Do you wanna be the very best? Like no one ever was? Choosing your starter in Pokémon is a crucial component to being a Pokémon master! But which starter is the worst and which one is the best to choose when beginning your Pokémon journey? What starter will help you out throughout your entire adventure as well as show people up competitively? And what starter will make you shake your head in frustration?
There are plenty of capable starters in just about every generation. Whether it’s a Water, Fire, or Grass type, a person’s play style helps determine what starter is the most useful for them. But if we’re talking generally, let’s look at Pokémon that are capable of the most crippling usage, whether you’re battling the Elite Four or a real-life Pokémon pro. The best Pokémon have amazing move sets and are among the best Pokémon in their respective generations while the worst’s cuteness can’t save them from having poor base stats and limited move lists.
Just because a Pokémon is low on the list doesn’t mean it’s bad or that we don’t like it—it just can’t compare to the other starters on this list when it comes to their stats, move sets and other important qualities involved in helping you become a Pokémon master.
Find out which starter you should choose in our list, Pokémon: Every Starter Ranked, Worst To Best.
This isn’t really a surprise. Chikorita is at the bottom of most lists ranking starter Pokémon. They may start out cute, but that really can’t make up for a poor move list and mediocre stats that don’t really improve when they evolve into a Bayleef and finally Meganium (which is a lot less “Mega” than it sounds).
This Grass type stand out in the worst ways possible. It stays as a purely Grass Pokémon, unlike Bulbasaur, who has Grass and Poison. At least it doesn’t get any extra weaknesses, but it also doesn’t get a lot of types to be particularly strong against. It can learn Reflect and Light Screen to help it stand up against its weaknesses, but the gyms in the Johto region still seem to have it out for Chikorita. It never really gets a chance to shine in the early game.
Also, its moves are mostly supportive in nature, so if you want a heavy hitter, definitely don’t go with this admittedly adorable supportive player who still gets some love despite its flaws.
Despite being the mascot for Pokémon and a pivotal part of Ash Ketchum’s team, Pikachu is one of the worst starters. Especially if you look at the only game he was a starter in: Pokémon Yellow. Unlike every other Pokémon on this list, you’re forced to choose Pikachu and he will never evolve. Not even if you give him the Thunder Stone (unless you do some trading).
As a Pikachu, his stats really aren’t all that. Sure, he’s the only electric type on this list, but that just makes the first gym in Pokémon Yellow even harder. Ash wouldn’t have even won with Pikachu if not for a sprinkler going off in the show. Pikachu also doesn’t learn his great Iron Tail move until later generations. We hate to rat him out, but Pikachu really isn’t a worthwhile starter.
Another cutie, Oshawott is definitely the worst of the Water starters. Like Chikorita, they stick to one type throughout even when evolving. The moves it can learn are limited to Water and normal type moves that leave trainers with a lot to be desired. Except maybe Razor Shell.
Its base stats have OK attack and special attack, but everything else is pretty well-balanced and fails to stand out. Its combined base stats when it evolves from a Dewott into a Samurott are also the lowest of any Water starter.
The other starters, Snivy and Tepig, are better choices for the player. Especially since you can easily get some pretty good Water types, like Palpitoad and its evolved form Seismitoad. Or if you really want that Razor Blade you can hunt down a Shellder.
Another pure Water type, Totodile starts out adorable and evolves into Croconaw and then the ferocious looking Feraligatr. Unfortunately, this Pokémon known for biting really doesn’t have much bite to it. Totodile’s physical damage is its best stat, yet its best Water moves are special attacks. And sadly, its special attack stat was rather mediocre.
Even though Totodile has a more varied move set, this variety isn’t very helpful. Just like how his special Water attacks are depowered thanks to its average special attack stat, so are the dark type attacks this Pokémon learns, like Bite (though in Sun it did become a physical attack). And the only ice attacks it can learn must be taught and are also hindered by being special ranged attacks.
Then there are the of handful moves it learns like scary face and screech, which can be hard to use effectively. So why have Totodile as your Water type when you could use Quagsire or Poliwrath instead?
