Well, it’s getting closer, isn’t it? The release of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are almost upon us and that means that many of us are going to be returning to the world of of the Sinnoh region again or exploring it for the first time. No matter if you’re an old hand or a new face, this is going to be the first time that it’s available on the big screen of your tv as well, which is obviously an exciting prospect. Well, the looming release has had Pokémon on the mind of the crew here at BDG, so we saw fit to celebrate the occasion with a list of our top ten Sinnoh Pokémon. It’s completely definitive too. It’s not like we’re biased or anything.
We made our selections by having a round of nominations, a round where everyone ranked each nominated Pokémon on a scale of 1-5, and a tiebreaker round to slot everything into place. Would you believe that within the top ten we had two four-way ties? The love for the Pokémon listed here runs deep and it was a tight race, I promise you. I’ve seen the data!
This was a little bit of a surprising one, given that most players weren’t actually able to make use of Shaymin in Sinnoh. It was a limited online event to get the item to unlock where it was hidden away, so if you came to the game years later, or reset your game to play anew, that access would be entirely gone. Well, unless you used a cheat device, of course. However, Shaymin did have a starring role in one of the many Pokémon movies, so maybe that’s where the endearment came from?
However, we should never underestimate the pure and simple power of cute! Shaymin is simply adorable, no matter which of the two forms you prefer it in. While the little fluffy moss hedgehog is completely adorable, the alternate Sky Form looks like it could be the protagonist of its own kids’ movie, Pokémon or no. I don’t know about you, but the little determined look it has gets to us every time!
Empoleon is a powerhouse and if you chose the water starter, this is who you’re going to have one of your stronger attachments to by the end of the game. After all, it’s your first Pokémon, but it’s just gotten a bit bigger and sharper as time has gone on. It’s no wonder this has become one of the most stand out Pokémon of the ones introduced in this generation. Not only that, but your Empoleon will always look like an impeccably well dressed gentleman thanks to that beautiful white contrast down their front, emblematic of a frilly yet distinguished cravat.
Turtwig is a cute little one, isn’t it? However, it stands out for being one of the first Pokémon that you will see when diving into the Sinnoh region for the first time. Never forget how strong an impression the first of something can leave on you. After all, are we not all nostalgic for our first Pokémon game? It helps that Turtwig is not only a real sweetheart from how it looks, but also that it can be a sturdy base to build your team around. While grass really is one of the more plentiful types in Sinnoh (compared to the exceptionally rare fire types), Turtwig is one of your better options thanks to being a real study little thing. It’s also one of the better picks if you’re looking to make the first gym a bit easier on yourself.
Leafeon is another grass type that was introduced this generation, but it was a standout for a different reason. It’s one of the many forms of Eevee, a Pokémon which hadn’t gotten a new evolution since the second generation, skipping right over the third. These were something that was brought in with a good deal of fanfare too. Leafeon might not be the strongest Pokémon in the world and may not even be the best of it’s evolution brethren, but it is still a dependable one. Not to mention the simplicity of its design is a marvel to behold.
While it might seem like all that was done was turn the ears and tail of an Eevee into leaves and give it a swirl on its head, it’s actually a lot cooler than that. Take a closer look. Leafeon is actually evocative of a lot of different elements of greenery. The leaves are obviously leaves, but the headpiece it gains brings to mind a climbing vine that is reaching up towards those leaves. Add in the little swooshes coming off its body, and you have the beginnings of some grass. The pale brown color brings to mind the roots that anchor and sustain these plants, and those dark brown patches on its feet? A connection to the nourishing earth itself!
Torterra comes to us on the list, presumably, for much the same reason that Empoleon does. If you picked the previously placed Turtwig as your starting pokemon, then this is going to be the one that you have spent the most time with and been able to get the most attached to. It’s also a big and beefy thing, building off the way that Turtwig was a foundation. It’s an all around good base to have for your team. It helps that this one got somewhat of a starring part in the Detective Pikachu movie, being part of one of the bigger set pieces of the film.
This is another one where the strong designs of the fourth generation is also giving it a lot of help. The idea of a little garden on the back of a turtle is simple, but undeniably evocative. Not only does Torterra look big enough that you could ride around on its back, relaxing under that tree, but the whole concept has sparked a wave of awesome creativity! It’s not uncommon to see people design seasonal Torterras or even concepts of one with a rock garden or zen garden on their back instead of what the current standard is.
Well, if you saw Leafeon back there, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Glaceon also made the cut for our list. They are such a package deal, after all. In fact there are really only two downsides to Glaceon, that the ice type is in the top three for having the most weaknesses that can be exploited, and that it’s one that you can really only get fairly late in the game due to it’s evolution method. Still, it’s well beloved and recieved quite a few high marks from our team. It’s another one where the design really sells it too. The angular shapes that make it up being reminiscent of the crystalline nature of snowflakes in particular.
Come on, if you didn’t think that this one was going to be on the list, you haven’t been paying attention to how beloved this Pokémon is. Yeah, it might be a bit of a basic choice for us when it comes to loving a generation 4 Pokémon, but let’s face it, it’s popular for good reason. A striking design compounded with some memorability is a recipe for getting onto our list after all. Simply put, Garchomp is an absolute powerhouse. It takes a while to work Gible and Gabite there, but it’s entirely worth it as the Garchomp that you get can easily become a speedy ace for your team if you allow it.
And let’s not forget the way that Champion Cynthia’s Garchomp struck fear into so many of us when playing the game for the first time. It’s already an absolute beast of a fight, but her Garchomp is perhaps the most single remembered aspect of that fight, which is saying something. It was hers that made so many of us want one and really gave this Pokémon a spotlight. Why wouldn’t we love it?
This was a very, very narrow placement. We certainly weren’t expecting it at first. However, Gallade was able to sneak itself ahead by a nose… which it doesn’t have. Anyway, being a fairly rare typing will do that to you. Fighting and Psychic are something you wouldn’t really expect to be put together. In fact, it’s only happened one other time besides Gallade. It’s a awesome combo to see, though. Gallade is also an excellent departure for Gardevoir’s design. While just as slender and willowy a it’s counterpart, it feels more grounded by the simple addition of more visible legs, giving us the impression that it can really pack a punch. Both of these Pokémon were blessed with a mega evolution at one point and they certainly deserve them!
Lucario is one of those Pokémon that has been beloved since the moment of it’s appearance. Many may find it to be overhyped, especially with the way that The Pokémon Company has taken note of it’s popularity and made the choice to make bank off that and shove it into multiple other games in a highlighted position. Still, it’s remained popular for a reason and that’s it’s combo of awesome versatility and memorability. In fact, it was the generation four winner in the 2020 Pokémon of the Year poll held by The Pokémon company, even coming in second place overall! It helps that Lucario has not only been spotlighted, but started its life in the spotlight, being one of only a very few Pokémon to get a focus placed on it by a movie, and one of the pretty good ones at that.
At the start of this list, I said not to underestimate the power of cute to get something onto our list, and that was nothing more than a clever setup to prepare you for this shocking winner. Yeah, none of us saw this coming either, but we have to give Piplup some major respect for managing to get all the way to end and overtake everyone it its path to dominance. However, there is one big difference between this one and Shaymin, this is a cute Pokémon that we get to choose for ourselves. We were the ones to choose Piplup in order to start off our journey and we can only hope that later this week, all our Piplups will choose us back.