Which Pokémon Legends: Arceus starter should you choose?

Most importantly: Who has the coolest final evolution?

Image via The Pokemon Company

Pokémon Legends: Arceus wastes no time in bucking one of the series’ oldest trends: showcasing three new Pokémon and allowing the player to choose one as their starter. Instead, Arceus is bringing back three starters from series history, one of which will act as each player’s companion as they travel through the Hisui region.

While Cyndaquil, Oshawott, and Rowlet are familiar faces to fans of the series, they’re presented in the all-new Hisui environment. To help you pick the best starter out of the three, here’s a side-by-side comparison of each Pokemon’s reliability and cool factor in Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

Cyndaquil

Cyndaquil and its evolutionary line, Quilava and Typhlosion, are some of the most well-loved Fire-type starters in the entire series, so it’s easy to see why Game Freak chose to include them in Arceus. While Cyndaquil has gone on to be overshadowed by faster, more powerful Fire-type starters like Torchic and Scorbunny, it still holds a special place in the heart of many players.

Screengrab via Nintendo/The Pokemon Company

Cyndaquil evolves into Quilava, followed by Typhlosion. All of the starters have received new Hisuian forms for their final evolutions—and Typhlosion is no different. When it reaches this final stage, it becomes a dual Fire- and Ghost-type, which increases the suite of moves available to it. Its Hisuian form is probably the least attractive of the three, and it’s already been memed to death since it was leaked prior to launch. But if appearance doesn’t matter as much to you, it’s still worth choosing.

Traditionally, Fire-type Pokémon are less common in the wild than Water or Grass-types, which has always made choosing the Fire-type starter an easy choice for those who want a well-balanced team. This is particularly true in games that feature Sinnoh, the region that Hisui is based on. Outside of starter Chimchar, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl’s only non-legendary Fire-type is Ponyta. Arceus does better by including other Fire-type Pokémon like Hisuian Growlithe, so choosing Cyndaquil isn’t quite as essential as it was in BDSP, but it’s still a good idea if you want some early-game firepower—and that late-game Ghost power.

Oshawott

Oshawott is Arceus’ Water-type starter and hails from Pokémon Black and White. It evolves into Dewott, followed by Samurott. All of these evolutions are hardy, powerful Water-types that make for great companion Pokémon who can hold their own against the wilds of Hisui.

Screengrab via Nintendo/The Pokemon Company

Once Oshawott reaches Samurott status, it can learn a wide variety of moves that can both buff itself and debuff its enemies. Its balanced stats mean it can function as a physical attacker or special attacker depending on the moves it’s taught and the items it holds. Like the other starters, its final evolution Hisuian form also gains another type—in this case, Dark, making it a dual Water and Dark-type. It’s called the Formidable Pokémon for a reason.

While Water-types aren’t exactly difficult to find in Hisui, Oshawott and its evolutions can still be strong members of a balanced team. Samurott also has the benefit of having the coolest Hisuian evolution of the three starters. So if you’re looking for a Water-type with great style and the substance to back it up, Oshawott might be the one for you.

Rowlet

Rowlet, the much-memed member of Pokémon Sun and Moon’s starter trio, returns again in Arceus. It’s the only one of the starters that starts out with a dual-type: Grass and Flying. Though Grass-types are also generally common, having dual-type status at the very beginning of the game is a useful boon to those looking to build a type-diverse team.

Screengrab via Nintendo/The Pokemon Company

Rowlet evolves into Dartrix, followed by Decidueye. While Decidueye is a Grass and Ghost-type in other titles, its Hisuian form is a dual Grass and Fighting-type, giving it a different feel in Arceus. This makes Decidueye more of a physical fighter than a special fighter, but it’s still a great complement to a balanced team.

Decidueye’s Hisuian form is unique, sitting somewhere between Typhlosion’s and Samurott’s. If you’re interested in a sneaky, swift, Grass and Fighting-type that can learn a lot of powerful offensive moves from multiple types in the late game, Rowlet is definitely the way to go.