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How Do You Pick Your Pokémon Starter?


The most important thing when starting a new game of Pokemon is figuring out who your starter is going to be. It’s going to be the Pokemon who follows you throughout the beginning of your journey, saving you from Rattatas, Pidgeys, and Caterpies.

How do you decide? Stats, type, overall cuteness, the coolness of future evolutions?


I am a much more “academic” Pokémon trainer, but in my youth, I cared about two things fire types (Aries) and catching cute Pokémon. So my sweet baby was also Charmander, the adorable flaming salamander but I didn’t actually get to own my first Pokémon game until the second generation with Gold/Silver (Johto forever).

Initially, when I played, I used a Cyndaquil because it was a fire type, but halfway through the game I restarted it because I just didn’t like the way my team was going and I wanted a fresh start. So I decided to break my routine and choose … Totodile. Her name was Madison, and it was the best decision I ever made.

Totodile gave you Rage (7) and Water Gun (13) early, and then when you evolved it into a Croconaw at level 18, you gain Bite (21) soon after. Totodile didn’t evolve as quickly as Cyndaquil, but it gave you a lot of power early in the game. Not to mention it can learn Surf. Flamethrower may be a better final move than Hydro Pump for a number of reasons, but on a-well trained Feraligatr, it can be a real power move … if it hits, but that’s why the Pokémon gods gave us X-Accuracy.


Moving forward, I still mostly kept to my fire family, just because I feel like fire types are some of the most powerful and have some of the greatest capacity for growth. If I had to say which was the “best” combo/fire type starter, it would definitely be Fennekin from the 6th generation.

Fire/Psychic is probably one of my favorite Pokémon combos and it’s just so damn adorable. Tepig is probably my least favorite fire starter and Chimchar was wonderful because I love monkies and fire so it felt like a Pokémon made for me, but I truly fight the Fight/Fire combo to be pretty dull.

In the most recent Gen VII, I actually ended up picking Popplio, the water type that becomes a Water/Fairy Pokemon as my starter … because it was cute, because Fairy remains the most disappointing type, and it was the first time I was tempted to pick a grass Pokémon because it being Grass/Flying/Ghost seemed like an epic combination. Maybe when I finally play Ultra Moon. When Omega Ruby came out, I decided to abandon my Torchic and pick Mudkip and you know what … it lived up to the hype.

Because of how Pokémon has evolved (lol) as a culture, who your starter is almost like your zodiac sign: it is inherently meaningless, but we as a society have assigned it meaning and honestly take pride in who we pick. I love being a devotee to fire types, who occasionally dips her toe in the water.

Who are your favorite starters? Also grass-type people … how do you do it?

(image: Nintendo)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.