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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Eiscue, Galarian DARMANITAN, More Pokémon...More Galar Gym Leaders!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Otherwise known as “which version do you pick?” news update.

Without much fanfare outside of social media posts—as in, there's no video summarising these updates (though I suppose they're less updates and more for posterity)—The Pokémon Company International released some more information on Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield... last week? I think it was on Wednesday the 11th. The official Pokémon Twitter still has pinned the end-of-November information about Gigantamax Snorlax and the starter evolutions that I covered here.

To summarise the update, there's these Pokémon and gym leaders:
  • Centiskorch
    • Gigantamax Centiskorch
  • Sandaconda
    • Gigantamax Sandaconda
  • Stonjourner (Sword)
  • Eiscue (Shield)
  • Galarian Darumaka (Sword)
  • Galarian DARMANITAN (Sword)
  • Galarian Corsola (Shield)
  • Cursola (Shield)
  • Fire Gym Leader Kabu
  • Fairy Gym Leader Opal
  • Rock Gym Leader Gordie (Sword)
  • Ice Gym Leader Melony (Shield)
  • Dark Gym Leader Piers
  • Dragon Gym Leader Raihan 

That's a lot, so I'll give some quick thoughts:

The New Pokémon

Centiskorch strikes me as a fiery but mean jerk. The centi in its name only makes sense when it Gigantamaxes, and actually gets 100 legs. Otherwise, Centiskorch only has a fraction of those. Its G-Max Centiferno seems like a straight-up improvement of Gigantamax Charizard's G-Max Wildfire: Does damage every turn for four–five to its victim on top of being a big Fire-type attack, but Charizard's only damages non-Fire Pokémon for four turns. Centiskorch damages all. CHARIZARD SUCKS. Meanwhile, Sandaconda's sand pouch looks comfortable, though it turns into a tornado or something when it Gigantamaxes. Whatever.

Stonjourner is exclusive to Pokémon Sword, and is supposed to be a Stonehenge reference. I guess that's opposed to the entire Kalos location of Geosenge Town. I don't like the look of it. Eiscue, however, which is exclusive to Pokémon Shield, looks like a great Pokémon. Everything's better with more penguins. Just ask Piplup. Eiscue waddles around with an Ice Face shield that can regenerate when it's hailing. The Ice Face blocks a single physical move (similar to Mimikyu's Disguise), and once it does, Eiscue changes to Noice Face Eiscue (read as “no ice”, as opposed to a surfer dude saying “nice, dude!”) and gets a lot more speed but lesser defence stats, readying Eiscue for a sweep after using a set-up move with the Ice Face protection.

As far as I'm concerned, Eiscue should be named Eiscute.

Pokémon Sword doesn't want Shield to hog all of the cool, competent Ice types, and brings Darumaka and DARMANITAN to Galar... with adaptations to a frigid climate turning it from a Fire type to an Ice type. Galarian DARMANITAN may be the first EXCELLENT Ice type that isn't a legendary in the entire franchise. Regular Fire type DARMANITAN is already crazy strong (to the exceptional point that I always all-caps its name), but Galarian DARMANITAN has a stupidly good ability, Gorilla Tactics, which is basically a built-in Choice Band that can stack up with other items: It will only use the first move you ask it to when you switch it in, in return for an Attack stat boost. Combine that with an excellent moveset, and DARMANITAN threatens the whole region. It also retains the Zen Mode ability of its Fire-type cousin (changes form once you reach half HP), but rather than turning into a slow, defensive, and specially-attacking Fire/Psychic Pokémon (which is quite hard to use in practice because it's a total conflict with DARMANITAN at full HP), Zen Mode Galarian DARMANITAN “ignites with fury” and is an Ice/Fire type, strengthening its already wild Attack and Speed stats.

In other words, you get a great Ice type by min-maxing its offence, instead of trying to make weird bulky slow Ice types that can't defend anything because Ice is a bad defensive typing. 

To counter Sword having an exclusive in Darumaka and DARMANITAN, Shield has the exclusive Galarian Corsola and a brand-new evolution, Cursola. Pure Ghost. Apparently a ton of Corsola died in a meteorite years ago, and they turned into ghosts. (But Toxapex chomping on Corsola doesn't result in Ghost-type Corsola?) Why this ethereal fate doesn't happen with many other Pokémon, I don't know.

Gym Leaders

These join the already-announced Milo and Nessa, as well as Bea (Sword-only) and Allister (Shield-only). Nothing about Kabu strikes me as interesting other than sharing the name of a Kirby character. Opal's whole thing is that she's old, which isn't interesting either. I don't like her nose. There are Melony (mother) and Gordie (son), who have close physical resemblance to one another, but again, neither are interesting, even if Gordie tries to be cool-looking (he's a dweeb). Gordie at least sort of sounds like Gourdy, the alleged monster at Gourd Lake. As for Raihan is a selfie-taking disaster who deserves scorn. He's taking full advantage of the horrible design decision in forcing Rotom into a smartphone.

As for Piers, he's the most interesting gym leader besides Allister. He seems to certainly have a story behind him, and most peculiarly, he's sporting the same logo on his shirt as the Marnie-obsessed Team Yell. I'm sure there's a connection there.

Ludwig clearly isn't impressed with the human designs in Galar, especially since he didn't bother producing a picture of them. He's also not impressed with the game as a whole, since he's not buying it. But if he would, he was always on the side of Pokémon Shield. Despite him gushing about Galarian DARMANITAN in this article, Eiscue in his favourite character design of the Pokémon (and people) written about here. He's pretty sure he's been capitalising DARMANITAN since around 2012.

Some of the information from this came from the guidebook leaks that TPCi are suing over.


  1. If you do ever get the Shield version and you get a female Galarian Corsola I think you should name her "Greta." No particular reason, but I really think that is a lovely name.

    1. Would she be worried about the continued survival of Eiscue?

    2. I decided to look up about Greta and penguins and found out there is a penguin in "Mr. popper's Penguins" named "Greta." I am sure Greta should care about Eiscue based on this knowledge.

    3. Alright. Then I'll keep that in mind. ♫


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