For more than a decade now, trainers across the globe have explored various regions, thwarted villainous organizations, and befriended a multitude of different creatures – Pokemon. It is through the bond trainers share with Pokemon that make such extraordinary adventures possible. In 2011, there are nearly 650 different species, and with each trainer carrying six at a time, the differences between even two could be as apparent as night and day. Despite the major differences, there will always be a point where all trainers stand on even ground. It’s a question that’s presented with the dawn of each generation: “Who will your starter Pokemon be?” The question doesn’t have a right or wrong answer, each starter is strong against one, weak against the other, and so all trainers are placed on level footing, with a decision that may be the root of their differences from then on.
Currently, Pokemon is enjoying its 5th generation, and as such, there are new starters to look over; Snivy, Tepig and Oshawott. Below will be a quick overview of each, noting their weak points, their strong points and what to expect out of each, starting with the Snivy line. Snivy is the grass typed starter this time around; it evolves into Servine at Lv. 17 then again to Serperior at Lv. 36. All of which share a very high speed stat and also a good defensive spread. Though, it can be lacking in terms of offense, but it can more than makes up for that with its stat boosting moves like Growth and Coil. It also sports supportive moves like Leech Seed and Reflect. Those who start with Snivy may feel that they are fighting an uphill battle with the entire game taking note that grass is weak to Bug, Fire, Flying and Ice types, all of which seem very common and give Snivy a hard time, but not all is grim for the grass snake, for those types mentioned are all weak to Rock typed attacks which can be dished out by a rock type like Roggenrola.
There are also times when it feels like Snivy is just another generic grass type, but it does stand out being one of the fastest grass types period, being able to set a leech seed, reflect or light screen first could be the support your team needs to see victory. All and all Snivy is a very versatile and supportive Pokemon and should not be taken lightly.
Next up is the Tepig line who stars as the 5th generation’s fire starter. At Lv. 17 it will evolve into Pignite and again at Lv. 36 into Emboar, the latter two gaining the Fighting type as a secondary type. The Tepig line has low speed and defenses, but its high HP and ridiculously high attacking stats do well to balance it out. The low speed is forgettable when your Tepig is using Flame Charge, a move that will aid it in being able to hit super hard, super fast, leaving your opponent scrambling for something to stand up to it.
For veterans, one major gripe about Tepig is that its fully evolved forms are Fire/Fighting, a type we’ve seen in each Fire starter since Generation 3, so Tepig may feel bland to use this time around. Aesthetics aside, without Flame Charge, or when facing a faster opponent with a super effective move ready for you, Tepig may faint faster than anticipated. But to alleviate some of these problems would be to get a good partner Pokemon for it early on, a grass type like Sewaddle would make a great partner for Tepig, just watch out for when it evolves because then you’ll have double the trouble against flying types! To sum things up for Tepig, it can be a fearsome attacker, it’s even more scary when it moves first after a Flame Charge, and despite the aesthetic gripes, Tepig is one of the few very good fire types available before post game and should have no trouble finding a spot on your team.
Last on this list is the 5th gen’s water starter, Oshawott. At Lv. 17 it will evolve into Dewott, and again at Lv. 36 into Samurott, all of which are water types. Oshawott and its evolutions are all balanced as far as stats go with its offenses being dominant. You could consider Oshawott as the midpoint between Snivy and Tepig. Being balanced like this allows it to be versatile with its attacks; it can use both physical and special attacks very well. Aqua Jet is a great move to use in case you need to move first to knock out an opponent you didn’t quite get last turn, and if you have a heart scale, Samurott will be able to learn Megahorn through a move tutor so that it will be able to deal massive damage to opposing Grass types (bonus coverage on Dark and Psychic types too!)
A great partner Pokemon for Oshawott might be Darumaka, or Sandile, both found on route 4, although if you decide to go with the latter, beware of grass types. At first, Oshawott may seem like it has everything going on for it, balanced stats, good selection of moves… but it isn’t always the case. The phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” plagues the otter. It lacks the great speed, defenses and supportive capabilities of Snivy, and lacks the raw power that Tepig has. But this doesn’t stop it from being useful at all. Actually, it’s because of this versatility that Oshawott can fill any offensive role needed for the team to succeed, and that by itself is very valuable.
With the 5th generation of Pokemon at large, there are new adventures to be had, but as with any big trip the key is to plan ahead. With the information above in mind, there is only one question to ask before you take on your journey, and that question is… “Who will your starter be?”