Scorbunny Opens Up Early Lead as Pokemon Sword and Shield's Most Popular Starter, But It Has Competition

Scorbunny Opens Up Early Lead as Pokemon Sword and Shield's Most Popular Starter, But It Has Competition

Our findings are based on science.

Nintendo announced a new mainline Pokemon game today with Pokemon Sword and Shield, as well as its accompanying starter Pokemon. And you know what that means. It's time to pick a side and preemptively choose your starter while disparaging the other two. Based on social media reactions the early frontrunner for popular starter is Scorbunny, the little fire rabbit with a bandage for a nose... or so it seems.

We still don't know much about the three new starter Pokemons. There's Scorbunny, the fire-type bunny; Sobble the water-type chameleon, and Grookey, a grass-type monkey. As I mentioned in the news story for the Pokemon Sword and Shield trailer, it's hard to tell what these three Pokemon are all about. So, the popularity contest is pretty much about looks right now.

Based on our completely accurate (no), and scientific (also no), assessment of social media trends, Scorbunny is a slight favorite, with the water-type Sobble following close behind. The fire Pokemon I described as a "mascot for a breakfast cereal" has stolen the hearts of social media based on its obvious cuteness.

Millennials, meanwhile, seem to relate to Sobble's depression. It recalls Oshawott, the water starter from Pokemon Black and White, which became ironically popular due to it being a sad clown otter.

Earlier this morning the official Pokemon Twitter account hosted a poll asking followers which starter Pokemon they'd choose. While all morning Scorbunny held a tight lead, it seems Sobble has caught up and surpassed Scorbunny in recent hours. Sobble is currently at a 39 percent, with Scorbunny at 37 percent, and Grookey trailing behind at 24 percent.

As commenters have noted, this seems like a particularly strong generation for Pokemon starters in general. All three starter Pokemon are pretty cute in their own way, though it's easy to see how Sobble and its general malaise could reach players on an emotional level.

We'll have to wait until the later generations of these starters are revealed for more solid results on which starter is most popular. There have been plenty of Pokemon with unpopular first stages, only for them to blossom into a beautiful butterfly (I'm looking at you Popplio), or vice versa (Litten).

Pokemon Sword and Shield is the first mainline Pokemon game to be developed for the Nintendo Switch. The series takes place in a Britain-like, western European setting called Galar, and brings back traditional mechanics like random encounters. But today's seven-minute trailer left us with more questions than answers. We hope to see more of Pokemon Sword and Shield, as well as its three new starters in the coming months.

Pokemon Sword and Shield doesn't have a release date just yet, but is slated for a 2019 release. Read our Pokemon Sword and Shield guide for our full coverage.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Read this next

You Can Park Your Ass On a Bench Again In Pokemon Sword and Shield

Shut up, sit down, and drink your Arceus-damned tea.

Fan Makes Morpeko Pokemon Plush That Turns from Sweet to Hangry with a Flip

Give it a hug, but don't let it get too close to your face.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Pokedex: All New Pokemon in Sword and Shield, Gen 1-7 Pokedex

As we hear more about Pokemon Sword and Shield we’ll be adding all confirmed Pokemon to this Pokemon Sword and Shield Pokemon List Guide.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Galarian Form Pokemon

A brand new kind of Pokemon will arrive with Pokemon Sword and Shield. Here’s what you need to know about Galarian Pokemon.

More News

Destiny 2's Console Players Are Having a Fun, Disastrous Time Switching to PC

Turns out there are some differences between the platforms.

One of Epic's Flagship Exclusives is Coming to Steam

Supergiant's Hades aiming for v1.0 sometime next year.

More on Switch

Where Nintendo Switch Online Has Gone Wrong

The reasons Nintendo's online service is flaccid, and what it can do to pump things up.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Unlockables, Characters and Tracks - Gold Mario and Gold Kart

Gold Mario is brand new to Mario Kart 8 in the Switch version of the game. Here’s how to unlock Gold Mario, the gold kart parts, and avoid those pesky blue shells.

The Fire Emblem: Three Houses Student Ranking Thunderdome: 34 Students Enter, Only Shamir Leaves

We have no favorites among Three Houses' characters, except for the ones that are our favorites.

All Mortal Kombat 11 Characters and Future DLC Fighters

Here's our full Mortal Kombat 11 characters guide, including the current roster, and all forthcoming DLC characters.

New Link's Awakening Video Shows Off Dungeon Creator and Map Markers

The adorable Zelda remake changes a few things.

More Adventure Games

Where Nintendo Switch Online Has Gone Wrong

The reasons Nintendo's online service is flaccid, and what it can do to pump things up.

Life Is Strange 2, Episode 4 Review

Life Is Strange 2's penultimate episode is an emotional one.

Telling Lies Review

The spiritual successor to Her Story is a shady investigation into the lives of four liars.

Lego Jurassic World Cheats and Codes: Character Unlock, How to Use Cheats For PS4, Xbox One and Switch

Lego Jurassic World has some great cheats that you can make use of. Here’s how to enter them.