It has been statistically proven that Squirtle is the best starter in Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow. So, with the upcoming release of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, who is the “best” Hoenn starter? Lets take a look at the facts.
At the start of your Hoenn adventure, you have the choice between: Treecko, Torchic, or Mudkip, the typical Grass/Fire/Water trio. However, these types shift a bit through their evolutions. Looking at the gym and Elite 4 challenges, which starter has the upper hand?
Treecko is the only Hoenn starter that keeps its sole grass-type throughout its evolution. Its speed is the highest out of all the starters once it reaches Sceptile. It has powerful stab moves, but mostly late game. Aside from this, its base stats are not the best.
Although its speed is impressive, this starter will struggle with many gyms along your journey. After Roxanne, you won’t see it do any real damage until the last two gyms. Many of the Water/Ice Pokemon will give it trouble because of its weakness to Ice. Strictly in-game speaking, Treecko is the worst starter of the 3.
Stats:HP 70 250 – 344 ATTACK 85 157 – 295 DEFENSE 65 121 – 251 SP. ATK 105 193 – 339 SP. DEF 85 157 – 295 SPEED 120 220 – 372
How and when you get a Mega Stone in the upcoming game is unknown. Due to this, I can’t be sure if Mega Sceptile, who gets an added Dragon-type and Lightning Rod ability, will be present for gym battles. This definitely changes how effective it will be in-game.
Torchic becomes a Fire/Fighting-type from its second evolution and on. Combusken is a powerful early game Pokémon. In fact, if you choose this starter, you should evolve it quickly or it will have trouble with the first gyms. Its type gives it few weaknesses. It has a high speed stat, and is a good sweeper. Blaziken is easily a favorite. However, its downfall is its terrible defense.
The first gym is hard for Torchic, but once past that, there are no real difficulties until Wallace. Its speed and double-typing give it the upper hand in many situations. It does a lot of Super Effective damage, but its low defense makes it prone to fainting to one powerful attack. With all of this in mind, I believe Torchic is the second best starter for the game.
Stats: HP 80 270 – 364 ATTACK 120 220 – 372 DEFENSE 70 130 – 262 SP. ATK 110 202 – 350 SP. DEF 70 130 – 262 SPEED 80 148 – 284
Mega Blaziken, once you can evolve Blaziken, gets higher Attack power and a Speed Boost ability, making him an even better sweeper.
Mudkip evolves into a Water/Ground-type. It’s a safe choice given that your gym battles are not strong against this Pokémon. It has high defense, good attack, and decent HP. Its move set: including Mudshot, Muddy Water, Earthquake, etc makes it easy to sweep with. Its downfall is its speed. Swampert’s stats total up to 535, making it the “strongest” starter in that regard.
Once a Marshtomp, this starter has absolutely no problems with the gyms. There are very few Pokémon that Swampert has trouble dealing with. Its only weakness, Grass, has no gym. The biggest threats are Water and Dragon Pokémon (since it does little damage against them), but even then, it can handle tough blows. Plus, every starter has trouble with Dragon-type Pokémon. It’s a great Pokémon for the Elite Four, since it will not go down easy. Mudkip, considering stats, in-game competitors, and weaknesses, is the best starter for Hoenn.
Stats:HP 100 310 – 404 ATTACK 110 202 – 350 DEFENSE 90 166 – 306 SP. ATK 85 157 – 295 SP. DEF 90 166 – 306 SPEED 60 112 – 240
When Mega Swampert makes an appearance, beware. Its boosted Attack stat will make this Pokémon a scary opponent for any Gym Leader, Elite Four Member, or Champion. Swampert has strength and resistance, a powerful combination.
I made an excel chart with the information from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire to determine which is the best starter for the game. The gyms and Pokémon are likely to change in the upcoming remakes, but it should be very similar to this line-up. This chart describes purely the STAB power against Gym Leader and Elite Four Pokémon, and does not go into their weaknesses.
You can view the enlarged sheet here.