While Dawn form Diamond & Pearl may be able to utilize her Piplup well in contests, they’re a bit harder to love as a battler. Piplup’s evolved forms Prinplup and Empoleon do learn decent Water type moves like whirlpool and Hydro Pump, but its stats don’t really help these moves stand out.
The final evolution of this Pokémon, Empoleon, is a Water and Steel type, which can be a bit tricky to use with great effect. However, this starter's opponents are likely to get their hits in first, since Piplup’s stats for every evolution are the lowest in speed. Their special attack and defense are the highest stats they have, which is problematic if you were hoping for a physical Steel powerhouse.
As a Grass type, Snivy does do a lot with its Grass move set. Water and Ground Pokémon better watch out for its leaf storm and Giga Drain. Unfortunately, most other types can take down Snivy and its other evolutions, Servine and Serperior, pretty easily. This graceful Grass type definitely can’t take the heat.
Like Chikorita, Snivy isn’t very useful in a lot of the gyms you’ll go up against in the game. However, it’s much better speed-wise than Chikorita and its final evolved form Serperior would leave Meganium in the dust. But the rest of its state are pretty balanced… and lackluster.
Might as well use Lilligant if you’re looking for an effective Grass type. Or maybe the adorable and deadly Whimsicott or the prickly Ferrothorn. Just maybe not Snivy…
Chespin is the worst option of Generation six, an unfortunate fate that has befallen a few of the Grass starters on this list. However, Chespin can become more useful as it evolves from Quilladin into Chesnaught, a Grass and Fighting type. This Pokémon has a great physical attack stat, so the physical moves it learns can certainly pack a punch. However, with more types comes more weaknesses than if Chespin were just a plain Grass type Pokémon.
Even worse, because of how slow Chesnaughts can be, it’s likely that a type with an advantage over them is also going to get the first hit. Especially if they’re using special attacks, since it is Chesnaught’s physical defense that excels - not its special defense. Even though this Pokémon can hit hard, it will have difficulty hitting anything if it has fainted.
The worst of the latest generation of Pokémon, Popplio is a Water Pokémon who does have the advantage and disadvantage of evolving from Brionne to Primarina, becoming a Water and fairy type. It also has pretty decent special attack and special defense stats. Unfortunately, its attack and defense are just decent and it is a slow-moving Pokémon that is more likely to be taking the damage rather than doling it out.
For a Pokémon that starts out as a pure Water type, you would think Popplio would have better Water moves. But even fully evolved, the only decent Water moves it learns are Aqua Jet (for the early game) and Hydro Pump (for the later game). They make up for it a little bit with a great fairy type move - moonblast - but really, the move list leaves a lot to be desired.
Treecko may be cool in the TV show, but between Treecko, Torchic, and Mudkip, few were really fighting to get a Treecko over the other two starters.
The only one of the three starters to stay one type, Treecko is a pure Grass Pokémon, even when it evolves into Grovyle and then Sceptile. The best Grass move they learn in their premiere appearance is leaf blade, but they don’t learn any other Grass type moves past that.
They don’t have really great special attack and speed, but they learn a lot of physical type moves that really don’t pair as well with his physical strength. Even worse? Their defense is really low, so a Fire Pokémon like Torchic could easily take down a Treecko. Sorry Treecko, but that cutie can definitely take you down despite your cool factor.
The polar opposite of Treecko, Tepig’s high health stat is designed to make it last long in battle. Unfortunately, as a Fire type that later evolves into a Fire and Fighting type, there are plenty of weaknesses that can still take this Pokémon down rather quickly. Plus, it has a rather weak defense, special defense, and speed - a triple stat combo that will quickly wear down any playstyle.
Even Treecko's awesome attack stat will prove useless if they can’t get a hit in before a Hydro Pump ends them.
This is a big reason why Tepig is the weakest of the Fire starters. Other Fire starters that became Fire and Fighting types, such as Torchic (who becomes Blaziken) and Chimchar (who becomes Infernape), had a lot more to offer than Tepig, who becomes the Fire/Fighting Pignite and Emboar. Nintendo really needs to stop pairing their Fire starters with Fighting.
