'Pokémon Legends: Arceus' Starters List and Guide: Which Fighter Is the Best Choice?

Pokémon Legends: Arceus upends a lot of the franchise's established conventions, but one thing that has been carried over from the older games is that initial choice of who your starter Pokémon ought to be.

In many ways, the latest Nintendo Switch exclusive is a radical departure from the norm. Unlike previous Pokémon outings, it's set in an expansive open world and features stealth mechanics, a crafting system, air traversal, as well as boss fights.

With a general emphasis on discovery and exploration, it's probably got more in common with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild than it does Sword and Shield. That being said, it doesn't completely abandon every tradition.

For instance, you will still be presented with that classic choice near the beginning of Pokémon Legends: Arceus about who you want your starter to be. As always, this is a very important decision that will have repercussions on your first few hours in the game.

Whoever you pick will be your steadfast companion throughout, your only option for those early battles (at least until you expand your Pokédex) and will probably be the first pocket monster that you manage to evolve.

Who Are the Starters in 'Pokémon Legends: Arceus'?

There are three candidates in Legends: Arceus, those being Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott.

Often, starter Pokémon will be brand new additions to the series, but these are all familiar faces. Rowlet was introduced back in the seventh generation, Cyndaquil in the second and Oshawott in the fifth.

Given that you may already be familiar with these starters, you might think that you have a pretty good idea as to which one suits you best. However, Legends: Arceus is a totally different type of Pokémon game from any that have come before, and you might find that you value different traits in your fighters.

To help you make an informed decision, here's everything you need to know about Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott.

Rowlet

CategoryStats
Pokémon TypeGrass
Health68
Attack55
Defense55
Special Attack50
Special Defense50
Speed42
Total Stats320
First Evolution (Dartrix)At level 17
Second Evolution (Hisuian Decidueye)At level 34

This grass type Pokémon is a good all-rounder in terms of hard numbers, with 68 HP, a 55 attack rating and a grand total of 320 base stats. It's also immune to ground damage and has resistances to water, grass and fighting moves.

Best of all, it can be progressed into superior forms (Dartrix and Hisuian Decidueye) rather quickly, as its first evolution triggers at level 17 and then its second occurs at level 34.

If you are undecided about how you're going to play Pokémon Legends: Arceus, then Rowlet is a good safe bet, thanks to its relatively sturdy health and quick evolution pathway.

Rowlet in 'Pokemon Legends: Arceus"
Image shows Rowlet in "Pokemon Legends: Arceus". The grass type is one of the starters that you can choose at the beginning of the game. Nintendo of America

Cyndaquil

CategoryStats
Pokémon TypeFire
Health39
Attack52
Defense43
Special Attack60
Special Defense50
Speed65
Total Stats309
First Evolution (Quilava)At Level 14
Second Evolution (Hisuian Typhlosion)At Level 36

Cyndaquil might be a better long-term option, however, given that its final form, Hisuian Typhlosion, has the highest overall stats (534).

Until you reach level 14 though, you will be stuck with a standard Cyndaquil which isn't quite as well-balanced as Rowlet. It has nearly half the amount of health (at just 39) and a much lower defense too (43). That being said, it can inflict heavy damage and has a good special attack rating of 50. In terms of weaknesses, it is a fire type and so is vulnerable to ice, flying, poison and rock moves.

If you are playing the long game and want to gradually evolve into a heavy hitter, then Cyndaquil might be the right pick for you. Otherwise, if you just want a reliable starter until you build up your Pokédex, we'd suggest going with the more durable Rowlet.

Oshawott

CategoryStats
Pokémon TypeWater
Health55
Attack55
Defense45
Special Attack63
Speed Defense45
Speed45
Total Stats308
First Evolution (Dewott)At Level 17
Second Evolution (Hisuian Samurott)At Level 36

While a blinkered look at the stats might lead you to believe that Oshawott is the worst starter Pokémon on offer, in practice it's actually a fair choice.

This is because Oshawott is a water-type fighter and is therefore capable of inflicting extra damage on rock opponents. Given that you will be encountering a lot of those in the early hours of Legends: Arceus, Oshawott can give you an easier start to the game.

As a trade-off, its total stats are much lower than Rowlet's and Cyndaquil's, and its final form (Hisuian Samurott) isn't quite as formidable as the Hisuian Decidueye or the Hisuian Typhlosion either.

Overall Verdict

Although it sounds like a cop-out, there is no wrong choice when it comes to your starter Pokémon in Legends: Arceus.

It all depends on what you're looking for. If you just want a starter to get you through those first few encounters, then Oshawott is ideal, but if you prefer an investment that will pay off in the long run Cyndaquil is better.

That being said, Rowlet has the best total stats and reaches its final form quickest, so if there is an objective winner here it's probably them.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus Starters
From left to right, image shows artwork for Rowlet, Oshawott and Cyndaquil. Players will have to choose one of these as their starter in "Pokémon Legends: Arceus." Nintendo of America