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The Best Starter in Pokémon Sword and Shield?

best starter pokemon sword and shield

As the world of Pokémon Sword and Shield has descended upon us, you might be thinking of the perfect starter. Whether you’re new to the game or a seasoned battle-hardened veteran like me, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best starters in the game. Take note, this list is based on my experience; your needs may differ depending on which legendaries you want for your team!

Every main Pokémon game since time began has begun with a choice where you choose which companion will join you, for instance, a grasstype, a firetype, or a watertype. The three starter Pokémon in the Galar region are Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble.

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With starting Pokémon, they are generally the best ones to choose. For major battles against gym leaders, your choice will determine how things go down. And it‘s not just about the first few fights. It‘s also important to think longterm about this decision as well.

Lets take a look at how your journey with these Pokémon may start. How they may end during their evolution. And which Pokémon is best for your playstyle and version, so you can figure out which starter is for you.

All about Grooky, the grass starter Pokemon, and its evolutions

Rillaboom, Grooky’s starter evolution

Choosing Grookey, the chimp Pokémon (a potentially difficult path) can also be equally as rewarding. Although Grookey is the physically strongest starter Pokémon of them all, it also has a defense that will complement another defensive Pokémon you have chosen for your team early on: Wooloo.

If you have both Dubwool and Rillaboom, their evolutions are Wooloo and Grookey respectively. And your team becomes more resilient to strong attacks if they are not super effective. If you prefer to play a defensive game, Grookey is by far the best choice for you. Be careful though, because Rillaboom wont be much help against Champion Leon aside from Seismitoadbut they may sit out of the fight altogether, depending on type advantages. Based on type advantages, Grookey is better suited for swords than shields.

Major advantages:  can be found against Nessa, Gordie (Sword)

Major type disadvantage: Kabu, Melony (Shield)

Best Attacks:

  • Knock off [dark, 65/100] removed targets hold item.
  • Drum Beating [Grass 80/100, lower’s target’s speed]
  • Wood Hammer [Grass, 120/100, recoil]
  • Boomburst [Normal, 140/100, all targets]

Move Tutor Attack: Frenzy Plant [Grass, 150/90, skip next turn]

All about Scorbunny, the fire starter Pokemon, and its evolutions

Cinderace, Scorbunny’s starter evolution

If you want an arc that is easy to start with and less nuanced, Scorbunny may be your pick. You are up against a grass-type leader who can be easily tackled by your starter Pokemon. That said, the battle is still not difficult even without the advantage of using Scorbunnys evolution ability.

The attack and defense of the final evolution, Cinderace, is much lower than Rillaboom. But their special defense was actually slightly higher. However, in terms of nuanced type choices, Cinderace would be a better option for those who want to prioritize two types. In addition, Cinderace is firetype and fightingtype Pokémon while the rest are singletyped. In terms of type advantages, Scorbunny would be more optimized for Shield than Sword.

Major Type Advantages Against: Milo, Melony (Shield)

Major Type Disadvantages: Nessa, Gordie (Sword)

Best Attacks:

  • Pyro Ball [Fire, 120/90, may burn target]
  • Counter [Fighting, ?/100, Inflicts double physical damage taken that turn]
  • Double [Normal, 120/100, recoil]
  • Bounce [Flying, 85/85, Dodge one turn then attack, may paralyze]

Move Tutor Attack: Blast Burn [Fire, 150/90, skip next turn]

All about Sobble, the water starter Pokemon, and its evolutions

Inteleon, Sobble’s starter evolution

Sobble will give you a rough start to the game, but in the long run, they might be the best choice all around. You won‘t have enough survivability against either of your first two gym types, but once you hit Kabu they‘ll be easy for you to beat. This won’t hold true for most of the rest of the game though because it‘ll have major disadvantages.

Another factor to consider is that their special attack for their evolution, Inteleon, is the highest of the three starters. This alone has a special attack of the other two combined. If you prioritize special attacks you should select Sobble as your starter. And its helpful to note that if you want a major advantage over Champion Leons Gigantamax Pokémon, Charizard , Sobble is a great choice as its type advantages put it more optimized for Sword since Swinckle has a higher specialization with Shield.

Major Type Advantages Against: Kabu, Gordie (Sword)

Major Type Disadvantages: Milo

Best Attacks:

  • Water Pulse [Water, 60/100, may confuse target]
  • Sucker Punch [Dark, 70/100, goes first, fails if target is not attacking]
  • Liquidation [Water, 85/100, may lower target defense]
  • Hydro Pump [Water, 110/80]

Move Tutor Attack: Hydro Cannon [Water, 150/90, skip next turn]


In the case of Pokémon Sword, for example, Sobble is objectively the best choice. Nevertheless, choosing this Pokémon will make the beginning of the game difficult. Whether or not that decision is good for a player depends on subjective factors such as which starting Pokémon they prefer to choose at the beginning. In the end, Grookey can be best suited for defensive players and Scorbunny is best for those who like to mix up their attack sets with two different types of Pokémon.

On the other hand, different analysis can say so much. So when it comes down to choosing your starter Pokémon, choose the one that feels right to you. They are going to become your partner in crime for however many hours you may spend on the title. Which one will it be?

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