The Pokémon Starter Dilemma

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Hey nerds! I recently decided to return back to the original Pokémon games and give them another go. I found my old copy of Pokémon Blue and booted it up only to be faced with a dilemma. Which Pokémon do I start with? The mighty fire lizard, Charmander? The fierce but cute Squirtle? The dependable Bulbasaur? Here I will divulge the strengths and weaknesses of each, starting with the first pokeball presented, Charmander.


  • Charmander is a strong fighter that has a good start but slower tail end. He gets some big fire moves early in the game, but later in the game the moves he acquires slow down, and towards the end his moves don’t compete with some of the other fire Pokémons. You will need to train him hard to make sure he can compete.
  • What he lacks in fire attacks later in the game he does make up for with the ability to fly. By having such a potent combination of fire and flying it creates a very strong attack strategy and allows you to have two of the types that you should always construct your team with in one Pokémon. He becomes very strong and evolves at an early enough level that the flying component will come just at the right time.
  • The main problem with Charmander is his lack of strength against the second and third gym. The first gym he isn’t the best choice for but his fire attacks will still pack a punch. It makes him viable, but that lack of power against the second gym, which is during a time where you are still relying on your starters, is a major downfall.


  • Next up is Squirtle. To begin, I have to admit I have a bias towards Squirtle since he is my favorite Pokémon of all time, but I will look at this only through a strengths-and-weaknesses perspective. Squirtle is a medium ranked starter Pokémon, since water-type moves aren’t very effective against most wild Pokémon at the start of the game.
  • The benefit though of a water type is that the first gym it will be very strong against, which is a nice bonus at the start of the game. The second gym he matches the type with, which is neither a negative nor a positive. The third gym, though, he is weak but you can go and catch a Diglett or a Sandshrew in Diglett cave right next to the gym, which the third gym won’t be effective against.
  • The fact that he is a water type means that he will be able to learn surf, which will be a perfect addition to his fire power since it won’t take a slot away from one of his water-type moves and is such a potent water-type ability. There are a lot of other water-type Pokémons to compete with him but most of them aren’t very strong, unless you are willing to level up Magikarp ’till it evolves, or wait ’till you can catch a more powerful water Pokémon like Lapras.


  • Finally we have Bulbasaur. Bulbasaur is a very strong grass-type Pokémon that has a steady development throughout the game. He has some decent moves in the beginning, but takes a little longer to learn a very potent grass-type move: the vine whip.
  • Later in the game he will learn some very strong grass-type moves (like solar beam) but will take longer to learn them, and he doesn’t really have a competitive move up until then. He can learn cut but practically every one can so it’s not worth taking up one of his slots for a move like that. In regards to gym battles, he would be very effective against the first two and wouldn’t really have a strong weakness until later in the game.
  • There are a lot of grass Pokémon that can compete with Bulbasaur, but his main strength is that he is a great Pokémon if you have never played before and want one that stays level throughout the game, but he isn’t a good choice if you are a veteran.

In the end, the Pokémon you choose needs to match your game-play style. Are you the type that wants a tougher start but feel the challenge is worth it? Go with Squirtle. Do you want one that has a strong start and then settles? Go with Charmander. Or do you want one that stays even throughout the whole game? Then Bulbasaur should be your choice. I decided to go with Bulbasaur simply based on the fact that I have played this game countless times but I have never chosen Bulbasaur and I wanted something new. Which Pokémon do you prefer to start with?

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