Pokémon Legends: Arceus is finally here! After the release of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl last year, we’ve all been patiently waiting to explore the mysteries of the Hisui region in this brand new Pokémon game for the Nintendo Switch. Of course, every Pokémon journey starts with a trusty partner: your starter Pokémon. But which one should you pick? We’ve got you covered with a complete guide on all three starter options. Let’s jump right in to get you started on your new Pokémon adventure!
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set in the Hisui region, an expansive land that will grow to be the Sinnoh region that you may know from Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl. The Hisui region contains tons of distinct environments that are inhabited by all kinds of Pokémon. Some Pokémon even appear in their Hisuian forms, which can only be found in this ancient region.
As a member of the Galaxy Expedition Team, you are tasked with surveying and capturing Pokémon to complete the land’s first-ever Pokédex. On your adventure, you’ll have to seek out different species of Pokémon, observe them to learn their behavior and then weaken them in battle to catch them. Catching Pokémon and completing research tasks will allow you to build up Pokédex entries for undiscovered Pokémon in Hisui.
The gameplay in Pokémon Legends: Arceus is quite different from what fans may be used to because of various open world elements. For example, this game focuses much more on exploration than classic Pokémon games, allowing you to find Pokémon during specific times of day and in unexpected locations such as in trees or rocks. On top of that, you can traverse the land, sea and sky like never before, riding on Pokémon such as Basculegion and Hisuian Braviary.
Battling is also much more seamless as you can initiate a battle by throwing a Poké Ball with one of your Pokémon at a wild Pokémon. The new battle system also lets you switch between “Agile Style” attacks and “Strong Style” attacks. Agile Style attacks are faster but less powerful while Strong Style attacks are slower but much stronger. Choose wisely!
Also keep an eye out for “Alphas” during your expedition. These Pokémon are larger and much stronger than regular Pokémon and will chase you down and even attack you. If you take too much damage you may be unable to continue with your survey work so don’t get reckless!
Another new gameplay feature includes the ability to craft new items with materials that you’ve gathered. Craft Heavy Balls to increase your catch rates or create your very own Smoke Bombs to sneak up on wild Pokémon. All in all, there’s tons of new content to look forward to in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, but before you can start exploring, you’ll have to pick a starter Pokémon.
Similar to previous Pókemon games, you will start out your adventure with a partner Pokémon. For the first time in the Pokémon franchise, the three starters are all from a different region, which means you’ll get to pick from both old and new favorites. Let’s go over all your options!
First up is Rowlett. This small avian Pokémon is from the Alola region, which was first introduced in Pokémon Sun and Moon. Rowlet is the only starter out of the three that sports a dual-typing: Grass and Flying. This means that Rowlet will be able to hit more Pokémon for super effective damage. On the other hand, Rowlet also has the most weaknesses out of all three starters due to its dual-typing: it’s two times weak to Fire, Flying, Poison and Rock and four times weak to Ice. Rowlet’s typing combination also only provides three resistances, which are Grass, Fighting and Water. Rowlet does however possess the highest base stats of all three starters, with a whopping 320 base stat total. Its stats are also spread fairly evenly, which makes it a good all-rounder early in your adventure. A major downside is that it’s also the slowest out of all three options.
In Legends: Arceus Rowlet will evolve into Hisuian Decidueye, which is a Grass/Fighting type. This is not an optimal typing combination because it is weak to good offensive types such as Fairy, Fire and Psychic, and also four times weak to Flying. Rowlet also loses its immunity to Ground when evolving into Hisuian Decidueye but this is evened out by simultaneously losing its weakness to Rock, which is now a resistance. Hisuian Decidueye is equipped with the highest Attack and Special Defense stat of the starter trio, but it lacks in Speed with a slow base Speed stat of 60. This means that Hisuian Decidueye can easily get countered by Flying types that can dish out four times super effective damage and will often outspeed it. The Speed stat is even more important in Legends: Arceus because speedy Pokémon can sometimes perform multiple moves in one turn.
