The Best Starter To Pick In Pokémon Red And Blue

The Best Starter To Pick In Pokémon Red And Blue
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This weekend, many of you made an important choice when you picked up the re-release of Pokémon Red and Blue on 3DS: Charmander, Bulbasaur or Squirtle?

Truthfully, there are no wrong answers here. But depending on what you’re looking for, certain choices might make more sense for you than other ones.


Charmander (eventually) turns into Charizard, who is widely considered one of the most coolest Pokémon ever. I mean, look at this badarse.

That’s the sort of majestic Pokémon that will drive fear into the hearts of every 10-year-old who makes the mistake of challenging you with nothing more than a Rattata.

Better yet, Charizard has the distinction of being the only starter Pokémon who has two different Mega Evolutions in newer Pokémon games. Remember: you’ll be able to port Pokémon from Red and Blue to Pokémon Sun and Moon through the usage of Pokémon Bank, so if you want to plan for the long-term, Mega Evolutions are worth considering!

The Mega Charizard on the left increases its special attack and can make fire-type moves more powerful. The Mega Charizard on the right is an actual dragon-type Pokemon, which was always Charizard’s destiny. Also, that black and blue look is killer.


This fiery monster has a tough time against early gym leaders, Brock and Misty. Nobody said looking cool was easy.


According to Pokémon‘s own creators, Bulbasaur is the best choice you can make. A few years ago I interviewed Junichi Masuda, a developer who actually worked on Pokémon Red and Blue, and he said he found Bulbasaur to be the cutest pick. Moreover, he claimed that Bulbasaur’s design was emblematic of everything Pokémon stands for. Bulbasaur looks like a monster you’d want to collect, basically. Its design is a classic. Heck, just listening to its in-game cry can give you tingles:

Pragmatically speaking, Bulbasaur also does well early in the game, against the rock and water type gyms.


Bulbasaur is a Pokémon with a cabbage on its back. It also turns into the ugliest starter evolution, Venusaur.



Squirtle is cool. Nobody can hang like Squirtle. Squirtle literally has a squad:

Scientifically speaking, Squirtle is the best choice out of the three. As Scientific American found out a few years ago, Squirtle’s stats and type give it the most advantages against gym leaders throughout the entire game:

So if you want the most powerful starter Pokémon in Red and Blue, Squirtle is the way to go. Squirtle can wreck the most stuff.


Squirtle turns into Blastoise, who can then mega evolve into Mega Blastoise. Mega Blastoise is the most disappointing Mega Evolution out of them all. Look at this doofus:

That big-arse cannon turns Mega Blastoise into the Hummer of Mega Evolutions. There’s no finesse or subtlety to the design. Worse, Mega Blastoise doesn’t always use the cannons when it shoots out powerful attacks — instead, it will use its mouth. What’s the point?

Alright, now that we’re done using Very Objective Science to dissect the pros and cons of each starter, I turn to you, dear reader. Who will you pick? (Friendly reminder that it should be Charmander!)


        • If you don’t upload each starter to the Pokemon Bank and get them all you’re doing it wrong.

          But Squirtle is my favourite of the original Starters.

          • It’s so weird, I was super excited about getting all the starters in the bank… then I realised I literally have a box full of each in Pokemon X that I got from Wonder Trading and Ditto breading. Plus a tonne of Eevees. Back in the day having all three starters would’ve blown my mind. Now, I kinda feel like it’s maybe a little too easy to catch-em-all? Maybe?

  • Squirtle simply had the better movesets, surf, skull bash, hydro pump, also strength/bubble beam/ice beam/dig/earthquake whatever your poison. decent power and decent PP made him a good all-rounder.

    • Also has the least weaknesses (Beyond Mega Venasaur)

      However, his mega evolution is absolutely worthless unless you load up incredibly specific moves. It’s simply not worth it for +50% damage bonus.

  • I always found the Charmander (and subsequent fire types) more useful as a starting choice as it was a type not usually found in the early game and useful against a lot of different types.

  • i played once through with Bulbasaur.
    then again with Charmander. i cant complain about either. heck, back when i played Red for the very first time. i loved all three starters and was really sad i didnt have friends or siblings to trade with to get them all.

  • Assuming the codes the same. Bulbasaur well evolved, with toxic would break the game. As its damage compounds.

    With yellow special is one stat for attack and defence so a snorlax with amnesia is the ultimate shit fucker upper-er

  • Assuming the codes the same. Bulbasaur well evolved, with toxic would break the game. As its damage compounds.

    With yellow special is one stat for attack and defence so a snorlax with amnesia is the ultimate shit fucker upper-er

  • Back in Gen 1… Charmander for the hardcore run. Fun to have two gyms and a good couple dudes in the Elite 4 that can wreck you with rocks. Squirtle for easy mode.

    Otherwise… Turning them loose on Sun/Moon is pretty equal a proposition. Charizard learns metal moves to defend against its weakness, Mega Venasaur is a mass of tanky instant solar beams and Blastoise is a great well-rounded beast that can destroy the two things its weak to.

  • I go with Bulbasaur because I’m cheap. Having the sub poison type means I don’t have to buy antidotes, Nidorans, Ekans, and Weedles can poison sting all they want.

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