Pokémon Legends Arceus: Every Starter Pokémon Ranked Worst to Best

All of Pokémon Legends: Arceus' starters have something unique to offer, but is Cyndaquil, Oshawott, or Rowlet the absolute best?

Pokemon Legends
Photo: Nintendo

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is finally here, which means that now is the time to start worrying about which of the game’s three starting Pokémon is best for you: Cyndaquil, Oshawott, or Rowlet.

Once again, it’s worth pointing out that “best for you” really is the key thing to keep in mind. We’re going to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each starter, but unless you’re really looking to optimize your playtime, you’re probably going to get the most out of the game if you follow your heart and pick the Pokémon that you love the most.

With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s look at who the real best starter Pokémon in Arceus is.

Pokémon Legends Arceus: Why Cyndaquil is the Best Starter Pokémon

Introduced in Gen 2, Cyndaquil is a fire-type Pokémon who is eventually able to utilize Ghost-type abilities once it evolves into Hisuian Typhlosion.

Ad – content continues below

Aside from looking incredibly cool (fire-type Pokémon almost always have an advantage in that area), Cyndaquil is able to evolve into its second form faster than the other starters, which is certainly nice once you start to hit those mid-game difficulty spikes. Its final form also benefits from a bigger stat pool than the final forms of the other starter Pokémon, so it definitely scales well into the late game.

It’s also worth noting that while wild fire-type Pokémon are a little more common in Arceus than they are in other Pokémon games, you could certainly still justify picking Cyndaquil for the simple fact that he’s going to be your best fire-type option for quite some time.

Pokémon Legends Arceus: Why Oshawott is the Best Starter Pokémon

Introduced in Pokémon Black and White, Oshawott is a water-type Pokémon who acquires dark-type abilities once it has evolved into its final form, Hisuian Samurott.

Like some other water-type Pokémon, Oshawott is a generally solid pick who performs especially well in the early game due to an early influx of rock-type Pokémon enemies. While it’s true that Oshawott’s evolutions are slightly “weaker” than its competition from a stats standpoint, its powerful water/dark skillset and various buff and debuff abilities often make it more powerful than it looks on paper. For what’s it worth, Oshawott’s two evolution forms are also some of the coolest in the game.

It’s not incredibly difficult to find water-type Pokémon throughout Arceus, but Oshawott is still your best bet for that particular type when they’re especially valuable in the early game.

Pokémon Legends Arceus: Why Rowlet is the Best Starter Pokémon

Pokémon Sun and Moon’s Rowlet may be cute, but the fact that they’re the only starter Pokémon who starts with two ability types (grass/flying which eventually changes grass/fighting when Rowlet evolves) means that they also pack quite the punch.

Ad – content continues below

Rowlet’s unique dual-type set-up and strong base stats mean that they are capable of dealing with a variety of early threats and will almost always have a role in your party even into the late game. They also reach their final form faster than every other starter, which is incredibly useful when you consider that their final form is surprisingly powerful compared to the other starters.

While you certainly won’t have any trouble finding other grass-type Pokémon in Arceus‘ early game, it’s not like you can really “replace” Rowlet quite so soon.

Rowlet vs. Oshawott vs. Cyndaquil: Who is the Best Starter Pokémon in Pokémon Legends: Arceus?

While Pokémon games often hide “difficulty levels” behind your starting Pokémon choice (meaning the game may be easier or harder depending on which one you pick), that’s not necessarily the case with Arceus. We’ll talk about some of the advantages and disadvantages that come with picking certain Pokémon here in a bit, but you probably won’t find yourself wishing that you had picked some other Pokémon because you’ve hit a wall that you just can’t pass with your pick. That being the case, it’s perfectly reasonable to pick a starter Pokémon for whatever reason you want (even if that reason is “they look really cool”).

Having said that, your starter Pokémon will affect Arceus‘ early game in some notable ways.

While Arceus doesn’t have gym leaders, you will encounter some boss-like Noble Pokémon with types of their own. Technically, Oshawott has a type advantage over more of the early Noble Pokémon, while Cyndaquil offers fewer such advantages and Rowlet offers none. Again, though, you’re going to have a full roster of Pokémon to work with before long, and it’s not like there are any early game challenges that are so overwhelmingly difficult that you’re going to make things significantly harder on yourself just because you chose one Pokémon over the other. There’s also no rival trainer to worry about this time around.

If you’re looking to breeze through the early game, I’d say that Oshawott is probably the starter Pokémon for you. Their base stats are weaker, but they offer a distinct type advantage over numerous early game threats. They do scale somewhat poorly into the late game, though, especially if you’re depending on them to be your main water-type Pokémon.

Ad – content continues below

If you don’t mind waiting a little longer for your starter to really reach their full potential, then Cyndaquil may be the way to go. He really starts to shine around the time of his first evolution, and it’s hard to deny the power of his final form even compared to the noteworthy fire-types that will also be available around that time.

Rowlet is something of a wild card. Their skills and strong stats are useful in the early game despite their lack of obvious type advantages in early battles, and they’re versatile enough to really fit into any late-game roster. They won’t exactly “take over” in the same way the others might, but I could certainly see someone arguing that they’re actually the best starter for the simple reason that they tend to be useful at various stages in the game.

All things considered, here’s how I’d say the rankings play out.

3. Oshawott

2. Cyndaquil

1. Rowlet

Ad – content continues below

Again, that ranking is based more on stats and combat potential than the numerous number of little factors that will ultimately determine the best starter Pokémon for you, but unless you really want as much of an advantage in the early game as possible, I’d say that Cyndaquil and Rowlet offer more in the long run. Rowlet gets a slight advantage due to their high base stats and surprising versatility.

For what it’s worth, you will also have the chance to catch the other starter Pokémon in your Arceus adventure, so don’t fret too much over the idea that you’re never going to see the “one that got away” again.