Pokemon is a world filled with countless varieties of Pokemon. They come in all shapes and sizes, from a metallic bird to a god-like deity. In this mess of creatures, it can be hard to pick which Pokemon we want on our final team to combat the Elite 4 and to challenge other players on multiplayer.
In this respect, our very first choice would be which starter Pokemon we want. Traditionally, we get three choices of Pokemon with the types fire, water or grass. They are often in the upper tiers in terms of strength in the Pokemon world and regardless of what you pick, they will most likely be one of the most powerful members of your team.
There are no terrible starters, but there are better starters and these stand above the rest. Join us as we count down the Top 10 Best Starter Pokemon.
- Gen: First
- Pokedex: 25
Why is this here? Pikachu is practically the weakest starter Pokemon even when fully evolved into Raichu. It’s not the fastest electric type. Even when paired with the light ball its attack stat is pretty dismal when compared to other electric types. Its shallow move pool doesn’t help matters either. Everything it can do, some other Pokemon can do ten times better.
So what could possibly possess us to even place Pikachu in any position of importance?
Because it’s Pikachu. It’s the mascot of the Pokemon world. If you asked anyone on the street for a Pokemon that they know, it’s most likely Pikachu. In the Pokemon stores in Japan, Pikachu products are priced at almost double that of ordinary Pokemon. It is probably one of the most important Pokemon to ever exist purely based on marketing value.
Now moving on to the tough guys…
- Gen: Third
- Pokedex: 252
Hailing from generation 3 of the games Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald; Treeko is one of the most underrated starters to ever exist in the realm of Pokemon. It is commonly passed over for the bulky mudkip or the super cool torchic in their final evolutions. However, Treeko has its own merits that allow it to stand out from its peers.
At its final evolution, Sceptile is the fastest grass type at the time of its release. In fact, very little could outspeed a Sceptile at that point of time, allowing Sceptile the tactical options to control the battlefield or come in with an OHKO, depending on the situation. Even in this day and age, Sceptile remains a viable choice and any player searching for a sweeper can look to Sceptile for a grass one.
- Gen: Fourth
- Pokedex: 393
Piplup is the cute penguin Pokemon belonging to Dawn the trainer. At its initial stages, Piplup comes across as a highly generic water type that has good stats but not much is special about it. It is bulky, has semi-decent attack stats and can function precisely how you expect a water type to perform. It only comes into its own when it goes from a little penguin to a huge threat, Empoleon.
Empoleon is one of the few steel hybrids to exist and is the only water-steel type in existence. Steel hybrids are extremely valuable because they resist many types. This precludes them from many tactics that usually bring down tanks like stealth rock or toxic. Backed up with a high attack stat and high hp, the only thing that really holds Empoleon back is its poor speed. But that’s not really a huge problem because of how much it can take.
- Gen: Second
- Pokedex: 158
Totodile, or Cyndaquil, is one of the biggest decisions that we face in our younger years. We’re not entirely sure, even until this day, if a gigantic raging bipedal crocodile is a better choice to a walking volcano. As a starter, Totodile is a good choice. Many of the earlier gyms do not do well against a water type Pokemon and as a water type, it is naturally bulky, allowing players to make more mistakes than with more fragile Cyndaquil.
At its fully evolved form, Totodile becomes to ferocious Feraligatr. Feraligatr is fear personified. There is little that is scarier than a 90kg crocodile barrelling towards you with fangs and claws. In terms of utility, it doesn’t stand out much amongst its peers, but what it does, it does well. There is nothing wrong with a vanilla ice cream if that particular vanilla ice cream is extremely delicious. No need for any mocha green tea vanilla ice creams for something to be good.
- Gen: Second
- Pokedex: 155
Cyndaquil is the other end of the spectrum in the decision stated above. It is a tough choice for beginners to pick up. There are so many things in generation 2 that resist fire and the earlier gyms aren’t very conducive to your choice either. The only real satisfaction you get early on is burning down the entire Bellsprout tower with ember like a sociopathic pyromaniac.
So what makes Cyndaquil good? For starters (pun not intended), it is the only fire starter that evolves into a pure fire type. This may not be seen as a good thing, for variety is the spice of life. But sometimes you just want a fire type to make someone’s Bellsprout very unhappy. You don’t want to contend with the headaches that come with remembering the resistances and weaknesses of all your dual-types.
