15 Pokémon That Should Be Starters (Our Top Picks)

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Choosing your starter is the most important decision you’ll make in any Pokémon game.

This not only decides what Pokémon your rival and potentially the champion have, but also who your main companion will be for the next 20-40 hours.

For this list I’m sharing Pokémon that I think would make for some great starter options, whether it be as part of a new type trio a la Grass/Fire/Water, or as a singular entity.

Note that not all of these will be 100% perfect, but I do think they will be interesting. Let’s go!


15. Magby

Magby Screenshot from Pokemon anime

Let’s start this list off with a trio: Fire, Ice, and Ground.

And to cover fire, I thought it would be cool to use Magby.

The Magby line is a great group of Fire-types with great Special Attack and decent Speed.

While it didn’t start out as an evolutionary line, I still find the progression from Magby to Magmar to Magmortar very satisfying.

But there is one big issue with all 3 Pokémon.

They look freaking weird!

I think it’s the combination of those lips and the heads that look like butts. However, it’s all worth it in the end because Magmortar gets arm cannons like Mega Man.


14. Vanillite

Vanillite Pokemon anime screenshot

Vanillite is another weird choice when it comes to looks.

I mean, the whole line is ice cream cones.

But what these Pokémon lack in imagination they more than make up with effectiveness.

This is mainly because of Snow Stream.

Vanilluxe, the final form of Vanillite, got this ability in generation 7. It allows Vanilluxe to summon Hail as soon as it enters the battle. This is not only a great way to get chip damage onto the opponent, but it also makes Blizzard never miss.

That’s incredible!

Suddenly Vanilluxe becomes a major threat in any battle. Not so silly looking now, huh?

(Vanilluxe still looks silly).


13. Sandile

Sandile Pokemon in the anime

For the final Pokémon in this trio, we have the one I think works the best out of all of them as a starter: Sandile.

Sandile is an awesome Ground/Dark-type that eventually evolves into Krookodile, one of the most dangerous Pokémon in the game if you’re not paying attention.

Not only does it have a great Attack stat, but it has awesome abilities with Intimidate and Moxie.

But what makes the Sandile line work as a starter is much simpler than looking cool and being strong.

It’s mostly because they all look like animals.

If you look at any of the original starters, you’ll see that they’re all based on animals. However, even though Magby and Vanillite don’t fit that bill, I think this would be a really interesting starter trio.


12. Togepi

Togepi from the Pokemon anime

In Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, Pokémon fans young and old got to revisit the Kanto region again, but with a Pokémon Go fair.

And in your choice of which version to purchase, you also choose your starter to support you for your whole journey!

If we were going to do the same thing with Johto, I feel like Togepi would be a great option.

It had a strong anime presence, it’s super cute, and I would love to see the creative new moves they come up with for it!


11. Tyrogue

Tyrogue / Pokemon anime screenshot

Tyrogue is another one of my single Pokémon options, but this time for a completely different reason.

The cool thing about Tyrogue is that it can evolve into any of the 3 “Hitmon” Pokémon: HItmonchan, HItmonlee, or Hitmontop.

Which one you get depends on how you raise Tyrogue.

Higher Attack gets Hitmonlee, Higher Defense gets Hitmonchan, and having both stats be equal gets Hitmontop.

All 3 are decent Fighting-types that take up unique spots on your team.

The only thing that would stink about this is how frustrating it would be to get Hitmontop!

Seriously, I remember trying to do this for weeks as a kid. Not fun.


10. Rhyhorn

Rhyhorn from the Pokemon anime

Time for another trio!

This time we’re going for Rock, Ice, and Grass.

While there are a few options for each of these types, I think that I’ve got to go with Rhyhorn to cover the Rock typing.

Rhyhorn has been around since the beginning, and I genuinely mean that!

It’s first evolution, Rhydon, was literally the first Pokémon ever designed. Why shouldn’t the first Pokémon also be a choice for one you start out with?

Unfortunately, that extra Ground typing makes it so Rhyhorn gets hit by both Ice and Grass for super effective damage.


9. Spheal

Spheal Pokemon in the anime

Next up, we have Spheal representing the Ice-type in this group.

Spheal is freaking adorable – and is especially cute in New Pokémon Snap.

But there’s more to this little roley-poley than meets the eye. Its final evolution is Walrein, another bulky Pokémon with decent Special Attack.

Basically, if you were playing Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald and you needed an Ice-type, you had a Walrein on your team.

The only real issue with Spheal as a starter in this group is that extra Water typing allows it to really counter its Grass-type counterpart.

But even with that, I think that Spheal would be an excellent choice.


8. Sewaddle

Sewaddle Pokemon anime screenshot

Sewaddle is a Bug/Grass-type from Gen 5.

And while it may seem lackluster at first, it actually has a lot going for it!

First off, its final evolution Leavanny has decent attack and speed being faster than both Walrein and Rhyperior.

Also, it gets access to Sticky Web – which is arguably the best entry hazard in the game.

Plus, the middle evolution Swadloon is quite possibly my favorite looking Bug-type of all time.

