroll down at all before you lock eyes with the “Sexy Inflatable Goodra” YouTube thumbnail.

You confuse me. | Game Freak/The Pokemon Company

Sigilyph (Generation 5) – Sigilyph is a real head-scratcher of a Pokemon most days of the week, but its admission to the Galar region is a stumper. Sigilyph’s design is a reference to Peru’s Nazca Lines, which aren’t very British. Weirder still, Pokemon Sword and Shield already has Generation 2’s Xatu, a similar-looking Pokemon with the same Flying-Psychic typing. If Game Freak is going populate the Wild Area with both Sigilyph and Xatu, it could at least treat me to a psychic turf war.

I’m sure this list fails to identify at least one Pokemon you detest, so I apologize in advance. I know our Editor-in-Chief Kat Bailey’s already disappointed I haven’t pointed a finger at the forever maligned Trubbish, but I honestly think the trash bag Pokemon is a perfect fit for Galar. London is world-famous for its “fatbergs”—and if you don’t know what those are, please, please don’t look them up before eating. They’re like Goodra and Cubchoo put together, then multiplied by a thousand.

If you’re looking for more on Pokemon Sword and Shield, head on over to our Pokemon Sword and Shield Everything We Know Page. If you’d like to know which of your favorite Pokemon have made the cut for Pokemon Sword and Shield, head to our Pokemon Sword and Shield New Pokemon Guide. Finally, why not take a look at all of the differences between Sword and Shield we know about so far in our Pokemon Sword and Shield Version Exclusives Guide.

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