Pokemon Sun & Moon starters guide: starter stats, moves & more – how to pick the best starter

By Alex Donaldson, Tuesday, 22 November 2016 08:05 GMT

Struggling to pick a starter Pokemon? Allow us to assist with all the stats, strategy and info you could ever want.

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So… the time has come. You’re standing in front of the Melemele Island Kahuna and you’re faced with a difficult choice. No, a nearly impossible choice: Which Pokemon do you choose?

Will it be fire-type Litten, water-type Popplio, or grass-type Rowlet? This decision is never easy… but we’re here to help. So! Let’s begin.

Popplio, Rowlet or Litten – which is the best Pokemon Sun & Moon Starter?

To answer this question the best thing we can do is break down each of the three starters and their evolutions in detail – that’s going to take a little bit of time, but the more detail the better to make your decision.

What about the top-level verdict on each? Let’s break things down nice and simply about the three starters:

    Water-type starter Popplio focuses on the special attacks and once evolved into Primarina.

  • Primarina can use the all-new Sparkling Aria move. This move will heal burns but also does huge damage when it hits a user with a burn, meaning there’s some interesting utility for doubles matches when paired with a Pokemon that can burn opponents. It’s also generally pretty strong.
  • The new Liquid Voice ability is a smart one, turning sound-based moves like Disarming Voice into water-type moves. A number of the Popplio line’s moves are sound-based, and this ability might be what makes this line sing (both literally and figuratively in this case).
  • Primarina boasts the highest Special Attack and Defence out of the starters by a long way, but has a mediocre speed stat.

    Grass and flying-type starter Rowlet eventually evolves into Decidueye, who is the definition of an all-rounder stats-wise.

  • Generally Decidueye is focused on physical attacks, and this is backed up by its Long Reach ability. This ability means that no matter what anti-physical attack protections the enemy has, you’ll never be hit by nasty consequences such as static or poison. All attacks are counted as non-contact attacks.
  • Decidueye has some nice new moves for its two types – on th grass side there’s Leafage, a move that always hits with a physical grass attack, while Spirit Shackle is a physical ghost attack that prevents targets from fleeing battle.

    Fire-type Litten eventually gains a Dark-type classification when it evolves into the buff-looking Incineroar.

  • Incineroar is all about hitting hard with painful physical attacks thanks to the strong base attack value of 115 (the most of any starter in Pokemon Sun & Moon), but it also boasts a decent special attack stat. Like Primarina it suffers from a mediocre speed.
  • On evolving to Incineroar, this Pokemon gains access to some fighting and dark-type moves, as its wrestler-like image suggests. While Litten’s earlier forms might tempt you to go for a fire-driven approach to its move-set, you’re better off on focusing on Dark-type moves.
  • Some of the best of these are new: Darkest Lariat hits hard and ignores enemy Pokemon stat changes, while Throat Chop is perfect for shutting down the likes of Popplio, hitting hard but also preventing the use of sound-based move. Incineroar can also learn new TM Brutal Swing, which hits everything around it friend or foe.

Pokemon Sun & Moon Starter – Base Stats for Litten, Popplio, Rowlet and their evolutions

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pkmn_popplio

Popplio – Base Stats & Move Set

  • Water-type
  • Ability: Torrent (Powers up water-type moves when HP is low), Liquid Voice (Turns all sound-based moves into water-type moves)
  • HP: 50
  • Attack: 54
  • Defense: 54
  • Special Attack: 66
  • Special Defense: 56
  • Speed: 40
  • Base Stats Ranking: 320

Popplio – Move List

    From Level Up:

  • Level 1: Pound, Water Gun
  • Level 4: Growl
  • Level 8: Disarming Voice
  • Level 11: Baby-Doll Eyes
  • Level 15: Aqua Jet
  • Level 18: Encore
  • Level 22: Bubble Beam
  • Level 25: Sing
  • Level 29: Double Slap
  • Level 32: Hyper Voice
  • Level 36: Moonblast
  • Level 39: Captivate
  • Level 43: Hydro Pump
  • Level 46: Misty Terrain
    Additional moves:

  • Via TMs: Blizzard, Ice Beam, Rain Dance, Work Up, Toxic, Hail, Hidden Power, Protect, Frustration, Return, Double Team, Facade, Rest, Attract, Round, Echoed Voice, Scald, Acrobatics, Swagger, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Surf, Waterfall, Confide
  • Via Egg: Charm, Amnesia, Aqua Ring, Aromatic Mist, Perish Song, Wonder Room
  • Move Tutor: Hydro Cannon
pkmn_brionne

