Completing the National Pokedex

There are two major goals of Pokemon as the original theme song of the anime states: (1) To catch them is my real test and (2) To train them is my cause. For many people, battling (number 2) is their most favorite thing about pokemon. They build up their best pokemon, and battle online or battle their friends. Catching every Pokemon in the game (number 1) has always been my real goal.

In Pokemon games, the Pokedex (perhaps short for Pokemon Rolodex or Pokemon Index) is a complete list of all Pokemon available in the game. Whenever you caught a specie of Pokemon, it is registered in your Pokedex as being caught. When the Pokedex is complete, you have essentially caught every Pokemon in the game. Once complete, you will receive a diploma detailing your accomplishment. :)

To catch Pokemon, you usually just find them out in the wild. Over time with more and more Pokemon added to the mythos, it no longer became feasible to have every single Pokemon available in the wild. As such, the Pokédexes were split between Regional dexes and the National dex. The National Pokedex is a complete list of all Pokemon, and the Regional Pokedex is the list of all Pokemon available in that particular game.

If certain Pokemon weren't available in the game, then you would have to either migrate Pokemon from a previous game or trade from another game in the same generation.

Completing the National Pokedex for the first time

Back in December 2014, I wrote about how I was close to completing my life-long goal of collecting every single Pokemon. In Pokemon White, my National Dex was at 647 out of 649, and for Pokemon X/Y and ORAS, I was at 717 and 716 out of 720.

A few months later, I was able to catch the few remaining Pokemon I needed.

In Pokemon White, I bought a used copy of Pokemon Black 2. That save file already completed the game and has a Meloetta and Latios on there. I transferred them over, and was able to get my Diploma for completing the dex. :)

Pokemon White and Generation 5 was complete.

I migrated both Pokemon forward to Pokemon X/Y, which were both missing in my games. Additionally, I bought a used copy of Pokemon Y which also had a completed save, and had the remaining Pokemon I was missing.

Generation 6 was now complete with diplomas from both Pokemon X and Pokemon Omega Ruby.

National Pokedex is Dead

Generation 7 released in November 2016 with Pokemon Sun and Moon. Most recently, Generation 8 has begun with the release of Pokemon Sword and Shield in Nov 2019. As of today, there are 890 total Pokemon across all games.

Unfortunately, the National Pokedex is being phased out due to the unsustainable amount of Pokemon. Previously, Pokemon Sun and Moon were the first games to no longer include the National Pokedex. And now, Pokemon Sword and Shield are the first to actually no even allow many Pokemon from previous generations. In both games, you could only complete the Regional dex.

Not including the National Pokedex in both games completely killed off my enjoyment of those games. I really just sped through them, beat 'em, and moved on. I did not linger nearly as long as I did with Pokemon X/Y and Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (ORAS).

The Modern National Pokedex

Pokemon Sword and Shield were released missing A LOT of features available in previous generations. Besides the National Dex, the most notable missing feature was the GTS, Global Trade System, which allowed players to easily trade which Pokemon they wanted.

Last month, they feature were released in Pokemon Home. This is an online database where you can store all of your Pokemon. It can be accessed from your Nintendo Switch and from your Phone. On your Phone, you're able to access the GTS, where you can trade any Pokemon you have in your Home account. You can organize all of your Pokemon, too. There are also many collection and trade challenges that will give you achievements and stickers when you complete them.

But, within Pokemon Home, the National Pokedex had returned.

From previous generations on the Nintendo 3DS, you could migrate your Pokemon forward using Pokemon Bank, a similar service on the 3DS. And with currently released Pokemon games on the Switch, you could grab Pokemon from them.

On the Nintendo 3DS, I began moving Pokemon from Pokemon X and Omega Ruby into Pokemon Bank, and then into Pokemon Sun and Moon and also Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. I didn't take too long to collect the remaining Pokemon I was missing from both games to complete the Alola Regional Dex in both games.

All of my Pokemon from all of my previous games were moved into Pokemon Bank, and then migrated to Pokemon Home. Then, they were temporary moved into Pokemon Sword. I had not ever finished Pokemon Sword at this point, but it was really easy to fly through the rest of the game with Pokemon from my previous games.

