You might have a counterfeit Pokémon in Sword and Shield without knowing it

Game Freak

Pokémon Sword and Shield have some of the most imaginative monsters in the series — there’s a creature, for example, which takes on a new form when it’s hangry. But perhaps the wildest inclusion in the newest installments has to be Polteageist, the ghost Pokémon that inhabits a tea set.

Sure, a tea Pokémon creature is creative idea in of itself, especially for a game that seems to take place in Pokémon’s version of England. But that’s not why I’m highlighting the glassware monster today. Instead, I’d like to bring your attention to a minor detail about Polteageist that is very easy to miss. There are actually two versions of Polteageist (and by extension, its precursor, Sinistea.) One is fake, and one is real. Yes, I'm being serious right now. One of the Pokédex entries for the monsters tease you with this:

The teacup in which this Pokémon makes its home is a famous piece of antique tableware. Many forgeries are in circulation.

So, how can you tell which one you have? Well, you can always check. As it turns out, authentic Polteageist have a mark of authenticity on the bottom of the teapot. According to Pokémon website Serebii, most “standard forms” found in the wild of this Pokémon are counterfeit. Pictured below, the seal is small and blue. It should be visible for both Polteageist and Sinistea.

Upon learning this shocking information, many Pokémon fans at Polygon immediately inspected their own Polteageist to see which version they had. Getting the creature to flip over to look at its butt turned out to be tricky, but if you go into your Pokedex and press A to see detail, and then A for “Motion/Cry,” you should be able to move your creature around. Most people here don’t have the real deal.

“I still love him very much,” says Polygon entertainment reporter Karen Han, upon learning that her buddy is actually fake. RIP.

You can also tell which critter you have depending on which evolution item you use to evolve it: Cracked Pots are for counterfeit sets, while Chipped Pots are for “real” Polteageist. The good news is that, no matter what version of the ghost you have, there’s no material difference inside of actual battle. There are no stat or strength differences between counterfeit and real Polteageist; this is just a small, fun detail.

This raises the question: How, exactly, can a Pokémon be a counterfeit? My gut is that the tea set itself can be fake, but the ghost inside is real no matter what. Either way, man, whoever is designing these new Pokémon needs a raise.


I love how many insane details like this there are in this game, wow

Reminds me of all the urban legend-like rumors that got popular for the early games

I just want to see a an updated MissingNo that’s like, almost impossible to find

That’s what bugs me, though. Why bother putting something like this in if you’re not going to give it some rarity?

1 in 10 is too common for my taste. I guess combined with shinies/stats that ought to do it.

If you think about it though the rariest pokemon in the game (So far) is a non-counterfeit shiny polteageist. With the shiny chain odds flipping for square shiny though idk if a regular shiny or a square shiny is rarer.

What other insane details are there?

Does this occur by naturally playing or are these Pokemon achieved by trading? I ask because earlier iterations of Pokemon did have "Pokemon generators" to ‘build’ any Pokemon to your choosing and have them sent to your game via Internet.

This just lore "fake," to play on how there are counterfeits in real life of valuable antique items.

But if at some point we start having hacked ‘non-fake’ Polteageist getting traded it’s going to get really confusing.

The confusion got me as well. this is just a bad Title for an article because previous Pokemon games had issues with banning legitimate players because they went online with someone who had "hacked" their game and unknowingly received counterfeit pokemon… busted with counterfeit pokemon and it doesn’t matter how you got them, you were then banned from playing the game you paid for.

My first encounter with Sinistea yielded an authentic one— so imagine my surprise when the cracked pot I had just found didn’t work on it.

Only to do some digging and find out that I need an entirely different pot to evolve it and the stow-on-side vendor has yet to have it available.

Same! i was like "well darn my luck I guess"

Kinda weird how many times Polteageist is called fake in this article when the pokédex entrie is clearly talking about the tea set

Lmao this. Like, reading comprehension anyone?

This pokedex is REALLY interesting. I’m gonna label it for spoilers even though I don’t know if this is a plot spoiler but

I think this is the first time we have a pokedex that we can’t trust to be providing purely true info? The mix n match fossilized pokemon imply that pokedex entries can’t be trusted- its a fun play on the hilariously hyperbolic entries of the past…though kinda dark!

I don’t think this is actually misleading, at least for Sinistea/Polteageist. The entry isn’t indicating that the actual Pokemon is a forgery, it’s the antique teapot itself. Thus the fact that all stats are the same and the only difference is essentially a mark of authenticity on the pot itself.

I don’t know anything about the fosslized Pokemon though, so I can’t input on that.

Oh yeah- I just mean that particular case. There are other interesting entries once you have that framing- especially comparing Sword and Shield entries and how they differ

I think it’s funny that the dex entries are a little more reserved this time around. Compare Boltund’s 50 mph, which isn’t even as fast as a cheetah, to Pidgeot’s mach 2, or Centiskorch’s 1500 degree Farenheit, which is more or less the temperature of lava, to Magcargo’s "hotter than the sun."

I can’t even. This is genius.

Did you just "can’t even"?

And that’s the tea.

Fake news.

Seems like such a minor thing to focus on by the developers. The tea set is simply preferred by the ghost pokemon as its de facto home, authentic or not it’s not like the pokemon will care about trademarks… That you need a different item for evolution is rather interesting though

Really clever. People call Game Freak lazy but, to me, this is not the work of a creative team that has checked out. Just one that has calmed down, and is more interested in nuance than they used to be.

Applin is a baby pokemon that lives inside an apple, that at first glance appears to be a worm. It then evolves into one of two dragon forms (Flapple or Appletun).

Applin is a Wyrm in an apple.

It’s a BRILLIANT pun and an extremely creative idea for a Pokemon, in my opinion. They absolutely have not checked out.

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