Brionne (Popplio Evolution Stage 2 @ Level 17) – Base Stats & Move Set

  • Water-type
  • Ability: Torrent (Powers up water-type moves when HP is low), Liquid Voice (Turns all sound-based moves into water-type moves)
  • HP: 60
  • Attack: 69
  • Defense: 69
  • Special Attack: 91
  • Special Defense: 81
  • Speed: 50
  • Base Stats Ranking: 420

Brionne – Move List

    From Level Up:

  • Level 1: Pound, Water Gun
  • Level 4: Growl
  • Level 8: Disarming Voice
  • Level 11: Baby-Doll Eyes
  • Level 15: Aqua Jet
  • Level 19: Encore
  • Level 24: Bubble Beam
  • Level 28: Sing
  • Level 33: Double Slap
  • Level 37: Hyper Voice
  • Level 42: Moonblast
  • Level 46: Captivate
  • Level 51: Hydro Pump
  • Level 55: Misty Terrain
    Additional moves:

  • Via TMs: Blizzard, Ice Beam, Rain Dance, Work Up, Toxic, Hail, Hidden Power, Protect, Frustration, Return, Double Team, Facade, Rest, Attract, Round, Echoed Voice, Scald, Acrobatics, Swagger, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Surf, Waterfall, Confide
  • Via Egg: Charm, Amnesia, Aqua Ring, Aromatic Mist, Perish Song, Wonder Room
  • Move Tutor: Hydro Cannon
pkmn_primarina

Primarina (Popplio Evolution Stage 3 @ Level 34) – Base Stats & Move Set

  • Water-type / Fairy-type
  • Ability: Torrent (Powers up water-type moves when HP is low), Liquid Voice (Turns all sound-based moves into water-type moves)
  • HP: 80
  • Attack: 74
  • Defense: 74
  • Special Attack: 126
  • Special Defense: 116
  • Speed: 60
  • Base Stats Ranking: 530

Primarina – Move List

    From Level Up:

  • Level 1: Pound, Water Gun, Sparkling Aria
  • Level 4: Growl
  • Level 9: Disarming Voice
  • Level 11: Baby-Doll Eyes
  • Level 15: Aqua Jet
  • Level 19: Encore
  • Level 24: Bubble Beam
  • Level 28: Sing
  • Level 33: Double Slap
  • Level 38: Hyper Voice
  • Level 44: Moonblast
  • Level 49: Captivate
  • Level 55: Hydro Pump
  • Level 60: Misty Terrain
    Additional moves:

  • Via TMs: Blizzard, Ice Beam, Psychic, Shadow Ball, Energy Ball, Giga Impact, Psych Up, Dazzling Gleam, Rain Dance, Work Up, Toxic, Hail, Hidden Power, Protect, Light Screen, Frustration, Return, Double Team, Facade, Rest, Attract, Round, Echoed Voice, Scald, Acrobatics, Swagger, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Surf, Waterfall, Confide
  • Via Egg: Charm, Amnesia, Aqua Ring, Aromatic Mist, Perish Song, Wonder Room
  • Move Tutor: Hydro Cannon, Water Pledge

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pkmn_rowlet

Rowlet – Base Stats & Move Set

  • Grass-type / Flying-type
  • Ability: Overgrow (Powers up grass-type moves when HP is low), Long Reach (Moves used by this Pokemon never make physical contact with the target)
  • HP: 68
  • Attack: 55
  • Defense: 55
  • Special Attack: 50
  • Special Defense: 50
  • Speed: 42
  • Base Stats Ranking: 320

Rowlet – Move List

    From Level Up:

  • Level 1: Tackle, Leafage
  • Level 4: Growl
  • Level 8: Peck
  • Level 11: Astonish
  • Level 15: Razor Leaf
  • Level 18: Foresight
  • Level 22: Pluck
  • Level 25: Synthesis
  • Level 29: Fury Attack
  • Level 32: Sucker Punch
  • Level 36: Leaf Blade
  • Level 39: Feather Dance
  • Level 43: Brave Bird
  • Level 46: Nasty Plot
    Additional moves:

