Pokémon Black and White: Which Starter is Right For You – Snivy, Tepig or Oshawott?

As with all of the core RPGs in the Pokémon series, your main character is given a choice of three starting Pokémon – a Fire type, a Grass type and a Water type. This time around your choices are Snivy, Tepig and Oshawott. In this article, we’re going to be looking at the strengths, weaknesses and differences between the starter Pokémon in order to help you decide which one suits you the best.

Type

The types for each starters should surprise no one. Snivy is a Grass type, Tepig is a Fire type and Oshawott is a Water type. Snivy and Oshawott only have a single type throughout all of their evolutions, while Tepig becomes a Fire/Fighting Dual type in its first evolution of Chaoboo and remains that way when it again evolves into Emboar.

If you are new to Pokémon, than you have to understand that a Pokémon’s type is important for both offensive and defensive reasons. The game plays like a multi-layered version of Rock/Paper/Scissors and a Pokémon’s type determines what other types it is both strong and weak against.

Snivy, in all three of its forms is a pure Grass type Pokémon. This means is takes only half damage from Electric, Grass, Ground and Water type moves, but double damage from Bug, Fire, Flying, Ice and Poison attacks. Because Water and Flying are the two most common Pokémon types you will encounter, this means the Snivy family is at both a strong advantage and disadvantage in parts of the game.

Oshawott and its evolutions are strong against Steel, Fire, Water and Ice attacks, but are weak against Grass and Electric. Both Grass and Electric Pokémon are less common than several other types, which means Oshawott is in a good position in the main game. However, everyone and their dog has an Electric type Pokémon (or at least electric moves) in PvP battles, so keep that in mind depending on if you play against a lot of friends or not.

Tepig is unique amongst this generation starters as it becomes the only dual type Pokémon. However it is the third Pokémon in a row to become Fire/Fighting, so both you and your friends should be well prepared for this. In its first stage of evolution, Tepig is strong against Bug, Fire, Grass, Ice and Steel attacks but will take double damage against Ground, Rock and Water attacks. Ground and Water attacks are fairly common so this can be a problem for Tepig. Once it evolves into Chaoboo, its weakness and strengths change dramatically. Chaoboo and Emboar take half damage from Bug, Dark, Fire, Grass, Ice and Steel attacks, or it gains another defensive advantage. However it now takes double damage from Flying, Ground, Psychic and Water attacks. It loses the Rock weakness, but gains Psychic and Flying. Psychic is still the most commonly used type in PvP battles and Water and Flying Pokémon are the most prevalent in the game. This means defensively, Tepig is actually better in its first stage than in its final two evolutions, but a savvy player can make up for this with a good moveset and strategy.

So which is better Type wise? Defensively the Oshawott family is in the early stages of the game based on what Pokémon you’ll encounter. Tepig is probably the worst defensively just due to all its weaknesses and how common those Pokémon and type attacks are. However, don’t just a Pokémon just on its type. We have a lot more to cover.

Commonality

You might not think of this at first, but the Starter’s type is important in a different way. You’re probably not going to want to have more than one of the same types in your main team simply to prevent yourself from a tactical disadvantage. Sure you might want a team with Gyarados, Butterfree and Articuno because they all look cool to you, but a single Raichu can make quick work of them all. As such, it’s important to see how easy it is to get a type in the wild. For example, Water Pokémon are exceptionally common and so if you go with Oshawott, you’ll be basically choosing it over a ton of other Pokémon that you’ll encounter. Meanwhile Grass Pokémon are noticeably less common than Water Pokémon and Fire types are even rarer than those, so if you’re only planning to stick to a core team of Pokémon throughout the entire game and you’re one of those players that always uses their Starter, this is an often overlooked aspect to think about.

Stats

Stats are arguably the most important aspect of a Pokémon because even if you have the best Type combination possible, low stats means the Pokémon is going to fall in battle quickly. All Starters tend to have pretty good stats, but depending on your own battle style will really determine which stats are best for you.

Let’s look at Snivy first. Its best stat is in Speed, followed by Defense and Special Defense. Its weakest stats are Attack, Special Attack and Hit Points. This means you won’t be doing a lot of damage with Snivy, but it can definitely take a hit. The Speed is important too as it means, more often than not, Sinvy will get to go first. This can actually make up for a type disadvantage. For example, let’s say Snivy is in a battle against a Bug type Pokémon. Generally this would put Snivy at a disadvantage, but because it’s so fast, Snivy will probably attack first. If you couple this with a move that Bug Pokémon are weak against (Like Aerial Ace, which Snivy can learn via TM). Snivy can do double damage and get the first attack in against something its normally weak against! Snivy’s final evolutionary form of Serperior has the same stat strength and weaknesses, so keep that in mind for the end game.

