Why is Victini before Snivy in the Pokédex?

Victini

Hello again Trainers!  When Generation 5 dropped into Pokémon Go eagle-eyed trainers noticed that the first entry in the Unova portion of the Pokémon Go Pokédex wasn’t a starter Pokémon.  For anybody who didn’t play Pokémon Black or White, this may seem very odd.

The Unova Pokédex starts right after Pokémon 493 – Arceus.  So the first entry in the Unova portion of the national Pokédex is 494.   Tradition had been from the previous four generations that the Grass-type starter would be the first entry in the Regional Pokédex.  Bulbasaur from the Kanto region, Chikorita from Johto, Treeko from Hoenn, and Turtwig from Sinnoh.

While it is true that Snivy, the grass starter in Unova, is Pokédex entry #1 in the Regional Pokédex, it isn’t the first Pokémon in the dex.  That honour was given to Victini.  The question is, why?

Pokemon GO VictiniVictiniPsychicFire

The Victory Pokemon

Victini is said to bring victory to the trainer that earns its trust.

Victini, #0 in the Unova Pokedex, is a Mythical Pokémon.  It is the only Pokémon to legitimately be #0 in any Pokédex and it is the only Pokémon listed before the starters in is regional Pokédex.   Victini is also the only Mythical Pokémon of a later generation to appear next to a Mythical Pokémon from an earlier generation in the National Pokédex.

Its physical appearance seems to be based on a Japanese technique of cutting apples into rabbit shapes called usagi-ringo.  Its appearance could have been inspired by the Greek god of victory Nike or Victoria, Nike’s Roman equivalent.  The V on its head could be linked to it being from the fifth Generation, or it could be a reference to the V sign for Victory.

As for why Victini was given a spot before Snivy, in the main series games Pokémon Black and Pokémon White you could only catch Victini during a special event.  You had to travel to a place called Liberty Garden and fight your way through some Team Plasma grunts before you could encounter and catch Victini.

Afterwards, when you walk back outside you are greeted by Professor Juniper who says:

“In the Unova Pokédex, Victini was assigned a special number: zero. I’ve heard the special number was assigned in the hope that Victini’s power to bring victory would be shared with the Trainer who travels with this Pokédex”

From a lore perspective, it’s clear that Victini has a special place in the Unova Pokédex and to the lore of Unova in general.  Thus, it was given a special place at the beginning of the Pokédex to aid all those that travelled the region with a Pokédex.  Victini has uniqueness within the lore of Pokémon as a good luck symbol, as well as it being a symbolic mascot of victory.

There are many speculations as to why this was done from a practical perspective, as it seems odd that Victini is the only Pokémon to be given this special treatment.  While the officials who created Victini have never officially stated why Victini was placed at the beginning of the Unova dex, there are plenty of theories.

  • It was given its special place because the officials thought it would be good luck to have it at the beginning of the dex.
  • Victini is Junichi Masuda’s favourite Gen 5 Pokémon, so it was placed at the start of the dex to honour him.
  • Victini was first shown as a preview at the end of the Pokémon movie Zoroark: Master of Illusions.  So if it was given the Pokédex entry of 149, it would have revealed how many Pokémon were in Generation 5.
  • As a gimmick to make people stop talking about Missingno.

Whatever the reason, Victini has a special place in the history of Unova and the entire Pokémon world.  For now, we don’t know how long it will be until Victini is released into Pokémon Go so their Pokédex entry will remain a blank space Pokémon Go Pokédex.

Victini is available now through the special research, The Road to Victory!  So go out there and work with Professor Willow so you can catch your very own Victini!

Thanks for reading, and as always, stay safe out there!

I've been playing Pokemon Go since the game launched way back in 2016, I am a loyal Valor player and also a content creator on YouTube going by the name Professor Glaw.