All that, and Typhlosion learns Eruption. Which is super cool.
- Gen: First
- Pokedex: 7
Squirtle is majorly underappreciated. So many people go for the flying chickenrizard or what basically amounts to a big flower bulb. It is in fact, so unpopular that the remake of Red and Blue became Fire Red and Leaf Green, punting Blastoise on the covers of the game. Kids these days will never know that we had Charizard and Blastoise standing side by side anymore.
So what’s good about Blastoise? Other than being super hard to kill, because it’s basically an 85kg turtle, Blastoise is the Pokemon that brought the move "Hydro Pump" into prominence. Look at those pumps on its back! Nothing screams Hydro Pump like those pumps man. And if you need even more pumps, Blastoise can evolve into Mega Blastoise and it now comes with three pumps, one of which belongs to the mega category.
- Gen: Sixth
- Pokedex: 656
Froakie is weak. Not weak in a Magikarp sense. But it is weak when compared to most other starters. It doesn’t have the high attack of Cyndaquil, the speed of Treecko, or even the bulk of Blastoise. So what makes this particular Pokemon better than all of those above? Froakie evolves into Greninja in its final state. Greninja has the potential to have one of the best abilities present in the Pokemon world; protean.
Protean allows Greninja to become the same type as whatever attack it uses. This allows Greninja to benefit from STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus, grants x1.5 to your attack damage). Paired with having a varied move set, this allows Greninja to get up to x3 damage on a large number of Pokemon if they are weak to any of the four moves in its set. This makes Greninja one of the most flexible of all the starters. In spite of its weaker stats, Greninja is one of the best starts to grace the Pokemon world.
- Gen: Third
- Pokedex: 255
Torchic is the most popular starter Pokemon of generation 3, period. Close to everybody picks up Torchic on their first run-through of the game. And who wouldn’t? It starts out as a cute little chick… thing that does good damage with both peck and ember. Then it evolves into one of the coolest Pokemon of its time; the fire-fighting Blaziken.
Aside from being majorly cool, Blaziken is the first firefighters (pun intended this time) to come out. Infernape is seriously late to the party. Blaziken burns down everything that gets near it. When the pesky rock types get in its way, it double kicks them into submission. And don’t mention the ice types, they are the most afraid of Blaziken.
- Gen: First
- Pokedex: 4
The first dragon type Pokemon to ever exist is Dratini and its follow-up evolutions. It was introduced in generation 2 in order to bring a larger variety of typing to the Pokemon world. Up until recently, when the Fairy type was released, dragon types were generally considered to be overpowered and could only be defeated through being largely leveled-up or using very clever stall tactics. And Charizard?
Charizard is the first dragon Pokemon.
In a time before the dragon types, Charizard is the closest that anyone could get to a dragon Pokemon. It hits like a truck and burns through everything that gets in the way. Very little could stop a rampaging Charizard back in the day. Even now, it is still one of the toughest things to walk the planet. And according to the X & Y special, a mega evolved Charizard can defeat Mew-Two, the homicidal clone of the father of Pokemon. Go figure.
- Gen: Third
- Pokedex: 258
Mudkip is probably the second most well-known Pokemon after Pikachu. The Mudkip meme became popularised way back when on 4chan by some guy posting on everyone’s groups “So I herd U liek Mudkips”. It is unclear to this day why he chose to do that, but it led to many people joining the Mudkip club and causing a large avalanche of Mudkip memes to populate the internet.
As to its combat prowess? Mudkip evolves into Swampert in its final state. At this point of time, Swampert is bulky, attacky and defendy all at once. What distinguishes Swampert from other water types is its water-ground typing. Electric types that were once the bane of water types became little more than a limp noodle against Swampert. In fact, Swampert has fewer weaknesses than even the steel hybrids, arriving at the stunning figure of just one.
To add insult to injury, Swampert can mega evolve and gain the swift swim ability, making it deadly on rain dance water teams and disabuses electric users from taking advantage of the rain.
At the end of the day, there’s not much that can go wrong regardless of which starter Pokemon you choose to pick up unless you pickupchu. Each one has its own function on a team and even the strategy of “attacking till it dies” works with almost all starters. Starters are still one of the strongest groups of pokemon in the Pokemon world, barring legendaries.
Of course, you could always discard your starter and artificially choose another Pokemon as your starter for added fun and difficulty, but that’s a topic for another article.