As the second-most popular of the three starter Pokemon in the original Red and Blue Game Boy games, Squirtle has become a fan favorite over the years. Despite how powerful it appears to be in the anime, though, his base stats aren’t all that impressive. Despite being a cute Pokemon with a fairly impressive move pool and OK defenses, to get the most out of your Squirtle, you’ll want to evolve him fairly quickly.
Unlike Bulbasaur and Charmander, Squirtle doesn’t really hold up in competitive low level formats. However, as I’ll discuss when I write about Wartortle, this is an important Pokemon as it evolves, as it can serve both a utility role and a sweeper role. Also, in the video games, Squirtle is a solid starter that’s a bit tougher to kill, although it fails miserably against electric and grass attacks.
Like with the other original Red and Blue starters, Squirtle learns all of the moves of its later evolutions at earlier levels, but with one exception. Blastoise can learn the Steel type move Flash Cannon, which is worth it. Unlike with the Bulbasaur line, Squirtle and company are mixed attackers, with nearly equal physical and special attack stats.
Generally, you might prefer to stay with investing in special attack, but Squirtle is very versatile and can go with physical, mixed, or special move sets, depending on how you’re setting up your team. Still, you want to evolve your Squirtle once it learns one of its most important moves in Shell Smash. If you want to go with Hydro Pump, though, be sure you level up into learning it. Notably, it’s a one use TR move to teach in Sword and Shield, although I always prefer the higher accuracy and more Power Points of Surf.
While I prefer Squirtle to Wartortle from a looks perspective, it’s not really a good Pokemon in the long term in the way that Bulbasaur and Charmander can be. Even in the Trading Card Game, Squirtle rarely does much of anything, although the Squirtle from the Black and White Boundaries Crossed set has a good ability. Shell Shield prevents any damage dealt to that Squirtle while it’s on your bench, allowing you to easily evolve it in your back row. Ex Crystal Guardians has a Solid Shell ability that reduces damage from attacks. Basically, Squirtle is at its best hiding away in its shell.
What are your thoughts on Squirtle as an unevolved Pokemon? I’ll be doing write ups on Wartortle and Blastoise, too, so be sure to check those out in the near future.
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