Fennekin’s stats leave something to be desired, specifically its health, attack, and defense stats. Its special attack, special defense, and speed are better and get pretty high by the time it finally evolves from Briaxen into a Delphox. Plus, unlike the previous Fire starters, its final form is both Fire and Psychic, and Psychic pairs really well with Fennekin’s high special attack stat. However, as usual, dual types lead to double the weaknesses.
But the main reason Fennekin is still pretty low on this list? Well, why get this Fire type when you can get a free Torchic holding a Mega Stone in the game?
Despite having some awesome moves like Fire blast and future sight, Torchic is a beloved fan-favorite that Fennekin never really could match.
Squirtle may start out with the lowest base stats of any starter from the original three, but he ends up becoming a pretty powerful Pokémon as it evolves into Warturtle and then Blastoise. He is also the best Pokémon to start with in the first generation because he is more effective in the gyms, especially against Brock. But there are a lot of gyms in which Squirtle will not be leading your team and you’d be better off with a Ground type that can take on both rock and electric Pokémon.
By the time Warturtle becomes Blastoise, their stats in both physical and special defense are rather high. The problem is its original move set is rather limited, despite having a few special attacks such as Hydro Pump. This Pokémon is also a pure Water type, so it does not have as many weaknesses. Good luck taking down these giant behemoths while they take their sweet time ending you.
One of the better Grass starters, Turtwig eventually evolves from Grotle into the Grass and Ground type Pokémon Torterra. As usual, dual typing advantages and disadvantages apply here. However, Turtwig becomes a Pokémon that you know will stick around in battle with you for a while thanks to its decent defense. And not only will it not be likely to get KO’d, despite its slow speed, but it also has a decent attack stat as well.
This Pokémon learns some very powerful moves that can really put the hurt on your opponent, including Earthquake, Wood Hammer, and Leaf Storm. Plus Giga Drain if you feel like being especially annoying and healing yourself while watching your opponent suffer. The main thing you have to watch out for is Turtwig’s slow speed, but his other stats can become quite impressive when you train him right.
The first Grass starter, Bulbasaur can be a real pain to fight against, mostly thanks to the fact that he is both a Grass starter and a Poison type. This Pokémon has plenty of moves that effect an opponent’s status, from Poison Power to Sleep Powder. This makes them one of the best picks to use for catching other Pokémon and completing your Pokédex.
In generation four, Bulbasaur can even help out friends with moves like “Worry Seed”, which prevents allies from falling asleep.
While Bulbasaur does have a ton of hard hitting moves (besides Petal Blizzard and Solar Beam), it still has a really good special attack and defense that get pretty high when it goes from Ivysaur to Venusaur. All of this Pokémon’s other stats are also really decent, with none of them dropping very low.
This is a rare example of a Pokémon that’s balanced the best way possible and can really create a headache for your opponent. They better be prepared with a lot of berries!
The most frustrating thing about Cyndaquil is how long it takes to become a great Pokémon. They become an awesome asset, but they require a lot of work to get to that point. The stats for this Pokémon when it evolves from Quilava to Typhlosion are about the same as Charizard, and unlike Charizard, it stays as a pure Fire Pokémon. This means it has less weaknesses, but at the same time, its move pool is more limited.
In comparison to the other starters of generation two, Cyndaquil ends up having the best special attack and speed. This combination helps ensure that this Pokémon will be able to quickly land some of their powerful special Fire attacks, including flame wheel and flamethrower. All Cyndaquil’s moves have very high accuracy as well, so this little Fireball is not likely to miss.
Charmander has become extremely popular thanks to him evolving from Charmeleon to the Flying and Fire form Charizard. But its popularity has overshadowed the fact that it is definitely not the best starter. That isn’t to say it doesn’t have a lot of great qualities, such as the advantages (but don’t forget, disadvantages) that come with his dual type. Also, in his first appearance in the games he doesn't naturally learn any Flying type moves and needs to be taught Fly.
Charizard has decent, balanced stats all around except for his special attack and speed stats, which are definitely his two highest stats. His special attack definitely comes in handy, especially in later generations when he becomes capable of learning powerful Fire type moves such as Inferno and Flare Blitz. And who can forget the old faithful Flamethrower that Charizard can use to easily decimate his opponent? Get ready to be burned to a crisp!
