Hello and welcome! If you’re reading these words, then you have found your way to my first topical blog post of the Pokémon 25th Anniversary Celebration! This is the franchise’s 25th year as a staple of video game culture and an undeniable contender for my favorite series of all time. I’m writing these posts not as just a way to share my own nostalgia and opinions, but to hear about yours as well! Pokémon was made for connection and that’s what I intend to do!
What better place to begin the month of celebration that by starting with, well… Starters? Below I’m going to share my own personal Top 10 list of my favorite starting Pokémon. This is by no means a definitive list, rather just my own preference based on appearance, evolution, movesets, memories, etc. I’d love to hear your opinions below about your own favorite Starter Pokémon so be sure to leave a comment! With that said, let’s get STARTED!
I’m going to start off my list with a confession: I’ve never had a Rowlet on my team. I know, I know! It might seem a bit dishonest or shallow to list a Pokémon I’ve never had, but…have you SEEN Decidueye?! It’s a hooded, rogue owl archer that is Grass/Ghost type! Such a unique and fun concept! The only reason I didn’t use this bad boy was because I chose Litten as my starter in Pokémon Sun (foreshadowing…?). Nonetheless, I would certainly give this critter a proper try if I get the chance!
Torchic is landing at the second spot on this list. Not only is it adorable, but its evolution into the Fire/Fighting Blaziken was one of the coolest, most unique starter evolutions of its time (before the next two generations beat that particular dual-typing into the ground). Plus…it’s just an adorable little chick! Though it is far from defenseless, with its litany of fire attacks.
A fiery fox might not be original to the Pokemon franchise by its sixth generation, but Fennekin’s potential for growth is what solidified its place on my list. Ninetales was a solid Fire-type with some basic Psychic moves at its disposal, but Fennekin’s evolutions raise the bar by making it a dual-Psychic type and granting it a witchy, magical aesthetic (suiting its role as the Mage in the X/Y starter trifecta-more on that later). Final form Delphox can dish out heavy special attacks while taking full advantage of the dual-type Same Type Attack Bonus.
I. LOVE. KITTIES. I felt that most the former cats in Pokémon were underserved in their execution, but Litten helped correct that! It starts of as a tiny ember of a kitten and evolves full-force into the raging Incineroar- a Fire/Dark nightmare that draws inspiration from professional wrestlers. I’ve never been a huge fan of wrestling, but seeing that powerful tiger lash out with lariats and ridiculous tackles always made my day.
It might not be a kitten, but this critter is just as adorable! Cyndaquil was an excellent choice for players in Gold and Silver since it had an advantage over several of the early-game areas. Once it gets enough experience and evolves a couple times, it becomes Typhlosion- with a name just as powerful and daunting as its Flame Wheel attack. Cyndaquil also marked the first time a starter was based on a mammal rather than a reptile or amphibian.
Totodile holds a unique position on this list for me. While most of the creatures on this list were chosen for their final form in some way or another, Totodile is here based entirely on its own merit. I genuinely wish that this little biter’s stats could increase without requiring evolution because it’s the perfect amalgamation of “cute” and “cool.” I even tried to play through HeartGold Version without evolving my Totodile but it didn’t end up working very well…
Hopping in at number 4 is one of the coolest starters since the very first generation of Pokémon. Froakie evolves into Greninja, the Rogue of the X/Y Starter trifecta (with Delphox being the Mage and Chesnaught being the warrior). Greninja is a Water/Dark ninja with water shuriken, bouncing attacks, and the ability to change its typing to match any move that it knows, for both stronger attacks and constantly changing it up for your opponent to adapt. With speed, strength, and versatility, it’s hard to find a better choice for a starting Pokémon! Except…
3., 2., 1. Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander
I’m sorry! I couldn’t do it! No matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t split up my love for the classic trio that started it all. Pokémon Red and Blue (or Red and Green, for that matter) weren’t the most balanced games by any stretch, but they knocked it out of the park with their options for starting creatures- Charizard had speed and special attack power, Venusaur came with status changes and recovery moves, while Blastoise rounded things out by being a defensive tank. Each of the three starters had a little something that separated them from the others and set in motion the system of Pokémon starters in the first place. Charmander was the very first Pokémon I chose in my Pokémon Journey which gives it a slight leg up on the other two, taking my top spot, but I genuinely love each of these creatures entirely. No trio of starters has pulled off their trifecta as well as these three OG’s, and at this point, it remains to be seen if any ever will.
But those are just my thoughts on the matter! What are your favorite starting Pokémon? Is it your first partner you chose, or one from a newer generation? Let me know down below with a comment or on my Twitter (@brinkofgaming)! And stay tuned for more posts here celebrating Pokémon’s 25th anniversary! Smell ya later!