Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl best starter

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl best starter

With the upcoming release of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl we wanted to give you some notes on the best starter to choose. This will cover everything from the way that they look, and their evolutions to the challenges that you’ll need to face early on in the game when your available Pokémon will be lower, so you’ll need to rely more on your starters to smash things up.

The Nintendo Switch game comes with the usual selection of three starters – Turtwig, Chimchar and Piplup – but that doesn’t give you much to go on in terms of which one choose. As ever, the bad news is that you won’t be able to change to one of the others part way through the game, so once you make you decision, you’re locked in for the run to beat all of the gyms.

Obviously, you can restart the game at any point and have another crack at the starter whip, but the better option is to get up-to-speed on the opening Pokémon, so you make a more informed decision from the beginning.

Starters in their starter form

Towards the end of the game it won’t matter too much which starter you have along for the journey from a progression point of view because you’ll have a lot more in your Pokédex to choose from. But it will matter which one you have from a visual point of view, because they’ll still be a big part of your party, so the way they look is probably the most important long-term factor in choosing the best.

You can see each of the three starter Pokémon in the image above and from this you can get a better sense of which one you feel like you’re going to have a better connection with. You can also find out more about each of them with the details below.


Turtwig is a Grass type Pokémon, so he going to be good against Ground, Rock and Water types. He’s a bit like a grass version of Squirtle and Bulbasaur. It’s got a tough shell, a turtle-like snapping beak and a leaf branch growing out of its head.


Chimchar is a Fire type Pokémon, so it’s good against Bug, Steel, Grass and Ice types. It’s essentially a little monkey with a flame blazing from its butt, which is pretty hilarious, and apparently it only goes out when its asleep. It’s fueled by gas from its food in its tummy, so it’s pretty much farting fire the whole time, which definitely adds to his charms if you like that sort of thing.


Piplup is a Water type Pokémon, so good against Ground, Rock and Fire types. It’s an incredibly cute little penguin with a little spiky cape and it gets a whole lot more magnificent looking as it evolves, which you can find out more about below.

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Starter evolutions

As ever, the starter Pokémon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl each have three forms with two evolutions to go through as they level up. This will add to the idea of choosing the one that you most liek the look of, because they won’t stay in their first form for very long.

Turtwig changes into Grotle to start with, which has a bigger shell, less cute features, sturdy legs and a bush on its back. The next evolution changes it into Torterra, which is even bigger with spikes and a tree growing out if its shell.

Chimchar starts by changing into Monferno, which is a slightly bigger monkey with a blue face and a tail leading to its flame. Its final evolution will change it into Infernape, which has a white chest and shin with gold joint guards and the flame is now blazing right out of its head.

Piplup evolves into Prinlup, which is bigger with a gold beak that shoots up over its head and white specs on its chest. Its final form is Empolion with its gold crown, sharp wings and a tie and collar to match its stately visage.

Best starter for the first few gyms

Okay, so now you know what they look like to begin with and how they evolve, the final point is which one of them is going to be best for the first two gyms in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. The first gym leader you’ll come up against is Roark who is a Rock type trainer in Oreburgh City. Piplup and Turtwig both have the advantage here with both Water and Grass performing well against Rock, but we’d say that Piplup is the best choice against the first gym (check out the video below to see Piplup in action against Roark).

Next, you’ll take on Gardenia in Eterna City, who is a a Grass type Pokémon trainer, which sort of changes everything. Suddenly, Chimchar becomes your best starter choice with the advantage of Fire against Grass. Turtwig is a the second best option as he is neutral, but Piplup is the weakest against Grass with Water having much less affect against these type of Pokémon.

However, Piplup will learn other moves by this stage that aren’t water related, so if you wanted to stick with him then you could do easily. Just remember not to use the water moves against Grass type as this will have little effect. The other thing that you can do is to build out Piplup’s moves with TMs, which will make him a better option against Gardenia.

If you want to look even further ahead, the third gym leader you’ll be able to face is Maylene, who is a Fighting type Pokémon trainer and none of the starters will have an advantage against her, so it really does come down to the first two gyms. However, the reality is that you will probably be able to make it through all of them no matter what, because they’re the early challenges in the game.

If we had to call it for complete beginners that might struggle at the first gym challenge then the best starter choice is Piplup. It also has good evolutions that look really cool. However, it will be the weakest of the three against the second gym leader, so you’ll need to build out your Pokédex with well trained Bug or Fire type Pokémon to take Gardenia down.

Don’t forget to check out our computer games section to keep tabs on more game releases, or visit the Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl website at https://diamondpearl.pokemon.com/.

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