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Top 12 Best Starter Pokemon Ranked

Top 12 Best Starter Pokemon Ranked

Choosing the best starter Pokemon is an important first step when kicking off your journey. 

Depending on your pick, it will shape and morph your gameplay and experiences, and will even sometimes change the difficulty of battles. More importantly, it’s just really fun if you’re with a Pokemon starter you really like!

So what is the best starter Pokemon? We did a little investigating to figure out which of these Pokemon starters are truly a great pick.

We’ve put on our thinking caps to determine which are the strongest starter Pokemon, ones that have good stats, moves, and strategies for its generation, and which ones are simply cool to look at.

Here are the 12 best!

12. Scorbunny

Scorbunny with its evolutions Raboot and Cinderace
Source: Bulbapedia
IntroducedGen 8 (Sword and Shield)
Second EvolutionRaboot
Final EvolutionCinderace

We’re off to a fiery start with Scorbunny!

As a Gen 8 Pokemon, it’s relatively one of the newbies among the starters. But this rookie Fire starter Pokemon definitely doesn’t lag behind when it comes to high Attack and Speed.

If you want to blaze through Sword and Shield with Physical STAB-heavy attacks such as Pyro Ball and Flame Charge, Scorbunny’s your Pokemon bunny

It also has a unique signature hidden ability Libero, which changes its typing depending on the move used, and a signature move called Court Change that can help mitigate entry hazards!

Admittedly, a lot of Pokemon fans are tired of the bipedal, humanoid-looking design. And unfortunately, Cinderace fits the bill.

But given its region’s real-world counterpart and its fondness for football, the Scorbunny line is a creative way of weaving sport into Pokemon.

And seeing it dribble and kick a ball in fire, especially in Gigantamax form, is pretty cool!

11. Totodile

Totodile with its evolutions Croconaw and Feraligatr
Source: Bulbapedia
IntroducedGen 2 (Gold, Silver, and Crystal,
and HeartGold and SoulSilver)
Second EvolutionCroconaw
Final EvolutionFeraligatr

Up next is the one-of-a-kind happy croc in the series – Totodile!

A pure Water type Pokemon, Totodile is one of the Gen 2 starters introduced in the Johto region. It evolves into Croconaw at level 18, and into Feraligatr at level 30.

Some might argue that Totodile isn’t exactly the best starter in its generation, especially with Cyndaquil around and some easily accessible Water Pokemon early in the games.

However, it’s still a reliable starter that got a notable glow-up in later generations.

In Gen 2, Water type moves were Special only. With Attack as Totodile’s highest stat, it couldn’t utilize its own Water moves well.

Thankfully, that got changed later and Totodile was able to take advantage of a Physical Water type move, Aqua Tail. It also has good coverage with Bite, Ice Fang, Thrash, and Superpower.

And design-wise, Totodile is a cheerful-looking crocodile that grows into a cool and ferocious croco-saurus! What’s not to love?

10. Litten

Litten with its evolutions Torracat and Incineroar
Source: Bulbapedia
IntroducedGen 7 (Sun and Moon,
and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon)
Second EvolutionTorracat
Final EvolutionIncineroar

Time to put the spotlight on this meowtastic Gen 7 Pokemon starter. Here’s Litten clawing through the top 10!

The Pokemon series has a lot of cat Pokemon already, but Litten is the first one that’s a Fire type and a black cat. Does this mean it’s quite unlucky?

On first glance, you might think so. Game-wise, you can find other Fire type options in Sun and Moon’s second island. Litten also doesn’t have a lot of advantages on the island trials compared to Rowlet and Popplio.

In addition, Icineroar’s wrestler design is either loved for its uniqueness or mocked and hated due its ridiculousness. Just like Cinderace, some Pokemon fans are very vocal against the bipedal and humanoid look!

But surprisingly, Incineroar shook the Pokemon Championship’s VGC meta upon its introduction. Its Fire/Dark dual typing also gives it an advantage in offense and defense in-game.

Where else can you wrestle as a cat?

9. Chimchar

Chimchar with its evolutions Monferno and Infernape
Source: Bulbapedia
IntroducedGen 4 (Diamond and Pearl,
and Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl)
Second EvolutionMonferno
Final EvolutionInfernape

The fire train’s not stopping yet! Our next Pokemon is the Fire starter Chimchar from Gen 4!

The Gen 3 and 4 Fire starters are often compared, especially since both start out as Fire types and evolve into Fire/Fighting. But a lot of people have noticed that the Chimchar line greatly improves on the previous gen’s Torchic line.

While their stats are mostly similar, Chimchar edges out due to its Speed and Defense.

It also levels up to Monferno fairly quickly at level 14, which nets you its Fighting type just in time to defeat numerous Rock Pokemon you’ll encounter.

Unfortunately, it does get overlooked by fans due to the presence of other monkey Pokemon in the games.

Chimchar’s final evolution, Infernape, also gets the humanoid bipedal design that some fans dislike.

