I love examining Pokémon and sharing advice on which ones you should consider training.
So You've Chosen Chespin...
Chespin is the Grass type starter of Pokémon X and Y. Chespin will evolve at level 16 into Quilladin. Then, at level 36, Quilladin will evolve into Chesnaught. Much like the other starters, it doesn't gain its second type until its final form as Chesnaught. Its dual typing is Grass and Fighting. This typing has only been seen twice before in the Pokémon series and one of those two was a legendary Pokémon.
Possibly the best part of the typing is that, as of Generation VI of Pokémon, Grass types are immune to spore attacks. This makes Chespin, Quilladin, and Chesnaught IMMUNE to many of the common ways to inflict status effects such as Sleep, Paralysis, and Poison. This is such a great part about the Grass starter line that I figured I would list it right at the beginning.
Journeying With Chespin
Chespin will start out with Tackle, Growl, and Vine Whip. It's nice to start with a type advantage move. In past games, the starters wouldn't come with this added bonus at the start. Tackle was buffed in X and Y so it's good now. Growl is useful on Chespin because it is the starter with higher defenses. Using Growl once or twice can cause the opponent to deal extremely reduced damage with physical attacks against Chespin's defenses.
Chespin is a Grass type, so watching out for Bug, Fire, Flying, and Poison type Pokémon would be in your best interests early on. Catching a Fletchling, Pidgey, Pikachu, or Simipour will help to reduce Chespin's weaknesses early on.
At level 8, Chespin will learn Rollout, a Rock type move. It's not the best Rock move, but it gives Chespin a fighting chance against the Flying and Bug types that would plague it otherwise.
At level 11, Chespin learns Bite, a Dark type move. Bite is useful against any Psychic or Ghost types you may come across early on.
At level 15, Leech Seed can be learned. This move will cause Chespin to heal a bit each turn. Using Leech Seed and Growl can completely shut down a physical attacking Pokémon that otherwise could have meant defeat.
Quilladin Enters the Fray
Once level 16 is reached, Chespin will become Quilladin. Quilladin is still only a Grass type, but it will gain good boosts to its Physical Attack and Physical Defense stats.
Since Quilladin is still a Grass type, you still need to watch out for Bug, Fire, Flying, Ice, and Poison. Always be sure to have a varied team to cover these weaknesses. Evolving Fletchling to Fletchinder can add a Fire and Flying type to your team, which counters a few of these. A Psychic type or Ground type can knock out the threat of Poison type Pokémon as well.
At level 20, Quilladin can learn Pin Missile. It's a Bug type move that has lower power, but can hit multiple times. This move can be useful because if you replace Tackle, your Quilladin will have a Bug, Grass, Rock, and Dark move. Personally, I like to have a large batch of type advantages on each Pokémon.
At level 26, Quilladin can learn Needle Arm. It deals a decent amount of Grass type damage, but its 30% chance of making the opponent flinch plays well with using Leech Seed. If the opponent flinches, your Quilladin can heal repeatedly with Leech Seed because your opponent's turn gets skipped!
At level 30, Quilladin can learn Take Down. It deals a high amount of Normal type damage, but Quilladin will take damage each time it succesfully hits. This drawback can be reduced if you use Leech Seed before spamming Take Down to try to heal some of the recoil damage.
At level 35, Quilladin can learn Seed Bomb. Seed Bomb is a high damage Grass type move that doesn't have any other effects.
Chesnaught, the Bulky Bruiser
You've reached level 36. Congratulations, you now have Chesnaught on your team. No longer is Chesnaught a purebred Grass type, but a Grass and Fighting type!
As soon as it's evolved, Chesnaught can learn Spiky Shield. It's a Grass type move that works just like Protect in that it blocks a move from dealing damage, but it is different in that if the attack that would have dealt damage was a Physical type attack, the opposing Pokémon loses 1/8 of its health! It's a better version of Protect because of that damage chance, but it will still fail if used too many times in succession.
