In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, you take the role of one of the protagonists, seeking to move through the ranks of the Galaxy Team as part of their Galaxy Expedition Team, or the Survey Corps. To assist you in your duties of completing research tasks and catching wild Pokémon, you will be able to choose one of three starter Pokémon as game tradition dictates.
However, there is one big difference compared to previous core series games: the starters are not native to the Hisui region! This is in an interesting twist as the starters hail from Alola, Johto, and Unova.
Below, you will find a rundown of each starter and ultimately, the best starter to choose in Arceus. This decision will be made by weighing a combination of Base Stats Totals, evolutions, type effectiveness, and move sets. For example, if a starter has a higher Attack stat yet learns more Special Attack-based moves, then that curtails their effectiveness and makes them a difficult choice as your starter.
You may want to choose your sentimental favorite and that’s fine, too!
How much does your starter choice affect the story in Pokémon Legends Arceus?
Like with most games in the series, not very much at all. Certain battles and areas will be easier or more difficult depending on your choice, but as you’ll see below, at least with their stats, they’re pretty even. There doesn’t appear to be the traditional “rival” to battle as well. In older generation games, your rival would obtain the starter that was strong against your starter, while newer generations flipped the setting.
You will have to obtain five of each starter as part of completing their Pokédex entries. This means that whichever starter you choose, you’re going to need to catch or trade for at least four of your chosen starter and five each of the other two.
Rowlet, Grass-Type Starter
The loveable sleepyhead (from the anime) returns in Arceus as your choice for Grass starter with a dual Flying typing. Rowlet, the Alolan starter, has a Base Stats Total of 320. Its highest stat is HP at 68. It’s lowest stat is Speed at 42. It evolves into Dartrix at level 17, maintaining its dual typing.
However, Decidueye (level 34) is where things take a change from Alola. Previously, Rowlet’s final evolution was Grass and Ghost types. Now, Decidueye is a dual Grass and Fighting type Pokémon. This Hisuian form has a Base Stat Total of 530. It favors Attack (112) with good Special Attack and Defense (95), but is slow with a Speed of 60.
Decidueye knows a good mix of Attack and Special Attack moves if some of the previous moves were kept, making use of the high stats. It learns a new signature move, Triple Arrows, once it evolves at level 34. After it evolves, it will learn Brave Bird and Leaf Storm. These are two powerful attacks (the former using Attack and the latter Special Attack), though Brave Bird does not have same type attack bonus (STAB).
The concern with Decidueye is that its new typing makes it doubly weak to Flying attacks as both Grass and Fighting are weak to Flying. The good news is that Flying is weak to Electric, Rock, and Ice, with many available in the game to catch as counters. Grass is weak to Fire, Bug, Ice, Poison, and Flying. Rock is super effective against four of those types!
If you choose Rowlet, make sure you eventually nab a Rock-type. Good choices are Geodude’s line, Kleavor, Rhyhorn’s line, Growlithe and Arcanine (Hisuian forms), and Avalugg (Hisuian form).
Cyndaquil, Fire-Type Starter
The Johto starter Cyndaquil returns as your Fire-type choice in Arceus. Cyndaquil has a lower Base Stats Total of 309. It’s highest stat is Speed at 65. It’s lowest stat is HP at 39. It evolves into Quilava at level 14, maintaining its pure Fire typing.
Like the other starters, Cyndaquil’s final evolution, Typhlosion, also has a Hisuian form. However, unlike the Johto form that was pure Fire-type, Hisuian Typhlosion is a dual Fire and Ghost-type Pokémon. This Hisuian form has a Base Stats Total of 534, the highest of the three. Its highest stat is Special Attack at 119 (with Speed at 95) and its lowest stat is still HP at 73. Its Attack is a measly 84, so stick with Special Attacks!
In that light, Typhlosion – which evolves at level 36 – has a move set that heavily favors Special Attacks. It will learn Lava Plume, Flamethrower, Inferno, Burn Up, and Eruption as it levels up! You can’t complain with learning some of the strongest fire attacks in the game.
As a Fire-type, Typhlosion is weak to Water, Rock, and Ground-type Pokémon. However, its second type adds Ghost and Dark-type weaknesses. Luckily, Ghost and Dark-type Pokémon are rarer than the other three and you have a double-edged sword counter to other Ghost-types as long as your Tyhplosion also has either a Ghost or Dark-type attack.
The best counter for Cyndaquil’s weaknesses (and part of Typhlosion’s) would be a Grass-type Pokémon as Water, Rock, and Ground are all weak to Grass. Look for Budew’s line, Petilil and Liligant, Tangela and Tangrowth, or Turtwig’s line to best support your starter.