But unlike other humanoid bipedal Pokemon, Infernape has a good reasoning!

Its design is based on Sun Wukong, which is also the basis of Dragonball and Son Goku. This shared origin is even referenced in Infernape’s blazing hair!

8. Turtwig

Turtwig with its evolutions Grotle and Torterra
Source: Bulbapedia
IntroducedGen 4 (Diamond and Pearl,
and Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl)
Second EvolutionGrotle
Final EvolutionTorterra

This next Pokemon slowly but surely climbs up our list at number 8. Here’s Turtwig, the Gen 4 turtle Grass starter!

When it comes to stats like offense and speed preferences, Turtwig is another Pokemon that a lot of fans often overlook.

While its Attack is comparable to other Gen 4 starters, it lags behind in Special Attack, and also literally lags behind with its low Speed.

But what it lacks in Speed it makes up for with Defense, Attack, HP, and Special Defense. Plus, Turtwig’s final evolution Torterra gets an additional Ground typing!

With Physical moves like Wood Hammer and Earthquake, Torterra takes advantage of its Attack stat. And honestly, it’s satisfying to shake your Fire/Fighting foes and sweep them off their feet with Earthquake.

Design-wise, Turtwig is adorable with a twig on its head. And Torterra, with its ankylosaurus and World Turtle references, looks grand and majestic! A turtle with the world on its back? Now that’s impressive!

7. Piplup

Piplup with its evolutions Prinplup and Empoleon
Source: Bulbapedia
IntroducedGen 4 (Diamond and Pearl,
and Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl)
Second EvolutionPrinplup
Final EvolutionEmpoleon

Waddling next is the penguin Pokemon from Gen 4 – Piplup!

We’ve already featured its fellow Gen 4 starters above, but what makes this adorable Water type penguin stand out?

Piplup evolves to Prinplup at level 16, and then to Empoleon around level 36. At that final point, it gets the dual typing Water/Steel. Not only is this typing combo unique, it makes the Piplup line sturdy and bulky.

Among the three starters, it has the highest Special Defense and its HP is second highest. Water/Steel also gives it 10 resistances, only three weaknesses, and an immunity to poison.

The downside is that it doesn’t have a lot of gym advantages compared to the other two starters. 

However, some say the best defense is a good offense, and with Empoleon you can take advantage of its high Special Attack (highest of the three) and use Special moves like Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, and Bubble Beam.

And come on, it’s based on majestic emperor penguins! How cool is that?

6. Rowlet

Rowlet with its evolutions Dartrix and Decidueye
Source: Bulbapedia
IntroducedGen 7 (Sun and Moon,
and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon)
Second EvolutionDartrix
Final EvolutionDecidueye

Hoooo’s next? Why, it’s the dapper Rowlet!

Among the Alola starters of Gen 7, Rowlet is considered as the most well-rounded of the bunch. Its base stats are mostly similar except for Speed. 

Rowlet is also the only dual type starter ever since Bulbasaur, which makes this round bird quite unique! It’s also the only one among the Gen 7 starters to enjoy dual typing all throughout its evolutions.

But wait, the surprises don’t stop there! While Rowlet and Dartrix enjoy the Grass/Flying typing combo, their last evolution Decidueye actually drops Flying and gains Grass/Ghost instead.

Rowlet suffers from having many weaknesses, the most among the Gen 7 starters. But the addition of Ghost lets it get new immunities and resistances and improves on its offensive.

If you want to start your Alola journey with ease and comfort, picking Rowlet will give you a huge advantage on the first island and the first Grand Trial. Plus, it’s hard to resist the charm of a bird with a bowtie!

5. Bulbasaur

Bulbasaur with its evolutions Ivysaur and Venusaur
Source: Bulbapedia
IntroducedGen 1 (Red, Green, and Blue,
and FireRed and LeafGreen)
Second EvolutionIvysaur
Final EvolutionVenusaur

Is it a dinosaur, an onion, or a frog? All we know is that Bulbasaur is a pretty good starter to consider!

This Grass/Poison Pokemon from Gen 1 is the first ever starter to be a dual type and the only starter evolution line so far to have Poison in its typing.

We don’t know if the evolutions for Scarlet and Violet starters will have Poison, so all we can do is speculate for now.

Bulbasaur is more oriented on Special Defense and Special Attack than its fellow starters. It is also more well-rounded.

But the best thing about Bulbasaur is it lets you breeze through the early to mid gyms in the Gen 1 games. If you want to put your best foot forward with ease, Bulbasaur is a no-brainer pick!

Design-wise, it looks like a tanky dinosaur with dicynodonts as a probable inspiration. Juinichi Masuda, one of the pillars behind the Pokemon franchise, picks Bulbasaur as his favorite starter because of how “cute and Pokemon-like” it is.

