The best new evolutions for old Pokemon

Each new generation of Pokemon games brings about 70-150 new monsters for players to befriend and fight. Usually, the evolutionary path that a given Pokémon takes is decided and set in stone in its first generation. However, the series does occasionally bring old Pokémon back into the spotlight.

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Beginning with Generation 2, Game Freak began introducing new Pokémon that evolved from previously introduced ones. Regardless of how old this practice is, it is surprisingly rare given that Generations 3, 5, and 7 introduce no new developments. However, when it did, it helped bring relevance to the previously underwhelming Pokemon.


9/9 Sylveon

Eevee is by far the most privileged Pokemon when it comes to new evolutions. In the original Red and Blue Playing it already had three possible evolutions due to its gimmick of being genetically unstable. Five generations later in X and Yit received its latest development.

The Eeveelutions are a difficult group of Pokemon to invade, but Sylveon managed to carve out a spot for himself right away. In many ways, it was the quintessential Fairy-type that helped introduce players to the new type through a familiar Pokemon, while still having respectable power and tremendous appeal.

8/9 Farigiraf

The latest new development at the time of writing, Farigiraf has been unveiled as part of the build Pokemon Scarlet and violet. It’s an evolution of Gen 2’s Girafarig, a Pokémon that has lingered in obscurity for about 2 decades.

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Farigiraf’s design contrasts beautifully with its predecessor, transforming the chain-puff tail into a fearsome helm and allowing it to grow to true giraffe proportions. Luckily, the name is also palindromic, meaning it reads backwards the same way it reads forwards. It remains to be seen how competitive it will be, but everyone is just happy that Girafarig is getting some love.

7/9 honchkrow

Murkrow was another unremarkable Gen 2 Pokémon. It was decently useful at first, but soon fell victim to performance drops over the years. Luckily, Gen 4 tried to bless it by turning it into Honchkrow.

For its design alone, Honchkrow is an amazing development. Murkrow has always had vague mafia inspirations, but Honchkrow pushes that to the max, looking and acting like a real mafia boss. This also put Murkrow in a new context as his subordinates/gang and made the whole line that much more interesting and memorable.

6/9 obstacle

Regional variants were introduced in Generation 7, but it wasn’t until Generation 8 that these variants brought completely new developments. The best example is of course Obstagoon, the new evolution for Galarian Zigzagoon and Linoone.

Obstagoon continues the line’s subtle movement theme (zigzag, line, or obstacle) and takes the punk rock aesthetic of the Galarian form to its natural terminus. On its own, it’s also a great addition to the Generation 8 roster, paying homage to famed rock band KISS and acting as the perfect partner for studio head Piers.

5/9 Togekiss

Togetic and Togepi, another beneficiary of Gen 4’s plethora of new developments, played a big role in the Pokemon anime and had a decent amount of usability in the game. Even so, they slowly became irrelevant before Togekiss was introduced.

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Togekiss is an amazing Pokemon. In competition, it was able to remain viable for four generations after its debut, and was given an extra boost with the introduction of the fairy type in Gen 6. It also pays dividends for the growth of the Togepi line, finally giving every favorite egg a fully mature but still adorable final form.

4/9 shear

Scizor was introduced in Gen 2 as an evolution of Scyther. It was one of the first newly introduced developments and remains a fan favorite to this day. It also served as an introduction to the new Steel-type via an ancient Pokemon, similar to how Sylveon was used to introduce the Fairy-type.

Swapping Scyther’s organic green for a sleek metallic red and crab-like claws ups the cool factor immensely. Although it has the same base stats as Scyther, it has also become much more competitive and is still played today.

3/9 Gliscor

Before Gen 4, Gligar had a bit to offer. It had a competitive niche and a pretty cool, if somewhat crude, design. However, the introduction of Gliscor worked wonders for its little brother.

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Gliscor is the total package. Just like Togekiss, it’s a natural and beautifully crafted evolution of its previous form, and has managed to remain competitive despite massive power increases. Its existence also allowed Ash’s Gligar to return in the anime and evolve into one of his strongest Pokémon of all time.

2/9 Wyrdeer

Pokémon Legends Arceus was a breath of fresh air for the franchise, set in the past of the Sinnoh region, bringing new gameplay ideas and old developments. The game also introduced Wyrdeer, an ancient, extinct evolution of the notoriously forgotten Stantler.

As the first and most important rideable Pokémon in the game, players will have more than enough time with Wyrdeer. As such, it’s hard to deny that it’s not just a nice-looking upgrade for Stantler, it’s also an extremely useful part of it Arcus‘ Gameplay loop.

1/9 Sirfetch’d

There are a few Pokemon (particularly from Gen 1 and 2) that are ironically unforgettable because they aren’t unforgettable. Farfetch had once existed in this category among the likes of Dunsparce and Tropius, but Gen 8 sought to change all of that. Introduced as an evolution of Galarian Farfetch’d, Sirfetch’d gave the little duckling a rather regal new look.

Sirfetch’d’s leek transforms into a spear and shield, and gains a confident, chiseled smile. Not only does this development finally give Farfetch’d a much-needed power-up, but it also turns the pity around him into genuine popularity, especially thanks to his role on Ash’s new anime team.

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