The best Pokémon regional variants in the series
What’s old is new again.
Regional variants have become a staple of the Pokémon series, but they were only introduced a few generations ago with Sun and Moon. The Hawaii-inspired Alola region was the perfect place to experiment with classic creatures by giving them different looks, abilities, and even types. It just makes sense: if Pokémon evolve into new species, then adaptations within the same species must also exist. Here are 10 of the best examples of this, all the way up to Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.
Related: The top 10 best Legendary Pokémon of all time, ranked
Alolan Diglett & Dugtrio
Diglett has been around since the original Red and Blue versions, so it’s only fitting that it became one of the first Pokémon to get a new look. The single hair is silly enough, but once it evolves into Dugtrio, this ‘mon starts rocking blonde hairdos that even He-Man would be jealous of.
Long before Scarlet and Violet’s Wiglett came along and joined the long boy club, Alolan Exeggutor started the trend. There is no Alolan version of Exeggute, but this evolution really played up the height of coconut trees and even added a Dragon typing.
Alolan Vulpix & Ninetales
This isn’t a ranked list, but if it were, this duo would likely be in the top spot. Sun and Moon introduced the concept of regional variant Pokémon to the world, and Alolan Vulpix and Ninetales demonstrated just how different these new forms could be. Switching from Fire-type to Ice-type showed that anything was possible in a new region.
Galarian Farfetch’d & Sirfetch’d
When Sword and Shield arrived, another one of the original 151 Pokémon got a new look. Farfetch’d was originally a Normal/Flying type, a little bird that traveled around using a leek as a walking stick. In the Galar region, it turned that leek into a weapon and became a Fighting type. Its knightly evolution expanded on the concept in a very creative way, splitting the leek’s stalk and leaves to form, appropriately enough, a sword and shield.
Galarian Slowpoke, Slowbro, & Slowking
This is another great example of type-shifting, a staple of regional variants. Regular Slowpokes are dual Water/Psychic types, but Galarian Slowpokes are all about the mind as pure Psychic types. When it comes to its two evolutions, they act differently too. Slowbro gets a Mega Man buster-like Shellder stuck to its hand, while Slowking gets totally taken over by a Shellder clamping down over its entire face. In both cases, they become Poison/Psychic types, which is a really cool combination.
Galar is meant to represent the isle of Great Britain, home of the real-world Industrial Revolution. Galarian Weezing perfectly embodies that concept, with ‘facial hair’ of the era and smokestack-like hats. There is no Galarian Koffing, but this evolution is still a smashing success.
The Legendary bird trio was completely transformed for Sword and Shield’s Crown Tundra DLC, with each one of them getting a new look and type. Galarian Zapdos is the standout for us, as it went from being a flying thunder bird to a roadrunner that sprints across the map at blazing speed. When we think of “catching” a Pokémon, it’s usually in reference to throwing a Pokéball, but in this case, trainers had to physically chase down the speedy bird before they could even battle it.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set ages before any of the other games, so it’s only fitting that it got its own set of regional variants too. Some of the final forms of fan-favorite starters got new looks, including Gen 7’s Decidueye. While still an archer, the Hisuian form switched from Flying/Ghost to Flying/Fighting, and its new feather pattern beautifully represented the martial art known as kyudo.
Hisuian Qwilfish & Overqwil
Qwilfish always had an angry look, but its special Hisuian form and evolution take all that to the next level. There are lots of spiky Pokémon out there, but Overqwil might just have the most prominent points of them all. It ranks midway through the best fish Pokémon in the series too.
Gold and Silver starter evolution Typhlosion was always a Fire-type, but this ancient regional variant in Hisui also has Ghost typing. The red and purple flames are lovely, and the lore reason for them is even cooler: Hisuian Typhlosion helps purify souls and guide them into the afterlife.
Finishing out our list is Tauros, a Gen 1 Pokémon who hasn’t been in the spotlight for some time. Originally a Normal-type bull, Tauros got upgraded to a Fighting type for Scarlet and Violet. Furthermore, you can catch an additional different breed based on which version you own. Scarlet players get a Fire/Fighting bull, while Violet’s is Water/Fighting.