Pokémon trainers around the world are about to begin their journeys into Pokémon Sun and Moon with Litten, Rowlet, and Popplio — this generation’s initial pocket monsters. Every generation has their own version of those three, however. See, starter Pokémon have been around since the games first released in February 1996, and dedicated trainers certainly have favorites.
With that in mind, here’s our definitive ranking of every starter ever:
This pig-like Pokemon is a nimble little guy capable of cloaking itself in flames and blowing fire from its snout. When fully evolved into Emboar, despite its Fire/Fighting typing, is just another Blaziken without the ridiculous speed to back up its moves.
The idea of a Grass-type, turtle-inspired Pokémon was a good one, but with weaknesses to Flying, Poison, Bug, Fire, and Ice, Turtwig’s rarely able to hold its own even when fully evolved into Torterra with a Ground/Grass typing.
Chimchar isn’t anything special compared to the Fire-type starters who came before it. With average stats when fully evolved, Chimchar doesn’t really do anything better than its Fire-type counterparts Blaziken and Charizard.
There’s no stopping Chikorita, but with an evolution into both Bayleef and Meganium that have Grass-typing with low defense, there’s not much special about this leaf-throwing critter with life-draining moves.
Snivvy is a great concept for a Grass-type Pokémon, but it unfortunately suffers from the weaknesses that usually come with the typing. Even when evolved into Serperior, this starter doesn’t have too much to offer due to its low attack stats. Looks excellent though.
It’s hard to forget the heartthrob that Chespin put us all through (Ed. note: Try to guess how old Bashore is) in the Pokémon XYZ anime series until it was rescued by Zygarde. In the games, this Grass-type evolves into Chesnaught — with incredible defense and attack stats mixed with grass moves that could drain HP.
The lovable and strong-hearted Oshawott captivated many during the anime when he left Professor Juniper to join Ash on his journey. In the games, this blue otter is a quite capable contender with all-around strong stats across every evolutionary stage.
Much like the new starter Litten in Pokémon Sun and Moon, Fennekin has one of the most unexpected evolutions in the history of the franchise. Despite the visual differences, Delphox is a Fire/Psychic-type beauty with one of the highest special attack stats in the games.
One of the original three, Bulbasaur will always be respected for its tendency to persevere against all odds. In the games, however, even when fully evolved into Venusaur, it’s too easily dealt with by a Fire-type Pokémon despite having the highest base defense of all Poison-type Pokémon.
Piplup is adorable in the anime series, but when it comes to the games? Its final evolution Empoleon is a powerful mix of both Water and Steel-typing that can do some serious damage. It also has ten resistances due to this mix, making it the most resistant of any starter Pokémon so far.
This chick Pokémon was the Fire-type starter available to players in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire with a final evolution of Blaziken. Known for excellent Fire- and Fighting-type moves, Blaziken is incredibly powerful. Flare Blitz is rough stuff.
Froakie doesn’t seem like much in Pokémon X and Y, but it turns into one of the best Pokémon for competitive play thanks to the Dark/Water-typing of Greninja and Protean. This hidden ability allows Greninja to change its own typing based on previously used attacks. Not to mention, Greninja packs a boatload of speed too.
This cute Fire-type Pokémon doesn’t appear all that deadly, but it evolves into the deadly Typhlosion. It’s hard to forget how powerful Eruption is when you use it to win a Pokémon Battle.
Totodile was basically Pokémon’s attempt to create an icon equivalent to Charmander. While the Water-type, lizard crocodile-themed Pokémon doesn’t quite make the cut, it does remain a powerful creature when fully evolved into Feraligatr with high defense and access to powerful Water-type moves.
Introduced in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire like Mudkip, Treecko isn’t much to look at considering Grass types are usually relatively weak compared to their Fire- and Water-type cousins. When fully evolved into Sceptile, though, this Pokémon becomes a lightning-fast combatant with access to Dragon-type moves, making him a dangerous contender.
Unlike Squirtle, Mudkip is a mixed-type Pokémon that first made an appearance in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. With his Water/Ground-typing, many of the weaknesses a typical Water type’s faced with don’t faze him when he was fully evolved into Marshtomp and throwing Earthquakes around the battlefield.
There’s no questioning the power of a Squirtle when fully evolved into Blastoise and taught the infamous Hydro Cannon move. This pure Water-type remains a deadly opponent despite having a few weaknesses, and is still carried by many trainers today.
When anybody even mentions the word “Pokémon,” it’s hard not to immediately think of Pikachu. Pikachu may not be one of the strongest starter Pokémon on this list, but he has a legacy as one of the most lovable characters in the history of the franchise.
Charmander is, and always will be, one of the key figures behind the entire Pokémon franchise. This little guy was one of the first Pokémon we could receive as trainers back when Pokémon first made its way to handhelds. Plus, he evolves into the legendary Charizard, which remains one of the strongest Pokémon in the games to this day thanks to his attack stat and unique typing when Mega Evolved into Charizard X.