Pokémon Sun and Moon: Best Starter Pokémon

Pokémon Sun and Moon: Best Starter Pokémon

Litten, Rowlet, and Popplio: Which starter Pokémon in Pokémon Sun and Moon is the very best? Here are their base stats and evolutions.

Choosing a Pokémon starter is a years-old tradition that fuels nostalgic stories like nothing else in gaming culture. Predictably, Pokemon Sun and Moon doesn't mess with what works. When the game starts, you're called on to pick from one of three starting Pokémon: The Fire-type Litten, the Grass-type Rowlet, and the Water-type Popplio. This Pokemon Sun and Moon Guide to picking the best starter pokemon will tell you all you need to know.

As usual, each starter Pokémon has three evolutionary stages, and stats can vary wildly from evolution to evolution, making it hard to pick which one's the very best. If you're only concerned about the single-player experience in Pokémon Sun and Moon, you're probably not going to have a hard time finishing the game with the Pokémon that looks coolest (which, of course, is Litten). However, if you plan to battle other live players, you need to take your starter Pokémon's stats a little more seriously.

Here's a breakdown of the base stats for Pokémon Sun and Moon's starter Pokémon, their evolutions, their advantages, and their disadvantages. We can also help you build the very best Pokémon team to compliment your starter.

Pokemon Sun and Moon Starter Pokemon Stats

Litten: Fire-type

Base stats:

  • HP: 45
  • Attack: 65
  • Defense: 40
  • Speed: 60
  • Special Defense: 40
  • Special Attack: 70

This spunky little fire-cat has some muscle to back up its bluster. Its special attack stat is the highest of the three starters' beginning evolutions, and its normal attack stat is nothing to sneeze at, either. Its starting HP is pretty low, though. Litten knows how to put those claws to use, but can it keep that fire lit through its evolutions?

Torracat: Fire-type

Base stats:

  • HP: 65
  • Attack: 85
  • Defense: 50
  • Speed: 80
  • Special Defense: 50
  • Special Attack: 90

For a cat, Torracat isn't very light on its feet. This kitty likes to take things easy even after it evolves from Litten. At least it has a very decent Special Attack stat compared to the others' middle evolutions. Torracat's regular Attack and regular Defense get upgrades as well, though its HP is still quite low. So how does Litten's final evolution, Incineroar, look?

Incineroar: Fire / Dark-type

Base stats:

  • HP: 95
  • Attack: 115
  • Defense: 90
  • Speed: 80
  • Special Defense: 90
  • Special Attack: 60
  • Hidden Ability: Intimidate

Incineroar has the strongest regular Attack stat out of the three starters' final evolutions. It also finally compensates for that low HP with the highest base HP out of all three. However, Incineroar is a bit sluggish, and his Special Attack stat isn't so hot, so to speak. Still, with that Attack strength and the Intimidate hidden ability (which lowers a foe's attack), Incineroar is a powerful fighter.

Rowlet: Grass / Flying-type

Base stats:

  • HP: 68
  • Attack: 55
  • Defense: 55
  • Speed: 50
  • Special Defense: 50
  • Special Attack: 42

Aside from its base HP, Rowlet's stats are ... not too impressive. Its slow speed took fans by surprise, given its typing. Otherwise, it appears to be a rounded fighter without any major strengths. But hey – that just means room for improvement through evolution. Right?

Dartrix: Grass / Flying-type

Base stats:

  • HP: 78
  • Attack: 75
  • Defense: 75
  • Speed: 70
  • Special Defense: 70
  • Special Attack: 52

Well, that's ... a little better. Sort of. Rowlet's evolution, Dartrix, is still the slowest out of the three starters for Pokemon Sun and Moon, and again, there isn't much to speak of in the way of specialties. It's an OK stat-set, but not spectacular by a long shot.

