Pokemon of the Week: Sylveon

Pokemon GO Fest (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images) /

Welcome to Pokemon of the Week, the sixth installment in a recurring series that looks at the impact of some of our favorite Pokemon on the anime, TCG and VGC. Taking a trip down memory lane to see the impact these Pokemon have had on the series and our lives is what makes Pokemon the magical thing it is.

This week we make another stop on the Eevee tree, this time landing with Sylveon, the Interwining Pokemon. Sylveon is a special Pokemon in many ways and in a short time has earned its place in the hearts of Pokemon fans. Sylveon was the only evolution for the family introduced during the generation it appeared, the first time that has ever happened. It immediately became an integral part of all forms in Pokemon fandom, fitting given that it uses the ribbons on its body to read others feelings.

Sylveon has joined many other Pokemon in the Super Smash Bros. Universe, obtainable as a trophy in the 3DS/WiiU era. Sylveon is in fact the slowest of all the Eevee tree. It makes up for its lack of quickness with its impressive Special Attack, tying Umbreon for the highest base Special Attack of the entire tree.

Pixilate is what really sets Sylveon apart though. This unique ability changes the type of every Normal-type move by Sylveon to a Fairy-type move. This opens up a world of possibilities for unique options for the Interwining Pokemon. This ability is so strong that the only other Pokemon to boast it are Mega Gardevoir and Mega Altaria.

Photo: Pokémon Alpha Sapphire.. © 2014 Pokémon. © 1995-2014 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
Photo: Pokémon Alpha Sapphire.. © 2014 Pokémon. © 1995-2014 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. /

In the anime

Sylveon made appearances with two rather important characters but it debuted alongside a trainer named Penelope. She was able to defeat Ash’s Froakie before being kidnapped by Team Rocket. While this was only a one episode appearance it set the stage for a popular Pokemon.

Ash would later battle another Sylveon, this time alongside Valerie, the Laverre City Gym Leader. Serena may have been more excited to meet her than the battle-ready Ash, however, as Valerie was popular in the world of fashion. Unfortunately for this Sylveon, it was the first Pokemon to fall in the battle, losing to Ash’s Fletchinder.

The most well-known Sylveon in the anime belongs to the aforementioned Serena. Always the type for a grand entrance, Eevee evolved into Sylveon in the midst of a double battle alongside Ash and Pikachu. As Serena was focused on showcases, Eevee and ultimately Sylveon were often by her side for these.

Sylveon would be a key part in Serena’s first showcase win at the Fleurrh Rookie Class Showcase. At the Gloire Master Class Showcase Sylveon made the save on Serena’s mistake, advancing them to the finals. Unfortunately the team came up just short in the finals, losing to the reigning Kalos Queen Aria.

Pokemon cards (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images) /


In the TCG world Sylveon has found a way to be a thorn in the side of many competitors. It started off with Sylveon EX playing a supporting role in the popular Zoroark EX/Gallade Strategy at the 2018 World Championships, finishing in 11th and 22nd place. This was a counter play against the new beast of the format, Rayquaza GX which happened to be weak to Fairy. Zoroark GX made its name for years as the most flexible strategy and this use of Sylveon EX is the perfect example.

Moving on to the (for some) more annoying side of things, Sylveon GX was one of the first pillars of control strategies in the Sun & Moon era. This strategy made expert use of Magical Ribbon, an attack that for a single Fairy Energy allowed the player to search their deck for any three cards. This type of hand customization allowed for a controlling strategy that had all options at it’s finger tips.

Not limited to just control, the popular Gardevoir GX deck incorporated a Sylveon GX line into their strategy on occasion as a way to set up multiple evolutions. In the TCG evolutions have fallen by the way side due to the inconsistencies of finding all the pieces to evolve them. Magic Ribbon mitigates that, helping get the powerful Fairy strategy out of the early game and into a dominating position.

Continuing the strong pairing, Gardevoir & Sylveon GX reunited as a tag team Pokemon to great success. All three attacks on this card were strong. For a single colorless energy Fairy Song pulled two fairy energy cards from the deck and attached them to benched Pokemon. Kalediostorm did 150 damage and moved your energy around to your heart’s desire. Finally Magical Miracle GX did 200 damage and if you had the required extra energy shuffled your opponent’s entire hand away. Combined with Green’s Exploration to search the deck and a plethora of Fairy Charm cards to block attacks Gardevoir & Sylveon GX was a winning strategy, highlighted by Regional Championship victories in Sheffield, England, Daytona Beach, FL, Sao Paulo, Brazil and Lima, Peru along plenty of other top cut finishes.

Photo: Pokemon Home.. Image Courtesy The Pokémon Company International
Photo: Pokemon Home.. Image Courtesy The Pokémon Company International /


The Interwining has also made its presence felt in various VGC formats. It began with Markus Stadter in 2015. An accomplished player championing a rogue Pokemon is always worth taking notice of and Stadter chose to bring Sylveon to two National Championships in 2015. In his native Germany he finished in 21st place with Sylveon on the team (Matteo Gini finished in 7th place with Sylveon but his team data is not available).

Impressed by the success he saw Stadter would tweak the team (switching Wash Rotom to Heat Rotom) and won the 2015 UK National Championship. While Landorus Therian Forme, Mega Kangaskhan and Heat Rotom were more reliable attackers Sylveon had its niche due to a powerful Hyper Voice (changed to Fairy-type thanks to Pixilate). In a format filled with Mega Salamence this was an important weakness to hit and Sylveon helped shore up the team.

Later that summer Yosuke Isagi took a similar strategy to the World Championship. Sylveon, Mega Kangaskhan, Landorus Therian and Aegislash remained. Gengar and Rotom were replaced with two other bastions of the game, Thunderus and Heatran. In addition to Hyper Voice Sylveon also had Quick Attack, giving it a priority attack to deal some damage in a pinch. In a format that was quite streamlined (Kangaskhan appeared on six top eight teams, Thunderus four, Cresselia five, Heatran six and Landorus Therian a stunning eight) Sylveon served as an otherwise unique choice.

Sylveon would return to success in 2020, earning three top 16 finishes at the Bochum Regional Championships. Not much had changed as the Fairy-type still packed Hyper Voice, Protect and Quick Attack while adding Yawn to the mix for a little disruption. Finally, just before the shutdown of the season Sylveon would earn its biggest win to date helping Marco Silva win the Melbourne International Championship. Sylveon undoubtedly will continue to find a way to succeed once the game returns as it has always been a popular choice. But that is quite the high note for this performer to go out on.