Since the beginning of the Pokemon series, there have been two different versions of the main games, each with subtle differences, including exclusive Pokemon that are only available in one version of each duo. For this reason, if you want to fill your Pokedex or have a specific Pokemon on your team that is not available in the wild, you will need to trade between games to get it.
While some entries in the series have received remakes or sequels, their version exclusives have remained largely the same and true to their original releases. Whether you prefer to choose your party members based on their designs or their stats, you’ll need to make sure you’re picking the right version of the game to get the specific Pokemon you want.
8 Electabuzz / Sandslash: Pokemon Red And Blue
Since the beginning of the Pokemon series with Pokemon Red and Blue, exclusive Pokemon have been established as a staple. Available in the Power Plant in Red, Electabuzz is every bit as electrifying as its name suggests, running on pure electric currents. Oddly enough, its Pokedex entry in Pokemon Crystal indicates that the species communicates through these electrical currents.
The foil of Electabuzz’s Electric typing, the Ground-type Pokemon Sandslash is exclusive to Blue. Sandslash pays homage to the animal kingdom, especially the pangolin, a small mammal that shares Sandslash’s long, sharp claws. Its spikes also make this Pokémon look like a porcupine, an animal known for its quills.
seven Arcanine / Feunard: Pokémon Gold and Silver
The canine Fire-type Pokemon Arcanine is only available in Pokemon Gold, not Silver, which means you’ll probably want to pick that version of the game if you want to use it on your team. With the title “Legendary Pokemon”, it’s no wonder this Pokemon is so beloved. Although it may not be a legendary Pokemon, its design is inspired by the Ryukyuan, a mythical creature that resembles both a lion and a dog.
Another mythology-inspired Pokemon, Ninetales is exclusive to Silver and has a sleek design that resembles a nine-tailed fox spirit, also known as a kitsune. In Japanese mythology, kitsune can have up to nine tails, and it is believed that the more tails they have, the wiser they are. This implies that Ninetales grew wiser through Pokemon battles, reaching their full potential.
6 Mawile / Sableye: Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire
When Mawile was first introduced as an exclusive in Pokemon Ruby, it was a pure Steel-type Pokemon. Mawile is inspired by the Japanese yokai, futakuchi-onna, which also has a second mouth on the back of its head. Mawile’s second mouth also resembles a Venus flytrap, and the Pokémon uses its jaws in an equally deadly way.
If you picked Pokemon Sapphire, however, you’ll be able to catch Sableye. Prior to the introduction of the Fairy type in Gen Six, Sableye’s Dark and Ghost typing meant that this Pokémon had no weaknesses, making it a powerful and reliable Pokémon to have on your team if you had the Sapphire version.
5 Tyranitar / Salamence: Pokémon Diamond and Pearl
Exclusive to Pokemon Diamond, Tyranitar is a dinosaur-like armored Pokemon and is the only Pokemon to be both Rock and Dark type. This Pokemon is known for its formidable power, with its Pokedex entry in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl claiming it has the ability to destroy mountains and bury rivers when angry.
Equally powerful, Salamence is exclusive to Pearl and has a dual type Dragon and Flying. Salamence has all the characteristics of a traditional dragon, most notably its blade-like wings. Its high stats mean this Pokemon would be a threat to opponents in battle.
4 Whimsicott / Reuniclus: Pokemon Black And White
Available in Pokemon Black, Whimsicott is known as the “Windveiled Pokemon”, due to its fluffy appearance that also resembles dandelion fluff moving along the wind. Don’t be fooled by Whimsicott’s innocent face, as this Pokemon is known to like to prank people by moving furniture and leaving cotton balls in their homes.
On the other hand, Reuniclus is exclusive to White and features a very different design scheme than Whimsicott, resembling a cell and showing the significance of its “Multiplier Pokemon” moniker. This biology-based design is unlike any other Pokémon in the series.
3 Mega Charizard X / Mega Mewtwo Y: Pokémon X and Y
Pokemon X and Y introduced Mega Evolutions to the series, a gimmick where specific Pokemon could temporarily evolve into a more powerful form. Some of these Mega Evolutions were version exclusives, including those of Mega Charizard and Mega Mewtwo. Mega Charizard X is a Fire and Dragon type Pokemon, unlike its Y counterpart. Mega Charizard X has a very different color scheme compared to its original form, now with black and blue coloring. His blue fire is a particularly nice touch, given that blue flames burn the most.
Mega Mewtwo Y is exclusive to Pokemon Y and, like Mega Charizard, has a twist on the original iconic design. In terms of appearance, Mega Mewtwo Y has a smaller stature and floats above the ground much like its ancestor, Mew.
2 Alola Firenard / Drampa: Pokémon Sun and Moon
Generation Seven was the first time regional variants of older Pokémon were introduced to the series, and Ninetales was one of those variants. Unlike its Kanto counterpart, Alolan Ninetales is a dual Ice and Fairy type Pokemon and has an all new design. He has blue fur and a flowing mane and tail, making him as majestic as he is powerful.
Introduced in Generation Seven and hailing from Alola rather than a variant, Drampa is a Normal and Dragon-type Pokémon. It refers to Chinese mythology, specifically the Torch Dragon which has the face of a man and the body of a dragon. Drampa is also a grandfather figure in the Pokemon universe, as he is known to protect children from danger.
1 Sirfetch’d / Appletun: Pokemon Sword And Shield
With the Galar region taking inspiration from Great Britain, it’s no surprise that many of its native Pokémon do as well. One of these Pokemon is Sirfetch’d, which is exclusive to Pokemon Sword. His design resembles a medieval knight, his name and appearance most likely a reference to Sir Lancelot du Lac of the Knights of the Round Table. Sirfetch’d wields a sword and shield made of leeks, continuing the theme of his previous evolution.
On the other hand, if you chose Pokemon Shield, you would be able to get Appletun, Applin’s second evolution. It evolves through the use of a sweet apple, and unlike its counterpart, Flapple, which can be obtained in Pokemon Sword, Appletun has a sweet design that resembles an apple pie. Appletun also uses his high special attack stat with a pool of powerful special moves.
Next: Pokemon: All Major Human Characters, Ranked