The starter Pokemon are a big part of Pokemon Go but beyond their cultural importance are they actually of any use?
Since the franchise’s introduction in 1996, there have been eight sets of starter Pokemon. Naturally the likes of Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle remain the most famous, but all eight generations worth now hold an important place in the world of Pokemon.
They are featured from the outset in every mainline Pokemon game and are often a big part of the anime. So, their popularity is hardly surprising.
Trainers play the Pokemon games for a variety of reasons – the story, competitive battling, to catch their most beloved Pokemon and more. When it comes to Pokemon Go there isn’t much of a story in the game. Many trainers are happy to play to collect their beloved starters. Beyond their addition to the Pokedex, do they offer any use, though?
Final evolved forms only – obviously
In their original form, they don’t. Whether it’s Charmander, Chikorita or Mudkip, none of them have the strength to pose any type of threat in a competitive scenario.
This won’t come as a revelation to many of you as their stats just can’t compete. We know that these pre-evolutions aren’t meant for battling, however. Invariably, that is the job of final evolution Pokemon.
Not only are the likes of Charizard, Meganium and Swampert far stronger, they are actually among some of the best Pokemon to use. With nearly five generations worth of Pokemon to choose from in the mobile game, however, there are a lot of Pokemon that can get the better of them.
Experienced Pokemon Go players will also know that often a species’ moves is more important than their stats. This means the same species of Pokemon, say Blaziken, can go from being a strong option for your team to being relatively useless.
Community Day moves are a must
There are some exceptions such as the aforementioned Charizard and Blaziken. Generally though, the starter Pokemon’s final evolved forms require the presence of their Community Day exclusive move to compete in the Pokemon Go meta.
As the name suggests, these are moves that were only attainable when capturing them in their respective Community Day.
However, fortunately, the introduction of Elite TMs has made them available once again, albeit rarely. You can teach all sorts of Pokemon elite moves using these hard to earn Elite TMs, which include Community Day exclusive moves.
There had been complaints among the Pokemon Go community that starter Pokemon without these moves just couldn’t compete in GO Battle League, Pokemon Go’s competitive PvP format. This is often true, but at least now trainers can bridge that gap.
Legendary and Mythical Pokemon definitely have a big advantage when it comes to battles, as they should, but with the right moveset (yes, we’re looking at you Swampert Mud Shot and Hydro Cannon users) starter Pokemon can be very beneficial. It’s just unfortunate they have to rely on certain moves to do so.