At level 41, Chesnaught can learn Mud Shot. Mud Shot is a Ground type move that deals damage and can reduce the opponent's Speed. This can be useful because of Chesnaught's low Speed, but it is a Special Attack and will not use Chesnaught's high Attack to deal damage. This means it won't deal much damage, but if reducing their Speed or having type coverage is your desire, than go ahead and learn it.
At level 44, Chesnaught can learn Bulk Up. Bulk Up is a Fighting type move that deals no damage, but instead raises the users Attack and Defense. This is great on Chesnaught because of its already high Attack and Defense. I don't use many stat increasing moves, but it is very good because Chesnaught depends on those stats.
At level 48, Chesnaught can learn Body Slam. It is a Normal type move that deals good damage and has a 30% chance to paralyze your opponent. Paralyzing your opponent cuts their speed in half and can cause them to skip their turn when they're "Fully Paralyzed." Once paralyzed, attacking with Needle Arm can completely shut down an opponent who can now flinch or be paralyzed. No turns for your opponent is a great strategy to employ!
At level 52, Chesnaught can learn Pain Split. It is a Normal type move that doesn't deal damage like other moves. It instead adds Chesnaught's Health and the opponents Health together and then cuts it in half. It then gives each half to each Pokémon. This is a great way for Chesnaught to get back into a fight after taking a large hit.
At level 55, Chesnaught can learn Wood Hammer. Finally, a new Grass type move! Wood Hammer does great damage, but also causes Chesnaught to take recoil damage. This damage can be healed with Leech Seed. If Chesnaught's health has gotten low but your opponents health is still high, you can use Pain Split to gain it back.
At level 60, Chesnaught can learn Hammer Arm. Finally, a Fighting type move that deals damage! Hammer Arm deals a ton of damage, but lowers Chesnaught's Speed. Guess who doesn't care because of their already low Speed? Chesnaught!
At level 70, Chesnaught can learn Giga Impact! It's just a Normal type move, but it deals 150 damage! It is basically the Physical Attack form of Hyper Beam. The attack does a huge amount of damage, but Chesnaught will have to "recharge" next turn. Chesnaught's huge Defense should allow for a rather safe recharge on the following turn.
At level 75, Chesnaught can relearn Spiky Shield, but I don't use defensive moves very much anyway.
What About TMs?
I'd wait until you've gotten Chesnaught to bother with TMs, but if you've found a TM along the way that is beneficial to what you want Chespin or Quilladin to do, then go ahead and use it because TMs can be used infinitely. I will just list the TMs I find useful. These will mainly be attacks and not moves that increase the stats of Chesnaught. With such a low Special Attack, moves like Hyper Beam, Energy Ball, and Sludge Bomb won't be as useful because of their low damage.
- TM 02 Dragon Claw: High Physical Attack Dragon type move. Good for high damage and comes in handy for a possible need to slay dragons.
- TM 06 Toxic: Poisons the opponent and does more damage each turn. Good for a high Defense Chesnaught to shrug off the opponent's attacks as they take increasing Poison damage.
- TM 26 Earthquake: Multi-target high Physical Attack Ground type move. Much better than Mud Shot and goes off Chesnaught's high Attack.
- TM 28 Dig: High Physical Attack Ground type move that dodges an attack on the first turn and then strikes on the next. Good for dodging enemy moves and damage.
- TM 31 Brick Break: Great Physical Attack Fighting type move. Breaks moves like Reflect and Light Screen. Chesnaught needs more Fighting type moves!
- TM 44 Rest: Psychic type Status move that puts the user to sleep and regains all of its Health. Great for a Defensive Chesnaught, especially when holding a berry that will cause it to wake up.
- TM 47 Low Sweep: Decent Physical Attack Fighting type move. Lowers opponents Speed, but mainly useful because Chesnaught needs Fighting type moves.
- TM 65 Shadow Claw: Good Physical Attack Ghost type move with a high critical hit chance. Can be good for type coverage of Psychic and Ghost types.
