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Pokemon Legends: Arceus starters – Everything you need to know about the three Pokemon at the start

Pokemon Legends Arceus
(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

While we're still left wondering how a lot of the mechanics in the game will work, we do know what the three Pokemon Legends: Arceus starters are. Cyndaquil, Oshawott, and Rowlet – starters from three different Pokemon generations – come together in Pokemon Legends: Arceus as the three Pokemon the player can pick at the start of the game. But why are these the three Pokemon available, what are their strengths, and most importantly, which one of the Pokemon Legends: Arceus starters should you be choosing?

Take a look at our Pokemon Legends: Arceus Pokedex guide for everything you need to know about all the confirmed Pokemon so far.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus starters explained

Pokemon Legends Arceus starters

(Image credit: Nintendo)

We know that Pokemon Legends: Arceus is set in the Sinnoh region, which is the location of the fourth Pokemon generation and the Diamond & Pearl games. It takes place long before the events of those games however, with the environment and setting strongly resembling feudal Japan. To reinforce this further, the entire Sinnoh region is actually based on Hokkaido, which is the second largest island in Japan, and located in the north. If you delve a little deeper into each of the three starters, that link to feudal Japan is potentially why they've been chosen, thanks to a theory from Redditor /u/ZeeGee009:


Oshawott's final evolution is Samurott, which was based on a mix between a sea lion and a samurai. The evolution family (Oshawott -> Dewott -> Samurott) resembles a samurais progression through life, first as a child, before eventually becoming a military commander.


This one is less obvious, but still makes sense. Alongside samurais in the Japanese army, archers (known as kyūdōkas) were also common. Decidueye, Rowlet's final evolution, is clearly an archer, and fits the theme.


Finally, there's Cyndaquil. This is much more of a stretch but is likely the reason the Fire-type was included, given the theme. Typhlosion is the final evolution of Cyndaquil and in Japanese, Typhlosion's name is Bakphoon. This is incredibly similar to bakufu, which is the Japanese word for shogun – the title given to military generals in feudal Japan.

The fact that three starters from different generations have been chosen is interesting because this is the first time in a Pokemon game that three Pokemon have been presented as starters, but they've all been from different eras. Now we know this is something Game Freak is willing to explore with new Pokemon games, we could potentially see more generation-crossing when it comes to starters in the future. 

Which of the Pokemon Legends: Arceus starters should you choose?

Pokemon Legends Arceus starters

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The easy answer for this question will always be whichever one you prefer because if you're especially fond of one of the three available, you'll always have a better time with the game than just opting for the strongest. But if you're not sold on any of them at first glance, then it's worth taking a look at the pros and cons for each option.

If you've played a Pokemon game before, then you'll recognize the fact Oshawott, Cyndaquil, and Rowlet follow the usual Water/Fire/Grass typing that all starter options do. This means each one is both strong against one of the others, while it's weak to the other. For example, Cyndaquil is super effective against Rowlet, but weak to Oshawott. Pokemon Legends: Arceus will likely have an even spread of Pokemon typings throughout the game so it's hard to say at this point which type will be the most useful for the early stages, but Grass-types are often a little weaker in the early game, which makes Rowlet a good choice for those who like a slightly harder challenge.

Pokemon Legends Arceus starters

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Throughout Pokemon Legends: Arceus however, the goal will be to level up and evolve your starter Pokemon, so it's worth comparing the three final evolutions. Typhlosion ends up with the highest base stats at 534 compared to Decidueye's 530 and Samurott's 528, though the bulk of that comes from the speed stat, which is arguably the least important.

Decidueye is the only one with three base stats over 100, with the highest attack and special defence of the three. Meanwhile, Samurott has the highest base HP and defence stat, all while impressing with its attack and special attack. Of course, it all depends on what Pokemon you want to accompany your starter; don't pick Oshawott if you're going to spend ages fishing and surfing for more Water-types in your party, for example.

Until we know more about Pokemon Legends: Arceus, there's no definitive answer to this question, but this should've hopefully given you some guidance. 

Check out our Pokemon Legends: Arceus trailer breakdown for more insight into what we know about the game, and read our feature on who is Arceus in Pokemon to learn more about the titular character.

One of the resident guide writers around these parts, give me a game and I will write every "how to" I possibly can or die trying. The youngest member of the GamesRadar team, I have an unhealthy addiction to Football Manager, shouting at the TV as Manchester United slowly descend from greatness, and playing Pokemon Go on the bus to and from the office.