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.