  • Via TMs: Roost, Steel Wing, False Swipe, Shadow Claw, Grass Knot, Solar Beam, Work Up, Toxic, Hidden Power, Sunny Day, Light Screen, Protect, Safeguard, Frustration, Return, Double Team, Facade, Rest, Attract, Round, Echoes Voice, Energy Ball, Swords Dance, Sleep Talk, Nature Power, Substitute, Confide
  • Via Egg: Baton Pass, Curse, Confuse Ray, Defog, Haze, Ominous Wind
  • Move Tutor: Frenzy Plant
pkmn_dartrix

Dartrix (Rowlet Evolution Stage 2 @ Level 17) – Base Stats & Move Set

  • Grass-type / Flying-type
  • Ability: Overgrow (Powers up grass-type moves when HP is low), Long Reach (Moves used by this Pokemon never make physical contact with the target)
  • HP: 78
  • Attack: 75
  • Defense: 75
  • Special Attack: 70
  • Special Defense: 70
  • Speed: 52
  • Base Stats Ranking: 420

Dartrix (Rowlet Evolution Stage 2) – Move List

    From Level Up:

  • Level 1: Tackle, Leafage
  • Level 4: Growl
  • Level 8: Peck
  • Level 11: Astonish
  • Level 15: Razor Leaf
  • Level 19: Foresight
  • Level 24: Pluck
  • Level 28: Synthesis
  • Level 33: Fury Attack
  • Level 37: Sucker Punch
  • Level 42: Leaf Blade
  • Level 46: Feather Dance
  • Level 51: Brave Bird
  • Level 55: Nasty Plot
    Additional moves:

  • Via TMs: Roost, Steel Wing, False Swipe, Shadow Claw, Grass Knot, Solar Beam, Work Up, Toxic, Hidden Power, Sunny Day, Light Screen, Protect, Safeguard, Frustration, Return, Double Team, Facade, Rest, Attract, Round, Echoes Voice, Energy Ball, Swords Dance, Sleep Talk, Nature Power, Substitute, Confide
  • Via Egg: Baton Pass, Curse, Confuse Ray, Defog, Haze, Ominous Wind
  • Move Tutor: Frenzy Plant
pkmn_decidueye

Decidueye (Rowlet Evolution Stage 3 @ Level 34) – Base Stats & Move Set

  • Grass-type / Ghost-type
  • Ability: Overgrow (Powers up grass-type moves when HP is low), Long Reach (Moves used by this Pokemon never make physical contact with the target)
  • HP: 78
  • Attack: 107
  • Defense: 75
  • Special Attack: 100
  • Special Defense: 100
  • Speed: 70
  • Base Stats Ranking: 530

Decidueye (Rowlet Evolution Stage 3) – Move List

    From Level Up:

  • Level 1: Spirit Shackle, U-Turn, Tackle, Leafage
  • Level 4: Growl
  • Level 8: Peck
  • Level 11: Astonish
  • Level 15: Razor Leaf
  • Level 19: Foresight
  • Level 24: Pluck
  • Level 28: Synthesis
  • Level 33: Fury Attack
  • Level 38: Sucker Punch
  • Level 44: Leaf Blade
  • Level 49: Feather Dance
  • Level 55: Brave Bird
  • Level 60: Nasty Plot
    Additional moves:

  • Via TMs: Smack Down, Giga Impact, Low Sweep, Roost, Steel Wing, False Swipe, Shadow Claw, Grass Knot, Solar Beam, Work Up, Toxic, Hidden Power, Sunny Day, Light Screen, Protect, Safeguard, Frustration, Return, Double Team, Facade, Rest, Attract, Round, Echoes Voice, Energy Ball, Swords Dance, Sleep Talk, Nature Power, Substitute, Confide
  • Via Egg: Baton Pass, Curse, Confuse Ray, Defog, Haze, Ominous Wind
  • Move Tutor: Frenzy Plant, Grass Pledge

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pkmn_litten

Litten – Base Stats & Move Set

  • Fire-type
  • Ability: Blaze (Powers up fire-type moves when HP is low), Intimidate (Intimidates opposing Pokemon in battle, lowering their attack)
  • HP: 45
  • Attack: 65
  • Defense: 40
  • Special Attack: 60
  • Special Defense: 40
  • Speed: 70
  • Base Stats Ranking: 320

Litten – Move List

    From Level Up:

