Water-type Pokémon are never small in number; just think of how many there were in Hoenn because of all of the surfing to reach places. Scarlet and Violet are no different as you traverse Paldea, with many strong Water-type Pokémon throughout the game.
Unlike the other two starters, this is a situation where the final starter evolution is not the strongest Water-type Pokémon. However, that only occurs in very specific circumstances.
The best Water-type Paldean Pokémon in Scarlet & Violet
Below, you will find the best Paldean Water Pokémon ranked by their Base Stats Total (BST). This is the accumulation of the six attributes in Pokémon: HP, Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed. Each Pokémon listed below has at least a 425 BST, though admittedly it is that low to include a convergent species of a well-known Pokémon.
The list will not include legendary, mythical, or Paradox Pokémon. However, the first Pokémon on this list rivals most legendary Pokémon, though it doesn’t appear so at first.
1. Palafin (Water) – 457 or 650 BST
Palafin is the evolution of Finizen, and like a few others in Paldea, has a very unique evolution. After catching Finisen, raise it to level 38. Then, engage in Let’s Go mode where Finizen travels outside of its Pokéball. Invite a friend over in multiplayer and have that friend “watch” one of Finizen’s automatic battles. After that, it should trigger its evolution. Yes, this is the first friend-based evolution in the series, different from trading particularly after the introduction of Wonder Trade.
At first glance, Palafin appears thoroughly weak at 457 BST, only higher than one other Water-type on this list. However, Palafin’s ability is Zero to Hero. If Palafin switches out of battle and then reenters, it enters into its Hero mode – complete with cape – and gains a massive boost in BST. Luckily, it comes with the move Flip Turn, doing just this. For fans of My Hero Academia, it’s basically going from skinny All Might to All Might using One for All – before his last battle with One for All, of course.
Palafin’s default attributes are 100 HP and Speed, 72 Defense, 70 Attack, 62 Special Defense, and 53 Special Attack. In Hero mode, it’s a different story with 160 Attack, 106 Special Attack, 100 Attack and Speed, 97 Defense, and 87 Special Defense. 650 BST is only 20 to 30 less than most legenadry Pokémon. It only holds weaknesses to Grass and Electric.
2. Quaquaval (Water and Fighting) – 530 BST
Thanks to Palafin, Quaquaval is the only final starter evolution to not top their respective type list. It’s also the only one that is tied with another Pokémon in BST. Quaxly evolves at level 16 into Quaxwell, then at 36 to Quaquaval. It has 120 Attack, making it the strongest physical attacker of the three starters. Its other attributes are tightly packed with 85 HP, Special Attack, and Speed to go along with 75 Special Defense.
Quaquaval holds weaknesses to Flying, Grass, Electric, Psychic, and Fairy.
3. Dondozo (Water) – 530 BST
Dondozo is a non-evolving Pokémon that resembles a fish version of Wailmer. It is a large and bulbous dark blue sea creature that actually has a white body with yellow accents and tongue as a shiny. The pure Water-type is among the slowest Pokémon in the game, just slightly faster than Snorlax. It makes up for it with its ability to act as a physical tank. It as 150 HP, 115 Defense, and 100 Attack. The tradeoff for three 100+ attributes is having low ratings in the other three with 65 Special Attack and Special Defense, and 35 Speed.
Dondozo is only weak to Grass and Electric.
4. Veluza (Water and Psychic) – 478 BST
Veluza is another non-evolving Pokémon. It doubles Dondozo’s Speed attribute, but that’s still not “fast,” just not “slow.” It has 102 Attack, 90 HP, and 78 Special Attack, making it a good attacker. However, it has 73 Defense, 70 Speed, and 65 Special Defense, meaning it won’t do so well should It fail to defeat its opponent quickly.
Veluza is weak to Grass and Electric as a Water-type. As a Psychic-type, it holds weaknesses to Bug, Dark, and Ghost.
5. Tatsugiri (Dragon and Water) – 475 BST
Tatsugiri is yet another non-evolving Pokémon. It is similar to Pokémon like Deerling in that it has multiple versions of the same type, but the color of the Tatsugiri affects its attribute growth. First, Tatsugiri has 120 Special Attack, making good use of many Water and Dragon attacks like Surf and Dragon Breath. It also has 95 Special Defense and 82 Speed. However, it’s a bit lackluster on the physical side with 68 HP, 60 Defense, and 50 Attack.
Second, to the colors. A red Tatsugiri (Droopy Form) will raise defense quicker than other attributes. For the yellow Tatsugiri (Stretchy), it’s Speed. For the orange Tatsugiri (Curly), it’s Attack.
Also, Tatsugiri has an ability (Commander) that will send it into the mouth of an ally Dondozo should one be on the battlefield, then “control it” from within its mouth!
Thanks to its dual-type setup, Tatsugiri holds only the Dragon-type weaknesses in Dragon and Fairy. While Tatsugiri may not have the highest BST, being weak to two rare, albeit powerful types, can make it a strategic add to your team.
6. Wugtrio (Water) – 425 BST
The last Pokémon on this list is really only here to discuss convergent species. These are species that appear to be similar to another, but diverged somewhere along the way to develop elsewhere. In the case of Tentacool and Toedscool, they split as one developed in the ocean and the other on land. With Wiglett and Wugtrio, they diverged from Diglett and Dugtrio by becoming Water-type as opposed to the Ground-type counterparts.
However, they do not have a high BST. Wugtrio is fast, but it sorely lacks in one area: health. It holds 120 Speed and 100 Attack. A 70 Special Defense is next, but then is followed by 50 Defense and Special Attack. Unfortunately, those aren’t even its lowest attributes as it has a paltry 35 HP. Basically, it’s pretty brittle!
Now you know the best Water-type Paldean Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet. It’s probably difficult to pass on Palafin, but if you do, who will you add to your team?