4. Squirtle

Squirtle with its evolutions Wartortle and Blastoise
Source: Bulbapedia
IntroducedGen 1 (Red, Green, and Blue,
and FireRed and LeafGreen)
Second EvolutionWartortle
Final EvolutionBlastoise

If a leafy turtle isn’t your style, how about a turtle in its expected element? Gen 1’s Water type starter Pokemon, Squirtle, coolly secures the 4th spot.

When it comes to defending itself, Squirtle is the little guy for the job. Compared to other Gen 1 starters that boast of power and speed, the Squirtle line makes up for it with notably high Defense and reliable Special Defense.

If that hasn’t convinced you to pick Squirtle, someone actually did their research. They did the math and figured out that Squirtle is the best Gen 1 starter to pick to make your journey easier in the long run.

You won’t have an easy start like Bulbasaur, but later you see that the Squirtle line gets more advantages than the other starters. It also manages to learn other type moves, giving it more coverage.

And we gotta admit, a huge turtle with cannons on its back is rad. Plus, Squirtle with sunglasses? Mega rad!

3. Charmander

Charmander with its evolutions Charmeleon and Charizard
Source: Bulbapedia
IntroducedGen 1 (Red, Green, and Blue,
and FireRed and LeafGreen)
Second EvolutionCharmeleon
Final EvolutionCharizard

The competition’s getting heated up now that we’re closer to the top. At number three, the cute and ferocious Charmander line secures the spot!

It is a common theory and observation by long-time Pokemon fans that the difficulty level of the Kanto-based games change depending on your starter.

Bulbasaur gives you the easiest start, Squirtle proves to be better in the long run, and Charmander gives a higher difficulty than the two. So why do people choose Charmander?

Out of all the starters, not just among its fellow Gen 1 starters, the Charmander line reigns supreme when it comes to design!

Fiery tail? A dragon as its final evolution? Numerous forms, designs, and a cool charcoal-looking Shiny version? The Charmander line checks all that!

But this line doesn’t lag behind when it comes to stats too. Charizard boasts impressive Speed and Special Attack among the Kanto starters.

And when it comes to coverage, it has a variety of moves, from Fire and Flying to Ground and Fighting.

There’s a reason Charmander and Charizard are among the most popular Pokemon ever!

2. Froakie

Froakie with its evolutions Frogadier and Greninja
Source: Bulbapedia
IntroducedGen 6 (X and Y)
Second EvolutionFrogadier
Final EvolutionGreninja

Hopping at number 2 is the fastest ninja frog in the land – Froakie!

The Froakie line hits the right balance of being amazingly designed and having excellent stats to boost it. It’s not a starter that’s all looks!

Among the Kalos starters, Froakie focuses on Attack, Special Attack, and Speed. It hits quick and hard! Barring Pikachu, it holds the fastest speed among the starters.

And with Froakie’s final evolution, Greninja, it greatly improves on its design and Speed stat. With its dark blue skin and tongue scarf, plus its Speed boost, it now closely resembles a ninja.

Greninja boasts of a very varied movepool, with a strategy of KO-ing its opponents before they could hit back that shook the metagame of Gen 6.

And as a cherry on top, Greninja gets the best Hidden Ability in the games ever – Protean. With it, your Pokemon can basically change its type depending on the move picked.

So while Greninja’s HP, Defense, and Special Defense are terrible, it can protect itself by changing its type, using a variety of moves, and hitting fast – ninja style!

1. Mudkip

Mudkip with its evolutions Marshtomp and Swampert
Source: Bulbapedia
IntroducedGen 3 (Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald,
and Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire)
Second EvolutionMarshtomp
Final EvolutionSwampert

Tiny, unassuming, but packs quite the power – Mud is the best starter Pokemon ever!

A lot of veterans know that this small Water starter from Gen 3 is the very best in what it does.

It’s simple yet sophisticated and definitely not cluttered in its design. Mudkip is based on mudskippers, axolotls, and other similar species. 

The mud part in its name is a hint to its dual typing in its later evolutions. It becomes Marshtomp starting at level 16, and then into Swampert at level 36. These later evolutions both get the dual typing Water/Ground.

Other starters often get outshined by other Pokemon with the same typing in their own games. However, with the Mudkip line, its typing and moves make it difficult to replace the little guy.

Water/Ground gives it a cover for its weaknesses, so it’s only really weak to Grass. Offensively, Water and Ground provide excellent STAB-worthy moves. STAB Surf and Earthquake are both beasts!

And if you’re looking for the best starter in Pokemon GO, give Mudkip a try.

Even outside of starter Pokemon, it is one of the best in Pokemon GO. It’s useful in GO Battle Great League and arguably essential in Ultra League.

For PvE, Water Gun and Hydro Cannon is a good combo but its real strength comes in PvP where Mud Shot, Earthquake, and Hydro Cannon are amazing together.

Squirtle, Charmander and Bulbasaur together
Source: Bulbapedia

Have we helped you narrow down your starter Pokemon choices? If you’re wondering about Eevee’s evolutions, we’ve ranked all Eeveelutions too! But if you’re in the mood for cute Pokemon, we can also help you with that.