Playing Pokémon is simple, but sometimes you want to give yourself a challenge by picking a starter that has a disadvantage with most of the gyms, or breeze your way through by picking a safer option. For example, if you play Pokémon Red and pick Charmander, it’s considered the hard difficulty due to having to face its two weaknesses, Rock and Water types, in the first two gym battles. Bulbasaur is a simpler choice since it does not have that disadvantage at the start, which makes Squirtle the normal difficulty in the game.
Sword and Shield’s campaign is straightforward, but there are many ways to determine which is the best starter to pick. With exclusive gym leaders as well, we will go over each starter and point out how they will fare overall from the beginning to the end of the game’s main story.
Which Is the Best Starter Pokémon in Sword and Shield?
The Chimp Pokémon will have two type advantages against two out of the eight gym leaders if you play Sword, which features the Water gym leader Nessa and Rock gym leader Gordie. Shield only gives you one type advantage, with Nessa being the only one to be in both games, and Gordie’s mother, Melony, taking place as the Ice gym leader. Pokémon Shield will give you a moderate challenge since Kabu and Melony are the only ones who have a type advantage against you.
Since Grookey will eventually remain a pure Grass type once it evolves into Thwackey and then Rillaboom, picking it will provide a steady challenge. Whenever you get to face the champion Leon, he will have both Cinderace and Charizard on his team, so having a Water or Rock type Pokémon in your party will help you take care of business, especially once the latter starts to Gigantamax.
Scorbunny at the start will give you an easy win, with Milo being the first gym leader and grass type trainer in Sword and Shield. And depending on the version, it will have either two advantages or disadvantages. If you are playing Sword and pick Scorbunny, you will have Nessa and Gordie to worry about. For the latter, Scorbunny does learn Fighting type moves, so despite its weakness to Rock types, its move pool will help gain the upper hand.
For facing Leon, Scorbunny’s evolution Cinderace can take care of Mr. Rime and Aegislash. Having an Electric type will help deal with Inteleon and Charizard while you can have an Ice, Fairy, or Dragon type Pokémon against Haxorus and Dragapult.
So far, Sobble has a type disadvantage against Milo and is neutral against Nessa. It will take until the third gym battle to face off against the Fire type gym leader Kabu. Unlike the other two starters, Sobble will instead have two type advantages in one game, but only have one disadvantage in another. Sword is a great choice for Sobble as your starter, but it is also a great option in Shield if you don’t want to face a lot of disadvantages.
Once you fight Leon, Sobble’s evolution Inteleon can take care of Rhypherior and Charizard, and with a Fire type Pokémon, you can take care of Rillaboom and Aegislash. An Ice, Fairy, or Dragon type Pokémon can also deal with Dragapult and Haxorus, similar to Scorbunny’s situation.
Overall, which is the best starter to pick in Pokémon Sword and Shield? While your starter will have type weaknesses for at least a couple gym leader battles, you will be able to encounter Pokémon such as Rookidee for Milo, Yamper for Nessa, and Chewtle for Kabu to help you gain coverage for your starter’s types.
If you want an easy start, then Scorbunny is a great choice, as you will be ready to go against Milo. Grookey is a nice pick if you want a challenging championship battle against Leon, and Sobble is the perfect middle ground for a hard start but a steady challenge throughout the game.