The 28 starter Pokémon that are BETTER than Pikachu


YOU always remember your first. Your first day at school, your first love, and of course your first Pokémon partner.

However, not everyone started in the same place, or chose the same starter for that matter.

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The newest starters from the upcoming games.Credit: The Pokemon Company

Whether you are team Grass, Fire, or Water, here is a list of all 29 Pokémon starters from over the nine generations ranked from worst to best.

29. Pikachu

Pikachu may be the mascot for the entire franchise, but being forced to drag it, and its 40 base defence, around Kanto was no fun.

Game Freak did give Pika some redemption in Let’s Go as the little yellow mouse had perfect stats and could learn some of the best moves in the game.

Unfortunately, it was all too little too late. We were already scared by Red’s level 81 Pikachu, standing alone with him up at the top of Mount Silver.

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28. Chespin

Do you remember what Chespin evolves into? Okay what about its final evolution? You probably don’t.

If you do, you’ll remember that it is an underwhelming sphere of spikes, with no interesting use in battle.

Sorry Chespin you are cute enough, but all starters serve us cute, we need something more.

27. Tepig

So many people were overjoyed to see this little fire piglet when he was revealed for generation 5.

However, our hopes quickly turned into despair when we learnt its final form was the third Fire and Fighting type in as many years. 

We might have been more forgiving had Emboar been as adorable, but it was only giving us big chungus.

26. Sobble

Another promising start. We all love a powerful Pokémon showing the inner anxiety we all share.

By the time Sobble becomes the super, slick sniper Inteleon, high up on its Gigantamax pole, we lose interest.

And that’s not mentioning its awkward emo teenage phase. 

25. Chikorita

Chikorita is one of the most adorable beastie blobs in all of Pokémon, making it painful to place it so low on the list.

While it’s nice that Meganium got its time to shine as an illumina Pokémon in the latest Snap game, Chikorita is still the black sheep of the second generation starters.

Sorry Chikorita. We’re just glad you’re happy.

24. Scorbunny

Admittedly none of the Sword and Shield starters are very exciting, but Scorbunny’s enthusiasm bordered on irritating.

The developer may have been a bit too on the nose, making a starter a football player, in a game where all the gyms are stadiums.

Your Gigantamax massive flaming football is pretty dope though.

23. Chimchar

Another Fire starter sadly fallen prey to the over saturation of the market. Not only Fire and Fighting type but a fire monkey in a world that developed Simisear.

To make things worse players felt strong-armed into picking you, in games where the only other fire type was Ponyta.

In a game where the Fire type E4 leader has a Steelix, a Lopunny, and a Drifblim, you know things are bad.

22. Treecko

Treecko is actually a pretty good Pokémon, with good Special Attack and amazing Speed stats.

It flounders a little with having a number of weaknesses, and a pretty boring design, but it is not bad by any means.

It just happened to have come during generation 3, arguably the best generation of Pokémon starters.

21. Fennekin

We appreciate you for being the first Fire type to break the Fire and Fighting slump, by bringing in the interesting Fire and Psychic match up.

However, you’ve been let down by the design of Delphox which looks like an old man with protruding ear hair, and too high trousers.

Also the fire fox has sadly already been done. 

20. Grookey

While Grookey may be the best of the generation eight starters that is sadly not saying too much. 

It’s a cheeky, chimpy chap, with a final evolution looking like a hipster who got into taiko that one summer he spent in Japan.

Not a bad thing, just not particularly a good thing either.

19. Turtwig

This cute little grass turtle has the power to warm your heart, and the Grass and Ground typing is an interesting final evolution.

It’s just a shame that its shell is a landmass and moves about as fast as one too.

You’re cool Turtwig, we’ll just probably never use you in battle.

18. Bulbasaur

This is possibly controversial, but despite Bulbasaur’s adorable appearance, it is one of the most difficult starters to use.

You are tricked into thinking it’s good against the first two gyms but it doesn’t learn a Grass move until level 13 and even then it’s Vine Whip.

When we have to wait until level 30 for you to learn a decent move, then you’ve probably already been boxed.

17. Litten

Incineroar’s design is an abomination, and one of the reasons we so strongly fear a bipedal starter.

Its saving grace is how popular it is in the competitive, using Parting Shot to lower the opponent’s attack and then safely switch out to a better Pokémon.

That doesn’t stop us cringing when we see it in Showdown.

16. Oshawott

The Water and Dark dual typing brought in for Samurott in Legends: Arceus was one of our favourite switch ups in the game.

