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Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl is finally out, uniting chiseled veterans and fresh-faced newcomers alike in a return trip to the wonderful land of Sinnoh. But is one version of the game more wonderful than the other? The odds are good that with just a bit of research, you'll find that either Diamond is more brilliant than Pearl, or Pearl shines brighter than Diamond.

Related: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl Cycling Road And Hearthome City Guide

That's where our guide comes in. We'll cover every difference between the pair so that you can grab that credit card, finalize the sale, and rest assured you've chosen the Pokemon game that's right for you.

Pokemon Exclusive to Brilliant Diamond

We'll start with Brilliant Diamond. After all, it's shoved Shining Pearl out of the way to earn that coveted top spot as the one we tend to speak aloud before the other. That has to count for something.

Normal Pokemon Exclusive to Brilliant Diamond Typing
Cranidos Rock
Rampardos Rock
Stunky Poison/Dark
Skuntank Poison/Dark
Murkrow Dark/Flying
Honchkrow Dark/Flying
Caterpie Bug
Metapod Bug
Butterfree Bug/Flying
Ekans Poison
Arbok Poison
Growlithe Fire
Arcanine Fire
Elekid Electric
Electabuzz Electric
Electivire Electric
Scyther Bug/Flying
Scizor Bug/Steel
Gligar Ground/Flying
Gliscor Ground/Flying
Larvitar Rock/Ground
Pupitar Rock/Ground
Tyranitar Rock/Dark
Seedot Grass
Mawile Steel/Fairy
Zangoose Normal
Solrock Rock/Psychic
Kecleon Normal


In terms of non-Legendary species, Brilliant Diamond's biggest brags are arguably the Honchkrow and (especially) Tyranitar lines. Murkrow can make for a great Flying/Dark-type standby for much of the main story, and evolving it into a Honchkrow can happen as early as your adventure in the Team Galactic HQ.

Tyranitar, on the other hand, is going to be more of a post-game boon since you can't catch a Larvitar until after you've acquired the National Dex by seeing (not catching!) all 150 Sinnoh-native Pokemon as well as defeating the Elite Four. Still, Tyranitar is a mainstay in competitive teams for very good reason, so if you're planning on going heavy into the competitive fare, you're going to want one on your team.

Legendary Pokemon Exclusive to Brilliant Diamond Typing
Dialga Dragon/Steel
Ho-Oh Fire/Flying
Entei Fire
Raikou Electric
Suicune Water


Dialga is the tankier of the two box legendaries, with more HP and higher defense. Importantly, it also has near-perfect typing. Dragon/Steel is a powerful combination.

The "legendary dog" trio, which consists of Johto-originated Entei, Raikou, and Suicune, is commonly considered superior to the "legendary birds" you'll soon read about in our Shining Pearl section. This is thanks in large part to them being mono-type, which gives them fewer weaknesses. As for Ho-Oh, it's just plain fun to have a phoenix on the team.

Pokemon Exclusive to Shining Pearl


Shining Pearl has precisely the number of exclusives as its twin.

Normal Pokemon Exclusive to Shining Pearl Typing
Shieldon Rock/Steel
Bastiodon Rock/Steel
Glameow Normal
Purugly Normal
Misdreavus Ghost
Mismagius Ghost
Weedle Bug
Kakuna Bug
Beedrill Bug/Poison
Sandshrew Ground
Sandslash Ground
Vulpix Fire
Ninetales Fire
Magby Fire
Magmar Fire
Magmortar Fire
Slowking Water/Psychic
Pinsir Bug
Teddiursa Normal
Ursaring Normal
Bagon Dragon
Shelgon Dragon
Salamence Dragon/Flying
Lotad Water/Grass
Sableye Dark/Ghost
Seviper Poison
Lunatone Rock/Psychic
Stantler Normal


Beedrill's better than Butterfree in almost every conceivable scenario and Sandslash can make a great Ground-type sweeper. Both Pokemon require the National Dex, so they're decidedly post-game partners.

For campaign considerations, Bastiodon can be a barrier when the going gets rough. Just don't expect it to dish out as much damage as Shining Pearl's Cranidos by comparison. And unless it's up against a Gengar, which is a little weird but that's type disadvantages for you, Mismagius is a pretty great Ghost-type attacker.

Legendary Pokemon Exclusive to Shining Pearl Typing
Palkia Dragon/Water
Lugia Psychic/Flying
Articuno Ice/Flying
Zapdos Electric/Flying
Moltres Fire/Flying

Palkia is the speedier of the two box legendaries, and while Dragon/Water isn't as ideal a defensive typing combination as Dialga's Dragon/Steel, it's hardly dreadful. Whereas Dialga plays the role of a stalwart guardian, Palkia is more of a special sweeper. A fragile one, however, so do take care.

Kanto's legendary bird trio is excellent in the right situations, but many would say that Brilliant Diamond's dogs are the better bunch for their aforementioned mono-type defenses. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be happy to use them; with high speed and special attack strength, Zapdos is especially handy to have around!

Lugia, like Ho-Oh, is a solid Pokemon with lots of utility. There's no clear winner here, but they're both pretty sweet.

Other Differences Between Versions

Pokemon BDSP Cyrus

The only other sizable switch-up between Pokemon BDSP versions is the way in which the game's climactic battle against Team Galactic plays out. Even then, very little changes — the overall aesthetic's the same, but the colors used to depict a legendary awakening are distinct. Furthermore, there are a couple of line alterations in the script to accommodate the lore regarding Dialga and Palkia, respectively.

In other words, it's a fairly insubstantial difference. Do you, for some strange reason, vastly prefer the color pink over blue, or vice versa? We suppose this could be a bigger deal than we're making it out to be. But for the majority of players, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl's key differences are all about their respective Pokemon exclusivity.

And remember, you can acquire whichever Pokemon your version is missing via the internet or locally with a friend, so there's no such thing as a permanent version exclusive!

Next: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl Complete Guide And Walkthrough

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