The 8 best early game Pokémon in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

The cream of the early crops.

Screenshot by Gamepur

There are 400 Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet, and hundreds are locked behind traversal mechanics, level gates, or other roadblocks. There are, however, some you can get early on that will not only carry you through the first parts of the game, but their evolved forms are some of the best non-Legendary Pokémon available. Below, we’ll go over eight such Pokémon, all of which you can acquire not long after finishing the tutorial and some even before.

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The best early game Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet

All of the Pokémon on this list are available in the areas closely surrounding the Uva/Naranja Academy, though not all are easy to find. They’re all worth every ounce of effort you put into catching and evolving them, whether you use them to take down the Elite Four or just to carry you past a difficult Gym.

Charcadet

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Charcadet is a rare spawn throughout Paldea, but it’s one of the better Fire types you’ll find early on. Its stats aren’t fantastic to start, with a base of just 255, but Fire types have always been in short supply. If you didn’t pick Fuecoco as your starter, you won’t find many other options for a little while. However, the real reasons to catch a Charcadet are its evolutions: Ceruledge and Armarouge. Their stat lines of 525 are some of the better ones out there, and their combination of Speed and Attack power makes them an excellent choice from the beginning of the game to the end.

Eevee

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Eevee are another rare spawn, native to a small region west of the Academy. While they’re not terrible Pokémon on their own, Eevee-lutions have always been some of the better mono-type options out there. Umbreon, Espeon, and Sylveon are top choices, but all of the eight choices will benefit your team, and you can fill in whatever coverage you need.

Fidough

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We could go on about how cute Fidough is or the advantages its Fairy typing gives it over some of the best other Pokémon in the game (Dragons and Psychic types, mainly). Like Eevee and Charcadet, its evolution Dachsbun is a solid secondary choice for Fire-type Tera Raid battles. Its higher-than-average Defense and Speed allow it to tank attacks that might KO other mons. Dachsbun’s ability, Well-Baked Body, makes it immune to Fire damage while raising its Defense when hit by one. For Charizard and the upcoming Cinderace raids, consider investing in a Fidough.

Flamigo

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Don’t let its silly appearance fool you; Flamigo is no joke, especially for the early-mid game. As a dual Fighting/Flying type, it can counter a wide variety of opposing types, and its base Attack stat is one of the higher you’ll find without spending a lot of time training and evolving another mon. Flamigo also has no evolutions, meaning it starts strong and stays that way.

Mareep

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Like Fire, quality Electric types can be hard to come by, and the Mareep line has been a rare exception since the days of Gold and Silver. Its final evolution, Ampharos, might be slow as molasses, but its HP, Special Attack, and Special Defense are on the higher side, and as a pure Electric type, its only weakness is against Ground moves. Add in Ampharos’s ability to learn Fairy, Fighting, Fire, and Ice moves, and you’ve got an absolute tank that can take on almost anything the game can throw at you.

Magikarp

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Magikarp is a meme for a reason: they’re almost entirely useless on their own, look ridiculous, and are generally beneficial to no one. Its evolved form, Gyarados, has been one of the top-tier Pokémon in the series since the beginning. Gyarados boasts a base attack of 125, one of the highest in all of Scarlet and Violet, and good HP and Special Defense. If you can land the first hit with this Pokémon, the odds are good you put your opponent on the back foot if you don’t KO them outright.

Mankey

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Another Pokémon as old as the franchise, Mankey and Primeape have traditionally been niche choices for specific team compositions or other, more personal reasons. Scarlet and Violet add a reason to invest heavily in the Mankey line: its new third Evolution, Annihilape. This new Ghost/Fighting dual type tops even the Eeveelutions and Charcadet evolved forms in stats at a 535 base. The only stat not on Annihilape’s good list is Special Attack, which is fine because, between its high-tier HP and Attack and good Speed and Special Defense, there’s not much that Annihilape can’t handle.

Paldaen Wooper

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Wooper has looked silly and been mostly a cuteness choice since Gold and Silver, but with the Paldean variant now being dual Ground/Poison type, its Strengths and weaknesses are turned on their heads. With its evolved form, Clodsire, having the Water Absorb ability, you can eliminate one of the most common Ground-type weaknesses. Their huge HP pools are another reason to invest in a Paldean Wooper and Clodsire. Their other stats aren’t stellar, but their survivability is hard to pass up.