Otters are also one of the most adorable real world animals, and there can never be enough Pokémon based on them..

Oshawott is sadly a bit average, but I’m sure it has its fans.

15. Quaxly

At the time of writing generation 9 hasn’t been released so we don’t know a lot about this set of starters.

However, who doesn’t love a little duck in a matador’s hat.

There have been water ducks before, but our hopes are high for Quaxly’s potential final Water and Fighting form.

14. Fuecoco

Another Pokémon we are left guessing about. What we do know about Fuecoco is that it is based on a little chilli pepper and loves to munch the apples.

The design leaves potential for a Ghost and Fire final form, based on the infamous spice of the ghost chilli.

All we know is he is one spicy mon.

13. Sprigatito

Aside from having a name that is very fun to say, we fell hard for this cute cactus cat.

Decorated with cute little cactus flowers, while we’ve seen plenty of cacti before, none have been mixed with another animal.

Please, please, please don’t make the final form sexy.

12. Popplio

There have been more than a few seals in Pokémon, but none as unique as this circus seal friend.

The final evolution Primarina is one of the more unique designs in Pokémon, and introduced the Fairy typing to the starters with flair.

Not quite a top ten mon, but we appreciate you Popplio.

11. Torchic

Being the first Fire and Fighting starter Torchic just about got away with it. It’s an adorable little nugget.

It’s unfortunate that it was in a year of top notch starters, or Torchic might have gone down as the starter choice of players.

Blaziken has long been the choice of cosplayers too.

10. Snivy

Snivy might seem stuck up with his upturned nose and serpentine ways, but it has good reason to be.

With its hidden ability Contrary, and the move Leaf Storm, instead of this powerful attack halving Snivy’s special attack, it actually doubles it.

That combination alone is enough to scare you into loving the little guy.

9. Froakie

The Froakie to Greninja pipeline gives us whiplash with how boring the first looks to how incredible the last is.

Not only is using your tongue as a scarf a daring fashion choice, but with Protean as a hidden ability means all moves get a 1.5x boost.

When you add on Ash’s weird Greninja it’s certainly one of the more interesting starters.

8. Eevee

If the Eevee you are given as a starter could evolve this would probably be up at the top, but sadly the one given to you in Let’s Go is stuck as a baby forever.

However, with its perfect stats it is still usable right up until late in the game, and the special moves like Bouncy Bubble and Glitzy Glow make up for weaknesses.

Plus you can pet it, and it loves it.

7. Charmander

Charmander really doesn’t need hyping up more than it already is, with Charizard being the poster boy of the series and given two mega evolutions.

The reason we love Charmander so much though, is that it really is a timeless Pokémon design.

From adorable to terrifying, Charmander’s line goes the distance.

6. Totodile

Totodile suffers from being in the second generation before the Special/ Physical split happened.

It has a buff Attack stat on a Specially attacking Pokémon which can be frustrating from a power perspective.

Look at Feraligatr’s generation 3 back sprite though to see why we stan a thicc king.

5. Squirtle

Back when Pokémon first came out we all wanted to join the Squirtle squad.

Learning its first Water move at level 8, Squirtle was the clear choice for anyone who started in generation 1.

If you enjoyed Mega Blastoise’s huge cannon, then you are sure going to love the Gigantamax version.

4. Piplup

In a game with no fire types the Steel penguin will surely be emperor.

Empoleon has both the strength and defensive stats to insure victory, while looking like one of Earth’s most adorable creatures.

Piplup mastered the whole penguin thing before Eiscue made it weird.

3. Cyndaquil

Cyndaquil was already a firm favourite, with its evolution Quilava making mincemeat of Pokémon Colosseum.

But once Legends: Arceus introduced the dopey looking Fire and Ghost Typhlosion that is when we fell in love.

Cyndaquil, I’m not quite sure what you are, but I’m here for it.

2. Rowlet

Rowlet is offensively round, and this borb isn’t afraid to let you know. 

Archery is cool. Ghost and Grass is cool. Owls are cool. Frankly, everything about Rowlet is pure perfection.

Rowlett makes us feel cute violence, and we don’t want it to stop

1. Mudkip

Mudkip’s position as best ever starter was surely sealed the moment the “I herd you liek Mudkipz” meme was spawned.

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Yes, the world loves Mudkip. The little guy is as adorable as big daddy Swampert is strong.

Immune to Electric as well. We’ll just make sure to shield it from incoming Grass moves.

Written by Georgina Young onFrom behalf of GLHF.

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