The Best Starter Pokémon From Every Generation
Choosing a Starter Pokémon is always a tough choice, but there’s always one that stands above the others, making for a more enjoyable playthrough.
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The Starter is one of the best and most valuable allies in any Pokémon game. As the Trainer’s first Pokémon, usually the Starter will be the most powerful member of their team. Players will never trade or box their Starter and will surely take it all the way to the Pokémon League.
Every Pokémon region is unique. They each have different Gym Leaders and Elite Four Members, and players want to have a diverse Pokémon team to face every challenge. All Starters are inherently good Pokémon, but some stand out among the others, whether because their type combination works best with the region’s Gyms and Elite Four Members or because their qualities put them above the rest.
8 Galar: Scorbunny
The Galar Starters aren’t the best in the franchise. There’s nothing terrible about them per se, but they are unimpressive overall. Of the three, Scorbunny seems to be the best one. It has excellent Speed and Attack, even if everything else is just above average.
Cinderace also gets two signature moves, the potentially game-changing Court Change and the ridiculously overpowered Pyro Ball. In the Galar League, Scorbunny will be Super Effective against Sword & Shield’s first Gym Leader, Milo, but weak against Nessa’s Water types. In Sword, it will be vulnerable to Gordie’s Rock-types, but it makes up for that by being Super Effective against Melanie’s Ice-types in Shield.
7 Alola: Popplio
Fairy is one of Pokémon’s best types. Introduced in Generation VI, it was an immediate game-changer; nowhere is that clearer than in the Alola games.
Primarina’s ideal type combination of Water and Fairy makes it an absolute menace in Generation VII. And even though Popplio and Brionne are pure Water-types, they both learn Fairy-type moves. Popplio and its evolutionary line excel at the Fire and Dragon trials and are Super Effective against three of the four Kahunas. Incineroar is also a good option and a worthy second place, but Primarina reigns supreme in Alola.
6 Kalos: Froakie
Like Galar, Kalos’ Starters are somewhat underwhelming. Well, two of them are. Greninja is already a great Pokémon, but its advantages become even more glaring when comparing it to its two fellow Starters. Delphox is, arguably, the worst Fire Starter in Pokémon, while Chesnaught’s many weaknesses make it less than viable.
In reality, Fire would be the best type for the Kalos League, as it’s Super Effective against three Gym Leaders and one Elite Four Member. However, players can choose Froakie and still have a capable Fire-type Starter on their team because the Gen VI games gift the player one of the Kanto Starters, meaning they can choose Charmander. And the combination of Greninja and Charizard in the same team is too good to pass up.
5 Unova: Tepig
Tepig has an immediate advantage over its two fellow Starters thanks to its eventual Fire/Fighting-type. Snivy and Oshawott’s evolutionary lines remain pure Grass and Water, respectively, giving them fewer advantages. As a bonus, Emboar’s secondary Fighting-type makes it Super Effective against Team Plasma’s plethora of Dark-types.
The Unova League changes considerably between Black & White and the sequels, but Tepig remains the best Starter in all four games. However, it’s crucial to note that none of the Unova Starters are bad Pokémon, but the playthrough is undeniably easier with Tepig.
4 Sinnoh: Chimchar
Like with Unova, none of the Sinnoh Starters are “bad.” On the contrary, the first four Pokémon generations have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to Starters. Piplup, Chimchar, and Turtwig are among the best Starters of all time, and they all fare well in the Sinnoh League.
Piplup’s evolutionary line is Super Effective against one Gym Leader and two Elite Four Members. The Turtwig and Chimchar lines excel against three Gym Leaders and one Elite Four Member each, but Chimchar gets a slight edge because it doesn’t have any four-time weakness. As one of the best Starter groups in the franchise, fans can’t wait to revisit this trio in the upcoming Gen IV remakes, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl.
3 Hoenn: Mudkip
Hoenn is a strange case. All of its Starters are good, great even, but there’s one that vastly overperforms, and that’s Mudkip. Thanks to its incredible Water/Ground-type combo, Mudkip is Super Effective against three Gym Leaders and deals SE damage to Tate & Liza’s Rock/Psychic duo.
Swampert is also ideal against Champion Steven Stone, whose team includes plenty of Rock-types. To top it all off, Swampert will decimate Team Magma if playing Ruby and will remain unaffected by Team Aqua’s attacks in Sapphire. Therefore, its supremacy is undeniable.
2 Johto: Cyndaquil
Unlike Sinnoh and Hoenn, the Johto Starters aren’t as memorable or consistent. Cyndaquil is the best choice by a mile, and Totodile is the vivid representation of averageness but doesn’t fare terribly and can even come in handy against Drake’s dragons. However, poor Meganium does so terribly in the Gen II games that it’s surprising the developers didn’t throw it a bone.
The Cyndaquil family is Super Effective against three Gyms, even if it does struggle against Pryce. Furthermore, even though Fire isn’t Super Effective against any of the types they specialize in, Typhlosion does well against several of the Elite Four’s Pokémon.
1 Kanto: Bulbasaur
The original Starter trio is among the most iconic and beloved Pokémon of Generation I. They remain as popular as ever and constantly receive special treatment, like Mega Evolutions and Gigantamax forms. They are all incredible Pokémon that rank highly in any list of the best Starters, but Bulbasaur is the absolute champ in any Kanto game.
The Grass frog is Super Effective against the two first Gyms, Brock and Misty. Venasaur will then excel against Giovanni and two Elite Four Members. Venasaur might not be as popular as Blastoise or Charizard, but it is, without a doubt, the best Starter in Kanto.