Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are set to kick off Generation 9 of Pokemon, and with these games come our ninth trio of starter Pokemon. As always, they are Grass, Water, and Fire type. Our choices this time around in the Paldea region are the Grass-type Sprigatito, the Water-type Quaxly, and the Fire-type Fuecoco. Over time, this article will be updated with more concrete information about which of the three starters is the best for grinding the main adventure and which one is the best competitive option. For now, I’d like to just give my thoughts about the general designs, and how they relate with the new region based on Spain.
Sprigatito is probably my favorite design of the three starters. A grass cat is definitely a fresh concept in the Pokemon universe. Also, if the final form turns out to be a Grass/Fairy type like the rumored Florarince, it will likely be my choice for my first Violet starter. Granted, these final form Scarlet and Violet starter rumors are likely fake. Still, as we saw with Pokemon Legends Arceus fake leaks, sometimes they end up being right on the money with their predictions.
We do know that Sprigatito has the Overgrow ability, common among Grass-type starters. This ability powers up Grass-type moves by 50 percent when the user is at or below one-third of its HP. The grass kitten’s personality is noted as being “capricious” and “attention-seeking.” Sounds like your typical kitten to me.
Quaxly is a duck, and the punny name is a bit of a put-off for anyone older than twelve. However, Quaxly and its evolutions may prove a great improvement over the designs of the last attempt at a duck-like Pokemon in Ducklett. The rumored final evolution being a Water Dark type with a design inspired by Don Quixote may make it my favorite final evolution design. Of course, it’s probably nonsense.
Naturally, as a Water-type starter, Quaxly will start out with the Torrent ability, powering up its Water-type moves in a pinch by 50 percent. Game Freak notes that Quaxly’s personality is “earnest and tidy.” I do greatly prefer the design of this mon over Ducklett, for sure, and while it’s probably never going to be the icon that first-generation Psyduck is, I can see the popularity for this little blue duck growing quickly on a lot of people, myself included.
Fuecoco is actually my least favorite design of the three, despite my preference for the fire type starters in most Pokemon generations. Also, if the rumors are true, and its final evolution is a fire ghost type, I’ll just stick with Hisuian Typhlosion. However, its final form being rumored to be a combined with a quetzacoatl is going to be cool to look at for the very least.
One thing I do like about Fuecoco is the concept of its design, even if I think it looks extremely dorky. It’s actually shaped like a pepper, and the little Fire Crocodile is said to be “laid back.” At the very least, it’s a chill little dude (or dudette) and I respect that.
Honestly, the designs of all three starters are cute in their own ways. They may prove much more popular than those from some recent generations. Polygon went as far to call them “all perfect” in their reveal of the three starters. While I’m actually a huge fan of Scorbunny and Cinderace – Raboot not so much – I get why people outside of competitive play aren’t all that fond of Grookey and Sobble as they evolve. I think Inteleon is vastly underappreciated, except in the Trading Card Game where it can be nuts. Rillaboom is solid in competitive play, but you don’t see people rushing out to buy Rillaboom plush toys. I think from a marketing perspective, these starters are going to be a smash hit.
As far as gameplay is concerned, inevitably what will make one starter line significantly superior to the others is how the Terastilization gimmick plays out. The early leaks talked about Pokemon being able to gain a third type during battle or swapping types during battle. We’ve seen with Mega Evolution in Generation 6 and Generation 7 how type swapping can be extremely important, and adding a third type to the mix by some exclusive Gen 9 mechanic could really change up how certain Pokemon play. Indeed, we know the starter Pokemon will be greatly enhanced by whatever the gimmick is. It will be fascinating to see how things play out.
When more information is released about the particulars of stats, moves, and other abilities, I’ll be back to update this article. If I had to choose my favorite of the three starters without the context of stats, moves, and abilities, it probably would be Sprigatito. But, until we know the details of the gym challenge and what types tend to be prevalent during the main game adventure, we won’t know which is the best for sure. Stay tuned.
Photo credits: The Pokemon Company
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