Pokémon: Each Generation and Game's Starter Pokémon Trio

First partner Pokémon, aka starter Pokémon, are the first Pokémon trainers will encounter first, no matter which game they play. They are a series staple, and there are always three Pokémon to choose from, except for the Pokémon Let's Go games. One will be a Water-type, another a Grass-type Pokémon, and the third is a Fire-type Pokémon.

These Pokémon starters will be the player's constant companions throughout the game as the embodiment of loyalty and stability. Each starter 'mon possesses three evolutionary forms, often gaining a secondary type along the way.

Here's a rundown of the three starter Pokémon across every Pokémon game, from Generation 1 until Generation 9.

Generation 1: Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander

  • Games: Pokémon Red & Pokémon Blue, Pokémon FireRed & Pokémon LeafGreen
  • Platforms: Game Boy (Pokémon Red & Blue), Game Boy Advance (Pokémon FireRed & Leaf Green)
  • Bulbasaur Evolutions: Bulbasaur ----> Ivysaur ----> Venusaur
  • Squirtle Evolutions: Squirtle ----> Wartortle ----> Blastoise
  • Charmander Evolutions: Charmander ----> Charmeleon ----> Charizard

The Kanto first partner Pokémon, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander, are an iconic trio all Pokémon fans, new and old, will recognize, particularly with the edgy Squirtle Squad in the anime.

From the OG Pokémon anime to the early games, these three first partner Pokémon have been signature staples in most core series games. It just wouldn't be Pokémon without them!

Generation 1: Pikachu

  • Games: Pokémon Yellow
  • Platforms: Game Boy
  • Pikachu Evolutions: Pikachu ----> Raichu

While Pikachu is Ash's beloved first partner Pokémon in the anime, some fans often forget that it was also the sole starter Pokémon in Pokémon Yellow. This electric rodent is a series staple and poster child for the franchise, often appearing in games and Pokémon merch.

Generation 2: Chikorita, Totodile, Cyndaquil

  • Games: Pokémon Gold & Pokémon Silver, Pokémon Crystal, Pokémon HeartGold & Pokémon SoulSilver
  • Platforms: Game Boy Color (Pokémon Gold & Silver, Pokémon Crystal), Nintendo DS (Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver)
  • Chikorita Evolutions: Chikorita ----> Bayleef ----> Meganium
  • Totodile Evolutions: Totodile ----> Croconaw ----> Feraligatr
  • Cyndaquil Evolutions: Cyndaquil ----> Quilava ----> Typhlosion

While this second trio of starter Pokémon is nowhere near as popular as the previous Generation, they're still a wonderfully unique bunch of Pokémon starters.

The Fire starter for this Gen 2 group, Cyndaquil, is the most picked first partner Pokémon for the Johto region, and also makes a reappearance in a later game.

Generation 3: Treeko, Mudkip, Torchic

  • Games: Pokémon Ruby & Pokémon Sapphire, Pokémon Omega Ruby & Pokémon Omega Sapphire
  • Platforms: Game Boy Advance (Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire), Nintendo 3DS (Pokémon Omega Ruby & Sapphire)
  • Treeko Evolutions: Treeko ----> Grovyle ----> Sceptile
  • Mudkip Evolutions: Mudkip ----> Marshtomp ----> Swampert
  • Torchic Evolutions: Torchic ----> Combusken ----> Blaziken

Generation 3 is often described as the golden age of Pokémon, where the Pokedex finally expanded with an abundance of creatively designed other Pokémon. Mudkip is still an immesnely popular Pokémon today.

The Hoenn first partner Pokémon in Gen 3 (Treeko, Mudkip, and Torchic) are often also described as the strongest Pokémon starters to date, even in modern times.

