If you’re just starting your Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl adventure, there are five Pokemon you should catch straight away to ensure your team is starting off on the right foot in BDSP.
Because Sinnoh has one of the most challenging Leagues, you need to prepare a solid team if you want to make it through. This means it is especially important to find powerful Pokemon as soon as you start your adventure, but it can be tough if you don’t know where to look.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the best Pokemon to catch early in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, including where to find them, locations, and moves they should learn.
5 best Pokemon to catch early in Pokemon BDSP
This list is based on evolutions, Hidden Moves (HMs), and Types. They are Pokemon that you may end up keeping in your Party for the entire game as they end up being insanely powerful as they level. For example, there’s no point starting off with Bidoof as you’re probably not going to keep it past Gym #1 due to it being weak in later fights compared to other ‘mon
Caught on Route 201, the first route in the Sinnoh remakes, at level 2-3, Starly is a great early choice. It is a Normal/Flying-type and evolves into Staravia at level 14, and then Staraptor at level 34, making it perfect to use against those tricky mid-to-endgame battles.
You won’t want to use it in Gym #1 as Roark’s team is Rock-type meaning Starly’s Normal attacks won’t have much of an effect. Gardenia’s team is weak to Flying moves, though, so make it a part of your Gym #2 lineup. It’s also a powerhouse against Gym #3, destroying Maylene’s team in seconds.
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The best moves it learns early on are Wing Attack at level 9, Endeavor at level 17, Whirlwind at level 21, and Aerial Ace at level 25. It can also learn Fly once you’ve beaten Veilstone City’s Gym.
The adorable Electric-type is hiding in the tall grass on Route 202 at level 3-4. It evolves into Luxio at level 15 and Luxray at level 30 and is a popular pick for late-game battles and even the Elite Four due to its powerful Electric attacks.
It isn’t as useful in the beginning Gyms, but should be trained up alongside your other ‘mon anyway because it can cause total devastation from Gym #4 and Crasher Wake onwards.
Shinx’s best attacks learned early on are Charge at level 9, Bite at level 13, Spark at level 17, and Roar at level 21. Roar is particularly useful as it forces your opponent to switch Pokemon. Strength can also be learned after beating Byron at Canalave City.
Abra is caught on Route 203, east of Jubilife City. You can find it in the tall grass at level 4-5. The Psychic-type evolves into Kadabra at level 16 and then Alakazam if you trade it with another player. Its third evolution is an absolute powerhouse so you should aim for that as soon as possible.
The Pokemon is perfect for Veilstone City as the third Gym Leader, Maylene, uses Fighting-types, which Psychic is super effective against. Alakazam will also mess up the Sinnoh Champion’s Lucario if you train it up for the endgame.
Its best moves learned early on come after evolving it to Kadabra: Confusion at level 16, Disable at level 18, Miracle Eye at level 22, and Psybeam at level 24. It can also learn Flash to light up dark caves.
The Dark/Fire-type was exclusive to the original Pokemon Pearl, but you can get it in both Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl in the Grand Underground at your current level. It is the evolution of Houndour.
If you didn’t choose Chimchar, you will need a Fire ‘mon and it is a very powerful pick. To get it, unlock the Underground in Eterna City by talking to the man in the house to the right of the PokeCenter. Houndoom is found in sand, lava, and crystal caves, and in Stargleam Cavern and Typhlo Cavern.
Howl at level 4, Roar at level 14, Bite at level 17, and Odor Sleuth at level 22 are its best early moves. It can also learn Strength after beating Gym #6 and Rock Smash after Gym #1.
Like Houndoom, you can also find the Psychic-type in the Grand Underground at your current level. It evolves into Kirlia at level 20, and either Gardevoir at level 30 or Gallade if you use a Dawn Stone on a male Kirlia.
While it is the same type as Abra, Ralts is a fantastic choice to get early because its male evolution, Gallade, is insanely strong later on. Many players use it to face the Elite Four and in the post-game. To get the Dawn Stone needed to evolve it, find it on Route 225.
Its best moves learned early on are Confusion at level 6, Teleport at level 12, Lucky Chant at level 17, and Magical Leaf at level 21. The ‘mon can learn Flash to light up caves.
And that’s it! Now you know how to get the best early team, check out more of our Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl walkthroughs & guides:
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