Choosing the best Pokémon Scarlet and Violet starter isn't easy. Each brings something unique to the table, but, in Pokémon tradition, you'll only be able to pick one of these little critters for your adventure across the Paldea region.
Offering a vast open world for you to roam across, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is the latest pairing in the Pokémon series for the Nintendo Switch. Though Pokémon has taken bold new steps into the open-world territory of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, some things very much remain as they were. Among them: the agonizing choice between three cute starter Pokémon of the grass, fire, and water varieties. It's a dilemma as old as the first Pokémon games in the 1990s and remains as tricky now as it was back then.
To help you make your choice and pick the best Pokémon Scarlet and Violet starter for you, we've broken down the pros and cons of each, as well as their types, the types of their final evolutions, and their signature moves. You'll be ready to make that big decision in no time.
Best Pokémon Scarlet and Violet starter
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet starters: Sprigatito
This feline friend is the best Pokémon Scarlet and Violet starter for cat lovers. As a grass type, Sprigatito is strong against rock, ground, and water. Resistant to electric attacks, this shrubbery crossed with a kitten will serve you well in the mid-game when it comes to type matchups. Its weakness to fire, bug, and flying moves, however, are cause for concern, especially when going up against the bug-type Gym in the early game.
Sprigatito evolves into Florgato at level 16 and once again into Meowscarada at level 35. Meowscarada is a dark type and grass type, so it is very effective against psychic and ghost types. Meowscarada also learns the special move Flower Trick when it evolves, a powerful physical attack that always hits and always crits. Meowscarada is a fast, physical damage powerhouse in the late game – surprising, given its unassuming basic form.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet starters: Fuecoco
Fuecoco is a fire type, and my personal choice as best Pokémon Scarlet and Violet starter. I just couldn't say no to that little face. He's especially powerful against grass, bug, ice, and steel opponents, which makes him a great asset in the early game against the bug and grass gyms. That said, he's weak against water, ground, and rock, so he's far from indestructible.
This gentle little crocodile evolves into Crocalor at level 16 and Skeledirge at level 35. Skeledirge is a fire and ghost-type Pokémon, which makes for some pretty interesting type matchups. As a ghost type, Skeledirge is immune to normal-type attacks and effective against psychic and other ghost types when sticking to ghost moves like Shadow Ball. The ghost gym leader in the late game is particularly tough, so Skeledirge can be a real asset. It also learns Torch Song, a powerful fire attack that improves the special attack stat of the user, making the move even stronger the next time you use it.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet starters: Quaxly
Quaxly is this generation's water-type offering. And, if you were to poll the community, you may believe it was the best Pokémon Scarlet and Violet starter, but majority opinion is hardly a good measure for these things.
This charismatic little fellow is already a fan favorite, but will he be yours? As a water type, he's a good bet against fire, ground, and rock-type monsters, but a bad idea against electric or grass monsters. This makes Quaxly less useful in the early battles against the bug, grass, and electric gym leaders, but very handy when traveling through Paldea's numerous caves and quarries – chocked as they are with ground and rock-type Pokémon.
At level 16, Quaxly evolves into Quaxwell, reaching its final form, the fabulous Quauqaval, at level 35. Quauquval becomes a fighting type, in addition to its existing water type. This makes it strong against dark, normal, ice, and steel Pokémon. Without spoiling too much, this makes Quauquval extremely useful in the late game. Quaxly's final form also learns the unique move Aqua Step, a powerful water attack that raises the user's speed stat. It's a great way to dish out damage and stay ahead of the game.
Congratulations, you now know everything you need to about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet's three starter Pokémon. It's time to get out there and choose your favorite – just be sure to let the other two down gently.
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Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.
Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure.
Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.