There are a total of 26 starters in the entire Pokémon series so far. And the multitude of Pokémon to choose from has led to people wondering – which one of all these starter Pokémon is deemed the best? But what makes a starter Pokémon good? Is it their reputation? Their power or statistics? Their evolutionary forms? Or just their general aesthetic?
Pokémon has introduced us to nearly 900 different creatures throughout the different regions in both the mainline and side games. And with just around 2% of them being starters, surely one of them has to outrank the others.
So here are all the starter Pokémon from 8 generations, ranked.
By this point, Pikachu is slowly becoming an overrated Pokémon. It’s pretty much the face of the franchise to the point where you don’t want to evolve it since it’s a rare find in the early games. While Pikachu is the face of the franchise, let’s be real: it’s not all that great. Also, Pikachu’s level gets reset every time Ash ventures off to a brand new region, preventing us from seeing this yellow mouse’s full potential.
Charmander in Pokémon has to be super weak. While it evolves to a Charizard and its Mega-Evolution looks really cool, its starter form isn’t that strong at all. It will die once its flames go out, which is uncommon if you compare it to all the other starter fire types. And speaking of Charizard, Ash’s one literally didn’t listen to him which cost him the Indigo League. Do you want a Pokémon that has a strong chance of ignoring you?!
Torchic is strong, don’t get me wrong. Even its final evolved form of Blaziken makes this Pokémon really tough, especially its mega evolution form. But gameplay-wise, it’s not that really good. The type matchups in the first few gyms in the Hoenn region will make it difficult to beat using this Pokémon unless it learns some fighting-type moves. But it is cute nevertheless, and could be fun to travel around with.
Sobble is cute but there is nothing special about it. It has the same hidden abilities as Squirtle (torrent) and will turn invisible when it cries. Also, when Sobble cries, everyone around it will tear up too. While it does get better when it evolves, its starter form is just… well… basic.
Grookey is friendly and will find comfort with its trainer but it is no different to Chimchar. Not to mention, one of its hidden abilities “Grassy Surge” only turns the battlefield into grass. It’s quite underwhelming the more you think about it. While it is good, it really isn’t that great.
Tepig continues down this “it’s alright, but not that great” list. Its hidden ability “thick fat” only halves the damage from ice and fire-type moves, there is not much that showcases Tepig as unique in comparison to the others. Even when it evolves it’s not that special as there are other Pokémon that are also Fire/Fighting types.
Treecko is pretty underwhelming the more you think about it. Its hidden ability “Unburden” is pretty much useless as it needs to have its head item taken away by other Pokémon. Also, it remains a grass-type when it evolves making it even more underwhelming. But despite all that, it’s strong in battle and does not panic when faced with stronger opponents.
Turtwig is the second starter Pokémon inspired by a turtle. But unlike Squirtle that tends to be mischievous at times, Turtwig is very affectionate. However, just like Charmander, it needs to be taken good care of, or else the leaf on its head will wither, making it weak. But regardless, it is strong thanks to its hidden ability “shell armor”, which protects itself from critical hits. But all that doesn’t mean it’s the best.
Bulbasaur is an underrated grass type and starter in general. Most trainers will focus on Squirtle or Charmander but what about this one? It’s the first dual-type starter Pokémon in the entire franchise as it’s both grass and poison type. It also has the hidden ability “chlorophyll” that boosts its speed during sunny weather. But regardless of the lack of attention and popularity this Pokémon has, Bulbasaur will always be loved.
Chikorita is a friendly Pokémon, making them nice to have around when adventuring around the region. But that’s the only reason why this Pokémon is great. It has the hidden ability “leaf guard”, which prevents it from being affected by status effects during really sunny weather. So as long as Chikorita has the moves “sunny day” and “solar beam”, you will be an unstoppable force.
Totodile is a tough water type with a strong and painful snout. Its final evolved form Feraligatr is tough too and continues the theme of a growing crocodile. It is energetic and will not hesitate to use its jaw in battle. However, when comparing it to other starter Pokémon from Johto, it’s alright but it can also do better.
Chespin tends to be cheeky in the Pokémon anime but is also reliable. It can search for underground water using its vines. But this small Pokémon does get stronger as it becomes a grass/fighting type down the line. And with its hidden ability “bulletproof”, it can protect itself (and its trainer when it evolves) from bomb-like moves like bullet seed.
Litten is an intimidating Pokémon despite its size. It has the hidden ability “intimidate” that can drop the attack stats of opposing Pokémon. Not to mention, it takes time for this Pokémon to trust humans and it may be quite stubborn. But Litten isn’t all that bad as it does make an effort to love its trainer. Ultimately, this Pokémon is more suited for those with a specific type of personality.
