'Pokémon Sword and Shield' starter evolutions leak made me rethink my pick

Scorbunny isn't looking so hot anymore...


Pokémon Sword and Shield is almost here, but we still don’t have the answer to one of the most important questions facing any new Pokémon game: What are the starter evolutions? We know that players will have to pick between Grookey (grass-type), Scorbunny (fire), and Sobble (water), but a new leak may have revealed the final evolutions for all three Pokémon Sword and Shield starters ahead of schedule.

The leaks come from a ResetEra forum thread where Pokémon fans shared screenshots of the leaked Sword and Shield starter evolutions as they began to surface on social media. We can’t verify that these are real, but considering how close we are to the game’s release, there’s every reason to believe this leak is legit. On that note, consider this a spoiler warning if you want to go into Pokémon Sword and Shield totally fresh.

Ok, ready? Here’s our first look at what could be the Pokémon Sword and Shield starter evolutions. Let’s start small with this image of the second-stage evolutions of Grookey and Sobble:

'Pokémon Sword and Shield' starter evolutions leak #1ResetEra

Looking good so far, especially Grookey, but check out what happens next in the grass-type Pokémon’s final evolution into Rillaboom:

'Pokémon Sword and Shield' starter evolutions leak #2ResetEra

Looking good! By comparison, here’s Sobble’s final, lanky evolution, Inteleon:

'Pokémon Sword and Shield' starter evolutions leak #3ResetEra

Finally, here’s an extremely hard-to-read image of Scorbunny’s final evolution, Cinderace:

'Pokémon Sword and Shield' starter evolutions leak #4ResetEra

Pokémon Sword and Shield starter evolutions leak. Who will you choose?

Before the leak, I was leaning towards Scorbunny, mostly because the idea of a peppy fire-rabbit was too great to resist. Historically, I’ve also always been a fan of water-type starters, dating back to Squirtle and his final evolution Blastoise in Red and Blue. However, based on these leaks, I have a feeling a lot of fans (myself included) will be going with the grass-type starter in Pokémon Sword and Shield.

Of all three final evolutions, Rillaboom is easily the most exciting. After all, how can two lanky human-looking Pokémon compare to a giant monkey with a big mane of hair and an oversized drum?

The answer is simple: They can’t. Grookey just became the only sensible option for your Pokémon Sword and Shield starter — at least until we get some actual stats and find out which strengths and weaknesses will be most useful early on in the game. But until then: Team Rillaboom all the way!

Pokémon Sword and Shield launches November 15 on Nintendo Switch.