Assessing your starter’s strengths and weaknesses, later evolutions, and the all-important cuteness factor can be tough. It’s been the subject of scientific analysis, community polls, and endless debate.
I mean, just look at it. If just being a cuddly goth kitten isn’t enough, Litten’s Incineroar evolution has gotten a lot more popular from being in Super Smash Bros. While it’s not the strongest Pokémon around, it’s still got a solid move set.
Froakie has diehard defenders. It’s not hard to see why. It’s has good stats across all of its evolutions. Its final form, Greninja, has a huge advantage in battle thanks to its speed.
Pikachu is essentially Pokémon’s Mickey Mouse — a character so ubiquitous you don’t have to play the game to recognize it. Pikachu isn’t the strongest starter, but the franchise owes at least some of its popularity to this little electric rat.
Pokémon’s biggest jock has solid designs for all of its forms, and it’s no slouch in combat either. It also has a unique move that lets Scorbunny change its type, making it extremely adaptable.
Treecko’s Sceptile evolution gains the absurdly powerful Leaf Blade attack, and its mega evolution adds Dragon typing. In any form, it looks extremely chill while dealing huge damage, which is always a good quality.
Some say that Squirtle is scientifically the best starter out there. Whether or not that’s true, fan-favorite Squirtle would still get a place on this list based on the irrefutable power of the Squirtle Squad alone.
Pokémon Sword and Shield’s starters are all viable, but Grookey makes the early game a breeze. Beyond that, its evolution into Rillaboom gives it a permanent drumset, making it probably the most fun Pokémon to hang out with between battles.
Flying/Grass typing makes this round little fella with a bowtie a beast in battle. After its awkward teenage phase with Dartrix, its final evolution into Decidueye makes it one of the best-looking Pokémon in Gen 7.
What can I say? People love Mudkip. Maybe it’s because evolving into Marshtomp gives it a strong water/ground typing, or maybe it’s just the oddly adorable fish-dog look it has going on.
Yes, you’ll have a hard time against the early gym leaders with Charmander, but your reward is the extremely powerful Charizard. But what really gives the perpetually on-fire lizard the advantage is the iconic design of each of its evolutions.