Every Pokémon player is faced with the daunting challenge of choosing the perfect starter before the game. With your play-through and the strength of your team riding on one choice, the pressure is definitely on.
Since each of the starters have a surprise package of evolutionary forms and movepools down the line, everything boils down to a strategic decision based on the ‘mons stats, designs, and movesets.
But now that eight generations have gone by; we have to ask – Which one had the best of the best?
Gen 1’s trio of Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander is hands down the best starters of all time.
Why Do The Gen 1 Starters Top The List?
1The OG Powerhouse
Kanto’s iconic trio of Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander pack one hell of a punch even with their starter forms.
With heavy-hitters like Charizard, Blastoise, and Venusaur, their entire evolutionary line is still a top pick for gamers even now.
They’re also known to access several HM’s and expand their movepool favorably. But that’s not the half of it – All of them have Mega Evolution forms, with Charizard being the only Pokémon to sport two of them!
With its Y form pairing Fire with Flying, and its X form complimenting Fire with the powerful Dragon-type, it makes the flaming ‘mon a terrifying combatant in gym battles of various stages.
But it gets even better – In addition to having stats that dominate similar types, all of them also boast Gigantamax forms!
So overall, the trio can breeze through the games, doubling up as a team player and carrier.
2Birth of a Franchise
Pokémon wouldn’t have made it this far if it weren’t for the Kanto starters and Pikachu. As the face of the franchise, they continue to soar in popularity both in the anime series and games.
Their incredible battles, rigorous training, and heartfelt moments with Ash are some of the reasons why fans continue to adore them.
The Other Trios Ranked From Worst to Best
7Gen 5 – Snivy, Tepig & Oshawott
As the quirky trio of the Pokémon Black and White anime series and games, the Unova starters have unique personalities and traits that pique interest for a while.
But that soon dissipates when you take one look at their abysmal base stats. While Oshawott and Snivy trail behind all Grass and Water-type starters, Tepig barely one-ups the Fire types by a point lead over Fennekin.
However, Tepig and Samurott are equally needed to get through the game as both make decent starters. But despite this, the design of their final forms tanks their appeal compared to the other trios.
Additionally, their lack of Mega Evolutions and Gigantamax forms coupled with their mono typing, save Emboar with its Fire-Fighting combo, is what puts them at the bottom of the list.
6Gen 8 – Grookey, Scorbunny & Sobble
Taking a page from Gen 2, Pokémon Sword and Shield had its starters stick to their single types throughout its play-through.
While it featured Cinderace and Inteleon’s awesome Gigantamax forms, the overall design of its ‘mons paled in comparison to the previous generations.
But what the trio lost on looks, they gained worldwide adoration, especially with Scorbunny’s evolutionary line and nature.
While the flaming bunny boosted the starters’ appeal in the Pokémon Journeys series with its evolution to a battle-ready contender, Grookey held the fort at the game’s end, with its Rillaboom form breezing through gym battles.
But while they’re all great team players, no one can count on any of them to carry the game.
5Gen 6 – Chespin, Fennekin & Froakie
The highlight of Pokémon X & Y is its dual Water-Dark typing Greninja and its crucial position in Ash’s final team in the Kalos Pokémon League.
In addition to loving Froakie’s battle in the championship and its training leading up to its impressive final form, its sleek design and stellar moveset also garnered massive praise from the fandom.
Gen 6 also included the valuable additions of Chesnaught and Delphox.
While the armored Grass-type outranks Gen 4’s Torterra with its fitting complement of a Fighting-type, the fiery fox outclasses Infernape, courtesy of its Fire-Psychic combo.
But when it comes down to choosing time, players are tied between Greninja and Delphox since the former promises a sure-shot victory against the Elite Four. At the same time, the latter’s solid combination is better suited to gym matches.
Moreover, each of their play-throughs unlocks a specific Legendary Bird at the end of the game.
4Gen 2 – Chikorita, Cyndaquil & Totodile
The Johto starters had some pretty big shoes to fill after the Gen 1s made their debut.
But with Pokémon Gold and Silver attainting critically acclaimed status the moment it was released, I’d say the starters did well despite lacking all the powerhouse attributes of Dual Typing, Gigantamax forms, and Mega Evolutions.
The trio’s final evolution forms of Meganium, Typhlosion, and Feraligatr are considered one of the best, if not the best, designs among all the starters.
While Chikorita and its evolutionary forms aren’t gym battle material, Cyndaquil’s attack-intensive move set and Totodile’s rapid evolution make better picks.
However, Feraligatr shines as a clear winner, thanks to its Ice-type moves that immobilize the Dragon-type Pokémons.
3Gen 7 – Rowlet, Litten & Popplio
The trio from Pokémon Sun and Moon boasts the most aesthetically pleasing final forms and super effective dual typing that offer exceptional move coverage.
