Despite its rocky release, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet (PSV) are now the fastest selling Pokemon — nay — Nintendo games of all time. With a whopping 400 Pokemon to catch (104 of them being new additions to the franchise), deciding which six creatures to include on your team can be a challenge.
PSV’s open-world style means that players can choose to complete the game in any way they wish. There’s no linear path to follow, meaning that the team that a player chooses will be heavily influenced by the order in which they take gyms, defeat Titan Pokemon and when they decide to battle Team Star.
As soon as the tutorial finishes and you’re released into the wild, your Pokemon choice seems infinite. So which Pokemon are the best to have on your team?
First of all, you’re probably going to want to stick with your starter. The starters in PSV are Sprigatito (Grass), Fuecoco (Fire) and Quaxly (Water). Whichever you pick, the starter is going to carry you through the early and mid game due to both its typing and its loyalty to you as a trainer — especially as it grows and evolves.
Pokemon that are caught at too high of a level will disobey your commands in battle until you have enough gym badges to earn their respect. This doesn’t happen to Pokemon you obtain at a low level and train though, no matter how strong they become. Because you are given your starter right at the beginning of the game, keeping them in your party will provide you with a relatively “over-leveled” Pokemon that will always be willing to listen to your instructions.
Starter Pokemon in PSV have unique typings on their final evolutions, which provide wider coverage than the base Grass/Fire/Water triangle. Sprigatito fans will get the final evolution of Meowscarada (Grass, Dark); Fuecoco evolves into Skeledirge (Fire, Ghost); Quaxly’s final form is Quaquaval (Water, Fighting).
Sticking with your starter provides a solid backbone for your team, with a strong leader and a checklist of weaknesses and strengths you can supplement with your other team members.
Gyms, Titan Pokemon and Team Star
The open world of Paldea can be a bit intimidating at first. Luckily, the game’s map shows you the location of all the Gyms, Team Star bases and Titan Pokemon, as well as their typings. This makes choosing your next five Pokemon a little easier as you can immediately start building a team that has an advantage over your next adversary.
For these major parts of the game, you’re going to want to make sure you have all your bases covered. Do keep in mind that with Terastallizing, the typing of a Pokemon can change completely, so if you’re missing a type, check to see if the Tera version of that Pokemon is giving you the extra coverage you need.
Some early Pokemon who provide broad coverage for earning Gym badges, defeating the Titan Pokemon and beating Team Star are:
Clodsire: Paldean Wooper’s evolution is a big cutie, and useful to boot. With Poison and Ground, Clodsire is able to learn moves that deal with Fairy, Grass, Electric, Fire, Poison, Rock and Steel. The Water Absorb ability also gives extra utility against Water Pokemon – turning a weakness for Ground-type Pokemon into a strength.
Tinkatink: Tiny? Check. Pink? Check. Hammer? Check. This Fairy/Steel type is both cute and strong. With nine type resistances and two type immunities, Tinkatink should be a staple in any team.
Charcadet: The ‘Fire Child Pokemon’ is great for players that didn’t pick Fuecoco as their starter. Charcadet’s final typing depends on whether you picked up Scarlet or Violet, with the former getting Fire/Psychic, and the latter getting Fire/Ghost.
Garchomp: Gibles are everywhere in PSV, so make sure you pick one up early. When it gets to its final evolution — Garchomp — at level 48, it has a base stat total of 600. The Dragon/Ground typing does give some coverage, but those base stats are legendary. Garchomp has been a staple of Pokemon competitive play since its debut, so it’s a powerful addition to any team.
Rotom: For that final push to cover Bug, Dark and Psychic, we have the tried and true Rotom. This Electric/Ghost Pokemon’s ability is Levitate, meaning it also has full immunity to Ground-type moves, plus the ability to swap sub-types later in the game by changing into one of it’s many forms using the Rotom Catalog.
Goals (Pokedex, Competitive Battling or just having a good time)
If you’re looking to complete the Pokedex as you play, try to get as much type coverage as you can with three or four permanent slots. This leaves two party slots open for evolving other Pokemon, making it a little easier to collect all 400 Pokemon. The downside to this is it can make it difficult during battles, especially if the two extra Pokemon you have don’t have the right typings for specific points in the game. Make sure you have your starter and a mix of the above to have the most type coverage.
For competitive players, the meta is always shifting. Ranked battles are yet to be announced, but it’s always best to be prepared, and sticking with Pokemon in your team into their higher levels gives you an opportunity to see what unique or exciting moves or evolutions might be viable when the competitive circuit begins.
The following Pokemon look like they’re going to make the Scarlet and Violet metagame:
Roaring Moon: A Pokemon Scarlet exclusive version of Salamence, Roaring Moon is a Dragon/Dark type with a wide moveset.
Maushold: Maushold packs a signature move – Population Bomb – that can hit 1-10 times with 90% accuracy. With a Wide Lens as a held item and the Technician ability this becomes a 99% accurate attack with 30 base damage per hit. Deadly.
Chien-Pao: A Dark/Ice Pokemon that lowers defense while having high attack and speed stats.
Baxcalibur: Another pseudo-legendary to add to the list. Baxcalibur is a Dragon/Ice type with a base stat total of 600. It also has an ability that gives it immunity to the ‘burn’ status effect.
Ultimately you can’t go too wrong when it comes to Pokemon – there’s no mistakes you can make in the early-to-mid game that will ruin your chances of becoming a Champion battler or Pokedex completionist. Hopefully these tips give you more time to explore the beautiful Paldea region without the stress of party management.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is available now on Nintendo Switch. Stevivor’s Ben, Steve and Ethan discussed its performance on a recent Friendly Fire Show.
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