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Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s Latest Pokemon Might Be An Electric Slugma

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet's latest gym leader has been revealed, and she's a streamer named Iono. She's an Electric-type gym leader, which feels a little redundant when Elesa is the closest to Iono in aesthetics and is also Electric. Both characters wear large yellow overcoats and have a cutesy vibe undercut by a fierce sense for fashion. Iono's large hair clips and dyed hair also seem more fitting of the fanciful Fairy or Poison aesthetic than they do the much spikier Electric look; although the clips are big, plastic Magnemites, so that's something of a giveaway to her preference for Electric 'mons. Most interesting though is the game Iono puts forward – guessing who her partner Pokemon is. All signs point to it being a brand new Pokemon for Paldea.

We get a few clues, but there doesn't appear to be any current Pokemon who matches them. We know it is Electric, that it feels squishy, and that it's slow. Not much to go on, but given most Electric types are speedy, that knocks quite a few out already. The most telling clue is that it has "two big old bumps on the noggin that people mistake for eyes". This is a very distinctive design feature, and there are no Pokemon who fit the bill. It's brand new then, but that doesn't mean we still can't guess.

First off, we have to think of the game within the game. It's unlikely Pokemon would tease a partner Pokemon reveal for a gym leader only to turn around and have it be Lanturn or some other B-tier Pokemon. The fact that it's goading us to guess without offering a silhouette or any other visual clue also makes it unlikely that it's an entirely new Pokemon. It's no fun to make us put together theories and then go "it's Zippyzapahedron, this thing we just made up!". But if it's not new, and it's not old, then what could it be? The answer may lie in Iono's wording. She doesn't just say the Pokemon is slow, but specifically describes it as "a little sluggish". That feels like a telling choice of words and could mean a Slugma variant is on its way.

Regional variants have proven to be an extremely popular gimmick, surviving across multiple generations in a way fresh Pokemon ideas rarely do. We're even seeing The Pokemon Company become more playful with the idea, introducing Wiglett, which looks like a Diglett variant but is an entirely new 'mon altogether. Scarlet & Violet has already confirmed that regional variants are back back back again, with Wooper getting one. Slugma, as an underappreciated but still adorable Pokemon, is the perfect candidate for one. Some Pokemon are too far gone – nobody wants a new Archeops. Meanwhile, a lot of the early choices were very popular 'mons to sell the concept. Right now, we don't need the likes of Vulpix to get any more – we already love them. Slugma is a prime candidate for a regional variant, and while this may be slipping more into wanting and believing over theorising, the use of the word "sluggish" seems deliberate.

Even the design works. While Slugma has two very clear eyes on its face and two flames where its feelers would be, it's easy to envisage a slug Pokemon design where the feelers resemble eyes and lead to confusion. Especially for an Electric-type slug, where the feelers would presumably be modelled on antennae. We'll find out soon enough, with Iono telling us she'll reveal all "next time", but right now, Slugma has to be leading the pack. There's a first time for everything.

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