Disclaimer: All of this is hypothetical. Sun/Moon spoilers inbound as well. This is also merely elaborate guesswork and should not be taken as fact. I’m just one guy with thoughts, after all, and any of this can be proven wrong at any turn.
It’s been a full month since the release of Pokemon Sun and Moon, games that have now set new records in regards to Nintendo sales, and rightfully so. Barring the divided fanbase, the general consensus is that they are solid games. This transitions into the obvious next point: what Pokemon from this generation could join a future Smash game?
I briefly talked about Pokemon newcomers in my last post. However, that section of the post was heavily based on hypotheticals since the game wouldn’t be out for another 12 days at the time and was mostly judging by pre-release leaks. After spending over 100 hours with the Moon version, I’m ready to give a more definitive answer as to what Pokemon I will vouch for in the event of a Switch Smash, based entirely on what we know.
In the realm of the three starters, Decidueye seems to be getting a fair amount of exposure when Incineroar is the most divisive starter this time and Primarina is just there (and don’t get me wrong, I chose Popplio as my starter). Between the predicament of the other two starters plus it’s potential future exploration via the anime (which has our status quo doomed idiot hero Ash Ketchum catching a Rowlet), Decidueye looks to become a lesser Greninja for this generation as the popular starter. Being a Grass type with unique abilities and an archer motif in a game where bows are currently limited to Link, Pit and their clones also helps it stand out. Decidueye also has the notable trait of being a Ghost-type, which would be an enticing new concept to experiment with to create a unique figter.
As such, I see Decidueye as a strong contender for a Sun/Moon newcomer. Perhaps the strongest, with the info we know. But it’s not the only one.
Here’s something no one can deny: Mimikyu is a Sun/Moon Pokemon whose current popularity was a controlled effort. It’s design and Ghost/Fairy typing caught players by surprise upon the first showing, but the really unusual thing about Mimikyu is that it got a song. An actual theme song. This contributes to Mimikyu’s notability, unlike Decidueye whose notability stems from similar trends to Greninja. Mimikyu is also one of the Totem Pokemon in the island trials, meaning it’s on a higher pedestal than most mons, and to top it off, it is deceptively useful in the main game due to its Disguise Ability, leading to high usage by players (myself included). It’s also a part of Team Rocket’s lineup in the anime from having a grudge against Ash’s Pikachu, ensuring that it will be a frequent sight.
The biggest drawback to Mimikyu, though, would be how to make it work in an environment like Smash; it’s a bit of a challenge due to it’s unique attributes, hypothetically being the first Ghost-type in Smash on top of needing to be distinct from Pikachu (ironically). But the popularity it currently has can be an incentive to try.
Now here’s the bigger surprise (even for me): Tapu Koko being on this list. But once again, playing through the whole game gives ample reason to consider the Electric-typed Guardian Deity. From Sun/Moon’s legendary pool, Solageo and Lunala are both huge, which reasonably crosses them out immediately. Magearna’s exposure so far has relied on a single movie and the recently released Mystery Gift, and as such isn’t being pushed that much. Necrozma is a complete blank for the time being, much like Zygarde was in Pokemon X and Y. The Ultra Beasts barring Nihilego (to an extent) are post-game encounters with not much beyond that, never mind their varying sizes. And finally, the other Tapus (Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu and Tapu Fini) don’t get nearly as much focus as Tapu Koko, as they are all post-game encounters that are not even seen in the main story (beyond a glimpse of colored lights during one cutscene).
This is where Tapu Koko stands out. Beyond Cosmog (AKA Nebby Get In The Goddamn Bag), Tapu Koko is the most prominent legendary in the game (and arguably one of the more prominent Pokemon overall within the same game), with more than a few standout moments in Sun/Moon proper:
- Saving the player character (PC) from an otherwise fatal fall off a broken bridge in the beginning of the game
- Providing a Z-Crystal to make a Z-Ring for the PC
- Coming to Kahuna Hala’s defense when the latter is confronted by an Ultra Beast (Buzzwole or Pheromosa depending on version)
- Duelling the PC after they become Champion in a post-game battle much like AZ in X/Y
- Speaking clear human language to them as well via the Z-Ring
Adding onto this exposure is it’s recurring role in the anime, getting a notable amount of screentime within the first few episodes, giving Ash Ketchum a Z-Ring seemingly out of nowhere and later challenging his Pikachu to a battle, after which it also gave Ash an Electrium-Z. Much like Mimikyu, Tapu Koko is notably being pushed to being a standout Generation 7 mon (though in a much subtler way), so it’s reasonable to think that it has a better than decent shot at Smash entry.
The three mons above are ones I feel have the highest basis for inclusion, though that’s not to say other new Gen 7 mons are unviable or outright impossible, they’re simply difficult to justify in comparison. In my last post I brought up Primarina, Incineroar and Lurantis. Playing through the game and applying similar parameters to them as I did Decidueye, Mimikyu and Tapu Koko, all three have little to stand on. Lurantis, to it’s credit, is a Totem Pokemon, putting it in a better position relative to most mons, but it’s no Mimikyu in that regard. Primarina and Incineroar have the benefit of being starters but are below Decidueye in terms of notability.
An option that gets discussed to a degree is Lycanroc. It’s somewhat easier to justify by virtue of it and it’s pre-evolution being rather common ingame in the teams of several characters, as well as showing up a fair bit in promotional material, which gives it a modicum of notability and thus possibility, but it’s also like saying a plan with a 40% chance is easier to justify over one with 30%(note: I’m not actually giving any Pokemon numerical chances, this is merely a metaphor). Lycanroc isn’t even a Totem Pokemon, never mind the conundrum it has with it’s version exclusive evolutions when character transformations were eliminated in Smash. Any other reason is trying maybe a bit too hard to get a viable argument for it across.
Everything beyond that is really far too niche, so it’s hard to imagine anything beyond even the lesser choices being considered heavily over the first three mons listed due to the superior basis the latter group has. I’m aware that some of these mons have their fans, so look at it as an objective analysis rather than an attack on your favorites, as I like every mon listed here.
And that’s the end of it. I’m surprised by how much my thoughts were swayed between last month and now after playing through the entire game, particularly with my thoughts on Tapu Koko, who I didn’t even mention last time. But that’s what time does to you.
Time will tell if any of these mons get in Smash. But I’d be happy with any of them.