Tepig is all Attack and Hit Points. This means you’re going to want to learn primarily Physical type attacks with it. However, make sure you have at least one Special based move when you face Pokémon that have special abilities like Static. The large amount of Hit Points is always a good thing as the more you have, the longer you last, but considering Tepig’s Defense and Special Defense are its weakest stats, those Hit Points might not last for long based on the type of Pokémon it fights. What you really want is a Pokémon who has a lot of Hit Points and both a high Defense and Special Defense. One without the other can be problematic. As Tepig evolves into Chaoboo, it gets a Special Attack boost, but its Speed, and both Defense stats stay low. In the final form of Emboar, its Attack power becomes its most dominant statistic. Again, this means that all forms of Tepig are based primarily on its Attack stat. With its Speed and both Defenses being the Tepig family’s worst areas, this can mean that it might not get a chance to use its crushing Attack. After all, it just needs to run into a faster Flying or Psychic Pokémon and nearly all of those are indeed quicker.

Oshawott is a bit similar to Tepig. Its best stat is its Special Attack. Its next two best stats are Hit Points and Attack, with Speed and both Defense stats being on the low side. You would think an Otter based Pokémon would excel at speed, but hey. The stats ratio stays the same as Oshawott evolves into Dewott, but as Samurott, things change. Its Attack becomes almost as powerful as its Special Attack and its defense gets a nice boost as well. This means its only weak spots are Special Defense and Speed. Basically Samurott has the same strengths as Emboar, but without as many weaknesses and a better Defense stat.

Moves

Moves are an important thing to look at as well, because if you have great stats and you don’t have any attacks other than Tackle, you’re kind of screwed. Thankfully all the Starters have a nice selection of move and they can use most of the TMs in the game, allowing them to diversify.

Snivy learns Grass, Poison and Normal moves naturally. They are an equal mix between Physical, Special and Status Effect attacks, which goes along perfectly with his stats. Most of the TMs it can learn are defensive or stat boost moves but it does learn a few attacks. Almost all of those attacks fall into the above three types, but remember it CAN learn the Flying move Aerial Ace that always hits. This is a great thing for Snivy in all its forms to learn as it is can help against Bug Pokémon, which Snivy’s Grass attacks are weak against. As it evolves, Snivy can eventually learn Dragon Tail as well, which is another move outside its normal attack Types and something that can really surprise an opponent in battle.

Tepig has a wonderful array of moves that it can learn naturally. Normal, Fire, Poison, Rock and Dark attacks give Tepig the widest range of offensives types out of the starters and it means a savvy Trainer can have a tactical advantage over just about any Type. As it evolves, it also will start to naturally learn a single Fighting move in Arm Thrust, which is odd as it’s half Fighting as this point. TM’s help to make Tepig ever more diverse as it can learn some crazy moves like the Grass type Solarbeam, the Poison attack Poison Jab, a power Electric attack in Wild Charge and even a Water move in Scald! Think about all the possibilities here. The fact Tepig has the lowest Defense and Special Defense out of all five generations of starters is balanced out here by the sheer combinations you can come up with for it!

Oshawott learns mainly Water and Normal moves naturally, but there are two odd standouts in the Bug attack Fury Cutter and the Fighting move Revenge. As it evolves it will also get the powerful Bug move Megahorn, making Oshawott a power Psychic and Dark destroyer. As for TMs it will gain access to Ground, Ice, Flying and Dragon attacks. Its move list isn’t as diverse at Tepig, but just taking Megahorn, Ice Beam, and Surf makes it super effective against Dark, Dragon, Flying, Fire, Grass, Ground, Psychic, and Rock attacks. Taking a Ground or Fighting attacks adds three more types it becomes super effective against and Flying would add another two. That particular moveset example would make Oshawott super effective against more than half the types in the game! Try and come up with your own to see what you can do with a purely offensive death otter.

Closing

So there you go. We’ve looked at Types, Moves, Stats, and the Commonality of each type. Of course there are other factors that can come into play such as which you think looks the coolest/cutest or if you’re one of those Trainers that doesn’t actually use their starter. It all comes down to personal choice and your own style of how you play Pokémon. After reading this guide, you should hopefully know which Pokémon suits you best. Be sure to let us know which starter you chose and how you’re doing with them!

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    • Alex Lucard

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