- TM 66 Payback: Decent Physical Damage Dark type move. If the user moves second, it deals double damage. Good with Chesnaught's low Speed.
- TM 68 Giga Impact: Best Physical Attack Normal type move. Good if you don't want to wait until Chesnaught learns it normally.
- TM 71 Stone Edge: Great Physical Attack Rock type move with a high critical hit chance. Good for type coverage against many of Chesnaught's type weaknesses.
- TM 74 Gyro Ball: Potentially huge Physical Attack Steel type move. Does more damage the slower the user is than the opponent. Works well with a slow Chesnaught.
- TM 78 Bulldoze: Multi-target decent Physical Attack Ground type move. Much better than Mud Shot and goes off Chesnaught's high Attack. Not as good as Earthquake.
- TM 80 Rock Slide: Multi-target high Physical Attack Rock type move. Lower accuracy, but good for multi-targeting, opponent to flinch, and type coverage.
- TM 84 Poison Jab: High Physical Attack Poison type move with 30% chance to Poison. Alternative to Toxic for high Attack Chesnaught for type coverage.
- TM 98 Power-Up Punch: Low Physical Attack Fighting type move, but raises user's Attack each time it hits. Chesnaught needs Fighting type moves.
How Good Is the Dual Typing Offensively?
The dual typing of Grass and Fighting has a good coverage of a multitude of types, but it does have a few holes in the type chart where it doesn't deal much damage. For those who don't know, using a move that is the same type as your Pokémon gives it a STAB bonus or Same Type Attack Bonus. This bonus gives increased damage to the attack. While you can just switch out to a different Pokémon, I wanted to still list the types that each type doesn't do well against.
- Grass type attacks will deal double damage against Ground, Rock, and Water.
- Grass type attacks will deal half of their normal damage against Bug, Dragon, Fire, Flying, Grass, Poison, and Steel.
- Grass type attacks will deal normal damage against Normal, Fighting, Electric, Psychic, Ice, Ghost, Dark, and Fairy.
- Fighting type attacks will deal double damage against Dark, Ice, Normal, Rock, and Steel.
- Fighting type attacks will deal half of their normal damage against Bug, Fairy, Flying, Poison, and Psychic.
- Fighting type attacks will deal normal damage against Fire, Fighting, Water, Grass, Electric, Ground, Dragon, and Ghost.
- Having both Grass and Fighting types of attacks in Chesnaught's set of four moves will allow it to deal double damage to Dark, Ground, Ice, Normal, Rock, Steel, and Water!
- These types combined will still only deal half damage to Bug, Flying, and Poison.
- These types combined will deal normal damage against Fire, Fighting, Grass, Electric, Dragon, Ghost, and Fairy.
Chesnaught's dual typing is good for the number of types that would take double damage from its attacks, but it is also good in the number of types that would take normal damage. For example, some of the types that Grass attacks would deal half damage to can be instead attacked with a Fighting move and vice versa. Knowing when to use each type of attack is the key to using dual typing to your advantage.
How Good Is the Dual Typing Defensively?
The Grass only and Fighting only sections are just to show what each type does alone. The Grass section can be used for Chespin and Quilladin. Once again, I'll include the normal damage because I believe it can be viable for building teams.
- Grass type Pokémon receive double damage from Bug, Fire, Flying, Ice, and Poison.
- Grass type Pokémon receive half damage from Electric, Grass, Ground, and Water.
- Grass type Pokémon receive normal damage from Normal, Fighting, Psychic, Rock, Dragon, Ghost, Dark, Steel, and Fairy.
- Fighting type Pokémon will receive double damage from Fairy, Flying, and Psychic.
- Fighting type Pokémon will receive half damage from Bug, Dark, and Rock.
- Fighting type Pokémon will receive normal damage from Normal, Fire, Fighting, Water, Grass, Poison, Electric, Ground, Ice, Dragon, Ghost, and Steel.
- These types combined will receive double or more damage from Flying, Poison, Fire, Psychic, Ice, and Fairy.