Remember when Popplio was first introduced and everyone hated it because it “looked dumb”? Well, this Pokémon is the pinnacle of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Popplio’s final evolved form is like a beautiful mermaid, giving this Pokémon an ugly ducking happy ending. Not to mention, its balloons/bubbles are something you shouldn’t mess with as they can trap a human inside. Protect this Pokémon at all costs.
Fennekin is not only cute but also sneaky. Its hidden ability “magician” allows it to steal items from other Pokémon when it attacks. Also, maintaining this Pokémon is pretty simple as it likes eating twigs, making this a really good companion. In the anime, Fennekin has been seen to care about its appearance, grooming itself in order to stay clean. Hopefully, your Fennekin is cool having some dirt on it.
Piplup is reliable, even if you don’t want it to be. Also, when it evolves into Empoleon, it becomes strong like steel (no pun intended). And while it may be stubborn at times, it is tough and will want to be with its trainer, even if it means it chooses not to evolve. But despite acting and looking tough, it does act adorable at times.
Scorbunny is a Pokémon full of energy worth having on your team. It will want to motivate and encourage you as you go through your journey together. Not to mention, in the anime Scorbunny was able to save a moving train just by kicking a Snorlax away (where was this Pokémon in the early games?!). Having Scorbunny join you is something you will not regret.
Why does everyone love Charmander when you have this Pokémon whose tail won’t die out in the rain?! Chimchar is very loyal and will love their trainer no matter what. They are courageous and with their natural ability “iron fist”, they get a 20% attack boost. Not to mention, Infernape is really strong and will listen to you once it evolves. And the fact that its flames aren’t affected by water, Chimchar a superior Pokémon compared to Charmander.
Snivy is really snarky, especially in its final form of Serperior, making them very noble Pokémon. All they want is the best and won’t just pick anyone. Also, Snivy has the contrary ability which makes status changes have an opposite effect. Meaning, if you try to weaken it, you’re only making it stronger.
Rowlett is another starter Pokémon that has two types (flying and grass) and was introduced in Generation VII and was seen again in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. It’s cute but can be sneaky as it can fit in tight spaces. The only con is that it’s nocturnal so don’t expect it to be very active during the day. Maybe that’s a good thing if you want to adventure around the regions without interruption.
Oshawott was first introduced in Generation V and was also featured in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. This Pokémon is not only cute but is also lethal as this sea otter Pokémon can use the shell on its chest as a weapon. This means it can learn Razor Shell without needing to use a TM. Also, it has a hidden ability called “shell armor” that protects it from critical hits.
Mudkip is really cute but don’t let it fool you. Its hidden ability “damp” prevents other Pokémon from using moves like self-destruct or explosion. Also, baby Mudkips are really cute and perhaps the cutest of all the baby Pokémon. Also, when it evolves to Marshtomp and Swamper, it becomes a water/ground type, making it safe from electric-type Pokémon.
Cyndiquil is ranked 4th in this list because of its final evolution form Typlosion. Do you mean to tell me that this tiny and cute fire type from the Johto region evolves into a menacing beast? Not to mention, this Pokémon existed long, long ago back when Sinnoh was still known as Hisui, helping trainers before it was normalized.
Squirtle in the anime were seen to work in the fire department, working together as a team to save lives. But it’s not just working in this profession that makes them great. While one Squirtle is enough, a group of them is something you don’t want to mess with. Overall, the Pokémon anime was able to make good use of Squirtle and its evolved forms.
Eevee joined the starters group when the Pokémon: Let’s Go series came out on the Nintendo Switch. Eevee has so much potential as it has multiple possible evolution forms. And that’s what makes Eevee great! Not only is it cute but its different evolutionary forms will make you want to collect them all. Not to mention, some of them evolve through friendship, which is important.
Let’s talk about why Froakie is the best out of all the starter Pokémon in the entire franchise. First of all, it evolves to Greninja, a Pokémon known to have used the “bond phenomenon”. This ability allows trainers to bond with their Pokémon and can communicate telepathically. No other Pokémon, not even Pikachu, can do this which makes Froakie very unique, making it the best starter Pokémon.
Different starter Pokémon have different unique abilities that make them great. And depending on who you are and where you start your Pokémon journey, these creatures are bound to be your new best friend, regardless of power. After all, Pokémon is about friendship and the bond you have with your partner throughout your journey.