I was wrong about Sirfetch’d. Will we get another variant for Pokemon Shield?

So the internet was right, and I was wrong. A few days ago, Gamefreak employed a sneaky tactic to reveal Sirfetch’d to the public in an eventful, sort of mystique-driven way. 

Me, being a harsh, critical thinker that I am–I bit a chunk off right into it. I originally speculated that this Pokemon had to be a regional variant of Machamp, or even Cubone, drawing on information such as this mystery Pokemon’s weight, the ability it has in combat, and even looking at the image itself and trying to draw conclusions. Little did I know, that smug look on the face of Sirfetch’d would soon haunt me for almost a good 24 hours.

I *knew* that a regional variant of Farfetch’d just didn’t fit the bill in any way — it just simply couldn’t. In my absolutely confounded state, I pondered: what sort of bird Pokemon could weigh this much (over 250 pounds!), with or without weaponry? Why exactly is it a fighting type? What was the thing that “shatters,” forcing this Pokemon to retire from combat? Could it be a helmet, and wouldn’t this description and detail fit an oversized Cubone better than anything else?

Not long after my post went live on the internet the truth and all would shortly be revealed. Sure enough, Sirfetch’d was unveiled, and thence, the precious time I spent on research–all gone to the wind. Lost, in vain. I eventually conceded to the internet’s greater wisdom. I was wrong, the internet was right! I’m tough enough to admit it.

Yet and still, to this day, the level of blind insight… it all just seems to be a bit too convenient. Someone with a bit of foreknowledge started the rumor to begin with. I blame… leaks. No, not Sirfetch’d and its oversized leek. I blame the internet leaks! That’s how the internet knew, and I didn’t! They had to have gotten a lead that I was not originally privy to. It’s the only way!

(an actual reddit post) https://www.reddit.com/user/nintendobaitnswitch/

All jests aside, the press run for this valiant onion knight was certainly a very exciting time for me, and I’m sure for others as well. The revelation of Sirfetch’d the onion soldier has brought all sorts of awesome things to speculate for the release of the new Pokemon games–Pokemon Sword, in particular!

Sirfetch’d, as a Pokemon Sword exclusive, has left many wondering whether or not we’ll receive an exclusive Shield version counterpart to Sirfetch’d. This is definitely a conversation for a little bit later, though. Hold onto that thought, if you can, because I still got a bone (or leek) to pick with Gamefreak!

So, the brand new fighting type Farfetch’d evolution does seem to be a little bit too convenient to me. At least, this is what I initially thought, until I did a little bit of digging. It all seemed like the perfect opportunity for Gamefreak to cash in on a brand new Pokemon evolution, an easy way to reuse old creatures from the past: send out a fake “leak,” let the internet speculate, retcon the meme, quickly program the design, animations, and the move Meteor Assault into the game, and then profit off of fanservice.

As disingenuous of a thought as this may have been for even me, it really just didn’t seem to make any sense at the time as to why a seemingly mysterious snapshot conveniently ended up being a Farfetch’d evolution. Especially when the provided description just didn’t seem to fit Farfetch’d at all.

While this still a shocker to me, admittedly, there are a handful of other Pokemon in the Galar region that DO possess features inspired by the Galar region in some way. So then, there has to be some sort of backstory for Sirfetch’d, somewhere in the world. As always, let’s take a look at some of the facts. 

If we dive deep enough to the lore, perhaps we’ll discover a cultural explanation behind Sirfetch’d and its origins. Zigzagoon is a good example of a Galar regional variant with a fair backstory behind it.

This new Zigzagoon takes on a brand new form, unique to its distant cousins in the Hoenn region. The ones across the pond are brown and white patterned raccoons, while the Galar region variants sport black and white striped coat, with features that very much resemble a honey badger more than a racoon. 

This Pokemon also has red eyes, and is commonly known for sticking its tongue out, as a primary feature of its personality. There are even rumors that Zigzagoon is a native with its core origins tied to that of the Galar region, and that it eventually migrated to the outside world into places such as Hoenn and Kalos. According to the website, this zebra-patterned honey badger is the “freewheeling original species of Zigzagoon.”

Taking on a more aggressive appearance to match the tenacious nature of the young children and Pokemon it enjoys provoking, it’s only natural that Zigzagoon’s form would evolve to be as sharp and eye-catching as possible. Moving outward then would expose it to more habitable lands, and it would eventually adapt a softer, more docile nature to fit the natural landscape of foreign regions.



With this in mind, I began to question very deeply what exactly Sirfetch’d would be doing in the Galar region, since we all know and recognize Farfetch’d is a native resident of the Kanto region.

What seems to be the Pokedex entry given by the official Pokemon website is as follows: “Only Farfetch’d that have survived many battles can attain this evolution. When this Pokémon’s leek withers, it will retire from combat.” Since Sirfetch’d is an evolution gained by many brave leek-bearing ducks who fought hard battles in the Galar region it’s clear that Farfetch’d have definitely lived in Galar region for some time, but for how long?

Many of the creatures in the Pokemon world often draw cultural inspiration from its region of origin and that region’s potential real-world counterparts. We know that Galar is based on the United Kingdom, judging by the similarities in landscaping as well as lore hidden within Galar Pokemon lore, such as Galarian Weezing and its smokestack top-hat, alongside Polteageist (tea party, anyone?).

Though I don’t know much about deeper UK mythology myself, I was fortunate enough to come across a tweet that would offer a clue which would assist in pointing me in the right direction. 