And that Bug typing makes it so Sewaddle is also weak to both of its other forms. Hooray for balance!

This trio might seem like a random mishmash of Pokémon that most people have forgotten about, but I actually think that this would be a delightful group of starters.


7. Ralts

Ralts from the Pokemon anime

My reasoning for Ralts is a bit different for every other Pokémon on this list.

One of my favorite rivals in all of Pokémon is Wally.

He starts off as a sickly boy who can’t take care of himself. But once he catches a Ralts and raises it, they both get stronger.

Eventually, Wally actually becomes one of the strongest trainers in all of Hoenn.

And I want to go on that journey!

I want to start off weak and eventually come out the strongest. Most Pokémon games have you dominating in every battle.

Maybe it’s time to start off losing and work your way up to the big leagues.

Not to mention that you also get that split evolution towards the end.

And we all know how much I love split evolutions.

Speaking of…


6. Rockruff

Rockruff Pokemon in the anime

And we have yet another single Pokémon here. This time it’s Rockruff, the puppy Pokémon.

Rockruff, like Tyrogue, is on here because of its 3 different evolution options.

However, instead of having this evolution based on stat totals, it’s based on the time of day that Rockruff reaches level 25.

This is a much less frustrating way to still have a degree of choice of who your starter evolves into.

All you have to do is wait until night time for Midnight Form Lycanroc, or just change the time on your system.

Also, Rockruff is freaking adorable.

Quite possibly the cutest of the dogs in all of Pokémon.


5. Houndour

Houndour Pokemon anime screenshot

It’s now time for our final type trio suggestion for starters: Dark, Fighting, and Psychic.

While there are plenty of Pokémon of each type that have two evolutions, I found an interesting choice for this trio of possible starters.

So let’s start out with a personal favorite: Houndour!

Houndour was made as a counterpart to Growlithe in the second generation of Pokémon, but players never really got a chance to use it in-game because it was only available in the post-game in Kanto.

So why not give players a chance to use one from the very beginning?

Plus, Houndour is an incredibly cool Pokémon that not enough people have used.

Seriously, this thing is a literal hellhound! Show it some love!


4. Shroomish

Shroomish / Pokemon anime screenshot

Shroomish is an adorably-angry mushroom Pokémon hailing from the Hoenn region.

While found pretty early on, I feel like it would work great as a starter, but that’s mostly because of its evolution, Breloom.

Breloom is easily one of the most underrated Pokémon of all time – with a bunch of different uses.

Its great Attack stat pairs well with any of its 3 great abilities.

Plus it looks like a kangaroo or a raptor.

I think everyone should use this thing and the best way to get players to do that is by making it a starter.


3. Staryu

Staryu Pokemon in the anime

And finally, to go with another two-stage Pokémon here I’m going to choose Staryu as the Psychic-type (with water too, of course).

It’s fast, powerful, and has been a fan favorite since Pokémon began – along with its evolution Starmie!

So why not just make it a starter?

But really, there’s another great reason to add Staryu to this group.

If you’re paying attention, dear reader, you’ll realize that these 3 Pokémon not only have one trio of typings that work together – but two!

The Dark/Fighting/Psychic is paired perfectly with that classic Fire/Grass/Water!

This means each Pokémon can counter either of the other two Pokémon.

And this means that no matter who you pick, you have a fighting chance against your rival. I love this synergy!


2. Zubat

Zubat Pokemon anime screenshot

This is probably the weirdest choice on the list, but I genuinely love the idea of Zubat as a starter.

Since many people consider Zubat to be one of the most annoying Pokémon of all time, I think it would be nice to celebrate this cute little bat.

But the other big reason I think Zubat would make a great starter is because of how it evolves.

Yes, it evolves into Golbat at level 22.

But getting Golbat to become Crobat doesn’t require getting to a certain level. You have to max out Golbat’s friendship.

I love the idea of taking a Pokémon that a ton of people hate, and making it evolve through love – because that’s what Pokémon is all about:

Making friends and going on journeys.

And maybe catching ‘em all.


1. Kubfu

Kubfu from Pokemon Sword and Shield

One of my favorite parts of the Isle of Armor DLC was training Kubfu.

I not only got to watch it level up and become stronger, but I also got to go through the final trial that decided which form of Urshifu it would evolve into.

And that got me thinking:

How cool would it be if there was an entire game based around this?

Every trainer starts out with a Kubfu and every gym is a different dojo where it can evolve.

“But aren’t there only 2 Urshify forms?” Not in this new hypothetical version!

There are a total of 18 different types. Why can’t we see a bunch of them?

And which Urshifu form you get depends on the final gym you go to. How fun would that be?

There’s just so much starter potential with Kubfu in regards to story and gameplay.

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Jeremy Hanna

Jeremy Hanna is what happens when you put all of your points into constitution and charisma. An improviser and writer for The Completionist, Jeremy loves Pokémon, LEGO's, Wrestling, and Golden Girls. Follow him on Twitter and say hi! @JeremyHanna753