With the release of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, there are now 29 different starters. There is an argument that there are 27 different starters but Eevee and Pikachu are added to most people’s list. This list will not include them and will solely be based on this author’s opinion. So if you go into this expecting something backed up with facts then you will be out of luck. Instead of wasting more time, let’s jump into the Top 10 Pokemon Starters of All-Time, Robert Hanes edition.
Top 10 Pokemon Starters
This list of the Top 10 Pokemon Starters of All-Time will be the first evolutions of each starter, the middle and final evolutions are not being considered. At least when making this list although I will probably make another one for each of the other two evolutions in the line.
Before diving too deep there is one thing that must be said. I am a Gen 1 stan and I will not apologize for it.
Bulbasaur has always been one of the best Pokemon starters, even if people preferred Charmander and Squirtle. It is a great design and a Pokemon that has that loveable and cute factor. For many people, Bulbasaur has been the pinnacle of Grass starters. At least in terms of looks.
In terms of fighting and in the games that Bulbasaur is available it is hard not to love Bulbasaur. In the original games, it basically gets players through the first half without any issues. The problem becomes that there are many different grass and bug types that can do similar things as Bulbasaur throughout the game. Because of that, it gets to be in the top 10 but not any higher.
There are a ton of people that will be upset with this ranking but hey, at least Froakie made it.
In all seriousness, Froakie is an awesome Pokemon. Design wise it is one of the more unique starters. The gloves and bubbles around its neck give it a ton of personality. Along with that, it has this air of mystery, especially with the design of the official artwork. I always wanted a frog starter and when Froakie made its way in with X and Y it was hard not to get excited.
Also when looking at Froakie in-game, it has a ton of great moves and it was truly hard not to choose it from the three Pokemon offered at the beginning. The only reason why it is not higher is that it is the only starter on this list that I never actually picked in a playthrough and thus the only one I must pick in a future playthrough of X and Y.
I almost felt bad for Grooky and Sobble when they announced the starters for Sword and Shield. While people were all about “Grooky Gang” I was sitting here wondering how people wouldn’t pick Scorbunny.
For starters, no pun intended, it was adorable. A fire rabbit with a patch over its nose was always going to be a huge plus for people. Add on the electric personality it shows in-game and it was a quick favorite for so many.
For me, as a sports fan, even though soccer is not my favorite, just having a Pokemon that kicked fire like a soccer ball was incredible. I did not hesitate on my choice of starter when playing through Gen 8. I love the design and special move that Scorbunny gets later on as well.
This was another one where it felt like this derpy otter was just calling my name. To be fair, the choices in Black and White were not all that great but Oshawott definitely stood out.
Adding an Otter to the game was a great decision but having the shell added really sealed it for me. This was a great design choice and one that I think helps to make Oshawott much more interesting. Originally, I was a bit worried about the color choices as the different blues felt awkward. But over time it grew on me.
Lastly, and most importantly, the depictions and personality of Oshawott in the anime were spot on. I felt as though it was going to be a bit weird and hilarious and they did not disappoint. It’s easily one of the most memorable Pokemon from the Black and White anime and a Pokemon that will hopefully get more attention in the future.
This one feels like a very controversial take but Chespin is the best choice in X and Y and I will hear nothing about it. It has one of my favorite names among the starters as it feels almost random and barely has to do with the animal or plant it is based on.
Also, it is easily one of the most happy starters ever created. While most starters look happy or have a smirk, Chespin was clearly created just to smile. There is something so endearing about it that many other Pokemon, even non-starters, do not have.
The design of a hedgehog and some sort of pointed plant was one that I found to be very intriguing. I loved its hood and the colors that went along with it. Of the many starters, to a certain degree, it felt like something I would see in a Disney show or movie. Even when compared to Froakie and Fennekin, Chespin stood out to me and made it an easy choice when I was picking in X and Y.
Squirtle Squad. Need I say more?
Honestly, Squirtle was the first Pokemon I ever picked. This was all the way back in the 1990s. You are not allowed to judge. While everyone was picking Charmander, I really thought that Squirtle looked better. The original design for Charmander did not do it justice. While it is one of the most basic starters there was just something about this turtle shooting water out of its mouth that made me pick it.
Then once I started watching Ash go on his adventures and convincing Squirtle to join his team, I knew Squirtle would always be one of my favorites. Not to mention it was a very easy win over Brock and helped me to get through Mt. Moon. Squirtle will always have a place in my heart.
The glow-up for Charmander, as mentioned above, was truly massive for its popularity. While it was interesting in Red and Blue, the Yellow sprite was one to remember. Because they attached the game directly to the anime, it made it so much easier to want to choose it. So when I had the chance to get it in Yellow, Charmander instantly became a part of my team and stayed on it for good.
So many people just look at Charizard when thinking about this evolutionary line. But skipping over Charmander is a crime. It is the most loveable fire lizard of all-time and one that truly helped to shape the future of Pokemon. While it was extremely difficult to not push Charmander higher on this list, anything lower than this would have been a crime.
While I am a Gen 1 stan, I do believe that Gold and Silver are the best Pokemon games ever. One of the reasons for that is Cyndaquil. It is one of the few Pokemon cries that I remember vividly as it just always fit so well with the Pokemon.
In terms of design choices, it stands out for many reasons. One of the biggest ones though is that it’s the only starter where its eyes are not prominently displayed. While there are plenty of Pokemon like that, it stands alone when it comes to the 27 other starting Pokemon. Along with this, it is just cute and based on a weird animal that is still unidentifiable to this day.
Lastly, it was a powerhouse in another Pokemon game that lacked early-game fire Pokemon. While that is not uncommon in many Pokemon games, it was especially felt in Silver and Gold. So having Cyndaquil to help roll through so many gyms was a major plus.
One of my favorite Pokemon ever is Noctowl so when Rowlet was revealed I was instantly attached. I truly struggled to decide where to put Rowlet on this list. Even though it has a superior design that many people love, I have never beaten any of the Sun or Moon games. It is for this reason that Rowlet made it this high on this list for me.
If I could love a starter this much after not even playing much of the games it is in, then clearly it deserved to be high on my list. The design is simple but extremely effective. It is adorable and yet menacing at the same time. It is expressionless yet it has a ton of personality. Also, it has a leaf bow tie.
Rowlet is truly the best grass starter for me and one that I will always pick when given the chance. If it isn’t obvious, I loved the Pokemon Legends Arceus starters as they have now all made my top 10 list.
Last and most certainly not least is Totodile. I will admit that this one is heavily influenced by the anime but also as my friend put it, “Totodile is just cool”.
It has an incredible design as it makes a crocodile cute. But it is the weird collar and the red spikes that make Totodile stand out in a major way. It always seems to be happy and playful, yet, it is ready to fight at any time. There is just something about Totodile and the swagger that it has.
As I have been writing this, I have come to realize that I loved water starters when I was younger because Totodile was also my first choice in my run through Silver. I will never forget being at my mom’s work watching my Totodile wreck every Pokemon that got in my way. It holds a special place for me as my favorite starter from my favorite Pokemon games of all-time.
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