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Xerneas (ゼルネアス, Zeruneasu, /ˈzɜːrniəs/ ZUR-nee-əs) and Yveltal (イベルタル, Iberutaru, /ˈvɛltɔːl/ ee-VEL-tawl)[1] are two legendary Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise, debuting as the version mascots in the 2013 Nintendo 3DS games Pokémon X and Y. Both creatures were jointly designed by Ken Sugimori and Atsuko Nishida over a period of 18 months. Their designs draw inspiration from Norse mythology and are based on the shapes "X" and "Y". Known as the Life and Destruction Pokémon, respectively, Xerneas and Yveltal are powerful creatures said to have shaped the history of the Pokémon world. Xerneas and Yveltal appeared in many other games and media since their debut. Both Pokémon received praises for their design, with Xerneas considered the better of the duo.

Xerneas and Yveltal
Pokémon series character
Xerneas and Yveltal.png
Xerneas (left) and Yveltal (right)
National Pokédex
Noivern - Xerneas (#716) - Yveltal (#717) - Zygarde
First gamePokémon X and Y
Designed byKen Sugimori and Atsuko Nishida
Voiced byXerneas: Yoshiko Mita


Concept and characteristicsEdit

Development of Pokémon X and Y began in 2010, and the games were released worldwide on October 12, 2013.[2][3] The titles X and Y, representing the x-axis and y-axis—also reflecting different forms of thinking[4]—were chosen early in development.[5] At the request of game director Junichi Masuda,[4] the shapes "X" and "Y" were used as the framework for the boxart legendary Pokémon: Xernas and Yveltal.[5] Following tradition that began with Red and Green, Ken Sugimori was tasked with designing these two legendary Pokémon. Normally, Sugimori designs the legendary Pokémon by himself; however, he suffered from artist's block and required assistance from designer Atsuko Nishida to create Xerneas and Yveltal.[6] Finalization of their designs took about 18 months, 3 times longer than normal.[7]

Xerneas is a large stag-like Pokémon adorned with glowing antlers and Yveltal is a large y-shaped bird.[8] Part of a Legendary trio alongside Zygarde, the designs of Xerneas and Yveltal are rooted in Norse Mythology. Xerneas traces to the Eikþyrnir, a stag that stands atop Valhalla, while Yveltal is inspired by the Hræsvelgr, a giant eagle able to make the wind blow by flapping its wings.[9] Some fans speculate that the two Pokémon also draw inspiration from the three layers of an organism in biology: neurons (Xerneas), blood vessels and muscles (Yveltal), and endodermal tissue (Zygarde). When asked about this theory by Kotaku, J.C. Smith of The Pokémon Company International stated he personally did not know if it was true but called the idea "fascinating and well thought out".[10]

Xerneas and Yveltal represent eternity and destruction, respectively. Xerneas can grant eternal life while Yveltal can absorb life energy.[11][12][13] Xerneas donned the newly introduced Fairy-type and a new ability called Fairy Aura, which raises the power of all Fairy-type attacks in-battle. Yveltal is a dual Dark- and Flying-type with the unique ability Dark Aura which has the same effect as Xerneas' ability but for Dark-type attacks. Additionally, both Pokémon have unique attacks: Geomancy[note 1] for Xerneas and Oblivion Wing[note 2] for Yveltal.


In video gamesEdit

Within the main series games, Xerneas and Yveltal were at first only available in X and Y, respectively, but were made once again available for capture without an in-game event when Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were released in 2017. They serve a pivotal role in X and Y's story, providing the energy necessary for Team Flare to power their super weapon as well as ultimately being the reason for the villainous team's downfall. They must be caught for the story to progress and can only be encountered once. From May 11 to 17, 2016, a shiny[note 3] in Xerneas was distributed via Wi-Fi to players using X, Y, Omega Ruby, and Alpha Sapphire. An identical distribution of a shiny Yveltal took place the following week from May 20 to 28.[16]

Yveltal appears as one of the primary antagonists in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, turning numerous characters to stone while under control of the primary antagonist "Dark Matter". During the story's climax, Yveltal is turned to stone by Dark Matter before being saved by the player character. After Dark Matter is defeated, Xerneas appears from the "Tree of Life" and enables to player to evolve any party member. Yveltal is able to join the player's team once they achieve Grand Master Rank. Xerneas and Yveltal also appear in multiple other spinoff titles, including Pokémon Art Academy, Pokémon Rumble World, Pokémon Battle Trozei, Pokémon Shuffle, and Pokémon Picross. Yveltal is featured in the 2015 fighting game Pokkén Tournament as an assist character that can temporarily stop the player's opponent from using their Synergy Gauge.[17] The 2016 mobile strategy game Pokémon Duel features both as EX-level figures. Additionally, Xerneas appears as an assist character and trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Yveltal has a cameo appearance in both the 3DS and Wii U versions of the game, sometimes showing up in the background of the Prism Tower stage on the Nintendo 3DS version.

