The persimmon-hued Pokémon Fuecoco is dumpy, with pointed buck teeth sticking out of its gaping mouth. Its arms are small and probably inflexible, and it bumbles around Pokémon Scarlet and Violet on its stone-sized toes, trying to gobble burnt-up fruits. What a dummy. But Fuecoco also leaks and spits fire, which is both alarming and a large part of why it’s one of the new game’s more frequently recommended starters.
And it’s for good reason—fire-type Pokémon are difficult to come by in the early game, and Fuecoco’s powers, its high HP, and defense, help chew straight through your initial gym encounters. But Scarlet and Violet also offer an open world and nonlinear progression, so breezing through gyms might not concern you yet. And the toupee-wearing (I assume) duck Quaxly’s beautifully glossed mane might also be calling to you. No need to resist. I’ll help you decide the best out of your three options: Fuecoco, Quaxly, and Sprigatito.
OK, as far as actual starting goes, it’s Fuecoco. Objectively.
- HP: 67
- Attack: 45
- Defense: 59
- Special attack: 63
- Special defense: 40
- Speed: 36
Baby Fuecoco, which resists bug, steel, fire, grass, ice, and fairy-type attacks, fares well against two of Scarlet and Violet’s first gyms, Cortondo (bug) and Artazon (grass). And the cutie evolves into flaming, frowning crocodile Skeledirge, which is a Fire/Ghost type, making it eventually immune to fighting and normal-type Pokémon. It’s potent beyond just the outset.
But since Scarlet and Violet let you skip between three story paths—your goal isn’t just to stomp on gym leaders, but also fell Herba Mystica-guarding Titan Pokémon, and teach mean-kid Team Star who’s the boss (through actual boss battles)—Fuecoco isn’t universally dominant. Still, its brawny HP and defense, the most robust of the three Scarlet and Violet starters, protects it in the first Titan battle you come across, Stony Cliff, although Fuecoco will be weak to its rock-type Pokémon Klawf.
So, it’s also worth considering...
- HP: 55
- Attack: 65
- Defense: 45
- Special attack: 50
- Special defense: 45
- Speed: 50
Steel, fire, water, and ice-resistant water-type Quaxly turns into the rather dashing bipedal Quaquaval, a Water/Fighting type. It’s super effective against fire, ground, and rock-type attacks, making it a preferred choice for that Stony Cliff fight, and it boasts better speed than Fuecoco and the best offense out of all three starters.
Handsome Quaxly’s strengths—the meaty offense and super effectiveness—also make it ideal for anyone looking to collect specifically fire, ground, and rock-type Pokémon in the beginning of the game, efficiently rounding out your team and protecting Quaxly’s Achilles heels.
- HP: 40
- Attack: 61
- Defense: 54
- Special attack: 45
- Special defense: 45
- Speed: 65
Spry and well-rounded grass-type kitty Sprigatito turns into heavy-lidded Grass/Dark Meowscarada, which is immune to psychic attacks and resistant to dark, electric, grass, ground, ghost, and water. You might struggle initially, though, since this eggshell Pokémon has the lowest starting HP and is weak to bug, fire, flying, ice, poison-types, some of which unfortunately make up Scarlet and Violet’s opening gym and Titan fights.
But Sprigatito is fast. If you leverage that correctly, along with its balanced offense, defense and Meowscarada’s always-accurate critical hit Flower Trick, Sprigatito will help you win quick, clean fights.
Fuecoco will start your game with a bang, but all Scarlet and Violet’s starters have their merits depending on your goals (blow through gyms? build a solid team? end fights swiftly?). Because of that, you might feel like you’d prefer to really catch them all, and you can…with some work.
Scarlet and Violet’s starters will never appear in the wild, and they won’t be offered to you again, but they can be traded and hatched. So your options are to find two kindly friends or strangers to swap with, game the system with multiple copies of your own game, or luck out by using a female starter or pansexual Pokémon Ditto to give birth to some eggs.
But even with the standard lone starter, you don’t need to worry too much about having “the best” or covering every single one of your bases. Fuecoco is a strong single pick, but all of Scarlet and Violet’s starters have their virtues, so it comes down to personal choice.