Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: Every Starter Ranked Worst to Best

Quaxly, Fuecoco, and Sprigatito are all great additions to the history of starter Pokémon, but which starter is the absolute best?

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Starters
Photo: Nintendo

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are here, and while the early reactions to the games are certainly a bit mixed, millions of fans are diving into the Paldea region as we speak. Of course, many of those same fans will soon be wondering which starter Pokémon they should begin their journey with.

As is usually the case with Pokémon games, Scarlet/Violet is structured in a way that mostly helps ensure you will be able to beat the game regardless of which starter Pokémon you pick. Actually, the game’s more open-ended structure means that it’s easier than ever to play with any of the starters, simply because you avoid certain roadblocks early on. If you pick a starter Pokémon simply because you think they look the best, you’ll still have a great time with the game. It’s really that simple.

Of course, each starter Pokémon does offer unique skills, stats, and yes, advantages that anyone looking to find the best Pokémon (or just the best one for them) should know about. With that in mind, here are our rankings of each starter Pokémon in Scarlet/Violet.

Sprigatito Pokemon

Pokémon Scarlet/Violet: Why Sprigatito Is the Best Starter

Sprigatito’s Total Stats: 310
HP: 40
Attack: 61
Defense: 54
Special Attack: 45
Special Defense: 45
Speed: 65

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Sprigatito’s cat-like design will surely make it a popular starter choice among some fans (it’s already been incredibly popular in pre-release polls), but it’s actually this Pokémon’s speed that elevates it over its starter competition. 

Spirgatito is by far the fastest Pokémon of the starters. Actually, Sprigatito’s incredible combination of speed and hard-hitting physical attacks offers some obvious advantages in very early combat scenarios. Indeed, you’ll be able to breeze through some of the game’s earliest battles with Sprigatito on your roster, though you may start to notice this starter’s low initial HP pool and low overall defenses during some tougher early challenges (most notably Gyms). 

Sprigatito’s final evolution, Meowscarada, is also quite interesting. While that Grass/Dark Pokémon suffers from the fewest strengths and most weaknesses of any of the starters’ final evolutions, it benefits from a power-hidden ability (Protean) that allows it to swap the type of the move it’s about to use. So while Meowscarada’s defenses are still quite low, it’s a technically gifted Pokémon that hits quite hard and still boasts top-tier speed. 

Fuecoco Pokemon

Pokemon Scarlet/Violet: Why Fuecoco Is the Best Starter

Fuecoco’s Total Stats: 310
HP: 67
Attack: 45
Defense: 59
Special Attack: 63
Special Defense: 40
Speed: 36

Fire Pokémon generally tend to be pretty popular so far as starters go, and Fuecoco’s objectively cute design will certainly make it a favorite among some fans. Don’t let that cute exterior fool you, though. Fuecoco is incredibly tough.

Simply put, Fuecoco is a fiery tank. He boasts the best physical defenses and HP of all the starter Pokémon, and his Special Attack rating is off-the-charts good. So, while Fuecoco is notably “slower” than his competition, that tends not to matter when most opponents can’t really do much against Fuecoco before it unleashes a deadly final attack. It’s also worth noting that Fuecoco’s Fire-type is particularly useful against some of the earliest Gym battles you’re likely to encounter. 

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Fuecoco eventually evolves into Skeledirge: a Fire/Ghost-type Pokémon who retains the starter form’s high defenses, massive HP pool, and absurd special attack rating. Given that Fire and Ghost Pokémon tend to rely on their special attacks, that last stat is kind of a big deal. Granted, Skeledirge is still painfully slow, but its other stats still help make up for that notable downside. 

Quaxly Pokemon

Pokemon Scarlet/Violet: Why Quaxly Is the Best Starter

Quaxly’s Total Stats: 310
HP: 55
Attack: 65
Defense: 45
Special Attack: 50
Special Defense: 45
Speed: 50

Again, if you choose to pick Quaxly because he’s a duck with a great haircut, nobody will blame you. It’s also worth noting that Quaxly’s evolutionary forms look amazing. Unlike in real life, though, looks will only get you so far in Scarlet/Violet. Thankfully, Quaxly has more to offer than that.

In fact, Quaxly offers arguably the best overall starting stats package in the game. While Quaxly only leads the starter pack in one notable statistical category (Attack), only its Defense is noticeably lower than the competition. That nice stat distribution means that Quaxly has no trouble holding his own during the earliest parts of the game. 

However, Quaxly really gets interesting when he reaches his final form: the Water/Fighting-type, Quaquaval. Not only does Quaquaval boast the most type strengths and fewest type weaknesses (tied) of all the starters’ final forms, but its incredibly high Attack rating directly benefits its best Fighting abilities. Grants, that kind of leaves this Pokémon’s Water abilities in a strange place, but Quaquaval tends to be a handy addition to most lineups due to its flexibility and generally strong stat package. 

Who Is the Best Starter in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet?

Again, you’ll be more than fine picking whichever starter Pokémon you really want to pick in Scarlet/Violet. By the time things get a little more difficult in the game, you’ll have access to a full lineup of Pokémon who will be more than capable of helping you handle anything the game can throw at you. 

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That said, Fuecoco does seem to be the best overall starter Pokémon in Scarlet/Violet. Here’s a rough ranking of the game’s starters based on their general power level:

3. Quaxly

2. Sprigatito

1. Fuecoco

Truth be told, Quaxly is going to be placed comfortably at the bottom of many players’ starter rankings. While Quaxly is solid, it just doesn’t offer a lot of notable early advantages, and its Water-based abilities never really scale all that well with its primary stats compared to other Water options in the game. Again, I think there is something to be said for having Quaquaval in your lineup as a utility option, but other starters just have more obvious advantages to offer at various points in the adventure.

Sprigatito could have easily been first in these rankings, and I might be doing the starter an injustice by not awarding it that honor. Yes, its low defenses remain a problem throughout the game (as do its on-paper type-based Strengths/Weaknesses), but it is so fast and so powerful that only those who don’t learn to utilize its many advantages will have to suffer through its worst weaknesses. Once you figure out how to deploy Meowscarada’s abilities and advantages, you’ll be laughing. 

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Ultimately, though, Fuecoco is just too powerful to ignore. Its low speed puts it at an early disadvantage over Sprigatito in some situations, but its incredible attack power, Fire-type advantages, and amazing defenses make up for that notable early disadvantage. Most importantly, Fuecoco grows into an absolute monster. You’ll be able to rely on Fuecoco and its evolutionary forms for the majority of the game’s main Gym challenges, which is always a tremendous advantage for those looking to build their final lineup around their starter.