Generation 4: Turtwig, Piplup, Chimchar

  • Games: Pokémon Diamond & Pokémon Pearl, Pokémon Platinum, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Pokémon Shining Pearl
  • Platforms: Nintendo DS (Pokémon Diamond & Pearl, Pokémon Platinum), Nintendo Switch (Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl)
  • Turtwig Evolutions: Turtwig ----> Grotle ----> Torterra
  • Piplup Evolutions: Piplup ----> Prinplup ----> Empoleon
  • Chimchar Evolutions: Chimchar ----> Monferno ----> Infernape

Next up comes Generation 4 and the Sinnoh first partner Pokémon, which were available on next-gen console, the Nintendo DS, marking a new era for the creature-collecting franchise.

This trio highlighted how far Pokémon had come with fun character designs for different Pokémon and the in-game lore and weather mechanics. The fact that this trio was so cute also made choosing a Pokémon starter immensely difficult!

Generation 5: Snivy, Oshawott, Tepig

  • Games: Pokémon Black & Pokémon White, Pokémon Black 2 & Pokémon White 2
  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Snivy Evolutions: Snivy ----> Servine ----> Serperior
  • Oshawott Evolutions: Oshawott ----> Dewott ----> Samurott
  • Tepig Evolutions: Tepig ----> Pignite ----> Emboar

The punny humor of Pokémon creators fully shines with Generation 5's first partner Pokémon, with names like "Emboar" as Tepig's final evolution and "Serperior" for Snivy.

Sadly, this Generation is also when longtime Pokémon fans started to get bored with the Pokémon starters available, mainly the Fire-type Pokémon. Fans were not impressed with Tepig's dual-type nature and bland color palette.

Generation 6: Chespin, Froakie, Fennekin

  • Games: Pokémon X & Y
  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
  • Chespin Evolutions: Chespin ----> Quilladin ----> Chesnaught
  • Froakie Evolutions: Froakie ----> Frogadier ----> Greninja
  • Fennekin Evolutions: Fennekin ----> Braxien ----> Delphox

Generation 6 is the most controversial Pokémon title in the entire franchise. While Froakie was a top-rated first partner Pokémon in terms of its design and attacks, Fennekin is among the most hated.

Fans were not impressed with yet another bipedal Fire-type Pokémon, Delphox, with Fennekin's final evolution. As such, Pokémon X & Y and Gen 6 are largely forgotten and discarded by many players.

Generation 7: Rowlet, Popplio, Litten

  • Games: Pokémon Sun & Pokémon Moon, Pokémon Ultra Sun & Pokémon Ultra Moon
  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
  • Rowlet Evolutions: Rowlet ----> Dartrix ----> Deciudeye
  • Popplio Evolutions: Popplio ----> Brionne ----> Primarina
  • Litten Evolutions: Litten ----> Torracat ----> Incineroar

Pokémon Sun & Moon played things safe with the design of these starter Pokémon. Regarding creativity, there isn't much on display here: Litten is a cat, Popplio is a seal, and Rowlet looks like an owl. Their final evolutions are pretty strong, but their basic forms are pretty plain as far as Pokémon go.

Generation 7: Pikachu and Eevee

  • Games: Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu & Pokémon: Let's Go Eevee
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch

The Pokémon: Let's Go games added a unique dynamic and element to the Pokémon games. Eevee made its first debut as a starter Pokémon, while Pikachu returned for a second time since Pokémon Yellow in 1998.

These two starters are the only first partner Pokémon in the franchise, and players would hold on to them for the duration of their game.

Generation 8: Grookey, Sobble, Scorbunny

  • Games: Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
  • Grookey Evolutions: Grookey ----> Thwackey ----> Rillaboom
  • Sobble Evolutions: Sobble ----> Drizzile ----> Inteleon
  • Scorbunny Evolutions: Scorbunny ----> Raboot ----> Cinderace

Generation 8 sees players thrust into the colorful Galar region with three delightful Pokémon starters to choose from. Scorbunny and Sobble also saw recent fame in the Pokémon Journeys anime series, adding to their popularity. As such, Grookey somewhat faded from the spotlight and memories of fans.

Regarding each starter's final evolution, Pokémon developers decided to play it safe and not give any of them a secondary type, making things less complicated in the long run.