Although they lack Gigantamax forms, they’re all equally helpful throughout, especially at the end of the game.
However, Litten steals the show with its evolution from a sweet furball to its raging and muscular Incineroar form that boasts hard-hitting Fire-Dark attacks.
In addition, Popplio’s Primarina represents the first Fairy Type combo and tops Empoleon and Greninja. It also has a good and combat-ready moveset that allows the player an easy head start into the game.
Rowlet’s Decidueye also garnered love worldwide with its cool Grass-Ghost combo. Overall, the Alola trio makes a unique and unforgettable bunch of adorable and powerful ‘mons.
2Gen 4 – Turtwig, Chimchar & Piplup
The Sinnoh starters are a trio of heavy hitters that are combat-ready even without entering their third stage evolutions.
With Infernape’s intensive Fire-Fighting combos, Empoleon’s unbeatable dual Water-Steel typing, and Torterra Grass-Ground attacks, Gen 4 came in hot even without Gigantamax forms.
Although Infernape does most of the work of carrying players through pivotal battles of Diamond & Pearl with its offensive moveset and speedy evolution, they all make great additions, especially during the last legs of the game.
1Gen 3 – Treecko, Torchic & Mudkip
The trio from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire soar above the rest with its superb evolutionary designs, Mega Evolution forms, and dual typing.
Mega Blaziken and Swampert are second only to the mighty Mega Charizard and Mega Greninja. In contrast, Mega Sceptile tops as the most powerful Grass-type Pokémon with its unique Grass-Dragon combination!
While Swampert’s high stats make it a better choice in Pokémon Emerald, Mudkip and its forms offer beginners a solid chance to experience the game with a starter with minor weaknesses.
The popularity of Hoenn starters also skyrocketed in the anime, with Ash owning Treecko, May owning Torchic, and Brock owning Mudkip; they instantly became memorable fan favorites.
Who Are The Gen 9 Starters?
The Pokémon Company surprised fans worldwide when it unveiled two new entries in the RPG series – Pokémon Scarlet and Violet and the Gen 9 starters – Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly.
1Sprigatito – Grass Cat Pokémon
As a cat lover, I’m glad that Game Freak captured Sprigatito in all its adorable fluffiness glory. Not only does it look the part, but this kitty also shares the typical mannerisms of every temperamental feline.
Described as an unpredictable attention-lover, I can picture Sprigatito nuzzling up to players and making them go ‘aww’ with its doe eyes.
Besides its Overgrow ability, there isn’t much we know about the Grass Cat Pokémon. However, it could have the hidden ability of Leaf Guard, going by the similarity of its leaf-like embellishments to the design of Chikorita’s evolutionary line.
Its furry coat and leafy look may allude to a Fairy type, given its slight semblance to Cottonee’s fluffiness and double leaf extensions.
With the entire fandom praying for the ‘mon to remain quadruped, I surmise its evolution forms may be an ocelot or serval, given that their slender bodies and pointed ears match Sprigatito’s.
2Fuecoco – Fire Croc Pokémon
Fuecoco is a precious flaming pepper that’s already winning hearts with its sweet smile plus chubby and huggable look.
I especially love that a crocodile’s sunbathing behavior is incorporated into his persona that exudes chillaxed and Zen energy.
We already know that it’ll debut with the Blaze ability, but it could also have a whole new hidden ability since it’s the first deviation in the Chinese Zodiac cycle of Fire-type starters.
I also assume it’ll have a Fire-Steel pairing like Heatran, considering a crocodile’s scaly and impenetrable exterior.
Its final evolution and Gigantamax form may follow the same pattern and probably be a prehistoric Deinosuchus fortified with cool, sleek armor-like Aggron.
3Quaxly – Water Duckling Pokémon
Quaxly’s brilliant blue and innocent-looking eyes just melt my heart, which is ironic for a Water-type Pokémon. I also love Game Freak’s artistic choice of sticking to the blue and white color palette, even for the flippers.
But besides sporting a look that screams cuteness overload, our tidy duckling also comes equipped with the Torrent ability.
Since it shares the same power and type with Piplup, it’ll likely have the penguin’s hidden ability, Defiant.
Quaxly’s may also boast a dual Water-Flying type like Ducklett since its feathery exterior matches the latter.
While its evolutionary forms could be a swan, I’m pretty sure the game will change it up or at least have a different variant of the same species.
Pokémon was first released in 1996 and is set up in a world where humans catch monsters and store them in pocket-sized poke-balls.
They are creatures with an affinity to certain elements and some superhuman abilities related to that element.
Revolving around a teenage boy Ash Ketchum, Pokémon takes us through his journey to becoming the most accomplished Pokémon trainer the world has ever seen.