A new Pokemon game is on the horizon, which means you have a couple of very important choices to make. On November 18th, do you play Pokemon Sun or Pokemon Moon? Which starting Pokemon do you choose to help shepherd you through the new Alola region? I can't really help you with the first question, but maybe the following information can help you narrow down the choices between starting Pokemon.
The owl Pokemon, Rowlet, is the second starting Pokemon that is mixed type, following Bulbasaur's lead. Both Grass and Flying, it is somewhat of a oddity, considering Grass is weak to Flying. Rowlet isn't the only Pokemon in the series that has this peculiar mix; at least five other Pokemon gain the benefits (and weaknesses) of being Grass/Flying. The young bird uses its feathers as razor-sharp weapons, throwing them with pinpoint accuracy.
Grass-types are known for their great support abilities like Leech Seed and Spore, and their Attack and Special Attack stats tend to be on the high side. Flying-types usually become among the fastest Pokemon in the game, with super high Speed stats and above average Attack and Special Attack stats. Flying abilities can also hit any target in Triple Battles, which is incredibly useful. Unfortunately, Grass-types tend to have the most weaknesses in the game, and like other Grass/Flying types, Rowlet is highly susceptible to Flying-type attacks. They usually have reliable raw defense numbers, though, and you'll be needing them. You'll encounter plenty of Flying, Bug and Poison-type Pokemon who can put a hurting on Grass-types.
Another great bonus for mixed Pokemon is the pool of abilities you have to choose from when considering STAB, or Same Type Attack Bonus. When you attack with an ability type that matches your Pokemon's type, the attack is more effective. With two types to draw from, Rowlet has a wide selection of moves to benefit from. As a starter Pokemon, trainers will be able to take advantage of this bonus early, since Rowlet will know Leafage immediately.
Rowlet evolves into Dartrix, a more regal, full grown avian creature. It retains its Grass/Flying type, but also seems to gain more of an attitude in its evolutionary adolescence. Apparently, it can get distracted by how disheveled its feathers get during battle and actually leave combat out of vanity! Be sure to bring your best compliments to battle, along with those Potions.
Its final evolution is Decidueye. Oddly, it sheds its Flying status, gaining Ghost-type instead. This may have something to do with the fact that it can move around without enemies being aware of its presence, firing arrow quills from its coat from the darkness. Cooler still, the Ghost-type comes with its own special, Decidueye-exclusive move, Spirit Shackle, which prevents Pokemon from fleeing or being switched out by trainers. If you're willing to ride out the bummer of being a Grass-type Pokemon with many weaknesses, Decidueye is definitely worth the investment.
Aloof fire kitten, Litten, is your Fire selection out of the three choices. Its fur is combustible, and Litten uses its hairballs as fuel for its Ember attack that it'll know right out of the gate.
Fire Pokemon have a wild advantage over Grass, Ice, and Bug Pokemon. This is an especially important detail, considering Grass-types are some of the most common Pokemon in the series. Fire-type Pokemon are generally offensive wunderkind, and they make for great sweepers. Fire abilities also just tend to do more damage than other types. So if bombastic offense is your goal, Litten might be your choice.
Litten evolves into Torracat, becoming both more powerful and more aggressive. It's dangerous, with empowered Fire abilities thanks to its collar-like fire gland and its incredible strength. It's also prideful and kind of a jerk, so be patient with it.
Litten's final evolution is Incineroar, described as the Heel Pokemon. Sort of makes sense, considering that the pluming tuft of fur around its waist looks a lot like a championship belt, and it's colorful like a luchador. I can see the comparison. To that same end, it seems to get stronger as the audience gets more invested in it, like a pro-wrestler would. It gains the Dark element and access to an exclusive move called Darkest Lariat, which ignores stat changes that the target may be under the effects of when dealing damage.
Alola's starting Water option is Popplio, a peppy little sea lion with a clown nose and collar. Even though it seems pretty innocuous and in line with the benignity of most Water-types, the Internet was not having it. Which is a shame, because Popplio has some pretty great upsides, even if it does look a little goofy.
By simply being a Water Pokemon, Popplio is among the most common types in the game. Water Pokemon tend to be strong both offensively AND defensively, and their attributes tend to progress rather evenly. They can learn Ice-type attacks, which helps them nullify Grass Pokemon, leaving their only hard-to-answer weakness being Electric-types. Water Gun and Torrent are great mainstay Water abilities that remain effective into mid/late game, and Popplio will come into both over time.
Popplio evolves into Brionne, a dancing showstopper. Nicknamed the Pop Star Pokemon, it loves to perform for people, happy or sad. That doesn't mean it can't be a fierce competitor, though. It creates bubble balloons during its dance that may seem harmless initially, but they can confuse and dazzle opponents. When tossed and crashed together, they can wreak havoc on the unsuspecting foe.
Popplio's final evolution stage is Primarina, who goes full on Rachael Leigh Cook at the end of She's All That, transforming from awkward duckling into beautiful swan. The Soloist Pokemon has mastered the art of the dance and now incorporates singing into its grand performance. Primarina uses its voice to control starlit bubbles, crashing them into enemies with dramatic flair. Primarina also gains access to an exclusive move, Sparkling Aria, which can "heal the burns of any target it strikes."
Who will you choose as your starting Pokemon? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook, and for more information, drop by our friends at the Bulbapedia. For Sun and Moon walkthroughs, tools, and more, visit the Bulba Handbook.
Thanks, Master_Zoen, for reminding us about Bulbasaur.
Jarrett shares his love of video games and geek culture through feature articles on Gamepedia. He prides himself on his deep attraction to Japanese beat-em ups and his god-like Bushido Blade talents.