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Which ‘Scarlet & Violet’ Starter Pokémon Is the Best? And Why Is It So Hard To Choose?!

the pokemon scarlet and violet startersstarters

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet is hitting shelves soon, and I am HYPED. We’ve got a Thanksgiving-level CORNUCOPIA of new Pokémon that would put the pilgrims to shame. We’ve got graffiti gremlins, spooky ghost dogs, and a whole mess of colorful new critters just WAITING to get caught in our balls! That didn’t sound right. But no Pokémon on this new roster is more important than the one you choose to begin the game with! And we’re giving you an in-depth analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each so you can choose wisely.


Who’s in the new Pokémon triumvirate?

The new babies are as follows: the sweet lil grass kibby is Sprigatito, and evolves into a grass– and dark-type Pokémon. The precious red chomper is Fuecoco, who evolves into a fire– and ghost-type, and the adorable blue ducky is Quaxly, who becomes a water– and fighting-type.

But don’t let their cute and innocent looks fool you—they grow up into some serious badasses.

Let’s start with Sprigatito!

Sprigatito from Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

Sprigatito is a tiny little dirt kitten. If this was a squishabilty contest, Sprigatito would win by a hair (or blade? of grass?) because she’s just that cute. But you’re not interested in cuteness, are you? You’re interested in raw fighting ability. Well, let me put it this way: Sprigatito evolves into Floragato at level 16. And Floragato stands on two legs, Puss In Boots style. Puss In Boots didn’t fuck around, and neither will this cat. Why? Because this cat has a dark side. At level 16, your little kitten has now become a dark-type Pokémon as well. Dark types have a series of rare and unique abilities that make them wild cards in the Pokémon universe.

At level 36, Florgato evolves into Meowscarada. And Meowscarada looks ass-kickingly scary. Like a Catwoman made of grass. This thing could definitely go toe to toe with Batman. Due to the grass/dark nature of this Pokémon, Meowscarada is offensively strong against water, ground, and rock types, and defensively strong against electric, grass, ground, and water types. She is offensively weak against bug, dragon, grass, fire, flying, poison, and steel types, and defensively weak against fire, ice, poison, flying, and bug types. Be especially careful when fighting bug types, as Meowscarada has a double weakness to that sort of Pokémon. Bugs are strong against grass because … they live in it? And strong against dark because they themselves are shadowy creatures of nightmare. Meowscarada is also doubly weak against flying, poison, and fire types.

Sprigatito starts out strong with the highest speed of the starter Pokémon, and primarily uses physical attacks. At her highest level, she gains an ability called Flower Trick, which never misses and always does critical damage. If you want a speedy demon, this Pokémon is for you.

Next: Starting with Fuecoco!

Fuecoco from Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

Fuecoco is a baby chompapotamus, which is the scientific term for “alligator.” Or maybe “crocodile”? I always get them confused. Anyway, he’s a totally adorable little crocodilian, and looking at his silly face makes my heart glow with a warm flame—which is appropriate because he’s a fire type. And unlike Sprigatito, he stays looking adorable and harmless even during his second evolution. At level 16, he evolves into Crocalor, and he gets a precious little sombrero made of fire! You go, Fuecoco! However, he doesn’t stay cute for long. At level 36, he apparently dies and returns from the grave as a totally spooky ghost called Skeledirge. Crocodiles are killing machines, and the only thing worse than a live crocodile is a dead one that can attack you through the walls. I would hate to be a Pokémon in a match against this thing.

As a fire/ghost type, he is offensively strong against grass, ice, bug, and steel, and defensively strong against bug, fairy, fire, grass, ice, and steel types. He is defensively weak against water, ground, and rock types, and offensively weak against dragon, fire, rock, and water types. I don’t know why he’s so weak against dragon types, as he basically is one, but that’s the way the Pokémon cookie crumbles. He doesn’t have many other physical weaknesses, however, and is a great choice for players interested in prioritizing defense—after all, he starts out with the highest defense stat of any of the starters! His exclusive Torch Song ability is a fire-based Special Attack and provides a good buff to his already high Special Attack stats. If you want a ghostly fire tank, this is your Pokémon.

Related: The Best Pokemon Games of All Time – Ranked on Attack of The Fanboy

Finally: Starting with Quaxly!

Quaxly in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

Quaxly is the cutest little duck around, and totally spiffy. Just look at his hair! Feathers! Whatever! At level 16, Quaxly evolves into Quaxwell, abandoning his adorable persona for a sort of moody, anime rich kid vibe. It’s the coif and the eyebrows that do it for me. At this level, Quaxwell is still only a water-type Pokémon, but he won’t stay that way forever. At level 36, he evolves into Quaquaval, which sounds like an iconic fashion label. Quaquaval’s new look is suitably iconic, as the “Dancer Pokémon” sports the fiercest brows of any Pokémon in existence. At this level, Quaquaval is also a fighting-type Pokémon and looks like he knows how to put his feathered fists to good use.

He is offensively strong against fire, ground, and rock types, and defensively strong against fire, ice, steel, and water types. Meanwhile, he is offensively weak against dragon, grass, and water types, and defensively weak against grass and electric types. Quaxly starts the game with the highest attack stat out of the three starters, and his Quaquaval exclusive Aqua Step ability is a powerful attack that also provides a buff to his speed. He is the most balanced of the three starter Pokémon, but still a great attacker.

So which Pokémon starter should I choose?

Pick the cutest! Seriously. Pick whichever Pokémon sings a little song to your heart. If we want to be statistical, Fuecoco is going to have the most advantages right out of the gate due to its fire type. But Sprigatito gains its secondary dark-type abilities way before either of the other starters gains theirs! If I had to break it down, I’d say that Meowscarada is a glass cannon that can dish out damage but can’t take it; Skeledirge is a tank and can be relied on to remain standing even after all your other Pokémon are knocked out; Quaquaval is a balanced fighter that can handle nearly anything thrown at it.

But keep in mind: these won’t be your only Pokémon. If you’re smart, you’ll have other Pokémon on your roster that will make up for your starter’s weaknesses. It’s a team sport after all. Your starter is the first Pokémon you’ll have, so pick the one that you feel drawn to. You’re gonna be spending most of your time in Scarlet and Violet with that Pokémon, so why not make it one that you can see yourself falling in love with?

(featured image: The Pokemon Company)

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Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.