Generation 8: Rowlet, Oshawott, Cyndaquil

  • Games: Pokémon Legends: Arceus
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Although not a new Generation, Pokémon Legends: Arceus was a step in the right direction for the future of Pokémon and a massive departure from the traditional gameplay loop of Pokémon. As an open-world game, it featured new ways to catch and battle Pokémon and was overall very well-received by fans.

The first partner Pokémon for Pokémon Legends: Arceus were recycled from previous generations and other games as Rowlet, Oshawott, and Cyndaquil made their (re)appearances.

Generation 9: Sprigatito, Quaxly, Fuecoco

  • Games: Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
  • Sprigatito Evolutions: Sprigatito ----> Floragato ----> Meowscarada
  • Quaxly Evolutions: Quaxly ----> Quaxwell ----> Quaquaval
  • Fuecoco Evolutions: Fuecoco ----> Crocalor ----> Skeledirge

Finally, we've come to the most recent iteration: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. This game is set in the new Paldea region and has a distinct Spanish theme. It introduces three brand-new starter Pokémon as the Terastal phenomenon, allowing a Pokémon to transform into its exclusive "Tera Type."

The starter Pokémon in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet were well-received by fans, especially Sprigatito, the Grass-type Pokémon who also looks like an adorable cat. Fans also fell in love with Quaxly, the dapper Water starter with an impressive quiff, and Fuecoco, the bi-pedal Fire-type baby crocodile Pokémon.

Generation 10: ???

  • Games: Pokémon ??? & Pokémon ???
  • Platforms: ???

With a new Nintendo console likely on the horizon, we can expect a new Pokémon game to debut soon alongside it. Generation 9 launched in 2022, and it's been two years since then and Pokémon fans are starting to get impatient.

The next Pokémon starters for Gen 10 could be teased anytime in 2024 and beyond, hopefully with a 2025-2026 release date. What new starter Pokémon are you hoping to see?

Final Thoughts

Starter Pokémon are the gateway to every Pokémon trainer's adventure. From the fiery nature of Charmander to the watery charm of Sobble, each first partner Pokémon brings its own unique strengths and personality to the table.

As generations pass and new regions are introduced, the legacy of each starter Pokémon reminds players that every Pokémon journey begins with an important choice and a trusted first partner Pokémon. We found you found this article about starter Pokemon helpful!

You've come to the right place if you want more Pokémon and gaming content! We've got guides on Fairy-typesDark-types, and Bug-types, as well as guides for other games like Stardew Valley crossplayOW2 hero unlocksFortnite codes, and more on our blog page!

FAQs About Starter Pokémon

How many starter Pokémon are there in total?

If you count up all the individual Pokémon in this article (without repeats like Cyndaquil or Oshawott), there are 29 starter Pokémon altogether. This includes the 27 from standard Gen Pokémon games, with the addition of Eevee and Pikachu from Let's Go.

What were the first three starter Pokémon?

Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander are the first partner Pokémon, or Pokémon Gen I starters introduced in the original games. They are centered in the Kanto region and should be familiar to both old and new trainers.

What is the best starter Pokémon?

Mudkip is potentially the best starter Pokémon across all different generations in the Pokémon franchise. This is because its evolutions, Marshtomp and Swampert, are Water/Ground types, which only has one type disadvantage, Grass-type Pokemon.

Who is the strongest starter Pokémon?

Cinderace, the final evolution of Scorbunny, is by far the strongest Pokémon starter. Its signature move, Pyro Ball, has a 10% chance of inflicting the Burn debuff and has 120 Base Power. Very OP! If you're going by base starter Pokémon, Charmander the Fire starter is also a strong contender.

Was Pikachu ever a starter Pokémon?

Yes, Pikachu was the first partner Pokémon option in Pokémon Yellow and Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu.

What is the least popular starter Pokémon?

Chikorita is the least popular Pokémon across all generations. Even when evolved, its poor move list and "meh" stats make it bottom-tier out of all Grass types.