'Hisuian Typhlosion, the Living Legend': One Pokemon fan's attempt to make one starter a champion across 20 years of games

A Typhlosion gives their Pokemon trainer a high-five
(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

A dedicated Pokemon pro has made one of their favourite pocket pals a champion in every region where they're allowed to battle, but a single coveted badge of honour might be the true standout achievement.

That badge comes in the form of a prize called the Legend Ribbon, and the easiest way for your Pokemon to get it is by beating Red at Mt. Silver in one of two games released nearly 14 years ago. As one of the starters available in HeartGold and SoulSilver, a Cyndaquil with that prize is a common sight - though the journey that trainer Murkiri’s pocket pal went on after is anything but common.

When we spoke with them, the competitive Pokemon player told us that their desire to create a team they were truly attached to spawned the idea. For the budding trainer, given how often Pokemon and their moves and items are switched, it's “hard to get attached” to individual Pokemon - you might have a favourite species, but a single cherished creature is a lot more rare.

Shut down

A stressed Corviknight looks upon a Pokemon character

(Image credit: Pokemon Company)

“When Nintendo announced the eShop was shutting down, I started a playthrough of the entire series in an attempt to grow a group of Pokemon I was attached to when the time came for me to transfer my Pokemon from Pokemon Bank to Pokemon Home and then eventually to Scarlet/Violet,” Mirkiri told us.

“Once I had completed my playthrough, I had the idea of transferring Pokemon from older games to use in Sword/Shield for video game championship (VGC) tournaments." That decision came after the realisation that Ribbons - prizes awarded for feats accomplished throughout individual games - can be used to add titles to your Pokemon. "I did this for a Kyogre from HeartGold/SoulSilver that I had defeated Red with so I could use a ‘Kyogre the Living Legend’ at Melbourne Regionals 2022. So I've mostly been doing this for a little bit.”

I choose you

Pokemon Legends Arceus starters

(Image credit: Nintendo)

As for how Typhlosion fits into this, Murkiri explains that a friend made them aware a Cyndaquil from Johto could be traded into Pokemon Legends Arceus and evolved without losing its ribbon data. As such, a Hisuian Typhlosion - a regional variant of the original Gen 2 starter - in possession of the ribbon awarded for beating Red in HeartGold and SoulSilver is a possibility. “The novelty of having a very unique Hisuian Typhlosion was very attractive to me."

What makes Murkiri’s well-decorated Hisuian Typhlosion unique is that there are very few of them, and limited means for new players to create their own. Before Nintendo shut the 3DS eShop down, Murkiri used Pokemon Bank alongside Poke Transporter – an app that connects to Bank so you can transfer pocket pals from Gen 5 to older 3DS games – to make the journey possible. Thanks to the eShop closure, Transporter is no longer available to you, so you’d likely have to resort to illegitimate means to train a Living Legend of your own. Murkiri got in before all that, so the only major obstacle they faced was getting their hands on second-hand versions of old Pokemon DS games.

Red with envy

A Pokemon trainer approached Red in Heart Gold on top of a snowy mountain

(Image credit: Nintendo)

While Murkiri’s Hisuian Typhlosion has some of the most desirable ribbons in the series, one major prize remains beyond their reach. Pokemon games initially featured a national PokeDex that included every 'mon out there, though Sword and Shield were the first to narrow the focus and leave some to the side. Three of the Pokemon that didn't make the jump to Gen 8 were the Cyndaquil-Quilava-Typhlosion line, meaning that Murkiri's Hisuian Typhlosion is unlikely to be crowned a champion of Galar. 

While Murkiri relates to wishing you could take any Pokemon anywhere, they see the current setup's benefits. 

“There have been several times I've wished certain species of Pokemon were coded into Sword/Shield or Scarlet/Violet,” they say. “However, I do understand that, especially now with over 1,000 different Pokemon, there are a lot of Pokemon to keep track of and account for with the different changes/new moves for each of them. Keeping them all available in every game would be a bit of a feat. This is something a lot of people don't understand, particularly the #BringBackNationalDex crowd." 

“Plus, from a VGC perspective, it keeps the list of available Pokemon curated and keeps a lot of "problem" Pokemon out of play (e.g. Smeargle). Probably the only benefit of the decision.”

As for what’s next, Murkiri has more Pokemon in their sights to add to their dream team. “I do specifically want to do one for Porygon because it is my favourite Pokemon, but also for Mankey, due to the new evolution it got in Gen 9 with Annhilape,” they say. “I think for those, I will attempt to get more ribbons for them before taking them to Gen 8/9.”

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Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.