Collecting the remaining Pokemon was really easy, and with the accessibility of the GTS in Pokemon Home, grabbing the version exclusives and other missing Pokemon took no time at all. A week later, I had completed the Galar Regional Dex.

Also on the Switch was Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee. I had played through these games a year or two before, but I had not bothered trying to complete the Pokedex. Now with Pokemon Home available, it was easy to trade for all the exclusive Pokemon I was missing from the other version.

I could complete the Pokedex in Pokemon Let's Go Eevee without too much effort.

Home National Dex Complete

With all of my Pokemon transferred from all previous games and from Pokemon Sword into Pokemon Home, I was able to complete the National Dex. In Pokemon Home, you don't get a diploma. Instead, you are awarded a unique color/form of Magearna, a mythical Pokemon from Pokemon Sun and Moon that was previously never released.


Along with the release of Pokemon Home, they also announced expansions for Pokemon Sword and Shield, entitled the Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. Both expansions will add more Pokemon from previous gens into Generation 8, and include a few new Pokemon, too. As these expansions release, I'm sure that Pokemon Home will expand, too.

Thanks to Pokemon Home, this stuff is incredibly easy to keep up with now. I can always check my progress on my phone and do trades. The online infrastructure on the Switch is far more stable and fast compared with the 3DS, too. As things change, I can change pretty quickly, too. :)

Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra

Update! October 2020

Each expansion for Pokemon Sword and Shield added an additional 210 Pokemon in the game to its base 400 Pokemon. There are several overlaps, though, so the full total in Pokemon Sword and Shield is around 700. With both releases came a few new Pokemon in the new adventure. It did not take long to transfer over the previous Pokemon and catch new ones.

In August 2020, I was able to complete the Isle of Armor Regional Pokedex, and in October 2020, I could complete the Crown Tundra Regional Pokedex.

Pokemon Legends Arceus

Update! February 2022

Pokemon Legends is a reimagining of the Sinnoh region (generation 4) as your character is thrown into the past when Pokemon were first being discovered and Pokemon technology was being invented. Pokeballs had just been invented, and you join a clan whose purpose it is to discover and catalog ever Pokemon species in the region.

This game felt tailor-made for me. Finally there was a Pokemon game whose sole purpose was the complete the Pokedex. Also, the gameplay was incredibly fresh for the franchise. You no longer had to battle Pokemon to catch them. You could simply sneak up behind them and throw a ball. You could dodge attacks, and move around. When you did battle Pokemon, battles happened right where you were. There was no separate battle screen. Everything in the game was open. I played this game day in and day out after its release. I wanted to explore everywhere and catch everything.

Upon completion of the Pokedex, you weren't awarded a Diploma or anything. I mean, you were the first to ever complete the Pokedex (lore-wise) so they wouldn't have had any Diplomas laying around. But, they did have an awards ceremony.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet

Update! November 2022

So soon after the release of Pokemon Legends came the new generation of pokemon, Scarlet and Violet. SV were completely open games like Pokemon Legends. You could explore wherever you wanted. And now, you could complete the story in whatever order you wanted, too. Although, there was still a hint of linear progression. As you completed Titans, you could glide around the environment, jump higher, and climb mountains. Pokemon hid themselves in all manor of places throughout the region.

I absolutely devoured this game. Exploration is one of the most interesting things for me in games, and being able to find new things in a vast open world and collect them kept me playing this game for hours upon hours after its release. Luckily, it came out during test week, so I had a lot of free time.

Much like Sword and Shield, the Paldea regional dex has 400 Pokemon, with over 100 of them completely new for generation 9. And much like Pokemon Legends, going into and out of battles was very fast. Catching Pokemon was very fast, too. It started to become clear that completing the Pokedex would just be a matter of putting in the work rather than having to grind out tons of levels and evolutions. So many Quality of Life features have been added over the years, that it went pretty quickly.

Only a week after the release of Scarlet and Violet, I had completed the Paldea Regional Pokedex.

Future, again

More expansions have been announced for Scarlet and Violet, and I'm sure each of the new sub-regions will have their own Pokédexes. I shall update this post and I collect more completion diplomas.

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