[Undecided], I choose you!
Pokmaniacs went wild following the reveal of Pokmon X/Y, the 3DS title that introduces the sixth generation of Pokmon and upgrades the franchise to 3D graphics. And for those planning to pick up X/Y this October, its never too early to prepare for the most important choice of the entire adventure: Who will be your starter Pokmon?
As is tradition, new trainers start their quest by selecting one of three different Pokmon, and that little whatsit will be with you for your entire journey, likely evolving into one of your most dependable companions. For such a substantial selection, you need all the info you can get, which weve helpfully compiled for you. Heres everything we currently know about the three starting Pokmon, and by the end youll be able to make an informed decision come launch day
Chespin Grass type
Chespin is the newest, distinctly chipper member of the Grass family of Pokmon, and the first of the starters shown in the trailer. From the moment we saw his paws, clawed feet, and strange headwear, we knew there was something different about this guy. Chespin is clearly a mammal, setting him apart from the overwhelming majority of Grass type Pokmon that take inspiration from reptiles and/or vegetation. It's also worth noting that Nintendo's names for Chespin in other languages all have a connotation of chestnuts and/or hedgehogs, which explains much of his appearance..
Whatever his strange lineage, Chespin still wears some of the telltale green associated with his Pokmon type, something you can see goes from his head, down his back, all the way to the base of his tail. After seeing the sharp claws on his feet, we wonder if his moveset will mix plant attacks with cutting moves like Slash, or perhaps hell use his nails for Dig.
Fennekin Fire type
Weve always been partial to the Fire starters, from Charmander all the way up to Tepig, so we took an immediate shine to Fennekin. And judging by the reaction from fans online, the character seems to be an early favorite with artists in the community as well. As to Fennekins pedigree, ancient Japanese folklore involving mythical foxes commanding fire was no doubt a source of inspiration. But what makes this starter any different from classic pocket monsters like Ninetails and Vulpix?
What most separates Fennekin from the pack is the type of fox it resembles, as the little guy seems to be based on a fennec fox. The diminutive creatures are known for their adorably large ears. Plus, they make their homes in deserts, which fits well with Fire Pokmons traditional weakness to Water attacks. And based on that desert background, perhaps Fennekin will mix up its blazing arsenal with moves like Sandstorm and Sand Tomb.
Froakie Water type
The final starter announced in the trailer was Froakie, and on the surface, he seems to be the most predictable of the three. His predominant coloring is blue, and hes unmistakably based on an aquatic species, so we knew he was a Water type the second we saw him. Sure, being obvious doesnt necessarily mean hes a bad Pokmon, But there are a few key aspects that set this amphibian apart from the likes of Mudkip or Politoad.
Well, theres the possibility that he might have some strong physical attributes built around his source materials hopping abilities. Theres also the chance he might know some new foam attacks, as indicated by the weird, sudsy stuff around his neck... Hmm, were still coming up short on reasons to pick him over the other two, but were going to wait for more details on the guy before we make up our minds.
How do they compare to previous starters?
But will this new trio stand up to the test of time like the 15 previous starter Pokmon? The original trio of Bulbusaur, Charmander, and Squirtle are so iconic that its virtually impossible for any new monsters to outshine them, but at least X/Ys trinity isnt out to imitate them. Aside from the originals, wed say the design of Gen VIs starters can hold their own against the other sets, and--at this very moment--we prefer them to Gen III (Treecko, Torchic, and Mudkip) and IV (Turwig, Chimchar, and Piplup).
When comparing each by type, Chespin ends up the most groundbreaking, making his fur and color scheme a welcome change from a sea of reptiles of varying greens. Meanwhile, Fennekin is singular from the multiple Fire mammal starters of years past, even if he is biting Vulpixs style. Lastly, Froakie still has a lot to prove to stand out from previous gens, but hes at least better than that seashell-collecting, otter-wannabe Oshawott.
A quick note about type differences
This is ancient news to Pokefreaks, but we want to make sure that every reader understands all their options before choosing a starter. See, the bedrock of Pokmons engrossing combat is the assortment of 17 different types of Pokmon, and the differences between each type are carefully balanced so they have varied strengths and weaknesses to one another. As is always the case with starters, Fire beats Grass, Grass beats Water, and Water beats Fire.
The starters are a great way to introduce people to the intricate game of Rock-Paper-Scissors that is Pokmon. This also means that, when you pick your starter, you should be aware of which other starter is predisposed to kicking your monsters adorable little tail. And if X/Y sticks to tradition, your in-game rival for the campaign will end up with the starter that naturally bests yours. So if youd prefer not to lose to Froakie from the start, perhaps Chespin is the one for you.
Dual type? Maybe not
There have been many Pokmon over the years that combine types and abilities, but outside of Bulbasaur in Red/Blue/Yellow, none of the starters have been dual types. It initially seemed like that may be changing this October after some sharp-eyed viewers of the reveal trailer thought the moves pulled off by all three X/Y starters implied a secondary type. Now it appears that Nintendo has quickly shut down that rumor.
Less than a week after the trailer hit, the publisher released some fresh assets for Fennekin, Froakie, and Chespin, and in the materials each was clearly labeled as Fire, Water, and Grass. No mention was made of a secondary type, so it looks like Bulbasaur will continue to have something to lord over the other starters.
How do you choose?
Now that you know everything we know about the starters, how do you settle on just one of them? Thats tough, because you can come at it from many different angles. Do you merely pick the one thats your favorite type? Do you wait and see what other new Pokmon are announced, anticipating a cooler-looking addition that shares a type with your currently favored starter? Should you wait and see which Pokmon your best friend is picking, then choosing the Pokmon that counters theirs?
But if youd rather not get too deep into strategy, just pick the one you think is cutest (our current frontrunner is Fennekin). And if you want to avoid making any choice, you could always buy a second 3DS and two copies of the game. That way youll be able to trade with yourself, making it a snap to collect all three starters immediately. Dont worry, we wont judge. Weve been there before.
The final evolution is key
However, before you choose your dancing partner for sixth gen, the most important question hasnt been answered yet: What will their final evolution look like? Any experienced Pokmon Champion will tell you that its the final version of your starter that youll see the most, particularly in the endgame while fighting the Elite Four and beyond. It may take out some of the surprise of watching them evolve, but youll ultimately be happier picking one that looks as good (if not better) 40 hours in as they do at the start.
Presently we dont know what the starters second--or even first--evolutions looks like for any of them, so its too early to call. Will Chespin turn into a viscous, green-tailed bear? Will Fennekins last look be anything at all like Ninetails? Will Froakie shock us all by having the coolest final evolution of the trio? These are all important questions, and well be searching the tall grass for any answers until the info is officially revealed.
To train them is your cause
Keep checking back with this article, as well keep updating it with each piece of news on the starters. Until then, wed love to know which starter youre currently leaning towards, so please vote in the poll below, and let us know why in the comments!
Which starter will you choose in Pokemon X & Y?
Need more pocket monsters? Check out our breakdown of the Pokmon X/Y reveal and our collection of Pokmon trivia.