Some Pokémon types just seem to have it harder than others. Ice and Bug, for instance, tend to lack the strengths to make up for their weaknesses, while Rock is also weak to absolutely everything ever. Meanwhile, other typings (like Dragon) are so darn strong that another typing (Fairy) has to be introduced to help counter them.
Grass is another typing that has struggled over the years. It has too many weaknesses (and is resisted by too many types) to really be balanced, making Grass-type starters quite difficult to use to best effect at times. Here are all the Grass starters, ranked by how hard you might find it to train them.
For many fans (particularly old-school ones), Bulbasaur is the ultimate. The very best, like no-one ever was. The yardstick against which all future Grass-starters must and will be measured.
The simple fact is, it has a bit of everything that a Grass starter needs. Solid bulk, a steady trickle of good STAB and status moves in its learnset, a secondary typing that helps it both offensively and defensively (to an extent) in Poison… Bulbasaur will be a trusty companion throughout your journey, and a force to be reckoned with on its evolution into Venusaur.
If you’re looking for a solid Grass-type physical tank, Chespin should be your starter pick of choice. If you hadn’t guessed from Chesnaught’s hard, spiky hide, it’s here to tank hits with nary a flinch, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator movies. It can perform that role with aplomb, too.
It has very solid physical stats, as well as access to great moves like Leech Seed, Seed Bomb, Drain Punch and Synthesis. A little breeding and tutoring is needed to get some of these, so it’s not quite so good on a main story run, but still: as long as you keep it far, far away from Flying-type attacks, Chespin with serve you well throughout your adventure.
Snivy is a bit of an anomaly, as far as Grass-type starters go. Grass Pokémon in general tend to be slow, sturdy battlers that spread irritating status on every opposing critter in a five-mile radius. Snivy bucks this trend by being quite the speedster.
If you’re looking for more of an offensively oriented Grass starter, the Snivy line fits that bill. Serperior lacks in power (without its Hidden Ability Contrary) and coverage, but is darn fast at base 113 Speed and can take a few different roles in a team (in-game or otherwise). Whether supporting with dual screens, helping you catch Pokémon with Glare or otherwise, Snivy isn’t a bad partner at all.
The Grass-type starter in the middle of the pack, for our money, would be the latest addition to the roster: Pokémon Sword and Shield’s Grookey.
This energetic little critter actually boasts a STAB move right out of the gate (well, level 6), which some previous generations haven’t. It’s some time before it learns another solid Grass-type move, though (Drum Beating, Rillaboom’s exclusive move, which it learns on evolving into its final form), and being stuck as a pure Grass-type means that it will really struggle with coverage if you don’t have solid TMs and TRs to teach it. Despite this, it has the physical power and bulk to muscle its way through a lot of the competition.
Another Grass starter we’ve decided to place in the middle of the list is Pokémon Sun and Moon’s Rowlet. The issue with this Pokémon is that it doesn’t quite fit in either a defensive or offensive role.
It has powerful offenses and a good range of hard-hitting moves to back them up, along with its useful Grass/Ghost typing as Decidueye. The trouble is, it lacks the Speed to really make that work (as did a lot of Gen VII critters). On the flipside, it’s fairly bulky but doesn’t really have the movepool to do much with its tankiness. A good all-around Pokémon, but not really as versatile as it seems.
Chikorita has quite a lot in common with Snivy and Bulbasaur. It’s a bit of a meld of the two, in fact. It doesn’t have a lot of options for STAB attacks (definitely not in terms of ones it learns naturally), and it’s a little lacking in terms of Speed.
What it can do, though, is take on the support role and attempt to carry the team on its strange, dinosaur-y/plant-y back. As Meganium, its base stats are almost identical to Venusaur’s, but it has more of a focus on relieving its team of status than on spreading it itself. It has a lot of shortcomings, but this is a role that can prove helpful at every stage of your adventure.
Turtwig desperately wants to be a defensive powerhouse. It really, really does. By the time it hits its final evolution, Torterra, it has a whole darn tree growing on its back. That’s how physically imposing and unmovable the Turtwig line aspires to be. The trouble is, it just falls a little short.
Its Grass/Ground typing is still unique to it, but it’s not exactly a good thing. It gives Torterra a deadly x4 weakness to Ice, and doesn’t really shore up any of Grass’s major shortcomings in return (removing its key resistance to Water, in fact). As your Turtwig evolves, it may become more a liability, though it does have excellent physical stats, very strong STAB in Earthquake and Wood Hammer and the Hidden Ability Shell Armor (no taking critical hits!) if you can get it. It’ll probably have to take a hefty blow in order to use any of these assets, though, with its middling Speed.
As we’ve seen, Grass starters aren’t usually the fastest Pokémon around. The only real glass cannon in their ranks is Treecko, which is our pick for the hardest to raise from all eight generations to date.
Grass just doesn’t work very well as an offensive type. Sceptile’s base 120 Speed and 105 Special Attack are certainly good, but it doesn’t have much coverage at all and its defenses are pitiful. Even as a souped-up Mega Evolution (which was Grass/Dragon), Sceptile didn’t quite have the firepower it needed to make up for its frailty. You’ll probably need quite a lot of Revives for this thing over the course of your adventure.
How to sum up hardcore perfectly.