- These types combined will receive half or less damage from Ground, Rock, Water, Grass, Electric, and Dark.
- These types combined will receive normal damage from Normal, Fighting, Bug, Ghost, Steel, and Dragon.
Both types combined are okay defensively. Chesnaught receiving quadruple damage from Flying types is its major weakness, but teaching Chesnaught a Rock move or knowing when to switch out can prevent any unintended casualties. I think switching out would be a better choice when faced with a type disadvantage because of Chesnaught's wide range of weaknesses.
The Chespin evolutionary line has the same ability all of the Grass type starters have. This ability is called Overgrow. "In a pinch," Grass type moves will deal more damage. It means when your Pokemon's health is low it will gain a boost to its attack's damage. It's nothing new, but can be useful because the Chespin evolutionary line has high Defense and Health which can leave it with small enough health to gain the bonus while other less defensive starters would just die in one or two hits and never gain the bonus to their Grass type moves.
The Dream World ability or Hidden Ability of Chespin, Quilladin, and Chesnaught is unique to them. It is called Bulletproof and causes the Pokémon to be IMMUNE to ball, bomb, and cannon types moves. It is incredibly useful regardless of whether your Chesnaught is Defensive or Offensive because it makes those moves do absolutely nothing.
The moves blocked by Bulletproof in alphabetical order are Acid Spray, Aura Sphere, Barrage, Bullet Seed, Egg Bomb, Electro Ball, Energy Ball, Focus Blast, Gyro Ball, Ice Ball, Magnet Bomb, Mist Ball, Mud Bomb, Octazooka, Rock Wrecker, Seed Bomb, Shadow Ball, Sludge Bomb, Weather Ball, and Zap Cannon. Blocking any moves would be good, but negating all of these moves is an incredible Hidden ability to have!
The Hidden Ability for Chespin, Quilladin, and Chesnaught can be obtained through the Friend Safari. The difficult part is finding a person with a Quilladin in their Friend Safari, but once you find someone all you have to do is catch Quilladin until you get one with the Bulletproof Ability. The odds of getting a Pokémon with the ability are about a one in five chance.
Then you can breed Chespin to have the Hidden Ability as long as you use at least one parent Pokémon with the Hidden Ability. It doesn't matter if the mother or father have the ability as long as one has it. The event Torchic I received at the beginning of X and Y was Male and when bred with a Ditto I obtained multiple Torchic with the Hidden Ability as well. It's not 100% chance to get the Hidden Ability though so keep trying!
Obviously Over Thought
The early amount of moves learned by Chespin can allow it to become either a high Attack Pokémon with a multitude of type coverages or a high Defense Pokémon that can heal itself and reduce the opponents chance to ever deal damage. Quilladin continues this theme of learning various moves that benefit either a high Attack or a high Defense way of battling. I have no problem with this evolutionary line until it actually becomes Chesnaught.
When building teams I often find myself looking at what types I need to cover and thinking a Grass type and a Fighting type so combining them would be great right? Not quite. Chesnaught has great stats and a decent typing defensively. It takes reduced damage from six types, but it takes increased damage from six types as well. It's not much of a Defensive Pokémon if it can get wrecked by six different types.
The only other fault I have with Chesnaught is the moves it learns. They're great moves, but being a Grass and Fighting type and not learning a Fighting type Attack until level 60 is a bit ridiculous.
The ability Overgrow works well on Chespin, Quilladin, and Chesnaught because of their high Defense to remain at low health and their already high Attack to deal damage. The Hidden Ability Bulletproof works great to Immunize your Pokémon from a long list of attacks so I like that ability as well.
Other than his type weaknesses and not learning a Fighting type Attack until a high level, Chesnaught is a great starter. A player can build Chespin up as a multi-type Attacker, a Defensive healing tank, or a monster who shuts down the opponent through Paralysis, Confusion, and constant Flinching. Regardless of how you build Chespin, it can be a tough nut to crack and you'll always be a thorn in your opponents side.