Except for Pokemon Yellow, the special edition of the original games, every other game in the main Pokemon series features three Pokemon that you can choose from at the beginning, collectively known as the “starter Pokemon” or simply “starters”. All three of them represent the Grass, Fire, and Water types all the way to their final evolution forms, although most of them would gain an additional second type, too. In case you’re introduced to Pokemon via Pokemon Go, Pokemon Yellow had Pikachu as your starter Pokemon, while the original three would be given to you as you journey along.
Staying true to the main Pokemon games
Since Pokemon Go features the original 151 Pokemon (the remaining 600-plus Pokemon will be added sometime in the future, assuming Niantic really wants the game to have a long lifespan), it’s only natural that it also features the original three starters at the start. After setting up you Profile and starting your journey to become the very best, you will encounter the three original starters in the field, regardless of your location. You can choose which one of them you’d like to catch for yourself as your first Pokemon. However, if you walk away from them several times, Pikachu will then join them. Of course, you can catch all four of them again somewhere, but if you want to stay true to the Pokemon games, then don’t pass up the chance to catch them early.
Every time a new Pokemon game arrives, the age-old question of which starter Pokemon is the best among the three is revisited. In fact, it’s a running gag around the internet that in the original games, you should always go for Charmander and never pick poor little Bulbasaur, despite it having clear advantages over the first two Pokemon Gyms in the games. Of course, traditional Gyms are not present in Pokemon Go, so with that aside, let’s take a look at the original starter Pokemon and how they perform in Pokemon Go.
If you did not choose Bulbasaur at the start, you can find him in the natural habitat of other Grass-type Pokemon: parks. Its evolutions – Ivysaur and Venusaur – can also be encountered in the same way, albeit in a much rarer occurrence. Of course, you can evolve Bulbasaur and Ivysaur using the Candies you farmed. In the main Pokemon games, the Bulbasaur line is more of a technician when it comes to battle. It doesn’t rely on hard-hitting attacks, but instead on status effects like putting opponents to sleep or poisoning them. To some, it’s a boring way to approach battles. But not everything can be solved through brute force. If you want proof of this, go buy a League of Legends account and you’ll notice how not everyone is too eager to engage in collisions in a match.
However, the more fast-faced battle system in Pokemon Go basically renders status effects useless, so down goes the Bulbasaur line’s one big battle advantage. Still, Venusaur will put a dent into anyone’s HP with its powerful Solar Beam. There are also a lot of Water-type Pokemon in the original 151. And guess what? Grass-type moves are super effective against them, so that gives Venusaur more use. Well, at least until the other Grass-type starters come along.
In the TV series, Charmander and its evolutions are heavily featured, being one of the main character’s best Pokemon, so that may have contributed to its popularity over the other two starters. Choosing Charmander in the main Pokemon games is actually the worst, because the first two Pokemon Gyms in the games are home to Rock-type Pokemon and Water-type Pokemon – both of which are Charmander’s weaknesses. But its popularity can also be traced to its final form, Charizard, because there’s no argument that it’s the coolest-looking of the evolved forms of the original starters.
Anyway, Charmander and its evolution line can be found near gas stations, the reported favorite spawn place of all other Fire-type Pokemon. Once you fully evolve it, or catch one in the wild, Charizard still remains the most offensive-oriented of the original starters in Pokemon Go. Although its subtype (Flying) makes it very susceptible to Rock-type moves, Charizard nevertheless is one of the premier powerhouses in Pokemon Go, thanks to its high attack. And it’s definitely still one of the coolest. Charizard can easily make ashes out of Grass-type and Bug-type Pokemon, two of the more common Pokemon types, although the prevalence of Water-type Pokemon counters this.
Squirtle and its two evolved forms – Wartortle and Blastoise – can be found near places with bodies of water, similar to other Water-type Pokemon. There are also Candies if you prefer to acquire the evolutions in a more “natural” way. But, of course, you can simply buy a Pokemon Go account with a Blastoise already on hand. Blastoise is the most defensive-oriented out of the original starters’ fully evolved forms, which is probably due to it being based on a tortoise. Thanks to its Water-type moves, Blastoise can drown Fire-type, Ground-type, and Rock-type Pokemon, which makes it an excellent Gym defender because of how common those three types are.
Design-wise, Blastoise is probably the coolest-looking out of all Water-type starters in all generations of Pokemon games. Because, really, there’s no topping those two big-ass cannons parked inside its shell. For some reason though, Squirtle is the least talked about starter Pokemon in the original Pokemon games, likely because all the love went to Charmander and all the hate went to Bulbasaur.
Which one to pick?
Based on type coverages alone, Blastoise is actually the best pick in Pokemon Go. (Remember, there are no traditional Pokemon Gyms to take into account.) Its attack stat may not rival that of Charizard’s, but it’s good enough to douse the flame of every Fire-type that comes its way. It’s weak to Grass-type and Electric-type moves, but there’s only a handful of Electric Pokemon in Pokemon Go, with the most powerful one still not even available in-game. This leaves Grass-type moves to be afraid of. Fortunately, Grass-type Pokemon aren’t exactly known for being heavy-hitters.
If you want sheer power alone or want to walk around with the coolest-looking, then go for Charizard. Although it’s not a “real” Dragon Pokemon, Charizard is the closest thing you can get to another Dragon Pokemon, at least until the other Dragon Pokemon arrives. Venusaur, on the other hand, is…still being Venusaur – the one that gets overlooked most of the time. Fire-type and Psychic-type moves are some of the most powerful attacks in Pokemon Go and, unfortunately, Venusaur is weak to both, no thanks to its dual Grass-Poison type.
This article was biased towards your personal favorite. For your nostalgia purposes, Charizard is just a 5′ 7” horned salamander that can’t learn Fly in Pokémon Red or Blue. In Pokémon Go all starters’ final forms are S tier. Compare them instead of criticizing the alternate mascots.