The water-type starter. Water-types tend to always play the second fiddle when it comes to starter Pokémon, but they still have a huge fanbase that consistently chooses them game in and game out. Throughout the years, we’ve received seven different water Pokémon as an option to start our journey with. From the loved Squritle all the way to the often maligned Popplio, today we’ll be taking a look at all of these Pokémon, and ranking them from worst all the way to the best. While Sword and Shield’s sad boy starter Sobble has already been revealed, since we’ll be taking a look at the entire evolution line for our rankings, he won’t be included. Let’s jump into the list at number seven.
Even the worst of the water starters is actually pretty great. A fan favorite from Generation Six, starting off our list is Froakie. This frog-like ninja certainly had some sort of appeal, becoming one of Ash’s main Kalos Pokémon and making it into Smash Bros. as a playable fighter. While Froakie is cute enough, Greninja raises some questions. Sure, the ninja design is interesting, but similarly to Miley Cyrus, why the tongue? Was that really necessary? And the whole Ash-Greninja thing also raises its own questions. While overall Froakie is a fine starter choice for the Kalos region, it certainly isn’t the best of the water types starter Pokémon.
Mudkip is the cutest little boy, who doesn’t love him? Marshtomp categorically loses that trait the second that Mudkip evolves, to be honest though. Then Marshtomp is a pretty cool final evolution. Just the right balance of power and good design. In regards to Mega Marshtomp… let’s just say that the artist block that caused Flygon and Milotic to not receive Megas certainly shows. The Hoenn region did a fantastic job when crafting its starter trio, and while Mudkip itself is certainly the star of this group, the entire evolutionary line was crafted very well. Except for the big buff boy. He’s just very okay at best.
At first glance, Oshawott is unremarkable at best. One really couldn’t be faulted on mistaking it for Piplup. Debuting in back-to-back generations, this Unova starter looks remarkably similar to Sinnoh’s water-type starter. However, upon evolution, this similarity is almost immediately erased. Dewott itself is a fine middle starter.
It doesn’t have any defining traits that let you in on what form the final evolution might take on. However, upon evolving to Samurott, Oshawott realizes its potential. The sea-lion is a great inspiration for a Pokémon, and while it certainly isn’t the best competitively, the Pokémon’s massive stature makes it an intimidating force to be reckoned with.
The OG baby! Squirtle, the water-type starter for Kanto, has stolen hearts of many over the years. Is it really hard to see why? The tiny little boy is smiling whenever you see him, it’s just infectious! There’s no way that you can’t love him. However, Squirtle doesn’t top the list, and the reason is due to his evolutions. Wartortle is easily one of the most forgettable middle evolutions of all time. It doesn’t develop from Squirtle in any real noticeable kind of way. It’s a letdown overall. While Blastoise is obviously well-designed, that middle evolution does nothing for the line. All-in-all, Squirtle lands in fourth place on the list.
Piplup is an absolute icon of a Pokémon. Hailing from the Sinnoh region, this water-type starter is a penguin looking Pokémon. Piplup is absolutely adorable, easily being one of the cutest starter Pokémon of all time. It’s evolution Prinplup is essentially just a power-up’d version of Piplup. The final stage of the line though, Empoleon, is a sight to behold. Being a water/steel type, this Pokémon has wings that look like they could cut through just about anything.
The evolution from Piplup to Empoleon just makes perfect sense, and Empoleon’s actually design is incredibly well-done and inspired. This powerful line is certainly one of the best that the water type has to offer in terms of starter Pokémon.
Totodile is one of the absolute most precious starter Pokémon out there. Look at that face. This boy looks like he is screaming out in happiness at all times. Hailing from the Johto region, this Pokémon certainly manages to follow-up on Squirtle, delivering more than enough spunk to get the job done. Middle evolution Croconaw is a great step between Totodile and the annoyingly named Feraligatr. Look, he was only named like that because we had a chracter lmit, cn we fx tht nw pls? Either way, the line is designed perfectly, and the final evolution is clearly worth the wait he takes to evolve. Totodile’s line is certainly one of the best starter lines out there.
Popplio, hey there little guy. You received a lot of hate when you first debuted, all completely unwarranted, of course. While Popplio is often regarded as the lowest on the totem pole of the Alolan starter Pokémon, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Popplio starts out as a lowly circus clown, before making his way to be the beautiful performer that he was meant to be. The very feminine appearance of this line is actually a really nice dichotomy to the over 80% chance any given starter has to be male. Brionne, the middle evolution, only wants to make others happy, and will even keep its emotions hidden if it is sad, in order to not make anyone else upset. Oh. My. God. Brionne, you lovely little thing you. The final form of this line, Primarina, is truly just iconic. A fantastic voice and the most beautiful head of hair you’ve ever seen, Popplio was meant to be a performer from the beginning. The great progression of this line and the many trends that it bucks as a starter Pokémon are what lead to be it taking the cake as the best of the best in terms of water-type starter Pokémon in the entire franchise.