Other mediaEdit

Both Xerneas and Yveltal appeared in the seventeenth Pokémon movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction and its manga adaptation.[18] They also made minor appearances in the Pokémon: XY anime,[19][20] and Yveltal further appeared briefly in Pokémon Generations.[21] The two legendary Pokémon reprise their role from X and Y in the Pokémon Adventures manga during the X & Y chapter. They also made minor appearances in the Let's Play the Pokémon Card Game XY! manga. Furthermore, both appear on multiple cards in the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

Promotion and receptionEdit

Xerneas and Yveltal were revealed on January 8, 2013, as part of the announcement of Pokémon X and Y during a Pokémon Direct broadcast.[8] Three limited-edition Nintendo 3DS XL bundles were designed for Xerneas and Yveltal, a blue and red one featuring both Pokémon and a gold one featuring Xerneas, Chespin, Fennekin, and Froakie.[22][23] Pre-orders of X and Y in Japan were bundled with miniature figurines of the two legendary Pokémon.[24] In 2014, three limited edition Nintendo 3DS XL systems featuring Xerneas and Yveltal were distributed at football matches played by Yokohama F. Marinos, Urawa Red Diamonds, and FC Tokyo.[25]

In an IGN poll with more than 8 million participants, Yveltal ranked as the second-most popular of the then 69 known new Pokémon in X and Y and Xerneas ranked fourth.[26] A later publication by IGN in May 2019 ranked Xerneas as the tenth-best Legendary Pokémon, citing its influence on the competitive metagame and its "beautiful yet intimidating presence".[27] In an official poll in Japan, Yveltal ranked twenty-sixth and Xerneas thirty-seventh out of the then-721 Pokémon.[28] Screen Rant placed Xerneas as the eleventh-best Legendary Pokémon while Yveltal did not make the top 16.[29] Ben Skipper of the International Business Times praised the designs of the two creatures, calling Xerneas "one of the strongest legendary designs produced to date" and complimented the freshness of Yveltal.[30]

Within the competitive metagame of Pokémon, Xerneas became a staple of championship teams. After Talonflame's nerf in Sun and Moon, Xerneas became the most-used Pokémon in the Pokémon Video Game Championships.[31][32] Its Fairy-typing, signature ability, and signature move Geomancy made it a dominating force that reshaped the competitive field.[33] Starting with the 2016 Pokémon World Championships, Xerneas made regular appearances on top-placing teams.[33] Even teams with dedicated counters to Xerneas could fall due to its overwhelming power.[31] By 2019, Incineroar surpassed Xerneas as the most-used Pokémon. In stark contrast, Yvaltal saw only one top team placement in 2016.[33]


  1. ^ Geomancy is a two-turn Fairy-type attack where Xerneas absorbs energy on the first turn and raises its special attack, special defense, and speed by two stages on the second turn.[14]
  2. ^ Oblivion Wing is a damage-dealing Flying-type attack that restores three-quarters of the hit-points in damage dealt to Yveltal.[15]
  3. ^ A shiny Pokémon is a Pokémon with a color palette different from normal ones of the same species. These are rare encounters and multiple shiny legendary Pokémon are only available through distribution events.


