Pokémon: Top Six Fire Starters
No, silly, the article's title doesn't mean the six Pokémon most likely to start a fire. Rather, we're ranking the best Fire-type Pokémon for new Trainers.
In the Pokémon video games, whenever you begin an adventure, you select one of three Pokémon to be your first companion. Traditionally, you choose from a Fire, Water, or Grass element Pokémon. No matter which you select, your partner develops into a worthy ally, and will eventually evolve into more powerful forms.
Which of the Fire type starters reigns supreme? Read on to find out!
Pokedex species: Fire Pig
The Unova starter Tepig claims our first slot; sadly, he's not the best starter. He eventually turns into Pignite, then Emboar, which will be a dual Fire/Fighting Pokémon.
This is a decent typing; it has more resistances than weaknesses, but Emboar is the third Fire/Fighting starter we've received in a row. Come on guys, give us something new.
Additionally, Emboar has the lowest base stat total of any Fire starter's final evolution (528). He has high attack power, but low defense, low special defense, and poor speed. Plus, his moveset isn't the best; many of the attacks he'll learn are powerful, but have mediocre accuracy and will hurt himself when they do hit.
There are other good Fire and Fighting types in Unova, so feel free to select Water-type Oshawott or Grass-type Snivy as your starter instead.
Pokedex species: Fire Mouse
Next up, we have Cyndaquil from the Johto region. Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal (plus their remakes) allow you to choose this fellow. He evolves into Quilava, then Typlosion, and takes no secondary type upon evolution.
Cyndaquil's forms have good base stats, favoring special attack, defense, and speed. However, the attacks they learn aren't great; Typhlosion won't even learn any strong Fire-type attacks until level 43. Without the use of TMs (devices to teach Pokémon new moves), Typlosion only has Fire and Normal attacks, which means that many Pokémon will have resistances to his moves.
Okay, he does get the Rock move Rollout at level 61, but by then, you've either beaten the game or are close to doing so.
In short, Cyndaquil and its evolved forms can be helpful, but make sure you teach them TM moves to expand their repertoire. For the Johto starters, pick the one that matches your playing style. If you prefer elemental attacks, choose Cyndaquil. Physical power, take Water-type Totodile. Defenses, pick Grass Pokemon Chikorita.
Pokedex species: Chimp
If you play Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum, you can select this energetic partner. Chimchar will eventually morph into Monferno, then Infernape, a Fire and Fighting type. Infernape's stat total (534) is good; it favors speed, and has great physical and special attack. However, its defenses are a bit lacking, so try to use Infernape's high speed to strike first and strike hard.
Infernape will, without TMs, learn Fire, Fighting, Dark, Flying, and Normal moves, giving it a wide range of techniques to pick from. So, would I recommend Chimchar as your Sinnoh starter? Hard to say.
Consider that the Water starter, Piplup, will eventually turn into the awesome Water/Steel Empoleon, a great type combination that resists many attacks. However, Chimchar is one of the few worthwhile Fire Pokémon in Sinnoh, give it a shot if you don't desire Empleon's array of resistances.
Pokedex species: Chick
This little bird transforms into Combusken, then Blaziken, the original Fire/Fighting evolution. Blaziken's stats are similar to Emboar's; he favors physical attack. However, his defenses and speed are better, giving him more to work with.
I like his moveset; he'll automatically learn some Fire, Fighting, Flying, and Normal moves. Use Focus Energy to increase your critical hit ratio, then access Slash or Blaze Kick, moves that also boost your critical chance, for a potentially deadly blow. Or, use Bulk Up to simultaneously raise your attack and defense. Blaziken's stat total is a bit lower (530) than a few others, but he has a Mega Evolution, a powerful fourth form granting new strategic options.
All of the Hoenn starters are good Pokémon; Torchic may have an edge because it's one of the few Fire types in the area. If you play Pokémon Ruby, Emerald, or Sapphire, give him a try and see if you like his lethal onslaught.
Pokedex species: Fox
Second place goes to Fennekin, the Fire starter in Kalos and the Pokémon X and Y games. . Not only do most people find Fennekin to be adorable, she's pretty strong, too. She'll ultimately morph into Braixen, then Delphox, a Fire/Psychic type.
Delphox has more resistances than weaknesses, and a great stat total (534). I like the way her stats are spread around. Her lowest is physical attack, but this can be ignored by simply sticking to special attacks, which Delphox excels in. Her special defense and speed are also high. Fennekin and her forms lack a diverse moveset; they stick to Fire and Psychic attacks, but the attacks they do learn are accurate and good at reducing your opponent's stats.
Additionally, some useful supporting moves are learned, like the defensive Light Screen. As a breath of fresh air from all the Fire/Fighting types, and as a powerful companion, I'd definitely recommend this cute fox to Kalos players.
Pokedex species: Lizard
Yep, the very first fire starter wins first place. I'll admit I'm nostalgic about Charmander, but he's a strong ally too. You can select him in Kanto, the land from Pokémon Red, Blue, and their remakes.
Charmander evolves into Charmeleon, then Charizard. Charizard, despite looking like a dragon, is a Fire and Flying Pokémon. Yea, Pokémon sure has some weird typing. Still, the Flying addition is pretty useful. Fire Pokémon are weak to Ground moves, but Flying types negate Ground damage, so one of your weaknesses is nullified!
Thus, Charizard has only three elemental vulnerabilities, while it resists damage from six types plus the Ground negation. This means he's strong defensively, and the high 534 base stat total favors special attack and speed, so he packs a punch, too. Charizard's moves are fearsome, and with a TM you can teach it the Grass type attack Solarbeam, so it can competently battle Water Pokémon. Plus, Charizard is one of very few Pokémon to have two Mega forms, Mega Charizard X and Y, granting more tactical options.
Charmander Trainers in Kanto may face difficulty starting off; the first two Pokémon Gyms use types that Charmander is weak against, but he'll pay off in the long run. Plus, other good Fire types are scare in Kanto, limiting your alternatives. Give Charmander a shot and see what you think!
Which starter do you favor?
Choosing Your Starter
By now, we've seen that some starters fare a little better than others. However, if you particularly like one of them, then go ahead and choose it when you play through its game. They're all pretty strong, and sometimes it's more fun to build a team of your favorite monsters than a group of the strongest Pokémon.
You can't go wrong with any of 'em. Let me know which of these creatures you favor, and I hope to see at our next Pokemon countdown!