Pokémon Sword and Shield: Which starter should you choose?

Cinderace, Scorbunny's final evolution
Cinderace, Scorbunny's final evolution (Image credit: iMore)

Pokemon Sword and Shield starters. Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble

Pokemon Sword and Shield starters. Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble (Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Pokémon Sword and Shield: Which starter should you choose?

Best answer: Scorbunny is the best choice for the early stages of the game, but Galar has such a wide variety of Pokémon to capture that it doesn't matter that much.Attack with full force!: Pokémon Sword ($60 on Amazon)Defend with all your might!: Pokémon Shield ($60 on Amazon)

Which starter Pokémon can you choose?

So, you are embarking on another Pokémon adventure in the brand new Galar region. Following in the usual tradition, there are three starter Pokémon. These are the regular Grass-Fire-Water trio that we have seen in all previous Pokémon games.

  • Grookey: A grass-type Pokémon that takes the form of a mischievous chimp who loves to explore the world and have fun.
  • Scorbunny: An energetic bunny fire-type Pokémon that is overflowing with vigor and loves bouncing around.
  • Sobble: A water-type Pokémon that is described as being an introverted lizard who hides away and attacks from underwater.

While each is unique, Scorbunny has the edge over the others in the game's early stages. However, after you explore the region and pick up more Pokémon, it won't matter.

What's so great about Scorbunny?

Pokemon Sword and Shield screenshot

Pokemon Sword and Shield screenshot (Image credit: iMore)

Aside from being super cute and energetic, Scorbunny is the best starter choice for the early game simply because he has a type advantage against the first gym: Milo's grass-type Gym. At that point in the game, you likely won't have your full team put together yet for the rest of the game. While there are some strong fire-types and other Pokémon you can capture up to that point, if you've started with Scorbunny you'll have a ready-made counter.

Do they all equal out?


Sobble (Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Pokémon Sword and Shield are extremely generous in providing you with a robust variety of Pokémon to capture and train very early in the game. You'll get access almost immediately to the Wild Area, which is just full of different types that change depending on the time of day and weather. Regardless of whether you pick Scorbunny or not, you'll be able to get a counter for any Gym or rival you run up against.

Furthermore, the second Gym is a water-type Gym, and the third is a fire-type Gym. That means every starter will eventually be the perfect counter to at least one Gym. This also goes for the later Gyms in the game, for the most part. In the end, they all equal out as you go through the story.

What about the post-game?

At the moment, it's still too early to say which Pokémon will objectively be the strongest in Pokémon Sword and Shield's competitive metagame. Because that will take shape over several weeks and months, it's not worth it to base your starter choice on what this will shake out to be. Pick the Pokémon that appeals the most to you, and if you want to play competitively later, work on trading and breeding Pokémon to obtain high-stat versions of ones that appeal to you for a post-game team. For the story, it's all just for fun!

Reb Valentine