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Pokemon Legends: Arceus Best Starter Pokemon – Which starter should you choose?

Cyndaquil, Rowlet or Oshawott - which starter Pokemon is best in Pokemon Legends Arceus?

One thing that hasn’t changed in Pokemon Legends: Arceus is the concept of a starter Pokemon; your very first buddy Pokemon, gifted to you by a Pokemon professor, as is tradition. For most people, their choice of starter Pokemon becomes their main friend throughout their Pokemon adventure - and so choosing the right starter is important.

Legends is different in one key way when it comes to starters, however: all three starters are Pokemon that we’ve seen before. In fact, the three starters are repeats from other games in the series. That means we know a little more about them than we usually do going into a new Pokemon game - but their move lists have still been tweaked for this adventure in the ancient land of Hisui, and each has a new Hisui-exclusive evolution.

So, which should you choose? Well, the best starter in Pokemon Legends Arceus is Cyndaquil... to me. To you it could be Rowlet, or Oshawott - because the answer is complicated. In truth, the starter Pokemon are quite well-balanced. On this page we'll run down information about all three starters and their evolutions, including new Hisuian final forms, to help you make an informed decision.

Meeting the Starter Pokemon in Legends: Arceus

The way in which you meet the starter Pokemon is a little non-traditional, as they’ll actually be the first living things you see in the opening of the game as you enjoy your first few moments in the Hisui region. You’ll be introduced to Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott as well as Professor Laventon - and pretty quickly be given a tutorial on how to catch Pokemon.

One thing to stress here is that during this tutorial it doesn’t matter the order in which you choose to catch the starter Pokemon. You have to catch all three for Laventon in order to proceed, and no matter which you catch first, you’ll still have a full choice of which of the three you’d like to form the first anchor of your Pokemon team a little later on in the story.

After catching all three, continue the story. Eventually, you’ll be offered the chance to take one of the three as your Buddy Pokemon. So, who should you choose? Rowlet, Cyndaquil, or Oshawott?

Rowlet, Cyndaquil, or Oshawott - who is the best Starter Pokemon in Pokemon Legends: Arceus?

So, which starter Pokemon is the best? Well, this is a loaded question. The best way to think about this, in fact, is probably to ask a slightly different question, and that is… Which starter Pokemon is best for you? In Pokemon Legends: Arceus, practically every Pokemon is battle-viable in some way or another. Instead, the question is really about how you feel about their designs and types - and your other plans for the team. If, for instance, you particularly love another Pokemon of a certain type - say you’re a fan of Eevee evolution Vaporeon and have to have one of those in your team - you won’t need a water-type starter, obviously. But also, if your starter Pokemon is going to sit in your team for the entire game, which is often the case, you want something that you feel a kinship with and don’t mind looking at for 30 hours. With that being said, there are some facts about each starter it’s good to know before choosing. Let’s run down it:

Rowlet, the grass-type starter

The youngest of the trio of starters in this game, Rowlet was first introduced in 2016’s Pokemon Sun & Moon. Rowlet is unique in Pokemon Legends: Arceus as it is the only one of the three starter Pokemon to initially have a dual-type - it’s a Grass and Flying-type, and gets a different dual typing when it evolves.

Rowlet will be able to evolve into Dartrix at level 17, and Dartrix can then evolve into a unique Hisuian form of Decidueye at level 34. This is the Rowlet line’s ultimate form in this game.

Whereas the regular Decidueye is a Grass and Ghost dual-type Pokemon, the Hisuian form is instead a Grass and Fighting dual type. In battle, this typing means in real terms that it’ll be vulnerable to Fire, Ice, Poison, Flying, Psychic, and Fairy-type moves, but be resistant to Water, Grass, Electric, Rock, Ground, and Dark-type moves. Offensively, Decidueye gets access to a range of grass and flying-type moves, but can also learn some fighting-type heavy-hitters at the training grounds.

In stat terms, Rowlet starts out quite balanced, but by the time you reach Decidueye it’ll be built like a bit of a glass cannon, with high attack stats but relatively low HP and defense. Arguably the best Nature for it, leaning into that status, is Brave - which boosts attack but lowers speed.

Cyndaquil, the fire-type starter

Cyndaquil has been around the longest out of the three of these starters, dating all the way back to 1999’s Pokemon Gold and Silver - generation 2. It evolves into Quilava at level 14, and then Typhlosion at level 36.

In its original form, the Cyndaquil line is pure fire-Pokemon through-and-through - but in Hisui, the final evolution gets a twist. Hisuian Typhlosion is a Fire type still, but also has the joint-typing of Ghost - which is an interesting and relatively unique combination.

This evolutionary line is built around Special Attack. While it does have access to good physical attack moves, it has the highest Special Attack stat of all the starters, and is really built to hit hard and fast with special attacks. The Mild nature helps it to lean into this advantage, but at the cost of Defense.

The typing means that Hisuian Typhlosion has to watch out for Water, Ground, Rock, Ghost, and Dark-type moves. The weakness to Ghost in particular can make it challenging when facing off against many of the Legendary Pokemon in this game, who often have Ghost-type moves. However, it’ll also do well against Normal, Fire, Grass, Ice, Bug, Fighting, Poison, and Steel type moves - which is a good number of type resistances.

Oshawott, the water-type starter

Oshawott and its evolutionary line made their debut in 2010’s Pokemon Black & White, putting it right in the middle of the other two. It evolves into Dewott at level 17, and then its new exclusive Hisuian form of Samurott, its ultimate form, at level 36.

Hisuian Samurott gets a dual-typing, unlike the original version. As well as being a water-type Pokemon, it’s also a Dark-type, and it picks up a few new dark-type moves as a result, including both a physical and special-type dark move learned from leveling up.

The stats show why you’re given options of special or physical abilities for its Dark and Water-type moves - this is a balanced Pokemon. Once fully evolved to Hisuian Samurott, you’ll find the default stats put Attack and Special Attack on an almost level pegging. In fact, I’d call it the most balanced all-around of the three starters once it reaches its final form.

The type weaknesses feel quite balanced, too. Hisuian Samurott will need to be wary of Grass, Electric, Fighting, Bug, and Fairy-type attacks, but it can stand firm against Fire, Water, Psychic, Dark, Ghost, and Steel-type attacks. That’s a pretty fair and balanced outlay - and notably, it does quite well against a few of the legendary Pokemon you’ll battle in Legends: Arceus’ late game.

If you're after more Pokemon Legends: Arceus guides, such as how to learn moves, how to changes moves, how to unlock more Base Camps, how to evolve your Pokemon, how to upgrade your Satchel space or which types are super-effective against which other types, click on the links to learn everything you need to know.

About the Author

Alex Donaldson avatar

Alex Donaldson

Assistant Editor

Alex started out his career in the games media as an over-eager kid working on fan sites, and now has decades of experience. He's the resident expert on esoteric matters such as Pokemon Go, gaming hardware, and genres like RPGs, fighters, and strategy games. Outside of VG247 he's the co-founder of genre-dedicated website RPG Site. He also collects original arcade machines, Lego, and considers himself a whiskey buff.

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