  1. ^ Masuda, Junichi (24 January 2013), HIDDEN POWER of masuda, archived from the original on 20 December 2017, retrieved 24 July 2018
  2. ^ Masuda, Junichi; Yoshida, Hironobu (September 24, 2013). "Pokémon X and Y Interview with Game Freak" (Interview). Interviewed by Justin Berube and Josh Max. Nintendo World Report. Archived from the original on January 26, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  3. ^ Masuda, Junichi; Yoshida, Hironobu (September 20, 2013). "Junichi Masuda and Hironobu Yoshida Discuss Pokémon X and Y, Mega Evolutions and the 2DS" (Interview). Interviewed by Katy Ellis. Nintendo Life. p. 2. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Masuda, Junichi; Ishihara, Tsunekazu (October 10, 2013). "Pokémon X & Pokémon Y: Simultaneous Worldwide Release-A First for the Series" (Interview). Iwata Asks. Interviewed by Satoru Iwata. Nintendo. p. 2. Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Masuda, Junichi; Yoshida, Hironobu (September 20, 2013). "Junichi Masuda and Hironobu Yoshida Discuss Pokémon X and Y, Mega Evolutions and the 2DS" (Interview). Interviewed by Katy Ellis. Nintendo Life. p. 1. Archived from the original on February 29, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  6. ^ Watts, Steve (October 23, 2013). "How Europe inspired Pokemon X and Y's creature designs". Shacknews. GameFly. Archived from the original on July 19, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  7. ^ Hernandez, Patricia (September 25, 2013). "Pokemon Hasn't Really Felt Exciting In A Long While...Until Now". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Archived from the original on September 26, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Martin, Liam (January 9, 2013). "'Pokemon X', 'Y': Legendary Pokemon Xerneas, Yveltal revealed". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  9. ^ Sullivan, Lucas (February 8, 2014). "17 Pokemon based on real-world mythology". GamesRadar. Future plc. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  10. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (January 12, 2013). "This Nerdy Explanation for Pokémon X/Y Might Blow Your Mind [Update]". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Archived from the original on August 24, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  11. ^ Masuda, Junichi; Yoshida, Hironobu (September 19, 2013). "Men are from Mars, Pokemon X and Y are from France". IGN (Interview). Interviewed by Heidi Kemps. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on December 15, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  12. ^ Game Freak (April 22, 2015). Pokémon X. Nintendo 3DS. The Pokémon Company. Xerneas Pokédex entry: 'Legends say it can share eternal life. It slept for a thousand years in the form of a tree before its revival.'
  13. ^ Game Freak (April 22, 2015). Pokémon Y. Nintendo 3DS. The Pokémon Company. Yveltal Pokédex entry: 'When this legendary Pokémon's wings and tail feathers spread wide and glow red, it absorbs the life force of living creatures.'
  14. ^ Game Freak (April 22, 2015). Pokémon X. Nintendo 3DS. The Pokémon Company. Geomancy: 'The user absorbs energy and sharply raises its Sp. Atk, Sp. Def, and Speed stats on the next turn.'
  15. ^ Game Freak (April 22, 2015). Pokémon X. Nintendo 3DS. The Pokémon Company. Oblivion Wing: 'The user absorbs its target's HP. The user's HP is restored by over half of the damage taken by the target.'
  16. ^ Frank, Allegra (May 2, 2016). "Special Pokémon legendaries are up for download throughout May". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  17. ^ Espineli, Matt (March 4, 2016). "Pokken Tournament Roster: Every Confirmed Fighter". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on October 18, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  18. ^ Ishaan (December 16, 2013). "New Pokemon Movie To Feature Xerneas, Yveltal And Mega Evolution". Siliconera. Curse. Archived from the original on December 5, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  19. ^ "Foggy Pokémon Orienteering! (ポケエンテーリング!霧の中のX! PokéEnteering! The X in the Mist!)". Pokémon XY. Season 17. Episode 840. August 28, 2014. TV Tokyo.
  20. ^ "The Legend of X, Y, and Z! (XYZの伝説! The Legend of XYZ!)". Pokémon XY. Season 17. Episode SS36. November 3, 2016. TV Tokyo.
  21. ^ "The Beauty Eternal". Pokémon Generations. Episode 16. December 9, 2016. YouTube.
  22. ^ Sheridan, Connor (June 5, 2013). "Pokemon X and Y 3DS XL bundles revealed for Japan". GamesRadar. Future plc. Archived from the original on May 21, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  23. ^ Liebl, Lance (September 4, 2013). "Collect them all: Pokémon-themed 3DS XL coming to North America and Europe". GameZone. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  24. ^ Sato (August 14, 2013). "Pokémon X And Y Pre-orders In Japan Come With Mini-Pokémon Figures". Siliconera. Curse. Archived from the original on October 9, 2014. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  25. ^ Doolan, Liam (April 17, 2014). "Score One Of These Limited Edition Pokémon-Themed 3DS XL By Attending A Japanese Football Match". Nintendo Life. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on May 25, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  26. ^ Davis, Justin (November 26, 2013). "The Best & Worst X/Y Pokemon Revealed". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  27. ^ Yehl, Joshua; Defreitas, Casey (March 5, 2019). "10 Best Legendary Pokemon". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  28. ^ Paget, Mat (June 8, 2016). "Here Are the Top 100 Pokemon in Japan". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  29. ^ Anhalt, Bobby (May 31, 2017). "16 Best Legendary Pokémon, Ranked". Screen Rant. Valnet, Inc. Archived from the original on June 7, 2017. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  30. ^ Skipper, Ben (November 18, 2016). "All 20 Pokemon cover stars ranked: From Red and Blue to Sun and Moon". International Business Times. Archived from the original on November 21, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  31. ^ a b Tapsell, Chris (February 5, 2019). "Luck, staleness, and earmuffs: what pro players want from Pokémon Sword and Shield". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  32. ^ Krell, Jason (December 29, 2016). "The Rise and Fall of Competitive Pokémon's Most Hated Bird, Talonflame". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  33. ^ a b c Friedman, Daniel (October 10, 2018). "Find out which Pokémon is the best in competitive play". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved May 6, 2019.

External linksEdit