The aforementioned tweet reads, “[Sirfetch’d] are so noble in battle that they are often chosen as a motif in paintings. Of a particular note is a painting–famous in the Galar region–that depicts a duel between Sirfetch’d and an Escavalier.”

That’s interesting. A duckling with a leek as a sword, facing off against an oversized escargot. Where else in the world is this referenced? After a little bit of research, I found an article on the website smithsonianmag.com, titled “Why Were Medieval Knights always fighting snails?”.

It turns out, Sirfetch’d could possibly be a subtle nod to the knights of medieval times, and what a cheeky little reference that would be! Pairing the two together in contrast, Sirfetch’d and their rivalry with Escavalier seems to have parallels with some… rather interesting art found very commonly during the medieval era.

In the Smithsonian article written in 2013, author Colin Schultz explains (in the best way he can) this quirky cultural phenomenon, writing “It’s common to find, in the blank spaces of 13th and 14th century English texts, sketches and notes from medieval readers. And scattered through this marginalia is an oddly recurring scene: a brave knight in shining armor facing down a snail.”

Schultz deduces that use of snails in medieval lore (in our case, Escavalier) is possibly a commentary on social oppression… or it could potentially just be a nod at medieval humor; “We’re supposed to laugh at the idea of a knight being afraid of attacking such a “heavily armored” opponent. Silly knight, it’s just a snail! […] the armored snail fighting the armored knight is a reminder of the inevitability of death.”


There seems to be at least *some* bit of cultural inspiration behind Sirfetch’d and its design in Galar, based on its real-world references within medieval lore. To a certain extent, I’m pretty glad to see that this new regionally exclusive Pokemon very likely has a bit of an inspired backstory behind it, instead of it potentially just a convenient way to give Farfetch’d a convenient evolution. Once again, I tip my hat; I bow out in defeat. Touche; very well played, Sirfetch’d!

Although this all seems fine and dandy, there are still a few questions about the onion knight that have been left unresolved since it appeared on the scene. The medieval explanation for Sirfetch’d seems to answer a few questions about its origins, but what exactly gives with Sirfetch’d being a *Sword-exclusive* Pokemon in particular, and is there a possibility that there may be another regional exclusive counterpart to Sirfetch’d in Pokemon Shield?

I mean, this Pokemon has both a sword *and* a shield! Why then should this Pokemon only be available in Pokemon Sword and not in both games? I know I can’t be the only Pokemon trainer who feels slightly robbed. Then again, I am one of the few rare ones purchasing Pokemon Shield, so in some ways perhaps I’m just complicit in all of this.

(art by SkydraoftheGoddesses on DeviantArt)

A little bird from the sky whispered into my ear that there are talks of Chatot being the regional counterpart to Farfetch’d exclusive to the Shield version of the games, and that version may possibly be a ghost type! No leaks, I promise. At least, none on my end. Though it is just a rumor at this point, it is always fun to speculate.

In a few ways, a new Chatot does makes sense; it’s a cute but relatively forgotten Pokemon, left without an evolution in its generation. But at this point, this hypothesis is still pretty unsubstantiated. Let’s see if we can connect some dots, shall we?

For starters, both Chatot and Farfetch’d had no evolutionary forms prior to Pokemon Sword and Shield. Both are dual type normal and flying Pokemon. And, by examining the core differences of both Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, perhaps we can identify a pattern, of sorts. 

Of all version-exclusive Pokemon we are aware of so far, the ones confirmed for Pokemon Sword are: Farfetch’d; the Hydreigon line; and the Kommo-o line.

Likewise, the confirmed Pokemon Shield exclusives thus far include: the Tyranitar line and the Goodra line. 

http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2019/09/guide_pokemon_sword_and_shield_all_version-exclusive_pokemon_and_gym_leaders

The interesting thing about these regional exclusives are that they all parallel each other in typing. Tyranitar and Hydreigon are both dark type pseudo-legendaries. Likewise, Kommo-o and Goodra are both dragon type pseudo-legendaries.

Farfetch’d and Chatot are both normal and flying type. And Sirfetch’d, the fighting type evolution of Farfetch’d, exists in a version where Bea is a fighting type gym leader. So that would make Chatot’s purported evolution… ghost type, in a version where Allister is the ghost type gym leader, exclusive to Pokemon Shield, possibly?

Bird-brained hypothesis, or otherwise. This may or may not be a stretch, yes. And it is most *definitely* just me connecting dots wherever they may or may not exist, but Exhibit A and Exhibit B are very suggestive, indeed.

I’m almost certain there are leeks… er, I mean ‘leaks’ out there that definitely blow the lid off of everything that anyone could guess, pertaining to regional and version exclusive Pokemon. I’m withholding my eyes from them so as to not be spoiled. I could be wrong (again); but then again I could be right, as well. By deductive logic. I’d rather not spoil the fun. This is an investigation with many layers.

There are some that think the Chatot thing is a thing to think about. Others, are looking to leaks of the past (as far back as Pokemon Gold) as evidence that it could be even ANOTHER Farfetch’d evolution. Just more for you all to think about!

What do you think about some of my ideas? Am I crazy and trying too hard, perhaps? Or am I on to something? Could Chatot be the new version exclusive bird for Pokemon Shield? Will the exclusive be a bird Pokemon at all, and will it possibly be a ghost type? What are your thoughts?

As we’ve seen in the last few weeks no idea is ever too far-fetched. Never shy away from your wildest imagination; I’ll Catch You All, later!

–Quinn
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Written by Brave Charizard

I'm a 20-something year old college student (graduate in a semester, hopefully). I enjoy video game, eating, and learning about technology and gaming culture!

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