Choosing a Starter Pokemon: The Hoenn Region

In the world of Pokemon every young boy or girl starts out more or less equal -- that is to say without a Pokemon and about to set out on their great adventure. The first step on that journey is the selection of their first -- or starter -- Pokemon.

The Starter Pokemon come in three basic types -- Fire, Water, and Grass Types -- and when the new trainer receives them they are already leveled to Level 5, having one damage-dealing move, and one stat-changing move.

The trainer is offered their choice of one of the three Poke Balls by the Professor -- no matter which one they choose though, their rival will choose the other that has a type advantage against it, which slightly increases their chance, should the player make a mistake in their first battle with their rival, of them claiming an early victory.

In the Hoenn Region -- home to the games Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald -- Professor Birch offers the player a choice between the following three Started Pokemon:

Mudkip -- a Water Type whose evolutionary chain consists of Mudkip > Marshtomp > Swampert.

Torchic -- a Fire Type whose evolutionary chain consists of Torchic > Combusken > Blaziken.

Treecko -- a Grass Type whose evolutionary chain consists of Treecko > Grovyle > Sceptile.

The starters for Hoenn deviate from the standard makeup in that while they all begin as a single Type -- Water, Fire, and Grass -- as is the norm, both Torchic and Mudkip become dual-types with their first evolution. Mudkip becomes a Water/Ground Type when it evolves into Marshtomp, and Torchic becomes Fire/Fighting Type when it evolves into Combusken.

The change from single-type to dual-type for those two changes the nature of the choice of starter for these games in that

The Enduring Starter

For the vast majority of trainers the Pokemon that they choose as their starter has far more significance and value to them than simply being the first Pokemon that they use to capture their next Pokemon!

In fact it is estimated that around 90% of the players who are fans of the game tend to retain their Starter and use and evolve them as their main Pokemon and Team Leader for the entire adventure.

As noted above though, that first Pokemon is the key to the long chain of additional Pokemon that the player will encounter, battle, capture, and collect.

While the vast majority of the Pokemon you capture in the wild will end up residing in a Pokemon Storage Box in the Pokemon Center Network -- at least until you have become the League Champion and finally turn to the lengthy and challenging task of evolving and training them in order to complete your Pokedex -- your starter is very likely to be your best friend and preferred go-to Pokemon for the more important battles, when their type suits!

Choosing Your Starter

The first thing you need to focus upon is the following fact: There is NO wrong choices.

With Treecko stuck at a single Type (Grass) the advantages that Torchic and Mudkip have need to be examined before the choice is made.

With respect to Mudkip, the change to Water/Ground Type gives it both positive and negative elements through that evolution. The positive aspects are that the addition of Ground cancels out the weakness it would ordinarily face versus Electric-Types, while it enjoys a decided advantage versus Rock, Steel, and Poison Types.

Unfortunately it has a disadvantage versus Fire Type, and more disturbing is that it now has a massive disadvantage versus Grass-Type (to the tune of x4 weaknesses against it!).

Torchic may seem to have gained a major advantage being able to master Fire and Physical Fighting moves, but we must not forget that the mixture of Fire and Fighting is not actually a good one as it cancels out some of the advantages of both without gaining enough to make it a preferable mix.

Still though, the pairing does provide you with a more robust dependable team member, so if your style of play is more of the defensive/strategic style it may be the one to choose.

We now come back to Treecko -- who we initially discounted early on due to it remaining a single-type. That might have been the final word on the matter if not for a few late-evolutionary points that tend to tip the scales in its favor!

Once Treecko evolves into Sceptile it comes into its own in more than one way, and has turned into a very formidable damage dealer. First off, it can learn Pursuit, making it particularly effective versus Ghost Types, but even more significant it also has its own devastating natural in its Leaf Blade attack, but the bonus is its ability to learn Dragon Moves via TMs. In particular the move Dragon Claw.

So where does that leave us?

As we noted at the start of this section, there really is NO wrong choice. But in terms of making the best choice, this will largely depend upon your style of battle and the preferred strategy that you follow.

If you are a defensive sort who likes to be able to soak up damage, then Torchic is likely your best choice. If you are middle of the road, and you dabble in both offensive and defensive strategy, it would seem that Mudkip would be the way to go. Finally, if you are an aggressive battler and enjoy dishing it out, then Treecko is your man.

Of course this is all predicated upon the certainty that you will never allow your Pokemon -- Starter or standard -- to engage in a type-opposed battle! No, the entire point behind building a reliable and effective team is to always manage the battles and put the right Pokemon into play.

Still, you should now be confident in making the right choice (for you) having better understood the parameters.

For more info on starters and help completing your Pokemon game, check some of our free online strategy guides:

Pokemon Black -

Pokemon Black 2 -

Pokemon Diamond -

Pokemon Emerald -

Pokemon FireRed -

Pokemon HeartGold-

Pokemon Platinum -

Pokemon SoulSilver-

Pokemon White -

Pokemon X -

Pokemon Y -