Lechonk appears to be the token regional Normal Pokemon for the Paldea region of Generation 9’s Scarlet and Violet. It evolves into Oinkologne, the Hog Pokemon. A truffle-sniffing boar makes plenty of sense for a region based on Spain from a flavor aspect, so the overall design is fine. But, can Lechonk set itself apart from the ill-fated regional token Normal types like Black and White’s Watchog or Sun and Moon’s Gumshoos? Could Lechonk and Oinkologne become more like the competitively useful Normal types of Persian and Stoutland?
Per usual, when I analyze a new Pokemon, I consider the lore available from the Pokemon Company website. The Hog Pokemon is a “gourmand with an excellent nose,” using its strong sense of smell to find only the “most fragrant grasses and the richest Berries.” This sounds like a massively useful trait that could be beneficial to trainers finding Berries and similar items in the game’s open world adventure.
Also, as the Pokemon Company reveals, Lechonk’s dining habits means “it has come to radiate an aroma resembling herbs that Bug Pokemon dislike.” This could mean that Lechonk could have some type of super-effective move against Bug-types. Somewhat unfortunately, Lechonk’s name is clearly based on the Spanish word lechon, which means “a whole pig roasted on a spit.”
The Pokemon Company website also explains how Lechonk is “timid and fainthearted—but also strong.” It talks about how while it may appear fat, its body is actually mostly muscle “built by constantly walking around in search of food.” In other words, Lechonk is a cardio nut. Also, despite its relative timid nature (no relation to the competitive Nature of Timid), if Lechonk is “attacked by an opponent and [is] startled, it will charge forward in a panic.” This would seem behavior consistent with the boars of the Iberian peninsula that Lechonk’s design is based upon, after all. Unfortunately, at the Picnics introduced in Scarlet and Violet, you can indeed feed Lechonk a ham sandwich. Enough said there.
While many Pokemon trainers seem rather underwhelmed with Lechonk, his lore tells me how deeply concerned the Game Freak team was with making this Hog a Pokemon that could actually be a valuable team member beyond the basics of battle. After all, its two potential abilities, Aroma Veil and Gluttony, are directly derived from its lore.
The Gluttony ability for Lechonk fits directly into its gourmand nature; gourmand meaning one who enjoys eating and often eats too much. This ability causes the Pokemon to eat berries that normally would be consumed at 25 percent HP or below instead at 50 percent HP or below. Alolan Muk, Alolan Raticate, Heatmor, Linoone, Shuckle, Simipour, Simisage, and Simisear have all used this ability to a competitive advantage across the generations of Pokemon. Greedent, Grumpig, Snorlax, Swalot, and Victreebel also enjoy Gluttony as a Hidden Ability. Of course, Lechonk seems less suited to competitive battle, and more attuned to helping its trainer discover useful herbs and berries.
The Aroma Veil ability fits the lore bit about Lechonk’s dining habits, and it is much rarer among the Pokemon franchise. In fact, in Pokemon X and Y, it was introduced as the signature Hidden ability of Spritzee and Aromatisse. It wouldn’t be until Sword and Shield that another pair of Pokemon, the evolutionary pair of Milcery and Alcremie, also would enjoy this Hidden ability. This makes Lechonk the first Pokemon to have this as a primary ability choice.
Aroma Veil is actually a very relevant ability in competitive play. It prevents the Pokemon with the ability, as well as any allies from being affected by the moves Attract, Taunt, Torment, Encore, and Disable, plus the abilities of Cursed Body, Heal Block, and Cute Charm. Pokemon with Aroma Veil, namely Aromatisse and Alcremie, have been used in double battles as support team members (I myself have a shiny Alcremie that can serve this purpose in Pokemon Sword.)
Which ability is better? Aroma Veil is strictly the more competitively relevant ability; however, Gluttony is always useful during the main adventure. As an early team member, Lechonk’s Gluttony will make it one of the more resilient Normal-types, similar to what Appletun or Flapple could be in Sword / Shield; or what Greedent could be if you acquired one from a Max Raid.
Lechonk learns decent moves very early, including Disarming Voice at level 5 and Echoed Voice at level 8. The problem is Lechonk’s special attack is a pitiful 35, whereas its physical attack is a respectable 45 for the early game. The best physical attacking moves it gets before being able to evolve at level 18 are Covet and Dig, both fine, but underwhelming.
In the wild, most Lechonk will enjoy a Normal Tera Type, which could easily be one of the better ones in the game, thanks to having a single weakness with Fighting-type moves. This Hog should find itself being a perfectly useful attacker early in the game, especially when Lechonk hits for 2x damage with normal moves when it Terastalizes. Even its perfectly good evolution probably won’t be seen in competitive play, but even its first form could be a perfectly useful team member for the early part of the open world adventure.
Much of Lechonk’s potential lies in its evolution into Oinkologne, which will enjoy its own separate article. But, solely based on this first-form Pokemon, it’s easy for me to conclude that Lechonk is a flavor-win for the Paldea region, even if its first form is only a viable battler before the first gym in the main Generation 9 adventure.
Photo Credit: The Pokemon Company
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