Decidueye: Grass / Ghost-type

Base stats:

  • HP: 78
  • Attack: 107
  • Defense: 75
  • Speed: 100
  • Special Defense: 100
  • Special Attack: 70
  • Hidden Ability: Long Reach

This is interesting. Though Rowlet has the highest HP of the three starters, its final form, Decidueye, has the lowest HP out of the three starters' final evolutions. Decidueye's speed does get a nice boost, though it's still quite a bit slower than Primarina, Popplio's final form. Its normal Attack stat, while higher than Popplio's, is still lower than Incineroar's. Decidueye is, in a word, OK. Its Long Reach hidden ability (which lets it attack Pokémon that might inflict status ailments upon physical contact, e.g. poison and paralysis) undoubtedly comes in handy at certain points, but otherwise ... eh.

Popplio: Water-type

Base stats:

  • HP: 50
  • Attack: 54
  • Defense: 54
  • Speed: 66
  • Special Defense: 56
  • Special Attack: 40

Popplio continues the Pokémon series' tradition of reviled Water-type starters. And as per tradition, it may wind up being the best of the three. Popplio is speedier than Rowlet and Litten (which is interesting, considering we're talking about a seal against an owl and a cat), and its special attack is the highest out of the three, too. Not a bad start for such a goofy-looking fellah.

Brionne: Water-type

Base stats:

  • HP: 60
  • Attack: 69
  • Defense: 69
  • Speed: 91
  • Special Defense: 81
  • Special Attack: 50

There's no doubt about it: This seal knows how to book it. Brionne's Speed stat blitzes Torracat's and Dartrix's. Chalk it up to yet another mystery of Pokémon biology. Brionne's excellent Speed and strong Special Defence help make up for the rest of its stats, which are on the low side.

Primarina: Water / Fairy-type

Base stats:

  • HP: 80
  • Attack: 74
  • Defense: 74
  • Speed: 126
  • Special Defense: 116
  • Special Attack: 60
  • Hidden Ability: Liquid Voice

Primarina is far and away the fastest of the three starter Pokemon, and its Special Defense stat is quite decent, too. That helps make up for its low Attack and regular Defense stats, which keep Primarina from dishing out (and taking) too many hard knocks. Skilled players will have a lot of fun formulating strategies, no doubt. Primarina's Hidden Ability is Liquid Voice, which turns all voice-related moves into Water-type moves.

What is the Best Starter Pokemon in Pokemon Sun and Moon

Conclusion: In terms of raw brute strength, Incineroar wins. Not a big surprise when you consider his motif (it's a kitty-wrestler!). Primarina is fast, and can defend itself well against special attacks. Decidueye is an OK all-'rounder who can hold his own through the single-player campaign without a problem, but may present an issue for people who want to fight competitively. No doubt some creative battlers will nurture some interesting move sets, though.

Regardless of whom you choose as your next best friend, be sure to look at all our tips, tricks, and walkthroughs for Pokémon Sun and Moon, and learn how you can build up a great Pokémon team.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

In other news

Dicey Dungeons Had a Surprise Launch on Switch Last Night

Turns out Nintendo had another card up its sleeve. A card with, uh… with dice on it.

How Familiars.io's Creator Fit Multiplayer Monster-Taming Into a Single Tweet

Bless Twitter's Javascript embeds for letting this Pokemon-like flourish.

CD Projekt Red Is "Not Encouraging" Cyberpunk 2077 Returns, Joint-CEO Tells Investors

"We hope they'll give us a chance to improve the game on the original consoles," says Marcin Iwiński.

You may also like

Cyberpunk 2077 Review: Death by a Thousand Cyber-Cuts

Even if you get beyond the bugs, it's just not worth it.

Stardew Valley Just Got Beaches, Fish Tanks, Swimming Ducks, and a Whole Lot More

Nearly five years on, Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone just pushed what he says is Stardew's "biggest update yet."

Alien: Isolation Is Free on Epic and Just As Good as It Was in 2014

Get the motion tracker and don't go in the vents.