  • Level 1: Scratch, Ember
  • Level 4: Growl
  • Level 8: Lick
  • Level 11: Leer
  • Level 15: Fire Fang
  • Level 18: Roar
  • Level 22: Bite
  • Level 25: Swagger
  • Level 29: Fury Swipes
  • Level 32: Thrash
  • Level 36: Flamethrower
  • Level 39: Scary Face
  • Level 43: Flare Blitz
  • Level 46: Outrage
    Additional moves:

  • Via TMs: Flamethrower, Fire Blast, Flame Charge, Overheat, Shadow Claw, Sunny Day, Leech Life, Work Up, Roar, Toxic, Bulk Up, Hidden Power, Taunt, Protect, Frustration, Return, Double Team, Torment, Facade, Confide, Substitute, U-Turn, Rest, Attract, Round, Will-O-Wisp, Acrobatics, Swords Dance, Swagger, Sleep Talk
  • Via Egg: Body Slam, Crunch, Fake Out, Heat Wave, Nasty Plot, Revenge
  • Move Tutor: Blast Burn
pkmn_torracat

Torracat (Litten Evolution Stage 2 @ Level 17) – Base Stats & Move Set

  • Fire-type
  • Ability: Blaze (Powers up fire-type moves when HP is low), Intimidate (Intimidates opposing Pokemon in battle, lowering their attack)
  • HP: 65
  • Attack: 85
  • Defense: 50
  • Special Attack: 80
  • Special Defense: 50
  • Speed: 90
  • Base Stats Ranking: 420

Torracat (Litten Evolution Stage 2) – Move List

    From Level Up:

  • Level 1: Scratch, Ember
  • Level 4: Growl
  • Level 8: Lick
  • Level 11: Leer
  • Level 15: Fire Fang
  • Level 19: Roar
  • Level 24: Bite
  • Level 28: Swagger
  • Level 33: Fury Swipes
  • Level 37: Thrash
  • Level 42: Flamethrower
  • Level 46: Scary Face
  • Level 51: Flare Blitz
  • Level 55: Outrage
    Additional moves:

  • Via TMs: Flamethrower, Fire Blast, Flame Charge, Overheat, Shadow Claw, Sunny Day, Leech Life, Work Up, Roar, Toxic, Bulk Up, Hidden Power, Taunt, Protect, Frustration, Return, Double Team, Torment, Facade, Confide, Substitute, U-Turn, Rest, Attract, Round, Will-O-Wisp, Acrobatics, Swords Dance, Swagger, Sleep Talk
  • Via Egg: Body Slam, Crunch, Fake Out, Heat Wave, Nasty Plot, Revenge
  • Move Tutor: Blast Burn
pkmn_incineroar

Incineroar (Litten Evolution Stage 3 @ Level 34) – Base Stats & Move Set

  • Fire-type / Dark-type
  • Ability: Blaze (Powers up fire-type moves when HP is low), Intimidate (Intimidates opposing Pokemon in battle, lowering their attack)
  • HP: 95
  • Attack: 115
  • Defense: 90
  • Special Attack: 80
  • Special Defense: 90
  • Speed: 90
  • Base Stats Ranking: 530

Incineroar (Litten Evolution Stage 3) – Move List

    From Level Up:

  • Level 1: Darkest Lariat, Bulk Up, Throat Chop, Scratch, Ember
  • Level 4: Growl
  • Level 8: Lick
  • Level 11: Leer
  • Level 15: Fire Fang
  • Level 19: Roar
  • Level 24: Bite
  • Level 28: Swagger
  • Level 33: Fury Swipes
  • Level 38: Thrash
  • Level 44: Flamethrower
  • Level 49: Scary Face
  • Level 55: Flare Blitz
  • Level 60: Outrage
  • Level 66: Cross Chop
    Additional moves:

  • Via TMs: Flamethrower, Fire Blast, Flame Charge, Brutal Swing, Quash, Focus Blast, Fling, Hyper Beam, Embargo, Bulldoze, Dark Pulse, Snarl, Overheat, Shadow Claw, Sunny Day, Leech Life, Work Up, Roar, Toxic, Bulk Up, Hidden Power, Taunt, Protect, Frustration, Return, Double Team, Torment, Facade, Confide, Substitute, U-Turn, Rest, Attract, Round, Will-O-Wisp, Acrobatics, Swords Dance, Swagger, Sleep Talk
  • Via Egg: Body Slam, Crunch, Fake Out, Heat Wave, Nasty Plot, Revenge
  • Move Tutor: Blast Burn, Fire Pledge

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