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.

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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.

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