The eighth generation of Pokémon arrived with the Britain-themed Pokémon Sword and Shield games for the Nintendo Switch. Along with them came a whole host of new Pokémon including Applin. It’s known as the Apple Core Pokémon and resembles a small worm inside an apple — a creative pun considering its typing.
While it doesn’t exactly stand out on its own, Applin has the ability to evolve into two separate Pokémon: Flapple and Appletun. These two evolutions vary greatly, and trainers need to think about which one is best for them. This decision might also be affected by which game they have, as items necessary to evolve this Pokémon are version exclusives.
Applin is a Grass/Dragon-type Pokémon that never really gets to capitalize on either of these typings. Like other weak Pokémon like Magikarp and Wurmple, Applin cannot learn many moves. It only learns Withdraw and Astonish through leveling, and the only TM move it can be taught is Attract. While it’s possible through Move Tutors to teach Applin some useful attacking moves such as Draco Meteor or Grassy Glide, it’s clear that the game just wants the player to evolve this Pokémon as soon as possible. It has abysmal attacking stats and rock-bottom speed.
Applin’s saving grace is that it does have the ability to learn some Egg Moves, one of which is Sucker Punch. This would be situationally great for either of its evolutions. As it’s a priority move, it would work wonders for the slow Appletun, and it could use Flapple’s high attack stat to deal a ton of damage.
Assuming the player isn’t trying to catch an Applin through Max Raid Battles, they can be easily found on Route 5 at level 16-18. Alternatively, they can also be found in the Wild Area at the Dusty Bowl, Giant’s Mirror or the Stony Wilderness. This might be a better option for players later in the game, as the Pokémon in the Wild Area will be a much higher level.
Flapple is the more offensive evolution of Applin. It resembles a hollowed-out apple being used as both armor and wings by a reptilian creature with large eyes. To get a Flapple, the player must evolve their Applin with a Tart Apple. This item is exclusive to Pokémon Sword and can be acquired by trading an Applin to a young boy in Hammerlocke or searching for one on Axew’s Eye — a small island in the Wild Area that requires the Rotom Bike to access. If a player with Pokémon Shield wishes to get a Flapple, they will have to either trade for one, trade for a Tart Apple or catch one in an online Max Raid Battle.
In battle, Flapple shines as a physical attacker — though it also has a high special attack. It learns great physical moves including its exclusive Grass-type move Grav Apple. While Grass and Dragon together don’t provide the best coverage, Flapple is capable of learning great Steel and Flying moves that can help round out its moveset.
Flapple also has a Gigantamax form, which is identical to Appletun’s Gigantamax form. A Gigantamax-capable Flapple can only be caught in a Max Raid Battle at a certain den in the Dappled Grove part of the Wild Area, or Loop Lagoon in the Isle of Amor DLC area.
Compared to Flapple, Appletun is a far more defensive beast with very high HP and a higher special attack. It looks like a cross between a large reptile and a round apple pie, which suits its classification as the Apple Nectar Pokémon. This Pokémon evolves from Applin with the use of a Sweet Apple, which is exclusive to Pokémon Shield. It is found in the exact same places as the Tart Apple — traded from a boy in Hammerlocke and found randomly on Axew’s Eye in the Wild Area. Sword players will likewise have to trade for it or find it in an online Max Raid Battle.
Appletun learns far more defensive moves than Flapple and is, therefore, easier to build a moveset for. It has Leech Seed, Protect and Recover, which are all valuable for stalling strategies. It even has an exclusive move of its own called Apple Acid, which is a special attack that reduces the target’s special defense.
It’s also viable to give an Appletun Sunny Day and Solar Beam if running a sun-based team. Overall, Appletun is more versatile than Flapple, and players who wish to gain its Gigantamax form must look in the same places as Flapple’s Gigantamax form — Dappled Grove and Loop Lagoon.