Fans of traditional Pokémon games will no doubt recognize this iconic starter from Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal. As a Fire type, Cyndaquil is only weak to three types: Ground, Rock and Water. Unfortunately, these are not good types to be weak to because they are all quite strong offensively. On the flip side, Cyndaquil resists a total of six types, including strong types such as Fire, Fairy, and Steel. Cyndaquil also has the second highest base stat total of the three starters (309) and its stats are spread out a bit more unevenly, making Cyndaquil a very speedy attacker with weaker defenses.
Cyndaquil’s final evolution, Typhlosion, gains the Ghost typing in its Hisuian Form. The Fire/Ghost dual-typing is an excellent offensive typing that comes with an additional resistance to Poison and two immunities to Fighting and Normal, at the cost of just two extra weaknesses: Dark and Ghost. On top of that, Hisuian Typhlosion sports the highest base stat total out of all final Hisuian evolutions as well as the highest Speed and Special Attack stat, making it a very dangerous offensive threat that can often outspeed the opposing Pokémon. However, what Typhlosion makes up for in offensive capabilities, it lacks in defenses, which means that it will often be in trouble if it can’t outspeed or 1-hit-KO the opposing Pokémon.
Probably the cutest starter out of all three, but also perhaps the weakest in its first evolution stage. This Unova Pokémon was introduced in Pokémon Black and White, and is a pure Water type. On paper, this is a very good typing with only two, albeit common, weaknesses: Electric and Grass. Oshawott’s Water type also resists four types including common types such as Water and Fire. Unfortunately, Oshawott does not have the stats to back up this awesome typing. With a base stat total of 308, it has the lowest stats of all three starters. Most notably, Oshawott has the highest Special Attack stat of the starter trio but once again, it can’t back up this offense due to a low Speed stat and low defensive stats.
Oshawott does however have the benefit of being the only starter that can hit Kleavor for super effective damage. Kleavor is a Bug/Rock Pokémon and one of the Noble Pokémon you will encounter on your adventure. These Noble Pokémon are a special type of Pokémon that have received a blessing, making them extra strong, so you’ll definitely want to bring Pokémon that can dish out super effective damage during the encounter.
In Legends: Arceus, Oshawott will evolve into Hisuian Samurott. Like Hisuian Typhlosion, Hisuian Samurott gains an additional type, which is Dark. With its Water/Dark typing, Hisuian Samurott receives two additional resistances to Dark and Ghost, and an immunity to Psychic at the cost of three additional weaknesses to Bug, Fighting and Fairy. Unfortunately, Samurott has the lowest base stat total out of all final evolutions, only beating both Decidueye and Typhlosion in terms of HP. Even worse, Samurott is equipped with the lowest Special Defense stat out of all three evolutions. This is especially problematic because most Electric, Grass and Fairy types (Samurott’s primary weaknesses) are special attackers and will hit Samurott in that stat slot. Hisuian Samurott does however sport good attacking stats and it gets a slight boost to its previously mediocre speed stat, which will be very helpful in Legends: Arceus. All in all, Oshawott’s final evolution is a capable mixed attacker that is mostly held back by its poor defensive stats combined with its suboptimal typing.
Now that we’ve thoroughly looked at all three starters, it’s time to declare our winner. If you’re looking for the best starter in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, we recommend Cyndaquil. This fiery starter is the fastest and hardest hitting starter and truly excels in offense, whereas Rowlet is more of an all-rounder and Oshawott is held back by its mediocre speed.
On top of that Cyndaquil is the only starter that truly benefits from its dual-typing when fully evolved in Hisuian form. Hisuian Typhlosion gains two immunities and one additional resistance at the cost of two extra weaknesses. Meanwhile Hisuian Decidueye trades its four times weakness to Ice for an even worse four times weakness to Flying, and Hisuian Samurott gains an additional weakness to arguably one of the best types: Fairy. Hisuian Typhlosion also remains an incredible offensive threat thanks to its high Special Attack and Speed, while both Hisuian Decidueye and Hisuian Samurott are considerably slower mixed attackers. All things considered, we think you can’t go wrong with Cyndaquil and its final evolution during your new adventure in the Hisui region!
Have you decided on a starter? Then it’s time to head out into Hisui to complete your Pokédex! Pick up a copy of Pokémon Legends: Arceus today and experience this brand new open world Pokémon game for the Nintendo Switch. And remember: gotta catch ‘em all!