Oshawott, Water-Type Starter
The Pokémon who can’t be without its scalchop, Oshawott reappears after being the Water-type starter in Unova. The pure Water-type starter has the lowest Base Stats Total (barely) at 308, one point less than Cyndaquil. It is the most well-rounded of the starters with it’s highest stat Special Attack at 63 and its lowest a three-way tie between Defense, Special Defense, and Speed at 45. Its HP and Attack are 55, so the range is only 18 points between its lowest and highest stats.
It evolves into Dewott at level 17, but things get interesting once again with its final evolution, Samurott, which evolves at level 36. Like Typhlosion, Samurott eschews pure typing by adding Dark to its Water typing. It has a Base Stats Total of 528, the lowest of the three. However, it’s interesting to note that the lowest (Samurott) and the highest (Typhlosion) are only separated by six total Base Stats. Its Attack (108) and Special Attack (100) allow it to make use of the full range of Water and Dark-type attacks to nearly full power.
The thing is Samurott’s attacks by leveling up aren’t very exciting. It learns Aqua Tail, Retaliate, and Hydro Pump as attacks, with Swords Dance and Encore as well, but Hydro Pump only has five PP, is learned at level 63, and has an 80 accuracy. At least Samurott can learn both Surf and Waterfall through TM.
It’s not only weak to Electric and Grass-type Pokémon, but Hisuian Samurott is also weak against Fairy, Fighting, and Bug-type Pokémon. While Grass and Bug-types are numerous, most come with a second typing that adds a weakness you could exploit.
To best supplement Samurott, make sure to have a Flying-type Pokémon. Flying-type attacks are super effective against Grass, Fighting, and Bug, so you’ll cover three of the five weaknesses. Starly’s line, Scyther, Togetic and Togekiss, and Murkrow and Honchkrow are good picks. Gyardos can work as well, but that would add a second Water-type to your team.
Which Pokémon is the best starter in Pokémon Legends Arceus?
While all three are great chioces, as indicated by the minimal difference in Base Stats between the three, the best starter in the Pokémon Legends: Arceus is Cyndaquil and its final evolution, Typhlosion. It’s not just due to having the highest Base Stats Total, which is essentially negligible due to the six-point difference. Typhlosion’s learned move set is the best at utilizing its high Special Attack and Speed.
Crucially, not only does Typhlosion tie Samurott for fewest type weaknesses at five, unlike Samurott, Typhlosion’s Ghost-type status allows it to at least counter that weakness on its own, even though it can be risky. It does have a lower HP Base Stat as well. However, its high Speed and Special Attack should mitigate the risks.
One thing that the Pokémon games have always shown is that pairing high Speed with either high Attack or Special Attack – or both – makes it likely you can knock out your foes in one hit before they can land an attack. Of course, this doesn’t count priority moves like Quick Attack or Aqua Jet. The same holds true for Arceus even when using alternating between Agile Style and Strong Style.
Another reason to choose Cyndaquil is that, unless you plan on having Hisuian Growlithe and Arcanine in your party, the number of Grass and Water-type Pokémon in Arceus far outnumber the Fire-types. You’re also relegated to the Kanto Fire-types (Generation I) as well as Chimchar’s line. Fire, as in previous games, is just not as common as other types.
Lastly, as stated above, there are plenty of Pokémon in Hisui to cover for Cyndaquil’s, Quilava’s, and Typhlosion’s weakness. While Decidueye’s new typing and high Attack are enticing, it is very slow and also has the devastating dual-weakness to Flying-type attacks. Samruott is a fine choice, but its learned move set leaves a lot to be desired. There are also many Grass and Water-types for you to catch in Hisui.
How do you get all of the starters in Pokémon Legends Arceus?
As with most games in the series, you will most likely need to trade for the other starters. It’s best if you can trade with a friend that also has the game than to rely on Wonder Trade because of the randomness of the latter.
The other way to do this would be to borrow a friend’s game and console and set up a local trade. This would only be an option if you have access to your friend’s game and console and they’re not available to trade with you. It’s best if the person trading away their starter do so after a new game and then start a new file to repeat the process.
Pokémon Home would be the final option. If you already have the other starters in your Home, you can simply transfer them to Arceus. However, if you don’t then follow these steps:
- Start a new game and pick your starter
- Transfer your starter to Pokémon Home
- Repeat the first two steps for the second starter
- Start a new game file and choose the third starter
- Transfer the other two starters from Home when able
To delete your save file, you will have to go into the Data Management section and delete the file manually.
Unfortunately, Home is not yet available for Arceus. However, Nintendo has stated it will be compatible during 2022.
This will give you all three starters and crucially, completes what can be the most difficult part of the Pokédex for many players. Remember, you need at least five of each to help complete their entries.
When taken together, Cyndaquil is the best starter choice. Its low HP will be difficult early, but it’s worth it in the end for the Hisuian form of Typhlosion. Then again, you can just get all three!