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Top 10 Best Starter Pokémon

In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.

What Is a Starter Pokémon?

Although Pikachu stars in the anime, in most Pokémon video games, trainers begin their journey with a tough choice between three initial monsters:

  1. One Fire type
  2. One Water type
  3. One Grass type

The starting trio form a rock-paper-scissors triangle, with each bearing an advantage against another, and your rival will typically choose the unit that trumps your own.

Although starters are on mostly equal footing when it comes to stat totals, the way those stats are spread changes drastically between monsters, and some starters (for better or worse) gain second elements upon evolution, further adding diversity between the types.

Throw in movepools, potential abilities, and mega evolutions, and it's safe to say not all starters are created equal. But with dozens of companions introduced throughout the years, which classic Pokémon reign supreme? These are the ten strongest starters (through generation 7) of all time!

10. Treecko/Sceptile

Type: Grass, Grass/Dragon (Mega Sceptile)

Base Stat Total: 530

Generation/Games: 3/Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald

A nice deviation from the slower, bulkier Grass starters of Kanto and Johto, Hoenn's Treecko develops into the speedy Sceptile, assaulting foes with its impressive Special Attack stat. Back when it debuted, all Grass moves were indirect, making good use of its best attribute, but now you'll need to be more careful when selecting techniques, as many of Sceptile's learned moves (like signature Leaf Blade) are physical in nature. You'll also want to stay alert for physical attacks, which will smash through Sceptile's low Defense.

Luckily, Sceptile can mega evolve into the Grass/Dragon Mega Sceptile. This form is even faster and stronger than before, making it a great indirect sweeper, and with its new Lightning Rod ability, it's a superb partner for Electric-weak allies in multibattles; just watch out for an unfortunate quad weakness to Ice. Although it will need TMs and other tricks to make use of its Special Attack, Treecko remains one of the best forest monsters that proved Grass isn't just for defense and healing.

Torchic, Combusken, Blaziken, and Mega Blaziken

Torchic, Combusken, Blaziken, and Mega Blaziken

9. Torchic/Blaziken

Type: Fire/Fighting

Base Stat Total: 530

Generation/Games: 3/Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald

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Read More From Levelskip

Another Hoenn option, Torchic first morphs into Combusken, then the fierce Blaziken, kicking off a long tradition of Fire/Fighting starters. Thankfully, it's a good typing, bearing four weaknesses but five resistances, including a quad resistance to Bug and a useful Rock balance (which Fire normally suffers against). Blaziken's stats veer towards Attack and Special Attack, letting it assault foes with both direct and indirect moves, and it bears unique strikes like Sky Uppercut.

Mega Blaziken receives an increase to just about every stat, particularly Attack, letting you ravage foes with contact moves for incredible damage. It also enjoys the Speed Boost ability, gradually increasing Speed to ensure you're able to strike first each turn.

Chespin, Quilladin, and Chesnaught

Chespin, Quilladin, and Chesnaught

8. Chespin/Chesnaught

Type: Grass/Fighting

Base Stat Total: 530

Generation/Games: 6/X and Y

Often ridiculed for its goofy second stage, Quilladin's evolution nonetheless offers fierce power. Chesnaught's stats emphasize Attack and especially Defense, absorbing physical blows with ease. It also learns a healthy variety of attacks while leveling, from status debuff Leech Side to HP-equalizing Pain Split to the unique Spiky Shield move, one of the best attacks in the game.

While Grass/Fighting offers an impressive coverage offensively, it's also Chesnaught's biggest failing, as the blend bears six resistances but also six weaknesses, including a quadruple weakness to Flying. This vulnerability, plus a lack of mega evolution and alternate abilities, keep it from the top of the list, but Chespin's evolution chart offers a surprisingly strong set of fighters.

7. Froakie/Greninja

Type: Water/Dark

Base Stat Total: 530

Generation/Games: 6/X and Y

While it's physically frail, suffering low HP and Defense stats, Greninja compensates with sweet Special Attack and Speed, making for another good indirect sweeper. It also has a nice typing, carrying five weaknesses but six resistances, plus a complete immunity to Psychic.

Water/Dark also provides wide coverage on offense and gives you two elements to select from when accessing STAB (same-type attack bonus) moves. Finally, Greninja enjoys several potent ability options, from the default Water starter Torrent to its unique Battle Bond. This lets your aquatic frog morph into Ash-Greninja after defeating a unit in battle. Ash-Greninja's stats improve (similar to a mega evolution) and its signature Water Shuriken attack increases in power, so it's well worth the effort to upgrade your agile amphibian.

Fennekin, Braixen, and Delphox

Fennekin, Braixen, and Delphox

6. Fennekin/Delphox

Type: Fire/Psychic

Base Stat Total: 534

Generation/Games: 6/X and Y

Evolving from Delphox and bearing an impressive stat total, Delphox favors Speed and Special Attack like Charizard, but it's also surprisingly competent in Special Defense, so if you need a speedy indirect unit, Serena's companion is the mammal for you. Five weaknesses to watch out for on this Fire/Psychic blend, but thankfully no quads, and Delphox offers seven resistances to endure against many elements.

Almost all of Delphox's learned damaging attacks are indirect, making good use of its best stat, and its types provide strong coverage (the less your elements overlap offensively, the more types you can hit for double pain). I'd like to see more ability options for Delphox as well as a mega evolution or Battle Bond form, but for now, it remains one of the best Fire starters yet, and we can thank for breaking the stagnate Fire/Fighting trend.

Mudkip, Marshtomp, and Swampert

Mudkip, Marshtomp, and Swampert

5. Mudkip/Swampert

Type: Water/Ground

Base Stat Total: 535

Generation/Games: 3/Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald

Yet another impressive generation 3 starter, Mudkip morphs first into Marshtomp, then the daunting Swampert, bearing a stat total that eclipses even Charizard. Second attribute Ground makes a good partner for Water, completely shielding against otherwise super-effective Electric attacks; in fact, in addition to its Ground immunity, Swampert resists four elements and it's only weak to one type: Grass. Unfortunately, it's a quad weakness, but thankfully Grass isn't the most common offensive type; as long as you can avoid nature's power, you're in good shape when tanking hits.

Swampert's impressive stats are well-rounded, favoring HP and Attack while disfavoring Speed (which is usually the least-needed stat anyway), and it maintains a useful STAB for Ground, one of the best offensive types available. Finally, Mega Swampert's evolution increases both defensive stats and skyrockets Attack, pummeling foes with its steroid-infused body. Its low Speed can now be improved with the Swift Swim ability, which will double your nimbleness during the rain weather condition. Unlike most Water Pokémon, Swampert doesn't have to worry about Rain Dance's risk of making Electric-attack Thunder an automatic hit, as its Ground element will negate any such attempts.