This puddy tat is not only adorable but also packs a powerful and fiery punch. Of the three starters in the latest generation, Litten has the best health and strength, making it take a lot of punches to put down while also dishing out plenty of hurt. By the time it evolves into Torracat and finally Incineroar, the rest of this cool cat’s stats, besides its speed, are pretty decent too. There also aren’t a lot of great Fire types in Sun/Moon either.
Speed may hold this Pokémon back from being the highest on this list, but among the Fire starters, it is one of the best. It even has the hidden ability Intimidate, meaning it can lower a foe’s attack stat. Quite a useful trait to have if you’re fighting something against this Fire (and eventually Dark) type creature.
Rowlet is the best starter of the newest generation of Pokémon. It is definitely easy mode in Sun because of the numerous Water and Grass type Pokémon you’ll come up against early in the game (plus the Water and Grass trials), which Rowlett can easily take care of, thanks to its Grass and Flying moves. And the first two kahunas use Flying, Rock and Ground types that will find Rowlet tough to deal with.
No longer will you need a Fire type like Litten as your starter to handle your grassy problems; Rowlet has got you covered.
This Pokémon’s stats are also the most consistent of the three starters and you can teach it a variety of moves, from Grass to Flying to even Dark when it evolves into Dartix and then Decidueye. By Decidueye, this Pokémon has great stats in attack, speed, and special defense - and decent numbers in everything else.
Another Fire starter that would end up evolving into a dual Fire and Fighting type, Chimchar is still a heavy hitter, especially when it evolves first into Monferno and then into Infernape. This Pokémon's health and physical/special defense stats are okay, but its physical/special attack and speed stats more than make up for it. It is highly capable when using both its Fire and Fighting move sets.
Despite its duel combination, Fighting/Fire types have a lot of advantages versus disadvantages. Fire, grass, ice, dark, steel, and especially bug type Pokémon will have a hard time making a dent in it, and only four types are super effective against it. This definitely isn’t a Pokémon to monkey around with!
Torchic is another Fire starter that evolves into a Fire/Fighting type, Combusken, and then the illustrious Blaziken. By the time this Pokémon becomes Blaziken, it has a very impressive attack and special attack, making this Pokémon a powerhouse that almost gives Swampert a run for his money. Its speed is also a pretty decent improvement over Swampert.
Though it does have more weaknesses, Blaziken is also very durable against fire, grass, ice, bug, dark and steel type.
This Pokémon learns a variety of moves that make it stand out. There are some amazing Fire type moves like Flare Blitz, awesome Fighting type moves like Sky Uppercut, and even some Flying type moves like Brave Bird. However, these Flying moves may seem pointless to some trainers since none of Torchic’s forms unfortunately get a type bonus for using them. Still, this may be one of the best - if not the absolute best Fire/Fighting type you will find.
Mudkip really starts to shine when he evolves into Marshtomp and eventually Swampert thanks to his dual type of Water and Ground. His Ground type really helps him defend against his greatest weakness: Electricity. Plus fire, poison, rock and steel types will have a hard time doing any damage to them. The only downside is this starter’s poor speed stat.
This Pokémon can really learn a lot of fantastic moves, both Water and Ground, including Muddy Water, Rock Slide and Earthquake. Swampert’s high health and physical attack make it a physical powerhouse that won’t go down easy. Especially since the only type that is super effective against it is grass.
Electricity won’t even make Marshtomp or Swampert frizz. So watch out Pikachu, because this starter will hit you with a Mud-Slap (or, even better, Mud Shot).
Froakie, which becomes Frogadier, eventually becomes the popular Water and Dark type Greninja. Besides the awesome fact (or gross depending on who you are) fact that this Pokémon uses its tongue as a scarf, this is also the best starter in Pokémon. Its speed is off the charts, pretty much guaranteeing that it will hit first, balancing out well with the fact that it has low defense. Its special attack is great and his attack is pretty good too, with just okay health and special defense stats.
This Pokémon definitely has a lot more weaknesses than Swampert, but it also has a lot of types that it is super effective against. Also, psychic Pokémon will do it no harm. Froakie learns a variety of moves, from the Water move Hydro Pump to the Dark move Night Slash.
Which starter Pokémon is best in your eyes? Sound off in the comments!